Friday, January 26, 2007

"Hurray! We're Capitulating!" (to Islam),1518,462149,00.html


"Hurray! We're Capitulating!"
By Henryk M. Broder

The prevailing feeling among Muslims is that they are being abused by the West. What should we do about it? We might as well surrender. After all, we're already on our way.

This essay is an excerpt of Henryk M. Broder's book "Hurra, Wir Kapitulieren," ("Hurray! We're Capitulating") published by Wolf Jobst Siedler Verlag in 2006. The book spent a number of weeks atop the DER SPIEGEL bestseller list.
Buring an effigy of Pope Benedict XVI in Baghdad. But then again, he did offend them.

Ten years ago, in the spring of 1996, the world still seemed more or less okay. The towers of the World Trade Center dominated the Manhattan skyline, the American president had an affair with an intern, the Helmut Kohl era was coming to an end in Germany, and intellectuals killed time by debating over whether Francis Fukuyama was right in claiming that we have reached the "end of history" and whether capitalism had truly triumphed or socialism had merely lost the first round. In those days few were aware of the fine distinction between Islam and Islamism.

One had to look very closely to recognize the first signs of a brewing crisis. In Berlin, the Rote Grütze theater group was performing an enlightening piece called "Who Said Anything About Love?" To advertise the play, posters depicting a young man and a young woman, naked and full of innocence, were handed out in schools.
The schools had no qualms about displaying the posters, until a school official from Berlin's Tiergarten district requested a permit from the city's education authority. The agency turned down the request, arguing that the poster could hurt "the feelings of non-Christian pupils." The education authority was acting preventively and with what amounted to exaggerated concern for a cultural minority that had yet to be integrated into permissive German society. No Muslim pupils had complained about hurt feelings, nor had their parents expressed concerns about immoral harassment.
That was 10 years ago. Today everything has changed, except the resolve not to hurt the feelings of Muslims. The issue today no longer revolves around a group of Berlin pupils with an "immigration background," but around 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide -- many of whom are thin-skinned and unpredictable. At issue is freedom of opinion, one of the central tenets of the Enlightenment and democracy. And whether respect, consideration and tolerance are the right approach to dealing with cultures that, for their part, behave without respect, consideration or tolerance when it comes to anything they view as decadent, provocative and unworthy -- from women in short skirts to cartoons they deem provocative without even having seen them.
The controversy over the 12 Muhammad cartoons that were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 and led to worldwide protests and unrest among Muslims was merely a taste of what is to come, a dress rehearsal for the kinds of disputes Europe can expect to face in the future if it does not rethink its current policy of appeasement. As was the case in the 1930s, when Czechoslovakia was sacrificed in the interest of peace under the Munich Agreement -- a move that ultimately did nothing to prevent World War II -- Europeans today also believe that an adversary, seemingly invincible due to a preference for death over life, can be mollified by good behavior, concessions and submission. All the Europeans can hope to gain in this asymmetric conflict is a temporary reprieve, a honeymoon period that could last 10, 20, or maybe even 50 years. Anyone on death row breathes a sigh of relief when his execution is postponed to some indefinite time in the future.

The uproar over the Muhammad cartoons was symptomatic precisely because what triggered it was so insignificant. The drawings themselves were unbelievably harmless.

Freedom of expression in conformity with Shariah

It took two weeks for "spontaneous" protests to begin. On Oct. 14, 2005, 3,000 Muslims staged a demonstration on Copenhagen's town hall square after Friday prayers. In a letter to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, ambassadors from 11 Islamic countries demanded that he take the "necessary steps" to avert an abuse of Islam. Rasmussen responded that it was not his responsibility to discipline journalists, and he refused to schedule a meeting with the irate ambassadors. The Egyptian foreign minister got the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) involved soon after. The OIC had already made clear what it wanted in its "Declaration of Human Rights in Islam" in 1990: "All have the right to freely express their opinions in a manner that does not run counter to Shariah law." In essence, what the OIC wanted was to compel Western nations to bring their form of freedom of expression into conformity with Shariah law.

Then a delegation of Danish Muslims traveled to the Muslim world, carrying a folder with the 12 cartoons from Jyllands-Posten, as well as of three significantly more provocative drawings in their luggage. The three drawings portrayed the Prophet as a pedophile devil, with pigs' ears and having sex with a dog. Where the bonus material came from and how it found its way into the documentation remains unclear to this day. But clearly someone was interested in generating the appropriate reaction. Newspapers in Arab countries promptly wrote that the Danish media had portrayed Muhammad as a pig, the original 12 cartoons magically turned into 120 drawings, and the Danish government was accused of being behind the whole thing.
The West has values worth defending. Doesn't it?

European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels on Jan. 30, 2006 to discuss the crisis. Some believed that Denmark had missed its chance to resolve the conflict on its own. The foreign minister of Luxembourg wasn't just speaking for his own country when he said that the entire affair was "more a Danish than a European problem." The Austrian foreign minister went even further when she said: "statements and actions that degrade a religion in an offensive way should be clearly condemned." Even the Americans abandoned their Danish allies. During the course of a single day, three State Department spokesmen used adjectives like "unacceptable," "offensive" and "objectionable." Muslims got the message.

A year ago on Feb. 3, 2006, a "Day of Anger" was proclaimed. Across the Muslim world, the Muhammad cartoons were the focus of Friday prayers. Millions of Muslims who couldn't even locate Denmark on a map demonstrated against these insults to the Prophet, incited by their imams. The embassies of Denmark and Norway were set on fire in Damascus, the Danish embassy was torched in Beirut, firebombs were hurled at the Danish consulate in Tehran, and Danish and Norwegian flags were burned in Nigeria and Algeria.

Part II: Cowardice, fear and an overriding concern about the trade balance

In the past, an attack on an embassy would have been reason enough to go to war. But this time the affected countries did their utmost to "de-escalate." The victims were repentant and begged the perpetrators for forgiveness. Indeed, the West was intent on not doing anything that could possibly give offense and cause these fanatical Muslims to become even angrier.
Objectively speaking, the cartoon controversy was a tempest in a teacup. But subjectively it was a show of strength and, in the context of the "clash of civilizations," a dress rehearsal for the real thing. The Muslims demonstrated how quickly and effectively they can mobilize the masses, and the free West showed that it has nothing to counter the offensive -- nothing but fear, cowardice and an overriding concern about the balance of trade. Now the Islamists know that they are dealing with a paper tiger whose roar is nothing but a tape recording.
As different as the West's reactions to the Muslim protests were, what they had in common were origins in feelings of powerlessness and helplessness. Critical souls who only yesterday agreed with Marx that religion is the opium of the masses suddenly insisted that religious sensibilities must be taken into account, especially when accompanied by violence. The representatives of open societies reacted like the inhabitants of an island about to be hit by a hurricane. Powerless against the forces of nature, they stocked up on supplies, nailed doors and windows shut and hoped that the storm would soon pass. Of course, whereas such a reaction may be an appropriate response to natural disasters, such a lack of resistance merely encourages fundamentalists. It completely justifies their view of the West as weak, decadent and completely unwilling to defend itself.

Should the age of consent be 12?

Those who react to kidnappings and beheadings, to massacres of people of other faiths, and to eruptions of collective hysteria with a call for "cultural dialogue" don't deserve any better.

"The West should desist from engaging in all provocations that produce feelings of debasement and humiliation," says psychoanalyst Horst-Eberhard Richter. "We should show greater respect for the cultural identity of Muslim countries. ... For Muslims, it is important to be recognized and respected as equals." In Richter's view, what the Muslims need is "a partnership of equals."

But Richter neglects to describe what this partnership might look like. Does achieving such equality mean that we should set up separate sections for women on buses, as is the custom in Saudi Arabia? Should the marrying age for girls be reduced to 12, as is the case in Iran? And should death by stoning be our punishment for adultery, as Shariah law demands? What else could the West do to show its respect for the cultural identity of Islamic countries? Would it be sufficient to allow Horst-Eberhard Richter to decide whether, for example, a wet T-shirt contest in a German city rises to a level of criminal provocation that could cause the Muslim faithful in Hyderabad to feel debased and humiliated?

The discussion over which provocations WE should put an end to so that THEY do not feel upset inexorably leads to the realm of the absurd.

Should devout Jews be entitled to demand that non-Jews give up pork? And should they have the power to impose sanctions if their demands are not met? Can a Hindu in India run amok because the Dutch do not view cows as sacred beings? Those who believe Muslims have the right to be outraged by the Danes failing to abide by an Islamic prohibition -- especially when it's not even clear that such a prohibition even exists -- must answer such questions clearly in the affirmative. Even illiterates must then be allowed to ransack bookstores; in a world in which anyone is entitled to feel offended and humiliated, anyone can also choose which provocations he is unwilling to accept.

The comments made by German pastor Burkhard Müller on Feb. 11, 2005 on "Wort zum Sonntag," a weekly Christian program aired on the ARD public television network, demonstrate just how far we are willing to go when it comes to denying reality. "Islam is a great religion," Müller said, only minutes after the previous news program had shown scenes of burning flags, devastated embassies and holy warriors yelling "death to the infidels!" Where does it come from, this determination to disregard the facts or conveniently distort them so that they cloud our perception of reality?

A natural tendency to avoid conflict

It comes from fear. Fear may be a poor counselor, but when it comes to educating the masses, there is no more effective tool. Mao famously said: "Strike one to educate one hundred" -- an axiom that helped him solidify his power.

It is not respect for other cultures which influences behavior, but rather the awareness of just how fanatic and ruthless our adversaries are. The wilder and more brutal they appear to be, the more likely they are to attract attention and gain respect. Whether venturing into unfamiliar territory means taking a walk in a different neighborhood or visiting a foreign culture, our natural tendency is to avoid conflict.

"Nowadays acts of terrorism are not committed for their own sake, but in the name of an ideology one could call Nazi-Islamism," Romanian-American author Norman Manea told the German daily Die Welt in March 2004. The only difference, in Manea's view, is "that this ideology invokes a religion, whereas the Nazis were mythical without being religious." Manea believes that what he calls a "World War III" has already begun. "The Europeans are putting off the recognition -- as they did in the 1930s -- of the tremendous tragedy that awaits them and that has, in fact, already arrived."

This sounds like an extreme exaggeration, conjuring up visions of a Day of Judgment, of an Apocalypse Now! Of course, in 1938 hardly anyone could have imagined where the policy of appeasing the Nazis would lead. History does not repeat itself, and yet there are parallels that do not bode well. The willingness to submit to self-deception is as widespread today as it was in the years leading up to World War II.

In late June 2006, every German paper reported the sensational news that Hamas was willing to recognize Israel. But the reports were not based on a binding declaration issued by the ruling prime minister and member of Hamas, but on a document drawn up by Palestinians in Israeli jails who were seeking to re-establish "national unity" between the warring Hamas and Fatah groups. The headline on the front page of Die Welt read: "Hamas Indirectly Recognizes Israel." The Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote: "Hamas Apparently Ready to Recognize Israel." "Hamas Gives Way -- Indirect Recognition of Israel," wrote the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The Frankfurter Rundschau rejoiced over the "Recognition of Israel in the Middle of a Crisis," which the paper's Jerusalem correspondent described as a "manifesto for a state within the 1967 borders, which can be seen as an indirect recognition of Israel." The Berliner Zeitung went a step further when it wrote "Hamas Recognizes Israel," commenting in the corresponding article on the "realization of a necessity" and that Hamas had come to terms "with Israel's existence" and would accept a "two-state solution."

Part III: Self deception at least offers some succor

At least one of the Berliner Zeitung's assumptions wasn't entirely made up. Hamas had expressed a willingness to accept two Palestinian states, one in the territory occupied by Israel since 1967 and one on Israeli territory within the 1967 borders. But the prisoners' document did not even suggest a "recognition" of the Zionist state, no matter how "indirect." It existed solely in the minds of commentators. Fortunately various Hamas spokespeople quickly provided much-needed clarity, assuring the world that Hamas had absolutely no intention of recognizing Israel, directly or indirectly, and in fact was determined to continue its armed struggle to liberate Palestine.
The Europeans' wishful thinking stems from their need to avoid conflicts, coupled with a strong survival instinct. They may perceive reality, but they do so selectively.

The Berlin office of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War has published a paper describing the consequences of an American nuclear strike against Iran. According to its scenario, more than 2 million people would die within the first 48 hours, and another million would suffer serious injuries. Ten million would be exposed to high levels of radiation. But one question the paper neither poses nor answers is this: What would be the consequential damage of an Iranian nuclear attack once the country is capable of producing and using a nuclear bomb?

No one wants to address this question, and for good reason: No one knows how to prevent an Iranian nuclear attack, or even how to influence the Iranians' policies. In contrast, there is a very small but real possibility that public pressure can be used to influence the American government to move in one direction or another. The proponents of peace whose protests are directed against America's plans to attack Iran and not against the mullahs' nuclear policies are well aware of this difference. They are not blind in one eye, as they are often accused of being, but instead have a clear view of everything that is happening. And they are as delighted as children discovering a surprise. "Peace Signals from Tehran," the Berliner Zeitung wrote ecstatically in early July, when Iran did not for once flatly reject one of the European Union's many proposed compromises, but instead declared that it would "give it serious consideration."

"We capitulate"

For those facing a hopeless situation and powerless to change it, self-deception offers at least some succor.
Another option is "change through ingratiation." Oskar Lafontaine, a one-time chairman of the Social Democratic Party and German chancellor candidate, sees "commonalities between leftist policies and the Islamic religion." In an interview with Neues Deutschland, he says: "Islam depends on community, which places it in opposition to extreme individualism, which threatens to fail in the West. The second similarity is that the devout Muslim is required to share his wealth with others. The leftist also wants to see the strong help the weak. Finally, the prohibition of interest still plays a role in Islam, much as it once did in Christianity. At a time when entire economies are plunging into crisis because their expectations of returns on investment have become totally absurd, there is a basis for a dialogue to be conducted between the left and the Islamic world."

Lafontaine called upon the West to exercise self-criticism ("We must constantly ask ourselves through which eyes the Muslims see us") and expressed sympathy for the "indignation" of Muslims. According to Lafontaine, "people in Muslim countries have experienced many indignities, one of the most recent being the Iraq war. What we are seeing here is resource imperialism."

In examining similarities between Islam and the European left, though, Lafontaine ignored an important point: how long he would survive without his beloved Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc if a union between leftist politics and the Islamic religion truly came about. His dialogue with the Muslim world would have to be conducted while sipping fruit juice and mineral water. "If you can't beat them, join them!"

All the events of last spring are only a foretaste of something much bigger, something still unnamed. And when it ends, those who have managed to escape will ask themselves: Why didn't we see the handwriting on the wall when there was still time? If Muslim protests against a few harmless cartoons can cause the free world to capitulate in the face of violence, how will this free world react to something that is truly relevant? It is already difficult enough to see that Israel is not merely battling a few militants, but is facing a serious threat to its very existence from Iran. All too often it is ignored that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already taken the first step by calling for "a world without Zionism" -- a call that pro-Israel Europeans only managed to condemn with a mild, "unacceptable." How would they react if Iran were in a position to back up its threats with nuclear weapons?

In 1972, more than three decades ago, Danish lawyer and part-time politician Mogens Glistrup had an idea that brought him instant fame. To save taxes, he proposed that the Danish army be disbanded and an answering machine be set up in the defense ministry that would play the following message: "We capitulate!" Not only would it save money, Glistrup argued, but it would also save lives in an emergency. On the strength of this "program," Glistrup's Progress Party managed to become the second-most powerful political party in the Danish parliament in the 1973 elections.

Glistrup had the right idea, but he was a number of years premature. Now would be the right time to set up his answering machine.

Have we capitulated? Send a
letter to the editor .

Monday, January 08, 2007

[OBRL-News-Bulletin] "Moderate" Muslims Preaching Violent Hatred

If anyone in the UK can tape the Dispatches program mentioned below, scheduled for a UK Channel 4 airing on 15 January at 8 PM, and send a copy to OBRL, (PAL or NTSC format, or DVD  in any region code) it would be greatly appreciated, and we would send a complimentary copy of Saharasia in return.


Revealed: preachers' messages of hate
Muslim worshippers are being urged by radical clerics to ignore British law

Jamie Doward
Sunday January 7, 2007
The Observer
An undercover investigation has revealed disturbing evidence of Islamic extremism at a number of Britain's leading mosques and Muslim institutions, including an organisation praised by the Prime Minister.

Secret video footage reveals Muslim preachers exhorting followers to prepare for jihad, to hit girls for not wearing the hijab, and to create a 'state within a state'. Many of the preachers are linked to the Wahhabi strain of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia, which funds a number of Britain's leading Islamic institutions.

A forthcoming Channel 4 Dispatches programme paints an alarming picture of how preachers in some of Britain's most moderate mosques are urging followers to reject British laws in favour of those of Islam. Leaders of the mosques have expressed concern at the preachers' activities, saying they were unaware such views were being disseminated.

At the Sparkbrook mosque, run by UK Islamic Mission (UKIM), an organisation that maintains 45 mosques in Britain and which Tony Blair has said 'is extremely valued by the government for its multi-faith and multicultural activities', a preacher is captured on film praising the Taliban. In response to the news that a British Muslim solider was killed fighting the Taliban, the speaker declares: 'The hero of Islam is the one who separated his head from his shoulders.'

Another speaker says Muslims cannot accept the rule of non-Muslims. 'You cannot accept the rule of the kaffir [non-Muslim],' a preacher, Dr Ijaz Mian, tells a meeting held within the mosque. 'We have to rule ourselves and we have to rule the others.'

The 12-month investigation also recorded a deputy headmaster of an Islamic high school in Birmingham telling a conference at the Sparkbrook mosque that he disagrees with using the word democracy. 'They should call it ... kuffrocracy, that's their plan. It's the hidden cancerous aim of these people.' The Darul Uloom school said it no longer employed the teacher and that one of the reasons he resigned 'was the incompatibility of many of his opinions with the policies of the school'.

When contacted by The Observer, UKIM said: 'We are a nationwide organisation and hold different programmes in our mosques. We are very concerned about this. We have instructed all our branches not to allow any more speakers with radical or fundamentalist views. This has occurred as a result of an internal problem. We hired out Sparkbrook community hall, and some of the organisations that hired it allowed some speakers with views that are not our own. As a result, no more external groups will be allowed to hire the community hall at Sparkbrook.'

Elsewhere the documentary records the huge popularity of DVDs and internet broadcasts produced by extremist preachers. At the Islamic bookstore at Regent's Park Mosque in central London, DVDs of a preacher called Sheikh Yasin are sold. In one DVD, Yasin, who is promoted on the mosque's website, accuses missionaries from the World Health Organisation and Christian groups of putting the 'Aids virus' in the medicine of African people, 'which is a conspiracy'.

Another DVD on sale features Sheikh Feiz, a Saudi-trained preacher. Feiz says: 'Kaffir is the worst word that can ever be written, a sign of infidelity, disbelief, filth, a sign of dirt.'

In a statement the company that runs the bookstore said: 'We sell and supply a wide range of material and we do not necessarily agree with it. It is totally unfair to blame [us] for any of the views expressed in these lectures.'

Elsewhere, another preacher at a mosque in the East Midlands is caught on film, praying: 'God help us in our fight against the kaffir, in every field, in every department of life. We beg you to help us fight against the enemies of our religion.'

Inside the Green Lane mosque in Birmingham, a preacher is recorded saying: 'Allah has created the woman deficient.' A satellite broadcast from the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, beamed into the Green Lane mosque suggests that Muslim children should be hit if they don't pray: 'When he is seven, tell him to go and pray, and start hitting them when they are 10.' Another preacher is heard saying that if a girl 'doesn't wear hijab, we hit her'.

