Is the Gitmo Bar Pro-Islamist?

Is the Gitmo Bar Pro-Islamist?   [Andy McCarthy]

I appreciate Jonah’s kind words. In fairness to Stephen Jones, I didn’t know about his essay and I don’t know whether he was told I’d be writing one. It wasn’t pitched to me by the Journal as a point/counterpoint thing. They asked me to write about the issue from my perspective, and the only guidance I got was a suggestion that I address some precedents if any seemed relevant. (I thought Eric Holder’s Heller brief was highly relevant — particularly, the fact that no one came close to suggesting that the position he staked out on the Second Amendment as a private lawyer was off-limits in considering what he might do as a top policy-making official.) I imagine they did the same thing with Mr. Jones. By contrast, when I did a point/counterpoint thing for USA Today earlier this week, I was told in broad outline what themes their editorial would hit (I wasn’t shown the actual editorial) so I had a better idea what I needed to respond to.

Now, to the more important question posed in the last paragraph of Jonah’s post. Let’s put DOJ’s ten (and counting) Gitmo lawyers to the side and just talk about the volunteer Gitmo bar in general. I believe many of the attorneys who volunteered their services to al Qaeda were, in fact, pro-Qaeda or, at the very least, pro-Islamist. Not all of them, but many of them. The assistance many of them provided went disturbingly beyond any conventional notion of “legal representation.” (And let’s not forget that what Lynne Stewart called her “legal representation” of the Blind Sheikh was later found by a jury to be material support to terrorism.) I expect we’ll be hearing much more about this in the coming days.

Islamism is a much broader and more mainstream (in Islam) ideology than suggested by the surprisingly ill-informed comments Charles Krauthammer made about a week ago (see Dr. K’s commentary here; Mark Steyn’s reaction, with which I agree, is here.) Jihadist terrorists are a subset of the Islamists, but many Islamists disagree with the terrorists’ means — they are mostly on the same page as far as ends are concerned.

Personally, I don’t think there is much difference, if any, between Islam and Islamism. In that assessment, I’m not much different from Turkey’s Islamist prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who claims it is “very ugly” for Westerners to draw these distinctions between Muslims as “moderate” or “Islamist” — “It is offensive and an insult to our religion,” he says, because “there is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam, and that’s it.”

Islamists are Muslims who would like to see sharia (Islamic law) installed. That is the necessary precondition to Islamicizing a society. It is the purpose of jihad. The terrorists are willing to force sharia’s installation by violent jihad; other Islamists have varying views about the usefulness of violence, but they also want sharia, and their jihadist methods include tactics other than violence. I reluctantly use the term “Islamist” rather than “Islam” because I believe there are hundreds of millions of Muslims (somewhere between a third to a half of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims) who do not want to live under sharia, and who want religion to be a private matter, separated from public life. It is baffling to me why these people are Muslims since, as I understand Islam, (a) sharia is a basic element, and (b) Islam rejects the separation of mosque and state. But I’m not a Muslim, so that is not for me to say. I think we have to encourage the non-sharia Muslims and give them space to try to reform their religion, so I believe it’s worth labeling the sharia seekers “Islamists” in order to sort them out. But I admit being very conflicted about it because I also concede that the Islamists have the more coherent (and scary) construction of Islam. We wouldn’t be encouraging reform if we really thought Islam was fine as is.

In any event, Islamist ideology is multi-faceted. You can be pro-Islamist, and even pro-Qaeda, without signing on to the savage Qaeda methods. And the relevant question with respect to progressive lawyers is not so much whether they are pro-Qaeda as it is whether, as between Islamists and the U.S. as it exists, they have more sympathy for the Islamists. That’s a fair question, but a very uncomfortable one to ask. Indeed, as Jonah broaches it, he softens it to whether the insinuation that the lawyers are pro-Qaeda is “counter-productive.” That’s an interesting question but a very different one from whether the insinuation is true.

In a column a few days ago, I addressed the insinuation this way:

“Al-Qaeda Seven” reminds me of another legal shorthand expression: “mob lawyer.” It’s a common expression — everyone uses it. I’d wager that a number of the DOJ’s Gitmo lawyers have either used it or been in conversations where it rolled effortlessly, and without objection, off the tongues of other prosecutors. “Mob lawyers” are lawyers who regularly represent members and associates of the mafia. It’s such a commonplace that even the mob lawyers call themselves “mob lawyers.” It’s a handle; it doesn’t mean the people who use the term don’t see the moral difference between mobsters who commit heinous crimes and the lawyers who defend them. Same with the “al-Qaeda Seven.”

Much of the commentary on this point, including from some people who usually know better, has been specious. The normally sensible Paul Mirengoff, for example, huffs, “It is entirely inappropriate to suggest that these lawyers share the values of terrorists or to dub the seven DOJ lawyers ‘The al-Qaeda Seven.’” The values of the terrorists? Which values?

Jihadists believe it is proper to massacre innocent people in order to compel the installation of sharia as a pathway to Islamicizing society. No one for a moment believes, or has suggested, that al-Qaeda’s American lawyers share that view. But jihadist terrorists, and Islamist ideology in general, also hold that the United States is the root of all evil in the world, that it is the beating heart of capitalist exploitation of society’s have-nots, and that it needs fundamental, transformative change.

This, as I argue in a book to be published this spring, is why Islam and the Left collaborate so seamlessly. They don’t agree on all the ends and means. In fact, Islamists don’t agree among themselves about means. But before they can impose their utopias, Islamists and the Left have a common enemy they need to take down: the American constitutional tradition of a society based on individual liberty, in which government is our servant, not our master. It is perfectly obvious that many progressive lawyers are drawn to the jihadist cause because of common views about the need to condemn American policies and radically alter the United States.

That doesn’t make any lawyer unfit to serve. It does, however, show us the fault line in the defining debate of our lifetime, the debate about what type of society we shall have. And that political context makes everyone’s record fair game. If lawyers choose to volunteer their services to the enemy in wartime, they are on the wrong side of that fault line, and no one should feel reluctant to say so.

Set Free By Karzai As Peace Gesture: Afghanistan Insurgency Being Led By Ex-Gitmo Inmate

Set Free By Karzai As Peace Gesture: Afghanistan Insurgency Being Led By Ex-Gitmo Inmate

March 6th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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The southern Afghanistan insurgency IS the insurgency…

(Reuters) – Insurgency in the most violent part of Afghanistan is being led by a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, set free by the Afghan government in a botched attempt at reconciliation with tribes, a NATO official said on Saturday.

The man, known by the names Mullah Abdul Qayyum and Mullah Zakir, was arrested in 2001 and held in the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until 2007, when the administration of President George W. Bush turned him over to Afghan custody.

He is now the commander of Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan — including Helmand province, where U.S. and British forces launched the war’s biggest offensive last month — and a leading candidate to take over as Taliban number two and overall military commander, said the NATO official.

Qayyum was transferred to a prison in Kabul in 2007. Afghan Deputy Attorney General Fazel Ahmad Faqiryar confirmed that he was freed by the Afghan authorities in 2008 under a reconciliation programme.

The NATO official, asking not to be identified while discussing intelligence, said president Hamid Karzai appeared to have authorized the release in an effort to reconcile with Pashtun tribes involved in the insurgency.

“When we sort of started to clean out Cuba … it really was under the understanding he would stay locked up here,” the official said.

“He (Karzai) was the one who authorized the release, and I don’t think we were very pleased about it.”

The official said Qayyum took up his position as commander of the insurgency in the south shortly after his release.

Qayyum, believed to be in his early 30s, is now one of two top figures thought likely to replace Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban number two leader whose arrest in Pakistan was announced last month, the NATO official said.

The other likely candidate would be the commander of the insurgency in the east of the country, Mullah Mansour, he said.

INTELLIGENCE COUP

The arrest of Baradar, one of the most senior Taliban figures ever brought into custody, was seen as a major coup for Pakistani and U.S. agents, but has raised questions about its impact on the insurgency at a time when Karzai is pushing for peace talks.

The militants have so far not confirmed that Baradar was arrested and refuse to discuss his replacement. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said there could be no talk of any replacement for Baradar in the absence of any proof he was being held.

“They claim that they arrested Baradar, so why don’t they show him to the public?” he told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.

However, a Taliban commander in the south, Mullah Hayat Khan, told Reuters Qayyum was likely to emerge as Baradar’s successor, and would be more aggressive than Baradar.

“The Taliban movement will be very strong with Mullah Qayyum in place of Mullah Baradar,” he said.

Afghanistan has asked Pakistan to turn Baradar over to its custody, but a Pakistani court has ruled he cannot be extradited.

Questions have been raised about exactly why Pakistan arrested Baradar now, after years of having little success in dismantling Afghan Taliban networks on its soil.

Some have suggested that the Taliban without Baradar could grow even more radical and hostile to negotiations.

Despite years leading the insurgency and ordering suicide and bomb attacks against the government, Baradar is from the same Pashtun tribe as Karzai and has been seen as someone that might eventually be willing to accept Karzai’s invitation to talks.

Qayyum, by contrast, is a tribal kinsman of the Taliban’s mercurial leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces, General Stanley McChrystal, said in an interview this week with Reuters and the New York Times that Baradar’s arrest may have been the result of an internal feud and purge within the Taliban leadership, although he stressed this was only one possible explanation.

The NATO official said there was no firm evidence to suggest that Qayyum had played a role in ousting Baradar.

Baradar, the official said, had been “extremely competent as a military leader,” and the insurgency would suffer without him. But Qayyum would also be a tough enemy if he emerges as Baradar’s replacement.

“This guy’s no angel and we’d certainly like him to come back and stay with us again,” he said.

Libs Say the Darndest Things

Libs Say the Darndest Things

By James Lewis

Here’s a fun exercise for conservatives: Spend some time just listening to your liberal friends. Don’t bother to say anything at all. You’ll be amazed. I’ve certainly been wowed every time I’ve tried it.

Libs believe the darndest things. They’re not as cute as the things kids come out with, but having millions of adults who are stuck in false beliefs puts our society at a lot greater risk.            
Among the pearls of political wisdom I picked up from ordinary, friendly, prosperous and apparently intelligent lib friends were the following:

1. Christians. Believing Christians are scary folks, sort of proto-fascists, who would kill or convert us all to their strange and scary beliefs if they had the chance.
I find this staggeringly ignorant. It implies, among other things, that nothing worthwhile was accomplished in Western Civilization before, let’s say, the Sixties.  (Well, whatever, dude… )
2. Jews. Peaceful Orthodox Jews are just as bad as head-chopping Islamic fascists. Because they’re all fundamentalists! (No kidding.)
3. Capitalism. Corporations are evil.  Capitalism murders just as many people as Stalin and Pol Pot did. Every political system kills millions of people. (The mind reels.)
4. Tolerance. You can’t trust other ethnic groups, and even your own. One liberal friend can’t stand Russians, Turks, and Poles. Another is deeply suspicious of  Southerners and Midwesterners, considering them guilty until proven innocent. Another is suspicious of Blacks; however, a Black liberal I know thinks that Whites are “ice people.” A very radical friend thinks that hippies are fascists. (Honest). This is just a sampling of liberal tolerance and openmindedness.
5. America. Americans are contemptible. Europeans are wonderful. (Facts are irrelevant).
6. Genocide. The US murdered just as many Native Americans as the Nazis killed Jews. Oh, and the Spanish Inquisition killed 9 million women. (Both bizarre, historically; no respectable historian agrees, but it’s in the minds of your neighbors. They are still allowed to vote.)
7. Mind-reading. Liberals can read the minds of conservatives, without, of course, bothering to read anything conservatives have written, or even talking to them. Many libs are firmly convinced (without a shred of evidence, of course), that conservatives hate Blacks, Jews, Gays, and Women.
It does not seem to occur to my friends that it’s difficult to read other people’s minds; or that conservatives might actually be far more tolerant than liberal race demagogues, judging by their own words.
8. Israel. Israel is a pretty bad and nasty place. This is from a very liberal friend with many Jewish friends.
9. Militarism. Israelis are “militaristic,” according to a very liberal Jewish professor. This is the first time I realized that defending your country against murderous assaults on innocent civilians is “militaristic.” I thought militarism was the Prussians in World War One shouting “Hoch! Hoch!” while the Kaiser’s troops went goose-stepping by with pointy-headed helmets and fixed bayonets. No such thing. Militarism = self-defense. Amazing.
10. Population. The world has far too many people, and (hint, hint) it would be a lot better if a lot of them died or were never born.
11. News vs. propaganda. Any news source other than the mainstream media is right-wing propaganda. Indeed, anything suggesting that liberals are less than 100 percent right is right-wing propaganda. This comes from a friend who engages in constant self-censorship, who becomes visibly agitated when his beliefs are gently questioned.
12. Dictators. Stalin was not so bad. Yes, he killed millions in the Gulag, but so did the United States. As for Castro, he is a great and wonderful hero. So is Hugo Chavez.  However, Augusto Pinochet was a bad, bad guy. (Bizarre beyond belief.)
13. Republicans. Assassinating Republicans is a pretty good idea, as long as somebody else does it. (From a prominent liberal community leader.)
14. The Supremes. Justice Clarence Thomas is a dunce.
15. War. War would go away if just Republicans stopped stirring it up.
16. Criticism. Thinking negative thoughts about people is the source of violence in the world.
17. Relativism. Reality is only a social agreement. There’s no such thing.
18. GlobWarm. Human-caused global warming is probably a lie, but it’s a useful lie. (I swear).
Had enough? This is just a start.  I don’t want to spoil it for you. Every conservative might consider just quietly listening to our liberal pals, without trying to change their minds.  You’ll be amazed and enlightened. But be ready to bite your tongue.                                         
We have a lot of truth-telling to do, to put straight what is snarled and upside-down in the minds of ‘way too many Americans. But don’t argue with liberals, at least not the ones I know; it never works. Their minds are made up and locked tight.
Discussion only works with open minds.
James Lewis blogs at http://www.dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/

The Real Self-Esteem Crisis in Education

The Real Self-Esteem Crisis in Education

By Onkar Ghate
FrontPageMagazine.com | 8/23/2007

The beginning of the school year is an appropriate time to question how our schools propose to teach our children.

Today’s educators, observing widespread self-doubt among the young, believe that the way to get a student to learn is to inflate his self-confidence. They believe that the curriculum should be designed, in the words of a resolution from the National Education Association, to “foster positive self-esteem.”

There is indeed a lack of self-esteem among our students. The real tragedy, however, is that the educators’ irrational view of “positive self-esteem” not only prevents a solution to this problem–it is itself part of the very cause.

Too many educators believe that self-esteem can be achieved simply by encouraging a child to “feel good” about himself. They continually exhort students to praise themselves causelessly, by such means as chanting in class: “I am me and I am enough.”

The actual reality of the child’s life–the choices he makes, the thinking he engages in, the effort he exerts, the actions he takes–is disregarded. As one guidebook on self-esteem explains: “Children have the right to feel good about themselves exactly as they are. . . . A child’s value is unconditional. Nothing the child does, says or chooses can change it.”

This is absurd. Real self-esteem consists not in unearned self-praise, but in an earned conviction about yourself. It is the unshakeable knowledge that you–by your choices, effort and actions–have made yourself into the kind of person able to deal with reality. It is the conviction–based on the evidence of your own volitional functioning–that you are fundamentally able to succeed in life and, therefore, are deserving of success.

Since it is only through careful, logical thought and action that one develops the ability to cope with reality, self-esteem results from an individual’s commitment to reason. A rational, productive person will possess self-esteem; a drug-addicted bum will not.

In the view of our Dewey-inspired educators, however, logic is a “straitjacket.” Students are taught by “progressive” educators that there are no rigid principles in life, and that emotion, not reason, is one’s link to reality; the purpose of education is to teach the child to effectively express his feelings.

But a child who makes bad choices because he feels like it–who does not think but drifts in class, who shuts down his mind at the first sign of difficulty, who heads for the mall instead of exerting the effort that learning requires–will not acquire self-esteem. Constantly getting the answers wrong in class and feeling bewildered by the world outside, such a child will experience only uncertainty, helplessness and self-doubt.

How then will these educators make him “feel good” about himself? By attempting to obliterate any facts that lead him to a negative estimate of himself. More and more, they teach him that there are never any

Unholy Bedfellows

Unholy Bedfellows

By John Perazzo
FrontPageMagazine.com | 8/21/2007

It sounds so nice, so brimming with hope and cheer: “Christians will join with more than 35,000 Muslims for fellowship and conversation.” Thus says the National Council of Churches’ (NCC) announcement that its Interfaith Relations office will sponsor an Ecumenical Study Seminar for “reflecting and learning together” at the 44th annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which will be held in Rosemont, Illinois at the end of August.

You may reasonably ask, of course, exactly what ISNA is. Could it possibly be, as the foregoing announcement seems to imply, a group of genuinely moderate Muslims that finally has stepped forward to collaborate with a Christian organization in a spirit of mutual acceptance and respect?

Not on your life.

Established in 1963 by the by the Saudi-funded Muslim Students’ Association of the U.S. and Canada, ISNA calls itself the largest Muslim organization on the continent. Its annual convention draws more attendees — consistently over 30,000 — than any other Islamic gathering in the Western Hemisphere.

Islam scholar Stephen Schwartz describes ISNA as “one of the chief conduits through which the radical Saudi form of Islam passes into the United States.” The organization’s raison d’etre, he explains, is to provide Wahhabi theological indoctrination materials to a large percentage of the mosques in North America. (Wahhabism, which emerged in 18-century Saudi Arabia, has been described by one Somali journalist as “the austere and closed school of thought” that “sows hatred and rancor even among Moslems,” and as “the sect that produced 15 of the 19 suicide bombers of Sept. 11.”)

Many American mosques were recently built with Saudi money and are required, by their Saudi benefactors, to strictly follow the dictates of Wahhabi imams — an edict that affects the tone and content of the sermons given in the mosques, the selection of publications available in mosque libraries and bookshops, and the policies governing how dissenters from congregations should be treated. Through its affiliate, the North American Islamic Trust — a Saudi government-backed organization created to fund Islamist enterprises in North America — ISNA reportedly holds the mortgages on 50 to 80 percent of all mosques in the U.S. and Canada. Thus it can freely exercise ultimate authority over these houses of worship.

According to Sufi leader Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani’s testimony before a State Department Open Forum on January 7, 1999, extremists have taken over “more than 80 percent of the mosques in the United States … This means that the ideology of extremism has been spread to 80 percent of the Muslim population, mostly the youth and the new generation.” Kabbani based his statement on his personal investigation of 114 American mosques. “Ninety of them,” he said, “were mostly exposed, and I say exposed, to extreme or radical ideology, based on their speeches, books and board members.” This is largely due to the efforts of ISNA.

According to terrorism expert Steven Emerson, ISNA “is a radical group hiding under a false veneer of moderation”; “convenes annual conferences where Islamist militants have been given a platform to incite violence and promote hatred” (for instance, al Qaeda supporter and PLO official Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi was invited to speak at an ISNA conference); has held fundraisers for terrorists (after Hamas leader Mousa Marzook was arrested and eventually deported in 1997, ISNA raised money for his defense); has condemned the U.S. government’s post-9/11 seizure of Hamas’ and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s financial assets; and publishes a bi-monthly magazine, Islamic Horizons, that “often champions militant Islamist doctrine.” Adds Emerson: “I think ISNA has been an umbrella, also a promoter of groups that have been involved in terrorism. I am not going to accuse the ISNA of being directly involved in terrorism. I will say ISNA has sponsored extremists, racists, people who call for Jihad against the United States.”

WTHR, an Indianapolis television station located close to ISNA’s Plainfield, Indiana headquarters, recently said it had found “about a dozen charities, organizations and individuals under federal scrutiny for possible ties to terrorism that are in some way linked to ISNA.”

In December 2003, U.S. Senators Charles Grassley and Max Baucus of the Senate Committee on Finance listed ISNA as one of 25 American Muslim organizations that “finance terrorism and perpetuate violence.” ISNA is known to have permitted the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (and a number of other Islamic charities with terror connections) to set up booths at its conventions, and in some cases has helped raise money for them.

Upon learning of the arrest of Sami Al-Arian, the University of South Florida computer science professor who was a leading figure in the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad, ISNA issued a statement criticizing the U.S. government for its prosecution of Al-Arian.

ISNA was a signatory to a February 20, 2002 document, composed by C. Clark Kissinger’s revolutionary communist organization Refuse & Resist, condemning military tribunals and the detention of immigrants apprehended in connection with post-9/11 terrorism investigations. In ISNA’s estimation, the Patriot Act constitutes an assault on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans and ought to be repealed.

ISNA endorses the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride Coalition, which seeks to secure amnesty and civil liberties protections for illegal aliens, and policy reforms that diminish or eliminate restrictions on future immigration.

ISNA chose not to endorse or participate in the May 14, 2005 “Free Muslims March Against Terror,” an event whose purpose was to “send a message to the terrorists and extremists that their days are numbered … [and to send] a message to the people of the Middle East, the Muslim world and all people who seek freedom, democracy and peaceful coexistence that we support them.”

Among ISNA’s more notable members and affiliates are the following:

  • Former ISNA President Mohammed Nur Abdullah, who immigrated to the U.S. from Sudan in 1978, is a member of the Sharia Scholars Association of North America. Sharia is a brutally harsh system of strictly enforced Islamic law.
  • In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, former ISNA President Muzammil Siddiqi appeared as a goodwill ambassador at an official ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. But nearly a year earlier (on October 28, 2000), Siddiqi had publicly stated: “America has to learn, if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come. Please, all Americans. Do you remember that? If you continue doing injustice, and tolerate injustice, the wrath of God will come.”
  • Former ISNA Vice President Siraj Wahhaj was named by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White as a possible co-conspirator to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and testified as a character witness for convicted terror mastermind Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh imprisoned for his role in plotting the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. According to Salon.com, in a 1991 speech before the Islamic Association of North Texas, Wahhaj characterized Operation Desert Storm as “one of the most diabolical plots ever in the annals of history” and predicted America’s imminent demise unless it “accepts the Islamic agenda.”
  • In a WorldNetDaily report detailing how certain Muslim group leaders are hoping that “the U.S. Constitution will one day be replaced by Koranic law,” ISNA board member and Director Ihsan Bagby, an Islamic fundamentalist, is quoted as saying: “Ultimately we [Muslims] can never be full citizens of this country [the U.S.], because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.”
  • In 1982 Abdurahman Alamoudi (who is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence) founded the Islamic Society of Boston under ISNA’s tax-exempt umbrella. Alamoudi is a self-professed supporter of both Hamas and Hezbollah; he has defended the terrorist leader Omar Abdel Rahman of the Islamic Group; he lamented that no Americans had died during al Qaeda’s 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya; and he recommended that more operations be conducted like the 1994 Hezbollah bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Association cultural center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people died.

Remarkable though it may seem, the objectives and worldviews of ISNA and its leading luminaries are entirely compatible with those of the National Council of Churches and its hierarchy. Consider, for example, that one of the leaders of the upcoming Ecumenical Study Seminar at ISNA’s August conference will be the Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, NCC’s Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations. When a Danish newspaper in early 2006 printed a series of cartoons that lampooned the Islamic prophet Mohammad, Premawardhana wrote that the publication of the cartoons was “a provocation” implying that “every Muslim is a potential terrorist”; that the resulting Muslim protest riots throughout the world “must be considered in the context of a growing Islamophobia in European societies”; and that Muslims were understandably offended by “Western Christians who have enjoyed hegemonic power for over five centuries of European colonial domination [and who] are continuing to enjoy it under the empire-building of a professedly Christian U.S. president.” Premawardhana further referred to the November 2005 Muslim riots that overran many parts of France as a “wide-spread youth revolt” which served as “ample evidence that France was not as tolerant and welcoming a place as it is portrayed to be.”

In short, ISNA and the NCC are a highly compatible pair of bedfellows. Both organizations view Western culture and its institutions as the principal cause of interreligious and international strife. Both are ever-prepared to condemn the West for even the slightest perceived affront to the Islamic world, while turning a blind eye to even the most outrageous endorsements of hatred and intolerance on the part of Muslims. And both will affirm this perspective at ISNA’s national conference later this month.


John Perazzo is the author of The Myths That Divide Us: How Lies Have Poisoned American Race Relations. For more information on his book, click here. E-mail him at wsbooks25@hotmail.com

Fasting Against America

Fasting Against America

By Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com | 7/31/2007

Muslim Groups in the U.S. have joined with left-wing Protestants and Catholics in planning an “interfaith fast” on the upcoming “day officially known as ‘Columbus Day,’” according to fast organizers. Called “From Conquest to Community, From Violence to Reverence: An Interfaith Fast to End the War in Iraq,” the day of October 8, 2007 will conveniently synchronize with Islam’s “Night of Power” during Ramadan.

The fasters include officials from the Islamic Society of North America, the National Council of Churches, the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Catholic Maryknollers, Sojourners, the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, and the Quaker Fellowship of Reconciliation.

What better way to draw religionists together than to transforming the sinister day of conquest formerly known as Columbus Day into a Ramadan fast devoted to opposing American imperialism?!

The interfaith fasters are calling on “all armed forces and militias to ‘fast’ from killing at least for one day, reminding them that Ramadan calls for a fast from violence as well.” They also want to exploit the fast so as to “educate people in our religious communities about electing a president and representatives who are committed to ending this war.”

 

It’s nice that al Qaeda and other insurgents in Iraq are also invited to join the interfaith fast. Maybe there will be a spontaneous Ramadan soccer game among all the contending parties in Iraq, as during the famously unofficial Christmas Truce between British and German troops in World War I.

“American culture, society, and policy are addicted to violence at home and overseas,” the interfaith fasters explained. “In our time, the hope of a decent future is endangered by an unnecessary, morally abhorrent, and disastrous war. Ending this war can become the first step toward a policy that embodies a deeper, broader sense of generosity and community at home and in the world.”
The interfaith fasters hope to “end the shattering of Iraqi and American lives by offering American generosity and support – but not control – for international and nongovernmental efforts to assist Iraqis in making peace and rebuilding their country, while swiftly and safely bringing home all American troops.”

Calling upon a long religious tradition of abstaining from food for spiritual purposes, the interfaith fasters cited the Prophet Isaiah, Jesus, Gandhi and Cesar Chavez as potent fasters who “changed the course of history.” Strangely, Muhammad is not specifically mentioned in the litany of admirable fasters. Perhaps his own record as a military conqueror makes his inclusion slightly inappropriate on a day meant, in part, to bemoan Christopher Columbus’s “conquest” of America, not to mention modern America’s “conquest” of Iraq.

The interfaith fasters want to condemn all conquest and war. Their underlying assumption is, of course, that the presence of United States forces in Iraq is the sole cause of war there. The departure of U.S. forces will automatically precipitate peace in Iraq, they seem to assume, in an assumption common throughout the Religious Left.

“Today we call for an end to this war, an end to our reliance on violence as the first, rather than the last resort, an end to the arrogant unilateralism of preemptive war,” typically insisted a recent declaration from the 1.1 million member United Church of Christ. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) also recently pronounced that it is, “conscientiously opposing the war in Iraq as an action inconsistent with the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.”

What the Religious Left is denouncing and fasting against is in fact not the war in Iraq per se, but only U.S. participation in that war. These indignant prelates prefer to assume that the war as a whole can be turned off like a car ignition, as soon as the American President decides, or Congress forces him to do so. To acknowledge that the war in Iraq would continue, or expand, absent U.S. participation would be to admit that the U.S. presence is not exclusively responsible for the conflict. For the Religious Left, this admission is unacceptable.

These interfaith fasters have suitably targeted Columbus Day for their time of protest. America’s discovery by the European adventurer marks the start of cultural genocide and Western imperialism, in the minds of Religious Left activists. For them, the Iraq War is simply the latest sinister episode in four centuries of Western and America, aggression, for which Christianity is ultimately responsible.

The interfaith fasters and their various Religious Left allies have little genuine interest in ending the war in Iraq or in the welfare of Iraq’s people. They were not concerned about Iraqi suffering under Saddam Hussein, except as victims of U.S.-supported sanctions. And the interfaith fasters will have no interest in Iraqi suffering under an Islamist regime or under an expansive civil war, if the U.S. does as the Religious Left desires and departs Iraq precipitously.

For the Religious Left, the war in Iraq is an urgent cause only because the United States is the perceived villain. And for the Religious Left, reflexively opposing the United States, wherever it is active, is a theological and cosmological imperative.


Mark D. Tooley directs the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

Praying Against Zion

Praying Against Zion
By Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com | July 26, 2007

The National Council of Churches (NCC) is distressed that not all Christians share its animosity towards Israel.

Preferring not to address its own demographic implosion, the NCC periodically lashes out at more demographically robust Christian movements, especially conservative evangelicals.  In its latest fusillade, the NCC denounced the “Christian Zionism” of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which recently convened its second convention in Washington for pro-Israel evangelicals.  Newt Gringrich was among the speakers. “CUFI’s position of uncritical support for Israel separates it from the Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox, and traditional Protestant Churches, all of whom support Israel while at the same time advocate for a Palestinian state,” insisted the NCC’s news release, which mostly quoted Associated General Secretary for International Affairs and Peace Antonios Kireopoulos.The NCC official asserted that “most Christians” do not share CFI’s stated goals.  CFI’s objective, as its website describes, is to increase support for Israel among evangelicals by emphasizing the “the Jewish contribution to Christianity and Israel’s biblical mandate to the land through Bible teachings.”  CFI warns that “with every passing day, the threats to Israel and the Jewish people are growing,” specifically referencing Iran’s nuclear plans and Hamas’ popularity among Palestinians.  “Millions of Christians across America have a deep love for Israel and the Jewish people and want to stand with them during these difficult days,” notes the CUFI website, which cites the “threats to Judeo-Christian civilization from radical Islam.”Speaking unpleasantly about radical jihadists, of course, is unacceptable to the NCC and the Religious Left.  “CUFI’s ongoing vilification of Islam is also unacceptable,” fretted Shanta Premawardhana, an NCC interfaith relations official.  “The NCC continues to urge Christians to build relationships with Muslim people, the vast majority of whom are peace-loving, law-abiding people.”   What the NCC never considers is that refusal to address radical Islamists is no favor to moderate Muslims who are “peace-loving.” According to the NCC, the CFI has “advocated going to war with Iran,” which is “totally unacceptable,” Premawardhana claimed. “The NCC believes that high-level dialogues with Iran and other Middle Eastern partners is the proper method of dealing with Iran.”  The NCC believes in high toned denunciations for Christians who disagree with its political agenda.  But radical Islamists and other often very savage adversaries of Western Civilization always merit endless respectful dialogue, according to the NCC mindset.The NCC, like the rest of the Religious Left, prefers to dismiss all pro-Israel evangelicals as “Left-Behind” fanatics whose support for the Jews is merely a crass and self-serving preparation for the end-times.  CFI’s “efforts are the latest in a century old apocalyptic movement that began in earnest in the 19th century,” the NCC asserted.  “Sometimes called Christian Zionism because of its uncritical support for the State of Israel, it is based on a literal reading of Biblical apocalyptic texts.”Actually, Zionism and philo-semitism have a long history in Christianity, arguably dating back to the New Testament, whose writers were themselves Jews who followed a Jewish messiah, obviously.   But more specifically among Western Protestants, a mystical attachment to the Jewish people and a belief in their connectedness to the land of Israel originated at least with the English Puritans.  Zionism of some sort has nearly always resonated among some religionists in America over the last 400 years.        The NCC’s founders and early leaders were themselves ardent supporters of Israel.  It was not until after the radicalization of the 1960’s, and the advent of Liberation Theology, that leftist Protestant prelates suddenly realized that Palestinian insurrectionists were actually God’s revolutionary vanguard against Zionist imperialism.  Today, the NCC and its allies insist that they support Israel, within its pre-1967 borders.  Naturally, these clerics prefer not to acknowledge that those borders are largely defensible, and that an unrestricted “right of return” for Palestinian descendants would likely erase the Jewish state demographically.According to Kireopoulos, the CUFI “message differs greatly with what theologians have taught for centuries” about Israel.  Apparently, the NCC believes itself a mouthpiece for orthodox theology, instead of the shrinking pulpit for heterodox liberal Protestantism that it actually is.  That the restoration of the Jews to Israel may serve some Providential purpose is hardly a belief confined to freakish evangelicals, as the Religous Left, sitting inside its insulated and largely empty churches, prefers to imagine.“The NCC advocates for a two-state solution, with a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state,” declared the NCC news release, sounding so very reasonable.  “The NCC has stated the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories is unsupportable. This position is shared by Churches worldwide, and is counter to the position espoused by CUFI.”According to Kireopoulos, “CUFI stands apart from the historic Churches still present in the Holy Land.”  These churches for Palestinian Christians are “adversely affected by the policies supported by…CUFI.”  The NCC prelate blamed pro-Israel evangelicals in the U.S. for the plight of Palestinian churches, which are “diminishing and are threatened with extinction.”Of course, the NCC will never mention that Christian populations from throughout the Middle-East are declining, thanks largely to pressures from radical Islam.  For the Religious Left, the Islamists themselves are never at fault but are merely the understandable consequence of endless Western oppressions dating to the Crusades.  Almost hilariously, Kireopoulos frets about the de-emphasis on Jesus Christ by CUFI’s pro-Israel evangelicals.“The Christian Gospel is clear that salvation came through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Kireopoulos intoned.  “To supplement this message is to prevert the Gospel” that CUFI claims to preach.  Naturally, the NCC and the Religious Left prefer not to mention inconvenient topics such as the resurrection of Christ in their various outreaches to Muslims.  In fact, the Resurrection, which for leftist Protestants is typically just a poetic metaphor for social justice, is not a topic on which the NCC typically focuses.Just as the NCC is almost never interested in persecuted Christians anywhere, except when the supposed perpetrators are Israel and its American evangelical supporters, so too the NCC will not usually cite the Resurrection, except as a polemic against both Israel’s Jews and their Christians friends.

Letters from Gitmo

Letters from Gitmo
By David Frum
AEI.org | November 14, 2006

The 430 prisoners in the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay send and receive 44,000 pieces of mail per year. Lawyers fly in and out on the commercial flights from Miami to the U.S. base to meet with their clients. The International Red Cross inspects the camp and interviews prisoners.And yet the idea persists that
Guantanamo represents some kind of “American Gulag”–and that the detainees are victims of a monstrous miscarriage of justice: innocent goatherds and blameless wedding guests swept up by blind American injustice.

Ten days ago, I joined one of the regular tours of Guantanamo organized by the
U.S. military. Hundreds of
U.S. and international journalists, human rights experts, and parliamentarians had taken this trip before me. (You can read a four-part description of the visit in the next four issues of the Toronto Sun, in articles and photographs by Peter Worthington, who travelled with me.)

Here in this shorter space, I want to focus on something else: the words of the detainees themselves, as posted in 53 PDF volumes at http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt/index.html.

These statements are excerpted from the testimony of detainees before military tribunals. The evidence against the detainees in many cases remains classified, but you can read the protestations of innocence in full–and determine their credibility for yourself.

Some selections from my own still incomplete reading (citations will be posted Monday at frum.nationalreview.com):

  • One detainee, a Kuwaiti national named as an al-Qaeda operative on a seized al-Qaeda hard drive, was captured as he tried to flee from Afghanistan into Iran. He insisted that he had no association with any terrorist organization. What then had brought him to
    Afghanistan? His answer: He had donated 750 Kuwaiti dinars (“not a lot of money” he added) to an Islamic charity to dig wells in Afghanistan–and had decided to travel from
    Kuwait to see that his money was properly spent.
  • Another detainee, a Yemeni, explained that he had come to
    Pakistan to study medicine at a university. Unfortunately, the particular university he had selected lacked any medical faculty. He ended up instead studying the Koran in a student guesthouse–and when one of his housemates suggested they take a sightseeing tour of
    Afghanistan, he agreed to go along. The housemate’s name? He had forgotten it.
  • A detainee identified by eyewitnesses as a Taliban military judge, who inflicted hideous punishments on hundreds of accused, explained to the tribunal that he was in fact only a humble chicken farmer. The question, “What did you feed your chickens?” baffled this detainee. He answered: “A mixture of foods they sell in the bazaar” (perhaps at the Afghan equivalent of Petco).
  • One detainee was apprehended in possession of a military identity card that named him as a member of an especially vicious Taliban militia. He explained that it was not his own card. It belonged to a friend who had asked him to hold it for him.
  • A Saudi mechanic said that he had journeyed to
    Afghanistan because someone had persuaded him that it was the ideal place to complete his religious education. Who was this person? “I don’t know.”
  • An Afghan detainee intercepted at the Pakistan border carrying a satellite phone, thousands of dollars in cash, without identity papers and riding alongside a noted al-Qaeda explosives expert, explained that he had not realized he needed identity papers to cross the border between Afghanistan and
    Pakistan.
  • A former Egyptian army officer acknowledged that he had undergone training in
    Afghanistan at a camp run by the Kashmiri group, Lashkar-i-Taibi (LiT). However, he said, he had been listening to the BBC in February 2001 and heard an announcer describe LiT as a terrorist organization. After that, he said, he quit the group and had never had anything to do with them again. How had he supported himself in
    Afghanistan over the following year? He had, he said, relied on charity from his fellow Muslims.
  • A young Tajiki told the tribunal that he had attended a training camp at the suggestion of a man he met on a train. He did not know the man’s name. But he had never had any weapons training: He had spent his time carrying firewood.
  • A Saudi detainee, confronted with evidence that he had traveled to Bosnia in the mid-1990s, then to Sudan, then to
    Afghanistan, explained that he had devoted himself exclusively to the construction of mosques. But had his travel not been paid by al Haramain, a well-known front group for al-Qaeda? He knew nothing about that. “If al Haramain is a terrorist organization, why is it my problem? Am I guilty if they are terrorists?”

Or, in the words of that Yemeni would-be medical student without a medical school: “What is the meaning of ‘terrorist’? I don’t even know what that word is.”

That’s his story, and he’s sticking to it.

But what’s the excuse of those in the West who succumb so easily to the deceptions of terrorists who cannot invent even half-way plausible lies?

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Conservatives to Spike the Supreme Court? — For several months we’ve been hearing the mantra that most Republican congressmen don’t deserve to be reelected because the party’s record in Congress is far from a conservative one, especially when one considers runaway spending, huge deficits, ignored scandals, successful filibusters, pro-terrorist legislation, and more.

Conservatives to Spike the Supreme Court?
By Henry Mark Holzer
FrontPageMagazine.com | October 31, 2006

For several months we’ve been hearing the mantra that most Republican congressmen don’t deserve to be reelected because the party’s record in Congress is far from a conservative one, especially when one considers runaway spending, huge deficits, ignored scandals, successful filibusters, pro-terrorist legislation, and more.At the same time, we’ve heard sincere pleas from conservative leaders and commentators that, nevertheless, Republican voters should “hold their noses” and return GOP majorities, no matter how narrow, to the House and Senate.

The principal justification given for what some consider to be a compromise with conservative values (but in reality is not), is that no matter how bad the Republican legislative performance has been, the Democrats are going to be far worse. For conservatives, that’s certainly true. Inevitably, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi domestic agenda will be disastrous, especially for the economy (e.g., rescinding tax cuts). Their foreign affairs policies will surely endanger national security (e.g., abruptly pulling the plug on Iraq).

But even worse is that if Harry Reid becomes Senate majority leader, and if 87-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens leaves the bench (actuarially, a real possibility), conservatives can kiss goodbye – for at least two years and maybe longer – any chance of obtaining that one crucial seat on the Supreme Court which, with Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, could have a profound effect on both domestic and foreign policy for years to come.

If this double whammy occurs – Reid running the Senate, and Stevens leaving the bench – there will be a battle for Stevens’s seat (and thus for the soul of the Court), that will make the Clarence Thomas confirmation fight of 15 years ago look like a walk in the park.

Like the Thomas fight, the one to fill Stevens’s Supreme Court seat will be a battle that conservatives must win if they don’t want to see more decisions like the following – for which Stevens was largely responsible:

  • Upholding the McCain-Feingold law’s suppression of political speech;
  • Abolishing the death penalty for young killers;
  • Seizing private property for “public purposes” through eminent domain;
  • Approving the use of race as a criterion for higher education admissions;
  • Providing enemy combatants with habeas corpus, due process, and court access; and
  • Invalidating President Bush’s Guantanamo military tribunals.It is a cliché to observe that we live in perilous times. But cliché or not, the fact is that we do. Pakistan’s unstable government already has atomic weapons. Despotic North Korea may be close to having atomic weapons. The Iranian theocracy is feverishly seeking atomic weapons. Al-Qaeda is trying to buy or steal atomic weapons.

    The military and foreign policy implications of atomic proliferation are almost too scary to contemplate. They will present colossally important and difficult questions of constitutional law for the Supreme Court to resolve – such as in meeting atomic threats, how far the president’s Article II powers extend without consultation with Congress.

    Also on the table are other questions of presidential power, of congressional power, and – always – of judicial power, especially in America’s current battle with Islamic terrorists.

    Indeed, the preliminary judicial skirmishes in that battle – the Hamdi, Rasul, Padilla, and Hamdan cases, dealing with enemy combatants, habeas corpus, due process, access to courts, and military tribunals – have been just a warm up for what’s to come.

    Those cases presented questions of presidential power to wage war under Article II of the Constitution, and although the President won a few rounds, he lost a few as well. The cases also examined the power of Congress, and its constitutional role in modern, asymmetrical warfare. And some lawyers believe, with good reason, that the Court’s tilt in those four cases was, on balance, away from presidential power and in favor of Congressional power.

    Now, with the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, new constitutional questions have arisen, chief among them whether the “due process” that Congress has provided enemy combatants is adequate. While there are those of us who believe the Act provided too much – see

“Khalid Sheik Mohammed is Not O.J. Simpson: Military Commissions Act of 2006” – not surprisingly, there are those like the ACLU who believe it provided too little, and that Islamic terrorist murderers should be treated with the kid gloves afforded defendants in the American criminal justice system.America’s national security has already suffered enough from Justice Stevens. We cannot afford another such appointment. Especially with national security constitutional questions such as warrantless surveillance still to be resolved.

If Stevens leaves the bench in the next two years, even if the president wants to make quality appointments like his of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, George H.W. Bush’s of Justice Thomas, and Reagan’s of Justice Scalia, the president will be stymied if Harry Reid controls the Senate. Indeed, even if Reid doesn’t, the Republicans will need a majority leader who, unlike Bill Frist, has the spine to break an inevitable Democratic filibuster if the nominee is a strong conservative.

That’s why this notion that conservatives should “punish” right-leaning leaders for their real and imagined shortcomings is akin not merely to political suicide, but invites at least one Supreme Court appointment that in national security cases like warrantless surveillance could tip the already closely balanced scales against the country’s war with Islamic terrorists and seriously endanger the survival of the United States.

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13 Reasons to Vote Republican on Nov. 7 — Copy the text and email it to your friends

by Mona Charen 13 Reasons to Vote Republican on Nov. 7October 27, 2006 08:54 PM EST
I can understand why Democrats are jazzed about November’s election. The polls combined with the fawning media (“Oh, please, Sen. Obama, let us kiss the hem of your garment!”) are giving them goose bumps such as they have not experienced since “An Inconvenient Truth” debuted in theaters.What I don’t understand is the seeming tepidness of so many Republicans. Yes, the war in Iraq is a long, hard slog. The world is not Topeka, Kansas (would that it were). A journalist pointed out to President Bush at his most recent press conference that the Iraq war has now been going on as long as World War II did for the United States. Well, yes, but we lost 407,316 men in World War II. On Iwo Jima alone, we lost 6,800. This is not to say that the deaths of our people in Iraq should be trivialized. But comparisons with World War II — in terms of sacrifice and terrible price paid — are ridiculous.Republicans have abundant reasons to reserve a spot at their polling places on Election Day:

1) The economy. More than 6.6 million new jobs have been created since August 2003. Our 4.1 annual growth rate is superior to all other major industrialized nations. The Dow has set record highs multiple times in the past several weeks. Productivity is up, and the deficit is down. Real, after-tax income has grown by 15 percent since 2001. Inflation has remained low. As Vice President Cheney summed it up at a recent meeting with journalists, “What more do you want?” The tax cuts proposed by President Bush and passed by a Republican Congress can take a bow.

2) The Patriot Act. Democrats and liberals mourn this law as a gross infringement upon civil liberties. Yet the much-discussed abuses simply haven’t materialized. The law has, on the other hand, permitted the CIA and FBI to cooperate and share information about terrorist threats — at least so long as The New York Times isn’t publishing the details of our counterterrorism efforts on the front page.

3) The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, to which liberals clung with passionate intensity, has been cancelled, permitting us to work on missile defense. In the age of Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is anyone (except Nancy Pelosi) sorry?

4) Immigration. Republicans in Congress insisted upon and got the first serious immigration restriction in decades. On Oct. 26, the president signed a law that will build a 700-mile fence along our southern border and, what is more important, does not offer amnesty.

5) There has not been another terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. Who would have predicted that on 9/12?

6) Libya has surrendered its nuclear program.

7) A.Q. Khan’s nuclear smuggling network has been rolled up.

8) John Roberts and Samuel Alito sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

9) Those Democrats who do not want to close Guantanamo Bay altogether want to give all of its inmates the full panoply of rights Americans enjoy in criminal procedures.

10) Democrats believe in immediate withdrawal from Iraq. If they succeed in forcing us to leave under these circumstances, the United States will suffer a stinging defeat in the war on terror. The terrorists already believe that they drove the Russians from Afghanistan and Israel from Lebanon and Gaza. They are convinced they chased us out of Lebanon in 1983 and from Somalia in 1993. According to Osama bin Laden and those who share his views, we are militarily strong but psychologically and spiritually weak. Like it or not — and no one likes it — we cannot leave Iraq now without utterly and decisively validating this analysis. We might as well run a white flag up the flagpole at the Capitol.

11) Democrats would like to eliminate the terrorist surveillance program.

12) If Democrats achieve a majority in the House, Barney Frank will chair the Financial Services Committee, Henry Waxman will head the Government Reform Committee, and Alcee Hastings will chair the Intelligence Committee.

13) Democrats believe that the proper response to Kim Jong Il’s nuclear test is “face to face talks.” That’s what the Clinton administration did for years. It worked out well, didn’t it? 

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