Arabs often lampoon Christians and Jews

Uttara Choudhury

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

NEW YORK: The Bush administration on Monday appealed to Saudi Arabia to calm raging Muslim protests over newspaper cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, but it also castigated the Arab world for frequently indulging in anti-Semitic and anti-Christian hate speeches, articles and cartoons.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told a press conference that leaders of the Saudi government could play a leadership role in easing tensions along with other Arab leaders. “We certainly at this time urge governments to take any steps that they might to lower tensions concerning this issue, all the while recognising that free speech is an important right,” said McCormack.

The Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki bin al-Faisal, responded in the positive saying his kingdom was “working very hard to reach an equitable and nonviolent resolution” to the issue. The US has, however, fanned tensions by accusing Syria of playing a role in the weekend attacks on the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Lebanon and Syria. “You know, Syria is a country where protests don’t just occur spontaneously, certainly not of this sort, and not without the knowledge and support of the government. They have not expressed any regret or apology to either of those two governments for what’s happened to their embassy,” added McCormack.

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said: “We would also urge people who are criticising these cartoons to speak out forcefully against all forms of hate speech, including cartoons and articles throughout parts of the Arab world, which frequently espouse anti-Semitic and anti-Christian views.”

American Muslim leaders from the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Islamic Society of North America have appealed for calm. They are planning to meet and discuss with Denmark’s ambassador to the US, Friis Arne Petersen.


Evangelical Christians express little sympathy for Muslims' outrage


Knight Ridder Newspapers

Many conservative Christians have long regarded the media as enemy territory, where traditional values are at best misunderstood and often mocked.

So you might think they would relate sympathetically to Muslim outrage over the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. That outrage has sparked violent protests throughout the Islamic world.

But concerns about the goals of radical Islamic leaders, a sense that a double standard pervades the Muslim media and a general distaste for organized violence have overridden any empathy most Christian conservatives might feel for angry Muslims.

"Unfortunately, the protesters are hinting that the cartoonist might have been right," said the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. "They're killing fellow Muslims and destroying property. Maybe the radical protests are validating the cartoon instead of proving that cartoon wrong."

No Christian leader ever espoused violence to retaliate against "Piss Christ," the controversial 1989 artwork - a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine - by Andres Serrano, even though that riled many Christians, noted Gary Bauer, president of American Values and a longtime leader among religious conservatives.

"I understand why any religious person would get upset if they think their faith is disparaged in a drawing or a cartoon," Bauer said. "But ... how can (the cartoons) engender a greater emotional reaction than the daily bombings and attacks by groups claiming to do them in the name of Allah?

"It doesn't look like a call for respect," Bauer concluded of the Muslims' protests. "It looks like a call for submission."

Indeed, many evangelical Christians see militant Islam replacing communism as the greatest global threat, said Allen Hertzke, professor of political science and director of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma.

"They see this phenomenon as part of an orchestrated effort by what they call Islamo-fascists to take over the Islamic world," Hertzke said.

Then there's the apparent double standard for acceptable religious satire in Muslim media, especially regarding Jews.

Jews are routinely lambasted and stereotyped in the Muslim media. Hertzke recalled a Syrian TV program shown in Jordan that depicted Jews using the blood of children to make matzo. A recent cartoon on a Muslim group's Web site showed Adolf Hitler in bed with Anne Frank, a teenage Jewish martyr during World War II, saying "Write this one in your diary, Anne."

"Many evangelicals have very positive views toward Jews, and evangelicals support Israel," said John Green, a professor at the University of Akron who specializes in religion and politics. "And it's interesting that in the protests of these cartoons, the language quickly turned anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. That sends up a red flag for evangelical Christians."

Christian conservatives also generally echo the views of the Bush administration, which condemned the Muslim violence but backed off early criticisms of the cartoons themselves. President Bush pointed out that such are the vagaries of life with a free press.

"The appreciation of pluralism is something that every religious group has to grow in," Haggard of the evangelicals' group said. "We evangelicals struggle with this issue every time we send one of our kids off to college. But we think pluralism is a high value. ... Radical Muslim extremists have to grasp that pluralism is a fact of life for all cultures. We're into a new world."


From Cartoons to Chaos

By Abraham H. Miller

February 17, 2006

“An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth; you respect me; I respect you." So screams an Islamic marcher in a Paris street demonstration against the right of Danish newspapers to publish cartoons of Mohammed.

The mantra is not quite respect for Western culture and Western values of freedom of speech and the press. It is more accurately translated as: You do what I want, or I’ll blow you up!

Amid the demonstrators shouting “Allah Akabar,” stand two young men supporting freedom of the press. One holds a Danish flag; the other holds a sign calling for the right of freedom of the press.

The demonstrators gather around them. Some shout, “We are being provoked.” Others shout, “They wouldn’t do this in another demonstration.”

What is patently clear is that the Islamic marchers have no comprehension that the freedom that protects their right to march in the streets of Paris also protects the rights of the two counter demonstrators to protest the Muslim’s march. In a free and open society demonstrators and counter-demonstrators share the same right to promulgate their views.

It looks dicey for the two demonstrators. One bearded old man screams the ultimate Islamic insult at them, “Homosexuals!” But cooler heads in the demonstration prevail--after all, the cameras are rolling--and the two courageous young men escape unharmed.

