Archive for September, 2013

On Christian Zionism

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

NOTES FROM THE IIIT CONFERENCE ON GOOD GOVERNANCE IN ISLAM: CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES #12

[This is the twelfth in a series of my notes on the International Institute of Islamic Thought conference on Good Governance in Islam: Classical and Contemporary Approaches held in Herndon, VA. These notes have only been lightly edited and represent my perception of the discussion. The proceedings will be published by IIIT at a later time. Responsibility for any errors in the notes is mine alone. Names of participants (other than mine) in the general discussion have been omitted by request of the organizers.]

“On Christian Zionism” by Norton Mezvinsky, Ph.D., President, International Council for Middle East Studies (ICMES)

It is necessary to understand this faith-based phenomenon is not aimed at peacemaking. Evangelical Christian Zionism is major threat to our society both for its emphasis on Israel and Jews and toward Muslims and Islam. Not all Evangelicals in the US are Christian Zionists, only the vast majority. Rev. Jerry Falwell, one of the best known Christian Zionists bragged the number was 100 million, surely an exaggeration; but in 2012, 50 million is plausible estimate.

Christian Zionism is a movement in Protestant Christianity that grew out of pre-millennialism of John Nelson Darby and Edward Irvington dealing with such things as the anti-Christ and Armageddon. Dwight L. Moody, Billy Sunday, James Brooks Harol Ironsides, and Scofield, who applied Darby’s eschatology to the Bible. Gradually the Scofield Bible became the only version used by Evangelical Christians. He added the idea of the Rapture and marked history in periods called Dispensations. The fulfillment of prophetic signs becomes the central job of Christian Zionism. It supports the central claims of Jewish Zionism. It states without question that Israel must be in control of all of Palestine before the return of Jesus and that an Armageddon, the mother of all holocausts, must take place in which everyone except born-again Christians and the Jews will be destroyed. The Jews will convert to Christianity upon the return of Christ. The Christian Zionist lobby, far more than the Jewish Zionist lobby, is hostile to Islam and Muslims.

After the 1967 war Israel began to work closely with Christian Zionists.  In 1978 they were invited to Israel and Falwell was given a Lear jet. Twenty years ago Ed McKeever, considered by many to be the Godfather of the religious right in the US, said every grain of sand between the Mediterranean and the Jordan belongs to the Jews.  In Foreign Policy Stephen Zunes gave many examples to prove that Christian Zionists were more influential than Jewish Zionists. Christian Zionists support of settlements in the West Bank amounts to tens of millions of dollars. Best-selling novels beginning with Hal Lindsay’sThe Late Great Planet Earth demonstrate the size of this movement. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ Left Behind series are fictional popularizations of the Christian Zionists themes.

Christian Zionists leaders are publicly outspoken about their hatred for Islam and Muslims. The 1979 Iranian Revolution drove more concern. McKeever predicted that Islam is more dangerous than was generally believed and that the Muslims had declared war on the west. Pat Robertson, was named Christian broadcaster of the year in 1989, when he declared that Israel and American were on the same side against “evil Islam.” With the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait Christian Zionist speakers became regular guests on major news media, with Biblical prophecy at a fever pitch and with Iraq as “political Babylon.” Many believed that Saddam Hussein intended to rebuild the ancient city of Babylon. Charles Dyer of the Dallas seminary believed Saddam should rebuild Babylon so the returning Christ could destroy it. Charles Taylor reported what is transpiring is a shifting of nations to prepare for the return of Christ. The second Gulf War produced a mixed reaction. Michael Evans argued that terrorism is the logical consequence of Islam. Netanyahu has praised Evans for his “moral clarity.” John Hagee, probably the major Christian Zionist leader in the US, has consistently emphasized that Islam is an evil and dangerous religion and that militant Muslims are committed to the expansion of the Islamic empire to the entire world. For Hagee, Hamas and Hezbullah are the leaders of a war against Jews and a resurgent Russia will be their ally.

The antagonism exploded after 9/11/01. The role of Israel became more important and the Christian Zionists support of Israel increased. Gary Bauer considers himself to be a soldier in the clash of civilizations, and Israel and the US to be twin pillars of the West under attack from the same enemy. Numerous members of congress have declared their allegiance to and affiliation with Christian Zionism.

After 9/11 George W. Bush declared Islam was a religion of peace and the US was not at war with Islam, causing many Christian Zionists to criticize him. Franklin Graham, who converted Bush to Evangelical Christianity and gave the invocation at Bush’s inauguration, took issue with the President and declared Islam does not believe in coexistence with other religions. Rev. Ron Parsley, maybe the #2 Christian Zionist today, said the US should wage war against evil Islam.

To counter the threat Muslims must have a clear understanding of the threat posed by Christian Zionists. Most important is conveying the threat to others in our society unaware of the threat of Christian Zionism.

Discussant: Prof Muhammad Nimer

I question the numbers, but there is no doubt Christian Zionists are very powerful and very vocal. This relates to our subject as this is a religiously motivated political lobby. The question is what does this mean for emerging Arab governments in the region that are also faith-based?

Mezvinsky: If I had seven more hours I would have loved to talk about US policy in the Middle East and Arab governments. My topic was Christian Zionists, and I think it is sufficiently clear that they are major influence on American policy in the Middle East and I would argue that in the past two decades it was the most influential lobby.

GENERAL DISCUSSION

If any help is going to come to Palestinians in the US it is going to have to come from Christians.

Thomas Kidd’s American Christians and Islam traces hostility of American Christians to Islam back to the Tripoli pirates. Is this peculiar to Evangelical Christians?

Do you think Israel is losing the US as an ally?

Social forces can affect political outcomes. Are Christian Zionists aware of how the rhetoric increases hostility among radical Muslims.

Mezvinsky: There are some well funded Arab and Muslim organizations in DC, but they do not focus the effort that the Zionists do.

I agree with a great deal of what you said, but there are three problematic texts in the Bible: Daniel, Thessalonians and Revelation. We must educate ourselves about what Jews and Muslims say about themselves and others and we must become a power block in America. It is not easy to form a Muslim lobby, but it can be done.

I have heard it said that the Christian Zionists movement preceded the modern Jewish Zionist movement. Did some of the early Christian Zionists work for British intelligence and contribute to the inception of the Jewish Zionist movement?

Mezvinsky: There is nothing to this effect in any of the primary sources and it is almost certainly not true. See Fouad Shaban for the origins of Christian Zionism, going back to the pilgrims.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

News and Analysis (9/9/13)

Monday, September 9th, 2013

“On Sunday, Syrian rebels, including some affiliated with al-Qaeda, swept through Maaloula for the second time in four days, after an assault a few days earlier in which the last of its few thousand residents fled and the specter of unchecked violence threatened to convulse the iconic town”:

The result of the NYPD’s illegal spying consists of “reports of casual conversations about political events and information about where Muslim New Yorkers go to play cricket and where to find the best kebabs and Middle Eastern pastries” ..

… and things are not likely to change:

“The operation seems to be part of an effort to cripple Hamas” which, like the FJP, won a free and fair election but has been been partially ousted from power and only rules Gaza:

Unlike Sudanese law, the Qur’an specifies no punishment for leaving hair uncovered. One woman with no desire “to be like Taliban women” risks the Bashir regime’s cruelty rather than surrender her Islamic rights, saying, “I’m Sudanese. I’m Muslim, and I’m not going to cover my head”:

As Obama launches final push to win congressional support for a strike on Syria, he tangles with a cynical Congress, a skeptical American public, and a weak case:

“Rogue Muslim rebels launched an audacious assault in the southern Philippines on Monday, taking control of several villages and shutting down a major port in the biggest challenge to a peace deal signed by the government last year”:

“South African Ambassador Ibrahim Rasool, a Muslim, speaking at the synagogue, said he recalled the moment when he found a verse in the Torah, about God breathing life into the soul of each human, that was nearly identical to a verse he loved in the Koran”:

News and Analysis (9/6/13)

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Does Obama have any clue of the dangers of a U.S. strike on Syria. Apparently so, but does he care?

“The Russians have put out a 100-page document tracing the March use of chemical weapons to the rebels. The Turks reportedly intercepted small amounts of sarin going to the rebels. We claim solid proof that Assad’s regime authorized and used chemical weapons. Why not tell the Russians to meet us in the Security Council where we will prove our “slam-dunk” case?”

“The alliance of mostly Islamist groups, led by the Brotherhood, that opposes the military coup … [strongly] condemned the bombing” saying that “it is against any acts of violence, even” against the junta and adding, that it expects “the bombing will be used as justification to extend the state of emergency and ‘expand the use of brutality, repression, and detentions’:

“It is very evident (and a bit frustrating) that the groups, parties and powers that have taken the most offense to our music and lyrics, have themselves only made a passing glance at the content and meanings of those songs” — Lamb of God, which has mixed verses of the Qur’an with heavy metal music:

“[O]utnumbered Dutch peacekeepers bowed to pressure from Mladic’s troops and forced thousands of Muslim families out of the compound. Bosnian Serb forces sorted the Muslims by gender, then trucked the males away and began executing some 8,000 Muslim men and boys”:

“Because he did it at his job, it’s not about personal expression, it’s about Wal-Mart’s policy toward hate speech,” said CAIR’s NY chapter president, but the apologetic, but still fired, Wal-mart employee insists that he was at home at the time he made the post and that posted pictures taken by someone else:

By focusing on peaceful Muslim groups, the NYPD missed the real terrorists; ” They had more than 50 TEIs into groups, into mosques, and they never made a terrorism enterprise case once”:

When police refused to turn over the Muslim rapist to an angry Buddhist mob they started they started the rampage tht as kiled hundreds and left tens of thousands homeless. Now he has been convicted but the rioters remain free as refugees are caught in the crossfire between India and Bangladesh:

News and Analysis (9/4/13)

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution Wednesday granting President Obama limited authority to launch a military strike on Syria in response to its reported use of chemical weapons against civilians …

… but who’s giving the orders?

… and why does John Kerry have such a hard time getting the orders straight?

With American support, Israel is ready for the coming war. “We are building an iron wall, an Iron Dome, and an iron will” — Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu …

… but Putin insists that any attack without UN sanction is “aggression” ..

… and “many Muslims, and not just Arab Muslims, look at American military actions in the Middle East as habitual, predatory, and destructive”:

“The greatest form of jihad is speaking up against an unjust authority” [journalist Ilsam] Tawfiq, quoting the words of the Prophet Mohammad [peace be upon him]:

In a “simple lane running through Zaatari refugee camp [they call] the Champs Elysées” Syrian refugees “have managed to create quite the shopping strip, with slushy machines, wedding dress shops, and color TVs for sale. One particularly enterprising refugee elsewhere in the camp even created his own swimming pool, charging 1 JD ($1.40) for each half-hour of swimming”:

“The hunger strikers are among 69 suspects convicted in July of links to an Islamist faction that authorities allege seeks to overthrow the UAE’s Western-allied ruling system. The prisoners claim that they have faced torture and other abuses since their arrests last year”:

Becoming a woman and a Muslim freed her from a life of depression. But although spokesman for her local mosque says, ‘Everybody is welcome, as long as they behave according to Islam”, congregants drove her away. ‘They said I had to pray with the men so I left and pray at home instead”:

“Baz said he strictly followed prison regulations, dismissing reports that the leaders were allowed contact with the outside world, allegedly through mobile phones smuggled to the prison”:

“Alpha Lambda Mu–a one-of-a-kind, all-Muslim fraternity at the University of Texas–is serious about rehabbing the reputations of both fraternities and Islam.” While conceding that the a Muslim fraternity might seem heretical, the founder argues that “living together and supporting one another makes it easier to follow Islam while at college”:

“[P]etrodollar rich Muslim countries [with] absolutely no civic rights or political representation … permitted to the ordinary Muslims”  now have “provided $12 billion to the Egyptian army and have pledged to provide many more billions of dollars to the army to uproot and destroy Ikhwan, millions of their supporters, and the political movements of the poor Muslims of Egypt”:

News and Analysis (8/30/13)

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Although the U.N. has not yet revealed the findings of  its investigation, after the British parliament’s refusal to knuckle under Cameron’s war plans,  the U.S. is prepared to move ahead on its own …

… and on the strength of purported evidence that “chemical munitions … were launched by rocket batteries from government-held positions” …

… Kerry, in a stance reminiscent of Colin Powell’s unfortunate U.N. address about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, continues to refuse to entertain the notion that Syrian rebels might be behind the recent chemical attacks …

… even as Lebanon blames them for terrorism spilling across their border …

… and American airstrikes could “involve casualties among the Sunni Muslim majority that has led the revolt against Assad” …

… and though American public is not convinced intervention is in their interests, Obama seems more concerned with the interests of certain other countries …

… er, strike Jordan from that list:

“The detentions come after the network’s al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr affiliate in Egypt was raided and its staff detained. Egyptian authorities have labelled al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr a “threat to national security” and are taking steps to ban it”:

“Tens of thousands of protesters and Muslim Brotherhood supporters rallied Friday throughout Egypt against a military coup and a bloody security crackdown, though tanks and armored police vehicles barred them from converging in major squares”:

“El-Beltagi’s 17-year-old daughter, Asmaa, died in violence related to the sit-in crackdowns”:

“After the fall of the regime in neighboring Libya, weapons flowed across the desert, falling into the hands of militants. Dozens of militants are believed to be in the mountains near the Algerian border”:

“The Levellers and the Brotherhood … both helped depose a decadent, out-of-touch king … who was regarded as being too much a puppet of [a] foreign power, both were/are religious puritans of a pretty rigorous kind, both were/are powered by popular grassroots activism, both were/are unsound on women …, and both were done in by the leaders of the army”:

“Siavosh Derakhti, a young Muslim from Malmö who has emerged as a leading figure in the fight against anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Sweden, picked up the first-ever Raoul Wallenberg Prize on Tuesday”:

News and Analysis (9/2/13)

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

James Madison said that the Constitutional placement of the power to declare war into the hands of the Congress was a conscious attempt to limit the President, but John Kerry says he knows better than Madison …

… implying the administration’s consultation with Congress is just a show, of no more interest to them than the U.N.’s as yet uncompleted findings of fact …

… and the mounting evidence that the attack would be unjustified, immoral, ineffective, and counterproductive will be ignored:

“[P]roposed amendments would remove Islamic [sic] articles … and also lift a ban on some Mubarak-era officials assuming public office. Drawn up by a 10-member ‘committee of experts’ appointed by decree, the draft preserves the privileged status of the military, which it effectively shields from civilian oversight” …

… and a “[n]on-binding ruling a futher setback for Islamist group that has suffered army-led crackdown since Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow”:

Linda Sasour has been working on the issue of NYPD spying for several years, but they put the Arab American Association of New York of which she is executive director was put on the NYPD Terrorism Enterprise Investigation list in order to put an infiltrator on their board of directors, this time it was personal …

… and “[t]wo Muslim sisters … aged 12 and 14 … told the New York Daily News that they were thrown to the ground, put in chokeholds, and had their hijabs violently torn off by members of the NYPD, for a reason that remains unclear” and a bystander who tried to record the police brutality says he was “pepper-sprayed and punched in the face”:

Although the order details no evidence against Mursi, it seems “to extinguish hope of a political resolution that would bring the Brotherhood out from underground and back into the political process”:

Is this a preview of what lies in store for Egypt’s junta?

The school claims it is not intolerant of Muslims in particular, but of individualists in general, saying, “We can’t make adjustments for one individual, or else we will have to do it for all” …

… in stark contrast with the  Cricket Australia which, despite the fact that “[t]here are no provisions in cricketers’ contracts for objections to sponsors’ logos has reasonably accommodated a player’s objection to advertising alcohol on the grounds that when “a player  has reasonable personal or professional objection … they would allow the player to be exempt”:

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Egypt’s government was widening a “censorship campaign”, adding that its research showed that four other journalists were in custody”, saying “Egyptian security forces continue to detain and harass journalists working for news outlets critical of the military-led government, particularly Al Jazeera and its affiliates”:

“The maximum penalty for homosexuality in Oman is three years in prison, whereas in other Gulf states, longer sentences, flogging and even the death penalty are not unknown”, but the English language newspaper The Week devotes its entire front page to apologizing for suggesting that their country is less intolerant of homosexuals than their neighbors”:

“Family members … refuted reports [Badie] had suffered a heart attack or that his jaw had been broken while being tortured by interrogators”: