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Entries Tagged as 'Islam'

Islamist Violence Harms Muslims the Most

November 9th, 2011 at 1:04 pm 25 Comments

According to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, order the reaction to the Paris fire-bombing of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is another example of how fearful Western society is of offending Islamic extremists.

Hirsi Ali is the Somali woman who fled to Europe to escape an arranged marriage with someone in Toronto. She went to university and was elected to the Dutch Parliament. She migrated to the U.S. after collaborating on a documentary about the oppression of Muslim women (Submission) that resulted in filmmaker Theo Van Gogh being murdered and death threats against her.

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After Gaddafi’s Rule, Libya Gets Sharia Law

October 28th, 2011 at 12:03 am 97 Comments

If George Bush’s adventures ended up handing Iraq on a silver platter to America’s enemies in Iran, President Obama’s softer and gentler imperialism has been the catalyst that stands to deliver North Africa into the hands of the anti-American Muslim Brotherhood. Dumb and Dumber could hardly ask for a better cast.

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Sharia Banking is Bad Islam

October 18th, 2011 at 2:40 pm 8 Comments

At Huffington Post Canada, Tarek Fatah explains why the Canadian experiment in Sharia banking has collapsed:

The leading promoter of Sharia banking in Canada, UM Financial Inc. has gone into receivership without much fanfare. None of the nation’s newspapers have bothered to report the development, despite the fact it could possibly affect hundreds of homeowners. Had it not been for a tweet by an affected Muslim homeowner looking for a lawyer, the story of UM Financial going broke would have escaped even the scant attention the news received on social media.

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Norway and the Global War on Terror

David Frum July 23rd, 2011 at 9:49 am 147 Comments

The terrible crime in Norway appears confirmed as the vicious work of a Norwegian possessed by some form of far-right politics. Thus far, viagra the killer is reported to have acted alone, although it cannot be excluded that he belong to some small crazed local group.

As we grieve for the heart-rending losses of the families and people of Norway, it seems this crime was not the work of an international Islamist terror network.

That fact surprised many media commentators, who immediately guessed that Islamists must be to blame.

Those guesses proved wrong, not because Islamists have ceased to wish harm to the West, but because Islamists have lost almost all their ability to coordinate large-scale attacks upon Western countries.

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What Scott D’Amboise Told FrumForum

July 20th, 2011 at 4:01 pm 34 Comments

A number of people have requested to know the context of the quotes from Scott D’Amboise. Originally, physician we were asking him about some endorsements he received – but he said something interesting about Obama’s religion, physician so we conducted a follow-up interview to focus on that comment.

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Yale’s Anti-Semitism U-Turn

June 20th, 2011 at 6:05 pm 9 Comments

Just weeks after deciding to close the Yale Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism, diagnosis Yale University announced today that it will create a new program for the study of the world’s oldest hatred.

The creation of the new initiative, there titled The Yale Program for the Study of Anti-Semitism, generic comes after a barrage of criticism from across the country as activists and academics protested what they saw as a politically-motivated decision to terminate a sorely needed curriculum.

According to The Forward, YPSA will provide research funding and host events and speakers, much like the now defunct YIISA.  An internal email published by The Yale Daily News, Rabbi E. James Ponet, a Jewish chaplain at Yale referred to the YPSA as “the reconceived YIISA.”

Though Yale “concluded that [YIISA] had not attracted a critical mass of relevant faculty or stimulated sufficient new research” and insisted it would release an empirical report supporting the verdict, a number of observers had raised questions about the motives behind the University’s assessment, as well as about the process itself.

The Zionist Organization of America recently argued that YIISA’s refusal to ignore pervasive anti-Semitism in the Muslim world had alienated potential Arab and Muslim donors, cutting off a considerable line of funding.  And Caroline Glick, deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Postcontended that Yale simply caved under intense Islamic criticism, much as it did in 2009, when Yale University Press ironically yielded to demands to censor cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed from a book whose subject was the 2005 controversy around the very same cartoons.

Before the announcement, FrumForum spoke to Uriel Epshtein, a rising sophomore at Yale and co-president of the Yale Friends of Israel (YFI).  Though he emphasized he was speaking personally and not as a spokesman for YFI, Epshtein, a former YIISA intern, said he had been dismayed by the way Yale presented the decision to the student body.  “Two things here are very big causes for concern,” he said.  “First, they haven’t released the report, so we don’t really know why they closed the center.  And second, they did it in the summer.  How are we supposed to coordinate a response in the summer?”

And indeed, Yale students had only a limited voice in the two-week-long debate.  With few Yale students on campus after May and many overseas, Epshtein explained, the Yale student body had been slow to learn of the issue, let alone react to it.  Even the school’s own publication, The Yale Daily News, neglected to contact YFI, or any students at all, in their coverage of the University’s conclusion.

Nevertheless, Epshtein had insisted a strong student response was on the way and students had hoped to use grassroots organizing as a lifeline for the center.  “The student push will pressure the administration, as we do with any political decision. We can write letters and get our voice out through the media,” he said.  Epshtein, himself, had planned to challenge the program’s closure in a forthcoming article for Commentary Magazine and he said a petition had been circulating.  The petition, Epshtein says, arose independently of any Jewish or pro-Israel groups, and he emphasized that although YIISA has been criticized for a pro-Israel political views, YFI has made a conscious effort to remain unaffiliated with religious groups.

The new initiative marks a victory for opponents of anti-Semitism, but the experience of the past few weeks has given Jews reason to doubt the steadfastness of Yale’s commitment to the program.  In the same email, Rabbi Ponet urged his supporters to send “encouraging words” to the Yale administration.  And though Jews and their defenders managed to put sufficient pressure on the University this time, the episode has revealed that Yale, like much of American higher education, is very much in play in the struggle between tolerance and resurgent anti-Semitism.

Thought From Engelsberg

David Frum June 9th, 2011 at 10:17 am 5 Comments

The Engelsberg conference takes place in an elegant manor house adjoining the largely shuttered steelworks which made the fortune of the manor’s builders.

This year’s seminar topic is ideology and politics, and the discussion opened Thursday afternoon with an attempt to define “ideology” and set the term in historical context.

One discussant proposed a very restrictive definition: ideology is an inherently revolutionary project, an attempt to overthrow everyday arrangements in favor of a new politics that will transform society and human beings. If so, that definition raised in my mind this question: Was Shiite Islam the first ideology when it emerged more than a thousand years ago, promising that justice could be achieved on this earth if only the right rulers were installed?

Hirsi Ali: Honor Killings on the Rise in the West

June 2nd, 2011 at 3:19 pm 37 Comments

Islamic honor killings are making appearances in the West, cure and Ayaan Hirsi Ali is determined to do something about it.

Hirsi Ali is the founder of the AHA Foundation, an organization aimed at spreading awareness about honor violence and defending women’s rights through raising awareness and promoting legislative action.  The AHA Foundation is hosting an honor violence symposium in New York City on June 6. FrumForum talked with Hirsi Ali about the goals of the symposium and what honor violence means for western culture.

“The mission of the foundation is to protect the rights of women from militant Islam and tribal custom,” said Hirsi Ali. “What we would like to do is make professionals aware of the fact that some of these practices are growing in the United States.”

By ‘practices’, Hirsi Ali is referring to the multiple types of honor violence supported by radical Islamism such as forced marriages, honor beatings, female genital mutilation, and honor killings.  Dozens of other examples of honor violence are outlined on the AHA Foundation website.

Most Western government agencies categorize these acts as domestic violence, but Ali says that “this is a specific type of violence, and I think it is important to bring awareness to the people whose job it is to address these issues so that they know, you know, that this is a different form of violence. And that this is culturally sanctioned and religiously sanctioned.”

There have been cases of honor violence in the United States in the past few years that have attracted media attention.  In 2008, teenage sisters Sarah and Amina Said were shot and killed by their father in Texas because he believed they were becoming too Westernized. In 2009, father Faleh Almaleki ran down his 20 year old daughter Noor with his car because she refused to marry the Iraqi man he had selected for her. And, just this year, 20-year-old Jessica Moktad was murdered because her stepfather believed she wasn’t sticking to traditional Muslim customs.

FrumForum asked Hirsi Ali how widespread these honor killings have become in the West. “In no western country is there systematic counting of exactly, you know, how many girls are affected in this way, chiefly because it’s still taboo,” she said. “And so the choice that you then make is to not to talk about and not to connect the dots.”

Through some of her own research, however, Hirsi Ali found that in the UK, based on the number of women who go to police stations to ask for help, there are up to 1,000 forced marriages a year.  She also found that in a very small region in the Netherlands there were up to 16 honor killings a year.

“These are all criminal acts,” Ali said. “These particular crimes have to be tracked and the perpetrators have to be punished…This is pervasive.”

Hirsi Ali has high hopes for the success of the AHA Foundation’s efforts, and believes that the United States is the place to start: “Through awareness and education, hopefully we will be able to eradicate these practices in the US, and hopefully set an example for other countries.”

Abbas Wakes Up to Honor Killings

David Frum May 16th, 2011 at 10:36 am 18 Comments

As Palestinians attempt to invade Israel, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas suggests it may at last be time to punish men who murder their female relatives.

President Mahmoud Abbas has directed the judiciary to award the “utmost punishment” to perpetrators of honor killings, his secretary-general said Friday.

The announcement was made during a talk show on satellite channel Palestine TV to discuss the murder of 20-year-old Ayah Barad’iyya by her uncle.

Abbas’ secretary-general At-Tayyib Abdul-Rahim telephoned the presenter and announced on air that the president had ordered a legal amendment to end leniency in courts for men who kill to protect “family honor.”

Director of Ma’an Network’s TV department and women’s rights activist Nahid Abu T’eima participated in the talk show. She had been campaigning for an amendment to the law, and burst into tears on air when she heard the announcement.

“This is a historical accomplishment to amend the 1960 penal law which belongs to the dark ages. Ma’an News Agency’s coverage has helped amend that law which human right groups have been trying to change for 15 years,” said Abu T’eima. 

A live transmission from Surif village, where Ayah Barad’iyya was drowned by her uncle in April 2010, showed thousands of residents applauding the decision. Many also burst into tears.

The university student’s body was found earlier this month in a deserted well three kilometers from her home in Surif, over a year after she was killed.

Her uncle confessed to police that he had tied her up and drowned her, with the help of three friends, because he disapproved of a marriage proposal she had been offered. 

Some Jordanian laws passed between 1948 and 1967 still operate in the West Bank. A Jordanian penal code from 1960, which commutes sentences for men who kill or attack female relatives accused or suspected of “dishonoring” their families, has never been repealed by the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The PLC has been defunct since 2007 — following the internal Palestinian division — but rights groups have requested the penal code’s repeal by presidential decree. 

In 2009, Abbas promised to change the law by International Women’s Day in 2010, but the reforms were never made.

Maybe before launching attacks on its neighbors, the PA should complete the work of dragging its penal code into the 18th century?


Have We Won the War on Terror?

David Frum May 3rd, 2011 at 11:03 am 56 Comments

Has the war on terror already been won?

Or to put it another way: Is the killing of bin Laden a coup de grace rather than a turning point?

From the emergence of al Qaeda through 9/11, Islamic terrorist attacks against international targets grew steadily more complex and sophisticated: more personnel, more reach, more casualties.

From 9/11 onward, however, the trend ran in the opposite direction.

The Bali bombing of 2002 was less ambitious than 9/11, the 2004 Madrid train station attack less sophisticated than Bali, the London 7/7 bombings a big step down from Madrid. After 7/7, terror attacks outside the Middle East generally fail. The attempt on the German rail system in July 2006 fizzled when the bombs did not explode.

More often still, the plots are foiled before they can get off the ground, often because police have succeeded in penetrating the terror cell, as happened with the Canadian monuments plot of 2006 and the 2010 Portland Oregon plot.

Where terrorism is carried out successfully – as with Major Nidal Hassan’s Fort Hood rampage – it seems most often the work of a single self-motivated individual, and often one who is mentally disturbed.

Inside the Middle East, the terror groups that remain (Hamas and Hezbollah) look less like those autonomous “networks” that so worried analysts in the middle 2000s and much more like state actors (Hamas) or state proxies (Hezbollah). In both cases, terrorism has a “return address” and can be punished if not deterred. What’s happening in Afghanistan looks more like irregular warfare than terrorism. Iraq is evolving toward stability and security.

It’s too soon to pronounce any definitive conclusion. Security services are appropriately on watch for retaliation. But at risk of prematurity, I’d say: this is what success looks like.

In the wake of the success, some are arguing that terrorism must not have been much of a problem in the first place, certainly not an existential threat.

Defeated enemies always look weak. After the Cold War, it was the flaws in the Soviet system that looked more relevant than the strengths. But nothing is pre-ordained, and failure is always an option. It was possible, had the US reacted wrongly after 9/11, for al Qaeda to recruit more widely and strike again. It was possible that the US could have cracked down internally in ways that make the annoyances of the TSA seem in comparison (as indeed they are in reality) petty and trivial.

Power could have been seized in Saudi Arabia. (We see now how fragile these Mideast security states really are.) Or the Saudi state might have been penetrated by radical Islamism from within. (As has happened to a great extent in Pakistan.) We had reason in 2001 to fear that radical Islam might 10 years ought have gained money and nukes.

Instead, radical Islam was contained, marginalized, bypassed – and then shot above the eye by an American special forces team.

This victory cost more than it should have. American victories usually do: see Grant, Ulysses, campaigns of. This is often a wasteful country, one that dislikes anticipating security problems and that therefore often faces a steep learning curve when those problems materialize. But defeats are costlier still.