Volume X1, No. 3,984 • February 14, 2017 • February 14, 2017
Why it’s Naive to Argue that Trump’s Travel Ban is ‘Helping’ to Create Islamic Terrorists: Eli Lake, Bloomberg, Feb. 10, 2017— Since President Donald Trump last month issued an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim majority nations, we’ve heard a lot about how it will aid jihadists.
Islamic Terror and the U.S. Temporary Stay on Immigration: Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 13, 2017— In San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 14 people were murdered and 22 others seriously wounded in a terrorist attack.
Turkey's 'Lifestyle Massacre': Burak Bekdil, Middle East Forum, Jan. 8, 2017— Last year was no doubt an annus horribilis for Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 1,178 people were killed between July 2015 and December 2016 in Turkey's fight with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Can Islam be Reformed? Who Will, or Even Can Be, a Muslim Martin Luther?: Robert Fulford, National Post, Feb. 10, 2017— “I was a Muslim refugee once,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali declared this week in her response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
The Third Jihad - Radical Islam's Vision for America (Video): Clarion Project, Nov. 21, 2012
Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Spring 2017
The Final Obama Scandal: Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, Feb. 6, 2017
We Can’t let Radical Islam Take Over the World: Lior Akerman, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 9, 2017
Bloomberg, Feb. 10, 2017
Since President Donald Trump last month issued an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim majority nations, we’ve heard a lot about how it will aid jihadists. Leading Democrats, counterterrorism experts and even Iran’s foreign minister have all asserted that Trump’s travel ban will end up being used by the Islamic State to recruit new terrorists. Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, made this point forcefully on Jan. 30, when he told MSNBC that Trump’s executive order “ultimately is going to get Americans killed.”
The argument goes like this: Jihadists believe there is a Manichaean struggle between Islam and the West. An alleged “Muslim ban” plays directly into this worldview, telling Muslims that they are not safe in the un-Islamic world. No wonder they are calling the executive order a “blessed ban” on Islamic State web forums.
This is a familiar line to anyone who has followed the national security debate since 9/11. Democrats in particular have argued that the Iraq War, the Guantanamo Bay prison and anti-Muslim web videos help to radicalize otherwise peaceful Muslims to murder us at random. Hence Trump’s travel ban is now a “recruitment tool.” If only jihadi recruitment were so easily disrupted. Sadly it’s much more complicated.
To start, the process by which an individual gets sucked into the death cults of al Qaeda or the Islamic State cannot be reduced to a single cause. Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, the research director for the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, put it like this: “The argument that the Trump policy will radicalize people is predicated on the flawed premise that people radicalize as a response to government policy. The reality is it’s a highly complex process that involves religious and personal factors. A government policy may play a role, but it’s one of many factors.” Meleagrou-Hitchens’s program released an invaluable report last year that studied motivations of Americans who had declared allegiance to the Islamic State. It found that the motivations ranged from sympathy for the plight of Syrians suffering under their dictator’s war to a sense of religious obligation to join a new utopian Islamic caliphate.
Another problem with this argument is that it fails to account for the significant rise in radical Islamic terror under President Barack Obama. He went out of his way to counter the jihadist worldview. He began his presidency by delivering a speech to the Islamic world from Cairo, in which he stressed his own administration’s respect for Islam. He promised, and ultimately failed to, close Guantanamo; he withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011, and he scrubbed terms like “radical Islam” and “war on terror” from the government’s lexicon.
And yet despite his efforts, the FBI arrested more Americans for joining Islamic terrorist groups during his presidency than during that of George W. Bush. And while Obama decimated al Qaeda’s central leadership following the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda’s franchises in Yemen, Somalia and Libya grew stronger. Meanwhile, the Islamic State broke away from al Qaeda during Obama’s presidency and managed to gain territory in Syria and Iraq. Only now has the military campaign to liberate Mosul shown some success.
It’s true that Obama also did many things jihadists did not like during his presidency. For example, he used drone strikes against more of them than his predecessor did. And when the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the legal right to gay marriage, Twitter accounts affiliated with the Islamic State posted video of gay men being thrown to their deaths off of high buildings in Raqqa, with the hashtag #lovewins. The Islamic State didn’t like the Iran nuclear deal, either. After all, Shiites like the Iran regime are seen as apostates, and in the battle for Syria, the Iranians are on the side of the oppressors. This gets to the most important point. The fanatics who seek to recreate an eighth-century caliphate have an endless supply of grievances about our open society. If we succumb to the fallacy that we can counter their propaganda by not doing things they could exploit for propaganda purposes, we are giving them too much power.
A far better argument against Trump’s executive order is that it undermines our own recruitment efforts to counter the jihadists. At first the travel ban applied to translators who helped the U.S. military in Iraq, not to mention leading advocates for the Islamic State’s victims like the Yazidi-Iraqi legislator Vian Dakhil. Fortunately the Trump administration has reversed these elements of the travel ban in the last week. But the perception that America would close its doors to the people who helped us makes it harder to recruit allies against the Islamic State going forward. Critics of Trump’s travel ban are not inclined to make that argument. After all, Democrats were silent when Obama abandoned the Iraqi sheiks who helped to temporarily drive al Qaeda out of the Anbar province between 2007 and 2009. At the time, they were too busy insisting the Iraq War helped create more terrorists.
Gatestone Institute, Feb. 13, 2017
In San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 14 people were murdered and 22 others seriously wounded in a terrorist attack. The perpetrators were Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple. Farook was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, who worked as a health department employee. Malik was a Pakistani-born lawful permanent resident of the United States. Among the victims of the terror attack was Bennetta Bet-Badal, an Assyrian Christian woman born in Iran in 1969. She fled to the U.S. at age 18 to escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian revolution.
"This attack," stated the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement (NEC-SE), "showcases how Assyrians fled tyranny, oppression, and persecution for freedom and liberty, only to live in a country that is also beginning to be subject to an ever-increasing threat by the same forms of oppressors…NEC-SE would like to take this opportunity to once again urge action to directly arming the Assyrians and Yezidis and other minorities in their indigenous homeland, so that they can defend themselves against terrorism and oppression. This tragedy is evidence that the only way to effectively counter terrorism is not solely here in the US, but abroad and at its root."
Members of the Islamic State (ISIS) have declared several times that they target "kafirs" (infidels) in the West. In 2014, Syrian-born Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesperson and a senior leader of the Islamic State, declared that supporters of the Islamic State from all over the world should attack citizens of Western states, including the US, France and UK: "If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way, however it may be. "Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him."
It is this barbarity that the new U.S. administration is trying to stop. FBI Director James Comey also warned in July of last year that hundreds of terrorists will fan out to infiltrate western Europe and the U.S. to carry out attacks on a wider scale, as Islamic State is defeated in Syria. "At some point there's going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we've never seen before. We saw the future of this threat in Brussels and Paris," said Comey, adding that future attacks will be on "an order of magnitude greater."
How many ISIS operatives are there in the U.S.? Are ISIS sleeper cells likely in American cities? The people who are trying to create hysteria over the new steps taken by the Trump Administration should focus on investigating these issues more broadly, but they do not. To them, it must be easier to go after the U.S. president than after ISIS terrorists. This way, they can also pose as "heroes" while ignoring the real threat to all of humanity.
It is not only Islamic terrorists that pose a threat. It is also the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the font of all the modern extremist Muslim ideologies. The crimes committed by radical Muslims are beyond horrific, but it is getting harder to expose and criticize them. Many critics of Islam in Western countries -- including those of Muslim origin -- have received countless death deaths and have been exposed to various forms of intimidation.
Some were murdered, such as the Dutch film director, Theo van Gogh. His "crime" was to produce the short film Submission (2004) about the treatment of women under Islam. He was assassinated the same year by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Moroccan-Dutch Muslim. Some have had to go into hiding. American cartoonist Molly Norris, who promoted an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day", had to go into hiding in 2010 after her life was threatened by Islamic extremists. She also changed her name and stopped producing work for the Seattle Weekly, the New York Times reported. Who are these people hiding from? From the most radical and devoted followers of the "religion of peace".
Why should people living in free Western countries be forced to live in fear because they rightfully criticize a destructive and murderous ideology? They get numerous death threats from some people in the West because they courageously oppose grave human rights violations -- forced marriages, honor killings, child rape, murdering homosexuals and female genital mutilation (FGM), among others. Why do we even call criticism of such horrific practices "courageous"? It should have been the most normal and ordinary act to criticize beheadings, mutilations and other crimes committed by radical Muslims. But it is not. It does require tremendous courage to criticize these acts committed in the name of a religion. For everybody knows that the critics of Islam are risking their lives and security…
[To Read the full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Middle East Forum, Jan. 8, 2017
Last year was no doubt an annus horribilis for Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 1,178 people were killed between July 2015 and December 2016 in Turkey's fight with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Bomb attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed another 330 lives. Those numbers exclude 248 people who died during the bloody coup attempt of July 15, as well as 9,500 apparent PKK members who were killed by Turkish security forces. Turkey also claims that it killed 1,800 ISIS members since July 2015. These numbers put the total death toll in Turkey at 13,056, in a span of fewer than 17 months.
Just when most people thought that would be the final death toll for 2016, on December 10, a twin bombing in Istanbul outside a soccer stadium killed at least 38 people, and injured another 136. A week later, a suicide car-bomb in central Turkey killed 13 off-duty soldiers aboard a bus and wounded 56 more. After so much bloodshed, Turks thought they could now enjoy New Year's festivities in peace. They were wrong.
About an hour into the New Year, a mysterious man, later identified as a Kyrgyz ISIS terrorist, walked into Reina, a posh nightclub on the Bosporus, took out an assault rifle and started to shoot at the hundreds of guests celebrating the New Year. The assailant killed 39 people and injured 65, changed his clothes, and, pretending to be a customer, walked out of the club. As of January 8, the killer was still on the run.
ISIS terror attacks are no more than violent expressions of the dominant Islamist ideology ruling in Turkey. The attack at Reina was ISIS's 15th major act of violence in Turkey since 2014, but its first targeting a nightclub. There was, in fact, a "sociology" behind the jihadists' choice of target. ISIS clearly wanted to send various messages at many wavelengths. One was to tell "infidel" Turks that they should not celebrate the New Year; another was to tell conservative Muslim Turks that ISIS was on their side. Actually, ISIS's terror attack was no more than a violent expression of the dominant Islamist ideology ruling in Turkey.
About 10 days before ISIS's attack, Turkish authorities banned teachers and pupils at Istanbul Lisesi, an elite school in Istanbul that is partly funded by Germany, from singing carols or celebrating Christmas in any way. German teachers at the school received an email from the headmaster early in December, informing them of the new rules.
Around the same time, a soap opera broadcast on Samanyolu TV, a conservative Muslim station, featured Santa Claus as a "terrorist." Meanwhile, Turkey's top religious authority, the prime ministry's General Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), declared at Friday prayer sermons that New Year celebrations were religiously "illegitimate."
Elsewhere in Turkey, banners were unfurled, showing a bearded man punching Santa Claus; another banner showed a group pointing guns in the face of another Santa. On December 31, a headline in an Islamist newspaper read, "This is our last warning, DO NOT celebrate."
Taha Akyol, a prominent Turkish columnist, calls ISIS's latest attack "a lifestyle massacre." He wrote: "Innocent people who were having fun were massacred because of their lifestyle." He reminds that about 8% of Turks sympathize with ISIS. That makes nearly 6.5 million people. ISIS's attack on Reina was a salute to those millions of Turks who admit their sympathy for ISIS, and millions of others who hide their sympathy.
With its increasing vulnerability to jihadist terror and with a homegrown jihadist ideology that provides a safe haven for terror, Turkey is becoming like Iraq, where violence takes lives almost daily. ISIS's first act of terror targeting Christmas celebrations took place on December 25, 2013, when the radical group killed 38 Christians in Baghdad. Three years later, ISIS visited New Year's celebrations in Istanbul.
Where, you might ask, are the Turkish authorities? They are busy. The Turkish police, unable to prevent ISIS's attack, instead detained a woman in Istanbul who called for secularism in a speech protesting jihadist groups. Aysegul Basar, a leftist, was detained after her speech, given at an Istanbul teahouse, emerged on social media. "We say 'enough!' From now on we won't allow ISIL or any reactionary jihadist group into our neighborhoods," Basar had said. From a law enforcement point of view, Istanbul is safer for an ISIS gunman than for someone who pledges to fight jihadists.
National Post, Feb. 10, 2017
“I was a Muslim refugee once,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali declared this week in her response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban. “I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like to fear rejection, deportation and the dangers that await you back home.”
She remembers being in the Frankfurt airport in 1992, waiting for the plane that would take her to Canada for a marriage arranged against her will by her father. Something cracked, a spirit of individualism stirred within her, and suddenly she needed to escape. Somalia-born, she fled to the Netherlands, obtained asylum and learned Dutch. She studied John Locke, Voltaire and John Stuart Mill while doing a graduate degree at the University of Leiden. It was, she recently said, a journey “from the world of faith to the world of reason.” She decided that Islam is, among other things, too intolerant of free thought. Now she’s an ex-Muslim and an articulate author. She’s also very much an American and a believer in democracy.
Probably to the surprise of her admirers, she sees good intentions in Trump’s executive order about refugees. It was clumsy and confusing but it demonstrated, she says, that Trump has a realistic view of “the hateful ideology of radical Islam” and its continuing threat to democracy. She shows no sympathy for those, like Barack Obama, who could not utter a phrase like “Islamic violence” lest he encourage bigotry.
She cites a survey showing that large numbers of Muslims in many countries believe Sharia law is the word of God and should govern where they live. Many also think Muslims who leave Islam (as Hirsi Ali did) deserve execution, that suicide bombing in defence of Islam can be justified, and that honour killing of women is not always deplorable.
This way of thinking is spreading, and works against the reformation of Islam that she considers necessary. She believes the Trump administration should not only fight Islamist violence but should oppose Dawa, the proselytizing of Islam, “which is already well established right here in the United States.” This movement has “for too long been going on with impunity.” She wants to see it dismantled. The U.S. should start with a commission on Islam so that the public can know what it’s facing.
Having dedicated herself to reforming Islam, she believes the U.S. government should play a vigorous part in that process. How will that happen? By mass education? A propaganda campaign? How could Muslims accept enormous changes in their thinking?
Could they change something so large, reaching into many lives? The all-time champion in the revision of religious belief is Martin Luther, the friar who started a new phase in European history by disobeying Catholic authority on the question of selling indulgences. When he challenged church authority with a protest that he nailed on a church door in Wittenberg in 1517, half a millennium ago, he inadvertently created the Christian Reformation and became the most famous man in Europe. But someone dealing with Islam will have an even harder job than he had. Islam has no pope, no overall authority to defy. It differs from community to community, from imam to imam.
How could Muslims accept radical changes in their thinking? She believes that the U.S. won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism. Now the U.S. must expose the ideology of radical Islam. There are many reformed Muslims in America, she argues, immigrants who have adopted “the core values of Western democracies, using the freedoms they have found in the West.” Many thrive.
They are her models, the beginning of a free and tolerant Islam. Hirsi Ali seems to believe that Muslims can be converted to democracy, presumably because democracy will work better for them than a theocratic tyranny. But many or most Muslims can barely believe in the existence of nations that pride themselves on their tolerance, in which one religion is as acceptable as another. At the outer extreme, the soldiers of the Islamic State are so convinced of Islam’s total and exclusive truth that they take pleasure in destroying monuments left behind by religions that died before Islam was born. To many in the Christian and Jewish traditions, that’s outlandish, but within Islam it makes a kind of sense.
If Muslims were to accept another form of religion, they would have to give up their politics as well, since many countries govern by Islamic rules. They cannot easily change, as countries in the West try socialism for a while, then switch back to a market economy. Just contemplating that sort of transition would be unthinkable for many.
From the perspective of the West, the world would be more peaceful if Muslims were persuaded to adopt some version of Hirsi Ali’s proposal. It seems more likely that many, from the depths of their convictions, will brusquely dismiss her as a heretic and go on their way. Still, it’s stimulating that a world citizen like Hirsi Ali devotes her attention to this issue. In her courageous way she opens a pressing issue and demands we think seriously about it.
The Third Jihad - Radical Islam's Vision for America (Video): Clarion Project, Nov. 21, 2012—The Third Jihad is a film that exposes the threat that Islamic extremism poses to the American way of life.
Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Spring 2017—Donald Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 27 establishing radically new procedures to deal with foreigners who apply to enter the United States.
The Final Obama Scandal: Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, Feb. 6, 2017—Less than 24 hours before the official end of the Obama presidency, while White House staffers were pulling pictures off the walls and cleaning out their desks, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) posted without fanfare another installment of the documents captured in Osama bin Laden’s compound during the May 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
We Can’t let Radical Islam Take Over the World: Lior Akerman, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 9, 2017 —‘All Muslims are terrorists.’ “Islam will destroy the world.” “All the Muslims want to kill us.” What are we to make of these political slogans? Is every person who calls out Allahu akbar intending to kill people? Let’s take a step back and learn some facts.
Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)
Prof. Harold Waller (McGill University)
Prof. Ira Robinson, Associate Chairman (Department of Religion, Concordia University)
Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)
Rob Coles (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)