Hey Obama: Instead of trying to steal land from Israel and steal the rights from Americans, why are you not trying to stop this islamic atrocity against humanity?
The question is rhetorical and requires no response… because the fact is this:
by Soeren Kern
The recent cases in Bulgaria and Cyrus provide irrefutable evidence that Hezbollah is highly active in Europe, where it raises funds, launders money, traffics drugs, recruits operatives and plots attacks with impunity.
The main objective of Israeli President Shimon Peres’s week-long state visit to Brussels, Paris and Strasbourg March 5-12 is apparently to persuade reluctant European leaders to designate Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement a terrorist organization.
Blacklisting Hezbollah would deprive the militant group of significant sources of fundraising by enabling the freezing its bank accounts and assets in Europe. It would also facilitate intra-European police cooperation aimed at pursuing and arresting Hezbollah operatives believed to be living underground throughout Europe.
Several Western countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands officially classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization years ago. But the European Union has steadfastly resisted calls to sanction Hezbollah.
EU leaders say they do not have enough information to make a judgment about whether Hezbollah is involved in terrorism. They have tried to justify themselves by saying that because the issue is legal, not moral, in nature, they need “courtroom evidence” of Hezbollah’s culpability.
Well, at least that has been clarified: in recent weeks Bulgarian authorities implicated Hezbollah in the July 18, 2012 terrorist attack which killed five Israeli tourists and their driver in the Black Sea resort of Burgas.
Bulgaria’s February 5 public announcement, which angered many EU countries afraid of provoking Hezbollah, was the first time that an EU member state has officially established that Hezbollah was guilty of a carrying out a terrorist attack on EU territory.
European officials have long rationalized their lack of resolve against Hezbollah by claiming that the organization has both a military wing and a political wing, and that cracking down on the former would cripple the latter, which consequently would lead to the destabilization of Lebanon as well as the broader Middle East.
Many analysts, however, say this high-mindedness is a smoke screen behind which Europeans are hiding to conceal the real reason why they are reluctant to confront Hezbollah: fear, fear and more fear.
Europeans are afraid to call Hezbollah what it is because they fear reprisals against European interests at home and abroad. Europeans also fear that if they take a hard line against Hezbollah, the group may activate sleeper cells and carry out attacks in European cities. (According to a leaked German intelligence report, there are more than 900 Hezbollah operatives in Germany alone.)
In addition, Europeans are afraid that Hezbollah may retaliate against European troops, known as UNIFIL, participating in the United Nations mission in Lebanon.
In Spain, for instance, where Hezbollah was involved in the April 1985 bombing of a restaurant near Madrid in which 18 Spanish citizens were killed, the case was closed in 1987 due to a lack of arrests.
After six Spanish peacekeepers were killed in a Hezbollah bomb attack in southern Lebanon in June 2007, a fearful Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero recruited that same Hezbollah to safeguard Spanish troops, presumably as a way to safeguard his own job.
Less than a month after those killings, it emerged that Spanish intelligence agents met secretly with Hezbollah militants, who agreed to provide “escorts” to protect Spanish UNIFIL patrols. The quid pro quo was that Spanish troops look the other way while Hezbollah was allowed to rearm for its next war against Israel.
The Spanish government recently announced that it will cut the number of its troops within UNIFIL to half by the end of 2013. What is clear is that Spain, as well as its European partners, have abandoned the letter and the spirit of UN Resolution 1559, the main objective of which was to disarm Hezbollah and to transfer effective control over the southern Lebanon to Lebanon’s armed forces.
Europeans are also afraid of inciting the thousands of shiftless young Muslim immigrants in towns and cities across the continent. The fear of angry Muslims is, in fact, so pervasive in European capitals that in practical terms Islam has already established a de facto veto on European foreign policymaking.
In addition to the investigation in Bulgaria, there has also been the trial in Cyprus of Hossam Taleb Yaakoub, a captured Hezbollah operative with joint Lebanese and Swedish citizenship who is suspected of plotting attacks on Israeli targets. The trial, which is scheduled to end on March 7, has provided many insights into Hezbollah’s secret operations in Europe.
Taken together, the recent cases in Bulgaria and Cyprus provide irrefutable evidence that Hezbollah is highly active in Europe, where it raises funds, launders money, traffics drugs, recruits operatives and plots attacks with impunity.
Even so, the new revelations are unlikely to cause the EU to reconsider its refusal to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group and crack down on its fund-raising. Indeed, European officials have signaled that they desperately want to keep the peace with Hezbollah.
After Bulgaria implicated Hezbollah, John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s chief counterterrorism advisor and his nominee to run the Central Intelligence Agency, urged the EU to condemn Hezbollah: “We call on our European partners as well as other members of the international community to take proactive action to uncover Hezbollah’s infrastructure and disrupt the group’s financing schemes and operational networks in order to prevent future attacks.”
But Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s high representative for foreign policy, responded without even mentioning Hezbollah by name. She said only that there was now a “need for reflection” and added: “The implications of the investigation need to be assessed seriously as they relate to a terrorist attack on EU soil, which resulted in the killing and injury of innocent civilians.”
In Sweden, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt went so far as to express his anger at Bulgaria for blaming Hezbollah. In a February 5 tweet, he said: “We need to reflect seriously on consequences of Bulgaria probe naming Hezbollah as behind terrorist attack.”
Only one EU country has had the courage to blacklist Hezbollah’s entire organization: The Netherlands proscribed the group in 2004. In a recent statement, the Dutch Embassy in Israel said: “The Netherlands has been calling for Hezbollah to be included on the EU list of terrorist organizations since 2004, and has consistently urged its EU partners to support such a move.”
If the EU is eventually shamed into adding Hezbollah to its terror list, it will probably follow the example not of Holland but of Britain.
In 2008, the British government “banned” Hezbollah’s military wing after the group targeted British troops in Iraq. But the Labour government stopped short of curtailing Hezbollah’s ability to operate in Britain, arguing that the military wing is separate from the political wing.
In recent weeks, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has repeatedly urged the EU to replicate the British model and outlaw only Hezbollah’s military wing. Although this “fix” would allow the EU to say that it has taken meaningful action against the group, Hezbollah leaders themselves make no such distinction.
Sheikh Naim Qassem, the second in command of Hezbollah, with the title of deputy secretary-general, has rejected Britain’s attempt to separate the group into military and political wings. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in April 2009, Qassem said: “Hezbollah has a single leadership. … The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads Jihad actions in the struggle against Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu concurred, saying: “There is only one Hezbollah, it is one organization with one leadership.”
Avi Dichter, Israel’s Minister of Home Front Defense and a former director of Shin Bet, had this to say: “To speak about [Hezbollah leader] Hassan Nasrallah as someone who is only political is ridiculous. … Asking if Hezbollah is a terrorist organization is like asking if Paris belongs to France. Who is sleeping? Are we Israelis sleeping or are countries in Europe sleeping? There is no debate.”
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor, writing in the Washington, DC-based magazine Foreign Policy, put it this way: “Calling Hezbollah a charity is like calling al-Qaeda an urban planning organization because of its desire to level tall buildings. … The EU must find the moral and political courage to place Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations. It must find a clear message that Hezbollah can no longer target its citizens with impunity.”
The collapse of the Mubarak regime has been a great blessing for Hamas, which has emerged as a major player. Now Hamas knows that it can always rely on Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to stay in power and increase Hamas’s influence.
Did Hamas dispatch 7,000 militiamen from the Gaza Strip to Egypt to protect President Mohamed Morsi, who is currently facing a popular uprising?
Reports that appeared in a number of Egyptian opposition media outlets in the past few days claimed that the militiamen entered Egypt through the smuggling tunnels along the border with the Gaza Strip.
The reports quoted unidentified Egyptian security officials as saying that the Hamas militiamen had been spotted in the Egyptian border town of Rafah before they headed toward Cairo, to shore up the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Morsi, which Hamas may have feared was in danger of collapse.
The officials claimed that the Hamas militiamen had been deployed in a number of sensitive locations in the Egyptian capital, including the Al-Ittihadiyeh Presidential Palace, as part of a plan to protect the Muslim Brotherhood regime.
Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, is a staunch supporter of the Morsi regime.
This week, a Gulf newspaper Akhbar Al-Khaleej published what it described as “secret documents” proving that Hamas, with the financial backing of Qatar, had plans to send hundreds of militiamen to Egypt to help Morsi’s regime.
One of the classified documents, signed by Hamas’s armed wing, Izaddin al-Kassam, talks about the need to send “warriors to help our brothers in Egypt who are facing attempts by the former regime [of Hosni Mubarak] to return to power.”
The reports about Hamas’s alleged involvement in the Egyptian crisis have been strongly denied by Hamas officials.
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar lost his temper during an interview with an Egyptian TV station; he said the reports were lies intended to tarnish Hamas’s image.
Zahar accused supporters of the Mubarak regime of being behind the reports depicting Hamas as a terrorist organization helping President Morsi to kill Egyptians.
But this was not the first time that Egyptians had accused Hamas of meddling in their internal affairs.
In August 2012, reports in the Egyptian media suggested that Hamas was involved in the killing of 16 Egyptian border guards near the border with the Gaza Strip. The perpetrators have never been caught.
Egyptians have also accused Hamas of involvement in a terror attack against a church and attacking prisons in Egypt.
Although the talk about Hamas’s involvement in terror activities on Egyptian soil may in some cases be exaggerated, repeated accusations against Hamas show that many Egyptians continue to see the radical Islamist movement as a threat to their national security.
Hamas has further been accused by some Egyptians of helping other Muslim fundamentalist groups turn Sinai into a base for jihadis from all around the world.
During last week’s street clashes in Cairo, anti-Morsi demonstrators torched Hamas and Qatari flags. They also chanted slogans condemning Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood organization for bringing Hamas militiamen to suppress Egyptian protesters.
There is no doubt that Hamas is prepared to do its utmost to help Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood organization stay in power, even at the cost of killing and torturing Egyptian civilians. The downfall of the Mubarak regime has been a great blessing for Hamas, which has since emerged as a major player in the Palestinian and regional arena.
Thanks to Morsi, an Egyptian prime minister visited the Gaza Strip for the first time ever last November to express solidarity with Hamas during Israel’s “Pillar of Defense” military operation. Such a visit would have been unthinkable under Mubarak, who did everything he could to weaken Hamas and stop it from meddling in the internal affairs of Egypt.
But now Hamas knows that it can always rely on Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to stay in power and increase Hamas’s influence. In return, Morsi apparently expects Hamas to reward him by sending its men to defend his palace.
Thousands of Palestinian schoolchildren have been receiving military training in the Gaza Strip to prepare them for jihad against Israel.
According to Mohamed Siam, a senior official with the Hamas-run ministry, some 9,000 high school children have already joined 36 camps throughout the Gaza Strip and are being taught how to use various types of weapons and handle explosives.
Hamas says that the purpose of the camps is to prepare Palestinian children, both militarily and psychologically, for the “liberation of Palestine, from the Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea,” in other words, all of Israel.
How can anyone talk about the two-state solution when thousands of Palestinian children are being trained to use weapons and explosives to replace Israel with an Islamic state? Does Mahmoud Abbas really believe that these schoolchildren will ever accept his strategy of peace with Israel? These are questions the West needs to ask itself before once again pressing for a two-state solution.
The training is being held under the supervision of the Hamas government’s Ministry of Education, and the training camps have been named Al-Futuwwa [spiritual chivalry].
According to Wikipedia, Al-Futuwwa was the name of the Hitler-Jugend [Hitler Youth] style of pan-Arab fascistic and nationalistic youth movement that existed in Iraq in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1938, the Al-Futuwwa youth organization sent a delegate to the Nuremberg Nazi party rally, and in turn hosted the Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Schirach. In 1941, the fascistic pan-Arab Al-Muthanna Club and its Al-Futuwwa movement participated in the Farhud attack on Baghdad’s Jewish community.
Last week, during a graduation ceremony for thousands of school children, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh declared that his movement was planning to establish a military academy for training and educating seventh and ninth graders. The goal, he said, is to prepare Palestinian children for jihad against the “Zionist entity.”
Addressing the cadets, Haniyeh declared: “You are the future leaders. You will march your people toward freedom and dignity. The Al-Futuwwa will end in victory and the liberation of all Palestine, “from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”
Not surprisingly, parents in the Gaza Strip have not protested against this form of child abuse. Many parents, in fact, seem to like the idea that their children are being trained how to handle explosives and various types of weapons.
More disturbing is that only a few of the dozens of Western-funded human rights organizations that operate in the Gaza Strip have raised their voices against Hamas’s abuse of children. Even the United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF], which was created to work for children’s rights, their survival, development and protection, has yet to condemn Hamas for recruiting school children to its military apparatus.
Many of Hamas’s children will undoubtedly be sent to the battlefront during the next round of fighting with Israel. Some will also be dispatched on suicide missions against the “Zionist enemy,” while others will be provided with assault rifles and rockets to be used against Israeli targets.
By poisoning the hearts and minds of schoolchildren, Hamas is raising an entire generation of Palestinians on glorification of suicide bombers, jihad and terrorism.
And this is happening at a time when some governments and leaders in the West are talking about the need to revive the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel — and at a time when the Palestinian Authority is making efforts to achieve unity with Hamas.
These are questions that Abbas needs to ask himself as he continues to seek unity with Hamas; and that the West might do well to ask itself, too.
Click on This Link to View Video: In Judea; Where Israel’s Biblical Forefathers Walked
We’re in Judea—the other half of Israel’s Biblical heartland. We visit the ancient city of Hebron—burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rebekah, Sarah and Leah. Also, Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy Yuli Edelstein joins us to discuss the importance of Judea and Samaria to Israel’s heritage and its security.
Plus: we sit down with Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch to discuss what Mahmoud Abbas really wants with a Palestinian state.
In wake of the release of a report comparing Palestinian Authority textbooks to Israeli textbooks in terms of incitement, Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry has released a simple PowerPoint presentation outlining PA incitement and giving examples.
Among the more disturbing instances of incitement are incident in which teachers used their blogs or Facebook pages to spread hate. One PA school’s Facebook page includes an image of an Arab child being strangled by a snake marked with a Star of David.
Another school’s Facebook page has an image of Adolf Hitler, complete with a quote stating that Hitler left some Jews alive “so that you would know why I killed them.”
Two different educational TV programs broadcast by the PA included clips of girls reciting a poem including the line, “Our enemy, Zion, is Satan with a tail.”
PA textbooks were examined as well. Islamic studies books were found to contain verses predicting, “The Hour of Resurrection will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Muslims will kill them, and when a Jew would hide behind a rock or a tree the rock or the tree would say… ‘There is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.’”
The study of PA textbooks found that they went beyond “presenting unilateral national narratives,” as the controversial State Department-funded study found, to tampering with history. A picture of a stamp from British Mandatory Palestine included in a fifth-grade textbook was altered to show only the Arabic writing on the stamp, and not the Hebrew.
Ministry officials noted that the examples given were several of “hundreds.”
The PowerPoint rebuttal also addressed the reason that the “Victims of Our Own Narratives” study equated Israeli and PA textbooks despite the high levels of incitement in the PA curriculum. One major flaw in the study is that context was omitted, it noted, leading to a situation where a PA textbook’s declaration that Zionism is illegitimate would be equated to a description of a terrorist attack in an Israeli textbook. Both would be considered “very negative” portrayals of the other.
