Wednesday, October 31, 2007
As we’ve noted a lot recently, (“LaShish: More Than Just a Restaurant, It's a Hezbollah Soap Opera"), Chahine is a fugitive from justice believed to be hiding out in Lebanon. He got in trouble for being a major money-launderer and fund-raiser for Hezbollah. The legend is that an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream and warned him to flee into Southern Lebanon just as the feds were closing in on him.
We’ve got no reason to believe Chahine’s still handling the day-to-day any more at his old restaurants, and his poor wife probably isn’t, either, as she’s gone off to jail. ("Chahine's Wife To Be Sentenced for Tax Evasion").
So we also have no reason to believe that any of the La Shish staff were required to attend the AAI event--the way, say, they were formerly required to participate in other after-hours duties, like helping Chahine skim receipts that he then sent to Hezbollah, or participate in green-card marriages, or bear Chahine’s love child. ("La Shish: More Than Just a Restaurant, It's a Hezbollah Soap Opera").
I was also struck, but not surprised by, the press’s helpful coverage of the conference in a way heavily weighted to suggest that the Democratic Party is the answer to the political aspirations of Arab Americans.
James Zogby is the big dog at AAI, its founder, and although he claims that AAI is non-partisan, he’s been described as “Arab American in Chief: - And a big Democrat, too", sitting “atop Arab American politics -- and ... trying to make sure as many Democrats as possible join him there.”
Zogby has also helpfully condemned the Israelis as "Nazis," and refused to call either Arafat or Hezbollah "terrorists."
I get a kick out of how loyally sympathetic reporters lend themselves to the cause of, in this case, selling the idea that the Democrats are the saviors of persecuted Arab Americans--and Republicans may as well just keep away. Here is Gregg Krupa at the Detroit News:
DEARBORN -- Arab-Americans said Sunday they are feeling estranged from the Republican presidential field because the GOP's policies are hostile to them, and just one candidate, dark horse Ron Paul, attended their three-day national leadership convention.
None of the top three Democratic candidates for the White House attended in person.
"On the Republican side it says that their debate is moving in such a negative direction that they simply are not, most of them, in a position to come before this audience," said James Zogby, founder and president of the American Arab Institute, which sponsored the National Leadership Conference in Dearborn.
“They have been building themselves up rhetorically and politically in such a hostile direction on these issues that I think it would be difficult.” (“Some candidates court Arab-American vote”).
So we have three paragraphs, in fact, the entire article, pointing out how Republicans are dissing Dearborn’s Arabs and can’t be bothered coming to what is, in reality, a Democratic pep rally, and then these “14 words” are quietly slipped in:
“None of the top three Democratic candidates for the White House attended in person.”
Elsewhere Krupa calls the two Dems who showed up live-- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio--“both dark horse candidates.” (“Dem presidential candidates promise Iraq troop pullout”).
I guess two Democratic dark horses are worth more than one Republican dark horse. (Although I think Ron Paul’s candidacy qualifies more as “dark matter.” ).
The beauty of this is that the Democrats who showed up live, Kucinich, or on video, Obama and Edwards, (with the exception of Richardson), all bragged about how they were going to get dynamic results in the Middle East by drastically doing the opposite of everything the Bush administration has ever done, or ever considered doing. To wit:
Kucinich is going to get America “out of the Middle East and stop trying to dominate the politics of the region”;
Obama said, “Our neglect of the Middle East peace process has spurred despair and fueled terrorism”;
John Edwards reportedly said, “instead of spending billions on war in the region, as president, he would invest millions to establish public school systems throughout the region… I want to be the president who is going return America as keeper of peace in the region,’ Edwards said. ‘America needs to return to the position in which it is the moral leader in the world.’”
Just what the Middle East needs. More dropouts.
But in spite of all the tough talk, we already know the real reasons Obama and Edwards weren’t there. As Krupa reports:
Zogby and others said the Democratic presidential candidates felt they were caught in a cross-fire between the state Democratic Party and national party officials. While they were granted waivers by the national Democratic Party to appear in Michigan, which has run afoul of national party rules by scheduling a Jan. 15 primary, the candidates were concerned that coming here would send the wrong message to Democrats beyond Michigan. "The front-runners were busy looking over their shoulders at whether one would come and whether they'd take potshots for coming," Zogby said. "We heard that from a number of them."
And as we all know, achieving peace in the Middle East will require a hell of a lot less brass than standing up to Howard Dean. Sending the wrong message to Democrats beyond Michigan, or having to look over their shoulders, getting caught in a crossfire or wondering all the time if they’ll take potshots for coming to Michigan, takes a lot more courage and leadership than the cakewalk that, once in the White House, every Democrat politician knows handling Syria and Lebanon and Hamas and Iran is going to be.
None of this path-of-least-resistance stuff for these guys; not for them the easy road the Bush administration has been taking since 9/11.
And these are the candidates who are going to bring us peace in our time?
Except I don't believe for a second that the Democratic Party will keep its promises any better to Arab Americans than it did to African Americans. You may recall that the Democratic candidates, even without a fatwah from the national Party, refused to participate in a debate in Detroit sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus because it was being run by Fox News Channel, and they weren’t willing to be asked tough questions by known hard guys like Brit Hume and Wendell Goler. ("Why Buy the Cow When You Can Milk it for Free?").
Why bother? Special discount on African American voters this year. Anr Democrats are hoping to get the Arab Americans for the same deep, deep, discount.
Republicans have nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to Arab Americans.
Since September 2001, a Republican administration and majority in Congress made possible the liberation of 27 million Iraqis, 32 million Afghanis, and has contributed to the revival of democracy in Lebanon, meanwhile throwing fear and trembling into dictators in Syria, Iran, Egypt, Libya, and Saudi Arabia, and reversing 30 years of Western appeasement of fascistic religious extremism plunging scores of millions of Arabs into despair.
At the same time, Democrat policies have not freed one innocent Arabic person. The closest they've gotten is cheering the acquittal of indicted Arab terrorists, and demanding the freeing of the world’s most barbaric terrorists from Guantanamo Bay.
If I were an Arab American, I'd think twice about letting John Edwards tell me he's got my best interests in mind.
Most Americans who recognize Fieger’s name do so because of his widely-publicized defense a few years ago of convicted murderer Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian. But pretending to be a criminal lawyer was just a sideline for Fieger, (and a hunt for publicity), because he made his fortune as a medical-malpractice trial lawyer.
He also kept himself in the public eye by doing things like referring on a radio appearance to an appellate panel that had overturned another of his verdicts as “three jackass court of appeals judges,” and “Nazis.” I forever lost what few shreds of respect I may have had for the Michigan Democratic Party when they nominated this clown to run against Governor John Engler in 1998. Engler stomped him in a 62% to 38% blow-out.
Then, this August Fieger was indicted “by a federal grand jury on criminal charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, making illegal campaign contributions and causing false statements” related to exceeding limits on campaign contributions to John Edwards during the 2004 presidential campaign.
As trial lawyers, Edwarda and Fieger are two of a kind, and trial lawyers are just about their only conceivable constituency.
Both Edwards and Fieger have won verdicts in birth-trauma cases with their supernatural ability to channel fetal testimony directly into their closing arguments. Edwards established his reputation in 1985 by beating $6.5 out of an obstetrician in a cerebral palsy case by telling the jury the unborn child: “’ speaks to you through me,’ the lawyer went on in his closing argument. ‘And I have to tell you right now — I didn't plan to talk about this — right now I feel her. I feel her presence. She's inside me, and she's talking to you.’” (“In Trial Work, Edwards Left a Trademark”).
Fieger used the same type of theatrics in the Ohio case, assuming
“client Walter Hollins’ character in his mother’s womb, his brain deprived of oxygen as he waited to be delivered.
‘Doctors, nurses, I'm suffocating. Please help me to be born,’ Fieger told the jury. ‘I want to play baseball. I want to hug my mother. I want to tell her that I love her. Help me.’” (“Ohio Supreme Court tosses out $30M verdict in Fieger case”).
For those of you who think the case may otherwise have merit, you can read the opinion for yourselves, here. You should also keep in mind that the overturned verdict was not a ruling on the merits of the case, but on the courtroom demerits of the trial lawyer, the Über-brat Geoff Fieger; in the hands of more competent counsel, plaintiffs may well have won a more reasonable award and been done with it.
The thing of it is, even before he ever gave his summation, Fieger had already been at work with his trademark tricks of crass discourtesy to the court and to opposing counsel and witnesses, misleading statements about the evidence, and a general disregard for the due-process rights of his opponents. The Ohio justices referred to Fieger’s “discourtesy, accusing witnesses of lying, and for his frequent interruptions of opposing lawyers. They cited Fieger for misstating evidence, wrongfully accusing defendants of covering up evidence and inappropriately injecting race and poverty into the trial.”
This is the way Fieger tries cases. As often as not, Michigan trial judges are too scared of him to admonish him, so he gets away with it. In this case, even the Ohio trial judge later admitted that he'd made errors in allowing Fieger to force inadmissible testimony to be heard by the jury. In the end, the Ohio Supreme Court didn’t even have to rely on Fieger’s phony impersonation of a pleading fetus to uphold the trial court’s ruling that the defendants deserved a new trial, citing instead his numerous other instances of unfair trial practices.
The Supreme Court ruled 6-1 against him. Fieger, naturally, has blamed the ruling on Republican “operatives.” (“Fetus-channeling case overturned by Ohio supreme court”). (He blamed his federal indictment for illegal campaign contributions on Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove).
But even the dissenting justice in the case, who would have denied a new trial, while reducing the award to $10 million, said that before there is a new trial, “it would be wise for the trial judge to deny any motion for admission pro hac vice filed on behalf of Mr. Fieger.”
In other words, "Don't come back." When a lawyer from one state wants to try a case in a state where he's not admitted to the bar, he asks permission of the trial court by filing a pro hac vice motion, a type of motion usually freely granted for the duration of the case. By advising the future Ohio trial court in advance to deny such a motion to Fieger, even the dissenting justice is essentially saying, “Geoff Fieger, we don't need your kind in Ohio.”
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
"If Kennedy could talk to Khrushchev in 1962 at the height of the Cold War, why can't we talk to people?" Paul said.
"We certainly ought to be able to talk to Third World nations that don't even have nuclear weapons.
"The talk about the war against Islamic fascism -- whatever that is supposed to be," said the populist congressman who is running a campaign that stresses grass-roots organization.
"I am not worried about that war -- whatever it is. I am worried about the war that will ensue after the bombs start falling on Iran."
I’m glad Ron Paul hasn’t got a chance.
He admits he doesn’t even know what “the war against Islamic fascism” is-- but he does know enough not to be worried about it.
Then again, he is worried about a war with Iran we aren’t in yet, the one we’re still trying to prevent, in spite of resistance from guys like him and his supporters, and almost all Democrats, who are convinced the only thing a defiant Iran respects is talk.
Why, candidate Paul wants to know, can't we just talk to other nations the way Kennedy and Khrushchev did "in 1962 at the height of the Cold War"?
Paul seems to remember 1962 as the happy year that two world powers just got to “talking it over”: no memory for him of the naval quarantine, the mobilization of armed forces, nor what a New York Times’ headline in the middle of the crisis described as “Kennedy Ready for Soviet Showdown.” The Times described Kennedy's televised speech to America as one that left no doubt that he and Khrushchev weren’t just two guys working it out:
“The President made it clear that this country would not stop short of military action to end what he called a 'clandestine, reckless and provocative threat to world peace.'"
Kennedy announced a US naval blockade of Cuba to prevent Soviet missile deliveries to Castro, knowing full well he was risking an armed exchange with a nuclear power.
"Let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out," the President said. "No one can foresee precisely what course it will take or what costs or causalties will be incurred."
"The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are--but it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the world," he added.
"The cost of freedom is always high--but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose is the path of surrender or submission.
If that's the kind of talk Paul has in mind, I'm all for it.
But it isn't. He likes the talk part, not the course that incurs costs or casualties.
As I said, I’m glad Ron Paul hasn’t got a chance.
The guy's a crackpot and worse--he’s a foreign-policy menace, and we'll all be better of when he’s out of the race for good.
Friday, October 26, 2007
I've done some research and discovered the problem is a difference in reading HTML between Internet Explorer, and browsers such as Firefox. Firefox reads the margin settings as narrower, or something like that, and compensates by centering everything. I am so sorry. I will fix this if I possibly can.
The fix must be made in our template code. There are help sites where similar problems are explained, and where the helpers clearly understand what's wrong and how to fix it. The problem is, they can't clearly write their explanations so that I can understand how to fix it. I will keep looking for a plain-speaking techno-geek.
Or, if you happen to know something about this kind of thing yourself, and are fluent in both HTML and standard English, I welcome any suggestions.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
and the ones who say there isn't.
Why don't you come on back to the war?
--Leonard Cohen, “There Is a War”
As I see it, the greatest danger we face is not from the jihadists at all.
It’s not from the Iranian nuclear program, the al Qaeda cells festering here and abroad, the madrassas, the Arab language programs disseminating Wahhabism, the weak press, the appeasing politicians, the treacherous foreign ministries, the insane imams, the hobbled intelligence agencies, and most certainly not the thoughtless, feckless anti-Americanism of the radical Left.
The danger is all those millions of us who don’t believe there even is a war.
I say again, I’m not talking about the danger of CAIR or the other open apologists for jihad, nor the bitterly anti-American leftists, nor about the silly, spoiled, self-hating anarchists who’ve been the public face--and most useful idiots--of our jihadist enemies. We know they long for this country’s defeat, for whatever reasons, or lack of reasons, and in that war they've willingly chosen to side with our enemies.
But the real struggle we’re in right now is to wake up to the reality that we are in a war. As certain as most of our readers and I believe that we’re in a war, many of our countrymen are convinced that we are not.
And if we aren’t in a war, then doesn’t that make so much of what we’re trying to do in Iraq and in Afghanistan, with Iran and Syria, in the NSA and with the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay seem like so much unnecessary loss of life and cruelty?
Recently, Herbert E. Meyer at American Thinker had this to say about what’s been going on:
The 9-11 attacks did more than start a war; they started a war about the war. No sooner had the World Trade towers collapsed and the Pentagon burst into flames than two perceptions of the threat began competing for the public's support:
What he calls “Perception One,” that “we’re at war,” and “Perception Two,” that “we’re reaping what we’ve sowed” through our own unjust policies, which provoke occasional acts of violence against us by our many frustrated victims around the world. (“The War About the War”).
The problem with the two perceptions is that they can’t communicate with each other.
As Meyer explains:
There is no middle ground between these two perceptions….Either we're at war, or we've entered a period of history in which the level of violence has risen to an unacceptable level. If we're at war, we're in a military conflict that will end with either our victory or our defeat. If we're in an era of unacceptable violence stemming from our values and our policies, we are faced with a difficult but manageable political problem.
Meyer goes on to explain what many of us already know: in the war about the war, the holders of “Perception Two are pulling ahead”:
Here in the US, virtually every poll shows that a majority of Americans want us ‘out of Iraq’ sooner rather than later, and regardless of what's actually happening on the ground in that country. Support for taking on Iran - that is, for separating the Mullahs from the nukes through either a military strike or by helping Iranians to overthrow them from within - is too low even to measure. There isn't one candidate for president in either party who's campaigning on a theme of ‘let's fight harder and win this thing whatever it takes.’ Indeed, the most hawkish position is merely to stay the course a while longer to give the current ‘surge’ in Iraq a fair chance. Moreover, just chat with friends and neighbors - at barbeques, at the barbershop, over a cup of coffee - and you'll be hard-pressed to find a solid minority, let alone a majority, in favor of fighting-to-win.
However it's phrased, just about everyone is looking for a way out short of victory.
That’s what makes this such a dangerous time. The jihadists who are making war on us have absolutely no doubts that they’re in a war. And they’re fighting their war to win.
So when they begin to lose battles they shore up their defenses and call for more soldiers, money, and bombs. I doubt you’ll find an editorial anywhere in the Islamic press calling for al Qaeda to get out of Iraq because of their failed strategy.
I myself can’t credit the average American who discounts the war on terror as just a “so-called” thing with bad faith: look at what he’s been told by the popular press, and for how long he’s been told it. Our national ADD works against us here, too. 9/11 got our attention--but immediately the clock on that started ticking, and within 3 months the Democrats were right back to challenging the legitimacy of the 2000 election, and saying we deserved the hatred of the terrorists.
So are the Left and the Democrats all acting in bad faith, or are they just stupid?
I don’t know, but I’m inclined to believe the latter. To me it’s telling that since 9/11, with the exception of Senator Lieberman, the Democrats have consistently been incapable of identifying the focus of this war, or the scope of radical Islam, always reducing their idea of the “real” war on terror to catching bin Laden, or only fighting al Qaeda (just not al Qaeda in Iraq), or only fighting the “root causes” that force desperate, impoverished Arab males who can find no other meaning in a world than to become suicide bombers. They really just do not get this.
But our enemies are well aware of the war we’re having about whether there is a war, and they’re doing their best to keep those who don’t know there’s a war firmly stuck in that delusion.
The primary goal of CAIR, the ADC, and the other Islamic public advocacy groups defending jihad is not to plant IEDs in Peoria or Minneapolis, or to fire Kassam rockets into West Dearborn. It's to rush out after every media report of jihadist conspiracy or violence denying vehemently that the perpetrators’ actions had anything to do with Islam. There is no war! Islam is peace! Anyone who tells you that Islamic radicals are more than a tiny marginal group of hijackers of our religion is an Islamophobic bigot and a right-wing warmonger!
Now, Americans under the age of 67 happen to be hard-wired to no tolerance for being called any name ending in either -phobe or -ist. And where people believe it’s discretionary whether or not to see themselves as living in a time of war, or not, it’s only natural that so many opt out of war-thinking, especially if it’s a long and discouraging war. What was psychologically inescapable on 9/11 had become, by 11/11 or 12/11/2001, (like so many other American things), merely a matter of personal choice.
When Leonard Cohen wrote his song, “There Is a War,” he was exploring, I have always believed, the fundamental and pretty much unavoidable conflicts of fallen mankind: the wars between the man and the woman, the black and white, the left and right, the odds and the evens.
But it’s no peace song, it’s no antiwar anthem, which is why I love it. He gets his share of peaceniks applauding at all the wrong places when he performs, but I think Leonard sees farther than that. There is a war, he says. And so the only way forward is to fight it, not flee it, and not to pretend it isn't there. So why don’t you come on back to this war?
Running deep within the Christian imagery upon which Leonard Cohen heavily relies is the Pauline concept of spiritual warfare, of a soul battle in which every believer is engaged, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and the world rulers of this present darkness. The irreducible strategy of prevailing in this war is not necessarily to win it, but often just "to stand," and never, ever to be lulled into the foggy delusion that there is no war.
As Cohen understands, ignorance of the war means subjection to the enemy, to weakness, to losing the war:
You cannot stand what I’ve become,
you much prefer the gentleman I was before.
I was so easy to defeat,
I was so easy to control,
I didn’t even know there was a war.
And when you don’t know there's a war on, your enemy going to gain a lot of ground before you know what's hit you.
Years later, when Leonard Cohen wrote about the 9/11 attacks in “On That Day,” he wasn’t buying the lazy self-blame and weak excuses, finding himself instead reacting with a sense of an almost martial loyalty, and duty:
Some people say
It's what we deserve
For sins against g-d
For crimes in the world
I wouldn't know
I’m just holding the fort.
Since that day
They wounded New York.
And later still others try to explain the attack in that: “They hate us of old/Our women unveiled/Our slaves and our gold.” But still he disclaims knowing that for the truth, and continues “just holding the fort.”
Still he won't leave it there. Because there’s a war, and where there’s a war, there are sides, and 9/11 means no one can be neutral any more.
But answer me this
I won’t take you to court
Did you go crazy
Or did you report
On that day
On that day
They wounded New York?
Go crazy, or report? Those are awfully stark choices for a Buddhist poet from Montreal.
A few years back leftist intellectuals were entertaining each other with books and articles explaining conservative opinions they disapproved of as symptoms of mental illness. I don’t feel right about returning the insult. I really don’t believe that everyone (but yes, some, definitely), who refused to “report” after 9/11 had gone crazy.
But I do believe that many people, naturally aroused after 9/11, scared themselves with their own anger, or maybe got scared for their, or their children’s, well-planned futures, and simply couldn’t face the reality of this particular enemy, fleeing for refuge right back into their own heads again.
Which isn’t exactly an example of complete mental health, either. It was tried before by many a war-weary Frenchman and Briton in the 1930s, leading inexorably to the deaths of many French and British during the 1940s. The mistake they made was believing they could simply will themselves at peace after a determined, armed, and ruthless Reich long since made its blood oath for total war.
This is Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. On campuses and in media all across the USA people are being told that Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is being organized by racists, and that its purpose is to foment hatred of Arabs and Muslims. Both statements are lies. The lies are intended to discount the reality that we are at war.
The purpose of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is to bring to people’s minds the fact that there is a war, that we have an enemy, and who our enemy is. The particular emphasis of the organizers is the brutality and injustice visited by Islamo-Fascist regimes upon women. As such, it is laying a heavy challenge of hypocrisy on the allegedly feminist and peace-loving pretenders of the American universities. Naturally, they aren't responding well.
Yeah, and if you didn’t know it already, the news that we're at war isn’t good news. But this is one of those times when what we don’t know might kill us.
As Mark Steyn wrote just before this year’s anniversary of 9/11, “Where’s the War?”:
In his pugnacious new book, Norman Podhoretz calls for redesignating this conflict as World War IV. Certainly, it would have been easier politically to frame the Iraq campaign as being a front in a fourth world war than as a necessary measure in an anti-terrorist campaign. Yet who knows? Perhaps we would still have mired ourselves in legalisms and conspiracies and the dismal curdled relativism of the Flight 93 memorial’s “crescent of embrace.” In the end, as Podhoretz says, if the war is to be fought at all, it will “have to be fought by the kind of people Americans now are.” On this sixth anniversary, as 9/11 retreats into history, many Americans see no war at all.
What do you see?
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I see it this way: If you want to convert me, or if, by some quirk, I accidentally manage to convert you, then fair is fair. It’s a good system, and it’s worked for thousands of years.
But for God’s sake, or for Allah’s, let’s don’t engage in the mutual adulteration of one another’s religions by dialoguing up buckets of nonsensical mush about how our square is really not so different from your circle.
All of which I mention only because I see once again where people who should know better have been playing at “interfaith dialogue.”
And I also feel a need to explain why, where I would ordinarily rely on quotations to better illustrate my point, when it comes to stories about ecumenical dialogue [sic], the language produced is so nauseatingly tepid and meaningless, that I can't find one thing substantial enough to find worth quoting, let alone worth re-reading. These interfaith events are the only examples I can think of where I actually support punitive government regulations being applied to compel drastic reductions in carbon emissions.
Poor Gregg Krupa at the Detroit News got the assignment to report about local Catholic and Muslim leaders gathering at the Islamic Center of America, where they “worshipped together,” (which is impossible), and, of course, contemplated, collaborated, dialogued, and spiritual journied, and all that other vapid nonsense. (“Catholic, Muslim interfaith dialogue opened”).
And the following will be my only example of the smog such unnatural intercourse brings:
"First of all, we recognize the fact that although these are two distinct religious traditions, we both have at their very heart good solid reasons why we engage in dialogue," said the Rev. Francis Tiso, associate director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the bishops' conference.
The language abuse is bad enough. But for me, the really embarrassing thing is that the Catholic leaders really believe they are working toward a common goal of mutual understanding, whereas I have no doubt that the ISNA, (the Muslim Brotherhood front group that is organizing the Muslim role in this sideshow), wouldn’t be involved if they didn’t see in it some opportunity for dawah.
The Brotherhood in North America (again, for which the ISNA is a mere front) has gone on record that its goal is “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” ("Just What Is the MSA?").
In other words, (and I say it even with something like a grudging admiration), Islam just doesn’t do interfaith dialogue.
Islam’s idea of ecumenism, (which in its Greek root denotes the entire inhabited world), is to invite all nonMuslims on Earth to embrace Islam, and then, whoever refuses to accept it thereafter will be forced to submit to dhimmi status, Sharia law, and the payment of the Jizya tax, and, whoever refuses to pay the tax, will submit to being killed or sold into slavery. For that matter, those dhimmis who don’t resist haven’t any more rights than those who do, and may also be killed or sold into slavery.
Put bluntly, there’s no place in the Koran for sharing common theological ground with Kuffirs.
Which means there’s already a sizeable element of hypocrisy here, (or Taqiyya?), on the part of the Islamic hosts of this “dialogue.” I can’t imagine these discussions serve any other purpose for Muslims than to highlight the weak-mindedness and pliability of local Catholic leaders.
Nor can I take seriously the claims of the local interfaith participants that “they explored guidelines to govern attempts to convert Muslims to Catholicism and Catholics to Islam.”
Islam's guidelines on Muslims converting to Catholicism don't bear much exploring, because, quite simply: “The prophet Muhammad said that anyone who rejects Islam for another religion should be executed.” (“Conversion a thorny issue in Muslim world”).
We saw this last year after Abdul Rahman, an Afghani who converted from Islam to Christianity, faced execution for apostasy, and only escaped with his life by obtaining exile and asylum in Italy. In view of Rahman's case, Pope Benedict pointedly spoke about concerns he had about “communities who live in countries where there is a lack of religious freedom, or where despite claims on paper they in truth are subjected to many restrictions.” (“Italy Grants Asylum to Afghan Christian Convert”).
Last year during another interfaith field trip to the Islamic Center of America, we were witness to the spectacle of Catholic schoolgirls offered as lambs by their Catholic-school teachers to Islamic shearers. (“Catholic Schoolgirls Learn to Cover Hair, Think Islam Is 'Cool'”).
Since then we’ve seen instance after instance of Christians submitting to Islamic demands, including Speaker of the House of Representatives, (and Catholic), Nancy Pelosi, donning a hijab while engaged in an appeasement campaign with the dictator of Syria. Then there was Dutch Bishop Martinus “Tiny” Muskens suggesting “that Christians should refer to God as ‘Allah’ to promote better relations with Muslims.” (“Pray to Allah, Dutch Bishop Suggests”).
Then, there was Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, who decided she was a Christian and a Muslim, “just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman.” ("I am both Muslim and Christian").
Okay, Redding is not a Catholic, but an Episcopalian priest. But in these circumstances I don’t know if Muslims place that much importance on distinctions among Christians.
My point is, search in vain for photos of young Muslim schoolgirls clutching rosaries, or poring over Bibles, or gathering in a Catholic sanctuary to hear explanations of the ancient Christian doctrines of the Atonement, and the Incarnation, and the Three in One cherished so dearly by those they’re pretending to be dialoguing with. You won't find those images. In these interfaith meets, Mohammed never goes to the mountain, but always vice versa.
And the symbolism of the Kumbayistas going as supplicants to the Islamic Center of America is not lost on the Muslim audience.
Fortunately, a lot of the local silliness of American prelates is neutralized by the firm pastoral hand of Benedict in Rome. Making short work of the recent duplicitous call for dialogue of the 138 Muslims a couple weeks ago, the Vatican promptly came out with a statement that dialogue was hardly possible when Muslims see the Koran as the literal word of God--strictly off-limits to interpretation or being discussed in depth. (“Cardinal signals firm Vatican stance with Muslims”).
Then, speaking for the Vatican, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran also issued this further challenge:
The fact that Muslims can build mosques in Europe while many Islamic states limit or ban church building cannot be ignored, he said. "In a dialogue among believers, it is fundamental to say what is good for one is good for the other," he said.
Since Benedict knows perfectly well that Islamic leaders will never tolerate treating with Christians on equal terms, the impossibility of “dialogue” is baldly apparent. It’s also apparent which party is the intransigent one, and why. (Okay, for those who sometimes miss the obvious, it’s the Muslims ).
Someone's crying, Lord.
Oh, that would be me.
Today the Detroit News has belatedly found space to run an AP article about how well things have been going in Iraq. (“Military, civilian deaths fall in Iraq”):
BAGHDAD -- October is on course to record the second consecutive decline in U.S. military and Iraqi civilian deaths and American commanders say they know why: the U.S. troop increase and an Iraqi groundswell against al-Qaida and Shiite militia extremists.
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch points to what the military calls "Concerned Citizens" -- Shiites and Sunnis who have joined the American fight. He says he's signed up 20,000 of them in the past four months.
"I've never been more optimistic than I am right now with the progress we've made in Iraq. The only people who are going to win this counterinsurgency project are the people of Iraq. We've said that all along. And now they're coming forward in masses," Lynch said in a recent interview at a U.S. base deep in hostile territory south of Baghdad.
By the way, I think it’s fair to point out that when “concerned citizens,” from both sides of the Shia-Sunni divide in Iraq join up to cooperate with US forces, it qualifies as a form of political progress. But I digress. The AP story also reports:
As of Tuesday, the Pentagon reported 28 U.S. military deaths in October. That's an average of about 1.2 deaths a day. The toll on U.S troops hasn't been this low since March 2006, when 31 soldiers died -- an average of one death a day.
While U.S. death figures appear to be in sharp decline, the number of Iraqi civilians and security forces show a less dramatic drop.
The current pace of civilian deaths would put October at less than 900. The figure last month was 1,023 and for August, 1,956, according to figures compiled by the Associated Press.
I love the way the AP tries to minimize a dramatic plunge in civilian deaths from 1,956 to “less than 900,” (or, by at least more than one-half in only two months), as somehow not dramatic, because it's "not as dramatic" as the plunge in military deaths.
In spite of the AP's efforts to make great news into just barely OK news, the point is clear enough, in spite of all the two-stepping. We’re winning, both militarily and politically, as a direct result of this summer's surge in forces.
Yet, immediately below this optimistic story on the National/World section of the Detroit News, is this “Iraq Update,”about Michigan’s own Rep. John Dingell, (Democrat of Dearborn),
Dingell wants troops out by '09 U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, introduced legislation
Tuesday requiring President Bush to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by Jan. 20, 2009 -- the day his successor is sworn in -- and to start the withdrawal in the next 30 days. "(A)s the war drags on I am increasingly concerned that the president is hoping to leave this mess for the next president to fix," he said.
In yesterday’s news release, posted on Rep. Dingell's website, he twice refers, in error, to President Bush’s “failed policies in Iraq,” and to the President's refusal [sic] “to take responsibility for his failed strategy.” Says Dingell:
For years now, the American people have been told that progress in Iraq is just around the next corner. Over and over again, the President has told us that we need to be patient, to allow him more time to show results. The sad reality is that President Bush has no strategy for Iraq, and has instead adopted a policy of running out the clock so that he can lay the blame for his failures on the next President.
According to the AP story, and to the growing mountain of good reports coming out of Iraq, there's been so much progress there lately that by next summer there isn't going to be enough of a "mess" left in Iraq for Democrats to run against.
Someone should tell Rep. Dingell.
We know Congressman Dingell has been frantically working to keep his own Congressional majority from legislating the utter destruction of the Michigan auto industry, so he most likely hasn’t had time to read any current news reports about Iraq.
Perhaps when his staff clips this news brief for his political scrapbook, they can include the good-news article above it from the AP.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I guess this is why he’s the leader.
Advising his local chapter in Iraq to cool the bloodthirsty behavior that lost them popular support and Sunni cooperation in Anbar, Usama Bin Laden said in his newest video that “Everybody can make a mistake, but the best of them are those who admit their mistakes…Mistakes have been made during holy wars but mujahedeen have to correct their mistakes." (“Bin Laden" audiotape: He even advises himself not to be "extreme").
So, if UBL can admit that Islamic jihadists are guilty of extremism without being called “Islamophobic,” then why can’t anyone else? And why can’t CAIR and the ADC call for moderation, instead of making excuses for terrorists?
DU has been unable to confirm with our translators that, later on in the tape, Bin Laden tries to blame the violence and brutality of AQI on a small number of “extremists” who have “hijacked” his peaceful jihadist movement.
Monday, October 22, 2007
And, by way of example, and just in time for Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, Detroit’s most prominent columnist, sports writer, and author, Mitch Albom, has decided to raise alarms about the TSA’s failure to spot fake bombs or bomb parts during test screenings. (“This failure should sound the alarms”).
I’m hardly going to minimize the seriousness of the TSA’s failures. I think airport screening should be privatized, but that’s for another post, or someone else’s. Obviously, it’s not acceptable to have this kind of a failure rate.
But it's Albom’s utter failure to see any bigger picture that reveals his own failure—or unwillingness—to think the thing through. And to me his narrow point of view is just as scary as what's got his nose out of joint: that, "six years after the fact, we still have disinterested agents.”
Disinterested agents? How about disengaged commentators?
First off, when it comes to placing the blame for our current high level of national expense, worry, war-making, alerts, inconvenience, and so on, he writes "we can blame ourselves.”
Read for yourselves, and you will see that Albom nowhere places the blame for 9/11, or all the other related things he’s unhappy about, on Islamic terrorism.
Yet where he really goes wrong is when he equates the TSA’s failures to spot test bombs as:
a straight line to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and that field in Pennsylvania six years ago.
Can you imagine how our lives would be different if those 19 hijackers had been stopped? Think about every security issue you now face in daily life, think about the economic drain on this nation, think about the war, the lives lost, the political hate, and all of it goes back to how those men got on those planes.
So you would think, before throwing hundreds of billions at a conflict in Iraq, the first, the biggest, the most obvious use of money and effort would be at the real ground zero of the Sept. 11 terrorism plan -- the airports.
Except Ground Zero of Islamo-Fascism is not America's airports. It is the Islamic world that has embraced radical jihad. If all of the nineteen hijackers had been caught, and all of 9/11’s victims spared, we would still be facing a hostile Islamic world.
9/11 wasn't hatched by these 19 in the airport, it was hatched by al Qaeda in Afghanistan. And al Qaeda, and its sister radical Islamic terror armies, were hatched in the heart of the umma. Don't blame this on boxcutters. They are only tools in the hands of thinking enemies.
Albom may as well say that if the U.S. Armed Forces had done a better job anticipating the signs of a Japanese surprise attack in December 1941, and thwarted it, all of the trouble of World War II would have been spared.
Of course, America's role in the World War wouldn’t have been over that easily even if we had stopped the attack on Pearl Harbor: there still would have been the menace of Imperial Japan’s expanding war, and Hitler’s depredations in Europe, and both Axis powers having already laid plans that included us--whether we willingly decided to go to war or not.
So sooner or later, with or without Pearl Harbor, we were going to be in it. Our islolation was an illusion. The Axis who started all the fuss weren’t going to stop until enough of us made up our minds to stop them.
Now Albom apparently believes that if 9/11 had been prevented, we could have drawn a big sigh of relief, and then gone right back to what we were doing before without all this bother and waste of time over a so-called war on terrorism. (As I recall, what Democrats were doing on 9/10/2001 was still re-breathing into brown paper bags over the 2000 election in Florida).
Yet I can't imagine how merely preventing 9/11 would have been the end of radical jihad's efforts to kill Americans. And I can't imagine that we would all be safer, more prosperous, and doing fine, if we had stopped this single attack.
Think about this.
Osama bin Ladin would still be running al Qaeda from Afghanistan, and the Taliban would still be ruling in Kabul and Kandahar; Saddam and his sons would still be tormenting Iraq, and revving up his nuclear program, (because there's no way sanctions would have lasted until 2007); the Saudis would have continued with their export of Wahhabism, without benefit of the closer, if imperfect, scrutiny there's been because of 9/11; Iran would still be run by crazy mullahs, and now in an arms race with Iraq; the Syrians would still be occupying Lebanon; the wall of separation between American domestic law enforcement and national security would still be up.
Last but not least, if it weren't for the magnificent response of the coalition since 2001 in Afghanistan and Iraq, and determination to roll up and interfere with terrorism around the world, the last American response to terrorism the Islamists would have had to go by to judge our resolve would have been the weak inaction we showed following the bombing of the USS Cole.
So why does a bright and otherwise thoughful writer like Mitch Albom get it so backwards, figuring that jihadist terrorism didn't bring us 9/11, but it was 9/11 that brought us jihadist terrorism?
I don't know. But if that's what he really thinks, then he needs to go back and think about it again. And this time he needs to think about it all the way through.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Nobel Winner Issues Apology for Comments About Blacks
By CORNELIA DEAN
James D. Watson, who shared the 1962 Nobel prize for deciphering the double-helix of DNA, apologized “unreservedly” yesterday for comments reported this week suggesting that black people, over all, are not as intelligent as whites.
In an interview published Sunday in The Times of London, Dr. Watson is quoted as saying that while “there are many people of color who are very talented,” he is “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa.”
“All our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
In a statement given to The Associated Press yesterday, Dr. Watson said, “I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said. There is no scientific basis for such a belief.”
But his publicist, Kate Farquhar-Thomson, would not say whether Dr. Watson believed he had been misquoted. “You have the statement,” she said. “That’s it, I am afraid.”
The story goes on to report that Watson is hardly the first notable scientist--nor Nobel winner-- to have exotic ideas about race.
Dr. Watson, 79, is hardly the first eminent researcher to assert that inherited characteristics like skin color are correlated to intelligence and that people of African descent fall short. For example, William B. Shockley, a Nobel laureate for his work with transistors, in later life developed ideas of eugenics based on the supposed intellectual inferiority of blacks.
