Free Muslims Against Terrorism - An exercise in Muslim Sophistry ?
The California Suicide Bomber - Terrorist who blew himself up in Iraq became radicalised in the US
April 4, 2005
MIM: Ray Hanania is an advisory board on Free Muslims Against Terrorism . Although non Muslim, Hanania has worked with the PLO and was president of the Palestine National Congress. He calls "terrorism a legitimate form of resistance", justifies suicide bombings, and stated that :The Likud party in Israel is the first terrorist organisation in the Middle East".
MIM: He didn't look like a terrorist : " The California Suicide Bomber "
Ra'ed Mansour lived in California, claimed to love America, and was seen as a fun loving guy. Last month he blew himself up in Iraq, killing 132 people and injuring 120. See Daniel Pipes article below:
The Palestinian American Congress salutes the Palestinian people on the fourth anniversary of the Intifada. This is an uprising against the most brutal form of occupation in modern history. As such, Palestinians are struggling against the continuous attempt by Israel to eradicate the Palestinian identity, the constant confiscation of Palestinian land, the destruction of more than one million olive trees, the destruction of Palestinian homes, the presence of over 300 check points, the illegal detention of 8000 political prisoners, and the list of atrocities goes on.
While the United States administration is lending its full support to the illegal Israeli occupation, the rest of the world recognizes this uprising as the rightful and legitimate form of resisting the Israeli occupation. This uprising has clearly shown that the Palestinian will and determination cannot and will not be broken.
The Palestinian American Congress stands firmly with the Palestinian people in their struggle as they enter into the fifth year of the Intifada.
END The Palestinian American Congress is a national grass roots organization that defends and represents the interests of Palestinian Americans. Its current member base is distributed over twelve chapters throughout the United States
MIM: In a Front Page Magazine symposium Ray Hanania provided a classic example of the FMAT's aim to promote the view that terrorism is something which is being committed by Jews and Israel.
When FPM editor Jamie Glazov refuted Hanania's accusations against Israel, Hanania simultaneously claimed that Israel had "committed actrocities "and accused Glazov of "being a supporter of terrorism".
Press and political pundits who are touting the Free Muslims Against Terrorism [FMAT] planned anti-terrorism rally as a sign of the emergence of a moderate voice of Islam in America, be forewarned.
The FMAT anti-terrorism message is a public relations exercise intended to score founder Kamal Nawash much needed political points. It?s a cynical publicity stunt which will give the FMAT a platform for their message - that the existence of the State of Israel is the root cause of Arab/Muslim terrorism.
While claiming moderation:
"...The Free Muslims Against Terrorism are proud to announce that on May 14th 2005, Muslims and Middle Easterners of all backgrounds will converge on our nation's Capital for a rally against terrorism and to support freedom and democracy in the Middle East and the Muslim world. This will be the first rally of its kind in Washington DC that is led by Muslims and Middle Easterners. Join us in sending a message to radical Muslims and supporters of terrorism that we reject them and that we will do all we can to defeat them..."
FMAT's message is disingenuous, underscored by quite different rhetoric which appears on their website. That language seeks to morally equates Israel's defensive actions with the terrorism of Hamas, explaining that in the case of Arab terrorism, "one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist."
More specifically, Kamal Nawash, the group's founder, has defended convicted terrorist Abdulrahman Alamoudi - who was behind a plot to destabilize Saudi Arabia by killing Prince Abdullah. Nawash declared that Alamoudi was a "liberal" and "moderate" Muslim who "supports the United States war on terror", and claimed that his trial was "politically motivated".
On the FMAT website, under the heading, ?Our Positions," Nawash writes that Muslims cannot be expected to do anything against Arab terrorism as long as Israel exists since - "...The clever adoption of the Palestinian cause has made it difficult for peaceful Muslims to attack terrorist organizations such as Islamic Jihad and HAMAS." http://www.freemuslims.org/issues/terrorism.php
According the FMAT's line of reasoning , Germans could not have been expected to oppose the Nazis, since their ideology was an expression of German patriotic sentiment and represented the people's national aspirations, which included long felt cultural feelings of anti-Semitism.
FMAT advisory board member Ray Hanania - a non Muslim Islamist - carries this Weltanshaaung one step further. At a 2003 Arab journalist event Hanania referred to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as "a blood-thirsty Nazi," claiming that "The Likud Party of Israel is the first terrorist organization of the Middle East." Hanania then proclaimed that "Resistance is not terrorism, it is a right to stand up to injustice."
In an essay on the FMAT website entitled : "Failure to Denounce Terrorism Undermines Arab/Muslim Groups" FMAT Hanania further reiterates the group?s position that Israelis are the main cause of the terrorism which the FMAT is speaking out against:
"Targeting victims of Israel's brutality, Hamas easily encourages young Palestinians to strap themselves with bombs and become suicide bombers".
"...Hamas was founded by a religious fanatic who advocated an Islamic State in Palestine that by its nature would discriminate against Christians and Jews in much the same way that Israel, a Jewish State, discriminates against Christians and Muslims...."
"...The founder, Sheik Yassin, was murdered in March in an immoral act typifying Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's terrorism...".
"....Suicide bombings are the most reprehensible form of violence in the Middle East. They have overshadowed Sharon's terrorism..."
Besides attacking Israel for causing Arab's deaths by giving them "no choice but to become suicide bombers," Hanania concludes his article with the FMAT's apparent party line, morally equating Israeli self-defense with the actions of Hamas. He ends by blaming American Jews for making it "difficult for Muslim- Americans to speak out against the terrorism in their own communities."
Hanania has repeatedly written that he only objects to suicide bombings as a tactical mistake because "...Suicide bombings are standing in the way of Palestinian justice, and we must open our eyes, be honest and recognize that fact," and that:
"...My Arab community doesn't understand the threat the suicide attack and future suicide bombings pose to Palestinian rights..." Ariga.com
In a 2005 article entitled "Media bias undermines truth and peace," Hanania has defended Saudi payments to what he considers tobe the "innocent" members of suicide bombers families.
"... Saudi Arabia gave $150 million, and we calculate that there were about 75 suicide bombings in the past four years of the Intifada, that means $750,000 went to families of suicide bombers, but $149,250,000 went to families of civilians killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers..."
Not surprisingly Hanania's essays are widely reprinted on radical Islamist websites such as Radio Islam - dubbed the mother of all anti-Semitic websites - and the Palestine Times, where his article calling the ZOA president "a pig" appeared between the writings of Hamas members Azzam Tamami, Ahmed Yousef - whose UASR organization was raided in a terrorism crackdown last year - Ramzy Baroud, and Hamas cleric Jamil Tamimi. Palestine Times link
It is not only Hanania's anti-Semitism and defense of suicide bombings which gained him acceptance by radical Islamists . His bio on the FMAT website informs us that:
"...He provided basic media training also to the Ministry of Information in the Palestine National Authority, working with Yasser Abed Rabbo who surfaced as one of the country's leading moderates speaking out against violence and in support of compromise with Israel. Hanania has been a longtime outspoken critic of violence and advocate of peaceful relations between Palestinians and Israelis. He has been tapped by the U.S. State Department and the US Information Agency to provide media training sessions, meetings and presentations during the past decade to foreign media and government officials. He participated in meeting with President Clinton and Israelis and Palestinian officials towards strengthening the Oslo Peace Accords..." Free Muslims
Besides justifying terrorism, Hanania, who sees himself as a 'stand up comic' also jokes about it. In 1996 Hanania wrote a book entitled "I'm Glad I Look Like a Terrorist" and produced an FBI 'Wanted' poster of himself and several members of Al Qaeda, including Bin Laden ,with the caption, "Ray Hanania, a Conspiracy of Comedy". Militant Islam Monitor
Free Muslims Against Terrorism founder Kamal Nawash, a lawyer from Virginia, and former employee of the radical Islamist American Arab Anti-Defamation Committee [ADC] is also no stranger to advocating the rights of terrorists.
A year before he founded FMAT, Nawash had this to say about Abdulrahman Alamoudi; "He is just a liberal Muslim, who wants more Muslims to be involved in the U.S. military and politics to be part of America".
In an article in Frontpage Magazine, counter-terrorism expert Ewan McCormick wrote that:
"...Even a look at Alamoudi's legal team turns up familiar faces in the domestic Wahhabi network. One of Alamoudi's lawyers, Kamal Nawash, an outspoken apologist for Hamas and Palestinian terrorists, who has previously served as the legal advisor at the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a group that has worked alongside Alamoudi in opposing to the Bush Administration's War on Terror.
