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The Six-Day War: Personal Recollections

Life magazine, June 23, 1967.

For my interpretation of some consequences of the fighting in June 1967, see today's article, "What If: Fifty Years After the Six-Day War."

On a personal note, I have three memories of those six days, which I experienced at the age of 17 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

First, I watched television late into the evening the day the war broke out, June 5, and went to sleep thinking that Egyptian aircraft had bombed Tel Aviv and that the Jewish state was in grave peril. That's because, in the words of the authoritative Middle East Record: 1967, "In view of the dearth of information given by Israeli spokesmen during the first day of the war, there was a preponderance of news from Arab sources in the Western press on 6 June." Only the next day did I learn how the Egyptian air force had been destroyed in place. It was a unique moment of shock

Second, my graduation from Commonwealth School took place on June 8, in the midst of the war. In addressing the graduating high school seniors, our arch-liberal headmaster, Charles E. Merrill Jr., went to pains to distinguish between the Americans' bad war in Vietnam and the Israelis' good war.

My graduation from Commonwealth School in Boston took place during the war.

That moment symbolizes for me how Israel once appealed to the left, back before the West Bank became a central issue. For the rest of the world, the cover of Lifemagazine, dated June 23, 1967, expresses that same, distant liberal joy.

Third, the Israeli half-century commemoration focuses not on defeating three enemy armies in record time nor seizing other territories, nor on establishing more defensible borders, but on the reunification of Jerusalem.

From the perspective of someone who lived through the war, that makes sense, for the emotional core of the victory was the Israeli conquest of eastern Jerusalem, with its sanctities, history, and symbolism.

Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.

By Daniel Pipes  |  June 5, 2017  |  Permalink

Ansar al-Shari'a in Libya Dissolves Itself

Sample Ansar al-Shari'a social outreach in Sirte, western Libya, September 2013. The city would later become known as the Islamic State's main stronghold in Libya, as it absorbed the Ansar al-Shari'a network there.

Ansar al-Shari'a ("Supporters of Shari'a") was once Libya's most familiar jihadi organization in the post-Gaddafi environment, widely suspected of involvement in the attack on the U.S. government presence in Benghazi in 2012. It was closely linked to the Ansar al-Shari'a of Tunisia, many of whose members took refuge in Libya following a crackdown by the Tunisian government, which declared Ansar al-Shari'a of Tunisia a terrorist organization in August 2013.

Since 2014, Ansar al-Shari'a in Libya went into significant decline. A thorough overview of the group's rise and beginning of its loss of influence in the period c.2011-2015 can be found in a lengthy paper for the Hudson Institute by my friend Aaron Zelin. In brief, the two main reasons for the group's decline were the military campaign launched against it by Libyan general Khalifa Heftar, which shifted much focus away from da'wa [Islamic proselytization] activity and social outreach across Libya, and the rise of the Islamic State in Libya, which absorbed many of Ansar al-Shari'a's networks. However, it must be stressed that contrary to common perception, the organization as a whole never pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, but rather remained ideologically aligned with al-Qa'ida.

The newly released statement announcing the group's dissolution does not come as much of a surprise considering that the group's output on social media had almost completely disappeared, with the last item before this statement put out several months ago. The statement alludes to some of the points made above: for instance, the loss of key leaders and cadres and the emphasis the group had on da'wa and social outreach.

Like Ansar al-Shari'a, the Islamic State in Libya has also experienced a significant decline, lacking real control of territory. Its main governance projects in Derna and Sirte have both collapsed. However, it should not be thought that the wane in fortunes for Ansar al-Shari'a and the Islamic State means the end of jihadism in Libya. There are still other active jihadist groups in Libya like the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council, in which Ansar al-Shari'a had participated as a junior actor. In addition, the country's vast expanse and continuing civil war chaos provide ample training ground space for jihadists and potential bases for remote direction of operations abroad or to dispatch operatives from Libya into neighbouring countries (e.g. Tunisia and Egypt) and beyond. How exactly the Libya connection may have played out in the recent Manchester attack- claimed by the Islamic State and carried out by a British citizen of Libyan descent who travelled to Libya- remains to be seen.

Below is the full text of the Ansar al-Shari'a statement translated, with explanatory notes in square brackets where necessary.

Ansar al-Shari'a
The foundation of this religion is a book guides and a sword gives victory.

1 Ramadan 1438 AH
27 May 2017 CE

The message has arrived and the masses of the people will bear it.

Praise be to God and prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions. As for what follows:

A path rich in da'wa, jihad and patience over the hardship of the path that the successors inherited from the best predecessors from their fathers in the battalions of the martyrs during the 80s and 90s of the past century, and from their ancestors the sheikh of the martyrs Omar al-Mukhtar and his good companions, a path bearing the banner of his slogan:

May the religion's might return to it, may its glory return to it, may blood pour from us.

