President Obama has repeatedly denied that terrorists have anything to do with the real Islam. But what would Obama say about the fatwa that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s leading political and religious authority from 1979 to 1989, issued condemning author Salman Rushdie to death for writing a book deemed blasphemous to Islam? Khomeini was about as “real Islam” as it gets.
The parallels to contemporary terrorism are very clear. Terrorists murdered the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for what the killers considered the cartoonists’ blasphemy in mocking Muhammad, and the same motivation seems to have inspired the attack by terrorist Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein at the free speech event in Copenhagen. Rushdie’s 1988 book The Satanic Verses had sparked protest demonstrations by Muslims, particularly in Pakistan, because it was considered blasphemous, and shortly thereafter Ayatollah Khomeini issued his 1989 fatwa ordering ordinary Muslims to try to murder Rushdie and all those who were knowingly involved in the publication of the book. How can Obama deny that Khomeini’s fatwa was state-sanctioned and Islam-sanctioned terrorism?
The fatwa Khomeini issued makes chilling reading even today. Here’s a translation:
I would like to inform all the intrepid Muslims in the world that the author of the book entitled ‘Satanic Verses’. . . as well as those publishers who were aware of its contents, are hereby sentenced to death. I call on all zealous Moslems to execute them quickly, wherever they find them, so that no one will dare to insult Islamic sanctity. Whoever is killed doing this will be regarded as a martyr and will go directly to heaven.
Nothing to do with Islam? I would remind Obama, as he ponders that question, that at the time of the Rushdie fatwa Khomeini had not only been “Supreme Leader” of Iran -- a country that has the seventh-largest Muslim population in the world -- for almost a decade, but he also had long been considered an expert in Islamic law and had written many books on the subject.
Then in 1991, when Rushdie’s book’s Japanese translator was stabbed to death in Tokyo, and when in 1993 his Italian translator was attacked in Milan but survived, and when the same thing happened to his Norwegian publisher in Oslo, did those murders and attempted murders have nothing to do with Islam?
The Iranian government officially supported the Rushdie fatwa for almost ten more years, until 1998, but that year did not mark the end of the trouble for Rushdie emanating from Iran. In 2012 a state-linked religious foundation increased the bounty that was still on Rushdie’s head. The reward for killing Rushdie now stands at a cool $3.3 million, and the leader of the foundation involved in the bounty money, Hassan Sanei, is also the group’s representative to the current Supreme Leader of Iran, Khomeini’s successor Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
When in 1998 the Iranian government (although tellingly, not Khamenei himself) backtracked on the Rushdie threat, assuring the West it was no longer operative, their seeming reversal was an act that prompted Britain to renew its diplomatic relations with Iran after having broken off relations over the original Rushdie fatwa. However, subsequent events and the upping of the bounty proved this to have been a strategic effort on the part of the Iranian government to wear a kindler gentler public mask in order to curry favor with the west. The fatwa itself remained in place:
The [Rushdie] fatwa – passed four months before Khomeini’s death – was never annulled and hardliners have frequently revived the issue as a political weapon in their internal struggle with more moderate elements in Iran’s theocratic regime.
Muslim political and religious leaders in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is partitioned between a “Republic of Serbs” and a “Muslim-Croat Federation,” have taken firm measures to stop agitation and recruitment for ISIS.
Monday, Louisiana's Republican governor Bobby Jindal defended the thrust, if not the word choice, of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani's critique of President Barack Obama. Jindal, speaking outside the White House following a meeting between the nation's governors and the president, said while he disagreed with Giuliani's choice of words about whether the president "loves" the country, he nevertheless praised the "point" the New York Republican was making.
This week's three-day White House summit on "countering violent extremism" ended Thursday, but the community-focused spirit of the summit lives on. In a Friday blog post at the State Department's "Dip Note," the Obama administration asks readers a question: "What Solutions Do You Think Are Most Critical To Countering Violent Extremism?"
Not long after his inauguration in January 2009, President Barack Obama penned a letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran. As a presidential candidate, Obama had promised to conduct “tough, direct diplomacy” with the Iranians. And Obama figured, correctly, that all diplomatic entreaties would end up on Khamenei’s desk. So, the newly elected president decided to write Iran’s ultimate decision-maker directly. And he has written several letters since.
More than three-quarters of likely voters say negotiations with Iran should have the goal of stopping the regime in Tehran from ever getting nuclear weapons capability. According to a new poll from Republican pollster John McLaughlin, likely voters were asked about the United States's current "secret negotiations" with Iran.
In remarks at the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, President Obama warned that one can't profile a terrorist, or predict who will become one. It's not determined by people or any particular faith, the president said.
The Obama adminstration begins its three-day summit on countering violent extremism with a "roundtable discussion" Tuesday afternoon led by Vice President Joe Biden and including "representatives from cities working to address the spread of violent extremism." President Barack Obama will join the summit twice this week, according to the Associated Press:
Time and again it is reported that Muslim terrorists in the process of inflicting lethal bodily harm (with firearms, explosives, knives, or by running over people with cars) shout “God is Great!” (Allahu Akbar). It is a remarkable and seemingly puzzling phenomenon that has received little attention, although it is likely to shed light on the motivation and mindset of the terrorists.
Kayla Mueller, an American aid worker who became a hostage of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS, has been killed while being held by her captors. President Obama released an official statement Tuesday morning on Mueller's death, asserting that the "future belongs not" to terrorists like those aligned with ISIS.
If you ignore the cringe-worthy opening line of this article from the Pew Research Center – the Holocaust did far worse than “decimate” Europe’s Jewish population – you will find some interesting facts. In a nutshell, Europe’s Jewish population continues to decline. There are now approximately 1.4 million Jews living in Europe, compared to 9.5 million in 1939. Only 10 percent of the world’s Jews now live in Europe, and a mere 0.2 percent of Europeans are Jewish.
In response to the Islamic State’s horrific burning of a pilot, the Jordanian government has released from prison one of the most influential al Qaeda-allied ideologues in the world. Sound strange? It is.