Friday, June 23, 2006

Pat Buchanan: An idea whose time has come?

I would like to hear what Mr. Buchanan might suggest for a 'new policy' concerning the current struggle between 'radical' Islam and the West but the continuing rise in popularity of 'pure' Islamic movements all around the world is alarming. Our 'Johnny Appleseed' approach to Middle Eastern democracy and the Iraq War does not appeal to me because I don't believe it will work. I am much more comfortable with the 'shock and awe' approach to military endeavors and have no use for the 'nation building' that is currently underway in Iraq. I also favor the widespread use of Special Forces and 'Black Ops' in hunting terrorists wherever they choose to hide. I believe that it is quite difficult to finance and promote terror around the globe when one is forced to duck and cover in some cave in Afghanistan for fear of getting vaporized. For all I care, they can practice their 'pure' brand of Islam in the wastelands and caves of the Middle East...just don't try to bring it out into the light of day. - JTF

Jun 23, 2006
Pat Buchanan ( bio archive contact )

In 1938, the year of Anschluss and Munich, a perceptive British Catholic looked beyond the continent over which war clouds hung and saw another cloud forming. "It has always seemed to me ... probable," wrote Hilaire Belloc, "that there would be a resurrection of Islam and that our sons or our grandsons would see the renewal of that tremendous struggle between the Christian culture and what has been for more than a thousand years its greatest opponent."

Belloc was prophetic. Even as Christianity seems to be dying in Europe, Islam is rising to shake the 21st century as it did so many previous centuries.

Indeed, as one watches U.S. armed forces struggle against Sunni insurgents, Shia militias and Jihadists in Iraq, and a resurgent Taliban, all invoking Allah, Victor Hugo's words return to mind: No army is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.

The idea for which our many of our adversaries fight is a compelling one. They believe there is but one God, Allah, that Muhammad is his prophet, that Islam, or submission to the Quran, is the only path to paradise and that a Godly society should be governed according to the Sharia, the law of Islam. Having tried other ways and failed, they are coming home to Islam.

What idea do we have to offer? Americans believe that freedom comports with human dignity, that only a democratic and free-market system can ensure the good life for all, as it has done in the West and is doing in Asia.

From Ataturk on, millions of Islamic peoples have embraced this Western alternative. But today, tens of millions of Muslims appear to be rejecting it, returning to their roots in a more pure Islam.

Indeed, the endurance of the Islamic faith is astonishing.

Islam survived two centuries of defeats and humiliations of the Ottoman Empire and Ataturk's abolition of the caliphate. It endured generations of Western rule. It outlasted the pro-Western monarchs in Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Ethiopia and Iran. Islam easily fended off communism, survived the rout of Nasserism in 1967 and has proven more enduring than the nationalism of Arafat or Saddam. Now, it is resisting the world's last superpower.

What occasioned this column was a jolting report in the June 20 Washington Times, by James Brandon, alerting us to a new front.

"Arrests Spark Fear of Armed Islamist Takeover" headlined the story about the arrest, since May, of 500 militants who had allegedly plotted the overthrow of the king of Morocco and establishment of an Islamic state that would sever all ties to the infidel West -- to end the poverty and corruption they blame on the West.

The arrests raised fears that Al Adl wa al Ihsane, or Justice and Charity, was preparing to take up arms to fulfill the predictions of the group's mystics that the monarchy would fall in 2006. Though illegal, Al Adl wa al Ihsane is Morocco's largest Islamic movement, which boycotts elections, but has hundreds of thousands of followers and has taken over the universities and is radicalizing the young.

Its founder is Sheik Abdessalam Yassine, who has declared its purpose is to reunite mosque and state: "Politics and spirituality have been kept apart by the Arab elites. And we have been able to reconnect these two aspects of Islam -- and that is why people fear us."

And, one might add, why people embrace them.

If Morocco is now in play in the struggle between militant Islam and the West, how looks the correlation of forces in June 2006?

Islamists are taking over in Somalia. They are in power in Sudan. The Muslim Brotherhood won 60 percent of the races it contested in Egypt. Hezbollah swept the board in southern Lebanon.
Hamas seized power from Fatah on the West Bank and Gaza. The Shia parties who hearken to Ayatollah Sistani brushed aside our favorites, Chalabi and Iyad Allawi, in the Iraqi elections. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the most admired Iranian leader since Khomeini. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is staging a comeback.

This has all happened in the last year. And where are we winning?

What is the appeal of militant Islam? It is, first, its message: As all else has failed us, why not live the faith and law God gave us?

Second, it is the Muslim rage at the present condition where pro-Western regimes are seen as corruptly enriching themselves, while the poor suffer.

Third, it is a vast U.S. presence that Islamic peoples are taught is designed to steal their God-given resources and assist the Israelis in humiliating them and persecuting the Palestinians.

Lastly, Islamic militants are gaining credibility because they show a willingness to share the poverty of the poor and fight the Americans.

What America needs to understand is something unusual for us: From Morocco to Pakistan, we are no longer seen by the majority as the good guys.

If Islamic rule is an idea taking hold among the Islamic masses, how does even the best army on earth stop it? Do we not need a new policy?

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of books such as The Great Betrayal, A Republic, Not an Empire, Neo-Conned, and Where the Right Went Wrong.

Center for Security Policy: Bush Didn't Lie About WMD

Center for Security Policy
June 23, 2006

(Washington, D.C.): Earlier today, supporters of a free, stable and prosperous Iraq claimed a small victory in the Senate's 60-39 vote to reject a Democratic proposal to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from the country. However, set against the backdrop of recent, noticeable progress toward securing Iraq - including the formation of a government and elimination of terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - the vote was far from a thorough rejection of the cut-and-run mentality encouraged by opponents of the war.

The anti-war proclivities of nearly two-fifths of the Senate on display today is even more astonishing in light of yesterday's release of declassified portions of an intelligence report which found that U.S. forces have discovered hundreds of chemical weapons munitions in Iraq over the past three years, and that even more weapons of mass destruction have yet to be uncovered.

According to the report by the National Ground Intelligence Center - a Defense Department intelligence unit: "Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."

The discovery of such massive quantities of chemical weapons munitions proves conclusively that Saddam Hussein was lying when he claimed, prior to the U.S.-led invasion, to have destroyed all weapons of mass destruction, and lends support to the Bush Administration's position that such weapons in the Iraqi dictator's hands presented an intolerable threat to the United States. Moreover, the continued existence of loose WMD is further evidence that abandoning Iraq now would be tremendously irresponsible - perhaps fatally so.

As Center President Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. observes in his latest Washington Times column, however, opponents of the war have "embraced arguments or 'facts' that frequently do not stand up to scrutiny." Given this, it is not surprising that the mainstream media and its anti-war cohorts in the government have thus far attempted to ignore the NGIC's findings. If forced to confront the report, moreover, expect that crowd to simply "move the goalposts" by claiming these are not the weapons the United States went to war to eliminate.

Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has thus far conceded the WMD debate, perhaps believing that it must remain forward-looking if Iraq is to be secured. It must be understood, however, that public support for staying the course in Iraq is greatly diminished when opponents of the war are allowed to undermine with impunity one of the primary justifications for the invasion. It behooves the President to publicize the findings of the NGIC report in order to dispel anti-war mythology and, as Gaffney notes, "serve the public's need to understand the true nature of this conflict and its stakes."

'Broken Trail', a Tale of Roping in Cattle and Rounding Up Girls

The New York Times
Published: June 23, 2006

"BROKEN TRAIL" is a western that begins in the Far East.

In a dark, dank and crowded cellar, young Chinese women are rounded up and sold to an American intent on transporting them to the frontier to serve as prostitutes — a 19th-century chattel drive.

Somewhere near the point where East meets West, five of them end up in the custody of two flinty cowboys who are taking a herd of wild horses across the wilderness to Wyoming. It's a majestic, lawless landscape that sets men free and immures women, and that clash is the crux of the two-part movie on AMC starring Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church that begins on Sunday.

Railroads forever changed the Wild West, and "Lonesome Dove," the 1989 mini-series based on Larry McMurtry's best-selling novel and that starred Mr. Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, forever changed the television western; every cowboy drama since has been held up against "Lonesome Dove" and fallen a little short. Only "Deadwood," on HBO, has set its own standard as an anti-western where almost all the conventions of the genre are turned upside down.

"Broken Trail," which has Mr. Duvall once again in the role of a crusty, worn-out cowboy, here called Print Ritter, is much more in the debt of "Lonesome Dove," probably a little too much, since it too cannot live up to that legendary epic. But this AMC film — which was directed by Walter Hill, whose work includes "The Long Riders," "Geronimo: An American Legend" and the pilot of "Deadwood" — has a subtle charm of its own.

The heart of the story is the renewed bond — forged in death, dirt and an unspoken code of honor — between Uncle Print and his estranged nephew, Tom Harte (Mr. Church), who reunite to transport and sell the horses. Greta Scacchi, who plays Nola, a battered prostitute on the run, forms an attachment to Print, but the film's real love story is the one between Print and the Chinese girls he grudgingly takes in, and feels bound to protect. "We didn't go looking to save no Orientals and a broken-nosed whore," Print says to Tom. "But sometimes you got to roll with what's thrown at you."

The people who imported the girls and want a return on their investment are not as fatalistic. As inevitable as sunrise, whiskey and horseflies, there comes a showdown between decent, chivalrous men and the bad and brutal.

Mr. Duvall has played this kind of character before, most recently in Kevin Costner's 2003 movie "Open Range." But with barks, squints and shakings of his head, he always squeezes a few new tics into the role. "Broken Trail" is not as well written or compelling as "Lonesome Dove," but Mr. Duvall brings an earthy believability to even the most plodding lines ("Never use money to measure wealth, son," he says to Tom).

Mr. Church ("Sideways") seems at first an odd choice for the role of the strong, silent cowhand; there is something comical about his jutting ears and the goofy planes of his face. But the actor quickly takes on the aspect of a simple, somewhat passive man who can be roused to icily efficient vengeance — with a rope, his fists or a rifle — when wronged.

The camera lingers on the horses galloping unharnessed through rivers and beneath snow-topped mountain ranges. (The film was shot in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada, the same location as "Brokeback Mountain" and "Unforgiven.") The film contrasts their easy freedom with the Chinese girls' fearful confinement in a mangy, horse-drawn wagon. They are virgins selected because deflowerment fetches a higher price. They speak no English, and have no idea why they were sold by their families. The youngest one has bound feet and can barely walk. The eldest tells the others they were sold to be servants. Instead, they discover that rape is a far more likely chore.

Rescue arrives when their captor, a drunken horse thief hired to bring the women to the mining town of Cariboo, Idaho, tries to rob Print and Tom and ends up dead, leaving his cargo unclaimed and terrified. The men have no choice but to bring the women along, shadowed by the evil men who want revenge and a crack at them.

A generation ago, back in the days of "Rawhide" and "The High Chaparral," westerns were so plentiful on television that it was easy to be picky. These days they are more like Yiddish theater, a fading tradition that relies on good will and preservationists to survive. AMC, like TNT, the cable network that put "Monte Walsh" on the air in 2003, is doing its part to keep the western alive. "Broken Trail" may not be great, but it's good enough.

Broken Trail

AMC, Sunday and Monday at 8, Eastern and Pacific times; 7, Central time.

Robert Duvall, Stanley M. Brooks and Rob Carliner, executive producers; Chad J. Oakes and Mike Frislev, producers; Walter Hill, director; Alan Geoffrion, screenwriter. Produced by Mr. Duvall's Butchers Run Films and Once Upon a Time Films, in association with Sony Pictures Television.

WITH: Robert Duvall (Print Ritter), Thomas Haden Church (Tom Harte), Greta Scacchi (Nola Johns), Rusty Schwimmer (Kate Becker), Olivia Cheng (Ye Fung), Gwendoline Yeo (Sun Foy), Caroline Chan (Mai Ling), Jadyn Wong (Ghee Moon), Valerie Tian (Ging Wa), Scott Cooper (Henry Gilpin), James Russo (Capt. Billy Fender), Donald Fong (Lung Hay) and Chris Mulkey (Ed Bywater).

Jon Pareles: Springsteen Takes Folk Tradition for a Spin

The New York Times
Published: June 23, 2006

Every so often during his concert with his Seeger Sessions band at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, Bruce Springsteen footnoted his songs like the authenticity-obsessed characters who made the folk revival so easy to ridicule.

Before he sang "Jesse James," he credited the originator, Billy Gashade, and mentioned Woody Guthrie's rewrite; he said he'd be following the original. With a smile, he added, "It holds to the maxim, `When the legend becomes fact, write the legend.'" And then he led his band in a version like a tall tale.

It started with banjo picking, picked up a hoedown beat, tossed in a Tex-Mex accordion and a Western-swing fiddle, and wound up with some razzing Dixieland-style horns. It was tough-minded and fun; it was also about as authentic as a covered wagon with chrome wheels.
The Seeger Sessions band is Mr. Springsteen's uninhibited take on the folk revival, spearheaded by Pete Seeger and others, that peaked in the 1950's and 1960's. They wanted to let America and the world hear the music made by ordinary people in out-of-the-way places.

In hindsight, they were about half right. The folkies understood that the old songs are a trove of melody, history, poetry and anonymous genius; they also were, for a few decades, good tools for organizing the labor movement and the civil-rights movement. But the folkies' garbled notions of authenticity - rewriting lyrics as agitprop was fine, using an electric guitar was not - led the folk revival to self-parody and obsolescence when rock started taking itself just as seriously.

