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A Front For Jihad By: Joseph D'Hippolito
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, September 22, 2004

As it rumbles down a narrow road in the West Bank, a steel-gray tank confronts a boy in his early teens, his right arm cocked, ready to throw a rock.

"This occupying army is supported by the West," reads the caption above the tank. Another caption to the rock-thrower's left asks, "Who is going to support this boy?"

That picture greets visitors to the website of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, an organization with a noble title and an ignoble purpose: to provide a front for anti-Western, anti-Semitic jihadism.

The IHRC, based in London and founded in 1997, adopts the feminist and gay models for activism. The commission positions itself as the defender of Muslims around the world who have been victimized by what the group calls, "Islamophobia".

How does the IHRC define "Islamophobia"? Just look at the "winners" of the commission's first Islamophobia Awards Ceremony late last year.

Most Islamophobic Media Outlet: Fox Network News

Most Islamophobic International Politician: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Islamophobe of the Year: President George W. Bush.

To the IHRC, fighting "Islamophobia" means opposing laws that prohibit Muslim women from wearing headscarves, boycotting companies that do business in Israel and supporting radical Muslim clerics in custody (such as Sheikh Abdul Kareem Obeid, the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, who was freed in January), Chechen independence and the Palestinian intifada.

The IHRC has even mastered the paranoid, hysterical rhetoric of its models. Massoud Shadjareh, the commission's chairman and co-founder, told the Edinburgh newspaper The Scotsman in February that proposals from Britain's Home Office to strengthen anti-terrorism laws were "the sort of legislation that in Germany led to genocide and concentration camps."

One example of the IHRC's activism involves Iran's Arash Miresmaeili, the two-tim e world judo champion who refused to compete against an Israeli in the first round of this year's Olympic judo competition.

As Front Page Magazine reported in "All Free Men Are Israeli Olympians," Miresmaeili said he deliberately forfeited to support the Palestinians. Olympic authorities considered expelling him from Athens, so the IHRC asked supporters to send form letters to the International Olympic Committee and the International Judo Federation.

"That you should choose to differentiate between this political boycott and others, such as the boycott of South Africa under the apartheid regime, and of Serbia in 1992 for its commission of war crimes in Bosnia, smacks of sheer hypocrisy," part of the form letter states. "Further, it demeans the plight of the Palestinians and effectively legitimizes the Israeli policy of apartheid."

Another example of IHRC activism is the work of lawyer Mudassar Arani, who received an award in June for what the commission called "challenging Islamophobia." Arani represents Sheikh Abu Hamsa al-Masri, who was arrested by British authorities and awaits extradition to the United States to face charges of supporting terrorism. The sheikh made these remarks in London's radical Finsbury Park Mosque one month before his arrest:

"The ideology of martyrdom is spreading now in our (Islamic) nation, praise be to Allah," reported the Middle East Media Research Institute. "It exposes the (falsehood of the) People of the Book" - the Muslim term for Christians and Jews - "especially the Jews, who claim they are God's deputies on earth, but they are lying."

IHRC activism includes spinning world events to portray Muslims as perpetual victims, never as perpetrators. Concerning the crisis in Sudan, the IHRC's Web site links to a story from Britain's Leftist newspaper, The Guardian, which reports that the European Union did not consider the killing in Sudan's Darfur region as genocide. Another link to a story from another British newspaper, The Independent, describes Sudanese Muslims being brutalized by non-Muslim tribesmen. The story quotes one 23-year-old refugee, Asif Omar Sayeed:

"The foreigners blame us for everything," he said. "But I realize what is going on. The Americans and the British want to use this as an excuse to occupy our country, just as they have done in Iraq. Like Iraq, we have oil. What has happened made me realize that, as a true Muslim, I must fight for my country when the foreigners come."

An IHRC report from 1996 concerning Chechnya issues an intimidating warning, particularly frightening in light of the massacre of schoolchildren in Beslan. After calling Russia "the only colonial dinosaur that remains in the modern world," the report concludes thus:

"If international law does not rise to the challenge in the killing fields of Chechnya, it must prepare to be blown away in a cloud of its own dust and dreams."

A link to an editorial from Crescent International magazine published after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks proves even more chilling. Some excerpts:

"We know from past experience that people who feel themselves and their peoples to be under sustained and unrelenting attack can react in the most unbelievable ways.

"The problem is that none of these (Americans) seem to realize that America has long been at war with numerous peoples all over the world. This is not the opening salvo of a new war; it is probably likely a stunningly successful attempt by one of America's many victims to hit back - very, very hard.

"(The) argument is that democracy, freedom and civilization are under attack and must be forcefully defended; such words ring hollow from Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Vladimir Putin, George W. Bush, Colin Powell and Tony Blair, each of whom has been responsible for far, far more death and suffering than seen in the US yesterday."

By contrast, the IHRC shows no support for Muslims oppressed by Iran's brutal theocracy or by Syria's occupation of Lebanon. Nor does the group fight for civilians from Egypt, Kuwait and Turkey (let alone from Western nations) who were abducted and murdered in Iraq by ad hoc jihadists. That selective outrage accurately reflects the agenda of the IHRC's advisory board.

One advisor is Dr. Muhammad al-Massari, who heads a London-based organization that seeks to overthrow the Saudi monarchy. Al-Massari said the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center "was a counterattack for the attacks on Iraq and Palestine," he told Associated Press.

"One Muslim decided to take action," al-Massari said about Osama bin Laden. "He took one eye for a hundred. He still has 99 eyes to go."

Another advisor is Hamid Algar, professor of Persian and Islamic Studies at UC Berkeley. In an address honoring Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1994, Algar praised and advocated global jihad:

"Let us remember the comprehensive Jihad that starts with our own persons and should also embrace our communal and political lives and if necessary go to the point of taking weapons in our hands to defeat the enemies of Islam."

Algar immediately defined those enemies:

"Let us remember the clear analysis of the West that Imam (Khomeini) gave us.. as a collection of international bandits.which has consolidated itself since Imam's death. Let us also remember his insistence that the abominable genocide state of Israel completely disappear from the face of the globe."

In Algar's universe, jihad has no innocent victims. Witness his opinion of Palestinian suicide bombers:

"That term, an invention of the West. is not very helpful," Algar told California Monthly, UC Berkeley's alumni magazine. "While no one can take pleasure in the sight, as you say, of women and children being killed, it seems to me that a greater degree of moral condemnation should be reserved for those who continue, daily, with impunity, to kill and to humiliate the Palestinian people.

"In other words, there is definitely a cause-and-effect relationship here, and to criticize or condemn an effect while overlooking the cause is not very helpful."

Algar's support for violence is not always so polite. In 1998, he verbally harassed and spat upon members of UC Berkeley's Armenian Student Association, who were commemorating the genocide of Armenians by the Turks.

"It was not a genocide, but I wish it were, you lying pigs," Shake Hovsepian quoted Algar for Usanogh: Periodical of Armenian Students. "You are distorting the truth about history. You stupid Armenians; you deserve to be massacred!"

The students filed a grievance and Berkeley's Associated Students demanded that the administration force Algar to issue a written public apology or censure him.

Another advisor is Mohammed al- Asi, a research fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought and the imam of the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. Muslim student associations regularly invite al-Asi to speak at their events, where he dispenses more incendiary rhetoric.

"The Zionist-Israeli lobby is taking the United States to the abyss," al-Asi said at UC Irvine in 2001.

"We have a psychosis in the Jewish community that is unable to co-exist equally and brotherly with other human beings. You can take the Jew out of the ghetto but you cannot take the ghetto out of the Jew."

During the 1990-91 war to free Kuwait from Iraq, al-Asi said, "If the Americans are placing their forces in the Persian Gulf, we should be creating another war front for the Americans in the Muslim world - and specifically where American interests are concentrated."

The long-term goal of such military action is the imposition of a worldwide Islamic state, as al-Asi stated in a paper presented in 2000. Some excerpts:

"...all the Muslims . are living in a kafir (unbelievers') domain; they are virtually adrift and homeless. The inherent condition of today's Muslims who have lost sight of a Prophet as commander is a religious community of people who are beholden to the forces and powers of kufr (apostasy): secular kufr and religious kufr, mental kufr and military kufr, as well as kufr by choice and kufr by force.

"Never in the history of ijtihad (theological analysis) have we Muslims had to live in a time in which we no longer have in our possession a government which belongs to all the Muslims, or at the very minimum which is open to the Ummah's (community of believers') popular affiliation.

"We should not be studying hair-splitting fiqhi (legalistic) issues in halaqat (study sessions and circles); we should be learning how to consolidate our social will-power and how to form active and status-quo-challenging units throughout our African and Asian lands to reclaim them for Islam."

The world has heard similar rhetoric before.

The Nazis cleverly manipulated the German people's collective frustration into a pervasive sense of victimization. Then the Nazis offered the answer: Germans should embrace their inherent superiority, forcefully claim their entitled power and destroy all who oppose them - even, as history showed, children.

Given its selective outrage and its advisors' values, the Islamic Human Rights Commission is as much of a non sequitur as a National Socialist Human Rights Commission would be.

Joseph D’Hippolito is a columnist for Frontpagemag.com, whose main focuses are religion and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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