My Son Jihad: Glorifying Evil in France
By: Robert Spencer
September 23, 2013
International Business Times reported Friday that
a French mother who named her son Jihad has reportedly been convicted by an appeals court in the city of Nimes, France, of “glorifying a crime” for sending the 3-year-old to school wearing a shirt emblazoned with the French words for “I am a bomb” and “Jihad born on September 11th.”
The jihadi mother, Bouchra Bagour, got a suspended sentence of a month in prison and a $2,705 fine. Jihad’s uncle, Zeyad Bagour, got a two-month prison sentence, also suspended, along with a fine of $5,409, for buying him the “I am a bomb” shirt.
But Bouchra and Zeyad Bagour say the whole thing was just a joke. “For me,” said Bouchra in court, “the text is simply my son’s name and his date of birth. It’s a bit different, but I thought it would make people laugh. … My brother gave my son the sweatshirt, I put it on him, and I never thought anything of it.”
Zeyad Bagour added that he “had no intention of being provocative or shocking people. “For me, the words ‘I am a bomb’ mean ‘I am beautiful.’”
The Bagours’ attorney, Gaële Guenoum, expressed shock at the court’s ruling, calling it “severe, surprising and amazing.”
Prosecutors, however, weren’t buying it. “At some point,” one observed, “there must be limits. They are not stupid. They understand the significance of what they are doing.” They knew that in this context, the Bagours weren’t just making a cute joke; they were glorifying evil.
Nonetheless, the jihad-loving duo had their defenders. Josette Pessemesse of the Front de Gauche party called on the court trying the Bagours to protect the “right to humor.”
The court could be forgiven, however, for not finding the shirt, and the boy’s name, all that funny. After all, Bouchra Bagour would hardly be the first Muslim mother to glorify death and murder in the name of Islam, and to work to instill that love in her children. A Muslim child preacher in 2012 taunted those he has been taught to hate most: “Oh Zionists, we love death for the sake of Allah, just as much as you love life for the sake of Satan.” His words echoed the Qur’an: “Say (O Muhammad): O ye who are Jews! If ye claim that ye are favoured of Allah apart from (all) mankind, then long for death if ye are truthful” (62:6).
This young man’s mother was probably much like Boucha Bagour, as well as the notorious Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of Boston Marathon jihad murderers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The Tsarnaev brothers were a vivid illustration of the old axiom that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: when it was revealed that Tamerlan had been listed in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), the government’s primary terrorist database, it came out that his mother was listed as well.
Iran-Owned NYC 5th Avenue Office Tower Worth Up to $700 Million Finally Cleared for Seizure by U.S. Government
By: Joshua Levitt
September 17, 2013
650 Fifth Avenue, in New York City, was cleared by a U.S. Federal judge for forfeiture because it was secretly owned by the Iranian government. Photo: WikiCommons.
A 36-story Manhattan office tower, partially-owned by a shell company controlled by Iran, has been cleared for forfeiture to the U.S. government by a federal judge, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday. The building is expected to fetch between $500 million and $700 million, the New York Daily News said.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest made the forfeiture finding in a case first brought by the U.S. government in 2008, ruling that the building is subject to forfeiture because revenue from it was secretly funneled to a state-owned Iranian bank, in violation of a U.S. trade embargo.
The U.S. government, on behalf of the Asset Forfeiture Unit and Terrorism and National Security Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office, argued that the official owner, the Alavi Foundation, was partnered with a shell company controlled by Bank Melli, the state-owned bank of Iran. Because the Iranian government has been designated by the U.S. as a sponsor of international terrorism, its assets in the U.S. can be seized by the government to fund restitution to terror victims.
Judge Forrest agreed that monetary transfers by the shell company, Assa Co., to Bank Melli violated money laundering statutes.
“There is substantial, un-contradicted evidence that Assa is owned and controlled by Bank Melli, and that Bank Melli is wholly owned and controlled by Iran,” the judge said.
The Associated Press reported that the judge rejected Alavi’s “core defense,” because many of the Alavi board members who were involved in the creation of Assa as a front for Bank Melli in 1989 remained with or returned to positions with Alavi after 1995, when Iran was designated as a sponsor of terror.
“The Government argues that Alavi asserts a sort of collective amnesia,” the judge said. “The court finds the analogy apt and its reality implausible. No rational juror could believe in such extraordinary amnesia.”
The building, at 650 Fifth Avenue, was built in the 1970s on property acquired by a not-for-profit corporation formed in New York by then Iranian leader Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown in 1979.
“The alleged money laundering occurred when the partnership, Alavi, and Assa Corp. distributed the rent with the intent to conceal that it was meant for the benefit of the Iranian government and caused partnership funds to be transferred abroad,” the judge wrote. “Having engaged in a money laundering violation, the entirety of the 650 Fifth Avenue Building (the business premises) and all of the associated bank accounts are subject to forfeiture — even if they were not used in the money laundering offense itself.”
Prosecutors told the Daily News they believe the decision to be “the largest real property forfeiture” in U.S. history. They intend to hand over the bulk of any proceeds derived from the forfeiture to relatives of people who died in Iran-aided terror attacks, including 9/11 and the bombing of a Marine Corps barracks in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. servicemen, the Daily News said.
The decision is subject to a potential appeal, but if the forfeiture moves forward soon, the timing could generate substantial gains for terror victims, because of the rising prices of Manhattan office property in today’s market, the Daily News reported.
Commercial real estate appraiser Dan Fasulo said the office tower could fetch up to $2,000 a foot, as much as the nearby General Motors Building, and could reach a total sale value of $700 million.
The building, at Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street, totals 380,000 square feet and leases retail space to Juicy Couture and Godiva.
Syria: International Norms Have No Teeth without the U.S.
Family Security Matters
By: Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman
Septmeber 10, 2013
We are starting to learn from our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya that we can remove a bad leader but cannot replace him with good governance. We run into trouble when we do not temper our idealism with pragmatism, knowing when and how much to act in the face of evil. But perhaps we are beginning to be a bit more practical.
Because we love democracy and hate autocracy, we had hoped that the public clamor that got rid of autocrats in Egypt (and before that in Iran) would set those countries on the road to democracy. We admired the hip young professionals who put their bodies on the line in demonstrations. However, we did not see that by far, the majority in those countries were neither hip nor modern; they were ignorant and religious. Iran got an Islamic dictatorship, and Egypt almost did too, to be saved by military intervention, something that we liberals do not like.
Syria is another case in point. The President knows that there are few good choices there. The Assad government is horrible, but the rebels could well be far worse and removing Assad can only result in anarchy and even worse civil war unless we play a smart game. Yes, Obama made the mistake of warning the Assad government that using chemical weapons on his civilian population violates international norms without being ready to follow through. But this is being remedied now.
A global treaty bans any use of chemical or biological weapons. It is, indeed, a "norm," but a norm without teeth. There is no way that "the world" can punish such a violation. In theory, the UN Security Council could order military action (to be provided by volunteer states, such as Nigeria); however, the Security Council will never order action against a human rights violator because two of the five member states, China and Russia, will veto any action that violates "national sovereignty."
They vetoed intervention when the Serbs were engaging in genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo; the US-led NATO went in and stopped the genocide. They vetoed intervention when the Sudanese government was slaughtering and enslaving their southern Black population, and committing genocide against fellow Muslims in Darfur province. In these cases, nobody cared enough to do anything but talk about it. China and Russia fear that someday they might be at the receiving end of intervention when they do something horrific. So if any moral case is ever to be made, the United States must lead it. And it is very difficult to get public support for such intervention if it does not affect our own interests.
The Middle East has long been one of our regions of interest---hearkening back to World War II. Oil was the issue, and for the time being, still is. But since our naïve response to the transformation of a modernizing state, Iran, to an Islamist dictatorship in 1979, our ability to control events in that region has declined. The resurgence of Militant Islam began there, and has spread not only to the vast swath of Muslim nations across the world, but has also arrived with radicalized immigrants in Europe and the United States. We have been very slow to recognize that it not Islam that is our enemy, but its modern form of Islamo-Fascism.
However, as complex as this scenario is, there is one difference from our former struggles with Nazi Germany, Fascist Japan, or Communist Russia: those countries could not only use the weapons of war against us, they could also make them. The Islamo-Fascists, fortunately, cannot do this; they cannot make anything, and only destroy. They will ultimately lose this war when they tire of anarchy. But what do we do about murderous dictators?
"International norms" against poison gas are meaningless without the United States representing global order. Watching the Foreign Relations Committee hearing, I am pleased to see that the President and Congress actually seem to be striking the right balance this time. We are on the right side of history here, and the world's gangsters know it.