controversy has changed the
Petition now over 112,000 names.
On September 16th Human Events published a column by Brigitte Gabriel entitled “Waking Up to Radical Islam” (see below, highlights added).
Interestingly, just six days earlier, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a reformist Muslim for whom we have a great deal of respect, penned a column for The Wall Street Journal, entitled “Questions for Imam Rauf from an American Muslim.”
In his column he wrote:
We applaud Dr. Jasser for his courageous stand against sharia law and his call for the separation of mosque and state, and we know there are other Muslim reformists in America who agree with him. So why do so many in our government and the media insist on shining their spotlight on Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), ISNA (Islamic Society of North America), and MAS (the Muslim American Society)??
Waking Up to Radical Islam
by Brigitte Gabriel (more by this author)
Posted 09/16/2010 ET
In spite of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s recent New York Times op-ed written to calm American concerns about the Ground Zero mosque, as the bright light of public scrutiny shines on this proposed mosque, Americans are discovering elements of radical Islam previously unknown to them.
The controversy has led countless Americans, puzzled and disturbed by the motivation and insensitivity of Imam Rauf and his backers, to begin evaluating the threat of radical Islam beyond the isolated context of terrorism.
Islam’s history has shown, for example, there is powerful symbolism in choosing where to construct mosques. Built on sites of military victories, mosques have traditionally symbolized the triumph and supremacy of Islam over all other religions and people: Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem was built on top of Solomon’s Temple; the Umayyad mosque in Damascus is over the church of St. John the Baptist; more than 2,000 mosques are on the footprints of Hindu Temples in India.
While America does not have a religious center per se, in the eyes of radical Islam our “religion” is capitalism and the destruction of the World Trade Center was like the sack of Constantinople.
Does Ground Zero mosque Imam Rauf view his proposed mosque through this lens? Honestly, we can’t know for sure.
But even if he doesn’t, there is no doubt that many in the Muslim world will regard the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero as a tribute to Islamic victory over “infidel” America. Islamist leaders worldwide will employ the symbolism of a mosque at Ground Zero as a recruiting tool to jihad, swelling their ranks and escalating the threat against America.
This debate is forcing the American people to take a long- overdue look at the harsh reality of a political ideology which is in its very nature antithetical to the fundamental values of liberty and justice as practiced in America and Western societies.
People are asking the kinds of questions I had to confront decades ago: What exactly is “sharia law?” Why is there such an increase in homegrown jihadists today than ten or even five years ago? Who are the “moderate” Muslims, and why aren’t they speaking out more aggressively against the “radicals?”
Rauf and his supporters certainly did not anticipate the degree and intensity of the blowback they are getting. On the contrary, he quietly greased the skids for this project, meeting behind the scenes with various elected officials and opinion leaders to get their blessing.
Unfortunately, those he met with failed to do the due diligence that would have exposed his real agenda. They accepted at face value his soothing platitudes of tolerance and interfaith dialogue, platitudes for which he has shown contempt in writings and statements in the Arabic world.
Imam Rauf repeats these platitudes in his lengthy New York Times op-ed, clearly hoping that Americans will believe him. But thanks to probing investigations done by investigative reporters, bloggers and watchdog organizations, a robust debate has surrounded the proposed mosque.
More Americans now know that Rauf, as recently as March, said in Arabic that he opposes interfaith dialogue. They know he is a vocal supporter of sharia law, that he says governments which do not employ sharia law are “unjust” and that he has refused to label Hamas a terrorist organization. They know he has refused to sign the “Freedom Pledge,” issued by Former Muslims United, which pledges to oppose retaliation and punishment toward Muslims who leave Islam. The more Americans learn, the more concerned they become.
As a Lebanese immigrant I am as proud to be an American as at any time since I arrived in this great nation. Grassroots America is rising up in opposition to this symbol of Islamist victory, ignoring the hectoring and name-calling of our politically-correct “elites.”
Undoubtedly there are different reasons for why 70% of Americans oppose the building of the mosque. But whether the motivation is concern for the 9/11 victims or concern about the advance of sharia law that Imam Rauf advocates, the American people are saying “enough is enough.”
That is the only language Islamists understand.
Terrorists are only one manifestation of radical Islam. As Americans look even closer they will come to realize that the same ideology that produces a terrorist also produces a seemingly moderate Muslim who is dedicated to the advancement and imposition of sharia law. They will learn that the Islamist in a suit and tie, who wants to replace the Constitution with sharia law, differs from the terrorist only in the means to the end, not the end itself.
Brigitte Gabriel is an international terrorism analyst and a two-time New York Times best-selling author of Because They Hate and They Must Be Stopped. She is the president of ACT for America.org, the largest national security grassroots movement in the U.S.
Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.
"Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."
In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.
"President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies."
Using data collected in 1929 by the Conference Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cole and Ohanian were able to establish average wages and prices across a range of industries just prior to the Depression. By adjusting for annual increases in productivity, they were able to use the 1929 benchmark to figure out what prices and wages would have been during every year of the Depression had Roosevelt's policies not gone into effect. They then compared those figures with actual prices and wages as reflected in the Conference Board data.
In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt's policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25 percent higher than they otherwise would have done, the economists calculate. But unemployment was also 25 percent higher than it should have been, given gains in productivity.
Meanwhile, prices across 19 industries averaged 23 percent above where they should have been, given the state of the economy. With goods and services that much harder for consumers to afford, demand stalled and the gross national product floundered at 27 percent below where it otherwise might have been.
"High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns," Ohanian said. "As we've seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market's self-correcting forces."
The policies were contained in the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which exempted industries from antitrust prosecution if they agreed to enter into collective bargaining agreements that significantly raised wages. Because protection from antitrust prosecution all but ensured higher prices for goods and services, a wide range of industries took the bait, Cole and Ohanian found. By 1934 more than 500 industries, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of private, non-agricultural employment, had entered into the collective bargaining agreements called for under NIRA.
Cole and Ohanian calculate that NIRA and its aftermath account for 60 percent of the weak recovery. Without the policies, they contend that the Depression would have ended in 1936 instead of the year when they believe the slump actually ended: 1943.
Roosevelt's role in lifting the nation out of the Great Depression has been so revered that Time magazine readers cited it in 1999 when naming him the 20th century's second-most influential figure.
"This is exciting and valuable research," said Robert E. Lucas Jr., the 1995 Nobel Laureate in economics, and the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. "The prevention and cure of depressions is a central mission of macroeconomics, and if we can't understand what happened in the 1930s, how can we be sure it won't happen again?"
NIRA's role in prolonging the Depression has not been more closely scrutinized because the Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional within two years of its passage.
"Historians have assumed that the policies didn't have an impact because they were too short-lived, but the proof is in the pudding," Ohanian said. "We show that they really did artificially inflate wages and prices."
Even after being deemed unconstitutional, Roosevelt's anti-competition policies persisted — albeit under a different guise, the scholars found. Ohanian and Cole painstakingly documented the extent to which the Roosevelt administration looked the other way as industries once protected by NIRA continued to engage in price-fixing practices for four more years.
The number of antitrust cases brought by the Department of Justice fell from an average of 12.5 cases per year during the 1920s to an average of 6.5 cases per year from 1935 to 1938, the scholars found. Collusion had become so widespread that one Department of Interior official complained of receiving identical bids from a protected industry (steel) on 257 different occasions between mid-1935 and mid-1936. The bids were not only identical but also 50 percent higher than foreign steel prices. Without competition, wholesale prices remained inflated, averaging 14 percent higher than they would have been without the troublesome practices, the UCLA economists calculate.
NIRA's labor provisions, meanwhile, were strengthened in the National Relations Act, signed into law in 1935. As union membership doubled, so did labor's bargaining power, rising from 14 million strike days in 1936 to about 28 million in 1937. By 1939 wages in protected industries remained 24 percent to 33 percent above where they should have been, based on 1929 figures, Cole and Ohanian calculate. Unemployment persisted. By 1939 the U.S. unemployment rate was 17.2 percent, down somewhat from its 1933 peak of 24.9 percent but still remarkably high. By comparison, in May 2003, the unemployment rate of 6.1 percent was the highest in nine years.
Recovery came only after the Department of Justice dramatically stepped enforcement of antitrust cases nearly four-fold and organized labor suffered a string of setbacks, the economists found.
"The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes," Cole said. "Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened."