The presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America had a simple comparison for the similarities between Muslims and Lutherans when she spoke at the opening session of the Islamic Society of North America’s convention Friday.
I realized, looking at some of the lectures that you have scheduled, that if we were just to exchange “church” for “mosque” I would see I was in the same place with typical Lutherans.
… About 300 people attended the opening meeting at the Cobo Center. … More than 10,000 are expected before the 51st annual convention concludes Monday.
… The convention’s keynote speech by former President Jimmy Carter is today [Monday, September 1, 2014].
What Jimmy Carter said to the convention is summed up in a few words at the end of this provoking video clip:
But what is this organization with which Lutheran Bishop Elizabeth Eaton finds she has much in common, and ex-President Jimmy Carter is happy to be associated with?
We quote from Discover the Networks’ entry on ISNA:
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) was established in July 1981 by U.S-based members of the Muslim Brotherhood …
Today ISNA is the largest Muslim organization on the continent. Its annual conferences routinely draw 30,000 to 40,000 attendees, and its website receives some 2.6 million hits per month. …
ISNA leaders view Islam as being superior to all other faiths and destined to replace them. …
Based on a mid-1980s investigation, the FBI concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood members who founded U.S.-based groups had risen to “leadership roles within NAIT [North American Islamic Trust] and its related organizations”, including ISNA, “which means they are in a position to direct the activities and support of Muslims in the U.S. for the Islamic Revolution”.
Expanding on this, a late-’80s FBI memo said:
Within the organizational structure of NAIT, there have been numerous groups and individuals identified as being a part of a covert network of revolutionaries who have clearly indicated there (sic) support for the Islamic Revolution as advocated by the Ayatollah Khomeini and his government as well as other fanatical Islamic Shiite fundamentalist leaders in the Middle East. This faction of Muslims have declared war on the United States, Israel and any other country they deem as an enemy of Islam. The common bond between these various organizations is both religious and political with the underlying common goal being to further the holy war (Islamic Jihad).
Declassified FBI memos indicate that ISNA was identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front as early as 1987. “The entire organization is structured, controlled and funded by followers and supporters of the Islamic Revolution as advocated by the founders” of the Brotherhood in Egypt, said one source. … And a 1988 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood document bluntly identified ISNA as part of the “apparatus of the Brotherhood”. …
In the summer of 2007, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), which was based within ISNA’s headquarters in Plainfield, Indiana, was tried on charges that it had engaged in fundraising on behalf of Hamas. During the court proceedings, the U.S. government released a list of approximately 300 of HLF’s “unindicted co-conspirators” and “joint venturers”. Among them were … ISNA [and] the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR] …
In a June 2008 brief filed on their behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union, ISNA and its related financial arm, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), petitioned U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis to order that their names be removed from the list of co-conspirators in the HLF trial. The prosecutors, in turn, cited nearly two dozen exhibits establishing “both ISNA’s and NAIT’s intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case”.
In July 2008, ISNA’s lawyers conceded that their organization, through its affiliate NAIT, had given financial support to Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook. …
On July 1, 2009, Judge Solis upheld ISNA’s designation as an unindicted co-conspirator, ruling that the government had “produced ample evidence” linking the group to Hamas and thereby justifying the designation. …
The International Assessment and Strategy Center arrives at this conclusion:
From Al-Arian, to KindHearts, to terrorism itself, ISNA has publicly distanced itself from extremists only when there was no other choice. As one of the largest Muslim American organizations in the United States, its failure to strongly oppose terrorism is inexcusable, but not particularly surprising when one considers the organization in greater depth. ISNA’s history and past and present leadership are characterized by a long-standing relationship and connection with extremist groups and fundamentalist ideology. It has taken no decisive actions toward reform, such as purging its leadership of those members who have been most clearly linked with extremist views. Ultimately, the weight of evidence pointing toward ISNA’s extremist nature is too great to be explained away by coincidence, circumstance, or ignorance. It must be held accountable for its harmful influence, and certainly does not merit its status as a “moderate” partner of the State Department on the increasingly crucial area of relations with the Muslim community.
And yet -
In September 2013, President Barack Obama praised ISNA for having long “upheld the proud legacy of American Muslims’ contributions to our national fabric” …
The contributions ISNA made to Hamas, on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood - which is dedicated to the destruction of the United States – the president did not mention.
What does a conservative in the US most want to conserve? We would say: A commitment to liberty, the founding principle of his country. American conservatives may differ from each other on questions of religion, foreign affairs, entitlements and the economic “safety-net”, homosexual marriage and abortion, even on defense, but if they are not loyal to the Constitution and the idea of individual freedom that it enshrines, they are not true conservatives.
In Britain too, conservatives are dedicated to the defense of the traditional and hard-won liberties of the people.
In Russia, being a conservative means something different. The very opposite. What Russian conservatives want to conserve is their long and almost completely unbroken tradition of tyranny. The quarrel within their ranks would now, in post-Soviet times, be chiefly over whether they want a return to the Red Tyranny of Bolshevism, or the older tradition of Tsarist oppression, where cause for national pride may more confidently be found.
Owen Matthews, author of Stalin’s Children, writes in the Spectator (UK) about a conservative Russian military leader:
Strange times throw up strange heroes — and in Russia’s proxy war with Ukraine, none is more enigmatic than the Donetsk rebel leader Igor Girkin, better known by his nom de guerre of Igor Strelkov.
In a few short months, Strelkov has gone from being an obscure military re-enactor to the highest-profile rebel leader in eastern Ukraine. But at the same time Strelkov’s fame and outspoken criticism of Vladimir Putin for failing to sufficiently support the rebels has earned him the enmity of the Kremlin. Moreover, Strelkov’s brand of sentimental ultra-nationalism, extreme Orthodoxy and Russian Imperial nostalgia offer a frightening glimpse into one of Russia’s possible futures.
In the West, we are used to seeing Putin cast as a dangerous adventurer and nationalist. But to Strelkov, and to the millions of Russians who have come to admire him, Putin isn’t nearly nationalist enough.
Within weeks of his arrival in eastern Ukraine in May this year, apparently on his own initiative, Strelkov quickly became the highest-profile rebel leader thanks to his discipline and military bearing. A veteran of wars in Bosnia, Transnistria and Chechnya, Strelkov is a reserve colonel in the Russian army and a former (and possibly current) officer in Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU. With his clipped moustache, pressed fatigues and careful charm, Strelkov styles himself on a pre–revolutionary Tsarist officer. In May he mustered a 2,000-strong local defence force in Slavyansk, banned his troops from swearing and ordered two of his own men to be summarily executed for looting.
He wrote a manifesto calling his troops “an Orthodox army who are proud that we serve not the golden calf but our Lord Jesus Christ” and declared that “swearing is blasphemy, and a Russian warrior cannot use the language of the enemy. It demeans us spiritually, and will lead the army to defeat”.
