Tag Archives: Muslim

The Face of Islam

It appears at first glance that we have lately become a nation of protests. Whenever I hit the “enter” key on my computer or turn to the news print or to television, there is, in some part of the nation a protest, and always with the hope that it will be nonviolent.

What appears to be in the forefront today in the United States is those protests “demanding justice” for a slain black person killed by a white officer. What appears to be in vogue today in Western Europe are the protests against the flooding of immigrants into France, German, and England. To those in the United States all the European immigrants are the same. We don’t have an immigration problem that can’t be fixed with rational politicians listening to the vast portion of our population. But that is another article.

One of this nation’s pressing issues is how we cope with extremists. A serious issue that has been silent long enough. Al Qaeda and ISIS and their violent, gruesome, inconceivable evil are paraded over and over again across the top of Africa and the Mideast. And their barbaric acts are shown in great detail in every home in the United States.

The evil they commit in the name of Islam is unspeakable in its raw images.

Our president does not want to talk about Islam, the “religion”, when he condemns the heightened form of terrorism; on the other hand, anti-immigrant groups want to paint an entire religion with the deeds of ISIS; the rest of us voice our concerns by yelling at Congress, writing op-ed pieces or mumbling with our elbows on the bar tops across America.

When all of this began to push my pen, I learned that we have always been a nation of protests and marches on our nation’s capital from the late 1800s until today. There have always been marches for or against something. In 1894, there was a march on Washington to protest unemployment. In 1913, there was women’s suffrage, and in 1925 the KKK marched in support of its activities. In 1948, Rabbis marched to stop the destruction of European Jewry. Think of a topic and there has been either a march or protest in some town or city or calls for mass protest in support or against “something”. Bus caravans are organized; huge numbers of people are organized for trains to carry protesters to Union Station in central Washington.

The Million Man March in 1995, caused untold complaints from the discredited person who organized the march to the petty conflict as to how many persons actually attended. But the March did take place and was seen across the nation. Notwithstanding a fusillade of criticism, it did not stop the marches to end the war in Vietnam, against the Iraq war, against guns and for gay rights. Protests are the voice of a community of like thought.

There is one mass protect or collective outcry that I am waiting for. There is one group of Americans whose voice is silent.   In January, I was in Europe when sixteen people were slain in attacks which were carried out by Islamic extremists. I was in London and felt the public blunted with the announcements of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. Not a sound out of White House, not a sound in America. I still wait for that one crucial march in my own country. In a recent Atlantic article, its author said that ISIS is no mere collection of psychopaths. If not that what are they? They are not as the President initially defined them.

I still wait for that one group in America that truly counts in this fight against extremists in the name of Islam, and they have remained strangely silent. A group of persons who profess to be Americans, who profess to be loyal Americans, who profess to be patriotic Americans. Americans period.

Almost one year ago the Washington Post published an article by Yasmine Bahrani, a professor of journalism at American University in Dubai, she is a native Iraqi who calls herself an American Muslim. She notes in her article that Muslims have marched across London, Paris and other major cities protesting the treatment of Muslims by the Israelis. But there have been no large scale, significant demonstrations –anywhere in the world — by Muslims against the violence committed by ISIS against Christians, Yazidis and other Muslims, especially the beheadings of non-combatant innocents. If Muslims can organize, she wonders, with relative ease as they have demonstrated in their protests against Israel, why not against ISIS? It is not as if they are impotent as a society. Why not in the United States, the home of over six and half million Muslims, a number greater than the entire population of Arizona? A nation that provides them with the democratic process, citizenship, education, health, the ability to vote and grow and in a country that has provided a safe haven. Sure there are instances of bigotry—no group is immune to that fact of life, but as a pragmatist factor, the Muslims are the third largest religion in the United States and prospering. They have the freedom to protest, they have the freedom to march on the White Houses, they have the freedom to vote for the President of the United States, they have the freedom to send their children to school. Why not protest the atrocities of ISIS?

Here and there you do hear an isolated Muslim voice denouncing the violence of Muslim extremism. But that is not the voice of a people.

You do hear the rejoinder that ISIS is not Islam. But that is an excuse not to face reality of who and what is ISIS, what it represents, how it conducts is rhetoric. Professor Bahrani wrote: “Don’t Muslims have a responsibility to speak out more loudly than others? We need the world to see anti-Islamic State marchers taking to the streets with the passion that we saw at the Gaza rallies in London and Paris….To much of the world, the Islamic State, Nigeria’s Boko Haram and other such groups do represent the Muslim community. Today, say the word “Islam” and few think of the glories of our history and culture. Rather, they picture masked men with knives.” Sadly, a poll conducted by the BBC in England found that more than a quarter of British Muslims sympathized with the terrorists who committed the atrocities at Charlie Hebdro in Paris.

Who is the face — who becomes the poster image—of Islam? The key question: Where is the shame and anger within the Muslim population in the United States against ISIS? Where is the communal anger –the million person march –of the Muslims in the United States against the violence of ISIS? When will they standup, with one voice, and condemn ISIS? Their silence is deafening.

Could there be some primal, unrealized connection seeking vindication for some past wrongs? Unhappily, is the answer that there is no anger at these extremists?

There is prompt, vocal and united anger at the reach of Israel. Those protests are large in number, seemingly spontaneous and carry the full banner of the Muslim world and Islam. Is the failure of that Muslim voice allowing ISIS to become the face of Islam?

Richard Allan
The Editor

Where Have All the Europeans Gone?

The Paris mass murder, followed by the kosher market killings in France, was long in the making and predictable. Pointing to the Mohammad cartoon creators as the evil targets was an excuse, a pretext, a smokescreen. Evidence: Only days later, ordinary civilians shopping in a supermarket, in a Jewish neighborhood, who did not draw images or defile Mohammad, were murdered with the same precision and brutality as those at Charlie.

We have just return from an aborted trip to Europe.  The plans were to spend some time in London, a Chunnel ride to Paris and all the pleasantries in-between. Then, all conversation turned to the reasons for not continuing our trip. Not merely from those at home, but strangers in London and many from France.

Once the tension became almost tangible, I began to notice more closely those I came in contact with during the course of a day in London.  Immediately, I noticed the accents of those about me as we wandered about London, from the theatre to dinner to shopping to walking in the streets and pubs. The accents were not those of a people whose home was London nor were they cockney nor even American but from lands not in close proximity to the United Kingdom.

In 2005, I read a book by the late Tony Blankley, then an editor at the Washington Times, whose book “The West’s Last Chance” in which he argued that if the West did not halt the slide of an ongoing Arab (Muslim) immigrant invasion, there would be a takeover of Europe, turning the continent into Eurabia. His thesis was that with the decline in population among ethnic Europeans, coupled with the surge in Muslim immigration, the demographics of the continent would see a Muslim majority by the end of the 21st Century. He alleged that “Europe’s forty to fifty year experiment with multiculturalism has been a dismal failure. While some Muslims have integrated, many have not. Indeed, growing numbers of Muslims in Europe do not want to integrate but to dominate.” He even had the “nerve” to allege, ten years ago, as “fact”, that “many European cities contain no-go zones in which ethnic Europeans, even armed police, dare not enter” with no blow-back until  today. That claim, alleged today, has now produced a cry “outrage” and “slander” with threats of legal action even by the mayor of Paris.

The question today is where have all the Europeans gone?
While Germany and France have the largest Muslim populations among the European Union members, France, while having less in numbers than Germany, has a larger percentage of its population from that group of people. If you look at Europe over all, it is Russia with the largest in both total numbers and percentage of Muslims at about 14 million persons.

Tony Blankley was correct in 2005, when he predicted that the Muslim share of the population across the European continent had grown and will continue to grow at a significant rate and is expected to do so through 2030 to make up more than eight percent of Europe’s population. That is a lot of people with a great deal of extraordinary cohesion in family, cultural and economic ties. Its political potential then becomes enormous.  That power converts into enormous ability to impose its cultural and religious persuasions upon the majority, because of its united drive and convictions.  In certain regions, they have attempted to do just that.

Strangely enough, and I do not know how to account for this, the median age for all Europeans is older than the median age of all Muslims, and this too will morph into greater leadership roles across the continent. Today, the Muslim population across the EU is far greater than the thirteen million counted in 2005. In turn, the favorable opinion of immigration and the Muslims has turned from positive to negative. The anti-immigration feelings in France, German, England and Belgium have increased with the attacks in France and the attempted terrorist’s activities in Belgium in January 2015. In the UK in January 2015, the prime concern in the upcoming election is not the economy but immigration.

When you have forty percent of the population of Rotterdam being Muslim, and a survey, that is not new, found that sixty-one percent of British Muslims wanted sharia law; that 26 percent of British Muslims believe that they have had much too much integration into British society, and only seventy percent would report a fellow Muslim they believed to be a terrorist, you have a perfect scenario for an immense immigration backlash, violence and extreme terrorism.

One can argue that both England and the Continent did not heed the import of the threat terrorism of 2004, when there was the horrific Madrid train bombing in March, the Beslan, Russia massacre in September and the shocking assassination of Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam in November. For those who do not remember the Beslan massacre, it started on September 1 and lasted three days and involved 1100 hostages including 777 children, and ended with the death of 385 people. The terrorists were a group of Islamic separatists. So were those who committed the coordinate attacks on the London transportation system below and above ground.

What did the EU lean? Not very much.  Immigration continued and with it and the porous borders that permitted the relocation of individuals who embedded themselves into society, quietly, slowly and steadily. Presently, there is the distinct possibility, without aggressive efforts to integrate and neutralize those who enjoy a position of safety, of the threat and escalation by an immigration population who believe in violence and whose political and religious demands exceed local custom and rationality.

There is another component to the violence/terrorism problem that creates additional and complex issues: anti-Semitism.  Anti-Semitism has always boiled below the surface in France, although vigorously condemned by the Government.  Only four months ago, the German government began positing armed guards at synagogues. Chants of anti-Semitism are being heard in Germany that echoed the days of concentration camps. “Jew, Jew! Cowardly pig” is the chant. The victims in the January murders in France, those at the kosher market, were killed because they were Jews and had no connection to the Mohammed cartoons.

Steve Emmerson writes that a reporter (a non-Jew) in the Swedish city of Malmo experimented by walking through the city with a hidden camera to gage the level of anti-Semitism by wearing a skullcap normally worn by religious Jews. Aired on Swedish national television, he is shown being attacked and called “Jewish Satan”, while another called him a “Jewish shit”.  In another portion of his video, he is shown being threatened by a gang of people who verbally abused him. Malmo “boasts” of the largest number of anti-Semites in Sweden and usually voiced by the Muslim population. With only 600 Jews left in the third largest city in in Sweden, with a population that has 20 percent of its residents Muslims, it is no wonder that the police have shown a tripling of anti-semitic attacks over the previous year.

In France at the end of World War II, anti-Semitism was vitriolic, and increased in intensity with those who denied the Holocaust.  At the beginning of the 21st Century, there was a new element and that was with the Muslim immigration and the geopolitical alignment of the right with Palestine. Today, the President of France said those internet service providers who ignore anti-Semitic, holocaust-denial theories will be regarded as accomplices, and urged that penalties be imposed. And although the Jewish population in all of France is only one percent, they represent 51 percent of all racist attacks in the country.

One French minister has said a “France without Jews is not France”.  But that remark without more will not stem the fear or reduce the number of persons fleeing that country. The exodus from France has doubled since the beginning of this year, and if there were to be a mass exodus one would see up to 600,000 Jews affected in a country with the largest Jewish population in Europe.

Tony Blankley was correct in 2005, but only partially. He did not see the major consequences of a non-integrated society in Europe.  If counties fail to integrate a new culture, if an immigrant culture fails to integrate itself, if tolerance is neither buttressed nor taught, then answering the question of where have all the Europeans gone is simple: They have been overwhelmed by the birth rate of the immigrant population or violence or both, or departed to other lands. Eurabia?

“Occupation”: Whose Definition

Fascinating— I have just returned from a conference at a think tank where I had been the American Scholar- in-Residence a number of years ago.  The topic of the round table discussion was a book of essays posing a series of questions -“out of the box”- in an effort to move toward a peaceful settlement of the Israeli/Palestine disputes.

After an introduction to the assembled group by the two editors of the book (one clearly neutral and the other not), we heard from two of their many “experts” who had written chapters. The two experts that participated at the conference each represented one of the two sides in this ongoing war of words and rockets. One was an Israeli security expert and the second a Palestinian activist, policy coordinator, and practicing law in Palestine.

During the entire two plus hours of discussion and some questions from those who were  present and those who had joined internationally by telephone, it became more  apparent that those on the side of the Palestinian cause constantly referred to the Israeli “occupation” of the Palestinian’s and “their” land.  Namely, by their unspoken definition: the forceful, illegal occupation of the land of another.

At times, words just floated by, and then at an odd moment my thinking about the language being employed by some of the participants in this tense setting, there was a revelation. I realized for the first time that the word “Occupation” was such a powerful, pejorative, buzz word. Especially if uttered over and over again until it becomes by mere repetition and inflection a proven fact and thus true. For those of us who lack that little nugget of history that created the word and it’s evolution in that part of the world, let me remind you of the following:

In May of 1948, when the United Nations voted for the creation of an Israeli statehood, the Arab states began their first attempt to not merely forestall but destroy the creation of what was a legally created, sovereign area, and to do so by an immediate, armed attack. Not by one country but by Arab forces from Egypt, Transjordan (Jordan), IraqSyria, and Lebanon. In the process, they captured East Jerusalem, including the Jewish quarter of the old City.  This war lasted into 1949.  Then let me skip one war and go to the third conflict, the more famous one—The Six Day War.

The Third Arab-Israeli War or the Six-Day War or the June War or the Third Arab-Israeli War was short, decisive and with a continuing contentious historyJune 5–10, 1967. The famous Six-Day War witnessed the capture by the Israeli army of the Sinai PeninsulaGaza StripWest Bank, Old City of Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Prior to the start of the war, attacks conducted against Israel by Palestinian guerrilla groups based in SyriaLebanon, and Jordan had increased, leading to high volume of  Israeli reprisals. In November 1966, Israel launched an air strike on the village of Al-Samūʿ in the Jordanian West Bank that left 18 dead and 54 wounded. In April, during an air battle with Syria, the Israeli Air Force shot down six Syrian MiG fighter jets. Then in stepped the Soviet Union once again, after supplying the MiG fighter jets, with a created so-called intelligence report that indicated that Israel was planning a military campaign against Syria.  Obviously, this further sharpened the tension between Israel and its not friendly Arab neighbors.

In the midst of all of the heightened tension, the Egyptian president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, had come under regional, scathing criticism by his Arab neighbors for his failure to aid Syria and Jordan against Israel; there was also increased accusation that he was hiding behind the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), stationed at Egypt’s border with Israel in the Sinai as a means of non-engagement. Nasser then did a 180 degree about face and mobilized Egyptian forces in the Sinai in support for Syria. On May 18th, he formally requested the removal of the neutral UNEF stationed in Egypt and on May 22nd, he closed the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping, blockading the port city of Elat in southern Israel. On May 30, King Hussein of Jordan arrived in Cairo and immediately signed a mutual defense pact with Egypt, placing Jordanian forces under Egyptian command; shortly thereafter, Iraq, too, joined the alliance.

In response to the mobilization of those who sought to terminate Israel’s existence, early on the morning of June 5, Israel staged a sudden, preemptive air assault and destroyed Egypt’s air force on the ground; later that day, it incapacitated a great deal of the Jordanian and Syrian air power. All the Arab air cover was then lost and, with it, their armies were left to a strategic and brutal attack by Israeli armed units.

The war was stopped by a United Nation’s demanded cease-fire  on June 10. The international community was fearful of an Israeli march toward Cairo. At this point Israeli, units had driven Syrian forces back from the Golan Heights, taken control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and driven Jordanian forces from the West Bank. Notably, the Israelis were left in sole control of Jerusalem. And so we come to the claim of an illegaloccupation” by Israel from June 1967 to December 2014; – a total of forty-seven years that Israel has occupied certain portions of the captured land.

It is still, today, the aim of those who abhor Israel to eliminate its existence or to overrun its population with a forced flood of non-jews, namely Palestinians. The purpose is to eradicate, by one means or another, both the concept and physical existence of Israel. Today in Turkey, once a moderate state, once a temperate calm voice in the region, now chants for the death of all jews and acts as an echo of Hitler’s Nazi mantras. [As reported “On November 9, 2014, a sign [in Turkey] reading “This Location To Be Demolished” was hung on the entrance to Istanbul’s Neveh Shalom Synagogue; the synagogue has already been the target of two major terrorist attacks in which many congregants at prayer were killed and wounded.” ]

If the voice of Turkey is so stringent one need not have a great imagination to hear the voices of Israelis’ other neighbors, whose belligerency has been supported by continued armed violence all these years.

Let me digress for a moment to make an important historical point: It is now forty-seven years since the end of the Six Dar War. Those with the little knowledge of the history of World War II will know that there was a Pearl Harbor and the German invasion of all of Europe, The Bataan death march, and the concentration camps and the utter brutality of the European World War that ended in 1945.  Germany and Berlin were then “occupied”.  The last American occupation troops departed from Germany, when the Russian presence was terminated in 1994. That is a total of 49 years of Allied occupation of Germany; 47 years of Israeli “occupation.”

At no time during the allied occupation of Germany did the Germans shoot, bomb, and yell for the obliteration of America, France or England. Nor did they chant for the obliteration of Christianity. Nor did they support terrorism in the land of its occupiers. We did occupy Germany in the fullest sense of the word. And nobody, including the Germans, called it illegal. But, possibly more important, the individual German did not attempt to irradiate their occupiers.

Germany started the war and they lost the war. There is a penalty for that, and especially if you do not “surrender” even when “hostilities”, have been terminated.

Do I need to draw a clearer distinction between the “occupation” of Germany and the present state affairs in Israel? Let me repeat: When you start and lose and yet continue hostilities, there are consequences.  You are not entitled under any international, moral or ethical rules to the return of your weapon, and you will, if you continue the hostilities, be considered to be dangerous, aggressive and at war.  There is, at that moment, however long, a reason for occupation.

Richard Allan,
The Editor