Sunday, June 27, 2010

An ally on the brink : Choudhury's pro-Israel Bangladeshi newspaper is in danger of erasure

Seth Mandel


June 25, 2010

Reading the reports on the state of newspapers today, and following the New Media revolution, you couldn't be blamed for thinking advertising and the riddle of the online paywall are the media's most pressing challenges.

Such is life, and worry, in a free country.

In reality, while newspapers are struggling in the West (from 2007-2009, the industry's revenue dropped by 30 percent in the U.S., according to the OECD), journalists elsewhere in the world -- especially in repressive states -- put their lives on the line. It is this combination -- falling revenue and the constant threat of death -- that has pushed Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury's newspaper to the brink.

Choudhury's paper, The Weekly Blitz , is published out of Bangladesh. When it was founded in 2003, advertising revenue wasn't an issue. But as soon as the Blitz started publishing pro-Israel editorials, local businesses in this Muslim country immediately started shunning the paper. Later that year, Choudhury was arrested at the airport heading to a writer's conference in Tel Aviv, tortured for 10 days, and kept in solitary confinement for 17 months at a Dhaka prison.
He is still on trial for sedition, blasphemy, and treason, for which he would be executed if found guilty.

Choudhury speaks eloquently about the fight against radical Islam and the moral imperative of supporting Israel. He is an unabashed Zionist, which many of our readers -- who filled a room in November 2009 to hear him speak -- know well.

In that speech, Choudhury mentioned that the police protection he was finally granted after the intervention of the U.S. Congress -- most notably Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) -- has been removed. As if on cue, six weeks after Choudhury gave that speech in New Brunswick, armed robbers broke into his home. The commotion woke the neighbors, and the men fled.

Such incidents have become routine, unfortunately, though Choudhury refuses to flee Bangladesh or convert out of Islam. "I remain important to the Muslims because I am a Muslim," Choudhury said back in November. "The moment I become an ex-Muslim, it makes no difference. If you want to reform a class, you need to be a member of the club. I am a member of Islam and I demand a reform in Islam... preaching hate is not the Islam that I follow; the Islam I follow is where I can embrace a Jew as a brother."

He has always been frank about his Zionism. "Today, Israel is suffering, tomorrow the world will suffer," he told me when we first met. Israel, he said, "is a land blessed by God. And God will protect his land."

And it goes without saying that bravery has never been a weakness for him. But now he is in the position of needing our help. It can't be easy for him to ask for it, but it should be easy for us to answer the call. A wealthy businessman in Bangladesh recently offered to buy Choudhury's paper for a generous sum, but Choudhury knows the man's intention: to silence one of the few pro-Israel, pro-Western voices in the East. Choudhury declined, choosing principles over money.
"But, now, our very sustainability has become almost impossible," Choudhury wrote in a message to readers. "Each month, we are losing [a] huge amount of money in continuing the print and online edition of this newspaper. For any newspaper, it is absolutely impossible to sustain without any advertisement revenue." He included the email address: ediblitz [at] at which he could be contacted by those willing to help.

Choudhury will get no help whatsoever from his fellow countrymen, who at best ignore him and at worst wish the government would end his troublemaking once and for all. So he needs the West to step up to the plate. Jewish organizations should do what Choudhury's close friend Richard Benkin did when he first heard Choudhury was in danger. Benkin references the one-word response Moses gave God when he was called from the burning bush: Hineni -- here I am.
Advertising revenue would be great, though a grant would be even better. We are blessed with philanthropists aplenty, and Israel has no more courageous defender than Choudhury. This is the first time he has ever made such an appeal. It has been two weeks since Choudhury published that request, and, he told me, "the situation is still unchanged. Weekly Blitz is in the very worst economic constraint."

"Today, I stand before you, the people of Bangladesh and in fact the entire Muslim world as a witness; a witness that Israelis want above all else peace and justice," Choudhury was to say in that speech prepared, but never delivered, to the writer's conference in Tel Aviv. "And those who spread false rumors to the contrary around the world, and especially in Muslim countries, are, frankly, either deluded or dishonest. I also stand before you perhaps as a living contradiction: a Zionist, a defender of Israel, and a devout, practicing Muslim, living in a Muslim country."

Israel needs such fire more than anything; yet this flame is in danger of being snuffed out. "Please pray for us," Choudhury told me this week. We should, and we will. But if all we can do is pray, we haven't done enough.

Seth Mandel is the managing editor of The Jewish State.

Monday, June 21, 2010




On Thursday evening, June 17th, members of Stand With Us, the pro-Israel student advocacy organization staged a raucous demonstration outside The House of the Lord Church on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Brooklyn, as they confronted the allegations leveled against Israel in its role in the May 31st commando raid on the "Free Gaza Flotilla" ship, the Marvi Marmara. The former Turkish MP and IHH activist Ahmet Faruk Unsal who had been scheduled to speak was denied access to the USA, however Viva Palestina organizer Kevin Ovenden and filmmaker Lara Lee, who claim they were passengers on the ship, took the podium to spew forth invective against Israel for the attack that left nine Turkish terrorist nationals dead.

Sponsored by a litany of anti-Israel and pro-Hamas organizations such as Al-Awda-New York: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the Muslim American Society, American Muslims For Palestine, NYC Labor Against the War, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, the Arab Muslim American Federation, Labor For Palestine, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, Action for a Progressive Pakistan, and the ANSWER Coalition among others, the speakers called for "an international war crimes" tribunal to be established in order to bring Israel to "justice" for what they perceive as an act of "piracy and murder".

Approximately 40 member of Stand With Us and other concerned citizens stood directly across the street from the church holding aloft signs saying, "Humanitarian Aid Workers Don't Carry Knives, Axes and Metal Bars", "Israel: We Stand With You” and "Shame on Turkey" while chanting "Terrorists - Yes; Humanitarians - No". Clearly, the implications of the demonstrators was that the Turkish sponsored flotilla, under the aegis of the IHH, which stands for the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, is not an Islamic charity but rather a group with direct links to terrorist organizations.

According to news reports, Turkish security forces, in 1998, raided the IHH’s headquarters in Istanbul and found weapons, explosives, instructions for making IEDs and a flag with a jihad message. As former French counter-terrorism magistrate, Jean-Louis Bruguière, who was involved in the raid, has explained: “It was clearly proven that some of the NGO’s work was not charity. It was to provide a facade for moving funds, weapons and mujahedeen to and from Bosnia and Afghanistan.”
The IHH is also a member of the Saudi-based umbrella organization, the Union of Good (Ittilaf al-Kheir), led by Sheikh Yusuf Quaradawi, who is considered the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Every year the Union of Good, whose top officials include Hamas members, channels millions of dollars to Hamas-controlled organizations in the West Bank and Gaza.

Avi Posnick, the local chapter leader of Stand With Us said, "We are here today to counter the bald faced lies and egregious propaganda that are being hurled against Israel inside this church. Based on video and personal testimonies, Israel has been exonerated from any wrongdoing but these speakers, who allege to be humanitarians, but are just the opposite; choose not to look at the truth. Israel did not randomly kill "innocent” people aboard the Marvi Marmara but rather defended herself against terrorists with the intent to kill Israeli commandos and with the intent of smuggling weapons to Hamas forces in Gaza."

Referencing a June 15th article by Jerusalem Post reporter Caroline Glick in which she wrote: "Led by US President Barack Obama, the West has cast its lot with Hamas against Israel. It is not surprising that Obama is siding with Hamas. His close associates are leading members of the pro-Hamas Free Gaza outfit. Obama's friends, former Weatherman Underground terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and William Ayres participated in a Free Gaza trip to Egypt in January. Their aim was to force the Egyptians to allow them into Gaza with 1,300 fellow Hamas supporters. Their mission was led by Code Pink leader and Obama fundraiser Jodie Evans. Another leading member of Free Gaza is former US senator from South Dakota James Abourezk. All of these people have open lines of communication not only to the Obama White House, but to Obama himself", New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind who represents the 48th assembly district in Boro Park and was present at the demonstration said, "I am not at all surprised. Obama has created a political atmosphere that not only endangers Israel but the entire Western world."

"My question is: Where are all the Zionist organizations? Where are all the pulpit rabbis? Why aren't they here today and why don't we hear their collective voices of outrage and indignation against the Obama administration's pressure on Israel to empanel an investigative committee to find out what really happened on the Marvi Marmara, when we all know that the State of Israel was being attacked by terrorists? Why isn't the Zionist leadership, especially here in New York organizing rallies and demonstrations against the nefarious policies of this administration as it pertains to Israel?" Assemblyman Hikind declared.

Citing the abject silence on the part of his colleagues in the Democratic party, Hikind intoned, "We can expect little or nothing in terms of strong opposition to Obama's Middle East agenda from our elected officials in the Democratic party. Their reluctance to voice their concern about Israel's predicament speaks volumes about their allegiance to partisan politics and their repudiation of the concerns of their constituencies."

Islamist conspiracy to kill Weekly Blitz

By: Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

When we started our journey, back in 2003, as one of the periodicals in Bangladesh, no one really had any problems with us. We even were receiving advertisements from the local advertisers. But, during mid 2003, when we started publishing positive articles and editorials on Israel and some other issues, which were almost considered to be taboo in Bangladesh, local advertisers swiftly turned away their faces from us.

Then I was arrested on November 29 2003, at Dhaka International Airport, on my way to Tel Aviv for attending a peace conference. The then Bangladesh Nationalist Party [BNP]-led Islamist government used the state machinery in placing me on remand for 10 days, thus mentally and physically torturing with the 'hope' of extracted a confessional statement. They considered me to be a Zionist Spy.

Later the government sent to an isolated cell at Dhaka Central Jail, where I was detained for 17 months in extreme hit and humidity.

In 2004 [January], the government brought sedition, treason and blasphemy charges against me. According to Bangladeshi law, sedition bears capital punishment.

