Did Bill Bennett Really Write this In Support of Donald Trump?

A very dear and respected friend picked up an article allegedly written by the much-threspected Bill Bennett, former Secretary of Education in the Reagan Administration, which turns out he is not the author. Bloggers and writers are doing today exactly what people did during the first century. They would write letters and then put the name of a well-respected individual in order to give it credibility and to compete with real writers and genuine letters that would one day become our Holy Bible. When the early church councils and fathers determined what books to include in the Bible, this was one of the first things they looked for. Any book not written by the author ascribed was automatically set aside. This letter allegedly written by Bill Bennett is such a post. It is fallacious without credibility.

The following note and attachments I shared with my fiend. She honestly wants to make the right decision and wondered since the pot is being radically stirred, how can one know whom to vote for? This is my response.

“This is not something just hitting the web. It came from an essay in Nov. 14, 2015 and Bill Bennett had nothing to do with it. We have to be very careful what we read on the web and especially when it doesn’t sound like it came from the attributed writer. Having heard Bennett speak about the Trump’s run, I said to myself, “This can’t be from the Bennett I’ve respected and followed most of his career.” So I did what I usually do when I see something like this come across my screen, I check it with the fact checkers, in this case TruthorFiction.com. If you go to https://www.truthorfiction.com/bill-bennett-theyd-kill-trump-before-they-let-him-be-president/ you will get the truth on this phony piece.

In the beginning I was leaning toward Trump, but the more I listen to his litany of non policy statements and absolute melt downs, e.g., the last debate on Thursday, there is no way I could vote for him in the primaries since we have at least four other candidates that understand and practice Christian values and in my mind have a better chance of beating Hillary in the General. If it comes down to Hillary vs. Trump, I will vote for Trump, but that tells you how strongly I feel about the Clintons and where the Democratic party has gone in leaving planet earth. The Republican party may be no better, but they have candidates running with integrity and character.

Let me invite and encourage you read the next two brief post that follows this one.  The first two articles are written by people I respect and who actually wrote the articles. I have many articles written by people we all respect that are falling on their faces to become Trump supporters. They may be impressive to you. But for all of Trumps lack of humility and business accomplishments, some to be admired and some very questionable, let me share with you just one piece written by a very right of the center politician and who happens to be a Christian not because he waves a Bible and then grossly misquotes it, but because like the other four remaining candidates are Christians as evidenced by their lives and behavior. If values mean anything, you will want to read the following, How Much Must We Compromise Our Values?” And then don’t miss the final link below!

I am not suggesting that the litmus test for candidates is that they must be a born-again believer (that would help until someone reminds us of the peanut farmer), but I am suggesting that a person cannot lie in order to be compatible with the circumstances and people he is with at the time. So if I am wrong in my assessment of The Donald, I pray for handwriting on the wall, a bolt of lightening or any other minor event that might be convincing. Until that happens, I pray for God’s will for the sake of our country,”

Dan

P.S. I’m confident you feel you are overloaded now, but if you are dedicated in your search to find the truth about candidates, then the following will be more important than anything above. See Steve Berman’s

Can We Judge the Christianity of Donald Trump?

Another title I might have used for this piece is, “Why I Will Not Be Voting for Trump in the Primaries.”

I find it a little amusing when a person throws up the all world defense by quoting a passage of scripture when it comes to the question about judging, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” After all a person can’t get much better support than the scripture even if it is taken out of context and one’s interpretation contradicts other teaching in that same scripture.

Michael Brown is a man who I have great respect for. Few possess his mastery of both Hebrew and Greek the original languages of scripture. He has also evidenced a lifestyle and ministry that reflects his understanding of that same scripture that is a model for all . In my view he is at the top of my list of those I would want to hear when it comes to that difficult question concerning judging. What he has recently shared in his blog “In The Line of Fire” on Friday, February 19, 2016, you will find below.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets members of the Sun City Republicans after speaking at their gated retirement community in Bluffton, South Carolina February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets members of the Sun City Republicans after speaking at their gated retirement community in Bluffton, South Carolina February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Donald Trump has challenged the Christianity of Ted Cruz while also raising questions about the nature of Ben Carson’s faith. In the past, he also suggested that President Obama might be a Muslim rather than a Christian. Now, the pope has questioned the Christianity of Trump.

It appears that what goes around, comes around.

Trump’s immediate response was to call Pope Francis’s comments “disgraceful” and to state that, “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”

So, Trump can question the faith of others but the Pope cannot question his?

In defense of Trump, Jerry Falwell, Jr., has stated that, “I have no doubts that he is a man of faith, that he’s a Christian.”

Welcome to the 2016 version of the presidential race, representing reality TV at its most unscripted and bizarre.

Two serious questions, though, are begging to be asked.

First, according to the Bible, do we have the right to judge someone’s profession of faith, let alone the mandate to?

Second, if we are called to judge, what are the criteria?

On the one hand, the Bible tells us repeatedly that only God knows the heart and in that sense, only He knows who belongs to Him and who doesn’t. At the same time, the Bible repeatedly calls us to examine what a professing Christian believes and to evaluate how that person lives, to judge the tree by its fruit, as Jesus put it.

Using that criteria, we know, for example, that Richard Dawkins is not a Christian, since he denies the existence of God, the authority of Scripture, and the atoning death and bodily resurrection of Jesus. We also know that Osama bin Laden was not a Christian, since he was a radical Muslim and an unrepentant mass murderer.

In the same way, albeit in a much less extreme fashion, we know that our friendly next-door neighbors are not Christians when they demonstrate no understanding of their own sin, no recognition of their need for forgiveness, and no knowledge of who Jesus really is or why He died on the cross. And we can say this with certainty even if they attend church services every year at Easter and Christmas.

