Saudi king: Arab world waiting to explode

2006-12-09
Saudi king: Arab world waiting to explode
King Abdullah opens annual summit of Gulf leaders with warning regarding situation in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon.


RIYADH – Saudi King Abdullah opened the annual summit of Gulf leaders on Saturday with a warning that the Arab world was like a powder keg waiting to explode, citing the situation in the Palestinian territories, Iraq and Lebanon. “Our Arab region is besieged by a number of dangers, as if it was a powder keg waiting for a spark to explode,” he told the rulers of the oil-rich monarchies gathered in Riyadh for a two-day meeting.

The Palestinians were reeling from “a hostile and ugly occupation” by Israel while the international community watched their “bloody tragedy like a spectator,” Abdullah said.

But “most dangerous for the (Palestinian) cause is the conflict among brethren,” he said in a reference to the differences between Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah faction and the Islamist Hamas movement that have hampered efforts to form a unity government.

In Iraq “a brother is still killing his brother,” Abdullah said of the mounting sectarian violence pitting Sunnis against Shiites.

Abdullah also warned that Lebanon, which was rocked by civil war in 1975-1990, risked sliding into renewed civil strife as a result of the current standoff between pro- and anti-Syrian camps.

“In Lebanon, we see dark clouds threatening the unity of the homeland, which risks sliding again into… conflict among the sons of the same country,” he said.

The heads of state of Gulf Cooperation Council members Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were present alongside the Saudi monarch, the first time in several years that all six rulers have attended the bloc’s year-end summit.


 

Muslims Exhausted and Depressed

  From Dearborn Underground

  http://dearbornunderground.blogspot.com/

Muslims Exhausted and Depressed

David Crumm’s Detroit Free Press article on Friday, “Muslims, Jews start to heal ” had a couple of interesting comments. The event, according to Crumm, included “nearly 200 Christians, Jews and Muslims met at Congregation Adat Shalom in Farmington Hills on Thursday night to listen to two rabbis and four Muslim leaders from metro Detroit.”

One of the leaders was Victor Begg, chair of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan. He “said local Muslim leaders are fed up with non-Muslims’ demands that they continually condemn terrorism, as if they are responsible for all such crimes.

‘It is exhausting and depressing to be responsible for everyone in the world who uses our faith for evil,’ Begg said.”

Doesn’t it sound as if Begg were suggesting that Islamic terrorists who commit acts of murderous evil are merely using Islam for evil, rather than engaging in violent acts in obedience to Islam? And isn’t it more accurate that aren’t demanding continual condemnations of terrorism, but that Islamic terrorist acts are being committed on a continuing basis?

Begg can’t be held responsible for the irony of the arrest, the very next day, of Derrick Shareef in Chicago. But, on the exhausting and depressing point of people using the faith for evil, Shareef was a Muslim convert, “who talked about his desire to wage jihad against civilians” by setting off “hand grenades at a shopping mall during the Christmas rush….Officials said Shareef had been under investigation since September, when he told an acquaintance that ‘he wanted to commit acts of violent jihad against targets in the United States as well as commit other crimes.’”

Is Begg asking us to accept, along with him, that, just supposing here, every once in a great, great while some person claiming to be of the Islamic faith commits an evil act, he is clearly doing it in part with the intention of making the Islamic faith look bad? That such a person isn’t practicing Islam, he is only using Islam?

Najah Bazzy, teacher at the Islamic Center of America here in Dearborn was also one of the speakers.

She talked about the “fear” a lot of non-Muslims have of Islam “and its cultural symbols, such as Muslim women wearing scarves over their hair.”

“’I will be so happy when people finally quit worrying about what’s on my head and focus on what’s inside my head.'”

Those of us who have fears about Islam aren’t the least bit fearful of Ms. Bazzy’s scarf.

And we are focusing upon what’s inside her head. And the heads of other Muslims, too. Say, like Derrick Shareef’s head, and whoever filled it with jihad.

Obama Fever

Obama Fever




by

Jim Kouri, CPP

 

The latest paramour of the denizens of the mainstream media is obviously Senator Barack Hussein Obama, Illinois Democrat. With their superficial sensibilities, the entire big media — including Fox News Channel — appear to want to give Sen. Obama a collective lap-dance. Like lovesick school girls they get absolutely giddy at the sound of his name.

This media blast of passion and adulation has created a news household name. In fact, a friend who’s a true progressive told me she loved Obama. When I pressed her for more information, it turned out she didn’t even know what he looked like or what he stood for; her love for him was based on — you guessed it — media coverage.

Imagine the surprise when these partisan cheerleaders got wind of a poll that showed Democrats favored Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama 33%  to 12%. In fact, Obama beats Gore by one measly little point.  Okay, so that was a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll.

For my friends on the left who distrust Fox, Obama didn;t do much better in a CNN poll:

Among Democratic voters, 34 percent want Clinton in the Oval Office — more than twice as many as the 15 percent backing rising star Sen. Barack Obama, according to the CNN poll.

Ex-Vice President Al Gore and 2004 vice-presidential candidate John Edwards tied at 14 percent.

