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by Ryan Mauro
The year 2014 will be remembered for the war against the Islamic State, the interim nuclear deal with Iran, Hamas’ brutal kidnapping and murder of Israeli teens and other harrowing developments.
However, the year also saw fight against Islamic extremism. Here are the top 19 moments in 2014 where Islamic extremism was bruised:
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by Joe Kaufman
On the night of Saturday, November 8, the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of CAIR held its 20th Anniversary Banquet at the Santa Clara Convention Center. It was fitting that two out of three of the event’s featured speakers have been associated with terrorism, as 20 years ago CAIR was founded as a main component of a Palestinian terrorist enterprise inside the United States.
CAIR or the Council on American-Islamic Relations has been in existence for 20 years — since June 1994 — when it opened up its national headquarters in Washington, D.C. The group was established as being a part of the American Palestine Committee, an umbrella organization run by then-global Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, who was based in the U.S. at the time and who now operates out of Egypt as a spokesman for Hamas.
The other members of the umbrella included a Hamas financing wing, Holy Land Foundation (HLF); a Hamas propaganda wing, Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP); and a Hamas command center, United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), which was then led by Ahmed Yousef, who later left the U.S. for Gaza to become Senior Political Adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.
The founding and current National Executive Director of CAIR is Nihad Awad. Just prior to co-founding CAIR, Awad held the position of Public Relations Director for the IAP. As the propaganda wing of Hamas, the IAP had been involved in distributing Hamas terrorist videos and publishing vehemently anti-Jewish and anti-Israel materials, including the Hamas charter in different languages.
Only months before the creation of CAIR, Awad announced his support for Hamas….
…Also speaking at the banquet was Nihad Awad’s San Francisco counterpart, Executive Director of CAIR-SFBA Zahra Billoo. Billoo has made a number of extremist statements in the past. She has written that “one amazing reason to get married” is to “raise fighters” (children) to attack the nation of Israel. She wrote that to celebrate Columbus Day is “the same as having Jews celebrate Hitler and the Holocaust.” She refers to U.S. troops as “scum.”
Billoo proudly announced on her blog that her younger brother, Ahmed, was quoted in an article in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal — an article that discusses in length about how her brother supports suicide bombings. Billoo wrote that she, herself, had thoughts of committing suicide, after she viewed a pro-Israel advertisement on a San Francisco train.
On her Twitter account, Billoo boasted that her CAIR event was sold out, and the pictures taken at it do show a full house. This is a frightening indication that many Muslims in America appear to support and approve of CAIR’s agenda. Certainly given the amount of information available about the speakers at the event, one would be hard pressed to believe that the attendees weren’t at least somewhat aware of CAIR’s terror-related background….
BY: Matthew Continetti
….The change in the manner in which the government treated Islamism was profound. “Whereas the 9/11 Commission report, published under the presidency of George W. Bush in July 2004 as a bipartisan product, had used the word Islam 322 times, Muslim 145 times, jihad 126 times, and jihadist 32 times,” Gorka writes, “the National Intelligence Strategy of the United States, issued by the Obama administration in August 2009, used the term Islam 0 times, Muslim 0 times, jihad 0 times.” The omission is stunning.
For Bush, terrorism consisted of immoral deeds committed by evil men animated by anti-Western ideology. Obama downplayed such judgmental language. He preferred an interpretation of terrorism as discrete acts of wrongdoing by extremists, driven by resentments and grievances such as the American failure to establish a Palestinian state, American support for secular Arab dictatorships, American forces in the Middle East, U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, and, infamously, an anti-Islamic YouTube video. “The logic that follows,” Gorka writes, “is that once those grievances are addressed, the extremism will subside.”
Some logic. Six years into the Obama presidency, not only has the vocabulary of jihad been removed from official rhetoric and counterterrorism policy, but troops have been removed from Iraq, troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, the administration has condemned Israeli settlement activity while coddling Hamas’ backers in Ankara and Doha, “torture” has been banned, the White House intends to close Guantanamo unilaterally, Hosni Mubarak was abandoned in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the president is desperate for a partnership with the Islamic theocracy of Iran.
The result? The Islamic State rules Mosul, threatens Baghdad, and has conquered half of Syria as Bashar Assad gasses the other half. Libya has collapsed into tribal warfare. Egypt has gone from military dictatorship to Islamic authoritarianism and back again. An Islamic strongman rules Turkey, Hamas murders with impunity, Al Jazeera broadcasts anti-American and anti-Semitic propaganda around the world, and the Taliban are biding time in Afghanistan. Not only is al Qaeda not on the run, it governs more territory than at any point since 2001. It is once again the “strong horse,” attracting jihadists to its crusade who inevitably turn their attention to the West.
“Without an ideological catalyst,” Gorka writes, “grievances remain merely grievances. They are dull and banal. They only transform into acts of transcendental violence when ignited by Sayyid Qutb or Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. It is the narrative of Holy War that gives value to local grievances, not the other way around.” Before we can hope to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State or the al Qaeda movement, we must recognize the poison tree of jihad for what it is. We must recognize the global and unitary nature of the threat. We must recognize that there is only one way to deal with a poison tree: You chop it down.
Discover the Networks
HAMAS (an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawamat al-Islamiyya, which is Arabic for “Islamic Resistance Movement”) is an Islamic fundamentalist group founded on December 14, 1987 by Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi, members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, Hamas describes itself as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brother[hood].” As a single Arabic word rather than an acronym, “Hamas” means “zeal.” The organization’s avowed purpose is “liberating Palestine” from its Jewish “oppressors,” whose very presence in the Middle East Hamas considers an affront to Muslims’ rightful sovereignty over the region. Hamas is best known for using violent methods — including suicide bombings against Israeli military and civilian targets — as part of its long-term strategy to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic Palestinian state. The U.S. State Department, Canada, Japan, Israel, and the entire European Union have named Hamas as an Islamic terrorist organization.
With tens of thousands of loyal supporters, Hamas’ strength is concentrated principally in the Gaza Strip and a few areas of the West Bank. The group’s leadership is dispersed throughout these same areas, with a few senior leaders residing also in Syria, Lebanon, and the Gulf States.
Over the years, Hamas’ funding has derived from a variety of sources. Today it is supported primarily by donations from Iran, Arab governments such as that of Syria, Palestinian expatriates, private benefactors in Arab nations, Islamic fascist groups, and Muslim “charities” from around the world such as the now-defunct Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. (It is estimated that the “charities” account for about half of all Hamas funding today.) Some clandestine fundraising takes place in Western Europe and North America as well. When the United Nations Oil-For-Food program was in effect, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein skimmed more than $21 billion from its coffers and sent some of it directly to Hamas.
Describing Hamas’ political and social agendas, Israel scholar Steven Plaut writes: “Hamas and al-Qaeda are basically two sides of the same jihad. They have squabbled rhetorically on occasion … but … Hamas ‘schools’ and other institutions routinely distribute the harangues of [Osama] bin-Laden and other al-Qaeda materials. Hamas rallies feature posters of bin Laden and of Chechen terror leaders.” Dr. Harold Brackman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center elaborates:
“Hamas has held secret summits with Al Qaeda operatives in locales as distant as India, and even sent a select few members to train in bin Laden’s Afghan camps. For what it’s worth, Palestinian Authority PresidentMahmoud Abbas claimed in 2007 that: ‘It is Hamas that is shielding Al Qaeda, and through its bloody conduct, Hamas has become very close to Al Qaeda [in Gaza].'”
The Hamas Charter, written in 1987, puts forth “The Slogan of the Hamas,” which closely resembles the Muslim Brotherhood’s credo and reads as follows: “Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path, and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.” In addition, the Hamas Charter:
In 1992 Hamas formed its military wing, known as the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, named in honor of the late Sheikh who was the forefather of modern Arab resistance until his death in 1935.
In December 1992, Israeli forces responded to Palestinian atrocities by arresting more than 1,000 Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists and deporting 415 of them into Lebanon. Among those expelled were two co-founders of Hamas (including Ismail Haniya) and several of the organization’s top military commanders.
In response to these expulsions, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 799 which “strongly” condemned the deportation of “hundreds of Palestinian civilians” and expressed “its firm opposition to any such deportation by Israel.” The Security Council further demanded that Israel “ensure the safe and immediate return to the occupied territories of all those deported.” American and European officials likewise pressured Israel to abide by the UN directives. Bill Clinton, for one, said that while he understood Israeli concerns about Hamas, he was opposed to the Jewish state actually deporting the terrorists.
The media, too, helped turn the plight of the expelled Hamas terrorists into the leadinghuman-rights issue of the day….
…Hamas publishes a biweekly, London-based children’s magazine titled Al-Fateh, which regularly characterizes Jews as “murderers of the prophets”; lauds parents who encourage their sons to kill Jews; and, according to the Middle East Media Research Center, incites youngsters to “jihad and martyrdom and glorification of terrorist operations and of their planners and perpetrators.” Each issue features an installment of “The Story of a Martyr,” presenting the “heroic deeds” of a Muslim who died in a suicide bombing or who was killed before committing such crimes by the Israeli Defense Forces. (Click here to view some examples of the text and illustrations contained in this Hamas production.)
Defenders of Hamas commonly assert that the organization provides valuable social services for the Palestinian people. Steven Plaut addresses this claim:
“Hamas does indeed operate social services, but mainly as a tool in asserting its power and control, and in order to finance its terrorism. The American State Department has traditionally drawn no distinction between Hamas terrorism and its social services: ‘As long as Hamas continues to rely on terrorism to achieve its political ends, we should not draw a distinction between its military and humanitarian arms, since funds provided to one can be used to support the other.’ Even the normally anti-Israel Human Rights Watch has concluded that Hamas social functions are part and parcel of its terrorist activity.”
Hamas’ current worldwide leader is Khaled Mash’al, who first became a member of the Hamas Political Bureau in 1996.
Hamas’ most significant front group in North America is the Council on American-Islamic Relations.