Speakers highlight conflict with ISIS, Islam’s portrayal in the media

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University students and community members gathered in the Sterling R. Church Auditorium Tuesday night for a discussion titled “ISIS and the Media’s Portrayal of the Islamic Religion” hosted by the Southern Utah Democrats.

Two speakers were featured at the event: Michael Stathis, a professor of political science at SUU, and Madelyn Crookston, a Muslim-American convert from Parowan.

Michael Stathis (left), a professor of Political Science at SUU, speaks on the roll of the United States in the ISIS conflict at discussion at SUU on Oct. 28, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

Michael Stathis (left), a professor of Political Science at SUU, speaks on the role of the United States in the ISIS conflict at discussion at SUU, Cedar City, Utah, Oct. 28, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

Stathis kicked off the discussion by speaking on the history of ISIS, also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Islamic State, and how the group differs from others in the past.

“The rise of ISIS, for most people, came out of nowhere,” Stathis said. “No one saw it coming. Abu Bakr (al-Baghdadi) … was a totally unknown person.”

Whatever people may call it — whether it is ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State — the intent of the group is something the United States has not seen in basic terrorist groups before, Stathis said. Unlike other terrorist groups whose main concern has been to export terrorism around the world, ISIS’ main goal is to carve out territory.

The brutality the world has witnessed at the hands of ISIS is unlike anything seen in modern times, Stathis said. There are rumors that al-Baghdadi’s break away from al-Qaeda was because he did not feel the group was brutal enough, which can be hard to imagine.

The main question many Americans raise is, “what should the United States do about the situation?” Stathis said. The United States has made many poor decisions regarding the Middle East since World War II and some people suggest that the rise of ISIS is due to the fall-out from the war in Iraq.

That is partially true, Stathis said, but it is also from the civil war in Syria, as well as a number of other things.

The United States has caused so much upheaval and discontent in the area that it is difficult for us to really do much that can be seen by others as positive, Stathis said.

“Given the track record, the United States might be better off being given a temporary time-out in the Middle East,” Stathis said. “That might be better for everyone concerned.”

While Stathis said it is not really feasible for the United States to completely withdraw support from the ISIS conflict, he said it would not be a bad idea to do a little less.

“This is a Middle Eastern problem,” Stathis said. “The primary players here should be people in this area.”

Following a question from an audience member, Stathis also spoke about the connections between ISIS and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The recent crisis involving al-Baghdadi, Syria and Iraq has taken so much attention away from the Arab-Israeli conflict, Stathis said. This is a great tragedy, because the conflict plays a vital role in the goings on for the entire Middle East.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is the key to stability in the entire region,” Stathis said. “Until it is solved — beginning with the creation of an independent Palestine — we are going to see crisis time-after-time.”

In his closing speech, Stathis said for the audience to not mistake his remarks as him underestimating al-Baghdadi or the conflict with ISIS. Rather that the United States should carefully consider what they are doing beforehand.

Following Stathis remarks, Crookston took to the stage and spoke about her “spiritual journey” to Islam.

Having grown up in a primarily LDS environment, Crookston said she did not fully agree with the concept of going to hell for simply following the wrong religion. It was after studying multiple different religions that she discovered the Muslim religion allows all those of a good heart and intentions into heaven.

Madelyn Crookston, a Muslim-American convert from Parowan, speaks about Islam's portrayal in the media while Ingela Rundquist, executive council member for the Southern Utah Democrats, looks on. Oct. 28, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

Madelyn Crookston, a Muslim-American convert from Parowan, speaks about Islam’s portrayal in the media while Ingela Rundquist, executive council member for the Southern Utah Democrats, looks on, Cedar City, Utah, Oct. 28, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

She came to this realization, she said, after reading a passage in the Qur’an in elSurah 2:62. Accepting this meant she had finally found a religion where she would not need to worry about the people she loved following her to heaven.

Not everyone sees Islam in the same positive light that she does, Crookston said. The mainstream media in the United States often portrays the religion in a negative light, causing those who intake the media to view it the same way.

An example of how the media portrays Islam is through using the Arabic word for God instead of just saying “God,” even though they are translated to mean the same thing. Crookston said. When a person hears the Arabic word over the television, it will usually show an extremist shouting the name or show it in a negative way.

“They say, ‘Allah’ because it seems foreign and … scary and different,” Crookston said.

