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As Far As The Eye Can See
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Threats of Pain and Ruin
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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
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Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
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Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
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The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
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Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
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Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
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An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

The Iconoclast

Sunday, 16 September 2007
From a back issue (April 2007) of “India Tribune” --published for the "Desi community" in the United States,  just unearthed from the kitchen table:
On Launching Foreign Satellites:
“India has been known for its vital deeds and surprising actions in Space Research Organization and is ahead of proving it once again with even more greater feat making the world to turn to its side and sigh with a feeling of envy…..This cannot be just deemed as another satellite launch, but a winning of one’s faith and confidence in every term.”
On Power-outages in Maharashtra:
“We don’t deserve second treatment, just because Bombay is a financial capital, Pune is educational and a hub for all IT industry”…
On Indian Heritage:
“Over the millennia, India showed great resilience by absorbing shocks and destruction of repeated aggressions from different ruthless invaders of myriad cultures and religions which is a commendable feat. Beyond merely surviving, the sons and daughters of the soil showed dynamic tolerance compelling the very invaders to adopt the victim country’s traditions and culture time and again….Then why don’t we educate our children and grandchildren growing up in America, India, and elsewhere in the world about this recherché innate quality of their Indian heritage? When eminent self-styled writer activists, so-called professionals vying for cheap popularity and self-serving political figures knocking at the doors of vote banks of their own creation – instead of perfecting their craft in which they are good at – fictionalize and hideously twist the reality…the present youth in India (who are rapidly becoming un-Indians as they dip and drown everyday in the imported cultural waters albeit their stunning advancements in high technology)? One can only hope that the older generation would come out swinging with their reply. The proof is in the pudding and we don’t have to traverse much distance in to the past or wait for some indeterminable future date to taste the Indian cultural pudding.”  
Posted on 09/16/2007 9:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Raymond Ibrahim translates key Al Qaeda documents, some previously unavailable in English, that provide a window into the thinking of radical Islam's leadership. "The Al Qaeda Reader," divided into theology and propaganda focuses on the writings of Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. Raymond Abrahim is interviewed by Lawrence Wright, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction for his book "The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11."

Upcoming Schedule EST:

Sunday, September 16, at 6:00 PM
Sunday, September 16, at 9:00 PM
Monday, September 17, at 12:00 AM
Posted on 09/16/2007 8:49 AM by Andrew Bostom

Sunday, 16 September 2007

"Turkey continually oscillates between full-blown Sharia and military dictatorship."
-- from JW comments by Greg Davis 

This is not true. The history of modern Turkey does not show it ever to have been forced to endure "full-blown Shari'a." It would be more accurate to say that Kemal Ataturk was a despot, but an enlightened despot. He systematically constrained Islam. He helped to make possible the development of a secular class, but that same secular class, the class of intended beneficiaries of Ataturk's measures collectively known as "Kemalism," were insufficiently wary of Islam, or insufficiently grateful for what Kemalism had done for them, or both, to continue to push for ever more constraints. Nor did they push to expand their numbers as vigorously as they might have. They behaved, in fact, as Turkey's geopolitical ally the United States behaved during the Cold War, with both the secular Turks and the American government assuming that Kemalism was there to stay, and would continue to inexorably transform Turkey.

What turned out to be permanent, and a permanent threat to Turkey's dominant secular class who controlled not just the army, but the universities and the judicial system, was not Kemalism, which needed to be constantly protected, but Islam. Islam is the force that keeps coming back, that cannot be kept down, like Rasputin.

And those who fill Western newspapers with contented reports on how the Islam in Turkey is so much better, so much in tune with the modern world (why, just look at those places, say Konya, where Islam and economic activity (it's always about some bustling textile or candy factory) do not know, cannot know, what Turkish secularists now know.

In the past, it was the army that was seen as the protector of Kemalism, and several times the army seized power, but most temporarily, in order to re-establish a system threatened by Islam. It would be harder now, for Erdogan, following Erbakan, have been whittling away at the pillars of Kemalism -- in the war on the Turkish rectors, and even, one suspects, infiltrating their own men, who are well-versed in the need for deception and for patience, into the army, perhaps even into the lower ranks of the officer corps.

Turkey does not "continually oscillate..." It has had, since the early 1920s, a system that has constrained Islam. For nearly half-a-century that system, put in place by a war hero and enlightened despot, continued, though his successors -- Inonu, Menderes -- added their own twists to, or turns away from Ataturk, who in the meantime, after his death, became the central figure in the cult of "the Turk" which was offered as an alternative to Islam, with Ataturk substitute, as a human form divine, for Muhammad.

Posted on 09/16/2007 8:41 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Sunday, 16 September 2007

One reason we are experiencing so much increased diversity in the U.S. is our State Department is working with a previously little known organization called the International Organization For Migration based in Switzerland and they along with the UN High Commission on Refugees seem to have decided, for example, to place thousands of the world's most hard-core Islamists, that is to say, Somalis, in towns and cities across America. Houston, Salt Lake City, Nashville, St. Louis, Rochester, Concord, N.H., Tucson Arizona, and Lewiston Maine have all received thousands of these polygamous, unassimilating Muslims.

According to this week's Radio Derb, they have also decided to place 60,000 polygamous Bhutanese goatherds here as well.

Shouldn't the local municipalities receiving these people have a say in all this? Our unique American culture not to mention the individual cultures of our sections are being systematically destroyed by this kind of immigration, not to mention massive illegal Mexican immigration.

Is American culture so valueless that we should assent to its obliteration? Are the cultures of the South and of the Northeast not worth preserving in all their precious peculiarity? Do States have no right of self-determination? Does America itself have no right of self-determination?

Demography is destiny and if we do not have control over our demography we do not control our destiny.

Posted on 09/16/2007 7:33 AM by Rebecca Bynum

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Israelis ‘blew apart Syrian nuclear cache’
Secret raid on Korean shipment -- details here

Something to cheer us up.

No hearts, no minds, no boots kept on the ground for longer than a day.  A lesson.

Posted on 09/16/2007 7:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Sunday, 16 September 2007

The EU upholds tolerance, diversity and human rights. Here's how (h/t Alan):

Brutal suppression of anti-Sharia protest in Brussels

More here from Diana West, and here at Gates of Vienna.

This is not apathy and indifference about Islamisation, although Europe and the UK have plenty of that. No, what we see in Brussels is active and brutal enforcement of Islamisation.

Posted on 09/16/2007 7:06 AM by Mary Jackson

Sunday, 16 September 2007

I was going to post about this later today, but I decided to prepone the pleasure. I hope my below envelopes you in out-freakery. From The Telegraph (h/t Alan):

Young and educated Indians regard the desire to speak English as it is spoken in England as a silly hang-up from a bygone era. Homegrown idiosyncrasies have worked their way into the mainstream to such an extent that only fanatical purists question their usage.

Now Penguin, the quintessentially British publishing house, has put the nearest thing to an official imprimatur on the result by producing a collection of some of the most colourful phrases in use - in effect a dictionary of what might be called "Indlish".

Its title, Entry From Backside Only, refers to a phrase commonly used on signposts to indicate the rear entrance of a building. Binoo John, the author, said young Indians had embraced the variant of the language as a charming offspring of the mingling of English and Hindi, rather than an embarrassing mongrel.

"Economic prosperity has changed attitudes towards Indian English," said Mr John. "Having jobs and incomes, and being noticed by the rest of the world, have made Indians confident - and the same confidence has attached itself to their English."

The 50-year-old journalist said he was inspired by the success of Lynn Truss's guide to punctuation, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, and by years of reading newspaper reports of politicians "air-dashing" to a destination, "issueless" couples (those without children) and people "preponing" (bringing forward) meetings.

But such phrases are entrenched. A driver, when asked what he does, may refer to his occupation as "drivery". He keeps his "stepney" (spare tyre) in the "dicky" (boot).

Housemaids on their way to buy vegetables tell their employers they are going "marketing". Receptionists ask callers, "What is your good name?" before informing them that the boss has gone "out of station" (out of town) with his "cousin-brother" (male cousin). A government official urged farmers in Rajasthan to grow "herbs in their backsides" (backyards).

"Not in my backside" would make an excellent, all-purpose protest slogan. I wonder if Indians have barbecues in their backsides, or is that just how you feel after a particularly strong curry?

As in Britain, employers complain that the standard of English is so abysmal that recruits cannot write a sentence without three grammatical mistakes. One call centre executive in Bombay said a new recruit wrote an email that began: "I am in well here and hope you are also in the same well."

 Here is some useful Hinglish or Indlish:

Dear sir, with reference to your above see my below - popular opening line in official letters.

Teachress - a female teacher.

Timepass - a trivial activity that passes the time.

She freaked out last night - she had a good time.

Your lyrical missive has enveloped me in the sweet fragrance of our love - from a book advising lovers on how to write to girlfriends.

How often do you take sex? - question from doctor to patient.

Pritam Singh has left for his heavenly above - a death notice.

Hue and Cry notice - title of police missing person newspaper advertisement.

Don't do nuisance in public - government admonition against urinating in public 

Posted on 09/16/2007 6:23 AM by Mary Jackson

Sunday, 16 September 2007

I am pleased to see Channel 4 doing what the BBC should be doing: exposing the threat of Islam, and I will be watching the programme "Unholy War" on the dangers facing apostates. Like Esmerelda, I am not hopeful of any reform in this area.

The Bishop of Rochester says he is looking to Muslim leaders in Britain to "uphold basic civil liberties, including the right for people to believe what they wish to believe and to even change their beliefs if they wish to do." However, if Muslim leaders do uphold freedom of conscience for Muslims, they will be violating the laws of Islam. Indeed they are in danger of being declared apostates themselves. Other apostates will be in just as much danger from ordinary Muslims as before. Muslims are not required to respect a leader who does not preach or practise Islam. As with apostasy law, so with other unsavoury aspects of Islam; while I believe some Muslim reformers are well-intentioned, they face insuperable difficulties in going against immutable texts, and in the violent opposition of the vast majority of Muslims who want to adhere to those texts.

 'They told me categorically had I been in an Islamic country - Pakistan, Middle East - that they would actually be the first to chop off my head,'

And the last - you can't really take turns. When Jesus said "the first shall be last", I don't suppose he had head-chopping in mind.

Posted on 09/16/2007 5:59 AM by Mary Jackson

Sunday, 16 September 2007
Saudi Arabian women are heading for a collision with the country's ultra-conservative religious establishment over a 17-year-old official ban that prevents them from driving vehicles.
A group called the League of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia will present a petition to King Abdullah this week, asking him to "return that which has been stolen from women: the right to free movement through the use of cars, which are the means of transportation today."
The women add: "This is a right that was enjoyed by our mothers and grandmothers in complete freedom."
The exceptionally bold language in a country that uses draconian laws against even the mildest dissent indicates growing self-confidence among Saudi women reformers as the economy slowly opens up to outside influences.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that forbids women from driving. But the ban is relatively modern, a fact the women are hoping to exploit. It was introduced in 1990 after a group of women drove a convoy of cars to protest against a "cultural" prohibition against women drivers. The result was disastrous for them. The Council of Grand Ulamas (religious scholars), the highest religious authority in the country, issued a fatwa (religious decree) stipulating that women driving was against the rules of Islam.
The religious establishment has come out in force in favour of the ban. A statement signed by more than 100 clerics, judges, university teachers, heads of the Saudi religious police and teachers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, the two holiest sites in Islam, declares that no Islamic scholar or "good figure in society" has called for women to drive.
Some of those who signed claim that women driving would create greater economic burdens because families would need to have more than one car, and they would have to buy new cars regularly because "women are known to like everything new".
A typical Saudi orthodox religious view is that of Dr Mohammed Al-Farraj, a prominent cleric and orator at Al-Rawdah mosque in Riyadh, who opposes any political or social reforms not based purely on Islamic law.
He believes that any freedoms granted to women, including the right to drive, will open the door to "gender mixing", which is a source of "great vice". He advised fathers not to be lax in allowing their wives or daughters to go out as this will lead to "serious evils" because they will "beautify themselves, take off their hijabs and be indecent".
Al-Farraj reserves particular venom for a popular TV programme, Tash ma Tash, which manages to dodge the official censorship. One sketch which attracted his anger lampooned the driving ban with a sketch on whether women should be allowed to ride donkeys, and if so whether they should have to be female ones. He declared that the actors were apostates who should be punished by death.
The Shoura Council, the nearest thing to a parliament in Saudi Arabia, has decided the topic is too hot to handle, announcing it was not the right body to discuss the issue because of the fatwa.
Wajeha Al-Huwaider is not impressed. She attacks discriminatory laws which "classify women as having less sense, detract from their importance, cast doubts about their abilities, let them be beaten and divorced, let them be imprisoned within four walls, allow them to be treated as their husbands see fit, let them be bought and sold by legal agreement, and, when the women fail and violate religious law they welcome their barbaric killing."   She adds: "Dogs and cats in the developed world have more rights."  It's all in the Koran, and dogs don't do so well in that book either. 
Posted on 09/16/2007 4:32 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Sunday, 16 September 2007
 Channel 4 Dispatches at 8pm tomorrow should be interesting – Unholy War, a report on the intimidation of converts to Christianity from Islam.  The Dispatches website is down for maintenance at the moment but The Observer contains an interview with the Bishop of Rochester who took part in the programme.
Regular readers will recall other statements by the Bishop, whose father converted from Islam in Pakistan and who has experienced intimidation first hand.
One of the Church of England's most senior bishops is warning that people will die unless Muslim leaders in Britain speak out in defence of the right to change faith.
Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, whose father converted from Islam to Christianity in Pakistan, says he is looking to Muslim leaders in Britain to 'uphold basic civil liberties, including the right for people to believe what they wish to believe and to even change their beliefs if they wish to do so'. I think this is a vain hope personally.
Some Islamic texts brand Muslims who convert to other faiths as 'apostates' and call for them to be punished. Seven of the world's 57 Islamic states - including Iran - impose the death penalty for conversion.
Now Ali, who some see as a potential Archbishop of Canterbury, has told Channel 4's Dispatches programme of his fears about the safety of the estimated 3,000 Muslims who have converted to other faiths in Britain. I believe this figure to be higher, but discretion is imperative so many baptisms are not publicised.
'It is very common in the world today, including in this country, for people who have changed their faith, particularly from being Muslim to being Christian, to be ostracised, to lose their job, for their marriages to be dissolved, for children to be taken away,' Ali said
The bishop warns that Muslims who switch faiths in Britain could be killed if the current climate continues. 'We have seen honour killings have happened, and there is no reason why this kind of thing cannot happen.'
Dispatches obtained Islamic texts sold in Britain that say the punishment for apostasy is death - according to all four schools of Islamic jurisprudence. One text called for Muslims to cut off the head of those who reject Islam.
The radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which some in Britain want to see banned, states in its constitution that in countries that practise Sharia law, apostates are to be executed. Its message is disseminated on university campuses across Britain and has found a following among a minority of young Muslims.
A poll of more than 1,000 British Muslims, conducted by the Policy Exchange think-tank this year, found that 36 per cent of Muslims aged between 16 and 24 believe those who convert to another faith should be punished by death. A pretty big minority if you ask me!
One convert interviewed for the programme told how his local Muslim community in Bradford closed ranks against him after he switched to Christianity. 'They told me categorically had I been in an Islamic country - Pakistan, Middle East - that they would actually be the first to chop off my head,' he said.
The Dispatches site is up and running now, midday. Definitely one to watch:-
Dispatches investigates the violence and intimidation facing Muslims who convert to Christianity in Britain. . . meets former Muslims who now live under the threat of reprisals from their former communities. Many are still living in fear. He interviews a family who have been driven out of their home and a convert whose brother was beaten close to death.
In several Islamic states, the death penalty is imposed. Here in Britain, Dispatches discovers a form of mob justice is taking place on our streets. A concerned Christian bishop tells Dispatches that it may not be long before a British convert is killed, and implores Muslim leaders to take action.
Dispatches discovers the situation for converts from Islam in Britain is a tinderbox waiting to explode. Increasingly asylum seekers from Islamic countries are exploring different faiths in Britain while a new strand of evangelical Christianity is targeting Britain's Muslims for conversion.
With radical British Islamic groups calling for apostates to be executed if they achieved their goal of a worldwide Islamic state, it's a potentially dangerous cocktail that has been exacerbated by the silence of both Muslim and Christian leaders on the subject.
Posted on 09/16/2007 3:53 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Sunday, 16 September 2007
This is from World Net Daily Hat tip, Ruth Gledhill’s blog in The Sunday Times.
WASHINGTON – An American television evangelist has turned the tables on al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden – sending him a video message warning him to repent of his sins and convert to Christianity.
"Osama, since you seem to be a fan of video messages, I thought this would be the best way to communicate with you," says Bill Keller.
Keller said his goal was to reach out to bin Laden with a message of salvation.
"Look at you, look at your life," Keller says. "You live like a hunted goat in caves, totally dependent on a small group of people for your survival. At any moment, one of those you trust could betray you like Judas betrayed Jesus and your life would be over. The false prophet you follow, Mohammad, was poisoned to death by one of his wives."
Keller has harsh words not only for bin Laden, but for Islam, as well.
"You followed the same path as the false prophet you have put your faith in – Mohammad – who, like you, was once a businessman, but who history has recorded was nothing more than a murdering pedophile who led men's souls to eternal damnation with the false religion he created," Keller says. "Islam is a 1,400-year-old lie that was born out of the voice of Satan – literally. Mohammad was correct when he stated it was Satan who initially spoke to him. He dreamed up his own god, Allah, a poor imitation of the God of the Bible, and inspired his own holy book, the Quran, a cheap imitation of the inspired, inerrant Word of God found in the Bible."
Keller calls bin Laden a "coward" and a "tool of Satan."
"There are no virgins waiting for you in Paradise when you die, only Satan and the everlasting punishment of hell," said Keller. "The good news I have come to deliver to you is that you, yes, even you Osama, can escape God's wrath. He loves you so much, that He sent Jesus to die for your sins, all of them, every last one! Yes Osama, even you can be saved and enter into the Glory of Heaven. Not some fictitious place called "paradise" with women waiting to have sex with you, but the home of God where you can find eternal peace and rest when your life on this earth is over."
Apparently CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) have complained. Don’t complain, listen!
Posted on 09/16/2007 3:21 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Sunday, 16 September 2007
An interesting article from The Sunday Times on the recent Israeli mission into Syria.
IT was just after midnight when the 69th Squadron of Israeli F15Is crossed the Syrian coast-line. On the ground, Syria’s formidable air defences went dead. An audacious raid on a Syrian target 50 miles from the Iraqi border was under way.
At a rendezvous point on the ground, a Shaldag air force commando team was waiting to direct their laser beams at the target for the approaching jets. The team had arrived a day earlier, taking up position near a large underground depot. Soon the bunkers were in flames.
Ten days after the jets reached home, their mission was the focus of intense speculation this weekend amid claims that Israel believed it had destroyed a cache of nuclear materials from North Korea.
The Israeli government was not saying. “The security sources and IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] soldiers are demonstrating unusual courage,” said Ehud Olmert, the prime minister. “We naturally cannot always show the public our cards.”
The Syrians were also keeping mum. “I cannot reveal the details,” said Farouk al-Sharaa, the vice-president. “All I can say is the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming.” The official story that the target comprised weapons destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group, appeared to be crumbling in the face of widespread scepticism.
According to Israeli sources, preparations for the attack had been going on since late spring, when Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, presented Olmert with evidence that Syria was seeking to buy a nuclear device from North Korea.
The Israeli spy chief apparently feared such a device could eventually be installed on North-Korean-made Scud-C missiles.
“This was supposed to be a devastating Syrian surprise for Israel,” said an Israeli source. “We’ve known for a long time that Syria has deadly chemical warheads on its Scuds, but Israel can’t live with a nuclear warhead.”
An expert on the Middle East, who has spoken to Israeli participants in the raid, told yesterday’s Washington Post that the timing of the raid on September 6 appeared to be linked to the arrival three days earlier of a ship carrying North Korean material labelled as cement but suspected of concealing nuclear equipment.
The target was identified as a northern Syrian facility that purported to be an agricultural research centre on the Euphrates river. Israel had been monitoring it for some time, concerned that it was being used to extract uranium from phosphates.
According to an Israeli air force source, the Israeli satellite Ofek 7, launched in June, was diverted from Iran to Syria. It sent out high-quality images of a northeastern area every 90 minutes, making it easy for air force specialists to spot the facility.
Early in the summer Ehud Barak, the defence minister, (what a propitious name for a Minister of Defence, see Judges Chap 3-6) had given the order to double Israeli forces on its Golan Heights border with Syria in anticipation of possible retaliation by Damascus in the event of air strikes.
Once the mission was under way, Israel imposed draconian military censorship and no news of the operation emerged until Syria complained that Israeli aircraft had violated its airspace. Syria claimed its air defences had engaged the planes, forcing them to drop fuel tanks to lighten their loads as they fled.
But intelligence sources suggested it was a highly successful Israeli raid on nuclear material supplied by North Korea.
As a bonus, the Israelis proved they could penetrate the Syrian air defence system, which is stronger than the one protecting Iranian nuclear sites. 
Read it all here.
Posted on 09/16/2007 2:26 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Saturday, 15 September 2007

TAMPA - A laptop computer deputies found when they pulled over two University of South Florida students in South Carolina contained a video made by one of the men showing how to use a toy to detonate a bomb remotely, a federal prosecutor said Friday.

"he has strong ties to the community..."
-- from the argument presented by one of the defense attorneys for Megahed -- or was it Mohamed?

What "strong ties" to which "community"? To the community here and everywhere of the umma al-islamiyya, the Community of Believers who are taught never to take "Christians or Jews" as friends, but are taught to slay the Unbelievers when certain months have passed, who are taught to regard the Jihad or struggle to spread Islam, to remove all obstacles to the spread of Islam, as a solemn and central duty, who are taught that no loyalty exists for Muslims outside the loyalty to fellow Believers and to Islam -- that "community"?

Of course he has ties, ties that make him more loyal to Muslims anywhere in the world than to any of his non-Muslim Americans with whom he for now may share citizenship (a "citizenship" devoid of meaning) or, if he did not manage to get that all-important citizenship, with whom he now shares a geographical area, for he and millions of other Muslims have been allowed by those who haven't bothered to study or make sense of Islam to settle deep within the Bilad al-kufr, behind what Muslims themselves have been taught to regard as enemy lines.

That's what his "strong ties to the community" amount to. And that is exactly why the Believer who has "strong ties" to the community of other Believers, to the physically present or virtual (via the Internet, satellite television, videocassettes) umma al-islamiyya, is much more worrisome than one who did not have such "strong ties."

Posted on 09/15/2007 5:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Saturday, 15 September 2007
GENEVA - The United Nations investigator on racism on Friday condemned a rising trend of Islamaphobia, especially in Europe, where he said it was being exploited by some right-wing political parties. --from this news item

Posted on December 14, 2004:

“When the world is compelled to coin a new term to take account of increasingly widespread bigotry -- that is a sad and troubling development,” Annan said. “Such is the case with ‘Islamophobia.’ The word seems to have emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today, the weight of history and the fallout of recent developments have left many Muslims around the world feeling aggravated and misunderstood, concerned about the erosion of their rights and even fearing for their physical safety.”
--- from a news item, quoting then Secretary-General of the U.N. Kofi Annan

The “world” was not “compelled to coin a new term” -- it was Muslims who coined the word, and they did so deliberately. For that word so deliberately kept undefined is merely a weapon employed to deflect criticism, to label all those who may offer criticism of Islam and of its adherents, basing their criticism not on some blind prejudice, but on their own observations and study. Indeed, the entire Western world -- its political leaders, its media, its university departments of Middle Eastern studies -- have all been engaged in a massive effort to deflect criticism or disarm it. It is despite all that that Infidels everywhere are coming to some conclusions about Islam, and the more they study, and the more they observe, and the more “Interfaith” gatherings and little Muslim Outreach evenings they attend, all of which end up being dismal exercises in Taqiyya and Tu-Quoque argumentation, the more wary, and critical, and indignant, and sometimes more, they become. The game is up. From a Beslan school full of children to a Bali nightclub full of revellers, from Madrid subways to Moscow theatres, from New York skyscrapers to Najaf mosques (where Sadr’s bezonians tortured, killed, and stacked the bodies of Iraqis who had opposed their reign of terror), from Istanbul to India, the evidence just keeps piling up. And the evidence, too, of what is actually in the Qur’an and hadith and sira -- and how many Infidels, a few years ago, even had heard of the “hadith” and the “sira,” or had any idea what was really in the Qur’an, or had ever heard of the Treaty of al-Hudaibiyya -- is now online, and it can easily be read. And all the excuses, all the nonsense, can no longer be offered up -- for we Infidels, fortunately, have the guidance of defectors from Islam, ex-Muslims such as Ibn Warraq (whose own three-part guide, posted at Jihad Watch, to debating Muslims, and how not to be intimidated or snookered, will for many prove invaluable).

Kofi Annan, as Oriana Fallaci notes in her Fallaci Intervista Fallaci, looks, on the surface, to be far more presentable, and far more decent, and far more intelligent -- grey hair, gravelly voice, grave mien -- than in fact he is. The words quoted above are the words of a simpleton. Perhaps Edward Mortimer, that early admirer of Khomeini and Nazi-Zionist conspiracy theorist, who feels a special responsibility to protect Islam, is the main puppet-master here, or perhaps it is Ms. Rishmawi (the “Palestinian” behind-the-scenes operative who was so influential with Mary Robinson, she of the antisemitic lynch-mob meeting in Durban in September 2001). Or perhaps it is Annan -- the man who is responsible for more black African deaths than anyone since Leopold III of Belgium, who really thinks that the word “Islamophobia” came into use because it actually described a real, and deplorable condition -- that is, unfair, unjust, prejudiced and irrational (i.e. without foundation, against reason and logic) phobia, or hatred, of Islam. What is unreasonable or irrational would be the opposite -- that is, the continued inability of many Infidels to regard Islam as just another “religion” worthy of respect, perhaps at the edges a bit rough, but hijacked by a few extremists, or even many extremists, but having a decency at its core, a real religion of “peace” and “tolerance” as a number of Western leaders have insisted.

If, upon reading and studying Qur’an and hadith and sira, and if, after looking around the world over the past few years, and if, after having studied the history of Jihad-conquest and Muslim behavior toward dhimmis -- Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists -- you do not feel a deep hostility toward the belief-system of Islam and toward its adherents (for the category of “moderate” is nearly meaningless, given the dangerous use to which “moderates” can be put in continuing to mislead the unwary Infidels), then it is you who are irrational, and need to have your head examined.
Kofi Annan is not the worst secretary-general of the U.N. That prize, so far, goes to Nazi war criminal Kurt Waldheim. But Annan still has some months, or even years, to go. It may soon be neck-and-neck. It may be a photo finish. And that’s not all that will be finished.

The word “Islamophobia” must be held up for inspection, its users constantly asked precisely how they would define that word, and they should be put on the defensive for waving about what is clearly meant to be a scare-word that will silence criticism.
So let us ask them which of the following criticisms of Islam is to be considered “Islamophobia”:

1) Muhammad is a role-model for all time. Muhammad married Aisha when she was 6 and had sexual intercourse with her when she was 9. I find appalling that Muslims consider this act of Muhammad to be that of the man who is in every way a role model, and hence to be emulated. In particular, I am appalled that virtually the first act of the Ayatollah Khomeini, a very orthodox and learned Shi’a theologian, was to lower the marriageable age of girls in Iran to 9 -- because, of course, it was Aisha’s age when Muhammad had sexual relations with her.

2) I find appalling that Islam provides a kind of Total Regulation of the Universe, so that its adherents are constantly asking for advise as to whether or not, for example, they can have wear their hair in a certain way, grow their beards in a certain way, wish an Infidel a Merry Christmas (absolutely not!).

3) I find appalling the religiously-sanctioned doctrine of taqiyya -- would you like some quotes, sir, about what it is, or would you like to google “taqiyya” and find its sources in the Qur’an?

4) I find appalling many of the acts which Muhammad committed, including his massacre of the Banu Qurayza, his ordering the assassination of many of those he deemed his opponents, even an old man, a woman, or anyone whom, he thought, merely mocked him.

5) I find appalling the hatred expressed throughout the Qur’an, the hadith, and the sira for Infidels -- all Infidels.

6) I find nauseating the imposition of the jizya on Infidels, the requirement that they wear identifying garb on their clothes and dwellings, that they not be able to build or repair houses of worship without the permission of Muslim authorities, that they must ride donkeys sidesaddle and dismount in the presence of Muslims, that they have no legal recourse against Muslims for they are not equal at law -- and a hundred other things, designed to insure their permanent, as the canonical texts say, “humiliation.”

7) I find the mass murder of 60-70 million Hindus, over 250 years of Mughal rule, and the destruction of tens of thousands of artifacts and Hindu (and Buddhist) temples, some of the Hindu ones listed in works by Sita Ram Goel, appalling.

8) I find the 1300-year history of the persecution of the Zoroastrians, some of it continuing to this day, according the great scholar of Zoroastrianism, Mary Boyce, which has led to their reduction to a mere 150,000, something to deplore. There are piquant details in her works, including the deliberate torture and killing of the dogs (which are revered by Zoroastrians), even by small Muslim children who are taught to so behave.

9) I find the record of Muslim intellectual achievement lacking, and I attribute this lack to the failure to encourage free and skeptical inquiry, which is necessary for, among other things, the development of modern science.

10) I deplore the prohibition on sculpture or on paintings of living things. I deplore the horrific vandalism and destruction of Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Hindu, and Buddhist sites.

11) I deplore the Muslim jurisprudence which renders all treaties between Infidels and Muslims worthless from the viewpoint of the Infidels, though worth a great deal from the viewpoint of the Muslims, for they are only signing a “hudna,” a truce-treaty rather than a true peace-treaty -- and because they must go to war against the Infidel, or press their Jihad against the Infidel in other ways, on the model of the Treaty of al-Hudaibiyya, no Infidel state or people can ever trust a treaty with Muslims.

12) I deplore the speech of Mahathir Mohammad, so roundly applauded last year, in which he called for the “development” not of human potential, not of art and science, but essentially of weapons technology and the use of harnessing and encouraging Muslim “brain power” for the sole purpose of defeating the Infidels, as a reading of that entire speech makes absolutely clear. Here -- would you like me to read it now for the audience?

13) I deplore the fact that Muslims are taught, and they seem to have taken those teachings to heart, to offer their loyalty only to fellow Muslims, the umma al-islamiyya, and never to Infidels, or to the Infidel nation-state to which they have uttered an oath of allegiance but apparently such an oath must be an act of perjury, because such loyalty is impossible. Am I wrong? Show me exactly what I have misunderstood about Islam.

14) I deplore the ululations of pleasure over acts of terrorism, the delight shown by delighted and celebrating crowds in Cairo, Ramallah, Khartoum, Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and of course all over Saudi Arabia, when news of the World Trade Center attacks was known -- and I can, if you wish, supply the reports from those capitals which show this to have taken place. I attribute statements of exultation about the “Infidels” deserving it to the fact that Islamic tenets view the world as a war between the Believers and the Infidels.

15) On that score, I deplore that mad division of the world between Dar al-Islam and dar al-Harb, and the requirement that there be uncompromising hostility between the two, until the final triumph of the former, and the permanent subjugation, and incorporation into it, of the latter.

16) I deplore the sexual inequality and mistreatment of women which I believe I can show has a clear basis in the canonical Islamic texts, and is not simply, pace Ebadi and other quasi-”reformers,” a “cultural” matter.

17) I deplore the fact that Infidels feel, with justice, unsafe in almost every Muslim country, but that Muslims treat the Infidel countries, and their inhabitants, with disdain, arrogance, and endless demands for them to bend, to change, to what Muslims want -- whether it be to remove crucifixes, or change the laws of laicity in France, or to demand that “hate speech” laws be extended in England so as to prevent any serious and sober criticism of Islam.

18) I deplore the emphasis on the collective, and the hatred for the autonomy of the individual. In particular, I believe that someone born into Islam has a perfect right to leave Islam if he or she chooses -- and that there should be no punishment, much less the murderous punishment so often inflicted.

19) I find the record of Muslim political despotism to be almost complete -- with the exception of those Muslim countries and regimes that have, as Ataturk did, carried out a series of measures to limit and constrain Islam.

20) I deplore the fact that while Muslims claim it is a “universalist” religion, it has been a vehicle for Arab imperialism, causing those conquered and Islamized in some cases to forget, or become indifferent or even hostile to, their own pre-Islamic histories. The requirement that the Qur’an be read in Arabic (one of the first things Ataturk did was commission a Turkish Qur’an and tafsir, or commentary), and the belief by many Muslims that the ideal form of society can be derived from the Sunna of 7th century Arabia, and that their own societies are worth little, is an imperialism that goes to culture and to history, and is the worst and most complete kind.

21) I deplore the attacks on ex-Muslims who often must live in fear. I deplore the attacks on Theo van Gogh and others, and the absence of serious debate about the nature of Islam and of its reform -- except as a means to further beguile and distract Infidels who are becoming more wary.

22) I deplore the emptiness of the “Tu Quoque” arguments directed at Christians and Jews, based on a disingenuous quotation of passages -- for example, from Leviticus -- that are completely ignored and have not been invoked for two thousand years, and I deplore the rewriting of history so that a Muslim professor can tell an American university audience that “the Ku Klux Klan used to crucify (!) African-Americans, everyone standing around during the crucifixion singing Christian hymns (!).”

23) I deplore the phony appeals of the “we all share one Abrahamic faith” and “we are the three monotheisms” when, to my mind, a Christian or a Jew has far less to fear from, and in the end far more in common with, any practicing polytheistic Hindu.

24) I do not think Islam, which is based on the idea of world-conquest, not of accommodation, and whose adherents do not believe in Western pluralism except insofar as this can be used as an instrument, temporarily most useful, to protect the position of Islam until its adherents have firmly established themselves.

25) I deplore the view, in Islam, that it is not a saving of an individual soul that is involved when one conducts Da’wa or the Call to Islam, but rather, something that appears to be much more like signing someone up for the Army of Islam. He need not have read all the fine print; he need not know Islamic tenets; he need not even have read or know what is in sira and hadith or much of the Qur’an; he need only recite a single sentence. That does not show a deep concern for the nature of the conversion (sorry, “reversion”).

26) I deplore the sentiment that “Islam is to dominate and not to be dominated. “ I deplore the sentiment “War is deception” as uttered by Muhammad. I deplore what has happened over 1350 years, in vast swaths of territory, formerly filled with Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, much of which is now today almost monotonously Islamic. I do not think Islam welcomes any diversity if it means the possibility of full equality for non-Muslims.

27) I deplore the fact that slavery is permitted in Islam, that it is discussed in the Qur’an, that it was suppressed in 19th century Arabia only through the influence of British naval power in the Gulf; that it was formally done away with in Saudi Arabia only in 1962; that it still exists in Mali, and the Sudan, and even Mauritania; that it may exist in the Arabian interior, but certainly the treatment of the Thai, Filipino, Indian and other female house workers in Arab households amounts to slavery, and it is no accident that there has never been a Muslim William Wilberforce.

I could go on, and am prepared to adduce history, and quotations from the canonical texts. And so are hundreds of thousands of Infidels who have looked into Islam, or in their own countries, had a close look at the Muslim populations which have made their own Infidel existences far more unpleasant, expensive, and dangerous than they would otherwise be.

If this is “Islamophobia” -- show me exactly why it is irrational (i.e. not based on facts or observable behavior, or a study of history), an “irrational” dislike or even hatred of Islam. If you cannot show that, then perhaps the word should not be invoked. But if you do invoke it, be prepared to have copious quotations from Qur’an and hadith and sira constantly presented to audiences so that they may judge for themselves, without the “guidance” of apologists for Islam, both Muslim and non-Muslim.

Posted on 09/15/2007 4:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Saturday, 15 September 2007

When an Arab Muslim group in Iraq, in the middle of a war, takes the time to offer a large financial reward for the killing of a Swedish journalist living in Sweden, who may never have uttered the word "Iraq" in his life, but who did produce exactly one cartoon depicting Muhammad, the responsibilities of intelligent leaders in the Infidel world are not exhausted by deploring that death threat but in analyzing it. What makes these Muslims in Iraq decide to impose what they hope will be a death sentence to be carried out By Whom It May Concern -- which is to say, all Believers in the total-system, or cult of Islam?

What makes this unsurprising, and of a piece, with the rest of Islam -- for example, with the death sentences that are earned by those who apostatize from Islam or those who, like Salman Rushdie, mock Muhammad in print, or like those Infidels who helped Rushdie to do so by serving as his translators into Japanese, Finnish, Italian, and so on?

The Western world's rulers, those who presume to protect and instruct us, must now begin to learn about Islam. They have to. It is the minimum we have a right to demand of them. They cannot guess as to what Islam is, as Madeline Albright does in her appalling new book -- and Madeline Albright is now said to be one of Hillary Clinton's foreign policy advisers, along with light-fingered Sandy Berger, or the ambitious Richard Holbrooke, who is still convinced he did wonders in the Balkans, and is unlikely to ever study closely the matter of Islam, so fixed in his views must he be, given his personality, views that are based on his bringing-permanent-peace-to-the-Balkans moment of fame, in which Muslims were routinely cast, not quite accurately I'm afraid, as entirely innocent victims of maddened Serbs who had absolutely no justified reason to have any conceivable fears based on what Izetbegovic promised and what 400 years of history had taught them.

And it is not merely those who are "taking a leadership role" or advising those who are eager to "take a leadership role" in this tragico-comical age. There are armies of apologists, both Muslim and non-Muslim, who can be found in the press, radio, television. There are still other armies patrolling the corridors of MESA-Nostran groves-of-academe power, where these people have steadily insinuated themselves, hired one another, promoted one another, and have been quite successful at keeping down or out any of those who, in fact, are the real scholars of Islam, the kind of scholars that is who would be recognized as such by the great Western scholars of Islam who, in that century from roughly 1860 to 1960, studied and wrote, without pressures including but not limited to physical fear, about Islam.

So: why did Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia offer a reward for the killing of a Swedish cartoonist in Sweden, and why has not a single Muslim voice been raised in protest against this attempt to silence a Swede in Sweden, and to intimidate the entire Western world?

What is the reason? What, in the texts, can help us discover the reason? What are those texts, what are those tenets, what are those attitudes, what are the atmospherics of Islam?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali offers us her testimony in "Infidel." Ibn Warraq offers his testimony in "Why I Am Not a Muslim." Anwar Shaikh offers his testimony in "Islam, the Arab National Religion" and in many other books. Ali Sina offers his testimony, daily, at his important website Wafa Sultan offers her testimony in appearances even, in one case, on AlJazeera, and in a forthcoming book. Everyone who is a thinking, rational doubting Muslim, but who still cannot quite, out of some kind of vestigial loyalty, whether it is filial piety to parents or grandparents, or some desire not to recognize Islam for what it is, for that would call into question too much of the civilization that one has needed to believe was once so splendid, so wonderful, needs to think about, and if possible to emulate, Ibn Warraq and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan, possibly by reading the texts of Islam more intently, and realizing fully what the primitive masses of Muslims have always, and will always, make of them -- and stop pretending otherwise.

The Muslim need to live in the past is based on a romantic view pf that supposedly wonderful Islamic past, its achievements either misunderstood (how many were merely borrowings from China, or India, or pre-Islamic Iran? how many were the individual achievements of Arabic-using Christians and Jews, or of "Muslims" who were only one or two generations away from being Christians or Jews or Zoroastrians or even Hindus, and who, given the still considerable numbers of non-Muslims in the societies they inhabited, were greatly influenced by, raised within, a setting that was not really Muslim at all, but something else) or exaggerated.

The Western contribution to that view that began with Chateaubriand ("Le Dernier des Abencerages") and Washington Irving ("Tales of the Alhambra") and extends right up to Maria Rosa Menocal's "Ornament of the World," with its ignorance of history (see that bibliography that fails to mention such essential scholars of Andalucia as Evariste Levi-Provencal).

But there is no need for this. One need only return to the texts of Islam, the Muslim commentaries on those texts, the historical works on Islamic conquests, the studies of those Western scholars premeditatingly denounced, as a group by Said in his malevolent and comically inaccurate "Orientalism," return to the views on Islam uttered not by ignoramusses but by the most educated and intelligent of European and American statesmen or thinkers, such as John Quincy Adams, and Tocqueville, and Churchill -- expressed freely, that is, until the last few decades, when the Curtain of Fear and Dullness descended, covering all.

Posted on 09/15/2007 3:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Saturday, 15 September 2007

From the Local and the BBC. Compare and contrast their respective descriptions of Mohammed.
An Al-Qaeda front organization in Iraq has offered rewards to anyone who kills two Swedes behind a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog, in a statement posted on the Internet.
The self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq placed a bounty of at least $100,000 on the head of the cartoonist Lars Vilks and $50,000 on Ulf Johansson, editor in chief of the Nerikes Allehanda newspaper which published the caricature.
"We call for the liquidation of the cartoonist Lars who offended our prophet," said the statement issued in the name of the group's leader Sheikh Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. We announce a reward of $100,000 to anyone who kills this infidel criminal. This reward will be raised to $150,000 if his throat is slit," said the statement whose authenticity could not be verified.
The statement also threatened attacks on Swedish firms unless unspecified "crusaders" issued an apology. "We know how to force you to apologize. If you do not, expect us to strike the businesses of your major firms like Ericsson, Scania, Volvo, IKEA and Electrolux," it said. IKEA? Do they import many hard to put together flat packs into Iraq? 
The Swedish TT news agency said Saturday that Vilks was temporarily abroad, and quoted him as feeling safe but on guard. 
"I think there's no reason to worry for the moment because I am moving around but when I am back home, in one spot, it will be very easy to track me down," he said.  Responding to the threat on his life, the caricaturist was characteristically defiant.   "I suppose this makes my art project a bit more serious. It's also good to know how much one is worth," said Vilks. "Of course you can't just brush off an organization like this. I'm not that irreverent. I'll have to look over my shoulder when crossing the street," he added.
Having already received a number of threats via e-mail and over the telephone, Ulf Johansson has also been on his guard since the publication of the controversial cartoon.
"The police have already contacted me and I'm going to stay in touch with them. I have received various types of threat but none have been so explicit. This is a direct death sentence," he told TT.
Speaking to AFP, he said he had received police protection and Swedish authorities were analyzing the tape to determine who Sheikh Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was and if he really existed.
Muslim Council of Sweden chief Helena Benouda denounced the threats, saying that Muslim organizations in Sweden were capable of handling the cartoon issue themselves. "We don't think like this at all. It is criminal to call to kill somebody," said Benouda. "It is really unnecessary and it's ugly, especially in the moment of Ramadan," the Muslim holy month. I thought jihad was one of the ways to celebrate (and to get out of the fasting).
According to the BBC
The purported head of al-Qaeda in Iraq has offered a reward for the murder of a Swedish cartoonist over his drawing depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Note that, to the BBC Mohammed is “the Prophet” as if there were only one and he is it. However there may be doubt about the head of al-Qaeda. 
Meanwhile the Local distinguishes Mohammed as the Muslim prophet, so that there is no confusion with the likes of Isaiah and Elijah of the Bible.
The $100,000 (£49,310) reward would be raised by 50% if Lars Vilks was "slaughtered like a lamb" said the audio message aired on the internet. 
The BBC continues below The speaker in the 30-minute tape also said he was "honoured to announce at the beginning of Ramadan an offensive in the name of... the martyr of the Islamic nation Abu Musab al-Zarqawi" who was killed in a US air strike last year.
And days after saying they had killed a well-known Sunni cleric opposed to them, the speaker accused the main Sunni party, the Islamic Party in Iraq of co-operating with US-led forces.
He also vowed to keep targeting members of the minority Yazidi community over their leaders' refusal to allow Yazidis to convert to Islam.
According to The Australian Al Baghdadi went on to say that the group will launch a new phase of attacks to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and that the campaign will last until mid-October.

Posted on 09/15/2007 1:02 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Saturday, 15 September 2007

And there we were thinking Dubai was modern and liberal. From the BBC (h/t Alan):

US lawyers have refiled a class-action lawsuit against the deputy ruler of Dubai for allegedly enslaving thousands of young children for camel races.

The case was dismissed by a court in Miami two months ago, but is now being filed in Kentucky, where Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum has business interests.

It accuses the sheikh and many unnamed others of abducting and trafficking up to 10,000 boys from Africa and Asia.

A representative of Sheikh Hamdan has dismissed the lawsuit as baseless.

"Venue-shopping by the plaintiffs' attorneys won't change the fact that this case simply doesn't belong in US courts," Dr Habib al-Mullah said in a statement.

"The lawsuit distracts attention from the truly important efforts by the UAE and Unicef to provide life-changing social services and financial compensation to boys formerly employed as camel jockeys."

It has been illegal to use children as camel jockeys in the UAE since 1993, but rigorous enforcement of the law is relatively recent.

The lawyers bringing the case said they were acting on behalf of thousands of families from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mauritania and Sudan.

Non-Arabs, presumably, and they would be regarded as inferior to Arabs. 

The lawyers said the boys were obtained through abduction, false inducement or agreement, and then smuggled across international borders by people posing as the boys' parents.

"Once these individuals arrived in the United Arab Emirates or other countries of the Persian Gulf, they would then sell these boys into slavery to individuals in the camel-racing industry where the boys would, among other forced labour tasks, serve as jockeys," they alleged in the claim filed to the court.

Sheikh Hamdan's brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, was not named in the lawsuit, unlike in the action dismissed by the federal court in Florida.

The Miami case was dismissed by a judge after she ruled there was not a strong enough tie between Sheikh Hamdan and his businesses in the area.

In Kentucky, however, the Maktoum family has several racing horse stables and substantial business interests.

Posted on 09/15/2007 9:36 AM by Mary Jackson

Saturday, 15 September 2007

James Pinkerton argues for the revival of Christendom, the separation of civilizations and the protection of Israel in this article at The American Conservative:

...And so the question: can we, the people of the West, be brought to failure despite our enormous cultural and spiritual legacy? Three thousand years of history look down upon us: does this generation wish to be remembered for not having had the strength to look danger squarely in the eye? For having failed to harness our latent strength in our own defense?

With apologies to the frankenfood-fearers and polar bear-sentimentalizers, the biggest danger we face is the Clash of Civilizations, especially as we rub against the “bloody borders” of Islam.

What if, in the coming century, we lose that clash—and the source of our civilization? What if Muslims take over Europe? What if “Eurabia” indeed comes to pass? Would Islamic invaders demolish the Vatican, as the Taliban dynamited Afghanistan’s Buddhas of Bamyan in 2001? Or would they settle merely for stripping the great cathedrals of Europe of all their Christian adornment, rendering them into mosques? And what if the surviving non-Muslim population of Europe is reduced to subservient “dhimmitude”? ...

Posted on 09/15/2007 8:47 AM by Rebecca Bynum

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Michael Henderson thinks so:

It is hard to find anybody who inherits the spoken English of their parents. Look at Princes William and Harry. They don't sound a bit like Prince Charles.

No, you may say, and a good thing too. We don't want children to sound like Prince Charles, who is just another stuffed shirt. To speak that way is pretentious. Au contraire, mes enfants. He deserves full marks for speaking naturally - naturally, for him. Too many people, adopting the flattened tones of the faux-demotic for social acceptability, choose not to. They are not speaking naturally. So who is the more pretentious?

The poor quality of spoken English is one of the sadnesses of our time.

We hear it everywhere, from railway guards, Tube drivers, airline stewards ("arriving into" being a particular irritant) and, worst of all, the men and women who pick up the phone at our public utilities.

They have tin ears and tin voices, good English for them being an imposition, when it is in fact something that binds us all, or should do. We also hear it on the radio and television. Listen to the continuity announcers, as they bark in aggressive, mock-prole voices, with a permanent sneer in their delivery. Then there are the weather forecasters, with their unwanted mateyness. Even Radio 3 is not immune from this virus. It is inconceivable that Sarah Mohr-Pietsch, with her dropped aitches and glottal stops, would have been let loose on that network even 10 years ago.

In this brave new world of demotic broadcasting, it is no surprise when Ed Stourton is mocked for having a "posh" voice, though most sensible listeners would judge it to be ideal for radio. Clear and rhythmical, it is everything a radio voice should be. Brian Perkins, the newsreader, is another good speaker.

Any young broadcaster could learn something useful by listening to that pair.

Where is Henry Higgins we you need him? Why did Professor Higgins deplore the state of English back in 1912, in that Golden Age when everybody spoke properly? It can't just be because he's fictitious. "It is hard to find anybody who inherits the spoken English of their parents," says Henderson. No it isn't. We all inherit the spoken English of our parents, assuming we spend a reasonable amount of time with them. But that doesn't mean we continue to speak like them, and it doesn't mean that we should. Prince Harry doesn't speak like Prince Charles, but Prince Charles doesn't speak like the Queen. Even the Queen doesn't speak like the Queen. Her vowels have "flattened" over the years, not because she is sloppy, and still less because she is affecting a common touch, but simply because standard English has changed.

The decline in the quality of spoken English heard on radio and television may well reflect a decline among the population as a whole. I have posted many times about the dumbing down of our education system. Poor English, even on the part of more intelligent learners, will go unchallenged in the bog-standard comprehensive, while a grammar school teacher might have corrected it. However, Henderson's comments do not take into account the expansion of broadcasting. At one time it was rare to hear non-standard or poor English on radio and television; now it is commonplace because many more voices are heard. For that matter, the average standard of written English has declined, partly, if not mainly, because more people, and this means more stupid people, can write and therefore bring the average standard down.

I share Henderson's irritation with "mock prole voices" and "unwanted mateyness". The latter is particularly common - in all senses of the word - in weather forecasters, perhaps because they want to bring a little sunshine into our rainy days. However, is it the English itself, the vowels and consonants, the vocabulary, or is it the people who use it? And can we distinguish, objectively, between the two? Henderson rails against dropped aitches, but what about "huntin', shootin', and fishin'", a pastime not of Essex boys but of the landed gentry?

Posted on 09/15/2007 8:17 AM by Mary Jackson

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Cider is the first alcohol many of us drink as a teenager - the first independent alcoholic drink, that is. The odd bit of your dad's home brew or your granny's oxidised sweet sherry doesn't count because that is drunk with parental approval. Of course the French do things differently. Impeccably behaved, precociously chic French children have been taking dainty sips of wine from the moment they could sit up. They are so much more civilised about these things - and about adultery, and dishonesty - than we British are, Well, more fool them. Elegance and chic are overrated. They miss out on the exuberant tawdriness of teenage parties, where two-litre bottles of sweet Woodpecker turn the most unpromising spotty wimp into an Adonis.

Until recently, the consensus was that cider is left behind as soon as you can afford something better. I never lost the taste for it, but as my palate has grown more discerning, mainly through wine drinking, I have come to enjoy a better class of cider. And it seems I'm not the only one. From The Spectator:

There is no denying the cheering quality of cider. First of all, there is a curious sense of innocence about it, as though no drink made from juicy Cox’s apples could ever cause hangovers or fights in the street. Second, just the idea of it seems mouth-wateringly healthy, as though a pint of cider would count as one of your five fruit and vegetable portions.

Third, even though cider makes you drunk rather quickly, it seems by and large an agreeable sort of drunkenness...

Cider has its roots in antiquity. The Greeks had a version. Some — mostly people in the West Country — say that the Druids kicked it off in Britain. The Normans were dead keen, and in Normandy you still get it served in slightly gay bowls. In America they favour much weaker cider, and they regard the British form as ‘hard cider’. Doesn’t that make you proud?

It doesn’t get harder than in the West Country where, until 1887, farm labourers would receive part of their wages in the form of cider. Incidentally, the Cider Museum in Hereford — a wonderfully evocative place filled with ancient presses that speak of a lost agricultural age — also has a rare collection of cider glasses used by posh folk in the 1760s. ‘The gentry didn’t want to be seen drinking the same thing as the labourers,’ says a museum spokeswoman. ‘So they would distil a hogshead of cider — it would be fortified, about 12 per cent alcohol — then drink it from these beautiful English lead-crystal cider glasses.’

In much more general terms, though, is the sudden resurgence in cider’s popularity a measure of the nation’s slide into alcoholic barbarism? Or a belated middle-class acknowledgement that — let’s be quite honest here — it tastes very much nicer than real ale?

The latter, I think. Pleasantly (not overly) sweet, not too fizzy and always pleasing in colour, cider is a light-hearted alternative to all those endless boring nutty ales. It is also infinitely preferable to the nightmare mutant strawberry- and chocolate-flavoured beers being pressed upon us in trendy urban bars. Cider is the great cultural gift of country folk to townies, a point on which the twain can finally meet and understand one another. Even without a chorus of The Wurzels’ 1970s chart hit ‘I am a zider drinker, I drinks it all of the day’.

Cider’s new lease of life is also perhaps a nod to the wisdom of our ancestors who, as soon as they invented presses in the Middle Ages, knew somehow, instinctively, that the most delicious thing to transform into grog would be the original forbidden fruit itself.

Esmerelda and Robert will almost certainly disagree with the comment about "boring nutty ales".

Posted on 09/15/2007 7:05 AM by Mary Jackson

Friday, 14 September 2007

The first meeting of the New English Review, UK Division took place here at the Lyceum Tavern. Items on the agenda as follows:


·        What beer have they got?

·        Organic cider, how about that then?

·        Pizza?


The meeting then adjourned to a nearby pizza restaurant. Items on the agenda:


  • No proper beer here, let alone cider, only that overpriced Peroni stuff that tastes like watered down cat’s piss
  • Food and wine good
  • What’s wrong with the world?
  • How to put it right
  • Any other business

If any readers want to know how to put right all the world’s wrongs, please click the donation button on the left. If your donation is big enough, we will send you, from England, the minutes of the meeting, together with a postcard of a red double-decker bus and a little stick of Blackpool rock.


How big is big enough? That’s for me and Esmerelda to know, and you to find out.

Posted on 09/14/2007 6:10 PM by Mary Jackson

Friday, 14 September 2007

'Because this is a war, but it is ultimately a war against, and with, an ideology that is inimical to our own values of freedom and tolerance and diversity,' the Connecticut independent [Senator Lieberman] said.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III revealed during the hearing that the FBI has no counterideology response other than its "outreach" to Muslim-American communities so they "understand the FBI" and address "the radicalization issue," he said.

Asked whether the FBI has a responsibility to wage a battle of ideas within U.S. Muslim-American communities, Mr. Mueller said: 'You put that where I would say no, that it would not be our responsibility for any religion to engage in the war of ideas.'"
-- from the article linked below

Senator Lieberman may be appalled that "our own values of freedom and tolerance and diversity" are not being defended, but he fails to realize that he is among those who has substituted a wasteful war, squandering lives and money and war matériel and morale, military and civilian, and above all deflecting attention from an effort to comprehend the exact nature of that "ideological war" he recognizes, but cannot quite give a name to.

I can. The war is not so much against "freedom and tolerance and diversity" as Lieberman would have it. It is against Infidels, period. They can be democratic, or despotic -- it does not matter. They can be tolerant, like Lieberman himself, who no doubt prides himself on this, without thinking if toleration of those who would and have undone "toleration" wherever the writ of Islam has run, over 1350 years, makes any sense -- for clearly Lieberman is not willing to recognize that the problem is not "a handful of extremists" or those who have "misunderstood Islam." The problem is with those who have understood the texts of Islam -- Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira -- perfectly, and are unwilling to ignore them, because they wish to be true Muslims, faithful Muslims, doing what they are instructed to do, not only in precisely-worded clearly-understood passages in the Qur'an, but as those passages are given meaning, or glossed by the Hadith, the record of the acts and words of Muhammad, and glossed by the record of what is contained in his biography, as written down by early Muslims, from Ibn Ishaq on.

Lieberman will come to realize, one hopes, that the war in Iraq which he has so stoutly defended, so blindly supported, makes no sense. The outcome that Bush, and the Administration are pushing makes no sense. It does not weaken the Camp of Islam. It attempts, rather, to strengthen Islam by making it possible for Sunnis and Shi'a to get along, or if not get along, then to part as harmoniously as possible, and instead of supporting, not for sentimental but for geopolitical reasons, the desire of the Kurds for independence, which could have all kinds of helpful consequences in unsettling both Iran and Syria, and in offering an example farther away to other non-Arab Muslim peoples, such as the Berbers, of a successful effort by one such non-Arab Muslim group to throw off the Arab yoke.

Is Lieberman simply too much of a sentimentalist to countenance internecine warfare within the Camp of Islam, to see it as desirable rather than something horrible, something that Infidels should work to avoid? If he is indeed that way -- and the tell-tale word "diversity" suggests that he is a worshipper of the Idols of the Age -- then there is not much hope that he will come to see the Camp of Islam as one united against Infidels, though here and there divided against itself, and those divisions -- sectarian, ethnic, and economic -- can be artfully exploited by those who recognize both those divisions, and the need to weaken that Camp of Islam and not strengthen, in the name of some half-cocked policy fashioned by those ignorant of Islam and of Iraq, but in a great rush to do something, anything, something that sounded plausible, the state of Iraq, or the larger Muslim world, by helping it to avoid what some keep calling "catastrophe" and "chaos" but keep failing to add that it will be their chaos and their catastrophe.

Posted on 09/14/2007 3:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Friday, 14 September 2007

Bill Gertz writes in the Washington Times (with thanks to Jeffrey Imm):

Sen. Joe Lieberman pressed senior U.S. intelligence and security officials this week on what the Bush administration is doing to counter the ideology of Islamic extremism domestically and internationally.

The answer from the top officials: Not much.

Mr. Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said during a hearing Monday that a war of ideas is needed to counter Islamic extremists.

"Because this is a war, but it is ultimately a war against, and with, an ideology that is inimical to our own values of freedom and tolerance and diversity," the Connecticut independent said.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III revealed during the hearing that the FBI has no counterideology response other than its "outreach" to Muslim-American communities so they "understand the FBI" and address "the radicalization issue," he said.

Asked whether the FBI has a responsibility to wage a battle of ideas within U.S. Muslim-American communities, Mr. Mueller said: "You put that where I would say no, that it would not be our responsibility for any religion to engage in the war of ideas."

The FBI's responsibility, he said, is "to explain that once one goes over the line and it becomes not a war of ideas but a criminal offense, this is what you can expect, and to elicit the support of those in whatever religious community to assist us in assuring that those who cross that line are appropriately investigated and convicted."

The comment shows that despite the creation of a dedicated FBI intelligence-gathering branch, the bureau remains limited to investigation and law enforcement.

Retired Vice Adm. Scott Redd, head of the National Counterterrorism Center who has a strategic operational role in countering terrorism, said one of the "four pillars" of the U.S. war strategy is the "war of ideas," but he noted that there is no "home office" for that effort in the United States.

Retired Vice Adm. Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence, said the intelligence community does not conduct any battle of ideas against terrorists in the United States unless there is a foreign connection.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff also said nothing is being done domestically to battle Islamist extremist ideas. The department's incident management team, he said, is focused on civil rights or civil liberties — not fighting terrorists' ideology.

Posted on 09/14/2007 3:33 PM by Rebecca Bynum

Friday, 14 September 2007

Boston Globe: ..."For literally thousands of years animals have been part of personal property," says David Favre, a law professor and animal law specialist at Michigan State University, "but in the past five years we're seeing courts take a broader view that animals are not like televisions and computers, that our relationship with them is more complex than that."

At the same time, the field of animal law is growing. Nearly half of the 190 accredited law schools in the United States now offer animal law courses, up from a handful 10 years ago, and around 100 now have chapters of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. A rising number of lawyers are dedicating themselves, in whole or in part, to the practice, and the American Bar Association and 13 state bar associations now have animal law committees.

For the most part, the lawyers arguing these new sorts of cases avoid the language of animal rights. In the eyes of the law, only people have rights, and even many animal lawyers are unwilling to dissolve the boundary between animal and person. Instead, many argue that animals should be something intermediate, a form of sentient property.

Still, a few animal lawyers see the evolution in the law paving the way to a more fundamental rethinking of the legal status of what they call, to emphasize our own connection to the animal world, "nonhuman animals."...

Not everyone, though, is enthusiastic about the prospect that animal law might be put to the service of animal rights. Veterinarians tend to be particularly leery of expanding the legal claims of animals - the fact that courts have started awarding non-economic damages in veterinary malpractice cases, vets warn, will only raise the overall cost of care.

In many states, such damages apply only in the death of a spouse or parent or child, not a best friend, say, or a fiance. According to Adrian Hochstadt, assistant director of state legislative and regulatory affairs for the American Veterinary Medical Association, allowing pet-related non-economic damages rewards shows that the nation is headed down a slippery slope.

"You have this strange phenomenon where we're placing pets above certain people," Hochstadt says.

Yet for some legal scholars, like David Favre and Steven Wise, the slippery slope is exactly the point. The current changes in how we protect, provide for, and fight over animals, they argue, are a precursor for urgently needed, and more fundamental, changes in the law, especially concerning highly intelligent animals such as chimpanzees and dolphins. Favre points to several models he'd like to see American animal law follow: the German constitution, which in 2002 gave constitutional rights to animals; New Zealand, which has recognized limited personhood for primates; and the European Parliament, which recently categorized great apes as "beings" and moved to end the use of all primates in scientific research....

Posted on 09/14/2007 12:22 PM by Rebecca Bynum


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