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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Giulio Meotti : The West's Politically Correct Dictatorship


  • The brave work of the artist Mimsy was removed from London's Mall Galleries after the British police defined it "inflammatory."
  • In France, schools teach children that Westerners are Crusaders, colonizers and "bad." In their efforts to justify the repudiation of France and its Judeo-Christian culture, schools have fertilized the soil in which Islamic extremism develops and flourishes unimpeded.
  • No one can deny that France is under Islamist siege. Last week, France's intelligence service discovered another terror plot. But what is the priority of the Socialist government? Restricting freedom of expression for pro-life "militants."
  • Under this politically correct dictatorship, Western culture has established two principles. First, freedom of speech can be restricted any time someone claims that an opinion is an "insult." Second, there is a vicious double standard: minorities, especially Muslims, can freely say whatever they want against Jews and Christians.
  • There is no better ally of Islamic extremism than this sanctimony of liberal censorship: both, in fact, want to suppress any criticism of Islam, as well as any proud defense of the Western Enlightenment or Judeo-Christian culture.
  • Twitter, one of the vehicles of this new intolerance, even formed a "Trust and Safety Council." It brings to mind Saudi Arabia's "Council for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice."
  • Under this political correctness, the only "win-win" is for political Islam.
It might look like a golden age for free speech: more than a billion tweets, Facebook posts and blogs every day. But beneath this surface, freedom of expression is dramatically retreating.

Students at the City University of London, home to one of Britain's most respected schools of journalism, voted to ban three newspapers from its campus: The Sun, Daily Mail and Express
Their "crime", according to the approved motion, is to have published stories against migrants, "Islamophobic" articles, and "scapegoating the working classes that they so proudly claim to represent." City University, supposedly a place dedicated to openness and questioning, became the first Western educational institution to vote for censorship, and ban "right wing newspapers."

The filmmaker David Cronenberg called this self-censorship, after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo: "a weird, serpentine political correctness." It is one of the most lethal ideological poisons of the 21st century. It is not only closed-minded and ridiculous, it makes us blind to the radical Islam that is undermining our mental and cultural defenses.

The countless attacks by Muslim extremists testify that the multicultural world to which we have been led is a fiction. Political correctness simply encourages the Islamists to raise the stakes to win the war they are advancing. The resulting tension has been fed by the Western elites with their sense of guilt for "colonialism" in the Third World.

"ISIS Threaten Sylvania" -- an art exhibition featuring cute little stuffed animals picnicking on a lawn, and unaware of other cute little stuffed animal terrorists carrying assault rifles on a knoll just behind them -- is the work of the artist known as Mimsy (she hides her identity). The protagonists of this series of light box tableaux are a family of stuffed animal dolls that inhabits an enchanted valley. Gunmen, dressed like the Islamic State henchmen, strike the innocent inhabitants of the valley, at school and on the beach, at a picnic or in a gay pride parade. It looks like an updated version of Maus by Art Spiegelman, a graphic novel depicting Nazi cats and Jewish mice during the Holocaust.

Those wishing to see this artistic panel at the Mall Galleries, in London, will now have to console themselves with the work of Jamie McCartney, "The Great Wall Vagina," nine meters of female genitalia, less important and less provocative.
The brave work of Mimsy, after the British police defined it "inflammatory," has been eliminated from the program of this London cultural event. Its organizers informed the gallery owners that if they wanted to put it on display, they would have to shell out £36,000 ($46,000) to "secure the venue" for the six days of the exhibition.


The brave work of the artist Mimsy, satirizing the brutality of ISIS, was removed from London's Mall Galleries after the British police defined it "inflammatory." (Image source: Mimsy)

Under this politically correct dictatorship, Western culture has established two principles. First, freedom of speech can be restricted any time someone claims that an opinion is an "insult." Second, there is a vicious double standard: minorities, especially Muslims, can freely say whatever they want against Jews and Christians.

And so it came to pass that the most famous Spanish football team, Real Madrid, removed the cross from its crest after a commercial deal with Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Christian symbol was quickly ditched to please the Islamic Gulf sponsors.

Perhaps soon the West will be soon asked to change the flag of the European Union -- twelve yellow stars on a blue background -- because it contains a Christian message in code. Arsène Heitz, who designed it in 1955, was inspired by the Christian iconography of the Virgin Mary with a crown and twelve stars on her head: what a heartless "Western Christian supremacist" message!

Political correctness is also having a huge impact on big business: Kellogg's withdrew advertising from Breitbart for being "not aligned with our values" and Lego dropped advertising with Daily Mail, to mention just two recent cases.
It should not cause alarm if companies want to decide where to advertise their products, but it is very alarming when it happens due to "ideology." We have never read about companies abandoning a newspaper or website because it was too liberal or "leftist." If the Arab-Islamic regimes were follow these views, why should they not ask their companies to stop advertising in Western newspapers that publish articles critical of Islam, or which publish pictures of half-naked women?
Libraries on US campuses are now putting "trigger warnings" on works of literature: students are advised, for example, that Ovid's sublime Metamorphosis "justifies" rape. Stanford University even managed to exclude Dante, Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare and other giants of Western culture from the academic curricula in 1988: supposedly many of their masterpieces are "racist, sexist, reactionary, repressive." This is the vocabulary of Western surrender before totalitarian Islamic fundamentalism.

France has removed great figures, such as Charlemagne, Henry IV, Louis XIV and Napoleon, from schools, to replace them, for instance, with studying the history of Mali and other African kingdoms. At school, children are taught that Westerners are Crusaders, colonizers and "bad." In purportedly justifying the repudiation of France and its Judeo-Christian culture, schools have fertilized the soil in which Islamic extremism develops and flourishes unimpeded.

It is a question of priorities: no one can deny that France is under Islamist siege. Last week, France's intelligence service discovered another terror plot. But what is the priority of the Socialist government? Restricting freedom of expression for pro-life "militants." The Wall Street Journal called it "France's War on Anti-Abortion Speech." France already has one of the most permissive and liberal bodies of legislation on abortion. But political correctness makes one blind and ideological. "In four and a half years, the Socialists have reduced our freedom of expression and attacked public freedoms," commented Riposte Laïque.

In the US, academia is rapidly closing its doors to any debate. At Yale, professors and students these days are very busy with a new cultural emergency: "renaming." They are changing the name of buildings to erase all traces of slavery and colonialism -- a revisionism out of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
Everywhere in the US and in the UK, an air of hostility is spreading against opinions and ideas that could cause even a hint of distress in students. The result is the rise of what a writer such as Bret Easton Ellis called "Generation Wuss".
The jihadists surely grin at this Western political correctness, since the result of this ideology will be the abolition of the Western critical spirit and a surreal reeducation of the masses through the annihilation of our history and a hatred of our truly liberal past.

Bristol University in the UK just came under fire for attempting to "no-platform" Roger Scruton for his views on same-gender marriage. Meanwhile, British universities are giving a platform to radical Islamic preachers. In the politically correct universe, conservative thinkers are more dangerous than ISIS supporters. London's former mayor, Boris Johnson, called this dystopia "the Boko Haram of political correctness."

Students and faculty at the Rutgers University in New Jersey cancelled a speech by former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Students and professors at Scripps College in California protested the presence of another former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who, according to the protesters, is a "war criminal."

A New York University professor, Michael Rectenwald, who attacked political correctness and the coddling of students, was recently booted from the classroom after his colleagues complained about his "incivility". The liberal studies professor was forced to go on paid leave. "It's an alarming curtailment of free expression to the point where you can't even pretend to be something without authorities coming down on you in the universities," Rectenwald told the New York Post.

There is no better ally of Islamic extremism than this sanctimony of liberal censorship: both, in fact, want to suppress any criticism of Islam, as well as any proud defense of the Western Enlightenment or Judeo-Christian culture.
Censorship is happening not only in the liberal enclaves on the coasts of the United States, but also in France. The Eagles of Death Metal -- the American band that was performing at Paris' Bataclan Theater when ISIS terrorists murdered 89 people there on November 13, 2015 -- were banned by two music festivals: Rock en Seine and Cabaret Vert. The reason? Jesse Hughes, the band's frontman, gave a very politically incorrect interview:
"Did your French gun control stop a single f*cking person from dying? I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I've ever seen charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms. I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that maybe until nobody has guns everybody has to have them. Because I've never seen anyone that's ever had one dead, and I want everyone to have access to them, and I saw people die that maybe could have lived, I don't know."
After the jihadist massacre at Orlando's Pulse gay nightclub, Facebook enforced the pro-Islamic injunction and banned a page of the magazine Gaystream, after it had published an article critical of Islam in the wake of the bloodbath. Gaystream's director, David Berger, had heavily criticized the director of the Gay Museum in Cologne, Birgit Bosold, who had told German media that gays should be more frightened of white bigoted men than of Islamic extremists.

Jim Hoft, a gay journalist who is the creator of the popular Gateway Pundit blog, was suspended from YouTube. Twitter, one of the vehicles of this new intolerance, suspended the account of Milo Yiannopoulos, a prominent gay critic of Islamic fundamentalism -- but probably not the accounts of Islamic fundamentalists who criticize gays. Twitter even formed a "Trust and Safety Council." It brings to mind Saudi Arabia's "Council for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice." Could it be an inspiration for the liberal mullahs?

Yes, it might have looked like a golden age for free speech. But under this dictatorship of political correctness, the only "win-win" is for political Islam.
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.
=================

Yves Mamou : France: Decomposing in Front of Our Eyes


  • Four officers were injured (two badly burned) when around 15 "youths" (Muslim gang-members) swarmed their cars and hurled rocks and firebombs at them. Police were aggrieved when the minister of interior called the attackers "little wild ones." Police and opposition politicians replied that the attackers were not "little wild ones but criminals who attacked police to kill."
  • Two students at a vocational training school in Calais attacked a teacher, and one fractured the teacher's jaw and several teeth -- because the teacher had asked one of the students to get back to work.
  • "This is a warning. These young people did not attack the school by chance; they wanted to attack the institution, to attack the State." — Yacine, 21, a student at the University of Paris II.
  • The riot, which lasted for four nights, broke out after the arrest of a driver who did not stop when asked to by a policeman.
  • This revolt of one pillar of French society, the police, was the biggest that ever happened in modern France. Yet, virtually no one in France's mainstream media covered the event.
  • "Everything that represents state institutions (...) is now subjected to violence based on essentially sectarian and sometimes ethnic excesses, fueled by an incredible hatred of our country. We must be blind or unconscious not to feel concern for national cohesion". — Thibaud de Montbrial, lawyer and expert on terrorism.
France will elect a new president in May 2017. Politicians are already campaigning and debating about deficits, welfare recipients, GDP growth, and so on, but they look like puppets disconnected from the real country.

What is reality in France today?
Violence. It is spreading. Not just terrorist attacks; pure gang violence. 
It instills a growing feeling of insecurity in hospitals, at schools, in the streets -- even in the police. 
The media does not dare to say that this violence is coming mainly from Muslim gangs -- "youths," as they call the in the French media, to avoid naming who they are. 
A climate of civil war, however, is spreading visibly in the police, schools, hospitals and politics.

The Police

The most jolting evidence of this malaise was to see more than 500 French police officers demonstrating with police cars and motorcycles on the night of October 17, without the backing of labor unions, without authorization, on the Champs Elysées in Paris. According to the daily, Le Figaro, "the Interior Ministry was in panic," frightened by a possible coup: "Police blocked access to the Avenue Marigny, which runs beside the Presidential Palace and overlooks the Place Beauvau."
On October 18, when Jean-Marc Falcone, director-general of National Police, met the leaders of the protest, he was surrounded by hundreds of police officers urging him to resign.
The main cause of their anger seems primarily the violence often directed against police, and terrorist attacks. On the terrorist level, two policemen were stabbed to death in Magnanville in June 2016 by a Muslim extremist, Larossi Aballa. This spring, more than 300 police officers and gendarmes were injured by demonstrators. In May, police unions demonstrated in the streets of Paris to protest "anti-police hatred."
This autumn, the last straw was an attack on a police patrol in the Paris suburb of Viry-Châtillon. Four officers were injured when a group of around 15 "youths" (Muslim gang-members) swarmed their cars in the town and hurled rocks and firebombs at them. Two policemen were badly burned; one had to be placed in an induced coma. The same scenario took place a few days later: a police patrol was ambushed in another no-go zone in the "sensitive" area of Val-Fourré.


Four police officers were recently injured (two badly burned) when a group of around 15 "youths" (Muslim gang-members) swarmed their cars and hurled rocks and firebombs at them, in the Paris suburb of Viry-Châtillon. (Image source: Line Press video screenshot)

Police were also aggrieved by Bernard Cazeneuve, the minister of interior, who called the attackers "sauvageons" ("little wild ones"). Police and opposition politicians replied that the attackers were not "little wild ones but criminals who attacked police to kill."

"Police are seen as an occupying force," declared Patrice Ribeiro of the Synergie Officiers police commanders' union. "It is not surprising that violence is spiking."

On October 18, Le Figaro launched an online poll online with one question: "Do you approve the protest by policemen?" Ninety percent of the 50,000 respondents answered "yes."

Since then, police demonstrations have spread to other cities. More than a month after the start of the discontent, police officers were still protesting in every big city. On November 24, two hundred police officers demonstrated in Paris between Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe, to express their "anger." Police in civilian clothes, some wearing orange armbands, some hidden under a scarf or hood, supported by citizens, gathered in the evening at the Place de la Concorde, before walking the length of the Champs Elysée up to the Arc de Triomphe, where they formed a human chain around the monument and sang La Marseillaise (France's national anthem).
This revolt of one pillar of French society, the police, was the biggest that ever happened in modern France. Yet, virtually no one in France's mainstream media covered the event.

Schools

Tremblay-en-France (Seine-Saint-Denis close to Paris): The headmaster of the Hélène-Boucher training school was attacked on October 17 by several individuals outside the school. Some "youths" were attacking the building with firebombs, and when the headmaster tried to calm the situation, one of the "youths" answered with blows. Fifty unidentified people were involved in the incident. This was the third episode of violence to occur in the vicinity. Four days earlier, two vehicles were torched.

One month later, the daily Le Monde held a meeting with several students, The goal of this meeting was to try to understand the cause of the violence in in Tremblay. Yacine, 21, a student at the University of Paris II, said: "This is a warning. These young people did not attack the school by chance; they wanted to attack the institution, to attack the State."

Argenteuil (Val d'Oise, suburb of Paris): A teacher at the Paul Langevin primary school, was beaten up in the street, on October 17, while leading children back to school from tennis courts a kilometer from the school. After hearing the teacher raise his voice at a child, two young men stopped their car, told the teacher he was a "racist" and beat him in front of the children. According to Le Parisien, one of the attackers justified his actions by accusing the professor of "racism". "You are not the master," said the man. "The only Master is Allah".

Colomiers (Toulouse, south of France). A physical-education teacher was assaulted by a student on October 17, when the teacher tried to stop the student from leaving the school through a prohibited exit.

Calais (Pas-de-Calais): Two students at a vocational training school in Calais attacked a teacher, and one fractured the teacher's jaw and several teeth on October 14, according the local paper, Nord-Littoral. The students attacked the electrical engineering teacher because he had asked one of the students to get back to work.

Saint-Denis (Seine Saint-Denis, suburb of Paris): On October 13, a school headmaster and his deputy were beaten by a vocational student who had been reprimanded for arriving late.

Strasbourg: A mathematics teacher was brutally attacked on October 17 at the Orbelin school. The headmaster of the institution told France Bleu that a "youth," who is not a student at the school, had beaten the teacher. This was not the first time that the "youth" had entered the building. Earlier, when the teacher asked him to leave his class, the "youth" delivered several blows to the teacher's face before fleeing.

All these attackers were not terrorists, but like Islamic terrorists, they apparently wanted to destroy "attack the institution, to attack the State."

Hospitals

On October 16, fifteen individuals accompanying a patient sowed terror in the emergency department of Gustave Dron Hospital in Tourcoing, according to La Voix du Nord. A doctor was severely beaten; another pulled by the hair. Doctors and nurses told the newspaper they were still in shock. Said a nurse:
"Ten people forced their way into the heart of the ER. The doctors asked them to leave... When everything stopped, I realized that the ER was ravaged, patients terrorized, relatives of patients crying."
The attackers were from the district of La Bourgogne, an area essentially populated with North African immigrants. Three people were arrested.
In the same area of La Bourgogne, there was a riot on October 4. Fourteen cars were burned and 12 people arrested. The riot, which lasted for four nights, broke out after the arrest of a driver who did not stop when asked to by a policeman.

Politics

On October 14, Nadine Morano, deputy of the opposition party Les Républicains, tried physically to prevent an Algerian businessman, Rachid Nekkaz, from entering the Center of Public Finance of Toul, in the east of France. Nekkaz is known for paying fines of Muslim women arrested because they were wearing a burqa in public, banned by law since October 2010. Police came to protect the right of Mr. Nekkaz to pay the fine. An amendment to the finance law is currently under discussion to block and punish practices, like those of Nekkaz, that circumvent the law.
President François Hollande is currently under fire after the publication of a book, A President Should Not Say That... In it, he is reported to have said, "France has a problem with Islam," and "there are too many migrants in France" -- remarks Hollande claims he never made. Another quote in the book that Hollande denies saying:
"We cannot continue to have migrants who arrive without control, in the context of the attacks... The secession of territories (no go zones)? How can we avoid a partition? Because it is still what is going to happen."
President Hollande spends his time apologizing for things he never said, but should have said because they are true.

French People

French Chinese: The French Chinese live in the same suburbs as Muslims and are attacked and harassed, to the general indifference of police.
As crime against community members has spiraled, about 50,000 ethnic Chinese staged a protest march in Paris on September 4, after the fatal mugging of a Chinese tailor.
The protesters, all of them wearing white T-shirts reading "Security for All" and waving French flags, rallied at the Place de la République. They had organized the demonstration by themselves and were not supported by the traditional "human rights" groups, which prefer to help Muslim migrants.

Public Opinion: In January 2016, Cevipof, a think tank of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), released its seventh Barometer of Political Trust, a poll published annually to measure the values of democracy in the country, and based on interviews with 2074 people:
  • What is your current state of mind? Listlessness 31%, Gloom 29%, Mistrust 28%, Fear: 10%
  • Do you trust government? Not much 58%, not at all 32%
  • Do you trust lawmakers? Not much 39%, not at all 16%%
  • Do you trust the president? Not much 32%; not at all 38%
  • Do politicians care about what the people think? Not much 42%, not at all 46%
  • How democracy is working in France? Not well 43%, not well at all 24%
  • Do you trust political parties? Not much 47%, not at all 40%
  • Do you trust the media? Not much 48% not at all 27 %
  • What do you feel about politics? Distrust 39%; disgust 33%, boredom 8%
  • What do you feel about politicians? Disappointment 54%; disgust 20%
  • Corruption of politicians? Yes 76%
  • Too many migrants? Yes, plus tend to agree: 65%
  • Islam is a threat? Yes, plus tend to agree: 58%
  • Proud to be French? Yes 79%
What this poll shows is the gap between people and politicians has never been so vast.

Thibaud de Montbrial, lawyer and expert on terrorism, declared on October 19 to Le Figaro:
The term "dislocation" of French society seems appropriate. Violence against police, hospitals, attacks that multiply against schools and teachers... are attacks against pillars of the ruling domain. In other words, everything that represents state institutions (...) is now subjected to violence based on essentially sectarian and sometimes ethnic excesses, fueled by an incredible hatred of our country. We must be blind or unconscious not to feel concern for national cohesion."
Yves Mamou, based in France, worked for two decades as a journalist for Le Monde.
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Najat AlSaied : Middle East: A Shift from Revolution to Evolution


  • The lesson the Trump administration might learn from the disastrous mistakes of its predecessor is that the main sources of terrorism in the region are political Islam and all its related religious groups. All these radical groups, including ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Jabhat Al-Nusra and Hamas have been spawned by a political Islam driven by the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • The fight, therefore, should not be against Islam, but against political Islam. Islam needs to be practiced the way other religions are, as a private personal faith that should be kept separate from public life and politics, and whose expression should be confined to worship only.
  • Mosques, whether in the Arab and Muslim world or in the West, should be places of worship only and must not transformed to centers for polarizing society or for recruitment by political religious groups.
After each Islamist terrorist attack in the West, the public is divided into two camps: one angry and one indifferent. The problem with defeating Islamist terrorism seems to be that either it is attacked by conservatives who call Islam an evil cult or it is forgiven entirely by liberal apologists. What, then, is the answer?

One of the main failures in Western analyses of the origins of terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa is that the West attributes them to a lack of democracy and a lack of respect for human rights. This is, indeed, part of the cause, but the root of the problem is a lack of development and modernity. U.S. President Donald Trump did not exaggerate when he said that the Obama administration's foreign policy was disastrous. It was catastrophic mainly for two reasons. One was the knee-jerk support for the "Arab Spring" and for extremist Islamic political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. The second was the alliances the Obama administration built with unreliable countries such as Qatar, which supports radical political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, Obama made the mistake of continuing to try to appease Iran's theocratic regime.

The Arab Spring's uncalculated, hasty attempt to establish so-called democracy only generated more turmoil and chaos in the region. 

Certain radical political groups simply exploited the elections to serve their own political and sectarian agendas; that swoop for power only resulted in more authoritarian and dictatorial regimes, as have played out, for instance, in Egypt, where we have witnessed the murder of civilians and police officers by the Muslim Brotherhood. In other countries, the situation is even worse; attempts to install democracy have totally destroyed the state and facilitated the spread of terrorist militias, as in Libya.

It is ironic that Western countries and their advocates stress the need to apply democratic practices in Arab countries, but evidently do not recall that development and secularism preceded democracy in Western Europe. The United Kingdom, which has the oldest democratic system, did not become fully democratic until 1930. France became fully democratic only in 1945, 150 years after the French Revolution.


The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, at the Arab Summit in Jordan on March 28, 2017 delivered a speech in which he indicated his continuous support for the Muslim Brotherhood:
"If we are serious about focusing our efforts on armed terrorist organizations, is it fair to consider any political party we disagree with as terrorist? Is our goal to increase the number of terrorists?"
Many Arab leaders were infuriated by his speech; at the forefront was President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, who left the Arab Summit Hall during the speech to meet King Salman of Saudi Arabia.
Most Arab leaders and analysts, in fact, are enraged by Qatar's continuous support for Islamist political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, because these groups are a threat to their national security.


President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt speaks at the Arab Summit, on March 29. The previous day, Sisi walked out of a speech by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. Sisi was infuriated by Al-Thani's declaration of support for the Muslim Brotherhood. (Image source: Ruptly video screenshot)

Another consequence of Obama's foreign policy -- in particular attempts to get close to Iran's hostile regime -- has been a fraying of relationships with old Arab allies of the United States. Some of Obama's advisors thought that replacing Saudi Arabia with Iran was somehow "better" for the United States, if Iran "is beginning to evolve into a very civilized and historically important country" -- an analysis that can be described as completely short-sighted.

The Saudi regime, with all its flaws, is a monarchy run by princes; the Iranian regime is a theocracy run by clerics. The Saudi regime is not a theocratic regime but a hybrid structure, which is neither wholly secular nor wholly religious. As such, the religious class functions under the authority of the ruling class. Princes are driven by self-interest; clerics are driven by ideology. In terms of extremism, the Iranian regime is pushing for hegemony, whilst Saudi Arabia has been taking only a defensive, rather than an expansionist, position.

The motivation of Saudi Arabia in exporting mosques world-wide and installing radical Saudi imams is defensive, not expansionist as in Iran. Saudi Arabia's impetus is to confront Iran's hegemony and the spread of its hostile ideology.
It is this strategy, which Saudi Arabia has practiced since 1979 to balance Iran's power and to combat its rebellious ideology, that must change.

That Iran's Khomeini regime sought to embarrass Saudi Arabia -- a country that is home to Islam's two holiest mosques, in Mecca and Medina -- by portraying it as not sufficiently Islamic, meant that the foundational Islamic Wahhabism of the Saudi Kingdom was aggressively reinforced.
This emphasis resulted in even more constraints being put in place in Iran: especially on entertainment. Since the Khomeini revolution in 1979, all plays, fashion shows, international events, and cinemas have been banned.
As for women, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has increasingly harassed them.
As for minorities, especially Shia challenging the Iranian Shia regime and its support for Shia militias -- particularly the dominant Revolutionary Guards -- books were published attacking the Shia:
More books appeared, attacking the Shias and especially Khomeini's views. These books – like the arguments of Khomeini's followers – rejected modern thinking as an "intellectual invasion." Saudi Arabia, considered the guardian of Sunni Islam, spent billions of dollars on challenging the Khomeini-backed Shiites.
This religious one-upmanship -- a competition over which body can be the "most religious" -- must stop.
Saudi Arabia would do well to understand that in order to confront the hegemony of the Iranian theocratic regime, the answer is not to radicalize Saudi society but to return to the way it was before 1979.

The best way to defeat the rebel hostile regime in Iran might be through creating an inclusive and tolerant society in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia needs to change its approach towards Iran because the current strategy has not worked. The current strategy has done nothing except to strengthen the Iranian regime's dominance; distort, globally, the image of Saudi Arabia and accelerate terrorism.

The lesson the Trump administration might learn from the disastrous mistakes of its predecessor is that the main source of terrorism in the region are political Islam and all its related religious groups. All these radical groups including ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Jabhat Al-Nusra and Hamas have been spawned by a political Islam driven by the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Extremist jihadists such as Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam and Ayman al-Zawahiri were all taught by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Political Islam practiced by the Iranian theocratic regime has been comfortably generating Shia radical militias, including the terrorist group, Hezbollah. The fight, therefore, should not be against Islam, but against political Islam.

 Islam needs to be practiced the way other religions are, as a private personal faith that should be kept separate from public life and politics, and whose expression should be confined to worship only. Mosques, whether in the Arab and Muslim world or in the West, should be places of worship only and must not transformed to centers for polarizing society or for recruitment by political religious groups. Unfortunately, Western countries have turned a blind eye to the political activities inside these mosques.

The danger of these religious political groups is that they do not believe in democracy or human rights; they just use elections to grasp power in order to impose a system of "Islamic Caliphate" as their only form of government. Most of these groups use religion as an ideology to oppose governments other than their own, and when they are criticized or attacked, they play the role of the oppressed.
The Trump administration needs to take advantage of the fact that the majority of people in the Middle East and North Africa have lost faith in religious political groups, especially since the failure of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Tunisia.
Before the Arab Spring, support for these groups was huge; now it stands at less than 10% of the population. This study was conducted in the Arab world, not including Turkey. The Muslims who support Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are the Muslim Brotherhood.

Most recent polls indicate that the majority of people in Arab and Muslim countries prefer religion to be kept separate from politics.

The country that is working the most systematically to fight these religious political groups in the region is the United Arab Emirates (UAE). There are several institutes and think tanks researching how to combat these groups. Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), has given a robust analysis of these groups and how to combat them in his book, The Mirage. In it, he cites a study on public opinion on political religious groups: A survey of the UAE population, on how these groups are able to influence the public by taking advantage of certain flaws in the system: 53.9% because of corruption; 47.9% because of poverty and 29.1% because of an absence of civil society groups that confront these opportunists.

The Middle East-North Africa region will undoubtedly have to go through several stages before it can successfully establish democracy. An evolutionary developmental approach will definitely be better than the failed revolutionary democratic one pursued by the Obama administration.

Secularization is also crucial in the fight against terrorism. Trying to build a democracy before going through the stages of secularism and political reformation -- which includes rectifying existing flaws, such as corruption; modernization which means the liberation of the region from extremist totalitarian religious dogma and all other forms of backwardness in order to kick-start a renaissance; and scientific development -- will not only be inadequate but will actually generate more terrorism by helping radicals to keep gaining power. It would be like a farmer who wants to plant roses in arid desert soil full of thorns.
Najat AlSaied is a Saudi American academic and the author of "Screens of Influence: Arab Satellite Television & Social Development". She is an Assistant Professor at Zayed University in the College of Communication and Media Sciences in Dubai-UAE. She can be reached at: najwasaied@hotmail.com
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Majid Rafizadeh : Sentenced to Death for "Insulting Islam"


  • Can you imagine making a joke and facing death as a result?
  • "During his interrogation, Sina was told that if he signed a confession and repented, he would be pardoned and let go," said the source in an interview with CHRI on March 21, 2017. "Unfortunately, he made a childish decision and accepted the charges. Then they sentenced him to death." "Later he admitted that he signed the confession hoping to get freed," said the source. "Apparently the authorities also got him to confess in front of a camera as well." -- Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
  • When the Islamists gain power, they immediately create their own "judiciary system" in order to "legitimize" their implementation of sharia law. In fact, the judiciary system is used less as a tool for bringing people to justice, and more as a tool to suppress freedom of speech and of the press.
To radical Islamist groups, Islam is not a religion which all are free to pursue; it is a weapon. It is the most powerful tool that can be wielded with manipulative skill to control entire populations. 

Beneath their fierce rule, every aspect of daily life is dictated. What is worn, what is eaten, what you say and what you write are all scrutinized; violations of these stringent laws are met with extreme punishments. Can you imagine making a joke and facing death as a result? Can you imagine the constant fear of doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, when you have seen people beaten, stoned, or killed in the street for nothing more than a mild transgression?

Freedom of speech and press are the Islamists' top enemies. They are targeted on a regular basis, making it difficult or impossible for the truth to be revealed to the world. While others may take their privacy for granted, the people living under this kind of tyranny must think about everything they say and do. Sometimes even the bravest of souls turn away in the face of such intimidation. Can it really be as restrictive as described? Yes, and far worse than you can imagine.

Sina Dehghan, 21, for example, was arrested by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) when he was 19 for "insulting Islam". Charges were brought against him for insulting the Prophet Muhammad on the messaging app LINE.
According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI):
"During his interrogation, Sina was told that if he signed a confession and repented, he would be pardoned and let go," said the source in an interview with CHRI on March 21, 2017. "Unfortunately, he made a childish decision and accepted the charges. Then they sentenced him to death." "Later he admitted that he signed the confession hoping to get freed," said the source. "Apparently the authorities also got him to confess in front of a camera as well."
Such a sentence may seem like madness, but in fact there is a cold and calculated pattern to these actions. 
When extremist Muslims gain power, they immediately create their own "judiciary system" in order to "legitimize" their implementation of sharia law. This judiciary system is, in fact, used less as a tool for bringing people to justice, and more as a tool to suppress freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Once this silence is ensured, they are able to oppress the entire society, restrain any budding opposition, imprison and torture innocent people and sentence thousands to death.


Sina Dehghan, 21, has been sentenced to death in Iran for "insulting Islam". There are many people like him in Iran who are currently imprisoned, tortured on a daily basis, or awaiting their execution for "insulting Islam", "insulting the prophet", "insulting the Supreme Leader" -- the examples are endless. (Image source: Center for Human Rights in Iran)

By imprisoning, torturing and hanging idealistic and rebellious young people, the ruling politicians and the Islamist judiciary system are using them as an example to send a message to millions of people that they will not tolerate anyone who opposes their religious or political view.

Radical Islamist groups have been using the same tactic in other nations to impose fear and shock in the public. They aim at silencing people and making them subservient. Once they have control, they will stop at nothing to keep it.

For the Islamists, once you submit to their religion, your freedom of speech and of the press belong to Allah. Your only job is to exercise silence and obedience, and follow your religious leader, imam, sheikh, or velayat-e faqih ("guardianship of the Islamic jurist").

As the Center for Human Rights in Iran pointed out:
"Security and judicial authorities promised Sina's family that if they didn't make any noise about his case, he would have a better chance of being freed, and that talking about it to the media would work against him," added the source. "Unfortunately, the family believed those words and stopped sharing information about his case and discouraged others from sharing it as well." "Sina is not feeling well," continued the source. "He's depressed and cries constantly. He's being held in a ward with drug convicts and murderers who broke his jaw a while ago."
For the ruling Islamists, it does not matter if you have been a loyalist all your life. If you speak up or oppose them just once, you will be eliminated. 

As CHRI quoted one source: "He was a 19-year-old boy at the time (of his arrest) and had never done anything wrong in his life."

One of Dehghan's co-defendants, Mohammad Nouri, was also sentenced to death for posting anti-Islamic comments on social media. Another co-defendant, Sahar Eliasi, was sentenced to seven years, and later the sentence was reduced to three years.

What does the term "anti-Islamic" mean exactly in an Islamist judiciary system? If it carries a death sentence, you might assume that the parameters of the law would be well outlined. However, that is not the case. For the ruling Islamists, the term "anti-Islamic" is completely ambiguous and subjective, and can relate to anything that opposes their view or their power. What might seem like an innocent remark, could change a life forever.

If they are such violent and oppressive people, you might wonder how they are ever able to gain power. They do this through manipulation, charm and countless false promises.

Some radical Islamists, before they gain power, promise people equality, justice, peace, and a far better life. They appeal to the young, to the traditional, and to the hopeful. But once they seize power, they close an iron grip around any and all freedoms, available to their people -- in particular freedom of speech.

Once radical Islam has gained power, established its own judiciary system, or infiltrated the legal system with its sharia law, no one is capable of criticizing the government or the political establishment. In a social order ruled by radical Islam, the government is Islam; the government is the representative of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad. Ruling politicians who decide the laws are "divine" figures supposedly appointed by God. They are not to be questioned.

There are many people like Sina Dehghan who are currently imprisoned, tortured on a daily basis, or awaiting their execution for "insulting Islam", "insulting the prophet", "insulting the Supreme Leader" -- the examples are endless. The issue is that we do not hear about these cases.

Some media outlets refuse to report on them in order to appease the Islamic Republic of Iran -- just further proof of how coercive their power can be. The only way to reduce it -- and the oppression and slaughter of so many people -- is to bring attention to the human rights abuses conducted under the Islamic banner of religious "legitimacy " and "authenticity".

This type of tyranny is a danger, not just for those enduring it, but for the world.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, political scientist and Harvard University scholar is president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He can be reached at Dr.rafizadeh@post.harvard.edu.
  • Follow Majid Rafizadeh on Twitter
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Judith Bergman : Europe's Out-of-Control Censorship


  • If Facebook insists on the rules of censorship, it should at the very least administer those rules in a fair way. Facebook, however, does not even pretend that it administers its censorship in any way that approximates fairness.
  • Posts critical of Chancellor Merkel's migrant policies, for example, can be categorized as "Islamophobia", and are often found to violate "Community Standards", while incitement to actual violence and the murder of Jews and Israelis by Palestinian Arabs is generally considered as conforming to Facebook's "Community Standards".
  • Notwithstanding the lawsuits, Facebook's bias is so strong that it recently restored Palestinian Arab terrorist group Fatah's Facebook page, which incites hatred and violence against Jews -- despite having shut it down only three days earlier. In 2016 alone, this page had a minimum of 130 posts glorifying terror and murder of Jews.
Germany has formally announced its draconian push towards censorship of social media. On March 14, Germany's Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced the plan to formalize into law the "code of conduct", which Germany pressed upon Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in late 2015, and which included a pledge to delete "hate speech" from their websites within 24 hours.

"This [draft law] sets out binding standards for the way operators of social networks deal with complaints and obliges them to delete criminal content," Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement announcing the planned legislation.

"Criminal" content? Statements that are deemed illegal under German law are now being conflated with statements that are merely deemed, subjectively and on the basis of entirely random complaints from social media users -- who are free to abuse the code of conduct to their heart's content -- to be "hate speech". "Hate speech" has included critiques of Chancellor Angela Merkel's migration policies. To be in disagreement with the government's policies is now potentially "criminal". Social media companies, such as Facebook, are supposed to be the German government's informers and enforcers -- qualified by whom and in what way? -- working at the speed of light to comply with the 24-hour rule. Rule of law, clearly, as in North Korea, Iran, Russia or any banana-republic, has no place in this system.



Maas is not pleased with the efforts of the social media companies. They do not, supposedly, delete enough reported content, nor do they delete it fast enough, according to a survey by the Justice Ministry's youth protection agency. It found that YouTube was able to remove around 90% of "illegal" postings within a week, while Facebook deleted or blocked 39% of content and Twitter only 1%. The German minister, it seems, wants more efficiency.

"We need to increase the pressure on social networks... There is just as little room for criminal propaganda and slander [on social media] as on the streets," said Maas. "For this we need legal regulations." He has now presented these legal regulations in the form of a draft bill, which provides for complaints, reporting and fines.
There also appears to be no differentiation made between primary-source hate speech, as in many religious tenets, and secondary-source hate speech, reporting on the former.

According to the draft, social media platforms with more than two million users would be obliged to delete or block any criminal offenses, such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint. The networks receive seven days for more complicated cases. Germany could fine a social media company up to 50 million euros for failing to comply with the law; it could fine a company's chief representative in Germany up to 5 million euros.
It does not stop there. Germany does not want these measures to be limited to its own jurisdiction. It wants to share them with the rest of Europe: "In the end, we also need European solutions for European-wide companies," said Maas. The European Union already has a similar code of conduct in place, so that should not be very hard to accomplish.

Facebook, for its part, has announced that by the end of 2017, the number of employees in complaints-management in Berlin will be increased to more than 700. A spokeswoman said that Facebook had clear rules against hate speech and works "hard" on removing "criminal content".

If Facebook insists on operating under rules of censorship, it should at the very least aim to administer those rules in a fair manner. Facebook, however, does not even pretend that it administers its censorship in any way that approximates fairness. Instead, Facebook's practice of its so-called "Community Standards" -- the standards to which Facebook refers when deleting or allowing content on its platform in response to user complaints -- shows evidence of entrenched bias. Posts critical of Merkel's migrant policies, for example, can get categorized as "Islamophobia", and are often found to violate "Community Standards", while incitement to actual violence and the murder of Jews and Israelis by Palestinian Arabs is generally considered as conforming to Facebook's "Community Standards".
Facebook's bias, in fact, became so pronounced that in October 2015, Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center filed an unprecedented lawsuit against Facebook on behalf of some 20,000 Israelis, to stop allowing Palestinian Arab terrorists to use the social network to incite violent attacks against Jews. The complaint sought an injunction against Facebook that required it to monitor incitement and to respond immediately to complaints about content that incites people to violence. Shurat Hadin wrote at the time:
"...Facebook is much more than a neutral internet platform or a mere 'publisher' of speech because its algorithms connect the terrorists to the inciters. Facebook actively assists the inciters to find people who are interested in acting on their hateful messages by offering friend, group and event suggestions ... Additionally, Facebook often refuses to take down the inciting pages, claiming that they do not violate its 'community standards'. Calling on people to commit crimes is not constitutionally protected speech and endangers the lives of Jews and Israelis".
In 2016, Shurat Hadin filed a separate $1 billion lawsuit on behalf of five victims of Hamas terrorism and their families. They are seeking damages against Facebook under the U.S. Antiterrorism Act, for Facebook's having provided material support and resources to Hamas in the form of Facebook services, which Hamas then used to carry out their terrorist activities. The US has officially designated Hamas a "Foreign Terrorist Organization" which means that it is a criminal offense to provide material support to such an organization.

Notwithstanding the lawsuits, Facebook's bias is so strong that it recently restored Palestinian Arab terrorist group Fatah's Facebook page, which incites hatred and violence against Jews -- despite having shut it down only three days earlier. In 2016 alone, this page had a minimum of 130 posts glorifying terror and the murder of Jews.

It is only a small step from imposing censorship on social media companies to asking the same of email providers, or ordering postal authorities to screen letters, magazines and brochures in the event that citizens spread supposed "xenophobia" and "fake news". There is ample precedent for such a course of action on the continent:
During the Cold War, people living behind the Iron Curtain had their private letters opened by the communist authorities; those passages deemed to be out of line with the communist orthodoxy, were simply blacked out.
Who would have thought that more than a quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), Western Europe would be reinventing itself in the image of the Soviet Union?
Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.
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