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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

Abduction Just Part of ‘Glorious’ Week for Islam 

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Australian commentator Andrew Bolt, a columnist for the Herald Sun tabloid in Melbourne, is no stranger to controversy. His strident criticism of Islam and his conservative stance on domestic issues (and, it should be noted, his consistent support of Israel) has won him the scorn of the left-hand side of the local political map.

But let it not be said that Bolt is one to criticise without citation. While it would be hard to argue that Bolt has any soft spot for the Religion of Peace, he certainly takes pains to back his assertion that the Religion of Peace is perhaps the deadliest force on the planet today.

So for those of you who thought the gallant abduction of Jewish children was the Islamic highlight of the week, here is an excerpt from Bolt’s post, What is Wrong with this Religion? 

In Kenya:  At least 34 people have been killed after unidentified armed men stormed the coastal city of Mpeketoni, setting hotels, restaurants, banks and government offices on fire and spraying bullets in streets.

Kenyan army spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir …  blamed al-Shabaab, Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked militant group… “They were shouting in Somali and shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’,”

In Nigeria:Suspected Boko Haram gunmen have reportedly kidnapped 20 women from a nomadic settlement in north-east Nigeria near the town of Chibok, where the Islamic militants abducted nearly 300 girls in April, most of whom are still missing.

In Iraq:  Sunni Islamist militants claimed on Sunday that they had massacred hundreds of captive Shiite members of Iraq’s security forces, posting grisly pictures of a mass execution in Tikrit as evidence and warning of more killing to come.

In Syria: The Al-Qaeda-breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria has prevented food and medical supplies from reaching some neighborhoods in an eastern Syrian city, an activist group said Friday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said … an offensive by ISIS in eastern Syria against rival Islamic rebel factions has killed more than 640 people and uprooted at least 130,000 since the end of April.

In Spain:  Spanish police arrested eight people in a pre-dawn raid in Madrid on Monday, breaking up a jihadist recruitment network led by a former Guantanamo Bay inmate, the government said…

Spain’s government has said it fears battle-hardened Islamist fighters may return to Spain from Syria… Spain this year marked the 10th anniversary of the March 11, 2004 Al Qaeda-inspired bombing of four packed commuter trains in Madrid, which killed 191 people.

In Belgium: The fourth person to die after a gunman opened fire on the Jewish Museum in Brussels was to be buried in a Muslim cemetery in Morocco.

Alexandre Strens, whose mother is Jewish and father a Muslim Berber, was to be buried near his grandparents’ graves in the cemetery in Taza, north-east Morocco… A suspect, Mehdi Nemmouche, was arrested in Marseille, southern France, 11 days ago …

In Indonesia:  Radical Islamists in Indonesia have been celebrating and swearing allegiance to ISIS on line, raising concerns that more potential terrorists will be attracted to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria… Jakarta-based terrorism expert Sidney Jones says Indonesians are known to be fighting in Syria, and that Indonesians attracted to ISIS are more radical than the Bali bombers.

In Sudan: The retired Libyan general Khalifa Heftar who is leading the military campaign dubbed as ‘Operation Dignity’ against Islamist militias accused Sudan directly of providing aid to these groups… Heftar says that these militias have wreaked havoc in the North African nation.

In China:  China today sentenced three people to death over a deadly attack at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square last October, state television reported, an incident blamed by the government on Islamist militants….

Feiglin’s Sovereignty on the Temple Mount Seminar

Monday, May 26th, 2014

A few hundred people and I packed the Knesset’s downstairs auditorium on Sunday to learn more about Jewish history and Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, as well as a vision for Jerusalem’s future.

The Temple Mount is going mainstream, and I had to pull a few strings to get into the seminar, while Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin had to scramble to reserve a much larger room, after an unexpected 600 people registered for the conference.

The program’s MC was former MK, Professor Aryeh Eldad, one of the founder of Professors for a Strong Israel, and the subject of the Temple Mount was treated with the intellectual rigor one would expect when scholarly heavyweights all sit in a room together discussing their most passionate subject.

Moshe Feiglin kicked off the session, calling on the government to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and stop the discrimination, harassment and humiliation of Jews who want to go up and visit.

Feiglin linked our lack of application of sovereignty on the Mount directly to the world’s lack of respect for Israel. The message was, “When we safeguard our rights, the world respects that.”

Ambassador Dr. Allen Baker spoke about the status of the Temple Mount in International law and on the legal aspects of Israeli sovereignty.

Most disconcerting was Dr. Gabi Barkai’s overview of the archaeological damage purposely done by the Waqf on the Temple Mount, in their attempts to completely erase Jewish history from the location.

Barkai discussed the quarter million volunteers who worked for years sifting through the Temple Mount dirt the Waqf excavated and unceremoniously dumped in the Kidron Valley.

The photos of the artifacts found, going back thousands of years, attesting to the Jewish (as well as other’s) presence on the Temple Mount was incredible, and if this was information found from an emergency rescue operation on piles of dumped dirt, imagine what must be there, and worst, what must have been permanently lost and destroyed.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar finished off the morning discussing the historical, religious and political connections that Islam has with Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

Kedar showed how Islam has no intrinsic religious connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, from their own writings.

Kedar focused on Islam’s inherent inferiority complex, and how it repeatedly showed up in their own theological discussions. From the beginning, Islam was not sure if it is an authentic religion or merely a cheap doppelganger of Judaism, from which it co-opted so much.

In a way, this is very similar to Christianity’s fundamental theological dilemma caused by the rebirth of the state of Israel, which they also believe should never have happened and creates for them significant theological dissonance.

Islam needs, not only a failed Judaism and failed Jewish people, but it needs to actually supplement the Jewish People’s history in its entirety, which for example is why they claim Yishmael was on the altar, and not Yitzchak, why they claim Jesus was a Palestinian, and of course, why they destroy Jewish relics and history on the Temple Mount.

For Islam, the Temple Mount has no religious or political significance in of itself, and in fact, Kedar brought earlier writings from Islamic religious and political leaders showing the lack of significance Jerusalem has to them.

But once the Jews were revived as a people, once Judaism showed it wasn’t supplemented by Islam, Jerusalem, and especially the Temple Mount take on tremendous significance.

Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount, more than anything else, strikes at Islam’s oldest and greatest fear.

Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount means Judaism is true, which then means Islam is false.

It is a religious war for them.

Their entire religion’s validity relies on Judaism’s defeat. That is why we are the enemy, and that is why they can’t even allow Jews onto the Temple Mount to pray.

But even after this conference, I think the question still remains: Why is the state of Israel so afraid to apply sovereignty over Judaism’s most holiest site, and practically speaking, what can we do about it?

Arab Violence Closes Temple Mount to Visitors Again

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Israel Police closed access to the Temple Mount to Jews and other non-Muslims on Thursday due to Arab violence a day earlier, and a resulting threat to safety that might follow.

This, on the day that tens of thousands of Jews gathered below at the Western Wall plaza in the Old City of Jerusalem for the traditional Birkat Kohanimthe priestly blessing from Jerusalem. The benediction is pronounced during the morning service on the festivals of Passover and Sukkot.

The decision to close the site was made by security personnel following Arab violence at the Temple Mount on Wednesday. One police officer was wounded, as were 24 others. One of the wounded was listed in serious condition, and 15 sustained moderate injuries.

Nearly 100 young Arab rioters clashed with police in fierce battles at the holy site, hurling large rocks they have stockpiled in large caches at the Al Aqsa Mosque, where they barricaded themselves for protection.

The rioters also hurled firecrackers at the police from inside the Islamic house of worship, as security personnel used stun grenades and tear gas to force the mob further into the mosque.

The Arab strategy – designed to prevent Jews from ascending to the Temple Mount for any length of time — is very smart, taking advantage of the Israeli government policy of not allowing police to enter the mosque. The site itself is administered by the Islamic Waqf Authority; at this point, Israel has essentially ceded control to Arab Muslim officials.

Six Arab youths were reportedly arrested during the night and early Thursday morning in connection with the disturbances.

Ultimately, Israeli security officials told Channel 2 news on Wednesday they will have to force their way into the mosque to take away the caches of stone weapons, which are just as lethal as any bullet when properly aimed and hurled.

It is important to realize that the huge piles of rocks and slabs of stone with which the young terrorists are attacking Israeli security personnel, tourists and other visitors to the site, are being stockpiled with the  knowledge and consent of the Islamic clerics in charge of the mosque. Those clerics — and their actions — are fully backed and supported by the Arab leaders in the region, including King Abdullah II, the Hashemite monarch of Jordan.

Le Pen Recruits Pigs to Fight Islam

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

French National Front leader Marine Le Pen said last Friday that she would stop schools from offering pork-free alternatives to Muslim students in the 11 towns where her party has won local elections. She said this was consistent with France’s “secular values,” or, as she put it, to “save secularism.”

I have a feeling secularism is as threatened in France as Christmas is in the U.S. Meaning, on both sides of the Atlantic these are made up issues designed to stir up political strife where none actually exists.

“We will not accept any religious demands in school menus,” Le Pen declared on French radio. “There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere, that’s the law.”

It’s true that France has the largest Muslim minority in Europe – roughly 5 million. There are also an estimated half a million Jews there.

But I suspect that those Jewish families who would not serve pork to their children already send them to private Jewish schools. This is, then, not an antisemitic but an anti-Muslim move. For sure, today’s French people don’t feel overwhelmed by a Jewish invasion, while a walk through some parts of Paris would definitely bring to mind the year 699, when the Arab hordes came rushing out of the peninsula to fill up the vacuum left by the dead Roman Empire.

So the National Front is taking advantage of the French resentment of this Asiatic occupation army in their midst, with varying results. Le Pen did not get elected president with her anti-Muslim politics, but doubled its wins in municipal elections.

On occasion, the National Front seems to be having fun with their xenophobic politics: in the town of Hayanges, FN mayor Fabien Engelmann has proposed a Pork Fest, celebrating the many attributes of pigs. And, of course, he insists the festival is not meant to offend Muslims.

Oink.

The Real Agenda Behind the Push for ‘Islamophobia’

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

Islamophobia has almost become a fad for a certain group of academics and Muslims across North America. 2013 was a bumper year for Islamophobia conferences in America and abroad.

  • “Islam, Political Islam, and Islamophobia: an International Conference” was held at Indiana University, Bloomington on March 29-30, 2013.
  • Islam, Politics and Islamophobia,” an international conference of the Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Chair, took place at the Indiana Memorial Union Faculty.
  • International Conference on Islamophobia: Law & Media“, hosted in Istanbul, was organized by the Directorate General of Press and Information, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and under the auspices of Mr. Bulent Arinc, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, and took place in September, 2013. The website starts off by stating “Islamophobia, which is a term used to express the groundless fear and intolerance of Islam and Muslims, has swept the world, becoming detrimental to international peace especially in recent years.”
  • The IWIC’s 2013 conference on “Women in Islam,” in Atlanta, Georgia from November 22 to 24, used the theme, “Eradicating Islamophobia.”

One would think that four conferences in one year would be enough for the International group of speakers to discuss, debate and hash out that, in their view, there is an epidemic of Muslim-bashing taking place in North America.

However it seems that these are not enough to complete the agenda of the Islamists. Therefore this year the University of California, Berkeley is hosting its fifth annual International conference on the study of Islamophobia, from April 14 to 19, 2014.

It is frightening to realize that this is their fifth such conference; the website states, “the obsessive pre-occupation of everything related to Islam and Muslims, congressional and parliamentary hearings criminalizing Muslims and violations of their civil liberties and rights, domestic and international surveillance programs exclusively on Muslims and Arabs, extra-judicial use of force on Muslims and Arabs, interventions, military campaigns, and policies rationalizing its exercise, are, in essence, what we see and bear witness in the Muslim world. These are the direct effects of latent Islamophobia.”

University of California, Berkeley is home to Professor Hatem Bazian, who directs the school’s “Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project,” and teaches a course titled, “Asian American Studies 132AC: Islamophobia.”

Seriously? A course on Islamophobia? Recently, Professor Bazian told 100 students in his class to tweet about Islamophobia — all being done to promote an agenda of “victimhood.”

Obviously the Islamophobia conferences, the courses and the tweeting professor must find support for their self-serving propaganda somewhere. Part of this support comes from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an international organization consisting of 57 Arab and Muslim member states, including the entity of the Palestinian Authority. The organization states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.” The term “Muslim world” is offensive: no one speaks for all Muslims, and for the OIC to consider itself the “voice of the Muslim world” is dictatorial in the extreme.

No surprise, then, that on their website they have an Islamophobia Observatory, where they mention their support of Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, adopted in 2011, on “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief”.

What is ironic and hypocritical about all the Islamophobia hype by members of the OIC is their double standards when it comes to minorities in their own lands. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sudan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, the Palestinian Authority and Iran are among OIC members that have appalling human rights violations against minorities, and are routinely ignored under UNHRC Resolution 16/18.

Who by the Sword, Who by Wild Beasts, Who by Hunger, Who by the Plague

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

In the supplemental prayer of The Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement, we say these words almost mechanically, theoretically, because this is the text. But in Syria this is reality. The regime’s war against the citizens’ demonstrations, which began two years and seven months ago, has become a dirty, despicable and accursed war, where everyone is fighting everyone else. People from both sides have lost the likeness of man, thrown human values to the winds, lost any semblance of humanity, and have become predatory animals, (“and who by a wild beast”).

Assad’s army has besieged the eastern neighborhoods of Damascus because they serve as a corridor of passage to the capitol for the jihadists who come from Jordan and Iraq. In these neighborhoods in recent weeks, tens of thousands of people have been besieged, cut off from all sources of life: food, water, electricity, and from Asad’s point of view they might as well all die from starvation. These were the neighborhoods that suffered the great attack of chemical weapons on the 21st of August in which approximately 1500 people were killed, men, women and children. As a result of the hunger, a group of Muslim religious arbiters issued a ruling that allows the residents of these neighborhoods to eat cats, dogs and donkeys, in order to survive the siege and the starvation.

There are reports about places like Mu’adhamiyat al-Sham where there have been many cases of death by starvation because of the siege imposed on these places, in addition to cases when injured people have died because they did not receive treatment in time. In addition, there are places where diseases like cholera are rampant, which are caused by spoiled food, contamination of water and the environment, and from pests such as mice, rats, and snakes that multiply alarmingly in ghost towns and ruins of cities like Homs, Hama and Idlib.

Approximately seven million Syrians are destitute refugees in neighboring countries and within Syria. The approaching winter threatens to pose great harm to their health and their lives, as if the misery that people – if it is possible to call them people – have caused them was not bad enough. Because of the distress and poverty, the refugees do anything they can in order to live: the men work for pennies, and many women are forced to do unethical things in order to earn a piece of bread. Families sell their daughters in forced marriages, to get a handful of dinars and reduce the number of mouths that they must feed.

Asad’s army systematically refuses humanitarian aid organizations to operate in the besieged cities, claiming concern that the lives of the volunteers will be endangered by fire from the opposition. But soldiers of the opposition to the regime are not guiltless either: they fight with each other over ideological differences, mainly regarding the future of Syria: will it be a civil state or an Islamic state. In the city of Aleppo “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” is in control and the city is run by an Islamic court that imposes Islamic Shari’a by force of arm, whip and sword. Lately several tribes that live around Aleppo have announced that they have joined “The Islamic State” organization, in order to shelter in the shadow of the dominant force, and stay out of trouble.

The fact that children are present in the battle areas causes them severe emotional damage because of the terrible sights that they are exposed to. Children join the battle and take an active part in killing anyone who is thought to be an enemy. Asad’s militias, the “Shabiha”, are constantly on the lookout for the families of soldiers and officers who have deserted the army so that they can kill the men and abuse the women. In many cases they document and photograph this abuse to show it to those who are still serving, to discourage them from deserting.

This past month several dozens of jihad organizations operating in Syria came to the conclusion that the disagreements among them harm their fighting cause and strengthen Asad. This conclusion led dozens of organizations to put aside their differences and unify under an organizational umbrella by the name of “Jaysh al-Islam” – “The Army of Islam”. The other large organization – “The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” – is considering joining the “Army of Islam”, and it may be that “Jabhat al-Nusra”, which blessed the consolidation with “The Army of Islam”, will also join in the future.

Book Review: Simon Sebag Montefiore’s ‘Jerusalem: The Biography’

Friday, October 18th, 2013

By Henry Goldblum

At first glance, Simon Sebag Montefiore’s best seller Jerusalem: The Biography is surely impressive. Media critics as well as Henry Kissinger have showered it with praise, and the BBC devoted a timely three-part TV series to the author, providing invaluable publicity. Indeed, the book is not dull by any standards. Drama abounds – be it in chapter headings (take chapter 5, “The Whore of Babylon”) or in the description of events, such as the Moloch ceremonies in the days of King Menasseh, “the sacrifice of children at the roaster…in the Valley of Hinom…as priests beat drums to hide the shrieks of the victims from their parents” (p. 39). The Muslim invasion is depicted in graphic detail, particularly the battle of 636 CE, which took place “amidst the impenetrable gorges of the Yarmuk River” (p. 172) – although the area through which the Yarmuk flows is in fact more of an open plain.

Renouncing Uniqueness

Sebag Montefiore has clearly invested much effort in conveying his vision of Jerusalem – past, present, and future. The result reflects thoughtful study of many sources relating to different features of the city, and the author certainly recognizes its special status. However, in his apparent desire to deal evenhandedly with the various local religions, he fails to make it clear that it is only for Jews and Judaism that Jerusalem is, was, and has always been the sole spiritual center on earth. This omission is unacceptable. The author rightly refers, if only en passant, to Midrash Tanhuma and the writings of Philo of Alexandria as two examples of this basic, constant belief, unlimited by time or circumstance. The intensity of Jerusalem’s sacred status for Judaism is such that later monotheistic faiths have attempted at various times to gain a foothold in the city, despite their having other, holier places (Mecca and Medina, Rome and Bethlehem). Perhaps recognizing the significance of capturing the “chosen status” of Judaism, they have utilized diverse strategies to prop up their variant “histories,” including reinterpreting Muhammad’s miraculous night visit to the “Farthest Mosque” on the outskirts of Mecca to include a stopover in Jerusalem.

It has always been fundamental for the Jew to appreciate this imbalance, and it cannot be overlooked in any attempt to describe Jerusalem. Sebag Montefiore has downgraded this uniquely Jewish aspect of the city; as far as he is concerned, Judaism’s monopoly on Jerusalem is limited to part 1 of his book, extending until the year 70 CE. Parts 2-8 belong primarily to other faiths and peoples, and the final section of the book, dating from 1898, is titled “Zionism,” as if the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty is a separate chapter in the history of the city rather than the restorationof a violently interrupted continuum. Significantly, he neglects to emphasize thata Jewish majority has dominated the citywhenever circumstances have permitted,including from the early 19th century onwardwithout interruption; nor does he remind thereader that only when Jews have ruled thecity have all other faiths enjoyed full rights ofworship there.

Historically Dubious These omissions are partially explained by the almost complete absence of references to classic Jewish works compiled in the Land of Israel – despite their obvious relevance in terms of place, time, and subject. Thus, the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds are together accorded a mere four quotations; the output of Jewish historians from Graetz to current Israeli scholars not of the revisionist mode is similarly glaringly absent. In contrast, detailed descriptions of events and individuals taken from non-Jewish sources abound – even when their relevance is historically uncertain or unsound – notably the passages on Jesus in chapter 11. The sole reference to Jesus in Josephus (Antiquities, book 17, 63-64), whom Sebag Montefiore cites among other non- Jewish sources as confirmation of his existence as a historic character, is widely regarded as being of dubious authorship (see Emil Schürer’s History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus, vol. 1, p. 428ff.).

The reliability of the author’s statement at the opening of the Islam section is similarly questionable: Muhammad is said to have come “to venerate Jerusalem as one of the noblest of sanctuaries” (p. 169). With all due respect, the Koran never mentions Jerusalem, and by beginning his discussion of Islam with the reinterpretation of the passage regarding “the furthest place of worship,” Sebag Montefiore creates a false impression, especially since in Sura 2, the Prophet commands that prayer be directed exclusively to Mecca. The other quotes on page 168 are all from later Muslim sources. The term “Iliya,” a corruption of the pagan name Aelia Capitolina coined by Hadrian, continued to be used by the Muslim conquerors of Jerusalem for a generation or more following Muhammad’s death, with examples from as late as the end of the 10th century. This is the name of the city appearing on the milestones of Caliph al-Malik, who built the Dome of the Rock in the 690s. The name Al-Quds, “The Sanctuary,“ came into common use only in the 11th century, in the context of the struggle between Crusaders and Saracens for dominion over the Holy Land (see Moshe Gil, The Political History of Jerusalem in the Early Muslim Period, p. 10). The anecdote concerning Caliph Omar’s tour of the Temple Mount (p. 175 in Sebag Montefiore’s book) only reiterates the secondary status of Jerusalem in Islam – the caliph rebukes Kaab, a converted Jew, who suggests praying in the direction of the Temple on the mount rather than toward Mecca. As Bernard Lewis has stated in The Middle East, “Much of the traditional narrative of the early history of Islam must remain problematic, whilst the critical history is at best tentative” (p. 51). Why, then, has Sebag Montefiore adopted Islamic accounts regarding this period so readily? Is he perhaps playing to Muslim sensibilities? All this leads us to an epilogue that looks forward, as might be expected from the previous sections, to a permanent division of the city into two capitals for two states, in accordance with current liberal and revisionist dogma. The hope of witnessing such a chapter in the history of Jerusalem rankles coming from a scion of the illustrious Montefiore family, whose philanthropy was once invested in the furtherance of a quite different destiny for the city.

Admittedly, Jerusalem: The Biography provides an enjoyable ride. A more appropriate destination and a less controversial and dangerous route might be preferable, but that, presumably, would require a change of driver.

Dr. Heny Goldblum is a lawyer and a scholar of history

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