Mr. Springsteen's album "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions" (Columbia), revisits songs Mr. Seeger recorded. He chose them, as Mr. Seeger had, for their visions of working Americans ("John Henry," "Pay Me My Money Down") and hard times ("My Oklahoma Home"), for a spirit of resistance ("We Shall Overcome" and "Eyes on the Prize," an old song rewritten for the civil-rights movement) and for antiwar conviction (the 19th-century Irish song, "Mrs. McGrath," which says, "All foreign wars I do proclaim/Live on blood and a mother's pain.") The album doesn't include any of Mr. Seeger's own topical songs. But the concert did, when Mr. Springsteen performed "Bring 'Em Home," which Mr. Seeger wrote during the Vietnam war. (It's available free on

Mr. Springsteen's band grew to 19 members during the concert, including a six-member horn section. Nearly all the instruments were acoustic. The band didn't simply strum and pick in the hootenanny style of folk-revival acts like the New Christy Minstrels (although a 1960's group, the Village Stompers, had some similar string-band-to-Dixieland arrangements). The Seeger Sessions band played a boisterous kaleidoscope of styles, never sticking to just one per song: Appalachian music, gospel, jump-blues, Irish reels, New Orleans R&B, mariachi, Cajun music, even some acoustic funk for a version of Mr. Springsteen's own "Johnny 99." Credit the lasting impact of the folk revival for letting Mr. Springsteen find musicians in New York who are adept in so many regional styles.

Mr. Springsteen, as always, had serious intentions. He sang the version of Blind Alfred Reed's "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live" that he rewrote with New Orleans in mind, as well as his hymnlike version of "When the Saints Go Marching In." He introduced "We Shall Overcome" as a song about issues that have still not been resolved, and played it in a slow-building version that moved deliberatly from solitude to camaraderie.

But the concert never bogged down in self-righteousness. There was always another turn in the arrangements, another startlingly timely old lyric, another happy anachronism. "What can a poor boy do, 'cept play in a ragtime band?" Mr. Springsteen rasped as the band played "You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)" with a zydeco rubboard ratcheting away.

And if the spirit of the folk revival was in its singalongs, then Mr. Springsteen was definitely carrying it on. His fans have long filled arenas with verse-and-chorus singalongs on his songs, and they had already learned the material on the new album. Now they were raising their voices to sing old songs revived one more time.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Set to face Twins, Clemens has already won over 1 of their fans

June 22, 2006, 12:21AM
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

On his final day as a member of the Astros' minor-league set, Roger Clemens gave a 15-year-old leukemia survivor and his family more than they expected Wednesday in their first visit to Minute Maid Park.

Tonight, Clemens will attempt to put the same charge into a crowd of 42,000 fans in his return to the Astros' major-league roster at age 43.

After a three-week road trip through the minor leagues, Clemens will open his 23rd major-league season against the Minnesota Twins before a packed house hoping and expecting to see one of baseball's greatest pitchers in top form — which is what Clemens expects, eventually, from himself.

"They should expect that. I expect to do well," he said this week. "I know I'm going to have some bumps in the road, but like I've told you all along, I wouldn't have started this if I didn't feel I could come back and help.

"I have the same expectations (as Astros fans). I want to come back and perform — and perform well."

Tonight's game is a sellout, although scalpers were offering tickets at $20 to $85 Wednesday afternoon and a few enterprising ticket holders were trying to top that price on eBay. The first 30,000 fans who walk through the turnstiles will receive commemorative Clemens posters.

$12 million and change

Clemens, who agreed to a minor-league contract with the Astros on May 31, will be added to the big-league roster today and will begin earning the pro-rated portion of a $22,000,022 salary that will equate to about $12 million and change for the balance of the season.

He already has given a substantial chunk of his paycheck to charity, having pledged Tuesday with his wife, Debbie, to donate $3 million to Memorial Hermann Hospital for a pediatric unit.

And on a day when most baseball starting pitchers are notoriously standoffish as they prepare for their next turn on the mound, Clemens on Wednesday gave an hour of his time and a few tips from his vast trove of baseball knowledge to Matthew Vosejpka, 15, a high school sophomore from Lonsdale, Minn., who visited Minute Maid Park with his family as part of a visit arranged by the Make-A-Wish Foundation in conjunction with ESPN.

Such visits are standard fare for major leaguers in all sports, and Vosejpka, who was diagnosed last July with leukemia and underwent a bone marrow transplant last November, expected the standard treatment.

"They told me to expect maybe five minutes and a handshake and maybe an autograph," he said.

Vosejpka, who pitches on three summer-league teams in his hometown, south of Minneapolis, got a good deal more than that after arriving at the park with his parents, Larry and Shelly, and younger siblings Caite, 12, and Mitchell, 11.

A few tips from the master

Indeed, Clemens shook hands all around when he emerged from the dugout at about 4:30 p.m., then signed a few autographs. But then he turned to Vosejpka, looked toward the Astros bullpen and said, "Let's go see if we can learn a few things."

So off they went, stopping along the way during batting practice to chat with Craig Biggio, Brad Ausmus, Lance Berkman and other Astros.

Having arrived at the bullpen, they got down to work with catcher Javier Bracamonte. Clemens threw a few pitches, talked to Vosejpka for a few moments, then gave him a glove and pointed toward the mound.

The kid threw a few pitches, then Clemens jumped up to put his shoulder and left leg into proper power pitching positions. Vosejpka let one fly, and Clemens said, "That was a good one right there."

Lesson completed, Clemens talked with Matthew's father, who coaches his son's Babe Ruth League team.

"We talked about throwing that four-seamer (fastball) a little different way and maybe a different grip on the (breaking ball), too," Clemens said.

Father, son and family were, of course, delighted with the attention Clemens gave their son, including a tour of the Astros' clubhouse and some private conversation away from the television cameras.

Vosejpka was diagnosed last July with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and also was found to have the "Philadelphia chromosome," a genetic condition that produces the disease.

Two months later, he signed on with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and told organizers of his desire to meet Clemens, who has been his favorite pitcher since he watched Clemens pitch for the New York Yankees in the 2000 World Series.

In November, Vosejpka was transfused with bone marrow from his younger brother and, after more than a month in the hospital and 10 days on a ventilator because of post-operative complications, began the long, slow trip toward recovery.
"He's never gotten down," said Shelly Vosejpka. "He never says no and never complains. Baseball has been his motivation. That was the first thing he said (after the transplant): 'I'm going to play ball this spring, right?' "

His parents estimate that Vosejpka is at 50 percent to 70 percent of full strength, and that number probably got a boost when he heard Clemens would return to the Astros.

"The day he signed, he called us both at work and said Roger was going to pitch against the Twins, and, 'Mom, I think we'll be there,' " Shelly said. "We're a baseball family, and for this to happen for us is just amazing."

Hope high for Astros fans

Amazing events, however, have become routine for the Rocket. Wednesday's agenda, sharing his time with a young man whom he had never met, certainly falls into that category. And Astros fans certainly hope that things follow suit today, although Berkman joked that the team was going to make Clemens work for his money.

"He's going to have to win a 2-1, 1-0 type game," Berkman said. "We've got to get our money's worth out of the guy. To me, he's got to throw a shutout."

That could be what the Astros need, since Minnesota will throw one of its top young pitchers, Francisco Liriano, against Houston tonight. Clemens expects to throw about 105 to 110 pitches, and he's realistic about his first start.

"I think I've been pretty honest about this," he said last Friday after his final minor-league start in Round Rock. "I don't know if I need to do this. I don't know that I want to do this. But I'm committed to it."

Tonight, tens of thousands of Astros fans — and a family of Twins fans who will be rooting just this night for the men in the brick-red and white uniforms — will find out if Roger Clemens is up to the challenge.

Robert Spencer: The Complicity of Muslim Silence

Robert Spencer
June 22, 2006

We have heard many times that the vast majority of Muslims in the West are decent, law-abiding citizens who do not engage in jihad terrorism. That is manifestly true: most Muslims in the West are not engaging in terrorist activity. Many no doubt have no intention of ever doing so. But the recent arrests in Canada have raised questions about to what extent Muslims in Canada and other Western countries who are not engaging in terrorist plotting actually disapprove of such plotting – and how many passively allow it to continue under their noses either out of fear or because the ideological kinship between them and the plotters is closer than most Western authorities would like to believe.

In a meeting with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police just after the arrests, one Canadian Muslim leader asked Canadian officials why they hadn’t informed Muslim leaders about the plot, so that those leaders could have stopped it.

But there is mounting evidence that many Canadian Muslims did know – and yet did nothing to notify Canadian authorities of the plot. The Toronto Star reports that another suspect, Qayyum Abdul Jamal, actively spread the jihad ideology at the Ar-Rahman Islamic Center for Islamic Education in southern Ontario. Indeed, his “outspoken Wahhabist views” had “alarmed” some of the directors of the Islamic center. But by the account of mosque officials, because Jamal unlocked the mosque for daily prayers and they valued his services as a caretaker, they did nothing to stop his preaching. The Washington Post reports unironically: “He cleaned the rugs and took out the trash at the mosque. For those services, the directors tolerated his vitriolic speeches that portrayed Muslims as oppressed by the West, according to people familiar with the mosque.” No mainstream media outlet seems to have asked Ar-Rahman Islamic Center officials why they thought taking out the trash was a sufficient counterbalance to preaching hatred and violence. Sidestepping the fact that Jamal had been allowed to preach freely, Center Imam Qamrul Khanson said of those arrested: “I will say that they were steadfast, religious people. There’s no doubt about it. But here we always preach peace and moderation.”

Yet another imam in Toronto, Sayyid Ahmed Amiruddin, noted that three of the plotters, Saad Khalid, Zakaria Amara and Fahim Ahmad, “would enter into the mosque to pray, and they would pray in a very aggressive manner, and they would come in military fatigues and military touques and stuff. It looked to me that they were watching a lot of those Chechnyan jihad videos online and stuff.” Amiruddin said that they were influenced by jihadist material from Saudi Arabia, including Qur’ans with inflammatory explanatory notes: “In the back of these Qur'ans that are being published in Saudi Arabia, you have basically essays on the need for offensive jihad and the legitimacy of offensive jihad and things like that. Very alarming stuff."
According to the CBC, “Amiruddin said many mainstream Muslim organizations in Canada are really part of the problem, standing by as extremist propaganda spreads in the mosques.” But while Amiruddin points out that these young men would attempt to win others over to their point of view, he says nothing about having done anything to stop them, or about resisting jihadist recruitment in general -- much less working with authorities to help them apprehend jihadists.

Also according to the Star, some of the plotters belonged to a school Muslim association in which they “discussed at an association gathering whether suicide bombing was permissible in Islam. Their views were so violent that the other association members threatened to have them banned.” But they apparently did not actually have them banned, or alert anyone to their violent views.

Likewise another Toronto Muslim, Mohammed Robert Heft. Heft said that one of the plotters, Fahim Ahmad, “believed the 19 people involved in the World Trade Center bombings were martyrs and he was handing out DVDs openly of wills and testimonies of those 19 people suggesting what they did was right.” According to the CBC, Heft asserted that “a lot of young Muslims are angry and extremism is prevalent in the Toronto area.” Heft claimed that he was dedicated to combating this “extremism”: “For the last two years I’ve been involved in this mentality. I was dealing with it on a grassroots level. All it takes is a little education and sorting out who to take religion from.” Yet he too apparently did nothing to alert Canadian authorities to Ahmad’s views.

And after all this, Canadian Muslim leaders complain that authorities did not go to them.
Canadian authorities, and officials in all Western countries, have been supine in the face of all this kind of thing for far too long. The jihad arrests in Canada should focus scrutiny not on the alleged misbehavior of Canadian law enforcement officials, but on the Muslim communities tolerance of the jihadist evil they profess to abhor. Law enforcement authorities in the West should call Muslim communities in their countries to account on this, and quickly -- or risk the successful execution of a jihad plot planned and executed under the noses of silent and supposedly moderate Western Muslims.

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Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of five books, seven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). He is also an Adjunct Fellow with the Free Congress Foundation.

Cal Thomas: Church Lite

Jun 22, 2006
Cal Thomas ( bio archive contact )

The new leader of the Episcopal Church in America, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, says she does not believe homosexuality is a sin and that homosexuals were created by God to love people of the same gender.

As the Episcopal leadership continues to huff and puff to catch up with the world, it would be helpful if it could tell its members what it regards as sinful behavior, or will the very concept of sin soon be up for negotiation in order to avoid giving offense to anyone?

Truly what Paul, the Apostle, warned would happen in the "end times" is coming true in our day: "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4 NIV).

Meeting at the Episcopal General Convention in Columbus, Ohio, the denomination passed a resolution expressing "regret" for consecrating a homosexual bishop three years ago, but it declined to repent of its action. On Tuesday, they voted to continue consecrating homosexual bishops and to permit same-sex unions. But, just 24 hours later, they reversed themselves yet again and adopted a resolution to avoid consecrating additional gay bishops. Apparently, they are so wishy-washy; they are even wishy-washy about their wishy-washiness.

Bishop Schori, a former oceanographer for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle, says, "The Bible tells us about how to treat other human beings and that's certainly the great message of Jesus - to include the unincluded."

This is so outside orthodox Christianity that only biblical illiterates or those who deny the supreme authority of the only book that gives foundation to the faith will accept it.

Anglicanism has suffered from probably irreversible corruption since the days of the late C.S. Lewis and John Stott, who is still with us. These men combined intellectual heft with orthodox belief and had little regard for trends, fads or cultural diversions. They have been replaced by theological dim bulbs that are less concerned about proclaiming truth and conversion than in not offending anyone.

Maybe the question for Bishop Schori and her fellow heretics should be: if homosexual practice is not sin, what is? And how do we know? Or is it a matter of "thus saith the opinion polls" and lobbying groups, rather than "thus saith the Lord"? With the bishop's "doctrine" of inclusion, why exclude anyone? How about applying the religious equivalent of "open borders" and let everyone into the church, including unrepentant prostitutes, murderers, liars, thieves and atheists. If the Episcopal Church denies what is clearly taught in scripture about important matters like sexual behavior, why expect its leaders to have any convictions about anything, including directions to Heaven? How can anyone be sure, if the guidebook is so full of errors?