Though he was not present in the courtroom, Nawash sprung to Alamoudi?s defense in an Islam Online article in which the lawyer states, '[Alamoudi] has no links whatsoever to violence or terrorism. On the contrary, he supported the US war on terrorism."
Nawash was equally quick to politically distance himself from Alamoudi in preparation for his upcoming Virginia state senate election campaign. The Washington Post reported that in August, Nawash returned two campaign donation checks of $5,000 to Abdurahman Alamoudi and his wife, Shifa. While taking up Alamoudi?s defense in court, it seems that the political danger of associating with a lawbreaking supporter of terrorist causes was too much.
Kamal Nawash has his own set of political connections that would be devastated if US attorneys sufficiently connect the dots during Alamoudi?s criminal trial. Grover Norquist, a Republican lobbyist well connected to the Bush administration through Policy Advisor Karl Rove, has been instrumental in Nawash?s campaign, personally hosting a fundraiser at his residence on August 6th. Norquist also served as the Founding Chairman of the Islamic Institute, which received its initial funding from none other than Abdurahman Alamoudi..." Canadian Grassroots
Further holes in Nawash's moderate façade were apparent when the FMAT allied with the [wahhabist] Council of American Islamic Relations in a publicity stunt disguised a campaign against textbooks in a Saudi Wahhabist school in Virginia. Among the detractors of Nawash's efforts was Saudi Embassy spokesman Al Jubeir, who appears to have made an aberrant foray into truth, when he commented that, "Mr. Nawash is criticizing the school for political gain" Washington Times
CAIR's alignment with FMAT, only appeared to be a case of spitting into the Wahabbist well from which it drinks. It was merely a strategic attempt to bolster their façade as moderates, and meant to gain the trust of non Muslims.
The FMAT web page "Don't blame the Jews" is another exercise in morally equating the actions of Israel with those of Arab terrorism, though it starts out with some reasonable language - "...Another disturbing trend that is heavily propagated by extremists and accepted by many naive Arabs and Muslims is the blaming of all Muslim problems on the Jews".
The section of the site is obviously intended for consumption by non-Muslims and claims that Arab anti-Semitism is actually caused by - "Our research shows that the modern origins of this trend is the mutual demonization by Israelis and Arabs of each other to gain global support for each other's causes."
Not only does FMAT not document the source of "our research," but the 3 paragraph exercise in Muslim ethnocentric anti-Semitism ends with attempting to create the impression that real problem is that Jews are attacking Arabs who peaceably advocate Palestinian rights," when that is manifestly not the case.
"The Coalition also urges Israelis to stop demonizing Arabs and Muslims who peacefully advocate for the rights of Palestinians."
Adding insult to injury, the "Don't blame the Jews' page on the FMAT website makes a pretence of condemning terrorism claiming that it is perpetrated by 'naïve Arabs and Muslims'. They then disingenuously assert that Daniel Pearl's murder was committed by "Islamic extremists in Pakistan who had never met a Jew."
'Our research' at MIM reveals that the terrorist who killed Daniel Pearl, was anything but a "naive' Muslim", "who had never met a Jew",on the contrary, he was British born Islamist Omar Saeed;
"...the son of a wealthy Pakistani clothing manufacturer. He grew up in London, attending the best private schools and performing brilliantly. He studied mathematics and statistics at the London School of Economics. While still at school, he started a successful shares and equities business. [South Asian Outlook, 3/02] In college he was a chess champion, world class arm wrestler, and martial arts expert - a rare combination of physical and mental prowess..." [Rediff, 2/6/02] ." http://www.fromthewilderness.com/timeline/AAsaeed.html
In March, the Free Muslims Against Terrorism has announced will be holding a "rally against terrorism and to support freedom and democracy in the Middle East and the Muslim world...Muslims and Middle Easterners of all backgrounds" were urged to participate - "This will be the first rally of its kind."
True to form the FMAT has falsely claimed that theirs is the first Muslim rally against terrorism.
Last year in Arizona, Zuhdi Jasser organized a similar rally. Out of a Muslim population of 50,000 the estimated Muslim participation in the event was 100 people, with non Muslims comprising the bulk of what was estimated to be between 250 and 400 people. Daniel Pipes
The upcoming FMAT Washington rally will just another media opportunity for the group's spinmeisters to propagate the canard that - "The issue of Palestine and the perceived suffering of the Palestinians is the single most important issue that unites the entire Muslim and Arab world," implying that the Jews and Israel are to blame for Arab attacks on America, pointing out that "Osama Bin Laden also invoked the Palestinian issue to justify 9-11".
Free Muslims Against Terrorism regards terrorism as acts of violence which have as their root sins committed by the state of Israel.
Both FMAT founder Nawash and board member Hanania claim that Israel gives Arabs "no choice" than to die killing themselves and others, and that the Jewish State is the reason for all international terrorism.
Which begs the obvious question; With Free Muslims Against Terrorism as friends - who needs the terrorists?
Ra'ed Mansour al-Banna was born in Jordan in 1973 and grew up in a religious, economically prosperous merchant family. He studied law at the university, graduating in 1996, and then started his own law practice in the Jordanian capital of Amman. After three years, he gave it up and in 1999 he worked a half year without pay for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Amman, helping Iraqis who fled Saddam Hussein's tyranny.
In 2001, sometime before 9/11, Banna received a visa and moved to the United States, where he apparently lived in California for nearly two years, moving from one unskilled job to another – factory worker, bus driver, and pizza maker. According to his father, Ra'ed even worked "in one of the Californian airports." If Ra'ed did not make it economically, he seemed to fit in well, traveling to such destinations as the Golden GateBridge and the WorldTradeCenter, growing his hair long, and taking up American popular music. Photographs sent to his family in Jordan show Banna eating a crab dinner, walking on a beach in California, mounted on a motorcycle, and standing in front of a military helicopter while holding an American flag. He even planned to marry a Christian woman until her parents demanded that the wedding take place in a church.
Banna apparently loved America, reporting back to his family about the people's honesty and kindness; "They respect anybody who is sincere." Talal Naser, a young man engaged to one of Ra'ed's sisters, explained how Ra'ed "loved life in America, compared to Arab countries. He wanted to stay there." His father, Mansour, recounted that, despite the September 11 attacks, Ra'ed "faced no problems with his American workmates, who liked him."
Banna visited home in 2003 but on his return to the United States he was denied entry, accused of falsifying details on a visa application. He returned to Jordan and became withdrawn, holing up in a makeshift studio apartment, sleeping late, and displaying a new interest in religion. He began praying five times a day and listening to the Koran. In November 2004, he went on pilgrimage to Mecca, returning to Saudi Arabia in January 2005.
On Jan. 27, Banna crossed into Syria, presumably on the way to Iraq. He apparently spent February with Sunni jihadis in Iraq, during which time he called home several times, with the last call on about Feb. 28.
Feb. 28 also happens to be the date when Banna suited up as a suicide bomber and blew himself up at a health clinic in Al-Hilla, killing 132 people and injuring 120, the worst such attack of the 136 suicide bombings that have taken place since May 2003. On March 3, the family received a call informing them of Ra'ed's fate. "Congratulations, your brother has fallen a martyr."
A friend revealed that Banna became politically radicalized against American policies in the Muslim world while living in the United States. He was especially distraught about developments in Iraq. A neighbor, Nassib Jazzar, recalled Banna upset with the coalition occupation. "He felt that the Arabs didn't have honor and freedom.'"
The father notes that Ra'ed wore Western-style clothing, rarely went to mosque, and was ignorant of the names of local sheikhs. "I am shocked by all of this because my son was a very quiet man, not very religious and more interested in pursuing his law profession and building a future for himself."
As Time cautiously concludes from this tale,
On the basis of accounts given by his family, friends and neighbors, Ra'ed apparently led a double life, professing affection for America while secretly preparing to join the holy war against the U.S. in Iraq. "Something went wrong with Ra'ed, and it is a deep mystery," says his father Mansour, 56. "What happened to my son?"
Ra'ed al-Banna's biography inspires several observations:
(1) When it comes to Islamist terrorists, appearances often deceive. That Banna was said to "love life in America," be "not very religious," and be interested in "building a future for himself" obviously indicated nothing about his real thinking and purposes. The same pattern recurs in the biographies of many other jihadis.
(2) Moving to the West often spurs Muslims to despise the West more than they did before they got there. This appears to be what happened with Banna.
(3) Taking up the Islamist cause, even to the point of sacrificing one's life for it, usually happens in a discreet manner, quite unobservable even to a person's closest relatives.
In brief, Banna's evolution confirms the point I have made repeatedly about the regrettable but urgent need to keep an eye on all potential Islamists and jihadis, which is to say Muslims.