Sen. John Kerry saw his presidential hopes plummet to a paltry 7 percent of supporters — a 5-point drop since last month. (Message to Kerry: You do much better when you stay out of sight and keep your mouth shut.)

But don’t worry too much if you’re already seduced by Obama; the news media will continue its propaganda on his behalf. They have so much at stake. Like being able to print or announce a headline “First Black Man Elected President.”  Too late, schmucks, you already used the First Black President routine when you worked to prevent Bill Clinton from ending up in the slammer. Besides, Barack Obama is only half-black.

Hopefully, the media-Obama lovefest will be shortlived and then we can get on with finding out who this man really is. We’re told he’s a moderate, yet he’s pro-abortion and against a bill making partial-birth abortion illegal. How is he moderate on that issue? Unless he just wants to wound the unborn baby rather than killing it outright. Can we agree he’s not moderate on this issue?

On gun control, Obama is like most of his Democrat Party colleagues, he opposes citizens bearing arms, but says he doesn’t. Perhaps he supports citizens’ gunownership; it’s the ammo that he opposes. Now that’s moderate.

On the war on terror, Obama hangs tough with his buddies Teddy Kennedy, John Kerry, the rest of the liberal-left. But he’s moderate. He doesn’t want America to lose. He just doesn’t want us to win.

What about immigration? Here’s Obama’s own words, you decide: “The Department of Homeland Security recognizes that identifying and deporting 11 million undocumented workers currently in this country would be both logistically impossible and highly disruptive to the American economy.

“Instead of mass deportations, I believe that Congress must pass comprehensive, compassionate reform that reaffirms the rule of law and brings the undocumented population out of hiding.”

There’s a term for smooth-talking men who possess flowery vocabularies — empty suits. Their achievements are shallow and their ideas are polished bits of information that their handlers believe will help them rise to the top of the heap.
 


Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations.  He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.   Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com.  He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com.   He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc.  His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at http://jimkouri.us

The 1st Amendment is not a suicide pact

The 1st Amendment is not a suicide pact

Union Leader  December 6 2006

Newt Gingrich

I MUST HAVE hit a nerve.

In New Hampshire last week, at a dinner hosted by the Nackey Loeb School honoring our 1st Amendment rights, I called for a serious debate about the 1st Amendment and how terrorists are abusing our rights — using them as they once used passenger jets — to threaten and kill Americans.

Here’s part of what I said: “Either before we lose a city, or, if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up (terrorists’) capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech [protections] and to go after people who want to kill us — to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us.”

Since I made those remarks, I’ve heard from many Americans who understand the seriousness of the threat that faces us, Americans who believe as I do that free speech should not be an acceptable cover for people who are planning to kill other people who have inalienable rights of their own.

A small number of others have been quick to demagogue my remarks. Missing from the debate? Any reference to the very real threats that face Americans.

There was no mention of last week’s letter from Iranian leader Ahmadinejad that threatens to kill Americans in large numbers if we don’t submit to his demands.

There has been little attention drawn to any of the many Web sites dedicated to training and recruiting terrorists, including a recent one that promises to train terrorists “to use the Internet for the sake of jihad.”

No mention of efforts by terrorist groups like Hezbollah to build “franchises” among leftist, anti-globalization groups worldwide, especially in Latin America.

The fact is not all speech is permitted under the Constitution. The 1st Amendment does not protect lewd and libelous speech, and it should not — and cannot in 2006 — be used as a shield for murderers.

Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy put it best: “With an enemy committed to terrorism, the advocacy of terrorism — the threats, the words — are not mere dogma, or even calls to ‘action.’ They are themselves weapons — weapons of incitement and intimidation, often as effective in achieving their ends as would be firearms and explosives brandished openly.”

We need a serious dialogue — not knee-jerk hysteria — about the 1st Amendment, what it protects and what it should not protect. Here are a few baseline principles to consider:

We should be allowed to close down Web sites that recruit suicide bombers and provide instructions to indiscriminately kill civilians by suicide or other means, or advocate killing people from the West or the destruction of Western civilization;

We should propose a Geneva-like convention for fighting terrorism that makes very clear that those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction and those who would target civilians are in fact subject to a totally different set of rules that allow us to protect civilization by defeating barbarism before it gains so much strength that it is truly horrendous. A subset of this convention should define the international rules of engagement on what activities will not be protected by free speech claims; and

We need an expeditious review of current domestic law to see what changes can be made within the protections of the 1st Amendment to ensure that free speech protection claims are not used to protect the advocacy of terrorism, violent conduct or the killing of innocents.

The Islamic Empire Strikes Back

The Islamic Empire Strikes Back

Written by Bob Parks
Saturday, December 09, 2006
         Political correctness will be our undoing.  According to writer Sher Zieve:  “Due to concerns regarding Austria’s growing Muslim population, the country’s officials are said to have banned references to St. Nick–also known as Santa Claus–in its kindergarten schools. The Muslim immigration into Austria is said to be at 400,000 and growing.”

        She continues:  “As Muslims continue to increase their populations in Western countries more western traditions are being removed—said to be attributed to fears of offending Muslim groups. However, Austrian officials said that the reason for the banning of St. Nick is that the bearded figure ‘evokes fear’ in children.”

        What kind of fraidy-cat kids are we talking about here?  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met one kid who was afraid of Santa Claus.  What’s up with Austria?

        While “Christmas” is being systematically removed from our national lexicon, most reminders of our national holiday are being cleansed so that Muslims are not offended.  So much for peaceful assimilation.

        It’s always struck me as funny that some groups migrate to a country in search of better opportunity, while later attempting to make their new home resemble that which they fled.  Christmas is an international celebration and is harmless.

        No word during the Christmas season about jihad or fatwas or shahada.  No one who doesn’t conform to the Christmas holiday is deemed an infidel marked for elimination. What’s so offensive about Christmas?  Granted, political correctness frowns on anything that uses the image of an old white man, but cut Santa some slack.  Santa has never burned anyone alive, bombed a crowded shopping mall, hijacked an airliner, or enslaved women.   And Santa isn’t Jewish.  What’s the problem?  Santa gives toys to children. The horror!

        Let’s be consistent.  In many Muslim countries, Sharia law and customs are observed, since Islam is the dominant culture.  In Western nations, Christians, for the most part, are dominant, thus their customs are observed.  However, in more and more places, those customs are sidelined as they “offend” a Muslim minority.

        One could reason that Muslims should do the research and find out what the customs are before immigrating to a new culture, and if those customs offend, they should look elsewhere.  But thanks to political correctness, and those who skillfully use it as a weapon, everyone is being forced to change for one group.  That change is not out of courtesy, but out of fear of riotous and other threats of violence that follow many Muslims.  National laws are being suspended in certain areas to appease Muslims, and we in America now have a Muslim in the United States Congress.  So we know what’s coming.

        Santa is welcome in my home, and Austria has gone over that slippery slope.  Be ready to entertain more demands in the future.  That is a certainty.

The Immigration Back Stab

        According to Charles Hurt in the Washington Times:  “Congress will approve an immigration bill that will grant citizenship rights to most of the 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens in the U.S. after Democrats take control next month, predict both sides on Capitol Hill.”

        Illegal Immigration was a hot topic for those who chose to use it during last month’s election.  However it was co-opted by Democrats into an exercise of conservative “intolerance.”

        Let’s get some things straight. The Fourteenth Amendment reads:
”Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

        A Republican Congress and Senate to redress the past inequities during slavery initiated the Fourteenth Amendment in the mid-to-late 1860’s.  As a result, the children of slaves were to be considered American citizens and would receive all rights and privileges thereof.  Many civil rights laws written post-slavery by Republicans were repealed later when Democrats took control of Congress, the Senate, and the White House.  But the amendments remained intact.

        The Fourteenth Amendment says nothing about granting those rights and privileges to people who entered our nation illegally.

        I’ve always believed that the Fourteenth Amendment should be adjusted to reflect the time that has elapsed, and the recent fact that illegal immigrants are using the amendment to give birth here in America, and that child as lawful citizen, can now protect its illegal parents, and later sponsor the entire family’s entrance here.  Now that Democrats are in control, they are systematically spitting on the original intent of the Fourteenth Amendment, and threaten to grant amnesty to over 20 million (who really knows?) illegal immigrants who are a documented drain on our tax dollars, who make little effort to assimilate, and are a probably voting block should they become citizens. 

        Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said: “Years of dawdling have worsened our border security and made it harder to fix this broken system.  We should not let partisan politics and intolerance continue to delay and derail effective reform.”  There’s that word again: “intolerance.”

        Senator Leahy, with all due respect, the American people have been extremely tolerant of people who cut in line in front of thousands of people abiding by our immigration process, who don’t have the convenience of a border to sneak across in the dead of night.

        Using the smear of racism is a gutless and often used Democrat tactic.  In an attempt to cement their voting block, Leahy and the Dems to force all of us taxpayers to support millions of people who spit on our sovereignty, enter our country with the sole purpose of getting under-the-table employment (the partial wages of which go back home), and get placed on our social services support system.  Senator Leahy is a race-baiter and a backstabber to his own country.

        Again, to those of you who voted Democrat last month, thanks a lot.

Political Correctness and the Flying Imams
        Our enemies, both domestic and abroad, know political correctness and how it handcuffs speech and policy here in America.  Thank God that U.S. Airways and its customers aren’t playing that game.  Remember, when you’re around 30,000 feet in the air and terrorists have taken over your flight, political correctness is the last thing that will bring the situation to a safe and peaceful conclusion.  The usual conclusion is death.

        The customers and flight crew of a U.S. Airways flight decided to take their chances and remove a bunch of Muslim “holy men” from a flight.  The Council on American Islamic Relations, as usual, screamed ”racism.”

        Now let’s look at this sequence of events reasonably.  According to a U.S. Airways spokesman, there were a number of things that gave the flight crew pause.  Witness and police reports claimed the Imams made anti-American statements, made a scene of praying and chanting “Allah” (which, when I fly, is the last thing I want to hear anywhere near a plane post 9/11), asked for seat-belt extensions even though a flight attendant thought they didn’t need them, refused requests by the pilot to disembark for more screening, and three of the men had only one-way tickets and no checked baggage.

        As locals, we know that we can’t make any bomb jokes in an airport today.  Most people in the vicinity don’t think it’s funny, including airport cops.  So, we don’t make those “jokes” in airports any more.  No one has infringed on our rights.  That’s just common sense.  Getting into a group and publicly chanting to your god just before a flight is bad timing, especially when that chant was reportedly heard by some just before airliners were intentionally crashed by some on September 11, 2001.

        In all my years of flying, I’ve never asked for a seat-beat extension and wouldn’t know one if I saw one.  These Imams knew enough to ask for them, and not use them once received.  This is not “flying while Muslim” as CAIR is alleging.  This is provocation knowing what the politically correct charge would later be.

        This whole episode was a set-up from the moment those Imams entered the airport. The one-way tickets and no luggage by people chanting “Allah” is not illegal, but is now suspicious behavior.  Instead of being considerate of today’s fears by the flying public, these Muslims incited this situation, knowing what the responses would be.

         Although police forcibly removed the men from the aircraft, took them into custody, and found no weapons or explosives, this smells like the set-up that it was.

        CAIR is now calling for congressional hearings to investigate supposed “flying while Muslim” incidents.  According to Investors Business Daily,  incoming Judiciary Chairman John Conyers has already drafted a resolution, borrowing from CAIR rhetoric, that gives Muslims special civil-rights protections.

        So isn’t this special?  Muslims now know that they can go to any airport, scare the flying public and flight crews, and get a congressional investigation out of it.  Everyone, who was minding his own business that day, will now have his life turned upside down because of some creeps with an agenda.  As I said before, some Muslims have no intention of assimilating into the culture they chose to enter.  They want us all either Muslim or dead. We can choose.

        And by the way, Congressman-elect Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who is supporting the flying Imams, and is also the first Muslim elected to Congress, will take the oath of office next month, not with his hand on a Bible, but a Quran.  Ellison vowed to criminalize Muslim profiling, at a fundraiser for CAIR, and condemned U.S. Airways for “prejudice and ignorance.”  I blew away a CAIR representative a few years ago on Los Angeles radio because she called me a racist for supporting racial profiling following 9/11. She thought I was white when she called me a racist.

        The members of CAIR now has Ellison to block for them.  Who is blocking for us?

Get out the garlic and wooden stake

Get out the garlic and wooden stake

Clarice Feldman
A few days ago the Washington Times reported sighting Ambassador Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame  lunching together in a downtown D.C. restaurant.
Thursday night, Fox news reported they were moving to New Mexico to help Governor Richardson in his presidential campaign, a campaign that he now insists is non-existent.
And yesterday, this bit of news:

Dangerous Intersection of Conyers and Wilson [Jack Fowler]

Heady times at last night’s House Judiciary Committee Christmas party – a pal says Joe Wilson was there, at the invitation of panel Democrats, and was the sole individual recognized by incoming Dem chairman Rep. John Conyers. “Whoever said impeachment is off the table obviously hasn’t told Conyers and wasn’t at the party,” sneered my friend, who said this is the first year Wilson has been at panel’s holiday fete (it’s primarily attended by Committee Members, staffs, and families). “[Outgoing GOP chairman Rep. Jim] Sensenbrenner said a few words as did Conyers, who thanked Wilson for attending and led a round of sporadic applause for him. . . . Wilson arrived early, stayed late, and spent a lot of time chatting with the top Democratic staff.” Strap yourself in – it’s going to be a bumpy 2007″

The last time Conyers and Wilson were together was at the former’s playhouse hearings which broke up when Wilson’s VIP pal Ray McGovern launched into his anti-semitic tirade and the more sentient members of the Congressional delegation headed for the exits.

Turkey at odds with faithful

Turkey at odds with faithful

Secular state limits religious expression

HEYBELIADA, Turkey — Atop a pine-covered hill on this island in the Sea of Marmara, Metropolitan Apostolos, a gray-haired Greek Orthodox bishop, tended the empty, echoing halls of a seminary shuttered for 35 years by government order, dreaming of the day it will reopen to replenish the dwindling ranks of the clergy in Turkey.

An hour’s ferry ride away, Fatma Saglam, an observant Muslim, unwrapped her headscarf every morning and walks bareheaded into her bustling Istanbul university, reluctantly choosing education over piety because the Turkish state policy forbids wearing the traditional religious headcovering on campus.

Saglam and Apostolos, both Turkish citizens, each represent communities yearning for religious expression denied them by their government. Observant Muslims and Christian minorities feel the effects, to different degrees and in different ways, from limits on religious life. In recent months both communities have stepped up pressure for change by appealing to world opinion, to Pope Benedict XVI on his recent visit, and especially to the European Union as it weighs Turkey’s membership bid.

The Turkish state was founded in 1923 on the principle of subordinating religion to secular nationalism. State policies — from banning headscarves in government buildings to closing private religious schools — regulate all aspects of religion in an effort to concentrate the secular government’s power.

For Muslims, the government trains, hires, and fires imams. For the tiny Christian and Jewish minorities, the government has used a web of regulations to close and confiscate places of worship, and doesn’t allow individuals or institutions to inherit property.

To the Turkish government and many non observant Turks, appeals for religious freedom strike at the defining principle of the modern Turkish state, the “secularism” imposed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the nation’s first president, who forced Turks to abandon many of their traditions as part of a campaign to Westernize the country.

Turkey doesn’t define secularism the way many democracies do, as separation of church and state, said Elizabeth Prodromou, a professor of international relations at Boston University who studies Turkey and serves on a US government panel that monitors religious freedom. “Instead, it’s state control over religion,” she said.

Turkish officials argue that with more religious liberty, the nation’s Muslim majority could slide toward fundamentalism and its minuscule Christian minorities could erode Turkish identity or sovereignty. But those assertions are increasingly being challenged inside and outside the country.

With Turkey under pressure from Europe to acknowledge past and present repression of Christian minorities, and facing growing domestic opposition from Islamist political parties, the state’s curbs on religions freedom make it harder for Turkey to present itself as a model democracy bridging Europe and the majority-Muslim world.

During his visit Nov. 28 to Dec.1, the pope issued a joint statement with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Istanbul-based leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, calling on the EU to uphold the “inalienable right” of religious freedom and to protect minorities as it expands.

Meanwhile, the restrictions affect citizens’ lives every day.

Outside Marmara University one recent morning, Saglam, 20, wearing a trendy, red-stitched denim jacket, an army-green skirt, and white headscarf that she would remove soon on her way to a math exam, said she hoped that Turkey’s EU ambitions would someday allow her to wear the veil as freely as women in Britain and many other European countries.

“I’m against pressure, especially at a university, a modern place, a civilized place,” she said.

Later that day, Apostolos, 50, sat nearly alone in the cavernous Halki theological seminary on Heybeliada, where ping-pong tables stood silent in the ornately tiled hallways.

“I can remember the noises of the place, the students rushing around,” the bishop said.

The school trained generations of Orthodox leaders. But in 1971 — the year that Apostolos graduated from the seminary’s high school and was about to start studying there to be a priest — the government shut it down along with other private religious schools. The closures followed a military coup, amid a crackdown on opposition groups.

Apostolos said it was too early to tell whether pressure from religious leaders and the European Union would help push the government to allow the school to reopen. In the meantime, with donations from Greek Orthodox faithful around the world, he and his deacon, Dorotheos, have installed modern bathrooms and enough new electrical wiring to support banks of computers and wireless Internet — ready to open the minute it gets permission.

Dorotheos, 68, who is the only other Turkish Greek Orthodox cleric at the seminary, said the two will keep working in the face of despair. But Apostolos fears that the restrictions on the Greek community are threatening the last remnants of Greek Orthodox life in Istanbul — the Greek Orthodox community in Turkey has dwindled to 3,000, from 180,000 in 1923.

For the approximately 99 percent of Turks who are Muslim, all aspects of religious expression are regulated by the Diyanet, the religious affairs ministry. Sermons are supposed to be written by imams higher up in the ministry bureaucracy, although some mosques have bucked the rule lately.

Most rules are strictly enforced. In 1999, Merve Kavakci, a woman elected to the Legislature, wore her headscarf into Parliament and was ordered to leave.

For Turkey’s religious minorities — including about 68,000 Armenian Orthodox, 20,000 Catholics, 23,000 Jews, and 3,000 Greek Orthodox — the laws are far more restrictive. Many of the minorities see them as part of a Turkish history of trying to drive them out that includes the Armenian genocide and waves of expulsion of Greek Orthodox Christians.

Since 1923, hundreds of millions of dollars in property belonging to Christians or their churches, especially Greek Orthodox, have been expropriated, Prodromou said, despite protections guaranteed to religious minorities under the 1923 Lausanne Treaty that defined Turkey’s borders.

Turkey has used regulations — from laws governing foundations to municipal building permits to discriminatory property laws — to “effectively disenfranchise economically” the Orthodox and Jewish minorities, Prodromou said. Bureaucrats can close schools and churches if they rule they are unnecessary because the communities they serve are too small.

The very institution of the Ecumenical Patriarchy of the Orthodox Church is threatened, its clergy say. Turkey says that the patriarch must be a Turkish citizen, but since all the religious schools have been shuttered, the Greek Orthodox fear that in a few decades there will be no one eligible to serve.

Supporters of the government policy say that if Turkey allows Christians to open seminary schools, they will have to let Islamic groups open schools, which is prohibited. The government says this would open the door to extremist teachers from such places as Saudi Arabia.

But Prodromou says the government could reopen the Halki seminary without setting a new precedent for Muslims, since they have the opportunity to study religion in state schools. And Turkey can give Muslims more freedom while keeping a tight rein on any extremist Islamists by enforcing democratic laws and visa controls, she said.

“There’s no reason that having freedom of education where there happens to be a Muslim majority leads inevitably to Islamic fundamentalism,” she said.

For now, Turkey’s religious citizens navigate the rules delicately.

As students stream into the University of Marmara, women in headscarves dart into a white trailer just inside the gate. Crowding in, they take off their scarves, brush their hair, glance in the small mirrors lining the walls, and then face a choice.

Many suppress their feelings of nakedness and go bareheaded. Others, in a mix of protest and practicality, put on wigs that flaunt their artificiality with coarse textures and unnatural shapes.

Hacer Akgunler, 20, pulled the hood of her sweater over her head, but some of her hair still showed.

” I don’t feel like I am Hacer,” she said, her purple floral scarf folded and sandwiched between her study notes on language acquisition. “I feel like something is missing.”

She knows some women who for go a university education rather than expose their hair in what they consider a violation of Muslim practice. But, she said, “If we don’t study, they will think, ‘You wear a scarf and you don’t have a brain.’ “

Fueling Terror

Fueling Terror

 “…the hijackers, 15 hijackers who are Saudis, they studied this thinking — destructive thinking — in Saudi Arabia. They spent a few months in Afghanistan. But they lived their life, they studied this in government mosques. [..] Government curriculum inspired what happened in New York.” – PBS interview with Ali Al-Ahmed, executive director of the Saudi Institute

Much has been reported about the complex system of terrorist financing and the money trail facilitating the September 11 terror attacks. Individuals and charities from the Persian Gulf–mainly from Saudi Arabia–appear to be the most important source of funding for terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda. According to an October 2002 Council on Foreign Relations report of an Independent Task Force on Terrorist Financing, Osama bin Laden and his men have been able to accumulate millions of dollars using legitimate businesses such as charities, nongovernmental organizations, mosques, banks and other financial institutions to help raise and move their funds.

How does it work? Take Saudi Arabia for example. This Gulf monarchy is a rentier state in which no taxes are imposed on the population. Instead, Saudis have a religious tax, the zakat, requiring all Muslims to give at least 2.5 percent of their income to charities. Many of the charities are truly dedicated to good causes, but others merely serve as money laundering and terrorist financing apparatuses. While many Saudis contribute to those charities in good faith believing their money goes toward good causes, others know full well the terrorist purposes to which their money will be funneled.

What makes penetration and control of money transactions in the Arab world especially difficult is the Hawala system–the unofficial method of transferring money and one of the key elements in the financing of global terrorism. The system has been going for generations and is deeply embedded in the Arab culture. Hawala transactions are based on trust; they are carried out verbally leaving no paper trail.

The Saudi regime has been complicit in its people’s actions and has turned a blind eye to the phenomenon of wealthy citizens sending money to charities that in turn route it to terror organizations. Furthermore, Saudi government money funneled into madrassas where radical anti-Americanism is propagated has been instrumental in creating an ideological climate which generates terrorism.
Former CIA director James Woolsey described the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabism and Islamist extremism as “the soil in which Al-Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are flourishing.”

Ali Al-Ahmed, executive director of the Saudi Institute notes:

The Saudi government has systematically financed the propagation of Salafi Islam, by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on three out of seven universities in Saudi Arabia [that] are religious universities. They built thousands of mosques around the world, including the United States. They have given free scholarships to non-Saudis, to come and study Salafi [fundamentalist Islam; also referred to as Wahhabi] and become Salafi. They sent 2,000 Salafi clerics around the world every summer. They print books by the millions in every languages to promote Salafi Islam. They have conventions, conferences.

Al-Ahmed quotes a Ninth grade Saudi government textbook:

It is permissible in Islam to destroy, burn, and vandalize the fortresses of kofar. American or Christians are kofar. And everything that they destroy, everything that they use … against Muslims … if the destruction was to support Islam and destroy the kofar.

Saudi Arabia’s cash transfers to Muslim communities in America and Europe also ensure that Islamic fundamentalism takes hold among Arabs living in the West and may lay the infrastructure for terrorist cells operating in the U.S. In some cases, the Saudi government itself proved to be a direct supporter of terrorism. Documents obtained from the PLO’s archive and made public by Israel indicate that the Saudi Ministry of the Interior funded the militant Palestinian organization Hamas, and highlighted the funding of families of “martyrs” who conducted suicide attacks against Israeli civilians.

Terrorist financing is not restricted to the Saudis. A list of financial companies named by the Bush administration as financiers of Al-Qaeda, reveals involvement of prominent Arab individuals from several countries in the Middle East. One example of such company is the Al Taqwa bank. Among the bank’s shareholders are members of the prominent Khalifeh family of the UAE, the UAE’s grand mufti and his family members, members of the Kuwaiti royal family, members of the Bin Laden family, a prominent leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood group and several members of Hamas. The Italian anti-terrorist agency claimed that Al Taqwa handled financing for a number of Arab and Islamic political and militant groups, including groups such as Hamas, the PLO, the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the Egyptian Gama’a al-Islamiya, as well as former Afghan mujahedin in bin Laden’s camps.

Barrels and bombs
It is no coincidence that so much of the cash filling terrorists’ coffers come from the oil monarchies in the Persian Gulf. It is also no coincidence that those countries holding the world’s largest oil reserves and those generating most of their income from oil exports, are also those with the strongest support for radical Islam. In fact, oil and terrorism are entangled. If not for the West’s oil money, most Gulf states would not have had the wealth that allowed them to invest so much in arms procurement and sponsor terrorists organizations.

Consider Saudi Arabia. Oil revenues make up around 90-95% of total Saudi export earnings, 70%-80% of state revenues, and around 40% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). In 2002 alone, Saudi Arabia earned nearly $55 billion in crude oil export revenues. Most wealthy Saudis who sponsor charities and educational foundations that preach religious intolerance and hate toward the Western values have made their money from the petroleum industry or its subsidiaries. Osama bin Laden’s wealth comes from the family’s construction company that made its fortune from government contracts financed by oil money. It is also oil money that enables Saudi Arabia to invest approximately 40% of its income on weapons procurement. In July 2005 undersecretary of the Treasury Stuart Levey testifying in the Senate noted “Wealthy Saudi financiers and charities have funded terrorist organizations and causes that support terrorism and the ideology that fuels the terrorists’ agenda. Even today, we believe that Saudi donors may still be a significant source of terrorist financing, including for the insurgency in Iraq.”

If Saudi Arabia is the financial engine of radical Sunni Islam, its neighbor Iran is the powerhouse behind the proliferation of radical Shiite Islam. Iran, OPEC’s second largest oil producer, is holder of 10 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and has the world’s second largest natural gas reserve. With oil and gas revenues constituting over 80 percent of its total export earning and 50 percent of its gross domestic product, Iran is heavily dependent on petrodollars. It is a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism and supporter of some of the world’s most radical Islamic movements such as the Lebanese Hizbullah. Iran’s mullahs are fully aware of the power of their oil. Its supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned in 2002: “If the West did not receive oil, their factories would grind to a halt. This will shake the world!” As the world’s demand for oil increases, Iran grows richer –Iran’s oil revenues have jumped 25 percent in 2005—and more than able to snub the U.S. and its allies in their efforts to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

The line between the barrel and the bomb is clear. It is oil wealth that enables dictatorial regimes to sustain themselves, resisting openness, progress and power sharing. Some semi-feudal royal families in the Gulf buy their legitimacy from the Muslim religious establishment. This establishment uses oil money to globally propagate hostility to the West, modernity, non-Muslims, and women.
This trend is likely to continue. Both the International Energy Agency and the Energy Information Agency of the U.S. Department of Energy currently project a steady increase in world demand for oil through at least 2020. This means further enrichment of the oil-producing countries and continued access of terrorist groups to a viable financial network which allow then remain a lethal threat to the U.S. and its allies.

Drying the swamp
There are many strategies proposed by counter-terrorism experts to obstruct terrorist financing. Many of them are effective and, indeed, some of the steps that have been taken since September 11, such as freezing bank accounts and improving the scrutiny over international monetary transfers, contributed to a reduction in Al-Qaeda’s financial maneuverability. But the only way to deal with the problem strategically is to reduce the disposable income and wealth generation capacity of terrorist supporters.

Hence, America’s best weapon against terrorism is to decrease its dependency on foreign oil by increasing its fuel efficiency and introducing next-generation fuels. If the U.S. bought less oil, the global oil market would shrink and price per-barrel would decline. This would invalidate the social contract between the leaders and their people and stem the flow of resources to the religious establishment. It will likely increase popular pressure for political participation, modernity and reformed political and social institutions.

Reducing demand for Middle East oil would force the petroleum-rich regimes to invest their funds domestically, seek ways to diversify their economies and rethink their support for America’s enemies. Only then financial support for terrorism could radically diminish.

Salafi Islam

Salafi Islam

Salafi is a term often used to describe fundamentalist islamic thought.

The teachings of the reformer Abd Al-Wahhab are more often referred to by adherents as Salafi, that is, “following the forefathers of Islam.” This branch of Islam is often referred to as “Wahhabi,” a term that many adherents to this tradition do not use. Members of this form of Islam call themselves Muwahhidun (“Unitarians”, or “unifiers of Islamic practice”). They use the Salafi Da’wa or Ahlul Sunna wal Jama’a. Wahhabism is a particular orientation within Salafism. Most puritanical groups in the Muslim world are Salafi in orientation, but not necessarily Wahhabi.

The Salafiyyah are a movement, and like the Sufis, can come from the Maliki, the Shafi, the Hanbali, or the Hanafi. But, that said, the Salafiyyah movement, is primarily confirmed to the Hanbali, and in particular the Wahhabiyyah, and their theological equivalents. The Salafiyyah movement to return Islam to it’s purest roots (like the Islamic Amish!) has taken as reference points the teachings of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal , Al Barbahaaree, or Al Laalikaa’ee, or Ash-Shaatibee, or Adh-Dhahabee, or Al Layth ibn Sa’d, or Abu Haneefah, and other scholars who adhered to the methodology of the salaf.

As-Salaf us-Salih (or briefly: the Salaf) refers to the first and best three generations of Muslims. They are the Companions (Sahabah) of the Prophet (S), their immediate followers (Tabiun), and the followers of the Tabi’in. The meaning in the Arabic language is “Those who precede, have gone before”. It is a word used by the earliest scholars for “The first three generations of Muslims” and those who are upon their way in accordance with the Ahaadeeth of the Messenger Muhammad (sallAllaahu` alayhi wa sallam) which is reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree: The best of people/mankind is my generation, then those that follow them, then those that follow them.

The description “Salafi” is the name of a group of Muslims who try as hard as they can to imitate the Blessed Prophet in every aspect of life. Sometimes it may seem that the Salafis emphasize the laws and punishments of Islam so much that they make you feel there is no Islamic love and mercy. This is because they are sometimes very zealous in their views. A true Salafi values Tawhid, singling out Allah in all acts of worship: in supplication, in seeking aid, in seeking refuge in times of ease and hardship, in sacrifice, in making vows, in fearing and hoping and total reliance, and so on. A true Salafi actively seeks to remove shirk (polytheism) with all his capacity. They tend to be conservative on women’s issues. The Salafi Da’wah is that of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. It is claimed to be the Religion of Islam – pure and free from any additions, deletions or alterations.

In the United States, Salafism has been equated by some with radicalism and terrorism in some newspaper articles, books, and public discourse. However, “Salafism” is not inherently synonymous with violence, terrorism, or radicalism. Many Salafis throughout the world are doctrinally rigid, but peaceful.

It is important to distinguish between the following groups, thought of (perhaps) as concentric circles:

  1. “Jihadist Salafis” – such as the followers of al-Qaeda and like-minded local groups;
  2. “Salafis” – those who believe that the imitation of the behavior of the Prophet’s closest companions should be the basis of the social order;
  3. “Islamists” – a still broader category,which includes anyone who thinks that the precepts of Islam – however interpreted – should be fundamental to the political and social order; and,
  4. “Discontented Muslims” – people who identify themselves as Muslims,and who are unhappy with their life prospects, with the justice of their societies,and/or with the state of the wider world.

The Salafi jihadist movement has attracted rootless and or committed internationalist militants. They fight for the jihad, seeking to re-create the Muslim ummah and shariat to build an Islamic community. Simultaneously conservatives and radical, they form a global network that has attracted Muslims from around the world to fight jihad in Kashmir, Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and the Philippines. The salafi-jihadist movement in Central Asia and the Caucasus is more localized — an expression of identity in areas such as Ferghana, villages in Daghestan, and upper Gharm valley. In Central Asia, the term “Wahabi” refers to fundamentalists who come from Pakistan or Afghanistan, but they are not necessarily a political movement. For example, Wahabis in Tajikistan do not recognize themselves as a political alignment. However, most Central Asian regimes use the term Wahabi more broadly to describe Islamic religious movements outside the states’ control.

Pie-in-the-Sky Recommendations

Pie-in-the-Sky Recommendations
By Thomas E. Brewton

Two of the basic recommendations in the Iraqi Study Group Report are 
utterly unrealistic.  In each case the Study Group, in typical 
liberal-socialist fashion, bases its proposals upon the theoretical 
assumption that everyone sees the world as they do.

First, stating that the war in Iraq cannot be won without unified 
support here in the United States, the Study Group recommends that 
appropriate steps be taken to gain support from those opposed to the 
war.

One might as well have called for Hitler’s support of the Allies’ D-
Day invasion in World War II.  We are engaged in a cultural civil war 
in the United States in which fundamental compromise is impossible.  
Liberal Republicans and Democrats are engaged in a jihad against our 
founding Judeo-Christian principles, a jihad in which there is no 
middle ground.

Democratic Party leadership and the liberal media have no interest in 
seeing the Iraqi war won, on any basis.  In fact, they passionately 
want to see it turn into a colossal disaster that will cement their 
characterization of George W. Bush as our worst President of all time 
(an impossibility, as that rank is immovably occupied by Franklin D. 
Roosevelt, the author of our collectivized, socialistic welfare-state).

Democratic Party leaders and the media have regularly done anything 
and said anything that will hinder the war effort and discredit our 
efforts.  Nothing short of a declaration of failure and President 
Bush’s resignation from office will satisfy them.

Second, bringing Iran and Syria into negotiations with the hope that 
they will cooperate in stabilizing the internecine violence in Iraq 
is as realistic as expecting Senators Schumer, Leahy, and Kennedy to 
support President Bush’s nominees for the Supreme Court.  Both Iran 
and its client state Syria are actively supporting the terrorists in 
Iraq precisely because they want American efforts to fail in creating 
a stable, independent government in Iraq.

Iran’s strategy is to become the dominant Islamic power in the Middle 
East and thereby to control the world’s oil supply, with the immense 
leverage that confers in dealing with the rest of the world.  Iran 
and its Syrian clients are also intent upon destroying Israel, whose 
only real military ally is the United States.  To the extent that the 
United States is enmeshed in continuous troubles in Iraq, our ability 
to command public support for aiding Israel against Hezbollah and 
Hamas is diminished.

Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. 
The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of 
writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776
http://www.thomasbrewton.com/

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