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Terror apologist Yvonne Ridley given a free ride on the ABC

Terror apologist Yvonne Ridley given a free ride on the ABC Author: Gabrielle Debinski and Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

On September 26, controversial British Muslim convert and journalist, Yvonne Ridley, delivered an address at a radical Islamic conference in Melbourne. Promoting her ‘speaking tour' in Australia, the contentious Ridley, who converted to Islam in 2003 after she was kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, appeared on ABC Radio's "AM" program the following day. Ridley is well-known for her role as a former presenter and current frequent guest on Press TV, the Iranian government's English language station, notorious for its anti-Zionist, anti-Western propaganda, and for her apologetics - sometime sounding almost like justification - for Islamist and Arab terrorism.

Not that you would know any of this from the ABC interview itself.

Back to Iraq

Back to Iraq Author: Oded Eran Categories: America, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Syria    

President Obama's Sept. 10 address to the American nation regarding the new US strategy against ISIS leaves many issues unclear, chief among them, what underlies the change in US policy regarding the extremist organisation. Both Obama's speech and public statements by senior American officials offer a variety of reasons for this shift in posture.

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Israel and the rise of ISIS Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Syria    

It is a landscape with which Jewish history is all too familiar. Here, in the flatlands abutting the Tigris and Euphrates, Jacob fell for Rachel, Jonah warned of approaching calamity, and Ezekiel saw a valley of bones come to life, as 26 centuries of intensive Jewish creation, crowned by the Talmud, unfolded.

Now, however, as its Islamist secessionists unsettle the Middle East and bewilder the entire world, Iraq seems to concern the rest of the world more than it concerns the Jewish state.

Israel's New Northern Exposure

Israel's New Northern Exposure Author: Andrew J. Tabler Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Syria, Terrorism    

While the world focuses on the Islamic State's advances in Iraq and Syria, the Syrian war is spilling over into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. On Aug. 28, Syrian rebel groups, led by al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front, captured the old border city of Quneitra from the Syrian army and Iranian-backed National Defence Forces.

The Appeal of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia

The Appeal of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia Author: Giora Eliraz Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

A pivotal doctrinal slogan proclaimed by the militants of the Islamic State (IS) - formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) - is re-establishment of a Caliphate (Khilafah) that binds together lands inhabited by Muslims under unified political rule, based on Sharia Islamic law. For this purpose, the ISIS declared itself in June 2014 as Islamic Caliphate; its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as Caliph, and changed its name.

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ISIS and the Crisis Across Iraq

ISIS and the Crisis Across Iraq Categories: Iraq, Islamic Extremism    

With a new Gaza ceasefire in place until Monday, and apparently holding, this Update offers some analysis on the other major, but often under-reported, crisis, gripping the Middle East over recent weeks - the recent gains by the terrorist movement ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, now calling itself simply the Islamic State) in Syria, new attacks on Lebanon, but especially its advances in Iraq, where apparent genocide by ISIS against minority communities, especially the small Yazidi sect, led to an American decision to intervene with airstrikes last week. As the Washington Post reports, ISIS now controls territory and resources unmatched by any extremist group in recent history.

Asia Watch: Volunteers Abroad Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Antisemitism, Asia, Islamic Extremism    

Indonesian jihadists periodically swarm the streets to noisily proclaim their intention to fight alongside their Muslim brethren in various Middle East hotspots, but these displays seldom result in verifiable action abroad.

Now, there is no doubt that Indonesians are joining the procession of jihadists to Syria and Iraq, sparking fears they will revive sophisticated militant networks when they return and undermine a decade-long crackdown that has crippled the most dangerous cells.

Birth of an Islamist State?

Birth of an Islamist State? Author: Jonathan Spyer Categories: Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Syria    

In a stunning and deeply significant development, the fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) organisation captured the Iraqi city of Mosul in the second week of June. They then moved on to take Tikrit unopposed and according to reports, were headed toward the capital, Baghdad.

Five hundred thousand people fled Mosul in the wake of its conquest by the jihadis. The city, which has an Arab majority population along with large Kurdish and Turkmen minorities, is Iraq's second largest. Its capture was the latest and most significant success in an offensive launched by the ISIS jihadis a week ago.

The Crisis in Iraq

The Crisis in Iraq Categories: Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

This Update is devoted to analysis of the crisis in Iraq, where this week an extremist Islamist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), took control of the second largest city, Mosul, and then moved to take other major towns, with the Iraqi Army apparently doing little to stop them. (The ISIS success is illustrated in maps here.) Moreover, reports say the ISIS not only captured major weapons stockpiles in the process, but as much as US$425 million from the Iraqi central bank and other banks in Mosul.

Brunei makes its Hollywood debut - Extreme Sharia spreads in Southeast Asia

Brunei makes its Hollywood debut - Extreme Sharia spreads in Southeast Asia Author: Glen Falkenstein Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

It takes a lot to get noticed in Hollywood. Most dream of getting their names up there with the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno. Most, but not Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei. In 2013 the Sultan proposed a new penal code in line with strict implementation of Islamic or ‘Sharia' law including harsh penalties such as stoning and amputation for offences including theft and homosexuality.

Target: Israel

Target: Israel Author: Matthew Levitt Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Terrorism    

On January 22, Israeli officials announced that, several weeks before, they had disrupted what they described as an "advanced" al-Qaeda terrorist plot in Israel. Although al-Qaeda-inspired jihadists had targeted Israel before, this marked the first time that senior al-Qaeda leaders were directly involved in such plans.

Al-Qaeda in Northern Sinai

Al-Qaeda in Northern Sinai Author: Jonathan Spyer Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

Northern Sinai has long played host to a variety of smuggling networks and jihadi organisations. Since General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi's military coup of July 3rd, 2013 in Egypt, however, there has been an exponential increase in attacks emanating from this area.

This increasingly lawless region is now the home ground for an emergent Islamist insurgency against the Egyptian authorities. Since July 2013, more than 300 reported attacks have taken place in Sinai.

Recasting the Sinai Triangle

Recasting the Sinai Triangle Author: Ehud Yaari Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Terrorism    

Over the past year, Israel and Egypt have used a little-known, legally permissible understanding - the Agreed Activities Mechanism - to bypass restrictions on the number and type of Egyptian forces permitted in much of the Sinai. As a result, considerable Egyptian army forces are now constantly deployed in central and eastern Sinai (Areas B and C of the peninsula, respectively), in a manner and scope never envisaged by the teams that negotiated the treaty more than three decades ago. Going forward, this new reality on the ground is unlikely to be reversed and is bound to have profound consequences for Egyptian-Israeli security cooperation, Cairo's ongoing counterterrorism campaign, and the fate of Hamas in the neighbouring Gaza Strip.

Salafist terror spreads to the West Bank

Salafist terror spreads to the West Bank Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

The deaths of three Palestinian terror suspects who had opened fire on Israeli troops sent to arrest them near Hebron on Tuesday was unfortunately not an altogether rare occurrence.

The decline in successful terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent years has been widely attributed to the effectiveness of Israel's intelligence and security forces in capturing terrorists before they have a chance of executing deadly attacks. Occasionally, the suspects choose to attempt to kill the soldiers who come to arrest them, with unfortunate but predictable results.

However, the details of these suspects and several of their associates who had been arrested earlier without incident, was very unusual, as analysts noted this marked the first time Salafist Palestinians in the West Bank, allied ideologically with al-Qaeda, have been caught red-handed planning terror attacks.

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Scribblings: The meaning of "Jihad" Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians    

Religion, any religion, can be a source of spiritual fulfilment and guidance for ethical behaviour or a mandate for fanaticism, intolerance and violence. (That includes Judaism - followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane are a good example of the latter.) As Prof. Efraim Inbar, a religious man as well as a distinguished academic scholar, put it during his recent visit to Melbourne, all religious traditions have to "pick their verses."

Syria and the extremist rebels/ Hamas' latest terror tunnel

Syria and the extremist rebels/ Hamas' latest terror tunnel Categories: Islamic Extremism, Palestinians, Syria, Updates    

This edition of Updates from AIJAC focuses on the reality of growing Islamist extremism among Syrian rebels, the reasons this happened and what can be done, if anything, to increase the role of more moderate groups. It also focuses on the implication of the discovery of a new tunnel from Gaza into Israel, apparently designed to facilitate kidnappings or other terror attacks inside Israel.

The regional decline of the Muslim Brotherhood?

The regional decline of the Muslim Brotherhood? Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Jordan, Middle East, Tunisia, Updates    

This Update deals with increasing signs across the Middle East that - independently of the overthrow of the Egyptian government by the military in July -  the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organisation for all modern Islamists, is on the skids. If this trend persists, it would be a major reversal of what once seemed to be the primary direction of the "Arab Spring" instability which has been rocking the region since late 2010 - and seemed previously to be mostly benefiting Islamists.

Scribblings: Why Palestinians are a terrorism outlier Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Islamic Extremism, Palestinians    

The latest Pew survey of the attitudes of Muslims in Muslim-majority countries towards terrorism and al-Qaeda is mostly good news. Al-Qaeda's popularity seems to continue to wane across the Muslim world, with the group viewed unfavourably by 57% of all those surveyed, against 13% favourably, and viewed more unfavourably than favourably in every one of the 11 countries and regions that took part. The highest unfavourability ratings were in Lebanon (96%), Jordan (81%), Turkey (73%), and Egypt (69%). This may not sound that impressive, but in 2003 and 2004, there were majority or near majority expressions of confidence in Osama Bin Laden in several of the countries surveyed, including Jordan, Pakistan, Indonesia and Morocco.

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Three Anniversaries - Oslo, the Yom Kippur War and 9/11 Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

This Update highlights the fact that we have just passed three important anniversaries in Middle Eastern and world history - the 20th anniversary of the original Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestinians (signed on Sept. 13, 1993), the 40th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1973 Middle East war, which began on Yom Kippur, 1973, and of course, the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Centre and Pentagon attacks in the US. We feature pieces discussing each of these anniversaries.

The Last Word: Fair and Foul

The Last Word: Fair and Foul Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism, Islamic Extremism    

This year, Sydney's Multicultural Eid Festival and Fair (MEFF) took place for the 29th time.

Tens of thousands of Muslim Australians, and, each year, a growing number of non-Muslim visitors, enjoyed a carnival, musical entertainment, speeches and (halal) food, with booths promoting charities, selling a variety of goods and soliciting support for a range of causes.

Federal, state and local elected officials, representatives of religious, national and ethnic organisations, sporting personalities and television celebrities contributed to the atmosphere in what has become an established feature on Sydney's calendar.

Negotiating with Iran under Rouhani

Negotiating with Iran under Rouhani Categories: Iran, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was inaugurated earlier this week amid much speculation about whether his presidency will also inaugurate a new round of diplomacy over nuclear issues with the West. This Update deals with the realities and pitfalls likely to present themselves as the possibility of renewed talks is debated.

Islamism after the Fall of Morsi

Islamism after the Fall of Morsi Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Turkey, Updates    

This Update looks at the future of the Islamist political movement, especially in Egypt, in the wake of the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood-led Morsi government there early this month. It also includes an analysis of the state of Islamist politics in another important nation - drawing conclusions about Turkey's Erdogan goverment based on its handling of the recent unrest in that country.

Incitement watch: BDS group harasses synagogue-goers in the US while Arabic media sees Jewish plots everywhere

Incitement watch: BDS group harasses synagogue-goers in the US while Arabic media sees Jewish plots everywhere Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Antisemitism, Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Updates    

Speaking at the annual Global Forum of the American Jewish Committee earlier this month, the US State Department's Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Ira Forman, noted the worrying global rise in anti-Jewish sentiment around the world...

The latest incident to be exposed internationally comes from CU-Divest, a pro-BDS group at the University of Colorado in the US...

Whilst Western anti-Israel extremists frequently dabble with various anti-Jewish slogans and themes, there is one particularly vicious Arabic chant that is heard with an alarming regularity at anti-Israel protests with a more Islamist bent...

A Teen's Life in Gaza - Terrorism training, with beatings for anyone sporting "cool" haircuts or skinny jeans

A Teen's Life in Gaza - Terrorism training, with beatings for anyone sporting "cool" haircuts or skinny jeans Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Islamic Extremism, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

Much of the attention regarding Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects have been focused on "hard" policy issues. Yet over-emphasising "hard" policy questions means that crucial precursors for both making peace and for the long term sustainability of any peace agreement end up being overlooked.

