The tendency of modern liberals to wring apologies out of governments for the actions of their ancestors, from the slave trade to Orientalist depictions of the peoples of Islam, is a pointless attempt to re-write history. There are, of course, no calls for Muslim governments to apologize for anything from their slave trade to the early Arab conquests.
"The ethics of establishing a campus in an authoritarian country are murky, especially when it inhibits free expression." -- Professor Stephen F. Eisenman, Northwestern University (which has a branch in Qatar)
Oxford and Cambridge, have accepted more than 233.5 million pounds sterling from Saudi and Muslim sources since 1995 -- the largest source of external funding to UK universities.
"Several agreements made between the MEC [Oxford's Middle East Centre] and donors appear to indicate that funders have sought to influence the centre's output and activities." -- Robin Simcox, A Degree of Influence, 2009, p.35
One of those "dilemmas" is the influence by teachers across the United States on impressionable students who organize Israel Apartheid Weeks. They join with assorted anti-Semitic demonstrators, condemn Israel for every sin under the sun, and use intimidation against Jewish and Zionist colleagues, but are never told any historical, legal, or political facts by their equally biased faculties.
Fundamentalist Islam, backed by vast monetary power, is corrupting our dearest Enlightenment values.
Oxford's Middle East Centre "has received substantial sums of money from sources in the Middle East. The way in which this money has been used means there is a clear risk that donors will seek to influence the output and activities of the MEC. -- Robin Simcox, A Degree of Influence. (Image source: Zaha Hadid/Flickr)
In asking why Western civilization has been the greatest in history, many point to European and, later, American military power, the strength of the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese empires, their command of the oceans, or the progress brought about through the Industrial Revolution. Today, of course, there is a general trend to picture Western achievements in a uniformly negative light, often for valid reasons, including our use of slavery or the mistreatment of so many Native Americans. This negativity is, however, highly selective. Why, for example, are Western Christian empires considered a blight on mankind while the great many Muslim empires of the past -- which lasted over a much longer period, engaged in the largest and longest-lasting slave trade in history, sought to impose one religion over all others, and placed enormous barriers on rational thought from about the 10th century -- regarded as a blessing?
After appearing, the police stood back and allowed the mob to continue destroying the house and setting more Christian homes and vehicles on fire.
Last month in Egypt, a 70 year old Christian woman was stripped naked, beaten, and paraded in the streets of her village by a mob of 300 Muslim men.
"How long will these acts continue with impunity -- will they never stop?" — Dr. Mona Roman, host of the Arabic-language news show, Behind the Scenes.
On June 17, 2016, rioting Muslims in Egypt attacked Christians and their property, and burned down Christian homes. (Image source: "Behind the Scenes" video screenshot)
In a chronically familiar scene, angry, rioting Muslims in Egypt burned down around 80 Christian homes on June 17. In the words of one of the victims, Moses Zarif,
"On Friday afternoon, after noon prayers, a large number of Muslims gathered in the front of the new house of my cousin because a rumor had spread in the village that it would be turned into a church. They were chanting slogans against us: 'By no means will there be a church here' and 'Egypt will remain Islamic!'"
According to the report, rioting Muslims beat the two cousins, attacked the building, destroyed all construction materials, and threw rocks at any Christian trying to intervene. Then they "turned their wrath on the Christian homes adjacent to the building, hurled rocks, looted houses and set fire to any Christian property in their wake."
In France, before the British vote, the weekly JDD conducted an online poll with one question: Do you want France out of the EU? 88% of people answered "YES!"
In none of the countries surveyed was there much support for transferring power to Brussels.
To calm a possible revolt of millions of poor and unemployed people, countries such as France have maintained a high level of social welfare spending, by borrowing money on international debt markets to pay unemployment insurance benefits, as well as pensions for retired people. Today, France's national debt is 96.1% of GDP. In 2008, it was 68%.
In the past few years, these poor and old people have seen a drastic change in their environment: the butcher has become halal, the café does not sell alcohol anymore, and most women in the streets are wearing veils. Even the McDonald's in France have become halal.
What is reassuring is that the "Leave" people waited for a legal way to express their protest. They did not take guns or knives to kill Jews or Muslims: they voted. They waited an opportunity to express their feelings.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National, celebrates the Brexit vote under a sign reading, "And Now: France!", June 24, 2016.
"How quickly the unthinkable became the irreversible" writes The Economist. They are talking about Brexit, of course.
The question of today is: Who could have imagined that British people were so tired of being members of The Club? The question of tomorrow is: What country will be next?
In France, before the British vote, the weekly JDD conducted an online poll with one question: Do you want France out of the EU? 88% of people answered "YES!" This is not a scientific result, but it is nevertheless an indication. A recent -- and more scientific -- survey for Pew Research found that in France, a founding member of "Europe," only 38% of people still hold a favorable view of the EU, six points lower than in Britain. In none of the countries surveyed was there much support for transferring power to Brussels.
Seven percent of respondents agreed that "violence is justified to spread Islam." Although these numbers may seem innocuous, 7% of the three million Turks living in Germany amounts to 210,000 people who believe that jihad is an acceptable method to propagate Islam.
The survey also found that labor migration is no longer the main reason why Turks immigrate to Germany: the most important reason is to marry a partner who lives there.
A new statistical survey of Germany — Datenreport 2016: Social Report for the Federal Republic of Germany — shows that ethnic Turks are economically and educationally less successful than other immigrant groups, and that more than one-third (36%) of ethnic Turks live below the poverty line, compared to 25% of migrants from the Balkans and southwestern Europe.
"In our large study we asked Muslims how strongly they feel discriminated against, and we searched for correlations to the development of a fundamentalist worldview. But there are none. Muslim hatred of non-Muslims is not a special phenomenon of Muslim immigration, but is actually worse in the countries of origin. Radicalization is not first produced here in Europe, rather it comes from the Muslim world." — Ruud Koopmans, sociologist.
An open-air market in the heavily-Turkish Kreuzberg district of Berlin. (Image source: The Berlin Project video screenshot)
Nearly half of the three million ethnic Turks living in Germany believe it is more important to follow Islamic Sharia law than German law if the two are in conflict, according to a new study.
One-third of those surveyed also yearn for German society to "return" to the way it was during the time of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, in the Arabia of the early seventh century.
The survey — which involves Turks who have been living in Germany for many years, often decades — refutes claims by German authorities that Muslims are well integrated into German society.
The 22-page study, "Integration and Religion from the Viewpoint of Ethnic Turks in Germany" (Integration und Religion aus der Sicht von Türkeistämmigen in Deutschland), was produced by the Religion and Politics department of the University of Münster. Key findings include:
For many years, Palestinians hoped that one day they would enjoy public freedoms under the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA), like the freedoms their neighbors in Israel have. But more than two decades after the establishment of the PA, democracy and freedom of speech are still far from being introduced to Palestinian society.
A PA court sentenced Anas Saad Awwad to a year in prison for posting on Facebook a photoshopped picture of Abbas wearing a Real Madrid shirt.
"Come and invest in the Palestinian areas, but if you don't bribe their corrupt officials, the Palestinian Authority will arrest you. This is a desperate political arrest by an undemocratic Palestinian Authority president who has no credibility amongst his people. " — Khaled al-Sabawi, son of Palestinian-Canadian investor Mohamed al-Sabawi, who was jailed for recommending the removal of Mahmoud Abbas from power.
Both Mahmoud Abbas (right) and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat (left) have taught Palestinians that "insulting" their president is a crime and an act of treason. Pictured above: A Fatah propaganda poster featuring Abbas and Arafat. The Arabic text reads "Bearer of the trust" on top.
It is not easy for an Arab journalist to criticize his or her leaders. If there is one thing Arab dictators cannot tolerate, it is criticism, especially when it comes from an Arab journalist, columnist or political opponent.
For many years, Palestinians were hoping that one day they would enjoy freedom of expression under the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA). But more than two decades after the establishment of the PA, Palestinians have learned that democracy and freedom of speech are still far from being introduced to their society.
Since then, Palestinians have also learned that their leaders are "untouchable" and above criticism. Both Mahmoud Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, have even taught Palestinians that "insulting" their president is a crime and an act of treason.
During the past two decades, several Palestinians who dared to criticize Abbas or Arafat have been punished in different ways.
"You will see we are not in any particular animosity with the Americans," Ayatollah Khomeini said, and promised to President Jimmy Carter that Iran would be a "tolerant democracy."
Although the State Department has in its just released annual report on world-wide terror designated Iran as the world's premier state sponsor of terrorism, the Obama administration has assisted Iranian militias in Iraq with air support, provided intelligence to Hezbollah's allies on Israeli air strikes, and has steadfastly refused to use any military force against any elements of the Assad regime.
America is apparently bent on repeating -- yet again -- the historic wrong turn it took in 1979 by once again embracing the radical Islamic regime in Iran. Why would the U.S. administration think doing the same thing again will have a different outcome?
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during talks in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2014. (Image source: U.S. State Department)
Senior leaders from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are in Washington, meeting with top U.S. diplomatic and defense officials, and are deeply concerned America has significantly worsened the situation in the Middle East by creating a "strategic partnership" with Iran.
