Islamic State on rise in Libya: “Syria all over again”


“Islamic State on rise in Libya: ‘Syria all over again,’” by Brian Bennett and W.J. Hennigan, Chicago Tribune, February 7, 2016:

As Islamic State forces lose ground in Iraq and Syria, fighters loyal to the group have seized territory in oil-rich Libya, levying taxes at gunpoint and creating sanctuaries to launch possible attacks in North Africa and Europe, U.S. officials say.

The Pentagon has sent special operations teams to gather intelligence and launched at least one airstrike. But the White House so far has resisted calls from some senior aides to escalate the U.S. military role in another Muslim country to counter the potential threat.

Spy satellites and reconnaissance drones have shown the militants building fortifications around Sirte, on the central Mediterranean coast, and training bases for foreign fighters farther inland, the officials said.

A U.S. intelligence estimate last week concluded Islamic State has attracted more than 5,000 fighters in Libya, double the official estimate last fall, making it the extremist group’s largest and most potent affiliate outside Syria and Iraq.

Islamic State threatens to gain a “stranglehold” in Libya and “access to billions of dollars of oil revenue,” Secretary of State John Kerry said, one of several alarms the administration has raised in recent days.

He spoke at a conference last week in Rome where the U.S. and 22 other nations agreed to support the formation of a unity government in Tripoli, the capital, in an effort to restore stability and take on the militants.

Libya has had no functioning central government since the NATO bombing campaign helped a popular uprising oust ruler Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
‘Jim’ tells tale of executed war reporter, NU grad James Foley
‘Jim’ tells tale of executed war reporter, NU grad James Foley

It has faced political chaos and a civil war ever since, with two rival governments battling for power and squabbling militias exploiting the power vacuum.

“In the absence of a true government, (militant groups) have grown unchecked,” said a U.S. defense official, not authorized to speak publicly. “It’s like Syria all over again.”

Islamic State “has a bad habit of growing in places that are ungoverned,” Tina Kaidanow, the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator said last week at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

She cited an urgency at the White House and its allies to move quickly before the group expands beyond its current foothold, which extends about 100 miles east and west of Sirte.

“We don’t want to see the growth of (Islamic State) outpace what will be a long-term effort to build out a successful Libyan government,” she said….

Sweden: Memorial for murdered social worker banned to avoid upsetting Muslim migrants

The main priority, as far as European authorities are concerned, is the Muslim migrants, not their own citizens. The invasion is proceeding by the active decision of those authorities.

Picture by Mark Richards-Alexandra Mezher is stabbed to death in Sweden

“Migrant centre banned from holding memorial to Swedish social worker ‘stabbed to death by Somali boy, 15’ in case it upsets refugee children,” by Sara Malm, MailOnline, February 2, 2016 (thanks to Pamela Geller):

Staff at a housing centre for child migrants in Sweden have been banned from holding a memorial service in honour of a fellow social worker who was murdered last week.

Alexandra Mezher, 22, was stabbed to death when she tried to break up a fight between two teenage boys at a home for unaccompanied minors in Molndal, Gothenburg.

When staff at a similar accommodation in Örnsköldsvik, north-east Sweden, wanted to hold a memorial for Miss Mezher, the council said no.

Miss Mezher’s murder sent shockwaves across Sweden, and has highlighted a number of issues that has followed in the wake of the large number of asylum seekers to arrive in Sweden in the past 12 months.

Staff and social workers at a home for unaccompanied minors in Örnsköldsvik, a town on the north-east coast, were deeply affected by the killing of a colleague in the workplace.

‘What happened in Molndal could have happened here. That’s how bad it is,’ Carl Lindahl told SVT Vasternorrland.

Mr Lindahl, who has worked in homes for unaccompanied minors for three-and-a-half-years added that housing facilities for child migrants all over the country are ‘unreasonably overcrowded’.

Mr Lindahl wanted to do a memorial service for ‘colleague’ Miss Mezher, but said that a superior immediately got in touch and forbade them from using council premises.

They were also told not to fly the Swedish flag at half-mast, SVT reports.

A representative for Örnsköldvik council later spoke to SVT Vasternorrland and said the decision to ban the ‘manifestation’ had been done to secure the well being of the children.

Administrative manager Katarina Jensstad said the council had ruled that it was better to hold the memorial service in premises that was not a home for unaccompanied minors.

A service for Miss Mezher was later held at a nearby church in Örnsköldvik, but staff at the housing facility who were scheduled to work, were told they could not attend during working hours….

In Egypt, officials incite — and then cite — Muslim violence as reason not to renovate or build churches


Security forces in Upper Egypt recently arrested 10 Coptic Christians for trying to build a wall around a piece of vacant land in order to expand their current church into the territory or possibly even build a church.

A church already exists in the village of Abu Hannas in Samalout, Minya; but, according to Father Stephanous Shehata, the current church, named after the martyr, Saint Abu Maqqar, is too small to serve the large Christian population of the village.  So the church purchased an unused piece of land next to it in the hopes of expanding the current church or building another.  The 10 Christians were arrested while attempting to build the wall, pending an investigation.

Islamic law, or Sharia, bans the renovation of existing Christian churches and the building of new ones.  Accordingly, in Egypt, building, expanding, or even renovating churches is extremely difficult.  The first hurdle is the government; it often takes many years to get permits.  Once and if a permit is issued, Christian minorities must then face angry Muslim mobs, who often go on rampages, including against existing churches.

For example, one month earlier, another church under construction in Minya was attacked by a mob consisting of at least 400 Muslims believed to have been incited by local officials.   After the attack, and although the church had obtained the necessary permits required for construction, it was closed by officials.

An update on the “islamochristian”

Gregory III Laham

The phenomenon of the “islamochristian” deserves wider attention, and the word wider use. An “islamochristian” is, in its strictest sense, a Christian Arab who identifies with and works to advance the Islamic agenda, out of fear or out of a belief that his “Arabness” requires loyalty to Islam. Islamization by the Arab Muslim conquerors of Mesopotamia, Syria, and North Africa was a vehicle for Arab imperialism. This imperialism, the most successful in human history, convinced those who accepted Islam to also forget their own pre-Islamic or non-Islamic pasts. It caused them, in many cases, to forget their own languages and to adopt Arabic — and in using Arabic, and in adopting Arabic names, within a few generations they had convinced themselves that they were Arabs.

Some held out. The Copts in Egypt today are simply the remnants of a population that was entirely Coptic, and that has suffered steady and slow asphyxiation. How many of Egypt’s Arabs are in fact Copts who fail to realize this, much less have any sympathy or interest in how their Coptic ancestors, out of intolerable pressure, assumed the identity of Arabs?

In Lebanon, the mountains provided a refuge for the Maronites, by far the most successful group to withstand the Muslims. And most Maronites are quick to make the important distinction that, while they are “users of Arabic,” that does not make them “Arabs.” When they claim that they predate the Arab invasion (which of course they do) and are the descendants of the previous inhabitants of Lebanon, the Phoenicians, they are greeted with ridicule. But why? Where did the Phoenicians go? Did they just disappear? It is far more plausible to believe that the Maronites and the others in Lebanon are, most of them (for how many real “Arabs” actually came from the Arabian peninsula to conquer far more numerous populations of non-Arabs?) the descendants of those Phoenicians. The Maronites recognize this; the Muslims do not, because for them the superior people, the people to whom the Qur’an was “given” and “in their language,” are the Arabs. The sense of Arab supremacy comes not only from the fact that the Qur’an was written in Arabic (with bits of Aramaic still floating in it), but because the Sunna, the other great guide for Muslims, consists of, and is derived from, the hadith and the sira, and reflects the life of people in 7th century Arabia.

Thus one sees the forcibly-converted descendants of Hindus, the Muslims of India and Pakistan, full of supposed “descendants of the Prophet” who are identified by the name “Sayeed.” It is as if, in the middle of a former British colony, say Uganda, black Africans gave themselves such names as Anthony Chenevix-ffrench or Charles Hardcastle, and dressed like remote Englishmen at Agincourt, or Ascot, and insisted, to one and all, that they were indeed lineal descendants of Elizabeth the Virgin Queen, or Hereward the Wake, or Ethelred the Unready.

Yet when those whose ancestors were forcibly converted to Islam (and force can be not military force, but the incessant and relentless pressure of dhimmitude, which will over time cause many to give up and embrace the belief-system of the oppressor) and adopted the names, and mimicked the dress and the manners and customs of Muslims — which are essentially those of a distant time and place (Arabia, more than a thousand years ago) — we do not smile or think it absurd. A few Muslim “intellectuals” in East Asia occasionally suggest that local customs and ways, even local expressions of music and art, ought not to be sacrificed to the Sunna of Islam, but to no avail.

And so strong is the power of Islam among the Arabs, so ingrained is their desire to ward off Muslim displeasure, that unless they do not feel themselves to be Arabs but a self-contained community (Copts, Maronites) that has managed to survive, they are very likely to reflect the Muslim views and promote the Muslim agenda.

Nowhere can this be seen better than among the “Palestinian” Arabs. Michel Sabbagh is only one example. The Sabbagh who gave $6.5 million to support John Esposito’s pro-Muslim empire at Georgetown was a “Christian.” (Note to James V. Schall: can you convince Georgetown’s administration to sever its now-embarrassing tie to Esposito? At some point he, and Georgetown, have to part ways, for the sake of Georgetown’s reputation and continued support from alumni.) The gun-running icon-stealing Archbishop Hilarion Cappucci was, in name, a Melkite Greek Catholic; he was, in his essence, a PLO supporter.

Islamochristian promoters of the Jihad — beginning with the Jihad against Israel — include a few “Palestinian” Presybterians who have carefully burrowed within, and risen within, the bureaucracy of the Presbyterian Church in America (no names here, but you can easily find them out), and Naim Ateek, who comes to delude audiences of Christians about the “Palestinian struggle” even as the Christian population of the “Palestinian” territories has plummeted, since Israel relinquished control, from 20% to 2% — out of fear of Muslim “Palestinians.”

Nor, of course, do Michel Sabbagh and his ilk pay much attention to the situation of Christians in the Sudan, or Indonesia, or Pakistan. Why would they? It would get in the way of their promotion of the Islamic attempt not only to reduce Israel to the dimensions that will allow them to go in for the final kill, but to seize control of the Holy Land. What, after all, do you think would happen to that Holy Land if Israel were to disappear? Do you think the Christian sites would be as scrupulously preserved? As available to pilgrims? Would Christians walk around Jerusalem if it were under the rule of Muslims with quite the same feelings of security that they do now?

The above is, in full, an article I wrote and published here at Jihad Watch in 2005. Since I wrote it, the Christian communities of Iraq (Chaldeans, Assyrians) and Syria (Melkites, Orthodox, Roman Catholics) have been decimated; the Coptic community in Egypt been under continuous assault, and not only during the hyper-Islamic regime of Morsi; and Christians and churches have been attacked in Pakistan, the Philippines, and Indonesia by Muslims. And Muslim terrorists attack Infidel Christians in Dar al-Harb itself, in Paris and London and Amsterdam and Madrid and Moscow, as they have in New York, Washington, Boston, Fort Hood, and San Bernardino.

Given the past decade of Christian victims of Muslim despoliation and delirium — and with the list above I was just getting started — one might have assumed that the “islamochristian” was no longer to be found. But just the other day, Gregory III Laham, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and All the East, surfaced to solemnly declare: “We, the Arab Christians, always defend Islam and our Muslim brothers – no one defends Islam like the Arab Christians do.” Robert Spencer took the good Gregory to task, pointing out that this classic encapsulation of the dhimmi phenomenon had never won the Melkites any special favors, and that they had suffered just as much from Muslim aggression when they parroted this kind of nonsense as they would have had the good Gregory tried verbally to smite the Muslims hip and thigh. Perhaps, Spencer suggested, the time for dhimmitude had long passed, it never having panned out, and it was time for assorted patriarchs of the East to try a different and truer tack — what, after all, did the Melkites at this point have to lose? How much worse could their situation be under the Muslim thumb than it already is? Perhaps, if he could break with the past, and come to his senses, the Melkite bishop might recognize his first duty: to warn his own flock, and to warn other Christians too, about Islam.

A second Christian who has had nothing but good things to say about Islam is one Craig Considine. He’s a mere lean lecturer in sociology, not so grand as Gregory, but even more obtuse. Not being an ethnic Arab, he doesn’t fit the strictest definition of the “islamochristian,” but as a declared Christian (Roman Catholic) working full-time to defend and promote Islam — and to accuse Israel, unsurprisingly, of every possible crime — he deserves a place in the pantheon here. Craig Considine’s studies — he’s been burning the midnight oil for years — have revealed to him that “Christians and Muslims share a similar ‘jihad.’ This ‘jihad’ is one of non-violence, the love of humanity, the perfection of the soul, and the search for knowledge.”

This will come as a surprise to any Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus who, at many different times and in many different places, have been on the receiving end of that Muslim “non-violence, love of humanity, perfection of the soul, and search for knowledge.” It came as a surprise to me. It no doubt comes as a surprise to you.

The ability of people to deny an unpleasant reality can be impressive. Look at Patriarch Gregory. Look at Craig Considine. Be suitably impressed.

Islamic State beheads teenager for apostasy

A hadith depicts Muhammad saying: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57). The death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law according to all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

This is still the position of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunni and Shi’ite. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most renowned and prominent Muslim cleric in the world, has stated: “The Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished, yet they differ as to determining the kind of punishment to be inflicted upon them. The majority of them, including the four main schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i, and Hanbali) as well as the other four schools of jurisprudence (the four Shiite schools of Az-Zaidiyyah, Al-Ithna-`ashriyyah, Al-Ja`fariyyah, and Az-Zaheriyyah) agree that apostates must be executed.”

Qaradawi also once famously said: “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today.”

Islamic State tank video

“ISIS beheads Syrian teenager on charges of ‘apostasy,’” by Jan Nasro, ARA News, January 31, 2016 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

URFA – Extremists of the Islamic State (ISIS) beheaded on Saturday a Syrian teenager in the northern city of Jarablus after accusing him of apostasy.

The 14-year-old boy was arrested by ISIS militants for missing Friday prayers at the central mosque of Jarablus, where pro-ISIS preachers usually deliver speeches promoting the group’s alleged Caliphate.

Speaking to ARA News in Jarablus, civil rights activist Nasser Taljbini reported that the ISIS-led Sharia Court order the militants to behead the boy in public.

“Dozens of people attended the brutal execution, including the victim’s parents who were forced to witness the beheading of their own son,” Taljbini said.

“ISIS is trying to prove that it is still powerful despite all the military defeats. The group is trying to terrorize people through conducting such public punishments,” the source told ARA News.

Local sources in Jarablus said that ISIS sees in the teenagers as future jihadis who should receive a proper Sharia education in order to stay committed to the message of the so-called Caliphate.

What? But CAIR told me Sharia was entirely benign!