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August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘freedom of speech’

A New ‘Arab Spring’ in Egypt Aimed at Wiping out Radical Islam

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Egypt is implementing an unprecedented campaign to rid Muslim mosques of radical Muslim Brotherhood Islamists by prohibiting 55,000 unlicensed clerics from preaching in mosques, the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsa reported.

Religious Endowments Minister Dr. Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said, “The ministry is in the process of forming a committee to monitor what is happening in the larger mosques and ensure that da’wa [proselytizing] there does not transgress the boundaries into political or partisan work, with any official found guilty of this being immediately held to account.”

“Mosques are for da’wa, not politics,” he added.

He maintained that the move is not aimed against Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni religious institution in Egypt. “This decision is to stop non-Azhar graduates from preaching in government and civil mosques,” he explained. “The Ministry of Awqaf does not ban anybody based on their political identity . . . but we want mosques, da’wa, and worship to be based on the moderate ideology of Al-Azhar.”

In other words, the new Egyptian military regime is making a bold bid to expel incitement from mosques. Egypt, unlike Israel, has the privilege of protecting the country from those trying to overthrow the government because it does not have to be a slave to “freedom of speech” principles that has become more and more accepted in some Western countries as protecting the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre. U.S. Supreme Court Felix Frankfurter used that phrase in an opinion that drew the line between freedom of speech and a danger to the public.

Cairo also was forced to relent a bit, postponing its new policy until October 1 in thousands of small, one-room neighborhood mosques.

Since the military coup that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi, the new regime has arrested more than 2,000 Islamist activists and has arrested most of the Muslim Brotherhood‘s senior leaders. Morsi has been jailed on charges of incitement and involvement with violence, and other leaders have been charged with murder and terrorism.

The similarities between events in the rebellion against Hosni Mubarak and the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood regime are chilling.

In both cases, police and security forces killed approximately 1,000 opponents.

In both cases, the Obama administration turned its back on Mubarak and Morsi, whom it had embraced after backing the ouster of Mubarak, a former ally.

The new regime essentially has done exactly what Mubarak did – outlawing the Muslim Brotherhood. Mubarak did so officially, although the party maintained a tiny faction of two dozen legislators in a 500-plus member parliament. The new regime has simply pulled the carpet under the feet of the leaders, and military authorizes are considering banning the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, the Jordan Times reported.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not giving up so easily. A suicide bomber last Thursday attacked a convoy of the Interior Ministry, killing himself, a bystander and wounding 20 others. However, Egyptians have grown tired of the instability and are suffering from a dismal economy, two factors that have lent more popular support to getting rid of radical Islamists.

The new Egyptian policy could be the beginning of a new Arab Spring movement for real democracy, but Amnesty International already is insisting that Egypt play by Western rules. It has called for an investigation into security forces’ violence and violations of free speech.

That is absolutely true, of course. So far, no Western country, with the questionable exception of the United States, has found a “democratic” way to deal with anti-democratic fundamentalists, as Europeans are discovering, possibly all too late to stem the riding radical Islamic influence in most of its countries.

A small but significant example of Europe’s inability to stop the rising tide of radical Islam is the furious debate over a Parliament member’s private bill to prohibit wearing “a garment or other object” intended primarily to obscure their face in public.

Britain hosts nearly 3 million Muslims, a sizeable and growing minority.

Muslim leaders are outraged at Birmingham Metropolitan College’s announcement last week that it will ban Islamic face-veil, or niqab, inside its campus,

“It upsets me that we are being discriminated against,” a 17-year-old Muslim student at who did not want to be named, told The London Telegraph. “It’s disgusting. It is a personal choice and I find it absolutely shocking that this has been brought in at a college in Birmingham city center when the city is so multicultural and so many of the students are Muslim.

Canada Forces Chabad to Ban Radical-Islam Critic Pamela Geller

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Toronto area police figuratively twisted the arm of a Chabad synagogue rabbi to cancel a scheduled appearance of radical Islam whistleblower Pamela Geller, who last month also was yanked from a speaking appearance  at a New York synagogue.

The latest politically correct censorship keeps Geller out of  the Chabad Thornhill synagogue in suburban Toronto, where she was due to speak next Monday.

Geller has campaigned against the Islamization of America, and she has been behind the anti-jihad signs that were posted in the New York’s subway system.

The salt in the wound inflicted by the Toronto police ban is that it was instituted by none other than the hate crimes unit of the police. Preaching against hate is grounds for a hate crime in the New Age New Speak.

And it just so happens that the Chabad synagogue Rabbi Mendel Kaplan is the same rabbi who serves as police chaplain.

Therefore, according to the York Regional Police Department’s logic, Geller’s appearance at the synagogue where he is rabbi “would place him in conflict with the values of our organization, which support a safe, welcoming and inclusive community for all.”

That is New Age talk for a “safe, welcoming and exclusive community for all” who are not included, such as Geller.

Police deny that they “threatened” to remove Rabbi Kaplan as police chaplain if he were to allow Geller to speak, but a York Regional Police spokesman told the Toronto Sun that if she spoke at the synagogue, “Then we’d have to reassess our relationship with [him].”

That is not a threat in New Speak. It is a “hint.”

The Jewish Defense League has rescheduled Geller to speak somewhere else in the city, but the police have not yet said she cannot appear.

The Canadians United against Terror group is launching an “anti-bullying” campaign and will picket York Regional Police headquarters Wednesday evening.

They have support from the capital’s newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen.

It wrote in an editorial last week, “The York Regional Police department should be ashamed. ….Insp. Ricky Veerappan, who heads up the force’s so-called Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bureau, … told a reporter, “Some of the stuff that Ms. Geller speaks about runs contrary to the values of York Regional Police and the work we do in engaging our communities…..

“Veerappan’s conduct is appalling. Canadians expect police to respect Charter provisions protecting freedom of speech. They are not supposed to act as censors at the behest of a particular community.”

By the way, Veerappan is a member of  York Region’s Muslim community, which wanted to bar Geller from the country altogether, according to the Citizen.

Geller is familiar with censorship by those who not politically correct.

The Great Neck Synagogue in suburban New York last month canceled her appearance because of “security concerns.”

The synagogue explained to members on its website, “As the notoriety and media exposure of the planned program this Sunday have increased, so has the legal liability and potential security exposure of our institution and its member families.

“In an era of heightened security concerns, it is irresponsible to jeopardize the safety of those who call Great Neck Synagogue home, especially our children, even at the risk of diverting attention from a potentially important voice in the ongoing debate.”

Is there a concern for security stemming from the spreads of radical Islam in America?

Geller said in response to the ban at the Great Neck synagogue, “It is a very sad day for freedom-loving peoples when fascist tactics trump free speech.”

Islamist Assassinations in the West

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Terrorism broadly takes two forms: against random individuals who happen to be at a market place or on a bus at the wrong time; or against specific individuals because of who they are. The latter in turn divides into two: against broad categories of people (the military, Jews, people who wear eyeglasses) and against specific public figures, either individuals or institutions. In effect, these last are assassinations (defined by Merriam-Webster as “to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons”).

Horrific as the first two genres are, assassinations are the most terrifying and effective. Whereas the first two can happen to anyone and have the effect of creating a universal but vague dread, the third focuses on a small pool of targets and sends a specific signal to others not to follow in their footsteps. In general, therefore, assassinations inspire the most consequential fear, intimidate the most, and have the greatest consequences.

Actual public Western victims of Islamist violence have included:

1980: Ali Akbar Tabataba’i, Iranian dissident, in the United States* 1980: Faisal Zagallai, Libyan dissident, in the United States 1990: Rashad Khalifa, Egyptian religious innovator, in the United States* 1990: Meir Kahane, Israel politician of American origins, in the United States* 1991: Hitoshi Igarashi, Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses* 1991: Ettore Capriolo, Italian translator of The Satanic Verses 1993: William Nygaard, Norwegian publisher of The Satanic Verses 2004: Theo van Gogh, Dutch artist* 2010: Kurt Westergaard, Danish cartoonist 2010: Lars Vilks, Swedish artist 2010: Jyllands-Posten, Danish newspaper 2012: Charlie Hebdo, French satiric magazine 2013: Lars Hedegaard, Danish historian and political analyst Notes: * indicates a fatality. Mu’ammar al-Qaddafi, head of the Libyan government, was an Islamist in 1980. I do not list here victims of Muslim but non-Islamist assassinations, such as Malcolm X in 1965. For the record, a Palestinian Christian killed Robert Kennedy in 1968.

Statistical comments:

(1) Other than one isolated attack in 2004, this listing of 13 inexplicably divides into two distinct periods, seven in 1980-93 and five in 2010-13.

(2) Listed by their identity, the victims include 8 connected to culture and the arts, 3 political figures, 1 religious one, and 1 analyst. Of the eight cultural attacks, 4 involved cartoons, 3 Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, and one a movie, Submission.

(3) Geographically, 8 took place in Europe, 4 in the United States, and one in Japan. Of the European cases, three took place in tiny Denmark. Britain and Germany are conspicuously missing from this list. Oddly, the 4 American instances took place in either 1980 or 1990.

(4) State involvement can be discerned only in the first 3 cases (Iranian, Libyan, and Saudi, respectively).

(5) In terms of deadliness, 5 attacks led to a fatality, 8 did not.

And a personal note by way of conclusion: the Feb. 5 attack on Hedegaard – a friend and colleague at the Middle East Forum – inspired me to compile this listing in the hopes that aggregating these loathsome crimes will help wake more Westerners to the danger within.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

What Kerry Doesn’t Know About Democracy and Islam

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

In practically his first outing as secretary of state abroad, John Kerry made some remarkable statements in a meeting with young Germans.

The main thing being widely quoted is his statement, “In America, you have a right to be stupid if you want to be… And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that. Now, I think that’s a virtue. I think that’s something worth fighting for.”

Of course, there’s a right to be stupid in America! Indeed, just this week it’s been expanded into having a right to be simultaneously stupid and secretary of defense!

To be fair, Kerry’s statement was in the context of defending, albeit not very well, freedom of speech in America. (Kerry was obviously referencing President Barack Obama’s U.N. speech in his own talking points.) How Kerry defends it is what’s scary and dysfunctional.

He was basically saying: Yeah, we know that all these dumb people who don’t agree with us are wrong but we let them talk anyway because it works out okay in the end since nobody listens to them anyway. While he used the words “virtue” and “worth fighting for” those sentiments seem to be clumped onto the end for form’s sake. Kerry certainly doesn’t say–or understand–that people have rights and government has limits. Instead, he talks as if the ruling elite tolerates such fools because it’s so nice.

That is remarkably different from a more traditional defense of American liberty like: We have seen how in a free market place of ideas the best standpoints generally triumph, people are happier, and prosperity ensues. Or, we believe that people are endowed with rights by their creator and no one can or should take them away.

Now that standpoint is really “something worth fighting for” and Americans in the institution now run by Chuck Hagel have been doing so for a couple of centuries. No American goes into battle to defend the right to be stupid.

Oh, wait! Kerry apparently does think so since, as he put it, showing his superior grasp of the English language: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

So, you have the right to be stupid but watch out because if you are you might end up in the armed forces fighting to defend the right to be stupid!

In contrast to a proper approach, Kerry makes the American system sound like letting the deranged walk the streets as homeless people, babbling incoherently but doing little harm. Sure, let them cling to their guns and religion while we smart people make all the decisions. He’s merely turning around a traditional left-wing critique of democracy that comes from Herbert Marcuse or Noam Chomsky, of “repressive tolerance.”

And that seems to be what Kerry and Obama really believe. Ironically, they are the modern-day equivalent of what used to be called right-wing reactionaries ruling a patriarchal society that consists of aristocrats and peasants.

Another feature of Kerry’s performance was displaying the Obama Administration propensity for apologizing. The question Kerry was answering came from a young German Muslim who merely asked him about his views on Islam. There was no criticism of the United States. It was an invitation to go into a riff about America as a great, tolerant place not to cringe and insist that outside of stupid people the United States America isn’t horribly “Islamophobic.”

Implied in Kerry’s response was the video that supposedly inspired the Benghazi attack. As you know, this claim is either discredited or, in the words of Kerry’s predecessor, supposedly doesn’t matter. On the verge of his visit to the Middle East, repeating the false notes of the new Obama era national anthem—America the Guilty—is not a good idea.

Kerry added that he’s reading a book entitled No God but God by Reza Aslan, which he gushingly praises and accepts as his source on Islam. There are, of course, many books on Islam and Kerry is free to read whatever he wants. Yet the choice of this particular one is also revealing.

Did Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department Violate the First Amendment?

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

The co-sponsorship by the Brooklyn College political science department of an anti-Israel hate fest, from which pro-Israel students were excluded, may have violated the First Amendment.

Had the event been sponsored only by student and outside private groups, their decision to exclude pro-Israel students and to prevent the distribution of anti-BDS leaflets would have been a private matter, that at worst may have violated the rules of the college. But the official co-sponsorship of the event by an academic department may have turned their exclusionary decisions into illegal “state action.”

For purposes of the First Amendment, the political science department is Brooklyn College, which is the City University of New York, which is the State of New York. It was the State of New York, therefore, that expelled pro-Israel students who wanted to distribute constitutionally protected leaflets and wanted to pose constitutionally protected political questions. Such state action violates the First Amendment and New York law.

Accordingly, the benighted action of the political science department in taking sides in the debate over boycotting Israeli academics and institutions, may now come back to haunt the City University of New York, which is taking this situation seriously. The Chancellor issued the following statement:

At last week’s event at Brooklyn College, sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine and the College’s Department of Political Science, allegations were made by members of the college community who attended that they were impeded from expressing views either orally or in writing. There were reports that some said they were asked without cause to leave the event. If this were true, it was wrong and we need to understand exactly what the circumstances were. At the request of President Karen L. Gould, I have asked General Counsel and Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Frederick P. Schaffer to quickly investigate these allegations. This investigation will be coordinated by CUNY’s Office of Legal Affairs, working with an independent consultant, and charged with reporting directly back to me.

There is, apparently, strong evidence to corroborate the accounts that pro-Israel students, especially those wearing yarmulkes or “looking” Jewish, were deliberately excluded, even though they secured written permission to attend. There is also corroboration of the accusation that pro-Israel students who managed to get into the event were thrown out when they refused to turn over to the organizers anti-BDS leaflets they wished to distribute. When these students complained to an official of the college, he reportedly replied that the anti-Israel students who were running the event were “calling the shots” and he could therefore do nothing. But once the political science department became involved as a co-sponsor, the students alone could not call the shots, when it comes to the First Amendment. The university assumed responsibility for assuring that the free speech of all students was equally protected. The First Amendment forbids the State of New York from discriminating against pro-Israel or anti-BDS speech, as it apparently did here.

What happened at Brooklyn College demonstrates the wisdom of keeping academic departments from sponsoring non-academic hate fests, such as the BDS event. When academic departments become selective sponsors, the constitutional rules change, because the imprimatur of the university—and thus the state—is placed on the event.

The radical anti-Israel students who arranged the BDS conference thought they had obtained a benefit from the political science department’s co-sponsorship—and perhaps they did in the short term. But in the long term, they may rue the day they persuaded the department to become involved in what should have been a student event. Now there may be legal consequences. The sword of co-sponsorship may have become a shield to protect the First Amendment rights of the students who were prevented from handing out anti-BDS leaflets and asking anti-BDS questions. I wonder if we will hear from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Times editorial board about these violations of freedom of speech!

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

Islam in the United States

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

John Walker Lindh is a citizen of the United States who was born in Washington, D.C. in the year 1981. Lindh was not born a MuslimHe converted when he was 16 years old and then traveled to Yemen in order to learn Arabic. In 2000, he traveled to Afghanistan and underwent an educational and training course in al-Farouq, an al-Qaeda training camp. He made contact with the organization of Mujahadeen in Pakistan, and was caught in 2001 in Afghanistan serving as a jihadist with the Taliban. He was convicted of fighting for an illegal organization and sentenced to twenty years in the Terre Haute prison in the state of Indiana.

In prison, Lindh continued to preach to his fellow prisoners and exhort them to be persistent in their jihad against the United States and the jihad to enforce Muslim Shari’a law on all of humanity. As a result, the prison authorities limited his participation in public prayer to only one time per week, on Friday. He appealed to the court, demanding to be allowed to participate in public prayer five times a day. The judge of the federal court, Jane Magnus-Stinson, found – contrary to the opinion of the prison authorities – that despite the fact that Lindh does not recognize the legality of the American court or the authority of her honor the judge, he nevertheless has the right to pray in public and to meet with his comrades five times every day, even if it means that the prison must beef up its security arrangements in order to accommodate his wishes.

This is not an isolated case. The United States has been driven for the past several years by “political correctness,” which censors any reference to a person’s faith, even if this faith instigates him to wage holy war against the United States. According to this approach, if someone claims that the United States is the “little Satan,”  Americans must accept this characterization as correct and legitimate, and if the American is uncomfortable with this, he should do some soul searching to ascertain the reason that caused the Other – who is clearly miserable, hungry and neglected because of the crimes of the United States – to regard him as Satan.

Political correctness is what dictates conduct in the highest echelons of leadership in the United States: most citizens of the country consider it to be unacceptable to say that President Obama comes from a Muslim family, and believe that it is not legitimate to refer  to Obama’s religion in any way. This is why the campaign against Obama that was based on this fact failed to prevent him from being re-elected.

The federal investigative bodies have also been seized by American political correctness; and two years ago, in keeping with instructions  from above, training programs for the FBI agents and other investigative agencies were changed, so that today, an interrogator is forbidden to relate to the religion or beliefs of someone under investigation, even if his faith or beliefs actually incite him  to murderous jihad against the state. Authorities of the state forbid the use of the expression “Islamic terror,” and laundered expressions such as “ideological violence” must be used instead.

The slaughter that  Major Nidal Malik Hasan perpetrated against his comrades at the Fort Hood base in Texas in order to prevent them from going to Afghanistan, is described by the authorities as “workplace violence.” For the adherents of political correctness, the fact that Hasan was in contact with Anwar Awlaki, the Yemeni-American terrorist who was subsequently eliminated, does not contradict the theory of political correctness that characterizes Islam as a religion of peace and love, hugs and kisses. “Islam” – so they believe – is based on the Arabic word “salam,” which means “peace,” because the superficiality that characterizes the American media discourages people from looking it up and discovering that the real meaning of the word “Islam” is “surrender” or “submission.”

Together with an American colleague, an attorney by the name of David Yerushalmi, I published an article about two years ago, “Shari’a and Violence in Mosques of the United States.”  This article is based on analysis of data and material that was collected in approximately one hundred mosques across the United States. Included in this material are two interesting pamphlets, in clear English. One is “40 Hadiths on Jihad” (a hadith is part of the Islamic oral tradition that relates to the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad). This and this booklet is a song of praise to jihad, to the jihadist and to his reward in the world to come. Jihad in this booklet is not against illness, poverty, neglect and corruption, and not even against the evil inclination, but against anyone who is not Muslim, and implicitly, every American who does not convert to Islam.

Blasphemy as a National Security Threat

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Spain has begun deportation proceedings against Imran Firasat, a Christian refugee from Pakistan, for making a documentary about Mohammed and thereby threatening the national security of Spain. If Firasat is deported back to Pakistan, he will face the death penalty proving that it’s a short step from the Spanish Inquisition to the Pakistani Inquisition.

The United States has a man sitting in prison for making another blasphemous movie, which the government spent weeks blaming for worldwide attacks on American embassies. And he isn’t the first man persecuted or prosecuted for offending Islam. Offending Islam has become a national security issue involving all levels of government. When Bubba the Love Sponge, a Tampa DJ, proposed to burn a Koran, the commander of the Afghanistan war contacted his girlfriend (who would later be stalked by Petraeus’ girlfriend) to contact the Mayor of Tampa to keep Bubba from burning a Koran. Instead of explaining how the American system works to the Lebanese temptress and her four-star general, the mayor wrote back that the city was working on it. That month 50 percent more Americans were killed in Afghanistan in the long slow death march of the war, but a Koran was not burned in Tampa. Mission accomplished.Muslims did not have to kill a great number of Americans to enforce blasphemy law in this country. Counting the various reactions to burnt Korans, rumors of a flushed Koran and assorted things of that nature, the number is still well below a hundred. Even counting every casualty in the war from September 11 onward, it took fewer deaths to make the United States give up on the Bill of Rights than it took to liberate it in the War of Independence.

But it’s not really about the deaths, if it were then the United States wouldn’t be senselessly squandering the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan to avoid offending the natives. It’s not the death of men that our leaders are worried about, but the death of stability.

Knowing that a hundred men will die today in car accidents does not alarm anyone, but knowing that somewhere a dozen men might die in a bomb explosion, anywhere and at any time, can bring a nations to its knees. That is the difference between predictable and unpredictable death. Predictable death makes it possible for most everyone to go about doing what they normally do. Unpredictable death however erodes daily order.

Blasphemy makes terrorism seem predictable. It delivers that false sense of control that is at the root of Stockholm Syndrome, the seductive illusion that the thug can be reasoned with and that we can restore control over our perilous environment by accepting responsibility for the enemy’s violence. If we meet a set of conditions then we will have peace. And what kind of lunatic wouldn’t want peace? The kind who needs to be deported or locked up in the name of peace.

When an entire country goes Stockholm then it is no longer interested in winning the war, only in surviving the peace. In a Stockholm country, national security consists of locking up anyone who can be blamed for sabotaging the peacemaking. The less peace there is, the more the peacemakers go on the hunt for “extremists” who are to blame for the lack of it. The more their vision of a better world fails, the more stern measures they must take against their own people. Peace is always one more denunciation of extremism away.

The same countries whose leaders have spent a century and a half blathering incessantly about a truly progressive order under international law have shown no ability to cope with the old-fashioned kind of war. They can quote verbatim the laws of war, but understand poorly that war makes its own laws. War’s simplest law is that you pick a pretext, any popular pretext, make your demands and then go on the attack. If the other side is foolish enough to meet your demands, then it has shown its weakness and must be attacked again and again.

Muslims have restored blasphemy prosecutions to the United States and Europe through violence. Like Khrushchev banging his shoe on the United Nations delegate desk, they did their best to convince the rest of the world that they were violently irrational and liable to do all sorts of things if their demands weren’t met. And their demands were met. Rather than going medieval on their asses, the civilized world instead went medieval on anyone who offended the medieval cult of Islam.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/daniel-greenfield/blasphemy-as-a-national-security-threat/2012/12/30/

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