Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
Countering Violent Extremism was one of the great counterterrorism frauds of the Obama era. Not only was CVE useless, but it was an excuse for building ties with assorted Muslim Brotherhood groups.
A week before President Trump’s inauguration, Jeh Johnson, Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Secretary, gave his allies one last gift with millions in CVE grants. The list of grantees included the Muslim American Leadership Alliance, Unity Productions Foundation and Ka Joog. Once Kelly took over at DHS, some were either removed or, like Ka Joog, claimed that they had opted out to protest the Muslim travel ban.
But when the final grantees were announced, two troubling organizations remained on the list: Peace Catalyst International and Masjid Muhammad.
Though it bills itself as the ‘Nation’s Mosque’, Masjid Muhammad was set up by the racist hate group known as the Nation of Islam which believed that white people were racially inferior. Lucius Bey Muhammad, who set it up, had said, “The black man is indeed the greatest. His genes are stronger! No white man can produce a baby darker than himself.”
Elijah Muhammad, whom the mosque’s site still praises, had allied with the American Nazi Party. He had preached that, “these enemies of Allah are known at the present as the white race”
While the branch of the movement represented by Masjid Muhammad has parted ways with Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, they still maintain a relationship. At the mosque’s 53rd anniversary, Farrakhan’s personal representative phoned in with remarks.
Should Countering Violent Extremism funding be going to a mosque set up by violent extremists and which still seems unable to end all connections with one of the nation’s worst racist hate groups?
But the case of Peace Catalyst International is in some ways more troubling than Masjid Muhammad.
Peace Catalyst International claims to “create safe spaces and foster authentic relationships between Christians and Muslims”. While PCI strongly emphasizes its Christian identity, its agenda largely seems to involve propagandizing for Islamists. Sometimes to an extremely disturbing degree.
PCI boss Rick Love wrote, “Some Pakistanis do hate us for these reasons: the war in Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq on false pretenses, decades-long support for oppressive regimes in the Muslim world, bias in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the killing of thousands of innocent Muslims described as ‘collateral damage’”.
PCI’s latest post is from Jennifer S. Bryson and it includes a call to Christians to engage in “sacrificial listening” to Muslims. Even if they’re ISIS supporters. Bryson heads the Zephyr Institute and its pet project, the Center for Islam and Religious Freedom. Also working at the Center for Islam is convicted Jihadist Ismail Royer. Bryson was formerly a member of the Board of Directors of PCI.
An earlier posting consists of PCI boss Rick Love interviewing Imam Taha Hassane who urges readers to understand “the roots of terrorism”. “When we drop drones on innocent people in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and kill innocent civilians, what do we expect these people to think about us?” Hassane says. Rick and the Imam then discuss how supporting Black Lives Matter is Sharia.
This isn’t opposing extremism. It’s making excuses for it while echoing its talking points. And that sums up much of what is already wrong with CVE.
Love had already signed a letter claiming that “support of the Black Lives Matter movement demonstrates the truth that the Word became flesh.”
Rick Love has been criticized before for his flirtation with Islamist groups. On his own site, Love insists that Jihad is inner struggle or defensive warfare, that Mohammed did not spread Islam through the sword and that, “Islamic law in practice, however, is mostly relegated to family status law.”
An article at Peace Catalyst International insists, “You do NOT need to be fearful about Sharia taking over America.”
“The US Constitution is upheld in courts. No Muslim organization has ever called for it to become subordinate to Sharia, and that’s not even something American Muslims want.”
This is the sort of distorted reality that could just as easily come from any Islamist organization.
“Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran … should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth,” CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad had declared.
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” CAIR co-founder Ibrahm Hooper had admitted.
Peace Catalyst International ought to know as it collaborates with CAIR.
But there is another area that makes Peace Catalyst International’s CVE grant deeply troubling. On the same page where Love denies that Jihad is anything but personal or defensive, he also writes, “The issue of jihad for the sake of Palestine has gained lots of traction among many Muslims internationally.”
One of Peace Catalyst International’s “favorite peaceworkers” is Sami Awad whom the organization has worked with and promoted.
Awad is an anti-Israel BDS activist often praised for his non-violence. That non-violence is a pose. On his own blog, Sami Awad writes that a demonstration “is not a substitute for the armed struggle”.
He describes Islamic terrorism as, “The Palestinian armed resistance, labeled ‘terrorism’ by Israel.”
Awad also insists that, “The struggle to end the occupation and establish an independent Palestinian state does not gain or lose legitimacy if nonviolent means are preferred over violent means and vice versa.” Non-violence, like terrorism, is a tactic. It’s a means to achieve the same ends.
At one point, Awad even claimed that, “We’ve actually done training in non-violence for Hamas leaders.”
Rick Love’s own position isn’t subtle. In response to a question as to whether he prefers, Coexistence or Coresistance, he endorses “Coresistance”. That’s a euphemism for hostility to Israel over peacemaking. When an organization with “peace” in its time picks resistance over coexistence, it’s revealing.
It’s hard to see any of this as countering violent extremism. Instead it seems to be aiding it.
Peace Catalyst International doesn’t push back against Islamism. Instead it lies about it. It follows the usual leftist line that Islamic terrorism is the work of a tiny minority who ought to be disregarded. It denies the linkage between Islamic teachings and Islamic violence.
That is the standard CVE position. And there is no reason for it to be funded in the Trump era.
And DHS should really not be in the business of providing legitimacy to Peace Catalyst International’s anti-Israel activism, which includes supporting BDS activists.
But the problem with Countering Violent Extremism was always in the name. Not only is its name a deliberate effort to avoid using the “I word”, but the issue isn’t mere violence. And, as Sami Awad and Rick Love tragically show us, the solution isn’t to be found with tactical displays of non-violence.
The core issue isn’t violence. It’s Islamic supremacism. The violence is just a natural symptom.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist takeover in Egypt wasn’t accomplished through suicide bombings. The Brotherhood won an election. But once in power, it persecuted Christians. And before long, its followers had embarked on a series of attacks on churches.
Tactical non-violence combines virtue signaling with support for terrorists. It’s an abomination that should be disavowed by anyone who genuinely believes in non-violence as a principle, not a tactic.
The Islamic conquests were accompanied by clever tactics of divide and conquer. Muslim warlords pitted Christians against each other, promising one Christian denomination protection against another. The Islamists working to conquer the West are once again cleverly making inroads among their Christian and Jewish enemies. And any move to counter Islamism should oppose such groups, not fund them.
Published in FrontPage mag
A common but mistaken reading of the current strategic situation in the Middle East presents the region as approaching the end of a period of instability. The “return of the Arab state” is one of the more arresting refrains that this perspective has produced.
According to this view, the wars in Syria and in Iraq are drawing to a close. The defeat of the Islamic State in these countries represents the eclipse of the political ambitions of Salafi jihadi Islamism for the foreseeable future. Assad is set to restore his repressive but stable rule in Syria. In Iraq, the firm reaction by the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to the Kurdish bid for independence has ended prospects of the imminent fragmentation of the country. In Lebanon, attempts by Sunni jihadis to export the Syrian war have failed, and all is quiet.
In July 2016, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria (pictured in front at center)—the leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church—hosts Ignatius Aphrem II (left), patriarch of Antioch and All East of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and Aram I, head of Lebanon’s Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
While Christianity traces its birthplace to the Middle East, that region has been arguably the most hostile area for the religion in recent years. A new report by the Christian charity group Open Doors has found that most of Israel’s neighbors, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the Palestinian territories, are among the world’s most dangerous places for Christians.
Kingdom says Jerusalem agreed to pay compensation over deaths of three people, in order to end diplomatic standoff
Jordanian protesters wave national flags and chant slogans during a demonstration near the Israeli embassy in the capital Amman on July 28, 2017, calling for the shutting down the of the embassy, expelling the ambassador, and canceling the 1994 peace treaty with Israel. (AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI)
Israel is paying $5 million in compensation to the families of two people shot dead by an Israeli embassy guard last year, as well as a Jordanian judge killed in a 2014 incident, diplomats in Jordan told the al-Rai newspaper Saturday.
Ultra-Orthodox women and children attend a ceremony to welcome new Torah scrolls in a neighborhood of Jerusalem, Oct. 1 2014.
Reuven K., who is about 30 years old, is an ultra-Orthodox Hasidic man who lives in Betar Illit, one of Israel’s most prominent ultra-Orthodox localities. Reuven studies in a yeshiva, a Jewish school for Talmudic learning, but works half of each day as a wholesale merchant selling religious ritual supplies. His wife, Bracha, works as a bookkeeper in a governmental institution.
Palestinian boss Mahmoud Abbas recently declared that Israel is “a colonial enterprise that has nothing to do with Jewishness.” Moses, King David and thousands of years of Jewish history would disagree. Israel and the Jews are part of the story of human civilization. Over 50% of the human race has a holy book that tells of the Jewish journey to Israel. That includes Mohammed’s own copy of the Koran.
Israel isn’t a “colonial enterprise.” Palestine is.
Anyone who wants to find out where the name Israel comes from can open the Book of Genesis 32:29. The story even appears in Islamic hadiths. But where does “Palestine” really come from?
It may not be a shooting war. For the most part. (Though don’t tell that to some Republicans at a charity game practice who were targeted by a Bernie Sanders supporter.) But it’s a war all the same.
The war is still being fought with paper and protests. But it’s based on irreconcilable differences between parts of the country. Much like the ones that brought on the war between brothers.
This is a topic that I’ve written about quite often over this past year. Rush Limbaugh saw fit to read and promote some of those pieces. And now I’ll be giving a talk on the subject at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC. It’ll take place from Jan 20-22. I’m scheduled to speak on the 21st, but there are plenty of other great speakers there.
The speech was loud and clear. It wasn’t just the “may your house be demolished” curse that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas fired at the leader of the strongest world power. It was the utterly delusional ideology, with false claims that only make the Palestinians sink deeper into a path of delusions and collapse.
The reactions were predictable: We have to understand him. He’s under a lot of pressure. He has no political horizon. The Palestinians are desperate. He didn’t really mean it.
A document drafted by members of the global Christian community convening at the 3rd International Christian Forum held in Moscow, detailed how over the past 10 years the Middle East’s Christian population has shrunk by 80 percent and warned that unless current trends are reversed Christianity “will vanish” from its ancient homelands in a few years’ time. Around the year 2000, there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, whereas today there are only 100,000, roughly a 93 percent drop, the document notes. In Syria, the largest cities “have lost almost all of their Christian population.”
Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, has delivered a speech triggered by his rage at the President of the United States Donald Trump, going so far as to hurl the most bitter curse in the Arabic language at the POTUS: “May your house be destroyed.”
This imprecation does not merely relate to someone’s present home, but to all the members of his family being thrown into the street to lead lives of destitution, humiliation, and shame. Only someone familiar with Middle Eastern culture understands the real significance of this curse.
The 1964 presidential election was the second in which I voted. Lyndon Johnson who had succeeded John Kennedy was running against Barry Goldwater. I didn’t like either candidate: Johnson’s personal characteristics were obnoxious, though he had achieved much, especially in the area of civil rights; Goldwater’s personal characterizes seemed fine, but I disapproved of his conservative political views.
I was shocked to read an article in Fact magazine, based on interviews with more than 1,000 psychiatrists, which concluded that Goldwater was mentally unstable and psychologically unfit to be president. It was Lyndon Johnson whose personal fitness to hold the highest office I questioned. Barry Goldwater seemed emotionally stable with excellent personal characteristics, but highly questionable politics. The article was utterly unpersuasive, and in the end, I reluctantly voted for Lyndon Johnson. Barry Goldwater went back to the Senate, where he served with great distinction and high personal morality. Lyndon Johnson got us deeply into an unwinnable war that hurt our nation. The more than 1,000 psychiatrists, it turned out, were dead wrong in their diagnosis and predictions.