New Age Islam Edit Bureau
Dec 12, 2015
Why do some Muslims support Daesh?
By Samar Al-Miqrin
A Nuremberg Trial For US Funding Slaughter Of Syrians, Destruction Of Libya, Iraq & Afghanistan
By Jay Janson
Visa-waiver ban won’t stop terrorism
By Mark LeVine
Washington To Whomever: Please Fight The Islamic State For Us
By Peter Van Buren
America faces a test of political and moral character
By Fareed Zakaria
Is Islamophobia on the rise in America?
By Samar Fatany
With Islamophobia on the rise I fear for my friends and family
By Sadiq Khan
Why do some Muslims support Daesh?
By Samar Al-Miqrin
Dec 12, 2015
There is no doubt that Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS) belongs to the Iranian regime and helps Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. Whoever has doubts about this should think again, especially following the speech delivered by Syria’s Mufti in which he threatened Europe and America. After that speech, Daesh carried out a terrorist operation in Paris that spread terror and fear all over Europe.
Following these threats, we expected to hear about terrorist activities in some European city. However, we did not expect to find people on social media supporting terrorist activities in Paris, people who were not members of Daesh. After reading the comments, I started to believe that there were Muslims out there who inside their hearts support Daesh.
I am aware that some will be furious with me because of these words, but this is the bitter truth. We have to understand and recognize this truth in order to pinpoint the problems in the Arab mentality that lead Arabs to destruction and strip them of their humanity. The most important events that took place following the week of the terrorist activities were countless attacks on anyone who expressed sympathy for the victims of Paris. I noticed that some Arabs, including intellectuals and laymen, attacked anyone who sympathized with France. They considered sympathizers to be colluders who do not hesitate to suck up to the West.
On the other hand, some Arabs expressed sympathy for what happened in France, because some of the victims were Muslims. What about the non-Muslim victims? Are they not human beings like us? Should we not feel sorry for them? This is a sad thing. Human feelings should be the same. Anyone who only sympathizes with Muslims, and disregards non-Muslims, is a person with no feelings.
Yet, some viewed the terrorist attacks as France’s punishment for its crimes against over a million and a half Algerians. Thousands on social media supported the attacks. These people came from all social classes, all holding a grudge against France. They suggested that the innocents who were killed in Paris were the grandchildren of those French who killed Algerians, and, therefore, we should not show any sympathy for them.
Have they forgotten that around five million Algerians live in France and enjoy the same rights as other French people without any discrimination? I think those people wanted to play down the role France played in receiving Syrian refugees and offering them a decent life. Why do some of us love to gloat and hold grudges against Western countries? How can we call someone who shows sympathy with the victims of terrorist activities in Paris a colluder or a hypocrite who loves the West?
The biggest contradiction is that most of those who condemn Daesh attacks but support its attacks in Paris want us to believe that they do not have a Daesh mentality, when the reality is otherwise.
A Nuremberg Trial For US Funding Slaughter Of Syrians, Destruction Of Libya, Iraq & Afghanistan
By Jay Janson
11 December, 2015
“Assad killed his own people peacefully protesting!” Sound familiar? Substitute ‘Gaddafi’ for ‘Assad,’ and one is on one’s way to bring to mind so many other similarities made to be forgotten in TV, radio and printed news and entertainment of Western media, media owned by corporations profitably investing in the illegal and unconstitutional use of US Armed Forces and CIA. CIA creation and use of ‘Islamic’ terror is reviewed.
The euphemism ‘The Arab Spring’ was concocted in Western media after massive rebellions against brutal and hated Western backed and beholden dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, where huge popular uprisings of up to hundreds thousands protested for jobs, food, a decent society, and against extreme poverty in the case of Egypt and Yemen. Since the season ‘spring’ arrives everywhere and not only in nations run by Western backed dictators helping the foreign banks plunder their countries’ economy, one would have to expect the colonial powers to ‘spring’ something on Arab countries that were free of Western speculative banking control – in order to balance the books so to speak.
In imperialist media, murderous American backed dictators in Asia and South America were always balanced off in media managed minds by calling revolutionary leaders, who had freed their people of American plundering and financial, political and military control, ‘brutal dictators’, as well. So monopoly media captive audiences was told that Cuba and Vietnam were suffering under terrible ‘c o m m u n i s t s’ Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh.
Cubans and Vietnamese await a return to the joys of capitalism, colonialism, and benevolent rule by gangs of thieves associated with pseudo democracy and freedom for predatory investors. Not so with the citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, who are fortunate enough to have been rescued from foolish independence, self-rule and intolerable socialist benefits.
“The War against Syria was Planned Two years before “The Arab Spring”: says former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas in a one minute video
France’s Former Foreign Minister: UK Government Prepared Two years before “The Arab Spring”…
Jun 15, 2013 – Uploaded by Eretz Zen
Researcher Gearóid Ó Colmáin reports to us:
This is not the first time that Roland Dumas has spoken out against wars of aggression waged by successive French regimes. In 2011 he revealed that he had been asked by the United States when he was foreign minister in the Mitterrand administration to organize the bombing of Libya. On that occasion the French refused to cooperate. Dumas, a lawyer by profession, offered to defend Colonel Gaddafi, at the International Criminal Court in the event of his arrest by Nato.
[Former French Foreign Minister: The War against Syria was Planned Two years before “The Arab Spring” Global Research, 6/13/2015}
Pentagon plans to take out Libya and Syria and four other Arab nations before going after Iran were revealed by General Wesley Clark already years ago. [see“We’re going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran..” Global Research, 2/3/2007]
Following the first months of bloodshed in Syria, this archival research peoples historian working for former US Attorney Ramsey Clark, compiled: Syria: CIA, M16, French, Mossad, Saudi Involvement Unreported In Imperialist Media, 6/27/2011, Counter Currents, Kerala, India: Synopsis: What is unfolding in Syria is an armed insurrection supported covertly by foreign powers including the US, Turkey and Israel. Armed insurgents belonging to Islamist organizations have crossed the border from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. The US State Department has confirmed that it is supporting the insurgency. A monolithic unified slant media cartel restricts reports to accusations of indiscriminate killing of civilian protesters by Syrian government.
By now, end of 2015, possibly a million times, has the world has heard the refrain ‘Assad killed his own people’ led by chorus master, Barack Obama, the American empire’s first non-white complexioned Commander-in-Chief, who outspoken fellow African-American Rev. Cornel West calls“a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats, proud that he has become head of the American killing machine.”
Four years ago your author was fortunate enough to have seen part of a local Syrian telecast to its own people showing moments in a video in which shadowy figures way up on roof tops were caught in the camera’s lens shooting down into the crowds. Well, never mind, I have not been able to locate it for my readers, but a much more convincing example of false flag shooting into crowds was discovered during the US EU backed fascist goons overthrow of the democratically elected government of the Ukraine in Kiev just prior to an upcoming election. It is mentioned here only to note that CNN and the other five media conglomerates are not going to have its audiences see anything from the ‘other sides’ media that might tend to corroborate what Martin Luther King said about his government being the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, just as no one has heard those scathing words of King in mainstream media during the forty-five years since he earned earned that bullet to his head.
