Archive for April 10th, 2010

“INTELLECTUALS WELCOME TARIQ RAMADAN TO COOPER UNION” by Fern Sidman

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

On Thursday evening, April 8th, the vaunted hero of the American left and the denizens of the “politically correct” intellectual enclaves made his return appearance at Cooper Union in New York City. In a panel discussion entitled, “Secularism, Islam and Democracy: Muslims in Europe and the West”, Tariq Ramadan, the formerly “exiled” professor of Islamic Studies at Oxford University took center stage at the forum sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Association of University Professors, PEN American Center, the American Academy of Religion and Slate Magazine. The audience of approximately 600 people consisted of those who call him “slippery,” “double-faced,” “dangerous,” but his left-wing apologists refer to him as “brilliant,” a “bridge-builder,” and a “Muslim Martin Luther.”

Controversy has swirled around Ramadan, for the better part of his adult life. He is the grandson of Hassan al Banna, who in 1928 founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and is the son of Said Ramadan who is credited with bringing the Muslim Brotherhood to Germany where it eventually spread throughout Europe.
Born in Switzerland, when his father was exiled from Egypt by Gamal Abdul Nasser, Ramadan studied philosophy, literature and social sciences at the University of Geneva and pursued a Master’s degree in philosophy and French literature. He received his PhD in Arabic and Islamic studies. He is best known for his dangerously duplicitous positions on Islamic radicalism. His passive and ostensibly reasoned posture while speaking to Western audiences betrays his bellicose commitment to the furtherance of Sharia law that he reserves exclusively for Muslim only gatherings.

The web site of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy says of Ramadan:

“Ramadan is a self proclaimed Salafi-reformist whose version of reform appears to basically be a modernization of the political system prevalent at the time of the Prophet Mohammed rather than advocacy for individual liberty and the separation of mosque and state. A ‘rock star’ among the many European Muslims, namely Islamists, Ramadan is considered the most cited individual on Islam in Europe. Ramadan eloquently uses language that supports the precepts of non-violence and involvement in western society, yet he does not distance himself in any way or nearly adequately from the supremacy of political Islam and the concept of the Islamic State. His excuse is that he is speaking “from within Muslims”. But this prevents a real understanding of his ideas on political Islam, the Islamic state and Sharia versus constitutional republics and the establishment clause. It prevents a real understanding of his position on the Muslim Brotherhood and thus becomes actual tacit support of the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ramadan has been unacceptably deceptive on issues related to Sharia such as laws against apostasy, proscribed punishments under Islamic law, the continued viability of the Islamic state and the Ummah, one law versus Sharia law, and real equality for women in all settings to name a few. His positions remain essentially in line with the Muslim Brotherhood-which remains against the best interests of Muslims. His access to media portrays a homogeneity to Muslim opinions which is outright false and denies the real diversity in Muslim communities and ideologies.”

Ramadan accepted the tenured position of Henry R. Luce Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame University in February 2004, but that August, U.S. Customs officials denied Ramadan entry into the country under the “ideological exclusion provision” of the Patriot Act. The university filed a petition on Ramadan’s behalf but hearing nothing from the government, he resigned from the post in December 2004. Ramadan was later denied other attempts to get visas so he could honor speaking engagements with the ACLU, the American Association of University Professors and the PEN American Center being among the groups wanting to host him and arguing on his behalf in the ensuing legal wars. After a federal judge ordered the government to make a decision on Ramadan’s pending visa request, his application was denied in September 2006, with a U.S. consular officer concluding the academic’s actions “constituted providing material support to a terrorist organization.”

The government’s evidence was $940 Ramadan gave to two charity groups that the U.S. Treasury Department linked to Hamas in August 2003 On January 20, 2010, the American State Department had decided, in a document signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to lift the ban that prohibited Ramadan (as well as Professor Adam Habib from South Africa) from entering the United States. And now, Ramadan has triumphantly returned to the US for what some call the “Tariq Ramadan American Islamist Victory Tour 2010”.

Ramadan was introduced by Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, which litigates cases concerning dissent, discrimination, detention, surveillance and due process. He was counsel to the plaintiffs in American Academy of Religion v Chertoff, the lawsuit that ended the ban on Ramadan. Hailing him as the sacrificial lamb of the Bush administration’s anti-Islamic agenda, Jaffer said this evening was dedicated “to creating a safe political space for the exchange of ideas”.

The panel was moderated by Jacob Weisberg, the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of The Slate Group, which publishes Slate Magazine and other web sites. Weisberg introduced the other members of the panel, but noted that the evening would focus on the philosophies of Tariq Ramadan and that he’d be asking some hard hitting questions. The other panel members included Dalia Mogahed, a Senior Analyst and Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and the co-author of a book entitled, “Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think”, George Packer, a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of “The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq”, Joan Wallach Scott, professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advance Study and the author of the “Politics of the Veil”. She is known internationally for writings that theorize gender as an analytic category.

Ramadan took the lectern and thanked the sponsoring groups for championing his free speech rights and then went on to say that while he is sharply critical of American policy vis-a vis Iraq and Afghanistan, he is not anti-Western and feels that Muslims in Europe can maintain a pro-Western lifestyle while closely adhering to their Islamic beliefs. He said that Islamic women were now taking their place in the forefront of those who frame the debate on the dual role of Muslims in a secular European culture and those who remain faithful to Koranic principles.

“Islam is really a Western religion and Muslims in Europe can and should be loyal citizens of the countries in which they live. Many people are scared of the Muslim presence in Europe but we know that we can integrate diversity through secularism, humility, respect and consistency. Muslim women are informing the process and if you look at them you think they’re oppressed but when you hear the way they think and speak, they’re clearly a driving force in Islam”, said Ramadan.

Concerning his thoughts on the Bush administration, Ramadan intoned, “Bush implied that all Muslims were ‘others’, they were different and somehow dangerous. While I am a vocal opponent of US policy in the Middle East, all I am saying is that I am against the murder of Iraqi civilians and I am waiting for the new administration to be an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I am still waiting because I don’t see it as of yet in the Obama administration”

Ramadan’s detractors view his rhetoric quite differently. “Tariq Ramadan’s entry into America needs to be met with open dialogue from the Muslim Community, non-Muslim organizations and the media on the real threat of Political Islam,” says M. Zuhdi Jasser, the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). “It is incumbent on all Americans, especially American Muslims, to engage Ramadan at any opportunity to demonstrate that the US Constitution trumps the construct of the Islamic State.” He went on to say, “To give Ramadan an unfettered platform for his dissimulation while also perpetuating his message of victimization is to give him and his clerical colleagues a status which will forever retard real reform within Muslim thought. Real reform comes from those Muslim leaders with the personal strength of character to call for an end to the Islamic state and the separation of mosque and state. Ramadan has not. Rather he is a soft tongued global instrument of political Islam against the bulwark of real freedom and liberty as we know it in the United States.”

Pajamas Media columnist and prolific author, Phyllis Chesler stated in a March 25, 2010 article entitled, “Bin Laden Threatens America, NYC Welcomes Tariq Ramadan”, “Ramadan is not my problem, I know him for the snake he is. Rather, it would be the sight of so many Americans who’ve glamorized him, who are fooled by him, who have come to worship Death at his feet.”

Panelist George Packer of The New Yorker magazine asked Ramadan why he never roundly condemned his grandfather, Hassan al Banna, for his unyielding support and succor of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who spent years in Nazi Germany and advocated the mass extermination of the Jews. Ramadan danced around the question saying that his grandfather was misquoted and that he never advocated a totalitarian or fascist regime but only supported the Mufti in terms of his fierce opposition to the creation of the State of Israel. Packer pressed Ramadan on this point and asked how his grandfather could flagrantly align himself with someone who extolled such a pernicious philosophy of classical anti-Semitism. Ramadan refused to admit that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was anti-Semitic but rather claimed that he was righteous in his position that Palestine should not be colonized by the Jews of Europe or the West.

Charges of anti-Semitism have dogged Ramadan since he penned an article in 2003 entitled, “Critique of the (New) Communalist Intellectuals.” Ramadan’s main argument was that “French Jewish intellectuals” — like Bernard-Henri Lévy, Alain Finkielkraut, Bernard Kouchner, André Glucksmann and Pierre-André Taguieff (in fact not Jewish at all) — who used to be “considered universalist intellectuals” had become knee-jerk defenders of Israel and thus “had relativized the defense of universal principles of equality and justice.” Ramadan was trying to turn the tables on those who accuse Muslims of obsessing about their victimhood by accusing “Jewish intellectuals” of doing precisely that, thinking of just their own tribal concerns, while Ramadan’s pursuit of justice for Palestinians was supposedly part of a universalist project.

On the question of the rampant oppression of women in the Muslim world, panelist Joan Wallach Scott, a Ramadan supporter, asserted that the issue of gender equality “has been used as a veil” to divert attention from the “social inequality” of Muslims in the Western hemisphere. Citing purported discriminatory practices against Muslims in such countries as France, Scott said that “unemployment is higher for Muslims in France than it is for French nationals” and that Muslims are viewed as “inferior” in the West. From a historical perspective she described Muslims as a “colonized people”, subject to prejudice in its most banal form.

Refusing to address such pervasive misogynistic practices in the Islamic world as forced marriages, stonings, beatings, immolations and honor murders of women, Scott pointed to what she perceived as the sheer hypocrisy of the Western patriarchy who she claims are trying to interfere with the reproductive rights of American women, but are “suddenly concerned and overly involved in the oppression of Muslim women,” She concluded by saying that Muslim women wear head scarves, veils, burqas and hijab on their own volition and not because they are coerced by the religious dictums of Islamic culture. She called gender equality a “political tool” that has nothing to do with protecting the rights of Muslim women.

Ramadan also heaped criticism on Dutch intellectual, feminist activist, writer, and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who also happens to be a prominent critic of Islam. “Ali believes that Islam is problematic and that one cannot be a Muslim and open to democracy at the same time. She believes that the only way to be a Muslim is to become an ex-Muslim”, Ramadan exclaimed. He remained silent on the issue of the religious dogma of Islam that opposes any government that is not ruled by Sharia law or the practice of religious apartheid that is practiced in many Muslim countries.

When questioned about his statements pertaining to homosexuals being anathema in Islamic law and how the Muslim world is being forced to accept homosexuality in order to appear politically correct and more Westernized, Ramadan deftly skirted the question by figuratively tipping his hat to “political correctness” by saying “this is how Muslims perceive the world is viewing them, not how they perceive themselves. You can disagree with someone being gay but we should respect that person and not tell him or her that they are not a Muslim because of this.”

The evening concluded with the reading of several pithy questions from audience members that were read aloud by the moderator. It was not at all difficult to see that Ramadan had not fooled everyone as challenging questions were presented to him by the audience and several people commented that in order to understand the real Tariq Ramadan, they should read the books entitled “The Islamist, The Journalist, and the Defense of Liberalism: Who’s Afraid of Tariq Ramadan?” by Paul Berman and “Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan” by Caroline Fourest.

Ramadan continues his charade in the next few weeks in such cities as Chicago, Detroit, Washington and Garden Grove, California. May the forces of truth have the temerity to boldly confront this purveyor of mendacity.

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Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

“The Real Reason They Hate Us” by Frank Gaffney

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

For the first time in its history, the United States is trying to wage and win a war without accurately identifying the enemy or its motivations for seeking to destroy us. That oversight defies both common sense and past military experience, and it disarms us in what may be the most decisive theater of this conflict: the battle of ideas.

Such a breakdown may seem incredible to veterans of past military conflicts. Imagine fighting World War II without clarity about Nazism and fascism, or the Cold War without an appreciation of Soviet communism and the threat it posed.

Yet today, the civilian leaders of this country and their senior subordinates – responsible for the U.S. military, the intelligence community, homeland security and federal law enforcement – have systematically failed to fully realize that we once again face a totalitarian ideology bent on our destruction.

That failure is the more worrisome since the current ideological menace is arguably more dangerous than any we have faced in the past, for two reasons. First, its adherents believe their mission of global conquest is divinely inspired. Second, they are here in the United States in significant numbers, not just a threat elsewhere around the world.

What, then, is this ideology? It has been given many names in recent years, including political Islam, radical Islam, fundamentalist Islam, extremist Islam and Islamofascism. There is, however, a more accurate descriptor – the one its adherents use. They call it “Shariah.”

Perhaps the most important thing to understand about Shariah is that it is authoritative Islam, which presents itself as a complete way of life – cultural, political, military, social and religious, all governed by the same doctrine. In other words, this comprehensive program is not simply the agenda of extremists hunkered down in caves in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Neither can its directives be attributed to deviants hijacking Islam.

Rather, Shariah – which translates from Arabic as “path to God” – is actually binding law. It is taught as such by the most revered sacred texts, traditions, institutions, top academic centers, scholars and leaders of the Islamic faith. Fortunately, hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world do not wish to live under a brutally repressive, woman-demeaning, barbaric and totalitarian program. Such Muslims are potentially our allies, just as those who do adhere to Shariah are our unalterable foes.

The immutability of Shariah-adherent Muslim hostility toward the rest of us derives directly from the central tenet of Shariah: Muslims are explicitly required to seek the triumph of Islam over all other faiths, peoples and governments.

The ultimate objective of Shariah is the establishment of a global Islamic state – Sunni Muslims call it “the caliphate” – governed by Shariah. The means by which this political outcome is to be achieved is called “jihad.”

Since 9/11, many Americans have become unhappily acquainted with the terrifying, violent strain of jihad. Under Shariah, violence – often described by non-Muslims as “terrorism” – is the preferred means of securing the spread and dominion of Islam, as it is the most efficient.

While Shariah deems jihad to be the personal obligation of every faithful Muslim capable of performing it – man or woman, young or old – they can forgo the violent form when it is deemed impracticable. In such circumstances, the struggle can be pursued through means that are, at least temporarily, non-violent. Taken together, the latter constitute what renowned author and expert Robert Spencer calls “stealth jihad.” Adherents to Shariah call it “dawah.”

Examples of stealth jihadism abound in Western societies, notably Europe and increasingly in the United States. They include the demand for symbolic and substantive accommodations in political, economic and legal areas (for example, special treatment or rights for Muslims in the workplace, in public spaces and by government); the opportunity to penetrate and influence operations against government at every level; and the insinuation of the Trojan horse of “Shariah-compliant finance” into the West’s capital markets.

If stealth jihad seems less threatening than terrorism, the objective is exactly the same as that of violent jihad: the subjugation to the Dar al-Islam (House of Islam) of all non-Islamic states that, like the United States, make up the Dar al-harb (House of War). It follows that those who seek ostensibly to impose Shariah through non-violent techniques – notably in the West, the organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood – are our enemies every bit as much as those who overtly strive to defeat us by murderous terrorism.

Many Western elites, including the Obama administration, have been seduced by the seemingly benign quality of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, we know from the 2008 prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation – the largest terrorism-financing trial in U.S. history – that the Muslim Brothers’ mission in the United States is “a kind of grand jihad to destroy Western civilization from within … by their own miserable hands.”

Read the rest of the article here.

“Nuclear Posturing, Obama-Style” by Charles Krauthammer

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

WASHINGTON — Nuclear doctrine consists of thinking the unthinkable. It involves making threats and promising retaliation that is cruel and destructive beyond imagining. But it has its purpose: to prevent war in the first place.

During the Cold War, we let the Russians know that if they dared use their huge conventional military advantage and invaded Western Europe, they risked massive U.S. nuclear retaliation. Goodbye Moscow.

Was this credible? Would we have done it? Who knows? No one’s ever been there. A nuclear posture is just that — a declaratory policy designed to make the other guy think twice.

Our policies did. The result was called deterrence. For half a century, it held. The Soviets never invaded. We never used nukes. That’s why nuclear doctrine is important.

The Obama administration has just issued a new one that “includes significant changes to the U.S. nuclear posture,” said Defense Secretary Bob Gates. First among these involves the U.S. response to being attacked with biological or chemical weapons.

Under the old doctrine, supported by every president of both parties for decades, any aggressor ran the risk of a cataclysmic U.S. nuclear response that would leave the attacking nation a cinder and a memory.

Again: Credible? Doable? No one knows. But the threat was very effective.

Under President Obama’s new policy, however, if the state that has just attacked us with biological or chemical weapons is “in compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),” explained Gates, then “the U.S. pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against it.”

Imagine the scenario: Hundreds of thousands are lying dead in the streets of Boston after a massive anthrax or nerve gas attack. The president immediately calls in the lawyers to determine whether the attacking state is in compliance with the NPT. If it turns out that the attacker is up-to-date with its latest IAEA inspections, well, it gets immunity from nuclear retaliation. (Our response is then restricted to bullets, bombs and other conventional munitions.)

However, if the lawyers tell the president that the attacking state is NPT noncompliant, we are free to blow the bastards to nuclear kingdom come.

This is quite insane. It’s like saying that if a terrorist deliberately uses his car to mow down a hundred people waiting at a bus stop, the decision as to whether he gets (a) hanged or (b) 100 hours of community service hinges entirely on whether his car had passed emissions inspections.

Apart from being morally bizarre, the Obama policy is strategically loopy. Does anyone believe that North Korea or Iran will be more persuaded to abjure nuclear weapons because they could then carry out a biological or chemical attack on the U.S. without fear of nuclear retaliation?

The naivete is stunning. Similarly the Obama pledge to forswear development of any new nuclear warheads, indeed, to permit no replacement of aging nuclear components without the authorization of the president himself. This under the theory that our moral example will move other countries to eschew nukes.

On the contrary. The last quarter-century — the time of greatest superpower nuclear arms reduction — is precisely when Iran and North Korea went hellbent into the development of nuclear weapons.

Read the rest of the article here.

Four Miners Found Dead in West Virginia Coal Mine

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

A sad ending to the West Virginia coal mine disaster. Please pray for the family and friends of the lost miners.

MONTCOAL, W.Va. – Searchers found four bodies deep in a West Virginia coal mine shattered by an explosion, raising the death toll to 29 and ending an excruciating week for families holding onto faint hopes that their missing miners had somehow survived.

Crews are to soon begin the bleak task of carrying out 22 bodies from Massey Energy Co.’s Upper Big Branch mine, though officials said Saturday no timetable has been set. Seven bodies were removed after Monday’s blast, making it the worst U.S. coal mining disaster since a 1970 explosion killed 38 in Hyden, Ky.

The investigation into the company that has an extensive list of safety violations at the mine also will begin with President Barack Obama wanting some answers in a report next week and Congress planning hearings.

The discovery of the final four bodies ended days of futile searches by rescue crews that repeatedly battled a volatile mix of poisonous gases and thick smoke that turned them back on three previous attempts. The massive blast also left the inside of the mine a mess of twisted tracks, boulders and debris.

“We did not receive the miracle that we prayed for,” Gov. Joe Manchin told reporters after meeting with relatives to deliver the news. “So this journey has ended and now the healing will start.”

Original Link.