Cockroaches: they want to take Bush down

Yesterday’s tragic bombings and murders in the Sinai demand that we more closely reflect upon the warped motivations of our enemies especially as we enter our elections. An Egyptian hotel is an unfortunately obvious target. Many analysts have cited the primary short-term goal of al-Qaida being the removal of the American and western presence from Iraq. Many correctly note that the removal of Saddam and the installation of democracy in Iraq and possibly in the greater Middle East brings with it an antidote to the influence of organizations like al-Qaida. The first step to understanding their motivations is understanding that they are incubated from the belly of theocracies and dictatorships. Charles Krauthammer points out that in Spain and near the Australian embassy in Indonesia the goal was influencing their elections so that the challenger can win and withdraw troops from Iraq. He then points out that the motivation with the recent escalation of guerilla terrorism on soft targets throughout Iraq is to increase the price of the war and break the American resolve and support of President Bush, much like the Tet offensive in Vietnam prior to the 1968 elections in America. The bombings in Egypt yesterday appear to be along the same lines of derangement. Al-Qaida appears to be banking on the premise that an increase in global terrorism against American interests, allies, and tourists will break the will of the U.S. in fighting this war against militant Islamo-fascists. The militant Islamists are doing everything possible to remove American presence in the Middle East which threatens their existence and their dreams of theocratic government. The hotels and tourism of Egypt are not only traveled by westerners, but its crippling sends a message to Arab and Muslim nations that depend upon America’s economic resources. Threatening American security, increasing global terrorism and stifling American-Muslim interaction are all goals of al-Qaida, which despises secular freedom and capitalism. In WWII, FDR returned to office with commanding mandates when he stood for liberty, identified our enemies, and pledged American leadership in a resolve to defeat the enemies of freedom. To interpret Iraq and the recent rise in global terrorism in any other way is to ignore the obvious. While the cockroaches of terrorism are being exterminated, their activity will unfortunately increase. To walk away from their infestation in Iraq and beyond is to yield to them the world which led to 9/11 and to yield American security to only a prayer that another attack on our soil or our citizens will not happen “as long as we leave the terrorists alone.” Their ideology of hate will not conform to this and appeasement will only allow their growth and rebuilding. This column appeared in the Arizona Republic PluggedIn weblog at this link

Immigrants Raise Voices for Democracy

Since World War II, nearly every Middle Eastern nation has been under the smothering vise of ruthless tyrants, autocrats and monarchs. Only since 9/11 has American foreign policy begun to show it understands there is a definite connection between Middle Eastern despotism and Islamo-fascist terrorism. Yet, the ones most familiar with these systemic human rights abuses in the Middle East have been silent for years. Those Americans who escaped Middle Eastern tyranny during the last 40 years have until now been incomprehensibly silent. Sept. 11, 2001 woke up America to the dangers of theocracy and despotism in the Middle East. It has also awakened the slumbering community of Middle Eastern immigrants. The reasons for our past silence are manifold. Some Middle Eastern Americans have feared retribution to family in their ancestral lands. Some fear for their own safety. But many have simply not seen any viable alternative to the secular dictatorships, because the Islamo-fascists are waiting in the wings. On the first day of this month in Washington, D.C., the first Middle Eastern American Convention for Freedom and Democracy took place. It was sponsored by the newly formed Center for Freedom in the Middle East, and included a consortium of more than 20 liberty-minded organizations of Middle Eastern Americans. This meeting was nothing less than historic. It brought together first-, second- and third-generation immigrants who share a common ancestral heritage and whose lands remain governed by these malignant despots. We shared a common love for the freedom and liberty we have experienced in America and yearned to bring these ideals back to our brethren in Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Iraq, to name a few. We also clearly identified organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaida as terrorist organizations that must be combated. We agreed that it is the duty of we who have enjoyed freedoms here to help our brethren break free of the murderous ideologies that have suffocated them for so long. The truth also is that the tribal culture of the Middle East has hijacked the religion of Islam. We see this most clearly in the case of Wahhabism and Salafism, which has been at the center of this war on terrorism. It is finally clear, at least to those of us in attendance, that the liberation of the Middle Eastern peoples will also be the liberation of Islam from the terrorist ideologies that have proven so helpful in propping up these despotic autocrats and monarchs. The conveners all agreed that our American founding principles are universal. They are not limited to any particular culture, faith or place. It became unanimously clear to all that any Middle Eastern state that wants its people to flourish must have separation of religion and state, protection of minority rights and a fundamentally tolerant and spiritual environment for its citizens. Such a gathering of Middle Eastern Americans had never happened. It sent a new collective message that the future belongs to the secular democrats in the Middle East and not the authoritarian theocrats. Our American soldiers and the coalition of the willing of more than 30 nations have been fighting for freedom in Iraq. Thousands have given their lives to free the Iraqi people. To that the conveners expressed their everlasting debt and acknowledged their responsibility to lead this effort in winning this war of ideas in the Middle East. At the center of this global confict is not “terror,” which is only a tactic, but rather a competition between theocracy and secular democracy. To those of us who know the freedom of religion in America, there is no system of government that comes close to empowering the faithful as here. No meeting of this sort could have happened anywhere else but in America. M. Zuhdi Jasser is a Phoenix physician and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (www.aifdemocracy.org). AIFD is a member organization of the Center for Freedom in the Middle East (www.middleeastfreedom.org), which sponsored the Oct. 1 Middle East American Convention for Freedom and Democracy. This column orignally appeared in the Arizona Republic on October 10, 2004

An Eye on the Enemy: Learn about our Foes

We are fighting a global war against an ideology that seeks to defeat secular democracies. There are a few websites and associated organizations that came to my attention recently that should be mandatory reading for all those who doubt that the stakes of the war are ideological at the core and not just global anti-American hate or fanatical “terror”. The “Islamist” ideology seeks to reinstate the Caliphate that is a remote historical reference to the administration of the Islamic Empire during the 7th to the 13th Centuries. In fact those who seek to impose such a rule are a truly similar threat to America and the west as communism and its global dreams of domination were in the Cold War. To all those who doubt the threat check out Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s website, which is working openly in England, Indonesia, Denmark and across the globe. Hizb ut Tahrir seeks to defeat secular democracies and put into place pseudo-Islamic theocracies and Islamic states. View the ramadhan.org site associated for a grim look into the propaganda that Islamist activists are promulgating about America. It makes Russia’s Pravda of the 1960’s appear to be a scientific journal. The Khilafah magazine and organization is also another arm of this global movement. It should be clear as these organizations come to the international surface that their openness is one of two signs. Either they are struggling and searching for followers, or it may be a sign that they are gaining confidence. The essential issue and challenge for our foreign and domestic policy should be to identify organizations like these, at least on their surface, as intellectual enemies of the west . As a Muslim I see them as intellectual enemies of Islam. The United States has in its 228 years created an environment in which I could not be more free to practice my faith. Any organization that seeks to impose an individual interpretation of Islam or any faith in a theocracy will profoundly limit my liberty and freedom and that is the ideology we are fighting. To defeat this clearly identifiable Islamist ideology is to, in fact, liberate Islam. Look at these websites and learn about the ideology we are fighting and the ideology moderate secular Muslims need to lead the charge against. This column can also be found online at this link at The Arizona Republic T

A Disgrace Upon Islam

Finally, in the wake of the barbaric killing of innocent children in Russia, the blinders that have kept the Muslim world from seeing the cancer within its midst are coming off. The killers at the children’s school in Beslan were not Chechen “separatists.” They were not Muslim “militants.” They were “Islamo-fascist killers,” pure and simple. Such killers revel in death. They pick the times when they can kill the most people on the subways, in their offices, in restaurants, in schools or on buses. They slit throats, shoot children in the back or blow themselves up, trying to create as much blood and carnage as possible. We must call them by their true name, but that alone is not enough. More is required. Across the Muslim world the past several weeks have finally seen a clear and long overdue change in Islamic _expression. There is a realistic introspection unseen before. Abdulrahman al-Rashed wrote in an editorial titled, “The Painful Truth: All of the World’s Terrorists are Muslim” in the pan-Arab daily, Asharq Al-Awsat: “Self-cure starts with self-realization and confession. We should then run after our terrorist sons, in the full knowledge that they are the sour grapes of a deformed culture.” Russian Muslims – granted, aided by state-controlled media assistance and a workers union endorsement – impressively brought out upwards of 40,000 Muslim faithful to a Rally Against Terror in Moscow. But as we know here in Phoenix, rallies are only a start in creating a new consciousness. Every time I have the privilege of praying with my Muslim brothers and sisters in devotional prayer, I feel a perfect harmony and solace of thought and movement as we bow and say God’s praises together. While my faith is very personal, without that group energy, my religion is not complete. But with spiritual enjoyment and fulfillment comes equal responsibility. Moderate, moral Muslims may see these Islamo-fascists as far removed from our reality; however, the unforgiving reality of this world is that we are responsible as a group for our weakest as well as our most corrupt and deranged. These killers are committing incomprehensibly evil acts in the name of my religion across the world, and because of that, I and my fellow Muslims should atone for their actions. I think it would be totally fitting for Muslims to erect a monument to stand eternally in memorial like that which was done for all those who lost their lives in Vietnam and other wars. On it would be the names of every man, woman and child who has lost their lives due to Islamo-fascism. The only tie that would bind the lives memorialized therein would be the fact that they were all lost at the hands of Islamo-fascists. A memorial is more lasting over generations in its impact than any editorial, speech, sermon or rally. With our effort, we could show the world and ourselves that those names from all around the globe are not forgotten. They would be remembered and honored as innocent souls whose lives were snuffed out by barbaric, un-Islamic – in fact, anti-Islamic – cruelty. The memorial would remain as living testimony to the search for forgiveness from the non-Muslim world of the Muslim faithful for the actions of its deranged criminal few. Denial and blinders are checked at the door, with atonement gained within. This column originally appeared in the print version of the Arizona Republic on September 26, 2004 [M. Zuhdi Jasser is a Phoenix physician and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He can be reached at Zuhdi@aifdemocracy.org or at www.aifdemocracy.org]

Dictator Behind the Curtain

The preeminent institution of Islamic learning is supposedly Al-Azhar University in Cairo. The U.S. and the world continue, especially since 9/11, to look to its chiefs often to the chagrin of moderate secular Muslims for pronouncements regarding Islamic principles. Last month Al-Azhar made a recommendation to ban three books on different aspects of Islam. Hossam Bahgat opining in the Lebanese Daily Star today, noted, pure and simple, “Al-Azhar is actually an administrative branch of the Egyptian government. Egypt’s official religious institution is not independent and has not been independent since at least 1961, when law 103 on Al-Azhar was promulgated. The grand imam is appointed by an executive decree signed by the president and the prime minister has traditionally carried the additional title of state minister for Azharite affairs.” For such open revelations to be published in a major Arab daily is an “epiphany” Many of us are looking and praying for freedom-minded Muslims to effect reform in the Islamic world. I have actually long remarked about the obvious hypocrisy and oft misguided statements and principles that come out of institutions like Al-Azhar. While it is certainly somewhat of a center of Islamic learning, a true university in the honest Islamic tradition would be free from any external coercion and only answerable to science, philosophy and the pursuit of learning. For any who would doubt the significance of Arab secular dictatorships in promulgating the misguided ignorance and fanning the flames of religious intolerance, Baghat’s piece today in the Lebanese Daily Star may finally begin to open some eyes. It may finally enlighten the west to what many of us freedom-minded Muslims have felt for a long time. The change needed to combat the ideology that threatens us begins at the democratization of the secular and monarchal dictatorships of the Middle East. The parasitic co-dependency between dictatorships like Mubarak’s in Egypt and other Arab dictatorships is the primary sickness that manufactures religious intolerance. Thus, spreading liberty and freedom beginning in Iraq will go a long way toward liberating Islam from the vice-grip of Arab dictators. This column can also be found at this link at the Arizona Republic

Window into the fascist mind

In the opinion section of Al Jazeerah’s website today is a piece which, for those who have the gastric fortitude, provides a vivid window into the working mind of what America is truly fighting in this global war – a “war” not on “terror” which is a tactic, but a war against an ideology. Al Jazeerah’s writer from London, Yamin Zakaria, opines freely for the free world to read. He leaves the reader with a clear comprehension of the true ideologies that are at stake in this war. He believes that a Muslim theocracy is a panacea. He espouses an ideology that holds that lands of freedom and liberty like the United States and Britain are inherently corrupt and purposely target civilians. As a prior U.S. Navy officer and a Muslim, his comments from across the pond are beyond offensive. His blinders and fanatical dismissals refuse to acknowledge the driving ideology of Islamo-fascism and why those who target civilians in barbaric acts of terror are fascistic in their means, their philosophy and their faith. This person cannot see Muslims doing anything wrong. He interprets Islam vis-a-vis Muslims as always being the victim. This is in fact tacit approval for all terrorism performed by so-called Muslims. Zakaria of Al Jazeerah is unable to understand how Muslims could be fascist. He misses the simplest of understanding that, in fact, an individual without any self-awareness or self-consciousness is by definition – a fascist. In fact, this very discussion demonstrates the depth of the intellectual fabric of the Islamo-fascists and their consistent derangement in their own elaborate warped world view. This piece should be mandatory reading (with anti-emetics) for all those who doubt that there is in fact an ideology that is in direct conflict with the secular democracies of the West and most specifically with the secular freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. by our Constitution. Zakaria’s misunderstanding, distortion, and hate of America and our liberating forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere need to be addressed. It is not just this one opinion specifically which brings concern, but rather that this is an articulate form of blind fascism that is a potent minority in the leadership of the Muslim world that must be defeated in the war of ideas. This is a mindset revealing itself on the Arabic oped pages that can see no wrong in their own group and see all wrongs within others. It is, in fact, the antithesis to a free secular tolerant society that respects individuality, honors humility and introspection. It is the ideology with which we are at direct odds as Americans since 9/11. It is crucial for Americans to understand that this is part of an infrastructure of philosophy that is painfully thought out. It is crucial that we begin to publicly and vociferously deconstruct this in the international arena. This column first appeared at this link in the Arizona Republic

When will the Sudan genocide end?

When will the killing, the genocide in Sudan stop? Yes, this week finally we have declared the crisis in Darfur to be a – genocide. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Secretary of State Colin Powell. What’s in a word – “genocide”? A great deal when it comes to quickly martialing the world’s resources and energies in order to put a stop to a preventable catastrophy being committed by barbarians in the Sudan including the Arab Janjaweed marauders and what finally appears to more clearly be the Sudanese military themselves. In recent analyses and surveys of refugees who were displaced from Darfur, verifiable reports have identified that over three-fourths of the violence is being perpetrated in the hands of the Sudanese military themselves. Powell confirmed this in Senate testimony last week. Knowing this now, it is not surprising in retrospect that the Arab League has been dragging its collective feet at declaring a “genocide” and owning up to their humanitarian responsibility for the tragedy occurring at the hands of one of their colleague nations. We acted too late in Rwanda ten years ago and with more than one million displaced from their homes and upwards of 100,000 dead we are certainly far from early in Sudan. The EU has begun to come around regarding the insistance upon corrective action by the Sudanese government, but we can no longer stand idly by. Organizations like the Save Darfur coalition ( http://www.savedarfur.org ) signed on by more than 100 international organizations including our own American Islamic Forum for Democracy ( http://www.aifdemocracy.org ) have been working to wake up the world to the genocide occurring on the watch of all world leaders under the blinders and complicity of the Sudanese government. We finally have reliable testimony. In Senate testimony and soon in U.N. action we will formally hear the world decry the genocide. When will the world finally listen? Listen to all those giving testimony and organizations trying to promote human rights without access in Darfur. Listen to the suffering of the displaced million of Darfur and the suffering of the families of those killed in the genocide. Unfortunately, we can no longer hear the voices of the viciously murdered in the genocide of Darfur or the ones from prior crises in Sudan. We must act now and the world must finally begin to effectively listen to the world’s humanitarian organizations like SaveDarfur.org, Human Rights Watch and so many others who have been decrying the continued suffering of the Sudanese in Darfur. Perhaps sometime soon the world will act This column first appeared at this link at the Arizona Republic

AIFD joins the Save Darfur Coalition

AIFD joins the Save Darfur Coalition of over 100 diverse faith-based humanitarian and human rights organizations. The coalition united in order to help raise public awareness of the genocide in Darfur and to help end the atrocities that have killed 50,000-100,000 and displaced over 1 million with over 2 million threatened.

Classic Al-Qaida

The Chaldean Patriarchate Church of Baghdad had served as a bomb shelter during the bombardment of Baghdad during the American invasion in March 2003. It was protected by Muslims, Christians and all from looting during the war. Sunday, that church and three other minority churches were bombed within an hour in Baghdad killing 11 and injuring 52 parishioners. The insurgents, leaving the fingerprints of al-Qaida in their methods, struck again this time right before mass in multiple churches invoking their same old barbaric and evil tool of random terror against innocent civilians while igniting the flames of religious intolerance. The insurgents in their recurrent thuggery seek only to create chaos and enrage all to defeat secular freedom. Random terror from kidnappings to beheadings to suicide bombings, the latest attempt to strike the Iraqi minority Christian faith in their sacred halls of worship is transparently evil and motivated only by cold-blooded murder while stoking the flames of hate. As coalition forces try to maintain law and order in a newly free and governmentally infantile Iraq, each of these acts of terror is but a grizzly test. The insurgents may choose to attack and segregate faiths. They may also do so with evil fabricated exploitation of the Islamic faith. But our resolve in Iraq is the truest testimony to all peoples of secular freedom that we can continue to douse our own flames of disgust that they seek to enrage. Otherwise we are on the way to satisfying their intentions in their attacks. Our forces will certainly find these evil criminals and bring them to justice for not only murder but for religious hate crimes which run against the core of Islam and the shared Judeo-Christian-Islamic ethic. Every day, Iraq is slowly getting closer to establishing a secular Arab nation based upon religious freedom with a majority Muslim population. Meanwhile, the dying breed of radical Islamists are doing everything they can to enrage the fanatical elements in Iraq and abroad. We must defeat them militarily while in no way giving them that rage and that global fractionation across lines of religion which they are so desperately seeking. We must unite in resolve to maintain our American and first world principles of religious tolerance and acceptance of the universal truths of all faiths which we accept as guiding principles of our global humanitarian ethic. The time, however, is also now for Arab and Islamic leaders to make it clear that the series of suicide bombings last week across Iraq and in Uzbekistan are an anathema to the Islamic faith. The time is now for Arab and Islamic leaders from Iraq to Saudi Arabia to Sudan to America to go beyond condemnation and in a concerted effort backed by a genuine and tangible support of secular freedoms make it clear that in Islam religious minorities have the same protections and rights to worship as that embodied in the U.S Constitution. To hear this from despotic Arab regimes in power today may be a pipe dream. But at the very least the voices of freedom in the Middle East and into the west need to be augmented. Our administration must raise the temperature of public discourse with Arab and Muslim leaders across the globe in order to hear an articulation of religious tolerance and a tangible condemnation of religious hate and terror by the majority of Muslims in order to appropriately marginalize these fanatics. The time is now to expect Arab and Muslim leaders to express their collective revulsion at the targeting of any religious minority by so-called Muslims. Now they must lead the charge to finally begin to put an end to systems of governance which create religious hate and bigotry while encouraging terror. That is the stage upon which freedom is being tested in Iraq. As reason prevails and as fanatics are marginalized, this test will ultimately give rise in the heart of the Middle East to the secular tolerant form of Islam long known and practiced by many freedom-loving Muslims who had for so long been relatively silent on the world stage muffled by autocracies and corruption. This column first appeared at this link at the Arizona Republic

Appeasing Thugs

The Filipino government appears today to be single-handedly walking the entire world across that grizzly nexus of terrorist negotiation and appeasement. It appears that Manila is in the process of bowing to the kidnappers, and has agreed to withdraw its humanitarian aid workers from Iraq by August 20. Certainly, the Philippine government is at liberty to choose its own approach toward freeing Angelo de La Cruz from his impending beheading at the hands of the Khaled Bin Al-Qalid Squadrons of the Islamic Army of Iraq. However, let no one mistake the impact of the sheepishly myopic carelessness of the Filipino government upon the safety of the troops and citizens of the nations of the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq and around the world. At whatever level whether local or international, it is crime prevention 101 that any negotiation or appeasement of kidnappers only facilitates crime and terror. It only emboldens terrorists to repeat and imitate – inoculating their fear of capture, death, or eventual loss. In actuality, such appeasement ultimately erodes the soul of our free world which depends upon moral nations standing for freedom and liberty against tyranny and the sword. When even one nation succumbs to threats of intimidations of our individuals, this will live long in the memory of the Islamo-fascists or any group which seeks to impact political change through the terrorizing of noncombatants. When the hooded demons terrorize they roll the dice betting on human weakness. When any nation genuflects in weakness to the demands of terrorists, it will be followed by many more rolls of the dice. If there is anything which is obvious in the history of acts of terrorism it is that. It is about time that the world’s body politic begin to address the ideology we are all fighting in this war on Islamo-fascism. As we articulate the philosophy we are fighting, the actions of individual nations when confronted with the enemy will thus follow more logically and the harm of appeasement will be more clear. It is beyond befuddling that the Philippine government which has for many years been fighting its own indigenous factions of Islamist radicalism within its own borders did not learn from its own experiences and learn about the nature of the Islamo-fascist ideology. It appears that the Philippine government has also been duped into believing that these thugs care about Iraq and the presence of the Philippines there. What they do care about is the radical Islamist ideology and the forces which stand in the way of imposing it upon populations. Some nations have criticized the Bush administration’s policy of aggressive dismantling of terror networks and the now even more obvious link with Saddam’s Iraq which this incident further accentuates. Yet, there remains silence on the fact that there is nothing which facilitates global terrorism more than providing gratification to terrorists for their demands. As a global body politic if we are seeking a world of peace and tranquility, those who seek to impose theocracy and state mandated terror need to understand once and for all that free nations will not accept their ideology and will not accept their negotiations. I hope the next few days brings forward a genuine global discussion of the negative impact upon all nations of those nations which choose appeasement. I hope to see an explanation of how the Philippine government established channels of communication with these barbarians and did not find a way to use the resources of the Coalition to find their hostage and capture his kidnappers. Spain and now the Philippines have genuflected. South Korea, Great Britain, and the U.S. and others in the Coalition are still fighting to maintain a world order where those who seek to instill fear in noncombatants will lose out to the forces of freedom and liberty. If members of Al Qaeda find that no matter which way their dice rolls in this demonic game of terror, they will be ignored and destroyed, they will slowly disappear. If, however, the dice occasionally rolls in their favor, even Pavlov’s animals kept going back for more. This column first appeared at this link at the Arizona Republic