Let’s remember how #JamesFoley lived, but also how he was brutally murdered

James Foley

Photojournalist James Foley

For those of you who were under the radar and missed this horrifying news from earlier this week:

In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley – and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. Even so, the U.S. military pressed ahead, conducting nearly a dozen airstrikes in Iraq since Tuesday.

[…]

Foley, 40, from Rochester, New Hampshire, went missing in northern Syria in November 2012 while freelancing for Agence France-Presse and the Boston-based media company GlobalPost. The car he was riding in was stopped by four militants in a contested battle zone that both Sunni rebel fighters and government forces were trying to control. He had not been heard from since.

The beheading marks the first time the Islamic State has killed an American citizen since the Syrian conflict broke out in March 2011, upping the stakes in an increasingly chaotic and multilayered war. The killing is likely to complicate U.S. involvement in Iraq and the Obama administration’s efforts to contain the group as it expands in both Iraq and Syria.

The group is the heir apparent of the militancy known as al-Qaida in Iraq, which beheaded many of its victims, including American businessman Nicholas Berg in 2004.

The video released on websites Tuesday appears to show the increasing sophistication of the Islamic State group’s media unit and begins with scenes of Obama explaining his decision to order airstrikes.

It then cuts to a balding man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling in the desert, next to a black-clad militant with a knife to his throat. Foley’s name appears in both English and Arabic graphics on screen. After the captive speaks, the masked man is shown apparently beginning to cut at his neck; the video fades to black before the beheading is completed. The next shot appears to show the captive lying dead. The video appears to have been shot in an arid area; there is no vegetation to be seen and the horizon is in the distance where the sand meets the gray-blue sky.

At the end of the video, a militant shows a second man, who was identified as another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and warns that he could be the next captive killed. Sotloff was kidnapped near the Syrian-Turkish border in August 2013; he had freelanced for Time, the National Interest and MediaLine.

I was on Twitter when news of Foley’s murder broke.  The expressions of outrage towards his killers, the condolences posted to his family – all were understandable. For a brief moment, I joined in with the calls for people to always remember how he lived, and to put out of mind how he died.  It seemed fitting at the time. But as the week went on, and the more I thought about it, the more I concluded that – while it is indeed important to remember Foley’s work as a photojournalist, something he felt called to do in war-torn countries like Syria, Libya and Iraq, it was also vitally important to keep his murder fresh in people’s minds as a reminder of just how radicalized the “religion of peace” has become, and how we simply cannot continue the policy of appeasement towards Islamofascists that has taken place under the Obama administration.

Like many, I have not been impressed AT ALL with the “official response” communicated by the Obama administration to Foley’s brutal murder, because there is a continued insistence by them and other dangerous liberal moral relativists that terrorists like ISIS simply “pervert” the Islamic faith.  There’s the implication that if we stop and try and “understand” these inhumane swine who behead innocents in the name of “Allah” and bury alive rape victims as punishment in countries like Iran then maybe we could all just “get along”, sing “Kumbaya” and all that.

No.  I wrote this in 2010, and I still believe it to this day:

For a brief time long ago, I used to subscribe to the belief that there was a “moderate” element to Islam. I don’t anymore. Yes, there are Muslim Islamists out there who are not hateful, who are respectful of the religious beliefs and faiths of others, etc, but my opinion is that these Muslims are not full-fledged Islamists – and that’s a good thing. There is hope for that minority of Islamists that they can turn away from the evil “religion” we know as Islam.

That is, if they’re not murdered first.

No, Mr. President – I will not be “tolerant” of this religion, not in any way, shape, form, or fashion. Doesn’t mean I’ll get violent, but it DOES mean that I will speak out strongly against it, loudly and often. Islam, which is the law of the land in many Muslim countries via the use of the Koran as their “standard,” stands for everything we’re supposed to be against. Secularists and non-secularists alike can see this. It’s a crying, outrageous shame that you and so many of your fellow “enlightened” liberals do not.

If Foley’s sickening, torturous death does not wake people up as to the horrors of radical Islam, perhaps the ongoing persecution of non-believers by ISIS will:

Reports coming in from Sinjar, a small town that was once home to Iraqi minority community, Yazidis, suggest that the Islamic State militants are carrying out a “genocide” in the town.

For the Sunni militants, the Yazidis are a race of “devil worshipers” and killing them would only amount to a “holy act.”

The 4,000-year-old religious group has faced persecution for centuries for its unique belief and practices.

Earlier on Sunday, the Islamic State captured the town after driving away the Kurdish forces in the region. Witnesses claim that the militants are executing dozens of Yazidis for refusing to convert to Islam.

The Gulf News report claimed that 67 young men were shot dead by the militants. Besides executing the Yazidis, the Al Qaeda offshoot, is also reportedly taking Yazidi women for “jihad” marriage.

Mohammed al-Khuzai, an official with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society told NYTimes that ISIS took more than 100 Yazidi families to the airport at the nearby town of Tal Afar, where it executed the men.

“ISIS killed all the men,” Khuzai said, “and are planning to keep the women for jihad marriage.”

Reports have also come in claiming that the Islamic State militants have forcefully taken away a large number of children from the Yazidi town. A resident told McClatchy DC that militants were taking away young children from their families. 

Several Sinjar local government and municipal workers also have been executed by the ISIS. 

And then there are the Iraqi Christians. And the Syrian Christians.  I could go on and on, but you get the disturbing picture.

It’s time for world leaders to stop being silent, time to stop sitting back hoping the problem will just “go away.” Time for “leaders” here at home to stop largely ignoring the issue or downplaying because it’s “not happening here.”  Time for dangerous left wing moral relativists like the President, Reps. Keith Ellison, and Sheila Jackson Lee to stop playing the religious equivalency games.  Condemn it, call it out, STOP making excuses for it, stop rationalizing it. Stop putting it “in its proper context.”  9/11 wasn’t the first time radical Islam used its might to kill innocents in its quest to punish “infidels”, and James Foley’s beheading won’t be their last radical act of cold, sickening brutality, either. Pretending otherwise on all counts will only ensure that more will die.  

Egyptian court sentences Christian to 6 years “for contempt of religion”

Egyptian Christians

Image via democracyandsociety.com.

The Associated Press reports that an Egyptian Christian has been sentenced to six years prison time by an Egyptian court because he “insulted Islam” on Facebook:

A court convicted an Egyptian Christian to six years imprisonment for blasphemy and contempt of religion on Tuesday.

The Luxor court issued its verdict against Kerolos Ghattas, 30, after his arrest earlier this month for posting pictures deemed insulting to Islam on his Facebook page.

Ghattas’ arrest sparked fears of sectarian conflict in his village, where unidentified assailants have hurled molotov cocktails at shops owned by Christians. Local authorities beefed up security in the village on Tuesday.

The verdict can be appealed. Egypt has witnessed a rise in the number of cases of Coptic Christians — estimated as 10 percent of the population — over the past three years.

On Monday, another Christian journalist — a convert — was sentenced to six years in prison over his coverage of recent sectarian strife.

I’m curious to see what the various “COEXIST” factions think about these two disturbing cases. Well, not really …

Irony alert: Eyes finally open, liberals hope for military coup in Egypt

**Posted by Phineas

From Andy McCarthy’s post at NRO’s “The Corner” blog on commentators rising calls for the Egyptian military to intervene as that country starts to fall apart:

Here’s the really interesting part: The [Egyptian] Left does not have the numbers needed to defeat the Islamists at the ballot box. That is why the latter have won election after election, usually by overwhelming numbers, thus putting Islamists firmly in charge of the government and ensuring passage of the sharia constitution. So what has finally happened: the Left-leaning press in the West is suddenly discovering that maybe popular elections do not equal democracy after all. Maybe there really is something to the notion that democracy is not merely a procedural means by which majorities achieve power; maybe democracy, as us Islamophobes have been contending all along, really is a culture that is committed to equality and respect for such minority rights as freedom of conscience and speech.

The liberal left’s obsession with procedure, seeing elections as synonymous with democracy, is a good portion of what lead to the folly of the Obama administration’s support for democratic-in-name-only “Arab Spring” revolutions in the Sunni Arab world. Instead we cut the legs out from under a friendly but authoritarian regime in Egypt, in the process doing untold damage to 30 years of American policy in the region, and we removed a cruel, crazy, but nevertheless harmless to us dictator in Libya, creating chaos in North Africa. (c.f., Mali)

But, at least, they’d have elections, so all would be good. Majority rule, and all that.

Except that the majority is turning out to be the very groups most hostile to the democracy we hold dear. smiley d'oh!

And now that their Wilsonian unicorn dreams have turned into nightmarish reality, they want a military coup.

Welcome to the waking world, kiddies.

PS: Longtime readers will recall that I supported the liberation of Iraq under George W. Bush, including the effort to help democratic, constitutional government to take root there. I still think it was worth trying –for reasons local to Iraq, I felt it was the one country in the Arab world in which this might work– but, thanks to the Obama administration’s precipitous and premature bug-out from Iraq, my opinion of that country’s democratic future has become much bleaker.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Aide to Egyptian President Morsi: The Holocaust was faked

**Posted by Phineas

Consider this to be another example in support of this post: Holocaust denial is antisemitism, it is Jew-hatred, and it is endemic at the highest levels of the Egyptian government:

To Celebrate Holocaust Remembrance Day two days ago,   Fathi Shihab-Eddim, a senior figure close to President Morsi who is now responsible for appointing the editors of all state-run Egyptian newspapers called the Holocaust a hoax cooked up by U.S. intelligence operatives and claimed the 6 million Jews who were killed by Nazis simply moved to the U.S.

“U.S. intelligence agencies in cooperation with their counterparts in allied nations during World War II created it [the Holocaust] to destroy the image of their opponents in Germany, and to justify war and massive destruction against military and civilian facilities of the Axis powers, and especially to hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the atomic bomb,” Shihab-Eddim said. “The myth of the Holocaust is an industry that America invented,”

Remember, it was the Obama administration’s deft deployment of “smart power” that helped bring to power a Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government in the largest nation in the Arab world. A government that drinks deeply from the well of Islamic antisemitism. Great job, guys!

Read the rest at Yid With Lid.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Arab Spring: Egypt imprisons family for conversion to Christianity

**Posted by Phineas

That new government we helped to power is sure turning out fine, isn’t it? I mean, under Islamic Law, they could have been sentenced to death. Instead, for merely exercising the right of conscience inherent in all persons, a mother and her sons get “only” fifteen years in prison:

The criminal court of Beni Suef (115 km south of Cairo) has sentenced an entire family to prison for converting to Christianity. Nadia Mohamed Ali and her children Mohab, Maged, Sherif, Amira, Amir, and Nancy Ahmed Mohamed abdel-Wahab will spend 15 years in prison. Seven other people involved in the case were sentenced to five years in prison.

(…)

An individuals religious faith is listed in Egyptian identity cards. Christians, converted to Islam for various reasons that attempt to return to the religion to which they belong have enormous difficulty in correcting their names on the documents. This leads many people to forge them, risking prison. The reverse process, ie the transition from Christianity to Islam is not hindered, and in many cases is favored by the very Registry officials.

The woman had converted to Islam from Christianity on marrying her husband, but, after he died, she wanted to convert back. And she tried to convince her sons to join her. Under Islam, this is a huge sin.

I’m sure the Obama administration will be right on this, reminding the Egyptians that we did not facilitate their revolution so religious minorities could be persecuted. And they’ll listen and shape up, because the Hundred Acre Wood foreign policy is working out so well, isn’t it?

via Jihad Watch

RELATED: It’s the foreign policy, stupid!

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Egyptian Muslim cleric threatens Copts with genocide

**Posted by Phineas

It’s that Religion of Peace-thing, you know:

Islamic leaders continue to portray the popular protests against President Morsi and his recently passed Sharia-heavy constitution as products of Egypt’s Christians. Recently, Muslim Brotherhood leader Safwat Hegazy said in an open rally, as captured on video:

“A message to the church of Egypt, from an Egyptian Muslim: I tell the church — by Allah, and again, by Allah — if you conspire and unite with the remnants [opposition] to bring Morsi down, that will be another matter…. our red line is the legitimacy of Dr. Muhammad Morsi. Whoever splashes water on it, we will splash blood on him.”

More recently, Dr. Wagdi Ghoneim — who earlier praised Allah for the death of the late Coptic Pope Shenouda, cursing him to hell and damnation on video — made another video, entitled, “A Notice and Warning to the Crusaders in Egypt,” a reference to the nation’s Copts, which he began by saying, “You are playing with fire in Egypt, I swear, the first people to be burned by the fire are you [Copts].” The video was made in the context of the Tahrir protests against Morsi: Islamic leaders, such as Hegazy and Ghoneim, seek to portray the Copts as dominant elements in those protests; according to them, no real Muslim would participate. Ghoneim even went on to say that most of the people at the protests were Copts, “and we know you hid your [wrist] crosses by lowering your sleeves.”

The heart of Ghoneim’s message was genocidal: “The day Egyptians — and I don’t even mean the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafis, regular Egyptians — feel that you are against them, you will be wiped off the face of the earth. I’m warning you now: do not play with fire!”

And to make that genocide even easier to carry out, he dehumanized them by comparing them to animals:

“Respect yourselves and live with us and we will protect you… Why?… because Allah has forbidden me to be cruel to animals. I’m not trying to compare you to animals … but if I am not cruel to animals or plants, shall I be cruel to a soul created by Allah? You are an infidel in Allah’s sight — and it is for him to judge you. However, when you live in my country, it is forbidden for me to be unjust to you — but that doesn’t mean we are equal. No, oh no.”

Ghoneim can weasel all he wants, but the idea is clearly planted. Copts are inferior, maybe even animals, and if they don’t act like good little dhimmis… If you noticed a resemblance to Germany in the 1930s, your mind wasn’t playing tricks on you.

The Coptic Christmas falls on January 7th this year. You can imagine what a merry season it is for them.

And speaking of Christmas, Islam’s birthplace (maybe…) demonstrated its dedication to tolerance for all by arresting 44 people who were engaged in a hideous plot.

They were planning to celebrate Christmas:

In the latest kingdom-wide crackdown on those who would violate the national religious policy of Islam only, Saudi Vice and Virtue Police arrested 44 on charges of plotting to celebrate Christmas, as reported on Dec. 27, 2012 by the Beirut-based Al-Akhbar news portal.

The raid took place in the northwest province of al-Jawf, at the private residence of an individual identified only as “an Asian diplomat.”

The fiends… It’s a good thing the watchful officers of the Vice and Virtue police were on the job. Who knows what might have happened? They might have sung carols, exchanged good wishes and presents, said a prayer or two — someone might have had a good time!!

Is it any wonder, in the kind of society that develops under Sharia law, that people can speak of another of the world’s major religions, Christianity, as being the most persecuted on the planet and even in danger of extinction in the lands of its birth?

A merry Christmas season and a happy New Year, indeed.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

President Obama needs to wake the hell up regarding the Muslim Brotherhood

No, I don’t expect any “waking up” to happen, as the left’s naive and dangerous tendency to treat established radical public figures and regimes – especially Islamists masquerading as “moderates” – as allies of America is well-documented.  But all the same, National Review editor Rich Lowry sounds alarms bells today in a blistering rebuke of the Obama administration’s fawning admiration of the Muslim Brotherhood, in particular, its President – Mohamed Morsi. Lowry writes:

The great, acerbic 19th-century satirist Ambrose Bierce defined a revolution as “an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment.” He would understand events in Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak very well.

In the signature revolution of the Arab Spring, the country turned its back on a secular dictatorship only to fall into the arms of what looks like a budding Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship. Meet the new pharaoh, same as the old pharaoh. Except Egypt’s old form of misgovernment may soon look progressive by comparison.

Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi’s decree neutering the judiciary is the latest act in his steady consolidation of power. While he assiduously builds a dictatorship, the Obama administration just as assiduously tells itself bedtime stories about his good intentions. It’s a perfect division of labor — he goes about his empire-building with a clear-eyed realism; we consider it through a gauzy lens of delusion.

Since the end of Mubarak, the air has been thick with descriptions of the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi as moderates, as basically no more than Islamic social democrats. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called the Muslim Brotherhood “largely secular.” If he had been speaking of the Church of England, he might have been right.

Unfortunately, the Brotherhood’s credo is, “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law; the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” And it’s not kidding. Morsi summarized his program during the campaign as “the sharia, then the sharia, and finally the sharia.” (Unlike President Barack Obama, at least he had an agenda.)

Eric Trager of The New Republic describes how Brotherhood recruiting emphasizes rigidity. “Throughout this process,” he writes, “rising Muslim Brothers are continually vetted for their embrace of the Brotherhood’s ideology, commitment to its cause, and — most importantly — willingness to follow orders from the Brotherhood’s senior leadership.” In sum, he says, it is “a cultish organization that was never likely to moderate once it had grasped power.” Obviously, Trager would never make it as national intelligence director.

After Mubarak’s fall, we fooled ourselves about the level of support for the Brotherhood. We fooled ourselves about the Brotherhood abiding by its promise not to run for the presidency. We fooled ourselves about what a Morsi victory would mean for democracy. Why stop fooling ourselves now?

Morsi staged his latest power grab on Thanksgiving Day in the immediate aftermath of working with Obama to get a cease-fire in hostilities between Hamas (a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot) and Israel. In a New York Times piece that ought to be preserved in amber as a record of 21st-century liberal naiveté, the paper reported that in his talks with Morsi, “Mr. Obama felt they were making a connection.” How sweet.

“He was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence.” And who can resist the lure of pragmatic confidence?

“He sensed,” the paper continued, in a gushing tone, “an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology.”

Disturbing. Make sure to read the whole thing.

(Via Memeorandum)

Obama: Upcoming election has “nothing to do” with #Benghazi murders

That’s what you think, buddy (hat tip):

President Obama again on Friday defended his administration’s handling of the attack that killed four Americans in Libya, and said he’s not holding back information ahead of Election Day.

“The election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened,” Obama said in an interview with KUSA, the NBC affiliate in Denver.

“Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I’ve made a commitment to the families impacted as well as the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice,” he said in one of several interviews with local TV stations in battleground states that he sat for Friday afternoon at Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington.

Pressed twice during the KUSA interview, Obama wouldn’t address a Friday report suggesting that the Americans in Benghazi asked for more assistance as the Sept. 11 attack was taking place, and instead stressed that his administration is engaged in a thorough investigation.

What happened here is that President Obama thought he could avoid having to answer any questions about the Benghazi  murders by allowing local media affiliates to interview him ahead of the election rather than taking questions from the national media/WH press corps – which he has gotten very clever at avoiding. But KUSA had other plans. My hat is off to them for asking tough questions of this President.

And, yes, we know his administration is using one cheap delay tactic after another to stall on answers for Libya in advance of the election because they want the truth to remain hidden. They want so badly for this to blow over, for the American people to forget.  But they wont.   Benghazi will impact on how people vote in November. I know the military was pretty solidly in the tank for Mitt Romney to begin with, but I think his and his administration’s callousness and dodginess on this issue may persuade a not so small percentage of those in the military planning on voting for him to either not vote in the Presidential election at all – or to vote for Mitt Romney.  Not to mention how it may impact independents, who are already leading Romney in key battleground states.

William Teach at Pirate’s Cove writes in response:

Au contraire, it has everything to do with Americans left hanging out to dry, because this is all part of the the pattern of incompetence of the Obama administration, and the incompetence starts at the top. We have the worst economic recovery post-recession ever, with the US economy just malaising around since July 2009, the end of the recession. Two Americans and over 200 Mexicans killed thanks to the guns the Obama administration walked and didn’t bother tracking. Blowing off our allies around the world. Our enemies laughing at the USA. And now this fiasco in Libya.

Simply put, this man has done nothing to earn a single vote for re-election. Let’s hope the American people send that message loud and clear to him on Nov. 6th at the ballot box.

Quote of the Day: Rep. Allen West on President Obama’s UN speech

From Rep. West’s Facebook page:

In his speech today to the United Nations, President Obama stated six times that the attacks across the Islamic world are attributed to a silly video. Furthermore, he refused to use the words terrorist attack in referring to what occurred in Benghazi Libya at our US Consulate on the 11th anniversary of 9-11. He continues to offer up apologies instead of defending our hard earned First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression. There is no message to this silly video trailer, and it is beneath the dignity and esteem of the Office of the President of the United States to mention it at all. When tolerance becomes a one way street it leads to cultural suicide. I shall not be tolerant of the intolerant. I know about the UN Resolution 1618 which would make any statement deemed by the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) “offensive’ to Islam a crime…..NOT ON MY WATCH FELLAS!

My statement to the United Nations would have been, “The future does not belong to those who attack our Embassies and Consulates and kill our Ambassadors. The Angel of Death in the form of an American Bald Eagle will visit you and wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence”

Now, that’s leadership.

Any questions?