Latest Analysis and Commentary

Has the Pope Abandoned Europe to Islam?

by Giulio Meotti  •  May 26, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI said what no Pope had ever dared to say -- that there is a link between violence and Islam. Ten years later, Pope Francis never calls those responsible for anti-Christian violence by name and never mentions the word "Islam."

  • Pope Francis does not even try to re-evangelize or reconquer Europe. He seems deeply to believe that the future of Christianity is in the Philippines, in Brazil and in Africa. Probably for the same reason, the Pope is spending less time and effort in denouncing the terrible fate of Christians in the Middle East.

  • "Multiculturalism" in Europe is the mosque standing on the ruins of the church. It is not the synthesis requested by Pope Francis. It is the road to becoming extinct.

  • Asking Europe to be "multicultural" while it experiences a dramatic de-Christianization is extremely risky. In Germany, a new report found that "Germany has become demographically a multi-religious country." In the UK, a major inquiry recently declared that "Britain is no longer a Christian country." In France, Islam is also overtaking Christianity as the dominant religion.

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI (left) said what no Pope had ever dared to say -- that there is a link between violence and Islam. Ten years later, Pope Francis (right) never calls those responsible for anti-Christian violence by name and never mentions the word "Islam." (Image source: Benedict: Flickr/Catholic Church of England | Francis: Wikimedia Commons/korea.net)

To scroll the list of Pope Francis's apostolic trips -- Brazil, South Korea, Albania, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Cuba, United States, Mexico, Kenya, Uganda, Philippines -- one could say that Europe is not exactly at the top of his agenda.

The two previous pontiffs both fought for the cradle of Christendom. Pope John Paul II took on Communism by toppling the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain. Benedict XVI took on "the dictatorship of relativism" (the belief that truth is in the eye of the beholder) and bet everything on re-evangelizing the continent by traveling through it (he visited Spain three times) and in speeches such as the magnificent ones at Regensburg, where he spoke bluntly about the threat of Islam, and the German Bundestag, where he warned the gathered politicians against declining religiosity and "sacrificing their own ideals for the sake of power."

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The Lie of "Disproportionality"

by Fred Maroun  •  May 26, 2016 at 4:00 am

  • By making an accusation of disproportionality without defining the meaning of the term, Bernie Sanders and Haaretz betrayed not only the Palestinians and the Israelis, but also their professions. They made false and unsubstantiated accusations while ignoring the thousands more deaths that the Palestinians are inflicting on their own people -- by training toddlers and children for war, using their own people as human shields and failing to provide shelters for them, as the Israelis do for their citizens.

  • In addition to helping Bernie Sanders attract the naïve and anti-Israel vote, and helping Haaretz attract anti-Semitic readers, unsubstantiated claims of disproportionality divert attention from the fact that preventing more wars requires replacing Gaza's Iranian-backed terrorist regime with a regime that is interested in the well-being of the Palestinians.

As a fourth Gaza war looms on the horizon, we should be aware of the hypocrisy and demagoguery of past Gaza wars: because we are likely to see more of the same.

The Accusation

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a candidate in the Democratic primaries for president, claimed that Israel's response in the 2014 Gaza war was "disproportionate," and Haaretz columnist Asher Schechter agreed. Yet neither Sanders nor Haaretz provided evidence to back that claim.

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Palestinians and Jordan: Will a Confederation Work?

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  May 25, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • In a rare moment of truth, former Jordanian Prime Minister Abdel Salam Majali admitted that the Palestinians were not "fully qualified to assume their responsibilities, especially in the financial field..."

  • According to the study, the Jordanian public is totally opposed to the idea of confederation, even after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. They fear the confederation would lead to the "dilution" of the Jordanian identity, create instability and undermine security.

  • The reality is that the two-state solution has already been fulfilled: the Palestinians got two mini-states of their own -- one governed by the Palestinian Authority and the second by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

  • Today, there is only one solution: maintain the status quo until Palestinian leaders wake up and start working to improve the living conditions of their people and prepare them for peace with Israel.