A path taken from the Almighty's words: "We have sent Our Messengers with proofs and We sent down with them the book and the balance so that people may live in justice, and We have sent down the iron in which there is strong might and benefits for the people so that God may make evident who supports Him and His Messengers unseen. Indeed God is powerful and mighty"- doctrine and direction.

A doctrine and direction whose banner the Ummah will bear generation after generation as the sheikh of the martyrs Omar al-Mukhtar [Libyan revolutionary who fought the Italian colonial presence]- may God accept him – expressed in his words: "It will be upon you to fight the next generation and the generations that follow it."

Indeed they are the path of the book that guides and the sword that gives victory, a book that was the guiding light for the path of those men whose slogan was always 'Your sons in your service', who offered what they offered from goodness and exertion to serve the people and attend to their needs from securing areas and facilities, and from campaigns of da'wa, charity and conscious-raising, their caravans reached the east, west and south of the land, a path that the highwaymen, agents of the West, and patrons of corruption only wished to cut off, so there was the disaster of the so-called Dignity [referring to Khalifa Heftar's operation Dignity], and behold the sword that gives victory unsheathed from its scabbard to push back the aggression of the taghut [idolatrous tyrant] Heftar and his soldiers.

A sharpened sword that pushes back the aggressor, offering forth blood and the lives of its bearers as cheap expenditure in the path of God and to support the oppressed, adhering to the command of God Almighty in His words: "And what is the matter with you that you do not fight in God's path and for the oppressed from the men, woman and children?"

After this rich path and sacrifices in which Ansar al-Shari'a offered the best of its leaders and cadres, we send the following messages:

1. To the lions of the den and the knights of the tumult, the revolutionaries of Benghazi on ribat on their frontlines: be patient, endure and be firm, for you are on the pinnacle of Islam, pushing back the aggressor and defending the religion, honour and land, so may God strengthen you and protect you, oh crowns of the heads. And we also say to you: just as we know that you are a people for praise and commendation, so by the capacity of your chests and the soundness of your modesty, you are also a people for censure and advice. Though you have done well in one of the greatest obligations- few are those who undertake it- and that is pushing back the aggressive enemy, some of you have also delayed in undertaking another obligation- and it is among the greatest obligations and a great condition to bring about victory: and that is that you must unite ranks so as to make them one rank. This is just as God – Exalted and Almighty is He- loves, when he said, "God loves those who fight in His path as one rank as though they were a structured edifice."

The Messenger of God (SAWS) said: "You must gather and beware of division, for Satan is with the one and more distant from two, and whosoever desires the midst of Paradise, let him embrace the gathering. Whoever rejoices in his good deeds and grieves over his evil deeds, then that is the believer.."- so close your ranks, gather your force, and beware of division and dispersal, for indeed they are a cause for every woe.

And to the honest, firm revolutionaries of Libya striving to establish the law of the Lord of the Worlds and rejecting the control of the criminal agents of the West, continue on your path and let your slogan be: 'Establish the religion and do not separate in it.' Be wary of the material world and coming to rely on it, for the Messenger of God (SAWS) said: "It is not poverty I fear for you, but rather this world will be opened up for you as it was opened up for those before you, and thus you will compete with each other for it just as they did, and it will destroy you as it destroyed them."

And we warn you as the warning of one giving advice to his brother: never place your hands in the hands of the West, and do not expect behind their friendliness or companionship conquest, victory or any good. These people only want to realize their interests, so do you want to leave the rule of an Arab taghut for a Western occupation? So you must rely entirely on God (Almighty and Exalted is He), for victory is near and will appear near to you if you know from where it comes: 'And there is no victory except with God.' So if you knock on the door of God- Almighty and Exalted is He- and go on the path of the predecessors in relying on God, know that God will open the path to victory for you if God wills: 'Say, perhaps it will be near.' And know that God- Almighty and Exalted is He- does not give victory to this religion except by its noble people, authentic creed, correct worship, and clear direction towards Him, Almighty and Exalted is He. As for those who innovate, those who replace, those who alter and those who abandon, these people do not support the religion of God, Almighty and Exalted is He. So rejoice in goodness from your Lord and continue in your revolution, and declare your direction clearly: we have not arisen except for God, Almighty and Exalted is He, defending the sacred rights of the religion, so we ask God to bring down His mercies and blessings on you, and that He should enable you to establish the Exalted's religion.

2. To our displaced people: Oh beloved people of our hearts, you who bore the cause with your sons and bore its costs, your reliance is the Almighty's words: "So those who migrated and were driven from their abodes, were harmed in My path and fought and were killed, I will surely remove their misdeeds, and I will surely enter them into the gardens of paradise, beneath which rivers flow, as reward from God. And with God is the goodness of reward." So do not worry or despair, as Satan has conjured up for the people's eyes false victory and partial tamkin [establishment of rule], for the dawn of the clear victory follows the night of the oppressors, so purify your intentions and place them before God, Almighty and Exalted is He.

3. To our people in the western region, you were truly our people and more. We will not forget your deeds from goodness of reception and provision of refuge. May God reward you best.

4. To our beloved people we say: you are today at a dangerous crossroads in which the agents of the West have entangled you, and there is no way for you to get out of it except by clinging to God the Exalted. The Almighty has said: "And hold fast to God's rope entirely and do not separate." And you must return to the closing of ranks on which you were on the 17th February, that day on which deeds fulfilled words when you came out to overthrow the taghut Gaddafi. So, our people, there is nothing before you except to fear God, Almighty and Exalted is He.

And strive to implement the ruling of His law that God Almighty commanded you to establish, fulfilling the pact, realizing the faith and leaving the stranglehold of life and humiliation that has engulfed our land. Your reliance is the Almighty's words: "And had the people of the villages believed and been pious, We would have opened up for them blessings from the sky and earth, but they deemed it false, so we took from them what they earned." We also call on you to assist your mujahideen sons striving to establish the Shari'a, and support them as you can for they are your lifeline. And do not go behind the people of transgression and corruption calling for laxity and liberation from the religion under whatever name, for they are the basis of woe and its head.

5. To the enemies of the Ummah and those lying in wait for it: know that jihad continues till the Day of Judgement, and the wars may bleed the generation of sacrifice only so that the generation of tamkin [establishing the rule of the religion] might live, so delight in a coming generation that will overcome you, while you will not be able to overcome them: a generation nurtured amid the clanging of the swords and clash of the spearheads, a generation that has seen its father killed, its brother taken prisoner, its mother bereaved, and its house burnt, so the meanings of sacrifice have taken root in its origin and heart, a generation that will by God's permission tear you out from your roots and alight the ground from underneath your feet.

Following on from the reasons mentioned above, the testaments offered to you by your sons in Ansar al-Shari'a, and the concluding messages that we ask God- Almighty and Exalted is He- to grant a place in your hearts, we announce to the Ummah and the mujahideen generally and to our people in Libya especially the official dissolution of the Ansar al-Shari'a group in Libya, so that its history may be written in golden liquid on the pages of pride and glory in the history of our Ummah after a path rich in da'wa and jihad, a path in which Ansar al-Shari'a offered its leaders and fighters emulating the people of the ditch [a story in the Qur'an about people thrown into a ditch and set on fire for their faith in God] in their steadfastness on God's religion, their tongue and their saying: Either we live in the shade of glory, or we die as martyrs.

Thus we will have opened the path for those besides us from the true sons of this Ummah to bear the trust after us. Thus we ask God to grant success to everyone working to support this religion, and God is the one behind the intention. And our last call is praise be to God the Lord of the Worlds.

Ansar al-Shari'a in Libya.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a research fellow at Middle East Forum's Jihad Intel project.

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  May 29, 2017  |  Permalink

Hawaii Lawyer: Trump Exec Order Violates 1st Amendment Because Honor Killings Are Islamic

Neal Katyal thinks that "text which refers to honor killings" should be removed from Executive Order 13780.

The lawyer representing the State of Hawaii in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today has stated the collection of data with regards to honor killings should be removed from President Trump's executive order in order to "pass constitutional muster."

In his arguments, Neal Katyal stated today that the collection of such data as outlined by the Executive Order 13780 contravenes the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...".

In doing so, Katyal appears to be making the case that honor killing — murder committed in the name of restoring a family's dignity following discouraged behaviour within fundamentalist homes — is in itself Islamic.

Katyal appears to be making the case that honor killing is in itself Islamic.

It is an argument often made by anti-Islam campaigners, but to hear such arguments made by the political left might surprise some, especially when honor killings are also found — though to a lesser extent — in other religious groups like the Sikh community.

"What does [the President] have to do to issue an executive order that, in your view, might pass constitutional muster?" asked Judge Paez of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, this afternoon.

Katyal responded at length, stating,

I think there's two paths that the President could take in order to pass constitutional muster. One is the way that our founders thought, Article 1 Section 8 which, as Congress in the driver's seat with respect to immigration, passes a statute. as Justice Alito said, when Congress passes a statute it's much less likely to discriminate. It is 535 people versus one, which is why his Mandel point is so problematic. That's number one.

Second thing the president could do, or the kinds of things or some of the kinds, removing some of things that the district court found led an objective observer to say that this this discriminates.

One example would be, what Judge Hawkins said, disavowing formally all the stuff said before. But that's not it. He could do a lot of things. For example, I'm going to throw out some examples. I'm not trying to micro manage the President. He could say, like President Bush did, right after September 11th, the face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. that's not what Islam is about. Islam is peace. Instead, we get, quote, Islam hates us. I think Islam hates us.

I think he could point to changed circumstances from December 2015, when Congress debated the exact same evidence that the President relies on in his executive order and say, you know, we actually need more than just denying people entry without a visa, which is what Congress required. You need to do more than that.

It could eliminate the text which refers to honor killings. There's a bunch of different things that could be done. And our fundamental point to you is that presidents don't run into Establishment Clause problems and the reason for that is this is a very limited, you know, in a really unusual case in which you have these public statements by the President. if you affirm the district court there's not a thing that any president has done in our lifetime that would be unconstitutional.

For Katyal to advance such an argument may also be detrimental to the public understanding of honor killings in the United States.

Executive Order 13780 mentions honor killings only once, in Section (11), entitled "Transparency and Data Collection," where it states:

To be more transparent with the American people and to implement more effectively policies and practices that serve the national interest, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall, consistent with applicable law and national security, collect and make publicly available the following information...

...(iii) information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including so-called "honor killings," in the United States by foreign nationals...

Katyal's other argument — that President Trump should go to great lengths to fawn over Islam as one of his predecessors, President George W. Bush, did — could even be said, under Hawaii's apparent broad interpretation of the Establishment Clause, to be a violation in and of itself.

Raheem Kassam is a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum and editor-in-chief of Breitbart London.

By Raheem Kassam  |  May 15, 2017  |  Permalink

Licensing Exam for Islamic State Pharmacists Is No Cakewalk

Originally published under the title "Could You Open a Pharmacy in Islamic State Territory?"

The Islamic State's propaganda videos give the impression of a highly developed healthcare system.

As should be familiar by now, the Islamic State (ISIS) has a health department as part of its bureaucracy (Diwan al-Siha). From the documentary evidence, multiple instances emerge of the Islamic State trying to regulate pharmaceutical practices in the territories under its control. These regulations include insistence on competence, such as proof of study of pharmacology in the form of some kind of certificate, as well as price controls. The Islamic State also encouraged the study of pharmacology among students, keeping the pharmacology college at Mosul University open.

For those wishing to open a new pharmacy, licensing is required from the Islamic State, with the prospective investor needing to take an exam to demonstrate knowledge of pharmacy. The previously unseen documents below feature a sample exam issued by the health admin centre in Aleppo province in northern Syria. I have intentionally obscured most of the marking and answers on this sample exam paper obtained from al-Bab in north Aleppo within the Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield Syrian rebel operations that recaptured the town from the Islamic State. Have a go at the paper and see whether you yourself are competent enough to open a pharmacy in Islamic State-held territory. You may do better than the person who took this paper and only scored 18.5 out of 100.

Islamic State
Wilayat Halab
Health Centre

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Competency exam for investors of pharmacies

No. 606
Date: 14 Dhu al-Qi'da 1436 AH/29 August 2015 CE


Answer the following questions:

1. What is the aspirin dosage as an inhibitor of platelet aggregation?

2. Name 5 medicines that can be purchased without a prescription and name 5 medicines that cannot be purchased except by a doctor's prescription.

3. What is the difference between the antibiotic and the anti-inflammatory drug?

4. In what case is iron transferred from oral to intravenous?

5. What is the most appropriate antispasmodic for pregnant women?

6. What does it mean that the drug is from group:

- A during pregnancy
- B during pregnancy
- C during pregnancy
- D during pregnancy

7. What is the medicine that causes the colour of urine to turn red?

8. What is the group of antimicrobial medicine that are placed in the bones and teeth and causes them to tint?

9. What is the side-effect of ACE inhibitors and how can it be avoided?

10. What is the safest anticonvulsant during pregnancy?

11. Nicotine is considered to be one of the cholinergic antagonists. What are its most important uses?

12. When is it allowed for a pharmacist to give a replacement for a medicine composed of one medicinal substance?

13. What is meant by the medicine's half-life?

14. Name one medicine of what follows:

a) Hypoglycemic agents of the Sulfonyl urea group?
b) Anti-cancer of the ACE inhibitors group?
c) 1st generation of the Cephalosporins?

15. What is the lethal side-effect of Tramadol?

16. The most important side-effect of Verapamil?

17. Put each antihypertensive with its group:


Calcium channels blockers


Potassium sparing diuretics


Angiotensin II receptor antagonists


Alpha blockers


ACE inhibitors

- Put a circle around the correct response:

1. Is it possible to treat influenza with the following drugs:

a) Dexamethasone
b) Diclofenac
c) Ceftriaxone
d) a) and b)
e) a) and c)
f) All of the responses are wrong

2. To what class of drugs does Spironolactone belong?

a) Loop diuretics
b) Potassium sparing diuretic
c) Hypoglycemic
d) Beta blockers

3. Which of the following medicines cause extrapyramidal syndromes?

a) Domperidone
b) Metoclopramide
c) Ondansetron
d) Granisetron

4. Which of the following medicines is not to be given to someone below 18?

a) Warfarin
b) Chloramphenicol
c) Ciprofloxacin
d) Tetracyline

5. Which of the following is not an expectorant or mucolytic?

a) Ambroxol
b) Carbocisteine
c) Bromhexine
d) Dextromethorphan

6. Misoprostol can be used in:

a) Induce uterine contractions
b) Protect the stomach
c) Suppress pain
d) Pituitary gland
e) a) and b)
f) All the responses are incorrect.

7. Doxazosin is an alpha-blocker used to treat prostatic hyperplasia, and among its side effects:

a) Lowering pressure
b) Raising pressure
c) Difficulty urinating
d) Decrease in blood sugar

8. As regards aminoglycosides, all of the following is true except:

a) They are antibiotics that inhibit the synthesis of bacterial protein.
b) They are classed with antibiotics of type Beta-lactam.
c) They are antibiotics that fight bacteria.
d) They have a nephrotoxicity and ototoxicity
e) They cannot penetrate the blood-brain barrier.

9. Which of the following medicines binds bile acids in the intestine and prevents their absorption?

a) Fenofibrate
b) Atorvastatin
c) Alistatin
d) Cholestyramine

10. All of the following medicines have an effect to counter rheumatism except:

a) Diclofenac
b) Ibuprofen
c) Meloxicam
d) Paracetamol

11. The following medicine is used to suppress nerval pains:

a) Gabapentin
b) Pregabilin
c) Amitriptyline
d) Carbamizine
e) All of the above is true

12. Cream is tantamount to:

a) Ointment composed of one fatty phase
b) Emulsion (water with oil) that is not very adhesive
c) Emulsion (water with oil) that is semi-solid
d) Multiple emulsion
e) Miniemulsion

13. It is preferred for the sake of prepared emulsions given as injections to use:

a) Emulsifying agents in the dispersed phase positively
b) Dispersed phase negatively
c) Non-dispersed
d) It is preferred not to use emulsifying agents
e) Dual charge

14. It is possible to use the following sweeteners in syrups that can be given to diabetic patients except:

a) Methyl cellulose
b) Sucrose
c) Hydroxyethyl cellulose
d) Sodium saccharine
e) Aspartame

15. All of the following oils can be used in emulsions prepared for internal consumption except:

a) Castor oil
b) Cod liver oil
c) Soybean oil
d) Cottonseed oil
e) Benzyl benzoate

16. In the event that penicillin (or one of its derivatives) is prescribed as an intravenous injection to treat a patient who has not previously received this medication, the pharmacist must advise:

a) To give the penicillin without cautions
b) Replace the means of insertion: instead of an intravenous injection, it is possible to do an intramuscular injection.
c) Inject the penicillin along with adrenaline to avoid possible risks.
d) Carry out a penicillin allergy test or advise to do it before injection.

17. Among the harmful effects of steroids are the following except:

a) Decrease blood sugar
b) Brittle bones
c) Cushing's syndrome
d) Rise of blood pressure
e) Blood obstruction

18. The safest anti-histamine in pregnancy is

a) Dexchlorpheniramine
b) Loratadine
c) Hydroxyzine
d) Cetirizine
e) No anti-histamines should be given in pregnancy, but rather corticosteroids are used.

19. A patient who has high blood pressure and asthma: which of the following medicines cannot be prescribed for the patient?

a) Captopril
b) Amlodipine
c) Bisoprolol
d) Hydrochlorothiazide

20. A patient complains of abdominal pain and you as a pharmacist suspect that he has an abdominal surgical condition. The first procedure you do is:

a) Give the patient an antibiotic
b) Give the patient a pain-suppresser
c) Send him to a radiologist for an ultrasound scan.
d) Seek an image of the patient's abdomen.
e) Refer the patient to a general surgeon doctor to evaluate his situation.

Mark true or false:

1. Amiodarone is used in treating bradycardia and heart block.

2. Phenazopyridine is a medicine used to reduce cystitis.

3. In the event of the existence of more than one Leishmaniasis wound, pentostam is given through intra-muscular means rather than locally.

4. In the event of injecting theophylline slowly, it will result in the stopping of the heart.

5. Hydrocortisone is considered the first medicine to treat an intense asthma attack.

6. Anti-epilepsy drugs are resulting in a rise in the rate of suicide.

7. Warfarin is a safe medicine for a pregnant woman in the fifth month.

8. Chromoglycate is used for relief from sudden asthma crises.

9. Metformin is considered to be the medicine of choice for the diagnosed diabetic currently.

10. It is not possible to give esomeprazole to the pregnant woman.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a research fellow at Middle East Forum's Jihad Intel project.

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  May 7, 2017  |  Permalink

"Heed the call"- New Nasheed from Islamic State's Ajnad Media

"Heed the call" (Arabic: labbu al-nida') is the latest production from the Islamic State's Ajnad Media, which puts out Arabic nasheeds and recitations of parts of the Qur'an. The nasheed is interesting because it touches in a general sense on the fact that the Islamic State increasingly feels under pressure with the military campaigns against it, thus the emphasis on the need for jihad and fighting until death: 'Only death has remained in the time of the epic battles and conflict.' Also alluding to this theme is the question posed of where are 'the men of manliness' and 'the lions of the struggle.' Finally note the reference to the supposed arrogance of the non-Muslims as they wage their war on the Islamic State (equated in the nasheed with 'Tawheed'- monotheism).

