Saturday, December 28, 2013

Coercing Conformity

A government that creates the climate for bullying is the worst of the bullies. 

Hillary Clinton

In “protecting the rights of all people to worship the way they choose,” then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton vowed “to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.”
Mrs. Clinton required translation into the language of truth, as she generally does when her lips are moving. By the “rights” of “all people” to “worship” as “they choose,” she meant the sharia-based desire of Muslim supremacists to foreclose critical examination of Islam. Madame Secretary, you see, was speechifying before her friends at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — the bloc of 56 Muslim countries plus the Palestinian territories.

At that very moment in July 2011, Christians were under siege in Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, and Iran — being gradually purged from those Islamic countries just as they’d been purged from Turkey, which hosted Mrs. Clinton’s speech. As Christians from the Middle East to West Monroe, La., can tell you, the Left and its Obama vanguard are not remotely interested in their “rights . . . to worship the way they choose.”

What they choose, after all, is to honor Christian tenets about sexuality, freedom of conscience, and the sanctity of life. Those tenets, just like honest criticism of Islam, are consigned to the category Clinton calls “what we abhor.” And if progressives abhor something, it somehow always becomes everyone’s duty to make certain that those who embrace that something “don’t feel that they have . . . support.”

Of course, they do have support . . . at least on paper. The First Amendment protects all of us against government suppression of speech. But the amendment is just a parchment promise if the government against which it is a safeguard actively undermines it. That is today’s United States government: rendering free expression an illusory right by inciting the mob, by extortionate lawfare tactics that exhaust the resources and energy of the citizen.

That brings us to the most compelling of all the points Mark Steyn made this week in his trenchant defense of free expression: When it comes to stifling speech, and thus suppressing thought, it is increasingly frivolous to distinguish between “state coercion” and “cultural coercion.”

Yes, it is textbook true that the First Amendment applies only against the government — indeed, only against the federal government as originally understood. The constitutional free-speech guarantee is literally irrelevant against private actors, including bullies like GLAAD, the gay-rights agitators who intimidated A&E into suspending Phil Robertson from a show about his family — which, I suppose, is the absurd reality when you’re producing a “reality” program (Duck Dynasty) about a family business.

But as long as we’re talking about reality, what if the “private” actors are really the deadly point of a coercive government’s spear? Mrs. Clinton proclaimed that the Obama administration would unleash “old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming” to squelch speech it disapproved of. We call these “techniques”extortion and intimidation when they are used by mafia families and other like-minded racketeering enterprises.

A corrupt government has some direct ways of undermining our rights. It can bring vexatious lawsuits, knowingly enact unconstitutional laws, or sign international agreements transparently intended to erode constitutional liberties. Theoretically, we can fight these tactics in the courts and by lobbying our lethargic lawmakers; as a practical matter, though, it takes years of anxiety at prohibitive expense. Few will be up to the task.

Secretary Clinton’s collaboration with the OIC is a good example: They jointly came up with a resolution that would make it unlawful to engage in speech that incites “discrimination” and “hostility” toward “religion.” More translation: “Religion” here does not mean religion; it means Islam. The Obama administration, itself no stranger to incitements against traditional Christianity, is not worried about that kind of hostility.

But put aside the hypocrisy of bashing Christians for merely holding beliefs while turning a blind eye to Muslims who kill over theirs. The point here is: It is pluperfectly palpable that the resolution negotiated by the Obama State Department and the OIC violates the First Amendment.

Free speech cannot work if the government it is designed to restrain does not respect it. A lawful American government — one that takes seriously its sworn obligation to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution — would not only enforce the First Amendment; it would refrain from engaging in unconstitutional schemes in the first place.

When it instead leads the pack in assaulting the Constitution — when, to take another example, the government repeatedly, publicly, and mendaciously blames a jihadist mass murder in Benghazi on an obscure movie; when, under the guise of a “supervised release” violation, it then trumps up a prosecution against the filmmaker precisely to sell the “Muslim world” on its commitment to imposing anti-constitutional sharia blasphemy standards — it is implicitly endorsing and obviously encouraging mob suppression of speech.

That is how this government indirectly assaults the First Amendment, in tandem with its “private”-actor allies. The GLAADs and CAIRs of the world are the government’s partners in “peer pressure and shaming,” the cultural coercion that is every bit as insidious as the administration’s official lawlessness. A government that creates the climate for bullying is one of the bullies — the most culpable one.

The radical shock troops seeking to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” as their pied piper puts it, make up a distinct minority of the country. To advance their transformative program, they need the mob — and a president who knows how to use the mob’s “peer pressure,” who knows that telling a room full of jittery bankers that “my administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks” is akin to Don Corleone making them an offer they can’t refuse.

Consequently, we are not in ordinary times — times when speech competes with speech in Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s “marketplace of ideas,” and when we are simply trying to arrive at the best policies within an agreed-upon constitutional framework. We are in an us-versus-them time when the radicals are out to annihilate traditional culture and constitutional principles.

There are no Marquess of Queensbury Rules for confronting such a threat, since a fair fight is not what the mob has in mind. The threat and the aggressors making it need to be exposed, debated, mocked, and otherwise discredited whenever the opportunities present themselves. Nothing else will do, for the mob is immune to peer pressure and it has no shame.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

Sharia's Protector

By Mark Steyn
National Review's Happy Warrior
December 27, 2013

Rohullah Qarizada is one of those Afghans you used to see a lot on American TV in the immediate aftermath of the Taliban's fall. Trimly bearded, dapper in Western suit and tie, he heads the Afghan Independent Bar Association in Kabul. Did you know Kabul had a bar association? A few years back, I ran into one of the U.S. prosecutors who helped set it up, with a grant from the Swedish foreign ministry. Mr. Qarizada currently sits on a committee charged with making revisions to the Afghan legal code. What kind of revisions? Well, for example: "Men and women who commit adultery shall be punished based on the circumstances by one of the following punishments: lashing, stoning."

As in stoning to death. That's the proposed improvement to Article 21. Article 23 specifies that said punishment shall be performed in public. Mr. Qarizada gave an interview to Reuters, explaining that the reintroduction of stoning was really no big deal: You'd have to have witnesses, and they'd better be consistent. "The judge asks each witness many questions," he said, "and if one answer differs from other witnesses then the court will reject the claim." So that's all right then.

Stoning is making something of a comeback in the world's legal codes — in October the Sultan of Brunei announced plans to put it on his books. Nevertheless, Kabul has the unique distinction of proposing to introduce the practice on America's watch. Afghanistan is an American protectorate; its kleptocrat president is an American client, kept alive these last twelve years only by American arms. The Afghan campaign is this nation's longest war — and our longest un-won war: That's to say, nowadays we can't even lose in under a decade. I used to say that, 24 hours after the last Western soldier leaves Afghanistan, it will be as if we were never there. But it's already as if we were never there: The last Christian church in the country was razed to the ground in 2010.
At this point, Americans sigh wearily and shrug, "Afghanistan, the graveyard of empire," or sneer, "If they want to live in a seventh-century s***hole, f*** 'em." But neither assertion is true. Do five minutes' googling, and you'll find images from the Sixties and early Seventies of women in skirts above the knee listening to the latest Beatles releases in Kabul record stores. True, a stone's throw (so to speak) from the capital, King Zahir's relatively benign reign was not always in evidence. But, even so, if it's too much to undo the barbarism of centuries, why could the supposed superpower not even return the country to the fitful civilization of the disco era? The American imperium has lasted over twice as long as the Taliban's rule — and yet, unlike them, we left no trace.

Seven years ago, in my book America Alone, I quoted a riposte to the natives by a British administrator, and it proved such a hit with readers that for the next couple of years at live stage appearances, from Vancouver to Vienna, Madrid to Melbourne, I would be asked to reprise it — like the imperialist version of a Beatles cover band. The chap in question was Sir Charles Napier, out in India and faced with the practice of suttee — the Hindu tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Napier's response was impeccably multicultural: "You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

India is better off without suttee, just as Afghanistan would be better off without child marriage, honor killing, death for apostasy, and stoning for adultery. What my readers liked about my little bit of Napier karaoke at live appearances was its cultural cool. It wasn't an argument for more war, more bombs, more killing, but for more cultural confidence. In the long run, that's more effective than a drone. For the least worst two-thirds of a century in its history, the vast fractious tribal dump of Sudan was run by about 200 British civil servants. These days, I doubt the smallest Obamacare branch office makes do with fewer than 200 "navigators." Yet, alert to the obsolescence of the mid-20th-century social programs, the Right remains largely blind to the similarly too-big-to-fail model of the American way of war. No serious person can argue that we're not spending enough money. The problem is we waste so much of it — to the point where in Afghanistan the Western occupation accounts for 97 percent of GDP, and all we have built is another squalid sharia state.

The American way of war is to win the war in nothing flat, and then spend the next decade losing the peace. The American people have digested that to the point where they assume that, no matter how "unbelievably small" (as Kerry promised of Syria) the next intervention is, it's a fool's errand. The rest of the world grasps it, too. If Hamid Karzai treats Washington with contempt and gets away with it, why expect the Iranians to behave any differently? A nation responsible for almost half the planet's military spending goes into battle with the sentimental multiculti fantasist twaddle of Greg Mortensen's Three Cups of Tea as its strategy manual — and then wonders why it can't beat goatherds with fertilizer.

Incidentally, I'd be interested to know which particular fellow at the Pentagon ordered that a copy of Three Cups of Tea be included in every Kandahar-bound kitbag. He should be fired. Come to think of it, he should be stoned.

Friday, December 27, 2013

American Muslim Children Taught to Hate

Mon, January 23, 2012
In the last five years I have personally visited over 250 Islamic Centers, mosques, and Islamic Schools throughout America. The goal of my research has been to determine what Islamic leaders are teaching the young and innocent Muslim children. The findings are abhorrent, sad, unbelievable and frightening. Most disturbing is the fact our government is keeping this dangerous fact from the American people.
Muslim children attending mosques and Islamic schools are being taught to hate America, our government, our military personnel and its non Muslim population. In this article I will identify three significant mosques in America that are leading the way in teaching Muslim children to hate and influencing them to commit violent acts inside our country.
In America we have been programmed by the media and political leaders to believe violent teachings of Islam are only being taught to children in Palestine. We have watched the Muslim Palestinian children spew their taught hatred of the Israelis. What Americans are not being shown (due to political correctness) are that Muslim children throughout the world and specifically inside America are also being taught violence and hatred.
Children as young as seven years old are being taught that to assimilate with America is to disrespect and dishonor Islam. They are being taught that our military personnel are the enemies of Islam, and that it is justifiable to kill anyone who dishonors or oppresses the Islamic ideology.
During my research I have identified numerous mosques that are teaching young Muslim children to hate America and are leading them to commit future violent acts against our country and innocent people. I would like to focus on three such mosques.
Anwar al-Awlaki
Dar al Hijrah, Falls Church, Virginia
My researchers and I spent several weeks at the Dar Al Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia. Almost immediately we were informed to obtain our study material from the Halaco Bookstore which is located nearby the mosque. It was very apparent upon entering the store and reviewing the materials that the bookstore provides materials for the Sunni (Wahhabi) Muslim population across the U.S. and specifically for Dar Al Hijrah.
Anwar al-Awlaki was an imam at the Dar al Hijrah Mosque from January
2001 until 2002. Three of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar, Nawaf
al-Hazmi and Hani Hanjour, attended some of Awlaki’s sermons at this
mosque. I was able to spend many hours talking with store personnel and was invited to the home of one employee to discuss Islamic issues.
There is a large section in the store dedicated to the education of the Muslim children. I discovered materials that are being sent to Islamic schools across America. Much of the material deals with Sharia (Islamic law) and jihad.
One of the DVD’s and books I obtained was by an Islamic scholar Ahmad Sakr. Sakr travels the U.S. visiting Islamic schools and educates them in Sharia law. I have watched one of his videos in which he tells the young children our government is evil and not to follow the laws of our country and Americas government leaders will all go to hell.
The material provided by Dar Al Hijrah and their selected Islamic bookstore also was filled with violent jihad. There were manuals informing the readers how to destroy America, and how to kill anyone who oppresses Islam. They are told how to obtain weapons, including weapons of mass destruction. Although all of the above is very disturbing and should (and actually is) against the law, the Muslim leaders of Falls Church are allowed by our government to indoctrinate the Muslim children into future violence against our country.
Al Farooq, Nashville, Tennessee
The Al Farooq mosque in Nashville, Tennessee is even more disturbing. My research team and I spent two weeks at the Al Farooq mosque. The mosque was Sunni and had the typical violent books and DVD’s/videos pertaining to the overthrow of any government system that oppresses Islam. They also had numerous teachings from current Islamic leaders operating in America who are teaching the Muslim population to hate our country and its people.
Although this should frighten all concerned citizens, there was even sadder and disturbing intelligence collected at this mosque. Lately, we have all read about the child brides and forced marriages in Afghanistan and in Saudi Arabia. What most Americans do not realize is that child marriages are occurring throughout our country and specifically in Nashville, Tennessee.
One young 7 year old Muslim girl at Al Farooq talked to our researcher about being beaten by her Islamic leaders and being married to a Muslim man. I reported the matter to the Nashville authorities, but almost from the beginning they were reluctant to intercede because this was a religious institution and more importantly to them it was Islamic.
Senior law enforcement authorities of the Nashville police department informed me they were afraid of being sued by Islamic organizations such as CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) if they got involved, and it would be a political nightmare to get anything done at the mosque.
What bothered me most of all is the fact I contacted an Islamic organizations to help this innocent Muslim child and they also balked. This reinforced to me that Islamic law (Sharia) is alive and very active inside our country, to include child marriages.
Siraj Wahhaj
Taqwa, Brooklyn, New York
The next mosque I investigated is led by an Islamic scholar who is not only a major fundraiser for CAIR but travels throughout the U.S. teaching his violent ideology of Islam. He is Imam Siraj Wahhaj. For those who have never visited the Islamic district of Brooklyn it would come to a surprise to many that the area around At Taqwa is similar to the Wahhabi land of Saudi Arabia. I have previously described Wahhaj as the most dangerous man in America. I have reviewed hundreds of his Friday (Juma) mosque lectures.
In one speech he tells his followers that around the world Muslims will wake up and say,“I don’t want to follow the way of the colonial masters any more. I want the Sharia. I want Islam. We want to be ruled by Islam. And all we have to do is go back to that golden generation.”
He routinely called America an evil country and is a strong leader in developing Sharia law inside America. His violent lectures are available to the adult and child Muslims throughout America.
"Those who struggle for Allah, it doesn't matter what kind of weapons, I'm telling you it doesn't matter! You don't need nuclear weapons or even guns! If you have faith in Allah and a knife!! If Allah wants you to win, you will win! Because Allah is the only one who fights. And when his hand is over your hand. whoever is at war against my friends, I declare war on them." (From a video of a sermon from Sept. 28, 1991 by Sirah Wahhaj called "The Afghanistan Jihad," given in Toronto, Canada.)
“If we go to war, brothers and sisters – and one day we will, believe me – that’s why you’re commanded [to fight in] jihad. When Allah demands us to fight, we’re not stopping and nobody’s stopping us.” (Sermon by Siraj Wahhaj entitled “Stand Up to Justice,” delivered on May 8, 1992 and distributed as a video.)Islamic teachings such as this are what led Major Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood Murderer, to commit his acts.
Although I have only focused on three mosques that lead the way in introducing Muslim children to violence and hatred, there are hundreds scattered across the U.S. Few states are immune from this growing threat. The violence spewed by these Islamic leaders will ultimately lead to more violence in the name of Islam. I have witnessed firsthand the violence being taught. There are numerous such Islamic centers in North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, New York and California.
Unless Muslim parents decry the violent teachings of Islam to their children, there will continue to be more and more Siraj Wahhaj-type Islamic leaders in America. The ultimate result will be the suffering of America as we now see in France, Britain and Canada.

Dave Gaubatz spent 20 years as an active duty USAF (Special Agent/OSI), 3.5 years as a civilian 1811 Federal Agent trained by the U.S. State Department in Arabic, and was the first U.S. Federal Agent to enter Iraq in 2003. He is also a counterterrorism counterintelligence officer. He is co-author of the book Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize AmericaHe can be reached at

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Joy of Beethoven

December 25, 2013
In a season of joy, it is worth dwelling on and marveling at the world’s anthem of joy, arguably the best piece of music ever written, which hasn’t lost its power to astound after nearly 200 years and, as long as there is such a thing as civilization, never will.
It is, of course, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Everyone knows the unforgettable melody of its “Ode to Joy,” the fourth movement that sets to music a poem by Friedrich Schiller. Performances of the symphony always feel like an event.
When the Berlin Wall fell, it was natural that Leonard Bernstein turned to the Ninth at the celebration.
The man who gave us this hymn of affirmation and possibility could be nasty and arrogant. But he was a towering musical genius who left to posterity incalculable gifts.
Music historian Paul Lang says of Beethoven that “there is still no department of music that does not owe him its very soul.” The great composer would have expected as much.
In all of his letters, Mozart never referred to himself as an artist. Beethoven considered himself an artist with a capital “A.” He evangelized for the importance of music in general and himself in particular.
Listening to his work, it is hard not to conclude that he got his place in the firmament exactly right.
Beethoven began composing the Ninth in 1818, when he was ­already deaf, but had thought about setting Schiller’s poem to music as far back as the early 1790s. The symphony premiered in Vienna in 1824.
The story goes that Beethoven was on stage beating the time and, with his back to the audience, couldn’t hear the applause. A singer turned him around so he could see the rapturous reaction.
The first three movements are brilliant enough — shimmering to life from nothingness at the beginning in what has been compared to the Creation story, then delivering crashing drama — but the fourth is a revelation. Soaring and haunting, it builds toward the entry of the baritone soloist: “O friends, not these tones. But rather, let us strike up more pleasant and more joyful ones.”
A chorus erupts, singing “Joy! Joy!” The singers praise “joy, beautiful spark of divinity” and tell of how “all mankind become brothers,” and exult, “Be embraced you millions/This kiss goes to the whole world.”
These sentiments, uncontroversial if not banal today, had a political point. Dismayed by the ascendancy of reaction in Europe, Beethoven meant the symphony to be an enduring expression of his faith in democracy and the brotherhood of man.
But it is more than that.
“Joy is beautiful because it provides harmony,” Schiller wrote of his poem. “It is ‘god-descended’ because all harmony is derived from the Master of Worlds and flows back to him.”
The ode declares, “Brothers — above the starry canopy/A beloved father must surely dwell.” Beethoven biographer Lewis Lockwood notes how the composer brought the religious message to the fore “as part of the great synthesis in which humanity’s ideal state can be found only by reaching toward the heavens to find God.”
It is a testament to Beethoven’s achievement that his masterpiece is familiar to the point of ubiquity — the anthem of the European Union no less — yet still ­vital.
A new documentary, “Following the Ninth,” traces its impact on people around the world. A few months ago, “60 Minutes” did a segment on a plucky, against-the-odds symphony orchestra in the desperately poor Congo.
Its rendition of the “Ninth” is ragged, but heartfelt and as moving as anything ever performed in Vienna.
The music historian Harold Schonberg writes of the Ninth Symphony, “The music is not pretty or even attractive. It is merely sublime.”
The Ode to Joy asks, “Do you sense the Creator, World?” It is the miracle of the Ninth that, at the height of its power, it almost compels the listener to answer “Yes!”
Photo: Getty Images

The sledgehammer justice of mandatory minimum sentences

Federal Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District of New York says documents called “statements of reasons” are an optional way for a judge to express “views that might be of interest.” The one he issued two months ago is still reverberating.
It expresses his dismay that although his vocation is the administration of justice, his function frequently is the infliction of injustice. The policy of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses has empowered the government to effectively nullify the constitutional right to a trial. As Lulzim Kupa learned.
Born to Albanian immigrants, he was convicted in 1999 and 2007 of distributing marijuana. Released from prison in 2010, he again engaged in trafficking, this time with enough cocaine to earn him charges involving a sentence of 10 years to life. On March 5, 2013, prosecutors offered this: In exchange for a guilty plea, he would effectively be sentenced within the range of 110 months to 137 months — but the offer would expire the next day. Kupa rejected the offer, so on March 15 prosecutors filed a “prior felony information,” a.k.a. an 851 notice, citing the two marijuana convictions. So, 10 days after saying a sentence of perhaps less than eight years (assuming good time credits) would be appropriate, prosecutors were threatening a sentence of life without parole. This gave him no incentive to plead guilty.
Then, however, they immediately proposed another plea agreement involving about nine years’ imprisonment. Given a day to decide, he acted too slowly, so prosecutors again increased the recommended sentence. Finally, Kupa caved: “I want to plead guilty, your Honor, before things get worse.” If, after the 851 notice, he had insisted on a trial and been found guilty, he would have died in prison for a nonviolent drug offense. He is 37.
Tyquan Midyett, a high school dropout from a broken home and foster care, began using marijuana at 14. He was 26 when he was arrested for selling less than four ounces of crack. Because this was his second offense, the best he could do pleading guilty was a 10-year sentence. When he hesitated, the government gave him a date to agree or it would file an 851 notice, which would double the mandatory minimum to 20 years. He went to trial, was convicted and is serving 240 months for an offense that, without the escalating coercions aimed at a guilty plea, would have received a sentence of 46 months to 57 months.
In 2008, an 851 notice was filed against Charles Doutre, based on two prior convictions for distribution of $50 worth of drugs and simple possession of drugs. The judge who was required to sentence him to life in prison said, “I’ve imposed a life sentence six times, and it was for a murder each time.” Doutre is 32.
Eleven years ago, Dennis Capps, 39, a methamphetamine addict, pleaded guilty to two instances of trafficking involving a quantity of drugs he could hold in his hand. He conquered his addiction for a long time, then relapsed, and in this year was convicted of another drug offense. Because he insisted on a trial, the government filed an 851 notice. He was convicted and is serving life without parole.
Kenneth Harvey was 24 in 1989 when he committed a crack cocaine offense. He had two prior offenses that qualified as felony drug convictions even though they were not deemed serious enough for imprisonment. They, however, enabled the government to make an 851 filing. He will die in prison. Harvey is 48.
Thousands of prisoners are serving life without parole for nonviolent crimes. Gleeson, who is neither naive nor sentimental (as a prosecutor, he sent mobster John Gotti to die in a supermax prison), knows that most defendants who plead guilty are guilty. He is, however, dismayed at the use of the threat of mandatory minimums as “sledgehammers” to extort guilty pleas, effectively vitiating the right to a trial. Ninety-seven percent of federal convictions are without trials, sparing the government the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Mere probable cause, and the meager presentation required for a grand jury indictment, suffices. “Judging is removed,” Gleeson says, “prosecutors become sentencers.” And when threats of draconian sentences compel guilty pleas, “some innocent people will plead guilty.”
Barack ObamaAttorney General Eric Holder and Sens. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are questioning the regime of mandatory minimum sentences, including recidivism enhancements, that began with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. Meanwhile, the human and financial costs of mass incarceration mount.
Read more from George F. Will’s archive or follow him on Facebook.

Egypt Declares Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Group

Posted By Ryan Mauro On December 26, 2013 @ 12:51 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | No Comments

no obama egypt flag
The Egyptian government formally labeled the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group on Christmas, banning all of its activities including protests. The Obama Administration, advised by Brotherhood-friendly groups in the U.S., is unlikely to follow in Egypt’s footsteps in calling a spade a spade.
The announcement came after the government blamed the Brotherhood for the suicide bombing of a police station in Mansoura. No proof was offered of Brotherhood involvement. A pro-Al-Qaeda group named Ansar Jerusalem, based in the Sinai Peninsula, took credit.

That didn’t stop local protestors from immediately rallying against the Brotherhood, s effigies of the group’s leaders and attacking property owned by a Brotherhood member. The Egyptian public as a whole remainshostile to the Brotherhood and loyal to the military, with about half the population wanting the group outlawed. Another poll taken in August showed that almost 70% want it banned from politics.

The Brotherhood may or may not be involved in that specific bombing in Mansoura, but that doesn’t mean it is peaceful. It has threatened to form a rebel armed force. After the Egyptian military’s crackdown on the Brotherhood began, Egyptians outraged by the response of the U.S. government and media posted eye-opening videos showing Brotherhood members threatening violence, attacking Egyptian security forces and churches, and putting children at risk for the sake of propaganda.

In addition, Brotherhood preachers continue to instigate violence in Egypt and abroad. The organization knows what it’s doing. Why officially engage in violence when individual members and Salafist allies will do so on their own accord, leaving room for deniability?

The labeling of the group as terrorists comes as the government prosecutes former President Morsi and many other Brotherhood operatives. Morsi is accused of involvement in a “terrorist plan” begun in 2005 to send Brotherhood fighters to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip for training by Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The Obama Administration has decided to swim against the regional anti-Brotherhood wave, cutting aid to Egypt’s government and siding with the Brotherhood. The result is a realignment in alliances that pushes the Arab world into the arms of Russia.

It is extremely unlikely that the U.S. State Department will similarly designate the Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, even though it meets the qualifications. It is more likely that the administration will condemn Egypt’s latest action.

The State Department says there are three criteria a group must meet to be designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

First, the group must be foreign. The Brotherhood’s home base is in Egypt. Its International Organization reportedly moved to Tunisia. Turkey has become its “regional hub” and senior leaders are hosted in Qatar. Check.

Second, it must threaten U.S. nationals or national security, including the American economy. Its regional ambitions for a Caliphate undoubtedly threaten U.S. security. As for nationals, the Brotherhood has justified attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also steadfastly supports the terrorism of Hamas and other groups against U.S. allies.

In August 2012, I had an intriguing exchange with the Brotherhood’s English-language Twitter account. It started off with insulting me as “delusional” and a “scaremonger.” It later posted an article arguing that it opposes violence. I asked whether there were exceptions, such as for U.S. soldiers.

“Unless if they were aggressors and invaders of our lands no matter what nationality? Of course,” was the response.

I followed up by asking if the staging country of the “aggressors and invaders” would be an acceptable target in that scenario. The answer was, “yes, according to International Law, it’s an act of war.”

Of course, the Brotherhood regularly slams the U.S. and its allies as “aggressors and invaders.” Therefore, as the Brotherhood indirectly admitted, the U.S. can be considered a legitimate target.
Thirdly, to qualify as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, the group must “engage in terrorist activity or retain the capability and intention to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism.”

That’s easy. Hamas is labeled a Foreign Terrorist Organization and Hamas’s charter states that it is the Palestinian “wing” of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas changed its name in December 2011 to clarify that it is a “branch” of the Brotherhood. There is even video of Hamas leaders publicly pledging allegiance to the Brotherhood and, specifically, to its jihad.

Brotherhood apologists will argue that the group is not operationally supportive of Hamas terrorism, only ideologically. This is false. For example, the Treasury Department designated the Union of Good as a terrorist entity for financing Hamas. It is led by Yousef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood.

Israeli aircraft have conducted numerous airstrikes on Iranian rocket shipments to the Gaza Strip through Sudan and Egypt. Hamas does not have an independent structure in Egypt. It is obvious that the Brotherhood networks in Egypt helped manage this route.

It was also proven in court that the Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure in America is guilty of terrorist activity by financing Hamas. The Holy Land Foundation was a key U.S. Muslim Brotherhood component, managed under the Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, until it was shut down in 2001 for financing Hamas.

When the Holy Land Foundation was found guilty in court in 2008, the Muslim Brotherhood was essentially found guilty. The two are one and the same.

Other U.S. Brotherhood components like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust were labeled unindicted co-conspirators in the trial. In 2009, Judge Solis upheld the labels because of “ample” evidence linking the unindicted co-conspirators to Hamas and the overall terrorism-supporting Brotherhood infrastructure.

Federal prosecutors separately confirmed the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in terrorism in a 2007 court filing. It stated:
From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists…the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists.
The Muslim Brotherhood fulfills all three requirements to be labeled a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department.

There are three reasons why this has not happened: The Brotherhood’s lobby, ignorance and fear.
The political influence of the Brotherhood lobby is enormous. President Obama even addressed the annual convention of a U.S. Brotherhood entity in September. It continues to advise the administration, just as it did the two before it. The impact can even be seen on the Department of Homeland Security.

The lobby’s influence triggers the second factor: Ignorance. Politicians, media figures, even counter-terrorism personnel are left in the dark.

Then, there’s the third factor: Fear. Designating the Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization would be messy.

Dozens of mosques and Islamic centers would be raided and the most powerful Muslim-American organizations would be shut down or, at least, publicly investigated. The outcry of “Islamophobia” would be louder than ever as news cameras repeatedly aired footage of federal agents entering mosques.

The global Brotherhood apparatus would go into anti-American overdrive and some of those refraining from violence would reconsider. It would spark outrage from Muslim governments and organizations around the world, especially from “ally” Qatar and NATO member Turkey.

None of these excuses are acceptable. If a group qualifies as a terrorist organization, it needs to be treated as such, regardless of convenience. The facts speak for themselves: The Muslim Brotherhood is a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Today's Tune: Johnny Cash & Family - 1977 Christmas Show [Complete]

Persecution at Christmastime

Middle Eastern Christians wonder, “If they kill us all, would Western Christians do something then?” 

During this holy season, Christians turn their thoughts to that first Christmas and to the early Christians. This year, we should prayerfully reflect on the fact that those church communities founded by Thomas, Mark, Paul, Andrew, and the other disciples of Jesus, communities that have remained faithful for 2,000 years, are now suffering mightily for their faith.

The reason is religious persecution. Christians will always be persecuted, the Scriptures tell us, but the unbearable scope of this wave is due to burgeoning extremism within some Muslim sectors. It now poses an existential threat to Middle Eastern Christians — though it is not limited to the Middle East.

At an address this month in Rome before Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project, Archbishop Louis Sako of Baghdad, the Chaldean Catholic patriarch of Babylon,expounded on this development:
For almost two millennia Christian communities have lived in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. . . . Unfortunately, in the 21st century Middle Eastern Christians are being severely persecuted. . . . In most of these countries, Islamist extremists see Christians as an obstacle to their plans. Some nations, dominated by extremist ideas, do not want so-called “Arab Spring” democracy. Freedom and pluralism are dangerous to them and their goals.
On December 17, Britain’s Prince Charles, after visiting Middle Eastern churches in London, made a similar point: “Christians in parts of the Middle East are being deliberately targeted by Islamist militants in a campaign of persecution.” This observation was considered so extraordinary it made headlines in Britain.

The Islamist religious-cleansing campaign is now acute in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, countries that are home to three of the four Mideastern Christian communities of significant size. New data released by the United Nations Committee for Refugees estimates that 850,000 Christians have fled Iraq since 2003, meaning that as few as 250,000 might remain. Syrian Christians have well-founded fears that this is now their fate, too. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of oppressed Egyptian Copts are hedging their bets and buying houses in Georgia, Cyprus, and the United States.

The voices of the persecuted are searing. In addition to relating the horrors they face, they frequently raise another problem, their abandonment by the West. “We feel forgotten and isolated. We sometimes wonder, if they kill us all, what would be the reaction of Christians in the West? Would they do something then?” Archbishop Sako asks.

Congress’s impassioned champion of religious freedom, Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia, speaks frequently about his own frustration that Western leaders are silent about this immense human-rights crisis. “We’re seeing the destruction of Syrian Christianity. The road to Damascus, the very road where Paul found Jesus, may be the one that passes close by Maaloula,” he emphasized in a recent conversation with me. He was referring to the historic Christian town recently laid siege by jihadists and from where a dozen Orthodox nuns were taken hostage this month.

A few days ago, I received a message from Rima Tüzün of the European Syriac Union. Like the Iraqi archbishop, she voices palpable despair:
Kidnapping, killings, ransom, rape . . . 2013 is a tragedy for Christians in Syria. All Syrians have endured great suffering and distress. The Christians, however, often had to pay with their lives for their faith. Our bishops and nuns have been kidnapped, our political leader killed by torture. After our Christian villages have been occupied, our churches have been destroyed and even mass graves were found in Saddad. Referring to latest information from December 16th: Two thousand Christians are hostages in the hands of the Islamists. On Saturday night rebels of Al-Nusra occupied the Christian city Kanaye, region Idlib. Since then, the Christian residents of Kanaya are being held hostages. The Islamists have put [to] the Christians the alternative: Islam or death. Why [is] the West just watching?
Many Middle Eastern Christians are leaving, and some are now refugees twice over. This month, my Smith College alumnae magazine features Taleen Dilanyan, a Smith sophomore majoring in chemistry. In 2006 she fled her homeland of Iraq to Syria, only to have to flee again five years later, from Syria to Massachusetts. “I’m thankful for each day that I’m living here and not having my life threatened,” she says. Like many Americans, her classmates have little awareness of the ongoing religious persecution in that part of the world and are surprised that she, or any of her compatriots, could be Christian. “People assume I’m a Muslim because I’m Iraqi,” she notes.     

It has been a hard year for Egypt’s Copts, too. My colleague Egyptian analyst Samuel Tadros concluded that last August’s mass attacks against Egyptian churches have been the single largest onslaught against the Copts in 700 years. There were other firsts as well, such as the first assault against Cairo’s St. Mark’s cathedral, seat of the Coptic pope, while inside a funeral was being held for four Copts murdered by a mob that had been incited by a rumor of blasphemy.

The Copts’ problems did not end with the military ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government. On December 10, Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church testified before the Africa Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives that the attacks by “radical elements in society” are “increasingly disturbing” because they “are not merely on individuals but on the Christian and minority presence in its entirety.”

Eradicating the entire Christian and Jewish, Baha’i, Mandean, Yizidi, and other minority presence — this pattern has now spread beyond the Arab countries to other regions. It has been catastrophic for churches in parts of Africa. Churches of all faith traditions are deliberately targeted; Pope Francis calls this “the ecumenism of blood.”

Habila Adamu, a Christian businessman from Yobe in northern Nigeria, was the only man in his neighborhood to survive a Boko Haram massacre in 2012. Last month, brought to Washington by the Jubilee Campaign and brandishing x-rays and photos, he spoke of his ordeal to a Hudson Institute audience:
For the second time, they asked me “are you ready to die as a Christian.” And I told them, “I am ready.” But before I closed my mouth, they fired [shot] me through my nose and the bullet came out the back. I fell on the ground. The gunmen thought I was already dead . . . and cried out “Allah Akbar.” I told [my wife] that I am alive. . . . I asked her to look for help and she went out. She found that our Christian neighbors have been killed. We have one elder in my church, himself and his son were killed that night, including twelve others. . . . I am alive because God wants you to hear a message: Do everything you can to end this ruthless persecution in northern Nigeria.
 The Islamist extremist government of President Bashir, an indicted war criminal, for over two decades has visited unspeakable persecutions on the Sudanese Christians, who trace their country’s Christian origins to the biblically attested eunuch of Queen Candace (Acts: 26–27). Bashir regularly bombs Nuba Mountains civilians. In 1993, in a militant Islamization and Arabization campaign, he arranged a fatwa declaring the Nuba Muslims apostate and, along with the “infidel” Christians and traditional African believers, thus targets for death. Macram Gassis, bishop emeritus of the Catholic diocese of El Obeid, Sudan, has been a consistent voice for all the Nuba people. He writes that they “die for their languages, for their traditions, culture, and creed” and begins his prayer for blessing, “Lord Jesus, we come to you, we hold you by the hand, bruised, disfigured, maimed, and trembling by the explosions.”

Since March, in the Central African Republic, which is overwhelmingly Christian, the jihadist group Seleka has overthrown the secular government, has installed a Muslim one instead, and seeks to establish an Islamic state with the help of foreign fighters. According to international press reports, Christians have been treated mercilessly. Christian self-defense militias, called “anti-balaka” — or “anti-machete,” after the Muslim militants’ weapon of choice — formed a few months ago and engage in reprisal killings, which are condemned by the Catholic Church. In recent weeks, French- and U.S.-military-supported African Union troops have worked to quell the violence and disarm both groups. The following are excerpts adapted from letters, provided by the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need, that Abbot Dieu-Béni Mbanga, chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of Bangui, wrote on December 5 and 6:
Christians in the Archdiocese of Bangui went to sleep last night planning to get up today to join the diocesan pilgrimage to the Marian sanctuary at Ngukomba. It turned out very differently. The firing of weapons of war woke up all of Bangui. . . . 
By mid-morning, the parishes of St. John of Galabadja and Bangui’s Cathedral of Our Lady the Immaculate had taken in some 1,000 people. . . . The stream of people seeking shelter continued to grow in the afternoon, doubling in size, with their number tripling by nightfall. . . .
Those who have found refuge in Church buildings are not safe from bullets in the least, as attacks by Seleka militants are even penetrating these structures. . . .
The protestant church of Castors has taken in more than 1,000 people. . . . [There] a Seleka colonel named Bichara and his men entered the church and ordered only women and children to leave the church, the men having to stay inside. The men did not comply and decided to leave at the same time as the women and children. That is when Seleka forces opened fire on them, killing five men.
In a major address in November, Cardinal Timothy Dolan focused on persecuted Christians. He called for prayer and urged his listeners to “insist that our country’s leaders make the protection of at-risk Christians abroad a foreign-policy priority for the United States.”

Few have heeded his call. Representative Wolf’s bill for the creation of the office of a special envoy for religious minorities languishes in the Senate for a third year. Many more American voices — religious and political — are needed to raise awareness of this religious-freedom crisis of historic magnitude.

This Christmas, we can all do something. We can keep in mind Abbot Mbanga’s words regarding the persecuted: “I keep them in my prayers and commend them to yours: God may guard over each of them and protect them, just as He promised to all those belonging to His people: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace’” (Num. 6: 24–26).

— Nina Shea is director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and co-author of Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians.