Tag Archives: Muslims

InCity Book Review

But first …

******

Unholy Alliance: The Agenda Iran, Russia and Jihadists Share for Conquering the World

By Jay Sekulow, (2016, First Howard Books, 310 Pages)

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

If you dislike Muslims, you’ll love this book. If you were looking for an even-handed description of the Middle East turmoil, reading Unholy Alliance: The Agenda Iran, Russia and Jihadists Share for Conquering the World, will be a severe disappointment. That was this writer’s opinion after reading Jay Sekulow’s Unholy Alliance. In this book, Sekulow postulates the unlikely theory that “Muslim jihadists” such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS are conspiring with Iran and Vladimir Putin’s Russia to take over the world.

Sekulow wants the reader to believe that Sunni terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS are, or could be, allied with Iranian Shiites to seize the planet. That the Sunnis and Shiites have been fighting each other for 1,400 years argues against this.As support for his belief in a pan-Muslim terrorist conspiracy, Sekulow says Shiite Iran is the major backer of the Sunni Hamas movement in the West Bank. That is an exceptional case, as Hamas is in the belly of Israel, and Israel is a major target of Islamic extremists today.

Sekulow ardmits that Iran is fighting Al-Qaeda in Syria, and asserts later that Al-Qaeda directs its overseas operations from Iranian sanctuaries. The idea that Iran is knowingly allowing Al-Qaeda to direct its Syrian followers from Iranian territory to kill Iranian Revolutionary Guards supporting Bashar Al-Assad in Syria, is absurd.

Chief Counsel of ACLJ

Sekulow is the Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, the conservative version of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“The ACLJ was founded in 1990 by law school graduate and evangelical minister Pat Robertson to protect constitutional and human rights worldwide,” says Wikipedia. “ACLJ generally pursues constitutional issues and conservative Christian ideals in courts of law.”

This book reads like a law review article. Sekulow sources his book with Teutonic thoroughness, citing 1,460 endnotes in the186 pages in the body of the book. There are 119 pages – or 38% of the total – devoted to acknowledgments, notes, appendixes, and the index.

“Unholy Alliance” is like another tome reviewed here, “Trouble in the Tribe”. (See http://incitytimesworcester.org/steve-parked-%F0%9F%9A%99-in-roses-space-incity-times-book-review/.) In “Trouble in the Tribe”, we noted how the author dumped a great deal of specific information into endnotes, “which should have been better served in the main text, or attached as footnotes on the pages where they are cited.” In Unholy Alliance, there is a whole page for one endnote, and a large mass in commentary in the others that would better serve the reader being attached as footnotes. Unlike “Trouble in the Tribe”, “Unholy Alliance” makes little pretense at being an evenhanded analysis.

Sekulow analyzes the Muslim faith. He provides examples of how British Islamic groups prefer Islamic tribunals using Sharia law to British courts, and the terrible injustices which take place in those tribunals, particularly against women. He implies that America’s Muslim population has the same plan for the U.S. This book was published in September 2016, before Donald Trump’s surprising upset. Trump’s election makes the possibility of American courts adopting Sharia law remote.

He quotes sections of the Koran which, taken out of context and the times in which they were written, make the Muslim faith look absurd and blood thirsty. Sekulow acknowledges that critics of Judaism have done the same type of misrepresentation of the Jewish bible. He excuses this by saying essentially that the Koran was intended as a “universal and timeless” document, while the Jewish bible is a history book.

Dubious Sources

Some of the sources cited by Sekulow are at best dubious. This is another reason the author may have avoided footnotes. To find who the references are for some of these, you must turn several hundred pages forward to look up the endnote. On the other hand, if there were footnotes naming these sources, the questionable nature of some of Sekulow’s sources would become immediately known to the reader.

To illustrate this, we did a computer analysis of Chapter Nine “Iran and Al Qaeda”. The last time America launched a preemptive invasion in the Middle East, George W. Bush and the neocons linked Al-Qaeda to Iraq.

We plugged into an Excel spreadsheet the 141 sources cited by the author in 132 endnotes in Chapter 9. We then sorted the data by two sequences: by the source cited in the endnote; and by the year in which the source originated. We found:
• 51% of the sources were dated 2009 or prior. For some reason, Sekulow relied on older historical information. There were only four sources from 2012, two cites from one source dated 2014, and three from 2016.

• One out of five endnotes (28 in total) cited Ronen Bergman’s book “The Secret War with Iran.” One PBS broadcast was cited seven times. The 2004 9/11 Commission Report was cited 17 times. The 13 sources dated 2013 included four marked “opinion” in its web locations, and seven endnotes were from three sources.

• Most disturbing of all was Sekulow’s frequent cites to the Weekly Standard, the neoconservative magazine that clamored for the disastrous 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. One such article, cited in five endnotes, was co-authored by William Kristol, America’s foremost neoconservative. There were 23 sources dated 2015; sixteen of these, or 70%, derived from the Weekly Standard. The same people who bought us the war in Iraq are now ginning up for a war in Iran.

Severe Disappointment

As we said at the beginning of this book review, if you dislike Muslims, you’ll like this book. If you were looking for an even-handed description of the Middle East turmoil, reading “Unholy Alliance” will be a severe disappointment.

Yes, Konnie (Lukes), there IS Islamophobia in Worcester

No hate 1
Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme, Worcester City Solicitor David Moore and other city officials at City Hall yesterday. They held a NON-“pity event,” City Councilor Lukes!

By Gordon Davis

No Place for Hate…

Stephen and Mona are people of the Muslim faith. They came to Worcester City Hall yesterday to ask for a return to normalcy.

They are saddened by the killings in San Bernadino, Paris, Beirut and elsewhere.

Worcester City officials held a press conference yesterday to send out a message for tolerance and against mass murders and religious bullying.

There were about a dozen Worcester city employees standing behind the speakers, Ms. Milner (Manager’s Committee Against Hate and Bias), Ms. Turchek ( Human Rights Commission), City Manager Ed Augustus and Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty.

They all said the right things, and I hope something good comes from their efforts.

There was a moment of silence for the murdered people of San Bernadino.

President Obama said much the same the night before in his talk from the Oval Office.

Like the Worcester City officials, there was a sort of cynicism or fatigue in the President’s words.

Stephen from the Worcester Islamic Center also spoke from the podium; however, what he said after the press conference is more interesting: He was anxious to have his community be seen as any other community in the City of Worcester. He invited us to come to the Worcester Mosques during prayers or to schedule a tour.
  
There are two Mosques in Worcester. The Mosque on East Mountain Street is associated with the Islamic Center. The Mosque on Laurel Street is associated with the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester. Stephen also said there are no specific places for prayer and that Muslims go to either Mosque or, sometimes, to both.

no hate 3
Mona, an administrator at the Islamic Center in Worcester, said yesterday Worcester mosques have had bottles thrown at them and some Muslims have reported almost being mowed down in Worcester traffic.

Mona is an administrator at the Islamic Center and married to Stephen. She spoke after the formalities about the fear faced by Muslims in this area. Hate speech is common she said, which has led to “minor” assaults such as bottles being thrown at the Mosques and some people nearly being run down in traffic.  Mona reported that many people call her after being the victim of hate speech, obscenities or harassment.

Women especially, according to Mona, sought out her advice on whether to stay at home or to go shopping or to send their male relatives instead. Women and children are most identifiable as Muslims because of their dress. Mona indicated that these more vulnerable folks are the usual victims of racial and religious harassment.

There are several Muslim umbrella groups in the area. The Center for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Justice are two. Ascentia (formerly Lutheran Refugees) is working with the Muslim organizations in the transition of refugees to life in Massachusetts.

Even though Stephen said that Mosques were working with Worcester Interfaith I did not see anyone from Worcester Interfaith or any ministers or priests, for that matter.

Sometime this week there will be a meeting between government officials and some of the leaders of the Muslim community to express their concerns.

Although theirs is a plea for normalcy, recent events do not bode well for any of us. Mass killings are the new normal. Syria has become the new Balkans. The War Hawks, Know Nothings and some presidential candidates have new people to bully and harass.