Syrian President, mild mannered former medical doctor, Bashar al-Assad, now in his fourth year of condemnation by Western politicians and media, has always insisted that “there were no such peaceful demonstration.”
Interestingly, Assad’s words regarding the attack on his country, Syria, had been the title of yours truly’s day by day research of reports of all news agencies during the first months of the attack on Libya, published as:
There Was No Libyan Peaceful Protest, Just Murderous Gangs and Nic Robertson, 6/16/2011, Counter Currents, India
Gaddafi, like Assad, had been accused of ‘killing his own people,’ (after Gaddafi had made sure they all owned their own homes, had fine free health care, free education through PhD, a decentralized real socialist peoples democracy with a constitution that forbade wage labor, abundant water from a miraculously harnessed underground river that was greening the desert, and making Libya the 52nd Highest Quality of Life nation in the world by UN index, higher than nine European nations including Russia, all this accomplished by using Libya’s oil income, which Gaddafi had ‘stolen’ from British and French multinationals. If that wasn’t indictment enough for the West to take him down, with that oil income Gaddafi had also been funding the fight against violent European methods of maintaining its exploitation of Africa, had rebuilt the African Union, of which he was Chairman, had refused to cooperate and was blocking US AFRICOM, and was beginning to mint part of Libya’s State Bank 44 billion in gold in league with Iran to replace commercial transactions in US dollars. Add to all that Gaddafi’s having, in his 2009 address to the UN General Assembly, called for investigation and Nuremberg justice and compensation for all victims of UN assisted US NATO criminal bombings and invasions beginning with Korea and the UN torching of Palestine with the Partition scare.
I refer my readers to my day by day chronicle of Libya’s fight against the same kind of heavily armed Islamic terrorist gangs that have been attacking America’s targeted enemies Syria and Shiites over the last four years, without being able to overthrow Assad’s government or diminish his support.
Capitalism’s Warplanes: CIA and Al Qaeda Destroy Socialist Libya’s 53rd Highest Living Standard, Jay Janson, Countercurrents, India, 24 April, 2011
Americans have never showed the world one single video or photo as actual proof that Libya soldiers had fired upon civilians either in Benghazi or later as the Libyan army easily liberated towns overrun by the ‘rebels.’ On the other hand horrific atrocities committed by those tough looking ‘rebels’ in heavily armed pick-up trucks were shown on Internet and were well documented. by BBC and Reuters (before BBC and Reuters began showing solidarity with CNN lies). They reported fifty Libyan dark skinned soldiers executed after the first day of violence, and a video was posted on Internet showing beheading and tortuous treatment of many dark skinned soldiers.When the colonial powers bombing show was over and Gaddafi dead following the slaughter of his grandchildren, though a near million Libyans out of a population of six had wildly demonstrated their support for Gaddafi and Libya’s Green Book. Long time Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi publicly announced that Libyan leader Gaddafi was loved by his people and that the rebellion that toppled him was not a popular uprising. Powerful men decided to put out Gaddafi.”
Turning back to the topic of Syria, your author was struck by an amazingly honest and candid US Senator Richard Black of Virginia in his letter to President Assad:
From Syria’s government news agency, SANA, datelined November 17, 2015:
Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad on November 17, 2015, received a letter from U.S. Senator for the State of Virginia Richard Black a letter in which he said “I was pleased by the Russians’ intervention against the armies invading Syria. With their support, the Syrian Army has made dramatic strides against the terrorists.”
“I was delighted by Syria’s resounding victory over ISIS at the Kuwairis Airfield. My compliments to those who heroically rescued 1,000 brave Syrian soldiers from certain death.”
The Senator asserted that the war on Syria was not caused by domestic unrest, saying “It was an unlawful war of aggression by foreign powers determined to force a puppet regime on Syria. General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, revealed that by 2001, Western powers had developed plans to overthrow Syria.
Yet after fifteen years of military subversion, NATO, Saudi Arabia and Qatar still cannot identify a single leader who enjoys popular support among the Syrian people.”
“Foreign powers have no right to overturn legitimate elections and impose their will on the Syrian people. Syrians alone must determine their destiny, free of foreign intervention. I am disappointed that the UN has turned a blind eye to the unlawful interference in Syria’s internal affairs,”
He went on to note that “Before the war began, Syria had the greatest religious freedom and women’s equality of any Arab people. Many Americans are surprised to learn that the Syrian Constitution provides for free elections, religious freedom, women’s rights, and the Rule of Law.
Before criticizing Syria, the U.S. might first insist that our allies – Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait – grant similar freedoms to their own people.”
Black voiced disappointment that the United States answered the Russian assistance for Syria by sending anti-tank TOW missiles to terrorists, which would only prolong said, criticizing the folly of arming “good terrorists”… adding that “the irresponsible deployment of TOW missiles threatens aviation around the world, as anti-tank weapons have long range and can target and destroy passenger planes that are taking off.”
He said that as a Senator for Virginia, he feels worry because such missiles can find their way to remote areas near airports like Reagan National Airport and Dallas International Airport, adding that he relayed these concerns to the American President.
The Senator went on to say that “it is becoming clear to people that the terrorists in Syria are receiving military support from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and that Turkey is the most loyal backer of ISIS as it represents the main channel for the flow of jihadists, weapons, and trade,” adding that “Turkey also hasn’t offered anything significant to the performance of the proposed alliance against ISIS despite being a member of it.”
“The cruel treatment of captured Syrian soldiers by armed groups is appalling. Many Americans find the behavior of these so-called ‘moderates’ morally abhorrent.
Many Virginians join in praying that the Syrian Arab Army and its allies will triumph over the forces of evil, and that peace will soon return to Syria,” concluding the letter with “Thank you for protecting the lives of Christians and of all good people of Syria.”
U.S. Senator to President al-Assad: War on Syria was an unlawful war of aggression | Syrian Arab News Agency
Finally regarding Syria, the news that US Congresswoman from Hawaii Introduces Bill To Stop “Illegal” War On Assad; Says CIA Ops Must Stop
Before Syria and Libya were attacked, it was CIA darling and Reagan and Rumsfeld’s ‘”Most Favoured Nation” trading status partner Saddam Hussein, who after dutifully invaded US designated enemy
Iran for eight years, was suddenly (after years of closed eyes) noticed to have been “killing his own people.” (in this case gassing them with the chemicals the US provided him with).
As in the case of Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, Saddam killing his own people in Iraq made it perfectly okay for US to invade and kill two and a half millions of Saddam’s own people, destroy their country, steal a lot of its oil, and create four million Iraqi refugees.
