Friday, February 29, 2008

The curse of the moderates

Caroline Glick
Feb. 29, 2008

Ten days after the Pakistani elections, the geopolitical consequences of President Pervez Musharraf's defeat are beginning to come into focus. And they are grim.

By any measure, Pakistan is a dysfunctional state. At least 25 percent of its 160 million people live in abject poverty. A third of Pakistanis suffer from illiteracy. The only prospering school system in the country is the Islamist system, where millions of children are indoctrinated by preachers who share the world views, religious beliefs and political goals of al-Qaida and the Taliban As to that, with popular backing, the Taliban is currently fighting to extend its control over Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province. It has controlled North and South Waziristan since 2005. It is now asserting its control over the Kurran, Kyber, Mohmand, Orakzai and Bajaur agencies and much of the Swat Valley. This control, together with the Taliban and al-Qaida's territorial gains in eastern Afghanistan over the past year, are enabling the two Islamist organizations to intensify their insurgency in Afghanistan and to increase their popularity in Pakistan.

In a report this week, Asia Time's Pakistan bureau chief Syed Saleem Shahzad wrote that with their territorial gains on both sides of the border, the Taliban and al-Qaida intend to create a strategic corridor from western Pakistan to Kabul and cut off NATO forces' supply lines from Pakistan. Those supply lines were already attacked in January.

Shahzad reported that the Pakistani military and NATO forces in Afghanistan are gearing up to preempt the Taliban-al-Qaida offensive, scheduled for April, with an offensive of their own in March. But he notes that the election results in Pakistan could prevent such an offensive from taking place.

Pakistan's elections took place against the backdrop of Musharraf's crackdown against the judiciary and the press, and former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto's December 27 assassination. They crowned as kingmaker Bhutto's widower, Asif Zardawi, who succeeded her as head of the Pakistan People's Party. The PPP, which won the most parliamentary seats in the elections, needs Bhutto's former political rival, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to form a governing coalition in parliament. Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League came in second in the elections.

Campaign pledges by both the PPP and the PML centered on a commitment to return Pakistan to civilian rule, overturn Musharraf's pre-election constitutional amendments against the judiciary and curb military control over foreign policy. But what most unifies them is their commitment to reach an accommodation with the Taliban. In a post-election media appearance, Zardawi extended an olive branch to the Taliban and al-Qaida stating, "We will have a dialogue with those who are up in the mountains and those who are not in parliament."

Sharif has been even more explicit. His campaign was supported by A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and the architect of its nuclear proliferation activities, which extended support to the North Korean, Iranian and Libyan nuclear programs.

Sharif supports the institution of Shari'a law. Since the elections, Sharif has courted the Islamist parties, and he has been outspoken in his insistence that the next Pakistani government end Musharraf's cooperation with the US-led campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

After meeting Monday with US Ambassador Anne Patterson, Sharif held a joint press conference with Qazi Hussain Ahmad, whose Islamist party Jamaat i-Islami boycotted the elections. Sitting next to the overt Taliban supporter, Sharif said, "So far the war on terrorism has not been clearly defined to make it acceptable for everyone and we would like that this war should not be fought with the gun alone and the option of dialogue should also be used."

Truth be told, Pakistan's fight "with the gun" against the Taliban and al-Qaida has not been particularly hard fought. What it has been is wracked with corruption and defeatism. Since 2001, the US has provided Pakistan with $5.4 billion in military assistance. This week the Guardian reported that US officials believe that some 70% of that money has been misspent. The Indian government has repeatedly complained that Pakistan is diverting the funds, which were supposed to be used to fight the Taliban and al-Qaida, to purchase weapons systems such as the F-16s that have been deployed along the Indian border.

The Pakistani elections results place the US in a position where it has no empowered allies in the country with which to fight the Taliban and al-Qaida. It is a clear defeat for US policy. And this is not surprising.

Since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, America's overarching policy towards the Islamic world has been clear enough. The US sought to empower forces opposed to the jihad, and to fight with them against the jihadists. The policy itself is correct. But it has been poorly implemented.

In Pakistan, the US placed all of its eggs in Musharraf's basket after September 11 and expected that faced with an outraged superpower, he would share America's interest in destroying the Taliban. But this is not what happened.

Musharraf's policies were always determined by his interest in retaining his grip on power. And while the US never made a credible threat to his grip on power, the jihadists and the non-Islamist political forces opposed to his military dictatorship did. And so, rather than combat the jihadists, he sought to appease them. And rather than work with democrats, he repressed them.

In his bid to accommodate the jihadists, Musharraf rejected US requests to interrogate Khan about his nuclear proliferation activities. So, too, Musharraf rejected repeated US requests to deploy its forces inside of Pakistan. He rejected US offers to train Pakistani counterterror units. He refused to purge jihadists from the ranks of the Pakistani army or the Inter-Service Intelligence organization that itself is the founder of al-Qaida and the Taliban. Rather than defeat the Taliban, Musharraf allowed the Pakistani military to be humiliated and signed "peace accords" with the Taliban in North and South Waziristan effectively ceding sovereignty over the areas to the jihadist group. With no competent counter-insurgency plan in place in the areas, the local populations under Taliban rule largely maintained their traditional, tribal support for the group.

Although Pakistan's nuclear arsenal no doubt informed much of the US's decision to handle Musharraf with kid gloves, the fact is that the US's inability to properly identify and support social forces and individuals in Pakistan that share its desire to defeat the jihadists has been the rule rather than the exception in its post-September 11 treatment of the Islamic world in general. The US's dealings with the Mubarak regime in Egypt and the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia are clear examples of the same misguided American embrace of leaders who do not oppose the jihadists.

THE MOST striking example of this post-September 11 American penchant for choosing its allies unwisely is the Bush administration's embrace of Fatah in the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian example stands out because while the US may have strategic interests in Egypt and Saudi Arabia that as in Pakistan make it leery of muddying the political waters with liberalism too aggressively, no such interests exist in the PA. The Palestinians do not have oil, a large, US-trained army, or nuclear bombs to threaten US interests with. And in Israel, the US has a strong, loyal, democratic ally with the means to combat Palestinian jihadists. And yet, rather than turn its back on Fatah, the US has lavishly supported it politically and financially, and has trained Fatah militias while opposing any Israeli military plan to defeat Fatah on the military or political battlefields. And like the US's support for Musharraf, the US's support for Fatah has come back to haunt it and will continue to haunt it in the future.

Just as the Clinton administration upheld Yasser Arafat even as he built his terror armies while negotiating with Israel, so the Bush administration upholds Fatah leader and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as he follows in Arafat's footsteps. Like Arafat, Abbas is a master of double-speak. While waxing poetic about his yearning for peace in his talks with Israelis and Americans, inside the PA he supports terrorists, and in addresses to Arab audiences he explains that he shares the terrorists' strategic goal of destroying Israel.

On Thursday, Jordan's Al-Dustur daily ran an interview with Abbas. There the supposedly moderate Palestinian leader and US ally in the war on terror made clear his support for jihadists and their goal of destroying Israel. Abbas boasted about his refusal at the Annapolis conference last November to accept Israel's Jewish identity. He argued that the only difference he has with Hamas - which he hopes will join Fatah in a unity government - is that he thinks that the use of violence against Israel is counterproductive today. As he put it, "At this present juncture, I am opposed to armed struggle because we cannot succeed in it, but maybe in the future things will be different."

Abbas bragged about his role as a terrorist in the 1960s and about Fatah's role as the founding father of modern terrorism. In his words, "We [Fatah] had the honor of leading the resistance and we taught resistance to everyone, including Hizbullah, who trained in our military camps."

In 2002, President George W. Bush nearly ended US support for Fatah when he essentially ordered the Palestinians to end their support for terror and liberalize their society. His words were met with jubilation not only by Israelis but by many Palestinians who had been suffering under the terrorists' jackboot since Arafat established the PA in 1994. And yet, rather than implement his stated policy and empower those Palestinians who shared his opposition to jihad, Bush turned his back on them, pretended that Abbas was a liberal reformer and embraced him as a US ally.

This month, a remarkable article was published in The Wall Street Journal. Co-authored by Natan Sharansky and Palestinian human rights activist Bassam Eid, the article chided Bush for his insistence on supporting Fatah.

The authors wrote, "Rather than establish a clear link between support for the PA and reform, and openly embrace the genuine Palestinian reformers who are the democratic world's true allies, [Abbas] is promised billions despite having done nothing. With the media entirely under his control, incitement continues and no one raises serious objections. He is, we are told, too 'weak' to take action."

THE SITUATION in Pakistan is grave. And its implications are clear. As the leader of the fight against the forces of global jihad, the US must redouble its efforts to seek out and cultivate the anti-jihadist forces in the Islamic world. Until it does so, rather than win the war, it will continue to stymied by the Musharrafs, Zardawis, Sharifs, Mubarak's and Abbases of the world who promote jihad while speaking of moderation, stability and democracy.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1204213985336&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Al Qaeda's Resurgence

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
The Weekly Standard

FOUR YEARS AGO, HIS WORDS WOULD have represented an almost unquestioned consensus view. In late January, the State Department's counterterrorism coordinator, Dell Dailey, described al Qaeda's top leadership as isolated, saying that they have "much, much less central authority and much, much less capability to reach out."He is not alone in this assessment. In July 2007, Stratfor's Peter Zeihan argued that while a few thousand people may claim to be al Qaeda members, "the real al Qaeda does not exercise any control over them. . . . The United States is now waging a war against jihadism as a phenomenon, rather than against any specific transnational jihadist movement." The most prominent proponent of this view has been Jason Burke, a reporter for London's Observer and the author of Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam. By the time that book hit newsstands in 2003, Burke was already arguing that the "nearest thing to 'Al-Qaeda,' as popularly understood," only existed for a five-year period, and the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001 showcased "the final scenes of its destruction." Now, Burke contends, we are "in a 'post-bin Laden' phase of Islamic militancy."

