Monthly Archives: November 2008

Piracy in the Red Sea: Saudi points towards Israel

First Published 2008-11-25


The Star Sirius
Columnists fear that a plan is underway for ‘internationalization’ of security in the Red Sea.
By Habib Trabelsi – PARIS

Not only do columnists and analysts openly accuse Israel of sponsoring acts of piracy that multiply off Somali waters, but they also do not hide their fears of an internationalization of security in the Red Sea, where Israel plays a decisive role.

“What is happening in the Horn of Africa is not a simple case of piracy. These acts of piracy raise various questions about the capabilities and equipment of simple outlaws who are seeking ransoms,” wrote Tuesday (November 25) Nawaf Al-Meshal Sabhan in the Saudi daily Al-Iqtissadia.

“These acts triggered statements on the internationalization of the Red Sea, in which the enemy state of Israel would be a crucial element,” he adds.

“Who has got an interest in such an internationalization?” Asks the analyst, echoing “another disturbing development represented by the decision of a shipping company (AP Moller-Maersk, the world’s largest container ship operator and supply vessel operator) to divert its huge merchant fleet from Suez Canal and take the route via the Cape of Good Hope.”

“Who has got an interest in putting pressure on Egypt, by diverting cargo ships of Suez Canal and by making Egypt lose daily income of over $15 million?” the analysts asks again.

“Who is behind acts of piracy?” Was the headline of the daily Al-Riyadh’s editorialist Dr. Hashem Abdou Hashem.

“These repeated acts of piracy are premeditated. They are sponsored by a State or organization, in any case by a party seeking to create tension, concern and instability in the Red Sea in order to achieve strategic interests,” he wrote.

According to him, “this party seeks to convince the international community to monitor the sea on the pretext of ensuring the safety of navigation, ensuring energy supplies and preventing supplies of arms to troublemakers in the region,” referring particularly to the Islamist militia “Shebab” who control much of Somalia.

Red Sea: “the lung of Arabia”

More explicitly, Jalal Aref wrote Monday in al-Youm that Arab countries bordering the Red Sea “are now faced with four dangers: The internationalization of security in the Red Sea with the pretext of fighting piracy, Israel’s covetousness of seeking to play a key role in the Red Sea, the theft of Arab oil through piracy, without counting the blow to navigation in the Suez Canal.”

The daily Al-Iqtissadiya asked in its editorial Monday “how hackers may have means of air defense, missiles guided by satellites, computers and advanced navigation equipment.”

“This means that some countries close an eye on these acts of piracy for strategic, political and economic reasons,” added the newspaper, pointing out that “the Red Sea is the only waterway in the world where residents are Arab dominant … and it must remain so.”

Amin Sa’ati, a Saudi expert, demonstrated in a long article published the same newspaper that “the security of Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea are inseparable (…) since 30% of global crude, including the one of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, pass through the Red Sea, the bulk of our desalinated water resources comes from the Red Sea, and our imports and exports pass largely through the Red Sea. ”

“The Red Sea is our lung (…). The kingdom must convene a meeting of countries bordering the sea to develop a mechanism for strategic cooperation. But it seems that foreign forces do not want stability in the region. Israel remains the main obstacle to such cooperation,” added the expert.

Besides Saudi Arabia, eight other countries bordering the Red Sea are: Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia and Israel.

Yemen: mobilize Arabs

Last October, Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh called on Arab countries bordering the Red Sea to “assume their responsibility” to remove any pretext for an internationalization of security in the sea.

His appeal came shortly after a decision by NATO to strengthen its military presence in the Indian Ocean against piracy off Somalia, in coordination with the European Union (EU).

Saleh went to Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia for that matter. His foreign minister, Abu Bakr al-Korbi, had claimed that Riyadh was “conducive to cooperation among Arab countries bordering the Red Sea to ensure the security of the sea.”

Speaking on November 20 in Cairo at a meeting of Arab officials bordering the Red Sea, Korbi said that the multinational naval presence in the southern part of the Red Sea was “a danger to Arab national security.”

Since the diversion of Saudi supertanker, the “Star Sirius” on November 15 by pirates off Somali waters, the Saudi press has been publishing echoes of several Arab journalists and analysts, including Egyptians, who warn against “Israel’s aims for playing a key role in the Red Sea” and against “a US-European control of this strategic sea.”

Israel in Islamists’ line of fire

Israel is also condemned by Islamists on Internet sites which are full of inflammatory articles, including one written by the former Secretary General of Kuwaiti Salafist Movement, Sheikh Hamed Al Ali.

“The aims of the Zionist enemy in the Red Sea have never ceased,” wrote the Islamist cleric on his website, illustrating his long article with a quote by a former commander of the Israeli navy regarding “a diabolical plan” which aims to “transform the Red Sea into a Jewish lake.”

Sheikh al-Ali also lists examples of “the Zionist military engagement in Ethiopia,” particularly “sophisticated aircraft-radars and 60 military Zionists experts.”

That is why Sheikh al-Ali called the mujahideen in Somalia “to eliminate pirates whose irresponsible acts will be exploited by western hackers to the benefit of the diabolical Zionist plan and to abort the Islamic project in Somalia.”

The Shebab, who called piracy an offence to Islam, threatened to attack the pirates if they will not release the “Star Sirius.”

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=28928

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CFR – Bankers’ Front Group?

The Council on Foreign Relations and Tacks’ Tackle Shop

John W. Wallace – New York Campaign for Liberty (24/11/08)

When I was growing up in the Inwood section of upper Manhattan, I remember when I was about 12 or 13 years old I had my first contact with discovering what a “front” was for another business. It was called Tack’s Tackle Shop. When it first opened, it looked like just another business. The guy in the store, Tack, was selling fishing rods, live bait and an array of fishing equipment. It didn’t take long before the kids in the neighborhood figured out that perhaps there was something else going on. The live bait in the window wasn’t alive anymore and local hoods and gangster type people seemed to be going in and out, particularly in the evenings and none of them looked like fishermen. It wasn’t long before the place was raided by the NYCPD and my friends and I all watched from across the street on Sherman Avenue as “Tack” came out in handcuffs along with a bunch of other men. We were later told that Tack’s Tackle Shop had actually been a front for an illegal gambling operation.

A “front group” can be any entity that is set up to appear to be a legitimate independent organization, like Tack’s Tackle Shop, when it is actually controlled from behind the scenes by another organization or group of individuals. These front groups are often legitimate businesses, social or political organizations, professional groups, advocacy groups, research organizations, etc. Organized crime has used legitimate front organizations for many decades to launder their income from various illegal activities. Pharmaceutical companies have used front organizations to advocate for the drugs they manufacture. International terrorist organizations have their front groups here in the United States and as the evidence clearly shows, so do the international bankers.

After researching the formation and activities of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) it appears that it may be a very sophisticated version of “Tack’s Tackle Shop.” The CFR was specifically set up to carry out the goals and objectives of international bankers so that the public positions taken by the CFR would appear to be independent positions that could not be directly connected to the international bankers who personally control and fund the CFR.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) was founded in 1921 by a very select group of international bankers, Wall Street lawyers and wealthy “old money” families sometimes called the Establishment or the Elites. Among the CFR’s founders were JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, “Colonel” Edward House (Marxist. globalist and close advisor to President Wilson), Paul Warburg (international banker), Otto Kahn and Jacob Schiff (both international investment bankers). The CFR’s stated purpose at that time was to improve the understanding of US foreign policy and international affairs through the exchange of ideas. The select membership has been gradually expanded over the years, now totaling around 3,800 and includes various professionals, corporate CEO’s, college presidents, media owners and reporters, high-ranking government officials and even high ranking US military officers.

These same international bankers that started the CFR were instrumental in getting President Woodrow Wilson to sign the Federal Reserve Act into existence in 1913 that basically gave these international bankers the power to print money and control our entire economy. To show you the mind set of this core group, one of the founding CFR members, Edward House, authored a book in 1912 entitled “Philip Dru: Administrator” in which he laid out a fictionalized plan for the conquest of America. In the book, he told of a conspiracy by which a group of wealthy businessmen would gain control of both the Democratic and Republican parties and use them as instruments for the creation of a socialist world government.

After signing the Federal Reserve Act into law, President Woodrow Wilson later admitted, “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country….(America is) no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.” He was, of course, talking about the international bankers and the creation of the first great nationwide “front organization” called the Federal Reserve that was designed to directly benefit the international bankers at the expense of the American taxpayers.

The late Carroll Quigley (mentor and advisor to President Clinton) who was a long term member of the CFR, wrote in his book “Tragedy & Hope”: “The CFR is the American Branch of a society….which believes that national boundaries should be obliterated, and a one-world rule established.”

Rear Admiral Chester Ward, a former member of the CFR for 16 years, sounded the alarm about the real intent of the CFR and pointed out that there was two separate cliques within the CFR:

  • The first and most powerful clique wants to bring about the surrender of the sovereignty and national independence of the United States.
  • The second clique of international members is comprised of Wall Street international bankers and their key agents who want to receive a world banking monopoly from whatever power ends up in control of global government.

Congressman John Rarick, a recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart in World War II and a Democrat from Louisiana who once argued with his party over its increasing liberalism, said, “The CFR, dedicated to one-world government, financed by a number of the largest tax-exempt foundations, and wielding such power and influence over our lives in the areas of finance, business, labor, military, education, and mass communication-media, should be familiar to every American concerned with good government, and with preserving and defending the U.S. Constitution and our free-enterprise system. Yet, the nation’s right-to-know machinery, the news media, usually so aggressive in exposures to inform our people, remain conspicuously silent when it comes to the CFR, its members and their activities.”

By using the CFR as a front organization to push their globalist agenda for America and the world, the “Establishment Elites and International Bankers” have managed to gain significant influence and power in key decision-making positions at the highest levels of our government. They can not only advocate their new world order ideas from within the government by using their CFR members in high government positions, but they can also use individual CFR members and research groups financed by their non-profit foundations to bring pressure from another direction. The international bankers use this process to implement the step by step decisions that will gradually convert the US from a sovereign nation to a subservient position in the new world order run by appointed bureaucrats selected by the international bankers. The CFR is being used much in the same manner as “Tack’s Tackle Shop” was used by an organized criminal group. The international bankers behind the CFR want to give the public the outward appearance of legitimacy in order that they can slowly accomplish their illegal objectives to usurp the US Constitution and the sovereignty of this country.

Many of the most influential international bankers, Wall Street CEOs, politicians, academics and media owners and TV personalities are members of the CFR. They join the CFR for the same reasons that other people join similar business organizations: to make political or business contacts, to enjoy the prestige of being in the organization or to simply use their connections to make more money. The CFR in turn, uses the broad influence of these people and their organizations to slowly infiltrate their globalist ‘New World Order’ plans into American life. CFR members and their ghost writers author scholarly articles that are designed to specifically affect public opinion and future government decision making. These authors and researchers are oftentimes funded directly by one or more of the international bankers’ non-profit foundations. The CFR’s well paid academics expound on the wisdom of a united world and the CFR media members disseminate the message.

In the 1940’s, President Roosevelt began bringing CFR members into the State Department and they have dominated it ever since. CFR members were instrumental in the creation of the United Nations. The American delegation to the San Francisco meeting that drafted the charter of the United Nations in 1949 included CFR members Nelson Rockefeller, John Foster Dulles, John McCloy and the Secretary-General of the conference, Alger Hiss, who was later arrested as a spy for Russia. In all, the CFR sent at least forty-seven of its members in the United States delegation, effectively controlling the outcome.

These same CFR members were also instrumental in using our country’s new membership in the United Nations to create the concepts of “limited wars” and “police actions” that were designed to circumvent the US Constitution and permit an administration to send our troops to war without a formal Declaration of War. It should also be pointed out that these two concepts benefit the international bankers and large corporations most because they allow these entities to make huge profits by providing financing and/or equipment and products to the enemies of our country during the conflict. It definitely did not benefit the US military men and women who were wounded or died in these conflicts. If a Declaration of War was declared, these same bankers and corporation CEO’s would be charged with treason for aiding the enemy during a time of war.

James Warburg, a CFR member and son of CFR founder Paul Warburg testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 17, 1950, defiantly telling the Senators that: “We shall have world government, whether or not you like it – by conquest or consent.”

On November 25, 1959, the Council on Foreign Relations published “Study No. 7″, which openly declared its true purpose to bring about a New World Order through the manipulation of U.S. foreign policy and through international economic interdependence:

“…building a New International Order [which] must be responsive to world aspirations for peace, [and] for social and economic change…an international order …including states labeling themselves as ‘Socialist.’ “

The plan for the New World Order and the ultimate control of America by the international bankers, was clearly outlined once again in the April 1974 issue of “Foreign Affairs” the Council of Foreign Relations’ own publication, when CFR member and former Secretary of State Richard N. Gardner, wrote an article entitled “The Hard Road to World Order” in which he stated:

“In short, the house of world order will have to be built from the bottom up rather than from the top down. An end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than the old fashioned assault…” one way to garner public support for new international treaties would be to propagandize world wide predicaments. If people are scared of terrorism, financial chaos or global warming, they will be willing to cede their national sovereignty, freedom and liberties for global authority.”

Since the FDR administration, all transition teams and administrations have been full of CFR members. It didn’t matter whether they were liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. The Nixon administration had over 115 CFR members all in key Executive branch positions, most of who continued into the Ford years. Ronald Reagan wasn’t a CFR member, but his Vice President George HW Bush was a CFR member, and so were 28 members of his transition team alone. The Clinton administration had over 150 CFR members in key executive positions. George W. Bush is not a CFR member either, but his father and uncle are, his Vice President Dick Cheney is, and his administration is swarming with CFR members. The incoming Obama administration’s transition team is packed with CFR members and he is already looking to staff many of its administration’s key executive branch positions with CFR members.

Did you vote for change in the 2008 Election? If you did, here’s a partial list of Mr. Obama’s transition team:

Susan E. Rice - (CFR) former State Department Asst Secretary for African Affairs; Anthony Lake (CFR) - Bill Clinton’s first national Security advisor; Zbigniew Brzezinski - (CFR) and Trilateral Commission - Brzezinski is widely seen as the man who created Al Qaeda, and was involved in the Carter Administration plan to give arms, funding and training to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan; Richard Clarke (CFR) - Former chief counter-terrorism adviser on the U.S. National Security Council under Bush; Robert W. Kagan (CFR) argues that interventionism is a bipartisan affair that should be undertaken with the approval of our democratic allies; Dennis B. Ross (CFR) and Trilateral Commission - Served as the director for policy planning in the State Department under President George H. W. Bush and special Middle East coordinator under President Bill Clinton; Lawrence J. Korb (CFR) - Director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Has criticized manor of the invasion of Iraq but has detailed plans to increase the manpower of the United States Army to fight the war on terror and to “spread liberal democratic values throughout the Middle East”; Bruce Reidel (CFR) - Former CIA analyst who wishes to expand the war on terror to fight Al Qaeda across the globe. Considered to be the reason behind Barack Obama’s Hawkish views on Pakistan and his Pro India leanings on Kashmir; Stephen E. Flynn (CFR) - Has been attributed with the idea for Obama’s much vaunted “Civilian Security Force”. Flynn has written: “The United States should roughly replicate the Federal Reserve model by creating a Federal Security Reserve System (FSRS) with a national board of governors, 10 regional Homeland Security Districts, and 92 local branches called Metropolitan Anti-Terrorism Committees”; and Madeline Albright (CFR) and Brookings - Currently serves on the Council on Foreign Relations Board of directors and was Former Secretary of State and US Ambassador to the United Nations under Clinton.

Here’s the list of possible cabinet positions in the new administration: James B. Steinberg - CFR and the Trilateral Commission; Chuck Hagel (R) - (CFR); Robert M Gates - (CFR), Hillary Clinton - Husband Bill is a CFR member; Bill Richardson (CFR); Sen John Kerry (D) (CFR); Susan Rice (CFR); Robert Rubin (CFR); Lawrence Summers (CFR); Timothy Geithner (CFR); Paul A. Volcker (CFR); David L. Boren (CFR); Thomas H. Kean (CFR); Gary Hart (CFR), and Jane Harman (CFR) - Defense Department Special Counsel (1979).

At time of writing of this article, President-elect Barack Obama’s has apparently selected Arizona Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano as secretary of Homeland Security; Timothy Geithner, the current New York Federal Reserve head, as the Secretary of the Treasury; and Texas Democratic Gov. William Richardson as the Secretary of Commerce. Guess what? They are all members of the Council on Foreign Relations. So much for change!

What do Dan Rather, Barbara Walters, Jim Lehrer, Marvin Kalb, Diane Sawyer, Andrea Mitchell and Tom Brokaw have in common? Answer: They are all members of the CFR.

What does the NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street journal, LA Times, Boston Globe, Baltomor Sun, Chicage Sun-Times, Houston Post, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Arkansas Gazette, DesMoine Register and Tribune, Louisville Courier, the AP, UPI, Reuters, the Gannett Co, Walt Disney, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox Networks, Clear Channel have in common: Answer: They are all members of the CFR.

Freedom of the press has always been vital to the preservation of our American Republic. Ever since the early years of our country, it was the American “free press” that stood tall between us and the crooked international bankers, industrialists and corrupt government officials. While some of the major newspapers in the big cities were controlled by establishment types like William Randolph Hearst, who definitely influenced the content, most of the newspaper owners and reporters were independent and honorable people who chose to keep their integrity by pursuing the truth. Most local newspapers, radio stations, and later on TV stations, were owned locally.

As they grow larger and eliminate their competition, major media corporations and international bankers are choosing what you will see on the nightly news while trying to trick you into believing it is unbiased reporting. The very news stories that you are fed by the mainstream media are manipulated to mirror the public relations campaigns of corporations, international bankers and even their favorite presidential candidates. If this is not the case then why, during the course of the 2008 election, was there no mention of the issues that were important to Americans: the threat by big government to our freedoms, liberties and sovereignty; the actions of the Federal Reserve and the issuance fiat money; the drugging of 6 million of our nation’s youth; or amnesty for illegal aliens. Popular candidates like Ron Paul were either ignored by the media, excluded from most of the TV debates, or asked fewer questions than their CFR candidate counterparts. Of the top twenty media corporations in the U.S, 18 are members of the CFR.

The CFR’s strategy is to use their members in the media to promote the need for world government in order to fight international threats like global warming. Both Obama and McCain made the environment a major issue in the campaign, but avoided mentioning the immigration issue. The CFR has long identified the worldwide environmental movement as a means to advance its agenda and has even suggested a global tax on all developed nations, payable to the United Nations of course. Most of the major media companies are now controlled by individuals or organizations that are members of the CFR, including the international bankers. One of the techniques used by the CFR and its membership has been to manipulate the news in such as way as to push their internationalist views on the rest of us.

As the big media corporations keep merging into larger and more powerful companies, they will be able to control public opinion as never before. With their friends in congress and in key government agencies, all the international bankers and their CFR members need to do is advocate bringing back the “Fairness Doctrine” and regulating the internet and their control of the media will be complete.

The average American might find the CFR’s powerful influence over America’s government very difficult to understand or believe, but never forget that the CFR was founded by international bankers for the express purpose of bringing about socialism and world government. It is the deliberate plan of these international bankers, who hide in the shadows and pull the strings of their marionettes, to gradually increase their influence and domination over America’s domestic and foreign affairs. CFR members have been in control of our government since the 1940’s. If CFR members are supposedly to be the nation’s best and brightest in running the federal government and overseeing foreign affairs, why is the country in such a mess under their eighty year watch? The answer is: That’s the plan.

The international bankers behind the Federal Reserve and the CFR are deliberately trying to usurp the US Constitution and gradually destroy our freedoms, liberties and sovereignty in the process. They are using the Federal Reserve System to bankrupt the country so we will be at their mercy. The deeper in debt our country goes, the richer and more powerful these international bankers become. If action is not taken to take back control of our nation’s currency from the criminals in the private international banking cartel and if the CFR’s influence over the highest levels of our federal government isn’t soon broken, America will be reduced to a third world nation controlled by a socialistic world government where our freedoms and liberties would have disappeared and our national sovereignty is but a fond memory.

Many Americans believe that we may have reached a point where it no longer matters which party or candidate wins the election, because both candidates are already beholden to special interest groups and the winner will most like staff the high level executive positions with CFR members.

The activities of the international bankers behind the Council on Foreign Relations and the Federal Reserve should be thoroughly investigated by an independent prosecutor. If criminal activities are uncovered, then those involved should be prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) as an ongoing criminal conspiracy. The American people must not give up their liberties for the false sense of security offered by the international bankers and their CFR puppets. The grip of these international criminals must be broken and the threats against our liberties, freedoms and our nation’s sovereignty must be eliminated. It can only be accomplished by a demand for action by a determined and educated American citizenry, as well as by an honest and thorough federal criminal investigation.

I close this article with a quote from David Rockefeller, the former Chairman and the current Honorary Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relation and ask you to consider the implications of what he has said:

“We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years… It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

- David Rockefeller, Bilderberg Meeting, June 1991 Baden, Germany

*New York Campaign for Liberty*
www.NYCampaignForLiberty.com

http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/Blog/?p=1174

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Prophet Muhammad Likely Never Existed

Islamic Theologian Says Prophet Muhammad Likely Never Existed – WSJ.com

  • NOVEMBER 15, 2008
  • Professor Hired for Outreach to Muslims Delivers a Jolt

    Islamic Theologian’s Theory: It’s Likely the Prophet Muhammad Never Existed

    By ANDREW HIGGINS

    MÜNSTER, Germany — Muhammad Sven Kalisch, a Muslim convert and Germany’s first professor of Islamic theology, fasts during the Muslim holy month, doesn’t like to shake hands with Muslim women and has spent years studying Islamic scripture. Islam, he says, guides his life.

    So it came as something of a surprise when Prof. Kalisch announced the fruit of his theological research. His conclusion: The Prophet Muhammad probably never existed.

    Theology Without Muhammad

    Read a translated excerpt from “Islamic Theology Without the Historic Muhammad — Comments on the Challenges of the Historical-Critical Method for Islamic Thinking” by Professor Kalisch.

    Muslims, not surprisingly, are outraged. Even Danish cartoonists who triggered global protests a couple of years ago didn’t portray the Prophet as fictional. German police, worried about a violent backlash, told the professor to move his religious-studies center to more-secure premises.

    “We had no idea he would have ideas like this,” says Thomas Bauer, a fellow academic at Münster University who sat on a committee that appointed Prof. Kalisch. “I’m a more orthodox Muslim than he is, and I’m not a Muslim.”

    When Prof. Kalisch took up his theology chair four years ago, he was seen as proof that modern Western scholarship and Islamic ways can mingle — and counter the influence of radical preachers in Germany. He was put in charge of a new program at Münster, one of Germany’s oldest and most respected universities, to train teachers in state schools to teach Muslim pupils about their faith.

    Muslim leaders cheered and joined an advisory board at his Center for Religious Studies. Politicians hailed the appointment as a sign of Germany’s readiness to absorb some three million Muslims into mainstream society. But, says Andreas Pinkwart, a minister responsible for higher education in this north German region, “the results are disappointing.”

    Prof. Kalisch, who insists he’s still a Muslim, says he knew he would get in trouble but wanted to subject Islam to the same scrutiny as Christianity and Judaism. German scholars of the 19th century, he notes, were among the first to raise questions about the historical accuracy of the Bible.

    Many scholars of Islam question the accuracy of ancient sources on Muhammad’s life. The earliest biography, of which no copies survive, dated from roughly a century after the generally accepted year of his death, 632, and is known only by references to it in much later texts. But only a few scholars have doubted Muhammad’s existence. Most say his life is better documented than that of Jesus.

    [Sven Muhammad Kalish]

    Muhammad Sven Kalish

    “Of course Muhammad existed,” says Tilman Nagel, a scholar in Göttingen and author of a new book, “Muhammad: Life and Legend.” The Prophet differed from the flawless figure of Islamic tradition, Prof. Nagel says, but “it is quite astonishing to say that thousands and thousands of pages about him were all forged” and there was no such person.

    All the same, Prof. Nagel has signed a petition in support of Prof. Kalisch, who has faced blistering criticism from Muslim groups and some secular German academics. “We are in Europe,” Prof. Nagel says. “Education is about thinking, not just learning by heart.”

    Prof. Kalisch’s religious studies center recently removed a sign and erased its address from its Web site. The professor, a burly 42-year-old, says he has received no specific threats but has been denounced as apostate, a capital offense in some readings of Islam.

    “Maybe people are speculating that some idiot will come and cut off my head,” he said during an interview in his study.

    A few minutes later, an assistant arrived in a panic to say a suspicious-looking digital clock had been found lying in the hallway. Police, called to the scene, declared the clock harmless.

    A convert to Islam at age 15, Prof. Kalisch says he was drawn to the faith because it seemed more rational than others. He embraced a branch of Shiite Islam noted for its skeptical bent. After working briefly as a lawyer, he began work in 2001 on a postdoctoral thesis in Islamic law in Hamburg, to go through the elaborate process required to become a professor in Germany.

    The Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. that year appalled Mr. Kalisch but didn’t dent his devotion. Indeed, after he arrived at Münster University in 2004, he struck some as too conservative. Sami Alrabaa, a scholar at a nearby college, recalls attending a lecture by Prof. Kalisch and being upset by his doctrinaire defense of Islamic law, known as Sharia.

    In private, he was moving in a different direction. He devoured works questioning the existence of Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Then “I said to myself: You’ve dealt with Christianity and Judaism but what about your own religion? Can you take it for granted that Muhammad existed?”

    He had no doubts at first, but slowly they emerged. He was struck, he says, by the fact that the first coins bearing Muhammad’s name did not appear until the late 7th century — six decades after the religion did.

    He traded ideas with some scholars in Saarbrücken who in recent years have been pushing the idea of Muhammad’s nonexistence. They claim that “Muhammad” wasn’t the name of a person but a title, and that Islam began as a Christian heresy.

    Prof. Kalisch didn’t buy all of this. Contributing last year to a book on Islam, he weighed the odds and called Muhammad’s existence “more probable than not.” By early this year, though, his thinking had shifted. “The more I read, the historical person at the root of the whole thing became more and more improbable,” he says.

    He has doubts, too, about the Quran. “God doesn’t write books,” Prof. Kalisch says.

    Some of his students voiced alarm at the direction of his teaching. “I began to wonder if he would one day say he doesn’t exist himself,” says one. A few boycotted his lectures. Others sang his praises.

    Prof. Kalisch says he “never told students ‘just believe what Kalisch thinks’ ” but seeks to teach them to think independently. Religions, he says, are “crutches” that help believers get to “the spiritual truth behind them.” To him, what matters isn’t whether Muhammad actually lived but the philosophy presented in his name.

    This summer, the dispute hit the headlines. A Turkish-language German newspaper reported on it with gusto. Media in the Muslim world picked up on it.

    Germany’s Muslim Coordinating Council withdrew from the advisory board of Prof. Kalisch’s center. Some Council members refused to address him by his adopted Muslim name, Muhammad, saying that he should now be known as Sven.

    German academics split. Michael Marx, a Quran scholar at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, warned that Prof. Kalisch’s views would discredit German scholarship and make it difficult for German scholars to work in Muslim lands. But Ursula Spuler-Stegemann, an Islamic studies scholar at the University of Marburg, set up a Web site called solidaritymuhammadkalisch.com and started an online petition of support.

    Alarmed that a pioneering effort at Muslim outreach was only stoking antagonism, Münster University decided to douse the flames. Prof. Kalisch was told he could keep his professorship but must stop teaching Islam to future school teachers.

    The professor says he’s more determined than ever to keep probing his faith. He is finishing a book to explain his thoughts. It’s in English instead of German because he wants to make a bigger impact. “I’m convinced that what I’m doing is necessary. There must be a free discussion of Islam,” he says.

    —Almut Schoenfeld in Berlin contributed to this article

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