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Saturday, September 21, 2013

France Fights Public School Islamism

By Deborah Weiss
FrontPage Magazine
September 13, 2013

Secular France wants nothing to do with religion. Yet, it has been forced to grapple with its increasing Islamization that appears to be spinning out of control. The French Education Minister has a new plan to push back: a secularism charter in every public school. However, France’s misguided efforts are unlikely to solve the problem.

France is officially a secular country with separation of church and state. There is no state religion and everyone is free to believe or not believe as they wish. The expression of religious faith is permitted within the boundaries of public order. All creeds are respected and treated equally under the law. But, unlike America which has true religious freedom and allows religion in the public square so long as one religion is not favored over another, the principles underlying France’s 1905 Laïcité laws call for the cleansing of religion from State functions and institutions. Therefore, despite the fact that France’s Constitution claims otherwise, secularism reigns supreme over faith.

In recent years, France’s secular underpinnings have been challenged. Largely due to faulty immigration policies, France is quickly becoming the most Islamized country in Europe. Approximately 200,000 people immigrate legally into France every year, and another 200,000 people immigrate illegally. Currently, approximately 10 percent of France’s population is Muslim (an estimated 4.7 – 10 million people) and the numbers are rising.

Muslim immigrants pose a severe threat to French secularism and therefore to the nation’s identity. Many Muslim immigrants show little interest in assimilating, learning French, or integrating into mainstream society.

Increasingly, Islamic institutions and practices are replacing French secular traditions. Muslim University students are demanding separation of the sexes, excused absences for religious reasons, and pressuring universities to alter their curriculums.

In some areas, there are Muslim enclaves governed by Sharia law. In these "no-go zones" government officials have de facto relinquished control. Police, firemen, and even ambulances refrain from entry. At last count, France had 751 "Sensitive Urban Zones," as these areas are euphemistically called.

The French are loosing control in other regions of the country as well to groups of Muslims who regularly violate State laws. For example, in some locales Muslims block traffic and fill the streets for Jummah prayers on Fridays, in violation of French law. Yet, the police stand idly by. There are numerous other examples along the same lines.

In recent years, the French government has been trying to push back against the Islamization of its country. It has introduced several initiatives in an attempt to enforce its secular principles.

For example, in 2010, the Parliament passed a law making it illegal to wear a full face veil in public. Though the Islamic burqa was not specifically named in the legislation, everyone knew that the burqa was the target of the bill. In 2004, the government outlawed all religious symbols and attire in public schools. Students can no longer wear yomikas, crosses, or hijabs to school.

Now on August 26, 2013 the French Education Minister Vincent Peillon has announced that the government will post a secularism charter in each of its 55,000 public schools by the end of September. The purpose of the charter is to remind students and teachers of France’s secular underpinning and restore "secular morality." Some of the items embodied in the charter mirror France’s Constitution, reiterating that there is no State religion and emphasizing separation of religion and state.

Additional items listed in the Charter expressly assert that the school is a secular institution, students are prohibited from proselytizing, and that students are disallowed from demanding excused absences or challenging class lessons based on their religion.

Minister Peillon’s true thoughts on the role of secularism in the Republic are revealed in his 2008 book titled, "The Revolution is not Over," published by Seuil. In it he asserts that the purpose of secular education is "to remove the student from all forms of determinism, whether familial, ethnic or social" in order to "enable each student to emancipate himself." He states that the goal of the school is to produce "a free individual, emancipated from all guardianships: political, religious, familial, social – so that he can make his own choices."

His writings aspire to a new religion -- that of secularism, as indicated by his language: "the Republican system is forced to invent a new metaphysics and a new religion in which man can transcend himself. It is not a religion of God made man… It is a religion of the man who creates himself thought constant movement." He expressly states that socialism needs a new religion to take the place of the old and that Secularism can be that religion. His claims that done properly, this can create a "new birth", "a transubstantiation" and "a new Church."

Apparently, he and other officials in the French government believe that true religion is the problem and that squelching it in favor of a secular man-made religion is the solution.

To date, there is no evidence that such an approach will work. At the current rate of Muslim immigration combined with its high birth rates, France will be a Muslim majority country in 23 years.

The measures instituted by the French government are largely symbolic. The government doesn’t appear to have the fortitude to enforce French secularism by doling out consequences for serious infractions of French law committed in the name of Islam, whether in the no-go zones or elsewhere.

True religion is not the problem. Religions that operate within the spiritual sphere, respecting the laws of the land are not a threat to the fabric of French society. There is no reason to repress the religious freedom of all because of the problems posed by only one "religion" that seeks to impose itself on unbelievers. The government must acknowledge that those who seek parallel societies run by Sharia law constitute a subversive political movement, cloaking itself in the language of religion. France must treat the movement accordingly. If it doesn’t, the Islamist threat will continue to erode the foundations of French society.

This article was commissioned by Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

Deborah Weiss is a lawyer and a freelance writer. She is a co-author of "Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamist Terrorist Network" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). A partial listing of her work can be found at

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Fort Hood Trial: Don’t Say the “T” Word

By Deborah Weiss
FrontPage Magazine
August 22, 2013

The Fort Hood shootings constituted the largest massacre on a military base in the history of the United States. There is overwhelming evidence that the defendant’s motivations were religious in nature. But as the trial ensues, the US government continues to bend over backwards to avoid calling the massacre an act of Islamic terrorism, consistent with Islamist demands not to associate Islam with terrorism.

On November 5, 2009, Army Major and psychiatrist Nidal Hasan took his semi-automatic pistol and headed to the Soldier Readiness Processing Center on the military base at Fort Hood. There, soldiers were being cleared for deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq. Hasan fired a spray of bullets killing 13 people and wounding over 30 others. It was the worst massacre on a military base in US history.

Hasan had purchased a gun that would be efficient in a high-target environment and attended weeks of target practice.

Two days prior to the blood bath, Hasan gave away his furniture, disseminated business cards that read Soldier of Allah, and emailed Al-Awlaki saying he looked forward to joining him in the afterlife.

Dressed in traditional Islamic garb, Hasan appeared at the Fort Hood military base prepared to fulfil his Islamic duty to defend his Muslim brothers.

Upon his arrival to the scene, he bowed his head in prayer, then jumped up and screamed “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest!) before unloading his ammunition at unarmed soldiers.

Reports indicate that army officials were cognizant of Hasan’s increasing radicalization since 2005. Hasan had given a seminar which revealed his Islamist ideology, during which he justified suicide bombings. He also expressed increasing ambivalence about serving in the military since the US was “killing Muslims”.

Additionally, an investigation discovered conclusive evidence that Hasan had significant email communications with Anwar Al-Awlaki, a prominent Al-Qaeda operative who was a target of Obama’s targeted killing drone program. Hasan’s emails asked whether it was acceptable to kill innocents during jihad and when suicide bombings were justifiable. He also regularly visited jihadi websites which condoned suicide bombings.

Hasan was charged in a Military Court under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with 13 counts of pre-meditated murder and 32 Counts of attempted murder.

He appeared before a board of mental health professionals to determine his fitness to stand trial. At his hearing, Hasan confessed to the murders and claimed he did it to “defend Taliban leadership.” He showed no remorse. Never-the-less, the board ruled he was sane.

Hasan is representing himself at trial. The trial commenced August 6, 2013. During Hasan’s opening statements, he confessed the murders and blatantly asserted his jihadi motives. He explained that he had “switched sides” and regards himself as mujahideen.

The prosecution has had almost 90 witnesses and Hasan has engaged in virtually no cross-exam. Some believe that he is purposely leading a strategy of defenselessness in order to achieve martyrdom. Though he denies it, Hasan’s past statements indicate that he wished he had been killed so he’d become a martyr and that government execution would still qualify him as such.

So the question remains, how should Hasan’s mass murder be characterized?

An independent commission conducted an investigation of the Fort Hood shootings. DoD released its report in January 2010. It found that the Pentagon was unprepared to defend itself against internal threats. DoD and other government agencies have characterized the massacre as “workplace violence” and omitted any mention of Islamist ideology or terrorist behavior.

The leaders of the investigation stated that their concern was “actions and effects, not necessarily motives”. And, Army Chief of Staff General George W. Casey proclaimed that “as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”

The FBI determined that because Hasan had no co-conspirators, further investigation was unnecessary.

In his public address and at the eulogy, President Obama also refused to acknowledge the role of Islamic terrorism in the massacre.

Yet motive is what distinguishes one type of homicide from another. A homicide victim is equally dead regardless of motive. But our legal system and moral code mandate that intent be taken into account when determining what, if any punishment should be accorded.

The omission of the terrorist motives in the Fort Hood massacre is resulting in the denial of purple hearts for the fallen soldiers, and a denial of medical benefits and financial compensation for the survivors.

Though the UCMJ does not have terrorism in its code as a possible charge, the military court could have waived jurisdiction, allowing Hasan to be prosecuted in Federal Court where a charge of domestic terrorism would have been in order.

Even if Hasan was not criminally charged with terrorism, the government could make a political determination that this was a terrorist act, allowing the victims to be properly compensated. DoD officials claimed that Hasan could have argued he couldn’t get a fair trial due to accusations of criminal liability.

However, Hasan has already admitted criminal guilt. Therefore, it is more likely that the government’s characterization of the massacre as workplace violence was made in line with its pattern of denial regarding Islamist ideology.

This Administration has rewritten all national security training material to delete all reference to Islamic terrorism and has launched an aggressive campaign of interfaith dialogue and “peer pressure and shaming” to stifle all debate on the issue of Islamism.

The Administration has also formed close alliances with Islamist organizations in a quest to silence all speech critical of Islam, in a manner tantamount to blasphemy codes.

Free speech constitutes a human right and is critical to maintaining the cause of freedom. It is especially important to allow open debate on the nature of national security threats and their motivational ideology.

Denying the threat of Islamic radicalism has consequences. Resulting policies hamper America’s ability to defeat those that wish us harm. Whether the Benghazi attacks, the Fort Hood massacre or other Islamic terrorist attacks, most Americans realize that purging the language does not eradicate threats.

This awareness does not apply to the Administration, however, where the folly continues.

This article was commissioned by The Legal Project, an activity of the Middle East Forum.

Deborah Weiss, Esq. is a regular contributor to FrontPage Magazine and the Washington Times. She is a contributing author of “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network” (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011). A partial listing of her work can be found at

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

U.S. Praises Sharia Censorship

By Deborah Weiss
FrontPage Magazine
May 24, 2013

The United States is silent as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) passes its most recent UN Resolution that unravels global consensus to support freedom of speech.

From 1999-2010, the OIC succeeded in passing its defamations of religions resolutions, which ostensibly would protect Islam from all criticism, including true statements of fact. Though the name of the resolutions indicated that it would pertain to all religions equally, in the OIC’s interpretation, it applied to Islam only.

Realizing the clash that this concept holds with that of free expression, the US State Department urged the OIC to produce an alternative resolution which would address the OIC’s concerns about Islamophobia and still protect free speech.

Accordingly, in March 2011, the OIC introduced the now infamous Resolution 16/18 to combat intolerance based on religion or belief, purportedly proposed as a replacement for the defamation of religions resolution. It garnered wide-spread support and Western states touted it as a victory for free speech. They believed that its focus marked a landmark shift from suppression of speech critical of religions to combating discrimination and violence against individuals based on their religious beliefs.

Over time it became clear that the OIC retained its long term goal to protect Islam from defamation and indeed to criminalize all speech that shed a negative light on Islam or Muslims. Resolution 16/18 turned out to be a tactical move by the OIC to bring the West one step closer toward realizing its goal of achieving global blasphemy laws, by using language more palatable to the West, and open to interpretation.

Against this backdrop the US held the first conference to implement Resolution 16/18, the process now known as the Istanbul Process.

Unfortunately, America’s concern for the protection of free speech seems to have gotten lost as its focus moved closer to the OIC’s positions, and an emphasis was placed on protecting Muslims in the West from Islamophobia.

Some circles including free speech advocates, national security experts, and those concerned about the Persecuted Church, have beaten the drum against Resolution 16/18 and the continuation of the Istanbul Process. Their efforts have been to no avail as the Istanbul Process continues.

However, while awareness of the perils of Resolution 16/18 is on the increase, news on Resolution A/HRC/22/L.40 has gone virtually unreported. It retains the same title as Resolution 16/18, but has glaringly dangerous amendments.

To focus on just one, it asserts that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. This is obviously problematic. The lumping together of these categories implies a false equation of immutable characteristics such as nationality and ethnicity with those that are subject to choice such as religion or belief.

Religions and belief systems come in all stripes. To preclude the possibility that any of them might be ideologically associated with terrorism leads to a position based on an unexplored assumption rather than a conclusion based on fact. Indeed, the assertion condemns the mere exploration of the facts a priori, a notion which is not only illogical but dangerous.

After 9/11 and the multitude of terrorist attacks committed in the name of Islam, one ought to be able to raise legitimate questions about Jihadi ideology without being labeled a bigot. Government has an obligation to determine the motivational ideology of terrorism even if even if it turns out to be an interpretation of a religion.

The government should not get into the business of ascertaining what is or is not proper theological interpretations of any religion. But a distinction has to be made between those who are truly practicing a religion as the word is understood in the West, versus those who are implementing a subversive political ideology cloaked in the language of religion.

Anyone who has conducted a good faith investigation knows that there is such a phenomenon as Islamic terrorism. Only those in denial can claim otherwise. Truth should never constitute prohibited speech, no matter how ugly reality might be.

The condemnation of honest discussion on this important matter, along with other disturbing speech restrictive clauses in Resolution L.40, demonstrates the unraveling of the consensus by nation states to promote freedom of expression. Those who follow the OIC closely know that its allegiance to this concept was folly from the onset. One need only take a cursory glance at the OIC countries to determine the disingenuousness of this portention, as many OIC countries fine, jail and even execute the exercise of speech deemed blasphemous to Islam. For those less informed, nothing more than the language embodied in Resolution L.40 is needed to realize that the OIC’s commitment to free speech is a sham.

Subsequent to passage of Resolution L.40, the EU representative to the UN expressed unabashed concern over the erosion of international consensus to support free speech. He insisted that the EU will continue to uphold the ideas pertaining to the protection of minorities, but will oppose any efforts to undermine the right to free expression, including discussion of Islamic terrorism.

The US representative stated no such concern. She failed to make a principled statement on America’s position regarding freedom of speech. Instead, she lavished praise on the OIC for maintaining a consensus on Resolution 16/18 for three consecutive years.

The Obama Administration has erroneously characterized the Fort Hood attack as mere workplace violence; has cleansed from its national security and counterterrorism lexicon any reference to Islamic terrorism, has blamed the Benghazi attacks on the an anti-Islam video and has taken a lead role in the Istanbul Process, promising to use "peer pressure and shaming" against American citizens who speak out on these issues in a way that the Administration finds disagreeable.

Therefore, it should have come as no surprise when after the Boston bombings, during a time of trial, tribulation and grief, the President’s address emphasized that people should prioritize America’s value of diversity. No doubt that this diversity of ideas includes the motivational ideology of Islamic terrorism, even though acknowledgment of its existence is now verboten.

This article was commissioned by the Legal Project, an activity of the Middle East Forum.

Deborah Weiss is a lawyer and a freelance writer. She is a co-author of "Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamist Terrorist Network" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). A partial listing of her work can be found at

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

OIC Ramps Up ‘Islamophobia’ Campaign

By Deborah Weiss
FrontPage Magazine
February 28, 2013

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has long been on the forefront of the Islamist mission to establish the equivalent of Islamic blasphemy laws in the West. Now, during its 12th Islamic Summit held in Cairo February 7-8, 2013, the OIC set forth new and creative ways to silence, and ultimately criminalize criticism of Islam.

The OIC is a 57-member state organization that claims to represent 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe. As the second largest international organization in the world, behind only the UN, and as the largest Islamic organization in the world, it is obviously quite powerful. Though it is arguably the largest voting block in the UN, most people have never heard of it.

One of the OIC’s primary aims for at least the last fourteen years has been the international criminalization of speech that is critical of any Islam-related topic, including Islamic terrorism, Islamic persecution of religious minorities and human rights violations committed in the name of Islam.

Since 1999, the OIC has set forth UN resolutions that would “combat defamation of religions.” These resolutions condemned criticism of religion, but in the OIC’s interpretation, it applied only to Islam. True statements of fact constituted no exception.

Support for the resolutions declined once the United States and other Western countries caught wind of the true meaning of “defamation of religions” and its inevitable chilling effect on freedom of expression.

In 2011, at the State Department’s request, the OIC drafted an alternative resolution that was intended to retain freedom of expression and still address the OIC’s concerns about alleged Islamophobia. The result was Resolution 16/18 to Combat Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief.

The US State Department and numerous Christian organizations were elated, believing that the OIC had abandoned its mission to protect Islam from so-called “defamation,” and instead replaced it with the goal of protecting persecuted religious minorities from discrimination and violence. In other words, many assumed a paradigm shift away from providing legal protections to a religion and toward legal protections for people.

But the OIC had some very creative interpretations of the language embodied in the new resolution. By its manipulation of words such as intolerance and incitement, giving new meanings to what many thought was plain English, the OIC made it clear that it had not dropped its ultimate goal of protecting Islam from “defamation.”

Almost immediately upon its passage and the passage of a similar resolution in the General Assembly, the OIC set out on the unconventional task of “implementing” Resolution 16/18, contrary to the norm of leaving UN resolutions in the realm of the theoretical.

Unfortunately, the U.S. State Department acted as a willing accomplice in this effort, holding the second “Istanbul Conference” in December of 2011. But, in its implementation phase, rather than moving toward the preservation of free expression, the OIC successfully moved the process in the opposite direction: toward speech restrictive policies.

Though the U.S., thus far, has not pushed for the enactment of “hate speech” laws, it has “advocated for other measures to achieve the same result.” Indeed, at this Administration’s behest, all national security training materials and policies “de-link” any interpretation of Islam from Islamic terrorism. Many U.S. government agencies have now made it verboten to mention Islamic terrorism or assert anything negative about Islam.

The OIC’s task is easier in the EU countries, most of which already have some sort of hate speech restrictions. They vary from country to country. Some are cast as laws against the “denigration of religions”; some are “hate speech” laws; some are “public order” laws and some are “incitement to religious hatred” laws. Additionally, the penalties can range from civil fines to jail time depending on the country. The U.S. is the last hold out on retaining true freedom when it comes to matters of speech.

This past February, the OIC held an Islamic Summit, a high-level meeting held every three years. It is the OIC’s largest meeting. Heads of State and high ranking officials from member states attend. The purpose of the meeting is to provide guidance pertinent to the realization of the objectives provided for in the OIC Charter and to consider other issues of importance to member states and the Islamic Ummah. This year’s theme for the agenda was “The Muslim World: New Challenges and Expanding Opportunities.”

Though the summit focused largely on Syria, Mali, and the “Palestinian issue,” the OIC also made it clear that it would ramp up its efforts to defeat “Islamophobia.”

The OIC is fastidiously working on the creation of legal instruments to address and combat “Islamophobia.” Renewing its commitment to mobilize the West to comply with Islamic blasphemy laws, the OIC vowed to push for nation states to enact laws that will criminalize the “denigration of religions” during in its next Istanbul conference, anticipated to take place this June.

Further, it is requesting that the UN start an international mechanism that could serve as an “early warning system” against instances of discrimination and intolerance on religious grounds. Specifically, the OIC is proposing the creation of an observatory at the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, presumably analogous to the Observatory on Islamophobia that the OIC already maintains. The difference would be that the new observatory would be overseen by an internationally sanctioned entity (the UN) and would expand to all religions.

It is fair to say that since Islamist organizations have coordinated campaigns across the world that encourage and solicit reports of either real, feigned, staged or imagined incidents of “Islamophobia,” the new “empirical data” that such an observatory would collect, would still be drastically skewed. No other religion has a worldwide campaign instructing its members to report unpleasant truths as “bigotry” or to complain about slights as minor as “hostile looks.”

Additionally, the OIC is continuing to use the language embodied in pre-existing legal instruments in order to make it harder for Western countries to object. For example, Resolution 16/18 mirrors some of the language in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). ICCPR, Article 20 states “the advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.” The U.S. rightly signed a reservation to this clause, effectively opting out, insisting that Americans retain the right to exercise their First Amendment freedom of speech.

Further, though Article 20 makes such speech illegal, it leaves the definition of these terms open to interpretation and does not specify that the illegality must be criminal in nature. Despite this, Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, spokesman for the OIC Secretary General, insists that pursuant to Article 20 the “denigration of symbols or persons sacred to any religion is a criminal offense.”

Such claims are indicative of the legal and linguistic gymnastics that the OIC will use to achieve its goal to “combat defamation of Islam” and to export Islamic blasphemy laws, labeling them as something aesthetically easier to swallow.

At the Summit, OIC members also unanimously elected Iyad Madani to the post of OIC Secretary General. His term is to commence in 2014 when current Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu’s term expires. This is the first time that the OIC will be headed by a Saudi.

Though the current OIC regime is comprised of sticklers for Islamic blasphemy laws and staunch advocates for the obliteration of Israel, it is likely that the OIC will become even more extreme under Madani. Compared to the Wahabbis in Saudi Arabia, Ihsanoglu and gang can be considered reformers pushing “Islam lite.” The election of a former Saudi Minister to head the largest Islamic organization in the world and lead the UN’s most powerful voting bloc is a bad omen of what’s to come. Indeed, it would come as no surprise if under its new leadership, the OIC’s old leadership would be labeled “Islamophobic.”

Deborah Weiss is a lawyer and a freelance writer. She is a co-author of “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamist Terrorist Network” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). A partial listing of her work can be found at

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

U.S. Pastor Faces Trial in Iran for Christian Faith

U.S. pastor faces trial in Iran for Christian faith
State Department looks the other way

By Deborah Weiss
Washington Times
January 21, 2013

As this is being written, Saeed Abedini, an American citizen and evangelical pastor, sits in an Iranian jail awaiting his trial. The expected ruling is death, for charges which are presumed to be related to his Christian faith. The State Department, which works closely with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to stamp out “intolerance” and “Islamophobia” against Muslims in America, has been virtually silent about Mr. Abedini’s predicament in Iran, one of the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Thirty-two-year-old Saeed Abedini was raised in Iran as a Muslim. At age 20 he converted to Christianity and subsequently became an evangelical pastor. He married a U.S. citizen, and is now a U.S. citizen himself. He and his wife have two children, ages 4 and 6.

Mr. Abedini still has family that remains in Iran, and for years he has been travelling to visit them. Initially, he also worked to set up an underground church, an act which is illegal in Iran.

In 2009, he was caught and arrested. He was let out on bail conditioned upon his agreement to stop running the underground church and to refrain from proselytizing his Christian faith. In return, the Iranian government agreed not to put him in prison. Both parties kept their agreement for years. Mr. Abedini visited Iran eight times since his 2009 arrest. During his visits, he saw his family members and initiated plans to start an orphanage.

In the summer of 2012, the Iranian government went back on its promise. During one of Mr. Abedini’s visits to Iran, a Revolutionary Guard interrogated him, and he was placed under house arrest. Disregarding Mr. Abedini’s U.S. citizenship, the Iranian government forced him to remain at his parents’ house.

Then, in September 2012, Mr. Abedini was sent to Evin prison in Tehran, notorious for being especially brutal and abusive. He was never informed of the charges. Moreover, the government confiscated his bank account, which contained approximately $105,000 that had been donated to him to help start the orphanage.

In a letter sent to his family, Mr. Abedini stated that he had endured beatings during interrogations that occurred regularly, and that the Iranian guards have given him death threats, saying that he “will hang” for his “faith in Jesus.”

Throughout all of this, the State Department remained silent, despite the fact that it is mandated to protect U.S. citizens who travel abroad.

Finally last week, for the first time, Mr. Abedini’s lawyer was permitted to see his file. It was only then, with less than one week’s notice, that he discovered the date of Mr. Abedini’s trial. His lawyer reports that the charges are indecipherable, except for one dating back to the year 2000, the same year that Mr. Abedini converted to Christianity and became an apostate.

The charge issued is for “actions [taken] against the national security of Iran.” This is typical of the type of charge hurled against religious minorities that are to be persecuted. It is clear that the charges against Mr. Abedini pertain to his Christian conversion and prior evangelizing.

The trial date is set for Jan. 21, 2013. Mr. Abedini’s case is assigned to Judge Pir-Abassi, who heads the 26th Branch of the Revolutionary Court. The judge is nicknamed the “hanging judge,” and he has a reputation for doling out especially harsh sentences. He has been known to issue death sentences to mere protesters and political dissidents. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has cited Pir-Abassi as one of three judges “responsible for particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

The judge is so extreme that most attorneys refuse to handle cases that are calendared for his courtroom. In 2011, the European Union named Judge Pir-Abassi as an individual subject to sanctions for his human rights abuses. It has issued a ban disallowing him to enter the European Union.

In Iran, as in all Muslim countries, conversion out of the Islamic faith (apostasy) constitutes a capital offense. According to Faraz Sanei of Human Rights Watch, the Iranian regime believes that evangelicals are trying to convert Muslims to Christianity and considers them a particular threat. He reported that Iran has increased its targeting of Christian converts starting in 2005 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president. The targeting escalated even further after the 2009 protests.

Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt and Idaho Sen. Jim Risch have issued a letter along with numerous other congressional signatories, calling for Pastor Saeed’s release. There are also some online petitions circulating toward that same goal.

Finally last week, in a feeble, almost meaningless statement, Ms. Victoria Nuland of the State Department proclaimed that the Department has a “serious concern” about Mr. Abedini’s detainment. After learning that he has been denied access to his lawyer since his arrest, she asked Iranian officials to “respect Iran’s own laws and provide Mr. Abedini with access to a lawyer.”

The Obama administration bends over backwards to ensure that that it doesn’t use any language that might offend American Muslims, even if accurate. Yet it has turned a blind eye to the real persecution of religious minorities implemented by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries, such as the abuse of Mr. Abedini, despite his being an American citizen.

Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, is John Kerry’s confirmation hearing for the position of secretary of state. If Mr. Abedini is lucky enough not to be executed in the interim, Thursday’s hearing would provide the perfect opportunity for senators to place pressure on Mr. Kerry to demand Mr. Abedini’s unconditional release.

Deborah Weiss is a lawyer and a freelance writer. She is a co-author of “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamist Terrorist Network” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). A partial listing of her work can be found at

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Islamist Org Working to Prohibit Criticism of Islam

Posted by Deboarh Weiss: An article written by Ryan Mauro of

Expert: Islamist Org Working to Prohibit Criticism of Islam
January 15, 2013

Deborah Weiss, Esq. is an expert on the defamation of religions U.N. resolutions set forth by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. She writes for several online news sites and is co-author of the book, Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West's Fatal Embrace."

The following is National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro’s interview with Deborah Weiss.

Ryan Mauro: What is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and what is its end goal?

Deborah Weiss: The OIC is the largest Islamic organization in the world, claiming to represent 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide. It’s comprised of 56 UN Member States plus the Palestinian Authority. They tend to vote together as a block in the UN and are arguably the most powerful voting block in the UN as a whole. They are certainly the most powerful voting bloc in the UN’s Human Rights Council.

Though the OIC holds itself out as a “moderate” organization, it is clear from its own documents and its concepts that it is anything but moderate. Its long term goal is the worldwide implementation of Sharia law and the supremacy of an Islamic State.

In its immediate activities, it is working to solidify the relationships among Muslim majority countries, to unify the Muslim voice, to support the so-called “Palestinian struggle” and to restrict all speech that is critical of anything related to Muslims or Islam including Islamic terrorism and Islamic persecution of religious minorities.

Mauro: Tell us about the OIC’s concept of “Combating Defamation of Religions” and its impact.

Deborah Weiss: “Combating Defamation of Religions” is a concept which gives an idea or religion, in this case Islam, protection from criticism, as opposed to what we have in the American legal system which only gives defamation protections to people.

Additionally, the OIC’s definition of defamation includes anything that sheds a negative light on Islam or Muslims, even if it’s true and even if it’s opinion. In fact, it goes even further and condemns any free expression that would violate Islamic blasphemy laws even when, and perhaps especially when, expressed by non-Muslims. So it’s the OIC’s attempt to pressure non-Muslims to comply with Islamic blasphemy codes. Its target is the West and failure to comply with its demands is deemed “Islamophobic” even when no actual bigotry or prejudice is present.

The impact of putting the concept of combating defamation of religions into effect has numerous consequences and implications.

First, though it’s called “combating defamation of religions,” the OIC interprets and applies it to Islam only without any reciprocity for other religions. In fact, the concept of protecting Islam from “defamation” is used in many OIC countries to persecute religious minorities. The concept gives credence to Islamic blasphemy laws, which not only operate to suppress freedom of religion, but also violate human rights. For example, in Pakistan, Ahmadiyya Muslims believe in a prophet after Mohammad. They generally have a peaceful, egalitarian interpretation of Islam. Yet, they are considered heretics, and it is not only illegal for them to practice their faith, but it is criminal. Merely sending out a wedding invitation with an accurate quote from the Koran can land an Ahmadiyya Muslim in jail.

Last, but not least, the implementation of the concept of combating defamation of religions has serious consequences for freedom of speech. This is the main concern from a Western, and specifically American perspective. The OIC as well as other Islamist organizations continue to work hard to stifle free speech. They are constantly placing pressure on Western governments and societies to refrain from saying or dong anything that violates Islamic blasphemy codes, even though they don’t word it this way.

For example, the OIC encourages “hate-speech” laws in Europe that make it illegal to speak negatively about Islam. And in America, though the government has thus far declined to make such speech illegal, it is enacting policies that discourage such speech even when it’s critical in protecting US national security.

Though not necessarily a direct result of the OIC’s UN resolutions, the implementation of the concept of combating defamation of religions has resulted in America’s recent cleansing of all national security training material for the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the National Counterterrorism Training Center. National security and intelligence professionals will still learn about terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, but will be deprived of teachings regarding the underlying[Islamist] ideology, disconnecting the motivation from the terrorist behavior. This ties one hand behind America’s back in fighting the War on Terror and is very dangerous.

Mauro: In March 2011, Secretary of State Clinton urged the OIC to “move beyond a decade-long debate over whether insults to religion should be banned or criminalized.” At the United Nations in September 2012, President Obama spoke against banning anti-Islam speech in the wake of the violence following the publicity surrounding the Innocence of Muslims YouTube video. What is your criticism of the U.S. government’s relationship to the OIC then?

Weiss: While President Obama might have spoken out against the legal ban of anti-Islam speech, his administration has worked to implement policy bans on such speech in a way that is both unprecedented and has grave national security implications. Whereas the National Security Strategy Memo, the guiding document for all American national security policies, previously proclaimed that radical Islam is the most dangerous ideological threat to American freedom in the 21st century, now all mention of it has been deleted.

Government agencies discourage use of the words “jihad”, “Islamist”, “caliphate” and others. Any connection of Islamism or radical Islam to terrorism is verboten, even when the terrorists identify themselves as Islamic. Terrorism is merely a symptom of a deeper problem, and the refusal to address the underlying ideology that motivates it makes it more difficult to identify terrorism in its early stages and more difficult to defeat it.

The OIC has a strong anti-freedom and anti-Israel agenda. Despite this, the Obama administration works with the OIC on numerous fronts, sometimes excluding Israel from participation.

You might be interested to know, Ryan, that although Obama said we shouldn’t ban anti-Islam speech after the “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube video, he also asked Google, the parent company of YouTube to check its terms and conditions to determine if the video violated them, and to remove the video if it did. Fortunately, YouTube insisted on keeping the video posted.

As to Hillary Clinton’s comment urging the OIC to move beyond the banning or criminalization of religious insults, all I can say is that she has no authority to effectuate this in the Muslim world. The OIC must have been laughing all the way home as they exited the December 2011 State Department Istanbul Conference where Secretary Clinton promised to use the “peer pressure and shaming” to silence the speech of Americans critical of anything Islam-related. The result of that conference brought the OIC one step closer to making their goal of criminalizing such speech a reality.

Ryan Mauro is's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.

Deborah Weiss is a lawyer and a freelance writer. She is a co-author of “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamist Terrorist Network” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). A partial listing of her work can be found at

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Friday, January 11, 2013

CAIR’s Thought Police: At It Again

By Deborah Weiss
FrontPage Magazine
January 11, 2013

The thought police over at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are urging journalists to delete the word “Islamist” from their lexicon. Though CAIR claims that the word stems out of bigotry, CAIR’s real agenda is to protect Islam — and Islamists — from so-called “defamation.”

The Associated Press Style Book is a guide for journalists which lays out rules for spelling, punctuation, and other guidelines. In its most recent edition, it added the word “Islamist,” which it defines as: “Islamist: supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.” Generally, the word “Islamist” is used to distinguish those who want to practice Islam as a spiritual faith, as opposed to those who interpret it and apply it as a political ideology. Those in the latter category desire the merging of mosque and state.

On January 3, 2012, Ibrahim Hooper, national spokesperson for CAIR, published a column suggesting that in the New Year journalists should refrain from using the word “Islamist.”

He complains that news reports unfairly focus on Islamists and notes that there are no news reports of “Christianist,” “Hinduist,” or “Judaist” political leaders. He further insists that the word “Islamist” is used almost always “pejoratively” by “Islamophobic groups and individuals” who link the word to terrorism, persecution of religious minorities, and human rights violations committed in the name of Islam. Hooper whines that such “bigoted attacks” unfairly target Islam because they are not equally hurled at other faiths.

Hooper goes on to claim that often the word “Islamist” is used by “Islam-bashers” who “disingenuously” claim to hate political Islam, though deep in their hearts they hate all Islam. As proof of his assertion, he accuses the alleged Islamophobes of failing to explain how a practicing Muslim can be politically active without attracting the label “Islamist.” After all, he writes, Muslims who wish to serve the “public good” and are merely “influenced” by their faith are slapped with the label “Islamist.” He professes that they just want to work for the “welfare of humanity and to be honest and just,” and if that same inspiration had eminated from the Bible instead of the Quran, they’d be deemed “good Samaritans.”

However, Hooper allows one exception for when use of the word “Islamist” is acceptable, and that is when it is used by Islamists themselves.

And therein lies the rub. It’s not really the word to which Hooper is objecting. It is the negative connotation which serves to “defame Islam.” In the eyes of CAIR and other Islamist organizations, anything that sheds a negative light on Islam or Muslims constitutes “defamation,” even if it’s true. This is a definition at odds with that in the American legal system which requires defamation to consist of a false statement of fact.

So the real agenda of CAIR and its ilk is not to stop “bigotry” against Islam or Muslims, but to whitewash and obfuscate the truth and propagate a disinformation campaign about, yes, Islamist terrorism, Islamist persecution of religious minorities and Islamist human rights violations, all of which are done in furtherance of the ultimate goal of Islamist Supremacy.

The word “Islamist” has negative connotations because the underlying idea that the word represents is negative in the minds of freedom loving people. Any cosmetic word change that carries the same meaning will eventually attach a negative connotation as well.

The real issue here is not to let the Islamist thought police like CAIR remove the arsenal of words from the English language in service of undermining the War on Terror. Words have meaning and it is critical that we accurately use them to identify our enemies. By placating CAIR’s demands, we tie one hand behind our backs in defending freedom.

Hooper conflates those whose values come from their religious faith and practice it within a constitutional framework, with those who use their faith to undermine constitutional freedoms. The reason news reports don’t contain allegations of Christianist, Hinduist and Judaist politicians is because there are no analogous political movements cloaked in the language of other faiths which seek to subvert the government and replace it with so-called “religious” institutions to be dominated by a monolith.

Though it isn’t incumbent on reporters to explain to the likes of CAIR how a Muslim can be influenced by his faith without being labeled “Islamist,” for Hooper’s benefit, it is laid out here:

1. Consider Islam a spiritual practice and not a political ideology to be imposed on others.

2. Do not work toward the merging of mosque and state.

3. Don’t demand that infidels comply with Islamic laws.

4. Support equality under the law between Muslims and non-Muslims, and between men and women.

5. Support freedom and refrain from advocating for anti-Constitutional measures such as restrictions on freedom of speech or special preferences in the workplace not afforded to those of other faiths.

6. Stop supporting terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah and start supporting national security measures that will protect American citizens from terrorist attacks including terrorist attacks by Muslims.

Muslims who can’t practice their version of Islam without violating these rules, accurately warrant the label “Islamist.”

It makes sense that Hooper would object to the negative connotations inherent in the word “Islamist” since the organization he represents qualifies for that label. CAIR has close connections to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. It was an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-financing trial in the history of the United States. Several of its former leaders sit in jail on terrorism-related convictions. And, its current leadership is well known to be empathetic to Hamas and Hezbollah, both State-designated terrorist organizations which seek the obliteration of the State of Israel.

CAIR serves as an apologist for what is commonly called “creeping Sharia.” It opposes every free speech stance that might be deemed anti-Islamic even if it’s true. CAIR has also opposed every national security measure that would protect American citizens from Islamist terrorism.

During the meetings from which CAIR sprung into existence, its founders proudly referred to themselves as Islamists. They fully believe in and support the ultimate vision of a worldwide Sharia State, where Islam reigns supreme over all other religions.

But, whether the term is spoken by those who favor or abhor its meaning, an Islamist by any other name is still an Islamist. Journalists have a duty to report the truth even when, and perhaps especially when, the subjects of the information find it offensive.

Deborah Weiss is a lawyer and a freelance writer. She is a co-author of “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamist Terrorist Network” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). A partial listing of her work can be found at

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

E-Tracking Saudi Women

By Deborah Weiss
FrontPage Magazine
December 21, 2012

Saudi men are now receiving automatic text messages from the government whenever their wives exit the country. It is part of a new program to electronically track women and ensure that they don’t leave the country without permission from their male “guardians”. The response from liberal feminists in the West? Silence.
Saudi Arabia constitutes one of the most oppressive regimes in modern day history. It is known for its notorious human rights violations such as public beheadings, its extreme persecution of religious minorities, and its policies of gender apartheid, all of which are based on its stringent interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia.

Already, the law requires that women be covered from head to toe in burkas when in public, that unrelated men and women cannot mingle, and that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s. In divorce, child custody goes automatically to the man. Inheritance laws favor sons over daughters. The list goes on and on. In short, women are treated as little more than chattel.

But this isn’t enough for the Saudi government. So, recently, it implemented a practice whereby a male “guardian” is notified with a text message every time his wife or daughter leaves the country.

It has always been the case in Saudi Arabia that women, all of whom are referred to as “dependents”, (along with children and foreign workers employed by individuals), must obtain written permission from a male relative or other male guardian before being able to work, attend university, obtain necessary medical procedures or leave the country.

In 2010, the Ministry of the Interior implemented several initiatives to “update” the “efficiency” of the guardianship program, making it easier for guardians to authorize a dependent’s departure by, for example, allowing men to fill out permission forms online rather than producing the paperwork in person.

Additionally, men had the choice of opting into a program whereby they would be notified whenever their “dependents” crossed the country’s borders.

But in recent weeks, this notification program has been changed to automatically send text messages to men even when they did not sign up for the program. Thus, all male guardians in Saudi Arabia now receive a text message when their wives or daughters cross the border, even if he happens to be travelling alongside her.

The change in policy was prompted by an incident where a 28-year-old woman used falsified documents to escape Saudi Arabia. Reportedly, she had converted from Islam to Christianity, a capital offense under Sharia law. She fled to Sweden, presumably to evade punishment. Subsequently, the Saudi government made SMS notification official policy rather than elective.

One husband, who had been notified of his wife’s border crossing as he accompanied her, was alarmed by the notification. He alerted al-Sharif, a women’s rights activist, of the new policy.

Al-Sharif became famous, or infamous, depending on one’s viewpoint, when she uploaded a YouTube video of herself defying the government’s prohibition on women’s driving. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving. Last year, numerous Saudi women, who defied this ban, including Al-Sharif, were arrested and jailed. Al-Sharif was subsequently released on bail, so long as she promised not to drive again or speak to the media.

Upon learning about the government’s e-tracking of women, she sent out tweets with the news, which were met with outrage from both men and women in Saudi Arabia. Reply tweets made proclamations like, “[H]ello Taliban, here with some tips from the Saudi e-government” and “[W]hy don’t we just install a microchip into our women to track them around?”

Instead of making the guardianship system hi-tech, Saudi Arabia should be phasing it out.

It’s ironic that one of the richest, most technologically advanced countries in the world is using technology to ensure that its human rights, morality, and treatment of women does not progress past that of the 7th century. The more advanced technology gets, the more backward and controlling of women becomes Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, feminists in the West, especially in America, don’t realize how good they have it.

There are constant cries of “sexism” or accusations of male patriarchy every time a man compliments a women’s legs (“objectifies” her), or an older boss innocuously puts his hand on an employee’s shoulder (“sexually harasses” her), or a man provides his wife with an opportunity to be a stay-at-home mother (“devalues” her).

Some men are afraid to open doors for women or pay for them on dates out of fear of “insulting” today’s “emancipated” women. And supervisors may go overboard in censoring the workplace out of fear of being slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Yes, feminists in the West have made themselves clear: treat them like men or they don’t consider themselves equal.

Yet, women in Saudi Arabia are legally infantilized by the guardianship system in Saudi Arabia and treated as less than second class citizens in most of the Islamic world. Real human rights for women just plain do not exist under Sharia law.

It is true that the Sharia does not directly address text messages or driving. However, the humiliation, excessive control of women, their subjugation and general deprivation of freedom as manifested in policies such as airport e-monitoring, certainly derive from the gender inequality based in Islamic law.

Yet, the technological advancement used to tighten control of women even further produces not a peep from the Gloria Steinem’s of the West. Though Saudi feminists are outraged, when it comes to true sexism based in Islamist ideology and culture, liberal feminists in the West are, as usual, silent. Mum’s the word.

Deborah Weiss is a lawyer and a freelance writer. She is a co-author of “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamist Terrorist Network” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

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