Month: September 2012

DÉCHAÎNEMENT AU MOYEN-ORIENT : LA RAGE DES ISLAMISTES EXPLOSE

 

 

 

 

LE PROCHE-ORIENT EXPLOSE AU VISAGE D’OBAMA
Guy Millière

menapress.org, 23 septembre 2012

 

Ce qui se passe aujourd’hui dans le monde musulman est très inquiétant. Des émeutes se sont déroulées depuis le 11 septembre 2012 dans plus de vingt pays. Des ambassades américaines ont été prises d’assaut.
 
Le consulat de Benghazi a été mis à sac et incendié, quatre Américains y ont été sauvagement assassinés, dont l’ambassadeur des Etats-Unis, qui a, de surcroît, été préalablement torturé et sodomisé au milieu d’une foule en furie.

 

Des documents classés « secret défense » ont disparu, car le consulat, avant d’être incendié, a, pendant la mise à sac, fait l’objet d’une fouille en règle par les djihadistes ; ceux-ci ont donné l’assaut en utilisant des armes de guerre. Le drapeau noir d’al Qaïda a été, comme devant quatre autres ambassades, hissé en remplacement du drapeau américain.

 

En parallèle, des attaques ont été organisées par les talibans contre les principales bases américaines subsistant en Afghanistan, dont celle de Kandahar.
 
Le nombre de soldats de l’US Army tués par des soldats afghans qu’ils étaient en train de former au maniement des armes augmente et se chiffre à cinquante-quatre depuis le début de l’année. Le programme de formation vient tout juste d’être interrompu.  

 

Il est évident que le film de treize minutes placé sur Youtube au mois de juillet, mal fait et très irrévérencieux à l’encontre de l’islam, n’est qu’un prétexte : plusieurs jours avant le onze septembre, des services de renseignement faisaient état d’actions anti-américaines en préparation par divers groupes djihadistes.

 

Une bande vidéo sur laquelle s’exprime Ayman al Zawahiri, l’Egyptien qui a succédé à Ben Laden à la tête d’al Qaïda, a été mise en ligne le 9 septembre. Il y appelle à des attaques contre les intérêts américains dans le monde musulman, et désigne deux pays comme devant constituer les lieux prioritaires pour mener des actions : l’Egypte et la Libye.

 

Ayman al Zawahiri ne mentionne aucun film, mais fait part de sa volonté de voir libérer le Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, emprisonné aux Etats-Unis pour avoir fomenté les attentats de 1993 contre le World Trade Center à New York. Une revendication de libération également formulée par les Frères musulmans et le président islamiste égyptien, Mohamed Morsi.

 

Il est évident qu’on assiste à une offensive visant à en finir avec ce qui reste de la présence américaine dans la région.

 

Il est clair aussi que les risques de guerre régionale se trouvent accentués : les discours bellicistes et anti-israéliens de l’Iran montent en puissance, et le rapprochement de l’Egypte de Morsi avec l’Iran de Khamenei et avec la Chine s’apparente à l’amorce d’un changement géopolitique majeur et lourd de conséquences potentielles.

 

Les préoccupations exprimées par Binyamin Netanyahu sont fondées. Et ses préoccupations convergent avec celles de l’Arabie Saoudite, qui n’est pas précisément une amie d’Israël, mais qui incarne, dans ce contexte d’ensemble, ce que Daniel Pipes appelle une « force du statu quo ».

 

Il est évident, ajouterai-je, que la politique menée par l’administration Obama au Proche-Orient est en train de lui exploser au visage.
 
Le discours prononcé au Caire par Barack Obama en juin 2009 permet de mesurer l’étendue du fiasco. Comme je l’ai expliqué à de nombreuses reprises, la doctrine Obama pour la région consistait :
 
(1) A pratiquer l’apaisement vis-à-vis de l’Iran et à laisser celui-ci parvenir au seuil de l’arme atomique, en faisant comprendre aux dirigeants iraniens que les Etats-Unis n’étaient pas leurs ennemis ;

 

(2) A laisser le pouvoir dans le monde sunnite passer aux mains des Frères musulmans et des salafistes, en assurant à ceux-ci qu’une coexistence sur base de respect mutuel était possible avec les Etats-Unis ;
 
(3) A inciter al Qaïda à rejoindre les positions salafistes et à songer à prendre le pouvoir par d’autres moyens que le terrorisme ;
 
(4) A laisser le pouvoir revenir aux mains des talibans en Afghanistan, exploitant les accords de transition passés entre le gouvernement américain et Hamid Karzai;
 
(5) A faire pression sur Israël pour qu’entre en vigueur le « plan de paix saoudien », afin que l’Etat hébreu se réduise aux « frontières de 1967 », et pour qu’un Etat palestinien aux mains de l’Autorité palestinienne et du Hamas naisse, et ait sa capitale à Jérusalem Est.

 

Le moins que l’on puisse dire est que les dirigeants iraniens n’ont pas reçu le message : ils avancent vers l’arme atomique et considèrent plus que jamais les Etats-Unis comme l’ennemi.

 

Les Frères musulmans et les salafistes n’ont, eux non plus, pas assimilé la doctrine Obama : ils s’emparent du pouvoir, méprisent ouvertement le président américain et identifient plus que jamais les Etats-Unis comme l’ennemi.

 

Al Qaïda rejoint effectivement les positions salafistes, mais s’offre au passage le plaisir d’humilier les USA et de tuer des Américains dès que l’occasion se présente.

Les talibans reviennent vers le pouvoir en Afghanistan, mais ne se privent pas non plus d’assassiner des Etatsuniens.

 

Le gouvernement israélien, composé de membres plus sensés que ceux de l’administration Obama, ne s’est pas laissé enfermer dans le piège que celle-ci lui tendait. Ladite administration se trouve de toute façon confrontée à une situation régionale très dure, par rapport à laquelle le dossier palestinien semble aujourd’hui épiphénoménal. A Téhéran, comme dans tout le monde musulman, retentissent les cris de « mort à Israël » et « mort aux Juifs ».

 

Pour l’heure, l’administration Obama ne réagit pas, sinon d’une manière pathétique. Elle se refuse à tracer devant l’Iran une ligne à ne pas franchir et semble ne pas entendre les discours proférés à Téhéran.

 

Barack Obama ne trouve pas le temps de rencontrer Binyamin Netanyahu : il doit participer à une émission humoristique le jour où cela aurait été possible – et une émission humoristique, c’est tellement plus important ! -. En revanche, le président américain est disponible pour une rencontre, durant la même période, avec Mohamed Morsi.

 

A écouter le porte-parole de la Maison Blanche, tout va bien en Egypte et ailleurs, tout va bien en Afghanistan. Les Etats-Unis sont aimés dans tout le monde musulman, et les problèmes proviennent de la vidéo mise en ligne sur Youtube.

 

Pour témoigner de leur bonne volonté, Obama et Hillary Clinton ont déclaré qu’ils réprouvaient la vidéo, mais que les lois en vigueur aux Etats-Unis ne permettaient, hélas, pas de l’interdire.  
 
L’assassinat de quatre Américains, dont un ambassadeur à Benghazi ? Un simple accident, a tranché Susan Rice, ambassadrice d’Obama aux Nations Unies. Avant que, deux jours plus tard, la version ne change et que la Maison Blanche fasse savoir qu’il s’agissait d’un attentat islamiste.

 

L’administration Obama réagit d’une manière lamentable.

 

LES MOTIFS DE LA RAGE ISLAMISTE
Dore Gold

Le Cape de Jérusalem, 23 septembre 2012

 

La dernière vague anti-américaine qui a submergé le Moyen-Orient et s’est propagée jusqu’à Sidney en Australie, a été suivie par une série d’articles dans la presse internationale essayant d’expliquer les origines de la rage islamiste. On nous a expliqué que la colère a éclaté suite à la diffusion du film sur Mahomet, « la naïveté des Musulmans ».
 
Ce film  produit aux Etats-Unis a été diffusé  sur You Tube il y a plus de deux mois.
 
Juste après les attentats spectaculaires du 11 septembre 2001, divers commentateurs ont tenté de déterminer les motivations des pirates de l’air et se sont posés la même question à savoir: pourquoi cette colère noire a éclaté soudain? Pourquoi les islamistes sont-il fous de rage et ont lancé cette terrible opération suicidaire? ‘
 
Les questions sont justifiées et fondamentales et ce film n’est pas toujours la cause directe de la flambée de la violence, il existe sans doute d’autres facteurs.
 
L’un des principaux observateurs et analystes de la presse arabe, Ouraib Rantawi, a estimé dans un article publié dans le journal  jordanien « al-Doustour » que l’explication est nécessaire parce que Washington  a tenu les brides du « printemps arabe » et en a fait son propre cheval de bataille. De ce fait, la nouvelle vague anti-américaine a éclaté  dans ces même pays. Cet observateur privilégié va plus loin dans son analyse et pense que les dernières réactions contre l’Amérique sont semblables à un « nouveau 11 septembre ».
 
Dans ce contexte nous devrions donc examiner les motifs du « printemps arabe » et s’ils ont bien contribué à l’intensité de la dernière flambée de violence.
 
L’attaque du Consulat américain à Benghazi et  l’assassinat de l’ambassadeur Christopher Stevens avec ses trois collaborateurs ont été sans doute les plus cruels.  Cet attentat contre des diplomates occidentaux   n’est pas lié à la protestation générale. Il s’agit belle et bien d’une opération planifiée, préméditée et parrainée par Al Qaïda. Déjà  l’année dernière, des cellules d’al Qaïda ont mis en place et en toute liberté des camps d’entrainement dans des régions où le contrôle du gouvernement central de Libye est bien  limité. Une situation similaire a pris forme dans la  péninsule du Sinaï en Egypte et dans des régions du Yémen Sud. Cela se produira probablement en Syrie après la chute de Bechar el Assad.
 
Les capacités limitées des nouveaux régimes de mettre un terme à  la violence et leur manque de volonté d’agir fermement contre les émeutes aura sans doute un impact sur l’avenir. Les foules arabes ne craignent plus les régimes et n’ont plus peur de l’armée et des  services  de sécurité, et donc un incident marginal dégénère rapidement, une petite étincelle pourra mettre le feu aux poudres. L’escalade est immédiate et imprévisible et aura des conséquences graves pour la stabilité des nouveaux régimes.
 
L’objectif commun des manifestants et des régimes de limiter par tous les moyens l’influence des Etats-Unis au Moyen-Orient et de chasser les Américains de la région a réussi à établir en Tunisie, en Egypte et au Yémen des régimes islamiques liés à l’embryon des Frères musulmans.
 
Le « printemps arabe » a donc créé de nouvelles donnes dans le monde arabe alimentant et véhiculant une politique farouche et anti-américaine. Sur le plan économique, les révoltes arabes ont bien déçu. Elles n’ont pas réussi à apporter d’importantes transformations pour le bien être et la prospérité des populations. Bien au contraire, la perspective  d’investissements américains dans les pays contrôlés par les Frères musulmans n’est plus acquise.
 
Enfin, si la rue arabe pense que les Américains ont profité du « printemps arabe » en le transformant en leur propre cheval de bataille, alors il faudra s’attendre que les populations arabes condamneront demain l’Amérique en l’accusant d’être responsable de la crise économique qui les frappe et les plonge dans la misère.

 

LES ISLAMISTES DÉCHAÎNÉS
Daniel Pipes

The Washington Times, 19 septembre 2012
Adaptation française: Anne-Marie Delcambre de Champvert

 

Quand les musulmans descendent dans la rue dans près de 30 pays pour se livrer à des violences anti-occidentales plus ou moins fortes, quelque chose d'important est en cours. Quelques réflexions sur ce que cela peut bien signifier:
 
Le jugement de Rushdie a pris des proportions endémiques [s'est propagé comme un virus (NDLT)]: le coup de maître de l'ayatollah Khomeiny en 1989 pour imposer une fatwa de condamnation à mort sur Salman Rushdie s'est maintenant répandu et est devenu la réponse de routine- des islamistes à ce qu'ils perçoivent comme étant des insultes. En disant à l'Occident ce qui peut et ne peut pas être dit à propos de l'islam, Khomeiny a cherché à imposer la loi islamique (la charia) sur ce point. La dernière vague de violence a surtout pris la forme de manifestations et de violences contre les bâtiments de l'Occident (diplomatiques, commerciaux, éducatifs) en Afghanistan, Bahreïn, Bangladesh, Chine, Egypte, Inde, Indonésie, Iraq, Israël et l'Autorité palestinienne, Koweït, Liban , Libye, Malaisie, Maroc, Nigéria, Pakistan, Qatar, Soudan, Syrie (y compris les rebelles soutenus par les Américains), Tunisie, Turquie et Yémen ainsi que l'Australie, la Belgique, la France, l'Allemagne et le Royaume-Uni. Jusqu'à présent, environ 30 personnes ont perdu la vie. Les gouvernements iranien et égyptien tous les deux veulent mettre la main sur les cinéastes de l'innocence des musulmans, un film anti-Mahomet sur YouTube, qu'ils rendent responsables de la violence.

 

Les provocations anti-islamiques se sont multipliées: Rushdie n'avait aucune idée où il mettait les pieds, comme il l'explique dans un livre publié cette semaine. D'autres, comme les soldats américains qui ont brûlé des Corans en Afghanistan au début de 2012, sans même le vouloir ont déclenché des troubles islamistes. Mais le pasteur Terry Jones de Floride, le groupe derrière le film l'innocence des musulmans, et l'hebdomadaire français Charlie Hebdo, ainsi que des groupes anti-islamiques au Canada et en Espagne, ouvertement veulent agacer les musulmans. Ainsi militants islamistes et militants anti-Islam ont développé une relation de symbiose où l'un excite l'autre.
 
Des individus tiennent le gouvernement en otage: Quand Jones a parlé de brûler des exemplaires du Coran en 2010, il a reçu des appels émanant de gens aussi importants que le commandant des forces américaines en Afghanistan, les secrétaires d'Etat et de la défense, le procureur général et le président des États-Unis, tous le suppliant de renoncer.

 

La semaine dernière, le président de l'état-major interarmées a décroché son téléphone pour discuter avec lui. Jamais auparavant des individus pris au hasard n'auraient pu diriger la politique comme ceci. Un humoriste français Jean-Jacques Sempé a un dessin en 1989 qui caricature cette inversion des choses: on voit Rushdie qui tape comme un fou sur sa machine à écrire sous le regard des quinze policiers qui le protègent des islamistes, un Bobby hurlant dans son talkie-walkie: «Fermez les aéroports! Il veut écrire le deuxième volume! " Si Rushdie n'a jamais écrit un volume deux, Jones revient à plusieurs reprises sous les projecteurs.
 
Les gouvernements veulent mettre un frein à la liberté d'expression: Plus inquiétant encore que les appels à Jones a été la suggestion de la Maison Blanche à Google, propriétaire de YouTube, qu'il «examine si [l'innocence des musulmans] porte atteinte à leurs conditions d'utilisation." (Google l'a laissé disponible, sauf dans quatre pays.) Bien que les arguments sur la nécessité de se censurer pour ne pas exciter le monstre islamiste et mettre en péril des vies américaines peut sembler raisonnable, de tels apaisements invitent seulement à plus de rage, d'intimidation et de violence.
 
Une séparation croissante des civilisations: Le célèbre choc des civilisations n'existe pas; en fait, une séparation des civilisations est en cours. Cela prend de nombreuses formes, depuis les enclaves uniquement musulmanes en Occident, jusqu'à ce qui concerne le mariage, l'économie, l'éducation, la culture, les médias, le divertissement, les voyages, les sites Web, et même le chronométrage du temps [par opposition au temps de la Mecque]. Combien de touristes, par exemple, s'exposeront au soleil sur les plages tunisiennes ou visiteront les antiquités égyptiennes dans un avenir proche?
 
"Obama, nous aimons Oussama": C'est ce que la foule chantait dans le centre de Sydney, en Australie. Pendant ce temps les islamistes afghans, indiens, pakistanais brûlaient en effigie Barack Obama. Une telle haine d'Obama est d'autant plus remarquable compte tenu des liens nombreux de l'enfance d'Obama avec l'islam, son discours de 2007 prédisant que sa présidence serait témoin d'une amélioration majeure dans les relations avec les musulmans, de ses efforts acharnés pour gagner l'opinion musulmane en vue de devenir président, et la réaction initialement favorable des musulmans à son égard. En fait, sa réputation a chuté au point qu'il est aussi impopulaire ; voire même plus impopulaire que George W. Bush.

 

Impact minimal sur les élections présidentielles américaines: Les sondages montrent que l'attitude des électeurs envers Obama et Mitt Romney a à peine bougé au cours des six derniers mois, ce qui suggère que le saccage des islamistes aura peu d'impact sur les résultats des élections.
 
La civilisation occidentale en jeu: les aspirations islamistes croissent en fin de compte avec l'amélioration des communications et l'affaiblissement des gouvernements du Moyen-Orient, posant une question existentielle aux Occidentaux: Allons-nous maintenir notre civilisation historique malgré leur défi, ou allons-nous accepter la domination musulmane et ce statut de seconde classe qu'est le statut de dhimmi?
 
En somme, les islamistes veulent imposer la charia, les Occidentaux sont divisés, et l'affrontement des volontés ne fait que commencer.

AS ISLAMIST FANATICISM ENDS OBAMA’S CAIRO DREAM, MORSI, IN US: “MY PRINCIPLES ARE FROM THE BROTHERHOOD”

 

Articles:

Egypt’s New Leader Spells Out Terms For U.S.-Arab Ties
Collapse of the Cairo Doctrine

Egypt Has No Business Accusing Canadians Of Insulting Islam

In praise of blasphemy

Fanaticism Mustn't Preempt Freedom

 

On Topic Links

Permanent Spin

World Leaders Rally for Blasphemy Laws

Obama Failed to Convince Muslims that America’s not their Enemy

Pamela Geller Defends Free Speech on CNN

There’s no Place for Censorship-By-Riot

 

 

 

 

 

EGYPT’S NEW LEADER SPELLS OUT
TERMS FOR U.S.-ARAB TIES

 

“If you want to judge the performance of the Egyptian people by the standards of German or Chinese or American culture, then there is no room for judgment,” – Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said in an interview with the New York Times on the eve of his visit to the United States to address the United Nations. “When the Egyptians decide something, probably it is not appropriate for the U.S. When the Americans decide something, this, of course, is not appropriate for Egypt.”

 

“Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region,” he continued, by backing dictatorial governments over popular opposition and supporting Israel over the Palestinians….

 

When asked if he considered the United States an ally, Mr. Morsi answered in English, “That depends on your definition of ally,” smiling at his deliberate echo of Mr. Obama….

 

Arabs and Americans have “a shared objective, each to live free in their own land, according to their customs and values, in a fair and democratic fashion,” he said, adding that he hoped for “a harmonious, peaceful coexistence.”

 

But he also argued that Americans “have a special responsibility” for the Palestinians because the United States had signed the 1978 Camp David accord. The agreement called for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank and Gaza and for full Palestinian self-rule. “As long as peace and justice are not fulfilled for the Palestinians, then the treaty remains unfulfilled,” he said.

 

He made no apologies for his roots in the Brotherhood, the insular religious revival group that was Mr. Mubarak’s main opposition and now dominates Egyptian politics.

 

“I grew up with the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said. “I learned my principles in the Muslim Brotherhood. I learned how to love my country with the Muslim Brotherhood. I learned politics with the Brotherhood. I was a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.”(Empahsis ours – Ed.; New York Times, September 23, 2012) (Top)

 

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COLLAPSE OF THE CAIRO DOCTRINE

Charles Krauthammer,

Washington Post, September 20, 2012

 

In the week following 9/11/12 something big happened: the collapse of the Cairo Doctrine, the centerpiece of President Obama’s foreign policy. It was to reset the very course of post-9/11 America, creating, after the (allegedly) brutal depredations of the Bush years, a profound rapprochement with the Islamic world.

 

Never lacking ambition or self-regard, Obama promised in Cairo, June 4, 2009, “a new beginning” offering Muslims “mutual respect,” unsubtly implying previous disrespect. Curious, as over the previous 20 years, America had six times committed its military forces on behalf of oppressed Muslims, three times for reasons of pure humanitarianism (Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo), where no U.S. interests were at stake.

 

But no matter. Obama had come to remonstrate and restrain the hyperpower that, by his telling, had lost its way after 9/11, creating Guantanamo, practicing torture, imposing its will with arrogance and presumption. First, he would cleanse by confession. Then he would heal. Why, given the unique sensitivities of his background — “my sister is half-Indonesian,” he proudly told an interviewer in 2007, amplifying on his exquisite appreciation of Islam — his very election would revolutionize relations.

 

And his policies of accommodation and concession would consolidate the gains: an outstretched hand to Iran’s mullahs, a first-time presidential admission of the U.S. role in a 1953 coup, a studied and stunning turning away from the [Iranian] Green Revolution; withdrawal from Iraq with no residual presence or influence; a fixed timetable for leaving Afghanistan; returning our ambassador to Damascus (with kind words for Bashar al-Assad — “a reformer,” suggested the secretary of state); deliberately creating distance between the United States and Israel.

 

These measures would raise our standing in the region, restore affection and respect for the United States and elicit new cooperation from Muslim lands.

 

It’s now three years since the Cairo speech. Look around. The Islamic world is convulsed with an explosion of anti-Americanism. From Tunisia to Lebanon, American schools, businesses and diplomatic facilities set ablaze. A U.S. ambassador and three others murdered in Benghazi. The black flag of Salafism, of which al-Qaeda is a prominent element, raised over our embassies in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Sudan.

 

The administration, staggered and confused, blames it all on a 14-minute trailer for a film no one has seen and may not even exist. What else can it say? Admit that its doctrinal premises were supremely naive and its policies deeply corrosive to American influence?

 

Religious provocations are endless. (Ask Salman Rushdie.) Resentment about the five-century decline of the Islamic world is a constant. What’s new — the crucial variable — is the unmistakable sound of a superpower in retreat. Ever since Henry Kissinger flipped Egypt from the Soviet to the American camp in the early 1970s, the United States had dominated the region. No longer.

 

“It’s time,” declared Obama to wild applause of his convention, “to do some nation-building right here at home.” He’d already announced a strategic pivot from the Middle East to the Pacific. Made possible because “the tide of war is receding.”

 

Nonsense. From the massacres in Nigeria to the charnel house that is Syria, violence has, if anything, increased. What is receding is Obama’s America. It’s as axiomatic in statecraft as in physics: Nature abhors a vacuum. Islamists rush in to fill the space and declare their ascendancy. America’s friends are bereft, confused, paralyzed.

 

Islamists rise across North Africa from Mali to Egypt. Iran repeatedly defies U.S. demands on nuclear enrichment, then, as a measure of its contempt for what America thinks, openly admits that its Revolutionary Guards are deployed in Syria. Russia, after arming Assad, warns America to stay out, while the secretary of state delivers vapid lectures about Assad “meeting” his international “obligations.” The Gulf states beg America to act on Iran; Obama strains mightily
to restrain ... Israel.

 

Sovereign U.S. territory is breached and U.S. interests are burned. And what is the official response? One administration denunciation after another — of a movie trailer! A request to Google to “review” the trailer’s presence on YouTube. And a sheriff’s deputies’ midnight “voluntary interview” with the suspected filmmaker. This in the land of the First Amendment.

 

What else can Obama do? At their convention, Democrats endlessly congratulated themselves on their one foreign policy success: killing Osama bin Laden. A week later, the Salafist flag flies over four American embassies, even as the mob chants, “Obama, Obama, there are still a billion Osamas.”

 

A foreign policy in epic collapse. And, by the way, Vladimir Putin just expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development from Russia. Another thank you from another recipient of another grand Obama “reset.” (Top)

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EGYPT HAS NO BUSINESS ACCUSING
CANADIANS OF INSULTING ISLAM

Globe Editorial

The Globe and Mail, Sep. 23 2012

 

Egypt appears to be trying to make the crime of “offending Islam” a worldwide one. Or perhaps it just wishes to offer a bone to the mob. Its prosecutor-general has put out an arrest warrant for two Canadians and several other Coptic Christians allegedly involved in the making of Innocence of Muslims, the anti-Prophet Mohammed film that has sparked deadly riots in some Muslim countries.

 

It may be primarily a symbolic gesture, but it does, in effect, put people on notice everywhere that taking issue with Islam is a dangerous thing to do. The prosecutor says the charges in the warrant (which also include causing sectarian violence and harming Egyptian independence) carry a possible death sentence.

 

This is a strange approach for a nascent democracy, and a bad signal from the Muslim Brotherhood, which holds power. They seem to think that democracy means giving vent to the popular will, or elements of it, even if those elements are behaving as a mob. Since when does one democracy purport to tell people in other democracies that if they speak out in certain ways, they could be charged and even put to death?

 

The arrest warrant may also be a way of intimidating Coptic Christian activists and silencing them about discrimination against that minority in Egypt. The two Canadians cited in the warrant say they had no involvement in the film; one had publicly denounced the film in a statement from the Middle East Christian Association.

 

Of course Canada would not extradite the men to Egypt. But their travels in the Arab and Muslim world must surely now be limited. And who knows what drastic consequences having one’s name on such an infamous list could have….

 

This country should make it clear to Egypt that Canada does not appreciate the threat, symbolic or otherwise, of prosecution and death against its people. (Top)

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IN PRAISE OF BLASPHEMY

Robert Fulford

National Post, September 22, 2012

 

The dark, blood-drenched word “blasphemy” has lately re-appeared across the world, like some grotesque monster from the depths of humanity’s unconscious. It is always bad news, the prelude to unnecessary suffering. Someone in the United States made a video that some Muslims call blasphemous. So other Muslims, driven to a frenzy, have died in riots, along with non-Muslims, in order to “protest” this alleged offence against the prophet.

 

For centuries, unspeakable crimes have been committed in the name of regulating what people say about religion. During the long Catholic nightmare of the Spanish Inquisition the ecclesiastical authorities competed in devising punishments for those with unauthorized religious views. Boring a hole in the tongue with a hot wire was a common penalty. Laws against blasphemy have been favourite tools of all those who lust for power over their fellow humans — popes, kings, bishops, imams, theologians and professional inciters of the mobs.

 

A charge of blasphemy works as a screen hiding the schemes of would-be rulers who dream of Taliban-level dictatorships. The masses in the Arab countries learn of Danish cartoons and other blasphemies when they are told about them by rabble-rousers.

 

In democracies the charge of blasphemy should not be treated with sympathetic understanding, as it is so often. It is the enemy of tolerance as it is the enemy of modernity. On Saturday “Canadians Against Blasphemy” will hold a protest meeting in front of the U.S. consulate in Toronto, asking people of all faiths to join in their outrage.

Instead we should be praising blasphemy, in fact proclaiming its many virtues, rather than sheepishly apologizing for it as a necessary evil we must reluctantly tolerate because of our belief in the freedom of speech. Bernard Shaw may have been overstating the case when he gave to one of his characters the pronouncement that “All great truths begin as blasphemies.” But not by much.

 

Blasphemy, the challenge of official doctrine, helped create freedom over the centuries — and still needs to create it in many countries, such as Pakistan and Indonesia. Blasphemy is a corollary to freedom of religion. It expresses the right to have no religion, in fact the right to disdain all religions.

 

The creators of Protestant Christianity were all denounced for blasphemy; so were generations of scholars in a dozen countries who campaigned for the critical examination of the Bible. Without the courage of those who were called blasphemers there would be only one acceptable religion in every country today. Certainly that’s how the royal and church authorities of the 18th century saw the future. As late as 1766, as the Enlightenment was proceeding, a freethinking 20-year-old Frenchman, Jean-François de la Barre, was tortured for blasphemy. He had his tongue cut out before he was burned to death, his copy of Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary thrown on the fire with him. Today there’s a statue of him in Montmartre, as the last person executed for blasphemy in France.

 

Consider what happened in Hyderabad this week when a mob of hundreds, claiming to be upset about the American video, demanded that Haji Nasrullah Khan demonstrate solidarity with their cause by shutting his 120 shops. He said he didn’t feel like it. The mob accused him of supporting the video. They ransacked his house and drove him and his family into hiding. Leaders of a prominent mosque called for his death. The police chief said there was no evidence that he had blasphemed but a charge of blasphemy was brought against him because there was no other way to disperse the crowd.

 

The people who directed that mob may or may not have been honestly interested in religious truth. A pro-Taliban religious party and an al-Qaeda-linked militant group were said to be among Khan’s enemies. Police think agitation may have started with tenant shopkeepers Khan was trying to evict for late payment of their rent. Charges of blasphemy originate with many sources, some innocent, most of them vile.

 

In the Criminal Code of Code of Canada, blasphemy remains a crime, a remnant of the era when governments did all they could to satisfy the wishes of organized religion. Section 296 says that anyone who publishes a blasphemous libel can be jailed for two years. The section has not been used in 75 years but it lurks in the statute books, ready to be brought back to life by some eccentric prosecutor. Expunging it would be an appropriate symbolic act by the federal government. The best possible time to accomplish that reform would be before the end of this blasphemy-crazed year. (Top)

_______________________________________________________________


FANATICISM MUSTN'T PREEMPT FREEDOM

Jonah Goldberg

Real Clear Politics, September 24, 2012

 

“No One Murdered Because Of This Image.” That was a recent headline from The Onion, the often hilarious parody newspaper.

The image in question is really not appropriate to describe with any specificity in a family newspaper. It’s quite simply disgusting. And, suffice it to say, it leaves nothing to the imagination.

 

Four of “the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity,” according to The Onion, and yet “no one was murdered, beaten or had their lives threatened, sources reported Thursday.”

 

“Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes and continued on with their day.”

 

There was one conspicuous no-show for the celestial orgy: the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

 

The Onion’s point should be obvious. Amidst all of the talk of religious tolerance and the hand-wringing over free speech in recent days, one salient fact is often lost or glossed over: What we face are not broad questions about the limits of free speech or the importance of religious tolerance, but rather a very specific question about the limits of Muslim tolerance and the unimportance of free speech to much of the Muslin world.

 

It’s really quite amazing. In Pakistan, Egypt and the Palestinian territories, Christians are being harassed, brutalized and even murdered, often with state support, or at least state indulgence. And let’s not even talk about the warm reception Jews receive in much of the Muslim world.

 

And yet, it seems you can’t turn on National Public Radio or open a newspaper without finding some oh-so-thoughtful meditation on how anti-Islamic speech should be considered the equivalent of shouting “fire” in a theater.

 

It’s an interesting comparison. First, the prohibition on yelling “fire” in a theater only applies to instances where there is no fire. A person who yells “fire” when there is, in fact, a fire is quite likely a hero. I’m not saying that the people ridiculing Muhammad — be they the makers of the “Innocence of Muslims” trailer or the editors of a French magazine — have truth on their side. But blasphemy is not a question of scientific fact, merely of opinion. And in America we give a very wide legal berth to the airing of such opinions. Loudly declaring “It is my opinion there is a fire in here” is not analogous to declaring “It is my opinion that Muhammad was a blankety-blank.”

 

You know why? Because Muslims aren’t fire, they’re people. And fire isn’t a sentient entity. Muslims have free will. If they choose to riot, that’s not the same thing as igniting a fire.

 

Indeed, the point is proven by the simple fact that the vast majority of Muslims don’t riot. More than 17 million people live in greater Cairo. A tiny fraction of a fraction of that number stormed the U.S. Embassy to “protest” that stupid video. And yet, the logic seems to be that the prime authors of Muslim violence are non-Muslims who express their opinions, often thousands of miles away.

 

Our devotion to free speech can cause headaches and challenges. But so can any number of non-negotiable facts of life. There’s nothing wrong with exercising sound judgment, even caution, when it comes to offending anybody’s most cherished beliefs. But the First Amendment isn’t the problem here, the dysfunctions and inadequacies of the Arab and Muslim world are.

 

James Burnham famously said that when there is no alternative there is no problem. If free speech in America causes a comparative handful of zealots to want to murder Americans, the correct response is to protect Americans from those zealots (something the Obama administration abjectly failed to do in Libya) and relentlessly seek the punishment of anyone who succeeds. Because, as far as America is concerned, there is no alternative to the First Amendment. (Top)

On Topic

 

Permanent Spin

  • Front Page Magazine, September 24th, 2012
    Andrew Harrod

World Leaders Rally for Blasphemy Laws

Obama Failed to Convince Muslims that
America’s not their Enemy

 

YOM KIPPUR 2012/5773: ISRAEL & THE JEWISH PEOPLE DESPITE DANGERS, FACE FUTURE HOPEFULLY

 

 

GMAR CHATIMA TOVA!

 

A Note to our Readers: CIJR Briefings will resume on 

September 27, 2012 after Yom Kippur.

 

Articles:

The Essence of Yom Kippur

The Whispers of Democracy in Ancient Judaism

The Abandonment

Israel Takes Issue of Jewish Refugees to UN

 

On Topic Links
Ehr Kumt (He is Coming)

Confessing our Sins on Yom Kippur

The Last Command

 


THE ESSENCE OF YOM KIPPUR

Reuven Hammer

Jerusalem Post, September 21, 2012

 

One of the misconceptions concerning Yom Kippur is that the most important prayer of the day is Kol Nidre.  In the first place, Kol Nidre is not a prayer at all. It is a quasi-legal formula for nullifying vows. The only prayer in it is the conclusion, which was added in the 13th century, in which we ask to be forgiven for our sins and are assured that God will indeed forgive the people of Israel.

 

Historically speaking, Kol Nidre was a popular formula that sprang from the demands of the people in Babylonia sometime before the eighth century and that was actually opposed by rabbinic authorities such as Amram Gaon, who found it foolish and quite meaningless. Yet, obviously, people did not listen to the rabbis and attributed to it the importance that it has today.

 

There are two possible explanations for this. One is the melody, which is so haunting and moving that one can ignore the words and be uplifted just by the sound. The other is that psychologically, the release from vows frees people from guilt over those promises we have not fulfilled or those things we know we should not have done. By abolishing unfulfilled obligations there is a lifting of a burden that, whether or not we acknowledge it, we carry with us constantly. We enter Yom Kippur released from our imperfections.

 

Nevertheless, Kol Nidre is not the most important prayer of Yom Kippur evening or of the day that follows. The most important one is the Vidui – the confession of our sins. This is the essential prayer without which Yom Kippur has no meaning and no efficacy. We recite this confession in two forms: the short, alphabetical “Ashamnu” followed by the lengthy, more detailed “Al Het.” The essence of both of these is found in one word: “hatati” – “I have sinned.”

 

Originally it was considered sufficient for one to have simply said that word sincerely before the beginning of Yom Kippur in order to enter the sacred day in a state of purity and forgiveness. Tradition has a way of adding to any practice to make certain that it is done properly and taken seriously. The confession has become much more complex and is recited not only before Yom Kippur at minha, but also at each of the day’s services. The principle remains the same: the sincere admission of guilt.

 

It is worth looking into the meaning of the Hebrew word “hatati.” We translate “het” in English as “sin,” but somehow the connotation is different. The word “sin” carries a great deal of weight in English. It implies a measure of wickedness and of intentional wrongdoing. That meaning is sometimes found in the Hebrew as well. God warns Cain that if he does not do right, “sin (hatat) crouches at the door” – but He also tells him that “you can be its master.”

 

Of Sodom and Gomorrah the Lord says, “their sin is very grave.” But note that by adding the words “is very grave,” it is implied that there are some sins that are not very grave. The original literal meaning of the verb “hata” is “to miss the mark,” as in archery. This connotation carries over into the spiritual meaning as well.

 

Sometimes we miss the mark. This can happen because we tried but erred, or it can happen because we deliberately decide not to do what should be done. To sin, therefore, is human. It is part and parcel of our lives. In order to change, it is necessary to admit our errors. This is what we do when we recite the Vidui. It is the most important of our Yom Kippur prayers; a necessary prelude to true repentance. (Top)

 

THE WHISPERS OF DEMOCRACY IN ANCIENT JUDAISM

Eric Rosenberg

Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2012

 

Jews are in the midst of a period known as the Days of Awe, which began on Sunday night with Rosh Hashanah and culminates next Wednesday with Yom Kippur. It seems almost a misnomer to call them "holidays," though the first marks the Jewish New Year. Rather, they are deeply personal events whose aim is self-reflection, self-improvement and repairing what is broken in daily relationships.

 

It's striking how much this most important period on the Jewish calendar shares with that most essential exercise in American democracy. Walt Whitman wrote in the late 1800s that "a well-contested American national election" was "the triumphant result of faith in human kind." This country's unique sense of optimism—the view that the future is unwritten and full of possibility, that anything can be achieved—is also the sensibility underpinning the Days of Awe.

 

On a cosmic level, Rosh Hashanah commemorates the birth of the world. On an individual level, it marks the rebirth of the soul as Jews examine their faults and ask forgiveness from those they have wronged. At heart, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are deeply optimistic events. A major theme in the prayers Jews recite on the High Holidays is the striving to be a better person, with the understanding that we are in control of our future.

 

As moderns, we take for granted how fundamentally revolutionary the Jews were in arriving at this novel concept about time, destiny and personal responsibility. Until their call to monotheism nearly four millennia ago, the worldview in the Levant was very different. Life was an endless cycle devoted to agrarian pursuits and appeasing warring gods in aid of those pursuits.

 

Thomas Cahill, in his riveting book "The Gifts of the Jews," underscores the point: "For the ancients, nothing new ever did happen, except for the occasional monstrosity. Life on Earth followed the course of the stars. And what had been would, in due course, come around again. . . . The future was always to be a replay of the past, as the past was simply an earthly replay of the drama of the heavens."

 

Perhaps the most profound gift of the Jews is that they broke down this fatalistic notion of the world, in which people were trapped on a great spinning wheel, with no future or past. In this way, the ancient Jews invented the concept of history in which the future was not an endless cycle but could be steered by our actions in the present. They inserted the individual, and individual responsibility and justice, into the equation.

 

This ancient Jewish view was a massive shift in how people viewed mankind's relationship to a deity—and it put responsibility squarely on the shoulders of men and women for their own destiny. This was the end of predetermination and the beginning of personal choice, justice and the quest for liberty. These themes, prevalent in the Jewish liturgy, are on display among the candidates competing for the White House, whatever the political party.

 

Democracy, Mr. Cahill says, "grows directly out of the Israelite vision of individuals—subjects of value because they are images of God, each with a unique and personal destiny."

 

Similarly, the University of Chicago historian William F. Irwin lectured in the 1940s that it was the ancient Jewish prophets and their advocacy of freedom that would find an early expression in the Magna Carta and later in the American Bill of Rights. Perhaps that is partly because the ancient Jews had such terrible experiences with monarchs.

 

Before the Jews swapped their political system—one of a collection of judges—for a monarchy, to be like other Near Eastern governments, the prophet Samuel warned of the predilection of kings for tyranny and over-taxation. A people will buckle under a king, Samuel warned to no avail. "He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will tithe your crops and grape harvests to give to his officials and his servants. He will take your male and female slaves. . . . As for you, you will become his slaves."

 

One can hear, without too much strain, the distant echoes of Samuel's admonitions in Thomas Jefferson's catalog against King George in the Declaration of Independence.  (Top)

 

THE ABANDONMENT

Charles Krauthammer

Washington Post, September 13, 2012

 

There are two positions one can take regarding the Iranian nuclear program: (a) it doesn’t matter, we can deter them; or (b) it does matter, we must stop them.

 

In my view, the first position — that we can contain Iran as we did the Soviet Union — is totally wrong, a product of wishful thinking and misread history. But at least it’s internally coherent.
Iran’s quest to possess nuclear technology: Iran said it has made advances in nuclear technology, citing new uranium enrichment centrifuges and domestically made reactor fuel.

