Latest Analysis and Commentary

Islam in the Heart of England and France

by Denis MacEoin  •  April 23, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • "There are plenty of private Muslim schools and madrasas in this city. They pretend that they all preach tolerance, love and peace, but that isn't true. Behind their walls, they force-feed us with repetitive verses of the Qur'an, about hate and intolerance." — Ali, an 18-year-old of French origin, whose father was radicalized.

  • "In England, they are free to speak. They speak only of prohibitions, they impose on one their rigid vision of Islam but, on the other hand, they listen to no-one, most of all those who disagree with them." — Yasmina, speaking of extremist Muslims in the UK.

  • "Birmingham is worse than Molenbeek" -- the Brussels borough that The Guardian described as "becoming known as Europe's jihadi central." — French commentator, republishing an article by Rachida Samouri.

Omar Bakri Muhammed, who co-founded the British Islamist organization al-Muhajiroun, admitted in a 2013 television interview that he and co-founder Anjem Choudary sent western jihadists to fight in many different countries. (Image source: MEMRI video screenshot)

The city of Birmingham in the West Midlands, the heart of England, the place where the Industrial Revolution began, the second city of the UK and the eighth-largest in Europe, today is Britain's most dangerous city. With a large and growing Muslim population, five of its electoral wards have the highest levels of radicalization and terrorism in the country.

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The Muslim Who Died Saving Christians
"The True Strength of Islam"

by Jacobus E. Lato  •  April 23, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • Riyanto had already made the choice to sacrifice personal safety to protect Christians from falling prey to radical Islamists.

  • Riyanto was one of many Muslims who answered the great President Gus Dur's call to express the "true strength of Islam" by safeguarding religious minorities.

  • Today, a growing number of Muslims in Indonesia are going against this current. They consider it a sin even to say, "Merry Christmas," let alone allow those who celebrate it to do so in peace. It is now more crucial than ever, therefore, to hold up Riyanto's legacy as a reminder of the past and as a light for the future.

A photo of Riyanto, displayed alongside his uniform, at the NU Museum in Surabaya, Indonesia. (Image source: CNN Indonesia video screenshot)

When a 25-year-old, known just as Riyanto, entered the Eben Haezer Church of Pentecostal Assembly in East Java on Christmas Eve of 2000, he did not know that his life was about to end. He had been aware, however, of the risk he was taking by being there altogether, particularly on Christmas Eve. As a member of the Banser -- the youth wing of Indonesia's largest Muslim cultural organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) -- he had already made the choice to sacrifice personal safety to protect Christians from falling prey to radical Islamists.

Shortly after mass, as parishioners began to exit the Protestant house of worship, the reverend handed Riyanto and other guards at the entrance an unattended bag he had found among the pews. Looking inside the package and realizing that it contained a bomb, Riyanto took swift action. "Get down!" he called out to all those who were still inside the building.

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France: A Guide to the Presidential Elections

by Soeren Kern  •  April 22, 2017 at 2:00 am

  • "What poses a problem is not Islam, but certain behaviors that are said to be religious and then imposed on persons who practice that religion." — Emmanuel Macron.

  • "Those who come to France are to accept France, not to transform it to the image of their country of origin. If they want to live at home, they should have stayed at home." — Marine Le Pen.

  • "It [France] is one nation that has a right to choose who can join it and a right that foreigners accept its rules and customs. — François Fillon.

  • Jean-Luc Mélenchon has called for a massive increase in public spending, a 90% tax on anyone earning more than €400,000 ($425,000) a year, and an across-the-board increase in the minimum wage by 16% to €1,326 ($1,400) net a month, based on a 35-hour work week.

  • Benoît Hamon has promised to establish a universal basic income: he wants to pay every French citizen over 18, regardless of whether or not they are employed, a government-guaranteed monthly income of €750 ($800). The annual cost to taxpayers would be €400 billion ($430 billion). By comparison, France's 2017 defense budget is €32.7 billion ($40 billion).

Voters in France will go to the polls on April 23 to choose the country's next president in a two-step process. The top two winners in the first round will compete in a run-off on May 7.

The election is being closely followed in France and elsewhere as an indicator of popular discontent with mainstream parties and the European Union, as well as with multiculturalism and continued mass migration from the Muslim world.