In addition, many important examples of PA incitement were simply ignored.
The Ministry for Strategic Affairs noted that four members of the study’s Advisory Panel had refused to endorse it, and that the Israeli Chief Rabbinate had withdrawn support as well.
The United States State Department clarified Tuesday that its funding for the study did not imply support for its methodology or findings.
Israel Lands Direct Hit on Convoy Transporting Russian-made SA-17 Anti-Aircraft Rockets:
The arms convoy that Israel reportedly attacked last night along the Syria-Lebanon border carried SA-17 missiles, among other things, according to foreign sources. The SA-17 is a Russian-made anti-aircraft missile.
The sources said that the shipment was intended for Hizbullah and that, had they made it into the organization’s hands, the strategic balance of power in the region would have been altered.
Israel has not responded thus far to reports in the foreign press, according to which the IAF carried out the attack on the convoy.
According to some reports, the weapons convoy was attacked shortly after it crossed the border from Syria into Lebanon. Another source reported that the attack took place when the convoy was still inside Syrian territory.
The Lebanese Army said earlier that Israel fighter jets penetrated the Lebanese airspace Tuesday afternoon and continued to circle in its skies until 2:00 AM.
IAF Strikes Military Research Center Near Damascus:
Syria accused Israel of staging an air raid on a military research center on Wednesday.
The Syrian army accused Israel of launching a dawn strike targeting a military research centre in Jamraya, near Damascus, in a statement carried by state news agency SANA and quoted by AFP.
“Israeli fighter jets violated our airspace at dawn today and carried out a direct strike on a scientific research center in charge of raising our level of resistance and self-defense,” the general command said.
The warplanes entered Syria’s airspace via Mount Hermon, Jabal el-Sheikh in Arabic, at low altitude and under the radar, the army said, adding that two site workers were killed.
“They… carried out an act of aggression, bombarding the site, causing large-scale material damage and destroying the building,” state television quoted the military as saying.
The army denied reports Israeli forces had launched a strike overnight on a weapons convoy from Syria near the border with Lebanon.
The United States declined to comment on the reported strike by Israel, whose military intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi is currently in Washington for talks with top US general Martin Dempsey.
“I’d refer you to the government of Israel for questions about deliberations or actions that they may or may not have taken,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Earlier reports said that Israel had struck a convoy carrying Russian-made antiaircraft missiles. It is not clear at this point which report is the more accurate one, and what actually happened last night.
This Missile base was siezed by Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood recently in Syria and rests overlooking the nation state of Israel
By S. Montague
When looking back at the missile attacks against Israel last month by the Hamas Terrorist organization in Gaza, it is hard not to make a few observations.
As rapidly as the unsolicited attacks began, they ended in the same fashion. We must ask ourselves, what was achieved by Hamas?
There are certainly many valuable pieces of information that were inadvertently released by Israel to their enemies during Operation Pillar of Defense. Among these were Israel’s plan of response to a missile attack. This is understandable though because in any act of defense against your aggressor, your defensive posture will be observed. This is almost completely unavoidable, especially with the technology that exists today. And, speaking of which… technology, namely military technology, played a major role in Israel’s ability to defend herself from the islamic aggression, just a few kilometers away.
Since Iranian drones were spotted in the area, it is safe to assume that they were sitting back and taking notes in this brief proxy war on their behalf. So, let’s take a look at some of the other ‘available information’ that was literally “ripe for the picking” by any observer on the sideline.
In the process of responding to the barrage of missiles launched from Gaza, Israel was forced into utilizing their new, state of the art “Iron Dome Missile Defense System.” In doing so, Israel essentially relinquished the locations of their interceptors. This system operates on a series of digital signatures and transmissions between detectors/receivers and interceptors. These digital transmissions (ie.) signals are sent out through the air and can easily be received by anyone with a digital receiver. Such as, a drone flying just out of sight. Embedded in these digital signatures would have been a host of valuable information to any enemy.
Hamas and anyone else paying attention were also able to discern one of the limitations of the Iron Dome Missile Defense System. When Hamas launched their missiles at a slower, more normal pace, the accuracy of Israeli interception was quite high. Although, as Hamas increased their launch frequency to a more rapid, simultaneous barrage, the Iron Dome System, while successfully intercepting one incoming missile would allow two or three to go by. Rest assured, this fact did not go unnoticed.
With the current instability of the middle east, Israel’s enemies at every border and Iran’s self-admitted plan to ‘annihilate Israel off of the map’, It is not hard to believe or envision a scenario in which Hamas was simply acting on the request or orders of a higher entity. When month after month of failed negotiations usually result in a continued, never-ending attack on Israel, this time was not the case. Perhaps the data collection mission was achieved.
Please Pray for Israel !
There is Only One Truth…
… Seek the Truth in All Things..!!
Khairat al-Shater, Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s American charm offensive got off to a rough start this week. Members of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Brotherhood’s political wing, arrived in Washington D.C. this week for a series of meetings with U.S. officials, media, and think tanks, with the purpose of presenting a moderate image of the Brotherhood and allaying fears that it will impose Sharia law and threaten Egypt’s minority groups, including secularists and Coptic Christians. Instead, the Brotherhood’s delegation was confronted with news that, back in Egypt, those fears were being confirmed.
Over the weekend, the Brotherhood announced that it would field a candidate in May’s presidential election, breaking an earlier pledge not to do so. Given the Brotherhood’s political and organizational clout, the candidate, businessman and Brotherhood bigwig Khairat al-Shater, is now considered the frontrunner, reinforcing concerns that the Islamist group wants to completely dominate the Egyptian parliament. Worse still for the Brotherhood’s supposedly moderate image was that al-Shater made it expressly clear that his “first and final project and objective” would be to impose Sharia law on the country. Already, he has stirred controversy in Egypt by lobbying for the support of Egypt’s hard-line Salafist clerics, offering them effective approval over all legislation to make sure that it is compliant with Sharia.
That left the Brotherhood’s delegation scrambling to sanitize al-Shater’s statements. Asked to account for its political about-face, and one that seemed likely to bring to power a committed proponent of Sharia law, the Brotherhood’s visiting delegation tried to make light of the news. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, one of the lawmakers in the delegation, insisted that the Brotherhood was committed to a “civil state” and was only seeking to implement the “principles” of Sharia law rather than its strict application. “The principles are universal: freedom, human rights, justice for all. This is the priority of the Freedom and Justice Party,” Dardery said at an event at Georgetown University. Sharia, in short, was not the Brotherhood’s primary concern in post-Mubarak Egypt.
But that dubious pretense became virtually indefensible on Wednesday, when an Egyptian court sentenced a 17-year-old Christian boy to three years in jail for the crime of publishing cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed on his Facebook page. The Sharia-inspired sentence came in the aftermath of a wave of attacks on Christians by Muslim mobs, in which Christian homes were burned and Christians were injured. The violence highlighted the pressing worry that Egypt’s Christians could lose their rights under a Brotherhood-led regime. Christians have already been shut out of the political process, and Christian parties have responded by quitting a working group drafting the country’s new constitution, saying that their concerns were being ignored. Their departure represents a growing political disenfranchisement that gives the lie to the Brotherhood’s claim of seeking “justice for all.”
The rift between the Brotherhood delegation’s assurances of moderation and the reality of the nascent government the Brotherhood has come to dominate is now all too apparent. One of the government’s first acts, for instance, was to announce that it would prosecute 43 Germans and Americans working for pro-democracy NGOs in Egypt. Although the groups had been working in Egypt for years, the foreign workers – among them Sam LaHood, the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood – were indicted by Egyptian courts for operating without a license and barred from leaving the country. The politically charged prosecutions strained U.S.-Egyptian ties and threatened the $1.6 billion in American aid that Egypt receives annually, but the Brotherhood defended them as a proper response.
Ironically, among the more outspoken defenders of the crackdown on pro-democracy groups was Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, the same Brotherhood lawmaker who is leading the Brotherhood’s PR tour this week. When the prosecutions were announced, Dardery insisted that they were justified because the pro-democracy groups were working toward “a type of democracy that will not bring Islamists to power, and this is wrong.” Dardery thus confirmed what was already obvious: The Brotherhood supports democracy only to the extent that it brings the Brotherhood to power. Abroad, of course, Daredy tells a different story.
How convincing this two-faced act has been in the U.S. is unclear. For its part, the White House has tried to downplay the significance of the Brotherhood’s visit. Still, the unprecedented access that the Brotherhood’s delegation has been afforded, including meetings with officials at the National Security Council and the State Department, can only serve to boost its domestic legitimacy. Nor did it hurt the Brotherhood’s image that the Obama administration, rather than condemning its decision to run a presidential candidate despite promising to abstain, praised the Brotherhood’s candidate as a more moderate alternative to the Salafist candidate in the race.
Yet that’s a distinction with little substantive difference. As the Brotherhood has amply demonstrated during its brief time in office – and as its latest publicity stunt cannot obscure – when it comes to their views on secular democracy and religious pluralism, the differences between the Brotherhood and its Islamist rivals are few indeed.
“It’s a little disturbing,” said Hassan Shibly of the reward from David Caton, inset.
David Caton is reaching into his wallet to try to lure students and teachers into reporting any planned appearances by the Council on American Islamic Relations at Steinbrenner High School.
The executive director of the Florida Family Association is offering a $1,000 reward for information about a representative of CAIR or another similar organization talking to students at the northwestern Hillsborough County high school.
The amount jumps to $2,000 if the notice comes a week or more in advance.
“Anybody who provides the information is eligible for the reward,” Caton said Monday. “My guess is the information is not going to come from a teacher, it’s going to come from a student.”
The reward offer comes as the Hillsborough County school board continues to wrestle with the topic of guest speakers in the classrooms. The subject has been divisive since Hassan Shibly, executive director of CAIR’s branch in Tampa, spoke to an advanced placement world history class at Steinbrenner late last year.
“It’s a little disturbing,” Shibly said. “They need to move on and do more productive things. It’s a waste of time and resources.”
Candy Olson, chairwoman of the school board, was not happy with the development.
“I think it’s inappropriate and I think it’s sad he would stoop that low,” said Olson, who has listed to hours of complaints from CAIR critics at board meetings. “But I am not terribly surprised given his behaviors.
“I think that what Mr. Caton did is an unfortunate approach,” Olson added. “But he certainly has freedom of speech.”
It is that freedom of speech which is at the core of the controversy. Shibly’s visit to Steinbrenner was seen as an introduction to Islam by some people, but as an infiltration by a group linked to terrorists by others.
School board members last week held a workshop on the topic. In the end, they indicated they have enough policies in place on guest speakers in the classroom.
That didn’t sit well with Caton or Terry Kemple, a leader of the campaign top keep CAIR out of classrooms.
“I think the school board not addressing our issue is a bad thing,” said Kemple, president of the Community Issues Council and a school board candidate. “That workshop on Friday was a charade, a joke.
“This whole issue isn’t so much about what David does or what I do,” he added. “We are forced to go to whatever extremes we need to go to bring light to the subject. Far be it from me to question his strategy. I applaud him for having the guts to do it.”
Caton last week blanketed staff members at Steinbrenner with email touting the reward offer. He said he heard one negative comment and two positive comments.
He said he doesn’t think that anyone from CAIR will return to Steinbrenner anytime soon because of the recent outcry but added he’s not sure about that.
“I think if Candy Olson had anything to do with it, she would invite them to the school herself,” Caton said.
Olson said she believes teachers and administrators at Steinbrenner – or any school – would be hesitant to bring CAIR into the classroom.
“We don’t need an ongoing social studies lesson about getting people riled up,” she said.
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