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Islam and the West ( 4 Feb 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Radical vs. Mainstream Islam: some reflections

 

'Anti-terrorism policy review, dialogue key to West-Muslims ties’

 

By Tahir Niaz

 February 04, 2009

 

Most of the foreign envoys based in Islamabad on Tuesday urged a review of the war on terror policies, dialogue with extremists and better relations between the Muslim and the West.

 

Speaking at a conference - Islam and the West: Future Agenda of Change (Role of the Muslim World) - organised by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), the envoys also called on the world to change its perception towards Islam and replace ‘might is right’ principle with ‘right is might’. The conference was convened to consider recommendations for US President Barack Obama to improve the West-Muslim relations.

 

Misinterpretations: Saudi Ambassador Ali Awadh Asseri said Islam was misinterpreted in the West and urged the US president to win hearts and minds through dialogue. He said discrimination led to discontentment, adding the Palestinians must be treated equally.

 

Syrian Ambassador Muhammad Raid Ismat said Islam was represented as an extremist religion by a biased media in the West, and called for differentiating between terrorism and the legitimate struggle for a homeland. He urged Muslim countries to act instead of reacting to the treatment being handed out to Muslims across the world.

Ambassador of Iraq Kais Subhi Al-Yaqubi said the actual problem with the West was how to accept Islam. He said Muslims should not expect miracles from the new US president regarding his policy towards Muslims.

 

Iranian Ambassador Mashallah Shakeri stressed the need for identifying the root causes of terrorism. He said unilateral policies of major powers in the Middle East and South Asia were roadblocks to better West-Muslim relations.

 

Harm: The West supporting dictators, enforcing economic sanctions and assuming war as a solution to problems were harming efforts for improving its relations with the Muslim world, he added.

Shakeri said US needed to listen instead of dictating, to identify root causes of terrorism and to respect Islamic ideals. Deputy Ambassador of Morocco Mohammad Saidi said the development and media depiction of ‘islamophobia’ was the main concern for Muslims. He Muslims were subject of discrimination across the world and yet they were the ones being blamed for it. While praising the CII initiative, Russian Embassy Political Counselor Danila Ganich said the West should understand that the world was inter-dependent.

 

He said Russia attached high priority to its relations with Islamic world. Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi said Islam was all about love and tolerance, adding misguided minds were involved in terrorist activities in the country. Earlier, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Mushahid Hussain Syed said Pakistan and Afghanistan were both victims of terrorism and urged the US to immediately stop drone attacks on Pakistani territory.

Mushahid demanded the US extend Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke’s mandate to include Kashmir.

Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\02\04\story_4-2-2009_pg7_34

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"Moderate" Muslims versus American-Muslims

By Supna Zaidi, February 3, 2009

 

With the inclusion of Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), in the national prayer service this week, it seems it is again time to re-evaluate America's desire to forge alliances with "moderate" Muslims. Various news sources report that Mattson's invitation raised criticism due to ISNA's alleged connections to terrorism. (http://www.islamist-watch.org/article/1292)

 

It is a fact that ISNA is a listed un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing case and one of a number of "individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the US Muslim Brotherhood." It is also a fact that Mattson and heads of other "moderate" Muslim organizations have failed to criticize Hamas by name.

 

Yet, defenders of Ingrid Mattson, like Mark Pelavin, director of inter-religious affairs for the Union for Reform Judaism has called Mattson "a really important voice denouncing terrorism."

In a Fox News article, Palavin states, "Clearly, Dr. Mattson has been welcome throughout the government," he said. "I haven't found anyone anywhere who's found anything Dr. Mattson has said that's anything other than clearly denouncing terrorism in quite explicit Islamic terms."

 

Without realizing it, Palavin hits on the crux of the problem. By definition terrorism simply refers to the use of violence to achieve a political end. It includes no evaluation, let alone criticism of the motivation behind the violence or the political end desired.

The "war on terror" is an ideological conflict that the Islamist movement has initiated by re-asserting Islam as a socio-political system to counter western cultural, political and economic influence in the Muslim world by bounding society under Islamic law. As a 20th century phenomenon it grew out of a growing sense of inferiority Muslims felt upon heavy losses endured at the end of the First World War. This sense of loss was exacerbated by the subsequent rise of a variety of autocratic rule that suppressed the growth of civil society, and socio-economic development in the newly formed nation states, giving Islamists room to propagate their message.

 

Today, the Islamist movement is internally conflicted. Where one side seeks to further the violence initiated by men like Osama bin Laden, while the other prefers non-violence. Non-violent Islamists prefer to work legally through political system with parties, and candidates to persuade the public with their message in elections. Non-violent Islamists further their cause by creating the need among Muslims for a "Muslim voting bloc," and actively strive to increase the number of Muslim voters in the West through proselytizing, civic engagement and in lobbying.

It is possible that Mattson falls into this latter category considering the history of ISNA and some of her own statements.

 

ISNA was founded in 1981 by the Muslim Student's Association (MSA) of the U.S. and Canada. The MSA is a Muslim Brotherhood creation meant to recruit Muslim youth to Islamism. As one past member of MSA stated:

"We are told America's foreign policy is based on racist neo-imperialism; we are taught that national security is a foul epithet to be reviled; we are told the Jews and Israel are to blame for the hatred against us".

 

Moreover, ISNA co-founder and convicted terrorist Sami Al-Arian acknowledge that he was a Muslim Brotherhood member in 1981. It is shocking that the U.S. government continues to embrace ISNA despite a 1991 memorandum made available through discovery in the first HLF case that lists ISNA among a list of Islamist organizations supporting the Muslim Brotherhood's agenda in the US. (See a copy of the memorandum here).

 

Steven Emerson, A well-respected terrorist expert has stated that ISNA is "a radical group hiding under a false veneer of moderation"; "convenes annual conferences where Islamist militants have been given a platform to incite violence and promote hatred" (for instance, al Qaeda supporter and PLO official Yusuf Al-Qaradawi was invited to speak at an ISNA conference); has held fundraisers for terrorists (after Hamas leader Mousa Marzook was arrested and eventually deported in 1997, ISNA raised money for his defence); has condemned the U.S. government's post-9/11 seizure of Hamas' and Palestinian Islamic Jihad's financial assets; and publishes a bi-monthly magazine, Islamic Horizons, that "often champions militant Islamist doctrine."

 

ISNA has learned to tone down the violent rhetoric and Mattson's rise in the Islamist ranks, as a white female convert might be intentional effort to appear progressive after 9/11. This is the same year Mattson became Vice-President of ISNA. Like all Islamists, Mattson blames the West for the problems in the Muslim world today. Note her response to the following question during an interview with CNN:

 

    "CHAT PARTICIPANT: At what point in history, if known, did the Islamic nation turn from a philosophical and educated state comparable to the Greeks to the now third world state it is in?

 

    MATTSON: Well, the decline began with the colonization of the Muslim world by European powers. One of the first things the colonialists did was to dismantle the institutions of what we could call civil society. The Muslim world has until now not recovered from that dismemberment of its society".

 

And like other Islamists, Mattson prefers that Muslims live under Islamic law. She states in her work, "Stopping Oppression: An Islamic Obligation":

 

    "Before colonialism, authority was acquired by religious leaders in a much more subtle process, and religious leaders who advocated extreme hostility or aggression against the state were usually marginalized. After all, most Muslims did not want to be led into revolution, they simply wanted their lives to be better. In general, the most successful religious leaders were those who, in addition to serving the spiritual needs of the community, were able to moderate how state power was exercised on ordinary people, and in some sense, acted as intermediaries between the people and state." (emphasis added)

 

In the same article Mattson paints a picture of men like Osama bin Laden as charismatic revolutionaries who win the support of the oppressed masses because they have no one else to turn to, regardless of how unfounded violent interpretations of Islam men like Osama advocate. Again it is only the strategy of Islamists that Mattson objects to, not their grievances against the West or their end goal of Muslims living under Sharia as defined by one supra-national body, known as a fiqh council.

 

Thus it makes sense that she can denounce terrorism on the one hand, and remain silent regarding Hamas on the other. Hamas' actions are not those of a terrorist organization, but freedom fighters fighting a colonizer on "their" land - Israel.

 

As the President of ISNA, Mattson is responsible for the activities and statements of the organization. ISNA was founded in 1981 by the Muslim Student's Association of the U.S. and Canada, another controversial and Saudi-funded organization. Though most mosques are not official ISNA members, ISNA provides materials such as books and periodicals following the Wahhabi ideology to a large percentage of mosques throughout the United States. Kaukab Siddique, the editor of New Trend, an extremist Islamic periodical that is nonetheless opposed to Wahhabi domination of American Islam, states that: "ISNA controls most mosques in America and thus also controls who will speak at every Friday prayer, and which literature will be distributed there."

 

ISNA has demonstrated repeatedly that its goals in the United States are no different from the Muslim Brotherhood's goals in Jordan, Egypt, Syria, or England for that matter. Its leadership is generally either an outgrowth of the MB salafist ideology in the Middle East or an outgrowth of the similar Deobandi ideology of the Indo-Pakistani region.

 

In 2005, ISNA chose not to participate in the May 14 "Free Muslims March against Terror," an event that supported the end to terrorism. ISNA has been accused of supporting Hamas and was investigated by US law enforcement for possible terrorist connections. Its tax records were requested in December 2003 by the Senate Finance Committee. U.S. Senators Charles Grassley and Max Baucus of the Senate Committee on Finance listed ISNA as one of 25 American Muslim organizations that "finance terrorism and perpetuate violence."

 

There is no reason either Ingrid Mattson, or ISNA should have been the representative face of Islam at the national prayer service inaugurating President Obama's first days in office. As the President of ISNA in the United States and Canada, Mattson is responsible for the activities and statements of the organization. Under her watch, ISNA Canada invited a terrorist with Jamaat Islami connections to speak at their conference in 2008, and has featured Tariq Ramadan as a speaker.

 

Mattson's presence challenges today's definition of what the elusive "moderate" Muslim is. Being a moderate requires more than simply denouncing violence. American-Muslims who do not politicize their faith, respect individuals of all other faiths or not faith and defend the secular principles that put all Americans on equal footing are the individuals US. Agencies should seek out. They do exist: Consider Zuhdi Jasser, Stephen Schwartz, and Sheikh Kabbani. Otherwise, we will continue to lose in this war on terror by relying on Americans whose loyalties lie elsewhere.

Source: http://www.rightsidenews.com/200902033550/global-terrorism/-moderate-muslims-versus-american-muslims.html

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Finding the Moderate Muslims

By Ben Shapiro, February 04, 2009

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, President George W. Bush rushed to assure Americans that Islam was a religion of peace. In his first speech after the murderous attacks, Bush stated, (Islam’s) teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.

 

Bush strained to support this position by seeking out moderate Muslims across America. One of the first groups he approached was the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Bush met with CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad soon after Sept. 11. That began a federal precedent of kowtowing to CAIR. In December 2004, FBI counter-terrorism agents in Florida were forced to attend sensitivity training by CAIR. In January 2005, CAIR met with top State Department officials to discuss American foreign policy; Awad proposed a cooperative effort to challenge Islamophobia. In January 2007, the Transportation Security Administration initiated CAIR’s Hajj Sensitivity Training, featuring it on their website.

 

There was only one problem: CAIR is an organization with deep ties to terrorists in the Middle East. According to Andrew McCarthy of National Review, CAIR was created by a wing of Hamas, the Islamic Association for Palestine. Awad was president of the Islamic Association for Palestine. Much of CAIR’s early money came from the Holy Land Foundation -- the same foundation that had its funds frozen in the aftermath of Sept. 11, and the same foundation whose founder, Ghassan Elashi, headed up the CAIR chapter in Texas.

 

While CAIR was posing as a defender of moderate Islam, it was simultaneously silencing critics with lawsuits. Anti-CAIR, an organization dedicated to exposing the truth about CAIR’s radicalism, found itself hauled into court for defamation. The suit was dismissed in favor of Anti-CAIR. Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the southern California office of CAIR, sued National Review after writer Shawn Steel criticized CAIR. CAIR sued former U.S. Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C., after he called CAIR the fund-raising arm for Hezbollah. CAIR attempted to sue columnist David Frum for similar charges.

 

Not only is CAIR an extreme group with Islamist sympathies and dissent-crushing tendencies, it is allegedly involved in criminal fraud and racketeering. David Yerushalmi, a securities litigator currently enmeshed in a case against CAIR, told me that CAIR was using its status as a public interest law firm to hire non-lawyers for other purposes.

 

Finally, in the last days of the George W. Bush administration, the FBI recognized CAIRs extremism. According to Fox News, the FBI recently cut ties with local branches of CAIR in the aftermath of a 15-year FBI investigation suggesting CAIRs connections with Hamas fundraising.

 

What took them so long? The desperation for a group of moderate Muslims led the Bush administration to embrace America’s enemies. The Bush administration needed to convince the American people that American Muslims are universally westernized, and so they embraced the most convenient resource: CAIR. That embraces weakened America’s security, allowed terrorist-sympathizers the ear of the law enforcement community, and legitimized extremists to the detriment of true Muslim moderates.

 

Bushs ignorance of our enemies -- his presumption that Western Muslims are westernized Muslims -- caused him to ignore the search for true moderate Muslims in favour of convenient front groups. Unfortunately, President Obama is following in Bush’s footsteps. In Obamas recent interview with Al-Arabiya, he stated, my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. This evades the problem of Muslim extremism. Clearly, not all Muslims are moderate, and treating them as such does real moderate Muslims an incredible disservice. Treating all Muslims as moderate means treating Hamas members like members of the local mosque. That isnt just foolish, its dangerous.

Instead of relying on platitudes, Obama must find moderate Muslims and bolster their moderation. That requires intensive time and effort, the kind of time and effort President Bush never expended.

 

President Obama is uniquely qualified for such a task. If he truly wishes to reach out to the Muslim community, he must find those who share Americans love for liberty and freedom, who believe in an open society of religious pluralism. He can start by denouncing CAIR and any other domestic Islamist groups who call themselves moderate Muslims without demonstrating any moderation.

Source: http://townhall.com/columnists/BenShapiro/2009/02/04/finding_the_moderate_muslims

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Government, FBI, Media Years behind Understanding Radical Islam

By Herb Denenberg, February 04, 2009

Source: http://thebulletin.us/articles/2009/02/04/herb_denenberg/doc498927e438b51366662812.txt

 

You’re about to learn how you can easily be better informed about the threat of radical Islam than the FBI, the U.S. government and most of the media. You’ll learn how you can be six or seven years ahead of them in understanding radical Islam. You’re also about to learn how the FBI used a front for terrorist organizations as a resource for training its agents, as a liaison with the Muslim community, and as an outreach resource in programs for the Muslim community.

 

To understand this strange phenomenon, by way of background, you should know that the FBI, the U.S. government, many foreign governments, and most of the media, were relying on organizations assumed to be the voice of moderate Muslims when they were in fact fronts for terrorists, genocidists and mass murderers. This column will also document how the FBI, the U.S. government, many foreign governments and most of the media could have discovered the truth six or seven years earlier just by reading books and articles published by experts who understand the threat of radical Islam in the U.S.

 

There ought to be an investigation at the highest level to figure out how so many could be duped by terrorist-front organizations. These terror-front organizations were involved in outreach programs of the FBI and were involved in training FBI agents. What makes this all the more shocking is that we are talking about the post-9/11 FBI.

 

Now you know why I can say I have a secret formula that will enable you to stay six or seven years ahead of these entities. I discovered this secret formula years ago simply by reading books on radical Islam.

 

Recently as a result of a Fox News story dated Jan. 30, I was reminded it is about time the FBI and the others wake up. The headline of the Fox story reads, “FBI Cuts Ties with CAIR Following Terror Financing Trial: The FBI severed its ties with all local branches of the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR], the country’s largest Islamic advocacy group, an FBI official told Fox News.”

 

In a recent trial, FBI Special Agent Lara Burns testified that CAIR was a front group for radical organizations operating in the U.S. Those radical organizations included terrorist groups such as Hamas, dedicated to the slaughter of babies and children, terrorism and genocide. CAIR, in the trial that led to all this, was shown to be participating in planning with the Holy Land Foundation (HLF). Five officials of the HLF were convicted of funneling $12.4 million to Hamas. CAIR’s chairman emeritus and CAIR were unindicted co-conspirators in the criminal case successfully brought against the HLF.

 

The FBI finally woke up last year and broke off all relations with CAIR. But way back in 2002, about six years before the FBI woke up, Steven Emerson, one of the nation’s leading authorities on terrorism and radical Islam, published his book American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us. Anyone reading that book would quickly understand the nature of CAIR, and you have to wonder if the FBI knows how to read and knows how to seek out reliable experts on terrorism. Mr. Emerson’s book quotes Steve Pomerantz, former chief of the Counterterrorism Section of the FBI, who said, “CAIR has defended individuals involved in terrorist violence including Hamas leader Musa abus Marzook … The modus operandi has been to falsely tar as ‘anti-Muslim’ the U.S. government, counter-terrorist officials, writers, journalists and others who have investigated or exposed the threat of Middle East-based terrorism … Unfortunately, CAIR is but one of the new generation of new groups in the United States that hide under a veneer of ‘civil rights’ or ‘academic’ status but in fact are tethered to a platform that supports terrorists.”

 

Here’s another piece of the evidence so abundantly documented by Mr. Emerson in that 2002 book: “Self Ashmawy, former publisher of the Voice of Peace, wrote: ‘It is a known fact that both the AMC [American Muslim Council] and CAIR have defended, apologized for and rationalized the actions of extremist groups and leaders such as convicted World Trade Center conspirator Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, Egyptian extremists, Hassan al-Turabi, the Sudanese National Islamic Front, and extremist parliamentarians from the Jordanian Islamic Action Front and others who called for the overthrow of the Egyptian government … As a proud American Muslim  … I bow to no one on my defence of Muslim civil rights, but CAIR … champion[s] extremists whose views do not represent Islam.’ ”

 

Mr. Emerson also documented CAIR’s connections with Hamas, the terrorist organization. CAIR even refused to condemn the Taliban. It is a terrorist supporting organization disguised as an Islamic civil rights organization.

 

Mr. Emerson’s more recent book Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S. with a copyright date of 2006 has further documentation on CAIR and the Holy Land Foundation.

 

Mr. Emerson is the executive director of The Investigative Project, which claims to be the largest intelligence and data-gathering centre in the world on militant Islamic activities. Perhaps the work of Mr. Emerson and his group suggests that even when it comes to intelligence work, private enterprise can run circles around government.

 

Another hero in the war against terror and radical Islam is Robert Spencer, whose most recent book is Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs. He is the author of seven other books on Islam. He is also the director of Jihad Watch, an excellent source on the subject. Jihad Watch is a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Centre. Mr. Spencer is also a columnist for Human Events and FrontPage magazines.

 

In this latest book, as in his previous work, Mr. Spencer shows that the face of Islamic moderation may be claimed to be CAIR, MPAC [Muslim Public Affairs Council] and other “Moderate Muslim Groups.”

He also shows the U.S. government and many others have been conned by accepting such groups as the voice of Muslim moderation.

Mr. Spencer writes: “Unfortunately, the ‘moderate’ groups to which the government turns are hardly the mainstream organizations they claim to be. When we scratch the ‘moderate surface’ of groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), we find links to terrorist organizations and exhortations to Islamic supremacism.”

 

Mr. Spencer also has an interesting section of the book, listing many public officials conned by CAIR and quoting their statements in praise of CAIR. Among those conned were former Sen. John Warner, R-Va., Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and others including two FBI officials and a brigadier general from the United States Central Command.

 

But then Mr. Spencer makes clear what so many public officials and media people have missed: “The ‘moderate’ public statements of CAIR spokesmen may fool some politicians and a large number of gullible reporters, but the group’s radical nature is constantly being exposed by government prosecutors and terrorism experts. And the evidence compiled from CAIR officials own actions and words indicate beyond any doubt that CAIR is a stealth organization that ultimately seeks the imposition of Islamic law to the United States.”

 

Another hero in the war against terror and radical Islam is Daniel Pipes, director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum and author of one of the pioneering books warning about the threat of radical Islam. His book bears a 2002 copyright and is titled Militant Islam Reaches America.

 

He has written extensively on the subject, with articles such as “CAIR: Islamists Fooling the Establishment,” published in the Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2006.

 

There are four other heroes I should name for their work in giving us early warnings and important information about the war against radical Islam:

• Mark Steyn, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.

• Melanie Philipps, Londonistan.

• Bruce Bawer, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within

• Bat Ye’or, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis.

Ms. Ye’or is strong in putting radical Islam into a broad historical context. In her preface, she makes an observation that shows we are already deep into adverse developments we better start understanding and reacting to:

 

“This book describes Europe’s evolution from a Judeo-Christian civilization, with important post-Enlightenment secular elements, into a post-Judeo-Christian civilization that is subservient to the ideology of Jihad and the Islamic powers that propagate it. The new European civilization in the making can be called a ‘civilization of dhimmitude.’ The term dhimmitude comes from the Arab word ‘dhimmi.’ It refers to subjugated, non-Muslim individuals or people that accept the restrictive and humiliating subordination to an ascendant Islamic power to avoid enslavement or death.

 

“The entire Muslim world as we know it today is a product of this 1,300-year-old jihad dynamic, whereby once thriving non-Muslim majority civilizations have been reduced to a state of dysfunctional dhimmitude. Many have been completely Islamized and have disappeared. Others remain as fossilized relics of the past, unable to evolve.”

 

Mr. Steyn in his great book agrees that Europe is already lost to radical Islam. The great issue facing the U.S. is whether we are next in line to fall, or whether the greatest country in the history of the world will get its act together and survive the threat of radical Islam. We don’t have our act together when the U.S. government, the FBI and most of the media don’t have the sense to read the literature on radical Islam to get the kind of facts on which the appropriate action and our very survival depend.

 

Can we depend on the FBI and other organizations to find out about the secret plots of terrorists when they don’t even seem to be able to read well-known and important books on the American jihad?

 

Part of the blame for this fiasco can be laid at the feet of the mainstream media. Names like Emerson, Spencer, Pipes, and You’re should be household words, because of their importance to the discussion of radical Islam. Yet they are hardly covered by the mainstream media. That is just another example of how the journalistic failures of the mainstream media endanger our very survival.

 

You can do your part by staying informed on the subject, who means reading the alternative media and some of the books cited in this column. You should also join the boycott of the mainstream media, as they seem to be one of the terrorists’ best friends.

 

You can start by signing the petition to boycott The New York Times and getting information on its biased journalism at boycottnyt.com. Based on what I’ve observed, we’re in the process of losing the war against the stealth jihad, so unless you want to be subject to sharia (Muslim law), you better get involved.

Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a long-time Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. Email id: advocate@thebulletin.us.

 

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-the-west/radical-vs-mainstream-islam--some-reflections--/d/1173

 

 

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