If the election were held today, independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, who has never held elected office, would become the next president of France, according to most opinion polls.

An Ifop-Fiducial poll released on April 21 showed that Macron would win the first round with 24.5% of the votes, followed by Marine Le Pen, the leader of the anti-establishment National Front party, with 22.5%. Conservative François Fillon is third (19.5%), followed by Leftist firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon (18.5%) and radical Socialist Benoît Hamon (7%).

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Europe: Making Itself into the New Afghanistan?

by Giulio Meotti  •  April 21, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • "Those (migrants) who come to seek freedom in France must participate in freedom. Migrants did not come to seek asylum in Saudi Arabia, but in Germany. Why? For security, freedom and prosperity. So they must not come to create a new Afghanistan," said Algerian writer Kamel Daoud. Right. But it is the European mainstream that is letting them turn our cultural landscape into another Afghanistan.

  • The West used to be proud of being the land of the free. European museums, instead, are rapidly submitting to Islamic correctness. The exhibition "Passion for Freedom" at the Mall Gallery in London censored the light box tableaux of a family of toy animals living in an enchanted valley.

  • "The Louvre will be dedicating a new section to the artistic heritage of Eastern Christians", then President Nicholas Sarkozy announced in 2010. But the project was scrapped by the museum's new management, with the approval of President Hollande's culture ministry. So today, the Louvre has a section dedicated to Islamic art, but nothing on Eastern Christianity.

The brave work of the artist Mimsy, "ISIS Threaten Sylvania", which satirized the brutality of ISIS, was removed from London's Mall Galleries after the British police defined it "inflammatory." (Image source: Mimsy)

Maastricht, in the Netherlands, is the picturesque city that gave its name to the famous treaty signed in 1992 by the twelve nations of the European Community at the time, and which paved the way for the foundation of today's European Union and the single currency, the euro.

Maastricht, however, is also the home of "Tefaf", the most important art and antiques fair in the world. The art work "Persepolis" by the Italian artist Luca Pignatelli was already scheduled when the commission ordered it removed. The work, built in 2016, combined a Persian Islamic rug and a female head. "We are all humbled and speechless", Pignatelli declared, pointing out that his work had initially aroused the enthusiasm of the commission. The fair's explanation was that Pignatelli's work was "provocative".

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Palestinians: Hunger Strike or Smokescreen?

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

  • It is an integral part of the Palestinian strategy to undermine, isolate, delegitimize and destroy Israel.

  • It is not only Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who is in trouble. Marwan Barghouti, too, knows better than to air dirty Fatah laundry. What, then, is to be done? The traditional diversionary tactic: Direct the heat towards Israel.

  • Stripped of its Western trappings, Barghouti's "hunger strike" is actually a struggle between Abbas and yet another Fatah pretender to the throne. And once again, Israel -- the state that supposedly so "mistreats" incarcerated Palestinian terrorists -- takes the heat.

The hunger strike declared by jailed Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti (left) is aimed at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right). Barghouti's supporters accuse Abbas and his loyalists of sidelining the jailed Fatah leader and seeking to "bury" him.

Palestinians have an old habit of settling internal scores by diverting their grievances and violence towards Israel. This practice is clear to those who have been monitoring developments in the Palestinian arena for the past decades. It is an integral part of the Palestinian strategy to undermine, isolate, delegitimize and destroy Israel.

Those less familiar with Palestinian culture and tactics, however, have difficulty understanding the Palestinian mindset. Officials in Washington, London, Paris and other Western capitals rarely meet the ordinary Palestinian, the "man on the street" who represents the authentic voice of the Palestinians.

Instead, these officials meet Palestinian politicians and academics from Ramallah -- the "experts" who are actually accomplished con artists. Such Palestinians grasp the Western mindset very well, and use their understanding to twist Western officials any which way they want.

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Is the "Right to Choose" Absolute?

by Gerald R. McDermott  •  April 20, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • If there is agreement that a life is human, the individual's right to choose is not final. The state has a responsibility to protect innocent life.

  • In other words, the decision in Roe v. Wade declares that the individual right to choose abortion is not absolute, but that there are times when the state can interfere in order to promote "its interest in the potentiality of human life."

