ISIS Operative: This Is How We Send Jihadis To Europe

BuzzFeed News’ Mike Giglio speaks to an ISIS operative in Turkey about the group’s efforts to smuggle fighters to the West.

enhanced-15868-1422575738-13BuzzFeedNews (Jan 30) — ANTAKYA, Turkey — An ISIS operative traveled across the Syrian border late last year, settled in a Turkish port city, and began work on a mission to sneak jihadis into Europe. It has been successful, he said, in an interview near the Turkey-Syria border: “Just wait.”

The operative, a Syrian in his thirties with a close-cropped black beard, said ISIS is sending covert fighters to Europe — as did two smugglers who said they have helped. He smuggles them from Turkey in small groups, he said, hidden in cargo ships filled with hundreds of refugees. He said the fighters intend to fulfill ISIS’s threat to stage attacks in the West. He views this as retaliation for U.S.-led airstrikes against the group that began in Iraq last summer and Syria last fall. “If someone attacks me,” he said, speaking with BuzzFeed News on condition of anonymity, “then for sure I will attack them back.”

Western governments worried even before the airstrikes that ISIS would find ways to get its battle-hardened fighters across their borders. The operative is the first ISIS member involved in these plans to discuss them with the press. He detailed a scheme that takes advantage of the worst humanitarian crisis in a generation, which has sent 3.8 million refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war, pouring more than 1.5 million into Turkey alone.

From Turkish port cities like Izmir and Mersin, many thousands of these refugees have ventured across the sea, aiming mainly for Italy. Then they often make for more welcoming countries like Sweden and Germany, turning themselves over to authorities and appealing for asylum. The operative said he worked with smugglers to slip fighters into this chaotic human tide. “They are going like refugees,” he said.

Two refugee-smugglers in Turkey said they helped ISIS send fighters to Europe in this way. One put more than 10 of them on his ships, then got cold feet when asked to send more, he told BuzzFeed News last fall. Another said he’d been sending ISIS fighters for months and continues to do so. “I’m sending some fighters who want to go and visit their families,” he said in an interview in southern Turkey, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Others just go to Europe to be ready.”

Among his colleagues in the port city where he works, the smuggler has a reputation for transporting fighters. BuzzFeed News contacted him after meeting the ISIS operative, seeking to investigate the operative’s claims. At first he denied that he smuggled fighters at all; then he said he needed “permission” to discuss the issue with a journalist. Soon after he revealed that he worked for the ISIS operative, who confirmed this and allowed the interview.

Despite crackdowns from Turkish authorities, ISIS continues to move its fighters across a porous, 565-mile border that has long been a transit point for jihadis traveling to and from Syria’s war. Those who need them are given fake Syrian passports, the smuggler said, which can be relatively easy to obtain. After he receives the fighters, the smuggler said, he puts them up in a hotel, waiting for the passenger list for the refugee ship to fill and the weather to be right. They leave Turkey like any refugees: on small boats that steal them away to cargo ships anchored in international waters. The smuggler said he had 10 fighters waiting in one port city, “and we will send them on the next ship.”

… ISIS has more than 20,000 foreigners in its ranks, according to one recent estimate, with more than one-fifth of them citizens or residents of Western European countries. If these jihadis return to Europe in refugee ships, they can travel home via open land borders that receive far less scrutiny than airport security. The ships could also land Syrian or other Middle Eastern fighters in Europe amid the confusion of a refugee crisis that worsens by the day.

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17,000 teens graduate Hamas military training camp

Palestinian youths hold weapons during a military-style graduation ceremony.  (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian youths hold weapons during a military-style graduation ceremony. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Jerusalem Post (Jan 30) — Hamas held “graduation ceremonies” on Thursday for 17,000 Palestinian youths who attended its “Vanguards of Liberation” training camps in the Gaza Strip.

During the week-long camps, the youths, aged 15 to 21, underwent military training that included handling different types of weapons, as well as sniping.

The training was organized and held by members of Hamas’s armed wing, Izzadin Kassam.

Hamas said that the youths would form the nucleus of a future “liberation army.”

A spokesman for Izzadin Kassam said during the ceremonies, which were held in Gaza City and Khan Yunis, that the youths were trained to use light and heavy weapons, and that they were taught how to lay in ambush.

“Today, these youths are soldiers in the Gaza Strip,” the spokesman said. “Tomorrow they will liberate the Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem. The Zionist enemy needs to know that we are coming soon to liberate our Aksa Mosque and prisoners.”

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said during the graduation ceremony in Khan Yunis that the “Palestinian resistance was founded to defend Palestinians and the dignity of all Arabs and Muslims.”

The new recruits would operate rockets in the next battle against Israel, he added.

Another Hamas official, Khalil al-Haya, said that the Hamas training camps were aimed at sending a message to the world that the Palestinian “resistance is capable of defending its people against conspiracies.”

Hamas was preparing a new generation of Palestinians for war with Israel, Haya said.

“We raise the new generation on resistance and not security coordination [with Israel].”

Click here for full article.

Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah to Hezbollah: “We are in the same trench, and are resisting the same enemy”

Fatah salutes commander of terror organization Hezbollah as “hero” and “Martyr”

Palestinian Media Watch (Jan 28) — Earlier this month, Hezbollah commander Jihad Mughniyeh was killed in an Israeli airstrike. Jihad Mughniyeh was commander of the terror organization in the Syrian Golan Heights and son of Imad Mughniyeh, a senior Hezbollah member assassinated in 2008. According to Western intelligence sources, Jihad Mughniyeh was planning and preparing terror attacks against Israel, including firing of rockets and explosive devices meant to target Israelis.

“We are resisting the same enemy,” said Rifat Shanaah, the director of Fatah’s Lebanon branch who headed the “high-ranking delegation,” which Abbas’ Fatah party immediately sent off to convey condolences upon the death of Mughniyeh. The delegation “laid three wreaths on the grave of Martyr Jihad Mughniyeh… on behalf of the embassy of the State of Palestine, the PLO and Fatah.” Speaking “in the name of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement – Fatah; in the name of the PLO and the resisting Palestinian people,” Shanaah said:

“We hereby express our heartfelt condolences to [our] brothers in the Hezbollah leadership and to the families of the Martyrs. We are in the same trench, and are resisting the same enemy.”

[Ma’an (independent Palestinian news agency) Jan. 21, 2015]

He further emphasized Fatah’s, PLO’s and the Palestinian people’s “adherence to the principle of struggle and Jihad between us and our brothers in Hezbollah”:

“Cowardly acts such as these (i.e., the Israeli airstrike)… merely strengthen our adherence and determination to resist this enemy… We will adhere even more to our goals and Palestinian national principles… and that of struggle and Jihad between us and our brothers in Hezbollah and all the forces acting to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem.”

[Ma’an (independent Palestinian news agency) Jan. 21, 2015]

Abbas’ Fatah party was also quick to greet Mughniyeh as a “hero” and a “Martyr,” posting the following text on its Facebook page:

Jihad_Mughniyeh1“Rest in peace, a hero’s rest, and give greetings to your father from the free men. Martyr (Shahid) Jihad Mughniyeh.”

[Facebook, “Fatah – The Main Page”, Jan. 18, 2015]

Abbas’ advisor and Fatah Central Committee member Sultan Abu Al-Einein also sent terror organization Hezbollah “our best wishes for its Martyrs”:

“We convey to Hezbollah our best wishes for its Martyrs, and are certain that its reaction is inevitable, and that it will not pass over this crime in silence.”

[Facebook page of Fatah Central Committee member

Sultan Abu Al-Einein, Jan. 20, 2015]

Palestinian Media Watch has exposed that Al-Einein glorified the murder of five people in a Jerusalem synagogue in November, blessing their “quality weapons.”

He has also previously glorified terrorist killers like Dalal Mughrabi and blessed  “the breast that nursed” a terrorist who stabbed a man to death.

Several Western countries, among them the US, Canada, France, and the Netherlands, have, like Israel, designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Others, among them the EU, Australia, New Zealand and the UK have only listed the organization’s military wing as such.

Click here for full article.

Anti-Semitism – then and now

(Photo credit: REUTERS)

(Photo credit: REUTERS)

The Jerusalem Post (Jan 27) — The world commemorates the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Tuesday, January 27 – which also marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

At Auschwitz, about 300 survivors of the concentration camp, along with thousands of others, will participate in a commemoration ceremony.

In Prague, a two-day conference that will include a ceremony at the site of a concentration camp at Terezin was organized by the European Jewish Congress.

While the atrocities of the Holocaust took place seven decades ago, the dangers of murderously violent anti-Semitism are hardly a thing of the past.

As recent events in France have tragically proven, hatred of Jews remains a force so powerful that the future vitality and continuity of Jewish communities throughout Europe has been questioned, even in places where levels of anti-Semitism are relatively low, such as Britain.

Murderous hatred of Jews has not gone away. But one important thing has changed: Jews no longer rely solely on the compassion and good graces of the world for their survival.

And this makes all the difference.

A combination of factors makes many parts of Europe highly inhospitable for Jews. Europe’s ongoing economic malaise, which has hit some countries (France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Ireland) worse than others (Germany), has historically led to the fostering of Jew hatred.

Skepticism regarding the European Union project has included a reassertion of strongly nationalistic elements which have singled out Jews, the ultimate outsiders, for special censure and as a foil for differentiating “us” from “them.”

A combination of immigration and high natural growth has resulted in the swift growth of Muslim communities throughout Europe. While the vast majority of these newcomers to Europe are law-abiding, nearly all of the murderous attacks against European Jews in recent years have been carried out by Muslim extremists.

European leaders have taken the threat against Jews seriously.

They realize that violence directed against Jews – particularly violence motivated by a fundamentalist, reactionary reading of Islam – represents an assault on the foundations of liberal democracies.

A number of countries – including France, Britain and Germany – have taken steps to track European Muslims who have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with Islamic State or other offshoots of al-Qaida. Legislation that enables European authorities to monitor the Internet and share intelligence is also being considered.

European countries have also beefed up security outside synagogues, Jewish community centers, schools and other conspicuously Jewish institutions.

There have also been calls for special legislation that would outlaw hate speech of all kinds, from xenophobia and anti-Semitism to homophobia and misogyny. Police and law enforcement would then be empowered to prosecute and even imprison those who spout hate speech.

But while the fight against anti-Semitism is noble and important, we can derive little but discouragement and a sense of futility from the thought that just 70 years after the most horrific genocide in history, we are witnessing in the very same place a return of this lethal obsession. If the lesson has not been learned by now, it never will be learned.

Transforming Jewish schools, synagogues, groceries and even whole neighborhoods into quasi-military zones ringed with police and soldiers might provide more security to Jews, but they also serve as humiliating reminders of the ineradicable nature of Jew hatred.

Similarly, irrational hatred of Jews cannot be legislated away. Indeed, the stifling of speech only pushes it underground.

Purveyors of hateful ideas are transformed into martyrs. The popularity of anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne has probably increased since the French supreme court for administrative justice upheld a ban of his show in the city of Nantes. Legal action certainly has not stopped the man from expressing his despicable opinions. The reality is that large numbers of French citizens identify with Dieudonne’s humor.

Legislation will not change this sad fact.

Just 70 years after the Holocaust, we are confronted with a stark reality: anti-Semitism remains a danger. History’s lessons have not been learned. The situation of the Jews in Europe is once again precarious.

But unlike 70 years ago, Europe’s Jews need not rely on the rectitude of their hosts. They have a choice.

Click here for original source.

Auschwitz survivor: Being alive is best ‘revenge’

A photo of Renee Ganz's family before the war. From left is her brother Nickolai, mother Bella, Renee, and her father Laslo. (Photo: Debbie Hill for USA TODAY)

A photo of Renee Ganz’s family before the war. From left is her brother Nickolai, mother Bella, Renee, and her father Laslo. (Photo: Debbie Hill for USA TODAY)

USA Today (Jan 26) — TEL AVIV, Israel — Shortly after the Nazi invasion of what was then Hungary in May 1944, Renee Ganz’s family and most of the 25,000 Jews in the city of Oradea were forced into cattle cars and transported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

Men and boys were placed in one line, while women and girls were led to another when they arrived at the camp in Oświęcim, Poland. Ganz was just 15 at the time.

“I asked a German soldier why we were being separated and he said, ‘You’ve had a long journey. You need to take a shower,'” Ganz, now 86, recalls. “That’s when the selection began.”

German officers took one look at the prisoners and decided who would live and who would die.

“If they pointed left, you went to the gas chambers and crematorium. If they pointed to the right, you became a slave,” she says. “We were sent to the right, but I never saw my father or brother Nikolai again.”

Ganz, a self-described optimist, tries not to dwell on the horrors of the Holocaust and the 100 relatives she lost, but the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau has stirred up painful memories. She spent two months at Auschwitz before being sent to a slave labor camp along with her mother, who also survived the war.

On Tuesday — Holocaust Remembrance Day — Ganz will return to the death camp for the first time, along with nearly 100 other Auschwitz survivors from 19 countries.

“It will be very difficult, but it is important,” she says.

The railway track leading to the infamous "Death Gate" at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration in Oswiecim, Poland. Ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation will be Jan. 27, 2015. (Photo: Christopher Furlong, Getty Images)

The railway track leading to the infamous “Death Gate” at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration in Oswiecim, Poland. Ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation will be Jan. 27, 2015. (Photo: Christopher Furlong, Getty Images)

A medical team of 12 doctors, psychologists and nurses will accompany the survivors, ages 73 to 96, because of the “emotionally powerful and physically taxing” nature of the visit, the World Jewish Congress said.

“This may be the last major anniversary we will be able to remember with those who experienced the Holocaust firsthand. From this historic event, their voices will echo across the generations,” says Robert Singer, secretary general for the Jewish congress, which helped organize the event.

Of the more than 1.1 million people who died at Auschwitz, about 90% were Jews, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust World Center in Jerusalem. About one in six of all Jews killed during the Holocaust died at the camp. Also killed there were homosexuals, Soviet prisoners of war, Christian Poles, Romani and others.

Hundreds of thousands of prisoners transported from all across Europe were sent to the gas chambers, then cremated at the camp. Those who survived the daily death “selections” often died from infection or starvation.

Click here for full article.

Krauthammer: Iran’s emerging empire

By Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnists and Fox News contributor, for the Washington Post (Jan 22):

While Iran’s march toward a nuclear bomb has provoked a major clash between the White House and Congress, Iran’s march toward conventional domination of the Arab world has been largely overlooked. In Washington, that is. The Arabs have noticed. And the pro-American ones, the Gulf Arabs in particular, are deeply worried.

This week, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized control of the Yemeni government, heretofore pro-American. In September, they overran Sanaa, the capital. On Tuesday, they seized the presidential palace. On Thursday, they forced the president to resign.

The Houthis have local religious grievances, being Shiites in a majority Sunni land. But they are also agents of Shiite Iran, which arms, trains and advises them. Their slogan — “God is great. Death to America. Death to Israel” — could have been written in Persian.

Why should we care about the coup? First, because we depend on Yemen’s government to support our drone war against another local menace, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It’s not clear if we can even maintain our embassy in Yemen, let alone conduct operations against AQAP. And second, because growing Iranian hegemony is a mortal threat to our allies and interests in the entire Middle East.

In Syria, Iran’s power is similarly rising. The mullahs rescued the reeling regime of Bashar al-Assad by sending in weapons, money and Iranian revolutionary guards, as well as by ordering their Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, to join the fight. They succeeded. The moderate rebels are in disarray, even as Assad lives in de facto coexistence with the Islamic State, which controls a large part of his country.

Iran’s domination of Syria was further illustrated by a strange occurrence last Sunday in the Golan Heights. An Israeli helicopter attacked a convoy on the Syrian side of the armistice line. Those killed were not Syrian, however, but five Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon and several Iranian officials, including a brigadier general.

What were they doing in the Syrian Golan Heights? Giving “crucial advice,” announced the Iranian government. On what? Well, three days earlier, Hezbollah’s leader had threatened an attack on Israel’s Galilee. Tehran appears to be using its control of Syria and Hezbollah to create its very own front against Israel.

The Israelis can defeat any conventional attack. Not so the very rich, very weak Gulf Arabs. To the north and west, they see Iran creating a satellite “Shiite Crescent” stretching to the Mediterranean and consisting of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. To their south and west, they see Iran gaining proxy control of Yemen. And they are caught in the pincer.

The Saudis are fighting back the only way they can — with massive production of oil at a time of oversupply and collapsing prices, placing enormous economic pressure on Iran. It needs $136 oil to maintain its budget. The price today is below $50.

Yet the Obama administration appears to be ready to acquiesce to the new reality of Iranian domination of Syria. It has told the New York Times that it is essentially abandoning its proclaimed goal of removing Assad.

For the Saudis and the other Gulf Arabs, this is a nightmare. They’re engaged in a titanic regional struggle with Iran. And they are losing — losing Yemen, losing Lebanon, losing Syria and watching post-U.S.-withdrawal Iraq come under increasing Iranian domination.

The nightmare would be hugely compounded by Iran going nuclear. The Saudis were already stupefied that Washington conducted secret negotiations with Tehran behind their backs. And they can see where the current talks are headed — legitimizing Iran as a threshold nuclear state.

Which makes all the more incomprehensible President Obama’s fierce opposition to Congress’ offer to strengthen the American negotiating hand by passing sanctions to be triggered if Iran fails to agree to give up its nuclear program. After all, that was the understanding Obama gave Congress when he began these last-ditch negotiations in the first place.

Why are you parroting Tehran’s talking points, Mr. President? asks Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. Indeed, why are we endorsing Iran’s claim that sanctions relief is the new norm? Obama assured the nation that sanctions relief was but a temporary concession to give last-minute, time-limited negotiations a chance.

Twice the deadline has come. Twice no new sanctions, just unconditional negotiating extensions.

Our regional allies — Saudi Arabia, the other five Gulf states, Jordan, Egypt and Israel — are deeply worried. Tehran is visibly on the march on the ground and openly on the march to nuclear status. And their one great ally, their strategic anchor for two generations, is acquiescing to both.

Read more from Charles Krauthammer’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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WATCH: French flag burned on Temple Mount in a large rally against Mohammad cartoons

Protesters on Temple Mount burn a French Flag. (photo credit:SCREEN CAPTURE: SHEHAB NEWS AGENCY/ FACEBOOK)

Protesters on Temple Mount burn a French Flag. (photo credit:SCREEN CAPTURE: SHEHAB NEWS AGENCY/ FACEBOOK)

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The Jerusalem Post — Hundreds of Palestinians rallied Friday afternoon on the Temple Mount against the new cover of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which featured a drawing of Prophet Muhammad.

In a video uploaded by the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency, protesters are seen burning a French flag, and shouting: “Burn it, burn it…in the cause of God, Allah. the greatest. Prophet Muhammad is our leader forever.”

Charlie Hebdo’s first edition since the attack on its office in Paris last week that left 12 journalists dead, which was published on Wednesday, featured another cartoon of Muhammad on a cover that critics saw as a new provocation.

A protest in Niger against the French magazine’s cartoons turned violent on Friday as demonstrators set fire to churches and raided shops run by Christians, residents said.

Police in the former French colony’s southern town of Zinder fired tear gas on a crowd of hundreds of people as tires burned in the streets.

“The protesters are crying out in local Hausa language: Charlie is Satan – let hell engulf those supporting Charlie,” said Aboubacar Mamane, a shopkeeper by telephone (See story, Page 8).

Meanwhile, in Algiers, police clashed with protesters after rioting broke out at the end of a march against the magazine.

Several officers were injured during the clashes, with police firing riot pellets and small groups of protesters responding with rocks, fireworks and bottles in the streets around the waterfront area of the Algerian capital.

The front page of Charlie Hebdo’s January 14 edition shows a cartoon of a tearful Muhammad with a sign “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) below the headline: “Tout est pardonné” (All is forgiven).

Click here for full article.

The PA and Fatah paved the way for Wednesday’s stabbing attack in Tel Aviv

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Recent PMW reports documented

that PA and Fatah have been encouraging stabbings

and other means of violence against Israelis


Abbas’ advisor after synagogue murders:

“Blessed be your quality weapons, the wheels of your cars,
your axes and kitchen knives… because [they are
being used] according to Allah’s will.
We are the soldiers of Allah.”

[Facebook page of Abbas’ advisor Sultan Abu Al-Einein, Nov. 19, 2014]


Official PA daily after stabbing attempt:

“Every Palestinian has the right to feel proud

of what is seen in the video

of the stabbing of the two soldiers in Jerusalem…

Now, every Palestinian raises his hand

holding a knife together with this young Palestinian,

and stabs the Zionists”

[Al-Asima, bi-weekly distributed with official PA daily, Jan. 5, 2015]


Fatah video after synagogue murders:

“I’m coming towards you, my enemy,
We’re going down from every house with cleavers and knives,
With grenades we announced a popular war.
I swear, you won’t escape, my enemy”

[Facebook, “Fatah – The Main Page,” Nov. 22, 2014]

From Wednesday's terror attack. (Photo credit: Yaron Brener)

From Wednesday’s terror attack. (Photo credit: Yaron Brener)

by Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Todays’ terror attack in which over a dozen Israelis were stabbed in a bus in Tel Aviv is a result of the ongoing violence promotion carried out by Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority and Fatah. They both encourage the use of violence against Israelis, and Palestinian Media Watch has documented that this violence promotion in recent months has mentioned “stabbings” and the use “knives and cleavers” specifically.

Immediately after terrorists murdered five people in a Jerusalem synagogue using knives and axes, Abbas’ advisor and Fatah Central Committee member Sultan Abu Al-Einein praised the terrorists and their weapons:

“Blessed be your quality weapons, the wheels of your cars,
your axes and kitchen knives… because [they are
being used] according to Allah’s will.
We are the soldiers of Allah.”

[Facebook page of Abbas’ advisor and Fatah Central Committee member Sultan Abu Al-Einein, Nov. 19, 2014]

Similarly, Fatah posted a video on Facebook promoting the use of “cleavers and knives” against “my enemy”:

YouTube Preview Image
I’m coming towards you, my enemy,
from every house, neighborhood and street
Our war is a war of the streets.
I’m coming towards you, my enemy
We’re going down from every house with cleavers and knives
With grenades we announced a popular war
I swear, you won’t escape, my enemy, from the revolution and the people.
How will you escape the ring of fire while the crowds are blocking the way?”
[Facebook, “Fatah – The Main Page,” Nov. 22, 2014]

Click to view

Following the attempted stabbing of two soldiers in Jerusalem, the official PA daily ran an op-ed in its bi-weekly supplement that described the attempted murder as Palestinian “pride,” stating that “now, every Palestinian raises his hand holding a knife… and stabs the Zionists“:

“Every Palestinian has the right to feel proud of what is seen in the video of the stabbing of the two soldiers in Jerusalem… Now, every Palestinian raises his hand holding a knife together with this young Palestinian, and stabs the Zionists”

[Al-Asima, bi-weekly distributed with official PA daily, Jan. 5, 2015]


Last week, PMW exposed a video promoting the murder of Jews produced by Hamas’ Islamic Bloc at Al-Quds University in which they enacted murder of Jews at prayer. One Jew is stabbed to death in the video and the other is shot.

PMW has documented numerous examples of violence promotion andglorification of terrorists by both the PA and Fatah.

Click here for original source.

Click here for information from the Israel Defense Forces on the terror attack in Tel Aviv.

Enforcement Of Sharia Law In The Muslim World For Insulting Islam, Prophet Muhammad

By MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) January 12:

A Review Of Recent Arrests, Imprisonment, Flogging, Death Sentences

In Arab and Muslim countries, defaming Islam and the Prophet Muhammad is still defined as an offense against the shari’a that entails punishment. Recent examples of enforcement include the arrest of Saudi intellectual Dr. Turki Al-Hamad and Saudi blogger Hamza Kashgari; another Saudi liberal, Raef Badawi, was sentenced to public flogging, and both Mauritanian blogger Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir and Iranian blogger Soheil Arabi were even sentenced to death.

These recent cases were preceded by well-known assassinations or assassination attempts against individuals accused of insulting Islam or the Prophet, such as the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 against the author Salman Rushdie, which called to kill him for his book The Satanic Verses (this fatwa still holds in Iran); the assassination attempt against Nobel laureate Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz for irreverent allusions to Allah and the Prophet in his book Children of Our Neighborhood; the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh for his film Submission, which shows Koranic verses written on the body of a woman; and fatwas permitting the killing of the artists responsible for the Danish cartoons published in 2005.    

Historic Perspective: Punishment Of Prophet’s Defamers Based On Koranic Verses, Hadith, Authoritative Sirah Literature (Biographies Of The Prophet)  

According to the shari’a, defaming the Prophet is an act of blasphemy, the punishment for which is death even if the accused repents. This law is a Koranic decree, for Koran 9:61 says: “Those who hurt Allah’s Messenger will have a painful punishment.” The same Surah also states: “…Say: “(Go ahead and) mock! But certainly Allah will bring to light all that you fear. If you ask them (about this), they declare: ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say: ‘Was it at Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking? Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after you had believed. [Koran 9:64-66].” In addition, the Sira literature (biographies of the Prophet) and the Hadith include many instances in which Muhammad ordered to kill his maligners or praised his followers for doing so. In the Muhammad’s era, writing poems against him was considered an unforgivable crime, and many poets were killed for this, including the Jewish poet Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf, who would ridicule the Prophet. According to a hadith, he was killed by Muhammad bin Maslama at the behest of the Prophet himself and with his blessing. Another poet who composed a poem against Muhammad, the Jewess ‘Asma bint Marwan, was assassinated by ‘Umayr bin ‘Adiy, who was later praised by the Prophet for executing her. Some sources state that Muhammad asked who would kill this woman on his behalf, and a member of her tribe volunteered. Two more poets killed for this crime were Abu ‘Afak, assassinated by Salem bin ‘Umayr, and  the Meccan poet Sarah, whom the Prophet ordered to kill on the day Mecca was conquered.

Prominent medieval Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyya, considered by many to be the father of the modern fundamentalist Islamic movements, wrote on this issue: “Mocking Allah, His verses or His Messenger is blasphemy.” He wrote further: “Whosoever curses the Prophet, be he a Muslim of an infidel, must be put to death. All [religious] scholars take this view.” The late Saudi mufti ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz Ibn ‘Abdallah Ibn Bazz said: “Anyone who curses Allah or His Messenger Muhammad in any way is a heretic apostate.”

unnamedSince criticism of Muhammad is still taboo in the Muslim world and cases of it are fairly rare, this act and the punishment it merits are not major topics of debate in Islamist discourse. However, when it does occur – as in the case of Rushdie’s book or cartoons lampooning Muhammad – it is regarded as a “crime” whose perpetrator must be punished. Governments in the Muslim world, as well as the sheikhs of the religious establishment, handle this matter according to political considerations, sometimes enforcing strict punishments and sometimes lenient ones, according to the political interests of the moment.

The following are some recent examples of citizens of Muslim countries punished for harming Islam or the Prophet.

  • Mauritanian Blogger Sentenced To Death For Insulting The Prophet
  • Iranian Blogger Receives Death Sentence For Insulting The Prophet
  • Saudi Blogger Arrested For Tweeting “There Are Things About The Prophet That I Hate”
  • Saudi Intellectual Dr. Turki Al-Hamad Arrested For Calling To “Correct The Faith Of Muhammad”

Click here for full report.

Reflections on the terror in Paris

An excellent and very important op-ed about terrorism and the Western world’s fight against it.

875PJ Media (Jan 16) — The Islamic world is currently in the midst of a great historic convulsion. This process is giving birth to political trends and movements of a murderously violent nature. These movements offer a supposed escape route from the humiliation felt at the profound societal failure of the Arab and to a slightly lesser extent the broader Muslim world.

The escape is by way of the most violent and intolerant historic trends of Islam, into a mythologized and imagined past. The route to this old-new imagined utopia is a bloody one. All who oppose or even slight it must die. The simple and brutal laws of 7th century Muslim Arabia are re-applied, in their literal sense. The events of last week in Paris were a manifestation of this trend.

These trends exist not only in the Arab and Muslim worlds themselves. Because of mass immigration from the Arab and Muslim world to western European countries, they are also powerful and present in immigrant communities in these countries. The Kouachi brothers and Amedi Coulibaly are the latest, and no doubt not the last representatives of this political world to impose themselves on us.

The political trend in question is called political Islam. It manifests itself in its most extreme form in the rival global networks of the Al Qaeda movement and the Islamic State. But these, alas, are only the sharp tip of a much larger iceberg.

Political Islamists are not all, or mainly, young men from slums. On the contrary, its adherents include heads of state, powerful economic interests and media groups, and prominent cultural figures. Some of these, absurdly, were even present at the “solidarity rally” in Paris.

They rendered this event an empty spectacle by their presence.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, for example, came to offer his solidarity to the victims of journalists murdered by Islamists in Paris, just two days after the Turkish courts sentenced a pianist to a 10 month prison sentence, suspended for five years, for the crime of “denigrating religion (ie Islam).” More urgently, Turkey has been an active supporter of both Islamic State and al-Qaeda forces in northern Syria over the last three years. That is, Davutoglu was marching in condemnation of forces to which his own government has offered support.

Political Islam is a reaction to profound societal failure. It is also a flight into unreality. It has nothing practical to offer as an actual remedy to Arab and Islamic developmental problems. Economic, legal and societal models deriving from the 7th century Arabian desert are fairly obvious impediments to success in the 21st.

Where they are systematically imposed, as in the Islamic State, they will create something close to hell on earth. Where they remain present in more partial forms — as in Qatar, Gaza, Iran, (increasingly) Turkey, and so on — they will merely produce stifling, stagnant and repressive societies.

But the remedy for failure that political Islam offers is not a material one. It offers in generous portions the intoxicating psychological cocktail of murderous rage and self-assertion, and the desire to strike out and destroy those deemed enemies — infidels who transgress binding religious commandments, Jews and so on.

This is not the first time that Europe has encountered political phenomena based on murderous rage and utopias buried in the magical past. The European fascist movements produced precisely such a mix. But of course, this time around, the rage and the utopia derive not from European culture, but from an alien culture which has implanted itself among the Europeans.

Here is the second part of the problem. Arab and Muslim societies may be basket cases, but they retain an exceptionally strong and vivid sense of themselves. It is the irony of history that this sense of self is precisely of a type that is bound to keep their societies mired in failure. But history favors irony, and this sense nevertheless remains powerfully experienced and hence politically potent. In this respect, the modern Islamic world resembles western Europe of 80 or 90 years ago, but not the contemporary continent.

In contemporary western European societies, political Islam meets a human collectivity suffering, by contrast, from a profound loss of self. No one, at least in the mainstream of politics and culture, seems able to quite articulate what western European countries are for, or what they oppose — at least beyond a sort of vapid belief in everyone doing what they want and not bothering each other.

The result is that when violent political Islam collides with the satiated, lost societies of western Europe, the response is not defiance on the part of the latter, but rather fear.

This fear, as fear is wont to do, manifests itself in various, not particularly edifying, ways.

The most obvious is avoidance (“the attacks had nothing to do with Islam,” “unemployment and poverty are the root cause,” “the Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state,” etc etc).

Another is appeasement — “maybe if we give them some of what they want, they’ll leave us alone.”

This response perhaps partially explains the notable adoption in parts of western Europe of the anti-Jewish prejudice so prevalent in the Islamic world.

The ennui of the western European mainstream will almost certainly prevent the adoption of the very tough measures which alone might serve to adequately address the burgeoning problem of large numbers of young European Muslims committed to political Islam and to violence against their host societies.

Such measures — which would include tighter surveillance and policing of communities, quick deportations of incendiary preachers, revocation of citizenship for those engaged in violence, possible imprisonment of suspects and so on — would require a political will which is manifestly absent. So it wont happen. So the events of Paris will almost certainly recur.

And lastly, since the elites will not be able to produce resistance, it will come from outside of the elites. Hence the growth of populist, nationalist parties and movements in western Europe. But Europe being what it is, such revivalist movements are likely to contain a hefty dose of the xenophobia and bigotry which characterized the continent of old.

None of this can, at present, be discussed in polite European society. But all of it is fairly obvious. For this reason, Europe’s Jews are at present warily eying the door. As someone who was born in western Europe, and left it 25 years ago for Israel, I am happy to conclude that as a result of the efforts and sacrifice of many, Europe’s Jews are this time around neither defenseless nor alone. Nor will their blood be free to be taken with impunity.

Jonathan Spyer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict (Continuum, 2011).

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Hamas, Palestinian Authority Step Up Human Rights Violations

Palestinian Authority riot police clash with protesting women in Hebron, October 2014.

Palestinian Authority riot police clash with protesting women in Hebron, October 2014.

For the Gatestone Institute by Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, who is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.

  • Both the PA and Hamas know that they can continue to violate the human rights of their people because the international community simply does not care about Palestinians who are being targeted by their own governments. The international community cares about human rights violations only when Israel could be held responsible.
  • It would be a good idea if the international community and media stopped turning a blind eye to the suffering of Palestinians at the hands of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
  • Abbas wants the world to support the creation of a dictatorship where people are arrested and intimidated for expressing their views in public. He is also asking the world to support a Palestinian state where Hamas is torturing Palestinians.
  • While the PA is accusing Hamas of human rights violations, its security forces in the West Bank continue to crack down on freedom of expression.
  • During the past two weeks, the PA has summoned for interrogation more than 20 Palestinians over their postings on Facebook. Most are university students suspected of posting comments in favor of Hamas or criticizing the PA. In recent weeks, PA security forces in the West Bank have arrested more than 25 university students on charges of criticizing Palestinian leaders in Ramallah or voicing support for Hamas.
  • “You can still see the bruises on their bodies. They were subjected to harsh torture.” — Hisham Sakallah, Palestinian writer, on Hamas interrogators beating Fatah officials with plastic hoses.
  • Last week, Hamas authorities arrested several Fatah leaders in Gaza and stripped them to their underwear, forcing them to stand in the cold for several hours. According to Palestinian writer Hisham Sakallah, Hamas interrogators also severely beat the Fatah officials with plastic hoses.

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Poll: 42% of French believe Muhammad cartoons should not be published

Submitting to the terrorists’ demands does not reduce terrorism, it only emboldens them. This is the wrong approach to fighting radical Islam. However, stripping terrorists of their citizenships is the right policy.

The Jerusalem Post (Jan 18) — Following the attacks on Charlie Hebdo’s offices, a poll published by IFOP (French Institute of Public Opinion) found that 42% of the French believe that publications should respect Muslim opinion and refrain from publishing cartoons of Muhammad, AFP reported.

The poll also found that 81% support stripping dual nationals who have committed an act of terrorism on French grounds from their French nationality.

Open letter to the French President by a Palestinian journalist in Ramallah

10917038_10152649424352689_2905776401352818823_nPublished at the Gatestone Institute (Jan 15):

Your Excellency, many Palestinians nearly fell off their chairs upon seeing their president march at the front row of a rally in your capital to protest against terrorism and assaults on freedom of the media.

Undoubtedly, you are unaware of the fact that President Abbas is personally responsible for punishing Palestinian journalists who dare to criticize him or express their views in public. Every day we see that the Western media, including French newspapers and magazines, does not care about such violations unless they are committed by Israel.

Your Excellency, you are completely mistaken if you believe that Abbas and his Palestinian Authority are tolerant toward satire or any form of criticism. While he was attending the rally, a human rights group published a report accusing the Palestinian Authority of “waging war” against university students in the West Bank.

President Abbas has managed once again to deceive you and the rest of the international community. He now has managed to create the false impression that he cares about freedom of speech and independent journalism

Palestinians like me will now pay a heaver price because Abbas has been emboldened and will now step up his assaults. France will be helping to establish another corrupt and repressive Arab dictatorship — one that glorifies and rewards terrorists no different from those who carried out the Paris attacks.

I hope now your Excellency understands why I am too scared to reveal my identity.

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France: Terror Funding, Attack Weapons Came From Abroad

paris terror attack policeAP (Jan 15) — France’s prime minister demanded tougher anti-terrorism measures Tuesday after deadly attacks that some call this country’s Sept. 11 — and that may already be leading to a crackdown on liberties in exchange for greater security.

Police told The Associated Press that the weapons used came from abroad, as authorities in several countries searched for possible accomplices and the sources of financing for last week’s attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, a kosher market and police. A new suspect was identified in Bulgaria.

“We must not lower our guard, at any time,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls told Parliament, adding that “serious and very high risks remain.”

Lawmakers in the often argumentative chamber lined up overwhelmingly behind the government, giving repeated standing ovations to Valls’ rousing, indignant address — and then voted 488-1 to extend French airstrikes against Islamic State extremists in Iraq.

“France is at war against terrorism, jihadism, and radical Islamism,” Valls declared. “France is not at war against Islam.”

He called for increased surveillance of imprisoned radicals and told the interior minister to quickly come up with new security proposals.

French police say as many as six members of the terrorist cell that carried out the Paris attacks may still be at large, including a man seen driving a car registered to the widow of one of the gunmen. The country has deployed 10,000 troops to protect sensitive sites, including Jewish schools and synagogues, mosques and travel hubs.

Several people are being sought in connection with the “substantial” financing of the three gunmen behind the terror campaign, said Christophe Crepin, a French police union official. The gunmen’s weapons stockpile came from abroad, and the size of it, plus the military sophistication of the attacks, indicated an organized terror network, he added.

“This cell did not include just those three. We think with all seriousness that they had accomplices, because of the weaponry, the logistics and the costs of it,” Crepin said. “These are heavy weapons. When I talk about things like a rocket launcher — it’s not like buying a baguette on the corner. It’s for targeted acts.”

Speaking to legislators in London, the head of the European police agency Europol, Rob Wainwright, said that 3,000 to 5,000 European nationals have gone to fight in the Mideast, calling it a “startling figure” and “the most serious threat Europe has faced since 9/11.”

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Canadian PM: The International Jihadist Movement Has Declared War

Clear language on jihad from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

The day after the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Stephen Harper, the prime minister of Canada, gave one the strongest statements on what the world is really facing when it comes to radical Islam.

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Published on January 9: The international jihadist movement has declared war. They have declared war on anybody who does not think and act exactly how they would think and act, they have declared war and are executing it on a massive scale, on a whole range of countries with which they are in contact, and they have declared war on any country like ourselves that values freedom, openness, and tolerance. We may not like this and wish it would go away, but it is not going to go away.

And the reality is we’re going to have to confront it. Obviously that is what we’re doing in concert with our allies, dealing with the very worst manifestation of this, the jihadist army that is occupying parts of Syria and Iraq. This is going to be, unfortunately, the reality of the world we are living in for quite some time. We’re just going to have to face that head on and deal with it. That is what our government is committed to do.

U.S. military social media accounts apparently hacked by Islamic State sympathizers

CENTCOM-hacked-3The Washington Post (Jan 13) — Hackers claiming allegiance to the Islamic State took control of the social media accounts of the U.S. military’s Central Command on Monday, posting threatening messages and propaganda videos, along with some military documents.

The command’s Twitter and YouTube accounts were eventually taken offline, but not before a string of tweets and the release of military documents, some of which listed contact information for senior military personnel. A Centcom spokesman confirmed their accounts were “compromised,” and said later that the accounts have been taken offline while the incident is investigated more.

“CENTCOM’s operation military networks were not compromised and there was no operational impact to U.S. Central Command,” a military statement said. “CENTCOM will restore service to its Twitter and YouTube accounts as quickly as possible. We are viewing this purely as a case of cybervandalism.”

[Related on Checkpoint: Hack of U.S. military social media accounts prompts embarrassment, review]

Military officials added in the statement that their initial assessment is that no classified information was posted, and that none of what was released came from Centcom’s server or social media sites. The command will notify Defense Department and law enforcement authorities about the release of personally identifiable information and make sure that those affected are notified as quickly as possible, Centcom said.

Virtually all of the documents posted appear to already have been publicly available online, but the incident is nevertheless embarrassing to the U.S. military. Centcom oversees the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and frequently posts videos of airstrikes on the same accounts attacked Monday.

The United States and the Islamic State have waged a propaganda battle online for the better part of a year, after the militants rose to prominence and seized broad swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. Twitter accounts sympathetic to the militants have distributed graphic images of beheadings and other violence along with threats, while the Defense Department and State Department have sought to expose the Islamic State as an oppressive group willing to slaughter innocent men, women and children.

The first rogue tweet Monday was posted about 12:30 p.m. and the account was not suspended for about another 40 minutes. The background and profile photo of the Twitter account were both changed to show an apparent militant and the phrases “CyberCaliphate” and “i love you isis,” using one of the acronyms for the militant group.


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Paris terror attacks: The fruits of cowardice and appeasement

World leaders including Netanyahu and Abbas flank French Presdient Francois Hollande at Paris solidarity rally. (photo credit: REUTERS)

World leaders including Netanyahu and Abbas flank French Presdient Francois Hollande at Paris solidarity rally. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Jerusalem Post (Jan 17) — The ill winds that have been gathering over Europe became a tornado last week in Paris with the barbaric Charlie Hebdo massacre, followed by the horrific terrorist attack at a kosher supermarket – a total of 17 dead in three days. But alas, the horror will in all likelihood soon recede and life will continue as usual until the next attack.

…  Western governments have yet to internalize the reality that what happened in Paris was not merely another instance of “terrorism” but a classic manifestation of the “clash of civilizations.”

Aside from murderous attacks primarily directed against Jews in Europe over recent months, there have been ongoing massacres and atrocities committed by Islamic terrorists throughout the world.

To name a few: the butchering of 2,000 Nigerians in the wake of the Boko Haram enslavement of 300 schoolgirls; the murder of 130 schoolchildren in Peshawar, Pakistan, by the Taliban; the barbaric videos broadcast of hostages being decapitated; ongoing mass murder in Syria and Iraq; oppression of women; and gruesome persecution, expulsion and murder of Christians in the Middle East.

Today, as the global impact of Islamic fundamentalism grows exponentially, with increasing manifestations of brutal terrorism, Western leaders lack the courage to even identify the enemy. It has ominous parallels to the struggle with Nazism. Then as now, Western governments initially sought to avoid conflict by appeasing the barbarians – which only served to embolden them.

…  THROUGHOUT THE world, jihadist mullahs and preachers promote hatred and extremism. In European cities, second-generation homegrown Muslims and converts are indoctrinated to endorse and in some cases participate in jihad and the murder of infidels. Those who convert are not necessarily from the underprivileged classes, but “ideologues,” many of whom belong to comfortable middle class families and are university graduates.

But worse has been the unspoken acquiescence of most governments and the media, preventing any meaningful discussion of the threat from Islamic extremism. Apart from downplaying and often even denying the overriding Islamic element in acts of terrorism, governments and media have disgracefully branded as “Islamophobic” any serious effort to discuss and analyze the problem, even promoting “hate speech” legislation to stifle any such public discussion.

The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference has attempted to make blasphemy (i.e., criticism of Islam) a crime in international law.

They have been further emboldened by the failure to immediately prosecute Islamic extremists who threaten violence against those who express criticism of or dishonor Islam. What is truly ironic is that many of those on the Left who normally endorse the crudest outbursts against Christianity and Judaism are the first to accuse any critics of Islam of Islamophobia, and display far greater concern for the sensitivities of Muslims.

…  Ironically, in a historic and critical New Year’s address, largely ignored by the mainstream press, Sisi [Egypt’s democratically elected President] publicly expressed what Obama and Western leaders have been denying. He stated explicitly that jihadism and terrorism were linked to “the corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries.” He warned that this was “antagonizing the entire world,” that “this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed… by our own hands,” and that “we are in need of a religious revolution.”

…  For Jews, the writing has been on the wall for a long time. The virulence of the anti-Semitic hatred closing in on Jews in Europe (and elsewhere) is horrifying. Robert Wistrich, the world’s leading scholar on anti-Semitism, says that anti-Semitism in France is now in “an advanced stage of disease” that cannot be reversed. There were a series of anti-Semitic murders in France and Belgium preceding the Paris massacre but they failed to raise the same level of outrage as the Charlie Hebdo murders. There were no popular campaigns saying “Je suis Juif.” Indeed there seemed to be greater concern about “Islamophobia” than the targeted Jewish victims.

Europe is today facing a crisis as serious as the confrontation with Nazism. If Western leaders continue behaving like Chamberlain and fail to stand up to this global threat, it could usher in a new Dark Age in which the Judeo-Christian culture is subsumed by primitive barbarism. The writing is on the wall.

For Jews, the Zionist vision has once again been tragically vindicated.

The author’s website can be viewed at He may be contacted at ileibler@

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