Hypocrisy 2.0
Islamic Groups Condemn A Macabre Anti-Muslim Video Game.

by Jonathan Schanzer
Weekly Standard Online
September 24, 2008

Muslims in Britain were reportedly incensed over the release of a computer game called "Muslim Massacre," advertised by its creators as a "game of modern religious genocide." The game, available by free download on the Internet, urges players to "wipe out the Muslim race with an arsenal of the world's most destructive weapons," according to the UK-based ash-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.

Predictably, Muslim condemnation of the game was swift and harsh.

"The makers of this 'game' should be quite ashamed of themselves," insisted Inayat Bunglawala, spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain.

"Encouraging children and young people in a game to kill Muslims is unacceptable, tasteless, and deeply offensive," growled Mohammed Shafiq, CEO of the UK-based Ramadhan Foundation.

A columnist for the UAE-based Gulf News called it a "sure-fire way to incite hatred...It is invidious in its concept and it is invidious that it is available to everyone on the Internet."

While the "Muslim Massacre" video game is undoubtedly hate-filled and extremely tasteless, the reactions of some Muslims groups are hypocritical.

Where was the widespread condemnation of the Hamas terrorist organization's video game entitled "Taht al-Hisaar" (Under Occupation)? Young children--the software provider claims it is suitable for children 13 and up--assume the role of Palestinian gunmen who fire automatic weapons upon Israelis. There can be no doubt that this game was designed to incite children to hate.

Similarly, there was a dearth of condemnations after the release of Hezbollah's video game "Special Forces 2," which glorifies the 2006 war between the Lebanese terrorist group and Israel. Players assume the role of Hezbollah fighters, and earn points by capturing or killing Israeli soldiers and firing rockets into Israel. According to one Hezbollah mouthpiece, "Through this game the child can build an idea that this enemy can be defeated." This game was a sequel to the first "Special Forces," a wildly popular game that glorified the killing of Israelis, first produced by Hezbollah in 2002.

It is also important to note the lack of a widespread response among Muslims worldwide to the Mickey Mouse character featured on Hamas's al-Aqsa television that exhorted Palestinian children to "liberate Jerusalem, God willing, liberate Iraq, God willing, and liberate all the countries of the Muslims invaded by the murderers." When Farfour, the spite-filled Disney-knock off, was finally yanked from the show, it was explained that he was "martyred while defending his land," by the "killers of children."

Moreover, what about the hatred taught at Saudi-sponsored madrassas? These schools, funded by U.S. petrodollars, are known to incite hatred against the West among Muslims on a wide scale around the world. For example, in a tenth-grade Saudi class, students are told, "The hour will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and Muslims will kill all the Jews." In a ninth-grade grade class, students are told that, "Jihad against the enemies is a religious duty." In an Arabic literature class, students are taught, "There are two happy endings for Jihad fighters in God's cause: victory or martyrdom."

These are merely a sampling of some of the most egregious examples of education in the Muslim world, where kids are encouraged to be anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and simply hateful to others in the spirit of Islamism.

This is what makes the condemnation of "Muslim Massacre" so hypocritical and half-hearted. Indeed, until Muslims worldwide condemn the incitement and hatred taught to Muslim children around the world by their co-religionists, the outrage against anti-Muslim hatred on the part of Muslim groups appears insincere, at best.

Western values have taught us to unequivocally condemn "Muslim Massacre," or any other game that would incite children to blindly hate another faith. Until Muslim groups adopt this approach, too, they can expect to be accused of being apologists for violence, and as pawns for dangerous Middle East states that only attempt to further the Islamist agenda in the West.

Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury intelligence analyst, is the director of policy for the Jewish Policy Center, and author of the forthcoming book Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine (Palgrave, Nov 2008).


Meet Ingrid Mattson
Islam Professor Mixes Islamism, Academics, and Politics.

by Jonathan Schanzer
National Review Online
September 11, 2008

Ingrid Mattson, a 45-year-old Canadian-born convert to Islam, caused an uproar in the blogosphere after she was invited by the Democratic party to a gathering of religious leaders in Denver on the eve of the convention. Other notable participants included Bishop Charles E. Blake, (Church of God In Christ) and Rabbi Tzvi Weinreb (Orthodox Union).

The commotion stemmed from the fact that Mattson is the president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was labeled last year by the U.S. Justice Department as an un-indicted co-conspirator in U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation, a Hamas terrorism financing case.

Mattson's overt affiliation with ISNA created only a fleeting political liability in Denver, but she may pose a longer-term danger to the wider American public.

Mattson is a professor at the Hartford Seminary, where she teaches Islamic law and Islamic history. Through this position of authority, Mattson has obfuscated the threat of radical Islam, numbing her students and the American public to a dangerous ideology.

For example, it is no secret that Wahhabism is a radical Islamist ideology responsible for a great deal of the anti-Western violence produced in the Muslim world. Yet, in a CNN chatroom interview in 2001, Mattson stated that Wahhabism is "a reform movement" that "really was analogous to the European protestant reformation." Inaccurately, she claimed that "the Saudi scholars who are Wahhabi have denounced terrorism," despite the fact that many continue to teach its virtues.

Islamic-terrorist sleeper cells in the U.S. carried out al-Qaeda attacks on September 11, 2001. Last year, the director of national intelligence explicitly expressed "worry that there are sleeper cells in the U.S.," and cited specific concerns about increased al-Qaeda capabilities on American soil. Yet, only two months earlier, Mattson insistently told the Baltimore Sun that the supposition that terrorist sleeper cells exist in this country, "is not true. There aren't any sleeper cells."

Despite the fact that radical Muslims have been responsible for the lion's share of terrorist attacks against Western interests for decades, Mattson questions why the label "Islamic" is included when President George W. Bush and other leaders talk about terrorism.

Unfortunately for her students, Mattson's teachings appear to be similarly problematic.

Whereas policy analysts and intelligence programs focus on the writings of Muslim fundamentalist thinkers, such as Sayyid Qutb and Abul �Ala Mawdudi, to learn the dangers of radical Islam, Mattson teaches their writings as examples of "ways in which the Quran functions as sacred scripture in Muslim history and contemporary life." By way of background, Qutb's writings inspired many of today's radical Islamist groups, including al Qaeda, while Mawdudi inspired other Islamist leaders, such as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mattson's apologia may seem egregious, but it is fairly standard stuff in her profession. Americans have become increasingly aware of the way in which professors of Middle Eastern studies whitewash the dangers of radical Islam.

What might be more surprising is the extent to which Mattson publicly and proudly associates with a notoriously Islamist cause like ISNA. This makes it more difficult for her to portray her Islamist leanings as "scholarship."

As Mattson wrote in a book she published in 2002, "People of faith have a certain kind of solidarity with others of their faith community that transcends the basic rights and duties of citizenship." In other words, Mattson implies that the Muslim identity transcends the American identity.

In the same book, she also questions the very character of America. "There is no guarantee," she writes, "that Americans will rise to the challenge of defining themselves as an ethical nation."

It is this cynical approach to America, along with her Islamist ideals and associations, that made Mattson a political liability in Denver.

Sadly, she is just one example of the way in which Islamism has penetrated American universities, and even U.S. politics.

--Jonathan Schanzer, an adjunct scholar at www.Campus-Watch.org, is director of policy for the Jewish Policy Center, and author of the forthcoming book Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine.


Review of Hamas vs. Fatah


September 15, 2008

Schanzer, Jonathan, HAMAS VS. FATAH: The Struggle for Palestine

As much as any opposition from what is supposed to be a shared enemy, a gang war strangles Palestinian aspirations for an independent state.

So writes former U.S. Treasury Department counterterrorism specialist Schanzer (Al-Qaeda’s Armies: Middle East Affiliate Groups & The Next Generation of Terror, 2004), asserting that “the factional fighting between Hamas and Fatah has overshadowed the very voice of the Palestinian people.”

Fatah, the armed vanguard of the Palestine Liberation Organization, dates to the 1950s and was strongly identified with former leader Yasir Arafat, so much so that when Arafat died the organization fell into instant disarray. Its chief political rival since the late ’80s has been Hamas, an Islamist group that, Schanzer writes, has strong ties to both Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda (“the jihadist ideologies of the two groups, founded within a year of one another, have the same roots”). Fatah was not shy of violence, though its chief means were at least paramilitary. Hamas has favored raining shells and bullets on Israeli civilians and made a specialty of the car bombs, suicide bombs and IEDs that have become common in the Middle East. With the one controlling Gaza and the other the West Bank, no Palestinian unity has been possible since Arafat’s death.

Schanzer suggests that the United States and Israel have been largely correct in not negotiating directly with Hamas—though that position has become less tenable with the “surprising electoral victory” of Hamas in February 2006, when it took control of the Palestinian Authority. In the aftermath, sanctions against the PA have been fruitless, since Iran, by the author’s reckoning, has provided at least $120 million in aid in the meantime.

Schanzer might have done more to address the suggestion, advanced in other scholarly sources, that Hamas was encouraged early on by the Israeli state precisely as a foil for Fatah, which would seem a divide-and-conquer ploy that backfired. Nonetheless, this well-argued account helps sort out the two groups’ tangled history of nationalism and terrorism, the latter of which Hamas refuses to give up.

Recommended for students of current events in the Middle East.


Hitler's 'Grossmufti von Jerusalem'

Icon of Evil: Hitler's Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam
by David G. Dalin and John F. Rothmann
NY: Random House, 2008. pp.227

Reviewed by Jonathan Schanzer
Jerusalem Post
September 5, 2008

For the better part of a century, violence against Jews has arguably been the top export of the Palestinian people. True, they have olives and citrus, but ask any man on the street what the Palestinians are best known for, and you are likely to hear "suicide bombings" or "rockets." While most Palestinians would claim that the violence is simply a means to "liberate" their homeland, another plausible explanation may lie in the fact that early Palestinian nationalism was influenced heavily by Nazism. While other nations have disavowed fascism (Germany and Italy, for example) and have since developed into thriving democracies, the Palestinians have never reconciled with their past.

The most influential leader of the Palestinians during the British mandate, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was a Nazi collaborator. Husseini's relationship with the Nazis is incontrovertible. He worked closely with Hitler's top men in an attempt to achieve the "final solution." Yet, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Husseini is considered a founding father of Palestinian nationalism.

Should there be any question about Husseini's involvement with Hitler and his executioners, readers are advised to read Icon of Evil, by David G. Dalin and John F. Rothmann. Their short history of the mufti is an exceptional one. With the help of photos and original documents, the book paints a stark picture of Husseini's ties to the Nazis and his dangerous role in the Third Reich.

Husseini, appointed the grand mufti of Jerusalem in 1921, is perhaps best known as the provocateur who exhorted Palestinian Arabs to carry out anti-Jewish violence in British-controlled Palestine in 1920, as well as the architect of the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt, which resulted in hundreds of Jewish and British casualties. For this, he was hailed as a hero and a staunch enemy of Zionism.

After the British ousted him from Mandatory Palestine, however, Husseini became an enemy of humanity. The Grossmufti von Jerusalem, as the Nazis called him, should today be recognized as a war criminal.

Husseini left incontrovertible evidence of his Nazi collaboration in writing. In one journal entry, he admits that the basis for his cooperation with Germany was the fact that he was given "a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world," and Hitler's "explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem... according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews."

Husseini also left behind letters that prove his collaboration with the Nazis. In a January 1941 letter that he wrote to Hitler, he pledged to the "great F�hrer" that Arabs everywhere were "prepared to act as is proper against the common enemy and to take their stand with enthusiasm on the side of the Axis and to do their part in the well-deserved defeat of the Anglo-Jewish coalition."

Later that year, the mufti was welcomed as an honored guest by the leaders of the Third Reich. After meeting personally with Hitler, he established close working relationships with high-profile Nazi war criminals including Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Eichmann. In fact, according to testimony at the Nuremberg trials, Husseini was "one of Eichmann's best friends," and that "accompanied by Eichmann, he had visited incognito the gas chamber of Auschwitz."

In 1943, Himmler placed Husseini in charge of recruiting as many as 100,000 Muslim fighters to join units serving in the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East. As the authors note, "Two of the best known and most infamous Waffen-SS Nazi-Muslim divisions were established in Nazi-occupied Bosnia and Croatia."

As the mufti became part of the Nazi war machine, he did his part to help Goebbels with propaganda. On March 1, 1944, he urged in a radio broadcast to the Arab world to "kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion." His efforts to murder Jews did not end with propaganda, however. As Dalin and Rothmann note, "At one point, he lobbied Hitler personally to block a plan to allow Jews to leave Hungary... claiming that they would settle in Palestine and reinforce a new center of world Jewish power."

On another occasion, he implored Himmler and other Nazi leaders to bomb Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Finally, according to British documents, Husseini in 1944 dispatched a group of paratroopers to poison Tel Aviv's water system, but they were apprehended before reaching their objective. Had the attack been successful, it might have killed more than 200,000 people.

Throughout Icon of Evil are numerous parallels between the murderous Nazi ideology of the 1940s and the murderous jihadist ideology that dominates headlines today. Both seek to kill Jews and somehow view the West as puppets in a Jewish plot of world domination. It seems only fitting, then, that Mein Kampf is translated as My Jihad in Arabic.

Perhaps the only part of this book that might have been reconsidered was Chapter 4, which asks, "What if Germany had conquered Palestine and Britain?" This chapter amounts to 12 pages of conjecture in what was otherwise an historical narrative. This section does not detract from the book, but was an unnecessary tangent. Indeed, the history speaks for itself.

Husseini died in 1974, but the history recounted in Icon of Evil is more important than ever. The rhetoric and violence of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades and other terrorist groups bear a sickening resemblance to the rhetoric and violence of Hitler's mufti.

The writer, a former US Treasury intelligence analyst, is director of policy for the Jewish Policy Center and author of the forthcoming book Hamas vs Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine (Palgrave, Nov. 2008).


Two Hamas Books

Inside Hamas: The Untold Story of the Militant Islamic Movement
, by Zaki Chehab (NY: Nation Books, 2007) pp.244; & Hamas: A History From Within, by Azzam Tamimi (Northampton, MA: Olive Brank Press, 2007), pp.372.

Reviewed by Jonathan Schanzer
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2008

Within months of the stunning electoral victory that heralded the rise of Hamas atop the Palestinian Authority, two known apologists for the Islamist, terrorist organization brought forth strikingly similar sympathetic histories of Hamas. Both chronicle Hamas' meteoric rise from a splinter of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1987 to a successful political party in 2006. Both authors relate this history through the eyes of Hamas members to whom they are granted unfettered access.

Tamimi, a London-based academic, is undoubtedly the more vitriolic of the two authors. Tamimi, in fact, has been identified in the Malaysian press as a ‘special envoy" of the Hamas organization. He asserts that Hamas suicide bombing missions are "resorted to out of utter desperation," while lauding the "heroism and altruism" of these murderers who carry out the attacks. He decries Zionism's "racist nature." He even willfully distorts history by claiming that Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli who killed 29 Palestinians at a mosque in 1994, secured the assistance of the Israeli army to carry out his massacre.

Chehab, for his part, is a well-known journalist for the London-based al-Hayat-LBC TV. A more careful writer than Tamimi, he does not lionize Hamas but allows his interview subjects to do this. Chehab also does his utmost to refrain from injecting his opinion, but in the book's final pages, he asserts that "Hamas is part of an Islamic society and the USA has committed a grave error in writing it off as a terrorist organization." Indeed, he states that, "Hamas is not some alien guerrilla force. It is someone's brother, neighbor, or the guy who gives your son money for his education."

Both authors insist that the international community must engage in diplomacy with Hamas if a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is to be reached. In the end, however, both books underscore what neither author likely intended to intimate: that the popularity of a terrorist organization best known for its suicide bombings against Israeli civilians is a testament to the culture of violence that festers among the Palestinian people.


Nonfiction Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Spetember 1, 2008

Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine.
Jonathan Schanzer. Palgrave Macmillan, $26.95 (235p) ISBN 978-0-230-60905-1

Schanzer, director of policy at the Jewish Policy Center and counterterrorism analyst for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at the U.S. Department of Treasury, investigates the conflict between rival Palestinian factions with nuance and detail as he exposes the long-broiling tensions and violent eruptions between Fatah and Hamas—even as “the two sides attempted to pretend that the Palestinians were still united under one flag.” The author posits that “only by rejecting the platforms of both parties will the Palestinian people begin to break the self-destructive cycle” and provides a concise historical survey from the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood—the template for many Islamist groups—in 1928 to the recent conflict in Lebanon and a thorough comparison of Fatah's and Hamas's leadership. Neophytes to the tangled world of Palestine's internal conflict will be treated to a serious, no-frills account; those readers more familiar with the issues will enjoy how Schanzer weaves a web of connectivity between the Palestinian conflict with Israel, the conflicts involving Lebanon, the rise of al-Qaeda and American complicity. (Nov.)

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