The Supreme Court justices who decided Roe v. Wade, photographed in 1972.

Imagine you are driving on a foggy night and you see a dark figure ahead. It could be a fallen branch. It might even be a little deer, or, God forbid, a little child. Do you keep on driving full speed and crash through it, or put on the brakes? If you think it might be a human person, either dead or alive, what should you do?

Most of us would say that even if we are uncertain, we should stop and check. We should give the benefit of the doubt to something that might be human, and, if it is, treat it with care.

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UK: War on Free Speech at the National Union of Students

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

  • It is interesting to consider what would happen were anyone to demand the same standards of these campaigners against free speech as they demand of others. The people who make such claims rarely if ever exercise the same civic hygiene they demand of everybody else.

  • If it furthered their political and other goals then Malia Bouattia and the National Union of Students (NUS) would most likely be currently calling for arrests and prosecutions for incitement, "hate speech" and more. Of course, nobody could be so ill-mannered as to play this political game back at them. But if they were to, they would certainly find far greater evidence of cause and effect than Bouattia and her colleagues have produced to date in their war on free speech.

  • It could be said that Bouattia engaged in "hate speech" as well as "racist speech" when she said the words she did. It could further be claimed that what Bouattia said in fact constituted "incitement" and an "open invitation to violence". It could be argued that the words which came out of her lips led directly to a Palestinian man thinking that a British student could be killed on a tram in Jerusalem in a legitimate act of "resistance" against a representative of a "Zionist outpost."

Malia Bouattia, the president of the UK National Union of Students, refers to acts of terrorism against Israelis as "resistance". (Image source: NUS press office)

The great effort of the present-day censors on campuses across the West is to make speech synonymous with action. Campaigners against free expression claim that words not only "wound" people but actually "kill". They claim that people associated with any group being criticised are not only suffering a verbal "assault" but an actual "physical" assault. Those who campaign against any and all criticism of Islamists, for instance, not only claim that the attacks are "Islamophobic" and target "all Muslims". They also claim that such words cause violence -- including violence against any and all Muslims.

One of the notable things about their objection is that the people who make such claims rarely if ever exercise the same civic hygiene they demand of everybody else. It is interesting to consider what would happen were anyone to demand the same standards of these campaigners as they demand of others.

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Why Is the US Still Funding Palestinian Terrorism?
(At Least Close the PLO Office in Washington)

by Shoshana Bryen  •  April 19, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • Jamil Tamimi, 57, knew that if he committed an act of terror, he would be lionized by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and -- perhaps more importantly -- that, if he were killed or sent to prison, his family would be taken care of financially.

  • "The PLO Commission was new only in name. The PLO body would have the ‎same responsibilities and pay the exact same amounts of salaries to prisoners... PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas retained overall supervision of ‎the PLO Commission." — Palestinian Media Watch.

  • In 2016 Bashar Masalha, who murdered U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force and wounded several others, was hailed on official PA media outlets as a "martyr." A few months later, Abbas said on PA TV, "We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.... With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward."

  • The U.S. government should let the PLO and PA know that we are onto their game. Disincentivizing terrorism by closing the PLO office in Washington would be a good first step.

British exchange student Hannah Bladon was stabbed to death on a Jerusalem light rail train last Friday. Her murderer was identified as an East Jerusalem resident who had previously been convicted of molesting his daughter and had tried to commit suicide. Failing at that, he apparently opted for terrorism, on the assumption that the police would kill him. They didn't. "This," the Shin Bet said in a statement, "is another case, out of many, where a Palestinian who is suffering from personal, mental or moral issues chooses to carry out a terror attack in order to find a way out of their problems."

"Suicide by cop" is not unheard of, but the real incentives need to be spelled out.

Jamil Tamimi, 57, knew that if he committed an act of terror, he would be lionized by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and -- perhaps more importantly -- that, if he were killed or sent to prison, his family would be taken care of financially.

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What North Korea Should Teach Us about Iran

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  April 18, 2017 at 10:30 am

We failed to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. As a result, our options to stop them from developing a delivery system capable of reaching our shores are severely limited.

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A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in France and Belgium: March 2017

by Soeren Kern  •  April 18, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • Yussuf K. said he carried out the January 2016 attack "in the name of Allah and the Islamic State." He added that he chose his victim because "he was Jewish."

