Latest Analysis and Commentary

Iran: Hard Times for Ayatollahs

by Con Coughlin  •  November 21, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • It is an irony that not even the most devoted supporters of the ayatollahs can ignore that a country such as Iran, that prides itself on being one of the world's largest oil producers, is unable to produce enough fuel to satisfy the needs of its own population.

  • These are, moreover, hard times for the ayatollahs in many other respects. Not only are the leaders coming under pressure at home for their disastrous handling of the economy. They are also seeing their efforts to export Iran's Islamic revolution to other corners of the Middle East being roundly rejected, with anti-Iran protests taking place in Iraq and Lebanon.

  • With the Iranian economy under such intense pressure as a result of the sanctions, however, the regime has little room for manoeuvre, so it faces a stark choice: either radically reform its conduct or continue to face the wrath of the Iranian people.

With the Iranian economy under such intense pressure as a result of the sanctions, the regime has little room for manoeuvre, so it faces a stark choice: either radically reform its conduct or continue to face the wrath of the Iranian people. Pictured: Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left) and President Hassan Rouhani. (Image source: khamenei.ir)

Any suggestion that the wide-ranging sanctions regime the Trump administration has imposed against Iran was not having the desired effect has been roundly refuted by the nationwide protests that have erupted in response to the regime's decision to increase petrol prices.

Critics of American President Donald J. Trump's announcement that he was withdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal last year and imposing a fresh round of sanctions against Tehran have argued that the measures would fail to have the desired effect, and claimed that the ayatollahs would be able to circumvent the sanctions by trading with countries such as China, that remained committed to the nuclear deal.

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Thanks to Trump, the Mullahs Are Going Bankrupt

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  November 21, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • One of the reasons behind IMF's gloomy picture of Iran's economy is linked to the Trump administration's decision not to extend its waiver for Iran's eight biggest oil buyers; China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea.

  • Iran's national currency, the rial, also continues to lose value: it dropped to historic lows. One US dollar, which equaled approximately 35,000 rials in November 2017, now buys you nearly 110,000 rials.

On November 12, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged for the first time that "Iran is experiencing one of its hardest years since the 1979 Islamic revolution" and that "the country's situation is not normal." (Image source: Tasnim News/CC by 4.0)

The critics of President Trump's Iran policy have been proven wrong: the US sanctions are imposing significant pressure on the ruling mullahs of Iran and the ability to fund their terror groups.

Before the US Department of Treasury leveled secondary sanctions against Iran's oil and gas sectors, Tehran was exporting over two million barrel a day of oil. Currently, Tehran's oil export has gone down to less than 200,000 barrel a day, which represents a decline of roughly 90% in Iran's oil exports.

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Spain: Surge in Support for Conservative Populists

by Soeren Kern  •  November 20, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Spain's media establishment has prohibited representatives of Vox from appearing on national television — apparently in an effort to prevent Spanish voters from knowing more about the Vox platform.

  • Vox received a major boost after Spanish television was required to allow Abascal to participate, for the first time, in a nationally televised presidential debate, on November 4. More than eight million voters tuned in to the debate, in which Abascal was confident, relaxed, looked his opponents directly in the eye and exuded common sense. Millions of Spaniards who had never before seen the Vox leader speak learned first-hand that the party is patriotic, not the fascist threat portrayed by its detractors in the media.

  • Vox says that it is "a movement created to put the institutions of government at the service of Spaniards, in contrast to the current model that puts Spaniards at the service of the politicians."

  • "Vox is the common-sense party, which gives voice to what millions of Spaniards think in their homes; the only party that fights against suffocating political correctness. Vox does not tell Spaniards how they should think, speak or feel. We tell the media and the parties to stop imposing their beliefs on society." — From the Vox mission statement.

Spain's conservative populist party, Vox, more than doubled its seats in parliament after winning 3.6 million votes in general elections held on November 10. It is now the third-largest party in Spain. Pictured: Vox leader Santiago Abascal speaks at an election rally, on October 31, 2019. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Spain's populist party, Vox, more than doubled its seats in parliament after winning 3.6 million votes in general elections held on November 10. The fast-rising conservative party, which entered parliament for the first time only eight months ago, is now the third-largest party in Spain.

Vox leaders campaigned on a "traditional values" platform of law and order, love of country and a hardline approach to anti-constitutional separatists in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia.

Vox's meteoric rise is a direct result of the political vacuum created by the mainstream center-right Popular Party, which in recent years has drifted to the left on a raft of domestic and foreign policy issues, including that of uncontrolled mass migration.

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Iran's Crimes against Humanity, 2019

by Denis MacEoin  •  November 20, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • "As Iranian, Saudi and other Muslim women around the globe struggled for freedom from the hijab, which they consider a political symbol that has nothing to do with piety, the reaction among the liberal circles in the West was confounding. Here an increasing number of feminists, leftists and the liberal media glorified the hijab as some exotic symbol of women's liberation that had to be embraced." — Tarek Fatah, The Toronto Sun, August 29, 2019

  • "The Guards are gathering to remove reformists from power." — Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Iranian journalist, Financial Times, October 13, 2019.

  • The anti-corruption campaign is led by none other than the hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi.... Raisi is widely considered the most likely cleric to succeed to the role of Supreme Leader when Khamenei retires or dies. But Raisi also carries with him a disturbing reputation for judicial violence.

One of the Western hostages that Iran is holding is an innocent British mother, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Her five-year-old daughter, Gabriella, was also being held hostage in Iran until the regime released her last month. Pictured: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her husband Richard Ratcliffe in 2011. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

On October 10 this year, when an aeroplane flew from Tehran and arrived late that night in London, among those on board was a five-year-old girl named Gabriella. Despite her name, Gabriella was not Spanish, Portuguese or Italian. Her father, Richard, is English and her mother, Nazanin, is Iranian with British nationality.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is among the best known of the multitude of individuals locked up in Iran's prisons. Her status as a woman with dual nationality, and imprisoned for five years on a charge of espionage without a scrap of evidence, combined with the ongoing campaign for her release by her husband in conjunction with the UK Foreign Office, has given her case repeated publicity in the British press and other media.

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Iran's Palestinian Proxies: United Against Israel

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  November 19, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Hamas is hardly on its way to transforming itself into a non-violent movement that would uphold Israel's right to exist. Its decision to refrain, this time, from pounding Israel with rockets is in no way a sign of moderation or pragmatism. Instead, the terror group needs a break from the fighting in order to prepare better for its main goal: to take down Israel down, once and for all.

  • Hamas leaders – like their PIJ counterparts – are motivated for their own well-being; the well-being of the two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip is a joke to them. Why else would PIJ endanger their people by forcing Israel to respond to the launching of hundreds of rockets toward Israeli civilian communities?

  • This is not a good guy/bad guy scenario. Instead, it is a temporary rift between two extremely bad guys, both of whom are wholly committed to destroying Israel, even if that means destroying their own people along the way as well.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is reportedly disturbed that Hamas did not join in firing rockets at Israel this month, in retaliation for Israel's assassination of a senior PIJ commander. But at the end of the day, both groups share the same strategy and goals, as well as the same "enemy" – Israel. Pictured: A house in Yehud, Israel that was destroyed by a Hamas rocket launched from Gaza, July 22, 2014. (Image source: IDF/Flickr)

Iran's Palestinian proxies, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), after last week's round of aggression towards Israel, are said to be at odds with each other. PIJ is reportedly disturbed that Hamas did not join in firing rockets at Israel in retaliation for Israel's assassination of senior PIJ commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata in the Gaza Strip. PIJ, it seems, feels that Hamas left it out in the cold.

The two terror groups may not enjoy a full meeting of minds – as witnessed by Hamas's current failure to bombard Israel with rockets, but these differences are unlikely to escalate into a major confrontation between Hamas and PIJ.

At the end of the day, both groups share the same strategy and goals, as well as the same "enemy" – Israel. They may disagree, but when it comes to waging jihad (holy war) and eliminating Israel, Hamas and PIJ always manage to find common ground.

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Denmark: Shootings, Car Torchings, Gang Violence

by Judith Bergman  •  November 19, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • "These numbers underline, first of all, that we are talking about a problem that has to do with ethnicity. The argument that this has nothing to do with foreigners has to be taken off the table." — Trine Bramsen, legal affairs spokesperson for the Social Democrats, in Berlingske Tidende, August 24, 2017.

  • "In addition to a common fondness for crime, the culture of immigrant gangs is a cocktail of religion, clan affiliation, honor, shame and brotherhood... The harder and the more brutal [you are], the stronger you are, and then you create awareness of yourself and attract more [people]". — Naser Khader, member of the Danish Parliament for the Conservative Party and co-founder of the Muslim reform movement, in a blog, "Immigrant gangs are also culture and religion" in Jyllands-Posten, November 2018.

  • "[T]he price for the failed integration [of immigrants] is [paid] by those with the least resources. It is the schools and neighborhoods of the working classes that are destroyed...." — Niels Jespersen, op-ed in Berlingske Tidende, October 1, 2019.

  • People with the means to move, such as Lunøe, will take their children and run to safer areas. What will happen to the many that are unable to do so and have no choice but to stay in the crosshairs of the shootings, the knives and the car-torchings?

The US embassy in Denmark recently advised that due to "an increase in gun violence in the areas of Nørrebro, Ishøj, and Hundige", people in the areas should "keep a low profile", "do not physically resist any robbery attempt" and "use caution when walking or driving at night". Pictured: The Metro station in Copenhagen's Nørrebro neighborhood. (Image source: Arc1977/Wikimedia Commons)

On September 24, the US embassy in Denmark published a security alert. It warned US citizens in Copenhagen that:

"The Danish National Police urge individuals living in or visiting the areas of Nørrebro, Ishøj, and Hundige to exercise heightened awareness at all times due to a recent increase in gun violence. Copenhagen Police have instituted a stop-and-search zone in a large area covering Nørrebro. The ordinance – which will run through September 30 – allows police officers to stop and search anyone within the area without cause".

The alert also encouraged US citizens to "keep a low profile", "do not physically resist any robbery attempt" and "use caution when walking or driving at night".

Police in Copenhagen eventually decided to extend the stop and search ordinance in parts of Copenhagen until October 14.

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European Court Applies Double Standard against Israeli Products

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

  • The Court of Justice ruling, which effectively encourages the strict French labelling requirements to be applied across the European Union, has been roundly condemned as reflecting the EU's anti-Israel bias. Many commentators noted that of all the world's many territorial conflicts — from Crimea to Northern Cyprus to Tibet to Western Sahara — the EU has singled out Israel as the only country subject to special labelling requirements.

  • "There are over 200 ongoing territorial disputes across the world, yet the ECJ has not rendered a single ruling related to the labeling of products originating from these territories. Today's ruling is both political and discriminating against Israel." — Israeli Foreign Ministry.

  • "It also goes against the international standard of trade set by the World Trade Organization... This is the worst kind of fiddling while Rome burns. The European court quoting Israel for its 'breach of the rules of international humanitarian law' whilst Hamas and its acolytes are bombing innocent civilian populations in Israel is one of the most perverse ironies I have witnessed in quite some time." — Menachem Margolin, Chairman, European Jewish Association, Brussels.

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that food products made in so-called Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights must be specifically labelled as such and may not carry the generic label "Made in Israel." The ruling has its origin in a lawsuit filed by Psagot Winery (pictured), which operates vineyards in so-called occupied Palestinian territory, and the European Jewish Organization. (Image source: iStock)

The Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU's highest court, has ruled that food products made in so-called Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights must be specifically labelled as such and may not carry the generic label "Made in Israel."

The ruling, which singles out Israel, was presumably motivated not by concerns over food safety or consumer protection but by the EU's anti-Israeli foreign policy preference. It has been roundly criticized as biased, discriminatory and anti-Semitic.

The labelling case has its origins in questions regarding the interpretation of EU Regulation 1169/2011, dated October 25, 2011, concerning consumer information on food products. The regulation was ambiguous on the issue of the labelling of food products from Israel.

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Radical Persecution Must Be Eradicated

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  November 18, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • The captives, some as young as five years old, were reportedly "tortured, starved and sexually abused."

  • "The government of Pakistan failed to adequately protect these groups, and it perpetrated systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations; this occurred despite some optimism about the potential for reform under the new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan." — United States Commission on International Religious Freedom's, 2019 Report.

  • A first step towards eradicating this threat might be establishing an international interfaith coalition of Muslims, Christians and other religions, with chapters in every country, to stand up against religious persecution and on behalf of the right of every individual to harbor beliefs and engage in practices of his or her choosing.