I was not allowed to attend my mother's funeral when she passed away on August 9, 2004.

At the intervention of Congressman Mark Steven Kirk and relentless effort by Dr. Richard L Benkin [my Jewish brother] as well as Congressional aide Jeff Phillip, I was released on bail on April 30, 2005 from Dhaka Central Jail.

The sedition, treason and blasphemy charge is still hanging on me and every month I have to appear in the court to face trial. Though Bangladesh's present government is renewing its commitment in fighting Islamist militancy, it is reluctant in dropping the charge, fearing reaction from the Islamists.

On my release, Weekly Blitz resumed its publication in 2005 and since then, we never received even a single advertisement in our print edition. Only two or three advertisements were offered by some philanthropists and my supporters with a small amount of money, which is again not enough for Weekly Blitz to sustain for a week. But, still, my profound gratitude and admiration for those kind hearted people, who stood for us, during our difficult days.

From the mid of 2008, Weekly Blitz is again seeing extreme adversities in continuing its publication. In the same year, our office was attacked and we were evicted from our own office, illegally by some politically blessed thugs.

Thanks to Dr. Daniel Pipes and Middle East Forum, for helping us in taking a new office just in May this year. The entire amount received from MEF has already been spent for the new office and furniture.

Sensing our inability and economic adversities in running Weekly Blitz, a business tycoon with heavy affiliation with an Islamist party offered to buy the entire newspaper with an amount equivalent to US$ 300K. They even continued to offer us much higher amount, if we were ready to sell the newspaper. We knew they were planning to buy Weekly Blitz for turning it into a newspaper like all others in the Muslim nation, mostly spreading message of hatred against Israel and Jews. Their intention was to morally kill our newspaper. We did not bow to such dirty desire of the Islamists.

But, now, our very sustainability has become almost impossible. Each month, we are losing huge amount of money in continuing the print and online edition of this newspaper. For any newspaper, it is absolutely impossible to sustain without any advertisement revenue.

Can we expect, some of the philanthropists or organizations, who want this only anti-Jihadist newspaper in the Muslim world to sustain, would kindly help us with advertisements or grants? Such help is so much urgent for us. And, this is for the first time; we are making this appeal.

Please help us! And also refer our appeal to everyone you know. This is such critical time for us. Your actions and help can help us stay alive. If you are willing to help Weekly Blitz, kindly write to:

You can kindly send cheques or wire transfer the amount of Advertisement Cost, Grant or Donation. Also you can donate through Paypal by visiting the website of the online edition of Weekly Blitz at

Tower of terrorism at Ground Zero

By: Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

America is defined by the last phrase of its national anthem: The land of the free and the home of the brave. Freedom, in all its forms, is its greatest legacy, which the nation has bravely fought many wars on many fronts to preserve against the unceasing assaults of totalitarianism of all stripes. Time and again, the heroes of the nation bravely sacrificed their lives to protect freedom and liberty.

Currently, America is faced with the insidious, multifaceted, and most deadly threat of Islamism. Since Islam has been around for centuries, there is a tendency to ignore or even deny the threat it poses to humanity. Various concessions are made, some of them as good faith offerings and some in the hope of placating the Islamists. Yet, concessions to threats are appeasements. And appeasements have never solved any problems. They only whet the appetite of the aggressor, give it more power, and make it even more dangerous.

Very unfortunately, in today’s world, Islamists [including political Islam] are set as Islam’s locomotive that takes the Islamic train on its demolition course. Instead of promoting peace, many of the so-called leaders of the ‘Muslim Ummah’ are engaged in fuelling Jihad and killing innocent people in the name of religion. And sadly, such elements are gradually growing influence everywhere in the world as well brainwashing some of the naïve global leaders like Barack Hussain Obama, who continues to appease Islamists without sensing the degree of threat it poses to his very own country.

Islam and democracy are incompatible. As democracies practice their magnificent accommodating belief, they knowingly or unknowingly lay the track for the advancing train wrecking that is Islam. Radical Islamism threatens to set a new record for brutality, contrary to the contention that there is no reason to worry about it. Jihadist Wahabism’s tentacles are reaching out from its cradle in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf Arab Emirates. The Petrodollar flush Sunni-Shia zealots are liberally financing mosques, Madrassas [Islamic indoctrination schools], Islamic centers at universities, front organizations and lobbyists to promote the Wahhabi or Shiite virulent Islamism in every part of America. That makes America the Vulnerable.

Activities of Tablighi Jamaat is gradually increasing in United States, and according to recent statistics disclosed during last year’s largest Tablighi congregations in Bangladesh, more than four hundred Tablighi groups are actively working in various so-called community mosques or in disguise mostly targeting young Americans with the goal of converting them initially to Islam and later giving them Jihadist provocations.

What is Tablighi jamaat?

Tablighi Jamaat [Conveying Group] is a Muslim missionary and revival movement. Their activities are not limited to the Deobandi community.
Leaders of Tablighi Jamaat claim that the movement is strictly non-political in nature, with the main aim of the participants being to work at the grass roots level and reaching out to all Muslims of the world for spiritual development.
Tablighi Jamat seeks to revitalize Muslims around the world. It is claimed that their ideology and practices are in strict accordance with Qur'an and Sunnah.
Despite their affiliation and influence of the prominent scholars of Deoband, they do not focus any particular sect or community. It gathers its members and aids in community activities such as mosque building and education.
Tabligh maintains an international headquarters, the Markaz, in Nizamuddin, Delhi and has several national headquarters to coordinate its activities in over 80 countries. Throughout its history it has sent its members to travel the world, preaching a message of peace and tolerance. It organizes preachers in groups [called Jamaats, meaning Assembly]. Each group, on average, consists of 10 to 12 Muslims who fund themselves in this preaching mission.
The second largest gathering of Muslims after the Hajj [the pilgrimage to Mecca] is known as Bishwa Ijtema, a non political gathering of Muslims from all over the world hosted by the leaders of "International Tabligh Jama'at". It takes place in Tongi which is on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The Tablighi Jamaat was founded in the late 1920s by the well known scholar Maulana Ilyas [Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhelvi] in the Mewat province of India. The inspiration for devoting his life to Islam came to Ilyas during his second pilgrimage to the Hejaz in 1926. Maulana Ilyas put forward the slogan, 'Come O Muslims! Be Muslims'. This expressed the central focus of Tablighi Jamat, which has been renewing Muslim society by renewing Muslim practice in those it feels have lost their desire to devote themselves to Allah and the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.
Maulana Ilyas was a prominent member of the movement and throughout Tabligh's history there has been a degree of association between scholars of Deoband and Tablighi Jamat. Tabligh was formed at a time in India when some Muslim leaders feared that Indian Muslims were losing their Muslim identity to the majority Hindu culture.
In 1978, construction of the Tablighi mosque in Dewsbury, England commenced. Subsequently, the mosque became the European headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat.
Ameer [Emir] or Zimmadar are titles of leadership in the movement. The first Ameer, also the founder, was Maulana Ilyas [1885-1944], second was his son Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhalawi and the third was Maulana Inaam ul Hasan. Now there is a shura which includes two leaders: Maulana Zubair ul Hasan and Maulana Saad Kandhalawi. In Pakistan the duties of the Ameer are being served by Haji Abdulwahhab. Maulana Muhammad Zakariya al-Kandahlawi is also among the prestigious personalities of the Jamaat, as he compiled the famous book Fazail-e-Amal.
With the ascent of Maulana Yusuf, Ilyas´ son, as its second emir (leader), the group began to expand activities in 1946, and within two decades the group reached Southwest and Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Initially it expanded its reach to South Asian diaspora communities, first in Arab countries then in Southeast Asia. Once established, the Tablighi Jamaat began engaging local populations as well.
Although the movement first established itself in the United States, it established a large presence in Europe during the 1970s and 1980s. It was especially prominent in France during the 1980s. The members of Tablighi Jamat are also represented in the French Council of the Muslim Faith. Tabligh's influence has grown, though, in the increasing Pakistani community in France, which has doubled in the decade before 2008 to 50,000-60,000.
However, Britain is the current focus of the movement in the West, primarily due to the large South Asian population that began to arrive there in the 1960s and 1970s. By 2007, Tabligh members were situated at 600 of Britain's 1350 mosques.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the movement made inroads into Central Asia. As of 2007, it was estimated 10,000 Tablighi members could be found in Kyrgyzstan alone.
By 2008 it had a presence in nearly 80 countries and had become a leading revitalist movement. However, it maintains a presence in India, where at least 100 of its Jamaats go out from Markaz, the international headquarters, to different parts of India and overseas.
There are many celebrated personalities associated with this movement:
These include the former Presidents of Pakistan, Muhammad Rafiq Tarar and Farooq Leghari [Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari], and former President of India, Dr. Zakir Hussain who was also associated with this movement. Major General Ziaur Rahman, former President and Chief of Army Staff of the Bangladesh Army, was a strong supporter and member of Tablighi Jamaat, and popularized it in Bangladesh.
Lieutenant General [R] Javed Nasir of the Pakistan Army and former head of Inter-Services Intelligence along with former Prime Minister of Pakistan, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq have also been linked with the movement.
Other well-known politicians such as Dr. Arbab Ghulam Rahim the former chief mininster of Sindh, and Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq, former Pakistani Federal Minister for Religious Affairs have strong ties with the Tablighi activities.
Many well-recognized writers and scholars, such as Dr. Nadir Ali Khan [famous Indian writer] and others are deeply related with it.
Among Pakistani cricket professionals, Shahid Afridi, Saqlain Mushtaq, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed; and the former Pakistani cricketers Saeed Anwar, Saleem Malik are active members. It is also widely believed that Pakistani middle order batsman Mohammad Yousuf embraced Islam with the help of the Tablighi Jamaat. Others include South African batsman Hashim Amla.
This movement also includes eminent directors and producers including Naeem Butt.
Former renowned singer and pop star Junaid Jamshed has close links with Jamaat, and his departure from professional singing career is attributed as the result of his inclination towards this movement.
Many famed actors and models including Moin Akhter, Hammad Khan Jadoon and many others are strongly affiliated with the movement.
Several business men, industrialists, millionaires are actively serving in the movement.
Tablighi Jamaat terror connection:
Policy analysts and Islamist scholars are fiercely divided in their assessments of Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic revivalist organization that has spread from its origins in India in the 1920s to the broader Muslim world.
Policy communities, for their part, have depicted the Tablighi Jamaat as a "gateway to terrorism" and contend that the organization poses numerous, underestimated security risks. The group appeared peripherally in such high-profile cases as those of Jose Padilla, Richard Reid and John Walker Lindh, all of whom allegedly used the group as their stepping stone to radicalism. However, the Islamic studies community tends to depict Tablighi Jamaat, which roughly translates to "group to deliver the message of Islam," as a revivalist organization that eschews politics in its quest to reform society. What accounts for these starkly different accounts, and how can one resolve some of the deeply perplexing questions surrounding this important and secretive organization?
In an attempt to better understand this movement and its social, political, and potential security implications, the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted Eva Borreguero, visiting Fulbright Scholar at Georgetown University´s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, to present some of the key findings of her ongoing research on the Tablighi Jamaat. This talk drew on Borreguero´s recent fieldwork in India and Pakistan, two important centers for the Tablighi Jamaat. This USIPeaceBrieing highlights Borreguero´s arguments, as well as some of the important issues that arose during the discussion that followed her presentation.
Tablighi Jamaat: Gateway to Terrorism?
In Britain, France, and the United States, the Tablighi Jamaat has appeared on the fringes of several terrorism investigations, leading some to speculate that its apolitical stance simply masks "fertile ground for breeding terrorism." While acknowledging the involvement of the movement´s individuals, Borreguero discounted the claims made against the organization itself.
Borreguero began her assessment by providing an historical overview of this complex movement. Maulana Muhammad Ilyas founded the Tablighi Jamaat in 1925, against the backdrop of the British Empire and a waning Muslim identity in South Asia. Believing that social, political, and economic hardships beset Muslims in India, Ilyas sought a return to a pristine form of Islam from the heterodox variants flourishing in South Asia. For nearly two decades, the Tablighi Jamaat operated mainly within South Asia. With the ascent of Maulana Yusuf, Ilyas´ son, as its second emir [leader], the group began to expand activities in 1946, and within two decades the group reached Southwest and Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Initially it expanded its reach to South Asian diaspora communities, first in Arab countries then in Southeast Asia. Once established, the Tablighi Jamaat began engaging local populations as well. Although the group first established itself in the United States, Britain is the current locus of the group in the West, primarily due to the large South Asian population that began to arrive there in the 1960s and 1970s.