  • A confidential police report revealed that more than 50 organizations in Molenbeek, a migrant-dominated neighborhood of Brussels, Belgium, are believed to have ties to jihadist terrorism.

  • An Ipsos poll for France Television and Radio France found that 61% of the French believe that Islam is incompatible with French society.

Up to a thousand Muslims prayed on the streets of Clichy, a suburb of Paris, on March 31, to protest the closure of a local mosque; its lease had expired. (Image source: LDC News video screenshot)

March 2. In a landmark trial at the Paris Children's Court, a 17-year-old Turkish jihadist, identified only as Yussuf K., was sentenced to seven years in prison for attacking Benjamin Amsellem, a Jewish teacher in Marseille, with a machete. Yussuf K. said he carried out the January 2016 attack "in the name of Allah and the Islamic State." He added that he chose his victim because "he was Jewish." Yussuf K. was charged with "an individual terrorist attempt and attempted assassination in connection with a terrorist enterprise," with the aggravating circumstance of anti-Semitism. He was tried as a minor because he was 15 when he carried out the attack. The criminal trial of a minor on terror charges was the first of its kind in France, where some fifty children are currently being investigated for jihadist offenses.

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Turks Vote to Give Away Their Democracy

by Burak Bekdil  •  April 18, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • Alarmingly, Turkey's proposed system lacks the safety mechanisms of checks and balances that exist in other countries such as the United States.

  • It would transfer powers traditionally held by parliament to the presidency, thereby rendering the parliament merely a ceremonial, advisory body.

  • "The conditions for a free and fair plebiscite on proposed constitutional reforms simply do not hold," said a report released by the EU Turkey Civic Commission.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims victory in the April 16 referendum, at a rally the night of the vote. (Image source: VOA video screenshot)

In a bitter irony, nearly 55 million Turks went to the ballot box on April 16 to exercise their basic democratic right to vote. But they voted in favor of giving away their democracy. The system for which they voted looks more like a Middle Eastern sultanate than democracy in the West.

According to unofficial results of the referendum, 51.4% of the Turks voted in favor of constitutional amendments that will give their authoritarian Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, excessive powers to augment his one-man rule in comfort.

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Palestinians' Real Enemies: Arabs

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  April 17, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • The Arab heads of state and monarchs do not like to be reminded of how badly they treat Palestinians and subject them to discriminatory and apartheid laws.

  • It is not comfortable or safe to be a Palestinian in an Arab country. Scenes of lawlessness and anarchy inside Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank have also driven many residents to move to nearby cities and villages. Most refugees in the West Bank no longer live inside UNRWA-run camps.

  • Let us end where we began: with the Palestinian (non)leadership. What has it done to help its people in the Arab countries? Nothing. No Palestinian leader will urge an emergency session of the UN Security Council to expose the ethnic cleansing and killing of Palestinians in Arab countries. No Palestinian leader will demand that the international media and human rights organizations investigate the atrocities perpetrated by Arabs on their Palestinian brethren. We are sure to see more such criminal silence when Abbas meets with the president of the United States.

A street celebration in Lebanon's Ain al-Hilweh camp, July 2015. (Image source: Geneva Call/Flickr)

Palestinians living in refugee camps in the Arab world are facing ethnic cleansing, displacement, and death -- but their leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are too busy tearing each other to pieces to notice or even, apparently, care much.

Between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, it looks as if they are competing for the worst leadership, not the best. Clearly, neither regime gives a damn about the plight of their people in the Arab world.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is scheduled to visit Washington in the coming weeks for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump, spends most of his time abroad. There is hardly a country in the world that he has not visited since he assumed office in January 2005.

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Iran's Elections: Black Turbans vs. White Turbans

by Mohammad Amin  •  April 17, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • Any distinction between "extremists" and "moderates" in Iran's political establishment is false.

  • Whatever the results of the upcoming Iranian elections, there will be no shift in Tehran's human rights violations or core aims of regional hegemony and pursuit of nuclear weapons.

  • What does matter is the behavior of the West, particularly the United States, in the near future. If it again resorts to cooperating with Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria, Khamenei will not only be able to pursue his regional and global interests unfettered, but will be better equipped to contain crises at home.