The reasoning for this, Crookston said, is because Islamophobia sells. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that news agencies, talk-show hosts and authors all profit from. When people accept these Islamophobic stances, they are validating what the Muslim extremists do and only assist their agenda.

Separating Islam from the rest of the world in these ways can create an us versus them mentality, Crookston said. The media has created a mindset that Muslims cannot be good Americans.

Another misconception about Muslims — both American and not — is that they are all al-Qaeda sympathizers, Crookston said. This is completely untrue, she said, and that she does not understand how people can group one-quarter of the worlds population under a single banner.

We hate al-Qaeda … because we are getting blamed for their actions and living with the consequences that they are not,” Crookston said.

This hate for Muslims is one that can be found everywhere, even in Cedar City, Crookston said. In 2013, somebody threw a brick through a mosque window located at 59 N. 100 W. in Cedar City. The police did not call this act a hate crime and it was not featured in any media source.

In the end, Crookston said it is her hope that Americans stop painting Muslims with such a broad brush.

“I’m just as Muslim as someone born in Saudi Arabia and I love funeral potatoes and green Jell-O,” Crookston said.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

Article source: http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2014/10/29/dsc-speakers-highlight-the-conflict-with-isis-islams-portrayal-in-the-media/

Girls’ jihadi quest stirs fear in Colorado Muslim community – Yakima Herald

AURORA, Colo. — The strange journey of three suburban Denver girls who authorities say tried to join Islamic State militants in Syria has many in their close-knit east African community worried about whether their own children will be the next to be lured to terror.

The girls’ voyage has mystified many in the U.S., and has been even more troubling among Aurora’s Somali and Sudanese immigrants, thousands of whom fled civil war and forged new lives in the Denver suburbs, where refugees easily find jobs driving cabs or working in the meat industry.

But while the girls’ parents were working to give them a better life, being a Muslim teenager isn’t easy in an American high school, said Ahmed Odowaay, a community advocate who works with youth. It’s easy to feel like an outsider, even as a U.S. citizen.

Even his 10-year-old daughter gets taunts of “terrorist” when she wears her hijab in school, he said.

“This community is outcast. They feel like they don’t belong here. They’re frustrated,” Odowaay said from his seat at Barwaaqo, a restaurant hidden in one of Aurora’s low-slung strip malls, where other men dined on goat and spaghetti, a favorite east African dish. “I’m worried their frustrations will lead them in the wrong direction.”

Young people in communities like this across the country are vulnerable to extremists in Syria and elsewhere who reach out to them online, promising the glory of battle, the honor becoming a wife, or just acceptance. Odowaay said it’s easy for young Muslims to encounter recruiters while trolling Facebook. He said it’s happened to him.

Family and friends saw the three — two Somali sisters ages 17 and 15 and their 16-year-old Sudanese friend — as typical Muslim teenagers who like the mall and movies, not fundamentalists.

It wasn’t until they missed class that the 16-year-old’s father realized they had been talking online to militants, who convinced them to steal cash from their parents, buy plane tickets and head to Syria with their U.S. passports. Authorities said one of the girls did most of the planning and encouraged the others to follow.

Alarm spread quickly as friends and relatives realized the girls were gone, and saw signs of their plans on their Twitter accounts.

“She asked her friends to pray for her … and at that time, I just knew that something really bad was going to happen,” said the father of a 16-year-old, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because he is concerned for the girls’ safety.

He called the FBI and his state representative for help, and agents stopped them at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany.

The girls likely won’t be charged with a crime and are safe now, but the father said he is still troubled by lingering questions about their intentions, who recruited them online and how they were so easily able to board a plane and head overseas. His daughter seemed not to have a clear idea of what she would be doing if she had made it there.

“They’re just like, you know, stupid little girls,” he said. “They just want to do something, and they do it.”

At the girls’ high school, the possibility that students might be lured to terror wasn’t something they had previously considered, said Cherry Creek School District spokeswoman Tustin Amole. That’s changed, and FBI officials spent the past week doing outreach, looking for friends who may have had similar intentions. Teachers encouraged students to come forward with concerns or if they see something suspicious. “This was not a problem we were aware of,” said Halimo Hashi, who owns an African fashion boutique. “If we knew, maybe we could have spoken to the right people.”

Hafedh Ferjani of the Colorado Muslim Council said he is arranging meetings with Denver FBI officials and youth in the community, as they held several years ago after concerns arose that young men were returning to Somalia to join the terror group al-Shabab.

“If we learn what happened from the girls, we can avoid someone else doing that,” he said.

As the community comes to grips with the dangers, things have changed for the girls’ families, too. The sisters’ father doesn’t grasp the severity of the situation, said Rashid Sadiq, who leads the Somali Organization of Colorado and met the girls’ father more than a decade ago.

As 16-year-old’s father tries to repair his family, he has advice for those worried their children might be led astray.

“I just ask any parent to look for what their kids are doing online,” said the father.

———

Associated Press Writer Ivan Moreno contributed to this report.

Article source: http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/latestnational/2612890-8/girls-jihadi-quest-stirs-fear-in-colorado-muslim

MESA and IIIT: Islamists Infiltrating Academia

The field of Middle East studies has a troublesome penchant for partnering with Islamist organizations. Case in point: The 2014 annual conference of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) will host an International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) reception at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC on November 23.

The true nature of IIIT, a Virginia-based think tank, was revealed during the 2007 U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation terrorism-financing trial, which unearthed a 1991 Muslim Brotherhood memorandum naming IIIT as one of the likeminded organizations in the U.S dedicated to a “grand jihad” aimed at “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within” so that “God’s religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions.” Middle East studies professors have long shared the podium with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), another Islamist outfit linked by the United States government to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

As far back as 1988, an FBI investigation exposed IIIT’s goal to “get inside . . .  American universities” for the larger purpose of instituting “the Islamic Revolution in the United States.” Clearly, IIIT is making headway. Consider the following:

IIIT has on ongoing relationship with Hartford Seminary, including a $1 million donation in 2013 to endow a faculty chair in Islamic chaplaincy. According to one M.A. graduate, its Islamic studies program has been “an institution promoting Islamization” for the better part of a decade. Ingrid Mattson, the previous director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Harford, is also former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA.

In 2011, IIIT contributed approximately half of a $2 million endowment for a new chair in Islamic studies at Huron University College in Ontario, Canada. Soon after, Ingrid Mattson was appointed as the first London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at its Faculty of Theology.

IIIT donated $1.5 million to George Mason University in 2008 to establish an endowed chair in Islamic studies at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

In 2008, Temple University declined a $1.5 million gift from IIIT to endow a chair in Islamic studies, citing ongoing federal investigation of IIIT’s possible involvement in funding for Palestinian terrorists. Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Alwani, a cofounder and former president of the IIIT, had been named an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of Sami al-Arian, a former University of South Florida professor and North American head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). IIIT was the primary funder of Al-Arian’s think tank and PIJ front, the World and Islam Studies Enterprise.

In addition to the aforementioned gifts to George Mason University and Huron University College, IIIT has entered into a “Memorandum of Understanding” with Nazareth College in New York and a “Memorandum of Agreement” with Shenandoah University in Virginia. At the latter, Daoud Nassimi, chosen by the IIIT-run Fairfax Institute, taught a spring 2014 class on Islamic civilization with a Shenandoah professor.

IIIT’s Council of Scholars includes Middle East studies professors who have acted as apologists for Islamism, such as Sherman (Abdul Hakeem) Jackson (University of Southern California), Muqtedar Khan (University of Delaware), and the above mentioned Ingrid Mattson (Huron University College).  

Over the years, IIIT has organized numerous lectures, conferences, and seminars involving equally problematic Middle East studies professors, such as founding director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) at Georgetown University John Esposito; ACMCU Islamic studies professor John Voll; Ibn Khaldun chair of Islamic studies at American University Akbar Ahmed; and Duke University William and Bettye Martin Musham Director of Islamic Studies Omid Safi. Such professors teach Islamic studies courses in IIIT’s annual Summer Students Series and participate in its Summer Institute for Scholars.

In order to achieve its objective of producing “intellectuals who can relate their Islam to modern day challenges,” IIIT pledges at its website to participate in “teaching, training of teachers, [and the] publication of text books”;  “directing research and studies to develop Islamic thought”; “supporting researchers and scholars in universities and research centers;” and “holding specialized scholarly, intellectual and cultural conferences, seminars and study circles.”

MESA is helping IIIT achieve its goals by including it in its 2014 annual conference and by the years-long participation of its scholars in the Islamist group’s activities. This close relationship demonstrates either appalling ignorance on the part of the Middle East studies establishment or, worse, sympathy with the IIIT’s anti-Western, anti-democratic philosophy. Perhaps George Washington University professor and MESA president Nathan J. Brown can explain to the public why the organization he leads is lending a platform to a radical Islamist organization.

Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at stillwell@meforum.org.

Article source: http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/10/mesa_and_iiit_islamists_infiltrating_academia.html

Muslim American Arrested Last Month For Declaring Love For ISIS In Trouble …

A man from Houston, Texas, tweeted images of the Islamic State (ISIS) flag atop the White House and along highways, causing a stir among the public.

Abdul-Rahman Baghdadi tweeted ISIS flag stickers affixed to highway signs, an image of the black flag atop the White House, and an image of the United States colored with the black flag.


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The flag is sometimes called the Black Standard or the Black Banner. Jonathan Bloom, a professor of Islamic Art at Boston College, tells PRI its origins date back to the 8th century.

“The black banner of Islam as an idea goes back to the 8th century, when the Second Dynasty of Islam came to power with black banners.”

In the white circle is the second half of the shahada–“Muhammad is the messenger of God”–intended to represent the official seal of Muhammad. Bloom told PRI that scholars have disputed what the seal is supposed to look like.

“In effect, they’re saying we’re going back to this earlier time.”

Baghdadi was in the news earlier this month after he declared allegiance for ISIS when he was arrested by the Houston Police Department, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

 


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h/t TPNN

Photo Credit: Prachatai (Flickr)


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Article source: http://www.westernjournalism.com/american-muslim-declared-support-isis-put-black-flag-public-places/

Tragedy pits Canadian values against American ones: Siddiqui

All this, in the middle of the national mourning, helped hide serious security lapses. (1) A confidential 2013 federal report had foreseen attacks on military personnel, especially in Ottawa, according to the National Post. (2) Last week’s two attackers were known to the Mounties and CSIS, walking-talking time bombs ready to explode, yet allowed to roam freely. (3) Security at Parliament Hill has been ineffective — divided between four forces, one each for the Commons and the Senate, plus the RCMP and Ottawa Police, criticized as far back as 2012 by the federal auditor general, but not fixed.

Article source: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/10/29/tragedy_pits_canadian_values_against_american_ones_siddiqui.html

Girls’ jihadi quest stirs Muslim communities’ fear

By SADIE GURMAN
Associated Press

AURORA, Colo. (AP) – The strange journey of three suburban Denver girls who authorities say tried to join Islamic State militants in Syria has many in their close-knit east African community worried about whether their own children will be the next to be lured to terror.

The girls’ voyage has mystified many in the U.S., and has been even more troubling among Aurora’s Somali and Sudanese immigrants, thousands of whom fled civil war and forged new lives in the Denver suburbs, where refugees easily find jobs driving cabs or working in the meat industry.

But while the girls’ parents were working to give them a better life, being a Muslim teenager isn’t easy in an American high school, said Ahmed Odowaay, a community advocate who works with youth. It’s easy to feel like an outsider, even as a U.S. citizen.

Even his 10-year-old daughter gets taunts of “terrorist” when she wears her hijab in school, he said.

“This community is outcast. They feel like they don’t belong here. They’re frustrated,” Odowaay said from his seat at Barwaaqo, a restaurant hidden in one of Aurora’s low-slung strip malls, where other men dined on goat and spaghetti, a favorite east African dish. “I’m worried their frustrations will lead them in the wrong direction.”

Young people in communities like this across the country are vulnerable to extremists in Syria and elsewhere who reach out to them online, promising the glory of battle, the honor becoming a wife, or just acceptance. Odowaay said it’s easy for young Muslims to encounter recruiters while trolling Facebook. He said it’s happened to him.

Family and friends saw the three – two Somali sisters ages 17 and 15 and their 16-year-old Sudanese friend – as typical Muslim teenagers who like the mall and movies, not fundamentalists.

It wasn’t until they missed class that the 16-year-old’s father realized they had been talking online to militants, who convinced them to steal cash from their parents, buy plane tickets and head to Syria with their U.S. passports. Authorities said one of the girls did most of the planning and encouraged the others to follow.

Alarm spread quickly as friends and relatives realized the girls were gone, and saw signs of their plans on their Twitter accounts.

“She asked her friends to pray for her … and at that time, I just knew that something really bad was going to happen,” said the father of a 16-year-old, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because he is concerned for the girls’ safety.

He called the FBI and his state representative for help, and agents stopped them at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany.

