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The proposed Muslim community center may be fanatics’ Trojan horse

September 1, 2010 2 comments

By Isaac Yetiv, Ph.D

Isaac Yetiv

LA JOLLA, California–   My “Open Letter to Fareed Zakaria” has elicited many pertinent comments and questions. Rather than respond individually, I thought it better to tackle them in the aggregate and to publish this comprehensive response.
 
The “Mosque Affair” has assumed national, even international, proportions. Since my “open letter,” more information has emerged:
 
On the promoter, Imam Rauf : two more damning videotapes were broadcast, in which he was seen, saying clearly:

1) that America has caused the death of 500,000 (!) Iraqi children because of the sanctions against Iraq (this vile accusation was strongly rejected, when made, by no other than President Clinton, who blamed Saddam for any death, not the US sanctions.)

2) that “America has more Muslim blood on its hands than Al-Qaeda has non-Muslim blood on its hands.” And this, after the 3000 Americans killed on 9/11. A chutzpah of the highest degree by someone who is still touted by the political elites as a “moderate” Muslim who was dispatched to the Middle-East as ambassador of the United States to ” improve our image in the Muslim world.”

(We just heard that his wife, Daisy Khan, has also been sent to the Middle-East for the same mission, thus doubling the taxpayer’s bill to tens of thousands of dollars, ostensibly to explain how good America is, but certainly to fundraise for the Mosque.)
 
In the Middle-East, the cry for “the right of all Muslims to build mosques anywhere…and to pray to Allah” did not come from kings or presidents but from Mahmoud El-Zahar, the co-founder and leader of Hamas, who also  extolled the virtues of shari’a which he would like to see observed among US Muslims,and later, among non-Muslims in the U.S. and in the world.
 
A Saudi cleric, Mohammad El-Arifi, took a more violent approach (on Egyptian TV on June 19) :” Our devotion to Jihad, he said, and our desire to shed blood, smash skulls, sever limbs, for the sake of Allah, is our honor as true believers. The Koran says that
infidels should convert, pay jizya (poll tax), or be killed. If we had implemented this, we would not be humiliated as we are now.”

True, this is an extreme view, and the majority of Muslims don’t agree with it , but that majority is missing in action, absent from the scene, and as the French say, the absent are always wrong  (Les absents ont tojour tort.) The extremists are the only
game in town, and the conflict is with them, not with “Islam as a religion,” not with “the first amendment” or “freedom of religion.”

El-Arifi, too, wants sharia to become the law everywhere. His wishes have been partly granted : in Europe, there are many enclaves of sharia , independent from the law of the land , to judge Muslims. In Malmo, the third largest city in Sweden with a quarter of the population Muslim,  Sharia is already the law in the “autonomous areas.”

In the United States, while we are not yet there, there has been at least one judge who agreed to use “their law” and acquitted the perpetrator of what is a crime under our laws (he was overturned later.) And there are in the US many banks and financial institutions which are “sharia-compliant” where a committee of sheikhs
decides on economic activities according to Islamic law. AIG, now owned by the US taxpayer, is among the most important of them.The Center for Security Policy found that out of 100 mosques in the US, 80 use Sharia in one way or another.
 
It was recently “discovered” that the State Department has spent six million dollars “restoring” mosques in Pakistan and…China, and elsewhere , thus violating   the separation of “mosque” and state (how many churches have we restored with taxpayers’ money? ) while a church that was destroyed in 9/11 was not allowed to rebuild for 9 years, nor were the towers themselves been rebuilt, nor was a monument erected in memory of the victims. How can we explain the fervent calls from the emasculated politicians to put up a skyscraper of a mosque with unknown sources of funding?

No wonder the disconnect of those political elites from the people : A recent poll showed 68 % of the elits for the erection of the mosque and 77 % (!) of the people against it.
 
