Saturday, November 17, 2007

The hate industry in Egypt

The hate industry:
a review of anti-Semitic literature published in Egypt in recent years and sold at the Cairo International Book Fair. Such literature, marketed from Egypt across the Arab and Muslim world, is designed to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish people, virtually justifying the use of violence against them. 
1. The present Information Bulletin reviews seven anti-Semitic books purchased at the Cairo International Book Fair, held between January 24 and February 4, 2007 . Held annually in Egypt , the book fair attracts hundreds of publishing houses from across the globe, many of them being from the Arab and Muslim world.
2. Egypt is the Arab world's biggest center of publishing anti-Semitic literature. Such literature is marketed across the Arab and Muslim world, distributed through the Internet, and sold every year at the Cairo International Book Fair. Such literature is also marketed to such Arab fairs as the 17th Arab Book Fair, held in Qatar in December 2005. (1) The books covered here, including new versions of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, are a representative sample of the extensive "industry" of anti-Semitic literature produced by Egyptian book publishers. The anti-Semitic literature is also targeted against the State of Israel and the Zionist movement, with hatred against the US , the West, and Christianity being a fairly common theme as well.
3. The books reviewed recycle lies, fabrications, and anti-Semitic myths rooted in classical European and Islamic anti-Semitism. Characteristically, the Jews are said to possess all manner of negative qualities and are presented as the source of evil and cause of corruption everywhere in the world. The Jews are accused of striving to take over the world and blamed for all the wars and revolutions ever to befall mankind. Their holy books—the Torah (claimed to be falsified by the Jews) and the Talmud—are presented as a list of instructions for the Jews to murder gentiles and take over the world. Defamations and lies, such as the use of gentile blood for baking the Passover matzos or the claim that Jews are the descendants of monkeys and pigs, are recycled over and over again in those anti-Semitic books.
4. As is the custom in Egypt, the authors of the anti-Semitic books, full of lies and mindless drivel, hold academic and religious degrees and serve in social or official capacities (such as Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Hijazi al-Saqa, who holds a PhD in Comparative Research from Al-Azhar University, or Ibrahim Abu Dah, general manager and editor-in-chief of the oppositionist weekly Al-Siyasi al-Misri). Some anti-Semitic book publishers are big, such as Madbuli Publishing, one of Egypt 's largest. All that combines to give an air of credibility and scientific objectivity to the lies and defamations targeted against the Jewish people.
5. That anti-Semitic literature, whose publication and distribution go against the spirit of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, has a negative impact on Israeli-Egyptian relations, spreading hatred against the Jews across the Arab and Muslim world as well as Arab and Muslim communities in Western countries. (2) Thus, the anti-Semitic myths, lies, and drivel take hold in the consciousness of those exposed to such literature, demonize and delegitimize the Jews, and lay the foundations for acts of violence against them.
6. Despite its ability to impose strict censorship, the Egyptian government nevertheless allows the publication of anti-Semitic books (including The Protocols of the Elders of Zion ) and statements widely distributed through the written and electronic press. It allows that phenomenon to exist as part of a policy designed, as we understand it, to hinder the process of normalization with Israel, as an expression of its displeasure with Israel in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as a factor contributing towards Israel's isolation in the Middle East, and as a pressure release valve, mostly on the part of the radical Islamic opposition.
7. Following are the books reviewed in the present document: (3)
a. "The Nature of the Jews [as reflected] in the Torah and the Talmud, by Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Hijazi al-Saqa ( Cairo , Maktabat Zahran Publishing, 2003).
b. " Israel 's Follies and the Lies of Zionism—Religion and State", by Ibrahim Abu Dah ( Cairo , Maktabat Zahran, 2003).
c. "The Complete Version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion ", by Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Hijazi al-Saqa ( Cairo , Maktabat Zahran Publishing, 2003).
d. "The Jews and the New Crusaders, the Religious and Political Controversy", by Muhammad Younes Hashem ( Cairo , Dar al-Ibda' lil-Sahafa wal-Nashr wal-Tawzi', 2005).
e. "The Divine Inspiration and its Reversal, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion ", by Dr. Baha al-Amir ( Cairo , Madbuli Publishing, 2006).
f. "The Children of Israel and the Lie of Semitism", by Dr. 'Ayid Taha Nassef ( Cairo , Mu'assassat Taibe lil-Nashr wal-I'lam, 2005).
g. "Secrets of the Bastions of the False Messiah in the Hidden Island Triangle, the Wandering Jew and the Bermuda [Triangle] Region", by Muhammad Issa Daoud ( Cairo , Madbuli al-Saghir Publishing, 2005).

Book 1: "The Nature of the Jews [as reflected] in the Torah and the Talmud"by Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Hijazi al-Saqa

Front cover illustration:  an illustration of Earth with a ship called "World Zionism". The Jews are portrayed as snakes that take over and ruin the world. The text on the snake lair in Russia says "The Communist Revolution"; another lair in France has the text "The French Revolution". The text on a drowning ship near England reads "The English Revolution". The message is that the Jews are responsible for spreading revolutionist ideas and stood behind all the revolutions that took place in Western countries. At the bottom of the drawing is a book whose title is "The Torah, the Talmud, and The Protocols", next to which is a knife cutting the world and causing it to bleed. The message is that the Jews use the Torah, the Talmud, and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to spill blood and take over the world.

Appendix A  
Selected list of Information Bulletins published by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center on anti-Semitic literature published in Egypt
1. "The Grand Mufti of Egypt in the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion – a "fictitious book" that "has no truth to it"; in his article he categorically denies having written the foreword to the 2003 edition of The Protocols , which was attributed to him" (May 15, 2007).
2. "Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism: the Iranian media gave wide coverage to the Holocaust denial conference held in Cairo by marginal opposition parties. The conference was rife with anti-Semitic propaganda, and the director waved The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and repeated the lies it contained" ( January 7, 2007 ).
3. "The Arab hate industry: Egypt continues as a center for the publication of crude anti-Semitic literature encouraging hatred for Israel, the Jewish people and the West, and in effect justifying the use of violence against them" (October 29, 2006).
4. "Monitoring anti-Semitic publications issued in the Arab countries: two anti-Semitic books published in Egypt in 2005 preach hatred of the Jewish people, the state of Israel and the Zionist movement (with no distinctions made between the three) and provide religious Islamic sanction for violence against them" (January 8, 2006).
5. "Exporting Arabic anti-Semitic publications issued in the Middle East to Britain : anti-Semitic books ( The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf ) issued in Egypt and Lebanon are sold in bookstores in London " ( October 10, 2005 ).
6. " The Protocols of the Elders of Zion still a hit on the Egyptian book market: Two new versions of The Protocols, published in Egypt in 2003, are offered for sale in Cairo's bookstores and, in our assessment, are marketed throughout the Arab and Muslim world" (January 25, 2005).
7. "Anti-Semitism in the Contemporary Middle East" (April 2004; the Egyptian section).
8. "A new Arabic edition of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was issued in Egypt in July 2002, by the same company that publishes the weekly establishment newspaper, Akhbar al-Youm, one of the five large publishing houses still under Egyptian government control" (January 2004).
9. "The Arab Information Center: An independent publishing house operating in Egypt, on behalf of Palestinian radical Islamists and in which members of the Egyptian political opposition are also involved, openly conducts an extensive, ongoing, anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian propaganda campaign. The Center's crudely anti-Semitic publications, preaching hatred and inciting terrorist acts against Israel , the Jews and the Zionist movement (as well as the United States and Britain ). They are written by various (sometimes distinguished) Arab scholars and distributed (usually to subscribers) throughout the Arab and Muslim world, to Muslim communities in the West, to the Palestine Authority (PA)-administered territories and even to Israeli Arabs" (January 2004).

1 For a review of anti-Semitic books sold at the International Book Fair in Qatar, where the most prominent anti-Semitic publishing houses were from Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon, see Information Bulletin: "The Arab hate industry: Egypt continues as a center for the publication of crude anti-Semitic literature encouraging hatred for Israel, the Jewish people and the West, and in effect justifying the use of violence against them" (October 29, 2006).

2 For an example of exporting a Protocols edition from Egypt to London, see Information Bulletin dated October 10, 2005: "Exporting Arabic anti-Semitic publications issued in the Middle East to Britain: anti-Semitic books ( The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf ) issued in Egypt and Lebanon are sold in bookstores in London".

3 For additional anti-Semitic books published in Egypt and reviewed in earlier bulletins of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center , see Appendix.

HTML  version with illustrations: The Hate Industry


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Iran: to bomb or not to bomb? That is the question

Bush won't bomb Iran and neither will anyone else.
Rattling the Cage: Bush won't do it
Larry Derfner , THE JERUSALEM POST  Nov. 14, 2007
I don't think President Bush is going to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, not before the presidential election next November 4, and not between then and the day he leaves office the following January 20, either.
As reckless as he is, I don't think he's that reckless. He wouldn't make a move that could set off WMD missile wars, invasions, coups, Islamic revolutions and whatnot all over the Middle East, then just fly back to the ranch and let somebody else clean up the mess. If Bush was at the beginning of his term, he might do it, but not with time running out, and not when he's heading into the sixth year of two Middle Eastern wars he can't win and can't quit.
And that was the situation before this month's state of emergency in Pakistan reminded everyone that Iran isn't the only country where Islamic fanatics could get the Bomb; Pakistan already has it, and the Taliban is that country's rising power.
Bush has to ask himself: What effect would a US attack on Iran do to the situation in Pakistan? Would it strengthen the Taliban even more, would it bring them closer to taking over a nuclear-armed country of 160 million people?
This is just one more nightmarish possibility Bush has to consider before hitting Iran. The likelihood that Iran would hit back with missiles against nearby US bases and against Israel is another. A US ground war in Iran is another. The launching of Syrian and Hizbullah missiles against Israel is another. A Shi'ite uprising against US forces in Iraq is another. The list goes on from there.
EVEN IF Bush wants to bomb Iran's nuclear factories, he knows it will not be the end of the problem, or even the beginning of the end of the problem, which is something he did not know before invading Afghanistan and Iraq. The other thing he knows now is that US armed forces have their limits, and that those limits have about been reached in America's two ongoing wars.
And if he hasn't figured this out on his own, then the people newly in charge of the US military are telling it to him and will continue telling him as his term runs down.
This is Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "We're in conflict in two countries out there right now. We have to be incredibly thoughtful about the potential of in fact getting into a conflict with a third country in that part of the world." (New York Times interview)
This is General George Casey, commander of the Army: "The demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply. We are consumed with meeting the demands of the current fight, and are unable to provide ready forces as rapidly as necessary for other possible contingencies." (Congressional testimony)
This is Admiral William Fallon, head of Central Command (Middle East): "This constant drumbeat of conflict [with Iran] not helpful and not useful."(Al-Jazeera interview)
Above all, there is Defense Minister Robert Gates. According to Britain's Daily Telegraph, "Insiders say Mr. Gates has ensured that Mr. Bush has seen more extensive studies of the probable negative effect of an attack on Iran than he was privy to before the war in Iraq."
THEN THERE is Bush's alter ego, Condoleezza Rice, who sides with Gates and the military men. The only administration heavyweight said to be eager to bomb Iran is Dick Cheney, but for once he seems to be outweighed.
Bush obviously doesn't like the idea of leaving behind an Iran primed to go nuclear, but he knows that an aerial assault, even if successful, would not end the nuclear threat from the world of radical Islam. Whatever he does or doesn't do in Iran, that larger threat will still be waiting for his successors in the White House. But if Bush bombs Iran, his immediate successor will have not two Middle East wars to fight, but possibly three or four, not to mention the new wars Israel might face.
It's too much of a gamble. Aside from the life-and-death consequences involved, a US attack on Iran would doom the Republicans' chances in next year's election, while an attack in the 21⁄2-month window between the election and Bush's departure is just too crazy to imagine.
Bush isn't crazy. It's not going to happen.
Which means, in my opinion, that Israel isn't going to bomb Iran either, at least not on this president's watch. Such an assault would obviously expose the Middle East and the rest of the world, including America, to huge risks, so Israel would need America's permission. And if Bush decides that attacking Iran is too risky a move for America to make - which I'm convinced he will decide, if he hasn't already - then he won't allow Israel to make that move, either.
So, relatively speaking, I'm optimistic. The most dangerous course of action would be to bomb Iran, but I realize very clearly that not bombing Iran isn't going to leave the world safe. The forces of militant Islam are the nemesis of our age, whether they get nuclear weapons one day or remain with the biological, chemical and conventional weapons they have today. It's going to take courage to overcome this enemy, but it's going to take wisdom, too.

Abbas & Hamas: Sh*t hits fan

The inevitable has come to pass. A movement with democratic secular aspirations cannot coexist with a movement of armed religious fanatics.
Ami Isseroff
Last update - 13:52 15/11/2007 
Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called on Thursday for
the overthrow of Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers - his first explicit demand that they be removed.
"We have to bring down this bunch that took over Gaza with armed force, and is abusing the sufferings and pains of our people," Abbas said in a speech in Ramallah.

In the past, the Palestinian leader, who has set up a separate government in the West Bank, has not gone beyond demanding that Hamas apologize for overrunning Gaza and reverse the takeover.
In his speech, Abbas lashed out against the outlawed gangs affiliated with Hamas in Gaza City, where forces loyal to the Islamic group opened fire on a mass rally by his Fatah movement on Monday. Eight civilians were killed and dozens were wounded in the strongest Fatah challenge to Hamas rule since the Hamas takeover.
Hamas also rounded up more than 400 Fatah activists, and on Wednesday announced media restrictions and plans to curb public gatherings.
Discontent in the strip is growing, in part because Israel's closure of Gaza's borders immediately after the Hamas takeover has shut down many factories, cost tens of thousands of jobs and driven up prices.
Hamas' efforts to cement its grip on Gaza coincides with efforts by Abbas and Israel to bridge differences ahead of a high-profile summit in the U.S. this month. The conference is aimed at relaunching peace talks and bolstering Abbas in his struggle with Hamas, which does not recognize his mandate to negotiate.
Abbas said in his speech that his government was working relentlessly to make the gathering a decisive-launching pad for establishing a Palestinian state.
But he demanded that Israel halt all settlement construction, release Palestinian prisoners, and end its assassinations of Palestinian wanted men.
Abbas spoke on the 19th anniversary of the Palestinians' declaration of independence at a meeting in Algeria. The declaration has not brought about the establishment of a Palestinian state, but is regarded as important because it implicitly recognized Israel's right to exist.

What is happening in Israel and the Middle East?

An astute commentary on Israel and the Middle East by a foremost Israeli analyst
Just the Hard Facts
The hard core of cold facts tends to be washed away in the flood of hollow verbiage in the media's coverage of the twists and turns of the Middle Eastern imbroglio. Daydreams obscure the line of vision to the true horizon, as do misleading analyses and sheer prejudice.
Gaza: Over the coming year, there is no doubt that Hamas, in its upgraded military mode, will be producing Qassam-type missiles with a range of 20-25 kms, bringing all of Ashkelon, Kiryat Gat, Netivot, Ofakim and the many kibbutzim and moshavim that surround them into the line of fire. Over a quarter of a million Israelis will be in range. Moreover, Hamas will be able to fire the rockets from the heart of Gaza, without having to send launch teams to the open areas close to the border fence.
All of which means that unless there's a miracle and a full and stable cease-fire is in place, the government, whether eagerly or out of a lack of any alternative, will have to order the army to carry out a major operation to clean up the Strip, along the lines of the dazzingly successful Operation Defensive Wall in the West Bank in 2002. It will probably be harder and cost more casualties. The army is already preparing for the campaign and Hamas is working feverishly on its defense plans, based mainly on heavy rocket fire into Israel - dozens a day - and fortifications and trenches around the launch sites.
The West Bank: The Palestinian security apparatuses are not in control of the whole area. If it were not for Israel's regular preemptive counterterror raids, Hamas could, if it so wished and even without the use of armed force, paralyze the functioning of the Palestinian Authority. There's no chance that things will change in the foreseeable future. The Fatah movement has in fact ceased to exist, although there are still tens of thousands of card-carrying members. There is no meaningful process of resuscitation or reform under way in either the PA, or its ruling party, Fatah. In private conversations, associates of the PA chairman, Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen), call him "a pensioner still going to the office." For example, the Al-Amari refugee camp in the heart of Ramallah, the "capital" of the PA, has openly declared itself beyond the jurisdiction of the Palestinian police.
When British intelligence operatives asked leading members of the Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades in Nablus who their enemies were, they replied: Hamas, corruption, collaborators with Israel, and Israel itself, in that order. The militiamen, in other words, see the rotten government of Abu Mazen as more of a target than the settlers. Instead of gaining strength after the debacle in Gaza, Fatah on the West Bank is growing weaker.
The Annapolis Conference: Abu Mazen has been heard joking with his bureau staff that "after 20 years, I've gone back to being a teacher." What he means is that he finds himself engaged in long hours of explaining to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about the land mines on the way to a permanent settlement. The Egyptians have already advised finding a suitable pretext to postpone the parley indefinitely. Meanwhile, it is becoming clear to all parties to the negotiations that there is no chance of agreement on a declaration that will herald even a hint of a breakthrough. If Abu Mazen compromises, he will be assailed by both Hamas and much of Fatah. If a vague statement is issued, everyone will say yet again that he has nothing to offer to his people.
The Palestinians are fuming at Rice for having trapped them in a corner and have begun to try and get out of it by renewing the talk about a "third step" in the Oslo process that was never implemented. What this means is an attempt to get more territory on the West Bank from Israel without having to reach any substantive
Lebanon: Without knowing how the grave internal crisis in this country will end, these facts are already clear: Hizballah is building a large quasi-divisional formation north of the Litani River, as part of an effort to link the Shi'ites of South Lebanon to the Shi'ite heartland in the Beka Valley, through a corridor across the Christian and Druse villages that separate the two. Syria and Iran are supplying the militia with long-range rockets, anti-tank missiles and other advanced materiel that it never had in the July 2006 war. In the area controlled by UNIFIL south of the Litani, Hizballah is also building its "nature reserves" or rocket-launching bases and underground bunkers in the mountains, quietly but unhindered, and reorganizing, on a larger scale, its deployment in the Shi'ite villages near the Israeli border. The U.N. force is simply not effective in preventing this.
Syria: Following the successful Israeli air strike at the "reactor" that they had begun building in their eastern desert, the Syrians have adopted a new "blocking" doctrine (murnana'a in Arabic). It entails avoiding war with Israel in the new future but deepening involvement in Hizballah and Hamas, creating threats and provocations by using these proxies on other fronts. In the event that Israel's patience runs out, the Syrian military is preparing an "offensive defense" - a capability of attacking the Israeli hinterland with hundreds of heavy missiles, while blocking an Israeli armored attack on the Golan Heights.
Iran: According to the evaluations of most Western intelligence services, the Iranian nuclear program will reach its "point of no return" (the production of sufficient weeapons grade uranium to make a nuclear weapon) in 2010/11, with some even putting the date as early as 2009. And there is already no doubt that in parallel to the overt program that is open to inspection there is a covert, military plan to actually make nuclear weapons, and not only to cross the technological threshhold. The time for drawing conclusions is running out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Distorting the image of America - on purpose

Special Dispatch-Reform Project/U.S. and the Middle East
November 15, 2007
No. 1766
Editor of Arab Reformist Website: Dictatorial Arab Regimes are Winning the "Battle for Hearts And Minds" In America
In an editorial in the Arabic reformist website, editor Omran Salman explains the failure of American public diplomacy efforts and blames the dictatorial Arab regimes of being behind the campaigns to smear America as part of their struggle for survival.
The following is the editorial.(1)
"The Distortion of the Image of the U.S. Has Become a Political Objective for Arab Governments in Their Struggle for Survival"
"The news of the resignation of Karen Hughes, the official responsible for American public diplomacy who was tasked with improving the image of America abroad, especially in the Middle East, was received with relative quiet. This was in contrast to the news of her appointment to the position in 2005, which enjoyed wide coverage and high hopes.
"But Hughes failed in her mission, though with distinction, and it is expected, or so it is hoped, that this failure will deliver a severe shock to American diplomacy that may perhaps awaken it from the delusions and bureaucracy that are firmly established in the corridors of the Department of State.
"In any case, it was not destined for that Hughes would succeed in 'winning the hearts and minds of the Arabs' in all circumstances, and this has nothing to do with her skills or her competence.
"According to the Reuters article that reported her resignation, Hughes is known for her fast-talking, enthusiastic style, a trait that was not always well received, particularly in the Middle East.
"But this is not the reason, of course. The distorted image of the United States – in the Arab world, at least – is not due to lack of information about the motives and nature of American foreign policy, and not because Arab citizens have insufficient information about American life, or the laws or institutions of the United States.
"The residents of the Arab world do not live on another planet, and they are not isolated from the revolution of rapid communication, technology, and the Internet, where anyone can push a button and get the information he wants. Many Arabs have visited the United States or have a relatives or friends living in America.
"The real reason is that the distortion of the image of the United States has become a political objective for Arab governments in their struggle for survival, and a tool to banish the specter of democracy and change in the Arab region.
"Those conducting this smear campaign are primarily autocratic Arab regimes, as represented by Ministries of Information. They have decided to make the United States pay the price for toppling one of their regimes – the regime of Saddam Hussein – and then calling for reform in the region."
"What Those Conducting American Public Diplomacy Do Not Realize is that, in the Arab World, Little Happens by Chance"
"To this end, they poisoned the views and ideas in the Arab world, and filled the minds of the people with such extraordinary superstitions, fantasies and conspiracy theories, beginning with the accusation that the CIA and the Jews masterminded the attacks of September 11 and not ending with the 'Crusader war' that President George Bush has declared on the Islamic world.
"What those conducting American public diplomacy do not realize is that in the Arab world, little happens by chance.
"When Karen Hughes visited a school in an Arab capital to meet with the pupils, or a social institution to meet with its employees, she thought that people were speaking naturally and revealing what they actually believe – their opinions, in fact – especially toward the United States.
"Such things may happen in America, where people are free in what they believe and what they say. But it is naive to assume that the same thing happens in the Arab world.
"In the Arab world, numerous authorities intervene to shape people's views and impose on them what to say. First, there is the information authority, for the most part owned by the government or by agencies close to it; this information, whether it comes in the apparent form of news or opinions, teaches people negative views of the United States day in and day out.
"Then, there is the imam of the mosque. Generally, he is a government official, and it is impossible for him to leave cursing the Jews, the Nazarenes (Christians), and the global arrogance – headed of course by America! – out of his sermons."
"Those Who Conduct American Public Diplomacy Have Allowed the Arab Governments and Their Corrupt and Despotic Agencies To Deceive Them – And Have Then Themselves Attempted to Deceive American Public Opinion"
"And then there is the school – a government institution – which programs the pupils from childhood on with hostility toward everything non-Arab and non-Muslim, and programs them to believe in declaring other Muslims apostates and infidels, and in jihad, and in the restoration of the Caliphate and the revival of Arab and Islamic glory – to which the West is an obstacle!
"Instead of researching the true reasons for the distortion of America's image in the Arab world, and presenting a list of the organizations and individuals engaged in the distortion – which in any case takes place openly, in broad daylight – those who conduct American public diplomacy have allowed the Arab governments and their corrupt and despotic agencies to deceive them – and have then themselves attempted to deceive American public opinion.
"What they do not know is that they have become a joke in the Arab world, subject to jest and ridicule from all sides.
"Thus, instead of the United States winning the hearts and minds of Arabs and Muslims, the Arab governments and Muslim Brotherhood have ensnared the hearts and minds of many State Department diplomats, as well as those of some of Washington's influential research institutes."
(1), November 2, 2007.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Egypt: Is this torture or is it a good idea: 80 lashes for slanderers

Is 80 lashes for slander "torture"? Is it constitutional?
Also contributing to this interpretation was the fact that on the previous Friday, Sheikh Tantawi had called for a boycott of newspapers that "spread false rumors."(4)
That would be a terrible disaster for Middle East and other newspapers, as their readership would drop to zero. And no Muslim could read The Guardian and The Independent. No more titilating tales of impending Israeli attacks on Iran, no more stories about Mossad agents and 9-11, no more of Robert Fisk's uranium bombs in southern Lebanon.
A good Idea Sheikh Tantawi! Sahten.
Ami Isseroff
MEMRI: Inquiry & Analysis-Egypt
November 14, 2007
No. 404
Egyptian Journalists Up In Arms Over Al-Azhar Sheikh's "80 Lashes for Slanderers" Fatwa
By D. Lav and L. Azuri*
Press freedom issues in Egypt are continuing to make headlines, both within the country and outside it. In several September 2007 court cases, newspaper editors received prison terms for spreading what was ruled to be false information about government officials.(1) Then, on October 8, 2007, Al-Azhar Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi gave a speech, in the presence of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, during which he stated that, based on a verse in the Koran, slanderers should be punished with 80 lashes. Coming as it did in the wake of the high-profile prosecutions of the independent press, many in the press took Sheikh Tantawi's statements to have been directed against journalists, setting off a lively polemic and leading to demands that he step down as Sheikh of Al-Azhar.
Al-Azhar Sheikh Tantawi: 80 Lashes for Slanderers
On October 8, 2007, Al-Azhar Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi delivered a speech to mark Laylat Al-Qadr, a holy day during the month of Ramadan that celebrates the beginning of the revelation of the Koran; among those present was President Mubarak. During his speech, Sheikh Tantawi said that slanderers should receive a punishment of 80 lashes.
According to the official Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, Tantawi said: "Islamic shari'a made everyone equal with regard to punishment for the crime of slander... Allah punished those who slander others with false accusations with three punishments. The first is sensory, and it consists of their being flogged with 80 lashes. The second is moral, and consists of their testimony not being accepted. The third is religious, and consists of Allah describing them as sinners."(2)
While there is no evidence that Sheikh Tantawi mentioned journalists or singled them out for punishment, the fact that his speech came against the backdrop of a recent slew of high-publicity prosecutions of journalists led many to conclude that this was his intention – and this fact was reflected in the newspaper headlines.(3) Also contributing to this interpretation was the fact that on the previous Friday, Sheikh Tantawi had called for a boycott of newspapers that "spread false rumors."(4)
In a statement, the Egyptian Journalists' Union said that the statements attributed to Sheikh Tantawi came as a "profound shock, as though he were participating, from his elevated position, in the escalating campaign of incitement against the press." It added that the statements attributed to Tantawi were "doing the greatest damage to Egypt's international reputation."(5)
On October 19, 2007, Sheikh Tantawi told Al-Arabiya TV that his Laylat Al-Qadr speech had not been directed specifically against journalists, but against anyone spreading false rumors. He added that that this was Allah's law, not a law of his own invention, and that it was no fault of his if it applied to journalists as well.(6)
Grandson of Past Al-Azhar Sheikh: Tantawi is an Unimportant Man in an Important Post
In the meantime, calls for Tantawi's removal from his post as Al-Azhar sheikh began to surface. In a sharply worded statement, Islamic scholar Tareq 'Abd Al-Halim, grandson of past Al-Azhar sheikh Salim Al-Bishri, said that he would take judicial action to remove Tantawi, and that if he did not succeed, he would demand that his grandfather's name be removed from the list of former heads of Al-Azhar.
In his statement, 'Abd Al-Halim said that Sheikh Tantawi's ruling on the flogging of journalists (as he put it) was the latest in a series of fatwas in the government's favor, and that it supported the government's attack on freedom of expression. He said that the post of Al-Azhar sheikh was an important one that had been entrusted to an unimportant person who adopted opinions based on the degree to which they concurred with the government's whims.(7)
The matter also became a bone of contention between rival Al-Azhar scholar associations. In a meeting headed by Tantawi himself, the official Al-Azhar Academy of Islamic Research decided to issue a statement in support of Tantawi.(8) The Front of Al-Azhar 'Ulama rebutted with a sharply worded criticism of the academy's statement, saying, "Allah and history will not forgive you," stated its support for the press, and expressed its view that the Koranic verse cited by Tantawi dealt only with false accusations of adultery.(9) 
Mustapha Bakri, member of parliament and editor-in-chief of the Egyptian weekly Al-Usbu', also expressed his intention to ask President Mubarak to remove Tantawi.(10)
The official Al-Ahram daily, on the other hand, came to Tantawi's defense; in an October 17, 2007 article, editor Osama Saraya wrote that the press's reaction to Tantawi's speech reflected "a crisis of dialogue among a minority that wants to impose its view, through violence and raised voices, on the majority." He added that Tantawi had not been speaking specifically about the press, and that he was simply expressing a religiously definitive law on slander.(11)
Saudi Liberal Journalist 'Abdallah Al-Mutairi: We Must Stop Looking On With Medieval Eyes and Thinking With a Medieval Mind
On October 17, 2007, the liberal Saudi daily Al-Watan published an article by columnist 'Abdallah Al-Mutairi criticizing Sheikh Tantawi's statement. Al-Mutairi wrote that the fatwa was evidence of the "medieval" state of contemporary Islamic thought and of the need for comprehensive reform:
"In a new fatwa, Al-Azhar Sheikh Tantawi demanded that journalists who 'spread rumors' should receive 80 lashes, in accordance with the [Koranic] punishment for defamation...
"This fatwa could be taken as an indicator of the state of Islamic thought today...
"Could this kind of fatwa be issued today anywhere but in the Islamic world? Could a religious leader anywhere [else] in the entire world demand the flogging of journalists? I don't think this occurs anywhere except in the Islamic countries...
"The majority of peoples in the world are moving towards an intellectual and human horizon in which flogging journalists for publishing unreliable reports is not only unacceptable, but unthinkable.
"The entire world understands the role of the press as the fourth estate that must be accorded the freedom to monitor affairs in the country and the world, and that allows opinions to be represented and assumes its right of expression. Humankind has reached this horizon in the modern age, and it is an important and significant development in the understanding of human freedom and the right to expression...
"And where does Islamic thought today stand in relation to all of this? Or, to be more exact, where do the important, popular, and influential Islamic ideological currents stand in relation to this horizon?... They still look on with medieval eyes and think with a medieval mind...
"In the 1960s, the Catholic Church made peace with modernity and stopped accusing it of apostasy. It recognized all of the Age of Enlightenment's freedoms and accomplishments, and recognized the other religions and freedom of belief... This development in Church thought followed a long series of violent and bloody struggles with free thought...
"In the Islamic [world], this development has not been achieved. Perhaps this is because the struggle has not yet reached the level of the Church's struggle with free thought. The events of 9/11 may be one of the forms of this struggle or clash with the world, but the ideological struggle has not yet materialized in a form that can help shatter fundamentalism and as a result develop [new] Islamic thought.
"In other words, there has not yet formed an influential and active ideological current outside of the religious currents – one that will struggle with them on the ideological level and force them, through criticism, to develop, and abandon the medieval horizons where they hunker down...
"When the Al-Azhar sheikh was asked about this fatwa that he issued and the journalists' anger at it, he said: 'I am free... I say what I believe... Is this not the freedom of opinion for which they call? They allow it for themselves and forbid it for others.'
"[His] use of this 'freedom' excuse... was meant to vex the journalists, and was not [spoken] out of conviction. [Tantawi] does not differentiate between employing freedom to make use of it and to seek more of it, and employing freedom to lessen it, to forbid it to a group of people, and to demand that they be flogged...
"The important thing today is for the ideological and political currents based on human rights and freedoms to redouble their efforts to establish these concepts [of human rights and freedoms], and to openly and clearly confront the thinking that is opposed to them..."(12)  
Egyptian Islamic Reformist Gamal Al-Bana: The Fatwa Has No Basis in Islam
In an October 17, 2007 article in the Egyptian opposition daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm, prominent Islamic thinker Gamal Al-Bana(13) argued that Sheikh Tantawi's fatwa had no basis in Islam, and that he was betraying the cleric's proper role of standing with the people against oppressive rulers:
"...I was stunned to read [Tantawi's] words, because the traditional position with which the people entrusted clerics has been to stand together with the people against the ruler and with the weak against the strong. For [Tantawi] to encourage the ruler to punish the press is something that places the religious scholar – the 'successor to the prophets' – in the same trench with the oppressive ruler, and that uses religion in accordance with [the ruler's] political will..."
Al-Bana also disputed Sheikh Tantawi's reading of Koran 24:23, on which he based his punishment for slander. The verse reads: "Those who slander chaste [but] heedless believing women are cursed in this world and the next, and they will be severely punished." Al Bana writes: "These verses were revealed in order to protect the 'chaste [but] heedless women' from being falsely accused of adultery. Allah wanted to protect these poor women, who have neither power nor might, and cannot defend themselves, or even speak.
"Is it right to draw an analogy between these poor women and the government, which has power, might, an army, central security, and police divisions that spread terror and use torture?! Is it this government that is in need of protection, or rather the helpless people?...
"Today, the press is the only voice that is raised to protect the people's moral and material rights; to guard its assets and resources; to fight the policy of 'selling off Egypt'; to reject the succession [of Gamal Mubarak], which is contrary to [both] Islam and democracy; to fight the spreading corruption, which has become ubiquitous in the ministries, the banks, and [public] institutions; and so forth...
"I would hope that the honorable Al-Azhar sheikh would see press activities as a kind of [fulfillment of the Koranic injunction of] 'commanding good and forbidding evil,' especially as only the press is capable of doing so, and thus this becomes a personal obligation [for it]...
"The press has been doing what Al-Azhar should have been doing..."(14)
Egyptian "Heretic" Salah Al-Din Muhsin: Don't Blame Tantawi, Blame Shari'a
In contrast to Gamal Al-Bana and others who argued that flogging journalists is against Islam, Salah Al-Din Muhsin, a liberal secularist Egyptian author who spent three years in prison on charges of offending the religion,(15) wrote on the left-wing Modern Discussion website that there was no sense in blaming Sheikh Tantawi, as the real problem lay in Islamic shari'a and its role in Egyptian public life:
"...The punishment of flogging is an uncivilized punishment which abases human dignity. It is among the punishments employed in ancient times; since then many centuries have passed, and these [punishments] have become outdated. It is unthinkable to revive it today.
"But, frankly, I think that the demand to fire the sheikh of Al-Azhar is no less unjust than the injustice and darkness of the fatwa [itself]...
"The sheikh of Al-Azhar is not responsible for the fatwa and the flogging law. That law goes back to the ages of backwardness and primitivity. The law of flogging, the law of cutting off hands, [the law of] beheading..., the law of stoning, and the law of cutting off [a person's] opposing  arm and leg – all of these crude and harsh laws and punishments are laws in Islamic shari'a.
"So why blame the Al-Azhar sheikh personally? Did he bring this law from his father's house? Did Sheikh Tantawi invent something of his own? By no means. These are laws in Islamic shari'a, and [Tantawi] was speaking in his capacity as sheikh of Al-Azhar, the greatest Islamic university...
"Whoever has a just opposition to this law [and] this fatwa should be honest and should not demand that this person be fired, but rather should demand that shari'a, that rules by outdated laws, not be implemented. And he should demand that this shari'a not be taught, and that its laws not be taught at Al-Azhar University...
"So take your hands off Sheikh Tantawi; take your hands off the sheikhs. They, and we, are victims and prisoners of the Bedouin's ancient desert ignorance. The time has come to liberate ourselves, and to liberate them..."(16)
*D. Lav is Director of MEMRI's Middle East and North Africa Reform Project and L. Azuri is a research fellow at MEMRI.
(1) See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 396, "In Egypt, Debate on Press Freedom Follows Imprisonment of Opposition Press Editors," October 12, 2007,
(2) The transcript for the speech was given to columnist Salah Al-Muntasar by Minister of Religious Endowments Dr. Zaqzuq. Al-Ahram (Egypt), October 24, 2007.
(3) Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), October 10, 2007; Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 12, 2007.
(4) Al-Misriyyun (Egypt), October 26, 2007.
(5) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 12, 2007.
(6) Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), October 20, 2007.
(7) Al-Misriyyun (Egypt), October 22, 2007.
(8) Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), October 21, 2007.
(9) Al-Misriyyun (Egypt), October 26, 2007.
(10), October 14, 2007.
(11) Al-Ahram (Egypt), October 17, 2007.
(12) Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), October 17, 2007.
(13) For more on Gamal Al-Bana, see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 334, "Sheikh Gamal Al-Bana: Social and Religious Moderation vs. Political Extremism," March 16, 2007,
(14) Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), October 17, 2007.
(15) See Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 28, 2001.
(16), October 19, 2007.

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Historic first: Peres addresses Turkish Parliament

It is not every day that the President of Israel gets to address a Muslim legislature. Peres's visit to Turkey is doubly significant because Turkey is slowly turning away from the secularism of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and moving toward an Islamic society of as yet unknown description. President Gul's election was controversial because of his supposed sympathies with clericalist opinion. Israeli-Turkish friendship could be the model for remaking the Middle East.
ANKARA - In an historic first address to a Muslim state parliament by an Israeli president, Shimon Peres told Turkish lawmakers Tuesday that Israel is ready to end its decades-long conflict with the Palestinians.

In the first speech by an Israeli president before a Muslim legislature, Peres said, "Israel is determined to reach a two-state solution."

Peres expressed the gratitude of Israel to the people in Turkey who opened their doors to Jews when they were expelled from Spain in 1492. Turkish Sultan Beyazid II accepted Jews into the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey, after they were expelled from Spain.

"Here, they found a home of tolerance where they could freely practice their religion," Peres said in his speech, given in Hebrew and translated into Turkish. "I came here to express my gratitude to Turkey."

Turkey also aided Jews fleeing the Holocaust, including Turkish Jews abroad.

Turkey's President Abdullah Gul and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were among those in the audience in Turkey's 550-seat Parliament.

Earlier Tuesday, Abbas expressed optimisim on the prospects for peace, following a meeting with Peres in the Turkish capital.

"If peace comes and the occupation comes to an end, Israel will live in a sea of peace," Abbas said at a joint news conference with Peres.

Abbas said his administration was preparing for the upcoming Middle East conference in Annapolis, Maryland, aimed at relaunching peace negotiations between the two sides after they broke down amid violence seven years ago.

"We are working with our full force to ensure that the meeting in Annapolis is a success," he said.

Turkey asks Peres for a Turkish Cypriot representative office in Tel Aviv

Turkey has requested openning a Turkish Cypriot representative office in Tel Aviv, according to Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who raised the issue at his meeting with President Shimon Peres Monday.

Peres said he would have to discuss the matter with Israel's Foreign Ministry before replying.

The Israeli delegation to Turkey was surprised when Gul broached the matter of Turkish Cyprus at the first meeting. In 1974, following a coup against the democratic Cypriot government by the Greek military junta then ruling in Athens, Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied the northern half of the island. In 1983 the Turkish minority there declared independence, which is seen by the world, apart from Turkey, as occupied territory of sovereign Cyprus.

Gul told Peres that Israel must halt settlement construction in the West Bank if it wishes to seriously pursue peace efforts with the Palestinians. "Israel's security is important, but one can't ignore Palestinian problems," he said. "Israel must stop building in settlements."

Palestinian leaders, he said, "spread out maps before me and show me the settlement growth. It doesn't leave me much to say on the matter."

Peres told a joint news conference that he believed that Israel could currently make peace with the Palestinians, but cautioned that the process might take time.

Gul told Peres that Damascus should be invited to the Annapolis peace summit at the end of the month, and that Syrian President Bashar Assad "is interested in real peace." Peres said "Assad needs to take action that shows he is serious, and come to Jerusalem."

The two presidents also discussed U.S. congressional legislation - to which Turkey is vehemently opposed - which labels the massacre of Armenians during World War I as a genocide.

"It's not a good idea to spoil relations between Turkey and Israel because of events from 90 years ago," Gul told Peres, "but we can't stand a situation in which every half year the issue is raised in the United States."

Regarding the Iranian nuclear threat, Peres told Gul that it is clear that Iran, which claims its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, is actually trying to develop nuclear arms. Gul disagreed, but said Turkey would not stand for Iran acquiring nuclear arms.

Peres requested that asked Gul send the Siloam inscription - describing the tunnel digging in King Hezkiya's days in 703 CE and now exhibited in Archaeological Museum of Istanbul - to Jerusalem for Israel's 60th anniversary.

More bad news from Pakistan: Bhutto under house arrest

In Pakistan, the United States has clearly gotten itself into a lot of trouble, once again supporting an oppressive and unpopular regime, in the name of "democracy." Pervez Musharraf, who declared an emergency in order to ensure the "correct" outcome of elections, has now put his prinicple opponent, Benazir Bhutto, under house arrest, according to the Washington Post. Bhutto was to lead a protest march against the emergency decrees. Supposedly, she is to run as Prime Minister, and is favored to win, in the upcoming elections. The troubles began when Musharraf refused to step down as head of the armed forces as required by the constitution, and fired several judges who declared the move unconstitutional.
Ami Isseroff

Pakistan is spinning out of control

Once again, the US has gotten itself involved over its head in the intricacies of Muslim world politics. Pervez Musharraf, dictator of Pakistan, was "koshered" when he cooperated in the war on terror. Now however, he has reinstituted an "emergency" in order to ensure the "right" election results. Pakistanis have rebelled against this sort of "democracy," which will be inevitably blamed on the US, though there is not really much the US can do to "force" democracy on Pakistan.
The result may ultimately be a radical coup of the kind that took place in Iran. Then there could be an Islamist government running a nuclear state. That can't be good.
From Al-Jazeera:
Bhutto calls on Musharraf to quit   
Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's opposition leader, has urged the international community to stop backing Pervez Musharraf and called on him to quit as president.
Bhutto, currently under house arrest in Lahore, said on Tuesday: "Musharraf must quit. He must quit as president and as chief of army staff.
"I call on the international community to stop backing ... the man whose dictatorship threatens to engulf this nuclear-armed state in chaos," she said.
She also said for the first time that she would not serve under Musharraf is he wins elections he has promised by January 9.
"I would not serve as prime minister under a man who has  repeatedly broken his promises, who is a dictator," said Bhutto, who has previously held talks with Musharraf on sharing power.
"Look what he is giving to the nation - imposing an emergency,  suspending the constitution and cracking down on democratic forces.
"We gave him a roadmap for a peaceful transition but he has flouted  that," she said.
Pakistani police put Bhutto back under house arrest at the home of a party official hours before she was to lead a protest rally to the capital, Islamabad.
Security forces are surrounding the area where Bhutto is currently detained and dozens of Bhutto supporters have been arrested.
As hundreds of extra police moved in around the home where she was staying and set up barricades on streets, a senior government official said her planned procession would not be allowed.
'Assassination fear'
Aftab Cheema, the Lahore police chief, said that Bhutto had been served with a week-long detention notice.
Police have said Bhutto could be the target of a suicide assassination bid, like the one that killed 139 people at a rally last month welcoming her back from eight years in self-imposed exile.
Last week, police blocked her from leaving her Islamabad home to hold a rally in the nearby city of Rawalpindi.
Al Jazeera correspondent James Bays met several opposition politicians in hiding or under virtual house arrest, including Imran Khan, the former cricketer now head of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, Tehmina Daultana, an MP close to exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Qazi Hussain Ahmad, president of the Jamaat-e-Islami.
All said it would be impossible to contest an election under the emergency rule Musharraf imposed on November 3. 
Commonwealth pressure
Musharraf, who suspended the constitution, sacked most judges, locked up lawyers, rounded up thousands of opposition and rights activists and curbed the media, has come under mounting pressure from Western allies to set Pakistan back on the path to democracy.
He said on Sunday general elections would be held by January 9 but declined to say when the constitution would be restored, saying the emergency rule would ensure a free and fair vote.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, and George Bush, the US president, on Monday urged Musharraf to lift the emergency.
And the British Commonwealth gave Musharraf 10 days to lift the state of emergency or have the country suspended from the group.
 While suspension would be largely symbolic, it could have implications for development assistance.
Pakistan was suspended in 1999 following the military coup that brought Musharraf to power but readmitted in 2004 after perceived progress on democratic reforms.

Barak: Israel should launch its own peace initiative

Quote: "Defense Minister Ehud Barak supports a comprehensive peace initiative that would include promoting a peace agreement with Syria, Ynet has learned Monday evening.

Barak has told his associates in recent days that only such an initiative could stop other peace plans, like the Arab peace initiative, from being forced on Israel.

According to the defense minister, the issue of talks with the Syrians should be reexamined, and a change of policy may lead to positive results. He stressed that with Syria, "the price is known and the outcome important."

"Why not have an Israeli initiative?" Barak asked his aides. "Why shouldn't we stipulate out interests, what we want, what we are willing to give, and then launch our own peace plan as a starting point for negotiations?" he

A very good suggestion, but why didn't he do it in 2000? Why hasn't Israel ever laid out at least minimal requirements for a peace agreement? How is it that after all this time, Saeeb Erekat still doesn't understand that "peace" requires that the Arabs accept Israel as the state of the Jewish people?
Ami Isseroff

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hezbollah is Iran's Army in Lebanon, not a Militia or Resistance.

Hezbollah is Iran's Army in Lebanon, not a Militia or Resistance.
By: Elias Bejjani

November 13/07
Hezbollah's General Secretary Sayed Hassan Nasrallah delivered a fiery and  tantamount speech on Sunday November 11/07 in which he vows to maintain his party's Military Might, challenged the whole free world, the UN resolutions, the majority of the Lebanese people, and evilly refused to disarm. His speech was seen by many observers as an open and bold declaration of war, and a mean Iranian-Syrian instigation for a coup in Lebanon. He said verbatim: "No one in the world can disarm Hezbollah, The resistance in Lebanon has determination, will, manpower and sufficient weapons to face Israel in a new conflict, No to the implementation of the UN Resolution 1559.( Security Council Resolution 1559) Hezbollah's recent maneuvers convey a message that the resistance is ready to make a historic victory that would change the face of the region. Any Lebanese president elected by a simple majority will not be recognized by the opposition, which would consider him to be an impostor,"
Clear, public, strong and deterrent stances in regards to Nasrallah's recent threats are urgently required from all Lebanese parties, communities and institutions, the United Nations and its Security Council, Europe, Free world countries, and the Arab League, because Hezbollah, this Iranian "Wilayat Al Fakih, Republican Guards" party, is apparently determined to topple the Lebanese democratic regime and erect in its place a replicate of the oppressive and religious Iranian Republic.
It is no longer acceptable, by any measure of law and self-respect, for any Lebanese from any social, religious, or ethnic background to surrender or remain passive towards these national and moral debaucheries. We, the Lebanese both in Lebanon and the Diaspora, must rebel against this hostage conditioning imposed upon us by terrorist and fundamentalist groups.
It is no longer acceptable that the Lebanese tolerate any further coexistence with conditions of fear, obedience, self-delusion, falsification of facts, and false witnessing.
It is no longer acceptable that the Lebanese play the role of the falling prey hiding behind outdated and obsequious political stances.
We should not remain silent watching the madness of pervert politicians whose only goal is to serve their own self-interest, bank accounts, and lust for power
that inhabits their sick minds, all at the expense of the nation, its survival, and the Lebanese people's livelihood and dignity.
The highest of these sacrileges is the Hezbollah condition, its confused terminology, its fabricated accomplishments, its destructive role, its Irano-Syrian expansionist conspiracies, and its aggressions of all forms. This party, invented by Iran and nurtured by Syria since 1982 has been tasked with murder, assassinations, terror, the subjugation of the Lebanese Shiites, and the sabotage of the Lebanese regime and its dismantlement. This is neither a party, nor a resistance; rather, it is a formal de facto Iranian Army stationed in Lebanon, directly backed in weapons and funds by the Iranian regime. Hezbollah's ties to the Iranian regime transcend Lebanon's
boundaries, and the group returns the favor to Tehran by training Shiite insurgents in Iraq to attack US interests there and worldwide.
No one among the Lebanese ignores that the financier, the ideologue, and the decision maker behind Hezbollah's marching orders is simply the Iranian regime. All Hezbollah's local leaders are appointed and demoted by Iran. Their absolute loyalty is to Iran and to the religious edicts originating from its Mullahs. These Iranian agents have not one grain of loyalty whatsoever to Lebanon, its institutions, its constitution, and its society.
Hezbollah's ethics and the doctrine of its masters in Damascus and Teheran consider Lebanon their war playground, no more no less. And the declared duty of
this "Jihadist"-"Godly" party is to transform Lebanon by all means into a satellite state to Iran's "Wilayat Al Fakih" state, a replicate of its fundamentalist mullah regime imposed through terror on the Iranian people.
The Syrian occupier (1976-2005) nurtured the Iranian Hezbollah during its 30 years of occupation of Lebanon. It provided it with all necessary logistical support to dominate its zones of influence within Lebanon in all aspects: militarily, culturally, and religiously. The Assad regime allowed Hezbollah to erect its own closed security quarters in Beirut, the South, and the Bekaa. As to the Iranian mullah regime, it committed to the financing, armament, and training of Hezbollah as well as the control of its administration, direction, and decision making.
There has never been a consensus on Hezbollah's "resistance" role, because it was never a resistance against Israel as it has marketed itself. Neither was Israel's withdrawal back in 2000 due to Hezbollah's "resistance". It was rather based on a public decision adopted by the Israeli state since 1985 due to local Israeli domestic considerations and to constant pressures from the Clinton Administration. Indeed, Hezbollah's actions played in favor of the Israeli occupation of the south lasting as long as it did, by delaying for 15 years an otherwise inevitable withdrawal. The reason: The presence of the Israeli army in Lebanon was convenient to the Syrian and Iranian regimes. This is why, following that withdrawal in 2000, Hezbollah - again instructed by Damascus and Tehran - concocted the Shebaa Farms
charade to justify its continued "resistance" and its raison d'etre to continue raping Lebanese sovereignty and inflicting harm to Lebanon as a nation and as a people.
The so-called "consensus" on Hezbollah's "resistance" during the Syrian occupation was a coerced position obtained through force and terror, and had nothing to
do with the deliberate will and thinking of the Lebanese people. The "Shebaa Farms" themselves were occupied and annexed by Syria from Lebanon in the 1950s - after the murder of 3 Lebanese gendarmes posted there - until they were captured by Israel in 1967 during the six-day war. Shebaa falls under UN resolutions 242 ( Security Council Resolution 242) and 338, (Security Council Resolution 338) and are considered by the international community as Syrian land. Hezbollah, Syria and Iran have marketed this lie to justify their continued occupation of Lebanon and to continue fomenting tensions along the Lebanese-Israeli borders.
It must be noted that the 1989 Taef Accord  (Taef Accord) never mentioned any role of a "resistance". It banned all armed organizations and weapons outside the legitimacy of the Lebanese State, and explicitly called for all militia weapons to be surrendered to the State as well as for the disbanding of all militias within 6 months of the implementation date of the Accord . It also upheld  The 1949 Lebanese-Israeli Armistice Agreement
It is to be noted as well that the 2004 UN Resolution 1559 is an international embodiment of the "Taef Accord". It repeats clearly and without any ambiguity all of the provisions of Taef as to the disbanding of militias, the collection of illegal Palestinian and Lebanese weapons, and the support for the establishment of the Lebanese State's authority over all its territory using its own armed forces.
So to all the Lebanese sovereignist politicians and all honest Lebanese we say: Enough self-delusion, end the humiliation and the submission, announce loud and
clear, candidly and without fear, to all the media, that Hezbollah was never a "resistance", and that under all international and legal norms, Hezbollah is a formal Iranian Army stationed in Lebanon. Therefore, all allegations as to its so-called "resistance" role and its "sacred" weapons, are simply a crime against the truth and a brazen aggression against the people of Lebanon, against our existence, history, and dignity. As to those who suggest the merger of Hezbollah with the Lebanese army, they need to understand that such move would allow Hezbollah to dominate the army of the Cedars Nation and to consequently transform the Lebanese state into a total Hezbollah state. So be vigilant against this mortal ploy.
Any Lebanese presidential candidate who avoids dealing with these truths with courage and candor will be a toy in the hands of Hezbollah, a hostage in the hands
of its masters in Damascus and Teheran, and an obedient tool in the hands of Hassan Nasrallah who would complete his domination of the Lebanese State.
In summary, the entire Lebanese problem today can be defined in two visions. The first is one of a free, sovereign, and independent Lebanese State with its thriving civil society, coexistence model, freedoms, democracy, and peace under international law and UN resolutions. The second is one of an Iranian-Syrian Hezbollah mini-state which, through threats and force, is expanding like an octopus to swallow the whole of Lebanon, impose its ideology and stone-age fundamentalism and totalitarianism, will annihilate everything Lebanese in identity and history. It will kill all that Lebanon has stood for centuries by making it a hostage to antiquated Islamic and Arab Nationalist ideologies.
The choice between these two visions is one to be made by the Lebanese who in their vast majority opted for the Lebanese State when 1.5 million of them demonstrated on March 14, 2005 during the peaceful and civilized "Cedars Revolution". However, the Lebanese cannot on their own deter Hezbollah's evil
state-within-the-state which is an advanced base for the Axis of Evil (Syria-Iran). Lebanon therefore needs urgent military assistance from the international
community in case of a final assault by Hezbollah, Syria and Iran in their attempt to sabotage the Lebanese presidential elections on November 21.
All free nations, Arab, European, and American, must realize that Lebanon must not fall under the domination of the two Axis of Evil states through their Hezbollah army in Lebanon. This is a very dangerous matter that will threaten stability and the future of sustainable peace, not only in the Middle East, but around the world. It happened before in Lebanon: In 1975, then in 1983. Both times, Lebanon was abandoned and the Free World fled before the march of barbarity, only to see its instruments - bombs, planes, and suicide bombers - follow it into every one of its cities. It should not happen again. Let those who have ears listen.
Related Links:
Special report on the Shebaa Farms exposing the lies and fallacies of the so-called resistance and liberation.
Security Council Resolution 242
Security Council Resolution 338

Security Council Resolution 1559
The 1949 Lebanese-Israeli Armistice Agreement
Taef Accord

**Elias Bejjani
Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)

LCCC Web Site
CLHRF Website

Don't forget Lebanon

The Lebanese disaster is still waiting to happen, and nobody is doing anything about it.

The Rejectionist Front Catastrophic Victories
By: Charles Jalkh/Freedom Fighter
November 12/07

Since the birth of the State of Israel, the suicidal anti peace Arabo/Islamic ancient regimes persisted in promising their people "Great Victories", such as the famous "throwing the Jews in the sea", "Chasing the Colonialists out of the region", "Building the Emirate of the Fakih", and recently "Defeating the Zionist/American plan for the Middle East in Lebanon", only to lead their masses into the slaughterhouse of history in calamity after calamity.

A potentially apocalyptic fate awaits the Iranian and Syrian people which may last decades, unless they manage to topple their Islamo-Fascist Mafia rulers soon. For six decades , since 1948, unto Egypt's Nasser, from war criminal Hafez Assad to Saddam "Insane", from psycho Bashar to demon Nasrallah the Emir of Hezbollastan, the dinosaurs of the dark ages have shed rivers of blood while promising glorious victories in "mothers of all battles", only to crawl and hide in a hole underground after the first shot, yet burn their followers into the churning fires of history . The world has witnessed their crushing defeats time after time as hundreds of thousands got buried in unmarked graves.

This week, Hezbollah's leader; Hassan Nasrallah promised his followers ".. a Victory that will change the face of the region". Here goes a "Hitlar..iranian" shot across the bow of our Earth Civilization. At the Geopolitical level and on paper, the balance of power is massively tilted against the two nations of the Axis of Evil; Iran and Syria. For what good does it do you to own an atomic bomb, two, 5 or even 10 bombs, when you are facing Israel's 200 atomic bombs and the US arsenal of 6000 intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles, not to mention the capabilities of NATO and the other civilized nations of the world. Iran's HitleriNijad even announced that "Israel must be wiped off the map", an echo of past catastrophes that befelled millions.

Yet, within the Lebanese theater, the military balance of power seems to favor Hezbollah. Yes, we will have our state, and they will have theirs. We will be the "official" state led by the March 14 Cedars Revolution, recognized by the world, and living in a smaller but Free Lebanon. But next to us, will stand a Turkish Cyprus-like state ruled with a totalitarian ideology with potential atomic weapons. So the danger will not go away and we will need real allies soon and on the ground. We do not need to look far, only South and further East into the New Arab Political Order for solid alliances. We have no choice but to become the best friends and allies of Israel - virtually immediately. We have already wasted 60 years in futile wars against a so-called enemy (Israel) that could have been our best friend.

The scenario of civil war with open supply routes is unwinnable. The reason the first Lebanese war stagnated inconclusively for 15 years was that the supply routes to all warring parties remained open. Once you cut the supplies lines, ammunition will eventually expire. The quickest way to defeat Hezbollah is to cut off its supply routes. Air and Sea routes are already controlled by the Lebanese State with the help of UN forces, but the land supply routes from Syria are still open. The only hope to defeat Hezbollah in a military battle is to first overthrow the Assad Regime, and usher a new humane UN-friendly Syrian government which will then collaborate in blockading Hezbollah in Lebanon. The road to the Hezbollah defeat passes thru Damascus. Otherwise, Hezbollah will be able to fight for decades with no winner in site, only death and destruction for the Lebanese and Syrian people would ensue.

It is time we lift our head from the muddy hole in the ground, and bask in the sunshine of the open blue skies of Liberty, peace, and humanistic possibilities. Breath the clean air of the new human age filled with fragrances of compassion and cultural flowerings. Take our honorable place in history. Celebrate life and Green Mother Earth. It is time we erect our long awaited Free Lebanon. A New Beginning for a multi-ethnic humanity living in Freedom, peace, and dignified society and state. A café for Christianity and Islam, a meeting ground, a model nation of tolerance, learning, understanding, wisdom, awakening, enlightenment, and higher human love.

So to all Lebanese at this dark hour we say; we your brethrens in the Cedars Revolution of the Diaspora, we are awake with you. We fight your fights, we celebrate your victories. We also make a promise to you! We shall not abandon you in your hour of need. We will defeat this Axis of Evil, and the light of your freedoms shall penetrate all the dark alleys of the Middle East!

Love, Free Lebanon

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Muslim issue will turn and bite us if we fail to act

From Ireland
It's time to show the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland tough love, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards
Sunday November 11 2007
YOU can't get away from the Muslim issue in Britain unless you keep your eyes and ears closed. Week after week, criminal courts are dealing with a procession of young Muslims charged with terrorist offences, and civil courts and employment tribunals are clogged with Muslim allegations of religious discrimination, often inspired by the Islamist radicals who want to make it impossible for the decent majorities -- Muslim and non-Muslim -- to live together in amity.
Thursday provided two examples of the kind that make the media salivate. First, there was Samina Malik -- who had security clearance to work in the airside Heathrow departure lounge, in her spare time studied bomb-making manuals, dubbed herself 'the Lyrical Terrorist' and posted on the internet poems about training seven-year-olds to murder non-Muslims (sample: 'Kafirs your time will come soon,/and no one will save you from your doom') -- who was found guilty of 'possessing articles likely to be useful to terrorism'.
Second, there was an interview with Sarah Desrosiers, an enraged owner of a hair salon which specialises in "urban, funky punky" cuts, who is being sued for £15,000 for injured feelings by 19-year-old Bushra Noah -- whom she refused to employ because she wore a hijab that covered all her hair. "To me," said Miss Desrosiers, who has already spent £1,000 fighting the case and fears ruin, "it's absolutely basic that people should be able to see the stylist's hair. If an employee were wearing a baseball cap or cowboy hat, I would ask them to remove it at work."
Miss Noah, however, who is "devastated and depressed" at having been turned down by 25 hair salons, has decided to make an example of Miss Desrosiers.
I hope that such ludicrous carry-on may yet galvanise Londoners into stopping Tablighi Jamaat (an organisation described by the French intelligence service as an "antechamber of fundamentalism") from building a £300m gigantic mosque complex just beside the site of the 2012 Olympic games.
I can hear the voices of Irish readers saying, "That couldn't happen here. Aren't we just doing great with integrating Muslims?"
Well, up to a point, yes. Ireland is certainly working hard to avoid the catastrophe that the ideological multiculturists have brought upon Britain. But -- as Conor Lenihan must know well in his capacity as Minister for Integration -- there are seriously knotty problems to be addressed if Ireland is not to have a rude awakening.
Let's look at the Clonskeagh mosque. And don't listen to me. Listen to Muslims.
A couple of weeks ago, Dr Ali Al Saleh, imam of the Shia mosque in Milltown, expressed his worry that the Sunni Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI) -- which incorporates the Clonskeagh mosque -- had invited Sheikh Salman Al Awda to address a conference called Our Children, Hopes and Realities. The Saudi Arabian Al Awda, a fundamentalist, had recently described Shias as "non-Muslims". Not surprisingly, Dr Al Saleh felt such sentiments endangered "the harmonious relationships in Ireland of Sunni and Shia Muslims".
The ICCI was unrepentant, but what do you expect from an organisation that was also proud to announce that the conference would feature the Egyptian Sheikh Wajdi Ghunaim, who has been banned from Canada as a Hamas-fundraiser and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and who has a musical party piece with the refrain "No to the Jews, Descendants of Apes" .
But then, as Dr Shaheed Satardien, another excellent imam, frequently points out, the ICCI is sympathetic to the Sunni Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which teaches its acolytes to speak softly while infiltrating the institutions of the countries in which they live.
The ICCI produces rhetoric about peace and love, but houses the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a fundamentalist body that opposes any modernisation of Sharia law. It is presided over and visited by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a nasty piece of work who defends the murder of homosexuals and the suicide bombing of Israelis, and who has been seen on television defending his role in stirring up the controversy over the Danish cartoons that led to many deaths.
I hope that Ministers Brian and Conor Lenihan are paying attention to Dr Satardien's call for the Irish Government to stymie the radicals by establishing strict controls over Islamic education. The Government might also encourage urgent research of the kind that has shown that many public libraries and mosque bookshops in Britain carry hate-filled Islamist propaganda largely financed by Saudi Arabia.
It is necessary to be tough. Some time ago, the University College Dublin Islamic Society website was a hotbed of anti-Semitic propaganda, but after some public criticism, it got its act together. It's time we showed tough love to the ICCI, which surely is letting down former president Mary Robinson and Hamdan Al Maktoum of Dubai, politician and racehorse owner, who opened it in 1996.
Let's start by asking where it gets its money from. And why it honours a man who wants to conquer Europe for Islam.
Or will we continue -- until the first bomb goes off -- to pretend all is well in our Muslim garden?