In Pakistan, the abduction of girls and young women for the purpose of forced conversion is commonplace. The victims of kidnappings are mainly Christian and Hindu. The Catholic Archbishop of Lahore, Sebastian Shaw (pictured), recently expressed alarm at the spike in abductions and forced conversions. Pictured: Archbishop Sebastian Shaw. (Image source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office/Flickr)

On September 26, Nigerian soldiers liberated more than 300 men and boys -- some as young as five years old -- from what could be called a prison masquerading as an Islamic school in the city of Kaduna in northwestern Nigeria.

"Most of the freed captives seen by a Reuters reporter in the city of Kaduna were children, aged up to their late teens. Some shuffled with their ankles manacled and others were chained by their legs to large metal wheels to prevent escape...

"Reports carried by local media said the captives had been tortured, starved and sexually abused...

"One young man, Hassan Yusuf, said he had been sent to the school because of concerns about his way of life following a few years studying abroad.

"'They said my lifestyle has changed - I've become a Christian, I've left the Islamic way of life,' said Yusuf..."

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The "Great Pleasure in Destroying Christians": The Persecution of Christians, September 2019

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

  • "These regulations [from 2006] stipulate that all places of non-Muslim worship must be licenced. However, the government has yet to issue any licence for a church buildings [sic] under this ordinance, ignoring applications from churches to regularise their status in accordance with the ordinance." — International Christian Response, September 25, 2019, Algeria.

  • Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board sought to deport a refugee family — a mother and three children — that had fled their native country of Nigeria after they were attacked and threatened with death for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity.... "They face a 'fatwa' (a pronouncement of death) against them for converting to Christianity from Islam. They believe they face certain death if they are returned to Nigeria. They are quite fearful." ... Supporters of the family said the government was not taking the time to establish the family's humanitarian status or perform a proper risk assessment. "They're trying to boot [them] out of the country before then." The family's current status is unclear.

Around mid-September, British police in Preston, Lancashire announced that they would be taking no action against a man who had earlier threatened to sodomize anyone who dares convert to Christianity. Pictured: The city center of Preston. (Image source: Andrew Gritt/geograph.ork.uk/Wikimedia Commons)

The Slaughter of Christians

Nigeria: On September 22, the jihadi group, Boko Haram, released a video depicting the execution of two Christian aid workers. Lawrence Duna Dacighir and Godfrey Ali Shikagham, both members of the Church of Christ in Nations, appeared on their knees, in front of three armed men, who proceeded to shoot them. Both Christians had gone to Maiduguri — near where they were captured — to help build shelters for people displaced by Islamic extremist violence. In the same video, and "speaking in the Hausa language, the middle one of the three terrorists says ... that they have vowed to kill every Christian they capture..." Responding to the executions, Pastor Pofi, a cousin of the two executed Christians, said:

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Old Tricks and the Iraqi Genie

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

  • They claim since force cannot impose democracy, it was wrong for the US to invade Iraq and dislodge Saddam Hussein. They ignore the fact that though force cannot impose democracy, impediments to democracy can, and have been, removed by force.

  • Iraqi officials wonder how so many Iraqis, including many statistically-classed illiterates, manage to send and receive text messages on their smartphones. Those officials do not realize that even the poorest peasant is now able to pick up the rudiments of the alphabet and a vocabulary of a few hundred words to express his anger and passions and to coordinate action with those who share his concerns.

  • Tehran is wrong in toying with the idea of ending the uprising with a bloodbath as in Syria. Washington is wrong to think that yet another election with the same rules and same cast of characters would do the trick. The Najaf mullahs are wrong to believe that Iraqis will obey their fatwas as they did a generation ago. Tribal chiefs are mistaken in thinking the big "Sheikh" could secure a big cheque in exchange for calming down his kith-and-kin.

  • But, the fact remains that old tricks will not push that genie back into the bottle.

Pictured: Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on October 25, 2019. (Image source: Xequals/Wikimedia Commons)

Although it is too early to speculate about the outcome for the Iraqi uprising, one fact is clear: What we witness is the result of a multiple misunderstandings, by participants in the current drama and those who watch from the sidelines.

There are, first, those who see Iraq as a secular version of the "original sin". To them, toppling Saddam Hussein was the starting point of a journey that could only lead to hell.

They claim since force cannot impose democracy, it was wrong for the US to invade Iraq and dislodge Saddam Hussein. They ignore that though force cannot impose democracy, impediments to democracy can, and have been, removed by force.

Then there are those who believe that though Saddam is gone, Saddamism remains a dominant feature in Iraqi life. The talk in Baghdad cafes these days is of the danger of the emergence of a new Saddam.

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Jeremy Corbyn Poses a Potent Threat to Western Security

by Con Coughlin  •  November 16, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • By far the most likely casualty of a Corbyn government would be the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, where there is a strong likelihood that other member states of the alliance will be deeply reluctant to share highly sensitive material with a British prime minister who has spent his entire political career openly associating with regimes and groups that are utterly hostile to the West and its allies.

  • At the heart of his hard Left approach to foreign policy lies a deep hatred for the US and its role in safeguarding the interests of the Western democracies.

  • Thus Mr Corbyn's instinct is to be more sympathetic to the views of Russia, Iran, North Korea and the Assad regime in Syria than Britain's long-standing allies in Washington and Europe.

Mr Corbyn makes no secret of where his true sympathies lie. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

With the British general election now well underway, Britain's allies need to give serious consideration about how they would deal with Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party's hard left candidate, in the event of him becoming prime minister.

The prospect of Mr Corbyn entering Downing Street is of particular concern for the US given the current level of close cooperation that currently exists between Washington and London, especially regarding national security issues.

As one highly influential American security source told me earlier this week, "A Corbyn government would not just be a disaster for Britain. It would be a disaster for the US and other Western allies who work closely with London on a whole range of global security issues."

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France: An "Inverted Colonization"

by Guy Millière  •  November 15, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Soon after, Muslim organizations that had asked for students to have the right to wear the veil in schools also asked for a change in the school curriculum -- in history, so that Muslim civilization would be presented in a more "correct" and "positive" way.

  • "If the way I dress disturbs you, leave my country". — Signs at a demonstration, October 27, 2019.

  • "Any criticism of Islam is now blasphemy." — Ivan Rioufol, columnist, Le Figaro, November 4, 2019.

  • Details lead one to see that the anti-Christian acts were mostly acts of church vandalism, the anti-Semitic acts were very often violent attacks against Jews or cemetery desecrations, and that the anti-Muslim acts were almost only anti-Muslim graffiti or the laying of slices of bacon the entrance to a mosque or in the mailbox of a Muslim organization. No Muslims were physically attacked.

  • "We are not in a project of assimilation." — Yassine Belattar, former advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron, October 27, 2019.

  • Éric Zemmour has suggested that France is threatened not by a risk of "partition", but by an inverted "colonization".

(Image source: iStock)

On October 12, 2019, a meeting of the Regional Council of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté was held in Dijon, a quiet town in central France. A woman wearing a long black veil was in the audience, apparently accompanying a group of students. All at once, the head of the National Rally party group at the Regional Council, Julien Odoul, rose and said that the presence of a woman wearing an Islamic headscarf in a public building was incompatible with the values ​​of the French Republic:

"We are in a public building, we are in a democratic enclosure. Madame has all the time to keep her veil at home, in the street, but not here, not today. It's the Republic, it's secularism. It's the law of the Republic, no ostentatious signs."

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The 92nd Street Y Engages in McCarthyite Censorship and Lies About It

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  November 15, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • The representative of the 92nd Street Y acknowledged that the accusation [a disproved and defamatory accusation of sexual relations with an underaged girl] was unfounded, but said it didn't matter: "We don't want protests or trouble." So suddenly I found myself blacklisted — or as it's now called, "de-platformed"....

  • It reminded me of my days at Brooklyn College, when professors were blacklisted based on accusations that they had been Communists or fellow travelers. Institutions that had blacklisted them often claimed that they didn't believe or support the accusations, but they too didn't want protests or trouble. So the easy way is to censor, de-platform, or disinvite instead of standing up for principle, due process, and truth.

  • The public, particularly those who support the Y and participate in its programs, have the right to know the truth. They have the right to express their views as to whether a long-time speaker should be denied a platform at the Y based on false and disproved accusations. I would be happy to debate this issue at the Y. I have just written a new book — Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo — in which I discuss how false accusations can destroy a career. I challenge the Y to have a public discussion on this important issue.

  • I will not allow my life's work — on behalf of Israel, the Jewish community, Soviet Jewry, human rights, civil liberties, teaching students, writing books, and defending the accused — to be "cancelled" by a totally false accusation by a woman I never met and by the cowardly McCarthyism of the 92nd Street Y.... I will continue to fight for truth and justice as I have during my entire life. I will not remain silent even if the 92nd Street Y tries to silence me.

Pictured: The 92nd Street Y in New York City. (Image source: Ajay Suresh/Wikimedia Commons)

The storied 92nd Street Y, which presents itself as a paragon of free speech dialogue and openness, is engaging in McCarthyite censorship -- and trying to hide it.

For the last quarter century or more, I have been one of its featured speakers. The director told me that second only to the late Eli Wiesel, I have been the most frequently invited participant in its events. I have lectured, dialogued, participated in panels and moderated, on dozens of occasions about a range of subjects. I debuted my best-selling books about Israel and Jewish life – Chutzpah, The Case for Israel and others -- at the Y. It became something of a tradition.

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Europe: The New Political Weapon of 'Islamophobia'

by Alain Destexhe  •  November 14, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The objective of using the word "Islamophobia" appears to have been to make Islam untouchable by placing any criticism of it as equivalent to racism or anti-Semitism.

  • The word "Islamophobia" deliberately intends to transform the critique of a religion -- a fundamental right in Western societies -- into a crime.

  • "The term 'Islamophobia' serves several functions....Above all, however, the term is intended to silence Muslims who question the Koran, who demand equality of the sexes, who claim the right to renounce their religion, and who want to practice their faith freely and without submitting to the dictates of the bearded and dogmatic." – Pascal Bruckner, in his book, Un racisme ordinaire : Islamophobie et culpabilité, Grasset, 2017 [English version: An Imaginary Racism: Islamophbia and Guilt, Polity 2018]

  • It is not Muslims people "hate," any more than they hate Hindus or Buddhists or Shintos. It is the violence and coercion that some adopt -- what is known as jihad or holy war -- that people reject.

  • In the attacks at the Bataclan Theater and other sites in 2015, terrorists murdered 131 persons and wounded 413. Is it irrational to remember who was calling those shots?

As noted by the journalist Stéphane Charbonnier, murdered in the Charlie Hebdo attack in 2015, Islamophobia "is not only a poorly chosen word but also a dangerous one." (Image source: Arzu Çakır/VOA/Wikimedia Commons)

France is once again profoundly divided over Islam. Last Sunday, November 10, a "March against Islamophobia" was held in Paris in response to an appeal from 50 public figures. In an op-ed in the leftist newspaper Libération, the demonstrators pleaded to "stop Islamophobia and stop the growing stigmatization of Muslims, victims of discrimination and aggression".

Two recent incidents ignited the public debate and served as a pretext for the march. On October 26, an 84-year-old man shot and injured two men while trying to set fire to the mosque of Bayonne. Earlier in October, in the Regional Assembly of Burgundy, a member of the National Rally party (RN) complained about the presence in the gallery of a woman wearing an Islamic headscarf. The French political class and media condemned both incidents almost unanimously.

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Europe Backs Iranian Nuclear Breakout

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  November 14, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • Tehran shelters members of the terrorist group Al Qaeda, and it is reportedly continuing to facilitate the group's operations.

  • Now imagine if this rogue state obtains nuclear weapons, what kind of destruction could it inflict on the world?

  • The international community, particularly European nations, must take urgent steps to counter Iran-backed international terrorism and prevent it from becoming a nuclear state.

Iran continues to smuggle weapons and provide military, financial, intelligence and advisory assistance to proxies throughout the Middle East, such as the Houthis, Hezbollah, Iraqi Shiite militias, Kata'ib Hizballah, and Hamas. Pictured: Lebanese Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah visits Iran's "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Image source: khamenei.ir)

When the US State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism on November 1, 2019, four countries -- North Korea, Sudan, Iran, and Tehran's staunch ally, Syria -- were listed as state sponsors of terrorism. The annual report describes the theocratic establishment of Iran as "the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism" in 2018.

How, in 2018, did the Iranian government receive the title "the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism"? The criteria by which it is determined if a country should be listed as a state sponsor of terrorism are based on whether that state has constantly provided support for acts of terrorism.

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