A  phenomenon of immense importance , that would change the face of the jihadi war against us and our ways and means to fight it, has been noticed lately: the change in the leadership in Al-Qaeda , to more “local” chiefs, including four US citizens and one resident, “working from places like Yemen, Somalia (the Afghanistans of tomorrow),and from among us, here, in the U.S.of A.

Al-Awlaki, who had connections with the last three jihadi attacks, is the most known, having been Imam in a mosque in Virginia that spewed two of the nineteen 9/11 highjackers. These new leaders have lived here, are very familiar with the laws and customs,and they master the English language. Awlaki’s recorded sermons are read in the mosques (protected free speech). He said: “Jihad is becoming as American as apple-pie. Anti-American terror will come from within…even against the military.” Are the “authorities” listening?

We better believe him, and prepare accordingly, as we better believe Hamas and Ahmadinejad when they promise to destroy Israel.
 
Finally, a case of a very suspicious “entrepreneurship” in the funding of the projected mosque whose provenance has been kept top-secret, is now unfolding. If we believe recent reports, a certain El-Gamal (a modest waiter turned into a mogul) has bought the real estate for the mosque for 5 million dollars and now was offered 20 millions (some say 39, 45) by a buyer named Elzanaty.

It is not clear whom they represent. It is still not known if this suspicious commerce is like any oriental bazaar dealing or a sinister plot to launder money given by mysterious and unfriendly donors.These transactions should be investigated by the proper authorities. If that is not enough, we learned that they will enjoy a “tax-exempt debt,” meaning the American taxpayer will subsidize the building of the mosque. Isn’t that mind-boggling?
 
One would think that this litany of bad news would generate a strong reaction from the governments involved, and a plan of action, but they, too, are missing in action. Worse, they encourage the subversion:
                                                                                                                                                                                            Obama first declared to a Muslim audience in the White House that the Muslims have the right to practice their religion and build a mosque…(as if any one person opposed that). The next day, he backed down, expressing doubt about the wisdom of doing it at ground zero. Then, he said he had no regrets (?), and finally, no more comments. This is in keeping with his  “on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand” style, his indecision between his pro-Islamic stand and what is politically expedient before the elections. No wonder he has alienated both sides: the Muslim support went down 7 points, and 24 % of the population believe he is a Muslim.
 
Nancy Pelosi surpassed herself in stupidity and farcical behavior: she wants to investigate the funding…not of the Mosque, but of ads put up by the opponents. No less ridicule were the comments from some liberals like ” Would you have objected to the building of a church or a synagogue? (oblivious to the fact that the 19 hijackers were all Muslims, not Christian or Jewish.) Or the asinine ubiquitous remark that “we are not at war with Islam,” or “the jihadis are not a state,” or “remember the crusades.”

As for Bloomberg and Co, I have said enough in my “Open Letter.”
 
A few of my correspondents asked me if I believed that a mosque of that magnitude and cost should not be built on ground zero but elsewhere, or should not be built at all. I think I made it clear in my “Open Letter” that, while it is outrageous and despicable
to erect the Islamic shrine on the ruins of ground zero, we should not forget the “security risk” by building it elsewhere.

If this project succeeds, we should not be surprised to see more skyscraper mosques in other US cities. There is an unending supply of oil money and an unending supply of volunteer jihadists to staff them with Imams and preachers and recruiters and indoctrinators. I will not be surprised to see in the Manhattan mosque a memorial plaque for the 19 hijackers to be inaugurated on a 9/11, the day of their “martyrdom.” This ,too, will be protected free speech. The same way they used our airplanes in 9/11, they will use our laws to do more harm. And our authorities, and our money, will help them in their sinister endeavors.
 
What to do? First, there is no “right” that is not limited by another superior right. And “life protection” is paramount. When the “authorities that be” will sober up and start heeding the advice of the majority of their folks, they can enact some “zoning laws for security reasons” and limit the size and the location of any house of worship of any religion.

Anyone can pray to his-her god alone, in a small chamber, in the desert… Jonah prayed from the belly of a fish. God understands all languages and doesn’t need palaces (in fact, Islam abhors that.) Small places are easier to watch and monitor,and spy upon.
 
A few steps are necessary: First the “authorities” should challenge those who call themselves “moderate Muslims” to actively separate themselves from the “radical fundamentalists” of the Wahabi-Salafi doctrines. Tawfik Hamid proposed a “test of moderation” for the Muslim leaders. They should declare, loudly and publicly, verbally or in their websites, that they strongly condemn the Redda doctrine
that allows the radicals to kill anyone who converts to another religion, the violence against women, the Sharia teaching to use jihad to dominate the world , and other practices. I believe it is within the political reach of the American government to impress upon the  leaders of the Islamic world that they should demand from their religious leaders, whose salaries they pay, to issue clear fatwas prohibiting suicide which is an unforgivable sin in Islam  (Dhumb la yughfar Lah), and the killing of innocent women and chilldren which is also strictly forbidden in the Koran.
 
There have been a few encouraging interventions from courageous Muslim leaders, as I reported before. Here is another pronouncement recently published: The General Manager of Al-Arabiya TV, Abdul Rahman El Rashid, expressed his fear that “the Mosque in Manhattan will be turned into an arena for promotion of hatred, and a symbol for those who committed the crime [of 9/11].” Not different from what
I presented here and in my open letter. That is the truth. We ignore it at our peril.

*
Yetiv, a native of Tunisia, immigrated to Israel, where he served on the Haifa city council, and later came to La Jola where he writes and lectures on the Middle East.

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Open letter to Fareed Zakaria concerning the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

August 14, 2010 3 comments

Isaac Yetiv

Dear Mr Zakaria:

 
As an assiduous viewer of your Sunday TV show  (CNN/GPS), which I have always enjoyed for your judicious commentaries, the choice of your experts, and your well-prepared and deeply-probing questions, I have earned the right to express my disappointment.

The case in point is your position on the  controversial decision to build a mosque on Ground Zero in New York (your program of Sunday 8 Aug. 2010.)  I believe that your support for building the mosque was a knee-jerk reaction to ADL’s strong opposition to it, and that if you dig deeper, you might revise your opinion.  ( Already, in your interview with Anderson Cooper a few days later, you seemed less sanguine; I even detected some regretful tone) . The following analysis will hopefully help:

 
First, unless I missed something, you deliberately talk about “a center:” I didn’t hear you say the word “mosque.”  This is, of course, disingenuous and misleading. A “center” without a “mosque” is a less loaded proposition, and would have aroused less resistance and outrage.
 
Second, you call Imam Raouf a “moderate” or “a Bin Laden nightmare” while conveniently occulting from your discourse his own pronouncements such as ” America was the accessory to the crime of 9/11 ”  or “Bin Laden is made in the U.S.” and that he, Rauf,  would like “a Sharia-compliant America” (where , as you know, an adulteress is stoned and an apostate is HALAL to be killed etc.) He also  could not bring himself to admit that Hamas is a terrorist organization (“I am not a politician,”he said, “and terrorism is a complicated problem.”) There are also rumors I can’t ascertain that he has indirect links with terrorist organizations and that his father was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Besides, even if all that is not true, there is no guarantee that he will not be “used” as Imam for a short time, and then replaced with a more radical Islamist  (the type of Al-Awlaki who was Imam in a mosque in Virginia frequented by two of the 19 hijackers of 9/11) who  will use the mosque as a hotbed for radical  Islamists, a center of recruitment, and as a MADRASA  to inculcate the Wahabi extremist religious ideology that has produced 9/11 and other violent eruptions elsewhere, notably in the Muslim world and with mainly Muslim victims.

Rauf refused to say where the money (100 millions !!) will come from. A foreign country? a sponsor of terrorism? the terrorists themselves? It is clear that those who will finance the project will dictate its content and its programs. Recent events clearly demonstrate that an “investment” of such magnitude can only come  from a few oil-rich theocracies that have produced nine-eleven and other terrorist calamities. Is that scenario not plausible?  Do you want to take that risk?

 
The fact that Imam Raouf was (or is being ) sent to the Middle-East by the State Department to “explain” to the Muslims that we, Americans, are nice people, and we love them etc…was used by the proponents to prove that he is, as you said, a “moderate.”
This initiative was already tried by the Bush State Department with Karen Hughes, at great cost, and failed lamentably. It only shows once more the naivete and gross ineptitude of the Arabists who dominate the Agency and who still “don’t get it.” Would that the love of the radical Islamists could be acquired with some logical explanation ! Instead, the fear is that Imam Rauf will enjoy a junket at American taxpayer expense which he will use as a fundraiser for his projected mosque from those same oil-rich potentates.
 
Third, this is absolutely not a case of freedom of religion or first amendment rights, as it was demagogued by the politicians, including ,most recently, the president,after a few weeks of reflection and hesitation . (A better case of violation of the first amendment can be made with what was recently discovered, namely that our taxpayer money has been spent –by Bush and Obama–to build and refurbish mosques in Egypt, Tanzania, and Iraq,  maybe elsewhere too. So much for the separation of church (!) and state .) But not in this case: America is a free country and we cherish all freedoms. There is no “establishment of religion” or preventing “the exercise therof.” There are more than a hundred mosques in New York only, about 3,000 in the US. (How many churches and synagogues in Saudi Arabia? Syria?Jordan?)        
                                                                                                                                                It is a case of what I would call ” zoning for reasons of security, sensitivity to the feelings of the victims of 9/11, common decency,and domestic peace.” The onus of proof is on the proponents of building the  mosque precisely at that point and not a few miles away.
 
Many experts believe that a 15-story-100 million dollar mosque (at odds with the beautiful tenet of Islam which is modesty) ,towering above other religions’ houses of worship in the heart of New York ,or even elsewhere, and funded by the most extremist ideologues of the Wahabi doctrine of Islam, is a high-security risk. They ,of course, rely on past performance. A former CIA operative and expert on terrorism sees it as “a magnet for militants,” a training ground for future agents of mischief, and a center for proselytizing.
 
But security is not the only concern for the opponents. Their cry of outrage is fueled by the arrogant insensitivity to the feelings of the families of the victims of 9/11 (including Muslims) and of the majority of Americans (recent poll shows 69 % opposed against 28 % approving.) This project is also fomenting confrontation and threatening domestic peace.
There seems to be an awakening of the masses, as opposed to the lethargy of the leaders, in other places, too. In Temecula, California. in Wisconsin, in Tennessee, we see the same opposition to building mosques, and in Germany, the authorities have just closed a mosque in Hamburg which was frequented by Mohammed Atta and his acolytes.
Many real moderate Muslims spoke out against the project which they see as an unnecessary provocation. One of them, a prominent woman, president of an Islamic organization, Raheel Raza, explained at length on TV why she opposed the project. Another Muslim woman, originally from Iran, Neda Belurchi, published an article in which she lamented the loss of her dear mother as a passenger in one of the planes destroyed  in nine-eleven. She called the proposed mosque “a symbol of victory for militant Islam.”
 
So why, one might ask, the insistence on building the mosque precisely at ground zero? Why did they reject a compromise solution by the Governor of New York who offered them another area that will not stir the enormous controversy? You, Fareed,  may be more familiar with a  view of Islam, that of South East Asia, which is very different from the Middle-East interpretation and implementation . The latter  is stricter and more fundamentalist and ideologist, especially the Wahabi kind. As you surely know, in the study of conflict resolution, we distinguish between “conflicts of interest,” readily amenable to compromise solutions acceptable to both sides, and “conflicts of ideology” that brook no compromise, especially if the ideology is of the religious kind and involves the “word of God,” or if one side demands the destruction of the other “before it can negotiate” as in the case of Hamas and Hizballah toward Israel.
 
Those who want to build the mosque at ground zero, and their financiers in the Middle-East, want to make a point: that a mammoth shrine of Islam towering above all other minuscule houses of worship of other faiths, in the heart of New York, in the heart of America,
with the mellifluous stentorian voice of the MUEZZIN resonating far away and calling the flock to prayers five times a day, with Allahu Akbar exclamations full of symbolism, is a vivid proof of  victory of fundamentalist and militant Islam (just as Belurchi said.)
This act of triumphalism is in keeping with medieval war and lore . It was the norm for the victors (not only Muslims) to erect their own house of worship on the ruins of their defeated enemies’ shrines. We can see many examples in Spain , or in Turkey such as the Hagia Sofia mosque in Istanbul which was a Byzantine church in Constantinople, or the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem built on the Jewish Temple Mount.

The 9/11 atrocities were seen by the perpetrators and their sponsors (to be sure, a minority, to be distinguished from real moderate Muslims, and certainly from Islam as a respectable religion no less than the others)

as a “victory.” They danced in the streets to celebrate it. For them, what better way to triumph than enshrine the place with the projected mammoth mosque?
Historically, triumphalism uses symbolism to enhance its effect: the selected title to the project, “The Cordoba initiative,” was intended as a reminder of the “Golden Age” in Muslim Spain where different religions lived in peace and harmony (which is true), but in the 11 th century,the Almohades invasion changed all that with its persecutions of Jews and Christians of whom many fled for their life (the most famous were the scholars Maimonides and Averroes.) It was reported , whether true or false, that the organizers of the project planned to inaugurate the mosque …on September 11 of next year “as an act of commemoration for the souls of the victims,” but many see that,if true, as adding insult to injury. A Muslim lady said on TV: “that is sticking it in your face.”
 
One may ask: ” If it is so bad, why have the mayor of New York and some elected officials, all Jews, thrown their hats in the arena  on the side of the promoters? The answer is simple: it is political correctness run amok. The Muslim ladies quoted above called them “bleeding-heart liberal elites.”

I dare to go farther: as an avowed foe of political correctness of any kind– I believe it is our collective enemy number one because it obscures the truth, and afflicts us with willful blindness, and the truth, for me, remains the supreme criterion for any judgment– I say with sadness that the Jewish leaders on the Left, in general, suffer from the Jewish disease of what I call “universalitis.” They can’t take their own side in a dispute, the others are always right. They speak in the abstract, on what should be rather than what is.  To parody a popular adage, they don’t see the log in the eye of the others but they see the straw in their eye.

They indulge in self-deluding pieties on liberty, rights, constitution, and they defend those who reject them violently. In the words of Lenin in another context (speaking of the Communists in the West) they are “useful idiots.” To the point that they even brave the 69 % and growing opponents among their constituents. I believe they will not be re-elected.

I also believe the mosque will not be built on ground zero. As for Obama, safely protected by those Jewish politicians, he has an uncanny ability to do things against the majority of the people’s wishes. And he, too, will pay politically.

 
Conclusion: As documented above, I do not see the controversy as “religious,” akin to the “disputations” in Spain and France during the Inquisition. It is not a matter of theology, on which religion is right. I see it as matter of security even more than sensitivity to the sufferers. Can you, or anyone of the defenders, declare with some degree of certitude, that a mosque of this magnitude in America does not present any danger to our security?  If not, it is irresponsible to let it happen. We should use common sense: “when in doubt, abstain !”  Use caution, be prudent.

Maybe we should prohibit all religions, for the sake of fairness, to limit their houses of worship to no more than  2-3 floors. We should “respect and suspect” everyone,and not endanger the security of all because of political correctness. And if it is difficult to decide, I suggest to use “Le Pari” (the Wager) of Blaise Pascal. He wrote :” Let us wager that God exists. If we are right, we gain eternity; if we are wrong, what did we lose, a few pleasures or sacrifices, nothing.”

  
Applied here, it will be: ” If we build such a mosque, we expose ourselves to a potential huge danger but if we don’t, we avoid such catastrophe even if  we will annoy some group by limiting their “rights.” For me, the choice is clear.
I hope you reconsider your position, and you will have the courage to proclaim it. Thank you for your attention.
Prof. Isaac Yetiv
La Jolla, CA

Open letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

March 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Isaac Yetiv

By Isaac Yetiv
 

Dear Madam:
 
Your intempestive intervention in the Jerusalem incident , and your outrageous 43 minutes phone call upbraiding the Prime Minister of a sovereign nation that is the only democracy in the Middle-East and our only reliable military ally, Israel, are not only shameful and undiplomatic, but have deleterious effects on the illusive “peace” you pretend to pursue in the region, because they embolden the Arab side to persist in its refusal to negotiate in good faith , not even via “proximity talks.”
I understand V.P. Biden anger at the silly, untimely, unnecessarily provocative declaration of the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, about building in East Jerusalem. But you knew, or should have known, that this was the result of the “coalition regime” that has plagued Israel since its creation. Every Cabinet member feels he can say, or do, anything he wishes in his “fief,”  knowing full well that any rebuke or action from the PM may lead to the dissolution of the government. It is politically clear that Netanyahu didn’t know about the declaration because it was no less embarrassing to him.
Rather than accept, as Biden himself did, the PM’s apology, you came later with your own cannons.Even if you were ordered by the president, you grossly overstepped your functions.              

Why? because you believe that ” a crisis is something terrible to waste” and that, by attacking the PM, you put him on the defensive,and he will ipso facto change his mind about building in East-Jerusalem. Your plan, I must say, is as malicious as it is inane. A mistake in FORM cannot inform and deform the SUBSTANCE.

This malady of the present administration to placate the enemy at the expense of allies is very detrimental to our national interest. You yourself begged the TALIBAN to come to the table, and were shamefully rebuffed. You gently left the door open for talks with the Iranian dictatorship of the Mullahs, and were dismissed offhand. The same with China and with our pseudo-friends Karzai and Maliki who are openly courting our enemies. But when it comes to tiny Israel, all hell breaks loose: a silly peccadillo of a junior partner in the coalition was seized as an opportunity to  force its government to  accept your demands as a proxy for the worst regimes and terrorist organizations. You did this without any regard for the dangers looming over Israel, from the Arab world, from genocidal Iran, from 80,000 rockets of Hizballah and Hamas. No puerile declaration of “unshakable commitment to the security of Israel” can undo the harm you have done .
Now on substance: Maybe you don’t know, but you surely can ask the bureaucrats in your  department, even the automatically anti-Israel Arabists among them, that the Oslo Agreements do not prohibit building by both sides, and no Israeli government, left or right, will accept the diktat of anyone to do ,or refrain from doing, anything that they consider vital to Israel’s security and existence.
How childish it is for anyone, after what happened since the Oslo agreements, to still believe that peace will break out if only Israel could stop the “settlements!”

You can’t even plead ignorance; you were there in 2000 when your husband, and PM Barak, offered the most generous plan for peace,which was lamentably rejected by Arafat. (Your husband told the story that, when Arafat hypocritically told him that he (Clinton) was a great president, he responded that NO, he was not, and that he (Arafat) was to blame for it). In 2008 PM Olmert made a better offer ,which was rejected by your darling DU JOUR Mahmoud Abbas, the “moderate Abbas” who still demands the return of 4.5 million Arab refugees as a condition for “peace.”

Wake up, Mrs Secretary, and wake up your government. The only constant implacable cause of non-peace in the Middle-East is the 100-year refusal of the Arabs to accept a Jewish state in their midst. History has proven it again and again. Your dream of creating an Arab anti-Iran coalition is the last agitation of an oniric state-of-mind that brought us the “land-for-peace” lie, the anti-Israel quartet, the “road map” and other pusillanimous and sterile inventions.
Thank you for your attention.

*
Yetiv is a former Haifa city councilmember who today lectures on Mideast affairs in San Diego County, where he resides.