None of which exactly inspires confidence in the current blind faith in the consensus of "science" experts on the subjects of global warming, embryonic stem-cell research, or a host of other subjects that have been declared closed to discussion because scientists say there is nothing more to be said.
At the risk of stating the obvious, scientists can be stupid, too. That's why they must never, merely because they represent "science," be granted the power over life and death.
Take a second to check out the ADC’s online press release condemning next week’s Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. (“ADC Leads Effort Against Hate Campaign on Campus”).
You will find there the expected fulminations against the “hate speech” anticipated from speakers like David Horowitz, Ann Coulter, Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer. There’s also a pretentious statement made by ADC Executive Director Kareem Shora. On the one hand, he agrees Horowitz, et al, are entitled to exercise free speech. But you know he isn't going to leave it there:
“However, ADC is seriously concerned that such a notorious lineup of racist, bigoted, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic speakers will serve not to educate but to promote hatred and spread misinformation and lies. Let us not forget that these are the same lies that have lead, and continue to lead, to hate crimes and attacks against minorities including African-Americans, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, and others based on stereotypes. The points of view espoused by this campaign are not ones that belong in any reasonable debate as it serves to promote hatred of an entire religion or ethnic origin.”
Which only makes sense, as Shora keeps repeating, (including on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal this morning), that the ADC is a “civil rights organization.” So when the ADC condemned Ann Coulter last week, it's because they’re all about stopping anti-Semitism.
Then, take a look at the left-hand margin of the webpage at this map, captioned “History of Palestine,” but strangely giving no sign of the existence of the State of Israel.
The ADC borrowed the map from USA Today, (where it's bigger), where it was originally used to depict Palestine right after World War II, before Israel became a state. The ADC could easily have found a graphic representing modern Israel, but likes this one.
And right above their map is the reason why they like it: their “ADC Factsheet” explains that “The illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is the foremost obstacle to peace.”
In other words, no Israel = peace.
But Horowitz, Pipes, Coulter, and Spencer are the anti-Semites.
Friday, October 19, 2007
By ANDREW TAYLOR and DEVLIN BARRETT –
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hippies used to say if you remember Woodstock, you weren't really there. Republicans say presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton can forget about getting $1 million in taxpayer funds for a Woodstock museum.
Clinton and Charles Schumer, Democratic senators from New York, want to earmark the federal money for a museum that would commemorate the 1969 music festival in their state.
Senator Schumer was the main force behind the earmark, behind which Senator Clinton, after asking the senior New York senator if she could “walk beside him," also threw her support. A disappointed Schumer said afterward the whole thing left him feeling he didn't know who he was, "like a cog in something turning."
Senator Clinton was much more upbeat. While acknowledging that Republicans still have the country trapped in the devil’s bargain, she was confident, she told reporters, that “when I’m president, every American will be guaranteed equal quality access back to the garden.”
Thursday, October 18, 2007
A Saudi-funded K-12 school in Fairfax, Virginia has been recommended closed by a federal panel until the U.S. can be reassured the school isn't teaching jihad.
Feds Recommend Closing Saudi School in Va.
McLEAN, Va. (AP) - A private Islamic school supported by the Saudi government should be shut down until the U.S. government can ensure the school is not fostering radical Islam, a federal panel recommends.
In a report released Thursday, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom broadly criticized what it calls a lack of religious freedom in Saudi society and promotion of religious extremism at Saudi schools.
Particular criticism is leveled at the Islamic Saudi Academy, a private school serving nearly 1,000 students in grades K-12 at two campuses in northern Virginia's Fairfax County.
The commission's report says the academy hews closely to the curriculum used at Saudi schools, which they criticize for promoting hatred of and intolerance against Jews, Christians and Shiite Muslims.
"Significant concerns remain about whether what is being taught at the ISA promotes religious intolerance and may adversely affect the interests of the United States," the report states.
The commission, a creation of Congress, has no power to implement policy on its own. Instead, it makes recommendations to other agencies.
The commission does not offer specific criticism of the academy's teachings beyond its concerns that it too closely mimics a typical Saudi education.
The report recommends that the State Department prevail on the Saudi government to shut the school down until the school's textbooks can be reviewed and procedures are put in place to ensure the school's independence form the Saudi Embassy.
Well, it isn't exactly right that the commission doesn't offer specific criticisms. The report makes clear that the ISN is but an "American case in point" of what the Commission sees as Saudi "exportation of extremism":
The Commission has raised concerns for many years that the Saudi government and members of the royal family directly and indirectly fund the global propagation of an ideology which promotes hatred, intolerance, and other human rights abuses, including violence. The concern is not about the propagation of Islam per se, but the Saudi government's version if Islam promotes abuses of human rights, including violent acts, against non-Muslims and disfavored Muslims.
Studies in 2003 and 2006 of the Saudi state curricula, which are exported for use worldwide in mosques and schools, including at the ISN,
found that the approach used in the texts "encourages violence towards others, and misguides the pupils into believing that in order to safeguard their religion, they must violently repress and even physically eliminate the 'other.' They cited examples found in the textbooks, such as "the blood and property of the polytheists are permitted" and "there is no prohibition on spilling their [polytheists] blood." Furthermore, one scholar who examined "revised" state religious textbooks concluded that "there are passages in the various Tawhid editions stating that the blood and property of polytheists may be taken by Muslims, and these pasages have been contextualized, but not removed...What remains then, is a principle of behavior sanctioning the murder of those with whom one disagrees."
As long as the U.S. government has been bringing the objectionable nature of these textbooks to the attention of the Saudi government, the Saudis have been promising that they've "revised" the texts to cure the offending passages, but have always refused to produce the books for inpsection to show they've been cleaned up. In spite of Saudi claims, the Commission, and Freedom House, which has been a leader in pressing for the Saudi government to properly revise these materials, both reported that as of last year no meaningful revisions had been made. For example,
a 2006 report analyzing some Saudi textbooks from the 2005-2006 school year found that "a ninth grade Saudi textbook on Hadith teaches teenagers in apocolyptic terms that violence towards Jews, Christians and other unbelievers is sanctioned by God." For example, the textbook reads, "the hour [of judghment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them." Another example taken from a twelfth grade textbook reads, "Jihad in the path of God--which consists of battling [Arabic, qital] against unbelief, oppression, injustice, and those who perpetrate it--is the summit of Islam." The study concludes that "while, as the text explains, one of the meanings of jihad is self-perfection or "'wrestling with the spirit' it acknowledges a more militant meaning as well.'" This state-driven disregard for freedom of religion not only violates international human rights standards, but also serves to embolden radical Islamists who seek to perpetrate acts of terrorism and other violence on Americans and others around the world.
Freedom House additionally reports that the Saudi textbooks teach The protocols of the Elders of Zion as historical fact as well as teaching "that 'Jews and the Christians are enemies of the [Muslim] believers'...that 'the clash" between the two realms is perpetual; Instruct students not to 'greet,' 'befriend,' 'imitate,' 'show loyalty to,' 'be courteous to,' or 'respect' non-believers; [and] Assert that the spread of Islam through jihad is a 'religious duty.'"
We know the ISN managed to produce at least one student who took these lessons seriously. According to the AP article,
After the Sept. 11 attacks, critics questioned the nature of the religious education at the Saudi academy. The school again found itself in the spotlight in 2005, when a former class valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was charged with joining al-Qaida while attending college in Saudi Arabia and plotting to assassinate President Bush. Abu Ali was convicted in federal court and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
What do you bet Ahmed was able to get through his valedictory speech without having his mike cut off for talking about religion?
ISN teaches a thousand kids at a time.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I see where 138 Islamic scholars have written an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI and some 25 other Christian leaders, warning that “The ‘survival of the world’ is at stake if Muslims and Christians do not make peace with each other.” (“Pope told ‘survival of world’ at stake if Muslims and Christians do not make peace”).
Among the 138 scholars are Nihad Awad, National Executive Director and co-founder of CAIR, and Professor Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Readers are well familiar with CAIR. ISNA is not quite so famous. It was begat by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) in 1981, which in turn was begat by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1963. As we reported about the ISNA before this in “Just What Is the MSA?” and “The Plan of the Muslim Brotherhood ", and as described in Congressional testimony:
The Islamic Society of North America is an influential front for the promotion of the Wahhabi political, ideological and theological infrastructure in the United States and Canada.
Established by the Muslim Students Association, ISNA seeks to marginalize leaders of the Muslim faith who do not support its ideological goals. Through sponsorship of propaganda, doctrinal material and mosques, is pursuing a strategic objective of dominating Islam in North America. ISNA provides ideological material to about 1,100 of an estimated 1,500 to 2,500 mosques in North America. It vets and certifies Wahhabi-trained imams and is the main official endorsing agent for Muslim chaplains in the U.S. military.
The Times Online quotes the 29-page letter as follows:
The scholars state: “As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them - so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes.”
In other words, we Muslims are not against Christianity, so long as Christians don’t do any of the myriad things we Muslims are hard-wired to regard as “waging war against” us. This is often repeated by apologists of Islam who maintain that Islam, the religion of peace, only resorts to war in self-defense.
Robert Spencer explains just “how elastic and essentially meaningless the concept of fighting only in self defense” actually is in Islam.
By way of example, he records the answer to an inquiry about offensive jihad given by South African mufti Ebrahim Desai, who confirmed that, since “the primary responsibility of the Muslim ruler is to spread Islam throughout the world…if a country doesn’t allow the propagation if Islam to its inhabitants in a suitable manner or creates hindrances to this, then the Muslim ruler would be justified in waging Jihad against this country…If the Kuffar [unbelievers] allow us to spread Islam peacefully, then we would not wage Jihad against them.” (The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades).
Spencer concludes the concept has no boundaries at all:
What constitutes a sufficient provocation? Must the defending side wait until the enemy strikes the first military blow? These questions have no clear or definitive answers in Islamic law, making it possible for anyone to portray virtually any struggle as defensive without violating the strict canons of that law. But this also renders meaningless the oft-repeated claims that jihad warfare can only be defensive.
As we’ve seen, Muslims can justify defensive warfare over slights including a non-belligerent Christian leader addressing a Christian audience (Benedict at Regensburg), in a Christian nation and making mention of some failings of Islam, or the insupportable cartoon riots when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published drawings of Mohammed--neither of which remotely entailed waging war on Muslims nor driving any from their homes: (but of course, many found themselves “oppressed” by being forced to share a planet with people holding contrary opinions about the Prophet!).
Any abused enabling wife will tell you that her black eyes are not the fault of her husband for being a brute, but her fault for always doing things that drive him crazy. If she would just give him what he needs to remain peaceful, he's as harmless as a lamb.
Ryan Evans at The Investigative Project believes the open letter isn’t really intended for the Pope or the other Christian leaders at all, but rather “is meant to influence the Christian public around the world.” (“A Common Word Between Us and You is a Call for Conversion”).
He points out that the choice of Quran verse 3:64, (the selection of which by the scholars Ryan calls dishonest), does not signal that the letter's drafters sincerely recognize common ground between Islam and Christianity, because the context of that verse makes clear that Islam views neither Christians nor Jews as worshippers of the true God.
(Aal ‘Imran 3:64) Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).
3:65: Ye, People of the Book! Why dispute ye about Abraham, when the Law and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have ye no understanding?
3:66: Ah! Yes are those who fell to disputing (even) in matters of which ye had some knowledge! But why dispute ye in matters of which ye have no knowledge? It is Allah who knows and ye who know not!
3:67: Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian, but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to Allah's (which is Islam) and he joined not gods with Allah.
3:68: Without doubt, among men, the nearest of kin to Abraham are those who follow him, as are also this Apostle and those who believe: And Allah is the Protector of those who have Faith.
3:69: It is the wish of a section of the People of the Book to lead you astray. But they shall lead astray (not you), but themselves, and they do not perceive.
3:70: Ye People of the Book! Why reject ye the Signs of Allah, of which ye are (yourselves) witnesses?
3:71: Ye People of the Book! Why do you clothe Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth while ye have knowledge?
In full context, it is clear that this section of the Quran, including 3:64, is a condemnation of Christianity and Judaism and a call for conversion. Why would this verse be included in a call for peace and understanding between Islam and Christianity? The authors and signatories of this letter are among the most learned scholars of Islam in the world. They know the context of 3:64 and its true message, which is exactly why they included it. This letter is not a call for peace. It is a call for conversion.
Read the rest of Ryan’s article here.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Now there’s an article reporting that cemetery workers in Najaf, Iraq, are in a bad way because not enough people are dying. (“As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch”).
Please take note that, after the deaths caused by Saddam, the high death tolls in Najaf were the result of a “stampede during a Shiite Muslim festival killed hundreds on a Baghdad bridge,” and then “militia fighters loyal to the anti-American militant cleric Muqtada al Sadr and coalition forces fought in the cemetery,” after which “many cemetery workers were killed or injured by bombs left behind”--bombs later removed by U.S. and Iraqi forces.
I wonder if Iraq Body Count is going to chime in on this?
You all had a good laugh at the expense of Miss South Carolina * when she was forced to improvise on the touchy problem of a fifth of Americans being unable locate the U.S. on a map.
Well, we could use her now.
You see, if one-fifth of Americans can’t find the U.S. on a map, how many Americans couldn’t find Turkey on a map? Probably a lot more fifths! (Or would that be a lot fewer?)
The way Miss South Carolina explains it, she feels the reason “U.S. Americans” can’t find the U.S.A., (and, by implication, countries nobody’s ever heard of like Turkey, Iraq, or Iran,), is “because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps.”
She makes a great point, and gets it across with incredible poise, in my estimation. I have reason to believe, for instance, that neither Nancy Pelosi nor Tom Lantos, nor the other sponsors of the House resolution condemning Turkey for the Armenian genocide of 1915, don’t have maps.
If they did, they could not possibly believe that launching a diplomatic insult at Turkey--an insult guaranteed to draw retaliation from the Turkish government in the form of a denial of cooperation with us-- could possibly be a good idea right now.
If Ms. Pelosi had a map, she would realize that Turkey shares borders with both Iraq and Iran, two countries of immediate critical concern to the United States, now and into the indefinite future, and in one of which we are actually fighting a war. Lacking maps, she can't be blamed for not knowing that our Turkish bases and supply routes--both strategically irreplaceable--depend on Turkish cooperation--cooperation she and her House colleagues are awfully anxious to fritter away on this untimely resolution.
We know that Ms. Pelosi, (whom the Wall Street Journal refers to as “Secretary of State Pelosi”), must at least have some maps, at least maps of Africa, because she says her genocide resolution “is about the Ottoman Empire," last seen more than 85 years ago. "Genocide still exists," insists Ms. Pelosi. "We saw it in Rwanda; we see it now in Darfur." She also must know a few things about world history, since she's heard of the Ottomans. But if she had maps she'd know that condemning a 90-year old genocide in Turkey won't do any good for people in Darfur or Rwanda.
Fortunately, both Ms. Pelosi and Miss South Carolina share identical desires “to build up our future for our children,” in the case of the latter, by providing "U.S. Americans" with more maps. (We're still waiting to find out how Ms. Pelosi expects to do it).
I really do think Miss South Carolina's got something there. We should take a lesson from her, and get some maps of the Middle East and Turkey to Ms. Pelosi and her colleagues as soon as possible.
Before three-fifths of Congress tears down the future for our children any worse.
*JUDGE: Recent polls have shown that a fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?
MISS SOUTH CAROLINA: I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq -- everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should... our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. -- or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for our children.
In today's New York Post, John Podhoretz takes note of the significance of two of the Washington Post's staunchest critics of the war, collaborating on an article reporting encouraging signs that Al Qaeda in Iraq may really be on its last legs:
THE CRITICS RELENT
By JOHN PODHORETZ
October 16, 2007 -- TO the extent it can be said that news from an active war zone can be good, we're now into the third month of good news from Iraq.
It's not just that violence has receded in the most dangerous places both for American soldiers and Iraqis, though it has by every measure.
It is that the good guys are making genuine advances for the first time against the enemy in a war zone where there is no conventional battlefield - a war in which it is, by definition, difficult to measure gains as we're used to measuring them, by the amount of territory captured or controlled.
A report in yesterday's Washington Post says flatly: "The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al Qaeda in Iraq in recent months."
This sentence is significant for two reasons.
First, it has not been the habit of the U.S. military to offer happy-talk assessments of our strategic position in Iraq - certainly not since 2003. Politicians, yes. Washington officials, yes. Conservative journalists and pundits (alas), yes. But not the U.S. military itself.
Second, the sentence was written by Thomas Ricks and Karen De Young.
They are, respectively, the lead military correspondent and the lead foreign-affairs correspondent for The Washington Post - and they have been the most pointedly pessimistic and negative voices among the informed U.S. media on the subject of the war in Iraq.
Both occupy a vaunted position - though not officially opinion writers, they plainly have wide latitude to write "news" stories that openly reflect their own views as much as they do the views of those they quote.
Ricks is the author of "Fiasco," a powerful and sobering book on the failures of the first two years of the war. De Young's view of the changing U.S. strategy in Iraq has been relentlessly downbeat.
Read the rest of Podhoretz's article here.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week October 22-26, 2007
By Robert Spencer and David Horowitz
When President Bush used the term “Islamo-Fascism” to describe the jihadists who have attacked us, many complained that it reflected prejudice against Muslims. The Council on American Islamic Relations, a “civil rights” organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, protested that the term “feeds the perception that the war on terror is actually a war on Islam.” In fact, the opposite is the truth. As the Algerian sociologist Marieme Helie Lucas explains, the term “Islamo-Fascism” was “initially coined by Algerian people struggling for democracy, against armed fundamentalist forces decimating people in our country, then later operating in Europe, where a number of us had taken refuge.” In other words, the term “Islamo-Fascism” originates with moderate Muslims under attack from Muslim radicals, who murdered more than 150,000 Muslims whom they regarded as infidels in Algeria in the 1990s.
Helie Lucas is the founder of the group Women Living Under Muslim Laws, which resists the oppression of women by these fanatics. The term Islamo-Fascism, as she explains, refers to “political forces working under the cover of religion in order to gain political power and to impose a theocracy (‘The Law’ -- singular -- of God, unchangeable, ahistorical, interpreted by self appointed old men) over democracy (i.e. the laws -- plural -- voted by the people and changeable by the will of the people).”
The term “Islamo-Fascism” does not refer to a generalized “war on Islam,” but to a defensive war against the attacks of radicals who have murdered hundreds of thousands of moderate Muslims, Jews, Christians, gays, women and infidels since the first radical Islamic state was formed in Iran in 1979, and the modern global jihad was launched in earnest.
Moderate Muslims who hold to Islam as a religion but reject its political ambitions are happy to live in pluralistic societies that separate religion from the state. Moderate Muslims are willing to live with non-Muslims as equals. It is these Muslims who are the victims of the Islamo-Fascists and the natural allies of the West, which is also the target of the jihad.
The jihadists, who are waging this war, are exponents of political – rather than religious – Islam. They are indeed fascists, sharing crucial ideological convictions with historical fascist movements.
The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, was an open admirer of Adolf Hitler, as was the principal theorist of the modern jihad, Sayyid Qutb. During World War II, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, cousin of Yasir Arafat and spiritual godfather of Palestinian nationalism, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, was openly pro-Nazi. In May 1941, he issued a fatwa calling upon the Germans to bomb Tel Aviv, and in November 1941 traveled to Berlin and met with Hitler. Then he went to the Balkans, where he spearheaded the creation of Muslim units of the Waffen SS.
The Islamic jihad launched by the Muslim Brotherhood, and carried on by offshoots such as al-Qaeda and Hamas, is a totalitarian movement seeking the control of every aspect of human life through the powers of the state. The jihadists want to bring all social and family life under the sway of Islamic law, through the creation of a global Islamic empire, with a caliphate in Baghdad. Like the Nazis before them, they believe in the inherent superiority of one group of human beings over all the rest, whom they regard as “infidels” and “unbelievers.” These infidels, according to the passages of the Qur’an that they invoke, are the “vilest of creatures” (Qur’an 98:6).
The term “Islamo-fascism” describes the agendas of the jihadists with perfect accuracy. It supports moderate Muslims who are seeking to defend themselves and distinguish their religious faith from the totalitarian faith of the jihad.
No one who wants to see moderate Muslims succeed in their efforts to resist the oppressive doctrines of the Islamo-fascists should oppose the use of this term. Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is an effort to educate the general public about the enemy we face and, in the process, to give moderate Muslims support in their struggle.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
It is no secret to most readers that
How is it that instead of ringing the alarm bells, news from
"Where?", is my reply.
It is closer to you than you believe and if continue to rest easy in the belief that
We are going to begin a new feature here at DU - News of Islam from around the world.
Today's Headlines with links to the full article - just click headline in blue. There are some common themes here. Do you recognize any of the terms being used? How about 'Religious Dialogue'? '
Islam means submission and it is posturing itself in alpha dog (maharum) position because it is hoping we lack the will to fight.
be advised...... "COMING SOON TO A LOCATION NEAR YOU"
In the place where I grew up – a particular square in one of the nicer Northern housing estates – there was a young Muslim doctor who lived with his wife and children.
Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic missionary group plans to open a madrasa for 500 boys near
During a visit to
Going beyond the usual occasional relief campaigns, an Austrian Muslim charity is launching a new worldwide drive to help meet the long-term needs of underprivileged communities in world countries via waqf-based projects.
Amid world recognition of the alarming phenomena,
Fred Thompson, the actor and ex-senator who has joined the Republican race for the
With glossy covers, modern layouts and polished writing, Muslim magazines are fanning out across the shelves of American newsstands to address the imperfect representation of Muslims in the US media, reported the Chicago Tribune on Saturday, October 6.
US President George W. Bush and top officials hosted Thursday, October 3, an iftar banquet at the White House for a galaxy of Muslim minority leaders and Muslim ambassadors to the
A new TV comedy that hits the airwaves in US on Monday, October 1, touches on deeply-rooted misconceptions about Muslims and their faith in post 9/11
More than 50 people were arrested today after hundreds of soldiers besieged a makeshift mosque on one of the small islands that make up the
Hong Kong's chief executive said Wednesday the city would look to emulate
With the heavyweight Muslim country's first cosmonaut just about to blast off into the space,
Thanks to Braille, many Indonesian's blind can now join fellow Muslims in seeking solace in their holy book, the Qur'an.