Latest Analysis and Commentary

French Muslims and the Secular State

by Denis MacEoin  •  February 23, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • "If your synagogue or Jewish cemetery needs someone to stand guard, count me in. Islam requires it." — Tayyib Rashib, former US Marine, in a tweet.

  • In late April 2018, thirty imams signed an open letter in the French newspaper Le Monde, in which they bitterly attacked the "confiscation of our religion by criminals" and said "ignorant, disturbed and idle" young people had become easy prey for dangerous ideologues.

  • Secularism is not an opinion among others, but rather the freedom to have an opinion. It is not a belief, but rather the principle authorizing all beliefs, providing they respect the principles of freedom of conscience and equal rights. For this reason, it is neither pro- nor anti-religious.

In 2013, in Bradford, England, the town's Council of Mosques worked hand in hand with the dwindling local Jewish community of 299 members to rescue its beautiful 132-year-old Reform Synagogue from closure. Pictured: Bradford Reform Synagogue. (Image source: JohnYeadon/Wikimedia Commons)

Islam has a history largely forgotten today: Schools seem largely to ignore or suppress topics related to Western-Islamic, Indian or Middle Eastern rivalries or contacts. To many modern Westerners, Islam seems to have popped up out of nowhere, from across the Mediterranean.

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"Make Turkey Great Again" Collides with the U.S.

by Burak Bekdil  •  February 22, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • One of Erdoğan's regional policy priorities, as U.S. troops in neighboring northern Syria prepare to leave, is to prevent Turkey's south from witnessing the emergence of "a Kurdish belt".

  • While the U.S. supports the idea of a buffer zone in northern Syria to keep Kurdish militants and Turkish troops at a safe distance from each other, Erdoğan insists on sole Turkish control over the planned 20-mile-deep strip.

  • If Turkey, a NATO member, goes ahead with purchasing Russia's S-400 air and anti-missile defense system, the U.S. Congressional bill requires the departments to include a detailed description of plans for the imposition of sanctions, pursuant to section 231 of the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-44).

If Turkey, a NATO member, goes ahead with purchasing Russia's S-400 air and anti-missile defense system, it risks the imposition of sanctions under United States law, pursuant to section 231 of the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017. Pictured: A Russian S-400 missile battery. (Image source: Vitaly Kuzmin/Wikimedia Commons)

The summer peak of the crisis between Turkey and the United States, two NATO allies in theory, has been replaced by cautious pessimism. Few Turks today remember the days of massive Turkish protests against President Donald Trump and his administration, often exhibited in childish ways such as groups gathering to burn fake U.S. dollars or smashing iPhones in front of cameras. This is, however, an extremely fragile tranquility.

On February 15, after keeping the position vacant since October 2017, Washington nominated David Satterfield, a career diplomat, as new ambassador to Ankara, an appointment that still needs to be confirmed by the Senate. In Ankara, a complex puzzle awaits Ambassador Satterfield.

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Palestinians: "The Slap of the Century"

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  February 21, 2019 at 5:30 am

  • Under the current circumstances, when Arabs are being widely shamed and condemned for sitting in the same room with an Israeli prime minister, it is hard to see how the Trump administration will be able to convince Arab states and leaders to normalize their relations with Israel. Some of these Arab leaders may be privately telling US administration officials things they like to hear about peace and coexistence with Israel. The very same leaders, however, are fully aware of the opposite sentiments, not only in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but throughout the Arab world.

  • All that is left for the Trump administration to do is to try and persuade the Arab states to abandon the Palestinians, and to continue focusing on the regional threat from Iran. If the US completes its pullout from Syria, Iran will successfully complete its long-desired "land-bridge" to the Mediterranean through Yemen, Syria and Lebanon. This encirclement of the area will position Iran, via its proxies, to be the hegemon controlling the region, as it has clearly been trying to bring about. Russia, of course, is standing in the wings, thanks to the gift that then US President Barack Obama handed Putin in 2011 by pulling American troops out of Iraq.