The drummed up, but by law indefensible, excuses for the US genocidal occupation war in Iraq (a blatant violation of Nuremberg Principles of International Law, the kind for which Nazis were hanged) is terminally illustrated by a famous moment during the March 24, 2004 annual black-tie dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents Association in Washington. The main speaker was President Bush, one year into his ordered Iraq war, with tens of thousands Iraqis and 500 Americans already dead.
In the middle of his stand-up routine Bush showed on a screen behind photos of himself smiling: “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere!” as Bush was seen looking behind drapes and under his desk to the laughter and applause from the journalist audience. [Nation Magazine 4/7/2004]
In Iraq, a year or so later saw the US arming and funding Sunni Muslims for the second time (the first time having been in Afghanistan). In this second case in Iraq, it was to terrorize Shiites and fight the Shiite militia of Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, who was fighting the US occupation. Many of these Sunnis paid to be on the US side, had originally fought and killed American troops in Iraq and would later surface as ‘rebel forces’ in Libya and eventually be invading Syria to fight Shiites as members of one of the various Islamic state groups. This is no secret and many newspapers besides independent journalists have chronicled this Odyssey of battle hardened terrorists.
The reader will have already guessed, imagined or have read where heavy weapons, Toyoda trucks, upkeep and financial incentive of these jihadists came from and still comes from. And it never need to have to come directly from the CIA itself. The CIA has partnering organizations in most countries, and whatever happens anywhere in the superpower ruled world happens under the watchful eyes of the ubiquitous CIA, which feeds US media.
One would suppose there might even be a few older Wahabi terror warriors in Syria now, who as youngsters were once criminally invited into Afghanistan by Zbigniew Brzezinsky, President Carter’s Adviser (David Rockefeller close confidant), invited in for jihad against the Soviets who had been suckered* into coming to defend its ally and neighbor Afghanistan, which at the time had a still popular women liberating socialist government in Kabul being attacked under CIA leadership.
*Years later, Brzezinski would brag about frightening the Soviets into a trap in an interview for Le Nouvel Observateur (1998).
Brzezinski: “Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.”
[How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen
by Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch, 1/15/1998.]
The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, also stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to covertly aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention.
Admissions by high American officials self indicting themselves as criminals for future trial under International Law is now common- so great is their confidence of never being prosecutable for being under the umbrella of America’s enforced exceptionalism.
Your author remembers a newspaper photo of the bodies of three men face down, hands wired behind their back, the caption describing teachers executed by hill tribes in Afghanistan opposed to the government program of extending education of children to include girls as well as boys. I recall quite for sure that at the time I saw this photo, the Soviet Armed Forces had not yet entered Afghanistan, Nothing was known of the cowardly attack by CIA along with Pakistani and Saudi Arabian secret services, arming and training war lord led tribes to wage civil war on an Afghan government friendly to the United States that was at that time intensely popular with the great majority of the population.[according to the widely recognized authority on the subject, Robert Fisk, in his The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East, published in 2005]
After the Soviet forces pulled out of Afghanistan, it still took the US, Pakistan and Saudi backed war lord forces two more years to conquer the Kabul government, and then immediately came the even more disastrous civil war between the American backed war lords with rocketing and shelling and destruction taking place within a society become lawless with stealing and raping going on unabated for four horrific years. In 1996 the Taliban (‘student’ in Arabic and Persian) was born. The most often-repeated story and the Taliban’s own story of how Mullah Omar first mobilized his followers is that in the spring of 1994, neighbors in Singesar told him that the local governor had abducted two teenage girls, shaved their heads, and taken them to a camp where they were raped. 30 Taliban (with only 16 rifles) freed the girls, and hanged the governor from the barrel of a tank.[The Taliban Phenomenon, by Matinuddin, Kamal, Oxford University Press, pp. 25–6]
The Taliban, after a year of fighting, founded the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan that was recognized by three countries. Taliban succeeded in eradicating most of the opium production by 2001, when the 9/ll attack gave the USA a pretext for invading Afghanistan and installing a Quisling drug lord supported government. For the last fifteen years a US led coalition of troops backed by every single nation of Caucasian population in the world, even tiny Lichtenstein, Andorra and Monaco, has warred against the forces of the overthrown government Taliban that still control much of the country. Of course again we hear the familiar refrain “Taliban are killing their own people,” which makes it okay or necessary for good white people to kill bad Afghans in the own beloved country, even as the New York Times reports regularly on the many children freezing and starving to death outside the comfortable barracks of Western soldiers. To no avail did Ramsey Clark have yours truly write:
Kids Freezing To Death In Kabul. A U.S. Christian President Ignores Them? jay janson, OpEdNews, Dec. 3, 2009, and
Afghan Kids Still Freeze to Death, jay janson, Come Home America, Feb. 7, 2012
Lastly, Americans must also be held prosecutable for the many lives lost as a near million refugees from four Middle Eastern countries targeted by the US for ‘regime change’ flee to Europe – seven, counting poor Yemen, being bombed as we read, and poor Lebanon and Palestine always suffering deadly violence.
Despite the very clear and concise definitions of crimes against humanity and crimes against peace in the universally signed on to Nuremberg Principles of International Law, which are an integral part of the Charter of the United Nations and the US Constitution, no American president commander-in-chief, or financier, or soldier, or media personality has yet been hanged. (Five Nazi media personalities were convicted at Nuremberg.)
“Launching a war of aggression (like Rockefeller’s man, Brzezinsky advised Rockefeller backed President Carter to order in Afghanistan) “is a crime that no political or economic situation can justify.” were the words of Justice Jackson, the chief U.S. prosecutor for the Nuremberg Tribunal. Also, Chief Counsel for the Prosecution, General Telford Taylor once told the Head of CBS Foreign Desk, that he would have been “proud to prosecute the American flyers shot down while bombing Vietnam.”[Bomber Pilot McCain: War Heroism or War Crimes, Robert Richter, Institute for Public Accuracy, 2008]
Benjamin Ferencz, also a former chief prosecutor for the Nuremberg Trials, declared that “a prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity — that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.” The conduct and the consequences of the Iraq war are subsumed under “Crimes against Peace and War” of Nuremberg Principle VI, which defines as crimes against peace “(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).” In the section on war crimes, Nuremberg Principle VI includes “murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property.”
The criminal abuse of prisoners in U.S. military prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo are clear evidence of ill- treatment and even murder. According to the organization Human Rights First, at least 100 detainees have died while in the hands of U.S. officials in the global “war on terror,” eight of whom were tortured to death. As for the plunder of public or private property, there is evidence that even before the war started, members of the Bush administration had already drawn up plans to privatize and sell Iraqi property, particularly that related to oil.
Will Americans one day be hanged as were Nazi military, ministers and media personalities? (Hitler escaped hanging by suicide.) Noam Chomsky has said all US presidents starting with Truman could have been hanged if tried by those same laws that Nazis were tried under.
