How Islamophobia Endangers Us All

Counterterror analyst Paul Sperry reported in the New York Post last Saturday:

[The New York Police Department] censored an anti-terror handbook to appease offended Muslims, even though it has accurately predicted radicalization patterns in recent ‘homegrown’ terror cases.”

So it is demonstrated yet again: Islamophobia endangers us all.

To clarify: “Islamophobia” is a propaganda neologism with no fixed meaning.

Nowadays, it is frequently used to refer to two phenomena that are actually quite disparate: vigilante attacks and harassment of innocent Muslims, which are never justifiable; and honest examination of how Islamic jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify hatred, violence, and oppression. Both are called “Islamophobia,” and held to be beyond the pale in polite society.

When I say that “Islamophobia endangers us all,” I am referring to the application of the label “Islamophobia” to realistic appraisals of jihad terrorists’ motivating ideology. The stigmatization and marginalization of such analysis is endangering Americans, and will continue to do so.

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France’s New Islamist Guillotine

The French historian and philosopher Georges Bensoussan is best known for his studies of matters relating to the Jewish world, on topics such as the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, Zionism, and the fate of the hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled from Arab countries after the declaration of Israel’s independence in 1948 and the signal defeat of Arab armies which invaded the new state between then and 1949. He himself was born in Morocco in 1952, but moved with his family to France in his early years.

After a doctorate in history from the University of Paris I in 1981, Bensoussan became director of a journal for Holocaust history (Revue d’histoire de la Shoah) and went on to develop a training service for Holocaust education. Over the years, he has published several well-researched books on the Holocaust, Zionism, and related topics. Juifs en pays arabes: Le grand déracinement 1850-1975 (2012) covers the too-little known history of the way in which nearly a million Jews in Arab countries were reduced in fewer than thirty years to about 5,000. His intellectual and political history of Zionism, Une histoire intellectuelle et politique du sionisme 1860-1940 (2002), counters the modern use of the term Zionist as a pejorative.

Given these credentials as a leading opponent of Europe’s oldest form of racism, one might very well expect that Georges Bensoussan would be one of the last people fit to be labelled a racist. And you would be correct. But on January 25, Bensoussan was obliged to present himself at the 17th chamber of the Tribunal Correctionel of Paris to face a charge of “provocation of racial hatred” (“provocation à la haine raciale“). A more honest description of the charge would have read “provocation of ‘Islamophobia'”. It is not racist to accuse Muslims of wrongdoing; Islam is a religio-political system, not a race. This conflation of two very different things already causes endless confusion and miscarriages of justice.

The charge against Bensoussan was brought by the Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF)[1] an Islamic activist organization that seeks to defend Muslims from perceived attacks (“Islamophobia”) in the secular system of the country. Such scattershot accusations fail to make a distinction between genuine hatred for Muslims and fair and balanced criticism of some of their behavior and their religion. Leading the accusation in court was a hijab-wearing woman, Lila Cherif, in charge of the CCIF’s legal team. On the public gallery sat an assemblage of anti-racist organizations: SOS-Racisme, a much criticized French and international group, the prestigious Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme (LICRA), the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic Mouvement contre racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peoples (MRAP) – which is part of the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine that supports trying to destroy Israel economically – and the anti-Israel League of Human Rights (Ligue des droits de l’homme).

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The Two “Islamophobias”

If we had to choose one thing that has obstructed many Westerners from understanding modern Islam and undermined our ability to handle its excesses, it would be our perception of Islamophobia. How many times have fair and honest criticisms of one aspect or another of Islam, rebukes of behaviour, or literary and artistic expressions of Muhammad or other figures been loudly shouted down or banned on the grounds that such criticism was “Islamophobic”? In Europe, individuals have been arrested, tried and sentenced for “Islamophobic” utterances. As Judith Bergman recently commented, in Europe it is becoming a criminal offence to criticize Islam.

In 2011, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, for example, a former Austrian diplomat and teacher, was put on trial for “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion [Islam],” found guilty twice, and ordered to pay a fine or face 60 days in jail. Some of her comments may have seemed extreme, but the court’s failure to engage with her historically accurate charge that Muhammad had sex with a nine-year-old girl and continued to have sex with her until she turned eighteen — its regarding the historical record as somehow defamatory — and the judge’s decision to punish her for saying something that can be found in Islamic sources, illustrates the betrayal of Western values of free speech. A charge of “Islamophobia” was enough to confine the freedoms that most Westerners take for granted.

Sabaditsch-Wolff is not the only person to suffer for this “offence”. Danish author Lars Hedegaard suffered an attack on his life and lives in a secret location. Kurt Westergaard, a Danish cartoonist, suffered an axe attack that failed, and is under permanent protection by the security services. In 2009, in Austria, the politician Susanne Winter was found guilty of “anti-Muslim incitement”, for saying, “In today’s system, the Prophet Mohammad would be considered a child-molester.” She was fined 24,000 euros ($31,000) and given a three-month suspended sentence. The phrase “child molester”, like the charge made by Sabaditsch-Wolff was based on the fact, recorded by Muslim biographers, that Muhammad had sexual relations with his new wife A’isha when she was nine years old (after marrying her when she was six).

Neither historical fact nor literary sophistication (as the British author Salman Rushdie learned to his cost) are able to deflect charges of Islamophobia.

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Where’s the Concern for Muslims Killed by Muslims?

For the past several weeks, major media outlets and liberals have been outraged by the Trump administration policy of singling out immigrants from seven Muslim countries for extra vetting. They shout, “Discrimination,” “Islamophobia,” “How dare the president treat innocent people, many fleeing from conflict zones, so callously?”

Even President Trump’s own national security adviser has reversed the policy of calling radical Islam a threat to American interests — out of the misplaced fear that Muslims will interpret this as a declaration of war on Islam, and that it will encourage more Muslims to become extremists (an odd formulation if you believe radical Islam doesn’t exist).

The strange thing is that none of the people who are so upset about the mere screening of Muslim immigrants have expressed the slightest concern for Muslims who are being slaughtered by their own people in the Middle East.

Fake Demography

There is now almost unanimous rejection of the “two-state solution” —  the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state on any…

Consider just a few examples of what terrorists have done in the last few months:

  • On February 16, ISIS claimed responsibility for a car bomb in southwestern Baghdad that killed 51 people and wounded at least as many others.
  • On February 4, two suicide car bombs killed 53 people in the Syrian village of Susiyan and another eight a few hours later.
  • On December 31, 2016, at least 28 people were killed and 50 were wounded in a double bombing in Baghdad.
  • On November 24, at least 80 people, many of them Shiite pilgrims on their way home to Iran, were killed when an ISIS suicide bomber detonated a truck filled with explosives at a roadside service station in southern Iraq.
  • On September 10, 12 people were killed and more than 40 wounded in two suicide bombings at a shopping mall in Baghdad.
  • On August 22, more than 50 people were killed and scores more wounded in a suicide attack at a wedding ceremony in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border.
  • On July 14, a suicide truck bomb ripped through a busy shopping district in Baghdad, killing more than 200, including at least 25 children and 20 women.

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