Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bush-Free History in Iraq

The BBC and the LA Times and NPR have managed to report on an historic election in Iraq--and in the Middle East--without once mentioning the name of the man who made it possible, George W. Bush.

Imagine a book about the Civil War that makes no mention of Lincoln. That's how journalism rolls these days.

CAIR Wants Rid of a Troublesome Priest

My eye happened to fall on this little story by Detroit News Muslim Affairs Correspondent, Gregg Krupa in the back of Section A this morning. (“Broadcast angers Muslims/Leaders want radio station to stop airing comments by priest they say defame Muhammad.”).

By the way, just for fun I Googled “angers” and “Muslims” together last night to see how many hits I’d get. When it stops counting I’ll let you all know.

But I digress. Krupa’s article describes how:

Muslims and interfaith leaders in Metro Detroit are asking a local radio station owner to discontinue broadcasts in which, they say, a Coptic priest has repeatedly defamed the Prophet Muhammad over the past

In an Arabic-language broadcast Wednesday on WNZK 680/690 AM,the Rev. Zakariah Boutros said the Muslim prophet Muhammad had engaged in necrophilia and gay sex, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations.
(Oh, who else but CAIR?). The priest is Father Zakaria Botros, a Coptic (an ancient Egyptian Christian church). CAIR's Dawud Walid says the claim about Mohammed is false. But then Amani Mostafa, the host of the program that aired the discussion, “Questions About Faith,” responded this way:

. . .Boutros was "reading from an Islamic text" when he said, over the air, that the Prophet Muhammad slept in the grave of a dead woman and allowed a man to kiss and caress his chest.

“I am a former Muslim,” said Mostafa, who is now Christian. “I know exactly what I am talking about. These are the things we were taught as children. We are quoting the Quran and the Hadiths, and if the Muslims have a problem with that then they have a problem with their own book.”

I have to confess to being unfamiliar with Fr. Botros before today. I checked him out and he turns out to be quite a guy. He broadcasts in Arabic on the Arabic channel al-Hayat (i.e., “Life TV”). He knows his Islamic sources backwards and forwards, and has managed to earn the title “Public Enemy #1” by Arabic newspaper, al-Insan al-Jadid. Plus, CAIR wants him off the air.

World Magazine gave Fr. Botros their “Daniel” award in 2008. Last March Raymond Ibrahim, editor of The Al-Qaeda Reader had this to say about Fr. Botros:

Botros is an unusual figure onscreen: robed, with a huge cross around his neck, he sits with both the Koran and the Bible in easy reach. Egypt’s Copts — members of one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East — have in many respects come to personify the demeaning Islamic institution of “dhimmitude” (which demands submissiveness from non-Muslims, in accordance with Koran 9:29). But the fiery Botros does not submit, and minces no words. He has famously made of Islam “ten demands” whose radical nature he uses to highlight Islam’s own radical demands on non-Muslims.

The result? Mass conversions to Christianity — if clandestine ones. The very public conversion of high-profile Italian journalist Magdi Allam — who was baptized by Pope Benedict in Rome on Saturday — is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, Islamic cleric Ahmad al-Qatani stated on al-Jazeera TV a while back that some six million Muslims convert to Christianity annually, many of them persuaded by Botros’s public ministry. More recently, al-Jazeera noted Life TV’s “unprecedented evangelical raid” on the Muslim world. (“Islam’s ‘Public Enemy #1’/Coptic priest Zakaria Botros fights fire with fire.”)

Fr. Botros challenges his listeners by presenting an Islamic teaching in the form of a question, which he then establishes by citations to the Koran and hadiths: (e.g., “Is jihad an obligation for all Muslims?”; “Are women inferior to men in Islam?”; “Did Mohammed say that adulterous female monkeys should be stoned?” “Is drinking the urine of prophets salutary according to sharia?”).

Ibrahim describes how the priest spent three years “bringing to broad public attention a scandalous — and authentic — hadith stating that women should “breastfeed” strange men with whom they must spend any amount of time. . . . by being ‘breastfed,’ the men become like ‘sons’ to the women and therefore can no longer have sexual designs on them”.

Fr. Botros then leaves the questions open for his Muslim audience, inviting anyone who cares to to call in and point out where his understanding of the sources is incorrect.

He does demand, however, that their response be based on “al-dalil we al-burhan,” — "evidence and proof,” one of his frequent refrains — not shout-downs or sophistry.

More often than not, the response from the ulema is deafening silence — which has only made Botros and Life TV more enticing to Muslim viewers. The ulema who have publicly addressed Botros’s conclusions often find themselves forced to agree with him — which has led to some amusing (and embarrassing) moments on live Arabic TV.

Which is kind of funny, in view of how this current story turns out. Krupa reports that “in an interview with The Detroit News last summer Birach promised to end the broadcasts, upon the request of interfaith Muslim, Jewish and Christian groups in Metro Detroit.” A promise made during an interview? But who makes promises to reporters during an interview? Sounds more like a negotiation.

This is where it gets funny, on several levels, though I don’t think Krupa meant it that way. The italics are mine:

Birach went so far as to put people associated with Boutros's broadcasts on conference calls with this reporter, while he berated them for allowing what some consider hate speech. "It's not right," Birach said at the time. "It's not fair to use some fake or stupid books to accuse someone's religion. Do you hear me?" But on Thursday, Birach said he had since heard from "several prominent people in the community," that what Boutros stated in the broadcasts is true. "Maybe we need to have more meetings," Birach said, referring to members of the Muslim and interfaith communities.
Maybe so. Krupa will be happy to arrange them. Better bring a radio.

Presidential Pay Grade Clarified

I learned recently about the custom of the outgoing President leaving a note for the his successor in the Oval Office. (“Bush Bids Farewell With Secret Note to Obama”).

I don’t know what was in President Bush’s note to President Obama, but I’m reasonably positive it wasn’t a job description.

Diana West views Obama’s televised apology to the Arab world as an effort by the U.S President to offer himself as a bridge to the Muslim world. ("Is this the job of the president of the United States?"). But in the process, we actual Americans learned a few things about how he understands his duties:
Obama spoke quite deliberately about the requirements of his new "job" as commander in chief, many of which are unprecedented. "My job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world, that the language has to be the language of respect."

That's the job of the president of the United States?

"I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries," Obama continued, simply speaking about his Islamic connections, indulging in what he condemned as "scare tactics" on the campaign trail. Now these connections are job credentials. "My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives."

That's the job of the president of the United States?

Obama continued. "My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect. But if you look at the track record -- as you say, America was not born as a colonial power -- and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that."

Can he possibly be this clueless? Yet the evidence is right in front of us. American presidents have known the real price of “respect” to Muslim leaders since at least the George Washington administration, when the new nation first began paying “respect” to Muslims in the form of extortionate tributes to the pirates of Algiers, Tunis, Morocco, and Tripoli--in exchange for not pirating our commerce traders and holding our sailors for ransom.

When Thomas Jefferson, in London in 1786 to negotiate blackmail payments with the Ambassador of Tripoli, put the question, What business do you have attacking ships from nations that had done you no harm?, the Ambassador explained that:
It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy's ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.
Jefferson finally began fighting back when he became President in 1801. He'd always known that paying ransoms would never settle things, and he’d long concluded, (probably after hearing the Ambassador of Tripoli's explanation of how Muslims view nonMuslims), that it would be “best to effect a peace by the medium of war.” That approach worked, and by 1815 American ships were no longer being attacked by the Barbary pirates, and we weren't paying any more tribute.

As Diana West explains, Obama wasn't aiming his words at his countrymen, but at the Ummah. Obama wasn’t telling Americans that we need to respect Muslims. He was telling Muslims that his country will pay them respect.

But “respect” is a word that can carry different connotations in different contexts. It can mean one thing in a clasroom, something else in a schoolyard, something quite different in a prison yard, something else in an inner-city alley with a gun in your face.

In this context, Obama is speaking to a Muslim world that since 9/11 has categorically refused to acknowledge any liability--any--for the terror attacks and violence against the West by its jihadists, nor accepts any responsibility for their religious leaders whipping up their people to hatred and violence against Israel, democracies, and infidels. Not one of the Muslim nations, in spite of the diplomatic niceties that require us singling some of them out as our "allies," has willingly cooperated with us in our struggle against Islamic radicalism, and all of them have been obstructionist and two-faced. Regardless, world Islam's demands that the West must defer to Islamic sensibilities, laws, and religious primacy, and complaints that they are being victimized and "disrespected" by us have only increased.

In this context, at this time, for Obama to say that our language toward Islam "must be the language of respect," when no respect is offered in return, is the diplomatic equivalent of dipping the American flag in the presence of a superior power.

This time no mussulman even had to leap to the deck with a dagger in his teeth. Jefferson’s successor in office had no sooner taken his oath than he "cried out for quarter at once."

FBI Stops Returning CAIR's Phone Calls. Finally.

The following story from the Investigative Project on Terrorism is welcome news, long, long, long overdue.

I wouldn’t say the FBI seeing the light about CAIR exactly proves there is a God; but it does prove that repetition of simple, glaring facts, over long periods of time, does actually get exceptionally slow (and reluctant) learners to grasp new and exciting concepts. Eventually. Sometimes.

FBI Cuts Off CAIR Over Hamas Questions

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has cut off contacts with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) amid mounting concern about the Muslim advocacy group's roots in a Hamas-support network, the Investigative Project on Terrorism has learned.

The decision to end contacts with CAIR was made quietly last summer as federal prosecutors prepared for a second trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), an Islamic charity accused of providing money and political support to the terrorist group Hamas, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

CAIR and its chairman emeritus, Omar Ahmad, were named un-indicted co-conspirators in the HLF case. Both Ahmad and CAIR's current national executive director, Nihad Awad, were revealed on government wiretaps as having been active participants in early Hamas-related organizational meetings in the United States. During testimony, FBI agent Lara Burns described CAIR as a front organization.

Hamas is a US-designated foreign terrorist organization, and it's been illegal since 1995 to provide support to it within the United States.

The decision to end contacts with CAIR is a significant policy change for the FBI. For years, the FBI worked with the national organization and its state chapters to address Muslim community concerns about the potential for hate crimes and other civil liberty violations in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist

But critics said the FBI improperly conferred legitimacy on CAIR by meeting with its officials, even as its own investigative files contained evidence of CAIR leaders' ties to Hamas.

Please read this important article in its entirety.

We've been tracking this problem a long time, such as here, here, here, and here. The feds have been as stubborn as they can be. In fact, stupidly so. I can only imagine that this present decision, made in the nick of time before the hopeless Eric Holder becomes Attorney General, is an effort to prevent the FBI from being left completely on the outside of whatever domestic counterterrorism efforts will be left during the Obama administration.

It certainly appears that the FBI's decision was made last summer after federal proescutors lost the Holy Land Foundation case the first time. I think the prosecutors desperately tried to explain to the FBI the difficulties of convincing a jury that the bad guys are really so bad, when defendants keep showing jurors their coffee mugs from the nation's premier law enforcement agency with the "Friends Share Everything" motto on it.

I'll bet at least one prosecutor even had to be talked out of naming the FBI as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Free Speech On the Run, Part 2

The other story about free speech on the run is this one from the United Kingdom.

The grievances of 1776 notwithstanding, we derived our legal system, and our fundamental concepts of freedom, justice, and constitutional government from the United Kingdom. It is too simple to pass off what happens across the Atlantic as just payback for their decades-long dalliance with socialism, multiculturalism, and blindness about national defense. (Nor would that be fair in regard to the UK). Europe is our canary in the coal mine.

Or is it really hard to believe that the U.S. Congress would show any more cajones than the Brits have if a Muslim member threatened them with a mob of 10,000?

We got this story from Act! for America. The writer blogs as Archbishop Cranmer:

Lord Ahmed threatens Parliament into submission

Lord Ahmed is a repugnant individual. Not only in appearance, but in association, character and morality. And to hear that he has threatened jihad on the House of Lords if their lordships should fail to meet his demands only serves to intensify Cranmer’s loathing of the man.

It appears that a member of the House of Lords had invited the Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, to a private meeting in the Palace of Westminster. She had intended to invite her colleagues in the Lords to a private viewing of his ‘documentary’ Fitna, followed by discussion and debate in true parliamentary fashion. This is, after all, a liberal democracy, and their lordships enjoy the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of association, not to mention certain parliamentary privileges for the protection of their function in the legislature.

But no sooner had the unsuspecting baroness sent out her invitations, Lord Ahmed raised hell. It is reported that he ‘threatened to mobilise 10,000 Muslims to prevent Mr Wilders from entering the House and threatened to take the colleague who was organising the event to court’.

And so Fitna has been cancelled: it shall not now be screened in the House of Lords on 29th January.

The Pakistani Press is jubliant, and Lord Ahmed is praising Allah for delivering ‘a victory for the Muslim community’.

It is a sorry state of affairs indeed that a parliament whose liberties have been forged through centuries of religious intolerance should succumb to the threats of one intolerant Muslim. Lord Ahmed is manifesting a notion of Divine Right, and one suspects it is precisely the sort of defence of Islam that Prince Charles shall make when he is sworn ‘Defender of Faith.

The blasphemy laws are being re-forged to protect one god, one faith and one prophet; they no longer defend YHWH, Christianity, Jesus Christ or the Church of England. Lord Ahmed is not functioning as a Labour peer; he is the self-appointed khalifa of all things Islamic. He is not concerned to protect freedom of expression or freedom of speech, but to stifle debate and ensure that Parliament submits to the Dar Al-Islam.

It is for moments such as these that one might hope the Lords Spiritual might enter the fray and defend the right of the noble baroness to extend an invitation to a democratically-elected Dutch MP. Their silence is deafening. They no longer believe anything strongly for fear of causing offence; they no longer defend anything for fear of being abolished.

If Lord Ahmed had threatened Cranmer with ’10,000 Muslims to prevent Mr Wilders from entering the House’, His Grace would have assured his Lordship of 100,000 people of all faiths and none to prevent the Muslims from preventing Mr Wilders from entering the House.There are occasions when turning the other cheek is sheer folly.

Free Speech On the Run

There are at least two critical stories right now about the shrinking of free speech.

The first involves the criminal prosecution of Dutch parliamentarian, Geert Wilders, (“Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands”). A Dutch appellated court has reversed a lower court decision and is allowing Wilders to charge “him with ‘inciting hatred and discrimination’ against Muslims for his film [Fitna] exposing the threat of radical Islam.”

The second is this week’s mau-mauing of the UK’s House of Lords by a single member, Muslim Lord Ahmed, Muslim Lord Ahmed, forbidding the body from holding a private viewing of Fitna.

