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Posted in: Islamism/Muslim Dissidents

Published on Jan 06, 2010 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

Heroes in Dark Times: The Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam


And now, reality has become somewhat Scandinavian. It grows dark early and is bitterly cold in New York City; I am told this is the case all over our fair land. Our Prince of Peace (The Norwegian Nobel, not the noble variety) is not yet asking whether "to be or not to be." Perhaps he is not entirely convinced that "that is the question."

Meanwhile, a mad jihadist has just tried to kill our brave Danish "Muhammed" cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and his little granddaughter in the cartoonist's own home—and Lars Vilks, the Swedish "Muhammed" illustrator, has also just been threatened with death by jihad by a Somali who spoke to him in "accented Swedish."

You see what I mean by a "Scandinavian" reality.

Surely, it is a time of rogues and scoundrels, death-eaters and their death-loving collaborators—and yet it is also a time of heroes. Let us talk about some good deeds, acts of kindness and of those of great vision. Such tales will keep us warm.

First, there are the religious people who literally go out into the cold in order to feed and clothe the cold and hungry homeless, those who sleep on subways or under bridges. I have a dear friend who often does this once a week together with other members of her synagogue. And then there are those church people who bring food and clothing to shelters for the homeless and to shelters for battered women.

Long may they live.

Then, there are those American women of a certain age who personally crochet and hand-stitch blankets for wounded American soldiers. I watched a documentary about them on television. Their steady, careful, patient hands bring comfort, perhaps even healing to so many broken bodies and war-shattered minds. The fact that they exist certainly uplifted and consoled me.

Long may they live.

And then—we have the heroes of vision and activism with whom I was privileged to meet last night and whose group photo adorns this article. The Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam is a rainbow coalition of eminently worthy souls who take radical Islam very seriously and who wish to educate the entire world, beginning with the United States, about the danger we all currently face. This group has demonstrated with posters showing Islamic terrorist atrocities world-wide. Passersby stop and are really amazed that this has happened, that this is true.

Retired physician Marvin Belsky has been serving as the group's co-ordinator. Now, the group has elected Caroline Labib Doss as its president. Thus far, the coalition consists of Coptic Christians, Sudanese Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, and Jews. As a group, and as individuals, they are actively recruiting liberal Jews (!), conservative and liberal Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, and of course, Muslims, beginning with Muslim dissidents and Muslim feminists. They are most interested in reaching out to women and to women's groups of all kinds. Iranian women's groups especially.

Top row, left to right: Jacob Keryakes, Satya Dosapati, Nand Ramsighani, Paul Gulati, Arish Sahani, Charles Jacobs, Andrew Upton, Simon Deng, Narain Kataria. Bottom row: Caroline Labib-Doss, Marvin Belsky, Phyllis Chesler, Bhupinder Bhurji

Top row, left to right: Jacob Keryakes, Satya Dosapati, Nand Ramsinghani, Paul Gulati, Arish Sahani, Charles Jacobs, Andrew Upton, Simon Deng, Narain Kataria. Bottom row: Caroline Labib-Doss, Marvin Belsky, Phyllis Chesler, Bhupinder Bhurji

I have been working with (or at least communicating with and writing about) this group for more than a year now. Such a coalition is, ideally, the "way to go." Jihadic terrorism and Islamist religious and gender apartheid affect a huge number of people, beginning with other Muslims—if only most people understood this. I could not stay for the entire steering committee meeting but my assistant, Nathan Bloom, kindly did, and he took careful notes.

The Coalition had asked me to explain whether or not feminists would be interested in joining such a coalition. I tried to explain why such recruitment would take time and not be easy. Actually, I wrote a whole book, The Death of Feminism, and hundreds of articles on this very subject. In short, the fear of being labeled "racist" trumps feminist concerns about "sexism" or women's rights under Islam. Many feminists have become politically correct cultural "relativists" who are more concerned with the "occupation" of one country that does not exist (Palestine, of course) than they are with the "occupation" of women's bodies and minds world-wide.

While I was still present, Jacob Keryakes, a Coptic Christian, (joined by Caroline Labib Doss), spoke movingly about the plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt. Although honor killings are on everyone's minds right now (including mine), Keryakes described the harrowing situation for Coptic Christian girls and women in the streets of Egypt. Unveiled women are routinely harassed, cursed, fondled, assaulted. Judy Bachrach wrote a piece about this for which she interviewed me. It is a good piece and strongly confirms what Keryakes said. However, he went further. He said that "probably 100%" of Egyptian Christian women are harassed because they don't wear the veil. They are called "whore," insulted, spat on – and that's if they're lucky. The unlucky ones have their faces burned with acid.

He paused.

"The unlucky ones are abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and then forcibly married to Muslim men. They are abducting girls as young as thirteen and fifteen. It is against Egyptian law to marry without parental permission at such young ages. In one case, where President Mubarak actually intervened, the two abducted girls were found, forced to appear on television and forced to say that they had married of their own free will and were happy with the arrangement."

In other words, even the President dared not uphold Egyptian law against the will of the Islamist majority or the Islamist mullacracy.

Keryakes and Labib-Doss both said that "Copts in America have become more politically active in the past ten years because of the proliferation of satellite channels geared to a Coptic audience." Also, it is simply too dangerous for Coptic priests to expose or intervene in such matters without risking death themselves; priests and male Christians are often kidnapped, tortured, crucified, and beheaded. Yes, in Egypt. The country which America has given more than $60 billion to since 1979.

Keryakes said that the Coptic bishop in the United States can't speak freely about the persecution of his co-religionists in Egypt; if he did so, there would be a backlash against Copts in Egypt. The safest champions of their cause are people who are not part of the Coptic Church. "We are witnessing a silent genocide of Christians in Egypt."

Simon Deng, formerly a slave in Sudan, said that "I'm not a radical, I'm a victim." He asked why people in the West care so much about the 200,000 Muslims who have died in Darfur but not the 2,000,000 (!) Christians who have died in the earlier conflict in southern Sudan. He asked why the liberals who have obsessed over Darfur fail to mention who exactly is the "bad guy" in this conflict.

He is so right. The latest New York Times disinformation on Sudan was an article in which they described the Janjaweed as "bandits." In truth, the Janjaweed are a government or state-sponsored paramilitary or terrorist group, composed entirely of ethnic Arab Muslims who publicly and repeatedly gang-rape (gender-cleanse) black African Christians, black African Muslims, and black African animists in Darfur and who ethnically cleanse or commit real genocide against the men and women in these particular groups. I have been writing about this since 2004. Previously, the Times finally, very late in the piece, managed to link the word "Arab" with the actions of the dreaded Janjaweed (men on horseback), but they could never bring themselves to go so far as to publish the word "Muslim" too.

The Hindus and Sikhs suggested that I contact certain powerful Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim women in India as well as Taslima Nasreen, originally from Bangladesh, who had to flee Bangladesh, and who was given asylum first in Europe, then in India, and now perhaps elsewhere again.

Andrew Upton, a Jewish lawyer, despaired about "liberal" Jews who are "responsible for giving legitimacy to Islamic extremists in many parts of the country." He strongly believes that if liberal Jews would allow themselves to really learn the facts about jihadic terrorism and Islamist fundamentalism that they would have to change their minds about almost everything. "How can liberals and progressives support regimes that believe homosexuality is a capital crime, that the European Holocaust was merely a fantasy, that women must be kept out of sight, adulterers stoned to death, etc.?" He also believes that people, including liberal Jews, must understand that "Saudi Arabia has spent 75-100 billion dollars funding radical Islamic ideology since the Grand Mosque takeover in 1979, including 12 billion in America." This accounts for the radicalization and both foreign and homegrown jihadic warriors that we are seeing everywhere.

Charles Jacobs, the co-founder of the David Project, talked about how the fight will be "mosque by mosque," with small battles and not with sweeping, feel-good gestures. Charles mentioned that his organization knows more about radical Islam in New England than the FBI does. In fact, his group actually does consulting for the FBI. The David Project made a heroic effort to resist the establishment of a radical, Saudi-funded mosque in Boston.

Keryakes: "When Americans think of the Middle East, they think of the Palestinians. This needs to change. Fifty years ago, most of the professionals, doctors, and businessman in Egypt were Copts. Now, government discrimination has changed all that so now Muslims are the majority in those fields. Al Azhar is now a government-funded university and not just a madrasa, and of course it accepts only Muslims." Christians are the most persecuted minority in the Middle East.

He is right of course—except, I would add, that Israeli Jews are also under the most profound siege and, were it not for the Israeli armed forces, would long ago have been "driven into the sea."

But then there is Mumbai, Madrid, London, New York, Basra, Teheran, Karachi, Bali, Islamabad, Kabul, Kandahar—all being blown up by Muslim Islamist jihadists. Our problem is global, and what is needed is a global coalition with representatives of every religion, every ethnicity, every skin-color, both genders. And here is the nucleus, the model for what we need.

May they live long and prosper.


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