The present US President’s family pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright was seen by perhaps a billion TV viewers in a repeatedly shown video shouting, “God damn America for her crimes against humanity.” Likewise did 2008 GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul receive weeks long prime time news coverage repeating, “All bombings, invasions and occupation starting with Korea were illegal, unconstitutional, criminal apart from the appalling insensate loss of life.”
The specie homo sapiens has demonstrated an intelligence infinite in scope. US NATO using the UN has brought about a great amount of genocide for the tightly insane speculative banking industry elite’s accumulation of capital and power. The shift in the world balance of economic power Eastward and Southward already under way will will eventually disable US power to sanction victim nations and control a reconstitued United Nations. Humanity can expect revamped courts of Nuremberg Principles of International Law will come to be adjudicating lawsuits for millions of unlawful deaths, tens of millions of injuries and deformities, mega massive destruction property and grand theft of natural resources, and awarding such a inconceivably high rate of compensation, indemnity, reparations and punishment, which will forever make investment in weapons of mass destruction and the murderous use of a nations armed forces and secret services worse than just unprofitable.
The former US Attorney General, who oversaw the writing of both major civil rights acts has asked people throughout the world to at least start thinking about justice for the victims of the deadly violence Americans have been championing in order to maintain the privileges and pleasures that come from the immense profits of unjust predatory investments. We close out review of recent Middle East history with an article Att. Gen. Ramsey Clark inspired this author to write
Ramsey Clark, “Without Demands for Compensation for Wrongful Deaths/Destruction, AntiImperialist Journalism is Hypocrisy World Economic power shift Eastward will bring a reconstituted UN that will certainly establish a Nuremberg Principles court to adjudicate the lawsuits for compensation for millions of wrongful deaths, injuries, deformed babies, destruction of property and theft of natural resources filed once the US can no longer intimidate victim nations with crippling sanctions. Lets make this prosecution arrive sooner to spare lives.
Ramsey Clark, “Without Demands for Compensation for Wrongful Deaths/Destruction, AntiImperialist Journalism is Hypocrisy
1.Gaddafi’s Libya was Africa’s Most Prosperous Democracy
by Garikai Chengu,
Contrary to popular belief, Libya, which western media described as “Gaddafi’s military dictatorship”, was in actual fact one of the world’s most democratic States.
The nation State of Libya was divided into several small communities that were essentially “mini-autonomous States” within a State. These autonomous States had control over their districts and could make a range of decisions including how to allocate oil revenue and budgetary funds. Within these mini autonomous States, the three main bodies of Libya’s democracy were Local Committees, People’s Congresses, and Executive Revolutionary Councils.
In 2009, Mr. Gaddafi invited the New York Times to Libya to spend two weeks observing the nation’s direct democracy. Even the New York Times, which was always highly critical of Colonel Gaddafi, conceded that in Libya, the intention was that “everyone is involved in every decision…Tens of thousands of people take part in local committee meetings to discuss issues and vote on everything from foreign treaties to building schools.” The purpose of these committee meetings was to build a broad based national consensus.
One step up from the Local Committees were the People’s Congresses. Representatives from all 800 local committees around the country would meet several times a year at People’s Congresses in Mr. Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte to pass laws based on what the people said in their local meetings. These congresses had legislative power to write new laws and formulate economic and public policy, as well as ratify treaties and agreements.
In 1977 the people of Libya proclaimed the Jamahiriya or “government of the popular masses by themselves and for themselves.” The Jamahiriya was a higher form of direct democracy with ‘the People as President.’ Traditional institutions of government were disbanded and abolished, and power belonged to the people directly through various committees and congresses.
Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents in 67 countries; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India, Sweden and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles on deadly cultural pollution endangering seven areas of life emanating from Western corporate owned commercial media published in Hong Kong’s Window Magazine 1993; Howard Zinn lent his name to various projects of his; Global Research; Information Clearing House; Counter Currents, Kerala, India; Minority Perspective, UK; Einartysken, Sweden: Saker Vineyard, Germany; Dissident Voice; Ta Kung Pao; Uruknet; Voice of Detroit; Mathaba; Ethiopian Review; Palestine Chronicle; India Times; MalaysiaSun; China Daily; South China Morning Post; Come Home America; CubaNews; TurkishNews; HistoryNews Network; Vermont Citizen News have published his articles; 300 of which are available at: click opednews.com/author/author1723.html ; Weekly column, South China Morning Post, 1986-87; reviews for Ta Kung Bao; article China Daily, 1989. Is coordinator of the Howard Zinn co-founded King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign: (King Condemned US Wars) kingcondemneduswars.blogspot.com/ and website historian of the Ramsey Clark co-founded Prosecute US Crimes Against Humanity Now Campaign prosecuteuscrimesagainsthumanitynow.blogspot.com/ featuring a country by country history of US crimes and laws pertaining.
Visa-waiver ban won’t stop terrorism
By Mark LeVine
11 Dec 2015
What the hell is going on?
That’s what Donald Trump wants to know, or at least what he wants the US government to know before any more Muslims are allowed into the country.
What precisely is there to know, and what can be done with that knowledge are, of course, the questions of the hour.
Everyone would like to know why some Muslims become so “radicalised” that they are willing to die in order to kill as many civilians as possible – Muslims as well as non-Muslims, Sunni as well as Shia, the poor and working class even more than the wealthy.
Building a state or bringing the Apocalypse; avenging Palestine or protecting the faith; enraged by neo-imperialism abroad or prejudice at home; citizens or recent and even illegal migrants. There are as many variables and explanations as there are terrorist specialists willing to proffer them.
More important, we’d like to know which Muslims are the most likely to engage in such behaviour.
No reliable profile or predictor
The Paris attackers were almost all Europeans, with perhaps a couple of recent arrivals from the Middle East. The husband and wife team behind the San Bernardino, California, massacre were an American-born Muslim and his Pakistan-born, Saudi-raised wife.
Let’s set aside for the moment that the number of Americans killed in terror attacks is minuscule compared with non-terrorist gun violence – well over 400,000 gun deaths versus about 400 terrorist deaths – or that Muslims do not carry out the majority of terrorist attacks in the United States.
A perusal of the backgrounds of hundreds of Muslim terrorists involved in attacks in the West and in the Arab/Muslim world show convincingly that there is no reliable profile or predictor of who will become a killer. The backgrounds and motivations are so complex precisely because the conflicts underlying the current wave of terrorism globally are so complex and multifaceted, and because there are so many countries involved in the violence on one side or another.
No wonder Donald Trump is so confused. And politicians can’t afford to look confused. But while he can afford to suggest outrageous solutions such as banning all Muslims (later modified to merely non-American Muslims) from entering the country “until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on”, members of Congress have to actually formulate legislation that can, however problematically, be enacted.
