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Rape Gangs: A Story Set in Leafy Oxfordshire
by Douglas Murray
June 3, 2018 at 5:00 am

Since the arrest of Tommy Robinson on May 25, the presence generally -- and incorrectly -- referred to as 'Asian grooming gangs' has been back in the news. This has reignited a debate about whether victims are getting justice and whether perpetrators are encountering it.

In all this at least one key element is missing. What price has been paid, is being paid, or might be paid at some stage, by all those public officials who tacitly or otherwise allowed these modern-day atrocities to go on, doing nothing to stop them? The policemen, politicians, council workers and others who were shown to have failed time and again. They have never been sentenced to prison for any of their oversights -- and perhaps criminal charges (not even charges of criminal negligence) could never be brought against them. It is worth asking, however, if any of these people's lives, career paths, or even pension plans were ever remotely affected by their proven failure to confront one of the greatest evils to have gone on in Britain. That is the mass rape of young girls motivated by adults propelled by (among much else) racism, religiosity, misogyny and class contempt.

Perhaps the post grooming-gang career of just one public official might help to answer that question. Her name is Joanna Simons. In 2013 she was the Chief Executive of the Oxfordshire County Council. She had been at the centre of that Council's 'care' programme for nearly a decade: that is, throughout the period in which the mass rape of local girls (subsequently investigated under the name 'Operation Bullfinch') was carried on. The barbarism, which was carried out by local men of what is erroneously described as 'Asian' origin, included branding one of the girls with an 'M' on her body. The abuser's name was 'Mohammed' and the Mohammed in question wanted people to know that this girl 'belonged' to him and as such was his property.

Others among the hundreds of local victims endured equally horrific abuse. A number were in the care of the local authorities. Among the stories that came out in the 2013 court case at the Old Bailey was that one of the girls was drugged and raped by a gang of men. She managed to escape and hail a taxi which drove her to the care home she lived in. Staff at the care home refused to pay the taxi fare, so the taxi driver took the girl straight back to the property from which she had just escaped, where the gang then raped her again. This is not a nightmare set in some far distant land, or even a town in one of the towns in the north of England which the London media rarely get to, but a story set in leafy Oxfordshire. Families of some of the abused girls related that they had tried consistently to raise the alarm over what was happening to their daughters but that every door of the state was closed in their faces.

After details such as the above came out in the criminal trial at the Old Bailey, Simons made a video, which was posted online by the Oxfordshire County Council. Over the last five years fewer than 2,000 people have watched this 48-second apology. But it deserves a wider audience. In it, Ms Simons looks into the camera and gives an apology to the people who the Council has let down, which tells a huge amount about the attitude that prevailed for years in Britain. From start to finish, everything about it is wrong. Its tone and content suggest that Ms Simons is apologising for a delay in local bin collections, or for delays in providing pavement-salt during inclement weather. Nothing about it fits the appallingness -- the sheer, unimaginable horror -- of what had gone on in leafy, lovely, dreaming-spires Oxfordshire on her watch.

When Simons subsequently appeared on the BBC's Newsnight, she faced some excellent questioning from the BBC's Emily Maitlis. Simons responded by saying not only that she was once again very sorry for the breakdown in services but also came with the reassuring message that she and her colleagues from the council in Oxfordshire 'have learnt a lot.' When Maitlis asked if Simons thought she should resign, Simons replied 'I have asked myself some very hard questions' but 'I'm not going to resign because my determination is that we need to do all that we can to take action to stamp this out.' When Maitlis asked Simons if she would resign if the victims or their families thought she should, Simons came up with one of those beautiful political dodges of not remotely answering the question, thus saying (louder than if she had actually said it) that she had no intention of resigning even if every victim and every family called on her to do so.

Perhaps there were other motives for her desire to stay in place. At the time that Operation Bullfinch broke, Ms Simons was receiving an annual salary of over £196,000, before other benefits were included. To put this into some context, the average annual salary in the UK sits at just over £27,000. The annual salary paid to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for running the country stands at just under £150,000 per annum. So for her pains at Oxfordshire County Council, Ms Simons was receiving a salary considerably higher than that of the Prime Minister and more than six times the average national salary.

Although she resisted pressure to resign in 2013, events moved on. A review into the whole case concluded that social workers and police had been aware of the abuse of hundreds of young girls in Oxfordshire since 2005 but that they had failed to investigate or even to record this as a crime.

In 2015, the Oxfordshire County Council chose to abolish Simon's role, apparently to save money. This decision, after some internal squabbling, was then reversed. Simons eventually stood down in 2015, at which stage she received a pay-off from the Council amounting to the sum of £259,000. Which, again to put this into context, is worth more than the price of the average house in the UK. The average UK house price in the year following Simons's pay-off was £220,000. So the investment most British people spend their working lives paying off could have been covered by Simons with a single year's haul.

Many people might assume that such a person would not reappear in public again, or would sit on their winnings and go away. But Oxfordshire did not lose Simons for long. Last July, the organisation which promotes tourism in the area -- 'Experience Oxfordshire' -- announced Joanna Simons as the new head of their board. A press release announcing her appointment quoted her citing her experience at Oxfordshire County Council as the qualification for taking up this role. She also said how much she was looking forward to 'helping to promote the wonderful place that Oxfordshire is to work, visit and live in.' The former chairman of the board, one Graham Upton, declared that Simons brought a 'wealth of experience' to the role.

Ms Simons is just one person -- one of the many people in the UK who for years turned a blind eye to the mass rape of young girls in their area. But of course these people are not in prison. They are rarely if ever vilified or even mentioned in the national press. They have not had their lives turned upside down. They have not been persecuted at every turn. Instead -- if Joanna Simons is anything to go by -- they have been able to keep their heads down briefly, cash in and then fall upwards again. If Britain is to turn around the disgrace of its culture of 'grooming gangs' it should start by changing the risk-reward ratio between those who identify these monstrous crimes and those who have been shown to have covered them up.

Douglas Murray, British author, commentator and public affairs analyst, is based in London, England. His latest book, an international best-seller, is "The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam."

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UN Has Only Recommended Tiny Token Numbers of Syrian Christians for Resettlement in the UK
Muslim Persecution of Christians, November 2017
by Raymond Ibrahim
June 3, 2018 at 4:30 am

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

Germany: According to a November 11 report in The European, approximately 200 churches have been attacked and desecrated in the Alps and Bavarian regions alone. Large summit crosses atop mountains have also been felled and destroyed by axes and saws. "Young Islamists" are believed to be behind the widespread vandalism.

Philippines: Supporters of an Islamic militant group desecrated and tried to torch a Catholic chapel in the Mindanao region on Friday evening, November 10. According to the report, Archbishop Quevedo said "This criminal act is an abhorrent desecration of a place of Catholic worship." The Muslim governor, Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao insisted the act had nothing to do with Islam: "Islam teaches respect for religions and worship sites. Islam teaches religious tolerance. We have a principle in our religion that says there is no compulsion in religion." (He neglected, however, to add that some Muslim scholars claim this sura, 2:256, has been abrogated.)

Similar incidents occurred in May 2017, when "Islamic State-inspired gunmen burned the St. Mary's Cathedral in Marawi," notes the report; and in June 2017, Muslim militants "also desecrated a chapel in the neighboring province of North Cotabato."

Egypt: As in the previous month of October, when Muslim mob riots and attacks on churches prompted authorities to close at least four churches, the Pope Kerlis VI and Archdeacon Habib Gerges church continued to be threatened and was eventually shut down. On November 16, "workers from the national electricity company reportedly tried to cut the church building's power," says a report. "Coptic priests and youths stopped them before they cut the main power cable," and Christians refused to leave the church building and spent the night inside it..." On the following day, the local Muslim governor warned the local bishop to close the church down, as terror attacks against it were imminent. The bishop obliged.

Algeria: On November 9, authorities shut down another church as well as a Christian book store. According to the report, "police raided the bookshop, accusing its owner of illegally printing Bibles and evangelistic brochures. They confiscated books and equipment but returned them when no proof of the allegations was found. Despite that, police issued and implemented a closure order for both the church and the bookshop. The order, which wrongly identifies the bookshop owner as the pastor of the church, repeated the earlier accusations and also alleges that he uses his private car to distribute illegal Christian material. The closure order also claims the Ain Turk church is illegal, despite its affiliation with the officially recognized EPA (L'Église Protestante d'Algérie). Churches in Algeria faced long-standing legal difficulties. Permission is required before a building can be used for non-Muslim worship, however authorities have always failed to grant such permission to churches."

Nigeria: A decade after Muslims attacked, slaughtered, and displaced Christians in a northern town—and then destroyed their churches—authorities continue to forbid returned Christians from rebuilding their eight destroyed (Catholic and Protestant) churches because local Muslims reject it. "Christians who have braved it and returned after the attacks in 2007 have no worship buildings up to today," explained a local Christian, because "the government of Kano state has banned us from rebuilding our churches." In such a "hostile environment, the few Christians there continue to "conduct services under trees." Even when asked where such-and-such church meets and worships, officials often respond by saying, "Do you see that tree over there? That's where the ... church is." The original 2007 attacks were sparked by false accusations of "blasphemy" against a Christian high school student (he supposedly drew a cartoon of Muhammad): "The Muslim students attacked Christian students, and soon they were joined by Muslims in this town. All eight churches were destroyed, Christians were displaced, and many Christians were also killed. I personally saw three corpses of members of the St. Mary's Catholic Church who were killed by the Muslim attackers."

Muslim Hate for and Abuse of Christians

Syria: Rita Habib Ayyub, an Assyrian Christian woman sexually enslaved by ISIS and other Muslims for over three years until rescued by the Syrian Democratic Forces, shared her experiences in an interview:

My name is Rita. The terrorists changed my name to Maria [indicating her Christian identity]. I am 30 years old. In the hospital in Mosul, we women were subjected to the most degrading abuse. Three children from my people were with me, and I witnessed them being sold to emirs in Mosul. I was sold to Abu Mus'ab al-Iraqi. In his home, there was also a Yazidi girl from Sinjar named Shata...she was only 14 years old. He raped the both of us over and over again. He made us watch videos with terrorists slaughtering non-Muslims. In one of them, they were beheading Shata's brother.... After six months, Abu Mus'ab sold me to another terrorist, and I was transported to Raqqa, Syria. But he did not keep me...he sold me to a third terrorist, a Saudi named Abu Khalid al-Saudi. Abu Khalid was married to a woman from Morocco. I was beaten and tortured by her every day. She would not give up until I was bleeding, from my head, for example. They made me read the Quran and threatened to kill me if I did not convert to Islam.

Months later she was sold again, transported to several regions between Iraq and Syria, until she was taken near Deir ez-Zur, where she was eventually rescued.

Nigeria: A comprehensive report—riddled with accounts of abduction, rape, sadistic torture, murder, and wholesale massacres—substantiates its charge that Muslim Fulani herdsmen are engaged in the "ethnic cleansing" of Christians. In one case, "A 13 year old girl was gang-raped and abandoned in the bush for hours before local vigilante group came to her rescue." In another, "A 10 year old boy" was "whipped severely with different sizes of cane and was abandoned in a shallow pit." One of the more telling portions of the report follows:

Some of the tactics used by the Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen include abduction, rape and other forms of assault on women and children. Another strategy used by the Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen ... is the disemboweling of pregnant women, to ensure that both mother and baby are killed. On the few occasions, when men are captured ... their limbs are cut off and they are then shot in the presence of their family. Sometimes, the family members are made to run and are then shot at; those lucky enough to escape the bullets are pursued. What lends credence to the perceived complicity of stakeholders from the Muslim north, is the silence and inaction of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the face of the massive atrocities committed against indigenous Christian communities in Benue State.

The authors of the report conclude that the data presented "gives clear indications of ethnic cleansing based on religious affiliation."

Philippines: New documents and reports made clear that, contrary to some initial reports, the Islamist siege of Marawi last summer, which included the slaughter of at least 25 Christians, was fundamentally fueled by an anti-Christian bias. According to Amnesty International,

The civilian victims were nearly all Christians, and most – if not all – were targeted because they were not Muslim. Militants often gave civilians a de facto religious test prior to killing them; they were asked to recite the Shahada, which is an expression of Muslim faith, or to respond to Muslim greetings. Civilians who did not recite the Shahada or failed to respond appropriately were often summarily executed.

Pictured: A building burns in the city of Marawi, Philippines on June 15, 2017, as the Philippines military battles Islamist terrorists for control of the city. At least 25 Christians were slaughtered in the city during an Islamist siege last summer, and "Islamic State-inspired gunmen burned the St. Mary's Cathedral." (Image source: Mark Jhomel/Wikimedia Commons)

Egypt: The Wafa Media Foundation, a jihadi propaganda network affiliated to the Islamic State issued a message aimed at inciting the nation's Muslims to rise against Christians and their churches. Agenzia Fides summarized the message contained in a dossier as follows: "Coptic Christians in Egypt do not accept the condition of submission imposed on Christians in Islamic societies: they continue to build churches and even promote television networks to spread the Christian proclamation. This is why they must be attacked as 'infidel fighters,' and their churches must be blown up." The Catholic report concludes by noting that "In 2017 alone, Jihadist terrorism committed three massacres regarding Coptic Christians, as well as several murders. On April 9, Palms Sunday, attacks were carried out on two Coptic churches ... causing 45 deaths and more than 130 wounded. On May 26, a terrorist assault against a coach of pilgrims in the governorate of Minya caused the death of 28 Copts."

Separately, Rasha Magdi , a non-veiled, Western-looking Egyptian female television news host inadvertently showed just how ingrained contempt for Egypt's Christians is among the general populace, when she went off script during her show and suggested that Islamic terror attacks against Christians are understandable whereas those against Muslims are not: "These radical groups have attacked a number of churches and we said, 'Ah, they see it as a religion other than the religion of Islam, and an enemy to them,' and we said, 'Fine'—but [to kill] Muslims, how?!" Magdi said. Due to the outrage her comments provoked, the owner of Sada al-Balad Media Group suspended Magdi and issued the following statement: "We in Egypt are one people, there is no difference between a Muslim and a Christian. All of us are equal. We live together in safety. [...] terrorism and aggression against the [people] are criminal acts." That is not the first time this secular looking but radicalized woman incited against Christians. "When Magdi worked for the state television network, several legal cases were filed against her for inciting hatred against Egypt's Coptic Christians," says a report, "particularly regarding the killing by the Egyptian army of more than 25 Christians during what has become known as the Maspero massacre."

Pakistan: The father of Sharoon Masih, a Christian teenager who a month earlier was beaten to death by a group of Muslim classmates during school for being a "filthy Christian" spoke out after police and local authorities, supported by various Pakistani media, said the case was isolated and had nothing to do with the slain 17-year-old's Christian faith:

"My younger children are frightened and are bullied in their schools, since their brother died they have all expressed that they do not want to go to school .... Speaking up about bullying and harassment in the schools in Pakistan brings about absolutely no change. Our Government presents no help and obstructs it in fact by building teaching material that target minorities."

A local Christian councilor, Pervaiz Masih, confirmed the grieving father's contentions:

"It is totally true that the other Christian children have suffered discrimination, as a local Councillor I recently resolved a similar issue when a Christian boy in BTM school in Burewala was beaten because he refused to convert to Islam. The boys who attacked the Christian boy were suspended for a few days but then resumed their attacks as soon as they returned to school. I suffered the same when I was at school, nothing changes despite the efforts of Christian leaders who often highlight these concerns. This is one of the many reasons Christians fail to excel in education."

United Nations and United Kingdom: Critics accused the United Nations in general and the British government in particular of continuing to discriminate against Christian refugees in favor of Muslim refugees from Syria. Barnabas Fund said it had "finally obtained figures proving that the UN has only recommended tiny token numbers of Syrian Christians ... for resettlement in the UK," whereas the "overwhelming majority of refugees recommended by the UN have been Sunni Muslims who form the majority in Syria. But Christians, and other minorities, have been repeatedly targeted for attack by Islamist groups such as IS." The new statistics, obtained through a Freedom of Information Request to the UK's Home Office revealed:

In 2015 out of 2,637 refugees there were only 43 Christians, just 13 Yazidis and only one Shia Muslim. In 2016 the statistics were even worse. Out of 7,499 refugees there were only 27 Christians, five Yazidis and 13, Shia Muslims. It is widely accepted that Christians made up 10 per cent of Syria's pre-war population... Disturbingly, UK officials tried to prevent the release of this information.

The rest of the report accuses officials of going to great lengths not to provide the information, which they were "legally required to release"; they "repeatedly stalled or simply did not answer correspondence" until a formal complaint caused them to comply: "Even then, the information was only released at the very last minute..."

Muslim Attacks on Christian Freedom

Kenya: A group of Muslims attacked and seriously injured a Christian widow's three children—aged 13, 17 and 21—on the charge that the family had apostatized from Islam. According to the report, "Hadiya (surname withheld), an immigrant from Somalia, had not yet returned from a trip to a funeral when the assailants of Somali descent broke into her home at a town (undisclosed for security reasons) outside of Nairobi, at 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 17." Her children were still asleep when the Muslim gang began knocking on the door. When the brothers inquired who it was, they smashed a window. "We have warned you several times to stop taking the children to church," a voice shouted. "You have become an embarrassment to our clan as well as the entire Muslim community. We are here today to finish you and your children." Then the Muslims stormed the house and beat the three siblings, "so much that blood was found throughout the front room," notes the report. Neighbors intervened in time to save the children's lives; two of the three were so wounded as to require a four day hospital stay and were last reported as being "in continuous pain." According to the report, "Somalis generally believe all Somalis are Muslims by birth and that consequently any Somali who becomes a Christian can be charged with apostasy, punishable by death." The Christian widow says, "We are living in great fear and experience sleepless nights. It is not safe for us to stay in this particular place. We need prayers and financial help at this difficult moment."

A separate report chronicles the trials and tribulations that Muslim converts to Christianity—in this case, in Kenya.—experience. Rahma, a young Muslim girl, raised in strict Muslim households, continuously doubted the things she was taught, and on some occasions was abused by family members, particularly her father and an aunt (her mother died early on). "Islam was a yoke to my heart. I felt as if I was forced to believe in things that were a heavy burden to carry." She began to sneak out and attend church services: "My desire to become a Christian was gaining momentum as well as having a very strong dislike for Islam, but I wanted to know exactly what Christianity is all about and who could understand me and help me change my faith." She eventually secured a Bible and began reading it. One night, while "I was deep in reading and meditation," her aunt came into her bedroom "and found me doing my devotion. She was so mad at me and asked me when I started bringing Bibles into her house. I gathered my courage and told her that I had given my life to Christ. She was struck by a hard reality and shock, and everybody in the house was awakened to come and hear what I just said. I reiterated that I had given my life to Christ...." The report concludes, "At the time of ICC's interview, Rahma [21] has been completely rejected by her family. They do not want to be associated with her because she is seen as a disgrace to their community. According to Sharia law, she is now an apostate. Her family took Rahma's possessions including her telephone, clothes and shoes," though she shows little regret: "It's as if a load has been lifted off my back... [even though] my conversion to Christianity has made my family view me as a kafir (infidel) and they have chased me out of the house."

Uganda: A Muslim man who had been posing as a Christian teacher at a Christian elementary school attacked the school director and terrorized students after he was exposed. Mugooda Siraji, the Muslim, had earlier lied to the board by giving them a false name and saying he was Christian. After being hired as a teacher, "Siraji came to our class and openly said he was a Muslim, and that his real name was Mugooda Siraji and not Simon Siraji," a fourth-grade child told a school official. "He has been introducing to us Islamic ablution and how to be a true Muslim by believing in Allah and Muhammad." The board responded by asking him to take a leave of absence: "We as the board learned that you did not provide to us the right profile of yourself, and that you have been propagating Islamic religion, which is against the school's principles, which are based on Christian foundations. Therefore, the school administration recommends that you step aside as we carry on further investigations." The report continues:

Siraji forced his way into the office shouting "Allah Akbar" and hit Muwanguzi with a blunt object, Kakonge said. "Muwanguzi suffered face and right hand injuries, with serious bleeding from the face," Kakonge said. Teachers managed to overpower Siraji, but he managed to escape, sources said.

Siraji is one of many local Muslims trying "to form a strategy of how to stop activities on the Christian school and terminate it. The school has an enrollment of 162 children." "The Muslims have complained that the school every evening makes noise in praising, worshiping and praying," Kakonge said. "We need prayers at this trying moment for quick recovery for our school director, and that this criminal act will be brought to book."

Mauritania: "Showing repentance will no longer prevent the death penalty from being applied for blasphemy and apostasy, Mauritania said on Friday [November 17], as the conservative Muslim nation hardens up its religious laws," is how a report explained the west African nation's announcement that it is introducing a new bill that would "harden up expected sentences for blasphemers": "Every Muslim, man or woman, who mocks or insults Mohammed (peace be upon him), his angels, books," the Ministry of Justice statement reads, "is liable to face the death penalty, without being asked to repent. They will incur the death penalty even if they repent." Because Mauritania is 99 percent Muslim, critics suggest that the new law is meant to target those Muslims who are rethinking their Islam or considering conversion to Christianity (which accounts for the remaining one of the nation). "Although Mauritania's Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and thought," notes a separate report, "in practice this is not guaranteed and prosecutors have appealed the court's decision."

Germany: "After several reports showed that Christians were being systematically persecuted in German asylum homes," says a report, "the problem has now moved from the homes to the streets," where growing numbers of Christians, especially those from Muslim backgrounds ("apostates") have been attacked and in one notable instance (in May 2017) killed. Observers, such as Rosemarie Götze (AKA Sister Rosemarie) say the problem is much more worse than previously thought, particularly as many of those who are attacked never report it because they "are afraid that they will continue to be attacked or that families who are still abroad may learn that they have become Christians" with dire repercussions for loved ones.

Christian "Blasphemers" in Muslim Pakistan

Muslim threats prompted five Christian families to abandon and flee their homes after an 18-year-old youth among them was falsely accused of, and portrayed as, engaging in blasphemy against Islam. The perpetrators had created a fake Facebook page attributed to the youth and with a picture of him, prompting the Muslims in the area to call for his and his family's death. According to the report, however, police said "there was no proof of the Christian boy named Arshad had submitted any blasphemy whatsoever. It was a phony campaign." A Christian counselor involved in the case said that "he had no clue where were the Christian families who had fled the area to save their lives and what conditions they are in. He additionally had no idea of why Arshad Masih was being encircled for this case."

Separately, on the same day of his son's funeral, another Christian man suffering from mental illness was arrested on the charge that he had blasphemed against Islam. Whenever he failed to take his medicine Iqbal Masih, 65, a retired father of nine was known to "go out into the street and shout abuse at passers-by" or suddenly "start calling names in the middle of the night," say locals. That is what he did when his young son, Bobby, died of illness. "Bobby's body was at home and people from the neighbourhood were visiting to pay their condolences when Iqbal started shouting abuse, after which the women left his home," said a man involved in the case. "Iqbal then recited the kalima [or shahada, Islamic declaration of faith] and shouted abuse. Realising that he was not behaving normally, the police were called to take him away so that tension between Christians and Muslims of the area might not arise." Local clerics and others, however, were initially unsatisfied with this approach: "Some of them," notes the report, "wanted to set him on fire, but other sensible people suggested that Masih be handed over to the police as he was experiencing a mental health crisis."

In addition to those events, Mukhtar Masih, a 70-year-old Christian man accused of blasphemy, died of gastro-internal bleeding before his trial. He was originally arrested in January 2017, after a "blasphemous" letter was found pinned on the door of a local mosque. "Mukhtar insisted he was innocent of the crime and expressed that any language expert could recognize that the writing on the letter was not his," says the report. "Moreover he also maintained that no Christian in Pakistan would be foolish enough to take such a risk with his life." The accusations are believed to have been concocted as a way to appropriate his property. A spokesman for the deceased said, "we were extremely confident that Mukhtar would be exonerated and that his reputation would once again become unsullied. His distraught family have expressed great disappointment that Mukhtar Masih died with charges of blasphemy over his head. We are challenging our local MP's to call for a posthumous exoneration for a man who did not commit any crime. Mukhtar's only offence was the hurt he apparently caused to Muslims for adhering to the Christian faith."

About this Series

While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by Muslims is growing. The report posits that such Muslim persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location.

Raymond Ibrahim is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians (published by Regnery with Gatestone Institute, April 2013).
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The Mullahs and the Tale of a Betrayal
by Amir Taheri
June 3, 2018 at 4:00 am

Until last week I thought that at the time President Obama was selling the American establishment a bill of goods on his cute "Iran nuclear deal", in Tehran President Hassan Rouhani was telling the truth, at least to his boss Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. After all, Rouhani has a doctorate in Islamic Theology from Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland and, as a good Muslim, wouldn't tell anything but the truth.

Obama was telling the Americans that his "historic deal" had blocked all avenues for Iran to develop a nuclear arsenal forever without firing a shot. He even cited a fatwa by the Islamic Republic's "Supreme Guide", Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, forbidding all nuclear weapons. The fact that no one apart Obama himself claimed to have seen the fatwa was neither here nor there. After all, a US president wouldn't tell a fib on so important a matter.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I found out that Obama hadn't been alone in deceiving his side of the bizarre show and that Rouhani, too, had been economic with the truth to the point of leading Khamenei up the garden path.

By all accounts, Khamenei was angry enough to expose Rouhani as a turbaned version of Pinocchio in public. Having summoned 220 top civilian and military officials to review the consequences of the virtual collapse of the so-called "nuclear deal", Khamenei demanded that Rouhani provide report on how things stand now.

In 2015, Rouhani had described the "nuclear deal" as "the greatest diplomatic victory in the history of Islam." Last week, in his report to Khamenei, he was as boastful but even less truthful.

"In the latest event, meaning its leaving of a multilateral international accord, America has suffered a new political, legal and moral defeat," the Glasgow theologian boasted. "As a result, the Islamic Republic of Iran has scored yet another political, legal and moral victory."

Rouhani's boast was so brazen that Khamenei decided to break his silence even if that meant pointing the finger at his president for being economical with the truth.

"But did we enter those negotiations to unmask the Americans?" Khamenei demanded. "Was that our negotiating aim? Or did we enter negotiations, as told at the time, to have sanctions lifted? As you see, sanctions haven't been lifted and they are now threatening to restore the few sanctions that had been suspended."

According to accounts of the stormy meeting, part of which were presented in official media in Tehran, Rouhani manifested a degree of chutzpah that even mullahs might admire. He claimed that there was little to worry about because "all countries in the world apart from a few tiny or illegitimate ones, and especially the European nations have sided with Iran."

Khamenei, however, wouldn't be led up the garden path, even if that meant pointing the finger at his president as a consummate storyteller.

"We don't want to pick a quarrel with the Europeans," Khamenei said. "But we must know the truth that the three European nations, Britain, Germany and France, will always follow America on all sensitive issues. You remember the ugly gesture of the French foreign minister who said the Europeans were playing good cop to the American bad cop. These people say something and when it comes to action do something else."

The short clips shown of the encounter indicate no reduction in Rouhani's chutzpah. Looking for any old fig-leaf, he promises to "divide the Europeans from the Americans so that the US ends up as loser".

However, that boast didn't wash either, as a smirk appearing around the ayatollah's beard spread to 220 other beards across the conference hall.

"Did we enter the deal to cause trouble between the Americans and the Europeans?" Khamenei demanded. "Or did we go along to achieve an end to sanctions as promised? As the sanctions have not been lifted, all other matters are worthless."

Rouhani's biggest fib came when he claimed that the Obama "deal" had helped Iran achieve the right to enrich uranium, albeit at the lowest degree.

Khamenei made a lame comment claiming that Iran's progress in nuclear research had made that inevitable.

On that, both Rouhani and Khamenei are wrong, albeit for different reasons.

The right to enrich uranium is recognized for all nations in the world, and thus there is no need to secure permission from an informal group such as the so-called P5+1, which has no legal basis and no authority on any issue. Right now, 34 countries have uranium enrichment programs of various dimensions without the endorsement of the P5+1 posse that Obama assembled.

Thus, asking a group of powers operating outside international law to "recognize" a nation's already universally recognized right is the lowest depth of humiliation.

Rouhani's fibs remind me of an episode in 1919, when the British tried to impose a light version of their imperial tutelage on Iran through a treaty which began by declaring that the United Kingdom recognized Iran's independence. The same British had prevented Iran from obtaining a seat at the Versailles Conference at the end of the First World War.

An Iranian delegation, headed by the incomparable scholar Muhammad-Ali Forughi, had to hang around Versailles for months in the forlorn hope of getting a say. Forughi and his team ran out of money and the government in Tehran, being bankrupt, couldn't help. Some Tehran bazaaris agreed to pay the bills.

In Versailles, the British argued that Iran lacked enough authority as an independent nation to take part. In the treaty they proposed, they said they honored Iran's independence.

The proposed British treaty of 1919 was instantly opposed by the Iranian Majlis (parliament) and one of the best speeches made against it came from Hassan Mudarress, a cleric who later opposed Reza Khan's plan for turning Iran into a republic.

"Iran has been around and independent for centuries," he said. " Why do we need the British or anyone else to recognize a right that we have always had?"

The argument was that if you get your right from someone, that someone could also make it away from you.

That kind of lesson, of course, isn't taught at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Amir Taheri was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. He has worked at or written for innumerable publications, published eleven books, and has been a columnist for Asharq Al-Awsat since 1987.

This article was originally published by Asharq al-Awsat and is reprinted by kind permission of the author.

© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.
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British 'Justice': Poppycock
by Bruce Bawer
June 2, 2018 at 5:00 am

The coverage here during the last few days of the Tommy Robinson affair in Britain appears to be having at least a small impact in certain circles in Merrie Olde England. Dispatches have come in from some of the tonier addresses in the UK explaining, in that marvelous tone of condescension which no one from beyond the shores of England can ever quite pull off, that those of us who sympathize with Robinson have got it all wrong; that we simply do not grasp the exquisite nuances of British jurisprudence, specifically the kingdom's laws about the coverage of trials – for if we did understand, we would recognize that Robinson's summary arrest and imprisonment did not represent an outrageous denial of his freedom of speech, his right to due process, and his right to an attorney of his own choosing, but were, in fact, thoroughly appropriate actions intended to ensure the integrity of the trial he was covering. Those of us outside the UK who think that British freedom has been compromised and that the British system of law has been cynically exploited for ignoble purposes are, apparently, entirely mistaken; on the contrary, we are instructed, Britain's police are continuing to conduct themselves in a responsible matter, Britain's courts are still models of probity, and Britain's real journalists (not clumsy, activist amateurs like Robinson) persist in carrying out their role with extraordinary professionalism and propriety, obeying to the letter the eminently sensible rules that govern reportage about court cases in the land of Magna Carta.

"It is true," acknowledged one correspondent, "that in previous years the UK police wrongly hesitated to prosecute Muslim grooming gangs. And it was a shocking scandal, which the Daily Mail did much to expose and excoriate. But that has changed."

Hesitated? Changed? Talk about English understatement. For decades – not years – police, social workers, local politicians, and journalists all over Britain knew that thousands of non-Muslim girls throughout the country were being repeatedly raped by Muslim gangs. The perpetrators were not arrested – partly because police and others in authority were apparently terrified of being called racists.

In addition, they might have feared a massive explosion of Muslim outrage. Also, in a country where class still plays a crucial role, most of the victims were from working-class families, and may thus have been seen by at least some officials who cherish Islamic cultural enrichment as the spawn of lowbrows.

Instead of arresting rapists, the police -- in at least a couple of cases -- have actually arrested people who did nothing other than to try to rescue their children from the clutches of rapists.

To be sure, the Daily Mail finally began to break the news about all this, thereby forcing the hands of police departments and courts. But to suggest that the policies that made these atrocities possible have changed – or that anywhere near all of the Muslim rapists are now facing trial or already behind bars – is an absurd and grotesque lie.

These decades of cover-ups by British officials are themselves unspeakable crimes. Yet how many of those who knew, but who did nothing, have faced anything remotely resembling justice? Apparently none. Clearly, all too many Britons who should be furious not only at the grooming gangs, who have committed monstrous acts on a scale that staggers the imagination, but also at the civil servants who looked away, are instead in high dudgeon over Tommy Robinson, one of the few people who have dared publicly to call the brutal, violent abuse of children by its proper name and to react to it in a manner proportional to its villainy. One Englishman explained that all those upstanding police and courthouse personnel in his country have "thoroughly investigated" the grooming-gang cases, and their efforts have involved "great resources of police time and great expense." By reporting live on Facebook from outside the courthouse, he stated, Robinson risked destroying all their hard work by broadcasting information of which, by law, jurors in this trial, and potential jurors in other rape-gang trials, should be kept unaware.

Poppycock. Robinson did not do anything outside this courthouse that other reporters do not do on a regular basis. The information he supplied, including the names and ages of the defendants, came straight off the BBC website. The critic who expressed such tender concern about "police time" actually argued that Robinson, by reading off all those Muslim names, might have formed unfortunate "preconceptions" in the minds of potential jurors that would make it impossible for them to give future Muslim defendants a fair trial. Is he suggesting that in order for any of these thugs to get tried fairly, the entire British public should be kept in the dark about the reality of Muslim grooming gangs? "Robinson was not just on the street, he was sending a running commentary to the internet," complained one correspondent. "If any other journalist was found doing that, he or she may also have been sent to prison under a gag order until the trial ends."

Does anyone truly believe that some well-known BBC or Sky News talking head would ever have been plucked up from outside the courthouse in Leeds, shoved into a paddywagon, dragged before a judge, and tossed unceremoniously into the clink without so much as being allowed to phone a lawyer? So much concern – legitimately so – about the sacred right of the rapists to a fair trial, including the presumption of innocence and an opportunity to retain the lawyers of their choice – but so much readiness to excuse the denial of the same right to Robinson! "A trained professional journalist," we hear, does not report information about a trial live from outside a courthouse "but sends a report to the newspaper, whose editors and/or lawyers can then check it before it is published." More poppycock. Granted, as any viewer of British TV news knows, a "trained professional journalist" in Britain observes all kinds of rules of professional conduct: he calls Muslims "Asians," he describes any critic of Islam, or anyone who attends a rally protesting the unjust incarceration of a critic of Islam, as a member of the "far right," and he identifies far-left smear machines as "anti-racist groups."

Some British correspondents also expressed concern that reckless rhetoric about the Robinson case might end up causing "an insurrection" in Britain, which "would lead to immense casualties." News flash: there have already been immense casualties. Question for these critics: Are those child rape victims unreal to you? What about the countless UK victims of female genital mutilation, "honor" killings, and other "honor"-related punishments, not to mention various less-than-neighborly activities by Muslim gangs? Yes, there have been casualties, and if Britain keeps on in the direction it is currently going, the number of casualties will only rise. "Demography is destiny," as the saying has it.

One note dismissed the statement by Robert Spencer, quoted by yours truly, that "the darkness of Sharia-compliant totalitarianism" is descending upon Britain. "Someone who utters such a sentence," we are told, "immediately loses the respect of most Britons that I know. In the UK, such lurid rhetoric is seen as characteristic of nutters."

Interesting to bring up the concepts of luridness and respect. Should one still respect the people who covered up child rapes for decades? If there is "lurid rhetoric," well, perhaps lurid events call for lurid rhetoric – especially for events which the powers that be have swept under the rug for years. As for the reference to Robert Spencer, a brave and learned scholar, as a "nutter": well, if head-in-the-sand aplomb amounts to sanity, then count me as a nutter.

One British observer complained that those of us who have criticized Robinson's treatment in recent days are guilty of "ignorantly malign[ing] the authorities." What is this species of Briton who appears to be more exercised by frank criticism of public officials than by mass child gang rapes? I have also been told that "an experienced English lawyer...would have advised" against publishing some passages of my recent articles. Mercifully, not everyone is subject to Britain's increasingly frightening laws.

Another note from the UK flatly denied that freedom in Britain today is on the decline: "Let's be clear, there has been no clampdown on free speech by the British judiciary, government or press in the Tommy Robinson affair." On the contrary, as demonstrated by any number of articles over the last several years, the UK has imposed an increasingly stringent clampdown on free speech about Islam by anyone.

"Reading some of your contributions," charged one communiqué, "you would think the UK has become an Islamist state." No, not yet. It is on its way, though, thanks to complacent people who are more worried about "scare stories," as one man put it, than about the real-life scary actions that these "scare stories" recount. "It's all becoming too hysterical and extreme," the missive charges, and accuses us of "whip[ping] up hatred." Ah yes, let us not rattle the teacups while the barbarians are raping our children. Let us not report honestly on a rape crisis – which often the rapists themselves say is rooted in the teachings of Islam -- lest it turn some readers against the religion.

Yet another letter-writer, while offering a number of similar criticisms, calls Tommy Robinson "a genuine racist." Of course, calling people racists is weapon #1 in any serious campaign to shut down criticism, including of Islam. All of us who have been writing critically about Islam for any length of time are accustomed to being called racists. One gets used to it. But apart from being a shabby card to play -- there are, after all, real racists in the world -- by all appearances, Tommy Robinson is not one of them. He has often pointed out that he grew up in a racially mixed community and that his lifelong friends include Africans, Caribbean blacks, and blokes with Muslim and Hindu backgrounds. His best friend is black. Race simply seems not to have been an issue for him. He left the English Defence League because of its racism.

If there is any bigotry here, it would seem to be on the part of those who view Robinson – whose courage, love of country, and sense of civic responsibility they are incapable of recognizing – as a boorish rabble-rouser who should leave the business of governance to those who possess the requisite breeding, education, manners, and wisdom.

The bottom line here is simple. The claims by these high-toned correspondents to the contrary, Britain is in serious trouble. While foreign truth-tellers are banned from entering the country, jihad preachers are still welcome. While authorities still go out of their way to avoid arresting, prosecuting, or jailing a Muslim criminal, they are quick to take into custody, or at least pay an intimidating visit to, any ordinary Britisher who dares to criticize the Religion of Peace. If people took the trouble to write letters of complaint in response to articles that are sympathetic to Tommy Robinson, it may be because they recognize that the news about the erosion of British freedom is finally getting out – not just to a relatively small circle of people in the U.S. and elsewhere, but to millions -- and they do not like it at all.

Bruce Bawer is the author of the new novel The Alhambra (Swamp Fox Editions). His book While Europe Slept (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. His other books include A Place at the Table (1993), Stealing Jesus (1997), Surrender (2009), and The Victims' Revolution (2012). A native New Yorker, he has lived in Europe since 1998.

© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.
British 'Justice': Poppycock
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UK: A New Drive for Islamic Blasphemy Laws?
by Judith Bergman
June 2, 2018 at 5:00 am

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims[1] has formally begun work on the establishment of a "working definition of Islamophobia that can be widely accepted by Muslims, political parties and the government".

The AAPG on British Muslims, according to its website, was established in July 2017. It is chaired by MPs Anna Soubry and Wes Streeting and is meant to build on the work of a former AAPG: the AAPG on Islamophobia. The latter came into existence as the result of a meeting at the House of Commons in March 2010, hosted by, among others, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) -- the largest Muslim organization in the UK, which claims to be representative of British Muslims -- which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood[2]. The purpose of the meeting was "to discuss the growing spate of attacks in all its forms against British Muslims". The meeting, which was attended, among others, by parliamentarians, police and public servants called for the establishment of an APPG on Islamophobia. By November 2010, the AAPG on Islamophobia had been formed, and was described by its chairman, the Conservative Kris Hopkins, as a "momentous occasion" the purpose of which was to "propose considered, evidence based policies to tackle Islamophobia wherever it exists". However, the newly established AAPG quickly ran into trouble. It turned out that the Muslim organization appointed as its secretariat was the Muslim extremist organization iENGAGE, which has since changed its name to MEND.[3]

Meanwhile, the work against "Islamophobia" instead continued in other forums. In 2012, Minister of State for Faith and Communities, Baroness Warsi -- who was the co-chair of the AAPG on Islamophobia and is now the treasurer of the AAPG on British Muslims -- helped form a government working group against Islamophobia, named the "Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group".

The Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group is made up of "representatives from the Muslim community, independent experts, academics, and government departments" including, among others, the Attorney General's Office, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the National Police Chiefs' Council.

The Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group has as its top priority "tackling the far right and counter jihadists". It seems a peculiar government priority to "tackle" people who are opposed to jihad; one would assume that the British government is also against jihad.

One member of the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group, Akeela Ahmed, who represents the organization "Hope not Hate" has said:

"One successful initiative of the [Anti-Muslim Hatred Working] group was petitioning the Home Office for funding to protect mosques from attacks around the UK. There had been a sharp spike in incidents as the result of Lee Rigby's murder in 2013 by Islamist extremists. The Home Office agreed to allocate £2 million over three years for the protection of faith institutions".

According to British government logic, after Muslims stabbed and beheaded British Army soldier Lee Rigby in broad daylight in London, Muslim institutions needed protection -- not British ones.

Other priorities of the "Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group" are "public transport awareness campaign to encourage reporting of anti-Muslim hatred incidents [one such campaign took place in October 2017], anti-Muslim bullying in schools, [and] Muslim literacy in the media".

Prime Minister Theresa May last year described "Islamophobia" as "extremism", and compared it to Islamic terrorism:

"...terrorism, extremism and hatred take many forms; and our determination to tackle them must be the same whoever is responsible... there has been far too much tolerance of extremism in our country over many years – and that means extremism of any kind, including Islamophobia."

Despite the government's focused activity on fighting "Islamophobia", the AAPG for British Muslims remained dissatisfied. In October 2017, Baroness Warsi declared that "it is high time to have a definition of Islamophobia, and that to fundamentally challenge the hate that underpins hate crime, we need to define what that hate is". Warsi therefore invited the British Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, "to meet with a cross-section of community organisations and individuals, led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, to work towards a definition".

Lord Bourne responded that he would be happy to meet with the group but that he did not accept the need for a definitive definition of Islamophobia. According to Bourne, the government "does not currently endorse a particular definition of Islamophobia. Previous attempts by others to define this term have not succeeded in attracting consensus or widespread acceptance".

"It [Islamophobia] is clearly recognised, and we have very effective monitoring of race-hate crimes... considerable work is done by Tell MAMA and the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group in these areas. We do that while understanding and being able to recognise Islamophobia, but perhaps not being able to define it precisely."

The APPG on British Muslims was not discouraged by the minister's response. In April 2018, it released a "call for evidence" -- a call for input to the upcoming report on defining "Islamophobia"-- that Baroness Warsi sent directly to a number of organizations, including Muslim Brotherhood linked Muslim Council of Britain and the extremist MEND.

At the end of the "call for evidence," the AAPG's letter briefly mentioned free speech as a question that is "possibly outside the scope of this report".

It is reasonable to assume that the planned report and the ensuing work on finding a definition of "Islamophobia" is meant effectively to destroy the little that remains of free speech in the UK, where the authorities already vigorously pursue and prosecute claims of "Islamophobia".

Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

[1] APPGs are informal, cross-party groups composed of Members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. They have no official status within Parliament.

[2] A 2015 UK government report found that the Muslim Brotherhood "played an important role in establishing and then running the Muslim Council of Britain".

[3] MEND is also known as an extremist Muslim organization.

© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.
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Denmark Approves Burka Ban
by Soeren Kern
June 1, 2018 at 6:00 am

The Danish Parliament has passed a ban on Islamic full-face veils in public spaces. The new law, sponsored by Denmark's center-right government, and backed by the Social Democrats and the Danish People's Party, was passed on May 31 by 75 votes to 30.

As of August 1, anyone found wearing a burka (which covers the entire face) or a niqab (which covers the entire face except for the eyes) in public in Denmark will be subject to a fine of 1,000 Danish kroner (€135; $157); repeat offenders could be fined 10,000 Danish kroner.

In addition, anyone found to be requiring a person through force or threats to wear garments that cover the face could be fined or face up to two years in prison.

Denmark becomes the sixth European country to enact such a ban, after France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Austria. Bavaria in Germany, Catalonia in Spain and Ticino in Switzerland also have imposed regional burka bans, while Norway has tabled a law to ban burkas in public schools. The bans seemingly seek to restrict the proliferating expression of political Islam in Europe.

The Danish burka ban was first proposed by the Danish People's Party in 2009. MP Martin Henriksen said that burkas and niqabs "are incompatible with Danish culture." He added:

"It has taken almost ten years to convince a majority in the parliament that we should ban burka and niqab in public spaces. Now that the ban has been approved, Parliament should, in the opinion of the Danish People's Party, continue to work on additional measures against the Islamization of Denmark."

In a statement, Justice Minister Søren Pape Poulsen said:

"To keep one's face hidden when meeting each other in public spaces is incompatible with the values in Danish society and disrespectful to the community. We must take care to show respect for our community and the values ​​that bind us together. With a ban on covering the face we are drawing a line in the sand and underlining that in Denmark we show each other trust and respect by meeting face to face."

Amnesty International said the new law was a "discriminatory violation of women's rights. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), however, twice has ruled that burka bans are legal.

In July 2017, for example, the ECHR unanimously upheld a Belgian ban on wearing the burka in public spaces. It said that the government had been responding "to a practice that it considered to be incompatible, in Belgian society, with social communication and more generally the establishment of human relations, which were indispensable for life in society...essential to ensure the functioning of a democratic society."

In October 2010, France became the first European country to ban Islamic veils in public. The then Prime Minister François Fillon said that the ban was aimed at "solemnly reaffirming the values of the republic" and argued that "concealing the face...places the people involved in a position of exclusion and inferiority incompatible with the principles of liberty, equality and human dignity affirmed by the French Republic."

The president at the time, Nicolas Sarkozy, said that the burqa is "a new form of enslavement that will not be welcome in the French Republic." Jacques Myard, a former conservative MP who supported the ban, said the burqa was a "shock" to French culture: "The face is a dignity of a person. The face is your passport. When you refuse me to see you, I am a victim."

An unnamed 24-year-old French citizen of Pakistani origin challenged the new law. In July 2014, however, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) upheld France's burqa ban, accepting the French government's argument that it encouraged citizens to "live together."

In November 2016, the parliament of the Netherlands voted overwhelmingly in favor of a partial ban on face-covering Islamic veils in some public spaces, including schools, hospitals, government buildings and on public transport.

In October 2016, Bulgaria's parliament banned face veils in public. Those who fail to comply with the ban face fines of up to 1,500 levs (€770; $900), as well as suspension of social welfare benefits.

In October 2017, a burka ban entered into effect in Austria. The so-called Anti-Face-Veiling Act (Anti-Gesichtsverhüllungsgesetz) also prohibits the face from being covered in public by scarves, masks and face paint. Those found violating the law are subject to a fine of €150 ($175).

Back in Denmark, Muslims greeted the new law with defiance: A dozen women dressed in burkas and niqabs sat in the visitor's gallery at the parliament in Copenhagen. "Under no circumstances will I compromise my own principles," said one of them.

Justice Minister Søren Pape Poulsen said that "some people do not want to be a part of Danish society and want to create parallel societies with their own norms and rules." This, he said, proved the need for a burka ban: "We want to live in a society where we can see each other in the eyes. Where we see each other's faces in an open democracy. As Danes, this is the way we must be together."

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.

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Denmark Approves Burka Ban
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UK "Justice": "Silencing the Silencing"
by Bruce Bawer
May 31, 2018 at 5:00 am

First the good news: on Wednesday, at about noon London time, Tommy Robinson's former lawyer, Helen Gower, reported on Twitter that "Tommy has just rung me and is well." He had been receiving e-mails of support and was humbled by them. "He did inform me of some of the things that happened on Friday," Gower wrote, "but I don't want to put anything out and I will leave that to his Solicitor."

Well, there it stands: the media gag order on the Tommy Robinson case has been lifted, but Robinson himself remains in Hull Prison, having been arrested on the street in Leeds, hauled into a kangaroo court, and then sent off to jail. Incidentally, in a YouTube video, Canadian activist Lauren Southern and a member of Robinson's team have provided a plausible explanation of why the charge against Robinson declared by the police at the time of arrest, "breach of peace," was changed to "contempt of court." Apparently, the former offense would not constitute a violation of the terms of Robinson's suspended sentence from last year and thereby justify immediate imprisonment. But by declaring Robinson guilty of "contempt of court," the judge was able to ship him straightaway to prison.

But this is all a bunch of judicial mumbo-jumbo -- a cagey use of legal technicalities to betray the very spirit of the law. In fact, it is clear to people all over Britain what is really going on here. Their country is being steadily Islamized, and their government is abetting this process. Muslims commit outrageous crimes, and police treat them respectfully -- then turn around and arrest ordinary British citizens for daring to complain. Of all those ordinary citizens, Robinson is the most prominent. More than anyone else in Britain, he has risked his own safety and freedom to awaken the dormant patriotism and sense of responsibility in the hearts of his fellow British subjects -- and to keep the reprehensible reality of mass child rape by Muslim gangs in the public eye. For these transgressions, the British establishment must see him punished.

Videos and commentaries that have been posted online in recent days by ordinary British citizens give the distinct impression that millions of his countrymen deeply respect Robinson for saying and doing things that they themselves dare not say or do. They are greatly upset by his arrest, trial, and imprisonment -- all of which took place within what must be a record-setting time of four hours -- and are genuinely alarmed by the seemingly unprecedented and unjust way in which the whole thing was pulled off. Thanks to Islam, Britain has been becoming more and more unrecognizable to them -- more and more dangerous, undemocratic, unequal, and unjust -- and this episode appears to have brought that process to a crisis point, and brought many Britons' anger to a boil.

One of those Britons is a friend of my British source "L." Concerned about Robinson's imprisonment, she wrote a polite e-mail to her Member of Parliament, a recently elected Labourite who is an ally of Labour honcho Jeremy Corbyn and who, according to Wikipedia, is gay. The MP's hostile reply to his constituent provides a stark insight into the mentality of at least some of the UK's governing elites. It begins:

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, is not a martyr of free speech.

He is a convicted fraudster and former football hooligan....

This is nonsense. Yes, Robinson is a working-class boy from Luton. If part of young Muslim male culture is forming "grooming gangs" and raping children, part of young male culture in working-class English places like Luton is what is known as "laddish behavior" at soccer matches. Sometimes it shades over into violence; usually it is just a matter of being loud and boisterous outside stadiums and at nearby pubs. In any event, Robinson has written candidly about this aspect of his youth in his book Enemy of the State. To some readers, the MP's description of Robinson as a "former football hooligan" may seem to reek of class condescension. There has, in fact, been good reason throughout Robinson's career as a public figure to wonder how much of the British authorities' shabby treatment of him can be ascribed to his working-class status. Would an Islam critic with an Oxbridge background, a job at a respected London think tank, and an upper-class accent ever be treated the way Robinson is?

As for Robinson being a "fraudster," this charge, as "L" puts it, "stems from a time when it did appear as if the police were scrutinising him and his family for everything they could find. They took away loads of documents and scrutinised his wife's tax affairs, for instance." Eventually he was arrested for lending his brother-in-law £20,000 to help him qualify for a housing loan. A year later, the brother-in-law sold the house for £30,000 and repaid Robinson. As "L" says, "it was a completely victimless crime." Robinson "pleaded guilty for what his lawyer (somewhat understandably) thought would be a non-custodial sentence" and, according to Robinson, on the promise by police had "that if he pleaded guilty they would not go after him financially." Instead, they sent him to prison for eighteen months and was made to pay £125,000. "There are thousands and thousands of people who technically commit mortgage fraud all the time -- e.g. parents who lend deposits to their children and then later get the deposit paid back," says "L." The difference is that Robinson was punished severely for it.

Back to the MP's e-mail. Robinson, he charges,

broke strict reporting rules which exist in court cases for a very good reason: if they are broken, that can lead to the collapse of trials of those alleged to have committed serious crimes such as rape or murder, meaning alleged rapists would walk free.

He was by his actions allowing rapists to get off and this is unacceptable!

More nonsense. Robinson did not break any reporting rules. No rapists got off.

If you believe Tommy Robinson shouldn't be arrested, you are saying the law shouldn't apply to him because you agree with his obsessive anti-Muslim hatred.

On the contrary, Robinson has repeatedly made it clear that he doesn't hate Muslims -- his problem is with Islam. Every brave, halfway intelligent Briton who sees what Islam is doing to his country feels the same way. Note, incidentally, that the MP, in this reply to one of his own constituents -- one of his employers -- is essentially calling her a bigot. This, even though he does not know her at all, and all she did was to express her concern about what, by any measure, was an exceedingly irregular arrest, trial, conviction, and imprisonment.

The MP concludes his reply as follows:

I didn't see [Robinson] trying to break reporting restrictions around the trial of a senior English Defence League member who groomed a 10 year old girl, did you? That's because his agenda is bigotry and hatred, and nothing more.

Once again, ridiculous. A single isolated case of rape by a non-Muslim has nothing whatsoever to do with the almost exclusively Muslim phenomenon of "grooming gangs," which involve sexual abuse by gangs of men of large stables of girls over a period of years. The contempt for infidels and disrespect for females that make these atrocities possible are part and parcel of the perpetrators' culture and religion.

Yes, of course non-Muslims in Britain kill and rape, too -- and if the police find out about it, they arrest the suspect and put him on trial. Robinson's whole point is that for decades Muslim rapists have not been treated in the same way. All too many British police officers and judges will use any excuse to let a Muslim rapist go. In 2014, for example, an imam who had sexually abused an eleven-year-old girl was given a suspended sentence because his six children "were so dependent on him" and because he had "kidney problems." To explain why his presence at home was so urgent, the imam's lawyer said that the imam's wife "doesn't work and speaks very little English." But to criticize any of this, in the eyes of that Labour MP, is to have an "agenda" of "bigotry and hatred."

Notably, the MP's full support for the way in which the police and court handled the Robinson case is not shared by the editors of the Independent -- the British broadsheet that, along with Leeds Live, spearheaded the media campaign against the gag order. In an editorial on Tuesday, the day that order was lifted, the editors accepted the absurd proposition that Robinson was guilty of "contempt of court" and pronounced his thirteen-month sentence "justified and proportionate." That much is predictable enough from a newspaper that is every bit as left-wing as the Guardian. The surprising part is the Independent's acknowledgment that whatever one thinks of Robinson,

It cannot be right, whatever else, that a British citizen can be deprived of their liberty "in the dark," the very fact of their whereabouts made a secret. It feels wrong, and, in spirit at least, partly in breach of the ancient principle of habeas corpus.

The answer to the question "Where's Tommy?" cannot be: "We know but we cannot tell you because a court says so."

Well, that's something, anyway. But millions of Britons reject entirely the Independent's assurances that Robinson has received justice. One of them is Paul Weston of Pegida, who, in a new video, maintains that "judicial power never been used before to silence a journalist in Britain and then to silence the silencing." That police and the Luton court to have taken such an action so quickly, Weston theorized, proves that this was not the work of some rank-and-file cop or some mid-level constabulary paper-pusher. "This lie came directly from Theresa May's government," charged Weston.

"This lie came from the very top down and it was planned to the last detail. A courtroom and a judge were waiting to immediately sentence him. A prison cell was booked in his name.... This combined is the action of a totalitarian state, in all its brutal horror."

Given the swiftness with which Robinson was snatched up off the street, transported to a courtroom, tried without his own counsel present, and then taken to a waiting prison cell -- a brazen series of events that it is hard to imagine anyone below the highest of levels having the power or the nerve to orchestrate -- it is hard to challenge Weston's suggestion that Theresa May herself is behind this travesty of justice. If that is what happened, then it certainly helps to clarify just what Britain, and the Free World, are up against.

Bruce Bawer is the author of the new novel The Alhambra (Swamp Fox Editions). His book While Europe Slept (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. His other books include A Place at the Table (1993), Stealing Jesus (1997), Surrender (2009), and The Victims' Revolution (2012). A native New Yorker, he has lived in Europe since 1998.

© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.
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EU and Palestinian Illegal "Facts on the Ground"
by Bassam Tawil
May 31, 2018 at 4:00 am

What the Palestinian Authority, the European Union, Israel's High Court of Justice, three Israeli towns, and the Jahalin tribe have in common is the Bedouin settlement of Khan al-Akhmar.

The battle for this Arab settlement has been waged in the international media and the Israeli Supreme Court for more than a decade, and its story is a microcosm of the Arab-Israel conflict, complete with alternative narratives, shifting alliances, unclear lines of responsibility and murky vested interests.

The first problem is that Khan al Akhmar is located in an area, unpoetically named Area C, where, according to the United Nations, "Israel retains near exclusive control, including over law enforcement, planning and construction."

This small cluster of Bedouin homes is actually sitting on land in an Israeli township, Kfar Adumim, at a strategic crossroads between Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and the outlying Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, making it crucial both to the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Until fairly recently, the residents of the Arab settlement -- a branch of the Jahalin tribe of Bedouin -- had lived in southern Israel. At some point in the 1970s, a feud broke out between different branches of the tribe, and the Jahalin fled northward, and arrived in the Maaleh Adumim region in the late 1970s, where they have remained ever since.

Like almost all other Bedouin in the Middle East, they began to abandon their nomadic lifestyle in favor of more permanent settlements and livelihoods not dependent on shepherding. Unfortunately, this branch of the tribe set up camp in a strategically critical area near a major highway, and began tapping into municipal water and electricity lines for subsistence.

Here is the other problem: since the 1980s, when their squatter's camp began to take shape, it has always been illegal as well as impractical. Its proximity to the highway has been posing a safety hazard for the Bedouin children who play alongside it, as well as for the motorists who must avoid being hit by the rocks thrown at their vehicles. Out of literally dozens of these incidents reported in the press, here are a few examples:

From the day the Jahalin set up camp on this spot, they knew that they were squatting inside an Israeli municipality, and that it was not a long-term solution for their housing needs.

What they did not know was that the Palestinian Authority had designs on the same piece of land, but for different reasons, and that international forces would soon begin to use them as chess pieces in a high-stakes game against Israel.

On August 23, 2009, Salim Fayyad, then Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), published his master plan for the creation of a Palestinian State. The basis of "The Fayyad Plan" (officially titled "Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State") was -- and remains -- the creation of a de facto state without the need for negotiation with Israel, through facts on the ground in areas under full Israeli administrative and security administration. One of the key areas in the "facts on the ground" vision of Palestinian statehood, as opposed to the mutually agreed-upon negotiations of the Oslo Accords, is precisely the region near the highway. The Jahalin Bedouin squatters presented a perfect means of establishing an extra-judicial foothold there.

For the Palestinian Authority, the best interests of the Jahalin Bedouin were beside the point. The real story was the land. Building on it was key to taking possession of an otherwise unattainable piece of territory, and then making this possession appear irreversible. So while the PA and the European Union continue to pay lip service to their commitment to a negotiated settlement, their behavior indicates that this is not their intention: The Palestinians have no interest in a negotiated settlement, and the EU's continued bankrolling of illegal construction in Area C actually encourages the Palestinians not to sit down and to talk to the Israelis. Why should they negotiate, if they can get everything they want by simply replicating the story of Khan al Akhmar in strategic points throughout Area C?

Like it or not, the Oslo Accords -- which the Palestinian Authority signed and the European Union witnessed -- clearly state that Israel has sole responsibility for issuing building permits, zoning and planning. Even without the Oslo Accords, the Hague Conventions -- the accepted basis for international law -- place sole responsibility for issuing building and zoning permits on the State of Israel.

Back to the Bedouin: some of them Bedouin in neighboring clusters signed relocation agreements; others simply pulled up stakes and moved elsewhere to avoid the construction and traffic around the highway; all of them understood that they could not remain where they were.

Then, the Palestinian Authority and the European Union jumped in, giving this cluster of tents and shacks a name, pumping money into "Khan al Akhmar," and kicking up a vast media storm about destitute Arabs being dispossessed from their "historic" community. An Italian NGO, Vento de Terra, built a school on the site to serve Bedouin children from across the region. They bombarded the media with images of barefoot Bedouin children living under the threat of dispossession and ethnic cleansing by Israel, and pressured the Jahalin to cooperate (as reported in the High Court decisions on the case).

The Bedouin buckled under the pressure and allowed their new "representatives" to take charge: The residents of Khan al Akhmar remained where the PA wanted them. The Jahalin Bedouin were "represented" by the PA and the EU in four separate lawsuits, stalling the relocation of the squatters for more than a decade. In each case, Israel's Supreme Court confirmed that the Bedouin encampment at Khan al Akhmar was illegal and needed to be evacuated to a State-sponsored alternative location.

For ten years, the Israeli government suspended the demolition and evacuation orders, considered any and all alternatives, and eventually created a new, legal option to relocate the Bedouin on State-owned land only five miles away near Abu Dis, an Arab neighborhood on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The new neighborhood, "Jahalin West," offers a package worth more than half a million shekels (nearly $140,000) for each wife in each of the many-wived Jahalin households. Each wife would receive, free of charge, a large plot of land, completely developed and zoned for residential construction, with water and electricity. Jahalin West would offer services that these Bedouin have never had -- services the PA has never offered them: running water, electricity, permanent homes they themselves are free to design, health clinics, public transportation, schools, access to employment, and more.

Jahalin West is ready and waiting; it has been lying dormant for years. The "representatives" of the Jahalin have repeatedly rejected the State's relocation package and refused to allow the Jahalin to rebuild their lives in a new neighborhood if it means losing their grip on the land they are presently occupying.

After allowing the Jahalin's lawyers one last chance to come up with a feasible alternative to Jahalin West, which they were unable to do, the Supreme Court closed the book on Khan al Akhmar. The High Court's recent decision rejected two petitions that had been filed on behalf of the Bedouin. "There are no legal grounds to justify intervention in the Minister of Defense's decision to enforce the demolition orders that were issued against the illegal structures in Khan al Akhmar," wrote Justices Sohlberg, Willner and Baron.

"This decision does not make light of the complex human aspects that are unavoidable in a large-scale evacuation of illegal construction, despite its illegality. Law enforcement is important, as is the attempt to reach a resolution through dialogue and peaceful means.


"When all is said and done, we are long past the 'zero hour.' Demolition orders, we should recall, were first issued for these structures in 2009, and the calls we have heard in this courtroom for cooperation and dialogue, as worthy as they may be, should by all rights have been raised in real time, over the course of the intervening years, and should have been directed to policy- and decision-makers."

The judges criticized the plaintiffs' conduct, noting that they had repeatedly taken advantage of the State's willingness to reach an agreed-upon solution by presenting futile, unfeasible suggestions.

"The impression is that the aim of these alternative suggestion was to 'buy time.' ... Raising unrealistic suggestions at this point, after years in which the State postponed enforcement of demolition orders in order to consider alternatives, is unacceptable."

The decision denied the plaintiffs' request that the Court intervene in the State's decision to enforce the law, and expressed the hope that the matter could be resolved peacefully and in an atmosphere of cooperation.

The Palestinian Authority has already announced its intention to resist the relocation of the Jahalin to their new, legal neighborhood near Abu Dis "by all available means," and the international uproar has begun.

Israel is being condemned for "cruel and inhumane" treatment of the Jahalin, and for its attempts to commit supposed "ethnic cleansing" and "forced population transfer." The French government (which has a rather poor record of summarily deporting nomadic groups en masse) has declared Israel's High Court decision a violation of international law, while at the same time explaining that Khan al Akhmar is of "critical strategic importance to the contiguity of the future Palestinian State."

The coming weeks will be a test of Israel's sovereignty and resolve. At the same time, the weeks ahead will also expose the real intentions of the PA and the European NGOs and governments who continue to bankroll illegal construction and land seizure in areas recognized by international law to be under Israeli jurisdiction.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East.

© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.
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British Media: Lockstep Lies
by Bruce Bawer
May 30, 2018 at 9:00 am

Hundreds of supporters of Tommy Robinson filled the streets of London on Saturday in protest against his arrest in Leeds on Friday, but it was not until shortly after midnight on Monday that the Daily Mail posted a report about the protest on its website. The story, which was unsigned, was updated on early Monday afternoon. How to explain the delay? Did the Daily Mail's lawyers have to check with the British government, which had placed a gag order on reporting about the arrest, to make sure that it was permissible to report on the protest, if not directly on the arrest itself?

The Mail made sure to describe the hundreds of protesters as "far-right." How did the Mail ascertain their politics? Does it not occur to the Mail that even if Robinson were far-right, which he is not, a British subject would not have to be far right to want to take in a protest against his shockingly rapid-fire arrest, trial, conviction, and imprisonment for the sole offense of reporting from outside a courthouse?

The Evening Standard also reported on the protest – and also labeled the participants "far-right." "The incident," wrote the Standard 's Tom Powell, "has triggered a furious reaction from his fans." In fact, it seems fair to say that the incident has shocked, outraged, and scared people around the world who, until now, had thought of the United Kingdom as a free country.

In America, for example, Robert Spencer warned that "the darkness of Sharia-compliant totalitarianism descends upon the UK." Thomas Lifson asked:

"Is Britain lost to the ranks of free nations? The land that bequeathed the world the Magna Carta and the 'mother of parliaments' is indulging in totalitarianism with its handling of Tommy Robinson, a famous political activist agitating about the threat of radical Islam, and attempting to report on the trial of a Muslim 'grooming gang' that allegedly preyed on young English girls, forcing them into prostitution."

In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders declared solidarity with Robinson: "Britain used to be a bastion of free speech. Today its leaders are behaving like North Korea and Saudi Arabia."

At least the Mail and Standard ran stories about the protests. Other major British dailies did not. The Metro website, for its part, posted a story that made the Mail look objective: "The controversial nationalist and far-right commentator, real name Stephen Lennon, was posing as a 'reporter' when police officers approached him," wrote Olivia Waring in a piece headlined "Why Was Tommy Robinson Arrested?" In fact, Robinson was not "posing" as anything – he is a citizen journalist who at the time of his arrest was being watched live on Facebook by supporters around the world. Waring went on say that Robinson's supporters "abide by slogans like 'White Lives Matter.'" She also mentioned that Robin was a founder of the English Defence League, but omitted to acknowledge that he left the organization after it adopted a racist line of which he could not approve. In any event, Waring's piece did not even pretend to answer the question posed in the title, leaving the reader to wonder exactly who is, in fact, posing as a reporter.

Whereas Robinson was arrested for "breaching the peace" – "apparently British police code for 'offending Islam,'" noted Spencer wryly – and was immediately thereafter found guilty of "contempt of court" and hustled off to the hoosegow, the savages whose case he was covering have apparently been on trial for several weeks now. They face multiple charges, including rape, racially aggravated assault, and inciting a child into prostitution. One of the defendants is accused of fifty-one separate counts, including twenty-one counts of rape. During the weeks of their trial they have, of course, had legal representation and have apparently been allowed to go home at night. Meanwhile Robinson's attorneys were apparently unable to contact him in the first hours and days after his arrest.

Finally, on Tuesday, in response to complaints by the British media, the gag order on reporting news about the Robinson case was lifted. Presumably this counts as a modest recovery for freedom of the press in Britain. Meanwhile, Robinson remains in jail for daring to exercise his free speech, and what the mainstream media have won back is the right to resume repeating their lockstep lies about who he is and what he stand for.

Bruce Bawer is the author of the new novel The Alhambra (Swamp Fox Editions). His book While Europe Slept (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. His other books include A Place at the Table (1993), Stealing Jesus (1997), Surrender (2009), and The Victims' Revolution (2012). A native New Yorker, he has lived in Europe since 1998.

© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.
British Media: Lockstep Lies
British Media: Lockstep Lies
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Palestinian "Treason"
by Bassam Tawil
May 30, 2018 at 5:00 am

Palestinian leaders have spent the past few months calling for boycotts of Israel and the US. The most recent call came just a few weeks ago, when Palestinian Authority leaders and officials called on all countries to boycott the inauguration ceremony of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

One of the officials who called for boycotting the ceremony was Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, and a top advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas. Majdalani is also famous for his repeated calls in the past few years for boycotting Israel in all fields.

Now, it seems that Majdalani is being forced to taste the same medicine he has been prescribing for Israel and the US. His efforts to promote boycotts of Israel and the US have backfired. Ironically, the boycotter Majdalani is now being boycotted by his own people. This is what happens when all you preach to your people day and night is hatred, incitement and boycotts. Eventually, you yourself become affected by the same messages of hate and brainwashing.

Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, who stands accused by his own people of promoting "normalization" with Israel. (Image source: MEMRI video screenshot)

Majdalani is now being accused by his own people for actually promoting "normalization" between Palestinians and Israel.

So what crime exactly did Majdalani commit and why has he become the subject of fierce criticism and calls for boycotting him?

It turns out the senior PLO official and promoter of boycotts has committed two "crimes": First, he accepted an invitation to attend the annual Herzliya Conference organized by the Israeli think-tank, the Institute for Policy and Strategy. Second, when Majdalani was asked to comment on the criticism from Palestinians for his participation in the Israeli conference, he replied: "My participation in the Herzliya Conference is not different from my participation in events organized, for example, by Bir Zeit University."

The annual conference is held at the Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya -- a nonsectarian research college near Tel Aviv that was founded in 1994 based on the model of the American Ivy League Universities.

This was not the first time that Majdalani had attended the Herzliya Conference. In the past, he also faced strong condemnations for agreeing to be part of a conference organized by an Israeli think-tank.

This time, however, his critics decided that condemnations were not enough. Majdalani has now been handed a severe punishment; he has been banned from entering or speaking at any Palestinian university.

Dr. Amjad Barham, chairman of the General Workers' Union at Palestinian Universities, announced on May 22 that his union has decided to boycott Majdalani and not receive him at any university campus. He said the decision would be reversed only if Majdalani, a senior PLO official, apologizes for reportedly equating a Palestinian university and an Israeli educational institution.

Dr. Barham explained that the decision to boycott Majdalani came on the heels of the union's opposition to any form of "academic normalization" with Israel. "Our union will work hard to hold accountable any official or academic who is involved in promoting normalization with Israel and we will ask all Palestinian universities to boycott him or her," he said. "Any Palestinian academic who commits the crime of promoting academic normalization with Israel will be punished and banned from setting foot in any Palestinian university.

The Workers Union at Bir Zeit University also issued a similar call for boycotting Majdalani. The union said it was furious with the senior PLO official not only because he had attended an Israeli conference, but also because he had dared draw a parallel between Bir Zeit University and an Israeli educational institution. The chairman of the union, Sameh Abu Awwad, said that any Palestinian who is caught involved in promoting any form of "normalization" with Israel would be subject to punitive measures and boycotts. "We have issued an order banning Majdalani from entering our university," Abu Awwad said. "There is no room for normalizers [with Israel] on our campus."

So now the PLO official is permitted to enter any Israeli university, but he is persona non grata at Palestinian universities or other academic institutions. How dare he draw a comparison between a Palestinian and Israeli university? How dare he attend a conference alongside Israeli academics, politicians and experts? An intolerable crime, from the Palestinian point of view.

It is worth noting that those who took the decision to ban the PLO official from entering Palestinian universities are living under the "moderate" Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Those who banned Majdalani from Palestinian universities and report to the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Education, not Hamas.

This is the same Palestinian Authority that receives funds from the US and EU. In other words, Americans and Europeans are funding Palestinians who are opposed to any form of "normalization" with Israel. For these Palestinians, it would be better if Israel simply disappeared than having to engage in any kind of collaboration with it. Anyone who opposes "normalization" with Israel is actually acting against peace with Israel. How can there ever be peace between Palestinians and Israel if Palestinians are staunchly opposed to "normalization" with Israel? This leads us only to one conclusion: that Americans and Europeans are funding Palestinians who seek the annihilation of Israel.

Let us clarify for the sake of clarity. The Palestinians' anti-normalization campaign against Israel means that Palestinians are not interested in peace with Israel. What they seek is not peace with Israel, but peace without Israel. They want to see Israel gone from the Middle East. They want to see Jews vanish from the region.

The Palestinians' problem is not with a settlement or a checkpoint or a fence. They have a problem with the existence of Israel in any borders. Palestinians have still not come to terms with Israel's right to exist, period; this is the essence of the Israeli-Arab conflict. They see Israel as one big settlement that needs to be ripped out.

Back to Majdalani. There is no doubt that from now on this senior PLO official will find himself welcome on campuses in Israel. In fact, he has already spoken at various campuses and other platforms in Israel. But Majdalani knows that from now on he will be putting his life at risk if he ever again sets foot on a Palestinian campus.

Yet, Majdalani has only himself to blame. He has long been promoting boycotts of not only Israel, but also the US. If, day and night, you ram down the throats of your people that Palestinians must boycott Israel, what do you expect your people to do when they see you participating in a conference organized by an Israeli institution?

The controversy surrounding Majdalani's participation in the Herzliya Conference could serve as a useful wake-up call to the West. If a PLO official's visit to a conference in Israel is labelled treason, what would happen to a Palestinian who signed a peace agreement with Israel? No education for peace with Israel on the Palestinian side – rather, decades of Palestinian education for war with Israel – translates into an interminable Arab-Israeli conflict. And no wishful thinking on the part of anyone will change that.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East

© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.
Palestinian "Treason"
Palestinian "Treason"
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