Daily Briefing: Confronting Islamism on the Homeland (May 10, 2019)

Children in Philadelphia Muslim Society: “We Will Sacrifice Ourselves for Al-Aqsa” (Source: Memri/Youtube)

From Philasteen to Philadelphia: Muslim Youth Indoctrination on Full-Display in America:  Steven Emerson, IPT News, Apr. 30, 2019 — Young Muslim boys, dressed in traditional Palestinian garb, passionately lip-sync: “The blood of the martyrs is calling us. Paradise, men desire it. Revolutionaries, Revolutionaries … Sword and Text, oh free men.”
Migration And Terrorism: The United States Can Learn From Europe’s Mistakes: Sam Mullins, Commentary Magazine, Apr. 30, 2019 — When asked what kept him up at night in September 2018, Kevin McAleenan, then commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and now acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, replied “I’m concerned about potential terrorism threats attempting entry in the regional migration flow toward the U.S. southern border.”
Ending the Myth of the Poor Terrorist:  Claude Berrebi and Owen Engel, Tablet, Apr. 30, 2019 — Last week’s Easter Sunday bombing, targeting Christian worshipers in Sri Lanka, was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in modern history.
Stripping Away Lies to Expose a Painter’s Nazi Past:  Catherine Hickley, New York Times,  Apr. 10, 2019 — Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said last week that she would be taking down two oil paintings by Emil Nolde, an Expressionist whose work she greatly admires, from the walls of her office.

On Topic Links

Islamist Radicals and Nazis – Find the Differences:  David Israel, Jewish Press, May 1, 2019 — Tonight is Holocaust Memorial Day. We unite in remembering the millions of our Jewish family members who were butchered by the Nazis because they were Jews.
PLO: Mass murder of Christians by Muslims in Sri Lanka= Jewish Presence on Temple Mount:  Jewish Press, Apr. 30, 2019 — The PLO sees Jews visiting the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – as similar to Muslims massacring Christians in churches in Sri Lanka during Easter.
Qatar: ‘A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’: Bankrolling Islamism in Europe:  Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 9, 2019 — In October, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini visited Qatar, the “energy giant”, where he praised the emirate for “not sponsoring extremism anymore”. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Qatar, “the other Wahhabi state”, apparently is interested not only in its economic relationship with Europe, but also in exporting its brand of political Islam.
‘To understand what makes Israel tick today you must understand who Netanyahu is and how he became the man he is’: a Fathom Forum with Anshel Pfeffer:  May 2018, Video included — Question: What distinguishes your biography of Benjamin Netanyahu from the others that have been published in the last few years?

Steven Emerson
IPT News, Apr. 30, 2019Young Muslim boys, dressed in traditional Palestinian garb, passionately lip-sync:

“The blood of the martyrs is calling us. Paradise, men desire it.

Revolutionaries, Revolutionaries …

Sword and Text, oh free men.”

During the song, several children hold up a copy of the Quran.

“Until we liberate our lands, until reach our anchorages, and we crush the traitor.

… Oh, the winds of Paradise. Oh rivers of the martyrs, lads

My Islam calls whoever responds. Stand up, O righteous ones.”

Lyrics to the songs explicitly call on the next generation of Palestinian youth to embrace terrorism and glorify suicide bombers.

But these children are not performing in Ramallah or Gaza. This hate-filled song was played in Philadelphia and proudly broadcast on Facebook.

The Muslim American Society (MAS)’s Philadelphia chapter held an annual “Ummah Day” on April 17, featuring delegations of children representing several countries across the Middle East and North Africa. The event’s theme was advertised to focus on the “Golden age of Islamic science.”

Instead of focusing exclusively on the Islamic world’s scientific achievements, however, part of the day was devoted to showcasing children forced to embrace radical Islamist culture. And it’s more common than most people realize.