Russian state television built Strelkov up as a hero. The nationalist writer Egor Prosvirnin praised him as the “Russian God of War” who “rinks the blood of foreign mercenaries to the last drop, and then asks for more”. …
And then, in mid-August, Strelkov mysteriously resigned his post as “defence minister” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic — along with two other Russian citizens who had been the civilian heads of the rebel Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. All three rebel leaders were replaced by Ukrainian citizens.
The most obvious explanation for the reshuffle is that Moscow is preparing a negotiated settlement where the Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine — or Novo-Rossiya, “New Russia”, in Russian nationalist parlance — will be given some degree of autonomy within Ukraine. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — from young soldiers’ Instagram selfies tagged to locations inside Ukraine to the Russian regular soldiers taken prisoners of war on Monday by Kiev’s troops — Moscow has also continued to insist that it is not a combatant in Ukraine. Clearly, having Russian citizens at the helm of supposedly autonomous rebel republics and their armed forces was a diplomatic inconvenience to the Kremlin which needed to be fixed — and pressure was put on Strelkov and his cronies to quit.
But there’s another, deeper meaning to Strelkov’s fall from favour. Though he’s often portrayed as a stooge of Moscow, Strelkov has in fact been consistently critical of the Kremlin’s failure to act decisively to annex eastern Ukraine as it annexed Crimea in spring. “Having taken Crimea, Putin began a revolution from the top,” Strelkov wrote in June. “But if we do not support [this revolution] now, its failure will sweep aside both him and the country.”
Strelkov’s close associate Igor Ivanov, the head of the rebel army’s political department, has also furiously denounced the “Chekist-oligarchic regime” of Vladimir Putin and has also predicted that Putin will soon fall, leaving only the army and the church to save Russia from chaos.
This mix of militarism, religion and a mystical faith in Holy Russia’s imperial destiny to rule over lesser nations has deep roots. Ivanov was until recently head of the Russian All-Military Union, or ROVS, an organisation originally founded by the White Russian General Baron Pyotr Wrangel in 1924 after the victory of the Bolsheviks in the civil war. Its guiding motive was to preserve the Tsarist ideals of God, Tsar and Fatherland. For much of the 20th century, ROVS was the preserve of elderly emigré fantasists — before a new generation of post-Soviet nationalists like Ivanov breathed new life into the organisation as a home for Russian ultra-nationalists who hate Putin’s brand of crony capitalism.
A similar outfit is the Narodny Sobor, or People’s Assembly, which describes itself as an “Orthodox-Patriotic organisation devoted to fighting ‘liberasts’ and western values, to promoting Orthodoxy, and to preserving the traditional family”, according to a recent study by Professor Paul Robinson of the University of Ottawa. In Russia, the Narodny Sobor has, along with the Russian Orthodox church, successfully campaigned for a tsunami of conservative legislation to be passed by the Duma, from banning swearing on television and in films to prohibiting the spreading of “homosexual propaganda”. The head of the Narodny Sobor’s Ukrainian branch is Igor Druz — a senior political advisor to Strelkov who has denounced the Kiev government as “pederasts and drug addicts”.
On the face of it, Strelkov and his ilk and Putin should be on the same side. They share a nostalgia for a lost Russian greatness — indeed Strelkov has a degree in history and was until recently an enthusiastic military re-enactor, playing White Guard and second world war officers. And this year, in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, Putin has abandoned years of hard-edged pragmatism and economic prudence and moved towards the kind of mystical, Orthodox nationalism so beloved of the ROVS and Narodny Sobor crowd.
Yet as Putin prepares to sign off on some kind of compromise peace deal with the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, there will be millions of Russians brainwashed by months of state television’s patriotic propaganda who will agree with Strelkov that Moscow is selling the rebels down the river.
Strelkov himself has little chance of becoming a serious opposition figure to Putin; he is too stiff and too weird for public politics. But Putin’s main challenger, when he comes, will be someone of Strelkov’s stamp.
We tend to think of Vladimir Putin as being most politically vulnerable from the left — from the liberal, western-orientated professionals who came out in their hundreds of thousands on the streets of Moscow and St Petersburg three years ago to protest at Putin’s third term. But in truth Putin’s real vulnerability is from the right — from the racist football fans who rioted unchecked through central Moscow in 2010; from prophets of a Russian-led Eurasian empire such as Alexander Dugin, who was in the radical nationalist opposition to Putin before falling temporarily into step with the Kremlin in the wake of the Crimea campaign; and from militaristic ultra-conservatives on the Russian religious right.
So for the countries of Eastern Europe emancipated from Russian servitude barely a quarter of a century ago, there is not only the growing threat of re-subjugation, but the probability that it will be applied according to the whims of a madman, a religious fanatic living out fantasies of Tsardom and limitless imperial expansion by military means.
Let’s interpret what Obama said yesterday about dealing with the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL), now waging war in Iraq and Syria and threatening to bring terror and destruction to the United States. Dig out what he really meant. It’s not difficult. We’ll also comment on what his spokesman said in a hopeless effort at damage control.
We take the text for our comments from the report of the speech at Time online, which – interestingly for a left-leaning organ – takes a dim view of it:
President Barack Obama seemed to commit the worst of Washington gaffes Thursday when he updated the American people about the ongoing threat from Islamist militants wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria. “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse: we don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said of the effort to combat the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in its safe haven in Syria. “I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggest that folks are getting a little further ahead of what we’re at than what we currently are.”
Meaning: “I have no idea what to do. I’d rather not do anything. Don’t urge me to do something. I’m not ready to do anything. I really don’t want to make a decision. I really don’t want to act. Don’t bully me.”
Obama’s comment that “we don’t have a strategy,” delivered to reporters at the White House before the Labor Day holiday weekend, prompted immediate mockery from Republicans — not to mention quick damage control from the White House. “In his remarks today, [Obama] was explicit — as he has been in the past — about the comprehensive strategy we’ll use to confront [ISIS] threat,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a series of Twitter posts. “He was referring to military options for striking [ISIS] in Syria,” Earnest added in a hastily scheduled CNN appearance.
Obama was not explicit. That is the whole point of all the criticism. The minions of the Left typically mis-describe their statements and actions as the opposite of what they actually are. “I/he made it clear” is the regular cover for being muddled and foggy and evasive.
Obama was set to meet with the National Security Council on Thursday evening, and he said his Administration is working hard to develop a plan for stemming ISIS’s spread from Iraq to Syria.
He is not working at all to develop a plan for anything. He has no wish to stem ISIS’s spread.
“We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them,” he said.
Big giveaway there. He needs to make sure he’s got plans. Clear plans, mark you, comrade. Or he needs to make sure that he’s developing them. Will he actually make plans, or develop them, so that he can make sure that that’s what he’s doing? What has he, Lord of the Planet Earth, done already?
Obama said he’s ordered Secretary of State John Kerry to begin …
“Ordered John Kerry.” John Kerry the Chief Bungler. So we know that whatever it is that must be begun will be a failure.
