Sharia law is spreading as authority wanes

Sharia law is spreading as authority wanes

By Joshua Rozenberg, Legal Editor

Last Updated: 2:03am GMT 29/11/2006

Islamic sharia law is gaining an increasing foothold in parts of Britain, a report claims.

Sharia, derived from several sources including the Koran, is applied to varying degrees in predominantly Muslim countries but it has no binding status in Britain.



However, the BBC Radio 4 programme Law in Action produced evidence yesterday that it was being used by some Muslims as an alternative to English criminal law. Aydarus Yusuf, 29, a youth worker from Somalia, recalled a stabbing case that was decided by an unofficial Somali “court” sitting in Woolwich, south-east London.

Mr Yusuf said a group of Somali youths were arrested on suspicion of stabbing another Somali teenager. The victim’s family told the police it would be settled out of court and the suspects were released on bail.

A hearing was convened and elders ordered the assailants to compensate their victim. “All their uncles and their fathers were there,” said Mr Yusuf. “So they all put something towards that and apologised for the wrongdoing.”

Although Scotland Yard had no information about that case yesterday, a spokesman said it was common for the police not to proceed with assault cases if the victims decided not to press charges.

However, the spokesman said cases of domestic violence, including rape, might go to trial regardless of the victim’s wishes.

Mr Yusuf told the programme he felt more bound by the traditional law of his birth than by the laws of his adopted country. “Us Somalis, wherever we are in the world, we have our own law,” he said. “It’s not sharia, it’s not religious — it’s just a cultural thing.”

Sharia’s great strength was the effectiveness of its penalties, he said. Those who appeared before religious courts would avoid re-offending so as not to bring shame on their families.

Some lawyers welcomed the advance of what has become known as “legal pluralism”.

Dr Prakash Shah, a senior lecturer in law at Queen Mary University of London, said such tribunals “could be more effective than the formal legal system”.

In his book Islam in Britain, Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, says there is an “alternative parallel unofficial legal system” that operates in the Muslim community on a voluntary basis.

“Sharia courts now operate in most larger cities, with different sectarian and ethnic groups operating their own courts that cater to their specific needs according to their traditions,” he says. These are based on sharia councils, set up in Britain to help Muslims solve family and personal problems.

Sharia councils may grant divorces under religious law to a woman whose husband refuses to complete a civil divorce by declaring his marriage over. There is evidence that these councils are evolving into courts of arbitration.

Faizul Aqtab Siddiqi, a barrister and principal of Hijaz College Islamic University, near Nuneaton, Warwicks, said this type of court had advantages for Muslims. “It operates on a low budget, it operates on very small timescales and the process and the laws of evidence are far more lenient and it’s less awesome an environment than the English courts,” he said.

Mr Siddiqi predicted that there would be a formal network of Muslim courts within a decade.

“I was speaking to a police officer who said we no longer have the bobby on the beat who will give somebody a slap on the wrist.

“So I think there is a case to be made under which the elders sit together and reprimand people, trying to get them to change.”

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Jihadists to Jihad Watch: “I pray to Allah that he breaks your hands and poisons your tongue”

Jihadists to Jihad Watch: “I pray to Allah that he breaks your hands and poisons your tongue”

Yesterday I alerted you to a jihadist website, “The Ignored Puzzle Pieces of Knowledge.” Well, Mr. Puzzle Pieces, who calls himself InshAllah Shaheed (Marytr, Allah Willing), was unhappy with all the attention. Today he has posted “My open letter to”

I wrote yesterday that his site “conducts jihad recruitment through Qur’anic exegesis,” so today InshAllah Shaheed responds, “As for this website, please provide proof that I have actually recruited people.” But of course, I didn’t mean that he was recruiting in the sense of signing up people for the great effort, but in the sense of trying to win over the hearts and minds of Muslims by appealing to their religious obligations as delineated in their holy texts. And in this “open letter,” he’s still at it. Who would not want to join the great struggle after reading something like this:

As for this website, please provide proof that I have actually recruited people. It is only from your evil desires that you wish to propagate that which will hurt the Muslims; and I pray to Allah that he breaks your hands and poisons your tongue so that you may never propagate your lies again. And if it doesn’t happen in this life, then only by the will of Allah, I will be the one laughing at you from Paradise – enjoying its eternal pleasures – while your body is dragged through spikes that pierce deep within your body, and you are only given to drink foul smelling pus and boiling water – which only makes you vomit and burn your insides – and eat extremely sour and thorny fruits – where if it to be dropped in one of the oceans of this earth, all of the oceans and even the lands of the earth would be destroyed.

In this the pious man demonstrates his awareness of the Qur’an’s many passages about the damned being made to drink boiling water and having it poured over their heads: 6:70; 10:4; 14:16; 22:19; 37:67; 38:57; 40:72; 44:46; 44:48; 47:15; 55:44; 56:42; 56:54; 56:93; 78:25; 88:5.

Then he goes on to quote Sahih Muslim 4294, which I have quoted here many times. In it, Muhammad directs his followers to offer their enemies conversion, subjugation, or war — and so Mr. InshAllah Shaheed offers those choices to us.

A few gems from the rest of his open letter:

Some of you seem to have a misunderstanding regarding my intentions. I did not preach that we must slaughter every single non-Muslim for the purpose of them being non-Muslim.

I don’t know what he is talking about here. Obviously I have never said any such thing.

Rather, I have been repeatedly stating that we, as Muslims, are obligated to hate you for the sake of Allah because the fact is that you are non-Muslim; and if you can’t take it, then Alhamdullilah because one day, in the West, it will become extremely clear to the majority of who belongs to the Truth and who belongs to Falsehood. We will continue preaching the Truth until you feel like killing every single Muslim; and this has already started by the ones you worship the most: The Government. In fact, you worship your government more than you worship your own god – that is if you are a follower of a Religion. And only the people of understanding will know the truth in this.

Well, I know that isn’t true of me, or of many people here, but I know what he means: he is referring to those who would prefer to live in a society in which there is no established religion than in one governed by religious law. I think the Founding Fathers were wise to include the provision of non-establishment in the Bill of Rights, as misinterpreted as it has been in recent decades; it is a framework by which people of different creeds can live together in peace. But if one believes that it is the will of the Almighty that Muslims should enjoy a privileged position in a multireligious society, as mandated by Sharia, then one will look upon the principle of non-establishment only with contempt. And call it government worship, or some such.

Mr. Shaheed also rails against Muslim moderates as not following true Islam — as I have pointed out many times, jihadists do this routinely, and moderate Muslims have formulated no effective Qur’anic response.

Many of you seem to be very frightened and surprised by the fact that I openly preach Jihad for the sake of Allah, as it is ordained in our Religion. Keep in mind, I only preach that which is in the Qur’an and Sunnah; and those who tell you that preaching from these two sources is not necessary, do not listen to them; even if they call themselves Muslim since Allah says,يٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُوۤاْ أَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلاَ تَوَلَّوْا عَنْهُ وَأَنْتُمْ تَسْمَعُونَ
وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَهُمْ لاَ يَسْمَعُونَ
إِنَّ شَرَّ ٱلدَّوَابِّ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلصُّمُّ ٱلْبُكْمُ ٱلَّذِينَ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ
O ye who believe! Obey Allah and His Messenger, and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak). And be not like those who said, ‘We hear’, and they did not obey. For the worst of creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and the dumb; they are those who understand not. (al-Anfaal: 20-22)

That’s Qur’an 8:20-22.

Later on, after some grievance propaganda, Mr. Shaheed refers to some episodes from the life of Muhammad, invoking the Prophet of Islam’s example as normative for Muslims today:

If you are aware of Islamic History, O American, you are then aware of what happens to the enemies of Allah. Take heed from the example of the Jews of Khaybar! Take heed from the example of the Battle of Badr! Take heed from the example of the Battle of Khandaq! Take heed from the battle between the Muslims and the Persian Empire! Take heed of the army of Salahuddin al-Ayyubi when he declared Jihad against the mammoth sized Crusader Army of 300,000 or more and was reduced to 1,000!Know that Islam, as Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhe wassallam) said, is meant to be dominant and not dominated (Sahih Muslim). As long as we are not engulfed in the life of this world, we become the most dominant force on earth. And as you can see, O Americans, our nation is heading in this direction. Our Religion teaches us to choose the life of the Hereafter over the life here-and-now, and to live like Knights during the day and monks during the night. So beware of our emerging power and know that honor belongs to Allah, His Messenger, and the Believers.

Know, O Americans, that we have with us people who love death the way you love the dollar! And we cannot live until we die since this life is a prison for the believer and it is a Paradise for the disbeliever. You fools enjoy this life to the fullest when in reality, it is temporary and all of us will one day die and take back nothing to the grave except our souls – which were created to prepare for death by living a life of piety, truthfulness, and devotion to Allah. Paradise is real, Hellfire is real, and this world is only a test and trial from Allah, The Most High, to see who will realize the reality of this life and then act upon it accordingly.

Know, O Americans, that it was Ronald Reagan who quite rightly pointed out that, “How do you expect to defeat a people who believe that when you kill them they go to a Paradise filled with beautiful virgins and rivers of wine?” Muse over this question and you will realize that we die for the sake of Allah because Allah is real and this Religion of Islam is the only Truth until the Day of Judgment.

There is no doubt that throughout history the promise of Paradise, along with the promise of booty (cf. Qur’an, sura 8, etc.), made jihad warriors fight with extraordinary ferocity. But you will find, sir, that some Americans are not as soft, either physically or psychologically, as you imagine. And your battle will not be as easy as you dream it will be. As I am quite certain you will find out in the years to come.

Erdogan: Pope says Islam “peaceful and affectionate”

Erdogan: Pope says Islam “peaceful and affectionate”

Yes, well, what else could he say after all the affection and warmth the Muslims in Turkey have shown him?

“Pope defuses tensions on visit to Muslim Turkey,” by Philip Pullella and Selcuk Gokoluk for Reuters:

ANKARA (Reuters) – Pope Benedict told Turkey on Tuesday he backed its bid to join the European Union and believed Islam was a religion of peace, hoping to soothe rows overshadowing a delicate visit to the mainly Muslim country.Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan hailed the comments, which he said Benedict made to him in their private talk at the airport, and Turkish commentators said they changed the tone of a visit clouded by disputes over the Pope’s view of Islam.

Asked about Turkey’s EU entry bid, which Benedict opposed before his 2005 election as Pope, spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the Vatican took no political stand but supported Turkey’s entry “on the basis of common values and principles.”

And what are those common values and principles, exactly?

Security was heavy but protests rare under Ankara’s sunny skies as Benedict arrived, laid a wreath at the mausoleum of the republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and met Turkey’s president and director of religious affairs.Erdogan, who had originally said he was too busy to meet the Pope, greeted Benedict warmly as he descended from his airplane and held short talks with him before leaving for the NATO summit in Riga.

“He said we are not political but we wish for Turkey to join the EU,” Erdogan told journalists after meeting the Pope.

Erdogan, who began his career in Islamic politics, added: “The most important message the Pope gave was toward Islam, he reiterated his view of Islam as peaceful and affectionate.”

Yes. Cuddly, even. No Salman-Rushdieism here about Islam being the “least huggable of faiths.” The intellectual acrobatics required for this aren’t really all that difficult. Just decide a priori that all those committing violence in the name of Islam aren’t really Muslims. Then all that are left are the poor victims of “Islamophobia.”

Posted by Robert at 04:14 PM | Comments (52)
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Pope sells out Europe, says Erdogan

According to Erdogan, Benedict now endorses the “grave error.” But it is still a grave error, regardless. “Pope Benedict Backs Turkey’s European Union Bid, Erdogan Says,” by Flavia Krause-Jackson and Mark Bentley for Bloomberg, with thanks to Andrew Bostom:

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) — Pope Benedict XVI said he backs Turkey’s bid to join the European Union, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting the pontiff upon his arrival in Ankara for his first visit to a Muslim country.The Pope told Erdogan that while the Vatican seeks to stay out of politics it “desires Turkey’s membership in the EU,” Erdogan said at a news conference after the 15 minute meeting that initiated his four-day visit to Turkey. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger he had said in 2004 that allowing Islamic Turkey to join the EU would be a “grave error.” The Vatican has yet to confirm Benedict’s comments today.

Standing up to the flying imams

More propaganda on stem cells

More propaganda on stem cells

Thomas Lifson
The debate over funding for stem cell research has been marked by deliberate obfuscation and overblown promises. There is a huge difference between embryonic stem cell research and the other two types of stem cell research. Today, the left wing Los Angeles Times publishes an op-ed  by Sigrid Fry-Revere of the Cato Institute which conforms to this pattern of propaganda. While arguing against government funding of stem cell research, the op-ed does nothing to clarify the essential distinction between embryonic stem cell research, the holy grail for cultural leftists anxious to protect the abortion industry, and adult and umbilical stem cell research.

Claims that embryonic stem cells are essential objects of research weaken the argument that embryos are human beings, whose lives deserve protection. The movement to persuade the voting public that they will be denied cures because of unreasonable restrictions on embryonic stem cell research serves as ammunition for abortion absolutists, harnessing perceived self-interest in cures (however unlikely) as a weapon against arguments for the sanctity of the lives of the unborn.
Embryonic stem cell research has yet to produce a usable therapy. For precisely that reason, private funding of embryonic stem cell research is hard to come by. Private researchers want results. The voter initiatives showering taxpayer money on stem cell research have been specifically aimed at fetal stem cells, despite their lack of promise. The abortion agenda has trumped results in directing our taxes toward research.
Fry-Revere takes the absolutist position that all government funding of all stem cell research is bad, a characteristic position of the libertarian Cato Institute. But she also fails to note that abundant private money has been directed toward adult and cord stem cell research because it is getting results. Corporations are not interested in embryonic stem cell research because it has shown so little promise of usable results.
Any fair-minded analysis of the politics of the situation requires examination of this distinction between embryonic stem cell research and the other two types, both of which face no moral objections from any serious critics. So why would Fry-Revere obfuscate rather than clarify in her analysis?
A clue comes in this verbiage:

For years, researchers lobbied government to fund IVF, but amid Luddite cries that “test-tube babies” would lead to societal ruin, funding was denied at every turn. [emphasis added]

As a libertarian organization, Cato opposes restrictions on abortion. Fair enough. But any public policy research organ that obfuscates important factors out of apparent ideological bias weakens its credibility. Sadly, that appears to be the case on the embryonic stem cell question and Cato.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Page Printed from: at November 28, 2006 – 04:26:25 PM EST

Illegal aliens murder 12 Americans daily –Death toll in 2006 far overshadows total U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, Afghanistan

E-mail from passenger on imam flight

November 21, 2006
US Airways Airline

To all news stations concerned:
In reference to the removal of the six Muslim gentlemen from flight 300 at
the Minneapolis –St. Paul airport last light, prior to the planes departure.
I was a passenger on that flight, sitting in seat #-# originally and later
temporarily sitting in the front row of first class, while waiting for
everyone to disembark the plane for a safety check. Having been on the
plane, witnessed what transpired first hand and talked at great length with
the first class steward regarding other facts, I am “ENRAGED” at the
national AND local news reports I have seen this morning.

The facts reported are incomplete and inaccurate. This event was immediately
jumped on by their attorney, who told the American people on CNBC they need
to get over 911, stop being paranoid about Muslims and he even threatened a
huge law suit against US Airways for the discriminating and humiliating
treatment of his clients. I am convinced this entire thing may have been
done to intimidate not only US Airways, but all airlines and airports in
order to get them to back off on their security efforts. This is only part
of the real story.

In defense of US Airways: They did a splendid job of handling the situation.
No panic was created we felt protected at all times. They did not make a
knee jerk reaction as a result of one passenger passing them as note as
reported by the media.

Most importantly, the public needs to be told that there was a series of”
many suspicious events”, which were observed by the crew and several
passengers. The captain made his decision based on all of these events and
not just one note.

Their attorney is trying to turn this into a “right to pray in a public
place issue” and it is not that at all. He is claiming they were removed
from the plane for praying in public. And inferring it is wrong to
discriminate against them for this. Claiming that we Americans don’t
understand their religion and their need to pray everyday at specific times,
he stated that WE need to be more tolerant of their religious beliefs. He
made a statement trying to draw an analogy of the right to carry a bible or
a rosary on a plane. This is nothing more than a smoke screen to make this a
human rights issue and intimidate the airline industry. They were already
claiming discrimination to Fox TV news when I got home from the airport.
Something does not smell right here.

This has all of the earmarks of a preplanned “set up” with their attorney
all ready to go. I am sure their attorney has made a point of contacting all
of you immediately, even last night, in order to get their slanted side of
the story out first. Do not be fooled by this propaganda. You in the media
have a moral responsibility to investigate all of the facts, not just
statements you are fed by them.

I would encourage you to interview the planes’ captain, the first class
steward and the gate ticket taker to confirm the following facts

These are the correct facts:
The airline employee taking tickets reported to the crew that she felt very
uncomfortable with the men and so she engaged one of them in a conversation
to feel him out. I assume he spoke English to her in their conversation. She
stated she felt uncomfortable with them and she felt they were extreme
fundamentalists. She needs to be interviewed by the news media for her side
of the story.

Several passengers observed the men praying and chanting near the gate prior
to boarding. They were sitting apart from everyone else, behind the wall
which stands behind the ticket counter at the gate. I was eating dinner
while they were praying and chanting and did not observe this part, but
spoke with a passenger, after we disembarked who has observed this.

I seem to remember hearing something on the news after 911 about the
terrorists praying at the airport prior to departing on 911. If this is true
then there is a legitimate cause for concern and doing so created an
inflammatory situation. If it is their custom to pray at a certain time each
day at sunset, they know this in advance and easily could have taken the 7pm
flight, two hours later, doing their prayers prior to arriving at the
airport. One question is: were they intentionally trying to create fear in
the passengers by praying loudly in public, hoping to get removed from the

I took a seat next to the men about 20 minutes prior to boarding. (I had
been having dinner earlier and did not observe their prayers.) They spoke no
English while seated next to me only Arabic, or what ever language they
speak. One of the gentlemen acted very intense and nervous. He was on one
phone call the entire time talking very fast while he passed back and forth
in front of me. I said nothing to anyone about this, but was later told by
first class passengers that this same conversation continued for at least
another hour from his front row seat in first class. A man in the third row
of first class told me he had a very uncomfortable feeling about this man.

Their seating arrangement was very unusual and it raised a red flag to the
crew. Only one of the 6 sat in first class, with the telephone, although
they were all together. The rest sat in coach. The second one sat in the
first row of coach in front of me; I think another mid way back in the plane
and the rest in the very rear of the plane. They were there early enough to
get seats together but chose to spread out.

Another strange thing the crew noticed was the way they boarded. When they
made the call for first class passengers the other 5 boarded as well.

The one in first class, which had been on the telephone, did not stay seated
in his first class seat, but walked back to the rear of the plane twice to
talk to his friends, during the delay.

One of the passengers sitting close to them in the rear of the plane
overheard their

Conversation and became very nervous. I believe he may have been the one who
sent the note up to the crew and captain. I was told later that there was
mention of Ala and the word terrorists in their conversation.

A woman passenger, who understood their language, indicated they were making
slanderous remarks about the American people, thinking no one would know
what they were saying. This raised concern also.

The most suspicious thing, which has not yet been mentioned on the news, and
needs to come out publicly, is the fact that the man in the first class
front row asked for and was given a seat belt extender as did one of the men
in the rear of the plane. This can be confirmed by the male steward serving
first class on the flight. The strange and totally unexplainable thing about
this request by them was the fact that neither of these men was fat enough
to even need an extender strap for their seatbelt in the first place and the
crew noticed that they not even put it on but placed them on the floor by
their feet. Why ask for them and not use them, especially if you don’t even
need one?

I was a witness to the seat belt extender on the floor in first class, as
the steward asked me to hand him so he could show it to the FBI and the
Police. It was a totally detachable strap about 18 in length that could
easily be used as a noose around a flight attendant or passenger’s neck to
create a hostage situation on the plane. With one in the back of the plane
and another in the front and their people positioned in between they were
perfectly positioned to take control of the entire plane with out any
weapons. The captain, crew, police and FBI all obviously also felt this was
a real possibility when combined with the note passed to them by an
obviously shaken man who had heard some of their conversation. Put all of
this together along with the fact that the ticket agent at the gate was not
comfortable and a couple of other passenger observations it added up to a
situation of possible danger.

Should the Airline, crew and captain be blamed for deciding to protect the
safely of several hundred passengers after their lengthy deliberation of the

No, it was not just a note from a paranoid passenger as reported on
television, but many things that just added up to a very uncomfortable
feeling. The airline, police and FBI acted responsibly, professionally and
in the interest of the majority of passengers. Any potential law suits from
these people are totally unfounded and ludicrous.

Doesn’t the fact that these men already had an attorney lined up to
immediately alert the media seem like a “pre-set up deal” to get the
airlines and security to back off and ease up on the high alert issue?

Did they even tell their own attorney about the seat belt extenders sitting
on the floor? Probably not.

With all of their accusations on CNBC’s morning news about passenger
paranoia put aside there is still no answer to a very simple question…. What
were they going to do with the seat belt extenders?

Why did they have one in the front and one in the back of the plane and why
were they sitting on the floor by their feet and not in use?

I can only determine two possible scenarios:
Either they were planning to use the seat belt extenders to subdue hostages
and take over the plane and were caught by their suspicious activities…

Or, it was done intentionally to induce suspicion and make a big public fuss
to intimidate security at the airports.

They claim we have discriminated against them and they were humiliated They
fail to accept the fact that what happened to them on flight 300 was a
direct result of their own people’s hateful behavior on 911, while once more
trying to put the blame for everything on the Americans.

What about the human rights of the several hundred people sitting on flight
300? Most of the passengers were going home for the thanksgiving holiday.
Don’t we have the right to get home safely for thanksgiving? Any
psychologist will tell you they were simply trying to project the blame for
this unfortunate event back at the airline in order to avoid any personal
responsibility for their actions, or the actions of the 911 terrorists.

Upon watching the 5 o’clock news tonight I heard more about this incident.
Now they are reporting the men to be clerics. Last night at 1 pm they were
calling themselves scholars who were attending a conference. It would be
interesting what kind of a conference they had been attending. I question,
from my close personal observations of them prior to boarding that they are
either. I would also like to see this investigated also. I believe there is
a real story here that the American public deserves. US Airlines has been
caught off guard by these accusations and is being painted as the bad guy,
stating they will make their own internal investigation. Why, all of a
sudden now, are they made to look guilty by the media? Only the media can
clear the air on the truth here. They need your help and support in this

Let’s not sweep this under the rug as yesterday’s news. I challenge the news
media to investigate the real facts of these backgrounds, what had they been
attending in Minneapolis as well as interview the crew and people involved
bringing the real truth to the American public. They deserve the truth, for
the future of their own safely. Please do not just let this matter drop.
Thank you!

Name withheld

Gingrich Says Terror Threat May Necessitate Changes In Freedom Of Speech Laws…

Revisiting (and Reliving) 1938

Revisiting (and Reliving) 1938

By Rick Richman

It is 1938; Iran is Germany; and it is racing to acquire nuclear weapons.” Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly punctuated his speech in Los Angeles earlier this month with that sentence.  It was an effective rhetorical device, conveying both a sense of threat and a sense of urgency.

But 1938 may be relevant in more ways than as a rhetorical device.  Revisiting that year, through Winston Churchill’s compelling account in “The Gathering Storm,” is an instructive exercise, and one the Iraq Study Group might consider as it completes its deliberations. 

* * *

February 20, 1938:
  Churchill spent the entire night without sleep, “consumed by emotions of sorrow and fear” — the only time he went sleepless even after he became Prime Minister.  He had received a call late that evening informing him that Anthony Eden had resigned as Foreign Secretary. 

Eden, who shared Churchill’s views about Germany and Italy, had found himself almost isolated in the Cabinet, opposed by the Chiefs of Staff who “enjoined caution and dwelt upon the dangers of the situation.”  Churchill was despondent over the resignation:

I must confess that my heart sank, and for a while the ark waters of despair overwhelmed me. . . .  I watched the daylight slowly creep in through the windows, and saw before me in mental gaze the vision of Death.

A precipitating factor in Eden’s resignation had been Neville Chamberlain’s decision to enter into direct negotiations with Italy.  Chamberlain’s position was that:

His Majesty’s Government would be prepared . . . to recognize de jure the Italian occupation of Abyssinia, if they found that the Italian Government on their side were ready to give evidence of their desire to contribute to the restoration of confidence and friendly relations.

For Churchill, it was evidence that “in the dawn of 1938 decisive changes in European groupings and values had taken place.”  The Western democracies had “seemed to give repeated proofs that they would bow to violence so long as they were not themselves directly assailed.”

That same day, Germany had begun to raise the issue of Czechoslovakia, and “the usual techniques were employed” — the de-legitimization of the target through the rhetoric of grievances, combined with the knowledge that the West lacked both the will (“owing to their love of peace”) and the means (due to their failure to rearm) to protect its broader interests:

The grievances, which were not unreal, of the Sudeten Germans were magnified and exploited.  The public case was opened against Czechoslovakia by Hitler in his speech to the Reichstag on February 20, 1938. . . .  It was the duty of Germany [said Hitler] to protect those fellow-Germans and secure to them “general freedom, personal, political and ideological.”

August 27, 1938:  Tensions over Czechoslovakia increased over the summer.  Churchill told his constituents he knew it was difficult to realize “the ferocious passions which are rife in Europe.”  But he warned them that “the whole state of Europe and of the world is moving steadily towards a climax which cannot be long delayed:”

Certainly it looks as if the Government of Czechoslovakia were doing their utmost to put their house in order, and to meet every demand which is not designed to compass their ruin as a State. . . . But larger and fiercer ambitions may prevent a settlement, and then Europe and the civilized world will have to face the demands of Nazi Germany….

Churchill told his constituents that a German invasion and subjugation of Czechoslovakia would “not be simply an attack upon Czechoslovakia; it would be an outrage against the civilization and freedom of the whole world.”

September 13, 1938:  Chamberlain telegraphed Hitler, proposing to come see him.  Hitler responded the next day, inviting him to come.  The willingness of Chamberlain to meet with Hitler had an immediate demoralizing effect upon the Czechs:

When the news reached Prague the Czech leaders could not believe it was true.  They were astonished . . . the British Prime Minister should himself pay a direct visit to Hitler . . . . [E]ven Lord Runciman realized that the last thing the Germans wanted was a satisfactory bargain between the Sudeten leaders and the Czech Government.

Chamberlain concluded from his meeting with Hitler that only by yielding Sudeten lands to Germany would Hitler refrain from invading Czechoslovakia.  Chamberlain’s ministers supported the cession of part of Czechoslovakia, “finding consolation” (in Churchill’s words) in the use of phrases such as “the rights of self determination” for the Germans living there. 
September 19, 1938:  England and France presented their “decision” to the Czechs, informing them that the areas where German inhabitants were a majority should immediately be ceded to Germany.  The British-French diplomatic note fairly dripped with the cynical subjugation of Czechoslovakia’s rights to the perceived interest of European “security:”

“Both the French and British Governments recognize how great is the sacrifice thus required of Czechoslovakia.  They have felt it their duty jointly to set forth frankly the conditions essential to security.”

September 21, 1938:  Churchill issued a statement to the press in response to the proposed partition of Czechoslovakia, calling it the “complete surrender of the Western Democracies to the Nazi threat of force” and warning it would have larger consequences:

It is not Czechoslovakia alone which is menaced, but also the freedom and the democracy of all nations.  The belief that security can be obtained by throwing a small State to the wolves is a fatal delusion.

September 22, 1938:  Chamberlain flew to his second meeting with Hitler, at Godesberg, Germany.  He carried with him, “as a basis for final discussion,” the details of the Angle-French proposals regarding Czechoslovakia, which Czechoslovakia had been pressured to accept.  To Chamberlain’s surprise, Hitler presented even more demands.  As Chamberlain reported to the House of Commons on his return:

I do not want the House to think that [Hitler] was deliberately deceiving me – I do not think so for one moment – but, for me, I expected that when I got back to Godesberg I had only to discuss quietly with him the proposals that I had brought with me; and it was a profound shock . . . that these proposals were not acceptable, and that they were to be replaced by other proposals of a kind which I had not contemplated at all.

September 23, 1938:  Chamberlain met again with Hitler at 10:30 p.m., in a meeting that lasted into the small hours of the morning.  Chamberlain was relieved to receive Hitler’s assurance that his new demands would be his last:

Hitler repeated to me with great earnestness . . . that this was the last of his territorial ambitions in Europe . . . [H]e said, again very earnestly, that he wanted to be friends with England, and that if only this Sudeten question could be got out of the way in peace, he would gladly resume conversations….”

September 28, 1938:  The terms Hitler laid out at Godesberg were initially rejected, and a crisis atmosphere resumed.  But Hitler sent a new letter that Chamberlain thought offered hope of a peaceful resolution, and Chamberlain wrote back on September 28 that he was ready to come to Berlin for a third meeting.  Hitler proposed a meeting at Munich on the following day, between England, France, Germany and Italy.  The Czechs were excluded.
September 29, 1938:  The Munich meeting started at noon and lasted until 2 a.m. the next morning, at which time a memorandum was signed that was, Churchill wrote, “in essentials the acceptance of the Godesberg ultimatum.”  But the Czechoslovakia issue had been resolved.
Chamberlain returned to England and was welcomed at the airport by a crowd of notables, to whom he read a statement Hitler had signed attesting to “the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.”  Chamberlain left the airport and drove back through cheering crowds.  In the car, he said to his new Foreign Secretary that it was “peace for our time.”
In the debate that followed in the House of Commons, Churchill opposed the Munich agreement.  “We have sustained,” he said, “a total and unmitigated defeat.”  The House erupted into a storm of protest against Churchill, interrupting his speech.  But he went on to warn that the country should “not suppose that this is the end.”  It was “only the beginning of the reckoning . . . the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year….” 
The House approved Chamberlain’s actions by a vote of 366-114.  A year later, after Hitler marched on Poland, the Second World War began, with Germany in a much stronger military position than it had been in 1938.  The rest is history….

* * *
Flash forward to 2006.  Israel is in the sixth year of a barbaric war against its civilians, featuring mass-murder suicide bombers and rockets intentionally rained on civilian areas — after Israel attempted in 2000 to “meet every demand which was not designed to compass their ruin as a State.” 
In 2006, Israel is subject to a continual drumbeat of de-legitimizing rhetoric that dwarfs what fell upon Czechoslovakia.  The rhetoric includes charges of “apartheid,” accusations its formation was an historic “mistake,” and descriptions of its existence as an “anachronism.”  Iran says Israel should be “wiped off the map,” and its threat against another U.N. member goes un-remarked upon at the U.N.
At the same time, barbaric attacks on civilians, with the obvious assistance of Iran and Syria, are effectively used to stifle the creation of a democratic government in Iraq after it was freed in a three-week war from one of the most brutal dictators of the age.  In Lebanon, an Iranian proxy controls the southern part of the country and the democratic government is subjected to threats from the proxy and the continual assassination of political leaders adverse to Syrian control, with the principal suspects being the highest level of the Syrian government.
On September 20, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American foreign policy establishment, holds a meeting with the President of Iran.  After the session, the Council’s “realist” president writes an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, informing readers he had learned three things of “considerable interest” at the meeting:

Ahmadinejad said that Iran was open to cooperating to stabilize Iraq; that Iran believed it had a right to enrich uranium but that, for religious reasons, it was prohibited from having nuclear weapons; and that Iran is open to relations with the United States if Washington is prepared to take the initiative.

Like Israel’s leader, who pronounced himself “tired” of war in 2005 and then ineptly managed one in 2006, the United States begins to show distinct signs of being tired itself.  The electorate turns Congress over to a party whose plan for Iraq is to withdraw to somewhere “over the horizon” and let the Iraqis sort things out for themselves. 
The Secretary of Defense, one of the chief architects of the Iraq liberation and war, is forced to resign.  The administration then awaits the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, widely expected to favor the negotiation of a “grand bargain” with Iran and Syria, with or without a “final push” in Iraq.
It is in the nature of “grand bargains” that something of considerable value would have to be given to Iran.  What could that be?  Stanley Kurtz predicted last week at National Review Online that “Iran will be offered security guarantees, a huge investment bonanza, a fair amount of regional influence, and general integration into the world community.”
But that would not seem to be enough.  Iran undoubtedly views its nuclear program as a better “security guarantee” than the word of the United States.  That nuclear program will itself also provide Iran with a fair amount of “regional influence” — and beyond.  Iran will have a “huge investment bonanza” as long as the world needs oil (and as long as Russia, China and France are around); no agreement with the United States is necessary for that purpose.  Finally, a regime that rejects a “corrupt” West and wants to replace the existing world order with a caliphate may not view “general integration into the world community” as a very significant goal.  A “grand bargain” may thus require much more.


In historical terms, it seems clear that Iran and Syria are the Germany and Italy of 2006 — a totalitarian regime with global ambitions, with a fascist ally, already fighting proxy wars comparable to the Spanish Civil War.  But Iran has learned something from history, since, as Netanyahu noted in his speech, it appears to want to avoid the mistake Germany made of going to a broader war before it has a nuclear weapon. 
In the impending repetition of the history that Churchill wrote down to warn future generations, it is not yet clear who will be asked to play the role of Czechoslovakia.  It might be Israel, or Lebanon, or Iraq — or perhaps all three.  But “grand bargains” are rarely the end of the story.  Churchill’s history of the Second World War extended for five more volumes after the one discussing Czechoslovakia.
Rick Richman edits “Jewish Current Issues.”  His articles have appeared in American Thinker, The Jewish Press, and the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.

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America, Not Keith Ellison, Decides What Book a Congressman Takes His Oath On