The Development of A Jihadist’s Mindby Tawfiq Hamid
Hudson Institute Published on Friday, April 06, 2007
ARTICLES Editor’s Note: Tawfiq Hamid’s autobiographical account of the development of a jihadist’s mind will appear in Volume 5 of Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, which will be published in April 2007. What occupies the mind of a jihad-driven Muslim? How is such fervor planted in young and impressionable believers? Where does it originate? How did I—once an innocent child who grew up in a liberal, moderate and educated household—find myself a member of a radical Islamic group? These questions go to the root of Islamic violence and must be addressed if free societies are to combat radical Islam. To further this aim, I will explore the psychological development of a jihadi’s mind through my own first-hand experience as a former member of a Muslim terrorist organization.I was born in
Cairo to a secular Muslim family. My father was an orthopedic surgeon and an agnostic at heart; my mother was a French teacher and a liberal. Both considered Islam to be, primarily, an integral part of our culture. With the exception of my father, we would fast on Ramadan. Even though my father was not religious, he understood our need to fit into the community and never forced his secular views on us. He espoused diverse philosophical ideas but encouraged us to follow our own convictions. Most importantly, he taught my brother and me to think critically rather than to learn by rote. I never had any doubt, however, that we were Muslim—that Allah was our creator, Mohammed his messenger and the Quran our book. I believed that if I performed good deeds, I would be admitted to paradise where I could satisfy all my personal desires. I also knew, alternatively, that my transgressions would be punished by eternal torture in hell. I absorbed these beliefs largely from the surrounding environment rather than from my parents; they were shared by most children around me. I attended the private Al-Rahebat primary school in the area of Dumiat, which is about 125 miles north of
Cairo, when I was 6 years old. Though managed by Christian nuns, the school was supervised by the Egyptian government and required its Muslim students to attend classes on Islam. Before each Islamic lesson began, the teacher would dismiss the Christian students, who were then obliged to linger outside the room until the lesson was over. Adding salt to the Christian children’s wounds, many Muslim pupils would tease them for their faith—telling them that they would burn in hell eternally because they ate pork and were “infidels.”This made a strong impression on me. I felt sorry for the Christians, sensing that they must be hurt by being treated as an inferior minority in an Islamic society. In my short life it was the first time I perceived that my Christian friends were not my equals. My parents had never suggested that we were superior to Christians, and I counted many among my friends. We used to play ‘hide and seek’ and other games together. Not only Christian children in the school were persecuted, however; non-practicing Muslims were scorned as well. Observant Muslim children would gather around those who did not fast during Ramadan and sing, “You who eat or drink during Ramadan are the losers of our religious . . . the black dog will tear apart your guts.” Such treatment of Christians and non-practicing Muslims encouraged us to think that non-believers were inferior creatures and that it was right to hate them—they did not follow Islam and the Prophet Mohammed and, therefore, deserved to be tortured in hell forever. Though my secular upbringing prevented these thoughts from entirely dominating my mind at the time, other children were affected even more.
The Beginning of a DreamWhen I was nine years old, I learned the following Quranic verse during one of our Arabic lessons: But do not think of those that have been slain in God’s cause as dead. Nay, they are alive! With their Sustainer have they their sustenance. They are very happy with the reward they received from Allah (for dying as a shaheed) and they rejoice for the sake of those who have not joined them (i.e., have not yet died for Allah). Quran 3:169-70)[i]It was the first time I was exposed to the concept of shaheed (martyr), and naturally, I began to dream of becoming one. The thought of entering paradise very much appealed to me. There I could eat all the lollypops and chocolates I wanted, or play all day without anyone telling me to study. What made the concept of shaheed even more attractive was its power to quell the fear I experienced as a young boy—for we were taught that if we were not good Muslims (especially if we did not pray five times per day), a “bald snake” would attack us in the grave. The idea of dying as a martyr provided a perfect escape from the frightening anguish of eternal punishment. Dying as a shaheed, in fact, was the only deed that fully guaranteed paradise after death. In secondary school I watched films about the early Islamic conquest. These films promoted the notion that “true” Muslims were devoted to aggressive jihad. While jihadi seeds were thereby planted in my mind, they did not yet seriously influence my personality or behavior. I was mostly occupied with school work and such hobbies as sports, stamp collecting, chess and music. My father actively encouraged my brother and me to participate in ordinary activities. In fact, we were members of an exclusive private club where we pursued our hobbies and favorite sports. In my early years of high school, I was also—as many teenagers are—preoccupied with sex and hobbies. A variety of religious and cultural constraints made it virtually impossible to experience sexual activity, however.During my last year of high school, I began to ponder seriously the concept of God while reading about the molecular structure of DNA in a biology book. These thoughts prompted me to learn more about Islam and to devote myself to serving Allah. I remember one particularly defining moment in an Arabic language class when I was sitting beside a Christian friend named Nagi Anton. I was reading a book entitled Alshaykhan by Taha Hussein that cited the Prophet Mohammed’s words: “I have been ordered by Allah to fight and kill all people (non-Muslims) until they say, ‘No God except Allah’” (Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim). Following the reading of this Hadith, I decisively turned toward Nagi and said to him, “If we are to apply Islam correctly, we should apply this Hadith to you.” At that moment I suddenly started to view Nagi as an enemy rather than as a long-time friend. What further hardened my attitude on this matter was the advice I received from many dedicated Muslim fellow students, who warned me against befriending Christians. They based their counsel on the following verse:
“O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends: They are but friends to each other. Andhe amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them (an infidel). Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust” (Quran 5:51).In view of this verse and the previous one, I felt obliged as a Muslim to limit my relationships with my Christian friends. The love and friendship I once felt for them had been transformed into disrespect, merely because I wished to obey the commandments of my religion. The seductive ideas of my religious studies had diluted the influence of my secular upbringing. By restricting my contact with Christians, I felt that I was doing a great deed to satisfy Allah.
First Encounters with Jamaah Islamiyah My high test scores enabled me to gain admission to the medical school at
University in the late 1970s. At the time Islamism was proliferating rapidly. This was due in part to the money and textbooks Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi sect donated to promote Salafi Islam, but more importantly, Islamism gained adherents because Egyptians attributed the growing wealth of
Saudi Arabia to its strict practice of Salafism. We enviously lamented, “Look how Allah has blessed the Saudis with money and oil because they apply sharia law.” We believed that our economic problems would be solved if we did the same—just as Allah had blessed the Saudis, He would bless us.At medical school I met members of Jamaah Islamiyah, an Islamic organization then approved by both the Egyptian government and the university, though later classified as a terrorist organization. Jamaah built a small prayer room in our medical school that later developed into a mosque with an associated library. The mosque was behind the physiology and biochemistry departments, and members of Jamaah came there daily before science classes to lecture us on Islam. They warned us about the punishments awaiting us after death if we did not follow Islam strictly and were effective in advancing Islamism among many of the students, including me. Our fear of being punished after death was exacerbated by our work in the cadaver room, where we dissected dead bodies. Seeing death regularly during anatomy and physiology courses made us feel that the life of this world was meaningless compared to “real” life after death. Jamaah Islamiyah impressed that idea on us by citing the following Quranic verse:Those who desire the life of the present and its glitter,—to them we shall pay (the price of) their deeds therein,—without diminution, . . . (yet) it is they who, in the life to come, shall have nothing but the fire—for in vain shall be all good things that they have done in this (world), and worthless all that they ever did. (Quran 11:15-16) Indeed, the preachers used a range of verses (see Appendix A) to warn those who did not follow Mohammed and Islam rigorously that they would suffer in hell forever.Studying the anatomy and physiology of the human body increased my belief in a creator and made me more enthusiastic about my faith. The rising power of Jamaah Islamiyah inside the medical school was another critical factor in fostering my religious zealotry and that of my fellow students. Once Jamaah Islamiyah became influential, it prohibited such social events as listening to music, which it deemed un-Islamic. Female students were separated; they were not allowed to sit with males. Students were afraid to defy the group’s hostile decrees. Its control reached the point where Christian professors were threatened. I will never forget when they attacked an anatomy professor, Dr. Edward, because he asked Jamaah leaders to end their “mandatory” daily sermon so that he could start his anatomy class. Jamaah Islamiyah’s control of our medical school gradually limited our rights. Its members exploited the lack of restrictions on their conduct to deprive everybody else of freedom. Inside Jamaah IslamiyahDuring my first year of medical school, a Jamaah member named Muchtar Muchtar invited me to join the organization. Muchtar was in his fourth year, and Jamaah had given him the title amir (prince or caliph)—a designation taken from early Islamic writings that is associated with the Islamic Caliphate or Amir Almomenin (Prince of the Believers). I accepted his invitation, and we walked together to Jamaah’s mosque for noon prayers. On the way there Muchtar emphasized the central importance in Islam of the concept of al-fikr kufr, the idea that the very act of thinking (fikr) makes one become an infidel (kufr). (In Arabic both words are derived from the same three root letters but have different meanings.) He told me, “Your brain is just like a donkey (a symbol of inferiority in the Arab culture) that can get you only to the palace door of the king (Allah). To enter the palace once you have reached the door, you should leave the donkey (your inferior mind) outside.” By this parable, Muchtar meant that a truly dedicated Muslim no longer thinks but automatically obeys the teachings of Islam. Initially, I thought that I would experience an ordinary prayer session like those in other mosques. But before the prayers began, the participants were required to stand shoulder to shoulder and foot to foot. The leading cleric, Mohammed Omar, personally checked our arrangement for fifteen minutes to make sure that there were no gaps between our shoulders or feet. The reason for this exercise became apparent when Omar recited the following verse: “Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure” (Quran 61:4). This militaristic attitude during prayers was the first step in preparing me for the concept of jihad against “the enemies of Allah,” the non-Muslims. Following the prayers, members of Jamaah welcomed me and introduced me to a “brother” named Magdi al-Mahdi, who advised me to start reading Salafi books. I followed his advice and became immersed in those texts. After a few months of listening to Jamaah’s belligerent religious sermons and reading the materials they recommended, my personality was utterly transformed. I started to grow my beard. I stopped smiling and telling jokes. I adopted a serious look at all times and became very judgmental toward others. Bitter debates with my family ensued. My behavioral and intellectual transformation greatly alarmed my father. My mother was also concerned; she said that the Quran should be understood in a more moderate manner and advised me to stop reading Salafi materials.Salafi teachings expressly forbid acting on sexual desire. They prohibit a man from touching any woman or even looking at one. Speaking to a woman on a personal level is not permitted. To be alone with a woman without relatives present, it is believed, would “invite Satan to be the third person.” Women became for members of Jamaah, therefore, forbidden creatures. But while relations with women were strictly proscribed, the erotic passages in Salafi writings (see Appendix B) simultaneously aroused in us a powerful sexual desire. This dilemma led us to conclude that dying for Allah provided our only hope for satisfying our lust, because that lust could be satisfied only in paradise. It is not surprising that bin Laden and other terrorist leaders sent letters to their suicide murderers that described to them the Hur[iii], or white ladies awaiting them in paradise. In addition to its severe prohibitions governing sexual conduct, Salafi Islam also strictly limits most artistic expression, which it considers to be satanic. Music involving string instruments is haram (forbidden). Songs, especially romantic ones, are prohibited as well. It is haram to listen to a woman’s singing voice. Even drawing is restricted. Such harsh prohibitions suppressed my ability to appreciate beauty and prepared my mind to accept the inhuman elements in Salafi doctrine. By way of contrast, it is interesting to note that Sufi Muslims enjoy music, singing and dancing, and they rarely, if ever, engage in terrorism. Unfortunately, I followed Salafi Islam. My hatred toward non-Muslims increased dramatically, and jihadi doctrine became second nature to me. My goal of being a physician and healing the sick grew tainted, infected by my strong wish to subjugate non-Muslims and impose sharia law. Meeting Aiman al-ZawahiriAt one afternoon prayer session, an imam I had never met before gave a sermon. He was one of the fiercest speakers I had ever heard. His passion for jihad was astonishing. He advocated complete Islamic dominance, urging us to pursue jihad against non-Muslims and subdue them to sharia—the duty of every true Muslim. His rhetoric inspired us to engage in war against the infidels, the enemies of Allah. He particularly condemned the West for the freedom of its women. He hated the fact that Western women were permitted to wear what they pleased, to work and to have the same opportunities as men. He dreamt of forcing the West to conform to a Taliban-style system in which women were obliged to wear the Islamic hijab, were legally beaten by men to discipline them, and were stoned to death for extramarital sex. After the Imam’s speech my friend, Tariq Abdul-Muhsin, asked me if I knew this speaker. When I said I did not, Tariq told me that he was Dr. Aiman Al-Zawahiri and, because I was a new member of Jamaah, offered to introduce us.Al-Zawahiri was exceptionally bright, one of the top postgraduate students in the medical school. We called him by his title and first name—Dr. Aiman. He came from a well-known, highly educated and wealthy family. As was customary for Jamaah members, he wore a beard and dressed occasionally in the Pakistani style of the Taliban.[iv] He disapproved of Egypt’s secular government; he wanted Egypt to follow sharia law and Coptic Christians to be made dhimmis—second-class citizens submissive to Islam. To disparage secular Arab governments, he cited the following verse: “For they who do not judge in accordance with what God has bestowed from on high are, indeed, Infidels” (Quran 5:44).When I met him, Zawahiri welcomed me affectionately. He spoke quietly, gazing intently at me through his thick glasses. With a serious expression he placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “Young Muslims like you are the hope for the future return of Khilafa (Caliphate or Islamic global dominance).” I felt a great sense of gratitude and honor. I wanted to please him by contributing to his “noble” cause. Throughout my membership in Jamaah, I would meet with Zawahiri on six more occasions. He did not have much time to spare however; Zawahiri was deeply involved in several Islamist organizations. One of Zawahiri’s significant achievements was to personalize jihad—that is, to have transformed it from a responsibility of the Umma, the Islamic collective, to a duty of Muslim individuals. His goal is to spread the empire of Islam through the actions of individual radical Muslims, each of whom is incited to wage a personal jihad. This allows young Muslims to carry out suicide bombings without the endorsement of the collective body. Zawahiri and his fellow jihadis base their philosophy on the verse that states, “Then fight in Allah’s cause—you are held responsible only for yourself—and rouse the believers (to fight)” (Quran 4:84).The Distortion of My Mind Within several months I was invited to travel to
Afghanistan to join other young Muslims in training for jihad. It was fairly common to be recruited after the end of Friday prayers. Volunteering to train in
Afghanistan was very simple: I only needed to register my name in certain mosques, and organizers would carry out all the logistical and financial arrangements. I was excited to go because I believed that I would be fulfilling “the command of Allah” to wage jihad. It seemed the easiest way to guarantee my salvation in the afterlife and to attain my purpose in life. We viewed both the Soviets and the Americans as enemies. The Soviets were considered infidels because they did not believe in the existence of God, while the Americans did not follow Islam. Although we planned to fight the Soviets first, our ultimate objective was to destroy the