Last month, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) held a “workshop” entitled, “Palestine Will Be Free” at a mosque associated with MAS-Philadelphia. At least five AMP officials were part of a defunct network created by the Muslim Brotherhood in America called the “Palestine Committee.” It was tasked with helping Hamas politically and financially, court records show. An investigation by the Investigative Project on Terrorism also found that the AMP carries out tasks similar to the old Palestine Committee, including fundraising, propaganda and lobbying.

Like old Palestine Committee functions, AMP events often focus on ways to pressure Israel into absorbing all Palestinian refugees and their descendants, in an effort to destroy the Jewish state. For many American Islamist groups, the entire territory that comprises Israel and the Palestinian territories is considered Israeli occupied territory.

This mindset was on full display during the MAS-Philadelphia event, as children donned T-shirts with a map of Israel and the territories as a singular Palestinian entity. Denying Israel’s right to exist is a form of antisemitism.

MAS, which prosecutors say was founded in 1993 as the “overt arm” of the Muslim Brotherhood in America, has a long history of promoting violent incitement in the U.S. During its 2016 convention, MAS hosted Sheikh Mohammed Rateb Nabulsi – a Syrian imam who met with senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and sanctioned Palestinian suicide bombings. In 2017, Nabulsi was banned from Denmark as a “hate preacher.” Last year, he spoke at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., at a middle school near Orlando, and at the Islamic Center of Boca Raton… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Sam Mullins
Commentary Magazine, Apr. 30, 2019When asked what kept him up at night in September 2018, Kevin McAleenan, then commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and now acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, replied “I’m concerned about potential terrorism threats attempting entry in the regional migration flow toward the U.S. southern border.”

The fear that terrorists might try to infiltrate the United States’ southern border — whether by posing as asylum-seekers or by paying smugglers to sneak in undetected — is hardly new. The vulnerability of the border with Mexico to possible exploitation by terrorists has preoccupied law enforcement officials and others since at least 2002. Nevertheless, the issue has risen to prominence once again, as the Trump administration has sought to justify a range of tougher immigration measures — including a travel ban for select countries, separation and detention of migrant families, and the building of a multibillion-dollar wall along the Mexican border. The nature and extent of the threat, and whether the measures in question are necessary and proportionate, have been hotly contested, to say the least. In the meantime, a similar debate has unfolded on the other side of the Atlantic. However, a key difference is that it has now been clearly demonstrated that dozens of terrorists jumped at the opportunity to infiltrate recent irregular migration routes to Europe, directly resulting in numerous, bloody attacks — most notably the marauding jihadist assault on Paris in November 2015. We now also know more about the specific vulnerability’s terrorists were able to exploit, and the ways in which they have been detected. The United States can learn from this experience.

To begin with, we must look at the scale of migration flows and the capacity of receiving states to properly register and screen the incoming migrants. During the height of the crisis in Europe in 2015, more than a million migrants were recorded arriving by way of the Mediterranean Sea — an average of nearly 3,000 people per day. On two consecutive days in October, the number of arrivals exceeded 10,000. Frontline European states simply did not have the capacity to cope. Furthermore, the dysfunctional Dublin Agreement — which dictates that asylum claims must be processed in the first E.U. country in which migrants arrive — effectively created incentives for frontline European states not to register migrants because doing so would mean they would ultimately bear the burden of responsibility. Because many migrants also refused to cooperate, the authorities in Greece and Italy failed to register a significant proportion of new arrivals. Tens of thousands of people were able to enter Europe without being fingerprinted or checked against law enforcement databases. Foreign nationals who had never set foot in Europe before would be unlikely to be registered in European databases in any case, and for those coming from conflict zones — in particular Syria, which contributed the bulk of new arrivals — there were no viable opportunities for cooperation with the countries of origin. This combination of factors meant that during 2015 alone, more than 70 jihadist terrorists that we know of were able to infiltrate European states with relative ease.

The situation in the United States is clearly quite different. The last time the number of migrants apprehended at the southwestern border topped a million was back in 2006, and it has remained at less than half that since 2010. In Fiscal Year 2018, just under 400,000 migrants were apprehended, and there were perhaps 70,000 undetected unlawful entries. On the one hand, this is considerably fewer people than entered Europe in 2015, which was the year that most terrorists were able to infiltrate. On the other hand, these numbers are not insignificant. Moreover, following a surge in arrivals in 2019, McAleenan, (then still commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection), announced, “The system is well beyond capacity, and remains at the breaking point.”

Although this is concerning, there are two critical differences compared to what happened in Europe. First is the fact that most of the people traveling to America’s southern border do not come from countries with significant terrorism problems. This is important, because research has shown that “migrants stemming from terrorist-prone states … are indeed an important vehicle through which terrorism does diffuse.” In U.S. government terminology, “terrorist-prone states” are referred to as countries of “special interest” and migrants coming from such places as “special interest aliens.” Although the terms are only loosely defined, it appears to refer to any country where terrorists are known or suspected to have a significant presence and may enjoy a degree of safe haven. There is no definitive list, but as many as 63 countries have been designated as being of special interest based on these grounds. Crucially, special interest aliens make up only a fraction of migrants who travel by way of Mexico. According to Cato Institute researchers David Bier and Alex Nowrasteh, from 2007 to 2017, U.S. Border Patrol apprehended a total of 45,006 individuals from “special interest” countries. During 2016, when the highest number of special interest aliens entering the United States was recorded, this worked out to about two percent of all apprehensions. By comparison, more than 80 percent of migrant arrivals to Europe in 2015 would be classed as special interest aliens, fewer than one percent of whom were terrorists.

The second key difference between the United States and Europe is what happens when irregular migrants arrive at the border. In the United States, so-called “catch and release” policies do mean that significant numbers of those who claim asylum are allowed into the country while their claim is being processed — including women and children and those deemed to pose little threat to security or risk of absconding. Of course, some of these individuals abscond anyway. However, asylum applicants are also interviewed, fingerprinted, and evidently checked against the Terrorist Screening Database, which includes more than a million known or suspected terrorists. Furthermore, adult males are generally detained while their case is being processed, especially since a “zero tolerance” policy to illegal border crossing was announced in April 2018. This would be especially likely for special interest aliens… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Claude Berrebi and Owen Engel
Tablet, Apr. 30, 2019 Last week’s Easter Sunday bombing, targeting Christian worshipers in Sri Lanka, was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in modern history. The massacre, in which some 250 people were killed, showed signs of sophisticated coordination and planning and was quickly linked to the Islamic State, a group that, whatever role it is ultimately found to have played, is known to possess the technical expertise and operational network necessary to carry out this kind of attack. The bigger surprise for many has been the background of the nine Islamist terrorists, including one woman, who carried out the suicide bombings. Far from the common image of hardscrabble terrorists driven to desperate acts by their desperate lives, the Sri Lankan bombers were members of their country’s elite. “Most of the bombers are well-educated [and] come from economically strong families. Some of them went abroad for studies,” Sri Lanka’s junior defense minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, told a press conference. One suspected attacker went to law school in Australia while two others, brothers, grew up sons of a wealthy and well-established businessman.

Contrary to persistent myths surrounding terrorism, the background of the Sri Lankan attackers is closer to the norm than the exception. Researchers have been demonstrating for years that most terrorism is committed by individuals who are, on average, wealthier and better educated than the median level in their respective society. But going back to Sept. 11, 2001, when 19 radical Islamic terrorists from al-Qaida hijacked four commuter planes and attacked the United States, a false consensus began to form among American politicians and experts scrambling to confront this new threat, that linked terrorism to poverty, ignorance, and hopelessness. In 2002, President George W. Bush declared that America “fights against poverty because hope is an answer to terror.” His secretary of state, Gen. Colin Powell, agreed. “The root cause of terrorism does come from situations where there is poverty, where there is ignorance.” The Bush administration’s perceptions about terrorist roots was soon echoed by rival American politicians and leaders around the world.

