Islamist Watch

ISLAMIST WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, combats the ideas and institutions of lawful Islamism in the United States and throughout the West. Arguing that "radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution," we seek to expose the Islamist organizations that currently dominate the debate, while identifying and promoting the work of moderate Muslims. Islamist Watch specifically does not deal with counterterrorism but works to establish that lawful Islamism is by and of itself a threat.

Latest Islamist Watch Articles

The Rising Sex Traffic in Forced Islamic Marriage  Quadrant Online  March 2014
Multiculturalism's Child Brides  Quadrant Online  February 26, 2014
The Pentagon's Bow to Islamic Extremism  FrontPage Magazine  February 12, 2014

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Nonviolent Islamism in the News

New York Drops Unit That Spied on Muslims  New York Times  April 15, 2014
NYPD disbanding Muslim spying unit  New York Post  April 15, 2014
The Boston bombing and the 'Islamophobia' scam  Daily Caller  April 15, 2014
Brandeis, Female Mutilation and the Falsehoods of a Faculty Petition  FrontPage Magazine  April 15, 2014
The FBI Could Have Stopped the Boston Bombing  FrontPage Magazine  April 15, 2014

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IW News Brief: NYPD Vindicated, Islamists United, and More

by David J. Rusin  •  Mon, 31 Mar 2014, 12:41 PM

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Islamist Watch (IW) maintains an extensive archive of news items on nonviolent Islamism in the Western world. The complete collection can be found here; lists organized by topic are accessible on the right side of the IW homepage.

The following are some of the recent developments covered in the IW database:

Federal judge backs NYPD's counterterrorism tactics

Outraging Islamists, U.S. District Judge William Martini dismissed a lawsuit accusing the New York Police Department of violating Muslims' civil rights by covertly investigating mosques, businesses, and student groups in New Jersey to identify possible terrorists. The plaintiffs, he explains, "have not alleged facts from which it can be plausibly inferred that they were targeted solely because of their religion. The more likely explanation for the surveillance was a desire to locate budding terrorist conspiracies" after 9/11. "The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself." To the extent that Muslims experienced "adverse effects," the secret program's disclosure by the Associated Press is to blame. "Nowhere … do plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior" to that, he notes. An appeal was filed; a separate suit is pending in a Brooklyn court.

The ruling is the latest vindication of the NYPD and a win for common sense. Why does counterterrorism work gravitate to the Muslim community? Because that is where terrorists tend to be found. Other police departments would be wise to ignore the Islamists' complaints, some of which compared the NYPD's efforts to Japanese-American internment, and instead emulate the NYPD. With the anniversary of the Boston attacks near, they should heed an Investor's Business Daily editorial: "If Boston authorities had been as proactive as their counterparts in New York, they might have caught the radicalization of the Tsarnaev brothers at their Cambridge mosque."

Left: Judge William Martini, a reasonable man in unreasonable times. Right: CAIR's Nihad Awad spoke at the launch of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations on March 12.

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IW News Brief: Islamist Condos, Vaccine Lawsuit, and More

by David J. Rusin  •  Thu, 27 Feb 2014, 1:24 PM

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Islamist Watch (IW) maintains an extensive archive of news items on nonviolent Islamism in the Western world. The complete collection can be found here; lists organized by topic are accessible on the right side of the IW homepage.

The following are some of the recent developments covered in the IW database:

Massive Muslim enclave planned for Toronto area

Residents of Thornhill Woods, a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, are up in arms about a proposed "high-density Muslim community" there. On land that includes its Jaffari Centre mosque, the Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat (ISIJ) wants to add a pair of 17-story condo towers and 61 townhouses, prompting a parade of objections at a public hearing on February 4. Though many concerns focus on overcrowding in the low-density neighborhood, some fear a Muslim-only enclave. Developer Shafiq Punjani insisted that "it will be open to everybody," but ISIJ president Shabbir Jeraj has said the opposite (see video at the link). Asked if the housing will be exclusively for Muslims, he replied, "Of course! Because we are building it. We are paying for it."

Also alarming is that the ISIJ-affiliated East End Madrassah was using Iranian teaching materials that call Jews "crafty" and "treacherous," while urging boys to stay fit "so that you may physically be ready for jihad whenever the time comes for it." Moreover, the ISIJ demanded that Ontario's government apologize for welcoming Salman Rushdie. Problematic Muslim enclaves are not uncommon, but the boldness of the ISIJ plan, the radicalism of its backers, and its location in a "predominantly Jewish area" make this a particularly interesting battle to watch. A city council-sanctioned working group will offer rezoning recommendations by summer.

Left: In this video, a member of the Jaffari Centre looks forward to gender-segregated swimming at the complex. Right: The flu is spreading, but so are conflicts over vaccinations.

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IW News Brief: PC Counterterrorism, Brothers in Exile, and More

by David J. Rusin  •  Fri, 31 Jan 2014, 9:55 AM

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Islamist Watch (IW) maintains an extensive archive of news items on nonviolent Islamism in the Western world. The complete collection can be found here; lists organized by topic are accessible on the right side of the IW homepage.

The following are some of the recent developments covered in the IW database:

Washington promises more politically correct counterterrorism

"The Justice Department will significantly expand its definition of racial profiling to prohibit federal agents from considering religion, national origin, gender, and sexual orientation in their investigations," the New York Times reports, citing an anonymous official. The move responds to "criticism from civil rights groups that say federal authorities have in particular singled out Muslims in counterterrorism investigations." NBC confirms that there will be no exception for national security matters. Details of the updated policy were leaked from a meeting between Attorney General Eric Holder and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City. De Blasio has pledged to rein in the NYPD's controversial intelligence programs that target Muslims.

But counterterrorism has not focused on the Muslim community due to bias; it has done so because that is where the terrorists are. A review of Justice Department data finds that "more than 80 percent of all convictions tied to international terrorist groups and homegrown terrorism since 9/11 involve defendants driven by a radical Islamist agenda." Muslims also dominate the FBI's list of wanted terrorists. Further, while demographic factors have few intrinsic links to most types of crime, Islamist terrorism has religion at its heart. Ignoring reality by formalizing a see-no-Islam approach to terrorism can only end in more Fort Hoods, more Bostons, and worse.

Left: Eric Holder's comical aversion to acknowledging radical Islam as a motivator of specific terror plots was on display at a House Judiciary Committee hearing in 2010. Right: Above this London storefront is the new base of operations for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

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IW News Brief: CAIR's Top Jew, Vaccine Squabble, and More

by David J. Rusin  •  Tue, 31 Dec 2013, 2:19 PM

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Islamist Watch (IW) maintains an extensive archive of news items on nonviolent Islamism in the Western world. The complete collection can be found here; lists organized by topic are accessible on the right side of the IW homepage.

The following are some of the recent developments covered in the IW database:

CAIR's Philadelphia office hires Jewish executive director

The Philadelphia branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) threw a curveball in October by appointing Jacob Bender, a Jewish leftist, as its executive director, making him the highest-ranking non-Muslim in the nationwide Islamist group. Bender promptly released a letter that quotes from the Koran and speaks of "defending CAIR against the unfounded and hate mongering attacks of the Islamophobic network." He obviously has the jargon down pat. Some Jewish organizations are skeptical about Bender — and given his less-than-friendly stance toward Israel, they should be. The Philadelphia Daily News, which recently talked with him, fuels the fire by relaying that "he doesn't help himself, either, with his critics by refusing to say whether he supports Israel's right to exist." Bender remarked elsewhere that "I find no contradiction between my long-stated opinions on the Middle East and those of CAIR," adding that "I've never had any question or negative feeling about CAIR" — a disturbing thought considering its status as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal trial that focused on the illegal funding of Hamas.

"CAIR's choosing of a Jewish filmmaker to lead its Philadelphia chapter is just a headline-grabbing step in its overall interfaith offensive," writes the Clarion Project's Ryan Mauro, who notes how CAIR uses non-Muslim allies "as a battering ram." Bender's Jewish background provides specific advantages, including the opportunity to revisit the narrative — previously retailed by a CAIR spokesman on Iranian TV — that compares the plight of American Muslims to past Jewish suffering. He is already playing this card: "As part of a community that has historically faced persecution in Europe and the United States as well, I hope that I would bring a certain amount of sensitivity." A non-Muslim chapter head also bolsters CAIR's push to move beyond purely Muslim issues, a rebranding seen in its joining an anti-NSA lawsuit and calling for the Washington Redskins' name to be changed. As useful idiots go, Bender may be more useful to CAIR than most.

Left: Jacob Bender has had a long relationship with Islamists. His film Out of Cordoba was financed and advised by them. Right: Britain's National Health Service has been administering a nasal flu vaccine to kids — and upsetting some Muslims in the process.

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FBI Stats Further Debunk 'Islamophobia' Myth

by David J. Rusin  •  Sat, 30 Nov 2013, 12:58 PM

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The FBI's newly released hate crime statistics covering 2012 have once again thrown cold water on the tired narrative that American Muslims find themselves under siege from increasingly violent "Islamophobes." The 2012 numbers reinforce the conclusion drawn by Islamist Watch's previous analysis of post-9/11 (2002–11) FBI data: Muslims endure fewer hate crimes per capita than other prominent minorities. A closer look at the details:

  • FBI-tabulated incidents of anti-Islamic hate crime fell from 157 in 2011 to 130 in 2012, a decrease of 17.2 percent. Incidents of hate crime spanning all victim groups dropped by only 6.8 percent, 6,222 to 5,796.

  • Of the 1,099 incidents of hate crime motivated by religion in 2012, anti-Islamic ones constituted just 11.8 percent. Anti-Jewish crimes dominated the tally with 674 incidents, comprising 61.3 percent. This distribution saw little change from 2011.

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IW News Brief: NYC Elections, Swiss Burqa Ban, and More

by David J. Rusin  •  Thu, 31 Oct 2013, 1:45 PM

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Islamist Watch (IW) maintains an extensive archive of news items on nonviolent Islamism in the Western world. The complete collection can be found here; lists organized by topic are accessible on the right side of the IW homepage.

The following are some of the recent developments covered in the IW database:

Islamists salivate over Bill de Blasio, New York's mayor-in-waiting

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's successor will bring change to New York City, and some of it is likely to warm an Islamist's heart. Consider the NYPD's post-9/11 intelligence-gathering operations inside the Muslim community. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have defended these counterterrorism tactics against years of criticism; long-shot Republican candidate Joe Lhota also supports them. However, Democratic frontrunner Bill de Blasio has pledged to replace Kelly and clearly seeks to curb the NYPD, telling Muslims that "the efforts of surveillance have to be based on specifically specific information." Recapping the Islamist terror plots thwarted by the NYPD, writer Daniel Greenfield explains that "the standard of 'specifically specific information' would have led to the deaths of countless New Yorkers." He adds: "They relied on informants drawing out potential terrorists, instead of waiting blindly for them to strike. If Bill de Blasio has his way, that will no longer be something that the NYPD will be able to do." The sole silver lining is that any resulting tragedy will prompt the swift repudiation of such kinder, gentler counterterrorism — at least until forgetfulness triumphs once more.

Another probable change involves city schools. Both de Blasio and Lhota favor closing them on Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, a move that Bloomberg opposes. One can reasonably argue that Muslim holidays should be treated no differently than Jewish holidays if the two populations are of comparable size. Yet there are drawbacks to altering the calendar. First, the mere prospect of adding Muslim holidays has already sparked a flood of requests that other groups be similarly recognized. Second, this concession will only embolden Islamists to demand more — and that is never a happy outcome.

Left: Conspiracy theorist Linda Sarsour spoke at the October 16 rally of Muslims for de Blasio. Right: CAIR's Zead Ramadan, who has characterized NYPD counterterrorism work as "f—ked up," also attended the event, a month after he was trounced in a City Council primary.

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IW News Brief: CAIR Exposed, UK Burqa Battles, and More

by David J. Rusin  •  Mon, 30 Sep 2013, 2:00 PM

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Islamist Watch (IW) maintains an extensive archive of news items on nonviolent Islamism in the Western world. The complete collection can be found here; lists organized by topic are accessible on the right side of the IW homepage.

The following are some of the recent developments covered in the IW database:

CAIR can hide its foreign donors, but not its radicalism

September was the cruelest month for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose dirty laundry repeatedly made news. Just as CAIR was releasing a report that smears its opponents as bigots, the Justice Department's inspector general underscored the group's ugly track record by censuring FBI field offices for engaging CAIR in outreach despite a ban on such interactions due to its links to Hamas. Will greater isolation result? More damaging was a Daily Caller exposé of how CAIR uses "multiple corporate entities that conceal the large financial donations that come to CAIR from Middle East sources," including governments, in a shell game that appears to violate U.S. law. So much for CAIR's claim to speak for American Muslims.

Al-Shabaab's Kenyan mall massacre also created headaches for CAIR. Rumors that Americans were among the attackers sparked recollections of how CAIR had slammed critics of al-Shabaab and impeded investigations into the terror gang's recruitment of Muslims in the U.S. Regarding the possibility that Muslim Americans had participated in the bloodshed, spokesman Ibrahim Hooper offered this observation: "Who cares?" In yet another September embarrassment, it was revealed that representatives of Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir had "met with [CAIR executive director Nihad] Awad during the 2009 UN summit seeking his help to gain access to individuals in the Obama administration." This occurred eight months after Bashir was charged with crimes against humanity.

Left: Nihad Awad compared al-Shabaab terrorists to "advocates of Islamophobia." Right: Niqabs are seen — and will continue to be seen — at Birmingham Metropolitan College.

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IW News Brief: Morsi's U.S. Allies, Ramadan Recap, and More

by David J. Rusin  •  Sat, 31 Aug 2013, 12:13 PM

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Islamist Watch (IW) maintains an extensive archive of news items on nonviolent Islamism in the Western world. The complete collection can be found here; lists organized by topic are accessible on the right side of the IW homepage.

The following are some of the recent developments covered in the IW database:

American Brotherhood mobilizes for Morsi

Ever since the military deposed Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, U.S. Brotherhood-linked groups have been working to resurrect the ousted regime. Beyond statements from the likes of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urging President Obama to condemn the army's crackdown and stop aid, U.S. Brotherhood entities have launched pro-Morsi demonstrations disguised as nothing more than apolitical calls for democracy and human rights. Multiple Islamist-run rallies have taken place in Washington. At a news conference preceding one on August 10, a receptionist even admitted to an Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) researcher that it was a Brotherhood gathering. On August 16, CAIR-Connecticut held events to "restore democracy and the rule of law in Egypt," and Houston branches of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and Muslim American Society (MAS) descended on Egypt's consulate.

The IPT's John Rossomando exposes their hypocrisy: American Islamists now decry "the undermining of democracy and the suppression of freedom of expression in Egypt," to quote ICNA, but they "failed to express similar concern when Morsi's regime engaged in its own violence and repression against dissidents." CAIR leaders defended Morsi's dictatorial power grab last year and reflexively backed his government when popular resistance erupted in June. Rossomando concludes that such groups' "loyalty to their Islamist ideology and to their Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood compatriots comes ahead of an even-handed approach to human rights."

Left: Islamists and fellow travelers protested in Washington, D.C., on August 10. Right: During Ramadan, the Muslim prayer call by muezzin Hassen Rasool was heard daily on Britain's Channel 4.

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In Hollywood, It's Déjà Vu All Over Again

by Hillel Zaremba  •  Mon, 5 Aug 2013, 4:44 PM

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This time, Hollywood collaborates with Islamists

Author Ben Urwand has ignited a controversy with his claim that Hollywood effectively collaborated with Hitler's Nazi regime in the late 1930s to expunge any material that might depict Germany and the Fuehrer damagingly. Fearing a loss of an important revenue stream, Jewish film moguls like Louis B. Mayer (MGM) and Adolph Zukor (Paramount) cut scenes, ran scripts by Nazi censors for approval and abandoned promising film projects in an attempt to placate Berlin. While Brandeis professor Thomas Doherty challenges this characterization of Hollywood's behavior (especially the use of words like "collaboration" and "pact" in the book's title), Urwand backs up his assertions with compelling documentation.

Fast forward to the 21st century where violent Islamists have, by one estimate, perpetrated over 21,000 deadly terror attacks worldwide since 9/11. And while the studio system may be gone, it is undeniable that once again Hollywood is largely afraid of depicting totalitarians as the "bad guys." As Daniel Pipes has chronicled, Hollywood avoids Muslim antagonists like the plague, transforming, for example, the Arab terrorists in Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears, into neo-Nazis in the filmic version. Meanwhile, Zero Dark Thirty, the Oscar-nominated 2012 movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was savaged by critics, politicians and Hollywood elites alike for purportedly whitewashing the tough choices sometimes made by those engaged in the war against Islamist terror.

Hollywood Producer Howard Gordon (L) with the executive director of the Islamist group Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Salam al-Marayati, at an MPAC Hollywood Bureau event.

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IW News Brief: A Long, Hot Summer of Riots and Rallies

by David J. Rusin  •  Wed, 31 Jul 2013, 12:10 PM

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Islamist Watch (IW) maintains an extensive archive of news items on nonviolent Islamism in the Western world. The complete collection can be found here; lists organized by topic are accessible on the right side of the IW homepage.

The following are some of the recent developments covered in the IW database:

No niqab, no peace: Burqa riots hit France

"About 250 people hurling projectiles clashed with police firing tear gas west of Paris, in apparent protest over enforcement of France's ban on Islamic face veils," the AP reported on July 20. Centered in the suburb of Trappes, the turmoil erupted after a woman was ticketed for wearing a face veil (niqab) and her husband was arrested for allegedly trying to strangle the cop. He later walked free pending a court appearance in September. Disturbances persisted for multiple nights and included the torching of cars and a warehouse. Anti-"Islamophobia" activists claim that the officer provoked the man by mistreating his wife, but Interior Minister Manuel Valls has defended both the controversial law and the police.

This is not the first violent response to the French prohibition on face coverings. Dozens attacked police in June when officers stopped a niqab-clad Muslim in a Paris suburb. Additionally, an AFP story from August 2012 notes that "a French Muslim woman has been charged with assault and inciting a riot after she refused a police ID check because she was wearing a banned full-face veil" near the city of Lille. Weeks prior to that, "three officers in the southern city of Marseille sustained minor injuries after they stopped a fully veiled woman by a mosque." Belgium, another burqa-restricting country, suffered mass violence following a veil-related arrest in 2012.

Left: One resident predicted that "Trappes will be Chechnya" in two decades' time. Right: Turkish Americans from across the nation denounced Fethullah Gülen on July 13.

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