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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
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
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
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
by Ibn Warraq
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
















Monday, 22 December 2014
Advent calendar XXII
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Christmas lights. Apparently discreet white lights are the seasonal illumination of choice for the discerning families of the middle class. Meanwhile we working class types like a bit of colour. Correct that; we like a lot of colour. These four houses in Dagenham have made the national press for their display this year. The theme is the animated film Frozen which is very popular with small girls and the chosen charity, for which the families are working with Barking Fire Station is the burns unit at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford. In particular the children's unit. That unit started as the world-renouned Billericay Burns Unit. As well as burns they work in plastic surgery generally and I have personal cause to be grateful to their expertise when my father had a serious operation 30 years ago. You can read more here from the local paper. 

The lights were smashing, the atmosphere was friendly and neighbourly and the children were having a great time. 

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Posted on 12/22/2014 3:21 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 22 December 2014
Mr. Bean and the Christmas Turkey
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hat tip: Maggie's Farm.

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Posted on 12/22/2014 2:49 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Monday, 22 December 2014
A European Court Is Wrong about France
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Since the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operetta The Pirates of Penzance, the world has been conscious of menace on the high seas.  The operetta is delightfully playful and amusing.  In contrast, the scenario about and the decision on December 4, 2014 concerning Somali pirates made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is a farce, ludicrous and far from amusing.   The Court, elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and set up in Strasbourg in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of human rights, is considered a totally independent body.  Its decision on December 4 reached the height of absurdity, and it suggests that its independence has transmuted into irrationality and incomprehensible arrogance.  Indeed, the Court has made absurdity one of the fine arts.

The U.S. has become familiar with the problem of piracy.  Hollywood presented in the moving film, Captain Phillips, the hijacking in the Indian Ocean in 2009 by four Somalis of a U.S. cargo ship whose captain was taken for ransom.  Those pirates were killed in a daring raid by a U.S. Navy SEAL Team (Devgru).  The U.S. familiarity with the exploits of pirates goes back to the incidents when Barbary Corsairs in the early 19th century attacked merchant ships to extract ransom.  This had led President Thomas Jefferson to send a small squadron to Tripoli in 1801 to maintain peace, and to send a detachment of the newly formed Marine Corps to attack Tripoli in 1804.

Pirates operating from off the coast of Somalia in recent years have been active and successful in spite of the arrangement that international fleets attempt to prevent attacks by patrolling the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean and by having armed guards posted on some vessels.  In the last six years, about 4,000 seafarers, mostly Asians, have been captured by pirates.  At the peak in 2011, 736 hostages and 32 boats had been seized.

The European Court decision relates to the events following  the capture of two French registered vessels; a luxury cruise ship, Le Ponant, seized in the Gulf of Aden on April 4, 2008; and a small yacht, Carré d’As, seized on September 2, 2008, with a husband and wife aboard.  Le Ponant, a 32-room cabin ship, going from Seychelles to the Mediterranean, has only crew on board, 30 in all, including 22 French citizens.  The dozen pirates who attacked Le Ponant were armed with assault rifles, Kalashnikovs, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

The pirates demanded a sum of $2.15 million for release of the hostages of Le Ponant and the boat.  After several days of negotiations, and, at first, opposition to the ransom by then-president Nicolas Sarkozy, the board that owned the ship, which was insured by the U.S. company AIG, assented, and this sum was paid in cash.  

The Somali government had authorized French authorities to enter Somali territorial waters and to take all necessary measures to deal with the crisis.  In a short time, the pirates were captured in the Somali desert by French Special Forces and put under French military control.  After the Somali authorities had given permission, the pirates were put on a military aircraft on April 15, which landed the next day in France, where they were taken into police custody.  On the morning of April 18, the pirates appeared before a French investigating judge and were placed under judicial investigation.

A French Court of Appeal held in a judgment of October 6, 2009 that French actions concerning the pirates had been lawful.  Moreover, they had been conducted in the context of cooperation with Somali authorities and had complied with all provisions for promptness imposed by the ECHR.  The arrest and detention of the pirates was appropriate, especially in regard to what the Court called  “the wholly exceptional circumstances” of the case in temporal and geographical terms.  Again, a decision by the French Court of Cassation on February 17, 2010 found that “insurmountable circumstances,” caused by delay by Somali authorities, justified the short delay before the French police custody of the pirates on April 16, 2008.

At the jury trial of the pirates in June 2012, they were charged with kidnapping, illegal confinement, and organized gang theft, but not with the offense of piracy, because of the change in French law on the issue of piracy.  One pirate was acquitted, and the others were given various sentences up to seven years prison.

The ECHR did not challenge the right of France to arrest the pirates inside Somali territory under U.N. anti-piracy rules.  But it said France was wrong to keep the pirates in custody for an additional 48 hours before bringing them before a judge.  This, it argued, violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

At one point in the past, pirates, when found, were executed.  The ECHR said the Somali pirates had undergone a lawful arrest or detention by France.  But their absurd conclusion was that the pirates had been insufficiently protected against arbitrary interference with their right to liberty because of the 48-hour delay when they were examined while in custody.  Accordingly, the Court awarded thousands of euros to each of the six Somali pirates on trial.  One is to get 9,000 euros, the others sums of up to 7,000 euros.

The ECHR acknowledged that there were “exceptional circumstances” to justify detention of accused persons before they were brought before a judge, especially in this case, since the arrests took place more than 6,000 kilometers (4,000 miles) from French territory.  Nevertheless, it explained its decision by reference to articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, which may be quoted.

Article 5(1) states, “Everyone has a right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save … in accordance with a procedure proscribed by law.” Article 5(3) says, “Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law  … and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial.”

Relying on these articles, the Court decided that the French system had not sufficiently guaranteed the applicants’ right to their liberty.  Instead of being brought “promptly” before a legal authority, the pirates had been taken into custody for 48 hours on their arrival in France.  The Court did not agree that French authorities were justified by law to use the 48 hours to “intensify their investigations for the purpose of bringing formal charges against the suspects.”

To their credit, French military and judicial authorities acted properly in defense of freedom and lawfully in their treatment of the pirates once they were caught. The European Court of Human Rights has disgraced itself by criticizing those French authorities and giving unwarranted awards to pirates.

First published in the American Thinker.

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Posted on 12/22/2014 2:30 PM by Michael Curtis
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Monday, 22 December 2014
A Christmas Interlude: Once In Royal David's City (Kings College Choir)
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Listen, and watch, here.

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Posted on 12/22/2014 10:52 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 22 December 2014
Mustafa Akyol And His Specious Comparison
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Here

Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish Defender of the Faith who thinks of himself, not accurately, as a "liberal," has had a good run claiming all kinds of things about a rightly-guided Islam. He was a defender of Erdogan, too, for a long time, but now that that is impossible, he has decided to make a comparison between the clever, ruthless, admirable Ataturk -- who systematically constrained Islam and made it possible for about one-quarter of the Turkish population to become truly secular, and therefore to mentally inhabit the same universe as non-Muslims.

Akyol does not do what, to a true secularist, grateful for what Ataturk wrought, he might have. That is, he does not contrast Erdgoan's Islamic retrograde changes with Ataturk's  un-Islamic enlightened changes, the Unenlighted and the Enlightened Despots. And he attributes to Ataturk the business of the Turks as "Sun People" which is much more to be attributed to Inonu and others who, after Ataturk's death, as part of the supercessionism that the primitive Musims of Turkey required, substituted not only Ataturk for Muhammad as an object of worship and emulation (Ataturk, for Turks,  became the Model of Conduct, the Perfect Man), but also "the Turks"  - the Sun People -- as the Best of Peoples from whom civiliation came, to replace "the Muslims" or, more accurately, the "Arab Muslims" who were the Best Of Peoples in Islamic texts and teachings and attitudes. 

No, instead Mustafa Akyol attacks Ataturk as being just like Erdogan, whom Akyol has finally discovered is not what he, Mustafa Akhol, took him for:  a proud, unapologetic Muslim leader, willing to stand up to the West but also to join the E.U., and one elected by "democratic" means, thus giving the lie, supposedly, to those who, like Mustafa Akyol, become defensive and incensed when it is suggested that Islam and democracy are essentially immiscible, since in Islam a ruler's or a regime's legitimacy comes not from the will expressed by the people, but by the will of Allah, as expressed in the Qur'an, and glossed by the acts and sayings of Muhammad as recorded in the Hadith.

The article by Akyol, then, is his attempt, by misrepresenting Ataturk, the Enlightened Despot, to make it seem as if "everyone does it." It's as if some Iranian, in denouncing the Islamic Republic of Iran, saw fit at this point to suggest that the Shah, that Ataturk manque, was "just as despotic, and therefore just as bad, as Khomeini, Judge Khalkhali, and Khamenei." No, he wasn't.

An enlightened despot, whether successful like Ataturk, or unsuccessful like the Shah, or possibly successful like Al-Sisi, is always to be preferred, and compared favorably to, the unenlightened despots of the Muslim world. Thatis something the musfafa-akyols of this world cannot ever allow themselves to recognize or admit.

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Posted on 12/22/2014 9:06 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 22 December 2014
No terror link in French car rampage, suspect mentally ill
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From AP via Canadian TV News

PARIS -- The prosecutor in the French city of Dijon says the driver who ran down 13 pedestrians in the city has a long history of severe mental illness and no links to terrorism.

The man, who is 40, has admitted his role in the attack, said prosecutor Marie-Christine Tarrare. She said he had been hospitalized 157 times for psychiatric problems since 2001, most recently this fall.

She said the man, the French-born son of North African immigrants, acted alone and had no religious motivations, but rather was upset at the treatment of Chechen children. He shouted 'God is great' to give himself courage to act, and not out of religious belief, Tarrare said.

The suspect was arrested. Eight people remain hospitalized Monday.

I'm sure he is mentally ill and that may be a mitigating factor when sentence is passed. But anybody who thinks this was not lone wolf jihad is fooling themselves.

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Posted on 12/22/2014 7:58 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 22 December 2014
"Conduct Disorder" is Associated with "Deficient Empathy" - You Don't Say!
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If brevity is the soul of wit, verbosity is often the veil of ignorance. There was an instance of this in a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, with the title “Conduct Disorder and Callous-Unemotional Traits in Youth.” At considerable length and with much polysyllabic vocabulary, it told us much that we already knew (some of it true by definition). It mistook the illusion of progress for progress itself.

The paper starts with a definition:

The term “conduct disorder” refers to a pattern of repetitive rule-breaking behavior, aggression and disregard for others.

It sounds to me like a recipe for success in the modern art world, where “transgressive” is a term of the highest praise. But, says the paper, such problems have received increased attention recently, for two reasons: first, young people with conduct disorder sometimes “perpetrate violent events,” and second, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has modified its criteria for diagnosis. This latter seems to me an odd reason for increased attention. (Whose attention, by the way, the authors do not specify. The attention is like the pain in the room as described by Mrs Gradgrind. She thought there was a pain somewhere in the room, but couldn’t positively say that she had got it.)

The authors say that those with conduct disorder fall into two main groups. There are those whose aggression is the consequence of anxiety and over-sensitivity to signs of threat, and those whose aggression is the result of a failure to empathize with others. The latter have a worse prognosis than the former; in other words, they are more likely to grow out of it.

The paper made me think that we are back in the age of Molière (or perhaps we never entirely left it): the doctor in the Imaginary Invalid tells his patient that opium causes sleep because of its “dormitive property.” The NEJM tells us, nearly three and a half centuries later, that “Deficient empathy shows a particularly sensitive selective association with conduct disorder accompanied by callous-unemotional traits.”

Of course it does, because callousness means indifference to the suffering of others, as does deficient empathy. One way of testing the meaningfulness of an assertion with supposedly empirical content is to examine whether its opposite is either absurd or conveys no different meaning: and clearly the assertion that deficient empathy had no connection with callous-unemotional traits would be absurd.