United States—the greatest symbol of the infidel’s freedom. My personal dream was to be an Islamic warrior, to kill the enemies of Islam, to smite their necks in accordance with the Quranic verse that read, “When ye meet the Unbelievers smite at their necks” (Quran 47:4).We considered the Prophet Mohammed to be our role model. The Quran commanded us to follow in his footsteps: “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah” (Quran 33:21).Salafi Islamic texts demonstrate Mohammed’s uncompromising nature (see Appendix C). They encourage devout Muslims to emulate the Prophet’s deeds and to accept and defend his actions in even the harshest passages. When confronted by outsiders, however, these same Muslims insist that such stories are misinterpreted because they are taken out of context—though they rarely, if ever, provide the context. This self-protective denial effectively paralyzes further criticism by the West. Meanwhile, these texts are taught and understood in a very literal way by both the young members of Jamaah and many other Muslims. I was not allowed to question any established teaching of Salafi ideology. The Salafists consider any criticism of Islamic texts as redda (apostasy) punishable by death and eternal damnation. Out of simple fear, then, I attempted to idolize Mohammed and to emulate him as he is portrayed in the Sunna.[v] The fear of such harsh punishment deters most other Muslims from criticizing Salafi teaching as well.I increasingly felt at ease with death because I believed that I would either defeat the infidels on earth or enjoy paradise in the afterlife. Jihad against non-Muslims seemed to me to be a win-win situation. The following verse, commonly cited by Jamaah members, validated my duty to die for Allah: Allah has purchased the believers, their lives and their goods. For them (in return) is the Garden (of paradise). They fight in Allah’s Cause, and they slay and are slain; they kill and are killed . . . it (paradise) is the promise of Allah to them.” (Quran 9:111)I passed through three psychological stages to reach this level of comfort with death: hatred of non-Muslims or dissenting Muslims, suppression of my conscience, and acceptance of violence in the service of Allah. Salafi religious indoctrination played a major role in this process. Salafists promoted our hatred for non-Muslims by emphasizing the Quranic verse that read, “Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those who resist (i.e. do not follow) Allah and His Messenger” (Quran 58:22).Salafi writings also helped me to suppress my conscience by holding that many activities I had considered to be immoral were, instead, halal—that is, allowed by Allah and the Prophet. My conscience would normally reject polygamy, for example, because of the severe psychological pain it would cause my future wife. Salafi teaching encourages polygamy, however, permitting up to four wives as halal: “Marry women of your choice, two or three or four” (Quran 4:3). I accepted such ideas—ideas that contradicted my moral outlook—because I came to believe that we cannot negotiate with God about his commandments: “He (Allah) cannot be questioned for His acts, but they will be questioned (for theirs)” (Quran 21:23). Once I was able to suppress my conscience, I was open to accepting violence without guilt—the third psychological stage. One Salafi method of generating this crucial attitude is to encourage violence against women, a first step in developing a brutal mentality. Salafists emphasize the following text:Men are superior to women because Allah has given them more preference than to women, and because they financially support them. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part you fear that they do not obey you, admonish them, avoid making sex with them (as a form of punishment), and beat them; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all). (Quran 4:34)A mind that accepts violence against women is much more likely to be comfortable murdering hated infidels and responding to the verse that reads: “O Prophet, strive hard (fight) against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be harsh with them. Their abode is Hell, an evil refuge indeed” (Quran 9:73). It is clear that the three psychological stages in Salafism that I have described are deeply interconnected. Hesitation and New UnderstandingAs I considered attending a terrorist training camp, however, my conscience reasserted itself. The habit of critical thinking that my parents had instilled in me when I was growing up began to undermine the violent indoctrination to which I had been subjected. If I had taken the next step toward jihad, I might well have become a terrorist killer. Instead, I experienced an intense inner struggle that felt like an earthquake shaking my principles. I realized that harming innocent people is immoral and that a religious ideology pledging war on non-believers must be bankrupt. It is unfortunate and disastrous that the theological underpinnings of Salafism are both powerful and prevalent in the approved, traditional Islamic books. These texts teach, moreover, that the Quran’s later, more violent passages abrogate its earlier, peaceful ones. This concept, called nasikh wa-l-mansukh, has effectively diminished the influence of the peaceful verses.When I discussed the implications of the violent passages with a few Sufi clergy, they suggested that one “should be good and peaceful to all mankind” and that “the understanding of the violent verses will be clarified on the day of judgment.” These views were not based on rigorous Islamic eschatology, however, or on an objective analysis of the religious books. They merely embodied a desired perception of Islam. My secular parents offered the same tolerant perspective, insisting that Islam is a religion of peace. But for me both responses were unsatisfactory because they suffered from the same problem—they were not theologically grounded. My difficulty was not resolved, and I continued to live with a complex dilemma.My crisis of conscience was mostly internal, but I did share some of my doubts with my mother. On one occasion a fellow medical student named Abdul Latif Haseeb started a conversation with me about religion. We discussed whether it was right to kill apostates or stone women to death, as well as whether Mohammed could be considered a pedophile because he married the seven-year-old Aisha (See Appendix C.) We weighed the merits of declaring war on non-Muslims to spread Islam and agreed that it should be rejected because it is condoned only by supplemental Salafi books rather than by the Quran itself. Haseeb belonged to a sect known as Quranist, which strictly adhered to the teachings of the Quran but rejected other writings. This opened my eyes. I was impressed that my new friend disagreed with many Salafi teachings. I also realized that Haseeb was not alone in his beliefs; his father and several mutual acquaintances shared the same ideas. They relied on new interpretations of the Quran and spurned the traditional Salafi textbooks. They accepted and tolerated different views within Islam and, in most circumstances, had a peaceful analysis of the verses. Haseeb invited me to join the sect, and I accepted his invitation in order to examine the Quranists’ ideas more thoroughly. Though not without problems, the sect possessed at least some rigor and was more moderate than Salafism. It provided me with a protected sanctuary that allowed me to keep my identity as a Muslim while giving me the flexibility to reinterpret Quranic verses in a nonviolent way. The group counted among its members the liberal peace activist Mahmoud Mohamed Taha,[vi] whom I met on one occasion. Mahmoud was later murdered in
Sudan by exponents of Salafi doctrine for the crime of “apostasy” because his teaching clashed with theirs. I eventually built on the Quranists’ ideas in developing a fresh understanding of the Quran that is compatible with the values of human rights and modernity. Combating Salafi IslamBy immersing myself in Salafi ideology, I was better able to judge the impact of its violent tenets on the minds of its followers. Among the more appalling notions it supports are the enslavement and rape of female war prisoners and the beating of women to discipline them. It permits polygamy and pedophilia. It refers to Jews as “pigs and monkeys” and exhorts believers to kill them before the end of days:Say: “Shall I tell you who, in the sight of God, deserves a yet worse retribution than these? Those (The Jews) whom God has rejected and whom He has condemned, and whom He has turned into monkeys and pigs because they worshipped the powers of evil: these are yet worse in station, and farther astray from the right path (than the mockers).” (Quran 5:60)Homosexuals are to be killed as well; to cite one of many examples, on July 19, 2000, two gay teenagers were hung in
Iran for no other crime than being gay.[vii]These doctrines are not taken out of context, as many apologists for Islamism argue: they are central to the faith and ethics of millions of Muslims, and are currently being taught as part of the standard curriculum in many Islamic educational systems in the
Middle East as well in the West. Moreover, there is no single approved Islamic textbook that contradicts or provides an alternative to the passages I have cited. It has thus become clear to me that Salafi ideology is what is largely responsible for the so-called “clash of civilizations.” Consequently, I have chosen to combat Salafism by exposing it and by providing an alternative, peaceful, and theologically rigorous interpretation of the Quran. My reformist approach naturally challenges well-established Salafi tenets, and leads Muslims who follow Salafi Islam to reject me. Why? I have not altered the Quran itself. My system is simply one of inline commentary, in which dangerous passages are flagged and reinterpreted to be non-violent. I have added these inline interpretations to key Quranic passages and examples of the commentary are freely and easily available.[viii] For over fifteen years I have tried to preach my views in mosques in the Middle East, as well as to my local community in the West, but have faced the unwavering hostility of most Salafi Muslims in both regions. Muslims who live in the West—who insist to outsiders that Islam is a “religion of peace” and who enjoy freedom of expression, which they demand from their Western hosts—have threatened me with murder and arson. I have had to choose between accepting violent Salafi views and being rejected by the overwhelming majority of my fellow Muslims. I have chosen the latter.Even though radical Islam began to reassert itself in the 1970s, it did not become widely pervasive until quite recently. In the early 1990s many people were intrigued by my ideas, and only a few militants threatened me with violence. One day, after I gave a peaceful Friday sermon, I walked home with a friend. To my surprise, several men ran up and threw stones at us from behind in order to intimidate me from returning and speaking in their mosques. As time has passed, this violent and threatening behavior has become more common: Dr. Wafa Sultan in the US, Abdul Fatah in
Egypt, and many, many others have received and continue to receive death threats. Recently, Dr. Nawal Al-Sadawi, a liberal Muslim thinker and women’s rights activist, was forced to flee
Egypt because of her public statements. Dr. Rashad Khalifa was murdered in the
United States after he published his own re-interpretation of the Quran which was less violent than was traditional. In
Egypt, Dr. Faraq Fuddah was shot to death after publishing condemnations of Jihadists. Egyptian Nobel Prize winner Najib Mahfouz was stabbed in the neck for writing his novel, Awlad Haretna, perceived by Salafists as blasphemous. The list goes on. Still, the majority of members in many Muslim communities have adopted the violent teachings of the Islamists. Salafi indoctrination operates through written words and careful coaching. It is enormously seductive. It rapidly changed me into a jihadi. Salafi sacred texts exert a powerful influence on millions of Muslim followers throughout the world, and terrorism is only one symptom of the Salafi disease. Salafi doctrine, which is at the root of the West’s confrontation with Islamism, poses an existential threat to us all—including Muslims. Indeed, Salafism robs young Muslims of their soul, it turns Western communities against them, and it can end in civil war as Muslims attempt to implement Sharia law in their host countries. A peaceful interpretation of Islam is possible, but the Salafi establishment is currently blocking moderate theological reform. The civilized world ought to recognize the immense danger that Salafi Islam poses; it must become informed, courageous and united if it is to protect both a generation of young Muslims and the rest of humanity from the disastrous consequences of this militant ideology.
Endnotes1. Bracketed comments, here and in every Quranic citation, are mine. They reflect standard Salafi interpretations.2. (Quran 4:24): “…whatever you istamtatum enjoyed from them (women), you have to pay them (for this pleasure).” The word istamtatum is the Arabic origin of the word muttaa.”3. (Quran 55: 72): “The Hur (white ladies with wide eyes) are awaiting for you in the tents (in paradise).”4. Zawahiri adopted the Taliban style of dress because it was typical of the early Islamic conquest—the long, loose-fitting trousers facilitated fighting on horseback. He and other members preferred this style to typical Saudi dress.5. Sunna relate the words or conduct of Prophet Mohammed that are not described in the Quran. They are written in many Salafi books such as Sahih Al-Buchary and Sahih Muslim.6. 1909 –1985.[vii] “Iran Executes Two Gay Teens in Public Hanging”, International Gay and Lesbian Alliance (on-line); available from http://www.ukgaynews.org.uk/Archive/2005july/2101.htm; Internet; accessed 8 March 2007[viii] Visit www.muslimsforhumanrights.org for many examples. Appendix A
1. “For those who do not follow Allah garments of fire shall be cut out for them (in the life to come); burning water will be poured over their heads causing all that is within their bodies, as well as the skins, to melt away. And they shall be held by iron grips; and every time they try in their anguish to come out of it, they shall be returned there to and (be told): “Taste suffering through fire (to the full)!’’ (Quran 22: 19-22)
2. “But those of the left hand (did not obey Allah and Mohammed or follow them) – how unhappy those of the left hand. They will be in the scorching hot wind and boiling water, under the shadow of thick black smoke, neither cool nor agreeable… They will be gathered together on a certain day which is predetermined. Then you, the erring and the deniers will eat zaqqoom (a thorn tree). Fill your bellies with it, and drink scalding water, lapping it up like female camels raging of thirst and disease. Such will be their entertainment, their welcome on the Day of Doom … the welcome of boiling water and the entertainment of roasting in Hell. This is the ultimate truth.” (Quran 56: 41-57)
3. “For We have truly made it as a trial to torment the disbelievers. Zaqqum is a horrible thorn tree that grows in Hell. The shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of devils. Truly they (non-Muslims) will eat it and fill their bellies with it. On top of that they will be given a mixture made of boiling water to drink especially prepared. Then they shall be returned to the Blazing Fire.” (Quran 37: 63-68)
4. “Soon will I fling them into the burning Hell Fire! And what will explain what Hell Fire is? It permits nothing to endure, and nothing does it spare! It darkens and changes the color of man, burning the skin! It shrivels and scorches men.” (Quran 74: 26-29)
5. “We have prepared the doom of Hell and the penalty of torment in the most intense Blazing Fire. For those who reject their Lord is the punishment of Hell: Evil, it is such a wretched destination. When they are flung therein, they will hear the terrible drawing in of their breath and loud moaning even as the flame blazes forth, roaring with rage as it boils up, bursting with fury. Every time a fresh crowd is cast in, Hell’s wardens will ask, ‘Did no Warner come to you?” (Quran 67: 6-8)
6. “‘This,’ it will be said, ‘is the Fire, which you used to deny! Is this a magic fake? Burn therein, endure the heat; taste it. It’s the same whether you bear it patiently, or not. This is My retaliation for what you did.” (Quran 52: 14-16)
7. “…Those who shall dwell forever in the Fire are given to drink boiling water that tears their bowels to pieces, and cutting their intestines to shreds.” (Quran 47: 15)
(Important note: The quotations used below are from some of the fundamental and most essential books of Salafi Islamic teaching).
1. “Narrated Anas: The Prophet used to go round (have sexual relations with) all his wives in one night, and he had nine wives.” Hadith Sahih; Sahih Albuchary Chapter of Marriage or Allnikah
2. “Narrated Annas Ibn Malik that Prophet Mohammed used to make sex with all of his 11 wives in only one hour of a day or a night … and he said that Mohammed has been given the power of 30 men in making sex.” Sahih Al-Buchary – Ketab Alghusl (washing after having sex) – Chapter when a Muslim has sex with all his women he needs only one washing for all
3. “A woman went to the prophet and she said to him that her husband divorced her and she married another one and that she wanted to return back to the first husband (his name was Reffaa). The prophet PBUH said to her “You can not go to Reffaa until you “Tazuky usailatuh” (lick and taste the sex organ of your new husband) and he “Yazook Usailatic” (licks and tastes your sex organ)”. Sahih Al-Buchary – Ketab Al-Shaahadat
4. “Narrated Ahmed (one of the top Islamic scholars) that if a man was unable to control his sexual desire during the fasting of Ramadan and he wanted to ejaculate in a manner that does not ruin his fasting (such as masturbating with his own hands or massaging his penis in the body of his wife or his slave girl), he is allowed to masturbate with the hand of his child slave-girl or the hand of a non-Muslim woman and he is allowed to put his penis into any area (e.g. anal or oral) but not in their vagina.” Baddaa Al-Fawaed (The pearls of the greatest benefits) for Ibn Al- Kaim : Bab Al-Itnab Fi Al-Igaba (Chapter The In-Depth answer)- Section of Istimnaa (Masturbation)
5. Aisha (one of the wives of the prophet) said that Prophet Mohammed used to kiss her while he was fasting in Ramadan and he used to lick and suck her tongue as well while kissing her. Musnad Ahmed And Sunan Abu Dawood – Book of Fasting – Chapter Swallowing of the saliva.
6. “In paradise: When the Muslim enters the room to have sex with the first lady of the 72 Hur (beautiful ladies with wide eyes and white skin), he will find her waiting on the bed … He will not become bored at having sex with her and she will not become bored of having sex with him … and every time he has sex with her he will find her a virgin again … and his penis will never relax (i.e. it will be continuously erected) after the coitus … Some disciples asked the prophet, “Are we going to do sex in the paradise …?” Mohammed said “Yes, and I swear with the name of the one who controls my soul and body (Allah) that every time the man will finish his turn at sex with her … she will return back a virgin.” Tafseer Ibn Katheir… Explanation for the great Quran
7. “Your wives are your tilth; go, then, do your tilth (sex) wherever you desire … and do some preparatory steps (foreplay) first. (Quran 2: 223) One of the disciples of Mohammed said in the explanation of this verse “Do you know the reason for this verse or revelation?” The other person said “No.” The disciple continued “It is revealed to allow for making sex with women in their “Dubur” anus (anal sex)” … and Ibn Kumar said this verse is to allow Muslims to have sex in the “Dubur” or anus of women.” Fath Al-Bary
Ala Sharh Sahih Al-Buchary Book of Tafseer (explanation) of the Qur’an chapter, implies that it is permitted to have sex with women wherever you like. (Note: generally, Shia Muslims allow anal sex while Sunni Muslims based on Hadith of Mohammed do not allow it.)
8. “A man was sleeping in the house of Aisha (the youngest wife of the prophet) and he ejaculated while sleeping. The concubine of Aisha saw him while he was cleaning it (the semen) with water … She spoke to Aisha who explained to the man that she used to scrub the semen of the Prophet directly with her nails after it dries up.” Sahih Muslim- Book of Tahara (Washing) – Chapter of Rules for the semen.
9. “Mohammed was describing the women of paradise who are waiting for Muslim men … He said … when the Muslim enters the paradise he will have 72 women in addition to his wives on earth … The beauty of these 72 women is that the buttocks of each one is nearly a mile in its width.” (Note: big buttocks is considered sexually attractive in the typical Arab culture). Musnad Ahmed
10. “For, behold, we (Allah) shall have brought them (the ladies) into being and we will make them virgins.” (Quran 56: 35-36)
11. “The ladies of the paradise awaiting the followers of Mohammed are so beautiful to the degree that light shines from their faces, their bodies are as soft as silk, they are white in colour and they wear green clothes and golden jewellery … These beautiful ladies say to the believers when they enter the paradise … “we are eternal for you (to enjoy us) … We are very soft and will never get unhappy. We are continuously ready (for sex) and we are always satisfied and will never be discontent … So blessed is this man who will have us and we will have him.” Tafseer Ibn Katheir … Explanation for the great Quran
1. “Allah granted Rayhanah of the (Jewish) Qurayza to His Messenger as booty (but only after she had been forced to watch him decapitate her father and brother, had seen her mother hauled off to be raped, and her sisters sold into slavery).” Tabari
2. “… after Mohammed attacked the Jews of Bani Khriza he killed all their men and divided the women for sexual pleasure among Muslims and enslaved their kids and took their money and treasures.” Sahih Al-Buchary – Ketab Al- Maghazy (Islamic raids) – Bab Hadith Bani Al-Nudeer.
3. “One day a woman came to Prophet Mohammed pbuh and said to him “Do you have a desire in my body (for sex)? If so … I am offering myself to you … Mohammed’s daughter said, this lady does not have any dignity so she offers herself to man!” …….“The Prophet said to his daughter “This lady is better than you … as she wanted to be with the Prophet of Allah so she offered herself to him.” Sunan Ibn Maga.Ketab Alnikah (section of Marriage)… Section: the one who offered her body to the Prophet
4. “Some woman called Fatima Bint Rabiaa (Um Kerfa) … all her kids were great leaders among the Arab tribes … she was one of the most respected women in Arab society and was an example of dignity so that when two tribes had a fight they immediately stopped fighting if she intervened to make peace (by sending her head cover on a post in between the fighting groups (i.e. she was a wonderful and well respected peace activist) … this woman was a poet and she used to say poems against Mohammed … on the 6th year after Mohammed left Macca to Medina she sent one of the best disciples, Zaid Ibn Harisa in a raid to punish her … he killed her in a very violent manner … Zyad tied her legs with rope and then tied her between two camels (and forced them to run) until they split her in two, while she was alive, in two separate parts … She was an old lady … and then after beheading the dead body he carried the dead body to Medina and put her head on a post to satisfy Mohammed.” Taragem Alaalam Chapter: of the dead of year and Al-Tabakat Al-Kubra for Ibn Saad Bab (Chapter: The Raid of Zaid Ibn Harisa to Um Kerfa
5. “… the disciples of Mohammed used to fight to get his sputum after spitting it into their hands … and when any of them got the spitting in his hand he used to massage his face and skin with Mohammed’s spitting and phlegm …” Sahih Al-Buchary – Ketab Al- Shroot
6. “The Prophet has a higher claim on the believers than (they have on) their own selves, (seeing that he is as a father to them) and his wives are their mothers (i.e. not allowed to marry any other person).” (Quran 33: 6)
According to Salafi books, the explanation of the above verse are: Mohammed was allowed certain privileges above all other Muslims … These include:… if he looked at a woman her husband has to divorce her and Mohammed is allowed to marry her to have sex … if he divorced a woman it is not allowed for anyone to marry her … and he was allowed to take for himself the food from the hungry and the water from the thirsty … (to eat or drink it).” Tafseer Al-Qurtubi Surat Al-Ahzab; Quran explanation by the Qurtobi
7. Narrated “Aisha (the child wife of Prophet Mohamed): that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years. (Note: According to Islamic books, Mohammed was above 50 years old when he married this young child). Sahih Al-Buchary
8. The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to
Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and good luck.” Then she gave me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. Sahih Al-Buchary, Narrated by Aisha
9. Narrated ‘Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah’s Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (Playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for ‘Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl and had not yet reached the age of puberty.) Fateh-al-Bari … Sahih Al-Buchary
10. Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah: While we were returning from a Ghazwa (Holy raid) with the Prophet, I started driving my camel fast as it was a lazy camel. A rider came behind me and pricked my camel with a spear he had with him, and then my camel started running as fast as the best camel you may see. Behold! The rider was the Prophet himself. He said, “What makes you in such a hurry?” I replied, “I am newly married.” He said, “Did you marry a virgin or a matron?” I replied, “A matron.” He said, “Why didn’t you marry a young girl so that you may play with her and she play with you?” Hadith Sahih; Sahih Albuchary: Chapter of Marriage or Allnikah
By Thomas Sowell
Congressman Tom Lantos, who is a member of the delegation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading to Syria, put the mission clearly when he said: “We have an alternative Democratic foreign policy.”
Democrats can have any foreign policy they want — if and when they are elected to the White House.
Until Nancy Pelosi came along, it was understood by all that we had only one president at a time and — like him or not — he alone had the Constitutional authority to speak for this country to foreign nations, especially in wartime.
All that Pelosi’s trip can accomplish is to advertise American disunity to a terrorist-sponsoring nation in the Middle East while we are in a war there. That in turn can only embolden the Syrians to exploit the lack of unified resolve in Washington by stepping up their efforts to destabilize Iraq and the Middle East in general.
Members of the opposition party, whichever party that might be at a given time, knew that their role was not to intervene abroad themselves to undermine this country’s foreign policy, however much they might criticize it at home.
During the Second World War, the defeated Republican presidential candidate, Wendell Wilkie, even acted as President Roosevelt’s personal envoy to British Prime Minister Churchill.
He understood that we were all in this together, however we might disagree among ourselves about the best course to follow.
Today, Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Democrats are stepping in to carry out their own foreign policy and even their own military policy on troop deployment — all the while denying that they are intruding on the president’s authority.
They are doing the same thing domestically by making a big media circus over the fact that the Bush administration fired eight U.S. attorneys. These attorneys are among the many officials who serve at the pleasure of the president — which means that they can be fired at any time for any reason or for no reason.
That is why there was no big hullabaloo in the media when Bill Clinton fired all the U.S. attorneys across the country — even though that got rid of the U.S. attorneys who were conducting an on-going investigation into corruption in Clinton’s own administration as governor of Arkansas.
So much hate has been hyped against George W. Bush that anything that is done against him is unlikely to be questioned in most of the media.
But whatever passing damage is being done to George W. Bush is a relatively minor concern compared to the lasting damage that is being done to the presidency as an institution that will still be here when George W. Bush is gone.
Once it becomes accepted that it is all right to violate both the laws and the traditions of this nation, and to undermine the ability of the United States to speak to other nations of the world with one voice, we will have taken another fateful step downward into the degeneration of this society.
Such a drastic and irresponsible step should remove any lingering doubt that the Democrats’ political strategy is to ensure that there is an American defeat in Iraq, in order to ensure their own political victory in 2008.
That these political games are being played while Iran keeps advancing relentlessly toward acquiring nuclear weapons is a fateful sign of the utter unreality of politicians preoccupied with scoring points and a media obsessed with celebrity bimbos, living and dead.
Once Iran has nuclear weapons, that will be an irreversible change that will mark a defining moment in the history of the United States and of Western civilization, which will forever after live at the mercy of hate-filled suicidal fanatics and sadists.
Yet among too many politicians in Washington, it is business as usual. Indeed, it is monkey business as usual, as Congressional Democrats revel in the power of their new and narrow election victory last year to drag people before committee hearings and posture for the television cameras.
It has been said that the world ends not with a bang but with a whimper. But who would have thought that it could end with political clowning in the shadow of a mushroom cloud?
WDC MEDIA NEWS
Christian News and Media Agency
Pelosi Setting Up Shadow Government That Undermines Constitution And Executive Powers
By Bill Wilson, Daily Jot News Service Senior Analyst
2007-04-11 — WASHâ€”Apr 11â€”DJNS– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, fresh off a foreign affairs-damaging trip to Syria, would not rule out another ill-natured mission to Iranâ€”all the more evidence that the radical leftists in the Democratic Party are trying to establish a shadow government. At a news conference in her home district of San Francisco, Pelosi fielded questions from reporters along with Democratic Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Lantos. Lantos said he would like to â€œbe on a plane tomorrow morningâ€ for discussions with Iranian strongman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad because â€œit is important that we have dialogue with him.â€ Pelosi said that Lantos, a holocaust survivor, wanting to have dialogue with Ahmadinejad â€œspeaks volumes.â€
Indeed, Pelosi is correct. It does speak volumes. The shadow government now being implemented by the radical leftists of the Democratic Party is sending a signal of weakness and appeasement to Americaâ€™s enemies and tramples the U.S. Constitution. For example, the Reform Party of Syria, a U.S.-based Syrian opposition party to the Assad regime that has emerged as a result of September 11, criticized Pelosi and Senator Hillary Clintonâ€™s support of Pelosiâ€™s Syrian trip. RPS said that Assad has helped kill hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq and in return gets â€œrewarded by Nancy Pelosi through open engagement.â€
Now Pelosi and her minions are making noise that they would go to Iran. It is documented that Iran is supplying roadside bombs, funding, even terrorists to kill American soldiers in Iraq, yet Pelosi and her Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman want to open dialogue with the man who repeatedly says that the â€œAmerican satanâ€ should be destroyed. In fact, in the first nine days of April, 30 American and British troops were killed by roadside bombs because the terrorists appear to have found a way to defeat a sophisticated counter measure developed by the U.S. According to DEBKAfile, military experts suspect al Qaeda may have acquired the technology through Iran.
There are laws on the books and Constitutional prohibitions to address the type of strategy that has been enacted by Pelosi and her shadow government. The Congress, the White House and/or the Judiciary must take decisive action to prevent a further erosion of foreign policy and of the Constitutional Republic due to Pelosiâ€™s actions, even to protect the national security. The nation is being taken over by a force that appears to believe it is above the law and the Constitution and order must be restored. There are checks and balances written into the U.S. Constitution. They are being probed by a sharp bayonet.
Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight. — Isaiah 5:21
Where are the transcripts of the dialogue between House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad? Speaker Pelosi yesterday claimed that she said nothing to contradict the foreign policy of the President, but offers no details. I for one would like to hear the evidence for myself. Especially after hearing a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Tom Lantos, claim last week that they have an “alternative Democratic foreign policy” that is different from the President’s. How can both the Speaker and the Chairman both be telling the truth?
If the Democrats in Congress have the right to demand the transcripts of Vice President Cheney’s Energy Working Group, then surely we have a moral right to know what was said between the Speaker and President Assad, and judge for ourselves where the truth lies.
It is interesting to note that there is no audio of the meeting that we see looped endlessly on TV. But it is clear through the body language of President Assad that he seems to be clearly lecturing her about something, while she appears to be dimly smiling and nodding. What is the discussion about? Will we ever know?
Conservatives have every right to ask the tough questions and take advantage of the sensitivity that the Speaker clearly has about this her visit.
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Posted by Bobby Eberle
America’s racial “crusaders,” Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, are at it again. If there’s a racial injustice to right, they are on the scene to save the day. But… who is doing the saving, and who is doing the self-promoting? If Jackson and Sharpton really cared about ridding America of words and actions which are degrading to women, they would realize that Don Imus’s idiotic comments are small potatoes.
The other day on his radio program, talk show host Don Imus referred to the women of Rutgers University’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos.” The comments set off a fire storm of reaction, which led Jackson and Sharpton to enter the scene.
The fact of the matter is that Imus’s comments are wrong and have no place on the airwaves. Racial slurs are not a “joke,” and Imus’s crude remarks should be rebuked. That’s why Jackson and Sharpton are stepping forward… to be the champions of racial and gender justice, right? Not so fast…
The good “reverend” Al Sharpton has a history of using racial attacks to further his cause. As noted in the 2003 column by Jeff Jacoby, in 1987 Sharpton spread a hoax that a 15-year-old black girl was “abducted, raped, and smeared with feces by a group of white men.” Sharpton singled out one particular white man, saying, “If we’re lying, sue us, so we can . . . prove you did it.” The man does sue and wins $345,000.
Jacoby also notes other incidents in his column, including:
Jesse Jackson, the other “reverend,” has an equally infamous past when it comes to racial attacks, particularly against Jews. As noted in a Larry Sabato column, Jackson has had a tenuous relationship with America’s Jewish community dating back to his “Hymietown” comment:
And these two are now purporting to be the spokesmen for injustice against black women? If they truly cared about getting degrading words against women pulled off the airwaves, as they appear to want in going after Imus, they would shift their focus to the rap music industry.
As covered in Michelle Malkin’s latest column, the current rap songs at the top of the charts are littered with racial and gender slurs at least equal to Imus’s. These “songs” are played over and over and over again. They sink into the minds of young listeners everyday. What kind of culture does Sharpton and Jackson think it promotes? Treating women fairly? Treating women as equals? No… and yet Jackson and Sharpton will spend countless hours attacking a white man and ignore an entire industry that is doing so much damage to young blacks.
The media need to stop turning to the likes of Sharpton and Jackson as if they were the racial police. Stop giving them a platform, and maybe they will just go away. Their words have no meaning, and their credibility is less than zero.
The Paradox of Reason
Liberal rationality leads to chaos, thence to tyranny
The foundation of liberal-Progressive-socialism, beginning with the pre-Revolutionary French Encyclopedists, has been belief in the supremacy of human reason as the sole guide to social order. In practice it turns out to be a foundation of sand, always washed away in the deluge of political tyranny.
Reason as the only source of wisdom was almost immediately stripped of such pretense and revealed as naked savagery in the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, instituted to compel conformity to the revolutionists’ political aims.
After the 1789 Revolution, France was reeling under wild swings from monarchy, to attempts at constitutional government, to the rule of street mobs. Matters came to a head with the execution of King Louis XVI in January, 1793. The Assembly’s Revolutionary Tribunal and the Committee of Public Safety announced,
It is wholly necessary to establish briefly the despotism of freedom in order to crush the despotisms of Kings. (quoted in André Maurois, A History of France).
What “the despotism of freedom” meant was the bloody Reign of Terror. The Revolutionary Tribunal, during fourteen months of continuous sessions, condemned more than 70,000 people to the guillotine: children, men and women, old and young, aristocrats, monarchs, priests, ordinary citizens, and peasants.
Similarly, sixty years later with the advent of Darwin’s hypothesis of evolution, liberals began the destruction of the English and American foundations of constitutional democracy. As Darwin’s champion Thomas Huxley declared, the morality of Judeo-Christianity was ignorant superstition. There was no such thing as sin, no such thing as right or wrong; there was only the struggle for survival.
This clearly had great appeal to the newer generation, the Baby Boomers of their day, swept up in admiration for science and confident that man had nearly conquered nature and was sure to complete the job shortly. If man ruled nature, he had the means to control and reform human nature itself.
Unfortunately, this sophism also postulated chaos, the absence of any order. Because for them there is no God, life was, and still is, envisioned by Darwinians as purposeless and without design. What is, just “happened” by blind chance, energized only by reactions to changing material circumstances.
In such a world, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – in “reason” to gainsay the slaughter of tens of millions of people by Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, or Chairman Mao. If there is no morality, no higher law, no God, we are left with a simple guiding principle to order life: might makes right. Whatever, and I do mean whatever, the ruler can impose is to be the law.
The working out of this principle in the United States since imposition of socialism under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s is evidenced in the Darwinian concept that the Constitution really didn’t mean to make amendments difficult and time consuming via the provisions of Article V. Rather, say our sophistic liberal-Progressive-socialists, “evolving” public opinion effectively amends the Constitution, because majority rule, right or wrong, has the power of numbers to force whatever it wants. Forget the Electoral College; forget the federalism of state and national powers, balanced between The House’s representation on the basis of population, and the Senate’s equal votes for each state. Such niceties stand in the way of the Federal steam roller.
Thus we have the steady erosion of the inalienable individual rights, especially private property rights, enshrined in the Bill of Rights. The might of the mob, intent upon grasping ever more welfare-state benefits, must triumph over the rights and responsibilities of individuals. How, ask the liberals, can the rights of an obscure individual stand in the way of Progress and the “common good,” defined as the welfare state’s egalitarian redistribution of wealth and income?
Thus we have judicial activism and legislation, not by Congress, but by arbitrary and capricious diktats of thousands of quasi judicial agencies and regulatory bureaus.
As the Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes tells us, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The Greek philosophers had long before wrestled with the pernicious doctrine of Protagoras that, “Man is the measue of all things.” Protagoras, who lived in the fifth century BC, was said to be the original Sophist, whose doctrine is defined as plausible, but fallacious logic.
In the 1820s and 30s, Auguste Comte’s version of Protagoras was his Religion of Humanity (quoted in A General View of Positivism):
Deriving its subjective principle from the affections, [the Positive Synthesis] is dependent ultimately on the intellect for its objective basis. …Such a center we find in the great conception of Humanity, towards which every aspect of Positivism naturally converges. By it the conception of God will be entirely superseded, and a synthesis be formed, more complete and permanent than that provisionally established by the old religions….Towards Humanity, who is for us the only true Great Being, we, the conscious elements of whom she is composed, shall henceforth direct every aspect of our life, individual or collective. Our thoughts will be devoted to the knowledge of Humanity, our affections to her love, our actions to her service….the conception of Humanity as the basis for a new synthesis was impossible until the crisis of the French Revolution.
In the century after Protagoras, Plato expended much of his energy in confuting Sophism. Sophists argued exactly as do liberal-Progressive-socialists today: all that counts is material comfort, wealth, and power. Humans are ordered only by lust for these things. In our present-day social sciences, psychologists and Freudian psychiatrists start at a slightly more fundamental level: water, food, sex, clothing, and shelter. Both they and the original sophists, however, regard material things as the only motivators of human action.
In Theaetetus, Plato attacks this doctrine directly, in an argument which runs along the following lines:
If wisdom and knowledge are the same, what is knowledge? What is its nature in the abstract? Can one understand something without knowing its nature? Can humans know the mystery of an art without experience? without deep study? without Divinely inspired intuition?
Is there not a great difference between surface impressions and fundamental nature? Isn’t public opinion merely superficial, momentary impression, rather than real knowledge?
Is there no knowledge or wisdom that exists independent of the individual’s perception?
Is knowledge perception alone? Such is the doctrine of Protagoras, who says that man is the measure of all things, which means that each person’s perceptions are for him the only reality. If I feel cold, then it is too cold, though you may feel too hot. Such is the relativistic nature of volatile public opinion as the sole basis for political governance.
Are we not running into a contradiction? If perception is the measure of the reality of existence, and if perception is knowledge, how can reality, in the sense of fundamental nature, be both hot and cold? Are we not forced into the position of moral relativism, in which there are no standards at all beyond momentary opinion, based on sensual perceptions, perceptions that are continually changing at the mercy of random chance in material conditions?
In effect, for Sophists and liberal-Progressive-socialists, there is no end point, there is no Being, just Becoming in an ever changing, meaningless world without point beyond survival at the lowest animal level.
Reason as the sole guide turns out to be a contradiction. If there are no standards, no human nature to be understood beyond the Darwinian belief that there is no fixed being, no fixed human nature, that instead humans are becoming, or evolving, then there is no point in seeking a good or just political society. Whoever comes along with sufficient power to impose his will upon us cannot be denied, because he is a Darwinian, material, evolutionary factor shaping the presumably ever-changing nature of the human animal.
In such a world, Al Queda has as much claim to legitimacy as liberals or Judeo-Christian traditionalists. Hence, we are back to square one, the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, executed today by Islamic suicide bombers.
Nancy Pelosi’s Power Trip
One of feminists’ favorite slogans goes like this: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” If you consider a House speaker who meets with a terrorist thug to be historical, then Nancy Pelosi recently proved that slogan to be true.
Defying Bush administration requests, Pelosi traveled last week to Israel and Syria hoping to thaw the ice between the long-standing Middle East adversaries. But Pelosi ignored the fact that Syrian president Assad represents an implacable threat to the region.
Pelosi garnered headlines last Wednesday with the claim that Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was “ready to engage in negotiations for peace with Israel.”
But hours later the prime minister’s office issued a clarification — Israel’s position had not changed, and chided Syria because it “continues to be part of the Axis of Evil and a force that encourages terror in the entire Middle East.”
Pelosi’s grandstanding attracted criticism from liberal and conservative commentators alike. The Washington Post called her trip “foolish” and an attempt to “substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president.” Vice president Cheney said the trip represented “bad behavior on her part.” Others called her effort “embarrassing” and “reckless.”
Shortly after the November elections, N.O.W. president Kim Gandy lionized Nancy Pelosi as the “first woman and self-identified feminist to become Speaker of the House.” Since then Pelosi seemingly has been obsessed with women and power. But Mrs. Pelosi is not the only high-profile politician to be caught up in a passion-pink power trip.
When senator Hillary Clinton traveled to New Hampshire last month, she commented, “I don’t know about you, but I like seeing women in charge.” No one in the mainstream media seemed to be fazed by the sexist overtones of the remark. [http://newsbusters.org/taxonomy/term/522]
So can we look forward to hearing attorney John Edwards exclaim, “I don’t know about you, but I like seeing trial lawyers in charge”? And will Mitt Romney be announcing that he’s hoping to soon see Mormons run the show?
It’s Hillary who keeps harping on her quest to “break the biggest glass ceiling in the land,” as she remarked last week. Remember that in fem-speak, “glass ceiling” is code language for “evil patriarchy.”
Mrs. Clinton’s real message to women, of course, is that her XX genetic make-up should trump her scanty legislative accomplishments, far-left policy positions, and grating personality.
One of Clinton’s biggest boosters is CBS anchor Katie Couric. Among the three major networks, Couric’s ratings are mired in last place, which may have something to do with her habit of unabashed cheerleading for feminist causes. Here’s one of Katie’s recent blog commentaries: “Women in power create MORE powerful women.” [www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2007/02/12/couricandco/entry2465768.shtml]
Rosie O’Donnell, host of The View, is another reason we should be thankful for woman’s lib. The day after the State of the Union address, the discussion of world news turned to Nancy Pelosi. That inspired Barbara Walters to triumphantly raise her clenched fist while Rosie sang a round of “I am woman, hear me roar.” (Yes, seriously.)
But there’s a problem with the girl-power gig — it quickly morphs into a frenzied paean to the uber-female.
Take a recent broadcast from National Public Radio’s Weekend America: [http://weekendamerica.publicradio.org/programs/2006/11/18/on_the_hill.html]
Newly-elected congresswoman Nancy Boyda from Kansas exclaimed, “women are going to be less inclined to look at the politics and just say, you know, I need health care for my family.” And Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona gushed, “women tend to be a better part of the process” and “we get so much done because we make lists.”
Who am I, after all, to dispute that well-honed logic?
On January 17 Diane Sawyer lead off her Good Morning America interview with 16 female senators with this question: “Do you believe that if there were more women presidents in the world, there would be less war?”
Apparently Sawyer never heard of Queen Mary I, the 16th century monarch of England. Affectionately known as Bloody Mary, she ordered 283 persons burned at the stake for religious heresy.
But my all-time favorite is the exchange that took place between a fawning Diane Sawyer and exultant Nancy Pelosi the day she was named Speaker of the House. Are you ready for this eye-witness account of history in the making?
Here’s Diane’s set-up: “We’re walking along with the camera, she looks at the carpet. It has lint on it, little scraps of paper. She can’t stand it. She gets down and cleans the carpet so we could walk.”
And Nancy’s aw-shucks explanation: “It’s just a bonus of having a female Speaker of the House.”
Al-Sadr to Supporters: ‘Unify Your Efforts Against’ US Forces
In a statement distributed Sunday, 8 April, Muqtada al-Sadr appealed for an end to Iraqi infighting, directing supporters to instead “unify” against “the enemy.” He also warned state security forces not to “follow the occupier.” The remarks were released a day before rallies called by Al-Sadr in the holy city of Al-Najar to mark the fourth anniversary of the US-led invasion. The full text of the statement follows.
In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate:
God’s peace, mercy, and blessings be on the people of peace.
God says: “And obey Allah and His Messenger and fall into no disputes, lest ye lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: For Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” [Koranic verse]
Should I offer my condolences to my country for a plight inflicted on it or for a treacherous occupation that has violated its sanctity? Or, should I offer my condolences to you, my country, over the sedition that it is sweeping you, weep for the blood spilled, or should I seek your help or seek help for you due to the booby-trapped cars that are disrupting your tranquility and security? What should I do?
How beautiful an abode and place of rest you are, my country!
You have been and continue to be the cradle of heavenly lights having received God’s pious holy men, prophets, and messengers.
In your dwelling place, scholars, holy men, and the mujahidin have displayed innovation. So, should I congratulate you for this innovation, or offer my condolences to you over what is happening in this blessed land?
The armies of darkness represented by the occupation spearheaded by America, the overarching evil, have started sowing sedition among the people of the one country directly or through its agents and lowly followers who sold their religion, land, and people. Regretfully, the malevolent fruit of their strange and loathsome actins have transpired. God says:” And the parable of an evil Word is that of an evil tree: It is torn up by the root from the surface of the earth: it has no stability. Allah will establish in strength those who believe, with the word that stands firm, in this world and in the Hereafter; but Allah will leave, to stray, those who do wrong: Allah doeth what He willeth. Hast thou not turned thy vision to those who have changed the favour of Allah. Into blasphemy and caused their people to descend to the House of Perdition?- Into Hell? They will burn therein- an evil place to stay in!” [Koranic verse]
Now we see what is happening in our beloved governorate, Al-Diwaniyah, in terms of sedition which the occupier has planned to have brothers engage in fighting and killing.
My brothers in Al-Mahdi Army and in the security services, stop fighting. By fighting, you would be making successful the schemes of our enemy, your enemy, and the enemy of God, his Prophet and kinfolk, God’s peace be upon them. Our Iraq can no longer tolerate spilling such pious blood on this virtuous land.
Iraq’s army and police: Do not follow the occupier for he is an avowed enemy and I am a sincere adviser.
An honorable resistance man does not hope from God other than one of two glorious things- Martyrdom or victory. But at the same time, a resistance man cannot at all kill an Iraqi for the blood of Iraqis is a red line. This is not only my opinion but also the command of God as He said:” Take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.” [Part of a Koranic verse]
Infighting among brothers is not right at all nor is following the dirty US sedition. Defending the occupier by some people is not right. Thus, fear God and stand out firmly for justice.
O grass roots of Imam [Al-Mahdi], builders of Iraq, followers of the two Al-Sadr martyrs: You will not be reproached for God has prescribed for you patience in front of the enemy and commanded you to unify your efforts against it but not against the sons of Iraq. They want to drag you into a war to end Shiism or in fact Islam as a whole but we will never submit. You build Iraq, unify its people, defend its land, seek its independence, suppress wrongdoing, follow righteousness, seek martyrdom for the sake of righteousness, and want the occupier to leave Iraq. In order to end the occupation, you shall stage a demonstration. Do not let them distract you from it or close roads in front of you as our goal is to please God and not incur His wrath. If you love the family members of Al-Sadr and follow your leaders, then listen and obey me, my God have mercy upon you. I have never asked for killing Iraqis but asked for doing things that bring them dignity, honor, independence, sovereignty, and guidance. For as long as I live, I will seek to spare the blood of Iraqis. Will you do so? I only came out as a liberator asking for promoting virtue and suppressing vice. You have been the best helpers after God. How difficult the liberation would be without Imam Al-Mahdi Army. Hence, be unified and brothers, and renounce division, will you?
Turkish energy project could undermine Russia-Iran alliance
Jonathan Adiri, YNET NEWS
THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT ANALYSIS. UNFORTUNATELY IT DOESN’T FACTOR IN GERMANY WHICH IS SET TO TAKE OVER THE EU FROM FRANCE. GERMANY IS THE LARGEST TRADING PARTNER OF IRAN AND IS DEPENDENT ON RUSSIAN GAS.
While the international community is busy observing Iran from the east, its western border is undergoing tremendous changes, mainly in the field of energy.
These changes might yield a substantive strategic change, which will provide effective leverages for the international community vis-a’-vis Iran. However, should the international community persist in its irresolute conduct, a Turkish turn eastward might negatively affect global security.
The Mild War
Putin has revealed his cards. While the global media was busy covering his assailant “Munich speech,” not many noticed that he outspokenly revealed the prevailing Russian narrative: The Soviet Union did not lose the Cold War, but voluntarily ended it.
This statement alludes to the spiritual substance from which Russian foreign policy is created in the 21st century – a great power that cleverly reframed its power structure and is reclaiming its adequate international position.
In this context, the renewed Russian national security policy is based on two main pillars diplomacy and energy. Its diplomatic power is comprised of a rich and interwoven set of strategic relationships across Asia and Africa. Furthermore, Russia enjoys the veto power at the Security Council. On the energy front, Russia employs three main sources of power – A dominant natural Gas reserve and active production line, access to oil, and nuclear expertise.
At present, 35 percent of the European Union’s natural gas comes from Russia. Germany, the leader of the EU economy, is heavily reliant on Russian gas, which accounts for 79 percent of its consumption. This enables Putin to leverage energy as a diplomatic tool, as he proved in the Ukrainian crisis on New Year’s Eve, 2006. This crisis, spurring a Moscow-Brussels diatribe, ended up in Russia’s victory and has been recurring since, the latest victim being Belarus.
The Russian diplomatic umbrella is at the heart of the secure Iranian path to nuclear glory. This umbrella is the direct consequence of an Iranian-Russian deal. Under this deal, Iran refrains from exporting the Islamic revolution to the Shiite and energy-rich Russian backyard, the Caucuses. The implications of a “Chechen scenario” evolving in this area deter Moscow, which, in turn, provides the diplomatic backing.
Other reflections of the deal include the heavy arms trade between Russia and Iran (lately the Russian defense minister estimated that Iran’s air defense systems, recently purchased from Russia, will cripple any American/Israeli attack), the Nuclear plant in Busher, and Iran’s role in mediating other predominantly Muslim areas in the Russia-China-Iran triangle.
Turkish energy bar
July 2006 saw the completion of first phase in the ambitious Turkish energy project, also known as “The Grid.” Once completed, claim DC researchers and policymakers, Turkey will have consolidated itself as an energy transfer hub. Strengthening this Turkish effort might weaken the Iranian-Russian stronghold of the Caucuses energy and create major reciprocal tensions in both countries national security goals – getting them to possibly re-think their “deal.”
The Baku Ceyhan Natural Gas pipeline holds great potential for unleashing the energy reserves of the Caucuses. The current Russian monopoly on the pipeline-transfer of natural gas (without going through the dangerous and expensive transformation process to liquid gas for transfer in tankers or aboard trucks) is already beginning to weaken at its fringes. Foreign direct investment in this project will transform these fringe cracks into a trend.
Moreover, the Russian iron fist in the Caucuses, a consequence (among other factors) of the region’s geographic dependency on Russia for Western access, might also weaken. Should Turkey keep up the pace and complete the Grid by 2010 it will be able to compete for the European demand for natural gas.
The Political package
However, foreign direct investment and clever western finance tools aren’t enough. Turkey has many open issues with the international community, which is reluctant and sluggish in its approach to Turkey. This brought about a stronger Islamic political hue in the Turkish political structure, which directly benefit Iran, wolfishly awaiting a Turkish turn east. This is evident in the high profile diplomacy exercised by Tehran and Ankara in the past year and a half.
Turkey has three major issues to resolve with the international community: Kurdish Separatism, EU integration, and recognition of its important regional status. The international community failed to engage Turkey on all three.
Former UN Secretary General Annan’s plan for Cyprus collapsed as the Greek part won all the diplomatic gains and the surprisingly pragmatic Turkish side was left behind bitter and frustrated. The US failed to explore the Turkish fears before entering Iraq, which resulted in an obstinate Turkish refusal to take part in the war. And finally, the integration talks are stuck and far from entering a serious and fruitful direction.
Turkey is approaching elections. Another win for the Islamists might further cripple the international community’s ability to engage Turkey.
The window of opportunity is closing and the price to pay for Turkey’s turn east is surging. Invested international parties, from the EU to the US and Israel (concerning Iran mainly) should provide the Turkish with a political-economic package that will boost the completion of the grid and dissuade it from turning east. The price for this return is just getting higher.
Jonathan Adiri is the Director of US Projects at the Reut Institute for Policy Planning