The latest attempt at relevance and toughness against the terror threat is a bill, HR 158, that would restrict the “visa-waiver programme” that allows citizens of 38 countries, mostly European, to enter the US without a visa. It passed a House vote by the veto proof margin of 407 to 38, with most Democrats as well as Republicans supporting it. The White House supports most of its provisions as well.
The proposed law would deny visa-free entry to citizens from the waiver countries who have visited Iraq, Syria, Sudan, or Iran during the last five years, requiring them instead to go through a more stringent security process to get into the country.
Some argue that the bill would, or even should, prohibit people who have citizenship in one of these countries by virtue of their parents or being born there, however early they left, from entering the US without special screening (against Trump’s wishes, this provision would affect Jewish and Christian citizens from Iran as well as Muslims).
It also would subject humanitarian workers, journalist and academics who’ve travelled to these countries to the visa programme, which has brought significant criticism from groups like the ACLU, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) on these grounds.
No one can begrudge any country taking whatever measures it deems necessary to protect its citizens and territory from terrorist attack. But with upwards of 20 million visitors per year from visa waiver countries, and discernibly no terrorists including the 9/11 hijackers actually having come in on a visa-free tourism entrance, it’s hard to understand how this actually protects anyone.
Indeed, the threat of Iranian “terrorists” entering the US through this programme in order to commit terrorism is ludicrous, while Sudanese are responsible for as few attacks as Iranians against Americans, never mind on US soil.
At the same time, any would-be terrorist who had travelled to Syria or Iraq likely did not enter these countries officially at a border where the passport would be stamped, and if they did, they would most likely obtain a new, clean passport before coming to the US. For its part, Turkey would have to be added to the list of countries visited, given its role as a conduit for fighters to Iraq and Syria.
On the other hand, few if any of the Paris and neither of the San Bernardino attackers would have had their travel restricted by the visa waiver programme. Indeed, it now seems that Tashfeen Malik might well have lied to get a special “K-1” fiance visa, as she and Syed Farook were allegedly in fact already married before entering the country. But no one wants to make marriage harder on potential constituents, so that provision is likely to stay.
One could suspect that another part of the bill, requiring countries to “share counterintelligence” information with the US or risk removal from the waiver programme, is in fact a more important component of the bill, which is not being sold to frightened Americans in this manner.
Given all the spying and surveillance scandals involving US intelligence agencies in recent years, it’s not surprising that many countries not at the core of the US surveillance system (the so-called “five eyes” of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) would be reluctant to share intelligence on their nationals with US intelligence agencies.
Most important, the new legislation does not address any of the core US policies that have contributed so much to the current conflict – support for dictatorial and authoritarian regimes across the region; the Israeli occupation; massive arms sales; the use of drone strikes; the broad number of countries currently bombing Syria; that have not only exacerbated terrorism in the name of Islam, but made it impossible to deal with the root causes that ensure a steady supply of jihadists of all kinds to the web zines, and in some cases straining the camps of the major world terrorist groups.
And so Americans are in quite a quandary. Something has to be done to figure out “what the hell” is going on; but they can’t actually be told the truth, because the truth implicates them in the dynamics that have created the war on terror.
And no one wants to be told that somehow they share responsibility for all the violence around them, however illegitimate the violence is on its own terms. Yet gestures such as restricting the Visa-Waiver Programme, curtailing refugee and asylum claims, or even blocking entry by Muslim entirely, will only hamper legitimate travel while doing little or nothing to prevent terrorists in or outside the US from planning and executing attacks.
Whether anyone will pay a political price for all this theatre, and who ultimately gains the largest audience remains to be seen.
Mark LeVine is a professor of Middle Eastern History at University of California, Irvine, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Lund University.
Washington To Whomever: Please Fight The Islamic State For Us
By Peter Van Buren
11 December, 2015
In the many strategies proposed to defeat the Islamic State (IS) by presidential candidates, policymakers, and media pundits alike across the American political spectrum, one common element stands out: someone else should really do it. The United States will send in planes, advisers, and special ops guys, but it would be best — and this varies depending on which pseudo-strategist you cite — if the Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Sunnis, and/or Shias would please step in soon and get America off the hook.
The idea of seeing other-than-American boots on the ground, like Washington’s recently deep-sixed scheme to create some “moderate” Syrian rebels out of whole cloth, is attractive on paper. Let someone else fight America’s wars for American goals. Put an Arab face on the conflict, or if not that at least a Kurdish one (since, though they may not be Arabs, they’re close enough in an American calculus). Let the U.S. focus on its “bloodless” use of air power and covert ops. Somebody else, Washington’s top brains repeatedly suggest, should put their feet on the embattled, contested ground of Syria and Iraq. Why, the U.S. might even gift them with nice, new boots as a thank-you.
Is this, however, a realistic strategy for winning America’s war(s) in the Middle East?
The Great Champions of the Grand Strategy
Recently, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton openly called for the U.S. to round up some Arab allies, Kurds, and Iraqi Sunnis to drive the Islamic State’s fighters out of Iraq and Syria. On the same day that Clinton made her proposal, Bernie Sanders called for “destroying” the Islamic State, but suggested that it “must be done primarily by Muslim nations.” It’s doubtful he meant Indonesia or Malaysia.
Among the Republican contenders, Marco Rubio proposed that the U.S. “provide arms directly to Sunni tribal and Kurdish forces.” Ted Cruz threw his support behind arming the Kurds, while Donald Trump appeared to favor more violence in the region by whoever might be willing to jump in.
The Pentagon has long been in favor of arming both the Kurds and whatever Sunni tribal groups it could round up in Iraq or Syria. Various pundits across the political spectrum say much the same.
They may all mean well, but their plans are guaranteed to fail. Here’s why, group by group.
The Gulf Arabs
Much of what the candidates demand is based one premise: that “the Arabs” see the Islamic State as the same sort of threat Washington does.
It’s a position that, at first glance, would seem to make obvious sense. After all, while American politicians are fretting about whether patient IS assault teams can wind their way through this country’s two-year refugee screening process, countries like Saudi Arabia have them at their doorstep. Why wouldn’t they jump at the chance to lend a helping hand, including some planes and soldiers, to the task of destroying that outfit? “The Arabs,” by which the U.S. generally means a handful of Persian Gulf states and Jordan, should logically be demanding the chance to be deeply engaged in the fight.
That was certainly one of the early themes the Obama administrationpromoted after it kicked off its bombing campaigns in Syria and Iraq back in 2014. In reality, the Arab contribution to that “coalition” effort to date has been stunningly limited. Actual numbers can be slippery, but we know that American warplanes have carried out something like 90% of the air strikes against IS. Of those strikes that are not all-American, parsing out how many have been from Arab nations is beyond even Google search’s ability. The answer clearly seems to be not many.
Keep in mind as well that the realities of the region seldom seem to play much of a part in Washington’s thinking. For the Gulf Arabs, all predominantly Sunni nations, the Islamic State and its al-Qaeda-linked Sunni ilk are little more than a distraction from what they fear most, the rise of Shia power in places like Iraq and the growing regional strength of Iran.
In this context, imagining such Arab nations as a significant future anti-IS force is absurd. In fact, Sunni terror groups like IS and al-Qaeda have in part been funded by states like Saudi Arabia or at least rich supporters living in them. Direct funding links are often difficult to prove, particularly if the United States chooses not to publicly prove them. This is especially so because the money that flows into such terror outfits often comes from individual donors, not directly from national treasuries, or may even be routed through legitimate charitable organizations and front companies.
However, one person concerned in an off-the-record way with such Saudi funding for terror groups was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton back in 2009. In a classified warning message (now posted on WikiLeaks), she suggested in blunt terms that donors in Saudi Arabia were the “mostsignificant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”
One who thinks the Saudis and other Gulf countries may be funding rather than fighting IS and is ready to say so is Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the recent G20 meeting, he announced that he had shared intelligence information revealing that 40 countries, including some belonging to the G20 itself, finance the majority of the Islamic State’s activities. Though Putin’s list of supposed funders was not made public, on the G20 side Saudi Arabia and Turkey are more likely candidates than South Korea and Japan.
Most recently, the German vice chancellor has explicitly accused the Saudis of funding Sunni radical groups.
Expecting the Gulf Arab states to fight IS also ignores the complex political relationship between those nations and Islamic fundamentalism generally. The situation is clearest in Saudi Arabia, where the secular royal family holds power only with the shadowy permission of Wahhabist religious leaders. The latter provide the former with legitimacy at the price of promoting Islamic fundamentalism abroad. From the royals’ point of view, abroad is the best place for it to be, as they fear an Islamic revolution at home. In a very real way, Saudi Arabia is supporting an ideology that threatens its own survival.
At the top of the list of groups included in the American dream of someone else fighting IS are the Kurds. And indeed, the peshmerga, the Kurdish militia, are actually on the battlefields of northern Iraq and Syria, using American-supplied weapons and supported by American air power and advisers in their efforts to kill Islamic State fighters.
But looks can be deceiving. While a Venn diagram would show an overlap between some U.S. and Kurdish aims, it’s important not to ignore the rest of the picture. The Kurds are fighting primarily for a homeland, parts of which are, for the time being, full of Islamic State fighters in need of killing. The Kurds may indeed destroy them, but only within the boundaries of what they imagine to be a future Kurdistan, not in the heartlands of the Syrian and Iraqi regions that IS now controls.
Not only will the Kurds not fight America’s battles in parts of the region, no matter how we arm and advise them, but it seems unlikely that, once in control of extended swaths of northern Iraq and parts of Syria, they will simply abandon their designs on territory that is now a part of Turkey. It’s a dangerous American illusion to imagine that Washington can turn Kurdish nationalism on and off as needed.
The Kurds, now well armed and battle-tested, are just one of the genies Washington released from that Middle Eastern bottle in 2003 when it invaded Iraq. Now, whatever hopes the U.S. might still have for future stability in the region shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Using the Kurds to fight IS is a devil’s bargain.
And talking about devil’s bargains, don’t forget about Turkey. The Obama administration reached a deal to fly combat missions in its intensifying air war against the Islamic State from two bases in Turkey. In return, Washington essentially looked the other way while Turkish President Recep Erdogan re-launched a war against internal Kurdish rebels at least in part to rally nationalistic supporters and win an election. Similarly, the U.S. has supported Turkey’s recent shoot-down of a Russian aircraft.
When it comes to the Islamic State, though, don’t hold your breath waiting for the Turks to lend a serious military hand. That country’s government has, at the very least, probably been turning a blind eye to the smuggling of armsinto Syria for IS, and is clearly a conduit for smuggling its oil out onto worldmarkets. American politicians seem to feel that, for now, it’s best to leave the Turks off to the side and simply be grateful to them for slapping the Russians down and opening their air space to American aircraft.
That gratitude may be misplaced. Some 150 Turkish troops, supported by 20 to 25 tanks, have recently entered northern Iraq, prompting one Iraqi parliamentarian to label the action “switching out alien (IS) rule for other alien rule.” The Turks claim that they have had military trainers in the area for some time and that they are working with local Kurds to fight IS. It may also be that the Turks are simply taking a bite from a splintering Iraq. As with so many situations in the region, the details are murky, but the bottom line is the same: the Turks’ aims are their own and they are likely to contribute little either to regional stability or American war aims.
Of the many sub-strategies proposed to deal with the Islamic State, the idea of recruiting and arming “the Sunnis” is among the most fantastical. It offers a striking illustration of the curious, somewhat delusional mindset that Washington policymakers, including undoubtedly the next president, live in.
As a start, the thought that the U.S. can effectively fulfill its own goals by recruiting local Sunnis to take up arms against IS is based on a myth: that “the surge” during America’s previous Iraq War brought us a victory later squandered by the locals. With this goes a belief, demonstrably false, in the shallowness of the relationship between many Iraqi and Syrian Sunnis and the Islamic State.
According to the Washington mythology that has grown up around that so-called surge of 2007-2008, the U.S. military used money, weapons, and clever persuasion to convince Iraq’s Sunni tribes to break with Iraq’s local al-Qaeda organization. The Sunnis were then energized to join the coalition government the U.S. had created. In this way, so the story goes, the U.S. arrived at a true “mission accomplished” moment in Iraq. Politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington still believe that the surge, led by General David Petraeus, swept to success by promoting and arming a “Sunni Awakening Movement,” only to see American plans thwarted by a too-speedy Obama administration withdrawal from the country and the intra-Iraqi squabbling that followed. So the question now is: why not “awaken” the Sunnis again?
In reality, the surge involved almost 200,000 American soldiers, who put themselves temporarily between Sunni and Shia militias. It also involved untold millions of dollars of “payments” — what in another situation would becalled bribes — that brought about temporary alliances between the U.S. and the Sunnis. The Shia-dominated Iraqi central government never signed onto the deal, which began to fall apart well before the American occupation ended. The replacement of al-Qaeda in Iraq by a newly birthed Islamic State movement was, of course, part and parcel of that falling-apart process.
After the Iraqi government stopped making the payments to Sunni tribal groups first instituted by the Americans, those tribes felt betrayed. Still occupying Iraq, those Americans did nothing to help the Sunnis. History suggests that much of Sunni thinking in the region since then has been built around the motto of “won’t get fooled again.”
So it is unlikely in the extreme that local Sunnis will buy into basically the same deal that gave them so little of lasting value the previous time around. This is especially so since there will be no new massive U.S. force to act as a buffer against resurgent Shia militias. Add to this mix a deep Sunni conviction that American commitments are never for the long term, at least when it comes to them. What, then, would be in it for the Sunnis if they were to again throw in their lot with the Americans? Another chance to be part of a Shia-dominated government in Baghdad that seeks to marginalize or destroy them, a government now strengthened by Iranian support, or a Syria whose chaos could easily yield a leadership with similar aims?