The essence of immigration, until now, has been that when you voluntarily change geography, you also change history and culture. You become part of the culture that you entered. You embrace its institutions. You don’t demand that the culture bend to your will and your culture. You are an immigrant. You are not a conqueror.

Muslims who immigrate to the West, and then demand the imposition of Islamic law and Islamic norms, have no respect for their adoptive society. They have arrogated to themselves the right to speak to the West as cultural superiors.

When Muslims demand that the Danish government stop the publication of the offending cartoons and when they boycott Danish products, they impose their notion of collective guilt on all Danes. They hold all Danes responsible for the actions of one paper, and they know full well that in Western society, unlike in most Muslim countries, the government has no control over what papers print.

Compare Islam’s response to the cartoons with America’s response to the 9-11 attacks. From President Bush on down, the official reaction, as well as that of most Americans, was that it was inconceivable to hold all Muslims responsible for the actions of the terrorists. Indeed, this was the tone struck by many of us asked to speak in public forums after the tragedy. We took pains to make that distinction.

In many ways, the cartoon riots inadvertently tell us more about Islam, and the facile way that anti-Western anger is mobilized in the Islamic world, than they do about the Danish cartoons. The episodes underscore the Islamic world’s primitive notion of collective guilt, and how most Western pundits and politicians have been so busy falling over themselves with apologias that they forgot to examine whether indeed Islam does expressly prohibit representations of the prophet.

If so, why is there a carving of Mohammed in the Supreme Court building and why hasn’t anyone rioted over it? After all, it has been there on the North Wall since 1935.

There are representations of Mohammed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (Paris), and the Edinburgh University Library. The riot crowd has its work cut out for it.

Some of the best of Islam’s scholars note that there is nothing in the Koran that explicitly condemns the representation of Mohammed. Indeed, the painting of “Book of the Assumption of Mohammed” is considered a great and inspiring work of art and is believed to have been painted my a Muslim artist around 1436 in Heart, Afghanistan. It depicts Mohammed’s ascension to heaven, and it hangs in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.

The cartoons however offensive some Moslems might find them are hardly as offensive as the death, destruction and mayhem of the response to them.

They are hardly as offensive as the cynical manipulation of a people’s piety by contemptuous politicians with a very secular political agenda. And, the cartoons are hardly as denigrating as the unflinching, unabashed cowardice of most of the American media, especially the electronic media, which has a long history of exploiting blood, sex and blasphemy in order to achieve ratings.

Suddenly much of the American media has developed religious sensibilities—a development that the Catholic League and most Christian fundamentalists must find astounding in light of the way in which the media will spare no defamation of Christian theology to get a laugh or rationalize the artistic value of a religious icon dunked in urine (see: "Piss Christ") and hung on the wall of a compliant art gallery.

I am convinced that Dr. William Donohue of the Catholic League would find his formidable tasks so much easier if once in a while he could issue a fatwa or mobilize the football team of a Catholic school to impart lessons in street culture to some of the patrons of the arts. But Dr. Donohue of course would never consider such a course of action, for it would be un-Christian.

Christians routinely endure plays, widely reviewed and advertised in our media, in which Jesus is depicted as a bi-sexual or homosexual having affairs with his apostles and causing a spurned Judas to have his unrequited love transformed into vengeance.

Yet, if Christians were reacting to such offenses as Muslims did, there hardly would be a theater, library or museum left standing. Thomas Friedman, of the New York Times, can call fundamentalist Christians “American Jihadists,” but so far I haven’t seen Friedman dodging a “fatwa” or sharing a safe house with Salman Rushdie.

A cartoon of Mohammed gives sufficient offense to cause rioting, killing and the invocation of the collective guilt of an entire civilization—ours. Yet, suicide bombings, beheadings, honor murders, and the rest of the cult of violence endemic to the Islamic world call forth no such demonstrations. The cartoons caused Western politicians to convene conversations with both representatives of Islamic countries and the Islamic faith, but where are the similar convocations by Islamic leaders for the daily brutality from its side of the cultural divide?

Indeed, the Islamic world feels no need to apologize for Syria’s televised series showing Jews killing a Christian boy and using his blood for baking Passover matzos. The Islamic world routinely refers to Christians and Jews as the offspring of pigs and apes. It actively publishes the Czarist forgery (later used by Hitler) of a Jewish plot to control the world known as the “Protocols of Zion.” It routinely publishes cartoons that reveal the worst kind of racism and bigotry, and it apologies for nothing.

It has yet to tell us why it permits and encourages the murder of Muslims who convert to Christianity but believes it is the obligation of Western, Christian society to permit Muslims to convert Christians to Islam without so much as interference.

If we look at who is orchestrating riots over the cartoon issue, we find people with a very temporal political agenda. In Beirut and Damascus, Syrian Ba’athists, people who worship Karl Marx, fomented the riots. Arrest records from Beirut indicate that it was not piety but rent a rioter that resulted in the large group of Palestinians and Syrians, not Lebanese, who ended up in jail.

The riots are a convenient distraction from the ongoing investigation into Syria’s role in the assassination of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri. Indeed, since the riots international pressure on Syria has abated.

Tehran, where little takes place without the approval of its authoritarian government, has also had riots. Tehran blames the Jews for the cartoons and somehow links the crisis to its need for highly enriched uranium so that the oil-saturated country can supposedly generate electricity through nuclear energy. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad describes the cartoons as “a blessing from God.”