The leader of Anglicanism, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has promoted this doctrinal wishy-washiness. Williams, who has acknowledged ordaining a priest who is a homosexual, says he opposes cohabitation by heterosexuals because it has a harmful impact on family stability. But the same book that speaks against what we used to call "fornication" before such words died along with the accompanying doctrines, also speaks against the "sin" of homosexual practice. So how can anyone be sure one is true and the other not true, or the reverse, or neither, or both? And who is to say if the church leaders don't know or are afraid to say because they might be criticized as "exclusive."

The Episcopal Church isn't the only denomination having trouble deciding what it believes. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has voted to "receive" a policy paper on sex-inclusive language for the Trinity. Instead of the traditional (and biblical) Father, Son and Holy Spirit, these liberal Presbyterians will consider using "Mother, Child and Womb," or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend," among others. Never mind what God calls Himself. These people want a name change without asking permission.

No wonder liberal denominations are losing members while the conservative ones are growing. The liberal ones don't seem to care. Seeking only to be "relevant" they face condemnation from the One they are supposed to represent, whose attitude about such things is anything but "inclusive."

Conservative Episcopalians are too few in number to stop the theological drift. If they intend to preserve their congregations without further theological seepage, they should "come out from among them and be separate."

Cal Thomas is the co-author of Blinded By Might.
Copyright © 2006

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


by Mike Brophy
The Hockey News
June 20, 2006

RALEIGH, N.C. - Nothing like a little home ice advantage for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

"That's why you play an 82-game regular season," said Carolina defenseman Aaron Ward, now a three-time Cup winner, the first two coming with the Detroit Red Wings. "You want home ice in a game like this."

Carolina defeated Edmonton 3-1 Monday night to win its first Stanley Cup. The former Hartford Whalers made the final in 2003, but were beaten in five games by Detroit.

The RBC Center seemed to bring the Hurricanes back from the dead. After losing at home in overtime in Game 5, the demoralized Hurricanes were pathetic in Game 6, dropping a 4-0 decision to the Oilers in Edmonton.

Though the Oilers had momentum in their favor entering the one-game showdown, the Hurricanes had history on their side. There were 118 rounds that went seven games since the NHL introduced the best-of-seven format in 1939 and the home team won 74 (63 per cent) of those series. In the final, 13 series advanced to the seventh game with the home side winning 11.

Make that 14 and 12 now.

"This is still a little surreal to me," said 18-year veteran Glen Wesley, who won his first Cup in his third trip to the final. "In my first few years with Boston, I was surrounded by some great players; some great leaders who taught me about the game. Guys like Cam Neely, Rick Middleton - even Terry O'Reilly taught me a lot about the game - how to play with hunger and intensity every night."

The final had its share of magical moments, from the Hurricanes overcoming a 3-0 deficit to win Game 1, to Edmonton defenseman Chris Pronger becoming the first player to score on a penalty shot in the final series, to the Oilers Fernando Pisani deciding Game 5 with a shorthanded goal in overtime in Raleigh.

Game 7 of this year's final was everything the NHL hoped it would be when it decided, once and for all, to eliminate obstruction. It was end-to-end action from the drop of the first puck until the final buzzer. Those who don't like the way NHL hockey is played today should be strapped to a chair and forced to watch Game 7 over and over until they admit the game is better.

Although the Oilers held a territorial edge in play in the first period, and produced a few good scoring chances, Carolina got the only goal of the period with Aaron Ward scoring at 1:26 on a blast from the right point.

The Hurricanes appeared to take a 2-0 lead with 4.1 seconds remaining in the opening period, but after a long review, the goal was waved off. Craig Adams directed the puck toward the Edmonton net, beating Markkanen. However, Oilers defenseman Steve Staios got in behind his keeper and stopped the puck from going in. It looked as though Staios covered the puck with his hand and referee Brad Watson, who was close to the net, pointed to center, which is usually the indication a penalty shot has been called. While replays on CBC showed Staios shovelled the puck under Markkanen, a different angle on the NBC telecast clearly showed the puck crossed the goal line before Staios came to his team's defense. NBC's replay was not discovered until the period ended.

The Oilers made a game of it when Pisani added to his playoff-leading goal total with his 14th, connecting on a rebound at 1:03 of the third. But despite Edmonton pressing, the Hurricanes iced the game with an empty net goal by Justin Williams at 18:59.

• Cam Ward opened the playoff on the bench as the backup to Martin Gerber, but ended it as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as post-season MVP. The 22-year-old is the first rookie to win the Conn Smythe since Montreal goalie Patrick Roy in 1986.

• The 2005-06 final marked the third consecutive season the Stanley Cup series has gone the distance. New Jersey defeated Anaheim 3-0 in Game 7 in 2003, perhaps the most boring seven-game final of all-time, and Tampa Bay used home ice advantage to defeat the Calgary Flames in 2004, the year before the lockout.

• There were those who felt Chris Pronger would have difficulty adapting to the way games are called in the NHL now. Pronger has a long history of not only being one of the league orneriest players, but one who would break his grandmother's wrist with a slash to get a free puck. But, after a slow start to the year, he has played remarkably and with plenty of discipline. Although he is not a finalist for the Norris Trophy this season, his playoff performance left no doubt he is the league's most effective two-way defenseman, and arguably the most complete skater in the game.

• One of the most engaging stories of the final belongs to Edmonton goalie Jussi Markkanen. Earlier this season the Oilers elected to play Ty Conklin and Mike Morrison, summoned from the ECHL, ahead of Markkanen. But when Dwayne Roloson was injured in Game 1 of the final, Markkanen came in played very solid. In fact, goaltending was never an issue for the Oilers.

The Hockey News 3 Stars of Game 7 are:

1. Cam Ward, Carolina. Capped his Conn Smythe-winning performance by allowing only a single goal on 22 shots. In 23 post-season appearances, Ward allowed two goals or less 12 times.

2. Fernando Pisani, Edmonton. Scored the Oilers’ lone goal – his playoff-leading 14th – and could have had a couple more had bounces gone his way.

3. Aaron Ward, Carolina. Opened the scoring early and was a physical presence in his own end throughout Game 7.

Daniel Pipes: What Jewish Ties to Jerusalem?

Daniel Pipes
June 21, 2006

Historically, the religious standing of Jerusalem for Muslims waxed and waned with political circumstances; in a consistent and predictable cycle repeated six times through fourteen centuries, Muslims focused on the city when it served their needs and ignored it when it did not.

This contrast was especially obvious during the past century. British rule over the city, 1917-48, galvanized a passion for Jerusalem that had been absent during the four hundred years of Ottoman control. Throughout the Jordanian control of the walled city, 1948-67, however, Arabs largely ignored it. For example, Jordan’s radio broadcast Friday prayers not from Al-Aqsa mosque but from a minor mosque in Amman. The PLO’s founding document dating from 1964, the Palestinian National Covenant, mentioned Jerusalem not once.

Muslim interest in the city revived only with the Israeli conquest of Jerusalem in 1967. Jerusalem then became the focal point of Arab politics, serving to unify fractious elements. In 1968, the PLO amended its covenant to call Jerusalem “the seat of the Palestine Liberation Organization.” The king of Saudi Arabia himself declared the city religiously “just like” Mecca – a novel, if not a blasphemous idea.

By 1990, the Islamic focus on Jerusalem reached such surreal intensity that Palestinians evolved from celebrating Jerusalem to denying the city’s sacred and historical importance to Jews. The Palestinian establishment – scholars, clerics, and politicians – promoted this unlikely claim by constructing a revisionist edifice made up in equal parts of fabrication, falsehood, fiction, and fraud. It erases all Jewish connections to the Land of Israel, replacing them with a specious Palestinian-Arab connection.

Palestinians now claim that Canaanites built Solomon’s Temple, that the ancient Hebrews were Bedouin tribesmen, the Bible came from Arabia, the Jewish Temple “was in Nablus or perhaps Bethlehem,” the Jewish presence in Palestine ended in C.E. 70, and today’s Jews are descendants from the Khazar Turks. Yasir Arafat himself created a non-existent Canaanite king, Salem, out of thin air, speaking movingly about this fantasy Palestinian “forefather.”

Palestinian Media Watch sums up this process: By turning Canaanites and Israelites into Arabs and the Judaism of ancient Israel into Islam, the Palestinian Authority “takes authentic Jewish history, documented by thousands of years of continuous literature, and crosses out the word ‘Jewish’ and replaces it with the word ‘Arab’.”

The political implication is clear: Jews lack any rights to Jerusalem. As a street banner puts it: “Jerusalem is Arab.” Jews are unwelcome.

Three key events, Yitzhak Reiter of the Hebrew University argues, transformed this self-indulgent mythology into official ideology:

* The Temple Mount Faithful incident of October 1990 saw a Jewish group’s unsuccessful effort to lay the cornerstone for the Third Temple leading to a Muslim riot in which 17 rioters lost their lives. This episode increased Palestinian apprehensions about the demolishing of Islamic sanctities, prompting a drive to prove that Jerusalem has always been a Muslim and Palestinian city.

* The Oslo accord of September 1993 placed Jerusalem, for the first time, on the table for negotiation. Palestinians responded by attempting to discredit Jewish connections to the city.

* The Camp David summit of July 2000 saw the Israeli government, again for the first time, put forward its demands for sovereignty over parts of the Temple Mount.. As Dennis Ross, a U.S. diplomat present at the summit, astringently puts it, Arafat “never offered any substantive ideas, not once” at the talks. However, “He did offer one new idea, which was that the Temple didn’t exist in Jerusalem, that it was in Nablus.” With this, Jerusalem’s pseudo-history became formal PA policy.

Palestinian denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem has two likely long-term implications. First, it suggests that the Palestinian focus on Jerusalem has reached such a fervor that it might now sustain itself regardless of politics, thereby breaking a fourteen-century pattern. Jerusalem appears to have developed into an abiding Muslim interest, one generating feelings of entitlement no longer related to utilitarian considerations.

Second, this denial severely diminishes the prospect of a diplomatic resolution. The Palestinians’ self-evidently false history alienates their Israeli interlocutors even as it lays claim to sole rights over the entire city. As a result, future negotiations over Jerusalem are bound to be yet more emotional, askew, and difficult than past ones.

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Mr. Pipes ( is director of the Middle East Forum and author of Miniatures (Transaction Publishers).

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

John Leo: Gays Have Emerged as the New Protected Class in America

June 18, 2006
John Leo ( bio archive contact )

fThe governor of Maryland fired one of his appointees to the Washington Metro transit authority board for stating a negative opinion of homosexuality on a cable TV talk show. The board member, Robert Smith, had said: "Homosexual behavior, in my view, is deviant. I'm a Roman Catholic." The governor, Robert Ehrlich, said Smith's remarks were "highly inappropriate, insensitive and unacceptable."

"Insensitive" sounds like a fair comment. "Deviant" is a harsh word for expressing one's non-approval of homosexuality. The governor is on less firm ground with "inappropriate." Smith's comment certainly was apropos of the talk-show topic, gay marriage. He was explaining why he opposed it. "I'm Catholic" was shorthand for "I take my religion seriously and, like millions of other Christians, my views on marriage and my non-approval of homosexual sex are biblically based."

Ehrlich's third adjective, "unacceptable," is surely debatable. Did he mean that all members of Washington-area boards are required to approve of homosexuality, or just that they must suppress any non-positive views during TV discussions of same-sex marriage? The governor, a Republican who is up for re-election and is trying to move from the right to the center, clearly hasn't thought the issue through. He certainly seems to be banishing Smith for a thought crime. Perhaps he did so because he knew his Democratic opponents would come after him for tolerating "hate speech" if he let Smith stay on. Smith argues that his social opinions have "absolutely nothing to do with running trains and buses" and that they haven't affected his actions or decisions on the board.

Maybe it's not a good idea for government transit specialists to be pronouncing on divisive social issues. But they clearly have a right to do so. The Supreme Court says the First Amendment protects the right of public employees and appointees to speak freely on matters of public concern. So if Smith wants to sue over his firing, he seems likely to win. At any rate, liberals routinely argue that people should not be fired for behavior or speech unrelated to their jobs, such as professors who make loony remarks out of class, or schoolteachers who have children out of wedlock.

Why didn't Gov. Erhrlich simply say that he disagrees with Smith, but considers him an excellent public servant, which the Washington Post coverage of the story makes clear he is? The answer is that in Washington, and among the elites everywhere, approval of homosexuality is now mandatory. In the old days, employees were fired for being gay. Now they are far more likely to get fired for failing to approve homosexuality or for some remark that the gay lobby resents.

In colleges and schools, regulations on "hate speech" now protect gays from criticism as well as meaningful debate. Andrew Sullivan, the prominent blogger and a gay man, says he is troubled by attempts "to prevent or even criminalize the expression of hostility to homosexuality, or gay rights, or indeed any another form of gay speech." Criminalizing such criticism, and even biblical citations against homosexuality, are no longer unusual in Europe and Canada.

Sullivan cites the case of Lynette Burrows, a British writer on children's rights, who drew an inquiry from Scotland Yard for saying on a radio talk show that she did not believe male homosexuals should be allowed to adopt boys. "It's a risk," she said. "Would you give a small girl to two (heterosexual) men?" She said it was "sinister" to have a police investigation of a comment that hurt the feelings of gays. Also in Britain, Anglican Bishop Peter Forster drew a police investigation after telling a newspaper, "Some people who are primarily homosexual can reorientate themselves." In Canada, criticism of homosexuality is essentially illegal. An ad in a Saskatchewan newspaper listing biblical citations against homosexuality was ruled a human-rights offense. The man who placed the ad was directed to pay $1,500 each to three gay men who were offended by the text.

In the United States, though speech control usually runs afoul of the First Amendment, schools routinely support the pro-gay Day of Silence and ban the Day of Truth, set up by Christians to counter what they believe is organized use of public schools for gay lobbying. A prominent intellectual, talking about gays, complained about "the fascist policing of public discourse in this country by nominal liberals." That was Camille Paglia, who can avoid the speech police because she is brave, candid and lesbian.

John Leo is a columnist and editor for U.S. News & World Report and a contributing columnist on

Star Parker: Another Disappointment From the Black Caucus

June 19, 2006
Star Parker ( bio archive contact )

The House of Representatives has voted to boot Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson off the Ways and Means Committee while he is being investigated on bribery charges. This immediately follows a vote by House Democrats recommending that such action be taken.

The way in which Jefferson has handled himself during this episode, and the support he has gotten from a number of his Black Caucus colleagues, is an embarrassment and demonstrates, once again, the sore need for a new kind of black leadership in Washington.

Jefferson should have taken the high road and voluntarily relinquished his committee seat. The fact that he didn't, the fact that the Congressional Black Caucus leadership supported his decision to resist Nancy Pelosi's request that he step aside, and the fact that the caucus chose to insert a racial dimension to these events, seriously undermines the credibility of black leadership.

For years now black political leaders have been using race to lower the bar and expectations for blacks rather than the opposite. In this latest episode, Jefferson and the Black Caucus leadership demonstrated that, again, they are willing to grasp for the race card to pull their own fat out of the fire, even if it means hurting their party and their black constituents.

It is true that Jefferson has not yet been formally indicted.

However, the case against him is compelling. ABC news reports that federal officials say his indictment should be expected sometime in July.

Jefferson is being investigated for taking bribes to promote telecommunications deals in West Africa. The FBI has him on tape accepting a $100,000 payoff, $90,000 of which they found stored in the freezer in his house.

Two men already have been convicted in the bribery investigation, one a former aide of Jefferson's, who has been sentenced to eight years in prison, and the other a businessman who has pleaded guilty to paying more than $400,000 in bribes to Jefferson.

To not see a high probability of wrong doing here on Jefferson's part reminds one of Groucho Marx's famous quips, "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?"

Sure, Nancy Pelosi is motivated by politics. The Democrats want to brand Republicans as the party of corruption and it weakens the case when you have crooks in your own party.

It's too bad, but unfortunately generally true, that if a politician actually does the right thing, it's probably for the wrong reasons. But, in this case, Pelosi clearly did the right thing by asking Jefferson to give up his seat on the Ways and Means Committee while he is being investigated.

The House Ways and Means Committee is one of the most powerful perches on which to sit in Washington. The Constitution requires that tax legislation be initiated in the House and Ways and Means is where the nation's tax legislation originates.

It doesn't push the imagination to think that we might not want a guy with $90,000 of bribe money sitting in his freezer on this committee.

However, a turn up the high road and stepping aside in the interest of nation, party, and constituents, even when the handwriting is on the wall, didn't tempt Jefferson.

The only Hail Mary left was to hunker down around claims that this was about race, and unfortunately, this is where Jefferson and the Black Caucus chose to go. Doing this served only to fan the flames of racial tensions and encourage destructive sentiments in the black community that come to no productive end.

Why, these black leaders have asked, has this unprecedented move, asking an unindicted member to step off a committee, occurred with a member of Congress who happens to be black?
But it is behavior, not race, that is operative here.

Jefferson also suddenly discovered his responsibility to his constituents in his efforts to salvage himself. He said they need him now on the Ways and Means Committee as hurricane ravaged New Orleans tries to rebuild.

But where has he been for the 16 years he has been representing them? An appalled nation watched during Katrina as cameras exposed the squalid realities of black life in New Orleans.
Who looked for their black congressman to explain why the levees weren't improved and why crime and poverty had reached such hopeless levels in this community?

Mr. Jefferson was busy making deals in Africa, happy to sit quietly on the sidelines and let local problems be explained by racism.

Blacks have to stop tolerating this. Race must be transformed into a reason to demand more responsibility and set higher stands rather than the opposite, which is what we now get from our black leaders.

Let's hope the Jefferson incident goes beyond its particulars and provokes a new awareness in black America for the kind of leaders we really need.

Star Parker is president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education and author of the new book White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay. You can contact her here.

Paul Sperry: The CAIR - U.A.E. Connection

Paul Sperry
June 20, 2006

An Arab nation with ties to 9-11 has pledged a major endowment to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, even as the Washington-based nonprofit group insists it receives no foreign support.

The United Arab Emirates recently announced on its official government website that it has set up an endowment serving as a source of income for CAIR. The amount of the funding is undisclosed, but sources say it will be enough to help CAIR finance the construction of a new $24 million office building and a planned $50 million public-relations campaign aimed at repairing Islam's -- and the UAE's -- image in America.

A recent Washington Post-ABC poll found that a majority of Americans think Muslims are more prone to resort to violence, and more Americans now have a negative view of Islam than right after the 9-11 terror attacks.

Americans also have a lower opinion of the UAE now, thanks to its recent bid to take over U.S. port operations. The political storm over the deal drew increased attention to the Arab country's ties to terrorism.

CAIR -- Washington's biggest Muslim lobbying group -- is quoted in the UAE statement, but has not released its own statement. It is not commenting publicly about the size of the endowment or other details.

But the UAE, which formally recognized the Taliban and acted as a launching point for the 9-11 hijackers, has already taken a nearly $1 million stake in CAIR's existing headquarters near the U.S. Capitol. As first reported in the book, Infiltration, Dubai holds the deed to the building. The transaction took place in 2002, according to local property records.

The strengthened financial partnership comes at a critical time for both parties.The UAE is still reeling from a spate of bad press following its controversial bid to take over control of shipping terminals at major U.S. ports. Partnering with CAIR gives it a voice in U.S. politics and media, which it hopes will help repair its image and protect its business interests.

UAE's minister of finance, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, personally approved the deal with CAIR. After meeting with Sheikh Hamdan in Dubai, CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmad was quoted in the Arab press saying: "If the image of Islam and Muslims is not repaired in America, Muslim and Arab business interests will continue to be on a downward slide in the U.S."

CAIR, meanwhile, has suffered its own image problems and has lost some of its political clout in Washington. The group recently was dealt a series of legal setbacks in civil court. Its image has also been damaged by counterterrorism investigations of several of its officials, some of whom have been convicted of felonies. The major cash infusion from the Middle East will allow the group to polish its image, replenish its legal war chest and go back on the offensive.

"The endowment will serve as a source of income and will further allow us to reinvigorate our media campaign projecting Islam and its principles of tolerance," CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad is quoted in the UAE press release as saying during his trip to Dubai late last month. Before helping establish CAIR, Awad worked for a suspected Hamas front called the Islamic Association for Palestine. Several other CAIR officials have links to Hamas.

