Obama Is Our First Muslim Presidential Contender In The Same Way That Clinton Was Our First Black President

Obama Is Our First Muslim Presidential Contender In The Same Way That Clinton Was Our First Black President

Posted By Phyllis Chesler On March 1, 2008 @ 4:00 am In Culture: Religion, Elections & Political Parties | 6 Comments

Someone should ask Senator Obama where he stands on the persecution of “infidels” in Muslim lands and the proliferation of Muslim-arranged marriages, polygamy, face-veiling, wife- and daughter-beating, and honor murders in America.

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The Divider

The Divider

By Jacob Laksin
FrontPageMagazine.com | 2/21/2008

A critical plank of Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign has been his appeal for national unity. In speeches crafted to bridge partisan divides, he has assailed the “drama and division and distraction” of Washington politics and urged Americans to rise above their differences. Whatever one makes of this approach, and substantively it leaves a great deal to be desired, there is little doubting its success thus far. Whether in southern states like South Carolina, with their large black electorates, or majority-white states like Iowa and Wisconsin, Obama’s message has found popular purchase. So it is not a little ironic that the cross-racial bonhomie engendered by the Obama campaign is threatened by the woman closest to the senator: his wife Michelle Obama. 

That was most apparent in Wisconsin this week, where the tension between Obama’s soothing, post-racial politics and his wife’s more astringent views flared out in the open. As Sen. Obama traversed the state to make his final pitch to the voters, Michelle Obama spent the week chiding them for their past folly. Speaking in Milwaukee, she said, “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”

It was a jarring statement. Did the candidate’s wife really mean to suggest that the country had been hopeless until her husband emerged as the Democratic frontrunner? Indeed she did, and just a few hours later, she reiterated the point in nearly identical terms. “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country — not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment.” There was no mistaking her message: Until it found the wisdom to rally around her husband, America had been a source of constant disappointment for Mrs. Obama.

When her remarks justifiably aroused outrage, the unenviable task of explaining them away fell to the senator himself. On the one hand, Obama said, his wife’s words had been taken “out of context.” But at the same time, Sen. Obama continued, “she’s pretty cynical about the political process, and with good reason, and she’s not alone.” And sure enough, it was this cynicism that landed her in trouble in the first place.

Yet it’s hard to see what Michelle Obama has to be cynical about. Though it is true that she was born on the South Side of Chicago, there is no shortage of Americans who start from humble beginnings. The difference is that, unlike many, Michelle Obama is also a child of privilege. In a recent interview with Newsweek, Obama reveals that she got into Princeton University not on the strength of her grades, which she admits were unexceptional, but thanks to her brother Craig, a star athlete and gifted student who preceded her to the school. As a “legacy” candidate and a beneficiary of affirmative action, Michelle Obama was granted an opportunity that others more accomplished were denied. Nor, according to friends quoted in the article, did Obama object when she was later accepted to Harvard as part of the school’s outreach to minority students. “She recognized that she had been privileged by affirmative action and she was very comfortable with that,” her friend recalls.

Comfortable, perhaps, but certainly not content. A more humble personality might have appreciated the unearned advantages she had been afforded. Michelle Obama seems instead to have developed an abiding sense of racial resentment. This resentment finds its most bitter expression in her 1985 Princeton senior thesis, conveniently blocked from public viewing by the school until after next year’s presidential election, titled “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community.” In it, the young Michelle LaVaughn Robinson paints a grim portrait of her future prospects, warning against “further integration and/or assimilation into a White cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant.” Regardless of the opportunities that had been offered her, Obama continued to see herself as a victim of a racist white society, trapped in the divide that her husband’s campaign now seeks to breech.  

It would be unfair to assume that Michelle Obama’s writings as an angry and alienated undergrad are a reliable guide to her current views about race and her country more generally. After all, contrary to the grim prognosis in her Princeton thesis, Obama went on to succeed in the white “social structure” she had deemed so forbidding. She has held jobs at top corporate law-firms in Chicago, earned six-figure salaries, and seen her husband, himself of African descent, all but clinch the nomination of the Democratic Party. If that is not enough to make her a full participant in American society, nothing is.

But all evidence indicates that her views remain unchanged. In a February 2007 appearance with her husband on 60 Minutes, for instance, she said that “as a black man, you know, Barack can get shot going to the gas station.” Not the least of the problems with the charge was its conspiratorial suggestion that blacks were being targeted on account of their race. And in one tragic sense they were, though not, as Obama’s statement seemed to imply, by whites: According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1976 and 2005, 94 percent of black victims were killed by blacks. Empirically baseless, Michelle Obama’s warning nonetheless revealed how deeply she had absorbed the narrative of black victimization in America.

It does not follow that the mixed messages of the Obama campaign — his hopeful and forward-looking, hers sullen and intransigent — will slow its current momentum. The rapturous crowds who flock by the thousands to the senator’s campaign stops seem unlikely to stand for any criticism of their candidate. (Sometimes literally: fainting has reportedly become a common occurrence at Obama rallies.) Before them, neither Obama nor any member of his campaign can do wrong. General election voters, on the other hand, may look less sympathetically on the prospect of a First Lady who would carry her unrequited grievances to the White House.

“We are the change we seek,” Barack Obama is fond of saying on the campaign trail. To the extent that the phrase has any meaning, it is that the United States is fundamentally a noble country, with an active and engaged citizenry seeking do right. Sen. Obama has certainly persuaded his supporters to believe that. Now if only he could convince his own wife.

Jacob Laksin is a senior editor for FrontPage Magazine. He is a 2007 Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellow. His e-mail is jlaksin@gmail.com

Ahmadinejad: Iran can help secure Iraq, Israel is ‘cruel’

Iran, Islamic terrorists, and stuff

Bush warns of ‘holocaust’ if Iran gets nukes

Bush warns of ‘holocaust’ if Iran gets nukes

US President George W. Bush warned Tuesday that letting Iran acquire atomic weapons risked putting the Middle East “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.”

“Iran’s active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust,” he told a veterans group here.


Domestic Genocide in Iran

Iran leaflets threaten Kurds in northern Iraq with ‘cleansing’

High Stakes Game in Northern Iraq

High Stakes Game in Northern Iraq

By Kenneth R. Timmerman
FrontPageMagazine.com | 8/23/2007

Over the past week, with Iranian shells raining down on Iraqi villages in Kurdish areas along the border zone in the north, Iran’s leaders have engaged the United States in a high stakes game that has gone virtually unreported in the elite media.

Iran has massed thousands of troops along its northwestern border in preparation for a ground assault against Iranian Kurdish fighters who have sought refuge in the rugged Qanbil mountains in northwestern Iraq.

On Tuesday, villagers found leaflets bearing the official Islamic Republic of Iran logo, ordering them to leave the area or face the consequences.

“Our enemies, mainly the Americans, are trying to plant security hurdles in our country (Iran),” the leaflets said. “They achieve this through using agents in the areas of Qandil and Khanira inside the Kurdish region. ‘The authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran will work on cleansing this area.”

Hundreds of Iraqis from the villages of Qandoul and Qal’at Diza, close to the Iranian border in the province of Sulaymanyah, fled as a result of the Iranian shelling, according to wire service accounts.

Should Iran be allowed to carry out its planned attack, it would amount to an overt aggression against its neighbor. But the potential damage is far worse, because of the deep U.S. engagement in Iraq.

A successful Iranian attack against opposition Kurds from the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (known as PJAK) based in Iraq, will strike a triple blow against America.

Not only will the Iranians have violated Iraq’s sovereignty, guaranteed until now by the United States; they will have shown that despite the presence of 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, the United States “can do nothing” against Iran, as the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, liked to say.

Even worse: if the United States sits this one out, we will send a terrible message to Iranian opponents of the regime in Tehran that despite all our calls for “freedom” and “democracy” in Iran, we will not intervene to prevent them from being massacred, even when we have the opportunity and the forces in place to save them from certain death.

And yet, unless Congress and the White House react immediately, that is precisely what is going to happen.

An Iranian victory in northern Iraq will have far-reaching consequences, and will further embolden president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is engaged in political, military, and intelligence hardball with the United States on multiple fronts, including inside Iraq.

Just last week, U.S. forces arrested another “high-priority” Iranian Revolutionary Guards officer in Baghdad, and accused him of funneling aid to Iraqi insurgents.

U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver announced the arrest on August 15, and said that coalition forces “will continue their focused operations against unhelpful Iranian influence interfering in Iraq.”

An unnamed U.S. official said that the Iranian Guardsman was responsible for smuggling explosively-formed penetrators, Katyusha rockets and other weapons into Iraq, and “had direct ties to senior militant leaders and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force.”

Another U.S. military spokesman. Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, told reporters in Iraq on Aug. 14 that Iran had recently provided 240 mm long-range rockets to insurgents in Iraq for attacks on U.S. forces.

“The 240 mm rocket is a large-caliber projectile that has been provided to militia extremists groups in the past along with a range of other weapons from Iranian sources,” Bergner said.

Similar Iranian-made rockets I examined last summer in Haifa and in other northern Israel towns and cities had been fired against Israeli civilian targets by Hezbollah with warheads containing thousands of miniature ball-bearings, designed to kill and maim.

On May 25, PKK guerillas in Turkey derailed a train bound for Syria for Iran, ostensibly carrying construction materials. When prosecutors went through the wreckage they found an Iranian-made rocket launcher and 300 rockets bound for Hezbollah in Syria, according to Turkish press reports.

There is no way those weapons could have transited Turkey on the Turkish national railroad without someone in the Turkish government knowing what was going on.

Iran is banking on its secret “entente” with Turkey – to supply Hezbollah through Syria, and to smash the bases of each other’s opposition Kurds in Iraq – to deter the United States from any military intervention in northern Iraq.

The Turks have been threatening for months to go after the PKK, who have tens of thousands of fighters training in camps inside Iraq, along the Turkish border.

And so the Iranians have spread the rumor, which until now has been accepted at face value, that its own Kurdish dissidents (PJAK) are actually the Iranian branch of the PKK, which the U.S. has designated as an international terrorist organization.

The State Department took Turkey’s insistence that PJAK was allied with the PKK seriously enough that it refused to meet earlier this month with visiting PJAK leader, Rahman Haj Ahmadi, despite his open support for the U.S. military presence in Iraq and his identification with U.S. goals in the region.

Both the PKK and PJAK have training camps in the Qanbil mountain range in northern Iraq. But because of the difficult geography, and their different needs, they inhabit “different sides of the mountains,” Rahman Ahmadi told me in Washington.

“The PKK doesn’t need us,” he said. “They have tens of thousands of fighters, and hundreds of thousands of sympathizers.”

But Ahmadi acknowledges that PJAK and the PKK cooperate to a certain degree, if only to prevent clashes between their own fighters.

“The president of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional government, Massoud Barzani, also has an agreement with the PKK,” he told me. “Does that make Barzani a supporter of the PKK?”

This is not the first time the Turks have played us in Iraq. In 2003, on a flimsy pretext of domestic opposition, they successfully prevented the 4th Infantry Division from crossing Turkey to join coalition forces that liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein.

We can sit by and allow Iran to violate Iraq’s sovereignty, defy the U.S. military, and smash a significant Iranian opposition group on the slim pretext that Iran is “merely” seeking to punish its own rebels, just as Turkey.

Or we can extend protection to the Iranian Kurds who have established training camps in the rugged mountains of northeastern Iraq, and inflict a double blow on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Clearly, the Iranians believe they can thumb their noses at the U.S. military. For more than a week, they have conducted intermittent shelling of Iraqi Kurdish villages in the general vicinity of suspected PJAK bases.

My Iranian sources tell me that the Iranians are hoping to expel PJAK from the area and replace them with Ansar al-Islam, the precursor group to al Qaeda in Iraq,

“They want to send Saad Bin Laden, who is currently in Iran under Iranian government protection, into a new base inside Iraq,” one source told me.

Saad Bin Laden is Osama Bin Laden’s eldest son, who is widely viewed as the heir to his terrorist empire, should his father die. He was given refuge in Iran shortly after al Qaeda evacuated its bases in Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks.

PJAK is a natural ally of the United States. They seek to unite Iranians to overthrow the dictatorship of the clergy in Iran, and to work together to build a future secular democracy.

We don’t have to provide them weapons, or money, or training. But if we allow Iranian Revolutionary Guards troops to attack PJAK inside Iraq with impunity, we may as well pack up and leave – not just Iraq, but the entire region. Because we will have no credibility left.

If instead, if we seize this opportunity to smash an Iranian Revolutionary Guards offensive with massive force, we could send a message that will make Iran’s leaders think twice before messing with us again.

It’s about time we made Iran’s leaders pay a price for killing Americans and undermining America’s allies. Here is a terrific opportunity to get that job done.

Kenneth R. Timmerman was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize along with John Bolton for his work on Iran. He is Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, and author of Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran (Crown Forum: 2005).

Stay the Hands of the Murdering Mullahs


Stay the Hands of the Murdering Mullahs    
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
To:  Individuals, Human Rights Organizations, and GovernmentsThe life that God gives, no man should extinguish. The blood-thirsty mullahs presently ruling Iran blatantly violate this sacred covenant by executing large numbers of people ranging from petty criminals to political opponents. The mullahs and their mercenaries are wasting precious human life to maintain themselves in power through terrorizing the population.

Mass public hangings, as well as secret executions in prisons, are routine in the tyrannical Islamic Republic of Iran. Recently Majid Kavousifar, 28, and his nephew, Hossein Kavousifar, 24, were hanged for the alleged murder of a hard-line judge, Hassan Moghaddas, a mullah-judge notorious for jailing and condemning to death political dissidents. The victims were hanged from cranes and hoisted high above one of Tehran’s busiest thoroughfares. This “judge” had repeatedly bragged publicly that he often issued a death verdict without even examining the charges against the individual. The Islamic Republic of Iran has the dubious distinction of executing more children, those under the age of 18, than any other country in the world. Such is the plight of the Iranian people.Robert Tait of The Observer reported on August 19, 2007 from Tehran that “Iran Hangs 30 Over ‘US Plots.’” Accusing political dissidents as being agents of the U.S. and hanging them without even a semblance of due process is a heinous crime that every descent human being should do all he/she can to end.

“Injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. warned us. Silence, complacency and indifference invariably play into the hands and schemes of tyrants. History is replete with cases of tyranny gathering momentum in the face of inaction by others, spreading far and wide and visiting great catastrophes on people.

We are also reminded by Albert Einstein, “The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

It is imperative that we do all we can, as individuals, organizations, and governments to stay the hands of the murdering mullahs in Iran, before their thirst for blood leads their campaign of oppression and death to the four corners of the globe.

We the petitioners demand:

* Immediate disbanding of capital punishment in the Islamic Republic of Iran and wherever else in the world this inhuman act is practiced.

* No summary judgments to be made about any accused without thorough and open trials with the fundamental assumption of innocence until proven otherwise.

* The authorities who issue death warrants of others must be held accountable for their actions.


The Undersigned