TRUMP IMMIGRATION LAWYER ON TRAVEL BAN: ‘WHAT HAPPENS TO MUSLIMS CAN HAPPEN TO JEWS’

 

http://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Trump-immigration-lawyer-on-travel-ban-What-happens-to-Muslims-can-happen-to-Jews-484760

 

NEW YORK – While President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban is “miles away” from its original version, it is still “not a good reflection” on the United States, immigration attorney Michael Wildes, who has represented Trump’s interests for years, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

“If we have a problem, we shouldn’t be picking on six countries to make our point, we should be doing it across the board,” he said. “Our immigration laws are very political and very selective as they are, this is not an improvement.”

 

Wildes, a kippa-wearing Jew and a Democrat, had worked for the Trump Models Management group and facilitated visas for Miss Universe contestants for over a decade. He was introduced to first lady Melania Trump during the presidential campaign when questions about her immigration status arose and he was asked to study her file in order to handle media inquiries.

The attorney spoke to the Post after addressing the attendees of an event held by the Manhattan Jewish Experience, a community dedicated to Jewish young adults that is headed by his brother, Rabbi Mark Wildes. The two are the sons of attorney Leon Wildes, who successfully won the deportation case for John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the 1970s.

“Shame on the Republicans and the media networks that followed suit for running scared and scaring people,” he said. “I take comfort in the fact that it’s only a temporary ban and hopefully they’ll put in place a better vetting process to make everybody safe.

“If they aren’t sincere about it, it can have greater implications,” he added.

Michael Wildes with Melania Trump (Facebook)Michael Wildes with Melania Trump

Since the first travel ban was implemented, he has worked on the cases of multiple people affected by the executive order, including that of a Sudanese surgeon whose parents, green card holders, couldn’t return to the country, and one involving an Iranian doctor whose green card was at risk.

“Our fear of ISIS, of al-Qaida should never stop us from being the world’s moral compass,” he told the audience at the event, which was held to educate young Jewish professionals on the details of the ban.

As an observant Jew, Michael Wildes added that he believes the Jewish community has a responsibility to stand up for marginalized people.

“We are historically people of the passport and we need to make sure that we get this right,” he told the Post.

“What happens to a Muslim can happen to a Jew and we have to take our responsibility to our biblical cousins very seriously.”

His rabbi brother said the travel ban is “complicated from a religious perspective.

On the one hand, the Torah tells us to pursue justice for all people and to ‘love the stranger.’ Although that phrase technically refers to someone who converts to Judaism, the spirit of that tradition encourages us to be hospitable to those coming in from the outside. Refugees certainly fall within that category,” he said.

“On the other hand, the Torah also believes in self-defense.

It is against Judaism to place oneself in a perilous or dangerous situation, and allowing in individuals who either are terrorists or are prone to becoming a danger would also be problematic,” he added.

The solution, he believes, is to improve the immigrant and refugee vetting system, but “not [to] throw the baby out with the bathwater, which this ban seems to do.”

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PUTIN ON ISIS TERROR, “I Swear if they Bomb Russia, in Half an Hour Every Muslim Will Die”

The Russian leader is reportedly mounting an enormous military mission to take control of the terror group’s stronghold of Raqqa.

The city is the self-declared capital of ISIS in Syria and is patrolled by as many as 5,000 jihadi members.

Putin is set to mobilise 150,000 reservists who he conscripted into the military in September.

Following the Paris attacks, Putin hinted he was ready to join forces with the West to tackle Islamic State.

He told David Cameron: “The recent tragic events in France show that we should join efforts in preventing terror,” said Putin. “I swear if they bomb Russia, in half an hour every Muslim will die.”

Republican nominee Donald Trump said on Monday that if elected U.S. president he would weigh an alliance with Russia against Islamic State militants.

He said he had never met Putin. But over the course of his year-long campaign, Trump has praised the Russian leader and one of his top foreign policy advisers, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, had dinner with Putin last December.

“When you think about it, wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with Russia?” Trump said. “Wouldn’t it be nice if we got together with Russia and knocked the hell out of ISIS?” he added, using another name for Islamic State.

US Muslims and Jews strengthen bonds amid acts of bigotry

NEW YORK (AP) — They sat on either end of the congressmen’s couch, one a Jewish healthcare executive whose parents fled Germany in 1936, the other the Kashmiri Muslim chairman of a well-known American furniture chain. The men, Stanley Bergman and Farooq Kathwari, came to draw attention to an outbreak of hate crimes. But Bergman and Kathwari hoped their joint appearance would also send a broader message: that US Jews and Muslims could put aside differences and work together.

“What drove us was the growing prejudice that has emerged in the United States,” Bergman said. “What starts small, from a historical point of view, often grows into something big.”

The men lead the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, created last year by the American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America, amid a flowering of alliances between members of the two faiths. US Muslim and Jewish groups have been trying for years to make common cause with mixed success, often derailed by deep divisions over Israel and the Palestinians.

But bigoted rhetoric and harassment targeting both religions since the presidential election has drawn people together. Jews have donated to repair mosques that were defaced or burned. Muslims raised money to repair vandalized Jewish cemeteries. Rabbis and imams marched together against President Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting majority Muslim countries.

In this Monday, Feb. 27, 2017 file photo, volunteers from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community survey damaged headstones at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia. (AP/Jacqueline Larma)

In this Monday, Feb. 27, 2017 file photo, volunteers from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community survey damaged headstones at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia. (AP/Jacqueline Larma)

“I would never have thought I would see some people in conversation, or anywhere near each other. Then I saw people on Facebook standing next to each other at protests — Muslims and Jews,” said Aziza Hasan, executive director of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change in Los Angeles, which has run community relationship-building programs for more than a decade.

Yet despite this surge of goodwill, questions remain about whether these new connections can endure. The sense of vulnerability Muslims and Jews share, and their need for allies at a difficult time, have not erased tensions that in the past have kept them apart.

“This is a start and we’ll see how it goes,” said Talat Othman, a financial industry executive and Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council member, who offered an Islamic prayer at the 2000 Republican National Convention. “We are hopeful.”

Jews and Muslims comprise the two largest non-Christian faith groups in the United States and have a long history of trying to work together.

The chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, the flagship institution of Conservative Judaism, initiated a dialogue with Muslims in 1956, according to documents in the school’s archive. Rabbi Jack Bemporad, a pioneer in Muslim-Jewish dialogue and founder the Center for Interreligious Understanding in New Jersey, said his efforts started in the 1970s when he led a Dallas synagogue and local imams started attending his weekly Bible classes.

Over the years, many initiatives on improving relations between the two faiths were organized internationally by governments and peace groups, while some American synagogues and mosques attempted to build friendships locally. Some progress was made, yet relations were often derailed when violence, war and policy disputes erupted in the Middle East.

Demonstrators at O'Hare Airport, Chicago, protest President Donald Trump's executive order which imposes a freeze on admitting refugees into the United States and a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries,  January 29, 2017.  (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Demonstrators at O’Hare Airport, Chicago, protest President Donald Trump’s executive order which imposes a freeze on admitting refugees into the United States and a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, January 29, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In Los Angeles, Hasan said local discussions between Muslim and Jewish leaders would falter when participants from one faith would demand those of the other condemn an action in Israel and the Palestinian territories. “It would go back and forth, then eventually Jews asked Muslims to condemn something they couldn’t so they walked away from the table,” Hasan said.

Then came the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, prompting a backlash against American Muslims, and efforts to create connections with Jews began moving “at warp speed,” said Rabbi Burton Visotzky, a Jewish Theological Seminary scholar and a longtime leader in Muslim-Jewish cooperation. Visotzky’s outreach has ranged from a 2008 global interfaith meeting convened by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to serving collard greens at a soup kitchen alongside members of a New York mosque.

Still, the deep divide over Israel and the Palestinians remained an obstacle. Some Jews and Muslims pledged to avoid any mention of the Mideast as they sought common ground. Others hit the issue up front, but their talks foundered. Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, an educational organization with extensive interfaith programs, said US Muslims and Jews, had become “proxy warriors” for conflicts thousands of miles away.

Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. (photo courtesy: Shalom Hartman Institute)

Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. (photo courtesy: Shalom Hartman Institute)

At the same time, advocates for building ties between the faiths regularly encountered skepticism or outright hostility from within their own communities. “Many Jews feel that Muslims around the world are a source of threat to Jews, then why be in dialogue?” Kurtzer said.

About six years ago, Bemporad organized a conference on Islamic and Jewish law, but the event was closed to the public, in part to avoid pushback against participants. “We had to break the ice somehow,” Bemporad said. “We thought the way we did it, you could be free to say whatever you wanted.”

He said religious leaders working on such projects are much more open now. Still, the growth of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel and in support of the Palestinians has further complicated relations.

The movement, known as BDS, is decentralized and its supporters use different strategies, but many backers say interfaith dialogue with Zionists undermines the Palestinian cause. It has become common for American Jewish organizations to draw a hard line against working with backers of BDS — from any faith. Meanwhile, BDS activists consider it traitorous for Muslims to work with supporters of Israel.

This issue came to the fore over the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative, which brings American Muslims to Israel to study Judaism and Zionism. Kurtzer said the first year of the program was kept “completely under the radar.” When the participants became known in 2014, Muslims who took part were accused of allowing themselves to be manipulated and violating BDS.

Rabia Chaudry. (Screenshot)

Rabia Chaudry. (Screenshot)

Among the participants was attorney Rabia Chaudry, a specialist in countering extremism and a longtime supporter of Palestinian rights. She acknowledged the risks from participating in the program, but said she did so hoping to find a new way forward. Last October, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago dropped plans to present her an achievement award because of her work with the Shalom Hartman Institute. Chaudry, now a member of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, said she was not angry. “They felt terrible about it. They got even more criticism for rescinding it,” she said.

Since Trump’s election, members of both faiths seem more willing to set aside such differences as they work on civil rights and other issues, said Abdullah Antepli, who was the first Muslim chaplain at Duke University and is co-director of the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative.

It’s impossible to know definitively whether harassment based on religion has increased. The FBI’s most recent data on hate crimes is from 2015. Still, the last year or so has seen some dramatic examples of bigotry, including the waves of phoned-in bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers around the country. Mosques in Florida and Texas were recently set on fire, and authorities were investigating whether the suspected arsons could be considered hate crimes.

“It’s particularly a Trump effect,” Antepli said. “External forces make the Muslim and Jewish communities need each other’s friendship.”

When New York Arab-American activist and BDS supporter Linda Sarsour recently helped raise more than $150,000 for the damaged Jewish cemeteries, some Jews debated whether it would be ethical to accept the donation. But in a sign of changing attitudes, several mainstream Jewish leaders who had worked with her previously defended her.

Muslim activist Linda Sarsour at SiriusXM event 'Muslim in America' in New York City, October 26, 2015 (Robin Marchant/Getty Images for SiriusXM/via JTA)

Muslim activist Linda Sarsour at SiriusXM event ‘Muslim in America’ in New York City, October 26, 2015 (Robin Marchant/Getty Images for SiriusXM/via JTA)

This new dynamic was evident at a recent New York vigil organized by the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, a national organization that brings together Muslim and Jewish women. The gathering at the Jewish Theological Seminary was part of the organization’s response to Trump’s travel ban. At their vigil, they walked to the front of the room in pairs — a Muslim and a Jew — to offer readings and prayers in Arabic and Hebrew. After the ceremony, the women hugged and posed together for selfies.

In this Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 photo, members of the Sisterhood Salaam Shalom talk after a unity vigil held at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.  (AP/Julie Jacobson)

In this Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 photo, members of the Sisterhood Salaam Shalom talk after a unity vigil held at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. (AP/Julie Jacobson)

“There’s a sense of immediate rapport and connection,” said Donna Cephas, a national board member of the Sisterhood, which has added dozens of chapters in the past year. “There is a significant yearning to be in community with people who stand for what we stand for.”

Here’s how Trump’s hateful campaign rhetoric doomed his ‘Muslim Ban 2.0’

The ruling by a judge in Hawaii to freeze Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban 2.0” nationwide exposes both the incompetence of the White House and how the inflammatory rhetoric by Trump and his underlings are blowing up in their face.

U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson issued a 43-page ruling on March 15 for a temporary restraining order on Trump’s executive order that aimed to block nationals from six Muslim-majority nations from traveling to the United States.

Watson excoriated the Trump administration’s defense as “fundamentally flawed” and marked by “illogic.” The judge wrote “a reasonable, objective observer … would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion,” namely, Islam.

The judge explained that meant the order violated the First Amendment’s “establishment clause,” which prevents the government from officially preferring one religious denomination over another.

Watson pointed out in formulating the ban, the Trump administration relied on data showing the six countries in question “have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7% to 99.8%.” The judge stated it was not a leap to conclude “that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam.”
The Trump administration sought to block visitors and immigrants from the affected nations for 90 days and suspend the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days while it reviewed existing procedures, instituted new vetting policies, and required affected nations to hand over more information about their nationals seeking to enter the United States.

Trump claimed the order’s intent was to defend against the threat of terrorism, but the judge rejected this, stating there was a “dearth of evidence indicating a national security purpose.”

The White House had requested a Department of Homeland Security memo to prove nationals from seven countries were exceptional risks. The memo, however, was titled, “Citizenship Likely an Unreliable Indicator of Terrorist Threat to the United States,” and found citizens from the nations were “rarely implicated in U.S.-based terrorism.”

Watson ruled statements by Trump and his advisers showed a different intent: to ban Muslims. And he said there was nothing “veiled” or “secret” in their motives. Watson quoted Trump saying, “I think Islam hates us,” “we can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States. . . [a]nd of people that are not Muslim,” and the judge mentioned a Trump campaign press release “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
The judge concluded these statements indicated a “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the Executive Order and its related predecessor.”

Trump first introduced a seven-nation Muslim ban on January 27 with an order that sparked chaos and mass demonstrations at U.S. airports as hundreds of foreign visitors, including legal U.S. residents, were detained or deported and 60,000 visas cancelled. Within a week judges blocked most parts of that order as unconstitutional. The revised order dropped Iraq from the list of banned nations. The new order called for a “worldwide review” of U.S. immigration policies and new criteria on a nation-by-nation basis. Few, however, expected banned nations could satisfy Trump’s demands, particularly as policies could change at any time and governments would balk at sharing extensive personal information about their citizens to a hostile White House.

The fact countries could be dropped or added to the banned list was troubling. During the election campaign Trump called for racial profiling. His two executive orders, in effect, would have profiled entire countries. Being able to add or remove countries and change admissions criteria on spurious grounds would invite corruption as well. Countries not on the list include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, where all but one of the September 11 hijackers originated. Additionally, Trump has holdings or business interests in these three nations and other Muslim-majority countries. Being able to add or remove countries to the banned list could be used as leverage in countries where Trump’s children pursue business deals.

Typical of its disorder, the Trump administration tripped itself up after the first order was blocked. Judge Watson noted that Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller said on February 21 there would be technical changes to the revised order, but, “Fundamentally, you’re still going to have the same basic policy outcome for the country.”

Watson’s ruling blocked Trump’s order hours before it was set to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, March 16.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters in Nashville shortly after the ruling, Trump slammed the restraining order as “an unprecedented judicial overreach.” He also called the revised order “watered down.”

These statements could come back to haunt Trump once more. Calling the new order watered down could be read as a discriminatory intent especially in light of his previous statements.

Additionally, Trump’s attacks on the judiciary are likely to figure into the upcoming nomination hearings for Neil Gorsuch whom Trump nominated to fill the open seat on the Supreme Court. After judges blocked parts of the first order and that ruling was upheld by Appeals Court judges, Trump lambasted the decision and judges as “ridiculous,” “disgraceful,” and “so-called judges.” Gorsuch now has to display independence while not angering Trump, a difficult line to walk in a hyper-partisan political atmosphere.

The case in Hawaii was only one of three court hearings held on the new order. The ruling against Trump was swift and broad, portending a difficult path forward if he tries to issue a new executive order. Judges in Seattle and Maryland are expected to issue rulings soon as well, and in a separate case in Wisconsin a week earlier, a District Court judge ruled against Trump’s revised order, but only in the case of one Syrian family trying to gain admission to the United States.

Nonetheless, Trump’s power over the huge federal bureaucracy enables him to lash out at citizens of the targeted countries and all refugees. He can order embassies and consulates to make the visa process more difficult for the six targeted nations; their nationals received some 63,000 visas in 2015. Numerous PhD students from Iran enrolled at U.S. universities but who went back home for a visit say they are unable to return to their institution as their visa applications have been in limbo for many months. Those denied U.S. visas have little recourse.

Trump also cut refuge admissions this year from 110,000 to 50,000, which he can do with no review. This means some 60,000 refugees planning on starting a new life in the United States after an arduous admissions process that can take two years may never be resettled. Annually only about one-half of one percent of refugees are resettled anywhere.

Even with two orders blocked, Trump has made border policies more draconian. PEN America, the writers and freedom of expression advocacy organization, reports that prominent artists and intellectuals have been detained and intimidated when trying to enter the United States after the first order was on hold. These include a best-selling children’s author from Australia, a French historian of the holocaust, and an American artist who was pulled aside and questioned about an art exhibit in Belgium in which he had participated.

By all accounts, Trump has “unshackled” immigration and border police. On February 22, passengers on a flight from San Francisco to New York claimed immigration agents forced them to show documents before being allowed to disembark, a questionable if not illegal procedure.

The new operating procedure at the U.S. border, reported the New York Times, is “Now they’re looking really hard for reasons to deny, instead of reasons to admit.”

Nonetheless, the worst aspects of Trump’s policies are on hold and the courts are unlikely to look favorably on what are naked attempts to enact immigration bans motivated by Islamophobia.

Arun Gupta contributes to The Washington Post, YES! Magazine, In These Times, The Progressive, Telesur English, and The Nation. He is author of the forthcoming, Bacon as a Weapon of Mass Destruction: A Junk-Food Loving Chef’s Inquiry into Taste, from The New Press.

European rabbis: EU court’s ruling on religious garb means Jews, Muslims unwelcome

PARIS (JTA) — A European Union court ruled that companies can prohibit their employees from wearing religious clothing and symbols, sparking condemnation from a rabbinical group that the decision amounts to saying “faith communities are no longer welcome.”

The ruling Tuesday by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg also said that customers cannot simply demand that workers remove headscarves if the company has no policy barring religious symbols.

“An internal rule of an undertaking which prohibits the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination,” the court said in a statement.

The ruling, which came amid a rise in the popularity of anti-Muslim politicians in Europe over the proliferation of jihadist attacks on the continent and ethnic and religious tensions, was on two lawsuits filed by Muslim employees who were sanctioned for wearing religious symbols or prohibited from doing so.

“This decision sends signals to all religious groups in Europe,” Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said in a statement Tuesday. “With the rise of racially motivated incidents and today’s decision, Europe is sending a clear message; its faith communities are no longer welcome. Political leaders need to act to ensure that Europe does not isolate religious minorities and remains a diverse and open continent.”

One of the lawsuits that led to the ruling was by an employee of the Belgian branch of G4S, the London-listed outsourcing and security company. After three years at the firm she decided she wanted to start wearing a headscarf at work for religious reasons. She was fired in June 2006 for refusing to take off her scarf. The company said she had broken unwritten rules prohibiting religious symbols.

In the second case, design engineer Asma Bougnaoui was fired from a consultancy firm, Micropole, following a complaint from a customer who claimed his staff had been “embarrassed” by her headscarf while she was on their premises giving advice. Before taking the job she had been told that wearing a headscarf might pose problems for the company’s customers.

Last summer, dozens of French municipalities banned the burkini, a full-body swimsuit favored by Muslim women, with the backing of the French government before a French court ruled the action was unconstitutional. Many Europeans believed the ban violated personal and religious freedoms, but others in support of the prohibition regarded the burkini and other clothing favored by Muslims as a political statement.

Marine Le Pen, the leading candidate in the presidential race in France, said she would ban Muslim headcovering if she were elected. Asked whether she would do the same for the kippah, the head of the far-right National Front party said she would do so to preserve equality.

Another German City Tipping Majority Muslim

The western German city of Bad Godesburg—located on the Rhine River—is now so overrun with Muslims that local schools are trying to implement “anti-radicalization” policies to stop their students from supporting ISIS-aligned ideologies.

(New Observer Online)

The efforts are, of course, hopeless, as proven by their total failure elsewhere in Europe, but race-denying liberals refuse to face this reality.

According to a new report in the Deutsche Welle (DW) news service, the program has been driven by the “social make-up of communities across Europe changing,” and now “schools have become breeding grounds for extremism.”

 

As a result, a program organized and financed by Germany’s Federal Agency for Civic Education (BPB), known as the “Clearing Procedure and Case Management” procedure is currently being trialed at six schools across Germany.

One of the schools, the 1.200-pupil Elisabeth-Selbert-Gesamtschule, located in the Bad Godesburg district which is in the immediate Bonn area, has, according to its liberal principal Andrea Frings, undergone a “a fair amount of social change in recent years . . . About 40 [to] 50 percent of our students are Muslim. We all get along very well here, but it also happens that students sometimes bring problems to the school from their homes or their mosques, and that’s always something we need to take a look at.”

As the DW article pointed out, the Elisabeth-Selbert-Gesamtschule is located “at the heart of what used to be the diplomats’ district of Germany’s erstwhile capital, [but] the face of Bonn’s Bad Godesberg has long changed. On the one hand, it continues to be an international neighborhood attracting expats from around the world; on the other, both foreigners and locals with extremist ideas have been flocking to the district.”

The DW article also said that another school located only three miles away, sponsored by the Saudi Arabian government, was earlier revealed as having ties to al Qaeda. In addition, the DW said, Arab women wearing full Islamic dress have “become a commonplace sight on Bad Godesberg’s shopping streets.”

As a result, Frings said, there have been problems with the “rise of extremism” in her school, with the DW adding that “Bad Godesberg has been undergoing a great deal of social upheaval, with migrant communities often failing to integrate.”

An earlier article in the DW, titled “There’s not much that’s German here anymore,” quoted one of the few actual Germans left in the town as pointing out the extent of the ethnic cleansing underway:

“She mentions the recent closing of [the] Aennchen, one of the last typically German restaurants left in Bad Godesberg. ‘Now you’ve got shisha bars springing up everywhere, with that sweet smell in the air,’ she says. ‘There’s not much that’s German here anymore, or even Italian. And you see Arabic script everywhere.’”

The DW journalist, initially thinking the white Germans were exaggerating, tested their allegations for himself, ending his article with the following:

“Residents here tend to lean toward generalizations when talking about the growing Arab influence in their town. And yet, on my journey home, I take a quick peek into a local branch of a large German supermarket chain. And it’s true: In addition to German and English, the signs are also written in Arabic.”

Germany will become Islamic State, says Merkel

Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germans have failed to grasp how Muslim immigration has transformed their country and will have to come to terms with more mosques than churches throughout the countryside, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily.


“Our country is going to carry on changing, and integration is also a task for the society taking up the task of dealing with immigrants,” Ms. Merkel told the daily newspaper. “For years we’ve been deceiving ourselves about this. Mosques, for example, are going to be a more prominent part of our cities than they were before.”
Germany, with a population of 4-5 million Muslims, has been divided in recent weeks by a debate over remarks by the Bundesbank’s Thilo Sarrazin, who argued Turkish and Arab immigrants were failing to integrate and were swamping Germany with a higher birth rate.
The Chancellor’s remarks represent the first official acknowledgement that Germany, like other European countries, is destined to become a stronghold of Islam. She has admitted that the country will soon become a stronghold.
In France, 30% of children age 20 years and below are Muslims. The ratio in Paris and Marseille has soared to 45%. In southern France, there are more mosques than churches.

 The situation within the United Kingdom is not much different. In the last 30 years, the Muslim population there has climbed from 82,000 to 2.5 million. Presently, there are over 1000 mosques throughout Great Britain – – many of which were converted from churches.

In Belgium, 50% of the newborns are Muslims and reportedly its Islamic population hovers around 25%. A similar statistic holds true for The Netherlands.
It’s the same story in Russia where one in five inhabitants is a Muslim.

Muammar Gaddafi once stated that “There are signs that Allah will grant victory to Islam in Europe without sword, without gun, without conquest. We don’t need terrorists; we don’t need homicide bombers. The 50 plus million Muslims (in Europe) will turn it into the Muslim Continent within a few decades.”
The numbers support him.

IS imposes ‘Afghan dress’ in Syria’s Raqqa – monitor

BEIRUT — The Islamic State group has imposed an “Afghan-style” dress code on men in its Syrian stronghold Raqqa to help its fighters blend into the civilian population, a monitor and activists said Monday.

“For more than two weeks, Afghan-style clothing… has been imposed by Daesh,” said Abu Mohamed, an activist with the “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” group, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

“Anyone who does not comply faces prison and fine,” he told AFP.

The new restriction comes as a Kurdish-Arab alliance of fighters nears Raqa, backed by the US-led coalition launching airstrikes against IS.

The rule “is an attempt to make it harder for airplanes and the Kurdish forces… to distinguish between civilians and Daesh members,” Abu Mohamed said.

A member of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) flashes the sign for victory in the village of Sabah al-Khayr on February 21, 2017. (Delil Souleiman/AFP)

A member of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) flashes the sign for victory in the village of Sabah al-Khayr on February 21, 2017. (Delil Souleiman/AFP)

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war, also reported the new rule in Raqqa.

“The Islamic State has imposed Afghan-style dress on residents of Raqqa so that informants giving coordinates to the US-led coalition will not be able to distinguish between civilians and fighters,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Abu Mohamed said there was a “state of alert” in Raqqa, with new checkpoints springing up and the Islamic State arresting anyone who describes the situation as dire.

“Prices are skyrocketing and there is no electricity or water,” he told AFP.

The Observatory also said civilians and the families of Islamic State families were attempting to flee into Raqqa province from neighboring Aleppo, where the Islamic State group is under assault in the east.

A female Kurdish fighter of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) walks carrying a weapon in the village of Sabah al-Khayr on February 21, 2017. (Delil Souleiman/AFP)

A female Kurdish fighter of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) walks carrying a weapon in the village of Sabah al-Khayr on February 21, 2017. (Delil Souleiman/AFP)

“Thousands of families in recent days have tried to reach the administrative borders of Raqqa province, along with around 120 families of fighters and commanders of IS,” the monitor said.

The Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces alliance advancing towards Raqqa on Monday cut a key supply route between the city and IS-held territory in Deir El-Zor province to the east.

The alliance is now eight kilometers (five miles) from Raqqa to the northeast, according to the Observatory.

It said Islamic State was preventing civilians from entering the province “but granted families of its fighters” a document allowing “passage to Raqqa city by boat as ground transportation is now impossible because the bridges across the Euphrates have been destroyed”.

Donald Trump Rolls Out New Muslim Travel Ban

On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an updated immigration executive order barring immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries, all of which were included in the original order. The new version exempts Iraq and eliminates the rule that specifically protects religious minorities from the ban.

Iraq, according to officials who spoke to the New York Times, has agreed to improve the quality of travel documentation and share more information about Iraqis coming to the United States.

The initial order, which set off a series of protests at airports nationwide, was widely believed to be a Muslim ban in disguise, particularly with the addition of the religious minority exception, which allowed, for example, Syrian Christians, but not their Muslim neighbors, to enter the United States.

Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen remain in Trump’s crosshairs. Citizens of the six countries are subject to a 90-day freeze on visa processing, while as the Times reports, “the administration continues to analyze how to enhance vetting procedures.” The United States’ refugee program is also suspended for 120 days, and according to the Washington Post, the U.S. “will not accept more than 50,000 refugees in a year, down from the 110,000 cap set by the Obama administration.”

The administration, as the Post notes, “also attempted to lay out a more robust national security justification for the order, claiming that it was needed because 300 people who entered the country as refugees were the subject of counterterrorism investigations.” They declined to name the countries the 300 suspects are from or provide additional evidence for the accusations.

In a departure from the cameras and fanfare on display during the January 27 rollout, the new Executive Order was signed in private, and according to the Times, “In a break with standard practice, participants of the call didn’t give their names to reporters even though journalists had agreed to identify them only as unnamed officials as a condition of joining the briefing.” The rollout of the order will occur over two weeks, perhaps in an effort to avoid the chaos and confusion of—and fierce opposition to—the previous plan’s same-day implementation.

Immigration advocacy and civil liberties groups have vowed to fight the new ban. In a statement sent to reporters following Trump’s announcement, Matthew Segal, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, said, “President Trump’s original executive order stranded travelers, upended families, disrupted businesses and institutions globally, and faced many federal lawsuits. The ACLU of Massachusetts will closely monitor this new Executive Order and assess its validity.”

Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.

The Jews Are Helping Muslims Take Over The West

Abd-al-Rahman_III

By Garibaldi

One often hears Islamophobes in the “counterjihad” movement claiming to be defenders of the “Judeo-Christian” West against the spread of Islam and the enfranchisement of Muslims in Western democracies. The term Judeo-Christian gained currency in the middle of the 20th century,

“promoted by groups which evolved into the National Conference of Christians and Jews, to fight antisemitism by expressing a more inclusive idea of American values rather than just Christian or Protestant.”

Ironically, in the past several decades and especially since 9/11, Judeo-Christian has most often been used by the rightwing to exclude differing religions and cultures from staking their own claim to Americanness, specifically, to amplify the so-called “Islamic threat.”

The rightwing considers America’s “uniqueness” to be rooted in its Judeo-Christian values. Take radio host Dennis Prager, who writes,

[o]nly America has called itself Judeo-Christian. America is also unique in that it has always combined secular government with a society based on religious values. Along with the belief in liberty—as opposed to, for example, the European belief in equality, the Muslim belief in theocracy, and the Eastern belief in social conformity—Judeo-Christian values are what distinguish America from all other countries.

The claims about “European,” “Muslim,” and “Eastern” societies are simplistic generalizations but there is some truth to Prager’s claim that “only America has called itself Judeo-Christian,” in so far as the USA is where Judeo-Christianism was born. If one can speak in such broad terms at all of an alliance/unity between Jews and Christians it is relatively recent; only 70 years out of the past 2,000 years.

A different kind of alliance

A recent article published on Loonwatch about the Spanish government’s commitment to give descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled over 500 years ago from Andalus automatic citizenship brought to mind the longer and deeper history of Jewish and Muslim collaboration.

The history of Jewish-Muslim alliance has led some scholars to the interesting thesis that the roots of medieval European Christian anti-Semitism was rooted not in charges of deicide (Jews killed Jesus) against Jews but in their alliance and collaboration with Muslims.

In Allan Harris Cutler and Helen Elmquist Cutler’s book, “The Jews as Ally of the Muslim,” the authors,

[R]evise the traditional explanations of the roots of anti-Semitism. They contend that the great outburst of anti-Semitism in Western Europe during the Middle Ages … derived from primarily anti-Muslimism and the association of Jew with Muslim.

Islamophobe Daniel Pipes, in one of his less bellicose and polemical articles wrote a review of the book in 1987 that is worth reading, concluding that “it offers an intriguing and ultimately convincing argument.” Though he takes exception to the authors’ advice to Pope John Paul II to “transform his office and mission from a more narrowly Christian into a broadly Abrahamic one . . . to create a new spiritual and institutional unity between Jews, Christians, and Muslims.”

Among certain nationalists and White Power currents in the “counterjihad” there is a continuation of the idea that Jews are allying with Muslims to help them take over the West, just as Jews aided Muslims in conquering Hispania from Visigoth tyranny.

In the view of these counterjihadists Jewish intellectuals have opened the gates of fortified Europe and America through modern day liberalism. Hence, their usage of “Leftist” in the familiar Islamophobic expression, “Leftist-Muslim alliance to destroy the West,” is a P.C. way to refer to Jews. “Leftist” masks an undercurrent of antiSemitism, since in their view Jew=Leftist.

The website Islam Versus Europe: Where Islam Spreads, Freedom Dies, did a three part series titled, “Jewish collaboration with Muslims during the invasion of Spain” by Cheradnine Zakalwe. The website has a global Alexa ranking of 703,552 and a US ranking of 262,275.

islamversuseuropeblogspot

IslamVersusEurope is considered by other “counterjihadists” to be a “respected CounterJihad blog” and is linked and blogrolled on numerous Islamophobic sites. The site has also been approvingly linked by Deacon Robert Spencer even after Zakalwe’s series of articles. (Not surprising considering Spencer’s alliance with antiSemites such as Eric Allen Bell and the anti-Jewish stances of his ally Pamela Geller).

IslamVersusEurope_JihadWatch

The main point of Zakalwe’s three part series is summed up in his first post,

So the Jews in Spain were enslaving European Christians. This provoked the irritation of other European Christians, who then took measures against the Jews. This caused the Jews to reach out to their fellow Jews abroad and to the Arabs, urging them to invade Spain and bring this Christian oppression to an end. When they did so, the Jews eagerly collaborated with the Muslims, acting as administrators for the conquered cities and realm.

The parallels with our own time are striking, with Jewish intellectuals having paved the way for the modern Muslim conquest by pushing the benefits of immigration, diversity, tolerance, special minority protection, etc., denigrating nationalism and wielding the Nazi stick forcefully against anyone bold enough to dissent. (Emphasis mine)

These views are not limited to Zakalwe but can also be found on unabashedly racist and Islamophobic sites like Occidental Dissent and Occidental Observer.

The truth is that yes, there was a long history of collaboration and affinity between Muslims and Jews which fueled animosity on the part of European Christendom. Pipes in his review of the Cutlers’ study even notes,

[T]he Hebrew language shares much with Arabic, and Judaism shares much with Islam; on the most abstract level, both are religions of law, while Christianity is a religion of faith. More specifically, they share many features such as circumcision, dietary regulations, and similar sexual codes. Further, because the Muslims were preeminent in the medieval centuries, “Jews themselves associated Jew with Muslim.” When this became known among the Christians, it much harmed the Jews’ position. Most damaging of all, Jews on occasion helped Muslim troops against Christians (as in the initial Arab conquest of Spain) and some Jews held prominent positions in Muslim governments at war with the Christians. Even when they did not actually take part in the fighting, “Jews usually rejoiced when Christian territory fell into Islamic hands.”

Mattai and Pope Alexander

While there were great similarities and affinities, it must be pointed out that it is only logical that Jews would ally with those who would treat them better and with whom relations would be more advantageous. If medieval European Christians were offering less discrimination and interference in religious, family and financial life than Muslims then certainly Jews would have collaborated with Christians more than Muslims. In other words one cannot discount the importance of community interests, foremost survival as the motivation for such alliances.

This was driven home to me while watching the third season of Showtime’s historical drama, The Borigas. In one of the episodes, the leader of the Jewish community, Mattai meets with Pope Alexander,

Mattai meets with Alexander and tells him the whole Turkish navy could be burned to the waves with oil. He proposes stuffing some ships with oil for Ramadan and sending them over there just in time to berth for the holy month. Once they’re there, Mattai’s connections will set them alight. That’s if Alexander issues a papal bull that eases up on the taxes on the Jews in Rome. Alexander moans that he asks for a great deal, but Mattai refuses to back down, and even gives Alexander a bit of lip…He says he needs money to buy all this oil, and Alexander says that he’ll issue the bull if Mattai can ensure the success of this scheme.

Alexander meets with Mattai, Cardinal Sforza, and a few others. Mattai tells him the ships loaded with oil are already docked and the conflagration may have already happened.

In Constantinople, oil leaking out over the water is set alight, swiftly engulfing the anchored ships.

Back in Rome, Alexander sits and signs the papal bull, while in Constantinople, the ships explode and sailors flee for their lives. In a fantastic long shot, we see the entire fleet from a distance, burning away.

While the actual historicity of these events are dubious and likely never occurred, it highlights the reasons and motivations that guide communities. Jews who aided Muslims in Spain did so not primarily because both Muslims and Jews circumcise males or eschew pork but rather because they trusted that they would have a better and freer life.

The “counterjihadists” know that “perfidious” Jews aren’t opening up the gates to Muslim hordes. It is no longer the 14th century, there isn’t a “Christendom,” let alone a “Caliphate.” Many Christians are united alongside Muslims and Jews and others to make society and the world better, that is what the interfaith movement is all about.

Opening our doors to the stranger, seeing the image of G-d in our fellow human being and their inherent dignity should not be the opposite of our values but the very core of what we struggle to achieve and become.

This however is appeasement to the paranoid and conspiratorial “counterjihadists,” who in the place of our multi-faith and multi-cultural reality want to take us back to an unrealistic mono-faith, mono-cultural world.

Abd-al-Rahman_III

By Garibaldi

One often hears Islamophobes in the “counterjihad” movement claiming to be defenders of the “Judeo-Christian” West against the spread of Islam and the enfranchisement of Muslims in Western democracies. The term Judeo-Christian gained currency in the middle of the 20th century,

“promoted by groups which evolved into the National Conference of Christians and Jews, to fight antisemitism by expressing a more inclusive idea of American values rather than just Christian or Protestant.”

Ironically, in the past several decades and especially since 9/11, Judeo-Christian has most often been used by the rightwing to exclude differing religions and cultures from staking their own claim to Americanness, specifically, to amplify the so-called “Islamic threat.”

The rightwing considers America’s “uniqueness” to be rooted in its Judeo-Christian values. Take radio host Dennis Prager, who writes,

[o]nly America has called itself Judeo-Christian. America is also unique in that it has always combined secular government with a society based on religious values. Along with the belief in liberty—as opposed to, for example, the European belief in equality, the Muslim belief in theocracy, and the Eastern belief in social conformity—Judeo-Christian values are what distinguish America from all other countries.

The claims about “European,” “Muslim,” and “Eastern” societies are simplistic generalizations but there is some truth to Prager’s claim that “only America has called itself Judeo-Christian,” in so far as the USA is where Judeo-Christianism was born. If one can speak in such broad terms at all of an alliance/unity between Jews and Christians it is relatively recent; only 70 years out of the past 2,000 years.

A different kind of alliance

A recent article published on Loonwatch about the Spanish government’s commitment to give descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled over 500 years ago from Andalus automatic citizenship brought to mind the longer and deeper history of Jewish and Muslim collaboration.

The history of Jewish-Muslim alliance has led some scholars to the interesting thesis that the roots of medieval European Christian anti-Semitism was rooted not in charges of deicide (Jews killed Jesus) against Jews but in their alliance and collaboration with Muslims.

In Allan Harris Cutler and Helen Elmquist Cutler’s book, “The Jews as Ally of the Muslim,” the authors,

[R]evise the traditional explanations of the roots of anti-Semitism. They contend that the great outburst of anti-Semitism in Western Europe during the Middle Ages … derived from primarily anti-Muslimism and the association of Jew with Muslim.

Islamophobe Daniel Pipes, in one of his less bellicose and polemical articles wrote a review of the book in 1987 that is worth reading, concluding that “it offers an intriguing and ultimately convincing argument.” Though he takes exception to the authors’ advice to Pope John Paul II to “transform his office and mission from a more narrowly Christian into a broadly Abrahamic one . . . to create a new spiritual and institutional unity between Jews, Christians, and Muslims.”

Among certain nationalists and White Power currents in the “counterjihad” there is a continuation of the idea that Jews are allying with Muslims to help them take over the West, just as Jews aided Muslims in conquering Hispania from Visigoth tyranny.

In the view of these counterjihadists Jewish intellectuals have opened the gates of fortified Europe and America through modern day liberalism. Hence, their usage of “Leftist” in the familiar Islamophobic expression, “Leftist-Muslim alliance to destroy the West,” is a P.C. way to refer to Jews. “Leftist” masks an undercurrent of antiSemitism, since in their view Jew=Leftist.

The website Islam Versus Europe: Where Islam Spreads, Freedom Dies, did a three part series titled, “Jewish collaboration with Muslims during the invasion of Spain” by Cheradnine Zakalwe. The website has a global Alexa ranking of 703,552 and a US ranking of 262,275.

islamversuseuropeblogspot

IslamVersusEurope is considered by other “counterjihadists” to be a “respected CounterJihad blog” and is linked and blogrolled on numerous Islamophobic sites. The site has also been approvingly linked by Deacon Robert Spencer even after Zakalwe’s series of articles. (Not surprising considering Spencer’s alliance with antiSemites such as Eric Allen Bell and the anti-Jewish stances of his ally Pamela Geller).

IslamVersusEurope_JihadWatch

The main point of Zakalwe’s three part series is summed up in his first post,

So the Jews in Spain were enslaving European Christians. This provoked the irritation of other European Christians, who then took measures against the Jews. This caused the Jews to reach out to their fellow Jews abroad and to the Arabs, urging them to invade Spain and bring this Christian oppression to an end. When they did so, the Jews eagerly collaborated with the Muslims, acting as administrators for the conquered cities and realm.

The parallels with our own time are striking, with Jewish intellectuals having paved the way for the modern Muslim conquest by pushing the benefits of immigration, diversity, tolerance, special minority protection, etc., denigrating nationalism and wielding the Nazi stick forcefully against anyone bold enough to dissent. (Emphasis mine)

These views are not limited to Zakalwe but can also be found on unabashedly racist and Islamophobic sites like Occidental Dissent and Occidental Observer.

The truth is that yes, there was a long history of collaboration and affinity between Muslims and Jews which fueled animosity on the part of European Christendom. Pipes in his review of the Cutlers’ study even notes,

[T]he Hebrew language shares much with Arabic, and Judaism shares much with Islam; on the most abstract level, both are religions of law, while Christianity is a religion of faith. More specifically, they share many features such as circumcision, dietary regulations, and similar sexual codes. Further, because the Muslims were preeminent in the medieval centuries, “Jews themselves associated Jew with Muslim.” When this became known among the Christians, it much harmed the Jews’ position. Most damaging of all, Jews on occasion helped Muslim troops against Christians (as in the initial Arab conquest of Spain) and some Jews held prominent positions in Muslim governments at war with the Christians. Even when they did not actually take part in the fighting, “Jews usually rejoiced when Christian territory fell into Islamic hands.”

Mattai and Pope Alexander

While there were great similarities and affinities, it must be pointed out that it is only logical that Jews would ally with those who would treat them better and with whom relations would be more advantageous. If medieval European Christians were offering less discrimination and interference in religious, family and financial life than Muslims then certainly Jews would have collaborated with Christians more than Muslims. In other words one cannot discount the importance of community interests, foremost survival as the motivation for such alliances.

This was driven home to me while watching the third season of Showtime’s historical drama, The Borigas. In one of the episodes, the leader of the Jewish community, Mattai meets with Pope Alexander,

Mattai meets with Alexander and tells him the whole Turkish navy could be burned to the waves with oil. He proposes stuffing some ships with oil for Ramadan and sending them over there just in time to berth for the holy month. Once they’re there, Mattai’s connections will set them alight. That’s if Alexander issues a papal bull that eases up on the taxes on the Jews in Rome. Alexander moans that he asks for a great deal, but Mattai refuses to back down, and even gives Alexander a bit of lip…He says he needs money to buy all this oil, and Alexander says that he’ll issue the bull if Mattai can ensure the success of this scheme.

Alexander meets with Mattai, Cardinal Sforza, and a few others. Mattai tells him the ships loaded with oil are already docked and the conflagration may have already happened.

In Constantinople, oil leaking out over the water is set alight, swiftly engulfing the anchored ships.

Back in Rome, Alexander sits and signs the papal bull, while in Constantinople, the ships explode and sailors flee for their lives. In a fantastic long shot, we see the entire fleet from a distance, burning away.

While the actual historicity of these events are dubious and likely never occurred, it highlights the reasons and motivations that guide communities. Jews who aided Muslims in Spain did so not primarily because both Muslims and Jews circumcise males or eschew pork but rather because they trusted that they would have a better and freer life.

The “counterjihadists” know that “perfidious” Jews aren’t opening up the gates to Muslim hordes. It is no longer the 14th century, there isn’t a “Christendom,” let alone a “Caliphate.” Many Christians are united alongside Muslims and Jews and others to make society and the world better, that is what the interfaith movement is all about.

Opening our doors to the stranger, seeing the image of G-d in our fellow human being and their inherent dignity should not be the opposite of our values but the very core of what we struggle to achieve and become.

This however is appeasement to the paranoid and conspiratorial “counterjihadists,” who in the place of our multi-faith and multi-cultural reality want to take us back to an unrealistic mono-faith, mono-cultural world.