Is Austria’s Burqa Ban an Example for America or is it a Ban on Free Speech?

Shall Ameica Ban the Burqa or is this a threat to “Free Speech”?

BurqaWith the number of jihadist terrorists in Europe rising, and a concurrent increase in the number of women involved in Islamist terrorism and recruiting, Austria's centrist government passed a bill in May to prohibit all face coverings in the public sphere.

The measure, which carries a fine of €150, includes a ban on clown makeup, ski masks, and even hospital masks worn on city streets; but it is clearly the face-covering garments of Muslim women – the niqab and burqa – that are the law's real targets. The so-called “burqa ban,” which went into effect May 1, makes Austria the fifth European country to outlaw the wearing of face-coverings in public, and the fifth to do so on the basis of national security concerns related to Islamic dress. France, Belgium, Latvia, and Bulgaria already have such laws in place, and partial bans are in effect in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

Now other countries are starting to consider instituting comparable laws, despite ongoing protests from Muslim and many rights groups. Even Morocco, which is 99 percent Muslim, recently banned the sale and manufacture of burqas, citing safety concerns even though a small minority of Moroccan women wear face coverings. Reasons for such bans internationally range from similar security concerns to uneasiness about the oppression of Muslim women and their safety navigating in garments that restrict their movement and their vision.

Crimes have also been committed by women and even men disguised by burqas and niqabs: in 2009, a robber dressed in a burqa ran off with £150,000 worth of Rolex and Cartier watches from a jewelry shop Oxfordshire, England; a year later, two men, also in burqas, raided a French bank and escaped with €4,500; and when a non-Muslim Melbourne couple staged a robbery in August, the woman wore a burqa to conceal her identity.

Similar events have also taken place in the United States, most notably a rash of crimes in Philadelphia 2007 to 2013, including a number of bank robberies and the kidnapping and of a 5-year-old girl.

Yet a 2018 poll indicates that fewer Americans than Europeans support prohibiting the burqa and similar coverings. As in Austria and elsewhere in Europe, Americans' arguments against the bans tend largely to rely on the notion that they impinge on women's freedom to wear what they like as an expression of “Free Speech”. But this position ignores other public safety laws affecting dress – including complete undress – such as requirements to tie one's hair back while handling food, or to wear safety helmets on motorcycles and at construction sites.

Others insist such prohibitions violate laws protecting religious freedom, a position many Muslim feminists view as misguided, at best. Indeed, according to a Spectator editorial by Muslim activist and physician Qanta Ahmed, the idea of the full-face covering for Muslim women is a “recent invention,” a concept “derived not from the Quran or early Islamic tradition, but from a misogyny which claims a false basis in the divine.”

In this regard, Austria's approach is unique, as it actively seeks to address … 

Viewing All Enemy Regimes as They Are, Not as We Wish They Were

trump-iran* Experience has shown that soft rhetoric and so-called “smart diplomacy” have served only to enable North Korea and Iran to produce more nuclear weapons and better ballistic missiles.

* Not only has the International Atomic Energy Agency (IEAE) been prevented from monitoring Iranian compliance, but it is not pushing the issue for fear that “Washington would use an Iranian refusal as an excuse to abandon the JCPOA.”

During his first press conference after taking office in January 1981, US President Ronald Reagan called détente a “one-way street that the Soviet Union has used to pursue its own aims.” Echoing this remark while addressing reporters later the same day, Secretary of State Alexander Haig said that the Soviets were the source of much support for international terrorism, especially in Latin and Central America.

The following day, both Reagan and Haig were criticized for their remarks, with members of the media describing the president's words as “reminiscent of the chilliest days of the Cold War,” and appalled that the administration's top diplomat was accusing the Russians of backing terrorist activities.

Nearly four decades later, in spite of the successful defeat of the Soviet empire, the White House is still frowned upon when it adopts a tough stance towards America's enemies. Today's outrage is directed at President Donald Trump's warnings about — and to — North Korea and Iran. Top Democrats' attack his remarks as being “reckless” and “irresponsible.”

Critics of Trump's attitude towards Tehran go equally far, describing his opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the nuclear deal with Iran — as “rushing headlong into war.”

Trump's detractors, however, are just as wrong as those who berated Reagan in 1981. Experience has shown that soft rhetoric and so-called “smart diplomacy” have served only to enable North Korea and Iran to produce more nuclear weapons and better ballistic missiles.

Although the JCPOA stipulates that Iran is not permitted to produce more than a certain quantity of enriched uranium or to enrich uranium beyond a certain level, not only has the International Atomic Energy Agency (IEAE) been prevented from monitoring Iranian compliance, but it is not pushing the issue for fear that “Washington would use an Iranian refusal as an excuse to abandon the JCPOA.”

Furthermore, among its many other flaws, the JCPOA does not address Iran's ballistic-missile capabilities or financing of global terrorism.

Nevertheless, it is the administration's rhetoric that is under attack. Isn't it high time for the media and foreign-policy establishment to wake up to the reality that seeing regimes as they are, rather than as we wish them to be, is the only way to confront our enemies effectively, and with the least number of casualties?

'Next 9/11' Style Terrorist Plot Foiled

9/11 plotUnlike Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock, three Islamic terrorists made their motives abundantly clear.

“A trio of maniacal terrorists targeted women and children — hoping to make ‘an ocean out of their blood’ — in a failed attack they dreamed would be on par with 9/11,” wrote Denis Slattery Victoria Bekiempis and Graham Rayman in the New York Daily News.

The article, headlined “Terrorist plot targeting NYC concerts, subways and landmarks foiled by investigators,” identified the trio as Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, a 19-year-old Canadian; U.S. citizen Tala Haroon, who lives in Pakistan; and Russell Salic, 37 a Philippine national.

Haroon told an undercover agent he wanted to “cause great destruction to the filthy kuffars by our hands.” The trio sought to create the “next 9/11” and the most eager was El Bahnasawy. As the CBC reported, in May of 2018, while in Canada, El Bahnasawy purchased bomb-making materials, including 18 kilograms of hydrogen peroxide, “a key ingredient in making improvised explosive devices,” along with batteries, thermometers, aluminum foil and Christmas lights.

That month, El Bahnasawy contacted Salic, whom he knew as “Abu Khalid” and “the doctor,” to seek funding for the operation. El Bahnasawy had also assembled maps of the New York subway system, explaining that he wanted to “blow up” lines 4, 5 and 6 and the number seven train. Targeting the “purple” and “green lines,” would make for an easy escape in “the vehicle.”

As the Daily News and other publications also reported, El Bahnasawy touted a photo of Times Square, and told his fellow terrorists, “We seriously need a car bomb at times square… Look at these crowds of people!” He also wanted to shoot up concerts “cuz they kill a lot of people.”

As the Toronto Star reported, Haroon said the subway trains made a “perfect target” and they should shoot as many passengers as possible, including women and children. “NY Needs to fall. It’s a must,” Haroon wrote to the undercover agent. The Star also noted that Salic told the others, “it would be a great pleasure if we can slaughter

Free Speech or Terrorism – A 'Clear and Present Danger'

first-amendment-bannerA “Clear and Present Danger”

After the terrorist attacks in New York, Boston, Washington and elsewhere, Americans pulled together. But Americans still speak out voicing many different opinions.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech. And most Americans support the idea of free speech. But since the First Amendment became part of the Constitution in 1791, American citizens have sometimes gotten into trouble with the government for speaking out. This has happened when a speaker was considered “too unpatriotic,” “too radical,” or “too dangerous.”

Who should have freedom of speech? Should it apply only to those who voice opinions most people agree with? Or, should it be for everyone, even for those who hold opinions that most Americans hate?

Also, what does freedom of speech really mean? Does it mean that someone should be able to say whatever he or she wants at any time or place? Or, should speech sometimes be limited by the law?

In the beginning: Sedition Act of 1798

Just a few years after the First Amendment was added to the Constitution, the federal government passed a law restricting freedom of speech. In 1798, Congress passed the Sedition Act. War seemed likely between the United States and its former ally France. Members of Congress were convinced that people sympathetic to France would try to stir up trouble for the new nation.

Congress and President John Adams believed that the Sedition Act would help control pro-French troublemakers by forbidding criticism of the federal government. “Sedition” generally means the incitement of violent revolution against the government. The Sedition Act of 1798, however, went far beyond this. It required criminal penalties for persons who said or published anything “false, scandalous, or malicious” against the federal government, Congress or the president.

Twenty-five American citizens were arrested under the Sedition Act. Among them was a Congressman who was convicted and imprisoned for calling President Adams a man who had “a continual grasp for power.” Another citizen was convicted for painting a sign that read, “Downfall To The Tyrants of America.” Still another man was found guilty of sedition for saying that he wished that the wadding of a cannon fired in a salute to President Adams would hit him in the seat of the pants.

Despite the arrests and convictions, many people spoke out against the Sedition Act. The state of Virginia

Report: Patriotism In America – Is Love Of Country Still Strong?

American Flag“If you want people to be patriotic, you want a responsible patriotism, where they not only uphold their government but also take their responsibilities in a democratic society seriously … “

Millions of Americans display their love of country every year on the Fourth of July, the big bash celebrating the nation's birth more than 200 years ago. But some Americans worry that patriotism is not as strong as it used to be.

Older Americans say that people pay less attention to rituals like July 4th parades and the Pledge of Allegiance than in the past. Many people think that multiculturalism is reducing national unity. Others respond that the nation's increasing ethnic diversity strengthens rather than hurts loyalty to country. And many younger Americans insist they are just as patriotic as previous generations but show their love of country in different ways – like helping people in need or cleaning up the environment.

Richard Eustick remembers going with his father on Memorial Day to the local cemetery to decorate the graves of American soldiers. He remembers reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to start every school day. And he remembers Fourth of July parades that drew hordes of people to celebrate Independence Day.

Today, the 65-year-old retired naval officer sees far less evidence of patriotic feeling among Americans. “The level of patriotism has fallen off,” says Eustick, president of the Pennsylvania-based Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, which runs patriotic education programs for elementary and high school students and teachers. “When I look around, I don't think it's as high on the focus of people's consciousness as it was in my day.”

But the youngsters who attend the foundation's programs disagree. “The kids tell us that they're every bit as patriotic as we were in our day,” Eustick says. “They just express it in a different way, like environmental issues, taking care of other people issues and being more sensitive to people who are less fortunate.”

Ciara DiSeta, a high school junior from suburban Baltimore, knows that a lot of older Americans feel the way Eustick does. But reciting the pledge is still a daily routine at her high school. The junior ROTC program is popular. And she thinks that most of her schoolmates love their country and appreciate the political freedoms that Americans enjoy.

“I would say most of them do,” DiSeta says. “There are students who are patriotic, who do care about what it means to be an American.”

DiSeta shows her own patriotism in various ways. She goes to Fourth of July parades with her family. She has also lobbied state legislators in Maryland on educational issues and helped

The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel

The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, May 14, 1948” … Noteworthy similarities and differences exist between the American and Israeli Declarations of Independence. Both declarations assert independence and the right of their populations to control their own destinies, free from legislative impositions and despotic abuses …”

No draft declaration of Independence existed until April 1948. Using the American Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution as philosophical frameworks, a small group of attorneys and politicians pieced together Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Other important political decisions pertaining to Jewish statehood were left until the last minute: the location of the State’s capital, its final name, and how to bring together several Jewish military organizations under one command.

Military operations, particularly those around the Jewish settlement at Kfar Etzion, south of Jerusalem, diverted attention from final decisions about these matters. Also pressing on David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency and future first Prime Minister of Israel,was the request by President Truman’s White House asking for a formal written request for recognition.

On Friday, May 14, following some debate, the National Council, established to oversee the political needs of the Jewish community in Palestine, voted to accept the final text of the Declaration. That afternoon at 4 pm, David Ben-Gurion, head of the National Council, read the Declaration at the Tel Aviv Museum.

Without electricity in Jerusalem, few there heard Ben-Gurion’s words or the singing and playing of ‘Hatikvah,’ Israel’s national anthem. That morning, Ben-Gurion, uncertain about the coming war with Arab states, had his secretary secure a safety deposit box at a local bank so that the Declaration could be immediately placed there for safekeeping.

The Declaration was a synopsis of Jewish history to 1948 and a statement of Israel’s intent toward its inhabitants, neighbors, and the international community. It was divided into four parts: 1) a biblical, historical, and international legal case for the existence of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel; 2) the self-evident right of the Jewish people to claim statehood; 3) the actual declaration of statehood; and 4) statements about how the state would operate, including an enumeration of citizen rights. In keeping with the UN Resolution that provided international legitimacy for Jewish and Arab states in Palestine, the requirement to have a constitution was stated. Israel’s objective to institute a constitution was postponed indefinitely in June 1950.

Noteworthy similarities and differences exist between the American and Israeli Declarations of Independence.

Fourth of July: Does America Have Any More Right to Exist Than Israel?

Why are so many still expecting—even demanding—that the Jewish state disappear?Why are so many still expecting—even demanding—that the Jewish state disappear?

As we celebrate this year’s Independence Day, every patriot should prepare to confront a fundamental challenge about our country: does the United States of America have any real right to exist?

The question is absurd, of course—even offensive. But it is no more absurd or offensive than a major theme of international discourse: the angry attacks on Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state in the Middle East. Leftist intellectuals, the Islamic bloc, glamorous celebrities, and even the United Nations insist that Israel’s claim to statehood and survival counts as deeply dubious, or at least open to question.

For three reasons, however, Israel could argue a far stronger case for its right to exist as an independent nation than could the United States.

The present inhabitants of the Jewish state maintain an ancient, ancestral connection to their modern homeland. A Jewish nation flourished on the territory of today’s Israel for more than a thousand years prior to mass exiles by the Roman occupiers. The pioneers of the Zionist movement felt that they were coming home, speaking the same Hebrew language that their forebears spoke, rebuilding the cities and towns that had been part of the people’s history for millennia.

When settlers arrived in North America, however, none of them suggested that they were reconnecting with some forgotten homeland, or re-establishing a national presence on the sacred soil of long-ago ancestors. They claimed America as their inheritance because they chose to live there, and toiled tirelessly and courageously to establish a beautiful society on a promising but underpopulated continent.

Long before Israelis defended themselves against invading Arab armies in their war of independence, leading international organizations recognized the right of Jews to settle there and establish a new nation. The British Empire authorized a “Jewish National Home” in today’s Israel in 1917, followed by the League of Nations, in 1923, and finally the United Nations, in 1948, with near-universal recognition of the new state.

No international organization existed to authorize the 17th-century settlement of the future United States by immigrants from

Since 1776: The Amazing Tie Between Ancient Israel and America's Founding Fathers

Amazing Tie Between Ancient Israel and America's Founding FathersAmerica is known for being a strong supporter and ally of the nation of Israel. With President Donald Trump's recent decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, that friendship doesn't seem to be weakening any time soon.

However, many people don't realize that America's love for the Jewish people and their values started long before 1948 when Israel was established as a modern state.

We seek to highlight Jewish leaders in the United States and to teach the world about the deep relationship between America's founding fathers and the Jewish ideas that helped shape the nation. We have had powerful Jewish ideas and people who inspired, supported, and prayed for the American founders.

“The Hebrew Bible lies at the center of the American imagination and it is one of the central inspirations for the founders,” Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, who teaches the course, told CBN News.

Rabbi Soloveichik is a professor at Yeshiva University and leads Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in America. He argues in course that the American Revolutionists strongly identified with ancient Israel in their quest for God-given freedom.

“On July 4th, after the American Declaration of Independence was approved and Benjamin Franklin and John Adams and Thomas Jefferson form a committee to decide what the seal of the United States will actually be. The first suggestion that Benjamin Franklin makes once this committee gets going is the seal of the United States should be Moses and Pharaoh at the sea with the motto that 'Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.'” Soloveichik explained. “So, when Franklin is asked, 'what stories should emphasize or embody what we are trying to do here?' The first place his mind goes is Exodus.”

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However, the founding fathers weren't just inspired by Jewish scriptures. They were guided by powerful Jewish men and women. One of those men was a Jew named Jonas Philips. “Jonas Philips is a man I refer to as the most important American Jew you've never heard of,

Independence Day Versus Fourth of July: A Jewish American's Loyalty Dilemma

American FlagThe issue of Jewish Americans’ love for Israel is most salient when it comes to celebrating the independence days of Israel and the United States.

Some would call me a traitor, but celebrating both Israel’s and the United States’ independence is the truest expression of my identity.

There is one marked difference between how each country marks this day: Israel’s Independence Day, “Yom Ha’atzmaut,” comes on the heels of a Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of hostile activity, whereas the United States’ Fourth of July comes more than a month after the American Memorial Day.

Other than that, there are remarkable similarities between how each country’s independence is celebrated. Barbeques and beach parties are iconic, and fireworks are a must. It is only in my personal experience that I find the nuanced differences.

I’m an American, and I’m Jewish, and my family is Israeli. So, for some, it is incongruous that I would celebrate both Israel’s and the United States’ independence. For others, doing so would be treachery. For my family and me, celebrating both has always felt most right, and in fact, the two holidays mirror the inner struggle I have always had with regards to my Jewish-American-Israeli identity.

My first memories of marking Israel’s Independence Day involve being dragged by my parents to a Memorial Day service, followed by a large party at the local Jewish community center or at a friend’s house. We’d play games, eat hot dogs, and hang out with some Israeli kids. To me it felt like celebrating the Fourth of July, only without my non-Jewish friends. Fourth of July parties soon overcame Independence Day celebrations. As I grew closer to my American school friends, and as we got older, Fourth of July parties got be bigger and involved more planning. I learned to bake apple pie and enjoy a

Opinion: America's Fourth Of July Ties To The State Of Israel

The Nation Of Israel And The Jewish People Have Sacrificed More For American Freedom Per Capita Than Any Nation On Earth.The Nation Of Israel And The Jewish People Have Sacrificed More For American Freedom Per Capita Than Any Nation On Earth.

America’s Independence Day, by far the most important national holiday of the year in the United States, commemorates the birth of the nation and the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, with fireworks, picnics, concerts, parades, political speeches and ceremonies. It is a day of patriotism and the largest birthday celebration in America – a true day of remembrance.

It is in this spirit that I, as an American, will celebrate Israel. The nation of Israel and the Jewish people have sacrificed more for American freedom per capita than any nation on earth.

Radical Islamists call America the “Great Satan” and Israel the “Little Satan.” The reason is obvious; the Jewish people in Israel have, with their own blood, defended America and the Western world against radical Islam since the days of its rebirth on May 14, 1948.

When Jewish poetess Emma Lazarus penned the immortal words emblazoned on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, Palestine was desert, a wasteland in the hands of the unfriendly Turks. From 1881 to about 1920, three million Jews emigrated from Eastern Europe to the United States. Welcoming them to America were Lazarus’ words: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free….”

Ties between the Jewish people and the early pilgrims in America were as foundationally strong as the rock on which the Pilgrims stepped ashore in 1620. A group hoping to found a “New Israel” would become highly influential when the colonists began to aspire to freedom. Early founders and presidents of the newly- formed republic would express the hope

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