Latest Analysis and Commentary

Europe: Muslim Reformers Need Police Protection

by Giulio Meotti  •  September 22, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • Seyran Ates, a moderate imam, has received "300 emails per day encouraging me to carry on," but "3,000 a day full of hate," some with death threats.

  • In Germany, it is not the Muslim supremacists, such as those who preach killing homosexuals, who have to live under police protection; it is the Muslims who criticize the supremacists. The only "crime" these concerned Muslims committed was to exercise their democratic right to speak -- not in Iran or Syria or Iraq -- but in Europe.

  • These reformers try to keep alive the values of the Enlightenment -- freedom of speech, separation of religion and state, equal justice under law -- to break through the coerced silence of Islam, in which "blasphemy" is punishable by death. The price, however, has been exile, torture, ostracism, public marginalization, and too often life itself. Where are the "moderate Muslims"? In the Muslim world, they are in prison, in exile, in flight. In Europe, these genuine "moderate Muslims" have to live under police protection. Multiculturalism for them is a prison.

Berlin's Seyran Ates, an imam who preaches a genuinely "moderate Islam", needs around-the-clock police guards to protect her from fundamentalist Islamists. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Abdelbaki Essati, the imam the authorities believe was at the center of terrorist attacks in and around Barcelona, was apparently a master of deception -- "too polite, too correct". He was apparently able to deceive European intelligence services by preaching a "moderate" version of Islam, while at the same time, orchestrating deadly jihadist attacks.

Another imam in Europe, Seyran Ates, preaches a genuinely "moderate Islam" but needs around-the-clock police protection.

Ates, training to become an imam, seems to have thought there was no better place than Berlin to inaugurate her mosque, Ibn Rushd-Goethe. It is the first Islamic religious site open to unmarried women, homosexuals, atheists, Sufis, unveiled women -- all those people that many fundamentalist Islamists have said they wish to silence or kill.

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Is Germany Heading to a "September Surprise"?

by Vijeta Uniyal  •  September 22, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • Instead of hurting the AfD's electoral prospects, the smear campaign has ended up driving more voters toward the party.

  • Questioning the AfD's legitimacy on judicial and constitutional grounds has a two-pronged effect. It not only sows doubt in the minds of the undecided voters, but also scares away state employees, law enforcement officers, business owners and even law-abiding citizens from associating themselves with the AfD out of fear of government scrutiny and reprisals.

  • "I am ashamed that I am not brave enough to support the AfD publicly. But it would be professional suicide and I will never see my grandchildren again," confessed another anonymous German voter.

An AfD campaign poster. Attempts by the German government and the media to smear the far-right party appear to be backfiring. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Stay at home instead of vote for the right-wing party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), is the last-minute advice Chancellor Merkel's chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, is giving to voters ahead of Sunday's election in Germany.

"Better not vote than to vote for the AfD," Merkel's powerful right-hand man told the German newspaper Bild on Tuesday. "The AfD are dividing our country. They are exploiting people's fears. Therefore, I believe that a vote for the AfD cannot be justified.

"These are just a few rabble-rousers who profit from all the reporting on them," he continued, urging the media to stop covering the AfD.

After 12 years of running the country, Chancellor Merkel and her lieutenant still do not understand real democracy. In a real democracy, the voters hold the elected representatives accountable, not the other way around.

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American Islamists Turn to Ankara

by Samantha Mandeles and Samuel Westrop  •  September 21, 2017 at 4:02 pm

  • In general, lawful Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood work to insert themselves into Western society, exploiting liberal, democratic bodies to promote their own illiberal and anti-democratic ideology.

  • Whether co-opting Western democracies to silence its critics, or funding American Islamist organizations with long histories of extremism and ties to terror, the Turkish regime is now a crucial component of the global Islamist threat.

