How the new COVID relief bill is emblematic of our willful misunderstanding of the Islamic worldview.
by Bruce Thornton, frontpagemag.com
The recently passed $2.3 trillion bill to provide Covid-19 relief programs and fund the government, as usual contains billions of dollars for feeding whole herds of Congressional legislative pork. One of the most egregious is $10 million to fund “gender” programs in Pakistan. Nothing bespeaks our continued misunderstanding and dismissal of Islamic doctrine and practice than this arrogant program that violates fundamental precepts of sharia law.
Such blindness is nothing new, but has characterized our government’s assumptions that guide policies involving Muslim nations. Under the guise of “respecting” Islam instead we insult observant Muslims by assuming our secular, technocratic, globalist paradigms are the default ways to live for the whole planet. But our smug righteousness and certainty reaffirm for traditionalist Muslims our spiritual poverty and ultimate moral fragility.
Like nearly all Muslim majority nations, Pakistan’s constitution encodes sharia law, the totalizing guide and authority for every aspect of human life. One product of this code is the social and juridical inequality of women. And many of the dysfunctions like honor killings and legal inequality that this ill-conceived $10 million program seeks to eliminate derive from these strictures. That’s why Pakistan is ranked second to last in sex equality. Given this simple reality, how successful can any program be at correcting sexist laws and customs predicated on deeply held religious beliefs?
Such myopia has for four decades impaired our understanding of the Islamic world. First our foreign policy establishment misinterpreted the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Trapped in the postwar anticolonialism narrative that peoples once under the thumb of European powers or the U.S., who installed illiberal autocrats to do their bidding, would rebel against those leaders in order to enjoy democratic freedom, economic opportunity, and full national sovereignty.
Except the leader of the Iranian Revolution was not the leftists, “technocrats,” or liberals. It was the Ayatollah Khomeini, who led a religious assault on the Shah’s modernizing regime that comprised “enemies of Islam,” as Khomeini put it. Nor was the revolution about nationalist sentiment. “We shall export our revolution” Khomeini vowed, “to the whole world. Until the cry ‘There is no God but Allah’ resounds over the whole world, there will be struggle,” that is, jihad. But Khomeini, the most revered cleric in Shia Islam, was dismissed in the U.S. as just another “beard from the fringe,” a “fanatic,” in the words of Time magazine, “whose judgments are harsh, reasoning bizarre, and conclusions surreal.”
This arrogant dismissal of a faith that conquered the Persian and Byzantine empires and occupied two-thirds of the Roman Empire has typified the West’s response to subsequent jihadist violence. Even after the spectacular carnage on 9/11 made explicit Islam’s intentions founded on canonical texts, “nothing to do with Islam” remained the foreign policy establishment’s assumption. As a result, the punitive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan took on the idealistic aim of providing Western-style democracies and human rights to peoples the majority of whom were traditional Muslims who saw that liberal democratic cargo as a stealth weapon for destroying Islam.
As Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb––a seminal influence on Osama bin Laden––put it, “It is necessary to revive the Muslim community which is buried under the debris of the man-made traditions . . . and which is crushed under the weight of those false laws and customs which are not even remotely related to the Islamic teachings.” These alien imports that had followed Western powers into the Middle East must be resisted and destroyed, since “the only principle on which the totality of human life is to be based is Allah’s religion and its system of life,” which is sharia law. Hence the necessity of jihad, for “Islam came into this world to establish Allah’s rule on earth, to invite all people toward the worship of Allah.” And according to the Koran, if they refuse the “da’wah,” the “call” to convert, then they are legitimate targets of violent jihad.
Khomeini, Qutb, and many other theorists of jihad ground their prescriptions on the traditional writings of the faith. These arguments are not “heresies,” they are not distortions of Islam. Those who say Islam needs a Reformation don’t get that modern jihadism is the “reformation,” the attempt to restore the faith to its original purity and storied history of martial success and expansion. Of course, there are many Muslims, most of them living in the West, who talk about revising Islam to make it more compatible with the modern world and its political ideas like democracy and equal rights, or who reject the violent traditions of the faith and its supremacist intolerance. But they are a minority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, who are receptive to jihadist arguments grounded in the Koran, the perfect, timeless words of Allah.
Why, then, do our leaders dismiss the truths of Islamic doctrine, truths documented on every page of history? Mainly because no matter how disguised with good intentions and professions of respect for the “religion of peace,” they have made the Western paradigm of political freedom, equal rights, separation of church and state, sex equality, and cosmopolitan tolerance into the paradigm for all of humanity. This is the assumption behind the “rules-based, liberal democratic global order,” an assumption that ignores the fact that this global order was not accepted on principle, but imposed on an intricately diverse world by Western military and economic power.
This is not to say that non-Westerners don’t desire or can’t adopt the freedom, peace, and prosperity that the “new world order” promises. All human beings are capable of desiring and adopting those boons, as the one-way flow of migration to the West demonstrates. And once there, over time many become Western. The mistake is believing that the whole world desires those goods to the exclusion of all others, goods like fidelity to one’s god, customs, and traditions, or a desire for conquest and expansion at the expense of other peoples. Humans are notorious for their capacity to simultaneously want mutually exclusive goods. So today we witness Muslims who live in the West and enjoy its freedom and prosperity, even as they seek through terror to destroy the principles and ideas that make those goods possible.
Finally, the triumph of secularism in the West, the transformation of our civilization into one that thinks it can do without God in the public square, leaves us incapable of imagining people who are passionate believers, passionate enough to kill and die on behalf of their faith. At the same time, paradoxically our fashionable self-loathing for alleged global crimes like “colonialism” and “imperialism’ inhibits us from criticizing a faith practiced by exotic “others” we allegedly have victimized. Few see the hypocrisy of decrying the West’s imperialism in order to cater to a faith that inspired one of the world’s most successful empires, one still occupying extensive tracts of land once the homeland of the West’s foundational forefathers, the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian cultures. We see this apologetic posture as a sign of superior righteousness, while our enemies, who never apologize, see it as a sign of craven weakness.
Because of “new world order” globalism and its incoherent, racialist, masochistic identity politics, we distort the motives of Islamic jihadists and dismiss the doctrinal authority on which they rely, as though secular Westerners are better authorities on Islam than Khomeini, Qutb, or Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the Muslim world’s premier Islamic scholar, an associate of the Muslim Brotherhood and chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. And he is an apologist for jihadist terror, anti-Semitism, and suicide-bombings even as he talks to the West in the language of “moderation.”
The misguided appropriation of U.S. taxpayers’ money to promote our ideas about “gender” in an environment foundationally hostile to it is a reminder of our half-century willful distortion of Islam, and cringing policies that airbrush out Islam’s theology of violence against unbelievers. But spending what amounts to couch-change in a $2.6 trillion bill is just a sign of a deeper incoherence. If Biden becomes president, he will try to return the U.S. to the disastrous Iran agreement, itself a product of the same ignorance and arrogant righteousness about our superiority over those poor benighted peoples still clinging to faith and their own traditions.
Of all the disasters that those assumptions have caused over the last half-century, letting Iran off the hook and facilitating its acquisition of nuclear weapons may turn out to be the worst. And it will cost us much, much more than $10 million.
Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Says Netanyahu as Israel, UAE, Bahrain sign peace deal.
“It heralds a new dawn of peace”
By David Isaac, World Israel News
On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump welcomed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain before a cheering crowd on the South Lawn of the White House.
“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” Trump said. “After decades of division and conflict we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.”
“In a few moments these three visionary leaders will sign the first two peace deals between Israel and the Arab states in more than a quarter century. In Israel’s entire history there have been only two such agreements and now we have achieved two in a single month,” the president said.
“And there are more are to follow,” he said, at which point cheers broke out.
“Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will establish embassies, exchange ambassadors and work so strongly to cooperate as partners across a broad range of sectors, from tourism to trade to health care and security,” Trump said.
“Together, these agreements will serve as a foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region, something nobody thought was possible,” Trump said. “Congratulations on this outstanding achievement.”
“There will be other countries very, very soon that will follow these great leaders,” Trump said.
“On my first foreign trip as president I had the honor of addressing the leaders of more than 54 Arab and Muslim nations in Saudi Arabia. My message that day was very simple. I urged the nations of the Middle East to set aside their differences, unite against the common enemy of civilization and work together toward the noble aims of security and prosperity.
“I offered America’s friendship. I offered America’s help. But I said clearly that the nations of the region had to decide what kind of future they wanted for their children and their families and for their nation itself… Today, the world sees that they’re choosing cooperation over conflict, friendship over enmity, prosperity over poverty and hope over despair,” the president said.
‘Jews have prayed for peace’
Netanyahu spoke following the president. He said, “This day is a pivot of history. It heralds a new dawn of peace. For thousands of years the Jewish people have prayed for peace. For decades, the Jewish State has praised for peace. That is why today we’re filled with such gratitude.”
Thanking Trump, the prime minister said, “You have unequivocally stood by Israel’s side. You have boldly confronted the tyrants of Tehran. You’re proposed a realistic vision for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and you have successfully brokered the historic peace that we are signing today.”
“To all of Israel’s friends in the Middle East, those who are with us today, and those who will join us tomorrow I will say saalamu aleikum, peace unto thee,” the prime minister said.
To read this entire story go to: https://worldisraelnews.com/this-day-is-a-pivot-of-history-netanyahu-says-as-israel-uae-and-bahrain-sign-agreements-at-white-house/
Yes, it was a joke, but no one was laughing…
Photo credit: pdave
by Robert Spencer
To be precise, it was Ireland’s Croke Park Stadium, not a proper mosque, but what happened there was no joke. ChurchMilitant.com reported that on Friday, July 31, Ireland’s top Catholic prelate, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, “joined Muslims in celebrating a key Islamic festival which falsifies the Bible by declaring that the patriarch Abraham took Ishmael, not Isaac, to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah.” Also present was Jewish Rabbi Zalman Lent, who enthused “it is special we can all sit here together … as brothers.”
Martin (pictured above) was just as enthusiastic, saying: “Today marks a new chapter in the history of Croke Park. Today our celebration is a gesture of recognizing publicly the place of the Muslim community as an integral part of the family of the Irish and to recognize the contribution of your Muslim community to the Ireland of today and to the Ireland of tomorrow.”
As I told Church Militant, Martin’s complacent satisfaction was all the more disgraceful in light of the fact that at the time the Eid celebration was held, the Catholic faithful still are in many places deprived of the sacraments and subject to immense and unprecedented restrictions on their worship, the bishops wouldn’t dare miss an Islamic celebration. In this event we see yet again the Catholic hierarchy’s endless solicitude for Muslims and Islam, and its disdain for actual Catholics.
What is unusual in this case is that some Catholics stood up against this exercise in a self-defeating and pointless dialogue that has never saved one single Christian from Muslim persecution, or prevented any jihadists from destroying even just one church.
Martin’s participation was all the more unconscionable that they would be celebrating Eid al-Adha, the day on which Muslims sacrifice animals in honor of Abraham sacrificing Ishmael — not Isaac.
When Diarmuid Martin and Zalman Lent think of Abraham, they probably think of Genesis 22:15-18, in which Abraham is rewarded for his faith and told he will become a blessing to the nations: “by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”
But their Muslim friends don’t read Genesis. They read the Qur’an. Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son (who is not named) is recounted in 37:102-109. Islamic tradition holds that the son Abraham sacrificed was Ishmael, and that the Bible’s saying he was Isaac is more evidence of the Bible’s corruption. Martin and Lent were inadvertently reinforcing that view by participating in this event.
Even worse, in sura 60, Allah says that Abraham is an “excellent example” (uswa hasana, أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ, a term applied also to Muhammad in 33:21) for the believers when he tells his pagan family and people that “there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred for ever, unless ye believe in Allah and him alone” (v. 4). The same verse goes on to say that Abraham is not an excellent example when he tells his father, “I will pray for forgiveness for you.” Hatred is held up as exemplary; forgiveness is explicitly declared to be not exemplary.
Martin and Lent were thus reinforcing a worldview that takes for granted the legitimacy of everlasting enmity and hatred between Muslims and non-Muslims — and doing so precisely in the context of trying to build bridges between Muslims and non-Muslims.
This disgraceful event shows the priorities of the Catholic hierarchy today, and those of Leftist clerics in general. Islam is the preferred religion of the Left, and that holds true even when the leftists in question are clerics of different faiths.
And even worse, the endless solicitude of Leftist Jewish and Christian clerics for Islam will never be reciprocated. The Muslims who greeted Martin and Lent at Croke Park Stadium thought of them as unbelievers from among the People of the Book, people whom the Qur’an terms “the most vile of created beings” (98:6). They almost certainly thought that before this event, and they continued to think it afterward. The words of the Qur’an will never be erased. A pious, knowledgeable, believing Muslim will never disregard those words just because an infidel, who is akin to an animal (Qur’an 8:55) shows him kindness.
The command will remain: “Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow him are ruthless to unbelievers, merciful to one another” (Qur’an 48:29). That is something you will never hear from the likes of Zalman Lent and Diarmuid Martin. But it remains in the Islamic holy book nevertheless.
Missing Coptic Woman Reappears and Remains “Servant of Christ.” A scandalous story of religious coercion in Egypt comes to an end.
by Raymond Ibrahim frontpagemag.com
A Coptic Christian wife and mother who disappeared for nearly three months—supposedly because she had willingly converted to Islam and no longer wanted any connection to her “infidel” husband and three young daughters—has finally been returned to her family.
Ranya ‘Abd al-Masih, 39, a high school teacher of English in al-Minofiya, just north of Cairo, disappeared on April 22, 2020. A few days after her family contacted state security, she appeared in a one minute video dressed in a black niqab (female Islamic attire). In the video, and in between tears, Ranya insisted that she had finally and formally converted to Islam, which—“praise be to Allah”—she had been secretly following and concealing from her family for nine years. Accordingly, she no longer wanted anyone—her husband, children, family—to bother about her anymore.
From the start, her family refused to believe the video, insisting that it was obviously made under duress and noting that it was obvious that others were surrounding and giving her cues. “We’ve no problem for her to go [to Islam] of her own free will—based on conviction—but not as a person who is threatened and coerced into doing so,” her brother, Remon, had said in an interview. “She was definitely kidnapped and forced to make that video, due to threats against her or her husband and children if she refused to comply.”
He added that the idea that she had “secretly” embraced Islam was ludicrous, citing the fact that up until her disappearance she had been regularly attending church, visiting and praying in monasteries—even fasting 55 days in the lead up to Easter:
We are sure that Ranya, our beloved sister, whom we know so well, is not the one we saw on the video; that is a woman who is being threatened and coerced…If you can hear me, Ranya, know that we will never abandon you until we see you. Because you are a victim of a terror.
For nearly three months, Ranya’s family and the Coptic Church pleaded with the authorities—even sending a plea to President Sisi—until she was finally returned on July 15, 2020.
A Coptic Church spokesman said that Ranya and her reunited family are currently staying in an undisclosed location, “until calm returns” to the region. Due to the delicate nature of the situation, the spokesman gave no other details concerning her disappearance and reemergence, other than to say that “Ranya remains a Christian who never once converted to Islam.”
Similarly, when asked during a televised interview if she had converted, her lawyer simply said, “she returned as Ranya ‘Abd al-Masih”—a play on her last name, which means “servant of Christ.”
At least 25 dead
By Danielle Wallace, Bradford Betz | Fox News
A massive explosion shook Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least 25 people, flattening much of the port, damaging buildings across the capital and sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky.
The cause of the explosion remains unclear. The Lebanese Red Cross tweeted that more than 30 teams were responding to the scene of the blast via ambulances.
The health minister said more than 25 people were killed and over 2,500 injured.
Lebanese Red Cross official Georges Kettaneh said the injured were being taken to hospitals outside the capital because facilities there were at capacity. He put the number of casualties in the hundreds but said he did not have exact figures on dead or injured.
The afternoon blast shook several parts of the capital and thick smoke billowed from the city center. Residents reported windows being blown out, and balconies and ceilings collapsing. The explosion appeared to be centered around Beirut’s port and caused wide-scale destruction and shattered windows miles away.
A civil defense official on the scene of the blast said his men had evacuated dozens to hospitals and that there were still bodies inside the port, many of them under debris.
Dozens of ambulances ferried the injured from the port area, where the wounded lay on the ground, Associated Press staff at the scene said. Hospitals were calling for blood donations.
To read the entire article, go to: https://www.foxnews.com/world/explosion-lebanon-capital-beirut
Secretary of State tells Christians United For Israel conference that Israel is a “major asset” for America, reaffirms U.S. commitment to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
by World Israel News Staff
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed the America’s support for Israel on Tuesday. The U.S. considers Israel to be a “major asset” to the American people, he said.
Speaking to the Christians United For Israel (CUFI) annual summit, which was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pompeo praised the U.S.-Israel relationship and said the Trump administration was working to make it stronger.
“Israel is one of America’s most trusted partners and a major asset for the security of America’s people,” Pompeo said. “This administration is strengthening its partnership with Israel.”
With growing concerns over the expiration in October of the international arms embargo against Iran, the secretary reiterated America’s resolve to counter the Iranian threat, as well as legal warfare being waged against both Israel and the United States on the international stage.
“We’re making sure Iran never gets a nuclear weapon,” Pompeo said. “We’re condemning the International Criminal Court’s politically motivated attacks on Israel and American service members.”
Pompeo got personal as well, sharing some anecdotes about how Israel influenced him growing up as a Christian and also as an officer cadet in the U.S. Army during his training at West Point.
“Israel’s story is part of my story too,” Pompeo said, recalling that as part of his army education he studied Israeli military history and put it into practice himself. “Israel’s famous tank victories in the Yom Kipur war taught me valuable lessons for leading my own tank unit patrolling the Iron Curtain,” Pompeo said.
“When I first visited the Holy Land decades ago as a private citizen I experienced a transcendent connection walking in places I had heard about in church and read about in the bible all my life.”
Another guest at the CUFI conference was former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who is considered a presidential contender in 2024. Haley described her efforts at the UN to get the international body to stop automatically condemning Israel.
“Israel shares our values and is the only true democracy in the Middle East,” Haley said. “But most importantly, you know this indisputable fact – you can’t destroy what God has blessed.”
by Guy Millière
▪ A few months ago, a police officer, Noam Anouar, who infiltrated Islamist circles… stated that no-go zones in France are now foreign enclaves on French territory. “The gangs operating there,” he wrote, “have formed a parallel economy based on drug trafficking. They consider themselves at war with France and with Western civilization. They act in cooperation with Islamist organizations, and define acts of predation and rampage as raids against infidels”. He noted that reclaiming these areas today would be complicated, costly, and involve calling in the army.
▪ For years, successive French governments have chosen a policy of “willful blindness”: they simply behave as if they do not see what is going on. They do not even try to find solutions.
While France’s general population remains under strict lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and police have been ordered to enforce the rules ruthlessly, people living in no-go zones are treated differently. Police officers have been told by the government not to stop them at all and to avoid going near where they live. Pictured: A garbage dumpster burns in the street during a riot in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, in the northern suburbs of Paris, on April 21, 2020. (Photo by Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP via Getty Images)
Saturday, April 18, 11 pm. Villeneuve-la-Garenne, a small town in the northern suburbs of Paris. A young man rides a motorcycle at high speed and hits the door of a police car. He breaks his leg. He is sent to the hospital. He does not have a driver’s license but does have a long criminal history. He was sentenced several times by the courts for drug trafficking, robbery with violence and sexual assault.
As soon as news of the accident is released, hostile messages about the police circulate on social media; and in a dozen cities in France, riots break out. The riots are continue for five days in a row. A police station in Strasbourg is attacked and set on fire. A school is nearly destroyed a few miles from Villeneuve-la-Garenne.
Rather than responding with firm language, the French government is saying that an investigation into the behavior of the police has been opened and that the officers will most likely be punished.
The coronavirus pandemic, which struck France hard, has been aggravating the serious problems already plaguing the country.
France’s general population remains under extremely strict lockdown; the police have been ordered to enforce the rules ruthlessly. Permits to leave one’s home were limited to 60 minutes, once a day, and no farther than half a mile. On Aril 23, Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner said, “Since the start of the lockdown, more than 915,000 citations have been handed out; 15.5 million persons have been stopped and checked”. The citations, according to newspapers, were given to people who stayed outside for more than an hour, or who went beyond the authorized limits.
People living in no-go zones [zones-urbaines-sensibles “sensitive urban zones”] are treated differently. Police officers have been told by the government not to stop them at all and to avoid as much as possible going near where they live.
Yves Lefebvre, president of a police union, remarked:
“The choice of the government is easy to explain,” he said. “The police would not have the materiel or the manpower to calm a large uprising”. He compared the current condition to riots in October 2005, and added that the situation in France today is quite different.
The situation in France today is quite different. It is worse…..
To read this entire article, go to: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15977/france-no-go-zones-riots
On Easter Sunday (April 12, 2020), Italian tenor and global music icon Andrea Bocelli will give a solo performance at the historic Duomo, the cathedral of Milan, Italy, by invitation of the City and of the cathedral, and thanks to the hospitality of the Archpriest and the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo.
“On the day on which we celebrate the trust in a life that triumphs, I’m honored and happy to answer ‘Sì’to the invitation of the City and the Duomo of Milan.”This is how Andrea Bocelli said ‘yes’to the City of Milan in this dark time that has wounded all of Italy.
There will be no audience present, and strictly no access for the public (in compliance with government regulations on Covid-19), but the concert will be exclusively streamed live globally on the tenor’s YouTube channel, () from 6pm UK time, 10am PST, 1pm EST, uniting the world in the face of a global pandemic.
In a concert representing a message of love, healing and hope to Italy and the world, the Duomo, a national and international landmark, currently closed to all, will open its doors exceptionally for Andrea Bocelli who will be accompanied only by the cathedral organist, Emanuele Vianelli, playing one of world’s largest pipe organs. The carefully selected pieces, specially arranged for solo voice and organ for the occasion, will include the well-loved Ave Maria setting by Bach/Gounod and Mascagni’s Sancta Maria –uplifting sacred music repertoire on a day symbolic of the renewal of life.
The event is promoted by the City of Milan and the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, produced by Sugar Music and Universal Music Group, thanks to the generous contribution of YouTube. Andrea Bocelli’s participation is entirely pro-bono (in collaboration with Almud and Maverick Management).
“I am happy Andrea has accepted our invitation,”said the Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala. “This year, Easter will be very different for all of us. The joyous serenity that usually comes with this day, has been greatly troubled by the pandemic we are experiencing. I am sure that the extraordinary voice of Bocelli will be the embrace we are missing these days, a strong, special hug, capable of warming the heart of Milan, Italy and the world.”
“Our ‘Hallelujah’is an invitation that we placed in the ark forty days ago and that the flood, which has overwhelmed us all, almost made us forget the joy of expressing it on the day of Easter. The voice and word of Andrea Bocelli reminds us that the reason for our hope does not come from us but it is a gift that comes from God. This is what it means to promote, from our Duomo – the home of the people of Milan – and through the voice of Bocelli, the confidence that the Spirit of the Risen Crucifix will help us shape the days granted to us in the Kingdom of the One who wanted a new humanity, united and fraternal,”said Monsignor Gianantonio Borgonovo, Archpriest of the Duomo of Milan.
“I believe in the strength of praying together; I believe in the Christian Easter, a universal symbol of rebirth that everyone –whether they are believers or not –truly needs right now. Thanks to music, streamed live, bringing together millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world, we will hug this wounded Earth’s pulsing heart, this wonderful international forge that is reason for Italian pride.
While much of the Western world is in quarantine and many fear that the worst is still yet to come from the coronavirus, many Muslims around the world aren’t worried at all: they are sure that Allah will protect them from the plague. As a result, they’re gathering in large numbers, thereby endangering their coreligionists and infidels alike.
While most mosques in the Toronto area (where Ontario Premier Doug Ford has declared a state of emergency) have closed, Zahir Bacchus, who serves as the imam at Jamiat Al Ansar in Brampton, Ontario and belongs to the Canadian Council of Imams (CCI), said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has put Muslims in uncharted territory. We’ve asked Muslims to pray at home, pray with their families and loved ones —just don’t come to the mosque.”
The imams of the CCI believe that the Muslims who are not heeding this advice are reflecting an “allegiance to certain foreign scholars not heeding the calls, and in the process endangering Canadian lives.”
There is certainly no shortage of “foreign scholars”who are claiming that the virus doesn’t infect Muslims. , Shi’ite leader Muqtada al-Sadr declared: “One of the most appalling things that have caused this epidemic is the legalization of same-sex marriage. Hence, I call on all governments to repeal this law immediately and without any hesitation.”In the meantime, hundreds of his followers gathered in a mosque and chanted “coronavirus has terrified you.”What could possibly go wrong?
Hundreds of Muslims also defied quarantine regulations and crowded into mosques in ; of them, a student named Koulanya Abo, declared: “This is a time people have to go to the mosque and pray ceaselessly. Anything out of that will not be tolerated by Allah, because this is a period where people are facing a lot of difficulties due to the outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19.”
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (), Yemeni Islamic scholar Ibrahim Al-Ubeidi explained that many of these difficulties people were facing were the fault of, you guessed it, the Jews. He explained that Jews, working with Americans, had cooked up the coronavirus as part of their nefarious plan to seize control of the two holiest sites in Islam, the mosques in Mecca and Medina. This was, he said, all part of the larger scheme to “Judaize”Mecca and Medina that led the Jews to place the House of Saud on the throne of Arabia 100 years ago.
That’s weapons-grade conspiracy paranoia, and it isn’t al-Ubeidi’s alone. jihad group leader Hafiz Aakif Saeed said that the coronavirus was “the wrath of Allah Almighty, befalling largely on the developed world and their oppressor rulers who had subjected innocent Muslims to persecution and genocide over the last 50 years.”And , a Muslim leader, Sheikh Sani Jingir, claimed that coronavirus was a Western conspiracy designed to prevent Muslims from performing the rites of their religion. Jingir “insisted that coronavirus was not real,”and “said any Muslims who believed in Trump and stopped praying at the Holy Mosque in Mecca should seek for God’s forgiveness.”
In a similar vein, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute , an imam in Gaza, Jamil Al-Mutawa, preached a sermon in which he said that Allah was afflicting non-Muslims with coronavirus while sparing Muslims. Allah “has sent just one soldier,”he said, referring to the coronavirus. “What would happen had he sent 50 like the coronavirus? He has sent just one soldier and it has hit all 50 [American] states. An hour ago, they said on TV that in California…They said that they expect 58% of California to be infected within two months. They talk about 25 million infected people in just one of the 50 states. Allah be praised. Look how anyone who schemes against the Al-Aqsa Mosque is being shattered to smithereens by the soldiers of Allah.”He spoke about Israel in the same way: “Look how empty the [Israeli] cities are. Look how empty their streets are and look how crowded this mosque is. Who is it that has given us security and terrified them? Who is it that has protected us and harmed them? It is,”he said, triumphantly drawing the word out, “Allaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”
Al-Mutawa added: “The Muslims are the people who are least infected. The only country where nobody has died…When I entered this mosque, I received a text message that the 56 people who had been quarantined in Bethlehem have been completely healed by the grace of Allah. Brothers, before I entered the mosque, I contacted senior doctors, and they told me that as of this moment, there is not a single case in Gaza.”
The next day, coronavirus cases were confirmed in Gaza, but that is not likely to have changed al-Mutawa’s mind: he knows his dogmas are truer than the data of experience.
Also, when reality is uncomfortable, one can simply fabricate a world that is more to one’s liking. India’s reported Thursday that a video claiming that President Trump is participating in Islamic prayers in order to ward off coronavirus has gone viral. The text accompanying the vide says: “The world’s most powerful country also acknowledged the power of the Quran and read the Quran in the White House and prayed for Crona [sic], share this, respect every religion.”However, you may be surprised to learn that the President is not really turning to Islam: the video is really from an interfaith service Trump attended in 2017.
Denial and wishful thinking are terrible tools for confronting the coronavirus. The worst part of all this is that others who have been more prudent may be infected by those who have given themselves over to these fantasies.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with his ministerial team on Sunday to discuss , after which he held a press conference lauded the “extraordinary cooperation” between the US and Israel to thwart the viruses spread.
Netanyahu spoke with US Vice President Pence hours before meeting with ministers in his cabinet and thanked President Donald Trump and Pence “for their extraordinary cooperation with Israel” during the Sunday night press conference.
He said the “finest people in the world” are dealing with the coronavirus, including Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator in the White Houseand head of the U.S.’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We can learn a lot from them and we deeply appreciate the opportunity to cooperate, especially on the technological solutions for widespread screening and perhaps to get as soon as we can to home screening,”Netanyahu said. “I think this will change the situation, not only for the United States and for Israel, but for the world. I’m deeply grateful for this cooperation that is so important for the State of Israel and for many, many others.”
The PM held a meeting on Monday with senior technological experts working to track the coronavirus, a team from Health Ministry and the other relevant government ministries.
“The steps that we have taken up until today have proven themselves because we really are in a situation of control, and the spread of the disease is of a much lower scope,” he said. “We see a sharp increase in many other countries and we reached the conclusion that if we need to take other steps, this will, in effect, be applied to all countries.”
“Health takes precedence, over everything, this is life itself,” Netanyahu emphasized.