The girls likely won’t be charged with a crime and are safe now, but the father said he is still troubled by lingering questions about their intentions, who recruited them online and how they were so easily able to board a plane and head overseas. His daughter seemed not to have a clear idea of what she would be doing if she had made it there.

“They’re just like, you know, stupid little girls,” he said. “They just want to do something, and they do it.”

At the girls’ high school, the possibility that students might be lured to terror wasn’t something they had previously considered, said Cherry Creek School District spokeswoman Tustin Amole. That’s changed, and FBI officials spent the past week doing outreach, looking for friends who may have had similar intentions. Teachers encouraged students to come forward with concerns or if they see something suspicious.

“This was not a problem we were aware of,” said Halimo Hashi, who owns an African fashion boutique. “If we knew, maybe we could have spoken to the right people.”

Hafedh Ferjani of the Colorado Muslim Council said he is arranging meetings with Denver FBI officials and youth in the community, as they held several years ago after concerns arose that young men were returning to Somalia to join the terror group al-Shabab.

“If we learn what happened from the girls, we can avoid someone else doing that,” he said.

As the community comes to grips with the dangers, things have changed for the girls’ families, too. The sisters’ father doesn’t grasp the severity of the situation, said Rashid Sadiq, who leads the Somali Organization of Colorado and met the girls’ father more than a decade ago.

As 16-year-old’s father tries to repair his family, he has advice for those worried their children might be led astray.

“I just ask any parent to look for what their kids are doing online,” said the father.

___

Associated Press Writer Ivan Moreno contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.kfbb.com/story/27156411/girls-jihadi-quest-stirs-muslim-communities-fear

Inventing an enemy

ON May 1, 2003, more than a month after he launched the Iraq war, President George W. Bush of the United States made a cinematic landing on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, which was lying just off the San Diego coast, having returned from combat operations in the Gulf. Making his landing in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, the President, dressed in a flight suit, posed for photographs with pilots and members of the ship’s crew. A few hours later, he announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq. “In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment, yet it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it,” Bush said from the flight deck of the carrier. Far above him was the warship’s banner stating “Mission Accomplished”.

Cut to September 10, 2014. In a televised address, incumbent President Barack Obama said: “My fellow Americans. Tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.” Obama was announcing his decision to send bombers to Iraq to carry out aerial strikes on the Islamic State, or I.S. (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL), becoming the fourth successive U.S. President to attack Iraq. These two presidential statements tell us volumes about the present situation in Iraq. Bush had never accomplished the “mission”. Rather, his destruction of the modern Iraqi state was the starting point of most of the worries facing the nation, including Sunni militancy. Obama continues the interventionist legacy of his predecessors, despite warnings and a history that offers a disastrous picture of those interventions.

Today’s Iraq is fighting for its survival with I.S. militants bearing down on the capital city of Baghdad. Parts of north-western Iraq, including the country’s second largest city, Mosul, are already under their control. The sectarian policies of Iraq’s Shia-dominated government have driven a huge chunk of the country’s Sunni minority away from the government. The army seems to have lost its morale in the wake of relentless I.S. attacks, and the counterattacks are mostly powered by Shia militias with support from Iran. It is a classic case of a failed state. What is worse, there are many more Iraqs in today’s global system—Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Mali, and Sudan, among others. All these countries have at least two things in common—Islamist militancy and a past or present of direct or indirect Western military intervention. The end result is collapsed or weakened nation states and millions of people pushed into perpetual misery. This is a two-pronged problem, while mainstream analyses are often obsessed with only Islamism.

Taj Hashmi’s book Global Jihad and America challenges such stereotypical methods of analyses and tries to understand the problem in a larger context. Hashmi, who teaches security studies at Austin Peay State University, Tennessee, poses many questions: What turned Muslims and the West into adversaries in the post-Cold War world? What led to the emergence of Islamist terrorism? Is global jehad the biggest threat to world peace?, and so on. In his own words, the book is about “foretelling the catastrophic effects of the seemingly inevitable conflicts between America (and its allies) and their adversaries in the Muslim world backed by their non-Muslim patrons in the ongoing Hundred Year War”. The first Arab-Israel war of 1948 marked the beginning of a 100-year war between the Muslim world and the U.S. and “the post-Cold War Western invasions of countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and threats of invasions of Syria and Iran have further widened the scope” of this war, he writes.

U.S. exceptionalism

Is global jehad the greatest threat to human civilisation? Hashmi argues that global jehad is a “myth”, which only exists in the “imagination of Islamist fanatics, misinformed people, and most importantly in the vocabulary of Islamophobes”. It is the hegemonic designs and warfare of the U.S. and its allies that led to Islamist terrorism and insurgencies in a global perspective. The U.S. always needs a global enemy as its “military-industrial-congressional complex” wants wars for its survival. During the Cold War, it had communism, and in the post-Cold War period, it has global jehad. Throughout the Cold War period, the U.S. had backed a number of dictatorships and played several of them against one another in its bid to retain the American supremacy and protect its imperialist interests. It supported the coup against Iran’s elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, backed General Augusto Pinochet who seized power in Chile from President Salvador Allende through a military coup on September 11, 1973, and bankrolled Contras militias to fight against the Marxist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, to name a few. “[President Ronald] Reagan considered the Philippine’s [Ferdinand] Marcos as one of the most democratic rulers in Asia and Angola’s warlord [Jonas] Savimbi, Zaire’s mass murderer Mobutu [Sese Seko] and Pakistan’s Islamist military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq as America’s best friends in the world,” writes Hashmi.

The U.S.’ support for Afghan mujahideen in the 1980s had been crucial for the rise of Islamist militancy in Afghanistan. Along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the U.S. funded and trained mujahideen fighters to fight a proxy war against the Soviet Army in communist Afghanistan. And after the Red Army wound up the war, the U.S. sat quietly, watching its ally Pakistan back the Taliban in the Afghan civil war that led to Mullah Omar’s eventual takeover of Kabul. The policy of allying with or promoting dictators and premodern forces continued intact in the post-Cold War phase as well. The U.S. backed the Pakistani dictator General Pervez Musharraf until he was forced to demit office in 2008. Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak counted on U.S. for support until his final days in power in early 2011. Still, Saudi Arabia, one of the most brutal dictatorships in West Asia, is the U.S.’ greatest Muslim ally in the region.

So the U.S.’ commitment to liberalism and liberty has always been cut short by its own geopolitical interests. And whenever it suits its interests, the U.S. has embraced liberal internationalist rhetoric and even shaped its foreign policy around such grand morality-based ideas. That is what it did in Yugoslavia in the late 1990s when President Bill Clinton led a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) attack on the East European country in the name of “humanitarian intervention”. The U.S. did the same thing in Iraq in 2003 when Bush said he would “liberate” Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship and bring democracy to that country. These selective interventions serve only the U.S. interests and threaten world peace. That is why Hashmi asks, “What went wrong with America?” “Is America the biggest problem towards world peace? Is not the American legacy of expropriation, mass murder of indigenous people, slavery and apartheid at the core of the American psyche, while the American dogma of freedom and democracy is quite superficial, not applicable to non-Americans?”

The U.S.’ policy of divisive politics and promotion of Muslim autocracies are also responsible for the lack of democracy and civility in many parts of the Muslim world, including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan, writes Hashmi. “America’s post-World War II policy towards the Muslim world has not been about strengthening democracy, secularism and good governance. It was all about serving America’s short-term geopolitical interests. Its State Department hardly has any long-term vision and programme, at least not in the Third World.” By 1991, almost all Muslim majority countries—barring Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia—had remained autocratic; and by 2003, three of them—Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan —had been invaded by Western troops. If Islamists during the Cold War considered the West a “suspect-cum-ally, as a friend against their common enemy, communism”, the equations changed in the post-Cold War era, with the West continuing to target Muslim-majority countries. “In short, the cumulative unpleasant post-Cold War Muslim experience has led to the beginning of another Cold War”—Islam versus the West.

Who is a bigger threat in this evolving conflict? To be sure, “many Islamists are out and out fascist in their outlook. They believe and promote the concept of global jihad or total war against all non-Muslims, either to forcibly convert them into Muslims or perform qital or mass slaughter of non-Muslims and deviant Muslims,” Hashmi writes. And the violence Islamists have committed, including the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Centre in the U.S., is well documented in our times. But what about the atrocities the American empire has unleashed on humanity? The death toll in the Second World War was between 60 million and 85 million, but U.S.-led invasions of dozens of countries since the Korean War led to more than 75 million deaths, mostly civilians, Hashmi says. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003 alone killed more than a million Iraqis by 2007. Since then hundreds and thousands of Iraqis have died in sectarian violence. And in 37 countries the U.S. invaded since the Korean War, the death toll has been between 20 million and 30 million, between nine million and 14 million in Afghanistan alone. He has no doubt that “the West-sponsored new world order has been the biggest challenge to human civilization since the end of World War II”.

Global Jihad and America helps one understand the intricacies of the post-Cold War world order. It also shatters several myths about U.S. foreign policy and offers a grave but realistic picture of the U.S.’ military interventions. What makes the book stand out is its refusal to follow the stereotype. But where it is found lacking is in identifying the problems within the Muslim world. When he says “Muslims in general are not fit for rational thinking”, one cannot miss the Orientalist overtones in the statement. Or, when he says that U.S. foreign policy is not the only factor responsible for the emergence of Islamist militancy or for the absence of democracy and freedom in the Muslim world. He also sheds little light on the geopolitical rivalries between Muslim nations and their implications on peace in the Muslim world. In today’s West Asia, the U.S. is not the only country that wages proxy wars. There is a regional Cold War between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and both nations have their proxies in several countries. And finally, calling the post-Cold War conflicts a war between Islam and the West is oversimplification of the U.S. foreign policy goals and strategies. Did the U.S. attack Iraq because Iraq is a Muslim country? Doubtful. Iraq was not ruled by Islamists when Bush invaded the country. It was a Muslim-majority nation ruled by the secular Baath party. Before Iraq, the Clinton administration intervened in Yugoslavia on behalf of the Albanian Muslims in Kosovo, who the West said were facing an existential threat from the Serbs. In Syria, the U.S. is aligned with Saudi Arabia against Bashar al-Assad’s secular dictatorship. The pretexts change. What remains is the interests of imperialism. The U.S.’ goal is to retain its singular power status in the post-Soviet world and continue to shape the politics in the Third World either through coercion or through diplomacy.

But Hashmi is right in pointing out that this hegemony is getting weakened and the changes in global politics may open new avenues of competition for dominance, with China and Russia now waiting in the wings.

Article source: http://www.frontline.in/books/inventing-an-enemy/article6541144.ece

Video reveals shocking radicalisation of Australian Muslim children – Yahoo!7

A Muslim Youth Group is under investigation after a disturbing video of children as young as six years old calling for an end to Australian democracy was unearthed by 7News.

In the vision, children as young as six years old call for violent action against non-Muslims and to reject Australia and its values.

Video reveals shocking radicalisation of Australian Muslim children

A terror risk expert says it’s brainwashing, aimed at creating violent extremists.

The video shows four Australian children, aged six to 13, calling for an end to our way of life.

“These are disturbing and shocking images and they do raise concerns about the welfare of the four young boys who are identified in the video,” Family and Community Services Minister Gabrielle Upton said.

A group calling itself The Muslim Youth Project runs regular events for young children.

In the video of the event held on September 21 in 2013 in Lakemba, young boys rally under the banner “Soldiers of Khilafa” with a six-year-old proclaiming:

“You’re never too young to be a Soldier for Khilafa.”

WATCH: Shocking video of radicalised Muslim kids

The children promise to die fighting to end democracy in Australia, replacing it with a Caliphate ruled by Islamic Sharia law.

They also call for American President Barack Obama to ‘go to hell’, for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be beheaded and for an end to Western ideals.

“I think it’s ugly, I think it’s sickening, and I think it’s absolutely disturbing,” Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said.

“It’s one thing for these peddlers of vicious hate to do that themselves, which is appalling enough, but to recruit children into such a sickening display I think appalls all Australians of all religions, rightly.”

The man leading the chant is Bilal Merhi, a senior figure in the radical group Hizb ut Tahrir.

He was recently in Indonesia delivering a sermon to 200,000 people.

“Yes my brothers, we will change the world to suit Islam… The Muslims living in Australia are also engaging in this struggle,” he said in a video of the sermon.

After the 2012 riot in the streets of Sydney, Merhi lead the call for Muslims to hit back with force, saying: “Those who mock you, ridicule, insult you, they will not hear our response, they will see out response.”


A chilling new video unearthed by 7News reveals young children calling an end to Australian democracy, for American President Barack Obama to ‘go to hell’ and for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be beheaded. Photo: 7News

His involvement with this national Muslim Youth group has jolted governments into action.

The group’s Facebook page proclaims democracy stands for death, corruption and slavery and to avoid non-muslims at Christmas and Easter.

It has prompted the Government to take action.

“I’ve instructed my department to work very closely with the police to get to the bottom of the facts, because what we see is the welfare of these young boys being put at risk,” Minister Upton said.

Among those who registered their attendance were at least four senior members of Hizb ut Tahrir and Sheikh Haron, who is currently on bail charged with 40 counts of indecent and sexual assault

A key concern is that the boys are being radicalised to carry out violent attacks like 17-year-old school student Abdullah Elmir, the new poster boy for ISIS in Iraq.

“Ultimately you get the situation where you have young people cross the line and carry out violent activities, as has happened in Ottawa in recent days, as happened in Melbourne with the attack on the two police officers, [and] as happened with drummer Rigby in the United Kingdom,” security expert Neil Fergus said.

Mr Morrison said the video is “not reflective of the broader Islamic community of Australia”.

“This is a cult which exists in a very small section of Australian society and it’s a cult that we need to weed out,” he said.

“Hizb ut Tahrir is not part of the solution in this country in terms of countering violent extremism… They’re rats that are crawling under their rocks as the spotlight comes onto them, but we need to get this poison out of the system.”

The Muslim Youth Project is planning another event this weekend.

7News approached Bilal Merhi, Abu Zakariya, Abdul Rahman El Mir, The Muslim Youth Project and Hizb ut Tahrir but they have all failed to respond to requests for comment.


Article source: https://au.news.yahoo.com/nsw/a/25380378/muslim-kids-radicalised-in-shocking-new-video/

US Unveils ‘Information Coalition’ Against Islamic State Militants

The United States on October 27 unveiled what it called an information coalition with Muslim and Western nations to counter online efforts by Islamic State militants to recruit fighters and stoke sectarian hatred.

U.S. officials told delegates from European and Arab countries at a meeting in Kuwait that the effort should complement parallel campaigns against the militant group on the battlefield and in the world of finance.

Representatives from Europe and the Middle East — including Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates — attended the meeting.

Campaigns by Islamic State militants on Twitter and other social media platforms have been slickly produced — incorporating new video and graphic techniques with battlefield footage to project an image of dynamism.

Washington has been working with regional and world powers to fight the militants militarily, financially, and politically.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

Article source: http://www.rferl.org/content/us-islamic-state-information-coalition-extremists/26660179.html

FBI Questioning Mosque Leaders

WASHINGTON – Worried about the increasing reports of FBI pressures on mosque imams nationwide to inform on members of their congregations, a leading US Muslim advocacy group has urged imams to seek legal assistance from an attorney, whenever they are approached by officers..

“American Muslim leaders and institutions should maintain positive relations with local and federal law enforcement authorities, but those relations must be built on respect for constitutionally-protected civil rights,” Jenifer Wicks, Civil rights Litigation Director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was quoted by Defending Dissent earlier this week.

“Consulting with an attorney is the best way to protect your rights.”

CAIR, the USA’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said it has received reports from around the nation of mosque officials being asked to meet with FBI agents and then being pressed to inform on members of their congregations.

In an advisory to Muslim community leaders, CAIR recommended that before any meeting with the FBI or any law enforcement agency, US Muslim leaders should seek the advice of an attorney and have that attorney present at any meeting.

Wicks urged community leaders to ask for business cards from those individuals from the FBI and immediately consult with an attorney before any questioning takes place.

CAIR’s “Know Your Rights and Responsibilities” pocket guide tells American Muslims to report any actual knowledge of criminal activity without being asked by law enforcement authorities.

It states: “American Muslims strongly support law enforcement and the protection of our national security. As Americans, we also value civil rights. All Americans have the constitutional right to due process and to be politically active.”

“If you know of any criminal activity taking place in your community, it is both your religious and civic duty to immediately report such activity to local and federal law enforcement agencies.

Since 9/11, Muslims, estimated between six to seven million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was stigmatizing their faith.

US Muslims are particularly wary of the FBI’s history of targeting members of their community.

In 2009, Muslim groups threatened to suspend all contacts with the FBI over sending informants into mosques.

The infamous post-9/11 technique of sending spies to mosques has been stirring uproar in the United States.

The uproar escalated after media revelations that the FBI implanted a non-Muslim informant in a California mosque to seek building a terrorism case.

The fake FBI operations have stirred uproar inside the United States over entrapping young people, who posed no real threat to the US security.

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Article source: http://www.onislam.net/english/news/americas/479053-fbi-questioning-mosque-leaders.html

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