Nearly a hundred years ago, the Ottoman Empire was brought to an end when the German-Turkish alliance was defeated in the First World War. Its former territories in the Middle East became independent states or temporary mandates of European powers.
Efraim Karsh, reviewing a new book* on the subject, corrects errors of fact on which its author relies – and which have been all too generally accepted.
The corrections are important, so we reproduce the entire article:
A century after the catastrophic blunder that led to the destruction of the then longest-surviving empire on earth, culpability is still ascribed to the European powers. Rather than view the Ottoman entry into the First World War on the losing side for what it was – a failed imperialist bid for territorial aggrandizement and reassertion of lost glory – the Muslim empire has been portrayed as the hapless victim of European machinations, driven into the world conflict by overbearing powers eager to expedite its demise and gobble up its lands.
Emblematic of the wider tendency to view Middle Easterners as mere objects, whose history is but a function of their unhappy interaction with the West, this conventional wisdom has proved remarkably resistant to the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and Eugene Rogan’s The Fall of the Ottomans is no exception to this rule.
To begin with, in an attempt to underscore the Ottoman Empire’s untenable position on the eve of the war, Rogan reproduces the standard depiction of the protracted period preceding the empire’s collapse, or the Eastern Question as it is commonly known, as the steady European encroachment on Ottoman territory. “The looming prospect of a European general war”, he writes, “raised the imminent threat of a Russian annexation of Istanbul, the straits, and eastern Anatolia – and the ultimate dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire among the Entente Powers. France was known to covet Syria, Britain had interests in Mesopotamia, and Greece wished to expand its grip over the Aegean.”
Reality, however, was quite different. Far from setting their sights on Ottoman lands, the European powers had consistently shored up the ailing Muslim empire for well over a century, saving it time and again from assured destruction – from Muhammad Ali’s imperialist bid of the 1830s, to the Balkan crises of the 1870s, to the Balkan war of 1912–13. And it was none other than Russia that acted as the Ottoman Empire’s latest saviour, halting its former Bulgarian subject at the gates of Istanbul, not once but twice: in November 1912 and March 1913. Several months later St Petersburg joined London and Berlin in underscoring “the necessity of preserving the Turkish Realm in its present form”.
All this means that by the outbreak of the Great War, the Ottoman Empire was scarcely a spurned and isolated power in danger of imminent destruction. Rather, it was in the enviable position of being courted by the two warring camps: the German-Austro-Hungarian Central Alliance wished its participation in the war, while the Anglo-French-Russian Triple Entente desired its neutrality. So much so that on August 18, 1914, less than a month after the outbreak of hostilities, the Entente’s ambassadors to Istanbul assured the Grand Vizier of the empire’s continued survival were it to stay out of the war, while the British Foreign Secretary vowed the preservation of Ottoman territorial integrity “in any conditions of peace which affected the Near East, provided she preserved a real neutrality during the war”. Five days later, at Ottoman request, the three powers put down this pledge in writing.
Had the Ottomans accepted this guarantee and kept out of the war, their empire would have readily weathered the storm. But then, by the time the Entente made its far-reaching proposal, Istanbul had already concluded a secret alliance with Germany that had effectively transformed it into a belligerent. This, nevertheless, didn’t prevent it from maintaining the false pretence of neutrality vis-à-vis the Entente, or even feigning interest in joining its ranks, while at the same time laying the groundwork for war and exploiting Berlin’s eagerness for the immediate initiation of hostilities to extract substantial military and economic benefits.
Preserving the myth of immaculate Turkish victimhood, Rogan claims that “the Ottoman leadership had no wish to enter a general European conflict” and was grudgingly driven to the German embrace by the Entente’s indifference, if not hostility, to its predicament. His proof is the supposed French rebuff of an alliance proposal, allegedly made during a visit to Paris in July 1914 by the military leader Djemal Pasha, as well as the British requisition of two warships commissioned by the Ottomans. “The British decision to requisition the ships was treated as a national humiliation in Turkey and ruled out the possibility of any accord between Britain and the Ottoman Empire”, Rogan writes. “The very next day, 2 August 1914, the Ottomans concluded a secret treaty of alliance with Germany.”
The problem with these well-worn stories is that there is no shred of evidence of Djemal’s alleged overture (its only mention is in his memoirs, written after the war and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire with the clear aim of exonerating himself from responsibility for this calamity), while the requisition announcement was made on August 3 – a day after the conclusion of the secret Ottoman-German alliance.
But even if the announcement had been made a few days earlier, it would have made no difference whatsoever for the simple reason that the terms of the Ottoman-German alliance had already been agreed on July 28. Moreover, it was the Ottomans rather than the Germans who had opted for an alliance within days of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 – weeks before the outbreak of hostilities; who were the driving force in the ensuing secret negotiations; and who largely prevailed over their German counterparts in deciding the alliance’s broad contours. As Kaiser Wilhelm ordered his more sceptical negotiators: “A refusal or a snub would result in Turkey’s going over to Russo-Gallia, and our influence would be gone forever … Under no circumstances whatsoever can we afford to turn them away”.
The truth of the matter is that the Ottoman Empire was neither forced into the First World War in a last-ditch attempt to ensure its survival, nor manoeuvred into it by an overbearing German ally and a hostile Entente, but rather plunged head on into the whirlpool. War, for the Ottoman leaders, was not seen as a mortal danger to be averted, but a unique opportunity to be seized. They did not seek “an ally to protect the empire’s vulnerable territory from the consequences of such war” but a powerful underwriter of their imperialist ambitions; and apart from their admiration for Germany and their conviction that it would ultimately be victorious, the Entente had less to offer by way of satisfying these ambitions, first and foremost “the destruction of our Muscovite enemy to obtain a natural frontier to our empire, which should include and unite all branches of our race” (in the words of the Ottoman declaration of war).
Just as the fall of the Ottoman Empire was not the result of external machinations but a self-inflicted catastrophe, so the creation of the modern Middle East on its ruins was not an imperialist imposition but the aggregate outcome of intense pushing and shoving by a multitude of regional and international bidders for the Ottoman war spoils in which the local actors, despite their marked inferiority to the great powers, often had the upper hand.
While Rogan occasionally alludes to this reality, these allusions are far too sparse and timid to break from the standard misrepresentation of the post-war regional order as an artificial Western creation. He aptly notes that “the map drawn by Sykes and Picot bears no resemblance to the Middle East today”, yet reiterates the standard depiction of the agreement as a colonial imposition rather than a British effort “to reconcile the interests of France with the pledges given to the [Arabs]” (to use Albert Hourani’s words), or indeed – the first-ever great power recognition of Arab right to self determination (well before President Woodrow Wilson turned this principle into a driving force of international politics). He similarly observes that Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia (or the Hijaz, as it was then known) “achieved independence within frontiers of their own devising”, yet parrots the conventional wisdom that the imperial powers outlandishly “imposed the borders and systems of governments of most states in the region”.
In fact, most states in the region were established pretty much as a result of local exertions. The modern state of Iraq, to give a prominent example, was created in its present form (rather than divided into three states in accordance with the existing realities of local patriotism and religious affinities) on behalf of Emir Faisal of Mecca and at his instigation, while Jordan was established to satisfy the ambitions of Faisal’s older brother Abdullah. Likewise, the nascent Zionist movement exploited a unique convergence of factors to harness British support to its national cause, to have this support endorsed by the international community and incorporated into the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, and to cling tenaciously to these achievements until their fruition in the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948.
Eugene Rogan acknowledges that “the borders of the post-war settlement have proven remarkably resilient”. Yet he fails to draw the selfevident conclusion that this state of affairs reflects their congruity with local realities, instead echoing the common refrain that ascribes the region’s endemic volatility to the supposed dissatisfaction with these boundaries.
Had this actually been the case, Arab leaders would have seized some of the numerous opportunities they had over the past century to undo the post-Ottoman order and unify the so-called Arab Nation; and they could have readily done this by peaceful means rather than incessant fighting. But then, violence has hardly been imported to the Middle East as a by-product of European imperialism; it was a part of the political culture long before. And if anything, it is the region’s tortuous relationship with modernity, most notably the stubborn adherence to its millenarian religiously based imperialist legacy, which has left physical force as the main instrument of political discourse to date.
But to acknowledge this would mean abandoning the self-righteous victimization paradigm that has informed Western scholarship for so long, and treating Middle Easterners as equal free agents accountable for their actions, rather than giving them a condescending free pass for political and moral modes of behaviour that are not remotely acceptable in Western societies. Sadly, The Fall of the Ottomans signals no such paradigm shift.
* The Fall of the Ottomans by Eugene Rogan. The review first appeared in the Times Literary Supplement and was reprinted in the Wall Street Journal.
In the video below, Pat Condell, our fellow atheist, speaks eloquently about the many ways in which Islam is offensive.
The leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Ed Miliband, says he will ban and punish “Islamophobia” if he becomes Prime Minister, which he very well might if his socialist party wins the forthcoming general election. He is saying this in order to woo Muslim voters. Most Muslim votes go to the Labour Party, but some Muslims say that voting at all is wrong because only Allah must govern mankind. Also, Ed Miliband is Jewish. Are the Muslims who go to the polls likely to cast their votes for a Jewish leader?
If he gets into 10 Downing Street and has his Party make it a crime to criticize Islam, what will happen to Pat Condell? We are pretty certain he won’t stop making his videos, speaking freely, and expressing loud and clear the highly moral loathing and fully justified contempt he has for the criminal religion of Muhammad.
Obama’s courting of Castro, Putin, the Ayatollah Khamenei, and the King of Saudi Arabia; his appointment of policy advisers who are members of the Muslim Brotherhood; his rude eviction of the bust of Churchill from the Oval Office, his bullying of the President of Israel, and his cold-shouldering of Canada over the Keystone oil pipeline are signs that he is – what? Could they be read as indications that he is biased towards Communism and Islam, and is not at all keen on the values and polities of the West?
They could not only be easily read as that; it would be difficult to interpret them any other way.
Yet half the voting population cannot see it. Or if they can see it, they must like it, since they twice voted him into power.
But what are we saying? Half the adult, literate, sane people of the United States of America prefer Communism and/or Islam to their own free republic? Surely that cannot be true?
So what else could account for what happened? Well, perhaps most of them simply paid no attention to Barack Obama’s ideologies – although they could easily have discovered them before his first election to the presidency – and voted him into power for the purely racist reason that he’s black and they wanted (paradoxically) to show they were against discrimination on the grounds of race? And didn’t that prove they were nice people?
Now they’ve seen what a terrible mistake it was not to take his ideas and affiliations into account, they won’t do anything like that again – will they? They won’t again choose a president for such an extremely poor “reason”? A candidate’s race, color, ethnicity, or gender will not be seen as a qualification in itself for supreme power?
And next time they’ll be sure to take a candidate’s ideology into account – right?