Below is the nasheed translated in full.

Oh Muslims, on this day you have been called to jihad.
Heed the call of God and strive, the one who strives for God has not failed.
Where are the men of manliness? Where are the lions of the struggle?
Stretch forth your hands as we pledge allegiance* without treachery and heresy.
Only death has remained in the time of the epic battles and conflict.
This is our boat, calling you to the highest sail,
With every brave person, esteemed, devoted, gallant and courageous.
For the disbelievers in their laughter have begun to become conceited in all the regions,
In a war on Tawheed that they have led arm in arm,
They have only taken revenge on us because we are a people who follow it [i.e. Tawheed].

* Refers to a common ritual before a battle or military engagement of stretching forth your hands and placing them in the middle with a group of people with a pledge to fight together etc.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a research fellow at Middle East Forum's Jihad Intel project.

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  |  May 4, 2017  |  Permalink

No to Bombing Syria

The Obama Administration rightly stayed out of Syria through six painful, grisly years of civil war there.

Yes, the fighting has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions. Yes, the uncontrolled migration of Syrians to Europe caused deep problems there. Yes, the Kurds are sympathetic. Yes, Barack Obama made a fool of himself when he declared the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons a "red line" and proceeded not to enforce it.

Despite all this, it was right not to intervene because Iranian- and Russian-backed Shi'ite pro-government jihadis are best kept busy fighting Saudi-, Qatar-, and Turkish-backed anti-government Sunni jihadis; because Kurds, however appealing, are not contenders for control of the whole of Syria; and because Americans have no stomach for another Middle Eastern war.

Direct American involvement implies favoring one side against the other, when both are hideously repugnant.

The direct American involvement that a few hours ago with nearly 60 cruise missiles in an hour attacking Shayrat Air Base implies siding with one side against the other, even though both of them are hideously repugnant. (While the regime has done the great preponderance of the killing, estimated at 94 percent, that's due only to its greater destructive power, not the humanitarianism of ISIS and its other enemies.)

I see this military action as an error. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution requires that American forces fight in every war around the world; this one should be sat out, letting enemies of the United States fight each other to exhaustion.

The immense resources of the United States should be dedicated, rather, to two goals: reduce human suffering with blankets and soup and prevent the stronger side (now the regime) from winning through the provision of intelligence and arms to the weaker side (the Sunni rebels).

Trump should immediately cease all direct attacks on the Syrian regime and instead help its enemies to fight it more effectively.

Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.

By Daniel Pipes  |  April 7, 2017  |  Permalink

Historians Run Amok

Niall Ferguson delivering ACTA's Merrill Award at the Folger Shakespeare Library on Oct. 28, 2016.

The eminent historian Niall Ferguson has devastatingly skewered his (and my) field of study in a talk for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, subsequently published as "The Decline and Fall of History."

He starts with the empirical fact that undergraduates are running away from studying history: compared with 1971 (coincidentally, the year I got my A.B. degree), "the share of history and social sciences degrees has halved, from 18% in 1971 to 9%. And the decline seems likely to continue."

Why so? Data from the American Historical Association finds that the past 40 years have seen

a very big increase in the number of historians who specialize in women and gender, which has risen from 1% of the total to almost 10%. As a result, gender is now the single most important subfield in the academy. Cultural history (from under 4% to nearly 8%) is next. The history of race and ethnicity has also gone up by a factor of more than three. Environmental history is another big winner.

The losers in this structural shift are diplomatic and international history (which also has the oldest professors), legal and constitutional history, and intellectual history. Social and economic history have also declined. [Almost] all of these have fallen to less than half of their 1970 shares of the profession.

This means that the most significant events are ignored. Limiting oneself to modern Western history, courses barely cover such topics as the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. Instead, one encounters a course such as Harvard's History 1954: "Emotions in History" whose course description reads:

What is the place of emotion in history? The question itself holds multiple meanings, and in this course we consider two in particular: how to write the history of emotion(s), and how the historian's emotions affect the writing of history. Do historians benefit more from proximity to, or distance from, their historical subjects? Should historians of emotion suppress, or cultivate, their feelings of empathy? Does emotive writing inevitably fail the test of scholarly rigour and balance? We will explore some possible analytic frames for the history of emotion and debates over the subjectivity of history, and consider their application to case studies drawn from Australian history.

Ferguson reports the "not wholly surprising" fact that "Emotions in History" boasts a total enrollment of one student. Yale competes with its own offerings such as "Witchcraft and Society in Colonial America" and "History of the Supernatural."

Ferguson delicately asserts that he does "not wish to dismiss any of these subjects as being of no interest or value. They just seem to address less important questions than how the United States became an independent republic with a constitution based on the idea of limited government."

Not only does this new type of history take on minor concerns but it deals with them in miniature ways that amount to what a student dubs "heirloom antiquarianism" and Ferguson calls Microcosmographia Academica – focusing on topics like "the habits of New York restaurant-goers in the 1870s or the makeup of various Caribbean ethnic groups in areas of Brooklyn that made up the West Indian Day Parade in the 1960s" (real examples).

Finally, there's the politicizing, moralizing, and anachronistic insistence on judging "the past by the moral standards of the present—and indeed to efface its traces, in a kind of modern-day iconoclasm, when these are deemed offensive."

In all, as historians "neglect the defining events of modern world history in favor of topics that are either arcane or agitprop, sometimes both," students flee and the "United States of Amnesia" looms.

Bravo to Niall Ferguson for pointing out the hollowing out of a once-great field of study.

Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.

By Daniel Pipes  |  April 4, 2017  |  Permalink

Turk Tank Prototype Passes Tests, Moves to Serial Production

ANKARA—The prototype of the Altay, an indigenous Turkish new-generation tank in the making, has successfully passed all acceptance tests, said its builder, Otokar.

"Altay ... has now completed the tough qualification testing stage, including mobility and endurance testing on rough terrain and climatic conditions, firing tests with various scenarios and survivability testing," the company said.

Serdar Gorguc, Otokar's general manager, said: "The acceptance tests ... for [the] Altay are finalized. After ... meeting the ultimate requirements under extreme conditions successfully, we are confident that [the] Altay will be one of the best modern main battle tanks on the field very soon."

Gorguc also hinted at export potential for the Altay: "In addition to producing 250 units of [the] Altay, Otokar made an annual capacity plan taking into consideration the export potential, mine clearance, and various complementary vehicle requirements such as rescue and fortification tank. In this way, it aims to have a flexible production program that can meet all demands of [Turkey] or other friendly allied countries."

The government's procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), will now decide whether it will award the serial production contract, worth billions of dollars, to Otokar or launch a competition.

Procurement officials say all options are open. "Competition is not an unlikely option," said one senior official familiar with the Altay program. "We might also consider bringing together more than one player and go for a consortium-like solution."

Armored-vehicles specialist Otokar, Turkey's biggest privately-owned defense company, signed in 2008 a $500 million contract with SSM for the development and production of four prototypes of the Altay.

Under the various clauses of the development contract, Otokar, without competition, was to make an offer for the serial production contract. If Otokar's offer was to be found satisfactory there would be no competition. If, however, the procurement bureaucracy was not content with the offer, then it had all the legal rights to launch competition for serial production of the Altay.

In January 2016, Otokar officially submitted its bid for serial production of a first batch of 250 Altay tanks and integrated logistical support for the program. And in August 2016 it revised its bid and submitted its best and final offer (BAFO) to SSM. Sources said at the time Otokar's original bid was "surprisingly high."

SSM's looming decision on whether to go with Otokar or open competition will shape the Altay and its future sales, both to the Turkish army and potentially to foreign "friendly and allied" armies.

Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based political analyst and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

By Burak Bekdil  |  March 29, 2017  |  Permalink

Reformist Muslim Organizations in North America

Please click here to sign a Change.org petition calling on the nation's largest community foundation to end its financial support for Islamist hate groups.

Muslim residents of Dearborn, Michigan, spontaneously celebrate news of Osama bin Laden's death in 2011.

Following the launch of the Middle East Forum's campaign to end Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) funding for two Islamic extremist organizations, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Relief, we have received numerous inquiries about which moderate Muslim-American organizations are deserving of funding by SVCF and other foundations.

The following list is a good place to start.

Whereas CAIR and Islamic relief preach intolerance, social insularity, and distrust of law enforcement to American Muslims, these organizations advocate universal human rights and work to bring about greater inclusion and integration of Muslims into American society.

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD)

AIFD was founded in March 2003 by Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, an Arizona-based physician, former naval officer, and author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot's Fight to Save His Faith (2012). The organization defines its mission as "actively confronting the ideology of political Islam" and "stand[ing] firmly for universal human rights – including gender equality, freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech and expression."

The Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP)

CIP was founded in 2004 by Sufi Muslim Stephan Suleyman Schwartz, and seven other reform-minded Muslims, including Dr. Jasser and Professor Salim Mansur, director of its Canadian branch. Schwartz serves as the executive director and emphasizes the importance of understanding and defeating Wahhabism, the ultra-conservative religious creed that helped give rise to Al-Qaeda.

Muslims Facing Tomorrow

Describing its mission as "to reclaim Islam for, as the word itself means, securing Peace for all people, and to oppose extremism, fanaticism and violence in the name of religion," Muslims Facing Tomorrow is a Canadian organization led by its president Raheel Raza and Vice President Salim Mansur.


Shireen Qudosi is a Muslim Reformer, political activist, and publisher of The Qudosi Chronicles, a publication declaring itself, "The Voice of Muslim Reformers." On September 22, 2016 Qudosi testified in favor of Muslim reform before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency of the House Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. Congress

The Muslim Reform Movement

Launched in December 2015, the Muslim Reform Movement brought together reformers from multiple organizations in support of a declaration of principles advocating peace, human rights, women's rights, minority rights, and secular governance. Its most visible leader is former Georgetown professor Asra Nomani.

The International Quranic Center (IQC)

IQC was founded by Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour to advocate Quranism, a moderate interpretation of Islam that rejects hadiths – reported words and sayings of Muhammad – as a doctrinal guide, accepting only the Quran as "comprehensive, completely sufficient in itself." Islamists, whose beliefs rely heavily on hadiths, vigorously oppose Quranism. Mansour was granted political asylum in the United States in 2002 after suffering years of persecution in Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.

The American Islamic Congress (AIC)

The AIC was co-founded in 2001 after 9/11 by Zeinab Al-Suwaij, its executive director. Its principles include championing religious pluralism, condemning intolerance, and protecting the rights of minorities in the Muslim world. Programs of the AIC include promoting interfaith councils, advocating for legislation favoring religious freedom and civil rights abroad, and hosting Muslim film festivals.

The World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE)

The WORDE was founded with a mission "to enhance communication and understanding between communities to mitigate social and political conflict." Led by Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi, founder and president and co-author of The Other Muslims: Moderate and Secular, WORDE engages in government outreach, community engagement, and publications to promote its message. WORDE also sponsors a Club House, "an innovation space, where Muslim scholars explore, test and refine alternative messaging to violent extremist organizations like ISIS."

David M. Swindle is the Coordinator of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveSwindle and Islamist Watch at @Islamist_Watch

By David M. Swindle  |  March 27, 2017  |  Permalink

Silicon Valley-Subsidized Hate Speakers: Hussain Kamani

Please click here to sign a petition calling for an end to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation's support for radical Islamists.

On March 1, the Middle East Forum revealed that the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) has provided at least $330,524 to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Relief, two extremist organizations that routinely give platforms to Islamist speakers who incite hatred against women, Jews, Christians, and the LGBTQ community. MEF's Islamist Watch project has compiled profiles and recordings of the worst of the worst SVCF-subsidized speakers. Previous installments: Siraj Wahhaj.

Hussain Kamani offers the Quran as guidance on how often to beat one's wife.

Hussain Kamani

Affiliation to SVCF

Kamani has spoken at numerous Islamic Relief events (e.g. a Ramadan fundraiser in 2015).


Hussain Kamani is the co-founder of the Qalam Institute, a seminary and training organization in Texas. Kamani acquired his religious training in the United Kingdom. He studied at Darul Uloom Bury, one of the most prominent seminaries within the Deobandi movement – a hardline South Asian Sunni sect that gave birth to the Taliban. In 2016, The Times reported that this U.K. seminary "preaches contempt for non-Muslims and warns of the 'repulsive qualities' of Christian and Jewish women."[1]

Similar rhetoric can be found in Kamani's sermons today. One of the Qalam Institute's most popular courses – titled "The Prophetic Code" and taught by Kamani – warns Muslims to seek "cleanliness" and "purity," so as to "not resemble the Jews." Kamani also cites Quranic commentary to advise parents: "Order your children to pray at the age of seven. And beat them (lightly) if they do not do so by the age of ten." For more extremist quotes, see below.


Click the play button at left to instantly hear Hussain Kamani say the offending quote displayed at right in his own voice.


"And then Allah...said if a person wishes to fulfil his desires, his common desires, there are only two ways he can fulfill these desires where he will not be held responsible for it. ... How? What are the two things? ... The first thing is that he fulfills his desires with a spouse. The second thing is that he fulfills his desires with a female slave that belongs to him."


"When a person that is married, or a lady that is married, if they commit adultery, their sin is to be stoned to death. Their sin is to be stoned to death."

Domestic Abuse

"You know, we are all quick to quote the verse in the Quran where Allah... says that, advise them, then separate with them in bed, and then strike them. We are very quick to quote this ayah. But don't we all know that the Prophet ... was a clear commentary on the Quran and that the Prophet kept that as a last measure."

David M. Swindle is the Coordinator of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveSwindle and Islamist Watch at @Islamist_Watch

[1] The British journalist Andrew Norfolk further explains: "Integration with British society is denounced. To befriend a non-Muslim risks pollution by the corrupting ways of the kuffar [non-Muslim]. Any man who considers marrying a Christian or Jewish woman is warned of the danger that 'their repulsive qualities will filter into Muslim homes'. A woman's place is in the home. Ideally, that is where she 'should remain'."

By David M. Swindle  |  March 27, 2017  |  Permalink

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