Sunday, February 05, 2017

Is Gabriel Sawma a Middle East advisor to Trump?

There is a number of people going to the Middle East and claiming to be advisors to Donald Trump.  There was one American dude who went to Lebanon and met with key ministers and Interior Minister, Nuhad Mahsnuq, met with him for hours to discuss the foreign policies of the new administration--kid you not.  (His name is Peter Ferrera).   Today, the Saudi regime mouthpiece, Al-Riyadh, interviewed Gabriel Sawma (who has been introduced in Middle East media lately as "professor of Middle East studies in the US" and as Middle East advisor to Trump.  Of course, Saudi regime media are thrilled with this Trump advisor and the headline in Al-Riyadh was "Trump advisor: The Nuclear Agreement with Iran may be Fully Scrapped".  But Mr. Sawma is not a professor of Middle East studies: he has taught Arabic as an adjunct professor at Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.  He is originally from Lebanon, and has a degree in law from Lebanese University.  He passed the bar in the US (in some states) and practices law especially in family cases involving Americans and Muslim men.  He does not hold a PhD although he is referred to as "Dr." in Arab media.  (But in fairness to Sawma, this Lebanese paper says that he was surprised when one ME TV referred to him as "advisor to Trump".   I watched a lecture by him on Youtube yesterday. He says that there are three branches of Shi`ite Islam: Twelvers, Yazidis (sic), and Ismailies (who he said are concentrated in Yemen).  He also said that a Middl East woman who marries a non-Muslim is killed (and in the US she is killed, he said even for wearing jeans).  Among his opinions are (capital letters in the original): "LET ME MAKE IT VERY CLEAR: ISLAMIC SHARIA VIOLATES OUR CONSTITUTION AND HAS NO PLACE IN USA"; and "Islamic sharia turns Europe into police states. If you criticize migrant policies, you may be arrested, prosecuted and even convicted." He does have one book (privately published in the US), titled: "The Qur’an: Misinterpreted, Mistranslated, and Misread.  The Aramaic Language of the Qur’an", in which he argues that the Qur'an is not written in Arabic but in Aramaic.