In general, lawful Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood work to insert themselves into Western society, exploiting liberal, democratic bodies to promote their own illiberal and anti-democratic ideology.
Whether co-opting Western democracies to silence its critics, or funding American Islamist organizations with long histories of extremism and ties to terror, the Turkish regime is now a crucial component of the global Islamist threat.
For the past few years, the international Muslim Brotherhood has found a welcoming home in Ankara in the face of opposition from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Consequently, U.S. Islamist organizations have also turned to the Turkish regime for collaboration and support.
On September 18th, a Washington, D.C.- based organization, the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), hosted an event in New York City with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “US-based Muslim Brotherhood supporters have a busy week coming up,” the Middle East analyst Eric Trager noted. “They’re hanging with Erdogan on Monday, protesting Sisi on Wednesday.”
Organizers of the TASC event included Ahmed Shehata, a lobbyist for the Muslim Brotherhood who has also worked for Islamic Relief and the Muslim American Society — two prominent Islamist groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Arab Emirates in 2014.
Last year, following Turkish claims of an attempted coup against the regime, a TASC rally in support of Erdogan outside the White House included Shehata and a number of prominent American Islamist leaders, such as Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the terror-linkedCouncil on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). As the Investigative Project on Terrorism notes, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party subsequently sent a delegation to the United States to hold meetings with senior CAIR officials. Since then, Awad has continued to meet with representatives of the Turkish regime.
Such partnerships are not new. Since a coalition of U.S. Islamist organizations travelled to Turkey in 2014, prominent American Islamic groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood have become some of Erdogan’s staunchest advocates in America
U.S. Islamist organizations have turned to the Turkish regime for collaboration and support. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
In 2014, the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) featured three regime-linked speakers, including Erdogan’s senior advisor, Ibrahim Kalin. ISNA, a Muslim Brotherhood front , was named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator during the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial.
Also in 2014, Turkish regime official Mehmet Görmez recorded a video message for America’s largest Islamic conference, organized jointly by two prominent Islamist organizations: the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America (MAS-ICNA). In his message, Görmez announced the completion of a Turkish-funded mosque in Maryland, the Diyanet Center of America.
The MAS-ICNA conference that year was funded by the “Turkish-backed” American Zakat Foundation. In return, MAS-ICNA announced that the “Turkish presidency, agencies, several NGOs, state-media TRT World and Daily Sabah will organize events during the summit in Chicago, while President Erdoğan’s daughter … will attend the summit as guest of honor.”
The Turkish regime and U.S. Islamist organizations have looked out for one another. Erdogan has denounced American attempts to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. And in 2015, U.S. Islamist groups, including CAIR, released a statement opposing recognizing the slaughter of Armenians organized by Turkey in 1915 as a genocide.
Turkey’s intolerance for its critics is whitewashed by American Islamist groups. At the 2016 MAS-ICNA conference, Erdoğan’s daughter defended the regime’s purges – managing both to justify and deny mass-arrests of journalists. Prominent American Islamist operatives and clerics praisedher speech.
In general, lawful Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood work to insert themselvesinto Western society, exploiting liberal, democratic bodies to promote their own illiberal and anti-democratic ideology.
Proving itself to be a natural ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey makes use of this same deception: on September 18, Erdogan’s office demanded that NATO prevent a critic of the Turkish regime from speaking at a NATO Parliamentary Assembly conference organized by the Middle East Forum. When the dissident appeared anyway, the Turkish delegation interrupted proceedings and then stormed out.
Whether co-opting Western democracies to silence its critics, or funding American Islamist organizations with long histories of extremism and ties to terror, the Turkish regime is now a crucial component of the global Islamist threat. The West must recognize this, and work to counteract both.
Sam Westrop and Samantha Mandeles are based at Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.
Israel’s National Labor Court this week ruled that a Bedouin woman, divorced and living in a polygamous family (with her husband and his second wife), is entitled to National Insurance Institute income support benefits in addition to her ex-husband’s income – even though she continues to live near his home with her mother-in-law and their children, Globes reported.
Salami al-Zayadneh, a Bedouin woman, sought to receive income support benefit as she would be entitled to if she lived apart from her husband whom she had divorced. Except that she never left the family compound – which was noted by both the National Insurance Institute and the Regional Labor Court in rejecting her claim, ruling that there was no change in her way of life, and that she continued to maintain a common household with her “ex” husband.
A billboard in Toulouse commemorating the victims of Mohammed Merah’s gun attack on the Ozar Hatorah school in March 2012. Photo: File.
Chaotic scenes broke out on Wednesday at the trial in France of the brother of an Islamist extremist who carried out a spree of terrorist attacks around the southern city of Toulouse in March 2012, including a gun assault on a Jewish school that resulted in the brutal murders of a rabbi along with three young children.
Shouts and jeers erupted from the gallery at the court in Paris during the testimony of Zoulika Aziri — the mother of 35-year-old Abdelkader Merah, who could face a life sentence if he is found guilty of having aided his brother, Mohammed, in carrying out three separate terror attacks between March 11-19, 2012. Mohammed Merah was shot and killed by French police on March 22 of that year at the culmination of a 30-hour siege after he was tracked down.
The evidence is mounting that Iran is not only violating the spirit of the no-nukes deal, but that it is also violating its letter. The prologue to the deal explicitly states: “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.” This reaffirmation has no sunset provision: it is supposed to be forever.
Yet German officials have concluded that Iran has not given up on its goal to produce nuclear weapons that can be mounted on rockets. According to Der Tagesspiegel, a Berlin newspaper:
“Despite the nuclear agreement [reached with world powers in July 2015], Iran has not given up its illegal activities in Germany.
An outbreak of bubonic plague in Madagascar is quickly becoming an epidemic, giving a grim look into how this dreaded disease, once known as the Black Death, killed off one-third of the entire world population.
Madagascar, a poor country in the Indian Ocean, suffers annual outbreaks of the plague with an estimated 400 cases every year. This current outbreak threatens to be much worse than the usual annual outbreak. In the past two months, at least 74 people died from the disease and over 800 more have been infected.
St. Catherine’s Monastery is a popular destination for Christian religious tourism, South Sinai, Egypt. Posted July 14, 2017.
CAIRO — Pope Francis has confirmed that Egypt will be included as an official Roman Catholic Church pilgrimage destination next year, sparking hope that the country’s tourism industry can be revived. The first pilgrims should begin arriving in Egypt in May, according to Tourism Minister Yahya Rashed.
The pope endorsed the designation Oct. 4 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism then announced Oct. 5 that the path of the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary and Joseph) in Egypt more than 2,000 years ago will be part of the Vatican pilgrimage program for 2018.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump initiated an important change in US policy toward Iran.
No, in his speech decertifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear accord it struck with his predecessor Barack Obama, Trump didn’t announce a new strategy for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, or stemming its hegemonic rise in the Middle East, or limiting its ability to sponsor terrorism.
Trump’s move was not operational. It was directional.
One month after Islamic militants bombed two Egyptian churches during Palm Sunday and killed nearly 50 people in April 2017. On Friday, May 26, several SUVs stopped two buses transporting dozens of Christians to visit and pray at the ancient Coptic Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, in the desert south of Cairo. According to initial reports, about ten Islamic militants, heavily armed and dressed in military fatigues, “demanded that the passengers recite the Muslim profession of faith”—which is tantamount to converting to Islam—and when they refused, the jihadis opened fire on them, killing 29 Christians, at least ten of which were young children (including two girls aged 2 and 4). Mohsen Morkous—an American citizen described as “a simple man” whom “everyone loved”—his two sons, and his two grandsons were among those killed.
Even now, polls suggest that about 40 percent of Americans regard Donald Trump as a suitable president. In essence, this preference has little to do with job performance and must be explained by the nature of the wider society from which this president was drawn.
For the most part, Americans have forsaken every once-residual aspect of an authentic intellectual life. This near-total abandonment of a national “life of the mind” was not fashioned in a cultural vacuum. Rather, it was fostered by an unrelenting barrage of crude and voyeuristic entertainments, most of which now center on sex, sadism, torture, murder and dreary profanity.
On Sunday, a delegation of young Israeli Arabs joined the battle against the apartheid lie and the BDS libels. Such a delegation—on behalf of Reservists on Duty, an organization which is already active on US campuses—is definitely a refreshing change, which sparks not only curious and sympathetic reactions but also threats and a smear campaign. One of the delegation members was forced to leave his home, and another member nearly quit following the pressure.
After weeks of Egyptian-sponsored pre-talks, and a very short “cabinet meeting” in Gaza, “formal reconciliation talks” are now being held between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (P.A. or Fatah) in Cairo under the direct auspices of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
For some Middle East-watchers, the talks are a form of progress. There are presently three functional governments between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and this is about getting rid of one of them. Progress here is that Israel is not the government they’re talking about getting rid of. Yet. This is about whether Hamas or Fatah will lead the Palestinians – whether to peace with Israel or to war with Israel is less important for them right now than simply who between them is top dog.