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By MEMRI,' That Mursi Meant What He Said
January 22, 2013
Special Dispatch No.5146
Prominent Egyptian Columnist On Antisemitic Statements By Egyptian President Mursi: 'It Is Very Clear Now, As Demonstrated By MEMRI,' That Mursi Meant What He Said
On January 3, 2013, MEMRI TV released Egyptian President Mursi In 2010: No To Negotiations With The Blood-Sucking, Warmongering "Descendants Of Apes And Pigs," Calls To Boycott U.S. Products, and on January 16, it released Egyptian President Mursi In 2010: Obama Insincere; We Must Nurse Our Children And Grandchildren On Hatred Of Jews.
Following the extensive media coverage of the statements made by President Mursi in the clip, and condemnation by White House and U.S. State Department officials as well as by other governments, the Saudi-based Alarabiya.net published, on January 21, 2013, a column by Egyptian author, columnist, and journalist Abd Al-Latif Al-Menawy titled "Mursi Needs To Admit His Real Stance From Zionists." In it, Al-Menawy wrote that the two MEMRI TV clips, as well as a 2009 article by President Mursi on the Muslim Brotherhood website echoing the same sentiments, clearly indicated that he had meant what he said.
The following is El-Menawy's column, in the original English:
"It Is Totally Fine For People To Take Back Their Words... But They Have To Be Brave Enough To Admit They Were Wrong"
'It is totally fine for people to take back their words or actions, but they have to be brave enough to admit they were wrong and to call upon others – especially followers – not to make the same mistake again. This applies to the Egyptian president, who retracted statements he made three years ago following the objection of his allies the Americans.
'The story goes back to a few days ago, when the United States strongly condemned anti-Israel statements Muhammad Mursi made in 2010 before he became president of Egypt, and in which he described Israelis as 'the offspring of apes and pigs' and called for supporting 'all forms of Palestinian resistance against Zionist criminals.'
"U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland described Mursi's remarks as 'deeply offensive' and noted that they 'should be repudiated and they should be repudiated firmly.' Nuland urged Mursi to prove to his people, and to the international community, that he respects all religions, and added that such rhetoric does not become a democratic country. I could hear her tone as she raised her eyebrows and waved her index finger menacingly."
"The Muslim Brotherhood could not afford to upset their ally, so [President] Mursi declared 'courageously' that his words, uttered following the Israeli aggression on the Gaza strip, had been taken out of context, and stressed his full respect for all religions and for freedom of faith – as was made [still more] clear in the presidential statement issued following the president's meeting with a [U.S.] Congressional delegation headed by Senator John McCain.
"MEMRI... Seemed To Have Been Offended When Mursi Said That His Words Were Taken Out Of Context... So [MEMRI] Decided To Post Another Video In Which The President Echoes The Same Views"
"Mursi [Was] Not Misunderstood
"The Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which dug up the  interview Mursi gave to Al-Quds channel, and which contained the controversial remarks, seemed to have been offended when Mursi said that his words were taken out of context – a response that questions the institute's credibility. So [MEMRI] decided to post another video in which the president echoes the same views.
"Fellow journalist Osama Saber unearthed an article Mursi wrote on the Muslim Brotherhood's official website on January 10, 2009... before the controversial video, and in which he made similar remarks. That article demonstrated that his use of the expression 'offspring of apes and pigs' was not a matter of coincidence.
"[In the article, Mursi wrote:] 'People have to condemn Zionist brutality… and we tell Palestinians that we support them and that God has chosen them to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque and to defend Islam and the Arab world against the Zionist herds, the offspring of apes and pigs.'
"It Is Very Clear Now, As Demonstrated By... MEMRI," That President Mursi Meant What He Said; "This Discourse Is Very Common Among A Large Number Of Clerics And Members Of Islamist Groups"
"'Judge Him By What He Says'
"It will be absurd if Mursi reiterates his previous excuse about his statements being taken out of context, because it is very clear now, as demonstrated by both MEMRI and Saber, that Mursi was beating around the bush [by doing so].
"We are all aware that those statements were not taken out of context, and that this discourse is very common among a large number of clerics and members of Islamist groups. Apart from the remarks themselves, I am calling upon the person who made them to courageously admit either the real stance he and the Muslim Brotherhood and their followers adopt or how mistaken they had been for all those years.
"It should not stop at that. He also has to ask Brotherhood members and all his supporters to stop using this language if he really believes it was wrong, as he said in the shy statement he issued to please the Americans – who will, in turn, see that Mursi has so far passed all tests they gave him. He and his group are expected to pass all the coming tests, because it is only power they are after and for that they will always fare well.
"I would like to conclude with another statement by Nuland: 'But we'll also judge him by what he says.'"
 http://english.alarabiya.net/views/2013/01/21/261637.html. The English has been lightly edited for clarity.
 MEMRI located the article by Mursi on the Muslim Brotherhood website: http://www.ikhwanonline.com/new/Article.aspx?ArtID=44097&SecID=0.
Qatar funding Mali jihadists
Qatar funding Mali jihadists
Since the government of Qatar is the former owner and still primary funder of al-Jazeera, maybe we will soon see Al Gore making a rose-colored documentary about the virtues of the Mali jihadists: The Inconvenient Jihad Murderers
"Mali: analyst, Qatar is funding Islamists," by Alma Safira for ANSAmed, January 25:
(ANSAmed) - DOHA, JANUARY 25 - Qatar supports Mali's Islamists as it believes the movement is potentially key in the country's governance, according to Michael Stephens, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in Qatar cited by Doha News. 'The main motivation behind Qatar's support of Mali's Islamists is to ensure its business and the growth of its influence in the Arab and Islamic world', noted the analyst. The level of involvement of Qatar in the activities of Islamist rebels in Mali will soon emerge together with the truth on who is giving them weapons, noted the expert. Qatar denies such allegations but, if evidence proved the contrary, an end of diplomatic relations with France would be a battle which Qatar cannot expect to win, according to Stevens.The scenario in Mali is for the country to split with a North held by Islamists indebted to Qatar and a South supported by western countries. Such a situation, according to Stevens, is part of Qatar's long-term vision as the country aims to improve bilateral relations with Mali and expand its influence in the Sahel area which is rich with hydrocarbons and precious metal reserves.
Shalom to everyone!
No extreme is good. Neither in religion, nor in science.
"If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence.. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel."
~ Golda Meir~
Arab Rage, Unrest and Anti-Americanism Is Nothing New
Arab Rage, Unrest and Anti-Americanism Is Nothing New
The truth about the so-called “Arab Spring.”
by Jeff Ludwig
The delivery of tanks and F-16s to Egypt, originally promised to the Mubarak regime, but now forwarded to Morsi and the Brotherhood, is the latest phase of U.S. engagement with a Middle East in turmoil. Though all kinds of nasty and brutal individuals are still in charge, and though the thrust of the Arab world remains anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-American, the official line of our prescient government is that all this is an extension of the “Arab Spring” and, despite setbacks, is tending towards greater democracy in the Arab world.
We are, under Obama, supposedly the good guys because we generally support “democracy.” What appears to be developments that are cancerous and threaten world peace, should be seen as just another Excedrin headache for our sincere, hardworking, compassionate, and all-knowing leaders. After all, our President has an intuitive sense of the Muslim mind. He can reconcile us with those who appear to be irreconcilable.
Stories are written as though the events in the Middle East, the turmoil and barbaric upheavals, were something new. When the dust settles, we shall presumably see a more benign and tractable community of interests in the Arab world. If anti-Americanism and anti-infidel expressions are reflected in Algeria, Libya, Syria, Mali, or Egypt, they are reflective of a new more harmonious relationship with us reflective of the influence of our balanced and giving President.
In fact, we see a deep-seated anti-American and anti-Western “rage” going back to Gamal Abdel Nasser with the closing of the Suez Canal and alignment with the Communist bloc. Following Nasser, the assassination of his successor, President Sadat of Egypt, was clearly a rejection of the American-brokered Camp David Accords that led to the Egyptian recognition of the State of Israel. There is a direct line from the deposing of Pres. Mubarak to that long-ago assassination. Therefore, Mubarak’s deposing was not pro-democratic, but anti-American at its heart.
If one believes that the history of thirty years ago cannot motivate Egyptians today, he or she would be very wrong. Incredibly, until today, many Egyptians and Arabs “on the street” will tell you a bitter story of wrongdoing by the Crusaders who came in the late 11th and early 12th centuries. Christianity and the West are blamed and condemned for those events of one thousand years ago. The reader should understand that the “Arab street” really knows what it means to hold a grudge.
Further, if there is any doubt about deep-seated Arab animus towards the West and towards the U.S. in particular, we need only look at history to dispel that doubt. Way back in the early 19th century, the Barbary pirates routinely attacked American vessels until President Jefferson sent in Stephen Decatur and the Marines to crush the piracy. Almost 150 years later, we find that the Muslim Brotherhood allied itself with the Nazis in their fight against the Allies in North Africa.
By the 1950s, under the rubric of Pan-Arabism, Nasser tried to pressure Lebanon, where a civil war was waging between Maronite Christians and Muslims, to join the United Arab Republic, which would thereby align Lebanon with the Soviet bloc. Eisenhower, defending Western alignment, sent in 14,000 troops to force a compromise which kept Lebanon within the Western fold. Then, in 1983, approximately 25 years later, the Marine barracks in Lebanon were bombed killing 241 Americans during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan.
Then, as a small-scale reprise of the Marine barracks bombing, we must recall the repeated hijacking of American passenger flights in the 1980s, and of the terrorized cruise ship the Achille Lauro in 1985. During the terrorist takeover of that vessel, Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair bound American senior citizen, was thrown overboard by hijackers when he fearlessly repudiated their activities to their faces. These egregious events of the 1980s only stopped when, in 1986, President Reagan bombed Libya.
Closer to our own time, we must think of Ramzi Yousef, now serving a life sentence in Colorado in a federal maximum security prison, with the likes of the Unabomber and a mafia hit man on the same cell bloc. He led a team that blew up the World Trade Center in 1993, as a precursor of the 9/11 destruction to come. While on the run from the FBI, he was hidden safely by many friends in the Arab world, and had unsuccessfully planned a mission to blow up more than a dozen planes that were scheduled for departure from Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines. He represents the action-spearhead, the maniacal avant-garde, of the same mindset we see manifested on the streets and in the universities today protesting against the USA.
Lastly, we drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and ostensibly smashed Al Queda. Yet, the Taliban is still fighting us, and the government of Karzai (presumed to be democratically elected) is under armed siege month after month and year after year. Does this not show the failure of both the “democratic” or nation-building solution and the military solution?
To think that cordiality between America and these unstable and anti-American countries can be achieved by supporting one side (the democratic) over another side (the despotic) in a part of the world where violent power struggles have been the norm for centuries and anti-Americanism has existed for decades, or longer, is just bad thinking.
We are being “played” by the Islamo-fascists, who have used the magic word “democracy” to persuade our own self-serving, ideological President that their interests and ours really are compatible.
Egypt: Too Big to Fail?
Egypt: Too Big to Fail?
How long will the Muslim Brotherhood ride the U.S. gravy train?
by Adam Turner
Recently, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt, a supposed “moderate” Islamist, met with Iran’s anti-Semitic, genocidal, President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Reportedly, they had a friendly discussion. Perhaps, in addition to the official topics, they also conversed about their mutual anti-Semitic attitudes. President Ahmadinejad is already well-known for his hatred of the Jews. President Morsi’s bigotry, on the other hand, has only publicly come to light this past year. In 2010, President Morsi delivered a speech urging Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews. Soon after, Morsi described Jews as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.” When confronted by U.S. Senators on his impolitic language, Morsi implied that this was only a controversy because the American media was controlled by Jews.
But the two Islamist Presidents have much more in common than just their anti-Semitism. Both lead radical, dictatorial, and anti-American regimes. Like the radical Iranian government has since 1979, President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood Party continue to crack down on pro-democracy demonstrations in their country (Egypt), persecute independent members of the media, and actively pursue death sentences against Westerners or Americans engaging in Free Speech IN the West.
Unfortunately, none of this negative behavior by Egypt’s leadership seems to matter much to the U.S. government. The administration’s immediate response – sending four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt. A bipartisan Congress voted to support the sale. This is all part of the $1.5 billion or so U.S. aid, most of it military, which has gone to Egypt annually since 1979.
When questioned about the consistent flow of U.S. aid to Egypt, the same argument is often made by the foreign policy elites – Egypt is the colossus of the Arab world, and it would be irrational and unwise for the U.S. to simply let it become a rogue state, or to collapse, as a failed state. And so the U.S. money spigot must be kept consistently open, if not cracked a bit wider, regardless of how the Islamist-run Egyptian government acts. In fact, if you persist in doubting this wisdom, sometimes you are belittled as an ignorant isolationist-like opponent of all foreign aid.
But let’s re-examine that pearl of conventional wisdom regarding U.S. aid to Egypt. It simply isn’t valid, as Egypt under the MB is already a rogue state, and it is also pretty much guaranteed to become a failed state.
The fact that Egypt is a rogue state should be patently obvious at this point. The Egyptian MB has produced Hamas in Gaza, a well-known terrorist organization. In fact, the MB and Hamas are so close that thousands of Hamas warriors may have been sent to Egypt to help President Morsi protect his regime by crushing Egyptian democratic protestors. President Morsi and his MB have already shown their willingness to corrupt the democratic process, kill Egyptian demonstrators, discriminate against the Coptic Christians, allow for the harassment or rape of women, and prevent the exercise of a culture of freedom of speech among ordinary Egyptians and foreigners alike. For more information, see here, here, here and here. Even President Obama – in a moment of clarity – revealed that he is unsure whether Egypt’s MB regime is an ally of ours.
Egypt’s coming economic failure is not so obvious, perhaps because of Western wishful thinking. But, as David Goldman writes, Egypt currently requires more than $22 billion a year simply to meet its basic needs. Because of the increasing violence there, the once flourishing tourist industry is kaput, and people with money and knowledge and skills are fleeing. A black market of U.S. dollars has developed. Almost half of the population is illiterate. There are no major sources of oil, natural gas, or other natural resources in the nation. In other words, Egypt can’t – and/or won’t – continue to exist without outside help. So, the question is: is the U.S., or the world, ready to supply that $22 billion – every year – to prop up the Islamist regime of Mohammed Morsi?
Perhaps some believe that the Gulf States and Europe will pay for some of this aid. Maybe. So far, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have given Egypt only $9 billion in financial aid and Saudi Arabia may not be willing to deliver this money indefinitely to a MB-dominated government. And Europe is in really bad economic straits these days. So that leaves the U.S., and the various international organizations. But I repeat myself – the U.N. and other international groups may have promised grants/loans, but much of their budget actually comes from the U.S.
There is another point to be made here. Even if we believe that “Egypt is too big to fail,” why would we ever let the Egyptians know this? As any true believer in realpolitick would know, if Egypt is aware of how vital it is to the U.S., then that nation will do whatever it wants to do, even if what it is doing is in opposition to U.S. interests. This means that it is imperative that the U.S. credibly pretend, even if it would never actually stop its aid to Egypt, that it is open to cutting off the money. Attaching conditions to the aid, and then waiving them, simply does not cut it.
Aside from the question of U.S. foreign aid to Egypt in general, there is also the question of military aid in particular. About 80% of the U.S. aid to Egypt is military. There are really only three possible reasons why Egypt would need a strong military: 1) to crack down on its own people; 2) to go to war against Israel, a U.S. ally; and/or 3) to conquer or intimidate other neighboring nations, like Libya, Sudan, Jordan, etc. None of these actions are in the U.S. national interest.
The most frequently asserted reason to provide the Egyptian military with this aid is that the military is, or will be, a counterweight to the MB. Now, when the Egyptian army was a more secular-led institution under President Mubarak, bribing Egyptian military leaders to win their support made sense. But considering that Morsi personally named the new army leadership, that the armed forces have shown they don’t want to get involved in politics, and that many officers are pro-Brotherhood or even pro-Salafist, is this really a good reason anymore? I don’t believe so. Certainly, Morsi and the MB don’t seem too concerned about the army opposing them.
President Morsi is an Islamist, and his Muslim Brotherhood Party is an Islamist party. They run a regime that is un-democratic, anti-human rights, anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Christian. And they need our economic help, just to survive. It is well-past the time we let them know that, unless they change their ways, their nation’s ride on the U.S. gravy train will end.
In Morsi’s new Egypt, even the jihad-preaching mufti is not Islamic enough.
The Humiliation of Egypt’s Grand Mufti
In Morsi’s new Egypt, even the jihad-preaching mufti is not Islamic enough.
Whenever Islamists grow in strength and influence, non-Muslims — and even Muslims not deemed Islamic enough — bear the brunt. This is the history of Islam. In weakness, it is tolerant and “inclusive,” in strength, it is aggressive and demanding of conformity — just as its prophet’s career suggests: when he was in Mecca outnumbered, Muhammad preached tolerance; when he went to Medina and became a warlord, he preached war. Compare the Mecca verses of the Koran to the Medina verses for an idea.
Since the Muslim Brotherhood took over Egypt, empowered Islamists have become less bashful and hesitant about showing their true face. Even once well-respected and authoritative Muslim scholars are under attack. Ali Gomaa, the outgoing grand mufti of Egypt — often described as one of the world’s leading authorities on Islam — was the latest to experience this phenomenon.
During a recent sermon he was giving about the importance of jihad in masjid al-rahma (“Mercy Mosque”) in Port Said, at least one listener interrupted him, screaming “You’re a hypocrite …. You’re a member of the former regime!” Other disparagements were likely hurled as the recording appears to have been partially censored.
Interestingly, these insults were hurled at the esteemed Gomaa while he was quoting from the following Koran excerpt:
Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors. And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitna is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers (2:191-192).Even so, in the new Egypt, apparently Ali Gomaa isn’t Islamic enough — even though he was promoting the cause of jihad and even though he earlier labeled all Christians “infidels.” Of course, Gomaa has long been disliked for other, more “moderate” stances — but by al-Qaeda types hiding in caves or imprisoned, not, as they are now, empowered, and thus unabashed.
A visibly shaken Gomaa fired back (see beginning around 1:27) — saying that prophet Muhammad labeled those who create fitna, or discord in Muslim societies, as “dogs of hell,” who “corrupt the earth,” and take the teachings of Islam out of context, like the Kharajites before them, who must be fought and killed.
If the grand mufti is not Islamic enough — and during a sermon extolling the virtues of jihad no less — who is? The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis are. And now that they are empowered, and thus emboldened, they seek total conformity.
At any rate, isn’t it ironic how Islamists un-caged and empowered always turn on those Muslims who, while long nurturing of Islam, are just not “Islamic” enough? For example, former Egyptian President Sadat, though much more sympathetic and tolerant to Islamists than his predecessor — Sadat included Sharia in the Egyptian constitution and released a great many jihadis imprisoned under Nasser – was repaid by being assassinated by those he freed, those he un-caged, under the rationale that he was just not Islamic enough.
Turkish show trial seeks 18,000 years in prison for IDF chiefs involved in repelling
Turkish show trial seeks 18,000 years in prison for IDF chiefs involved in repelling jihad flotilla Mavi Marmara
The people on the Mavi Marmara flotilla were genocidal Jew-hating jihadis, as you can see in the video above: they were chanting a jihad war cry recalling Muhammad's massacre of the Jews of Arabia: "Khybar, Khybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return." In rapidly re-Islamizing Turkey, the fact that Israel fought back against these jihadis is grounds for a show trial claiming victim status, as Islamic supremacists always do, and solidifying the country's new anti-Israel stance.
"Turkey resumes Gaza flotilla trial for ex-IDF heads," by Yonah Jeremy Bob for the Jerusalem Post, February 21:
The trial in absentia of a group of former Israeli military commanders, including former chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, restarted on Thursday at an Istanbul court.The officers are being charged with the deaths of nine Turks aboard the Mavi Marmara, one of the ships in the 2010 flotilla attempt to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza.
Terrorism Without End
Terrorism Without End
Until we start fighting the sponsors of jihad as well as the jihadists, the war will never be over.
by Daniel Greenfield
The reason why the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is doomed can be summed up in a paragraph. The Arab populations left in political limbo when Israel recaptured in 1967 the territory that it had lost to Egypt and Jordan in 1948 exist only as a strategic weapon of disruption. They have been shaped into a population that is defined only by terrorism because that is the purpose that their sponsors put them to. There can be no constructive outcome of the conflict because you cannot negotiate with a weapon.
The trouble is not that Israel is unable to reach a settlement with the Palestinians; but that the Muslim countries funding and operating the terrorist groups that constitute the Palestinian political factions are unwilling to give up their weapon. Negotiating with the Palestinian Authority or Hamas is like trying to negotiate with a gun or bargain with an attack dog. There is nothing to be gained from such a futile task. The conflict will end only when those countries that are behind it will decide that it should end. And they have no reason to want it to end.
Palestinian terrorism is a strategic weapon of disruption that confines and unbalances Israel. At a cost of millions, the sponsors of that terror have inflicted billions in economic damage. And there is no reason for them to stop. Watching Israel and America try to reason with their attack dogs amuses them and allows them to expand their own influence by offering to act as mediators.
For that same reason, Islamic terrorism in general is also not going anywhere. What the Palestinians are to Israel, Muslim terrorists are to the West and the rest of the world. They are strategic weapons which are allowed to exist because they serve the purposes of their sponsors. Like most living weapons, they occasionally turn in the hands of their sponsors, but that only makes the task of directing them at the proper targets more urgent.
Terrorism can never be defeated by fighting terrorists. Combine massive wealth in some parts of the Middle East with staggering poverty in other parts and the supply of mercenaries is nearly endless. Syrian Jihadists are being paid $150 a month by Qatar; a good salary for an unskilled laborer in a region where life is cheap and every family has plenty of surplus sons and mouths to feed. A barrel of oil can buy the services of a killer for a month and Qatar pumps out millions of barrels a day.
Terrorism is cheap for the sponsors, profitable for the participants and hideously expensive for the targets. A soldier in a First World nation can cost six figures. For that same amount, a backward oil tyranny can field a hundred men. When those hundred men kill a soldier, then his nation will be heartbroken and question the costs of war. When those hundred men die, their mothers will ceremonially wail and cry out for more martyrs to avenge them. And the terror will go on.
Islam makes the process easier. Like Palestinian nationalism, it is a war machine whose ideas lubricate the recruitment, rampages and replenishment of fresh cannon fodder for the wars of the old rich men of the region.
That difference in attitude and ideology is at the heart of the power imbalance. As long as that imbalance exists, then a hundred poorly trained fighters who can hardly shoot without killing themselves will still edge the Army of One.
No Muslim country has been able to field an army that will match a Western nation in some time. The Israeli-Arab wars punishingly drove that lesson home as the tiny Jewish State managed to prevail even when it faced superior numbers and at times even superior technology and surprise attacks.
Palestinian nationalism was born out of the humiliating realization that no amount of firepower and manpower would suffice to sweep Israel off the map. It was an attempt at creating a secularized Islam with a mythical nationalism replacing a mythical religion. But at its moment of greatest success, it began to merge with Islam, like a river returning to the sea. Under Hamas, Palestinian nationalism is completing its merger with Islamism.
Terrorism in the Muslim world was reborn out of that same realization, its secular attachments diminishing as it falls back into the Islamic roots of its birth. Arab Nationalism failed to produce a single army that could take on the West. Egypt’s armies were smashed by Israel. Iraq’s were torn apart by the United States. And so civilized mass warfare was instead replaced by a primitive calculated chaos.
Saddam’s Republican Guard could not even dream of defeating the United States, but years of terrorism could. Israel beat down entire armies, but blinked in the face of repeated terrorist attacks. An army is expensive, but a terrorist, even a suicide bomber, is cheap. War is expensive, but calculated chaos can be had at cut-rate prices.
Terrorism has no “off switch” because it’s too profitable. There is no down side for its sponsors who can inflict significant amounts of harm and collect enormous profits for a few million here and there. Their power to temporarily turn off the terror makes them even more powerful and influential.
Muslims have gone from nonentities in the Western political sphere to huge power players not through oil, but through the terror that they bought with that oil. Americans paid little attention to Muslims until September 11. Since then Muslims have been flattered and promoted, their political interests have been pandered to and their leaders have gained an enormous amount of influence. Not only has all this pandering failed to stop terrorism, it has instead provided a compelling motive for more terrorism.
Terrorism saw its field test in Israel where it successfully disrupted the national way of life. And then that weapon was deployed on a large scale in New York, Washington DC, London and Madrid.
In Israel, the terrorists became partners. Each act of strategic disruption further increased the scale of concessions in the hopes of getting them to accept that arrangement as the basis for a stable society. Now the United States has made Muslim sponsors of terrorism into its partners in the hopes of getting them to use their newfound power to build a stable international order. The predictable results of that disaster can be seen in the Arab Spring.
There is no way forward without accepting that Islamic terrorism is not a set of particular movements fighting over nationalist causes in Israel and India, over religious causes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and over tribal causes in Nigeria and Somalia; it is a multi-headed hydra. Each head has its own identity, but it is the body that counts. That body lies under the surface in the form of ideological organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, but even deeper it lies in the flow of funds and influence from oil countries.
Until we accept that the terrorists matter less than their sponsors, we will be stuck fighting terrorism without end.
An Apostate on the Arab Spring (Andrew Bostom)
An Apostate on the Arab Spring(Andrew Bostom)
"Any moderate Muslim who would like to reform Islam should admit to himself that terror and violence are in the Koran."
The invaluable blog Gates of Vienna, has translated the Die Welt interview of a thoughtful, courageous 22 year-old Moroccan "apostate" from Islam, Kassim al-Ghasali. Requisitely threatened with death because of his openly professed rejection of the Muslim creed, al-Ghasali fled Morocco in February, 2011, and now lives in exile in Switzerland
Young Mr. al-Ghasali's perspicacious-and brutally honest-insights on the Arab Spring, and Islam, validate what I contended back in 2005 comparing the Muslim apostate Ayaan Hirsi Ali to various "moderate Muslims," championed by conservatives at that time, in the US. Apostates, free-thinking human beings born into Islamic societies, but till now, deprived of their basic rights, and as a corollary, crushing any spur to meaningful change in Islamdom, represent the only hope, if there is any at all, of transforming totalitarian Islam.
Die Welt: What do you think of the so-called "Arab Spring? Can you discern positive changes?http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/...and_islam.html
Democracy Is Not the Answer
Democracy Is Not the Answer
Why representative government won’t stop the Middle East from remaining the world’s cradle of terrorism.
To understand how we got to the point that spending hundreds of millions of dollars to support a government run by people who have been at war with us for almost a century is a policy that most foreign policy experts endorse, it helps to take a brief trip back in time.
In the last century, our big three wars, the two we fought and the one we didn’t, were against enemies who were seen as being distinguished by a lack of democracy, with the Kaiser, the Fuhrer and the Commissar embodying the antithesis of the American system.
The Democratic Party, which stood at the helm during both hot wars, was able to link its brand to the wars by defining them as struggles for democracy. The process of de-nationalizing war from a conflict between nations and ethnic groups was only partly realized in WW1, but was largely achieved in WW2, and made post-war reconstruction and alliance easier. National and ethnic grudges were replaced by ideological platforms. If the trouble was a lack of democracy, then all we needed to do was defeat the tyrant’s armies, inject democracy and stand back.
Democracy also made it easier to turn liberals against the Soviet Union. The liberals who had believed in a war for democracy in Europe had difficulty tossing it aside after the war was over. And that emphasis on democracy helped make a national defense coalition between conservatives and liberals possible.
This strategy was effective enough against existing totalitarian systems, but suffered from a major weakness because it could not account for a totalitarian ideology taking power through the ballot box.
The assumption that because the Nazis and the Communists rejected open elections that they could not win open elections was wrong. Democracy of that kind is populism and totalitarian movements can be quite popular. The Nazis did fairly well in the 1932 elections and the radical left gobbled up much of the Russian First Duma. The modern Russian Communist Party is the second largest party in the Duma today.
Democratic elections do not necessarily lead to democratic outcomes, but the linkage of democracy to progress made that hard to see. The assumption that democracy is progressive and leads to more progress had been adopted even by many conservatives. That fixed notion of history led to total disaster in the Arab Spring.
Cold War America knew better than to endorse universal democracy. Open elections everywhere would have given the Soviet Union more allies than the United States. The left attacked Eisenhower and Kennedy as hypocrites, but both men were correct in understanding that there was no virtue in overthrowing an authoritarian government only to replace it with an even more authoritarian government; whether through violence or the ballot box.
As time went on, Americans were assailed with two interrelated arguments. The left warned that the denial of democracy was fueling Third World rage against the United States. And on the right we heard that tyranny was warping Third World societies into malignant forms. The left’s version of the argument directed more blame at America, but both versions of the argument treated democracy as a cure for hostility.
The argument that democracy had made the Muslim world dysfunctional was always chancy. The best counterargument to it was that second and third-generation Muslims in Europe were often more radical than their immigrant parents. If democracy were a cure for Islamism, it was working very poorly in London, Oslo and Paris.
The assumption of the argument was that the tyranny that a people were living under was unnatural while the outcome of a democratic election would be natural. And yet, if a people have been warped for a thousand years by not living under a democracy, how could they be expected to choose a form of government that would not be warped? Was there any reason to expect that such efforts at democracy would not lead to tyranny?
The Arab Spring has taught us to question the idea that democracy is an absolute good. Initially the outcome of the Palestinian Arab elections that rewarded Hamas was thought not to apply to the wider region. That assumption proved to be wrong. We now know that Hamas’ victory foreshadowed the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory. And we know that Islamists have the inside track in elections because they represent a familiar ideology that has not been discredited in the minds of a majority of Muslims.
We can no longer afford to be bound by a Cold War argument against Communism that has outlived its usefulness, especially once liberals turned left and defected from a national security consensus. Universal democracy has proven to be about as universal a panacea as international law or the United Nations.
Classifying ideologies as democratic or undemocratic has blinded us to their content and gives our enemies an easy way to take power while leaving the champions of democracy voiceless. Too many Republicans were flailing after the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory in Egypt; unable to articulate a reason why the United States should not support a democratically elected government.
Democracy was once viewed, rightly or wrongly, as a form of American Exceptionalism. But reducing that exceptionalism to open elections misses the point. It isn’t open elections that make Americans special; it’s Americans who make open elections special. Instead of looking to systems, we should look to values. Instead of looking to governments, we should look to peoples.
The assumption that exporting democracy also exports our values is clearly wrong. It isn’t democracy that makes free people; it’s individual responsibility. Democracy with individual responsibility makes for a free nation. Democracy without individual responsibility is only another name for tyranny.
We have spent too much time looking at systems, when we should have been looking at values. We have wrongly assumed that all religions and all peoples share the same basic values that democracy can unleash for the betterment of all. That has clearly been proven to be wrong.
If we had looked instead at a poll which showed that 4 out of 5 Egyptians believe that adulterers should be stoned and thieves should have their hands cut off, we would have known how this democracy experiment was going to end and how much damage it would do to our national interests.
It’s time to stop putting our faith in democracy. Democracy for all is not the answer. Responsibility for all is. Our responsibility is not to agnostically empower other people to make the choices that will destroy our way of life, but to make those choices that will keep our way of life alive.
Time to Demand Human Rights in the Middle East
Time to Demand Human Rights in the Middle East
And stop the obsession with Israel.
by Ronn Torossian
For all the flaming liberals who scream about equal rights, discrimination and the like, where are these people when it comes to women’s rights in the Middle East?
An industry comprised of many elite liberals, concerned with “humanitarian issues,” is the industry in which I make my living in Public Relations. And lo and behold, amidst deafening silence, the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) last week hosted “The 4th Public Relations Forum” in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Major US PR firms, including Ketchum, Hill & Knowlton, and Burson-Marsteller, have offices in the region and surely benefit from the PR growth in the region. But why don’t they look at where they are making their living?
Recently in Saudi Arabia, seven men were executed by the government – after torture and without lawyers or the right to appeal at their trial. The nation of Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t recognize the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Saudi courts allow beheading, stoning, and the US State Department says “discrimination against women is a significant problem” in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian women are required to have a male guardian and need their guardian’s permission for marriage and divorce; travel, if under 45; education; employment; opening a bank account; and they can’t drive or vote. If Muslims convert to another religion, the penalty is execution.
Fit place for Public Relations liberals to hold conferences, huh?
Yet, review yesterday’s New York Times and witness no less than three op-eds attacking Israel. In Israel, the recently named beauty queen, Yityish Aynaw, is a black African woman. She’s a 21-year-old Ethiopian-born Israeli who came to the country alone at the age of 12 and works as a salesperson. She will be having dinner with US President Barack Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres next week, and as she said, she was “very excited” about meeting him, as he had a “notable influence on her life.” Ms. Aynaw cited Martin Luther King Jr. as one of her heroes and is living in a land of opportunity – for all: women, blacks and others.
Meanwhile, Gaza had their marathon cancelled by the United Nations because women were not allowed to participate. As the United Nations Relief and Works Agency said, “This disappointing decision follows discussions with the authorities in Gaza who have insisted that no women should participate.” Of course, Jews would have been lynched had they tried to participate. Meanwhile, in the recent marathon in Jerusalem, Israel saw Jews, Arabs, Europeans, men and women participating and having a grand old time.
In Israel, on occasion the handful of mostly American Jews of “Women of The Wall” receive extensive media coverage for their fight to be allowed to pray at all areas of the Western Wall in coed prayer with full regalia. Despite the fact that it is in contravention of Israeli law, they do so often – and the holiest site for Jews in the world to pray is open to everyone and anyone 24/7.
Meanwhile, in other parts of the Middle East, women are viewed as a men’s property – and that is barely focused upon. Who remembers last year’s protests by hundreds of women in Egypt in which 13 people were killed and Egyptian soldiers beat and stripped women protesters? The newly liberated Middle East ignores the fact that the (post-Qaddafi) Libyan National Transitional Council chief pledged to uphold Islamic law and ease polygamy rules. In nearly the entire Middle East, Islamic law is the law, and women are inferior to men.
Liberals should pay more attention to the rest of the Middle East and stop worrying about Israel. Instead of attacking Israel stupidly, focus on the terrorists and terrorizers of all those who don’t subscribe to their exact way of life.
By the way, don’t forget three years ago all those urgently needed humanitarian flotillas for the poor people of Gaza? Where are all those bleeding-hearts now when tens of thousands have been slaughtered in Syria? Still no flotilla to Syria?
Obama's Middle East policy in tatters: Column
Obama's Middle East policy in tatters: Column
U.S is now less popular in the region than at the end of the George W. Bush administration.
By James S. Robbins
President Obama's first journey to Israel as president comes amid earth-shattering change in Middle East, much of it for the worse. The Arab Spring, which once raised hopes of freedom and dignity, has diverged onto the dark path of Islamist authoritarian rule. In Syria, tens of thousands of people have died in a bitter civil war that might have recently seen its first use of chemical weapons. And Iran continues its march toward nuclear weapons capability, heedless of international condemnation. Obama's effort to seek peace between Palestinians and Israelis is in tatters.
That's why the White House has been lowering expectations for Obama's trip to Israel all this week. He will announce no new peace plan, grand design or major foreign policy initiative. His advisers are calling the trip a "listening tour." That is what you call a state visit when you have little to say.
Despite downgrading the trip, many see Obama's arrival as the sequel to his 2009 visit to Cairo, where he announced a "new beginning" with the Muslim world. Four years later, that doesn't auger well for renewed efforts in Israel and the West Bank. According to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project, confidence in Obama in Muslim countries dropped from 33% to 24% in his first term. Approval of Obama's policies declined even further, from 34% to 15%. And support for the United States in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan is lower today than it was in 2008 in the closing year of George W. Bush's administration. That collapse of support has not happened elsewhere.
In his Cairo speech, Obama pledged a relationship between America and Muslims around the world "based on mutual interest and mutual respect." But in 2013, interests are diverging, and respect is in short supply.
Of all the strained relationships in the Middle East, the partnership with Israel is the most important and potentially the most easily repaired. Obama is not popular in the country. A poll released last week showed he had a scant 10% approval rating in Israel, with an additional 32% saying they respect but don't like him. But the president is making significant symbolic gestures to heal the breach, such as visiting the grave site of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. It's being interpreted as showing support for the Jewish people's historic connection to the land of Israel, something Obama avoided in his first term.
Unpopular in Palestine
If Israelis don't like Obama, Palestinians are even less favorable.Washington's perceived failure to take a harder line with Israel over the final status of Jerusalem, and U.S. opposition to President Mahmoud Abbas' successful campaign for higher Palestinian status in the United Nations, have engendered a deep sense of frustration. Passions spilled over in Bethlehem this week, when young Palestinians defaced a billboard with Obama's image and burned pictures of him in the streets. Obama's symbolic nods to Israel's history are likely to raise Palestinian ire even further.
The hope that Obama will say the right things in Thursday's speech at Jerusalem's convention center is negated by doubts he will follow through. The president has to assure Israelis and Palestinians that he is still engaged if the peace process has any chance of moving forward. In part, this means convincing them that he still matters.
James S. Robbins is a senior fellow in national security affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council.
Obama to Palestinians: Accept the Jewish State
Obama to Palestinians: Accept the Jewish State
by Daniel Pipes
March 26, 2013
One key shift in U.S. policy was overlooked in the barrage of news about Barack Obama's eventful fifty-hour visit to Israel last week. That would be the demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, called by Hamas leader Salah Bardawil "the most dangerous statement by an American president regarding the Palestinian issue."
Title page of Theodor Herzl's 1896 book, "Der Judenstaat" ("The Jewish State").
First, some background: Israel's founding documents aimed to make the country a Jewish state.Modern Zionism effectively began with the publication in 1896 of Theodor Herzl's book, Der Judenstaat ("The Jewish State"). The Balfour Declaration of 1917 favors "a national home for the Jewish people."
U.N. General Assembly resolution 181 of 1947, partitioning Palestine into two, mentions the term Jewish state 30 times. Israel's Declaration of Establishment of 1948 mentions Jewish state 5 times, as in "we … hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel."
Because of this tight connection, when Arab-Israeli diplomacy began in earnest in the 1970s, the Jewish state formulation largely disappeared from view; everyone simply assumed that diplomatic recognition of Israel meant accepting it as the Jewish state. Only in recent years did Israelis realize otherwise, as Israeli Arabs came to accept Israel but reject its Jewish nature. For example, an important 2006 publication from the Mossawa Center in Haifa, The Future Vision of Palestinian Arabs in Israel, proposes that the country become a religiously neutral state and joint homeland. In brief, Israeli Arabs have come to see Israel as a variant of Palestine.
Awakened to this linguistic shift, winning Arab acceptance of Israel no longer sufficed; Israelis and their friends realized that they had to insist on explicit Arab acceptance of Israel as the Jewish state. In 2007, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert announced that unless Palestinians did so, diplomacy would be aborted: "I do not intend to compromise in any way over the issue of the Jewish state," he emphasized. The Palestinian Authority immediately and unanimously rejected this demand. Its head, Mahmoud Abbas, responded: "In Israel, there are Jews and others living there,. This we are willing to recognize, nothing else."
Netanyahu and Olmert agree on the need for Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish state
When Binyamin Netanyahu succeeded Olmert as prime minister in 2009, he reiterated this demand as a precondition to serious negotiations: "Israel expects the Palestinians to first recognize Israel as a Jewish state before talking about two states for two peoples." The Palestinians not only refused to budge but ridiculed the very idea. Again, Abbas: "What is a 'Jewish state?' We call it the 'State of Israel.' You can call yourselves whatever you want. But I will not accept it. ... It's not my job to … provide a definition for the state and what it contains. You can call yourselves the Zionist Republic, the Hebrew, the National, the Socialist [Republic] call it whatever you like, I don't care."
Only six weeks ago, Abbas again blasted the Jewish state concept. The Palestinian rejection of Jewish statehood could not be more emphatic. (For a compilation of their assertions, see "Recognizing Israel as the Jewish State: Statements" at DanielPipes.org.)
American politicians, including both George W. Bush and Obama, have since 2008 occasionally referred to Israel as the Jewish state, even as they studiously avoided demanding Palestinians to do likewise. In a typical declaration, Obama in 2011 sketched the ultimate diplomatic goal as "two states for two people: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people and the State of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people."
Barack Obama changed U.S. policy in a speech at a convention center in Jerusalem.
Then, in his Jerusalem speech last week, Obama suddenly and unexpectedly adopted in full the Israeli demand: "Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state."
That sentence breaks important new ground and cannot readily be undone. It also makes for excellent policy, for without such recognition, Palestinian acceptance of Israel is hollow, indicating only a willingness to call the future state they dominate "Israel" rather than "Palestine."
While not the only shift in policy announced during Obama's trip (another: telling the Palestinians not to set preconditions for negotiations), this one looms largest because it starkly contravenes the Palestinian consensus. Bardawil may hyperbolically assert that it "shows that Obama has turned his back to all Arabs" but those ten words in fact establish a readiness to deal with the conflict's central issue. They likely will be his most important, most lasting, and most constructive contribution to Arab-Israeli diplomacy.
Mr. Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum.Mar. 26, 2013 update: Other Arab reactions to Obama's "Jewish state" statement:
Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi, March 23:
Never in my life have I seen a US President beg for the approval of the Israelis while demeaning himself in the process quite like Barack Obama has done during his current trip. … He has broken our trust and dashed our hopes, reminding us instead of Uncle Tom (from Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin) – the black servant whose subservience to his white master overcame his humanity.
The Threat of Islamic Betrayal
The Threat of Islamic Betrayal
Assassination attempt in Turkey exposes Islamist deceit and hate.
by Raymond Ibrahim
A recent assassination attempt in Turkey offers valuable lessons for the West concerning Islamist hate—and the amount of deceit and betrayal that hate engenders towards non-Muslim “infidels.”
Last January, an assassination plot against a Christian pastor in Turkey was thwarted. Police arrested 14 suspects. Two of them had been part of the pastor’s congregation for more than a year, feigning interest in Christianity. One went so far as to participate in a baptism. Three of the suspects were women. “These people had infiltrated our church and collected information about me, my family and the church and were preparing an attack against us,” said the pastor in question, Emre Karaali, a native Turk: “Two of them attended our church for over a year and they were like family.”
And their subversive tactics worked: “The 14 [suspects] had collected personal information, copies of personal documents, created maps of the church and the pastor’s home, and had photos of those who had come to Izmit [church] to preach.”
Consider the great lengths these Islamic supremacists went to in order to murder this Christian pastor: wholesale deception, attending non-Islamic places of worship and rites to the point that “they were like family” to the Christian they sought to betray and kill. While some may think such acts are indicative of un-Islamic behavior, they are, in fact, doctrinally permissible and historically demonstrative.
Islamic teaching permits deceits, ruses, and dispensations. For an in depth examination, read about the doctrines of taqiyya, tawriya, and taysir. Then there is Islam’s overarching idea of niyya (or “intention”), best captured by the famous Muslim axiom, “necessity makes permissible the prohibited.” According to this teaching, the intentions behind Muslim actions determine whether said actions are permissible or not.
From here one may understand the many incongruities of Islam: lying is forbidden—unless the intention is to empower Islam; killing women and children is forbidden—but permissible during the jihad; suicide is forbidden—unless the intention is to kill infidels, in which case it becomes a “martyrdom operation.”
Thus, feigning interest in Christianity, attending church for over a year, participating in Christian baptisms, and becoming “like family” to an infidel—all things forbidden according to Islamic Sharia—become permissible in the service of the jihad on Christianity.
History offers several examples of Muslims feigning friendship and loyalty to non-Muslims only to break faith at the opportune moment, beginning with Islam’s founder. When a non-Muslim poet, Ka‘b ibn Ashraf, offended Muhammad, the prophet exclaimed: “Who will kill this man who has hurt Allah and his prophet?” A young Muslim named Ibn Maslama volunteered on condition that, to get close enough to Ka‘b to assassinate him, he be allowed to deceive the poet. The prophet agreed. Ibn Maslama went to Ka‘b feigning friendship; the poet trusted his sincerity and took him into his confidence. Soon thereafter, the Muslim youth returned with a friend and, while the trusting poet’s guard was down, they slaughtered him.
Likewise, Muhammad commanded a convert from an adversarial tribe to conceal his new Muslim identity and go back to his tribe—which he cajoled with a perfidious “You are my stock and my family, the dearest of men to me”—only to betray them to Islam.
Such are the lengths some Muslims—past and present—go to in order to win the trust of those infidels they mean to betray. For example, in October 2012 in Somalia, a nation that has nothing in common with Turkey, neither race, language, nor culture—only Islam—this same story of betrayal recently took place. When a Muslim sheikh became suspicions that a woman in his village had converted to Christianity, he sent his wife to the apostate, instructing her to pretend to be interested in learning about Christianity. The trusting Christian woman was only too happy to share the Gospel with the feigning Muslim woman. After it was verified that the woman was Christian, the sheikh and other Muslims went to her house and shot her dead.
Such betrayals can only be understood in the context of the growing hate felt for infidels, Christians at the top of the list. In Turkey alone—a relatively “moderate” nation in comparison to other Muslim nations like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt—recent anecdotes of hate include the slaying of an 85-year-old Christian Armenian woman, who was repeatedly stabbed to death in her apartment. A crucifix was carved onto her naked corpse. This is the fifth attack in the past two months against elderly Christian women (one lost an eye), even though Christians make less than 1% of Turkey’s population.
The Turkish pastor targeted for assassination also explained the great enmity felt for Christians: “There is hate and this hate feeling continues from people here.” Muslim children often curse and throw rocks at his church and its congregation—which consists of only 20 members.
Then of course there was the Malatya massacre. In April 2007, several terrorists attacked a publishing house in Malatya, Turkey, for distributing Bibles. They bound, tortured, and stabbed for several hours three of its Christian employees before slitting their throats. Evidence also later emerged that the massacre was part of a much larger operation, including involvement of elements in Turkey’s military. One unidentified suspect later said: “We didn’t do this for ourselves, but for our religion [Islam]…. Let this be a lesson to enemies of our religion.”
Indeed, the true “lesson” is best captured by the following question: If some Muslims, including women, are willing to go to such lengths to eliminate the already ostracized and downtrodden non-Muslim minorities in their midst—attending churches and becoming like “family members” to those infidels they intend to kill—how much deceit and betrayal must some of the smiling Muslim activists of America, especially those in positions of power and influence, be engaging in to subvert and eliminate the most dangerous of all infidels, the original Great Satan?
And yet, according to the Obama administration, the only Islamic-related threat Americans need to worry about is al-Qaeda—open, bearded terrorists screaming “death to America” while toting their Kalashnikovs—not, of course, that the administration thinks even al-Qaeda has anything to do with “radical Islamism,” let alone Islam proper.
Staggering hypocrisy: Obama Administration accuses Egypt of stifling freedom of expre
Obama Administration accuses Egypt of stifling freedom of expression
Now wait a minute. Remember that in 2011, the UN Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 16/18, with the support of the Obama administration. It called upon Western states to pass laws that would criminalize "defamation of religion" – i.e., criticism of Islam. Remember also that right after the Benghazi jihad massacre, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed to have the producer of a video about Muhammad arrested and prosecuted -- and he is still the only person in prison for those attacks, solely for the crime of exercising his freedom of speech. And those are just two of the many ways in which the Obama Administration has shown itself to be a foe of the First Amendment. So either Nuland is going to come in for a serious behind-the-scenes rebuke from her superiors, or the Administration is trying to cover its anti-free speech tracks.
"US accuses Egypt of stifling freedom of expression," from Middle East Online, April 2:
WASHINGTON - The United States on Monday voiced concern over freedom of expression in Egypt following the arrest of a comedian for allegedly insulting President Mohamed Morsi and Islam.
What is a Constitution Anyway?
What is a Constitution Anyway?
by Samuel Tadros
January 07, 2013
Available for download as a PDF
On the 15th and 22nd of December 2012 Egyptians headed again to the polls for the eighth time since the January 25, 2011 revolution which toppled President Mubarak and his regime. The frequency of the voting was not, however, an indication of a vibrant democracy taking shape; rather, it has been the result of the haphazard transition that post-revolutionary Egypt has undergone. Nearly two years after the revolution and after seven elections, Egypt has still not formed the institutions required to sustain a democracy. Today, the country only has an elected president and an upper chamber of parliament—a body which, even though it exists, suffers from the same specter of unconstitutionality under electoral law that haunted its lower counterpart’s existence and led ultimately to its dissolution. However, what was at stake in the elections was far more important than merely an elected body. Moreover, the election wasn’t purely about approving or rejecting a proposed constitution. Instead, the battle over Egypt’s proposed constitution is a function of the larger battle unfolding over ownership of the 2011 revolution and the very identity of the country.
As the saying goes, victory has many fathers, and the Egyptian revolution is no exception. The astonishing success of the revolution in bringing down the Mubarak regime has left political forces scrambling to take credit for the revolution and sole ownership of its narrative. Non-Islamists, who can claim few political successes if any over the past two years, have become nostalgic for the eighteen days of protest in Tahrir Square which set-off the revolution. Given their lack of anything to celebrate since the uprisings, non-Islamists are adamant on being the sole owners of the revolution. It was the non-Islamists, they claim, who sparked the revolution and who led its battles. In a sense, life itself began for them on January 25, 2011 when a new Egypt was born in Tahrir Square. At a time when the Muslim Brotherhood remained in the shadows hesitant to join the anti-regime protests, when Salafi Shaykhs were rejecting the popular calls for disorder, it was the non-Islamists who were on the front lines and who fought for every yard and inch of the street.
For Islamists, however, the revolution represents the culmination of a much longer historical struggle. Some trace the struggle back to 1954, when the Brotherhood believed itself close to taking power but was then ruthlessly crushed and forced underground by Nasser. Others trace it to an older battle between Islam and secularism that began in the nineteenth century and which Muslims have fought ever since against foreign missionaries, colonialism and Westernization. After languishing for years in Mubarak’s prisons, newly released members of jihadist groups asserted that it was their struggles that were the precursors to the 2011 revolution. When accused of being latecomers to and hangers-on of the revolution, Islamists are quick to respond that it was they who protected the revolution during its darkest moment in the “Battle of the Camel,” when all hope seemed to be lost. Left unsaid is the role Islamists played in the attacks on police stations and prisons throughout the country, which arguably was the most important factor in the regime’s collapse.
The struggle now between Islamists and non-Islamists over ownership of the revolution is only one part of the story, however. Before the constitutional referendum and the present-day impasse and street clashes between the supporters and detractors of President Morsi, the battle over the constitution and over Egypt’s future was fought not only along Islamist vs. non-Islamist lines, but among the Islamists themselves. Indeed, within the Islamist camp, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis were involved in a battle over what Islamism both meant and necessitated in post-revolutionary Egypt and how this should be expressed in the language of the country’s new constitution. Each side approached the question of the constitution from a different point of view, and while they have, for the time being, managed to overcome their differences and unite against non-Islamists, examining the past disputes between them provides fascinating insights into their current relationships and their prospective ones as well.
The Brotherhood’s Plan
The Muslim Brotherhood approached the constitutional writing process with a keen eye on how to manipulate both the process and the new document to further strengthen their power in Egyptian politics. With a long history of political participation and organization, the Brotherhood’s senior leadership is politically sophisticated and shrewd. They have clearly been aware that the new constitution could potentially give them unparalleled powers to shape the political process in their favor. As an Islamist movement that has sought to both rule Egypt and shape its people’s identity, no area of the new constitution was irrelevant to the Brotherhood, and all areas represented opportunities to enlarge the movement’s power.
The first area of attention for the Brotherhood was the political system. Following the uprising, when the Brotherhood was still unsure of the governing military council’s agenda and was also eager to assuage Western and non-Islamist fears, the Brotherhood had initially promised not to run a presidential candidate. Because of this, and since they were also well-aware of their movement’s potential to dominate a parliament, the Brotherhood leadership was adamant that the country adopt a parliamentary system. In articles and press releases the vices of a presidential system including its prospects for authoritarianism were highlighted while the virtues of parliamentarianism lauded. The Freedom and Justice Party’s official program stated explicitly that the Brotherhood preferred a parliamentary system. However, changed political circumstances and dynamics, including ones that led to the Brotherhood’s decision to contest the presidential elections (and ultimately win them), changed the movement’s thinking about the desired political system. Especially after the Constitutional Court dissolved the parliament, the Brotherhood sought to give its man in the presidential palace all the powers he needed to ensure its domination of the political system.
After the revolution, the Brotherhood wasn’t initially convinced that the regime had actually fallen. There was in fact disbelief over how easily Mubarak fell. After decades of conducting its affairs secretly under heavy state repression, the movement was sure that a “deep state” still stood and was actively conspiring against its vision of Islamist revival and reform. A series of court rulings dissolving parliament, the first constituent assembly, and barring the Brotherhood candidate Khairat El Shater from running for the presidency, while all legally sound, only served to strengthen this conspiratorial mindset. As a result, the Brotherhood felt driven to ensure that the sole institution it dominated, the presidency, was more powerful and able to defeat all others. Thus, the Brotherhood began to pay special attention to constitutional articles that dealt with the Supreme Court and the District Attorney, and attempted to limit their powers. Moreover, a means to exclude former ruling party cadres from competing in future elections was also sought.
The second focus of the Brotherhood’s attention in the unfolding constitutional debates concerned how to co-opt its traditional adversary, the military, so as to insure that it does not stand against the movement’s interests and plans. To accomplish this, the Brotherhood has publically sought to ensure that the military’s main organizational goals and interests are protected. Since the Brotherhood shares the military’s ultra-nationalist views and believes in the existence of an international (and also homegrown) conspiracy against Egypt and the Islamist movement, the Brotherhood’s decision-makers needed little convincing to adopt the military’s point of view on the defense budget.
Thirdly, the Brotherhood was clearly aware of the potential spoiler effect that the Salafis might have on the constitution drafting process. Because the Salafis far outnumber Brotherhood members and have the ability to mobilize the masses under the banner of Sharia, the Brotherhood needed to keep them on board and make sure that the Salafis were satisfied enough with the constitutional process. If there were ever a chance that the constitution would be defeated, it would be defeated by the Salafis. Thus, by all means necessary, the Brotherhood aimed to ensure that such an outcome would not materialize.
The Brotherhood’s efforts to mollify the Salafis were complicated, however, by the fact that the non-Islamists could also spoil their ambitions. Even though their voting power was and remains weak, the non-Islamists were widely seen by Islamists as controlling the country’s airwaves and strengthened by their connections to foreign institutions and leaders. While the Brotherhood would have preferred to dismiss the non-Islamists as an inconsequential minority, they also feared that the minority could mobilize foreign powers against the new constitution and the Islamist movement. If anything, the specter of 1954 and of the more recent experience in Algeria still loomed large over the Brotherhood’s thinking. For these reasons, the Brotherhood felt it was politically necessary in the course of the constitutional debates not to antagonize the non-Islamists and official opinion in Western countries.
Of course, despite these political considerations, strengthening the role of Sharia and the Islamic nature of the new constitution remained a top priority for the Brotherhood. Indeed, Khairat El Shater, the Brotherhood’s Deputy General Guide, explicitly stated that: “our main and overall mission as Muslim Brothers is to empower God’s Religion on Earth, to organize our life and the lives of people on the basis of Islam, to establish the Nahda of the Ummah and its civilization on the basis of Islam, and to the subjugation of people to God on Earth.” What this meant according to him is “restoring Islam in its all-encompassing meaning … and the Islamization of life.” Such a clear pronouncement leaves little doubt on the centrality of Islamist ideology to the movement’s agenda. El Shater has further identified “Islamic government” and the “Islamic state” as the fourth and fifth stages or future goals in the overall mission of the Brotherhood from its founding till today.
But it is not only the contemporary tactical need to balance between non-Islamist and Salafi forces that may obscure the importance of Islamist ideology to the movement. Nor is it the Brotherhood’s pragmatic approach to politics or its attempt to assuage Western fears. More important is the specific Brotherhood understanding of what Islamization in practice entails. Unlike other Islamist movements that placed an emphasis on changing society from below by combating secularism, Westernization, imperialism or vices and innovations, the Brotherhood, which was modeled on the European fascist movements of the 1920s, has always maintained a top-down approach. Its goal has been to build a movement strong enough to control the state and use the state’s powers to implement its vision. Moreover, unlike the Salafis whose goal and ultimate mission is Islam, the Brotherhood’s sights are not set on Islam per se, but on building an Islamic State and restoring the power of “Islamic civilization.”
Indeed, the most important aspect of the Brotherhood’s project to “Islamize life” is the emphasis it places on the Gama’a or the “Society.” Since the movement’s founding by Hassan El Banna, the key difference between the Brotherhood and other Islamist reformers and revivalists such as Mohamed Abdu or the early Salafis of the 1920s is the importance that the former gives to the role of the Gama’a in realizing the Islamist project. In the view of contemporary leaders like El Shater, the Gama’a was not a Brotherhood innovation, but rather reflects El Banna’s discovery of the “Prophet’s Method.” It is, therefore, not merely the case that the Brotherhood views their party as the vanguard of the Islamist project and, thus, what serves the party serves the project and its mission. Instead, the idea of the Gama’a runs much deeper, and is part of the very theological foundation of the Brotherhood. For example, El Shater quotes the second Caliph, Omar, as saying: “There is no religion without a Gama’a.” The boundary line, therefore, between the Brotherhood’s mission (of Islamization) and its method (the Gama’a) is not simply murky, it is nonexistent. As such, whatever serves to strengthen the Gama’a automatically serves the overall goal of restoring Islam to its all-encompassing role in people’s lives.
The Salafi Agenda
Yasser Borhamy, a member of the constituent assembly and one of the leaders of the Salafi Call (the mother organization of the Nour Party), explained in a recent video that “participation in political work had as one of its most important goals participation in writing the constitution.” The issue of the constitution and the role allocated to Sharia in its articles were not only the main campaigning platform of the Nour Party in parliamentary elections but, more importantly, it was the central concern of the Salafi leadership. Given the fluctuating nature of Egyptian political dynamics, the Salafi agenda and its goals concerning the Sharia have developed over time.
In the wake of the revolution, the Salafis were initially fearful that non-Islamists were seeking to establish a secularist state. Since the political debate at the time centered on whether to write a new constitution or amend the old one until an elected body could be chosen to write a new document, Salafis were content with playing defense. Since they worried that non-Islamists were seeking to write a new constitution to remove Ariticle 2 of the old one (which stipulates the principles of Sharia as the main source of legislation), the first active participation by Salafis in Egyptian politics came in the form of massive mobilization in the March 2011 referendum. The results were spectacular, with the unorganized coalition of Salafis, the Muslim Brotherhood and the military winning a whopping 77 percent of the vote.
With the threat to Article 2 defeated, and with their street strength proven, Salafis embraced politics with a new found enthusiasm. For years, Salafi scholars had argued that political participation and democracy were forms of polytheism that were rooted in modern man’s arrogation of God’s unique power as legislator. But now, important Salafi scholars, especially those of the Alexandria-based Salafi Call, have begun to argue both for political participation and for the formation of political parties. Importantly, this change of mind has not occurred as the result of a comprehensive embrace of democracy and democratic politics per se. Instead, it has been the result of a Salafist call for participation in elections that is rooted in a theological argument based on the doctrine of necessity (darura). It is because the Salafis perceive a threat to Sharia and the Islamic identity of the country that most of them, but not all, have deemed it justified to rise above their principled objections to democracy and enter the political competition.
Salafi participation in politics has also partly been driven by their fear of the Brotherhood. There exists deep theological differences between both currents of Islamism, and there is no love lost between them. The Salafis, especially the Salafi Call, understand that only by a strong and effective presence in Egyptian political life can they make sure that the Brotherhood does not “eliminate” them.
The Salafi approach to constitution writing, and their turn to politics more generally, have been motivated by their twin desires of “increasing good and decreasing evil.” To increase the good in society, Salafis have sought to cement the role of Sharia in the new constitution. To decrease the evil, Salafi members of the constituent assembly have sought to remove or block constitutional articles deemed “un-Islamic” either because of their terminology or because of their basis in secular legal traditions. While new to politics, Salafis have proven themselves to be quick learners. They approached the constitution writing process with a clear and coherent agenda, including with specific articles that they wanted to see incorporated into the text or removed. They also learned when to twist arms and when to cut deals, and they’ve demonstrated a unique capacity to mobilize the street, which they’ve threatened to do when it serves their agenda and to bring outside pressure to bear on constitutional deliberations. Should their initial attempts to push their preferred articles fail, the Salafis always had a back-up plan and a clear understanding of how to express articles in a language that would create loopholes for them to push their agenda in the future.
To “increase the good,” the Salafi constitutional agenda has been concerned with a number of articles, but chief among them is Article Two. In the previous constitution, the article said “the principles of Islamic Sharia are the main source of legislation.” From the Salafi perspective, the word “principles” was a loose term that allowed so much room for interpretation that it rendered the Sharia irrelevant to Egyptian political life. They were further infuriated by the Constitutional Court’s interpretation of the word “principles” as only those texts of Sharia that are definitively established as authentic and interpreted by scholars. This made the implementation of any rulings according to Sharia virtually impossible as most of the Sunna would be dismissed. Changing the article’s language became the Salafis’ main goal. To achieve their end they proposed either replacing the word “principles” with the word “rulings” or deleting the word altogether and maintaining Sharia and not its principles as the main source of legislation.
Moreover, Salafis suggested a whole set of articles that would increase the Islamic identity of the constitution. They proposed adding in the first article that Egypt belonged to the Islamic nation, and they also suggested a new article that would ban blasphemy. Most importantly, they attempted to replace the constitutional principle of the sovereignty of the people with the sovereignty of God. This latter issue is of vital importance to Salafis. Under the doctrine of Hakimiyya, God is the sole legislator. Through the final message to his Prophet, God has given mankind a complete and perfect framework of reference and rules for life. Those rules are all-encompassing and unchangeable. Acknowledgment of this role of God is an article of faith in Islam. To reject this and argue that the people can legislate for themselves and that sovereignty belongs to them is seen by Salafis as an act of apostasy.
To “decrease evil” in society, the Salafis sought to remove from the constitution any language which they deemed as un-Islamic. A key target was the word “democracy.” The Salafis attempted to replace it with the word “Shura” arguing it is a more “authentic” term. The real reason, however, was the Salafi view of the two terms. Shura only allows deliberation on issues that do not violate the provisions of Sharia. Democracy on the other hand is viewed as without a limitation and as permitting what God has forbidden and forbidding what God has permitted. Another key word that received the Salafis’ wrath was “citizenship,” which is understood in the Egyptian context as complete equality between Christians and Muslims. Because Muslims and non-Muslims are not seen as equals (in legal terms) in the Salafi conception of the Islamic State, the Salafis have sought to eliminate the concept of citizenship from constitutional deliberations. Borhamy, in a video speech, attempted to defend this position by saying that the word “citizenship” is not necessarily a bad one; in fact, he argued that it describes harmony and cooperation between members of a society, and that these are goods that are encouraged by Islam. Nonetheless, Borhamy concedes that he attempted to remove the concept from public discussion anyway. (In the end, the Salafis managed to remove mention of citizenship from the first article of the constitution, but it remains in Article 6.)
The Salafis also attempted to proscribe the freedoms guaranteed in the constitution. Language that guarantees absolute freedom of thought, religion and creativity is unacceptable to Salafis. To limit these freedoms, Salafis sought to put language in each article that would permit those freedoms within the premises of Sharia. Similarly, in order to deal with social vices not punishable by secular law, such as consensual sex and bank interest rates, the Salafis sought to insert language into the constitution that would allow society to punish such “crimes” given that they are punishable according to Sharia.
By the end of February 2012, the upper and lower chambers of the Egyptian parliament had both been elected. Islamists overwhelmingly dominated both chambers, the first with 72 percent and the second with 83 percent. Immediately after the leaderships of both chambers were elected, they started the process of selecting the one hundred members who would comprise the constituent assembly.
The focal point of contention between Islamists and non-Islamists became what percentage of the one hundred-member body would be selected from members of parliament. In reality, this dispute over whether assembly members should come from parliament or not was largely irrelevant, given that what really mattered was how the assembly members would be chosen and the percentage allocated to each political grouping. Nonetheless, the non-Islamists chose that banner for their fight against the assembly. With the Salafis pushing for 70 percent of the assembly to be selected from parliamentarians and non-Islamists for 10 percent, the Brotherhood settled on 50 percent. On March 24, both chambers of parliament met to select the list of members of the constituent assembly. Non-Islamists were shocked to discover that the Brotherhood and Salafis had secretly agreed on the one hundred-member list, and even chose who would represent the non-Islamists. This meant the official vote on the list was an empty formality. In the end, the constituent assembly was 75 percent Islamist.
Non-Islamists felt betrayed. The Brotherhood had reneged on its promises to form a representative and inclusive constitutional assembly that did not exclude other political groups. Out of the whole assembly, for example, only five members were Christians; one of these was a Brotherhood member and none of them represented the Coptic Church. It also had only six women, four of them Brotherhood members and the others Christians. Immediately upon the assembly’s formation, the 24 non-Islamist members announced their resignations from the body. Since the military council was still in control of the country, the Islamists were not in full control of state institutions. The military expressed its displeasure with the way the constitutional assembly was formed. Non-Islamists filed court cases against the assembly and on April 10, 2012, the courts ruled in their favor, thereby dissolving the constituent assembly and returning the process back to square one.
The presidential elections changed political dynamics once again. On May 23-24, 2012, Egyptians voted to elect their first post-revolution president. Since no candidate won an outright majority, the two highest vote-receivers, the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, were pitted against each other in a second round of voting on June 16-17. Because of the need for non-Brotherhood support for their candidate, Brotherhood leaders attempted to cut deals in two contradictory directions. To win over the Salafis, they promised that Sharia would be implemented and that the word “principles” would be eliminated from Article Two. To win over non-Islamists, the Brotherhood attempted to cut a grand bargain between all political groupings on the composition of the new constituent assembly.
After numerous meetings and disagreements, a deal was finally reached in which 50 percent of the assembly members would be Islamists and 50 percent would belong to non-Islamists, though it remained unclear how representatives from state institutions, trade unions, professional syndicates and religious institutions would be allocated. It was agreed that in its internal voting on articles, consensus would be sought, but if that failed, a 67 percent majority would be needed and eventually a 57 percent would be required. The deal was signed on the June 8, 2012 by all political forces, although controversy soon erupted over the details of the exact shares. Non-Islamists soon discovered that they had been tricked as the share allocated to official entities was counted as belonging to their half, even though Islamist members of these official entities meant they would largely support Islamist agenda.
In all events, the Egyptian Parliament—in what would prove to be one of its last acts—codified the agreement and elected the new constitutional assembly members on June 12, 2012. Two days later, the Constitutional Court dissolved the lower chamber of the parliament, arguing that it was unconstitutional because elections did not provide the same equal opportunity to independent candidates that they did to party candidates. Though non-Islamists had a contentious relationship with the military, many hoped that the military would step-in and provide a check against the Islamists. But such hopes were proven delusional when President Morsi sacked the military’s leadership on August 12 and, more importantly, cancelled the SCAF’s constitutional declaration which provided some guarantees of inclusivity in the new constitution. Non-Islamists were from that point forward completely on their own, their fate awaiting the outcome of the colossal battle that was to begin among the Islamists.
A Clash of Islamisms
The constitutional battle everyone was bracing revolved around Article 2, and the Salafis came well-prepared for the fight. The debates intensified as non-Islamists refused to change the language of the article and the Brotherhood, appearing to watch disinterestedly from the sidelines, reneged on its promise to Salafis. Meanwhile, Salafi leader Borhamy offered the assembly four options; either 1) the word “principles” should be removed from the article; or 2) the whole article would be disputed in a separate referendum; or 3) an explanation of the word “principles” would be provided; or 4) the Salafis would mobilize against the constitution in the polls. Since the first option was completely unacceptable to non-Islamists, the second meant the Salafi version would pass, and the fourth guaranteed the constitution would be voted down; therefore, the only possibility for non-Islamists and the Brotherhood was to take Borhamy’s third option and include a new article explaining what the word “principles” means.
Naturally, the issue then became who would provide such a definition. In an ironic twist of fate, secular non-Islamists went to Al-Azhar for religious support and protection. While Al-Azhar is hardly favorable to liberal freedom, it has frequently clashed with Islamists, and it shares with the non-Islamists a common fear of the Salafis. Indeed, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El Tayeb, has been feeling especially vulnerable to growing Islamist power in the country given his previous membership in Mubarak’s ruling party. He was desperately looking for ways to protect himself and his institution, and this inclined Al-Azhar to cooperate with the non-Islamists.
The Senior Scholars Board of Al-Azhar thus released its ruling on how the “principles of Sharia” should be interpreted, and this would later become the basis for Article 219 of the new constitution. Initially, Al-Azhar’s suggested article stated that “the principles of Islamic Sharia include its total evidence and its fundamental and jurisprudence basis.” The Salafis were not satisfied with this, and Borhamy insisted on adding to the text the following words: “and its accepted sources according to the doctrines of Sunnis.” This addition had two elements. First, by stating that Sharia principles could only be interpreted on the basis of “accepted sources,” Borhamy was limiting interpretation to the five accepted sources of Sharia; Quran, Hadith, Igma’a, Qiyas and Ijtihad. Secondly, it was important to the Salafis to state that it is only the five doctrines of Sunnism that are acceptable since Al-Azhar teaches Shi’a doctrines and one of its previous Shaykhs has ruled that it is permissible for Muslims to pray according to Shi’a doctrines. It was the Salafi’s sectarian understanding that ultimately carried the day.
Defining how “principles” should be understood was one thing, but setting up a scholarly body to provide an interpretation whenever a question arose was a different matter entirely. The body naturally suited for such a task was Al-Azhar. The trap that non-Islamists noticed was that this would create a non-elected religious body that would determine what was acceptable according to Sharia and what was not. This would be the first step in creating a theocratic state. After initially agreeing, Al-Azhar was encouraged to refuse such a role. With the Brotherhood agreeing with Al-Azhar, Salafis immediately went on the attack. The Salafis threatened to demand the deletion of the word “principles” from Article 2 once again and, furthermore, they threatened to demand changing the law governing Al-Azhar and removing the Grand Imam in order to replace him with an Islamist who would implement God’s law.
By the end of July 2012, a new battle emerged over who would be appointed the new minister of religious endowments. In order to appease Salafis, the name of Mohamed Yousri Ibrahim, a Salafi who is especially close to the Brotherhood and to El Shater, was floated as the next minister of religious endowments. Al-Azhar’s fear of an Islamist takeover seemed to be materializing, and it fought against this nomination with full force. As rumors circulated that Al-Azhar was asking the military for protection, Salafis and Azharites began to hurl accusations at one another and Salafis accused the Grand Imam of high treason. The crisis was finally averted when a compromise candidate was nominated for the ministerial post.
A grand bargain was then proposed. This proposal involved keeping Article 2 as it is and Article 219 would also be included with Borhamy’s language. Further, a new article would be added (Article 4) that would explain the role of Al-Azhar and, most important from the Grand Imam’s perspective, it explicitly stated that he could not be removed from his post. Moreover, another new article would be introduced (Article 3) stating that non-Muslims are to be governed in their personal status affairs and on issues pertaining to choosing their religious leaders by the principles of their religious laws. The grand bargain seemed to have provided each side with something to celebrate, and it was ultimately backed by all political groupings. However, non-Islamists soon realized they had fallen once again into a hole and attempted to revoke the agreement.
The Salafis had achieved a major victory, but their appetite had hardly been satisfied. They immediately pushed for more. Their new proposals included replacing the word “democracy” with “Shura” in the constitutional language concerning the basis of the political system, and to replace the phrase that “sovereignty belongs to the people” with “sovereignty belongs to God.” They also pushed a whole new set of proposals concerning limiting each of the freedoms listed in the constitution by adding a line to each of them stating “as long as they do not contradict Sharia,” and for a blasphemy article. They also sought an article stipulating that parliament could not pass any law that contradicted Sharia.
The Brotherhood agreed with the substance of many of these Salafi proposals, especially on limiting freedoms and the blasphemy clause. Moreover, the Brotherhood rejected all attempts by non-Islamists to introduce constitutional language asserting the complete equality between men and women; such gender equality, the Brotherhood argued, was limited by Sharia. The Brotherhood also rejected international treaties that affirmed female equality as well as sexual freedoms, and insisted that international treaties and agreements are only applicable as long as they did not give freedoms or rights rejected by Sharia. Fearing repercussions domestically and internationally, the Brotherhood refused to relent on the article concerning sovereignty, and it joined non-Islamists in voting the suggestion down.
Meanwhile, the Salafis demonstrated their knack for the political game. In Eid sermons, Salafi preachers brought the debates over the constitutional articles from the halls of the assembly to the mosques and to the streets. Borhamy in his sermon on August 19, 2012 warned that amongst the Egyptian people there were some who rejected the rules of Sharia and some who wished for freedom so that they could be slaves to the Devil. He stated that anyone who accepted a law or regulation besides what God has commanded is guilty of worshiping someone else besides God. Moreover, Nader Bakar, the Nour Party spokesman, argued that the anti-Muslim online movie, Innocence of Muslims, proved the need for an article in the constitution that criminalized insulting God, his Prophets and the Companions.
Growing Salafi demands were beginning to take their toll on non-Islamists’ tolerance. By the beginning of October 2012, the constitutional assembly was once again descending into crisis. Non-Islamists had come to realize the extent of the damage all those articles would have on the future of the country and were attempting to cancel the grand bargain that they had previously signed onto. Salafis were becoming increasingly furious with such backsliding, and their rhetoric grew stronger as they threatened to mobilize the street. Nour Party leader Younis Makhyoun attacked Al Azhar’s Grand Imam for backing away from previous agreements and called for an emergency meeting to discuss putting an end to articles that contradicted Sharia. He also rejected demands by non-Islamists to include an article banning human trafficking as such a phenomenon, according to him, did not exist in Egypt.
The Critical Moment
By the end of October, Salafi anger with the Brotherhood was about to explode. The Salafi Call issued an official statement championing the various articles it proposed inside the assembly on limiting freedoms, adding “Shura” and attempting to add sovereignty to God. The enemies of Sharia were “tyrants who were trying to erase the nation’s identity”. The Salafi Call had established Al Nour party in June 2011 and put the defense of identity at the forefront of its political message. It declared the acceptance of Sharia as synonymous with being a Muslim.
From the point of view of Salafis, the Brotherhood failed to keep its promises. Above all, the Brotherhood failed to keep the non-Islamists in check. After all, they reasoned, an Islamist president was not elected to permit non-Islamists to continue shaping the country’s future. It is worth noting, however, that the Salafi Call was feeling a more radical pressure. Apolitical Salafis who had refused to take part in the political process were pointing to its failure to uphold Sharia as proof that the initial decision to embrace political participation was wrong. On the other end of the spectrum, more revolutionary Salafi movements like the Salafi Front and the movement gathered around Hazem Abu Ismail were threatening to sideline the Salafi Call on the streets as the true defenders of Sharia.
Mohamed Saad El Azhary, a Salafi representative in the constituent assembly, gave an interview in which he voiced the frustrations of his colleagues. He spoke of conspiracies and wars to remove Sharia from the constitution and of the Brotherhood’s betrayal and its failure to remember Morsi’s campaign promise to implement Sharia. Sharia, he argued, was the nation’s identity and it had to be implemented in full with its principles, provisions and rules. Salafis had already compromised when they accepted not including “rulings of Sharia” and instead agreeing to keep the word principles with the new article on interpretation. The Salafi Call and its Al-Nour party were, however, still hoping to avert a clash with the Brotherhood. The message thus had two sides. On the one hand, Salafi-Brotherhood cooperation in foiling attempts by non-Islamists to insist on complete equality between men and women and rejecting refrences to international treaties were praised. They also reminded the Brotherhood of its previous promises to implement the Sharia. On the other hand, the Salafis threatened that if the final document was not to their liking they would hold massive demonstrations and, more importantly, reveal to the public who inside the constituent assembly voted against Sharia, and thus expose the Brotherhood.
Other Salafis felt no obligation to keep the careful balance that Al Nour wanted to maintain. Salafi calls for massive demonstrations on November 2 under the name “A Million Men for Sharia” began to circulate. Adel Afifi, President of the Salafi Asala Party asked the Egyptian people to go to the streets to reject the constitution. “Support God and reject the Constitution” were his fiery words, further declaring that anyone who voted yes on the constitution is an apostate from Islam. On the other hand, Gama’a Islamiya attempted to play the role of go between. Its rhetoric, however, was as fiery as that of other Salafis. It demanded “a constitution that would liberate Egypt from French legal colonialism” and included the words “in accordance with Sharia” in every article on freedoms and rights.
Increasingly cornered, the Muslim Brotherhood went on the defensive. In late October, it issued an official statement detailing the centrality of Sharia in its ideology and agenda. The Brotherhood movement was “founded to revive the spirit of Islam” it declared. This Islamic revival was not only spiritual, but was “the road to the Umma’s renaissance and its recovery of its position and civilizational role.” Responding directly to the Salafist attacks, the statement declared that “Sharia is one of the most important issues that they are occupied with and seek to consolidate in society” and that “our brothers were exposed to martyrdom, imprisonment and detention for this cause over the decades.” It asserted that the Brotherhood would “in no way compromise on demanding Sharia.” Moreover, the statement touted as proof of the movement’s commitment to Sharia the support it gave to the explanatory article in the constitution as well as their rejection of complete equality between men and women and of international treaties that contradicted Sharia. It also claimed that the position occupied by Sharia in the new constitution would allow the next parliament to put it into action by codifying its laws and rulings.
Four days later, with the pressure from the Salafists still mounting, the task of defending the Brotherhood’s conduct in the assembly fell onto Abdel Rahman El Borr, the movement’s mufti. El Borr affirmed that the Brotherhood would not accept any article in the constitution that contradicted Sharia and again underscored their insistence on limiting equality with Sharia and on rejecting international treaties.
The Brotherhood’s self-defense was too little, too late to appease the already agitated Salafi rank and file. The “Friday of Sharia” was delayed by a week to November 9th as demonstrations by Salafis continued. While the Al Nour party did not officially mobilize for the demonstrations, it nonetheless used the opportunity to pressure the members of the constituent assembly. One of their spokesmen declared that Egypt’s constitution had already been written 1400 years ago (when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad), and that millions were ready to write the Islamic constitution with their own blood. Firebrand Hazem Abu Ismail threatened to remain in a sit-in until Sharia was implemented and declared the current article explaining Sharia as unsatisfactory to the demands of the street. By far the most important pronouncement, however, was the one issued by the Shura Council of the Ulama. The council, which is composed of ten of the top Salafi scholars and clerics in Egypt,demanded that the new constitution state explicitly that Sharia is the source of legislation and that any law which contradicts Sharia should be void. They also raised Salafi demands by both rejecting the proposed article on the rights of minorities to be governed by their own religious principles in personal status matters and by rejecting the inclusion of the very word “democracy,” which was deemed contrary to Sharia. The council finally called on all Muslims to support Sharia.
The day after the Salafi demonstrations, another Brotherhood leader, Farid Ismail, reiterated the movement’s commitment to rejecting any constitutional article that contradicted Sharia. Furthermore, he declared that “Sharia is a red line in the constitution on which no compromises or negotiations would take place.” Another Brotherhood legal expert framed the new impasse as a fight that pitted believers against non-Islamists who were attempting to achieve complete gender equality; and also adopted the Salafi language on why the explanatory article was necessary.
By then, most non-Islamist members of the constituent assembly had declared their withdrawal from the body citing the Islamists’ lack of inclusion and insistence on writing a polarizing document. By November 17, Borhamy was still standing firm and threatening anyone who was against Sharia with massive million-men demonstrations and demanding Morsi’s fulfillment of his campaign promise and implementing Sharia. Liberals, he stated, were fighting religion and he and other Salafis would not allow changing a single letter of what had been agreed upon. His pupil, Shaykh Abdel Moneim El Shahat, bluntly blamed the Church for the constitutional impasse and warned that if the Islamist-driven constituent assembly was stopped, Salafis would demand a new assembly elected directly by the people and would write a pure Islamic constitution. Salafis were getting close to the point of turning the tables on the Brotherhood and destroying the whole process if their demands were not met.
The Brotherhood-Salafi Alliance
At the last minute, an open clash between the Brotherhood and Salafis was averted. Instead, the two pillars of the Islamist movement managed to temporarily solve their disagreements and form a common front against non-Islamists. The secret behind the sudden change was, of course, President Morsi’s Constitutional Declaration on November 22, 2012. With non-Islamists withdrawing from the constituent assembly, and with the Constitutional Court scheduled to issue a ruling soon on the constitutionality of the assembly’s formation as well as the expected verdict on the unconstitutionality of parliament’s upper chamber and its dissolution, Morsi struck first. By now entirely convinced that a web of deep conspiracy was being spun around him, Morsi immunized the assembly and the upper chamber from any court verdict. While the president certainly must’ve expected a reaction from non-Islamists, the scope and power of their reaction combined with that of the judiciary far exceeded his expectations. Faced with such stiff opposition, the Brotherhood now knows it cannot fight on two fronts against both Salafis and non-Islamists. Desperately needing Salafi support, the Brotherhood reached out to Borhamy and an agreement was soon struck.
The exact content of the deal remains very much a mystery. It most certainly included an agreement on the constitution. Even though Morsi had officially given the assembly two more months to finish the document, getting the Salafis on board required resolving the document sooner. In two days, the whole constitution was formalized and approved, article by article, by members of a constituent assembly that by now had hardly a single non-Islamist in its ranks. Newspaper stories shed light on other parts of the deal, which was said to include promises about Salafi representation in the next government and in choosing governors. The Salafis, for their part, were expected to mobilize on the street in support of Morsi and important Shaykhs were to rally for a yes vote on the constitution.
The new constitution, which was immediately put for a referendum, represents an almost complete Salafi victory. Article 1 removed the word “citizenship” as one basis of the new political order and affirmed instead Egypt’s allegiance to the “Islamic Nation,” a greater order to which the country of Egypt belonged. The articles that Borhamy insisted on concerning the role of al-Azhar as interpreter of Sharia and the explanatory article were all included, the word Shura was added to the basis of the political system, and so was the blasphemy article. While the constitution maintained the article on the sovereignty of the people, in a concession to Salafis, the word “only” was removed indicating the existence of another unmentioned sovereignty. The ban on the formation of religious parties was naturally removed. Freedom of belief was guaranteed in principle, but proscribed in practice: the constitution limited the construction of houses of worship to the three Abrahamic religions; it also qualified religious freedom with the words “as organized by the law.” Notwithstanding the potential limits this imposed on other faiths, the constitution’s language effectively enabled the state to continue to deny Christians an adequate number of churches. The new document also included an article that established a new administrative body for religious endowments, a development that potentially paves the way for controlling the Church’s finances, a demand the Brotherhood had in its party program. International treaties are only acceptable as long as they do not contradict the rulings of the constitution (that is, the Sharia), and the article that prohibits discrimination no longer has the added explanation “on the basis of sex, origin, religion, and creed.”
By far the most important Salafi achievement may be found in Articles 10, 76 and 81. Under Article 10, society was given a role of responsibility next to the state for protecting the values of the Egyptian family. The addition of society opens the door for Saudi-style religious committees commanding good and forbidding evil. It also permits Hesbah cases, which the Brotherhood endorsed in its party program. The old constitution included the famous legal principle “no crime or punishment without a law.” Such an article was unacceptable to Salafis because what they consider crimes are not legally penalized such as consensual sex and bank interests. With the help of an Islamist jurist, Borhamy managed to introduce the words “or a constitutional text” into article 76. Given that the constitution includes the language on the principles of Sharia in Article 2 and their explanation in Article 219, this addition creates a serious loophole under which a whole set of “crimes” become punishable. Finally, in Article 81, it is explained that constitutional rights and freedoms shall be exercised only insofar as they do not contradict the principles in the section of the constitution on state and society (that is, the Sharia). In effect, all the articles backing religious freedom, freedom of the press, and freedom of thought have thus been limited. In fact, Borhamy proudly declared to his fellow Salafis that “this constitution has restrictions that have never been included in any Egyptian constitution before.”
In the end, the agreement between the Brotherhood and Salafis was beneficial to both sides. In return for getting most if not all of what they wanted in the constitution, Salafis were happy to provide the Brotherhood with the street support and political defense that they needed. Borhamy led the charge accusing the Islamists’ opponents of being an unholy alliance of liberals, the Church and the remnants of the Mubarak regime who were bent on igniting chaos in the country. Other leaders of the Salafi Call and Nour party followed suit by attacking non-Islamists, portraying them as against religion, and arguing that the implementation of Sharia would bring forth blessings to Egypt. Gama’a Islamiya also took part in the campaign.
For its part, the Brotherhood was more than happy to highlight the outpouring of Islamist support which it received in an attempt to win greater support from Islamists and conservatives. By coming to an agreement with the Salafis, the Brotherhood effectively unified Islamist ranks, and this permitted the Brotherhood to focus all of its attention and efforts in fighting the battle with non-Islamists and securing its hold on the state.
However, this grand Islamist alliance and the new constitution itself have not been without their Islamist detractors. Within the Salafi movement, apolitical Salafis, known by their enemies as “Madkhaliya,” cursed those Salafis who backed a constitution that ruled contrary to God’s laws. If a Muslim believed in the articles of the new constitution, he was an apostate as the document did not acknowledge the doctrine of Hakemeya and subjected God’s laws to man’s will. Jihadists for their part likewise rejected the constitution and denounced its supporters. Salafi Call members attempted to answer their critiques by defending the new constitution and pointing out their successes in strengthening its Islamic character.
The debate over the new Egyptian constitution thus provides a revealing glimpse into intra-Islamist dynamics. While the fall of the Mubarak regime and its security apparatus has provided the Brotherhood with unprecedented opportunities to acquire power and begin implementing their vision, it has also unleashed an extraordinary challenge in the form of Salafism. Unlike the non-Islamists whom the Brotherhood have previously handled with caution but now routinely dismiss as an insignificant minority, the Salafis present a direct challenge to the Brotherhood both because of their raw numbers and street power and because of their unique ability to claim ownership of the Islamist cause and identity.
The Salafi monster is thus unlike anything that the Brotherhood has ever dealt with in the past. It also comes at a time of considerable ideological incoherence within the Brotherhood, which has failed to produce any original intellectual contribution since Said Qutb. Thus far, the Brotherhood has been able to throw the monster a bone or two every once in a while, but this may not be sustainable over the long run. As Salafis become better organized, they will not be content with accepting the few pieces the Brotherhood throws at them. As the fight over Egypt’s constitution proves, the monster’s appetite is only growing and there may come a day in the future when the Salafist movement desires to eat the whole meal.
Samuel Tadros is a Research Fellow at Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom.
 Egyptians went to the polls for the first time after the revolution in March 2011 to vote on a temporary constitution, twice to elect a lower chamber of parliament, twice for the upper chamber and twice to elect a President.
 Wael El Sahhar, “It is their revolution”, Libraliyya, 3 December 2012. Available at: http://libraliyya.org/?p=1592
 The line “Egypt was born in Tahrir” is perhaps the best description of this mindset. It comes from a song by a leading Leftist band.
 In a telling incident on the kind of historical memory the MB maintains, the day after Mohamed Morsi was declared the winner of the Presidential elections, Khaled Abdel Kader Ouda, an MB politician and the son of prominent MB leader Abdel Kader Ouda who was killed by Nasser in December 1954, announced that he and his brothers would finally hold a condolence gathering for their dead father. In the tradition of Southern Egypt, condolence gatherings are not held for the murdered until their families have extracted revenge on those who murdered them. “Khaled Ouda: Now I take condolences in the Martyr Abdel Kader Ouda”. June 29, 2012. Al Masry Al Youm. Available at: http://today.almasryalyoum.com/article2.aspx?ArticleID=344555
 The Gama’a Islamiya in a statement supporting the constitution called it “a constitution that saves Egypt from the French legal colonialism”
 “Freedom and Justice Party Program”, (p. 11). The detailed party program is available for download in Arabic on the FJP's official website: http://www.hurryh.com/.
 “Khairat El Shater on the Nahda Project”. April 10, 2012. Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, Volume 13. Available at: http://www.currenttrends.org/research/detail/khairat-al-shater-on-the-nahda-project-complete-translation
 The six stages of the overall Muslim Brotherhood mission are: Building the Muslim individual, the Muslim family, the Muslim society, the Islamic government, the global Islamic State and reaching the status of Ustathiya with that State.
 The video features a gathering of some of the most influential Salafi preachers and scholars in Egypt. In the hour long video, which only has Borhamy’s initial remarks and his answers to questions, Borhamy is attempting to explain to his fellow Salafis what his plan in the constitutional assembly was, highlight his efforts and show how he managed to dramatically alter the language of the document both explicitly and implicitly by creating enough loopholes for Salafis to use in the future. Available at:  In this video, Borhamy tells the story of how Brotherhood members throw him outside a mosque before. He warns that if the Brotherhood is empowered it will eradicate Salafis and argues that only by a strong Salafi presence in the political sphere will the two currents maintain a good relationship. “El Borhamy: If the Brotherhood is empowered they will eradicate the Salafi Call”, available at:  Hesham El Gheniemy, “With the names: The announcement of the committee of 100 tasked with writing the constitution”, Al Masry Al Youm, 25 March 2012. Available at: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/node/731661
 Wahid Abdel Meguid, “The Full Story of the Battle of the Constitutional Assembly Part 1”, Al Shorouk, 20 June 2012. Available at: http://www.shorouknews.com/columns/view.aspx?cdate=20062012&id=3a6452e6-5c5f-4856-8300-ff8241b63569
 Wahid Abdel Meguid, “The Full Story of the Battle of the Constitutional Assembly Part 2”, Al Shorouk, 21 June 2012. Available at: http://shorouknews.com/columns/view.aspx?cdate=21062012&id=e0f322e9-e17c-42fa-89c0-39057201e099
 “Winners of membership of the Constituent Assembly for the Egyptian Constitution”, Egyptian State Information Service. Available at: http://www.sis.gov.eg/Ar/Story.aspx?sid=52878
 Available at:  Hamdy Dabsh, “The crisis of Article Two returns to square one”, Al Masry Al Youm, 21 July 2012. Available at: http://today.almasryalyoum.com/article2.aspx?ArticleID=347233
 Salah El Din Hassan, “The discord over the Religious Endowments minister is ignited and the Salafis accuse the Sheikh of Al Azhar with high treason”, El Watan, 30 July 2012. Available at: http://www.elwatannews.com/news/details/32542
 Borhamy in the video of his talk to fellow Salafi scholars highlights this as a tactical act. By protecting the Grand Imam, they won his support for the grand bargain. Borhamy admitted that making the Grand Imam irremovable from office, was of course unacceptable, but remedies would be found in the future, by passing a law through parliament that would put a retirement age for the job and thus get rid of the current Grand Imam.
 Hamdy Dabsh, “Borhamy: We will call for the rejection of the constitution if the constitutional assembly abstained from interpreting the word principles”, Al Masry Al Youm, 20 August 2012. Available at: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/node/1060431
 Kamil Kamil, “Borhamy during the Eid sermon: God owns us and there are those who reject the rules of his Shari’a”, Youm 7, 19 August 2012. Available at: http://www1.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=761172&SecID=97
 Shaimaa Rashid, “Bakar asks for adding an article to the Constitution criminalizing insulting the Devine, his Prophets and the Companions”, Al Shorouk, 10 September 2012. Available at: http://www.shorouknews.com/news/view.aspx?cdate=10092012&id=8d840e31-9e5d-42dd-89bf-f03b99fa399b
 Hamdy Dabsh, “Nour threatens the Constitutional Assembly: We will respond strongly if the constitution violates God’s law”, Al Masry Al Youm, 1 October 2012. Available at: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/node/1149231
 “Salafi Call and Nour Party and the Constitution and Shari’a”, Salaf Voice, 23 October 2012. Available at: http://www.salafvoice.com/article.php?a=6442
 Ramy Nawwar, “Salafi leader Mohamed Saad El Azhary, member of the Constituent Assembly to Youm 7: Salafis want to apply Islamic Shari’a with its provisions, principles and rules. Seculars and the Church insist on excluding Shari’a from the Constitution”, Youm 7, 27 October 2012. Available at: http://www1.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=828699&SecID=12
 Hamdy Dabsh, “President of Asala: Whoever votes yes on the Constitution is an apostate and will be thrown in Hell”, Al Masry Al Youm, 27 October 2012. Available at: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/node/1203166
 “Gama’a Islamiya seeks a Constitution that liberates Egypt from the French Legal colonialism”, Al Shorouk, 28 October 2012. Available at: http://www.shorouknews.com/news/view.aspx?cdate=28102012&id=7078ff81-8dce-4301-9841-e495769e5cb6
 “Gama’a: A serious attempt in the constitution to solve the problem of seculars with Shari’a and identity”, Al Shorouk, 31 October 2012. Available at: http://www.shorouknews.com/news/view.aspx?cdate=31102012&id=a5b4ebdf-848f-40b5-8104-382027654e74
 “Muslim Brotherhood Statement on Islamic Shari’a and the Nation’s Identity”, Ikhwanonline, 31 October 2012. Available at: http://www.ikhwanonline.com/new/Article.aspx?ArtID=127040&SecID=212
 “El Borr: We will not accept any Constitutional article that contradicts Islamic Shari’a”, Freedom and Justice Portal, 4 November 2012. Available at: http://fj-p.com/?t=27262&m=2K
 Ramy Nawwar, “A Salafi Call leader demands Islamists to rally for the million men Shari’a”, Youm 7, 1 November 2012. Available at: http://www1.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=833433&SecID=65
 Ramy Nawwar, “Yousry Hammad to members of the Constituent: Write the Constitution as God commanded”, Youm7, 9 November 2012. Available at: http://www1.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=841223&SecID=97
 Ramy Nawwar, “Abu Ismail: We will come next Friday to Tahrir and will not return until Shari’a is implemented”, Youm7, 9 November 2012. Available at: http://www1.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=841174&SecID=65
 The ten members are: Abdallah Shaker, Mohamed Hassan, Abu Ishaq El Howeiny, Mohamed Hussein Yacoub, Saeed Abdel Azeem, Mostafa El Adawey, Gamal El Marakby, Abu Bakr El Hanbali, Wahid Bali, and Gamal Abdel Rahman
 “Statement No. 27 of the Shura Council of the Ulama regarding the draft constitution issued by the constituent assembly”, 10 November 2012. Available at: http://www.shora-alolamaa.com/eg/play.php?catsmktba=80
 “Ismail: Islamic Shari’a is a Red Line in the Constitution and we will not relinquish it”, Freedom and Justice Portal, 10 November 2012. Available at: http://fj-p.com/?t=28406&m=2K
 Mohamed Ebied, “Ahmed Abdel Moneim: Attacks on the Constituent Assembly will not benefit”, Ikhwanonline, 11 November 2012. Available at: http://www.ikhwanonline.com/new/Article.aspx?SecID=270&ArtID=128238
 Mohamed Ezz, “Borhamy opens fire on Liberals and Seculars from Gharbia and threatens those who are against God’s law with countless million men, and demands from Morsi to keep his promise and implement Shari’a and asserts Mousa was bargaining with me over Article Two”, Youm7, 17 November 2012. Available at: http://www1.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=848277&SecID=12
 Abdel Moneim El Shahat, “The Church and the Constituent”, Salaf Voice, 19November 2012. Available at: http://www.salafvoice.com/article.php?a=6483
 Fady Salah, “The 85 People deciding the fate of Egypt”, Daily News Egypt, 4 December 2012. Available at: http://dailynewsegypt.com/2012/12/04/the-85-people-deciding-the-fate-of-egypt/
 Mohamed Kamel, “Confirming El Watan’s breaking story: Salafi Sources: El Shater promised us good representation in the government and governors”, El Watan, 1 December 2012. Available at: http://www.elwatannews.com/news/details/87492
 “Freedom and Justice Party Program”, (p. 64).
 Samuel Tadros, “Egypt’s Draft Constitution: Religious Freedom Undermined”, NRO, 5 December 2012. Available at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/334908/egypt-s-draft-constitution-religious-freedom-undermined-samuel-tadros
 “Constitution and Hesbah: A question and answer”, Ana Salafy, 7 December 2012. Available at: http://www.anasalafy.com/play.php?catsmktba=37149
 “Freedom and Justice Party Program”, (p. 14).
 “The Constitution and Human Rights: A question and answer”, Ana Salafy, 7 December 2012. Available at: http://www.anasalafy.com/play.php?catsmktba=37148
 Sara Labib, “Constitutional Highway to Theocracy”, Open Democracy, 13 December 2012. Available at: http://www.opendemocracy.net/sara-labib/constitutional-highway-to-theocracy
 Yasser Borhamy, “The Constituent and the identity struggle”, Salaf Voice, 1 December 2012. Available at: http://www.salafvoice.com/article.php?a=6503
 Examples of Salafi articles: http://www.salafvoice.com/article.php?a=6504 ; http://www.salafvoice.com/article.php?a=6515 ; and http://www.salafvoice.com/article.php?a=6530
 Building and Development Party, “Yes to the Constitution, why?” Available at: http://www.benaaparty.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=4404&CategoryID=4
 For examples of Brotherhood highlighting support from Islamists: from Tarek El Zomor http://www.ikhwanonline.com/new/Article.aspx?ArtID=130560&SecID=0 ; from Mohamed Hassan http://www.ikhwanonline.com/new/Article.aspx?ArtID=130545&SecID=0 ; from Tarek El Zomor and Nader Bakar http://www.ikhwanonline.com/new/Article.aspx?SecID=271&ArtID=130757 ; and from Gama’a Islamiya http://www.ikhwanonline.com/new/Article.aspx?ArtID=130990&SecID=0
 “Statement by the Muslim Brotherhood: The Egyptian people protect legitimacy and choose their constitution”, Ikhwanonline, 5 December 2012, available at: http://www.ikhwanonline.com/new/Article.aspx?SecID=212&ArtID=130913
 For examples of such statements by apolitical Salafis: http://www.4salaf.com/vb/showthread.php?p=73339#post73339 ; http://www.4salaf.com/vb/showthread.php?p=73296 ; http://www.4salaf.com/vb/showthread.php?t=24524
 For examples: Sheikh Ahmed Ashoush, “Clarification on Answering Salafis and the Brotherhood”, 7 December 2012. Available at: http://ansarsharia.blogspot.com/2012/12/blog-post_1549.html ; Ahmed Gaballah, “Notes on the new Constitution”, 4 December 2012. Available at: http://ansarsharia.blogspot.com/2012/12/blog-post.html
 “Misconceptions about the draft constitution”, Salaf Voice, 4 December 2012. Available at: http://www.salafvoice.com/article.php?a=6508
Available in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
Last edited by Paparock; 04-06-2013 at 05:46 PM..
Mideast being Redrawn along Sunni-Shiite Fault Line
IDF: Mideast being Redrawn along Sunni-Shiite Fault Line
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon receives briefing from Intelligence Directorate.
By Gil Ronen
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon visited the Military Intelligence (MI) Directorate Tuesday and met with the Director of the MI Directorate, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi.
"We are in a period of dramatic changes that present the Military Intelligence Directorate with unprecedented challenges, which create both opportunities and dangers – and it is important to identify both," Minister Yaalon said during his visit. "Some of the challenges stem from the dramatic changes in the world, and particularly in the Middle East, as well as from technological developments, mainly in the cyber and communications realm – and even they create opportunities and threats. It is wise to be alert to the changes."
The IDF Website, which reported on the visit, noted that the Yaalon's comments echoed a survey of strategic changes and regional threats that Maj. Gen. Kochavi delivered last month. In that review, the intelligence chief stated that Military Intelligence had identified three central pillars around which the most significant changes influencing the region revolve: the economic situation, social upheaval and Islamization.
"The social upheaval is here to stay," Maj. Gen. Kochavi said in that speech, referring to the massive political and social changes that have occurred throughout the Middle East in recent years. He added that such upheaval "is becoming more violent every day, and it is creating a vacuum which is being filled with Islamist and jihadist political factions."
He added that regional shifts have deteriorated governance in areas bordering Israel, noting, "For the first time in decades, Israel has four active borders which could open up from terror attacks."
Kochavi also discussed the changing role of religion in shaping regional alliances. "Today, the Middle East is being redefined into Shiite and Sunni camps," he explained, "which explains things like why Hamas has distanced itself from Iran in recent months and is moving closer to Egypt and Turkey, or why Iran is arming the Shiite minority in Yemen."
According to the IDF Website, "He went on to explain that the shift from a nationalist to a religious approach has realigned alliances between the countries in the region and that the new approach increases the perspective of Israel as a foreign, unacceptable element in the Middle East."
The Islamic Paradise
The Islamic Paradise
by Ali Salim
April 16, 2013 at 4:00 am
When as a Muslim and as an Arab, I look... with envy at life in the West, I feel cheated.Paradise Lost
To denigrate the achievement-rich West and glorify, as a role model, Islam, Islamic extremists compare the way of life in Europe and the United States to the pre-Islamic period of jahiliyya, the time of ignorance and violence swept away by the prophet Muhammad (May the prayer and blessing of Allah be upon him). The extremists represent Christianity as paganism, and say America is "wanton" because of its so-called promiscuity, prostitution, gambling, usury, violence, alcohol and homosexuality. They compare crime in the West to the mutual murder and robbery indulged in by the tribes in the pre-Islamic Arabian Peninsula, and compare abortions to the jahiliyya's practice of burying girls alive.
However, Islamic extremists also deliberately hide other aspects of the jahiliyya, those suitable to the most exalted values of the West that unfortunately can no longer be found in today's Arab-Muslim world. An investigation of the old Arab sources shows that the jahiliyya was a time when the honor of keeping one's word was so important that people were willing to lose their own lives and those of their loved ones rather than go back on it. According to Arab historiography, for example, a Jew named Samaua'l ibn-Adiya, who lived in the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh century, allowed his hostage son to be killed rather than break his promise to Imrū' al-Qays al-Kindī (the father of Arabic poetry, and also the son of one of the last Kindite kings). Ibn-Adiya promised him he would ensure the safety of his family and preserve his armor. Al-Qays' rivals kidnapped ibn-Adiya's son, held him hostage, and demanded that he turn over al-Qays' family members and armor in return for the son's freedom. Ibn-Adiya refused, and the kidnappers killed his son.
The jahiliyya, compared to Islam today, was Paradise on earth, and in fact society was fairly similar to contemporary Western society. It was a society that valued its members and in which men behaved like gentlemen.
Knowledge, music and poetry were respected and there was frank and open discourse; and people who frequent Hyde Park today could learn from the debates held in the Arab markets.
Many aspects of the jahiliyya are familiar to us from Western culture and quite different from the herd culture that now fails to respect the individual, and that insists on unquestioning obedience, terrorism and oppression, all of which have become the norms of the radicals, who interpret Islam for their own benefit and who have done so since the time of Muhammad (May the prayer and blessing of Allah be upon him).
I am convinced that life in the West, despite its many drawbacks, is Paradise on earth, and certainly in comparison to life in the Arab-Muslim world. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that radical Islamic ideologues who lived in the West, such as the Muslim Brotherhood's Sayyid Qutb, have been as envious as I. They have seen with their own eyes the startling difference between Western society, which is progressive, developed and has untold achievements to its credit, and oppressive Islamic society, which smothers its people and forces them into a life of backwardness. The shock that greeted extremist Muslims, and the realization that Islam could never achieve such greatness, caused a rush of jealousy and hatred easily seen in publications and activities, the objectives of which are to incite Muslims to destroy the West, its culture and its achievements.
The Journey to the Promise of Paradise
The result was that Islam forbade the pleasures of this world, and the gratification of desires and enjoyment in general were postponed to the afterlife. In contrast to the value system of the jahiliyya, which included authentic physical, emotional and cultural pleasure, Islamic propagandists stress the elements of fraud and deceit in the Islamic tradition. They give Muslims permission to lie freely to infidels and to include terrorism in Islam's operational code to achieve their goals.
Instead of the pleasure of this world advocated by the jahiliyya, Islamic interpreters spur on jihad fighters by telling them they can have all the happiness and satisfaction that they condemn on earth, but only in Paradise. On the list are never-ending sex and orgies with 72 dark-eyed houris, goblets of gold and crystal overflowing with wine, and aromatic gardens hung over rivers of milk and honey. Included in the package are immortal youths with bowls and ewers and a cup of purest wine, with boys of their own, as fair as virgin pearls, refilling their glasses.
When, as a Muslim and as an Arab, I read Islamic historiography that paints the jahiliyya in negative colors and then look with envy at life in the West, I feel cheated. I am convinced that we, the Arabs, despite the violence prevalent during the jahiliyya, were far in advance of the West when it came to freedom, the rights of the individual, education, pluralism and the arts. All of these disappeared when the Islamic interpreters came along and extinguished the fire of Islamic progress -- when all the jahiliyya really needed was to evolve. Had it evolved and not been extinguished at birth, it would stand shoulder-to-shoulder in accomplishments with the West today.
It often seems to me that the interpreters of Islam have taken the tribal violence of the jahiliyya, the looting and murder, and turned them into a killing machine to conquer and occupy, murder and terrorize Western infidels. It is a jihad against world peace, an excuse to steal what belongs to others, and an abandonment of what was good in Arab culture before Islam, and was left behind.
So while the West lives the life of jahiliyya, in its positive senses of freedom and creativity, Islam is waging a war on the permissiveness it calls jahiliyya and on modernism as defined by sex, liquor and gambling. In the mosques, however, Muslims are told they can have those all in Paradise. The problem is, the entrance requirements for that erotic garden are fairly stiff: postpone gratification and channel it into a secret perversion, or kill a Jew or a Christian or any other infidel, and die as a shaheed [a martyr for the sake of Allah], and then enter Paradise.
However, according to this view, it is perfectly permissible for a Muslim to enjoy the pleasures of this world, on the condition that he plunder them from infidels, as he is entitled to their goods, property and women -- if he can take them while he is waging jihad. Thus the interpreters of Islam legitimized the darkest of human motivations and channeled them into a rampage of religiously-justified murder and terrorism. They used our Islam to authorize prostitution by calling it "pleasure marriage," a temporary situation in which an unmarried woman or an underage girl can be used as a sex slave, by any passerby or an older man, and then discarded.
While life in the West apparently really is Paradise on earth, as Muslims we can only achieve it once we are dead, and the only way we can get there is through jihad against the infidels. The interpreters of Islam have us convinced that the ticket to Paradise can only be bought with the blood of innocent Western civilians. Thus it happened that, throughout history, the sword of Islam, wielded by Arab tribes united under the flag of the Islamic nation, cut its way through Christian communities in the Middle East and Europe. And thus it happened that the Jews of the Arabian Peninsula, especially those in Khaybar, were slaughtered, as were the Copts of Egypt, and the Byzantines, on the ruins of whose churches today sits Islamist Turkey, headed by the Muslim Brotherhood's Erdogan.
The genuine jahiliyya, characterized by individual freedom of choice, can still be found in the West, where it is the cornerstone of the progress, enlightenment, invention and technological development for which the West is famous, as opposed to our backwardness in so many ways.
Ticket to Hell
I am convinced that the regressive, extremist interpretation of Islam has turned us into a backward, perverse society. We repress our dark urges but they find their outlet in frustration, jealousy, hatred, terrorism and the desire to destroy the West. While the Islamic Paradise is sexual and permissive, it cannot be attained through normal means because it is conditioned on death and on killing innocent victims. The truth is that Paradise really does exist, but only in the West. This is evident to any shepherd in the Middle East who has access to a generator, a television set and a satellite dish.
The culture gap is frustrating and leads to a strong desire to copy the West and even belong to it; but it also leads to a destructive envy of the West by the radical Islamic ideologues, who hate music, dancing, democracy, Western society, pluralism and the pleasures of this world.
It is hard to judge what goes on in the mind of a Muslim who, every Friday, listens to the nonsense propounded by the Imam about jahiliyya and the West. I am certain that the conflict leads every observant Muslim like myself to feel a deep envy leading him to hate himself and the West, its progress and achievements. The knowledge that, apart from the Holy Qur'an, we have not contributed anything to the progress of mankind, beyond a collection of wars and terrorist attacks, frustrates and depresses many of us. An internal conflict grows as we realize that we are more than one billion strong, and that we possess an enormous amount of the geography of the world, its fresh water, its oil and its riches, but that to the world at large, we represent backwardness and violence, and that the excuses of our leaders are couched in empty, anachronistic terms such as "Western imperialism and colonialism."
I can see no magic solution for an Islamic nation that believes only in the law of the sharia, which today means enslaving, drugging and neutering our intelligence. The sharia separates the world into exactly two parts:
observant Muslims on one side and enemy infidels on the other. The world as well is divided now into two parts: the region ruled by Islam and the battle zone where anyone lives who is not a Muslim.
Only when we are liberated from our catastrophes, from the things forbidden to us -- and from our unwillingness to ask why these aspects of Islam were promoted instead of others, and what the people who promoted them really wanted -- will we progress and become creative. Unless we turn Islam into a religion purely of the spirit, calling for a direct connection between man and Allah, we will never be rehabilitated. We must do without the mediation of mercenary sheikhs financed by various backward Islamic states who, like a dark religious mafia, are trying to set the world on fire. Until that happens we will remain in our own private hell and try to drag the rest of the world into it with us, our way of life will continue to represent hell for the rest of the world and we will continue to complain about Islamophobia and dream of Paradise while it is just nearby, close enough for us to reach out and touch it.