In addition, a program to rally Sunnis to take up arms against the Islamic State presumes that significant numbers of them don’t support that movement, especially given their need for protection from the depredations of Shia militias. Add in religious and ethnic sentiments, anti-western feelings, tribal affiliations, and economic advantage — it is believed that IS kicks back a share of its oil revenues to compliant Sunni tribal leaders — and what exactly would motivate a large-scale Sunni transformation into an effective anti-Islamic State boots-on-the-ground force?
Not that they get mentioned all that often, being closely associated with acts of brutality against Sunnis and heavily supported by Iran, but Iraq’s Shia militias are quietly seen by some in Washington as a potent anti-IS force. They have, in Washington’s mindset, picked up the slack left after the Iraqi Army abandoned its equipment and fled the Islamic State’s fighters in northern Iraq in June 2014, and again in the Sunni city of Ramadi in May 2015.
Yet even the militia strategy seems to be coming undone. Several powerful Shia militias recently announced, for instance, their opposition to any further deployment of U.S. forces to their country. This was after the U.S. Secretary of Defense unilaterally announced that an elite special operations unit would be sent to Iraq to combat the Islamic State. The militias just don’t trustWashington to have their long-term interests at heart (and in this they are in good company in the region). “We will chase and fight any American force deployed in Iraq,” said one militia spokesman. “We fought them before and we are ready to resume fighting.”
Refusing to Recognize Reality
The Obama/Clinton/Sanders/Cruz/Rubio/Pentagon/et al. solution — let someone else fight the ground war against IS — is based on what can only be called a delusion: that regional forces there believe in American goals (some variant of secular rule, disposing of evil dictators, perhaps some enduring U.S. military presence) enough to ignore their own varied, conflicting, aggrandizing, and often fluid interests. In this way, Washington continues toconvince itself that local political goals are not in conflict with America’s strategic goals. This is a delusion.
In fact, Washington’s goals in this whole process are unnervingly far-fetched. Overblown fears about the supposedly dire threats of the Islamic State to “the homeland” aside, the American solution to radical Islam is an ongoing disaster. It is based on the attempted revitalization of the collapsed or collapsing nation-state system at the heart of that region. The stark reality is that no one there — not the Gulf states, not the Kurds, not the Turks, not the Sunnis, nor even the Shia — is fighting for Iraq and Syria as the U.S. remembers them.
Unworkable national boundaries were drawn up after World War I without regard for ethnic, sectarian, or tribal realities and dictatorships were then imposed or supported past their due dates. The Western answer that only secular governments are acceptable makes sad light of the power of Islam in a region that often sees little or no separation between church and state.
Secretary of State John Kerry can join the calls for the use of “indigenous forces” as often as he wants, but the reality is clear: Washington’s policy in Syria and Iraq is bound to fail, no matter who does the fighting.
Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during the Iraqi reconstruction in We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. ATomDispatch regular, he writes about current events at We Meant Well. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent. His next work will be a novel, Hooper’s War.
Copyright 2015 Peter Van Buren
America faces a test of political and moral character
By Fareed Zakaria
December 12, 2015
This is the real danger of Trump’s rhetoric: It forces people who want to assimilate, who see themselves as having multiple identities, into a single box.
I think of myself first and foremost as an American. I’m proud of that identity because as an immigrant, it came to me through deep conviction and hard work, not the accident of birth. I also think of myself as a husband, father, guy from India, journalist, New Yorker and (on my good days) an intellectual. But in today’s political climate, I must embrace another identity. I am a Muslim.
I am not a practicing Muslim. The last time I was in a mosque, except as a tourist, was decades ago. My wife is Christian, and we have not raised our children as Muslims. My views on faith are complicated – somewhere between deism and agnosticism. I am completely secular in my outlook. But as I watch the way in which Republican candidates are dividing Americans, I realize that it’s important to acknowledge the religion into which I was born.
And yet, that identity doesn’t fully represent me or my views. I am appalled by Donald Trump’s bigotry and demagoguery not because I am a Muslim but because I am an American.
In his diaries from the 1930s, Victor Klemperer describes how he, a secular, thoroughly assimilated German Jew, despised Hitler. But he tried to convince people that he did so as a German; that it was his German identity that made him see Nazism as a travesty. In the end, alas, he was seen solely as a Jew.
This is the real danger of Trump’s rhetoric: It forces people who want to assimilate, who see themselves as having multiple identities, into a single box. The effects of his rhetoric have already poisoned the atmosphere. Muslim Americans are more fearful and will isolate themselves more. The broader community will know them less and trust them less. A downward spiral of segregation will set in.
The tragedy is that, unlike in Europe, Muslims in America are by and large well-assimilated. I remember talking to a Moroccan immigrant in Norway last year who had a brother in New York. I asked him how their experiences differed. He said, “Over here, I’ll always be a Muslim, or a Moroccan, but my brother is already an American.”
In an essay in Foreign Affairs, British writer Kenan Malik points out that in France, in the 1960s and ’70s, immigrants from North Africa were not seen as or called Muslims. They were described as North Africans or Arabs. But that changed in recent decades. He quotes a filmmaker who says, “What, in today’s France, unites the pious Algerian retired worker, the atheist French-Mauritanian director that I am, the Fulani Sufi bank employee from Mantes-la-Jolie, the social worker from Burgundy who has converted to Islam, and the agnostic male nurse who has never set foot in his grandparents’ home in Oujda?” His answer: “We live within a society which thinks of us as Muslims.”
Once you start labeling an entire people by characteristics like race and religion, and then see the whole group as suspect, tensions will build. In a poignant article on Muslim American soldiers, The Washington Post interviewed Marine Gunnery Sgt. Emir Hadzic, a refugee from Bosnia, who explained how the brutal civil war between religious communities began in the Balkans in the 1990s. “That’s what’s scary with [the] things that [Donald Trump is] saying,” Hadzic said. “I know how things work when you start whipping up mistrust between your neighbors and friends, … I’ve seen them turn on each other.”
I remain an optimist. Trump has taken the country by surprise. People don’t quite know how to respond to the vague, unworkable proposals (“We have to do something!”), the phony statistics, the dark insinuations of conspiracies (“There’s something we don’t know,” he says about President Obama) and the naked appeals to peoples’ prejudices.
But this is not the 1930s. People from all sides of the spectrum are condemning Trump – though there are several Trump-Lites among the Republican candidates. The country will not stay terrified. Even after San Bernardino, the number of Americans killed by Islamic terrorists on U.S. soil in the 14 years since 9/11 is 45 – an average of about three people a year. The number killed in gun homicides this year alone will be around 11,000.
In the end, America will reject this fear-mongering and demagoguery, as it has in the past. But we are going through an important test of political and moral character. I hope decades from now, people will look back and ask, “What did you do when Donald Trump proposed religious tests in America?”
– The author is the host of the CNN show Fareed Zakaria GPS
Is Islamophobia on the rise in America?
By Samar Fatany
Dec 12, 2015
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has shockingly announced to the American people and to the whole world that he supports a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” — including Muslim-American citizens. Last month, he stated that he would “certainly” implement a system to register and track Muslims in the United States. Although Trump was criticized for his discriminatory policies, it is quite evident from his rise in popularity that he is expressing the sentiments of many Americans who are hostile to Muslims. Trump supporters continue to cheer his action plan to forcibly register Muslims, implying that all Muslim-American families are imminent threats.
Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz have also called for accepting only Christian Syrian refugees and banning those who are Muslims. Sadly anti-Muslim prejudice continues and Muslim-haters seem to be becoming more popular in America. There appears to be a concerted and deliberate campaign to promote anti-Muslim fear and hatred and in some places it has developed into anti-Muslim violence.
America’s Islamophobia problem has reached a dangerous level. “We’re witnessing an overall rise in anti-Muslim sentiment following the Paris attacks in the US,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told Al-Jazeera this week. “We’re getting a lot of reports from individuals who say they are fearful of traveling. Some Muslims are even concerned about leaving their homes.”
It was reported that Spirit Airlines removed four Middle Eastern passengers from a flight out of Baltimore-Washington International and US citizens from Philadelphia Maher Khalil and Anas Ayyad were not allowed to board a Southwest flight at Chicago Midway airport and were questioned by police because a passenger heard them speaking Arabic and said that he was afraid to fly on the same aircraft. Also six Muslim passengers were removed from a second Southwest flight traveling from Chicago because of an argument over seating arrangements. In September, a 14-year-old boy named Ahmed Mohamed was arrested and accused of having links to Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS) for bringing a homemade clock to school.
Anti-Muslim groups such as the Center for Security Policy, repeatedly argue that all Muslim-American groups are extremist sleeper cells bent on subverting the US Constitution. Ben Carson compared Syrian refugees to rabid dogs and deceives the public with false information about Islamic law, for example, claiming that it requires that “people following other religions must be killed.”
CAIR’s Hooper said: “What we’re seeing is the end result of the mainstreaming of Islamophobia by leading public officials, such as Ben Carson and Donald Trump. They have given some form of legitimacy to those who would carry out anti-Muslim attacks or profiling.”
In September, polls found that only 49 percent of Iowa Republicans believed that Islam should be legal, with 30 percent saying it should be illegal and 21 percent “unsure.” Among Trump supporters in Iowa, hostility toward Muslims was higher but not that much higher: 36 percent said Islam should be outlawed. A November nationwide poll found that 56 percent of Americans see Islam as being at odds with American values. Fifty-seven percent of Americans, and 83 percent of Republicans say that Muslims should be barred from the presidency.
Anti-Muslim rhetoric in America is becoming more lethal and the environment is getting more toxic. Statements inciting violence are tolerated and accepted. Fox News repeatedly warns its viewers that Muslims are a threat and should be dealt with forcefully, even violently. Fox talk show host Andrea Tantaros described Islam as a problem: “You can’t solve it with a dialogue. You can’t solve it with a summit. You solve it with a bullet to the head. It’s the only thing these people understand.”
Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric is fueling more and more hatred against Muslims in America. CAIR reports that Muslims are being targeted with hate mail and phone threats. There have been incidents of verbal and physical attacks on Muslim women wearing the hijab and Muslim students are being bullied in schools. There are also investigations underway with regard to Muslims who have been murdered in cold blood. A woman threw coffee in the face of a Muslim man.
The situation is getting out of control causing many Muslims in the US to fear for their lives. It does not look like Islamophobia in the America is going to go away. Donald Trump has opened the gates of hell and unless he is stopped and is charged with inciting hatred, the consequences could be very alarming for the United States and threatening to global coexistence.
Samar Fatany is a radio broadcaster and writer. She can be reached at email@example.com
With Islamophobia on the rise I fear for my friends and family
By Sadiq Khan
11 December 2015
It’s too easy to dismiss Donald Trump as a buffoon – to point and laugh at a man whose worldview is as ridiculous as his hairdo. But to do so is to make light of a very serious threat.
Trump is just the latest public figure to articulate a growing wave of Islamophobia across the western world. His shocking views justify the actions of those who commit hate crimes and worse, play into the hands of terrorists such as Daesh (Islamic State) – making Britain less safe.
Islamophobia is on the rise. The number of Islamophobic incidents recorded by the Metropolitan police increased by 70% over the past year alone. Every time there is a terrorist incident involving evil fanatics who abuse the name of Islam ordinary, law-abiding Muslims pay a heavy price.
Tell Mama, the organisation that monitors Islamophobia, revealed there were 115 attacks in the week after the terrorist attack on Paris – a spike of more than 300%. I know from my own experience that at times like this people who look like me are more likely to be verbally abused, and spat on or even assaulted in the street. I don’t just empathise with the victims of Islamophobia; I worry about my own friends and family.
The vast majority of British people think that Islamophobia is abhorrent. We saw the outcry when Hanane Yakoubi was abused on a London bus earlier this year and it was caught on camera. It was an awful incident, and the perpetrator was rightly arrested and sentenced, but the most striking thing was the outpouring of anger from the British people and press – saying loudly and clearly that we will not tolerate Islamophobia in this country. Yet the views articulated by Trump encourage and legitimise those who commit hate crimes.
And worse – they play straight into the hands of terrorists such as Daesh and make us less safe. Young British Muslims become more susceptible to radicalisation and extremism when we don’t give mainstream Muslims the confidence to challenge the extremists, and because British society is too segregated.
The growing wave of Islamophobia that will be fuelled by Trump’s comments makes these problems worse. Being subjected to Islamophobic abuse makes integration less likely, and amplifies the views of the extremists rather than the mainstream. It’s divisive and dangerous and puts British lives at risk.
We must do more to challenge Islamophobia. As mayor of London, I’ll make tackling hate crimes – including Islamophobia, antisemitism and homophobia – a top priority for the Metropolitan police and ensure they get the resources they needs to make a real difference. I’ll work with the police and community organisations to improve the way we report and record Islamophobic crimes – so we have the best possible information to act on.
I’ll act to tackle social segregation too. I’ll bring together schools and youth charities to ensure young people mix in meaningful ways, such as working with the Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board and others to set up community sports leagues bringing together kids from different communities. And I’ll promote and support organisations that aim to bring people from different backgrounds together – like the brilliant Big Iftar and Mitzvah Day initiatives.
Few people in Britain take Trump’s words seriously, but they must not be ignored or laughed off. We must take Islamophobia seriously, because it’s not just Muslims that are at risk – it’s all of our safety.