Laura Mansfield

Thursday, July 28, 2005

What the heck is this, CBS?

CBS replaces stars on flag with Islamic crescent!

This evening I received an email from Jeff Epstein of that pointed me to an article about the Fatwa issued today by the Fiqh Council of North America against terrorism.

Before I even get started on the credibility of the Fiqh Council, I have to say a few words about the CBS article.

Jeff Epstein wrote in his email "Would someone like to explain how CBS can explain this? As far as I'm concerned, CBS is desecrating "Old Glory" at a time when American servicemen are dying overseas to protect our liberties. Doesn't CBS have ANY shame?"

Epstein recently had a commercial regarding the upcoming Terrorism Symposium that is being sponsored by the People's Truth Forum cancelled at the last minute by CBS on the grounds that "too many people might be emotionally affected by this subject matter - it's too controversial to be aired at this time".

I have to agree with Epstein. Americans should find the replacement of the stars on Old Glory with an Islamic Crescent unacceptable.

Now, let me say a few words about the Fiqh Council of North America.

According to the chronology of Islam in America, on the American Muslim Perspective website, on March 10, 1998 the ISNA Fiqh Committee was reorganized as the Fiqh Council of North America “to create a larger and more authoritative body of Muslim scholars to effectively confront the many legal issues facing Muslims in North America.”

Fiqh Council member Taha Jabir Alawan (Alawani) was publicly identified in an affidavit by U.S. Customs special agent David Kane as a director of "Safa Group companies including International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), FIQH council of North America, Graduate School of Islamic & Social Sciences, and Heritage Education Trust." It went on to state "In October 1999, a confidential asset of the FBI, who has provided reliable information in the past, furnished the Washington Field Office of the FBI a copy of a fatwa 36 (declaration) signed by Al-Alwani at some point between December 1988 and November 1989, proclaiming the truth by the powers invested in us by Allah, that Jihad is the only way to liberate Palestine; that no person or authority may settle the Jews on the land of Palestine or cede to them any part thereof, or recognize any right therein for them. "

Muzamil Siddiqi, head of the Fiqh Council, is quoted in an interview regarding the fatwa as saying "Suicide bombing is forbidden in Islam. This is not the solution, it is not the right way of doing things. Occupation is wrong, of course, but at the same time this is not the way." But in a 1995 speech he praised suicide bombers. "Those who die on the part of justice are alive, and their place is with the Lord, and they receive the highest position, because this is the highest honor," he was quoted as saying by the Kansas City Star on Jan. 28, 1995.

One of the better known former members of the Fiqh Council of North America is Abdurahman Alamoudi, currently serving time in federal prison after pleading guilty to terrorism related crimes.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Score One for the President!

The talking heads this morning were complaining about the new catch-phrase that the Bush administration is beginning to use.

“War on Terror” is out; “Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism” is the new phrase that is being used to describe the battle against Islamist terrorism.

The reaction has been less than favorable. Most people seem to think “Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism” sounds pretty lame compared to “War on Terror”.

Well, they have a point. It’s certainly not the most catchy phrase – at least not in English.

But when you translate it into Arabic you have something that will certainly get the attention of the Islamist extremists worldwide.

“Global Struggle” translates into Arabic as “Jihad al Alamaya”. Worldwide struggle.

But wait. Jihad means holy war. How does the word “struggle” translate to “jihad”?

The Arabic word “jihad” translates into English as the word “struggle”. Islamic scholars and clerics agree that “jihad” is an obligation upon each and every Muslim. Although over the centuries, it has come to be synonymous with “Holy War”, Islamic scholars have put a great deal of effort in recent years to stress that “jihad” actually means a struggle against evil inclinations.

By golly, I think our President just declared a “jihad” against “jihad”.

Way to go, Mr. President! It’s about darned time!


Monday, July 25, 2005

Who were the targets of the Sharm el Sheikh attacks?

At first glance, the Sharm el Sheikh attacks early Saturday morning in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el Sheikh appeared to be foreign tourists. The attacks, near simultaneous blasts by car bombs, have all the hallmarks of an Al Qaeda attack.

But were the attacks against western interests in Egypt, or were they against the government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubark?

The timing of the attacks indicates that they may very well have been aimed against Egypt and not the west.

It has only been a few weeks since Egypt’s ambassador to Iraq was kidnapped and murdered by Al Qaeda’s affiliates in Iraq. The terrorists at the time referred to the Mubarak government as an apostate government, repeating similar accusations made by both Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri in recent months. Both Bin Laden and Zawahiri have threatened Egypt’s government on numerous occasions for Egypt’s refusal to institute full Islamic law, and for its cooperation with the United States.

The attacks occurred in the early morning hours, local time, on Saturday, July 23.

Fifty-three years ago, in the early morning hours of July 23, 1952, a group of Egyptian army officers known as the “Free Officers”, under the direction of Gen. Mohamed Naguib, staged a coup to overthrow Egyptian King Farouk. (Two of the better known members of the Free Officers were Gamal Abdul Nasser and Anwar Sadat.) Three days later, on July 26, King Farouk abdicated and sailed into exile from Alexandria.

Thus July 23rd is the Egyptian equivalent of America’s July 4th holiday. Governmental offices and most private businesses are closed. Many Egyptians head for the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.

Most of the casualties of Saturday morning’s attack in Sinai were Egyptians; the attack in the market was almost certainly directed at local citizens instead of tourists.

Although it is certainly possible that the timing of the attacks in Sharm el Sheikh was simply a coincidence, it must also be considered that the attackers were attempting to make a strong political statement.

The Free Officers Revolution marked the end of the monarchy in Egypt, and ushered in nearly two decades of Pan Arab nationalism under Gamal Abdul Nasser. Egypt broke many of its ties with the US and Britain, and instead forged a military alliance with the Soviet Union that lasted for nearly two decades, until reversed by Abdul Nasser’s successor and fellow Free Officer Anwar Sadat..

In much the same way, the Islamists want to force a new break between Egypt and the west. They want Islam to become the dominant power in Cairo.

This is not surprising given the history of Al Qaeda. Dr. Ayman Zawahiri, Al Qaeda second in command, is an Egyptian. He was jailed in Egypt after the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat for his role in Sadat’s murder, and was subsequently released. From Egypt he made his way eventually to Afghanistan, and as they say, the rest is history.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Suicide by Cop?

This morning, the airwaves are full of discussion regarding the shooting of a suspected suicide bomber as he entered the London subway.

The latest report from Sky News indicates that the suspected bomber was not carrying any explosives at the time he was shot by a crack British anti-terror squad.

Before the inevitable trashing by the liberal media of the British officers involved in the shooting begins, it is important that we be aware of the facts:

1. Suspect is wearing heavy winter coat that appears to be padded. (It is mid-July in London. Temperatures in London are in the 70’s today.)
2. Suspect is confronted by law enforcement and told to stop.
3. Suspect runs

It is clear that the suspect was dressed in an almost stereotypical manner, and may have actually wanted to call attention to himself. Law enforcement has been urging people since July 7 to be on the lookout for individuals dressed in just this style.

It is readily apparent that London is on edge after two sets of attacks in two weeks. The individual, who is said to have been suspected of being a participant in yesterday’s attacks, surely knew that he was provoking a response from law enforcement.

It looks to me like a clear cut case of either:

1. Suicide by Cop.
2. Suicide by Cop with intent to cause media outcry against cops - in other words, he set up the cops.

It will be interesting to see if he is hailed as a martyr on the Islamist boards.


Friday, July 15, 2005

A Disaster Waiting To Happen

Note from Laura: I wrote the following article on Wednesday of this week for release this weekend. However, the headlines this morning have convinced me to go ahead and release it early.

A Disaster Waiting to Happen

In just a few short weeks, the government of Israel plans to pull its citizens out of Gaza, and turn over Gaza to the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have agreed that security within Gaza will be handled by the security forces of the Palestinian authority.

Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Muhamad Dahlan reiterated the security arrangements in a statement on Voice of Palestine radio, the official radio station of the Palestinian Authority, on Monday:

In statements to reporters following his meeting with a delegation representing HAMAS leadership in the Governorate of Gaza today, Civil Affairs Minister Muhamad Dahlan, in charge of the Israeli withdrawal file, said that the anticipated Israeli withdrawal from the governorates of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is a national issue and not an issue that concerns only one faction. He explained that the Palestinian security forces will be in charge of security and order during and after the withdrawal.

But what kind of “security” and “law enforcement” will these “security forces” of the Palestinian Authority provide?

In most western countries, becoming a member of law enforcement is contingent upon passing a stringent background check. Individuals with a criminal record are routinely screened out of the hiring process in the early stages.

Yet in an Arabic-language statement aired on the Ramallah Voice of Palestine on Tuesday, Palestinian Authority Cabinet Secretary General Samir Hulaylah noted that the problem facing the PA of fugitives and wanted persons had almost been resolved. The statement said the following:

Cabinet Secretary General Samir Hulaylah said the fugitives and wanted persons problem is nearly over, noting that most of them have been incorporated into the security services.

In statements to the press, Hulaylah said work is currently underway to solve the problem of those wanted in the Gaza Governorates, after having finalized the issue in Nabulus, Janin, and Bethlehem.

Palestinian Authority officials have acknowledged that they expect problems in the wake of the Israeli pullout. The following clip, translated from Arabic, from the Voice of Palestine, contains a statement from the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Interior and National Security which acknowledges that there are Islamist groups which are expected to post security risks:

Tawfiq Abu-Khusah, spokesman for the Interior Ministry and National Security, stressed that the ministry will take strict measures against outlaws and violators of the Cairo national consensus agreement.

Speaking to our radio station this morning, Abu-Khusah said that the Islamic Jihad Movement informed the PA of its commitment to the Cairo dialogue and the calm, noting that there are groups in the Islamic Movement that do not abide by the decision of their leadership and that these groups might be commanded through other external channels.

A poll taken in Gaza by the Al Quds newspaper, a pro-Palestinian published in Jerusalem, shows that Gaza residents do not have a high level of trust in the Palestinian security forces. According to the Al Quds newspaper:

The results of a public opinion poll by the Al-Mustaqbal Studies Center show that a majority of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip do not feel that they are personally secure or that their family is secure, holding the security apparatuses primarily responsible for the security lawlessness.

Some 74.8% said they feel insecure for themselves and their families in light of the security lawlessness which is being led by the PA apparatuses; 17.9% said they feel secure; and 6.7% said they do not know. Some 67.9% of the respondents said the security apparatuses are responsible for the security lawlessness, 23.5% said the Israeli occupation; 16% said Fatah; 5.3% said HAMAS; 3.9% said Islamic Jihad; and 2.4% said the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Palestinian society seems to hold everyone responsible for the security lawlessness, although the degree of blame varies from one party to another.

Therefore, it demands that everyone bear responsibility but particularly the PA, which it holds primarily responsible.

Some 24.5% of respondents were satisfied with the PA's dealing with the security lawlessness, while 66.9% were dissatisfied.

In a statement on Voice of Palestine that speaks volumes about the anticipated security problems, the PA Ministry of Interior and National Security warned residents about the danger of mortar shells and missiles:

The Ministry of Interior and National Security has called on all national and Islamic forces to shoulder their responsibility and adhere to calm.

The ministry said in a statement that irresponsible acts by some groups would result in doubling material and human losses among citizens.

The ministry warned against the danger of shells and rockets that occasionally fall on citizens' houses, harming children and women in their houses and inflicting losses on citizens only.

Public trust in the PA security apparatus is very low, the authorities are clearly concerned about Islamist factions over which they have no control, and the security forces have absorbed many criminals and terrorists into their ranks.

As the date rapidly approaches for the Israelis to turn over Gaza to the Palestinians, it is becoming more and more apparent that a security nightmare is looming, that will almost inevitably result in the loss of many civilian lives and a further escalation of tensions between the Palestinians and Israel.

Afterward: This morning, CNN is reporting the following:

A day after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants killed an Israeli woman, at least six more rockets were launched into Israel from northern Gaza Friday, Israeli military sources said, while violence between the militants and Palestinian security forces brought a state of emergency to the territories.

The Palestinian security forces are not capable of maintaining order in Gaza. I must reiterate that the Israeli pullout must be postponed, if not cancelled completely.


Friday, July 01, 2005

Francis Scott Key got it right...

If America’s favorite pastime is baseball, then it is appropriate that baseball games begin with the singing of the national anthem.

But back in the late summer months 1814, baseball wasn’t on the minds of the residents of Washington DC. (Baseball didn’t even exist!)

The summer of 1814 had much in common with today’s America in 2005. The US homeland had been attacked by foreign forces. In some ways the cituatioThe country was at war. American citizens were being held hostage by a foreign power.

The British had invaded Washington DC and were marching on to Baltimore. Washington attorney Francis Scott Key had been sent to negotiate a prisoner release, but as the battle for Fort McHenry began in earnest, Key was unable to return to the District o Columbia. Instead, he waited out the battle on a ship anchored eight miles from Fort McHenry.

As the night wore on, there was much speculation. Had Fort McHenry fallen to the invading British troops?

As the first rays of the sun broke through, Key caught a glimpse of the Stars and Stripes flying over the fort. The Fort had survived the night and was still in American hands.

The thrill of victory inspired Key to grab a letter from his pocket, and begin writing down his thoughts. The thoughts became a poem. The poem became our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.

Most of us know the first verse of the Star Spangled Banner.

But somehow, as I watch the news of the War on Terror, and see news footage of American troops battling in Iraq and Afghanistan, I find myself drawn over and over to the fourth verse of the national anthem.

I am constantly amazed at the number of people who do not realize the Star Spangled Banner has four verses. Yes, the first verse is wonderful. But our national identity isn’t just expressed in those first lines; it pervades throughout all four verses.

When Francis Scott Key wrote about the American victory in the harbor at Baltimore, he had more in mind than the glory of winning.

Take a moment and read the words of the fourth verse:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Those words are just as appropriate for 2005 as they were for 1814.

Take a moment and look at what the words really mean, and how they apply to us today as much as they did to young America in 1814.

Once again, American volunteers “stand between their loved homes and the war’s desolation”. The war against terror is one that must be fought to keep the battles, the “war’s desolation”, from our “loved homes

”Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation”

This country has been spared much of the desolation that other countries have experienced over the last century. Although we have fought wars, since the Civil War we have not had to fight one on our own soil. We have lost servicemen and women in wars, but for the most part, until September 11, 2001, the wars have not taken lives of civilians in our homeland. Despite the inevitable economic cycles, we have largely known peace and prosperity. We have truly been blessed as a nation. Key’s description of America as
“the heaven rescued land” is quite description.

He goes even farther when he acknowledges the role of God in the creation and preservation o the United States, and calls for the nation to praise God.

“Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just”

Key understood the basic principle that wars, when fought, must be fought to win. These words should be resonating through our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must win this war against terror. It is a just war, and one that we did not start.

Key continues:
“And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."”

Despite the best efforts of some, “one nation under God” remains in our Pledge of Allegiance. “In God we trust” remains on our currency.

"In God is our trust" must remain our national creed if we want to see the final two lines perpetrated:

“And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

The words of fourth verse of the Star Spangled Banner are just as compelling today as they were nearly two centuries ago when Key first put them to paper. They should be mandatory reading for all Americans; these words should be taught in our schools.

Yes, Francis Scott Key said it very well on September 20, 1814:

“Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation”

Is anyone today listening?