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The Truth About the Inquisition and Islam

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Screen Capture from Video of Crucifixion in Yemen. – (Image: raymondibrahim.com)

I recall a conversation I had with an American university student, not too long ago, on how Christians today are undergoing persecution in the Islamic world as we have never seen before. This young person went our of her way to single out that the Catholic Church had done much worse with its Inquisition, sustaining that Islam never had anything to the like. When I asked her to provide evidence to prove her argument, her reaction was both impetuous and defensive: “I just know this is how it was and your Church is both racist and criminal.”

Many, as the student I conversed with, immediately point to the Dominican priest Tomas Torquemada (1420-1498), Catholic Spain’s “grand inquisitor,” and the “atrocities” committed in Spain, such as forcing Jews and Muslims to convert to Catholicism. There is quite a bit of misconception as to what, as is historically known as the Holy Inquisition was all about. I therefore would like to offer to those—and I am sure there are others out there who have found themselves in a similar predicament as mine—and to the reader some historical clarifications.

First and foremost, the Inquisition was not a system in which the Catholic Church sought to oppress and force conversions from non-Catholics. Yes, there were abuses, as with any system. The Inquisition, however, was primarily a state-sponsored office in which local regents and monarchs sought help from the Church to weed out heresy—the denial of Church doctrine(s) by a baptized person—that were creating social disharmony. A classic case was that of the Cathars during the 12th and 13th centuries.

Understanding that European medieval society was primarily a Christian society in both Eastern and Western Europe, heresy was a crime against the state. As historian Thomas Madden elaborates Roman law in the Code of Justinian made heresy a capital offense. Rulers, whose authority was believed to come from God, had no patience for heretics. Neither did common people, who saw them as dangerous outsiders who would bring down divine wrath. When someone was accused of heresy in the early Middle Ages, they were brought to the local lord for judgment, just as if they had stolen a pig or damaged shrubbery (really, it was a serious crime in England). Yet in contrast to those crimes, it was not so easy to discern whether the accused was really a heretic. For starters, one needed some basic theological training–something most medieval lords sorely lacked. The result is that uncounted thousands across Europe were executed by secular authorities without fair trials or a competent assessment of the validity of the charge.

Referring to the Spanish Inquisition, as Raymond Ibrahim points out, one of the primary reasons that prompted the Spanish crown to institute the Inquisition and appoint Torquemada in the first place is rarely acknowledged: the last bastion of Islam in Granada had been brought under Christian rule as the Reconquista came to a close; the half million Muslim citizenry were given lenient terms, including the right to travel abroad and practice Islam freely. But they abused them, including by launching many hard-to-quell uprisings—several “involving the stoning, dismembering, beheading, impaling, and burning alive of Christians”—and regularly colluded with foreign, mostly Muslim, powers.

Ibrahim goes onto say, when push came to shove, and to ward off suspicion, half-a-million Muslims feigned conversion to Christianity, regularly attended church, baptized their children, and learned all the ins-and-outs of Christian culture, while clandestinely working to subvert Spain, or at least Granada, back to Muslim rule. “With the permission and license that their accursed sect accorded them,” one frustrated Spaniard remarked in reference to the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya, “they could feign any religion outwardly and without sinning, as long as they kept their hearts nevertheless devoted to their false impostor of a prophet. We saw so many of them who died while worshipping the Cross and speaking well of our Catholic Religion yet who were inwardly excellent Muslims.”

Initially, the Inquisition became evolved into a formalized procedure with very-well trained Dominicans who were only answerable to the Pope, as the spiritual and terrestrial guide to Christian Europe. As royal authority grew during the 14th century and beyond, control over the Inquisition slipped out of papal hands and into those of kings and queens. Instead of one Inquisition there were now many. Despite the prospect of abuse, monarchs like those in Spain and France generally did their best to make certain that their inquisitions remained both efficient and merciful. During the 16th century, when the witch craze swept Europe, it was those areas with the best-developed inquisitions that stopped the hysteria in its tracks. In Spain and Italy, trained inquisitors investigated charges of witches’ sabbaths and baby roasting and found them to be baseless. Elsewhere, particularly in Germany, secular or religious courts burned witches by the thousands.

As I explain in my book Islam: Religion of Peace? The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Upunder the caliphate of Umar I, Muhammad’s second successor (634–644), the urgency for implanting a religious (Islamic) ethic, which had previously been the driving force among the Prophet’s supporters, became apparent. Therefore, rallying around the cause of Islam meant the diffusion of a Quranic rule of conduct: the only available ideological mechanism of the new military and religious state. 

It was not just the Arabs who had to be contained by the body politic, but the People of the Book (Jews and Christians), too. In what became known as mihna (“trial, ordeal, test”)—a term coined by medieval Arabic chroniclers to describe events that took place between 833 and 847 AD; initiated by the seventh Abbasid caliph al-Maʾmun (813–833)—we see the watershed moment in which the Islamic state and the ulama (Islamic religious scholars) developed its Quranic tenets in order to impose its oppressive sharia norms on society, such as the curtailing of religious freedom and independent thought, reducing women to property, prohibition of consumption of alcohol, waging war to propagate Allah’s kingdom, etc. Not much has changed in the Islamic world since the inception of its religion as a result of the sharia.