Thirty-seven years ago, U.S. President Jimmy Carter paved the way for Iran's Islamic theocratic dictatorship to come to power, according to newly declassified secret documents, reports the BBC Persian News Service. The documents show that Carter pledged to "hold back" the Iranian military from attempting a coup, which would have prevented the return of the exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini from France.
Even if Britain does vote to leave the European Union, it will still work with the EU, albeit as a separate diplomatic entity rather than having its voice submerged by the dead hand of Brussels bureaucracy.
Britain outside the EU will be just as vigorous in opposing further acts of Russian aggression as it has been as a member of the EU.
NATO, rather than the EU, is the most important organization for keeping Moscow in its place.
For all his claims to the contrary, there can be little doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be taking a keen interest in the outcome of Britain's historic referendum on its membership of the European Union on Thursday.
The Kremlin's official line is that Moscow has no interest in whether the British people decide to leave or remain a member of the 28-state economic and political union. And in his first public comment on the vote last weekend. Mr Putin said the decision was "the business of the people of the UK," even though he could not help having a gratuitous swipe at British Prime Minister David Cameron, accusing him of trying to "blackmail Europe" by calling the vote.
But even though the Kremlin's official position is that it is observing a strict neutrality on the outcome, the reality is that there is nothing that would please Mr Putin more than a British vote in favour of Brexit.
Some Iranian-Americans argued that NIAC's policies did not seem to be aimed at improving the lives of Iranian-Americans, but were political and partisan policies more likely aimed at making more money, getting more fame, media publicity and self-promotion, satisfying those who provide funding to them, or going towards where the money is.
"I think Trita Parsi does not belong to the Green Movement. I feel his lobbying has secretly been more for the Islamic Republic." — Mohsen Makhmalbaf to the Washington Times.
"It appears that this may be lobbying on behalf of Iranian government interests. Were I running the counterintelligence program at the bureau now, I would have cause to look into this further." — Kenneth Piernick, FBI special agent in counterintelligence and counterterrorism.
I have often been asked why someone with my credentials joined the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) -- a political institution, not "nonpartisan" as it sometimes suggests -- and advanced the interests of Iran's ruling clerics, who now lead the world in human rights violations, with a regime that ranks number one in executions per capita.
They also ask why one would work with an organization that is run by a director who is not even Iranian-American; not an American citizen, but holds Iranian and Swedish passports?
Before coming to the United States, I did not know about NIAC and no one I knew in Iran was aware of it either.
Although I wanted to contribute socially in helping Iranian-American communities in the U.S., I also did not want to join a partisan political organization that pretended to help the communities but instead was partisan and sought money, fame, and media attention.
The same hatred as from Nazis is coming from Islamists and their politically correct allies. We do not even have a vague idea of how much Western culture we have surrendered to Islam.
Democracies are, or at least should be, custodians of a perishable treasury: freedom of expression. This is the biggest difference between Paris and Havana, London and Riyadh, Berlin and Tehran, Rome and Beirut. Freedom of expression is what gives us the best of the Western culture.
It is self-defeating to quibble about the beauty of cartoons, poems or paintings. In the West, we have paid a high price for the freedom to do so. We should all therefore protest when a German judge bans "offensive" verses of a poem, when a French publisher fires an "Islamophobic" editor or when a music festival bans a politically incorrect band.
After the massacre of Charlie Hebdo's staff, very few media reprinted their Mohammed cartoons. Pictured above, Stéphane Charbonnier, the editor and publisher of Charlie Hebdo, who was murdered on January 7, 2015 along with many of his colleagues, is shown in front of the magazine's former offices, just after they were firebombed in November 2011.
It all occurred in the same week. A German judge banned a comedian, Jan Böhmermann, from repeating "obscene" verses of his famous poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A Danish theater apparently cancelled "The Satanic Verses" from its season, due to fear of "reprisals." Two French music festivals dropped Eagles of Death Metal -- the U.S. band that was performing at the Bataclan theater in Paris when the attack by ISIS terrorists (89 people murdered), took place there -- because of "Islamophobic" comments by Jesse Hughes, its lead singer. Hughes suggested that Muslims be subjected to greater scrutiny, saying "It's okay to be discerning when it comes to Muslims in this day and age," later adding:
"Salah [prayer] is not done by animals. Those who do not do salah are animals." — Turkish Professor Mustafa Askar, School of Divinity, Ankara University.
