This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Islam Amok Among The Faithful

It's a tossup which is sadder, more horrendous, more heart-breakingly dreadful; that people live in realms where conflict is ongoing and persistent, where oppression, discrimination and poverty are endemic, or that people, desperate to save their lives and that of their loved ones, and hoping to find an improvement in their lives and hope for the future, set out on arduous, miserable journeys only to find impediments in their way, if they survive the journey.


The world watches with fascinated horror as the agency for destructive atrocities empowers itself through the certainty that their god has instructed them to commit barbaric acts of slaughter, rape, enslavement, banishment as they righteously claim the geography vacated to the presence, for their emerging and growing Caliphate. Armed forces attached to the countries which are experiencing the ignominy of seeing their borders collapsed are hapless in response.

Instead, a minority population of Kurds, an ethnic group whose ancient heritage in the geography has been denied nationhood, has taken up arms against the ferocious intruder and represents the only internal militias with the power and determination to defend not only themselves but the helpless ethnic and religious minorities that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant commit carnage against. The ISIL threat is one of mass dementia where humanity has been replaced by a religious ferment steeped in bloodshed.

But it is a government in Syria led by a minority-sect Muslim president who instructs his military to strafe and barrel-bomb his own majority-sect Syrian civilians that has unleashed another kind of terror, one that the United Nations had long since pledged it would be honour-bound to prevent. It seems, in the reality of the ongoing civil war of Bashar al-Assad against Sunni Syrian discontent, to utter platitudes of denunciation will suffice, however.

The Arab League has no intention of assembling its well-armed forces to march on an Arab despot, irrespective of the kills attributed to him. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation whose purpose is to defend Muslims against non-Muslims is unwilling to contain the vicious blight that has Muslims slaughtering Muslims.

The Arab League patiently awaits Western intervention. It has happened so often, from Iraq to Afghanistan and Serbia. And then, when the slaughter abates, blame can be directed not against Muslim butchery, but Western interference in Arab affairs.

Thousands now cross daily along the 175-kilometre border between Serbia and Hungary. None of the migrants have intention of stopping in Hungary; its economy is struggling and it is socially hostile to absorbing the columns of Africans, Syrians, Afghans and Pakistanis among others seeking haven elsewhere than in the Arab/Muslim world.

They aspire to reach Sweden, Norway, Belgium or Germany. No fewer than 800,000 refugees and migrants are expected to cross into Europe this year.

A migrant man holding a boy react as they are stuck between Macedonian riot police officers and migrants during a clash near the border train station of Idomeni, northern Greece, as they wait to be allowed by the Macedonian police to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia, Friday, 21 August 2015
There has been unrest on the border between Greece and Macedonia as migrants try to travel towards northern Europe -- BBC News
Discord has erupted in the European Union over the plight of the refugees and the migrants, over who will take an apportioned number and who refuse to do so. The backlash from citizens of various European countries who have witnessed the gradual decay of their culture and their society as it is transformed into one wholly unfamiliar to them and distressing beyond words has warned their leaders that enough had long since reached their shores.

Migrants arrive in Kos (19 August)
  Fifty thousand people arrived on the shores of the Greek islands in July-- BBC News

Citizens of war-ravaged Syria debate whether to slip under the multiple layers of barbed wire into Hungary or to surrender their cash to smugglers to get them further into Europe. Germany, Austria, hopefully. The refugees are tired, exhausted, fatigued, dispirited, how much trudging in oppressive heat can people endure? The unfit, the children, the wounded, it is all too inhumanely miserable. They set out to find a haven for themselves, not this misery.

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Freeing Fahmy

"Canada continues to call on Egypt for the immediate and full release of Mr. Fahmy, and full co-operation to facilitate his return home."
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

"Canada is disappointed with Mohamed Fahmy's conviction. This decision severely undermines confidence in the rule of law in Egypt. The government of Canada continues to call on the Egyptian government to use all the tools at its disposal to resolve Mr. Fahmy's case and allow his immediate return to Canada."
"Senior Canadian officials in Canada and in Cairo are pressing Egyptian authorities on Mr. Fahmy's case. [Canadian authorities are] advocating for the same treatment of Mr. Fahmy as other foreign nationals have received."
Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ottawa

"Canada has consistently called for Mr. Fahmy's full and immediate release, and this is what we will continue to be doing."
Canadian Ambassador to Egypt, Troy Lylashnyk

"We're profoundly concerned about the conviction Our consular officials in Cairo have been working with great focus on this issue. We have reached out to the Egyptian government at the highest levels, and we'll continue to do so to represent the interests of Mr. Fahmy."
"In some of these consular cases, the most effective thing is not always to get out with a megaphone."
Defence Minister Jason Kenney, Ottawa, Canada

Al-Jazeera journalist Canadian Mohamed Fahmy, accused along with Egyptian Baher Mohamed of supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood in their coverage for the Qatari-owned broadcaster, talks to human rights lawyer representing him, Amal Clooney during his trial in Cairo on Saturday. The court sentenced Fahmy and Mohamed, along with Australian journalist Peter Greste who was tried in absentia after his deportation early this year, to three years in prison. KHALED DESOUKI / AFP/Getty Images
Asking for the "immediate return" of Egyptian-born Mohamed Fahmy reflects what countries are supposed to do on behalf of their nationals who get in trouble abroad. Mr. Fahmy is often described as a 'Canadian' journalist. He is an Egyptian who works as a journalist abroad, and he decided to take employment with the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, as its station head in Cairo, Egypt. Nice fit, that, an Egyptian working for a Qatari news source.

As an Egyptian Mr. Fahmy cannot have been ignorant of the politics involved in the Middle East. As a journalist he must have known how suspicious most Middle East countries are of Al-Jazeera's coverage. The news empire funded by oil-rich Qatar is not neutral in its reportage; it reflects the values of Qatar. And Qatar is a staunch supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, of Hamas, and it has links to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Egypt freed itself of the curse of the Muslim Brotherhood and has declared it and its offshoot Hamas terrorist groups. Egyptian authorities have their hands full, coping with the infiltration of Brotherhood Islamists within the country, and its actions in the Sinai Peninsula where Salafist Bedouin, Hamas, al-Qaeda affiliates and Islamist Jihad, along with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, are in common league with the Brotherhood.

Under these circumstances it is hardly surprising that Egyptian authorities fail to look kindly upon anyone working with and for Al-Jazeera, particularly in the critical time of dissent and violence when the presidency of Mohammed Morsi was revoked by Egyptian dissatisfaction with his disastrous year's rule and the former chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces who had warned Mr. Morsi he was on a dangerous trajectory, took formal reigns of the country, later to be elected president by popular demand.

So Mr. Fahmy, along with his co-accused, were of a certainty aware of all this background, yet they chose to pursue a story with the Qatari bias which would only enrage Egyptian authorities at a time of chaotic destabilization. And Mr. Fahmy, in a desperate ploy to be exiled from his native country, chose to divest himself of his dual citizenship, in the belief that he, like one of his colleagues, would be permitted to return to the country to which he latterly pledged loyalty as a citizen.

Peter Greste was returned to Australia, and the third co-accused, Baher Mohamed, sentenced to three years' imprisonment at this second trial, a native Egyptian like Mr. Fahmy, must remain where he is. Countries in the Middle East in particular, whether they term themselves as democracies or not, tend to be harsh on journalistic freedom. Russia, Turkey, Venezuela, China and any other countries ruled by autocrats and dictators are known as unfriendly to journalists.

The three Al-Jazeera-employed journalists defend themselves by claiming they were only doing their jobs as journalists, and given by whom they were employed their job was obviously to report the news from a particular perspective, often quite unpopular in the countries from which they do their reporting. Arguing that they're pawns in a geopolitical conflict, also argues that they might have and likely should have diagnosed the conditions under which they were employed and forecasted a likely outcome.

Mr. Fahmy is one of those Canadian citizens of passport-convenience. He arrived in Canada with his family in 1991, and after completing his journalism education, chose to exit Canada for work abroad. That the Egyptian government considers the news network for which Mr. Fahmy worked as little more than a propaganda arm of Qatar cannot have been news to Mr. Fahmy. Knowing the obvious did not deter his work as their Cairo station manager. Obviously the job had appeal for him, and obviously he decided to take any risks that came with it.

With the removal of Mohammed Morsi from the presidency and the installation of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, it should have been predictably obvious that supporters of the previous president and the party he represented would be persona non grata in Egypt. Justice Hassan Farid stated that the three English-language journalists had broadcast "false news ... with the aim of harming the country", that they imported broadcasting equipment sans approval, and without permission broadcast from their hotel.

"What I am asking for right now is Mr. Harper to intervene. It's time for him to prove that he can help and support a Canadian citizen. I believe this [verdict] is extreme injustice and extremely unfair", stated Mr. Fahmy's wife, Marwa. Well, holding Canadian citizenship does ensure that consular officials will be involved when a Canadian abroad runs into trouble. But Canadian citizens are individuals and make choices at their own discretion, not involving the government.

Canada can, and will continue with its diplomatic overtures in an attempt to have Mr. Fahmy freed of incarceration. His native country feels that one of their own behaved as a traitor to the best interests of the nation. Under circumstances such as this, there is just so much and no more that diplomacy can accomplish. But quiet diplomacy that permits each side some dignity when one or the other retreats from a position to please the other, is certainly the way to go. 

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pre-Emptive Inaction

"The discussions on this case continue; they continue very frequently. They are taking part both locally, nationally, internationally."
Spokesperson, Canada Border Services Agency

"We don't want them to just walk away."
Nazia Khalid, press secretary, Pakistani High Commission, Ottawa
A video screen shows Jahanzeb Malik, 33, making an appearance at the Immigration Refugee Board hearing in Toronto on Monday, May 11, 2015.
Stewart Bell / National Post   A video screen shows Jahanzeb Malik, 33, making an appearance at the Immigration Refugee Board hearing in Toronto on Monday, May 11, 2015.

What does any self-respecting nation do when it is alerted to the fact that members of terrorist groups have appeared on their soil, and may be planning terrorist attacks? Why, just what Canada has done; arrested the presumed threats to the country. And, since they are citizens of another country, their deportation is a matter of primary importance.

The first action is to ensure that they are not left at large to pursue any nefarious, injurious-to-society activities, the second is to rid the country of their presence.

Pakistan is a Muslim country whose relations with its neighbours are fraught; both India and Afghanistan have Pakistan to thank for violence and ongoing threats to their own security. Pakistan and its military and its infamous secret intelligence service is well infiltrated with violence-dedicated Islamists; both Afghanistan and India can attest to their neighbour's deadly interference in their own affairs.

That Pakistan's mountain tribes are independent of central rule, and pose an internal and external threat as well, is another factor in the country's instability with the spectre of this nuclear-armed country failing to safeguard its nuclear warheads from capture by tribal Islamist jihadis. Pakistan's own paranoia and its threats to use nuclear weapons should it believe that neighbouring India may invade, describe it as a menace to the entire geography.

That menace does not stop in the near abroad, but travels elsewhere across the globe. And Canada is the beneficiary of lone Islamists appearing on its shores, portending no good. Muhammad Aqeeq Ansari and Jahanzeb Malik are two men from Pakistan known to have jihadist terrorist connections and aspirations whom Canada is determined to deport to their native Pakistan. Ansari is a member of the terrorist group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan.

And Malik, who has family living in Canada and who arrived in 2007, was arrested on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks, backed by an arsenal of weapons and Islamist materials also in his possession. They both claim concern for their safety should they be returned to Pakistan. As for Pakistani authorities, they would prefer that the two men be kept incarcerated in Canada, courtesy of the Canadian taxpayer.

While neither man faces criminal charges in Canada, their deportation is critical; neither is a Canadian citizen, and the Immigration and Refugee Board has ruled that both represent security threats to the country. The Canada Border Services Agency and Department of Foreign Affairs authorities have been meeting with the Pakistani high commissioner and the Toronto-based consul general of Pakistan.

That the government of Pakistan has not yet arrived at their final decision whether it will agree to the deportations is intolerable. These are their nationals; claiming that they may represent a threat to Pakistan security is an absurdity, given the obvious reality that the entire machinery of government is well infiltrated by threats to their own security. The government policy of the country represents a threat to the country's security.

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Transforming a Muslim "Honour" Killer

"I have concluded that, on the balance of probabilities, there is a substantial likelihood that a jury, acting reasonably, would grant some degree of relief to Humaid and reduce the period of time during which he remains ineligible to apply for parole."
Ontario Superior Court Justice Douglas Rutherford

"The difficult problem, as I see it, is that the alleged beliefs which give the insult added gravity are premised on the notion that women are inferior to men and that violence against women is in some circumstances accepted, if not encouraged. These beliefs are antithetical to fundamental Canadian values, including gender equality. It is arguable that as a matter of criminal law policy, the 'ordinary person' cannot be fixed with beliefs that are irreconcilable with fundamental Canadian values. Criminal law may simply not accept that a belief system which is contrary to those fundamental values should somehow provide the basis for a partial defence to murder."
"[P]rovocation does not shield an accused who has not lost self-control, but has instead acted out of a sense of revenge or a culturally driven sense of the appropriate response to someone else's misconduct."
Federal Court of Appeal
Photo of Aysar Abbas and Adi Humaid was entered as evidence at Humaid's murder trial for stabbing his wife to death in 1999.

In Ottawa, visiting from Dubai where he worked as an engineer, Adi Abdul Humaid became enraged when he assumed that his wife was insinuating she was seeing another man. Aysar Abbas, 46, was chased by her husband who was intent on stabbing her to death. When he was finished, he casually met with friends to have dessert and coffee. So much for his visit to see how his family, living in Ottawa was getting on his absence.

His wife and their children, the oldest a student at University of Ottawa, lived independently of husband and father. His then 13-year-old daughter wrote at the time: "Please tell him that I hate him. He killed my favourite mother and he deserves to stay in prison for life." Now an adult, and a forgiving daughter, she feels he has spent sufficient time behind bars and looks forward to being reunited as a family. "Favourite" mother? How many did she have?

Ottawa police managed to arrest the man shortly before he was scheduled to take a flight back to the United Arab Emirates. At his trial which lasted six weeks, he admitted killing his wife. But, he said, he was a loving Muslim husband. When he took what his wife was telling him as an admission that she had been unfaithful, the thought that his reputation had been dishonoured caused him to go into a psychotic rage; he became, he insisted, mentally impaired when he killed her to appease his rage.

A jury of five women and seven men turned down his manslaughter defence, convicting him in 2002 of first-degree murder. And in Canada, first-degree murder which speaks of pre-meditation, carries an automatic sentence of life imprisonment; 25 years in jail with no opportunity of parole within that period of time. He was, accordingly, not scheduled for release until October 2024, on the 25th anniversary of the murder.

The man appealed his sentence. In 2006 the Supreme Court of Canada refused his appeal on conviction for first-degree murder. His claim that his wife insinuated infidelity, causing him to lose control in reflection of the significance in Islamic custom and law of female betrayal of obligations to male honour in Islamic religion and culture had no bearing on the legal opinion of the Supreme Court, and they refused his appeal.

The now-62-year-old Humaid, who during his incarceration has become known as a Muslim leader in Canadian prisons has been given an opportunity to appear before an early parole board hearing having succeeded in his "faint-hope" application. Ontario Superior Court Justice Rutherford in screening the application ruled that a jury be empaneled to hear the case for early parole eligibility.

The reviewed application included letters of support from his children, as well as from an Anglican deacon who had met the killer while he was awaiting trial in 1999. A federal prison teacher became acquainted with Humaid and hired him in prison as a math tutor for Muslin inmates. Leading Friday prayers, he also organizes religious events and "makes sure that younger inmates learn that Islam is a religion of peace", according to the teacher. "He has been a remarkable role model for them."

Having completed a family violence course, he is considered to represent a low risk to re-offend. Re-offend? How many wives does he have? A prison report states he has made "beneficial progress" in the moderation of his views and attitudes toward women's roles in life, and acceptable responses to infidelity and tolerance for "deviations from his own value system."

While victim-impact statements during his sentencing hearing in 2002 moved Crown attorneys and veteran detectives to wipe away tears, the man at the centre of the hearing appeared unmoved, twiddling his thumbs in apparent boredom. As the leopard will not change his spots, a man in whom Islamist and cultural norms of female subjugation, and honour revenge as punishment for deviations from the cultural norm, is not likely to turn around his deeply-held value system.

While his children may believe, as they have stated, that a 'second chance' is warranted, there will be no second chance for their mother. Under the circumstances of her death and the behaviour of her husband after her brutal death, that he can be assumed to have paid his debt for his crime, seems unjustified. Assurances that he represents a 'role model' for younger Muslim prison inmates begs the question of what kind of role model?

Canada's prisons are known to be hotbeds of Islamist 'restlessness', where the concept of jihad is quite popularly embraced. 

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Gatestone Institute

  • That a serious Christian can place political agreement with an intransigent enemy before the simple morality of calling for an immediate end to terrorism beggars belief.
  • Given that the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel or the rights of the Jewish people, the Pope's recognizing a state of Palestine seems a contradictory gesture. By making this badly-thought-out choice, the Vatican simply encourages the Palestinians in their conviction that their tactics of violence, rejection of peace offers and glorification of terrorists and suicide bombers across their towns and villages is, regardless of all morality and prudent policy, the right course of action.
  • If morality is at stake, it will also enthuse them to continue with the lies about Jews, hate videos, hate preaching, false historicism, and school textbooks and TV shows that teach children to despise Jews as "sons of apes and pigs." Is that what the Vatican really wants? Is that a goal remotely in keeping with the wishes of Pope Francis?
  • "Christian children are massacred, and everything is done in plain sight. Islamists proclaim on a daily basis that they will not stop until Christianity is wiped off the face of the earth. So are the world Christian bodies denouncing the Islamic forces for the ethnic cleansing, genocide and historic demographic-religious revolution their brethren is [sic] suffering? No. Christians these days are busy targeting the Israeli Jews. The Pope, who should represent the voice of one billion Catholics around the world, was not busy these days in writing an encyclical against the Islamic persecution of Christians. No, the Catholic Church was very busy in signing a historic agreement with the "State of Palestine," a non-existent entity which, if it (God forbid) should be created, would be the first state after the Nazi Germany to officially ban the Jews and expel the remnant of its Christians." – Giulio Meotti, journalist.
  • One might safely assume that Jesus would never have approved of Palestinian anti-Semitism, the preaching of bilious hatred, or the infliction of violence on innocent followers of the community to which he himself and his mother belonged.
  • According to Jerusalem Post columnist Max Samarov, "In a defining moment, UCC [United Church of Christ] officials rejected an amendment calling on the church to listen to Israeli perspectives and encourage cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians." Clearly, a search for truth and an openness to dialogue form no part of the UCC's agenda.
When the Vatican recognized a self-proclaimed "State of Palestine" on June 22, 2015, it not only defied international law -- there is no such state to recognize -- it acted immorally in religious terms.
In July, the Holy See praised the controversial nuclear deal between Iran and several Western states and said it viewed the agreement in "a positive light." According to the Catholic News Agency, Bishop Oscar Cantu of New Mexico stated, applying a logic that defies understanding, that "Iran's hostility to its neighbors in the Middle East is all the more reason for the international agreement on its nuclear program." The agreement will allow Iran to acquire as many nuclear bombs as it likes after ten years, or sooner, plus the intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver them to America.
Pope Francis rightly declares himself to be a man of peace, a religious pontiff and statesman dedicated to an end to violence everywhere on the globe, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, where fanaticism and slaughter are almost ubiquitous.
But why, then, would the Vatican, a city-state ruled by the Pope, give recognition to a would-be state that for over 67 years has been dominated by war and terrorism? The would-be state is also, according to a 2014 Anti-Defamation League poll, the most anti-Semitic in the world, with a political consensus that calls for the killing or expulsion of Jews. In current Palestinian theory, this slaughter would lead to the eradication of Israel and its replacement by an irredentist "State of Palestine," which, in its turn, would quickly be transformed into a fundamentalist jihad state.
To be fair, Pope Francis himself has said (in an e-mail to Portuguese-Israeli journalist Henrique Cymerman) that "Whoever does not recognize the Jewish People and the State of Israel falls in anti-Semitism." But given that the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel or the rights of the Jewish people, recognizing a state of Palestine seems a contradictory gesture.
By making this badly-thought-out choice, the Vatican simply encourages the Palestinians in their conviction that their tactics of violence, rejection of peace offers (however generous), and glorification of terrorists and suicide bombers across their towns and villages is, regardless of all morality and prudent policy, the right course of action. And if morality is at stake, it will also enthuse them to continue with the clutter of lies about Jews, hate videos, myth-making, hate preaching, false historicism, and the use of school textbooks and TV shows that teach children to despise Jews as "sons of apes and pigs." Is that what the Vatican really wants? Is that a goal remotely in keeping with the wishes of Pope Francis?
According to Italian journalist Giulio Meotti, the Vatican has been engaged in a deliberate coldness towards Israel since the emergence of Zionism at the end of the 19th century and the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948. He has advanced this argument at length in his 2013 study The Vatican Against Israel: J'Accuse. In a short article dated July 3, 2015, Meotti expands this argument. He does so by pointing out the shocking disparity in what so many churches do by focussing on Israel instead of acting to defend their own coreligionists in the Middle East.
Christianity is dying in Syria and Iraq. Christian churches are demolished, Christian crosses are burned and replaced with flags of the Islamic State, Christian houses are destroyed, entire Christian communities are displaced, Christian children are massacred, and everything is done in plain sight. Islamists proclaim on a daily basis that they will not stop until Christianity is wiped off the face of the earth.
So are the world Christian bodies denouncing the Islamic forces for the ethnic cleansing, genocide and historic demographic-religious revolution their brethren is [sic] suffering? No. Christians these days are busy targeting the Israeli Jews.
The Pope, who should represent the voice of one billion Catholics around the world, was not busy these days in writing an encyclical against the Islamic persecution of Christians. No, the Catholic Church was very busy in signing a historic agreement with the "State of Palestine," a non-existent entity which, if it (God forbid) should be created, would be the first state after the Nazi Germany to officially ban the Jews and expel the remnant of its Christians.
We should pause here to ask why the Catholic Church has moved in this direction. It is, in part, a legacy of its centuries-old anti-Semitism, something that existed officially until the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1965, specified in Pope Paul VI's encyclical Nostra Aetate, beginning in article 4 with the words, "As the sacred synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham's stock." Unofficially, however, that underlying anti-Semitism continues, and nowhere more visibly than in the modern Catholic embrace of Marxist, socialist, postmodernist and other theories and -- crucially -- praxis, the putting into action of philosophical, theological or ideological ideas.
Although a concept with a long history in philosophy, praxis in the modern period has a particular association with Marxist thought. This strand, which has a marked influence on the Church even at the highest levels, is rooted in the beliefs of Liberation Theology, an approach to Christian practice that emerged in Latin America after the 1950s and has since spread worldwide. In its essential principles, Liberation Theology is rooted in genuine Christian belief, linked to the message of Jesus in his sermon known as the Beatitudes. It is "an interpretation of Christian faith out of the experience of the poor... an attempt to read the Bible and key Christian doctrines with the eyes of the poor".[1]
In Latin America and some other places, however, this "option for the poor" embraced support for "liberation" movements, even violent ones. It is this that has led many Catholics to support the Palestinians in their struggle not just for "liberation" from Israeli so-called "occupation" but for the replacement of Israel by a wider Palestinian state -- one that is being eyed for a new "occupation" by terrorists such as Hamas and ISIS.
Today, there are many forms of Liberation Theology, from Brazilian to Black to Feminist. There is even a Palestinian version supported by many Palestinian Christians and by pro-Palestinians abroad. Many Liberation theologians seem to have been deeply influenced by Marxist and socialist theory, and for this reason the Church originally rejected it. Over the years, however, there has been a growing shift towards similar approaches. General Ion Mihai Pacepa, formerly of the Romanian secret police, has claimed (with perhaps some exaggeration) that Liberation Theology was created by the Soviet Union, specifically by the KGB, meaning that it was part of a wider campaign to undermine the capitalist system in the West. Western "fellow travellers" who unwittingly furthered Soviet policies in Europe and North America were to be joined by unwitting theologians and laypeople.
If that is correct, it has certainly left a mark. Christian Communist Liberation Theology dates back as far as the work of Father Thomas J. Hagerty, a priest from New Mexico and a co-founder of Industrial Workers of the World in the late 19th and early twentieth centuries. It continues down to the present day. A more focussed version of this is the movement known as Christians on the Left (since 2013), formerly the Christian Socialist Movement from the 1960s. Non-denominational, it is allied to the British Labour Party's left, is politically active, and seeks to "change the system" in order to make society more open to socialist political approaches.
Within the Catholic Church, a shift has taken place. Apparently recognizing that many of the goals of priests and laymen involved in work for social justice, help for the poor, assistance for minorities, freedom for slaves, and liberation for the oppressed are entirely above reproach, the Vatican has come to accept the nobly well-intended -- but often sorely misrepresented -- vision of supporting the poor that it had previously, and often perceptively, condemned.
The first sign of this came after 1971, during the reign of Pope Paul VI, who had previously rejected Marxist commitment to work in the world to alleviate suffering through political action. His views softened and he moved the Church in a less conservative direction.
After him, Popes John Paul II, Benedict, and the current Pope, Francis I, came to the position that the Catholic concept of solidarity (in which believers must value all human beings as individuals) was close to the Marxist idea of putting theory into social practice. This change is expressed clearly by Professor Edward Martin and Mateo Pimentel:
The Catholic Church advocates worker participation and contribution in economic matters as a solution to poverty, worker alienation, and exploitation. Such is the case in Marxist and socialist praxis. In this development, Marxist theory and analysis has become a significant part of the Church's critiques of social and economic relationships and its support of human rights, in identifying the causes of poverty and injustice.
To the extent that this alignment of Marxism and Catholic tradition truly does effect the alleviation of suffering, it can only be commended. But sometimes radical political views about poverty that are misrepresented and badly implemented can lead well-meaning Christians ­-- Catholic or not -- into adopting political views that might be less commendable and even lead to injustice.
Foremost in this hijacking of values is the way in which so many Christian churches and NGOs have been led to prioritize hatred for Israel and support for Palestinian "resistance." In doing so, they act under many illusions created by the Palestinians and their socialist and communist (and often Jew-hating) allies, who prey on the hearts and consciences of people of faith: That Israel is an "apartheid state," that Israeli settlements in Judaea and Samaria are illegal under international law, that Israeli occupation of the West Bank is illegal, that Israel deliberately commits war crimes against the Palestinians, and much more. If any of these allegations were true, a Christian response would be wholly understandable. But Christians, like many others, often choose to accept whatever lies the enemies of Israel churn out, without using scepticism, cross-checking information or even exercising common sense.
At an anti-Israel Christian conference some years ago, a representative of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme spoke eloquently for half an hour about the evils of Israeli checkpoints and the damage they did (in an "apartheid" way, of course) to Palestinian victims. It did not once occur to her that there might have been quite a different reason for the presence of checkpoints: the extent to which Palestinians in the past (and even now) have crossed into Israel to blow up innocent Jews and Arabs, shoot them, or knife them. Having experienced many checkpoints in Northern Ireland during the Troubles there, it seemed blindingly obvious to me why Israel would want to protect its citizens in this way. And it should have been obvious to a Christian of good will to see that the prevention of death and injury is more important than the minor inconvenience of waiting in a queue. Yet it was not obvious at all.

Rifat Odeh Kassis, co-author and general coordinator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Kairos Palestine initiative, former head of the WCC's Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, and Special Adviser to the WCC's General Secretary, is pictured above giving an interview to Al-Manar TV, the official TV channel of Lebanon's Hezbollah terrorist organization. (Photo source: Kairos Palestine)

If we pass on from Catholicism to other Christian churches, organizations and NGOs, there seem to be a great many that constantly berate Israel and defend the Palestinians, whatever either side says or does.
One might safely assume that Jesus would never have approved of Palestinian anti-Semitism, the preaching of bilious hatred, or the infliction of violence on innocent followers of the community to which he himself and his mother belonged, not to mention the believers who followed him.
Many Christians have transformed themselves into deeply biased political activists, as much influenced by the anger of Marxist theory as by the teachings of the Gospels. Others, like the movement Sabeel, work at the theological level, stripping Jews of their rights as a people whose identity is derived from a belief in God, a community of people, many of whom believe they have been invested with a deep responsibility to perform tikkun olam, the "repairing of the world." In other words, Jews are single out for abuse despite the fact they were the earliest exponents of social action in the real world, not the next. There is a high level of hypocrisy when Christians who work to repair the world in their way condemn the actions of Israel, a country that has visibly improved the lives of millions.
The view of Christians like Sabeel, who are motivated by the outdated theological doctrine of supersessionism (that the Jews are no longer a people of God and have been replaced in God's eyes by the Christians) is troubling, yet their message chimes with the views of their fellow believers in many places. Beneath that theological façade, however, unfortunately lurks a very real body of incipient or actual anti-Semitism.
The modern period has seen this concern for social activism grow, especially among younger evangelicals.[2]
One well-known evangelical is former US president Jimmy Carter, whose support for the Palestinian cause has been well documented. His 2006 book Peace Not Apartheid has been widely applauded by Palestinians, but deeply criticized by the former head of the Carter Center, Kenneth Starr, who resigned because of the book's countless factual errors and lies that he lamented Carter refused to correct. The book was also strongly criticized by Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (in The Deadliest Lies, chapter 5) and others. Carter states that the Palestinians should only end "the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel" -- in contravention of the Oslo Accords, in which both parties agreed to negotiate a peace.
That a serious Christian can place political agreement with an intransigent enemy before the simple morality of calling for an immediate end to terrorism beggars belief. Yet Carter is not alone.
Christian political activists work for the most part through NGOs, covering their views and actions under the allure of goodwill to all men or a vocation of reconciliation. To the extent that they want peace, they are to be congratulated. But all too often, the sorry truth seems to be that their choice is to subvert a fair and just peace by advocating the "Palestinian solution" -- namely, the use of violent and potentially genocidal methods to defeat, expel and ideally slaughter the Jews. This gives cause for the gravest concern.
Not only that, but the views of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and possibly a majority of Palestinians (and certainly their leadership) are based on strict adherence to Islamic shari'a law, which maintains that any territory, once conquered, must belong to the Islamic political theocracy in perpetuity. Any such territory, if it should escape from Muslim hegemony (as happened in Spain, Portugal and India) must be brought back within the fold by subterfuge or, if necessary, violence -- a plan that will inevitably lead to disastrous consequences for Christians, Jews, and other non-Muslims.
How thoroughly ironic is it then, that Christians who support Palestinian irredentism thereby endorse the application of a legal system that claims to have superseded all others, especially the judicial norms of Christian countries.
Adherence to shari'a norms also constitutes a slap in the face to modern international law, to the principles of the Enlightenment, and to the Christian ethics of tolerance, fairness, and the pursuit of truth.
According to the Dutch scholar Rudolph Peters, the Islamic version of international law is based entirely on the existing laws governing jihad: whatever is inside shari'a law is legal, whatever is outside shari'a law is not. If another legal system (national or international) contradicts shari'a rulings, then it is deemed illegal. Hence, UN resolutions, the mandate system of the League of Nations, and any number of treaties are regarded as invalid by radicals in Hamas, Islamic Jihad, ISIS, al-Qaeda and other organizations. Why would Christian churches, in their pursuit of peace, want to endorse that? No doubt they will say they do not, even as they turn the other cheek to the terrorists who now are slaughtering and enslaving Christians across the Middle East.
Ironically, those who support the Palestinians do support shari'a law -- by default -- as Hamas and other Palestinian groups cite jihad as their reason for being. According to Article 13 of the Hamas Charter (the Mithaq Harakat al-Islamiyya al-Filastiniyya), for instance, "there is no solution to the Palestinian problem except through jihad" (la hall li'l-qadiyya al-filastiniyya illa bi'l-jihad).
More than that, overt Christian support for Islamic intolerance and war constitutes an outright denial of their own scriptures. Regardless of what the Qur'an really says, many devout Muslims, including Palestinians, consider the Old and New Testaments to have been misinterpreted or, at worst, falsified by Jews and Christians. More than that, this doctrine (known as tahrif) has allowed Palestinian preachers and intellectuals to overturn the entire narrative of the Tanakh, the Jewish Bible. They do this by claiming that they themselves are the real descendants of an ancient Palestine, dating back many thousands or even tens of thousands of years. The corollary is that there was never any Jewish presence there at all, no land of Israel, no people of Israel. They maintain there was never a first or second Jewish Temple, that other Jewish shrines -- such as the Cave of the Patriarchs (Ma'arat Ha-Machpelah) in Hebron -- are really Muslim shrines, and that the prophesied return of the Jews to the Holy Land is false. Now, to be frank, this contradicts many verses in the Qur'an and other early Islamic writings as much as it flies in the face of all sound historical texts and archaeological evidence. Even a ten-year-old child can see clearly just how falsified the Palestinian narrative of its origins is.
There seems to be no let-up in Christian-inspired actions against Israel. On June 30 this year, the United Church of Christ (UCC), a socially liberal million-strong protestant denomination in the United States, voted 508 to 124 in favour of divestment and boycott, with 38 abstentions. It was one of two resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict debated by the church. The resolution that called the actions of Israel, in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, "acts of apartheid," received 51% of the vote, but it failed to reach the two-thirds majority it needed to be passed. Had it been passed, the UCC would have been the first American church to describe Israeli behaviour as apartheid.
According to Jerusalem Post columnist Max Samarov, "during the UCC conference, when a dissenting speaker lamented that the UCC 'did not allow' mainstream Jews and Israelis to have a voice at the table, few voters seemed to care. In a defining moment, UCC officials rejected an amendment calling on the church to listen to Israeli perspectives and encourage cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians." Clearly, a search for truth and an openness to dialogue form no part of the UCC's agenda, which remains opposed to any initiatives outside their rigidly enforced political dogma. And all this in the United States, a country built on democratic standards.
This vote was in keeping with two earlier resolutions against Israel, such as one that called for Israel to tear down its anti-terror security barrier with the West Bank -- but without asking the Palestinians to cease their terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. That a Christian church should call for an act that would result in dozens and eventually hundreds of murders of innocent Israelis leaves anyone with a sense of conscience aghast.
Writing for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Dexter Van Zile remarks that
"Not only did the UCC's 2015 General Synod fail to speak up about the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and the violence and ideology of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah in its resolutions, it did not offer up any official condemnation of ISIS and Boko Haram, two groups that have engaged in horrific crimes against humanity on two different continents – often specifically targeting Christians. The General Synod also failed to condemn the Syrian government, which has repeatedly used chemical weapons against its own citizens in that country's civil war.
"The conclusion is inescapable: As a body, the UCC's General Synod is irrationally obsessed with Israel and indifferent to Arab and Muslim misdeeds, no matter how outrageous and horrific. Misdeeds perpetrated by Arabs and Muslims simply do not offend the sensibilities of the UCC's deliberative body with the same force as Israel's efforts to defend itself from terrorism. This distorted focus immeasurably harms Muslim and Christian victims of Islamist aggression who warrant world attention and rescue."
In 2014, the Presbyterian Church (USA) approved a resolution to divest from three companies that supplied Israel with equipment used in the West Bank, the resolution passed without due application to the actual legal status of the territory administered by Israel.
In May 2015, another Protestant evangelical and Pentecostal movement sponsored a Global Congress in Jerusalem. Empowered 21 is a worldwide organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which claims to represent 640,000 believers. This organization, which has grandiose plans to evangelize every person on earth by 2033 (an objective not only beyond its means but flatly impossible in any Muslim country) nevertheless seeks to play a role in world affairs. Its chief problem lies in its collaboration with Palestinian Christian leaders who demonize Jews, delegitimize Israel, and present a supersessionist theology. It sponsors two of the most important anti-Israel Christian groups in the region, the Bethlehem Bible College and the Christ at the Checkpoint conferences. These conferences perpetuate the doctrine that Jews are an obstacle to God's purpose in the world. They present a version of replacement theology couched in Palestinian terms, claiming that Jesus and the first Christians (in Jerusalem) were not Jews but the ancestors of today's Palestinians, regarded as the indigenous inhabitants of the land and the only people with a right to it.
It is important to note that the General Synod of the UCC (referred to above) invited Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, the pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, to deliver a sermon at a service held the night before the votes on Israel. According to a report by CAMERA:
"During his talk, Raheb wrote the Jewish people out of their scriptures and out of the Land of Israel itself, repeatedly referring to the people of ancient Israel as 'the Palestinians' or the 'people of Palestine.' He did, however, use the word Israel in reference to the 'occupation'. Raheb's ugly effort to write the Jews out of the Bible is contrary to the spirit and letter of a resolution passed by the UCC's 1987 General Synod which condemned replacement theology (which it referred to as 'supersessionism'), but that did not stop delegates from giving the pastor a standing ovation."
It has been argued that anti-Zionism within many churches is "a symptom of the death throes of mainline Protestantism."
"All of the denominations that have gone into the camp of advocacy for divestment, divestment and sanctions are losing members at a catastrophic pace. For example: the United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church have all lost around 30% of their membership over the last couple of decades.... Within the whole body of Christian[s] in our part of the world [the U.S.] these Liberal-Protestant denominations are losing membership by very large factors, while those denominations that have stood apart from the WCC [World Council of Churches] have been gaining in membership, by approximately the same factors."
This may, in part, explain why the mainline churches have moved to the radical left on several issues, including support of the Palestinians, in an effort to win back members from a population that is generally more liberal than, say, fifty years ago. But it does not explain why so many evangelical and Pentecostal denominations, as we have seen, share this anti-Zionism while being, for the most part, more conservative in their social views. Nor should it diminish our awareness of the role churches and other bodies linked to the WCC still play in promoting BDS and generally propagating a pro-Palestinian narrative that plays into calls for the abolition of Israel and the expulsion or genocide of the Jewish population there.
Under the influence of Christian Aid, a World Council of Churches affiliate with a marked socialist agenda, many churches in Britain are also engaged in boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activities.
According to Chana Shapira, writing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:
Christian Aid works to influence public opinion and policy with a two-pronged approach of Israel-delegitimization and funding of far-left pro-Palestinian organizations. It also works with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel and Palestine (EAPPI), a project of the World Council of Churches that recruits volunteers to participate in on-site propaganda tours, and then work as activists back home. In very loose terms, Christian Aid provides funding and EAPPI provides personnel.
Pro-Palestinian positions are advanced while there is a complete absence of any representation of moderate Israeli viewpoints. Errors of omission are frequent. 'Israeli' statements generally appear as anonymous, unverifiable remarks allegedly made by Israelis who defame Israel and the IDF.
Christian Aid's biased agenda is supported by WCC member churches. Although it is not clear that these in fact represent the majority views of church members, this is the policy view adhered to by the clerical elites. The volume of material condemning Israel's policies overwhelmingly dwarfs the few official statements supporting Israel's right to exist.
Shapira's lengthy and fully referenced article is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the impact of Christian Aid in the UK, where it is supported by a government agency, the Department for International Development, and a group of 41 churches. She provides a detailed breakdown of major UK churches, Anglicans, Methodists and others, and their work with Christian Aid's agenda. Outside the UK, Christian Aid supports Marxist and socialist political NGOs such as B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence, a stance that contradicts the organization's stated aims of relieving poverty.
Depressing as this all is, there are glimmers of hope in unexpected places. In Israel, a multi-party group within parliament formed the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus in order to strengthen cooperation between Christians in general and the state of Israel. Its mission statement reads as follows:
The mission of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus is to build direct lines of communication cooperation and coordination between the Knesset and Christian leaders around the world. We strive to establish relationships between the members of Knesset and leaders of Churches, Christian organizations and political representatives throughout the globe.
The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus has attracted an increasingly diverse and growing number of Christian leaders globally. The Caucus works with Christians who support Israel alongside those who are undecided on their position towards Israel. Many Christians recognize that their belief in the Bible connects them to the land and the people of Israel. On this basis, we work together to achieve our goals.
Also in Israel, the Christian Empowerment Council, headed by Father Gabriel Naddaf, a controversial Greek Orthodox priest from the Aramean community, works hard to integrate Christian Arabs into Israeli society, encouraging enrolment in the Israel Defense Force through a separate organization, the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum, for which he is the spiritual leader. Naddaf has written feelingly about the opposition to his work among many Arab Christians and Palestinians, opposition that has led to death threats, his excommunication, and constant harassment. Isolated though he may be, he has brought large numbers of young Christian Arabs to join the IDF and integrate fully into Israeli life.
In the United States Christians United for Israel, a large lobbying group, has been described by the Washington Post as "America's largest and most dependable pro-Israel group." Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer has said, "I do not know of an organization in the world more important to Israel than CUFI."
According to CUFI, with a membership of two million, it has "driven hundreds of thousands of emails to government officials, held 2,162 pro-Israel events in cities and towns across the country, garnered more than 1.2 million Facebook fans, brought 304 leading pastors to Israel on 12 Pastors Leadership Tours, has trained more 2,500 students on how best to stand with Israel, presently has recognized college chapters on 140 campuses as well as an active presence at an additional 163 universities."
CUFI has now opened a branch in the United Kingdom, where it has started to work along similar lines, but with a smaller following. It follows in the footsteps of a much older UK organization, Christian Friends of Israel (CFI), a non-denominational body with activists across the country. CFI also has branches throughout the world, and has had a centre in Jerusalem since 1985. Over the past year, Nigel Goodrich, a Christian pastor in Scotland, has successfully created some seven Friends of Israel groups in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dumfries and Galloway, and elsewhere, and has organized large conferences attended mainly by Christians but also Jews, who are acting solidly with him and his following. This author has lectured at his conferences in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and can affirm the genuine enthusiasm and love of Israel displayed by the audiences. Inspired by Goodrich's example, Glasgow Friends of Israel now runs a weekly stall in Buchanan Street, where the vicious anti-Israel Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign have held sway for many years.
Clearly, there is a new momentum within some Christian churches that presents a serious challenge to those denominations that are anti-Zionist. Where organizations such as Christian Aid seem more motivated by political considerations and adaptations of Marxist philosophy, these new supporters of Israel appear to be inspired by a love for the Bible and the rights it offers to Israel and its people, the Jews.
It is too early to say, but a shift seems to be taking place. As Christians in the West become more and more aware of the slaughter and expulsion of Christians in the Middle East, and the ongoing war of Muslim extremists against them, many have started to realize that the enemy they now face is the same enemy the Jews have been facing for centuries, especially since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
There may yet come a time when Christians opposed to Israel understand that its abolition would mean the end of any protection for their fellow believers across the region and a dramatic clampdown on Christian freedom across the Muslim world.
Dr. Denis MacEoin formerly lectured in the Religious Studies Department at Newcastle University.

[1] Philip Berryman, Liberation Theology: Essential Facts about the Revolutionary Movement in Latin America–and Beyond, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, (1987), p. 4.
[2] "In a 2000 Princeton University survey, nearly two-thirds of U.S. evangelicals considered themselves liberal or (especially) moderate rather than conservative. In another survey in 2009, 35 percent of evangelicals were Democrats, 34 percent Republicans, and the rest independents. Many views of evangelicals defy stereotypes; for example, in 2008, 60 percent of evangelicals felt that the government should help the poor more." From "The Evangelical Left in History and Today" by Craig S. Keener, Huffington Post, April 19, 2012.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Insanity of the Faithful

"The issue before me is not whether Esseghaier was fit at the time when his trial commenced or concluded. Rather the issue is whether he is fit now, at the time of sentencing."
"It can be seen that Esseghaier made coherent and explainable decisions not to retain counsel, to represent himself at trial and to remain silent for the most part.
"In my view there is not a scintilla of evidence from the pretrial and trial record to suggest he was unfit to stand trial nor did anyone ever raise the matter at trial or suggest otherwise."
"Dr. Ramshaw’s report and testimony contained a number of serious flaws."
“"I am left with an unsatisfactory psychiatric assessment to which I can presently attach little or no weight. Accordingly, this is a proper case to allow the Crown to seek a further assessment by a different psychiatrist."
"The biggest difficulty I’m having is with jurisdiction. The whole Criminal Code regime for fitness at trial has nothing to do with this case."
Justice Michael Code, Toronto

"This report of Ramshaw, it’s wrongful and false. It’s lying. You know very well that I am very healthy in terms of mental and in terms of psychology."
"I don’t want to listen to the lies of this woman."

"If one of those two options are not fulfilled, [Ramshaw withdraw her report or court remove her assessment from his file], I will not accept the second assessment. I will fight up to my death, I don’t care."
Chiheb Esseghaier, convicted Islamist terrorist

Chiheb Esseghaier was found guilty in March of plotting to derail a Via Rail train.
Chris Young/The Canadian Press   Chiheb Esseghaier was found guilty in March of plotting to derail a Via Rail train.
"As a consequence of (Esseghaier’s) psychosis, that is his loss of touch with reality and his delusional beliefs, it is my opinion that he is not able to communicate and participate in the court proceedings."
"He believes he is a visitor to the court."
Dr. Lisa Ramshaw, senior forensic psychiatrist, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, Toronto
So there has emerged a question whether or not the 32-year-old doctoral student from Tunisia, studying at Quebec’s prestigious Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), when he was granted a student visa in 2010 and enrolled as a PhD student in the field of biosensors, is fully sane. On the record of a devout Muslim, purporting to represent the interests of other Muslim students enrolled at the INRS, he insisted that a prayer room be set aside for the use of Muslim students.

This demand is consistent with what Muslim students generally feel entitled to.

The man received an award acknowledging his success in designing a useful biotechnology tool. He was described as socially awkward, had less than a practical sense in ordinary matters, but he was fanatical about his religion, and his belief in the Koran was absolute. How is it possible that a man possessed of highly technical ability, one who was capable of creating a sophisticated device useful to medical science, a man who travelled abroad to attend scientific conferences is not legally sane?

The question has arisen, that if he is psychologically unhinged how can he be held responsible for plotting along with his accomplice Raed Jaser, to create a violent railway bridge catastrophe in southern Ontario? According to Toronto forensic psychiatrist Dr. Lisa Ramshaw, the man likely suffers from schizophrenia. "He had no apparent filter and talked about whatever was on his mind, from his religious beliefs to his wet dreams."

Sounds like the typical Islamist jihadist, those who are capable of setting aside any absurd notion of human rights for the greater pleasure of unleashing their psychotic impulses as agents of Islamic conquest, for they are enjoined by the most elemental precepts of Islam that it is their duty to engage in jihad to expand Islamic rule until the world contains none but those who worship the only true religion, having destroyed all those who refuse their implacable invitation.

To tolerant Westerners that focus on conquest, the willingness to commit atrocities to gain that goal, the exhibitionist beheadings, crucifixions, suicide bombings, slavery, mass rape and group executions seem insanely inhumane, but they do exemplify what Islamist jihadis celebrate as victories on the way to total conquest. To the West, with its heightened awareness of the sensitivity of Muslims to perceived slights against the Prophet Mohammad, or Islam, criticism is to be avoided.

Chiheb Esseghaier is possessed of the very same demon that drives all Islamist jihadists. He is somewhat tetched in the sense of being frankly honest about his intentions and his beliefs, presenting as a naif in some ways, but an unreconstructed jihadist in all others, prepared to sacrifice innocent lives to the greater glory of achieving the final and complete Islamic Caliphate. His misfortune is that he was caught as a result of his clumsy lack of caution.

Simply put: he trusted someone whom he believed was a devout, jihad-supporting Muslim.

That he demanded to be tried not in a court of Canadian law, but by Koranic law, is simply a reflection of all true Muslim fundamentalists' demands, unwilling to recognize man-made jurisprudence, holding that only Sharia as the expression of Islamic principles would be capable of judging him as a loyal and honourable mujahideen in the global movement to enthrone international Islam.

As a Tunisian he is following the path that many have taken. Tunisia was the first of the Arab countries to experience the horribly misnamed "Arab Spring". It was also the only one not roiled by violence. As an Arab nation it was also fairly cosmopolitan in outlook, quite westernized, and prided itself on its democracy, even while its government was horribly corrupt. And it is at the present time, the Arab country which has contributed a greater number of Islamist jihadists to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant than any other.

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Gatestone Institute

  • Beneath a vexing tangle of funding operations -- most hiding under a pretense of "good works," "humanitarian aid," and "public interest" -- there is at work a sophisticated, multi-faceted, well-oiled propaganda machine against Israel.
  • A chief concern in the Knesset is how to curb the influx of millions of foreign dollars used to fund anti-Israel hate-groups operating as NGOs. These organizations are accused of using their "human rights" designation to mask a deceptive advocacy agenda to undermine, and even to destroy, Israel.
  • When Israel works to build "bridges for peace," such as SodaStream, where Arabs and Jews worked peacefully together, these organizations then knock them down.
  • Apparently, no one at World Vision asks the obvious question: Why are there even refugee camps in territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, such as Gaza, Jenin and Ramallah? Not only have those areas been under exclusive PA or Hamas civilian administration since 1994, but Israel totally evacuated the Gaza Strip in 2005.
There is a European "jihad" against Israel. A significant number of activist groups -- presenting themselves as international humanitarian aid and charitable projects designed to benefit the Palestinian people -- are actually "directly or indirectly active in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions(BDS) campaigns, lawfare, delegitimization and lobbying against Israel," according to a detailed report by NGO Monitor.
Every year, European governments send hundreds of millions of dollars for humanitarian aid projects in Palestinian territories. Ostensibly, the money is intended for projects such as improving medical care, alleviating poverty, improving schools, or enhancing infrastructure.
But beneath the surface lurk more venomous political advocacy agendas apparently designed to undermine Israel as a nation-state.
Some of these European governments give money directly to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Others funnel it through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are present themselves as charitable groups.
These governments and European-funded NGOs, however, often seem more dedicated to propaganda, political activism and undermining Israel, and less aimed at helping the Palestinians. Between 2012 -2014, for instance, more than $27 million in foreign funds have flowed into the bank accounts of radical left-wing NGOs in Israel, all in some way involved in anti-Israel advocacy activities.

A 2008 conference on "Impunity and Prosecution of Israeli War Criminals," held in Egypt in 2008, was sponsored by the European Union. (Image source: NGO Monitor)

Israeli leaders are finally beginning to raise serious doubts about the real motives behind some of these politically-motivated efforts.
Recently, for example, a controversial exhibit by "Breaking the Silence" (BtS) opened in Zurich, Switzerland. The BtS exhibit accuses the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) of human rights violations. It incorporates anecdotal, unverifiable, anonymous testimonies of 60 soldiers who accuse the IDF of wrongdoing during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer.
The exhibit, scheduled for a world tour, caused a stir in Switzerland when it became known that it was funded in part by the governments of Switzerland, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark -- as well as many private charitable foundations. Its main donors include: the European Union, Misereor (Germany), Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Norway, AECID (Spain), Dan Church Aid (Denmark), ICCO (Netherlands), CCFD (France), Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), Sigrid Rausing Trust (UK), SIVMO (Netherlands), Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Open Society Institute, and the New Israel Fund among others.
The BtS exhibit spins a narrative that seems deliberately distorted and lopsided against the IDF. The exhibit's critics suggest that these soldiers may have been selected precisely because they had some axe to grind against the IDF.
It even turns out that funders of the exhibit demanded "a minimum number of negative testimonies," according research by NGO Monitor.
The exhibit never mentions any context surrounding the Gaza operation: nothing about the rockets raining down on Israel from the terrorist groups in Gaza; nothing about Hamas-built tunnels that opened near schools and private homes inside Israel; nothing about Hamas's common practice of hiding terrorists and weapons among its own women and children for propaganda purposes.
Israel's government, understandably, cried foul. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked have been leading the charge to remedy this diplomatic jihad against the State of Israel at its source.
Hotovely alleged that the use of Swiss government money -- to demonize, delegitimize, and basically to try to destroy Israel -- is illegitimate. "We cannot," Hotovely said, "accept a situation whereby an organization, whose entire purpose is to sully the names and reputations of IDF soldiers, is operating internationally in order to cause serious damage to the State of Israel's image."
Loyal IDF reservists, also outraged by the exhibit, have mounted their own campaign against what they claim is a false and unfair assault on the military and the nation.
According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, ten Swiss MPs from the Swiss-Israel Parliamentary Group issued a statement on June 2, opposing using taxpayer money to fund the exhibit:
"We condemn sharply the sponsorship of Breaking the Silence, with public monies through the EDA [Swiss Foreign Ministry] and the Zurich Finance Department, and expect in future a careful examination of projects and those organizations standing behind such projects before Swiss taxpayer money is misused."
In the wake of the international stir over the legitimacy of the travelling exhibit, the mayor of Cologne, Germany, first cancelled, but then reinstated its scheduled appearance there.
Beyond this single inflammatory exhibit against the IDF, however, lies a much more complex and malignant problem -- one that brings to the forefront some disturbing concerns and questions about the nature and purpose of foreign government funding of NGOs in Israel : What is their real agenda? How and where are they getting their money? Are they using their funds for purposes consistent with their stated goals?
According to a recent Reuters report, of the 30,000 NGOs operating in Israel, "the focus of frustration for [Justice Minister] Shaked and her supporters are around 70 whose work focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and which receive funds either from the European Union as a whole, or individual governments, including Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and Norway."
A chief concern in Israel's Knesset is how to curb the influx of millions of foreign dollars used to fund anti-Israel hate-groups operating as NGOs. These organizations are accused of using their "human rights" designation to mask a deceptive advocacy agenda to undermine, and even to destroy, Israel.
Beneath a vexing tangle of funding operations -- most hiding under a pretense of "good works," "humanitarian aid," and "public interest" -- there is at work a sophisticated, multi-faceted, well-oiled propaganda machine against Israel.
Breaking the Silence is one of the smallest. Founded in 2004, BtS is registered as "a company for the benefit of the public" with a budget of roughly 3 million shekels ($770,000 USD), according to 2015 figures.
According to a recent report by the Israeli organization Im Tirtzu, partial funding for Breaking the Silence ($300,000), B'Tselem ($700,000) and other pro-Palestinian NGOs in Israel -- totaling $11,000,000 in 2014 alone -- comes from The Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (HRIHL), an Arab foundation based in Ramallah and Gaza. HRIHL, in turn, is funded predominantly by the governments of four European countries: Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and The Netherlands.
Matan Peleg, the Chief Operating Officer of Im Tirtzu, has coined the word "Political Terrorism" to describe the murky mix of anti-Israel NGO activist groups, their destructive agendas and deceptive funding sources:
"When we use the concept 'political terrorism' we wish to indicate various actions which are not actually physically violent, but which are intended to spread terror and fear ... for the achievement of political aims.
"The State of Israel and the IDF in particular are suffering from political terrorism because various political entities in Israel and abroad (such as states, organizations, foundations, etc.) are carrying out political actions with the aim of paralyzing Israel's ability to defend itself."
Two of the wealthiest international human rights NGOs at work in Israel are OXFAM and World Vision.
Oxfam, which operates an international confederation of networked organizations in 92 countries, had a total income in 2012-2013 of $955.9 million, of which $18.7 million was spent in "Occupied Palestinian Territory" in 2013.
OXFAM states clearly that it does not participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, yet affirmed its boycott of goods made in the "Israeli settlements in the West Bank". We are clearly not hearing the truth.
Pressure from OXFAM and BDS groups contributed to a recent decision by SodaStream to close its factory in Mishor Adumim, where it had employed hundreds of Arabs and Israelis working peacefully side by side.
Arab wages and working conditions at SodaStream were reported to be significantly better than their equivalents in the neighboring Arab-controlled territories in Judea and Samaria. When the plant moved, hundreds of Arabs were thrown out of work -- a result that apparently did not bother proponents of BDS such as OXFAM. When Israel works to build "bridges for peace," such as SodaStream, where Arabs and Jews worked peacefully together, these organizations promptly knock them down.
World Vision International, a Christian charity that operates in approximately 100 countries, with a 2012 budget of $2.67 billion, defines the region it serves as Jerusalem/West Bank and Gaza.[1] World Vision makes no bones about its exclusive ministry in the area on behalf of poor Arab children. Conversely, it specifically does not serve the needs of poor Israeli-Jewish children. An estimated 14.1% of Jewish Israeli families live below the poverty line.
On the World Vision web site, there is a brief pro-Arab version of the "history, people and geography" of the region, which distorts or omits all history that might put the Arabs in a bad light. The web site mentions nothing of Hamas bombs, rockets or general Arab violence against Israel. The narrative singles out only the plight of "displaced Arab refugees."
No one at World Vision asks the obvious question: Why are there even refugee camps in territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, such as Gaza, Jenin and Ramallah? Not only have those areas been under exclusive PA or Hamas civilian administration since 1994, but Israel totally evacuated the Gaza Strip in 2005.
Both OXFAM and World Vision receive large sums of money from the United Nations, various government and non-government sources, foundations and other institutions.
NGO Monitor issued a report calling attention to the public debate on massive foreign government funding of highly political NGOs. Various media, government and legislative concerns about the manipulation of Israeli democracy by foreign governments through NGO activity triggered the debate that resulted in Israel's NGO Transparency Law (February 2011).
In 2013, there were several failed attempts to pass bills in the Knesset to reduce the influx of foreign government money. Now in the wake of the Breaking the Silence exhibit, Hotovely, Shaked and others are mounting a renewed effort to remedy at least this one source of diplomatic jihad against the State of Israel.
Susan Warner is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of Gatestone Institute and co-founder of a Christian group, Olive Tree Ministries in Wilmington, DE, USA. She has been writing and teaching about Israel and the Middle East for over 15 years. Contact her at israelolivetree@yahoo.com.

[1] Through various partners, World Vision operates 14 programs in Bethlehem, West Ramallah, East and South Hebron, Northeast, West, and South Jenin, Southeast Salfit, East, Central, North, and South Nablus, as well as North and South Gaza.

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