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The Real Nature of Religion
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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
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by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
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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

Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Magdi Khalil, In The White Trunks

And against this Coptic writer on human rights, in the black trunks, some nasty Tunisian who quotes the Holocaust-denying, Stalinist-turned-fanatical-Muslim Roger Garaudy, as his authority.

You'll like Magdi Khalil, and can shut off the other one whenever it becomes unbearable to watch



Posted on 01/28/2015 10:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Tareq Yousef Al-Masri: Admit It -- Muslims Are Time Bombs, We Hate Christians


He can't allow himself to locate the source of the problem in the Qur'an, in the Hadith, in the example of Muhammad -- though he does indicate that the "kind verses" in the Qur'an are treated by those who apply "naskh" (abrogation) as of no value, demonstrating that there are other, unkind verses in the Qur'an, leading to the unkindest cuts of all. 

But he's stating some home truths, to fellow Muslims. He describes those Muslims who, "repenting" of their Western decadence, pick up bombs by way of showing they have Got That Old-Time Religion. He mentions that Muslims hate Christians -- but he sticks to the example of their refusing to wish Christians "Merry Christmas" and does not discuss the verses in the Qur'an that inculcate hatred of Jews and Christians, and of course of all those who are not even Ahl Al-Kitab, "People of the Book."

It's remarkable. One wonders how that imam is now faring.

Posted on 01/28/2015 10:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Amir Mohebbifar, Muslim "Refugee", Jailed For Rape of Non-Muslim Girl; One More Reason Why No More Muslims Should Be Let Into Australia

He came here by boat in March 2013, claiming asylum, and was foolishly granted his request.  In January 2014, having been in Australia less than a year, he raped an Aussie non-Muslim woman (and he is not the first or the only Muslim who, admitted into Australia as 'migrant', as 'refugee' or as 'student', has very quickly proceeded to attack the local non-Muslim women). 

Three accounts of the case, the trial and sentence, each containing additional details, have appeared in our papers: in the Telegraph, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Australian.

First up, Ben McClellan's report in Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

"Iranian on Bridging Visa Amir Mohebbifar sentenced to six [sic: it says 'eight' in the text - CM] years' jail for aggravated sex assault of 19 year old on Anzac Bridge".

"An Iranian immigrant (that is: an Iranian Muslim immigrant - CM) sentenced to eight years' jail for raping a teenage girl said [that[ in his home country western women were "portrayed as whores", a court heard yesterday.

So what? That's not a mitigating factor. He had been in Australia for nearly twelve months when he carried out the attack, plenty time enough for the relevant people to have impressed upon him, loud and clear, on multiple occasions, and in his own language just to make sure it got through, the fact that unislamically-dressed Australian women and girls are NOT whores and are not to be treated as such.  If they (our authorities and assorted immigration department employees) didn't, they should have.  And they should also have told him - but clearly they did not - that he must obey OUR rules, OR ELSE; and that if he laid so much as a finger on any woman or girl, in Australia, against her will and without her consent, that he would be arrested, charged, punished, and then sent back to Iran.  Of course, all of this mess would have been avoided had he - as an identifiable Muslim male - never been allowed into the country in the first place. - CM

'Amir Mohebbifar, 27, pleaded guilty to the aggravated sexual assault of the 19 year old woman in a brutal early-morning attack on Sydney's Anzac Bridge on January 16 last year [2014].

'Mohebbifar admitted he had pushed the young woman into bushes on a pathway leading up to the bridge in Pyrmont and then proceeded to rape her.

'In sentencing him yesterday, Judge Donna Woodburne said Mohebbifar had preyed on a vulnerable young woman who was simply trying to get home.

'Mohebbifar was sentenced to serve eight years in jail with a minimum non-parole period of six years.

Why grant him even the possibility of parole? He's a menace to every nonMuslim female in Australia that he might happen to meet.  Make him serve out the full eight years; and then kick his backside all the way back to Iran where he belongs. - CM

'Ms Woodburne said the sexual assault, in which Mohebbifar violently shoved two fingers into the victim's vagina and "pushed hard" would have been "sheer terror" for the woman.

'She kicked, screamed and even bit him to make him stop.

'The university-educated Mohebbifar, who came from a middle-class Iranian family, told a psychologist that Western women were "portrayed as whores" in Iran.

That's no excuse, and he should have been told as much. - CM

'In explaining the reasoning behind (sic; I would have written - "In attempting to invent excuses for..." - CM)  his horrific attack he also said that he had been depressed because he had been unable to make friends since arriving in Australia.

Ah yes, it's all our fault...He wuz depressed, poor dear, so he just had to sneak up on some poor girl, drag her into the bushes, and subject her to violent sexual assault.  Pfffft!  But: make friends with whom? If he's a Muslim, then he's not supposed to make friends with the dirty kuffar.  He's only supposed to be friends with his fellow Muslims; Shiite if Shiite, Sunni if Sunni. If his fellow Muslims didn't embrace him that's his problem and theirs, not ours.  - CM

'Mohebbifar sobbed in the court as his sentence was read out.

Fake tears, betcha. - CM

'He sat next to a Persian interpreter (I'd like to know whether that interpreter is Muslim or non-Muslim; if Muslim, I wouldn't trust a word they said - CM) and told the court through a letter he was "truly sorry and deeply regretted" what he had done.

I'll bet he's only sorry he got caught. - CM

'Mohebbifar was living in Australia on an expired bridging visa after arriving by boat in March 2013.

His visa had expired.  Why wasn't he tracked down and given the boot?  Memo to our immigration minister: can we please, please, please not let into the country any more males like 'Amir Mohebbifar"? They're a menace. 

And now to Stephanie Gardiner of the reliably Islamophile Sydney Morning Herald, who seems to have swallowed all those taqiyya tears and fake remorse.

'Anzac Bridge Rapist Jailed for Six Years".

Anzac Bridge Muslim Rapist Jailed For Six Years.  That's what it should say. Because...Mohammed, who is the permanently-valid role model for all pious Muslims, raped non-Muslim captive women - Rayhana, Safiyya, Juwariyya, and the hapless slave, Maria the Copt - and approved of and acquiesced in the rape of non-Muslim women by his 'companions'.  Islam encourages in Muslim men an attitude of total contempt and of sexual aggression toward non-Muslim women and girls; as we have seen in the multiple horrific cases of Muslim male gangs preying upon underaged girls in the UK, in the past twenty years and more. - CM

"Hi, are you walking home?"  With those seemingly friendly words, Amir Mohebbifar began a violent sexual attack on a 19 year old woman as she walked home on the Anzac Bridge.

Ignore the empty words; focus on the violent deeds. That is the way to see Islam for what it is, Muslims for what they are. - CM

'After drinking most of a bottle of whiskey, Mohebbifar accosted the woman as she walked towards Balmain, in Sydney's inner west, forced her into bushes and raped her just after 2 am on January 16 2014.

Drinking alcohol is forbidden by Islam (though many a Muslim is known to indulge in the hard stuff behind closed doors); but raping an uncovered woman, a dirty kuffar female, is perfectly halal, a logical follow-on from the misogyny - and the hatred of the  filthy unbelievers - that is hardwired into Islam

See an indepth discussion of the subject, here (Frontpage symposium from 2006,  "To Rape an Unveiled Woman")

'In the Downing Centre District Court on Wednesday, Judge Donna Woodburne sentenced Mohebbifar to at least six years' jail for what she described as a serious and traumatic attack.

"To be accosted and seized and dragged off the street could only have been a terrifying experience", Judge Woodburne said. 

'The woman, who cannot be identified, did not give a victim statement to the court.

'Mohebbifar, an Iranian asylum seeker who arrived in Australia by boat in March 2013, was on a bridging visa at the time of the attack.

'The court heard that he had become frustrated and bored in Sydney because he found it hard making friends and was unable to work under the conditions of his visa.

So what?  Plenty of other people who are frustrated, bored, and out of work, or are having trouble making friends, do not leap upon random teenage girls and drag them into bushes and sexually assault them. - CM

"In the commission of his offence, he exhibited a sheer lack of respect and total disregard for his victim", the judge said.

Yes.  And no amount of frantic excuse-making can make that fact go away. - CM

"In the face of the victim's protests, screams and struggles, Mr Mohebbifar continued".

"The attack perpetrated..was an aggressive sexual attack committed on a vulnerable young woman, committed on a street at night.  The Australian not responsible for that.  Mr Mohebbifar is, as he recognises".

He got caught and he's trying some damage control. I don't believe a word he says. As for the government not being responsible...they are responsible insofar as they stupidly let him - and other barbaric Muslim males like him, of whom we have had not a few (gang rapists, indecent assaulters, taxi-driver rapists, online 'groomers' of underage girls) into the country in the first place.  They placed this dangerous Muslim's lying sob story - whatever it was - ahead of their duty of care to the non-Muslim citizens of Australia, especially the female citizens.  The girl's family would be well advised to sue the Immigration Department. - CM

'Mohebbifar, who was found hiding under a car and "sweating profusely" after the attack, said he was ashamed of himself and was remorseful.

Pull the other leg, mate, it's got bells on. - CM

'He told a psychologist he lost control, but stopped the attack after about 20 minutes, because he knew it was wrong and "it was like a bad dream".

I don't believe him.  He might have realized that just perhaps he was going to get caught - as he did - and get in trouble with the Infidel law enforcement in Australlia - as he did - and that he might get given the boot - as I certainly hope he will be. That's all . - CM

'The court heard Mohebbifar told the psychologist, "I came to myself. My conscience came back to me and I stopped. What I was doing was not making sense to me".

I'd like to hear from the victim.  I'd like to know whether someone came to her help, and how long it was between the attack and when this creep got arrested.  I'd like to know whether there is CCTV footage. Because, to be blunt, I don't believe a word that issues from Mohebbifar's mouth. My guess is that he's saying whatever he thinks  the kuffar psychologist and judge and jury want to hear from him.  Damage control.  - CM

'The former design student grew up in a happy, warm and liberal family environment in Iran, and his actions had brought shame upon his relatives, the court heard.

"He acknowledged that in Iran, Western women are portrayed as whores, but in his family, he had been taught to respect all people", Judge Woodburne said.

Really?  "All people"? Or just "all Muslim people"?  And - supposing his parents were 'liberal', that doesn't necessarily mean he shared their views.  Again, I have to say, given what he did - to a citizen of a country that had offered him hospitality - that I don't believe him.  And now for a sob story:

'The court heard Mohebbifar was forced to leave Iran after being threatened and intimidated by the family of his girlfriend, who did not approve of their relationship.  He was also worried about the possibility of harm against his girlfriend.

I don't care. Send him back to face the music. He can flit to some other Muslim country if he likes. - CM

"There's a gap between the concern he felt for his Iranian girlfriend and the utter lack of concern he felt for the welfare, safety and security of his 19 year old victim", the Judge said.

Yes.  And the gap is explained by Surah 48: 29: "Muhammad is the apostle of allah. Those who follow him are merciful to one another, and harsh [Arabic ashiddaa - also translatable as 'violent', 'vehement', 'ruthless', 'hard', and in French, 'dur' and 'terrible'] to the unbelievers".  The girlfriend in Iran is a fellow Muslim; the uncovered girl on the Anzac Bridge is a dirty kuffar.  The former is to be respected; the latter, not. - CM

'Mohebbifar, who trembled and cried throughout the sentencing (crocodile tears - CM) pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault.

'He was sentenced to a maximum term of eight years, and will be eligible for parole in January 2020.

Please, no parole.  Make him serve the full eight years in jug and then...put him on a plane to Iran. No matter how loudly he weeps and wails. We don't need him. We don't want him.

And now for the report from Lauren Farrow  of The Australian.

You will notice that not one of these reports anywhere mentions the word Islam or Muslim or says anything at all about the way in which, within the canonical texts of Islam, women in general, and non-Muslim women in particular, are described and how those texts say that women - Muslim and non-Muslim - are to be treated; and how and why that explains the fact that in fervently-Shiite-Muslim Iran Western - that is, Western non-Muslim - women are represented as "whores". - CM

'Anzac Bridge Attacker Jailed for 6 Years'.

'An Iranian-born (and Muslim-reared - CM) man had found it difficult to "adjust" to Australian women's "revealing garments" before sexualling assaulting a woman on Sydney's Anzac Bridge.

Oh, poor little persecuted petal, surrounded by all those wicked kuffar whores with their head hair, ears, necks, arms and legs from the knee down exposed, he simply couldn't control himself...waaah!  And we let this man into Australia? Why??? - CM

'Amir Mohebbifar, 27, who had arrived at Christmas Island in 2013 and been granted a bridging visa, has been sentenced to at least 6 years in prison for the aggravated sexual assault last year.

'He had told the court he had initially had issues with the clothing of Australian women but had always been taught to respect people.

I'd like to know his exact words. Because non-Muslims are not, of course, 'people'; they are "the worst of beasts", so says the Quran. - CM

"The Australian government and community is not responsible for that; Mr Mohebbifar is", Judge Donna Woodburne said in sentencing him at Sydney's District Court on Wednesday.

'Mohebbifar approached the 19 year old woman on the bridge early on January 16.

'She initially managed to brush off his questions (I'd like to know more about this: what questions, precisely? - CM) but soon after heard his footsteps quickening into a run towards her.

'Despite her screaming and protests, he pushed her into a bush and sexually assaulted her, Judge Woodburne said.

'He unzipped his pants but suddenly stopped and left.

Maybe he realized that he was going to be in big trouble with Aussie - non-Muslim - law enforcement. - CM

'Police later discovered Mohebbifar "hiding under a car, sweating profuselfy and breathing heavily".

Frightened of having annoyed the local kuffar enough to get booted back to Iran? - CM

"To be accosted, seized, and dragged off the street by a complete stranger must have been terrifying", Judge Woodburne said. (describing the victim - CM)

"She was doing nothing more than peacefully going about her business, walking along public streets to go home".

'The court heard Mohebbifar had felt excluded, depressed and socially isolated in the lead-up to the attack (so what? plenty of Aussie non-Muslim men, feel  excluded, depressed and socially isolated and don't jump out and sexually assault random females - CM) and did not know why he carried it out.

Pffft.  He was brought up in Muslim Iran.  That's enough to explain it. - CM

"I wasn't myself and I'm truly sorry" he said.

'he said he had stopped the assault after unzipping his pants because "it was like suddenly my conscience woke up".

Really?   - CM

"He wanted a girlfriend but was not sure how to make contact", Judge Woodburne said.

Piffle.  He is, supposedly, university-educated; he had been in Australia for nearly a year; he should have known at least something about local customs and laws. - CM

'Mohebbifar cried as he was sentenced to a minimum of six years and a maximum of eight.

"The fact that he will or might be deported is irrelevant to this sentencing exercise" Judge Woodburne said..".

Deport him. Deport him. Deport him.  I hope that the victim's family and friends are writing to the Immigration Minister and other relevant people right now, demanding that this man a/ serve out his full eight years behind bars, no parole and b/ sentence served, he be sent inexorably back to Islamic Iran, where he belongs. And they and all the rest of us Aussies need to be lobbying all our politicians day in and day out with one simple demand - "No. More.  Muslims!".  The Muslims we've already let in have shown themselves to be, far too often, both expensive and dangerous; it's time to stop importing them before the situation gets any worse.  - CM


Posted on 01/28/2015 8:39 PM by Christina McIntosh
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
A Musical Interlude: Who's That Knocking At My Door? (Annette Hanshaw)

Listen here.

Posted on 01/28/2015 9:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Latest Idiotic Made-Up Fashionable Pseudo-Field

"Digital Humanities."

To use a line from Pale Fire, "do those clowns really believe what they teach?"

Christ on a crutch.

Posted on 01/28/2015 9:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Defend Free Speech!

The very cornerstone of the great Western democracies has been the Judeo-Christian belief in the freedom of expression. In the United States this God given right has been enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment guarantees the freedom of the press, speech, religion and peaceful protest.

Recently, all of these divine values came under attack in France. Violent, fanatical Muslim terrorists killed 12 members of the staff of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that dared to publish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. The terrorists were offended by mere cartoons !

Well, I for one am offended by their barbaric ideology that drives their murderous acts. They took precious human lives due to their warped and godless beliefs. This is a direct assault upon freedom throughout the world . It is a direct assault upon the One True God who teaches love and freedom for all humanity.

Freedom of the press, of speech and of religion must be defended at all costs. Without these freedoms we will become slaves of this mutated, evil strain of Islam. Freedom is the most precious gift given by God to humanity,

I know not what others will do, but I will oppose this monstrous evil that seeks world domination in every way possible. Dietrich Bonhoeffer a Lutheran pastor wrote near the end of World War II, “To remain silent in the face of evil, is evil itself.” I refuse to cower, I refuse to remain silent. I will speak outagainst this spreading black shadow that threatens  to engulf the world and destroy our hard won freedoms. I refuse to become complicit with evil.

So help me God.

First published as a letter to the editor in the Jonesboro Sun.

Posted on 01/28/2015 5:10 PM by John Constantine
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
The Appalling SOTU

The president’s State of the Union message last Tuesday was in many respects, and as has been much remarked upon, an appalling document. It was verbose, stylistically grating, and largely fraudulent, as it took credit for benign developments that have not occurred and unctuously denounced political practices of which he has been the chief practitioner. There was a high point, near the end, when he said: “Surely we can agree that it’s a good thing that for the first time in forty years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for Democrats and Republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform America’s criminal-justice system so that it protects and serves all of us.” Surely the country can, but having said that “we may have different takes on the events in Ferguson and New York,” he gave no hint what his take was, and he did not propose anything to accelerate the very modest start that has been made to lower levels of crime and incarceration. 

It is a notorious fact and an American shame before the whole civilized world that has been mentioned a number of times in this space, that the American criminal-justice system is a mockery of the country’s professed championship of the rule of law and the objective fairness of American justice. The Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendment guarantees of due process, the grand jury (as an assurance against capricious prosecution or an official whitewash), no seizure of property without just compensation, access to counsel (of choice), prompt justice, an impartial jury, and reasonable bail have been shredded and burned, while the Supreme Court has sat as mute as pumpkins. It is an inexpressible scandal that 99.5 percent of prosecutions are successful, 97 percent without trial, because of the hideous deformation of the plea bargain, in which witnesses are threatened with prosecution if they do not, with immunity from charges of perjury, deliver incriminating evidence against a target — whose assets are often frozen in ex parte proceedings over false charges of ill-gotten gains — to prevent a serious defense by America’s avaricious trial lawyers. No sane person would dispute the president’s evident conviction that there are many wrongs to be righted, but apart from a minor reduction of sentences for some soft-drug offenders, all the over-prosecuted citizens of the carceral state of America have heard from their president on this issue is the sound of one hand clapping.

This, I regret to remind, was the high point of the president’s State of the Union message, and it came after a test of the listeners’ staying power of nearly an hour, devoted altogether to a rewrite of recent American history, in which Mr. Obama emerged (unrecognizably) as the pristine champion of successful diplomatic suavity abroad and of nonpartisan virtue at home. He claimed huge credit for job-creation figures that were very inferior to those of the Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy-Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton years, and claimed that this success was based on the reversal of outsourcing. It wasn’t. He took credit for reducing dependence on foreign oil, though his docility before the eco-radicals caused him to fight against much of what has produced the increased domestic production of which he now boasts. He claimed credit for reduction in oil, gasoline, and other fuel costs, though the reduction is due to the increased production he obstructed and Saudi production increases motivated largely by Obama’s failure to take effective action against the Iranian nuclear military program, Iran’s support of Hamas and Hezbollah, and Iranian and Russian meddling in Syria. He was taking credit for the success of developments he opposed and the actions of countries motivated by his failure to act.

In domestic affairs, the president gave a menu of blissfully unattainable legislative ideas clearly designed to enable him in his memoirs to claim that he was sandbagged by Republican reactionaries from transforming Jeremiah Wright’s racist and exploitive America into a serene, law-abiding, uniformly prosperous commonwealth. He proposed seven days of sick leave for everyone. We’ll have to see his bill, but that sounds like seven more holidays, when he should have said full pay for people absent because of sickness, within reason — that is the norm with most employers. His plan for free community-college education: Again, we will want to see how he funds this immense cost, but unless he has the most creative moments of his public life, apart from his talents as a mythmaker, this won’t fly either. The president proposed an “infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year” as the XL pipeline he opposes (which requires no government financing and should be built). It is a false comparison.


Even more fatuous were: “Let’s simplify the [tax] system and let a small-business owner file based on her actual bank statement, instead of the number of accountants she can afford.” And: “Let’s close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top 1 percent to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth. [Yes, he said “wealth” and not “income.”] We can use that money to . . . pay for child care and . . . college. We need a tax code that truly helps working Americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy.” At best, this smacks of Jimmy Carter’s pre-election fulmination in 1976 that “the tax code is a disgrace to the human race.” The species has greater embarrassments, but Carter failed to change it significantly, and he had the excuse of not having yet been elected president when he said that. Whose leg did the president think he was pulling by imagining that he could smoke a simplified tax code and a wealth tax through a Congress both houses of which are controlled by his opponents, who, though one would never imagine it from his ungracious reflections on the Republicans in his remarks, had just thrashed the president to a pulp, running directly against him, in midterm elections two months before?

All this was a mere sorbet; then came foreign policy. “I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building. . . . Around the globe, it’s making a difference.” He claimed credit for pioneering the idea that the U.S. should assist local governments in threatened countries in promoting a victory of the civilized local options. But this was the Truman Doctrine in Greece and even Korea, the Nixon Doctrine, including Vietnamization in South Vietnam, and even Reagan’s assistance to the Contras in Nicaragua. And it is not consistent with Obama’s somewhat churlish departure from Iraq, which was just as mindlessly abrupt as George W. Bush’s plunge into that country, and which helped create the vacuum in which the Islamic State flourished.

But we need not fear: “We’re demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy. . . . Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, Mr. Putin’s aggression, it was suggested, was a masterful display of strategy and strength. . . . Today it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters . . . [owing to America’s] persistent, steady resolve.” It is completely inappropriate, as well as vain and hazardous, to ridicule a foreign leader in such an address when not at war with him. In fact, the United States fumbled and blustered; the allies milled about like worried sheep; and the Saudi oil-price reductions, provoked by American-led Western feebleness, achieved the conditions Obama exaggerated and claimed for his own account.

As the president who has tried to force the Roman Catholic Church to pay for the most expensive birth-control products to ensure that even its most sexually active employees and students avoid procreating, it was piquant for Obama to cite Pope Francis in implicit support of his overture to Cuba.

And then, the ne plus ultra: If the Congress persists in its ambition to layer in new sanctions if Iran does not agree to an agreement forswearing nuclear weapons, he will veto that. In furtherance of this, he prevailed upon the beleaguered British prime minister, David Cameron, to lobby U.S. senators against a veto override. The Churchill-Roosevelt, Thatcher-Reagan tradition has fallen to this — a breach of protocol. (So, admittedly, is the Republican leadership’s invitation to Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress without speaking to the White House, but after the stunts Obama has pulled, it is hard to become too angry with the Republicans.) The proposed senatorial action would apply only if these negotiations fail, and Obama fears that this would give the Iranians (but also him) a pretext for the failure of negotiation. But the agreement that is deemed so inviolate reduces Iranian centrifuges only from ten to six times what is necessary for a nuclear application, and promises the delivery of eight tons of nuclear material to the Russians (whose leader Obama had just denounced as a belligerent incompetent whom he had just outmaneuvered). If Iran is allowed to achieve even this advanced state, many other countries, including several in the Middle East, will purport to require an equivalent nuclear-threshold condition and Iran will conduct itself with the swagger of a nuclear state, as it would only be about three undetectable months away from a deliverable nuclear weapon. Further, the president purports to regard any agreement as not requiring Senate ratification — which may be correct, and would make the pending bill that he is making threats against the only look Congress will get to have at this very dubious policy of appeasement of Iran.

From here the speech tapers off into jeremiads about global warming, though that phrase has been abandoned by the eco-terrorists in favor of the blancmange “climate change,” since there has been no appreciable warming in 75 years, though the president claimed otherwise. And then, mercifully, it ended, after an hour sprinkled with acoustically painful invocations of “folks,” “kids,” and “mom” (he’s the president, not Mr. Rogers). The State of the Union cannot be good when its twice-chosen leader summarizes it in such an orgy of claptrap. As Tex Ritter used to sing, during his unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate from Tennessee in 1970, “God bless America, again.”

First published in National Review Online.

— Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, A Matter of Principle, and Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership. He can be reached at [email protected] .

Posted on 01/28/2015 2:56 PM by Conrad Black
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
State Department Hosts Pro-Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian Contingent Furthering Administration Support of Radical Islam


Waleed Sharaby

Secretary  General of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council Flashes Rabia MB resistance sign

 US State Department 1-27-15, Source: screenshot

Tuesday evening in Washington, DC, we had more evidence of the Administration’s policy of appeasing Muslim Brotherhood opponents of the Al-Sisi government in Cairo, the latter seeking to reform radical Islamic doctrine espousing Salafist Jihad.  Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon reported this latest example of outreach to Radical Islamist groups in the Ummah, Muslim Brotherhood-Aligned Leaders Hosted at State Department:”

One member of the delegation, a Brotherhood-aligned judge in Egypt, posed for a picture while at Foggy Bottom in which he held up the Islamic group’s notorious four-finger Rabia symbol, according to his Facebook page.

That delegation member, Waleed Sharaby, is a secretary-general of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council and a spokesman for Judges for Egypt, a group reported to have close ties to the Brotherhood.

The delegation also includes Gamal Heshmat, a leading member of the Brotherhood, and Abdel Mawgoud al-Dardery, a Brotherhood member who served as a parliamentarian from Luxor.

Sharaby, the Brotherhood-aligned judge, flashed the Islamist group’s popular symbol in his picture at the State Department and wrote in a caption: “Now in the U.S. State Department. Your steadfastness impresses everyone,” according to an independent translation of the Arabic.

Another member of the delegation, Maha Azzam, confirmed during an event hosted Tuesday by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID)—another group accused of having close ties to the Brotherhood—that the delegation had “fruitful” talks with the State Department.

Note this comment of Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy:

Maha Azzam confirms that ‘anti-coup’ delegation, which includes 2 top [Muslim Brothers], had ‘fruitful’ conversations at State Dept,” Egypt expert Eric Trager tweeted.

“The State Department continues to speak with Muslim Brothers on the assumption that Egyptian politics are unpredictable, and the Brotherhood still has some support in Egypt,” he said. “But when pro-Brotherhood delegations then post photos of themselves making pro-Brotherhood gestures in front of the State Department logo, it creates an embarrassment for the State Department.”

Sam Tadros, Egypt expert at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom in Washington, DC commented:

“I think the Muslim Brotherhood visit serves two goals,” Tadros said. “First, organizing the pro Muslim Brotherhood movement in the U.S. among the Egyptian and other Arab and Muslim communities.”

“Secondly, reaching out to administration and the policy community in D.C.,” Tadros said. “The delegation’s composition includes several non-official Muslim Brotherhood members to portray an image of a united Islamist and non-Islamist revolutionary camp against the regime.”

Counterterrorism expert, Patrick Poole said:

What this shows is that the widespread rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East, particularly the largest protests in recorded human history in Egypt on June 30, 2013, that led to Morsi’s ouster, is not recognized by the State Department and the Obama administration,” Poole said.

“This is a direct insult to our Egyptian allies, who are in an existential struggle against the Muslim Brotherhood, all in the pursuit of the mythical ‘moderate Islamists’ who the D.C. foreign policy elite still believe will bring democracy to the Middle East,” Poole said.

It is beyond time for the GOP-controlled Congress to investigate why the Administration deigns to provide auspices to invite Egyptian and other foreign Muslim Brotherhood leaders to meet publicly with White House National Security and State Department officials in Washington. This latest example continues the impression that the Obama Administration supports Radical Islamic doctrine.  It is a further example of how far the Administration has gone in fostering infiltration of Muslim Brotherhood domestic and foreign groups in the US enabling their   “messaging”.  All while this Administration persists in deracinating the vestiges of Jihad threat doctrine training for our military, homeland security and national law enforcement agencies.




Posted on 01/28/2015 2:36 PM by Jerry Gordon
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Britain and the Arabs: David Pryce Jones Reviews JB Kelly's Collected Works

David Pryce-Jones reviews the first two volumes of JB Kelly's collected works (published by NER Press) in National Review:

As a correspondent covering the Six-Day War of 1967 and its aftermath, I had observed Yasser Arafat mobilizing the Palestine Liberation Organization for a guerrilla campaign on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. According to Chairman Mao, then still much admired by left-wing intellectuals, power was supposed to come from the barrel of a gun. The Face of Defeat (1972) is the book in which I expressed the view that nothing could come from this course of armed action except endless and probably irrevocable harm to the Palestinians. Determined to keep with the trend, the Times Literary Supplement made sure to give it a disparaging review. Out of the blue, the mail then delivered the offprint of an article by J. B. Kelly in a learned journal with the apt title “‘TLS’ in the Desert.” The opening sentence had a reference to this book of mine. John Kelly had come to my defense, with a critique of the selective quotations and omissions that had misrepresented what I was saying. For the next 30 and more years, John was to be a generous friend and guide to the complexities of the Middle East.

At the time, John was a professor of imperial history at the University of Wisconsin. On a par with India and Ireland, Palestine was one of the British Empire’s failures, and the rights and wrongs of that particular issue are so clear cut that he rarely commented on them. Arabia and the Persian Gulf were his area of special study, and he knew more about it than anyone else alive. Everything there was unsettled. Borders and treaties meant different things to different people. The tribe overrode the state; the strong overrode the weak. History itself was often a matter of hearsay through which only a scholar as careful as John could find a way.

Born in New Zealand in 1925, John was 24 when he reached England, then deep in post-war socialist gloom. According to his son Saul, the editor of these two volumes of essays and occasional writings from the 1960s and ’70s, John left almost immediately for Egypt “in search of sun, warmth, and a job teaching in the British Boys School in Alexandria.” Further travels in Iraq and the Trucial States familiarized him with Arabs and their way of life. A doctorate in 1956 from the University of London led to a research fellowship in the Institute of Colonial Studies at Oxford. John greatly respected its director, Sir Reader Bullard, a robust self-made man whose postings as consul in Leningrad and ambassador in Tehran had left him with no illusions about Communism or Islam.

In person, John was courteous and soft-spoken, ready to laugh at folly. On paper, though, scorn came readily. Lawrence of Arabia’s famous Seven Pillars of Wisdom is “this dreary flow of disguised rodomontade.” For years Egypt had suffered “a grotesque Jacobean melodrama, or an opéra bouffe staged by a troupe of gulli-gulli men or conjurors.” He speaks of some militant Arabs as “a small and disputatious band of rootless intellectuals, measuring out their lives with coffee spoons in the clubs and cafés of Beirut.”

In theory, nationalist movements were liberating Arabs from the British and the French in order to set up nation-states of their own. The Left always represented imperialism as the worst of crimes, and therefore nationalism, its opposite and its bane, by definition had to be “progressive.” Deluded and wishful, the Left was celebrating destructive forces; as John put it, “losing is acceptable to enlightened opinion these days.” Not what they might seem, however, nationalist movements in fact became vehicles for officers such as Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt and Abd al-Karim Qasim in Iraq to manipulate themselves into power as absolute rulers. For a thousand years, John pointed out, it had been the Arab way for military commanders to stage coups, and they “doubtless will continue to do so for another thousand.” To think anything else was pure sentimentality. “The Arabs are really a very decent bunch of chaps,” John wrote in a typically sarcastic review of a book by one of the more prominent romancers. A book that claimed the superiority of Islam to Christianity he dismissed as “insolent nonsense.”

John insisted on the reality in front of him. Saudi Arabia had “a record of bloodshed, terrorism, and extortion.” Yemen had been “sunk for centuries in a squalid medievalism.” Civil war had already destroyed Lebanon. The old order in Arabia had plainly broken down, replaced by spite, dissension, and suspicion. Events have more than justified the Orwellian vision of the region’s future that he projected.

In one of his essays, John puts the question closest to his heart: “Who can say that empire is not better than the nation-state?” Britain had a record of protecting the Gulf sheikhdoms and their independence for over 150 years and therefore a moral responsibility “to continue to contribute to the upholding of peace, order, and the rule of law in an area to which she, and she alone, brought all three.” Published in 1968, his book Britain and the Persian Gulf, 1795–1880 takes the measure of the imperial achievement. Based on a comprehensive reading of the archives of the Foreign Office and the India Office, it is a masterpiece of historiography, all 911 pages of it. The actors in this narrative are Indian governors, Persian Qajars, the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, the sultan of Oman, tribal sheikhs, the British residents in the Gulf, and, of course, the naval officers of the fleet.

The Qawasim were assorted Gulf tribesmen, fierce marauders and pirates who attacked shipping, took hostages, and gave no quarter. They had to be subdued in the interest of trade. Slaving was an altogether more difficult issue to resolve. Every year at the right season, Arab traders would set off to round up slaves in East Africa. What should be done about it was the subject of fraught debate. The traffic was essential to the economy of the ruling few, and if it were to be suppressed they would demand financial compensation. Valuable, the slaves were apparently treated quite well, but many in England, including Lord Palmerston as foreign secretary, were determined to put slaving down on humanitarian grounds. Lord Aberdeen, another foreign secretary, hesitated to interfere with local custom and Islamic precepts. The topics have changed, but the ambiguity of Western intervention in the Arab world remains constant. A memorable scandal broke out when Professor Ali Mazrui from Mombasa used the prestigious Reith lectures on the BBC to deliver a diatribe against the West for the slave trade. For centuries, the Mazruis were the principal slave dealers on the east coast of Africa, John pointed out, publicly refusing to take moral instruction on slaving from anyone of that name.

Britain’s decision in 1971 to remove all military presence east of Suez marked a victory for the Left. Losing the power that had hitherto protected them, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the other petty sheikhdoms were now at the mercy of several aggressors, among them the Soviets, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. The rulers’ offer to pay the costs of maintaining a British garrison was rejected out of hand. The Iran–Iraq war, the Marxists in Aden, the fighting in Dhofar, and the expeditions led by Bushes I and II all testify to the instability the British were happy to leave behind. Thanks to his expertise in treaties and boundaries, John was retained to advise both Sheikh Zaid of Abu Dhabi and the Sultan of Oman, who were defending themselves against land grabs by a Saudi Arabia eager to bolster oil reserves, by force if necessary. John said that one look at the faces of officials in the Whitehall room where they met to adjudicate on the Saudi seizure of the Buraimi oasis belonging to his sponsor Oman was enough to tell him that his cause was lost: They had long since become accustomed to appease whoever was the strongest party. Hardly ever attributed to him, but all the same a fixture in current political vocabulary, “preemptive cringe” is the phrase that John hit upon to sum up this collective feebleness.

Published in 1980, his book Arabia, the Gulf, and the West is another classic, a white-hot 530-page polemic against British policy in the Gulf. As prime minister, an informed Mrs. Thatcher spoke to the Foreign Office about it and received a memorandum: “In the opinion of the Office, this man is not sound.” Washington was no better. Visiting with various think tanks, John criticized “the slow paralysis of American foreign policy which has today almost reached a terminal stage.” Between the United States and Saudi Arabia was a “strange love affair” bound to end in tears one day. He intended to write one last blockbuster to expose the Saudis as the bullies of the Gulf, and arch-hypocrites as well. That work was never completed, partly because editors of journals and newspapers, not least National Review, badgered him for contributions, and partly because he and his wife had retired to France. Still, he had absorbed the past so thoroughly that he could predict the future with accuracy. As timely and cogent as ever, these two volumes of his collected essays and occasional writings ought to make him a household name.


Posted on 01/28/2015 12:16 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
I Know You'll Agree With Me Here

There may be flies on you and me.

But there are no flies on Jesus.

Posted on 01/28/2015 11:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Ali Sina: The Dilemma Of Islamic Terrorism

At the website -- -- run by Ali Sina, a defector from the Army of Islam, and by other contributors who, through no fault of their own, were born into Islam and managed to find their way out. They are appealing to others, similarly situated, to leave Islam, and to non-Muslims, not to be taken in by those suave Muslim apologists, of the tariq-ramadan variety, or those imams who after every attack utter a pro-forma carefuly-worded "condemnation" (and shed crocodile tears), all the while insisting that whatever happened "had nothing to do with Islam" and anyone who suggests otherwise deserves...well, you know.

Posted on 01/28/2015 9:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Slow Jihad Of Fatah To Fast Jihad Of Hamas: We're In The Same Trench


There is no Battle of the Trench for Fatah, when it comes to Hamas, save for a little quarrel over who gets to keep and divert aid money from the Infidels and provide jobs for the boys. No:  "we're in the same trench" waging the same Jihad against the same Infidel nation-state, the one run by the accursed Jews.

And that's true, too.

Posted on 01/28/2015 8:54 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
A Re-Posting Of A Piece About "Staunch Ally" Saudi Arabia


Here is a previous post about "our staunch ally" Saudi Arabia, which mentions another famous above-the-law case, that of the Saudi prince who used his private plane, and his diplomatic immunity, to smuggle into France 66 suitcases with cocaine (or was it heroin?). Apparently hs share, as an Al-Saud princeling, of the vast sums that the Al-Saud help themselves to, year after year, from the nation's oil revenues, was not enough:

Saudi Arabia is not and never has been, and never could be, a "close ally" or an "ally" or a "friend" or anything at all except a mortal enemy, of the United States, as the most powerful of Infidel countries. Occasionally the Saudis find that their interests, and those of the Americans, may overlap -- the Saudis wanted the Red Army defeated in Afghanistan, because it was an army of Infidels suppressing Muslims, and the Americans wanted the Red Army defeated in Afghanistan because it wanted the Soviet Union defeated everywhere it chose to project its military power. The Americans wanted to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait because they feared the aggressive nature of his regime and his pretense of becoming King of the Arabs; the Saudis wanted to push Saddam Hussei out of Kuwait because they feared his designs on Saudi Arabia and the appeal of any rhetorical attacks by his regime on the corrupt Al-Saud.

Saudi Arabia has spent nearly $100 billion over the past three decades on the Jihad to spread Islam. That money has paid for mosques, both buildings and maintenance, and madrasas, and propaganda disseminated in those mosques and madrasas that preach hatred and violence toward all Infidels; that money has paid for a vast army of Western hirelings, deployed in the capitals of the West to present Saudi Arabia as, precisely, a "close ally," with the real Saudi Arabia, the one described by J. B. Kelly in his essay "Of Valuable Oil and Worthless Policies," hidden from view -- as for decades it was hidden from American view by incessant Aramco propaganda. That money has also been used to buy influence to prevent any sensible energy plan that might diminish reliance on oil from being adopted by the government.

Saudi Arabia (and Kuwait and the Emirates as well) needs to be read the riot act. Its rulers should be told they can no longer send money to this country to spread hatred through the kind of propaganda disseminated in the mosques it pays for -- or at least, not without severe consequences. They can no longer be allowed to send money to pay for campaigns of Da'wa, targetted at the most vulnerable citizens in this country (if Muslims want to conduct missionary work, local Muslims will have to do it, not as part of a geopolitical campaign by Saudi or other rich Arabs). Any monies that come from Saudi Arabia should be carefully monitored, and those who receive those monies publicized -- so that all those influence-peddlers, those writers of Op/Ed articles and deliverers of lectures about "our friends the Saudis" and "America's real interests in the Middle East" -- given by those who cash their Saudi-generated checks even as they mutter darkly about "the Israeli lobby" -- and of course those who pay, directly or indirectly, for such groups as the "Council on the National Interest" -- which "National Interest" seems to be defined in one way only. Any such monies will be monitored, and the sums given public attention, or if a way can be found to do it, seized. There is no sense in regarding Saudi Arabia as anything other than an enemy, the chief provider of the Money Weapon for the world-wide Jihad. pay for these mosques, madrasas, or to such groups as do their bidding in lobbying the government. There is nothing that the Saudis can do to us. But the Al-Saud depend on us, in the end, for their own family's security. They depend on the West for petroleum engineers, and doctors, and every sort of expert to run their country. They depend on the West for medical care, education or at least the receipt of plausible-sounding degrees (a different thing), for the children of the ruling family's princes and princelings and even, here and there, possibly a princelette or two, and also for the children of the courtiers and middlemen and fixers who have made money from their connections to the Al-Saud, all essentially creatures of the oil bonanza, that is to say, of unstoppable torrents of money, where once there were only seasonal rivulets from wadis, that are the result only of an accident of geology.

Saudi Arabia depends entirely on the Western world for that medical care, that access to education, that fun-fair-cum-brothel-cum-gambling-den that Monte Carlo, and Las Vegas, and Marbella, and London, and even McLean, Virginia, and Aspen, Colorado (see that conduit for BAE bribes, Prince Bandar). The Al-Saud think they are above the law, and the British government, in choosing not to follow through on the BAE investigation’s results, has shown that at least they are above British law. Now we shall see if the scandal of the 66 suitcases, stuffed with heroin (or was it cocaine?) and brought into France, on a plane owned by a Saudi prince who now claims diplomatic immunity, will be dropped, which means that the Al-Saud would also be above French law.

And the final question remains: will the Al-Saud continue to get away with murder, that is to say with funding those who are hostile to, and who wish to undermine in every way, our own legal and political institutions because these institutions flatly contradict both the letter and spirit of Islam?

When will Saudi Arabia be re-dimensioned? When it will be seen as the primitive kingdom, ruled by Johnny-jump-ups who happen to have driven out the Hashemites, and to have defeated the Shammar tribe, and rule because they stand by the mutawwa, stand by the worst Wahhabis who, in turn, provide them, despite their enormous corruption and theft of national wealth, with the legitimacy that so far has allowed them not only to stay in power, but also not merely to dare to bully, but also to hire Western hirelings who help mislead the American public as to the supposed power of Saudi Arabia.

Cut it down to size, but begin by calling in Adel Jubeir and telling him not only that the “ally” business is long over, but the Saudi Arabian rulers, and Saudi “stability,” are dispensable as far as the American government and people are concerned. After all, in the end, if the oil wells of al-Hasa were to fall to those who are even worse, even more open, about their Islam-inculcated hatred of Infidels, we can – and would – seize those oil wells. And if the Saudis reply, as they will, with some blague about how they have “mined” the oilfields, don’t believe it. And if they further allude to all the money they can pull out of the American market, then they can be told that a great deal of Saudi wealth, especially of individuals, can be located and seized; that the corrupt behavior of Saudi princes can be easily tracked, filmed, and put on the Internet which would not make the lives of those princes any easier at home, and that there is a great deal more that can be done –unless they stop funding campaigns of Da’wa, not only here but elsewhere.

Posted on 01/28/2015 7:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Obama In Riyadh: "The Most Positive Visit Of His Presidency"


Thirty representatives of four different American administrations came to pay their "respects" to dead King Abdullah, live King Salman, and the country their family owns and named after itself, "Saudi" Arabia. The salaam-salaams were out of place, and can only contribute to the o'erweening Saudi sense of themselves as needing, and deserving, of American courtship, American solicitude. It's exactly the wrong attitude for the Americans to have displayed. But it's no different from what has been displayed over more than four decades. Just find, on-line, J. B. Kelly's "Of Valuable Oil and Worthless Policies" and read to your heart's content.

Posted on 01/28/2015 6:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Islam is revolting

Rod Liddle:

They have been burning churches and murdering Christians again in Niger. You’d think that they’d have more immediately pressing concerns than worrying about a cartoon, Niger regularly winning the award for being the worst country anywhere on God’s earth, and the poorest. But nope, it’s kill-a-kuffar time once more. Some 45 churches set alight and at least five people killed and 50 injured.


Everywhere you look in the Islamic world there is outrage and fury and screaming and violence. An anger not occasioned by the vicious executions of 11 people in Paris, but in response to the ‘Je suis Charlie’ stuff, and the magazine’s post-murder edition featuring Mohammed on its front page. The murders did not bother them at all and a substantial majority, by the look of things, will have wholly approved of them. It’s the cartoons which made them go on the rampage, killing people of a different faith.

So next time some jackass of a politician tells you that the Charlie Hebdo attacks were ‘nothing to do with Islam’, or some hand-wringing, PC, public-school broadcaster on the BBC puts it all down to ‘extremists’ — point them in the direction of the millions of people in the Islamic world who rather fervently disagree with that flip and patently delusional diagnosis. If all those people are ‘extremists’, then we need to redefine the word ‘extreme’ so it means something closer to, say, ‘mainstream’ or ‘moderate, consensual centre’. In this, our own vile and incendiary Islamic preachers, such as Anjem Choudary, are much closer to the truth than are our politicians: this is not ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It is all about Islam.


So the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, deserves a bit of credit for his round-robin letter to our country’s mosques, which has succeeded in shoring up the familiar sense of acquired victimhood among British followers of Islam. Pickles suggested that British followers of Islam should ‘prove’ their identification with British values.

I suppose it’s a bit late in the day for that sort of thing — remember, 68 per cent of our Islamic community believe that blasphemers should be punished somehow — but better late than never. Forty years of being told that their cultural practices are every bit as valid as those of the Christian majority, however, has established a mindset which will take some shifting.

And so it has proved — self-appointed Muslim leaders have reacted with the usual mixture of petulance and confected outrage. The letter, they insist, is ‘patronising’. One spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain asked: why no similar letter to Christian church leaders demanding they disassociate themselves from the English Defence League? It is difficult to imagine a more lame or ridiculous riposte.


We have indulged parts of our Muslim community in epic paranoia, victimhood, clamorous obsessions and pre-medieval cultural appurtenances for way too long. And so perhaps it is too late to venture, tentatively, that we got our approach all wrong.

Posted on 01/28/2015 6:50 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Coming in from the cold

Jack London doesn't seem to be much read these days, at least not in London. I like his short story "To Build a Fire", which is exactly the right length - he obviously spent long enough on it to make it short enough.

Unusually, a film of the story is the right length too. It isn't often you see a film and a story that match so closely.

The moral of this story? Baby, it's cold out there. Dogs are clever. People are stupid. Who cares?

By the way, I'm coming in from the cold too, having been away from the blog for a while. I hope I will be allowed to warm myself by the fire for a bit.


Posted on 01/28/2015 6:17 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
New Greek Government Offers Standard-Issue Chomsky

Greece's new rulers are foursquare behind the Jihad against Israel.

Dismally predictable, but that doesn't mean this news has no power to dismay and upset.


Posted on 01/28/2015 6:18 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Weblog Awards 2015

If you'd like to nominate The Iconoclast for best community blog, go here. Nominations end Sunday.

Posted on 01/28/2015 6:18 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
In Memoriam

So farewell, then, Demise Demis
Roussos. We thought you'd go
On forever. And ever. And ever
And ...

And Deirdre from Coronation
Street. "I don't want to go," she
Told Ken. But she went

And another one. Mandy Rice-Davies.
She died. Well, she would
Wouldn't she?

And Jeremy Thorpe's

And P. D. James

© E. J. Throbb, aged 17¾

I'm alive and well - just thought I'd mention that in passing.

Posted on 01/28/2015 5:11 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
V&A in row over self-censorship after Muhammad image is taken down

From the Guardian, the Spectator and Art News 

The Guardian sets the current tone, as queried by the Spectator and Art News

Warning: this article contains the image of the prophet Muhammad, which some may find offensive.

The Victoria and Albert museum has attempted to conceal its ownership of a devotional image of the prophet Muhammad, citing security concerns, in what is part of a wider pattern of apparent self-censorship by British institutions that scholars fear could undermine public understanding of Islamic art and the diversity of Muslim traditions.

British museums and libraries hold dozens of these images, mostly miniatures in manuscripts several centuries old, but they have been kept largely out of public view. Fear of displaying them is apparently driven by controversy about satirical or offensive portraits of Muhammad by non-Muslims, despite the huge difference in form and purpose.

When the V&A was asked if it held any images of Muhammad after the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, it said there were none. A US expert later provided a link to a poster in its collection, with the inscription “Mohammad the Prophet of God”. That page in the database was deleted last week, but can still be found in a cached version. A spokeswoman said their original response was “an honest error”.

There was not a single complaint when another contemporary Iranian image of Muhammad was included in a 2013 exhibition in the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam, hung next to a Christian icon, as part of an exhibition on cross-cultural encounters.

“We knew it might be controversial, but decided to take the risk because the story is important to tell,” said Mirjam Shatanawi, an Islamic art specialist and the Tropenmuseum’s curator for the Middle East and North Africa. “These images are a real eye-opener, a powerful example of Islam being different and more diverse than many imagine.If Muslims feel offended by images made by other Muslims out of reverence for the prophet, I’m not sure if the museum should decide not to show them. It seems like choosing one interpretation of Islam over the other. These images are not made to disrespect but – on the contrary – to honour the prophet.”

The Muslim Council of Britain declined to comment on whether it considered the images offensive, or whether it would object to their display.

The British Library included one image of Muhammad in its 2007 Sacred exhibition, but his face is veiled. None of the other UK libraries and museums that hold pictures of the prophet could provide details of any time they had been on public display.

“As a historian of religion, I think it is very important to put such images on display. They provide valuable information about the richness of Muslim devotional life,” said Ingvild Flaskerud, an expert on Shia devotional culture at the University of Oslo. “By not displaying the images, we give privilege to certain understandings of Islam and marginalise others. This is not simply a scholastic issue; it is also a democratic matter.”

Barnaby Rogerson blogs at the Spectator :-

I am not sure it is a very uplifting example, this censorship of the past, but they are certainly not alone in doing this.  Indeed over the last generation, a slow but efficient iconoclasm has been at work in Britain pruning images of the Prophet from published books, not just about the life of the Prophet but also illustrated surveys of Islamic Art.  It is extraordinary how successful this campaign has been, based not on any physical threat but on a deluge of orchestrated complaints by telephone and email.

Last week, an art scholar friend of mine, who is incidentally a Muslim, told me that things are getting worse. He has been doing valuable work for many years, teaching the basic principles of Islamic design to young craftsmen who are keen to reconstruct in carved wood, plaster and painted tile their own Islamic heritage. . . You might have thought he would be honoured, but after one of these recent lectures he was arrested by the police of his host-nation and told that he had a choice: either destroy all the slides on his computer or be thrown into jail. His crime was to have shown a beautiful book illustration of the Prophet, veiled in a halo of light, ascending to the heavens. (the comments point out that Mohammed is a  prophet to Muslims, not THE prophet. 

We have become so inured to this process that it can be a shock to stroll into a second-hand bookshop and see how free the 1960s and 1970s were from this iconoclasm. To take an example, look at a copy of Emel Esin’s study of the two Holy Cities, entitled Mecca the Blessed, Madinah the Radiant. It is a book that oozes piety, scholarship and devotion, and also has dozens of beautiful illuminated images of the Prophet and his family.  If you tried tracking down the various images from the dozen museums proudly cited in the acknowledgements to this book, including lots from the V&A, you would now enter a world of selective silence.



Posted on 01/28/2015 5:13 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
French artist withdraws prayer rug installation from show after threats from Muslim group

From the Art Newspaper, Art News and elsewhere from AFP

 An installation by the French-Algerian artist Zoulikha Bouabdellah that uses prayer mats has been removed from an exhibition in an art centre near Paris after the town council received a threat of violence from a local Muslim federation, the organisers say. "Silence", which has already been shown in Paris, Berlin, New York and Madrid, was supposed to go on display in Clichy La Garenne, which is just north of the capital, in a woman-themed art show. The artist and curators withdrew the piece hours before the opening at the Pavillon Vendôme in Clichy this Saturday, because the town council was warned that “irresponsible incidents” might occur if the display went ahead.

Part of the group exhibition, “Femina ou la réapproriation des modèles”, Silence, 2007-08, is an installation of 28 prayer mats with a hole cut in the centre, each with a pair of high heels placed inside. Bouabdellah, who is of Muslim heritage, explained that the piece, which has been previously shown in Paris, Berlin and New York, was about proposing a vision about the “links between profane and sacred spaces as well as the place of the woman at the threshold of these two worlds”, adding that “the modernity of women is reconcilable with Islam, on the condition that the latter is not perverted to becoming an instrument of domination”.

The artist explained that her piece was inspired by a group of Muslim feminists she had come across in Morocco, that it is an homage to strong women in the Arab world. In an open letter, Bouabdellah said: “I put this misunderstanding of the work down to the highly charged emotional atmosphere after the recent events in Paris and I do not wish [it] to be used as an excuse to further nourish confusion and distress. . .  I'm left wondering by the reasons that push a certain fringe among French Muslims to see this work as blasphemous," she said, adding that she did not intend it to shock or provoke. Bouabdellah decided to replace "Silence" with a video installation titled "Dansons" that shows belly dancing to the French national anthem. 

Orlan, one of the 20 women artists in the exhibition, called the decision to withdraw Silence “an act of self-censorship” that is “catastrophic” and has withdrawn her own work in protest. “This act of self-censorship hides a more serious censorship," she wrote in an open letter published on the social media platform on Sunday. “While I understand the reasoning [that led the artist and curators to remove the piece], I cannot support it as it opens the doors to all kinds of insidious restrictions of our freedom of speech, risking that we progressively move, consciously or unconsciously, from self-censorship to self-silencing, and from self-silencing to an inhibition provoked by fear," 

The guest curators, Charlotte Boudon and Christine Ollier, the directors of Galerie les Filles du Calvaire, have now asked the mayor of Clichy, Gilles Catoire, either to publicly support the display of Silence or to close the exhibition. 


Posted on 01/28/2015 4:48 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Critical Race And Ethnic Studies Program Seeks Underrepresented And Marginalized

Applicants sought for the Andrew Harris Fellowship at the University of Vermont, in a state which -- to its everlasting shame-- doesn't have enough underrepresented and marginalized populations within its borders. That's why Vermont is such an unpleasant place to live.

Posted on 01/27/2015 9:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
A Musical Interlude: After The Ball (Piano Wm Bolcom, voc. Joan Morris)

Listen to Charles K. Harris' famous song here.

Posted on 01/27/2015 9:16 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Faits Divers: A Murder In Besancon


You must learn to read, as the names of neither the victim nor the suspects are given, as French people now read -- that is, between the lines.

Posted on 01/27/2015 9:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
What Didn't Happen Then, And Part Of The Reason Why

Ben Kingsley says that Europe "didn't grieve" just after the war for the murdered Jews. Oh, it's worse than that. European governments, and especially the British government, showed little sympathy to the Jewish survivors of the camps. It tried to prevent them from getting to Mandatory Palestine. Ernest Bevin, Attlee's Foreign Secretary, himself threatened "the Jews" if they insisted, as he delicately put it, "in pushing to the front of the line" -- as if, for god's sake, they thought they might merit special attention in the immediate post-war period.

And efforts were made not to publicize what had happened to "the Jews." Germany was to be rehabilitated, quickly, and all those Nazis in the German judiciary, in the universities, in the medical field, were quickly reinstated. And the German Parliament, as soon as the Occupation was over, passed one law dear to the hearts of so many Germans, forbidding the death penalty. And just a few years after the war, practically everyone was back in business in Germany and some, like Reinhard Gehlen and his colleagues, were now on the American payroll, and others, like Klaus Barbie, were also on the American payroll or helped, throuh such prelates as Alois Hudal, to make it to Argentina, like Eichmann, or Brazil, like Mengele. 

Just the other day "Night Will Fall," a movie made by Alfred Hitchcock, from materials assumebled by Sidney Bernstein of the British Minsiter of Education, about the death camp of Bergen-Belsen and its liberation by British troops, was finally shown to the public on January 26, on HBO. It had never been shown publicly before, even though some of its footage "provided some of the most damning testimony presented at the Nuremberg war crimes trial."

And why was it not shown publicly, after the war? Because in Great Britain, whose nationals had made it, it was deemed that such a showing was inimical to British interests. The review in The Wall Street Journal explains why:

"It [the film[ would be housd, from 1952 on, in the archives of the Imperial War Museum. Then four years ago the IWM undertook the enormous task of restoring andd digitiziing the documeentary, along with the long-missing sixth reel. Now titled "Night Will Fall," the film leaves no question as to the reason it was withheld. Its commentators note that the British government then, whose policy was to bar any flow of European Jews to Palestine, was not eager to present a film that would create a great deal of sympathy for these survivors, as such a film surely would."

Posted on 01/27/2015 4:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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