Hamas has inherited a treasury that appears to have been shipped to the Cayman Islands and an economic dependency on Israel, a country it seeks to destroy. Riots in the Palestinian Authority and the continued fulminating against the West are good diversions for a political entity that is not viable. Of course, an economy that is dependent on Western convoys each morning might find that rioting, kidnapping aid workers and shooting Kalashnikovs might be a temporary respite from its economic misfortune but ultimately not the most suitable approach to solving its economic problems.

The cartoons themselves had been hand carried to the Middle East by a group of Danish Muslims, who unsure of the degree of the offense, put a few of their own in the mix just to make sure that they generated the proper outrage—no blasphemy there. Yet, these Danish Muslim peddlers of deceit went from country to country incapable of soliciting any interest in this great outrage.

Their fortunes changed when they arrived in Qatar, where Islamic televangelist and suicide-bomb promoter Yussef al Qaradawi saw the opportunity others had missed and summarily issued a fatwa. He then used his Al Jazeera television show to falsely assert that images of the prophet were not allowed in Islam and that the Danish paper had violated Islam, ”The Only True Faith.”

In the Middle East where collective guilt persists and one routinely speaks of groups as if they existed without individuals, al-Qardawi was able to take the exaggerated actions of one newspaper and successfully indict an entire civilization. Sheik Qaradawi describes himself as an Islamic moderate. Who says there is no clash of civilizations here?

America and the West have routinely been quick to distinguish the perpetrators of terrorism from the Muslims next door. Even the bin Ladin family was flown unharmed and with preferential treatment out of the country immediately after 09/11.

Not so the Islamic riot crew in that has denounced all of Denmark and the West. Had we imposed similar, puerile notions of collective guilt after 09/11, Nevada would be swarming with an Islamic population behind barbed wire and fifty caliber machine guns. But that is something we as a society would find incompatible with our basic understanding of justice and freedom. The same democratic ethos that abhors collective guilt also permits offensive speech. After all, speech that does not offend someone does not need constitutional protection.

The outrage of Islamic rioters saddling he West with collective guilt for an offense that is barely what it appears to be is compounded by our own media, which has taken al-Qaradawi’s interpretation of Islam at face value and conveniently hid their cowardice behind it so as to avoid publishing the cartoons.

The other day I listened to a journalist from the San Jose Mercury News on public radio KQED rationalize his paper's decision to describe the cartoons instead of printing them out of concern for religious sensitivities. This from a newspaper that just years ago ran a prominent and totally fictional series on how the CIA created the urban crack epidemic. The story almost ignited the urban ghettos, resulted in a series of congressional investigations, and despite having been shown to be a hoax is still widely believed in the African-American community.

A media that vaunts child pornography as art and thinks that a nude painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe is not offensive to the religious values of millions of Hispanics now embraces sensitivity as a virtue. The New York Times has long steamrolled even national security in the name of freedom of the press and now refuses to publish the cartoons of Mohammed. How can one take its newfound religious sensitivities seriously? Especially when the offense emitted by the Danish cartoons pales in comparison to the violence in the Islamic world and the cowardice of the American media.


Hate-filled Muslim returns


Sun Online

March 10, 2006

A FANATICAL Muslim who ranted against Britain has moved back here from Pakistan — to live on benefits.

Hate-filled Zeeshan Siddiqui, 26, who once called London an “organ of the devil”, is enjoying life in a suburb of the capital.

The Sun tracked down Siddiqui to a quiet, tree-lined road in Heston, West London, following his release from custody by Pakistani police who were probing suspected terror links.

In the past he has said he wants to be an Islamic martyr, called for all non-Muslims to be killed and declared his contempt for the UK. Yet he is happy to sponge off our taxpayers to the tune of £52.60 a week in Jobseekers Allowance.

Siddiqui slipped back into Britain in January after eight months in prison in Peshawar.

He was suspected of having links to the 7/7 London bombers and at school was friends with Britain’s first suicide bomber Asif Hanif, who died in Israel in 2003. 

Pakistani cops caught him with phone numbers of al-Qaeda terrorists, an electrical circuit which could have been used to detonate a bomb and a venomous diary spelling out his desire for a jihad, or holy war.

Cops believed he was waiting to be dispatched as a suicide bomber but the case against him collapsed when several witnesses failed to come forward.

The Sun has learned that before heading off to Pakistan to study, Siddiqui once worked for Transport for London - which could have given him vital information on road and rail networks.

Last week he surfaced on BBC Radio 4 to whinge about his treatment at the hands of the Pakistani authorities and claim he was tortured.

When The Sun tried repeatedly to speak to Siddiqui, he came to the door but would not comment on his case.

A neighbour who was at school with him said: “He reappeared a few weeks ago. At school he was always talking about Islam and politics.”


Don't blame Islam for terror: B.C. Muslims

'We are trying to reach out to all communities to build bridges of peace, not to destroy them.' 

William Boei, Vancouver Sun; with file from Glenn Bohn

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

B.C. Muslims pleaded with other Canadians Monday not to prejudge the men accused of plotting terror attacks in Toronto, and not to blame their religion for the crimes people commit.

"All religions in the world preach about peace and harmony," said Usama Al-Atar, a religious lecturer at the Az-Zahra Islamic Centre in Richmond.

"Sometimes religion unfortunately is used for ignorance, to promote some political agendas," Al-Atar said. "Even some people who may be involved with hate crimes against Muslims, they may come from Christian origins. But their religion also does not tolerate such acts."

Non-Muslims who blame Islam for crimes of terror and Muslims who embrace violence all need to be educated about the peaceful nature of Islam, he added.

"We are trying to reach out to all communities to build bridges of peace, not to destroy them."

Al-Atar said other B.C. Muslims he has talked to feel they do not know enough about the Toronto case to draw conclusions.

"The news is really not clear," he said. "Not much detail is being released. We are not really sure what is going on.

"If it does turn out to be something that was stopped and prevented, that's great, fantastic. We're all happy about that."

For the second day in a row, many Muslim officials did not return calls. Reporters who visited mosques found many doors closed and few imams present.

At least one local Muslim cleric -- Younus Kathrada -- has preached that jihad, or holy war, is justifiable against people who do not accept Islam. He could not be reached Monday and the Dar al-Madinah Islamic Society's bookshop on Victoria Drive, where he is reported to preach, was locked.

The doors were also locked at the Islamic Information Centre on Kingsway.

One of the few prominent Muslims answering the phone Monday was Aziz Khaki, a director of the Muslim Canadian Federation and a long-time campaigner for religious tolerance.

Khaki said the Toronto case has not had much impact on the local Muslim community other than a flurry of media calls.

"Many times, [Muslims] feel that people come to them for some excitement and sensationalization," he said. "So they want to get away from that."

He noted that the Toronto police did not make a point of identifying their suspects as Muslims. "Then the media ask about the Islam view of terrorism. They want to prejudge us.

"What I'm saying is, each community has its own strength and its weaknesses. These people, if they are Muslims, they should not be prejudged. They should be given the full guarantee of going through the proper process of law and their constitutional rights."

Khaki said he has faith in the Canadian justice system, and "we will stand together with everybody to see that justice is done."

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association also urged Canadians not to prejudge the case.

"There's obviously a lot to this story that we don't know," said association executive director Murray Mollard.

Mollard said the Muslim community now finds itself facing another bout of the suspicion with which it was viewed after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But the Canadian tradition is "to make sure that we do not paint the Muslim community as a whole" with the same brush as those who commit such crimes, he said.

He noted that the powers given to police and security agencies under the Anti-Terrorism Act are currently being reviewed by Parliament.

"We want to make sure that parliamentarians don't just throw up their hands and say, 'Well, look at these 17 suspects arrested, enough said.'"

"We need facts. What we have here is a bunch of allegations that have yet to be tested in court."

Imam Zijad Delic, of the Jami'a Mosque in Richmond, said Sunday he was immediately concerned that a "deviant act" could demean all the good work by Muslims in Canada.

Note: What good work have Muslims done in Canada?


Islam, Sex & Muslim Closet Rebels
May 21, 2006
Iqbal Latif Paris, Persian Journal!! Visitng 'Sex sites,' hardcore puritan nations come out unclothed!!

Ideological legislation restricts the freedom to access sites considered as bad for belief in countries like Iran, Saudi and Pakistan. This legislation of 'human attitudes' more often than not leads to exactly the opposite effect. Even Adam, everyone's biological father, slipped when he was enticed to eat the forbidden fruit by our common mother, Eve. It is coded in 'human genetics' that this intelligent being is designed to do more of what is prohibited. Google report produced ample evidence of that closet mentality. Google found that of the top 10 countries - searching for sex-related sites - six were Muslim, with Pakistan on the top. The other Muslim countries are Egypt at number 2, Iran at 4, Morocco at 5, Saudi Arabia at 7 and Turkey at 8. Non-Muslim states are Vietnam at 3, India at 6, Philippines at 9 and Poland at 10. Google lifts the veil now and most of the hardcore puritan nations come out unclothed!! Sexual frustrations lead to choked sex sites on Google within most of the Islamic crescent! Even though homosexuality is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom ranks No. 2 for searches for "gay sex," behind the Philippines.

A suppressed and sexually disoriented mind cannot produce too many research papers and new ideas. The top ten countries, where access to sex sites is the highest, with the exception of newly freed Poland, are amongst the bottom of the countries from where new scientific research emanates. Rather, in sciences, the top nine share only three Nobel prizes. Convoluted suppressed minds make no new inroads. How strange that it is the infidel, corrupt west where most of the advancements are being made, we, the puritans, sit on the bottom but in closets are the most corrupt. This dichotomy may result in raging anger within the 'nation of Islam' but it needs to be highlighted. A safe deduction can be made that sexual suppressions are inversely related to higher performance in sciences.

Too much suppression and guilt arising from the need of 'sexual emancipation' is not turning out to be so good for many of the Islamic countries. Rising libidos may be associated with rising tempers and violent attitudes. Toleration and leniency comes with emancipation and free mind. One of the main avenues of development, if not the only, is the freedom to meet and interact with the opposite gender; to restrict these meetings under the auspices of 'state' so as to control ?corruption? of mind is the worst offence against free man. Giving him his freedom to act the way he wants, as far as he hurts no other soul is his basic unalienable right. Much as we may disagree with the social ills of the bents of sexual impressions in this day and age, we all definitely need to defend the right of freedom; when one's freedom is suppressed, other avenues of suppression creep in conveniently.

However, the Google report clearly signifies the closet rebels we all are. Pakistan, Iran and Egypt top the lists of nations where most attempts are made to visit porn sites. Much as we consider this to be ungentlemanly conduct, let us agree that this rebellion of sorts, perhaps discovered inadvertently, points to the colourful nature of our shackled populations. What a great colourful revolution goes on inside the minds of Saudis, Iranian and Pakistanis when they visualise what is not available to them in a normal manner. The trends are very clearly established. It is nice to see a rebellious set of chained millions refusing to accept the legislation of morality by state. This is the indication of freedom and shape of things to come in this society. It also indicates that the concept of eradicating corruption on the face of this earth is so wrongly implanted.

Google lifted the veil this week on one of its best-kept secrets: which nations search for what. Who looks up democracy most avidly? Who types in "drugs" or "sex" most frequently? And consider the list of cities that most frequently look up "amour," the French word for love. Paris, allegedly a romantic haven, is absent from the top 10. The top three berths went to Rabat, Morocco; Algiers and Tunis.

Much as they burn their own country and demonstrated most vehemently, Pakistanis look up "despicable Danish cartoons" more avidly than anyone, according to Google. They also lead the rankings for "sex" - with their neighbor and nuclear rival India seldom far behind.

"Guns" is a word easy to associate with the United States. But the rising incidents of violent kidnappings and murders in Latin America has perhaps driven searchers to the Web for answers. Buenos Aires leads the cities index for "guns" searches, and Argentina as a whole outranks the United States, with Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru also in the top 10.

In closed culture, the lack of woman definitely leads to 'soaring libidos and higher sexual desires.' Wherever guardians and keepers of moral values reign supreme, sexual irritations multiply. Google, the world's most popular Internet search engine, has found in a survey that mostly Muslim states seek access to sex-related websites and Pakistan tops the list.

According to IHT report, the Google system can also be queried one country at a time, to determine, for example, how frequently people in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia are looking up "democracy." The Bush administration is unlikely to be pleased by Google's reply for each of those countries: "Your terms - democracy - do not have enough search volume to show graphs."

The essence of the story perhaps is: 'Just do it,' don't feel shy and inhibited. The basic problem for our backwardness and featureless society is not only our nerve-racking tryst with sexual characteristics, but our two-facedness in not accepting our weaknesses openly. That is the bane of our race; it is for this that the closer we are, the more 'clandestinely evil' we get. Bringing it out in the open is the challenge these puritan societies like mine face. The real immorality and vice is about doing things in security and hiding one's own surroundings; being an evil in a closet but an innocent lamb outside. The Google report just amply demonstrates that.

If one loves beauty and has his 'own demons of perversion' then let him accept that side of his nature and be open about it; that is how his demons will escape him. Knowing your Achilles' heel will help make you convert your limitations to strength; in this world, is it not all about changing the character of your mischievous sprite to beatific? On the other hand, 'society' at large should give in to popular will and be more open and more permissive. A lenient and tolerant society will search 'Google sex substance' with pride and not with guilt; this 'comical' Google testimony evidently points out nations that legislate on morality create far more confused minds. Let the spirits fly, let the party begin.!!

Appreciating beauty is very human, just love it... Providence loves those who love fellow beings; maybe this is the first new revised commandment of this modern era.


What Jewish Ties to Jerusalem?

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
June 20, 2006

Historically, the religious standing of Jerusalem for Muslims waxed and waned with political circumstances. In a consistent and predictable cycle repeated six times through 14 centuries, Muslims focused on the city when it served their needs and ignored it when it did not.

This contrast was especially obvious during the past century. British rule over the city, in 1917-48, galvanized a passion for Jerusalem that had been absent during the 400 years of Ottoman control. Throughout the Jordanian control of the walled city, in 1948-67, however, Arabs largely ignored it. For example, Jordanian radio broadcast Friday prayers not from Al-Aqsa mosque but from a minor mosque in Amman. The Palestine Liberation Organization's founding document , the Palestinian National Covenant, which dates from 1964, contains no mention of Jerusalem.

Muslim interest in the city revived only with the Israeli conquest of Jerusalem in 1967. Jerusalem then became the focal point of Arab politics, serving to unify fractious elements. In 1968, the PLO amended its covenant to call Jerusalem "the seat of the Palestine Liberation Organization." The king of Saudi Arabia himself declared the city religiously "just like" Mecca – a novel, if not a blasphemous idea.

By 1990, the Islamic focus on Jerusalem reached such a surreal intensity that Palestinian Arabs evolved from celebrating Jerusalem to denying the city's sacred and historical importance to Jews. The Palestinian Arab establishment – scholars, clerics, and politicians – promoted this unlikely claim by constructing a revisionist edifice made up in equal parts of fabrication, falsehood, fiction, and fraud. It erases all Jewish connections to the land of Israel, replacing them with a specious Palestinian-Arab connection.

Palestinian Arabs now claim that Canaanites built Solomon's Temple, that the ancient Hebrews were Bedouin tribesmen, the Bible came from Arabia, the Jewish Temple "was in Nablus or perhaps Bethlehem," the Jewish presence in Palestine ended in 70 C.E., and today's Jews are descendants of the Khazar Turks. Yasser Arafat himself created a non-existent Canaanite king, Salem, out of thin air, speaking movingly about this fantasy Palestinian Arab "forefather."

Palestinian Media Watch sums up this process: By turning Canaanites and Israelites into Arabs and the Judaism of ancient Israel into Islam, the Palestinian Authority "takes authentic Jewish history, documented by thousands of years of continuous literature, and crosses out the word ‘Jewish' and replaces it with the word ‘Arab'."

The political implication is clear: Jews lack any rights to Jerusalem. As a street banner puts it: "Jerusalem is Arab." Jews are unwelcome.

Three key events, Yitzhak Reiter of the Hebrew University argues, transformed this self-indulgent mythology into official ideology:

The Temple Mount Faithful incident of October 1990 saw a Jewish group's unsuccessful effort to lay the cornerstone for the Third Temple leading to a Muslim riot in which 17 rioters lost their lives. This episode increased Palestinian Arab apprehensions about the demolishing of Islamic sanctities, prompting a drive to prove that Jerusalem has always been a Muslim and Palestinian Arab city.

The Oslo accord of September 1993 placed Jerusalem, for the first time, on the table for negotiation. Palestinian Arabs responded by attempting to discredit Jewish connections to the city.

The Camp David summit of July 2000 saw the Israeli government, again for the first time, put forward its demands for sovereignty over parts of the Temple Mount.. As Dennis Ross, an American diplomat present at the summit, astringently put it, Arafat "never offered any substantive ideas, not once" at the talks. However, "He did offer one new idea, which was that the Temple didn't exist in Jerusalem, that it was in Nablus." With this, Jerusalem's pseudo-history became formal Palestinian Authority policy.

Palestinian Arab denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem has two likely long-term implications. First, it suggests that the Palestinian Arab focus on Jerusalem has reached such a fervor that it might now sustain itself regardless of politics, thereby breaking a 14-century pattern. Jerusalem appears to have developed into an abiding Muslim interest, one generating feelings of entitlement no longer related to utilitarian considerations.

Second, this denial severely diminishes the prospect of a diplomatic resolution. The Palestinian Arabs' self-evidently false history alienates their Israeli interlocutors even as it lays claim to sole rights over the entire city. As a result, future negotiations over Jerusalem are bound to be yet more emotional, askew, and difficult than past ones.

Leader turned informant rattles Muslims

Toronto Muslims debate duty to help track suspected terrorists after a religious leader helped officials arrest 17.
from the July 31, 2006 edition
By Rebecca Cook Dube

– The surprise announcement by a prominent Muslim leader here that he was an informant who helped authorities arrest 17 Muslims on terrorism charges has raised questions in the Muslim community over the ethics of informing versus a responsibility to stop violence.

Since outing himself as an informant who infiltrated and trained with the suspects, Mubin Shaikh has come under harsh criticism by some Toronto Muslims and sparked a debate about how far citizens should go in aiding police investigations, even as he has been hailed as a hero in the mainstream media.

The men, ranging in age from 15 to 43, were arrested last month after buying three tons of ammonium nitrate, a common bomb-making ingredient, and are alleged by police to have planned to blow up Toronto buildings and storm Canada's parliament. Then, earlier this month, Mr. Shaikh revealed himself to several media outlets as a mole who infiltrated the group at the request of the police.

"I wanted to prevent the loss of life," Shaikh told the Toronto Star newspaper. "I don't want Canadians to think that these [suspects] are what Muslims are. I don't believe in violence here. I wanted to help, and I'm as homegrown as it gets."

Before this, Shaikh was a well-known conservative leader in the Muslim community. He runs a shariah arbitration center and is a fierce advocate for Islamic law, in Canada.

"Whatever the source of his motivation, he did his duty as a Canadian citizen," The National Post newspaper wrote in an editorial. "And he has taught a lesson that others in the Muslim community would do well to heed."

But that view is not shared by many in Toronto's Muslim community. Some wonder whether Shaikh couldn't have dissuaded the terrorism suspects, most of whom are younger than he, from violence. Some accuse him of entrapping the suspects. Some question his motivation - Shaikh claims he was paid C$77,000 (US$68,000) for his work and is owed another C$300,000. Others simply scorn him as a betrayer.

"He was not just an informer in terms of ratting out certain people, he was actually fishing," says Aly Hindy, imam of the Salaheddin Islamic Centre, a mosque several of the suspects attended in Scarborough, an eastern suburb of Toronto. Mr. Hindy said Shaikh's deep knowledge of Islam - he studied for two years in Syria - helped him gain sway over the youngsters.

For his part, Shaikh told the CBC that the suspects had already chosen their path and needed no encouragement from him. After taking the unusual step of identifying himself as an informant, Shaikh has retreated from the public eye and could not be reached for comment.

The question of entrapment often arises in investigations involving undercover informants, experts say. Some of the 17 defendants' attorneys are claiming Shaikh instigated the terrorist plot rather than merely observed. In the US, informants in Muslim communities have been used often since the 9/11 attacks including in a Federal Bureau of Investigation case involving seven men accused of being Taliban sympathizers in Portland in 2002.

"If the police lose control of their informant, they lose control of the investigation," says Alan Young, a law professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. "In organized crime, very often you need informants to penetrate the inner circle ... sometimes they're necessary and sometimes they're a disaster."

Some Toronto Muslims say they support the idea of reporting suspicious behavior to the authorities, but they draw the line at Shaikh's extensive undercover work.

"All citizens have an obligation to report a terrorist plot to the police should they find out about it. In fact, they have a duty to do so," Safiyyah Ally, a Toronto graduate student, wrote on her blog ( But posing as a member of a group is different, she wrote.

"It becomes particularly problematic when a prominent member of a community spies on other individuals within the community," Ms. Ally wrote. "It wasn't right for someone of his stature to infiltrate himself within a group of youths with the intention of spying on them and secretly reporting their activities and ideas to the police."

Ally's posting touched off a storm of comments on her blog, ranging from predictions that Shaikh would burn in hell to calmer voices cautioning against a rush to judgment. Ally raised concerns about what the use of such informants might do to Toronto's Muslim community of 300,000.

"Our community is fragile enough as is, and our leaders are our moral anchor.... We cannot have communities wherein individuals are paranoid of each other and turned against one another," she wrote.

Hindy said he believes that would-be moles at his mosque already report to police when he makes controversial statements. "It looks like people are starting to be afraid of each other," says Hindy.

That distrust is a common side effect in a community where law enforcement frequently uses informants, says Alexandra Natapoff, an associate professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and an expert on the use of informants in the US drug war.

"There's a very corrosive effect in urban communities when the government makes snitching a central law enforcement tool," says Professor Natapoff. Informants can be a useful tool for criminal investigations, Natapoff says, but it's easy to slide into ethically dangerous territory.

"One of the things we should be worried about is that it will become more like the war on drugs, and law enforcement will become more dependent on informers, and informers will drive investigations rather than investigators picking their targets," says Natapoff.


CAIR's Twisted Stand on Academic Freedom

by Daniel Pipes
September 1, 2006

Hark the ringing prose about academic freedom by Rima Kapitan, the volunteer attorney in CAIR's Chicago office.

Another casualty in the war against civil liberties in this country since September 2001 is the right to academic freedom. Professors and students who diverge too much from the current political and economic orthodoxy are being silenced around the country. Among the most vulnerable have been adjunct professors, foreign professors and students, and professors and students who support Palestinian national rights or who oppose U.S. foreign policy decisions. …

CAIR-Chicago is joining other organizations and individuals in an effort to defend academic freedom. … CAIR-Chicago has also initiated the creation of an academic freedom coalition called the Free Campus Coalition, which will defend the academic freedom rights of students and professors as violations occur. The coalition will comprise of civil liberties organizations, professors and students.

Freedom on universities is especially important because of the formative role that universities play in the lives of students, and because of the essential role they play in their communities. Students should be exposed to a wide range of ideas, and learn to argue against ideas with which they do not agree.

The immediate beneficiary of this high-blown rhetoric, dated August 14, 2006, is one Douglas Giles of Roosevelt University, who lost his job supposedly for just mentioning Zionism in his "World Religions" class and for allowing students to speak about Zionism. According to Giles, a student in his course asked a question about Zionism, which he answered. Then, presto, he was fired by his department chair, Susan Weininger. The disagreement is scheduled for arbitration in September. Whatever the facts in this incident, CAIR's Chicago office stands fully behind Giles.

But in Chicago's other high-profile academic-freedom case concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict, CAIR is exactly on the other side, seeking to have the instructor fired.

That would be the case of Thomas Klocek, a part-time adjunct professor since 1991 at DePaul University, the largest Catholic school in the United States. At a campus fair, Klocek expressed pro-Israel views, got into an altercation with two anti-Israel groups ( Students for Justice in Palestine and United Muslims Moving Ahead), and, after they registered complaints against him, was suspended by the university. CAIR not only endorsed his suspension but, as articulated by Christina Abraham, CAIR-Chicago's civil rights coordinator (and a DePaul University law student), wanted him more severely punished.

Abraham gave a video interview in June 2006 concerning Klocek's suspension, as revealed by John Ruberry, in the course of which she, speaking on behalf of CAIR explained the organization's position on Klocek. About 1/8th of the way into the video, she says: "We were very concerned with the situation and we did request that he [Klocek] be terminated." She confirmed this, later saying (about 1/6th of the way in) that CAIR-Chicago suggested to DePaul that "if the investigation were to have shown that he did make these statements that and he did act this way towards the students, yes, we did suggest that they should terminate him."

Comments: (1) CAIR's position on Klocek hardly fits the description of a group taking part in the Free Campus Coalition to defend "the academic freedom rights of students and professors as violations occur."

(2) As Ruberry points out, CAIR fancies itself a civil rights organization, but is it the normal work of a civil rights organization to recommend that a private institution fire an employee, thereby depriving him of his livelihood (not to speak of the health insurance required for his serious kidney condition)? Some might conclude that CAIR is no civil rights organization; that would certainly fit with my own perception since 1999.

(3) The inconsistency documented here is par for the CAIR course; it routinely takes ostensibly principled positions that in fact adjust to its politics. (CAIR, for example, has jointly sponsored programs with United Muslims Moving Ahead.) For other examples of this pattern, see

(4) More broadly, such behavior points to the unreliable quality of CAIR's work, a theme that the reader can more fully explore at " Bibliography - My Writings on Not Trusting CAIR."


The Islamic Republic of Iran's Vile Cartoons

Friday 3rd Nov 2006

Contributed by : Carol Gould 

I cannot separate Islam from the actions of Iran. Notwithstanding the pronouncements of Western-based Imams and Islamic scholars that Islam is the faith of peace and understanding, the idea that a Muslim nation can sponsor a competition for the best lampoon of the Nazi Holocaust is beyond the stretches of human decency.

The malevolent President of Iran, who espouses the idea that the Holocaust is a myth and that even if it did happen Israeli Jews should be resettled elsewhere, and who calls for the annihilation of the Jewish State, has now given prizes to international cartoonists who offered the best parody of the Nazi genocide of six million Jews. For those who need a brush-up on recent history, Adolf Hitler convened the Wannsee Conference to arrange the 'Final Solution' (mass extermination) when far too few countries absorbed Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe.

What is so grotesque about the Iranian cartoon exercise is that it has happened at all. The rationale is alleged to be Iran’s desire to hit back at the cartoons of Muhammad in a Danish publication, the outrage from which caused worldwide riots. Perhaps the Islamic Republic of Iran was hoping world Jewry would take to the streets and riot, carrying posters like those seen in London in February calling for the beheading of those who attack Islam.

This has not happened because Jews aren’t like that. Jews do not take to the streets and burn flags and effigies alongside terrifying banners and posters. ‘Oh, but Jews have a terrorist state and don’t have to demonstrate,’ protest the readers of ‘The Independent,’ whose columns of late are in perpetual clamour about the crimes of Israel and the USA. 'they have a vile little nation' says Yvonne Ridley of the UK respect Party. The fact is that Diaspora Jews, no matter how bitterly they are attacked, maintain their dignity.

The tragedy of all of this is that somewhere in the universe well-meaning people are still trying to bring Jews and Muslims together in peace. The two faiths share a common belief in the family, in daily prayer and devotion to a moral code, carry out circumcision of boys and ritual slaughter and observe strict dietary laws.

In the United Kingdom men of the eminence of Sir Sigmund Sternberg and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks attempt to sustain a dialogue started by the late Sheikh Zaki Badawi, but the Muslim Council of Britain mortally insults Holocaust survivors with its shameful contempt for Holocaust Memorial Day. How sad that Sternberg was compelled to withdraw an award to Sir Iqbal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council after he twice boycotted Holocaust Memorial Day. It must be pointed out that Sir Sigmund gave the money to a Gaza charity. MPACUK, the Muslim Public Affairs Council embarks on endless diatribes about ‘Zionists’ as if a worldwide plague is about to engulf us all. (Would the followers of MPAC like to stop their children from having polio immunisations because a ‘Zionist’ developed the vaccine?)

A true irony developed this week when British Channel Four television presented a documentary about the conflict within the Muslim community over the exclusion of women from mosques. (Of course, I could tell Channel Four about the occasion in 1998 when I was prohibited, for my own safety, from filming at the Regent’s Park Central Mosque because the 'Friday extremists' had found out I was American, not to mention a female.)

The documentary showed a very angry Asghar Bukhari, head of MPAC, fighting the battle to allow women into mosque life. Some of the confrontations were ugly and physical. It was jarring to see observant men emerging from prayers to tell the film unit and Bukhari to ‘f off.’

Like Ahmadinejad in Iran, Bukhari has so alienated and angered the wider non-Muslim and Jewish community of Britain, who might have some useful pointers on female religious involvement, that it is doubtful he will get any help from those quarters. As I watched the programme I thought of the contribution Jewish women could make to the cause of their Muslim sisters portrayed in the film, but who would want to help MPAC, who daily insult Anglo and world Jewry with their ignorant, often ill-founded and vicious verbal assaults on the things Jews hold dear, most particularly the safety of the state of Israel?

Jewish women have taken an active role in synagogue and community life for decades; Lily Montagu was one of the founders of the Liberal movement in the early 1900s and Regina Jonas was ordained a rabbi by Dr Leo Baeck in Terezin concentration camp. Today, women rabbis are commonplace and there are female synagogue presidents, council members and teachers. Would that the young men and women of MPAC took the time to read Jewish history and consult with the Jewish community on women’s aspirations instead of sending out miles of invective about imaginary Zionist plots.

As Iran hands out its cash awards for the cartoons lampooning the Nazi genocide of Jews in the Holocaust, synagogues across the world distribute the monies collected this past New Year and Yom Kippur to help Muslims in need. Many Progressive synagogues including West Central Liberal Synagogue of London have donated funds to Palestinian psychologists dealing with the aftermath of the Lebanon war, to Druse villagers and to Israeli Arab children traumatised by the same conflict.

The hideous behaviour of so much of the Muslim world at present is only serving to place wider gaps amongst the faiths. The anger of Muslim youth in Britain is worrying, and the problems they are encountering in their lives will never be solved if they alienate other faith communities with their thoughtless internet rantings.

Iran has committed a grievous sin with its cartoon competition; Jews do not riot, but like the USA after Pearl Harbour, they can be a sleeping giant. There are 14 million Jews in the world, virtually all of whom think about the Shoah every day of their lives, along with Christians who suffered in the Nazi era. The behaviour of Iran, and of the wider extremist end of Islam, will not soon be forgotten and one fears a conflagration will soon be upon us if their malevolence continues.