Israel’s Increased Radicalization

Shas's leader - to the untrained eye, what differences visually does he have to an ayatollah or imam?

Israel is always a tough subject for countless reasons.  As soon as you criticize the country you are assumed by many to criticize all Jews, the existence of the Jewish State and that you are pro-Palestinian, Hamas, Hezbollah and so on.   Why can one not be worried, critical of and upset with the existing political structure and government of Israel?   There is another side, of course, that being the victim status of Jews stemming from the holocaust and the victim status of a country that has been defending itself from day one against its neighbors.

For my part I will make it clear right here and right now.  I support Israel in its right to exist, to defend itself against assault and even to be a homeland for Jews if that is what they wish.   I also support a two-state solution defined under the borders agreed and negotiated via the United Nations under the Oslo Agreement.  I condemn the collective punishment methods used by Israel and most of all I condemn the radicalization that is within the Knesset and linked to the far-right Likud party. This radicalism has infiltrated the military and the result is ugly.

Israel, the Bomb and the world’s most Religious Radical Country

Everyone knows that Israel has a nuclear arsenal, that they stole it and did not develop it, that they are not a member of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and that they are not under any scrutiny, inspection regime, checks and other balances.    Unlike Israel, Iran may or may not be trying to build it but are under sanctions and threats for not supporting scrutiny, inspection regimes, checks and other balances.   The argument is that somehow there is a difference, Iran is a belligerent state, dangerous and unpredictable, these arguments somehow implies that Israel is not.    I disagree.

Israel stole the plans for building “the Bomb”, it has consistently told every and any nation (including the United States of America) that it will do what it wants, its own way.  It has breached UN Resolutions on multiple times, mostly to do with its own treatment of lands and peoples it has occupied via force, and it has shown in the past and even presently that it will cross borders, kidnap, kill and attack those whom it thinks is a threat.   In my own country, they attempted to infiltrate their local Likud Representative in The Netherlands, Gidi Markuszower, into membership of the Dutch Parliament.  The Dutch Security Services forced his being removed from the ballot because he was an existing dangerous risk to Dutch national security.   Recently the assassination of a Hamas figure in Dubai has been all but confirmed as being a Mossad hit and again showing no respect for other nations, friendly or not, they used the names and faked passports from a number of countries.  Australia, having four passports abused, chose to expel a diplomat known as the Mossad representative.   In this last day, Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have crossed into international territory and attacked a flotilla of aid ships heading to Gaza, that is currently being blockaded by Israel.   International organisations including the United Nations as well as most countries that include the US have considered the blockade as a human rights violation.  Israel may well have had cause to think that arms or terrorists may have been in board that flotilla, but the attack in international waters, the response as well as the embargo are all “flipping the finger” at the rest of the world – they simply will do what want.

Lieberman's pro-Zionist Yisrael Beitenu party is pro-Settler. He hold the Foreign Minister portfolio

They have done so in the past under the assumption that their powerful lobby group and economic influence in the United States will save them from all their enemies if their own efforts fail.    They have relied on the US’s veto more than once.  The Gaza issue was one of the last vetoes that they have received when they attacked the Gaza Strip and to avoid a protracted battle from house to house, chose to use internationally repugnant and illegal weapons, such as white phosphorus.    The Bush US Administration argued but eventually bowed to pressure and showed that morally it had reached its lowest point, perhaps eclipsing even the Nixon era.

Though that blind support for Israel may have dried up with the fresh global approach to international diplomacy by the Obama Administration, why is it that Israel has not slowed down or joined the international community of nations, but in fact appears to have ratcheted-up its radicalism?

One only has to look at the make-up of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament).   The current right-wing coalition that has joined forces with Likud is a mix of radical, ultra-orthodox and ultra-nationalist parties that can only be put on a par with the most ugliness of what Israel says it is defending itself against – Hamas, Hezbollah and radical Islamism in general – such as Iran.

Likud may be a nationalist far-right party, but it is at least a radical mainstream Israeli political entity. 

The current make-up of the Knesset is as follows:

Kadima 28
Likud 27
Yisrael Beiteinu 15
Labor 13
Shas 11
United Torah Judaism1 5
National Union2 4
Hadash 4
United Arab ListTa’al 4
The Jewish Home 3
New Movement-Meretz 3
Balad 3
Total 120

The coalition that is the current Government is a combination of Likud, Yisrael Beitenu, Labour, Shas, the Jewish Home and United Torah Judaism.

Yisrael Beitenu is is a nationalist political party in Israel. The party describes itself as “a national movement with the clear vision to follow in the brave path of Zev Jabotinsky” the founder of Revisionist Zionism.

Shas is primarily representing the Sephardic and Mizrahi Haredi Judaism community.

Former deputy Housing Minister Meir Porush's United Torah Judaism party wishes to expand settlements. He does, though want to destroy the nuclear arsenal.

“United Torah Judaism” is an alliance of Degel HaTorah and Agudat Israel, two Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) political parties.  UTJ is led by Meir Porush who opposes negotiations with the Palestinians and the formation of a Palestinian state.  It wants to maintain a status quo relationship in regard to religion and state issues and supports increasing settlements in disputed territories.

The Jewish Home is right-wing national religious Zionist party formed by a merger of the National Religious Party, Moledet and Tkuma. It is led by Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkowitz.

The religious Zionist Ahi party, previously part of the National Union alliance, merged into Likud in late December 2008.

If you search the list of non-Coalition parties, you will find all but one are secular based mainstream – that being the opposition party.     The rest are religious based, most pro-Zionism and not very promising towards peace with its neighbors simply because they are pro-settler and expansion of Israel into the Occupied Territories.

Zionism is “political Judaism” and most forms support the God-given Land of Israel that includes what is the West Bank, Hebron, Gaza and all of Jerusalem.   That concept is at conflict with not only the occupants of those lands that were there before the State of Israel but also countless UN Agreements, status of the Palestinian People and the Status of the City of Jerusalem. 

Radical Zionist groups have pushed and increased the number of zealots within the military and as "chaplins". Was this the cause of the brutality condemned in Gaza's recent conflict?

Another effective way of looking at Zionism is that it is the Jewish version of Islamism (political Islam).  In theory the concept may be benign and it works within a totally Jewish environment but is at instant conflict with the non-faithful.  It smacks against Secularism totally and it is the first banner to be taken up by radicals, zealots and terrorists.   If taken-up by the military, which it apparently has in Israel, you have Zionism with a gun, just like Islamism with a gun.  It is ugly.

Extremists in Zionism, such as the settler movement, with complicity from politicians, law enforcement and the military is an unstoppable force – and it has been present in Israel for way too long, much too long.

Remembering this country has also “the Bomb” (100 to 200 according to UN estimates) and people argue to me that Iran should be targeted for sanctions but not Israel – sorry, think again.

Iran is a problem, a danger and yes there should be something done to deal with that country dominated by radical religious philosophies but to do so and not consider and deal with another country that is in fact more susceptible to radical religious ideology and that has an unchecked nuclear arsenal is not only hypocritical but itself massively dangerous.

If the image was of a Muslim, the word terrorst or jihadist would be instantly thrown down, certainly correct in some instances. What is the difference here, religion and conflict is allowed if your not Muslim?

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Spencer – Attack is better than logic

Robert Spencer hides "in front of" a US flag

 

Robert Spencer is following the philosophical lines of a radical like a train is forever linked to the track.   The signs are there and I have discussed that before.   Checking-up on how he is going has not changed this at all and we see that he has progressed nicely along that doomed and repugnant track he has chosen. 

Clearly has recently decided that attack is the best method, meaning that the logic of his argument (the classic radical’s “lie”) is under so much threat that contextual abuse, smothering the issue with well-chosen data (with no context linked at all) and further “stories” is not working well and falling flat.  The audience is not as stupid as he first thought, but radicals are obliged to think so. 

In one particular case, he has had a “tiff” with a well credited academic/policy strategist called Suhail A. Khan.   He has in a recent post on his blog “Jihad-Watch” (it is a blog and in the end he is only just another blogger) simply attempted to discredit Khan rather than face the arguments given.  He may claim he has done so but never coughs up the evidence.  In typical Spencer style, he has thrown in some of his half-quotes that have no meaning when out of context and raised the specter of child-abuse claims within the foundations of Islam to grab the audience’s emotions, again showing that he is clutching straws. 

There are other signs coming out more recently from Spencer to point out that he and his self-proclaimed “anti-jihad” campaign has fallen for the final phase of radicalism – the con being recognized for the lie it is.   

The easiest sign is there are no new faces within the inner-circle and increased links with other ugly radical groups that many followers would not support.  Spencer is now firmly linked to the racist British BNP (and their front the EDL), that has been proven through photos and speeches.    Geert Wilders did the same costing him about 8 per cent of his vote and more followers abandoning him.    The small circle of hate is now clearer than ever and shrinking.  

Another clear sign is that the usual triangle of Spencer, FitzGerald and Gellar is no longer active as it was, FitzGerald gets little mention these days and Gellar has tried to distance herself from the term “anti-jihad” and tried re-inventing the same rhetoric under the term “human rights”.   That is a clear sign of radicals becoming more hard-pressed and trying to increase profile but still under the same “lie”.   It is also clear evidence of the radical assumption that the audience is stupid – that they will, like crows, see one colour coming in and another colour coming out and thus assume it is a different animal.   No such luck Pamela, the foul rancid smell is the same.  As an Israeli friend on my street in Rotterdam says, “if it feels like sh*t, smells like sh*t and tastes like sh*t, it is never going to be a rose no matter what paint and perfume you spray it with”. (Thanks Ari). 

S Khan, conservative Muslim and anti-radical ....

 

One other clear sign that things are not going well is when further principles are squashed to follow the radical agenda.   As readers of my blog knows, radicals will give up on their faith, standards and morals to suit that agenda and Spencer has proven that clearly here. 

His attack on Khan shows that all his rhetoric is designed to be seen as far-right and ultra-conservative as possible.  It was just a sham to catch that particular audience.  He knows that xenophobia, bigotry and racism comes more from the far-right and not from the far-left (they have different but equally horrible qualities) and thus he made himself out as the bastion of the ultra-conservative movement.   But as radicals would eventually sell their own mothers for their agenda, he has attacked a leading Conservative think-tank member, endorsed by the previous Bush Administration, someone who does not go out in support for President Obama and linked also to conservative Christian groups.    Spencer, we can assume has not fallen to simple madness and thus has made the decision to start attacking anything “foreign”, to increase his support from the more extreme at the cost of the loss of the strong conservatives whom perhaps he has assumed was catching on to his lack of acceptability. 

Part of Khan’s bio appears as follows, already showing more recognition and respect than Spencer could dream of having: 

He served in the White House Office of Public Liaison assisting in the President’s outreach to various faith communities. Khan also served as Assistant to the Secretary for Policy under U.S. Secretary Mary Peters at the U.S. Department of Transportation. While at the Department of Transportation, Khan was awarded the Secretary’s Team Award in 2005 and the Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievement in 2007.  

Khan serves on the boards of the American Conservative Union, the Islamic Free Market Institute, the Muslim Public Service Network, the Indian American Republican Council, and on the Buxton Initiative Advisory Council. He has spoken venues such as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the Council for National Policy (CNP), the Harbour League, and the National Press Club. He has written opinion pieces for various publications including the Washington Post/Newsweek Forum On Faith. 

Radicals pushing to the ugly end.....

 

Since I am Dutch, I can also use again the example of Wilders.   He too is  starting to show his true colours.   He is now being accussed by the main political parties of in fact being economically far-left as it is socially far-right, which says they are confused and have alienated itself from elements of the conservative right.  The right wing parties have already said that they will never play-ball with him by allowing him to join any coalition.  He has nothing to lose since he has lost their votes and thus shows more of the ugliness and real colours – exposing himself further.  I personally believe that he is in fact showing that he has no political understanding at all and that there are no real policies or political manifesto.  That the manifesto that exists is pure “bricolage” and that he is just a wannabe saviour no matter it takes, just like Spencer who wants to be adored and remembered as being some sort of expert.  

The wannabe academic he never was, assuming the failed posture of “making it up is as good as studying it”.

Far-Right Radicals: Northeast Intellegence Network

I have been reading the mind-boggling agenda-driven site Northeast Intelligence Network.  To sum up, and I think quite fairly, they are far-right anti-Islam, anti-Obama (they push/hint Obama is a Muslim and not a legible President conspiracy theories) and pro-far-right Israel and Zionist themes.  

Full of patriotic paraphernalia to look good and staff biographies that make them look even more patriotic and apparently experts it does not take a fool to work out their agenda.  In fact going back to my theme of what makes a radical, they push many lies, to promote them they are full of blatant contextual abuse and they assume we are all stupid enough to fall for the bright lies and sentimental “Americana” that they push.   

If we look at their staff list – and just with a cursory look on the internet of those that make the blog  quickly shows the agenda immediately and it is  most certainly radical.

 

Hagmann appears to be a private detective and a patriot with experience in ..... proving the exstance of UFOs and Bigfoot

Douglas J. Hagmann

calls himself a private investigator of over 20 years, serving Fortune 500 companies and since September 11 has dedicated himself to searching for terrorists.   So that sound fine and I would even say commendable.  

Things for Hagmann falls down from an unexpected source – the equally anti-Islam, far-right and pro-Zionist Debbie Schlussel.  Apparently Hagmann plagerized Schlussel and as revenge she did all the leg-work in checking out the self-styled American patriot.   She makes no hidden loathing of the self-proclaimed expert investigator who included looking for Bigfoot and UFOs.

Personally, I get some form of satisfaction of two radicals abusing each other and using context-abuse as an accusation when they both are masters of the art.   Rather like mafioso fighting over their prey.   Interestingly, Schlussel also accuses WorldNet Daily (WND) for also doing the same, which is fine by me – they are basically in the same boat of hate-agenda magazines that have joined in the ugly and perverse marriage of American far-right politics and expansionary radical Zionism (the extremist Judaic equivalent of Islamism) that seeks to enforce a pro-Israel-no-matter-what government in the US that is obviously far-right.  It could easily follow that some of the disfigured abominations birthed from of such a marriage are the Schlussels, Cheslers and Daniel Greenbergs of the internet.

Osborne may have a military background, but honor never was part of his training......

Sean Osborne

is their Military expert and pushes two paragraphs of Osborne’s apparent military past.   It may or may not be exactly correct but for someone who supposedly spent 25 years in the military and then 22 further years as a contractor, I find his cv slightly questionable, why?  Well being someone with 32 years within the western defence sector (22 years with the Dutch defence department including with NATO) and now hitting over 10 years working within defence industry, I have never seen defence personal not mention their rank, cryptically give all this data and actually not confirm anything.   Simply put the description is from his own words and usually those that do enjoy the rights to spell out their history openly do so directly from and with the approval of the services they worked for.

I would not have mentioned Mr Osborne at all and any experience which I assume he did not fabricate is certainly worth being proud off, but because he is a) a part of a far-right radical website and also b) he was accused as being questionable – by, and yet gain from another person linked with some questionable agendas against Muslims, Walid Shoebat.   Shoebat accusses Osborne of being riddled with evangelical and pro-Zionist agendas.   In a scathing letter, Shoebat called Osborne a pin-head because as a so-called expert he got so many facts wrong, such as the Arabian Peninsula being under Roman control, which it never did.     The tit-for-tat battle between the two is rather low, abusive in language style and very unprofessional from both sides, could it be that both are right about each other and wrong because they both are part of a radical lie themselves?  I think so.

Radical Zionist Lee Kaplan, who goes under the guise of being a journalist

Lee Kaplan

 is called their Communications Director, but I think perhaps Ideology Source, or Resident Agent may be more appropriate.   I was already aware of Lee Kaplan as he is a contributor to the other ugly radical pro-Zionist rag called FrontPage Magazine.  So there are no surprises when I noticed his name was linked to Northeast Intelligence Network.    Kaplan is an ugly person with a dedication to expansionary Zionism which seeks that all of the West Bank, Gaza, Hebron and all of Jerusalem be a part of a greater Israel and though he cleverly avoids saying it directly, the non-Jewish residents (ie the Arabs) can simply disappear.

Kaplan writes for the Israeli News Network (INN), which is a Likud mouthpiece, and uses the same sliding and misdirection techniques as well as the best far-right Government Spokesperson of the Likud and ultra-religious Coalition.

What I would not call Kaplan is a journalist but rather a public affairs officer.  A journalist requires an open mind and report items  dispassionately and he is unable to do so, he has well proclaimed his agenda and activism  and is even proud of it.   His links to the far-right, FrontPage Magazine and this Northeast Intelligence Network farce takes away any credibility he may even think he has.

He is also the founder of a rather horrible group called DAFKA (Defending America for Knowledge and Action) which is a San Francisco anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and of course pro-Israel site.  Wikipedia quoted media sources that call it “a pro-American, pro-Israel activist group on US campuses” devoted to counter-protesting against Palestinian demonstrations. DAFKA was formed because, in its view, mainstream Jewish organizations were insufficiently dedicated to “going after the enemy.” DAFKA is active primarily on campuses in the San Francisco Bay Area, although the mainstream Jewish organizations there tend to distance themselves from its work.

We can add that amongst their principles are:

  • “the Arabs are simply too primitive to make any viable lasting peace and until they adopt democratic principles and adhere to laws against violence as in any civilized society there can be no secure peace with them.”
  • The word “Palestinian” should not be used, since it confers legitimacy on Arab claims to nationhood, when their movement is in fact “Arab fascism” seeking to murder Jews
  • Yes still Kaplan calls himself an independant free-lance “journalist”.  His agenda is not only clear but he is proud of it.   The agend is political, pro-Zionist to a level that we equate with supporters of militant Islamism and has nothing to do with America.   His blog and his work often touches he accussation about Palestinians, the generic Arab and Muslims being influenced from outside sources …… yet his main platform has nothing to do with the United States at all but the bloody expansion of a religous based Israel.

    Though he claims benign methods, the media tells us otherwise.  A good example, of many, is from the Portland Media Centere which put an item about DAFKA and Kaplan himself:

    Santa Cruz Community Television is offering up more than the usual community dish. Recently, Club Cruz, a locally produced television show, has been used as a platform for virtual infomercials for an extremist group with a record of harassing peace advocates.Becky Johnson, has featured on several occasions a man named Lee Kaplan, self-proclaimed founder and director of the extreme Zionist group, Dafka. During the episodes, Kaplan dominated the half-hour shows with inaccuracies about the Palestinian peace movement, negative stereotypes about Arabs and Islam, and potentially slanderous statements about widely respected groups such as Santa Cruz’s Resource Center for Nonviolence and Berkely’s MidEast Children’s Alliance and individuals involved with them. Intermittently throughout the show, addresses of Kaplan’s websites appeared across the screen and Kaplan invited viewers to visit the websites; he also promoted a book that was for sale on one of the websites. Each episode also featured a disgruntled Arab guest who shared negative opinions about Palestinians and Arabs from a presumed “insider’s” perspective. (One questions the authenticity of such guests, however, since Kaplan brags on his website about disguising himself and passing himself off as an Arab at various peaceful gatherings.)rules which set up the community stations as resource centers for the public as opposed to a television network model. Holman noted that an individual’s speech could be limited if he was inciting violence.
    Self explanitory I think.

    The show, produced by Santa Cruz resident

    Ron Holman, Programming Director at Community Television, said that even though some people may disagree with statements Kaplan makes, he is able to appear on their channels via their

    Though Kaplan didn’t directly call for violence in the episodes, a little fact checking showed that groups he is associated with have been busy hijacking and illegally intruding on peaceful meetings, harassing peace activists and making at least one death threat.

    “Archangel”

    Oh, there is also this claim, along with a nice American flag for effect, which considering the above is now questionable:

    anim_flag_usa

    Most visitors to this web site are familiar with “Archangel,” which is the Internet persona of one of the nation’s leading deep undercover researchers and analysts of Arabic language web sites and other intelligence sources. “Archangel” is active in undercover research and investigation of various sources and individuals that offer substantive information from bona-fide terrorists, their accomplices and supporters.

    This web site does not permit the use of Internet aliases except to protect the identity of those in law enforcement or a related field for personal and operational safety.

    I personally wonder why they would add that last sentence, does it make it more real?

    My own view about this “group” is that they are there to serve a political agenda, fleece the community of money – ie make money from the agenda, and to make themselves look important.  All of them are self-sustaining except that they are radical and thus eventually they will be caught out and exposed.

    I will post to them the link to this item and seek a reply, defence or rebuttal, I doubt I will get it.  What I am certain, if they do, is that they will talk about terrorism and its danger and yes terrorism is dangerous and must be battled, but not by those whom have been accused of vigilantism and whom have an equally morally repugnant agenda.

    Islamism, Salafi and Wahhabi

    The Iranian Revolution altered the meaning of Islamism, giving it a militant arm...

     The words Islamism, Islamist, Salafist and Wahhabist all conjure various images to each of us, and not all of them the will be the same degree.  What we can say is that most of these images provokes extremist views, either from those within or from without those that are connected to them.  Actually, what do they mean? 

    ISLAMISM 

    Islamism is another word for “political Islam”.  Wikipedia does a sincere effort in describing Islamism as: “set of ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system; that modern Muslims must return to their roots of their religion, and unite politically.   Islamism is a controversial term and definitions of it sometimes vary. Many confuse or conflate Islamism with Salafism, however early Salafism is the contrary to modern Islamism.[1] Leading Islamist thinkers emphasized the enforcement of sharia (Islamic law); of pan-Islamic political unity or caliphate.” 

    As with most ideologies, there is no single version of what is an Islamist and equally elements at various times are hijacked by sub-groups within it.  Equally, Islamism may be the force or a push for a utopian goal within an existing Muslim community or state just as much as it is the effort by Muslims outside the Muslim world attempting to push for political power over their own community or the greater community.  In this last case, in conflict with the existing non-Muslim and Muslim non-Islamist communities. 

    Islamism has been defined by Robert Pelletreau, probably the most experienced US Diplomat dealing with the Muslim World, (and also quoted by Wikipedia) as: 

    • “The modernist attempt to claim that political sovereignty belongs to God, that the Shari’ah equates to state law, and that it is a religious duty on all Muslims to create a political entity that reflects the above.”[10]
    • “Islam as a modern ideology and a political program”,[9]
    • “the belief that Islam should guide social and political as well as personal life”,[11]
    • “the ideology that guides society as a whole and that law must be in conformity with the Islamic sharia”,[12]
    • “a movement that seeks cultural differentiation from the West and reconnection with the pre-colonial symbolic universe”,[13]
    • “the organised political trend, owing its modern origin to the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928, that seeks to solve modern political problems by reference to Muslim texts”,[14]
    • “the whole body of thought which seeks to invest society with Islam which may be integrationist, but may also be traditionalist, reform-minded or even revolutionary”,[14]
    • “the active assertion and promotion of beliefs, prescriptions, laws or policies that are held to be Islamic in character,”[5]
    • a movement of “Muslims who draw upon the belief, symbols, and language of Islam to inspire, shape, and animate political activity;” which may contain moderate, tolerant, peaceful activists, and/or those who “preach intolerance and espouse violence

    From this we can point out that by simply supporting the concept that Islam is not only a way of life but a social and political faith does not necessarily but in most cases is at conflict with the set of freedoms and values established within most western nations.   

    Anwar Ibrahim views political Islam in a different light

    For example, the former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, award-winning Finance Minister and now Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is considered an advocate of Islamism.  He is not an advocate for global domination of Islam, does not call for war against western values nor does he demand a global caliphate.  But what he does, is advocate that Islam in its purist concepts is also a political concept. 

    To a similar level, the current ruling political party the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi) (AKP) is also following the base-level and moderate version of Islamism that seeks to incorporate Islamic principles not just at an individual level but at a social and political level. 

    The question then must follow, is it the same as the following? 

    Ayatollah Khomenei and the Islamism-inspired Iranian Revolution believes that the imitation of the early Muslims and the restoration of Sharia law were essential to Islam and that secular, Westernizing Muslims were actually agents of the West serving only Western interests.  A direct and announced opposition to a perceived set of westernized values and standards. 

    Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan and the Sudanese Brotherhood have not only turned Islam into politics but have embraced militancy and force to ensure its dominance.   They have made it a matter of force that their own version of Islamic dogma will not only dominate but must be followed by others. 

    Similarly, Islamists such as the global-terrorist group Al-Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad have chosen to forcibly reject democracy and what they refer to as self-proclaimed Muslims (those Muslims whom do not follow them) .  

    Most of us have heard the names of Al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Iranian Revolution and correctly link them to the ugliness of radicalism, extremism and use the generalized term Islamism or Islamist, not necessarily realizing that there is a general political term behind it. 

    Hamas - Political Islam with a nasty radical agenda

    Radicalism by its very nature means a willingness to alter their faith, standards and morals to suit that radical agenda, does that work similarly with Islamism?  It does.  The term Salafi or Salafism is a radical off-shoot or sect of Islam that very much is a form of Islamism. 

    SALAFI 

    Within Islamism there are the “guardians of the tradition” of the Salafism and Wahhabi movements, and a “vanguard of change” which is commonly known as the Muslim Brotherhood (the latter focussing on the linking of Islamism with pan-Arabism)     The Muslim Brotherhood’s history dates back before the turn of the last century and has a strong nationalist independence history but more recently has been hijacked by the Salafi movement that centres on the importance of “sharia rather than the building of Islamic institutions,” (The Future of Political Islam, (2003), p.194-5, Fuller), and pushes a theological cause to reject anything to do with Shia Islam. 

    Salafi according to the GobalSecurity.org is: 

    Salafi is a term often used to describe fundamentalist islamic thought. 

    The teachings of the reformer Abd Al-Wahhab are more often referred to by adherents as Salafi, that is, “following the forefathers of Islam.” This branch of Islam is often referred to as “Wahhabi,” a term that many adherents to this tradition do not use. Members of this form of Islam call themselves Muwahhidun (“Unitarians”, or “unifiers of Islamic practice”). They use the Salafi Da’wa or Ahlul Sunna wal Jama’a. Wahhabism is a particular orientation within Salafism. Most puritanical groups in the Muslim world are Salafi in orientation, but not necessarily Wahhabi. 

    The Salafiyyah are a movement, and like the Sufis, can come from the Maliki, the Shafi, the Hanbali, or the Hanafi. But, that said, the Salafiyyah movement, is primarily confirmed to the Hanbali, and in particular the Wahhabiyyah, and their theological equivalents. The Salafiyyah movement to return Islam to it’s purest roots (like the Islamic Amish!) has taken as reference points the teachings of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal , Al Barbahaaree, or Al Laalikaa’ee, or Ash-Shaatibee, or Adh-Dhahabee, or Al Layth ibn Sa’d, or Abu Haneefah, and other scholars who adhered to the methodology of the salaf. 

    As-Salaf us-Salih (or briefly: the Salaf) refers to the first and best three generations of Muslims. They are the Companions (Sahabah) of the Prophet (S), their immediate followers (Tabiun), and the followers of the Tabi’in. The meaning in the Arabic language is “Those who precede, have gone before”. It is a word used by the earliest scholars for “The first three generations of Muslims” and those who are upon their way in accordance with the Ahaadeeth of the Messenger Muhammad (sallAllaahu` alayhi wa sallam) which is reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree: The best of people/mankind is my generation, then those that follow them, then those that follow them. 

    Salafists make nothing more clear than what they reject and from this it could be clearly defined as being for the purposed of this blog as “radical”.  An inability to tolerate an alternative, an assumption within the principle ideology that other reject (what some would also call philosophically as “the lie”), the need to push that assumption even if it throws contradictions and takes on a life itself and the ultimate value judgement that all but them are righteous with the public in general being simply stupid and foolish requiring to be told what to think and do. 

    Salafist teachings point out that there are 11 “deviant sects” of Islam – or alternatively those Muslims that are not Salafists themselves:   

    Introductory Materials
    Basic materials highlighting the splitting and differing in the Ummah and that its cause is the introduction of newly-invented matters and principles into the religion.
     
    The Khawarij
    The very first sect to split away from the main body of the Muslims. They will remain in the Ummah till they fight alongside Dajjal against this Ummah.
     
    The Raafidah (Shi`ah)
    Initiated by the Jew, Abdullah bin Saba, this sect has developed into what we now know as the Shi’ah whose beliefs and thoughts are repugnant beyond belief.
     
    The Qadariyyah
    The deniers of Divine Pre-Determination who claimed that Allaah has no power of His creation and that mankind is totally independent of His Will and Power.
     
    The Murji`ah
    One of the earliest sects. They did not include actions in the definition of faith and claimed that sins do not affect a persons faith.
     
    The Ash`arees
    A sect that denies the Attributes of Allaah, ta’weel being one of its outstanding hallmarks.
     
    The Mu`tazilah
    The Mu’tazilah are from the Rationalist school of thought and have very many deviations in their methodological principles.
     
    The Baatiniyyah
    The Baatiniyyah claim that there is the internal hidden aspects to things and also the outward manifestations of things and that they have exclusivity to the internal hidden matters.
     
    The Soofees
    The Sufis have introduced many innovations into Islam in the name of Tasawwuf and have justified such practises by fabricated statements and unsound arguments.
     
    The Ismaa’eelis
    The Ismaa’eelis are an offshoot of the Raafidah (Shi’ah) and share some of their characteristics. Aga Khan is their supreme leader and, in their view, has characteristics and attributes similar to those of Allaah.
     
    The Qadianis
    The Qadianis are disbelievers, outside the fold of Islam and were instigated by British Imperialists in 19th century India. They hold that Ghulam Ahmad Mirza was a prophet.

    (note spellings directly quoted from the source) 

    Salafists believe only in the Koran, the Sunnah, certain Haddiths and the words of the first three generations of followers.  Interestingly, and to some not-suprisingly, they added a number of new “rightly guided” followers, namely the creators of the Salafist movement.   It could be argued in philosophical terms, that this is the core of “the lie” and to some the concept that as good as their intentions may have been, that the words of three-plus generations of 7th and 8th century followers must be taken literally. 

    Within Salafism there is another component to add to the mixture, those whom are called Wahhabists. 

    WAHHABI 

    Wahhabists call themselves “Muwahiddun” (in English:  Unitarians).  They are an ultra-conservative Islamic sect based on the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, an 18th century theologian and scholar.   It is the largest sub-sect of Islam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  Abd-al-Wahhab advocated to completely purge Islam of what he considered innovations in Islam, though other Muslims would say his opposition to change itself is an innovation – the innovation of stopping the clock. 

    Conceptually what makes Wahhabists different from other Salafists is that they do not follow any particular scholar (other than those of al-Wahhab and those that he followed).   Many have argued that this concept is why Wahhabists are so extreme, non-conformist, radical and to a degree dangerous.   

    Wahhabism also denounces the practice of blind adherence to the interpretations of scholars, except his own interpretation, and the blind acceptance of practices that were passed on within the family or tribe. Of the most widely used excuse of the pagans around the time of the prophet was that they worshiped idols because they saw their forefathers engaged in that practice. Ibn Abd al-Wahhab wrote in support of the responsibility of the individual Muslim to learn and obey the divine commands as they were revealed in the Quran and the Sunnah. – A History of the Modern Middle East. Third Edition. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2004. Page.123 

    Wahhabists, for example, do not support any fatwas by accepted Islamic Schools or Institution and often make their own such as those often quoted in the media and on blog-sites demanding the killing of foreigners (by the non-cleric Osama bin-Laden) or the banning of women from working, schooling etc.) 

    What is obviously clear is that as a radical strain of an already radical Salafist ideology under the banner of a controversial Islamism code, Wahhabists are willing to force their view on those around them and beyond.  The puritanical Wahhabis denounce not only those Muslims that do not support their views as heretics (which ironically all five Islamic Schools of jurisprudence considers to call another Muslims an un-believer as “haram” or forbidden) but are also mausoleums, shrines and combination mosque-shrines as heresy and are willing to and have destroyed them. 

    The links to modern-day Islamist terrorism is mostly linked to Wahhabist and salafist communities.   The chain of events that have increased since the Iranian Revolution in 1978 that motivated the already Wahhabi dominated Saudi population to force even tighter control over that Kingdom has led us to the situation that the world is in today.   The Wahhabi self-proclaimed militant leader Osama bin-Laden is a product of Wahhibist teachings and politics. 

    As Wahhabi is as much a part of an ideology, it is important not to forget that it is just as much a political venture, and thus can be classed as a classic radical political ideology as that of a religious one and the standards that apply to all forms of radicalism apply here as well. 

    1) The lie – that their way is the only way, that the west are out to destroy Islam and western values (and any non-Wahhabi value) is “haram”.   

    2) The hard-sell and abuse of context – the use of mass-media, war, force, terror, to “defend” Islam and push for that elusive Caliphate that we can assume is a Wahhabi one. 

    3) The assumption that the “people” be it the Muslim Ummah or the western population are stupid.   That they need to be told how to think and what to do and that they will or at worst must follow “the lie”. 

    ISLAMISM, SALAFI and WAHHABI 

    Though there is arguments that the concept of Islamism is not malign, it certainly is a cause that is often hijacked by various existing politics agendas, both Muslim and non-Muslim.   

    As previously mentioned, the highly respected Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim is an Islamist but in the sense that he believes that in an Islamic environment there is a “political Islam” and supports that the tenants and principles of Islam does create a politic. It also works within the “Concept of Normality” in opposition to the “Concept of Radicalism” set by Erasmus.    The argument is that radicalism is willing to change its faith, standards and morality to suit its agenda rather than the other way.  Thus, the “other way” is that agendas should only be designed or molded by one’s faith, standards and morality.  In this case Anwar Ibrahim and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are correct in their assumption. 

    Salafi and its more ugly brothers the Wahhabists though are certainly malign, are extreme, radical and prone to serious violence to ensure its way is the only way.  It is certainly the element that is the cause for the vast majority of terrorism in the world and a promoter of the cause of a violent Islamism that has and is currently being followed by political militants, however much they think it is done in the name of God. 

    IN EUROPE? 

    Salafists and Wahhabists are present in Europe and the West and are a cause for genuine fear and concern.  They are a security risk because of the ideological links to insurgency, terrorism and war.   Their efforts to sway and push militant islamism to the Muslim immigrant populations is also well-known and they also have the money to sweeten “the lie”. They push many elements from non-integration, demanding a level of Islam that is neither accepted nor common-place in the actual Muslim world to obstinate and active disobedience and disrespect to western governments.   Simultaneously they encourage their own variant of Islam as the only solution – the ugly radical version. 

    My own conclusion is that not only is Salafist and Wahhabist ideological a danger to the West but in fact Islamism is incompatible as well.  Though I fully understand the ideals and concepts of Ibrahim and Erdoğan, they are ideals for their world and does not equate to the morals and standards that have bene developed for Europe and most of the West.    Europe has almost completely secularized religion from State and though the values of the faiths that make up Europe is reflected in the laws via reflecting them, Islamism directly links it. 

    Islam, for my part is not only welcome in Europe but already a part of it – in fact it always has been to varying degrees), but from an individualistic and social level only.  If necessary, I would argue that the problem with Islam in Europe is that because of history and the old-political-Christianity, there has been no opportunity to create a separate and clearly defined European-Muslim identity – one that is clearly European, faithfully Islamic and equally secular to the level that Christianity and Judaism is.

    American Politics – Debating Partisanship

    The spirit of The Capitol has been bipartisanship...

    I read an item today by Associated Press’s Charles Babington about a meeting between President Barrack Obama and Republican Senators.  It was a lunch.  The meeting appeared to go as expected with a number of the Senators having a serious go at Obama and perhaps to a degree it showed that the President is not as “thick-skinned” as perhaps he would like us all to believe.

    What interested me in this event and reporting by Babington is the subject of both sides accusing the other of failing to support bipartisanship. The Obama Administration certainly has complained, and to a large degree I have agreed, that the strong far-right, Tea Party and even religious right were the main instigators of polarizing American politics over the last 10 to 12 years.  That they will claim scandal, abuse, criticize and show obstinacy in every move – simply because it is “the other side”.  Simply put the Right (I consider myself centre-right) had to a degree embraced radical politics).

    The item showed an interesting point, that many of the Republican Party Senators complained that Obama and his Administration that has been going it alone, that the Health Bill, Finance Bills and other important decisions were railroaded through both Houses in the Capitol because they had the numbers.  In other words, breached the political vision of what is American Governance by open debate and attempting to find consensus on important issues.   That for me is a strong accusation and one that needs to be looked at.   During the epic process of assuring his candidacy for the Presidency, Obama frequently condemned partisanship and talked about the needs and importance of consensus and though I am not American, live on the other side of the Atlantic and am from the right, these arguments of making a change rang loud.    Babington’s item has instilled doubts.

    Charles Babington, veteran political reporter and journalist

    Babington’s item is called “Obama gets an earful in clash with GOP senators” (linked via Yahoo News)  and as per my policy I recommend you read the original item in full.

    To highlight the areas that interest me are:

    The item started by showing that Obama asked for the meeting because it “would ease partisan tensions in Congress” and it probably did not.   This remark implies that Obama is doing the good thing.

    That “GOP senators accused him of duplicity, audacity and unbending partisanship“, OK that got my attention.

    “Bob Corker of Tennessee, a first-term senator who feels the administration undermined his efforts to craft a bipartisan financial regulation bill”.  

    “Four people who were in the room said Obama bristled and defended his administration’s handling of negotiations. On the way out, Corker said, Obama approached him and both men repeated their main points.”  

    “I told him there was a tremendous disconnect from his words and the actions of his administration,” Corker said.”

    Republicans hope for big gains, maybe even control of the House. They are banking on voter resentment of Obama initiatives such as the new health care law, and many see little point in cooperating with Obama and Democratic lawmakers at this point.”   –  I found this a score toward Obama actually, if anything hypocritical in that the accusations towards the current Administration is that they have the votes so they do not talk and thus the schoolyard rebuke of well in that case we will not talk to you also!

    Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., complained to Obama about the partisan genesis of the health care law, enacted without a single Republican vote in Congress. Administration aides repeatedly have said GOP input was welcome, but none within reason turned up“. 

    “What’s really important is not so much the symbolism of bipartisanship as it is the action of bipartisanship,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told reporters later.

    Citing the scant or zero Republican support for the health care law, financial regulation bill and last year’s financial stimulus, Thune said, “What we haven’t seen is sort of the matchup between the rhetoric and the actions to follow through.”

    President Obama called for Change and a return to Bipartisanship

    Returning to the relationship this has with my blog on radicalism and context, there is no doubt that polarization in American politics has grown worse.  Much of what makes the US Democratic model work so well is the foundations that it was created on along with a capacity in the end to join together and work towards a goal – once the elections are over……. .  To do otherwise and the system falls down to radical elements.

    I certainly placed, and still place, the major component of radicalism injected into American politics from the far-right as the far-left is overly fringe and just not in the American psyche to get a hold.  Though this article from Babington is very interesting and shows that arguments and accusations point in both directions, there is nothing to change yet my perspective greatly but nevertheless is further disappointing to me.

    Gidi Markuszower: PVV’s Israeli Spy?

    Markuszower, Likud representative in Holland

    In a previous item I mentioned how  Gidi Markuszower, a PVV candidate was forced to withdraw over a number of issues, such as being an Israeli Likud representative in The Netherlands, and he was in conflict with security officials over his publically wearing a gun (The wearing of a gun in public is only legal in very specific circumstances by non law-enforcement officials and is considered taboo in the eyes of the Dutch).

    Now we know much more about the subject of the actions and intentions of Gidi Markuszower and it does not look good at all and raises many more questions about his master Geert Wilders – or is it the other way around? 

    NRC Handelsblad has explained how the 33-year-old Markuszower has been judged by the AIVD – The Dutch Security Service as a “national security risk” and has been identified as someone who passes information over to foreign sources – in other words he has been spying.   NRC says they have sources confirming that the foreign sources was in fact the Israeli Government and in particular Mossad. 

    The armed Markuszower, a Likud representative, a danger to the national security of The Netherlands, a prefered PVV candidate chosen by Wilders himself and a Mossad Agent serving the interests of the Government of Israel.    I remember Wilders complaining about immigrants and in particular Muslims having loyalties outside of our country and that they should be arrested, deported and any nationality revoked. 

    If Wilders was a minister, a CEO of some major organisation or senior civil service he would be obliged to resign or be fired on the spot.  Let us see if Wilders will do the right thing and admit that he is under the control or at least influence of a far-right foreign government with a proven track-record of meddling in the affairs of other countries and whom are the source of his specific anti-Islam rhetoric. 

    The links of Wilders to Israel grows daily to a point of national security concerns.

    Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, 1940-2010: a progressive who told it as it was

    Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, 1940-2010

    Frederik van Zyl Slabbert was one of the architects of South Africa’s transition from apartheid and a noted writer on its politics and sociology.

    Charming, telegenic and invariably known as ”Van”, he became an MP for the liberal Progressive Federal Party (PFP) in 1974, and its leader only three years later – serving as head of the official opposition from 1979 until his sudden resignation in 1986. When Slabbert and four others entered parliament, Helen Suzman was the only progressive; by the time he left there were 26, an increase which was seen as a personal victory for the still-youthful leader.

    In his later years he built up a strong position as an independent observer of politics, working from the Institute for a Democratic Alternative in South Africa (now the Institute for Democracy in Africa), which he co-founded in 1986.

    // Frederik van Zyl Slabbert was born on March 2, 1940, the son of conservative Afrikaners, descendants of early Dutch settlers known for their commitment to apartheid. He went to Pietersberg High School then the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg before going on to Stellenbosch University, the intellectual heartland of the Afrikaner nation, where he wrote his doctorate.

    He played rugby for Stellenbosch, but later described the game as a social narcotic that stopped South Africans from thinking about more serious matters. The political scales fell from his eyes in the 1960s, when he was sent on mission work in the African township of Langa.

    At 34, he went into politics, although the move was something of an accident. After being persuaded to stand as an MP, he joined the PFP – a predecessor to the Democratic Alliance – on the day he accepted the nomination, and was surprised to win.

    In August 1979 Colin Eglin stepped down as leader of the party, which by then had 17 seats, and Slabbert beat the experienced Zach De Beer for the succession. Slabbert suddenly resigned in 1986, declaring himself disillusioned with the parliamentary process. His abrupt departure nearly wrecked the PFP but established his credibility in the eyes of blacks.

    In August 1985 Slabbert’s career had moved into a new phase when, with Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi of the Inkatha Freedom Party, he formed the National Convention Movement in an unsuccessful attempt to force the government into negotiating with all political groups. Although the alliance was immediately condemned by the banned African National Congress, Slabbert travelled to meet them in exile in Lusaka. He spent nine hours with the ANC and emerged saying: ”A path away from violence can be negotiated.” After his resignation he remained in regular contact with the ANC in Zambia.

    In August 1987 he was one of about 50 prominent white South Africans who went to Dakar to meet an ANC delegation. Afterwards the ANC expressed willingness to hold more talks with a broader cross-section of whites. The government, which was inching its way towards contact with the ANC, did not welcome the efforts of private groups.

    After the transition to majority rule, Slabbert consolidated his position as a respected independent political observer and business consultant. He was appointed chairman of the Central Witwatersrand Metropolitan Chamber (1991-94), a government quango set up to improve the administration of black and white cities around Johannesburg. In 1993 he became the first chairman of George Soros’s Open Society Foundation and, in 1994, co-chairman of the task group for local government elections.

    He maintained his academic links as visiting professor at several South African universities and co-wrote a book, Comrades in Business: Post-Liberation Politics in South Africa, which avoided hagiography.

    Slabbert’s first marriage, to Mana Jordan, was dissolved. In 1984 he married Jane Catherine Stephens, who survives him with a son and a daughter of his first marriage.

    Telegraph, London