Under Paris skies
Jihadi-inspired terrorism has become a hot-button item in the past weeks. On January 7, 2015 Chérif and Saïd Kouachi – two French citizens of North African Islamic origin (connected with Al Qa’eda in Yemen) – broke into the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a Parisian newspaper known for its repeated mocking of politicians, religions (Catholicism, Judaism and Islam) and everything in between (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Hebdo; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Hebdo_shooting). There they slaughtered 12 people connected to the editorial board. Over the years Muslims have reacted to similar depictions of Islam and Mohammed with rioting and repeated physical attacks on Charlie’s offices, including a fire-bombing in November 2011.
Meanwhile another terrorist accomplice waited in the wings – Amedy Coulibaly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amedy_Coulibaly) a French citizen of Islamic Mali origin who openly declared his own connection with ISIS (known in Arabic as Da’ash) and filmed a martyr’s video in preparation. He coordinated his own bloody attack with the Charlie assassination team and had originally planned to take hostages in a Jewish elementary school. In the end Coulibaly commandeered a kosher supermarket in the Parisian suburb of Vincennes. He took 19 Jewish shoppers hostage and killed four of them before he was eliminated by a Parisian BRI (Brigades de Recherche et d’Intervention) SWAT team (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porte_de_Vincennes_hostage_crisis; www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/paris-terror-attacks-chilling-jewish-4986853). The other two terrorists stormed police lines and were killed simultaneously in Dammartin-en-Goële, a small town 35 kilometers northeast of Paris.
According to normative Islamic sentiment and law, any depiction of Mohammed in human form (or any perceived dishonor to Islam) is punishable by death, even if repentance occurs (www.memritv.org/clip/en/4745.htm; www.jpost.com/Middle-East/WATCH-Saudi-Imam-says-Charlie-Hebdo-attack-is-only-language-Jews-and-Christians-understand-389001). An overwhelming number of examples of such Muslim violence are on record, including murderous mob attacks on Christians in Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria, etc.
On November 2, 2004 a descendant of the painter Vincent van Gogh, Theo, was stabbed to death in broad daylight on the streets of Amsterdam by a Dutch citizen of Moroccan Muslim background over Theo’s non-orthodox views on Islam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theo_van_Gogh_%28film_director%29). Other voices critical of Muslim teachings and beliefs in Denmark and the Netherlands have been forced to live underground or under police protection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayaan_Hirsi_Ali; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geert_Wilders; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Westergaard).
The four-million man march
Though Charlie Hebdo’s perspectives are broadly perceived to be offensive and blasphemous to all major religions, a majority of French citizens staunchly defend freedom of the press.
France’s initial response to the carnage was a mass demonstration against terror and for unity, held on January 11. Between 1.2 and 1.6 million people came out to the Paris march, while a total of 2.5 million marched in other cities throughout France (www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/11/us-france-shooting-idUSKBN0KK05S20150111). The last great gathering of a similar nature was the 1944 Liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany.
The demonstration focused on free speech and on the murder of the cartoonists. No reference was made at the demonstration to jihad and jihadi Islam – the hidden elephant in the room. This is noteworthy because the terrorists had all publically and clearly stated that they were representing Islamist groups, obeying Islamic law and avenging the tarnished honor of Mohammed the prophet of Islam.
French Islamist anti-Semitism – it ain’t no new thing
Islamist jihadi terror has been targeting French Jews for some time now:
To date, none of these hate crimes against French Jews has catalyzed a national protest or a million-man march of Gentile French citizens singing La Marseillaise (www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/11/paris-france-anti-terror-rally-massive-show-unity). Only when an Islamist terror attack was directed against secular French journalists did the nation galvanize into action.
Philippe Karsenty, Deputy Mayor of the Paris suburb Neuilly-sur-Seine, contrasted the recent Paris march with the virulently anti-Israel and violently anti-Semitic Parisian marches against Israel in August 2014 during Operation Protective Edge, when Hamas was targeting Israeli civilian centers with rockets. “Some of the people walking today are the same people who walked against Israel last summer …This is completely hypocritical” (www.timesofisrael.com/france-marched-for-charlie-not-for-the-jews/).
Doing plastic surgery on Islamist terrorism
World leaders flocked to the Paris demonstration with two notable exceptions – the USA and Israel. The President of the United States was a no-show, citing security concerns. And the Prime Minister of the Jewish State Benjamin Netanyahu was told by the Elysée that his presence at the national memorial rally in Paris was not suitable. When Bibi decided to come anyway, France immediately went out of its way to issue a publicized invitation to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority leader, just to make sure that a ‘balanced equilibrium’ was kept between Israel and ‘Palestine’ (www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.636557).
There are some significant ethical problems and logical inconsistencies with inviting Abbas to an anti-terror and freedom-of-the-press demonstration:
- Abbas praises terrorists (www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=801), giving them public credibility within Palestinian society.
- Abbas names soccer clubs, streets and public squares after suicide bombers (http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=448 ; www.jpost.com/Middle-East/PA-rebuts-terrorist-street-name-critique)
- Abbas received his PhD from Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow for a dissertation championing Holocaust denial (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Other_Side:_The_Secret_Relationship_Between_Nazism_and_Zionism; www.sodahead.com/fun/who-is-mahmoud-abbas-abu-mazen-its-very-lengthy-but-one-of-the-best-pieces-i-could-find/question-1269071/)
- Abbas continues to champion destruction of the Jewish state in glowing Islamic terms (www.algemeiner.com/2011/12/21/mahmoud-abbas-anti-semite-of-the-year/)
- Abbas encourages armed attacks against Israel (www.wnd.com/2007/01/39656/)
- Abbas was the paymaster behind the 1972 PLO murder of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics (www.wnd.com/2003/04/18512/)
- Abbas presides over the Palestinian unity government, which includes Islamist terror group Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate. Hamas openly calls for genocide against the Jewish people and bases this on Koranic texts
- Abbas’s regime scored 83 out of 100 on Freedom House’s Press Freedom score (100 being the worst; http://tabletmag.com/scroll/188237/paris-march-of-folly)
‘Freedom of the press’ may have been one of the buzzwords at the demonstration, but one could fairly ask if this buzzword accurately reflects reality. The roster of champions of press freedom who were given places in the march of honor include:
ü Saudi Ambassador to France Mohammed Ismail Al-Sheikh, whose nation only a few hours previous had just given the first 50 lashes out of 1,000 to imprisoned young blogger Ra’if Badawi (www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/raif-badawi-saudi-arabia-urged-to-halt-flogging-of-liberal-blogger-sentenced-to-1000-lashes-9967008.html)
- Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, whose country has the record in 2013 as being the world’s top jailer of journalists (www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-paris-march-was-an-emotional-display-but-also-one-full-of-hypocrisy-9973675.html)
- Qatari Sheikh Mohamed Ben Hamad Ben Khalifa Al Thani who is the deep pocketed funder of Hamas and ISIS (Islamic State; www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2811970/Is-Qatar-two-faced-nation-Earth-Supporter-terrorism-loyal-friend-Britain-country-s-buying-PM-meets-Gulf-state-s-leader-today-dare-ask-tough-questions.html; www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2013/qatar#.VMjh6tKUfns)
Denying the Islamic roots of jihad
The terrorists involved in these two attacks described themselves as jihadi warriors connected to ISIS and Al Qa’eda, and they declared that targeting of Jews was an ongoing Islamist priority. Yet the leaders of this massive rally in Paris downplayed both the Islamist and the anti-Jewish nature of these terror attacks.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France spun a by-now recognizable narrative: “It is very important to make clear to people that Islam has nothing to do with ISIS” (www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/french-prime-minister-manuel-valls-on-islamophobia/384592/; www.france24.com/en/20150113-french-pm-we-are-war-with-terrorism-not-islam-manuel-valls-charlie-hebdo-paris/). President of the Republique François Hollande twittered, “Ceux qui ont commis ces actes n’ont rien à voir avec la religion musulmane” (Those who committed these acts have nothing to do with Islam; https://twitter.com/ajplus/status/553632139175292928).
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder added in regard to Valls’ statements, “I certainly think that we are at war with those who would commit terrorist attacks and who would corrupt the Islamic faith in the way that they do, to try to justify their terrorist actions … So that’s who we are at war with” (http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/229140-holder-french-attacks-point-to-threats-to-us).
Though Valls made other praiseworthy statements at that time, his dismissing of the very real threat of jihadi Islam is in lock-step with the ostrich-like policies of other Western super-powers (including Blair, Cameron, Obama and Bush). All have tried to conjure up a wedge between jihadi warriors and the Islamic faith. This is a stretch at best, and deceptive politics at worst. It is an attempt by Western secular politicians to re-interpret Islam in ways that ignore its spiritual essence.
- Most Western spokesmen are blinded as to the real nature of jihadi Islam.
See “A Perspective on Islam” (http://davidstent.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/a_perspective_on_islam.pdf) by Avner Boskey for a free download and more discussion of these issue.
The spiritual dynamics of denial
At a White House reception in the Delegates’ Lounge on October 16, 2014 to celebrate Eid al- Adha, Secretary of State John Kerry side-stepped the Islamic roots of jihad, and instead placed the lion’s share of the blame for Muslim violence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
“In the course of our discussions about the ISIL coalition, … there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt … they had to respond to. And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity” (www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/10/233058.htm).
An academic ‘pseudo-orthodoxy’ has dominated scholarly inquiry in the United States for some decades now, influencing even those who sit in the highest offices of the land. This perspective sees the Muslim Brotherhood, its founders Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, its spiritual children in al Qa’eda and its offshoots in Iran as simply manifesting “regrettable and mistaken reactions to the arrogance and blunders of the West… To call the source of terrorism by its (ed. Islamic) name would only inflame passions and offend Muslims” (“Reframing the Enemy after France’s 9/11”, Jeffrey Hart; www.meforum.org/4982/reframing-the-enemy-after-france-9-11).
- Rather than recognizing Islamist terrorism as the shock troops and harbinger of a new Muslim totalitarianism, these Western leaders are blindly attempting to turn jihadis into Western allies.
In a hard-hitting article by Tibor Krausz “Hating Jews for Allah” (Jerusalem Report, February 9, 2015), he points out: “Commentators who subscribe to the common ‘root-causes’ argument often seem willing to consider any plausible cause – from poverty to Israeli brutality to US-meddling in the Middle East – for Muslim bigotry and Islamic terrorism, except one: a homegrown ideology of supremacism fueled by traditional Islamic beliefs.”
Quoting Islam and Middle East specialist Raymond Ibrahim (www.raymondibrahim.com/about/), author of “The Al Qaeda Reader” and “Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians,” Krausz notes that if Western thinkers “‘actually pointed to the root causes of Islamic violence – the plain teachings of Islam themselves – that entire edifice of multiculturalism would crumble down, taking with it many other aspects of the preferred narrative’ – that Muslims are always somehow victims and so rightfully angry.”
Justifying a selective jihad
Some suburbs of France, the banlieues, have a high percentage of immigrants from former French colonies in North Africa. Over 750 of these areas have higher levels of crime, civil disobedience and radical Islam. The general terms used by French authorities for these areas are either Zones de sécurité prioritaires (ZSP ; www.interieur.gouv.fr/ZSP) or Zones urbaine sensibles (ZUS; www.danielpipes.org/blog/2006/11/the-751-no-go-zones-of-france; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensitive_urban_zone).
An excellent article by Guy Millière is “Jihad in France: It’s Just Beginning” (www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5120/jihad-in-france). Also see:
The French government has tended to give these banlieues a wide berth, and often less-than-average municipal services are provided there by police, firemen and garbage collectors. These suburbs have also become hothouses for Islamist jihad cells, while France’s intellectuals do a mea culpa, beating their collective breast and blaming French civilization for Islamist violence.
The politically correct take in France and in Europe is that Islamist jihadi attacks on Jews and Israelis are understandable or even justifiable, while attacks on French journalists are still considered outrageous. As Herb Keinon of The Jerusalem Post drily noted (Friday January 16, 2015), ‘politically correct’ politicians “distinguish between kosher terrorists who only kill Jews and Israelis, and non-kosher terrorists who kill everyone else.”
A recent example of this perspective comes from Sky News, where anchorman Adam Boulton corners UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis with an accusation that it is Israel’s behavior that fuels anti-Semitism and that Israel is therefore to blame for world anti-Semitism (www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/190602#.VMkBtdKUfns).
The West shies away from coming to terms with the chilling reality that jihad is an organic outflow of Mohammed’s teachings and actions, and that Islamist terror is by and large an accurate reflection of original mujahidin (jihad warrior) military history. Considering the stunning growth of Muslim populations in the West, the security challenge this presents is so unsettling that many have chosen to sweep this rather large elephant under the rug.
When he was France’s Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls once warned that the possibility of terror attacks by the hundreds of European jihadists returning home from Syria represents “the greatest danger we will have to face in the coming years … We, French and Europeans, could be overwhelmed by this phenomenon, given its scale.” Valls then said that the numbers of French Muslims going so wage jihad in Syria had “accelerated” in recent weeks: “It is a phenomenon which is affecting all the countries of Europe.” He added that President Hollande had asked him to draw up plans to crack down on what he called the “jihadist exodus” (www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10583000/France-warns-Europe-could-be-overwhelmed-by-jihadis-returning-from-Syria.html).
Now serving France as Prime Minister, Valls is watching the chickens he warned about, coming home to roost.
All is quiet on the jihadi front
In the Book of Zechariah 1:7-17, the prophet observes as angelic watchers return from their international sorties, landing their flying angelic steeds in a myrtle grove and reporting back to the Messiah as to the contemporaneous situation on earth. “These are those whom YHVH has sent topatrol the earth. So they answered the Angel of YHVH who was standing among the myrtle trees and said, ‘We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth is peaceful and quiet.’”
Though it appeared that things on earth among the Gentile superpowers was quiet, from God’s perspective there was something huge left out of the international equation. The missing link, the key to understanding all international intrigue, is the priority focus on what is happening with His chosen people the Jews.
- From God’s perspective He views things the world and the body of Messiah through lens called “the apple of His eye” – His priority people, the nation of Israel.
Then the Angel of YHVH said, “O YHVH of armies , how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years? ”YHVH answered the Angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words. So the Angel who was speaking with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, Thus says YHVH of armies, I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster. Therefore thus says YHVH, I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it, declares YHVH of armies” (Zechariah 1:12-16)
Though nearly four million French citizens marched in a mass outpouring of shock, sympathy and fear, the missing links in these events are still biblical. And they are gaping and raw, including:
- politicized euphemisms which avoid clarity, obfuscate truth and cast a fog around the enemy’s profile
- avoidance of mentioning the Islamist and anti-Semitic nature of the attacks
- the initial non-inviting of the Prime Minister of the Jewish State as persona non grata
Yet La Marseillaise is sung in the background while dictators and Islamic despots join in the march of honor.
Even in the short term, these four million marchers may not be able to change the direction of Europe’s spiritual future at this late date (“Europe Unable and Unwilling to Confront Islamic Extremism”, Peter Martino, January 19, 2015; www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5121/europe-islamic-extremism).
The Battle of Algiers redux
France, like Western Europe, is dealing with an impossible security challenge regarding Islamist terror.
In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s French military forces found themselves trying to defend Pied-Noirs (French citizens living in Algeria) from terror attacks of the Algerian revolutionary movement. A half a million French troops were not sufficient to safeguard one million Pied-Noirs. Over 800,000 Pied-Noirs retreated to France by 1962.
France today has 60 million citizens, of which perhaps six million are Muslims. It takes an average of 24 police officers to shadow one single jihadi who has returned from fighting with al Nusra or ISIL in Syria. In Belgium there are over 100 such jihadis, and in France the numbers is much greater. Over 2,500 policemen would be needed in Belgium, and tens of thousands would be needed in France. Then there are similar situations in the Netherlands, Germany, Britain, etc.
It is impossible to protect every newspaper office, university, synagogue, Jewish community center, train station or shop. With tens if not hundreds of jihadi sleeper cells well entrenched in Europe, the immediate future is not hopeful in the short run.
How shall we then pray?
- Pray for conviction of sin for world leaders in political and religious spheres who falsify the truth and tell lies regarding jihad (Romans 1:25; 2 Timothy 4:4))
- Pray for repentance for governmental and religious leaders who have believed such lies (2 Thessalonians 2:10-13; 2 Timothy 2:25)
- Pray for revival for governmental and religious leaders among the nations and especially in the Islamic world (Deuteronomy 17:18-20; Acts 11:18)
- Pray for restoration of righteousness for the world’s political and religious leaders (James 5:19-20; Titus 2:12; Psalm 149:9)
- Intercede for Israel’s salvation and protection, and for divine wisdom for her leaders (Isaiah 62:1, 6-7; 33:6; Zechariah 2:8)
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do!
In Messiah Yeshua,
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