Intimidation by Muslim extremists against those who do not follow a strict Islamist lifestyle does indeed produce "results." Physical or verbal attacks against those who do not fast during Ramadan are commonplace all across Turkey. If you happen to find yourself there during Ramadan, stay indoors if you would like to eat, drink or smoke.
"If the faith of those who do not do salah is different from that of the professor, murdering them could even bring sawab [reward for Islamic good deeds]. Such are the views that feed the perverse faith and doctrinal background of Muslim terrorists. ... Is this professor aware of the fact that with this claim of his, he could cause the murder of so many innocent people?" — Yasin Ceylan, professor of philosophy, Middle East Technical University, Ankara.
On June 17, a group of men attacked the Velvet Indieground record store in Istanbul, because they were angry that several people in the small shop were drinking alcohol during Ramadan. At right, Seogu Lee, the shop's Korean owner, is seen being beaten by some of the attackers.
Many Muslims claim that the Islamic month of Ramadan is not simply an exercise in fasting during the day. It is, they say, a chance for "a spiritual boost," "mental peace" or "a moral awakening."
During Ramadan, however, it often seems as if hate speech and intolerance are as rampant as ever, possibly even more -- especially with the "Ramadan TV programs," which are popular.
With the advent of Ramadan, Turkey has not opened only the season of fasting; it has also opened the season of "Ramadan Intolerance."
This frequently consists of statements which threaten or dehumanize those who do not fast. During this season, many national television channels and social media users in Turkey disgorge hatred against those who do not carry out the strictest Islamic requirements.
The renewed campaign against Palestinians suspected of selling real estate to Jews is also part of the belief that the entire land is Muslim-owned, and no Muslim is entitled to give up even one inch of it to a non-Muslim. In other words, it is forbidden for a Muslim to sell his home or land to a Jew or Christian. This would be the nail in the coffin of any Palestinian leader who attempts to make any territorial compromise as part of a peace agreement with Israel.
This campaign has raised fears that Palestinians may resume extrajudicial executions of suspected land dealers.
"The land dealers should know that they would not be able to avoid earthly and life punishment. Not only will they not be buried in Islamic cemeteries, but their entire families will also be punished and it would be forbidden to marry or to deal in any way with their family members." — Palestinian National Work Commission in Jerusalem.
This campaign undermines Palestinians' long-standing claim that Jews "illegally seize" Arab-owned houses and land in Jerusalem. It seems that rather than illegal seizure, Jews have been paying willing Arabs cold hard cash for the properties.
In 2014, following reports that Palestinians had sold houses in Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood (pictured above) to Jews, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued an executive order that amended sections of the penal code related to real estate transactions, and increased punishments for selling land to "hostile countries" and their citizens. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons/Gilabrand)
A Palestinian Muslim who commits the "crime" of selling property to Jews should not expect to be buried in an Islamic cemetery. Marriage to local Palestinians will no longer be an option for this criminal's family members, and any weddings the family makes will have no guests attending.
Both the living and the dead, then, will pay the price for such "treason."
This is only a sampling of the punitive measures that will now be faced by Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who are involved in real estate transactions with Jews.
The latest measures were recently announced by a group of Palestinian activists in east Jerusalem, as part of a renewed campaign against Palestinians who are found guilty of selling a home or plot of land to a Jewish individual or organization.
In Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman's "Vision 2030" is totally identified with his leadership. If it succeeds, he will harvest the praise; on the other hand, many in the Saudi elite will latch on to any sign of failure of his policies in order to block his ambitions.
Mohammad bin Salman's social-political agenda to broaden the power base of the regime to include the young and educated -- and to a great extent relatively secular or moderate -- will certainly be seen by the Wahhabi clerics and the tribal social conservatives as geared towards reducing their control over the populace and hence their weight in the elite.
Another serious risk is that the economic plan entails reducing the Saudi welfare state. The economic and social fallout of weaning the Saudis away from entitlements will be exploited by domestic opposition elements and by Iran.
In Iran, the electoral process within the Assembly showed what was not evident during the parliamentary elections held in February, namely that even a formal preeminence of moderates does not and cannot influence the decision making of the Iranian regime and that Khamenei succeeds to pull the strings despite seemingly democratic procedures.
After having won the chairmanship of the Assembly, Jannati delivered a speech demanding total loyalty to Khamenei, which can be considered as targeting the moderates.
Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 7, 2015. (Image source: U.S. State Department)
Following the announcement of Saudi Arabia's "Vision 2030" Economic Plan by Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman on April 25, King Salman announced a reshuffling of the government. The reshuffling was clearly orchestrated by the Deputy Crown Prince and reflects his agenda. This shuffle probably is not the last word even in the near term; the changes in the government strengthen the political position of Mohammad bin Salman, because the new ministers owe him their posts, and through them he will strengthen his hold on the levers of government, especially in the economic sphere. His next step may be to move to neutralize Prince Mitab bin Abdullah, the minister in charge of the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) and a close ally of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef. He could do this by absorbing SANG into the Ministry of Defense.
The 57-member-state Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have been working hard for years to render Islam the only religion, political system and ideology in the world that may not be questioned with impunity. They have tried -- and are in many respects succeeding -- to ring-fence Islam as a creed beyond criticism, while reserving for themselves the right to condemn Christians, Jews, Hindus, democrats, liberals, women and gays in often vile, even violent language. Should anyone say anything that seems to them disrespectful of their faith, he or she will at once be declared an "Islamophobe."
Like almost every world leader, Obama declares, with gross inaccuracy, that "Islam is a religion of peace". It is politically expedient to deny the very real connection to jihad violence in the Qur'an, the Traditions (ahadith), shari'a law, and the entire course of Islamic history. They do this partly for political reasons, but probably more out of fear of offending Muslims. We know only too well how angry many Muslims can become at even the lightest offence.
"If PEN as a free speech organization can't defend and celebrate people who have been murdered for drawing pictures, then frankly the organization is not worth the name. ... I hope nobody ever comes after them." – Salman Rushdie, on the PEN members who objected to giving its award to Charlie Hebdo, after 12 of its staff were murdered by jihadists.
The OIC succeeded in winning a UN Human Rights Council resolution that makes "defamation of religion" a crime. But the OIC knows full well that only Muslims are likely to use Western laws to deny free speech about their own faith. Last year, the US Congress introduced House Resolution 569, also purportedly intended to combat hate speech. It contains an oddity: it singles out Muslims for protection three times. It does not mention any other faith community.
Iran's then Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini put a cash bounty on the head of British novelist Salman Rushdie 27 years ago, because he deemed Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses, offensive. In February 2016, a group of Iranian media outlets added $600,000 to the cash reward.
One of the greatest achievements of the Enlightenment in Europe and the United States is the principle of free speech and reasoned criticism. Democracy is underpinned by it. Our courts and parliaments are built on it. Without it, scholars, journalists, and advocates would be trapped, as their ancestors had been, in a verbal prison. It is enshrined in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, in the words
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Chapter one of this story began when Father Gabriel Naddaf, a Greek Orthodox priest in Nazareth, started to speak up for the idea that it was time for Christians to embrace their homeland, Israel, and their Jewish roots.
"Christian Arabs are hostages." — Father Gabriel Naddaf.
"We have a joint fate in this land [Israel], because whatever happens to the Jews here will happen to us." — Father Gabriel Naddaf.
"On what authority does President Abbas claim that Jesus was a Palestinian? The Bible says that He was born in the Jewish city of Bethlehem to Jewish parents from the city of Nazareth and was circumcised on the 8th day as a Jew and presented to the Jewish Temple by His parents according to the Mosaic law." — Father Gabriel Naddaf.
Father Naddaf has been providing leadership to unite Christians and Jews; a rapidly increasing number of Christians see him as offering them the opportunity to envision and build a tremendous future.
The large billboard in the center of Nazareth warning Christians against slandering Allah, photographed January 2014.
When Father Gabriel Naddaf, a Greek Orthodox priest in Nazareth, Israel, launched his campaign to convince Israeli Christians to enlist in the Israel Defense Force (IDF), he unwittingly ignited a firestorm between opposing forces within and around Israel's Christian and Muslim communities.
His decision, born of his love and respect for his native land -- combined with his acknowledgement of Judaism and Israel as the cradle of Christianity -- perhaps has set the stage for a long overdue reunification in Israel between contemporary Christians and Jews.
In the short term, Father Naddaf's decision has polarized the Christian community, a large part of which has aligned itself with the Arab-Palestinian narrative -- a narrative engineered by forces behind Yasser Arafat in the 1960s -- and designed to obliterate Israel as a Jewish nation.
Most of the millions of overwhelmingly male migrants who have come to Europe in the past two years are not refugees fleeing war zones. Douglas Murray, in our latest video, discusses the total failure of Germany and other countries to integrate the migrants, and what the consequences will be. "If you have jobs in Germany that need filling, why on earth wouldn't you fill them with the young people from Italy, Greece, Portugal and other European countries, who are unemployed at the moment?"
Khaled al-Asaad, 81, a renowned Syrian antiquities scholar, was publicly beheaded on August 18, 2015 by the Islamic State in the ancient city of Palmyra, apparently after he refused to reveal where valuable artifacts were hidden.