As already mentioned, there have been abuses by churchmen who took it upon themselves to exploit the Inquisition in order to comply to the whims of monarchs. That does not mean, however, that it was Church doctrine, nay, the Inquisition itself. With Islam, in what has been and continues to grow as sharia law, is a different story altogether.

N. B. I invite you to take a look at my book Islam: Religion of Peace? The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up. Everything you want to know about Islam and how to confront the Islamization of society is in it.

 

 

White House Administration Financially Islamists

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President Donald Trump receives the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal for his meritorious service to Saudi Arabia from King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud  at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. – (Photo: Getty)

While most of Americans are being overwhelmed with the impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, it has distracted most from another clandestine government operation favoring Islamists.  As reported by the Clarion Project, the U.S. government under the Trump administration has handed out tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to Islamist organizations, according to research by Sam Westrop at Middle East Forum (MEF).

As MEF noted, “between 2017 and 2018, the amount of taxpayers’ money given to organizations either influenced or controlled by Islamist activists more than tripled from $4 million to $13.5 million. Under the Obama administration, the amount given to Islamist-linked organizations averaged a mere $1.7 million each year.”

Most recently, in October 2019, the government awarded the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) with $100,000 in federal grant government money.

CAIR’s mission is “to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.”  Yet, as detailed at length by the Center for Security Policy, since its founding in 1993, CAIR has presented itself publicly as a benign Muslim American “civil rights organization.”  But from that time to this, the United States government has known that CAIR actually is an entity founded by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian franchise: Hamas, a group officially designated since 1994 as a terrorist organization.

CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest-ever terror funding case in American history. The government officially ended all partnerships with the organization in 2009 because of CAIR’s connection to funding the Hamas terror group.

Yet, CAIR was recently the recipient of the $100,000 Department of Homeland Security grant as part of its DHS’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

In addition to monies given to CAIR, MEF found that the government  gave:

  • $57,000 to the Muslim American Society (MAS). In 2008, federal prosecutors said that “MAS was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. Last year, children from an MAS school recited poetry about the killing of Jews
  • $100,000 to Dar al-Hijrah, an extremist mosque in Virginia. A 2002 Customs and Border Protection document stated that DAH is “operating as a front for Hamas operatives in U.S.” A December 2007 document said DAH “has been linked to numerous individuals linked to terrorism financing.”  Al Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki was DAH’s imam from 2001 to 2002. Al-Awlaki’s sermons were attended by two of the 9/11 hijackers and Nidal Hassan, who later shot 13 soldiers to death in a jihadi attack at Fort Hood in 2009.
  • $41 million in federal grants to Islamist radicals since 2007 (not including grants given in the  last few months).

Just last week, Clarion Project reported that a new bi-partisan bill designed to protect houses of worship may inadvertently empower Islamist vigilante groups like New York’s Muslim Patrol. Remember, it is not the liberal Islamist-loving Democrats that are doing this as it was under the Obama administration, as illustrated above—it is continuing to be done under President Donald Trump’s watch. gettyimages-685748534.jpg

How Trump Can Save Capitalism: A Lesson from FDR

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Whether one likes it or not, capitalism rules the today’s global society. With only the most minor exceptions, the entire world now organizes economic production the equal fashion: labor is voluntary, capital is mostly in private hands, and production is coordinated in a decentralized way and motivated by profit.

There is no historical precedent for this triumph. In the past, capitalism—whether in Mesopotamia in the sixth century B.C., the Roman Empire, Italian city-states in the Middle Ages, or the Low Countries in the early modern era—had to coexist with other ways of organizing production. These alternatives included hunting and gathering, small-scale farming by free peasants, serfdom, and slavery. Even as recently as one hundred years ago, when the first form of globalized capitalism appeared with the advent of large-scale industrial production and global trade, many of these other modes of production still existed. Then, following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, capitalism shared the world with communism, which reigned in countries that together contained about one-third of the human population. Now, however, to the dislike of the left-wing socialists, such as presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders or his protégé Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, capitalism is the sole remaining mode of production.

There is no doubt that the New Democrats of the House of Representatives are on the edge of forming a “third political” party movement with the end of annihilating capitalism for good.

President Donald Trump during the State of the Union Address last year said that “America will never be a socialist country.” One may ask how can he keep this from happening? The answer may be on how President Franklin D. Roosevelt saved capitalism with his all-inclusive politics.

The politics of the 1930s furnishes us with an excellent example of the way the American presidential system has worked to frustrate third-party efforts. One must know that the economic crisis of that time presented American radicals with their greatest opportunity to build a third party since World War I, but the constitutional system and the brilliant way in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt co-opted the left prevented this.

As authors Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks explain, FDR played a unique role in keeping the country politically stable during its greatest economic crisis. But he did so in classic or traditional fashion. He spent considerable time wooing those on the left. And though many leftists recognized that Roosevelt was trying to save capitalism, they could not afford to risk his defeat by supporting a national third party.

During the Great Depression, national attitudes shifted to the left, yet there was no strong radical movement committed itself to a third party during those years. A key part to preventing this and the eventual sterilization of capitalism was that President Roosevelt succeeded in including left-wing protest in his New Deal coalition. He used two basic tactics. First, he responded to the various outgroups by incorporating in his own rhetoric many of their demands. Second, he absorbed the leaders of these groups into his following. These reflected conscious efforts to undercut left-wing radicals and thus to preserve capitalism.

FDR demonstrated his skill at co-opting the rhetoric and demands of opposition groups the year before his 1936 reelection, when the demagogic Senator Huey Long of Louisiana threatened to run on a third-party Share-Our-Wealth ticket. This possibility was particularly threatening because a “secret” public opinion poll conducted in 1935 for the Democratic National Committee suggested that Long might get three to four million votes, throwing several states over to the Republicans if he ran at the head of a third party. At the same time several progressive senators were flirting with a potential third ticket; Roosevelt felt that as a result the 1936 election might witness a Progressive Republican ticket, headed by Robert La Follette, alongside a Share-Our-Wealth ticket.

To prevent this, Roosevelt shifted to the left in rhetoric and, to some extent, in policy, consciously seeking to steal the thunder of his populist critics. In discussions concerning radical and populist anticapitalist protests, the president stated that to save capitalism from itself and its opponents he might have to “equalize the distribution of wealth,” which could necessitate “throw[ing] to the wolves the forty-six men who are reported to have incomes in excess of one million dollars a year.” Roosevelt also responded to the share-the-wealth outcry by advancing tax reform proposals to raise income and dividend taxes, to enact a sharply graduated inheritance tax, and to use tax policy to discriminate against large corporations. Huey Long reacted by charging that the president was stealing his program.

President Roosevelt recognized that the long-range interests of his coalition and the Democratic Party were best served by encouraging radical groups, whether inside or outside the party, to feel as though they were part of his political entourage. Thus, as we have seen, he showed a willingness to endorse local and statewide third-party or independent candidates and give them a share of federal patronage. In return, they were expected to support the president’s reelection.

Trump can learn something from FDR, especially since his actions against Iran are similar to those of Roosevelt’s against Japan; the latter embarked on a campaign aimed at preventing Japan from securing oil for its war machine in China, a plan that might well be serving as a model for Trump’s actions against Iran. FDR’s plan consisted of three main things: Place a tight oil embargo on Japan; seize Japanese assets in the United States; and place humiliating terms on the Japanese in “peace negotiations”—as Roosevelt tightened the embargo noose around Japan’s neck, Japan was left with three choices: capitulate to whatever FDR dictated, withdraw its military forces from China, or strike the United States militarily in the hope of breaking FDR’s oil embargo; Japan chose the third option.

Not to equate Trump to FDR, let alone hint that Iran will attack the U.S. homeland because it would be literally impossible—Iran’s feeble reaction of the killing of Major Gen. Qasim Soleimani proved that. Yet there is something in FDR’s audacity and political cleverness Trump can incorporate that would not only keep the U.S. from capitulating to socialism but use capitalism to create the infrastructure President Roosevelt created for American society. It is not by taking on his opponents in the political arena, especially  their proposal of a “wealth tax”—they are just as bad as the elite on the other side who seek to clip the wings of the American Eagle in order to feather their own nests—but by simulating FDR’s inclusion of the critics of a free market economy. In that manner, as the Father of Capitalism Adam Smith once said: “[T]he rich [could] contribute [not forced to pay] to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

U.S. Officials Shamelessly Helped Saudi Criminals Escape

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Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman walks past an honor guard as he arrives to attend a meeting of defense ministers of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, July 20, 2016. – (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

For decades U.S. law enforcement had helped Saudi criminals escape justice. Thanks to a law quietly passed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and signed by President Trump in December, we now know that the Saudi government has helped an untold number of its citizens committing crimes here in the U.S. flee back to the Kingdom before facing justice.

In a stunning report yesterday, Shane Dixon Kavanaugh of the Oregonian/OregonLive said his paper obtained a declassified memo under the new directive. In it, the FBI reveals what it knows about Saudi criminals fleeing ahead of court dates, often in the middle of the night, and even after their passports were surrendered to judges.

Wyden’s Saudi Fugitives Declasification Act, which requires the FBI to declassify any information it may possess about the Saudi government’s role in helping accused criminals leave the United States, was added to the year-end spending bill that is slated to pass Thursday.

“It is long past time to stop treating Saudi Arabia as if it were above the law,” Wyden said. “My bill will finally force the federal government to cough up any information it may have about how the Saudi government may have assisted its citizens from fleeing beyond the reach of the U.S. justice system. The victims of these crimes deserve nothing less.”

“It is outrageous that Saudi nationals have committed serious crimes in the U.S. and have been spirited away in the dark of night with assistance from the Saudi government,”    said U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon Merkley). “When anyone commits a crime, they must be held fully accountable. Getting this bill across the finish line is a good first step to bring to light who knew what and when. We need to demand full accountability for these crimes and make it clear to the Saudi government that the United States will not allow Saudis to bypass our laws.”

Some of the crimes committed by Saudi citizen have been assault, rape and manslaughter, including the 2013 hit-and-run of a 15-year-old girl. It is done, press reports indicate, right under the noses of the FBI, Homeland Security, and “other agencies,” who have not intervened, ostensively because of the special security relationship between the two countries.

Under the pretentious rapport with Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism and Iran, federal officials seemed to deflect the problem (“it never came to my desk,” “there was little communication from local agencies”) it becomes clear that there was no incentive to make it an issue. And because of the heavy redactions in the memo, and what we are going to assume is scattershot reporting on this across the board, it is difficult to get a handle on how widespread this is.

Obviously this raises even more questions about our foreign military trainees, 21 of which are being expelled from the U.S. this week because extremist material and child porn were found on their computers and/or personal devices (apparently not enough to prosecute). According to federal officials the men were not tied to the Saudi trainee at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Pensacola who killed three airmen and injured eight others, while his compatriots captured it on video on Dec. 6.

Wyden and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, have introduced additional legislation that would get to the bottom of how fugitives are allowed to slip through the system. They appear to be the only members of Congress who actually care.

“The Saudis are supposed to be our allies,” Wyden told The Oregonian. “If these are our friends, who needs enemies?”

Seminarian Released by Boko Haram

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Some positive news in the land of persecuted Christians. One of the four kidnapped seminarian of Good Shepherd Major Seminary, Kaduna has been released by the Boko Haram kidnappers. On January 8 outside Kaduna city, capital of Kaduna state, four seminarians were kidnapped from The Good Shepherd Catholic Major Seminary.

“Armed bandits” abducted the seminarians after the assailants shot sporadically at students, professors and staff members between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., according to the Rev. Joel Usman, registrar of the institution. “After a head count of students with security agents, four seminarians have been declared missing.”

He was said to have been released and dumped along Kaduna-Abuja highways Saturday night where he was said to have been given helping hands by Good Samaritans and taken to the school authority.

One of the catholic priests in Kaduna city while telling the congregation after the homily on Sunday to pray for the safety and freedom of the embattled students, announced that, “We are happy to hear that one of the Seminarians has been released. He was dumped along Kaduna-Abuja highways, and occasionally, he was falling into coma. We pray that God will touch the hearts of the Kidnappers and release the remaining three. Keep on praying the Rosary for them”.

The Archbishop of Kaduna Catholic Archdiocese,  Bishop Matthew Man’oso Ndagoso had earlier on Friday said that in order not to jeopardise the lives of the kidnapped students, embargo has been placed not to disclose whatever amount the Kidnappers were demanding as ransom.

“We have streamlined discussion with the Kidnappers, it is only one person that is communicating with them, we can’t disclose any discussion with them”. He said.

 

Have American Forces Become Saudi Mercenaries?

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President Donald Trump holds a sword and dances with traditional dancers during a welcome ceremony at Murabba Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh.

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, accused the president a few days ago of selling U.S. military support to Saudi Arabia. She commented on what Trump said in an interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham the day before that he had pressured Riyadh to compensate the U.S. for a recent deployment to the Middle East. 

“We have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia. I said, listen, you’re a very rich country. You want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us. They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1 billion in the bank,” he said.

“He sells troops,” Amash tweeted in response.

What Trump was likely trying to convey, however inartfully, is that he is not letting America’s allies take advantage—if they want protection (which is exactly what the expanded U.S. defense presence in Saudi Arabia, announced back in November, is designed to be), then they will have to pay their fair share.

Amash, however, tends to have a point—our men and women in uniform are not mercenaries, bought and sold to the highest bidder, nor should they be considered as such. Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, who served for fifteen years as a Washington bureau reporter for FoxNews.com, stated that this is what today’s national security zeitgeist has wrought: the idea that Saudi Arabia is an ally (and the only backstop to Iran), so despite all of the billions the kingdom has in oil money, the United States is obligated to help defend it, at any cost (and you better believe, while the Saudis might be footing the bill, we’ll be paying on the back end by putting our people and interests further into harm’s way).

In his Farewell Address, George Washington warned against both passionate attachments and inveterate antipathies to other nations. He rightly perceived that both strong sentiments would lead Americans to put the interests of another nation ahead of our own or to lure the U.S. into unnecessary conflicts for reasons that had nothing to do with our security. The most relevant passage of the address says this:

The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation [bolded for emphasis].

