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Ruth King

Battle of the Sexes and Victoria & Abdul: Crowd Pleasing and Crowd Punishing Both movies re-enact petty wars. By Armond White

Battle of the Sexes is unconcerned with equity in life, sports, or art. This overlong, half-comic rewriting of the history of the 1973 tennis stunt between Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) and Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) is so heavily slanted toward the goal of advancing feminism that it neglects to offer a humanely balanced portrait of the players.

Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, a husband-wife team, were also behind the trite Little Miss Sunshine, and they continue their heinous, calculated exploitation of trendy, sentimental gender politics here. Riggs’s avuncular brashness is overplayed in the depiction of his gambling addiction and chauvinist clowning, but King is portrayed as a noble, closeted lesbian. Their eventual tennis match — controversial mostly because it is now suspected that Riggs threw it (unshown in the movie) — was less predictable than the filmmakers’ ideological con game: Faris, Dayton, and screenwriter Sean Beaufoy all but canonize King, romanticizing her homosexual identity (King opens up during a relationship with a TV hairdresser, played by Andrea Reisborough). Why isn’t Meryl Streep mimicking this part?

Storytelling like that in Battle of the Sexes isn’t “crowd-pleasing” in the sense of uplifting people; instead, it’s stridently agenda-driven. While pretending to balance Stone’s toothy grin with Carell’s goofish boyishness, the filmmakers forego evenhanded humanism. They’re really unthinking cynics who take insultingly obvious positions on male privilege and female oppression. Over-obviousness was also the major fault when screenwriter Beaufoy simultaneously glamorized poverty and greed in Slumdog Millionaire, the worst film ever to win the Academy Award for Best Picture until Spotlight.

Watching recent Oscar-winner Stone bring her unprepossessing tomboy persona to King’s plucky, bespectacled homeliness, while Carell continues to mistake foolish caricature for characterization (as in the vile Foxcatcher) creates a battle of oddballs. It epitomizes Hollywood’s Left-warped, identity-politics reduction of what is human. Though giving lip-service to the idea of pay equity in the scene where King argues about money with sports entrepreneur Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman), the scheme degrades men as testosterone-loaded boors. This isn’t even an ideological battle. Women are heroized; men demeaned as doofuses. The two sexes are set in the cement of progressive ideology.

*****

Victoria & Abdul offers a more interesting match-up between England’s longest-ruling monarch and an Indian clerk dragooned to present the royal with tributes from the colony. They don’t become maudlin besties as in Driving Miss Daisy but are ready-made symbols of the confounding relations between the British empire and its colonized subjects. Their mutual respect and admiration feel outdated, yet the lead actors Judi Dench and Ali Fazal both impart a humane consciousness that challenges the usual post-colonial blame game.

Their equalizing exchange (Abdul’s cultural knowledge trades with Victoria’s noblesse oblige) returns them both to their peoples’ roots and to the essence of human sympathy. That is, until the film indulges in political gestures as mechanical as a rigged tennis match: Special emphasis is put on Abdul’s religious identity; he’s a Muslim begging acceptance by the West. This over-obvious metaphor ruins the film’s momentarily fable-like vision — what Spielberg hinted at during the diverting Buckingham palace sequence of The BFG.

Abdul’s colleague issues predictable political rationales: “These people are the exploiters of a quarter of mankind,” and “they are oppressors of the entire subcontinent.” And the Queen insists, “I can take a Muslim wherever I like.” These cynical statements limit appreciation of the ambiguous cross-cultural complexity in this fact-based tale.

When Victoria’s friendship with Abdul upsets protocol and faces pushback, a startling modern parallel occurs: This resistance stems from an outwitted group’s inveterate classism and racism, and from their desperation to maintain the status quo. Victoria loses the allegiance of her holdover staff. She’s called crazy. Revolt is plotted, even initiating a household coup. The lessons in Victoria & Abdul could be cautionary.

The contempt that universities now teach about colonialism is designed to ignore a complicated response between ruler and subjugated. Director Stephen Frears and screenwriter Lee Hall (adapting the Shrabani Basu novel) only half encourage the normalized class relations that modern progressives abhor. Interesting ironies of political domination are smothered by the harsh reality of unbridled racism, expressed by Victoria’s staff and her son Bertie (Eddie Izzard), and by such insultingly pointed irony as Victoria’s marveling at Abdul’s wife wearing a burqa: “I think it’s rather dignified.”

James Clapper’s Non-Denial Denials, Revisited The former intelligence chief never actually refuted Obama administration spying on Trump. By Andrew C. McCarthy

It would be peculiar if, as he now claims, James Clapper did not know about the Obama administration’s monitoring of Paul Manafort. At the time, which appears to have been the autumn of 2016, Clapper was Obama’s national intelligence director. The (dubious) raison d’être of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) — a post-9/11 layering of yet more bureaucracy atop bureaucratic sprawl — was to ensure efficient information flow through the “community” of U.S. intelligence agencies.

That said, it is a gross exaggeration to contend, as some are doing, that new revelations about the surveillance of Manafort, the former chairman of the Trump campaign, show that Clapper lied in a March 2017 interview by NBC’s Chuck Todd. Instead, what we now know proves what I warned at the time of the interview: It was a mistake to construe Clapper’s answers to Todd as a blanket denial of Obama spying on the Trump campaign.

Carefully parsed, Clapper’s comments left open the possibility — which some of us regarded as a high probability — that Manafort and other Trump associates had been under Obama-administration surveillance.

Much is being made of Clapper’s assertion that “there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign.” But what commentators are omitting is a critical qualification that I highlighted right after the interview (as did our Jim Geraghty and NBC News itself). Clapper made clear that he could only speak, as NBC put it, “for the part of the national security apparatus that he oversaw.”

Why was that significant? As I elaborated:

The director of national intelligence does not “oversee” the entirety of the government’s national-security apparatus. By statute, for example, the attorney general (who of course runs the Justice Department) oversees the process of requesting and executing electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA] (see Title 50 U.S. Code, Sec. 1801 et seq.).

The surveillance of Manafort was conducted under FISA. It would have been known to the Justice Department, which presents warrant applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and to the FBI, which conducts the investigations. But the surveillance operation would be known to the national intelligence director only if the Justice Department, the FBI, and whoever else was in the loop chose to share it with him. Apparently, they did not — confirmation that the ODNI is the excrescence many of us predicted it would be.

At the time of Clapper’s interview, the front-burner topic was whether Trump himself had been monitored. The president had just alleged, in a series of tweets, that his phone lines had been tapped at Trump Tower. I assumed (as I’m sure Clapper did) that Clapper would have been informed if Trump had been targeted for FISA surveillance when he was a candidate or president-elect. But even if that is a safe assumption, it does not mean that Clapper would have been alerted to every surveillance of a Trump subordinate or associate.

What about Clapper’s denials of wiretapping against Trump’s campaign, and at Trump Tower?

Queen Victoria as College Diversity Officer A new film uses history to lecture us about today’s supposed Islamophobia. By Kyle Smith

Rummaging through the files of history to find a useful analogue for today’s propaganda wars is an old sport in the movie business. In 1940, for instance, British producer Alexander Korda, who was in New York reporting to the British spy agency MI5 about anti-war and pro-German sentiment in the U.S., put Laurence Olivier in Admiral Nelson’s epaulettes for That Hamilton Woman, in which the Napoleonic menace to Britain and to Europe was meant to evoke the spreading evil of Nazism. Winston Churchill declared it his favorite film.

Thirty years later, as the Vietnam War appeared to be going badly but Hollywood was reluctant to say so directly, M*A*S*H appeared in theaters, disguising its satire of the then-current Asian conflict by pretending it was targeting the previous generation’s Korean War.

Today’s filmmakers, eager to present a plea for tolerance across ethnicities, cultures, races, and religions, have found an unlikely new spokeswoman for the cause: Queen Victoria. Points must be awarded for audacity to Victoria & Abdul, in which the octogenarian empress (Judi Dench) takes on the spirit of a college diversity coordinator after 1887 thanks to her unlikely friendship with a dashing young Indian servant, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), who, though presented to her by courtiers as one of “the Hindus,” turns out to be a Muslim. There’s a scene where we meet Abdul’s wife, fully covered by a burka and veil. Victoria, rebuffing the advisers who find this a bit disturbing (as indeed it was, and is), tells them — really, us — how splendid and beautiful she looks.

There turns out to be more than a grain of truth to this story, directed by Stephen Frears (who also made The Queen with Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II). Abdul had a job in a prison in Agra when he and another man were almost randomly summoned to England to stand in for all imperial subjects in presenting a ceremonial coin to the monarch, after which the two were expected to get right back on the boat. Instead, the queen took a liking to Abdul, asking him about customs back in India, which she had never visited, and encouraged him to teach her Urdu. The two became so close that she began calling him her “Munshi,” or spiritual teacher, as the rest of the royal household stewed in disbelief.

The entire staff of Buckingham Palace, presented without exception as racist and xenophobic, threatened to resign en masse, very much in agreement with “Bertie,” the then Prince of Wales and future King Edward VII (Eddie Izzard), who couldn’t stand Abdul. He schemed to find a way to get rid of the interloper and even threatened to have the queen declared mentally incapacitated, in tandem with the royal doctor.

Victoria & Abdul is a sort of sequel to 1997’s Mrs. Brown, in which Dench played Victoria in the 1860s, shortly after the death of her husband, Prince Albert, when she found some solace in her friendship with a Scottish servant named John Brown (Billy Connolly), with whom it was rumored she had an affair. (Brown died in 1883.) She has great fun reprising the role here, playing the queen as a bored old wretch who hates to get out of bed and rushes through state dinners so quickly that guests don’t have the chance to finish their soup before the bowls are ordered taken away. For all she commands, the poor woman has never had a curry in her life. Abdul, though, is the human equivalent of a bright burst of spice in her otherwise bland daily diet of official papers and monotonous pomp.

Sovereignty Is Not a Dirty Word Trump’s critics are misrepresenting his speech at the U.N. By Rich Lowry

To listen to the commentary, Donald Trump used an inappropriate term at the U.N. — not just “Rocket Man,” but “sovereignty.”

It wasn’t surprising that liberal analysts freaked out over his nickname for Kim Jong Un and his warning that we’d “totally destroy” Kim’s country should it become necessary. These lines were calculated to get a reaction, and they did. More interesting was the allergy to Trump’s defense of sovereign nations.

Brian Williams of MSNBC wondered whether the repeated use of the word “sovereignty” was a “dog whistle.” CNN’s Jim Sciutto called it “a loaded term” and “a favorite expression of authoritarian leaders.”

It was a widely repeated trope that Trump’s speech was “a giant gift,” in the words of BuzzFeed, to China and Russia.

In an otherwise illuminating piece in The Atlantic, Peter Beinart concluded that Trump’s address amounted to “imperialism.” If so, couched in the rhetoric of the mutual respect of nations, it’s the best-disguised imperialist manifesto in history.

Trump’s critics misrepresent the speech and misunderstand the nationalist vision that Trump was setting out.

He didn’t defend a valueless international relativism. Trump warned that “authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems, and alliances that prevented conflict and tilted the world toward freedom since World War II.”

He praised the U.S. Constitution as “the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe.”

“The Marshall Plan,” he said, “was built on the noble idea that the whole world is safer when nations are strong, independent, and free.”

Just window dressing? Trump returned to similar language in his denunciation of the world’s rogue states.

When critics don’t ignore these passages, they say that they contradict Trump’s emphasis on the sovereignty of all nations. There’s no doubt that there’s a tension in Trump’s emerging marriage between traditional Republican thinking and his instinctive nationalism. Yet he outlined a few key expectations.

He said, repeatedly, that we want nations committed to promoting “security, prosperity, and peace.” And we look for them “to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.”

Every country that Trump criticized by name fails one or both of these tests. So, by the way, do Russia and China. Hence Trump’s oblique criticism of their aggression in Ukraine and the South China Sea.

Trump’s standards aren’t drawn out of thin air. A consistent nationalist believes in the right of every nation to govern itself. Moreover, modern nationalism developed alongside the idea of popular sovereignty — i.e., the people have the right to rule, and the state is their agent, not the other way around.

Trump’s core claim that “the nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition” is indubitably correct; it is what makes self-government possible. If the alternative is being governed by an imperial center or transnational authorities, the people of almost every nation will want — and fight, if necessary — to govern themselves. (See the American Revolution.)

The U.N. is hardly an inappropriate forum for advancing these ideas. “The Organization,” the U.N. charter itself says, “is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.” To the extent that the U.N. is now a gathering place for people hoping the nation-state will be eclipsed, it’s useful to remind them that it’s not going away.

All that said, there were indeed weaknesses in the speech. First, as usual, Trump’s bellicose lines stepped on the finer points of his message. Second, even if sovereignty is important, it can’t alone bear the weight of being the organizing principle of American foreign policy. Finally, Trump’s foreign-policy vision is clearly a work in progress, as he accommodates himself to the American international role he so long considered a rip-off and waste of time.

Trump is adjusting to being the head of a sovereign nation — that happens to be the leader of the world.

California Poised to Provide “Sanctuary” to Alien Criminals and Terrorists Playing politics with national security and public safety. September 22, 2017 Michael Cutler

On September 18, 2017, roughly one week after the 16th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the LA Times reported on California’s “sanctuary state” bill-SB 54 that would ostensibly “expand protections for immigrants” by preventing officers from questioning and holding people on immigration violations.

To understand the ominousness of this measure, we must look back to the 9/11 Commission’s official “9/11 and Terrorist Travel” report, which focused on the multiple failures of the immigration system that enabled the 9/11 terrorists and other international terrorists to enter the United States and embed themselves as they went about their deadly preparations.

This explicit paragraph explains how sanctuary policies that confound DHS efforts to enforce immigration laws undermines America’s counterterrorism operations:

Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. It would remain largely unknown, since no agency of the United States government analyzed terrorist travel patterns until after 9/11. This lack of attention meant that critical opportunities to disrupt terrorist travel and, therefore, deadly terrorist operations were missed.
This is why each and every illegal alien, irrespective of whether or not he/she has a criminal record, must not be shielded from detection by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

However, commonsense regarding the need for proper immigration law enforcement is being overshadowed by the manipulations of proponents of immigration anarchy. The LA Times article’s very headline — referring to “immigrants” — highlights the insidious manipulation of language that has made honest discussions about immigration virtually impossible. The process was initiated long ago by the Carter administration, which demanded that the term “Illegal alien” be stricken from the lexicon of INS employees and replaced with the term “undocumented immigrant.”

The removal of that single word — alien — from the vernacular has had a huge impact on the entire immigration debate, causing many decent and otherwise sensible Americans to be deceived into believing “sanctuary cities” exemplify altruism when quite the opposite is true.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the term alien simply means, “any person, not a citizen or national of the United States.” There is no insult in the term “alien” — only clarity. In fact, the title of the DREAM Act actually includes the verboten term “alien” (the DREAM Act is an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act).

​Going back to the LA Times headline, in reality, lawful immigrants have absolutely no need for protection from immigration law enforcement officers. The only aliens who are at risk from adverse actions being taken against them by ICE agents are those aliens who either entered the United States illegally or, following lawful entry through a port of entry, either violated the terms of their admission into the United States or have committed criminal offenses in the United States.

Lawful immigrants do, however, have serious need for protection: they need protection from criminal aliens who lurk in their ethnic immigrant communities, plying their criminal trades. These individuals pose the greatest threat to the immigrants among whom they live irrespective of their ethnicities or countries of birth.

BDS and Anti-Semitic Terror at the Center for Jewish History How the Center for Jewish History was hijacked by Israel Haters. Daniel Greenfield

The Jewish community was shocked when it learned that David N. Myers, a militant anti-Israel activist, had been quietly put into place as the head of the Center for Jewish History.

There was even more shock at the unquestioning support that Myers received from establishment figures at the Center and its constituent organizations like the American Jewish Historical Society.

There is a very good reason for that.

David N. Myers did not end up in his position by accident. The defenses of his anti-Israel activism contend that we should ignore his political views because they have nothing to do with his position. But it’s because of these views that he got the job and because of them that he will keep the job.

Myers’ appointment was not the beginning of a problem at the Center for Jewish History. It’s just the most obvious symptom of a serious ongoing anti-Jewish crisis in Jewish Studies.

Let’s start with an organization misleadingly named Scholars for Israel and Palestine which came up during the Myers debate because some of its members had called for sanctions against Israeli government officials.

Scholars for Israel and Palestine’s founding members included veteran anti-Israel activists such as Peter Beinart, Eric Alterman and David Myers. But its list of members also includes many key figures at the Center for Jewish History and the American Jewish Historical Society.

The Myers appointment was an inside job.

The Center posted a statement of support for Myers from members of the academic councils of the Center for Jewish History and the American Jewish Historical Society.

The most notorious figure on the list is Hasia Diner. Unlike some opponents of Israel who fashionably claim to be liberal Zionists, Diner co-wrote an editorial viciously denouncing Zionism and Israel.

In a hatefilled rant, Hasia Diner wrote that she abhorred visiting Israel, that the Law of Return was racist and that though she abhorred “bombings and stabbings”, the murder of Jews is what “oppressed individuals resort to out of anger and frustration”.

“I feel a sense of repulsion when I enter a synagogue in front of which the congregation has planted a sign reading, ‘We Stand With Israel’”, Hasia Diner concluded her ugly rant.

Hasia Diner had also complained that “it is impossible to have a conversation about Israel or BDS because one is accused of being anti-Semitic.” She suggested that anti-Semitism is “profoundly overused” and is “an easy, convenient label used to end a conversation or analysis instead of exploring what is really going on.”

Hasia Diner is a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History. And is a founding member of SIP.

Beth Wenger is the Chair of the Academic Advisory Council of CJH. Wenger signed a petition in defense of BDS anti-Israel activists and has accused Israel of mistreating “Palestinians.”

Wenger is also another founding member of SIP.

Marion Kaplan, the third Jewish CJH Academic Advisory Council member to sign the pro-Myers letter, had also signed a letter calling on Obama to end aid to Israel over its campaign against Hamas.

The letter demanded a permanent end to the blockade on Hamas and the withdrawal of Israeli soldiers.

UC-Irvine: Abetting Terrorism and Targeting Jews “Intifada, Intifada/long live the Intifada!” Sara Dogan

Editor’s note: The David Horowitz Freedom Center today announced the University of California-Irvine as the second school named in its new report on the “Top Ten Worst Schools that Support Terrorists.” It joins its sister school, the University of California-Berkeley on the list. Coinciding with the naming of UC-Irvine to this list, the Freedom Center placed posters on Irvine’s campus exposing the links between Students for Justice in Palestine and the terrorist organization Hamas, whose stated goal is the destruction of the Jewish state.

As revealed in recent congressional testimony, Students for Justice in Palestine is a campus front for Hamas terrorists. SJP’s propaganda activities are orchestrated and funded by a Hamas front group, American Muslims for Palestine, whose chairman is Hatem Bazian and whose principals are former officers of the Holy Land Foundation and other Islamic “charities” previously convicted of funneling money to Hamas. The report and posters are part of a larger Freedom Center campaign titled Stop University Support for Terrorists. Images of the posters that appeared at UC-Berkeley may be viewed at www.stopuniversitysupportforterrorists.org.

University of California-Irvine

Over the past decade, the University of California Irvine has earned a well-deserved reputation as a base for supporters of anti-Israel terrorism and hostility towards Jews. At several events over the past few years, members of UCI SJP have entirely disrupted pro-Israel events, chanting slogans promoting terrorism such as “Intifada, Intifada/long live the Intifada” and “when people are occupied/resistance is justified,” forcing Jewish students to disperse under the watch of campus police. Irvine hosts an annual Israeli Apartheid Week which has been variously called “Anti-Zionism Week” and “Resisting Zionism Week.” A mock “apartheid wall” displayed during the week has glorified convicted hijacker Leila Khaled a member of the murderous terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and also depicted a map of Israel with the entire nation labeled as “occupied territory.” It has also contained incitements to terrorism such as the statement “When people are occupied, resistance is justified.”

Speakers invited to Irvine by the campus chapter of the Muslim Student Union include BDS movement founder Omar Barghouti and infamous terrorist-supporting anti-Semite, Amir Abdel Malik Ali, who has openly stated his allegiance to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad. Irvine’s student senate was one of the first in the nation to pass a resolution in support of the Hamas-backed and funded BDS campaign against Israel. Irvine students even met with a prominent Hamas leader during a secret trip to the Middle East in 2009.

Supporting Evidence:

An event hosted by UCI’s chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) featuring a panel of Israeli Defense Reservists in May 2017 was disrupted by a contingent of approximately 40 protestors from UCI SJP—some clothed in t-shirts stating “UC Intifada,” a call to terrorist violence—who shouted slogans urging violence and the destruction of the Jewish state. SJP’s chants included: “Israel, Israel what do you say, how many kids have you killed today?” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” A woman identified as a former president of SJP yelled, “These people are occupiers, they’re colonizers; you should not be allowed on our f–ing campus!” The head of SSI also reported that assistance from campus police was inadequate. Despite every expectation that SJP would attempt to disrupt the event, campus police showed up late and then proceeded to lead the Israel supporters out through a crowd of protestors, increasing the risk of attack against them. The next day, one of SJP’s student leaders bragged that the organization had gone “to disrupt the event” in order “to let them (the panelists) know that we refuse to allow the normalization of their presence here.”

Europe: Muslim Reformers Need Police Protection by Giulio Meotti

Seyran Ates, a moderate imam, has received “300 emails per day encouraging me to carry on,” but “3,000 a day full of hate,” some with death threats.

In Germany, it is not the Muslim supremacists, such as those who preach killing homosexuals, who have to live under police protection; it is the Muslims who criticize the supremacists. The only “crime” these concerned Muslims committed was to exercise their democratic right to speak — not in Iran or Syria or Iraq — but in Europe.

These reformers try to keep alive the values of the Enlightenment — freedom of speech, separation of religion and state, equal justice under law — to break through the coerced silence of Islam, in which “blasphemy” is punishable by death. The price, however, has been exile, torture, ostracism, public marginalization, and too often life itself. Where are the “moderate Muslims”? In the Muslim world, they are in prison, in exile, in flight. In Europe, these genuine “moderate Muslims” have to live under police protection. Multiculturalism for them is a prison.

Abdelbaki Essati, the imam the authorities believe was at the center of terrorist attacks in and around Barcelona, was apparently a master of deception — “too polite, too correct”. He was apparently able to deceive European intelligence services by preaching a “moderate” version of Islam, while at the same time, orchestrating deadly jihadist attacks.

Another imam in Europe, Seyran Ates, preaches a genuinely “moderate Islam” but needs around-the-clock police protection.

Ates, training to become an imam, seems to have thought there was no better place than Berlin to inaugurate her mosque, Ibn Rushd-Goethe. It is the first Islamic religious site open to unmarried women, homosexuals, atheists, Sufis, unveiled women — all those people that many fundamentalist Islamists have said they wish to silence or kill.

But after the flashbulbs of photographers came the death threats. Now, six German police officers are needed to protect Ates. She is not new to death threats. She closed her law firm in Kreuzberg (a Turkish district of Berlin) after almost being murdered in a terror attack. The bullet lodged between her fourth and fifth vertebrae. It took her five years to recover from the injury.

A week after the inauguration of “Berlin’s liberal mosque”, its prayer room was virtually empty. The number of faithful was the same as the number of security personnel. Muslims seem afraid to be seen there. Ates has received fatwas and threats from from Egypt to Turkey. She says she has received “300 emails per day encouraging me to carry on”, but “3,000 emails a day full of hate”, some with death threats.

Berlin’s Seyran Ates, an imam who preaches a genuinely “moderate Islam”, needs around-the-clock police guards to protect her from fundamentalist Islamists. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Her fate, unfortunately, is not unique. Germany hosts many genuinely “moderate” Muslims who must live under police protection. They are journalists and activists who have challenged terror and radical Islam. Without protection, they would become “moderate martyrs”. Ayaan Hirsi Ali fled to the US after the Netherlands refused to continue protecting her.

In Germany, it is not the Muslim supremacists, such as those who preach killing homosexuals, who have to live under police protection; it is the Muslims who criticize the supremacists. The only “crime” these concerned Muslims committed was to exercise their democratic right to speak — not in Iran or Syria or Iraq — but in Europe.

These reformers try to keep alive the values of the Enlightenment — freedom of speech, separation of religion and state, equal justice under law — to break through the coerced silence of Islam, in which “blasphemy” is punishable by death.

It is they who penetrate that silence. They defend the right to democracy, to an independent judiciary, to education. The price, however, has been exile, torture, ostracism, public marginalization, and too often life itself. Where are the “moderate Muslims”? In the Muslim world, they are in prison, in exile, in flight — when not murdered — as was Salman Taseer, his lawyer, bloggers from Bangladesh and countless others. In Europe, these genuine “moderate Muslims” have to live under police protection. Multiculturalism for them is a prison.

Hamed Abdel-Samad, an Egyptian writer and author of the book Islamic Fascism, is protected by the German police. The German sociologist Bassam Tibi has been under police guard for two years for having sponsored a “Euro Islam”: how Muslims might be assimilated in Europe, a concept opposite to the Islamization of Europe that the fundamentalists are trying to accomplish. In an interview with the German magazine Cicero, Tibi admitted his defeat and “capitulation”.

Is Germany Heading to a “September Surprise”? by Vijeta Uniyal

Instead of hurting the AfD’s electoral prospects, the smear campaign has ended up driving more voters toward the party.

Questioning the AfD’s legitimacy on judicial and constitutional grounds has a two-pronged effect. It not only sows doubt in the minds of the undecided voters, but also scares away state employees, law enforcement officers, business owners and even law-abiding citizens from associating themselves with the AfD out of fear of government scrutiny and reprisals.

“I am ashamed that I am not brave enough to support the AfD publicly. But it would be professional suicide and I will never see my grandchildren again,” confessed another anonymous German voter.

Stay at home instead of vote for the right-wing party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), is the last-minute advice Chancellor Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, is giving to voters ahead of Sunday’s election in Germany.

“Better not vote than to vote for the AfD,” Merkel’s powerful right-hand man told the German newspaper Bild on Tuesday. “The AfD are dividing our country. They are exploiting people’s fears. Therefore, I believe that a vote for the AfD cannot be justified.

“These are just a few rabble-rousers who profit from all the reporting on them,” he continued, urging the media to stop covering the AfD.

An AfD campaign poster. Attempts by the German government and the media to smear the far-right party appear to be backfiring. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

After 12 years of running the country, Chancellor Merkel and her lieutenant still do not understand real democracy. In a real democracy, the voters hold the elected representatives accountable, not the other way around.

Regardless of what one may think of Altmaier’s skewed views, his frustration over the AfD’s rising poll numbers is understandable.

Attempts by the German media to smear the AfD and its top leadership in the final stage of election campaign has backfired badly.

American Islamists Turn to Ankara by Samantha Mandeles and Samuel Westrop

In general, lawful Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood work to insert themselves into Western society, exploiting liberal, democratic bodies to promote their own illiberal and anti-democratic ideology.

Whether co-opting Western democracies to silence its critics, or funding American Islamist organizations with long histories of extremism and ties to terror, the Turkish regime is now a crucial component of the global Islamist threat.

For the past few years, the international Muslim Brotherhood has found a welcoming home in Ankara in the face of opposition from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Consequently, U.S. Islamist organizations have also turned to the Turkish regime for collaboration and support.

On September 18th, a Washington, D.C.- based organization, the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), hosted an event in New York City with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “US-based Muslim Brotherhood supporters have a busy week coming up,” the Middle East analyst Eric Trager noted. “They’re hanging with Erdogan on Monday, protesting Sisi on Wednesday.”

Organizers of the TASC event included Ahmed Shehata, a lobbyist for the Muslim Brotherhood who has also worked for Islamic Relief and the Muslim American Society — two prominent Islamist groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Arab Emirates in 2014.

Last year, following Turkish claims of an attempted coup against the regime, a TASC rally in support of Erdogan outside the White House included Shehata and a number of prominent American Islamist leaders, such as Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the terror-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). As the Investigative Project on Terrorism notes, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party subsequently sent a delegation to the United States to hold meetings with senior CAIR officials. Since then, Awad has continued to meet with representatives of the Turkish regime.

Such partnerships are not new. Since a coalition of U.S. Islamist organizations travelled to Turkey in 2014, prominent American Islamic groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood have become some of Erdogan’s staunchest advocates in America.