… assembling a coalition to strike back at ISIS …
Meaning: Won’t do it on my own. Like Bush did (even though he didn’t). I’m not going to be held responsible for going to war. If lots of other countries do it then maybe okay. And no, I’m not resigning leadership. As always, I’ll be leading from behind, while they follow in front. So be still, My Base, I’m doing the least I can.
… while he has tasked Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to present him with military options.
Lots of options. So many that it will be impossible to choose one. Unless there’s one that is “unbelievably small”, to use John Kerry’s terrifyingly belligerent expression.
“We’re gonna cobble together …
“Cobble together”. Stitch up a ramshackle kinda co-operational thing. Nothing so decisive and leader-like as “organize a coalition”. And incidentally, wasn’t NATO created for the common defense of the West? Well maybe, but it was frightfully anti-Russian. And – I mean – it’s armed and everything, and it might really do damage, you know.
… the kind of coalition that we need for a long-term strategy as soon as we are able to fit together the military, political and economic components of that strategy,” Obama said. “There will be a military aspect to that.”
It’s sooo complicated. Like a jigsaw puzzle. There’s the political aspect. We haven’t even begun to think about that. And there’s the economic aspect. I mean, how much is it going to cost ISIS if we – our cobbled-together coalition – were to go to war against ISIS? Think of the reparations we’ll have to pay afterwards! And then okay there’s also – did I say “military”? Well, yes. There would be a military aspect to that. Not something to be undertaken lightly, a military aspect.
Yes, in a way, you could say that military strikes, from the air, have already been made. You absolutely have to understand that those were only done to protect Americans in Erbil. I mean, it was urgent and essential. I acted decisively, you see. Urgently. Americans were under immediate threat. The only way to protect them was by bombing some munition sites in the territory held by the Islamic State. It was so urgent, I was being so decisive, I didn’t want to waste time asking Congress to authorize the attacks. (The Constitution says? What Constitution? ) Besides, you know, that wasn’t making war. Not really. You see, folks, I was protecting our folks.
The President defended his decision not to seek authorization from Congress before beginning strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq three weeks ago, saying the urgency of the threat to the U.S. consulate in Erbil required immediate action. “I can’t afford to wait in order to make sure that those folks are protected,” Obama said.
Since Aug. 8, the military has conducted 106 air strikes in Iraq, according to U.S. Central Command.
It will all be different, you see, when plans have been developed, and when he’s made sure that plans have been developed. Doing anything before that would be putting the cart before the horse. When the time comes that the horse can be put before the cart, then I may go to Congress – for the funds. It’s a suggestion I may consider. Because Congress must not be totally ignored. After all, those are the representatives of the American people, so I intend to allow them some buy-in in this enterprise, whatever it may turn out to be.
Obama suggested that once he has a strategy for tackling ISIS, he would seek authorization from Congress, particularly since it may require additional funding. “It is my intention that Congress has to have some buy-in as representatives of the American people,” he said.
First the plans and the cobbled-together coalition, then the strategy, then going to Congress for the money … With any luck ISIS will have won the war by then, conquered the whole of the Middle East, and John Kerry can be despatched to start talks with President Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on exchanging American land for peace.
Next comes the supremely important task of separating ISIS from Islam.
“This should be a wake-up call to Sunni, to [Shi‘ite], to everybody, that a group like ISIS is beyond the pale; that they have no vision or ideology beyond violence and chaos and the slaughter of innocent people,” Obama said. “And as a consequence, we’ve got to all join together — even if we have differences on a range of political issues — to make sure that they’re rooted out.”
If I can get enough Muslim forces into the cobbled-together coalition, and let them do the fighting, I can make it seem as if the Islamic State is not Islamic at all.
Oh why am I burdened with all this! I’d much rather talk about a Big Question, like the meaning of life. My own view is that Muhammad found the right answer. I only hope there are splendid golf courses in paradise.
Daily one hears and reads American conservatives insisting that America, our civilization, our might, our freedom, our prosperity, are owing to “our Judeo-Christian values”. (For one of today’s examples, see here.)
There are no such things as “Judeo-Christian values”.
Unless you count a few of the “10 commandments” – that it’s wrong to kill, to steal, to bear false witness (which realization in any case long pre-dates Mosaic law) – the two religions diverge sharply on the question of values. In fact what each holds as its highest value is in direct contradiction to the other. The highest value in Jewish teaching was Justice. For Christianity as invented by St. Paul, it was Love.
Christianity preaches that a person can be separated from his deeds: “Hate the sin but love the sinner”. There is no place for justice where a wrong-doer is not to be held responsible for what he does. The Christian gospels stress that evil should not be resisted. (“Resist not evil” the putative Christ is reported as preaching in his “Sermon on the Mount”.) The Christian message also stressed unconditional forgiveness. It all adds up to a morality that excludes justice: an unjust morality.
What Judaism and Christianity could be said to have in common – which the parrots of “Judeo-Christian values” would not care to admit – is a devaluing of reason. Neither respects reason above faith.
The values we ideally live by were not the product of Judaism or Christianity, but of the Enlightenment. It was only when, in the 18th century, Reason usurped the power of the Churches, that individual freedom became a supreme value. Only then, for the first time since the glory days of classical Greece, people were encouraged to think for themselves, to obey no orthodoxy. Freedom of conscience and freedom of speech began for us then – in an intellectual revolution against religious dogma.
The greatness of the West, and especially of the United States of America, is the result of the revolution which is rightly called the Enlightenment. Freedom to doubt, to leave room for all ideas to be expressed and heard, and so to learn and discover and experiment, has brought us prosperity and power. The world-dominating success of our civilization began with the triumph of reason over religion.
A return to theocracy would be a return to darkness.
Afterword. Reason triumphs yet again.
From the Washington Post:
[An] experimental drug pressed into emergency use in the West African Ebola epidemic cured a group of 18 monkeys of the deadly disease, including some who didn’t receive the treatment until five days after they were injected with the virus, researchers reported Friday.
The finding raises new hope for use of the cocktail of monoclonal antibodies, called ZMapp, against Ebola, which has no known cure or vaccine. It has been fatal to more than half the people who have contracted the virus in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
During the current outbreak, more than 1,500 people have died and 3,069 people have become infected in five countries, the latest of them Senegal, according to the World Health Organization. The current epidemic is worse than all previous Ebola outbreaks combined. A small number of cases, believed to be a separate outbreak, have surfaced in the Democratic Republic of Congo. …
The fact that ZMapp has worked on monkeys “strongly supports” the possibility that it will work on people, “but it’s not proven” – as yet.
It soon will be.
A selection of video-recorded statements by Christopher Hitchens on religion.
He is blunt and accurate, and entertaining as he always was (which we appreciated, even when – on political issues – we disagreed with him).
(Hat-tip to our reader Marnee)
APUSH stands for Advanced Placement United States History. Members of the College Board’s APUSH Curriculum Development and Assessment Committee have identified themselves as the authors of the APUSH Curriculum Framework.
This “Framework” lays down the history that students must be taught.
We quote criticism of its prescriptions from the excellent Heartland Institute:
The Framework omits Benjamin Franklin, Dwight Eisenhower, Martin Luther King Jr, and many other key figures in American history. [The authors] accuse critics of “misunderstanding our document”. Unfortunately, we have not misunderstood anything; the document is clear. The Framework devotes pages 28 to 80 to a detailed outline of the “required knowledge” students are expected to learn in their AP U.S. History course. The Framework unequivocally states, “Beginning with the May 2015 AP U.S. History Exams, no AP U.S. History Exam questions will require students to know historical content that falls outside this concept outline” (emphasis added).
The Framework is a lengthy document that provides more than enough space to include key figures and seminal documents from American history. The College Board [has not] … explained why the Framework does have space to include Chief Little Turtle, the Students for a Democratic Society, and the Black Panthers, but does not have space to include Dwight Eisenhower, Jonas Salk, and Martin Luther King Jr. The omissions have been widely criticized. …
The authors invite critics to examine the just-released AP Practice Exam. They contend that reviewers will find “a rich and inclusive body of historic knowledge”. In reality, reviewers will find an exam that tests a surprisingly limited range of topics. …
President Ronald Reagan is the only historic figure who actually generates specific questions. In one question, Reagan’s famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” quote is used to reflect “increased assertiveness and bellicosity.” …
[The authors] insist that the Framework strikes “a careful balance between teaching factual knowledge and critical analysis.” We believe the APUSH Framework fails to meet the test of providing a balanced curriculum that acknowledges both the nation’s founding principles and its continuing struggles to be faithful to those principles.
Heartland then provides “a list of biased statements taken verbatim from the Framework” (all page references given).
Here is our abridged version of its most important points, with our own emphasis in bold on the most egregious examples of where leftist intention to indoctrinate is plain, and our comments added to the Heartland comments:
“Teachers can explore the roots of the modern environmental movement in the Progressive Era and New Deal, as well as debate the underlying and proximate causes of environmental catastrophes arising from pesticide use and offshore oil drilling.”
Interpretation: “You can debate it all you like, but we’re telling you what the causes are anyway.”
“Many Europeans developed a belief in white superiority to justify their subjugation of Africans and American Indians, using several different rationales.”
Which Europeans would those be? Whoever they were, the British – they claim – were the worst in this respect:
“Unlike Spanish, French, and Dutch colonies, which accepted intermarriage and cross-racial sexual unions with native peoples (and, in Spain’s case, with enslaved Africans), English colonies attracted both males and females who rarely intermarried with either native peoples or Africans, leading to the development of a rigid racial hierarchy. Reinforced by a strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority, the British system enslaved black people in perpetuity, altered African gender and kinship relationships in the colonies and was one factor that led the British colonists into violent confrontations with native peoples.”
Nothing about the British being the first nation ever in the history of the world to put a stop to slavery and the slave trade within its jurisdiction? Seems not.
The sole statement about the New England colonies is that “founded primarily by Puritans seeking to establish a community of like-minded religious believers, [they] developed a close-knit, homogeneous society and – aided by favorable environmental conditions – a thriving mixed economy of agriculture and commerce”. Omitted are the Pilgrims, Mayflower Compact, Winthrop’s “City Upon a Hill,” Roger Williams and religious toleration, New England town meetings and the birth of democratic institutions, and much more [of this period].
The sole statement about the Middle Colonies is: “The demographically, religiously, and ethnically diverse middle colonies supported a flourishing export economy based on cereal crops.” Omitted are William Penn, the Quakers, Pennsylvania policy of religious toleration, and the fact that their economic prosperity attracted a diverse mix of ethnic and religious groups. The Framework’s dominant theme is that American history is really the story of identity groups and conflicts.
The sole reference to George Washington is that his Farewell Address “warned about the dangers of divisive political parties and permanent foreign alliances”.
The sole reference to the Declaration of Independence is: “The colonists’ belief in the superiority of republican self-government based on the natural rights of the people found its clearest American expression in Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and in the Declaration of Independence.”
The Framework omits both Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy. This sort of biased statement reinforces the Framework’s consistently negative portrayal of the American experience: “Many white Americans in the South asserted their regional identity through pride in the institution of slavery, insisting that the federal government should defend their institution.” And: “Resistance to initiatives for democracy and inclusion included proslavery arguments, rising xenophobia, anti-black sentiments in political and popular culture, and restrictive anti-Indian policies.”
This is how the Framework describes the Monroe Doctrine and the annexation of Texas: ” The U.S. sought dominance over the North American continent through a variety of means, including military actions, judicial decisions, and diplomatic efforts.” And: ” The idea of Manifest Destiny, which asserted U.S. power in the Western Hemisphere and supported U.S. expansion westward, was built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority, and helped to shape the era’s political debates.” In fact, Manifest Destiny expressed America’s mission to spread its democratic institutions and technology across the continent. This revisionist definition clearly expresses the Framework’s negative biases.
The sole references to President Lincoln are to “Lincoln’s election on a free soil platform [and] Lincoln’s decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation”. The Framework omits the Gettysburg Address.
There is plain anti-business bias. “Business interests battled conservationists as the latter sought to protect sections of unspoiled wilderness through the establishment of national parks and other conservationist and preservationist measures.” And capitalism is consistently portrayed negatively. “A number of critics challenged the dominant corporate ethic in the United States and sometimes capitalism itself, offering alternate visions of the good society through utopianism and the Social Gospel.”
The construction of the transcontinental railroads was a major American achievement, but is portrayed in an entirely negative light, thus: “As transcontinental railroads were completed, bringing more settlers west, U.S. military actions, the destruction of the buffalo, the confinement of American Indians to reservations, and assimilationist policies reduced the number of American Indians and threatened native culture and identity.”
America’s contribution to the Allied cause in World War 1 is described thus: “Although the American Expeditionary Force played a relatively limited role in the war… ” And: “The mass mobilization of American society to supply troops for the war effort and a workforce on the home front ended the Great Depression [factually incorrect as the depression bottomed out in 1933 - ed] and provided opportunities for women and minorities to improve their socioeconomic positions.” And: ” Wartime experiences, such as the internment of Japanese Americans, challenges to civil liberties, debates over race and segregation, and the decision to drop the atomic bomb raised questions about American values.” The Framework’s complete coverage of World War II is contained in those sentences. It omits all mention of American military commanders, battles, and the valor of our servicemen and women who ended the long night of Nazi oppression.
Also note that the Framework completely omits the Holocaust.
The Korean War and the Vietnam War are dealt with in one sentence “The United States sought to ‘contain’ Soviet-dominated communism through a variety of measures, including military engagements in Korea and Vietnam.”
Then an issue is raised that the authors clearly regard as far more important than wars and genocide:
“Activists began to question society’s assumptions about gender and to call for social and economic equality for women and for gays and lesbians.”
Though the Framework omits Rosa Parks and Dr. King, it does have room for the SDS and the Black Panthers: “Teachers have the flexibility to [ie they really should] use examples such as the following: Students for a Democratic Society, Black Panthers.”
And here is how they want the final victory of the US over the evil empire of the USSR taught:
This is the Framework’s simplistic explanation for how and why the Cold War ended: “President Ronald Reagan, who initially rejected détente with increased defense spending, military action, and bellicose rhetoric, later developed a friendly relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, leading to significant arms reductions by both countries.”
No “debate’ about the victims of the Communist regimes is prescribed. By implication, the history of the USSR, China, Cambodia, is proscribed. To mention the millions killed, imprisoned, enslaved, starved, or worked to death by Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot might distract students from building their disgust with the Framework’s garbled, misleading, and thoroughly evil version of their own country’s history.
The concluding statement is that: “Demographic changes intensified debates about gender roles, family structures, and racial and national identity. ” And the authors recommend (“teachers have the flexibility to use”) examples such as the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” debate.
From the framework document alone it would be easy to draw up the American Communist Manifesto. Simply assemble: Environmentalism … anti-fossil fuel … victimization of women and homosexuals … down with white men … one (Left) party rule … anti-NATO (“foreign alliances”) … anti-US military strength … RACE … Marxist utopianism …
The main point of the document is that the United States has been an oppressive, murderous, cruel, racist, destructive, genocidal, polluting, avaricious, inhumane power. Implied is that it must change into a collectivist egalitarian utopia under Communist one-party rule.
And that is how the history of America is to be taught to its own rising generations.
A writer by the name of Enza Ferreri has written an article against Reason. She probably doesn’t see that that is what she’s done. But that is what she’s done. She writes:
It’s all very simple. We can’t fight Islam in the West without fighting the enablers of Islam in the West, namely the Leftists.
So far, so good.
And, since the Left has many different and separate aspects, we have to fight against each one of them. Secularism, environmentalism, global warming alarmism, homosexualism, militant feminism, sexual relativism, multiculturalism, anti-Christianity, Islamophilia, post-nationalism, internationalism are just as important targets to attack as Marxist economics, the expropriation of the capitalist class (or, in its modern reincarnation, redistribution of wealth), and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The words we have put in bold mark the issues we dispute with Enza Ferreri.
We don’t know what “homosexualism” is, or “sexual relativism”.
We consider sexual choices to be private matters (unless they involve children). They are certainly not dangerous threats to the survival of the West.
But while we agree with the author on her other “targets”, we emphatically disagree with her when it comes to secularism and anti-Christianity.
Secularism is not the same as Leftism. Between the founding of the United States of America and the dawning in the 1960s of this Leftist age, there was a very long stretch of secularism, liberty, and prosperity.
But in those times and those countries where a church (in the widest sense) has been the ruling power, there has always been tyranny. What greater tyranny can there be than the imposition of an orthodoxy on every mind?
Communism and Nazism also impose orthodoxy, and punish dissent as cruelly as a theocracy. That is one of the reasons why we class these ideologies as religions. Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Maoist China were not secular states; they were orthodoxies, as tyrannous as the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, or the newly declared Islamic State now.
The secular state, and only the secular state, is a free state. Secularism is freedom. Freedom is only possible in the secular state.
In a free, secular society, people are free to be Christians. But people are equally free to criticize Christianity.
Neglecting any of these fronts is like fighting a war leaving a battleground to the enemy, like fighting on the Western front and leaving totally undefended the Eastern one.
Secularism and atheism are certainly the first lines of important wars.
So she contends that the prime enemy in her war is freedom. That being so, she has no case to make against Islam or Marxism.
For all that she seems to be speaking for tolerance (being against Islamophilia) and reason (being against environmentalism, global warming alarmism, “militant feminism”); and against Islam (aka multiculturalism) and Marxism (redistribution etc.), she is actually speaking for her own choice of intolerant, irrational, orthodox tyranny.
A secularist West will always lose to Islam, because it will have enough compassion, tolerance and self-restraint from violence that are the remnants of its Christian heritage, but it will have lost the ideals, the passion and certainty of fighting for a just cause that were once part of Christianity and have disappeared with its erosion.
Her assumptions are arrogant to an extreme. Compassion, tolerance and self-restraint from violence are not the legacies of “a Christian heritage” but of enlightened reason.
It is pointless to try and fight one irrational belief, such as Islam or Marxism, by setting up another irrational belief, such as Christianity, in opposition to it. There is no better reason to believe in the Trinity than in Allah or the inevitability of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Two quotes here serve as epigrams. Robert Spencer wrote in his great work Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t: “People who are ashamed of their own culture will not defend it.” And Dennis Prager said during one of his radio broadcasts, “Only good religion can counter bad religion.”
We admire much that Robert Spencer and Denis Prager write. And we think Spencer makes a point here worth thinking about. But to Prager’s assertion we say, nonsense!
Some people claim that there won’t be a religious revival in Europe because we are past believing in God. That this is not true can be seen by the high – and increasing – number of Westerners who convert to Islam. Many of them give as a reason for their conversion the need for absolutes, boundaries and well-defined status. A journalist writing for The Spectator on this subject explained why she is Catholic:
But above all, I like the moral certainties. I don’t mind the dogma one bit. I would rather dogma and impossible ideals than confusion and compromise. In that sense, I do identify with those who choose Islam over the way of no faith, or a seemingly uncertain faith, like the woolly old C of E.
Confusion and compromise is inescapable. How can dogma – which is to say being incurably wrong – and “impossible ideals” be better than admitting the truth of scio nescio: I know that I do not know? It is as if the culture on which such persons as the quoted Catholic and the author of the article have been raised was never affected by Socratean doubt, the Enlightenment, the assumption of ignorance upon which all true science proceeds.
William Kilpatrick, in Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West – a book I thoroughly recommend reading -, writes: Brian Young’s friends said he was troubled by the decadence of Western society. David Courtrailler’s lawyer said, “For David, Islam ordered his life.” These are the sorts of reasons ordinary converts to Islam give. A common refrain from converts is that Islam provides a complete plan for life in contrast to the ruleless and clueless life offered by secular society. As Mary Fallot, a young French convert, explains, “Islam demands a closeness to God. Islam is simpler, more rigorous, and it’s easier because it is explicit. I was looking for a framework; man needs rules and behavior to follow. Christianity did not give me the same reference points.” If you look at the convert testimonials on Muslim websites, they echo this refrain: Islam brings “peace”, “order”, “discipline”, and a way of life that Christianity and other religions fail to offer.
Islam brings peace! He – and she – can say that with a straight face? While IS (ISIS, ISIL) is rampaging through Syria and Iraq mass-slaughtering, impaling, crucifying, decapitating, raping, enslaving; while Hamas is firing thousands of rockets into Israel; while civil war rages in Syria; while Yezidis, Kurds, Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, other Muslims are being daily killed and constantly persecuted by Muslims?
