International Business Times reported Friday that
a French mother who named her son Jihad has reportedly been convicted by an appeals court in the city of Nimes, France, of “glorifying a crime” for sending the 3-year-old to school wearing a shirt emblazoned with the French words for “I am a bomb” and “Jihad born on September 11th.”
The jihadi mother, Bouchra Bagour, got a suspended sentence of a month in prison and a $2,705 fine. Jihad’s uncle, Zeyad Bagour, got a two-month prison sentence, also suspended, along with a fine of $5,409, for buying him the “I am a bomb” shirt.
But Bouchra and Zeyad Bagour say the whole thing was just a joke. “For me,” said Bouchra in court, “the text is simply my son’s name and his date of birth. It’s a bit different, but I thought it would make people laugh. … My brother gave my son the sweatshirt, I put it on him, and I never thought anything of it.”
Zeyad Bagour added that he “had no intention of being provocative or shocking people. “For me, the words ‘I am a bomb’ mean ‘I am beautiful.’”
The Bagours’ attorney, Gaële Guenoum, expressed shock at the court’s ruling, calling it “severe, surprising and amazing.”
Prosecutors, however, weren’t buying it. “At some point,” one observed, “there must be limits. They are not stupid. They understand the significance of what they are doing.” They knew that in this context, the Bagours weren’t just making a cute joke; they were glorifying evil.
At the height of the controversy over U.S. military intervention in Syria, as I noted last week, an Iranian official named Alireza Forghani issued a novel threat to the United States: if the U.S. entered Syria, he said, there would be “mass abductions and brutal killings of American citizens around the world and the rape and killing of one of Obama’s daughters should the United States attack Syria.” Forghani said that within two days of the beginning of the military action, a relative of every U.S. cabinet member, ambassador, and military commander around the world would be abducted and mutilated, all to be lavishly depicted in lurid YouTube videos.
As David Swindle noted right after the Boston Marathon jihad bombing,
We are now entering a new phase of the Islamic war to replace liberal societies with Sharia law. This is World War IV, a multi-decade conflict that will be for our generation what the war against Nazism and Fascism was for our grandparents. Except it will probably be worse.
Forghani’s threat illustrated just how much worse it could get. It is not outside the realm of possibility that his threat could come true, and that Islamic jihadis worldwide could begin raping, torturing and murdering Americans in large numbers, and filming the whole thing as they filmed the beheadings of Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg, Paul Marshall Johnson, and others. This could conceivably happen in the United States as well. Rape has always been a weapon of war; German women in Berlin as it was falling to the Soviets in April 1945 grew accustomed to regular rapes from the Soviet soldiers. This became so common that in their black humor they joked, “Better a Russki on the belly than an Ami on the head” – that is, better to be raped by a Russian than to fall victim to an American bombing raid.But it couldn’t possibly happen here, could it? Well, why not? It is already happening in Britain, where an appallingly large number of Muslim rape gangs have abducted English girls, gang-raped them, forced them into prostitution, and in some cases killed them. These gangs have frequently made statements that indicate that they see their actions as justified because their victims are non-Muslim; one Muslim who murdered his captive sex slave called her a “kuffar bitch” – that is, an infidel. Many of the captors have been noted for being particularly devout Muslims; one even raped numerous girls to punish them for being outside without permission of a male guardian, which is a crime in Islamic law. One judge told a captor, “You preyed on these girls because they were not part of your community or religion.”
The controversy over whether the U.S. should intervene militarily in Syria has become more about proving manhood than about chemical weapons, al-Qaeda, or geopolitics. Each side appears to be more intent on proving that they’re men than in doing the right thing by Syria, or anyone else, for that matter.
First and foremost is Barack Obama, whom Pamela Geller has indelibly dubbed the “helmeted bike rider.” His international coalition against Syria did not materialize; even the British refused to go along, for the first time in anyone’s memory. The French, who alone had pledged to go along, are now hesitating. And for good reason: Obama still has not been able to provide convincing proof that Assad launched the chemical weapons that made him want to attack Syria in the first place.
His supporters, meanwhile, appear increasingly ridiculous. His secretary of State insists that the Syrian rebels are mostly secular, contradicting intelligence reports from both the U.S. and Europe. His former opponent and now stalwart servant on the other side of the aisle, John McCain, has just as risibly promised that the Syrian rebels, whom even the New York Times has acknowledged are dominated by al-Qaeda, are “moderates.”
Obama has even admitted that “we may not be directly imminently threatened by what’s taking place” in Syria. May not be? There is no conceivable calculus by which we are directly imminently threatened by what’s taking place in Syria, but McCain’s sidekick, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, did his level best to come up with something, hysterically claiming that if the U.S. didn’t attack Syria, Iran might nuke Charleston Harbor.
The hysteria was a sign of desperation. Exposed, abandoned, and bereft of a case, Obama should have backed down. But he couldn’t, because it would have been a sign of weakness. Obama’s weakness has already been abundantly demonstrated, but seldom this nakedly and pointedly, and so he charged ahead, trying and failing to drum up support for his Syrian misadventure at the G-20 summit. The helmeted bike rider had to prove that he was a real man, a strong man, even if it meant any number of dead Syrians, and the U.S. allying with al-Qaeda.
In light of all that, it was hard to argue with Vladimir Putin’s charge that “what Congress and the U.S. Senate are doing in essence is legitimizing aggression.” Aggression is precisely the response of an aggrieved and insecure man to a challenge to his manhood.
Reza Aslan’s notorious interview with Lauren Green on Fox News has made him the toast of the liberal media, and his book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth a massive bestseller. There’s just one problem: the book is lousy. It’s full of all of the empty portent of a bad B-movie screenplay (think Ben Hur as directed by Ed Wood), decades-old (and often discredited) scholarship breathlessly presented as brand-new discovery, and outright falsehoods foisted onto the unsuspecting reader, as Aslan manipulates facts to usher the reader to his predetermined conclusion.
Aslan arrogantly waved his credentials in Green’s face, and the media has eagerly taken up this particular cudgel for him: how dare Green question the prodigious scholar, the multi-degreed eminence, the dispassionate Muslim teller of truths about Christianity that are unpalatable to the racist, bigoted, Bible-thumping Islamophobes on Fox?
Matthew J. Franck, writing in First Things, noted that Aslan actually lied about his credentials to Green: he told her, “I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions. … I am a professor of religions, including the New Testament–that’s what I do for a living, actually. … To be clear, I want to emphasize one more time, I am a historian, I am a Ph.D. in the history of religions.” But he is not actually a Ph.D. in the “history of religions” at all; in reality, his Ph.D. is in sociology, and his dissertation was not on the New Testament at all, but on “Global Jihadism: a transnational social movement.”
Less often noted, however, is an even greater problem with Aslan’s obsessive citing of his credentials: degrees, particularly in this era of the politically correct stranglehold on academia, are no guarantee of knowledge, wisdom, or truth. Even if everything he had said to Green about his degrees had been true, it would confer on his book no presumption of accuracy or truth. There are plenty of fools with degrees, and plenty of geniuses without them. Aslan, from the looks of Zealot, is among the former – or at least he is hoping that his readers are. Here are five of this master scholar’s most egregious false statements:
1. Aslan refers numerous times throughout his book to Jesus living in “first-century Palestine.”
He has defended this usage in interviews by claiming that that was the Roman name for the area during Jesus’ time. But in fact, Jesus lived not in first-century Palestine, but in first-century Judea, a place that no one called “Palestine.” The Romans renamed it “Palestine” after emptying the area of Jews after the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 A.D. Aslan’s usage is an anachronism, and given his venomous opposition to the state of Israel, perhaps a politically motivated one at that.
In recent protests over the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood supporters looted, burned and destroyed 58 churches, Christian schools, and other Christian installations. Many members of the Brotherhood have decided to scapegoat the Christians for the downfall of Morsi’s government, even though they had nothing to do with it, and have targeted them ever since. But in fact, as Raymond Ibrahim documents in an important new book, the recent persecution in Egypt is nothing new.
In Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (Regnery), Ibrahim, an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian, reveals why it is such a cruel irony that leftists and Islamic supremacists in the U.S. routinely tar the foes of jihad violence with charges of “bigotry” and “hatred.” In reality, it is they who are fronting for a recrudescence of bigotry and hatred on a grand – indeed, worldwide – scale: the Muslim war on Christians that stretches from Nigeria to Indonesia and involves restrictions on Christians’ freedom and Christian worship, creating a climate of hate in which Christians live on the precarious edge, constantly bracing themselves for a violent Muslim outbreak against them that could come at any time, without warning.
In Egypt, which Ibrahim uses as a paradigmatic example of the plight of Christians in Muslim countries, Coptic Christians have suffered discrimination and harassment for centuries. The recent worsening of their situation didn’t start just with the “Arab Spring.”
Late in 2010, for instance, Muslims in Egypt subjected the Copts to an unprecedented reign of terror. An Islamic jihad-martyrdom suicide bomber murdered twenty-two people and wounded eighty more at the Coptic Christian Church of the Saints in Alexandria, Egypt on New Year’s Eve. Just days later, as Christmas (which Copts celebrate on January 7) 2011 approached, an Islamic website carried this ominous exhortation: “Blow up the churches while they are celebrating Christmas or any other time when the churches are packed.”
It is iron dogma for the politically correct establishment in the U.S. that “moderate Muslims,” which for that establishment includes every last Muslim in the U.S., abhor and despise “extremists,” whom they don’t even consider Muslims, and whose violence and supremacism they reject. That’s the story, anyway. But it was sorely put to the test last week, when the Florida Muslim leader Ahmed Bedier made this sad announcement:
My brother Amir Bedier has returned to Our Lord. To Allah we belong and to Allah is the return. Amir was shot and killed by Egyptian police forces in Rabaa square today. We are proud of him and his courage to stand up for his beliefs and the rights of others. He was fasting and unarmed. He left behind a wife, two children, five brothers and his two parents and countless relatives and friends who loved him.
Ahmed Bedier, former chief of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), is widely regarded as a “moderate” Muslim leader – in this guise, he even appeared on Glenn Beck’s CNN show in March 2007 to speak out against “extremism.” On the show, he declared: “We condemn any nation, country or group that uses Islam or misuses and misinterprets Islam in violent ways.” Later, when he announced his departure from CAIR, he explained his future plans in terms to warm any multiculturalist’s heart: “I’m going to expand on and build upon my work as a civil rights and human rights leader into broader areas of peace building, interfaith dialogue and reconciliation.”
As is so often the case, things are not always as they seem. Unfortunately, like so many putative moderate Muslim groups and individuals in the United States, Bedier is not really all that moderate. He has said that before 1995, when the State Department declared Palestinian Islamic Jihad a terrorist group, there was “nothing immoral” about associating with the group. The anti-terror advocacy group Americans Against Hate notes that “Bedier’s answer is startling, given the fact that, prior to 1995, Palestinian Islamic Jihad took credit for five terrorist attacks, which resulted in the murders of eight innocent people. This includes a suicide bombing in the town of Netzarim Junction, in November of 1994.”
And when two Muslim college students, Youseff Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed, were found with pipe bombs (and one of whom admitted to making a video about how to use remote-controlled bombs against American soldiers), Bedier claimed that the pipe bomb material was just fireworks and said, “Both of them are really naïve kids.” On a Florida TV show, Bedier sidestepped numerous opportunities to condemn the barbaric practice of stoning.
For standing by her putative man, the exposed Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin has for the first time received some negative press attention amid the avalanche of coverage calling her “smart,” “accomplished” and “elegant.” But still off-limits has been any discussion in the mainstream media of her numerous ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
It’s not that the evidence is lacking. It’s that the politically correct elites have forbidden examination or discussion of it. Even to question whether Abedin has any connections with the Brotherhood, and whether those connections had any influence over Hillary Clinton’s decisions as secretary of State, is to demonstrate that one is a bigot, a racist, an Islamophobe, and a hatemonger, as well as a hysterical paranoiac.
Indeed, one infallible way to determine a stranger’s political positions on just about anything is to ask if he or she thinks Huma Abedin has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. If the stranger responds with righteous outrage, you’re dealing with a doctrinaire, mainstream liberal. If, on the other hand, the response is, “Yes, that is something that should be investigated,” you’re face-to-face with a Tea Partier.
That’s why Huma Abedin is the new Alger Hiss. For decades, ever since the former State Department official and advisor to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was outed as a Soviet spy in the most celebrated espionage case of the nation’s history, the leftist establishment stoutly insisted that Hiss was innocent. Even today, some refuse to acknowledge the “present-day consensus among historians…that Alger Hiss was in fact a Soviet spy.”
But the controversy over whether or not Hiss was a Communist and a spy for the Soviets was (and is) not just a dispute over the evidence. It was, for the Left, a measure of whether or not you were a decent human being. Anna Roosevelt Halsted, the daughter of Eleanor and Franklin, said in 1956 that Hiss’s accuser, Whittaker Chambers, was “contemptible” and clearly “out to get” Hiss. Her mother said at a 1961 dinner party that Chambers was “utterly contemptible and probably a psychopathic liar.” Adlai Stevenson, present at the same gathering of liberal glitterati, agreed that the prosecution of Hiss was “one of the darker chapters in U.S. history.”
Recently I had a conversation on a train that raised an issue about the leftist media’s darling of the moment, Reza Aslan, along with larger questions about Islam and Christianity. Oddly enough, for all of the Left’s continuing outrage over Fox News’s “Islamophobic” interview of Aslan regarding his new book Zealot, the anointed pundits have never touched on this question: why aren’t Reza Aslan’s Christian relatives and friends trying to kill him?
It might seem to be a bizarre question, but it isn’t. It is a staple of mainstream media discourse that Islam and Christianity (and all other religions, for that matter) are essentially equal in their capacity to inspire both benevolence and violence. If Muslims commit jihad terror attacks today, well, remember the Crusades. If Muslims commit 91% of honor killings worldwide and several Muslim countries have relaxed penalties for such murders at the insistence of Islamic clerics, well, the Republican Party is just like the Taliban, anyway. And if Islam has a death penalty for apostasy, Christians must abuse those who leave Christianity as well.
I encountered this line of thought yet again on the train. Seated next to me was not (luckily) Reza Aslan himself, but a jovial and somewhat inebriated gentleman who told me in the course of our conversation that he was an Iraq war veteran. Then he told me about how once he was on patrol in Baghdad with an Iraqi soldier who asked him his religion. By this time the man had been in Iraq long enough to know what the Iraqis hated the most, and so he responded mischievously to the question: although he was a Catholic, he told the Iraqi he was Jewish, and when the Iraqi didn’t understand the English word, he drew a Star of David in the sand — whereupon the Iraqi drew his rifle on him.
I then explained that Islamic anti-Semitism is deeply rooted in the Qur’an, which calls the Jews the worst enemies of the Muslims (cf. 5:82). I told him about the genocidal hadith, in which Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, is depicted as saying that,
the last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him (Sahih Muslim 6985).
To all that, however, he responded that, well, the Bible had plenty of bad stuff in it, too. That put me in mind of Aslan’s notorious Fox interview, in which he avowed that “my mother is a Christian, my wife is a Christian, my brother-in-law is an evangelical pastor.” Aslan recounts that he himself was an enthusiastic evangelical Christian until his studies gave him the impression that the New Testament was not historically reliable, whereupon, he says: “I angrily discarded my faith as if it were a costly forgery I had been duped into buying.”
One thing the mainstream media knows about Huma Abedin is that she is elegant. Time reported on how Weiner’s “elegant and accomplished wife… declared her love and support for him, visibly pained at having to speak in public as the sad, sordid details of his repeat behavior were exposed yet again.” The Wall Street Journal lamented:
Watching the elegant Huma Abedin stand next to her man Tuesday as he explained his latest sexually charged online exchanges was painful for a normal human being to watch.
What they’re less sure of is why this elegant woman would stand by the increasingly ridiculous Weiner. Time thinks, rather fancifully, that it’s because “divorce can still be stigmatizing in some social circles where parents are particularly ambitious about providing the absolute best environment for their children” – and because, well, Huma just “loves this guy despite it all.”
Most others, however, agree that it is because she is seeking power and influence, and thinks – however improbably – that Anthony Weiner is still the pathway to them. Even Weiner’s sexting partner Sydney Leathers said of the Weiner-Abedin union: “It almost feels to me like it’s more of an arrangement, or a business relationship, than a marriage.” She said she thought Abedin stuck with Weiner “for the power, for the fame, for the stature.”
Maybe so. And she also may be staying in it because Weiner’s indiscretions just don’t matter to her that much – not necessarily because they have a sham marriage, but because Abedin is approaching the marriage from an Islamic perspective.
This week’s Muslim rioting in France was touched off when a policeman in the town of Trappes gave a ticket to a Muslim woman who was wearing a face veil, in violation of French law. Her husband, enraged at this affront to the family honor, attacked the cop and began trying to strangle him. His arrest in turn enraged his fellow Muslims, and now the rioting is entering its fourth day and has spread to nearby Elancourt, with so far twenty cars torched and Muslims shooting at police.
According to CBS News, France prescribes “small fines or citizenship classes for women wearing veils.” Thus this veiled woman’s offense is roughly the equivalent of getting a parking ticket. Nonetheless, for her husband the ticket was an offense warranting strangulation.
A Western husband might not think that the proper response to his wife’s getting a ticket would be to try to strangle the policeman, but that is precisely what the strangler and the rioters would consider to be a central failing of the West: that it lacks a sense of honor. As the social anthropologist Raphael Patai observed in his monumental The Arab Mind, in Arab culture, “cost what it may, one must defend one’s public image. Any injury done to a man’s honor must be revenged, or else he becomes permanently dishonored.”
Even though most Muslims today are not Arabs, Arab culture has a strong influence upon and large area of overlap with Muslim culture, for Muslims generally bear Arabic names, and are required to pray and read the Qur’an in Arabic, making for a strong Arabic coloring to Islamic religious observance in general. With regard to honor, the devout husband in France may have assumed that if he had not attacked the police officer, he would have stood dishonored for failing to respond to an affront to his family and his religion. Thus once the ticket was issued, the attack on the officer was virtually inevitable.
What’s more, once the policeman had dishonored the Muslim woman who was wearing a veil by giving her a ticket, and once her husband had been arrested for trying to strangle the police officer, the riots were also essentially inevitable. They, too, were a matter of honor. As Patai notes, “there is a strong correlation between honor and group survival. Honorable behavior is that which is conducive to group cohesion and group survival.” Intriguingly, Patai points out that “although Muhammad condemned `asabiyya [family or tribal spirit] as contrary to the spirit of Islam, this could not eliminate it from the consciousness of the Arabs. Ibn Khaldun, the great fourteenth-century theoretician of Arab history, even went so far as to uphold “`asabiyya as the fundamental bond of human society and the basic motivating force in history.”
According to Bilal Hito, who attends the same mosque Kaliebe has frequented in Bay Shore, Long Island, Kaliebe’s parents divorced when he was just three or four years old. A news report identified Kaliebe as hailing from “Babylon and Bay Shore, N.Y.,” suggesting a dreary home life shuttling back and forth between parents engaged in a polite cold war. And Hito said that the boy just wasn’t right: “There was something about Justin that made you feel you were around a little boy. Mentally he was very young. He was more like a kid brother.”
Kaliebe’s friend Ahmad Deib, who also knows Kaliebe from the Bay Shore mosque, vehemently dismissed the jihad terror charges against Kaliebe. “That, to me, is a bunch of garbage. This is a case of entrapment. This kid, he couldn’t hurt a fly. He is one of the most kindhearted kids you would ever know.”
As gentle and autistic, mentally young and kindhearted as he may be, Kaliebe certainly seemed to be fully aware of what he was trying to do. Undercover officers caught him pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda and jihad leaders: “I pledge my loyalty, allegiance and fidelity to the Mujahedeen of Al-Qaa’idah in the Arabian Peninsula and its leaders, Shaykh Abu Baseer Nasir Al-Wuhayshi and Shaykh Ayman Al-Zawahiri, hafidhahum Allah [may Allah protect them]! May Allah accept this from me and may he allow me to fight in his cause til the day that I leave this dunya [world].”
Planning a summer trip to London? So was I! But the British Home Office had other ideas, explaining in a kind letter to me that admitting me into the country would be “not conducive to the public good.”
So let’s say that the kids are nagging you to book that trip to see Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, but you just don’t have the money or the time, and are looking for that golden letter from British Home Secretary Theresa May, closing the door to perfidious Albion to you forever. It’s easy. All you have to do is do what I did: read a few books.
The Home Office’s letter to me explained that I was banned because I said that Islam “is a religion and is a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers for the purpose for establishing a societal model that is absolutely incompatible with Western society,” and that “because media and general government unwillingness to face the sources of Islamic terrorism these things remain largely unknown.”
These horrifying quotes were apparently taken from a documentary I appeared in about ten years ago, Islam: What the West Needs to Know. I said these things because I had read a few books; if you dare to read them as well, you, too, might end up banned from Britain yourself.
1. Towards Understanding the Qur’an (The Islamic Foundation, 2008).
This is a one-volume translation of the Qur’an by Zafar Ishaq Ansari, plus commentary by Sayyid Abul A‘la Mawdudi (also spelled Maududi). Mawdudi was a twentieth-century Islamic scholar and political leader in Pakistan. His influence is mainstream and international; he wrote a multivolume commentary on the Qur’an and numerous other works that can be found readily in Islamic bookstores in the U.S. and all over the West.
In this book he writes: “The purpose for which the Muslims are required to fight is not, as one might to think, to compel the unbelievers into embracing Islam. Rather, its purpose is to put an end to the suzerainty of the unbelievers so that the latter are unable to rule over people. The authority to rule should only be vested in those who follow the True Faith; unbelievers who do not follow this True Faith should live in a state of subordination. Anybody who becomes convinced of the Truth of Islam may accept the faith of his/her own volition. The unbelievers are required to pay jizyah (poll tax) in return for the security provided to them as the dhimmis (‘Protected People’) of an Islamic state. Jizyah symbolizes the submission of the unbelievers to the suzerainty of Islam.”
You could almost get the idea that Mawdudi thought that Islam was a religion and a belief system that “mandates warfare against unbelievers for the purpose for establishing a societal model that is absolutely incompatible with Western society,” as it would relegate non-Muslims to a second-class state of submission to the Muslims, paying a special tax and accepting other discriminatory regulations. Mawdudi had no trouble getting into Britain, but then again, he was a Muslim, and as I explained last week, you can talk about jihad violence in Britain, as long as you’re for it. So if you’re not a Muslim, get this book, and watch your mailbox for your ban letter.
When he learned that Pamela Geller and I had been banned from entering Great Britain, Roger Kimball wrote in a marvelous PJ Media piece titled “Free Speech Dies in UK” that what Geller and I do is “speak out against the intolerance of Islam,” and for that, we are not welcome in a country where recently a British soldier was “hacked to death by Muslim fanatics.” He summed up the situation in a single phrase: “the irony of the situation is rich.” And since then, it has gotten even richer than that.
Kimball succinctly summed up the Leftist mindset behind the ban:
Disagree with me and I’ll have you named an enemy of the state. Entertain views that conflict with the dominant left-wing narrative and I’ll see to it that you are branded a hate monger and are ostracized (or worse). Say or write something I don’t like and I’ll pretend you did something criminal: I’ll deliberately confuse the expression of opinion and criminal behavior so that the expression of opinion blends seamlessly into criminal behavior….Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer say and write things the timid, politically correct bureaucrats who run Britain don’t and they’re declared pariahs.
The British Home Office was kind enough to spell out which of my views and opinions were so unacceptable as to make it “not conducive to the public good” for me to enter the country. The Home Office’s letter stated that I said this:
… the Prophet Muhammad said that when the Muslims fight the Jews, each and every stone and tree will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him…
I have to admit that the Home Office has a point. After all, to suggest that Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, whom Islamic scholar Karen Armstrong has likened to Gandhi, called for the genocide of the Jews – clearly such a thing would be morally abhorrent. Theresa May, the British Home secretary, almost certainly has been told again and again that Islam teaches tolerance of Jews and Christians as “People of the Book.” Saying that Muhammad told Muslims to kill Jews would be hateful! Islamophobic!
Last week in the central Pennsylvania hamlet of St. Marys, a 25-year-old man named Joshua Lee Coffey did what no 25-year-old man who is still living with his mother should ever do: he expressed his dislike for the dinner she served him. It was pork, you see, and as a pious convert to Islam, Coffey considered pork unclean, and his mother inconsiderate for having served it.
But “inconsiderate” is understated. A war of words escalated quickly – at least as far as young Coffey was concerned. He complained to his mother that she was trying to “poison” him with the pork, reminding her that Islam forbade the consumption of The Other White Meat. His fury rising, he soon threatened to kill her, as well as her boyfriend, Mark Blair, who was also present for the fateful pork dinner.
It wasn’t an idle threat. In a righteous rage, Coffey went to the kitchen and found a ten-inch knife, which he then took to his mother’s bedroom, where she and her beau had been dining, and brandished it in front of the terrified pair. He then held it to Blair’s throat, threatening to strike the neck of the hapless infidel (in accord with the command enshrined in Qur’an 47:4) if Ma Coffey dared to call the police.
His terrified mother jumped out the bedroom window onto the roof. Having enough presence of mind to grab her cellphone, she swiftly called the cops and then climbed down and fled to a neighbor’s home to await their arrival. Coffey then apparently decided not to slit Blair’s throat; police found the righteously angry young Muslim in the family backyard, still holding his big kitchen knife. He is apprehended and is currently being held on $5,000 bail.
Earlier this month, Islamic member nations of the United Nations Human Rights Council rejected as un-Islamic a resolution condemning violence against women. The Kuwait News Agency reported that “the rejections include the paragraph, which gives women ‘the right to control matters concerning their sexual lives as well as their reproductive health without coercion, discrimination or violence.’”
It is likely that this rejection had as much or more to do with the idea that women should be protected from coercion and violence as it may have had to do with any pro-life concerns. After all, the Qur’an directs men to beat disobedient women (4:34), while Islamic law allows for abortion at least early in the pregnancy. The Muslim scholar Sayyid Sabiq explains that,
abortion is not allowed after four months have passed since conception because at that time it is akin to taking a life, an act that entails penalty in this world and in the Hereafter. As regards the matter of abortion before this period elapses, it is considered allowed if necessary.
The idea that it is un-Islamic for women to have the right to be free from coercion and violence is revealing of the mindset underlying the entire Islamic understanding of morality. Muslims and non-Muslims often tell us that Muslims hate the West for its decadence, its immorality, its lasciviousness, which they contrast unfavorably with the supposed morality and uprightness of the Islamic world. Often this boils down to a Muslim critique of Western “freedom,” especially as Bush and Obama pursued military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan ostensibly to bring Western-style freedom to those countries.
Nasreen Bibi stepped out without her husband’s permission one time too many.
Islamic law forbids women to leave the home without permission from their male guardians, and Nasreen had repeatedly infuriated her husband, Muneer, by flouting this rule.
Muneer considered it an insult. She was humiliating him. She was shaking her fist in the very face of Allah. It could not be tolerated. It must not be tolerated. The last time it happened, he waited for her to come home. When she finally did, he began quizzing her about where she had been.
He did not find her answers satisfactory. There was no telling where she had been, or what she had been doing. He told her – ordered her – to lie face down on the ground. The he ordered her to recite the Six Kalimas, phrases from the Quran that express fundamental elements of Islamic faith. There is no God but Allah Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. I bear witness that no one is worthy of worship but Allah, the One alone, without partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. Glory be to Allah and Praise to Allah, and there is no God But Allah, and Allah is the Greatest. And there is no Might or Power except with Allah. And so on. Nasreen, no doubt terrified by this time and aware of what was to come, complied. As soon as he was finished, Muneer began swinging his axe. Raining blow after blow on Nasreen’s prone body, he killed her, and he didnt stop hacking even then. He cut her body to pieces, and threw the pieces into nearby fields.
Terry Holdbrooks Jr. is a former Guantanamo guard who, he says, was so impressed with the faith and perseverance of the detainees that he converted to Islam in 2003. Now he makes a living traveling around the country telling dubious and lurid tales of Guantanamo tortures for the Muslim Legal Fund of America, and explaining why he converted. “I had all the freedom in the world,” he says. “But I was waking up unhappy while these men were in cages, smiling and praying five times a day.”
For Holdbrooks, the contrast couldn’t have been more stark. Before his conversion (and for some time after it, until he rededicated himself to Islam), he was drinking, smoking, using drugs, and indulging in promiscuity – in other words, he was a relatively typical, rudderless early twentieth-century American male. The Army gave him an honorable discharge in 2005 for a “generalized personality disorder.” But then he renewed his Islamic commitment, and, according to the New York Daily News, “found discipline in prayer.”
Discipline. The Islam4theWorld website explains: “Islam is a complete way of living. Unlike other religions, Islam is not a religion consisting of a few rituals, which are to be practiced occasionally. Islam covers every aspect of life.” This is no exaggeration. The Union of Islamic World Students elucidates exactly how Islam covers every aspect of life:
Islam has rules of etiquette and manners covering every aspect of life. These are applicable for the whole society, the old and the young, men and women. These manners cover even minor acts such as entering or exiting a bathroom, posture while sitting and cleaning oneself.
The same site then approvingly quotes a hadith in which “one of the polytheists” ridiculed the Muslims, telling one of them: “Your prophet has taught you everything, even the manners of going to the toilet.” The Muslim, however, affirmed that that was indeed true:
Yes, the Prophet forbade us from facing the Qibla [the direction toward Mecca] when urinating or relieving oneself. The Prophet asked us not to use the right hand when cleaning ourselves and to use at least three stones for cleaning.
Islam, indeed, has a rule for everything that a human being could imaginably do, with the horrifying punishments of hellfire awaiting those who fail to observe them. So why would a smokin’, tokin’ American boy choose a belief system in which everything he does is regulated, and he has to devote the bulk of his time learning the arcane rules of Allah for brushing his teeth, trimming his beard, and how many stones to use when going to the bathroom?
Last Wednesday, the Islamic jihadist Mujaheed (formerly Michael) Adebolajo, his hands scarlet with the blood of the British soldier he had just brutally murdered on a London street and still holding the tools of his murder, approached a television cameraman and calmly began explaining himself.
In the course of his explanation, Adebolajo invoked the Qur’an’s ninth chapter (Surat at-Tawba), which enjoins Muslims to make war against and subjugate Jews and Christians, declaring: “we are forced by the Qur’an, in Sura At-Tawba, through many ayah [verses] in the Qur’an, we must fight them as they fight us.” He added: “I apologize that women had to witness this today but in our lands women have to see the same.”
“Our lands”? Adebolajo’s parents are Nigerians who immigrated to England in the early 1980s. But he meant neither English nor Nigerian lands, of course; Adebolajo converted to Islam around 2003, and that meant that in his mind he was no longer English, if he ever was. Islam supersedes everything else, demanding a loyalty above national allegiances and even ties of kith and kin. The Qur’an commands Muslims to “be good to parents” (17:22). However, even in that relationship, the overarching principle is that Muslims must be “hard against the unbelievers, merciful one to another” (48:29). This includes unbelievers of one’s immediate family: The Muslim holy book specifically forbids believers from being friendly with their non-believing relatives and non-believing clan:
O believers, take not your fathers and brothers to be your friends, if they prefer unbelief to belief; whosoever of you takes them for friends, those—they are the evildoers. Say: “If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your clan, your possessions that you have gained, commerce you fear may slacken, dwellings you love—if these are dearer to you than God and His Messenger, and to struggle in His way, then wait till God brings His command; God guides not the people of the ungodly” (9:23-24).
Explains the renowned Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathir:
Allah commands shunning the disbelievers, even if they are one’s parents or children, and prohibits taking them as supporters if they choose disbelief instead of faith.
The Qur’an emphasizes not only that a Muslim must turn his back on his kinsmen and have nothing to do with them if they are unbelievers, but that he should not even pray for them:
It is not for the Prophet and the believers to ask pardon for the idolaters, even though they be near kinsmen, after that it has become clear to them that they will be the inhabitants of Hell (9:113).
Last Friday, an Afghan journalist named Mustafa Kazemi posted on Facebook a harrowing story about an eight-year-old girl in the Khashrood district of Nimruz province in Afghanistan, who was sold off into marriage to a mullah in his late 50s, and who bled to death on their wedding night.
It was one of many such tragedies in a land that little notes nor long remembers such deaths. An eight-year-old girl sold into marriage and dead after a brutal sexual assault that her body could not withstand is no more noteworthy than a pack animal that collapses under a too-heavy weight. It’s time and money wasted, that’s all. Forget about it. Get another one.
Indeed, the day after Kazemi posted his account, pro-Sharia lawmakers in Afghanistan blocked a proposed Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women, which would have set criminal penalties for child marriage. Pro-Sharia legislator Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada denounced the law as un-Islamic, explaining: “Whatever is against Islamic law, we don’t even need to speak about it.”
That means that more girls like the eight year old in the Khashrood district will continue to suffer. For few things are more abundantly attested in Islamic law than the permissibility of child marriage. Islamic tradition records that Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, was six when Muhammad wedded her and nine when he consummated the marriage:
The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death) (Bukhari 7.62.88).
Another tradition has Aisha herself recount the scene:
The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became Allright, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. (Bukhari 5.58.234).
Muhammad was at this time fifty-four years old.
Some slaves prefer slavery: “A prominent Saudi female activist,” Emirates 24/7 reported recently, has come out against the decision by Saudi Arabia to lift its ban on women driving cars.
Rawdah Al-Yousif complained that campaigns to give women the right to drive ,
continue despite the clear response by the rulers of this country that any decision to allow women to drive cars is up to the community not to just 3000 people or to some articles in newspapers or online. I hope there will be no decision to allow women to drive at this stage because we have first to respect the wish of the people and the society…Women are also not ready yet to bear their responsibility and leave their homes at a time when news of blackmail against the women are widespread.
Ah, yes. Women are not yet ready to bear their responsibility, just as we heard in the antebellum South that black Americans were not yet ready to bear the responsibilities of freedom, or in the Jim Crow South that they were not yet ready to bear the full responsibilities of citizenship. This is a common argument that oppressors make to justify oppression; it is unusual to hear it offered by one of the oppressed themselves.
Yet Rawdah Al-Yousif is the prime mover behind a recent campaign in Saudi Arabia called “My Guardian Knows What’s Best For Me.” This involved, according to Emirates 24/7, “sending letters to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in which women confirmed their full support for an Islamic approach in administering the Kingdom.” Al Yousif expressed her “dismay at the efforts of some who have liberal demands that do not comply with Islamic law (Shariah) or with the Kingdom’s traditions and customs” and railed against what she characterized as “ignorant and vexatious demands” to abolish the guardianship system.
“Peace will come,” Golda Meir once famously remarked, “when the Arabs start to love their children more than they hate us.” The obstacle to peace was not actually Arabs as such, but Muslims who had imbibed Islam’s doctrine of jihad and hatred of non-believers and primarily Jews — a hatred so intense that it drives people to prefer death (and murder) to life. And as we have seen recently with the monstrous grandstanding of Mama Tsarnaeva, this hatred is passed on in some Muslim families – and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva is by no means the only mother from hell.
Islamic supremacists avowedly and proudly love death. Jihad mass murderer Mohamed Merah said that he “loved death more than they loved life.” Nigerian jihadist Abubakar Shekau said: “I’m even longing for death, you vagabond.”
Ayman al-Zawahiri’s wife advised Muslim women: “I advise you to raise your children in the cult of jihad and martyrdom and to instil in them a love for religion and death.” And as one jihadist put it, “We love death. You love your life!” And another: “The Americans love Pepsi-Cola, we love death.” That was from Afghan jihadist Maulana Inyadullah.
Ultimately, this idea comes from the Qur’an itself:
“Say (O Muhammad): O ye who are Jews! If ye claim that ye are favoured of Allah apart from (all) mankind, then long for death if ye are truthful.” — Qur’an 62:6
This love of death is instilled in children. A Muslim child preacher recently taunted those he has been taught to hate most: “Oh Zionists, we love death for the sake of Allah, just as much as you love life for the sake of Satan.” This young man’s mother was probably much like the quintessential mother from hell, Mariam Farhat, or Umm Nidal (mother of Nidal), a Palestinian parliamentarian who died in March. No one more fully embodied the Hamas ethos — and the ethos of infanticide that permeates contemporary Palestinian culture as a whole — than Umm Nidal, a mother who willed the death of her own children and the children of others.
Editor’s Note: Starting today, Robert Spencer’s weekly PJ Lifestyle article analyzing stories on Jihad terror from a cultural perspective will appear on Mondays, our day focused on family, parenting, motherhood, fatherhood, and relationships. With this shift in publication date also comes a change in angle. A broader picture of the motives behind the 4/15/13 Boston terror attack is beginning to come into greater clarity. Who radicalized these once American young men? The picture that has emerged is one common throughout the Muslim world: sons drink in the hate and anti-Americanism as they would mother’s milk. The disturbing proclamations of mama and papa Tsarnaev make clear that these were not two sons led astray by malevolent outside influence.
So on Mondays Robert will explore the relevant Jihad stories of the week through a family-centric lens, considering male-female dynamics in the Muslim world and the Koran’s influence on defining the ideals of masculinity and femininity. What does Islam proscribe for how to raise children and maintain a family? What can Muslim parents in America do to make sure their sons do not become Tamerlans and Dzhokhars? And what are other parents like the Tsarnaevs secretly doing right now to prepare their children for the glory of martyrdom? How does one raise a future Jihadist who loves death more than Americans love life? I look forward to seeing Robert explore these subjects and hope you will join us each week at PJ Lifestyle.
- David Swindle
In the movie Prizzi’s Honor, Jack Nicholson plays mafia hitman Charley Partanna, who is known as “Straight-Arrow Charley, the All-American Hood” for dutifully and unquestioningly carrying on the family business in which he was raised. And as more details emerge about the family of Boston Marathon jihad bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, it’s increasingly clear that they, too, were just carrying on the family business: jihad.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva is proud of her boys. She insists that they didn’t set off the bombs in Boston, and that in fact, the whole thing was staged. The bombings, she said, were just a “really big play” featuring “paint instead of blood.” Consistency is not her strong suit, for she also said: “What happened is a terrible thing but I know my kids have nothing to do with this. I know it, I am mother.” She claimed that her sons were targeted because they were Muslim, and said: “America took my kids away from me. I’m sure my kids were not involved in anything.”
The bombers’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, struck a tone more of grief than accusation. He assured the world: “I am not angry at anyone,” although he hinted that he also accepted his wife’s conspiracy theory when he added: “I want to go find out the truth.” Go, that is, to the United States, although plans for the trip have since been scrapped due to the possibility that he and/or his wife could be arrested if they do come here. “I want to say that I am going there to see my son, to bury the older one. I don’t have any bad intentions.” He added reassuringly: “I don’t plan to blow up anything.”
Just as Hitler loved his dogs, Tamerlan Tsarnaev loved his mama. Just before getting into a shootout with police in Watertown, Massachusetts, he called her on his cellphone and gave her the news:
The police, they have started shooting at us, they are chasing us….Mama, I love you.
PJ Lifestyle Editor’s Note:
This is Part 11, the conclusion, of Volume 1 of Robert Spencer’s Jazz and Islam series. Yes — Volume 1 does imply the intent for Robert to return to this subject again in the future so we can someday produce a Volume 2. As the Islamic War Against Freedom has intensified and arisen again into the foreground of public consciousness, Robert and I have decided on a new cultural angle through which he will seek to illuminate each week’s dark, confusing stories of jihad terrorism. I won’t reveal the secret yet of just what Robert’s new focus will be. But perhaps this astounding article today revealing the troubled story of a lost young man who poisoned his mind with deadly ideas will provide a hint of what’s to come…
– David Swindle
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who along with his brother Dzhokhar murdered three people and wounded nearly 200 more with twin bombs at the Boston Marathon, was a musician. John Curran, Tamerlan’s boxing coach, recalled: “He also played the piano very well.” The Lowell Sun reported that “Tsarnaev also studied music at a school in Russia and played piano and violin.”
As late as 2010, according to Gene McCarthy of the Somerville Boxing Club in Massachusetts, Tsarnaev was still playing:
“I brought him to the registration” for a boxing tournament, “and while he was waiting in line, he saw a piano and was playing classical music like it was Symphony Hall.”
However, the Associated Press reported Wednesday that “in the years before the Boston Marathon bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev fell under the influence of a new friend, a Muslim convert who steered the religiously apathetic young man toward a strict strain of Islam, family members said.”
Jazz and Islam, Part 10
When jazz and drug use were in danger of becoming as closely associated a team as salt and pepper, a movement began of jazz musicians converting to Islam – for Islam, according to John Coltrane biographer C. O. Simpkins, “was a force which directly opposed the deterioration of the mind and body through either spiritual or physical deterrents.”
Islam may have saved many prominent musicians from the “deterioration of mind and body” stemming from drug and alcohol abuse, but paradoxically, many of them joined the Ahmadi sect, which is persecuted by Muslims who consider it heretical.
Jazz artists who became Ahmadi Muslims include pianists Ahmad Jamal and McCoy Tyner (a.k.a. Sulieman Saud); saxophonists Yusef Lateef and Sahib Shihab; and perhaps most notably of all, drummer Art Blakey, who after his conversion styled himself Abdullah Ibn Buhaina. He didn’t use his Muslim name professionally, but it was well known among his musician colleagues, who often called him “Bu.”