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Texas judge denies U.S. citizen due process rights, sends her to Sharia tribunal

She signed a prenuptial agreement agreeing to abide by Sharia, but says she was tricked into doing so. This ought to have been taken into account.

Non-Muslims in several states a few years ago tried to outlaw the elements of Sharia that interfere with Constitutionally protected freedoms, not Islam as an individual religious practice. These anti-Sharia measures were aimed at political Islam, an authoritarian ideology at variance with the Constitution in numerous particulars: Sharia denies the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law. That is what people wanted to restrict, and the elements of Sharia that contradict Constitutional freedoms were all they want to restrict. But of course these efforts met furious opposition and were denounced as “Islamophobic.”

Meanwhile, Sharia really does deny equality of rights to women. But to oppose that is “racist.” So Mariam Ayad just has to suffer, you see, for diversity.

Texas judge denies US citizen due process rights, sends her before Islamic Sharia tribunal instead

by Phil Shiver, TheBlaze, July 7, 2021:

A judge in Texas earlier this year effectively denied a U.S. citizen her constitutionally protected due process rights, choosing instead to order her to appear before an Islamic tribunal where her testimony is considered inferior. And when her lawyers sounded the alarm — the judge doubled down.

What are the details?

In March, Collin County District Judge Andrea Thompson ordered a Muslim woman seeking a divorce from her husband to undergo arbitration not through regular channels but through an Islamic court, also known as a Fiqh Panel — a move that the woman’s lawyers argue is an obvious and unconscionable affront to her constitutional rights.

The woman, Mariam Ayad, was attempting to exercise her legal right to a divorce last year when her husband, Ayad Hashim Latif, revealed that on the day of their wedding in 2008, she had signed an Islamic prenuptial agreement to have all matters regarding the marriage and divorce be decided according to Sharia law.

According to court documents, Mariam claims that she was essentially hoodwinked and defrauded into signing the document. At the time, she believed she was signing two copies of a marriage acknowledgment form, which is customary in Muslim cultures.

Notwithstanding, Mariam’s lawyers argue the agreement — which outlines that a three-man panel of Muslim imams are to decide all issues relating to the marriage, including alimony, division of property, child support, and even custody of the couple’s 6-year-old son — ought to be voided in lieu of U.S. law. A copy of the agreement was provided to TheBlaze.

The Texas district judge — in complete disregard of both federal and state law — ruled that the prenuptial agreement is binding, without taking testimony from the wife.

In absence of relief, Mariam will now be required to settle her divorce matters with the Islamic Association of North Texas in front of the Muslim clerics who view her testimony and evidence as carrying half the weight as a man’s.

Mariam has filed a writ of mandamus with the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas to restrict the lower court from enforcing the arbitration order. She is being represented by Michelle O’Neil and Michael Wysocki of the O’Neil Wysocki law firm in Dallas.

What changes did the judge make?

Moreover, court documents obtained by TheBlaze show that Thompson vacated the original March order after Mariam’s lawyers challenged it. But instead of changing the order’s effect, the judge seemed to have merely changed some of the wording to make it appear less controversial.

“It is therefore ordered that Respondent’s Motion to Enforce Islamic Prenuptial Agreement and Refer Case to Muslim Court or Fiqh Panel is granted and the Court refers the case to a Muslim Court or Fiqh Panel for [Alternative Dispute Resolution],” the court order dated March 24, which was viewed by TheBlaze, said.

An updated order, dated June 14, removed words such as “Islamic,” “Muslim,” and “Fiqh,” but reiterated the court’s decision.

“The Court has no discretion but to enforce the agreement of the parties in their Prenuptial Agreement signed on December 26, 2008, and refer the parties to arbitration per the terms of their agreement,” the June order states….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Georgetown Professor — Islamic Slavery is Freedom?

“Slavery cannot be intrinsically evil in Islamic law,” Georgetown University professor Jonathan Brown stated during a July 20, 2020 webinar. This disturbing assessment came during a 2019-2020 series of presentations on his 2019 bookSlavery & Islam, whose theses have hardly improved upon this Muslim convert’s past scandalous comments on slavery.

On February 7, 2017, Brown had caused furor while presenting a paper on slavery and Islam at the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). Thereby he noted the traditional Islamic doctrine expressed in Quran 33:21 that Islam’s prophet Muhammad is an “excellent pattern” of behavior. Therefore this example sanctified the slavery practiced by him and his companions, including sex slavery, a doctrine that had justified slavery throughout Islamic history.

Once public, such views completely negated Brown’s disclaimer at the presentation’s beginning. “I always make some hyperbolic statement that really makes sense in the context,” he noted, such that he would face accusations of “calling for slavery.” Given such concern over criticism, he expelled this author from the presentation before it started.

Brown’s elaboration of his views during his subsequent book tour has been hardly more reassuring, for slavery is “simply a fact of life in the Quran” and perhaps even “part of the DNA of Islam.” “Every area of Islamic law is permeated by slavery,” something that “sharia, without exception until the 20th-century, validated.” Muslim scholars have even speculated about a “time when the laws of slavery will actually be needed again,” such as in a post-apocalyptic Mad Max-like world, he has noted.

For centuries, “Muslims were neck-deep in the trade of slaves,” Brown has observed. As others have estimated, this trade included 17 million black Africans, more than the 12 million taken to the Western Hemisphere in the transatlantic slave trade. As the Ghanaian historian John Azumah has noted, while the transatlantic trade enslaved mostly men for labor, Muslim slavers favored seizing women for use as sex slave concubines.

In this regard, Brown has unsettlingly reprised his 2017 comments on sex slavery. Thus any norm that sex be consensual “is fairly unusual in world history.” This corresponds to Islamic doctrine’s proprietary understanding of female sexuality, which, he has noted, denies any recognition of rape in marriage.

Slavery in Islam is faith-based, Brown has explained. Under sharia the “only way that someone can lose their freedom is if they are a non-Muslim who lives outside the Muslim state and is then captured by Muslims.” Slavery therefore “is a reduction in legal status that is caused by unbelief,” whose “vestigial effect” can remain even for an enslaved convert to Islam or a child born into slavery.

Yet Brown has argued that Islam is “obsessed with emancipation.” Islamic doctrine’s numerous biases towards freeing slaves, such as a means to expiate sin, means that Islam “does not have an equal in any religious or philosophical tradition” from the premodern world. “The Quran and Sunna are unprecedently adamant about emancipation.”

However this emancipation should not help a slave return to unbelief in Islam. “Freedom is not the most important thing in Islamic law,” Brown has noted, although Muslim scholars have historically argued that “slavery is intrinsically harmful.” Rather, true freedom comes from submission to Islam, an “emancipatory force.” Seventh-century Arab Muslim conquerors, for example, before subjugating the Persians, announced that they would be free only as “slaves of God alone.”

Correspondingly, Brown has described Islamic civilization as a “vacuum cleaner, just sucking in people.” Muslim scholars have historically advocated enslavement of non-Muslims as a means of introducing them to Islam. Then “Muslims are always manumitting slaves, which means they need new slaves,” in an “emancipation turbine.”

Brown has correctly described how Christians led the revolutionary movement against a once universal acceptance of slavery to create the “abolitionist consensus that is held worldwide today.” “Muslims talking about the issue of slavery and abolition of slavery doesn’t happen until they encounter essentially Western abolitionism,” a development true of the Westerners themselves. In his assessment, Christians had in the process to “desacralize scripture” in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament with its numerous references to forms of servitude.

Jewish rabbis and scholars would beg to differ with Brown, for as McGill University Professor David Aberbach has written, “Judaism is intrinsically an abolitionist religion.” “In Jewish belief, every human life matters.” Contrary to superficial readings, Rabbi Dov Linzer has noted, the “Torah only accepts slavery as a deeply entrenched societal institution.”

The late Jewish sage Rabbi Jonathan Sacks delved into this deeper understanding of the Torah’s position of slavery. God’s intends “slavery is to be abolished, but it is a fundamental principle of God’s relationship with us that he does not force us to change faster than we are able to do so of our own free will.” Nonetheless, in the “Torah’s value system the exercise of power by one person over another, without their consent, is a fundamental assault against human dignity.”

This analysis requires that non-Jews such as Brown properly understand Jewish scripture. “Jews have always read the Torah through a rabbinic interpretive lens and not simply on the plain meaning of its words,” the website My Jewish Learning has observed. Thus Jews cannot “read every mitzvah as an ideal” that allows for no further development, Linzer has cautioned.

Accordingly, in various stipulations the “Torah indeed sees slavery as a problematic phenomenon,” Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of Jerusalem’s Western Wall and holy sites has noted. “Although it sanctions the institution of slavery, biblical law begins the process toward abolition,” University of Waterloo Professor James A. Diamond has observed. “Rules limiting slavery challenged the way society was built and prompted Jews to question an institution perhaps so natural it was invisible,” Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner has confirmed.

The Torah’s restrictive regulation of slavery indeed manifested a Jewish “light to the Gentiles” in the ancient slave-holding world. As the Chabad-Lubavitch organization has noted:

At a time when Romans had literally thousands of slaves per citizen, even the wealthiest Jews held very modest numbers of servants. And those servants, the Talmud tells us, were treated better by their masters than foreign kings would treat their own subjects.

Particularly the Bible’s Exodus narrative of Jews escaping bondage in Egypt imprints upon Jewish consciousness emancipation’s value. Diamond has noted that the Passover “commemorates the exodus, anchoring the relationship between God and Israel as Liberator and slave.” As Sacks commented, “Jews were the people commanded never to forget the bitter taste of slavery so that they would never take freedom for granted.”

Tellingly, Brown has noted that Islamic tradition rejects the Torah’s narrative of a gracious God emancipating Jews in ancient Egypt and equates them with Muhammad’s early Muslim followers in pagan Mecca. “The Muslims in Mecca are like the Jews in Egypt, but they are not slaves, they are oppressed.” Thus the Israelite exodus “is not a story of emancipation, it’s a story of victory over oppression,” symbolizing Islam’s triumph.

The contrast between beliefs held by Muslims such as Brown and the Judeo-Christian tradition clearly indicates why Muslims have struggled to reject slavery. Confronted with this moral evil, Muslim reformers have argued that slavery is an artifact of jihadist doctrines inapplicable in modernity, or that rulers have discretionary power to prohibit human bondage. Nonetheless, Brown has recalled that jihadists going to Muslims’ defense during Bosnia’s 1990s sectarian carnage had asked Saudi clerics about taking slaves, only to hear warnings that this would create bad publicity.

These Islamic realities reflect Brown’s moral relativism. Although the Ottoman Empire’s slave trade “was undeniably brutal,” he has argued that slavery and other often onerous labor relations such as indentured servitude have widely varied across human history. Following therefore his dubious claim that slavery is not really objectively definable, any slavery-induced “disgust is a cultural construct” and “just custom; it’s just urf.” By analogy, he has noted that China’s brutal dog meat trade horrifies many non-Chinese, although increasing domestic opposition to dog meat consumption undermines his cultural relativism arguments.

Despite grappling with slavery’s moral problems for Islam’s legitimacy, Brown has failed to find a solution. In recent years Islamic State jihadists in their mercifully brief caliphate have “really caused a crisis for young Muslims” by piously invoking Islamic canons to justify the enslavement of Mesopotamia’s non-Muslims. But as the foregoing analysis has proven, he is wrong to claim in Islam’s tu quoque defense that slavery’s abolition “is not indigenous to any religion or any philosophy.”

Contrary to traditional Islamic understandings of an aloof, arbitrary Allah, the biblical God’s natural law ultimately revealed slavery’s injustice to Jews, Christians, and the wider world. Church historian John B. Carpenter has noted as much in the relationship of America’s famed escaped slave and 19th-century abolitionist Frederick Douglas to the Jew Jesus Christ:

Christianity’s commitment to freedom was so pronounced that Frederick Douglass, who decried the hypocrisy of slave-holding religion vividly, did not convert to Islam and become “Frederick X,” but professed, “I love the religion of our blessed Savior.”

While Brown’s exculpation for slavery in Islamic doctrine is unconvincing, he has nonetheless provided valuable insight into this previously “taboo subject.” As Azumah has written, a “critical approach is reserved for the Christian past but forbidden for the Muslim past.” However inadvertently and awkwardly, Brown has helped uncover Islam’s dark slavery legacy.

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column and video is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

15 Dem Senators, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, urge Facebook to block ‘anti-Muslim hate’

Incitement to violence against any group should always be blocked. The problem here is that Islamic advocacy groups and their allies in the West have for years claimed that any honest discussion of the motivating ideology behind jihad violence was “anti-Muslim hate.” Facebook already makes such discussion virtually impossible to find. Expect it to be completely blacked out in a Biden/Harris administration.

“US senators call on Facebook to address anti-Muslim bigotry,” Middle East Eye, November 16, 2020 (thanks to Henry):

Democratic senators are calling on Facebook to “do more” to mitigate the spread of anti-Muslim bigotry, after the social media giant was criticised for failing to address attacks against the faith group on multiple occasions, including the aftermath of the Christchurch shootings.

In a letter sent to Facebook to CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, a group of 15 Senators said the platform needed to immediately enforce its community standards to address anti-Muslim hate and ban the use of event pages for the purpose of “harassment, organizing, and violence” against the Muslim community.

The letter also said that Facebook had not taken proper steps to enforce its “call to arms” policy, a year-old rule created in large part due to pressure from Muslim advocacy groups, which since 2015 had flagged multiple instances where organisers of Facebook events had advocated for followers to bring weapons to mosques and other places of worship.

“We recognize that Facebook has announced efforts to address its role in the distribution of anti-Muslim content in some of these areas,” the letter, signed by Senator Chris Coons, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and 12 others, said.

“Nevertheless, it is not clear that the company is meaningfully better positioned to prevent further human rights abuses and violence against Muslim minorities today.”

An independent civil rights audit of the social media company released in July outlined that despite having policies that did not allow for hate speech against religious groups, incidents of hate speech continued to persist across Facebook.

Muslim Advocates, a rights group that called for the audit two years ago, thanked the senators for writing the letter.

“Since 2015, Muslim Advocates had warned Facebook that the platform’s event pages were being used by violent militias and white nationalists to organize armed rallies at mosques,” the group’s executive director Farhana Khera said on Monday.

“We need to know what Facebook plans to do to end the anti-Muslim hate and violence enabled by their platform – and end it now.”…

“As members of Congress who are deeply disturbed by the proliferation of this hate speech on your platform, we urge you to do more,” the senators’ letter read.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden transition official wants speech restrictions, criminalization of burning of Qur’an

I’m not in favor of the burning of any book, and I believe that people ought to read and understand the Qur’an rather than burn it. However, note that Stengel is calling for legal “guardrails” against “speech that incites hate.”

If someone burns a Bible, no one cares. If someone burns a Qur’an, there are riots and death threats. So for Stengel, burning a Bible would not be “speech that incites hate,” but burning a Qur’an would be. Saying that “speech that incites hate” must be criminalized is tantamount to calling for the heckler’s veto to be enshrined in law. Stengel says: “Yes, the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another.”

So if Muslims riot over burned Qur’ans, we must outlaw burning Qur’ans. That would only signal to Muslims that they can get us to bend to their will by threatening violence, and ensure that we will see many more such threats. In Richard Stengel’s ideal world, non-Muslims are cowed into silence by Muslims who threaten to kill them if they get out of line, and by non-Muslim officials who react to the threats by giving the Muslims what they want.

Note also that Leftist and Islamic groups in the U.S. have for years insisted, with no pushback from any mainstream politician or media figure, that essentially any and all criticism of Islam, including analysis of how Islamic jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims, is “hate speech” and “speech that incites hate.” Thus Richard Stengel will silence that as well, and the global jihad will be able to advance unopposed and unimpeded.

In a year or two I might have told you “I warned you this was coming,” but by then I probably won’t be able to.

“Joe Biden transition official wrote op-ed advocating free speech restrictions,” by Steven Nelson, New York Post, November 13, 2020:

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team leader for US-owned media outlets wants to redefine freedom of speech and make “hate speech” a crime.

Richard Stengel is the Biden transition “Team Lead” for the US Agency for Global Media, the US government media empire that includes Voice of America, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Stengel, an Obama administration alumnus, wrote last year in a Washington Post op-ed that US freedom of speech was too unfettered and that changes must be considered.

He wrote: “All speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I’m all for protecting ‘thought that we hate,’ but not speech that incites hate.”

Stengel offered two examples of speech that he has an issue with: Quran burning and circulation of “false narratives” by Russia during the 2016 election.

“Even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran. Why, they asked me, would you ever want to protect that?” Stengel wrote.

“It’s a fair question. Yes, the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another. In an age when everyone has a megaphone, that seems like a design flaw.”…

“Since World War II, many nations have passed laws to curb the incitement of racial and religious hatred. These laws started out as protections against the kinds of anti-Semitic bigotry that gave rise to the Holocaust. We call them hate speech laws, but there’s no agreed-upon definition of what hate speech actually is. In general, hate speech is speech that attacks and insults people on the basis of race, religion, ethnic origin and sexual orientation,” Stengel wrote.

“I think it’s time to consider these statutes. The modern standard of dangerous speech comes from Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) and holds that speech that directly incites ‘imminent lawless action’ or is likely to do so can be restricted. Domestic terrorists such as Dylann Roof and Omar Mateen and the El Paso shooter were consumers of hate speech. Speech doesn’t pull the trigger, but does anyone seriously doubt that such hateful speech creates a climate where such acts are more likely?”…

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Twitter censors video supporting Ayodhya Hindu temple, allows photo from Islamic protest against Hindu shrine

Twitter is evil, in support of the jihad force and in support of the Marxist destroyers who are trying to sow chaos and foment revolution in the U.S. today. No one should be fooled into thinking it is a neutral platform. But what is mystifying is that so few people seem to care that half of the American body politic is being deprived of an opportunity to enunciate and defend its views on the primary means of social communication today. Anything that one does not value can be easily lost, and among those things in the U.S. now is the freedom of speech.

“Twitter censors Ram temple tweet, but allows Muslim protest tweet,” WebIndia123, August 6, 2020 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

Twitter has censored a video showing a display of Lord Ram and the temple being built in Ayodhya as “potentially sensitive content”, while allowing without any caution a photo from a protest against Hindu shrine by an Islamic group with offensive slogans.

Jagdish Sewhani, the chairman of the Ram Janma Bhoomi Shilanyas Celebrations Committee of USA tweeted a nine-second video of a display in New York’s Times Square.

“I was so proud to see our Ram Mandir and Ramji in Times Square today. Let’s celebrate this once in a lifetime event tonight at 7.30 p.m.,” he said in a following tweet.

Twitter blanked out the video with the message: “The following media includes potentially sensitive content.”

The video display on Times Square had been turned off after being shown for a few hours on Wednesday morning following protests from Islamic groups and others.

However, Twitter allowed without any cautionary statement a tweet from the Indian American Muslim Council showing their protest in Times Square on Wednesday even though the image in it contained offensive words.

The counter protest was against a celebration held in Times Square for the laying of the foundation stone for the temple in Ayodhya at the site where Lord Ram is said to have been born.

Twitter has been accused of following ideological double standards favouring the liberals and the left, while censoring those on the right.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had himself posed with a poster with the incendiary communal message, “Smash Brahminical patriarchy”, while on a visit to India in 2018….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Twitter Bans Amy Mek for Telling Inconvenient Truths

She wasn’t the first, and won’t be the last. My latest in FrontPage:

President Trump on May 28 issued an executive order designed to prevent online censorship of voices that dissent from the hard-Left’s agenda, and since then Twitter’s Jack Dorsey seems determined to defy it and force a showdown. He has more than once flagged Trump’s tweets as supposedly inciting violence or committing some other transgression, and he continues his steady campaign to silence voices of freedom, including foes of jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women. His latest victim is the popular counterjihad writer Amy Mek, who had over 266,000 Twitter followers when she was summarily deplatformed.

Amy Mek’s RAIR Foundation reported recently that “on April 16, 2020, the @Amymek Twitter account was suspended (and still remains suspended) as 12 of her tweets were flagged for violating Twitter’s rules against ‘hateful conduct.’” The problem is that in these overheated days, virtually anything that Leftists don’t like is classified as “hateful conduct.” The twelve tweets in question all contained accurate information, as Amy herself documented in trying (to no avail) to get Twitter to reverse its ban. The issue with them was clearly not that they were spreading falsehoods or inaccurate information, but that they were telling truths that the Leftist elites would prefer not be known.

For example, on March 31, Amy tweeted: “INDIA: Coronavirus Jihad! Over 8K Indian Muslims & foreign nationals from Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh etc. attended a Coronavirus infected Islamic event at a Mosque in Delhi. Almost a dozen are dead & many infected – Jihadists have put many countries at risk.”

It was horribly hateful to suggest that an Islamic event was a source of the spread of coronavirus, right? Wrong. The day before Amy published her supposedly hateful tweet, Quartz India published a story entitled: “A religious congregation in Delhi could be the coronavirus hotspot India was trying to escape.” The next day, Al Jazeera published an article called “India tracks attendees after Muslim event linked to virus cases.” On April 2, the BBC published a backgrounder: “Tablighi Jamaat: The group blamed for new Covid-19 outbreak in India.” Even that far-Left propaganda organ known as the Washington Post put up a story on this issue: “India confronts its first coronavirus ‘super-spreader’ — a Muslim missionary group with more than 400 members infected.” Then two weeks later, on April 16, the BBC ran a piece entitled: “India coronavirus: Tablighi Jamaat leader on manslaughter charge over Covid-19.”

Quartz India, Al Jazeera, the BBC and the Washington Post were not banned from Twitter. They no doubt didn’t even receive warnings. Only Amy Mek, a high-profile critic of jihad terror, ran afoul of Twitter’s Left-fascist censors, because only she had a prior reputation for being skeptical of the Left’s open-borders, internationalist, pro-jihad program.

Nor can her own critics argue that Amy got flagged for placing the virus-ridden Islamic event in the context of jihad, when the spread of the coronavirus from that event was clearly accidental. Amy compiled no fewer than 24 news articles about members of Tablighi Jamaat, the host of the event, deliberately attempting to spread the coronavirus among non-Muslims. So in what way was this not, as she put it, “coronavirus jihad”?

Amy provided similar documentation of all the claims that were made in her 11 other supposedly hateful tweets, but to no avail. Clicking on the links for the offensive tweets now takes you only to a note saying “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules” and giving a link to those rules, without bothering to explain exactly what rules were violated and in what manner.

And so it is clear. Amy Mek is not gone from Twitter for lying; Twitter has never flagged CNN or MSNBC, so clearly it has no problem with that. Amy Mek is gone from Twitter because she is the woman who knows too much – too much, that is, about the jihadist allies of the Leftists who are running amok in many of America’s major cities these days, too much about the insidious agenda of all too many of the adherents of the religion we must believe is peaceful on pain of charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia,” too much about the half-truths, distortions, and outright lies that pass for news and that the elites feed the masses today.

She was not the first, and will not be the last. I’ve said it before and will doubtless say it again: if this isn’t stopped and the speech of dissenters protected, America will cease to be a free society and slip rapidly into authoritarian and totalitarianism. And I’ll keep saying it until they silence me as well.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Muslim Brotherhood Operative on Facebook’s Content Oversight Board

PART I

When it comes to Islam, Facebook seems unable to get things right. It has made life more difficult for sober islamocritics such as Robert Spencer, censoring their content, while favoring those who attempt to deflect such criticism with charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia.”

Recently Mark Zuckerberg decided it would be a good thing – Diversity! Inclusivity! — to appoint the Yemeni journalist and political activist Tawakkol Karman to the Content Oversight Board of Facebook, a position where she will be well-placed to protect Islam and Muslims from their critics. It is not only those islamocritics who are up in arms at Karman’s appointment, but a great many Muslims are horrified as well. For Tawakkol Karman is not only a Muslim, but a fervent admirer of the Muslim Brotherhood.

To many around the world, Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Khalid Karman is known as the first Arab woman — and the second Muslim woman — to win a Nobel Prize, for Peace, in 2011. She won the prize for several reasons. First, there is her record of “activism,” which some may find underwhelming. In Yemen, she campaigned against systemic repression by the government, and demanded inquiries into corruption and other forms of social and legal injustice. In 2005, she founded an organization, Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC), to help train women in media skills, and to promote the work of female journalists in Yemen. WJWC also produces regular reports on human rights abuses in Yemen, so far documenting more than 50 cases of attacks and what it claims are unfair sentences against newspapers and writers. In 2007, Tawakkol began organizing weekly protests in Yemen’s capitol, Sana’a, against government mismanagement. She also shows up regularly at Change Square, where she holds court inside a tent when not haranguing her followers outside.

Karman is not shy about proclaiming her own greatness. At the “Official Website of Tawakkol Karman,” you will find listed (I haven’t corrected the English) some of her Outstanding Achievements:

  • The lady of year 2011 according to the readers and subscribers of Yahoo website;
  • One of the Top 100 Global Thinkers selected by the Foreign Policy Magazine;
  • Among the most strongest 100 Arab women;
  • Awarded the Courage Award by the Embassy of United States of America, Sana’a in 2008;
  • One of the seven women who change the history for the year of 2009;
  • Member of Transparency International’s Advisory Council;
  • Member of High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post 2015 Development;
  • She granted the honorary degree of doctor of law from Alberta University-Canada

It has been suggested that the main reason she was chosen to share the 2011 Peace Prize with two other women, both from Liberia — the Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leybah Gbowee, a “peace-and-women’s-rights-activist” – is that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee was that year under pressure to find a Muslim female recipient and Tawakkol Karman fit the bill, checking all the right boxes as a fighter “against governmental suppression” of dissent and as a “promoter of women’s rights.”

What the Nobel Peace Prize committee did not know, or did not care about, was that Karman held a senior position in Yemen’s Al-Islah Party, an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood known for its extremist and violent agenda. In 2013, she was a strong supporter of Mohamad Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood member who became, briefly, the President of Egypt. She wrote an article in Foreign Policy about Egypt; her title says it all: “Mohamed Morsi is the Arab World’s Nelson Mandela.”

Aside from being a senior member of the Al-Islah Party, which had strong ties to the MB, Karman also had ties to the Brotherhood’s Yemeni branch, an Islamist movement founded by Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani, a man who appears in Washington’s Specially Designated Global Terrorist list. She claims to have severed those ties to the MB in Yemen, but many wonder whether her move was merely a cosmetic exercise to deceive gullible Westerners.

The story of Tawakkol Karman’s appointment to the Content Advisory Board at Facebook is at Arab News:

Unsurprisingly, Facebook’s choice has prompted outrage on social media networks, with many worried that it will bring the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideas right into the heart of the biggest social networking company in the world.

“She has not denounced the extremist ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of risk consultancy Cornerstone Global Associates, told Arab News.

On the contrary, there is everything [sic] to believe that she continues to espouse the hate speech that has been a mark of the Brotherhood in general.”

Given her prominent role in the revolution that toppled Yemen’s former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, Karman’s Nobel Prize is not without merit, say political analysts. But they add that her advocacy of extremist causes can hardly be glossed over.

“Karman was considered a symbol of the Yemeni revolution against the rule of Saleh, but over time she has become associated with intolerance, discrimination and lack of neutrality,” Hani Nasira, a terrorism and extremism expert, told Arab News.

Soon after Karman was awarded the Nobel Prize, she was invited to Doha and [was] personally congratulated by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader and preacher of hate, whose fatwas call for suicide bomb attacks and who praises Hitler for “punishing” the Jews.

After conveying to her his message of “support” for the Yemeni people, Al-Qaradawi gave Karman a copy of his book, “Fiqh Al-Jihad,” as a gift.

Such easy rapport with a personality as controversial as Al-Qaradawi calls into question Karman’s political beliefs, despite her ostensible split with the Brotherhood’s Yemeni branch.

It also rings the alarm about the judgement of Facebook, a social networking behemoth that claims to be an unbiased arbiter of international political discourse.

Facebook has never been an “unbiased arbiter” when it comes to Islam. It has consistently privileged defenders of the faith, and made life difficult — by taking down posts or making them impossible to find – for islamocritics. It is not surprising that a Muslim Brotherhood admirer such as Tawakkol Karman would be appointed to Facebook’s Content Oversight Board; Facebook either does not know, or more likely does not care, about Karman’s dangerous liaisons.

“We understand that people will identify with some of our members and disagree passionately with others,” a Facebook Oversight Board spokesperson told Arab News.

Board members were chosen to represent diverse perspectives and backgrounds that can help with addressing the most significant content decisions facing a global community.”

Would Facebook place a strong supporter of President Trump on the Content Oversight Board, to increase its diversity and inclusivity? Or a supporter of Matteo Salvini in Italy, or of Marine Le Pen in France, or of Victor Orban in Hungary? What about a supporter of Prime Minister Netanyahu? No, I didn’t think so either. They’re all, you see, “extremists.” Unlike Tawakkol Karman.

Facebook declined to respond to specific questions regarding Karman’s links to extremist groups. But clearly the platform has put its credibility on the line by bringing her on board.

Facebook “risks becoming the platform of choice for extremist Islamist ideology,” Nuseibeh, who is also chair of UK-based nonprofit Muslims Against Anti-Semitism, told Arab News.

“With Karman’s appointment, Facebook’s argument that it is an impartial platform is severely weakened. There is no guarantee that Karman will not have a direct editorial influence on what Facebook allows to be published.

“Would Facebook, for example, appoint Aung San Suu Kyi, another Nobel laureate, to arbitrate in disputes over posts related to the Rohingya atrocities in Myanmar?”

Nuseibeh added: “Karman, to much of the world, is what Aung San Suu Kyi is to the Rohingyas.”

Karman’s abrasive personality became evident during the Arab Spring protests, which began with Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution” in 2011 before spreading out to other Arab countries including Yemen.

Previous Yemeni protest leaders who had aligned with her called her “dictatorial,” someone who went against the consensus of peaceful movements by urging young protesters to march on in the face of imminent danger.

“She called for that march, the police brutally attacked it and 13 people died,” one protest organizer who declined to be named told Reuters in 2011.

“She didn’t apologize for it and it really upset a lot of people.”

She was willing to sacrifice her young followers – sending them on a march that previous protest leaders opposed because of the “imminent danger” posed to the marchers by the police – for no other reason than to promote herself as a protest leader. Tawakkol Karman, of course, never marched in these protests; that would have been too dangerous.


PART II

Tawakkol Karman is a supporter of Qatar, the Arab world’s staunchest supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, and of Turkey, which under President Erdogan has become the other main promoter of the Brotherhood’s agenda..

In recent years, Karman’s utterances have tended to hew closely to the party line of her two leading patrons, Qatar and Turkey, while being reflexively critical of the actions of Saudi Arabia.

For instance, in an interview with the Saudi daily Al Riyadh in 2015, Karman praised the Arab coalition and its role in restoring the UN-backed government in Yemen.

She called it a “savior” and posed for a picture with President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who she described as “the legitimate leader of the country.”

At that time she was supporting Saudi Arabia and UAE in the help they gave the internationally recognized government in Sana’a, led by Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi. But that did not last long.

A few years later, she suddenly changed her tone to accuse Saudi Arabia and the UAE of committing war crimes in Yemen, and demanded the toppling of regimes in Egypt and Bahrain.

It was no coincidence that all the four countries she denounced happened to have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017, for its refusal to abandon support for extremists.

She turned on Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain for the same reason: all four had cut ties to Qatar, because that state had consistently shown support for the extremist Muslim Brotherhood, whose cause was also dear to Tawakkol Karman’s heart. Had Facebook known of her passionate attachment to the MB, would they have had second thoughts about naming her to the Content Oversight Board? One likes to think so.

“Karman’s loyalty to, and association with, governments that flout all norms of democracy, such as Qatar and Turkey, deprives her of any claim to neutrality and objectivity,” Nasira said.

Her political rhetoric encourages extremism, divisiveness and shunning of those who disagree with her current loyalties.

Numerous posts on her Twitter handle and Facebook page attest to her desire to see specific Arab governments destabilized and toppled.

She has called on Bahraini, Algerian and Tunisian citizens to revolt against their governments, and accused the Egyptian army of being full of terrorists.

Again, Karman is consistent in her support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Bahrain, Algeria, and Tunisia have all come down hard on the MB, and therefore, in her view, the people of those countries must overthrow their governments, and the rulers she deems insufficiently “Islamic” in their views. The Egyptian army, which is engaged in a endless battle with MB, is described – in Karman’s customary hyperbole – as “being full of terrorists.” The Egyptian army is ruthless, all right, in its pursuit of MB members, but no one could fairly describe it as “being full of terrorists.”

“Saudi Arabia should be worried. All the Gulf countries should be scared, except for Qatar,” Karman can be heard saying in an undated video clip broadcast by Yemen TV.

The Gulf Arabs should be “worried” about what? Karman means they should be worried about popular uprisings, for according to her, except for Qatar, they have lost the support of their people. No evidence is presented for this. There have been no popular protests against the governments in Saudi Arabia (save for a small group of Shi’a, who briefly rioted eight years ago), the Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, or elsewhere among the Gulf Arab states. There have been violent protests in Qatar, however, in 2019, by the migrant workers who could no longer stand the abuse they endured from their employers, nor could they tolerate the widespread practice of employers withholding their wages. Qatar’s reputation for such mistreatment apparently doesn’t bother that Nobel-winning “rights activist” Tawakkol Karman. As long as Qatar supports the MB, its abuse of foreign workers doesn’t concern her. Besides, those discontented foreign workers in Qatar are not Arabs, and Tawakkol Karman is both an Islamist and an Arab supremacist.

Karman’s unremitting hostility towards Saudi Arabia and the UAE has made her almost a natural choice for stewardship of the Qatari-funded and Turkey-based Belqees TV station.

The consensus view of many Middle East political observers is that Karman is an Islamist activist who is firmly embedded within regional and international networks backed by Qatar and Turkey.

“Karman is an extremely divisive figure whose judgement is severely impaired by her many years of (harboring) extreme political bias,” says Nuseibeh.

As for Facebook, the company “has only one choice to make and that is to sever all ties” with Karman, he told Arab News.

“If it doesn’t, Facebook would be on the side of promoters of hate speech, extremism and anti-Semitism.”

Facebook likely had no knowledge of Tawakkol Karman’s connection to Qatar and to the Muslim Brotherhood when it offered her a position on the Content Oversight Board. It’s a company worth $600 billion, but it couldn’t spare the money or take the time to conduct due diligence on Karman before appointing her to such an important post. It might have taken a Facebook employee five minutes – no more – to conduct an online search that would have revealed the disturbing sympathies of Tawakkol Karman for the Muslim Brotherhood. The company had decided it would be a good idea to have a Muslim and, even better, a Muslim woman – More Diversity! More Inclusivity! — on the Content Oversight Board as one of Facebook’s internal censors. Karman fit the bill. And she had won a Nobel Peace Prize. Mark Zuckerberg knows that Nobel Peace Prize winners are, by common consent, among our Great and Good. Yes, I grant you, there is Arafat… That’s all Facebook knew about her – Muslim, female, Nobel winner — and that was apparently all it needed to know. Muslim, female, Nobel winner — what’s not to like?

As an unswerving supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, Karman certainly is a promoter, as Ghanem Nuseibeh says, of “hate speech, extremism, and antisemitism.” Simply take a look at the best-known MB website, that of Hamas, which is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, for prompt confirmation of its “hate speech, extremism, and antisemitism.” Or consider Tawakkol Karman’s warm meeting in Doha with Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose fatwas call for suicide bomb attacks and who praises Hitler for “punishing” the Jews.

Is that what Mark Zuckerberg wants on his Content Oversight Board? Someone who admires a man who calls for suicide bomb attacks and praises Hitler for “punishing” the Jews? Or will there be signs of sanity yet, and an invitation withdrawn, from the head office at 1 Hacker Way in Menlo Park?

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Washington Post Wants You to Fast for Ramadan

My latest in PJ Media:

The far-Left anti-Trump propaganda organ masquerading as a news source and operating under the name the Washington Post on Thursday published an inspiring op-ed entitled “As American Muslims fast this Ramadan, maybe the rest of America should consider joining in.” The Post’s articles exhorting people to keep the Lenten fast or the Yom Kippur fast have not yet been published, but I’m sure that they will be when the appropriate times for them roll around again. Won’t they?

In the meantime, I’ll consider fasting for Ramadan, but I have a fairly good idea of what my conclusion will be. The article’s author, the imam Omar Suleiman, “founder and president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and an Islamic studies professor at Southern Methodist University,” writes: “The end result of Ramadan for Muslims, according to the Koran, is for ‘you to complete the period and glorify God for that which He has guided you, and that you may be amongst the grateful.’”

That sounds terrific, but what exactly does the Qur’an mean by glorifying God? According to the Islamic holy book, one way that Muslims can glorify God is by fighting and killing infidels (cf. 2:191. 4:89, 9:5, 9:29, 47:4, etc.). In fact, according to the prophet of Islam, there is no better way to glorify the supreme being. A hadith has a Muslim asking Muhammad: “Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward).” Muhammad replied, “I do not find such a deed.” (Bukhari 4.52.44) A jihad group explained: “The month of Ramadan is a month of holy war and death for Allah. It is a month for fighting the enemies of Allah and God’s messenger, the Jews and their American facilitators.”

Somehow that doesn’t sound as appealing as Omar Suleiman made it out to be. But the good imam can’t be faulted for walking through a door that the Washington Post opened. His article was published in response to a Post call: “The Opinions section is looking for stories of how the coronavirus has affected people of all walks of life. Write to us.” Suleiman saw an opportunity for dawah, Islamic proselytizing, and seized it.

Still, if someone had sent in those stories about how Americans should join in the Lenten fast, or the Yom Kippur fast, would the Post have published them? Almost certainly not. Suleiman’s article, however, is just one example of a general tendency: it is imperative in today’s society to be solicitous to Muslims and warmly positive toward even the aspects of Islam that are oppressive.

There is much more. Read the rest here.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Islamic Belief that Muslim Lives are Worth More than Infidel Lives

The UK’s Mailonline reported recently that “a hero police officer suffered multiple skull fractures when an uninsured white van man tried to murder him in a savage machete attack.” After the perpetrator, a Muslim named Muhammad Rodwan, was arrested, Rodwan explained: “My life is worth more than his life.” Meanwhile, in northern Italy, according to the German-language site UnserTirol 24 “The higher regional court confirmed on Tuesday the first-instance verdict against Rabih Badr for the brutal murder of his partner Marianne Obrist (UT24 reported). Badr’s father was also present at the trial. The latter defended his son and accused Obrist of infidelity.” Badr’s father complained: “There was a problem between him and Marianne, namely the problem of infidelity. She was not loyal to him, he dedicated his whole life to her, but Marianne was not worthy of him.”

“My life is worth more than his life.” “Marianne was not worthy of him.” Is this just more Islamic “extremism,” or do Rodwan and Badr have a point?

Unfortunately, they do have a point – an Islamic point.

Reliance of the Traveller, a classic manual of Islamic sacred law, explains matter-of-factly that “the indemnity for the death or injury of a woman is one-half the indemnity paid for a man. The indemnity paid for a Jew or Christian is one-third the indemnity paid for a Muslim. The indemnity paid for a Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth that of a Muslim.” (o4.9)

Sultanhussein Tabandeh, author of A Muslim Commentary on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, agrees, stating:

“Thus if [a] Muslim commits adultery his punishment is 100 lashes, the shaving of his head, and one year of banishment. But if the man is not a Muslim and commits adultery with a Muslim woman his penalty is execution. … Similarly if a Muslim deliberately murders another Muslim he falls under the law of retaliation and must by law be put to death by the next of kin. But if a non-Muslim who dies at the hand of a Muslim has by lifelong habit been a non-Muslim, the penalty of death is not valid. Instead the Muslim murderer must pay a fine and be punished with the lash. … Since Islam regards non-Muslims as on a lower level of belief and conviction, if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim, then his punishment must not be the retaliatory death, since the faith and conviction he possesses is loftier than that of the man slain…Again, the penalties of a non-Muslim guilty of fornication with a Muslim woman are augmented because, in addition to the crime against morality, social duty and religion, he has committed sacrilege, in that he has disgraced a Muslim and thereby cast scorn upon the Muslims in general, and so must be executed. … Islam and its peoples must be above the infidels, and never permit non-Muslims to acquire lordship over them.”

These ideas have lethal consequences. In Badr’s case, “according to judge Peter Michaeler,” Badr “‘beat her like a stray dog’ first with a stick, then with a baseball bat. Badr is said to have stabbed the 39-year-old with a knife….As was evident from Judge Michaeler’s reasoning at the time, the act was culturally motivated. Badr, who comes from Morocco, killed Obrist ‘without mercy’ and ‘bestially’ and exemplifies radical attitudes that are incompatible with the way of life of a Western woman….In Badr’s mind, the woman is subordinate to the man, the judge continued. As a result, Badr unjustly accused his partner of infidelity, and restricted and suppressed her. According to Michaeler, the motive was not jealousy, but the complete control Badr wanted to exercise over Obrist.”

As far as Badr was concerned, Obrist should have been under his total control, for she was not only a woman, but an infidel. She had no rights he was bound to respect. But of course, saying such things in the West today brings one charges of “Islamophobia.” Meanwhile, more women like Marianne Obrist will continue to be victimized and brutalized.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Twitter Suspends Katie Hopkins

And you’re next. My latest in FrontPage:

Twitter has suspended UK’s courageous freedom fighter Katie Hopkins, who had a million followers on the platform, and one thing is certain: she will not be the last foe of jihad violence and Sharia oppression who is banned from Twitter. It’s all about silencing “hate,” you see. But the banning of Katie Hopkins illustrates yet again that for the Left, there is good “hate” and there is bad “hate.”

According to the UK’s Independent, “Twitter said that Ms Hopkins had been temporarily locked out of her account for violating the site’s hateful-conduct policy, which bans the promotion of violence or inciting harm on the basis of race, religion, national origin or gender identity.”

Twitter has erased all but a handful of Hopkins’ tweets, so it’s impossible to tell what the offending tweets were, but it is abundantly clear at this point that for Leftist guardians of acceptable thought nowadays, virtually any dissent from the Left’s agenda will be read as “the promotion of violence or inciting harm on the basis of race, religion, national origin or gender identity.” While “promotion of violence” is fairly easy to spot, “inciting harm” can be seen in any critical word. And then the offender has to go.

The crusaders against “hate” in this case were once again the usual suspects. According to the Independent, Twitter suspended Hopkins at the insistence of a Leftist/Islamic coalition of enemies of the freedom of speech: “The move came a little over a day after Rachel Riley, a co-presenter of Channel 4’s Countdown and an anti-racism campaigner, met Twitter representatives calling for them to review and remove Ms Hopkins’ account. The meeting was organised by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) campaign group, which called for Twitter to permanently delete the account.”

CCDH’s chief executive, Imran Ahmed, commented in the condescending tones of a man who knows the world is at his feet: “We are pleased that preliminary action appears to have been taken by Twitter against the identity-based hate actor, Katie Hopkins following productive discussions with Twitter’s UK office. There is a long road ahead before social media is made safe for dialogue, information exchange and the formation and maintenance of relationships.”

However, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson, and even though he is that most useless and contemptible of creatures, a dead white male, Twitter agrees with him. Rachel Riley was pleased at the forcible silencing of Hopkins, but noted that Twitter had not done her bidding to her complete satisfaction. The Independent continued: “Ms Riley said she was ‘pleased to see that action appears to have been taken’, but added that she had also called for the removal of George Galloway’s account, which remains online.”

It isn’t hard to see why this is so. Galloway, unlike Hopkins, is a fervent Leftist. According to Discover the Networks, Galloway is an “admirer of Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Mao Zedong, and Joseph Stalin.” He is also the founder of Viva Palestina, touted as “a fundraising project for the Palestinian people,” which “since its inception…has given millions of dollars, as well as much non-cash assistance, directly to Hamas.”

So it is clear. Twitter claims to be against “hateful conduct,” but it really only hates some hateful conduct, not all of it. Katie Hopkins opposing jihad violence and Sharia oppression? Why, that’s hateful conduct! She must be banned! George Galloway aiding a jihad terror group that targets Israeli civilians and celebrates when those civilians are murdered? Why, that isn’t hateful conduct, not at all, at least according to Twitter’s guardians of acceptable opinion. As far as Twitter is concerned also, hating Katie Hopkins, and showering her with abuse, is perfectly fine – I’ve witnessed it myself many times on that platform. But if someone uttered a cross word to George Galloway, it is certain that he or she would soon be free of the burden of limiting one’s utterances to 280 characters.

That is the lesson of the Twitter suspension of Katie Hopkins. If you also hold opinions that are unacceptable to the elites, you’re next. Twitter won’t tolerate “hate,” you see, which means it won’t allow anything but statements aligned with the views of the Leftist political and media elites. Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out, and at Twitter, it does look as if they’ve already slipped their chain.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.