Saudi-Qatar Border Reopened for Hajj Pilgrims Amid Rift

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia said Thursday it is reopening its border with Qatar to let pilgrims attend the hajj, marking a breakthrough in a monthslong rift between the two Gulf countries.

The official Saudi Press Agency reported that Qatari pilgrims will be allowed to enter the kingdom by land and that pilgrims would then be flown onward from two Saudi airports in Dammam and al-Ahsa at the king’s expense. The king also ordered that aircraft be dispatched to Qatar’s capital, Doha, to fly Qatari pilgrims to the Red Sea city of Jiddah — nearest to Mecca — and to host them at his expense for the hajj.

The decision came after Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Qatari royal family member Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani in Jiddah late Wednesday. Images broadcast on Saudi media showed the two princes seated and smiling for cameras.

Al Thani was quoted as telling the Saudi prince that the ties between the two countries “are brotherly relations rooted in history.” Saudi Arabia’s crown prince responded in kind, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The meeting in Jiddah was the first by a Qatari emissary to Saudi Arabia since a tense political standoff erupted 10 weeks ago when the kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar. The quartet also halted direct flights, expelled Qatari residents and ordered their citizens in Qatar to leave. Saudi Arabia sealed Qatar’s only land border.

Despite the goodwill measure announced Thursday, tensions remain. The quartet accuses the small Gulf nation of supporting extremists. Qatar denies the allegation and says the charges are politically motivated. At issue is Qatar’s support for Islamist opposition groups in the region, which Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt view as a threat.

A top Emirati official, commenting on Thursday’s breakthrough, called on Qatar to “end its politicization of hajj.” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, also used the opportunity on Twitter to commend Saudi Arabia for the initiative to send planes.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world have already arrived in Saudi Arabia for the hajj, which begins late next week. Saudi Arabia prides itself on hosting millions of pilgrims annually at Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina.

Qatar had previously filed a complaint with the U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of belief and religion over restrictions placed on its nationals who wanted to attend the hajj this year. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir responded to Qatar’s complaint, saying it amounted to a “declaration of war” against the kingdom’s management of the holy sites.


The rise of Raed Salah, Israel’s Islamist leader who wants Jerusalem at the heart of a caliphate


In 2001, Sheikh Raed Salah did something almost unheard of in the Arab world: He voluntarily relinquished power.

Since 1989, he had served as mayor of Israel’s second-largest Arab city, Umm al-Fahm. He and his organization — the now-outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement — had transformed the city from a communist powerhouse into the center of Islamist life in Israel.

But, he said, it was time for him to step away from politics and concentrate his energies on one particular goal — the defense of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem from an ostensible Israeli state plan to destroy it.

On Tuesday morning, Salah was taken into custody by police on suspicion of incitement. Jewish Israeli politicians from the left and right celebrated the move, while Arab Israelis opposed it. If he is imprisoned, it will be his fourth stint in Israeli jail, his third for incitement charges.

In 2015, his movement was outlawed over what Israel said was “a mendacious campaign of incitement under the heading ‘Al-Aqsa is in danger.’”

Sheikh Raed Salah, center, smiles as he arrives at the Israeli Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court on August 15, 2017. (AFP/JACK GUEZ)

Yet, since 2015, Salah has been gaining in popularity among Arab Israelis, according to one expert — and the more the security services are seen as persecuting him, the more he is perceived as a martyr sacrificing his freedom for Muslims’ most potent national-religious symbol between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

And outlawed or not, his movement continues to run nearly all of its activities in broad daylight, just under different names, the expert said.

That the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located on the Temple Mount, needs defending at all is denied by Israel. Rather than planning to destroy or take control of the mosque, Jerusalem says it is vigorously defending the status quo at the site, which bars anyone not Muslim from praying there — including Jews, though it is their holiest place in the world. In 1967, Israel conquered the mount, only to immediately cede it back to Jordanian religious control in order to avoid a larger conflagration with the Muslim world.

Yet in recent years, the idea that Al-Aqsa needs defending has been the stated reason for numerous terror attacks against Israelis, and it brought tens of thousands of Palestinians into the streets in July in order to protest metal detectors and cameras placed at entrances to the Temple Mount. For most Israelis, the new security measures were a logical response to a shooting attack by three Arab Israelis on July 14, in which the gunmen used weapons they had smuggled into the sacred compound to kill two policemen on duty just outside.

The idea that “Al-Aqsa is in danger” is not new — it dates back to the 1920s, and continues to be propagated by all the major Palestinian political players including Hamas and Fatah. But experts interviewed by The Times of Israel said Salah has done more to spread and ostensibly legitimize the idea than any other person in history.

Salah’s writings and speeches have spread to Muslim houses of study and prayer across the world, including in non-Muslim countries like Australia and Thailand. He is known worldwide as “Sheikh Al-Aqsa.”

Thousands of Muslim worshipers participate in evening prayers outside the Lions Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, refusing to enter the Temple Mount enclosure to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque inside, July 25, 2017. (Dov Lieber /Times of Israel)

Outside the realm of politics, he has managed to foster the image of a humble public servant. He is seen as a pure-hearted and generous person with clean hands, unspoiled by politics, according to experts. Those who know him describe him as a man of considerable charisma, a natural-born leader. At protests, he can be seen standing quietly with folded arms, silently observing the events. But in front of the pulpit, he transforms into a fiery speaker.

“I remember that he always had something special about him. A quiet leadership quality. He wasn’t someone that took leadership, but rather leadership came to him,” said Sa’id Abu Sharka, a cousin of Salah’s, in a 2012 documentary about the preacher.

Hashem Abd al-Rahman, a former mayor of Umm al-Fahm who is close to Salah, said of the preacher in the same documentary, “If you sit with him for an hour or two, he doesn’t speak if there is no reason.”

Israeli-Arab Sheikh Raed Salah the leader of the radical northern wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, prayers with supporters in Umm al-Fahm after he was released from prison on January 17, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

Salah dresses in common preacher’s garb, and in the winter, always wears the same worn-out gry coat.

Despite the fact that he is seen as one of the greatest threats to Israel’s security, and is the leader of an outlawed Islamist movement, he lives off a meager government pension in a small home in Umm al-Fahm.

A brief history of Salah and his movement

Salah was born in 1958 in the town. His father was an Israeli police officer, and his two brothers also followed in their father’s footsteps. Salah, a father to eight children, took a different path.

From 1977 to 1980 he studied Islamic law at Hebron University. Though his native Umm al-Fahm was a strong communist stronghold — like much of Arab-Israeli society at the time — he would soon join the nascent Islamic Movement, a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot akin to Hamas.

After an initial period of violence, the Islamic Movement embraced a nonviolent activist approach throughout the 1980s, filling the institutional void left by the state with schools, health clinics, mosques and charities. By 1989, Salah was one of five mayoral candidates from the movement to win elections.

The rise of Hamas in the late 1980s and the Oslo Peace Accords of the 1990s led to a split in the Islamic Movement.

Salah, according to Israel, has close relations with Hamas. Indeed, in 2003 he was imprisoned for two years on charges of funneling millions of dollars to the Gaza-based terror group. He was also charged for being in contact with Nabil Mahzomah, an Arab Israeli accused of being an Iranian agent, who was living in Lebanon at the time.

Salah opposed the peace talks that would eventually lead to the creation of the Palestinian Authority, while the Islamic Movement’s founder, Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish, remained committed to a political process until his death earlier this year.

Israel's late president Shimon Peres shakes hands with Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish (R) during an Iftar meal at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on September 9, 2008. (Anna Kaplan/Flash90)

The official split had occurred in 1996, when the Islamic Movement ran in national elections, a move Salah deemed irreconcilable with Islamic law because it meant participating in the secular rule of law, according to a Brookings Institute report.

Salah’s movement split off and became known as the Northern Islamic Movement. And almost immediately he began harnessing the incendiary power of the Al-Aqsa Mosque to rally support for his movement.

The making of the ‘Al-Aqsa is in danger’ mantra

Salah’s Northern Islamic Movement held its first signature “Al-Aqsa is in danger” rally in 1996.

It was attended by thousands in Umm al-Fahm. Only a year later, deadly riots would break out when the Palestinians accused Israel of trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount) after a second exit was opened from the Western Wall Tunnels into the Old City’s Christian Quarter. Twenty-five soldiers and almost 100 Palestinians were killed. Immediately after the riots subsided, Salah hosted his second “Al-Aqsa is in danger” rally.

Salah would continue to hold these rallies year after year, organized around the idea that Israel intended to destroy Islam’s third holiest site, at times drawing up to 70,000 attendees, until his movement was outlawed in 2015.

Professor Yitzhak Reiter (courtesy)

With the issue of Al-Aqsa, Salah found “a vacuum and moved in. It was an issue no other Islamic group was dealing with,” said Professor Yitzhak Reiter, an expert on political conflict at sacred spaces, especially the Temple Mount, and the Israeli Islamist movement.

Dr. Nohad ‘Ali, a sociologist at the Western Galilee College, head of the “Arab-Jewish-State” project at the Technion’s Samuel Neaman institute and a specialist on the Islamist movement in Israel, said Salah’s success stems from the fact that he managed to turn Al-Aqsa into “both a national and religious symbol.”

Dr Nohad 'Ali, a sociologist at the Western Galilee College and Head of the "Arab-Jewish-State" project at the Technion's Samuel Neaman institute. (Courtesy)

From 1996 to 1998, Salah and his movement played a leading role in establishing two new mosques on the Temple Mount: one in the underground space known as Solomon’s Stables, in the southeastern corner of the mount, and the other in the space under the Al-Aqsa Mosque (or “ancient Al-Aqsa”).

Salah mobilized the Arab Israeli community for the construction projects. Volunteers carried out the construction with materials that were donated, and the money for the project was raised through donations.

“Everyone identified these mosques with Salah. He became a hero,” said Reiter, who is a professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Ashkelon Academic College and a researcher at the Jerusalem institute for policy and research.

Salah was seen as preventing the establishment of a Jewish synagogue in those large empty spaces, which now host thousands of Muslims worshipers weekly.

Muslims pray at Urvot Shlomo (King Solomon's Stables) at the Temple Mount. October 04, 2002. (Flash90)

Salah at one point also tried to bring water from the holy Well of Zamzam in Mecca — thought by some to have special healing powers — to the cisterns of Al-Aqsa. This would have enhanced Al-Aqsa’s importance as a pilgrimage site, and Salah’s own status within the Muslim world.

At the time he was building these mosques on the Temple Mount, Salah had his own office in the compound.

Waqf officials told Reiter that they were powerless to stop Salah’s construction plans.

In his speeches, Salah has professed his long-term hope that one day Jerusalem, with Al-Aqsa at its center, can be the heart of a future Islamic caliphate.

The Jewish state, just like the Persians, the Romans, the Crusaders and the British, will be “vomited out” from the land, Salah has said.

The underground outlaws work in daylight

In 2015, Israel’s internal Shin Bet security agency recommended against outlawing the Northern Islamic movement. The Shin Bet was afraid that rather than the Islamist group, rather than being defanged, would simply move underground and become harder to track. And that is precisely what happened.

“The majority of the movement’s activities continue to function,” stressed ‘Ali. “It’s still felt in the Arab streets daily,” he added.

For every institution of the Islamic Movement that was banned, said ‘Ali, it has an alternative institution that continues to carry out the same functions. So for example, the monthly bulletin of the Islamic movement was closed, so another was opened in a different name. ‘Ali said the state knew full well this would occur, and a “quiet agreement” exists between the police and the movement.

In every Arab town you still find weekly da’wa, or proselytism, sessions, ‘Ali said.

The movement sends dozens of buses to Al-Aqsa weekly, and the outlawed Mourabitoun and Mourabitat groups — Muslim men and women that Israel said were paid by Salah’s movement to initiate provocations at the Temple Mount — continue to visit the holy site daily.

Palestinian Muslim women from the Murabitun group shout slogans and hold the Koran during a protest against Israel policemen preventing them from entering the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's Old City on September 17, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90 )

The only difference in the outlawed group now, according to ‘Ali, is that it operates a little more “modestly,” eschewing grandiose events.

Salah continues to give speeches in mosques and public events in the Arab/Muslim sectors. Earlier in August he visited a mourning tent of an Arab Israeli killed in Jaffa.

After the shooting attack on the Temple Mount, Salah immediately took to the pulpit to blame Israel for deaths of the gunmen, whom he called “martyrs” and wished an afterlife in paradise.

Sheikh Raed Salah, Leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Prays for the Terrorist “Martyrs” Who Carried Out the Jerusalem Attack

‘Ali, who interviewed Salah regularly for his dissertation, argued, however, that Salah is well-known among Arab Israelis an opponent of violence.

“I know for sure that he is against the use of weapons. He knows it is against the interests of the northern Islamic Movement,” said ‘Ali, adding that the gunmen harmed Salah’s movement rather than represented it.

While ‘Ali could not recall any anti-violence statements made by Salah, he noted that the preacher signs onto the anti-violence declarations of the High Follow-Up Committee, an umbrella group for Arab-Israeli leadership.

But powerful Israeli ministers were quick to the blame the July Temple Mount attack on Salah. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who outlawed the movement, Intelligence and Transportation minister Yisrael Katz and Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant immediately called for his arrest.

The July 14 attack on the Temple Mount compound “was exactly what the Shin Bet feared,” said Reiter.

The shooters came from Salah’s hometown and professed to carry out the attack in order to defend Al-Aqsa.

Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, 19, the youngest of the three killers, had a number of posts on his Facebook page that showed he was interested in “freeing” the Al-Aqsa Mosque from Israeli control.

One of Jabarin’s posts from July 2016 shows a picture of Salah next to the Temple Mount. The post reads: “Every year and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is closer to freedom.”

How to contain Salah has been a conundrum facing Israeli security services since the early 2000s.

Reiter said that in 2003 he was consulted by the Shin Bet about Salah’s movement. At that time, he said it was the Shin Bet that wanted to outlaw the Northern Islamic Movement, but the police opposed such a move.

Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah stands outside Ramleh prison after his release, Sunday, December 12, 2010 (Uri Lenz/Flash90)

‘Ali said his most up-to-date and as-yet unpublished research shows Salah has only become more popular since his moment was outlawed.

Half of Arab-Israelis identity with the Islamic Movement, as well as one-third of Christians, ‘Ali said, noting the Islamic Movement provides services to the entire Arab community, including help in restoring churches.

Reiter believes the Shin Bet is currently operating similarly to the way the FBI did with the infamous Chicago crime boss Al Capone, “slowly gathering evidence in every field they can.”

Salah ‘intentionally’ conflates peripheral opinions with government policy

At the beginning of the Second Intifada, in October 2000, 12 Arab Israelis, one Palestinian and one Israeli Jew were killed during clashes between Israeli police and Arab protesters.

To probe these events, the Israeli government appointed a commission, the Or Commission, led by Supreme Court Justice Theodor Or.

The commission, which also included former Nazareth District Court judge Hashem Khatib, pointed to Israel’s institutional discrimination against Arab citizens as a long-term cause for the violence.

However, for the immediate cause of the violence, the commission pointed a finger at Salah and his movement.

Israeli Arabs march in the town of Sakhnin on Saturday, October 1, 2016 to commemorate the deaths of 13 people killed in clashes with police during the Second Intifada.

“In the Islamic Movement’s activity [with regard to the mount], more than in other areas, its strategy emerged clearly: escalating conflict, activism in the field, and agitating the public. The movement gave Al-Aqsa priority as a sensitive focal point for unifying the Muslims in Israel, and as a bridge to the Palestinian society in the territories and to the Islamic world as a whole,” the commission wrote.

The commission noted that Salah and his followers may have had genuine cause for concern, with various rabbis and politicians broaching plans to build a synagogue on the holy site, and “extremist groups” engaging in symbolic acts of fulfilling the vision of rebuilding the Jewish Temple.

But it argued that “Raed Salah went much further, since he acted to stir up the Arab public against a supposed intention of the Israeli government to replace the Al-Aqsa mosques with a Jewish Temple – an intention that had no connection whatsoever to reality.”

Nadav Shragai, Israeli journalist and author of a booklet entitled, “The ‘Al-Aqsa Is in Danger’ Libel: The History of a Lie,” made a similar argument in an interview with The Times of Israel.

“This libel [‘Al-Aqsa is in danger’] is not directed at the Temple Mount Institute or Yehuda Etzion,” a group and an activist advocating for Jewish sovereignty over the holy site.

“It’s directly aimed at the Israeli state itself, against the state that has done all it can over the years to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque, even though it meant harming the right of Jews on the site,” he said.

‘Sincere fear’

Nashat Aqtash, a media professor at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah, believes Al-Aqsa is in danger.

“Many officials in the government, the settlers, all the Jewish terrorist groups are every day saying it’s about time to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build the Temple,” he told The Times of Israel recently.

Israeli security forces hold position as they stand guard in front of the Dome of the Rock in the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on July 27, 2017.(AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI)

Aqtash reflects the majority Palestinian opinion. In one 2016 poll, over half of Palestinians said they believed Israel plans on destroying Al-Aqsa Mosque and replacing it with a Jewish Temple, while just nine percent said they believed Israel intends to keep the status quo.

Sari Nusseibeh, a Palestinian professor of philosophy and former president of the Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, in an email response to The Times of Israel, said it wasn’t hard to explain why a majority of Palestinians think this way.

He attributed the belief to “constant and growing noises and practices pointing to the desire to rebuild the Temple.”

He provided one example from Arabic social media. In a popular clip, young ultra-Orthodox students, in response to questions from a teacher, say in unison that a third Temple will be built and Al-Aqsa Mosque will be destroyed.

Nusseibeh said he believes all the conflict over the Temple Mount could be settled once “there is a peace agreement and each side could assuage their fears of the other.”

Reiter argued transparency could help Israel alleviate the fears of Muslims.

“We have to create a system to work on the process of getting accurate information and transparency to change these wrong beliefs in the Arab world,” he said.

Reiter criticized right-wing Israeli politicians who in recent years have made public statements and actions that play into the hands of Salah’s campaign.

“Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel conducted the priestly blessing on the Temple Mount and broadcast it to the public. What should Muslims think when seeing a cabinet member doing such things?” he asked.

“The current situation is really complicated. It doesn’t work in our favor. We have to be wiser in future actions,” he said.

Jews can have Christian & Muslim women as Sex Slaves says British Rabbi

[The Rabbi who said this is the chief Rabbi of the UK and Commonwealth. You can read about him here: Now this “British Rabbi” is actually a Jew from South Africa. I bet you if you asked him about the Boers and Apartheid he would condemn the “evil” of the Boers and the whites of South Africa. But here he is, garbage that he is, saying that its cool for Jews to have Christian and Muslim women as sex slaves!! These Jews think they are GOD! I did a video about it. Also go and check out my video series: The Great Jewish Mask. Let that begin opening your eyes. Jan]

A British rabbi has told his congregation in Wales that war is approaching and Judaism allows them to take women as slaves and rape them.

Ephraim Mirvis is an Orthodox rabbi who serves as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. He served as the Chief Rabbi of Ireland between 1985 and 1992.

In the audio, Ephraim Mirvis is heard telling a group of young men: “One of the interpretations as to what this means is that towards the end of time there will be many wars like what we are seeing today, and because of these wars women will be taken as captives, as slaves, yeah, women will be taken as slaves.

As Chief Rabbi of Ireland and before the opening of an Israeli Embassy in Ireland, he represented Israel’s interests at government level and in the media. In 1999, he led a group of British rabbis on a solidarity trip to Israel. Since 1997, he has hosted the annual Bnei Akiva Yom Ha’atzmaut service at Finchley synagogue.

Regarding the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, while deploring the loss of life in Gaza, Mirvis defended Israel‘s right to protect itself from Hamas rocket attacks,adding that the conflict was used as a cover to voice anti-Semitic sentiment.


Payout for US Muslim woman whose hijab was removed by police

LOS ANGELES, United States — A California city has agreed to pay $85,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a Muslim woman whose hijab was forcibly removed by the police.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, (CAIR) which announced the settlement on Thursday, had sued the city of Long Beach on behalf of Kirsty Powell, an African-American Muslim, “after police officers forcibly removed her hijab in view of other male officers and dozens of inmates.”

Powell, who wears the head covering “as part of her religious beliefs,” was “forced to spend the entire night exposed in custody and described the experience as deeply traumatizing,” the rights group said.

Powell was arrested during a traffic stop in May 2015 on outstanding warrants that were since cleared.

Long Beach voted Tuesday to approve the settlement, CAIR said, adding that nearby communities have already adopted policies protecting religious headwear in detention following similar lawsuits.

Now female officers are required to remove the headscarves of female inmates “when necessary for officer safety,” and away from male officers and inmates, Long Beach assistant city attorney Monte Machit told the Los Angeles Times.

During the arrest officers told Powell that she had to remove her hijab.

Powell was denied requests for a female officer to search her, and was denied requests to wear her hijab in custody.

“I would never want anyone to go through what I felt from this experience,” Powell said when the suit was filed last year, according to CAIR.

Brazilian Jewish pol honors Muslim refugee assaulted with xenophobic slurs

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — A Syrian Muslim refugee who was beaten and told to leave Brazil by his attackers was honored by a Jewish councilman at Rio’s City Hall.

Marcelo Arar proposed the tribute to Mohamed Ali Abdelmoatty Ilenavvy, who was attacked while selling food at a street stand in July. Video of the incident showed people yelling “Leave our country” and “My country is being invaded by bombers, you have quartered kids and teenagers.”

“He was a victim of religious intolerance and prejudice. There is no room for that in Rio,” Arar said.

Ilenavvy said he considers the episode an isolated incident and did not file a criminal complaint with police. He apparently had declined to pay a $3,000 bribe to mafia members to protect his food stand, the O Globo newspaper reported.

“The initiative of the Jewish representative has sent a strong coexistence message between Arabs and Jews in Brazil. Helping an immigrant who was assaulted is remembering that the majority of the Jewish community also has its origins in immigrants who were welcomed by an amazing people,” Israel’s honorary consul in Rio, Osias Wurman, told JTA.

Ilenavvy fled the Syrian civil war for Brazil and later married a Brazilian native who converted to Islam, with whom he has a son. The rest of his family escaped to Egypt.

A Jewish professor taught at a Catholic school in a Muslim country. Here’s what happened

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Near the end of his first year teaching American studies at the Georgetown University campus in Qatar, Gary Wasserman introduced a dozen Israelis to a dozen undergraduates from across the Middle East.

Then he left the room so the students could have an unfiltered discussion.

The one-hour meeting was part of what Wasserman calls his “liberal quest” to overcome biases — grounded, he said, in part by his Jewish upbringing.

But the encounter wasn’t exactly a success. Afterward, a Lebanese student came to his room, tears in her eyes. An Israeli had asked her during the encounter, “You hate us, don’t you?”

Wasserman in his forthcoming book “The Doha Experiment,” about his gig directing the Georgetown American studies program in Qatar from 2006 to 2014, uses the incident to identify a duality that was typical of his time on campus: the quest for connections outside of one’s comfort zone, on the one hand, combined with intense fears of people raised in radically different cultures.

“We were part of a university that provided a place to think and talk,” Wasserman said he told the Lebanese student, who had been trapped at her aunt’s house during the 2006 Lebanon War. “And while this didn’t seem like much now, it was really all we had to offer. I felt inadequate and sad.”

In this Thursday Jan. 6, 2011 file photo, a traditional dhow floats in the Corniche Bay of Doha, Qatar, with tall buildings of the financial district in the background. (AP/Saurabh Das, File)

Wasserman’s initial mission — shared by Georgetown and the Qatari government — was to bring an American-style free exchange of thought to the deeply traditionalist Gulf state.

But that expectation soon tamped down into a more limited one: that young people get a decent education and get along with folks from vastly different political cultures.

“There’s a liberal, missionary impulse that you are bringing pluralism, globalization and tolerance to a part of the world that needs it,” Wasserman, who is now retired, told JTA this week.

Within months, Wasserman wrote, his original idealism had abated — but then, so had his own fears about being a Jew in Qatar.

“I began my journey both apprehensive and idealistic,” he wrote. “I ended it less apprehensive and also less idealistic.”

About the apprehension: Wasserman, the author of a popular political science textbook who had taught at Columbia and Georgetown, appalled friends and family when he decided to go to Qatar. With the memory of the 9/11 terrorist attacks still fresh, many in his circle questioned the rationality of a Jew moving to what seemed like the belly of the beast at the time.

Their pleadings had an effect, and he consulted with a psychologist who happened to be a European Jew about how to deal with his anxieties. His sessions had a surprising denouement.

“You’re not crazy to be scared,” Wasserman quoted the psychologist as saying in their final session. “You’re crazy to go. Haven’t you been watching the news? These people hate Jews. They’re anti-Semites. I’ve dealt with these f’kakta Nazis all my life. Stay away from them. They’ll never change.”

“This went on for a while,” Wasserman wrote. “(He was being paid by the hour.)”

Nonetheless, in Qatar, Wasserman encountered barely any personal animosity because of his Jewishness. In one poignant passage, he described his concerns after his identity became common knowledge on campus — a staffer had let it slip.

“It was too easy to imagine their unspoken responses: ‘Y’know, he’s Jewish.’ ‘Yeah, I could tell.’ Or, ‘So that’s what those horns are.’ Or, ‘No wonder he flunked me,’” Wasserman wrote. “I might have overthought this. One student later said to me, after she had graduated, that the only student discussion she recalls about my religion was the worry that I might feel isolated and out of place.”

Instead, the hostility toward Jews — and Israel — was expressed in more generalized settings, particularly the conspiracy theories that proliferate in Arab countries.

Wasserman said his favorite anecdote in the book is the student who told him that another teacher had said that “the Mossad was behind 9/11, and also that 9/11 was not a bad idea.”

He asked the student how both ideas could coexist in one person’s head. The student “looked at me for a moment, resigned that yet another naïve foreigner failed to appreciate how holding two contradictory opinions at the same time was consistent with the political views permeating the region,” Wasserman wrote.

Another student, Ella, graduated at the top of the class. Shortly after, Wasserman saw an interview with Ella in a local newspaper in which she was asked for her impressions of the 2012 US election. Her “depressing” answer, as he put it: “It really didn’t matter because the Zionists controlled the banks, the media, and both political parties and wouldn’t let anything change in America.”

Perhaps Wasserman’s most foolhardy quest was to teach the students about how the pro-Israel lobby functioned as a curative to the overly expansive description of its influence in the 2007 book by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Israel Lobby.” (Disclosure: This reporter and Wasserman collaborated for a period in the late 2000s on a book on the pro-Israel lobby. It found no buyers.)

“In my lecture, I tried to leave the class with a simple point: the power of the pro-Israel lobby had been inflated by supporters and opponents alike for their own reasons,” he wrote. “Although clearly a powerful player in foreign policy, AIPAC was only narrowly influential and constrained by other public and political interests.”

Did the students get the message? Not quite. Later in the book, Wasserman related that he often found that the students bought into myths of Jewish influence — but with admiration, not contempt.

Wasserman, alongside other faculty on campus, came to accept that they were not the vanguard of progressive values in Qatar. Instead, they set more modest ambitions, such as one-to-one opportunities to lend a hand to those seeking a way out of a society that was stifling, especially to women.

He wrote about a student wearing an abaya — the robe-like dress worn by some women in parts of the Muslim world — entering his office and asking him to write a letter recommending her for graduate studies in England. He was happy to — she had good grades — but she could not articulate what exactly she wanted to study, making it a challenge for him to tailor the letter to specifics that would help her.

“I don’t really want to go to graduate school,” she told him, “but if I stay in Doha, my family will make me get married. Going to London for grad school is acceptable to them. For me, it means I can put off getting married and not have to confront my parents.”

It was encounters like these that left Wasserman hopeful about bridging divides, he told JTA.

“The problem is you don’t want encounters conducted on the basis of Jew and Muslim, Christian and Buddhist, because it isolates one identity and sets up a polarity,” he said.

Bring Israelis over for a semester, not just an afternoon, he said, so they would have the time to find other commonalities with their Arab and Muslim counterparts.

“They will share things like a harsh father or questions about devotion or career goals,” he said.

US Muslims intermarry way less and are far more religious than US Jews

NEW YORK (JTA) — Since it came out in 2013, the “Pew study” — a landmark survey of American Jewish demographics, beliefs and practices — has been at the center of American Jewish scrutiny and handwringing. Now it’s American Muslims’ turn.

On Wednesday, the Pew Research Center released a survey of American Muslims focusing not only on numbers and their way of life, but also on how the community has responded to the election of President Donald Trump.

Comparing the two studies shows a Muslim sector in America that is more religious, growing faster and feels more embattled than American Jews. But both groups voted for Hillary Clinton.

Here’s how the Jews and Muslims of the United States stack up.

There are more Jews than Muslims in America, but the Muslim population is growing faster.

Pew found that there are about 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, a little more than 1 percent of the population. US Jews, by contrast, stand at 5.3 million — around 2 percent of all Americans.

But Muslims, Pew found, skew younger and have higher birth rates. More than a third of US Muslims are under 30, only 14 percent are over 55 and their birth rate is 2.4, slightly higher than the national average. Most American Jews are over 50 and their birth rate is 1.9. While the median age of US Muslims is 35, the median age of US Jews is 50. Americans in general have a median age of 47.

These numbers explain why a 2015 Pew study found that by 2050, American Muslims will outnumber American Jews. While the Jewish population is expected to stagnate at about 5.4 million, Pew predicts that in a little more than three decades, there will be 8 million Muslims in America.

The respective studies also included some data unique to each religion. While there are sharp internal divides between Shia and Sunni Muslims, Pew did not address the question of “who is a Muslim” as it did with Jewish Americans.

The study reported demographic data that may contradict popular American stereotypes of Muslims. Only 14 percent of Muslim immigrants are from the Middle East, while one-fifth are from South Asia. And the plurality of American Muslims — four in 10 — are white.

Only 13 percent of American Muslims are intermarried.

When Pew released its study of the Jews in 2013, American Jewish leaders began fretting about an intermarriage rate of 58 percent since 2000 — and they haven’t stopped. By that measure, American Muslim leaders can rest easy.

Unlike the majority of American Jews, only 13 percent of American Muslims are intermarried. And the number has declined in recent years: In 2011, the number was 16 percent. The numbers are so low that the word “intermarriage” doesn’t even appear in the survey.

But another statistic shows that American Muslims may be following their Jewish neighbors. Among Muslims born in the US, the intermarriage rate is nearly 20 percent.

Most Jews say they don’t face discrimination. Most Muslims say they do.

Another reason for the difference in intermarriage rates could be the discrimination that Jews and Muslims each face in America. Jews, who are more likely to marry outside their group, are also more accepted in America than Muslims.

In an age when Trump the candidate called for a ban on Muslim immigration, the Muslim study focused heavily on Muslim feelings of discrimination and belonging in America. Questions were asked about Islamophobia, anti-Muslim violence, the president, terrorism, extremism and how Muslims feel about being Muslim and American.

In brief, the study found that nearly half of Muslims have faced discrimination in the past year, and 75 percent feel Muslims face a great deal discrimination in America. But nine in 10 feel proud to be American. Three-quarters of American Muslims say violence against civilians can never be justified, as opposed to 59 percent of Americans in general.

In 2013, most Jews said that Jews do not face a lot of discrimination in America, and only 15 percent personally faced discrimination in the year before the survey.

But Pew’s Jewish study was published three years before the spike in anti-Semitism that accompanied the 2016 election. A poll by the Anti-Defamation League published in April revealed starkly different numbers, showing that most Americans were concerned about violence against Jews.

Jews graduate college at higher rates than Muslims and earn more.

The graduation rates and household incomes of American Muslims track with the rest of the country. Like Americans in general, 31 percent of Muslim Americans have graduated college. And a quarter of Muslim Americans earn more than $100,000, similar to the national average. But 40 percent of Muslim households earn less than $30,000 — eight points higher than Americans in general.

Nearly six in 10 American Jews, meanwhile, have graduated college. And 42 percent have household incomes higher than $100,000, while only 20 percent earn less than $30,000.

Muslims are far more religious than Jews, but both say social justice is central.

American Jews and Muslims are particularly different when it comes to religion. While nearly two-thirds of American Muslims say religion is very important to them, only a quarter of Jews do. A third of Jews believe in God, compared to 85 percent of Muslims who said belief in God is essential to being a Muslim. Nearly six in 10 American Muslims say following the Quran is essential to being a Muslim, compared to less than a quarter of American Jews who say the same about Jewish law.

Four in 10 American Muslims attend mosque at least once a week and eight in 10 observe the monthlong fast of Ramadan. By contrast, two-thirds of American Jews attend synagogue less than once a month and only about half fasted on Yom Kippur.

But there are some commonalities, too. Nearly all American Jews and Muslims say they are proud to be Jewish and Muslim, respectively. And both groups prioritize social justice. Solid majorities of Jews (60 percent) and Muslims (69 percent) see “working for justice and equality” as an essential part of their religious identity.

Jews are more liberal than Muslims, but a higher percentage voted for Trump.

American Muslims responded to Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail by voting for Clinton. Nearly 80 percent of American Muslims voted for the Democrat, while only 8 percent backed Trump. By contrast, Clinton earned 70 percent of the Jewish vote, with Trump garnering 25 percent.

But proportionally more American Jews identify as liberal than do American Muslims. While nearly half of American Jews call themselves liberal, only 30 percent of American Muslims do — close to the national average.

But Muslims are trending liberal on at least one issue: A majority believe homosexuality should be accepted in society, compared to just 27 percent who felt that way a decade ago. Four-fifths of American Jews agree.

Islamic Sharia is Now Fully Operational in Numerous German Cities

“The state seems to capitulate to the power of the Arab clans.” – Die Welt (The 4th largest national newspaper in Germany and one of the biggest news websites in Germany.)

Muslim immigrants in Germany have not assimilated, but have set up parallel societies with their own courts and system of justice. Muslim area are becoming exclusionary “no-go zone” for ethnic Germans. Many openly view themselves, not as immigrants, but as conquering Jihadists.

Berlin, Bremen, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia now have sprawling immigrant ghettos were Sharia law is the law of the land.

Rough translation from Die Welt

“[Muslims] Do not accept the German rule of law. What used to be only in large cities, is now a nationwide problem,” stated the President of the Lower Saxony State Criminal Police Office, Uwe Kolmey. What particularly outraged him is the “new dimension of violence against the police and judiciary.” In Lower Saxony Rotenburg young Kurds insulted two policemen during a routine inspection and snatched an officers service pistol.

German-Lebanese Mohamad O., a betrayed husband who had shot his rival at a red light, was condemned to life in prison. After the trial the presiding judge and the prosecutor at the District Court of Hildesheim had to be placed under police protection because of death threats. The mother of the convicted man insulted the judge as “Hitler” and said “his children are all going to die.” In Bremen, the presiding judge Klaus-Dieter Schromeck needed police protection during the trial against Kurdish Yazidi. In the morning he had to be driven in a police escort to the court.

Arbiters of organized crime

Key figures in this parallel justice system arbiters, which are offenses to pacify conflicts between perpetrator and victim family. This role is performed older authority figures, heads of families, Imams or bosses of organized crime.

A new publication by the Berlin State Office of Criminal Investigation describes the danger that threatens the rule of law by them: to be “By their action,” “institutions such as the police and judiciary consciously undermined, bypassed and disabled”. After the fire is extinguished by acts of violence, they reject “any more police work,”  ”witnesses and victims have no more information”, or “revoke … information or trivialize the offense.”

Be potentiated the negative impact of settlements on the enforcement by the threat or use of force on the victim and witnesses. Know all the consequences of detectives, prosecutors and judges in regions where mainly Mhallami-Kurds from Anatolia settled: intimidated victims and witnesses. This ethnic group stands out with a particularly high crime rate. Examples from the German judicial everyday there is enough.

It is to be spoken a fair judgment

50 witnesses had finally loaded to process the traffic lights murder Hildesheim court. At the trial itself suddenly could not remember most or weakened incriminating statements to the police on. “Throughout the process, the family of the defendant has taken effect, so that we can speak not just verdict,” said the president of the court later, Ralph Guise turnip.

In a mammoth lawsuit against two Kurdish drug rings with ten defendants, the district court Stade has moved in July 2012, after nearly two years of negotiation for security to Celle. Reason: In the 109 The trial, the prosecutor of the members of the clans F. and S. from the audience was so massively insulted that she had to leave through a back door of the courtroom, accompanied by bodyguards. Here some viewers moreover aggressive drumming against the glass partition between the court and the public. The representative of the prosecution is under police protection for several months.
With baseball bats and Kuhfüßen contributed two wings of the Kurdish extended family K. from a dispute over the payment of undeclared work in Wiesbaden and land in Turkey. The over months rotating spiral of violence resulted in three criminal cases. After an incriminating statement to the court K. Özkan was followed by his wife and child during a wild car chase through the city of warring clan members and attacked at a traffic light with a Geißfuß.

Severe impairment of the right to peace

For the Judge Elke Trzebiner this vigilante was a “severe impairment of legal peace”. As K. Özkan wondered in a second process that he must testify as a witness, because you have yet agreed to use a clan elders to Attorney Wolf Jördens excited: “We will not tolerate its own jurisdiction.”

To agents of vigilante attacks by findings Berlin investigators now and again the criminal part of the Palestinian clans Abou-Chaker – known nationwide by close business ties the second-oldest brother Arafat with rapper Bushido, “brothers in spirit” (“Time”). The unloaded Arafat is the CEO of his record label. And both have given each other for common real estate transactions general powers beyond death.

A dubious affair. For the hard core of Abou-Chakers – six brothers – Berlin holds OK investigators for years in breathing: drug and human trafficking, pimping, extortion and money laundering. Even the spectacular robbery of nearly a quarter million Euros in a poker tournament at the Potsdamer Platz in the spring of 2010 goes to the account of the clan. Brother Mohammed was mastermind by findings of the Court and tipsters.


UK woman banned from daughter’s school over face veil

A Muslim woman in the United Kingdom filed a lawsuit against her daughter’s school for discrimination, after being informed she could not wear a veil there.

Rachida Serroukh, 37, said the decision to file suit was made after she was told by staff at London’s prestigious Holland Park school during a parents event in June that she would not be allowed to visit the school with her face covered.

“I was very shaken and was in a state of shock about what had happened,” she told The Guardian on Friday. “I had never experienced anything like this before. I have experienced name calling in the street from strangers about my veil but nothing like this had ever happened before. When I got home, I just broke down.”

Attiq Malik, Serroukh’s lawyer, said that the incident was a “straightforward” case of religious discrimination.

“The government constantly talks about British values. To me, those values include diversity and multiculturalism. If a school in London is doing this, what might be happening elsewhere?,” he told The Guardian.

Illustrative photo of Muslim women wearing burqas (AFP/Torsten Blackwood/File)

Serroukh said that while at the June event, she was approached by a school official, who asked to speak with her privately, telling her that face coverings were not permitted at the school.

She told The Guardian that at first she was confused, as she believed the official was referring to her daughter.

“I explained clearly that my daughter wears a headscarf and would not be coming to school in a face veil. Then I realized she was talking about me not my daughter,” she said.

Serroukh, who lives near the school and is also an alumnus, said that she requested numerous times to see the school’s policy banning veils, as a friend of hers who also wears a face covering had been attending events for years at the school without incident.

“I had had no problem from security at the school gate when I entered the school and nobody there had mentioned a policy. I always lift my veil and show my photo ID when required to do so for security purposes,” she said. “I didn’t want to challenge the teacher until I had seen the policy.”

She said she was then told by the official to leave the school through the back entrance but refused, saying she needed get her daughter and would leave through the front doors.

Following the incident, Serroukh told The Guardian that she asked the school for an explanation on why she was banned, as the UK’s education department rules say schools may decide for themselves if students and teachers can wear veils, but does not address parents or visitors.

“It has not been necessary to date for the school to have this requirement stated in written policy,” deputy school head Ross Wilson wrote back to her. “Given the concerns you have raised, we are now considering a written amendment to our health and safety policy to include this specific requirement and will follow the normal protocol of seeking the approval of the governing body.”

In response, Serroukh wrote: “How are you able to justify banning the face veil for all which come onto school grounds? I had shown my face prior to coming onto school grounds therefore security cannot have been a cause for concern.”

She was later told by Wilson that “we would wish to reiterate that no offence was intended when Mrs … met with you to discuss the situation on the evening of the welcome interviews and it was the school’s intention to provide clarity and transparency.”

Serroukh told The Guardian that as a result of the incident, she feels like she has been excluded from the community.

“I feel like I don’t belong here even though I live across the road and used to attend the school,” while adding that “what has happened to me at Holland Park is discrimination. I hope we can resolve the matter amicably.”

412 Michigan Muslims Arrested In Fed’s ‘LARGEST BUST IN U.S. HISTORY’ After Uncovering Deadly Hidden Secret

The state of Michigan is quickly turning into a Sharia swamp, thanks to the reckless immigration policies of Obama over the past 8 years. Not only are portions of Michigan being transformed into a “mini Baghdad,” but the state is also being overrun with rampant illegal activity, where the Muslim populace is constantly being busted in welfare fraud and disgusting mutilation practices on little girls. Now thanks to the hordes of Muslims taking over the state, Michigan can add another “accomplishment” on their list, as the Justice Department is dubbing what just went down in this state the “largest scam in United States history.”

Muslims continually prove that they have little intentions into assimilating into western civilization or adhering to our nation’s laws after arriving to America from their third world countries. Our generosity to these savages is frequently repaid by insolence, as many Muslims are constantly busted at the center of welfare fraud rings, as they seek to scam the very country who has given them so much. In yet another case of blatant disregard for for our nation’s laws, a group of Muslim doctors in Detroit have just been busted as the masterminds behind a $1.3 billion dollar fraudulent scheme, leading to the arrests of 412 people overnight, in the “largest scam” that the United States Department of Justice has ever seen.

The scam involves a scheme where Muslim doctors will write massive quantities of prescriptions for opioids. These drugs never land in the hands of patients however, as the Muslims will them make fraudulent claims to Medicaid and pocket the money. Additionally, the drugs often wind of on the streets as part of a huge back-alley drug operation. The U.S. Justice Department is calling this prescription drug and health care fraud scheme the largest operation of its kind in American history, naming several Michigan Muslim doctors responsible for orchestrating this huge criminal enterprise to rip off Medicare. has more:

“Officials have made 412 arrests nationwide, including 56 doctors and targeting 200 clinics. The Justice Department said those arrested are responsible for $1.3 billion in fraudulent transactions.

Federal officials said a group of Michigan doctors was responsible for a major chunk of the scheme.

One of the clinics hit in the sting operations is in Farmington. Federal officials said the opioid epidemic is part of it, but the medical office and a number of others were set up specifically as a criminal enterprise to rip off Medicare.

Federal officers raided the Fisher Building Wednesday, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said their work accounted for 10 percent of the scam’s value.

‘Six doctors in Michigan prescribed patients with unnecessary opioids, some of which ended up for sale on the streets,’ Sessions said.

A physician group called Global Quality used to operate out of a Woodward Avenue office building.”

The ring leader of the massive Medicare scam is Muslim Mashiyat Rashid, who profited with an astounding $164 million from the fraud. He had had no qualms about rubbing the American taxpayers’ noses in what he stole from them, frequently bragging about his large piles of cash on social media. Here’s an image he posted on Facebook where he poses beside his Bentely sedan and corporate jet…all bought and paid for with the Medicare money he scammed from the American taxpayer.

Mashiyat Rashid stands beside his Bentley sedan and a corporate jet.

Other nauseating pictures show Rashid standing at the NBA finals with his court-side tickets, enjoying a life of opulence he enjoyed while screwing over the American people. Rashid’s name is included in court documents as Feds prepare their case for trial, where Muslim doctors Joseph Betro, Spilios Pappas, Abdul Haq, Tariz Omar and Mohammad Zahoor were busted working directly with Rashid in recent years to make their millions.

Muslim Mashiyat Rashid at the NBA finals living off the money he’s stolen from the American people

More than 400 others across the country were charged late last week for taking part in the health care scam in connection with a raid last week at the Fisher Building in Detroit. Other Muslim defendants include:

  • Mashiyat Rashid, of Oakland County – controlled, owned or operated Global Quality, Aqua Therapy, Tri-County Physicians, Tri-State Physicians, New Center Medical, National Laboratories, and Tri-County Wellness;
  • Yasser Mozeb, of Oakland County – allegedly received payments from Global Quality and Tri-County Wellness;
  • Abdul Haq, of Washtenaw County, physician enrolled as a participating provider with Medicare for Aqua Therapy, Tri-County Physicians and Tri-State Physicians;
  • Joseph Betro, of Oakland County, physician enrolled as a participating provider with Medicare for Tri-County Physicians and New Center Medical;
  • Tariz Omar, of Oakland County, physician enrolled as a participating provider with Medicare for Tri-County Physicians.
  • Mohammed Zahoor, of Oakland County, physician enrolled as a participating provider with Medicare for Tri-County Physicians.

Trump’s Justice Department isn’t messing around, as the defendants are being brought up on a plethora of federal charges, including five counts of health care fraud and health care fraud conspiracy. Rashid has additionally been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and money laundering, receipt of kickbacks in connection with a federal health care program, and payment of kickbacks in connection with federal health care program. In all, investigators say that Rashid’s companies’ fraudulently billed Medicare $126 million, with a total of $1.3 billion in similar scams across the country.

We must continue to sound the alarm about what’s going right underneath our noses. This isn’t the first time that Muslims have ripped off Americans with fraud, and with the hordes of migrants that liberals keep fighting to bring into our country, stories like this will sadly become the new norm if the American people do not wake the hell up soon!

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