One such crucial aspect is the willingness of each side's general public to view the other side as a legitimate entity, and to engage in interaction with it by peaceful means. This is a key element in building stable and lasting peace. such a change in perceptions starts with education.

Education in the Palestinian territories has long been a major source of concern for analysts and commentators, who emphasised the dangers of ‘teaching hate,' and thus perpetuating the conflict. Nowhere is this ‘teaching hate' trend more troubling than in Gaza.

Media Week - So near, and yet so far; Justified fears;  Shalom Salam; Justice done; Conspiracy-land; Howe's that

Media Week - So near, and yet so far; Justified fears; Shalom Salam; Justice done; Conspiracy-land; Howe's that Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians    

On Fairfax's "Daily Life" site (April 23) Ruby Hamad, who has previously penned some ill-informed and one-sided pieces on Israel, presented a sober account of the escalating restrictions imposed by Hamas on Gazans.

Unfortunately her explanation for Gaza's economic difficulties was entirely predictable...

Opposing radical Islamist terrorism is a moral duty

Opposing radical Islamist terrorism is a moral duty Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Islamic Extremism, Op-eds, Terrorism    

Some are now arguing that terrorism should be accepted as a normal hazard of modern life, like traffic accidents. Others draw false comparisons between terrorist acts and the rampages of mentally ill gunmen tragically endemic in the US. These sentiments fail to acknowledge the unique characteristics and goals of terrorism. Terror attacks are perpetrated by immoral ideologues, not the mentally ill. This is true whether the terrorist is acting alone or as an operative in an organised network.

As the instigator for terrorism, radical Islamism is not the only global actor, but it is a major player, and to deny this is to deny reality.

 

Editorial: A Reminder from Boston Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

The detonation of two potent bombs at the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three and injuring 282, demonstrated that the "age" of Islamist terrorism against Western civilian targets - launched by the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks - is not over. The terrorist threat is neither a mere "irritant" nor a thing of the past.

The first step to combating terrorism is to accurately identify the motivations behind attacks. Therefore, in the immediate aftermath of Boston, when little was known, blind speculation about the perpetrator or motives was indeed counterproductive.

Boston, Chechens and “home-grown” terror

Boston, Chechens and “home-grown” terror Author: Ely Karmon Categories: Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

This is a kind of home-grown terrorism, but one that is based on the radicalisation of people coming from the Middle East, Central Asia, even Southeast Asia, that exists in the United States but happens also in Australia and Europe... Besides the nationalist aspect of Chechens, there is also a global jihadist aspect.

Five extreme reactions to the Boston Bombings

Five extreme reactions to the Boston Bombings Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Antisemitism, Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism, United Nations, Updates    

The confusion after the bombing of the Boston Marathon last week saw a number of reactions that were 'colourful' to say the least. Australians will be familiar with radio broadcaster Alan Jones' claim that the perpetrators were most likely "left-wing radical students", as well as Bob Ellis' rather bizarre speculation that "it seems to me likely that this was not al-Qaeda or a lone madman ... but more likely, much more likely, the NRA."

The most shocking reactions, however, did not come from Australians. Be it an unnerving sense of vindication or an incomprehensible conspiracy theory, AIJAC has compiled five of the most 'out-there' responses to the awful carnage that took place.

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An Australian Hezbollah terrorist? No great surprise

An Australian Hezbollah terrorist? No great surprise Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Europe, International Security, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism, Updates    

Revelations by Bulgarian investigators that one of the suspects in last July's terrorist bombing of a bus carrying an Israeli tour group near the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria last July was both a Hezbollah operative and an Australian national should unfortunately not come as any great surprise.

Those who have closely followed the operations of Iran's terror proxy in southeast Asia and Australasia in recent years know that its presence in the region is substantial, and that Australia is regularly listed as one of the countries in which Hezbollah operates.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's mission "To set Israel on fire"

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's mission "To set Israel on fire" Author: Talia Katz Categories: Australasia, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

The principle argument being made by opponents of strong action against Iran's nuclear program is that Iran is a "rational" actor, whose regime values survival above all else and a nuclear Iran can be contained just as the Soviet Union was during the Cold War.

Now a new report offers yet more evidence to doubt whether Iran's "rationality" is so obvious and assured. And the report concerns not the loud-mouthed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the man everyone agrees has ultimate control over Iran's nuclear program, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Egypt's Islamist Spring/More UN hypocrisy

Egypt's Islamist Spring/More UN hypocrisy Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, United Nations, Updates    

Two years after the Arab Spring erupted in the Middle East, sweeping away long standing governments and leaders, the biggest winners are unquestionably the Islamists, particularly in Egypt. Today's Update considers the strategic outlook. To the north of Israel, Syria is roiling in the blood of 60,000 dead as the Assad regime and Islamist rebels clash. To the south of Israel, Egypt’s streets are once more filling up with protesters as the Muslim Brotherhood boldly exposes its antisemitic and anti-democratic colours at breakneck speed, while its offshoot in Gaza is approaching its sixth year of rule.

Breaking through the silence on the plight of Middle Eastern Christians

Breaking through the silence on the plight of Middle Eastern Christians Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Islamic Extremism, Palestinians, Updates    

Up to 100 million Christians are facing persecution globally, mostly by Islamic extremists, and especially in the Middle East and African regions, according to a new report by the Christian NGO Open Doors.

According to the organisation, of the top 10 countries on their list - North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Maldives, Mali, Iran, Yemen and Eritrea - eight are majority Muslim states threatened by Islamic extremism, with North Korea and Eritrea being the sole exceptions.

The report puts a spotlight on the underreported plight of minority Christians worldwide, particularly in the Islamist-dominated Middle East, where the number of Christians relative to the global Christian population has plunged to less than one percent. This is in contrast to a century ago, when the Middle East was home to 20 percent of the world's Christians.

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Leader of Australian Islamist extremist group calls for world conquest through jihad

Leader of Australian Islamist extremist group calls for world conquest through jihad Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

The notorious Islamist organisation Hizb-Ut Tahrir ('HUT') openly avows an ideology whose ultimate goal is to transform the entire world into an Islamic state. Despite being linked to a number of terrorist attacks -- most notably the '7/7 bombings' in London -- the group is generally careful to avoid being portrayed as pro-violence.

For example, the profile of local Australian spokesperson Uthman Badar on ABC's The Drum (for which he is an occasional contributor) describes the group as...

Essay: Native Son

Essay: Native Son Author: Raymond Ibrahim Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism    

Around 1985, current al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri fled his homeland of Egypt, presumably never to return. From his early beginnings as a teenage leader of a small jihadi cell devoted to overthrowing Egyptian regimes (first Nasser's, then Sadat's) until he merged forces with Osama bin Laden, expanding his objectives to include targeting the United States of America, Zawahiri never forgot his original objective - transforming Egypt into an Islamist state that upholds and enforces the totality of sharia law, and that works towards the resurrection of a global caliphate.

Getting inside the head of Khaled Meshal

Getting inside the head of Khaled Meshal Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Islamic Extremism, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

December 7th was a big day for Khaled Meshal, head of Hamas political bureau. Hamas marked its 25th anniversary, and on the occasion Meshal made his first ever visit to Gaza, which was not only a personal experience, but also his opportunity for a political resurrection.

In his speech, Meshal proved once again that he is just as committed to the "resistance" and "liberation" of Palestine as the most extreme voices. He also proved that not much has changed in the 25 years since Hamas first emerged, with its hateful, antisemitic charter and the call for the annihilation of Israel.

The Politics of Rage

The Politics of Rage Author: Walter Russell Mead Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East    

Coming in the middle of the American campaign season and timed to coincide with the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the violence now shaking the Middle East has inevitably turned into a US domestic issue.

If Americans and other Westerners are going to understand what's going on and process it effectively, the first thing we've got to realise is that this isn't all about us.

"100 Jewish Donors"

"100 Jewish Donors" Author: Zachary Novetsky Categories: Antisemitism, Islamic Extremism, Middle East    

"100 Jewish donors." Google it, and 17,000 results follow; 1,490 just in Google's "News" tab. Strung together, those words sound altruistic. But place those words in the context of the attacks taking place against the United States' embassies, and the foundations are built for a grandiose conspiracy. Place them still further in the context of a US$5 million hate film, and that controversy becomes more elaborate, playing on classic tropes of Jewish control over Hollywood. What I am saying is words and context matter, which is why all those media outlets - and they were many - that reported that Jews were behind the hate film, The Innocence of Muslims, should be so embarrassed.

The Last Word: A History of Violence

The Last Word: A History of Violence Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

I look forward to the time when the antisemitic ratbags who claim Islamic authority, together with those who seek to create a wider conflict with all Western society, are clearly and unambiguously told that they have no call on solidarity with co-religionists - and when the prominent voices condemning promoters of conspiracy theories and group defamations include, as a matter of course, the same level of senior Muslim community leaders who condemned Sydney's September skirmishers.

Media Week - And they called it Pappe love; Randa does the rounds

Media Week - And they called it Pappe love; Randa does the rounds Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

Anti-Zionist historian Ilan Pappe told Geraldine Doogue on ABC Radio National's "Breakfast" program  (17/9) that the "mainstream Zionist leadership from the very beginning understood that... they could not have a Jewish state as long as the Palestinians remained in Palestine".

The fact is that the mainstream Zionist leadership accepted and still accepts partitioning the disputed territory into Jewish and Arab states - in 1922 (when Jordan was created), 1937, 1947, 2000, and 2008.

Moreover, Zionist documents have always discussed the expectation that the Jewish state would have a non-Jewish minority.

The wider context of the violence sparked by an anti-Islamic film

The wider context of the violence sparked by an anti-Islamic film Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Updates    

It has been a week of often violent protests worldwide (including some in Australia's region  as well as in Australia), leaving dead at least 30 demonstrators and the four American diplomatic staff in Libya,  and sparked, ostensibly, by an amateurish and offensive trailer for a movie about the prophet Muhammed posted on YouTube. This Update looks at the wider context of such reactions to an ugly and bigoted but insignificant movie clip.

Attacks on the US Diplomatic Missions in Cairo and Benghazi

Attacks on the US Diplomatic Missions in Cairo and Benghazi Categories: America, Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Libya, Updates    

This Updates deals with the implications of yesterday's mob attack on the US Embassy in Cairo  (see video here) and the armed attack of the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which left US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead. While these attacks have been reported as a response to a crude and objectionable anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" made by some Americans and previewed on Youtube, there is growing evidence that the Cairo demonstration was scheduled for Sept. 11 weeks ago to call for the release of the blind Sheikh Omar abdel Rahman, convicted for his role in the first World Trade Centre bombing. Meanwhile US officials say the Libya attack looks like it was also pre-planned, (see also here), possibly by an al-Qaeda-linked group, before the film issue ever surfaced.

The State of the Syrian Civil War/ The Plight of Mideast Christians

The State of the Syrian Civil War/ The Plight of Mideast Christians Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Syria, Updates    

This Update contains two pieces on the state of the civil war in Syria, where rebel efforts over recent weeks to gain footholds in Damascus and Aleppo, the two largest cities, appear to be being pushed back by the regime.

First up is a report from Aleppo courtesy of the Economist, which makes it clear that many, both inside and outside Syria, are now arguing that the rebel move into Aleppo was an over-reach by rebel forces - and was not well-received by residents of the city. The story also discusses at length the problems of lack of unity in rebel forces, with no overall command even of the brigade attacking Aleppo...

Mob violence, human rights and Pakistan's blasphemy laws

Mob violence, human rights and Pakistan's blasphemy laws Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Afghanistan/ Pakistan, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

Rimsha Masih, a 12-year-old Christian Pakistani girl has been jailed for allegedly desecrating Holy Scripture, after a local cleric claimed that she burnt pages of Noorani Qaida, a children's textbook about the Koran.

On closer examination, it appears likely that putting the girl, and her mother, behind bars is claimed to be for their own protection. The case draws a sad picture in which one of the most severe implications of the blasphemy laws is "mob justice."