U.S. Islamist organizations have turned to the Turkish regime for collaboration and support. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

For the past few years, the international Muslim Brotherhood has found a welcoming home in Ankara in the face of opposition from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Consequently, U.S. Islamist organizations have also turned to the Turkish regime for collaboration and support.

On September 18th, a Washington, D.C.- based organization, the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), hosted an event in New York City with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "US-based Muslim Brotherhood supporters have a busy week coming up," the Middle East analyst Eric Trager noted. "They're hanging with Erdogan on Monday, protesting Sisi on Wednesday."

Organizers of the TASC event included Ahmed Shehata, a lobbyist for the Muslim Brotherhood who has also worked for Islamic Relief and the Muslim American Society -- two prominent Islamist groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Arab Emirates in 2014.

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Turkey's Erdogan Tries (and Fails) to Censor an American Think Tank

by Winfield Myers  •  September 21, 2017 at 10:52 am

  • Turkey's descent into Islamist despotism distorts the NATO alliance: how can Turkey combat a external threat from without, Daniel Pipes asked, when a member state poses the same threat from within?

  • No one tells us what we can say. We are a free people, and we will act in complete freedom. – Daniel Pipes, President, Middle East Forum (MEF)

  • The purging of 120,000 government employees following last year's failed coup means that "more police counter-terrorism experts are in prison than ISIS members." A democratic Turkey is a must for NATO, both for the alliance's success and for Turkey itself. – Emre Celik, Turkish dissident, at Middle East Forum-NATO conference in Philadelphia, September 2017

  • When Celik he began to speak, the Turks -- and the NATO bureaucrats who support them -- marched out in lockstep, thereby allowing a distant despot to control their actions in the birthplace of liberty. NATO's willingness to ignore the principles it was founded to defend reveals the moral corruption at its heart....

How can NATO combat a threat from without , Daniel Pipes asked, when a member state such as Turkey poses the same threat from within? (Photo of President Erdogan: Wikimedia Commons).

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan often seems to fancy himself a world-striding figure capable of bullying anyone, anywhere he likes. As the world saw this past May, when his security forces launched what police called a "brutal attack" against peaceful demonstrators outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington, D.C., opponents of his dictatorial regime have good reason to fear for their safety, even in America.

Tuesday afternoon, however, Erdoğan saw that his self-regard was no match for liberty buttressed by resolve: The Middle East Forum (MEF), a Philadelphia think tank, rejected his demand to disinvite a Turkish dissident, Emre Çelik, from addressing a conference of thirty members of the Political Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO that MEF sponsored — at NATO's suggestion, on September 19, 2017.

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EU: Delusions without Borders

by Judith Bergman  •  September 21, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • Many migrants simply refused to leave, disappeared, or their home countries refused to receive them.

  • The European Commission published a "report card" on the EU member states' "progress" in taking the allocated quotas of migrants. Even Sweden, on the brink of societal collapse from the influx of migrants, was told that it was only "close" to reaching its quota.

  • ISIS apparently has at its disposal some 11,000 stolen blank Syrian passports that it could put to use in order to smuggle its terrorists into Europe under fake identities; at the same time, more European ISIS fighters are expected to return to Europe. Why does the EU want to make it easy for them?

Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, gives his State of the Union Address to the European Parliament on September 13. (Image source: European Parliament)

On September 13, the President of the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, Jean Claude Juncker gave his State of the Union Address to the European Parliament, saying:

"Last year... Europe was battered and bruised by a year that shook our very foundation. We only had two choices. Either come together around a positive European agenda or each retreat into our own corners... I argued for unity. I proposed a positive agenda to help create ... a Europe that protects, empowers and defends... Over the past twelve months, the European Parliament has helped bring this agenda to life. We continue to make progress with each passing day... In the last year, we saw all 27 leaders... renew their vows... to our Union. All of this leads me to believe: the wind is back in Europe's sails."

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Does the President Have the Right to Expect Loyalty from His Attorney General?

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  September 20, 2017 at 11:00 am

  • Under our constitutional structure there is no perfect cure for the mistake made by our founders in merging the two incompatible goals of the current Attorney General: that of political advisor to the president; and that of independent chief prosecutor.

  • We are one of the few western democracies that mistakenly merged these roles into one. Our Attorney General is supposed to both advise the president politically... But at the same time, the Attorney General is supposed to be the head law enforcement officer of the United States – the chief prosecutor.

  • The system should be changed. The Justice Department should be broken up into two completely separate agencies, with two separate heads: the Minister of Justice would be a loyal political advisor to the president and a member of his cabinet; and the Director of Public Prosecution would be completely independent, and not a member of the cabinet. This separation will not be easy to achieve. But it may be possible, without a constitutional amendment, if Congress and the courts have the will to do it.

US Constitution (Image source: Jonathan Thorne/Flickr)

Recent news reports describe the President chastising his Attorney General Jeff Sessions for disloyalty. According to the New York Times, after learning that a special counsel had been appointed, President Trump accused Sessions of "disloyalty." Critics insist that the President has the right to demand loyalty of every other member of his cabinet but not of the Attorney General. The Attorney General is different, these critics insist, because he is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. The Atlantic's David A. Graham, for example, criticized Trump's demand for unconditional "loyalty," saying that, "for Trump, there is only one loyalty: to the president himself. When his aides and staffers make the mistake of following any other principle—rule of law, standard ethics policies, U.S. alliances—that might conflict with the principle of loyalty to Trump, the president becomes enraged."

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The True Enemies of the Palestinians

by Bassam Tawil  •  September 20, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • The agreement makes no reference to Hamas's security control over the Gaza Strip. This means that Hamas and its armed wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam, will remain the main "law-enforcers" in the Gaza Strip. The idea that Hamas would allow Mahmoud Abbas's security forces to return to the Gaza Strip is pure illusion.

  • There is no mention in the agreement of Hamas's political and ideological agenda. The agreement does not require Hamas to abandon its charter, which calls for the elimination of Israel. Nor does it require Hamas to lay down its arms and accept Israel's right to exist.

  • The agreement absolves Hamas of its financial responsibilities towards its constituents in the Gaza Strip. The resumption of Palestinian Authority (PA) funds to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will allow Hamas to redirect its resources and energies to building up its military capabilities in preparation for war with Israel. Hamas will no longer have to worry about salaries and electricity and medical supplies to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip because Abbas will be taking care of that.

  • The agreement facilitates Hamas's effort to project itself as a legitimate player in the Palestinian arena and win international recognition and sympathy. Hamas will now be able to market itself as a legitimate partner in Abbas's Western-funded PA governments.

Pictured: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas talks with then Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on April 5, 2007 in Gaza City. Since 2007, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have announced at least four "reconciliation" agreements to end their rivalry. (Photo by Mohamed Alostaz/PPM via Getty Images)

Since 2007, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have announced at least four "reconciliation" agreements to end their rivalry, which began a year earlier when Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections. This week, under the auspices of the Egyptian authorities, the two rival Palestinian parties announced yet another deal to patch up their differences and achieve "national unity."

The latest agreement between Hamas and the PA requires the Islamist movement to dismantle its shadow government in the Gaza Strip -- known as the Administrative Committee. It was this shadow government that prompted PA President Mahmoud Abbas to impose a number of punitive measures against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including cutting off salaries to civil servants, forcing thousands of employees into early retirement, halting payments for electricity supplied by Israel and reducing medicine supplies to hospitals in the Gaza Strip.

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Common Sense on Campus

by Denis MacEoin  •  September 20, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • As the Hirsi Ali case demonstrated, many serious-minded people simply could not distinguish between genuine, often racist, hatred for Muslims and informed criticism of Islam as an ideology.

  • "[I]n relation to Ms Allman, I am confident [law student Robbie Travers's] actions were in response to her comments and her position, and unrelated to her race." — Catriona Elder, University of Edinburgh.

  • Let us hope that this will be the first of many more recognitions that it is improper, not least in a university setting, for one side to silence the other, especially by deceitful means.

Robbie Travers, falsely accused of "Islamophobia" for calling ISIS terrorists "barbarians." (Photo: Robbie Travers/Instagram)

When Esme Allman, a second-year law student at Edinburgh University, issued a maliciously-worded complaint to the university authorities concerning Robbie Travers on September 6, she must have been confident that her status as a black female politically correct activist would guarantee a listening ear. Her complaint (see below) was constructed in such a way that it seemed Mr Travers would find no way out of the predicament in which she had placed him. Had the university acted on her charges, there is little doubt that Travers's university career and future prospects would be damaged beyond repair. That certainly seems to have been her intent. The story was widely reported in the British press and here on Gatestone, for whom Travers had written. Her specific claim -- that Travers's calling Islamic State fighters "barbarians" and mocking their aspiration to marry 72 virgins in heaven should they die as martyrs in battle was racist and Islamophobic -- did not go down with members of the British public, who were only too aware of the multiple barbarities committed by IS terrorists abroad and in Europe, including in the UK.

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Mass-Migration: The Tiniest Dose of Reality Hits

by Douglas Murray  •  September 19, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • If you do not have control of your borders, with a meaningful set of immigration laws and the right to keep people out of your country, then you do not really have a country.

  • While the public wants their representatives to control their borders, politicians seem to see only political capital in running the other way. In part this is because there appears to be some kind of "bonus" to be achieved by looking welcoming and kindly, in contrast to the unwelcoming and mean things that borders now appear to represent.

  • By the end of August, it was estimated that almost 12,000 people had arrived in Canada through this route so far this year. It is a number that constitutes little more than an averagely busy week in Italy at any time over recent years. But even this comparatively tiny movement across an entire year has proven too much for Canada. At the end of last month, Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters: "For someone to successfully seek asylum it's not about economic migration. It's about vulnerability, exposure to torture or death, or being stateless people. If they are seeking asylum we'll evaluate them on the basis of what it is to be a refugee or asylum seeker."

Pictured: Two people, who claimed to be from Turkey, illegally cross the U.S.-Canada border into Canada, on February 23, 2017, near Hemmingford, Quebec. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Bombings and other terrorist attacks are now a common feature of life in modern Europe. On just one day (September 15, 2017), an improvised explosive device was placed on a London Underground train, a man wielding a knife and shouting "Allah" attacked a soldier in Paris, and a man with a hammer shouting "Allahu Akbar" badly wounded two women in Lyon. As the former Prime Minister of France and the present Mayor of London have put it, perhaps this is all just a price we have to pay for living in big cities in Europe in the 21st century: we have traffic congestion, great restaurants and terrorist attacks.

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Scandinavia: Shift in Immigration Debate

by Bruce Bawer  •  September 19, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • Until recently, the very notion that some European neighborhoods were "no-go" zones was vehemently dismissed by politicians and commentators on both sides of the Atlantic as a myth, a lie, a vicious right-wing calumny. But even as Swedish officials were denying the existence of such zones in their own country, they were secretly mapping them out and overseeing a police effort to liberate them.

  • The Sweden Democrats are on the rise because voters finally grasp the extent and significance of the damage their elites have been doing to their country -- and the elites, both in the media and in government, are scrambling to snap into line in order to keep hold on power.

  • In some ways, the winds in Scandinavia may be turning, but it does not seem as if Stanghelle and his ilk are about to speak the whole truth about Islam, or to apologize for their inexcusable abuse of those who have.

Until recently, Denmark, with its far freer atmosphere of debate and more sensible border controls, was almost universally depicted in Norway as a deplorable hotbed of Islamophobia. Pictured: A Danish checkpoint on the border with Germany, near Padborg, on January 6, 2016. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Not long ago, Norwegian journalists were virtually united in representing Sweden, with its exceedingly liberal immigration policy and its strict limits on public discussion of the subject, as a model of enlightened thinking that deserved to be emulated. Meanwhile Denmark, with its far freer atmosphere of debate (remember the Danish cartoons) and more sensible border controls, was almost universally depicted in Norway as a deplorable hotbed of Islamophobia. That appears to be changing. As Hans Rustad of the alternative Norwegian news website Document.no noted recently, the term "Swedish conditions," which some of us have been using for years to refer to the colossal scale of Sweden's Muslim-related problems, is actually turning up these days in the mainstream Norwegian media -- although the relationship of those conditions to Islam is still routinely underplayed, if not entirely avoided.

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Palestinians Imprison Journalists for Exposing Corruption

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  September 18, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • Harb's ordeal began in June 2016, when she published an investigative report that disclosed how Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) were using medical care to blackmail Palestinian patients. Her report exposed how some physicians and Hamas and PA officials were demanding bribes in return for issuing permits to patients to leave the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Israel, the West Bank and Arab and Western countries. Those who cannot afford to pay the bribes are left to die in understaffed and under equipped Palestinian hospitals.

  • Instead of launching an investigation against those involved in the corruption scandal, Hamas chose to punish the journalist who revealed how patients were being mistreated and abused by senior health officials.

If and when Hajer Harb, a courageous Palestinian journalist, recovers from cancer and returns to Gaza, she will be arrested by Hamas and sent to prison for six months, for the "crime" of exposing corruption in the Gaza Strip health system. (Image source: Hager Press video screenshot)

Hajer Harb, a courageous Palestinian journalist, has been found guilty by Hamas of exposing corruption in the health system in the Gaza Strip. On September 13, a Hamas court sentenced her to six months in prison and a fine. It was the first sentence of its kind to be passed on a female journalist in the Gaza Strip.

Harb, however, is unlikely to serve her prison term in the near future; she recently left the Gaza Strip to Jordan, where she is receiving medical treatment after being diagnosed with cancer.

Her illness, however, did not stop Hamas from pursuing legal measures against her for her role in exposing corruption in the Palestinian health system. Instead of suspending the legal proceedings against her, the Hamas court chose to sentence her to prison in absentia.

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Islamic Rules in Danish Schools

by Judith Bergman  •  September 18, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • The Nord-Vest Private School in Copenhagen, came under investigation by Danish authorities during an unannounced visit after teaching materials were found extolling and encouraging young people to commit jihad. Luqman Pedersen, a Danish convert to Islam, admitted to the authorities that the school wishes to create a parallel Muslim society.

  • Two former teachers at the Nord-Vest school described how the children at the school spoke of Danes in terms of "them and us". In a school poetry contest, several of the children composed poems that detailed their wish to beat up and break the legs and hands of the "Danish pigs".

  • "I teach religion, but I was not allowed to teach Christianity. Instead, a visiting imam from Iraq taught Christianity... I could imagine that some of the boys I taught could have been radicalized," a teacher said. The teachers tried to alert both politicians and authorities to some of the problems they had witnessed, but no one would listen.

Mette Frederiksen, leader of Denmark's Social Democratic party, says "When you are a child in Denmark, it is incredibly important that you grow up in Danish culture and Danish everyday life... an independent school based on Islam is not part of the majority culture in Denmark... Nor do I like the lack of equality in schools and these very hateful words against our Jewish minorities." (Image source: News Oresund/Flickr)

Some Muslim schools in Denmark appear to be employing anti-Semitic teachers, enforcing gender inequality, employing violence against students, offering poor education in general, and teaching jihad.

There are 26 Muslim schools in Denmark. While they operate independently of the public schools, the state sponsors them heavily -- as it does other independent schools in Denmark -- covering 75 % of their budget. The demand for Muslim schools in Denmark has grown in the last decade, as Muslim schools have increased their number of pupils by almost 50% since 2007; they now cater to almost 5,000 pupils. (It is unknown, however, how many Muslim children learn in the so-called "Koran schools," where Islam and Arabic are taught after school to those children who do not attend a Muslim day school. Koran schools -- as revealed in the Danish TV documentary "Sharia in Denmark") -- are not under any supervision from state or municipal authorities).

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State Department Waging "Open War" on White House

by Soeren Kern  •  September 17, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • "It's not clear to me why the Secretary of State wishes to at once usurp the powers of the Congress and then to derail his boss's rapprochement with the Israeli government." — Foreign policy operative, quoted in the Washington Free Beacon.

  • Since he was sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, Rex Tillerson and his advisors at the State Department have made a number of statements and policy decisions that contradict President Trump's key campaign promises on foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Iran.

  • "Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created." — Veteran foreign policy analyst, quoted in the Free Beacon.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) and President Donald J. Trump (right) on February 1, 2017. (Image source: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

The U.S. State Department has backed away from a demand that Israel return $75 million in military aid which was allocated to it by the U.S. Congress.

The repayment demand, championed by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was described as an underhanded attempt by the State Department to derail a campaign pledge by U.S. President Donald J. Trump to improve relations with the Jewish state.

The dispute is the just the latest example of what appears to be a growing power struggle between the State Department and the White House over the future direction of American foreign policy.

The controversy goes back to the Obama administration's September 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Israel, which pledged $38 billion in military assistance to Jerusalem over the next decade. The MOU expressly prohibits Israel from requesting additional financial aid from Congress.

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UK: How Much More Abuse of Children Do We Permit?

by Khadija Khan  •  September 17, 2017 at 4:30 am

  • How is it that we never see demands for legislation to ban dragging young girls into a system of misogynistic beliefs?

  • The West accepts pampering these extremists in the name of freedom of expression when these extremists themselves do not believe in any such freedom.

  • Female genital mutilation (FGM), despite having been banned since 1985, takes place in the UK every hour. This criminal behavior is made possible only by the British authorities' indifference.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan issued a belated apology for depicting -- in a public-service ad -- a small girl in a headscarf as representative of a Muslim minor. (Image source: Transport for London, Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is also chairman of Transport for London (TfL), has issued a belated apology for depicting -- in an advertisement launched by the Children's Traffic Club London (created by TfL to promote traffic safety) -- a small girl in a headscarf as representative of a Muslim minor. In Islam, headscarves are not usually worn until a girl has reach puberty. The Independent reported: "TfL apologised for any offence caused and said the images will be removed from the campaign. London Mayor Sadiq Khan, chair of TfL, also apologised for the campaign".

The apology, however, sounds more like just lip service: none of the British authorities has bothered to notice the escalating trend of making Muslim baby girls wear a veil.

It took a campaign advertisement to make them realize how a headscarf, the hijab, a symbol of modesty, might be abusive to the minor girls by seemingly sexualizing them at an early age.

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Why Iran's Plan in Syria Will Fail

by Amir Taheri  •  September 17, 2017 at 4:00 am

Syrian football fans at the September 5 Iran-Syria qualifying match, in Tehran, Iran. (Image source: Ruptly video screenshot)

For the past week or so, Iranian official media and social networks have been abuzz with anecdotes woven around a football match in Tehran between Iran and Syria and the light it might shed on a complicated relationship.

According to most accounts, a group of Syrians flown in by special charter to cheer their national squad in its bid for a place in the World Cup in Moscow staged an anti-Iran demonstration in the stadium. The Syrian contingent included young ladies who refused to wear the Iranian-style hijab.

Their presence in the stadium highlighted the fact that no Iranian woman is allowed to attend a football match after a fatwa by the "Supreme Guide" that women watching young men running around with bare legs might cause "undue excitement"

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