Muslims Silence Critics
By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | 8/6/2007
After a police raid Friday at Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland, bakery employee Devaughndre Broussard admitted to murdering Chauncey Bailey, the editor of the Oakland Post. Bailey was writing a series of investigative articles about the Bakery – and that’s why, according to police, Broussard killed him.
Your Black Muslim Bakery is an outpost of the Nation of Islam, not of any orthodox Islamic sect, but in this murder Devaughndre Broussard has followed a pattern that some orthodox Muslims have also followed. Violent reprisal has long been an occupational hazard of those who dare to question or investigate Islamic groups or criticize Islamic practices. Filmmaker Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered in November 2004 by a Muslim who took exception to his criticism of the oppression of women in Islamic societies. In 1947, the Iranian lawyer Ahmad Kasravi was murdered in court by Islamic jihadists; Kasravi was there to defend himself against charges that he had attacked Islam.
Four years later, members of the same radical Muslim group, Fadayan-e Islam, assassinated Iranian Prime Minister Haji-Ali Razmara after a group of Muslim clerics issued a fatwa calling for his death. In 1992, the Egyptian writer Faraj Foda was murdered by Muslims enraged at his “apostasy” from Islam — another offense for which traditional Islamic law prescribes the death penalty. Foda’s countryman, the Nobel Prizewinning novelist Naguib Mahfouz, was stabbed in 1994 after accusations of blasphemy. And of course, there is the Iranian regime’s notorious death fatwa against Salman Rushdie.
Chauncey Bailey, moreover, is not the first person in the United States to have been murdered by a Muslim who didn’t like what he said. That distinction may belong to Rashad Khalifa, an unorthodox interpreter of the Qur’an who was murdered in Tucson, Arizona, in January 1990 – probably by a member of the jihadist group Jamaat al-Fuqra. But Bailey’s is still a singular case. Much more common has been the practice of trying to intimidate critics into silence through legal threats.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has had great success with this over the years, although lately the tactic appears to be faltering. CAIR was unsuccessful in bullying the Young America’s Foundation into canceling a talk by me last week: the address went on as scheduled on Thursday. In 2006, CAIR dropped a lawsuit against Andrew Whitehead of Anti-CAIR after Mr. Whitehead’s attorney asked a series of probing questions during the discovery process. But before that, CAIR successfully cowed National Review magazine, Fox’s 24, and others into muting in various ways their criticism of Islamic violence and extremism.
Nor is CAIR alone among Muslims in its efforts at legal intimidation. Billionaire Saudi financier Khalid bin Mahfouz has sued journalist Rachel Ehrenfeld and others for libel in the U.K., where the libel laws favor plaintiffs. Ehrenfeld’s offense? In her book Funding Evil, she wrote that bin Mahfouz was involved in funding Hamas and al Qaeda. Bin Mahfouz denied that he had knowingly given any money to either. And Cambridge University Press has, in response to another libel suit filed by bin Mahfouz, just removed from circulation and destroyed all unsold copies of Alms for Jihad by Robert Collins and J. Millard Burr, because the book made essentially the same allegations. But France’s foreign intelligence agency has recently revealed that as long ago as 1996 Mr. bin Mahfouz was known as one of the architects of a banking scheme constructed for the benefit of Osama bin Laden – and that both U.S. and British intelligence services knew this.
The most notorious attempt at legal intimidation of all may be the Flying Imams case, in which six imams are suing US Airways because they were removed from a flight for suspicious behavior. They are also – although some reports now dispute this – suing the passengers who reported them. If this suit succeeds, imagine the effect: no one will dare report suspicious behavior in an airport or airplane, for fear of being sued. And jihad terrorists will have a free hand.
The lawyer for the Flying Imams is Omar T. Mohammedi, who as of 2006 was president of CAIR’s New York chapter.
The murder of Chauncey Bailey should provide renewed impetus to call upon the American Muslim community to take genuine action against the deeply ingrained culture of violence that provides the context in which such things happen. And the pattern of legal intimidation has been followed so many times now that Americans are becoming increasingly aware of how it works and how it can and must be resisted. For if this intimidation – both violent and nonviolent – is not resisted, those who are doing the intimidating will eventually succeed in establishing a protected class in America, an ideology that cannot be questioned or rejected. And that, more than anything else, will be the end of any semblance of Constitutional government.
Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of six books, seven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith and the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad.
The New York Times purportedly supports human rights, women rights, the rights of unions to organize and support workers, free expression (be it clothing, hair styles, clothing), is against the death penalty, unfettered internet access, the rights of college students, and legal due process that enshrines human rights values.
All are under vicious assault in Iran. All have been all but ignored by the New York Times-particularly its editorial board.
Thankfully, the Wall Street Journal cares more about these rights in Iran than the Times seemingly does. Here is a brief, but panoramic, view of the state of affairs in Iran.
Not all executions take place in public. In the provinces of Kurdistan and Khuzestan, where ethnic Kurdish and Arab minorities are demanding greater rights, several activists have been put to death in secret, their families informed only days after the event.
The campaign of terror also includes targeted “disappearances” designed to neutralize trade union leaders, student activists, journalists and even mullahs opposed to the regime. According to the latest tally, more than 30 people have “disappeared” since the start of the new Iranian year on March 21. To intimidate the population, the authorities also have carried out mass arrests on spurious grounds.
According to Gen. Ismail Muqaddam, commander of the Islamic Police, a total of 430,000 men and women have been arrested on charges related to drug use since April. A further 4,209 men and women, mostly aged between 15 and 30, have been arrested for “hooliganism” in Tehran alone. The largest number of arrests, totaling almost a million men and women according to Mr. Muqaddam, were related to the enforcement of the new Islamic Dress Code, passed by the Islamic Majlis (parliament) in May 2006.
Not a pretty picture.
Why did this op-ed not appear in the New York Times? Perhaps because the paper has done all it could to whitewash the Iranian regime.
The arrests by British police in the “Doctor’s Plot” has yeilded some interesting – and alarming – intelligence about al Qaeda in America.
E-mail addresses for American individuals were found on the same password-protected e-mail chains used by the United Kingdom plotters to communicate with Qaeda handlers in Europe, a counterterrorism official told The New York Sun yesterday.
The American and German intelligence community now believe the secure e-mail chains used in the United Kingdom plot have provided a window into an operational Qaeda network in several countries. “Because of the London and Glasgow plot, we now know communications have been made from Al Qaeda to operatives in the United States,” the counterterrorism official said on condition of anonymity.
“This plot helps to connect a lot of stuff. We have seen money moving a lot through hawala networks and other illicit finance as well.” But this source was careful to say that at this point no specific information, such as names, targets or a timeline, was known about any particular plot on American soil. The e-mail addresses that are linked to Americans were pseudonyms.
Should we put two and two together and take a very close look at the arrest of the two “Middle Eastern men” this past weekend in South Carolina who were stopped on the highway and found to be carrying bomb making materials?
Two men are being held in the Berkeley County Detention Center after police find explosive making devices in their car. The quantity of explosive making materials in that vehicle is unclear.
The FBI (website) reports that there is no known link to terrorism. The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office believes that among materials in the car’s trunk were a bomb and bomb making materials that include chemicals, fuses, and igniters.
The men 21-year-old Yousef Megahed and 24-year-old Ahmed Mohamed were pulled over Saturday evening during a routine traffic stop near Myers Road and Highway 176. Few details about the suspects are known at this time. They are believed to be students at a Florida college. They are of Middle Eastern descent and are not US citizens.
Yeah, but it’s a “bumper sticker war,” remember?
By Walid Phares
The US Government is considering a new gigantic arms sale to the Saudi Kingdom, up to 20 billion dollars’ worth of complex weaponry. The proposed package includes advanced satellite-guided bombs, upgrades to its fighters, and new naval vessels, as part of a US strategy to contain the rising military expansion of Iran in the region. The titanic arms deal is a major Saudi investment to shield itself from the Khomeinist menace looming at the horizon: an Iranian nuclear bomb, future Pasdaran control in Iraq, and a Hezb’allah offensive in Lebanon.
The real Iranian threat against the Saudis materializes as follows:
1. Were the US led coalition to leave Iraq abruptly, Iranian forces — via the help of their militias in Iraq — will be at the borders with the Kingdom. Throughout the Gulf, Iran’s Mullahs will be eyeing the Hijaz on the one hand and the oil rich provinces on the other hand.
2. Hezb’allah threatens the Lebanese Government, which is friendly to the Saudis. Hezb’allah, already training for subversion in Iraq, will become the main trainer of Shia radicals in the Eastern province of the Kingdom.
3. Finally Syria and Iran can send all sorts of Jihadis, including Sunnis, across Iraq’s borders, almost in a pincer movement.
In the face of such a hydra-headed advance, the Wahhabi monarchy is hurrying to arm itself with all the military technology it can get from Uncle Sam. Riyadh believes that with improved F 16s, fast boats, electronics and smarter bombs, it can withstand the forthcoming onslaught.
I believe the Saudi regime won’t. For, as the Iraq-Iran war has proved, the ideologically-rooted brutality of the Iranian regime knows no boundaries. If the US withdraws from the region without a strong pro-Western Iraq in the neighborhood, and absent of a war of ideas making progress against fundamentalism as a whole, the Saudis won’t stand a chance for survival. For the Iranians will apply their pressure directly, and will unleash more radical forces among the neo-Wahhabis against the Kingdom. The Shiite Mullahs will adroitly manipulate radical Sunnis, as they have demonstrated their ability to do in Iraq and Lebanon.
So what should the US advise the Saudis to do instead of spending hugely on arms?
First, if no serious political change is performed in Arabia, the 20 billion dollars’ worth of weapons would most likely end up in the hands of some kind of an al Qaeda, ruling over not only over Riyadh, but also Mecca and Medina. That package of wealth, religious prestige and modern arms, at this point of spasms in the region, is simply too risky strategically.
But there are better ways to spend these gigantic sums in the global confrontation with Iranian threat and in defense of stability. It needs a newer vision for the region. Here are alternative plans to use the 20 billion dollars wisely but efficiently; but let’s not count on the far reaching mainstream of Western analysis at this point:
Dedicate some significant funds to support the Iranian opposition, both inside the country and overseas. Establish powerful broadcasts in Farsi, Kurdish, Arabic, Azeri and in other ethnic languages directed at the Iranian population. That alone will open a Pandora’s box inside Iran. Realists may find it hard to believe, but supporting the Iranian opposition (which is still to be identified) will pay off much better than AWACS flying over deserts.
Slate substantial sums to be spent in southern Iraq to support the anti-Khomeinist Shiia, the real shield against the forthcoming Pasdaran offensive. Such monies distributed wisely on civil society activists and on open anti-Khomeinist groups, would build a much stronger defense against Ahmedinijad’s ambitions.
Lavish funding should be granted to the Syrian liberal opposition to pressure the Assad regime into backing off from supporting Terrorism. Without a Mukhabarat regime in Damascus, the bridge between Tehran and Hezb’allah would crumble. Hence, the Syrian opposition is much worth being backed in its own home than for Saudi Arabia to fight future networks in its own home.
Allocate ample funding to the units of the Iraqi army that show the most efficiency in cracking down on terrorists, and which prove to be lawful and loyal to a strong central Government, pledging to defend its borders, particularly with regard to Iran. That would include the moderate Sunnis in the center and the Kurdish and other minority forces in the North. A strong multiethnic Iraq, projecting a balance of power with Iran’s regime, is the best option for the Peninsula.
Grant abundant aid to the Lebanese Government, the Cedars Revolution NGOs and the Lebanese Army to enable them to contain Hezb’allah on Lebanese soil. Earmark some of these grants to the Shia opposition to Nasrallah inside his own areas. When Hezb’allah is isolated by Lebanon’s population, Arab moderates around the region can sleep much better at night.
Spend real money on de-radicalization programs inside the Kingdom and across the region. With dollars spent on moderate Imams and not on the readicals, Riyadh can shake off the radical Salafi clerics, and have an impact the Jihadists’ followers. By doing so, it will prevent Jihadism from becoming (as it has already) the only other option on the inside, if the Iranian axis will put pressure on the country.
Forward meaningful sums to support the current Somali Government against the Islamic Courts and help the moderates in Eritrea and Sudan. The best defense against radicalism coming from the horn of Africa is to support the moderates in East of the continent.
Invite the US military to abandon Qatar as a regional base and to relocate to the Eastern provinces of the Kingdom, with as many billions of dollars as required to help in reinstallation and deployment facing Iran’s threat. A military attack by the Iranian regime on Saudi Arabia would then become a direct attack on the United States.
With the remaining billions, the Saudi Government would renew, remodel, and retrain its forces so that along with its allies, the US, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Gulf states, they would deter an Iranian regime, which will be defeated by its own people.
That of course, presumes radical reforms take place, quickly, in the Peninsula. But isn’t such a hope just a desert mirage?
Indeed, the points I suggested in this article, although logical in terms of counter-radicalism strategy, have very little chance of being adopted or even considered in Riyadh. The Kingdom, sadly, wants to confront the Islamic Republic only with classical military deterrence, not with a war of ideas. Which perhaps is why the region’s “friendly” regimes have preferred not to endorse “spreading democracy” as a mean to contain Terrorism. The reason is simple: Democratic culture will also open spaces in their own countries, a matter they haven’t accepted yet.
Dr Walid Phares is senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the author of War of Ideas.
Led by Senator Charles Schumer, Senate Democrats are trying to bamboozle the American public into believing that Bush appointees to the Supreme Court are dangerous radicals.
Senator Schumer’s suggestion and Justice Beyer’s unusual and inappropriate complaint to Senator Specter that the newest members of the Supreme Court — Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito — are ignoring and overruling established precedent is of a piece with the mandarinate’s general and untrue response to the Administration: the Mongols have taken over.
I have reviewed the law on stare decisis (the doctrine that judges should rule in accord with past precedent to be sure that the legal guidelines are predictable and non-chaotic). It is a doctrine which has much to commend it, but it is often confused and confusing. I have compared what Justice Breyer and Justices Roberts and Alito said of the doctrine at their confirmation hearings and reviewed these eight opinions which seem to have been the source of the charge:
As I will explain in greater detail in this and following articles, I believe the charge is a false one, a pretextual one, in fact. It is the substantive rulings which the critics dislike, not the legal reasoning. The charge amounts to a bit of legerdemain aimed at a public not familiar with the doctrine, a public whose principal source of information about the Court and its rulings is a media unwilling or unable to examine the charge on its merits. This one-two-punch by Democrats and the media has created a distorted view among the public of the Court’s methods and rulings.
In other legal systems where the courts are all part of a national system, the doctrine is perhaps more easily understood. In a federal republic as ours is, it is slightly more complicated. Thus, a lower court in the federal system is bound more closely to apply the law as established by the Court of Appeals over it, and even more constricted in departures from the rulings by the Supreme Court. Except on matters of interpretation of state law, federal courts have little obligation to pay any attention to State Court rulings in determining a later case. But there is no need for much discussion on this interesting point as the harder question and the one at issue here is the Supreme Court’s adherence to its own precedents.
But remember when reading a Supreme Court case, each ruling is based on the facts before the Court, and those facts largely depend on the presentation of the case in the lowest court where the matter originated. That first court is the finder of fact and rarely overruled on such findings, provided the opinion is not an irrational adjudication on the record. It also depends on the skill of counsel — an important issue may have been overlooked by the petitioner, and the Court is rather bound in its decision-making to what was briefed and argued before it. The Supreme Court is not free to hold hearings and make its own factual findings or to interject into the decision-making process points of law not previously raised by the parties themselves in a timely fashion. Despite all the confused and confusing explications of when prior decisions should be followed, in the end whether the subsequent ruling is correct or not depends largely upon a close reading of the facts of both cases.
Factors weighing on the applicability of precedent
One factor to consider is whether the older ruling has held the test of time. Is it in retrospect so irrational and creating so much chaos itself that there is little reason to continue down that path?
Was the statement in the prior case which the Court is being urged to follow, essential to the earlier ruling? Or was it obiter dicta (often just referred to as “dicta”), an off-hand comment by one or more judges on a matter that was irrelevant to the earlier decision and one not fully briefed or argued? We have an adversary system in our courts because we believe it provides the decision-makers the most complete understanding of the issues and law. There is absolutely no reason to give weight to a point of law which never was decided on the basis of a thorough examination and debate.
Yet another factor to weigh is whether the decision is one regularly relied on in ordinary business and property transactions such that any departure from it would cause undue confusion and disruption?
And last but not least, of the things to remember when reading the various Court statements on stare decisis, is whether the original decision is a proper explication of the Constitution, the primary law of the land.
These are not the only factors to consider in deciding whether to give great weight to prior rulings, but they are significant ones and, as I hope you can see, they are all perfectly logical — although at times different judges dispute the application of some of these principles in any given case.
The Supreme Court does not automatically hear all appeals to it. Cases which are chosen are usually on hotly contested difficult legal issues. Often different Courts of Appeals have taken different views on the same or closely related matters so that one could certainly expect that the nine perfectly honorable and intelligent judges would see the matter before them from far different points of view. And it is perfectly understandable that new viewpoints are more likely with each change of the composition of the Court. Given that, it is to be expected that Justices Roberts and Alito, viewing matters as new justices, would on occasion have a different perspective than those judges they succeeded to the Court. But as I will show in a subsequent article, each and every decision by them, in context, was supported by the long-standing principles at the very heart of the doctrine that deference is due (under appropriate circumstances) to prior decisions.