We quote from an article at Front Page titled The Arabian Candidate, by William Kilpatrick:
In The Manchurian Candidate, the son of a prominent right-wing politician is captured by the Soviets and brainwashed in a secret Manchurian location. His task is to assassinate a presidential candidate, thus ensuring the election of the demagogic vice-president. …
The film has several parallels to current events. The main difference is that in those days, Americans had to be brainwashed into serving enemy interests by psy-ops teams. Nowadays, they come self-brainwashed with some indoctrinative assist from the American educational system.
In the film, a scary lady with leftist sympathies who looks vaguely like Hillary Clinton manipulates her husband into high political office. In real life, a scary lady with leftist leanings [who is Hillary Clinton] … manipulates herself into high political office.
In her case, teams of brainwashers are not required, since she has brainwashed herself into believing that foreign governments are dumping truckloads of cash into her family foundation because she’s such a charming and intelligent woman. And also because Arab sovereigns like nothing better than to do their part to improve the lives of the poor, the hungry, the environmentally underserved, and kids who need braces — in short, the very causes for which the foundation was founded.
Another similarity is that in the film, the [scary lady] character has some sort of hypnotic power over her son, the unwitting assassin. Whenever it begins to dawn on him that something funny is going on, she flashes a Queen of Diamonds playing card and he falls into a catatonic state of complete obedience. In the present situation [Hillary Clinton] has merely to flash the gender card and, presto, skeptical voters fall back into line.
There are parallels to other movies as well. Today’s Queen of Diamonds has a secret server in her home so that her exchanges with foreign dono- I mean “diplomats” can’t be traced. I’m not sure if the server takes up only one room of the palatial house, or a whole suite of rooms. And who knows what’s in the cavern-like basement? It’s all faintly reminiscent of those James Bond thrillers in which the villain’s remote island estate sits atop a vast underground military-industrial complex.
At some point the analogy breaks down. You could still convince a sixties audience that leftists were willing to sell out the country. We, on the other hand, have convinced ourselves that we live in a brave new world where such things never happen — at least, not in modern Western societies. No one would dare to pull a fast one on us because we’re just too smart. … So if it were discovered that Arabs controlled the White House, we would shrug our shoulders and say, “At this point, what does it matter?”
The Clinton-Arab connection actually goes back to the time when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas and worked to secure a hefty Saudi contribution to a Middle-Eastern studies program at the University of Arkansas. But let’s skip all that and fast forward to relatively recent times when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed her longtime aide Huma Abedin as Deputy Chief of Staff at the State Department. When it was discovered that Abedin’s family was deeply involved in the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia, very few eyebrows were raised. After all, even President Obama had relatives in the Muslim Brotherhood. So it would have been silly to make something of it.
It’s probably just a coincidence that while working for the Clintons, Huma herself was the assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs which — you guessed it — is a Muslim Brotherhood journal. Before that, and while still interning at the White House, she was an executive board member of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at George Washington University. The MSA was the first Muslim Brotherhood organization in the United States and George Washington was the first Muslim president. Well, the latter hasn’t yet been firmly established, but it’s just a matter of time until those Saudi-funded Mid-East studies professors at the University of Arkansas and the Saudi-funded professors at Georgetown (Bill’s alma mater) discover the prayer rug in the attic at Mount Vernon. It’s also probably a coincidence that, like her boss, Huma conducted State Department business using her own personal e-mail address, connected, one supposes, to the same master server that served her master so well … er, mistress.
Abedin also worked until recently for the Clinton Foundation. Again, this is no doubt a pure coincidence and, as the old saying goes, it has nothing to do with Islam. … Today’s government officials seem curiously lacking in curiosity. In 2012, Michelle Bachmann and four other House members wrote letters to the Inspector Generals of several government agencies asking them to conduct an investigation into Muslim Brotherhood penetration of the government. They were particularly concerned about Huma Abedin in view of her family connections and influential position. They noted thatthe Clinton State Department had “taken actions recently that have been enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests”.
The request was dismissed by numerous congressmen and senators as “offensive”, “insensitive,” and even “hurtful”. By that time the machinery of the “Islamophobia” industry was already in high gear and it was deemed prudent even by Republicans to defend Abedin and to damn her accusers …
Still, the case for an inquiry seemed strong. … Even if Abedin was innocent of any wrongdoing, the State Department’s own guidelines about foreign family connections would disqualify her for a security clearance for such a sensitive position.
But then, again, a lot of people in sensitive positions don’t seem to qualify for a security clearance. For example, if all your closest relatives were leftists or communists, if your chief mentors were, respectively, a member of the Communist Party and a radical left-wing preacher, and if you used to hang out with known terrorists, you probably couldn’t get a job as a night watchman at an auto parts warehouse. On the other hand, if someone with the same background throws his hat into the presidential ring, he can become Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, and get to set foreign policy.
He also gets to appoint Secretaries of State. It shouldn’t be any surprise if they turn out to be the kind of people who can’t be bothered with security checks. Such people seem to live in an ethereal realm that puts them above suspicion and above conflicts of interest. Normally, when a Secretary of State receives tens of millions in donations from countries that support the spread of a radical ideology, it would be a sign that something is terribly wrong. For an analogy, ask yourself if you would keep someone on at your firm if she had access to sensitive trade secrets and yet received huge gifts from rival corporations while conducting company business on her private server.
You would probably get rid of her pronto. But that’s only if you apply the normal rules of logic — which apparently don’t apply to Secretaries of State appointed by President Obama.