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Iran's NAM Extravaganza/ Al-Qaeda in Syria Categories: Iran, Islamic Extremism, Syria, Updates    

Next week, Iran is set to become the president of the 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and host a six day Summit of the NAM in Teheran. As Golnaz Esfandiari of Radio Free Europe has reported, Teheran is going all out in an effort to use the Summit to attempt to " shed its image as a global pariah" and " gain much-needed support to counter Western pressure over its controversial nuclear program." Meanwhile, despite urgings from the US, Israel and others not to participate, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has announced he will attend the Summit. This Update looks at the implications of the Summit for the NAM, the UN, and especially efforts to maintain international pressure on Iran to halt its illegal nuclear weapons program.

Incitement watch: Saudi cleric's Blood Libel and PA honours terrorists while forbidding Jews from praying at holy site

Incitement watch: Saudi cleric's Blood Libel and PA honours terrorists while forbidding Jews from praying at holy site Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Antisemitism, Islamic Extremism, Palestinians, Updates    

The Times of Israel reported an official statement from the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday accusing Israel of "incitement". The source of the alleged incitement was a call from opposition MK Aryeh Eldad, from the hard-line National Union party, demanding that Jews be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.

In an ironic twist, this statement was reported on the same day as reports emerged of a new mausoleum that the PA is building to honour the eight terrorists responsible for an attack on an Israeli hotel in 1975, which resulted in the deaths of eight civilian hostages and three Israeli soldiers...

The Sinai Vacuum

The Sinai Vacuum Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Updates    

This Update is dedicated to the implications of the latest large-scale attack from Sinai into Israel on Sunday, which left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead, but caused no casualties in Israel. A good introduction to the news about the attack and its immediate aftermath appeared in Sharyn Mittleman's "Fresh Air" blog post on Tuesday - this Update will focus on the wider Sinai problem of a power vacuum increasingly being filled by violent extremist groups highlighted by this latest attack.

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Muslim Brotherhood leader: Liberating Jerusalem and Palestine should be "sole goal"

Muslim Brotherhood leader: Liberating Jerusalem and Palestine should be "sole goal" Author: Allon Lee Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

A June 14 speech by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's leader Mohammed Badie in which he dreams of a Muslim leadership ready to make the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem "the sole goal" does not engender hope the world's leading Sunni Islamist organisation is ready to moderate its extremist positions now that it's candidate has won the country's presidency.

In the speech, Badie, who selected Mohammed Mursi to run for the Egyptian presidency, says:

"How happy would be the Muslims if all Muslim rulers made the Palestinian cause a pivotal issue, around which Muslims, rulers and the ruled, would line up [and ally to make] the sole goal for all of them the recovery of al Aqsa Mosque, freeing it from the filth of the Zionists, and imposing Muslim rule throughout beloved Palestine."

Editorial: Egypt as Islamist Epicentre Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism    

Just last month, Tareq al-Suwaidan, a leading Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood figure, was granted a visa to give lectures in Sydney and Melbourne, including at a forum on the campus of Monash University. It was his second visit to Australia.

Al-Suwaidan has a long history of espousing antisemitic statements, such as stating that "the most dangerous thing facing the Muslims is not the dictatorships. The absolutely most dangerous thing is the Jews. They are the most dangerous. They are the greatest enemy," and "power lies with the politicians, who are influenced by two things and two things only: money and the media, both of which are controlled by the Jews." He has also openly called for "armed resistance" against the "Zionist entity."

Scribblings: The Other Problem with the Muslim Brotherhood Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians    

There are a lot of things to worry about following the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood's Muhammad Morsi in the Egyptian Presidential election. The Brotherhood is of course effectively the parent organisation and model for all radical Sunni Islamist groups - from al-Qaeda, through Hamas, to Somalia's al-Shabaab, Nigeria's murderous Boko Haram and Indonesia's Jemaah Islamiyah. It also comes with a worldview which places absolutely no intrinsic value on democracy - to them, democracy is tactically valuable only as long as it helps achieve Islamist ends and the moment other ways of doing so appear to be better, it becomes an obstacle to be eradicated. Even if the Brotherhood allows relatively free elections to continue, its theocratic worldview makes it unlikely to encourage the development of the free public square which is essential for genuine democracy to flourish.

Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood

Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood Author: Barry Rubin Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism    

Today, the Muslim Brotherhood is the most important international political organisation in the Arabic-speaking world. It just won the presidency of Egypt and is the dominant party in Egypt's Parliament, having obtained about 47% of the vote there and in the Tunisian Government, having received 40% of the ballots. In the form of Hamas, now an explicit branch of the movement, it rules the Gaza Strip.

It is the leadership of the opposition in the Palestinian Authority (West Bank) and in Jordan, while the local Brotherhood controls the internationally recognised leadership (the Syrian National Council) of the Syrian opposition in the civil war there. Much smaller Brotherhood groups exist in several other Arab countries.

The campaign tactics of Mohammed Morsi

The campaign tactics of Mohammed Morsi Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

Equality for women in work and education; an assurance that Islamic dress will not be imposed; Christian senior political advisors and possibly even a Christian Vice-President; freedom of protest and expression - the list of pre-election promises made since last Tuesday by Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate for presidency in Egypt, just keeps on getting longer.

Morsi won about 24% of the votes in the first round of presidential election. A second round will take place on June 16-17 between Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq, and it seems that Morsi is trying very hard to broaden his support base, attempting to appeal to women and minorities, the youth of the revolution and even the military.

No reporting of Palestinian Christians living in fear in the West Bank

No reporting of Palestinian Christians living in fear in the West Bank Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Palestinians, Updates    

The recent plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt has been the subject of significant attention since last year's revolution. The community suffered yet another outrage last week, as an Egyptian court sentenced 12 Copts to life-imprisonment, while acquitting eight Muslims, for their involvement in an incident of mob violence that resulted in dozens of Coptic homes burned and destroyed.

This incident did not receive the coverage that it deserved, however the world is at least broadly aware of the struggle that the Copts in Egypt are currently facing. What has been receiving even less press coverage is the similar situation in which Palestinian Christians are reportedly finding themselves in....

There’s no debate: anti-Israel sentiment growing in Egypt

There’s no debate: anti-Israel sentiment growing in Egypt Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

Egyptian presidential hopefuls Amr Moussa and Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh held a televised debate on Thursday, but when it came to Israel, the candidates had little to argue about.

Both pledged to review the 1979 peace treaty Egypt had signed with Israel, while trying to outdo each other's antagonism towards Israel: Abol Fotouh termed Israel an enemy, while Moussa called it an adversary.

The candidate's caustic views were mirrored in a poll released on Tuesday, which revealed growing anti-Israel and anti-Western sentiment in the country. As Egypt continues to develop a new Constitution and readies for presidential elections on May 23 (with a likely runoff on June 16), the debate as well as the poll raise new concerns over Egypt's direction.

Egypt's Islamist Presidential Candidates/ Benzion and Binyamin Netanyahu

Egypt's Islamist Presidential Candidates/ Benzion and Binyamin Netanyahu Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Updates    

This Update contains two valuable pieces on the candidates for the highly important Egyptian Presidential  election (Barry Rubin had an excellent analysis of just how important here), as well as one of the many interesting pieces being written about the legacy of Benzion Netanyahu, the father of Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu, who died last week age 102.

Muslim stigma on visiting Jerusalem waning?

Muslim stigma on visiting Jerusalem waning? Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

In what was was considered another sign of the rapidly deteriorating ties between Israel and Egypt, a visit to Jerusalem by Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa -- accompanying Jordanian officials -- caused outrage in Egypt's new Islamist-dominated Parliament last week. The Parliament demanded Gomaa's resignation for behaviour that risked "normalising" relations with Israel.

Despite Gomaa's statements that the visit was unofficial and that it took place under the supervision of the Jordanian authorities, the visit angered those opposed to normalizing relations with Israel.

Parliament Speaker Saad al-Katatny read out...

 

Hamas interview reveals no hint of moderation

Hamas interview reveals no hint of moderation Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

Give him credit for his candour. In an extensive interview with the Forward published on April 19, Mousa Abu Marzook, Deputy Director of Hamas' political bureau and the group's second-highest-ranking official, told the Jewish newspaper that Hamas would not respect a peace treaty with Israel signed by the Palestinian Authority, even if the agreement was endorsed by a referendum of all Palestinians, as Hamas has always demanded.

Moreover, Abu Marzook vowed that Hamas would never recognise Israel. The most Hamas would consider would be a ceasefire agreement, he said.

AIR
Exploiting the Holocaust  and hanging homosexuals in Iran

Exploiting the Holocaust and hanging homosexuals in Iran Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Antisemitism, Holocaust/ War Crimes, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

Yesterday, the Jewish world was commemorating the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Ha'Shoah). Iran, however, decided to mark the day a little differently.

The Iranian regime is notorious for its persistent denial of the Holocaust -- for example, a huge controversy erupted in Germany last month when an interview with the Iranian President was aired on public television in which he denied the Holocaust. (For more on Iran's efforts to sponsor Holocaust denial internationally, see...

What's wrong with the 'Black Box' view of terrorism?

What's wrong with the 'Black Box' view of terrorism? Author: Tzvi Fleischer and Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Islamic Extremism, Op-eds, Terrorism    

Rachel Woodlock's latest contribution to the debate about terrorism following the crimes of Mohamed Merah in Toulouse last month is unfortunately a good illustration of the problem we were trying to call attention to in our initial response.

She clearly is very uncomfortable with anyone discussing the extremist ideology that motivates individuals like Merah. Moreover, when the issue is raised, her response appears to be to relate any such discussion to "anti-Muslim stereotyping."

Jihadism, Antisemitism and the truth about the Toulouse murders

Jihadism, Antisemitism and the truth about the Toulouse murders Author: Tzvi Fleischer & Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Islamic Extremism, Media/ Academia, Op-eds    

When is a hate crime not a hate crime? Apparently, when a self-proclaimed "Islamic warrior" seeks out an obscure Jewish school, and shoots dead a teacher and three small children simply for being Jews - at least according to some reactions to the massacre that occurred in Toulouse, France on 19 March.

Road to Toulouse paved with incitement

Road to Toulouse paved with incitement Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism, Updates    

The massacre of three students and a teacher (and father of two of the children) at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France has understandably prompted condemnations and statements of outrage from world leaders, diplomats and pundits that have followed similar anti-Semitic atrocities in the past.

Some analysts, however, have discerned a troubling equivocation in some of these responses. By failing to acknowledge the underlying antisemitism and anti-Israel incitement that fuelled the attack, the commentators said, a festering hatred is allowed to persist, and the next attack is only a matter of time.

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The Aftermath of Toulouse

The Aftermath of Toulouse Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Islamic Extremism, Palestinians, Updates    

With the self-confessed murderer, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian origins named Mohamed Merah, now having been killed by French police, this Update looks at the aftermath of the horrific shootings of three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, earlier this week. (Some chilling details of the murderers actions at the Ozer HaTorah school, as revealed on security camera footage, are here.)

On Toulouse shootings, Sydney Morning Herald editorial writers fail to read their own coverage

On Toulouse shootings, Sydney Morning Herald editorial writers fail to read their own coverage Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Far Right, Islamic Extremism, Media/ Academia, Terrorism, Updates    

The Sydney Morning Herald editorialised this morning on the possible identity of the Toulouse shooter and pondered what group he may have been affiliated to. Curiously, these questions seem to have been answered just three pages earlier.

...As to whether he [the shooter] is a deranged loner or a fanatical terrorist acting for some group is unclear.  While this week's school attack was an atrocity against Jews, anti-Semitism alone does not seem to account for last week's murders in which the paratrooper victims were dark-skinned, hailing from either Muslim North Africa or the West Indies. One notion is that the gunman thought he was striking a blow for the Palestinian cause - French paratroops have served in Afghanistan...

Terror attack on Jewish school in France a stark reminder of antisemitic threat

Terror attack on Jewish school in France a stark reminder of antisemitic threat Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Europe, Far Right, International Jewry, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism, Updates    

Last month, I wrote in defence of the security concerns of Australia's Jewish community. With a heavy heart, I must note that these concerns have been unfortunately vindicated once again. Last night, a shooting attack outside Ozar Hatorah, a Jewish school in Toulouse, killed much-loved schoolteacher Yonatan Sandler, as well as his two sons -- Aryeh, age five, and Gavriel, age four -- as well as Miriam Monsonego, age seven. Another boy was injured.

According to the chilling AFP report, a masked gunman dismounted from a Yamaha scooter and began shooting, hitting Sandler as he tried in vain to sheild his sons. The shooter then chased after Miriam as she ran into the school, grabbing her and killing her at close range...