Another preacher says: 'The time is fast approaching where the tables are going to turn and the Muslims are going to be in the position of being uppermost in strength and, when that happens, people won't get killed - unjustly.'

In a statement to Channel 4, Lord Ahmed, the convener of the government's Preventing Extremism taskforce, said he was worried about the programme's consequences: 'While I appreciate that exaggerated opinions make good TV, they do not make for good community relations.'

A spokesman for Green Lane mosque said Islam does not denigrate women and that the instruction to hit a child was merely a smack. He accused C4 of intensifying the 'witch-hunt' against Muslims.

'Undercover Mosques', Dispatches, goes out at 8pm on Monday, 15 January.


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Saturday, January 06, 2007

[OBRL-News-Bulletin] The Colonial War Against Islam

The Colonial War Against Islam

By Andrew Walden | January 5, 2007

America has been fighting Islamists for longer than many realize. Even before independence was declared, American ships were pirated and their Christian crews enslaved by Muslim pirates operating under the control of the "Dey of Algiers"-an Ottoman Islamist warlord ruling Algeria. When the colonists rebelled against British rule in 1776, American ships lost Royal Navy protection. A Revolutionary War-era alliance with France offered French protection to US ships, but it expired in 1783. Immediately, U.S. ships came under attack and in October 1784 the American trader "Betsey" was taken by Moroccan forces. This was followed with Algerians and Libyans (Tripolitans) capturing two more U.S. ships in 1785.

Lacking the ability to project U.S. naval force in the Mediterranean, America tried appeasement. In 1784, Congress agreed to fund tributes and ransoms in order to rescue U.S. ships and buy the freedom of enslaved American sailors.
In 1786, Thomas Jefferson, then U.S. ambassador to France, and John Adams, then American Ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the Dey's ambassador to Britain, in an attempt to negotiate a peace treaty based on Congress' vote of funding. To Congress, these two future presidents later reported the reasons for the Muslims' hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts.
Šthat it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.
Sound familiar?
In this 1790 satirical piece, his last published letter, Ben Franklin, in the midst of a Congressional debate on slavery, compares the arguments of pro-slavery Southerners ("Mr. Jackson", a South Carolina delegate) to the arguments of a hypothetical Algerian Muslim "Mussulmen" pirate, Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim. The rationalizations, justifications and excuses of Franklin's "Sidi" are almost word-for-word those of the Georgia and South Carolina Congressional delegates. The Algerian Islamic "Erika" sect was an allegory to members of the American Christian "Quaker" sect who in 1790 unsuccessfully petitioned Congress, with Franklin's support, for an end to the importation of slaves from Africa. (Text and link below.)
Ben Franklin died on April 17, 1790, just 25 days after his letter was published.
Congress in 1790 did not come up with a means to end the slave trade, much less slavery itself. This is largely because representatives of South Carolina and Georgia threatened secession, which could have led to war or complete or partial dissolution of the Union. As with any appeasement of evil, the problem continued and festered, growing worse until finally a much larger war--the Civil War-- broke out 71 years later causing 600,000 American casualties. Also killed by appeasement were untold numbers of African slaves during the Atlantic crossing or during enslavement.
And the Muslims? By 1800, the annual tribute and ransom payments first agreed in the mid-1780s amounted to about $1 million--20% of the federal budget. (For fiscal year 2007, 20 percent of U.S. revenues would equal $560 billion.) In May, 1801 Yussif Karamanli, the Pasha of Tripoli, declared war on America by chopping down the flagpole in front of the U.S. Consulate. Seventeen years after appeasement and tribute payments had begun, President Thomas Jefferson led America into the First Barbary War.
From May of 1801 to June 10, 1805, sailors and Marines of the young American nation fought battles immortalized in a line of the Marine Hymn: "to the shores of Tripoli." As American forces approached Tripoli on land threatening to capture it, Karamanli suddenly became interested in negotiations. The war ended with a treaty exchanging prisoners, Americans giving Karamanli another $60,000 in ransom and an agreement from the Muslims to cease attacks on U.S. ships.
But for a Muslim to keep his word to an infidel at the expense of opportunities to expand Islamic power is the Islamic equivalent of a mortal sin. In 1807, Muslim pirate attacks on American ships began anew. As a result Americans led by President James Madison fought Algerians in the Second Barbary War in 1815, leading to another treaty under which the Muslims paid American $10,000 for damages. The Algerian ruler almost immediately repudiated the new treaty after the U.S. departure and again began piracy and the enslavement of captured Christian sailors necessitating an 1816 Anglo-Dutch shelling of Algiers and ultimately the colonization of Algeria in 1830 and Tunisia in 1881 by France and Libya in 1911 by Italy. By then most of the Islamic world was under Christian domination. With the Ottoman Empire defeated in WW1, secularist Turkish rebels in 1923 overthrew the last Islamic Caliphate, destroying the pinnacle of Islamist power and ending a line of succession allegedly reaching back to Mohammed.
The trend of Muslim defeat began to reverse after the Second World War even though many Muslim leaders had backed Hitler's Third Reich. Most Islamic countries became independent of Christian colonial rule between 1946 when Jordan achieved independence and 1971 when Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the UAE finally became independent of Britain. The next year, Muslim terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes and one German police officer at the Olympic Games in what became known as the Munich massacre, an attack which some see as opening the current war between Islam and the West. In an echo of the Barbary Pirates, an airliner was hijacked in October 1972 causing Germany to release to Libya the two terrorists being held for trial in the attack.
And the Quakers? Today the Quaker "American Friends Service Committee" no longer demands resolute action against slavery. They are on the other side - serving the modern equivalents of Franklin's allegorical Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim by demanding that America once again appease the Islamists. Their demand for withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan in the face of Islamist attacks aimed to re-enslave the populations of those countries will get America into a much larger war a lot sooner than the 17 years to took for appeasement to lead to war at the end of the 18th Century.
Ben Franklin's use of an imaginary Algerian pirate to satirize a pro-slavery Congressman shows his clear understanding of the danger posed by Islamism. Modern day Americans would do well to consider the lessons of the War with Islamism fought by Thomas Jefferson and again by James Madison and this alternate meaning in Franklin's final words of warning.
Full Text of Ben Franklin's last letter:
On the Slave-Trade
To the Editor of the Federal Gazette
March 23d, 1790

Reading last night in your excellent Paper the speech of Mr. Jackson in Congress against their meddling with the Affair of Slavery, or attempting to mend the Condition of the Slaves, it put me in mind of a similar One made about 100 Years since by Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim, a member of the Divan of Algiers, which may be seen in Martin's Account of his Consulship, anno 1687. It was against granting the Petition of the Sect called Erika, or Purists who pray'd for the Abolition of Piracy and Slavery as being unjust. Mr. Jackson does not quote it; perhaps he has not seen it. If, therefore, some of its Reasonings are to be found in his eloquent Speech, it may only show that men's Interests and Intellects operate and are operated on with surprising similarity in all Countries and Climates, when under similar Circumstances. The African's Speech, as translated, is as follows.
"Allah Bismillah,&c. God is great, and Mahomet is his Prophet."
"Have these Erika considered the Consequences of granting their Petition? If we cease our Cruises against the Christians, how shall we be furnished with the Commodities their Countries produce, and which are so necessary for us? If we forbear to make Slaves of their People, who in this hot Climate are to cultivate our Lands? Who are to perform the common Labours of our City, and in our Families? Must we not then be our own Slaves? And is there not more Compassion and more Favour due to us as Mussulmen, than to these Christian Dogs? We have now about 50,000 Slaves in and near Algiers. This Number, if not kept up by fresh Supplies, will soon diminish, and be gradually annihilated. If we then cease taking and plundering the Infidel Ships, and making Slaves of the Seamen and Passengers, our Lands will become of no Value for want of Cultivation; the Rents of Houses in the City will sink one half; and the Revenues of Government arising from its Share of Prizes be totally destroy'd! And for what? To gratify the whims of a whimsical Sect, who would have us, not only forbear making more Slaves, but even to manumit those we have.
"But who is to indemnify their Masters for the Loss? Will the State do it? Is our Treasury sufficient? Will the Erika do it? Can they do it? Or would they, to do what they think Justice to the Slaves, do a greater Injustice to the Owners? And if we set our Slaves free, what is to be done with them? Few of them will return to their Countries; they know too well the great Hardships they must there be subject to; they will not embrace our holy Religion; they will not adopt our Manners; our People will not pollute themselves by intermarrying with them. Must we maintain them as Beggars in our Streets, or suffer our Properties to be the Prey of their Pillage? For men long accustom'd to Slavery will not work for a Livelihood when not compell'd. And what is there so pitiable in their present Condition? Were they not Slaves in their own Countries?
"Are not Spain, Portugal, France, and the Italian states govern'd by Despots, who hold all their Subjects in Slavery, without Exception? Even England treats its Sailors as Slaves; for they are, whenever the Government pleases, seiz'd, and confin'd in Ships of War, condemn'd not only to work, but to fight, for small Wages, or a mere Subsistence, not better than our Slaves are allow'd by us. Is their Condition then made worse by their falling into our Hands? No; they have only exchanged one Slavery for another, and I may say a better; for here they are brought into a land where the Sun of Islamism gives forth its Light, and shines in full Splendor, and they have an Opportunity of making themselves acquainted with the true Doctrine, and thereby saving their immortal Souls. Those who remain at home have not that Happiness. Sending the Slaves home then would be sending them out of Light into Darkness.
"I repeat the Question, What is to be done with them? I have heard it suggested, that they may be planted in the Wilderness, where there is plenty of Land for them to subsist on, and where they may flourish as a free State; but they are, I doubt, to little dispos'd to labour without Compulsion, as well as too ignorant to establish a good government, and the wild Arabs would soon molest and destroy or again enslave them. While serving us, we take care to provide them with every thing, and they are treated with Humanity. The Labourers in their own Country are, as I am well informed, worse fed, lodged, and cloathed. The Condition of most of them is therefore already mended, and requires no further Improvement. Here their Lives are in Safety. They are not liable to be impress'd for Soldiers, and forc'd to cut one another's Christian throats, as in the Wars of their own Countries. If some of the religious mad Bigots, who now teaze us with their silly Petitions, have in a Fit of blind Zeal freed their Slaves, it was not Generosity, it was not Humanity, that mov'd them to the Action; it was from the conscious Burthen of a Load of Sins, and Hope, from the supposed Merits of so good a Work, to be excus'd Damnation.
"How grossly are they mistaken in imagining Slavery to be disallow'd by the Alcoran? Are not the two Precepts, to quote no more, 'Masters, treat your Slaves with kindness; Slaves, serve your Masters with Cheerfulness and Fidelity,' clear Proofs to the contrary? Nor can the Plundering of Infidels be in that sacred Book forbidden, since it is well known from it, that God has given the World, and all that it contains, to his faithful Mussulmen, who are to enjoy it of Right as fast as they conquer it. Let us then hear no more of this detestable Proposition, the Manumission of Christian Slaves, the Adoption of which would, by depreciating our Lands and Houses, and thereby depriving so many good Citizens of their Properties, create universal Discontent, and provoke Insurrections, to the endangering of Government and producing general Confusion. I have therefore no doubt, but this wise Council will prefer the Comfort and Happiness of a whole Nation of true Believers to the Whim of a few Erika, and dismiss their Petition."
The Result was, as Martin tells us, that the Divan came to this Resolution; "The Doctrine, that Plundering and Enslaving the Christians is unjust, is at best problematical; but that it is the Interest of this State to continue the Practice, is clear; therefore let the Petition be rejected."
And it was rejected accordingly.
And since like Motives are apt to produce in the Minds of Men like Opinions and Resolutions, may we not, Mr. Brown, venture to predict, from this Account, that the Petitions to the Parliament of England for abolishing the Slave-Trade, to say nothing of other Legislatures, and the Debates upon them, will have a similar Conclusion? I am, Sir, your constant Reader and humble Servant,
(Pseudonym of Ben Franklin)


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