Structure, Composition, and Work:
Despite its secretive nature, Borreguero offered some insights into the organizational structure of the Tablighi Jamaat. The general conception of the group is of a nebulous collection of loosely affiliated, itinerate jamaats. While this is one major component of the group, there is a fixed, hierarchical network of elders and mosques, and the two components do overlap. According to Borreguero, the core of the organization is comprised of "full-time" Tablighis who comprise the shura [council] and who are usually the elders of the mosques affiliated with the group.
In addition to this core, there are the traveling Tablighis who undertake proselytizing missions over varying durations. Formed into jamaats of approximately ten people, these Tablighis’ missions last three days, forty days, four months, or one year. The jamaat’s destination and desired area of focus generally determines the length of these missions. Those who go for three days concentrate on a local city, while a jamaat traveling for a month will do so throughout their country. The longer tours of four months to one year generally take the Tablighis abroad.
During these tours, the jamaat—under the leadership of its emir—stays at a local mosque, which serves as its base for the duration. Four or five members of the group conduct daily ghast, during which they visit neighborhoods [or neighborhoods with large Muslim populations if in a non-Muslim country] and homes, asking the men of the household to attend mosque for Maghrib [sunset] prayers. Those who attend are offered the dawa [invitation] as the Tablighis outline their six principles and encourage attendees to form their own jamaat. Members voluntarily work for the organization and there is no registration process in the group. Participants are free to leave the movement at any time. Consequently, Tablighi Jamaat has a loose, informal recruitment process and attracts members of varying commitment. For example, some members only engage in group activities episodically, while others will do so annually. All of these factors contribute to the uncertainty regarding Tablighi Jamaat´s membership numbers.
Tablighis in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have competing claims as to which comprises the movement’s international headquarters. Those in India contend that Nizamuddin [India] is the base, since the movement grew out of the Deoband school of Islam and it is in Delhi that the group was founded. However, elders in Raiwind [Pakistan] and Tongi [Bangladesh] dispute Nizamuddin’s final authority, citing their countries´ majority Muslim populations and claiming that the organization can operate more openly.
South Asia is by far the most significant region for the group, with Mecca and Medina also serving as important geographical symbols. The organization is diverse and includes persons from nearly every sector of society across the countries of South Asia and beyond. Within South Asia, members of the lower-middle class and the business community have joined the group and some members even hold government posts. In the West, second and third generation Muslim diaspora make up the main pool of Tablighis. This demographic usually has little knowledge of Islam but are also not fully assimilated to culture in the West. According to Borreguero, the Tablighi Jamaat "is a source of re-Islamization that provides an alternative to religious institutions." These individuals tend to be well-educated, multilingual, and have lived in both the West and a Muslim country. She noted that the Tablighi Jamaat also has some appeal to marginal members of society [petty criminals, drug abusers, and so on] who are looking for a renewed identity that submerges them in a community of piety.
Keys to the Success of the Tablighi Jamaat:
Borreguero sees several salient features which explain the Tablighi Jamaat´s successful transformation from a local South Asian movement into a robust transnational phenomenon, including its simple message, its non-political character, the authority of its leadership, and its policy of secrecy.
Outstanding Concerns:
Borreguero addressed the persistent question of how a group so devoted to proselytizing a pristine form of Islam and inner spiritual transformation can coexist with modern society, and specifically whether such a group warrants scrutiny because of its revivalist beliefs.
While recognizing the numerous reports that link Tablighi Jamaat to militancy in various forms, her fieldwork yielded little evidence to support the most sweeping of these claims. During her interviews with Tablighis, they tended not to opine on politics. However, she conceded that for some Tablighis—as individuals—this might not be enough. She claimed that there is no evidence thus far that the group as a whole is involved with militant groups, such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan, while acknowledging the potential role that individual Tablighis may have played in them. She claimed that the Tablighi Jamaat remains neutral on these groups, neither condemning nor supporting their actions.
To some analysts, this neutrality is enough to make them culpable. Borreguero admits that militant groups may try to infiltrate the Tablighi Jamaat in order to gain a cover for obtaining visas and traveling abroad. Also, individual members may come to find that the movement’s principles are too apolitical and neutral for their liking. Members of militant groups often attend the Tablighi Jamaat´s Ijtima [congregation] in Raiwind, where they hand out recruitment pamphlets. It is thus possible that a flame sparked and fueled by Tabligh could begin to burn out of control.
Borreguero, however, stressed that once this extreme position is taken, the individual relinquishes his or her membership to the Tablighi Jamaat. She also believes that any overt connection with these groups is not in the best interest of the Tablighi Jamaat. As stated above, the movement’s neutrality allows cordial relations with authorities, or at least keeps them from incurring official harassment. Any collusion with militant outfits would likely invite official proscription, especially in Western societies.
While much light was shed on the Tablighi Jamaat, many questions still remain. To some, its official secrecy and peripheral links to some nefarious individuals have nullified its choice to remain outside politics. But, as scholar Barbara Metcalf writes, "Islamic movements [like the Tablighi Jamaat] may have many goals and offer a range of social, moral, and spiritual satisfactions that are positive and not merely a reactionary rejection of modernity or ´the West.´ Quite simply, these movements may, in the end, have much less to do with ´us´ than is often thought." Borreguero´s insights provided a gateway to better assess the group´s motives and machinations. It may well be that the study of the Tablighi Jamaat as an apolitical traditionalist movement gives an alternate lens through which security concerns over Islamist groups´ hostility toward the West can be viewed.
Every fall, over a million almost identically dressed, bearded Muslim men from around the world descend on the small Pakistani town of Raiwind for a three-day celebration of faith. Similar gatherings take place annually outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Bhopal, India. These pilgrims are no ordinary Muslims, though; they belong to a movement called Tablighi Jamaat ["Proselytizing Group"]. They are trained missionaries who have dedicated much of their lives to spreading Islam across the globe. The largest group of religious proselytizers of any faith, they are part of the reason for the explosive growth of Islamic religious fervor and conversion.
Despite its size, worldwide presence, and tremendous importance, Tablighi Jamaat remains largely unknown outside the Muslim community, even to many scholars of Islam. This is no coincidence. Tablighi Jamaat officials work to remain outside of both media and governmental notice. Tablighi Jamaat neither has formal organizational structure nor does it publish details about the scope of its activities, its membership, or its finances. By eschewing open discussion of politics and portraying itself only as a pietistic movement, Tablighi Jamaat works to project a non-threatening image. Because of the movement's secrecy, scholars often have no choice but to rely on explanations from Tablighi Jamaat acolytes.
As a result, academics tend to describe the group as an apolitical devotional movement stressing individual faith, introspection, and spiritual development. The austere and egalitarian lifestyle of Tablighi missionaries and their principled stands against social ills leads many outside observers to assume that the group has a positive influence on society. Graham Fuller, a former CIA official and expert on Islam, for example, characterized Tablighi Jamaat as a "peaceful and apolitical preaching-to-the-people movement." Barbara Metcalf, a University of California scholar of South Asian Islam, called Tablighi Jamaat "an apolitical, quietist movement of internal grassroots missionary renewal" and compares its activities to the efforts to reshape individual lives by Alcoholics Anonymous. Olivier Roy, a prominent authority on Islam at Paris's prestigious Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, described Tablighi Jamaat as "completely apolitical and law abiding." Governments normally intolerant of independent movements often make an exception for Tablighi Jamaat. The Bangladeshi prime minister and top political leadership, many of whom are Islamists, regularly attend their rallies, and Pakistani military officers, many of whom are sympathetic to militant Islam, even allow Tablighi missionaries to preach in the barracks.
Yet, the Pakistani experience strips the patina from Tablighi Jamaat's façade. Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif [1990-93; 1997-99], whose father was a prominent Tablighi member and financier, helped Tablighi members take prominent positions. For example, in 1998, Muhammad Rafique Tarar took the ceremonial presidency while, in 1990, Javed Nasir assumed the powerful director-generalship of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's chief intelligence agency. When Benazir Bhutto, less sympathetic to Islamist causes, returned to the premiership in 1993, Tablighis conspired to overthrow her government. In 1995, the Pakistani army thwarted a coup attempt by several dozen high-ranking military officers and civilians, all of whom were members of the Tablighi Jamaat and some of whom also held membership in Harakat ul-Mujahideen, a U.S. State Department-defined terrorist organization. Some of the confusion over Tablighi Jamaat's apolitical characterization derives from the fact that the movement does not consider individual states to be legitimate. They may not become actively involved in internal politics or disputes over local issues, but, from a philosophical and transnational perspective, the Tablighi Jamaat's millenarian philosophy is very political indeed. According to the French Tablighi expert Marc Gaborieau, its ultimate objective is nothing short of a "planned conquest of the world" in the spirit of jihad.
Origins and Ideology:
The prominent Deobandi cleric and scholar Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalawi [1885-1944] launched Tablighi Jamaat in 1927 in Mewat, India, not far from Delhi. From its inception, the extremist attitudes that characterize Deobandism permeated Tablighi philosophy. Ilyas's followers were intolerant of other Muslims and especially Shi´ites, let alone adherents of other faiths. Indeed, part of Ilyas's impetus for founding Tablighi Jamaat was to counter the inroads being made by Hindu missionaries. They rejected modernity as antithetical to Islam, excluded women, and preached that Islam must subsume all other religions. The creed grew in importance after Pakistani military dictator Zia ul-Haq encouraged Deobandis to Islamize Pakistan.
The Tablighi Jamaat canon is bare-boned. Apart from the Qu'ran, the only literature Tablighis are required to read are the Tablighi Nisab, seven essays penned by a companion of Ilyas in the 1920s. Tablighi Jamaat is not a monolith: one subsection believes they should pursue jihad through conscience [jihad bin nafs] while a more radical wing advocates jihad through the sword [jihad bin saif]. But, in practice, all Tablighis preach a creed that is hardly distinguishable from the radical Wahhabi-Salafi jihadist ideology that so many terrorists share.
Part of the reason why the Tablighi Jamaat leadership can maintain such strict secrecy is its dynastic flavor. All Tablighi Jamaat leaders since Ilyas have been related to him by either blood or marriage. Upon Ilyas' 1944 death, his son, Maulana Muhammad Yusuf [1917-65], assumed leadership of the movement, dramatically expanding its reach and influence.
Following the partition of India, Tablighi Jamaat spread rapidly in the new Muslim nation of Pakistan. Yusuf and his successor, Inamul Hassan [1965-95], transformed Tablighi Jamaat into a truly transnational movement with a renewed emphasis targeting conversion of non-Muslims, a mission the movement continues to the present day.
While few details are known about the group's structure, at the top sits the emir who, according to some observers, presides over a shura [Council], which plays an advisory role. Further down are individual country organizations. By the late 1960s, Tablighi Jamaat had not only established itself in Western Europe and North America but even claimed adherents in countries like Japan, which has no significant Muslim population.
The movement's rapid penetration into non-Muslim regions began in the 1970s and coincides with the establishment of a synergistic relationship between Saudi Wahhabis and South Asian Deobandis. While Wahhabis are dismissive of other Islamic schools, they single out Tablighi Jamaat for praise, even if they disagree with some of its practices, such as willingness to pray in mosques housing graves. The late Sheikh ´Abd al ´Aziz ibn Baz, perhaps the most influential Wahhabi cleric in the late twentieth century, recognized the Tablighis good work and encouraged his Wahhabi brethren to go on missions with them so that they can "guide and advise them." A practical result of this cooperation has been large-scale Saudi financing of Tablighi Jamaat. While Tablighi Jamaat in theory requires its missionaries to cover their own expenses during their trips, in practice, Saudi money subsidizes transportation costs for thousands of poor missionaries. While Tablighi Jamaat's financial activities are shrouded in secrecy, there is no doubt that some of the vast sums spent by Saudi organizations such as the World Muslim League on proselytism benefit Tablighi Jamaat. As early as 1978, the World Muslim League subsidized the building of the Tablighi mosque in Dewsbury, England, which has since become the headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat in all of Europe. Wahhabi sources have paid Tablighi missionaries in Africa salaries higher than the European Union pays teachers in Zanzibar. In both Western Europe and the United States, Tablighis operate interchangeably out of Deobandi and Wahhabi controlled mosques and Islamic centers.