Nearly two decades later, Americans still view terrorism as a serious threat, and terrorist attacks occur almost daily: in Sri Lanka, in the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict and elsewhere across South Asia and the Horn of Africa. Major terrorist operations have also been carried out by jihadist groups acting in the West who have attacked France, Germany, Spain, United States, United Kingdom and Holland among others. In the years between Sept. 11, 2001, and last week’s attack in Sri Lanka, most politicians have tempered their views on the roots of terrorism, but the idea that the phenomenon is based in poverty and ignorance persists.

Just over a month ago, a speech by the leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, was discovered that showed him expressing sympathy with Hamas suicide bombers. In the clip, he suggested that young men in Palestine turn to terror because of “hopelessness” and a lack of other options. At first glance, it seems logical that terrorism and hardship are intertwined. Wouldn’t the poor and desperate, who have less to lose, be more likely to engage in destructive activity? This line of thinking can be traced directly back to the traditional economic theory of crime, put forward by Nobel laureate economist Gary Becker, and the traditional economic theory of suicide, put forward by economists Daniel Hamermesh and Neal Soss. On the surface, it would seem to make sense that the same indicators for a propensity toward crime and suicide, namely a lack of resources or education, would also be found in the type of people prone to carry out a terrorist act, which is criminal and often suicidal. For politicians, the grouping of these three issues—poverty, poor education, and terrorism—makes it easy to solve the problem. If you reduce poverty or promote education, terrorism will drop. But reality does not cooperate with political expediency and most researchers and economists soundly refute the idea that terrorism is dependent on poverty and ignorance… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Catherine Hickley
New York Times, Apr. 10, 2019Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said last week that she would be taking down two oil paintings by Emil Nolde, an Expressionist whose work she greatly admires, from the walls of her office. Her decision, widely discussed in German media, was interpreted as a symbolic gesture: a belated official rejection of an artist who yearned for Adolf Hitler’s approval and thought that banishing Jews from the country was a good idea.

One of the works, “Breakers,” from 1936, shows crashing dark green waves against a fiery evening sky; the other, from 1915, depicts a flower garden. The decision to remove them came just a week after Felix Krämer, an art historian and Nolde expert, questioned in a newspaper article whether “the works of a committed Nazi are appropriate” in the chancellery.

Since the end of World War II, Nolde has been cherished by a broad public for his radiant landscapes and vibrantly colored flowers. But Nolde’s checkered biography has been whitewashed over the decades. Many Germans got to know Nolde as a victim of the Nazis; the exhibition will show that while his art was persecuted, the artist himself was not.

The Berlin show is based on new research that only became possible after a change of leadership at the Ada and Emil Nolde Foundation, which the painter created to manage his archive and to run a museum of his work. Christian Ring, who took over in 2013 and is one of the curators of the Berlin exhibition, started to become aware that it had been involved in reputation-laundering during preparations for a 2014 retrospective in Frankfurt.

He decided to open the archives, containing some 25,000 documents, to independent experts to conduct an examination of Nolde’s life and work under the Nazis. “It was time to put all our cards on the table,” Mr. Ring said in an interview.

Nolde was an ardent anti-Semite and a fanatical Nazi. Yet he was also condemned by the regime as a “degenerate” artist. After World War II, he embellished and dramatized his victimhood, and played down his complicity in his letters and interviews with journalists, and this was the story that caught on.

When Hitler came to power in 1933, Nolde was 65 and established as one of the most successful artists of the Weimar Republic, celebrated as a pioneer of “new German art.” A swastika banner hung over his home near the Danish border in 1933, and Nolde joined the Nazi party in 1934. He hoped to be appointed an official state artist and had many fans in the upper ranks of the National Socialists. Yet he also faced accusations that his work was “alien to the people,” and Hitler hated it, describing him in 1933 as “that pig Nolde.”

Nolde’s work “The Life of Christ” was the centerpiece of the infamous 1937 “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich, mounted by the Nazis to defame and ridicule art considered “un-German.” In 1941, the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts imposed a requirement that Nolde had to have any sales or exhibitions authorized… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters:  Shabbat Shalom!