Iran tells Talabani that US-led forces must leave Iraq by Farhad Pouladi

Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei told visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani that US-led forces had to leave Iraq if security was to be restored in the violence-riven country.

“The first step to solve the security issue in Iraq is the exit of the occupiers from this country and leaving the security issues to the people-based Iraqi government,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by state television.

“Americans will absolutely not succeed in Iraq and the continuation of Iraq’s occupation is not a mouthful that Americans can swallow,” Khamenei said Tuesday during a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

“The main reason for the current situation in Iraq is the US policies that are being carried out by some intermediaries,” the Iranian leader said.

He put the blame for Iraq’s insecurity on “some US agents in the region who are mediators of these policies”.

“Reinforcing terrorist groups and inflaming the wave of insecurity and killings in Iraq will be very dangerous for the US agents and the region,” Khamenei said.

He also pledged that the Islamic republic would come to Iraq’s assistance if requested.

“If the Iraqi government asks, Iran will not refrain from any action to establish stability and security in this country.”

“Americans will absolutely not succeed in Iraq and the continuation of Iraq’s occupation is not a mouthful that Americans can swallow,” Khamenei told him.

Talabani, paying a three-day official visit to the Shiite-dominated neighbouring country, has acknowledged he came to seek Tehran’s help in curbing bloodshed which is increasingly being perceived as civil war.

During his trip to Tehran, Talabani also received fresh vows of assistance from his counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to stem the violence in war-torn Iraq.

Washington and London, whose forces are battling insurgents in Iraq, accuse Tehran of fomenting the sectarian conflict.

Iran has strongly denied meddling in Iraq, insisting repeatedly that the Iraqi conflict will be resolved if the occupation forces pull out of Iraq.

At a meeting with Talabani on Monday, Ahmadinejad promised to do all his country could. “We will help our Iraqi brothers with all that we can to implement and reinforce security in Iraq,” the Iranian president said.

Talabani told reporters as he arrived in Tehran: “We need Iran’s comprehensive help to fight terrorism, restore security and stabilize Iraq.”

The Iraqi president, whose Patriotic Union of Kurdistan has in the past been backed by Iran, made a landmark visit to Tehran in November 2005. He said at the time he had won Iran’s promise of support for his government’s battle with insurgents.

His latest plea for help came as a fresh outbreak of violence left dozens dead across Iraq. The bodies of at least 40 people bearing torture marks were recovered after being dumped in various parts of the capital.

The Iran visit coincides with a flurry of diplomatic activity to try to resolve the worsening situation in Iraq, with US President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki set to meet Wednesday in the Jordanian capital Amman.

Washington’s staunch ally Britain on Monday condemned what it called Iran’s behaviour in inciting violence in Iraq.

British Defence Secretary Des Browne warned the Islamic republic against seeing Iraq as a “tool in a wider confrontation” — a reference to US-led efforts to force Tehran to curb its nuclear plans which the West suspects hide ambitions for nuclear weapons.

Tehran insists its atomic plans are only for civilian use.

MIT ‘Air Force’ could help perfect Unmanned Craft by Peter J. Howe

Who says battery-powered airplanes have to be outdoor toys?

Not aeronautics professor Jonathan How of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , who along with a team of students this fall has turned an MIT lab into a first-of-its-kind US test bed for “unmanned aerial vehicles” that, with the help of computers, fly themselves.

It’s undeniably fun, How admits, to get away with flying a model helicopter inside. But his team’s work, sponsored by aircraft giant Boeing Co.’s Phantom Works research unit, could one day help revolutionize one of the fastest-growing sectors of the aviation industry, remote-controlled flying devices that are increasingly being used for everything from warfare and border surveillance to battling forest fires and doing seismic testing for oil deposits.

Teal Group , an aerospace and defense market-analysis firm in Fairfax, Va., recently projected that worldwide spending on unmanned aerial vehicles and related systems will represent a $55 billion worldwide market over the next 10 years. Annual spending on flying drone systems could triple, to $8.3 billion in 2016 from $2.7 billion now.

The new MIT indoor flying lab is helping to simplify one of the biggest challenges to wider deployment of unmanned vehicles: developing the very complex, perfectly reliable software and telecommunications systems to manage a fleet of flying devices and keep them from crashing into each other.

“Ultimately, when you are taking these devices out into real-world applications, you want people to perform a task like surveillance of the border. You don’t want them spending a lot of time figuring out how to fly the vehicle,” How said.

To test and debug a multiple-vehicle flying system outdoors normally requires four people monitoring every vehicle, How said, or potentially over three dozen people to run a test of 10 flying drones. “That is logistically hard, and very costly,” he said.

With the MIT system, not only can one person handle several flying devices at once, “You can have a student essentially operate this from their bedroom,” through a high-speed Internet connection.

How’s air force consists of a half-dozen four-rotor helicopters, each about the size of a chicken and costing around $700. Their actual moment-to-moment flying is controlled by a network of computers.

So far, researchers have been able to complete tasks like landing a mini-chopper on a motorized toy truck, a good simulation of landing a drone on a Humvee in the desert or a battleship at sea.

Their next milestone is to keep a fleet flying for seven straight days, which requires helicopters flying back to a landing pad to recharge their batteries. Several graduate students in electrical engineering and aeronautics, including Brett Bethke, Daniel Dale, and Mario Valenti, handle much of the nuts-and-bolts work of keeping the fleet flying.

To create the equivalent of an indoor satellite positioning system, How’s lab uses the same motion-monitoring systems from Vicon , a British technology company, that Hollywood studios have used for animated films. For a cartoon movie, the systems track an actual moving human to generate realistic-looking animated character movement. At MIT, they perform toy-helicopter air traffic control by tracking their position to within one-tenth of a millimeter in any direction.

The work directly addresses some of the major obstacles to wider use of unmanned aerial vehicles, said John Vian , a technical fellow with Boeing Phantom Works. “Enabling complex and coupled systems to operate reliably is really the biggest challenge we’re facing,” he said. “We need smart systems, and Jon How and the folks at MIT have the capability to make them work.”

Boeing currently has “a stretch goal,” Vian said, of coming up with a system that can enable one operator to control 100 vehicles. That will mean solving all kinds of nitty-gritty problems involving computer software, mathematics, motion monitoring, and communications, Vian said.

But for How and his fellow researchers, Vian added, it won’t be entirely boring.

“You can see from what’s going on in the lab,” Vian said, “that it’s just a blast.”

Intelligence VS. Politics (Terrorism Definition)

60th United Nations General Assembly Legal Committee failed again on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 to progress on The Comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Convention and Definition of Terrorism that would be binding on all countries.

60th United Nations General Assembly Legal Committee did issue condemnation of terrorism.
60th United Nations General Assembly Legal Committee failed due to the differences between Western Countries and Organization of the Islamic Conference. Organization of the Islamic Conference insist on language that would exempt armed resistance groups involved in “struggles against colonial domination and foreign occupation.” Organization of the Islamic Conference also insist on The Comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Convention and Definition of Terrorism cover activities of regular armed forces. Activities of regular armed forces are covered by humanitarian conventions and law of war conventions, thus fall outside terrorism conventions.

Even so, absence of terrorism definition hinders efforts to coordinate an international response to terrorism. Without a common definition countries remain free to interpret their own obligations and define for themselves which groups are terrorists and which groups are freedom fighters.

Saudi Arabia uses this absence of terrorism definition to provide funds to Hamas.

Iran and Syria uses this absence of terrorism definition to provide funds and to provide support to Hezbollah.

Long-Awaited Africa Command Would be Valuable Step by Douglas Farah

With Somalia largely in the hands of fundamentalist Islamist groups, the Democratic Republic of Congo reeling in the efforts to hold free and fair elections, the Darfur crisis and its spillover to other countries, and reports of increased activity of both al Qaeda-affiliated Salafist groups and Iranian/Hezbollah affiliated Shi’ite groups, the United States can no longer afford to leave the vast African continent on the bottom rung of international priorities.

After several years of internal debate, the Pentagon is finally recognizing this reality and is moving to fast-track the creation of an “Africa Command,” on par with the Southern Command (South America), European Command etc.

As an unfortunate relic of the Cold War, Africa is currently divided among three different commands: European, Central and, for the islands off the east coast, the Pacific Command. This means no single unit has responsibility, accumulates historic knowledge or expertise, or looks at the entire package of inter-related issues, from terrorism to organized criminal structures to HIV/AIDs.

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), one of Congress’ most knowledgeable Africa hands and prime mover of the restructuring, outlined the difficulties this approach has brought in a Nov. 14 op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor:

“The core function of a combatant command is to plan for military contingencies in the region. Yet Central Command has its hands full fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan-and watching Iran. While the European Command has been increasing its Africa activities, its key focus has followed the eastward expansion of NATO. The Pacific Command, meanwhile, is headquartered more than 10,000 miles from Madagascar. These commands are challenged to closely monitor Africa’s troubled states and vast ungoverned areas.”

The Pentagon is now in the final phase of preparing different options for how the command would operate-as a full-fledged regional command or as a sub-command.

I think, given the vast and complex nature of the multiple Africa conflicts, the looming challenge of competing with the Chinese over commerce and natural resources, a command is fully warranted.

In addition to the terrorism issues that are scattered throughout the continent, having a unified command would allow a closer relationship with the armies we are trying to deal with, and a chance to gain more than a smattering of knowledge on each of the major issues and countries. And, as Royce wrote: “Why concede Africa to Beijing, which undermines democracy, human rights and transparency?”

A recent Nixon Center conference on Terrorism in Africa, in which I particpated, laid out some of the dangers now facing Africa: growing al Qaeda networks in eastern and southern Africa; Iran’s growing influence; the destabilization forces in the northeast presented by the United Islamic Courts, with the growing threat of wars across Ethiopia, and the increasing reliance of the United States on energy from the continent.

All of these factors, to me, argue for a strong command that can dedicate itself to the continent that will be on our worry list for the next decade and beyond.

U.S. Copyright Office issues new rights by Anick Jesdanun

Cell phone owners will be allowed to break software locks on their handsets in order to use them with competing carriers under new copyright rules announced Wednesday.

Other copyright exemptions approved by the Library of Congress will let film professors copy snippets from DVDs for educational compilations and let blind people use special software to read copy-protected electronic books.

All told, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington approved six exemptions, the most his Copyright Office has ever granted. For the first time, the office exempted groups of users. Previously, Billington took an all-or-nothing approach, making exemptions difficult to justify.

“I am very encouraged by the fact that the Copyright Office is willing to recognize exemptions for archivists, cell phone recyclers and computer security experts,” said Fred von Lohmann, an attorney with the civil-liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Frankly I’m surprised and pleased they were granted.”

But von Lohmann said he was disappointed the Copyright Office rejected a number of exemptions that could have benefited consumers, including one that would have let owners of DVDs legally copy movies for use on Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod and other portable players.

The new rules will take effect Monday and expire in three years.

In granting the exemption for cell phone users, the Copyright Office determined that consumers aren’t able to enjoy full legal use of their handsets because of software locks that wireless providers have been placing to control access to phones’ underlying programs.

Providers of prepaid phone services, in particular, have been trying to stop entrepreneurs from buying subsidized handsets to resell at a profit. But even customers of regular plans generally can’t bring their phones to another carrier, even after their contracts run out.

Billington noted that at least one company has filed lawsuits claiming that breaking the software locks violates copyright law, which makes it illegal for people to circumvent copy-protection technologies without an exemption from the Copyright Office. He said the locks appeared in place not to protect the developer of the cell phone software but for third-party interests.

Officials with the industry group CTIA-The Wireless Association did not return phone calls for comment Wednesday.

The exemption granted to film professors authorizes the breaking of the CSS copy-protection technology found in most DVDs. Programs to do so circulate widely on the Internet, though it has been illegal to use or distribute them.

The professors said they need the ability to create compilations of DVD snippets to teach their classes — for example, taking portions of old and new cartoons to study how animation has evolved. Such compilations are generally permitted under “fair use” provisions of copyright law, but breaking the locks to make the compilations has been illegal.

Hollywood studios have argued that educators could turn to videotapes and other versions without the copy protections, but the professors argued that DVDs are of higher quality and may preserve the original colors or dimensions that videotapes lack.

“The record did not reveal any alternative means to meet the pedagogical needs of the professors,” Billington wrote.

Billington also authorized the breaking of locks on electronic books so that blind people can use them with read-aloud software and similar aides.

He granted two exemptions dealing with computer obsolescence. For computer software and video games that require machines no longer available, copy-protection controls may be circumvented for archival purposes. Locks on computer programs also may be broken if they require dongles — small computer attachments — that are damaged and can’t be replaced.

The final exemption lets researchers test CD copy-protection technologies for security flaws or vulnerabilities. Researchers had cited Sony BMG Music Entertainment’s use of copy-protection systems that installed themselves on personal computers to limit copying. In doing so, critics say, Sony BMG exposed the computers to hacking, and the company has acknowledged problems with one of the technologies used on some 5.7 million CDs.

The latest murder of Christian Lebanese Minister Gemayel is pushing Lebanon closer to Civil War by Olivier Guitta

In fact, the timing and the murder of anti Syrian Christian Minister Pierre Gemayel should not be any surprise. Indeed for months now, anti Syrian Lebanese personalities have been under heavy physical threat. Some of them have been even shuttling between Paris and Beirut to lessen the odds of them being killed. Even French President Chirac has been pointing out about the imminent dangers and offered in some cases protection for top leaders. Also recently a list has been circulated with the names of the potential victims of Syrian terror. The most prominent politicians including Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblatt, Fuad Siniora, Samir Gegea are rounding the top spots on the list.

While there’s no doubt that Syria is all over this latest murder as it was in the 2005 targeted assassinations of anti Syrian activists, intellectuals and journalists, the operatives might turn out to be pro Syrian Lebanese, including potentially Hezbollah members. Indeed it’s no coincidence that Hezbollah left the Siniora government ten days ago and is preparing massive street demonstrations for Thursday; Jumblatt actually thinks it’s going to be part of a coup. Also since the Siniora government just approved the installation of an international tribunal to find out the truth about the murder of Rafik Hariri which will likely prove Syria’s central role, Syria wanted to send a clear and loud message. Today’s murder of Pierre Gemayel and also today’s attempt on the life of anti Syrian Minister Michel Pharaon are the signs of Syria’s strategy of escalation to plunging the country in chaos and if possible into a civil war.

Two years ago, Syrian President Bashir Assad warned that if his army was to leave Lebanon it will burn and destroy the country beyond recognition. Since Syria supposedly left Lebanon in 2005 (they really did not Syrian troops joined the Lebanese army and Syrian secret service is still infiltrated in top positions), it had one goal: come back.

Using its proxy Hizbullah is one of the ways for Syria to reach that goal.

What remains still the most striking is that very recently, US, French and British top leaders have warned very clearly Syria not to meddle into Lebanese affairs even stating that Syria was the biggest destabilizing factor. If the West and these countries in particular are serious about protecting Lebanon and facing heads on Syria, it’s high time they act now because Syria for the moment could not care less about the West’s warnings.

The US beggar can’t be a chooser in the Middle East by Rami Khouri

It is difficult to read a serious news analysis of American options in Iraq without running into the idea that Washington must open a dialogue with Syria and Iran. This means that Iran and Syria have won the first round of their political boxing match with the United States, and that we are likely to witness a spike in regional tensions as round two of this contest for control of the Middle East sees the antagonists probing all angles of their opponent’s potential weak spots.

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group headed by James Baker and Lee Hamilton is expected to include in its recommendations to President George W. Bush the opening of a dialogue with Syria and Iran, seeking their cooperation in stabilizing Iraq and allowing the US to withdraw. The study group, sensibly, has already met with Syrian and Iranian diplomats in the US and at the United Nations.

Yet the concept of engaging Syria and Iran, as it is thrown around in the US, smacks of a troubling combination of romanticism, desperation and neo-colonialism. Syria and Iran have a combined total of around 10,000 years of cumulative experience in dealing with foreign armies that come into the area with an eye to reconfiguring the region and dominating the world. They know how to deal with such phenomena, including by letting foreigners get hopelessly stuck in the local quicksand, spinning them around a few times to increase their confusion, and then negotiating a deal that gets them out, makes you look good, and reverts local hegemony to the local powers.

The US has used significant diplomatic and economic pressures, and not-so-veiled military threats, in the past three years to force changes in the policies of Damascus and Tehran, without major success. So now it seems prepared to try a more rational approach. Syria and Iran are perfectly willing to be engaged by the US. They have a list of issues they would like to include in the discussions, starting with an American commitment to drop regime change as a sword Washington hangs over their head.

Yet Syria and Iran are unlikely to behave like Libya – by caving in to the pressure and unilaterally giving the US what it wants. In recent years they have done exactly the opposite, by defying the US and the world. Both countries feel they are in strong positions for the moment, and will become even stronger as they are courted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They will demand a high price for cooperating with the US and helping it leave Iraq.

As part of the negotiating process, they will pressure the US by pursuing policies that further weaken Washington’s already frayed position throughout the Middle East. Syria and Iran can do this through their control of their long borders with Iraq, their ties with groups inside Iraq, their close working relations with Hamas and Hizbullah, and their capacity for mischief and political violence in Lebanon and throughout the region.

Many Lebanese, in particular, are concerned that Syria and Iran will both demand greater control of Lebanese affairs in return for cooperating on Iraq. This battle is already under way in the streets and political corridors of Beirut.

Damascus and Tehran also know that preemptive cooperation is usually more effective than preemptive regime change as a foreign policy instrument, which is why Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem was in Iraq earlier this week for discussions on reopening diplomatic ties with Baghdad. A Syrian-Iraqi-Iranian summit of presidents may happen soon.

Washington is in the awkward position of seeking a dialogue and political cooperation with two countries that it has either mainly ignored or actively sanctioned and threatened in recent years. It has diligently disregarded their advice on addressing the Palestine-Israel issue and Israeli occupation of Arab lands as the essential starting point for any revised and more constructive American engagement in the region. So now Washington expects them both to stand at attention and offer cordial assistance, only because the US cannot figure out how to get out of the mess it created for itself and for Iraq? Neo-colonialism comes in many forms, and this is only the latest and most acute.

The US is prepared to make reasonable deals – as most superpowers desperate for redemptive exit strategies from foreign military adventures usually are. The problem for Washington is that its recent pressures against Iran and Syria have expanded into international processes. A UN investigation into the assassination of the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri may blame Syrians for the dirty deed, and Iran is being hauled in front of the Security Council to be sanctioned for its ongoing nuclear industry developments.

Neither of these endeavors can be turned on and off at Washington’s will, nor should they be. Yet they will be high on the Syrian and Iranian lists of issues to discuss with Washington. Expanding roles for Syria and Iran in the region may be the price the US and the world have to pay for restoring stability in Iraq, which understandably frightens many in the region.

It is important that in its hurry to find an exit strategy for itself from Iraq, a chastened Washington does not simply embrace new forms of neo-colonial behavior and plunge the Middle East into ever more volatile forms of instability or revised configurations of local security states that it warmly embraces.

A democratic, free, stable Middle East remains a good idea, but the lessons of the day would seem to be that it will not be achieved by either American militarism or indigenous autocracy.

New Study Brings Light to Islamist Thinking by Douglas Farah

The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has just released a study of jihadi literature, analyzing who the most influential thinkers in the movement are, based on a year of mining the most influential texts and web writings. The New York Times did a piece on it, but it deserves much broader attention.

The study is a valuable addition, because it includes a summary of many of the most influential jihadi texts, biographies of many of the author, and thinking about the way forward in combatting the theological and theoretical basis for the struggle. It is available online here.

As I have said repeatedly, it is vitally important to read what the enemy says about itself, and what the rationale is for their actions. Far too often I have been in meetings where the architects of the jihad struggle is dismissed as stupid, unsophisticated, and totally unknowable. This study helps make them knowable, and that is the only way to begin to develop a more comprehensive long-term strategy that might actually have some impact.

Within their belief system, what they do is both rational and to a degree predictable. Knowing what drives them-particularly their unshakable belief that there is only one truth and anyone who deviates from that is the enemy-is also a great opening for exploiting the schism that inevitably arise. This was true between bin Laden and Azzam, and is likely true among different current groups.

The Executive Summary offers, I think, one nugget that should give pause to both Democrats who embrace the Islamist groups like CAIR in the mistaken belief this is a replay of the civil rights struggle, as well as Republican who continually meet-and allow law enforcement and intelligence officials to meet-with these Islamist groups as part of their “outreach.”

“Finally, a word about “moderate” Muslims. The measure of moderation depends on what type of standard you use. If by “moderate” one means the renouncement of violence in the
achievement of political goals, then the majority of Salafis are moderate.

“But if by “moderate” one means an acceptance of secularism, capitalism, democracy, gender equality, and a commitment to religious pluralism, then Salafis would be extremists on all counts. Then again, there are not many Muslim religious leaders in the Middle East that would qualify as moderates according to the second definition.”

I am not sure the first statement is true-that most Salafis renounce violence. But I am quite sure the second statement is absolutely true, and a lesson that badly needs to be learned and understood.

Compelling Wire Taps and Documents Introduced at Chicago Hamas Trial by Steven Emerson

Testimony in the trial of Chicago resident Muhammad Salah and Abdelhaleem al-Ashqar of Northern Virginia, continued yesterday. FBI Agents gave testimony focusing on items found in Ashqar’s home during a search of his Oxford Mississippi residence on December 26, 1993, in addition to wiretaps of his phone and fax lines.

Special Agent Bradley Benabidez testified that the FBI acquired over 2400 hours of audio during the year that they maintained a wiretap. Benabidez further described the December 1993 search of Ashqar’s home where a team of agents from the FBI photographed over 1600 documents.

A few of those documents which were discussed later in the day provide fascinating insight. One titled Policies and Rules of the Association, was a veritable manual on secrecy and concealment. Although the “Association” in question was not identified the phrases written within it, were clear. Instructions were given concerning the destruction of sensitive documents, using a cover for meetings including warning symbols to be implemented during meetings in case an attendee believes he is under surveillance. Attendees at a meeting are also to apply jamming devices during those meetings and unplug phone and fax lines. Concerning “Safety of Travel and Movement,” a cover story must be developed in advance and materials provided to match that cover story, for instance, if one is pretending to be a tourist then tourist books should be in the person’s possession.

Another document, titled Hamas Genesis and Commencement, dated 25 July 1991 was distributed by the political wing of Hamas. In this document Hamas described itself as an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood that “jumped from training and preparation in Palestine to the Jihad phase.” Under the subcategory “Structure of the Hamas Movement,” the leadership of the movement was described as being divided into offices that were located in 30 Arab, Islamic, and European states. According to the document, the Afghan Jihad created an opportunity to train Hamas mujahideen and provide them with operational experience in battle and that Afghan mujahideen who engaged in battle serve as human resources.

Telephone calls between Ashqar and al-Rantisi

The government played and read for the jury several phone calls between Defendant al-Ashqar and high level Hamas leaders including Abd al Aziz Rantisi, a co-founder and leader of Hamas. One shocking phone call between the two men occurred on the day of a Hamas attack on October 24, 1993. In this phone call, played for the jury over speakers with a translation provided to them on an overhead projector, Rantisi informed Ashqar of the attack asking him if he heard about it. When Ashqar replied that he had not, Rantisi told him that two soldiers had been kidnapped and killed. Rantisi then told Ashqar that they had even taken the ID Cards of the two soldiers and both men began laughing. The phone calls and faxes showed Ashqar to be a an important player who was close to many leaders in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Europe.

Cross examination by Muhammad Salah’s lawyer

Defense Attorney Robert Bloom cross examined agent Benabidez who had also testified the day before. Bloom maintained that the Social Security application filled out by Ashqar which listed Salah’s address in Bridgeview as Ashqar’s address meant nothing because Salah commonly offered his home to Palestinians who came to the United States and did not have a place to stay.

Hamas communications and Ashqar’s personal contacts

The Government’s next witness was an FBI Special Agent tasked with preparing all of the wiretaps for this trial. She explained the fax coversheet which she added to each fax. The coversheet contained a date, time and if the fax was incoming or outgoing, and a “to/from” section. In the case of an incoming fax the “from” section was labeled unknown since the wiretap could not ascertain the fax’s origin. The agent read an outgoing fax dated 10/7/1993 from Ashqar to Fax number 011-44-81-450-3246, a London number. This fax suggested that a conference take place on the anniversary of the Intifadah 12/9/93 and was signed Samir, a pseudonym for Ashqar.

Special Agent Jill Pettorelli was the next witness called on behalf of the government. Pettorelli read the translation of several of the documents which the FBI photographed during their search of Ashqar’s residence. One document attributed to Hamas was a list of prisoners scheduled for exchange with the Israelis and subsequently to be sent abroad. The letter asked the recipient to ignore the previous list and adopt this new list. Of the 33 names on the list the first three were listed as follows:

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Life
Yahya al-Sinwar, Life
Salah Shehadah, 10 years

These three names represent three high-ranking HAMAS leaders in Israeli custody.

Another document read by Agent Pettorelli was a list of entries from Ashqar’s address book which included Mousa Abu Marzook, deputy leader of the political wing of Hamas, Ahmed Yousef, former director of a Springfield, Virginia “think tank” founded by Marzook and current senior political advisor to Hamas, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, as well as co-Defendant Muhammad Salah.

The Firefox Kid by David Kusher

Blake Ross is nervous. It’s a muggy May day in New York City, and the 20-year-old has to rent a tux for a big ­soiree where he’ll be hobnobbing with celebrities at one of his first‑ever black-tie events—a dinner for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of the year. And he’s not very practiced with bow ties. “I never made it to my prom,” says Ross, who has thick eyebrows and pronounced ears, making him look like a young Franz Kafka.

No wonder he projects such intensity: Ross has been busy. While still a teenager, this self-taught coder cofounded the Mozilla Firefox project, a spin-off of Netscape’s Mozilla Web browser, sparking a global phenomenon. Firefox has since been downloaded by more than 200 million people worldwide, threatening the supremacy of even Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer. Although Firefox was ultimately wrought from the work of thousands of programmers in the free-software community—the hive of coders who share and collaborate online—Ross has become a poster boy for the revolution, a role he neither expected nor is comfortable with. People are switching to Firefox at the rate of 7 million per month—most of them from Internet Explorer—because the new browser makes surfing the Web safer and easier. Some call him “Microsoft’s worst nightmare.” Ross just says, “I’m more on the side of mom and dad.”

With his newest venture, he’s doing mom and dad their biggest favor yet. Two days before the black-tie event, dressed in T‑shirt and jeans in an Italian restaurant owned by his uncle, Ross plugged in his laptop and prepared to unveil, for the first time to any member of the press, his next big thing. Just as with Firefox, Ross began this project by asking himself one simple question: What’s bad about today’s software?

The answer, he and his programming partner, Joe Hewitt, decided, resided in the gap between the desktop and the Web. “Right now, people want to shuffle around content,” he says, “but the world’s fused together by a collection of hacks.” Something that should be simple, say, getting photos from a digital camera onto the Web, is a Sisyphean task for most people. “Step back and ask, ‘What’s wrong with this picture?’” Ross says.

The problem, according to Ross, is there’s no simple, cohesive tool to help people store and share their creations online. Currently, the steps involved depend on the medium. If you want to upload photos, for example, you have to dump your images into one folder, then transfer them to an image-sharing site such as Flickr. The process for moving videos to YouTube or a similar site is completely different. If you want to make a personal Web page within an online community, you have to join a social network, say, MySpace or Friendster. If you intend to rant about politics or movies, you launch a blog and link up to it from your other pages. The mess of the Web, in other words, leaves you trapped in one big tangle of actions, service ­providers, and applications.

Ross’s answer is named Parakey. As he describes it, from a user’s point of view, Parakey is “a Web operating system that can do everything an OS can do.” Translation: it makes it really easy to store your stuff and share it with the world. Most or all of Parakey will be open source, under a license similar to Firefox’s. There are differences between the two projects, however. Although Ross plans to incorporate the talents and passions of the free-software community, he’s building Parakey around a for-profit business model. And he’s leading the charge with a simple battle cry: “One interface, not two!”

Today, something like e-mail can involve two completely different experiences, depending on whether or not you’re using the Web—Outlook versus Hotmail, for example. A Parakey e-mail program, on the other hand, provides a single access point for your mail, “unifying the desktop and the Web,” in Ross’s words. Parakey is intended to be a platform for tools that can manipulate just about anything on your hard drive—e-mail, photos, videos, recipes, calendars. In fact, it looks like a fairly ordinary Web site, which you can edit. You can go online, click through your files and view the contents, even tweak them. You can also check off the stuff you want the rest of the world to be able to see. Others can do so by visiting your Parakey site, just as they would surf anywhere else on the Web. Best of all, the part of Parakey that’s online communicates with the part of Parakey running on your home computer, synchronizing the contents of your Parakey pages with their latest versions on your computer. That means you can do the work of updating your site off-line, too. Friends and relatives—and hackers—do not have direct access to your computer; they’re just visiting a site that reflects only the portion of your stuff that you want them to be able to see.

Parakey isn’t MySpace 2.0. The enormously popular MySpace, by comparison, is a sort of bulletin board, a place to post a limited number of selected things (photos, videos, blogs) that you’d like anyone in the world to see. You upload a few party pictures, post a message, maybe instant-message a friend, and then split—making MySpace a pub in which you’d spend a friendly evening, whereas Parakey is the apartment you go home to.

“It’s a nice way to create and store all your stuff,” Ross says, “and know where it is.”

To understand where Blake Ross is going with Parakey, you have to understand where he’s been. As part of the first generation to grow up with the Internet, Ross discovered early how geek culture was conspiring against his parents. Although his mom, a psychologist, and his dad, a lawyer, hold graduate degrees, they were stymied when they tried to do just about anything online. Ross recalls his mother frequently yelling across the house to him, asking for tech support. She couldn’t find her Internet Explorer bookmarks. She was getting besieged with pop-up ads. She didn’t know how to protect herself from viruses.

While his peers might relish such power over their parents, Ross is squeakily earnest and really wanted to help out. So he went off to slay the dragons haunting the Internet. Late into the night, he sat under his shelves of Archie toys and taught himself to code, first HTML, the Web programming language, and then Microsoft Visual Basic, a popular tool for creating simple applications. Even back then, Ross made a habit of keeping his family and friends in the dark. “I don’t like telling people what I’m doing until I have something to show them,” he says.

“My friends would say, ‘How can you leave him in his bedroom for so many hours?’” his mother, Abby, recalls. “We didn’t know what was going on in there.” When their son would request programming books for his birthday, they began to get an idea. “Everyone started to tell me he was going to be the next Bill Gates,” Abby says. In fact, the young Ross had another target in mind: Netscape’s embattled Mozilla browser. Netscape had ushered in the dot-com era, but by 1998 its pioneering browser had been almost completely superseded by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. So that year the company made the bold—or desperate—move of releasing the code for its software to the world of open source. “It was a way to touch a product used by a couple million people,” Ross says. And it was something that could help his mom.

After many long nights online, Ross became well enough known in the Mozilla community to get offered a position with Netscape (by then owned by AOL). Yet when the 15-year-old Florida native, accompanied by his mom, arrived at the Silicon Valley office in 2000, he was less than impressed. “It was the bloody remains of battle,” Ross says. “I didn’t feel like anyone in management thought we had a chance of winning this thing.”

But there were others in the cubicle trenches who hadn’t conceded the browser war to Microsoft. Late one night in the summer of 2002, at a nearby Denny’s restaurant, Ross fell into an impassioned discussion with Dave Hyatt, a senior engineer at Netscape who shared his vision for a leaner but more flexible browser for the masses. Rather than starting from scratch, the two took the Mozilla browser, which they thought was bloated with super­fluous features such as chat rooms and an e-mail client, and began stripping it to the bare essentials. They felt they were raising the Netscape browser from the ashes and so named their stripped-down version Phoenix. But the rebel project became anathema to some Mozilla diehards. “I don’t see the need for Phoenix,” posted one detractor at the time. Another was more succinct: “Phoenix sucks,” he blogged.

Enrolling in Stanford for the fall of 2002, Ross decided to have a go at being an ordinary college kid. He lifted weights. He started dating. He discovered the rock band Coldplay. But his geek legacy was also alive and well. Before long, his vision of a lean mean Web browser caught on in a major way. Phoenix—later named Firebird, then Firefox—gathered momentum. Ben Goodger, a 23-year-old engineer from New Zealand, had been shepherding it along with the growing support of other open-source enthusiasts. Chris Messina, a 22-year-old programmer who was a key player in the development of Deanspace, the influential Web site Howard Dean used to attract support for his bid at the Democratic nomination, joined the Firefox team for the same reasons. “It was all about empowering people through technology,” he says.

Drawing on the viral marketing strategies of the Dean campaign, legions rallied behind the alternative browser. They got a snappy logo, an Earth-hugging fox, and they launched a community hub called SpreadFirefox. Supporters around the world posted digital photos of their efforts at guerrilla marketing. They dropped a Firefox banner on the Danish Parliament building in Copenhagen, carried “Get Firefox” placards at an anti-Bush rally in London, plastered posters around Taiwan. In a mere 10 days, they raised US $200 000 to take out a full-page ad in The New York Times.

Firefox went prime time in June 2005, after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a warning about the “vulnerability” of Internet Explorer and suggested using alternative browsers. Even Slate magazine, owned by Microsoft, threw in the towel. “I’ve been using [Firefox] for a week now,” trumpeted a Slate scribe, “and I’ve all but forgotten about Explorer.”

The success of Firefox put the spotlight on Ross, whose young age and puckish charm made him a media icon—much to the consternation of Ross and the open-source community. But Ross’s ability to articulate Firefox’s goals and challenges in his blog earned him a following. He was a coder who could talk the talk. And people listened. Soon even members of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team sought Ross out. One night after he addressed a Silicon Valley technology group, they invited him for dinner. “I thought they were going to take me out in the parking lot and beat the crap out of me,” Ross says. Instead, they gave him a company sweatshirt with the Explorer’s familiar “e” icon grafted under the bones of a Jolly Roger. It was tongue-in-cheek but symbolic nonetheless. Ross had raided their kingdom.

With that kind of attention, it’s no wonder Ross is feeling pressure to follow up.

Inside his uncle’s restaurant, Ross launches into a laptop demo of Parakey. This isn’t a press conference; he’s just showing his brainchild to me informally. It’s the sort of venue he ­prefers—low key, one on one. And it’s in these moments that he really comes to life. As developers well know, disseminating new software is not only a technical challenge, it’s also a communications task. You’re not just engineering a solution, you’re marketing it. And Ross has considerable talent in both spheres. Mitchell Baker, head of Mozilla Corp., which distributes Firefox, says, “Blake is a good spokesperson. He expresses well the many ideas that drive us. Having an individual that people and press can relate to does help sell the story.”

In explaining Parakey, Ross cuts to the chase. “We all know ­people…who have all this content that they are not publishing stored on their computers,” he says. “We’re trying to persuade them to live their lives online.” Why? Because online is how the world, like it or not, increasingly talks. If Ross’s mom can’t do something as basic as share her recipes or ­photos with her future grandchildren online, then she gets left behind. In the 21st century, this sort of information isn’t passed on at the Thanksgiving table anymore. It’s communicated through the Internet. So without something like Parakey, there’s a chance it’s not going to outlive the baby-boom generation.

Grandparents love seeing their kids and grandkids on Flickr or Snapfish, but they’re often too intimidated to put their own pictures on these sites. The reason, in part, is that they have to jump through many hoops: dragging pictures here, uploading them there. Parakey, inherently (and potentially profitably), is aimed at making it easier for them—and everyone else—to get their stuff online.

It’s not just grandparents who aren’t using the Web as much as they could—it’s everyone. Right now, Ross says, “we have two wildly advanced platforms—the desktop operating system and the Internet. That leaves users with a frustrating choice. Do you want to create content with powerful tools in an ad-free environment and bury it in a system that’s accessible anytime, but only in one place and by one person?” The alternative, he says, is weaker tools and an ad-heavy space that can be accessed by anyone anywhere, but only when you’re online. “We don’t believe people should have to make that choice,” he says.

Pointing to the screen of his laptop, Ross shows me what he calls a “family portal” for a fictional clan named the Andersons. Mom has a page with her recipes displayed. Dad has his collection of war documents. The kids have their party photos. Although it looks like a Web site—down to the Firefox-style tabs that run across the top of the page, which each family member uses to display his or her own section—it is, in fact, something much more ambitious: a universal interface. Even though Parakey works inside your Web browser, it runs locally on your home computer, which allows Parakey developers to do things inside your Parakey site that a traditional Web site could not do, such as interact with your camera. So instead of clicking between, say, the Windows desktop and a MySpace home page displayed in a Web browser, you are always operating within your Parakey site.

Take digital photos, for example. Here’s how the Parakey experience works: you plug in your camera, and your photos get stored seamlessly on your computer in such a way that you can view them quickly and easily through your Parakey site. No more digging through folders for the right image files. They’re organized and displayed as attractively as a site like Flickr might display them, as thumbnails with identifying text beneath them. Parakey allows for serious editing functions—from cutting and cropping to eliminating red-eye—all within the context of your Parakey page. But it also brings some more basic (and fun) scrapbooking habits into the digital realm. Ross clicks on an icon representing what he calls the Toy Box. Open the Toy Box and there are all sorts of accessories for dressing up the pictures: word balloons, devil horns, goofy fonts.

Now let’s say you want to share your collection of graduation photos with some select family and friends. The problem today is that there are several layers to getting that done. Many sites require users to register before seeing a photo album. With Parakey, you send a digital “key” to people whom you want to be able to access your site. The keys appear as little icons that look like, no surprise, house keys. Each one contains a unique identifier, essentially a password. When a recipient clicks on the key, he or she gets a cookie installed that contains this password—and, as a result, gains access to the stuff you’ve designated on your site.

Drag, say, a silver key onto a collection, and that action makes it for your eyes only. Drag a gold key, and you open it up to family. A bronze key opens it to friends. Right now if you have ­photos you want friends but not co-workers to see, and vice versa, you need two different Flickr accounts. And unlike many sites, Parakey doesn’t require your loved ones or chums to register before viewing your photos. And it makes downloading content easier, too. The idea, eventually, is to do away with the file archiving required today. Everything you encounter while surfing online—photos, videos, tunes—you can drag right onto your Parakey page, end of story.

To use Parakey, you first must download a small application. This is at the heart of the Parakey system. It contains software that essentially turns your computer into a local server. This approach has one huge built-in benefit: you can manage your content quickly and efficiently, even if you’re off-line. Again, it’s not that you’re making your hard drive’s contents available for the world; rather, you’re organizing your Parakey site, say,, only some of which will be open for others to view. Whether you make your changes online or off, there’s only one interface (avoiding the Outlook/Hotmail problem); everything is ultimately stored locally, your computer being synchronized with remote servers whenever you are online. “You never have to care about the uploading process,” says Ross. “That just happens transparently.”

Ross wants independent developers to create a variety of applications for Parakey. To that end, he and Hewitt have created a programming language for Parakey that they call JUL, a mashed-up acronym that stands for “Just another User interface Language.”

JUL is specially designed for the online world in which Parakey applications will reside. JUL applications are themselves comprised of other applications that come in all shapes and sizes. The interface for Mrs. Anderson’s recipe application, for instance, might include much smaller ones such as a metric-to-English-units converter or photo-goes-here. “You’re not thinking at [the HTML] level anymore,” Ross says. “You’re thinking one level up. That will make it easier to build desktop applications on the Web.” And despite Ross’s connection to Firefox, Parakey will work with any browser.

JUL applications also notice Web events that take place when someone is reading a Parakey page—an update to a sports score, for example, or a new blog entry—and instantly update the page accordingly. Users of these applications don’t have to request these updates, and neither do the JUL developers who wrote them. They simply include “formulas” behind the scenes that reference different information sources. If a source changes, JUL automatically reevaluates the formulas—much as a spreadsheet does.

What do developers think? At press time, it’s hard to say, because Ross is keeping his cards, for the time being, close to his chest. But those who know Ross say that the work on Firefox laid the foundation for his current project. Goodger, one of the key players in igniting the Firefox phenomenon, says the goal of helping ordinary folk navigate the Web, is “an ideology in and of itself.” And it’s one Ross has always taken to heart. “Blake has played a formative role in this,” Goodger says.

Naturally, Firefox is the model in Ross’s mind of how he and Hewitt—who was one of the original Firefox engineers—ought to develop Parakey. “If it were up to us, we’d open source all of it,” he says, “but it depends on how the investors want to do this.”

This statement expresses the differences between the Firefox and Parakey business models. Firefox began life as an open-source, not-for-profit experiment and recently has begun morphing into a moneymaking enterprise under the Mountain View, Calif.–based Mozilla Corp. Formed in 2005, Mozilla makes money through sources such as Google ads included on the Firefox search results page. Parakey, on the other hand, is launching with profit in mind. While many of the details remain under wraps, the idea is to roll out initially with a single application, such as the photo system, which will demonstrate how the platform can be exploited. Once all the infrastructure is in place and scalable, they’ll make a more concerted play to involve outside developers, probably around January. Ross says that advertising revenues will come in differently from the way they do in Google or other ad-dependent businesses. He can’t say more about it for now. Although market analysts have yet to probe it, some are already unsure how well Ross’s new project might do. “I’m skeptical,” says Joe Laszlo, a research director at Jupiter Research, a technology-research firm based in New York City. “The vast majority of people who want to publish content at all prefer a best-of-breed shop and don’t want to do it all in one place.”

As Ross shuts down his laptop and digs into dinner, his mind turns to other matters—like Time magazine’s big event, scheduled for the following night. With Parakey development taking up his time, he hasn’t had much left over for parties or even his Stanford education. He’s taking time off from everything until he gets this project done. But, as always, he still makes room for his original muse—his mom. When she calls him up complaining about some new technology that’s confusing her, he knows there’s more work to do—and a new opportunity on the horizon.

A Concrete Step Toward Cleaner Air by Bruno Giussani

Venice hardly counts among the most-polluted places in the world. There are no cars traveling its narrow streets, and all traffic is either by foot or by boat. So despite the crowded walkways and canals, the air in Venice is far cleaner than that of, say, Milan, Italy’s economic capital, which recent figures indicate has some of the worst air quality in Europe.

Even so, visitors to the Italian Pavilion of the architecture exhibition in the Venice Biennale, which will remain open until Nov. 19, will get a breath of fresh air. That’s because parts of the concrete walls and grounds have been built with cement containing an active agent that, in presence of light, breaks air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, benzene, and others through a natural chemical process called photocatalysis.

The demonstration is a reminder that smart innovation applies also to mundane products and can offer unexpected solutions even for complex problems such as air pollution. The technology, called TX Active, has been under development for almost 10 years in the labs of Italcementi, the world’s fifth-biggest cement producer, and is starting to be applied commercially to buildings and streets in Italy, France, Belgium, and elsewhere.

Painting the Town

The results so far are astonishing: A street in the town of Segrate, near Milan, with an average traffic of 1,000 cars per hour, has been repaved with the compound, “and we have measured a reduction in nitric oxides of around 60%,” says Italcementi’s spokesperson Alberto Ghisalberti. In a test over an 8,000 square meter (or approximately 2 acres) industrial area paved with active blocks near Bergamo, Italcementi’s hometown, the reduction was measured at 45%.

In large cities such as Milan, with persistent pollution problems caused by car emissions, smoke from heating systems, and industrial activities, both the company and outside experts estimate that covering 15% of all visible urban surfaces (painting the walls, repaving the roads) with products containing TX Active could abate pollution by up to 50%, depending on the specific atmospheric conditions.

Of course, this approach isn’t meant to replace efforts to curb pollution, but it can significantly magnify their effects. Here’s how it works: The active principle—basically a blend of titanium dioxide that acts as photocatalyzer—can be incorporated in cement, mortar, paints, and plaster.

The Big Bite

In the presence of natural or artificial light (this applies also indoors) the photocatalyzer significantly speeds up the natural oxidation processes that cause the decomposition of pollutants, transforming them into less harmful compounds such as water, nitrates, or carbon dioxide.

“These aren’t necessarily ‘clean’, but from an environmental standpoint they’re much more tolerable,” says Rossano Amadelli of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), the scientists who led the laboratory testing of the TX Active materials.

The patented pollution-reduction technology—which in Italy is becoming known as “cemento mangiasmog” or “smog-eating cement”—comes at a premium, of course, but the extra cost is limited by the fact that the active principle only needs to be used on the surface.

Keeping It Clean

“To transform the facade of a five-story building into a photocatalytic surface would add only 100 or so euros ($120) to the cost of a traditional paint or plaster,” Ghisalberti estimates. Paving a street or a sidewalk is a different story, but still not extreme: Photocatalytic blocks cost about one-third more than usual paving, which is still far less than the long-term cost of doing nothing about air pollution.

It turns out that the photocatalyzing cement has another advantage, one that has great appeal to star architects such as Richard Meier. TX Active not only hastens the decomposition of organic and inorganic pollutants, it also prevents their build-up on surfaces, helping to preserve a building’s pristine appearance over time.

The spectacular design of Meier’s Dives in Misericordia Church in Rome, includes three concrete self-bearing white sails, topping out at 26 meters. One of Meier’s material requirements was that the whiteness of the sails be durable. That has been achieved through the application of the active principle, which basically “self-cleans” the surfaces.

The same system has been applied to the new Air France headquarters inside the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, a place with high concentrations of hydrocarbons and where, needless to say, a standard white facade would not remain white for long.

Aims and Methods of Europe’s Muslim Brotherhood by Lorenzo Vidino

In 1990 Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an influential Sunni scholar and the unofficial theological leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood (al Ikhwan al Muslimoun), published a book called Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase. [1] This 186-page treatise can be considered the most recent manifesto of the Islamist revivalist movement. As Qaradawi explains in the introduction, the “Islamic Movement” is meant to be the “organized, collective work, undertaken by the people, to restore Islam to the leadership of society” and to reinstate “the Islamic caliphate system to the leadership anew as required by sharia.”

Qaradawi’s treatise introduces a new agenda and modus operandi for the movement, signaling a clear break with many salafi groups and even with some past ideological elements of the Muslim Brotherhood. While the book does not rule out the use of violence to defend Muslim lands, it generally advocates the use of dawa, dialogue, and other peaceful means to achieve the movement’s goals. This doctrine is commonly referred to as “wassatiyya,” a sort of “middle way” between violent extremism and secularism, and Qaradawi is one of its key proponents. [2]

After examining the situation of the “Islamic Movement” throughout the Muslim world, the dissertation devotes significant attention to the situation of Muslims living in the West. Qaradawi explains how Muslim expatriates living in Europe, Australia and North America “are no longer few in numbers,” and that their presence is both permanent and destined to grow with new waves of immigration. While Qaradawi says that their presence is “necessary” for several reasons—such as spreading the word of Allah globally and defending the Muslim Nation “against the antagonism and misinformation of anti- Islamic forces and trends”—it is also problematic. Because the Muslim Nation, and therefore Muslim minorities “scattered throughout the world,” do not have a centralized leadership, “melting” poses a serious risk. Qaradawi warns, in other words, that a Muslim minority could lose its Islamic identity and be absorbed by the non-Muslim majority.

Qaradawi sees the lack of Muslim leadership not only as a problem, however. He also views it as an unprecedented opportunity for the Islamist movement to “play the role of the missing leadership of the Muslim Nation with all its trends and groups.” While the revivalist movement can exercise only limited influence in Muslim countries, where hostile regimes keep it in check, Qaradawi realizes that it is able to operate freely in the democratic West. Muslim expatriates disoriented by life in non-Muslim communities and often lacking the most basic knowledge about Islam, moreover, represent an ideally receptive audience for the movement’s propaganda. Qaradawi asserts that revivalists need to take on an activist role in the West, claiming that “it is the duty of [the] Islamic Movement not to leave these expatriates to be swept by the whirlpool of the materialistic trend that prevails in the West.”

Having affirmed the necessity of the Islamist movement in the West, Qaradawi proceeds to present a plan of operation. The Egyptian-born scholar openly calls for the creation of a separate society for Muslims within the West. While he highlights the importance of keeping open a dialogue with non-Muslims, he advocates the establishment of Muslim communities with “their own religious, educational and recreational establishments.” He urges his fellow revivalists to try “to have your small society within the larger society” and “your own ‘Muslim ghetto.’”

Qaradawi clearly sees the Islamist movement playing a crucial role in creating these separated Muslim communities and thereby providing it with an unprecedented opportunity to implement its vision, at least partially. Its local affiliates will run the mosques, schools, and civic organizations that shape the daily life of the desired “Muslim ghettoes.” And Qaradawi’s ambitions go further still. Without saying so openly, he suggests that sharia law should govern the relations among inhabitants of these Muslim islands; Muslim minorities “should also have amongst them their own ulema and men of religion to answer their questions when they ask them, guide them when they lose the way and reconcile them when they differ among themselves.”

What Qaradawi outlines in his treatise might, at first glance, appear to be nothing more than a fantasy. In reality, it corresponds to what the international network of the Muslim Brotherhood has been doing in the West for the past fifty years. Since the end of World War II, in fact, members of al Ikhwan al Muslimoun have settled in Europe and worked relentlessly to implement the goals stated by Qaradawi. In almost every European country, they founded student organizations that, having evolved into nationwide umbrella organizations, have become—thanks to their activism and to the financial support from Arab Gulf countries—the most prominent representatives of local Muslim communities. They established a web of mosques, research centers, think tanks, charities and schools that has been successful in spreading their heavily politicized interpretation of Islam. Finally, today, with the creation of a supranational jurisprudential body called the European Council for Fatwa and Research, the Ikhwan is taking its first, cautious steps toward Qaradawi’s final goal: the introduction of sharia law within the Muslim communities of Europe.

Having been the focus of attention of authorities since its early days, the Muslim Brotherhood tends to be extremely secretive, and only if circumstances are favorable do its members reveal their affiliation. While most of the first Islamic activists in Europe were official members of the Brotherhood, moreover, formal links between the group’s Middle Eastern base and its European followers have waned over time for various reasons. But the issue of formal affiliation to the Ikhwan is moot because the Muslim Brotherhood is more than a group; it is now better defined as a movement whose organization is far from monolithic and whose members are kept together mostly by ideological affinity.

Mohammed Akif, the current General Guide and supreme leader of the Brotherhood and a former head of its Islamic Center of Munich, explained the Ikhwan’s transcendence of formalities in an interview with Xavier Ternisien, a French expert on religion. [3] He said,

We do not have an international organization; we have an organization through our perception of things. We are present in every country. Everywhere there are people who believe in the message of the Muslim Brothers. In France, the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF) does not belong to the organization of the Brothers. They follow their own laws and rules. There are many organizations that do not belong to the Muslim Brothers. For example, Shaykh al-Qaradawi. He is not a Muslim Brother, but he was formed according to the doctrine of the Brothers. The doctrine of the Brothers is a written doctrine that has been translated in all languages.

In a 2005 interview Akif elaborated further. European Ikhwan organizations have no direct link to the Egyptian branch, he insisted, but they nevertheless coordinate actions with them. He concluded the interview saying, tellingly, that “we [the Ikhwan] have the tendency not to make distinctions among us.” [4]

Regardless of their official affiliation, many individuals and organizations that identify themselves with the message of the Ikhwan operate in Europe and have been actively working toward the goals outlined by Qaradawi in his above-mentioned dissertation. Driven by their firm belief in the superiority of Islam to any other religion or system of life, the European Brothers fight daily to achieve their goal, using all possible tools, including painful but necessary compromises with European authorities. “Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice,” Qaradawi says. But he adds, “I maintain that the conquest this time will not be by the sword but by preaching and ideology.” [5] The European Ikhwan network, under the cover of various civil rights groups and Islamic organizations, is the vanguard of this peaceful conquest.

Putting Down Roots in Europe

According to Mohammed Akif, “the Brotherhood established itself in Europe” in the 1950s. [6] At that time Nasser and other pan-Arabist regimes were cracking down on the organization, and many of its members had to flee their homelands. For various reasons most of the Muslim Brothers leaving the persecution of Middle Eastern regimes chose West Germany as their destination. Some had reportedly established links with Germany during World War II when the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini, moved to Berlin and aided the Nazi regime in its anti-Jewish propaganda. [7] Others benefited from the fact that the West German government, implementing what came to be known as the Hallstein doctrine, had opened its doors to dissidents persecuted by regimes that had recognized East Germany, which included Egypt and Syria. [8] Many were attracted, moreover, by the prestige of the country’s technical faculties and decided to further their studies in Germany’s engineering, architecture, and medical schools.

Among this group of pioneers of revivalist Islam in Europe, Said Ramadan stands out. Born in 1926 in a village north of Cairo, Ramadan joined the Muslim Brotherhood at age 14 after attending a lecture by the organization’s founder, Hassan al-Banna. [9] In 1946, upon obtaining his law license from the University of Cairo, Ramadan became al-Banna’s personal secretary and began the publication of Al Shihab, the organization’s official magazine. In 1948 he fought in Palestine among Arab volunteers and was briefly appointed the head of Jerusalem’s military corps by King Abdallah of Jordan. He then traveled to the newly established state of Pakistan where, despite his young age, he competed for the chair of secretary general of the World Muslim Congress.

By December 1948 the Egyptian government had outlawed the Brotherhood, and the following year Egyptian police assassinated al-Banna. Given these developments, Ramadan decided to remain in Pakistan, where he worked as a “cultural ambassador” of the country to the Arab world. In 1950, as the ban on the Brotherhood was lifted, he returned to Egypt and began to publish Al Muslimoon, one of the most important magazines of revivalist thought. Nasser’s sudden rise to power in 1953 shook Egyptian political life and—after a short period of peaceful coexistence among the Brothers and Nasser’s Free Officers government—another clampdown on the Brotherhood ensued.”

Realizing he could not continue his activities in Egypt, Ramadan left the country after his release. Following short sojourns in various Middle Eastern countries, he moved to Europe permanently with his wife Wafa, al-Banna’s eldest daughter. They settled in Geneva, Switzerland, and Ramadan enrolled at the University of Cologne, where he obtained a graduate degree in law with a dissertation on Islamic law.

In 1961 Ramadan founded the Islamic Center of Geneva, located first in a villa donated by an Arabian prince and then in an odd white and green building a stone’s throw from Lake Leman. Other eminent Islamic scholars sat on the founding board of the center, including the Indian scholars Mohammed Hamidullah and Maulana Abdul Hassan Ali al Nadwi. It became one of the main headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe, and was the first of a score that Ramadan worked to set up throughout Europe with the financial support of Saudi Arabia. The next year Ramadan was also instrumental in the Saudi kingdom’s establishment of the Muslim World League, a government funded transnational organization created to spread the Saudi interpretation of Islam. Ramadan was one of its main founders and even wrote its constitution.

With the ample financial backing of the Saudis, Ramadan began to establish the Brotherhood in other European countries. An early opportunity arose when a group of Arab students in Munich contacted him for help with the construction of a mosque in that city. The Arab students were competing for control of the Mosque Construction Commission, a body that was trying to raise funds for the new Munich mosque. [10] Their adversaries were a group of Muslim ex-soldiers who had fought with the Nazis during World War II and had stayed in Munich after the conflict. Originating from Central Asia and the Caucasus, these ex-soldiers embraced a moderate interpretation of Islam that clashed with the more militant views of the Arabs. By 1960 Ramadan, thanks to his Saudi funding, secured for himself the position of chairman of the commission, and by 1973, when the mosque was completed, the Brotherhood had completely overshadowed other influences over the mosque.

As Geneva was the launching pad for the European operations of the Brotherhood, Munich became its main headquarters in Germany. The Ramadan-dominated Mosque Construction Commission became a permanent organization, which later changed its name to the Islamic Society of Germany (IGD). Ramadan headed the organization for ten years until 1973, when one of the students who had originally contacted him, Syrian born Ghaleb Himmat, took over at the helm. [11]

Himmat, who kept his position until 2002, is a prominent member of the European Ikhwan network and co-founder of Bank al-Taqwa, a financial institution widely believed to have served as the Brotherhood’s clearinghouse in the West. According to European and American authorities, Himmat and Youssef Nada, one of the Brother hood’s top financial minds, used al-Taqwa and an extensive network of companies to finance the construction and activities of dozens of Brotherhood-related projects throughout the West. Both men, whom the U.S. Treasury Department also accuses of having financed Hamas and al Qaeda, [12] have been designated terrorism financiers by various Western countries and by the United Nations.

After Himmat’s retirement, the chairmanship of the IGD passed to Ibrahim El Zayat, a younger, German-born activist with a phenomenal talent for both public relations and, like his predecessor, murky financial transactions. In 2002 El Zayat, as a director of the Saudi-based NGO World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) that spreads Wahhabi literature worldwide, came under investigation in Germany for having funneled more than two million dollars to an al-Qaeda-linked charity and for his involvement in other money-laundering activities. [13] Yet thanks to its activism and good finances, the IGD is now Germany’s most important Muslim organization, representing more than sixty Islamic centers nationwide. Together with Milli Görüs, the Turkish revivalist organization linked to the Refah party that has more than 25,000 members and an estimated 100,000 sympathizers in Germany, the IGD is the de facto voice of the German Muslim community. [14] The two organizations—whose leaders are linked through marriage [15]—have formally joined forces, creating the umbrella organization Zentralrat, and they monopolize the public debate about Islam in Germany and control the majority of German mosques. [16]

Various German security agencies have repeatedly highlighted the links between these groups and the Brotherhood, and warned about the ambiguity of their rhetoric. An official report from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Hessen, for example, stated that

the threat of Islamism for Germany is posed … primarily by Milli Görüs and other affiliated groups. They try to spread Islamist views within the boundaries of the law. Then they try to implement … for all Muslims in Germany a strict interpretation of the Quran and of the sharia… Their public support of tolerance and religious freedom should be treated with caution. [17]

Yet, despite these warnings, German politicians consider the Ikhwan groups their primary partners in the dialogue over issues involving the Muslim community, thus granting them legitimacy and empowering them.

Flowering in France

While Said Ramadan was active in developing organizations in Germany, another founding member of the Islamic Center of Geneva, Mohammed Hamidullah, created the first revivalist organization in France. An Indian-born intellectual, author of almost two hundred works on Islamic history, culture and law, Hamidullah headed the Paris-based Association of Islamic Students in France (AEIF). Even though Hamidullah was a moderate, more intent on his studies than on political activities, the AEIF soon became home base for a small group of radical foreign Muslim students who were attending Parisian universities. Among them was Hasan al Turabi, a young Sudanese law student destined to become one of the most important figures of Islamic revivalism of the last thirty years. [18] The son of a qadi (Islamic judge) from the southern part of Sudan, Turabi had joined the Muslim Brotherhood on the campus of the University College of Khartoum in the 1950s and continued his Islamic militancy while studying law at the Sorbonne. [19] Other well-known figures who orbited around the AEIF were Abolhassan Banisadr, the first President of the Islamic Republic of Iran; [20] Said Ramadan al Boutih, one of Syria’s most prestigious legal scholars; and Issam al Attar, a top Muslim Brotherhood leader who fled Syria to escape the regime and finally settled in the German city of Aachen, where he founded the Bilal mosque. [21]

This select group came to debate the purpose of their sojourn in the West. The Syrian branch of the Brotherhood, headed in Europe by Attar, viewed its exile as instrumental to furthering its struggle in Syria. For them, at least in the beginning, Europe was just a convenient place from which they could operate against the Syrian regime, and the AEIF was little more than a club for foreign Muslim students who were planning to leave France at the end of their studies. It had no serious political mission beyond promoting revivalist ideas among its members. But others in the European Brotherhood, particularly the Egyptians, saw their hijra (forced migration, comparing it to the Prophet’s time in Medina) as more long-term and Europe as a permanent base from which to expand the Ikhwan’s struggle to impose God’s word worldwide. The Brothers were in Europe to stay, they concluded, and the continent—with its freedom, wealth and growing Muslim population—was the ideal new front from which the Brotherhood could operate.

In 1979 a small group of AEIF members who embraced the long-term vision of the Egyptian branch of the European Brotherhood, and who wanted to extend the influence of the movement to the Muslim population of France, created a new organization—the Islamic Group in France, which in 1983 became the Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF). [22] While the official founders were two students, Iraqi national Zuhair Mahmood and Tunisian national Abdallah Ben Mansour, the UOIF had two important godfathers. The first was Faysal Mawlawi, a former member of the AEIF during his Parisian days who had returned to his native Lebanon to run the al Jamaa al Islamiya radical political party. The second was Rashid Ghannouchi, secretary of the AEIF between 1968 and 1969 and head of al Nahda, the Islamist movement that battled the Tunisian regime. [23] Ghannouchi and Mawlawi, wise politicians with a tremendous ability to adapt their rhetoric to circumstances, understood that the Brothers needed a well-structured organization to be able to influence the political debate and, simultaneously, to radicalize the Muslim minority in the European country with the largest Muslim population.

Over the last twenty years the UOIF has developed into France’s largest and most active Muslim organization, controlling a large number of mosques and attracting tens of thousands of attendees to its annual gathering in Le Bourget. Today the UOIF even boasts its own institution of Islamic knowledge, the European Institute of Human Sciences (IESH). [24] Located in a castle in rural Burgundy, IESH offers various degrees and diplomas in Islamic studies, and states that its goal is to educate imams who, in addition to having an adequate theological and scientific background, will demonstrate “good assimilation in the Western reality.” Given the background of the individuals involved in IESH, however, “assimilation” is unlikely to be its primary goal. The institute was founded by key members of the UOIF, such as Ahmed Jaballah and Zuhair Mahmoud, and regularly hosts the most prominent figures of the international Ikhwan network. [25] Its scientific council is headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, [26] and Faysal Mawlawi, the spiritual guide of the UOIF, is a frequent visitor and lecturer. [27]

The French government has a schizophrenic attitude toward UOIF. On the one hand, the French Council of State significantly turned down the naturalization request of Ben Mansour, a founding member of UOIF, alleging that he headed “a federation to which are affiliated many extremist movements which reject the essential values of French society.” [28] On the other hand, French Minister of Interior Nicolas Sarkozy publicly stated that he believes the UOIF has always held positions that “respected the Republic” and is a reliable partner in the delicate dialogue over the integration of the French Muslim community. [29]

UOIF representatives, most of them recipients of degrees from prestigious French universities, are involved in countless interfaith, anti-racism, and pro-integration partnerships with Christian, private, and government organizations. At the same time, however, they have not abandoned their radical worldview and are occasionally caught making blatantly anti-Semitic remarks or defending the actions of Hamas. [30] Books such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and works of al-Banna and Qutb are regularly sold at UOIF’s events. Tellingly, when UOIF was still a small entity and not under much media scrutiny, one of its representatives, Ahmed Djaballah, defined the launch of the organization as having two stages: “The first stage of the launch is democratic; the second will be putting the Islamic society in orbit.” [31]

Hoping to Rule Britannia

While Arab members of the Muslim Brotherhood spurred the spread of revivalist Islam in continental Europe, Muslims from South Asia initially played this role in the United Kingdom, where the majority of Muslims were Pakistanis and Indians. In the 1950s and 1960s, followers of Jamaat-e-Islami founder Abul Ala Maududi began to establish the first revivalist organizations in Great Britain. In 1962 a small group of Muslim activists from East London founded the UK Islamic Mission, an organization with the stated goal of “bringing about a new spiritual awakening” and building a society “based on the ideals, values and principles of Islam.” [32]

The Mission sees Islam as an all-encompassing system that covers every aspect of life. Defining itself as an “ideological organization,” the Mission states that “Islam is a comprehensive way of life which must be translated into action in all spheres of human life. The Mission, therefore, aims at molding the entire human life in accordance with Allah’s will.” [33] The Mission also openly declares its desire to introduce sharia in Great Britain, at least in the areas of private and family law. The UK Islamic Mission advocates, in fact, a “continuous campaign for the establishment of Muslim family laws,” and an “Islamic social order in the United Kingdom in order to seek the pleasure of Allah.” While the stated goal of many Muslim organizations created at the time was to safeguard the Muslim identity of the South Asian immigrant population, the scholar Gilles Kepel has correctly noted that the Mission goes beyond such a protectionist aim in openly promoting the Islamization of British society. Following Maududi’s teachings, it urges the Muslim community not to be satisfied with simply keeping its own social values; rather, it should proselytize and strive to impose “the Islamic social order” on all, as a “vanguard to spearhead a life-long struggle in the cause of Allah.” [34]

In order to carry out its goal of creating an “Islamic social order,” the Mission understood the importance of extending its teachings to the largest audience possible. Today the UK Islamic Mission has become a nationwide organization with thirty-nine branches, over thirty-five mosques and Islamic schools in which about five thousand British Muslim children receive Islamic education. [35] It has a youth branch, Young Muslims UK, that attempts to attract the sons and daughters of Muslim immigrants through study groups, summer camps, and Quran competitions. To appeal to the most Westernized among them, Young Muslims UK even sponsors such activities as Go-Karting and Paintball, all conducted in religiously-oriented and sex-segregated environments. [36]

In 1973 the Islamic Mission established a college and research center, the Islamic Foundation. First located in a small two-room office in central Leicester, the Islamic Foundation has grown to be one of Europe’s largest institutions of Islamic studies and, by 1990, moved its headquarters to a sprawling mansion in rural Markfield, a few miles from Leicester. [37] The Foundation regularly organizes symposia and conferences and even runs its own institute of higher learning, the Markfield Institute of Higher Education, which issues diplomas in Islamic jurisprudence. It translates and publishes scores of Islamic texts, with a clear focus on revivalist authors in general and Maududi in particular.

The links between the UK Mission and Maududi go well beyond ideology, moreover. The level of coordination between the Mission and Jamaat-e-Islami is very high, though Mission officers in Leicester have publicly denied that the two organizations are formally linked. “We belong to the international Islamic movement,” claims Dr. Manazir Ahsan, the director general of the Islamic Foundation, “neither to Jamaat [-e-Islami] nor to Ikhwan nor to the Refah Party in Turkey—but all of them are our friends.” [38] The evidence contradicts him, however, and indicates that the relationship resembles more a symbiosis than a friendship, at least in regard to Jamaat-e-Islami. The first directors of the Islamic Foundation were officers of Jamaat-e-Islami, including Khurram Murad, who became one of Jamaat’s top leaders after leaving Leicester. [39] One of the Foundation’s founders and its current chairman is Khurshid Ahmed, a world-renowned Islamic scholar and member of the Pakistani Senate who joined Jamaat-e-Islami in 1956 and currently serves as its vice president. [40]

But it is also true that, as members and sympathizers are increasingly British-born Muslims who feel limited affinity to Pakistani politics, the UK Mission and the Islamic Foundation have developed a life of their own. [41] While issues such as Kashmir remain important, the Mission has increasingly focused its attention on problems affecting the everyday life of British Muslims, with the stated goal of preventing their absorption into mainstream British society.

Radicalizing the Muslim community is the Foundation’s first priority, but it also emphasizes the importance of carrying out its dawa mission among the non-Muslim British population. The Foundation publishes several introductory books to Islam aimed at British Christians, and its director during the 1980s, the above-mentioned Murad, even published a handbook on how to convert non-Muslims. [42] The Mission’s brochures boast of the organization’s successes in proselytizing in order to impress, as Kepel notes, “their Arabian benefactors and confirm the latter’s conviction that Islam, in its most intransigent version, would subjugate the whole world, with the Mission forming an avant-garde.” [43]

Outreach toward non-Muslims goes beyond the religious duty of dawa, as the Mission attempts to increase its influence in the social and political life of Great Britain. The Islamic Foundation is involved in partnerships with several secular institutions of higher learning, for example, and has signed memoranda of understanding with various Christian organizations. It often works with city councils on issues involving the Muslim community, and it even conducts Islamic-awareness training for British police officers. Given that politicians from all parties attend its conferences, it is not surprising that even the Prince of Wales, sitting beside Khurshid Ahmad at a 2003 dinner in Markfield, praised the Islamic Foundation as “all that is to be admired about Islamic scholarship in the West” and “a fine example for others to follow.” [44]

In 1997 the Arab component of the Muslim Brotherhood founded its own organization in Great Britain, the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB). MAB’s leadership includes individuals such as Azzam Tamimi, a former activist in the Islamic Action Front (the Jordanian Brotherhood’s political party); Mohammed Sawalha, a self-declared former Hamas member; and Osama al Tikriti, the son of the leader of the Iraqi branch of the Brotherhood. [45] MAB’s founding president, Kamal al Helbawy, was formerly the official spokesman for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. [46] Having gained notoriety thanks to its active role in the anti-war campaign during the first months of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, MAB has formed strong alliances with British civil rights and leftist organizations. Its role as a political player became apparent as it endorsed such anti-war politicians and close allies as London mayor Ken Livingstone and Respect Party candidate George Galloway.

Given their large Muslim populations, Great Britain, France, and Germany are naturally the three main centers of activity of the Ikhwan in Europe. But virtually every European country has witnessed some degree of intense activity by the Brothers. As Ikhwan members often mention, their vision of Islam as a social religion compels them to create organizations. Tariq Ramadan, the ubiquitous Swiss scholar and son of Said Ramadan—whose affiliation with the Brotherhood is much debated—has stated that the communitarian dimension of Islam is fundamental because “the Islamic faith cannot be reduced to a strictly private affair.” [47] But other scholars mention more practical reasons for the Ikhwan’s organized activism. Qaradawi asserts that the “organized collective work” characteristic of the Islamic Movement “is ordained by religion and necessitated by reality.” [48] Only a well-structured network enables the Brothers to implement their goals, the first of which is preventing the integration or, even worse, the assimilation of Muslim minorities.

Cozying Up to the Elite

“In conversations with journalists and diplomats [Tunisian Islamist Rachid] Ghannouchi gives a moderate, democratic, pluralist image,” confessed a follower of this very important player in Europe’s Ikhwan network. “With us,” he added, “he talks about driving out the American invaders and their allies (the regimes in power),… of saving the Holy Kaaba and the Tomb of the Noble Prophet from the plots of the enemies of the Arabs and Islam.” [49] The Muslim Brothers have an unparalleled ability to employ different tactics—to adapt their rhetoric and modus operandi—according to the circumstances.

In the first years of their existence, Islamist revivalist organizations took very hard and confrontational positions on issues that involved the Muslim community. This stance was apparently dictated both by the leaders’ radical views and by the desire to make themselves known and gain primacy within the Islamic community. In 1988, for example, the Islamic Foundation of Leicester fought vigorously to play a predominant role in organizing the protests against the publication of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses—protests that swept the South Asian Muslim community in Great Britain. While its outrage was unquestionably genuine, the Foundation appeared to be most concerned about making sure that other Islamic groups did not lead the protests. [50]

The following year, having witnessed how the Rushdie affair enhanced the status of the Foundation, the French Ikhwan decided to imitate the tactics of their British comrades when an opportunity presented itself in France. As the first nationwide controversy over the use of the hijab in public schools erupted in 1989, the then-relatively powerless UOIF became the most active defender of the right to wear the veil. Hoping to attract the sympathies of the Muslim community, the UOIF showed little interest in pursuing a constructive dialogue with the French government while it organized several protests against the ban and declared that “the Muslims of France could not accept such attacks on their dignity.” [51]

Today, now that it has achieved a dominant position within France’s organized Islamic community, the UOIF has completely changed its tactics and strives to gain the trust of the authorities. Believing it can gain more by working within the system than against it, the UOIF is avoiding head-on confrontations with the government that could set back its agenda. In March 2004, therefore, when the French Parliament passed a controversial new law banning all religious symbols and apparel in public schools, the UOIF kept incredibly quiet. It abstained from participating in the protests that were organized, not only in France, but also throughout the world. Azzam Tamimi, a leader of the Muslim Association of Britain who was harshly critical of this decision, explained that the UOIF is now “against any activity that could cause a confrontation with the public powers.” [52]

In its change of behavior, the UOIF provides a quintessential example of the Brother – hood’s most effective quality: flexibility. If in 1989 the issue of the hijab constituted a perfect opportunity to make the UOIF known to the French Muslim community as a strenuous defender of the honor of Muslims, fifteen years later it constituted a dangerous trap to avoid. Because the law passed with overwhelming and bilateral support, the UOIF saw no practical advantage in challenging the establishment.

Challenging the establishment, in fact, is not the current policy of the European Brotherhood. Realizing they are still a relatively weak force, the Brothers have opted for a different tactic: befriending the establishment. They are taking advantage of the European elite’s desperate desire to establish a dialogue with any representatives of the Muslim community, and they are putting themselves forward as the de facto voices of European Muslims. Thanks to the Europeans’ naïveté and their own activism, the Brothers are now the closest partners that European political elites have in discussing the integration of the local Muslim communities. Nowhere is this more evident than in Brussels, where Ikhwan organizations have become the only officially recognized representatives of the European Muslim population, monopolizing the debate with the institutions of the European Union.

In 1989 the European Brothers founded the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), with the stated goal of “serving Muslims in European societies.” [53] Even though it has gained prominence in Europe as a moderate Muslim organization, however, FIOE is nothing more than the umbrella organization for most Ikhwan groups in Europe. Its founders and main members are the French UOIF, the German IGD and the British MAB, and its headquarters are in Markfield, located in spaces leased from the Islamic Foundation. Serving on FIOE’s board are such prominent European Ikhwan figures as UOIF’s Ahmed Djaballah and IGD’s Ibrahaim El Zayat. Its president, Ahmed al Rawi, has personally defended suicide bombings in Iraq and Israel, claiming that Muslims “have the right to defend themselves.” And yet he is a habitué of the European circles of power, having testified before the European Parliament and attended John Paul II’s funeral. [54]

In 1996 FIOE created the European Trust, a financial institution devoted to raising funds for its various activities, such as the sprawling European Institute of Human Sciences, the Association of Muslim Schools in Europe, and its glossy magazine Al Europiya. Also in 1996, in cooperation with the Saudi WAMY, FIOE established a youth branch—the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO). Originally headed by the ubiquitous El Zayat and strategically headquartered in Brussels, FEMYSO has managed to become, in its own words, “the de facto voice of the Muslim youth of Europe.” Today it oversees a network of thirty-seven member organizations, and it enjoys regular relations with the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the United Nations. [55]

The Long March Toward Sharia in Europe

The success of organizations such as FIOE and FEMYSO is the crowning achievement of the Brothers’ thirty years of hard work. The Ikhwan groups have managed to be – come part of the establishment, finding a small niche in the corridors of European power. The Brothers view this triumph as a mere starting point, however. Having gained the trust of large segments of both Europe’s elites and its Muslim communities, the Brothers want to use their newly acquired power to create the “Muslim ghetto” envisioned by Qaradawi. An extensive network of mosques and educational facilities already exists; the next step toward the creation of what Reuven Paz refers to as “non-territorial Islamic states in Europe” is the implementation of Islamic law for Europe’s Muslim population. [56]

An article in a 2002 issue of Al Islam, the official publication of the European Brotherhood’s historic Islamic Center of Munich, openly states that “In the long run, Muslims cannot be satisfied with the acceptance of German family, estate, and trial law… Muslims should aim at an agreement between the Muslims and the German state with the goal of a separate jurisdiction for Muslims.” [57] The Brothers fully understand that the implementation of sharia in Europe is a very difficult task that currently seems quite far-fetched. But patience and long-term vision are two of the movement’s strongest assets, and the Brothers are working to reap their fruits “in the long run.” For now, the Ikhwan is generally refraining from officially asking for the implementation of sharia, despite hints that make its ultimate aim quite apparent. The Brothers have begun, for example, to create an Islamic legal framework that lays the foundation for imposing sharia in the West.

In 1989 the UOIF, perhaps the most important of the various European Ikhwan groups, made a small but extremely significant change to its name. Previously known as the Union of Islamic Organizations in France, it now called itself the Union of Islamic Organizations of France—a small semantic difference that had a huge meaning. [58] By changing the name, the Brothers declared that they were in France, and in Europe, to stay. They realized that the presence of Muslims in Europe was a permanent and growing phenomenon, and that it required a new approach. The following year Ghannouchi, one of the historical spiritual leaders of the UOIF, gave a landmark speech at the organization’s annual meeting in which he referred to France as dar al Islam (land of Islam), a place where the presence of Muslims is permanent. [59]

A definitive new Ikhwan position on the juridical connotation of Europe was formalized two years later, at another seminar organized by the UOIF. There, scholars of the importance of Qaradawi, Mawlawi, and Djaballah agreed that the traditional distinction between dar al Islam and dar al Harb (land of war) did not currently reflect reality. While Europe could not be considered dar al Islam because sharia was not enforced there, it could not be considered dar al Harb because Muslims were allowed to practice Islam freely and were not persecuted. According to Mawlawi, the distinction was based only on ijtihad (interpretation, not coming directly from the text) and limited to a historic context that no longer exists. The Ikhwan scholars decided, therefore, that it was possible for them to create a new legal category. They concluded that Europe should be considered dar al dawa (land of preaching), a territory where Muslims live as a minority, are respected, and have the duty to spread their religion peacefully. Other definitions have followed: Qaradawi has spoken of dar al ahd (land of contact), for example, while Tariq Ramadan has adopted the term dar al shahada (land of testimony). [60]

By acknowledging that the presence of Muslims in the West is permanent, and by giving their status a new legal definition, the Ikhwan scholars set the stage for creating new rules to regulate this presence. While there is extensive jurisprudence that addresses the situation of non-Muslim minorities living in dar al Islam, very few provisions cover the relatively new situation of Muslims living permanently in non-Muslim countries. For most European Muslims, this has not been a major issue, either because religion does not play a large role in their lives or because they have found their own ways to reconcile their faith with their lives in the West. But many do many feel the need for guidance from the ulema about such everyday matters as marriage, divorce and relations with non-Muslims. These problems require the development of a new jurisprudence, which has come to be known as fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) for minorities (fiqh al aqaliyyat). [61]

Given the lack of intellectual Muslim leadership and structured Islamic clergy in Europe, the Brotherhood sees itself as the entity most able to fill this void and to create this new fiqh. [62] Mawlawi, one of the top Ikhwan thinkers on minority fiqh, has said, “It is obvious that when secular and Islamic laws collide, a Muslim is expected to honor his Islamic law whenever possible.” [63] But while affirming the superiority of Islamic law, he refers to the Quranic verse that states “Be observant of Allah to the best of your ability” (“fa-ittaqu Allaha ma istata‘tum”). [64] According to Mawlawi, this verse allows a Muslim who is in the “legal bind” of having to choose between respecting sharia or European law to follow the “less detrimental” option. [65] Other European Brothers hold slightly more ambiguous positions, torn between their beliefs and their political instincts. Thus far, formal proposals to introduce Islamic law in Europe have been quite timid, in fact, and the reaction from most European politicians has been cold, to say the least.

For the time being, then, officially sanctioned Islamic courts in Europe represent only a dream. The European Ikhwan have established an unofficial one, however—the European Council for Fatwa and Research. This body currently limits itself to dispensing advice to Muslims living in Europe who have to juggle obedience to Quranic precepts with respect for the laws of their host countries.

The European Council for Fatwa and Research

In March 1997 FIOE sponsored the first meeting of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, an organization that has become quite a feather in the European Brothers’ cap. Held in London, the meeting was attended by more than fifteen well known Islamic scholars who endorsed the Council’s draft constitution. The Council is described as “an Islamic, specialized and independent entity” created to issue “collective fatwas which meet the needs of Muslims in Europe, solve their problems and regulate their interaction with the European communities, all within the regulations and objectives of sharia.” [66] In practical terms the Council is a jurisprudential body that provides Muslims living in Europe with non-binding legal advice focusing on matters they face in their everyday lives as members of a minority community in non-Muslim countries.

The Council’s headquarters are in Dublin, where it operates in conjunction with the local Islamic Cultural Centre. Both institutions have received generous financial backing from the Al-Maktoum Charity Organization, which is headed by Shaykh Hamdan Al Maktoum, the UAE Minister of Finance and Industry and the Deputy Ruler of Dubai. [67] The Council generally meets twice a year in different European venues and currently comprises thirty-two Islamic scholars from throughout the world, the majority of whom reside within the European Union. (The Council’s bylaws specifically state that no more than 25 percent of it total membership should live outside Europe.) Its sessions take place behind closed doors, and the clerics deliberate on issues brought forward by either Council members or European Muslims who ask the Council for advice.

In reality the Council is a body created and dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood’s global network. Its jurisprudence is aimed at guiding Muslims through a “program of perfect life for the individual, the family, society and the state”—phrasing that echoes al-Banna. [68] Among its members are key figures of the European Ikhwan, such as UOIF’s Djaballah and Ounis Qourqah, IESH’s al Arabi al Bichri, FIOE’s al Rawi, and the ever present Ghannouchi. Several other members are high-profile scholars from Arab Gulf countries, most of whom hold positions very close to those of the Ikhwan. The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland’s Hussein Mohammed Halawa is the Council’s secretary general and oversees its day-to-day operations, while the Lebanese cleric Mawlawi is its vice president—an honor given to him in recognition of his role in promoting the historic doctrinal change of Europe from dar al Harb to dar al dawa. As Ghannouchi observed, “Some members [of the Council] belong to the Brothers, some others do not. What is important is the ideology, not the movement.” [69]

Most tellingly, the president of the Council is Qaradawi, whose position of prominence is widely accepted by the other members. Though the Council is technically a democratic body in which the majority rules, its scholars rarely vote, tending instead to avoid internal dissent and to follow the position of Qaradawi and the Council’s most influential figures. [70] Qaradawi is not only the Council’s best-known scholar, but also the real driving force behind it. He is a charismatic figure whose prestige is crucially important to the Council’s relevance. A gifted speaker with an uncommon ability to deal with the media, Qaradawi disseminates his teachings through his own website and a popular weekly show on al Jazeera called “Al Sharia wal Hayat” (“Sharia and Life”). He should now be considered, according to an internal memo of the British Home Office, “the leading mainstream and influential Islamic authority in the Middle East and increasingly in Europe, with an extremely large popular following.” [71]

While Qaradawi is indeed extremely popular and influential well beyond the underworld of the Ikhwan, his views, as the same memo acknowledges, are far from moderate. He has repeatedly defended suicide attacks against Israel and American forces in Iraq. He has repeatedly pledged his support to such organizations as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic jihad, labeled the Middle East peace process as “a conspiracy to stop the Palestinian Resistance,” and decreed that “jihad is incumbent upon the entire Muslim nation in order to liberate Palestine, Jerusalem, and the Al Aqsa Mosque.” [72] Similarly, in 2004 Qaradawi issued a fatwa justifying attacks against all American citizens in Iraq, including civilians, saying “there is no difference between U.S. military personnel and civilians in Iraq since both have come to invade the country” and since “civilians are actually there to serve the U.S. occupying forces.” [73]

The European Council for Fatwa and Research reflects the dual personalities of Qaradawi and its leaders. Overall, its jurisprudence gives the impression of being quite moderate and innocuous, offering suggestions to individuals who want to follow the requirements of their religion in their new land. Many fatwas simply discuss how to perform certain Islamic rituals in non-Muslim countries, solving mostly logistical problems. Some rulings, for example, address questions about praying in buildings in which facing Mecca poses difficulties. [74] Another fatwa deals with the timing of Muslim prayers in Scandinavian countries in relation to sunrise and sunset. [75] As most Muslims living in the West must deal with the banking system, many decrees attempt to reconcile the need to contract loans, use mortgages, and open bank accounts, with the Islamic ban of riba (usury), which the Muslim Brothers interpret to include interest.

On these matters the jurisprudence of the Council is quite liberal. Its fatwas urge Muslims to seek all possible “Islamic alternatives” and “Islamic organizations throughout Europe to enter into negotiations with European banks to find formulas that are acceptable,” as many of them are already doing. [76] But, if no alternative is possible and the haram (forbidden) transaction is vitally important, the Council draws on the principle of accommodation to allow the European Muslim to carry out transactions with riba. In general the Court tends to respect Western law as much as possible and espouses a relatively moderate interpretation of Islamic law. No fatwa touches issues of criminal law, where any intrusion of Muslim jurisprudence would be perceived very negatively by Europeans. In some cases the Council explicitly decrees that European Muslims should follow the laws of European countries and the rulings of its judges, even if those contradict sharia. In cases of divorce, for example, the Council ruled that “it is imperative that a Muslim who conducted his Marriage by virtue of those countries’ respective laws, to comply with the rulings of a non-Muslim judge in the event of a divorce.” [77]

But not all the jurisprudence of the Council follows this moderate trend. Despite its professed focus on issues affecting everyday life, some of the Council’s fatwas are extremely political and reveal the radical side of at least some of its clerics. In the July 2003 Council meeting held in Stockholm, for example, Qaradawi described five categories of terrorism, including “terror that is permitted by Islamic law” and “martyrdom operations.” Ruling that Israel could be defined as “invaders” and thus legitimately targeted, Qaradawi stated that “those who oppose martyrdom operations and claim that they are suicide are making a great mistake.” [78] Mawlawi, the Council’s vice president, holds similar views about terrorism. In issuing a fatwa that prohibited Arab countries from cooperating with the United States in the “War on Terror,” Mawlawi noted that what is dubbed terrorism by Washington is in most cases “jihad and legitimate right,” such as resistance operations in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. [79]

Even more troubling, for its potentially disruptive effects, is the Council’s jurisprudence that deals with family matters. While many rulings uphold Islamic principles that are perfectly compatible with European legislation, some fatwas express opinions that are at odds with basic Western concepts, particularly with regard to domestic violence and equality between the sexes. And while some fatwas instruct Muslims to follow European marriage and divorce laws, other rulings on the same matters refer only to Islamic law, omitting any reference to respecting Western legislation. The relationship between husband and wife is an area where the incompatibility between the Council’s jurisprudence and Western law is particularly manifest. Various Council rulings state that men should be good husbands and fair to their wives, but some fatwas clearly pay no heed to the concept of equality between men and women. A 1997 Council fatwa, for example, states that a wife needs her husband’s permission to cut her hair, provided that the cut is significant and “completely change[s] the appearance of the woman.” [80] By the same token, the Council authorizes a husband to prevent his wife from visiting another woman, even a Muslim woman, “if he felt that this relationship has an adverse effect on his wife, children or marital life in general.” [81]

These rulings are not surprising, given the positions that Qaradawi holds on marriage and marital relations. In his hallmark treaty on Islamic law, The Licit and Illicit in Islam, Qaradawi openly states that “the man is the lord of the house and the head of the family.” He asserts, moreover, that when a wife exhibits “signs of pride or insubordination,” her husband is entitled to use violence against her, even though this has to be done without hitting hard and avoiding the face. [82] These teachings are clearly at odds with the criminal law and public sentiment of every European country. Significantly, the provisions regarding the treatment of women caused The Licit and Illicit in Islam to be banned in France in 1995. Charles Pasqua, France’s Minister of Interior at the time, commented that the book deserved the ban because of “its violently anti-Western tones and the theses contrary to the laws and values of the Republic that it contains.” [83] Qaradawi has also repeatedly observed that polygamy is a right that all Muslim men should be able to enjoy, provided they respect certain rules.

Polygamy and domestic violence represent two extremes, which would be prosecuted by European criminal laws. But the Council holds other positions that contradict Western laws governing marriage and divorce. It promotes an openly ambiguous situation for Muslims who have contracted marriage under European law, as the Council urges them to respect both the European laws and the conflicting principles of sharia. Just as disturbing is the possible application of the Council’s jurisprudence to nikah marriages (those performed in an Islamic rite). A small, yet significant, number of Muslims living in Europe do not officially register their marriages but simply get married in an Islamic rite. In these cases, where the marriage does not exist under European law, the only rules that could apply are those of sharia, and the Council could potentially become the body regulating such marital relationships.


The Council’s fatwas are not legally binding, as they are simply opinions of respected scholars rather than judgments delivered by qadis. Members of the European Ikhwan network are quick to point out that its role, comparable to that of the Vatican’s, is purely consultative, intended only to advise Muslims about religious issues that arise in their daily lives. [84] Yet the Brothers’ ambitions for the Council go beyond a merely advisory role. As stated in its bylaws, the Council is “designed to become an approved religious authority before local governments and private establishments, which will undoubtedly strengthen and reinforce local Islamic communities.” [85] The Brothers see today’s non-binding Council’s jurisprudence as just a step toward their long-term goal of establishing sharia for Muslims in Europe.

Most Ikhwan groups operating in Europe have the stated goal of establishing Islamic law for local Muslim populations. The Brothers understand that the places where this is most likely to occur are in areas of high Islamic concentration—in other words, in Qaradawi’s “Muslim ghettoes.” The Brothers believe that, once Muslims reach a majority in certain areas of various European countries, European governments will feel compelled to allow Islamic law to regulate the personal/civil relations among them.

While the Ikhwan’s intentions might appear to be nothing more than a dream, a disturbingly large number of European Muslims seem to favor introducing Islamic law into Europe. A 2005 poll revealed that four out of ten British Muslims want sharia introduced into parts of Britain. [86] Another poll conducted by a local Muslim institute reports that 21 per cent of Muslims living in Germany believe that the German constitution is incompatible with the teachings of the Quran. [87] But while salafi and other extremist organizations are already demanding the introduction of sharia in a confrontational and counterproductive way, the more politically savvy Brothers are using a different strategy to achieve the same goal.

The European Ikhwan have repeatedly compromised their strict observance of sharia in order to advance their cause. Every tactic that might help the movement is justified, even if it entails breaking some Quranic principle, because the higher goal of spreading Islam excuses all deviations. Mawlawi and other Ikhwan scholars have asserted, for example, that the creation of Islamic centers in the West is a priority for the Islamic Movement. Muslims should make every effort, therefore, to purchase buildings and turn them into mosques, even if they must resort to financial transactions forbidden by Islamic law to do so. [88] Similarly, asked whether Muslims could vote and participate in the political life of their European host countries, the Council responded that the issue “is to be decided by Islamic organizations and establishment,” which should evaluate what position best serves the interests of the Movement. [89] At the moment the Brothers have embraced compromise as the best means of increasing their influence, which will allow them in turn to lobby more effectively for their goals—goals that include the establishment of sharia in Europe.

Now relatively weak in the West, the Brotherhood has concluded that engaging in dialogue and showing openness and moderation is their wisest strategy. But if the balance of power were to change over the next few decades, nothing guarantees that the Ikhwan would not change its approach and discard dialogue. A German government’s analysis of the tactics of Islamist groups operating in Germany reveals a well-founded suspicion that the Ikhwan’s desire for dialogue is far from sincere: “While in recent times, the Milli Görüs has increasingly emphasized the readiness of its members to be integrated into German society and asserts its adherence to the basic law, such statements stem from tactical calculation rather than from any inner change of the organization.” [90]

To date European Brotherhood organizations have rarely been directly linked to specific cases of terrorism, but their contribution to the education and radicalization of violent extremists has already been significant. The Brotherhood’s renunciation of violence seems more opportunistic than genuine, moreover, when its European members use fiery rhetoric to endorse terrorist operations in the Middle East. While they are quick to condemn violence in the West to avoid becoming political pariahs, they do not refrain from approving of it elsewhere, notably in the Middle East, because they believe they can get away with it. It is not unreasonable to assume, therefore, that should it become convenient for them to do so, the ever-flexible Brotherhood would embrace violent tactics in the West as well.


1. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase (Swansea, U.K.: Awakening Publications, 2000).

2. Eric Brown, “After the Ramadan Affair: New Trends in Islamism in the West,” Current Trends in Islamist Ideology (Hudson Institute), vol. 2, September 2005: 8.

3. Xavier Ternisien, Les Frères Musulmans (Paris: Fayard, 2005), pp. 110-11.

4. Sylvain Besson, “La Conquête de l’Occident: Le Projet Secret des Islamistes (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 2005), p. 100.

5. “Leading Sunni Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradhawi and Other Sheikhs Herald the Coming Conquest of Rome,” Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI), Special Dispatch #447, 6 December 2002.

6. Besson, La Conquête de l’Occident, p. 37.

7. See, for example, Kenneth R. Timmerman, “Preachers of Hate: Islam and the War on America (New York: Crown Forum, 2003).

8. Khalid Duran, “Jihadism in Europe,” The Journal of Counterterrorism and Security International, Fall 2000: 12-15.

9. For the life of Said Ramadan, see: M. H. Faruqi, “Les Frères Musulmanes: Politique de ‘Rabbaniyya,’ les Prières avant le Pouvoir,” published on the website of the Islamic Center of Geneva (; and Tariq Ramadan, “Une Vie Entière,” available at

10. Ian Johnson, “The Beachhead: How a Mosque for Ex-Nazis Became Center of Radical Islam,” The Wall Street Journal, 12 July 2005.

11. History of the IGD, available at IGD’s website:

12. “Recent OFAC Actions,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, 7 November 2001.

13. Report on Ibrahim el-Zayat, Cologne police, 27 August 2003; and Ian Johnson, “How Islamic Group’s Ties Reveal Europe’s Challenge,” Wall Street Journal, 29 December 2005.

14. Report on the Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüs (IGMG), Innenministerium, Nordrhein-Westfalen land website:

15. Ibrahim El Zayat, chairman of the IGD, is married to Sabiha Erbakan, the sister of Milli Görü’s leader, Mehmet Sabri Erbakan.

16. For the activities of IGD, IGMG, and Zentralrat, see Udo Ulfkotte, Der Krieg in unseren Staedten (Frankfurt: Eichborn Publishing, 2003).

17. “Islamismus,” report by the Landesamt fur Verfassungsschutz, Hessen, available at http://www.verfassungsschutzhessen/. de/downloads/islam.pdf.

18. Paul Landau, Le Sabre et le Coran (Monaco: Editions du Rocher, 2005), pp. 72-3.

19. Ahmed S. Moussalli, “Hasan al-Turabi’s Islamist Discourse on Democracy and Shura,” Middle Eastern Studies 30, issue 1 (January 1994).

20. Jean-Yves Camus, “Islam in France,” paper published by the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (ICT), 10 May 2004, available at:

21. Khalid Duran, “Jihadism in Europe,” The Journal of Counterterrorism and Security International, Fall 2000. Pp. 12-5.

22. Ternisien, pp. 254-5.

23. Fiammetta Venner, “OPA sur l’Islam de France: Les Ambitions de l’UOIF,” Paris: Calmann-Levy, 2005. Pp. 11-14.

24. Website of the European Institute of Human Sciences:

25. Hugh Schofield, “France’s Islamic Heartland,” BBC, 18 April 2003.

26. Website of the European Institute of Human Sciences:

27. Venner, p. 102.

28. Decision of the French Conseil d’État, 7 June 1999, as quoted in Venner, p. 15.

29. Venner, p. 28.

30. For more information on the UOIF’s double-talk, see Venner.

31. Mohamed Sifaoui, La FranceMalade de Islamisme (Paris: Le Cherche Midi, 2002), pp. 49-50.

32. UK Islamic Mission, “Introduction,” 2004-2005 Annual Report.

33. UK Islamic Mission, “Introduction,” as quoted in Gilles Kepel, “Allah in the West: Islamic Movements in America and Europe (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997), p. 131.

34. Ibid., p. 132.

35. UK Islamic Mission, “Introduction,” 2004-2005 Annual Report.

36. Website of Young Muslims UK:

37. Website of the Islamic Foundation:

38. Kepel, p. 133.

39. Ibid.

40. Biography of Khurshid Ahmed, website of the Jamaat e Islami:

41. Joergen S. Nielsen, “Transnational Islam and the Integration of Islam in Europe,” in Stefano Allievi and Joergen S. Nielsen, “Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and across Europe” (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2003), pp. 38-9.

42. Kepel, p. 132.

43. Ibid.

44. Speech by HRH The Prince of Wales during his visit to the Islamic Foundation, 24 January 2003, available at

45. Michael Whine, “The Advance of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.K.,” in Current Trends in Islamist Ideology (Hudson Institute), vol. 2, September 2005: 30-38.

46. Ternisien, p. 124.

47. Tariq Ramadan, LesMusulmans dans la Laïcité (Lyon: Tawhid Editions, 1998), pp. 78-81.

48. al-Qaradawi.

49. Antoine Sfeir, Les Réseaux d’Allah: Les filières Islamistes en France et en Europe (Paris: Plon, 2001), p. 51.

50. Kepel, pp. 126-35.

51. Ibid., p. 187.

52. Ternisien, p. 127.

53. Website of the FIOE:

54. Ian Johnson, “How Islamic Group’s Ties Reveal Europe’s Challenge,” Wall Street Journal, 29 December 2005.

55. Website of FEMYSO:

56. Reuven Paz, “The Non-Territorial Islamic States in Europe,” paper published by the Project for the Research of Islamist Movements (PRISM), Herzliya, Israel.

57. Al Islam, issue 2, 2002: 14, as quoted in the 2003 report by the Baden Württenberg state Verfassungsschutzbericht, p. 48

58. Ternisien, p. 7.

59. Kepel, p.152.

60. Ternisien, pp. 190-2.

61.See Shammai Fishman, Fiqh Al-Aqaliyyat: A Legal Theory For Muslim Minorities. Hudson Institute: Research Monographs on the Muslim World. Series No. 1, paper No. 2. Accessed at:

62. W. Shadid and P. S. van Koningsveld, “Religious Authorities of Muslims in the West: Their Views on Political Participation,” Shadid, W. and P.S. van Koningsveld, eds. Intellectual Relations and Religious Authorities: Muslims in the European Union (Leuven: Peeters, 2002), pp, 149-70.

63. “Living Islam in the West: An Interview with Shaykh Faisal Mawlawi,” Palestinian Times, Issue 98, Available at:

64. Quran, Surah at-Taghabun ayah 16

65. “Living Islam in the West: An Interview with Shaykh Faisal Mawlawi,” Palestinian Times, issue 98, available at: http //

66. Fatwas (First Collection), translated by Anas Osama Altikriti, European Council for Fatwa and Research, date unspecified.

67. Website of the Islamic Cultural Center of Ireland:

68. Closing remarks at the Council session in Stockholm, July 2003, as quoted in Besson, p. 124.

69. Ternisien, pp. 197-8.

70. Alexandre Caeiro, “The European Council for Fatwa and Research,” presentation at Fourth Mediterranean Social and Political Research Meeting, European University Institute, Montecatini Terme, 19-23 March 2003.

71. Memo on Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Home Office, 14 July 2005.

72. “Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi on Hamas Jerusalem Day Online: ‘We are a Nation of Jihad and Martyrdom’; ‘The Resistance in Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon Must Go On’; ‘We Stand Alongside Our Brothers in Hamas and Islamic Jihad,’” Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI), Special Dispatch #1051, 18 December 2005.

73. Gihan Shahine, “Fatwa Fight,” Al Ahram Weekly, 16-22 September 2004, issue 708.

74. “Fatwa 3,” Resolutions and Fatwas (Second Collection), edited by Anas Osama Altikriti and Mohammed Adam Howard, European Council for Fatwa and Research, date unspecified.

75. “Fatwa 4,” Resolutions and Fatwas (Second Collection), edited by Anas Osama Altikriti and Mohammed Adam Howard, European Council for Fatwa and Research, date unspecified.

76. “Fatwa 26,” Resolutions and Fatwas (Second Collection), edited by Anas Osama Altikriti and Mohammed Adam Howard, European Council for Fatwa and Research, date unspecified.

77. “Fatwa 17,” Resolutions and Fatwas (Second Collection), edited by Anas Osama Altikriti and Mohammed Adam Howard, European Council for Fatwa and Research, date unspecified.

78. “Al-Qaradhawi Speaks in Favor of Suicide Operations at an Islamic Conference in Sweden,” Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI), Special Dispatch #542, 24 July 2003.

79. Alaa Abu Elnin, “Tipping U.S. on Baathists Prohibited: Prominent Scholar,” Islam Online, 30 May 2003, available at

80. Fatwas (First Collection), translated by Anas Osama Altikriti, European Council for Fatwa and Research, date unspecified.

81. Fatwas (First Collection), translated by Anas Osama Altikriti, European Council for Fatwa and Research, date unspecified.

82. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Le Licite et l’Illicite en Islam (Paris: Editions al Qalam, 1992), p. 207. 83. Ternisien, p. 312.

84. Author’s interview with Ali Abu Shwaima, editor of al Europiya (Milan), January 2006.

85. Fatwas (First Collection). translated by Anas Osama Altikriti, European Council for Fatwa and Research, date unspecified.

86. “Poll: Four in 10 Muslims want Sharia Law,” Channel 4, 19 February 2006.

87. Data released by the Zentralinstituts Islam-Archiv-Deutschlandin; see debate on Deutschlandradio Kultur, 7 January 2006, available at

88. Alexandre Caeiro, “The European Council for Fatwa and Research,” presentation at Fourth Mediterranean Social and Political Research Meeting, European University Institute, Montecatini Terme, 19-23 March 2003.

89. Fatwas (First Collection), translated by Anas Osama Altikriti, European Council for Fatwa and Research, date unspecified.

90. Annual -Report, Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesverfassungsschutz), 2000, Cologne, p. 198.

Adobe to donate script code to Mozilla by Martin LaMonica

Adobe will donate software to run JavaScript programs in the Firefox Web browser, the largest code contribution yet to the open-source Mozilla Foundation.

On Tuesday, Adobe is expected to announce the donation in conjunction with the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. The code will form the basis for a new open-source project called Tamarin, which will be governed and manned by developers from Adobe and Mozilla.

Adobe will provide the same software, called the ActionScript Virtual Machine, which it uses to run script code in the Adobe Flash Player 9.

This virtual machine is expected to be built into future versions of the Firefox browser by the first half of 2008, said Frank Hecker, the executive director of the Mozilla Foundation.

The scripting language for Adobe’s Flash Player virtual machine runs programs written in ActionScript, which is based on an Ecma International standard called ECMAScript Edition 4. Widely used JavaScript and Microsoft JScript also comply with that standard, said Kevin Lynch, chief software architect at Adobe.

The latest version of Adobe’s script “engine,” released in June this year with Flash Player 9, uses a just-in-time compiler to run programs ten times faster than previous versions, he said.

Lynch said the deal with Mozilla is the biggest Adobe has done with open source. The move furthers the company’s plan to allow developers to mix and match programming technologies, including AJAX-style Web development and Flash for media and animation, he said.

“We can bring together the broader HTML and Flash developer communities around this common language implementation,” Lynch said. “Using the same language engine is a huge step.”

Hecker said that having a high-quality script engine is “extremely important” to its open-source projects, which include both the FireFox browser and Thunderbird e-mail client. Much of Firefox and many extensions are written in JavaScript, he noted.

The Tamarin project code will form the basis for the next generation of SpiderMonkey, the existing JavaScript in the Firefox browser, Hecker said.

EU will Dither, and China will Move In by Thomas Barnett

ARTICLE: “Turkey’s EU Bid Quietly Loses Steam: Report Card on Talks Will Be Poor as Public Support Slides and Islam-West Tensions Mount,” by Philip Shishkin and Marc Champion, Wall Street Journal, 2 November 2006, p. A6.

ARTICLE: “Chinese Shippers Seek Port Access in Greece,” Wall Street Journal, 2 November 2006, p. A6.

Nothing predicts Europe’s growing strategic irrelevancy more than their growing navel-gazing over the perceived threat of “Eurabia,” which speaks to a continent that’s gotten so fat, dumb and lazy that they’re fatalistically succumbing to fears of invasive species destroying their habitat. The reality is, of course, that thriving, self-aware societies can handle that influx and integrate the differences to make the whole stronger.

But apparently all talk of the “United States of Europe” is just that–talk and nothing more. The strife that comes from this will be all internal and–to be blunt–politically self-inflicted. We’ll be looking at a Europe that is more like the decades running up to our own Civil War than the kind we’ll need in this Long War–namely, one like the U.S. after the Civil War (which is where the New Core powers like China [if it can ever get past Taiwan] and India [if it can ever get past Kashmir] come in).

Speaking of China coming in, the EU’s coming decades of navel gazing will leave its outskirts ripe for the economic taking, as China is already gearing up to do.

Nuclear Lab Breach Could Be ‘Devastating:’ Data Found In Drug Raid Contains Weapons-Design Secrets by C.B.S.N.

The recent security breach at Los Alamos National Laboratory was very serious, with sensitive materials being taken out of the facility — possibly including information on how to deactivate locks on nuclear weapons, officials tell.

Officials say there is no evidence the information taken from Los Alamos was sold or transferred to anybody else, but there is no way to be sure right now.

As Sharyl Attkisson was first to report, secret documents apparently taken from the lab were found during a drug raid at a Los Alamos-area home last month. The FBI was called in to investigate.

Multiple sources tell material includes sensitive weapons-design data. A federal official who has been briefed on the issue said at least three USB thumb-drives were involved. Those small storage drives contained 408 separate classified documents ranging in importance from Secret National Security Information (pertaining to intelligence) to Secret Restricted Data (pertaining to nuclear weapons).

All of the information came from the classified document video media vault inside the Lab. Federal officials also found 228 pages — printed front and back — of classified documents in the drug trailer during their investigation.

The woman believed to have taken the information — the owner of the trailer — worked in three classified vault rooms across Los Alamos:

• Safeguards and Security (relating to strategic nuclear material control and accountability)
• X-Division (top secret)

• Physics P-Division.

The woman had top secret “Q-clearance” with access to all the U.S. underground nuclear test data. Additionally, she had “Sigma 15” clearance, which allows her access to info on how to deactivate locks on nuclear weapons.

For example, if a terrorist steals an American nuclear weapon, he could not detonate it due to the special access controls. This woman is authorized to read the reports that tell how to get around those safety controls.

Only the FBI will be able to tell for sure what’s on the thumb drives, but British security officials are worried that design plans for Trident nuclear weapons are among the stolen documents. They are making inquiries of U.S. officials. Britain used to test its nuclear weapons in the United States, and data on those tests may have been held at Los Alamos.

Los Alamos has a history of high-profile security problems in the past decade, with the most notable the case of nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee. After years of accusations, Lee pleaded guilty in a plea bargain to one count of mishandling nuclear secrets at the lab.

In 2004, the lab was essentially shut down after an inventory showed that two computer disks containing nuclear secrets were missing. A year later the lab concluded that it was just a mistake and the disks never existed.

But the incident highlighted sloppy inventory control and security failures at the nuclear weapons lab. The Energy Department then began moving toward a five-year program to create a so-called diskless environment at Los Alamos to prevent any classified material being carried outside the lab.