One of the Muslim Brotherhood supporters who recently tried to lobby Congress to cut off aid to Egypt's military regime is lauding an Islamist ideological architect who inspired Osama bin Laden's thinking.
Ayat Orabi joined the Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ) Capitol Hill lobbying mission earlier this month. In a Facebook post Tuesday, she calls Sayyid Qutb a martyr and "the most knowledgeable master of intellectual output in the history of modern Islamic movements."
It's consistent with Orabi's previous radical statements. She claimed last September that Egypt's Coptic Christian minority had declared "war on Islam," a message that often incites violence.
Qutb taught that the Muslim world had degenerated into a state of apostasy that he called jahiliyyah, and that insufficiently Islamic regimes should be violently replaced. His manifesto Milestones advocates using jihad of the sword to clear the way for Islamic preaching. He also denounced Muslims who taught that jihad could only be used defensively as "defeatists" in his commentary, In the Shade of the Quran.
"As for those who are in a land hostile to Islam, neither their lives nor their properties are protected unless they have concluded a peace treaty with the land of Islam," Qutb wrote.
Qutb is often praised by other EAFJ leaders. President Hani Elkadi, for example, posted an Internet meme emblazoned with Qutb's picture on his Facebook page in 2015.
"There has to be a sacrifice, There has to be a calamity, We must be tested, Because cheap victory does not last ... and no one is capable 'to carry it' except the mighty—Giant of Islamic thought, the martyr: Sayyid Qutb," the post said.
EAFJ spokesman Mahmoud El Sharkawy cited Qutb later in 2015, invoking In the Shade of the Qur'an. It reads: "The banner of Allah is still there awaiting the arms that will raise it and the nation which under this banner will advance towards righteousness, guidance and success. #Sayyid Qutb #In the Shade of the Quran."
Other American Islamists laud Qutb or see him as a role model.
"Curious u feel qutb extreme how exactly / do u mean it was his ideas=extreme?" former Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council member Mohamed Elibiary asked on Twitter in 2013.
Ahmed Rehab, executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Chicago listed Qutb next to Malcolm X as his two favorite modern personalities on his personal website. "(martyred for what they stood for, same year!)" Rehab wrote.
Milestones is included in a recommended reading list by the Islamic Circle of North America's Southern California chapter.
It's clear that Qutb's influence continues in so-called "mainstream" American Muslim groups, not just among violent jihadis.
Donald Trump might be the president of the United States, but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to treat the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a credible outreach partner.
Its officials participated in DHS town hall discussions in Miami and Tampa, CAIR-Florida announced Thursday.
A discussion at Miami-Dade College included Veronica Venture, the outgoing DHS acting officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Kareem Shora, section chief of the DHS Community Engagement Section.
Venture and Shora are both holdovers from the Obama administration.
Shora enjoys close relations with CAIR-FL, organizing multiple events with the group on DHS's behalf. He helped organize a December training event for visiting French police officials with CAIR-FL in conjunction with the State Department.
This marks the latest example of DHS's partnering with CAIR as a Muslim community liaison partner despite its well-documented connection to Hamas – a tie that caused the FBI to sever similar outreach in 2008. CAIR officials have worked to discourage Muslims from cooperating with the FBI.
Both Shora and CAIR oppose to President Trump's vocal support for Israel and desire to counter Islamic terrorism.
Shora urged the U.S. to stop shipping weapons to Israel during its 2006 war with Hizballah because Lebanese civilians we "getting bombed." As executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Shora claimed in 2009 that Muslim charities fell victim to "undue scrutiny" from law enforcement in the effort to cut off funding terrorist groups. He also called the portrayal of Muslims as more "vulnerable" to terrorist recruitment an "unfortunate reality."
The two Florida DHS programs indicate that the Trump administration has yet to change course on the Obama administration's controversial Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program. The government has no way of telling whether these outreach programs work, the General Accountability Office (GAO) noted in an April report.
In Tampa, DHS allowed CAIR-FL Executive Director Hassan Shibly to participate in a roundtable with local law enforcement. Shibly played a key role in the December outreach event with the French police along with Shora. He also has made his share of radical statements.
He accuses FBI agents of unjustly killing a Muslim suspect who attacked them after questioning. After independent investigations found no evidence of wrongdoing, Shibly repeated the accusation and is helping the family sue the FBI.
He also opposes FBI sting operations as an "entrapment program targeting the Muslim community" and a form of tyranny that strayed away from the "great ideals of liberty, equality and justice."
The Muslim Brotherhood advocates for "resistance" against Israel and more support to Hamas until "Islamic land is liberated from the usurping Zionists" in an Arabic language statement released May 8.
The reference to "usurping Zionists," a form of anti-Semitic incitement, is clearly omitted from the Brotherhood's English language statement. The statement was released to congratulate Hamas after electing Ismail Haniyeh to lead the terrorist group's political wing.
Since Hamas is at the forefront of attacking Israel, a translation by the Investigative Project on Terrorism shows that the Brotherhood believes "it is requisite on every free honorable person to support them and provide the means of legitimate resistance to them; until our holy places, and our Arab and Islamic land is liberated from the usurping Zionists (emphasis added)."
This discrepancy is another example demonstrating Muslim Brotherhood doublespeak – communicating freely to their core supporters in Arabic, while watering down language in English to deceive Western audiences.
Both the English and Arabic language statements include a Brotherhood call for "legitimate resistance" – a term Islamists often use to vaguely reference violence and terrorism aimed at destroying the Jewish state.
In praising Haniyeh, the Muslim Brotherhood places the Hamas chief among a long line of Brotherhood leaders.
It encourages Haniyeh "to follow the path of the righteous Salaf (The Prophet Muhammad and his companions). The lives of our great leaders, (Brotherhood founder Hassan) Al-Banna, (ideological luminary Sayyid) Qutb, (Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed) Yassin and (co-founder Abdel Aziz) Rantissi should inspire him with wisdom and sacrifice."
Hamas recently planned to rescind its status as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in an attempt to alleviate tensions with Egypt. Nevertheless, the terrorist organization refuses to formally sever ties with the Brotherhood.
Hamas refuses to revoke its 1988 charter, which openly advocates for Israel's demise and "confronting the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews through jihad" – resembling anti-Semitic language also used by the Muslim Brotherhood.
It continues to call for Israel's destruction through "armed resistance" in a recently released political document intended to re-brand the terrorist organization as a more moderate group.
"Resistance to the occupation, by all means and methods, is a legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and international norms and laws, at the heart of which is armed resistance ... Hamas refuses to infringe upon Resistance and its weapons, and emphasizes the right of our people to develop the means of Resistance and its mechanisms," said an IPT translation of the document obtained by Al-Quds news.
A national anti-Israel group and several of its activists are "alter egos and/or successors" of a Hamas-support network that was found liable for an American teen's death in a 1996 terrorist attack, litigation filed in Chicago federal court Friday claims.
After Stanley and Joyce Boim won $156 million in damages, defendants including the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) and the American Muslim Society (AMS) shut down and claimed to be unable to pay. It was a ruse, the Boims' attorneys claim, as many of the same people opened up American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) at a nearby address.
A subsequent criminal prosecution found that other defendants in the original lawsuit, like the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) and the United Association for Studies and Research, were part of a Muslim Brotherhood-created Hamas-support network in the United States called the Palestine Committee.
The IAP used to hold annual conventions. The year after it shut down, AMP held its first national meeting, offering the same "audience, content, management, speakers, and ... message" as the IAP gatherings, the complaint said.
Today, AMP and its financial arm, Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation, continue the work done by the defunct groups in the original Boim suit, the complaint said. AMP donors and officers "are substantially identical to the management and donors of their alter egos and predecessors, HLF, IAP and AMS."
In 2015, the Investigative Project on Terrorism first identified the connections between the AMP and Palestine Committee groups. Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Vice President Jonathan Schanzer built on those connections in congressional testimony last year.
Rafeeq Jaber, a defendant in the new action, handles AJP's taxes, the complaint says. He previously served as president of both the IAP and AMS. AMP President Abdelbasset Hamayel was IAP's secretary general. AMP board member Osama Abu Irshaid edited the IAP newsletter, Al-Zaytounah. The publication ran Hamas communiques and solicited donations for the Holy Land Foundation.
Although the Boim complaint makes no allegations about religion, AMP Chairman Hatem Bazian dismissed it and the allegations it makes as "frivolous and highly Islamophobic."
The original Boim lawsuit focused on 17-year-old David Boim's 1996 murder in a Hamas shooting attack on a bus stop in Israel. His parents collected only a small portion of the damages awarded in that suit. The defendants "deliberately created and [hid] behind new legal entities, to obscure their identity and avoid paying the judgment," a memorandum filed along with the new complaint said.
It was filed on the 17th anniversary of David Boim's murder.
"These defendants cannot escape their legal liability and accountability for murder by merely changing the names of their organizations. We are filing this lawsuit to secure justice for David's memory precisely 17 years after the Boims' original lawsuit was filed against those who murdered their 17-year-old son," attorney Alyza Lewin said in a statement.
Anti-Semitism hit a record-high in Canada in 2016, with a 26 percent increase in anti-Jewish incidents from the previous year, B'nai Brith Canada's Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents shows.
More than 1,700 anti-Semitic incidents were reported across Canada.
Incidents of Holocaust denial, a particular form of anti-Semitism, significantly increased last year. Holocaust denial comprised 5 percent of total reported anti-Semitic acts in 2015, but skyrocketed to 20 per cent of total incidents in 2016.
"The Audit also highlights the emergence of a new and frightening trend in Canadian antisemitism: incitement against Jews in mass media, especially in Arabic-language publications," B'nai Brith reports. While the organization "was successful in exposing and removing many of the most egregious examples, the lack of response from law enforcement and government paints a worrying picture of this phenomenon going forward."
The Audit found that the anti-Semitic incidents in Canada declined during the months surrounding the U.S. election compared to previous years. Those months historically experience the highest levels of anti-Semitism. These findings suggest that the increase in Canadian anti-Semitism is a "made-in-Canada" issue.
Click here to read the full Audit.
This year, two Canadian imams attracted media attention for their past incendiary and anti-Semitic sermons.
Ryerson University in Toronto announced that it fired Ayman Elkasrawy from his teaching assistant position following reports he prayed for Allah to "purify" Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque "from the filth of the Jews."
He also prayed that anyone who "displaced" Muslims be destroyed: "Count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them, O Allah! Purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews!"
In another case, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) posted videos showing an imam in Montreal, Sheikh Wael Al-Ghitawi, denying Jewish roots in Israel.
"Jews do not have any historical right to Palestine," Al-Ghitawi said in the 2014 sermon. He falsely asserted that "for long periods of time, there was not a single Jew in Jerusalem and Palestine."
Last year, MEMRI exposed a sermon by an imam in Edmonton, Alberta, who urged Muslims to "look forward" as "Rome will be conquered." Shaban Sherif Mady also glorified the restoration of the "rightly-guided" Islamic Caliphate – mirroring similar calls by the Islamic State's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
With the spread of radical Islamism among some Arabic-language publications and imams, it is no surprise that anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise in Canada.
Screenshot: President Trump Meets with President Abbas - whitehouse.gov
Abbas is unlikely to end the program, with a top aide calling the idea "insane."
Amid growing pressure to halt this practice, it is important to note that Abbas is directly behind the policy surrounding terrorist transfers. By amending the Palestinian Prisoners Law in 2010, Abbas increased monthly installments from approximately $275-$1110 to $390-$3320 per month, reports Palestinian Media Watch.
"Who else has elevated the cause of the Palestinian prisoners other than President Mahmoud Abbas?" asked Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein, in a 2014 interview on Official PA TV, adding that "all the laws, the tenfold increase of the budget of the Ministry of Prisoners' [Affairs] - [all this] was done during the tenure of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and according to the wishes of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas..."
That year, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) assumed responsibility for paying terrorist prisoners in an effort to mask PA's involvements. Longer prison sentences lead to more money for terrorists' families, which further encourage future generations to engage in terrorism.
Abbas previously acknowledged that the PA "ordered" Palestinians to engage in terrorism during the Second Intifada, in an effort to justify payments to convicted terrorists and secure their eventual release.
"This is war. One [Israel] ordered a soldier to kill, and I ordered my son, brother, or others, to carry out the duty of resistance (Palestinian term referring to violence). This person killed and the other person killed," Abbas admitted in a 2005 interview on official PA TV and translated by PMW.
Abbas may claim that Palestinians are raising youth in a "culture of peace," but overwhelming evidence shows that the PA and other Palestinian factions systematically promote violence against Jews and Israelis.
In March, Abbas met with Palestinians who conducted attacks during the most recent Palestinian terror campaign, including a 14-year-old who tried to stab Israeli civilians in September.
Abbas' incitement in September 2015 helped spark a wave of violence against Israelis when he called for Palestinians to prevent Jews from entering Al-Aqsa mosque with "everything in our power."
"The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours... and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem...Every martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah," Abbas said in a speech, segments of which were aired on official PA TV and posted on his website.
Facebook and Twitter posts disclose that Osama Abu Irshaid, an openly pro-Hamas leader of the rabidly anti-Israel group American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), met with Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and State Department representatives on Monday. The meetings took place as part of AMP's 2017 Palestine Advocacy Day.
Abu Irshaid and AMP representatives met with "dozens for representatives and senators," an AMP statement claimed. They also attended a State Department briefing.
They asked officials to reaffirm the U.S. position that Israeli settlements are illegal; and urged an IRS investigation into the tax exempt status of the Hebron Fund and Jewish National Fund, two groups that help Jewish settlers. They also lobbied against moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Abu Irshaid's participation in the meetings should raise eyebrows considering his history of pro-Hamas advocacy. He previously served as editor of Al-Zaitounah, a pro-Hamas Arabic periodical published by the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). IAP was the propaganda arm of a U.S.-based Hamas support network organized by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Abu Irshaid also was listed as a research fellow with the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), another Palestine Committee branch that was founded by Hamas political leader Moussa Abu Marzook.
Like the Palestine Committee, Abu Irshaid opposed the U.S.-brokered Oslo Accords, which granted Palestinians unprecedented autonomy and raised hopes for a lasting peace. "The most unfortunate aspect of these agreements is that they put an end to the zero-sum game of 'occupied Palestine or independent Israel,' in favor of the latter, an independent Israel," Abu Irshaid wrote in The Middle East Affairs Journal.
During a 2011 program, Abu Irshaid defended Hamas rocket fire as "a legitimate resistance." At the time, those rockets terrorized hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians within their range.
In a December 2014 Facebook post, Abu Irshaid described Hamas as "an army for liberation" whose battalions rise up for the blood of the martyrs instead of capitulating to Israel like Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
A few months later, Abu Irshaid condemned Egypt for classifying Hamas as a terrorist organization: "Cairo Aviv" designates Hamas as a terrorist organization. Realy! (sic) Look who's talking!? A terrorist murder regime."
Connolly's office and the State Department could not be reached for comment.
The report, "White Washing 'Resistance' – Human Rights Funding to Organizations Blurring the Line Between Violence and Nonviolence," outlines several groups with links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization designated by the EU and other Western states. According to the report's findings, many of these NGOs fail to clearly distinguish between the legitimacy of non-violent and violent activity, and frequently promote the concept of "resistance" – a term Palestinians often exploit in reference to terrorist attacks targeting Israel.
The report describes how the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), for example, often justifies attacks against Israelis as a "legitimate right to resist the occupation."
PFLP operatives founded some of the listed NGOs directly, while other groups include staff members who were convicted of terrorism-related charges by Israeli courts. These so-called human rights organizations are at the forefront for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, while prominent individuals within some of the NGOs are known to promote violence and anti-Semitism.
"Donors to the PFLP-linked NGOs include the EU, the governments of Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Norway, Ireland, UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, and Switzerland, and the United Nations," the report's authors outline.
Using EU funds, the Spanish NGO Novact hosted a conference in February on preventing violent extremism, inviting two Palestinians with a history of extremist views and associations, Manal Tamimi and Munther Amira. After the two entered the country, Spanish authorities arrested Tamimi and Amira, members of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC), for suspected terrorist related activity.
The NGO Monitor report lists other European-funded groups with ties to the PFLP, such as the Addameer association and Al-Haq. For example, Addameer's vice chairwoman - Khalida Jarrar - was indicted for being a PFLP member and for calling on terrorists to kidnap Israeli soldiers.
"The examples presented in this report are symptomatic of an overall lack of accountability and scrutiny in government funding to NGOs that are politically active in the Arab-Israeli conflict. This results in financial backing for groups that legitimize violence, in sharp contradistinction to the government funders that are otherwise committed to facilitating a negotiated "two-state" vision," write the report's authors before providing recommendations.
The report was released days before a diplomatic quarrel intensified between Israel and Germany, fuelled by Germany's support for anti-Israel NGOs.
Refusing to adhere to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel met with representatives from B'tselem and Breaking the Silence – far-Left groups devoted to targeting the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by cancelling a meeting with Gabriel scheduled for April 25.
"In his actions, Prime Minister Netanyahu is seeking to put this irresponsible NGO funding by Europe on the agenda, and to trigger long-overdue changes," NGO Monitor president Gerald Steinberg told Jewish News Service, adding that European and German state funds allow "fringe groups like Breaking the Silence to travel the world attacking the IDF."
Half of the prominent jihadists profiled in a new study by The Centre on Religion & Geopolitics had ties to supposedly non-violent Islamists prior to joining terrorist organizations.
The study's authors – Mubaraz Ahmed, Milo Comerford, and Emman El-Badawy – explore pathways to militancy among 100 prominent figures within the wider Salafi-Jihadi movement. The individuals examined derive from the Middle East and Africa, across multiple generations. Some of the findings suggest that membership or ties to non-violent Islamist organizations can be associated with an individual's trajectory towards violence and terrorism.
51 percent of the terrorists under study were previously connected to Islamist groups that claim to be non-violent, including "bodies that are not necessarily political activist organizations but form a functioning arm of existing Islamist groups, such as youth wings, student associations, and other societies." Since membership in Islamist groups is often secretive and sometimes prohibited in various Middle Eastern countries, the authors acknowledge that the proportion of jihadists with Islamist affiliations are likely higher.
Some of the case studies explored in the report include Djamel Zitouni, the leader of the Armed Islamic Group who was previously a member of an Islamist organization that supposedly eschewed violence – the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). Senior Al-Qaeda leaders, including Abdullah Azzam and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, were involved with or direct members of the Muslim Brotherhood before turning to violent jihad.
One in four of the jihadists examined had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood or its affiliated groups.
Another interesting finding shows that 65 percent of the sample had been imprisoned at some point throughout their lives, some of whom served time before engaging in violent jihad. There has been growing concern for years about Islamist radicalization of potential terrorist recruits in prisons worldwide.
The study shows that personal networks are critical in the formation and development of the global Salafi-jihadi movement.
"Our data links the leaders of Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS today to the forefathers of the movement through people they met in prison, at university, and on the battlefield," write the authors.
Purportedly non-violent Islamist groups not only serve as potential incubators for radicalization and violence – they also continue to engage in violent incitement, encouraging others to carry out terrorist attacks.
For example, on Wednesday, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member, 'Izz Al-Din Dwedar, called for an "intifada" targeting Egyptian embassies around the world, in a Facebook post translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
In protest of death sentences handed to members of the Brotherhood in Egypt, Dwedar suggested for violent action on May 3.
Egyptians abroad should "protest [outside] Egyptian embassies and lay siege to them, and steadily escalate [their actions], up to and including raiding the embassies in some countries, disrupting their work and occupying them if possible, in order to raises awareness to our cause," wrote Dwedar.
The Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVC) was launched on Thursday in an effort to revitalize U.S. engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, building on perspectives espoused by the Middle East Forum (MEF).
The caucus calls for the need to put the onus of peace on the Palestinians, to give up their rejectionist claims about Israel's right to exist as Jewish state. The initiative also calls for the U.S. to cease pressuring Israel to make major concessions that often lead to more Palestinian violence and terrorism.
Co-chairs, Reps. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., and Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, expressed strong support for Israel and its right to defend itself at Thursday's launch event, which featured several other Republican congressmen.
"Israel is not the problem in the Middle East; it is the solution to many of the problems that bedevil the region. American policy must ensure that Israel emerges victorious against those who deny or threaten her existence," DeSantis said in a statement announcing the initiative.
The caucus wants the Palestinian Authority (PA) to stop its violent incitement against Jews and Israelis. It aims to help reverse one sided, anti-Israel United Nations resolutions and oppose efforts to delegitimize Israel through initiatives such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Palestinian incitement prevents peace from materializing, Johnson said, specifically calling out the widespread practice of naming Palestinian institutions and schools after terrorists responsible for murdering innocent Israelis.
DeSantis also blasted the PA for continuing to pay terrorists' families after they committed attacks against Israelis.
"Any financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority by American taxpayers cannot continue so long as the PA continues to pay pensions and salaries for families of terrorists. It's a simply inappropriate use of taxpayer money and it's not fair to the American taxpayer," DeSantis said at Thursday's event.
The Taylor Force Act, a bill named after a 28-year-old American tourist killed by a Palestinian terrorist in Israel last year, would prohibit U.S. assistance to the PA until terrorist salaries and payments cease.
"If you die as a terrorist, as a 'martyr,' your family will get an annual stipend greater than the average Palestinian earns. In this case, the terrorist who killed Taylor Force...was hailed as a hero, was basically given a state funeral, and his family was given money by the state," says sponsor Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.