The final thing I’d like you to remember about stare decisis is that the very doctrine itself is given far less weight with respect to Constitutional issues than with respect to statutory or common law decisions.
“Stare decisis is usually the wise policy, because in most matters it is more important that the applicable rule of law be settled than that it be settled right…. This is commonly true even where the error is a matter of serious concern, provided correction can be had by legislation. But in cases involving the Federal Constitution, where correction through legislative action is practically impossible, this Court has often overruled its earlier decisions. The Court bows to the lessons of experience and the force of better reasoning, recognizing that the process of trial and error so fruitful in the physical sciences, is appropriate also in the judicial function.” –Burnet v. Coronado Oil & Gas Co., 285 U.S. 393, 406-408 (1932) (Justice Brandeis dissenting).
[W]hen convinced of former error, this Court has never felt constrained to follow precedent. In constitutional questions, where correction depends upon amendment, and not upon legislative action, this Court throughout its history has freely exercised its power to reexamine the basis of its constitutional decisions. Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649, 665 (1944).
Indeed, if precedent were always followed, among the rulings that would still be in effect today are those that permitted slavery, separate-but-equal treatment of citizens based on race and the forced internment of Americans based on their national origin.
Should overruling an earlier opinion (based on a view that it misread the Constitution) be less warranted if the opinion is very recent? I agree with Justice Scalia, that such an approach is illogical. -Scalia dissent South Carolina v. Gathers, 490 U.S. 805,825 (1989):
Overrulings of precedent rarely occur without a change in the Court’s personnel. The only distinctive feature here is that the overruling would follow not long after the original decision. But that is hardly unprecedented. See, e.g., Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330-331 (1986) (overruling Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527 (1981)); United States v. Scott, 437 U.S. 82, 86-87 (1978) (overruling United States v. Jenkins, 420 U.S. 358 (1975)); West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943) (overruling Minersville School District Board of Education v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586 (1940)). Indeed, I had thought that the respect accorded prior decisions increases, rather than decreases, with their antiquity, as the society adjusts itself to their existence, and the surrounding law becomes premised upon their validity. The freshness of error not only deprives it of the respect to which long-established practice is entitled, but also counsels that the opportunity of correction be seized at once, before state and federal laws and practices have been adjusted to embody it.[/quote]
Former Justices Douglas and O’Connor’s have expressed similar views. Douglas, Stare Decisis, 49 Colum.L.Rev. 735, 736 (1949). Or as the Court itself has said:
[W]hen convinced of former error, this Court has never felt constrained to follow precedent. In constitutional questions, where correction depends upon amendment, and not upon legislative action, this Court throughout its history has freely exercised its power to reexamine the basis of its constitutional decisions. –Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649, 665 (1944).
Once a law-abiding society has revised its laws and practices to comply with such an erroneous decision, [p825] the existence of a new “consensus” can be appealed to — or at least the existence of the preexisting consensus to the contrary will no longer be evident — thus enabling the error to triumph by our very failure promptly to correct it. Cf. Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U.S. 815, 854-855 (1988) (O’CONNOR, J., concurring in judgment).
Clarice Feldman is an attorney in Washington, DC
“Stepping into the void left as Sunni insurgents have been dislodged…”
“Shi’ite militiamen blamed in attacks on U.S. troops,” by Kim Gamel for the Associated Press:
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Shi’ite militiamen with Iranian weapons and training launched nearly three-quarters of the attacks that killed or wounded U.S. forces last month in Baghdad, stepping into the void left as Sunni insurgents have been dislodged, a top U.S. commander said Sunday.
Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno didn’t provide a total number of militia attacks. But he said 73% of the attacks that wounded or killed U.S. troops last month in Baghdad were launched by Shi’ite militiamen, nearly double the figure six months earlier.
Iran has denied U.S. allegations that it is fueling the violence in Iraq, and the Americans and the Iranians have agreed to set up a committee to deal with Iraqi security issues.
Setting up a committee and having the committee actually do something are not the same thing.
Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr agreed to pull his Mahdi Army fighters off the streets as the security crackdown began Feb. 12. But some members of his group broke away.
That doesn’t even begin to exonerate al-Sadr, to say nothing of addressing the Iranian connection.