Now comes a surprise – or at least, a surprise to us. We did not know that John Kerry has family connections in Iran. How much does it explain?
If you applied such logic, you might also think there was something awkward about the fact that current Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter is married to an Iranian who has extensive family ties in Iran. …
The FBI usually won’t grant security clearance to “individuals who are married to nationals of an enemy nation or have family members living in that country, for fear of divided loyalties or, more simply, blackmail”.
Of course, you would have to be some kind of conspiracy nut to think that having vulnerable in-laws in Iran would in any way compromise Secretary Kerry’s negotiations with the representatives of a country whose leaders routinely indulge in “death to America” rhetoric.
Undoubtedly, the President consulted with his senior adviser Valerie Jarrett about the matter. Since Jarrett was born in Iran and spoke Persian as a child, she would, by current standards of expertise, be assumed to have deep insight into the Persian mind. She could have assured the president that “Great Satan” and “Death to America” are typical of the rhetorical exuberance that characterizes the rich and vibrant Iranian culture. Moreover, she could have allayed any concerns about blackmail. Anyone who has studied Cliff Notes on Islam knows that blackmail runs counter to the deeply held beliefs of the mullahs.
Jarretts’ family left Iran when she was five, but apparently those five years were enough to qualify her as an expert on Iranian affairs. According to Discover the Networks, it was revealed in 2012 that for several months, Jarrett “had been leading secret negotiations with representatives of Iran’s Supreme leader … in an effort to normalize relations between the U.S. and Iran”.
The mind spins at the – what’s the word? — the audacity of it all. But the curious thing is not that there are people in high places willing to put self-interest ahead of the national interest. Such people are always with us. The curious thing is that the American people and the American press accept it with such equanimity.
During the Obama-Clinton-Kerry-Jarrett-Abedin years, Russia seized the Crimea, ISIS seized large parts of Iraq and Syria, the Taliban re-established itself in Afghanistan, allies stopped trusting us, enemies were emboldened, the Middle East was set on fire, and the Army was drastically reduced. Oh, and the way was cleared for Iran to have nuclear bombs. Future generations — if there are any — will wonder what we were thinking.
What we were thinking, they may discover, goes something like this (in shorthand brain language): “Mustn’t think that! Mustn’t say that! Not nice! What will people think!” You’d have to go back to the Victorian era to find another society with so much concern for propriety of thought and speech. … A sort of suicidal etiquette that chokes off common sense has grown up in our society. Under the rules of the new etiquette, we aren’t allowed to say that the Emperor has no clothes. We dare not even point out that the Emperor and his ministers appear to be throwing open the gates to the enemy.
Let’s see: The people of the United States elect as president a man they know very little about. When it becomes obvious that he has deep leftist sympathies combined with deep Islamist sympathies, they elect him again. He, in turn, appoints one Secretary of State who is beholden to Arab largesse, and then, after she steps down, he replaces her with a man who … has close family ties with Iran.
This time at last, in the coming election year, the Republican candidates whose broadcast debates will have the attention of millions of voters must take advantage of their opportunity to break through the protective wall the mainstream media have put round the Obama administration and the Democratic candidates. They must make all this – the ideology, the motivation, and the practices of Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and the rest of the gang – so well known to the electorate that no one who can read, watch TV, listen to radio, attend a political rally, or receive news through any medium, will be able to avoid knowing it. Or avoid knowing how perilous it is to their freedom, their safety, and even their survival.
Then if most voters choose Hillary Clinton for president …
Terrorism is a method.
It is not an ideology, or a movement, or a conspiracy, or a policy, or an aim.
Its users might be an organized movement that conspires to adopt the tactic; and a state might use it against its own people as a matter of policy. But terrorism itself is simply a method. A tactic.
Terrorism is not hard to define:
Terrorism is the systematic use of violence to create public fear.
As a method of intimidation it is as old as mankind and will surely continue to be used as long as our species continues to exist.
It has been used for various types of causes, such as religious (eg. the Catholic Church with its Inquisition; Protestant powers such as Calvin in Geneva, the Puritans at Salem); commercial and criminal (eg. the Mafia); and political, by rebels, and revolutionaries, and adherents of diverse ideologies.
Whether terrorism is used by a small group like the Weather Underground or the Baader-Meinhof gang; a large group like the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Northern Ireland and England, or Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) in Peru; or a state like the Third Reich or the USSR, it is a method of instilling fear into many more people than it can directly attack so they or their rulers will do or not do what the terrorists want done or not done. That is why the attacks need to be random. Though you have done nothing personally to affront the terrorist organization doing its evil deeds in your corner of the world, you must be made to understand that their bomb could be in the bus you take to work or your child takes to school, and so could as easily kill or maim you or your child as anyone else.
The mentality behind terrorism is similar to the mentality of the racist. The users of the method target individuals indiscriminately because they “belong” to a group or class that the terrorists designate their enemy. You are a member of a political party that they oppose. You have a nationality they don’t like. You are a capitalist. You work for the “military-industrial complex”. Or you are one person in a national collective under a despotism that would keep you obedient.
Terrorism punishes the innocent. If a tyrant is killed, it is not terrorism; if his infant children are killed as “collateral damage”, it is.
Can the use of terrorism ever be justified? It is the moral question every terrorist needs to answer for himself. He alone makes the decision to do the deed. It is no excuse that he is obeying others. He – or she – is still responsible even under threat. The exception of course is when – for instance – a person is forcibly strapped into a suicide vest, deposited in a public place, and is detonated without taking any action himself. Islamic terrorists use children in this way.
An argument is sometimes put forward by persons – usually academics – who want, for various and usually disgraceful reasons, to discourage action against this or that terrorist organization, that the number of people who are hurt or killed in a specified period by terrorist action is smaller than the number killed by (eg) car accidents in the same time span. But an accident is by definition nobody’s fault. Because terrorism is a moral question, depending on people making decisions and implementing them, such comparisons are not only invalid but invidious.
What of war? Does that not harm and kill many innocents? Of course. But when war happens, all normal constraints are abandoned and the moral questions are changed. Was Churchill right to have Dresden bombed flat? Was America right to drop nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima? If more people were saved by these acts which brought war to an end than were hurt and killed by the actions themselves, were they good or were they evil?
The morality of war is open to argument. But clear acts of terrorism can be carried out within wars, and need to be unequivocally condemned. For instance, in World War Two, the Germans massacred all the inhabitants (642), men women and children, of the village of Oradour-sur-Glane on June 10, 1944, in reprisal for one of their officers being captured and held there. It was plainly a “war crime”, and plainly an act of terrorism.
What – it is sometimes asked – of random violence used against a conqueror occupying your country in war? Is that terrorism? And even if it is, is it not justified? Not an easy question to answer. The best one can do to decide the morality of (eg) blowing up a train that is bringing enemy reinforcements into your country but also bearing some of your fellow countrymen, is to ask whether the action would make most of your fellow countrymen feel more safe or more threatened. If the answer is “more safe”, it could be argued that the act was therefore justified. But much depends on what an action is, whom it kills and in what way; on the circumstances of the occupation, and on whether it is oppressive or comparatively benign. In each case, judgment is needed.
Communism and Islam are inherently terrorist ideologies.
Jillian Becker March 18, 2015
(Jillian Becker was director of the London-based Institute for the Study of Terrorism 1985-1990)
The excellent British historian Andrew Roberts explains, with brilliant clarity, why President George W. Bush led the invasion and conquest of Iraq in 2003.
As we read Soeren Kern’s latest report for Gatestone on the state of Her Britannic Majesty’s Islamic Kingdom (our designation, not his), our wild laughter echoed down our noble godless halls.
Here are extracts. For the whole hilarious story, go here.
Following is a brief summary of some of the main stories involving Islam and Islam-related issues in Britain during January 2015, categorized into three broad themes: 1) Islamic extremism; 2) British multiculturalism; and 3) Muslim integration into British society.
- Islamic Extremism
On January 7, the British-born Islamist Anjem Choudary defended the jihadist attacks on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. In an opinion article published by USA Today, Choudary wrote:
Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people’s desires. In an increasingly unstable and insecure world, the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?
On January 9, Muslim cleric Mizanur Rahman of Palmers Green, north London, also defended the jihadist attacks in Paris and declared that “Britain is the enemy of Islam”. Speaking to an audience in London — his speech was also streamed online to thousands of his followers — Rahman said the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were guilty of “insulting Islam” and therefore “they can’t expect a different result” … “Clearly what happened in France is a war. These cartoons is [sic] part of their own war, is part of the psychological warfare. You can’t have that attitude. You know what happens when you insult Muhammad.”
Rahman … was on police bail after he and Anjem Choudary were arrested in September 2014 on suspicion of terror offenses. Both men deny any wrongdoing and have not been charged. …
An Islamist from Luton was pictured in Syria brandishing an AK-47 rifle. Abu Rahin Aziz, 32, skipped bail before he was handed a 36-week jail sentence for stabbing a football fan in London’s West End. Aziz has been using Twitter to urge other people to join him and to emulate the recent attacks in Paris. In a tweet, Aziz, who also calls himself Abu Abdullah al-Britani, wrote:
Still deciding to what to do with my #british passport, could burn it, flush it down the toilet, I mean realistically its not worth spitting on.
… A convicted al-Qaeda terrorist with close links to the massacre in Paris cannot be deported from Britain because it would breach his right to a family life. Baghdad Meziane, a 49-year-old British-Algerian who was jailed for eleven years in 2003 for running a terror network recruiting jihadists and fund-raising for al-Qaeda, was released from prison five years early and allowed to return to his family home in Leicester. Since then, Meziane has successfully thwarted attempts by the Home Office to deport him, despite the government’s repeated insistence that he constitutes “a danger to the United Kingdom”. … The Meziane case has cost British taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds in court costs to date. …
Sylvie Beghal, a French citizen, lives rent-free in a four-bedroom house in Leicester after she came to Britain with her children in search of a more “Islamic environment”, after deciding that France was too anti-Muslim.
On January 22, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond warned that Britain is at “very significant” risk of attack by the Islamic State.
On January 25, Green party leader Natalie Bennett told the BBC1’s Sunday Politics show that it should not be illegal for people living in Britain to join the Islamic State. She was commenting on the British government’s move in June 2014 to make membership of the Islamic State a crime. Bennett said: “This is a part of our policy that I think dates back to the age of the ANC [African National Congress] and apartheid South Africa… What we want to do is make sure we are not punishing people for what they think or what they believe.”
On January 20, the former chief of MI6, Sir John Sawers, warned Britons not to insult Islam if they want to avoid Islamic terrorists from striking inside the country. He said: “If you show disrespect for others’ core values then you are going to provoke an angry response… There is a requirement for restraint from those of us in the West.” …
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles sent a letter to more than 1,000 imams across Britain asking for their help in fighting extremism and rooting out those who are preaching hatred. He also asked them to explain to Muslims how Islam is compatible with being British. The letter said:
We must show our young people, who may be targeted, that extremists have nothing to offer them. We must show them that there are other ways to express disagreement: that their right to do so is dependent on the very freedoms that extremists seek to destroy. We must show them the multitude of statements of condemnation from British Muslims; show them these men of hate have no place in our mosques or any place of worship, and that they do not speak for Muslims in Britain or anywhere in the world. You, as faith leaders, are in a unique position in our society. You have a precious opportunity, and an important responsibility: in explaining and demonstrating how faith in Islam can be part of British identity. We believe together we have an opportunity to demonstrate the true nature of British Islam today. There is a need to lay out more clearly than ever before what being a British Muslim means today: proud of your faith and proud of your country. We know that acts of extremism are not representative of Islam; but we need to show what is.
Muslim groups responded by accusing the British government of stoking “Islamophobia”.
In an angry response to Pickles, the Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, Mohammed Shafiq, wrote:
I wish to express my dismay at the letter sent by the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles MP, this letter is patronising and factually incorrect and typical of the Government only looking at Muslims through the prism of terrorism and security. We do not need to be patronised by a Government that claims it wants to give young Muslims an alternative to the extremist narrative and then refuse to discuss foreign policy. In terms of British values, is Mr Pickles really suggesting as the far right do that Muslims are detached from mainstream society? I hope the Minister clarifies his comments.
In an interview with Sky News, Talha Ahmad of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said:
The letter has all the hallmarks of very poor judgment which feeds into an Islamophobic narrative, which feeds into a narrative of us and them.
In a response to Pickles, the MCB wrote:
We do take issue with the implication that extremism takes place at mosques, and that Muslims have not done enough to challenge the terrorism that took place in our name. This is why we responded to the media, and an assertion in some quarters, that you were somehow endorsing the idea that Muslims and Islam are inherently apart from British society. We reject such notions. We also reject suggestions that Muslims must go out of their way to prove their loyalty to this country of ours.
The president of the Bradford Council for Mosques, Mohammed Rafiq Sehgal, said … :
We ask Mr Pickles to publicly apologize to the Muslim community for bringing this peaceful section of the British society into disrepute. Blaming Muslims may win Mr Pickles and his party some support from the right wing voters but it does not help good community relations. …
- British Multiculturalism
On January 29, a Sky News investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, a large town in South Yorkshire, found that hundreds of new cases continue to emerge. In August 2014, the so-called Alexis Jay report revealed that between 1997 and 2013, at least 1,400 children were sexually exploited, mostly by Muslim gangs, and that municipal officials in Rotherham and police in South Yorkshire failed to tackle the problem because of politically correct concerns over being branded as “racist” or “Islamophobic”. … One victim told Sky News: “It’s still going on if not worse, because now they’re having to hide it more.”
… It emerged that hospitals across Britain are dealing with at least 15 new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) every day, and that the problem is especially acute in Birmingham. … Although FGM has been illegal in Britain since 1984, there has not been a single conviction in the UK. …
Tarik Kafala, the head of BBC Arabic, the largest of the BBC’s non-English language news services, said that the term “terrorist” was too “loaded” to describe the actions of the men who killed 12 people in the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. … “We try to avoid describing anyone as a terrorist or an act as being terrorist. What we try to do is to say that ‘two men killed 12 people in an attack on the office of a satirical magazine’. … Terrorism is such a loaded word …” Kafala’s comments are in line with the BBC’s editorial guidelines on reporting terrorism. …
Durham Free School, a Christian school, will be forced to close after government inspectors found that the school was failing to help students understand “British values” or “prepare them for life in modern Britain”. The report said: “Some students hold discriminatory views of other people who have different faiths, values or beliefs from themselves.” Teachers said the verdict was grossly unfair and based on a comment made by a single pupil, who gave the wrong answer when inspectors asked him what a Muslim was. His answer to the question apparently included a reference to terrorism. The teachers said the school’s Christian ethos made it an easy target for officials who wanted to show they were promoting the government’s diversity agenda. …
Oxford University Press (OUP) warned its authors not to mention pigs or sausages in their books, to avoid causing offense to Muslims. …
- Muslim Integration
Zack Davies, 25, attacked a 24-year-old Sikh named Sarandev Bhambra with a machete at a Tesco supermarket in Mold, north Wales. Bhambra was seriously injured. British newspapers initially portrayed the attack as a “racially-motivated attempt” by a right-wing extremist promoting “white power”. It later emerged that Zack Davies is actually a Muslim convert who goes by the name Zack Ali. On the morning of the attack, Ali warned on his Facebook page of his impending attack: “The wrath of Allah is about to come down upon the kafir [unbeliever], I will have my revenge.” He also posted four verses from the Koran that call for violence against non-Muslims. …
On January 27, a judge at the Newcastle Crown Court sent four Muslim teenagers to a juvenile detention center after they admitted to attacking a 41-year-old Jewish man in nearby Gateshead. [They] pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated common assault for the attack, which they said was motivated by the Arab-Israeli conflict. The night before the attack, Sultan sent a text message saying he was “going to go Jew bashing” and asked a friend: “Do you want to go to Gateshead to smash some Jews up.” …
A Muslim trainee lawyer at the London-based law firm Clifford Chance produced a 21-minute YouTube video, in which he blamed non-Muslims for the jihadist attacks in Paris. Aysh Chaudhry, 22, said:
Brothers and sisters, we would not be here had it not been for the fact that the kafir [non-Muslims] had gone to our lands and killed our people and raped and pillaged our resources. This, brothers and sisters, is what we need to understand. We need to move away from this apologetic tone and have confidence in Islam because we are enslaved otherwise. We need to remove this Western cultural lens with which we are viewing and responding to attacks on Islam from our eyes. Stop putting freedom on this pedestal. This is a value stemming from secular, liberal beliefs. We don’t need a value which stems from a bankrupt ideology. We are becoming infatuated with the civilization of the kafir and their beliefs and their values and indeed we have latched on to these. Now you know who you are if you are of those who state ‘I will die to protect your freedom and I believe in freedom of speech’.
