While Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and a host of other Muslim countries work to fight Islamism and its resultant extremist scourge, two prominent American newspapers are actively trying to thwart the efforts of French President Macron for doing the same in France.
First the good news (and there is a fair amount):
According to a review by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), positive changes have been occurring in Saudi Arabia’s educational curriculum since 2016.
These changes have been accelerated in the 2020-2021 curriculum, which now does not include most of the antisemitic and anti-Israel content present in previous years.
Specifically, the following texts were removed:
- A Hadith, which teaches that a war between Jews and Muslims (in which Muslims will kill the Jews) is inevitable. “Historically, this Hadith has considerably influenced antisemitic attitudes in the Muslim world, so its removal from the 2020 Saudi textbooks is hugely significant,” IMPACT-se notes.
- A text describing the evil means utilized by “Zionist forces,” such as money, women and drugs, lending to the promotion of common antisemitic tropes
- A text describing that Jews have no religious-historical rights since they refused to accept Mohammed
- An entire chapter focused on commentary and analysis about a verse from the Qu’ranic Surah al-Baqarah that contained a warning against those “resembling the people of Moses”
- The concept of killing the Jews during the Day of Resurrection
- The glorification of violent jihad, including the sentence: “Jihad in the way of Allah is the climax of Islam.”
In addition, passages that condemned homosexuality and called for the killing of gays were removed as well as passages that attributed disease and calamity to homosexuality.
Also deleted were calls for the death penalty for apostasy and hostility toward infidels.
At the same time, Saudi Arabia recently fired close to 100 imams from mosques in Makkah and Al-Qassim for failing to condemn the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, the preeminent Islamist force in the Middle East and beyond. The government had specifically instructed the preachers to condemn the Brotherhood.
The UAE declared last year to be the “year of tolerance.” This year, after the signing of the Abraham Accords with Israel, Hanukkah candles were publicly lit in Dubai.
“Visibility is important,” notes Seth J. Frantzman, a Middle East expert writing in The Jerusalem Post. “It’s one thing to talk about diversity, but having giant Christmas trees in hotel lobbies and Santas in the mall – and Hanukkah celebrations below the massive Burj Khalifa, a new Hindu temple and modern mosque architecture – is all part of an openness to true interfaith tolerance.
“Over the last decades there has been growing sectarianism in some countries, along with massacres and terror. In Europe, there are frequently attacks on Jews and synagogues. The UAE has sought to change the narrative by speaking consistently and openly about coexistence – and including Jews in those discussions.”
Frantzman says that while the changes in the UAE appear to be happening at a lighting speed, their foundation was being deliberately laid for over a decade through conscious national policy.
In Morocco, the recent signing of a normalization agreement with Israel has already resulted in a decision to teach Jewish history and culture as part of the country’s school curriculum.
In Lebanon and Egypt (which has had a cold peace with Israel since 1979), synagogues are being renovated. Frantzman also notes interest in Jewish history in Iraq and Sudan.
Yet in America, prominent newspapers of record have been busy excoriating French President Macron for his efforts to squelch the very real problem of Islamism in France. This policy is all the more egregious since it has been taking place during the worst spate of Islamist terror attacks in France in years.
While school teachers and churchgoers were being beheaded and stabbed to death in broad daylight and a priest was being shot, the Post‘s Global Opinions Editor Karen Attiah was busy calling Macron’s efforts to combat Islamist separatists (whose ultimate goal is to take over France) “stoking Islamophobia.”
As reported by Olivier Guitta writing for The Investigative Project on Terrorism,
“Attiah was emboldened to continue with her obsession to attack France and Macron with arguments used by the Muslim Brotherhood time and again. Attiah whitewashed the jihadists who carried out the recent attacks in France by calling them “deeply disturbed individuals, lone wolves with no ties to international terrorist networks.”
“This couldn’t be farther from the truth: no press reports indicate any of the three terrorists were clinically disturbed; they weren’t lone wolves because they all had a support network, possessed Islamic State material, answered to the al-Qaida call to target Charlie Hebdo but also to carry an “individual jihad” on French soil.
“Furthermore, the French prosecutors said that the Nice church attack and the beheading of a teacher in Conflans, just outside Paris, were linked.”
(Perhaps because of pushback, the Post later published an opinion piece supporting Macron’s proposals titled “Macron’s critics need to understand what France is fighting.”)
Coverage of the events by The New York Times, which has a history of shilling for the Muslim Brotherhood, caught the eye of Macron, himself, who singled out the paper for its bias, charging that the Times’ coverage “legitimized the violence of which France is a victim.”
The Times managed to call the ISIS terrorist who stabbed three people to death at the Nice Basilica as “a man with a knife,” even after French authorities named it a terrorist attack. (This was reminiscent of the Times’ coverage of the targeted killing of a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad in which the paper never used the word “terrorist” to describe a man responsible for mass civilian casualty bombings.)
As Guitta notes,
“The Times’ slanted coverage continued with news articles such as, “After Terror Attacks, Muslims Wonder About Their Place in France.” Blaming France rather than the jihadists continued in the Times’ opinion pages, which featured pro-Islamist voices such as the French ‘researcher’ Vincent Geisser who is a good friend of Tariq Ramadan. The title of Geisser’s column says it all: “Is France Fueling Terrorism by Trying to Prevent It?”
(Tariq Ramadan is the grandson and political heir of his Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.)
The reaction of these prominent U.S. papers is all the more glaring considering the above developments in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries trying to reverse their histories of Islamist extremism.
Many are still puzzled by what has come to be known as the “Red/Green Alliance,” the partnership of the woke (social justice) crowd with Islamists. While these two groups have diametrically opposing values and goals, their intersection banks on their shared culture of grievance and perceived victimization, as well as their common desires to dismantle the existing power and governmental structures.
While the long-run staying power of such an alliance might ultimately prove impossible, this current pact gives us insight into why mainstream American newspapers would bolster Islamism – unfortunately, even in the face of violent attacks that one day, may be directed toward them.