We are likewise informed that “deficient brain functioning may be associated with deficient decision making,” which will come as a surprise only to those who believe that the brain has nothing whatever to do with conduct, or who would be surprised to learn that good brain functioning may be associated with good decision making. I suppose that mediocre brain functioning may be associated with mediocre decision making as well.

Again, the mystery of human conduct is reduced to that great duo, that constant tandem, that indissoluble double act, nature and nurture. In other words, some people are born with a propensity to be bad, and that propensity may be reinforced by bad things in the environment, such as drugs, punitive mothers, etc. (Others are born good, but we are not interested in them.) We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of genetic and environmental interaction, but do we really need the NEJM to tell us this?

The authors look forward to the day when we will be able to put people into some kind of scanner and out will come the reasons for their (bad) behavior. I don’t much look forward to that day myself – not that I expect to live to see it – just in case somebody put me in such a device and decided that, in view of the results, preventive detention would be best.

First published in PJ Media.

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Posted on 12/22/2014 5:48 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
Brandeis Must Be Very Proud
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What hopes, what dreams, those who founded Brandeis in 1948, in improbable Waltham, with a motley series of buildings that somehow became a campus -- and hired all kinds of people who were, in those fresh and innocent and more intelligent days, hired without the credentials (the graduate degree, and sometimes even the undergraduate degree) that are demanded, killingly, today, and gave Brandeis a boost that only in the last few Diverity-And-Doctorate Decades, has brought it low. Would Max Lerner, who had been on the staff of the old PM (where Dr. Seuss got his start as a cartoonist), be hired by Brandeis today? And would Aasia Siddiqui, the Al-Qaeda terrorist, have been given a scholarship? Or would this young lady with her level of academic achievement to be gauged from  her sub-literate maunderings, have in any age but our own been admitted? And what of conceivable worth has she learned?

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Posted on 12/21/2014 9:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
A Christmas Interlude: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Kings College Choir)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 12/21/2014 8:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
What Boko Haram Likes To Do
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It's trying to imitate the Islamic State.

Here.

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Posted on 12/21/2014 8:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
Islamic State Executes A Man In Aleppo And Warns Hariri, Geagea, Jumblatt
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Posted on 12/21/2014 5:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
Muslims Allahu-Akbaring Run Down A Dozen French People In Dijon
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Story, at lefigaro.fr, here.

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Posted on 12/21/2014 5:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
BREAKING NEWS: Islamic convert shouting 'God is greatest' injures 11 people after driving into crowds in French city
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From AFP via the Jerusalem Post and the Mail on Sunday

On Sunday, a driver in the French city of Dijon ran over 11 people with his car after yelling "allahu akhbar," (god is greatest in Arabic) . Among the victims were two people who were seriously injured. 

"The man, born in 1974, is apparently imbalanced and had been in a psychiatric hospital," a source told AFP. 
The driver was arrested after targeting passersby at five different places in Dijon on Sunday evening, a police source told AFP. 

He ran over as many people as he could in a Renault Clio, and many are suffering with very serious head injuries,’ said a police source at the scene.

The 40-year-old was known to police, and may have carried out a copycat attack based on terrorist related incidents in his home country, and in Australia.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet confirmed that the man was a ‘psychiatric patient’ and used expressions including ‘Allahu Akbar’, or ‘God is Great’. He was also heard to say ‘For the Children of Palestine’,

According to our information he was acting alone,’ said Mr Brandet. ‘He was arrested in the centre of the city, and was immediately placed in custody.’ He said the man, who has not yet been identified, ‘may face terrorist charges, but that will be a decision for the justice system.’

The driver was thought to be heading for a police station in Dijon, but only got as far as surrounding streets before his car was stopped.

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Posted on 12/21/2014 4:29 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
Advent Calendar XXI
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Midwinter Solstice. The shortest day. I was up early to watch the sunrise. Not for the first time it was raining. No rosy fingered dawn walking over the dew of yon high eastern suburban semi. So, something else instead. No, not Jethro Tull's Solstice Bells yet again. 

From Jethro Tull's Christmas album, which they always play at their annual Christmas concert for the homeless. 
God rest ye Merry, Gentlemen. 

 

And while you listen to the song, this is a photograph taken last year in Ely Cathedral, with the band doing a soundcheck before the concert in the background.

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Posted on 12/21/2014 3:44 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
Qatar Still Backs The Muslim Brotherhood
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Story here.

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Posted on 12/21/2014 3:50 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
Saudis, Like Pakistanis And Many Muslims, Like To Marry Relatives
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In Muslim lands, or among Muslim peoples even in lands not yet ruled by Islam, that is an environment where despotism, violence, aggression, deception are made familiar through the texts and tenets of the faith that suffuses everything, and of which one is made constanty aware by the references to Muhammad and Allah, trust does not extend very far. It is tribal rather than national, and sometimes it is not even tribal but extends only to the family. Hence the desirability of marrying cousins. And that means all kinds of congenital defects. You have only to see who comes, draped entirely in black, to the Children's Hospital in Boston, or to Harley Street specialists in London.

And if those Muslims who marry their cousins live in Western countries, and those Western countries supply them with free or subsidised health care, the costs to the system, that is to those non-Muslims who do not practice consanguinous marriage, is great and ever-growing

Perhaps a politician or a celebrated doctor might dare or care to discuss this matter in public? It is only getting worse.

Story here.
 

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Posted on 12/21/2014 11:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
North Carolina High School Vocabulary Lesson
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This woman is mad as a wet hen over this "vocabulary lesson" in given in the local High School - good for her.

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Posted on 12/21/2014 9:52 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
As in Murfreesboro, Justice Department Strong Arms Small Town City Council in Georgia to Force Mosque Approval
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Hugh Fitzgerald suggests that someone should sue the Justice Department and force them to defend their forcing of Islam on America. RT:

City Council officials in Kennesaw, Georgia, voted to approve the opening of a mosque in a local shopping center, despite some opposition from local residents, after supporters threatened to sue the city for violating their religious freedom rights.

The proposal passed by a vote of 5-0, reversing a 4-1 decision against the mosque that was made in early December.

Originally, the council argued that approving the land use permit sought by the Suffa Dawat Center could create serious traffic concerns at the shopping center in question, and that zoning regulations prohibited the construction of religious buildings, Reuters reported.

According to WSB TV, the shopping center local Muslims wanted to use is “mostly vacant.” The Suffa Dawat Center wants to open its mosque there for two years while it looks into building a more permanent place of worship elsewhere.

After the City Council’s original vote, though, Muslim residents threatened to sue the city for violating their First Amendment right to freedom of religion. They argued that a Christian church was permitted in another shopping center, and a complaint was filed with the Justice Department.

City clerk Pam Davis told Reuters that the Christian church was approved, but it was operating in a “completely different zoning” area.

Nevertheless, council members reconsidered their vote and decided to approve the mosque.

“I think we have achieved success for the whole community including those who oppose us,” mosque member Khalid Hashmi told WSB.

“The Bible says love thy neighbor. Our religion teaches love your neighbor,” said Samir Malik, another member.

Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews told MSNBC that while council members did not detail their reasons for changing their votes, he believes the decision is a positive one for the city.

“My hopes are that Kennesaw will continue to be viewed as a family-friendly city that is also a great place to live, work, learn, play, and worship,” Mathews said.

Still, many residents were unhappy with the council’s flip-flop. Before the decision was announced, protesters gathered outside of City Hall to express their opposition. They held signs that read “Ban Islam!” and “No Mosque!” according to WND.com, and also waved American flags.

“The imams in the mosques are all striving towards the establishment of a caliphate and you can’t have a constitutional republic along with a caliphate,” said local resident Linc Doberman to the website. “So you can allow it to continue creeping in, until you feel the deep, red welts of domination.”

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Posted on 12/21/2014 9:41 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
Mshad Al-Zaydi: Sharing the World With The Islamic State And The Islamic Republic
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Mshad Al-Zaydi fears the world of those Muslims -- Sunni in the case of the Islamic State, Shi'a in the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran -- who take Islam most to heart. But he cannot yet, or perhaps never will be able, or allow himself to admit, that what is wrong is what is in the Qur'an, what is in the Hadith, what is in the Sira, what it is about thaving  Muhamamd, as, for Musilms that permanent  Model of Conduct ("uswa hasana"), that Perfect Man ("al-insan al-kamil"), who must never ever be criticized in the slightest. Can such a man as Mshal Al-Zaydi ask himself what is wrong with Islam? Can he ask himself: what would the Arabs themselves have been like, what art, what music, what science, might they have developed, had not Islam contained or discouraged or forbidden or punished any art but calligraphy and mosque architecture, any music but, very occasionally, the folk songs, the wedding singers, the odd Umm Kalthum of the last century, any science if that science required, as science (but not technology) does, the habit of skepticism and independent thought. Many non-Arabs are, or soon will, come to realize that islamization means forced arabization, and that means a loss of one's own pre-Islamic history, and the adoption of a factitious Arab identity, or at least the attempt to emulate and pretend to be Arab. But what of the Arabs themselves? What about all those Saudis and Emiratis and Kuwaitis and Qataris rich enough, and presumably now worldly enough, to have seen and lived in London, Paris, and New York. Do they not ever stop counting their banknotes, and in those between-banquet moments, and after shopping, and before the grouplets of call girls arrive, meditating -- even if for only a moment -- in their hotels particuliers or Plantagenet hunting-lodges, about Islam and its effect on Arab civilization, on the Arabs themselves, and what they might have accomplished had they not submitted to Islam long ago? 

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Posted on 12/21/2014 9:08 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
Asian father-of-four raped pub worker for three hours after dragging her off the street saying 'you white women are good at it'
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From the Mail on Sunday

An Asian MUSLIM father-of-four dragged a young pub worker off the street and raped her for three hours saying 'you white women are good at it'. The woman, who is in her 20s, was walking home from work in Bedford at around 11pm when she was grabbed by Abdul Ghafoor, 33, and forced her into undergrowth, a court heard.

Picture of Ghafoor from the South Beds News agency via the Mail on Sunday. His face is pixelated out in a report from Bedford Today. But in line with the reasons given by Mr Justice Keehan in a case last week we have used the plain sight version. 

The victim had sent a WhatsApp message to her sister when she left work on May 30 this year to say she was walking to their flat.

But the married father-of-four, who had earlier propositioned two other white woman, demanded that the woman perform a sex act on him saying 'you white girls are good at it'. She was able to send a second message to her sister saying 'help me' before he smashed her phone.

At one point she managed to make a run for it when Ghafoor vomited as a result of the alcoholic drinks he had downed, but he caught her and took her back into the undergrowth. Her sister had raised the alarm and the victim heard the police helicopter overhead as a major search was launched to find her. 

Prosecutor at Luton Crown Court, Sally Hobson, said Ghafoor's attack had a racial aspect as he had made comments about the sort of behaviour white women would engage in.

'He made racially aggravated comments to the effect that this is the sort of behaviour that white women would engage in. If he saw her again she would give him a blow job,' she said. 'She was a white woman and he believed it was okay to behave in this way. It was a stranger rape of a young woman going about her business in her home town  she ought to feel safe.'

Ms Hobson said the victim had been 'like a frightened rabbit in the headlights' when she gave evidence in the witness box.'  She has been seeing a specialist counsellor and is now on medication and suffers from nightmares. But she described her as 'extremely brave young lady who conducted herself with dignity'. 

The victim listened to the sentencing from another room in the court building via a link.

Last month a jury found him guilty by majority verdicts of three offences of assault by penetration, two offences of rape, false imprisonment and assaulting the woman occasioning her actual bodily harm.  They found him not guilty of a third offence of rape but guilty by a majority of an alternative offence of attempted rape.

Ghafoor, of Nash Road, Bedford, told the jury he had drunk around five rum based drinks during the evening. He claimed she she consented to sexual activity. Asked to explain her Whatsapp message, he said the victim was asking her sister to arrange a birthday party to which he would be invited.

Judge Richard Foster said the victim had been subjected to a 'nightmare of unimaginable proportions'. He told Ghafoor he had been on the lookout for a victim that night and subjected the woman to the most appalling sexual abuse for over three hours.  'You forced her to perform oral sex and you said: "you white girls are good at it." To some extent the offence was racially aggravated.'

He passed a life sentence for public protection saying he regarded Ghafoor as a dangerous offender. 

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Posted on 12/21/2014 7:48 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
Tariq Almohayed: More Sanctions On Iran A Good Idea
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Not Mark Kirk, not Robert Menendez, but Tariq Almohayed, a well-known Saudi journalist, suggests that since Iran is the fons et origo of much of the Middle East's current distempers  (the "root cause" of those distempers is Islam, but it would be unfair to expect Tariq Almohayed to discuss that) , suggests that now is the time for the sanctions placed on Iran by the American government to be strengthened.

Here.

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Posted on 12/21/2014 7:49 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
'Racist' Respect leader a serving JP
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Andrew Gilligan in the Telegraph

A man expelled from George Galloway’s Respect party for racism and anti-Semitism is serving as a magistrate in London’s most multiracial borough. On his Facebook page, Abul "Abz" Hussain, a British Bangladeshi, condemns "ignorant" people who "want me to ‘integrate’ into a decadent [Western] lifestyle."

As a sitting Justice of the Peace (JP) at Stratford magistrates’ court in Newham, east London, Mr Hussain is called upon to enforce British law, a key tenet of the society he appears to question. Sitting with two other magistrates, he passes verdicts and sentences in most criminal cases, with the power to impose up to six months’ imprisonment. More serious cases are also first heard by magistrates, who can grant or deny bail.

A resident of neighbouring Tower Hamlets, Mr Hussain is a strong supporter of Lutfur Rahman, the borough’s extremist-linked independent mayor, who was re-elected by a narrow margin in May. 

During the campaign, Mr Hussain stated on Twitter that Tower Hamlets had been treated by the Labour Party as the "last outpost of the British Raj" and added: "I’m definitely not a racist but I’ll admit to voting on racial lines… this is a show of BD [Bangladeshi] strength to Labour HQ!"

He claimed Bangladeshis were treated by Labour as "colonial subjects" and said the borough under the party was a "collection of bantustans", artificial states created by the apartheid regime in South Africa to segregate black people. A recent entry on his Facebook page shows a man hitting a woman with a mallet. 

Mr Hussain was expelled by Respect two weeks before polling day after posting in a Facebook exchange: "You know the world’s coming to an end when a Jew accuses you of being of his kind… I should have put u on that convoy to Gaza, could have traded the Jew with the Israelis to let the aid through."

Despite Mr Hussain’s expulsion, he was appointed a magistrate in September 2011. 

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Posted on 12/21/2014 7:38 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 21 December 2014
Interview with Open Hillel Defector Holly Bicerano
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From New Voices:

Holly Bicerano, a student at Boston University and the former Campus Outreach Co-Coordinator for Open Hillel, made waves in the Jewish world after publishing an op-ed in the Times of Israel called “Standing athwart lies,” explaining why she decided to leave the organization. Chief among her complaints are that, far from promoting true open dialogue and inclusiveness in Jewish spaces, one the organization’s main goals is to foster support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel; that Open Hillel is, ironically, no less guilty than Hillel itself in muzzling voices it does not like; and that it formed an “anti-normalization committee.” New Voices editor Derek Kwait approached Holly shortly after she published her op-ed to find out more.

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You mentioned the nasty language some in the movement had for Dr. Elie Wiesel as being what first made you question the Open Hillel movement. Can you go into a little more detail about what happened from there until you published the op-ed?

The treatment of the issue of inviting Dr. Wiesel to the conference served as a wake-up call for me. But the issue was dropped when I found out that Dr. Wiesel would not be able to make it. At the conference, I moderated the BDS panel with Dr. Sa’ed Atshan of Tufts University and Ms. Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). During the panel, Dr. Atshan proclaimed that all Zionists are racists. While he is entitled to say what he wants, I do not think that welcoming someone like him to berate the Jewish community would benefit us.

After the conference, I began paying attention to what SJP chapters were doing on campuses — that is, harassing and marginalizing pro-Israel students. I gradually realized that the actual effects of Open Hillel’s policies would be to harm and divide the Jewish community. The last straw was when Open Hillel formed the anti-normalization committee. I quit several weeks ago and took time to gather my thoughts before deciding to write an article in the Times of Israel.

How have you “come to understand” that the right-wing leaders were invited to the conference as a token gesture? In the article you say that some organizational leaders emphasized to those who didn’t want them there that they were invited out of political necessity, but is it possible they said that just to placate those people?

I came to understand this because they were only willing to go through with bringing right-wing speakers after lengthy debates about how this would help further their agenda. How can someone who is pro-Israel feel welcome in Open Hillel, given that several organizers want to keep out leading voices in the pro-Israel community? Many people involved with Open Hillel do not want open dialogue. They just want a platform for BDS.

Was this anti-Israel sentiment a major part of Open Hillel from the beginning, or did it come in later after the movement became more well-known?

It came out later as we were planning the conference.

Besides the “anti-normalization committee” and alleged pro-BDS bias, what else is Open Hillel not transparent about?  

They constantly state that they do not have any political agenda. That is nonsense. As a former steering committee member, I can tell you with absolute certainty that there are several organizers who want anti-normalization to be taught and implemented in Open Hillel. While they chastise Hillel for not wanting to give a platform for BDS, they reject some of the Jewish community’s most illustrious speakers, like Dr. Wiesel.

The recent eavesdropping scandal was noticeably absent in your op-ed. Was that at all a factor in your decision to leave?

I left before that happened.

Are there others in the movement or who have recently left who share your sentiment?

One person left because he did not like the direction that Open Hillel was going in. Another person is planning on leaving soon because he shares some of the same sentiments as I do.

What do you see as the future for Open Hillel?

I do not think much is going to change. They will certainly continue to attack Hillel International, but with little success. I do see hope for change among liberal Zionists, like those in J Street who have been supporting Open Hillel. I believe it is incumbent on Mr. Peter Beinart, who has become the patron saint of liberal Zionism, to renounce his support for Open Hillel.

Would you continue to support Open Hillel if it did a better job of living up to its stated ideals?

There is a curious paradox about Open Hillel. On one hand, they claim that they want open dialogue. On the other hand, many of them belong to organizations like JVP and SJP. These groups regularly disrupt pro-Israel events, try to cancel pro-Israel speakers on campuses, and use guerrilla tactics such as obstructing Birthright tables. That is why there is no way that Open Hillel can live up to their ostensible principles.

Your point about how there is no evidence that Open Hillel has made any substantial difference came to mind when I read the press release they sent less than 24 hours after your announcement, with the headline, “Hillel International’s policies are crumbling” because of events that are not at Open Hillels. I am curious to know your thoughts on this.

It is dishonest advertising. They mention the fact that a J Street U chapter brought Rabbi Arik Ascherman from Rabbis for Human Rights to speak in Hillel at the University of Michigan. But supporting the settlement boycott, as he does, does not violate the Standards of Partnership. What does actually violate the standards is support for the BDS movement against Israel, which Ascherman opposes. 

Have your thoughts on the Conflict changed along with your feelings towards Open Hillel?

It depends on the issue. My views on BDS have changed immensely. I try to portray Israel in a more positive light now to counter those who demonize and delegitimize it. I also criticize Palestinian actions more often. I am still against the illegal settlement enterprise, home demolitions, and the occupation. 

Have any misconceptions arisen around your leaving that you would like to clarify?

Some people believe that I had a sudden change of heart. But I actually quit Open Hillel several weeks ago after months of fighting against anti-normalization and censorship within Open Hillel. I want people to understand that it was a gradual process based on rational considerations.
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Posted on 12/21/2014 2:29 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Saturday, 20 December 2014
A Musical Interlude: How Come You Do Me Like You Do? (Marion Harris)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 12/20/2014 9:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 20 December 2014
ISIS Is Islam On Stilts: Once You Are In, You Can't Get Out
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100 "deserters" from Islamic State --people who became demoralized and tired of fighting --  have apparently been executed in Raqqa.

Story here.
 

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Posted on 12/20/2014 9:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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