It’s a bizarre, and telling, concatenation of contemporary events. The series of happenings starts on the web forum of Jordanian “protector of jihad” Muhammad al-Maqdisi. The forum is called Minbar al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad (Pulpit of Monotheism – “unity of God” – and Jihad), and its purpose is to defend proper jihad against the bad name it has been given by groups like al-Qaeda.
You may not have heard of Minbar al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad (MTJ), but it has heard of you. Its sharia council issue fatwas right and left, and you and your laws are the subject of a number of them. It’s hard to pick among the forum’s many interesting features, but perhaps this will serve as a taste. In June 2011, London-based radical cleric Sheikh Hani al-Sibai was admitted to the MTJ sharia council. Al-Sibai made a name for himself in 2005 by justifying the gruesome murder of two Israeli truck drivers in Ramallah, based on Mohammed’s eye-gouging, limb-lopping punishment of sheep stealers.
One of the recent fatwas issued through MTJ came from Jordanian Sheikh Abu Humam Bakr bin Abd’ al-Aziz al-Athari. Al-Athari had already popped up a few months ago with a fatwa permitting Libyan rebel fighters to kill members of the former Qadhafi regime. He is also the author of the seminal work The Exalted Declaration of the Justness of Our Sheikh al-Maqdisi.
On 28 October, al-Athari issued a fatwa permitting mujahedin to “kidnap, imprison, and have sexual intercourse with infidel women.” (H/t: Belladonna Rogers at PJM Tatler) Robert Spencer has taken it apart here.
From there the story moves to Norway, where a police report uncovered by the media in June 2011 indicated that all of the rapes reported in Oslo in the previous year had been committed by “non-Western” males. According to a victim interviewed for the news story, her Pakistani immigrant rapist told her that he “had the right to do exactly as he wanted to a woman … because that’s how it was in his religion. Women didn’t have rights or opinions, he was in charge.”
A new article from a Norwegian source (link below) indicates that 45 of the 48 rapes reported in Oslo in 2011 (a new set of crimes, distinct from the earlier ones considered in the June 2011 story) were committed by “non-Western” males.
But here our tale moves in a remarkable, if not entirely unpredictable, direction. Confronted with these statistics, Norway’s political leaders had a ready answer (emphasis added):
After [the police report was publicized in June 2011] a stormy public debate erupted … “the government ministers, most of them avowed anti-Semites, claimed that the report and its publication serve Israel and its policy of occupation.”
Norway’s justice minister defended the police report but also said that “Israel must be glad to hear about it.”
Remember, these aren’t bloggers in their mamas’ basements. They’re members of the Norwegian cabinet.
But then, Leon Panetta is a member of the Obama administration’s cabinet, and he made headlines this weekend with his heated exhortation to Israel to “get to the damn table” with the Palestinian Arabs. Hillary Clinton, also a member of Obama’s cabinet, decided to weigh in on the internal condition of Israeli democracy, which she regards as perilous due to some pending legislation on NGOs. Hillary is worried about democracy in a few other places, although not at all in the Arab Spring nations. When it comes to those nations, harboring skepticism about Islamists and democracy is “insulting, dangerous, and wrong.”
And then there was Obama’s ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, who blamed Israel in a 30 November speech for the growth of anti-Semitism. (See Ron Radosh link above; see Omri Ceren here.) In Gutman’s words, the problem is:
[A] tension and perhaps hatred largely born of and reflecting the tension between Israel, the Palestinian Territories and neighboring Arab states in the Middle East over the continuing Israeli-Palestinian problem.
Gutman congratulates himself that when he communicates this “Israel is the problem” message to Muslim audiences in Europe, he gets applause:
But the longest and loudest ovation I have ever received in Belgium came from the high school with one of the largest percentages of students of Arab heritage. It was in Molenbeek. It consisted of an audience dominated by girls with head scarves and boys named Mohammed, standing and cheering boisterously for a Jewish American, who belongs to two schuls and whose father was a Holocaust survivor.
The Emergency Committee for Israel isn’t buying it. And it is a sign of interesting times, when government officials are retailing, in lockstep, a meme of such falsity.
The road to the “Israel made us do it” meme is littered with false syllogisms and defensive triangulations. It has no use for the crystalline courage of positive assertions; it is all angry eruptions, innuendo, euphemism, red herrings, inverted implications, and a retreat behind the twin barricades of riot and applause. The meme is wielded like a mantra and assumed as background like the “consensus” about global warming. As the recent words of American and Norwegian political leaders indicate, this isn’t something peculiar to Islamism. It resonates with political factions in the West as well.
They are factions Americans can choose not to vote for. Legitimizing Jew-hatred and reflexive animosity toward Israel won’t be the last line they try to cross, as they rely on the indifferent silence of the public.