What is incoherent is President Obama’s position. He declares the Iranian program intolerable — “I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon” — yet stands by as Iran rapidly approaches nuclearization.

 

A policy so incoherent, so knowingly and obviously contradictory, is a declaration of weakness and passivity. And this, as Anthony Cordesman, James Phillips and others have argued, can increase the chance of war. It creates, writes Cordesman, “the same conditions that helped trigger World War II — years of negotiations and threats, where the threats failed to be taken seriously until war became all too real.”

 

This has precipitated the current U.S.-Israeli crisis, sharpened by the president’s rebuff of the Israeli prime minister’s request for a meeting during his upcoming U.S. visit. Ominous new developments; no Obama response. Alarm bells going off everywhere; Obama plays deaf.

 

The old arguments, old excuses, old pretensions have become ridiculous:

 

(1) Sanctions. The director of national intelligence testified to Congress at the beginning of the year that they had zero effect in slowing the nuclear program. Now the International Atomic Energy Agency reports (Aug. 30) that the Iranian nuclear program, far from slowing, is actually accelerating. Iran has doubled the number of high-speed centrifuges at Fordow, the facility outside Qom built into a mountain to make it impregnable to air attack.

 

This week, the agency reported Iranian advances in calculating the explosive power of an atomic warhead. It noted once again Iran’s refusal to allow inspection of its weapons testing facility at Parchin and cited satellite evidence of Iranian attempts to clean up and hide what’s gone on there.

 

The administration’s ritual response is that it has imposed the toughest sanctions ever. So what? They’re a means, not an end. And they’ve had no effect on the nuclear program.

 

(2) Negotiations. The latest, supposedly last-ditch round of talks in Istanbul, Baghdad, then Moscow has completely collapsed. The West even conceded to Iran the right to enrich — shattering a decade-long consensus and six Security Council resolutions demanding its cessation.

 

Iran’s response? Contemptuous rejection.  Why not? The mullahs have strung Obama along for more than three years and still see no credible threat emanating from the one country that could disarm them.

 

(3) Diplomatic isolation. The administration boasts that Iran is becoming increasingly isolated. Really? Just two weeks ago, 120 nations showed up in Tehran for a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement — against U.S. entreaties not to attend. Even the U.N. secretary-general attended — after the administration implored him not to.

 

Which shows you what American entreaties are worth today. And the farcical nature of Iran’s alleged isolation.

 

The Obama policy is in shambles. Which is why Cordesman argues that the only way to prevent a nuclear Iran without war is to establish a credible military threat to make Iran recalculate and reconsider. That means U.S. red lines: deadlines beyond which Washington will not allow itself to be strung, as well as benchmark actions that would trigger a response, such as the further hardening of Iran’s nuclear facilities to the point of invulnerability and, therefore, irreversibility.

 

Which made all the more shocking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s dismissal last Sunday of the very notion of any U.S. red lines. No deadlines. No bright-line action beyond which Iran must not go. The sleeping giant continues to slumber. And to wait — as the administration likes to put it, “for Iran to live up to its international obligations.”

 

This is beyond feckless. The Obama policy is a double game: a rhetorical commitment to stopping Iran, yet real-life actions that everyone understands will allow Iran to go nuclear.

 

Yet at the same time that it does nothing, the administration warns Israel sternly, repeatedly, publicly, even threateningly not to strike the Iranian nuclear program. With zero prospect of his policy succeeding, Obama insists on Israeli inaction, even as Iran races to close the window of opportunity for any successful attack.

 

Not since its birth six decades ago has Israel been so cast adrift by its closest ally. (Top)

 


ISRAEL TAKES ISSUE OF JEWISH REFUGEES TO UN

Gil Shefler

Jerusalem Post, September 21, 2012

 

Israel on Friday called on the international community in a special gathering at the United Nations to recognize the suffering of Jewish refugees from Arab countries and their material claims the same way it acknowledges the plight of displaced Palestinians.

 

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor and World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder presented the case of the recently launched diplomatic campaign in front of an audience of Israeli officials, foreign diplomats, activists and journalists at the headquarters of the international organization.

 

"Today's event is about the past but more importantly about the future," said Prosor. "Our purpose is clear and simple: To give justice for one million Jews whose stories have been hidden and left untold."

 

He added: "For 64 years the history has been distorted and white washed in the UN. Arab countries have never taken responsibility for creating more than 800,000 refugees. Yet not a single syllable –and listen to this– can be heard in any of the 1888…UN resolution[s] on the Mideast."

 

Israel was founded on the ethos of being a safe haven for Jews in their historic homeland as a response to the persecution of Jews throughout history and the horrors of the Holocaust in Europe in particular. The story of its citizens who left, fled or were expelled from Arabic-speaking countries while the Israel-Arab conflict flared has been relatively neglected –a fact acknowledged by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon in his speech.

 

"For some reason this issue was never raised, never discussed, and without too much mea culpa, this was wrong," Ayalon said. "But it's never too late."

 

Critics have said the timing of the campaign ahead of the gathering of the General Assembly of the United Nations next week is not accidental. Palestinian politicians like Hanan Ashrawi have argued Jews from Arab lands are not refugees at all and that, either way, Israel is using their claims as a counter-balance to those of Palestinian refugees against it.

 

"The claim that Jews who migrated to Israel, which is supposed to be their homeland, are ‘refugees’ who were uprooted from their homelands… is a form of deception and delusion," she wrote in a recently published article. "If Israel is their homeland then they are not 'refugees,' they are emigrants who returned either voluntarily or due to a political decision."

 

A chorus of Jewish politicians and activists at the event, however, said the rights of Palestinian and Jewish refugees were were not mutually exclusive. "We should solve both refugee issues now," said World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder. "The world has long recognized the Palestinian refugee problem and they should recognize those of Jews too."

 

Malcolm Honelein of the Conference of Presidents of Major North Americans took aim at the UN, where the gathering was taking place, saying it passed thousands of resolutions relating to the rights of Palestinian refugees but not one pertaining to those of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa. "It was manipulation by Arab delegates as early as 48 and they took it off the agenda never for it to reappear again," he said. "They say Jews left freely and were not refugees denying reality in an attempt to keep this issue off the agenda."

 

Lawyer and pro-Israel activist Alan Dershowitz was even harsher in his criticism of the international organization. "Think about all the refugees from places like Kongisberg, who were forced to leave when the Soviets came or in India and Bangladesh. They have all built new lives for themselves, only the refugee problem of the Palestinians persists," he said. "Why? UN!"

 

Sylvain Abitbol, a Moroccan Jew who emigrated to Montreal in 1967, the year a wave of anti-Jewish violence and legislation sparked by Israel's victory in the Six Days War spread across the Arab world, sat in the crowd listening to the speeches. He shrugged when asked why it took so long for Israel to launch the current campaign. "We've been working with Israel for many years, but it took Ayalon to raise this," he said.

 

Whatever the reasons for the delay and regardless of the political context, he said standing up for the rights of Jews from Arab countries such as himself was a worthy and just cause. "It was very difficult for Jews in Morocco, that's why I left" he said wistfully. "It was not as bad as other countries, true, but it was bad. Listen, there used to be 200,000 Jews in Morocco and with the exception of about 2,000 who still live there they all left."(Top)

_______________________________________________________________________

∙       Front Page Magazine, September 28, 2010
Rabbi Schlomo Lewis, Etz Haim Synagogue, Atlanta GA

∙       Canadian Jewish News, September 13, 2012
Lawrence A. Hoffman

∙        Jewish Press, September 20, 2012
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

The Last Command

___________________________________________________________________

 

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AGRESSION ISLAMISTE : LE CANADA SAUVE L’HONNEUR DU MONDE OCCIDENTAL

 

 

 

 

LE CANADA SAUVE L’HONNEUR
DU MONDE OCCIDENTAL

Guy Millière

menapress.org, 16 septembre 2012

 

Nous assistons présentement à l’implosion généralisée du monde musulman, à un isolement croissant d’Israël face à ses ennemis, soigneusement orchestré par l’administration Obama, et à un déferlement de lâcheté dans l’ensemble du monde occidental.

 

Un monde où les grands media voudraient faire croire que tout cela vient, d’une part, de l’intransigeance belliciste de Binyamin Netanyahu et, d’autre part, d’une vidéo antimusulmane mise en ligne sur Youtube au mois de juillet dernier. 

 

Comme si les dirigeants iraniens n’avançaient pas effectivement vers l’arme atomique, et comme si la rage islamique avait besoin de prétextes, disponibles sur Internet depuis longtemps, pour tuer.

 

Le gouvernement canadien, en prenant, la semaine dernière, la décision de rompre ses relations diplomatiques avec l’Iran, a illustré, face à ce contexte absolument navrant, ce que pouvait être la voie du courage et de la dignité. Elle est en cela importante, et pourrait engendrer des effets et des conséquences.
 

De fait, les arguments avancés par le Canada pour prendre cette décision sont, en soi,

difficiles à contourner. La déclaration de John Baird, chef de la diplomatie canadienne, accuse explicitement l’Iran de financer le terrorisme islamique international.

 

Baird précise qu’il n’est pas possible de prétendre lutter efficacement contre ce fléau tout en abritant l’ambassade d’un régime qui le finance ; avec, parmi ses cadres, des gens bénéficiant de l’immunité diplomatique pouvant, dans ces conditions, entretenir des liens avec des entités terroristes.
 
La question du maintien de relations diplomatiques entre les autres pays occidentaux et le régime en place à Téhéran peut être posée bien plus explicitement : le raisonnement du Canada ne devrait-il pas valoir pour tous les Etats civilisés ? Comment des gouvernements de pays qui affirment lutter contre le terrorisme peuvent-ils justifier la présence sur leur sol d’ambassades d’un pays concourant au terrorisme islamique mondial ? Et celle de personnes travaillant pour ce régime ?
 
Le maintien de relations diplomatiques avec tout Etat pratiquant la complaisance vis-à-vis du terrorisme, ou avec toute entité contribuant à ce dernier, soulève une autre question. Au minimum, vraiment au minimum, des pays qui affirment lutter contre le terrorisme devraient user de la diplomatie pour signifier, de manière claire, nette et abrupte, ce qu’ils refusent.

 

Les arguments fournis par le gouvernement canadien peuvent servir de base pour que des journalistes authentiques interrogent à ce sujet les dirigeants des pays concernés, et ne se contentent plus de réponses évasives. On peut, bien sûr, se demander s’il existe encore de tels journalistes. Au vu de la lâcheté susdite, l’on peut en douter. La balle est dans leur camp [et elle le restera. Ndlr.].

 

De fait, encore, la décision des responsables du pays à la feuille d’érable montre qu’Israël n’est pas, malgré les efforts de l’administration Obama, totalement isolé sur la scène internationale, et que les inquiétudes légitimes du gouvernement hébreu et de Binyamin Netanyahu concernant le danger constitué par le régime iranien et le terrorisme islamique rencontrent quelques oreilles attentives.
 
John Baird ne parle pas, dans sa décision, de la quête de l’arme nucléaire par les Perses : en mettant l’accent sur le terrorisme, il insiste sur ce qui rend absolument inacceptable l’accession du régime iranien à l’arme nucléaire. Non seulement un Iran nucléaire constituerait un danger pour Israël et une déstabilisation régionale majeure, mais la dictature chiite pourrait, de plus, fournir des matériaux radioactifs à des groupes terroristes, permettant ainsi à ceux-ci de réaliser des attentats avec « bombes sales ».
 
Comme ne cesse de le répéter Jérusalem, l’acquisition par l’Iran de la bombe atomique, et la mise à disposition du nucléaire au service du terrorisme islamique, constituent des menaces majeures et planétaires, que le monde occidental dans son ensemble ne peut pas se permettre de prendre à la légère.

 

Peut-on se contenter de sanctions, même renforcées, face au régime iranien, sans pour autant sous-estimer la menace ? L’Occident peut-il se limiter à mener des négociations, dont il est absolument évident qu’elles ne servent qu’à permettre au régime iranien de gagner du temps ? Les Etats développés peuvent-ils prétendre indéfiniment que la menace pesant sur Israël ne les concerne pas eux aussi, et très directement ? Peuvent-ils faire comme s’ils ne voyaient pas la conjugaison du nucléaire iranien avec le terrorisme islamique ?
 
Là encore, de « vrais » journalistes devraient interroger les dirigeants des pays concernés et ne pas se contenter des réponses qu’ils leur soumettent habituellement.

 

Enfin, s’il est un pays où la décision du Canada de rompre ses relations diplomatiques avec l’Iran pourrait avoir un impact, c’est bien son voisin immédiat. Les Etats-Unis se trouvent au milieu d’une campagne électorale, qui conduira, le 6 novembre prochain, à la réélection ou à la non-réélection de Barack Obama. Le score s’annonce très serré.
 
Israël, je l’ai déjà écrit, représente l’un des enjeux de la campagne, car les positions de Mitt Romney et de son adversaire sur le sujet sont éloignées à l’extrême. Des observateurs, à Washington, soupçonnent même le président-candidat – avec de très bonnes raisons à cela – d’être prêt, après avoir isolé Israël, à sacrifier ce dernier sur l’autel de relations plus apaisées avec un monde musulman basculant, frénétiquement, vers l’islam radical.

 

L’Iran constitue aussi l’un des enjeux de la campagne. Obama peut-il feindre indéfiniment de ne pas discerner tout à la fois le clair et présent danger constitué par l’accession du régime iranien à la bombe nucléaire et par le rôle actif de l’Iran dans le terrorisme planétaire ? Peut-il se contenter des réponses affligeantes de simplisme qu’il apporte actuellement à l’éruption de rage islamique ?
 
Le président des Etats-Unis est le Commander-in-chief (commandant en chef des armées) ; l’une de ses missions essentielles consiste à veiller à la sécurité du pays. Si j’étais Mitt Romney, je mettrais plus nettement encore Obama au pied du mur, concernant Israël comme concernant l’Iran, le nucléaire, le terrorisme, la rage islamique, et je lui demanderais si ce qu’ont décidé les responsables canadiens ne pourrait pas inciter le gouvernement US à adopter une posture plus précise et plus déterminée sur ces points.

 

Barack Obama ne peut plus arguer que l’ensemble du monde occidental tient des positions aussi ambiguës que les siennes aujourd’hui, car l’un de ces pays, qui plus est son allié traditionnel le plus proche et le plus fidèle, est sorti très explicitement de l’ambiguïté.

 

L’AVENIR DE JÉRUSALEM
DANS LA POLITIQUE AMÉRICAINE

Dore Gold
Le Cape de Jérusalem, 19 septembre 2012

 

La modification in extremis du programme  démocrate américain sur la question de Jérusalem capitale de l’Etat d’Israël soulève des interrogations sur le traitement du sujet au fil des années.
 
Récemment les projecteurs ont été braqués sur la convention du parti démocrate réunie à Charlotte en Caroline du nord. Contrairement aux   trois programmes présidentiels précédents, la question de Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël a été omise délibérément. Tandis que le sénateur Newyorkais, Charles Schoumer, critiquait cette omission, d’autres responsables du parti déclaraient qu’il s’agissait simplement   »d’une erreur technique »… En fin de compte, la charte démocrate a été rectifiée suite aux consignes du président Barak Obama, critiqué sévèrement et mis sur la sellette par le candidat républicain Mitt Romney.

 

S’agit-il vraiment d’un oubli? D’une erreur technique? Car comment expliquer que la modification a suscité tant de divergences au sein du parti démocrate et pourquoi fallait-il avoir l’approbation de toute l’Assemblée par trois votes consécutifs pour pouvoir obtenir la majorité des deux tiers nécessaires.  Cela s’est passé en direct, et les caméras de télévision ont zoomé sur  l’un des délégués manifestant sa colère et portant une chemise sur laquelle était inscrite une inscription en arabe…
 
Aucun journaliste n’a posé la question fondamentale: pourquoi le parti démocrate a modifié le texte de l’article sur le statut de Jérusalem; Pensaient-ils que la question n’aurait-elle pas d’impact durant la campagne et qu’en fait certains gouvernements israéliens étaient même prêts à diviser la ville dans le cadre d’un règlement définitif.
 
En réalité nous constatons au fil des ans une certaine érosion de la part des Etats Unis concernant leur position sur l’avenir de Jérusalem et cela concerne les deux grands partis. Les vétérans du parti démocrate n’étaient-ils pas conscients de la situation?  Ne savaient-ils pas que la question de Jérusalem avait déjà affecté significativement la campagne électorale de Jimmy Carter alors qu’il briguait un deuxième mandat?  Rappelons les faits: le 1er mars 1980, le Conseil de Sécurité de l’ONU  approuve la résolution 465. Celle-ci condamnait fermement la construction des implantations et avait appelé à les démanteler en se référant bizarrement sur les nouveaux quartiers juifs construits à Jérusalem. Contrairement au traditionnel veto des Etats- Unis,  l’ambassadeur américain à l’ONU, Donald McHenry, avait approuvé cette résolution, ce qui provoqua une tempête politique aux Etats Unis…En dépit des explications « techniques » de l’administration américaine sur les différents projets de proposition avant le vote, la communauté juive n’a pu oublier ce revers concernant la question de Jérusalem au Conseil de sécurité, et ainsi lors des élections présidentielles c’est bien le candidat du parti républicain, Ronald Reagan, qui remporta la victoire. Jimmy Carter avait obtenu le taux le plus bas des voix juives en comparaison aux autres candidats démocrates. Le message de la communauté  juive sur l’importance de Jérusalem fut sans équivoque et bien clair.
 
Certes, la campagne présidentielle actuelle n’est pas celle de 1980, et pourtant selon des sondages dirigés par Marvin Warbitt pour le compte du Comité juif américain –(AIC) à la question sempiternelle:
 
« Dans le cadre d’un règlement permanent avec les Palestiniens, pensez-vous qu’Israël  se contenterait de Jérusalem ville unifiée sous souveraineté israélienne? » En 2001, 44% avaient répondu favorablement pour un nouveau partage de Jérusalem contre 50% qui se sont opposés. En 2010, seulement 35% ont répondu favorablement à la question du partage de Jérusalem tandis que  60% se sont opposés farouchement à tout compromis. Ces résultats révèlent que Jérusalem unifiée demeure importante dans les esprits des Juifs américains et que « Jérusalem unifiée » a toujours obtenu le soutien traditionnel des  démocrates comme des républicains. La fameuse loi exigeant que l’ambassade des Etats-Unis soit transférée à Jérusalem reconnaissant  ainsi l’unité de Jérusalem capitale de l’Etat juif sous souveraineté israélienne  a été présentée en 1990 au Congrès conjointement par les chefs des deux grands Partis, démocrate et républicain.
 
Dans ce contexte, Il est fort important que l’administration actuelle et le parti démocrate se souviennent du passé et du soutien inconditionnel des deux partis sur l’avenir du statut de Jérusalem. Dans l’espoir que les « erreurs » commises lors de la dernière convention démocrate ne se répèteront plus jamais.

 

UNE AUTRE AGRESSION ISLAMISTE,

UN AUTRE RECUL HUMILIANT OCCIDENTAL
Daniel Pipes
The Boston Herald, 13 septembre 2012
Adaptation française: Anne-Marie Delcambre de Champvert

 

Les attaques de mardi contre les missions américaines au Caire et à Benghazi s'inscrivent dans un schéma familier d'intimidations islamistes et d'apaisement de l'Occident qui remontent à l'affaire Salman Rushdie en 1989. La réponse veule [* littéralement "supine" qui vient du latin supinus, couché sur le dos (NDLT)] de l'administration Obama à l'assassinat des diplomates américains augmente la probabilité d'autres agressions de ce genre.

 

La crise Rushdie a éclaté soudainement quand le chef de l'Iran, l'ayatollah Khomeiny, a émis une condamnation à mort d'un romancier pour avoir écrit un roman réaliste magique, Les Versets sataniques, déclarant que le livre était "contre l'Islam, le Prophète et le Coran." Cet incident a été suivi par une longue liste d'agressions similaires – concernant une frise sculptée du prophète Mahomet , la frise de la cour suprême des USA en 1997, un dirigeant évangélique américain Jerry Falwell en 2002, Newsweek en 2005, les caricatures danoises en 2006, le pape Benoît XVI également en 2006, le prédicateur de Floride Terry Jones en 2010, et les soldats américains en Afghanistan au début de 2012. Dans chacun de ces cas, ce qui est perçu comme insulte à l'islam conduit à des actes de violence, parfois contre les Occidentaux mais le plus souvent parmi les musulmans eux-mêmes.
 
En effet, l'incident de 2010 a causé quelque 19 morts en Afghanistan, ce qui incite David Goldman, alors au magazine First Things, à observer qu' «un fou ayant une allumette et une copie du Coran peut faire plus de dégâts dans le monde musulman qu'un bus rempli de kamikazes pour des attentats-suicide….». Quelle est la valeur monétaire des dégâts causés par une édition de poche usagée du Coran? " Goldman a spéculé sur la façon dont les services de renseignement pourraient s'inspirer de Jones et, pour quelques dollars, semer l'anarchie généralisée.
 
Jusqu'à présent, le spasme de violence de 2012 a donné lieu à quatre morts américains, avec plus peut-être qui vont suivre. Jones (avec sa "journée internationale du jugement de Mahomet" ) et Sam Bacile (qui peut-être n'existe pas, mais est accusé d'avoir créé la vidéo anti-islamique qui a principalement inspiré cette violence de ce 11 septembre 2012) peuvent non seulement causer des décès à volonté, mais ils peuvent aussi mettre des bâtons dans les roues des relations américano-égyptiennes et même devenir un critère déterminant dans une élection présidentielle américaine.

 

Quant au gouvernement Obama: en agissant avec son [désir d']apaisement et son mode apologétique habituels, il a fait retomber la faute sur les critiques envers l'islam. "L'ambassade des Etats-Unis au Caire condamne les efforts continus déployés par des individus malavisés pour heurter les convictions religieuses des musulmans …. Nous rejetons fermement les actions commises par ceux qui abusent du droit universel à la liberté d'expression pour blesser les convictions religieuses d'autrui." La secrétaire d'Etat américaine Hillary Clinton ("Les Etats-Unis déplorent tout effort en vue de dénigrer les croyances religieuses d'autrui») et Barack Obama («les États-Unis rejettent les efforts visant à dénigrer les croyances religieuses d'autrui») ont confirmé le mouvement de [lâche] recul initial.
 
Le candidat présidentiel républicain Mitt Romney à juste titre a rétorqué que «C'est scandaleux que la première réponse de l'administration Obama ne fut pas de condamner les attaques effectuées contre nos missions diplomatiques, mais de sympathiser avec ceux qui ont mené les attaques." Cet argument a des implications très importantes, non pas tant pour les élections (l'Iran est la question clé de politique étrangère là) mais parce qu'une telle faiblesse incite les islamistes à attaquer à nouveau, à la fois pour faire cesser définitivement la critique de l'islam et imposer un aspect de la charia, ou loi islamique, à l'occident.
 
Terry Jones, Sam Bacile et leurs imitateurs futurs savent comment aiguillonner les musulmans pour les pousser à la violence, embarrasser les gouvernements occidentaux, et faire bouger l'histoire. En réponse, les islamistes savent exploiter Jones, et les autres. Le seul moyen d'arrêter ce cycle est pour les gouvernements de se tenir fermement à ce principe: «Les citoyens ont la liberté d'expression, ce qui implique notamment le droit d'insulter et de gêner. Les autorités protègeront ce droit. Les musulmans ne jouissent pas de privilèges spéciaux, mais sont soumis aux mêmes règles de liberté de parole que tout le monde. Laissez-nous tranquilles. "

MORSI, MUSLIM BROTHERS, & THE CAIRO EMBASSY ASSAULT

 

 Contents:

 

Articles:

Egypt’s Veiled Islamic Rivalry

No One Puts Morsi in a Corner

Muslims Need To Find A Better Way To Protest

 

On Topic Links

A Raw Salafist Power Play

Egypt's Interpol Seeks Warrant Against Anti-Islam Filmmakers

Demanding justice from Libya, Egypt and Pakistan

Amending Treaty With Israel 'A Matter Of Time

 

 

EGYPT’S VEILED ISLAMIC RIVALRY

Tony Badran,

NOW Lebanon, September 20, 2012

 

The Obama administration is insisting that the assault on the US Embassy in Egypt, and the subsequent riots and attacks elsewhere in the Middle East, were “absolutely” about an obscure film, The Innocence of Muslims, that to date has only appeared in highly abridged form. Meanwhile, critics of the administration are blaming this week’s violence on a policy of appeasement. The truth is, a better guide to the causes of the recent assault on the US Embassy can be found in the public spat between a Salafist preacher and Egyptian movie star, Ilham Shahin.
 
Shahin, a famous Egyptian actress who was staunchly supportive of former President Hosni Mubarak during last year’s revolution that eventually toppled him, was recently accused by a Salafist preacher of “adultery” over some romantic scenes she’d been in. The attack on the Egyptian film star raised fears about the clout of radical Islamic forces in post-Mubarak Egypt. Where was Egypt’s newly elected president from the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammad Morsi, in this important debate? To the ire of the Salafists, Morsi asked his spokesman to call the actress and express his full support.
 
This episode highlighted the rivalry that exists between Morsi and, more broadly, the Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand, and the Salafists on the other. What we witnessed last week with the siege of the US Embassy in Cairo, with all its violence and demagogy, was an expression of this simmering rivalry. In other words, despite the appearance of a showdown between Islamic societies and the West, it was rather a classic manifestation of local inter-Arab power politics.
 
There’s a perception in Egypt, one that extends beyond the Salafists to secular nationalist and left-liberal circles, that Morsi has a de facto agreement with Washington. Former editor of al-Dustour Ibrahim Issa summed up this view last week. The unwritten agreement, Issa wrote, involves a commitment on the part of Morsi to maintain relations with Israel and safeguard its security, including keeping Hamas on a leash and under Egypt’s umbrella. It also involves containing the Salafists and protecting the Copts.
 
Put differently, Morsi risks being regarded as the Muslim Brotherhood version of Mubarak. This makes him a vulnerable target for Salafist populism. As several analysts have pointed out, it was Morsi’s Salafist opponents who had called for moving on the US Embassy well before news of the video had even surfaced.
 
These groups saw an opening to embarrass the Egyptian president by outbidding him on Muslim causes, thereby presenting him with a choice of either standing up for the prophet of Islam, or for his relations with the US, and thus appear as another American quisling like Mubarak.
 
That this indeed was the underlying dynamic was evident in the back and forth between Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood politicians. For instance, Jamal Saber, campaign manager for Salafist politician and one-time presidential candidate Hazem Abu Ismail, chided the Brotherhood for wishing to deal with the matter “only on a political basis.” Stated differently, Saber was contending that the Brotherhood was prioritizing politics—i.e., diplomatic ties with the US—over the honor of the prophet.
 
In contrast to what Saber described as Morsi’s accommodation, Mamdouh Ismail, vice president of the Salafist al-Asala party, claimed that “the Salafist call was the strongest Islamic entity defending the prophet.” Another official in the Salafist al-Nour party noted that he offered the Brotherhood's leadership an opportunity to participate in the rally, but they never responded. The Salafist were attacking Morsi’s Islamic credentials.
 
The response of officials from the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party was essentially to charge that the protests were aimed at “embroiling” the government—read: the Brotherhood—in a diplomatic crisis with the US. This retort and Morsi’s delayed, or initial lack of, response to the assault on the embassy suggest that the Egyptian president may have tried to have it both ways. On the one hand, he could not simply cede the platform of Islamic pride to the Salafists. On the other hand, he cannot have them sabotage his relationship with the US.
 
Indeed, there are other landmines that the Salafists planted for Morsi in the lead-up to the attack on the embassy. As the Algerian daily al-Jaza’ir News put it in a sharp news analysis piece,  the scene at the US Embassy was merely one “battleground between the Salafists and the Muslim Brothers.” Since Morsi has assumed office, the two sides have clashed on a host of issues ranging from the position on Islamic law to standing by the actress Ilham Shahin.
 
However, as al-Jaza’ir News noted, “The most important arena of conflict is the military operations conducted by the Egyptian Army in order to purge the Sinai of Islamist extremists.” This was in reference to the operation that Morsi conducted in the wake of an attack in Sinai last month that killed 16 Egyptian border guards.
 
Egyptian policy in the Sinai is a highly sensitive issue since it is seen as perhaps the defining marker of the difference between the new government and the Mubarak regime. Hazem Abu Ismail, the Salafist figure, contended that Morsi's maneuver in Sinai, dubbed Operation Eagle, was illegal. Perhaps even more significantly, none other than Ayman al-Zawahiri also attacked Morsi for the Sinai campaign. Zawahiri’s criticism preceded the assault on the US Embassy during the Cairo demonstrations, where his brother Mohammad was notably present. 
Zawahiri lashed out at Morsi in a statement timed to coincide with the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, charging that his government was “guarding Israel’s borders.” He then called on the “honorable, free officers in the Egyptian Army, and they are many, not to be guards for Israel’s borders, or defend its borders, and not to partake in the siege of our people in Gaza.”
 
Zawahiri’s language unmistakably hearkens back to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s tirade against Mubarak during the Gaza war of 2008-09. Nasrallah similarly appealed to the officers of the Egyptian armed forces, not to “guard the borders of Israel” and to open the Rafah crossing.
 
The Salafists, therefore, have systematically sought to paint Morsi as the reincarnation of Mubarak. Their move was calculated to show him as someone lacking Islamic credentials, an American lackey, and an upholder of the previous regime’s relationship with Israel. What’s more, it followed a well-established tradition in Arab politics. Throughout the twentieth century, Arab states and political actors have framed their various civil wars and struggles for power as a fight against external enemies, be they Britain, Israel or the US.
 
Attacking the US Embassy was a perfect way to embroil Morsi—the equivalent of a bank shot in a game of pool. The anti-Islam video was just an instrument that served these local dynamics. The new Egyptian political class was simply conducting politics as usual. If the US is going to navigate the terrain of post-Arab Spring politics, it needs to recognize these dynamics of inter-Islamist and inter-Arab competition for power and prestige. (Top)

______________________________________________________________

NO ONE PUTS MORSI IN A CORNER

Steven A. Cook

Council on Foregin Relations, September 18, 2012

 

Last week after the attack on the U.S. embassy in Cairo, American officials, political candidates, and pundits were asking, “Where is Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi? How come he hasn’t made a strong statement about the attacks on our embassy? Why has he been so elusive?” After a couple of days, Morsi did release a statement, but it was equivocal at best, falling well short of what Washington and the policy community deemed necessary. Yet from Morsi’s perspective it was the politically rational thing to do. Indeed, there are no easy answers to this question except to say: given what is at stake in Egypt broadly and, in particular, for Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian president was never going to meet Washington’s expectations to denounce the protests in the way that satisfied Americans.

 

I am not sure whether these expectations are a function of a blind spot because the United States is the big kid on the block or because of an unacknowledged neocolonial strain that permeates the American foreign policy establishment (to wit, the oft used “We must get Egypt right,” circa March 2011). I hope it is the former, but I fear it is the latter. Either way, Americans consistently fail to recognize that Arabs have their own politics and have the ability to calculate their own interests independently of what Washington demands. As a result, whenever a crisis erupts that presents Egyptian leaders with a choice of kowtowing to Washington or protecting their political position at home, domestic politics will win virtually every time. There continues to be an odd cognitive dissonance affecting much of Washington when it comes to Egypt: There is recognition of the major changes that have occurred since February 2011, but there is a desire to do business pretty much as usual. The problem is that business pretty much as usual was based on a deal with authoritarians who agreed to carry Washington’s water in exchange for political support, diplomatic recognition, and aid. That deal greatly narrowed the constituencies that Mubarak and Sadat before him had to please.

 

Morsi, in contrast to his predecessors, has a more complex and multi-layered challenge to ensuring and maintaining domestic political support. To be sure, the Brothers had a significant edge over other groups in a more open political environment given their 80-year head start, credibility, and vision, all of which have helped Morsi to consolidate power. Still he is not master of the Egyptian political universe—at least, not yet. He still has to deal with the remnants of the old order, legions of which make up Egypt’s vast bureaucracy, a police/intelligence apparatus that distrusts the President and the Muslim Brotherhood, and a weak but dedicated opposition. And even though Egypt’s electoral outcomes (parliamentary and presidential) suggest that a lot of people like the Brotherhood’s answers about how Egyptian government and society should look and function, they are not the only answers.

 

Indeed, since Mubarak’s fall, the most dynamic part of the Egyptian political spectrum has been the Islamist one. Lest anyone has forgotten, over the last 18 months, the sheikh of al Azhar, Ahmed el Tayyeb, has weighed in on debates concerning both important issues of the day and Egypt’s future trajectory in forceful ways. In response to the “Innocence of Muslims” and the attack on the U.S. embassy, Tayyeb called for an international ban on attacks on Islam. Salafis of varying stripes have also engaged in the debate about Egypt’s future and the Nour Party, which represents part of Egypt’s Salafist movement, is a potentially powerful political competitor to the Brothers’ own Freedom and Justice Party.

 

The embassy protests were a response to the call of a Salafi preacher, Wesam Abdel Warith, for Egyptians to defend Islam. Indeed, within the debate about the institutions of the Egyptian state, the best means to achieve social justice, and Egypt’s place in the region, is a competition over who speaks for Islam. This is fraught political territory for the Muslim Brothers because if they don’t manage these debates and challenges correctly, they leave themselves open to the kind of ontological attacks that the Brotherhood leveled against Sadat and Mubarak. It would not have been unreasonable for the Salafis to expose the Brothers as not Muslim enough and bad nationalists if Morsi had responded to the protests in the way that Washington demanded.

 

As I have written before, it is going to be some time before Egypt sorts itself out. The Egyptian political arena is ideologically rich and thus highly contested, especially in a new, more open environment. As a result, it is important for observers to understand Egyptian foreign policy from the “inside-out,”—in other words, foreigners need to be cognizant of the Egyptian president’s domestic political imperatives and the complexities associated with navigating Egypt’s political arena. It’s banal to say that context matters, but Egypt is too important to react in a way that puts Morsi in a corner by making demands he cannot possibly meet. (Top)

___________________________________________________________

 

MUSLIMS NEED TO FIND A BETTER WAY TO PROTEST

Mirette F. Mabrouk

Egypt Independent, September 20, 2012

 

In 1987, the American artist Andres Serrano won an award from the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art for his photograph entitled “Immersion (Piss Christ).” It depicted a small plastic crucifix submerged in what appeared to be a yellow liquid. Serrano later said the liquid was his own urine.

 

The photograph wasn’t displayed in public for another two years, and when it was, it predictably set off a storm among devout Christians. Complicating what was already a volatile issue was the small matter that the US$15,000 award had been partly sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, a United States government agency that offers support and funding for artistic projects. In other words, the US taxpayer had helped fund a picture of Christ in a glass of urine.

 

There was an outcry throughout the US — Serrano received hate mail and death threats and, when the photograph was exhibited abroad, it was vandalized both in Australia and France.

But no one died. The US embassy was not torched in either country, despite the American government being a sponsor of the work.

 

Western galleries and cinemas are full of art and films denigrating Christ, God and various other tenets of the Christian faith. Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” offered what many thought was an incredibly unflattering portrait of Jewish characters but while there was much anger, irate Jews did not scale his garden walls setting fire to his shrubbery. Or put a bounty on his head.

 

Last week, US embassies were attacked in Benghazi, in Cairo, in Tunis and Khartoum. While the facts remain unclear, it appears that the attacks were originally instigated by Salafis, hardline Muslims with their own agendas. What is clear is that the storming of the embassy in Libya led to the deaths of four people, among them the ambassador, Christopher Stevens, by all accounts an Arabist who was attached to Libya and its people.

 

The initial reason given for the attacks was that Muslims were livid over a film, “Innocence of Muslims,” that mocked the Prophet Mohamed, allegedly made by an Israeli-American named Sam Bacile. It later transpired that the film is little more than a trailer with astonishingly bad production values and the actors involved claimed they had been duped, not realizing they were making a film about Islam. And according to reports Bacile is apparently Californian, an Egyptian Copt, with a criminal record to boot.

 

By now it has become a cliche to say that the riots weren’t really about the film, but rather about other domestic grievances. This is almost certainly true; there are multiple facets as to who was demonstrating and why, but that’s another discussion. For the purposes of this discussion, however, one fact is very clear: there is no doubt that the film produced precisely the reaction that its makers must have intended. Once again, Muslims around the world reacted violently to someone expressing an opinion which runs contrary to theirs. In Egypt, Islamist President Mohamed Morsy, the first Egyptian president who actually has to take public opinion into consideration, played populist politics.

 

Assessing that parliamentary elections might be around the corner, he pandered to popular opinion. It took him over a day to denounce the attacks in Cairo. Egypt’s consul general in New York tweeted that the president had asked that the American authorities take legal action against the filmmakers. This move could only be a populist one since the president must be perfectly well aware that there are no legal measures to be taken. The first amendment of the American constitution protects freedom of expression and religion. Hate speech may be reviled, but it’s legal. The only exception is if the speech is likely to directly incite violence.

 

The timing of the attacks is horrific (or excellent, depending on one’s viewpoint), coming as they do on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks and so close to the American presidential elections. There are few things which limit an administration’s ability to exercise diplomatic leeway like an election. And apart from the abhorrent nature of the attacks, they have handed Islamophobes cutlery and a napkin. The Arab Spring, they say, has accomplished nothing more than exposing the true, barbaric face of religious extremism. The eyes of the world are upon us and we’re not a pretty sight. While the situation is anything but simple, there are a few facts that we need to grasp.

 

The first is that no one owes us anything. Non-Muslims do not have to automatically understand, or appreciate, that some Muslims are so devout that they would die, or worse, kill, for their religion and their Prophet.

 

The second is that holding governments responsible for the actions of individuals is both reductive and counter-productive. Every time there is an Islamist terrorist, we expect non-Muslims to understand and appreciate that these are the actions of an isolated fanatic few, from among a global population of 1.6 billion Muslims. If one follows this line of reasoning, why would we hold the United States ransom for the actions of a convicted criminal? Or indeed, for any Islamophobic speech, incident or film? If the National Endowment for the Arts gave a prize to a photograph depicting Christ submerged in urine in a country where Christians make up approximately 75 percent of the population, what entitles Muslims to demand the criminalization of what they consider to be blasphemy?

 

And finally, no one is suggesting that we don’t make a stand. When the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten printed 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet in 2005, the Pakistanis bombed the Danish Embassy. The Syrians, Lebanese and Iranians, among others, started fires at embassies in their countries. In Egypt, we stopped buying Danish butter — a far better idea.

 

Objection and protest is often at its most effective when it is non-violent, as proved by Gandhi and the US civil rights movement. If Muslims object to any form of misrepresentation they have a duty to object. They also have a duty to do so in any number of ways which will not insult the faith they treasure. It is doubtful that any of those perpetrating violence to defend the Prophet’s honor remember that he insisted on not harming or insulting those who had harmed or insulted him.

 

In less esoteric terms, Muslims have a duty to object in way which will not bring the roof crashing down on the heads of Muslim minorities. We do not have a monopoly on vilification. And the sooner we develop thicker skins and start dealing with the fact the better it will be, for everyone.

 

Mirette F. Mabrouk is a non-resident fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at The Brookings Institution. (Top)

On Topic

  • Gatestone Institute, September 20, 2012
    Michael J. Totten

A Raw Salafist Power Play

  • Egypt Independent, September 19, 2012
    Al-Masry Al-Youm

Amending Treaty With Israel 'A Matter Of Time'

  • Egypt Independent, September 20, 2012
    Al-Masry Al-Youm

Egypt's Interpol Office Seeks Warrant Against Anti-Islam Filmmakers

  • Washington Times, September 19, 2012
    Senator Rand Paul

Demanding justice from Libya, Egypt and Pakistan

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