The Growing U.S. Barrier to Sharia Courts

February 9, 2015

by Avi Davis

There is good news coming out of the State of Montana.   Montana State Senator Janna Taylor has introduced a bill, “Primacy of Montana Law,” that would nullify any “court, arbitration or administrative agency ruling” that relies on any foreign law. This is Montana’s version of an anti-Sharia law bill, modeled off similar legislation that has passed in other states.

Janna Taylor

Montana, for those who don’t know, is very much a red state and dyed in the wool conservative. Its population, the fourth smallest in the continental United States, is proudly Republican and the animus to  western elites – and to Democrats in particular – is intense.  There is a strong feeling among the populace in the state capital of Helena –  a place with which I am particularly familiar, for constitutional rights and a deep sensitivity that develops when they are felt to be endangered.

Senator Taylor explained that her bill would particularly protect the rights of women and children who do not necessarily receive the same protections under other legal systems that they do in the United States. She explained her rationale for the bill by describing a case in which a Muslim man living in Michigan with his wife obtained a divorce in India, unbeknownst to his wife, and under Sharia law she was only granted property that she had brought into the marriage. A Michigan court upheld the Sharia court’s decision until the case was successfully appealed by his wife.

“She had no prior notice, no pronouncement, no right to be represented, no right to a lawyer and no right to be present for a hearing,” Taylor said.

There are at least 50 cases in 23 states in which Sharia law was resorted to in order to decide a case. Wisely Taylor has also pointed out that the  Montana Primacy Law will, in addition, make it increasingly difficult for supranational bodies  such as the United Nations, to impose their  laws, regulations and dictates on the State.

Despite the insistence by Taylor and many of the speakers that the bill is not aimed at any specific group, several of the comments at the initial judiciary hearing  characterized Islam in strong terms.

“My concern is based on an awareness of the price we’ve paid to secure the freedoms that we have, that are enshrined in our Constitution and in our Bill of Rights,” Tom Osborn of Kalispell said. “It’s just unconscionable that we would allow any law, and in particular Sharia law, to violate the integrity of our rights and our country.”  Osborn referred to a case in which a man in New Jersey was acquitted after beating and raping his wife, with the court deferring to its permissibility under Sharia law.  Osborn said ultimately an appellate court overturned the case.

“Emboldened by American weakness in the international arena … they are using the rights guaranteed under our Constitution to push their form of law as a religious right,” Davida Constant said. “This seventh-century, Middle Eastern, barbaric Islamic tribal practice … is now a threat to the civilized world.”

Montana joins three other states –  Tennessee, Louisiana and Kansas who have now passed similar laws, with several other states in the South and Midwest poised to do the same.

It is ironic to note that almost nowhere else in the Western world, with the exception of perhaps Australia, is the same effort being made to protect sovereign legal systems from corruption by foreign laws.  Who can forget the U.K’s Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the highest prelate in the British Commonwealth when he averred in February, 2008 that “as a matter of fact certain provisions of sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law.”  When the question was put to him in a BBC interview which followed the address that: “the application of sharia in certain circumstances – if we want to achieve this cohesion and take seriously peoples’ religion – seems unavoidable?’, ”  he indicated his assent. The full quote from his lecture was as follows:

“… certain provision of Sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law; so it’s not as if we’re bringing in an alien and rival system; we already have in this country a number of situations in which the internal law of religious communities is recognised by the law of the land as justified conscientious objections in certain circumstances in providing certain kinds of social relations.”

The Archbishop and the Church of England furiously attempted to back pedal on the comments but the cat was already out of the bag.  In stating categorically that ” its not as if we are bringing in an alien and rival system,” he was already conceding that Sharia law could one day operate as a subset of English law – within the system but not controlled by it.

Those who believe in the future of western civilization need constantly to be on their guard against apologists such as the Archbishop and as well as national figures such as Prince Charles, heir to the British throne , who has repeatedly voiced similar sentiments.

Thank goodness there are brave and determined U.S. legislators such as Janna Taylor who will not bow to political correctness or expediency but are prepared to take an assertive stand against sharia law and sponsor legislation that would impede its progress.

They deserve our support and our commendation.

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of  The Intermediate Zone

Please note that yesterday’s piece  Brian Williams’ Credibility Deficit was somehow truncated and readers were not able to read the full article. You can access it here now – full and unexpurgated.   AD


The National Prayer Breakfast Presents a Savior

February 7, 2015

by Avi Davis

The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual event held in Washington, D.C., hosted by the United States Congress on the first Thursday of February each year.  The event is  held in the Hilton’s International Ballroom with invitees from over 100 countries. It is designed to be a forum for the political, social, and business elite to assemble and build relationships.

Every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 has participated in this annual event.

 

President Barack Obama was there on Thursday and addressed the gathered crowd.  Among the many words spoken by him that morning, was this gem:

 ” But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon.  From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it.

So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities — the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends?

 Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.  

So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try. And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe.

And, first, we should start with some basic humility. I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.”

In case the comparison is lost on anybody, the President, in his expression of a piece of naked politically correct nonsense, was making a direct analogy between the depredations of 21st Century barbarians who decapitate and immolate their victims with 12th and 15th Century Christians who were engaged for their own defensive and political reasons in the protection of their realms.

One would have hoped that the President of the United States would have had a more sophisticated and nuanced understanding of history. One would hope that he could express a little more faith in his own civilization, founded incontrovertibly on the principles of the Christian faith and seeded with Judeo- Christian humanistic values and ideals.

 

But before jumping in to address the President’s obtuse and dangerous moral relativism, lets get some important historical facts straight:  The Crusades were largely defensive campaigns, sanctioned by the Pope to turn back the tide of Muslim aggression and imperialism.   The Inquisition was largely political in motivation, an attempt to secure Christian Spain against the resurgence of the Islamic caliphate which had previously governed Spain for 300 years.  And the campaign to destroy the institution of slavery was mostly led by devout Christians such as William Wilberforce in the U.K. and former President John Quincy Adams in the United States  – and without their moral force, slavery would never have been abolished.

This is not to say that there were not attendant evils associated with all of these campaigns and institutions.  But it is important to grasp the reasons they occurred – and not just their outward manifestations.

The President’s high school level appreciation of history might have been bad enough. But in addition he seemed to embrace the notion that there is no absolute truth to which we all can subscribe –  that in fact, there are many varieties of truth which can compete against one another.  This is of course a rephrasing of the same cant which appeared in the President’s Cairo speech in June, 2009  and in his embarrassing statement before the United Nations in September, 2012 in which he declared, among other things that ” the future does not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.”  It is all a piece with the President’s penchant for defending Islam and offering himself up as such an expert on that subject that he can confidently declare ISIS and the assorted other Jihadist factions rampaging across the Middle East and Africa as somehow opposed to the genuine tenets of that faith.

Of course as a Muslim apologist – and defender of their faith, he fails to reveal that the handiwork of Islamic State is vouchsafed by Muslim clerics from London to Sydney.   And that sanction for the decapitation of infidels can be found deeply and consistently embedded throughout Islamic scripture.

The canard that Christians can be just as bad as Muslims however flings a shocking insult at the thousands of Christian communities which have been attacked and viciously put to the torch by jihadists who are conducting their campaigns in the name of Islam.  Let the President be aware that there are no counter offensives from Christian communities against Muslims; there are no midnight burnings by Christian insurgents of mosques with their desperate congregations still trapped inside; no mass beheadings  by Christians of Muslim townsfolk; no Muslim children buried alive by marauding Christian militia and no sudden assaults on innocent villagers who run the risk of evisceration if they fail to convert to the Christian faith.

The Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, was therefore correct in declaring that the Medieval Christian impulses to rampage and pillage are well under control.  Perhaps it would be appropriate to also remind the President that Christianity has evolved somewhat since the Crusades and Inquisition – having passed through a reformation and intense periods of self reflection and contrition.  Since at least the 19th Century, Christianity has overwhelmingly operated a civilizing influence on the societies wherever it has been introduced –  earning its credentials as a true religion of peace.

Can the same be said for Islam?

The President of the United States, leading a Christian nation, something he unashamedly admitted himself in his same 2012 speech before the United Nations, needs to stop talking about extremism among all religions, and focusing on the depredations of one – Islam, which threatens the lives and welfare of peoples all over the world as no Christian Crusade, Spanish Inquisition or  even the institution of slavery itself ever did.

The reality is that he is unlikely to ever consent to do this this since he has staked his presidency on the same moral relativism which equates America’s role in the world over the past sixty years with the Communists of the U.S.S.R. and the mass murderers of China.  His entire foreign policy is actually driven by the notion that the United  States has not entirely been a force for good in the world but has often perpetrated the same kind of evil as the regimes it opposed.

That kind of rhetoric may get him standing ovations at the United Nations and in the lecture halls of many of our America-despising universities, but it is no way to inspire and lead a country which has unquestionably, over the past 225 years, provided a guiding light for humanity, propagating values and ideals which have been uncompromisingly drawn from the well of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of  the Intermediate Zone

 

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Jonathan Sacks: Right on Western Civilization; Wrong on Islam

February 2, 2015

by Avi Davis

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is almost certainly one of the leading religious figures in the world today.

As the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, he commands attention -not only for his former illustrious position, but equally for his erudition in Jewish law, his undoubted grasp of the dynamics of the political world and for his vast store of secular knowledge which embraces the disciplines of philosophy, literature, psychology and sociology.

He is beyond question one of the most worldly Jewish leaders to emerge since the polymath Maimonides took up a pen in the 12th Century and he is deeply admired for it.

I have read a number of Rabbi Sacks’ books including To Heal A Fractured WorldThe Dignity of Difference and Science, Religion and the Search for Meaning- all of which have fascinated me with their insights into the modern world and its challenges for both Jews and non-Jews alike.

Most impressive to me has been his understanding that the fate of Israel and the Jewish people is tied inextricably to the fate of western civilization.  In book after book, article after article, he propounds this same point  – our futures are bound together and those who attack Israel and the Jewish people are in fact attacking the very idea of civilization itself.

So I greeted with some anticipation Rabbi Sacks’ essay in the  Wall Street Journal’s Weekend Review titled The Return of Anti Semitism  which sought to address the recrudescence of antisemitism in the 21st century.

As usual I learned a great deal from this essay.   Among Rabbi Sacks’ many insights are that antisemitism is only contingently, even accidentally, about Jews.   Jews die from it, but they are not its only victims.   The elimination throughout the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia of hundreds of Christian communities is an incontrovertible extension of  antisemitism.   Thus he can assert: “ The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews.”

 

Auschwitz survivor Miroslaw Celka walks out the gate with the sign saying ‘Work makes you free’ after paying tribute to fallen comrades at the ‘death wall’ execution spot in the former Auschwitz concentration camp in Oswiecim, Poland, on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp on Jan. 27

Traditional Christian antisemitism, from the time of the Crusades onward objectified the Jews as having “mysteriously yet actively sought the harm of others”.  They were suspected of being actively involved in destroying the foundations of civilization.

Why, then, such a focus on the Jews?  Sacks posits that it always amounts to a peoples’ sense sense of their humiliation.   Societies which have suffered military defeat, widespread plague or the onset of the collapse of self confidence learn to externalize their pain by focusing on an explanation which provides clear and simple answers for it. Thus:

“By turning the question “What did we do wrong?” into “Who did this to us?”, it restores some measure of self-respect and provides a course of action. In psychiatry, the clinical terms for this process are splitting and projection; it allows people to define themselves as victims.”

This of course goes a long way to explaining what happened to the Muslim world after careening into its rapid decline in the 17th Century.

So far, so good.   It is when we reach the end of the essay that  we might find ourselves startled by an awkward conclusion. In pointing out how imbedded hatred destroys civilizations the author makes an impassioned plea for amity:

“Judaism, Christianity and Islam are religions of love, not of hate…… All of us—Jews, Christians and Muslims, brothers and sisters in Abraham’s family—must choose another way.”

The implication in this final paragraph (although not implicit in the essay itself) is that both Judaism and Christianity, in their purest form, exist on the same moral plain as Islam – as if they all profess the same fundamental values.

Is it political correctness which impels Sacks to make such a lachrymose and nonsensical statement?

For surely this thoroughly erudite and omnivorous scholar knows that Islam, from its very founding was not a religion of love or of peace;  that Islam did not acquire its anti- Jewish animus only in recent times but it was implicit in the religion from from its very inception. Muhammed set the example for what was to become a long tradition of Islamic antisemitism.  The oldest extant biography of Mohammed, that by Ibn Ishaq in the 8th Century, is replete with the Prophet’s evident hatred of Jews. He had individual Jews  asssasinated if he felt they had either insulted or disobeyed him;  When Muhammed gave the command to “kill any Jew who falls in to your power,” one of his followers, Ibn Mas’ud, assassinated  Ibn Sunayna, a Jewish merchant.  The Jewish tribe the Banu Qurayza consisting of between 600 and 800 men was exterminated while the Banu’l Nadir were attacked and dispossessed of their wealth.

Besides these specific acts of atrocity perpetrated against Jews in the 1400 years since Muhammed began his ministry, one can see how Jew hatred gained its foundation in the Koran, the hadith and in the sira (the earliest Muslim biographies of Muhammed) to the point where the existence of a virulent antisemitic thread in Muslim scholarship becomes undeniable.

This was conclusively summed up in 1996 by Sheikh Muhammed Sayyid Tantawi who became (and remains) the Grand Imam of Al- Azhar University in Cairo:

” The Quran describes the Jews with their own degenerate set of characteristics ie: killing the prophets of Allah, corrupting his word by putting it in the wrong places, consuming the people’s wealth frivolously , refusal to distance themselves from the evil they do and other characteristics caused by their deep seated lasciviousness….only a minority of the Jews keep their word….all Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims. the bad ones do not.”

There could be no more poignant an example of Islamic Jew hatred emanating from the heart of Islamic scholarship today than this.

Isn’t it time then for our religious leaders to take off their rose colored glasses and begin to comment on this world for how it really is?  While Jonathan Sacks has provided us with a very accurate analysis of why antisemitism emerges and how it wreaks damage on the societies where it gains its firmest foothold, it is counterproductive for him to keep pretending that the scourge is a phenomenon that only becomes evident in broken, humiliated civilizations.

Antisemitism should be recognized as dangerously inherent within Islam itself – infecting the societies that revolve around it – and that without a total reformation of the precepts and tenets of Islam it is likely to continue to exist not just as a cancer eating away at the core of the Muslim world but as a contagion which will eventually envelop humanity.

Shying away from this reality and pretending that Islam seeks only peace and exhibits love lends it just more cover for its continued propagation of the oldest of the world’s hatreds and enables it to attract even more adherents to its destructive force.

 

Avi Davis is the president of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of the Intermediate Zone 

 

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Don’t Worry France, the Obama Administration Loves You

January 17, 2015

by Avi Davis

I had to rub my eyes to make sure that I was not viewing an SNL spoof.

Here was John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States, speaking to a gathering of French dignitaries in the wake of the most deadly Islamic terrorist attack in France in modern times, an atrocity which took the lives of 17 and whose shock wave has not yet even receded.

After sounding the obligatory notes of condolence and emphasizing  America’s steadfast support for France, Kerry turned the stage over to twee voiced troubadour James Taylor who proceeded to croon the Carol King song ” You’ve Got a Friend” for the assembled Frenchmen.

Earlier Kerry had said: “I really wanted to come here and share a hug with all of Paris, with all of France.”   There was more awkwardness when Mr Kerry, several inches taller than the French president, did attempt to hug Francois Hollande in the courtyard of the Elysee presidential palace.

Is it just me or others utterly perplexed by this abdication of good sense and absence of seriousness on the part of the Secretary of State and the Administration he represents?  Already reeling from criticism that the United States could not bring itself to send a senior member of the U.S. government to the 3 million person solidarity march in central Paris last week, the Obama Administration had an opportunity to demonstrate forthrightly that it was prepared to resume the war against Islamic terror and to make all of its resources available to European countries to execute it effectively.

Instead it resorted to banal and trite words of condolence, the kind of tribute that high school students in the United States would offer one another.

I have nothing against James Taylor, nor the song.  But can anyone say, in the light of the devastating massacre in France last week, that singing this song (in English, mind you, not French) with a microphone that was way too short for the 6′ 3″ Taylor  –  whose thin voice hardly carried for the first 30 seconds of his performance –  was any way to express rock solid solidarity with the French people and mourn their very significant loss?

It would be as if the French had sent us a box of chocolates after  9/11 with a casual note reading ‘Get Well Soon.’

The episode betrays a fundamental problem with the West’s response to the events of January 7th and 9th in Paris.  There is still no evidence that French or American leaders get it: they continue to fall back on old prescriptions for dealing with their internal Muslim problem – including better education for Muslims and reaching out to Muslim leaders in an effort to have them control the epidemic of extremism which has spread throughout their communities.

Meanwhile it should not be lost on anybody that the 3 million person crowd last week contained proportionately very few French Muslims;  that the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo – featuring a teary eyed Mohammed on its cover was widely condemned by Muslims around the world who did not voice their approval, as expected, of the exercise of French free speech but condemned it;  that the spotlight has been shone of Belgium, which interdicted a terrorist attack last week  – and Sweden and Norway, where Muslims have been celebrating the massacres as just retribution for  the defamation of the prophet.

It should lead to a thorough questioning of why French leaders’ search for answers for the racial problems which have beset their country consistently leads back to the French peoples’ own bigotry – a situation which can only be addressed by a greater level of openness and tolerance.

Or why the French still remain so mystified by the riots of 2005, which ransacked France for three entire weeks, and was met then with resolutions by the government to simply increase funding for the banlieus that ring Paris and other major French cities?

In this willful blindness, they truly do have a friend in the White House – a man who insists that his underlings never speak the words ” Islamic”  and ” terrorism” in the same sentence and who has gone to tremendous lengths throughout his Presidency to avoid any sense that Islam – not ‘radical’ Islam nor ‘militant’ Islam – poses the greatest threat to the survival of the civilization of which he is the reputed leader.

Four years years ago, Treasury Secretary Larry Summers upon resigning his office, commented that from his perspective there did not seem to be any grown ups running things at the White House.

From John Kerry’s juvenile attempts to console a grieving France to his and his bosses’ adamant position that Islam itself remains a religion of peace and could never condone the depredations we witness daily on our television screens, we have more proof than we have ever needed that his assessment is correct.

 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of  The Intermediate Zone

 

 


Duke University and the Politics of Inclusion

January 15, 2015

The last time Duke University made national headlines was when members of its lacrosse team were cleared of all charges regarding an alleged sexual assault said to have occurred on that campus in 2006.

By the time the North Carolina Attorney General got around to dropping all charges against the three men, Duke’s reputation for fairness and even handed dealing with all its students was in tatters.

Its professoriate, many of whose members had signed paid advertisements decrying the lacrosse players’ racism and misogyny, was revealed as thoroughly riddled with prejudice.  The University administration, which had failed to pay even the scantest lip service to the notion that the three students were innocent until proven guilty, was pilloried for having failed to protect the students’ rights and siding, unapologetically, with their discredited accuser.

In all, it was a black day for the University  – a stain on its credibility as an open institution which seeks both truth and to foster harmony between all its students.  One could hardly imagine it getting much worse than this.

But it has.

On Tuesday, January 13, the University announced that a Muslim weekly call to prayer will be heard on campus.  Members of the Muslim Students Association would chant the call, known as the adhan or azan, from the Duke Chapel bell tower each Friday at 1:00 pm.   The university decided upon the new allowance in the spirit of religious pluralism:

” This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” said Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapels’ associate dean for religious life. “It connects the University to national trends in religious accommodation.”

 The response to this decision, issued while the Western world is still reeling from the massacres in Paris by Islamic assassins, was immediate.  Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse was livid. He systematically took to the airwaves and social media to denounce the decision and to urge donors to withhold their support from the University until the policy was reversed.  On Thursday, January 16th, the University, bowing to enormous pressure and outrage, cancelled the policy deciding that the Muslim students, rather than issuing the call to prayer from the bell tower, would instead meet in the quadrangle in front of the chapel.   No word has been given on whether the adhan will still be amplified.

What is most interesting is the logic Lohr Sapp employed to justify the University’s decision:

”  The chanting of the adhan communicates to the Muslim community that it is welcome here, that its worship matters, that these prayers enhance the community and that all are invited to stop on a Friday afternoon and pray. From ISIS to Boko Haram to al Qaeda, Muslims in the media are portrayed as angry aggressors driven by values that are anti-education and anti-western.”

Duke University was founded in 1838 by Methodists  and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity. Since the 19th Century it has had many names – Brown School, Union Institute, Normal College and Trinity College before adopting the name Duke in 1924 in honor of Washington Duke who had  begun the University’s endowment fund with a substantial donation.  Its original charter called for “the establishment of a Christian college which would promulgate values consonant with the  Christian belief.”

How different that mission looks today.  If Lohr Sapp is to be believed, the University has an obligation not just to propound Christian values but to aggressively defend and protect Islamic values as well – even when those values might be in conflict with its own.

No doubt the university believes that in allowing the Muslim group to broadcast the adhan – or to gather in the quadrangle outside the chapel as is its wont- it is conforming to the institution’s proud tradition of openness, tolerance and inclusion.

But are they aware that what  happened in France was a direct consequence of the same multicultural policies adopted by universities, governmental institutions, entertainers and the media in that country?

For years it was believed that if France allowed other cultures within it to flourish, the mother culture would be rewarded in return with the flowering of diversity and enriched by the exchange of cross cultural values which would eventually shave off Islam’s rough edges.

How naïve those policies look today.

Muslims in France were happy to take the license Europe lent them to live with their own customs and norms – which included misogyny, wife beating, female circumcision, honor killings and summary execution for those who defamed the name of  the Prophet  – without being prepared to give back anything at all.  They came to despise the very freedoms they had been given to advance their own civilization and then used the eventual separatism that this engendered to plot the means by which Islamic culture and values would one day overwhelm – and eradicate –  secular French culture itself.

This is the tragedy of multicultural France which began with twee liberal sentiments as expressed by Lohr Sapp and ended last week with the bullet riddled corpses of the Charlie Hebdo editorial staff and dead bodies lying on the floor of Hyper Cacher supermarket in East Paris.

Perhaps the administration of Duke University does not believe that by simply allowing students to publicly announce the Muslim call to prayer it is doing anything other than reaching out a hand to a defamed and misunderstood minority.  Unfortunately, as Frenchmen, Englishmen, Swedes, Norwegians and dozens of other Western populations have discovered, the hand so enthusiastically extended is not only bitten in return, but savaged and mutilated.

Duke University has no obligation to shield Islam from the calumnies heaped against it;  nor does it have any responsibility to rebut the negative stereotypes pouring forth out of Europe, Africa and the Middle East as armies in its  name commit atrocities that we in the West regard with revulsion.

That responsibility rests exclusively with Muslims themselves.

They can do this, not by announcing themselves a religion the equal of any other on the campus, but by forthrightly and adamantly distancing themselves from anything to do with the decapitations, sex slavery and violent conquest we witness repeatedly in our media, while at the same time acknowledging that, sad as it is to admit, this behavior derives from the religious precepts  and current practices of their own religion.

They can also use their newly granted platform to demand reform of Islam and demonstrate to their fellow students that the religion they wish to practice so publicly is capable of propounding the same values of openness, tolerance and inclusion as their host civilization.

Seven years ago Duke failed the test of defending its own students against accusations that proved false.  It does not make up for that lapse by now excusing accusations which happen to prove true.

Perhaps, then, no one expects the Muslim students of Duke University, with their new license to practice their religion so openly, to transform overnight into savages rampaging through the campus and eviscerating anyone who refuses to abide by their cultural norms.

But as the unfortunate example of Europe has proved, the call to revolt can often begin with a call to prayer and we would be fools not to heed this warning.

 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles and the editor of The Intermediate Zone

 

 


European Governments and the Rise of the Far Right

January 12, 2015

As the blood is mopped from the floors of the editorial meeting room of Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher grocery store in East Paris this week, the socialist government of François Hollande must be looking nervously over its right shoulder.

For there it will see standing Marie Le Pen, the leader of the French National Front, nodding furiously that she had predicted this mess for years and that no one had been listening.

Of course she is right.  Le Pen and other nationalist leaders in Europe have vociferously pounded out a persistent drumbeat concerning the collapse of national identity and the apparent willingness of French politicians to surrender to multicultural demands.

But the prescription she is offering to cleanse the country of its Muslim problem is not one that her countrymen have been willing to hear and the government has responded by practically sentencing Le Pen to an inner exile.   She was barred from joining in the 3 million person strong gathering in the Place de la Republique on Sunday and was forced to conduct her own memorial in the country’s south.

Across France, however, there is a painful awareness the growing  fearlessness of Muslim attacks and a impatience with the weakness of governmental response.   After the events of January 7th and 9th in Paris, no one can ignore the fact that the French Fifth Republic is itself wobbling under its failure to adequately address the growing restiveness of its Muslim population.  A general consensus is emerging that a lawless population in the country’s heart is no longer an issue to be debated but one to be confronted.

Which leads to the question of what happens now?  If an even bigger event is on the horizon (something intimated by the terrorist Ahmed Coulibaly to his hostages in the super market on Friday) then Hollande’s socialist government will come under unrelenting pressure to resign and the ensuing elections  will almost certainly bring the Far Right into contention as a significant electoral player.

So liberal France faces one of its dystopian nightmares – the possibility that the country may swing hard right, which might lead, if history is any guide,to the steady erosion of democratic values and the rise of some form of autocracy.

It is not as if there is no precedent for it.  The Directory of France in late 1799 turned to a thirty-year-old general to restore a level of order and a semblance of normalcy to Revolutionary France.  Within a year, Napoleon Bonaparte had transformed his shared power arrangement into a virtual dictatorship.  Fifty years later the Second Republic elected his nephew, under similar circumstances, to the Presidency and merely shrugged when he crowned himself Emperor in 1852.  The defeated Third Republic collapsed in 1940 when it preferred the autocratic puppet regime of Marshal Petain to the direct rule of Nazi Germany.

Over the past 225 years there have been five republics in France – while only one in the United States – and for a very good reason:  the French have never been entirely comfortable with the exercise of democratic principles and have struggled to shake off an addiction to autocracy as modeled by the ancien regime.

The Russians and Germans are not much better: the Weimar Republic in Germany folded from an economic failure and social dysfunction allowing a convicted criminal to take power in 1933. Vladmir Putin took advantage of social and political malaise in Russia to win power and cement his eventual dictatorship over the course of several years.

Are there other nascent Bonapartes and Putins waiting in the wings in Europe to take up the ultra-nationalist cause?

Quite possibly.  Desperate situations bring out the inner autocrat in most ambitious men.

But while these men and women of destiny might feel compelled to apply very draconian measures to address the dangerous demographic problems and security threats of Europe, we would be mistaken to believe that they would not come without a steep price: the assault on individual freedoms and liberty, the institution of witch hunts and the ineluctable rise of anti-Semitism.

The soft democracies of the European continent will be looking to France in the coming twelve months to see how it handles the very complex problems posed by Muslim separatism.   Anything less than an aggressive stance, which sends an unequivocal message that force will be met with brutal force, will only encourage the attraction of voters to the far right and the likely drift of the electorate in that direction.

If you want a sense of what this might eventually mean for  France – and Europe – remember this:  One of Napoleon’s first actions upon his appointment as First Consul under the Directory was to shutter over 300 newspapers and periodicals.

If this ever happened again the rather endearing refrain “Je Suis Charlie” will echo down the decades as a symbol of deep irony rather than one of calibrated resistance to the assaults on a free press and the challenges to western liberties.

 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of The Intermediate Zone


‘The Terror’ Returns to the Streets of Paris

January 8, 2015

by Avi Davis

“Terror” has  worn many faces in Paris over  the past 225 years.

First there was la Terreur, in the early 1790s when the French Revolution spiraled into a orgy of bloodletting.  Then came the extra judicial executions of the brief Paris Commune of 1871;  The 1890s witnessed the rise of the anarchists who planted bombs in the French Chamber of Deputies and in French cafes;  The Second World War saw the French Underground’s relentless sabotage of German occupied Paris before its liberation in August, 1944 and in the 1970s, a host of  European and Arab terrorist groups including  the Red Army, Baader Meinhof Gang , the PLO and the PFLP slipped through the city, threatening kidnappings, hi-jackings and bombings.

Barricades during the  reign of the Paris Commune 1871

In every instance citizens of  Paris always seemed to believe that the latest outbreak was only a temporary virus that would soon enough pass through their system and be expunged.

The blood had not yet dried in the editorial meeting room of Charlie Hebdo Magazine in Paris on Wednesday, before commentators were making the very same assumptions, labeling the Parisian atrocity as an isolated attack unconnected to either the rise of militant Islam or the civil disturbances which have streaked European society with blood in the past ten years.

A bullet impact at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, 7 January

In some ways  they are right, but in a more nuanced way.   The attack was singular because it is no longer the kind of terror to which we have become accustomed.  It is actually something very different.

As of this writing the full Muslim affiliations of the three killers is unknown.  But what investigators  may well uncover is that these men, much like Man Haron Monis in Sydney last month,  Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale – the beheaders of British soldier Lee Rigby in May, 2013  and  Mohammed Merah, the murderer of four Jews in Toulouse in 2012 are freelancers, not officially connected to any one Islamic militia or terrorist group, but nevertheless acting in their general name.

Which is to say that al Qaeda and Islamic State in the short time of their existence, have created an international brand which they have now successfully marketed and franchised to young jihadists.  In this new world of Islamic jihadism, the description ‘terror’ is almost passé.  It belongs to another age when terrorism operated largely as political theater – spectacular missions carried out to bring attention to a cause –  with the death of individual citizens only incidental to the publicity value of an attack.

The New Jihadists however are not interested in publicity.  They are only concerned with enforcement. Specific individuals are targeted for assassination for crimes of having violated a religious precept or  defamed the religion’s central inspirational leader.  This may end up being a crime as simple as wearing a revealing skirt on a subway or reading a secular newspaper which has at one time or another produced editorials critical of Islam. In such instances,  judgment and execution is swift and merciless.  It resembles the summary and spontaneous justice of the Brown Shirts rather than the planned  revenge killings of Black September or the Red Brigades. In this way, the New Jihadism becomes a political instrument, a means of imposing compliance through the spread of absolute fear.  The New Jihadists do not need to win an election to accede to power. In this new world, what we consider as traditional political power is superfluous.  What counts is who rules the streets – and those who rule the streets are the ones prepared to enforce their own view of the world in as a draconian manner as possible.

What it means for the media is that those columnists, commentators, cartoonists and satirists who would think of addressing the rise of militant Islam in their writings and editorials must think twice and thrice about it. And they must not only think about their own lives – but also the lives of their families, of their editors and of even their readers.  The effect is to send a shiver of dread down the spine of a democratic society and to shutter free speech behind a wall of fear.

In the wake of the Charlie Hedbo massacre Western leaders remain defiant, but that defiance looks and sounds hollow.  Throughout the West, we have seen how Britain’s libel laws, which have acted as an effective means to squelch free speech, have been exported to the continent and transformed into nonsensical sensitivity laws, which essentially forbid any verbal or written connection between Islam and terrorism.

This only serves to freeze resistance to the Islamic stranglehold enveloping Europe and to create a climate of passivity in the face of the most brutal atrocities.

We have watched too long as European leaders increasingly succumbed to the giddy romance of multiculturalism, certain that their Muslim populations would eventually assimilate into mainstream European civilization.  That they have not and have turned hostile to their host countries, is as much an indictment of failed policies as it is of the weak kneed and facile individuals who lead the continent today.

But beware. If the history of Paris is any guide, the citizens of that city won’t tolerate weak leadership for long.   Parisians have consistently risen in open rebellion when they felt betrayed by their rulers. Today they may not choose to build barricades on the streets of Paris, but aggressive anti-Muslim agitation, where the city’s inhabitants take matters into their own hands so as to defend their way of life, is almost certain to erupt if the country’s leaders do nothing.

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of The Intermediate Zone

This article first appeared in The American Thinker on January 9, 2015


Death in a Synagogue

November 20, 2014

They could hear the iron doors at the front of the synagogue clang shut behind them.  Crowded together with 2,000 other people inside the main sanctuary, the man and the woman looked at each other in panic. The woman gazed down at her five year-old-son and gripped the little boy’s hand. She saw fear on his face.  Outside they heard shouting and could smell the pungent reek of flowing gasoline.  From the open window a swab, glowing with fire, landed on the synagogue floor. Then another. And another.  Shortly, the vestibule next to which they stood caught alight.  The flames then spread so quickly that they barely had time to catch their breath as the synagogue was engulfed in confusion and panic.  Screaming and shouting, people tore at each other to get near the windows.  But the windows had been nailed shut. Crushed in the throng, the man motioned to his wife to a hidden stairway that he knew led to an attic.  Slowly, through the gathering fumes and smoke, they forced their way towards it.   Once there they hurriedly clambered up.   And at the top they saw it.  A window not yet boarded up.  The man thrust open the wooden shutters and looked down.  He was there!

” Chaim! ”  he shouted at the top of his lungs. ” CHAIM!!!”

From down below a young man looked up and saw his father’s face.

” Jump, father, jump!!”

The woman  looked to her husband and she back at him. She shook her head.

” We CANNOT. We will never survive it. Never!”

” Basia, we will die here too.

But it was too late. Someone had seen them make their way to the stairs and a group now stormed the wooden steps ,invading the narrow space.  They were  crushed against the attic wall.

” We will all die!,” the woman wept.

The man looked down at his frightened son.

” GIVE ME HIM!” he shouted above the din.

She let go of his hand and pushed him toward her husband.  He lifted the boy by his armpits and with  a heave pushed his way  toward the open window.

He then set  him on the window ledge and looked below.

” Chaim, I am throwing him to you!, he shouted to the brother below. ” You must catch him!  You must break his fall!”

He turned to the boy and said softly:

” You will be alright. Chaim will catch you.  He touched  the boy’s face and kissed him.

” Grow, my son, to be a good Jew. ”

” NO, Tati, NO!!!  the boy cried.

But in less than a second he was tumbling through the cold night air.

Below his brother stood breathing hard and as the boy came down he caught him and they both collapsed into the snow.

There they lay for a second, stunned, and then the boy turned and looked back to the window.  But his father’s face had disappeared.

” TATI!!!!” the boy screamed.

They waited for a minute, as the tumult grew –  but they could already see smoke pouring from the attic window.  The older boy looked around and saw the police riding towards them.  He knew they had to leave.

” Come.  We cannot stay.”

”  I can’t,no”  the boy whimpered.  “TATI!, MAMMA!”  he cried as  he searched desperately for a sign of  his parents at the window.

“COME! ” the older boy finally commanded, holding back his own tears and pulling at the child’s arm.  ” YOU MUST COME!”

They quickly made their way out of the town and hid for the night in the fields under a blanket they had found.  They watched that night as the synagogues of Kiev burned to the ground.

Six months later  the orphan would be placed on a ship to Australia in the company of his aunt, never to see Russia again.  His brother would make his way to Canada and then America to begin a new life of his own.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  *

The man and the woman were my great-grandparents.  Their five -year-old son, my grandfather.   Their story is scorched into my family’s consciousness and the memory of that night can never be erased.

*****

Stories such as this are replete among Jewish families.  This event took place in 1919 during the Russian Civil War but could have easily been a scene taken from any number of episodes in Jewish history from the killing of the Jews of Medina by Mohammed in the 7th Century, to the rampages of the Crusaders along the Rhine in the 11th Century to the massacres in Russia in the mid 1600s

The synagogue has always been a convenient place to find and kill Jews.  There, at prayer, they are most vulnerable and least likely to offer resistance.

And so, it is little wonder that two Arab cousins  decided to enter the Jerusalem synagogue  in Har Nof, Jerusalem on  Wednesday morning.  How likely would it have been that these pious Jews were carrying weapons with which to defend themselves or would have any idea that their lives might be in danger?  How prepared could they have been for what overcame them that morning?B

This particular incident has yet another painful  familial association for me. My brother, his wife and six children live only a quarter of a mile from the synagogue. He has often prayed in the building  and his children have attended the school next door.

Jews began arriving in Palestine in the late 19th Century, fleeing attacks in Russia of exactly this nature.   The theory went that in the Holy Land, Jews would finally find safety and security building lives protected from the antisemitism and violence which swirled around them in Europe.  In the light of this most recent horrific incident it would be fairly easy to argue that the experiment has failed.  If Jews at prayer can still be butchered in a land they call their own, then what is the use of a Jewish police force, a Jewish army and all the appertuances of a Jewish state?

The answer to this challenge is that there are no guarantees anywhere on Earth that Jews will not be targeted for attack.  Not in England, where Orthodox Jews fear wearing their yarmulkes in public; not in the United States where virulent anti Zionism, (of a form indistinguishable from antisemtism) has emerged as a fashionable attitude among academic elites;   and not in supposedly quiet Australia where Jews have recently suffered some deeply disturbing antisemitic attacks, unknown to me at any time in my childhood.

But unlike my great-grandparents, who had nowhere to go and nowhere to turn, Jews in Israel have much to be grateful for. It is not the existence of an Israeli police force, nor an Israeli army.   Nor is it even a Jewish majority government.  It is a sense that despite the antisemitism that again rages around the world and the growing diplomatic isolation of the Jewish state as it struggles against pathological murderers and debased liars, the wind of history is no longer blowing against  them;  it is now blowing at their back.

The Jewish birth rate in Israel is higher than it has ever been and despite all dire predictions, far exceeds that of the Palestinians or Arabs in any other Arab State; Israel’s pre-eminence  as a high-tech hub has elevated it to a position of tremendous importance for the world’s most successful corporations making the state’s eradication  economically unimaginable.  Jewish nationalism, long derided by the post-Zionist academics and secular intelligentsia is making a significant comeback, buoyed by the idea that the nation , for  all its fractured differences, must be united and strong in the face of such adversity.

But even more important than any of  this is the growing national sense  that Judaism, once relegated as an ancient anachronism by so many secular Israelis, may actually be the life blood of the nation. Four rabbis were butchered in a synagogue while praying.  A severed arm, found in the bloodied synagogue, still wrapped in tefillin, offered a stirring symbol of faith and commitment in the face of the terror with which our enemies wish to undermine our perseverance .

It would seem to reinforce  the words of millions of Jewish fathers to their sons throughout the generations which perhaps offers the true key to Jewish survival:

“Grow, my son, to be a good Jew.”

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles. He blogs at The Intermediate Zone


The Out of Touch President Down Under

November 18, 2014

In Australia this week, Barack Obama, attending the G20 Summit in Brisbane, made plain that he is an out of touch leader who not only fails to appreciate the importance of maintaining strategic alliances, but ignores fundamental realities about our world.

Speaking to a mostly student audience at the University of  Queensland, the President urged the younger members there to hold firm to the commitment to press the Australian government about climate change.

“Combating climate change cannot be the work of governments alone,” he said. “Citizens, especially the next generation, you have to keep raising your voices, because you deserve to live your lives in a world that is cleaner and that is healthier and that is sustainable.“But that is not going to happen unless you are heard.”

The remarks could not be disguised as anything but a venomous swipe at his host, set in the context of the Abbot government’s repeal of the Australian Carbon Tax in 2013.  

Why, exactly, the President of the United States would seek to humiliate an ally who has loyally stood by the U.S.’ efforts in its attacks on ISIS, worked closely with the Administration on Asia policy (particularly with regard to the disputed Senkaku/ Diaoyou Islands in the East China Sea) and on a multitude of trade issues is a quandry that many Australian politicians and commentators are now starting to question.  

Notwithstanding this, although Abbot engineered – as one of his first acts of office- the repeal of the ludicrous carbon tax (the first such legislation in the world and the first such repealed), his government has nevertheless maintained the Labor government’s goal of cutting carbon emissions by 5% over the next 15 years. Australia is highly placed among the developed nations who have worked methodically to cut emissions and compares favorably with anything achieved in this regard by the United States. 

The Australian people demonstrated in a loud voice last September that climate change is not one of their greatest priorities by dumping the  Rudd-Gillard Government .  It was an election where the survival of the hated carbon tax was a key issue.  The rejection of climate change as a fixation is evident throughout the West.  In the United States, a recent Gallup Poll  found that 66% of American citizens list climate change legislation and global warming as number 15 or lower on their list of priorities. 

But there is a real Australian issue that intersects directly with U.S.national security interests that the President might have mentioned.  

Just two months ago over 800 police officers in Australia arrested 15 people, allegedly connected to the terror group ISIS, who are believed to have planned to kidnap and behead people on camera. The counter-terrorism raids on houses and vehicles in both Sydney and Brisbane were the largest ever in the country’s history. At the time Commonwealth prosecutor, Michael Allnutt, told Sydney’s Central Local Court that the foiled plans were “clearly designed to shock, horrify and terrify the community.” Allnutt added there was “a plan to commit extremely serious offenses” that involved an “unusual level of fanaticism.”

Read that as ‘beheadings’ and ‘mutilations’ of Australian citizens.

And just today the Wall Street Journal reports how those Muslims in Sydney who support the crack down on their fanatical co-religionists, are suffering extensive condemnation and harassment from their own leaders. 

It must be remembered that Australia has a population approximately 1/8th the size of the United States. Proportionally, if such events had occurred in the U.S., it would have been as if a large scale pogrom had swept the country. 

Who can deny that if ISIS is alive and well in far distant Australia, it is not also flourishing and scheming its next atrocity right here in America?

And so we must ask:  A leader who seems so deeply concerned about the future and the  “next generation” (and indeed, almost everywhere he travels, he insists on speaking to students over the heads of government leaders), has nothing to say to that generation about the gravest physical threat faced by the West today in our own cities?

Barack Obama has always styled himself as something of visionary, capable of seeing and understanding the future as others can’t.  But the failure to grasp realities and grapple with them, will, with hindsight, render his visions of the future no more than fading props used to give a hackneyed background to a failed Presidency.


Daily Blurb #3

January 5, 2011

Free Jonathan Pollard

Yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a letter to Barack Obama requesting clemency for Jonathan Pollard, a man who has been in prison for 25 years for a crime which usually attracts prison time of  no more than four to seven years.  Pollard’s crime was to deliver  classified documents to the Israeli government which had a bearing on U.S. relations with the Soviet Union and greviously affected the intelligence gathering this involved.  It was claimed at the time that Pollard’s spy work led directly to the death of U.S.  operatives in the Soviet Union  and around the world.  Following the opening of the Soviet archives  in the late 1990s, it became clear that Pollard’s activities had almost no impact on U.S.-Soviet relations and in the words of late former  Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who had at one time become the most devoted anti-Pollard declaimer,  its impact on U.S. intelligence gathering “was minor.” Why, then, is he still in jail, serving a life sentence for activities that put  him on the same level of Aldrich Ames and Robert Hansen, whose spying really did result in the deaths of American operatives?

The answer is that as much as at least two  presidents have sought to commute his unreasonable sentence ( which was itself imposed in direct contravention of a plea bargain), the outcry from the defense and intelligence establishment has been so strenuous that neither  Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush felt the political costs worth the effort.

Yet coming at a time when U.S.- Israel relations are at an all time low, the release  of Pollard, who became an Israeli citizen a decade ago, could aid efforts to improve attitudes on both sides.   Certainly Barack Obama, who has the most unfavorable rating among the Israelis of any American president in history, could benefit from this beneficent act.  Notwithstanding the fact that basic justice demands it.

Iran Rejects Western Culture

There is no better indicator  of Islamic  Iran’s approaching death rattle than this piece from yesterday’s Washington Post.  Iranian universities and public schools, which have been surprisingly free during the course of the revolution to teach Western science and the humanities are now being overhauled to be properly Islamicized.   The government’s ” Program for Fundamental Evolution in Education and Training,” amount to the kind of social and cultural engineering predicted by George Orwell in 1984.  By seeking to strip the curricula of schools and universities of Western humanistic values the regime, in an effort to control a burgeoning middle class whose increasing emphasis is on individualism, will only feed the fire of counter revolution, the embers of which still smolder from the June, 2009 uprising.  The Internet, which the regime is also seeking to control, will play a leading role in bringing together opposition groups who will eventually join to topple the regime.  Perhaps the gutting of the education system may prove the last straw.

Jeff Danzinger and the Ivory Coast Cartoon

I have always wondered why cartoonists are cut far more slack than any other editorial writer.  They literally get away with murder in both their irreverence for facts and their willingness to parody the truth.  Take Jeff Danzinger’s cartoon which appeared in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times.  Danzinger’s makes the unsubtle comparison here between Ivory Coast’s defeated president Laurent Gbagbo and the Bush/ Cheney victory in the 2000 election.  Both, you see, failed to receive a plurality of votes from the public, but both nevertheless clung to power – supposeldy, at least in Danzinger’s mind, illegitimately.

The analogy is as spurious as it is hateful.   Gbagbo’s followers have unleashed a campaign of violence and intimidation against the declared victor Ouattara’s supporters, resulting inthe  suspected deaths of 200 people.   A mass grave report is being investigated.  Nothing of the sort followed the inconclusive Bush- Gore election of 2000.   During the month it took to sort out the results, there were no violent uprisings, no killings and both camps conducted themselves with dignity  as the results of the Florida returns were examined.

The matter eventually fell to the U.S. Supreme Court which adjudicated the matter and assigned the victory to Bush who had constitutionally secured enough electoral votes to assume office.

We should note that Danzinger’s cartoon, which draws such an invidious comparison, actually mocks our own Constitution by assuming that Bush was as illegitimate a leader as an African tinpot dictator.  It is unfathomable how such a stupid and constitutionally illiterate a comparison could be made by a cartoonist of such experience and renown.    The readers of the Los Angeles Times deserve much better.





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