Scribblings: From the Jews to the Copts in Egypt

Scribblings: From the Jews to the Copts in Egypt Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel    

In December, I wrote on AIJAC's "Fresh AIR" blog (available on-line at www.aijac.org.au/news/article/antisemitism-in-the-middle-east-in-1835) about a 19th century book that had been rediscovered which shed a great deal of light on the situation of Jews in the Arab Middle East in the 1830s - before Zionism became an issue, and before there was significant European influence on those societies. I noted that the book in question, An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, by Edward William Lane and Edward Stanley Poole, based on numerous visits to Egypt, countered common but erroneous beliefs that the Middle East was largely free from significant antisemitism or large-scale persecution of Jews before these influences.

Islamism, conspiracy theories tied up in Maldives coup

Islamism, conspiracy theories tied up in Maldives coup Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Antisemitism, Asia, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

The Maldives is an island paradise in the Indian Ocean with an overwhelmingly Muslim population. Last week, the country experienced a coup, where, reportedly with a gun to his head, the democratically-elected President Mohamed Nasheed resigned, paving the way for his replacement by Vice-President Mohammed Waheed Hassan Manik.

The politics of the coup are complex and unclear, and part of the story appears to be that many of the coup plotters are associated with former President / Dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who Nasheed succeeded following elections in 2008. However it does seem clear that caught up in the mix is the growing influence of very extreme Salafist Islamist influences and factions in the Maldives. Moreover, these factions have been promoting bizarre anti-Israel conspiracy theories as part of their efforts to undermine Nasheed...

Broadcasting Revolution

Broadcasting Revolution Author: Oren Kessler Categories: Antisemitism, Islamic Extremism, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

On August 1, 2011, al-Jazeera English (AJE) began broadcasting to two million cable subscribers in New York - the third major US city to carry the station. AJE's gutsy, driven reporting - one commentator aptly commended its "hustle" - has won it friends in high places: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lauded the channel as "real news," and US Senator John McCain (Republican, Ariz.) said he was "very proud" of its handling of the so-called Arab Spring.

On the danger of being a human rights activist in Gaza

On the danger of being a human rights activist in Gaza Author: Allon Lee Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

It is lucky that freedom of speech is not the main selling point for Palestinian statehood because the stabbing of a human rights activist in Gaza who dared criticise the Hamas government and resistance groups would undermine the enterprise’s bona fides.

Mahmud Abu Rahma, international relations director at the al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, was “stabbed multiple times by several masked attackers on Friday evening”, according to an AFP report.

"Observing" the massacres in Syria/ Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood

"Observing" the massacres in Syria/ Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Syria, Updates    

Today's Update features two pieces on the situation in Syria, where 20 civilians were reportedly killed yesterday, bringing the death toll close to 6,000 according to rebel leaders, despite the presence of a team of Arab League observers in the country.

First up is David Kenner of Foreign Policy, detailing the fact that the head of the Arab League observers mission, Sudanese Gen. Mohammad Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, is himself alleged to have been involved in genocide in Darfur. The allegations are that General al-Dabi was responsible for creating the Arab "Janjaweed" militias responsible for most of the massacres there. Kenner makes it clear that given this and other problems with the Arab League mission, which he discusses, "Syrians are still very much alone."

AIR

Editorial: The Perils of Self-Deception Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Antisemitism, Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel    

The US Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, addressing a conference on antisemitism on November 30, controversially insisted that Muslim "hatred and indeed sometimes... violence directed at Jews generally [is] a result of the continuing tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories" and should therefore not be seen as the same thing as "real" antisemitism. He went on to insist that a Mideast peace deal would see a "huge reduction of this form of labeled ‘antisemitism'."

Egypt's Other Islamist Party

Egypt's Other Islamist Party Author: Eric Trager Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism    

The real surprise is the emergence of the Salafist al-Nour party, a deeply theocratic organisation that bases its ideology on a literal reading of the Koran and Sunna and, most astoundingly, didn't exist until a few months ago. Although Salafist political activity was, unlike the Brotherhood, completely banned under the Mubarak regime, al-Nour is giving the Brotherhood a run for its money in some districts.

Egypt's Salafists/ The Forgotten Refugees

Egypt's Salafists/ The Forgotten Refugees Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Updates    

This Update features two pieces on one of the unpleasant surprises to come out of the first round of the Egyptian elections last week, the unexpectedly strong showing of the hyper-Islamist Al-Nour Salafist parties, who got 24.4% of the vote, second behind the also Islamist Muslim Brotherhood with 36%. Both reports are from analysts currently on the ground in Cairo.

Washington Institute scholar Eric Trager describes his own encounters with Salafist candidates and activists, as well as locals who support them. He finds them viewed by locals as honest, even saintly, despite the fact that they seem to have considerable inexplicable money for their campaign and it is unclear where this came from.

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Responses to gay Israel slur

Responses to gay Israel slur Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Following on from this post concerning an accusation of Israel supposedly "pinkwashing" its public image by spruiking its record on gay rights to hide alleged injustices, a number of gay writers have penned scathing responses in the Jewish and international media.

Writing in the Forward, Jay Michaelson gives a critique of the piece by Sarah Schulman in the New York Times that began the whole kerfuffle...

Embracing Brotherhood welcomes not democracy but war

Embracing Brotherhood welcomes not democracy but war Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Tunisia, Updates    

As the AP reported on Sunday, the final results of the recent Moroccan elections confirm a victory, if not a majority, for Morocco's Islamist party. These elections form a part of the series of reforms implemented by the Moroccan King in order to quell the country's brief spell of Arab Spring-style protests.

Announcing final results Sunday, the ministry said the Justice and Development Party has taken 107 seats in the 395-seat legislature following the nationwide vote two days earlier.

The PJD - known by its French initials - is the latest Islamist party to win an election brought about by the Arab Spring. The right-of-center Istiqlal, a potential ally for the PJD, placed second with 60 seats.

Morocco may be the most recent country to have ostensibly voted an Islamist party into power, but it will not be the last...

Disastrous Elections vs. Bloody Civil War in Egypt

Disastrous Elections vs. Bloody Civil War in Egypt Author: Barry Rubin Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism    

Only days before parliamentary elections, Egypt was in a huge crisis whose outcome will determine the future of almost 80 million people and perhaps the Arabic-speaking world's fate for decades to come.

Will the army go ahead with elections that will be won by the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Salafist groups, thus producing an Islamist regime?

Or will it cancel elections, declare martial law in some form, and set off a passionate civil conflict?

Or will it find some compromise that quiets the disorder but doesn't solve the problems?

 

"Pinkwashing" pejorative wiping tolerance away

"Pinkwashing" pejorative wiping tolerance away Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Gulf states, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Multimedia, Palestinians, Updates    

Fast becoming a viral sensation, a new YouTube video (below) shows two Spanish men "photobombing" an al-Jazeera broadcast by engaging in a long, passionate kiss in frame as the reporter is talking. 

The irony of the video is that while the two were supposedly making a point about marriage equality in Spain, they happened to do so on a state-owned network from a country in which homosexuality is punishable by lashings and imprisonment. Indeed, a report from the UN High Commission for Refugees has this to say on homosexuality in Qatar:

Homosexual behavior is illegal [in Qatar]. Islamic laws against homosexuality are applied. [In Qatari society], homosexuality is taboo. There is no visible social support for gay and lesbian rights.

On the topic of homosexuality in the Middle East, Sarah Shulman has written in the New York Times on the prominence of the gay community in Israel and Israeli officials speaking out against the intolerance shown to homosexuals in...

In the workplace? In a car? Middle East grapples over women's whereabouts

In the workplace? In a car? Middle East grapples over women's whereabouts Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Afghanistan/ Pakistan, Gulf states, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Updates    

As I wrote earlier this year, a great deal of the problems facing the Arab world as it stumbles towards democracy stem from a conservative culture that is inhibiting female participation in society. Some very illuminative data on this issue is provided by Sara Hamdan in today's International Herald Tribune. As Hamdan explains, initiatives to develop an entrepreneurial culture in the public-sector dominated Arab states only address a small part of the issue; a much greater problem facing the Arab states is the absence of a great deal of their population from the workforce, this segment being overwhelmingly female.

Encouraging entrepreneurs to start new companies is one way to tackle this problem and promote job creation ... Analysts say these efforts will not make a big difference, however, if social attitudes do not change in societies that traditionally embrace culturally enforced gender roles and the social traditions of a patriarchal hierarchy - particularly in the Gulf countries...

Islamism and the Arab Spring

Islamism and the Arab Spring Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Updates    

This Updates features three informative pieces on the seemingly increasingly Islamist tint colouring the Arab Spring movements, from Tunisia, to Libya, to Egypt, and beyond.

First up is one of Israel's most respected and sober Middle East experts, Dr. Asher Susser from Tel Aviv University. He takes issue with the way the media and commentators have focussed too heavily on the "computer-savvy younger generation, skilled in the social networking tools of Facebook and Twitter and the modern media" which were allowed to overshadow the vast strength of the forces of tradition in Arab society. He argues that it is actually secularism that is in crisis across the Arab world, and the Arab Spring has "in many ways become a launching pad for Islamist political ascendance" with unclear effects on democracy hopes.

Asia Watch: The Elephant in the Room Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

Concerns about growing religious intolerance in Indonesia have been heightened in recent weeks in the wake of violent attacks and restrictive local laws, but legislative moves appear unlikely to address the core problem.

Some recent scene-setting events demonstrate the scope of the problem.
More than a decade after Christian-Muslim clashes killed thousands across Indonesia's Maluku Islands, violence erupted in Ambon on September 11 after a fatal traffic accident in which an ojek (motorcycle-taxi) driven by a Muslim teenager was struck by an automobile driven by a Christian.

Will Libya be a Radical Islamist State?

Will Libya be a Radical Islamist State? Author: Barry Rubin Categories: Islamic Extremism, Libya    

Will US President Barack Obama soon be wearing a T-shirt saying:" I SPENT $3 BILLION OF YOUR TAX MONEY IN LIBYA AND ALL I GOT WAS A LOUSY ISLAMIST REGIME!"?

The answer isn't clear yet, though there are worrisome portents. The main evidence of the moment is the "liberation" speech given by US-backed transitional leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil on October 23, marking the official victory declaration of the NATO-backed rebels. The Associated Press - notoriously cautious about saying the "I" word - characterised the speech as setting out, "A vision for the post-Gaddafi future with an Islamist tint."

Islamist victory in Tunisia, but still hope for Arab democracy

Islamist victory in Tunisia, but still hope for Arab democracy Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Tunisia, Updates    

Here is something that I would not have been able to write until today: with election results pouring in, Tunisia's Enahda party has declared victory. In its breakdown of the results thus far, Tunisia's fledgling English-language news agency Tunisia Live has reported that Enahda has won 43 of the 101 seats so far declared in the 217-seat Constituent Assembly and is expected to win a further 45, making a total of 88 seats or roughly 41% of the total. The Assembley will be tasked with appointing an interim government and will then have a year to design and implement a new constitution, allowing for Parliamentary and Presidential elections to be held.

Al Jazeera's live election blog has reported that as it searches for coalition partners,  Enahda issued a press statement indicating that it would cooperate with other parties and attempt to represent all Tunisians.

"We are pleased to see that the political climate has left behind the tension that was naturally part of the election campaign, and we are pleased to hear mature and responsible stances from political leaders. We certainly need to learn new democratic principles, including the fact that the opposition has an important role to play...

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AIJAC UPDATE - The political and moral costs of the failure to sanction Syria

AIJAC UPDATE - The political and moral costs of the failure to sanction Syria Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Europe, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East, Palestinians, Syria, Turkey, United Nations, Updates    

Today's Update looks at Syria, Iran and Turkey against the backdrop of the veto by China and Russia of sanctions by the UN Security Council against the Assad regime in Damascus for its ongoing violent crackdown against anti-government protesters. The resolution was supported by nine members but, significantly, Lebanon, which occupies a temporary seat on the Security Council, abstained from the vote, as did South Africa, India and Brazil. After the vote the EU indicated it intended passing its own sanctions against Syria. Meanwhile Turkey's PM Recep Erdogan continues to use the Syria issue and relentlessly attacks Israel for his own regional ambitions. We offer a number of articles that reveal the changing dynamics in the Middle East that are are not receiving sufficient attention in Australia and elsewhere.