  • For decades now, not only Palestinian leaders but Arab ones as well, have been radicalizing their people against Israel. Using every available platform, including mosques, media outlets and United Nations organizations, these leaders, with the collaboration of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, have demonized Israel. They have poisoned the hearts and minds of their people with the hate that exists towards Israel all over the Arab world. To promote normalization with Israel, a leader must prepare his people for the possibility of peace with Israel. Meanwhile, Arab leaders are doing the exact opposite -- which is why some of them are currently being denounced as traitors and pawns in the hands of Israel and the US. It would be wise for President Trump's advisers, if they wish to grasp what is really going on in the Arab world, to listen to the voices of the Arab street.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called David Friedman, the US Ambassador to Israel, a "son of a dog" in a televised speech, on March 19, 2018. (Image source: MEMRI video screenshot)

The US administration is now saying that it will announce its plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the "Deal of the Century," after the April 9 election in Israel . The unseen plan has already been rejected by Palestinian leaders, who continue to denounce it as a "conspiracy aimed at eliminating the Palestinian cause and rights."

In light of the Palestinians' vehement opposition to the "Deal of the Century," it is already clear that the plan will not solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas will hardly accept a plan that he has repeatedly referred to as a US "conspiracy" and the "Slap of the Century." In one of his recent speeches, Abbas said: "We will not accept the 'Deal of the Century' and we will not accept a situation where the US is the sole broker in the peace process."

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Turkey: Uniting an "Army of Islam" to Defeat Just One Country

by Uzay Bulut  •  February 21, 2019 at 4:30 am

  • At the conference, Adnan Tanriverdi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's top military advisor, delivered a speech detailing the inner workings of the "Islamic Confederal State" that Tanriverdi's Strategic Research Center for Defenders of Justice (ASSAM) aims to establish with 61 Muslim countries.

  • Judging by an article Tanriverdi penned in 2009, the purpose of this joint Islamic force is to defeat Israel, which "should be made to get engaged [in war] and the length of the war should be extended."

  • Erdogan and his chief military advisor are obviously engaging in projection. It is Turkey that has ethnically cleansed itself of Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians, and that is now targeting Syrian Kurds. It is the Turkish government's continued aggression against various peoples in Israel, Syria, Iraq, Cyprus and other countries that is a threat to world peace; not Israel. It is Turkey, not Israel, whose destabilizing foreign policy needs to change.

In 2016, Necati Yılmaz, an MP from the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), submitted a written parliamentary motion to then-Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, questioning the activities and international connections of "SADAT International Defense Consultancy," which is headed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's chief military advisor, Adnan Tanriverdi. Pictured: Necati Yılmaz. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Istanbul recently hosted the second "International Islamic Union Congress," sponsored mainly by the Strategic Research Center for Defenders of Justice (ASSAM), which is headed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's chief military advisor, Adnan Tanriverdi, a retired lieutenant general and an Islamist .

At the conference, Tanriverdi delivered a speech detailing the inner workings of the "Islamic Confederal State" that ASSAM aims to establish with 61 Muslim countries. In his address, Tanriverdi said that a "rapid deployment force" should be created. Judging by an article Tanriverdi penned in 2009, the purpose of this joint Islamic force is to defeat Israel, which "should be made to get engaged [in war] and the length of the war should be extended."

"If Israel has to call all of its reserve soldiers to duty," he explained, "there will be no one left at home or in their businesses. It cannot continue like that for a long time."

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Europe: Trying to Legitimize Iran's Regime

by Giulio Meotti  •  February 20, 2019 at 5:30 am

  • "The E.U. only seems to care about the nuclear agreement and trade ties. It pretends that the regime is legitimate and that Iranians have no alternatives to living under tyranny". — Alireza Nader of New Iran, reported by Benjamin Weinthal, Fox News.

  • "The fact that the Ayatollah had executed thousands of people, including many writers and poets since his seizure of power in Tehran had provoked only mild rebuke from Western governments and public opinion... With the fatwa against Rushdie, we thought the whole world would mobilise against the ayatollah, turning his regime into an international pariah. Nothing of the kind happened". — Amir Taheri, former executive editor-in-chief of Iran's leading newspaper, Kayhan.

  • Worst of all, now Europe's highest court has effectively adopted Khomeini's idea of blasphemy. The European Court of Human Rights recently decided that an Austrian woman's conviction for calling the Prophet of Islam "a pedophile" did not breach her freedom of speech. The sharia style of "blasphemy" has now become a potent weapon to stifle and suppress free speech.

