Monthly Archives: September 2013

Book Review: ‘Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here’

Karina Bennoune

Amnesty Internationalfaced a pivotal choice in early 2010. For half a decade, the global human-rights organization had been promoting Moazzam Begg, a British-Pakistani radical Islamist, and the advocacy group he founded after his release from Guantánamo Bay. In 2006, Begg delivered the Amnesty International Annual Lecture in Belfast, and the next year the organization hailed his group, Cageprisoners, as one of six “leading human rights organizations” protesting CIA detention practices.

But Mr. Begg was also conducting fawning interviews with al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki, publicly supporting the Taliban and visiting jihadist training camps. It was impossible to deny Cageprisoners’ pro-jihadist bent, and Gita Sahgal, the head of Amnesty’s gender unit, made public her opposition to calling “Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban” a defender of human rights.

Amnesty quickly sided with Mr. Begg and suspended Ms. Sahgal before ousting her. Is “jihad in self-defense . . . antithetical to human rights?” asked Amnesty’s acting secretary general in a letter to activists. “Our answer is no.”

The Sahgal affair, and others like it, impelled Karima Bennoune to write “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here.” The author, an Algerian-born law professor and former Amnesty staffer, says that she was alarmed by how “the Western (and global) Left often refuses to recognize the reality” of Islamist violence “and the actual danger posed by its ideology.” She was enraged by the blindness of the human-rights establishment because “I am in their camp.”

Russian Muslim clerics warn of unrest over ban of translation of Koran

Russia’s senior Islamic clerics warned the country’s leaders on Friday unrest could erupt in Muslim communities in Russia and beyond if a court decision ordering the destruction of a interpretive translation of Koran is not overturned.

Tuesday’s ruling by a court in Novorossiysk, a city in southern Russia, ordered the widely read text outlawed under a Russian anti-extremism law that rights activists say has been abused by local officials out of prejudice or to persecute groups frowned upon by the dominant Russian Orthodox Church.

Rights campaigners said that the decision, which will apply nationwide unless it is overturned on appeal, comes dangerously close to banning the Koran itself.

Russia’s Council of Muftis sounded the alarm in an open letter on Friday to President Vladimir Putin, who has frequently called for unity among the leading faiths and warned that ethnic tension could tear Russia apart.

“Russian Muslims are very strongly indignant over such an outrageous decision,” Rushan Abbyasov, the deputy head of the council, which has close ties with the Kremlin, told Reuters.

If the ruling is acted on, the cleric warned: “There will be unrest … not only in Russia but all over the world, we are talking about the destruction of the Koran.”

“Under these circumstances I do not think that even old men can maintain their moral health”


WHEREAS liberal Iranians sense that their new government, under President Hassan Rohani, may widen social freedoms, hardliners from the old school have been calling for standards in women’s attire to be upheld. In particular, they are fretting about leggings.

Mubarak: ‘I started the Yom Kippur War’

Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak says he personally started the Yom Kippur War in October, 1973, by attacking an Israeli communications base in his fighter jet six minutes before the rest of the Arab armies’ surprise attack on the Jewish state began.

Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch debates at U of T this week

The University of Toronto Socratic Club welcomes you our inaugural debate this Wednesday September 18th.

Public figure, Robert Spencer, will be debating University of Toronto educated Muslim scholar and apologist, Dr. Shabir Ally, on the following question: Is the Qur’an a Manual for Peace or for War?

As in the old Socratic tradition, we will give an equal opportunity for our speakers to lay out their position and defend it. Later we will open the floor up for guests to vocalize their questions to Mr. Spencer and Dr. Ally in a timely manner, in order to ensure that as many questions as possible are answered.

We look forward to tackling life’s big questions with you this coming September 18th and beyond.
We are excited to have Mr. Spencer and Dr. Ally as our guest debaters this coming Wednesday and look forward to a fair and intellectually stimulating discussion between the two. Below is a brief biography of our guests:

Robert Spencer, MA (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is the author of twelve books, including two New York Times bestsellers, The Truth About Muhammad and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (both Regnery). His latest books are An Inquiry Into Islam’s Obscure Origins (ISI) and Not Peace But A Sword: The Great Chasm Between Christianity and Islam. Spencer has led seminars on Islam for the the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community. He has also appeared on the BBC, ABC News, CNN, PBS, MSNBC, CNBC, and other networks.

Dr. Shabir Ally holds an M.A. and PhD in Islamic studies from the University of Toronto. He completed his B.A. in Religious Studies from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, with a specialization in Biblical Literature.

For over 30 years, he has been an active member of the Muslim community in Toronto, as well as an active participant in interfaith dialogues and initiatives. He is an internationally sought after speaker, scholar and theologian, and is the author of numerous books on Islam and the Abrahamic faiths.

He has recently taught courses on Arabic, the Quran, and Islam at the University of Toronto in the Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations department. He is President of the Islamic Information & Dawah Centre International in Toronto.


9/11: America’s Unfinished Business

Before we head to Syria to avenge the mass murder of their kids, how about we finish avenging ours?

When I say “finish,” of course I really mean “start.” A dozen years after the 9/11 attacks, the trials against the jihadist plotters who incinerated pregnant women, firefighters, grandparents, newlyweds, toddlers and schoolkids on their first-ever plane rides have yet to begin.

Video: Footage of Iranians fighting in Syria

Video footage has emerged that appears to show Iranian nationals dressed in military clothing operating inside Syria and apparently working with government forces.