It is unlikely that prominent Jordanian politicians, who have recently talked about a confederation between the Palestinians and Jordan, are acting without the backing of King Abdullah (left). Meanwhile, a majority of Palestinians have seemingly lost confidence in the ability of their leaders, such as PA President Mahmoud Abbas (right), to achieve an independent Palestinian state. (Image source: Abdullah: World Bank / Abbas: US State Dept.)

Talk about a confederation between the Palestinians and Jordan has once again resurfaced, this time after a series of unofficial meetings in Amman and the West Bank in the past few weeks. Jordan, fearing that such confederation would end up with the Hashemite kingdom transformed into a Palestinian state, is not currently keen on the idea.

Many Palestinians have also expressed reservations about the idea. They argue that a confederation could harm their effort to establish an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The confederation talk returned during a recent high-profile visit to the West Bank by former Jordanian Prime Minister Abdel Salam Majali. During a meeting with representatives of large Palestinian clans in Nablus, Majali voiced his support for the confederation idea, saying it was the "best solution for both Palestinians and Jordanians."

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"Radical" vs. "Moderate" Islam: A Muslim View

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  May 25, 2016 at 4:00 am

  • According to Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Khadr, the first loyalty of radicals is to Islam while the first loyalty for moderates, regardless of their religion, is to the state. Radicals reject the idea of religious equality because Allah's true religion is Islam; moderates accept it.

  • Radicals, Khadr charges, also marvel that the moderate "finds hatred for non-Muslims unacceptable."

  • If true -- and disturbing polls certainly indicate that Khadr's findings are prevalent -- the West may need to rethink one of its main means of countering radical Islam: moderate Muslims and moderate Islam.

According to Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Khadr, the first loyalty of radicals is to Islam while the first loyalty for moderates, regardless of their religion, is to the state. Radicals reject the idea of religious equality because Allah's true religion is Islam; moderates accept it.

After his recent electoral victory, it emerged that Sadiq Khan, London's first Muslim mayor, had described moderate Muslim groups as "Uncle Toms" -- a racial slur used against blacks perceived to be subservient to whites, or, in this context, Muslims who embrace "moderate Islam" as, in his view, a way of being subservient to the West.

One of Iran's highest clerics apparently shares the same convictions. After asserting that "revolutionary Islam is the same as pure Muhammadan Islam," Ayatollah Tabatabaeinejad recently said:

"Some say our Islam is not revolutionary Islam, but we must say to them that non-revolutionary Islam is the same as American Islam. Islam commands us to be firm against the enemies and be kind and compassionate toward each other and not be afraid of anything..."

According to the AB News Agency,

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VIDEO: Countering Radical Islam – A Reformist Muslim Speaks Out

May 24, 2016 at 4:00 pm

How did a terrorist cell find safe haven in a Muslim community in Brussels and carry out two successful terrorist attacks over four months? "Who are the voices of moderate Islam?," asks Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a founder of the Muslim Reform Movement. "Who are the voices that can take back Islam from the radicals?" The West's focus on fighting Islamic "militants" is failing, and needs to be replaced by a "tough love" strategy of countering political Islam as a whole, and supporting reformist Muslims who believe in democracy, freedom of speech, women's rights and gay rights.

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Austrian Freedom Party: Victory in Defeat
Austrian Presidential Elections Reveal Deeply Divided Country

by Soeren Kern  •  May 24, 2016 at 5:30 am

  • European political and media elites have been quick to hail the election of Van der Bellen, who campaigned on a pro-immigration, pro-EU platform. They seem to believe his razor-thin win validates their uninterrupted pursuit of European multiculturalism.

  • Meanwhile, European elites have expressed relief at Norbert Hofer's defeat. Their reactions would indicate that they unaware that they are largely responsible for the rise of anti-establishment parties in Austria and other parts of Europe.

  • "Europe has been polarized for years by misguided policies pursued by the old major parties, not only in Germany but in many European countries. The fact is that it must be our task to preserve freedom, democracy and the rule of law across the continent. And the policy of open borders does exactly the opposite." — Frauke Petry, Alternative for Germany party.

In this month's Austrian presidential election, Alexander Van der Bellen (left), who campaigned on a pro-immigration, pro-EU platform, defeated Norbert Hofer (right) of the anti-immigration Austrian Freedom Party. (Image source: ORF TV video screenshot)

Norbert Hofer of the anti-immigration Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) has been narrowly defeated in his bid to become Austria's next president.

Alexander Van der Bellen, former leader of Austrian Greens party, won 50.3% of the vote, compared to 49.7% for Hofer. The margin of victory was 31,026 out of nearly 4.5 million votes cast.

European political and media elites have been quick to hail the election of Van der Bellen, who campaigned on a pro-immigration, pro-EU platform. They seem to believe his razor-thin win validates their uninterrupted pursuit of European multiculturalism.

But Hofer can claim victory even in defeat. By winning half the ballots cast, Hofer has exposed Austria's gaping political divide on immigration and relations with the European Union. Hofer's rise, which has effectively upended Austria's political system, has also inspired anti-establishment parties in other parts of Europe.

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Turkish Sultan's New Grand Vizier: What Is His Main Goal?

by Burak Bekdil  •  May 24, 2016 at 4:45 am

  • Ahmet Davutoglu was a typically Islamist prime minister, except that even his secular rivals admitted that he was an honest man -- not corrupt at all. In contrast, Binali Yildirim, who is designated to be the next prime minister, has a different story to tell.

  • There are suspicions about how the Yildirim family has run its business arm.

  • Yildirim will leave foreign policy to Erdogan and his inner cabinet exclusively. He will devote most of his time to his number one task: putting together a parliamentary majority, either by horse-trading or by snap polls, in order to introduce the executive presidential system his boss so passionately craves.

Ahmet Davutoglu (left) was a typically Islamist prime minister, except that even his secular rivals admitted that he was an honest man -- not corrupt at all. In contrast, Binali Yildirim (right), who is designated to be the next prime minister, has a different story to tell.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the choice of Turkish President and would-be Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan for loyal servant in 2014, stepped down with words that were bitter but not resentful: he will always remain loyal to the sultan, party and "dawa" – the Islamist political cause.

After having been chosen by the Sultan as his first Grand Vizier, not knowing he would have to quit barely 20 months later, Davutoglu read out his government's program in parliament on Sept. 1, 2014:

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My First Hizb-ut-Tahrir Conference

by Z.  •  May 24, 2016 at 4:00 am

  • "Why," I said to the woman next to me, "is this flag there? Is that not the ISIS flag?"

Time: Saturday May 21, 2016, 12:00-3:00PM
Venue: Swagat Banquet Hall, 6991 Millcreek Dr., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

The half-full banquet hall, divided into the men's side and the women's side, admitted about 100 attendees. A black flag with white script was on display, on both the screen and on the podium. "Why," I said to the woman next to me, "is this flag there? Is that not the ISIS flag?" The woman, later identified as Naeema, said it was not, and called her son, one of the organizers, to address the question. It seemed difficult for him, too; he went off to look for someone else more knowledgeable to the help with the problem. Naeema explained that the writing was different. "I can read Arabic," I said. No one could be found to answer the question.

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CAIR's Dawud Walid: Civil Rights Champion or Radical Hiding in the Open?

by M. Zuhdi Jasser  •  May 23, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • With his March 25 Facebook post, CAIR's Dawud Walid cemented his position as a preacher of hate and radicalism. He has already become known to many Muslims as an extreme figure, who bullies anyone who disagrees with him, maligns dissidents, harasses gay Muslims, and foments anti-American sentiments.

  • It is beyond denial to ignore the fact that Muslims such as Walid are leading radicalizers of American Muslims, and their efforts are dedicated to pushing vulnerable Muslims away from integration and reform against Islamist movements.

On March 25 of this year, Dawud Walid (left), executive director of Michigan's CAIR chapter, posted in Facebook, urging Muslims not to "encourage infidels" by wishing Christians a "Happy Easter." This kind of thinking leads to attacks such as the stabbing murder this year of Asad Shah (right) in Glasgow, Scotland, who was killed by a fellow Muslim who claimed Shah "disrespected" Islam by wishing Christians a Happy Easter.

Dawud Walid is the longtime executive director of Michigan's chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). His Twitter profile currently bills him as a "human rights advocate and political blogger," and his blog sells him as an imam who lectures on topics such as how to maintain your manners when dealing with hostile people (the irony of this will soon become abundantly clear), and how to address the very real problem of anti-Black racism within the Muslim community.

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French Political Gymnastics and How to Help the Palestinians

by Shoshana Bryen  •  May 23, 2016 at 4:00 am

  • "I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreements with Israel, Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence." — President George W. Bush, 2002.

  • The Palestinians do not have "a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty," but erasing Israel evidently remains their goal.

  • Rather than offering the Palestinians no-cost recognition, the French should demand a few changes first.

French President François Hollande welcomes Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris, July 8, 2012. (Image source: Office of the President of France)

The French government seems to be falling over itself to undo its craven vote in favor of a UNESCO resolution accusing Israel -- referred to as the "Occupying Power" in Jerusalem -- of destroying historic structures on the Temple Mount:

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Europe: Allah Takes over Churches, Synagogues

by Giulio Meotti  •  May 22, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • In the Dutch province of Friesland, 250 of 720 existing churches have been transformed or closed. The Fatih Camii Mosque in Amsterdam once was the Saint Ignatius Church. A synagogue in The Hague was turned into the Al Aqsa Mosque. In Flanders, in place of a famous church, a luxury hotel now stands. Catholic arches, columns and windows still soar between menus and tables for customers.

  • "The French will not wake up until Notre Dame becomes a mosque." — Emile Cioran, author.

  • Germany is literally selling its churches. Between 1990 and 2010, the German Evangelical Church closed 340 churches. Recently in Hamburg, a Lutheran church was purchased by the Muslim community.

  • "History teaches us that these transformations are rarely innocent." — Bertrand Dutheil de La Rochère, assistant to Marine Le Pen.

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was the grandest cathedral in the Christian world, until it was captured and converted to a mosque by the Muslim Ottoman Turks in 1453. The Middle East is full of churches and synagogues turned into Islamic sites. Today, every traveler in a modern European city can notice the new mosques being built alongside abandoned and secularized churches, some converted into museums. (Image source: Antoine Taveneaux/Wikimedia Commons)

Last year, at the famous Biennale artistic festival in Venice, Swiss artist Christian Büchel took the ancient Catholic Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia and converted it into a mosque. The church had not been used for Christian worship for more than forty years. Büchel decorated the baroque walls with Arabic writing, covered the floor with a prayer rug, and hid the crucifix behind a prayer niche indicating the direction of Mecca, the holy city of Islam. It was a provocation.

But everywhere else in Europe, the practice of Islam really is outstripping Christianity, while Jews are leaving -- not only France but the old continent -- en masse.

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Pakistan: "Blasphemy" for Ethnic Cleansing

by Lubna Thomas Benjamin  •  May 22, 2016 at 4:00 am

  • After the attack, some villagers gathered and started threatening other Christians, demanding they either convert to Islam or move out of the area. Then an Islamic religious decree was issued, to hand over Masih to the local Islamic clerics so that he could be burned alive for blasphemy.

  • Why was only Masih (a Christian) accused of blasphemy, when Bilal (a Muslim) had obviously watched the video in question?

  • The Christians who are left are searching to find an alternate place to live, and are now facing hatred in the guise of a boycott. No one is selling them food or any daily essentials.

  • In Punjab, harassing Christians has become a norm; a way of getting rid of them. Every time Christians are threatened and forced to leave the area, the charge is always blasphemy.

Left: Imran Masih's house in the village of Chak-44, Pakistan. Right: The Catholic Church in the village. (Images source: World Watch Monitor)

It started as a normal day in the remote Pakistani village of Chak-44 for Imran Masih, a Christian man, and Bilal, his Muslim friend, in mid-April. Masih had revealed to Bilal that the woman he had fallen in love with was a Muslim.

According to media reports, Masih was called away urgently and left his phone with Bilal, who apparently came across a video that appeared in Masih's Facebook feed, which allegedly contained content against the Muslim Prophet Mohammad. Bilal's accusation that Masih had viewed that video became the reason to charge Masih with blasphemy.

You start asking questions, such as: Wait a minute, who has committed blasphemy?

No one will probably ever even know what was on that video or whether Masih even watched it. But even if Masih did watch it, he was not the only one: Bilal also watched it. However, in a country where might is right, Bilal, a Muslim with the support of fellow villagers, is always right.

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Sweden's Holy War on Children's Books

by Judith Bergman  •  May 21, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • Taken to its extremes, the urge to cleanse a culture of elements that do not live up to the politically correct orthodoxy currently in political vogue unsettlingly echoes the Taliban and ISIS credos of destroying everything that does not accord with their Quranic views. The desire "not to offend," taken to its logical conclusion, is a totalitarian impulse, which threatens to destroy everything that disagrees with its doctrines. Crucially, who gets to decide what is offensive?

  • The question arises: How much purging and expiation will be needed to render a country's culture politically correct?

  • "When we have days of carnivals and music the goal is that these days should be experienced as positive by everyone. The Swedish flag is not allowed as part of carnival dress. ... Positive and bright feelings must be in focus. ... School photos must obviously be free of national symbols." — Swedish school in Halmstad.

  • Rome covered up its classical nude statues for a visit from Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, in January 2016. A decade ago, who would have even imagined such sycophancy?

One of Sweden's most popular children's writers, Jan Lööf, was recently told by his publisher that unless he makes his bestselling 1966 book, Grandpa is a Pirate, more politically correct by rewriting it and changing the illustrations, it will be taken off the market.

In 1966, one of Sweden's most popular children's writers, Jan Lööf, published Grandpa is a Pirate, an illustrated children's book, which featured, among other characters, the wicked pirate Omar and the street peddler, Abdullah. The book has been a bestseller ever since, and has been translated into English (as My Grandpa is a Pirate), Spanish, French and other languages. Ten years ago, 100,000 copies of it were even distributed to the Swedish public with McDonald's Happy Meals, as part of an initiative to support reading among children.

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Combating Anti-Israelism and Boycotts
Who Should Do What?

by Malcolm Lowe  •  May 20, 2016 at 5:00 am

  • Up to now, most of the anti-boycott activity has been basically defensive. It assumes that Israel can be vindicated by providing relevant information.

  • Regarding the anti-Israel activists themselves, however, defensive strategies are ineffective. These people have no intention whatsoever to be fair; they treat information offered on behalf of Israel with derision. To deter them and drive them off, one must use strategies that fall under the rubric "This is going to hurt you more than us!"

  • So there are two principal questions. What activities are best carried out by government itself and what are best delegated to private organizations? And should organizations specialize in particular strategies or can a given single organization draw upon all the available strategies?

An earlier article defined and classified various strategies for combating both boycotts directed against Israel other kinds of hostile activity. Not discussed, however, were questions about who or what bodies should be implementing which strategies.

Such questions have become more acute, now that the Israeli government has designated substantial means for defending Israel from boycotts. We shall consider these questions after briefly reviewing the range of available strategies.

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VIDEO: Anti-Semitism in Britain's Labour Party
Rotting from the head down

May 19, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Anti-Semitism isn't new to the UK Labour Party, and its recent anti-Semitic outbursts shouldn't surprise anyone. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has ordered an "independent inquiry" into the party's anti-Semitism. Douglas Murray, a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Gatestone Institute, explains in the video below how Labour's anti-Semitism problem starts at top of the party, and why this inquiry won't solve anything.

This is the first installment in Gatestone's new video series, produced with the help of our friends at TheRebel.media.

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