New Age Islam
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Islam and the West ( 12 Oct 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Looking Backwards At Muslims In Spain: New Age Islam’s Selection From World Press, 13 October 2015

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

13 October 2015

Looking backwards at Muslims in Spain

Yasmina Aidi

The Mideast is going through one of its most radical transformations

By Azeem Ibrahim

Washington readjusts its approach to Syria

Raed Omari

A tale of two Octobers: Egypt’s Maspero and Tunisia’s Nobel prize

H.A. Hellyer

Anti-Islam, Anti-Muslim Rallies 'Fizzle' In USA

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Russia Supplants U.S. In Global War Against Jihadists

By Eric Zuesse


Looking backwards at Muslims in Spain

Yasmina Aidi

13 Oct 2015

El Principe, the hit Spanish television series about drug trafficking and jihadism in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, is fun to watch. It's amusing to see the lead villain, Farouq the drug baron, speak Spanish with a Cuban accent, and then curse loudly in a Moroccan dialect, "Din dyemak!"

It's hilarious to see how all the sympathetic characters have green eyes and spend a lot of time exchanging glances. It's even fun to witness the musical orientalism: Every time a Muslim character appears, a wailing melody starts to play and a mosque appears in the background.

El Principe is a curious mix between a US terrorism series like "24" and a steamy Mexican or Brazilian telenovela. The series is entertaining, until one realises that this show is actually shaping public perceptions of Islam and Spain's Muslims, and that the six million Spanish viewers who tune in every Tuesday night take the show quite seriously.

Viewers don't see it as a comical, distorted depiction of North Africa, but as a reliable source of information on Islamic culture and Muslim family life. In reality, El Principe is evidence of just how backwards Spain's discourse on diversity and immigration is.

'Dangerous neighbourhood'

Ceuta is a Spanish city on the northern coast of Africa, sharing a western border with Morocco. It was from here that Tarik ibn Ziyad launched his invasion of Visigoth Espana in 711. Ceuta was ruled by various Berber and Arab dynasties from the 8th century until it fell to the Portuguese in 1415. The enclave has belonged to Spain since January 1, 1688.

The population of Ceuta today is around 90,000, with Christians having a slim majority (estimated at 52 percent), and the Muslim population at just over 45 percent. El Principe, the Muslim neighbourhood on the city's northeast hills boasts 12,000 people and is often described by Spanish media as "the most dangerous neighbourhood in Spain", because of the violence, drug trafficking and more recently, religious extremism.

It is this troubled neighbourhood that forms the setting for TeleCinco's hit series. There are several storylines. There is the rivalry between Farouq - the drug lord played by the green-eyed Cuban actor Ruben Cortada, and Anibal, his adversary.

There is the special agent Capitan Morey played by heart-throb Alex Gonzalez, who is sent by Madrid to investigate the shadowy world of El Principe. He ends up falling in love with Fatima - the sister of Farouq, played by the green-eyed Tunisian-Spanish actress Hiba Abouk.

In the first episode, Fatima tells the newly-arrived Morey the hard truth about life in Ceuta: "Here you're either a Moor or a Christian, Moroccan or Spanish, but we can't be both."

If the aim of the series was to show that being Spanish and Muslim is not a contradiction, El Principe has not been successful.

The Muslim men are in effect cultural monsters. With his Armani suits and Caribbean accent, Farouk tries to portray a domineering Muslim patriarch - even ordering his sister Fatima to obey him instead of the police. This ultra-macho character, we find out, is actually sterile, yet instead of seeing a doctor, he blames his wife Leila for their infertility.

Vulgar, racist fantasies

It often seems that the clean-shaven Morey was sent to Spain's North African colony not to investigate corruption, but to liberate its Muslim women from tradition and patriarchy; to show them that their freedom lies not in allegiance to family, but in loyalty to the Spanish state (ie the modernity that Morey represents). But, of course, Morey's romance with Fatima recycles the most vulgar, racist fantasies that white men have of Arab women. In one episode, Fatima spends five long minutes disrobing for Capitan Morey, her veil falling to the floor in slow motion.

"The series is an embarrassment. It offers a superficial, stereotypical view of El Principe - it's filmed in Madrid anyway," says Rachid Hamidou, a lawyer and member of the newly formed Movimiento para la Dignidad y la Ciudadania, a political party seeking to empower Muslims in Ceuta.

"This neighbourhood has its problems - it is a ghetto ... Ceuta is a very segregated city - very few buses come to El Principe from downtown. There is poverty and joblessness. It was only in 1986 that Muslims - who have been here for centuries - could apply for Spanish citizenship. Arabic is still not recognised as an official language," Hamidou argues.

"The series doesn't address any of these policy issues and makes it seem that the problems in El Principe are all because of our culture and religion - as always."

Perched atop the hills of Ceuta, and with its mix of colourful pastel and brick buildings, El Principe is reminiscent of a Brazilian favela. The series is clearly influenced by popular Brazilian telenovelas like El Clon and Salve Jorge that address cultural encounters between Latin America and the Islamic world.

Yet, the Brazilian series - despite the veiled dancers and extended song routines - are actually well-researched and politically sympathetic to the people of the favelas and the Muslim world. Both groups are portrayed as victims of state violence and discrimination.

If only El Principe sought to protect Spanish Muslims from the stereotyping of global media.

Insidious character

The most insidious character in the Spanish series is Hakim, a Muslim Ceuti and a member of the local police force. He is a hyper-nationalist and insists on being called Joaquin: "Me llamo Joaquin - no Hakim - soy Espanol!" (My name is Joaquin, not Hakim. I am Spanish.)

Of course, this hyper-nationalist turns out to be a jihadist and a double agent. The message to Spanish viewers is clear: even your most patriotic Muslim neighbour might be a terrorist. This is irresponsible. El Principe is perpetuating injurious stereotypes of Spanish Muslims at a time when the PP government is passing draconian security laws targeting minorities in Spain.

"I think the most offensive part of El Principe is the repeated use of the term 'moro'," says Hamidou. "Every character uses it casually - the producers don't seem to realise that the term is pejorative and insulting. In Ceuta, the term is not used. When Christians refer to us, they say Musulmano or Musulmana. The history of Muslims in Ceuta is rarely represented in Spanish media. There are streets named after colonial leaders like Enrique El Navegante - who killed thousands of us - but little about our contributions. And when a series finally talks about us, we're moros and terroristas."

The series shows alienation in the form of angry, pipe-wielding young men, but makes no effort to understand why youth may gravitate to gangs or religious extremism. There is no mention of Franco's colonial policies, or the policies coming from Madrid, Washington and Rabat that produced this level of despair. Instead, like the labyrinthine streets of their neighbourhood, the residents of El Principe are mysterious, exotic and dangerously inscrutable.

Spain has a long history of "convivencia", or peaceful coexistence. And it is very impressive that, in all of Western Europe, Spain and Portugal are the only countries that do not have far-right, anti-immigrant movements. Let's hope it stays that way - and that this silly television series doesn't stir up xenophobic sentiment.

Yasmina Aidi is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages at Princeton University.


The Mideast is going through one of its most radical transformations

By Azeem Ibrahim

12 October 2015

The politics of the Middle East have never been simple, but there used to be some hard and fast rules: the United States and Britain largely controlled the region’s destiny; Israel could do no wrong, and could rely on Western backing in its military endeavours; the West could work with socially and economically conservative military and/or Sunni Islamist regimes; and Western interests would be routinely attacked by socialist-leaning or Shiite Islamist regimes. Since the Arab Spring, it is unclear whether any of these rules still hold.

Russia has entered the fray with a vengeance, and has arguably taken leadership over the most important conflict currently ongoing in the region: Syria’s civil war. Russian President Vladimir Putin is bombing all opponents of the Syrian regime with gusto, especially those parts of the opposition that are backed by the West. Meanwhile, Washington has dutifully gotten out of the way, fearing that it might accidentally find itself in direct open conflict with Russian forces.

In and of itself, this would be hugely significant, but if some analysts are correct, this will lead to a huge redrawing of the map of geopolitical influence in the region. There is talk that Putin is looking to align himself with the ‘axis of resistance,’ the anti-Israel, anti-West alliance of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. There does not seem to be much appetite in the West to challenge these developments.

Countries around the region will be looking very closely at Russia’s performance in Syria. If Putin’s gamble pays off, these regimes will see in Russia a committed ally should they choose to challenge U.S. and Western influence in the region, or if they face internal or external threats to their survival. How different would the world have been, for example, if Qaddafi had the likes of Putin backing him?

No strategy

The West - especially the United States - no longer has a strategy for the Middle East. It has tried detente with Iran over the nuclear issue, and it has to a large extent succeeded. However, there is no evidence yet that this will dent Iran’s opposition to U.S. interests in the region, or that it will stop funding terrorist organizations that carry out attacks against U.S. interests and allies.

U.S. relations with the Saudis have chilled, and relations with Israel are at an all-time low - for perfectly good reasons, since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has killed off the peace process with the Palestinians.

The United States is in unilateral retreat across the Middle East, and the rest of the West has duly followed. Meanwhile, Netanyahu raises the spectre of war with Iran. All previous rules of the game in the Middle East have been discarded, Russia and Iran have been left in the ascendency, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) still ravages large swathes of the fertile crescent.

It is impossible to know what shape things will take when, indeed if, the dust settles. However, what is painfully clear is that the West cannot hope to just wash its hands of any responsibility over what happens in the region. The millions of Syrians and others who will continue to flee to Europe will make sure of that.

Perhaps one day the West will decide it is not impotent and can yet make a positive contribution to peace in the Middle East. For now, however, there is no evidence that it has any idea how to go about that.

Azeem Ibrahim is an RAI Fellow at Mansfield College, University of Oxford and Research Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. He completed his PhD from the University of Cambridge and served as an International Security Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and a World Fellow at Yale. Over the years he has met and advised numerous world leaders on policy development and was ranked as a Top 100 Global Thinker by the European Social Think Tank in 2010 and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He tweets @AzeemIbrahim


Washington readjusts its approach to Syria

Raed Omari

12 October 2015

If not for Russia’s military escalation, Washington would not have revisited its policy on Syria. With such a game-changer, and probably under time pressure, Washington recently unveiled its intention to provide arms and equipment to moderate Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This will contribute considerably to changing the image of U.S. policy on Syria as indecisive and disinterested.

It is said that Washington’s decision means an end to the much-criticized $500 million rebel-training program. However, it can be also viewed as a re-modification of the program to meet new realities brought on by Russia’s military intervention in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Pentagon said the weapons will be sent to rebel groups whose leaders have passed a vetting process to ensure they are not, and will not, be linked to radical Islamist groups. The risk of U.S.-supplied arms falling into the hands of anti-Western fighters, as happened in Afghanistan and Iraq, had so far stopped Washington from arming Syrian rebels.

ISIS and the regime

The weapons and equipment will be sent only to moderate rebels with the sole aim of defeating ISIS, not fighting the Assad regime. Russia has described its intervention in Syria as mainly against ISIS.

However, it is becoming clear that Moscow is not striking ISIS, which is reportedly advancing into rebel-held territories in Aleppo province and elsewhere while anti-Assad rebels are intensively bombarded by Russian jets. In other words, U.S. ammunition to moderate rebel groups will, one way or the other, be used against the Russians, even if only fired at ISIS.

Providing moderate rebels with advanced weapons is a manifestation of Washington’s conviction that defeating ISIS is inseparable from defeating the Assad regime. There are two possibilities the Americans cannot afford to see as realities: Assad recovering and ISIS expanding.

Depending on developments on the ground, Washington may readjust its approach to Syria in the near future to counter Russian scheming, including - as said by Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook - providing air support to Syrian rebels fighting ISIS.

Raed Omari is a Jordanian journalist, political analyst, parliamentary affairs expert, and commentator on local and regional political affairs. His writing focuses on the Arab Spring, press freedoms, Islamist groups, emerging economies, climate change, natural disasters, agriculture, the environment and social media. He is a writer for The Jordan Times, and contributes to Al Arabiya English. He can be reached via, or on Twitter @RaedAlOmari2


A tale of two Octobers: Egypt’s Maspero and Tunisia’s Nobel prize

H.A. Hellyer

12 October 2015

On Oct. 9, the Norwegian Nobel committee awarded the 2015 peace prize to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. That same day, Egyptians marked the fourth anniversary of the Maspero killings in Cairo, where dozens of Egyptian civilians were killed during a protest by state forces. One day, two events – one tragic, one buoyant – and together they show the Arab revolutionary story of the early 21st century.

On Oct. 9, 2011, according to eyewitnesses, Egyptian military forces ran over and killed dozens of mainly Coptic Christians. If that was not heartrending enough, the calamity has been exponentially amplified by the lack of accountability for that event, four years on.

A military court sentenced three soldiers to between two and three years imprisonment on charges of involuntary manslaughter – that is it. That is less than the sentence peaceful protesters may serve if they dare defy the infamous protest law of 2013. The irony would be amusing if it was not emblematic of the sad state of affairs that Egypt finds itself in.

Maspero was neither the first nor the last instance of Egyptian civilians being killed due to excessive use of force by the state. In the 18 days of uprising in early 2011, hundreds of civilians died.

Following the Maspero killings, there were many more instances – the largest being the forced dispersal of sit-ins in 2013. Accountability for more than a dozen mass killings, according to a conglomerate of Egyptian and international human rights organizations, remains unattained.

Alternative to strife

Accountability in Tunisia is not something one can count on either, but Tunisians are off to a good start. The Nobel Peace Prize was given to the quartet for its critical contribution at a crucial point in Tunisia’s transition.

When the transitional process – which is ongoing – was at risk of being derailed completely due to tensions between the then-government and the opposition, the quartet stepped in to establish an alternative to deepening internal strife. The Nobel committee said in its decision that this alternative happened when Tunisia was “on the brink of civil war.”

At the end of that particular phase in the process, Tunisia managed to establish a constitutional system of government that guaranteed fundamental rights – a prize that the Arab world in general remains desperately in need of. Tunisia, the spark of the revolutionary uprisings, might have delivered a gift to the entire Arab world through that constitution, although it is up to the latter to accept the gift.

That achievement of the quartet is not to be underestimated, because we see all too clearly what can happen when such a political process fails to materialize. Only weeks before that Tunisian crisis, Egypt went through a deeply polarizing time, where a huge proportion of the population sought early presidential elections.

Then-President Mohammed Mursi rejected that, pressure built up, and the military suspended the political process altogether, overthrowing and detaining him. There was no Egyptian Quartet to broker a political settlement, at least none that the relevant parties were willing to listen to.

The political route was suspended, even if very popularly. In the weeks and months that followed, Egypt’s failure to find a political solution to the tensions enabled far more civil strife than had happened before – a fate that Tunisia was saved from. That strife manifested itself, eventually, in blood.


Perhaps Tunisia learned from Egypt, and saw the importance of a political solution. Another Arab country today can learn from the lessons of both Tunisia and Egypt: the country that lies in between them. Libya has suffered internecine conflict for far too long. It is too early to tell whether or not the national unity government plan that was proposed last week will succeed, but certainly Libya and its people have a choice.

They can choose to walk the path of Tunisia and find a way to combine consensus with accountability – with that, they may find a way out of the quagmire they find themselves in. Or they can choose the route that Egypt chose in 2013: zero-sum games, and all the pain and destruction that comes with it.

The story of the Arab revolutionary uprisings of this generation continues, and will do so for some time to come. The pain of it we have seen time and again – Oct. 9 reminds us of that, with Maspero. However, that same day, with the awarding of the Nobel prize to the Tunisian Quartet, will also remind us, in years to come, that there are other paths to take, and that constructive pathway remains as real as any other. Congratulations Tunisia.

Dr. H.A. Hellyer, non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution, the Royal United Services Institute, and the Harvard University Kennedy School, previously held senior posts at Gallup and Warwick University. Follow him on Twitter at @hahellyer.


Anti-Islam, Anti-Muslim Rallies 'Fizzle' In USA

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

12 October, 2015

"Sorry, Islamophobes: Your Anti-Muslim rallies ended up inspiring acts of love and service"

This headline of the Huffington Post best describes the fizzle of the nationwide anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rallies organized by what Carol Kuruvilla calls a loosely affiliated group of armed protesters.

"After hearing about armed protests scheduled to take place around mosques, the interfaith community rallied around Muslims. Instead of dividing the communities they targeted, news about the rallies strengthened bonds between interfaith allies and inspired numerous acts of community service around the U.S., Kuruvilla writes in the Huffington Post.

Although up to 35 Facebook pages were created in support of the rally, according to the anti-bigotry group Center for New Community, the majority of these were deactivated in the days leading up to Friday, October 9. The group had called for anti-Islam rallies for Friday and Saturday. It was reported that such rallies have been planned in around 20 cities nationwide.

A protest scheduled to happen in front of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan, had to relocate to the grounds of a public library because the organizers hadn't gained a permit, according to Arab American News. Fewer than 10 protestors reportedly showed up, four carrying weapons. Counter protestors spent time engaging in dialogue with those who seemed to have an anti-Muslim viewpoint. The two groups left after shaking hands.

Another rally was scheduled to take place at Masjid Muhammad in Washington, D.C. The Facebook page announcing that event was later taken down. Still, a few interfaith allies attended a Friday prayer service at the mosque to make it clear that they were willing to stand alongside Muslims. Catherine Orsborn, director of the Shoulder to Shoulder interfaith campaign, which aims to end anti-Muslim bigotry, was one of the leaders who attended the prayers. Other than a security protocol leaflet inserted into the program, she said the service went on as planned and the community didn't seem to be on edge. "The sermon wasn't about the protests, it was about freedom, justice and equality," Orsborn told the Huffington Post.

Michigan's Muslim Community Council directed Muslims and their interfaith allies to avoid counter-protests and instead commit to serving the community. Volunteers planned to distribute clothing and school supplies to people in need at the Muslim Center in Detroit. Others signed up to plant trees and organize a youth dialogue on politics and social justice.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said Sunday (Oct 11) that anti-Islam hate rallies planned at mosques nationwide on Saturday "fizzled" and that interfaith partners turned out at a number of mosques to show their support for the Muslim community. CAIR noted that one hate rally in Phoenix included apparent neo-Nazis wearing swastika symbols.

The CAIR listed a number of images and media reports contrasting non-existent or poor turnout for the hate rallies with enthusiastic support for Muslims by interfaith partners:

About 30 people of other faiths turn out at Maryland Mosque to show support against haters. The people of various faiths showed up at Dar-Al-Taqwa Mosque in Howard County – to support the mosque. In Alabama, planned protest outside Huntsville Islamic center falls flat. In Oregon anti-Muslim rally "re-branded" as pro-police.

Few Islam haters showed up in Oklahoma while interfaith partners showed support for Muslims. The CAIR also circulated picture of a lone anti-Islam protester in Oklahoma City.

In California, there were not anti-Islam demonstrations. According to ABC 7, an anti-Islam rally was announced outside the Islamic Center in Oakland but the rally was cancelled. In Fresno, State University advised the Muslim students to stay home for their safety. However, major San Francisco Bay Area did not follow Fresno's measure.

In Tennessee, supporters outnumbered protesters at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. According to Daily News Journal, at one point, a few pick-up trucks bearing Confederate flags and a few cars — many with out-of-county tags — gathered at the entrance to the parking lot. Sheriff’s deputies met the group, and those cars soon dispersed.

In Texas, anti-Islam protester outnumbered 100 to 1 as people showed support for local mosque after concerns over rumored anti-Islam rally.

More than 100 people came out to the Khursheed Unissa Memorial Community Center (Amarillo, Texas) in anticipation of an anti-Islam rally, but all but one latecomer were in support of the community center.

Many groups appeared at the rally: Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Jews, Muslims, Unitarian Universalists and atheists.

The Rev. Jim Wallace, pastor at St. Luke Presbyterian Church, found a lesson and metaphor in all the supporters standing by the side of the road, in a ditch, in support of their neighbors. He thought of the parable of the good Samaritan. “I’m here because Jesus said to love one another and love your neighbor as yourself,” Wallace said.

“Jesus never gave any exclusions. The good Samaritan was the one that stopped and went in the ditch, and I don’t think the Muslim community is in a ditch. We may have different ideas and different understandings, but they are our brothers and sisters.”

Washington State: KHQ Right Now TV network of Spokane, Washington, reported that anti-Islam protests took place Saturday in 20 cities across the nation, but here in Spokane, community members held an interfaith celebration to celebrate the differences among Americans.

According to Seattle Times, approximately 40 community members came to show solidarity for the Muslim community in Bremerton. The group gathered outside Seaside Church in Bremerton, the former location of the Islamic Center of Kitsap County. No demonstrators from “Global Rally for Humanity” appeared for the rally.

At Seattle's Interfaith Community Sanctuary, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Buddhists participated in joint prayers on Friday. They screened the film "American Muslims: Facts vs. Fiction," which presents information about the Muslim community, from how often Muslims watch television to how often they attend religious prayer services.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh joined leaders of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in distancing Boston from the so-called Global Rally for Humanity. “There’s a lot of demonstrations going on around the world and in the United States, but it is important for all of you to understand that your city supports you,” Walsh said, as applause filled the sunlit sanctuary. “We in Boston stand together,” said Walsh, clad in a suit, tie, and navy-and-turquoise dress socks, his cap-toe dress shoes respectfully stashed in the corner.

Phoenix Protest: According to the guardian, the protest outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, though, attracted more than 120 demonstrators – and more than 30 law enforcement officials. Anti-Islam protesters lined up along a street, faced by a smaller set of counter-protesters, with the sides separated by two sets of metal crowd control barriers. They frequently yelled at each other.

American flags were prominent among the anti-Islam crowd of approximately 80 people, about a third bearing arms ranging from revolvers to assault rifles. Several people on the other side of the street were also toting weapons. Open carry is legal in Arizona. “We’re just exercising our first-amendment [free speech] rights. We’re all about peace and love,” said the organizer of the rally, former US marine Jon Ritzheimer, a pistol on his hip. Joanne Scott Woods, a counter-protester and community activist, said the anti-Islam protesters “have freedom of speech but they are bigoted. Just bigoted. We can’t change that. I’m glad they’re not shooting us.”

Several demonstrators – one draped in the Confederate flag – were asked by police to leave. The event broke up after three hours, without further incident.

Organizers of the anti-Islam rallies have cited the “Justice or Else” rally for 20th anniversary commemoration of Million Man March, as motivation for the anti-Muslim rallies. Louis Farrakhan, 82, leader of the Nation of Islam announced in June last that a rally will take place on October 10 commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. Speaking from the podium on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Louis Farrakhan said Saturday: "I'm honored to be here in front of this great great house that was built by black slaves." He praised the protesters behind Black Lives Matter, calling them the next leaders of the civil rights movement.

The organizers also used the Iran nuclear deal and refugee resettlement as reasons for the protests. On social media, some Americans’ concerns about the Syrian refugee crisis have been expressed through rhetoric that demonizes or dehumanizes Muslims.

The anti-Muslim demonstrations are the latest ripples in a rising tide of Islamophobia in America. They come at a time when major presidential candidates have taken aim at Muslims. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has said that Muslims should denounce the Quran to have his support. "I would have problems with somebody who embraced all the doctrines associated with Islam," Carson told CNN's Jake Tapper. While responding to an audience member’s disturbingly anti-Muslim question, another Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump promised to “look into” getting rid of all Muslims in the country.

The anti-Muslim rallies also come in the wake of an intense national conversation about Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Muslim boy arrested last month for bringing a homemade clock to his ninth-grade class. On September 14, Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old student from Irving, Texas, was handcuffed, interrogated and suspended for making a homemade clock and bringing it to school to impress his teacher. And while the kid received overwhelming support from across the country, including Mark Zuckerberg and even President Barack Obama, the principal and many teachers still side with the school’s decision to handcuff the boy over a clock.

Alarmingly, though not widely reported at the national level, there have been other incidents of hostility facing Muslims and their institutions. For example, in Texas and Tennessee, demonstrations have been held outside of schools which teach Arabic or about Islam. And in Sterling Heights, Michigan, opposition to the construction of a mosque culminated in a massive protest, in which one attendee shouted “I don’t want a mosque anywhere!”

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America ( Email: asghazali2011 (@)


Russia Supplants U.S. In Global War Against Jihadists

By Eric Zuesse

12 October, 2015

A meeting between Russia's Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia's Defence Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman (son of King Salman) ended on early Monday, October 12th. Agence France-Presse headlined “Vladimir Putin Meets Saudi Prince on 'Political Solution' in Syria,” and reported that, whereas the son of the Sunni fundamentalist Saudi King says that his father still insists on removing the Shiite secularist leader Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria and on ending Syria's alliance with Shiite Iran, Prince Salman said that the Saudi King is “in favour of a political solution in Syria.” Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was more forward in his statement about the meeting. He said: “The two parties confirmed that Saudi Arabia and Russia have similar objectives when it comes to Syria. Above all, it is to not let a terrorist caliphate take over the country.” Nothing was quoted from the Saudi side about any such opposition to ‘a terrorist caliphate,' however; the Sauds have been the chief financial backers of Islamic jihad. (And here is what their followers in Syria are actually like.) However, the fact that the Saudi King sent his son to Russia to negotiate with Putin about Syria is yet another indication that the key player in settling the Syrian civil war is now Putin, not at all U.S. President Barack Obama.

The highly reliable German news-source, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN), headlined on October 11th (translated here as) “Russia and Iran Assume Leadership Role in Iraq, without the U.S.,” and reported that Russia has, upon the request of the Iraqi government, already gone beyond its anti-jihadist operation in Syria, and has “extended the fight against terrorism into Iraq, with the express permission of the Iraqi government.” DWN goes on to say, “In early October, the Iraqi government gave a free hand to Russia to extend the attacks against ISIS into Iraqi territory. One of the conditions for this was prior coordination of the air strikes with Iraq's government.”

That is the same arrangement Russia has had, since the end of September, with the Syrian government. And, so, a Joint Intelligence Coordination Center (JICC) was established by Russia in Baghdad. This was announced on September 29th, when Reuters reported that, “Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said … an information center was being established in Baghdad to share information between Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Russia has also agreed a separate such mechanism with Israel.”

Israel too is therefore also recognizing the handwriting on the wall, the switch from the U.S. to Russia, and is doing what it must to defeat ISIS; it's joining behind Russia's leadership in the effort. However, because of Israel's hostile relationships with the other non-Russian members of the JICC, Russia has agreed to wall-off, or separate entirely, Israel's Russian alliance, from the other nations' Russian alliance. Russia is in a position to do this, because Russia, with its space-satellites and its other global intelligence-gathering assets, is at the hub-position on this entire intelligence gathering wheel about Syria. All of the other nations that are participating trust Vladimir Putin's intelligence operation, to keep each participant's shared interests in defeating jihadists, separated from all other issues within the Russian alliance. The alliance with Russia will thus not affect their respective unrelated security-interests. This is in Russia's interests, because it maximally empowers Russia to crush the Saudis' international jihadist operation, an operation that started when the U.S. and its long-time ally the Saud family, were joined together by Zbigniew Brzezinski of the U.S. Jimmy Carter Administration, to crush the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, by funding, training, and arming, “mujahideen” or fundamentalist Wahhabist Sunni (that is, Saudi) fighters to go there to kill supporters of the pro-Soviet government and other secular or non-Sunni influences there. The Sauds' main competitor in the international oil-markets has been the leading former Soviet country, Russia.

The U.S.-Saudi alliance began in earnest in 1945, when the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Cold War was just starting; and it has continued after the U.S.S.R.'s breakup, because Western oil companies and Sunni Arabic aristocrats (led by the Sauds, who had granted the Rockefellers' oil companies the exploration-rights there) wanted the Cold War to continue even after Soviet Communism and the Soviet Union ended. This conflict is also a Western war against Shiite-majority nations, because the Sauds' imperial ambitions are specifically jihad for a restoration of the Sunni Caliphpate but on a global level; and this is specifically the Saudi Wahhabist Salafist, the most aggressively fundamentalist, form of Sunni Islam. For examples: Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban, are all Wahhabist Salafist Muslims, and all have been funded mainly by Saudi royals.

The U.S. had started, in 1979, late in Jimmy Carter's Administration, to arm the Saudi ‘mujahideen' fighters who then were coming into Afghanistan to overthrow the pro-Soviet government there, so as to lure the Soviets into invading Afghanistan. “I wrote to President Carter, essentially: ‘We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war',” Carter's National Security Adviser, David Rockefeller's protégée (and co-Founder along with Rockefeller, of the Trilateral Commission) Brzezinski, said in a 1998 interview. After Brzezinski had succeeded at that, and the Soviet Union and its communism ended, Brzezinski has continued to advise American Presidents on what he sees as constituting the need now, to defeat Russia — a ‘need' that U.S. President Barack Obama has strongly endorsed, such as by officially designating Russia as being by far the most “aggressive” nation of all. (Lots more ‘aggressive,' for example, than the U.S.)

DWN continues: “Sources close to the Iraqi armed forces leadership give the current mood in the Iraqi security forces: The Russian air strikes against ISIS produced in the first week alone, more success than those of the US-led alliance in the entire last year. The establishment of a joint [Iraqi-Syrian-Iranian-Russian] intelligence-gathering center in Baghdad [the Joint Intelligence Coordination Center, or ‘JICC'] is therefore an expression of disappointed Iraqi expectations regarding the United States. … So, the US has announced that it will restrict the exchange of information with Iraq's security forces.”

In other words: Iraq is, in a sense, switching from the U.S. side to the Russian side, in America's resumption of its Cold War against the Soviet Union (but this time being waged by America against Russia alone).

On October 10th, Iran's PressTV bannered, “US pulls aircraft carrier out of Persian Gulf as Russian ships enter,” and reported:

The United States has pulled the USS Theodore Roosevelt – a massive, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier – out of the Persian Gulf as Russian warships have entered the area.   

For the first time since 2007, the US Navy has now no aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, according to NBC News.

The warship was withdrawn from the Persian Gulf on Thursday, a day after Russia fired 26 long-range cruise missiles from its Caspian Flotilla against terrorists in Syria, Pentagon officials said.

US military officials claimed that the aircraft carrier, which houses about 5,000 sailors and 65 fighter jets, was withdrawn because it needed to undergo maintenance.

On October 3rd, I had headlined “The Western Alliance Is Crumbling,” and explained how the Obama Administration's bombing campaigns in 2011 in pro-Russian Libya, and in 2013 in pro-Russian Syria, had created so many refugees now pouring into Europe, that it has ended up precipitating the end of the American Century, and the start of the end of the American empire, which had been rationalized until the breakup of the Soviet Union and the end of communism there, as having been instead an ideological conflict, but now is clearly exposed as having been and as still being actually an attempt to extend the American Empire (the “Western Alliance,” The Atlantic Council, NATO, CENTCOM), not only up to Russia's borders, but into Russia itself, the juiciest natural-resources prize of all.

Obama therefore won't likely now be able to deliver, to his financial backers, Russia and its resources, such as he had been hoping to achieve in his second term — to start privatizing Russia's oil and other natural resources to America's aristocrats.

Perhaps his Barack Obama Presidential Center won't be quite as palatial as he has been hoping. Perhaps far fewer people will have to die now in order to get it up and running. Perhaps the U.S. and Saudi aristocracies won't go to nuclear war against Russia, after all. Perhaps NATO, which should have ended when the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact did, in 1991, will now soon end.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.