Daniel Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and author of Miniatures
MIM: The FMAT's crediblity is further undermined by their cynically entitled "Don't Blame the Jews" webpage, a lame exercise in 'philo semitism' where further begs the question; "With friends like FMAT, who needs the terrorists?
FMAT would have us believe that terrorists are "naive Arab and Muslims", who that terrorism can be fought and is caused by "mutual demonisation" by Jews and Arabs. They claim that Daniel Pearl's murder was an example of "unjustified hate" towards Jews, which can be extrapolated to mean that Arab terrorism against Jews is justified when it comes to the Israel. More evidence to support this conclusion can be seen in the fact that FMAT goes on to surreptiously "blame the Jews" when it " urges them to stop demonising Arabs who advocate the rights of Palestinians".
"...Another disturbing trend that is heavily propagated by extremists and accepted by many naive Arabs and Muslims is the blaming of all Muslim problems on the ?Jews.? There are numerous examples for this but most recently news broadcasts out of Iraq quoted Iraqi victims of violence who blamed the bombings on Jews or a Jewish conspiracy.
Many Arabs and Muslims still blame the 9-11 attacks on a Jewish conspiracy that was allegedly perpetrated to demonize Arabs and Muslims in the eyes of the world.
One of the most recent and tragic examples of unjustified hate towards Jews was the brutal murder of Daniel Pearl. Daniel Pearl was a journalist murdered by Islamic extremists in Pakistan who had never met a Jew, and the only knowledge they had about Jews was the tireless propaganda from Muslim extremists throughout the world blaming Jews for all of the world?s problems. The extremists targeted and murdered Daniel Pearl because he was a Jew.
Our research indicates that one of the modern origins of this trend is the mutual demonization by Israelis and Arabs of each other to gain global support for each other?s causes. This pattern includes the Arab media?s ceaseless reference to the falsified document, the Protocols of Zion. The Coalition strongly urges Muslims and Arabs to refrain from demonizing Jews and stop blaming Jews for all of the world?s problems. The Coalition also urges Israelis to stop demonizing Arabs and Muslims who peacefully advocate for the rights of Palestinians.
MIM: The ironically titled "Don't blame the Jews page' on the FMAT website makes a pretence of condemning terrorism while dissembling that it is perpetrated by 'naive Arabs and Muslims' . They then add insult to injury by citing "our research," which purports to prove that the cause of terrorism is 'mutual demonisation' by Jews and Arabs.FMAT then concludes their 'Don't blame the Jews' manifesto by urging Jews to "stop demonising Arabs who advocate for the rights of Palestinians".
The FMAT states that : Daniel Pearl "was murdered by Islamic extremists in Pakistan who had never met a Jew ,and the only information and the only knowledge they had about Jews was the tireless propaganda from Muslim extremists throughout the world blaming Jews for all of the world's problems.The extremists targeted and murdered Daniel Pearl because he was a Jew. "
MIM:These two claims are patently false.
The mastermind of the Pearl kidnapping was British born and educated Omar Saeed who, went to private schools, and was considered a brillant student. Saeed, who attended the London School of Economics obviously must have had contact or known about Jews in the UK.( Ironically after Daniel Pearl's murder, his father, Yehuda Pearl, was given an honorary degree by LSE.)
Saeed stopped studying at the London School of Economics when he became religious.
According to reports: Pearl was not only targetted because he was Jewish( although he might have been killed because of this )but because he was investigating ties to the shoe bomber Richard Reid and may have 'known too much'.
Saeed Sheikh would eventually become deeply involved in the world of the ISI, as well as al-Qaeda. But initially he seemed an unlikely candidate for a career in espionage and terrorism. He was born in Britain with the name Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the son of a wealthy Pakistani clothing manufacturer. He grew up in London, attending the best private schools and performing brilliantly. He studied mathematics and statistics at the London School of Economics. While still at school, he started a successful shares and equities business. [South Asian Outlook, 3/02] In college he was a chess champion, world class arm wrestler, and martial arts expert - a rare combination of physical and mental prowess. [Rediff, 2/6/02]
His life took a turn when he volunteered for charity work in Bosnia in late 1992. The Bosnian war was raging, and he saw atrocities committed by Serbians on Bosnian Muslims. He returned to Britain a committed Muslim radical. Because of his impressive abilities in economics and mathematics, as well as fluency in English and complete understanding of Western society, he was a very valuable asset to any terrorist group. [ABC News, 2/7/0
The father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl has donated $15,000 he earned from a top scientific award to a foundation established to perpetuate his son' ideals.
Judea Pearl received the Lakatos Award, conferred by the London School of Economics for outstanding contributions to the philosophy of science. The UCLA computer scientist was honored May 9 in London for his book Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference: An Analysis of Statistics, Artificial Intelligence and Probability Theory.
In a painfully ironic note, Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheik, the chief defendant in Pearl's murder, studied at the London School of Economics.
"...Omar Saeed Sheikh, the docile, chess-loving English public schoolboy who turned Islamic holy warrior while reading Maths at the LSE, masterminded the kidnapping of the American journalist Daniel Pearl , US and Pakistani investigators said yesterday...."
Further proof of Nawash's dissembling is his claim that Abdulrahman Alamoudi was a "liberal moderate Muslim" "who supported the war on terrorism". Nawash, who had been working as a lawyer with the radical Islamist Arab American Anti Discrimation Committee in 2000, and travelled in the same radical Islamist circles as Alamoudi, cannot expect anyone to believe that he was not aware statements by Alamoudi such as these:
"...At another Washington rally, on Oct. 28, 2000, the AMC's Mr. Alamoudi led the thousands in attendance to chant their support for Hamas and Hezbollah. "Hear that, Bill Clinton, we are all supporters of Hamas," he declared. "I wish they argued that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah." (When the New York Daily News asked about these comments earlier this week, Mr. Alamoudi denied making them, telling the reporter: "You better check your Arabic." When the reporter noted that he had given the speech in English, Mr. Alamoudi replied, "It was in English? Oh my God, I forgot!")..." http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=65000531
In his recent book "Infiltration", Paul Sperry wrote that Kamal Nawash works in a law firm called Nawash,Kheder,and Hanania. The offices are located in a building which houses the Muslim Student Association, and until recently, The World Assembly of Muslim Youth, WAMY, a Saudi funding front for Al Qaeda. The offices are located closeby the Wahhabist Dar Al Hijrah mosque.
* "Oh Allah, Destroy America": AMC leader Abdulrahman Alamoudi declared at a pro-Hamas convention in Chicago in 1996: "If we are outside this country, we can say, 'Oh, Allah, destroy America."" (New York Post, Sept. 15, 1998)
* "Destroy Israel ... Boycott America": AMC leader Abdulrahman Alamoudi took part in a conference of terrorist groups in Beirut, Lebanon, in January 2001. Leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Usama Bin Laden's terror group took part. The conference called for "Jihad in all its forms and resistance" against Israel and urged a boycott of American goods o the grounds that "American products are exactly like the Israeli products." (see http://www.minaret.org/beirutconference.htm)
* "We Support Hamas and Hezbollah": At a rally in Lafeyette Park in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 28, 2000, AMC leader Abdulrahman Alamoudi said: "I have been labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas. We are ALL supporters of Hamas. I wish they added that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah." Alamoudi also told the U.S.-based Hamas publication Al-Zaitunah (June 2, 2000): "Our [AMC]'s position with regard to the peace process is well-known. We are the ones who went to the White House and defended what is called Hamas."
* AMC Calls Hamas "Freedom Fighters": After the Hamas suicide bombing in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda marketplace in 1997, in which 16 Israelis --one of them an American citizen-- were murdered, the AMC called Hamas "a freedom fighter organization." (Forward, Dec.26, 1997)
* AMC Says Hamas "Not Terrorists": Alamoudi said at an April 1995 press conference, "Hamas is not a terrorist organization." (Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 12, 1995) Likewise, Alamoudi said at a press conference at the National Press Club on Nov. 22, 1994: "Hamas is not a terrorist group."
* AMC Praises Hamas Leader: Alamoudi said concerning Hamas terrorist leader Musa Abu-Marzouk: "I know the man, he is a moderate man on many issues. If you see him, he is like a child. He is the most gracious person, soft-spoken. He is for dialogue." (Washington Post, July 28, 1995)
Imam Khaleel Mohammad is another FMAT board member whose proclaims himself a moderate. He is also on the board of the Center for Islamic Pluralism.
Mohammad recently gave a talk in Florida and referred to Jihad as meaning struggle - a tactic often used by Muslims to falsely claim that Jihad does not mean holy war.
Mohammed's bio lists him as an Imam whose Islamic studies were financed by the Saudis at the Wahhabist Muhammed Bin Saud University.
BIOGRAPHY DR. KHALEEL MOHAMMED
Dr. Khaleel Mohammed is a Professor of Religion at San Diego State University, and a core faculty member of the university's Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies. He is also an imam and one of the few Islamic scholars to be accepted by both the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam.
Dr. Mohammed was born in Guyana, South America. He has studied in Mexico, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Syria and Yemen, at both traditional Islamic institutions and Western universities. After taking a bachelor's degree in Religion and Psychology (Mexico), he received a Saudi government scholarship and studied at the Kulliyat al-Shariah, Muhammad bin Saud University, in Riyadh. Upon his return to North America, he received numerous fellowships and awards, completing an M.A. in religion (majoring in Judaism and Islam, Concordia University), and then his Ph.D. (Islamic law) at McGill. He was the first Kraft-Hiatt postdoctoral fellow in Islamic Studies at Brandeis University.
In addition to speaking at mosques, synagogues and churches, Dr. Mohammed lectures at universities throughout North America and the Arab world. He is a specialist in Islamic law, and his response can be found on www.forpeoplewhothink.org.
This posting appeared on Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch website which disputed the Saudi trained Imam's claims to being a "peaceful" Muslim reformer. Spencer took part in a symposium which included Muhammad and took issue with Mohammad's exegesis of the Koran's view on Jews.
Spencer :"...Prof. Khaleel Mohammed, you are on the record for maintaining that the Qur'an respects the Jews. Yet isn't it clear that the Qur'an attributes so many negative characteristics to them, like "falsehood" (Sura 3:71) and "distortion" (Sura )? Among other things, the Qur'an teaches that the Jews have been cursed by Allah, as well as by David and Jesus. (Sura 2:61/58, Sura 5:78/82) And Allah was so disgusted with Jews that he transformed them into apes and pigs. (Sura 5:60/65, 2:65 and 7:166). What conclusions is a faithful Muslim supposed to reach here?
"... Professor Muhammad acknowledges that this sacred Jew-hatred is more common in Islam than his perspective, and hopes that "a discerning Muslim will hopefully see the verses in context the way I have." I hope so too, but the good professor would make this more likely by constructing a more durable and convincing refutation of the interpretations that give rise to that hatred..." http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=13956
The courageous ex-Muslim Walid Shoebat has sent in this commentary on his recent encounter with the putative Muslim reformer Khaleel Mohammed. Walid is, of course, the former PLO member who is now a Christian. My own run-in with Mohammed is here.
Quotes by "peaceful" Muslim reformer Khaleel Mohammed:
"Peace ceased when the crusades were launched, and which have not yet ended."
Khaleel's mission is simple: to punch America (the crusader) back for the war on Iraq. His other mission is to fight anyone who critques Islam:
"what is wrong with fighting against tyranny and oppression, whether it be intellectual or otherwise? Is this not what the US forces are supposedly in Iraq to do? What makes it right for these predominantly "Christian" soldiers to do that and not for Muslims to have a similar philosophy?"
"word for war, as Mr. Shoebat ought to know, is Harb, and NOT Jihad."
His first 'Islamic reformation' speech stated that Jihad is "self-struggle."
Khaleel knows Jihad very well, not the "self struggle" type:
"I see no reason for Muslims to apologize for Jihad"
To denounce that, will bring Khaleel under Jihad.
Khaleel will NEVER denounce Khaibar massacre of Jews. No apology for Muhammad killing the Jews of Arabia. Khaleel, the Apologist who was educated on Islam in Saudi Arabia, knows well his mission:
"I am a Muslim, and for me to remain quiet in the face of some of the statements made would be to forego my duty of fighting against oppression--especially when it is in the form of intellectual tyranny."
Yet, Khaleel supports fighting for Islam in America; according to him it's ok to allow Muslim missionaries in America and stop westerners to bring their idiologies to any Muslim country:
"For any Muslim with a brain, the concept of God having a son is the most odious of heresies, and so, it would be retrogressive for Muslim theocracies to open their doors to Christian missionaries, and subject the masses to deviation from the true Abrahamic concept of monotheism (i.e. Judeo-Islamic).."
According to Khaleel, the Quran supersedes the Judeo-Christian books:
"Qur'an, a document that came AFTER the Christian testament and therefore emended what needed to be emended."
This is why, according to Khaleel:
"Why did Egypt, Persia etc become Muslim? The answer is simple; the intellectuality of Islam was way above and beyond what they had."
In other words, Islam supersedes the religions of these countries, as well as what we have in the United States. It is no wonder why Khaleel religiously protects the Islamic world from western ideologies.
According to Khaleel, a major obstacle that stops the reformation of Islam is:
"the status forced on Muslims by non-Muslim powers so that Muslims, instead of trying to genuinely reform their religion, are instead forced to defend against horrendous lies."
In other words, Khaleel must be busy fighting us, the 'Islamophobes,' instead.
Khaleel writes: "I see two of the most destructive forces on earth as Muslim and Christian missionaries"
The difference, Mr. Khaleel, is that Christian missionaries these days might give you a headache; Muslim missionaries in Muslim countries, however, might just whack your head right off.
Big difference. Don't you think?
Even "dhimmitude," according to Khaleel, under which Jews and Christians suffered for centuries, is a creation by an Islamophobe. According to Khaleel, dhimmitude is:
"a term coined by one Islamophobe I know"
Dhimmitude is defined by Khaleel as:
"the status in which non-Muslims within an Islamic state must live."
In summary, Khaleel is right: "Jihad" does mean "self-struggle", but so does Mein Kampf.
Mr. Khaleel Mohammed is also right that like Mafiatude, Dhimmitude is a "payment for protection," under which Christians and Jews "must" live.
So much for this great reformer.
MIM: In another example of FMAT dissembling, the article below was headlined as "CAIR calls HAMAS a Terrorist Organisation" on the group's website .Given the fact that CAIR is a Saudi funded front group for Hamas, and is currently a defendant in a 9/11 terrorism lawsuit, the condemnation of Hamas which FMAT attributes to CAIR, is nothing short of crude propaganda.
(At first glance the headline on the FMAT webpage seems like an attempt at irony, an impression which is furthered due to question marks in the headline which are actually typos.)
A reading of the article reveals that the Sun Sentinel journalist, Tanya Weinberg, known for her dhimmitude in the service of local Islamists, (note that the laudatory article about CAIR is headlined "Islamic Council defends rights of Muslims), gives the impression that CAIR made this statement but the actual quote reveals that CAIR spokemen Hooper and Awad said nothing about condemning Hamas and launched an attack on their critics.
"...Awad and CAIR repeatedly have denied any association with Hamas.
CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper blames people seeking to disenfranchise American Muslims with circulating the criticisms of his group.
"It's always interesting these Muslim bashers can never point to something CAIR has done it in its 10-year history that is objectionable. They have to go to rumor and innuendo and guilt by association in order to destroy CAIR's work on behalf of the American Muslim community," Hooper said. "Somebody worked for somebody who worked for CAIR. What does that have to do with CAIR?"..."
It is clear that FMAT is also trying to provide CAIR, with whom they allied in a much publicised textbook 'protest' (see above) with a veneer of 'moderation' and is a classic exercise in Muslim sophistry on the part of FMAT and CAIR . http://www.freemuslims.org/news/article.php?article=57
CAIR calls HAMAS a Terrorist Organization
July 9, 2004
In response to a question posed by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel news paper, CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper called HAMAS a terrorist organization.
This Coalition has said from day one that terrorism in the name of Islam represents one of the most lethal threats to the stability of the civilized world. The existence of terrorism is the existence of threats to democracy. There is no room for terrorism in the modern world and all people, especially Muslims should take a no-tolerance stance to terrorism in order to avoid another tragedy, along the lines of 9-11.
As the Florida director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Altaf Ali has logged countless 12-hour days. He planned to take it relatively easy on Friday, the Muslim Sabbath. He would attend prayers at the Miami Gardens mosque, announce festivities for his group's 10th anniversary, then finalize preparations for the landmark event.
But then, crisis intervened. Ali once again juggled phone lines, organizing a news conference, answering reporters' questions and calling on Islamic community leaders to support a local Syrian immigrant he thought could be the latest victim of racial profiling.
Since its founding a decade ago, the council, frequently referred to by its acronym CAIR, has pursued a mission of exposing injustice against American Muslims. Modeled in part on the Anti-Defamation League's civil rights efforts in the Jewish community, the group has been particularly busy since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks cast unprecedented suspicion on American Muslims.
As it celebrates its 10th anniversary this week, CAIR is the most widely recognized group advocating for American Muslims. Yet questions about the CAIR national leadership's sympathies to militant Islam have long dogged the group, isolating it from other organizations that promote religious tolerance.
"One of our missions is to build alliances and relationships with other groups. And these accusations have really prevented us from building those relationships," Ali said. "We have found ourselves trying to defend ourselves against the accusations made against us, rather than defending the people we were entrusted with defending, that is, the people who have been discriminated against."
Founded in Washington, D.C., CAIR grew slowly at first, starting new chapters with volunteers and speaking out against what it considered unfavorable depictions of Muslims in the media.
The group was tagged with controversy early on as detractors suggested links between CAIR founders and militant Palestinian movements. CAIR denied the links and asserted a domestic, civil rights mission.
The accusations are rooted in the previous employment of some CAIR founders, including current Executive Director Nihad Awad, with the Islamic Association for Palestine in Texas.
Critics of CAIR long have said the Texas group actively promoted the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which over the past decade has employed suicide bombings as a key weapon in its struggle against Israel.
In 1995, the U.S. government designated Hamas as a terrorist organization.
In her 2002 decision upholding the terrorist designation of the Islamic charity Holy Land Foundation, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler made the link between the Islamic Association for Palestine and Hamas that CAIR detractors had made.
"[T]here is evidence in the record that, at the same time Hamas was funding HLF, it was also funding a network of organizations connected to HLF. There is evidence that at least one of these organizations, Islamic Association for Palestine, has acted in support of Hamas." A footnote in the decision cited evidence that IAP distributes information on behalf of Hamas.
Awad and CAIR repeatedly have denied any association with Hamas.
CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper blames people seeking to disenfranchise American Muslims with circulating the criticisms of his group.
"It's always interesting these Muslim bashers can never point to something CAIR has done it in its 10-year history that is objectionable. They have to go to rumor and innuendo and guilt by association in order to destroy CAIR's work on behalf of the American Muslim community," Hooper said. "Somebody worked for somebody who worked for CAIR. What does that have to do with CAIR?"
He said Awad edited a newspaper for the Islamic Association of Palestine. He said he did not know and did not care in what capacity other founders may have worked for the group, which he noted has no terrorist designation.
One local critic of CAIR is no Muslim basher.
North Miami attorney Yigal Kahana leads local interfaith group Jews and Muslims and All, which promotes peaceful coexistence.
"CAIR? We stay away from them with a 10-foot pole," he said. "Frankly it's my opinion that they're funded by the Saudis, and they have the attitude that creates the environment in which terrorist stuff is taken as normal."
Kahana was dismayed at Ali's response when the Miami director for the National Conference on Community and Justice asked him about Hamas at a 2003 town hall forum on post-Sept. 11 issues. Ali said he wanted to respond to accusations against CAIR in writing.
"Instead of answering the question, he sidestepped it and then sent a letter," Kahana said.
The Anti-Defamation League had declined to attend the same forum because of CAIR's participation.
Florida Regional Director Mark Medin said CAIR has failed to unequivocally condemn terrorism against Israelis. "We're not aware of any direct ties to Hamas, but there are many instances where they have provided a platform for people who have spoken in support of Hamas," Medin said.
CAIR denies that. Asked about CAIR's view on Hamas, Hooper called it a terrorist organization.
"We condemned suicide bombings in a number of statements. This is a straw man that's put up by these people," he said. "In our 10 years of existence we have not used the word Hamas other than to refute these scurrilous accusations."
That itself is a problem according to some critics, including Muslims, who say CAIR has not gone beyond convenient condemnations of terrorism designed to protect Muslims from a backlash.
"Because Muslim organizations and leaders have refused to get proactive in attacking Muslim extremism and terrorism, the only ones that are doing it are non-Muslims who either don't know what they're talking about or have their own agenda," said Kamal Nawash, a Palestinian-American lawyer who three months ago founded the Washington-based Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism.
CAIR says it was established to promote an accurate image of Muslims and Islam in the United States. It says that mission is more critical than ever.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, CAIR has reported a big rise in anti-Muslim incidents it has investigated. The Florida chapter, one of 23 local offices nationwide, reported 108 civil rights complaints in 2003, up from 78 the year before. Nationally the group claims to have resolved discrimination issues at businesses including Nike, Sears, the Los Angeles Times and Delta Airlines. It produces educational guides on Islamic religious practices for educators, employers, health-care providers and law enforcement officials.
One project to be featured at anniversary celebrations is a voter-registration drive to increase Muslim political power. Former Florida International University faculty member Abdul Hamid Samra will be host at the event at the Miami Gardens mosque where he acts as imam, or religious leader.
"CAIR is really doing a great job," Samra said. "We at the mosque just care about providing services to the community in terms of religious and social ones, but when it comes to defending Muslims and getting their civil rights, they are the ones."
He credits the group with building trust with law enforcement agencies, with organizing Islamic leaders to condemn terrorism publicly, with defending Muslims against discrimination and condemning incidents such as the hateful messages left at two local mosques in May after the beheading of American Nicholas Berg in Iraq. Samra is also vaguely aware of criticisms of the group. En route to the CAIR banquet at a Dania Beach hotel this spring, he passed a group of sign-waving protesters gathered outside.
"I don't know what this has to do with. It could be related to Palestine or something like this," Samra said. "But to my knowledge about CAIR, they really care about the American Muslims."
MIM: This Frontpage Magazine interview with FMAT's Nawash and Ray Hanania has Hanania calling FPM editor Jamie Glazov an 'extremist' and a 'supporter of terrorism' because he refuted his attack on Israel. Hanania also walked out of the symposium.
Today, Frontpage Symposium assembles a distinguished panel of Palestinians to search for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We welcome:
Ray Hanania, an award-winning Palestinian American journalist and author based in Chicago. A Christian Palestinian with a Jewish wife, he is one of the few Palestinian American stand-up comedians, using humor as a way to break through Palestinian-Israeli animosities. His web page is www.hanania.com;
Kamal Nawash, A Palestinian born in Bethlehem, he is the Founder and President of The Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism, which denounces all forms of fundamentalist Islamic terror and advocates an American no-tolerance stance on terrorism;
Walid Shoebat, a former PLO terrorist who has become an ardent Zionist and evangelical Christian.
FP: Ray Hanania, Kamal Nawash and Walid Shoebat, welcome to Frontpage Symposium. Mr. Hanania, let me begin with you. I think it is pretty well undeniable that Palestinian culture has mutated into something extremely pathological. The Palestinians have been offered their own state so many times now, yet they continue to choose hate, death and suicide -- even of their own children -- over peace. Is this conflict ultimately not about the desire for a state at all, but just about a culture that scapegoats Israel for its own yearnings for death and suicide?
Hanania: It's easy to view the conflict in that cynical manner, especially in America where the Arab and Palestinian voice is muted and excluded from the mainstream media. It's difficult to understand the true nature of the Palestinians and what they do desire and what they oppose.
As a quick preface, I will add that I am an activist and journalist for many years, and I define myself as a "moderate Palestinian voice" living by what I call a Moral Fence -- a line that I will not cross and that I apply to all sides in this debate and discussion.
I speak out against anti-Semitism, growing Islamic extremism, and violence including the horrendous acts of suicide bombings by Hamas, which I consider to be a terrorist organization that seeks to work outside of the existing Palestinian government and without a true public mandate other than public suffering and emotion. At the same time, I speak out against Israeli aggressions and violations of basic rights and Israel's state sponsored terrorism.
That said, I feel the Palestinians have never been offered a realistic state, nor have they ever been offered a compromise that seriously addressed the issue of Jerusalem. The plan offered by Ehud Barak was "better than before," may have been the "best ever offered," but was still very short of what was needed or required in exchange for all of the things that Israel received from the Palestinians. (The fundamental flaw in Barak's offer was that Israel would absorb and annex a belt of land one mile wide in the West Bank that encircled East Jerusalem and the OldCity. Abu Dis, the so-called "Palestinian Capitol" that is allegedly inside "the City of Jerusalem" is in fact not a part of the Jerusalem, never was and was outside (more than one mile) from the Old City.
Failure to accept a real sharing of Jerusalem is an unacceptable flaw in any serious negotiations.
Most Palestinians desire a realistic compromise with Israel. I say that on the basis of this indisputable fact: The vast majority have accepted a compromise that is a compromise in their eyes, that Israel will exist in the pre-1967 borders on lands captured and occupied in 1947 and 1948. Regardless of how that is portrayed, it is a compromise, maybe based on years of failing to reverse history.
Secondly, most Palestinians have also accepted the notion of establishing a PalestinianState on the remaining lands of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and in portions -- and I repeat portions of East Jerusalem because most Palestinians are even willing to share that part of the city. Remember, Israel already occupies West Jerusalem, the larger half of the HolyCity, where, I should note, my family lived prior to 1948 but were expelled by the Israelis.
As much as some factions of Palestinian society engaged in terrorism, atrocities and attacks against Israel, Israel, too, is also engaged in similar actions. The settlers are a good example of this state-sponsored terrorism. They annex land that does not belong to them, establish a community that is exclusive only to people who are Jewish (excluding Christians and Muslims), and then expand that to absorb neighboring lands. In the process, they are taking lands that belong to Christians and Muslims, and they rely on the passage of time to justify their illegal acts. The settlers are armed, teach their children in their text books to hate Palestinians, and they initiate and provoke violent conflicts with the Palestinians (Christian and Muslims) who live adjacent or near or who formerly owned the lands.
Palestinians have demanded that Israel address this crime of settlements but they never have. They say they will dismantle settlements, but even during the decade long peace process, the number of settlers increased dramatically and it has never stopped. Not since 1948. Not since 1967. Not since Oslo.
You cannot expect people to negotiate in good faith or accept compromises that are not fulfilled.
I also don't believe you can place the burden of violence only on the Palestinians. Israel is a multi-faceted nation. I recognize that and I carefully try to speak to the actions of its government, not its people or "Jews." Israel's current government, led by the Likud Party, is engaged in a long-term strategy to acquire control over more and more Palestinian lands. You cannot expect Palestinians to accept anything Israel's government does or says in the face of this fact without addressing this fact.
You may blame Yasser Arafat, the elected president of the Palestinian National Authority (an evolutionary step that exists between Revolution and Democratic Government), for the violence that erupted in Sept. 2000 and that supporters of Israel claim destroyed the peace process. But you must also cast equal blame on Israel and specifically on Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. He instigated the violence knowing full well how Palestinians on the street would respond to him standing on a controversial Haram al Ash Sharif (Noble Sanctuary or Temple Mount to Jews) and declare in front of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock that that specific land and location would forever be in the control of the Jewish people and would never be surrendered to the Palestinians. Essentially what he said is exactly what Palestinians feared, that Israel never had any intention of reaching a viable compromise and that Jerusalem, a key component to compromise, would be excluded from any deal.
So why were Israelis and Palestinians negotiating if that is the outcome?
If the Palestinians have faults, it is that in their suffering and desperation living under a military occupation that cannot be described as kind, but more often as brutal, they have allowed their emotions to overcome reason. And extremist elements who oppose peace and compromise, like Hamas, an organization that has no elected mandate but does have a core constituency of fanatic supporters, exploit the suffering of the Palestinians and their emotions to project the view that the Palestinians would prefer continued conflict to compromise.
The use of suicide bombings is horrendous. It is inhuman and it is despicable. But at the same time, most of the Palestinians who have been killed during the nearly four years of this Intifada have died not as the result of their committing acts of violence against Israel, but as bystanders to the conflict, civilians killed by Israeli soldiers and Israeli settlers. Many of them are children, most are not engaged in confronting Israel even in violent protests and rock throwing. Most die in the manner of the innocent civilians who died when Israel fired missiles into the home of an Hamas leader and the neighboring homes and apartments were destroyed in fire and explosion. Dozens of civilians are killed.
In Palestinian eyes, those missile attacks (using American-made missiles) are morally reprehensible, too and constitute the Israeli version of suicide bombings without the suicide.
Those are the realities of the issues you mention.
You cannot view the Israel-Palestine conflict as a negotiation between equals.
Palestinians are the weaker party and Israel is the stronger party. Israel directs the actions and the future. Israel's military is occupying Palestinian lands. Israel's army has NEVER evacuated from Palestinian lands, only pulled back to different locations in the occupied lands.
I think Israel has the power in this relationship to push for peace or to withdraw peace. And I believe Israel's government withdrew peace when it was clear to them that the Palestinians would not accept compromise on the compromise.
FP: Mr. Hanania, before we move on, I need to take you up on a few points.
Your reference to "Israeli aggressions" and "violations of basic rights" and "state sponsored terrorism" is confusing. You are applying moral equivalence between one side, that sends its children, strapped with bombs, into cafés and teenage discos to intentionally kill civilians, to another side that attempts to defend its right to exist by targeting terrorists and, in so doing, unintentionally and regretfully, takes innocent life.
You refer to the "unacceptability" of Israel's latest offer for peace. At Camp David in July 2000, the Palestinians were offered 95% of their negotiating demands, their own sovereign state in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, 97% of the West Bank, and a capital in Jerusalem. But they chose, instead, to strap bombs onto their children.
Mr. Hanania, you know as well as I do why Arafat rejected that peace deal.
You refer to Israelis "annexing land" that does not "belong" to them. Who does this land belong to? Who was it taken from? When was the Palestine Mandate ever a nation, let alone a political entity? What were the borders of this state? What was the currency called? Who were the leaders and what kind of political system did they lead?
You refer to the "exclusiveness" that Jews are practising and to the "hate" they are teaching their kids to have for Palestinians. The majority of Israelis have clearly accepted the reality that Palestinians must be their neighbours. Have the Palestinians accepted the reality vice-versa? Is that why Israel cannot be found on a map in Palestinian geography classes? Is that why Palestinian textbooks glorify suicide bombing? Is that why the Palestinian Authority has published the Arabic translation of Mein Kampf, and why that screed reaches high on its best-seller list?
If the Palestinians are really your top concern, then why, in your first response, is there no reference to how much worse off they are in occupied Lebanon, where they are denied basic rights to employment, healthcare and government services – unlike the many Palestinians in Israel and in the "occupied" territories. Why did you not refer, with outrage, to how Kuwait ethnically cleansed all its Palestinians (about 300,000 of them) just a decade ago, and how Jordanians slaughtered thousands of them after the 1967 war?
Are Palestinians only human when they are oppressed by Jews?
The Israelis have treated the Palestinians much better than the Arabs have, and we know why the Arabs never took the Palestinians in. Israel has given birth to an Arab citizenry inside Israel of more than one million people. As Israeli citizens, Arabs have more rights, privileges and opportunities than the citizens of any Arab state in the Middle East. Unlike their Arab counter-parts, Arab citizens in Israel vote in free elections and are themselves elected to the Israeli parliament. In other words, the only place where Arabs know democracy and a high standard of living is in a Jewish nation.
Mr. Hanania, you say that we "cannot view the Israel-Palestine conflict as a negotiation between equals." No we cannot. There are no equals when one side releases hundreds of living terrorists for three dead bodies, because that is how much respect one side has for every individual human – dead or alive. There are no equals when one side is trying to buy, for decades, peace by offering land captured in a defensive war and numerous other concessions, and another side glorifies martyrdom for the sake of killing Jews, even if they are babies in strollers.
Palestinians consistently ridicule and insult Jews by mocking them for how much they love life and want to hold on to it, while they (the Palestinians) pride themselves on how little this life means to them -- and on how much death is to be sought.
Jews suffered tremendously under the Nazis. They were oppressed and humiliated and downtrodden. Tell me one instance when a Jewish mother strapped bombs unto her child and sent the child into a café under German occupation to blow him/herself up.
How can we move toward real peace if these realities are not confronted?
Hanania: Most of your claims are false, and based on half-truths. But extremist supporters of Israel always close their eyes to Israeli atrocities and claim that every Palestinian civilian who is murdered by Israel is a terrorist suicide bomber.
I deplore the suicide bombers, and that is the difference between you and I. You embrace the atrocities committed by Israel and that makes you a supporter of terrorism. I oppose terrorism of all kinds. Instead of trying to see the truth, like all blind, fanatic extremists, you prefer to only see your reasoning.
In addition to Israeli military atrocities, Israeli settlers are constantly engaged in the murder and killing of Palestinians. The Palestine Red Crescent Society monitors these killings which are endless, but do not get reported often and are ignored by extremists like you.
As for the peace process, the so-called 95 percent theory you offer is a very clever trick. You offered 95 percent of the West Bank and ZERO percent of Jerusalem. That's unacceptable. I'd like to offer Israel 95 percent of all of Palestine and ZERO percent of Jerusalem. It's preposterous, which is pretty much how I have to respond to your surprisingly extreme views.
What is also amazingly preposterous in your remarks is that you argue that only Arabs ridicule Jews and are anti-Semitic, but you say nothing about the anti-Arab hatred that exists among some Israeli and Jewish groups? They teach their children in settlements to hate Palestinians, deny the existence of Palestinians and call them all kinds of horrible names that you consider are unacceptable when used against you. They teach their children how to kill Palestinians at a young age (all doing so on lands that were taken from Palestinians after 1967).
Clearly, you live by a double-standard, and that double-standard is the fundamental foundation of extremism in our societies. I don't believe all Israelis or Jews are like you. I think they are reasoned and willing to see both sides. But your claims are both preposterous and one-sided, and filled with the usual finger-pointing.
In addition to accepting violence by you and exaggerating violence by the Palestinians, you further insult Palestinians by arguing that Jews who lived 20 centuries in Europe or elsewhere have a claim to the land but Palestinians who lived on the land have no claims to land ownership. My family owns lands in the West Bank which was occupied in 1967. Israel confiscated the land in 1971 and built Gilo, a settlement that discriminates against Christian and Muslim Palestinians that is today supposedly a "city." I can't even buy a home in this area on my own land and every effort to file a claim or demand compensation from Israel has been rebuffed.
You also ignore the argument that Palestinian Christians are today's Jews. They converted to Christianity over the years from Judaism. Hanania is a Hebrew word and our ancestors were Jewish and if I wanted to be technical, I would argue that we are the Chosen people. But I don't believe Biblical arguments can be used either in a defense of one's claims or an undermining of another's claims. I think realities are more justifiable in terms of supporting individual claims.
If people are engaged in a real peace process, they admit to their own errors, which you won't do.
How about making a list of Israeli and Jewish atrocities against Palestinians, and I will make a list of the Palestinian atrocities against Israelis and Jews. Just list 10 and I'll list 10?
The evidence that exposes you as a fanatic and extremist -- embracing thinking that is a cause of the current conflict and violence -- is your refusal to admit to any mistakes, atrocities or wrong-doing. You're right and I'm wrong, according to your logic and that is pathetically fanatic.
Fanatics and extremists cannot hide behind the misuse of the term "moral equivalency" when they have no moral premise for their arguments. Not one of your arguments suggests that the Israelis are culpable in anything, and that, my friend is further proof that you have no right to even discuss the term moral equivalency.
My relatives live in Israel and although Israeli Jews love to talk about how "equal" the Christians and Muslims are, the Christians and Muslims themselves will tell you they are discriminated against, denied social equivalency and social services, their cities are denied funding at the same level of Israeli and Jewish areas; take a visit to Nazareth and see the difference in the state funding for Nazareth Illit, the "Jewish only" section where non-Jewish residency is discouraged in much the same that Blacks were told they could live anywhere in American in the 1950s but were killed or beaten or brutalized when they moved into White Areas.
You are also a hypocrite when it comes to books. If the Arab World published and translated Mein Kampf, so what? I walked into the State of Illinois Building book store and found a copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It seems that people are allowed to read whatever they want in Israel and elsewhere, but only when freedoms to read are extended to the Arab World is it an example of neo-Nazism.
If you just want to hate Palestinians, you are doing a good job of it.
I'd be happy to discuss how we get back to the peace process, work out a real solution, crack down on Hamas terrorism, Palestinian suicide bombings and other violence (which I have denounced on my side, but you refuse to denounce on your side). I think you prefer the conflict because you enjoy hiding behind the false argument of "moral equivalency
Really, your arguments are a pathetic insult to those who seek peace. I am truly ashamed of your vicious attacks and exaggerated claims and refusal to admit any complicity in the violence. You are the one who takes my words and then "translates them" to add things like the despicable phrase "evil Jews." I never used that phrase and am insulted you insert it into your response as if that represents my argument.
Shame on you!
FP: Before we move on to the rest of the panel, I obviously need to counter a few of your charges.
If I should be ashamed because I believe Israel has the right to exist and to defend itself from those who seek to annihilate it, then well, so be it.
I refer to "evil Jews" in the context of the ideology that the Palestinian culture perpetuates and the belief system that it inoculates into its children. Nowhere did I say that you yourself think that Jews are evil. And I don't think that you do.
You call me an "extremist" supporter of Israel. Well, I believe that Israelis have the right to live free from the threat of being exterminated, which is how they have been living since 1948, when the Arab attempt to exterminate them intensified (and we know that Arab violence against Jews in Palestine well pre-dates 1948).
As you also know, the Palestinian Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini -- Arafat's hero -- who spent the Holocaust years in Berlin, didn't have his romantic dream come true: that his pal Adolf Hitler would win the Second World War and bring the Final Solution to the Middle East. He is still revered among many Palestinians today.
Mr. Hanania, what do you think of how the Palestinian leadership sided with Hitler in the Second World War?
Do Israelis cause the death of innocent Palestinian civilians? Yes. Is that a tragic thing? Yes. Is every Palestinian who is killed by Israel a terrorist suicide bomber? Of course not. But here is the point for the trillionth time: if violence was not perpetrated against Israelis, Israelis wouldn't be inadvertently and unintentionally killing any Palestinians while hunting down terrorists.
Once again, this is connected to the moral equivalence that DOES NOT exist between one side that intentionally kills civilians and another side that kills civilians inadvertently and regrettably in its attempt to kill terrorists -- terrorists who hide behind civilian Palestinian human shields, intentionally hoping to create more martyrs on their own side and to stimulate more propaganda and hatred of Israel.
It is well known, for instance, that in the battle of Jenin in 2002, Israel ended up losing 23 of its young soldiers because it insisted on sending them into difficult urban warfare rather than just shelling the areas where the terrorists were, because Palestinian civilians would then have been killed. It's totally obvious that the Palestinian terrorists and their dispatchers purposely hide among civilians precisely because, not only do they want more martyrs for the cause, but they also know about Israel's restraints in this regard -- otherwise, why would they bother hiding among them if it was totally ineffective?
Did Arafat do all he could to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad etc. as the Israelis entrusted him to do so – so that they wouldn't have to hunt the terrorists themselves? Isn't that why Israelis armed the Palestinian Authority as part of the Oslo 1993 agreement? And what did the Palestinians do with those arms?
Mr. Hanania, you call Barak's offer to Arafat at Camp David in July 2000 a "trick". It was an extraordinarily generous offer, one that Israel had never offered and perhaps will never offer again. And sorry, you are wrong, and I think you know you are wrong, in stating that "zero" percent of Jerusalem was offered at Camp David. Arafat was offered a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, sovereignty over all Arab-populated parts of East Jerusalem, over all of the OldCity except the Jewish Quarter, and over the TempleMount, with Jewish sovereignty only over the Western Wall below the Mount. And you know that Israel has let the Palestinians run the Mosques on TempleMount for years.
You find it "amazingly preposterous" that I imply that Arabs hate Jews in a manner that Jews do not hate Arabs. You refer to some Israeli and Jewish "groups" that teach their kids to hate the Palestinians. I am sure there are people among the settlers with extremist, Kahane-type views, which is a way of saying Israelis, too, aren't perfect and have their rednecks—but the actual amount of such people in Israel, and the total absence of something like even a Le Pen movement, are remarkable things considering Israel's longstanding situation.
The tolerance Jews show -- even though they know every Israeli's life is endangered at every moment by Palestinian or Arab or Muslim violence -- is remarkable. Kahane's party, Kach, was declared ILLEGAL by Israel in 1994—it still exists on the fringes, I'm talking about 1% of the population, but it is illegal and BARRED from running for the Knesset.
Yes, there have been a handful—probably less than 10—terrorist attacks on Palestinians by extremist Israeli civilians acting completely on their own, of which the Goldstein massacre is the most famous, of course. If they survive, such people are treated as criminals by Israel, and jailed, and there is no controversy over this. In about 1990, an Israeli named Ami Popper, emotionally disturbed, shot seven Arab workers to death in a park. He sits in jail today.
Palestinians who murder Israelis and are not caught or killed by Israel are heroes throughout the PA. Here is a challenge: name me one of them who is in a PA jail at this moment. Name me one that was ever seriously, genuinely, lastingly jailed in the PA -- just one.
And not only is suicide bombing NOT declared ILLEGAL in Palestinian society (i.e. any facilitator, abettor to be punished etc.), but suicide bombers are considered heroes and their pictures are plastered on every street corner.
You trivialize Mein Kampf being published and translated in the Palestinian Authority. You found a copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Chicago. This is your counter-argument?
I am not talking about the existence of a book. I am talking about Mein Kampf being on the PA best-seller list and the reverence paid toward it. When Israeli forces overran Arafat's bases in southern Lebanon in 1982, they found numerous copies of Mein Kampf, in Arabic, in the PLO terrorists' belongings. Many Palestinian leaders and parents distribute Mein Kampf to their children on the premise that it is some kind of holy book.
That's the problem.
In any case, Mr. Hanania, I will give you the chance to respond. But let us first let Mr. Nawash and Mr. Shoebat have a go. Mr. Nawash I don't think I need to ask you anything at this point. Go ahead.
Nawash: Gentlemen, arguing about whose fault it is that the negotiations did not lead to a final peaceful solution between the Palestinians and Israelis will not lead to a peaceful solution to one of the most important and longest running conflicts of modern times.
Presently, the world is divided between those who exclusively support Israel and those who exclusively support the Palestinians. I am not interested in supporting one side to the exclusion of the other. Unfortunately, both sides consider support for their side as ammunition for their arsenal and one more reason not to reach a peaceful solution. Instead, I want to do everything I can to make certain that both sides reach a peaceful solution that provides both Israelis and Palestinians with security, prosperity and hope for the future.
Before I began writing my response to this symposium I asked several pro-Israelis and pro-Palestinians their opinion on the negotiation that ended with the Clinton administration. Without fail, every supporter of Israel blamed the lack of a deal on the Palestinians and every supporter of the Palestinians blamed the impasse on the Israelis. The irony is that both sides are probably sincere in their conclusions.
I prefer to take a different route. I think the negotiations were not a failure. This is an ongoing process that must continue. The true test of whether the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis were a success or a failure is to compare the progress of the negotiations of the 1990s with how the Palestinians and Israelis treated each other in the 80s, 70s and beyond.
It was not long ago that the Palestinians and Israelis refused to recognize each other, talk to each other or even be in the same building as the other. The Israelis used to not even mention the word Palestinians and instead referred to them as Arabs for fear that saying the word Palestinians would recognize them as a people who have rights in the land of Israel/Palestine. Similarly the Palestinians never uttered the word Israel. Instead, they called them Zionists, Jews and every other name but not Israelis because of the fear that calling them Israelis may be considered an admission that Israel exists or that it has a right to exist. This is why I say the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis of the 1990s were a success. Both sides sat across the table from each other and for the fist time in history recognized that the other side exists and that they must come to terms with their existence. This is a big success and we need to keep moving forward.
Now, in order to keep moving forward both sides must accept several basic principals. The Palestinians must accept that Israel has a right to exist and that the Jews have religious and historical rights to the land known as Israel/Palestine. The Israelis must also accept that that Palestine has a right to exist and that the Palestinians (Christians and Muslims) have historical and religious rights to Israel/Palestine.
If we want to criticize anyone, I propose that those who are pro-Palestinian only criticize the Palestinians and the pro-Israelis only criticize the Israelis. As a Palestinian, I will criticize my own people for not doing enough to stop the use of terrorism against Israelis. I believe HAMAS and Islamic Jihad are criminal terrorist organizations that must be eliminated. To Jamie and Walid, I wonder, are you able to find any faults with the Israel? All of us must recognize that no party to this dispute has clean hands.
As far as I am concerned, there are three solutions to this conflict. The first is that one side obliterates the other; the second is that they separate into two sovereign states and the third is that we find an acceptable solution where both can live together as one nation. I certainly hope that no one in this symposium believes that one side should obliterate the other. As to the other solutions, I will discuss them as this symposium moves forward. In the mean time, I want to conclude the first part of the symposium by discussing the relationship between this conflict and global terrorism. This is yet another reason why the world must come together to bring peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.
As the president of the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism, I have made it clear time and time again that terrorism cannot be justified under any circumstances. I also said that the real cause of terrorism is an ideology called Political Islam.
With this in mind, I believe that nothing can do more to win the war on terror than solving the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. No other issue has been more frequently used to justify global terrorism than the alleged support for the Palestinian cause.
The issue of Palestine and the suffering of the Palestinians is the single most important issue that unites the entire Muslim and Arab world. No issue evokes the passion of Muslims and Arabs as much as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is so important to Arabs and Muslims that every terrorist group from Morocco to Indonesia that seeks legitimacy and a following, places the "liberation" of Palestine at the forefront of their agenda. For example, Saddam Hussein responded to the world's request that he leave Kuwait by insisting that Israel first evacuate the West Bank and Gaza. Osama Bin Laden also invoked the Palestinian issue to justify 9-11. Iran has made the Palestinian issue its most important foreign policy priority since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Radical Shia cleric Muqtadar Al-Sadr tried to enhance his credibility by equating Iraqi suffering with Palestinian suffering.
In reference to this trend, Ibrahim Bayram, an analyst with Lebanon's An-Nahar Daily news paper, recently stated, "Whether in Lebanon or in Palestine, Hezbollah considers resisting the Israeli occupation to be part of its own struggle, if the Palestinian uprising ends, the justification for Hezbollah's own military existence ends too." The strategic adoption of the Palestinian cause by terrorist organizations has made it difficult for peaceful Muslims and Arabs to attack these organizations whose sole basis for legitimacy comes from their adoption of the Palestinian cause and their publicized goal of ending the suffering of the Palestinians.
While I reject the hijacking of the Palestinian issue as an excuse to use terror, I believe that the United States and the world must be fully engaged in bringing peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. President Bush needs to place the full weight of the United States behind solving this issue. After the First Gulf War, President Bush Sr. understood the power of the Palestinian issue and did all he can to bring the parties together. President Clinton also understood the power of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and was unrelenting in bringing the parties together. George W. Bush must continue down that path that was begun by George Bush Sr. and continue to do everything possible to bring peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
I understand why President Bush does not want to work with Yasser Arafat. However, President Bush's refusal to work with Arafat does not mean we should do nothing. The United States can work with the Palestinian Prime Minister instead. If Arafat fires the Prime Minister, the United States should work with the prime minister that replaces him. This approach will keep the United States fully engaged in the search for peace while at the same time strengthens the office of the Palestinian Prime Minister. As the prime Minister's office becomes stronger, the ability of a Prime Minister to negotiate an end to hostilities will improve. This suggested approach is by no means the only available approach to bringing the Palestinians and Israelis closer together. However, no matter what approach the United States takes, it must continue being engaged and doing everything possible to solve the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.
Hundreds of innocent Palestinians and Israelis have been killed. The Killing of innocent civilians must stop. At the end of the day, the Palestinians and Israelis want freedom and peace. The Palestinians and Israelis want normal lives, want to be employed, want their children to become engineers, doctors and lawyers and we should do everything we can to help them achieve their goals.
Whether we like it or not, the suffering of the Palestinians is shared by more than a billion Arabs and Muslims. This fact has been manipulated by terrorist organizations and countries to gain recruits for their evil causes. By working to solve the Palestinian/Israeli conflict the United States can neutralize the most powerful recruiting tool available to terrorists.
There are only four million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The world has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on the war on terror. Spending a fraction of that money on improving the lives of the Palestinians and on bringing peace to Palestine and Israel will go a long way to winning the global war on terror.
Mr. Nawash, those who genuinely want peace all wish for what you wish for, but the problem is whether or not the majority of Palestinians want what you want.
You say that "arguing about whose fault it is that the negotiations did not lead to a final peaceful solution between the Palestinians and Israelis will not lead to a peaceful solution. . ."
But my friend, this is exactly the point. We have to dissect why Arafat turned that agreement down and why many commentators continue to lie about it, including Mr. Hanania in this very symposium, when he says that "zero" of Jerusalem was offered. This is a blatant lie and he knows it. Imposing historical amnesia won't lead to a brighter future.
Mr. Nawash, you want to see more "money on improving the lives of the Palestinians." Fair enough. But we know what Arafat has been doing with the funds intended to make life better for his own people. We know about the empirical evidence that proves Arafat has kept his own people bleeding intentionally.
How can we even move forward if these dark realities, rooted in the yearning for Israel's death, are not first acknowledged?..."
MIM: 2004 Announcement on the website of the Arab American Institute run by James Zogby announcing a fundraiser being held for Nawash by Grover Norquist. A year later , Norquist converted to Islam, and Zogby turned on Nawash, for starting his group Free Muslims Against Terror. Zogby's biggest complaint against Nawash was his being endorsed by Dr. Daniel Pipes. Zogby is a Maronnite Christian but is a staunch supporter of radical Islamists. Both James and his brother John Zogby have received funding from the Wahhabist Muslim World League to pursue legal issues on behalf of Muslims in the United States. http://www.aaiusa.org/AA2004/AAmove080403.htm
Arab American Candidate to Address Young Republicans On August 6th, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and a prominent figure in the Republican Party, will host a fundraiser for Kamal Nawash, an Arab American candidate running for Virginia State Senate in the 31st district. Nawash is an American of Arab ancestry who immigrated to the United States at the age of nine. He now practices law in northern Virginia.