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing:
The West's misreading of Tablighi Jamaat actions and motives has serious implications for the war on terrorism. Tablighi Jamaat has always adopted an extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam, but in the past two decades, it has radicalized to the point where it is now a driving force of Islamic extremism and a major recruiting agency for terrorist causes worldwide. For a majority of young Muslim extremists, joining Tablighi Jamaat is the first step on the road to extremism. Perhaps 80 percent of the Islamist extremists in France come from Tablighi ranks, prompting French intelligence officers to call Tablighi Jamaat the "antechamber of fundamentalism." U.S. counterterrorism officials are increasingly adopting the same attitude. "We have a significant presence of Tablighi Jamaat in the United States," the deputy chief of the FBI's international terrorism section said in 2003, "and we have found that Al-Qaeda used them for recruiting now and in the past."
Recruitment methods for young jihadists are almost identical. After joining Tablighi Jamaat groups at a local mosque or Islamic center and doing a few local dawa [proselytism] missions, Tablighi officials invite star recruits to the Tablighi center in Raiwind, Pakistan, for four months of additional missionary training. Representatives of terrorist organizations approach the students at the Raiwind center and invite them to undertake military training. Most agree to do so.

Tablighi Jamaat has long been directly involved in the sponsorship of terrorist groups. Pakistani and Indian observers believe, for instance, that Tablighi Jamaat was instrumental in founding Harakat ul-Mujahideen. Founded at Raiwind in 1980, almost all of the Harakat ul-Mujahideen's original members were Tablighis. Famous for the December 1998 hijacking of an Air India passenger jet and the May 8, 2002 murder of a busload of French engineers in Karachi, Harakat members make no secret of their ties. "The two organizations together make up a truly international network of genuine jihadi Muslims," one senior Harakat ul-Mujahideen official said. More than 6,000 Tablighis have trained in Harakat ul-Mujahideen camps. Many fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s and readily joined Al-Qaeda after the Taliban defeated Afghanistan's anti-Soviet mujahideen [Jihadists].
Another violent Tablighi Jamaat spin-off is the Harakat ul-Jihad-i Islami. Founded in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, this group has been active not only in the disputed Indian provinces of Jammu and Kashmir but also in the state of Gujarat, where Tablighi Jamaat extremists have taken over perhaps 80 percent of the mosques previously run by the moderate Barelvi Muslims. The Tablighi movement is also very active in northern Africa where it became one of the four groups that founded the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria. Moroccan authorities are currently prosecuting sixty members of the Moroccan Tablighi offshoot Dawa wa Tabligh in connection with the May 16, 2003 terrorist attack on a Casablanca synagogue. Dutch police are investigating links between the Moroccan cells and the November 2, 2004 murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh.
There are many other cases of individual Tablighis committing acts of terrorism. French Tablighi members, for example, have helped organize and execute attacks not only in Paris but also at the Hotel Asni in Marrakech in 1994. Kazakh authorities expelled a number of Tablighi missionaries because they had been organizing networks advancing "extremist propaganda and recruitment." Indian investigators suspect influential Tablighi leader, Maulana Umarji, and a group of his followers in the February 27, 2002 fire bombing of a train carrying Hindu nationalists in Gujarat, India. The incident sparked a wave of pogroms victimizing both Muslims and Hindus. More recently, Moroccan authorities sentenced Yusef Fikri, a Tablighi member and leader of the Moroccan terrorist organization At-Takfir wal-Hijrah, to death for his role in masterminding the May 2003 Casablanca terrorist bombings that claimed more than forty lives.
Tablighi Jamaat has also facilitated other terrorists' missions. The group has provided logistical support and helped procure travel documents. Many take advantage of Tablighi Jamaat's benign reputation. Moroccan authorities say that leaflets circulated by the terrorist group Al-Salafiyah al-Jihadiyah urged their members to join Islamic organizations that operate openly, such as Tablighi Jamaat, in order "to hide their identity on the one hand and influence these groups and their policies on the other." In a similar vein, a Pakistani jihadi website commented that Tablighi Jamaat organizational structures can be easily adopted to jihad activities. The Philippine government has accused Tablighi Jamaat, which has an 11,000-member presence in the country, of serving both as a conduit of Saudi money to the Islamic terrorists in the south and as a cover for Pakistani jihad volunteers.
There is also evidence that Tablighi Jamaat directly recruits for terrorist organizations. As early as the 1980s, the movement sponsored military training for 900 recruits annually in Pakistan and Algeria while, in 1999, Uzbek authorities accused Tablighi Jamaat of sending 400 Uzbeks to terrorist training camps. The West is not immune. British counterterrorism authorities estimate that at least 2,000 British nationals had gone to Pakistan for jihad training by 1998, and the French secret services report that between 80 and 100 French nationals fought for Al-Qaeda.
A Trojan Horse for Terror in America?
Within the United States, the cases of American Taliban John Lindh, the "Lackawanna Six," and the Oregon cell that conspired to bomb a synagogue and sought to link up with Al-Qaeda, all involve Tablighi missionaries. Other indicted terrorists, such as "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla, and Lyman Harris, who sought to bomb the Brooklyn Bridge, were all members of Tablighi Jamaat at one time or another. According to Robert Blitzer, head of the FBI's first Islamic counterterrorism unit, between 1,000 and 2,000 Americans left to join the jihad in the 1990s alone. Pakistani intelligence sources report that 400 American Tablighi recruits received training in Pakistani or Afghan terrorist camps since 1989.
The Tablighi Jamaat has made inroads among two very different segments of the American Muslim population. Because many American Muslims are immigrants, and a large subsection of these are from South Asia, Deobandi influences have been able to penetrate deeply. Many Tablighi Jamaat missionaries speak Urdu as a first language and so can communicate easily with American Muslims of South Asian origin. The Tablighi headquarters in the United States for the past decade appears to be in the Al-Falah mosque in Queens, New York. Its missionaries—predominantly from South Asia—regularly visit Sunni mosques and Islamic centers across the country. The willingness of Saudi-controlled front organizations and charities, such as the World Muslim League, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth [WAMY], the Haramain Foundation, the International Islamic Relief Organization [IIRO] and others, to spend large amounts of money to co-opt the religious establishment has helped catalyze recruitment. As a result Wahhabi and Deobandi influence dominate American Islam.
This trend is apparent in the activities of Tanzeem-e Islami. Founded by long-term Tablighi member and passionate Taliban supporter, Israr Ahmed, Tanzeem-e Islami flooded American Muslim organizations with communications accusing Israel of complicity in the 9/11 terror attacks. A frequent featured speaker at Islamic conferences and events in the United States, Ahmed engages in incendiary rhetoric urging his audiences to prepare for "the final showdown between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world, which has been captured by the Jews." Unfortunately, his conspiracy theories have begun to take hold among growing segments of the American Muslim community. For example, Siraj Wahhaj, among the best known African-American Muslim converts and the first Muslim cleric to lead prayers in the U.S. Congress, is also on record accusing the FBI and the CIA of being the "real terrorists." He has expressed his support for the convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and advocating the demise of American democracy.
Tablighi Jamaat has appealed to African American Muslims for other reasons. Founded by Elijah Mohammed in the early 1930s, the Nation of Islam was essentially a charismatic African American separatist organization which had little to do with normative Islam. Many Nation of Islam members found attractive both the Tablighi Jamaat's anti-state separatist message and its description of American society as racist, decadent, and oppressive. Seeing such fertile ground, Tablighi and Wahhabi missionaries targeted the African American community with great success. One Tablighi sympathizer explained, The Umma [Muslim community] must remember that winning over the black Muslims is not only a religious obligation but also a selfish necessity. The votes of the black Muslims can give the immigrant Muslims the political clout they need at every stage to protect their vital interests. Likewise, outside Muslim states like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Pakistan need to mobilize their effort, money, and missionary skills to expand and consolidate the black Muslim community in the USA, not only for religious reasons, but also as a farsighted investment in the black Muslims' immense potential as a credible lobby for Muslim causes, such as Palestine, Bosnia, or Kashmir—offsetting, at least partially, the venal influence of the powerful India-Israel lobby.
Not only foreign Tablighis but also the movement's sympathizers within the United States enunciate this goal. The president of the Islamic Research Foundation in Louisville, Kentucky, a strong advocate of Tablighi missionary work, for instance, insists that "if all the Afro-American brothers and sisters become Muslims, we can change the political landscape of America" and "make U.S. foreign policy pro-Islamic and Muslim friendly." As a result of Tablighi and Wahhabi proselytizing, African Americans comprise between 30 and 40 percent of the American Muslim community, and perhaps 85 percent of all American Muslim converts. Much of this success is due to a successful proselytizing drive in the penitentiary system. Prison officials say that by the mid-1990s, between 10 and 20 percent of the nation's 1.5 million inmates identified themselves as Muslims. Some 30,000 African Americans convert to Islam in prison every year.
The American political system tolerates all views so long as they adhere to the rule of law. Unfortunately, Tablighi Jamaat missionaries may be encouraging African American recruits to break the law. Harkat ul-Mujahideen has boasted of training dozens of African American Jihadists in its military camps. There is evidence that African American Jihadists have died in both Afghanistan and Kashmir.
Tablighi Jamaat: The Future of American Islam?
Tablighi Jamaat has made unprecedented strides in recent decades. It increasingly relies on local missionaries rather than South Asian Tablighis to recruit in Western countries and often sets up groups which apparently model themselves after Tablighi Jamaat but do not acknowledge links to it.
In the United States, such a role is apparently played by the Islamic Circle of North America [ICNA]. Founded in 1968 as an offshoot of the fiercely Islamist Muslim Student Association, ICNA is the only major American Muslim organization that has paid open homage to Tablighi founder Ilyas. The monthly ICNA publication, The Message, has praised Ilyas as one of the four greatest Islamic leaders of the last 100 years. While the relationship between ICNA and Tablighi Jamaat is not clear, the two organizations share a number of similarities. They both embrace the extreme Deobandi and Wahhabi interpretations of Islam. ICNA demonstrates disdain for Western democratic values and opposes virtually all counterterrorism legislation, such as the Patriot Act, while providing moral and financial support to all Muslims implicated in terrorist activities. An editorial in the ICNA organ, The Message International, in September 1989 bemoaned the "uncounted number of Muslims lost to Western values" which was a "major cause for concern." In 2003 and 2004, ICNA has collected money to assist detainees suspected of terrorist activities, participated in pro-terrorist rallies, and mounted campaigns on behalf of indicted Hamas functionary Sami al-Arian. Like Tablighi Jamaat, ICNA initially drew its membership disproportionately from South Asians. As with Tablighi Jamaat, ICNA demands total dedication to missionary work from its members. Because many ICNA members spend at least thirty hours per week on their mission, their ability to independently support themselves is unclear. Many cannot hold full-time jobs. ICNA's recruitment efforts have borne fruit, though. All ICNA members are organized in small study groups of no more than eight people, called NeighborNets. As in a cult, these cells provide support and reinforcement for new recruits, who may have sought to fill a void in their lives. Its yearly convocations, patterned on the annual Tablighi Jamaat meetings in South Asia, now attract some 15,000 people.
The estimated 15,000 Tablighi missionaries reportedly active in the United States present a serious national security problem. At best, they and their proxy groups form a powerful proselytizing movement that preaches extremism and disdain for religious tolerance, democracy, and separation of church and state. At worst, they represent an Islamist fifth column that aids and abets terrorism. Contrary to their benign treatment by scholars and academics, Tablighi Jamaat has more to do with political sedition than with religion.
U.S. officials should focus on reality rather than rhetoric. Pakistani and Saudi support for Tablighi Jamaat is incompatible with their claims to be key allies in the war on terror. While law enforcement focuses attention on Osama bin Laden, the war on terrorism cannot be won unless al-Qaeda terrorists are understood to be the products of Islamist ideology preached by groups like Tablighi Jamaat. If the West chooses to turn a blind eye to the problem, Tablighi involvement in future terrorist activities at home and abroad is not a matter of conjecture; it is a certainty.
The Tablighi Role in the Global Jihadism:
However, there are indeed some links between Tablighis and the world of jihadism. First, there is evidence of indirect connections between the group and the wider radical/extremist Deobandi nexus composed of anti-Shiite sectarian groups, Kashmiri militants and the Taliban. This link provides a medium through which Tablighis who are disgruntled with the group’s apolitical program could break orbit and join militant organizations.
One apparent manifestation of this nexus was a purported militant offshoot of TJ, Jihad bi al-Saif [Jihad through the Sword], which was established in Taxila, Pakistan. Members of this group were accused of plotting a coup against former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1995. Yet, because of the organization’s extreme secrecy, little is known about it other than that it is believed to have developed in reaction to the TJ’s apolitical, peaceful stance.
The TJ organization also serves as a de facto conduit for Islamist extremists and for groups such as al Qaeda to recruit new members. Significantly, the Tablighi recruits do intersect with the world of radical Islamism when they travel to Pakistan to receive their initial training. We have received reports that once the recruits are in Pakistan, representatives of various radical Islamist groups, such as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, the Taliban and al Qaeda, are said to woo them actively — to the point of offering them military training. And some of them accept the offer. For example, John Walker Lindh — an American who is serving a prison sentence for aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan — traveled with Tablighi preachers to Pakistan in 1998 to further his Islamic studies before joining the Taliban.
Because of the piety and strict belief system of the Tablighis and their focus on calling wayward Muslims back to an austere and orthodox Muslim faith, the movement has offered a place where jihadist spotters can look for potential recruits. These facilitators often offer enthusiastic new or rededicated Muslims a more active way to live and develop their faith. Although the TJ promotes a benign message, the same conservative Islamic values espoused by the Tablighis also are part of jihadist ideology, and so some Muslims attracted to the Tablighi movement are enticed into becoming involved with jihadists.
Additionally, because of its apolitical belief system, TJ seems to leave a gap in the ideological indoctrination of the individual Tablighi because it essentially asks the novice to shun politics and public affairs. The problem in taking this belief system from theory to practice, however, is that some people find they cannot ignore what is happening in the world around them, especially when that world includes wars. This is when some Tablighis become disillusioned with TJ and start turning to jihadist groups that offer religiously sanctioned prescriptions as to how "good Muslims" should deal with life’s injustices.
Once a facilitator identifies such candidates, he often will segregate them from the main congregation in the mosque or community center and put them into small prayer circles or study groups where they can be more easily exposed to jihadist ideology. [Of course, it also has been shown that a person with friends or relatives who ascribe to radical ideology can more easily be radical].
Examples of people making the jump from TJ to radical Islam are the two leading members of the cell responsible for the July 7, 2005, London bombings — Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shahzad Tanweer. Both had life-changing experiences through their exposure to TJ, though by 2001 the men had left the Tablighi mosque they had been attending in the British city of Beeston, because they found it to be too apolitical. They apparently were frustrated by the mosque’s elders, who forbid the discussion of politics in the mosque.
After Khan and Tanweer left the Tablighi mosque, they began attending the smaller Iqra Learning Center bookstore in Beeston, where they reportedly were exposed to frequent political discussions about places such as Iraq, Kashmir and Chechnya. The store’s proprietors reportedly even produced jihad videos depicting crimes by the West against the Muslim world. Exposed to this environment, the two men eventually became radicalized to the point of traveling to Pakistan to attend a terrorist training camp and then returning to the United Kingdom to plan and execute a suicide attack that resulted in the death of them both.
TJ also is used by Jihadists as cover both for recruiting activities, as discussed above, and for travel. Like Khan and Tanweer, many jihadists desire to travel to Pakistan for training, while others want to get to Afghanistan, Kashmir or other places to fight jihad. However, the travel environment is far different today than it was in the early 1980s, when 747 jetliners packed with Jihadists from Saudi Arabia and other places flew into Pakistan en route to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
Foreigners traveling to Pakistan today cannot enter the country without a visa, and Pakistani authorities are no longer inclined to issue visas to Jihadists, as Jeffrey Battle and the other members of the Portland Seven had to learn the hard way. Shortly after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the friends traveled to China with the intention of entering Afghanistan by way of Pakistan. Once at the Chinese-Pakistani border, however, they found they could not enter Pakistan without a visa. After spending a frustrating month trying to obtain visas from the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing, the seven aspiring Jihadists decided to go their separate ways.
Battle, who reportedly once served as a bodyguard for Black Panther leader Quanell X, later attempted to obtain a visa to Pakistan by saying he was affiliated with TJ. The Pakistanis, probably recognizing him from his prior [and apparently somewhat vocal] visa attempts, denied him again, though he was able to get a visa to travel to Bangladesh using the feigned connection to TJ. Unable to make his way from Bangladesh to Pakistan or Afghanistan, however, Battle returned to the United States, where he was later arrested. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of seditious conspiracy and waging war against the United States.
Similarly, in the spring of 2001 the members of the so-called Lackawanna Six cell traveled to Pakistan under the pretext of studying the Islamic religion and culture at the TJ training center. In reality, the men traveled through Pakistan to Afghanistan, where they attended training at the al-Farooq camp, a training site being run by al Qaeda. Again, the men used TJ as cover for travel, though there is no indication that TJ played any real part in their alleged plot.
Although the TJ organization unintentionally serves as a front for, or conduit to, militant organizations such as al Qaeda, there is no evidence that the Tablighis act willingly as a global unified jihadist recruiting arm. Rather, such activities appear to occur without the knowledge or consent of TJ leaders. Additionally, because of the very size of the organization and it activities in Muslim communities in the West, a great many Muslims have had some sort of contact with the group. TJ itself, however, is not an intentional propagator of terrorism.
Man behind the Cordoba Mosque:

Faisal Abdul Rauf The prospective developer of a $100 million, 13-story mosque 600 feet from Ground Zero presents himself as a Muslim moderate. Yet Kuwait-born Faisal Abdul Rauf also boasts of his issue from an "Egyptian family steeped in religious scholarship". Indeed, Feisal Rauf's Muslim Brotherhood provenance, radical by definition, is as authentic as it gets.

Rauf's father, Dr. Muhammad Abdul Rauf [1917-2004] - an Egyptian contemporary of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna - conveyed to Feisal his family's long tradition of radicalism, which he acquired at Islam's closest equivalent to the Vatican, Al-Azhar University. The elder Dr. Rauf studied and taught there before fleeing Egypt in 1948. That year, Feisal Abdul Rauf was born in Kuwait.

Imam Faisal Rauf has planned for some time to further develop his father's U.S. Islamic expansionism. In 1990, Rauf opened the tiny al-Farah Mosque at 245 West Broadway in lower Manhattan. Area residents did not even notice the mosque until 2006, when the New York State Liquor Authority [SLA] refused to license a new bar on the same block and started yanking others' liquor licenses.

Rauf attended grammar school and high school in the UK and Malaysia, according to his biography. He probably first lived in America only in 1965, at age 17, when his father moved from Malaysia to New York to plan and head the Islamic Cultural Center [not built until the mid-1980s]. Rauf then obtained a BS in physics at Columbia University. In 1971, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where Rauf's father headed the Islamic Center on Massachusetts Ave. His father, buried in Suitland, MD, at the for-profit Washington National Cemetery, also founded three Malaysian Islamic studies programs, including the International Islamic University of Malaysia.
Rauf's early UK education and familiarization with American popular culture and values made him an acutely adept practitioner of Islamic taqiyya - deceptive speech and action to advance the interests and supremacy of Islam. To further that Islamic advancement, Rauf in 1997 established the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA). His Kashmir-born wife Daisy Kahn, an interior designer by profession, has run the organization since 2005.
Rauf then began cultivating new spheres of influence. In about summer 2002, Rauf started lecturing on Islam at the 750-acre southwestern New York campus of Chautauqua Institution, a 136-year-old non-profit where religion director Joan Brown Campbell took Rauf under her wing. Under the rubric of the "Abrahamic" faiths, a convenient cover for Rauf's Islamic activities, Campbell subsequently named him the prospective head of a Muslim house now planned on campus by another Rauf brainchild - the 501(3)c organization Muslim Friends of Chautauqua. Rauf also befriended Karen Armstrong, the former British nun and devotee of Islam.

In 2003, Rauf befriended leaders of Denver's Aspen Institute, including former executive director and four-term Aspen mayor John S. Bennet. In 2004, under ASMA auspices, Rauf organized a meeting of 125 young Muslims and formed Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow. With Bennet's help, he co-founded the Cordoba Initiative in Aspen, purportedly to "improve" Muslim-West relations. Rauf gets funding from a variety of other liberal organizations, including, for example, Gloria Steinem's Ms. Foundation.

Now, the same Rauf is set to construct a mosque at Ground Zero, which he claims will prove that ‘Islam is not a violent faith’.

As Islamic attacks on September 11, 2001, destroyed the World Trade Center towers, falling jet debris simultaneously crushed the five-story 1923 structure some 600 feet away that until that morning housed a robust Burlington Coat Factory store. Over the ruin of the former retail outlet, Rauf now plans to build a 13-story, $100 million mosque. Rauf says the Cordoba Initiative bought the former retail building to prove to the world that Islam is not a violent faith.
Imam Rauf says that New York Muslims provided nearly $5 million in cash to buy the Park Place building. Yet in fiscal 2009, Rauf's ASMA received large international donations. In the year ended June 30, 2009 - days before Feisal closed the purchase - ASMA received at least $1.3 million. The largest donation, $576,312, came from Qatar. That Persian Gulf nation has long harbored terror financiers, and even the government stands accused of funding international terrorism. Qatar also has, for decades, hosted Muslim Brotherhood spiritual chief Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The elderly sheikh, a large and founding shareholder in the terror-financing al-Taqwa Bank, champions sharia law, wife beating, and suicide bombing.
ASMA also received $481,942 from Holland's Millennial Development Goals Fund [MDG3], $144,752 from New York's Carnegie Corporation, $53,664 from the U.N. Population Fund [UNFPA], plus donations from the Rockefeller Brothers and Hunt Alternatives funds, among others.

The Ground Zero mosque plan is more than a little reminiscent of a program initiated by Rauf's late father in 1965. That year, Muhammad R. Abdul Rauf moved to New York to plan and head a huge Islamic Cultural Center that took decades to realize. He bought prime Manhattan real estate at 96th St. and 3rd Ave - roughly two thirds of a city block - apparently with $1.3 million in funding from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Libya. The late Rauf long retained some of that land in a personal trust. But when construction started on the $17 million mosque in 1984, it had received funding from 46 Islamic nations. By 2010, the enormous Islamic complex had added another two buildings. Since 1984, its founders-envisioned apartment unit has been restricted to Muslims alone.

Whenever Feisal first considered building a mosque across from Ground Zero, he had the idea firmly in mind by 2004, when he wrote What's Right with Islam. The book was translated into many languages. In Indonesia's Bahasa, its title translates as "The Call from the WTC Rubble." Rauf promoted the book in December 2007 at a Kuala Lumpur gathering of Hizb ut Tahrir – a terror outfit banned in Germany since 2003, and also outlawed in Bangladesh, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, among other places - and ideologically akin to the Muslim Brotherhood. Both seek to replace the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law [Sharia], and eventually impose Islam and Sharia law worldwide. Most North American Muslim Brotherhood organizations avoid widely publicizing that aim. The Hizb Ut Tahrir however, at a July 2009 Khalifah conference at a suburban Chicago Hilton, openly promised to replace capitalism with Islam and Sharia law.

Now, Imam Rauf is set to construct his dream project, wherefrom possibly the radical Islamists will start Islamization of America. This will not be a mere mosque, but a tower of terrorism to further flex the muscle of militant Islam right inside the heart of United States.
Hope Americans will realize this, before it is too late!

Condemning the movie named ‘Dear Friend Hitler’

By: Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Indian American Intellectual’s Forum [IAIF], which is based in New York City, USA has issued a press release condemning the forthcoming Indian movie named ‘Dear Friend of Hitler’. This movie is being directed by Rakesh Ranjan Kumar and eminent Indian actors Anupam Kher and Neha Dhupia are playing key roles in it.