CAIR, which keeps a stable of lawyers, recently lost three major lawsuits in a row against critics who called CAIR a front for terrorism.

* In March, CAIR dropped a $1.4 million libel suit against the U.S. operator of an "anti-CAIR" website, which still contains statements calling CAIR "a terrorist-supporting front organization."

* In April, a federal appeals court ruled that CAIR cannot pursue a $2 million defamation suit against a former congressman who accused the group of being a fund-raising arm for terrorists. Ex-U.S. Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C., also said his wife grew disturbed after 9-11 by the proximity of CAIR's operations to their Capitol Hill home.

* Also in April, CAIR's Canadian branch dropped its suit against a former Canadian Security Intelligence Service official for raising questions about connections between CAIR-CAN and the jihadist movement.

The lawyer for the Anti-CAIR website says CAIR dropped the case to protect its "foreign backers," which it has claimed do not exist. The litigation process would have opened its books up to discovery, which would have exposed "its finances [and] connections to foreign interests," explained Washington lawyer Reed Rubinstein in a recent interview with FP.

The failed legal actions have dealt a major blow to CAIR, which uses the courts to stifle criticism about its operations and Islam in general. Unable to marshal the same degree of legal intimidation, the group is already finding it harder to back down critics. Some major news publications have ignored recent threats from CAIR's legal department to retract statements and print apologies.

At the same time, CAIR is having to fend off lawsuits naming it as a defendant. For one, the widow of an FBI hero killed in the World Trade Center on 9-11 is turning the tables on CAIR and suing it for damages for conspiring to "support terrorism." The suit, filed by the family of the late John P. O'Neill, charges that CAIR has both received donations from terrorist groups and provided "material support" to terrorist groups.

The UAE gift could help CAIR build back its legal fund and reputation. But given Dubai's own reputation for supporting terrorism, the endowment could act as a double-edged sword.

Before 9-11, the UAE sponsored hunting camps in Afghanistan attended by Osama bin Laden. In fact, according to U.S. intelligence, UAE Defense Minister Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum requisitioned a C-130 cargo plane to deliver Toyota Land Cruisers, weapons and other supplies to bin Laden at one of the camps a year after the terrorist kingpin attacked U.S. embassies in Africa.

Sheikh Mohammed, now the ruler of Dubai, knew bin Laden was wanted by the U.S., but provided him material support nonetheless. His Al-Maktoum Foundation, which holds telethons to support families of Palestinian suicide bombers, holds the deed to CAIR's headquarters in Washington.

On one trip in 1999, roughly half the UAE royal family hunted with bin Laden at their camp near Kandahar, Afghanistan. They flew in on an official UAE aircraft, according to a recently declassified CIA memo dated Feb. 19, 1999, and titled, "Recent High Level UAE Visits to Afghanistan." The memo also determined that Dubai officials had lied to U.S. officials about visiting the camps. And they were believed to have even tipped off bin laden about U.S. plans for additional strikes on his terror-training camps.

Hunting with prized falcons is popular sport in the Middle East. The late president of the UAE, Sheik Zayed, reportedly introduced his top falcon trapper to bin Laden during a hunting trip in Afghanistan before 9-11. The trapper, Mohamed al-Qahtani, then signed on as the would-be 20th hijacker, according to recently disclosed detainee interrogation logs from Gitmo.

U.S. intelligence officials say the secret hunting expeditions were a way for al-Qaida to safely meet with top officials of purported U.S. allies in the region, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
While there is no evidence to suggest they discussed the 9-11 operation as they sipped tea with bin Laden at the Afghan camps, bin Laden nonetheless chose to use Dubai as the final staging ground for the operation and the launching point from which to deploy most of his 9-11 hijackers to hit America.

Two of the hijackers, in fact, were UAE citizens, and one of them -- Marwan al-Shehhi -- served under Gen. Sheikh Mohammed as a sergeant in the UAE army. Al-Shehhi was the pilot who crashed the plane into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Dubai also served as the transit point for 9-11 cash. More than $100,000 in al-Qaida funds were funneled through Dubai banks to the hijackers.

Now CAIR is on the receiving end of millions of its own Dubai cash. In effect, CAIR is officially partnering with Osama bin Laden's old hunting partners -- the rulers of Dubai -- potentially creating more image problems for the nonprofit group.

Its main benefactor, Sheikh Mohammed, owns 100% of Dubai Ports World, the company that bought the rights to run major shipping terminals in America. Not surprisingly, CAIR endorsed its bid for the port operations. And when the deal fell apart, the group blamed American "bigotry" toward Arabs and Muslims and chided those who called it a victory for U.S. security.

"If it's a victory, it's a victory for bigotry and Islamophobia," fumed CAIR spokesman Dougie "Ibrahim" Hooper.

During the ports debate, Hooper, who directs CAIR's aggressive communications program, made no mention of the nonprofit group's financial ties to the UAE. And he has publicly denied receiving support from any Arab or foreign benefactors.

In a press statement he issued after 9-11, Hooper flatly asserted: "We do not support directly or indirectly or receive support from any overseas group or government." He has claimed CAIR receives its funding from member dues.

In fact, CAIR not only receives support from the UAE, but also from interests based in Saudi Arabia -- which, like the UAE, supported the Taliban and al-Qaida. Those Saudi-based entities include the Islamic Development Bank; the International Islamic Relief Organization, one of bin Laden's favorite charities; and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, whose U.S. branch was formerly run by bin Laden's nephew, now on the terrorist watchlist. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has also pledged donations to CAIR.

Saudi Arabia is run by sharia, or strict Islamic, law. Hooper and CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad are both on record stating they want the U.S. to be Islamic under sharia law. As a result, critics say CAIR's real agenda is to Islamize America.

To help assuage skeptics, CAIR has enlisted the help of former Republican congressman Paul Findley, a well-known apologist for Islam who happens to do business in the Middle East. In fact, Findley led the CAIR delegation to Dubai and helped broker the endowment deal.

In his years on the Hill, Findley earned a reputation as an Israel basher and "Arafat's best friend in Congress."After 9-11, he rooted for Sami al-Arian to beat a terrorism rap. The Palestinian activist is even lionized in Findley's 2001 book, "Silent No More: Confronting America's False Images of Islam," along with another American Muslim activist, Abdurahman Alamoudi, who has since proved to be one of al-Qaida's top fund-raisers in America. Like Alamoudi, al-Arian recently confessed to terrorism charges. Both now sit in jail.

Ironically, the UAE press release says Findley briefed Sheikh Hamdan on CAIR's "strategic plan on correcting the image of Islam and Muslims among the American public."

The UAE endowment from the state-run Al Maktoum Foundation reportedly will help support a new seven-story building for CAIR and help cover a baseline annual operating budget of about $3 million. CAIR currently offices out of a three-story brick building located a few blocks from the Capitol, at 453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.

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Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington." He can be conacted at