Monday, December 26, 2011

Study Shows U.S. Mosques Are Repositories of Muslim Brotherhood Literature and Preachers

Perspectives on Terrorism, recently released a comprehensive study on violence-advocating texts in American mosques titled Sharia Adherence Mosque Survey: Correlations between Sharia Adherence and Violent Dogma in U.S. Mosques.

The Shariah Adherence Mosque Survey found that 80% of U.S. mosques provide their worshippers with jihad-style literature promoting the use of violence against non-believers and that the imams in those mosques expressly promote that literature.

The study also found that when a mosque imam or its worshippers were “sharia-adherent,” as measured by certain behaviors in conformity with Islamic law, the mosque was more likely to provide this violent literature and the imam was more likely to promote it.
Perspectives on Terrorism is a scholarly, peer-reviewed international journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI), a global initiative that seeks to support the international community of terrorism researchers and scholars through the facilitation of collaborative projects and cooperative initiatives. TRI was established in 2007 by scholars from several disciplines in order to provide the global research community with a common tool than can empower them and extend the impact of each participant's research activitie

The research originally was published in the summer 2011 edition of Middle East Quarterly (MEQ) under the title Shari'a and Violence in American Mosques. The Middle East Quarterly is an academic, peer-reviewed journal which specializes on Middle East regional issues. Due to the ground-breaking nature of the study, which brings a rigorous empirical methodology to the question of home-grown jihadists, MEQ granted permission to Perspectives on Terrorism to publish a more extensive analysis of the study’s conception, methodology, and results. The new publication includes additional material, charts and graphs.

The abstract for the study summarizes the research findings:

A random survey of 100 representative mosques in the U.S. was conducted to measure the correlation between Sharia adherence and dogma calling for violence against non-believers.

Of the 100 mosques surveyed,

51% had texts on site rated as severely advocating violence;

30% had texts rated as moderately advocating violence;

19% had no violent texts at all.

Mosques that presented as Sharia adherent were more likely to feature violence-positive texts on site than were their non-Sharia-adherent counterparts.

The leadership at Sharia-adherent mosques was more likely to recommend that a worshipper study violence-positive texts than leadership at non-Sharia-adherent mosques.

In 84.5% of the mosques, the imam recommended studying violence-positive texts.

58% of the mosques invited guest imams known to promote violent jihad.

The leadership of mosques that featured violence-positive literature was more likely to invite guest imams who were known to promote violent jihad than was the leadership of mosques that did not feature violence-positive literature on mosque premises.
The study’s authors, Professor Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University in Israel and David Yerushalmi, who serves as general counsel to the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., have both published widely on terrorism, Islamic law and its underlying doctrines of jihad and violence against unbelievers.


Washington Retreats on Speech Codes

The OIC (previously called the Organization of the Islamic Conference) has pushed for a universal blasphemy law for more than a decade. Since the November 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands and the 2006 riots protesting cartoon depictions of the prophet Mohammad, the group has pressured Western European nations to implement speech codes punishing criticism of Islam.

In March, the Obama administration thwarted the OIC's attempt to win United Nations Human Rights Council passage of a resolution calling for criminal penalties for the "defamation of religions." The following month, Washington engineered Council passage of Resolution 16/18, a nonbinding measure which did not censor speech.

The victory didn't last long. In July, Secretary of State Clinton revived the issue when she co-chaired an OIC session in Istanbul dealing with "religious intolerance." Clinton called on countries to "counter offensive expression through education, interfaith dialogue and public debate," while emphasizing that speech restrictions were unacceptable. She invited conference attendees to a follow-up meeting to continue the dialogue.

OIC officials seized on Clinton's offer by stepping up their campaign for blasphemy laws and speech codes.

Based on conversations with U.S. officials, Shea believes that many of them fail to grasp what the OIC represents. They lack essential information about apostasy and blasphemy laws and have "very little knowledge of the illiberal nature of the OIC," she said. "There's a sense of political correctness that prohibits probing of that organization and what it stands for."

Although the United States is unlikely to emulate Western European countries in enacting speech codes, "what we see is self-censorship" by agencies like the State and Homeland Security departments which are barred from discussing issues such as Salafism and jihad. Moreover, "in the media, academia and the entertainment world, we see self-censorship on behalf of Islam. Certain issues are off the table."

Shea believes that this "politically correct" approach to Islamism has disturbing implications for U.S. national security. In the case of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who massacred 13 of his fellow servicemen at Fort Hood in 2009, co-workers emphasized that they were deeply troubled by his jihadist ravings regarded him as a radical Muslim "but didn't report it for fear of being labeled "Islamophobes,'" she noted.

Similarly, a Senate committee issued a report documenting a culture of timidity at the Pentagon on the subject of Islam. Shea said the Fort Hood massacre is a "perfect example" of the danger posed by the U.S. government's failure to address the danger Islamism poses to our liberties.


Weasel words offer a speedy shortcut up the corporate ladder

Want to know a secret? The vast bulk of our business leaders are not particularly bright. That's not to say they are stupid. Far from it, in fact. Most are driven, highly-motivated and have an innate ability to spot an opportunity or to motivate others to do the work for them.

The fact remains, however, that in most cases they are no smarter than you or me.

This may provide some comfort to students who have just finished school or graduated from university with a less than impressive record.

The simple truth is that academic achievement only occasionally translates into success in the business world. While a great result won't hold you back, a stellar academic record doesn't necessarily guarantee you will vanquish your competitors in the quest to climb the greasy pole.

It's a phenomenon that is on display across every segment of the business world. Academics with doctorates under their belt can often be seen toiling away for a reasonable salary in a company led by someone with no tertiary qualifications at all, who is raking in the big bucks. How does this happen?

It is usually the case that those who secure the top spots are those who speak the lingo, who can strike a rapport with those in power.

This doesn't require a university degree, although most universities, cash-strapped as they are these days, have latched onto the idea that teaching business wannabes how to communicate with each other can be lucrative business in itself. They spend years doing it and charge a fortune.

And so we have seen the birth of the MBA, the master's of business administration, a qualification often dispensed to those who never even studied at undergraduate level. But that's another story.

If our bosses can't be bothered getting a degree, then why not subvert the process altogether? With summer coming on, why spend the festive season with your head stuck in the books when you can loll about on the couch, drink beer and watch the cricket?

Given 2012 is likely to be even tougher than the year that has just passed, we've decided to offer a quick guide to mastering the art of saying absolutely nothing but sounding hugely impressive, which could land you the job of your life without having to waste years and thousands of dollars.

The trick to getting away with this strategy is to understand that humans are social animals. We like to congregate. We crave assurance. And we love to form groups and to identify with those groups.

As long as you know the code, the keywords, you will be immediately embraced by the gang and absorbed into the rarefied world of commerce - a world in which the dilettante reigns supreme.

Like all languages, it is constantly evolving. Take the term "going forward". This was the single most important phrase in the language up until about a year ago. Completely superfluous to any sentence, it added absolutely no meaning. And yet it was a phrase so pregnant with meaning. For it screamed out: "I am one of yours. I belong."

Under no circumstances should you ever use this phrase again. A subtle change has been mandated, so as to weed out the pretenders. From now on, we are "moving forward", a slightly warmer, more inclusive term than its predecessor.

Regardless of this subtle shift, it is a term that should be used frequently - not in every sentence but in at least every third sentence.

The key to sounding like you know what you are talking about is verbosity. That involves using as many useless terms as possible and spinning out a two-sentence explanation to at least 20 minutes. This is no easy task.

But liberal use of the word "leverage" always comes in handy.

Technically it refers to debt, which in these straightened times is a no-no. But don't let that hold you back. The word can mean anything you want it to. For instance, expressing a desire to "leverage the firm's core competencies" is bound to get the juices flowing from those you are trying to impress. Again, the beautiful thing is that it means absolutely nothing, so no one can ever hold you to account for not delivering.

The original book on management theory clearly was penned by an unemployed oil executive. A decade ago, every business was described as a "platform" connected by "pipelines" and you had no chance of employment if you neglected to mention them.

Those terms are still in use but to a far lesser extent and it would be wise to mention them only sparingly. These days, you should merely have a "multi-platform strategy" and "business in the pipeline".

When it comes to industry, you need to be in the space. Perhaps it has something to do with the pick-up in the energy game and the downturn at NASA. But these days, you have to be in the "retail space", "the supply-chain space" or any other space you care to mention.

The reason for this is that management skills should never be limited by industry. Running a steelworks, or a condom manufacturer? It's all the same thing. It is just a different space.

Never talk "about" anything. You talk "to" an issue, or "provide colour" on an event. And, of course, if you really want to impress your credentials as a savvy manager during tough times, at being able to slash costs, you should be sure to mention your ability at picking "low-hanging fruit".

For advanced players, if you really want to lay your credentials down, nothing beats a good acronym.

This is rather more difficult to master, as it usually involves highly technical terms that your inquisitors won't be on top of, and hence they may ask for an explanation.

If you grab a stockbroking analyst report - any of them on any day - you can familiarise yourself with the basics.

Talk about EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) and compare it to the PCP (previous corresponding period) on FYE (full-year earnings). If you want to get really daring, you throw in the WACC (weighted average cost of capital). But beware, a startled chairman may ask you exactly what that is.

Your correspondent has never progressed beyond BOGOF (buy one, get one free) at the EOFYS (end of financial year sale), so I won't even pretend to explain WACC.

Always remember, however, that if you need to negotiate your way out a tricky situation during a job interview, just start jawboning on about "risks", or "moves to the upside", or "moves to the downside". This sounds so much classier than a simple rise or fall.

By this stage, you should have the interview panel in the palm of your hand. That key to the executive dunny is within your grasp. The "ducks are in a row" and you've delivered some valuable "face time".

This could well be a "win-win" situation.


Californian anti-serf dudes, get real

An Oakland start-up has received millions from Google to reduce our ‘slavery footprint’. Is this wise?

I have 31 slaves working for me. This morning, after making my bed, sticking my clothes in the washing machine and doing the dishes, I didn’t quite feel like a slave-driver. But then I found out that several dozen people are toiling away, against their will, to keep my wardrobe full, my fridge well-stocked and my apartment warm. I’ve never met these people because most of them live in far-flung places, like China, Peru and South Africa. Some of them are also right here, in the United States, but they are working in the ‘shadow economy’.

I know all this now because I took a survey created by the Californian organisation Slavery Footprint. Its web-based slavery footprint calculator also informed me that I can cut back on serfs by, for instance, shopping less and giving up hair conditioner.

Essentially, the calculator takes into account the content of your home, your consumption habits and family size, and it lets you estimate how many people’s labour go into sustaining your everyday life and pleasures. It tells you where those people live and how your slavery stock measures up to those of your Facebook friends.

Now, Slavery Footprint will be able to develop even more ‘awareness-raising’ tools. Because, together with non-profits Polaris Project and International Justice Mission, it has received a $9.8million joint grant from Google to inform people about modern-day slavery and how to abolish it. Google is also giving away a further $1.7million to other anti-slavery organisations.

But the ‘awareness’ bit really needs those scare quotes. Because no matter how complex the algorithm that underlies the slavery-footprint calculator, its premise is so simplistic that it can only end up causing perplexity. The presumption is that most of us aren’t aware that we rely on slaves to maintain our relatively privileged lifestyles, and that we will be shocked to find out how many individual forced labourers have been involved in manufacturing the stuff that fills our homes.

Is this really true? Are we each indirectly responsible for making poor people work against their will? And does the answer to ending exploitation lie in buying more ‘ethical’ stuff?

Slavery Footprint estimates that there are 27million modern-day slaves worldwide. The United Kingdom may have passed the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833, and Abraham Lincoln may have signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but slavery, says this organisation, is not a thing of the nineteenth century. Instead, slaves can be found up and down the supply chain: they are in mines, digging for the raw material that ends up in your iPhone; they are in fields, picking the cotton that your t-shirt is made of; and they are in factories, packaging the food you eat.

In other words, millions of people are exploited and robbed of their freedom in order to make stuff for those of us who are free and who use that stuff. ‘That smartphone, that t-shirt, computer, cup of coffee… That’s stuff we buy, and that’s stuff that comes from slaves’, says Slavery Footprint.

Of course, complexity has to give way for the sake of producing a slick app with a big shock factor, and most people who use the slavery-footprint calculator will, presumably, understand that the results shouldn’t be interpreted literally. It’s really a gimmick designed to provoke a reaction. For instance, by simply adding contact lenses to my virtual medicine cabinet my slave-count went up from 31 to 36. I’m willing to wager that there really can be no basis for arguing that five people would be literally enslaved in order to relieve me from myopia.

So, sure, let’s give some leeway for ‘artistic license’. Even so, it should be noted that the reductive design of Slavery Footprint’s calculator actually only reflects the crudeness of the organisation’s overall message.

The division of the global population into people who produce stuff against their will, people who produce stuff willingly and people who use stuff is nothing short of nonsensical. Of course, in this late stage of capitalism a vast majority of us - even very poor people - have become used to not having to dedicate our days to simply surviving. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, the cars we drive - all of it is made accessible through other peoples’ labour. But Slavery Footprint draws an all-too-neat division between producers and consumers. After all, those people down the mines wear protective clothing (hopefully) made by people working in factories. During their lunch breaks, factory workers eat food produced by farmers, who read newspapers written by journalists, who commute to work in trains operated by train drivers, who may download apps created by anti-slavery activists who claim that smartphone usage contributes to slavery, and so on.

So, what of forced labour, then? Slavery Footprint defines a forced labourer or slave as ‘Anyone who is forced to work without pay, being economically exploited, and is unable to walk away’. But the definition of forced labour does not just pertain to people who have been forced to work and are held against their will. Instead, forced labour ‘may also result when unscrupulous employers exploit workers made more vulnerable by high rates of unemployment, poverty, crime, discrimination, corruption, political conflict, or cultural acceptance of the practice’.

The problem with this working definition, as in most activism against so-called modern-day slavery, is that it negates any notion of free will and choice among the generally poor people who are being defined as exploited. For instance, a woman from a family of subsistence farmers in rural Africa may prefer to seek her luck in a big, Western city rather than accept a life of drudge at home. She will likely find few overly attractive options open to her on the labour market in that Western city, and the employer she ends up working for can probably get away with paying her a lower wage than he or she would for a legal resident. Does that make our fictional African woman a slave? Would she be better off at home on her farm than in the Western workplace? Will it help her if Western consumers refuse to buy the stuff she makes at work?

Following the logic of Slavery Footprint’s definition and outlook, the answer to those questions would be yes. From a different perspective, the African woman has chosen not to live in poverty on her farm and has decided instead to make a probably difficult journey to the other side of the world in the hope of earning money, supporting her family, learning new skills, seeing the world, or whatever.

In other words, capitalist society is certainly prone to exploitation, but it also opens up a world of possibilities. Of course, nobody should be kidnapped, held against their will or physically abused at work. But Slavery Footprint’s definition of forced labour goes way beyond such extreme situations to cover any kind of work that doesn’t look seemly from the perspective of an Oakland-based hipster.

Essentially, the Slavery Footprint initiative is coloured by a very Californian view of the world: that the ideal Western life involves starting our days with a serving of flax-seed muesli produced on an organic farm, washing it down with a cup of fairtrade coffee before making our way to a local farmer’s market in a Toyota Prius or, even better, a fixed-gear bike, and perhaps squeezing in a yoga workout session during our lunch break from our jobs as start-up entrepreneurs.

Okay, this is a pretty crude caricature. But it is no more crude than the worldview peddled by self-described modern-day slavery abolitionists.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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