Nigeria, once known only as Africa's most populous country, now mainly makes headlines for the eruption in its northeast of the brutal jihadist force, Boko Haram ("Western education is prohibited"). Boko Haram has occupied parts of Nigeria and invaded neighbors, including Niger, Cameroon, and Chad. It declares itself a West African province of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
The four countries attacked by Boko Haram and another Muslim-majority state, Benin, have formed a coalition against it, with support from the United Nations, the United States, Britain, and France. But resistance to the jihadis has been weak.Read more
In the wake of the San Bernardino attacks, Americans must confront the undeniable reality of homegrown Islamist terrorism. We must also confront how little we have learned since 9/11 about Islam and about the Muslims who are our fellow citizens. In recent days our public officials—at least the serious ones—have not been able to articulate anything more cogent than "If you see something, say something," a tired slogan originally developed by the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 2002 and officially adopted by the Department of Homeland Security more than five years ago.
One reason for this sorry state of affairs is that there are so few Muslims in the United States.Read more
President Obama needs to accept that our current conflict is as much against the idea of radical jihadism as it is against the physical presence of ISIS. Furthermore, by failing to define the religious-political ideology underpinning the enemy, the president contributes to an environment where all Muslims are increasingly looked at with suspicion. And when President Obama says that we are not at war with Islam, he is implicitly acknowledging to the public that Islam does have something to with extremism, disorder, and violence.
President Obama has also inadvertently cast a blanket of suspicion on the Muslim community through his rhetoric and framing of the challenge.Read more
Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, went to the Senate floor yesterday evening to explain that the U.S. is engaged in a war with radical Islam. "We are at war," Sasse said. "Washington ignores what it cannot escape."
The fact that Washington ignores the war means a presidential candidate who focuses on it can do well, Sasse suggested. "[B]efore another person in this body – or in the national media – stands up to scold the American people about how they could possibly entertain voting for candidate x or y, perhaps we should look in the mirror at why so many of our people are running to demagoguing leaders.Read more
Give a man a reputation as an early riser, as the old saw goes, and he can sleep until noon everyday. The same phenomenon evidently applies to bad reputations as well. Brand Donald Trump a bigot, and suddenly every policy he endorses, no matter how innocuous or mainstream, becomes repugnant.Read more
With the war in Syria becoming ever more complex and murderous, it’s worthwhile to revisit a guiding principle of Barack Obama: The use of American military power is likely to do more harm than good in the Middle East, and even in the region’s violent struggles, soft power is important, if not decisive, in resolving conflicts. If Islamic militancy is to be defeated, better ideas, advanced by Muslims, backed up if necessary by Muslim soldiers, must be the principal means.Read more
The media have been quite zealously attacking Ben Carson for criticizing aspects of Islam that he believes are incompatible with the American political system. The skeptical among us -- and that, unfortunately, must include every discerning consumer of mainstream media -- would note that much of this criticism is motivated primarily by a disingenuous desire to make Republicans look bad, as no honest liberal would support, say, Islam's political approach to women's rights.Read more
Because presidential politics are as much about in-group signaling as actual policy, Ben Carson is locked in a media-generated controversy about whether or not he’d be down with having a Muslim president. Carson was asked about this deeply-important question on Meet the Press. He said no.Read more
The 50-mile route from Sura-baya airport to this East Java city was lined with tens of thousands of banners wishing peace and success to Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization, as participants gathered in August for its latest five-year congress.
One of the more puzzling manifestations of the conflict between radical Islam and the West is the presence of Islamist communities in places like Great Britain, the Netherlands, and France: They are unwelcome in their Muslim homelands—indeed, they are in exile from them—and yet they harbor an abiding hatred for the societies that offer them refuge.Read more
Department of Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson says that the Islamic State wants to be viewed as Islamic, but they aren't.
During an interview at the Aspen Security Forum, the interviewer asks if Johnson and DHS are missing the religious dimension of the terrorism we face by denying that it's inspired by Islam. "I couldn't disagree more," Johnson says.
Disagree with what?Read more
“Islamophobia,” which carries with it implications of viciousness, pain, and disease, is not considered a neutral term, either by Muslims who accuse others of it (including some moderate believers in Islam), or by those who supposedly spread it.Read more
A prominent Pakistani-born women's rights activist is asking presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton, to pledge not to accept donations from foreign nations that oppress women. Raheel Raza, the Canadian journalist behind the documentary film Honor Diaries, is requesting all the presidential candidates, from both parties and both "men and women," to sign her pledge.Read more
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the controversial Muslim-turned-atheist, told a National Press Club audience last week some hard facts about Islam and its propensity toward violence. But her remarks about Christianity—about its capacity to soften sectarian hatreds—may prove an even tougher pill to swallow.Read more
Secretary of State John Kerry has often spoken to the Muslim world during his tenure, particularly during the past year as negotiations with Iran have intensified and conflict with the Islamic State has escalated. But what Kerry has not said during the past twelve months is also significant. A review of the secretary's official remarks and statements noting special dates on Islamic, Perisan, and Arab calendars shows a sharp contrast to his relative silence on Christian and Jewish occasions.Read more
Is Barack Hussein Obama wrong to avoid appending “Islamic,” “Muslim,” “Islamist,” or even “jihadist” to the terrorism that has struck the West with increasing ferocity since the 1990s? This question has at least two parts: Is the president historically correct to do this? And is he politically smart to do it?Read more
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?Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Senior Fellow and frequent contributor Thomas Joscelyn on the fight against ISIS.Read more
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.Read more
President Obama told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that 99.9 percent of Muslims reject radical Islam. He made the comments in response to a question about the White House avoiding using the phrase "Islamic terrorists."Read more
Given the general debasement of Western culture it seems that nothing in the 21st century is sacred—nothing, that is, except what might potentially incite violent Muslims. As we are learning after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the intellectual cowardice on this matter is immeasurable. The latest news is that Oxford University Press has issued guidelines instructing authors of children’s books to avoid references to pigs, sausage, or anything else that might be construed as porcine for fear of offending Muslims.Read more
Secretary of State John Kerry argued that, as the Associated Press phrased it, "violent extremism is not Islamic" in a speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos:
"Today we are witnessing more than a form of criminal anarchy. A nihilism which illegitimately claims an idealogical and religious foundation," said Kerry.Read more
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, will give a major foreign policy address next week in London. According to early excerpts of the address, Jindal will use the speech to bash Hillary Clinton, the likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, and to go after radical Islam in wake of last week's Paris terrorist attacks.Read more
CNN described its reasoning for not showing the latest cover of Charlie Hebdo (the first issue to be published after last week's massacre) in a broadcast this morning:
"CNN will not show you the new cover, which depicts the Prophet Muhammad, because it is our policy not to show potentially offensive images of the prophet," the host declared this morning.
Here's the image CNN (and others!) refuse to show you:Read more
White House press secretary Josh Earnest explained to reporters today that the United States needs to "redouble" efforts to explain "what the tenets of Islam actually are." He made the comments in response to a question about how the U.S. might respond to the terror attack today in France.Read more
Following the lead of Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Secretary of State John Kerrybegan using the Arabic acronym "Daesh" at times when referring to the Islamic State (ISIL or ISIS).Read more
The great medieval historian Ibn Khaldun centered his understanding of history on asabiyya, which is perhaps best translated as esprit de corps mixed with the will to power. In his masterpiece, the Muqaddima, or Prolegomena, the Arab historian saw as the primary locus of asabiyya the tribe—a smaller unit than the ethnic group, and the most powerful military unit in Islamic history until the Mameluks perfected the use of slave soldiers.Read more
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