Hamas Attacks Fuel Terminal – Will Protest Israel/Egyptian Blockade

Hamas, you know th guys Jimmy Carter is going to go and have tea with, attacka fuel terminal on the Israeli/Gaza border. This fuel terminal supplies Gaza.

Now, Hamas is planning a protest today against the Israel/Egyption blockades and is planning on braking down the border between Egypt and Gaza. This really says alot about Hamas.

Egypt is threatening Hamas if they do try to do this. Now what is great is it is Egypt who should be providing goods, fuel and electricity to Gaza, but nobody says anything about their partition of the Gaza Strip.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that, following the Palestinian attack on the Israel-Gaza border fuel terminal that supplies its own population, Hamas plans a mass protest Thursday, April 10 against the “Israeli and Egyptian blockade” of the Gaza Strip. Our sources report that a tough Egyptian message put Hamas off its plan for another attempt to smash through the Gaza border to Egyptian Sinai. Cairo warned that this time, any Palestinians forcing their way through would be “shot down like rats.” To drive the message home, convoys of Egyptian truck with visible firing positions and open crates of ammo have been rolling up and down the Gaza border past the new wall they have built the length of the Philadelphi border strip.

Thursday, Egyptian security forces drawn from Cairo and Ismailia were still massing on the Sinai side of Rafah, after Hamas leader Khalil al-Haya announced that the next Palestinian breakthrough to Sinai would be broader and extend to all of Gaza’s borders. (Its only other one is with Israel)

Israel in contrast did nothing to make good on defense minister Ehud Barak’s threat to “make Hamas pay” for the rising violence against civilians emanating from the territory it governs. It is widely predicted that Israel will carry on shipping fuel to Gaza through the Nahal Oz terminal where Wednesday, April 9. Palestinian gunmen murdered two Israeli energy company workers employed in keeping this lifeline open for the Gaza population.

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Israel Allowing Humanitarian Aid And Fuel Into Gaza – Hamas Mortar Attack

Israel has bowed to international pressure and is allowing humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza. In addition they are delivering fuel to the power plant in Gaza. The Hamas PR campaign has worked and the sheep forced Israel to its knees once again.

NAHAL OZ CROSSING, Gaza Strip  —  Israel delivered fuel for Gaza’s power plant on Tuesday, partially lifting a blockade it had imposed last week in response to a sharp increase in rocket attacks by Palestinian militants.

Five Israeli tanker trucks parked at the Nahal Oz crossing on the Gaza border pumped 700,000 liters of fuel to the other side, enough to provide electricity to Gaza City for two days. Three more trucks delivered cooking gas, and a shipment of medicine was to be delivered later in the day.

In all, Israel has promised three fuel deliveries over three days, for a total of 2.2 million liters, enough to keep the power plant running for a week, said Kanan Obeid, head of Gaza’s energy authority.

Click here for photos.

Israel had sealed Gaza on Tuesday, halting fuel shipments. Three days later, Gaza’s only power plant, which provides electricity to about one-third of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents, shut down. Other areas of Gaza are supplied directly by Israel and Egypt, neither of which cut off service.

On Monday, after Gaza’s Hamas government and aid agencies warned of an impending humanitarian crisis, Israel decided to ease the blockade. /**/

“We think Hamas got the message,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said Monday after Israel announced it was easing the closure. “As we have seen in the past couple of days, when they want to stop the rockets, they can.”

However, three rockets were fired early Tuesday, causing no injuries.

Mekel said enough fuel would be shipped to power the Gaza electric plant for a week, as well as fuel for hospital generators and cooking gas, along with 50 truckloads of humanitarian aid, including medicine.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri dismissed the decision. “This does not mean the end of the siege on Gaza,” he said, pledging to continue to fight “until we break the siege.”

Ahmad Ismail, 44, a Gaza City merchant, also played down the Israeli gesture.

“This is a painkiller. They are not solving the problem, the problem is there, it exists and it is going to deteriorate day after day,” he said. “The only solution for Gaza’s problems is to lift the blockade and not to have this cosmetic solutions.”

Raising a possible solution, moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered to take control of the Gaza crossings from the Palestinian side. One of the reasons Israel closed the crossings was its refusal to deal with Hamas officials in Gaza.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Hamas would study Abbas’ proposal. If implemented, it would give Abbas his first foothold in Gaza since Hamas ran his forces out in June. Israeli officials refused to comment.

Even after agreeing to the shipment, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak maintained a tough tone.

Speaking at the annual Herzliya Conference on security, Barak called for increased pressure on Gaza. He said he was prepared to hit Gaza to restore calm in Israeli towns battered by rockets from Gaza. “I care more about our quiet than their quiet,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert strongly defended the blockade. He told legislators from his Kadima Party, “As far as I’m concerned, Gaza residents will walk, without gas for their cars, because they have a murderous, terrorist regime that doesn’t let people in southern Israel live in peace.”

Gaza’s Hamas government issued emotional appeals to the Arab world, and demanded that Egypt open its border with Gaza to allow in supplies. “We are asking Arab and Muslim nations not to leave the Palestinians alone to face the terrorist country of America and the Zionist entity,” said Gaza’s Hamas strongman, Mahmoud Zahar, in a televised speech.

During the past seven months, since Hamas’ violent takeover of Gaza, Egypt joined Israel in severely restricting access to Gaza, largely keeping its border terminal closed. An opening of the Gaza-Egypt border would mark a victory for Hamas, enabling it to claim credit for restoring the flow of supplies and stabilizing its rule.

However, it appeared unlikely Egypt would comply, since it’s concerned about a spillover of Hamas-style militancy into its territory if the border is open. Instead, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called Barak and urged him to ease restrictions, and Barak agreed.

Oddly enough Hamas rocket and mortar attacks almost ceased during the shut down, however once fuel the fuel supply was restored then the attacks began to commence. Israel is under constant attack from Hamas and there is no outcry by the international community to force Hamas from waging war on Israel. As is the norm, the latest Israeli offensive was based on a massive mortor attack by Hamas Terrorists.

Sderot braces for more rockets

Southern town under attack: More than 40 Qassams fired at Sderot Tuesday, bomb shelters opened; meanwhile, more social workers, psychologists dispatched to help residents, IDF decides to keep schools open

Shmulik Hadad

Sderot hit by massive rocket offensive: More than 40 rockets were fired at southern communities Tuesday afternoon and evening. Most of the rockets targeted the southern town of Sdeort, prompting municipal officials to convene an emergency meeting to decide on the next moves in the rocket-stricken town.

In the meeting, led by Mayor Eli Moyal, officials decided to boost the entire support system offered to Sderot residents coping with ceaseless Qassam attacks. Bomb shelters will be opened and more social workers, psychologists, and doctors will be sent to help residents.

Four civilians, including a 5-year-old girl, sustained shrapnel wounds in Tuesday’s attacks. One of the rockets fired at Sderot hit a power line, causing power outages in some sections of town.

Turbulent Tuesday

Mayor Moyal said the rocket attacks were an ongoing reality and added that officials were constantly assessing the situation. “The defense establishment also boosted its forces here in Sderot. Regarding the education system, we will consult with security officials and together take a decision regarding the opening of schools on Wednesday.” Later, the army decided to keep schools open.

Victim of attack (Photo: AP)

The Qassam offensive started around 4:15 PM Tuesday, with one rocket hitting a chicken processing plant in town. Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks and also for separate mortar attacks.

The rocket strikes were part of a turbulent Tuesday that saw a volunteer from Ecuador murdered by a Palestinian sniper in a Gaza-region kibbutz.

IDF forces were also busy throughout the day, with a total of 18 Palestinians killed in various IDF attacks and operations, including the son of senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Misr Digital Images Forces Egyptian Authorities To Investigate Human Rights Abuse

Wael Abbas’ website, Misr Digital has posted stills from a video that shows a suspected Egyptian Police Officer slapping a woman around and forcing her to strip.

This is only audio, the visual is a still image only, but you can get the gist of what is going on from the audio.

It is good to see that Wael was not deterred by YouTube and Yahoo!’s censorship…

CAIRO, Egypt —  Egyptian authorities have opened an investigation into a video clip uncovered by an anti-torture activist that allegedly shows a police officer slapping a woman and forcing her to strip, a security official said Saturday.

Egypt, where human rights groups say police abuse is pervasive, has seen a series of investigations of police prompted by cell-phone videos showing torture and abuse of suspects.

The circumstances of the latest clip are unknown. It shows a woman in blue jeans and a shirt in what appears to be a bedroom, while a man with a gun tucked in his belt — purported to be a police officer — slaps her repeatedly across the face and orders her to take off her clothes.

The sobbing woman takes off her top and brassiere, begging the man not to force her to walk outside. She tries to cover her face with hands, but the man orders her to take her hands down so he can slap her on the face. Other young men appeared also in front of the camera. None of those appearing in the video are identified and it is not clear where it was filmed.

The video was first uncovered by blogger activist Wael Abbas, whose Web site Misr Digital has posted numerous videos of police torture. Abbas said on his site that he received the video in an anonymous e-mail.

Mohsen el-Bahnasi, head of human rights center for Legal Assistance, then filed a lawsuit to the general prosecutor calling for investigation to determine who was in the clip and whether it showed a policeman.

Prosecutors began their investigation on Thursday, a security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.

Abbas said on his Web site that the e-mailer who sent him the clip claimed that the man who appears in it was a police officer, but Abbas said it was not confirmed whether that is accurate.

Abbas has posted previous video clips showing police brutality and torture of people in police stations, including a high profile case of a video that showed police officers sodomizing a minibus driver with a stick. The officers were sentenced to three years in prison in October.

From Wael’s website, these are pictures of the actors and the victim. He is reaching out for anyone who knows them to identify them…

Saturday, 29 December 2007

إبحث مع الوعي المصري عن هؤلاء

إبحث مع الوعي المصري عن هؤلاء

هذه صور الأشخاص الذين يظهرون في فيديو الفتاة
إذا كنت تعرف أحد أو كل هؤلاء الأشخاص برجاء الإتصال بنا
Wa2el_3abbas@yahoo.com
ورجاء كل من يقرأ هذا أن يمرره ويرسله لكل من يعرف

suspect 1
وهو المشتبه به الأول ومن يضرب الفتاة ويطلب منها خلع ملابسها

الفتاة الضحية كما تظهر في الفيديو

الشخص الغامض الذي يظهر ملوحا في الفيديو

شخص آخر غامض يظهر في نهاية الفيديو قبل التوقف عن التصوير
وملامحه هنا واضحة

لقطة نهاية الفيديو ويظهر فيها المشتبه به رقم 3
وخلفه مرآة تعكس ما في غرفة النوم
ويظهر جزء من كتف المشتبه به رقم 2
وهو من لوح للموبايل
الى جانب مشتبه بهم جدد يظهرون لأول مرة في الفيديو
4 و 5

في هذه اللقطة أيضا يظهر المشتبه به الأول في المرآة بالإضافة إلى باقي المشتبه بهم

أكرر مرة أخرى
إذا كنت تعرف أحد أو كل هؤلاء الأشخاص برجاء الإتصال بنا
Wa2el_3abbas@yahoo.com
ورجاء كل من يقرأ هذا أن يمرره ويرسله لكل من يعرف

Al Qaeda Torture Chambers & Mass Grave

Terrorists in Iraq have been mostly driven out of Anbar due to the “surge”, and have setup shop in Dilaya, where they have been torturing and killing people. Three building with electrified beds were discovered along with 26 bodies in a nearby grave.

I bet these are Iraqi’s they find their… More proof that the terrorists do not care about the Iraqis freedom, but rather just plain old Jihad killing… More proof it is not about the “US Occupation”, but rather murdering as many people as they can.

Iraq ‘torture complex’ discovered

Metal bed connected to electricity supply at the torture facility near Muqdadiya (9 December 2007)

Intelligence provided by local Iraqis led the troops to the torture centre

US and Iraqi forces have discovered a “torture complex” in an al-Qaeda safe haven near Muqdadiya in central Diyala province, the US military has said.Three buildings containing chains on the walls and ceilings, and a metal bed connected to a power supply were found during an operation on 9 December.

Mass graves containing 26 bodies were uncovered nearby, the military said.

Correspondents say Diyala has been the focus of some of the fiercest attacks by insurgents in recent months.

Militants displaced from their former strongholds in Anbar province and parts of Baghdad by the US troops surge are believed to have migrated to the province.

Earlier on Tuesday, a suicide bomber killed 13 people and a US soldier in an attack on a recruiting centre for local Sunni Arab militia groups that have been fighting al-Qaeda-linked militants in Diyala.

‘Atrocity site’

The grisly discovery of what the US military called an atrocity site and torture complex north of Muqdadiya was made during a security operation more than two weeks ago, but announced only on Thursday.

Bodies found in mass graves near the torture facility at Muqdadiya (9 December 2007)
Evidence of murder, torture, and intimidation against local villagers was found throughout the area
US military statement

“Intelligence provided by Iraqi tips led US troops to a suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq safe haven and operating bases,” the US statement said.

Evidence of murder, torture, and intimidation against local villagers was found throughout the area.”

Residents of nearby villages said they had known about the torture complex, but had not told the authorities because they had been afraid of reprisals by the militants.

A local policeman told the Associated Press news agency that he thought the chamber had been in use for about a year.

The troops initially discovered what appeared to be a detention facility, near which they found the bodies of 26 people in “multiple mass graves next to execution sites”, the statement said.

“In the same area a torture complex was found, consisting of three detention facilities with one doubling as both a headquarters building and torture facility,” it added.

“The buildings contained chains on the walls and ceilings, a bed still hooked up to an electrical system, and several bloodstained items.”

Map of Iraq

Written in white paint on one wall above the bed was a Koranic phrase used to welcome a guest: “All who enter it shall be safe.”

The US military commander in northern Iraq, Maj Gen Mark Hertling, said he believed the torture facility had been run by al-Qaeda in Iraq as it was located in one of their strongholds.

Graffiti on the site also mentioned the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni Arab insurgents.

After uncovering the site, the troops continued their security sweep of the area and killed 24 suspected militants, Gen Hertling said.

The torture complex was not the first to have been discovered in Iraq. In March, US troops found a similar site in the village of Karma in the western province of Anbar.

They rescued two Iraqis who said they had been spared immediate execution because the militants had wanted to film the killings and their video camera had broken.

Islamisizing The Hymen

The fear of being murdered and family shame is forcing Muslim women to undergo the painful procedure of reconstructing their hymen so that their to-be husbands can proclaim their bravado of being the one to devirginize them. This submission of women in Islam is not happening in the Muslim countries where you normally hear about the oppression of women, but right in the UK and more than likely else were in countries that are quickly being Islamisized.

The subject of honor killings in the Muslim culture in western societies has recently been brought to light with the murder of a 16 y/o girl in Canada who refused to wear her hajib and her father strangled her to death.

Muslim scholars have proclaimed that it has nothing to do with Islam… However I would bet if Aisha Salim were not able to bleed on her honeymoon she would be killed by her new husband, his family or her own family for having dishonored them under Muslim Law…

 I guess this is how Allah has such a supply of virgins to give to Martyrs…

On her wedding night, Aisha Salim will hand her blooded sheets to her in-laws as proof of her virginity, according to a story in The Daily Telegraph of Australia.

But there’s one problem. Being a modern English university graduate, she is far from the traditional untouched Muslim bride.

Like most woman her age, Salim has smoked, drank, had sex and even lived with one of her past boyfriends.

However, if the devout Muslim family of her soon-to-be husband – or even her own family – knew this, she could be murdered.

Aisha has opted to have her virginity surgically restored in a delicate but painful surgery called hymenoplasties — where the hymen is re-created from the already torn tissue, or a new membrane is inserted.

“If my husband cannot prove to his family that I am a virgin, I would be hounded, ostracised and sent home in disgrace,” Salim told England’s Daily Mail.

“My father, who is a devout Muslim, would regard it as the ultimate shame. The entire family could be cast out from the friends and society they hold dear, and I honestly believe that one of my fanatically religious cousins or uncles might kill me in revenge, to purge them of my sins. Incredible as it may seem, honour killings are still accepted within our religion.

“Ever since my family arranged this marriage for me, I’ve been terrified that, on my wedding night, my secret would come out. It has only been since my surgery last week that I’ve actually been able to sleep properly. Now, I can look forward to my marriage.”

Salim is far from alone in seeking such drastic — and almost barbaric — surgery.

The rise in Islamic fundamentalism has seen 24 women in the U.K. have the procedure between 2005 and 2006.

“I’ve always adored my parents,” Salim said.

“My father, now 62, is a retired accountant and my mother raised a family of seven sisters in a five-bedroom house in Birmingham.

“I attended the local Catholic secondary school and although I wore a scarf on my head, I refused to wear a veil, telling my parents that it would make me stand out too much.

“I was one of the girls, totally accepted by my white, English friends whose lives revolved around shopping and fancying boys.

“But the moment I stepped over the doorstep, normal teenage life would cease and it was like entering an entirely different world. At home, we had to pray together five times a day.

“We weren’t allowed to watch television. My parents were so worried that Western influences might take our minds off the most important things — education and religion — that we were never allowed to bring any schoolfriends home.

“But it made all the things my friends did more attractive to me. I would sneak out on Saturday afternoons and join them in town, hanging around, shopping and chatting to boys,” Salim added.

Waterboarding Necessary Sometimes

The controversial waterboarding technique is a necessary tool for interrogators of terrorists and on top of that it works for extracting information. Many reports  talk about how torture does not get reliable information out of the suspect, however if you carefully read the transcripts carefully, you will see that attacks were prevented due to information optained using waterboarding on Abu Zubaydah.

Now, should this be used on every terrorist suspect? No. But there are terrorists that have intimate knowledge of operations and plans and these ones need to given incentive to talk, if that incentive is torture, then so be it.

This interview with a former CIA intel officer outlines where it is necessary and the value of such techniques. See the video and transcripts at the end of the post…

A leader of the CIA team that captured the first major al Qaeda figure, Abu Zubaydah, says subjecting him to waterboarding was torture but necessary.

In the first public comment by any CIA officer involved in handling high-value al Qaeda targets, John Kiriakou, now retired, said the technique broke Zubaydah in less than 35 seconds.

“The next day, he told his interrogator that Allah had visited him in his cell during the night and told him to cooperate,” said Kiriakou in an interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC News’ “World News With Charles Gibson” and “Nightline.”

“From that day on, he answered every question,” Kiriakou said. “The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks.”

Kiriakou said the feeling in the months after the 9/11 attacks was that interrogators did not have the time to delve into the agency’s bag of other interrogation tricks.”Those tricks of the trade require a great deal of time — much of the time — and we didn’t have that luxury. We were afraid that there was another major attack coming,” he said.

Kiriakou says he did not know that the interrogation of Zubaydah was being secretly recorded by the CIA and had no idea the tapes had been destroyed.

Now retired, Kiriakou, who declined to use the enhanced interrogation techniques, says he has come to believe that water boarding is torture but that perhaps the circumstances warranted it.

“Like a lot of Americans, I’m involved in this internal, intellectual battle with myself weighing the idea that waterboarding may be torture versus the quality of information that we often get after using the waterboarding technique,” Kiriakou told ABC News. “And I struggle with it.”

But he says the urgency in the wake of 9/ll led to a desire to do everything possible to get actionable intelligence.

That began with Abu Zubaydah’s capture following a series of raids in which Kiriakou co-led a team of CIA officers, FBI agents, a Port Authority police officer named Tom McHale and Pakistani police, including a SWAT team.

And, in the case of Abu Zubayda, it ended with waterboarding.

“What happens if we don’t waterboard a person, and we don’t get that nugget of information, and there’s an attack,” Kiriakou said. “I would have trouble forgiving myself.”

The former intelligence officer says the interrogators’ activities were carefully directed from Langley, Va., each step of the way.

It wasn’t up to individual interrogators to decide, ‘Well, I’m gonna slap him.’ Or, ‘I’m going to shake him.’ Or, ‘I’m gonna make him stay up for 48 hours.’

“Each one of these steps, even though they’re minor steps, like the intention shake, or the open-handed belly slap, each one of these had to have the approval of the deputy director for operations,” Kiriakou told ABC News.

“The cable traffic back and forth was extremely specific,” he said. “And the bottom line was these were very unusual authorities that the agency got after 9/11. No one wanted to mess them up. No one wanted to get in trouble by going overboard. So it was extremely deliberate.”

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And it was always a last resort.

“That’s why so few people were waterboarded. I think the agency has said that two people were waterboarded, Abu Zubaydah being one, and it’s because you really wanted it to be a last resort because we didn’t want these false confessions. We didn’t want wild goose chases,” Kiriakou said.

And they were faced with men like Abu Zubaydah, Kiriakou says, who held critical and timely intelligence.

“A former colleague of mine asked him during the conversation one day, ‘What would you do if we decided to let you go one day?’ And he said, ‘I would kill every American and Jew I could get my hands on…It’s nothing personal. You’re a nice guy. But this is who I am.'”

In that context, at that time, Kiriakou says he felt waterboarding was something the United States needed to do.

“At the time, I felt that waterboarding was something that we needed to do. And as time has passed, and as September 11th has, you know, has moved farther and farther back into history, I think I’ve changed my mind,” he told ABC News.

Part of his decision appears to be an ethical one; another part, perhaps, simply pragmatic.

“I think we’re chasing them all over the world. I think we’ve had a great deal of success chasing them…and, as a result, waterboarding, at least right now, is unnecessary,” Kirikou said.

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Brian Ross: “Did it compromise American principles? Or did it save American lives? Or both?”

John Kiriakou: “I think both. It may have compromised our principles at least in the short term. And I think it’s good that we’re having a national debate about this. We should be debating this, and Congress should be talking about it because, I think, as a country, we have to decide if this is something that we want to do as a matter of policy. I’m not saying now that we should, but, at the very least, we should be talking about it. It shouldn’t be secret. It should be out there as part of the national debate.”

A CIA spokesperson declined to specifically address Kiriakou’s comments.

In a statement, the CIA reiterated its long standing position that “the United States does not conduct or condone torture. The CIA’s terrorist interrogation effort has always been small, carefully run, lawful and highly productive.”

Transcripts:

Click Here for Part One of the Transcript with John Kiriakou.

Click Here for Part Two of the Transcript with John Kiriakou.

Video Interview

Former CIA Agent Speaks Out, Part 1

Former CIA Agent Speaks Out, Part 2

Former CIA Agent Speaks Out, Part 3

Former CIA Agent Speaks Out, Part 4

Former CIA Agent Speaks Out, Part 5

Former CIA Agent Speaks Out, Part 6

Former CIA Agent Speaks Out, Part 7

Former CIA Agent Speaks Out, Part 8

Former CIA Agent Speaks Out, Part 9

Former CIA Agent Speaks Out, Part 10

Flying Imans, Political Jihad and Rose Colored Anal Looking Glass

A must read article, the intial though I had when I read the title was that it was just a piece about the backgrounds, but as I read the article, a more important theme arose, the deep seeded religious ideology being taught in the US my Muslim Clerics, who are against the US. It sounds like they are trying to establish a separate Islamic Nation Government within the US with the eventual plan to integrate, our government into theirs… They use our Constitution to hide behind when they are discovered, but then they use it to attack as well. The ACLU and CAIR have made sure of that…

This overlooking and using political correctness to absolve liberal demands for the destruction of our country, will lead to the ultimate demise of our freedoms and open the doorway to radical Islamic terrorist attacks within our borders.

Compound this with the stories that the liberal media does not want you to hear about CAIR, the Holy Land Foundation, Dearbornistans Islamic Jihad and Hebzollah ties, and it really illuminates the threat we face from within…

I suggest reading at least twice.

Exposing the “Flying Imams”

by M. Zuhdi Jasser
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2008

On November 20, 2006, airline officials in Minneapolis removed six imams from U.S. Airways flight 300 to Phoenix after their behavior raised the suspicion of fellow travelers.[1] The imams decried the incident as racist and evidence of discrimination. On March 12, 2007, they filed suit against the airline, airport, and fellow passengers. Some of the imams’ claims are exaggerated; many are false. In reality, the incident was a tactical move to support the imams’ claim to leadership over the American Muslim community. Indeed, the “flying imams” case, Ahmed Shqeirat et al. vs. U.S. Airways,[2] appears to mark just the latest front in the war between Islamists and mainstream, pluralistic American Muslims.

Background

The airport episode appeared pre-planned, the American equivalent of the manufactured Danish cartoon controversy, in which Danish Islamists, who hoped to benefit from polarization, exaggerated victimization and sought a pretext for crisis.[3] The six imams, five of whom hailed from the Phoenix area, were returning from a North American Imams Federation conference. Three drew attention to themselves when they conducted prayers at the departure gate rather than in the airport chapel or quietly in their seats. However, they drew no response. On the plane, however, they aroused passenger suspicion with loud Arabic conversations, requests for apparently unnecessary seat-belt extenders—which can be used as weapons—and a post-boarding seating switch. Other passengers expressed their worries to the crew, who had them removed. After this incident, Omar Shahin, president of the North American Imams Federation and a prominent Phoenix imam, told the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR, an Islamist advocacy group) and its attorneys, “Security at the airport isn’t our problem; it’s their problem.”[4]

On March 12, 2007, the imams, CAIR, and attorney Omar Mohammedi, a former president of CAIR’s New York chapter, filed suit not only against the airline and the Minneapolis Metropolitan Airports Commission but also against the anonymous “John Doe” passengers who alerted the crew to the imams’ suspicious behavior.

The involvement of CAIR, an organization that has received significant Saudi financing,[5] injected impressive machinery and resources into the case. Omar Shahin explained, “Since minute one of this incident, I contacted [CAIR communications director] Ibrahim Hooper and [CAIR executive director] Brother Nihad Awad, and we arranged everything … Everything’s being coordinated with CAIR.”[6] The group underwrote the cost of any litigation.[7]

CAIR used its national network of imams and press connections to draw attention to the case. Tactically, though, the decision to litigate against ordinary passengers was a misstep. It drew critical commentary from the mainstream press.[8] The Arizona Republic dubbed it “intimidation by lawsuit,”[9] and many individuals and organizations, including our own American Islamic Forum for Democracy, offered assistance to the passengers forced into court.[10] While Mohammedi amended his suit to target only John Does whom he deemed “racist” or who had made false accusations,[11] the discovery process would still require suspect passengers to retain counsel. Congress stepped in and, in late July, passed legislation protecting passengers from similar future lawsuits.[12] The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty then filed an amicus brief with the court on August 1, 2007, asking the court to remove the John Does from the suit and denouncing the imams’ “attempt to hijack the court as legal terrorism.”[13] Under this barrage of criticism, the imams dropped their lawsuit against the passengers on August 23, 2007,[14] although they are proceeding with the rest of their suit against the airline, its employees, and the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

My Experience with the Phoenix Imams

I have known three of the plaintiffs in the U.S. Airways suit for almost a decade. Soon after settling in Arizona in 1999, I became involved in the local Muslim community. Before moving to Scottsdale, I usually attended Friday congregational prayer services at the Islamic Community Center of Tempe, Arizona. Often, Ahmed Shqeirat, now the primary plaintiff, delivered sermons at the mosque where he has long been imam. I was struck by the political nature of his sermons. He repeatedly criticized both U.S. domestic and foreign policy and often exaggerated Muslim victimization. He advocated political unification of Muslims internationally and blamed the United States, Israel, and the West for perceived slights. He called for the political empowerment of Muslims in American society.

After hearing several sermons, I spoke and wrote to him to express my dismay at his emphasis of political over spiritual topics. He responded that “secularism is Godlessness” and asserted a right to “speak about political injustice.” The concept of purely spiritual Islam and creation of an intellectual environment welcoming to all Muslims regardless of political persuasion was anathema to him.

To give one example of his abuse of pulpit, during a Friday sermon in April 2004, he displayed an image, which CAIR had distributed, of an American soldier in Iraq with two young Iraqi boys. In the photo, the soldier held a sign saying, “Lcpl Boudreaux killed my dad, then he knocked up my sister.”[15] Shqeirat neither made any attempt to verify the image’s authenticity nor to determine, if real, whether it was representative. Nor, when he was asked, could he explain how such a display related to Islamic theology or spirituality. The goal of using faith identity to divide society highlights the incompatibility of Islamism with traditions of American culture and society.

I had similar concerns regarding the sermons of Marwan Saadeddin, another plaintiff, whose sermons I heard in the Phoenix Valley. Following the U.S. Air 300 incident, Saadeddin spun the incident to the media[16] and transformed it into a parable of victimization during a Friday sermon at a Phoenix Valley mosque. During the sermon, I heard him say, “I’d rather be dead than removed from an airplane in handcuffs.” Such is the political and fanatical ranting of one of Arizona’s leading imams. As is common among Islamist preachers, he substituted politics for theology and spirituality.

I also know Omar Shahin, another imam plaintiff. He resides in the Phoenix area and has been the head of the Valley Imam Council of Phoenix, the former imam of the Islamic Center of Tucson, a teacher with the Arizona Cultural Academy, and the imam of the Islamic Center of the East Valley. His hyperbole is typical of the Phoenix-area Islamists. He called the day of his eviction from the U.S. Air flight “the worst day of [his] life,”[17] a statement far more forceful than any he issued after the 9-11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the March 11, 2004 train bombings in Madrid, the July 7, 2005 London bus and Underground bombings, or in response to any Al-Qaeda video seeking to justify the murder of Americans and noncombatants in the name of religion. Indeed, he blamed the 9-11 attacks not on Muslim terrorists but on the CIA and FBI.[18]

There should also be concern regarding the involvement of some of the imams with Islamic charities shuttered because of their terror financing. Shahin was the Arizona representative of Kindhearts and the Holy Land Foundation, both of which the U.S. Treasury Department shut down because of their involvement with Hamas.[19] Saadeddin dismissed Hamas connections as any reason for concern, recently stating that, “Hamas has nothing to do with [the] United States. Talk about Al-Qaeda only, because this is where they hit America … [If] America consider[s] it—the foreign policy of America consider[s] Hamas—as a terrorist. That’s their business.”[20]

Rally and Counter-rally

Had the Islamist imams only apologized for terrorism, it would be bad enough. But they have also sought to undercut the efforts of local Muslims to advocate against and condemn publicly terrorism conducted in the name of Islam. On November 9, 2001, I published my first commentary, arguing that the vast core of American Muslims were loyal to the flag and U.S. Constitution and that radical spokesmen did not represent the core community.[21] This article led to the formation of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).

In Phoenix in 2004, AIFD organized the first Muslim rally against terrorism.[22] We first engaged the Arizona Interfaith Movement, a statewide inclusive interfaith leadership organization, to support Muslims willing to take this stance. We then approached the Valley Imam Council, which represents nearly all of the local Phoenix mosques and their imams. At the time, Shahin chaired the council. We made it clear that the rally would be apolitical and that the only purpose was to make clear, unambiguous statements about Islamic morality and ethics, including unequivocal statements that there is never any justification for suicide, terrorism (the intentional targeting of noncombatants), and homicide bombing.

Rather than support such goals, Shahin, Shqeirat, and Saadeddin directed the Valley Council of Imams to withdraw support. They used their pulpits instead to criticize the rally and its organizers. Citing the Arab-Israeli conflict, they objected to the idea that terrorism is always forbidden. The local CAIR chapter also withdrew. Once the Valley Council of Imams pulled out, the Interfaith Movement also withdrew support for fear that the rally would not advance harmony.

AIFD proceeded alone. The April 25, 2004 “Standing with Muslims against Terrorism” rally was then held without the public support of any local imams or any of the known Islamist organizations. The rally was a success. Four hundred people attended, perhaps half of whom were Muslims.[23] All major local networks covered it. When the media asked local imams about their refusal to participate, they responded by criticizing the rally’s apolitical nature and said they would only attend rallies in which they could argue that U.S. foreign policy was a major cause of terrorism. They also objected to any linkage of Muslims with terrorism in the rally name.

Two weeks later, CAIR-Arizona held a counter “Muslim Americans for Human Rights and Dignity” rally in which they failed to condemn explicitly terrorism and terrorists by name. The rally drew only seventy-five people.[24] The failure of CAIR and the local imams to rally much support shows the falsehood of their claim to represent the mainstream Muslim community. Many Muslims recognize the problem posed by terrorists justifying their actions in Islam. To deny the association of Muslims with terrorism—as Islamist organizations like CAIR do—is counterproductive. The Islamist strategy of picking and choosing whom they identify as a Muslim depending on the situation is disingenuous. To deny that the Fort Dix terrorist attack plotters were not real Muslims, as CAIR-Arizona chairman (and U.S. Airways employee) Mohammed El-Sharkawy did, sidesteps the problem.[25] And to argue that only scholars can determine who is and who is not a true Muslim not only appropriates God’s duty[26] but also diminishes the egalitarian nature of traditional Islam that accepts no intermediaries between the individual and God.[27]

Imposing Leadership

Creating intermediaries in order to claim false mandate remains the root of the imams’ strategy. Organizations such as the National American Imams Federation and the Assembly of American Muslim Jurists exist to impose hierarchy and, from that self-appointed hierarchy, to establish the mandate to speak on behalf of the entire Muslim community. The Islamic Society of North America, an un-indicted coconspirator in the United States of America vs. Holy Land Foundation et al. terrorism financing trial,[28] formed a Leadership Development Center to train and indoctrinate imams.[29] On March 7, 2007, it announced a leadership certifying program for imams in conjunction with the National American Imams Federation.[30]

Establishing false leadership claims is also one reason why both CAIR and various Islamist imams attempt to partner with U.S. law enforcement. On CNN’s Paula Zahn Now, Shahin said, “If you go back to our background, I am personally the chairperson for the police advisory board. I did a presentation for the FBI agent in Phoenix. I did [a] presentation with CAIR-Arizona to Yuma Air Force Base for more than 600 Marines.”[31] For many imams, participation in such programs bestows or recognizes legitimacy. This is wrong on two counts, however. First, it again conflates policy work with religious legitimacy and, second, groups often exaggerate their partnerships. One Homeland Security official said, “It is not uncommon for that particular organization [CAIR] to issue a press release attempting to overstate their interaction with the department.”[32] Within the mosque, however, congregants rarely question self-appointed Islamist spokesmen about the basis of their authority or legitimacy to represent attendees. Their inflated associations outside the mosque feed their own efforts to legitimize control and tribalization. And government and media acceptance of claims of victimization stops many non-Muslims from questioning the ideological motivations behind the religious rhetoric that many of these groups employ.

For moderate, traditional Islam to reassert itself against well-funded Islamist organizations, though, it is necessary to examine how political ideology pollutes spirituality. CAIR’s involvement in the flying imam suit is problematic. Many Muslims have seen the call by Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR’s national office, for Muslims to report their victimization to CAIR. “Reporting to an organization like CAIR is important, because it is empowering. It is empowering to the Muslims themselves who report; it is empowering to the organization, and it is important to the status of Muslims within the United States,” he told an audience at the All Dulles (Virginia) Area Muslim Society, urging them to inflate the Muslim component of the FBI’s annual hate crime statistics to compare better to figures on anti-Jewish violence.[33] In 2005, for example, the FBI catalogued 848 anti-Semitic hate crimes, 128 anti-Islamic hate crimes, and 115 anti-Christian hate crimes.[34] In essence, therefore, CAIR’s focus on victimization and minority politics is motivated by political Islam. The imams’ victimization routine creates a self-fulfilling prophecy that CAIR can use to bolster its own claims to be a civil rights organization. It would be as if firefighters committed arson in order to bolster their position inside a community. That CAIR seeks to create facts to justify its political and foreign policy positions also shows the rigidity of its top-down approach to the community it claims to represent.

The Struggle for American Islam

While the press may focus on the flying imams case, for American Muslims, the battle is broader. On one side are the imams represented by CAIR, the Islamic Society for North America, and the North American Imams Federation, all of which lean toward an Islamist view supporting greater interplay between religion and politics and the primacy of sectarian identity. On the other side are Muslims embracing Western secular democracy. The two are mutually exclusive in their interpretation of religious hierarchy, the interplay between theology and contemporary politics, individuality, and tolerance.

Responsibility for the victory of traditional, tolerant, and pluralistic interpretations of Islam lies with Muslims and Muslims alone. The intellectual marginalization of Islamists is the duty of Muslims who value the principles upon which the United States was built and now stands. This requires recognizing the primacy of the Constitution in political life, even if Muslims turn to the Qur’an in their spiritual life. Islamists, though, insist that regardless of temporal government, the Qur’an should be the central guiding document for legislation and interpretation. Islamists believe the Qur’an is the only source of law while non-Islamists believe it is just one source.

Perhaps this was the reason why the Prophet Muhammad and his companions sought to avoid creation of the same religious intermediary class that today CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, and the North American Imams Federation presume to fill.

Within the United States today, most Muslim organizations—CAIR, the North American Imams’ Federation, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, the Muslim Students’ Association, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Muslim American Society, the Islamic Circle of North America, and the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy—embrace the Islamist approach. Many imams affiliate themselves with these organizations, fundraise on their behalf, and parrot the political agenda of these organizations. The flying imams lawsuit is just one more example of the synergy between the North American Imams Federation and CAIR.

A few small organizations—the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, the American Islamic Congress, the Islamic Supreme Council of America, the Center for Eurasian Policy, and the Center for Islamic Pluralism—are moderate and support a separation between spirituality and temporal politics. They are underrepresented in terms of resources and organization. Still, it is this nascent anti-Islamist movement upon which the Muslim fight to embrace American pluralism and freedom depends. It is also essential for interfaith relations. Many Americans are hungry to hear from Muslims who are not apologists for terror, who are ready to lead the fight against militant Islamism, who respect the division between mosque and state, and who do not seek to use their religion as a vehicle to change the American political landscape.

The struggle of these two trends to define Islam in America will last generations. It will require development of a new Islamic ideology, one born from the founding ideology of the United States. This will require not only renewed ijtihad (interpretation) but also the confidence of American Muslims to overcome Islamist and radical Wahhabist attempts to label any effort to separate religion and government as bid‘a (illegitimate invention). While the transnational umma (Muslim community) might engage itself in issues regarding theology, charity, socialization, and worship, U.S. politics should be blind to faith. For any American citizen or resident, the concept of loyalty to umma should be subordinate to loyalty to state and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.

Shari‘a (Islamic law) might guide Muslim individuals as they choose in their homes, but it should not be invoked in government. Faith will still inspire Muslim behavior and actions, as it does with followers of other religions, but it should not be articulated in government. The embrace and exposure of Islamist agendas will repel most Muslims. It is no surprise that despite its claims to represent American Muslims, CAIR’s membership has plummeted 90 percent since 9-11,[35] a claim it first refuted as a “hit piece” before confirming it in an amicus brief to the Dallas federal court hearing in the Holy Land Foundation case.[36] A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that a plurality of Muslims believes mosques should remain apolitical,[37] a finding which suggests the majority may oppose theocracy and Islamism. The finding is also significant when put in the context of the fact that many Muslims came to the United States from autocratic societies where the mosque was often the only haven for political speech. That so many now desire apolitical sermons suggests that they have come to understand and appreciate the freedoms of U.S. society.

A Manifesto to Defeat Islamism

In 1964, Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s leading theoretician, published Ma‘alim fi al-Tariq (Milestones) in which he laid out steps to achieve an Islamic state and defeat the West. He described a generational process to ensure the victory of Islamism over Western liberal society. Liberal and traditional Muslims have yet to wage an effective counter-jihad against their Islamist brethren. There does not yet exist a liberal Muslim intellectual work equivalent to Milestones to lay the groundwork to defeat Islamism and ensure the creation of integrationist, tolerant American Muslim institutions.

A starting point to counter the Qutb construct would be for Muslim leaders to acknowledge ten points:

  1. An Islamic narrative should not constrain universal human principles.
  2. Mosques should support the separation of church and state, even as they take stands on social or political issues.
  3. The affirmation of an egalitarian approach to faith beyond the constraints of simple tolerance. Tolerance implies superiority while pluralism implies equality.
  4. Recognition that if government enacts the literal laws of God rather than natural or human law, then government becomes God and abrogates religion and the personal nature of the relationship with God.
  5. Separation of mosque and state to include the abrogation of all blasphemy and apostasy laws.
  6. Empowerment of women’s liberation and advocacy for equality as is currently absent in many Muslim-majority, misogynistic cultures.
  7. Ijtihad negating the need for Muslims active in politics today to bring theology into the political debate. Nowhere in the Qur’an does God tell Muslims to mix politics and religion or instruct by what document governments should be guided.
  8. Creation of movements and organizations that are specifically opposed to such radical or terrorism-supporting groups as Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jamaat al-Islamiya, and Al-Muhajiroun, to name a few, rather than simply being against undefined, generic notions of terrorism.
  9. Public identification without apologetics of leaders and governments of Muslim majority countries who are dictators and despots and are, as such, anti-liberty and anti-pluralism. Muslims enjoying freedom in the West have yet to create mass movements to liberate their motherlands from dictatorship and theocracy and to move these toward secular democracies founded on individual liberties for all based in natural law.
  10. Establishment of classical liberal Muslim institutions and think-tanks to articulate, disseminate, and educate concerning the above principles. The idea that individual liberty and freedom need not be mutually exclusive with Muslim theology must be taught to Muslim youth.

Countering Islamism and combating Islamist terrorism should be a greater public responsibility for the organized American Muslim community than the obsession with civil rights and victimization in which current Islamist organizations engage. Americans living in fear for their security are looking to moderate, traditional Muslims to lead this fight. The credibility of the Muslim community suffers because groups such as CAIR, ISNA, and the North American Imams Federation deny the interplay between Islamism and terrorism.

Non-Muslims also have a role. Both the U.S. government and mainstream media often give Islamists and their organizations exclusive voice to speak on behalf of American Muslims, which creates a cycle of apparent, if not real, empowerment. Seldom do they turn to non-Islamists and anti-Islamists who may represent far more American Muslims. The recent refusal of PBS to air the ABG Films, Inc. documentary Islam v. Islamists is a prime example of the manner in which media producers and executives shield Islamists from criticism.[38]

Conclusion

The imams and clerics who push for Islamist societies are none other than politicians who cloak themselves in religious jargon. It is naïve to treat these clerics as simple activists or consider their civil rights discourse at face value. Until moderate Muslims challenge their actions, terror networks and their ideologies will flourish. Freedom and liberty are prerequisites to bring an individual close to God through religious practice free from coercion. If some imams fear that individuals will lose faith without coercive direction, then they misunderstand both Islam and liberty.

As lawyers argue the merits of the flying imams’ case in a Minneapolis courtroom, a silver lining is apparent: Excessive litigation on their part has eroded support for Islamist organizations such as CAIR, ISNA, and the National American Imams Federation, both nationally and also within the Muslim community.[39] Their loss could be the moderates’ and liberals’ opportunity to create a new American Muslim narrative.

M. Zuhdi Jasser, a former U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, is chairman of the board of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (www.aifdemocracy.org).