Bahrain says Trump better understands Iran and the region

Bahrain’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that US President Donald Trump understood the region and the threats posed by their common adversary Iran better than Barack Obama.

Speaking in an interview with Reuters at his office in the capital Manama, Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said the staunch US Gulf ally was confident the new administration would soon clarify its stances on foreign policy.

The Sunni-ruled kingdom accuses Iran, a Shia theocracy across the Gulf, of radicalizing and arming some members of its Shia Muslim majority population, and Gulf monarchies say Obama did not do enough to tackle perceived meddling by Iran in Bahrain and in wars raging throughout the region.

Tehran denies any meddling in the island kingdom.

Trump has pledged to deal forcefully with the Islamic Republic and criticized a landmark international deal to curb its nuclear program inked under Obama in 2015 as a concession to a state the United States considers a sponsor of terrorism.

“We see … a much clearer understanding from the White House of the threats we are facing here in the region and especially the ones that are coming from the Islamic Republic,” Sheikh Khaled said.

“The last few years, there was a policy that we think it was better for them to correct, and we advised them it should be corrected.”

Sheikh Khaled last month met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has spoken by telephone with senior US officials, including Trump after his election in November.

Sitting astride one of the world’s key oil shipping lanes, Bahrain is a key ally of Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

Neither country were among the ban Trump is seeking to impose on travelers from Iran and five other Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East and Africa.

Some critics of the Trump administration fear it is prioritizing the fight against militancy and Iran over promoting human rights among American allies, but the foreign minister said the US shift acknowledged the region’s harsh realities.

“CLARITY IS COMING”

Sheikh Khaled said his country welcomed a decision by the White House to pursue a $5 billion sale to Bahrain of 19 Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft and related equipment which was held up last year by concerns about human rights.

He said Trump’s style may have distracted some from the merits of his views, but all administrations had growing pains.

“They’ll get in order … every new administration will always start in a way that will seem unclear, but clarity is coming,” he said, speaking in his green and wood-panelled office adorned with pictures of past and present Bahraini monarchs.

“Maybe when you see the difference in the personality of the president, maybe that’s kind of giving an overwhelming picture of the situation. Things are working in America.”

Since 2011 Arab Spring protests led by Bahrain’s Shi’ites were crushed with the help from some Gulf Arab states, Bahrain says Iran has stepped up a campaign to undermine security there and bring about the downfall of the ruling al-Khalifa family, of which Sheikh Khaled is a member.

“It’s a whole project we are facing and it will not stop until this regime changes its course from the way it is now – hegemonic, theocratic, theo-fascist – to a regime that would answer the aspirations of its own people.”

“Until that moment we will have to defend ourselves.”

Human rights organizations have criticized an escalating government crackdown since the main Shi’ite opposition bloc was shuttered last year, several prominent activist were arrested and the top Shi’ite spiritual leader had his citizenship revoked on corruption charges.

Bahrain says it has acted to reform its security services and that it genuinely seeks dialogue with the opposition in a way that is rare in the mostly closed and authoritarian region.

“We feel like we are being pressured and punished for no reason, just for sticking our neck out and addressing issues that every country has,” Sheikh Khaled said.

In U.S. prisons, jihadists see Islam treated reverently

An eighteen-year-old Muslim named Zakaryia Abdin was arrested last Thursday at Charleston International Airport as he was about to board a plane to begin his journey to the Islamic State (ISIS). Instead, he is back in custody — where he has been before, for an earlier jihad plot.

The case of Zakaryia Abdin highlights a massive and largely unnoticed weakness in America’s efforts to combat jihad terror.

Abdin was arrested in 2015, when he was sixteen years old, and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. But he was no gang member or petty criminal. According to WBTV:

[Abdin] had been talking with a person in North Carolina and was planning to use one or two firearms to rob a gun shot to get larger weapons.

Those larger weapons would then be used to attack a North Carolina military installation, investigators said, adding the pair planned to leave the United States and go to the Middle East and join ISIS.

Since he was only sixteen, Abdin was ordered to be held in juvenile detention until he was 21. This was the maximum sentence he could be given as a juvenile, which Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett had argued for:

In court, we explained to judge the gravity of the offense. We were deeply concerned about the safety of the public if he got out.

Abdin, however, knew just the right tune to sing:

Brackett said Abdin told the court he was troubled, that his father had died, and swore this was an isolated incident, adding he had just been confused. He promised they wouldn’t hear from him again, Brackett said.

That was apparently good enough for the parole board, for Abdin was recently paroled, three years early and over the objections of York, South Carolina Police Chief Andy Robinson, who remarked:

I am disgruntled that the juvenile parole board would not heed our warning and that the federal government did not pursue terrorism-related charges when he was a juvenile, which forced us to charge him with a misdemeanor gun charge rather than with a more serious terrorism-related charge.

When Abdin was arrested again last week, Robinson said:

Given nature of allegations and the incident here, and evidence I saw in 2015, I’m not terribly surprised. I always thought these beliefs were much more deeply rooted. I’m grateful that the federal authorities were keeping close tabs on him and able to intervene before anyone got hurt.

But Robinson added that it was:

… just frustrating that we knew he was not reformed and that he would continue to pursue these sorts of activities.

Not only did Robinson and his colleagues know not to buy Abdin’s story that he was reformed, but they could also know that nothing whatsoever would be done in Abdin’s juvenile facility to change his views.

The U.S. pursues a peculiarly schizophrenic response to Islamic jihad terror. When Islamic jihadis, steeped in the teachings of the Qur’an and Muhammad regarding warfare against unbelievers, strike against the United States, or try to, and are caught, in our prison system the religion that motivated and incited them to attack us is treated with respect bordering on reverence. The jihadis are able to practice it without any encumbrance whatsoever.

Zakaryia Abdin, while he was in the juvenile justice facility in Columbia, South Carolina, was no doubt given a Qur’an and allowed to join other Muslim inmates for prayers. So were the jihadis at Guantanamo — where guards wore gloves to handle the Muslim holy book, acknowledging their unworthiness to touch it with their infidel hands.

Imagine if German prisoners of war had been given copies of Mein Kampf by their American jailors, and encouraged to engage in Nazi activities. The point here is not to compare the Qur’an to Mein Kampf (although that could be a fruitful line of inquiry), but to question the wisdom of reinforcing in prisoners the ideology that landed them in prison in the first place.

Of course, U.S. officials still officially deny that Islam has any role in motivating or inciting jihadis, so their position doesn’t seem schizophrenic to them. They doubtless hope that by taking the time actually to read the Qur’an, young would-be jihad killers such as Zakariya Abdin will realize that the Islamic State’s Islam is a twisted, hijacked version of the noble religion of peace.

Abdin himself has now proven that such a result is unlikely to come about. American authorities need to recognize that the Qur’an does indeed contain verses exhorting to hatred and violence, and think twice about reinforcing such tendencies in those who have already been moved by such verses to try to kill.

Instead, however, Zakariya Abdin, wherever he is in custody now, no doubt has a brand-new copy of the Qur’an in his cell, courtesy of the American prison system.

Londonistan: 500 closed churches, 423 new mosques

Christianity is becoming a relic, while Islamization of British capital continues apace.

London

Hillel Fendel

“London is more Islamic than many Muslim countries put together,” says London Islamic preacher Maulana Syed Raza Rizvi.

The city of London – dubbed “Londonistan” by outspoken journalist Melanie Phillips – now has 423 new mosques, which are “built on the sad ruins of English Christianity.” So writes Italian analyst and writer Giulio Meotti for Gatestone Institute.

The Hyatt United Church, for instance, on Hamilton Road, was purchased by the Egyptian community and is being converted into a mosque. St Peter’s Church is now the Madina Mosque, and the Brick Lane Mosque used to be a Methodist church. Not only buildings are converted, writes Meotti, but also people: “The number of converts to Islam [in London] has doubled; often they embrace radical Islam, as with Khalid Masood, the terrorist who struck Westminster.”

“Given the current trends,” he predicts, “Christianity in England is becoming a relic, while Islam will be the religion of the future.”

It is estimated that by 2020, the number of Muslims attending prayers will top the number of Christians attending weekly Mass, 683,000 to 679,000. Within a generation, the number of churchgoers will be three times lower than that of Muslims who go regularly to mosque on Friday.

Meotti cites a Wall Street Journal report stating that 500 London churches of all denominations had been turned into private homes.

Demographically, Britain has been acquiring an increasingly Islamic face in many cities. A study carried out in 2015 showed that the most common name in England was none other than Mohammed and variations thereof.

Birmingham, England’s 2nd largest city, has a population that is 21.8% Muslim; Manchester, #6, stands at 15.8% Muslim, and Bradford, with well over 300,000 people, is a quarter Muslim, including half its children. In Leicester, too, Britain’s 10th largest city, half the children are Muslim.

Meotti cites a report in The Spectator according to which only two of the 1,700 mosques in Britain follow the modernist interpretation of Islam, compared with 56% in the United States.

But possibly most telling is the presence in London of no fewer than 100 sharia (Islamic law) courts, according to official statistics; there are likely many more. “The advent of this parallel judicial system has been made possible thanks to the British Arbitration Act and the system of Alternative Dispute Resolution,” according to Giotti. “These new courts are based on the rejection of the inviolability of human rights: the values of freedom and equality that are the basis of English Common Law.”

One of Britain’s leading judges, Sir James Munby, said that courts must be more “multicultural” – an allusion to “Islamic.” Leading personalities such as former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Chief Justice Lord Phillips have suggested that British law should “incorporate” elements of sharia law.

Analysts continue to observe and report on the trend, and invariably conclude by asking: “Is anyone doing anything to stop it?”

The Supreme Council of Cyberspace

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