A couple of months ago, President Trump authorized to increase the relatively light U.S. military presence in the kingdom from an advisory mission of about 800 to approximately 3,000—this was in reaction to the assault on the Saudi oil facilities on September 14, 2019, which both the Saudi and American governments accused Iran.

U.S. military officials say one important aspect of the deployment is the presence of American forces in more locations across the kingdom. The rationale is that Iran has demonstrated its reluctance to target American personnel, either directly or indirectly, in part because Trump has made clear that would trigger a military response.

Does this then mean that our men and women are not only sent overseas to defend another country, but used as human shields, too?

Trump has taken a transactionally hard line from when he first took office, nay, from his predecessors. Is this, however, America’s role? Based on what the Father of our Nation stated as he left office in 1797, I answer in the negative. Not to mention, the Saudi royal family is no hapless supplicant—they have plenty of money to splurge on their princes,  and have caused enormous instability in the region by their suppression of any democratic reform, throwing their weight around knowing Washington has had their backs. They might be crying austerity today, but the royal house of Saud lives in a kind of opulence most only sees in Hollywood movies. Yet they are so incompetent that they cannot build or maintain a proper army to save their lives. Hence, they depend on outsourcing, and it appears as if we are the ones they continue to hit up.

For the record, I applaud Trump’s anti-Iranian stance—the ayatollahs and mullahs have to go. But he cannot have it both ways—the Saudis are just as bad, if not worse. All one has to do is look at their human rights violations, their terrorist activities on September 11, 2001, in addition to the Pensacola shootings last year. To quote Vlahos, “[i]t is time to claw back from this toxic relationship, and the first place to start is to transform our current mission of  paternalistic “power projection” to one of “national defense.” Who cares what the House of Saud wants to buy—it’s not what the American taxpayer pays for, and amen to Amash for putting it in such bald terms.

The Iranian Crisis: A Blessing in Disguise?

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Iranian police officers took position while protesters gather in front of Amir Kabir University in Tehran on Saturday to remember victims of a Ukrainian airplane shot down by an Iranian missile. – (Photo: AP)

The Washington Post reported last Friday that President Donald Trump had called for a second assassination in what appears to be a broader operation to bring down the Iranian regime. The other targeted person was in Yemen; Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander in Iran’s elite Quds Force who has been active in Yemen, did not result in his death, according to four U.S. officials familiar with the matter. The operations continue to draw criticism from a mostly liberal audience.

Critics have consequently held Trump morally responsible for the Iranian regime’s incompetent downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, which indicates that they hate him more than they despise a vicious theocracy that stupidly murdered 176 innocent passengers, lied about it, and tried to cover up the evidence, until that was no longer possible. And despite the Trump administration failing to provide solid proof of “imminent” attack to anyone, including members of Congress in a classified briefing, it appears what has been an “impulsive” and “reckless” assassination of Soleimani may be working in Washington’s favor. In other words, Trump’s eliminating Soleimani may potentially become the domino that brings down the ayatollahs’ tyranny.

At present the Iranian government is grappling with mass protests from its citizens. The demonstrations broke out after the Iranian military said Saturday that it unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner last week, killing all 176 people on board, after denying for days that it was responsible. The protesters denounced what they called lying and incompetence by the country’s leadership.

Tehran metropolitan police chief Hossein Rahimi on Monday warned “abusers of the situation” that the country’s security forces would zealously defend the security of the Iranian people.

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Protesters carry an injured woman to the sidewalk’s edge near Azadi Square, in Tehran, in an image captured from video. – (Photo:UGC/AP)

A video shared by the U.S.-based Center for Human Rights in Iran and verified by the Associated Press appeared to show tear gas being used against protesters and gunshot injuries. But Rahimi denied that his forces had opened fire to quell the protests over the weekend, saying they had acted with “self-restraint,” according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.

Protests erupted across the country in November against austerity measures that raised fuel prices, aimed at shoring up government finances during a deep economic crisis, exacerbated by U.S. sanctions. Authorities responded with force, killing hundreds of people, rights groups and Iran-based reformist media say.

Senior editor at The American Conservative Robert Dreher said that “[a]nti-Trump Americans have to decide if they hate Trump more than they want Iranians to be free of the dictatorship. If the regime collapses, history will owe an extraordinary debt to President Trump. As someone [Robert Dreher] who criticized his Soleimani aggression, I feel the need to concede that.

Perhaps it may be wishful thinking, but it would be great of the Islamic theocracy could be soon overthrown with a democratic and laicized body politic that could peace and stability for Iranians and the region. And this would truly be a blessing!

 

Another Jihadist Attack Against Nigerian Christians: Where’s the Outcry?

We in the West have just learned about the latest genocidal act against Christians in Nigeria. Armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed thirteen Christians in Plateau state, Nigeria last Wednesday, the same day four students were kidnapped by Boko Haram from a Catholic seminary in Kaduna state.

About twenty herdsmen attacked the predominantly Christian village of Kulben, in Plateau state’s Mangu County, at about 8 p.m., area residents told Morning Star News. The thirteen dead were all members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), as were three people wounded in the assault, they said.

“They were shooting with guns in all directions, forcing the villagers to scamper into surrounding bushes,” area resident Michael Mutding, 40, told Morning Star News in a text message. “Corpses of those killed have been evacuated by soldiers and police to the mortuary of Mangu Cottage Hospital; and all the victims are members of COCIN.”

Catholic Seminarians Kidnapped

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Outside Kaduna city, capital of Kaduna state, four students were kidnapped from The Good Shepherd Catholic Major Seminary on Wednesday night (January 8), an official said.

“Armed bandits” abducted the seminarians after the assailants shot sporadically at students, professors and staff members between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., according to the Rev. Joel Usman, registrar of the institution. “After a head count of students with security agents, four seminarians have been declared missing.”

Contacted by phone, Usman told Morning Star News, “Yes, we were attacked last night as I said in the statement I issued earlier this morning. Kindly pray for the release of these students.”

ISWAP Christmas Executions

A break-away faction from Boko Haram, the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), on Dec. 26 released a video in Nigeria of the terrorists executing 11 people whom they said were Christians.

Saying the executions were in retaliation for the killing of Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an October U.S. raid in northwestern Syria and his likely successor in a separate attack, a voice on the video says those executed are Christians as a message “to the Christians in the world.”

The identities of those killed, however, were still not known. Timed near Christmas for maximum media exposure, the video showed executions thought to be ordered by IS around the world since the killing of Baghdadi and his likely successor, IS spokesman Sheikh Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir.

The 56-second video, released to Muslim Nigerian journalist Ahmad Salkida, shows the captives in orange tunics and kneeling as the terrorists stand behind them in black balaclavas. One captive is shot in the head, and the terrorists then slash the throats of the 10 others.

“This message is to the Christians in the world,” a voice-over says in Arabic and Hausa. “Those who you see in front of us are Christians, and we will shed their blood as revenge for the two dignified sheikhs, the caliph of the Muslims [Baghdadi], and the spokesman for the Islamic State, Sheikh Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, may Allah accept them.”

Indifference from the West and the Mainstream Media

Christian persecution in Nigeria, which can be traced back to the Sokoto caliphate (1804-1903), has surged since 2015 when Muhammadu Buhari was elected president. The late-Catholic bishop Joseph Bagobiri of the Diocese of Kafanchan (northwest Nigeria which has had  sharia law since 1999) had stated“The persecution of Christians in Nigeria is not given anything like the same level of international attention as persecuted Christians in the Middle East.” A most recent example of this—unreported by the Western mainstream media — was the killing of Father Paul Offu (southern Nigeria) at the hands of the Islamic Fulani herdsmen in August of last year.

Unfortunately, news of the ongoing tragedy in Nigeria hardly gets any recognition from the mainstream media. Last summer I had the opportunity to visit the persecuted Christians, specifically Boko Haram, in the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri (northeast Nigeria). As I traveled through the mostly 51,000 square mile terrain—in the outskirts of the city of Maiduguri—I spent some time with a woman whose husband, Yohanna, had been kidnapped by Boko Haram just two days prior. She was very much comforted by the parishioners of her parish of St. Augustine, who were praying and hoping against hope that he would be released. Regrettably, just hours after spending some time with her, Yohanna’s dead body was found. Like Offu’s murder, this is just one of many tragic stories that go unreported.

Of course, within the past few years, some of the victims to Boko Haram and the Fulani nomads have been Muslims. However, when the destruction of lives and property is done and it comes to rehabilitation/reconstruction and rebuilding of lives, government funds are used to rehabilitate Muslim communities and compensate Muslims, meanwhile Christians are left out and discriminated upon. Some of the visible and practical forms of persecution and challenges that Christians have learnt how to live with for decades include:

  • denial of land to build places of worship (churches). The last time that a Certificate of Occupancy was issued for a church building within the Diocese of Maiduguri was in 1979;
  • denial of Christian religious curricula in the primary and secondary levels; instead they are forced to study Islam.
  • denial of jobs and promotion in government parastatals;
  • political exclusion and denial of political office;
  • forceful abduction and marriage of Christian girls;
  • reserved courses for Muslims in higher institutions of learning.

 

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Temporary shelter for Christians – Many of them widows and orphans as a result of Boko Haram (Photo: Author’s personal collection)

As the Father John Bakeni, a priest from Maiduguri, told me, the persecution of Christians is prevalent. “About four years ago, they came to us. There was no place for them to stay. Nobody wanted to take them in, not even the housing communities. The diocese has been solely responsible for their welfare and their upkeep. Like other displacement centers, they have received little or no attention from the government. Not even NGOs of Christian roots and origin. People don’t want us to say this in public, but that is the fact.”

Support from Nigerian lawmakers and Islamic-Western Allies

Then-Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan(2010-2015)—who is a Christian—had said in in 2012 that Boko Haram has supporters and sympathizers “in the executive arm of the [Nigerian] government; some of them are in the parliamentary/legislative arm of the government, while some are even in the legislative arm. Some are also in the armed forces, the police and other security agencies.”

As I reported elsewhere, the Islamic militants are also backed by countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Yet because the CIA has also been linked to them, such clandestine operations, which are no longer a “secret,” continue to be carried out.

How the Mainstream Media Distorted Coverage of Iran and Killing of Soleimani

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Viewers and readers of mainstream media outlets this week might assume America is on the brink of World War III. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, President Trump’s actions in Iran proved to be critical in re-establishing American deterrence.

Nevertheless, journalists and mainstream media outlets did their best to conjure reports of apocalyptic, World World III level threats, and to place blame for their causes at the feet of Trump.

Here are five times, just this week, the mainstream media completely botched the coverage of both Trump’s work in Iran and the killing of terrorist Quds force leader Qasem Soleimani.

1. Calling Soleimani’s Death An “Assassination”

In 2011, when Obama took out al-Queda terrorist Osama bin Laden, his death was celebrated in the United States. After all, he was the mastermind behind the horrific 9/11 attacks in New York City. But, in 2020, when Trump took out Quds force terrorist leader Soleimani, the New York Times decided to deem his death as an “assassination.”

The Boston Globe published an op-ed making the case that the US killed bin Laden, but assassinated Soleimani.

2. Soleimani Was A “Revered Military Figure.”

According to the Washington Post, the best way to label the brutal terrorist Soleimani is to highlight his military ranking. The Washington Post referred to Soleimani as a “revered military figure.”

The New Yorker published a eulogy reflecting on the violent terrorist days as a strapping, young bodybuilder.

“Sulemani, a flamboyant former construction worker and bodybuilder with snowy white hair, a dapper beard and arching salt-and-pepper eyebrows, gained notice during the eight-year war with Iraq, in the nineteen eighties,”  the New Yorker reads.

3. U.S. Coverage Runs With Propaganda From Iranian State-Run Media

Mainstream media coverage highlighted commentary from Democrats who called what Trump did to Soleimani an “act of war” despite military intelligence of attacks that Soleimani was planning against the US. Media parroted this talking point, saying that Trump is escalating an already tense situation into war. This talking point come from the authoritarian, government-run news media in Iran.

Media reports shared the Iranian narrative that Iranian citizens were saddened by the death of Soleimani. NBC News showcased the “huge crowds” that turned out to allegedly mourn Soleimani’s death. CNN also reported, “crowds swarm[ed] Tehran to mourn slain Iran military leader Soleimani.” These reports conveniently omit the fact that most of this crowd was forced to attend Soleimani’s mourning.

One Iranian journalist, Masih Alinejad wrote that the government forced students and officials to attending Soleimani’s funeral by busing students in and ordering businesses closed. “According to videos sent to me by people inside the country, the authorities are making little kids write essays praising the fallen commander. First-graders who didn’t know how to write were encouraged to cry for Soleimani.”

4. World War III Is Looming

CBN News reported, the U.S.-Iran showdown has left some wondering, will we have World War III? In fact, the media’s affect on U.S. citizens was so prominent that the Selective Service’s website actually crashed.

“Due to the spread of misinformation, our website is experiencing high traffic volumes at this time. If you are attempting to register or verify registration, please check back later today as we are working to resolve this issue,” the Selective Service Twitter account said.

Due to the spread of misinformation, our website is experiencing high traffic volumes at this time. If you are attempting to register or verify registration, please check back later today as we are working to resolve this issue. We appreciate your patience.

5. Media Reported Iraq Government Voted To Expel U.S. Troops

Media outlets reported that the Iraqi government voted to expel United States troops from Iraq.

“On Friday, Iraq’s caretaker prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said that he had asked U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to send a delegation to Iraq that could establish a plan for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country,” reported the Washington Post.

In reality, Iraq’s prime minister resigned in December due to Iraqi protests stating the Mahdi government was controlled by Iran. The majority in the Iraqi government is Shiite controlled, and considered anti-American, where as the minority Sunni and Kurd populations have a more favorable sentiment towards U.S. troops. The Sunni and Kurd MPs in the Iraqi government actually boycotted the vote designed to expel U.S. troops.

The vote was also non-binding, but that wasn’t fitting to the mainstream media narrative, which left that fact often omitted.

6. MSNBC Falsely Reported American Casualties

After the U.S. killed Soleimani, Iran responded by firing ballistic missiles at Iraqi air bases which housed U.S. troops. There were no American or Iraqi casualties from these missiles. This didn’t stop MSNBC from falsely reporting Iranian propaganda that 30 Americans were killed from the missiles.

“Iran’s state media is claiming that 30 U.S. solider have been killed in this attack,” said MSNBC’s Ali Arouzi. Later in the segment, MSNBC host Chris Hayes acknowledged & emphasized that MSNBC’s Iran correspondent was sharing completely unverified Iran state media claims about dozens of U.S. soldiers being killed. 

Source: The Federalist  January 10, 2020, by Chrissy Clark.

Trump’s Iranian Discourse: Who Comes Out On Top?

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President Trump addresses the nation after Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes against U.S. forces in Iraq. – (Photo: Evan Vucci/AP)

President Donald Trump, in today’s televised address to the nation said that Iran appears to be backing away from conflict with the U.S. He also indicated that there will no further U.S. military strikes, after an Iranian missile barrage on U.S. bases that seemed calibrated to avoid further escalation. “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.”

What struck me the most in Trump’s discourse is what he said at the very beginning: “As long as I’m president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.” While I hope that I am wrong, I have a gut feeling that Iran already possesses such power. Whether the Iranian regime does or not, it is not going to brag about it as North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un has been doing. My personal experience with Persians for these past ten years has been something along the line, “if Iranians say they seek to accomplish something, they already have.” That being said, if the Trump administration is so apt to keep nuclear technology away from rogue regimes, why is it helping Saudi Arabia achieve this?

In early March of this year, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry approved six secret authorizations by companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia. The apparent goal is to construct at least two nuclear power plants in the Kingdom.

Concern in both houses of Congress about sharing nuclear technology and knowledge with the Saudis arose after the American-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered last October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

After Saudi Arabia belatedly confessed to its role in the murder, it has insisted that the crown prince (and effective ruler), Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud (MBS) was oblivious to the plot carried out by a 15-man team, which included members of his security detail. Many American lawmakers object to this “unconditional” military support to Saudi Arabia citing humanitarian and other concerns. Last August, a Saudi-led coalition warplane bombed a school bus in northern Yemen, killing 51 people, 40 of them children. The four-year-campaign has killed an estimated 50,000 civilians; in addition, nearly 12 million are reported to be on the verge of starvation.

While officially, Saudi Arabia will be required to forgo enriching or reprocessing spent uranium if it wants to secure a nuclear-technology-sharing deal with the U.S., the Trump administration has been in negotiations with the Saudis for an agreement that could benefit Westinghouse Electric Co. and other American companies that want to construct or sell nuclear reactor technology to the kingdom. This too has has been met with increasing alarm by Congress and others concerned that the Saudis could enrich nuclear fuel into weapons grade material. Those concerns were heightened after the Trump administration said it might not insist on the so-called “Gold Standard” barring such activities.

To think that the Saudis, after all of their human rights violations, which includes public beheadings and crucifixions and suppression of freedom of speech and religion, would be faithful to any accord that would limit their goals is as good as relying on the Iranian regime staying faithful to the nuclear deal it agreed to in 2015 with the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China and Germany. The very fact Iran recently pulled out as a result of the conflict with the U.S.—as if the deal were exclusively contingent on America—shows it had no consideration for the other countries that were part of the agreement. This will only incentivize Saudi Arabia to get nukes of its own.

It serves us to know that the present Iranian crisis is fixated on the American military presence in Iraq. Iran want the U.S. out so that it could expand its hegemony over the predominant Shi’ite population; the U.S. wants to stay for the same reason it invaded the country in 2003: exploitation of oil and natural resources.

For anyone who has had direct contact with people in the Middle East, he or she understands that the indigenous people do not distinguish one American president from the other, i.e., regardless of the policies of individual U.S. presidents, it is still the same United States of America. Hence, Iraqi Shi’ites and even Christians view the U.S. with great suspicion. And there is reason for this.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, instead of using the opportunity to widen the circle of U.S. allies or at least non-enemies in the Middle East, the Bush administration declared war on “all terrorism of global reach,” not just on the Sunni terrorists responsible. That meant not seeking some sort of détente with Shiite Iran—despite its assistance in overturning the Taliban in Afghanistan and forming a replacement government—but putting Tehran in an “Axis of Evil” with North Korea and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The Bush administration also reneged on its promise never to trade leaders of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK)—a militant Iranian group nurtured by Saddam that fought on Iraq’s side during the Iran-Iraq war—for members of al-Qaeda detained in Iran. Instead the U.S. gave the group protection arguing that the MEK could be deployed against Iran.

In any case, Trump, while rightfully pressing Iran to change its inhumane behavior, cannot look the other way when it comes to other draconian regimes, such as the ruling-Saud family in Saudi Arabia or Turkish President Recep Erdogan—they appear to be the victors in all this. He has gone our of his way to sell arms to the Saudis, let alone providing the means to develop nuclear power; he has called Erdogan a “hell of a leader” and a “friend.” Trump can still and should change his behavior toward them, lest he gives credence to what his critiques say: “Donald Trump seems to dislike all Muslims, except those who buy American arms or host Trump properties.”