The leader of Iran's Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, pictured in 1979. (Photo by Asadollah Chahriari/Keystone/Getty Images)

"In looking to the future, Ayatollah Khomeini has spoken of his hopes to show the world what a genuine Islamic government can do on behalf of its people", wrote Princeton University professor Richard Falk at the dawn of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979. He was one of the many Western intellectuals who, in a mix of misconception and naiveté, supported Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's regime. These deaf Western secularists succumbed to the charm of the Iranian clerics who have just celebrated the 40th anniversary of their regime. It is useful to remind the public that Khomeini orchestrated his Islamic revolution from Neauphle-le-Château, a village 20 miles outside Paris.

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Turkey's 'Food Terrorism': Blaming 'Global Powers' for Country's Ills

by Uzay Bulut  •  February 20, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • "Until today, [neither global powers nor their local Turkish collaborator subcontractors] have... been able to make Turkey bend down the way they want it to on any issue. Seeing that they could not [achieve their goals] by means of foreign exchange rates, interest rates, diplomacy or perception politics, they are now trying to do it through onions, potatoes, eggplants, cucumbers and peppers." — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

  • Ankara's anti-Western statements and politics not only make Turkey an unstable and unreliable NATO ally, but also blind many Turks to the realities of the world, thwart their intellectual growth and render them unable to grasp what is really happening to them in their own country.

At a rally on February 13, ahead of Turkey's municipal elections -- slated for March 31 -- President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blamed "global powers" (meaning the West) for the country's serious economic problems and massive rise in the price of produce. Pictured: Erdogan addresses the Turkish parliament on October 23, 2018 in Ankara. (Photo by Getty Images)

At a rally on February 13, ahead of Turkey's municipal elections -- slated for March 31 -- President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blamed "global powers" (meaning the West) for the country's serious economic problems and massive rise in the price of produce.

Alluding to "food terrorism," Erdoğan said:

"Until today, [neither global powers nor their local Turkish collaborator subcontractors] have... been able to make Turkey bend down the way they want it to on any issue. Seeing that they could not [achieve their goals] by means of foreign exchange rates, interest rates, diplomacy or perception politics, they are now trying to do it through onions, potatoes, eggplants, cucumbers and peppers."

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Facebook Still Championing Blasphemy Laws

by Judith Bergman  •  February 19, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg now appears to be more intent on censorship than ever. In a recent memo, written in mind-numbing, bureaucratic obfuscatese, he described his plan to discourage "borderline content", a concept appearing to be so meaningless as to encompass anything that Zuckerberg and Facebook might ever want to censor.

  • A report published in the Wall Street Journal on January 8, noted that Facebook -- and Twitter -- executives removed activist Laura Loomer from their platforms after Zahra Billoo, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations' (CAIR) San Francisco Bay Area chapter, complained to them. What Facebook fails to disclose is that CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-financing case in US history. CAIR has also been designated a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates.

  • Billoo herself, according to Jihad Watch, "In tweets that remain publicly available... has expressed her support for an Islamic caliphate and Sharia law. She also claims, in multiple tweets, that ISIS is on the same moral plane as American and Israeli soldiers, adding that 'our troops are engaged in terrorism'".

  • Facebook, however, appears to be "creatively" selective in how it chooses to follow its own rules. In France, a prisoner identified as Amir was accused in November of publishing ISIS propaganda from his prison cell using a smuggled phone. Facebook, apparently, took no notice.

Recent events illustrate how Facebook -- which has previously championed blasphemy laws -- continues its "sharia censorship" regarding content it apparently deems contrary to its "Community Standards".

A report published in the Wall Street Journal on January 8, noted that Facebook -- and Twitter -- executives removed activist Laura Loomer from their platforms after Zahra Billoo, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations' (CAIR) San Francisco Bay Area chapter, complained to them. What Facebook fails to disclose is that CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-financing case in US history. CAIR has also been designated a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates.

It should, however, be of little surprise that CAIR executives are able to wield such power over social media. According to Islamist Watch's Sam Westrop:

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Post-Caliphate ISIS

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  February 19, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • This ISIS penchant for high-profile cruelty is likely to continue, even against Muslims who already account for most of its victims. ISIS justifies this brutality against fellow Muslims by judging them as insufficiently orthodox in their Islamic faith, a theological tactic of attacking a fellow Muslim's commitment to Islam that is called "takfir."

  • In the foreseeable future, ISIS, because of its loss of a territorial Caliphate, will likely limit its battlefield operations to guerrilla warfare. Nevertheless, the overall thrust of ISIS propaganda will probably remain oriented to appeal to young male Muslims who feel isolated or are searching for meaning in life.

In the foreseeable future, ISIS, because of its loss of a territorial Caliphate, will likely limit its battlefield operations to guerrilla warfare. Nevertheless, the overall thrust of ISIS propaganda will probably remain oriented to appeal to young male Muslims who feel isolated or are searching for meaning in life. (Image source: Screenshot from ISIS propaganda video)

The disintegration of the Islamic State's Caliphate -- which once included large portions of Iraq and Syria -- may be a strategic defeat for ISIS, yet the jihadi terrorist group is very much alive. Its ideology, tactics and objectives have not altered. ISIS remains steeped in the ideology of "salafiya jihadiyah" (Salafi jihad), which requires every Muslim to wage "holy war" in some fashion against the "infidel."

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A Month of Multiculturalism in Germany: January 2019

by Soeren Kern  •  February 18, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees reported that only 35% of the migrants who arrived in Germany since 2015 have found work.

  • Two Germans, both 16 years of age, were killed by an oncoming train after being pushed onto railway tracks by youths of Greek and Turkish origin. German media not only downplayed the immigration background of the suspects by describing them as indigenous Germans; they also reported that the teenagers "fell onto the tracks."

  • "Regional or national terms such as 'German Islam,' 'French Islam,' 'Belgian Islam' or 'European Islam' contradict the universality of Islam, which enlightens all eras and places at once." — From the final statement of the "Second Meeting of European Muslims," held at the Cologne Central Mosque.

A 25-year-old Afghan migrant was acquitted of raping a 50-year-old disabled woman in Nuremberg, Germany. The woman, a refugee caretaker, said she could not defend herself because she suffers from muscle spasticity on one side of her body. The Afghan's defense attorneys demanded an acquittal because, according to him, the sex was consensual. The Nuremberg-Fürth district court sided with the defendant, who was released and is now free. (Image source: Manfred Braun/Wikimedia Commons)

January 1. Four teenage migrants — three Afghans and one Iranian — assaulted more than a dozen passersby in Amberg. Twelve people between the ages of 13 and 42 were injured in the attacks; a 17-year-old was hospitalized for a head injury. Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the four perpetrators cannot be deported for legal reasons:

"Anyone who indiscriminately beats uninvolved passersby shows that he is not seeking protection in our society. The drunken perpetrators can expect no understanding in our country, but only the full hardness of the rule of law. Currently, deportation is not legally possible in any case. We are working hard to change that."

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"We Will Displace You ...": Persecution of Christians, December 2018

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  February 17, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Saudi Arabia, America's close friend and ally, failed to live up to its promise to eliminate extremist content -- that promotes hostility for, and violence against, religious minorities -- from its 2018-19 school year curriculum.

  • "Examples of this content include demeaning non-Muslims and encouraging jihad against them. The execution of apostates is prescribed and children are encouraged not to associate with non-Muslims. Saudi Arabia not only continues to use these textbooks domestically, but exports them to other parts of the Middle East." — Report from International Christian Concern, December 1, 2018.

  • British authorities decided to deport a Christian man back to Pakistan, where he was previously beaten and threatened with death, "despite UK playing host to [Muslim] hijackers, extremists and rapists," to quote from one headline. Asher Samson, 41, "first arrived in the UK in 2004 to carry out his theology training in order to become a pastor, but later applied for asylum after receiving threats from Islamic extremists during visits home..." According to Samson, "If they do send me back my life will be really in danger... I'm so scared... People know who I am, they know I am a Christian..." — The Independent, December 24, 2018.

On December 1, Shabak, an Iraqi Shia militia formed in 2014 to reclaim the Nineveh Plain from the Islamic State, opened fire on the St. George Assyrian Church in Bartella, formerly a Christian-majority city in Iraq, and threatened its priest, Fr. Behnam Benoka. Pictured: St. George Assyrian Church in Bartella. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Slaughter of Christians

Egypt: A Muslim policeman charged with guarding a Coptic Christian church shot and killed two Christians — a father, 49, and his son, 21 — on the night of December 12 in Minya. Eyewitnesses say a quarrel had ensued before the officer pulled out his gun and opened fire on the two men. Video footage of the incident shows the killer-cop brandishing his gun as he stalks around the bloodied but still moving Christians on the ground. He loudly curses them — or all Copts in general? — as "mother-f*****s." Thousands of angry Christians attended the funeral, chanting kyrie eleison ("Lord have mercy!"), and, "Where are the rights of the martyrs!" Coptic Solidarity said in a statement:

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Mullahs Masquerading as Patriots: Will it Work?

by Amir Taheri  •  February 17, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • As it marked its fourth decade in power, the Iranian regime implicitly admitted the bankruptcy of its narrative, according to which the 1979 revolution was prompted by a desire to "revive Islam" which, after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, with the exception of the brief caliphate of Ali ibn Abi-Taleb, had been in agony.

