Archives I


 

Will Of Faith - Christian Academy Fights Back Against Muslim Extremism

By William A. Mayer - Editor & Publisher, PipeLineNews.org

Osceola County, Florida - PipeLineNews - The great 18th-century conservative political philosopher Edmund Burke said, "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing."

Yet, as we near the anniversary of our third year of war against radical Islamic terrorism, thoughtful observers might be struck with daily examples of such moral lassitude - failure to confront evil.

We see it in the political sphere, where cheap advantage is sought with the hopes of defeating a political party. In the media, where all pretense of objectivity seems to have been cast aside. In education, where the preaching of diversity-based moral equivalency has already, in large measure, established the de-facto state religion of secular humanism.

We even see it in traditional institutions of faith, where heretofore established orthodoxy is overthrown in the name of inclusiveness.

So it comes as a relief when one happens upon someone who takes the Burkean charge to heart.

One such individual is Lee Wasson.

Mr. Wasson is pastor of an evangelical Christian congregation in Osceola County, Florida called Celebration Worship.

Over a period of years he and his staff built and operated a church and parochial school - the Kissimmee Christian Academy - which at its peak educated about 140 students. The instruction these children received was exemplary, featuring one of the highest percentages of "graduates-to-college rates in the county " - 100% last year - and a promotion rate that is also among the highest.

Celebration Worship had been located on a 6 acre parcel of a larger, 31 acre piece of property which had been owned by David Peoples.

Mr. Peoples ran a rather well developed travel and cooking school on the property. Unfortunately, Peoples’ school failed and he was forced to file for bankruptcy.

Up to that time, Celebration Worship had been operating under the existing contract with Peoples. Celebration had been complying with all of the terms of the lease, including making payments on a timely basis as well as making substantial improvements to the property.

All that changed for the worse on October 1, 2003.

Super Stop Petroleum, a corporation owned by a Pakistani, Denise Qureshi, purchased Mr. Peoples’ parcel of land in bankruptcy proceedings, thus subsuming Wasson’s lease.

Shortly after the purchase of the property, Super Stop allowed a Muslim consortium to take possession of the part not leased by Wasson’s church/school complex. This included all of the buildings that Mr. Peoples’ enterprise had occupied.

The Muslim group was headed by a known Islamist – Zulfiqar Ali Shah – and was allowed by Super Stop to act as its agent, essentially becoming Celebration’s landlord.

Mr. Shah and his minions incorporated the group as a 501c3 tax-exempt organization, naming it the Universal Heritage Foundation [UHF.]

Shah and other individuals associated with UHF have professed adherence to radical religious beliefs and have a long history of making, sometimes shockingly, intemperate remarks:

“Either the best Muslim will get power, or the worst Kaffir ["worst infidel" - etymology – North African word, essentially the same as nigger, not so surprising given the North African Arabs' track record with regard to the slave trade]. Allah has created us as the Khaleefah [leaders] and we do not know Biology, Chemistry, Geology, when the Muslims knew those sciences they rules those lands and controlled them. We need to learn these sciences then we know how to control this earth. Rasool (S) struggled for 13 years, he was tortured abused, made sacrifices, even lost his uncle. Victory will not come sitting down. We need to prepare ourselves in all aspects." - Zulfiqar Ali Shah from remarks on the "History of Islam" prepared for the consumption of young Muslims.

UHF’s stated purpose was to further the religious and educational training of Muslims and to present to the community in general, the peaceful side of Islam.

UHF, as part of its marketing plan organized an inaugural event – “Islam for Humanity" – showcased to be touchy-feely and Christian friendly.

As the event neared it became clear that the speakers chosen for it represented some of the worst examples of Islamist theology:

“We want to awaken the conscience of America: because if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come," he told the crowd. “Please all Americans, do remember that, that Allah is watching everyone. If you continue doing injustice, and tolerating injustice, the wrath of God will come." - Muzammil H. Siddiqui, PhD., the former president of Islamic Society of North America, Imam of the Islamic Society of Orange County in California.

“In a similar vein, CAIR board member Imam Siraj Wahaj calls for replacing the American government with a caliphate, and warns that America will crumble unless it "accepts the Islamic agenda." Wahaj, it should be noted, served as a character witness for Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the Muslim cleric convicted for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing." Front Page Magazine March 5, 2003.

The firestorm that erupted when the list of participants became public knowledge forced UHF to remove Wahaj from the speaker’s list. Not so surprisingly, Siddiqui not only remained part of the event but he currently sits on UHF’s board of directors.

Because of the controversy, the event had to be relocated and eventually concluded with a disastrous amount of almost universally negative press.

Belying its loftily stated goals of accommodation, UHF immediately upon being given de-facto status as Wasson’s landlord, instituted a program of harassment against Celebration Worship.

UHF violated the existing lease, cut off water and power and also undertook a campaign of psychological terror that resulted in Celebration being denied its right to enjoy the use of its facility.

Super Stop engaged in similar tactics, which in short course led to Celebration Worship being constructively evicted from the property.

Wasson has since obtained other facilities and is once again providing a place of Christian worship and education for his parishioners.

To his credit Wasson is fighting back against those who drove his small flock from its previous location.

The law firm of Brown, Garganese, Weiss & D’Agresta, PA. was retained by Wasson and they have just filed a 4 count complaint, naming Super Stop Petroleum as defendant.

The complaint will allege that:

“…under the totality of circumstances, including the affiliation of the operators of the private fundamentalist school with persons associated with past public statements hostile to Christians, Jews and Israel, the posting of Counter-Plaintiffs’ identity on Islamic websites, and the termination of utilities for unnecessary reasons and excessive periods of time, without adequate reason or notice, the Counter-Plaintiffs became reasonably and justifiably afraid for their safety and the well-being and safety of the students attending Counter-Plaintiffs’ school" [that] “Wasson and Celebration have encountered hostility and discriminatory treatment against them based upon their status as Christians and the conduct of their activities on the premises as a private Christian school and church…"

The suit states that Super Stop granted UHF permission to act as its agent with regard to Celebration and that UHF then violated the existing lease in numerous ways.

Super Stop's de-facto granting to UHF the authority to act as its agent, makes Super Stop responsible for actions taken - in that regard - by UHF:

1. Failure to pro-rate the utility bills.
2. Cutting off or interrupting utility services necessary for Celebration to carry on its business.
3. Raising the amount of the lease.
4. Acting in a manner that denied Celebration the peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
5. Organized an event which featured anti-Christian, inflammatory & pro-Islamist speakers.
6. Retaliated against Celebration’s opposing the "Islam for Humanity" event by placing pictures of his school on pro-Islamist websites with the intent of intimidation.

The firm will also claim that for their part, Super Stop Petroleum:

1. Renovated buildings surrounding Celebration in a manner injurious to the tenant’s business.
2. Denied Celebration the right of first refusal to purchase the property occupied by UHF.
3. Failed to return tenant’s security deposit.
4. Acted in a manner that constructively evicted Celebration as a tenant this caused it to suffer great financial loss.

Celebration is asking compensation for all recoverable compensatory as well as consequential damages, which could amount to a judgment of several million dollars against Super Stop. Celebration also seeks declaratory relief, stating exactly what their rights were under the lease.

Lawsuit aside, Wasson has moved on, now seemingly stronger than ever - buoyed by his decision to fight back against an institution whose public persona screams peaceful Islam but whose private actions have placed the dark side of the religion on trial, literally.

Celebration Worship's Christian Academy though down in registration has retained new facilities and is once again growing, now devoid of the Universal Heritage Foundation's harassing tactics and malevolent presence.

In many ways Lee Wasson's struggle mimics America's actions post 911. He didn't seek this test of wills, but he is by no means running from it, instead meeting it head-on with determination and more than a bit of resolve.

Toward that end, he has established a legal defense fund to help his organization to help defray the daunting legal costs entailed in such an undertaking. If you are interested in contacting Pastor Wasson, offering your support and possibly making a tax-exempt [funds so raised go ONLY to defray the legal costs entailed in defending against UHF's predation] contribution, he can be reached at:

Kissimee Christian Academy Legal Defense Fund


© 2004 William A. Mayer/PipeLineNews, all rights reserved
The Arab World And The Cult Of Death

By Robbie Friedmann, PhD

The Arab obsession with death (as evident in Palestinian and Lebanese terror attacks "inspired" by Iran, Syria, Egypt, and others) is deeply embedded in their societies as they indoctrinate their children to aspire for "holy" death which will bring them to heaven "Ask for Death! The Indoctrination of Palestinian Children to Seek Death for Allah", Shahada, Itamar Marcus, Palestinian Media Watch.

Their clerics even pray that their leader - Arafat - will die as a "martyr""PA Imam Prays for Arafat's Death as Shahid", Itamar Marcus, Palestinian Media Watch, May 7, 2004 - "we will pray to Allah: Grant the President Shahada (Martyrdom) for you. Yes, we do not pray - like other preachers pray - for longevity for the rulers; here in Palestine we pray: Lord, grant the President Shahada for you." This by no means suggests that Arafat is ready to die but it sends a message he is thus readying many others to die for him.

In the meantime, when they do not kill themselves and murder others in the process, they "bravely" ambush a single car killing an 8-months pregnant women and her four children - ages 11, 9, 7, and 2 - and then at close range they shoot them again to "ascertain" their death "Mother, her four children killed in terror attack in Gaza", Amos Harel, Haaretz, May 3, 2004.

Sadly, National Public Radio reported on this heinous murder as if the woman and children deserved to be shot because by their mere presence they "provoked" the terrorists to murder them "NPR Blames Mother and Daughters for their own Murders", Tamar Sternthal, CAMERA, May 5, 2004). Clearly, those who do not care enough about their own lives, and the lives of their intended victims, do not care about the lives of their own people either "Their own enemy", Editorial, Daily Telegraph, 25/04/2004. Even the "Barbarians", were not known to behave like that.

The cold-blooded murder of the pregnant Israeli mother and her four children have shocked even Amnesty International which rightfully condemned the murder as constituting "crimes against humanity." Yet throughout the press release AI refers to "Palestinian armed groups" and "gunmen" not to terrorist organizations, and to the murder site as "occupied territory" not disputed territory "Occupied Territories: AI condemns murder of woman and her four daughters by Palestinian gunmen", Amnesty International Public Statement, 4 May 2004. Perhaps it is time that AI give amnesty to the victims not the perpetrators. It can start by changing its name.

The mills of justice grind slowly but they grind. Case in point is a British effort to get at those who support terrorism. Charges were filed against relatives for not assisting authorities in what could have prevented a terrorist attack in Israel by two British citizens "The farewell e-mails of British suicide bomber: Relatives charged with failing to give information that could have prevented an attack", Sean O'Neill, The Times (UK), 27 April 2004.

And where justice is too slow, security steps in as French authorities show little patience for extremist clerics who preach hate and while other European countries tolerate such hate the French show them the way out of the country "France targets radical Muslim clerics", Associated Press, May. 3, 2004.

Yet, the fact that the world did not burst in an outrage - and AI is not an outrage and the AI is not the world - raises the question as to why "And the world still remains silent", Rachel Raskin-Zrihen, Jewish World Review, May 4, 2004. The two answers are not pleasant: "...there is a collective understanding that Jews are unimportant, expendable or worse, justifiable targets," and ...the Palestinian Arabs are simply incapable of civilized behavior. The latter explanation...has terrifying and far-reaching implications that I'd prefer not to contemplate, and which people all over the world, in the United States in particular, are dismissing as impossible...If the international acquiescence to or rationalization of the murder of that Jewish family isn't a function of anti-Semitism or a belief that no better behavior can be expected from Palestinian Arabs, then it can only be a fear, a terror as it were, that to speak out against the wholesale slaughter of innocent Jewish men, women and even children may bring the wrath of the proverbial Hun down upon the protester. If that's it we're all doomed, of course, because that means the terrorists have already won."

And in a sense they have. The Palestinians pride themselves with this murder as committing a "heroic act." Yet, world leaders continue to state that they are working to provide the Palestinians with a state - even if 2005 is not a "realistic" date. If this is not rewarding terrorism than what is? In all likelihood, historical irony would make it that the murderers will get the home of the murdered family as a reward for their crime if indeed Israel moves on with its disengagement plan "Abandoning Gaza won't end terrorism", Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, May 6, 2004.

Indeed, as a respected analyst sees it "Gated Community", Ehud Ya'ari, Jerusalem Report, May 17, 2004.

"The Palestinians see the planned evacuation of the Gaza Strip as a victory, as the realization of the undeclared goal of the intifada -- the acquisition of territory and a sort of sovereignty in the absence of an agreement and concessions to Israel." Ya'ari also sees a glimmer of chance that those in the Palestinian camp who understand that this could be a strategic defeat will "finally go for the elusive confrontation against Arafat."

A longshot indeed. Pun not intended.

The fact remains that the Arab goals in general - and specifically the Palestinian goals - while threatening and dangerous to Israel and the West are delusional "To be 'pro-Palestinian' is to live in a world of delusions", Clifford D. May, The Union Leader, May 3, 2004. Well, so were Hitler's. He was defeated but at what horrendous human cost?

The challenge is not only to realize the gravity of the threat and danger but also to assess and predict the long-term cost so the sooner they are defeated the better. There is no luxury permitted in this battle "Al Qaeda's Poison Gas: The foiled attack in Jordan might have killed thousands", Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2004. Belatedly, and in yet small doses, Israel has shown itself and the world how to handle this challenge "EU vs. Hamas: Israel's doing what so many other nations signed on to do", Joshua Muravchik, National Review, April 27, 2004).

The Saudis must be frustrated. They thought that homegrown terrorism is to be uni-directionally exported against the West. They did not count on terrorism actively spawning on Saudi soil. So how do they "explain" it? They blame the Jews "Saudi Crown Prince on Yunbu' Attack: 'Zionism is Behind Terrorist Actions in the Kingdom...", MEMRI, Special Dispatch - Saudi Arabia/Arab Antisemitism Documentation Project, May 3, 2004, No. 706.

It was reported that Bush administration officials were "stunned" by this scurrilous statement so to add fuel to the fire a Saudi princess has expressed her "rage" regarding the criticism raised against the Saudis "Saudi Princess Responds to Charges of Antisemitism in Saudi Royal Family", MEMRI, Special Dispatch - Saudi Arabia/Arab Antisemitism Documentation Project, May 6, 2004, No. 708 by charging that "enough is enough." She uses the classical guise that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism as that the Saudi could not be anti-Semite because they themselves are Semites (as if the term antisemitism was coined to denote Arabs). To support her point she cites a "rabid anti-Semite", as a "source." This is like getting a Kosher stamp for and from a pig. She then goes on to suggest that surely the world would prefer the friendship of 1.5 billion Muslims over the tiny state of Israel. Perhaps we should "thank" her for outlining the zero-sum game approach the Arabs bring to this conflict and that they will not stop at anything short of achieving their objectives.

But fewer Americans than ever see the Saudis as friends and allies. A leading Texas paper has unmasked the Saudi fable by criticizing a veteran Saudi operative in the US, no other than their ambassador, Bandar; and the paper calls Saudi Arabia part of the problem ("Saudi Terrorism Double Talk: Saudi diplomat's charm fails him - ‘Saudi Arabia Is Part of the Problem of Terrorism -Not the Solution,'" Dallas Morning News, April 30, 2004). This paper is reported to be one of five placed on president Bush's desk every morning. Surely he will read it carefully given that the Saudis aim at more than Israel. Indeed, they actively seek to topple him "The Saudi War on George Bush", Ed Lasky, The American Thinker, March 10th, 2004.

To date Australia is the only continent that has not experienced a direct terrorist attack on its soil (not counting Australian victims in Bali). But no one is immune to the propaganda blitz that turns perpetrator into victim and victim to an evil war-criminal. In the U.S. Muslim advocacy groups are after anyone who dares to criticize terrorists and their supporters "CAIR's War on Conservative Radio", Michelle Malkin, Townhall.com, May 5, 2004). Indeed, this is even acknowledged by no less than Muslims in America who are concerned about the extremist take-over of their religious institutions ("Hate at the Local Mosque," Asra Q. Nomani, The New York Times, May 6, 2004).

Muslim advocacy groups shed slimy crocodile tears for their constituents under the guise of (their) "civil rights" (being "violated") but never find it worthwhile to condemn the violation of civil rights of those who are victims of terrorism or intended terrorism. Yet their brethren continue their blatant campaign at jihad against their very own host countries ("Militants in Europe Openly Call for Jihad and the Rule of Islam," Patrick E. Tyler and Don Van Natta Jr., The New York Times, April 26, 2004), or preposterously deflect cause and effect attributions when claiming that the very terrorists are in the service of the US government "Lebanese Member of Parliament, Walid Jumblatt Interview: Al-Qa'ida and bin Laden are Tools of U.S. Intelligence Agencies", MEMRI, Special Dispatch - Lebanon/Jihad & Terrorism Studies Project, April 28, 2004, No. 702.

This forked-tongued approach to vilifying the victim while pretending to hold the same values the victim cherishes is also reflected in the way in which Arab leaders (particularly from Egypt and Saudi Arabia) present themselves as "friends and allies" of the US and at the same time conduct a - longstanding - hate and vilification campaign - through its media, government statements, clergy, academy - against it that portrays the US (and of course Israel) as an enemy "America-hatred among the Arabs: Time to put an end to the madness", Jeff Jacoby, Jewish World Review, April 26, 2004. A hate video clip from Egypt is rather illustrative "Egyptian Video Clip: Hate USA and Israel", Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin, May 6, 2004.

A recent conference on antisemitism in Europe has dealt with the classical forms of this curse but not with its modern offspring. Israel has now replaced the individual Jew as a vilification object and a candidate for extinction "Europe still doesn't get it", David Matas, Globe and Mail, May 5, 2004.

To a large extent this happened because the Arabs were successful in turning perpetrator to victim and victim to offender. They managed to portray the Palestinians as David and Israel as Goliath. Some irony in reversing these historical roles of the ancient philistine but even more so considering the existence of 22 Arab countries, hundreds of millions Arabs in the area, and a billion and a half Muslims around the world "Appearance And Reality In The Middle East - Distinguishing `David` From `Goliath", Louis Rene Beres, The Jewish press, 4/14/2004.

The Arabs were also successful in eliciting the willing help of the left (along with the traditional extreme right) in Europe, the U.S., and even in Israel, to bring back the cry of "Hep" (Hierosolyma est perdita; Jerusalem is destroyed) that so many thought has perished in the aftermath of WWII "The Modern ‘Hep! Hep! Hep!", Cynthia Ozick, The New York Observer, May 7, 2004: The riddle of anti-Semitis - why always the Jews? - survives as an apparently eternal irritant. The German-Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig, writing in 1916 (in italics) of "hatred of the Jews," remarked to a friend, "You know as well as I do that all its realistic arguments are only fashionable cloaks." The state of Israel is our era's fashionable cloak - mainly on the Left in the West, and centrally and endemically among the populations of the Muslim despotisms. But if one cannot account for the tenacity of anti-Semitism, one can readily identify it. It wears its chic disguises. It breeds on the tongues of liars. The lies may be noisy and primitive and preposterous, like the widespread Islamist charge (doggerelized by New Jersey's poet laureate) that a Jewish conspiracy leveled the Twin Towers. Or the lies may take the form of skilled patter in a respectable timbre, while retailing sleight-of-hand trickeries - such as the hallucinatory notion that the defensive measures of a perennially beleaguered people constitute colonization and victimization; or that the Jewish state is to blame for the aggressions committed against it. Lies shoot up from the rioters in Gaza and Ramallah. Insinuations ripple out of the high tables of Oxbridge. And steadily, whether from the street or the salon, one hears the enduring old cry: Hep! Hep! Hep!

Just look at how well institutionalized it has become in organizations such as the United Nations which are clearly United against Israel "Business as Usual: No love for Israel in Geneva", National Review, Anne Bayefsky, April 26, 2004), and whose chief emissaries call Israel the "greatest poison" in the area and get away with legitimizing the globalization of antisemitism ("The Real Mideast 'Poison,'" Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, April 30, 2004).

Now, out of the green (read below), dozens of former British diplomats have chastised their prime minister for supporting the American policy in the Middle East ("The Seven Pillars of Chutzpah," Wall St Journal--Europe, April 28, 2004). The problem is that what these former diplomats have supported for over 40 years amounted to failed policy prescriptions. The cocktail crowd my be out of touch with reality but certainly not with their colleagues oversees. A few well-coordinated phone calls between glasses of sherry and lo and behold their American colleagues have almost simultaneously issued the same rebuke "Bush under fire from US ex-envoys", About 50 retired US diplomats have written to President George W Bush to criticise current American policy towards the Middle East," BBC News, May 4, 2004.

Not all former diplomats have bought into this not-so-innocent initiative "My fellow ex-ambassadors are not an attractive sight", Robin Renwick, Daily Telegraph, 02/05/2004 as after all, they have all failed to mention where their livelihood is coming from and hence where their sympathies lie. They ought to consider that the statements they issued might constitute supporting the enemy, certainly not the interest of their government "Diplomats failed to disclose their own Arab links", Chris Hastings, David Bamber and Roya Nikkhah, Daily Telegraph, 02/05/2004.

Greased by (green) Arab money, the former diplomats made themselves nothing more than a shameless special interest group in the interest of the Arab/Muslim (green) flag , certainly not the civil servants their own governments deserve. No offense, but this is analogous to judges of fine wine tasting events one would not expect to also serve as judges of hot chilli competitions.

Indeed, the former envoys' statements across both sides of the pond reveal a deep lack of understanding of policies and politics in the Mideast. The preserve-a-despot-at-all-cost under the guise of "stability" is exactly what causes the problems in the area and catering to the whims of the despots might fill the pockets of the diplomats but empty the coffers of their countries and weaken their standing and objectives "Mideast instability? Bring it on", Mark Steyn, Jewish World Review, April 26, 2004.

As one of the leading scholars on Islam suggested, every word and signal from the West are scrutinized for signs of weakness or uncertainty "Islam's Interpreter", Bernard Lewis talks about his seventy years spent studying the Middle East - and his thoughts on the region's future," Atlantic Unbound, April 29, 2004. Therefore, instead of presenting a clear and united front, such "diplomatic" statements end up serving the Arab interest of weakening the West.

Two setbacks in Iraq in the last couple of weeks are instructive of the difficulties the US-lead coalition is encountering there and they have implications for the West's fight against terrorism. The first instance is the decision not to unleash a full-scale assault on the insurgents in Fallujah and to perhaps even have joint patrols with Iraqi officers. While it is understandable that there is a desire to obtain advantage without battle this has very little leg to stand on. Wars are not sterile and given the performance of the Iraqis thus far with an estimated 50% deserting or acting against the US it does not appear that much hope should be put on them. The Israelis had their experience of joint patrols with Palestinians and it backfired badly. But the more serious implication is the weakness it broadcasts to the insurgents encouraging them to continue under the assumption that Americans do not wish to fight "The Fallujah Stakes: The insurgents understand guns, not diplomacy", Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2004.

The second setback is the fiasco with the Iraqi prisoners. But if the revelation about humiliating the prisoners is a fiasco then the response to it adds yet even more to the setback and not only in Iraq. Claims that we need to "restore our honor" have limited value for internal consumption ("Restoring Our Honor," Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, May 6, 2004). The problem with such position is that they may impress American constituencies and western followers but NOT those we "want" to impress or placate. Was it horrible and repulsive? Certainly. Should it be handled severely? Very much so. But there are channels for doing it including legal due process. Military courts could - and should - do more than an adequate job at investigating, prosecuting and punishing those who did that and those who are responsible for it. That should have sent the proper message of how our society handles transgressions.

But three days of groveling apologies by the president and the secretary of state? That is highly unlikely to win over any hearts and minds of terrorists. On the contrary, it sends a message of an America that is not sure of itself, that is willing to humiliate itself not merely because it believes that something wrong was done but because it believes that this way it will win (or not lose) "friends." The test of course will be in the results and those are not likely to yield many dividends in this direction ("Real thugs unworthy of apology," Steven Zak, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 05/06/2004). We might have calmed our own conscience but it is not the enemy that wants to destroy us.

Much of the trouble in Iraq is the result of Iranian meddling for the simple reason that Iran wants its sphere of influence remain untouched by an American victory or an Iraqi regime that would be threatening to Teheran's religious and political domination "Iran's Stirrings in Iraq", Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli, MEMRI, Inquiry & Analysis - Iran/Iraq, May 5, 2004, No. 173.

That explains Al-Sadr's visit to Iran, the training camps there for his supporters, Iranian intelligence services operating in Iraq, funds to support secular groups, the operation through their proxy the Hizbullah, Iranian pilgrims inundating Iraqi holy sites, and Iranian flags being flown there.

Some suggest the use of "soft power" (in addition to "crude power") but the problem is that the equation is overly titled towards social and cultural services without understanding what makes the population tick and without giving a fuller force its due respect. As long as the radicals and lunatics control the street and the extremist rhetoric dominates the Islamic narrative, then no amount of soft-power will ever do the job. When looking into the elements of soft-power it turns out we are doing it anyway and to suggest that world resentment against the US will increase because fewer visas are granted to potential (Muslim) students goes to show how deep is the misunderstanding of what prompts social, political and terrorist action ("Sell It Softly: Persuasively promoting American values and culture will work better than either carrots or threats to influence the Middle East," Joseph S. Nye Jr., Los Angeles Times, April 25, 2004.

The Iraqi prison fiasco could not have come out at a worst time for Israel. The White House has already retracted its commitments to Sharon in order to placate Arab leaders ("U.S. Retreats From Bush Remarks on Sharon Plan: Effort Is Intended To Placate Arabs," Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, May 5, 2004)although today it refused to back up on it president Bush's statement that a Palestinian state is not likely to be established before the end of 2005. Arafat was his angry self but actually what could have made him happier than the keeping status quo?

We are incensed about our own transgressions even more than about atrocities committed against us. The prison fiasco got more press coverage and already congressional hearings and presidential apologies than what followed the murder and mutilation of four American civilian contractors in Iraq. The world has seen the murder of a pregnant mother and her four children and by and large it has not stopped breathing in shock or express its outrage. If it is any consolation, at times it gives the same disproportional attention to celebrities who messed up such as Michael Jackson or that football player who was charged with killing his wife..... consolation of fools indeed. Perhaps when the lives of those bought-up diplomats would be at risk they will understand the dangers of the culture of death better and then perhaps would be willing to truly support and better serve their own countries.

2004© Robbie Friedman, all rights reserved

Dr. Friedman can be contacted at israelabroad@yahoo.com



Bernardin Center At The Crossroads - "Excessive Placidity" Towards Islam, II

March 10, 2004 - by Beila Rabinowitz & William Mayer

In the last of this series, we raised serious questions regarding the Catholic Theological Union’s Bernardin Center, questions centering on the Bernardin Center’s interfaith outreach programs to Islam.

We believe that these programs, rather than building bridges to understanding, are granting legitimacy to radical, anti-Christian, anti-American, Salafi Muslim organizations, such as the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation, Al-Quds University and individuals like Oussamma Jamal, Mustafa Abu Sway and Azzam Tamimi.

To quote briefly from the previous article, Interfaith Outreach And “Excessive Placidity" Towards Islam

“Dr. Scott Alexander is the director of the Catholic-Muslim Studies Program at the Bernardin Center, which is part of the Catholic Theological Union. On Feb 9, 2004 the Bernardin Center held one of its "Conversations in Faith" events, this one entitled - "Choosing Peace: Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Preparing Our Children for Life Together."

This program has been underwritten by a grant from the Chicago Community Trust.

The featured speakers at the event were Arne Duncan, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Elaine Shuster, President and CEO of the Golden Apple Foundation, Chicago, and Oussamma Jammal, President of the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, IL. The event was moderated by Carol Marin, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

The Bridgeview Mosque has a history of terrorist ties going back to the 1990's, and has been under federal watch for many years. The Mosque's spokesman is Rafiq Jaber; he is the head of the Islamic Association in Palestine, the U.S. wing of Hamas.

Some of its members have been arrested on terror related charges.

"In 1993, one Palestinian-American who was a member of the mosque was convicted in Israel of distributing money and weapons to operatives of Hamas, the terrorist Palestinian group. He was given a five-year sentence. - New York Times, September 21, 2001

That Palestinian American is Mohammed Abdul Hamid Khalil Salah, head of the Quranic Literacy Institute.

Jamal's Mosque has also been linked to the following groups.

  • Islamic Association for Palestine - "The FBI memo said that the Islamic Assn. for Palestine, like Holy Land, had received "large sums of money" from Hamas political leader Mousa Abu Marzook" LA Times Editorial December 6, 2001.

  • American Middle Eastern League for Palestine - "These facts strongly suggest that the IAP and the American Middle Eastern League for Palestine [a sister group] are part of Hamas' propaganda apparatus." - Statement by the Department of Immigration & Naturalization
  • Quranic Literacy Institute - See above - Mohammed Abdul Hamid Khalil Salah.
  • North American Islamic Trust - Owns approximately 25% of US Mosques, is funded by Wahabi/Salafi radical Muslims in Saudi Arabia. Siraj Wahhaj was a character witness for the “Blind Shayk" Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Wahhaj was also listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 1995 plot to blow up New York landmarks. Wahaj is a former board member of NAIT.

    NAIT also owns the Islamic Academy of Florida - "a criminal enterprise" as described in the federal indictment handed down in February against the school's founder - Sami al-Arian and others alleged to be Hamas fundraisers.

  • American Muslim Society - Named as a Hamas front group in the ongoing federal case, Stanley Boim, et al, v Quranic Literacy Institute & the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development
  • Holy Land Foundation - Shut down by FBI as known Hamas front group, has received at least $271,000 in Hamas money.
  • Islamic Society of North America - "the Islamic Society of North America is one of dozens of nonprofit groups whose tax records have been requested by the Senate Finance Committee as part of an investigation of potential terrorist ties." - The Washington Times
  • Steve Emerson - a pioneer in the field of investigating radical Islamic activity - described a visit to the Mosque in his book American Jihad - ‘...the Imam of the Mosque was Jamal Said...the walls of the vestibule were covered with Hamas posters...you could see daggers plunged into Jewish hearts wrapped in the American flag.’"

    CTU and the Bernardin Center are aware of the controversy surrounding their interfaith efforts and they are in receipt of the information that we have gathered, along with our demand that the interfaith outreach to Islam be halted pending independent review.

    Unfortunately, our efforts to evoke a response from CTU’s Bernardin Center have been unsuccessful, neither calls nor Emails to the Center’s Director, Sheila McLaughlin, have been returned and our last communication with program director Scott Alexander ended with him rudely, and loudly, hanging up on us.

    In a courageous Chicago Tribune article - "Hard-liners won battle for Bridgeview mosque" - Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Kim Barker, Laurie Cohen, Stephen Franklin and Sam Roe detailed the forcible takeover of the Bridgeview mosque by Salafi radicals.

    Sheik Jamal Said stood before the packed mosque and worked the crowd like an auctioneer...the prayer leader asked for a donation...He asked for $5,000, and three men raised their hands...The crowd declared, "Allahu Akbar" or "God is great." $1,000? More hands. $500? Even more. In less than five minutes, he raised $50,000.

    The recipient of the worshipers' generosity was Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian activist accused by the U.S. government of aiding terrorists. And the prayer leader's passionate appeal is a reflection of the ascendancy of Muslim hard-liners at the mosque, one of the most outspoken and embattled in the U.S.

    The mosque did not become this way without a struggle...the Tribune has pieced together the details of a bitter fight in Bridgeview that saw religious fundamentalists prevail over moderates.

    The story is a rare look inside the transformation of an American mosque, the role of Middle Eastern money in shaping Islam and the tensions many Muslims feel as they try to create enclaves in the U.S.

    It also provides insight into the wave of fundamentalism sweeping many parts of the world, creating divisions between East and West, between Arab governments and militants, and within Islam itself.

    Among the leaders at the Bridgeview mosque are men who have condemned Western culture, praised Palestinian suicide bombers and encouraged members to view society in stark terms: Muslims against the world. Federal authorities for years have investigated some mosque officials for possible links to terrorism financing..." - Chicago Tribune February 8, 2004

    The Tribune article - of which we were unaware at the time our first installment was published - adds detail to our major points regarding the Bridgeview Mosque, most importantly it provides an in-depth detailed look at the internecine warfare being waged by the extremists - both against American national security interests as well as more moderate Muslims within that place of worship.

    It is the Wahabi form of Islam with which Bernardin's programs curry favor. The process serves only to empower the fundamentalists who also use this quasi-official imprimatur to strangle proponents of moderate Islam.

    Not content with merely involving Islamists as speakers at the Center's events, we note that Sayyid Sayeed, Secretary General of the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA] actually sits on the Bernardin Center's National Board of Advisors.

    ISNA is one of dozens of Muslim organizations whose tax records are being sought by the Senate Finance Committee in a probe of ties to terrorism. Sayeed has also recently spoken at anti-Semite, Louis Farrakhan's, Nation of Islam events.

    Terrorism expert Steven Emerson reports that, "In September 2002, a full year after the 9/11 attacks, speakers at ISNA's annual conference still refused to acknowledge Bin Laden's role in the terrorist attacks."

    As noted in our previous article, the Bernardin Center is also currently administering a Lilly Foundation funded outreach to Al-Quds University, in Jerusalem.

    In addition, Scott Alexander has initiated a student exchange program - funded by a $2 million dollar grant from the Lilly foundation - with Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, an institution known for its Hamas sympathies. One of the Muslims involved in this program is Professor Mustafa Abu Sway, a visiting Fulbright Scholar at FAU, who is presently under investigation by the State Department for his membership in Hamas.

    Another involved with the Al-Quds program is Azzam Tamimi.

    Consider, for example, an interview given by Tamimi to a leading Spanish newspaper last November. Headline: "I admire the Taliban; they are courageous." Tamimi begins by assuring the interviewer that "everyone" in the Arab world cheered upon seeing the Twin Towers fall. "Excuse me," says the interviewer, "did you understand my question?" Tamimi: "In the Arab and Muslim countries, everyone jumped for joy. That's what you asked me, isn't it?" The interview continues in this vein, to a point where Tamimi accuses the United States propping up all of the dictators in the Arab world. "They must be eliminated if anything is to change." Interviewer: "And how to eliminate them?" Tamimi: "The people of those countries should rebel, fight, sacrifice, spill blood. The French Revolution cost lives. The American revolution cost lives. Liberty is not given, it is taken!" Later, Tamimi gives his solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict: "The Israelis stole our houses, which are today occupied by Jews from Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Morocco, Ethiopia, Brooklyn. They should return to their homes, and give ours back to us!...That's non-negotiable. Therefore I support Hamas." - Martin Kramer - Campus Watch

    A very close associate of Tamimi's is another Bernardin Center Board member, Dr. John Esposito.

    So I am puzzled. Professor Esposito has an academic partnership with one Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian residing in London. They have co-edited a book. Tamimi has published another book in a series edited by Esposito (in the preface, Tamimi calls Esposito "my ustadh," my teacher). Tamimi also runs something called the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London. Esposito sits on its board of advisors—the only American to do so. In short, this seems to be a close liaison. The problem is, Azzam Tamimi is Hamas - Martin Kramer - Campus Watch

    It's hard to escape the conclusion that it is the policy of the Bernardin Center to break bread, not only with "edgy" members of fringe groups, but people associated with organizations like Hamas.

    In the final analysis, whose interests do the Center's programs serve?

    They don't serve Christianity - a declared enemy of radical Islam, and they certainly don't serve the national security interests of the United States, which is now engaged in a war against it.

    The program's organizers have exhibited a reckless disregard of caution in the selection of participants placing the outreach effort at odds with the current teachings of the Vatican, which has decried - through mouthpiece publications like La Civilta Cattolica the turning of a deaf ear towards radical Islam because of its history of oppressing both Christians and Jews.

    Whom do these programs serve?

    Well, that is indeed the $64,000 question - one which those who are involved in and fund these programs must ask themselves.

    As presently configured, these programs serve only two groups:

    One, the program's directors and coordinators who are feted by well-meaning but uninformed Jewish and Christian groups, who unfortunately take the participants and speaker's good intentions on faith - believing the peace and love mumbo jumbo simply because they are being intentionally shielded from the truth.

    Two, the radical Islamists themselves, who lionize those associated with the programs because they provide good press, plausible deniability and grant them unearned standing as moderates.

    The longer this ruse continues, the more damage accrues to CTU and the Bernardin Center's reputations. During this troubled time in Church history, does Catholicism really need more controversy, more scandal, more cover-ups?

    It is no longer arguable that there is something seriously wrong with the way these programs are structured and run, and we once again demand that Bernardin's interfaith outreach programs to Islam be halted pending a thorough and independent review.

    Unless or until this happens, CTU's activities in this area are doing a great disservice to Catholicism.

    © 2004 Beila Rabinowitz & William Mayer - PipeLineNews.org - all rights reserved.

    Interfaith Outreach & "Excessive Placidity" Towards Islam

    February 18, 2004 by Beila Rabinowitz & William A. Mayer

    Berkeley California has always been a city of contrasts. The staid appearing, ivy covered halls of the University of California campus, are known for the brilliant – albeit, communist – physicists who built the first nuclear weapons. UC Berkeley is also renowned for demonstrations - national guardsmen in the streets - tear gas & free speech – as long as it’s of the leftist variety.

    This month, on opposite ends of the campus a thoughtful speech by Dr. Daniel Pipes is juxtaposed against a, later in the month, Muslim Student Association sponsored celebration of "Islamic Liberation Through Jihad" featuring a - direct from jail - speech by convicted cop killer, H. Rap Brown, now known as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.

    We attended Dr. Pipes' February 10 speech at Pimentel Hall. That address consisted of a learned, 40 minute thumbnail critique of radical - or Wahabi/Salafi - Islam. Unfortunately - but not surprisingly - the speech was disrupted at least a dozen times by - kaffiyeh coiffed - pro-Palestinian students and hangers-on, who chanted "racist," "free Palestine," "Zionist Jew," and other - even less complimentary - epithets.

    The first such outburst led to Dr. Pipes making the observation that he makes perhaps 120 speeches on this topic every year, but it is only on American universities where such anti-free speech antics underline the need for the heavy security detail which necessarily shadows him on his forays into academia.

    Similar dichotomies are being played out all over America.

    In Florida, Imams, Islamic scholars and members of the academic world, talk peace but preach Jihad.

    In Chicago some of the most extreme members of the Islamic community are not only being welcomed into the bosom of mainstream Christianity they are actually being recruited - on an official basis- via interfaith outreach efforts by groups within the Catholic Church.

    As far as the Church is concerned, the problem extends far past the current obsession, by some, with making nice to Islam.

    Beneath the surface, the Church is deeply conflicted, theologically, over social teachings and the secularizing changes brought forth by Vatican II.

    "Social Justice" is the key phrase.

    It is the all-encompassing theory under which left-wing driven, multicultural diversity has insinuated itself into the fabric of both the ordained and laity of the Church.

    It's clear that many Catholic academics are academics - and all that entails, in the post modernist, negative sense - first, and Catholics second, third, in name only…or not at all.

    In like manner, many supposedly mainstream Catholic publications are infected with the same anti-American, anti-traditional, progressive revisionist disease, as are their secular cousins.

    Let us consider, US Catholic, which engages in near schismatic misrepresentation of underlying, basic Church teachings - the revisionism being presented as if were spoken ex-cathedra.

    In 1891 Pope Leo XIII wrote an Encyclical entitled Rerum Novarum, a treatise on capital and labor. It was the Catholic Church's official response to socialism in general and Marxism in particular [the Communist Manifesto was published in 1848, the first volume of Marx’s three volume masterwork - Das Kapital - was released in 1867].

    US Catholic characterizes that Encyclical as being supportive of the concept “of human dignity through just distribution of wealth."

    Quite to the contrary. Rerum Novarum, is actually a spirited defense of capitalism and an attack on socialism.

    "Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal."

    Other Encyclicals are similarly man-handled.

    Further perusing the US Catholic Internet site, we come across an opinion piece authored by Fr. Michael J. Baxter, an Ivy League academic.

    Fr. Baxter’s article, regarding the Catholic Church and pacifism, turns St. Thomas Aquinas’ Just War theory on its head. Baxter proceeds by making the a priori conjecture that - with regard to the question of war - there are two competing theories [Aquinas’ and pacifism] both of equal validity, which is simply incorrect. Noted, traditional Catholic scholar Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and others have opined on this subject and forcefully argue that such enterprises as the war on terror and specifically, the Iraqi war are justifiable under Aquinas’ Just War theory.

    "As St. Thomas Aquinas and other teachers of the just war tradition make clear, war may sometimes be a moral duty in order to overturn injustice and protect the innocent. The just cause in this case is the disarmament of Iraq, a cause consistently affirmed by the Holy Father and reinforced by 17 resolutions of the Security Council.

    Whether that cause can be vindicated without resort to military force, and whether it would be wiser to wait and see what Iraq might do over a period of months or years, are matters of prudential judgment beyond the competence of religious authority.

    In just war doctrine, the Church sets forth the principles which it is the responsibility of government leaders to apply to specific cases -- see Catechism No. 2309.

    Saddam Hussein has for 11 years successfully defied international authority. He has used and, it appears, presently possesses and is set upon further developing weapons of mass destruction, and he has publicly stated his support for the Sept. 11 attack and other terrorist actions.

    In the judgment of the U.S. and many other countries, he poses a grave and imminent threat to America, world peace and the lives of innumerable innocents. If that judgment is correct, the use of military force to remove that threat, in the absence of plausible alternatives, is both justified and necessary.

    Heads of government who are convinced of the correctness of that judgment would be criminally negligent and in violation of their solemn oath to protect their people if they did not act to remove such a threat." Fr. Richard John Neuhaus

    Father Baxter’s presentation is misleading and is filled with what we have come to expect as de rigueur from lefty academics of all stripes – obvious pique at the Bush administration.

    Baxter's tone is disrespectful. He suggests that [and this piece was written before the commencement of hostilities] the 375,000 Catholics in the US Armed Forces should have made the decision to lay down their arms and not participated, demonstrating that Fr. Baxter has less than a rudimentary understanding of the legal tenets underlying conscientious objection. The law is quite clear, either you are a pacifist or you are not – you are opposed to war in all forms, in all times, or you aren’t considered a pacifist. There is no such thing as selective conscientious objection.

    Additionally, Selective Service law has never recognized the Catholic Church as a traditionally pacifist sect, as are the Quakers, who have a long history of such belief.

    Moreover, Baxter, actually exhorting Catholic servicemen to disobey the valid orders of their Commander in Chief, borders on the seditious.

    “…If half of the Catholics on active duty decided to conscientiously object to participating in this particular war, that would be more than 185,000, even if it were as few as 10%, that would still be 37,500…"

    In asking what has gone wrong with he Catholic Church one might as well ask the question - "What has gone wrong with academia and social institutions in general? - because all are victims of the same progressive contagion.

    Not only are supposedly mainstream journals like US Catholic championing this movement, but the very educative bedrock institutions of the Church - such as the Catholic Theological Union - are not only along for the ride, they are driving the train.

    CTU produces more Catholic scholars than any college in the United States.

    Dr. Scott Alexander is the director of the Catholic-Muslim Studies Program at the Bernardin Center, which is part of the Catholic Theological Union. On Feb 9, 2004 CTU held one of its "Conversations in Faith" events, this one entitled - "Choosing Peace: Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Preparing Our Children for Life Together."

    This program has been underwritten by a grant from the Chicago Community Trust.

    The featured speakers at the event were Arne Duncan, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Elaine Shuster, President and CEO of the Golden Apple Foundation, Chicago, and Oussamma Jammal, President of the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, IL. The event was moderated by Carol Marin, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

    The Bridgeview Mosque has a history of terrorist ties going back to the 1990's, and has been under federal watch for many years. The Mosque's spokesman is Rafiq Jaber, he is the head of the Islamic Association in Palestine, the U.S. wing of Hamas.

    Some of its members have been arrested on terror related charges.

    "In 1993, one Palestinian-American who was a member of the mosque was convicted in Israel of distributing money and weapons to operatives of Hamas, the terrorist Palestinian group. He was given a five-year sentence. - New York Times, September 21, 2001

    That Palestinian American is Mohammed Abdul Hamid Khalil Salah, head of the Quranic Literacy Institute.

    Jamal's Mosque has also been linked to the following groups.

  • Islamic Association for Palestine - "The FBI memo said that the Islamic Assn. for Palestine, like Holy Land, had received "large sums of money" from Hamas political leader Mousa Abu Marzook" LA Times Editorial December 6, 2001.

  • American Middle Eastern League for Palestine - "These facts strongly suggest that the IAP and the American Middle Eastern League for Palestine [a sister group] are part of Hamas' propaganda apparatus." - Statement by the Department of Immigration & Naturalization
  • Quranic Literacy Institute - See above - Mohammed Abdul Hamid Khalil Salah.
  • North American Islamic Trust - Owns approximately 25% of US Mosques, is funded by Wahabi/Salafi radical Muslims in Saudi Arabia. Siraj Wahhaj was a character witness for the “Blind Shayk" Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Wahhaj was also listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 1995 plot to blow up New York landmarks. Wahaj is a former board member of NAIT.

    NAIT also owns the Islamic Academy of Florida - "a criminal enterprise" as described in the federal indictment handed down in February against the school's founder - Sami al-Arian and others alleged to be Hamas fundraisers.

  • American Muslim Society - Named as a Hamas front group in the ongoing federal case, Stanley Boim, et al, v Quranic Literacy Institute & the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development
  • Holy Land Foundation - Shut down by FBI as known Hamas front group, has received at least $271,000 in Hamas money.
  • Islamic Society of North America - "the Islamic Society of North America is one of dozens of nonprofit groups whose tax records have been requested by the Senate Finance Committee as part of an investigation of potential terrorist ties." - The Washington Times
  • Steve Emerson - a pioneer in the field of investigating radical Islamic activity - described a visit to the Mosque in his book American Jihad - "...the Imam of the Mosque was Jamal Said...the walls of the vestibule were covered with Hamas posters...you could see daggers plunged into Jewish hearts wrapped in the American flag."

    Jamal Said was the Bridgeview Mosque Imam in 2001. After 9/11 the Bridgeview Mosque held a press conference, Jaber, Said, and Jamal, were in attendance. Oussama Jammal was quoted as saying "How certain are we that Arabs were behind it"?"

    One of the featured speakers at the February 9 “Conversations in Faith" program, Emily Soloff of the American Jewish Committee, withdrew from the event after receiving information from us regarding Oussama Jammal's militant Islamist associations.

    The Chicago Community Trust, which is funding the interfaith program, was informed of the militant Islamist ties of Oussama Jamal, but did not fit to undertake any action regarding his speaking and told us to "contact Scott Alexander' the "Director of Catholic Muslim Studies" at The Catholic Theological Union.

    According to a letter form the CTT Director of Communications Jennifer Jobrack:

    "The Chicago Community Trust made the grant to the Catholic Theological Union with the understanding, as we do of all of our grant recipients, that they would do the due diligence on their proposed speakers. I strongly suggest that if you have any concerns about their choices, I strongly suggest that if you have any concerns about their choices, you take it up with the Bernardin Center at the Catholic Theological Union. I would suggest Scott Alexander would be the best contact there as he runs the program."

    Due diligence begins with the program organizer, but it also extends to those who fund such programs.

    Scott Alexander’s credits include his having attended conferences sponsored by some of the most radical Islamic groups in the United States – Islamic Circle of North America [ICNA] and the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA].

    In addition, Scott Alexander has initiated a student exchange program - funded by a $2 million dollar grant from the Lilly foundation - with Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, an institution known for its Hamas sympathies. One of the Muslims involved in this program is Professor Mustafa Abu Sway, a visiting Fulbright Scholar at FAU, who is presently under investigation by the State Department for his membership in Hamas

    Another involved with Al-Quds is Azzam Tammimi, head of the UK based Institute for Islamic Political Thought.(IIPT) Tammimi is associated with Hamas and the militant Hizb Ut Tahrir group, which calls for the destruction of Western society and the implementation of a world wide Islamic government based on Sharia law.

    In many ways Scott Alexander's own philosophy seems to be more accommodative and understanding of Islam than Catholicism, as I discovered, when attempting to contact him - phone calls to his CTU office are answered with a recording beginning with "Al-salamu alaykum!" - the ancient Muslim greeting.

    Dr. Alexander at first indicated he was interested in a dialogue.

    Dear Mr. Mayer:

    Thank you for your e-mail and the concern you have expressed over the integrity of our interreligious dialogue programs here at Catholic Theological Union.

    This past week has been an extraordinarily busy one for many of us involved with the Conversations in Faith program and we intend to respond to your concerns as soon as possible, ideally by Monday morning.

    In the meantime, please accept my personal best wishes.

    Scott

    It quickly became clear, however, that despite protestations to the contrary, Dr. Alexander was quite hesitant to answer our inquiries. There has been no response whatsoever to a series of questions that we forwarded previously, annotating some of our concerns regarding his program. Moreover, it was only by happenstance that one of our telephone calls found him in his office, finally gaining brief access to him.

    From that conversation and a reading of his public statements we have come to the conclusion that he seems to have assumed the mantle of Muslim apologist rather than dispassionate scholar.

    In general Dr. Alexander believes that since September 11, Muslims have had their civil rights violated by the Bush administration. He feels that Muslims are the victims of unfair profiling and that his program is not legitimizing odious individuals or organizations.

    We inquired whether or not he knew much about Oussama Jamal. He responded that he had known Jamal for approximately 3 years and that he had never heard him say anything vaguely troubling, nothing anti-Semitic or pro-terror.

    I asked Dr. Alexander if he was familiar with the fact the Jamal's Mosque had been under federal scrutiny for a decade and that at one time the vestibule of the Temple was filled with Hamas recruiting posters?

    Dr. Alexander's response was alarming, he claimed that Hamas and their terrorist activity was really no different than what the "Christian evangelical right" - people like Jerry Falwell - have brought forth.

    Unbelievable as it might seem, Alexander feels that conservative, evangelical Christianity is responsible for the bombing of abortion clinics - and is not morally different from groups who conduct suicide bombings against Israeli women and children.

    These are outrageous, indefensible positions for a scholar to take, let alone a Catholic scholar entrusted with cultivating discourse, reason and understanding.

    We have have heard similar sophistry numerous times before, most recently in a [2/13/04] telephone conversation with Ibrahim Hooper, the national spokesperson for CAIR - the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

    Hooper claimed that Representiative Peter King’s (R. NY) warnings regarding disciples of radical Islam representing a potential “Enemy Within" as being racist and without foundation. He terminated the conversation when asked if members of his organization have been arrested on terror charges – which of course they have.

    Dr. Alexander's viewpoint is troubling, and our impression of him was not forged by a single conversation but also by a series of interviews he has given to US Catholic and other publications.

    In these interviews Alexander acts not only as an apologist for Wahabi/Salafi Islam but even more ominously, he seems to think that it is the Bush administration and the war on terror which represent extremism.

    "I believe, and this is very unpopular, that metaphorically in those planes that hit the towers September 11 was more than just a lot of fuel that would incinerate the lives and hopes of thousands of people and their loved ones. There was also a script for how to set the whole world ablaze, addressed to George W. Bush and written by Osama bin Laden...Bush says, "Thank you," rehearses his lines, and delivers them marvelously...if Osama is still alive today, he must be saying, "Never in a million years did I imagine it would be this good, that I would have this impact on human history." And he has had this impact because of the development of an extremist reaction on our side." - US Catholic August, 2003

    The following recent statement, is easily interpreted as establishing a moral justification for Jihad.

    "He said dignity of every human being should be respected and the solidarity of the human family enhanced, let alone the natural law, which Alexander considered as parallel to fitra in the Islamic context. 'When nationalism is used to raise a fraction of the universal family in terms of economy, social service and military sphere then this is the nationalism that contradicts the fitra and the natural law,' Alexander added." Statement by Dr. Scott Alexander - MAS-ICNA Convention Dec. 25 - 28, 2003

    Statements of this nature are neither atypical nor are they unpopular in both Muslim and secular academic circles. Dubious accuracy aside, the real question remains as to the appropriateness of having an ideologue as director of CTU's Catholic-Muslim Studies Program.

    We use the term ideologue with great precision, because from all outward appearances Dr. Alexander has abandoned the world of ideas and embraced the world of political advocacy. By his statements, attitudes and apparent preconceptions he has called into question whether he is really suited to direct a program which, as he has fashioned it, is whitewashing a serious problem and given legitimacy to questionable individuals and organizations.

    This calls the entire program into question.

    When we first contacted Dr. Alexander, we had only the intention of pursuing some concerns regarding his methodology – of course we expected to be taken seriously, as his response to one of our Emails indicated would happen – “…and we intend to respond to your concerns as soon as possible…"

    This was not, however, the case. Given Alexander’s pressing duties in putting the finishing touches on the Feb 9 conference, we would have been more than willing to postpone the matter for a few days at which time we could examine the matter in a calm and rational matter.

    Unfortunately, the access which we were given, justifies our questioning of the Bernardin Center’s Catholic-Muslim Studies Program"s direction and focus.

    It appears that this program's director is, for whatever reason, more of an uncritical advocate for Islam than such a position calls for.

    Dr. Alexander seems unwilling to review the body of evidence that has been presented over the last decade which points to Wahabi/Salafi Islam aggressively building an infrastructure of organizations that represent a threat to national security and to Christianity.

    This body of evidence has not escaped the attention of Church elders in Rome. They having already taken steps to make clear that what they term - "Excessive Placidity" - towards Islamic abuse of Christianity will not be tolerated.

    ROMA – There is a conspicuous absence among the new cardinals created on October 21 by John Paul II: Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

    The current explanation is that Fitzgerald was not made cardinal because of his excessively placid approach to Islam...“La Civiltà Cattolica," edited by a group of Jesuits in Rome, is a very special magazine. Every one of its articles is reviewed by the Vatican secretary of state before publication. So the magazine reflects his thought faithfully.

    We made Dr. Alexander aware of, the above referred to, historical study:

    The Church and Islam. “La Civiltà Cattolica" Breaks the Ceasefire – “Through the prestigious magazine, the Vatican denounces with unusual harshness the oppression of Christians in Muslim countries. A testimony from Egypt."

    It appears online, in English at Chiesa and one might think that it would at least serve as food for thought.

    This problem is not new, nor are similar resources unavailable to scholars – Dr. Daniel Pipes [member, Board of Directors for the US Institute of Peace] has written 12 books on the Mid-East many of which touch on the nature of radical Islam. As previously mentioned, Steve Emerson’s groundbreaking book, American Jihad, should be considered required reading on the subject.

    Dr. Alexander’s apparent bias places him outside the realm of serious scholarship as well as far outside the current state of Vatican thinking regarding the nature of extreme Islam.

    Therefore, we call for an immediate, thorough and unbiased review of the Bernardin Center’s Catholic-Muslim Studies Program, and that further "interfaith outreach" to the Muslim community be immediately terminated pending that review.

    In this time of serious national peril it is irresponsible to proceed further down the current path, to do so bestows an undeserved mantle of legitimacy upon individuals and groups whose ties to radical Islam are disturbing and makes a mockery of the sprit with which such programs should be imbued.

    ©2004 - Beila Rabinowitz & William A. Mayer

    Wahabi Watch Archives