American Elephants

Why Do They Seem To Be Barbarians from the Sixth Century? That is Their Aim! by The Elephant's Child
June 23, 2015, 9:27 pm
Filed under: History, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: , , ,


ISIS has released a new video showing the organization using new methods of killing its prisoners. They seem to be striving for the utmost in brutality, and of course, terrorism is supposed to strike terror in the hearts of its opponents. In the first segment, a group of men wearing orange jumpsuits are led into a desert clearing, and locked in an Opel car.  A masked jihadi appears carrying a huge grenade launcher. Fired from close range, the car bursts into flames, the car and its passengers are immolated.

In the second segment,the prisoners are interviewed, where they “confess” to their crimes. The five men are shown locked into an iron cage and slowly lowered into a swimming pool to drown. Underwater cameras capture them thrashing before falling unconscious. ( I hasten to add that I did not see the video, but report from descriptions)

In the third segment, the prisoners are interviewed, then led into a field, where explosive cables are tied around their necks. Seconds later the explosives are detonated. Several of the men are clearly decapitated while other suffer horrific, fatal upper body injuries.

Separately, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Monday that two boys well under the age of 18 were crucified by the Islamic State in the streets of the Syrian city of al-Mayadin for not observing the laws of Ramadan. Observatory founder Rami Abdul Rahman said the boys had been caught eating. The children were charged with the crime of “not fasting on Ramadan.” Their bodies had placards around their necks announcing their crime was committed “with no religious justification.”

Captured women have been offered as sex slaves as prizes for learning the most verses of the Koran. Westerners understandably find this almost impossible to comprehend. Why would anyone want to  return to the barbarianism of the sixth century? When the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeinei returned to Iran in 1979, the Peacock throne fell, and the exiled Shah was invited to take up residence in Egypt. The Ayatollah reframed the debate.

The establishment of the state of Israel was a shock to the Muslim world. Then came the 1967 war with Israel. After years of rhetorical attacks on Israel, Nasser demanded the removal of UN peacekeepers in the Sinai and then blockaded the Strait of Tiran to Israeli shipping.

Israel responded with an overwhelming preemptive attack that destroyed the entire Egyptian air force in two hours. When Jordan, Iraq and Syria joined the war against Israel, their air forces were also wiped out that same afternoon. In the next few days Israel captured all of the Sinai, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights, while crushing the forces of the frontline Arab states. It was a turning point in the history of the modern Middle East. The speed and decisiveness of the Israeli victory in the Six Day War humiliated many Muslims who had believed then that God favored their cause.They had lost not only their armies and their territories but also faith in their leaders, in their countries, and in themselves. The profound appeal of Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt and elsewhere was born in this shocking debacle. A newly strident voice was heard in the mosques; the voice said they had been defeated by a force far larger than the tiny country of Israel. God had turned against the Muslims. The only way back to Him was to return to the pure religion. The voice answered despair with a simple formulation: Islam is the solution. …

The voice in the mosque said that the Arabs had let go of the one weapon that gave them real power: faith. Restore the fervor and purity of the religion that had made the Arabs great, and God would once again take their side. …

Islamists say the Sharia cannot be improved upon, despite fifteen centuries of social change, because it arises directly from the mind of God. They want to bypass the long tradition of judicial opinion from Muslim scholars and forge a more authentically Islamic legal system that is untainted by Western influence or any improvisations caused by the engagement with modernity.*

   *Excerpts from The Looming Tower  by Lawrence Wright

We Need to Study Up. What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us. by The Elephant's Child

As the revelations regarding Benghazi drip, drip out, slowly, it is becoming clear that the administration’s understanding of the terrorism threat, and belief that terrorism is spawned by grievances about social, economic, and other problems for which America bears fault, play a large role in the administration’s deeply misguided foreign policy.

Andrew McCarthy had a helpful post at National Review a few days ago:

Let’s start with the intimation that “religious fanaticism” causes terrorism. To be sure, that’s a better explanation than the Left’s “blame America first” approach.  Yet, it still misses the mark. The real cause is ideology, not religion. The distinction is worth drawing because, for the most part, Islamist terror is not fueled by Muslim zealousness for Islam’s religious tenets — for instance, :the oneness of Allah.” We Westerners recognize such beliefs as belonging to the realm of religion or spirituality. To the contrary, Islamist terror is driven by the supremacism and totalitarianism of Middle Eastern Islam — i.e., by the perception of believers that they are under a divine injunction to impose all of Islam’s tenets.

Most of those tenets do not concern religion or spirituality, at least not as Westerners interpret those concepts. Instead, sharia is largely concerned with controlling what we see as secular affairs —political, social, military, financial, jurisprudential, penal, even hygienic matters. Of course, the fact that we separate church and state in the West does not mean our moral sense is without influence —indeed, profound influence — over how we conduct secular affairs. But in the West, we reject the notion that any religious belief system’s tenets should control those affairs.  In the United States, we reject the establishment of a state religion — such official primacy would suffocate freedom of conscience, a bedrock of liberty.

By contrast, the foundation of Middle Eastern Islam is submission to Allah’s law, not individual liberty.  This interpretation of Islam thus rejects a division between the secular and the spiritual.  Its sharia system contemplates totalitarian control.  That makes Islamist ideology (i.e., Islamic supremacism, or what is sometimes more elliptically called “political Islam”) just another totalitarian ideology, albeit one that happens to have a religious veneer.

The whole article is here. It is really worth your time. Andy of course, was the federal prosecutor in the trial of the Blind Sheik. His books are: The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America (2010). Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (2008), and most recently Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy (2012), among others.

Andy has thought deeply and clearly about radical Islam, and takes great care with the words he uses. We can get in awful trouble if we don’t know what we’re talking about, or even thinking about.

Sharia, Observed, Executes Another Child. by The Elephant's Child
February 11, 2011, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Islam, Middle East | Tags: , ,

There’s been another news story about Sharia, the Islamic system of religious law. In Bangladesh, a 14-year-old girl named Hena was raped by a 40-year-old  man named Mahbub, who is described as a “relative.  The matter was brought to the attention of the sharia authorities in her village of Shariatpur. (Both John Hinderaker and Andrew McCarthy have highlighted this story).

In Islam, rape cannot be proved unless there are four witnesses.  In other words, it is almost impossible to establish that what happened did happen.  Bad news for the victim, because if she had sexual relations outside of marriage but cannot prove that she was raped, she is considered to have committed a grave sin.

In Hena’s case, the sharia authorities ordered that she be given 100 lashes.  She fell unconscious before reaching 80, and died from the whipping.  Westerners are often told that they simply do not understand the richness and nuances of sharia.  And we don’t know how sharia is interpreted in different places, but it is very real.  Sakineh Ashtiani was sentenced by an Iranian court to death by stoning.  We have had “honor killings” in this country.  Andy McCarthy says:

It should by now be undeniable that there is an interpretation of sharia that affirms all its atrocious elements, and that this interpretation is not a fringe construction.  It is mainstream and backed by very influential scholars who know a hell of a lot more about Islam than we in the West do.  That makes it extremely unlikely that this interpretation will be marginalized any time soon.

The aim of the Muslim Brotherhood and the regime of the mullahs in Iran is to establish Islam throughout the world, for all to worship Allah, and to establish sharia as the law.


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