A spokesperson for Clifford Chance, one of the most prestigious law firms in the world, said: “The firm is committed to establishing an inclusive culture where people with diverse backgrounds and views work effectively together and feel confident to develop their potential.”
Finally, police in Bradford on January 29 launched a manhunt for an unidentified white male who allegedly muttered derogatory comments about Islam on a bus. The incident, described by police as a public order offense, allegedly happened on the 576 Halifax to Bradford bus, between 10:00 pm and 10:20pm on January 8. The suspect is described as white, aged 40 to 50, about five feet 8 inches tall. He was wearing a black woolly hat and black jacket that may have had a bit of red on it.
This opinion column appears today , March 3, 2015, in The Times of London.
It points out that there is a necessity to oppose the deal that Obama is making with the monstrous Iranian regime.
The defiant decision of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to
plead direct to the United States Congress against rushing into a nuclear
deal with Iran represents a watershed in the dismal relations between
Jerusalem and the Obama administration. A foreign leader is being invited
by Republicans to denounce the president on American soil. It is a speech
that even before its delivery today has split Israel and the Jewish
community in America, and is being presented by the Obama team as crude
electioneering and provocative mischief-making on the part of Mr Netanyahu.
Yet it is a necessary speech. All the signs are that the US, flanked by
five other powers including Britain, is accelerating towards a deal with
Tehran that will allow it to retain significant capacity to enrich uranium.
The arrangement would in theory allow the West to spot and block one year
in advance any attempt to build a bomb. That presumes easy access to the
most sensitive nuclear sites and a quick and efficient verification system.
Israel does not trust Iran. It sees a regime that is so desperate to have
sanctions lifted it is willing to fabricate concessions. The negotiations
do not include Iran’s ballistic-missile programme, whose prime function can
only be the delivery of a bomb.
Mr Netanyahu therefore comes to Washington full of suspicion not only about
Iranian intentions but also those of the Obama administration. He fears the
nuclear treaty would be the first step towards projecting Tehran as a de
facto ally and a regional power-broker. A nation that is so often
challenged by Iranian-backed Hezbollah militias and the Iranian-supplied
weaponry of Hamas has a right to be concerned.
Mr Netanyahu has, however, talked himself into an awkward corner. The
calendar creates an unfortunate linkage between the Israeli election on
March 17 and the next deadline for a settlement with Iran on March 28. Fear
of Iran is thus being played out in the Israeli campaign against the fear
of losing its most powerful ally, the United States. Almost 200 retired
Israeli security officials have warned Mr Netanyahu that he risks not only
a rupture with Washington but also advertising Israel’s weakness.
President Obama has needlessly aggravated relations with the Israeli
government by making it public that he is angry with the prime minister.
More, he seems ready to veto the bipartisan Kirk-Menendez bill that would
impose further sanctions on Tehran if it failed to sign an accord. This
saps the negotiating power of the West.
The relationship between the United States and Israel is too important, too
fundamental to Middle Eastern peace, to be drawn into partisan feuding.
Relations between Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu have never been warm but the US
should recognise that Iran cannot be blindly trusted. Tehran is already a
leading sponsor of terrorism in the region; it is alarming to contemplate
how nuclear weapons would transform this status. There is still time to
build cheat-proof assurances into a future accord. This must be done to
reassure Israel and all of Iran’s rightly nervous neighbours.
Rigorous inspection, led by the International Atomic Energy Agency, must
become the norm. Any attempt to conceal should be punished. Washington
cannot deny itself the option of escalating sanctions. Iran, though ready
for its own reasons to sit down with the West, remains a hostile power
rather than a putative ally.
Managing Editor, UK Media Watch.
The Muslim in this video from the British TV channel Sky News is speaking for an Islamic organization called CAGE.
CAGE, be it well noted, is run by former Guantanamo Bay inmates – and is an affiliate of Amnesty International.
Amnesty International was taken over by extreme lefties decades ago.
Although Amnesty International is not mentioned, this interview illustrates how far the bizarre alliance between Islam and the Left has defiled and contorted a Western institution founded originally to defend the principle of individual freedom.
With his usual perception and wit, Mark Steyn writes:
The Islamic State [IS] released a 22-minute video showing Flight Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh of the Royal Jordanian Air Force being doused in petrol and burned to death. It is an horrific way to die, and Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh showed uncommon bravery, standing stiff and dignified as the flames consumed him. And then he toppled, and the ISIS cameras rolled on, until what was left was charred and shapeless and unrecognizable as human. …
Even by the standards of his usual rote cookie-cutter shoulder-to-shoulder shtick that follows every ISIS beheading of western captives, the President could barely conceal his boredom at having to discuss the immolation of Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh:
Aaand it, I think, will redouble [pause] the vigilance aaand determination on the part of our global coalition to, uh, make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated. Ummmm. [Adopting a whimsical look] It also just indicates the degree to which whatever ideology they’re operating off of, it’s bankrupt. [Suppressing a smirk, pivoting to a much more important subject.] We’re here to talk about how to make people healthier and make their lives better.
The lack of passion – the bloodlessness – of Obama’s reaction to atrocity is always striking. He can’t even be bothered pretending that he means it. …
Given the general halfheartedness of Obama’s “coalition”, King Abdullah [of Jordan] could have been forgiven for also deciding to head for the exit.
Yet he understood the necessity of action. Obama, by contrast … does nothing. His war against ISIS was supposed to be one in which the US would not put “boots on the ground”, but instead leave that to our allies. The allies have the boots, but they could use some weapons, too. Obama has failed to supply the Kurds or anybody else with what they need to defeat our enemies. It’s becoming what they call a pattern of behavior. …
Obama cannot react to atrocities committed by jihadis because he is emotionally (we cannot say intellectually, because unlike his Democratic fans we do not think he has much of an intellect), on their side; which means that, whether he realizes it or not, he is on the side of evil.
Mark Steyn clearly sees that IS is evil. He goes on to consider why it is that tens of thousands of volunteers go eagerly to join its army and help it carry out its atrocities.
You’ll recall Hannah Arendt’s tired and misleading coinage “the banality of evil”, derived from her observation of Adolf Eichmann at his trial in Jerusalem.
We explain when and why she said it, and why it is misleading, in our post The cultivation of evil, the sickness of Europe, July 20, 2010.
Mark Steyn quotes an earlier article of his:
Hitler felt obliged to be somewhat coy about just how final the final solution was. As Eichmann testified at his trial, when typing up the minutes of the Wannsee conference, “How shall I put it? Certain over-plain talk and jargon expressions had to be rendered into office language by me.” Even the Nazis were reluctant to spell it out.
The Germans didn’t have social media, but they had newsreels, and Hitler knew enough not to make genocide available to Pathé or “The March of Time”. He had considerations both domestic and foreign. Pre-Wannsee, in Poland and elsewhere, German troops had been ordered to shoot Jewish prisoners in cold blood, and their commanders reported back to Berlin that too many soldiers had found it sickening and demoralizing. So the purpose of “the final solution” was to make mass murder painless, at least for the perpetrators – more bureaucratic, removed, bloodless.
As for foreign considerations, Germany expected to be treated as a civilized power by its enemies, and that would not have been possible had they been boasting about genocide.
Seventy years on, the Islamic State has slipped free of even these minimal constraints. They advertize their barbarism to the world, because what’s the downside? Let’s say the guys who burned Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh are one day captured by Americans. They can look forward to a decade or two of a soft, pampering sojourn in the US justice system, represented by an A-list dream-team that’ll string things along until the administration figures it’ll cut its losses and ship them to Qatar in exchange for some worthless deserter.
As for the upside, “the banality of evil” may have its appeal for lower-middle-class Teuton bureaucrats, but the glamor of evil is a far more potent and universal brand. The Islamic State has come up with the ultimate social-media campaign: evil goes viral! At some level German conscripts needed to believe they were honorable soldiers in an honorable cause, no different from the British or Americans. But ISIS volunteers are signing up explicitly for the war crimes. The Islamic State burned Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh alive not only to kill him but to inspire the thousands of ISIS fanbois around the globe. …
For many of its beneficiaries, modern western life is bland, undemanding and vaguely unsatisfying. Some seek a greater cause, and turn to climate change or LGBTQWERTY rights. But others want something with a little more red meat to it. Jihad is primal in a way that the stodgy multiculti relativist mush peddled by Obama isn’t. And what the Islamic State is offering is Jihad 2.0, cranking up the blood-lust and rape and sex slavery and head-chopping and depravity in ways that make Osama-era al-Qaeda look like a bunch of pantywaists.
Success breeds success. The success of evil breeds darker evil. And the glamorization of evil breeds ever more of those “recent Muslim converts” and “lone wolves” and “self-radicalized extremists” in the news. That’s a Big Idea – a bigger idea, indeed, than Communism or Nazism.
Islam, as we know, means “submission”. But Xtreme-Sports Hyper-Islam, blood-soaked and baying, is also wonderfully liberating, offering the chance for dull-witted, repressed young men to slip free of even the most basic societal restraints. And, when the charms of the open road in Headchoppistan wear thin, your British and Canadian and Australian and European welfare checks will still be waiting for you on the doormat back home. …
As the world burns, Obama, uh, redoubles his, uh, vigilance, uh uh uh… Whatever.
Mark Steyn reminds us that “civilization is a fragile and unnatural state of affairs”. Its would-be destroyers now, in the early twenty-first century, are: the environmentalists; the world-government advocates and all the rest of the collectivists, whatever they call themselves – progressives or socialists or communists; and, above all, most dangerous, already destroying as much as they can of the heritage of civilization, and winning battle after battle, encountering no effective opposition – Islam.
Obama won’t name it, not even by using the polite form of its name that most politicians and commentators use, “Islamism”.
But be assured that against something or other, he is redoubling his vigilance.
The politically correct establishments and media of the Western world protect Islam from criticism no matter what is done in its name. But they have made an exception of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL). Or rather, they claim – ludicrously – that IS/ISIS/ISIL has “nothing to do with Islam”.
That exception explains why a documentary about Muslim men of IS/ISIS/ISIL selling Yezidi women and girls as slaves, was actually produced by the BBC.
Here’s the clip: