An Interview with Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte Gabriel is a wonderful author and activist who has first hand experience dealing with Islam, Islamic extremists and Islamic terrorist organisations. Here is an interesting interview that appeared on the New York Times website.

I recommend her book ‘Because They Hate’ to anyone interested in Islamists, the Lebanese Civil War, Role of Israel in Lebanese Christian resistance or just a touching human story.

As a Lebanese-Christian immigrant who spent her girlhood amid the bloody devastation of the Lebanese civil war, you have lately emerged as one of the most vehement critics of radical Islam in this country. Are you concerned that your new book, “They Must Be Stopped,” will feed animosity toward Muslims? I do not think I am feeding animosity. I am bringing an issue to light. I disapprove of any religion that calls for the killing of other people. If Christianity called for that, I would condemn it.

What about all the moderate Muslims who represent our hope for the future? Why don’t you write about them? The moderate Muslims at this point are truly irrelevant. I grew up in the Paris of the Middle East, and because we refused to read the writing on the wall, we lost our country to Hezbollah and the radicals who are now controlling it.

In your new book, you write about the Muslim presence in America and bemoan the rise of Islamic day schools and jihad summer camp. Is there really such a thing? Yes. Instead of taking lessons on swimming and gymnastics, the kids are listening to speakers give lectures titled “Preparation for Death” and “The Life in the Grave.”

You also lament the public foot baths that have been installed at the University of Michigan and elsewhere to accommodate Muslim students. I lived in the Middle East for the first 24 years of my life. Never once did I see any foot-washing basins in airports or public buildings. So why are they pushing them down the throats of Americans?

I can’t get upset if people want to wash their feet before they pray. This is the way they are taking over the West. They are doing it culturally inch by inch. They don’t need to fire one bullet. Look what is happening in Europe. Do we want to become like “Eurabia”?

But relatively few Muslims live in this country — about three million, or 1 percent of the population, whereas Amsterdam, for instance, has been estimated to be as high as 24 percent Muslim. They started as guest workers in Europe; they grow at a much faster rate than any other religion.

Your last book related the story of your childhood in southern Lebanon, where you hid out in a bomb shelter for seven years after your house was destroyed by a Muslim militia. Were you surprised it became a best seller? No, I was not surprised. Anyone can relate to a story about human suffering inflicted by radicals.

Are your parents still in Lebanon? I became an orphan at the age of 23. Both my parents are buried in Israel, on Mount Zion, with Oskar Schindler.

Why did you bury them in Israel? I wanted to honor my parents. After all, it is the Holy Land. And I wanted to ensure that both my children will know where my loyalty lies — with Israel, because Israel for me represents democracy, respect and human rights, something that no other country in the Arabic world offers.

Are you an agent of the U.S. government? No.

Are you underwritten by the C.I.A.? No. Are you kidding? In 2000, I voted for Al Gore.

But I see that R. James Woolsey, a former director of the C.I.A., serves on the board of American Congress for Truth, your educational foundation. We also have John Loftus, a staunch Democrat and former Justice Department prosecutor. We are not Red or Blue.

Where do you live? I do not share that information because of the death threats I receive.

Threats from anyone we know? Al Qaeda mentioned my name on their top Internet sites and recently sent a press release about my work.

If you are worried about death threats, why would you put a glamorous photograph of yourself on the cover of your new book? In Lebanon, we were raised to be glamorous, feminine and sensual. It’s the only good thing we inherited from the French.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/magazine/17wwln-Q4-t.html?_r=1&ref=books&oref=slogin

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Sixteen Christian Converts Arrested…and Beaten (Iran)

Tehran, 29 July (AKI) – Sixteen Iranians who converted from Islam to Christianity were arrested on Tuesday in Malakshahr, on the outskirts of the central Iranian city of Isfahan.

The six women, eight men and two adolescents who were arrested were assisting in a conversion ceremony and baptism of three new members of the church at a private house that had been transformed into an evangelical church.

The owners of the home, an elderly couple, were allegedly beaten up before they were locked up in an unmarked lorry.

In April, 10 Christian converts were arrested in Shiraz.

The official evangelical churches in Isfahan received orders not to allow any Muslims to attend their ceremonies and not to facilitate in any way the conversions.

Iranian law does not stipulate any punishment for those who convert from Islam to other faiths, even if the converts are subject to repression.

A few months ago, the government presented a bill which is currently being discussed in parliament, to include in the penal code the crime of “Ertedad” which is the act of abandoning the Muslim faith.

If the parliament does approve the law, the punishment for abandoning Islam will be the death penalty.

Iran: Death to non-Muslims

Lawmakers in Iran are considering a proposal to make the death penalty automatic for those who leave the Muslim faith.

Abe Ghafari of Iranian Christians International, Inc. (ICI) was at least a little surprised to learn the news. “Before, it was like an option that an Islamic judge could decide to use or not to use — but now it will become an automatic thing. And from the language of the legislation, it seems like something that cannot be appealed,” Ghafari contends.

The death penalty would primarily apply to those who convert to the Christian faith. “There are large numbers of conversions from Islam, maybe even in the tens of thousands every year, and this is causing concern in the Islamic circles in Iran,” Ghafari explains.

People who use the Internet to convert people away from the Muslim faith will also be subject to the death penalty. Ghafari was asked if this information shocked him. “Yes, it does a bit because we do know that under Islamic law of Iran, there was always this option of issuing death penalties for any conversions from Islam. So this was already available, but it looks like they just want to escalate persecution – making the death penalty almost automatic for anyone who converts from Islam,” Ghafari adds.

While Christians are the primary target, anyone converting to the Bahá’í faith will also face the death penalty. Ghafari sees trouble ahead, and is hopeful Christians everywhere will pray for the underground church in Iran.

Information on legislation provided by ICI about Iranian apostasy and the death penalty is available here.

Religious Persecution in ‘Secular’ Turkey

Geert Wilders: Prisoner of Islam

By Diana West

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands — Having run the polite-but-grim gauntlet of Dutch government security to gain access to Geert Wilders, I finally understood what the 24-hour security requirements of the man’s continued existence really mean: To make the survival of Western-style liberty in the Netherlands his political cause, this Dutch parliamentarian has to live under high-tech lock and key.

This stunning paradox, with no end in sight, illustrates how far political freedom in the West has already eroded. Think of it: For writing about the repressive ideology of Islam, for arguing against the inequities of Sharia (Islamic law), for making a video (“Fitna”) to warn about Islamic jihad, Wilders lives in his own non-Islamic country under a specifically Islamic death threat.

If it is politically incorrect to notice this, it is also indisputably true. True, too, is that, sans state security, this death threat could conceivably be carried out anytime, anywhere — from the picturesque streets outside the Dutch parliament, to the house Wilders hasn’t slept in since 2004. That, of course, was when, on an Amsterdam street, a Muslim assassin plunged a knife into Theo van Gogh’s corpse, thus attaching the Islamic manifesto threatening both Wilders and his then-parliamentary colleague, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, with death.

Not long ago, political debate in the Netherlands met with, well, more political debate. Now, however, with a growing Muslim minority — and it’s politically incorrect to notice this, too — political debate sometimes meets with Islam-inspired political assassination. At least it has, traumatically, twice in recent years: once, with the 2002 murder of the anti-Islamic-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn by an animal rights activist who claimed Fortuyn was scapegoating Muslims; and the following year with the ritualistic Islamic murder of Van Gogh, director of “Submission,” a short video made with Hirsi Ali about Islamic mistreatment of women. In all, such Islam-inspired violence has been enough to chill Islam-inspired debate.

And that’s just the situation at home. This week, even as Amsterdam’s chief public prosecutor, Leo de Wit, announced that no charges would be brought against Wilders for “discrimination” or “incitement to hatred” related to Wilders’ writings or video, Jordan announced it is bringing a “Fitna”-related criminal case against the Dutch parliamentarian.

In other words, Jordan will indict a Dutch politician according to Jordanian (read: Islam-inspired) law. “Jordanian authorities are not aiming to arrest” the Dutch leader of the Freedom Party, Radio Netherlands Online reports. “They say the decision to prosecute was taken in order to send a signal to the Netherlands.”

A “signal”? How about a gag? Of course, like other Western peoples, the Dutch seem content to censor themselves, happily mouthing multicultural platitudes that effectively rationalize their own culture’s Islamization. Not Wilders.

I recently asked the 44-year-old Dutchman what was stronger in his country: Islam or multiculturalism.

“Unfortunately, they are both strong,” he replied, seated in his lightly furnished but heavily guarded office. “But cultural relativism is the biggest problem.” He went on to explain: “Multicultural society would not be that bad — I don’t really believe in it — but it would not be that bad if, at least, we would be strong enough to say that our culture is better and dominant. But when you combine multicultural society with a dominant sense of cultural relativism, you are heading in the wrong direction. You are committing suicide when it comes to your own culture.”

Hoping to preserve the primacy of Western culture in this Dutch corner of the West, Wilders advocates a halt to Islamic immigration. “I’m not saying that every Muslim in the Netherlands is a criminal or a terrorist,” he explains. “We know the majority is not. Still,” he continues, “there is good reason to stop the immigration, because the more we have an influx of Muslims in the Netherlands, the strength of the (Islamic) culture will grow, and the change of our societies will increase.” He sees his efforts as “a fight against an ideology that I believe at the end of the day will kill our freedom, kill our societies and change everything we stand for.”

He’s right — and, yes, it’s politically incorrect to say that, too. Everything the West stands for, starting with freedom of speech, is already changing as our institutions, up to and including, for example, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, increasingly proscribe critical references, or indeed, any references to Islam. While it’s clear that the European manifestation of Islamic ideology has already killed Wilders’ personal freedom in the Netherlands, the general impact on freedom throughout the West has yet to be fully appreciated.

“I have a mission,” Wilders said. “I believe very strongly in what I say, and my party fortunately shares this view. And nobody in the Netherlands is doing (what I do). And somebody should. And I pay a high price for it.”

What is the expression — freedom isn’t free? This is literally and acutely the case when it comes to this heroic Dutchman.

Crossroads in History: The Struggle against Jihad and Supremacist Ideologies

In fighting Islamic supremacism, instead of an approach only based on tactical measures and efforts at clever twists of terminology, what if America had a true strategy that was instead based on the defense of our values on human equality and liberty?

The true challenge of Islamic supremacism to America and the free world is not about Islam, Islamism, or terrorism, but about us. It is a historic challenge to determine whether we truly have the courage of our convictions on equality and liberty and we are willing to fight for these ideals, or if we will instead accept the continuing growth of anti-freedom ideologies here and around the world.

Islamic supremacists are counting on their belief that America is no longer willing to fight for such freedoms, that it has gotten too soft to do so, and that regardless of the success or failure of individual Jihadist tactics, eventually we will tolerate a continued growth of Islamic supremacism. The crossroads in history that we stand at remains whether or not we will prove Islamic supremacists correct, or if the idea defined in our very Declaration of Independence and chiseled in a marble memorial in America’s capital – that “all men are created equal” – is an idea that America will once again sacrifice to defend.

America and the West are at a critical crossroads in history in their faltering struggle with Islamic supremacist ideologies and Jihadist terror tactics. Increasingly, groups seek to halt any meaningful debate and halt any challenge to the ideology behind Jihad, and they seek to redirect such debate and action to focus only on the terrorist symptoms of such a supremacist ideology. Such diversionary efforts are being made by non-violent Islamic supremacist groups and activists, government officials, academics, and media commentators. The solution to this can be found in recognizing how Islamic supremacism (as any supremacist ideology) is opposed to our values, and in understanding America’s historical experience in defeating other supremacist ideologies.

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Religious Persecution (Algeria)

Four Algerians who converted to Christianity have been condemned to prison and heavy fines, while two others were set free after renouncing their conversion.

The defence lawyer said the four were charged with “illegally practicing a non-Muslim faith,” the French news agency AFP reported.

Attorney Khelloudja Khalfoun said one of the converts was sentenced to six months in prison and fined USD3,087, while the other three were sentenced to two months in prison and fined USD1,544 each.

The four converts, who were condemned by a court in Tiaret, refused to deny their faith, in contrast with the two others who were freed. Kheloudja told AFP that he would appeal the verdict, since only the ones who admitted they had converted were found guilty.

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