A Christian believes core Christian doctrines and lives a basic Christian lifestyle.

The Christian faith begins with an acknowledgement of our sin and a profession of faith in our Savior and is then evidenced by a godly life – not a perfect life, but a godly life. As Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21)

James (Jacob) echoed this saying, “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18b).

In other words, talk is cheap. Let’s see how you live.

That’s why Paul could contrast the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:17-23), adding, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24).

That’s why Paul could also state plainly that no adulterer or drunkard or practicing homosexual would enter God’s kingdom (among other lifestyles; see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:5-7; Galatians 5:17-21), also noting, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).

How does Donald Trump line up?

We know that in the past he boasted about his numerous adulterous affairs and that he built the first casino in America with its own strip club, actually featuring 36,000 square feet of adult entertainment. Yet he sees no need to ask for forgiveness for these past acts (which are just a small sampling of ungodly behavior) because he is “a very good person.”

This is the opposite of Christianity, which begins with a recognition of guilt and an open confession of our need for forgiveness. As for Donald Trump, at no point in any interview that has ever been conducted with him has he offered the slightest understanding of the heart of the gospel.

That alone would indicate that Trump is a not a real Christian.

As for his conduct, while we have no idea how he lives in private, and while he presumably has many good qualities that are commendable, we do know that his public conduct is often deplorable, with his tweets and comments violating almost every standard of Christian decorum.

This is the standard Paul laid out for followers of Jesus: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29, NIV).

Trump’s vitriolic, nasty, often vulgar, sometimes patently false attacks on others violate this verse from beginning to end, both in spirit and in letter. And remember that it was Jesus who told us that it was out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

Jesus also “told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt [does this sound familiar to you at all?]

‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector [remember that in New Testament times, tax collectors were notoriously corrupt].

‘The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.”

‘But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

‘I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted'” (Luke 18:9-14).

Which one sounds like Donald Trump, the Pharisee or the tax collector? And which is more characteristic of Mr. Trump, the person who exalts himself or the person who humbles himself?

Again, God is the ultimate judge, but He does tell us to judge the tree by its fruit, and that means that Donald Trump could really use our prayers.

You may still plan to vote for him to be president, even though he shows no true signs of being a genuine Christian (although it’s clear he believes he is one). That’s obviously your call entirely.

But let’s not foolishly proclaim him to be a Christian when, until recently, many of his ardent supporters acknowledged that he was not.

And just consider what a world changer Donald Trump could be if he really knew the Lord. Through prayer and God’s mercy, it could happen.

After reading the above insights by Dr. Brown, once again, especially as a minister, I remember the times when those whom I respect have come to me, judged my actions with love and with the support of scripture. Did they have a right to do that? They absolutely did and with the clear instruction of Scripture. Judgment should always be for the purpose of correction giving the person judged the opportunity to seek forgiveness and make things right. It should never be with a critical intent to hu;rt or destroy the person being judged.

Another post that may be of interest i s provided below. Bert M. Farias is the author.

Is This the Biggest Lie the Church Is Swallowing Hook, Line and Sinker?

Flickr-ballot

The ever increasing popular notion that the church is to have no part in politics is absurd. (Flickr/Creative Commons)
One of the biggest lies the church has swallowed is that politics cannot legislate morality. Yet on the watch of the last two generations, politics has legislated prayer and Bible reading out of our schools, abortion into our clinics and, more recently, same sex marriage into our culture. Why was the church so lame and silent?

Haven’t we learned that when the righteous abandon their responsibilities, the wicked move in?

Yes, the Bible says that we are in the world, but not of it. But Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15), and to be salt and light to the world (Matt. 5:13-14). Mind you, this is a direct commandment from the Creator of the universe Himself. So why separate religion or the gospel from politics? Politics is a part of the world.

The ever-increasing popular notion that the church is to have no part in politics is absurd. The notion that presidents don’t need to be morally upright or spiritually minded is delusional.

Why don’t you just vote for the village idiot then? Vote for the adulterer, the thug and the like. I’ve heard it many times already in this election—”we’re not electing a pastor or a priest but a president!” And that lie keeps being repeated by robotic minds who are not thinking for themselves. This train of thought is so contradictory to Scripture and our nation’s history. More on that later.

Would you want your surgeon working on your heart if you knew he had lawsuits against him for malpractice?

Would you want a banker handling your money if you knew he was a thief?

Would you want a baby sitter watching your children who had been charged with pedophilia?

Does character not count?

Then why was God’s nation of Israel, when forming their own government, commanded to elect able men (yes, competence does matter, so don’t accuse me of throwing that out), such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness (Ex. 18:21)? And be mindful that this was not the flow of authority for church government but for Israel’s federal government. We’ve gotten that backward in the church, too. Now we know that God’s practices in the New Testament have changed, but aren’t His principles the same?

It’s not that we’re trying to make our government an entirely Christian government or make every elected official a Christian, but when given a choice, why would a Christian vote for an unrighteous candidate over a righteous one? Why are there still so many in the church who can’t see this and continue to vote for unrighteousness?

This is the very reason we’ve had a horrible spiritual and moral deterioration in our nation for the last eight years. I salute my good friend Dr. Michael Brown for calling out those pathetic pastors for laying hands on Hillary Clinton (“Shame on the Pastors”), and praying blessing over her and declaring how God would anoint her and be a shield of protection for her.

How can these so-called pastors bless a candidate who calls good, evil and evil, good—who is an aggressive pro-abortionist and gay marriage activist, and who lies and cheats and kills? Why? And why do so many so called Christians continue to vote for such candidates of ill repute, election after election?

How many times must you vote for money over morals, competence over character, and party over principle?

I can hear the critics and their robotic babble now holding up their thou-shalt-not-judge card. Who are you to judge? In fact, I’ve been ordained by God to be a judge. Not just because I am a minister, but all God’s saints have this honor (1 Cor. 6:2).

God Himself has set up judges. There’s even an Old Testament book called the book of Judges where He did just that. How much more are we called to judge spiritual matters under the New Testament? This is another one of those lies that unlearned Christians pick up from the world.

Matthew 7:1 is the verse that these people always quote. When Jesus condemned judging, he wasn’t implying we should never make judgments about anyone. After all, a few verses later, Jesus Himself calls certain people “pigs” and “dogs” (Matt 7:6) and “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (7:15). Is He telling us not to do something He Himself did? No. What Jesus condemns is a critical and judgmental spirit, an unholy sense of superiority coming from those who are guilty of the same sin or offense.

Back to my theme on politics and morality and voting for righteousness.

Our earliest presidents and politicians were godly moral men. Our earliest pastors were involved and engaged in politics. There was an overlap of church and state, government and spirituality.

For example, did you know that 29 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were seminary graduates, and a large majority of the rest of them were committed Christian leaders who spoke boldly about their faith?

The progressives and our humanistic government officials would like us to believe that the framers of the Declaration of Independence were a bunch of secularists and so-called Deists, but it is such a distortion of history. The hijacking of our nation has resulted in many of these elements being removed from our history books.

Here are some quotes from early American presidents:

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”—George Washington

“The Bible is the sheet anchor of our liberties. Write its principles upon your heart and practice them in your lives.”—Ulysses S. Grant

“All the food from the Savior of the world is communicated through this book. All the things desirable to man are contained in it.”—Abraham Lincoln

Fellow Christians, please don’t make the same mistake that many professing Christians made in the last election. Hear me now and hear me well: It was not the lost sinners who determined this president we now have, but it was the church that elected him and they are held accountable. And it shall be the same in this election.

God has taken note of those in the church who have stood in favor of abortion and gay marriage and they are responsible for the apostasy that continues to spread across this nation. They voted for the voice of the deceiver whose smooth words fooled them. Don’t be fooled again. You see, when the church votes for those who favor these abominations, they are guilty of those abominations themselves.

God has been patient and merciful. Make sure you vote for righteousness this time around. As it was with the last election, so it is with this one. God has handed this upcoming election into the hands of the church.

And finally, whatever happens, our trust must be in God and in His kingdom. But as long as we can make an impact for righteousness in this world, we should and are called to do so.

Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, is the author of several books including The Real Gospel, The Real Salvation, The Real Spirit of Revival, as well as the highly acclaimed My Son, My Son — a beautiful father-son memoir co-written with his son Daniel for the purpose of training up a holy generation.

Thanks to ‘Transgender Equality’ Laws, Boys Are Now Sharing Girls’ Locker Rooms

Flickr-Gender-Neutral-Restroom

We knew this was coming, and we told you this was coming, yet many people still refuse to believe us.

Even as I write these words, different cities in America are considering dangerous and irrational laws that impose unfair and potentially dangerous burdens on the vast majority of citizens, all in name of helping a tiny number of deeply confused individuals. When will we learn?

To put it simply, you are guaranteeing trouble when you effectively make public bathrooms and locker rooms gender neutral. It is an experiment in social madness, and it is completely without justification, no matter how much we care about men and women who struggle with gender identity issues.

Many of us in the pro-family movement have warned for years that so-called anti-discrimination laws that include “gender identity” and “gender expression” as categories open the door to a host of potential problems and abuses.

First, these laws do not consider the needs of a multitude of women and children who will feel quite uncomfortable when a biological male comes walking into their bathroom or locker room, understandably so. (Note to LGBT activists: The fact that a biological male dresses like a female does not make women and children feel any more comfortable.)

Second, there is no way to keep heterosexual predators out of the ladies’ rooms, since a heterosexual male could simply pose as a woman to satisfy his voyeuristic (or worse) desires.

Yesterday, in Seattle, “A man undressed in a women’s locker room, citing a new state rule that allows people to choose a bathroom based on gender identity.”

As reported by krem.

“A man undressed in a women’s locker room, citing a new state rule that allows people to choose a bathroom based on gender identity.”

As reported by krem.com, “It was a busy time at Evans Pool around 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8. The pool was open for lap swim. According to Seattle Parks and Recreation, a man wearing board shorts entered the women’s locker room and took off his shirt. Women alerted staff, who told the man to leave, but he said ‘the law has changed and I have a right to be here.'”

Was he transgender? Heterosexual? Something else? Does it matter? If he feels he should be able to use the women’s locker room, he can, and no one can stop him.

In the words of pool regular Aldan Shank, “Sort of works against the point they’re trying to make. They’re causing people to feel exposed and vulnerable with the intention of reducing people feeling exposed and vulnerable.”

When I posted this report on my Facebook page, a woman named Kati commented, “This is VERY real. This new policy that was recently adopted by our local YMCA in WA allows for people to use whatever locker room they self-identify with. Just two weeks ago a boy around the age of 13 walked right into the girls side of the women’s locker room. All he did was sit down and scroll through his phone. Little girls where surprised when they came in from showering with their towels wrapped around them to see him sitting there. My daughter was one of those girls. This policy opens the door to those who have malicious intent.”

What kind of lunacy is this?

Last year, at a Planet Fitness gym in Midland, Michigan, Yvette Cormier was in the ladies’ locker room when a man, dressed as a woman, entered the locker room. According to local ABC News, “Cormier, who had been a Planet Fitness member for two months, said she went to the front desk immediately. The man at the desk told her that Planet Fitness policy is ‘whatever gender you feel you are, that’s the locker room you’re allowed to go in,'” she said.

When Cormier warned other members about the Planet Fitness policy, her own membership was revoked.

Even more alarming, in 2012, in Olympia, Washington, female high school students sharing a college campus swimming pool were shocked to see a naked, 45-year-old male student who identifies as “Colleen” sitting in their sauna. (The police report stated that “she” was exposing “her male genitalia.”)

The girls were traumatized and the parents outraged, but college officials said they could not do anything because of state policies against gender-identity discrimination: “‘The college has to follow state law,’ Evergreen spokesman Jason Wettstein told ABC News affiliate KOMO. ‘The college cannot discriminate based on the basis of gender identity. Gender identity is one of the protected things in discrimination law in this state.'”

Adding to the insanity is the fact that it was subsequently discovered online that Colleen also identifies as a lesbian and is strongly attracted to women, in other words, just like most heterosexual males. Yet it is perfectly legal for Colleen to sit in a sauna with naked teenage girls.

Who can possibly justify abuses like this?

Last October, The HuffPost reported, “The University of Toronto (U of T) is temporarily changing its policy on gender-neutral bathrooms after two reports of voyeurism in a student residence.

“Two women showering in Whitney Hall, a residence at U of T’s University College, reported they saw a cellphone reach over the shower-stall dividers in an attempt to record them, in two different incidents, police Const. Victor Kwong told The Toronto Star.”

But of course. Is anyone surprised?

Recently, before speaking at a chapel service for a Christian middle school and high school, I stopped in the restroom, which, I discovered, was in the elementary school wing of the building.

As I walked out, three little boys walked in, perhaps 6 years old.

I thought to myself, “How could any adult possibly think that it is fair to these little boys to have a confused little girl use their bathroom, or a confused little boy use the girls’ room? And how could any adult possibly think that it was fine for a confused (or opportunistic) teenage boy to share a locker room with teenage girls?”

Yet in schools across the nation, this is hardly a theoretical question. In fact, in an extraordinary example of government overreach, last November a headline announced: “Department of Education orders school to allow boys to use girls’ locker rooms, showers.”

It’s time we say, “Enough!”

I urge every man or woman of conscience and decency to stand against these laws while, at the same time, working to help those who are gender-confused get to the root of their struggles.

This social madness must stop.

If you live in or near Charlotte, North Carolina, please take a minute to go to DontDoItCharlotte.com and sign the petition immediately. The City Council, backed by aggressive and well-funded gay activist organizations, is poised to vote this into law on Feb. 22.

Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire and is the president of FIRE School of Ministry. His newest book is Outlasting the Gay Revolution: Where Homosexual Activism Is Really Going and How to Turn the Tide. Connect with him on Facebook at AskDrBrown or on Twitter @drmichaellbrown.

Iraqi Journalist Dispels Myth that ISIS Has No Ties to Islam

Bridgett Gabriel founder of Act For America has explained, the common thread of Islāmic terror groups is that they “drink their Islam straight,” a concept so critical to understanding the mindset of jihadists that I devote an entire chapter to it, in my New York Times Best Seller, “They Must Be Stopped”.

In the IPT article below, Iraqi journalist Fadel Boula addresses this very issue, challenging the claim by many (including President Obama) that jihadi organizations like the Islāmic State (ISIS) have no relationship to Islam. The jihadist of today is literally following the teachings of the Koran — emulating both the words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad.

Iraqi journalist Fadel Boula challenged the claim that the Islāmic State (ISIS) and other jihadi organizations have no relationship to Islam, in an article featured in Iraq’s Al-Akhbar newspaper and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Boula argued that these terrorist organizations follow a radical Salafi ideology and believe their objectives coincide with Allah’s will and the core tenets of Islam.

“Since its inception, this movement of terror has espoused a Salafi ideology that champions religious extremism, and brainwashed people of all ages have rallied around its flag, [people who were] trained to kill themselves and kill others in order to attain martyrdom,” Boula wrote in the November article, “Does Terror Truly Have No Religion?”

Scholars and observers in the West frequently discount the role of religion when analyzing Islamist terrorist organizations, claiming that religion is simply evoked to galvanize supporters as a means for political ends. That overlooks the firm belief in radical interpretations of Islam shared by the leaders and the rank-and-file within these terrorist movements. They often use political means to achieve religious objectives.

“The terror that is shaking the world today is not a natural disaster like a tornado, a thunderstorm or an earthquake, and it is not perpetrated by savage tribes,” Boula wrote. “It is perpetrated by people who enlist [because they are] inspired by a religious ideology. [These people] advocate enforcing and spreading [this ideology as a set of] dogmatic principles that must be imposed by the force of the sword, and which [mandate] killing, expulsion and destruction wherever they go.”

He described how early ISIS expansion throughout Syria and Iraq emulated pre-modern Islamic conquests.

“The invaders attacked the populace of Mosul and eastern Syria, arrested them by the hundreds, and took a sword to their necks, and later singled out the Christians among them and offered them two options: either convert to Islam or pay the poll tax, as happened to their forefathers when the Arabs attacked their lands in the days of the Caliph ‘Umar Al-Khattab [583-644 AD]. When [the Christians] rejected this humiliation, [ISIS] seized their property, expelled them from their historic home, the province of Ninveh, and sent them to wander destitute under the skies, seeking rescue and safety.”

Some Western leaders, including President Obama and his administration, continue to pretend that ISIS is “not Islamic.” However, a basic understanding of ISIS’ Salafi origins and inspirations confirms that the terrorist organization and its affiliates maintain religious and political objectives that are rooted in extremist interpretations of Islam.

Explaining the Islamic State Phenomenon

2016-02-02 | Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Part One: Explaining the Islamic State Phenomenon

  • isis_coptsThe Islamic State is a terrorist state with almost all governing elements. Over the last four years, it has developed from an extremist fringe and marginal faction to become the strongest, most ferocious, best funded and armed militia in the religious and ethnic war that is waged today in Syria and Iraq.
  • ISIS rules today over a swath of land bigger than the United Kingdom, with a population of almost 10 million. ISIS changed its name to the Islamic State to illustrate that its goals are not limited to Iraq and the countries of the Fertile Crescent.
  • Since the fall of Muslim empires and supremacy, Muslim scholars and philosophers have tried to understand the reasons behind its collapse. The conclusion of most was that Muslim civilization had drifted away from the teachings of the Koran and adopted foreign and heretical inputs that had destroyed its fabric. The remedy they proposed was to return to “pure Islam” and reconstruct Muslim society.
  • After the U.S. occupational authority in Baghdad disbanded the Iraqi army in May 2003, thousands of well-trained Sunni officers were robbed of their livelihood with the stroke of a pen, creating some of America’s most bitter and intelligent enemies. In addition, many Islamic State terrorists spent years in detention centers in Iraq after 2003.
  • Never in the modern history of the Muslim world has a conflict drawn so many jihadists, who seek to participate in the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate to rule the world after the defeat in battle of the Western powers and their local Arab allies.
  • For many, life in the Islamic State is better than in their country of origin. This is particularly the case for Chechen fighters who flock to the IS because the conditions of combat in Iraq and Syria are less harsh than against the Russians.

Much has been written about the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (the Levant) — ISIS. Most of the analysts have looked at ISIS as another terrorist organization, an al-Qaeda off-shoot, waging a guerrilla war with cohorts of unorganized thugs. The Afghani-style gear, the pickup trucks, the all black or army fatigue uniforms that most ISIS fighters wear, the unshaven beards, the turbans, hoods and head “bandanas” with Arabic inscriptions have added to the confusion.

In fact, ISIS is much more than a terrorist organization; it is a terrorist state with almost all governing elements. Over the last four years, since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, the Islamic State developed from an extremist fringe and marginal faction participating in the civil war to become the strongest, most ferocious, best funded and armed militia in the religious and ethnic war that is waged today in Syria and Iraq.

ISIS rules today over 300,000 square kilometers, a swath of land roughly bigger than the United Kingdom with a population of almost 10 million citizens. In the course of its first year of expansion, ISIS has changed its name to the Islamic State, a choice made to illustrate that its goals are not limited to Iraq and the countries of the Fertile Crescent. Moreover, the IS caliphate now has 10 branches, following pledges of allegiance in the past few months from new fronts including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria, Afghanistan, Nigeria and, most recently, the Caucasian Emirates.

Factors behind the Establishment of the Islamic State

To understand the IS phenomenon, it is crucial to examine the factors that contributed to its emergence.

Since the fall of Muslim empires and supremacy, Muslim scholars and philosophers have tried to understand the reasons behind its collapse, its domination by Western Powers, its colonization and its incapacity to reproduce the genius that so much characterized the Muslim civilization following the conquests that stretched the Muslim lands from Spain to India, West Asia, and China. Most, if not all the scholars tried to analyze the characteristics behind the “Golden Age” of Islam and why at a certain point, the Muslim world stopped producing innovations in science, medicine, algebra, mathematics, military warfare machines and graphic arts. The conclusion of most was that Muslim civilization had drifted away from the teachings of the Koran and adopted foreign and heretical inputs that had destroyed its fabric. The remedy they proposed was to return to the “pure Islam” which would heal the wounds and respond to the West by first reconstructing the Muslim society according to their raw interpretation of the Koran and organizing to defeat Western power.

Indeed, since the fall of Muslim Spain in the fifteenth century and especially since the beginning of western colonization of Muslim territories, the Muslim world has witnessed the rise and fall of successive radical movements whose prime aim was to combat the West while regenerating the original Muslim society of Prophet Mohammad which was thought to be the cure for all ailments. Muslim thinkers like Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani (late 19th century), Muhammad ‘Abduh (19th century), Sayyed Qutub (20th century), Muhammad Iqbal (early 20th century), and the Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi in Sudan (19th century) are only a few examples of Muslim radicals who inspired upheavals against Western powers. ISIS is but another refined product of the radicalization of the Sunnis in West and Central Asia.

Since the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, foreign military intervention in the latter part of the 20th century, be it Soviet or American , was greatly responsible for the awakening of Sunni radicalism in West and Central Asia and to its expression today as a Holy War against the West, its allies and Israel. The perception that the West led by the United States are the new Crusaders trying to subdue Islam has nurtured extremists ideologies and created many militant organizations whose mission is to fight “the infidels.” This perception should be considered to be at the root of the creation of Al-Qaeda whose raison d’être is to fight the West and to strive to re-create a Muslim ( Sunni ) caliphate in the areas extending from North Africa to “Ma wara al Nahr,” meaning Central and Eastern Asia, the historical boundaries of the once Islamic empire.

The civil war in Syria transformed very quickly into a radical Sunni armed insurrection against the Alawite Iranian-backed Assad regime. The Muslim Brotherhood, which led the battle against the regime at the beginning of the conflict, was soon joined by radical organizations financed not only by Saudi Arabia and Qatar but also by other actors such as the United States, UK, France and Turkey. Qatar alone is said to have poured into the conflict more than $500 million. The Syrian scene provided all the ingredients for the radicalization of Sunni organizations. The Syrian civil war is an “all-in-one” situation in which all the previous factors are involved: foreign presence, Sunnis against Shiites, Iran and Hizbullah, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the United States, France and Turkey and an international coalition led by the United States fighting Islamic militants in the lands of Islam.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar fund Islamic organizations all over the world, nurturing mainly the Salafi-Wahhabi schools at the expense of traditional and moderate Islam. Most of the Muslim states have been exposed for a long time to Wahhabi proselytism that is by essence opposed to the “moderate” Sufi Islam practiced in North Africa. No wonder after the revolution in Libya and the takeover of Mali by Islamic fundamentalists, the Muslim militants destroyed all religious shrines, an exact copy of the reality in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. However, it appears now that Saudi Arabia is apprehensive of what seems to be the result of its actions: One of the biggest contingents fighting in Syria and Iraq is Saudi (almost 2,500). As a consequence of the assessment that these Jihadist organizations could harm the monarchy, Saudi Arabia and all Gulf states have adopted a sort of “Patriot Act” and designated all those volunteers as terrorists.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has also played a major catalyst role in contributing to the polarization of the Muslim world into two rival camps, Shiites and Sunnites. Since the beginning of the Khomeini takeover in 1979, Iran has been preaching a pan-Islamist ideology while sealing alliances with Islamic movements in the Arab world, Africa, and Asia. Iran concealed its Shiite philosophy and succeeded in creating the illusion that it was transcending its origins and its identity as a Shiite entity. It was not until the beginning of the so-called “Arab Spring” that the Arab nations realized the Iranian scheme. The war in Syria and Iran’s open alliance with the Assad regime and the Shiite regime in Baghdad, Iran’s subversive activity in Lebanon through Hizbullah and the Houthis in Yemen, unveiled the implications of the Iranian contribution: the transformation of local conflicts in West Asia into a Shiite-Sunni open conflict over hegemony. Moreover, the Arab perception that the U.S. administration was looking to mend the fences with Iran at the expense of it historical clients in the Middle East accelerated the crisis between the Arab world and Iran and justified in the eyes of many the armed struggle waged by the Islamists against Iran and its allies in the region.

Another factor in the rise of the Islamic State is the so-called “Arab Spring” which was the expression of the failure of the Arab nation-states. The events in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen were exploited by Islamic militant movements which found the right opportunity to rise from their clandestine activities after years of oppression and persecution by the different Arab regimes to the forefront of the political struggle for power. Years of military rule did not eradicate the Islamic political forces that had remained in the shadow and camouflaged themselves under the cover of charitable organizations, social assistance and non-profit entities. However, after a first round in which the Islamists seemingly won in Tunisia and Egypt, the secular forces backed by the military succeeded in overcoming the Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood was dealt a heavy blow both in Syria and Egypt. However, the different regimes were unsuccessful in eradicating the plethora of militant terrorist Islamic organizations that are still conducting their deadly attacks against the different regimes. Some regimes survived – even though deeply shaken and destabilized – like Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco – while others like Libya deteriorated into failed states, and others are struggling for their survival such as Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.

The second American war in Iraq in 2003 dealt a death blow to the Sunni minority that had ruled Iraq since its separation from the Ottoman Empire by British colonialism. The Americans, striving to establish a new world order with democratic regimes as a copy of the West, established an unprecedented Shiite regime which in turn discriminated against the Sunnites who found themselves out of jobs, positions, army command, and Baath party offices. Paul Bremer, then head of the U.S. occupational authority in Baghdad, disbanded the Iraqi army in May 2003. Thousands of well-trained Sunni officers were robbed of their livelihood with the stroke of a pen. In doing so, America created its most bitter and intelligent enemies. This was the fertile ground that welcomed Al-Qaeda and allowed the symbiosis between the Sunnite opposition to the Shiite regime and the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Until the schism with ISIS in 2013, Al-Qaeda was, in fact, the sole quasi-military opposition to the U.S.-led coalition campaign:

Amazingly, the Islamic State terrorists who have emerged in Iraq and Syria are not new to the U.S. and Western security agencies. Many of them spent years in detention centers in Iraq after 2003. “There were 26,000 detainees at the height of the war,” the New York Times reported, “and over 100,000 individuals passed through the gates of Camps Bucca, Cropper, and Taji.” The leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was incarcerated in Camp Bucca in southern Iraq. “A majority of the other top Islamic State leaders were also former prisoners, including Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, Abu Louay, Abu Kassem, Abu Jurnas, Abu Shema and Abu Suja,” the Times detailed. “Before their detention, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and others were violent radicals. Their time in prison deepened their extremism and gave them opportunities to broaden their following.”

Unfortunately, the phenomenon went unnoticed for most American decision makers. “The prisons became virtual terrorist universities,” the Times reporters Andrew Thompson and Jeremi Suri wrote. “Policies changed in 2007… Where possible, the military tried to separate hardline terrorists from moderates.” But after the American withdrawal these prisoners were placed in Iraqi custody. The Islamic State freed these extremists as they swept across parts of Iraq. “With a new lease on life,” the New York Times reported, “these former prisoners are now some of the Islamic States’ most dedicated fighters.”

Never in the modern history of the Muslim world has a conflict drawn so many jihadists as is the case with the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars, surpassing wars in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Since the outburst of the conflict in Syria in 2011 and the 2014 takeover of Mosul by the IS (the Islamic State), Syria and Iraq have become the epicenter of the global Jihad. Thousands of jihadists originating from more than 90 different nationalities have flocked to Syria and Iraq to be part of the battle against the Assad regime and the Shiite regime in Iraq. The latter two are reinforced by Hizbullah and Iran.

The jihadists seek to participate in the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate to rule the world after the defeat in battle of the Western powers and their local Arab allies. The attraction the Islamic State is exercising on Sunni Muslims around the globe and jihadists in the Arab and Muslim world is tremendous. The Islamic State has become the beacon to rally thousands of militants in Iraq, Syria and around the globe.

The attraction is not limited in space or time. The movement is in Europe, the United States, Australia, Xinyang and also in the Arab world and Africa. As a matter of fact, most of North Africa’s jihadist groups were hesitant to associate themselves with the Islamic State until the United States commenced its military intervention in Iraq and Syria in August 2014.

Part II: Explaining the Islamic State Phenomenon

2016-02-02 | Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Part II:

Profiling the Jihadist

isis_toyotaAlmost all of those who join the armed Jihad, Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State fall into two primary categories:

Criminals, often recruited in prison by radical imams who manage to rally those individuals to their cause by promising them that if they continue their actions on behalf of Islam – and not just for their only personal enrichment – their actions will become lawful and consistent with the will of Allah.
The “exalted” and the “deranged” who dream of war and action, seeking to assert their manhood at all costs and who are in search of violence and epic adventure to express it. For these individuals, jihad offers a unique opportunity to indulge their inclinations and publicize them to satisfy their deranged ego.
Religion doesn’t have much to do with the jihadists’ actions. Most know nothing about Islam and mindlessly repeat some verses that have been hammered into them by radical imams, less stupid than them, but much more dangerous. Those who are outside these profiles are only a tiny minority – exceptions that confirm the rule. Jihadist university graduates, for instance, are often frustrated individuals who have failed to integrate into society through work, study, socialization, marriage, etc. There again, radical imams succeed to convince them that their failures are not of their making but that of the environment that dismisses them. They teach them the idea that it is legitimate that they restore the situation to their benefit and by acting with force.

In fact, all jihadists have a psychiatric pathology, characteristics of obsessive-compulsive, even depressive disorders, as well as an inability to be socialized. The study of their past reveals that they had left homes and families voluntarily, that many had been the witnesses of family crises, and that they were often unemployed. Some have even made use of drugs when they were not directly involved in its trafficking.

The Islamic State has an undeniable power of attraction over these individuals. Indeed, it controls a territory on which it can implement the life principles that guide its action. Thus, young men leaving to join the IS receive on the spot what they have lacked in their previous homeland: On the one hand, they receive a reason that spares them the need to reflect, to earn a salary, to court women, while on the other hand they are offered warlike activities that become an outlet for their frustrations.

For many, aspects of life – physical, sexual and sentimental – in the Islamic State are better than in their country of origin. This is particularly the case for Chechen fighters who flock to the IS because the conditions of combat in Iraq and Syria are less harsh than against the Russians. Many young jihadists in the Arab world believe the Islamic State offers them greater social justice. No doubt they hear of the permission to murder, torture, rape, and entering into forced marriage of non-Muslims, or even of Muslims when they are not quite as radical. And, of course, there is the extermination of the Shiites.

Why North Africans?

Out of the thousands who volunteered for jihad, about 5,000 fighters, originating from North African countries, have joined the ranks of IS and the Jabhat al-Nusra fundamentalist organizations active in Syria and Iraq. The biggest contingent is composed of Tunisians (3,000), followed by Moroccans (1,500) and Algerians (500-800) representing roughly 50 percent of the foreign fighters. These numbers exclude the European fighters of North African origin (mostly from France, 1,800, and Belgium, 400-600).

Ironically, most of North Africa’s jihadist groups were hesitant to associate themselves with the Islamic State until the United States commenced its military intervention in Iraq and Syria in August 2014. Jihadists such as Abdel Malek Droukdel from AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), Mohammed Zahawi , from Libya’s Ansar al-Sharia, and Mokhtar Belmokhtar from al-Mourabitoun, who fought alongside Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, had refused, sometimes openly, to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State — even after it captured swathes of territory in Iraq in June 2014 and declared a caliphate. Recently, however, North Africa’s younger jihadist generation has become emboldened to break away from al Qaeda, seeking instead to join Baghdadi’s IS caliphate to benefit from its success and wealth. Rather than deterring these groups, the U.S.-led coalition’s sporadic airstrikes in Iraq and Syria seem to have afforded the Islamic State even more legitimacy in the eyes of North Africa’s jihadists.

Some of the Moroccan militants are filling senior positions in the Islamic State as are “emirs,” ministers (Justice, Finance, Interior), as well as a Military Emir (Military Chief) and even the head of a geographical region (the Turkman Mountain). However, 75 percent of the North Africans are “Inghimasiyyine,” an Islamic State terminology for an undercover operative responsible for protecting convoys and serving as the second wave of attack when an offensive mission or targeted attack is carried out.

During the first days of the civil war in Syria, the North Africans were organized in brigades, one of which was named “Sham al-Islam” and headed by a Moroccan, Ibrahim Benchekroun, alias Abu Ahmad EL-Maghrebi. Some even nicknamed the brigade as the “Liwa al Infransiyyoun” (the French Brigade) since the combatants communicated among themselves in French; some of its members were French nationals, mostly of North African origins, who were integrated into the North African French-speaking brigade. The ill-fated brigade that was active in the Latakia region of Syria was almost annihilated by the Syrian army loyal to Bashar Assad. The remaining members were scattered in different units created since then by the Islamic State.

Considered by the Islamic state as “Muhajirun” (immigrants), the North African fighters receive a monthly salary of $2,000-3,000 (compared to $500 paid to the local fighters). If married, the volunteer receives an additional $200 and $50 more for each of his children. A new born child will automatically generate a “bonus.”

Part III: Explaining the Islamic State Phenomenon

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Multiple Motives for North African Jihadists

3d43ff9f-174e-4a34-8d0f-1c0ff85d0e04Why are so many North Africans keen to join the Jihadist effort? What stands behind this massive mobilization and readiness of young people to leave everything behind, cut their ties with family, disappear from their milieu without any announcement, smuggle themselves to the Syrian or Iraqi arenas (at great risk from their respective countries and under the constant watch of the security and intelligence agencies that monitor movements to and from the Middle East), and of course ready to sacrifice their lives in Syria, Iraq or in Europe for a cause fought thousands of kilometers away from their native North African country?
The explanation may be found in the following:

1. North Africans have always wanted to be close to the “core” of the Middle East, feeling marginalized by historical events taking place in the Arab-Israeli conflict away from their region. North African states sent expeditionary troops to the Middle East after the 1967 Six-Day War to take part in the battle against Israel. Morocco sent two brigades (one was deployed in the Syrian Golan Heights and one in Egypt) while Algeria sent a brigade to Egypt. Those troops were actively engaged in combat during the Yom Kippur 1973 war against Israel and suffered heavy losses.

2.North Africa is the setting for developing jihadist movements partly inspired by the war in Afghanistan and by the Khomeini revolution in Iran. But the unsatisfied needs of young, mostly unemployed people, left behind by the process of modernization and westernization and an unwillingness to accept the reality of power also plays a role. The disintegration of Libya after Qaddafi and the takeover of the country by jihadist militias have served as a contagious example to North African jihadists, meaning that what has been achieved in nearby Libya by jihadists could be repeated in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

3. The North Africa states have been exposed for a long time to Wahhabi proselytism that is opposed to the “moderate” Sufi Islam practiced in North Africa. Morocco and Tunisia were tolerant to the Wahhabi theological invasion while Algeria chose to fight it by all means. Identification with the Wahhabi ideology is only one step from joining soul mates to fight the “heretics” leading “heretic” regimes. Oddly enough, northern Morocco, which seems to be the area that has drawn the most jihadists to the Islāmic State, is a region were strict Salafi sheiks dominate the religious scene and do identify openly with the ideology of the Islāmic State and its targets.

4.There is also an economic factor one cannot ignore. Most of the Moroccans who have joined the Islāmic State come from the north of the country that has been neglected by former King Hassan II. The northern region of Morocco is hit by severe unemployment and subsequent radicalization. The fact that the Islāmic State pays salaries that cannot even be imagined in Morocco is a factor in the enrollment of jihadists by the Islāmic State.

5. Finally, one cannot under-estimate the geographic factor: North Africa is very close to southern Europe and the jihadist network existing there, which makes coördination and recruitment easier. Those networks appeared first during the second Iraqi war (2003) when people thought it acceptable to travel to Iraq and join the fight against the “American aggressor.”

What Are the Ultimate Objectives of the Islamic State?

The answer is simple, and it lies in the publications of the Islāmic State: establish an Islāmic Caliphate that would restore Islam’s historical splendor. According to the maps published by the Islāmic State, the Islāmic State will include Andalus in the West (Spain) and stretch from North Africa — the Maghreb — (and the whole of West Africa including Nigeria) through Libya and Egypt (considered one geographical unit – Ard Al-Kinana), include what is called in Islāmic state terminology, Ard el Habasha (from Cameroon in the west, Central Africa, the Lake Victoria states, Ethiopia and Somalia), the Hijaz (Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States), Yemen until Khurasan in the east – defined as the Central Asian Muslim Republics beginning with Azerbaijan and including Pakistan and the southwest part of China, land of the Muslims of Turkish origin, the Uyghurs. The Islāmic State also includes Iran and Turkey (named Anatol) in their entirety and parts of Europe (mainly the Balkans, more or less conforming to the borders of the defunct Ottoman Empire with the Austro-Hungarian territories).

The Islāmic State has made no secret who is its enemy: In an audio-taped message, Al-Baghdadi announced following his self-proclaimed caliphate that the Islāmic State would march on “Rome” in its resolve to establish an Islāmic State from the Middle East across Europe. He said that he would conquer both Rome and Spain in this endeavor and urged Muslims across the world to immigrate to the new Islāmic State.

On November 13, 2014, exactly a year before the Paris terrorist attacks, a voice message attributed to Al-Baghdadi vowed that IS fighters would never cease fighting “even if only one soldier remains.” The speaker urged supporters of the Islāmic State to “erupt volcanoes of jihad” across the world. He called for attacks to be mounted in Saudi Arabia—describing Saudi leaders as “the head of the snake” – and said that the U.S.-led military campaign in Syria and Iraq was failing. He also said that ISIL would keep on marching and would “break the borders” of Jordan and Lebanon and “free Palestine.” Al-Baghdadi also claimed in 2014 that Islāmic jihadists would never hesitate to eliminate Israel just because it has the United States support.

The distillation of these warlike declarations could only mean a continuation of the IS war effort directed at:

  1. Toppling the Shiite regime in Iraq and containing Iran.
  2. Taking control of the Syrian-Turkish border.
  3. Reaching Tripoli in Lebanon to secure a harbor on the Mediterranean Sea and by extension to destabilize Lebanon.
  4. Toppling the Assad regime in Syria.
  5. Destabilizing Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Saudi Arabia.
  6. Destabilizing Europe and the U.S. through terrorist acts. Blowing up the Russian plane flying out of Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai and the Beirut and Paris terrorist attacks definitely fit in this IS strategy.