Iran's elections have observers wondering whether the "white turban" incumbent, Hassan Rouhani (left), will retain his position or be defeated by his likely contender, Ebrahim Raisi (right), the "black turban" mullah. (Images source: Wikimedia Commons).

The presidential elections in Iran, scheduled for May 19, have observers wondering whether the "white turban" incumbent, Hassan Rouhani, will retain his position, or be defeated by his likely contender, the "black turban" mullah, Ebrahim Raisi, known for his key role in the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners.

More importantly, the question on Western minds is how and in what way the Islamic Republic will be affected by either outcome.

The two periods in Iran's recent history that need to be examined in order to answer this question are that of the tenure of former firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005 to 2013), who also announced he is running again, and the one that has followed under Rouhani.

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A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Britain: March 2017

by Soeren Kern  •  April 16, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • "Have you seen some of those ISIS propaganda videos, they are cut like action movies. Where is the counter narrative?" — Riz Ahmed, actor.

  • Britain's foreign aid budget is reportedly funding at least two dozen Palestinian schools, some of which are named after terrorists and murderers and which openly promote terrorism and encourage pupils to see child killers as role models.

  • An estimated 400 home-grown jihadis have returned to the United Kingdom after fighting in Syria, but only 54 of those have been prosecuted, according to a Mail on Sunday investigation, which also discovered that some returned jihadis are roaming free on the streets of Britain.

On March 18, the British taxpayer-funded BBC Asian Network account asked, "What is the right punishment for blasphemy?"

March 1. A new Channel 4 documentary series called "Extremely British Muslims" showed the inner workings of a sharia court inside Birmingham's Central Mosque. In the first episode, viewers witnessed the case of mother-of-four Fatima, 33, as she sought permission to divorce her drug dealer husband she says has abused her throughout their 14-year marriage. According to sharia law, Muslim women must plead their divorce cases in court, while Muslim men need only to say the words "I divorce you" three times to obtain a divorce. Birmingham Central Mosque said it allowed the sharia proceedings to be filmed in an effort to "break down misconceptions about Islam." Some 100 sharia courts in Britain are now dispensing Islamic justice outside the remit of the British legal system.

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"Spit on the Cross or Die"
Muslim Persecution of Christians, January 2017

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  April 16, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • According to the Christian Association of Nigeria, 900 Christian churches have been destroyed in 12 northern states that adopted Islamic law, in the early 2000s.

  • A blasphemy case was registered against Shaan Taseer — son of Salman Taseer, a human rights activist and defender of persecuted Christians who was assassinated by Muslims — for saying "Merry Christmas." — Pakistan.

  • Thanks to dishonest Muslim translators, immigration officials are rejecting asylum applications from Muslim converts to Christianity from Iran and Afghanistan during what one pastor characterized as "kangaroo court" hearings. Rev. Gottfried Martens accused the "almost exclusively Muslim translators" of deliberately mistranslating their responses to disqualify their applications. — Germany.

In Germany, thanks to dishonest Muslim translators, immigration officials are rejecting asylum applications from Muslim converts to Christianity from Iran and Afghanistan. Pictured: Hasan (left), a Yezidi refugee in Germany who was threatened by Muslims, speaks to a reporter from German public television about how a government-employed translator deliberately mistranslated his complaint and took the side of his attackers. (Image source: Bayerischer Rundfunk video screenshot)

Tragic stories of Christian experiences under the Islamic State continued to emerge throughout the month of January. A Christian doctor who forfeited the chance to escape his Syrian village after ISIS had captured it because he wanted to stay and help the sick and needy, both Christian and Muslim, was kidnapped by the Muslim terrorists and ordered to renounce Christ for Muhammad. When he refused, they publicly slaughtered him. Similarly, after ISIS ordered another Christian youth in Syria to embrace Islam, he too refused and was slaughtered for it. His mother — who was prevented from burying her martyred son's body — recalled that when ISIS first invaded their village, he reminded her of Jesus' assertion in the New Testament: "If you deny me before men I will deny you before the Father."

After members of ISIS raided the home of Zarefa, an elderly Christian woman in Iraq, they discovered crucifixes and Christian icons. "They forced me to spit on the Cross," she recalled.

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