Unfortunately, all these men are wrong--and we will fight the war on terror less effectively if we continue to harbor mistaken assumptions about the al Qaeda network. It is important not to overstate what the terror group's leadership needs to do to remain relevant. Even if the central leadership's role is limited to connecting terrorist nodes--pairing skill sets, financing, and operatives--it can transform terrorist groups from disunited regional problems into cohesive adversaries capable of threatening Western societies. Moreover, the safe havens that al Qaeda's leaders have gained in recent years magnify their lethal capabilities.


Al Qaeda itself has faced internal debates about its future. Abu Musab al-Suri, one of the most prolific jihadist ideologues, in recent years has argued for a decentralized combat model. In contrast, Abu Bakr Naji, another prominent ideologue, calls for a more centralized model.

Suri's 1600-page manifesto, The Call for Global Islamic Resistance, argues that the centralized, hierarchical model of jihadism cannot overcome the U.S.'s technologically advanced military, and that regional security cooperation--such as the alliance between Washington and Islamabad--makes a hierarchical structure dangerous. He suggests that decentralization immunizes terror cells from detection through the capture and interrogation of members of other cells. Suri's prescription for decentralization would mean replacing the old training camp model with one in which fighters are trained "in homes and mobile camps."

In contrast, Naji's The Management of Savagery argues that once the jihadists hold territory, they should erect a governing apparatus to enforce Islamic law and provide security, food, and medical care. A high command would ensure that efforts are not needlessly duplicated, and would prioritize actions against various groups or nations. Naji's argument has carried the day within al Qaeda's hierarchy. Though there are many reasons for this, perhaps the most significant factor has been external events. As al Qaeda gained new safe havens in Pakistan and beyond, Naji's model seemed most fitting.

External events aside, the preference of al Qaeda's leadership for Naji's approach over Suri's reflects a long-standing inclination for centralization. Osama bin Laden originally formed al Qaeda to keep the vanguard of jihad alive after the Soviet Union's defeat in Afghanistan. West Point's Combating Terrorism Center has translated a number of documents captured during the Afghan and Iraq campaigns that the Department of Defense has declassified from its Harmony Database. These documents depict a clear al Qaeda hierarchy dating back to bin Laden's residence in Sudan between 1992 to 1996.

One document, entitled "Interior Organization," delineates al Qaeda's hierarchical structure, from the commander and ruling council down to organizational committees. It explains that the commander must have been a member of al Qaeda for at least seven years, have a sufficient understanding of Islamic law and jihad, and "have operational experience from jihad." The document also enumerates five separate committees: military, political, administrative and financial, security, and surveillance. Other documents detail members' duties, salaries, and even vacation time. Bachelors qualify for a round-trip ticket home after a year, although they have the option of using it for hajj (religious pilgrimage) instead. An application to train in al Qaeda camps inquires about the applicant's education level, professional experience, medical history, and how much of the Qur'an he has memorized.

Although the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan devastated al Qaeda's safe haven, the group's core leadership survived. A few--such as Saif al-Adl, Saad bin Laden, and Sulaiman Abu Ghaith--fled to Iran, but most relocated to Pakistan. Soon after, al Qaeda's regional nodes took the lead in operations. There were three such regional attacks in October 2002 alone. On October 8, 2002, two Kuwaitis linked to al Qaeda opened fire on U.S. marines, killing one. On October 12, Indonesia's Jemaah Islamiyya killed 202 people in a nightclub bombing in Bali. On October 23, Chechen terrorists seized a Moscow theater packed with 850 people. The March 2003 capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al Qaeda's principal operations commander and chief architect of the 9/11 attacks, set back the reassertion of al Qaeda's central leadership. Over the next year, regional attacks continued. We had grown so accustomed to attacks led by regional nodes that when the March 11, 2004, commuter train attacks in Madrid and the July 7, 2005, London suicide bombings were executed, they were immediately described as having little connection to al Qaeda's senior leaders.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that in this period analysts and media commentators underestimated the extent to which al Qaeda's central leadership remained able to organize terror attacks. Although a regional node implemented the Madrid plot, al Qaeda's senior leadership formulated the operation. The Center of Mujahideen Services, an internal al Qaeda "think tank," developed the political strategy behind the attack in the book Iraq al-Jihad, which concluded that "the Spanish government will not endure two or three attacks." The book thus argued that a coordinated terrorist assault could turn the Spanish public against the government, forcing it to withdraw troops from Iraq.

There were also operational connections between the Madrid cell and the broader al Qaeda network, but the connections were more dramatic for London's 7/7 attacks. British police reports were actually hesitant to link the 7/7 bombers to al Qaeda, describing the terror cell as autonomous and self-actuating. But as the official account of the 7/7 attacks hit the British press, terrorism analysts Dan Darling and Steve Schippert enumerated a number of problems with concluding so early that the broader al Qaeda network was largely irrelevant to the London plot. They noted connections between cell leader Mohammad Sidique Khan and Riduan Isamuddin, mastermind of the Bali bombings. Mohammed Junaid Babar, a Pakistani native living in Queens, New York, who pled guilty in federal court to smuggling military supplies to al Qaeda and assisting in a UK bombing plot, had identified Khan as someone he had met at an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan. Haroon Rashid Aswat, who helped set up an al Qaeda training camp in Oregon, had telephoned the London bombers hours before the attack. After the bombing, Khan and fellow bomber Shehzad Tanweer appeared in a video aired on the Arabic satellite channel al-Jazeera that included praise for the attacks from bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as Khan's suicide message. It is unlikely that al Qaeda's senior leadership would have this footage were they unconnected to the attack. Underscoring this point, al Jazeera aired a new video from Zawahiri on the first anniversary of the bombings claiming that Khan and Tanweer had visited an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan "seeking martyrdom." Bob Ayers, a security expert at London's Chatham House think tank, commented, "It makes the police look pretty bad. It means the investigation was either wrong, or they identified links but were reluctant to reveal them."

The connections between al Qaeda's senior leadership and the attacks in Madrid and London demonstrate that the group's top command was not as isolated and irrelevant during this period as some suggested. Still, it would gain more strength over time.

After relocating from Afghanistan to Pakistan, al Qaeda's senior leadership set about revamping its operations. They tried twice, in December 2003, to kill Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, leading him to send troops into Pakistan's tribal areas. Al Qaeda and allied tribes prevailed in the fight.

The 9/11 Commission concluded that to carry out catastrophic acts of terror, terrorist groups require sanctuaries that provide them with "time, space, and ability to perform competent planning and staff work" as well as "opportunities and space to recruit, train, and select operatives with the needed skills and dedication." Al Qaeda gained this in Pakistan with the signing of the South Waziristan accord, and later the North Waziristan accord, which signaled Musharraf's military defeat in the campaign directed at the tribal areas. The accords provided that Pakistan's military would not carry out air or ground strikes in the tribal areas, and included a pledge that Islamabad would disband its human intelligence network there. Three similar accords have since been signed: with the Bajaur region in March 2007, two months later with Swat, and finally with the Mohmand agency in August 2007. With these agreements in place, the United States has seen an influx of al Qaeda operatives and money into the tribal regions. Video taken in a Pakistani training camp last summer shows a graduation ceremony of about 300 recruits for suicide missions, some of whom are allegedly bound for the U.S. and Europe.

Compounding the problem of al Qaeda's Pakistan refuge, there are other areas where the group may gain further safe havens. One is Somalia, where most of the country was conquered by the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Courts Union in 2006. Though Ethiopian military intervention pushed that group back in 2007, the country now faces a potent Iraq-style insurgency spearheaded by extremist groups. And although the success of the U.S. troop surge over the past year has diminished the chances of an al Qaeda safe haven arising in Iraq, in the end that is a question of political will. If the next administration decides to quickly withdraw U.S. troops, that country could host additional safe havens.

Analysts declared al-Qaeda’s central leadership defeated before it had been dealt a death blow. Its regional nodes and ambitious newcomers stepped to the fore while the group's senior leadership fought to gain control of territory--thus helping to reinforce the idea that the senior leadership was marginalized and irrelevant. Even at the time, the fallacy of this view should have been apparent: As Peter Bergen noted in a New Republic article about al Qaeda's resurgence, "the existence of Al-Qaeda imitators does not prove the obsolescence of the real thing." Now, as al Qaeda's vitality approaches pre-9/11 levels, many analysts still do not have their eye on the central network.

With a safe haven in Pakistan--and perhaps soon in other territories--the senior leadership will likely play a greater role in future terror plots, while attempting to conceptualize and carry out an attack that will surpass 9/11. A strong central leadership makes the group more formidable and its attacks more deadly; dismissing the evidence that al Qaeda's leadership has regrouped will ultimately endanger U.S. security.

World to Sderot: It’s Your Tough Luck

P. David Hornik

A planned march by Gazans on the Israeli-Gazan border fence fizzled out on Monday with a small turnout and relatively minor incidents. It was feared the march would be a replay, and worse, of the Hamas-driven breaching of the Gazan-Egyptian border a month ago. Apparently, though, warnings by Israeli leaders and Israel’s placing of artillery batteries and other forces along the border had a deterrent effect. No such deterrent effect was evident in continued Gazan rocket fire on Monday. Yossi Haimov, a ten-year-old Israeli boy in the hapless town of Sderot, took a severe shrapnel wound to the shoulder; doctors were able to save his arm but he faces multiple operations for shoulder reconstruction. Earlier this month another Sderot boy was even less fortunate and lost a leg in a Qassam attack.

In other words, the dysfunctionality that became part of Israeli governance in the early 1990s continues: deciding that a mass march on the border fence posed unacceptable risks, the Olmert government moved effectively to deter it; deciding that the shelling of civilians by armed terrorists is acceptable, the Olmert government lets it continue and turn life into hell for the residents of southwestern Israel.

The malaise is manifest in a different form in Jerusalem, where Olmert is seeking to appease and bribe the Shas Party into remaining in his governing coalition. Shas is a Sephardic-Orthodox, purportedly politically right-wing faction that has held the balance in several coalitions and earned a deserved name for political extortion and cynicism.


Shas supposedly finds the current Israeli-Palestinian Authority “final status” talks, particularly on the division of Jerusalem, deeply objectionable. The party is under heavy pressure to leave Olmert’s government over these talks and the continued inaction on Gaza.

With the right-leaning Yisrael Beiteinu faction having left Olmert’s coalition over the PA talks in January, his government now hangs by the thread of the reputedly nationalist Shas Party. Shas is playing the situation to the hilt.

Olmert and his political cronies are now trying to get legislation passed that would increase the authority of the rabbinical courts over marital and divorce issues. Since these courts operate by outmoded religious laws that discriminate against women and are in need of reform, this is bad enough.

Even worse, Olmert is seeking to reinstate inflated benefits to families—i.e., ultra-religious families—with large numbers of children. Trimming back these benefits was a major socioeconomic achievement of Binyamin Netanyahu in his term as finance minister.

Every Israeli understands that the secular Olmert and his allies do not think these initiatives are good things in their own right and are pursuing them for sheer political survival; and that Shas, anxious to mollify its genuinely hawkish voters with populist-“religious” gains, is a full partner in the venal dance.

The losers, if these machinations succeed, include—among others—the residents of Sderot and the smaller Gaza-belt communities, and the state of Israel itself as Olmert steers it into the suicidal waters of concessions to the jihadist PA.

For those mystified by the seeming nonchalance of the Israeli populace even in the face of terrorist and existential threats, part of the explanation is the corrosive effect on morale of these repeated spectacles of cynicism. They stem from a dysfunctional parliamentary structure lacking regional representation and beset with small factions wielding blackmail power—and from an overburdened Israeli system’s inability, so far, to resolve the problem.

And another part of the explanation is that it’s the most weak, feckless Israeli tendencies that consistently get the most U.S. and Western backing and encouragement. Last week Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch “urge[d] caution and proportionality” regarding possible Israeli military action in Gaza.

He also “argued that Palestinians in Gaza should stop the rocket fire out of their own self-interest” and stated: “If people in Gaza are to enjoy a better life, then it is incumbent upon those who claim they control the situation in Gaza to stop these actions which usually bring no benefit and only harm.”

Since it’s not plausible that Welch thought the Hamas “controllers” of Gaza would heed his words, what they really mean is that in the State Department’s view of the U.S. national interest the martyrdom of Sderot is not a significant concern and might as well continue. That national interest is instead thought to entail, among other things, the “Annapolis process” of Israeli offers of control of strategic land, Judeo-Christian holy places, and half of Jerusalem to the terrorist-infested Palestinian Authority.

And for the European Union, even Israel’s current measures toward Gaza are too much. Last week the European Parliament stated that Israel’s “policy of isolation of the Gaza Strip has failed at both the political and humanitarian level. The civilian population should be exempt from any military action and any collective punishment.”

Again, since even the Eurocrats probably grasp that military action in Gaza (like just about anywhere else) without harming civilians is impossible, the message was the same: let the rocket fire on Israelis continue; we don’t see it as enough of an issue that anyone should do anything about it.

Along with the Israeli boy who almost lost his arm on Monday, that day's dose of rocket fire lightly wounded a mother and her one-year-old baby and sent seven other people to hospital from shock. But, after all, the Israeli-PA talks are proceeding, the Olmert government is surviving, the U.S. and Europe are (or think they are) in the Arabs’ good graces, the oil is flowing, and all’s right with the world. Human decency does not encompass mostly working-class, politically powerless Israelis in their hell of daily barrages.

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Tel Aviv. He blogs at He can be reached at

UK: Muslim medics refuse to roll up their sleeves -- it's un-Islamic

The refusal of Muslim medics to wash their arms in a way that would require them to be uncovered is spreading. Here again is a clear choice: will Britain enforce British law, or kowtow to Islamic law? An update on this story. "Muslim medics refuse to roll up their sleeves in hygiene crackdown - because it's against their religion," from the Daily Mail (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist): Health officials are having crisis talks with Muslim medical staff who have objected to hospital hygiene rules because of religious beliefs.

Medics in hospitals in at least three major English cities have refused to follow the regulations aimed at helping tackle superbugs because of their faith, it has been revealed.

Women medical students at Alder Hey children's hospital in Liverpool objected to rolling up their sleeves when washing their hands and removing arm coverings in theatre, claiming it is regarded as immodest.

Similar concerns were raised at Leicester University -and Sheffield University reported a case of a Muslim medic refusing to "scrub" because it left her forearms exposed.

Some students have said that they would prefer to quit the course rather than expose their arms, but hygiene experts said no exceptions should be made on religious grounds.

Brace yourself: Dutch Islam film "nearly ready"

Robert Spencer

The film has been condemned in advance, sight unseen. Just for a moment of clarity, think back to the riots that greeted the work of the nineteenth-century European Biblical higher critics, or the Jesus Seminar, or the many skeptical/critical examinations of the Bible. What riots? Exactly.And ask yourself: if someone reacts to something I say by going mad, breaking things, and targeting innocent people, is that my responsibility or his? When you are insulted, do you consider it a license to destroy things and hurt people, or do you consider it incumbent upon yourself to exercise some self-control?

"Dutch Islam film 'nearly ready,'" from the BBC (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):

Far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders has said that this week he will finish a film about Islam which has already triggered Muslim outrage.

Mr Wilders said he was determined to release the film despite government warnings that this would damage Dutch political and economic interests.

Good for him. What they're saying here is, "People will react to this with violent irrationality. Therefore you must kowtow to them."

Mr Wilders says the film is about the Koran, without giving details.

In the past, he has called for the Koran to be banned and likened it to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.

The project has already been condemned by several Muslim countries, including Iran and Pakistan.

'Death threats'

"It is very good news. the film will definitely be finished this week, that is to say before 1 March," Mr Wilders told Reuters.

Well, that makes it today or tomorrow. Watch for updates.

Endangered Gaza Christians Mull Flight Amid Deaths, Firebombs

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- The stone walls of St. Porphyrius church in Gaza were raised in the fourth century, a reminder of Christianity's long role in the Mediterranean city's history.
The saga may be coming to an end. Christians, a minority of 3,000 among the Gaza Strip's 1.2 million Muslims, are increasingly menaced by Islamic fundamentalists in this besieged Palestinian territory. Christians say they are on the verge of being driven out.
``Never in Palestinian history did we feel endangered until now,'' said Archimandrite Artemios, the Greek Orthodox priest who heads St. Porphyrius. ``We face the question of whether we are part of this community or not.''
Insecurity intensified last June when Hamas, the Muslim-based party at war with Israel, ousted the secular Fatah party, which favors peace negotiations, from control of Gaza. Fatah continues to control the West Bank.
While there are few indications Hamas itself is trying to intimidate Christians, the change brought to the surface underground Muslim groups that are actively hostile to Christians, said Hamdi Shaqura, 46, an official with the independent Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
``One problem is one that affects all: a state of lawlessness that lets extremism raise its head,'' Shaqura said.
On Feb. 15, arsonists firebombed a library operated by the Young Men's Christian Association and destroyed 10,000 books, police and YMCA officials said. Last fall, kidnappers killed a Christian bookstore owner and the shop was blown up twice. In August last year, vandals damaged a Catholic church and school.
Under Threat
Christianity, along with other minority religions, is under threat in several Middle Eastern countries. In Iraq, Christian churches and residents suffered assaults in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul since the March 2003 U.S. invasion, and thousands fled to Syria and Jordan.
Against the backdrop of political turmoil in Lebanon, Maronite Christians are migrating. In Egypt, Copts, an ancient Christian denomination, complain of discrimination. Public Christian worship is forbidden in Saudi Arabia, where foreign workers have been jailed for holding prayer services in private homes, according to Saudi Arabian press accounts.
According to a 2006 survey carried out by the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, the West Bank's Christian population has grown little in recent decades: from about 40,000 in 1967 to an estimated 45,800 in 2006.
Physical Isolation
In Gaza, Christians and Muslims share a walled-off, physical isolation from the outside world, unemployment over 30 percent and anxiety about periodic Israeli armed assaults. Israel has sealed off Gaza in its effort to contain Hamas and keep it from launching rockets at southern Israeli towns.
John Holmes, United Nations undersecretary for humanitarian affairs and relief coordination, said during a Feb. 16 visit to Gaza that 80 per cent of residents depend on food aid.
``If the current state of affairs continues, there is a real risk that what is left of the Christian Palestinian community will opt to go somewhere else, ending centuries of indigenous Christian presence in that part of Palestine,'' said Bernard Sabella, a sociology professor at Bethlehem University.
Christian fears, and attacks on Christian property, pre-date Hamas, said Artemios, 31, the priest at St. Porphyrius.
Street gun battles between Hamas backers and Fatah, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, created a climate of anarchy even before the takeover, he said. Periodic Israeli embargoes on the Gaza Strip also occurred under Fatah rule.
``The lack of work has long been the main problem,'' said Artemios. ``If young people get out, they don't come back.''
The Oct. 7 murder of Rami Ayyad, 30, who operated the Palestinian Bible Society Bookstore in Gaza, was the first time that a Christian was killed for religious reason, Artemios said. Five Christian families have fled to the West Bank since, he noted.
Three months before Ayyad's death, a pair of bearded men warned the bookseller, who was a Baptist, to convert to Islam or die, said his mother, Anisa Boutros Francis, 55.
``On the day he was killed, he called home and told his wife, `I'm busy with some people. I will be late home,''' Boutros Francis said. ``That was the last we heard, until the next day when his body was found.''
Ayyad's body was punctured by stab wounds and bullet holes. No one claimed responsibility for his death. After four months, Gaza authorities have found no suspects, said police spokesman Islam Shahwan.
``Before, Israel was the only enemy. Palestinians were together,'' said Ayyad's mother. ``Now, you don't know who is who.''
Names of freelance fundamentalist groups roaming Gaza include Sword of Righteousness and Sword of Islam, said Shaqura, the human-rights worker.
Whoever is at fault, the bonds linking Christians to Gaza are breaking, Artemios said. He observed that, according to legend, the old columns in his church were from a temple destroyed by Samson after his haircut at the hands of Delilah. ``The edifice of tolerance is crashing down over our heads,'' he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Williams in Gaza at .

The power of 'soft' versus violent Islamism

Daniel Pipes

This month, Denmark's police foiled a terrorist plot to murder Kurt Westergaard, the artist who drew the strongest of the 12 Muhammad images, prompting most of the country's newspapers to reprint his cartoon as an act of solidarity and a signal to Islamists that their threats and violence will not succeed.
This incident points to the Islamists' mixed success in curbing Western freedom of speech about Muhammad - think of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses or the Deutsche Oper's production of Mozart's Idomeneo. If threats of violence sometimes do work, they as often provoke, anger, and inspire resistance. A polite demarche can achieve more. Illustrating this, note two parallel efforts, dating from 1955 and 1997, to remove nearly-identical American courthouse sculptures of Muhammad.

In 1997, the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded that part of a 1930s frieze in the main chamber of the US Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. be sandblasted into oblivion, on the grounds that Islam prohibits representations of its prophet. The seven-foot high marble relief by Adolph Weinman depicts Muhammad as one of 18 historic lawgivers. His left hand holds the Koran in book form (a jarring historical inaccuracy from the Muslim point of view) and his right holds a sword.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, however, rejected CAIR's pressure campaign, finding that the depiction "was intended only to recognize [Muhammad] … as an important figure in the history of law; it is not intended as a form of idol worship." Rehnquist only conceded that court literature should mention that the representation offends Muslim sensibilities. His decision met with riots and injuries in India.

IN CONTRAST, back in 1955, a campaign to censor a representation of Muhammad in another American court building did succeed. That would be the New York City-based courthouse of the Appellate Division, First Department of the New York State Supreme Court. Built in 1902, it featured on its roof balustrade an eight-foot marble statue of "Mohammed" by Charles Albert Lopez as one of 10 historic lawgivers. This Muhammad statue also held a Koran in his left hand and a scimitar in the right.

Though visible from the street, the identities of the lawgivers high atop the building were difficult to discern. Only with a general overhaul of the building in February 1953, including its statues, did the public become aware of their identities. The Egyptian, Indonesian, and Pakistani ambassadors to the United Nations responded by asking the US Department of State to use its influence to have the Muhammad statue not renovated but removed.

Characteristically, the State Department dispatched two employees to convince New York City's public works commissioner, Frederick H. Zurmuhlen, to accommodate the ambassadors. The court, Chief Clerk George T. Campbell, reported, "also got a number of letters from Mohammedans about that time, all asking the court to get rid of the statue." All seven appellate justices recommended to Zurmuhlen that he take down the statue.

EVEN THOUGH, as Time magazine put it, "the danger that any large number of New Yorkers would take to worshiping the statue was, admittedly, minimal," the ambassadors got their way. Zurmuhlen had the offending statue carted off to a storehouse in Newark, New Jersey. As Zurmuhlen figured out what to do with it, the Times reported in 1955, the statue "has lain on its back in a crate for several months." Its ultimate disposition is unknown.

Then, rather than replace the empty pedestal on the court building roof, Zurmuhlen had the nine remaining statues shifted around to disguise the empty space, with Zoroaster replacing Muhammad at the westerly corner spot. Over a half-century later, that is where matters remain.

Recalling these events of 1955 suggests several points. First, pressure by Muslims on the West to conform to Islamic customs predates the current Islamist era. Second, even when minimal numbers of Muslims lived in the West, such pressures could succeed. Finally, contrasting the parallel 1955 and 1997 episodes suggests that the earlier approach of ambassadors making polite representations - not high-handed demands backed up by angry mobs, much less terrorist plots - can be the more effective route.

This conclusion confirms my general argument - and the premise of the Islamist Watch project - that Islamists working quietly within the system achieve more than those relying on ferocity and bellicosity. Ultimately, soft Islamism presents dangers at least as great as does violent Islamism.

17-year-old female jihad/martyrdom bomber stopped in Jerusalem

Due to her hatred of Jews and "personal family problems," she volunteered for this mission, and went to Mecca beforehand to purify herself.

"Would-be teen bomber arrested in J'lem," by Etgar Lefkovits in the Jerusalem Post (thanks to all who sent this in): A 17-year-old female Palestinian from Jerusalem was arrested three weeks ago for allegedly offering to carry out a suicide bombing in the city, police said Thursday. The girl was apprehended in a joint Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and police operation.

The would-be bomber, a resident of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor, is suspected of having suggested to Islamic Jihad operatives in the West Bank that they use her to carry out a terror attack, due to her hatred of Jews and "personal family problems," Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.

The teen, who has confessed to the allegations against her, said that her family had no knowledge of her plans to become a suicide bomber, police said.

As part of her enlistment, the teen traveled to Mecca to "purify" herself, after undergoing a series of tests by the Palestinian terror group to ensure that she was not an Israeli mole, police said....

Kenyan elders demand U.S. government apology for circulation of photo of Obama in Somali garb

Ready for Obama Photo Rage?

"Kenyan elders want U.S. apology over Obama photo," by Noor Ali for Reuters (thanks to Hot Air):

ISIOLO, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenyan elders demanded an apology from Washington on Thursday ahead of a planned protest over a controversial photo of U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama in traditional Somali dress. The dispute has angered many in Kenya, especially ethnic Somalis from the northeast, who resent the implication that Obama did anything wrong during his visit.

Wajir residents plan to demonstrate after Friday prayers to show their support for the Illinois senator.

Mohamed Ibrahim, who attended one of two crisis meetings held in Wajir on Thursday by clan members who hosted Obama on his trip, said Washington must immediately make amends to them and especially to the elder pictured with him.

"The U.S. government must apologise to us as a clan and the old man," Ibrahim told Reuters by telephone. "We have been offended and we cannot afford to just watch and stay silent."

He said it was essential Clinton "clear her name" too.

The old man in question was retired chief Sheikh Mohamed Hassan, a senior elder who deserved great respect, local residents said.

"He was the right person to perform any such activity like dressing a visitor like Obama with traditional Somali clothes," said another Wajir community leader, Mukhtar Sheikh Nur.

"We give special treatment and respect to any visitor."

If there was no apology, the elders said, they would demand the expulsion of U.S. troops based near Garissa town....

Thanks to Jihad Watch

Pipe bomb evidence can be used in Florida Muslim students' case

Naive Kids Update: They tried to get this evidence thrown out on the grounds that the arresting officer was racist -- evidently because he mentioned the Taliban, which is not a race -- but common sense prevailed this time. "Judge says USF student evidence can be used," from My Fox Tampa Bay (thanks to Bill Warner):

TAMPA - A federal judge says controversial evidence against two USF students accused of having explosives can be used in their trial.

Defense lawyers had challenged the use of evidence seized in a search of Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed and Youssef Samir Megahed's car because of statements made over the radio by the deputies who stopped them in South Carolina.

The men used terms like "terrorist" and Taliban" to describe the students, and lawyers argued that showed bias, and that the deputies didn't have probable cause to search the car.

Despite those arguments, a judge says the search was legal, and the evidence gathered - including pipe bombs and a computer - can be used.

Associated Press

TOKYO — Secretary of State Rice said today that Hamas rocket attacks against Israel "need to stop," demanding an end to the escalating violence that has rocked the Gaza Strip and set back American efforts to promote a Middle East peace deal.

Her appeal came after she met for an hour with Prime Minister Olmert of Israel, who also was visiting Japan. "I am concerned about the humanitarian conditions there and innocent people in Gaza who are being hurt," Ms. Rice told reporters following her meeting with Mr. Olmert. "We have to remember that the Hamas activities there are responsible for what has happened in Gaza — the illegal coup that they led against the legitimate institutions of the Palestinian Authority. It is very clear where this started."

The Rice-Olmert meeting came just hours after Israeli aircraft blasted Hamas government offices and metal shops in the Gaza Strip late yesterday, killing a baby and wounding more than 30 people in a retaliatory strike after a militant rocket killed an Israeli college student.

The bloodshed fed worries about a new outbreak of heavy fighting between the Israeli army and militants in the Gaza Strip.

Despite the violence, Ms. Rice is planning to visit the region next week to meet with Palestinian Arab and Israeli leaders to discuss the push to negotiate a peace accord, which could lead to a Palestinian Arab state one day.

Ms. Rice said she assured Mr. Olmert of American support, but she also called for more attention to be paid to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

"We were all sorry about the death of the Israeli university student and affirmed to him (Mr. Olmert) that we will continue to state clearly that the rocket attacks against Israel need to stop," Ms. Rice said. "I again reiterated our concerns for the humanitarian circumstances there and the need to find a more durable solution to the question of the passages," she added, referring to the inability of everyday Palestinian Arabs to leave the Gaza Strip.

Hamas overran Gaza in June, expelling forces loyal to the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. While Hamas controls Gaza, Mr. Abbas rules the West Bank. Hamas has done nothing to stop militants from using the tiny, densely populated territory to launch rocket attacks into Israel, and Israel responded with a near-total security seal that has prevented Gazans from leaving and has crippled cross-border commerce.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the deadly rocket attack on the college in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, which came a few hours after two Israeli airstrikes killed seven people in Gaza, including two senior commanders in the Hamas rocket operation.

The fatal attack on Sderot intensified calls in Israel for a large-scale ground offensive in Gaza aimed at clearing the border area of rocket squads, though previous incursions have halted such attacks only briefly.

So far, Mr. Olmert has ruled out such an invasion.

But during a visit to Sderot late yesterday, the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, vowed to "get those responsible" for the rocket attack. He dismissed arguments that Israel "cannot or will not (carry out) a wide-ranging operation in Gaza."

Ms. Rice, asked whether she told Mr. Olmert not to use disproportionate force in Gaza, dismissed the question.

"I think that's not a good way to address this issue," she said, then repeated her call for calm on both sides. "The issue is that the rocket attacks need to stop, there needs to be due concern for the humanitarian situation in Gaza, there needs to be a durable way to deal with crossing."

In the end, Ms. Rice said that the only long-term solution is for Israel and the Palestinian Arabs to negotiate a peace deal to end the cycle of violence, although chances of that happening anytime soon appear to be diminishing despite President Bush's goal of reaching agreement by the time he leaves office.

"The most important thing that can be done, of course, is to use the opportunity before the parties to have this vision of a Palestinian state become one that is concrete," Ms. Rice said. "That is what will ultimately give Palestinians and Israelis the confidence that they have a future of peace and security and not one of continuing conflict."

Ms. Rice said Mr. Olmert confirmed his commitment to the "roadmap" peace plan and she said that Lieutenant General William Fraser III, whom Mr. Bush appointed in January to monitor its progress, would travel to the region soon to discuss obligations of both the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.

Israel prepares world opinion for assault on Gaza

Feb. 28, 2008

As Hamas drew Ashkelon into the circle of communities coming under heavy rocket attacks, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the Foreign Ministry on Thursday began preparing both Israeli and world opinion for the possibility of a large-scale incursion into Gaza.

Barak, during a series of meetings at the Defense Ministry, said, "We should be prepared for an upswing in hostilities in Gaza. The big ground operation is a reality and it is tangible. We are not eager to embark upon such an operation, but we are not put off by it either." According to defense sources, the goals of such an operation - reportedly in the planning stages for weeks if not months - would not "merely" be to reduce the threat of rocket fire and rocket manufacturing in the Gaza Strip, but would also likely entail paralyzing the Hamas government's ability to operate, and even include "regime change."

Barak spoke with Quartet envoy Tony Blair and Egyptian intelligence head Omar Suleiman and said Israel could not tolerate the current level of rocket fire in the South without offering a wider response.

Barak also offered hints as to his plans, telling local community leaders gathered at Sapir Academic College outside Sderot that "the solution to Kassams will be a lot quicker than many people think."

And the Foreign Ministry, in talking points sent to its representatives abroad, instructed them to say that when Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005 it did so without the intention of ever returning, but that the continuation of terrorist attacks was likely to place the country in a position where it may have no other choice.

The ministry also instructed its representatives to reveal that the Grad missiles that were fired at Ashkelon on Thursday were smuggled through Sinai from Iran.

According to one diplomatic source, stressing the Iranian origin of the missiles showed the importance of aggressive action to stop the smuggling and isolate Hamas from Syria and Iran, which "directs the organization's terrorist actions."

"We have warned for a while about the arming of Hamas, and what is happening now is proof of this," the official said.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also seemed to be preparing the world for stepped up Israeli action, telling visiting Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas that the international community should "respect" all actions that Israel takes to protects its citizens.

Livni said Israel rejected condemnations and arguments that there were casualties on both sides of the fence, saying "there is no moral equivalence between terrorists and those fighting them, even if during those actions innocent civilians are accidentally killed. In these cases the world should not come to us - there is only one address for the Palestinian situation in Gaza and for what is likely to happen there in the future - and it is Hamas."

Foreign Minister director-general Aaron Abramovich traveled to Cairo on Thursday for talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit about the situation on the Egyptian-Gaza border.

Government officials said that while Abramovich wanted to concentrate on how to combat the arms smuggling across and under the Philadelphi Corridor, Gheit was more interested in talking about how to get the Rafah crossing re-opened. The talks came in preparation for a high level discussion on the situation on the border excepted early next week with the arrival on Tuesday of both US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Suleiman.

In light of the recent tension with Egypt over the situation on the border, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the Israeli delegation "stressed the strategic importance of the relationship between Israel and Egypt, in enhancing and addressing challenges to peace in the region and promoting peaceful coexistence."

In a related development, government officials said Israel was not getting "too excited" over an interview Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave to a Jordanian newspaper that appeared Thursday saying he did not rule out returning to the path of armed "resistance" against Israel.

The official said these comments were aimed at Abbas's domestic audience and that Abbas should be judged by his deeds - a willingness to negotiate peace - rather than by statements "meant for internal consumption.

In an interview with Al-Dustur, Abbas also took pride that he had been the first to fire a bullet on Israel in 1965 and that his organization, Fatah, had trained Hizbullah. "At this present juncture, I am opposed to armed struggle because we cannot succeed in it, but maybe in the future things will be different," he said.

Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report.

Abbas rejects Jewishness of Israel,doesn't rule out armed conflict

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that he doesn't rule out armed conflict against Israel. He also said that he was "honored" to have fired the first bullet of the Fatah terror organization in 1965, and to have taught terror tactics around the world, including to such groups as Hizbullah.

In an in-depth interview published today in the Jordanian daily Al-Dustur, Abbas said that the PA is "unable" to pursue armed conflict for now, but said that "in the future stages things may be different."

He rejected Israel as a Jewish state, and said that it was the PA's rejection of Israel's Jewishness that almost aborted the Annapolis Conference last November.

Abbas said that he won't demand that Hamas recognize Israel. In fact, as PMW has reported in the past, he said that the only "recognition" of Israel he demands of a Palestinian unity government is to recognize Israel as its adversary.

Here are some highlights from that interview:

The Arab Situation

"Now we are against armed conflict because we are unable. In the future stages, things may be different... "

We reject the Jewishness of the state

The Palestinian President emphasized his rejection of what is described as the Jewishness of the state [Israel], and said: "We rejected this proposal at the Annapolis conference last November in the USA, and the conference was almost aborted because of it..."

The Resistance [Editor's note: PA euphemism for terror]

The Palestinian President spoke about the resistance, saying: "I was honored to be the one to shoot the first bullet in 1965 [Fatah terror against Israel began in 1965] ,and having taught resistance to many in this area and around the world, defining it and when it is beneficial and when it is not... we had the honor of leading the resistance.We taught everyone what resistance is, including the Hezbollah, who were trained in our camps [i.e. PLO camps in the 60s and 70s]."

Recognition of Israel

"I don't demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. I only demanded of the [Palestinian] national unity government that would work opposite Israel in recognition of it. And this I told to Syrian President Bashir Assad, and he supported this idea."

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Arlene Kushner

Saying "Damn them all" is not enough. It provides a brief catharsis, perhaps, and lets people know where we stand with regard to what's going on here. But by itself it's sorely insufficient. What must follow is action. And that I will address today. In an interview today with the Jordanian paper al-Dustur, the "moderate" PA President Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen), our "peace partner" said he doesn't rule out returning to the path of terrorism (known as "resistance"):

"At this present juncture, I am opposed to the armed struggle because we can't succeed in it, but maybe in the future things will be different." There is, you see, no final renunciation of terrorism, no moral condemnation of it. If it would help his cause, he'd gladly use it.

This, by the way, was precisely the position of his mentor, Yasser Arafat, during the Oslo years. As then special negotiator Dennis Ross later noted, Arafat never dispensed with the "terror card." This is the default position: Try negotiations and if they're not successful, fall back on violence.


Abbas additionally admitted here something that those of us who are familiar with his background understand well, but which is denied by those eager to embrace him as a "moderate." He not only tells us that he has his own terrorist credentials, but that he is proud of this:

"I had the honor of firing the first shot in 1965 and of being the one who taught resistance to many in the region and around the world; what it's like; when it is effective and when it isn't effective; its uses, and what serious, authentic and influential resistance is.

"...We (Fatah) had the honor of leading the resistance and we taught resistance to everyone, including Hezbollah, who trained in our military camps."


Is this not incredible? Who dares to say Abbas is a moderate after this? A rhetorical question, still, I'm afraid, because many will dare.

But we can make it as difficult as possible for those who would continue to embrace Abbas. And I ask each of you to do your part, and to pass this message along for others to do the same.


First, this question needs to be asked of the White House and the State Department: How can you ask Israel to negotiate with and make concessions for Abbas who says this -- and quote from Abbas.

President George Bush

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Fax: 202-456-2461

Comment Line: 202-456-1111 TTY/TDD Comment Line: 202-456-6213

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Fax; 202-647-2283 or 202-647-6434

Phone: 202-647-5291 or 202-736-4461 TTY: 1-800-877-8339

Remember, a fax or phone call is best.


Then, contact either the Israeli Embassy or your nearest consulate and ask, in essence, the same question: How can you negotiate with the man who says this. Please stop! It puts Israel at risk. My information is that the Foreign Ministry notes American public opinion, so this can have an effect if it is done in solid numbers.

Use this link to find contact information for the Embassy or appropriate consulate. (Thanx Doris M.) If you navigate within the selected site you will find fax numbers and the rest.


Contacting the US government would be appropriate in any event, but what makes it even more critical now is that Rice is coming next week to help "move the negotiations forward." Negotiations with the man who made the above statement. Incredible!

What is more, while Rice gives lip service to our right to defend ourselves, there is concern that the situation shouldn't "get out of hand" while she's here. This merely increases or reinforces Olmert's reluctance to do that ground operation, even after the outrages of yesterday and in spite of the intense pressure on him from many quarters here. It has been suggested that action will come after she leaves, but there's been so much stalling I'll believe that when I see it.


Olmert did meet with Rice in Tokyo, where he told her that "The Palestinians are testing our patience to the limit." This could be read as a veiled declaration of intention to act very soon.

And Rice, being Rice, expressed understanding of our position and then launched into an expression of concern about the humanitarian conditions in Gaza. (Hint to Olmert: Don't think of making those conditions worse.)

She said she believes that the only solution to the "cycle of violence" (an inappropriate term of moral equivalency) is a negotiated peace. But she conceded that this seems less and less likely to happen any time soon.


Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has issued a statement saying that we will continue to defend ourselves. What is happening is a ratcheting up of the limited operations -- missile strikes on those launching the rockets and their launching bases -- that have been on-going. Today 18 Palestinians in Gaza were killed. This time a strike was done near Haniyeh's home, likely as a message, as he is assumed to be in hiding.

The problem, as I've noted before, is that these operations are not effective against what we're facing.


I end by citing in total a JTA news release concerning the Jewish Council for Public Affairs:

"The Jewish Council for Public Affairs endorsed for the first time a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"At its annual plenum Tuesday in Atlanta, the body, an umbrella organization representing 14 national Jewish groups and 125 local Jewish community relations councils, resolved that 'the organized
American Jewish community should affirm its support for two independent, democratic and economically viable states -- the Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine-- living side-by-side in
peace and security.'

"The resolution also included compromise language reflecting American Jewry's "diverse views about current and future policies of the Israeli government towards settlements," and blamed
the standstill in the peace process on Palestinian intransigence. It appeared to pass unanimously, though the Orthodox Union, which has been outspoken in objecting to any deal to share or divide Jerusalem, had considered abstaining. According to one of its officers, David Luchins, the O.U. was satisfied with the final text, but still felt it represented an attempt to "micromanage" the peace process.

"The resolution came about in response to recent events like the seizure of Gaza, the 'reconstitution' of the Palestinian Authority and the latest U.S.-backed peace initiative, said the JCPA's senior associate executive director, Martin Raffel."


Before I comment on this state of affairs, let me add that the OU has put out its own release elaborating on its position, which it felt was not fairly represented in the JTA release.

See for the OU explanation. Apparently OU abstained from the final vote and, among its actions, "succeeded in defeating a proposed amendment to the resolution text which would have stated that the American Jewish community views the establishment or expansion of Israeli settlements as an 'impediment to peace.'"


Now, as to the position of the established Jewish community: There are multiple reasons for this resolution, only one of them being an ideological bent. We're looking, as well, at a reluctance to cross the government of Israel and the US government. And yet, it takes my breath away. From here in Israel, it feels as if we've lost the established American Jewish community to a considerable extent. They just don't get it.

Perhaps this also takes your breath away. And perhaps you are associated with or active in one of the national Jewish groups that belongs to this umbrella organization. A number of big groups is involved -- ORT, Hadassah, Bnai Brith, etc. See for the list. Perhaps you donate money to one or more of these groups, which increases your leverage.

Raise your voices. Let your distress be heard. This is not a time for remaining passive.


see my website

Scientific Training and Radical Islam

Stephen Schwartz
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2008

The involvement of Muslim physicians in the London and Glasgow airport terror conspiracy on June 29-30, 2007, forced both non-Muslims and moderate Muslims to question how those trained to heal could embrace terrorism. The doctors involved in the attempt to detonate car bombs in London and blow up a passenger terminal at the Glasgow airport did not represent an isolated phenomenon. Many Muslim doctors have adopted the extremist doctrines espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Wahhabis, and Pakistani jihadists. Groups such as Al-Muhajiroun, a group banned but still active in Britain and famous for celebrating the 9-11 terror attacks, recruit medical students. Tablighi Jamaat,[1] an Islamist movement prominent in Great Britain among Muslims of South Asian origin, also welcomes Muslim medical students. Medical professionals represent an elite in Muslim societies. They have moral and social standing that can influence others to stray from the observance of traditional, mainstream, and spiritual Islam toward radical ideologies.Confluence of Mullahs and Medicine

In early Islam, there was little separation between religion and medicine. Traditional Islam promotes the concept of medical work as a service to humanity. Physical wellness and religious belief remain bound together in the popular consciousness of Muslims. It is not uncommon to use encased Qur'anic verses in amulets to cure ailments. Pocket handbooks for faith healing are printed and sold from Bosnia-Hercegovina to Indonesia. A typical such booklet, Kur'an Kao Lijek (Qur'an as healing), widely circulated in Turkey and Bosnia-Hercegovina, recommends that a sick person write the opening sura or book of the Qur'an, Al-Fatiha, on a piece of paper, dip it in water, and drink the water.[2] Also common are small booklets correlating the ninety-nine Arabic names of God with solutions to specific ailments. One example from India reads, "Al-Hayy (The everlasting): Anyone desiring sound health should recite this name 3,000 times daily. If a sick person writes this name in a bowl with musk and rose water and then washes such inscription with water and drinks the water, he will soon be cured from his illness, Insh'allah [God willing]."[3] The thirteenth-century Syrian theologian Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziya's At-Tibb an-Nabawi (The medicine of the Prophet), remains popular today and is available in many languages.

Among many Muslims, the concept of "the Prophet's medicine" has appeal because it avoids surgery and other expensive procedures. Clerics versed in folk medicine traditions can gain credibility with the rural and urban poor. Conversely, though, because religion and medicine are so intertwined in belief, some ordinary Muslims may consider Muslim medical doctors to be superior to mainstream clerics. The radical Islamist doctor may easily usurp religious authority from a traditional imam. Khaleel Mohammed, comparative religion professor at San Diego State University, has argued that in recent times, "Muslim leaders have not traditionally been chosen for their Islamic knowledge but for their stature in society—a medical doctor, a computer scientist."[4]

Islamists have seized upon this dynamic to manipulate the masses. In third world countries, many people consider the medical doctor to be the only person capable of delivering real assistance. This is not limited to Muslims. In the 1960s and 1970s, Latin American leftists sent students to the Soviet Union and Cuba to study medicine. Ernesto "Che" Guevara was a medical doctor. Fidel Castro's regime continues to produce and train doctors to serve poor communities for free. Castro even extended the U.S.-based Nation of Islam an invitation to send young African-American men to Cuba for free medical training.
Islamic Bioethics

There is no reason why the Muslim approach to medicine should be different from that of the West. Islamic bioethics do not differ profoundly from Western bioethics. Muslim scientists and doctors translated Greek medicine into Arabic. Muslim doctors inherited the Hippocratic Oath along with other elements of Greek medicine.[5] In 1981, though, the International Organization of Islamic Medicine, an institution set up in Kuwait with the aim of formalizing Islamic medical doctrine, issued an Islamic Code of Medical Ethics. This text includes an "Oath of the Doctor," which augmented the Hippocratic Oath with reference to the omnipotence of God, as well as the duty of the Muslim physician to observe Islamic standards of modesty in dealing with patients and to live as a Muslim publicly as well as privately.[6]

The Islamic Code of Medical Ethics addresses certain issues debated by Western bioethicists, often endorsing the sanctity of life. It bans euthanasia or mercy killing, for example, declaring, "A doctor shall not take life away even when motivated by mercy." However, it distinguishes between medical ethics and Islamic law when asserting, "Human life is sacred … and should not be willfully taken except upon the indications specified in Islamic jurisprudence, all of which are outside the domain of the medical profession."[7] Islamist clerics also forbid abortion except in cases where the mother's life is in danger. Influential Qatar-based cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi writes in The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, a popular Shari‘a guide, that "Muslim jurists agree unanimously that after the fetus is fully-formed and has been given a soul, aborting it is haram [prohibited] … However, there is one exceptional situation. If, say the jurists, after the baby is completely formed, it is reliably established that the continuation of the pregnancy would necessarily result in the death of the mother, then, in accordance with the general principle of the Shari‘a, that of choosing the lesser of two evils, the abortion must be performed."[8]

A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West, a Shi‘i manual reflecting the guidance of the Iraqi Ayatollah Ali Sistani, addresses bioethical issues in much greater detail. In a separate chapter titled "Medical Issues," the volume specifies that organ transplants, even from dogs and pigs, are permissible in that the human body will, through "rejuvenation" of the organ, purify it. The same text authorizes the use of insulin even if extracted from swine as well as "genetic engineering" to make human beings more physically attractive.[9]

There is a creeping Islamist revision of bioethics, at least in the Sunni community. Some Muslim medical students in Britain, for example, boycott classes and leave test questions unanswered if they involve alcohol-related diseases such as those concerning cirrhosis of the liver or sexually-transmitted diseases on the pretext that both deal with conduct forbidden in their faith.[10] Other British Islamists have refused to wash their hands when entering sterile areas in hospitals because antibacterial gel contains alcohol.[11] No such prohibition exists in traditional Islam against the medical use of alcohol for sterilization, nor does traditional Sunni scholarship prohibit the use of insulin even when it is extracted from a pig's pancreas.[12]
Doctors and Jihad

Few doctors involved in radical Islamist activity obtained their primary medical education from Western institutions. Part of this is the result of geography: Arab or South Asian doctors focus on maladies specific to their region. With immense rural populations and an absence of clinics with new equipment, doctors from such areas circulate among people far more easily than Western-trained medical personnel who may find the absence of proper pharmacies and laboratories a handicap. A doctor may not be indifferent to religious matters if his education is paid for by an Islamist organization.

Here, Islamist groups have been adept. While the Egyptian government has not been able to keep up with the demand for medical services, the Muslim Brotherhood and its splinter groups have filled the gap. The Muslim Brotherhood has penetrated and, at times, subsumed the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, Egypt's official medical professional association.[13] While some dismiss the radicalization of doctors as the result of their overproduction and underemployment, such an explanation fails to explain the concurrent radicalization of doctors in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, both of which have little trouble employing their doctors.

In a strategy masterminded by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who rose through the ranks of Egyptian Islamic Jihad to become Osama bin Laden's deputy, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Gamaa al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group) provide local health care in exchange for opportunities to recruit neighborhood youth in extremist ideology. Bin Laden replicated the strategy when, during his years of exile in the Sudan, he used his personal wealth to build schools and hospitals.

In his book Islamic Medicine,[14] which was turned into a collection of online essays, Shahid Athar, an endocrinologist and clinical associate professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, provides background on the environment in which the physician can become a radical Islamist. Citing from the Qur'an,[15] he demonstrates why the gulf between medical science and religion is not as vast for many Muslims as it may appear to many Westerners. The Islamic Code of Medical Ethics states, "The physician should be in possession of a threshold-knowledge of jurisprudence, worship, and essentials of Fiqh [Islamic legal argument], enabling him to give counsel to patients seeking his guidance about health and body conditions, with a bearing on the rites of worship."[16]

The Muslim Brotherhood, for its part, argues that repudiation of Western secularism does not automatically mean a rejection of science and of new discoveries. Sayyid Qutb (1906-66), the leading intellectual behind the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, encouraged Muslims to acquire knowledge and to study hard sciences such as chemistry, physics, and mathematics although he forbade the pursuit of some fields—such as economics and evolution—that he deemed outside the context of Qur'anic precepts.[17] Qutb and his intellectual successors have drawn from classical Islam to argue that rationality and critical reason have a prominent role in Qur'anic thought.[18]

Rather than simply bless the study of modern scientific fields developed in the West, many Islamists seek a broader reconciliation between Islam and science. Sa‘id Nursi (1877-1960), a Turkish Islamist inspired by Sufism, sought to reconcile science and religion in Risale-i Nur (Treatise on light) which, while never completed, is nevertheless widely published.[19] Sometimes, such trends contradict the findings of hard science. As Islamism has increased in Turkey, so too has creationism. Harun Yahya, a businessman and Islamist ideologue born Adnan Oktar in Ankara in 1956, widely produces and disseminates glossy and expensive volumes questioning Darwinism and intertwining it with anti-Freemasonry and other conspiratorial arguments popular in Islamist publications. In 2007, he sent free copies of a huge, multicolored, two-volume Atlas of Creation[20] to journals in every major country[21] in which he argued the creationist case.

The late Mahmoud Abu Saud, a leading Egyptian Islamist ideologue who resided for many years in the United States, contributed an essay on "The Role of a Muslim Doctor" to Athar's volume in which he argued that the "doctor has a big say and great weight in influencing his patients and in righteously guiding their orientation. Besides, he should be actively involved in propagating true Islam among Muslims and non-Muslims ... The best missionary service to be rendered by a medical doctor is to behave at the time in accordance with his Islamic teachings, to declare his conviction, and to feel proud of it."[22]
Extremist Commitment in Iran

The role of scientifically-trained elites in furthering extremist ideology is also visible in Iran. Both before and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the most influential Iranian political and student movements originated at the medical, technical, and engineering schools. While doctors are perhaps the most influential tier in society in the Arab world, in Iran, engineers share the stratum. Medical and engineering programs attract both the most gifted students and those with ambitions for broader roles in society. Iran has officially encouraged modern medical education beginning with the 1911 Medical Law, which required physicians to study and train in modern medicine. Initially, this did less to improve education and more to de-legitimize Islamic folk healers.[23]

In the absence of organized party politics, students segregated themselves into competing political factions. They soon transformed universities into a stage for confrontation between monarchists and religious radicals. After the shah's departure, Islamist factions embracing authoritarianism, populism, and or Marxism confronted each other although subsequent revolutionary purges limited religious discourse to trends supporting the Supreme Leader's personal role. Members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MKO) and other smaller groups that engaged in terrorism and armed combat were disproportionately drawn from medical and technical schools. Ervand Abrahamian's The Iranian Mojahedin tabulates MKO "martyrs" for the period 1981-85: Of a claimed total of 8,968, almost a third were identified as "modern middle class." In that category, 1,653 were college students while forty-seven fell into the combined group of doctors, veterinarians, and dentists. Three unnamed individuals classified as "prominent mojahedin" among the "martyrs" were doctors, veterinarians, or dentists.[24]

While the revolution curtailed the opportunity for most Iranian doctors and engineers to exchange opinions with their counterparts outside the country, they retained their predominant role in society. Several doctors assumed high positions in the Islamic Republic. ‘Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign minister between 1981 and 1997 and current foreign affairs advisor to the Supreme Leader, is a pediatrician by training and conducted post-doctoral training at Johns Hopkins University.[25] Abbas Sheibani, a hard-line Islamist currently on the Tehran city council and a former minister of agriculture, also segued from medicine[26] into Islamist politics. Similarly, Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the hard-line Iranian official daily Kayhan and an aide to Supreme Leader ‘Ali Khamenei, was a medical student before his arrest and imprisonment by the shah's regime.[27] Many others were engineers. The confluence of medical doctors or engineers and Islamism in Iran may reflect the weakness of liberal principles in society. The absence of liberalism, often conflated with Westernization, let alone hostility to both liberalism and the West,[28] has created a vacuum that other ideologies seek to fill. While the shah sought to promote Persian nationalism, his flight ceded the battle to Islamism and Marxism. Khomeini's Islamism won. Commitment to Islamism in Iran offers doctors and engineers an opportunity to achieve a fast political and social rise.
Are Doctors the Ultimate Jihadis?

Among jihadists, doctors can transcend rivalries. The doctor can move more freely with less security. Doctors may also augment Islamist jihad with their knowledge of chemistry and perhaps pharmacology. They may serve to purchase sensitive supplies, including volatile chemicals for use in explosives or drugs.

When confronting moderate Muslims or peoples of other faiths, Islamist doctors also have an advantage. In countries beset by Islamist violence, many citizens perceive those fighting jihad to be disfranchised illiterates responding to the appeal of craftier bigots. This was a major theme of the 1994 Egyptian satirical film, Al-Irhabi (The terrorist). For Islamist organizations seeking to overcome such stereotypes, what better way to penetrate a village than to send a much needed doctor?

The same strategy has replicated itself in disaster relief operations conducted by radical Islamist organizations. After a 7.6 Richter scale earthquake in Pakistani Kashmir on October 8, 2005, Pakistani Islamist organizations helped to provide homeless victims with hot food, clothes, and other supplies. At least seventeen Islamist organizations banned by President Pervez Musharraf's government undertook relief and reconstruction work in the aftermath of the earthquake.[29] The Daily Telegraph reported that "Islamic groups are widely regarded as having provided the most efficient aid operations in some areas after the Pakistan earthquake struck in Kashmir and the North West Frontier Province." [30] These Islamist and jihadist organizations also aided refugee camp management, running thirty-seven out of the seventy-three organized camps in and around the regional capital of Muzaffarabad, and Islamists had a presence in every other affected Pakistani district.[31]

Such medical outreach aids the Islamist cause in multiple ways. Not only can doctors proselytize, but they can also funnel or launder humanitarian donations to terrorists. Funds collected by the radical Sunni Lashkar-e-Taiba group for relief in the aftermath of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake were diverted to the use of the conspirators in the 2006 Heathrow airport terrorist plot.[32] The diversion of medical aid charities occurs in the United States as well. The U.S Treasury Department's Office of Terrorism and Financial Development has designated the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which often solicited funds for medical relief, to be a provider of "millions of dollars in financial and logistical support to Hamas."[33] The Treasury Department also designated the Global Relief Foundation, headquartered in Bridgeview, Illinois, as a terror supporter because of its role in raising money for Al-Qaeda.[34]
Jihadi Doctors in the West

The involvement of medical doctors in the British bomb plots has raised several questions about how the phenomenon of jihadi doctors spread to the West. British authorities asked both whether the Muslim doctors involved in the London-Glasgow conspiracy were the exception or the rule and, if unreflective of mainstream Muslim doctors, whether their radicalization occurred before or after they arrived in Great Britain.

The answers are discomforting. The London-Glasgow group does not appear exceptional. The radical Deobandi sect with roots in India and Pakistan, the equally extreme Wahhabi movement with its base in Saudi Arabia, and the Muslim Brotherhood, whose origins lie in Egypt, have each made inroads into British society. Each has targeted outreach efforts to doctors, engineers, and lawyers. Deobandism and its missionary offshoot, the Tablighi Jamaat, flourish in urban communities in Britain among the educated and affluent.[35] Radicalization of elite professionals is more a product of the ideological conflicts within Islam itself than of social conditions or political issues in Britain. Not all physicians join radical movements, but their presence in these movements, according to anecdotal reports in the Muslim community, exceeds what might be expected if their only motivation were foreign policy grievance. Such anecdotal evidence suggests that radical Islamists target them for recruitment. The West should expect many more examples of Islamist doctors to appear in the future.

The problem is compounded for immigrants studying in the West and their progeny by the manner in which U.S. and European universities teach medicine. Because they focus primarily on hard science, Muslims can go through the courses with very little exposure to the arts and humanities and, therefore, not have their sometimes simplistic views of religion challenged. In Britain, where medicine is an undergraduate field, the chance that Muslim doctors will receive any college-level training in humanities is slim.

Such an educational milieu allows radical Islam to present itself as a rational and modern expression of faith, suitable for a scientifically-trained professional. A radical interpretation of Islam is uncomplicated, requiring little real study or reflection, and can often, therefore, be more attractive to professionals who must dedicate their lives to hours of medical memorization.

In the United States, doctors with Islamist leanings are increasingly active in the promotion of radical interpretations. In 2003, the federal government charged Rafil Dhafir, an oncologist from Syracuse, New York, and three other persons with conspiring to violate sanctions by transferring funds to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Convicted two years later, he is now serving twenty-two years.[36]

In Toledo, Ohio, Islamist doctors spearheaded the takeover of a once-progressive mosque that had preached respect for other faiths. They began by promoting the writings of Qutb and Abu al-A'la Mawdudi, founder of the Islamist Jamaat-i Islami in India and Pakistan, and ended by organizing a vote to oust the mosque's moderate leadership.[37] A former congregant at the mosque said, "What surprised me was that this takeover scheme was masterminded by Muslim physicians."[38] He suggested that the majority of Muslim medical doctors in the region had embraced radical ideology.

When the doctors took over the mosque, they temporarily succeeded in removing an American flag from the premises although three converts to Islam demanded it be returned to a place of honor. Islamic religious instruction at the mosque became saturated with extremism; one religious teacher called for the beheading of U.S. military personnel in Iraq. Congregants who criticized such radicalism and the substitution of politics for theology were branded as "Zionist, neoconservative spies helping the U.S. authorities in the destruction of Islam."[39] In February 2006, the FBI arrested an alleged cell of three terrorists in Toledo.[40]

In a similar case in California, a prominent member of Masjid Abu Bakr, the largest Sunni mosque in San Diego, conducts religious courses imbued with radical interpretations and offers discounted dental services to his students, an attractive perk to immigrant Muslims who may not be wealthy.[41]

Perhaps the most famous Islamist doctors in California are the Egyptian-born brothers Maher and Hassan Hathout, who have been prominent in the Islamic Center of Southern California, as well as such organizations as the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a Saudi-funded Islamist front group. Maher is a retired cardiologist[42] while Hassan is an obstetrician and gynecologist.[43]

Too often, the conduct of extremist Muslim doctors is rationalized as a protest against deprivation and corruption in Muslim majority states or a reaction to the humiliation of Palestinians and Iraqis at the hands of Israel, Western Europe, or the United States. While popular, there is little evidence to support such analysis.

The radicalization of Muslim doctors is more systematic. They occupy a superior stratum of their society and, as such, are targeted by radical ideologues. How then can medical professionals and governments in the West respond to this challenge? Vetting of Muslim doctors for radicalism may prove ineffective and will doubtless raise civil liberty concerns. More possible would be closer monitoring of radical Islamist groups in order to counter incitement and preempt violence. Radicalization of Muslim doctors is only a symptom, however. Until the West pressures Muslim governments—especially Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan—to stop their financial support and that of their citizens for radical ideological groups, Islamists will erode not only medical ethics but other aspects of Western liberalism.

Stephen Schwartz is a principal investigator at the Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP). This essay is based on "Scientific Training and Radical Islam," a CIP report, written collaboratively with Kemal Silay, Irfan al-Alawi, Khaleel Mohammed, Jalal Zuberi, Daut Dauti, and Anne Hagood.

[1] Alex Alexiev, "Tablighi Jamaat: Jihad's Stealth Legions," Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2005, pp. 3-11.
[2] Hafiz Huluusi Efendi, Havassi Suveri Furkan, trans. into Bosnian, n.p., n.d.
[3] Anonymous, 99 Names of Allah (New Delhi: Kutub Khana Ishayat ul-Islam, 2004).
[4] Ottawa Citizen, Feb. 6, 2007.
[5] Ibrahim Syed, "Islamic Medicine: 1000 Years Ahead of Its Times," in Shahid Athar, ed., Islamic Medicine (Karachi: Pan-Islamic Publishing House, 1989), accessed Sept. 27, 2007.
[6] "Oath of the Doctor," Islamic Code of Medical Ethics (Kuwait: International Organization of Islamic Medicine, 1981), p. 91.
[7] Ibid., p. 64.
[8] Yusuf al-Qaradawi, The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam (Indianapolis: American Trust Publications, n.d.), pp. 201-2.
[9] Abdul Hadi [based on the work of Ayatollah Ali Sistani], A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West, Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi, trans. (London: Imam Ali Foundation, 1999), pp. 189-200.
[10] The Sunday Times (London), Oct. 7, 2007.
[11] The Sun (London), Dec. 29, 2006.
[12] A Code of Practice for Muslims, p. 124, 194.
[13] Carrie Rosefsky Wickham, Mobilizing Islam: Religion, Activism, and Political Change in Egypt (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), pp. 184-8, 190-2.
[14] Shahid Athar, "Health Guidelines from Qura'n [sic] and Sunnah," in Athar, Islamic Medicine, accessed Sept. 27, 2007.
[15] Qur. 10:57.
[16] Islamic Code of Medical Ethics, p. 31.
[17] Sayyid Qutb, Milestones (Chicago: Kazi Publications, 1993), p. 109.
[18] Ibid.
[19] For example, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Lights of Reality, Şükran Vahide, trans. (Istanbul: Sozler Nesriyat ve Sanayi A.S., 2006).
[20] Harun Yahya, Atlas of Creation (Istanbul: Global Publishing, 2007), accessed Sept. 27, 2007.
[21] The New York Times, July 17, 2007.
[22] Mahmoud Abu Saud, "The Role of a Muslim Doctor," in Athar, Islamic Medicine.
[23] David Menashri, Education and the Making of Modern Iran (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992), pp. 83-5.
[24] Ervand Abrahamian, The Iranian Mojahedin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), p. 225.
[25] The New York Times, Oct. 4, 1985.
[26] "A Historical Review of the Development of Pathology in Iran," Moslem Bahadori, M.D., Academy of Medical Sciences of Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran, accessed Sept. 24, 2007.
[27] The New York Times, Sept. 22, 2007.
[28] See, for example, Jalal al-Ahmad, Gharbzadagi [Westoxification] (Tehran: Intisharat-i Firdaws, 1994).
[29] "Pakistan: Political Impact of the Earthquake," Asia Briefing, no. 46, International Crisis Group, Islamabad-Brussels, Mar. 15, 2006.
[30] The Daily Telegraph (London), Nov. 2, 2005.
[31] "Pakistan: Political Impact of the Earthquake."
[32], Aug. 15, 2006.
[33] "Statement of Secretary Paul O'Neill on the Blocking of Hamas Financiers' Assets," U.S. Treasury Department, Washington, D.C., Dec. 4, 2001.
[34] "Treasury Department Statement Regarding the Designation of the Global Relief Foundation," U.S. Treasury Department, Washington, D.C., Oct. 18, 2002.
[35] Alexiev, "Tablighi Jamaat."
[36] The Washington Post, Feb. 11, 2005, Feb. 25, 2007.
[37] Confidential interview by author by e-mail, Jan. 17, 2007.
[38] Ibid.
[39] Ibid.
[40] WTOL TV11, Apr. 24, 2007.
[41] Confidential interview by author, San Diego, Calif., Oct. 16, 2006.
[42] "Dr. Maher Hathout,", accessed Sept. 27, 2007.
[43] "Dr. Hassan Hathout," Egyptian American Organization, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif., accessed Sept. 27, 2007.

The Future Of Jerusalem:First Know The Facts

Elan Ezrachi
Special To The Jewish Week

Over the past 40 years, a new reality has emerged in Jerusalem. Most people cannot recall what existed prior to 1967. The “new” Jerusalem is a mixture of irreversible developments as well as problems that are extremely difficult to resolve. Further, the 730,000 residents of Jerusalem, Jews and Palestinians alike, have created their own existential mechanisms and invented a reality that enables them to manage their lives in a vibrant multicultural city. And now we learn that Israel and the Palestinians are closer than ever to discussing the future status of the “eternal” city.The question of Jerusalem cannot be reduced to the “slogan of the week” competition. If Jews around the world, as well as Israelis and Palestinians, wish to have a constructive role in this conversation they must find ways to learn the facts on the ground. The future of Jerusalem will not be shaped by sentimental or theological assertion.

At the end of the day, Jerusalem is a living urban organism that has a history and a reality. The “real” Jerusalem has to be taken into account in determining the future. For the many Jews in the diaspora who are preparing to make a pilgrimage to Israel, and for the Jews who will follow the debate only from afar, the time has come to bring reality into the discourse.
The public arena in Israel is heating up while it is addressing the future of Jerusalem. The tensions are getting higher as the core issues of the conflict are brought to the negotiating table, among them the future of Jerusalem. One major question in the debate is whether the fate of Jerusalem can even be considered. Some argue that Jerusalem’s future cannot be determined through the ordinary democratic process of general elections.

Rather, some believe the fate of Jerusalem has to be brought to a national referendum. Others demand that a special majority in the Knesset will be required to make such a decision. Similarly, an old debate is being reopened regarding the role of diaspora Jews as participants in deciding the future of the city. And all this is happening without any viable proposal on the table. Israel and the Palestinians have not shown any signs yet that a practical solution for the future of Jerusalem is being considered.

Still, the emotional and political barometer is on the rise. Special campaigns are under way, political threats are voiced and slogans are fired from all directions. In addition, pollsters and researchers are trying to predict what the public reactions will be when different scenarios are considered.

A poll commissioned by the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem-based think-tank, revealed that only 16 percent of Israelis believe Diaspora Jews should be involved in the decision. The people trust the prime minister even less, with only 5 percent believing that the prime minister should determine Jerusalem’s fate. Among those who feel that such decisions should belong to Israelis, 34 percent say they mean “all” Israeli citizens and 32 percent say they mean only Jewish citizens.

Let’s assume that diaspora Jews could have a voice in determining the future of Jerusalem. To what extent are leaders and representatives of the Jewish diaspora prepared to make informed recommendations?

The likelihood is that for the vast majority of world Jewry, the question of Jerusalem is remote and obscure. How many Jews can tell the difference between Jerusalem prior to 1967 and afterwards? Who knows how and why Israel created the current municipal boundaries of what is called today “unified Jerusalem?” What are the Jewish neighborhoods that were built in East Jerusalem after 1967? What is the status of Palestinians living in the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem? Just like most Israelis, perhaps even more so, it is safe to say that diaspora Jews are unfamiliar with the basics of these issues.

Assuming that we have a short amount of time until the two sides will come up with a proposed solution, it behooves all sides to look carefully at the real dimensions. Jerusalem deserves a solution that will ensure a livable and vibrant metropolis that will enable the perpetuation of the legacy of this eternal city. Lovers of Jerusalem should rally behind a viable and constructive option for the generations to come.

Elan Ezrachi is the director of the International School for Jerusalem Studies, at Yad Ben-Zvi.