IAIF in its press release said, “In the history of humanity Hitler is regarded as an ultimate evil that sent six million Jewish to the gas chambers and propelled the world to second world war that caused the death of tens of millions of people. Hence this news has sent shock waves to many Israeli friends of India in Israel, UK , USA and many other countries.”

According to IAIF, this movie is funded by notorious drug and arms baron dealer Dawood Ibrahim, who operates from United Arab Emirates and Pakistan and it is even reported that Dawood works for Pakistani intelligence agency named ISI [Inter Service Intelligence].

According to the official synopsis of the film, it gives audiences a glimpse into Hitler's "insecurities, his charisma, his paranoia and his sheer genius."

According to latest news, actor Anupam Kher staunchly defended his decision to play Adolf Hitler, finally was forced to step out from this movie at the protest of thousands of his fans. In a statement he said, “Considering the ill-will that the project is generating among my fans, I wish to withdraw from it as I respect their sentiments.”

Meanwhile, Neha Dhupia showed that she has it in her to take on the challenging role of Eva Braun at the launch party of Dear Friend Hitler.

Neha is excited to play the Eva Braun role. She is already researching for her character by watching historical footage and past films made on Eva. The former Miss India (2002) is slowly building her resume with diverse acting roles such as playing a village thug Munni gangster in With Love To Obama, and her first international project, IFC's Bollywood Hero, opposite Chris Kattan.

It is a million dollar question as to why suddenly growing Indian cine Capital Bollywood has decided to make a movie on a devil like Hitler. Many believe that this movie might be a sabotaging project of some anti-Indian elements to some how put Indo-Israel and Indo-US relations into jeopardy. On the other hand, some believe that, this very project shows clearly how anti-Semitism is spreading wings in some of the Asian nations.

In most of the Muslim countries, anti-Semitism and anti-US or anti-Israel sentiment is secretly funded by Iran or some other terror patron nations. Iran in particular, spends millions of dollars every year in spreading hate speech in the Muslim nations through publications, movies and other media. On the other hand, controversial television channels like Al Jazeera or Peace TV are working with a very specific goal and mission of poisoning the minds of Muslim masses against United States, Israel and the West by portraying the very theme of War on Terror as ‘War against Islam’.

Monday, June 14, 2010




Barack Obama's ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists

By; Aaron Klein, with Brenda J. Elliott

Reviewed by: FERN SIDMAN

American journalist, author and radio host, Aaron Klein, along with historian and researcher, Brenda J. Elliott blow the lid off the dome of silence surrounding the Obama administration as they boldly unmask the nation's 44th president in their latest chilling monograph entitled. "The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists" (WND Books - May 2010). Providing close to 900 footnotes and countless pages of documentation they reveal surreptitious ties to radical leftists of all stripes. If the title of this book sounds at all familiar, it is a takeoff on the 1959 political thriller novel by Robert Condon called "The Manchurian Candidate" in which the son of a prominent US political family has been brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for the Communist party.

While Klein does not infer that President Obama is part of a Communist sleeper cell, he does present an exhaustive investigation into President Obama's background and his radical ties to pivotal figures in the Communist movement, both inside the White House and out who also happen to be major players in crafting legislation, including the economic stimulus package. This weighty tome weaves a complex spider's web of a narrative that is replete with a plethora of names and organizations of radical leftists, hitherto unknown by the public, who helped shape Obama's ideology and career.

Starting with Obama's childhood affiliation as a Sunday school attendee at the First Unitarian in Honolulu, a radical activist church that not only served as sanctuary for draft dodgers in the 1960s and 70s but had strong links to the even more radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Klein embellishes on the movement that gave birth to the underground terrorist offshoot called Weatherman. It was through this organization that Obama liaison Bill Ayers achieved fame as a Pentagon bomber-conspirator and a notorious leftist student agitator. Ayers summed up the Weatherman ideology which he referred to as "an American Red Army" by saying, "Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents."

Klein informs us that Obama worked directly with Ayers in Chicago back in 1988, after Ayers resurfaced from his underground status amid multiple criminal charges related to his extremist activities. The charges were dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct. The two were introduced by Gerald "Jerry" Kellman, a Marxist acolyte of radical community organizer Saul Alinsky, and thus, a professional association was forged as Obama served with the Ayers' run community advocacy coalition called the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools, or ABC. When Obama launched his political career in 1995, the venue for his first fundraiser was the Chicago apartment of Bill Ayers and the two served alongside each other from 1995 to 2000 on a $100 million education foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge or CAC.

Says Klein, "To underscore Ayers' radical mentality in 1995, while he worked closely with Obama, the unrepentant terrorist gave an interview in that year for author Ron Chepesiuk's book Sixties Radicals, in which Ayers stated, "I'm a radical, leftist, small 'c' communist."

Following the guidelines of Alinsky-like tactics of working within the system to overthrow the capitalist structure of American government, Klein speaks of Obama's direct links to the CAC's role in "disbursing money through various far-left community organizers, such as ACORN." Such Socialist led organizations and unions like Project VOTE!, the SEIU (Service Employees International Union), the AFL-CIO (the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations), AFSCME (American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees) and the Apollo Alliance are also directly linked to ACORN and Obama cronies with "questionable" ties. Quoting from a 2001 book by Jarol B. Manheim, "The Death of a Thousand Cuts: Corporate Campaigns and the Attack on the Corporation", Klein says that "by 1986, ACORN had forged institutional ties with AFL-CIO Central Labor Councils in at least 30 cities" and that ACORN's "People's Platform" included such radical reformist objectives as "free medical care, a public defender system, the elimination of the state income tax for low income people and higher welfare benefits."

Obama's associations with the Nation of Islam, Black Liberation Theology and black political extremists are also revealed in nuanced detail, as Klein sheds light on the fact that Obama attended the million man march organized by Nation of Islam leader and rabid Jew hater, Louis Farrakhan. For over 20 years Obama attended the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago where Farrakhan gave guest lectures at the behest of anti-American extremist preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Klein also uncovers the fact that the Nation of Islam was on Obama's payroll in the early days of his political career and that his senior advisor, David Axelrod also maintained ties to radical Islam through his association as a board member of St. Sabena's Church in Chicago which served as a haven for black nationalists of the Nation of Islam variety.

The backgrounds of other key Obama advisors and "Czars" such as Valerie Jarrett, Van Jones, Andy Stern, Cass Sunstein and John Holdren are also carefully scrutinized by Klein as well as their political leanings and the influence they wield in this current administration. Ghastly epiphanies proliferate, as Klein documents the fact that Communist Party member, Frank Marshall Davis who would become a mentor to the young Barack Obama in Hawaii worked closely with Vernon Jarrett, Valerie Jarrett's father-in-law in at least three communist dominated organizations in Chicago in the late 1940s. Former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, who resigned his post in September of 2009, was forced out of his job by allegations of association with a Marxist group during the 1990s. Having been arrested several times during the 90s for political activism, Jones was quoted in a November 2005 interview with the East Bay Express as saying that while in jail, ""I met all these young radical people of color -- I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, 'This is what I need to be a part of.'"

"The Manchurian President" also exposes how Obama's health-care policy, masked by moderate populist rhetoric, was pushed along and partially crafted by extremists. Some of them reveal in their own words that their principal aim is to achieve corporate socialist goals and a vast increase in government powers.

Klein was recently quoted on FOX news as saying, "It is clear that Barack Obama has ties to an anti-American fringe nexus that was instrumental in building his political career from the beginning all the way through now." He adds that, "I believe this work is crucial to Americans from across the political spectrum, including mainstream Democrats who should be alarmed that their party has been hijacked by an extreme-left bent on permanently changing the party to fits its radical agenda."

This meticulously documented piece of outstanding investigative research is a must read for all good citizens of this great country who are concerned with the future of our cherished freedoms and values.

Monday, June 7, 2010




"No mosque at Ground Zero" was the rallying cry of the day, as thousands of angry demonstrators gathered for a rally to oppose the proposed construction of a 13-story mosque just blocks away from the site of the 9/11 attacks. A palpable patriotism and zeal filled the air on Sunday afternoon, June 6th as Zucotti Park at the corner of Church and Liberty Streets in lower Manhattan was filled to capacity. Rally attendees who came from as far as Chicago and Los Angeles held signs saying, "Ground Zero is a War Memorial - No Mega Mosque here", "You Can Build a Mosque at Ground Zero - When Can We Build a Synagogue in Mecca?", "Pack Your Sharia and Get out", "Mayor Bloomberg: This Mosque Has Radical Ties - and you still approve?" Hundreds of American flags blew in the summer breeze as speakers representing every walk of life condemned the notion of a mosque being erected near the site of the former World Trade Center's twin towers.

The Cordoba Initiative, headed by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is the chief sponsor of the project that is to be called The Cordoba House, a name that refers to the city in Spain which, in the Middle Ages, was a center of Islamic culture and learning. Cordoba was also the seat of an Islamic caliphate in which Jews and Christians suffered under second-class dhimmi status and was the site of large-scale pogrom, perpetrated by Muslims, in the year 1011.

The proposed mosque will be built at 45 Park Place, which is the site of a four story edifice built in 1857 and was a Burlington Coat retail store until 9/11, when part of the plane's landing gear crashed through the roof. The building which currently houses a mosque will be razed to make room for the new structure. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission could conceivably thwart the intended project if they determine that the building has historic status, thus rendering it a landmark. Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Commission said a hearing is scheduled to take place on that very subject. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has weighed in on the issue and has expressed support for the project.

Imam Rauf insists that the $150 million project is meant to heal the wounds of 9/11. "We've approached the community because we want this to be an example of how we are cooperating with the members of the community, not only to provide services but also to build a discourse on how Muslims and non-Muslims can cooperate together to push back against the voice of extremism", he said.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy says there are more productive ways to fight Islamic extremism and has questions about the financing. According to reports, the building that occupies the site was purchased last year for $4.85 million in cash by Soho Properties, a real estate company run by Muslims. Imam Rauf, who is also the founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement was an investor in that transaction.

Dr. Jasser said that with such a financial commitment, there needs to be full disclosure about where the money is coming from. "There should be transparency about who those investors are; whether that money is coming from a domestic source or not, and if it's coming from foreign interests we need to know, because I think that's a liability, and it shows that there is another agenda rather than domestic security and tranquility" he said.

Organized by such organizations as 'Stop the Islamization of America', Families of the 9/11 Victims, The New York City Firefighters, the Tea Party Activists of Brooklyn and Staten Island among other such groups, the rally goers stood in the scorching heat and listened to the impassioned words of the litany of speakers. "We're not here today to condemn Muslims or Islam" said Pamela Geller, executive director of 'Stop the Islamization of America', "but we are here today to condemn the kind of mosque that will teach the very same radical ideology that gave birth to the 9/11 attacks", she intoned. "Building a mosque just several blocks away from Ground Zero is an insult and an affront to every single person that was killed on 9/11, to their families, to the first responders and every concerned American who cherishes liberty, democracy and freedom" she continued.

"3000 pairs of eyes are looking down at us today" declared James Lafferty of the Virginia Anti-Sharia Task Force who traveled to New York to speak at the rally. "We must stand together as a free people and tell the world that we will fight the imposition of Sharia law until our last breath. These evil, cowardly bastards who took the lives of those proud Americans on 9/11 will be remembered forever and this mosque which represents the triumph of Islamic fanaticism will not be built if we have anything to say", he said. Mr. Lafferty received thunderous applause when he said, "The good people of the USA must also stand in solid unity with the Israel Defense Forces who are waging a war against Hamas terrorism as was evidenced several days ago when they intercepted a Turkish based flotilla of ships whose aim it was to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. It is the IDF who is on the front lines in the battle against Islamic radicalism and we must support them".

Dr. Babu Suseelan, a Hindu human rights activist told the crowd, "We Hindus and Sikhs have a story to tell. Islamists killed 80 million of us since 700 AD and they continue to kill us. They destroyed 3000 glorious temples and built mosques over them. In the last 60 years, Islamists in Pakistan wiped out infidel Hindu and Sikh populations. At one time we represented 25% of the population and now we are less that 1%. Know this: The 9/11 mosque is not a symbol of understanding. It is a symbol of conquest. Imam Rauf is a master of Taqiyya, which is the use of deception to forward the agenda of Islam. What Faisal Shahzad failed to accomplish in Times Square on May 1st with overt jihad, Imam Rauf will succeed with stealth jihad."

"Not here! Not now!" was the resounding theme of the speech delivered by Jay Townsend, the GOP candidate of the US Senate from New York who will be challenging the incumbent Charles Schumer in the upcoming November elections. "The wounds have not healed, Imam", he said. "And we cannot so soon forget. The hatred that spawned this assault on our sensibilities is still taught in too many of your mosques and inscribed into too many of your prayer rugs. Not here, not now, until you have excised the hatred that is inscribed in the school books of your impressionable young. Not here, not now, until you are willing to say that Israel has the right to exist, that the people of Israel have a right to a life absent of fear of a nuclear armed tyrant who denies the Holocaust" he declared.

Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a co-organizer of the rally referenced a June 5th article in the New York Post that said, "The imam behind a proposed mosque near Ground Zero is a prominent member of a group that helped sponsor the pro-Palestinian activists who clashed violently with Israeli commandos at sea this week. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is a key figure in Malaysian-based Perdana Global Peace Organization, according to its website. Perdana is the single biggest donor ($366,000) so far to the Free Gaza Movement, a key organizer of the six-ship flotilla that tried to break Israel's blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip Monday."

Members of the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI) also made their presence known at the rally through their visual depiction of the heinous murders committed by radical Islamists around the globe. "We are glad that the speakers here today drew a distinction between the Islamic faith and those who commit murder in the name of Allah. We work with Muslims and ex-Muslim dissidents who oppose the pernicious ideology of radical Islam and we are an inclusive alliance of people of all religions and nationalities who cherish freedom" said Dr. Marvin Belsky, a retired internist.

Responding to the remarks of the "Dean" of the White House Press Corps, 89 year old Helen Thomas who told a reporter on May 27th, following a celebration of Jewish Heritage Day at the White House that "the Jews should get the heck out of Palestine. The Palestinians are occupied by those who stole their land. They should go home to Poland and Germany, America, anywhere", Dr. Belsky said, "Ms. Thomas is a disgrace to the White House press corps and she should have her press credentials revoked. She is a virulent anti-Semite that should be roundly condemned."

Other speakers included Anders Gravers of Stop the Islamization of Europe, Simon Deng, the Sudanese ex-slave and campaigner for human rights for Sudanese Christians, Richard Connerney, a philosophy professor at Pace University, Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian ex-Muslim and author of "Now They Call Me Infidel" and "Cruel and Unusual Punishment", Nelly Braginskaya, a 9/11 family member who lost her son, Larry Savinkin, father of Vladimir Savinkin, 21 and president of the September 11th Family Group uniting 9/11 families from the Russian-American community, Dan Maloney, New York Director of the Gathering of Eagles organization and congressional candidate in District 4 in New York, Germano Rivera, who recovered remains on 9/11, Nabil Asaad and Dr. Esmat Zaklama, Coptic Christian human rights activists, Pamela Hall of SIOA-NY and a human righhts activiist, Herb London of the Hudson Institute, and Beverly Carlson of the Band of Mothers, among others.

The rally organizers urged those in attendance today to continue their work against the mosque in their localities and they were exhorted to return for yet another rally in opposition to the mosque on September 10th. The rally concluded with the singing of "God Bless America".

Wednesday, June 2, 2010



Angry demonstrators fire back


As the world continues to demonize Israel for her role in defending her citizens in the Gaza flotilla debacle, livid Jewish demonstrators pushed back against the onslaught of invectives being hurled at the Jewish state in a rally that was staged on Tuesday evening, June 1st in front of the Turkish Consulate on E 46th Street and 1st Avenue, outside of the United Nations. Organized by the organization called RAJE, the Russian American Jewish Experience, over 300 rally attendees took to the streets in defense of Israel. Holding aloft such signs that read "Israel: We Stand With You", "Gaza Peace Activists Don't Use Clubs or Knives" and "Peace Activists Should Not Support Hamas", the demonstrators held both Israeli and American flags and called for an end to Hamas terrorism.

Dovid Ha'Ivri of the Shromron Liaison office and a resident of the Israeli settlement of Tapuach said, "Any country in the world has a right to defend themselves and Israel is no different. Clearly, this purportedly "Free Gaza" flotilla was filled with Hamas supporters who refused to cooperate with the Israeli military. They had their own nefarious agenda and it's just too bad that the lives of our commandos were put in jeopardy. Orders should have been given that the Mavi Marmara be sunk. Israel has nothing to apologize to the world for and certainly Turkey has no right to pass judgment on Israel after the Holocaust that they inflicted on the Armenian population."

Just several blocks away in front of the Israeli Consulate, several thousand pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas apologists gathered for their own raucous demonstration in which they spewed forth their own inimitable brand of vitriol against Israel. "The Israelis are murderers and pirates and they should be tried for war crimes and genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza" said Ahmed Wahad of the organization Al-Awda. Insisting that the mission of the flotilla activists was purely a humanitarian one, he denied allegations that the people on the Mavi Marmara brutally assaulted Israeli commandos as they descended on to the ship. "Look, the people in Gaza are suffering due to the inhumane Israeli blockade of food, medicine and other essential supplies and these people on the boat were victimized by the savage Israeli occupiers", he continued.

Members of the anti-Israel contingent began marching down East 42nd Street towards Times Square shouting, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" and "No more US tax dollars for Israel" as they called for the end of the 'occupation' of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

Video evidence of the incident reveals quite clearly that the Israeli commandos came aboard the boat peacefully, without the intention to inflict harm, when they were set upon by passengers wielding metal pipes, clubs, and knives. Several pistols were stolen from the commandos and shots were fired as one commando was thrown overboard into to side boat.

"It's really pretty simple. At one time such terrorist groups as Hamas and Hezbollah believed that the best way to destroy Israel was to murder our citizens either through conventional warfare and through suicidal terrorist attacks. They woke up and came to the conclusion that such actions only garner sympathy for Israel. Now, they are keenly cognizant of the fact that the war they are fighting is through the media and world opinion, so the best way to destroy us is to force us into a position to kill them", said Meir Epstein, 52, of Monsey, NY who traveled down to attend the pro-Israel rally.

Across the street from the Turkish consulate stood Turkish nationals and members of the vehemently anti-Israel Neturei Karta movement who continued to berate Israel while leveling epithets laced with hatred at members of the pro-Israel contingent. "Murderers, occupiers and pirates" they shouted while calling for the annihilation of Israel. "Israel should not exist because it is a racist state and we oppose the Jewish character of the state. Why should the Jews have their own country, when the land that they live on was stolen from the Palestinians. A country composed of Jews cannot be a true democracy", said Fagria Behar, a Turkish national.

The defiant pro-Israel faction continued to shout, "Am Yisroel Chai", (the people of Israel live) and "We have the right to self-defense" while police kept both sides separated behind barricades. "The fact that the UN saw fit to hold an emergency security council session to condemn Israel is nothing new", said Ronn Torrosian, a renowned New York publicist and a board member of RAJE. "It is cesspool of Jew hatred and what these so called peace activists on the Turkish vessel pulled off was nothing short of a cleverly devised anti-Semitic lynching" he added.

What best summed up the collective thoughts of the pro-Israel rally goers was a sign featuring an Israeli flag and the words under it: "It's better to have a Jewish State that's hated by the whole world than an Auschwitz that's loved by it."

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