9/11 Ten Years Later

9/11 Ten Years Later Categories: Islamic Extremism, Terrorism, Updates    

This Update is devoted to three different pieces reflecting on where the world now is,  ten years after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks - both in terms of the current understanding of those events and in terms of the their consequences.

First up is noted journalist and author Christopher Hitchens, who reflects on the understanding that he think needs to be preserved of those events ten years ago - primarily that they were very simple, or at least should be understood in very simple terms. He take strong issue with the idea that it is the job of intellectuals to always introduce complexity into discussions of events - in this case, he says, these efforts end up as "as half-baked obfuscations or distractions." He continues to argue that what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 was " a direct confrontation with the totalitarian idea, expressed in its most vicious and unvarnished form."

West failing Arab liberals as Islamists rise

West failing Arab liberals as Islamists rise Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Iran, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Updates    

Protests are raging again in Iran, this time ostensibly over the drying up of a salt lake in Iran's East Azerbaijan Province. It is true that the local people are suffering from the damage that the lake's gradual erosion has done to their economy, however the familiarity of videos such as the one below, showing grainy images of Iranian police shooting at protesters, who throw rocks in return, point to a general discontent with the ruling Ayatollah regime that boils just below the surface of the Islamic Republic.

The 1979 "Islamic Revolution" was the first case of a relatively young Islamist movement actually gaining dominion over an entire state. The subsquent deterioration of Iran was mirrored in the other Islamist "successes" in Afghanistan, Sudan, Gaza and large portions of Algeria, Yemen and Somalia. The totalitarian ideology that promises a return to the "glory days" of Islam through forced regression to a 7th-century civil society has to date yielded nothing but misery to those living under it. Yet, as this blog has been reporting, the ideology remains perhaps the most influential force in the Arab world, with its adherents looking increasingly likely to hijack the "Arab Spring" revolutions...

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Gaza, Hamas and the PRC

Gaza, Hamas and the PRC Author: Jonathan D. Halevi Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism    

The terrorist attack in southern Israel on August 18 in which eight Israelis were killed - six civilians and two from the security forces - was initiated and executed by the Palestinian terrorist organisation known as the "Popular Resistance Committees", which operate as a terrorist arm of Hamas. The operation represents a change in the approach of Hamas toward the issue of the "Arab Spring", from acting only passively as an observer, limiting itself to damage control, to an entirely new stance in an attempt to reshape reality in the Middle East.

The Biblio File: Suicide by Bomb

The Biblio File: Suicide by Bomb Author: Max Boot Categories: Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

Ah, social science. All those numbers. All those technical terms. How comforting. How reassuring.

How definitive.

If only.

Case in point: Robert A. Pape, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, who made a big splash with Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (2005). He began with a sweeping claim to scientific certitude, informing readers, "I have compiled a database of every suicide bombing and attack around the globe from 1980 through 2003 - 315 attacks in all." And what did all those numbers prove? That "there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism... Rather what nearly all suicide terrorist attacks have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland."

Sandstorm in an A, B, C, or is that a D-cup madam?

Sandstorm in an A, B, C, or is that a D-cup madam? Author: Allon Lee Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Updates    

With apologies to Sydney's infamous beachside surf gang, let's call them "the other bra boys".

Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet has reported on how the Saudi Arabian de facto ban on female participation in the workforce requires the hiring of men to sell intimate apparel to women, making the buying of lingerie both embarrassing and difficult:

This causes much embarrassment for women customers seeking advice on cup sizes in lingerie stores. The shops are also not allowed to have fitting rooms. And the biggest complaint is that male clerks in general try to guess customers' bra sizes by staring at their abayas.

 

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Egypt - Opponents of Islamism Uniting?

Egypt - Opponents of Islamism Uniting? Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

In Egypt, it is being reported that 14 political groups opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties there have united to form a new bloc - called the "The Egyptian Bloc" - to compete in the upcoming parliamentary elections...

This seems to be good news - a sign that the liberal forces which sparked the Egyptian revolution, and have not only looked unprepared for the elections, but been largely driven from the streets in recent weeks, are perhaps starting to get their act together.

However, academic Barry Rubin warns that there are reasons not to get too excited about this news...

 

The Sinai "Badlands"

The Sinai "Badlands" Author: Tzvi Fleischer and Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Palestinians, Updates    

This blog has been following events in Egypt over the past few weeks, as the Islamist groups seem to have been becoming far more assertive, resulting in increased weapons smuggling to Hamas in Gaza and, potentially, a cosier relationship between Egypt and Iran.

The Sinai Peninsula, inhabited mostly by various Bedouin tribes, sits between the Egyptian heartland and the Israeli border, and has long been an area which the central Egyptian government has struggled to fully control. Smuggling from Sinai into Gaza has been a constant source of Israeli-Egyptian disagreement over recent years, with Israel urging Egypt to make greater efforts to prevent this, and Egyptian efforts in this regard fluctuating.

Unfortunately, as Alex Joffe has observed in Jewish Ideas Daily, recent events in Sinai following the Egyptian  have been far from encouraging...

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Just What Exactly is Going On in Egypt?

Just What Exactly is Going On in Egypt? Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

While most eyes have been directed at the public spectacle of the trial of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, a less visible but far more important trial has been facing Egypt as a whole. As Sharyn outlined on Wednesday, the increasing show of strength by Islamist forces in Egypt has dramatically altered the fabric of Egypt's revolution.

The watershed moment came last Friday, when Islamist groups flooded Tahrir square - which had been occupied for months by liberal activists attempting to pressure the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) - in order to reclaim the revolution from the "infidel liberals". The square was promptly emptied by the armed forces, leaving the heart of Egypt's revolution lying empty and posing numerous questions about the future.

The Brookings Institute's Khaled Elgindy has written a detailed outline of the broad political landscape currently displayed in post-revolutionary Egypt...

The Unholy Alliance of Iran and al-Qaeda

The Unholy Alliance of Iran and al-Qaeda Author: Allon Lee Categories: Afghanistan/ Pakistan, America, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism, Updates    

The Obama Administration has released explosive details of how Iran has become a safe haven for al-Qaeda.

It comes as the Administration is reportedly interested in refocusing world attention on, in the words of US Treasury Department's Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen, Iran's "unmatched support for terrorism" as well as its ongoing nuclear weapons program.

 

The Iranian Regime’s Summer of Discontent

The Iranian Regime’s Summer of Discontent Author: Allon Lee Categories: International Security, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Russia, Terrorism, Updates    

Not far away from the headline-grabbing Arab Spring, a power struggle is playing out under the Iranian summer sun as fissures in the one-time partnership between Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shatter into an unbridgeable abyss.

Veteran Iranian analyst Dr. Abbas Milani of Stanford University has written a follow-up to his June piece when it seemed Ahmadinejad would be impeached for sedition.

 

Al-Qaeda on the Ropes?

Al-Qaeda on the Ropes? Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Islamic Extremism, Terrorism, Updates    

The Washington Post reported last week that US counter-terrorism officials

...are increasingly convinced that the killing of Osama bin Laden and the toll of seven years of CIA drone strikes have pushed al­Qaeda to the brink of collapse. The assessment reflects a widespread view at the CIA and other agencies that a relatively small number of additional blows could effectively extinguish the Pakistan-based organization that carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks...

While this is certainly very good news if true, it's also important that such a claim not be misunderstood or over-dramatised...

 

Ruthless terrorist group behind Somali famine

Ruthless terrorist group behind Somali famine Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Africa, Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Somalia, Terrorism, Updates    

The catastrophic drought in East Africa has created an all-but unprecedented humanitarian disaster. Commendably, many world leaders - including Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd - have called for the international community to provide immediate aid relief to the millions who are suffering.

When describing the tragic situation in Somalia, Michel Gabaudan, the president of Refugees International, has made the allegation that the Somali famine is "man-made". Gabaudan provides a pertinent reminder of the recent anarchic history of the war-ravaged nation...

On the Oslo attacks: Neo-Nazis and Islamist extremists share a worldview

On the Oslo attacks: Neo-Nazis and Islamist extremists share a worldview Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Europe, Far Right, International Security, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Terrorism, Updates    

Israel's leaders certainly know where Israel sits with regard to the horrific massacre that took place in Oslo over the weekend. Both President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have expressed their sorrow over the tragic events and expressed Israel's empathy with the Norwegian people, given the terrorist attacks that Israel is all too used to facing. As The Jerusalem Post reports:

After sending a message of condolence to King Harald V of Norway on Saturday, President Shimon Peres on Sunday followed up with a phone call to the King to personally voice his own and the nation's condolences...

Gaza Arms Smuggling Thrives After Mubarak’s Fall

Gaza Arms Smuggling Thrives After Mubarak’s Fall Author: Geoffrey Levin Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

The fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February led to a sharp increase in weapons smuggling to the Gaza Strip and continues today, according to a recent piece by Israeli security correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai. In the past six months alone, Bedouin smugglers have transferred three times the quantity of industrial explosives to Gaza as they did in all of 2010, as Gaza's terrorist organisations roughly doubled their number of rockets to an estimate 10,000, an amount equivalent to Hezbollah's arsenal at the start of the 2006 War.

Can Hamas be coaxed into changing its tune?

Can Hamas be coaxed into changing its tune? Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Libya, Terrorism, Updates    

Lawlessness in North Africa appears to have opened up a new route for weapons smuggling into Gaza. Reuters has reported Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon explaining that weapons are now being smuggled from Libya through Egypt and into the Palestinian enclave.

"Weapons are available in Libya as a result of the unstable situation there, and Hamas has exploited it to buy weapons from Libyan smugglers," Yaalon told foreign journalists in a briefing, without elaborating on the kind of munitions involved.

The prospect of more weapons being funneled to Hamas is rather grim for Israel, suggesting that the conflict will never end...

South Sudan – Implications for Israel and Palestinians?

South Sudan – Implications for Israel and Palestinians? Author: Allon Lee Categories: Africa, Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Sudan, United Nations, Updates    

Amid the cheers over the birth of the new nation state of the Republic of South Sudan, some commentators are noting the largely overlooked significance of what has just occurred, not least for an Israeli-Palestinian peace process eventually leading to a two state solution.

Compared with South Sudan, Palestine is the French Riviera. This raises serious questions about the moral justification for the Palestinians to take extreme stands that make compromise so difficult, while they continue to act as a bottomless drain on the ultimately limited resources the developed world can provide in aid.

 

Darshan-Leitner takes on Gaza flotillas

Darshan-Leitner takes on Gaza flotillas Author: Allon Lee Categories: America, Anti-Zionism, International Security, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

Israeli civil rights organisation director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has written a good primer in the Jerusalem Post on why the blockade of Gaza is legal and how flotilla activists are likely breaking US law.

Pursuant to the Oslo Accords ... the Palestinians agreed that the Gaza coastline would be placed under Israeli control and that no foreign ships would be allowed closer than 12 nautical miles from the shore.

Israel demanded this out of concern over widespread import of conventional and unconventional weapons into Gaza.

 

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Military works to maintain control as Egyptian democracy hangs in the balance

Military works to maintain control as Egyptian democracy hangs in the balance Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

Following renewed unrest and a large public outcry against what is perceived as reluctance to dismantle the old regime, the Egyptian interim government is set to announce a major reshuffling of its cabinet today, with several senior ministers - including the Finance Minster and the Foreign Minister - resigning over the weekend. This comes shortly after the Government backed-down from an attempt to postpone elections. As The Washington Post's Ernesto Londono reports:

The expected exit of more than half of the Egyptian cabinet's members comes amid complaints that the interim military rulers have been slow to enact meaningful reforms. Activists say that the generals have failed to dismantle the power structure that remained largely intact when President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February...

Syria’s Iraqi refugees flee Syria, highlighting regional changes

Syria’s Iraqi refugees flee Syria, highlighting regional changes Author: Geoffrey Levin Categories: Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Syria, Terrorism, Updates    

While Turkey has attracted much media attention for its willingness to take in Syrian refugees in the camps it has set up near the border, many Syrians have fled to other neighbouring countries such as Iraq. Thousands of Iraqi refugees who fled Iraq for Syria due to the war are now fleeing Syria, heading back to their home country. Agence France-Presse reports:

Hayat Saad, legal officer at the Baghdad Refugee Centre, said "every day we deal with between 60 to 70 cases of families who have returned to the country...Daily, about 20 come from Syria -- the largest contingent -- followed by Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Libya," she added.

 

AIJAC UPDATE - How the 2011 flotilla flopped/The controversial "anti-boycott" law

AIJAC UPDATE - How the 2011 flotilla flopped/The controversial "anti-boycott" law Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians, Syria, Turkey, United Nations, Updates    

AIJAC's latest email Update looks at why and how the 2011 Gaza flotilla gambit fizzled out. In contrast to 2010's headline-grabbing political stunt that acted as a Trojan Horse for the Turkish Islamist IHH charity resulting in needless deaths and injuries, this was no replay.

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More scrutiny needed on Egypt's Islamist extremists

More scrutiny needed on Egypt's Islamist extremists Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

The prolific and insightful Dr Barry Rubin has written today on the Elephant in the Egyptian Parliament: namely, the overwhelming complicity that Egyptians seem to show towards Islamists and the worrying influence that extreme groups seem to be gaining.

Think about it. There is a powerful Muslim Brotherhood, openly seeking state power and Egypt's fundamental transformation into an Islamist state. Then there are the Salafists-a new label applied to even more radical Islamist groups-that were in the past simply called by the name of the individual organization...

Scratching Egypt's surface: radical Islam, Holocaust denial and 9/11 "truthers"

Scratching Egypt's surface: radical Islam, Holocaust denial and 9/11 "truthers" Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Updates    

In an unprecedented interview that would not have been possible until very recently, MSNBC's Richard Engel has spoken to Aboud al-Zomor, a man who has been locked away tightly in the depths of Egypt's penal system since he was convicted of orchestrating the assassination of then Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Zomor was one of the founders of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), a militant offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. His number two and successor was Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor who later brought EIJ under the umbrella of al-Qaeda and has recently gone on to replace bin Laden...

Time for another look at banning Hizb-ut-Tahrir?

Time for another look at banning Hizb-ut-Tahrir? Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Australasia, Europe, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

Concerns about the operations in Australia of radical Islamist group Hizb ut Tahrir's (HT) should be renewed yet again following a conference hosted by the group on July 3, at Lidcombe, which drew about 1000 people. The fundamentalist group called for the establishment of a caliphate stretching from the Middle East to Indonesia.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that at the conference, Muslims in Australia were urged to join the uprisings that have toppled regimes across the Middle East, to renounce moderate forms of the religion and to reject democracy.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir clashes with the Palestinian Authority Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Islamic Extremism, Palestinians, Updates    

Following up on the previous post on Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT), it seems that it is not only concern for Western governments - the radical Islamic fundamentalist group is also troubling the Palestinian Authority.

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces in the West Bank on July 2 detained dozens of HT supporters.

To democracy or dictatorship? The US to engage the Muslim Brotherhood

To democracy or dictatorship? The US to engage the Muslim Brotherhood Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

US Secretary of State announced last night that her administration plans to form some limited contact with the previously shunned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. This report comes just two weeks after the Brotherhood became a legal party in Egypt - for the first time in 80 years. Reuters quoted Clinton explaining her rationale for this decision:

"We believe, given the changing political landscape in Egypt, that it is in the interests of the United States to engage with all parties that are...

Egypt's Islamists/ Signs Iran racing toward nukes

Egypt's Islamists/ Signs Iran racing toward nukes Categories: Egypt, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

This Update leads with a long but important feature on how Islamist forces are increasingly dominating politically in Egypt, and especially how they are persecuting and overawing the country's large Coptic Christian minority. The piece by Yamin el-Rashidi, published in the New York Review of Books, takes us inside the Coptic community and lets the reader perceive events in Egypt, including the apparent collaboration of the country's military rulers in the persecution, as they see it. The piece also examines the strong belief by the Muslim Brotherhood and other "Salafis", supported by other observers, that they will dominate the country after the coming election.

Egyptian Education and the attacks on Coptic Christians Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Antisemitism, Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

In post-revolutionary Egypt, Coptic Christians have been increasingly attacked in aseries of bloody clashes. In March, armed thugs bulldozed a church allegedly over an illicit relationship between a Coptic man and a Muslim woman. This led to riots and clashes that left thirteen people dead and 140 wounded. No arrests were made and no one was charged.

Egypt's Christian minority community accounts for some 10 percent of the country's 82 million people and they fear further incidents of violence and persecution.

A new report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE), suggests that the attacks against Egyptian Coptic Christians are largely fuelled by the Egyptian school curricula, which is laden with anti-Semitic and anti-Christian sentiment. IMPACT-SE is calling for Egypt to reform its curricula in order to comply with UNESCO standards.

Calls for release of Israeli soldier after 5 years of captivity

Calls for release of Israeli soldier after 5 years of captivity Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, International Jewry, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

Tomorrow will mark 5 years since kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been held illegally by Hamas in Gaza. As Isabel Kershner has reported in the New York Times, Hamas has again refused a request from the Red Cross to visit Shalit - so that they could merely ascertain what kind of conditions he is being held in and whether he is alive or dead.

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday publicly demanded that Hamas provide proof that an Israeli soldier captured five years ago and held in Gaza is still alive. Hamas promptly rejected the demand.

Iran gives new meaning to "fashion police"

Iran gives new meaning to "fashion police" Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Iran, Islamic Extremism, Updates    

Iranian authorities have just announced that they are extending their crackdown on "un-Islamic dress codes" to include various "Western-influenced" men's haircuts and jewellery. Iranian women have traditionally been harrassed by the "moral police" for not following the strict, conservative dress codes that Iran's rulers see as "Islamic", however, as reported by Ali Akbar Dareini and Brian Murphy in The Huffington Post, the authorities appear to be extending this code further each year.

After Bin Laden Categories: Islamic Extremism, Terrorism, Updates    

This Update focuses on additional, under-reported features of the killing of Osama bin Laden last week.

We lead with noted Canadian Muslim reformer Irshad Manji, who while congratulating US President Barack Obama, takes issue with his statement that bin Laden was "not a Muslim leader." She insists that bin Laden and his followers do represent a real interpretation of Islam, and the only long-term solution is to challenge that interpretation "relentlessly and visibly".

The Fatah-Hamas agreement is no "peace pact"

The Fatah-Hamas agreement is no "peace pact" Author: Arsen Ostrovsky Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians    

Professor Amin Saikal's one-sided ode to Hamas, published on The Drum, overlooks one issue - that Hamas is a terrorist organisation which refuse to recognise Israel's right to exist.

Saikal would have us believe that "Hamas has emerged as a pragmatic Islamist movement" and that therefore Israel and the international community should embrace Hamas as a negotiating partner.

If Hamas is pragmatic, then I would not like to imagine what an extremist group looks like. Perhaps a brief reminder as to Hamas's raison d'être is in order.

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Hamas - the key to Peace?

Hamas - the key to Peace? Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians, Terrorism    

In Amin Saikal's article "Palestinians' High Hopes" (May 6) he naively describes the Fatah-Hamas unity pact as likely to enhance prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. In fact, the effect is very much likely to be the reverse.

Saikal, like some other analysts, implores Israel to negotiate with Hamas and insists the internationally-designated terrorist group has become "pragmatic." Yet he makes no suggestion that Hamas should be required to amend its Charter to recognise Israel and abide by the pre-conditions for participation in the peace process established by the International Quartet (the UN, US, European Union and Russia) in 2006. Hamas has refused to accept these eminently sensible pre-conditions for a seat at the table, namely: recognition of Israel, renouncing terror and accepting all previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements and obligations.

 

Bin Laden's bloodied prints have stained the globe Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Islamic Extremism, Op-eds, Terrorism    

OSAMA bin Laden's demise has dealt a severe blow to Islamist terrorism, achieving a measure of justice for its many global victims.

Notorious as the mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks, his bloodied fingerprints stain al-Qaeda-linked terror the world over, from Bali, London, Madrid, Mumbai, Pakistan and Jakarta to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and beyond.

He waged war on thousands of innocent civilians - including many Australians, Jews and Muslims - for an ideology, Islamism, which promotes a religious duty to fight all in order to create a worldwide caliphate based on an idealised version of seventh-century Arabia.

Bin Laden's death and its implications

Bin Laden's death and its implications Categories: Afghanistan/ Pakistan, International Security, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

There is so much material being published on the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on Sunday by US forces that this Update will not attempt to duplicate the widely reported news. Instead, it will focus on pieces providing an unusual perspective or analysing some under-reported elements and implications of this event.

First up is Barry Rubin who, in his usual insightful fashion, tries to place this event in some sort of historical context of the larger Islamist movement. Importantly, he argues that the Islamist movement extends way beyond the fate of al-Qaeda, and that other Islamist groups which are seeking to exploit state power - including Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt - may be even more important and more dangerous in the long run.

The Last Word: Open to Scrutiny

The Last Word: Open to Scrutiny Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism, Islamic Extremism    

While other mosques, together with temples, churches and synagogues, routinely welcome members of the public, a mosque associated with the infamous Sheikh Tajeddin el-Hilaly and an association which has been identified with the controversial and self-contradictory Keysar Trad had more reason than most to display openness and engagement.

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Israel and the Middle East Unrest/Bernard Lewis Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Libya, Middle East, Updates    

This Update features an interpretation of the Middle East unrest by probably the world's greatest scholar of Middle East history - 94-year-old Prof. Bernard Lewis. But first it also features some important new commentary on the ways in which an excessive focus on Israel has distorted both understanding of the Mideast region, and more importantly, policy toward the Arab dictators.

The Last Word: The Green Devolution Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Libya    

Gaddafi has had a few supporters who from time to time promoted his "wisdom". In fact, my copy of Jamahiriya: Era of the Masses, which contains Gaddafi's poetry as well as philosophy, was obtained gratis at the now-defunct Sydney bookshop of the pro-Soviet Socialist Party of Australia

Essay: Modern Martyrdom Author: Benjamin Acosta Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

Increasingly, the role of martyrdom has taken a central position in violent campaigns conducted by Islamic groups. The suicide bomber has become the ideal of Islamic martyrdom, simultaneously appalling Western audiences and captivating Islamic ones.

Moral Victory

Moral Victory Author: Walter Russell Mead Categories: America, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

And the Sunni Arabs of Iraq made a choice. They saw al-Qaeda at its best - volunteer freedom fighters come from around the world to fight for them - and they saw America at its worst, incompetent, insensitive, vacillating and violent. And they chose the United States. They decided that the future of their families, their children and their values was better served by aligning with the United States against the terrorists and against the fanatics.

Fall of the Teflon Terrorist? Author: Zachary Abuza Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

On Aug. 9, 2010, members of Indonesia's elite counter-terrorist police force arrested the militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir as part of their ongoing investigations into a terrorist training camp discovered in February 2010 in Aceh, plots to kill President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and scheme to launch Mumbai-style attacks in Jakarta. While the government had previously alleged that Bashir was a financier of the cell and training camp, the arrest and his role in terrorist operations took many by surprise. The ongoing counter-terrorist operations, including Bashir's arrest, says much about the state and metastasisation of Jemaah Islamiah.

Europa Europa: Terrorists before Citizens Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

Under cross-examination, Hamza declared that Jews control the British Foreign Office, the media and the money supply in Britain and the US. In sentencing Hamza, the trial judge said he had "helped to create an atmosphere in which to kill has become regarded by some as not only a legitimate course but a moral and religious duty in pursuit of perceived justice." Hamza is due for parole next year.

US Policy and the Peace Process / Talking about Islam and Terrorism Categories: America, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Terrorism, Updates    

This Update features some new analysis of the likely future of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in the wake of the Obama/Netanyahu summit last week. First up is Washington Institute analyst and former US National Security Council Middle East expert Michael Singh looking at what happens if and when direct Israeli-Palestinian talks resume.

Collateral Damage Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Turkey    

There is general agreement here that Israel has made mistakes before and during its navy's May 31 fatal clash with the flotilla's main vessel some 100 kilometres into the Mediterranean, southwest of Tel Aviv. However, there is also general agreement that the broader picture is about tectonic movements that Israel in no way caused, and whose damage it must prevent. In the narrow military sense, the IDF concedes it walked into an ambush, when it landed a minimally armed and vastly outnumbered commando squadron into a mob wielding iron bars, axes, clubs and knives. The subsequent battle, which left nine of the boat's 600 passengers dead and eight of the 50 commandos who confronted them wounded – caught Israel off guard militarily, politically and strategically. The military failure, Israeli experts generally agree, was not in terms of the battle's management once it had erupted. On the contrary, for a small unit that boarded the ship incrementally with the naïve plan of paintballing a crowd of presumably non-violent activists, the troops' performance was actually impressive. The speed, poise and efficiency with which they shifted to battle mode were proof that the IDF’s naval commando is as resourceful and well trained as he is widely assumed to be. The problem was in the intelligence.

Hamas, now here to stay Author: Barry Rubin Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Middle East, Palestinians    

Hamas will be in power in the Gaza Strip for a long time. Who is going to remove it? It is a client of Iran. Certainly it is under embargo for arms but it does function a lot like an independent state for daily practical purposes. It will return to war against Israel at the first opportunity. It teaches its people to kill Jews and wipe Israel off the map and to be terrorists. That doesn't mean all Gazans support it, but those who don't can do nothing about it. Moreover, the Hamas regime receives indirect aid, due to the Palestinian Authority paying much of its civil service and Western projects designed to help Gaza's people.

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Turkey, Israel and the West Author: Soner Cagaptay Categories: Islamic Extremism, Turkey    

Ever since the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) assumed power in 2002, Turkish foreign policy has made a 180-degree turn. The country's once-strong ties with the United States and Israel have been weakened, and entry talks with the European Union have stalled while Ankara has come to the defence of the Iranian nuclear program and Hamas. The reason for this shift is simple: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government believe that Samuel Huntington was right, that there is a clash of civilisations. Only they are on the side of the Islamists, not the West.

The Islamist revolution will be televised Author: Avi Jorisch Categories: Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Media/ Academia    

Even though I'd watched thousands of hours, the rhetoric that I saw on al-Manar really shocked me. They say what they mean and they mean what they say. They call for an Islamic republic. They call for the killing of coalition troops, including Australians, in Iraq and Afghanistan on a daily basis. They call for the destruction of the State of Israel, throwing all the Jews into the sea.

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Tales of violence on the high seas lack context

Tales of violence on the high seas lack context Author: Lauren Jones Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians, Turkey    

That five of the six boats were taken peaceably indicates that Israel never intended to harm any civilians. Israel was wise enough to film the incident, thereby providing irrefutable evidence that its soldiers were attacked first, and acted in self defence. Fortunately, the violence was confined to one boat and the aid on board the flotilla will reach Gaza in one piece.

Naming Names in Foreign Policy Author: Jeffrey Herf Categories: Islamic Extremism    

The various forms of radical Islamism represent the third major form of totalitarian ideology and politics in modern world history. While it seeks to benefit from the pathos of Third Worldist rhetoric, its ideological themes have more in common with fascism and Nazism than with Marxism-Leninism.

Europa Europa: Benign Neglect Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Islamic Extremism    

Jews straddle the fault line of Europe's engagement with Islam, and the level of antisemitism has become a critical barometer of Europe's fate. So while the fall of the antisemitic taboo is bad news for Jews, it also measures the effect of Europe's loss of certainty in its values, traditions, institutions and identity.

White paper should tackle terrorist television Author: Bren Carlill Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Media/ Academia, Op-eds, Terrorism    

Concern about domestic radicalisation and home-grown terrorism is a big part of the government's white paper on counter-terrorism released last week. So why haven't successive governments banned Hezbollah's television station, al-Manar, from screening in Australia? After all, al-Manar is all about radicalising its viewers.

Editorial: Terrorism - tactics and strategy Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

We cannot adequately address the tactical problem of terrorism without acknowledging and understanding this strategic threat - an ideological movement in some ways akin to Fascism and Marxism-Leninism in its desire to violently and completely transform society, and worship of such a revolutionary transformation as the ultimate value, legitimising almost any means to attain it.

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Essay: Somalia's al-Shabaab Author: Daveed Gartenstein-Ross Categories: Africa, Islamic Extremism, Somalia    

The biggest threat emanating from Somalia comes from a different source: an ongoing lack of internal order has left the country vulnerable to the rise of hard-line Islamist groups, of which the latest is al-Shabaab (the youth), which rose from obscurity to international prominence in less than two years.

A Forgotten Conflict Author: Bren Carlill Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East    

Yemen's increasing fragility casts a long shadow over the Middle East. Al-Qaeda's presence there, and its access to vital oil infrastructure and shipping lanes potentially threatens key Western interests. Yet the situation is almost completely unreported in the West.

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Islamist vs. Islamist Author: Jonathan Kay Categories: Islamic Extremism, Palestinians    

It says something about the politically pathologised state of Palestinian society that Hamas - itself a murderous Islamist terrorist group bent on Israel's destruction - found an even crazier group to fight with in mid-August.

Editorial: Talking Terrorism Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

Australia, the West and many other countries, including many in the Arab and Muslim world, are engaged, against their will, in a struggle with groups that use violence in the name of an ideology rooted in one interpretation of a major world religion. This reality must be stated clearly – it cannot be obfuscated.

The Last Word: Unspeakable Cruelty Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Australasia, Iran, Islamic Extremism    

When speaking with a leader of the Baha'i community in Australia recently, our conversation inevitably turned to events in Iran. In May 2008, seven leaders of this community were seized from their families, imprisoned and faced allegations of grave seriousness. For 15 months, there have been regular indications that trials will occur and that people whose only real offence seems to be their religious beliefs will have the chance to mount legal defences. But the Iranian regime is not only authoritarian and brutal, but almost unspeakably cruel.

The Jakarta Bombings/ Understanding the Taliban Author: AIJAC staff Categories: Afghanistan/ Pakistan, Asia, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism, Updates    

Today, we offer an interpretation of the most recent Jakarta hotel bombings from one of the world's top experts on extremist terrorism in Southeast Asia, Dr. Zachary Abuza of Simmons College in the US. Abuza agrees with the dominant view that Malaysian-born terrorist Noordin Mohammed Top was likely behind the latest bombings but takes issue with arguments, particularly in the Australian media, that Top is operating largely independently of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

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Essay: The Rebound Author: Zachary Abuza Categories: Asia, Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Terrorism    

Jemaah Islamiah has for more than 15 years fought to transform Indonesia into an Islamist state. In recent years, its terrorist campaign has suffered setbacks. As Jemaah Islamiah regroups, it builds upon the experience of Middle East terrorist groups.

Europa Europa: Antisemitism without Antisemites Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Islamic Extremism    

Rowan Laxton was watching news of Israeli military activity in Gaza on television while working out on an exercise bike at his central London gym. What happened next unnerved fellow gym patrons: "F-ing Israelis. F-ing Jews," he screamed repeatedly, interspersing his rant with demands for Israeli troops to be "wiped off the face of the earth."

Yes, We Can Author: Frederick W. Kagan, Max Boot & Kimberly Kagan Categories: Afghanistan/ Pakistan, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Middle East, Terrorism    

Fears of impending disaster are hard to sustain, however, if you actually spend some time in Afghanistan, as we did recently at the invitation of General David Petraeus, chief of US Central Command. We spent eight days travelling from the snow-capped peaks of Kunar province near the border with Pakistan in the east to the wind-blown deserts of Farah province in the west near the border with Iran.

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Scribblings: Inventing International Law Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: International Security, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians, Terrorism    

In terms of the legal argument, the Geneva Conventions are not a suicide pact. They do set forth the fundamental ideal that both sides of a conflict should distinguish both their own and enemy combatants from civilians, but are also very clear that when civilian facilities are used for military purposes they become legitimate military targets.

Asia Watch: Witness Protection Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Middle East    

What was a small news item back in November blew-up in a big way at the height of the Israeli military offensive in Gaza. The Indonesian internet was abuzz for several weeks as Islamist-oriented websites like Hidayatullah.com, Arrahmah.com and Eramuslim.com attacked Muhammadiyah for its supposed ties with Israel.

Cracks in Hamas Author: Ehud Ya’ari Categories: Islamic Extremism, Palestinians    

Hamas has the ability to rehabilitate itself and this should not be taken lightly. But this time it will be hard to mollify Palestinian public opinion. There is no enthusiasm for Hamas' period in power; its fighting prowess has hardly inspired awe, and there is no longer any faith in its leaders.

Essay: India's Forgotten Jihadist Categories: Asia, India, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Terrorism    

Until his death in 1979, Mawdudi was the critical link between the various theatres of transnational activism, between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Revolution, between Kashmir and Western Europe. Mawdudi's thinking was South Asian in origin and character, as was the international Islamist movement he inspired – a movement whose flowering we are still watching today.

Europa Europa: Of Church, Mosque and State Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon    

The fact that Islamic courts are now functioning in Britain with full judicial authority should not have come as such a surprise. No less than the Archbishop of Canterbury - the highest-ranking member of the Anglican Church - had publicly conceded earlier this year that the establishment of Sharia law in Britain "seems unavoidable".

The JI Files Author: Allon Lee Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Terrorism    

In the six years since Jemaah Islamiah (JI) carried out the deadly October 12 bombing of a Bali nightclub that claimed 202 lives, Indonesia has made great strides in tackling terror. But according to some of the world's top terrorism experts, the job will remain incomplete until Indonesia proscribes JI as an official terror group.

Is It Over? Author: Max Boot Categories: Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Middle East, Terrorism    

The thinning of its ranks and the loss of central direction have had an obvious impact on al-Qaeda's operational effectiveness. A new study from Simon Fraser University ... finds that since 2001, there has been a net decline of 40% in casualties from terrorism around the world.

Al-Qaeda Today/ Syria's Nuclear Secrets Author: AIJAC staff Categories: Afghanistan/ Pakistan, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Middle East, Multimedia, Syria, Terrorism, Updates    

Today's Update features two new pieces detailing expert debates about the current status and capabilities of al-Qaeda. First up, Peter Bergen discusses the controversy between analysts who argue that the organisation has become largely localised and leaderless and those who argue that the central organisation in northern Pakistan is getting stronger.

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Discourse of Change Author: Nir Boms Categories: Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Middle East    

The West should understand that the democrats in the Middle East aren't necessarily pro-West or pro-Israel. However, they are willing to ask important questions... These include asking, if Israel and the Arab world basically started in the same place, how is Israel's GDP so much higher than that of the Arab world?

Al-Qaeda in Iraq "at its weakest" Author: AIJAC staff Categories: Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Middle East, Terrorism, Updates    

According to the latest US reports and statistics, last week Iraq saw the lowest casualty figures, civilian and military, for four years. According to US military sources, part of the explanation is that al-Qaeda in Iraq is at its "weakest", especially in the wake of the recent military operations which cleared al-Qaeda out of Mosul, its last major stronghold in Iraq.

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Europa Europa: London Calling Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Islamic Extremism, United Kingdom    

The gaggle of assembled hacks chortled at what they took to be yet another gaffe by Boris Johnson. The joke was on them. When the two million-plus votes were counted in last month's mayoral election, Boris had delivered a knock-out blow to two-term incumbent, Ken Livingstone.

Europa Europa: The French Connection Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Israel    

The French have given the world savoir faire and joi de vivre. But right now, as far as Israel is concerned, it's d?ja vu all over again. France and Israel were best buddies for almost 20 years after the Jewish state was founded in 1948. The French provided Israel with arms, planes, patrol boats and, whisper it not, a nuclear reactor.

Essay: Radical Evolution Author: Daveed Gartenstein-Ross & Kyle Dabruzzi Categories: Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Terrorism    

Government officials, scholars, and analysts continue to debate the extent to which al-Qaeda's central leadership remains relevant to today's battle against terrorism. After US forces eliminated the group's safe haven in Afghanistan in late 2001, many argued that al-Qaeda had transformed into a decentralised organisation with little vertical hierarchy

Essay: Anatomy of a Conspiracy Author: Steven Stalinsky Categories: Africa, Antisemitism, Islamic Extremism, Sudan    

The Darfur region of Sudan first made headlines in February 2003 with news of massacres, rapes, mutilations, and other atrocities perpetrated by the Sudanese government and its allied armed Arab militia, the Janjaweed, against civilians in the black Arab and non-Arab south.

Europa Europa: Ethnic Cleansers Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon    

If politicians are unable to think beyond the next election, it is not surprising that even their best intentions often produce unintended consequences. And, more often than not, those consequences serve only to exacerbate the problem.

The Sounds of Hate Author: Allon Lee Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Far Right, Islamic Extremism, Op-eds    

The concern over controversial Croatian rock musician Marko Perkovic’s upcoming Australian tour may surprise some but it is understandable because of the serious allegations surrounding him. Overseas reports claim Perkovic, 42, is openly sympathetic to the World War Two Nazi-collaborationist Ustashe regime, which sent thousands of Jews, gypsies and Serbs to their deaths.

Europa Europa: Blaired Vision Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Middle East    

The tectonic plates are shifting in the Middle East. Shi'ites are challenging Sunnis; Saudis are squaring up to Iranians; Iraq is drifting inexorably towards fragmentation; Lebanon is sliding back into Syria's clutches; the Palestinians are in violent free-fall; major players in the region - galvanised by Teheran - are scrambling to acquire nuclear capability; and radical Islamism is casting a sinister pall over the entire scene.

Political Crisis in Lebanon/ The case for "Jihadism" Author: AIJAC staff Categories: Afghanistan/ Pakistan, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Multimedia, Syria, Terrorism, Updates    

As readers may be aware, Lebanon has had no president since last week. The term of the last president, pro-Syrian Emile Lahoud, ended on Nov. 23. However, no successor has been elected because of a stand-off between the pro-Syrian opposition, led by Hezbollah, and the anti-Syrian government, led by PM Fouad Sinora and Saad Hariri, son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

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The Last Word: The Pen and the Saud Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Media/ Academia    

On a recent visit to Lakemba, I popped in to one of the larger Islamic bookstores and enquired about texts outlining and explaining different schools of Islamic jurisprudence. The bookseller was keen to help, showing me what he had for sale, and explaining that some books were much cheaper than others because of state subsidies for Islamic texts.

Scribblings: Yvonne's New Job Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

Readers may recall the visit to Australia in 2004 of Yvonne Ridley, the British journalist who was captured by the Taliban, converted to Islam, and began defending Islamist terrorism and terrorists, including the leader of the Beslan school massacre, al-Qaeda bombings of weddings in Jordanian hotels, and the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Canary in a Coal Mine Author: Allon Lee Categories: Islamic Extremism, Lebanon    

There is something of the 1960s slogan '?the personal is the political' in Ayaan Hirsi Ali'?s life story - a remarkable life that has formed the basis of her candid views on Islam, Muslims and the West.

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Trouble along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border/ Holocaust Inversion Author: AIJAC staff Categories: Afghanistan/ Pakistan, Antisemitism, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Terrorism    

As widely reported, a major renewal of fighting in Afghanistan is expected shortly. The Taliban, based across the border with Pakistan, are expected to make large scale incursions as soon as the mountain snows allow. This Update leads with two pieces on Pakistan's invidious role in encouraging this problem.

Moderates must not become apologists for radical Islam Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism, International Jewry, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Op-eds    

THE Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) cancelled our planned participation in the program of Israeli professor Raphael Israeli after his controversial remarks about Muslim immigration and communities. Characterising Muslim communities as a threat or danger per se is a sentiment we reject and with which we do not wish to be associated.

Thai-ed Down Author: Zachary Abuza Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

On 4 January 2004, a group of armed men raided a Thai Army camp. They were equipped with acetylene torches and bolt cutters; in all they made off with more than 300 M-16s, ammunition and other weaponry. It is the date most commonly used to mark the current manifestation of the insurgency in Thailand's restive south, dominated by Muslim Malays.

Saying No to Jihad Author: Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury Categories: Antisemitism, Asia, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon    

People are punished for crime, for creating anarchy and for subjecting humanity to horrifying terror. But, could we ever believe that someone would be arrested, tortured and imprisoned for 17 long months just for being in favour of global peace, inter-faith dialogue and ending religious hatred?

The barriers to peace in Middle East Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Iran, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East, Op-eds, Palestinians, Syria    

The resurgence of internal Palestinian conflict in recent days sheds some light on the assertion advanced again by the report of the Iraq Study Group in Washington. This claim is that the Israeli/Palestinian question is the "core" of the problems radiating out of the Middle East. Everyone of goodwill wants Israeli-Palestinian peace as quickly as possible. However, the belief that it is the key to the region's problems is not only incorrect, it is counter productive.

Arabs Must Take Some Responsibility Author: Ted Lapkin Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Middle East, Op-eds, Palestinians    

It all comes down to Israel?s occupation of the West Bank. At least that?s what one of the dominant mantras on Middle East politics would have you believe. Former US Secretary of State James Baker made that argument just this last week in Washington. The much anticipated report of Baker?s Iraq Study Group declared: ?the United States cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East unless it deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict.?

The Legacy of Londonistan Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon    

Five years ago, at the time of 9/11, British intelligence agents were identifying 250 "primary"? terrorist suspects a year in Britain. Two years later, the figure had doubled to 500. Last month, the head of MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, said her intelligence agency was currently monitoring 1,600 suspects...

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Multiculturalism is still the way to go Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism, International Jewry, Islamic Extremism, Op-eds    

MULTICULTURALISM has been official bipartisan policy, federal and state, for more than 25 years. It has helped create and sustain what is arguably one of the most successful multi-ethnic, tolerant democratic societies in the world, and is vital for our social cohesion, economic prospects and positive profile in our region and beyond.

Governments, Australian Muslims, must work together to contain the threat from domestic Islamic extremists Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism, International Jewry, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Media Releases    

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) today called for a thorough and immediate review of legal and policy counter-measures in the wake of new revelations about the extent of extremist hate material and pro-terror propaganda in some Australian bookshops in Mosques and Islamic schools.

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Scribblings: Papal Bull Categories: Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Middle East    

As many people, including moderate Muslims, have pointed out, the violent response by some Muslims to a quote used in remarks by Pope Benedict XVI, which was alleged to present Islam as violent and ?inhuman,? was more than a bit ironic. These responses were essentially variations on the theme, ?How dare you imply that Islam is a violent religion? I?ll kill you and any other Christian I can get my hands on!?

Corrupt regimes are the source of extremism and terrorism Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Op-eds, Terrorism    

After five years, we have avoided some of our worst post-9/11 fears. We have seen Bali, Madrid, London, Mumbai, and many smaller attacks by terrorists driven by the same Islamist totalitarian ideology that inspired the September 11 atrocities. But despite some attempts, there has been no successful attack on a similar scale since then. Moreover, the nightmare scenario - a terrorist attack on a major Western city with non-conventional weapons - has not come to pass.

Yes, the Problem is "Islamic Fascism" Author: External author Categories: Iran, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Syria, Terrorism    

It took US President George W. Bush to tell the truth to Britain about the massive plot to blow US-bound airliners out of the sky. In his first comment on the apparently foiled attempt to explode airliners flying from Britain to the US, Bush put it simply: "This was a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists."

Al Jazeera comes to Australia Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Op-eds    

So will Al Jazeera give Australians a new perspective on the Middle East? Joining us now in Sydney to discuss this is Media analyst Dr Adel Iskander who is visiting from the American University in Washington to talk about his latest book, one of the first studies of Al Jazeera, "How the Arab News Network Scooped the World and Changed the Middle East". Also in Sydney, Dr Colin Rubinstein from the Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Committee, who has been critical of Al Jazeera saying it maintains a consistent anti-Israeli bias in its broadcasts.

Hezbollah stands in way of peace Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Iran, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East, Op-eds, Syria    

When the Hezbollah-Israel war began in mid-July, many in the Arab world made some startling comments. "The operations of Israel in Gaza and Lebanon are in the interest of people of Arab countries and the international community," wrote the editor of the Kuwaiti Arab Times. Milder statements in the same vein - blaming Hezbollah for the violence - came from across the Arab world, including the governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

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The Best and the Brightest Author: External author Categories: Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Media/ Academia    

There's an old saying, It's not so much what is poured into the student, but what is planted that really counts. And, at both the University of Melbourne and the University of New South Wales, on-campus Islamic Societies have been diligently planting seeds of ethnic hatred and intolerance into the minds of young Muslim students.

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Smoke Signals Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Australasia, Europe, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon    

Night after night, we have witnessed shocking scenes of violence and wanton vandalism in French cities. Hundreds upon hundreds of vehicles set on fire, institutions such as libraries and gymnasiums attacked and destroyed, urban populations afraid to venture out into the streets.

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Beyond Bali Author: External author Categories: Asia, Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Terrorism    

On September 27, Gareth Evans -? president of the respected International Crisis Group (ICG) and former Australian foreign minister -? gave a keynote address in Australia in which he proclaimed, "JI no longer poses a serious threat in Indonesia or elsewhere". Four days later, three suicide bombers walked into crowded restaurants in the Indonesian resort island of Bali and detonated their devices.

Killing Fields Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Europe, Islamic Extremism    

To Jewish people, Kishinev, the capital of the modern, post-Soviet Republic of Moldova, will forever be linked with the horrific events of just over a century ago. In a nearby town, a Christian child'?s murderers, relatives of the victim, claimed that Jews had performed the evil deed as part of ritual practices.

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Fresh Air? Author: External author Categories: Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon    

"A breath of fresh air in the field of media and journalism for Muslims in Australia," is how Editor-in-Chief Sheikh Mohammed Omran described his new publication, Mecca News, when the first edition was released in August 2005. Omran is the controversial radical Muslim cleric who gained notoriety recently for suggesting that Islamic terrorists did not perpetrate the terrorist attacks on London and New York.

Fighting Faiths Author: External author Categories: Europe, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Middle East    

If there is one thing that everybody knows about the Crusades, it is that they were a Bad Thing. Even in the eyes of most Christians, let alone others, the Crusades were a crime against humanity, one for which apologies are due, especially to Muslims.

Scribblings: Bad Poetry Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Palestinians    

Are the Palestinians going to seize the opportunity created by disengagement to advance toward their national goals by demonstrating that they are a responsible peace partner? If there are going to be further peace negotiations, the Palestinians are going to have to create a viable polity that features the rule of law and a government monopoly on force.

Blind Spot Author: External author Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon    

The responses of senior British officials following the London bombings last week are highly revealing. They contain within them clues to a decades-long failure of political judgment. This failure allowed the forces which produced the bombing to grow and proliferate on British soil, freely, under the noses of the authorities.

Native Sons Author: External author Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Terrorism    

The July suicide bombings in London �� some or all of whose perpetrators were Muslims born and reared in Britain �� are likely to produce in the United Kingdom the same intellectual reflection on Muslim identity in Europe that is already underway in nearby countries. The French began this reflection in earnest ten years ago, after bomb-happy, lyc�©e-educated, French-born Islamic holy warriors terrorised France.

Hamas Delusion Author: External author Categories: Europe, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Middle East, Palestinians    

The wishful thinking that has long characterised European diplomacy in the Middle East has made one of its periodic ocean crossings and regained a foothold in Washington. Reflecting their eagerness to see "progress" in relations between Palestinians and Israelis, some American officials have adopted the myth of Hamas moderation.

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Cordoba Days Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, International Jewry, Islamic Extremism    

During Soviet times, the story was told of a young man who opted to become a futurologist rather than meet his family'?s expectations of becoming a historian. His argument was that, under Communism, it was not too hard to predict the future but it was almost impossible to predict the past.

Party Games Author: External author Categories: Iran, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Multimedia, Syria, Terrorism    

Since the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah was created by Iran in 1982, it has metamorphosed from its early beginnings as a localised terrorist organisation into a significant armed presence in Lebanon that has demonstrated its ability to carry out terror attacks far beyond the borders of the Middle East. Today Hezbollah is the only armed force that controls a political party in Lebanon. For its supporters in Lebanon, Hezbollah is the sponsor of social welfare agencies that provide education, health care, employment, and other services. Hezbollah uses these institutions as a mechanism for indoctrination and a pool for recruiting new members.

Old Wine, New Bottles Author: External author Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Islamic Extremism, Israel    

I find it shameful that in France, the France of "Liberty, equality, fraternity," synagogues are torched, Jews are terrorised, and their cemeteries profaned ... that in Holland and Germany and Denmark youngsters show off the kaffiyeh like the vanguard of Mussolini displayed the stick and Fascist emblem ... that in almost every European university, Palestinian students take over and nurture antisemitism. - Oriana Fallaci

Editorial: Endgame Iran & Crime and Punishment Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Holocaust/ War Crimes, Iran, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Middle East    

It has all the drama of a Melbourne Cup, but it is infinitely more important. The outcome of a horse race can be measured in dollars and cents. We are witnessing a contest between a simmering grassroots yearning for democracy in Iran and an obsessive pursuit of nuclear weapons by the junta of Islamic extremists who rule that nation.

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