Palestinian Authority releases anti-corruption activist after public outcry

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 11:00

According to information obtained by the family, he said, his father was detained after reporting to the PA police in Ramallah hours after the raid on his home.

Iran to hand over Lebanese prisoner to Hezbollah soon: Fars news agency

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 10:55

Last week Lebanon's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that efforts to secure Zakka's release had been successful.

Iran foreign minister slams Netanyahu and Trump 'deal'

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 10:52

Germany’s foreign minister is in Tehran to preserve the Iran deal.

Iran has accelerated production of enriched uranium, IAEA says

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 10:02

It has also begun discussing military confrontation, dispatching extra troops to the region to counter what it describes as Iranian threats.

Israeli Teen Lost Her Father In Terror Attack, You Will Be Speechless At Her Words of Hope

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 09:47

Orit Mark lost her father in a terror attack in West Bank. She lost her brother in a car accident and nearly lost her mother too. But never lost her hope.

US Ambassador Says Israel Has the Right to Annex ‘Some’ of the West Bank

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 09:13

In an interview at his Jerusalem residence last week, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Israel has the right to annex at least “some” of the West Bank.

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“Under certain circumstances,” Friedman told The New York Times on Saturday, “I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged just prior to Israel’s April 9 election to extend Israeli law to all West Bank Jewish communities.

Friedman did not specify what the American response might look like should Israel annex West Bank land unilaterally.

“We really don’t have a view until we understand how much, on what terms, why does it make sense, why is it good for Israel, why is it good for the region, why does it not create more problems than it solves,” he said. “These are all things that we’d want to understand, and I don’t want to prejudge.”

Friedman said that by allowing passage of a United Nations resolution in 2016 condemning Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation” of international law, the Obama administration gave credence to Palestinian arguments “that the entire West Bank and East Jerusalem belong to them.”

With respect to the West Bank, Friedman said that “certainly Israel’s entitled to retain some portion of it.”

According to the Times of Israel, the Palestinian Authority has said in response that it will consider filing a complaint at the International Criminal Court against Friedman.

Mike Pompeo Causes British Outrage by Saying US Could “Push Back” Against Corbyn’s Labour Party

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 08:55

A tape of a behind-closed-doors meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and American Jewish leaders was leaked to the Washington Post. At the meeting, the US Secretary of State was asked: “Would you be willing to work with us to take on actions if life becomes very difficult for Jews in the UK?”

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“It could be that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected,” he said on the recording. “It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”

Jeremy Corbyn lays a wreath at the graves of the terrorists who perpetrated the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. (Credit: via Twitter)

A Labour spokesman responded: “President Trump and his officials’ attempts to decide who will be Britain’s next prime minister are an entirely unacceptable interference in the UK’s democracy.” He added that the party was “fully committed to the support, defense and celebration of the Jewish community and is implacably opposed to antisemitism in any form.”

The US president also refused to meet Jeremy Corbyn during his trip to London last week, calling the Labour leader “somewhat of a negative force.”

British general elections are scheduled for May 2022 but Prime Minister Theresa May stepped down on May 24 opening the possibility for new elections. According to a poll conducted on behalf of The Jewish Chronicle conducted in June 2018, 85.9% of Jews in Britain believe that Corbyn is an anti-Semite. Just 8.3% said they think Corbyn is not anti-Semitic.

Jeremy Corbyn has connected several times with U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

Mossad Helped British Intelligence Uncover Massive Hezbollah Explosive Stockpile in London

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 08:10

British media reported that in 2015, British Metropolitan police and MI5 agents raided four locations in northwest London, seizing three tons of ammonium nitrate, a component used in homemade explosives, hidden in disposable ice-packs.

The Telegraph reported the incident on Sunday, suggesting that the British government kept the story “hidden from the public” to avoid derailing the recently signed nuclear deal.

“It raises questions about whether senior UK government figures chose not to reveal the plot in part because they were invested in keeping the Iran nuclear deal afloat,” the paper said.

The Telegraph said its information came after a three-month investigation in which more than 30 current and former officials in Britain, America and Cyprus were approached and court documents were obtained.Israeli media reports claimed that Israeli officials confirmed that the Mossad provided the intel for the operation.

Hezbollah’s military wing was banned in the UK in 2008. Its political wing was banned by the UK in 2019, more than three years after the discovery of the stockpiles of explosives. Hezbollah is a Shia Muslim Iranian terrorist proxy based in Lebanon.

The Telegraph article described a similar cache of explosives discovered in Cyprus in 2015. A captured Hezbollah agent had 8.2 tons of ammonia sulfate hidden in his home, also stored in ice packs.

PROVERBS 31:10

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 07:57

This chapter contains an extended poem in praise of the eishet chayil, translated here as ‘capable wife,’ but generally referred to as the ‘woman of valor’ (verses 10-31). She provides for her family in all ways, both materially and spiritually, and her endeavors and accomplishments are praised by the members of her household and by others. This poem is sung by Jews around the world on Friday nights, as they begin the first Shabbat meal. It is often understood as a praise for the Jewish woman who works hard to care for her family and for others, and to prepare for the Shabbat each week. On a more mystical plane, it has been said in the name of the sixteenth century Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, who is known by the acronym Arizal, that “the Land of Israel is the earthly manifestation of the woman of valor.” When the Children of Israel follow Hashem faithfully in this unique land, they are provided for, both materially and spiritually. And, the beauty and charm of Eretz Yisrael are recognized and praised by all, Jews and non-Jews alike.

Sovereignty in the Entire Land of Israel – Can it Really Happen?

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 07:15

Nadia Matar of Women in Green Discusses why Jewish sovereignty must include all of the land of Israel.

 

Syrian opposition documents Iranian missile caches in country - report

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 07:13

Israel has warned Tehran against stockpiling weapons in Syria, says it's a redline.

Asteroid May Hit Earth But Scientist Say Not to Worry-Only One Chance in 7,000 of Catastrophic Impact

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 06:50

Astronomers discovered a large asteroid on a trajectory that may hit Earth but they assure us not to worry as the chances of a catastrophic impact is only one in 7,000.

Asteroid 2006 QV89 has a diameter of 164 feet and will make its closest pass to earth on September 9, 2019. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) estimates that it will pass a comfortable  4.2 million miles away from the Earth. This astronomical near-miss places QV89  at fourth place on the ESA’s “Risk List.” Though this sounds reassuring, it is the only object in the top 10 with a chance of impacting Earth this year. According to the ESA’s impact table, 2006 QV89 has a .014 percent chance of impacting Earth in September.

Scientists have known about the asteroid since it was discovered on August 29, 2006, by the Catalina Sky Survey located near Tuscon, Arizona.  It had two close approaches in the 1950s, then one in the 60s, another in the 70s and two more in the 80s. There were two more close approaches by 2006 QV89 in 2003 and in 2006. According to the ESA, after this year, it’s set for another close approach in 2032.

For comparison,  a meteor half the size of 2006 QV89 generated an airburst over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 and injured more than 1,100 people. The meteor was estimated to have an initial diameter of 17–20 meters and a mass of roughly 10,000 tons.

These close encounters are not uncommon. In 2006, a meteor struck in Norway with the blast force estimated at the equivalence of 100–500  tons of TNT, around 3 percent of Hiroshima’s yield. In September 2007, a meteor crashed in southeastern Peru. Many residents became ill, apparently from the noxious gases released from the impact.

Perhaps the most severe asteroid impact in modern history was the Tunguska event in 1908. The explosion over the sparsely populated Eastern Siberian Taiga flattened 770 square miles of forest, yet caused no known human casualties. The explosion is generally attributed to the air burst of a meteor since no impact crater has been found. The object is thought to have disintegrated at an altitude of 3 to 6 miles.Early estimates of the energy of the airburst range from 10–15 megatons of TNT or roughly 1,000 times greater than that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Studies have yielded different estimates of the meteoroid’s size, on the order of 200 to 620 feet.

NASA is beginning to seriously consider the threat of a catastrophic impact as a planet-threatening possibility. In April, scientists and civil authorities from around the world gathered at the International Academy of Astronautics 6th Planetary Defense Conference. in College Park, Maryland. Also, the National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan was published by the White House in June 2018, describing plans for such an eventuality.

The Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) was established in 2016 to detect any potentially hazardous object. Since the PDCO was established, at least four major impacts have been reported. Only three impact events have been successfully predicted in advance, usually by only a few hours.  Currently, predictions are mainly based on cataloging asteroids years before they are due to impact. This works well for larger asteroids as they are easily seen from a long distance but is ineffective for predicting smaller objects that can still be quite destructive.

Iran welcomes German FM to pressure Europe on Iran deal

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 05:24

Iranian media appears suspicious that Germany can actually preserve the deal.

Palestinians Announce ‘Popular Uprising’ Against Trump Peace Plan

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 04:24

A “popular Palestinian uprising” against U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan was announced Sunday following a meeting of PLO faction representatives, Palestinian civil society organizations and private individuals in the West Bank city of el-Bireh.

The protests are to coincide with the U.S.-sponsored June 25-26 “Peace to Prosperity” conference in Bahrain, where the United States is expected to reveal the first, economic stage of Trump’s peace plan.

According to The Jerusalem Post, PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef said the meeting was the first in a series focusing on “popular activities to confront American-Israeli schemes aimed at eliminating the rights of the Palestinian people.”

The Palestinians, he said, needed to organize a “struggling action to foil the ‘deal of the century’ [the U.S. peace plan] and its economic aspect, and voice their rejection of all American policies.”

According to Abu Yusef, the protests will be carried out at “friction points,” namely Israeli checkpoints, rather than in inside Palestinian cities, and will be coordinated with Arab-Israeli leaders and Palestinians around the world.

The other participants in the Bahrain conference are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Though Israel has not yet received a formal invitation, it is also expected to attend. Responses are pending from Egypt and Jordan.

Democratic Senators Introduce Resolution Denouncing Netanyahu’s Annexation Plan for Judea/Samaria

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 04:11

Five Democratic senators introduced a non-binding resolution on Thursday denouncing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign promise to annex parts of Judea and Samaria.

Two of them, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), are running for the Democratic nomination for president next year.

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“Unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank would jeopardize prospects for a two-state solution, harm Israel’s relationship with its Arab neighbors, threaten Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity, and undermine Israel’s security,” stated the resolution.

It mentioned that “the policy of the United States should be to preserve conditions conducive to a negotiated two state solution.”

The other senators who introduced the measure were Jeff Merkley (D-Wash.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Pentagon Suspends Turkish F-35 Training as Erdogan Embraces Putin

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 03:58

The Pentagon has been taking major steps toward suspending its F-35 fighter jet training program for Turkish pilots in the United States in response to Ankara looking to acquire the S-400 Russian missile-defense system, a senior U.S. defense official told Foreign Policy.

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told his Turkish counterpart in a June 6 letter that the pilots must leave the United States by July 31 and that training for new students will be halted.

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The Trump administration has already suspended delivery of all F-35 aircraft shipments to Turkey.

“It’s a good move, albeit one that is years too late,” former Pentagon official Michael Rubin told JNS. “The basic problem within the Trump administration remains, however, the unresolved debate between those such as [Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] Jim Jeffrey and his deputy Rich Outzen who, in inner-agency debates, believe that the relationship with Turkey is so important they must excuse, ignore, or apologize for the worst excesses of [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s behavior and those who recognize Turkey may no longer be salvageable.”

Aykan Erdemir – who served in the Turkish parliament from 2011 to 2015, and now serves as a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies – told JNS that the decision to purchase the S-400 system has negative consequences for Turkey beyond sanctions.

“The suspension of Turkey’s F-35 pilot training is a reminder that Erdoğan’s purchase of the S-400 air defense system will have ramifications beyond [Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act] sanctions,” Erdemir said. “If Erdoğan fails to step back from his deal with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, Turkey’s security cooperation with the U.S. will suffer a significant blow, as Turkish access to American hardware, partnerships, and training will be severely restricted in the months to come.”

Moreover, continued Erdemir, “coupled with the recent start of the training of Turkish officers in Russia, this could be turning point in Turkey’s relations not only with the U.S. but also with other NATO members, as the Turkish security policy and military become more prone to Russian meddling.”

As such, Erdemir says that what was initially a bilateral conflict is now one that could destabilize NATO, which has long been a goal of Putin.

“To Putin’s delight, what was initially a bilateral conflict between Ankara and Washington, could soon turn into a destabilizing dynamic within the transatlantic alliance,” he said. “Erdoğan’s ill-advised insistence on acquiring a Russian air defense system is likely to hurt not only Turkey’s security and interests but also those of its NATO allies.”

Top US Commander: Iranian Threat Still ‘Very Real’

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 03:49

The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Frank McKenzie told reporters on Thursday that while Iran has decided to “step back and recalculate” whether to attack American assets in the Gulf, “I don’t actually believe the threat has diminished. I believe the threat is very real.”

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His remarks came amid the Washington increasing pressure on Tehran that has included enacting new sanctions and deploying two warships with fighter jets, in addition to a Patriot missile battery, to the Gulf in response to Pentagon reports that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was planning an attack on U.S. forces or interests in the region.

Late last month, the United States sent 900 new troops to Saudi Arabia and Qatar amid the Iranian threat.

These U.S. responses, said McKenzie, have “caused the Iranians to back up a little bit, but I’m not sure they are strategically backing down.”

“We’ve taken steps to show the Iranians that we mean business in our ability to defend ourselves,” he said.

For example, the general said that surveillance aircraft has been repositioned to give the Iranian threat a “new look.”

“I hesitate to say that deterrence has been established,” said McKenzie. “We continue to see possible imminent threats” of a possible Iranian attack.

Israeli Military Continues Clearing Mines From Jordan Valley’s ‘Land of Monasteries’

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 03:42

The Jordan Valley region is usually a quiet region, but its calm was shattered in May by the sounds of hundreds of landmines going off. Planted decades ago by Palestinian terrorists seeking to infiltrate Israel from Jordan in the 1960s and ’70s, and by the Israel Defense Forces seeking to stop them, the landmines are a relic from a time when Israel’s eastern border was far from peaceful.

The area was once known as “the land of pursuits,” due to the IDF’s routine chases of Palestinian armed cells infiltrating from the east.

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Today, however, Israel’s longest border is far removed from those days of armed clashes, and the IDF is determined to demine the area, making it safe and secure for tourists. Included among those tourists are Christian visitors who would like to see the seven historic monasteries in the region—structures that did not escape the violence of the last century, when Palestinian guerillas booby-trapped them with landmines.“The idea is to allow civilians and tourists to enter the area and pray at the sites,” Maj. Amir Zargari, Operational Engineering Officer of IDF Central Command, told JNS.  “During the times of the pursuits, lots of landmines were planted here.”

In a visit to the region in March, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said that the mission to clear the mines is part of the Jewish state’s “deep commitment to religious freedom.”

“The ‘Land of the Monasteries’ is a place of prayer and holiness. A place of pilgrims from afar who come to be closer to God. But it is also a place that has been injured and broken by war in the past. We are now investing large amounts to restore the site and to return the monasteries to their churches so that Christian pilgrims and other people of faith from around the world can come and visit once again.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, met with the Heads of Churches, visiting the Baptismal Site Qasr Al-Yahud at the Jordan River near Jericho. Credit: Serbian Orthodox Church.

At the start of May, combat engineering units neutralized no fewer than 900 landmines within just three days. Last year, the units detonated 650 mines, according to Zargari.

Combat engineering units, in coordination with Israel’s Defense Ministry, are working according to a multi-year program to demine the entire area. Around two years of work are left until the mission is accomplished.

This will “allow people to come, pray and enjoy the view. The area is very important to Christianity and Judaism,” said Zargari. “We are advancing well.”

The three days of detonation are only the last stage that follows months of preparations, the officer explained. “Before that, we prepare our battle procedures, preparations, and simulations. We work according to drills.” The preparations include conducting intensive scans and “making sure nothing was left behind.”

The last of these mines were planted in the area in 1974, Zargari stated, creating significant challenges due to the extreme heat conditions in the area and natural corrosion.

“Terrorists booby-trapped the monasteries. Also, the IDF mined the area against the enemy,” he said, referring to Israeli minefields planted against the threat of armored formations invading from the east. “Today, we are clearing them.”

Asked if such an operation can help prepare the IDF’s engineering units for operations in more hostile territory, Zargari agreed that it would, saying, “Our core is dealing with landmines and explosives.”

A view of an IDF demining operation in the Jordan Valley. Credit: IDF Spokesperson Unit.

The technology available to the modern IDF mine-clearers is far advanced compared to what was available “when I was a young officer,” said Zargari. “This very much upgrades our work and the end result.”

On most days, the combat engineering units under central Command conduct security operations and training, as well as being on-call to respond to incidents. “This is not the only thing that any of the combat engineering units do in light of the challenges around,” said Zargari. “And there is no shortage of challenges.”

‘Safeguarding the security stability of the eastern border’

The Jordan Valley is protected around the clock by the IDF’s 417 regional brigade. The brigade’s Operations Branch officer, Maj. Oded Zahari, told JNS about its central mission, which he defined as “safeguarding the security stability of the eastern border, a peaceful border.”

There are still, however, unusual incidents, such as the attempt in February to smuggle handguns across the Jordanian-Israeli border. Security forces intercepted the smuggling run and arrested a Palestinian resident of Nablus, as well as three others suspected of assisting him.

“The sector of the border with the Hashemite Kingdom is quiet. Our forces work around the clock to safeguard the situation as it is,” said Zahari. “We have unusual incidents, like any border. Such incidents receive the appropriate responses.”

The brigade consists of two light-infantry battalions, made up of male and female soldiers, who are almost permanently stationed in the area, as part of the IDF’s Border Defense Array.

The units also secure roads, communities and conduct preventative counter-terror operations, as well as deal with some instances of unorganized violence, like firebombing and rock-throwing incidents. Such incidents are lower in number than in areas of the West Bank.

“In the end, we want to create the highest quality of life for the population here,” said Zahari.

The Jordan border fence, like other fences around the State of Israel, has high-tech sensors installed on it, to alert forces to suspicious movements.

According to Zahari, regular cooperation with Jordanian security forces occurs, as part of the terms of the peace treaty. “The coordination, which occurs through liaison officers, takes place between both countries to keep the quiet and maintain the security stability,” he said. “This is in the interests of both sides.”

“This is a beautiful area. It’s worthwhile visiting here. The agriculture is flourishing. The dates here are wonderful. I invite everyone to come, visit and see this wonder.”

The Islamophobia Victim’s Murder Plot

Breaking Israel News - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 02:00

“Observe how peaceful we are,” Imam Mahmoud Shalash urged. “We do not cause any harm to anybody.”

Shalash’s mosque, the Islamic Center of Lexington, had contacted Lexington cops and Homeland Security, while claiming to be suffering from Islamophobic threats.

Before long, two cop cars in the Kentucky city known as the Horse Capital of the World were parked outside the mosque to protect the imam and his congregation.

The FBI also got on board.

CAIR widely circulated reports of the threat to what it called, a “house of worship”.

“Our nation’s leaders must send a clear message challenging the rising Islamophobia that leads to such threats,” CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper declared. With the 2016 election still imminent, his news release blamed the “extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric” of Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Four years later, Imam Mahmoud Shalash is in jail. The imam of the Islamic Center, along with John Sadiqullah, and Abdul Hadi, were charged in a harmful and not especially peaceful murder plot.

What makes this particular murder plot interesting is that it would have been authorized with a fatwa.

Imam Shalash has worn many hats. According to a LinkedIn profile, In addition to running the Islamic Center of Lexington, a man of that name owned a mobile home park and the Bluegrass Extended Stay motel (guest reviews have complained about roaches, stained beds and unfriendliness to service dogs), was a member of the Muslim Students Association (a terror linked Muslim Brotherhood hate group) while working on a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Chicago, and, ironically, considering his current predicament, had worked as a chaplain at “federal and state prisons”.

It’s unknown which, if any of these businesses, led to the first plot.

In March, Imam Shalash met up with a government informant at the Days Motel which records indicate is owned by Shalash. (Reviews of the motel describe a man named Mohammed, accuse the staff of sexual harassment, and claim that the motel is dangerous and that the mattresses are covered in bugs.)

There the imam told the informant he needed help getting $80,000 from his target. “Do whatever you have to do to get my money back.” That, according to the informant, included breaking the man’s legs.

At a second meeting, Imam Shalash was there along with Sadiqullah, for a murder plot against another man, this time apparently involving a taxi company deal gone bad, across state lines.

“I want him dead,” Sadiqullah said. “If someone could kill him for $10,000, we all four will pay someone $10,000.”

A meeting was then meant to happen at a mosque at which a fatwa would be provided authorizing the murder. That mosque may have been the Islamic Center of Lexington, which is just across the street from the University of Kentucky.

A fatwa, a religious Islamic authorization, for murder would have provided a sharia license for violence.

“This is the month when the heart gets soft,” Imam Shalash had claimed during a previous Ramadan. “You read the Quran more often, you remember Allah more often, you tend to come to the mosque more often to pray in congregation.”

This Ramadan didn’t seem to have softened his heart. But Imam Shalash has never been a kind man.

A decade ago, Asra Q. Nomani described Imam Mahmoud Shalash telling Muslim men to beat their wives.

“This is America,” Nomani had protested. “How can you tell men to beat their wives?”

“They should beat them lightly,” Imam Shalash had insisted. “It’s in the Koran.”

And yet, despite incidents like this, the media continued quoting Imam Shalash favorably.

When Sonny Landham called for a Muslim ban while running for a Senate seat in Kentucky, the media turned to Imam Shalash to describe the libertarian actor’s comments as “irresponsible”.

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The media constantly turned to Imam Shalash because he’s a major figure in the Muslim settler community in Lexington. Documents list him as an incorporator of the Islamic Society of Central Kentucky. The Society’s site lists him as conducting marriages and funerals. And the Society founded the Lexington Universal Academy whose board appears to contain a number of people with that last name.

That includes one woman described as a CAIR board member and anti-Israel activist who shares a name with a woman who is listed as living at the same address as Imam Shalash.

The Islamic Center of Lexington responded to Imam Shalash’s arrest with a statement claiming that its leadership is “shocked” at the news, that “every American citizen is innocent until proven guilty”, and that “Islam is a religion built on peace and tolerance”. But how shocked can the Center really be?

News accounts report that Imam Shalash had already pleaded guilty to federal charges of $238,763 in illegal currency transactions back in 2012. Despite that, the Center didn’t cut ties with him.

It didn’t cut ties with him after the wife-beating story.

The Islamic Center is probably hoping once again that this latest Shalash scandal will blow over.

The media has been the Islamic Center’s greatest ally during its previous scandals. When neighbors protested the plans for an Islamic community center, the media took Shalash’s side. Had the media disclosed Shalash’s previous guilty plea and the wife-beating incident, the stories and the hearings might have had a very different outcome.

Instead the media waited for a murder. And nearly got one.

Imam Shalash has spent the better part of two decades trading in vague concerns about Islamophobia while preaching that Islam is a religion of peace.

When Obama ran for office, Imam Shalash claimed that his opponents were “trying to exploit the anti-Islamic sentiment in this country that ties Muslims with terrorists.”

After President Trump’s travel ban, Imam Shalash had insisted, “People come for better opportunities to this country, not to do terroristic actions.” Apparently the two are not mutually exclusive.

After repeatedly exploiting false claims of Islamophobia, the former chaplain is now facing prison.

This case isn’t about Islamic terrorism. But it is about how Islamic law can be leveraged for violent purposes. Islamic violence isn’t just terrorism. It’s violence that is licensed by Islamic authorities.

And that can be as simple as a meeting in a grimy motel or a mosque opposite the University of Kentucky where the religious authority is just a thug who wants to get his money any way he can.

“We want to come up here and show them the real Islam that carries the love and courtesy and tolerance in our faith,” Imam Shalash was quoted as saying in news stories.

It took a while, but he finally did.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Sultan Knish Blog