Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shame on the ABA

The Executive Council of the American Bar Association (ABA) has released a statement saying that it will set up a task force to back-stop those opposing anti-sharia laws in the United States. According to the statement: “The goal of the task force is to have a Report and Recommendation against such legislation as well as an informal set of 'talking points' that local opponents of these initiatives could use to make their case in each of these states.”

The ABA has since attempted to distance itself from this statement.

No, I am not making this up! If the ABA supports applying sharia law in America, I think it's time for a rival association to speak for American lawyers. If a majority of American lawyers don't agree with me, we're in even deeper trouble than I thought. (Thanks to CNS News.)

The Libyan opposition

Free-lance journalist John Rosenthal provides here some alarming Italian insights into the Libyan opposition. (The Italians have historically had close ties with Libya.)

-- Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini emphasizes Western ignorance concerning the nature of the opposition to Gaddafi, which includes the self-proclaimed Islamic Emirate of East Libya. “We do not know more [about it],” Frattini says, “But we know that they are dangerous. There are elements of al-Qaeda there. As consequence, in 2006 we decided to close the Italian consulate in Cyrenaica [eastern Libya].”

-- Italian journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi reports that the opposition to Gaddafi in the eastern part of the country is itself armed. He saw former soldiers and police (now with the rebels) opening up “massive wooden crates containing bazookas and ammunition of all sorts of calibers.”

Rosenthal also notes that "the first images of protesters holding pictures of Gaddafi with Stars of David scrawled on them have also begun to appear." In other words, just because Gaddafi is bad doesn't make his enemies good guys.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Go, Allen, go!

Allen West, newly elected Congressman from Florida and retired Army lieutenant colonel, is my hero. In this video, watch him eviserate a representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an organization linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

West knows enough about the Koran and history to defend his point; he knows who attacked whom on September 11 and afterwards, and what they said as they did so; and he's fought overseas to defend Muslims from other Muslims. Also note that the crowd at this meeting is highly sympathetic to him.

Lara Logan

Remind me never to work for CBS. Here Phyllis Chesler tells about the gang assault on their correspondent Lara Logan in Tahrir Square and the multiculturalist cover-up undertaken by her employer and colleagues.

Warning: it's a really ugly story: you can read various commentators saying that the same thing goes on in America; that the attack shouldn't be discussed because right-wingers will exploit it, etc., etc. The facts remain: she was attacked for being an infidel woman, accused of being a Jew, gang-raped and beaten.

Chesler concludes: "While my heart is with the powerless, unorganized secular human rights activists in Tahrir Square and with their counterparts, especially in Iran, my fear is that the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. will simply capitalize on the chaos and gladly use the vote to get elected."

Yup, that 'bout sums it up.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sad but true

Here, thanks to Rachel, is an article by Ian Johnson recounting decades of vain U.S. efforts to woo the Muslim Brotherhood. The pattern began in the 1950s, when President Eisenhower hoped he could recruit the Brotherhood to fight the communists in the Middle East and keep European Muslims happy. Subsequently, as is better known, U.S. officials worked with Islamists to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan.

More recently, our flirtation with the Muslim Brotherhood resumed during the second Bush administration - despite concerns voiced by our allies - and continues under President Obama. Yet again, we apparently hope that they want what we want: a free and democratic society, with freedom of speech, press and religion.

As Johnson concludes: "Half a century ago, the West chose to make use of the Brotherhood for short-term tactical gain, later backing many of the authoritarian governments that were trying to wipe it out. Now, with those governments tottering, the West has no choice; after decades of oppression one of the few actors left standing is the Brotherhood, with its potent mixture of fundamentalism and modern political methods."

Initially President Bush concluded that, for decades, the United States had sacrificed support for Mideast democracy in order to get stability, but ended up with neither. I wish he had stuck to that thought, since it's the correct one. And I fear that Obama actually thinks the Brotherhood is our friend.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Abbas panics

So who's the guy with the most to lose, now Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has departed the scene? According to the Jerusalem Post, the most endangered politician may be Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Why? Well, for starters, "In the eyes of many Palestinians, Abbas is not much different than Hosni Mubarak and Zine al-Abidin Bin Ali. Like the two ousted dictators, Abbas has also been accused of being a 'puppet' in the hands of the Americans." Plus, "Mubarak supported Abbas against Hamas, Israel, the US and hostile Arab and Islamic regimes such as Syria and Iran."

Abbas is frantically shuffling his cabinet and calling elections. Neither action is likely to provide him succor. Unfortunately, it looks like Hamas is the big winner so far in Palestine's post-Mubarak sweepstakes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Islamists in their own words

One byproduct of the turmoil in Egypt is the focus on the Muslim Brotherhood. Some, including President Obama, appear to think that the Brotherhood is a legitimate political party; others disagree. Here are a couple of sources to help you decide for yourself.

-- First, thanks to Aylana via Facebook, here's a video of Tariq Ramadan, considered to be the most influential 'moderate' Muslim in France (and certainly a media star in his own right) offering up a prayer in Arabic. Ramadan's grandfather founded the Muslim Brotherhood, and his brother Hani publicly advocates stoning adulteresses. Tariq in his prayer calls for divine vengeance against all the enemies of Islam (hint: we're on the list).

-- Second, the Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch has translated excerpts from a book, Jihad is the Way, written by Mustafa Mashkur, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996 to 2002. His book explains the basic concepts of the Brotherhood's ideology. Among other things, it states that jihad is a religious public duty.

For years, there's been very little reporting on the Muslim Brotherhood in the Western press, and much of what was out there reflected the public face they project in Western languages. I think it's salutary that more and more people are finding out what the Brotherhood really stands for. After all, you can't advocate jihad and be dedicated to non-violence, can you?

Then, although perhaps I'm being overly optimistic, pressure will grow for the White House to seek advice only from non-Brotherhood affiliated Muslim groups. That, my friends, would be a tremendous advance, since right now the Brotherhood appears to have cornered the market.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Remember the movie about Iran and its nuclear weapons program that the Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore required be shown by the Canadian National Archives after the Iranian government tried to block it?

Well, for a limited time you can watch it here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bye-bye Abdallah

Last month I wrote that the Mega Mosque project near Ground Zero had a new spiritual advisor in the person of unsavory Imam Abdallah Adhami. Pamela Geller, the person who has been leading the opposition to the mosque, reports that Adhami has since quit this job. He says he did so to spend time writing a book; I suspect he became a liability once his links to various Islamists were exposed.

Why he did it

You may remember a horrifying crime in 2009 when Muazzamil Hassan, the owner of a Muslim TV station in Buffalo, decapitated his wife. His case recently went to trial; here psychologist Phyllis Chesler analyzes his motivation, based on his own words and on what she knows about how men treat women in Pakistan, where Hassan lived until he was 17.

Hassan's story, as Chesler recounts it, certainly seems crazy: "On February 12, 2009, immediately after stabbing his unarmed wife 40 times with two large hunting knives and then brutally beheading her, he became calm, relieved. For the first time in years, he felt 'peaceful.' Only then did he feel 'safe from the Evil Dragon Terrorist' which is how he referred to Aasiya Zubair Hassan, the wife he had viciously battered for seven years."

This perspective, however, turns out to be normal for Pakistani men. Chesler recounts in detail how women are treated in Pakistan; the story is not for those with weak stomachs. She closes by comparing Hassan's version of how his wife deserved what she got with how jihadi terrorists justify their actions.

Chesler's article is lengthy, but if you have time to read it, please do so - you won't feel you've wasted your time.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A message for the demonstrators in Egypt

Here's a message, forwarded to me by Rachel, that puts the relationship between Israel and any future Egyptian regime in a new perspective:

"Dear Egyptian demonstrators,

Please do not damage the pyramids. We will not rebuild.

The Jews"

Friday, February 4, 2011

Supporting dictators

So is U.S. Mideast policy based on supporting dictators, as Mideast expert Robert Kagan says? Another Mideast expert, Barry Rubin, strongly disagrees. He argues that in the past we have done the opposite: we encouraged the overthrow of tyrants like the King of Egypt in the 1950s or the Shah of Iran in the 1970s.

While Egypt does qualify as a dictatorship (regardless of whether Biden changes his mind), the United States does not support any of the other aspirants to that title: Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, or Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (Although, as Rubin points out, President Obama is bent on reaching out to several of them.) In fact, he writes: "the U.S. government overthrew two dictatorships--in Iraq and Afghanistan--and helped make them into (imperfect) democracies."

I really worry about the current breathtaking naivete on display in U.S. policy toward Egypt. We apparently think that we can curry favor with the Egyptians by throwing Mubarak under the bus. Or that somehow, holding elections equals freedom and democracy. Doesn't anyone remember that Hitler was elected? Or Hamas? And what about all our other allies who now realize they too could be discarded?

The Egyptian 'street' has been fed for over a generation on a diet of anti-Zionism, anti-Americanism and all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories that aim to divert people from assigning blame where it belongs - with their own government. I'm not saying we should support Mubarak; I'd just like to ask: how many American Mideast experts supported former Secretary of State Condi Rice when she called publicly for more democracy in Egypt? Yup, the silence was deafening.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A double-header

All the snow is getting to me: here's a second humorous video, brought to my attention by Libby. I only ask that younger readers not snicker too loudly.

And, no, the next entries will be my usual dreary fare!