Astonishing that some women crave the “order” and “discipline” of subjugation; when the “discipline” is exerted by enslavement, beatings, whippings, stonings, legal discrimination.
Human beings will never be past the need for believing in something bigger than themselves, because that need is part of the human mind.
Where are there human beings who do not know that natural forces are “bigger than themselves”? Who among us does not know that we are mortal?
She continues in the same vein. We’ll not irritate our readers with all of it. She is a true believer. And what she believes is that Christianity is good and true.
We will skip to what she quotes as wisdom from a Catholic primate:
A clear direction was given by Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, Archbishop of Bologna, Italy. As early as 30 September 2000, before 9/11, when very few in the West even thought of worrying about Islam, he delivered a very forward-looking speech, which included this premonition:
… Either Europe will become Christian again or it will become Muslim. What I see without future is the “culture of nothing”, of freedom without limits and without content, of skepticism boasted as intellectual achievement, which seems to be the attitude largely dominant among European peoples, all more or less rich of means and poor of truths. This “culture of nothingness” (sustained by hedonism and libertarian insatiability) will not be able to withstand the ideological onslaught of Islam, which will not be missing: only the rediscovery of the Christian event as the only salvation for man – and therefore only a strong resurrection of the ancient soul of Europe – will offer a different outcome to this inevitable confrontation.
The culture of reason is not a “culture of nothing”. It is a culture of rational humility; of admitting ignorance and trying to find the truth, even if one can never be certain one has found it. Skepticism is the only engine of discovery.
“Freedom without limits”? Freedom of action always has a limit. In a free society, everyone’s freedom is limited by everyone else’s under the rule of law. But indeed the freedom of the mind has no limits, nor should it have any.
Notice the snide swipe at riches and “hedonism”. Do you think that he, as a cardinal, pigs it in some hovel?
By “truths” he means the patent absurdities of Christian theological belief.
“Libertarian insatiability”. What the heck does that mean?
If the Western culture of reason, secularism, liberty, skepticism, science, cannot withstand the onslaught of Islam, it will be because that culture has been abandoned by people like Enza Ferreri.
She goes on to blame shrinking birthrates on secularism. Then she ends with this:
Militant atheists à la Richard Dawkins have not really given enough thought to the long-term consequences of their ideas, which we are beginning to see.
And of which we are reminded whenever, for example, we read in the news of doctors and missionaries who die of Ebola while assisting affected patients for Christian charities. Not many atheist charities are involved in that work.
How many cures for diseases have been found by scientists among whom atheists are in a huge majority? The medical researchers who eliminated smallpox; those who found how to detect the beginnings of cancer and treat it before it becomes lethal, and how to restore wholeness to lepers and replace a faulty heart or kidney …. the list could run on for hours … cure more people than all the martyrdom-seeking self-righteous preachy Christians out to save their imaginary souls by “assisting affected patients” have ever done or could do in a thousand years.
As a reminder to readers who have a strong stomach of what happened when the Christian Churches provided “order” and “discipline” to Europe and wherever else they could reach, we recommend The Grand Inquisitor’s Manual by Jonathan Kirsch, and our own post Calvin: a chapter in the terrible history of Christianity by Jillian Becker, April 25, 2010. (Put the title in our search slot.)
Nothing IS (ISIS, ISIL) is doing now in the name of Islam is worse in type or degree than what those Christians did in the name of Christianity.
The world needs saving from religion.
At least one Western leader, the British Prime Minister David Cameron, seems at last to have become fully aware that Islam is an existential threat to the West – though even now he does not speak its name. (He deplores ISIL [ISIS, IS], not “Islam”.) And while he calls on Britons to defend their “values and way of life”, he does not seem to notice that the enemy has breached the defenses, is well entrenched in the land, and working its destruction in the very heart of Britain, the City of London, where Islam is successfully pursuing its economic jihad.
Diane Weber Bederman writes at Canada Free Press:
Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamed Mahathir told a banking conference in Kuala Lumpur in November 2002: “A universal Islamic banking system is a jihad worth pursuing.”
August 16, 2014, David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain, wrote: “We are in the middle of a generational struggle against a poisonous and extremist ideology which I believe we will be fighting for the rest of my political lifetime … But it is not an invincible one, as long as we are now ready and able to summon up the political will to defend our own values and way of life with the same determination, courage and tenacity as we have faced danger before in our history. That is how much is at stake here: we have no choice but to rise to the challenge.”
He doesn’t seem to realize there are many types of jihad. All with one aim. To wipe out … Western culture. …
The Sharia Compliant economy is already well-embedded in the West. …
Britain is well into a Sharia parallel economy, leading the West in providing Islamic financial and related professional services. She is the top provider of Sharia-compliant finance, with reported assets of $19 billion …
David Cameron says British Treasury will issue £200 million ($320 million) worth of sukuk (bonds) this year. The objective is to enable the government to borrow from Muslim investors. Money does not come without strings. The Treasury also said some sukuk bond issues may require the British government to restrict its dealings with Israeli-owned companies in order to attract Muslim money. … I wonder what groups will be next….
Apparently, it wasn’t enough that the West, in our naïve desire to show how tolerant we are,allowed a culture that is anathema to everything we believe to make a home for itself amongst us. … Once Sharia Compliant Funds become entwined in Western economy it will be impossible to disentangle.
Let me give you some numbers. It is projected that Muslim world will be doing 50% of their banking needs with Islamic institutions by 2020. Imagine how that will impact the free world economy. Sharia Compliant Investment or Funds had an estimated $1.6 trillion under management as of the end of 2012, and has a forecasted $6.5 trillion under management by the end of 2020, according to a report by the Kuwait Finance House entitled Overview of the Islamic Financial Landscape. …
According to the Global Islamic Finance Report, in 2011 Britain was the main centre for Islamic finance outside the Muslim world.In 2013 Britain’s Sharia Compliant finance was reported to have assets of $19 billion.
Standard & Poor’s released a report on Feb. 5, 2014 predicting that sukuk (Islamic bond) issuances worldwide will top $100 billion in 2014 thanks to higher demand from the Middle East and growth in Malaysia — the world’s largest market.
Sharia Compliant Investing is so strong in the USA that a conference was held in Chicago to publicize the products. The Chicago Islamic Finance & Economic Conference 2014 provided “the platform for the Islamic Finance sector and the Halal industries to engage in meaningful discussions, market and consumer challenges, and chart the path for the Islamic Economy in the United States and Globally”.
According to their brochure: “Islamic Finances estimated to grow 15-20% from its current value of $1.35 trillion in assets covering commercial banking, funds, Sukuks, Takaful and other segments. The Islamic Economy with over $3.0 trillion encompassing Halal food, finance, clothing, tourism, media & recreation, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics is estimated to grow in double digits in the next five years.”
Bloomberg Islamic Finance Platform (ISLM) provides tools and services for investors who want to be compliant with Shariah law. Then September 19, 2012, Bloomberg launched a new Corporate Sukuk (bond) Index for Islamic Finance.
According to Walied Soliman a lawyer at Ogilvy Renault LLP, Canada,“The market has already matured in the U.K., Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. In fact, Canada is ripe for Islamic finance.” But Mohammad Fadel, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in Islamic law said “the real gold mine could be Canada’s natural resources and what that might attract in terms of institutional money from Islamic countries”.
On top of the money made from these products there is a huge bureaucracy involved in this business. Special advisors make decisions … [and] the same advisors tend to be on all boards. And some of these Shariah law authorities are now being paid handsomely by Barclays, Dow Jones, Standard & Poors, HSBC, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Deutschebank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Credit Suisse.
The author gives the names and connections of four of these advisors. One of them is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Financing terrorism is inevitably part of their agenda:
Serious problems come into play when one takes into consideration zakat - charitable contributions. These same Sharia advisors are often responsible for determining the distribution of zakat, which is 2.5% of income that observant Muslims are obliged to make each year.
She quotes the Qu’ran (9:60) and Reliance of the Traveler (The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law):
Recipients of zakat include the poor, the needy, those who serve the needy, and to free the slaves, but recipients also include ‘those who fight in the way of Allah’ and ‘people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army, or volunteers for jihad without remuneration’.
The largest single source of funds for Islamic terrorism is zakat which typically goes through the Islamic banking system. Using the system of zakat, al-Qaeda was able to receive between $300m and $500m over a decade from wealthy businessmen and bankers representing 20% of Saudi GNP, through a web of charities and companies acting as fronts, with the notable use of Islamic banking institutions. …
If there’s no Sharia investing available [Muslims] invest as others.They remain in the mainstream economy of the country in which they have chosen to live. But once Sharia is introduced, the choices narrow.
Before Baroness Warsi was relieved of duty [as a British cabinet minister] she promoted Sharia Compliant investing in Britain. She said it’s about “increasing options, maximizing the products and services we have to offer” and “making Britain the preferred choice for the Muslim world”. … Sharia Compliant Funds … actually reduce free choice for Muslim citizens because they become obligated to purchase these funds and separate themselves economically from the rest of the country. …
Finally, she quotes Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a rare brave Muslim voice often speaking up publicly for Western values:
Sharia-compliant finance only empowers Muslim Sharia Law leaders whose real long term vision is to impose Sharia Law on the world and recreate an Islamic Empire. These leaders want to overpower capital free markets and create their version of an Islamic economy. Bankers and business leaders are being duped.
So will Prime Minister Cameron resolve the contradiction between his determination to resist the advance of Islam in the West and his wanting Britain to lead the world in sharia-compliant banking?
According to the Telegraph, reporting in October 2013, Cameron was very keen on the City of London becoming a world center for sharia-compliant finance:
Britain is set to become the first non-Muslim country to sell a bond that can be bought by Islamic investors in a bid to encourage massive new investment into the City.
David Cameron will say in a speech on Tuesday at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London that the Treasury is drawing up plans to issue a £200m Sukuk, a form of debt that complies with Islamic financial law.
The new sharia-compliant gilt will enable Britain to become the first non-Muslim country to tap the growing pool of Islamic investments that is forecast to top £1.3 trillion by next year.
The Prime Minister will say that it would be a “mistake” to miss the opportunity to encourage more Islamic investment in the UK and that the City of London should rival Dubai as a centre for sharia-compliant finance.
“When Islamic finance is growing 50pc faster than traditional banking and when global Islamic investments are set to grow to £1.3 trillion by 2014, we want to make sure a big proportion of that new investment is made here in Britain,” Mr Cameron will tell an audience of senior officials from Islamic countries.
How much wealth is Britain, and the West in general, prepared to sacrifice in order to “struggle against a poisonous and extremist ideology“?
We wait to see.
James Wright Foley (October 18, 1973 – c. August 19, 2014) was an American photojournalist who was abducted in northwestern Syria on November 22, 2012, while working for the US-based online news outlet GlobalPost. He was beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL, or ISIS, or IS for the Islamic State] at an unknown desert location in August 2014 … ISIS posted a video to YouTube depicting Foley reading a prepared statement urging Americans to stop their support for the U.S. government for its bombing campaign against ISIS targets. US intelligence confirmed the authenticity of the video. His family has confirmed that he is dead.
His mother, Diane Foley, said he “gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people”.
So a hero and martyr? A deeply moral man who would willingly give his life for a humane cause?
For a different understanding of James Foley and his activities, we quote from a Front Page article by Daniel Greenfield:
James Foley was one of a new breed of activists calling themselves journalists. He didn’t travel to report on a story, but to promote an agenda.
What was Foley’s agenda?
He cheered on the Sunni Muslim terrorists fighting to ethnically cleanse the Christians of Aleppo.
In the conflict between Israel and Hamas, his tweets and retweets were chock full of pro-terrorist propaganda. … Foley was fanatically anti-Israel …
When Austin Tice, an actual freelance journalist was kidnapped by Jihadists, Foley ridiculed the idea that Jihadists had kidnapped him. Surely Syrian Jihadists wouldn’t do that sort of thing.
Except they did.
When Newsweek’s Muslim Rage cover story came out, Foley mocked it too. Raging Muslims. How silly and Islamophobic.
James Foley, from Rochester, New Hampshire, was one of those romantics who step out from a world of safety to flirt with violence, the more extreme the better; imagining that his opinions against his own country and condescendingly sympathetic to its ideological and terrorist enemies, would make him a gift to them, protected and invulnerable.
In the event, the savage Muslim jihadis didn’t give a damn for his opinions. They killed him because he was an American.
A would-be traitor to his country, he was forced to die for it.
Which is an exquisite irony. A collector’s prize piece.
It is widely assumed that Foley’s words as he knelt awaiting his beheading were coerced. But it is quite possible that they were sincerely meant.
British banks, with enthusiastic encouragement from Prime Minister David Cameron, succumbed to the temptation to provide “sharia compliant” loans and generally cater to the demands of the enemy, Islam.
Now one bank, HSBC, has changed its corporate mind about dealing with at least some – perhaps the worst – of its Muslim clients.
This is from Gatestone by Sam Westrop. (Sam Westrop, Douglas Murray, and Melanie Phillips are the leading voices – among very few – who dare to speak out loud, clear, and often against the destructive encroachments of Islam on British law, institutions, and traditions.)
In late July, HSBC, a British multinational bank, closed the bank accounts of Anas Al-Tikriti, a prominent British Islamist activist, and his family. HSBC also closed down the bank accounts of the Cordoba Foundation, of which Tikriti is the Director, and the Finsbury Park Mosque.
In response to enquiries, the bank simply stated that to continue providing services would be outside the bank’s “risk appetite.”
This latest round of bank account closures has come as a surprise to counter-terrorism experts and much of the media, who note that the Cordoba Foundation and the Finsbury Park Mosque have enjoyed strong political support in the past.
Just a few weeks previously, HSBC also closed the accounts of the Ummah Welfare Trust, a leading British Islamist charity that has previously partnered with the Al Salah Islamic Association, described by the U.S. Treasury Department as “one of the largest and best-funded Hamas charitable organisations in the Palestinian territories.” Senior Hamas officials have confirmed that Al Salah is “identified with us”.
Anas Al-Tikriti, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain, had his bank account, along with that of his wife and two children, shut down by HSBC. Tikriti has been described as “one of the shrewdest UK-based Brotherhood activists … [who] has sought to persuade Western governments that they should fund Brotherhood groups as moderate alternatives to al-Qaeda”.
Tikriti is also a vocal supporter of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, and he has regularly hosted a program on the Arab TV satellite station, Al-Hiwar, founded by Azzam Tamimi, Hamas’s “special envoy” to the UK. Tamimi, in 2004, told the BBC that he would become a suicide bomber if he “had the opportunity”, and described self-sacrifice for Palestine as “a noble cause”.
In an interview with the Muslim Brotherhood’s official website after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Tikriti affirmed “the right of the Iraqis to engage in legitimate resistance against foreign occupation”. He also has stated that the decision by the Muslim Council of Britain to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day was a “principled stand”.
In response to HSBC’s closure of his bank account, Tikriti claimed that, “HSBC has targeted my family because of my activity in defence of Gaza against the barbaric aggression of the Zionists” and because of his efforts to “oppose the military coup in Egypt”.
While many would dispute Tikriti’s conclusions, his instincts might be right. The one thing that connects Tikriti with the Cordoba Foundation, the Finsbury Park Mosque and the Ummah Welfare Trust is evidence of their support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the designated terrorist group, Hamas.
The Cordoba Foundation, which Tikriti heads, has been described by Prime Minister David Cameron, as a “political front for the Muslim Brotherhood.” In 2009, Cordoba co-sponsored an event organized by Cageprisoners, a pro-jihadist group, which featured as a guest speaker Anwar Al-Awlaki, who later became a senior leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, before he was killed in a U.S. drone-strike in 2011.
The Cordoba Foundation also works closely with the Emirates Centre for Human Rights, whose website was originally registered to Tikriti’s wife, Malath Shakir, whose bank account was also shut down by HSBC. According to UAE media, the Emirates Centre for Human Rights is part of the global Muslim Brotherhood network.
For human rights! How they make a mockery of Western moral principles.
The most surprising organization to be shut out by HSBC, however, is the Finsbury Park Mosque. The loss of its bank accounts has sparked anger from leading British Muslims and sympathetic parliamentarians.
The Finsbury Park Mosque was once a much easier target for criticism. Ten years ago, the hook-handed Imam of the mosque, Abu Hamza – recently found guilty of eleven terrorism charges after a five-week trial in New York — was arrested on terrorism charges.
We didn’t hear much about that from the media in the US, did we?
After his arrest, however, the British government, eager to rid the Finsbury Park Mosque of its pro-terror reputation, passed control of the institution to the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), one of the better-known Muslim Brotherhood fronts in the UK, and one with which Anas Al-Tikriti was once closely involved. Tikriti’s lobbying efforts for the government to embrace Muslim Brotherhood groups as “moderate” alternatives to more overtly terrorist organizations appeared to have paid off.
The government seemed oblivious, perhaps wilfully so, that the MAB’s founder, Kemal Helbawi, has proclaimed:
Oh honoured brothers, the Palestinian cause is not a struggle on borders or on land only. Rather, it is an absolute clash of civilisations: a satanic programme led by the Jews and those who support them and a divine programme carried by Hamas and the Islamic Movement in particular and the Islamic peoples in general.
We call it a clash of civilization with barbarism.
To run the Finsbury Park Mosque, the MAB appointed directors such as Mohammed Sawalha, a Hamas official described by a Brotherhood website as being “responsible for the political unit of the international Muslim Brotherhood in the UK.” Sawalha is also “said to have masterminded much of Hamas’s political and military strategy” out of London, as reported by the BBC.
In addition, the current Imam of Finsbury Park Mosque, Sheikh Rajab Zaki, was a key speaker at rallies in support of Mohamed Morsi, the former Muslim Brotherhood President of Egypt.
Finsbury Park Mosque continues to promote the Muslim Brotherhood preacher, Jamal Badawi, who has described suicide bombers and Hamas terrorists as “freedom fighters” and “martyrs.” Badawi also advocatesthe right for men to beat their wives, if they show “disregard for [their] marital obligations.”
Badawi has also shared a platform with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, and he is a director of the International Association of Muslim Scholars, which, in 2004, issued a fatwa authorizing the murder of American troops in Iraq. In addition, during the U.S. terror-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation in 2007, Badawi was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.
Finsbury Park Mosque still enjoys strong support from the local Council and the Metropolitan Police, both of which have sponsored events at the mosque with the support of the World Association of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi group that is a prolific publisher of anti-Jewish and anti-Shia material. WAMY is accused by a number of governments of funding terrorism.
Both the police and the local government body have provided several tens of thousands of pounds in grants to the mosque.
Likewise, the Ummah Welfare Trust has enjoyed the support of MPs; and the Cordoba Foundation has als0 received government funding through the Prevent scheme, a fund established by the previous Labour government to combat extremism.
Combat extremism by funding the extremists! What’s that if not insane?
As for Anas Al-Tikriti, in January 2014, he was invited by President Obama to the White House, as part of a delegation led by Iraqi politician Osama Al-Nujaifi, who leads the Mutahidoun bloc, a coalition of Iraqi political parties, the leading member body of which, according to Al Monitor, is the Islamic Party, the Iraqi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The biggest question now about HSBC’s actions is “why?” Some observers have suggested that the HSBC’s decision in 2012 to hire Stuart Levey, the former under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, might have something to do with it. Others have suggested the possibility that the British government’s review into the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Prime Minister is due to hear during the summer recess, might be already having some effect.
On the face of it, it seems unlikely that the government would pressure HSBC to shut down Muslim Brotherhood bank accounts while allowing the British police to fund and sponsor Finsbury Park Mosque, one of the Brotherhood’s most important institutions.
But the coalition government, much like the Labour government that preceded it, seems always to have embraced a contradictory approach in its efforts to confront British Islamism. The present government, for instance, managed to declare the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation a “Hizb ut-Tahrir front” and at the same time provide it with £70,000 of taxpayer monies.
In addition, after the announcement of the Muslim Brotherhood review in March 2014, the Foreign Office revealed that its advisory group on “freedom of religion” was to include a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tariq Ramadan, as a board member.
Tariq Ramadan it is worth noting, is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna.
Regardless of these apparent contradictions, HSBC’s decision to close down these bank accounts is welcome. For far too long, Muslim Brotherhood groups in Britain have escaped censure in spite of their promotion of extremism and their connections to terrorism. Even if the government is dithering, at least the private sector is acting.
Without letting ourselves become too optimistic, we venture to hope that this action by HSBC night start a trend.