  • Dropping the regime's usual pan-Islamist narrative, President Rouhani adopted a pan-Iranist discourse, according to which much of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistani Baluchistan, the Caucasus, Oman, the Musandam Peninsula, and territories now covered by Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait must be regarded as Iranian land stolen by foreign invaders.

  • The crowd in Tehran continued gossiping, laughing and eating while Rouhani was trying to play Persian nationalist. Was he not the man who signed the Caspian Sea Convention dictated by Russia?

The new pseudo-nationalist narrative, told by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a speech marking the 40th anniversary of the Khomeinist Revolution, is also designed to explain, or explain away, the fact that after 40 years, the Revolution has failed to spread to even a single other country or inspire similar movements anywhere. Pictured: Rouhani (right) with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Image source: Michael Gruber/Getty Images)

What do scoundrels do, when caught red handed in their shenanigans? According to an old proverb they wrap themselves in a flag and seek refuge in patriotism.

Something close to that seems to be happening to the Khomeinists dominating Iran, thanks to their control of the nation's finances and monopoly on guns. As it marked its fourth decade in power, the regime implicitly admitted the bankruptcy of its narrative, according to which the 1979 revolution was prompted by a desire to "revive Islam" which, after the death of the Prophet, with the exception of the brief caliphate of Ali ibn Abi-Taleb, had been in agony. Thus, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was given the title of "Ihyagar" or "Reviver" of Islam.

Last Monday, however, Hojat al-Islam wa al-Moslemeen Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran, told a different story to marchers in Tehran marking the 40th anniversary of the mullahs' seizure of power.

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Sweden Prosecuting Pensioners, Welcoming ISIS

by Judith Bergman  •  February 16, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Perhaps the Council of Europe considers Åberg's successful efforts of turning in fellow Swedes to the police for perceived thought crimes an example that other European countries should emulate?

  • The pensioner explained during questioning, "I was angry when I read about how it worked with immigrants and how they avoid punishment for everything they do. They get acquitted, though they steal and do other things. It is unfair that those who commit gross crimes can go free...." The pensioner said that she would not have written what she did, had she known that it was illegal. She evidently labored under the misconception that she was still living in a democracy. In January, she was sentenced to a fine of 4,000 Swedish kroner ($443). She lives on a monthly pension of only 7,000 Swedish kroner ($775).

  • Swedish authorities clearly cannot -- or will not -- prosecute or convict the jihadists whom they so generously welcome to the country; yet they have no qualms charging and prosecuting harmless elderly pensioners. One might add that a culture that respects the human rights of returning ISIS fighters more than that of the elderly women who are afraid of them, is all but done.

While the Swedish Security Service is assuring the public that it will do "even more" to limit the growth of terrorist environments in Sweden, the Swedish government is exacerbating the problem by welcoming returning ISIS jihadist fighters back into the country. (Image source: iStock)

"Violence-promoting Islamist extremism currently constitutes the biggest threat to Sweden," according to a January 15 press release from the Swedish Security Service (Säpo). "The level of the terror threat remains elevated, a three on a five-point scale. This means that a terrorist act is likely to occur," said Klas Friberg, head of Säpo.

"In order to meet the threat from terrorism, the Security Service will in future work even more strategically to limit the growth of extremist environments. It may be about dealing with [omhänderta] persons who constitute a security threat or, in cooperation with other authorities, working harder to ensure that these individuals are prosecuted for other crimes - or have their opportunities cut."

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Religion vs. Free Speech

by Denis MacEoin  •  February 15, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Courts and government bodies still find it hard to make useful distinctions between gratuitous, racist, or violent speech about Islam and Muslims on the one hand, and reasoned argument that questions aspects of Islam, or even the religion overall, from the point of view of human rights, on the other.

  • The situation in Europe is even more ambiguous. Most European states have laws that purportedly support free speech, yet accusations of hate speech and Islamophobia often lead to trials and sentencing can lead to imprisonment. This skewing of facts is one crucial reason why free speech needs to be defended.

  • It is more than ever necessary to educate the public and many of its leaders about both the benign and troubling facts of Islamic history, doctrine, and culture. Those leaders who must require a more solid grounding include the ones who deny that terrorism has genuine links to issues such as jihad warfare -- and who are constantly told that "real" Islam is above rebuke.

  • We must indeed paint a positive picture of what so many Muslims contribute to their host societies. We should, for example, celebrate the way in which Muslim-Americans in Philadelphia launched an appeal that raised over $100,000 to help repair two Jewish cemeteries that had been vandalized. Or the Muslim veteran in Arkansas who volunteered to stand guard with others at any Jewish site that was threatened with attack.

Even fair-minded and non-racist authors, websites, members of the media and others who present a rational critique of Islam end up being condemned as malicious racists and "Islamophobes." (Image source: iStock)

Speaking and writing about Islam today requires discretion, sensitivity, and a good grasp of facts. Doing this is harder in most European countries than it is in the United States, where the First Amendment insists on powerful free speech rights. The need for sensitivity stems from the almost universal condemnation of "Islamophobia", a mainly good-hearted response to democratic worries that innocent Muslims may be targeted with violence or hate speech, even as many (but far from all) seek to integrate themselves and their families into Western society.

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Palestinians: "Journalism" Hamas Style

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  February 14, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • For Hamas, "accuracy" means that a journalist working in the Gaza Strip will show Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the worst possible light -- regardless of the facts.

  • Instead of honoring the young and dedicated journalist for her courage, Hamas has decided to punish her. Instead of interrogating and prosecuting the corrupt officials whose identities were mentioned in her reporting, investigative journalist Hajer Harb is the one who is now standing trial for telling the truth.

  • It now remains to be seen whether Western journalists and media outlets will voice any concern at all over the ongoing attempts by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to silence and intimidate Palestinian journalists.

Hajer Harb, a courageous Palestinian investigative journalist and cancer survivor, is standing trial in the Gaza Strip for the "crime" of exposing corruption in Hamas-run ministries and institutions. (Image source: Hager Press video screenshot)

Hamas, as part of its crackdown on freedom of the media, has imposed yet another restriction on the work of journalists in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas measure has left many Palestinian journalists worried about their ability to report on what is happening in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Foreign journalists, for their part, have yet to respond to the latest assault on public freedoms.

What exactly did Hamas do to anger the Palestinian journalists? Earlier this week, the Hamas-controlled Government Press Office issued a directive in which it said that, as of April 1, journalists will not be permitted to conduct interviews or enter government institutions in the Gaza Strip unless they have obtained a "press card" issued by the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Information.

This new directive means that any journalist who does not receive a "press card" from Hamas will not be able to operate freely and independently in the Gaza Strip.

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Turkey: Jihadist Literature Gets a Pass

by Uzay Bulut  •  February 14, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • "It is really sorrowful to live in a country that silences, prosecutes, jails its authors and forces them to live in exile," Hasan Cemal wrote in January.

  • It is worse than "sorrowful," however, that writers in Turkey who promote jihad are given a pass.

Turkish journalist Hasan Cemal recently bemoaned that a publishing house rejected his latest book, Sorrow, on the grounds that it would lead to the imprisonment of both the author and the publisher for expressing liberal views antithetical to the government of President Erdoğan. Pictured: Hasan Cemal. (Image source: Armineaghayan/Wikimedia Commons)

The Turkish journalist Hasan Cemal recently bemoaned that a publishing house rejected his latest book, Sorrow, on the grounds that it would lead to the imprisonment of both the author and the publisher for expressing liberal views antithetical to the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. According to Cemal, the works of other well-known writers in Turkey -- such as Oya Baydar, Nedim Gürsel, Aslı Erdoğan, Baskın Oran and Nurcan Baysal -- have met a similar fate, for the same reason.

Not all authors and publishers in Turkey, however, live in such fear. For instance, the Turkish translation of the book Al-Wala' Wal-Bara ("Loving and Hating for the Sake of Allah Alone"), written by al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, are freely published by Beyaz Minare and distributed by Benli.

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