Fitna in English can be downlaoded and viewed here. I found the embed code was faulty.

A Britisher’s view of what happened can be read here. Here's what's going on in the Netherlands:
2009: A year to defend free speech
Or lose it.

By Geert Wilders & Robert Spencer

Wednesday, January 21, was a black day for freedom, and the beginning of an all-out assault on free speech in the Netherlands. The Amsterdam Court of Appeals ordered the prosecution of Geert Wilders (one of this article’s co-authors) for his statements about Islam. To participate in public debate is now a dangerous activity. This is the Netherlands today—and it could be the entire Western world tomorrow.

The prosecution of Wilders was unexpected, though in retrospect one can see that something like it has been in the offing for a while. The year 2008 marked 60 years since the United Nations first promulgated its Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Yet instead of celebrating this notable anniversary by reaffirming human rights, the world in 2008 saw certain fundamentally important human rights nearly disappear under intense pressure from Islamic countries that oppose freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the equality of all people before the law. Islamic efforts to create exceptional privileges for Muslims in the area of human rights have been advancing for quite some time, and they made great strides in 2008. Now, with the Amsterdam court’s judgment, we see the outcome of such efforts.

The Islamic bloc has been on record for two decades as opposing free speech. In 1990, foreign ministers of the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), currently the largest voting bloc in the United Nations, adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. It states clearly that Islamic law—sharia—is the only true source of human rights.

Few analysts in 1990 understood that this was tantamount to declaring the legitimacy of institutionalized discrimination against women and non-Muslims, and signing the death warrant of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience as well. And not just in Muslim lands: The OIC and allied organizations have been aggressively pursuing efforts to extend elements of sharia into the West, though few people realize it even today.

Due to the relentless efforts of the OIC, passage of a resolution on combating defamation of religions is now a yearly ritual in the United Nations. First introduced in the General Assembly in 2005, the resolution has been adopted with landslide votes every year since. While this resolution is non-binding, the OIC has declared its intention to seek a binding resolution—one that would require UN member states to criminalize criticism of Islam, as the OIC defines such criticism. This is a clear indication of the progressing Islamization of the United Nations.

On March 28 of last year, the UN hit rock bottom. Its Human Rights Council—whose members include such stalwart defenders of freedom as China, Cuba, Angola, and Saudi Arabia—adopted a resolution that severely modified the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression.

Instead of simply reporting on cases in which the right to free expression is being violated, the special rapporteur will now also have to report on cases in which that right is being “abused”—including when individuals use their freedom of speech to criticize Islam, or the particular elements of Islam that jihadists use to justify violence and Islamic supremacism. In essence, this means that the function of the special rapporteur has changed 180 degrees—from safeguarding the rights of individuals who hold unpopular or controversial ideas, to trying to limit the freedom of individuals to express such ideas.

As the Canadian delegation noted, “instead of promoting freedom of expression the Special Rapporteur would be policing its exercise.” This is fundamentally inconsistent with the very foundation of the human-rights tradition, as are measures combating “defamation of religions.”

Such measures aim to protect institutions and ideas from criticism, instead of protecting individuals from the consequences of criticizing them. The very concept of freedom of speech has thereby been turned on its head.Now the full force of this initiative has been directed against those who are sounding the alarm about the Islamization of the West.

How could this have happened? Where was the opposition from Western nations? The silence in Europe has been deafening. Only recently did the French ambassador finally speak out, on behalf of the European Union, against the UN initiative to outlaw defamation of religions. He stated that the EU would not accept integration of the notion of defamation of religions into the framework of human rights, since the primary purpose of human rights is to protect people, not religions.

Still, talk is cheap. If we want to preserve our universal human rights, we have to show determination in 2009 to defend them from the OIC’s attempts to erode them. The Amsterdam Appeals Court decision only indicates how urgently needed this action is today. But opposing the OIC would require strong, positive acts, which would be a departure from the current pattern. In the case of the resolution on the mandate of the special rapporteur, European countries did nothing but abstain from voting on the resolution. Even Canada, which spoke out strongly against the resolution, abstained rather than voting against it. The United States also abstained; in fact, no nation voted against the resolution at all.

This was an absolute disgrace. The free nations of the world should have voted with their feet instead and resigned from the Human Rights Council immediately. Civilized states have no business participating in a forum that has been hijacked by the Islamic-supremacist agenda to replace fundamental human rights with the barbaric strictures of sharia.

They should also boycott the 2009 Durban Review Conference (Durban II), because there is every indication that this “UN World Conference Against Racism” will be turned into an anti-Israeli and pro-Islamic platform under the direction of the OIC and will end up actually promoting racism and intolerance.

In October 2008, the Second Preparatory Session of the 20-state Preparatory Committee for Durban II convened in Geneva, with Libya, that paragon of human rights, as chair, and Pakistan and Iran among the vice-chairs. This Preparatory Session produced a “Draft Outcome Document for the Durban Review Conference 2009,” recommending that UN member states make “defamation of Islam”—not just of “religion,” but of Islam in particular—a criminal offense on the local, national, and international levels. This “defamation,” the document declared, must no longer enjoy the protection that it has up to now under the “pretext” of “freedom of expression, counter terrorism or national security.” In other words, the Durban II Preparatory Session wants to criminalize investigations of the ideology, beliefs, motives, and goals of Islamic jihad terrorists, so that effectively the only people linking Islam with violence will be the jihadists themselves, and the Free World will be mute and defenseless before their advance.

If Geert Wilders is silenced, all those who oppose attempts to impose Islamic legal norms upon the West will be silenced also. European nations and the United States should stop appeasing Islam and start fighting together against the rapidly increasing Islamization of Europe. This is a struggle for human rights and human dignity, and for the great heritage of Western civilization that has given so many things to the world, yet whose children and heirs seem curiously embarrassed and reluctant to defend it.

Enough is enough. We must defend our freedom, or we will most certainly lose it.

—Geert Wilders is a Dutch parliamentarian, leader of the Party of Freedom, and maker of the film Fitna. Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth about Muhammad.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Minnesota ACLU Gets Religion

This is one time the ACLU is on the right side of things.

The Minnesota ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit against the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, “named for the Muslim general who conquered medieval Spain,” the taxpayer-funded charter school operating as a private Muslim religious school. (“ACLU to sue Twin Cities charter school that caters to Muslims”).

You can read the Complaint here.

Besides requiring Islamic dress, serving halal food in the cafeteria, scheduling prayers during class times, and arranging the bus schedule so that students more or less have to attend Islamic religious classes at the end of each schoolday, “the school has issued a handbook instructing staff to not discuss what goes on at the school.” Charles Samuelson, state ACLU executive director, points out that “’You cannot have a broad secrecy oath’ in a school funded with public dollars.’”

Samuelson said the school has used some government aid money to pay rent to holding companies, which then funneled it to the Muslim American Society of Minnesota and Minnesota Education Trust, a group the ACLU says is a non-profit that also promotes Islam.

The MAS is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. As we have noted here time and again, the mission of the Muslim Brotherhood includes “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” And the school’s sponsor, Islamic Relief—USA, is a subsidiary of Islamic Relief Worldwide, which the Israeli government has identified as providing support and relief to Hamas.

According to Katherine Kersten, who broke this story early last year:

TIZA’s strong religious connections date from its founding in 2003. Its co-founders, Zaman and Hesham Hussein, were both imams, or Muslim religious leaders, as well as leaders of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota (MAS-MN).

Since then, they have played dual roles: Zaman as TIZA’s principal and the current vice-president of MAS-MN, and Hussein as TIZA’s school board chair and president of MAS-MN until his death in a car accident in Saudi Arabia in January.

TIZA shares MAS-MN’s headquarters building, along with a mosque.

MAS-MN came to Minnesotans’ attention in 2006, when it issued a “fatwa,” warning Muslim taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport that transporting passengers with alcohol in their baggage is a violation of Islamic law.

According to Kersten, and representatives of the ACLU, TIZA officials were evasive and squirrely about claiming to be in compliance with all state laws, when they clearly weren’t. They also dragged their feet when asked to make changes.

If this were a private religious school, none of this would matter to us. For that matter, I'm personally not that enamored with the current regime where voluntary religious activity and expression is completely eliminated from public schools.

Nonetheless, and in large part because of groups like the ACLU, that is the strict standard that everyone else—especially the majority Christian population—have been forced to accept. A double standard can’t be applied just for Muslims.

This isn’t just a misunderstanding. These scalawags knew perfectly well they were flouting the law, and taking taxpayer money to spread and finance Islam, to boot. I’m thinking they also had a pretty good idea that since they were Muslim there would be a “fear factor” preventing state authorities from taking too much notice. In other words, the whole thing followed standard operating procedure for people imposing creeping shariah.

The ACLU has applied a much, much lower standard when making cases against Christians. At least in this case, when the abuse was egregious enough, ACLU-MN did the right thing. I’m not sure ACLU-MI ever would.

Facts Worth Repeating

From Islam in Action:

Hezbollah Expected To Be A Major Threat By 2014

By David Bedein, Middle East Correspondent
Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jerusalem — Hezbollah could be one of the first security challenges faced by the new Obama administration.

An official government report concludes the Iranian-backed Islamic terror group has been forming sleeper cells throughout the United States that could become operational.

The report estimates Hezbollah could become a much more potent national security threat by 2014.

The group was responsible for the 1983 Beirut Marine Barracks bombing, which killed 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French servicemen.

“The Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah does not have a known history of
fomenting attacks inside the U.S., but that could change if there is some
kind of ‘triggering’ event, the homeland assessment cautions,” the report

The report, obtained by the Middle East Newsline and marked “for official use only,” did not define a “triggering

Most of the threats cited in the report had been raised by the
Homeland Security Department.

The 38-page report, titled 2008 Interagency Intelligence Committee on
Terrorism, said Hezbollah was being directed by the leadership in Lebanon as
well as Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The assessment said the
Hezbollah network in the United States was engaged in money laundering, drug
trafficking, weapons smuggling and extortion.

The terror group has also established fundraising connections with mainstream American Muslim organizations, among the most notable being the case of Abdurahman Alamoudi, the former head of the American Muslim Council.

Mr. Alamoudi, prior to his having pleaded guilty in 2004 for having tried to launder Libyan money for various terror groups, actively worked to raise money for Hezbollah among others. He also formerly helped oversee the appointment of Islamic chaplains in the U.S. military.

Hezbollah is one of several terrorist threats to the United States
over the next five years, the report said. The report also cited al-Qaida as a
leading threat, saying the Islamic network was focusing on striking strategic U.S. facilities.

“The threat of terrorism and the threat of extremist ideologies has not
abated,” former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said prior to leaving office yesterday. “This threat has not evaporated, and we can’t turn the page on it.”

The Obama Honeymoon: Can We Still Go Home to Mother?

I think I was doing okay with the transition. But once Inauguration Day got here, what with the triumphalism of the media coverage, the bad grace and mediocrity of the inaugural address, the booing of Bush and Cheney by jamulks who have now achieved representative status as “the people of this country,” the second wind liberals got to resume their attack on the now concluded Bush administration, and so on, and so on—well, I’m in a right foul mood.

Larry Elder wrote today that when someone asked him when President Obama’s media honeymoon will end, he answered:

. . . It won’t.

Oh, sure, every relationship experiences peaks and valleys. But the "mainstream media" wanted Obama to win, and helped him do so. If Obama were a stock, the media would be "fully invested."

During the Bush administration, we saw many "Big Stories" of "Bad Actions." Let's liken these stories to crimes. If Bush committed no crime, they reported an infraction. If he committed an infraction, they reported a misdemeanor. If he committed a misdemeanor, they reported a felony. If he committed a felony, they reported a capital offense. With Obama, the media reverse the procedure. Any future capital offense will get reported as a regular felony, a felony as a misdemeanor and so forth. (“Obama: The Endless Honeymoon?”).

I may also add that even when Bush committed no infractions, they still managed to report a capital offense.

Be that as it may, the historical evidence for an endless honeymoon is strong. We saw it during the Clinton years. The media were also fully invested in him, even if their boy forced them—simply forced them by his antics--to occasionally report his more scandalous behavior.

Still, the media never lost its loyalty for Clinton. Almost. The press loved Clinton--until Obama was revealed from on high and they dumped the First Black President. And then it became clear that the media’s puppy love for Clinton was nothing compared with the media's man-sized love for Barack Obama.

Remember that Romeo first was ga-ga for the cold Rosaline, whom he forgot the instant he glommed Juliet, and then it was: O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!/It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night/Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear.”

And then as Alvy said in Annie Hall when Annie asked if he loved her: “love is too weak a word. . .I luurv you.”

The media’s love for Clinton was merely earthly, as Clinton himself, after all, was only a man (but O what a man!). That wasn’t really a media honeymoon, more of a liason, more of a shack-up.

This thing with Obama is a Sacrament.

Unlike Clinton, Obama is no man. He is certainly supernatural, probably immortal, and he’s got half the atheist reporters at NPR paying off bar bets that there was no proof for the existence of a Supreme Being. This isn’t love, it’s Luurv.

Which means President Obama will be unchecked by the two institutions most necessary to slow up a runaway executive: Congress, and especially, the press.

Since Election Day a lot of optimistic folks on our side have been saying the media loves Obama now, but just wait until the economy falls apart, or terrorist attacks grow worse, or the new health care plan turns out to be a mess—No! Not going to happen. They may as well say, “maybe the cops didn’t show up when your car was stolen, but just wait till you call in a home invasion with armed robbers and shots fired, then they’ll do their job!”

None of that will matter. The media aren’t going to do their job later because they’ve already been given new jobs. The media wasn't just reporting uncritically all Obama’s rhetoric about hope and change, even as they were exaggerating every flaw in every one of his opponents: (“Brian, is it just me, or have you ever noticed that Hillary Clinton is a cold, ambitious bitch?”). They were amplifying Obama’s rhetoric a thousand times by repating it as their own rhetoric. They didn’t just report his victorious campaign, they worked for his victorious campaign; and when he won, they cheered for him like all the rest of his volunteers.

Which is why they can never turn on him. That would require turning on themselves, and they aren’t going to do that. They haven’t just “lost objectivity,” like some shine has come off their skills. They’ve lost objectivity the way a vampire’s victim loses blood—to the very last drop. And that means the only function they can serve now is to put all that Pulitzer-prize talent to work broadcasting propaganda.

Even when he treats them like this, and like this.

And because President Obama, as he showed us last Tuesday in his unworthy inaugural address, and this week in his appeasement talk on Arab TV, and when he told the Republican leaders “I won,” and when he sneered at believers with his talk of restoring “science to its proper place”--because, I say, he is not going to pleasantly surprise all of us that he is wiser, classier, or more principled than we believed during the campaign—I’m in a pessimistic mood.

As Elder writes:
The major news media saw former President George W. Bush as a villain and themselves as sheriff. Obama, on the other hand, enjoys their support. To the news media, Obama represents a combination of Martin Luther King, Gandhi and rock star. They will downplay errors, explain away mistakes, and -- if efforts fail to achieve the desired results -- they can always blame Bush.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dearborn City Council's Gaza Resolution


January 22, 2009

The Council convened at 5:35 P.M., President of the Council Thomas P. Tafelski presiding. Present at roll call were Councilmembers Abraham, Darany, Hubbard, Sareini, Shooshanian and President of the Council Tafelski. Absent: Councilmember Thomas. A quorum being present, the Council was declared in session.

DATE : January 21, 2009
TO : City Clerk
FROM : City Council
SUBJECT : Special Council Meeting

You are hereby requested to call a Special Meeting of the City Council to be held on Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 5:25 P.M. in the Mayor's Conference Room of the City Hall for the following purposes:

1. Take action on a proposed resolution concerning the violence in Gaza.
2. To consider such other items of business that may properly come before the Council in relation to the above subject matters.

S/Suzanne Sareini
S/Nancy A. Hubbard

By Sareini supported by Darany.

1-63-09. WHEREAS: The citizens of Dearborn represent a diverse population with a strong interest in upholding principles of democracy and respect for all peoples, and

WHEREAS: The Dearborn City Council affirms its support of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, principles of international law and of peaceful alternatives to war, and

WHEREAS: Access to humanitarian aid is essential to all people who are victims of catastrophe whether from natural or human acts and they should never be denied aid and assistance, particularly by those responsible, and

WHEREAS: The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution calling for an immediate and durable cease-fire between Hamas and Israeli forces in Gaza and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has called for a permanent cease-fire, and

WHEREAS: The new President of the United States, Barak Obama, has announced that the guiding principles for U.S. engagement in international affairs will be the justness of our cause, the force of example and the tempering qualities of humility and restraint, and

WHEREAS: President Obama cautioned leaders around the globe that their people will judge them on what they can build and not what they destroy; now, therefore,

be it RESOLVED: That the Dearborn City Council hereby goes on record recognizing the grievous impact of the loss of lives in this conflict on families and communities, and mourning those lives lost on both sides of the conflict, now condemns the attacks on civilians, the massive loss of life and the destruction of property, and asks that the U.S. immediately intervene to build a lasting and just peace in the Middle East that recognizes the rights of sovereignty and self-determination for all people;

be it further RESOLVED: That the Dearborn City Council urges the United States government to press for: access to Gaza for journalists; access to Gazans to humanitarian aid; a long-term truce and an end to the economic blockade of the Gaza Strip and an increased flow of goods and people between Gaza and the outside world particularly including Egypt and Israel, a long-term negotiated peace ad a two-state solution that acknowledges the right of Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and freedom;

be it further RESOLVED: That the City Clerk be and is hereby authorized and directed to forward a suitably embossed copy of this resolution to President Obama and the Secretaries of State and Defense;

be it further RESOLVED: That the City Clerk be and is hereby authorized and directed to forward a suitably embossed copy of this resolution to the Michigan Congressional Delegation;

be it further RESOLVED: That this resolution be given immediate effect.

The resolution was adopted as follows: Yeas: Abraham, Darany, Hubbard, Sareini, Shooshanian and Tafelski (6). Nays: None. Absent: Thomas (1).

There being no further business, upon a motion duly made, seconded, and adopted, the Council then adjourned at 5:56 P.M.

President of the Council

City Clerk

Dearborn Council Pays Their Jizya

The Dearborn City Council website has now posted its minutes from the special meeting it held last Thursday to adopt Osama Siblani’s resolution blaming Israel, and deflecting blame from Hamas, for the recent violence in Gaza. The resolution can be read here.

The council convened at 5: 35 for a “special meeting” not open to the public, read and approved the resolution, and adjourned at 5:56.

What are they thinking?

The worst of this is the resolution’s complete failure, as we expected it would fail, to mention the ongoing rocket attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas that prompted the Israeli offensive in the first place. In this regard the resolution is even less balanced than news reports by the BBC or the New York Times. At least those sources can admit that the Israeli offensive was prompted by ceaseless rocket fire from Hamas, even if they couldn't admit Israel has the right to defend herself in force.

Even a European Union official has recognized that Hamas bears “overwhelming responsibility” for what they have brought on the residents of Gaza. He even said that Europeans are “sick of paying” to rebuild Gaza only to have Hamas, (and its prior irresponsible governments) provoke further strikes by Israel. (“EU envoy lays Gaza blame on Hamas”).

But those Dearborn council members, they know better.

Siblani (whom I have to assume drafted this) further sneaks in language blaming Israel, and not Hamas, for the situation, implying that Israel is “responsible” for the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza for which it is now denying “aid and assistance” (which is clearly false).

In fairness to our council members, they’re only repeating what they’re being told. It’s not as if news reporting on all this has been accurate. Then again, the rest of us have had no problem finding more accurate accounts of the situation, why can’t they?

I’m also a bit puzzled by the Council resolution’s declared support for “a Declaration of Human Rights.” [note indefinite article]. Why not The Declaration of Human Rights? Is that the UN version they've got in mind?, or the “The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam”?

The latter embraces a “freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with the Islamic Shari’ah”:
Article 22

(a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.

(b) Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic

It’s hard for me to believe this is anything but naked political pandering to Dearborn Muslims. While the city council is kow-towing to Dearborn's Muslims, and the guy sitting in the chair of the Commander-in-Chief is kow-towing to the Muslims in the rest of the world, who's speaking for the rest of us?

More on Obama's Courtship of Islam

Obama Tells Arabia's Despots They're Safe
America's diplomacy of freedom is officially over.


"To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect," President Barack Obama said in his inaugural. But in truth, the new way forward is a return to realpolitik and business as usual in America's encounter with that Greater Middle East. As the president told Al-Arabiya television Monday, he wants a return to "the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago."

Say what you will about the style -- and practice -- of the Bush years, the autocracies were on notice for the first five or six years of George. W. Bush's presidency. America had toppled Taliban rule and the tyranny of Saddam Hussein; it had frightened the Libyan ruler that a similar fate lay in store for him. It was not sweet persuasion that drove Syria out of Lebanon in 2005. That dominion of plunder and terror was given up under duress.

True, Mr. Bush's diplomacy of freedom fizzled out in the last two years of his presidency, and the autocracies in the Greater Middle East came to a conviction that the storm had passed them by and that they had been spared. But we are still too close to this history to see how the demonstration effect works its way through Arab political culture.

The argument that liberty springs from within and can't be given to distant peoples is more flawed than meets the eye. In the sweep of modern history, the fortunes of liberty have been dependent on the will of the dominant power -- or powers -- in the order of states. The late Samuel P. Huntington made this point with telling detail. In 15 of the 29 democratic countries in 1970, democratic regimes were midwifed by foreign rule or had come into being right after independence from foreign occupation.

In the ebb and flow of liberty, power always mattered, and liberty needed the protection of great powers. The appeal of the pamphlets of Mill and Locke and Paine relied on the guns of Pax Britannica, and on the might of America when British power gave way. In this vein, the assertive diplomacy of George W. Bush had given heart to Muslims long in the grip of tyrannies.

Take that image of Saddam Hussein, flushed out of his spider hole some five years ago: Americans may have edited it out of their memory, but it shall endure for a long time in Arab consciousness. Rulers can be toppled and brought to account. No wonder the neighboring dictatorships bristled at the sight of that capture, and at his execution three years later.

The irony now is obvious: George W. Bush as a force for emancipation in Muslim lands, and Barack Hussein Obama as a messenger of the old, settled ways. Thus the "parochial" man takes abroad a message that Muslims and Arabs did not have tyranny in their DNA, and the man with Muslim and Kenyan and Indonesian fragments in his very life and identity is signaling an acceptance of the established order. Mr. Obama could still acknowledge the revolutionary impact of his predecessor's diplomacy, but so far he has chosen not to do so.

The brief reference to Iraq in the inaugural could not have been icier or more clipped. "We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people," Mr. Obama said. Granted, Iraq was not his cause, but a project that has taken so much American toil and sacrifice, that has laid the foundations of a binational (Arab and Kurdish) state in the very heart of an Arab world otherwise given to a despotic political tradition, surely could have elicited a word or two of praise. In his desire to be the "un-Bush," the new president fell back on an austere view of freedom's possibilities. The foreign world would be kept at an emotional and cultural distance. Even Afghanistan -- the good war that the new administration has accepted as its burden -- evoked no soaring poetry, just the promise of forging "a hard-earned peace." The nation had cast a vote for a new way, and had gotten the foreign policy of Brent Scowcroft.

Where Mr. Bush had seen the connection between the autocratic ways in Muslim lands and the culture of terror that infected the young foot soldiers of radicalism, Mr. Obama seems ready to split the difference with their rulers. His embrace of the "peace process" is a return to the sterile diplomacy of the Clinton years, with its belief that the terror is rooted in the grievances of the Palestinians. Mr. Obama and his advisers have refrained from asserting that terrorism has passed from the scene, but there is an unmistakable message conveyed by them that we can return to our own affairs, that Wall Street is more deadly and dangerous than that fabled "Arab-Muslim Street."

Thus far the political genius of Mr. Obama has been his intuitive feel for the mood of this country. He bet that the country was ready for his brand of postracial politics, and he was vindicated. More timid souls counseled that he should wait and bide his time, but the electorate responded to him. I suspect that he is on the mark in his reading of America's fatigue and disillusionment with foreign causes and foreign places. That is why Osama bin Laden's recent call for a "financial jihad" against America seemed so beside the point; the work of destruction has been done by our own investment wizards and politicians.

But foreign challengers and rogue regimes are under no obligation to accommodate our mood and our needs. They are not hanging onto news of our financial crisis, they are not mesmerized by the fluctuations of the Dow. I know it is a cliché, but sooner or later, we shall be hearing from them. They will strip us of our illusions and our (new) parochialism.

A dispatch from the Arabian Peninsula bears this out. It was learned, right in the midst of the news cycle announcing that Mr. Obama has ordered that Guantanamo be shut down in a year's time, that a Saudi by the name of Said Ali al-Shihri -- who had been released from that prison in 2007 to his homeland -- had made his way to Yemen and had risen in the terror world of that anarchic country. It had been a brief stop in Saudi Arabia for Guantanamo detainee No. 372: He had gone through a "rehabilitation" program there, then slipped across the border to Yemen, where he may have been involved in a terror attack on the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital in September of last year.

This war was never a unilateral American war to be called off by an American calendar. The enemy, too, has a vote in how this struggle between American power and radical Islamism plays out in the years to come.

In another time, the fabled era of Bill Clinton's peace and prosperity, we were mesmerized by the Nasdaq. In the watering hole of Davos, in the heights of the Alps, gurus confident of a new age of commerce pronounced the end of ideology and politics. But in the forbidding mountains of the Afghan-Pakistan frontier, a breed of jihadists that paid no heed to that mood of economic triumphalism was plotting for us an entirely different future.

Here we are again, this time led by our economic distress, demanding that the world abide by our own reading of historical challenges. We have not discovered that "sweet spot" where our economic fortunes intersect with the demands and challenges of an uncertain world.

Mr. Ajami is professor of Middle East Studies at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies. He is also an adjunct research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

Levin Livid?

This was in the Detroit Free Press:

Levin livid over reported Citigroup jet purchase

WASHINGTON – Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan is beside himself over a report that Citigroup is buying a $50-million corporate jet considering that when the heads of Detroit’s automakers came to Washington in private jets to ask for aid they got blasted for it.

. . . . Said Levin: “To permit Citigroup to purchase a plush plane — foreign-built no less — while domestic auto companies are being required to sell off their jets is a ridiculous double standard.”

And the Michigan Democrat is planning to take it even further, just as soon as President Barack Obama’s pick for treasury secretary — Tim Geithner — is confirmed. Levin says he’s urging Geithner “to do what he can to stop this absurdity from occurring.”

I can’t get around Levin being “beside himself,” what with the obvious problem of which of him gets to stand further to the left. I’m also puzzled over what constiutional powers Levin thinks the Treasury Department has over decisions like these. But clearly he views the sovereign federal power as able to “permit,” “require,” and “stop,” corporate purchasing decisions. Even if fat-cat CEOs piss you off, this has to trouble you.

At DU we’re doing our part and VOLUNTARILY cancelling our order for a (previously owned) corporate jet (above) instead of waiting for orders from Carl Levin. I know these two Battle of Britain vets will find new jobs in the environmental industry.


Although I’m in a very pessimistic mood tonight, I’m not in complete agreement with Ben Shapiro’s conclusion that we lost the war on terror when Obama was elected.

But Shapiro has captured a lot of what I would have wanted to say about how things look for me after the President of the United States made his groveling performance on Arab TV the other night.

I’m not ready to say the war’s over, even if Obama has signaled our enemies that we’re back in the Democratic business of spreading American apologies in the Muslim world instead of American freedom. I do think we've lost an awful lot that we've fought for the past eight years.

Here’s Shapiro’s reaction:

The Day America Lost the War on Terror

Ben Shapiro
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On Nov. 4, 2008, America lost the war on terror. President Barack Obama’s feckless, pathetically apologetic perspective on foreign policy spells the end of the quest for liberty in the Middle East. It spells the end of America’s moral leadership in the global war for freedom. And it spells the end of a hard-fought campaign to protect America. Our enemies must be happily celebrating their great good fortune in America’s election of this platitudinous, morally relativistic, Jimmy Carter carbon copy in the midst of battle.

On Jan. 26, 2009, Obama granted his first television interview as president of the United States to Al Arabiya, the Dubai-based television network part-owned by the Saudi government. In the interview, he demonstrated with the utmost clarity that his understanding is inversely proportional to his arrogance.

He started by humbling America before the world. “(A)ll too often the United States starts by dictating,” Obama said, shame for his country dripping from his lips. “So let’s listen.” There was no call for the Muslim world, which has sponsored genocide after genocide, terrorist group upon terrorist group, to listen.

Obama apologized for President Bush’s “Islamic fascism” terminology, equating Muslim terrorism with nonexistent terrorism by Jews and Christians: “the language we use matters. And what we need to understand is, is that there are extremist organizations -- whether Muslim or any other faith in the past -- that will use faith as a justification for violence. We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name.” There was no call for the Muslim world to actively fight terrorism -- honesty is not the Obama administration’s policy.

Obama repeated the Clintonian line that the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict could be solved by pressing Israel into negotiations with terrorists -- a foolish conceit that has cost Israeli and Palestinian lives. He talked about getting rid of “preconceptions” regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict -- code for embracing negotiations with Hamas. He pledged to talk with Iran -- on the same day that Iran’s government spokesman branded the Holocaust “a big lie.” He bought into the Muslim-sponsored notion that the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict lies at the heart of all trouble in the Middle East. He praised the one-sided Saudi peace plan as an act of “great courage.”

Most sickeningly, Obama openly jettisoned his constitutional role as the caretaker for America’s national interest. Instead, Obama posed himself as an honest broker between America and the Muslim world. “(T)he United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world, that the language we use has to be a language of respect,” he said. “I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries.” Obama didn’t stop there. He stated that his job is to speak for the Muslim world, defending them from Americans’ negative perceptions: “And my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives.”

No, Mr. President. Your job is not to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world harbors us no ill will. That is their job. The Muslim world must demonstrate with its words and actions that they do not wish America replaced with an Islamic state. They must demonstrate that they do not support terrorism against America and our allies.

Your job is to protect and defend the United States of America. That is your sworn duty.

And you abrogate your sworn duty every time you go on Arab television stations and apologize for America’s foreign policy. You abrogate your sworn duty every time you force American allies to negotiate with terrorists. You abrogate your sworn duty every time you pledge to protect the interests “not just of the United States, but also ordinary people who right now are suffering from poverty and a lack of opportunity” -- the same ordinary people who elect Hamas, prop up the Ayatollahs, supported the Taliban, recruit for al-Qaida, and live off of the beneficence of Hezbollah. Not all Muslims are “extraordinary people,” and the interests of suffering Muslims do not always align with American interests.

On Nov. 4, 2008, Americans elected their first international president. They elected a man who does not seek to preserve American values. Leftists perceived George W. Bush as an imperialist for American interests; by the same token, Obama is an imperialist for “global interests.” In a war to save America from implacable foes, Obama’s Global Interest Imperialism dooms American exceptionalism to the ash heap of history. With it may go the last, best hope of Earth.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jimmy Carter to Hamas: 'Be like Gandhi'

Spotted this at American Thinker:

Jimmy Carter to Hamas: 'Be like Gandhi'

Rick Moran

Not that we need any more proof that Jimmy Carter is a hopelessly naive, ignorant man. But Ed Lasky just sent this gem along that proves Carter to be not only a ridiculous romantic about Hamas but dangerous to the cause of peace as well.

Jimmy Carter from his book "We can have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan that will Work:"

"...We pursued the concept of nonviolent resistance with Hamas leaders and gave them documents and video presentations on the successful experiences of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther king, Jr. and others..."

"...The premise of real peace and security in exchange for Palestinian territory has long been acceptable to a substantial majority of Israelis but not to a minority of the more conservative leaders who are unfortunately supported by most of the vocal American Jewish Leadership.."

Can't you just see schoolmarm Carter trying to give lessons on non-violence to the dirty necked thugs of Hamas? It isn't likely they would have found it funny. More like, puzzling. "Doesn't this guy know who we are? What planet is this guy from?"

While it is true that land for peace is widely supported in Israel, it is indicative of Carter's ignorance that Hamas themselves could care less about "land for peace" and wish simply "the land" part of that equation.

Empty of Jews, of course...

If This Is Hope, What Does Despair Look Like?

Infamously pro-abortion Catholic, and former New York govern Mario Cuomo, was quoted in Newsday this past week discussing the importance of President Obama’s success:

Obama's failure would heighten the threat of unprecedented global damage, but his success could help lead our great nation and this entire threatened world into a new period of enlightenment and progress. Obama's moment in history is a unique one.

There has never been more to worry about, but neither has there ever been more to hope for.

We should choose hope.

Cuomo’s “choose hope” tag isn’t a bad one. I can’t help but noticing its similar ring to the Right-to-Life motto (and biblical command in Deuteronomy 30.19) to “choose life.”

Which raises the question for me of why, if Obama is the very embodiment of all human hope, (or does that sell him short?), then why is he so closed to any possibility of hope for women who find themselves with problem or unwanted pregnancies--except the solution of homicide? Why can't he imagine hope for a world to solve its (real or imaginary) population problems or women's health problems without resorting to the mass homicide of abortion-as-population control?

Is there really so little hope for a good outcome for both mother and child that abortion has to predominate as the solution that represents hope, rather than despair?

If you want to read something really hopeless, read this portion of the dissenting opinion in a Supreme Court opinion from the late 1980s, Webster vs. Reproductive Health Services. The majority had found that a Missouri statute regulating the performance of abortions was Constitutional. Not outlawing, just regulating.

The dissenting opinion, written by Justice Blackmun, and joined by civil rights icon Justice Thurgood Marshall, includes one of the bleakest visions of women’s lives I have ever read. In their view, the only thing between American women and lives of poverty, social exclusion, illness, and death, is the saving “hope” of being able to terminate their unborn children. Reading it you'd think that education, nutrition, and health care are a distant second to the most necessary thing to lift a poor woman out of poverty--abortion-on-demand. If you want to know what the opposite of “choose hope” is, it will sound something like this:

The plurality [is] either oblivious or insensitive to the fact that millions of women, and their families, have ordered their lives around the right to reproductive choice, and that this right has become vital to the full participation of women in the economic and political walks of American life. The plurality would clear the way once again for government to force upon women the physical labor and specific and direct medical and psychological harms that may accompany carrying a fetus to term. The plurality would clear the way again for the State to conscript a woman's body and to force upon her a "distressful life and future."

The result, as we know from experience, would be that, every year, hundreds of thousands of women, in desperation, would defy the law and place their health and safety in the unclean and unsympathetic hands of back-alley abortionists, or they would attempt to perform abortions upon themselves, with disastrous results. Every year, many women, especially poor and minority women, would die or suffer debilitating physical trauma, all in the name of enforced morality or religious dictates or lack of compassion, as it may be.

Dearborn City Council Takes Its Stand With Hamas

I guess Dearborn’s elected leaders have never run across the old saying that there’s two sides to every story.

You may be interested to learn that your City Council, and mine, on Thursday passed unanimously a resolution adopting Hamas’s position on the recent offensive in Gaza by the Israeli Defense Force.

This is reported in the Arab-American News:

DEARBORN — After having the matter brought to their attention last week, the Dearborn City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution condemning the attacks on civilians in the 23-day Gaza war and urging a truce and an end to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The final vote was held on Thursday, January 22 and passed by a tally of 6 to 0.

Councilman George Darany said he was proud that the council responded to the way in which the city's Arab American community was affected by the "devastation in Gaza."

“It's important to let the 45 percent of the population know that we stand behind them on this issue,” he said.

“It shows solidarity between the council and the people of the city.”
Never mind about solidarity with the rest of us.

So far I've been unable to find a copy of the text of the resolution. It isn’t mentioned in the Council’s minutes of January 22, although the article says it was introduced Tuesday night.

The resolution originated with Osama Siblani, who used Dearborn City Councilwoman Susan Sareini to get got it introduced.

Since I can’t get hold of the text yet, I have to rely on the Arab-American News for its account about how the final resolution hews closely to the Hamas account of the recent offensive being 100% the fault of a tirgger-happy Israel picking on innocent Palestinians trying to live in Peace. While both Israel and Egypt are criticized in the resolution for closing their borders with Gaza, nothing apparently is mentioned about Hamas’s rocket campaign against Israel. Siblani afterward “said he was satisfied with the passing of the resolution,” which I take to mean he accomplished what he had in mind with the resolution.

Along with thanking all the council members who supported the resolution, Siblani also thanked Mayor Jack O’Reillyfor his leadership of the city.” Does this mean O’Reilly supported this, or was Siblani just trying to drag him into this unwillingly? I don’t know yet.

Let me re-state this. The Dearborn City Council just unanimously passed a resolution condemning a United States ally--Israel--and embracing the tortured pretext of Hamas, the terrorist government of Gaza that bears the moral culpability for all the recent violence there. Further, the resolution was the brainchild of one of the most radical anti-Israel, anti-American, and pro-jihadist bigmouth troublemakers in town--Osama Siblani.

This resolution isn't going to make or break peace in the Middle East. But there's something seriously wrong when pro-Hamas actors can so easily use city government, paid for with out taxes, for their propaganda campaign.

If anyone out there has any more information about all this, we'll be happy if you can e-mail it, and we'll pass it along.

These are your council members:

President Thomas P. Tafelski
Nancy A. Hubbard
Doug Thomas
Suzanne Sareini
Mark Shooshanian
Robert A. Abraham
George T. Darany

There probably will be more to come.

Dead or Alive, Gaza's Schoolkids Are Tools of Hamas

How odd that hundreds of news outlets simultaneously filed stories on Saturday morning emphasizing how Gaza schoolchildren are returning to class after the violence of Israel’s invasion.

The number of stories pushing that angle that just appeared overnight almost suggests that international media are relying on Hamas talking points for their story ideas. Naah.

That would mean all these stories are just a a ruse to convince people that, now that Israel has been browbeaten into leaving poor Gaza alone, things can return to “normal” in Gaza. You know, normal, just like where you live, except you don't have to live next to regional terror states Israel. Normal. Where the kids go to school, daddy kisses mommy goodbye after his morning coffee, and then goes to his job storing weapons in grandma’s utility room or firing rockets at civilians in Israel.

Here’s how the Reuters version of the Gaza-Kids-Back-to-School spins it:
Schools reopened in Gaza on Saturday after Israel's devastating three-week war, and peaceful coexistence seemed further than ever from the traumatised minds of young Palestinians.

"Good morning! Still alive?" excited teenage girls asked each other as their class, all in white headscarves, lined up in the yard shortly after dawn at Beach Preparatory School.
[“Excited?” I thought they were “traumatized”? T.R.]

School starts early in the Gaza Strip because there is not enough
classroom space for all the children, so there must be two shifts a day.

The pupils were seeing their teachers for the first time since Israel bombs began falling on Gaza on December 27. About 1,300 Palestinians were killed, over half of them civilians.

Critics [i.e., Reuters reporters] warn that the violence of Israel's offensive, which followed the collapse of a six-month truce, can only reap a harvest of greater militancy from a newly radicalised generation. According to one Gaza website, 3,500 Palestinians were born during the 22-day war.

"Israel hates Palestinians, hates Arabs, hates Muslims, hates Islam," said one girl in Nuha Abdulati's English class, as her schoolmates nodded in agreement. . . .

The girls did not seem to be aware, or to take seriously, that it was Hamas which declared an end to the truce in late December, and that Israel's stated reason for attacking was to eradicate the threat of rockets which began to pepper southern towns. Scores exploded in one day before its forces struck.
(“Gaza schools open but young minds closed to peace”).

I'm betting that these "young minds" were closed to peace long before the Israeli offensive. That these opinionated young ladies are unaware, or else refuse to take seriously, Hamas’s role in the plight of their region, doesn’t say much for the quality of education in Gaza. Gaza schools, by the way, are under the control either of Hamas, or the UN. When you have students placing all the blame on Israel for everything, you have to wonder what they study in English class--the writings of Noam Chomsky? Indeed, as even Reuters admits, the students have gotten all
their information about the war from Arabic language broadcasters: Al Jazeera and al-Arabiya television from the Gulf, al Quds, al-Aqsa and Shehab, of Hamas, here in Gaza.

The West is seen as callous, uncaring, and pro-Israeli.
Fair enough. Though they could have gotten that message from English-langauage broadcasters too, like the BBC, CNN, or NBC, or print outlets like Reuters, or the AP.

I regret the loss of any innocent civilian life in Gaza. I also regret the Palestinian stubbornness that has forced Israel, time and again, to kill them in the process of defending herself.

If "things getting back to normal" in Gaza means teenage girls go back to school and resume being taught that Israel is the cause of all that's wrong, and that the terror army that hijacked their government is blameless, and that the Palestinians' war can never end until Israel is no more, then won't it have to be part and parcel of "normal" that, from time to time, blood will flow in Gaza's streets?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Bridge Too Easy

I'm guessing that local Muslim Affairs Bureau Reporter Tanveer Ali wasn’t being deliberately funny when he described our local Iranian agent Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi as “seizing” President Obama's inaugural appeal for unity amongst religions when Elahi staged an “interfaith” prayer Friday. (“Obama inspires interfaith prayer”).

The choice of verb is funny because of the well-known habit of Islamic Khomeinist Iranians, of whom Elahi is a proud example, for “seizing” or trying to seize things and people in the name of jihad, (like American embassies, American embassy personnel, the governments of Syria and Lebanon, Gaza, and who can forget “Iranian Vessels Seize 15 British Navy Personnel in Iraqi Waters”).

Now Elahi is "seizing" Obama's appeal for mutual respect between religions for his own ends. He recognizes in Obama's election, no doubt, a weakening of American resolve against radical jihadism. As Ali’s article notes, “Elahi was among the local Muslims who took note Tuesday, when Obama said American relationships with Muslims should no longer be divisive. ‘To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect,’ Obama said.”

But in fairness to the President, he didn’t only mention mutual respect, but also took a well-deserved smack at the kinds of regimes, like the Islamic dictatorship in Iran for whom Elahi works, President Obama doing everything but calling Iran out by name:

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

If you’ve noticed, Elahi can’t do anything without a clenched fist, which he’s usually shaking either at Israel, or George W. Bush. Even his “interfaith” prayer had to get political, “as Elahi and other religious speakers said world leaders have a moral obligation to investigate and prevent any future military actions into Gaza.”

As I think I mentioned somewhere, these interfaith events with Detroit’s Islamic leaders never admit the equal status of the priests, rabbis, and ministers gullible enough to show up: they always take place on Muslim terms. They're held at an Islamic location, during an Islamic prayer period (e.g. Friday), a always Muslim leads it, and afterwards the Muslims get all the press.

(Okay, I admit it: when a priest or rabbi attending these fiascos has anything to say, it's never worth reading anyway. ITEM:

"We need peace and justice,"said Jack I. Seman, who spoke at the event as a part of the Chaldean Christian community. "The best ammunition you have is be at peace with each other.")
In Chaldean, this would be pronounced: "Baah, Baaah, Baaaaaah!")

Pay attention and you'll notice that for all the claptrap about “mutual” understanding, Elahi and his fellow Islami interfaith leaders are always very careful to stage these events with dhimmitude in mind.

This is a “seizing” indeed. This is dawah. Just one more tiny bit of ground, yes. That’s how it’s done.