Hostage Alan Henning Thought His Work For Muslim Charity Would Save Him From ISIS

From the National Post:
The Briton threatened with execution next by militants from Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham is a Manchester taxi driver who drove a van full of aid to Syria to help children in the war-torn country.

Alan Henning had taken time off from his job to deliver clothes and bedding that he and friends had collected, when he was abducted on Boxing Day last year.

The 47-year-old father of two was part of a small aid group called Aid 4 Syria, friends told The Daily Telegraph. He was on his fourth convoy to the country when he was seized by masked men near the Turkish border.

He is seen in the closing seconds of a horrific two-and-a-half minute video released on Saturday night showing the beheading of David Haines, also an aid worker ...

Erdogan’s New Turkey Requires All Students To Study The Qur’an

From Jihad Watch:
A major overhaul of the educational system is one of the first acts of the new President Erdogan, and Turkish secularism suffers another major blow. Here is the latest on Turkey’s rapid re-Islamization: “Erdogan’s new Turkey to requires [sic] all students to study the Qur’an,” by NAT da Polis, Asia News, September 15, 2014 (thanks to all who sent this in):
Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Turkey’s newly elected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, aided by his faithful new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, begins his term of office with a major overhaul of the country’s education system.

Although adopted a year ago, the reform plan, which has largely gone unnoticed, begins this year and extends Islamic religious education to all school grades. Only religious high schools (Imam Hatip Lisesi) offered such an education as part of their training programme for the country’s Muslim clergy. At the same time, the reform extends compulsory schooling from Grade 8 to Grade 12.

Erdogan’s new Turkey, which plans to celebrate the centenary of the secular Turkish Republic founded by Kemal Ataturk in 2023, is making Islamic religious education compulsory in both primary and secondary school, for 12 grades. Until recently, the latter was available only in religious high schools starting in Grade 9.

Another significant change is that religious school graduates can now apply to university faculties that train students for top public administration positions. Even Turkey’s current president, who studied Business Administration and not political science, was kept out because he was graduate of a religious school.

It seems clear that the school system AKP leaders dream about and planned for is inspired by existing religious high schools.

The next step in the reform involves teaching Arabic, even as a second language, to enable students to understand the Qur’an, as Turkish lacks words that help understand the Holy Book.

However, Turkey’s Armenian and Orthodox schools are not required to provide Islamic religious education to their students who number 2,000 and 250 respectively.

By contrast, those who do not want to attend public schools to avoid religious education will have to go to private schools, which are a privilege of the wealthy because of high tuition fees.

People have to get used to the idea that 52 per cent of Turks, plus another 10 per cent from the ultranationalist Turkish party, believe in Erdogan’s Islam, this according to the newspaper Radikal.

Recently in Anatolia, a local school principal, whose tasks also includes assigning students to classes, required Jewish students to register for Islamic religious courses because of their Turkish-sounding names.

Historically in fact, many Jews (and members of other ethnic groups and religions) chose to Turkify and Islamise their names and surnames out of sheer need for survival in view of the rules established following the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, based on the notion that Turkey was ethnically homogenous as a Turkish and Muslim nation.

Following an outcry from world Jewish leaders, Turkish authorities suspended the measure in the case of Turkish Jews.

However, many wonder about what will happen to the 200,000 Christian refugees from Syria who are at present in Turkey and their children who will soon start school in Turkey.

Kidnapped French Journalist Says ISIS Captors Boasted Of Beheading Women And Children

From The Australian:
A FRENCH journalist who was held hostage by rebels in Syria has given a chilling account of his ordeal at the hands of an Islamic terrorist who tortured him and bragged about beheading women and children. Nicolas Henin, who was released in April, recalled last week how his captor, Mehdi Nemmouche, a French citizen of Algerian origin, appeared to take perverse pleasure in describing atrocities he had committed while fighting with Isis (also known as Islamic State) ...

In Jordan, Ever Younger Syrian Brides

Syrian refugees becoming child brides in Jordan.

From the New York Times:
The bride-to-be was so young and shy, she spent her engagement party cloaked in a hooded robe that swallowed her slim figure but could not quite hide the ruffled pink dress her fiancĂ©’s family had rented for her.

As the Syrian women celebrating her coming wedding to an 18-year-old cousin chattered around her in the Zaatari refugee camp, she squirreled herself in a corner, perking up only when a photo or message from a friend popped up on her cellphone. The girl, Rahaf Yousef, is 13.

Speaking wistfully of her days at school, she declared herself throughout the day to be “indifferent” to the marriage she says will keep her from finishing her education. But no one seemed to be listening.

For many Syrians stuck in Jordan’s squalid and sometimes dangerous refugee camps, marrying girls off at younger and younger ages is increasingly being seen as a necessity — a way of easing the financial burden on families with little or no income and allaying fears of rape and sexual harassment in makeshift living spaces where it is harder to enforce the rule of law. As a result, Unicef says, the number of marriages involving girls younger than 18 has ballooned since the war in Syria started ...

Suspected French Jihad Recruiter Arrested In Paris

From the AP via ABC News:
French authorities have arrested a man suspected of being one of the top recruiters of young jihadis for the civil war in Syria, the Interior Ministry said Thursday, describing him as "a particularly dangerous individual."

Mourad Fares, 30, was arrested Wednesday night at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, nearly a month after he was detained in Turkey — a transit country for fighters wanting to enter Syria.

Fares, from Thonon-les-Bains in the foothills of the Alps, went to Syria in July 2013, a ministry statement said. It said he had links to the predecessor of the Islamic State group, the most brutal among myriad jihadi organizations, then to the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

French intelligence agencies have long suspected Fares was among those luring young French people to jihad in Syria. The ministry said his role was considered crucial in cases in Toulouse and Strasbourg.

Two Toulouse teenagers, aged 15 and 16, were arrested upon their return in January — one fetched by his father from the Syrian-Turkish border. Six youths from Strasbourg were arrested after returning home in May, part of a group of 14 reported to have left to join the jihad. The number of minors heading to Syria from France raised alarm bells with authorities early this year.

With about 5 million Muslims, the largest Muslim population in Western Europe, France has been particularly vulnerable to the growing phenomenon of citizens turning to jihad. Calls to become a fighter are often put out on social networks.

Authorities estimate about 900 people from France have been implicated in jihad in the Syria region. Authorities across the West fear the return of battle-hardened jihadis, saying the fighters have the will and skills to mount attacks at home.

New anti-terrorism legislation to combat jihadi recruitment will be debated by French lawmakers next Monday.

Bill Maher On ISIS, Muslims And The Fact Islam Isn't Like Other Faiths

From Fox News:
BILL MAHER: I saw Howard Dean on TV the other day and he said something along the order, he said the people in ISIS -- he said I'm about as Islamic as they are, you know, distancing the vast numbers of Islamic people around the world from them. That's just not true.

CHARLIE ROSE: It is true.

MAHER: It is not true, Charlie. There is a connecting tissue between --

ROSE: Behind every Muslim is a future member of some radical?

MAHER: Let me finish.

ROSE: I was doing that.

MAHER: There are illiberal beliefs that are held by vast numbers of Muslim people that --

ROSE: A vast number of Christians too.

MAHER: No, that's not true. Not true. Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you leave the Christian religion you should be killed for it. Vast numbers of Christians do not treat women as second class citizens. Vast numbers of Christians --

ROSE: I agree with that --

MAHER: -- do not believe if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ you should get killed for it. So yes, does ISIS do Khmer Rouge-like activities where they just kill people indiscriminately who aren't just like them? Yes. And would most Muslim people in the world do that or condone that? No.


MAHER: But most Muslim people in the world do condone violence just for what you think.

ROSE: How do you know that?

MAHER: They do. First of all they say it. They shout it.

ROSE: Vast majorities of Muslims say that?

MAHER: Absolutely. There was a Pew poll in Egypt done a few years ago -- 82% said, I think, stoning is the appropriate punishment for adultery. Over 80% thought death was the appropriate punishment for leaving the Muslim religion. I'm sure you know these things.

ROSE: Well I do. But I don't believe --

MAHER: So to claim that this religion is like other religions is just naive and plain wrong. It is not like other religious. The New York Times pointed out in an op-ed a couple weeks ago that in Saudi Arabia just since August 4th, they think it was, they have beheaded 19 people. Most for non-violent crimes including homosexuality.

ROSE: I know that they cut the hands off the thief.

MAHER: Right, okay, so we're upset that ISIS is beheading people which we should be upset about but Saudi Arabia does it and they're our good friends because they have oil. Okay. But they do it too. This is the center of the religion. I'm not saying -

ROSE: But they're now fighting against ISIS too. They're joining us in the fight. As is the Emirates. As is Jordan. They are all Muslim countries.

MAHER: Well, they are both fighting ISIS and they are for ISIS.

ROSE: Well, it's not the government. I mean, some of them --

MAHER: Certainly the governments.

ROSE: It's a bit like today about Qatar. The big story today in The New York Times about Qatar. And some guy there is supporting, who is a Muslim --

MAHER: But I mean in Mecca where infidels, non-Muslims, are not even allowed in the holy parts of the city. I mean, right there, we don't have that example in other religions. They do behead people. Now if they were beheading people in Vatican City, which is the equivalent of Mecca, don't you think there would be a bigger outcry about it? So this is the soft bigotry of low expectations with Muslim people. When they do crazy things and believe crazy things, somehow it's not talked about nearly as much.

ROSE: Would you come to the table and debate this with a moderate Muslim?

MAHER: Find one, yes. Find one.

ROSE: I promise you I'll find one.

MAHER: Find a Muslim --

ROSE: I do believe that what we see with ISIS is not representative of --

MAHER: As I said, connecting tissue.

ROSE: -- not representative of the Islamic religion. I don't think the Koran teaches them to do these kinds of things.

MAHER: Well you're wrong about that. The Koran absolutely has on every page stuff that's horrible about how the infidels should be treated. But for example again ISIS says that they should perform genital mutilation on all women 11-46. Would most Muslims agree with that? No. Or carry it out? No.

But as Ayaan Hirsi Ali points out, she says --

ROSE: I wouldn't expect for her to --

MAHER: And she would know better than --

ROSE: Exactly.

MAHER: But can we really say --

ROSE: She's been a victim.

MAHER: -- women are treated equally in the Muslim world? I mean, their testimony in court is very often counted as half. They need permission to leave the house in some places.

ROSE: But a lot of moderate Muslims would say in fact one of the things that we need to modernize is the idea of the way we treat women.

MAHER: But in this country, if you just use the wrong word about women, they go nuts. And all these other countries --

ROSE: As they should.

MAHER: -- they're doing things like making them wear burqas and I hear liberals say things like, 'they want to.' They want to. They've been brainwashed. It's like saying a street walker wants to do that.

Obama’s “Not Islamic” Islamic State Claim Ridiculed

From Jihad Watch:
As well it should be. The disconnect between the statements of the administration — and the government and media establishment in general — and reality is increasingly large, and Americans are noticing in increasing numbers. “Obama’s ‘not Islamic’ Islamic State Claim Ridiculed,” IPT News, September 11, 2014:
President Obama’s assertion Wednesday night that the Islamic State terrorist group “is not ‘Islamic'” is drawing derision from a number of quarters.

The claim, also made by Obama’s predecessors, is “preposterous,” Daniel Pipes wrote for the National Review Online. “To state the obvious: As non-Muslims and politicians, rather than Muslims and scholars, they are in no position to declare what is Islamic and what is not.”

Author Sam Harris, an atheist who challenges all religions, went further, dismissing Obama’s argument as a “scrim of pretense and delusion.”

“Which will come first, flying cars and vacations to Mars, or a simple acknowledgment that beliefs guide behavior and that certain religious ideas—jihad, martyrdom, blasphemy, apostasy—reliably lead to oppression and murder?” Harris wondered in an essay. “It may be true that no faith teaches people to massacre innocents exactly—but innocence, as the President surely knows, is in the eye of the beholder. Are apostates ‘innocent’? Blasphemers? Polytheists? Islam has the answer, and the answer is ‘no.'”

But Obama’s argument echoes statements made by Muslim American leaders during a news conference Wednesday morning. “All of this is against the foundation and teaching of Islam,” former Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) President Mohamed Magid told reporters. He also is a member of the president’s Homeland Security Advisory Council.

The Quran includes numerous passages encouraging violent jihad and inspiring hatred of non-believers, Harris notes. Robert Spencer offers specific examples here, and asks why the Islamic State has become such a magnet for wannabe jihadists if it was not seen as inherently Islamic.

But instead of acknowledging those verses and debating their modern application, the president used a nationally televised speech to act as if they do not exist. Harris blames “a large industry of obfuscation designed to protect Muslims from having to grapple with these truths.”

We saw that in action during Wednesday’s news conference at the National Press Club.

It’s a difficult sell, Pipes concludes, because of the clear theological statements and justifications Islamic State terrorists invoke for their brutality.

“Anyone with eyes and ears realizes that the Islamic State, like the Taliban and al-Qaeda before it, is 100 percent Islamic. And most Westerners, as indicated by detailed polling in Europe, do have eyes and ears. Over time, they are increasingly relying on common sense to conclude that the group is indeed profoundly Islamic.”

Ohio: Muslim Claiming “Defamation” Drops Suit Against Those Who Exposed His Jihad Terror Ties

From Jihad Watch:
Yet another bogus claim of victimhood from an Islamic supremacist falls flat, thanks to the intrepid legal minds of the American Freedom Law Center: “Muslim Claiming “Defamation” Caves In – Again,” American Freedom Law Center, September 10, 2014:
A former “Multicultural Relations” officer at the Ohio Department of Homeland Security (OHS), who was terminated for falsifying his background and for lying about being fired from an earlier teaching position at a community college for improper sexual relations with a female student, filed a notice today in Ohio state court dismissing his “defamation” lawsuit filed against several national security experts. In the lawsuit, Omar Alomari claimed that counter-terrorism experts Stephen Coughlin, John Guandolo, Patrick Poole, and Todd Sheets had defamed him by exposing his role as a former high-ranking official in the Jordanian government and his ties to terrorist organizations. The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) represents the counter-terrorism experts in this litigation.

Alomari, a Muslim who emigrated from Jordan in 1978, claimed that the experts cast him in a “false light” by publishing false statements about him and, as a result of these statements, the OHS fired him. Just recently, however, a federal court determined that the OHS terminated Alomari because he lied about his prior relationships to undisclosed organizations on his OHS application for employment, and he also lied about the fact that he lost his teaching position at Columbus State Community College as a result of an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of his female students.

In Alomari’s lawsuit, he alleged that counter-terrorism experts Stephen Coughlin, John Guandolo, and Todd Sheets had defamed him during counter-terrorism workshops and training sessions conducted for the Columbus, Ohio, police department by exposing Alomari’s nefarious ties to terrorists. Alomari also alleged that Patrick Poole had published articles linking him to terrorists.

Alomari’s notice of dismissal came in response to a letter sent on behalf of the experts by AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi. In his letter, Yerushalmi accused Alomari and his attorney of filing meritless and frivolous claims, and he gave them an ultimatum: either dismiss the frivolous claims by today or face a motion for sanctions. Alomari chose the former, and his dismissal is with prejudice, ending this long-running litigation.

Yerushalmi commented: “Alomari filed his original lawsuit in April 2013. After we filed a motion to dismiss, rather than respond to our motion and defend his lawsuit, Alomari voluntarily dismissed his complaint without prejudice. Under Ohio’s rules, this meant he could refile the lawsuit within a year. Not surprisingly, he waited almost a year to the day and refiled essentially the same complaint. This is classic Muslim Brotherhood lawfare doctrine: use and abuse the legal system to frighten anyone who might stand up to the Muslim Brotherhood and its ongoing effort to insinuate operatives into sensitive government positions.”
Robert Muise, also Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, noted that this second voluntary dismissal is, by the court’s rules, with prejudice and finally brings this litigation to an end, remarking: “AFLC is the only public-interest law firm that focuses on representing counter-terrorism experts and others pro bono who are threatened with litigation by the many Muslim Brotherhood front groups operating in this country under the guise of Muslim civic organizations. AFLC has demonstrated time and again that when you confront Islamist lawfare with better and even more aggressive lawyering, the truth and the Constitution win out. We want the counter-terrorism experts outside the government and those whistleblowers working for the government to know that AFLC is ready, willing, and able to defend their legal rights. The time has come for patriotic Americans to stand up against the jihadist threat abroad and right here at home.”

The Woman Who Escaped the Islamic State

From Mashable:
Like other women in Islamic State-held cities, Raheb was forbidden from leaving her home without a close male relative.
GAZIANTEP, Turkey — When Islamic State fighters took over the largest hospital in the Syrian city of Raqqa — the capital of their recently declared caliphate — many of the female doctors stopped showing up for work for fear of the radicals.

This was a problem for the “emirs” who now ran the hospital and wanted to ban interaction between male doctors and female patients.

Yet, one day in April, a woman named Raheb, a 26-year-old recent medical school graduate, arrived at Raqqa National Hospital. Though she was horrified by the brutality of the Islamic State militants, who had made life in her hometown “worse than anything I could have imagined,” she wanted to practice as a doctor and help the people of her war-torn city.

Over the next four months, she worked as the only full-time female doctor at the hospital, becoming a witness to the increasing brutality of life under the Islamic State.

Raheb, who spoke on condition her last name not be used for security reasons, both saw and experienced endless harassment at the hands of the radicals, who were obsessed with women's appearance. “The most important thing for them was Sharia," Raheb said, referring to Islamic law. “Not medicine, not health.”

By the time she began working at the hospital, the Islamic State had already infiltrated the city's schools, eliminating classes they didn't approve of — including philosophy and chemistry as well as courses in Arab nationalism and Islam, which wasn't taught, in the radicals' opinion, in a pure enough fashion. Girls as young as nine were told they had to cover their hair under veils.

Some people in Raqqa resisted the transformation of their city, and even tried to protest against the Islamic State. But over time they were silenced through terror and fear. The jihadi militants had controlled the city for months, enforcing public whippings and leaving decapitated bodies in the street as warnings.

Raheb — like everyone in Raqqa — understood the risk of disobeying their brutal rule.

“Everyone refuses these laws, but nothing is in their hands,” she said.

When the radicals demanded she trade her scrubs for an abaya — the long black cloak covering the entire body, paired with a niqab, or face veil — she obliged, despite concerns about hygiene and ease of movement.

Still, she found herself under constant scrutiny by the armed men — many of them foreign fighters — who patrolled the hospital and regularly inspected the length and thickness of her niqab to be sure her features were completely covered.

One day, a fighter, whom she believed to be Chechen, burst into the emergency room where she was filling out a patient's file, and began shouting in broken Arabic about gloves.

“Gloves, need! Gloves need!” he shouted, sending Raheb into a panic.

“I thought there must have been an emergency and someone needed gloves,” she said. “I tried to hand medical gloves to him, until I realized that he was telling me to cover my own hands.” She didn't have the required black gloves and so she tucked her hands into the sleeves of her abaya and awkwardly tried to continue filling out the patient's form.

The guards at the hospital made no exceptions to the dress-code, even in life-or-death situations. One day, a woman, who appeared to be in her 60s, was brought to the hospital suffering from cardiac arrest possibly triggered by one of the many bombings that had rattled the city. As a nurse hurriedly wheeled her down the hallway toward the room where she could be given CPR, the woman's face was momentarily exposed, drawing the attention of one of the Islamic State guards ...
Read it all here.

Iranians Swayed By Leader's Rhetoric Believe United States Invented ISIS

But weren't people gushing that Iran's new president is a moderate and all is well? And who funds Hezbollah? Here's a clue: It isn't the Americans.

From The Independent:
Many Iranians think that the United States is behind terrorist organisatiounitn Isis.

Ordinary Iranians are beginning to believe their leader's rhetoric that Isis was created in order to counter Iran’s growing influence in the region.

Last week Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said he considers Isis an America ploy to regain a foothold in Iraq and fight Iran’s ally Syrian President Assad.

Speaking to a gathering of clerics he said: “We have evidence, we know”.

In the piece, published yesterday, The New York Times’ Tehran bureau chief Thomas Erdbrink drew on his decade of experience based in Tehran, citing numerous examples of ordinary Iranians’ belief in America’s involvement.

Yesterday state television, often the main tool for spreading propaganda, claimed to show images of Senator John McCain, a right-wing Republican, meeting with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the caliph of the self-titled Islamic State (IS).

However, sceptical Iranians such as English literature student Mehdi Mirzaei, 27, said to Mr Erdbrink: “It is essentially a terrorist group of the extremist Muslim sects of the region against the other sects.”

“I am pretty sure that America is not support Isis. That is all nonsense.”

Yesterday, President Obama promised to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” Isis on the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks...