Saturday, November 26, 2011

Al-Banna Had a Baby

Early Friday morning, the Obama administration announced its decision to back “the Arab street” in Egypt:

issuing a call for the Egyptian military to quickly hand over power to a civilian, democratically elected government.

In so doing, the president opened up a litany of risks, exposing a fault line between the U.S. and the Egyptian military which, perhaps more than any other entity in the region, has for 30 years served as the bulwark protecting a critical U.S. concern in the Middle East: the 1979 Camp David peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

In explicitly warning the military to swiftly begin a "full transfer of power" to a civilian government in a "just and inclusive manner," the White House served notice that the army in Egypt would continue to receive the Obama administration's support only if it, in turn, supported a real democratic transition. (“Obama sides with 'the street' in Egypt”).

President Obama had been hoping to ride the fence on this, but as usual forces beyond his control – and beyond his demonstrated ability to manage – have forced him into being decisive -- decisively wrong.

Even liberal observers recognize that supporting a movement whose public face is a mob of demonstrators with uncertain motives is a big risk. (Didn’t the Democrats just learn this lesson with Occupy Wall Street?).

Martin S. Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel during the Clinton administration, says Obama’s message to the Egyptian military is, "We want you to play the role of midwife to democracy, not the role of military junta."

Indyk also says this strategy is “a high-risk one,” but his mealy-mouthed English offers a great example of why diplomats’ fuzzy thinking does more harm than good. Indyk admits that the ones who benefit most from a rushed “transition” to civilian rule are “the Islamists,” but then blurs the danger by calling them “the people who don't necessarily have our best interests in mind,” and “who might not be as wedded to the peace treaty [with Israel] as the military.”

Let’s clean up Indyk’s spongecake English a bit. The Islamists Indyk says “don’t necessarily have our best interests in mind” don’t have our best interests in mind. And the ones who “might not be as wedded to the peace treaty as the military”  hate the peace treaty, because they want Israel to be destroyed. When Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi returned from exile to Cairo last February, his speech in Tahrir Square got the crowd of a million chanting ““To Jerusalem we go, for us to be the Martyrs of the Millions.”

Only people who talk like Indyk have trouble figuring that out.

“The Islamists” are the Muslim Brotherhood, the group whom all the Middle East experts agree are the most highly organized and best situated to win a majority in a parliamentary election through their political front, the Freedom and Justice Party.

But for anyone, whether it’s the Egyptian military or the U.S. or any of the western powers, to play “midwife to democracy” requires that what Egypt is laboring to being forth is, in fact, democracy.   And that depends on who the baby daddy is.

Jeff Jacoby wrote last winter:

The Brotherhood is the world's most influential Islamist organization, and Islamism -- the radical ideology that seeks the submission of all people to Islamic law -- is perhaps the most virulent antidemocratic force in the world today. In Daniel Pipes's phrase, "it is an Islamic-flavored version of totalitarianism." Like other totalitarian cadres, Islamists despise democratic pluralism and liberty in principle. But they are quite ready to make use of elections and campaigns as tactical stepping-stones to power.

As with Adolf Hitler in 1933 or the Czechsolovak communists in 1946, Islamists may run for office and hold themselves out as democrats; but once power is in their grasp, they do not voluntarily relinquish it. Just months after Hamas, a self-described "wing of the Muslim Brotherhood," won a majority of seats in the Palestinian elections in 2006, it violently seized control of the Gaza Strip. More than 30 years after Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran promising representative democracy, the Islamist dictatorship he built instead remains entrenched. (“No room at the table for the Muslim Brothers”).

Last February in Tahrir Square Qaradawi saluted “the Egyptian army, which is the shield of the people and its support . . . [b]y Allah, they will not let me down.” He also told his minions: “Beware of the hypocrites, who are ready to put on a new face every day.” On Tuesday he was criticizing the military, calling for “quick elections.” On Thursday he returned to Cairo.

Indyk interprets Obama throwing in with the “Arab street’ (gawd, I hate that expression) in demanding quick elections, as the U.S. “essentially coming down on the side of democracy."

We’re not. To improve on that irritating slogan of the American liberal “street,” this is not what democracy looks like.

We’re coming down on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood, and of the mob.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Open Wide and Say ‘Shari-AAAAAH’

There is no Sharia Law in Dearborn.”

-- Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly

If the allegations in a sex discrimination lawsuit reported in The Detroit News are true, then a male nurse was fired from a city-funded health clinic for violating Islamic rules against males treating Muslim females:

John Benitez Jr. . . . . worked at the city's taxpayer-funded health clinic. He alleges he was ordered by a female supervisor not to treat conservative Muslim women, specifically those wearing head scarves, according to the lawsuit. He was told the clinic's male Muslim clients did not want a male treating female patients.

He complied until November 2010, when a doctor ordered him to treat Muslim women as he would any other patient, the suit claimed. Benitez followed the doctor's order and was fired less than one month later, according to the lawsuit. (“Male nurse claims he lost job for treating Muslim women in scarves”).

I have not yet seen the lawsuit, so my opinions are conditional upon the allegations proving well founded.

For now, though, having Dawud Walid taking the clinic’s side tends to support Benitez’s version of the story.

“Hospitals and health clinics routinely make accommodations based on religion,” Walid told the News.

“’In general, unless it is for emergency situations, many Muslims would prefer being screened and touched by someone of the same gender,’ Walid said.”

That’s as may be, but a patient requesting accommodation is another matter.  This sounds more like a case of clinic management adopting a sexually discriminatory treatment policy in response to the demands of Muslim men – a policy Benitez lost his job for violating.

If taxpayer-funded clinics in Dearborn are adopting discriminatory policies to accommodate Islamic law, then once again Jack O’Reilly’s repeated claims that there is no Sharia in Dearborn is being shown up for the nonsense it is.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Three Guys Named Hammoud

Something stinks.

On Friday Dearborn Police, at the request of the FBI, arrested Ali Hammoud, president of Bintjbeil Cultural Center in Dearborn, in connection with a cigarette-smuggling conspiracy in support of Hezbollah. (“Arab leader from Dearborn released from police custody”).

According to the FBI, Hammoud was arrested by mistake because he “fit a description on an arrest warrant. A man named Ali Hammoud was indicted in 2003 in a conspiracy involving the sale of illegal cigarettes to support Hezbollah.”

So after talking to the banquet hall  Hammoud, the FBI let him go. According to Hammoud’s lawyer, Majed Moughni, "It's mind-boggling; it's uncalled for. To do this to one of the most respected members of the community, it's a slap in the face."

Well, it’s not mind-boggling, but a word on that later.   And even a lawyer ought to grasp that mistakes are usually “uncalled for.”  After Hammoud was released Moughni took a more moderate tone, admitting that the FBI “blundered."

But this is Dearborn. Law enforcement blunders are opportunities for the area’s Islamists to make mischief, usually by demanding  tighter shackles on terror-related investigations in the future. And at this stage it’s puzzling indeed how the FBI could have confused Bintjbeil Cultural Center’s president with an individual who fled to Lebanon several years ago, unless there is a factual link between the conspiracy and the banquet center.  But without knowing the facts behind the arrest warrant, I’m not going to speculate on that.

This early on a weekend, the response from the usual Islamist complainers has been low key, but I expect that to change. Arab-American News publisher Osama Siblani has already stuck his beak in.

"We will not rest until we find out what happened, and we want to make sure it will never happen again," Siblani said. "This is a respected community leader. I never doubted his innocence." (“Wrong man arrested: Head of Arab-American center in Dearborn released”).

If Siblani means that Hammoud is innocent of supporting Hezbollah, that’s especially rich, coming from arch-Hezbollah supporter Siblani. This is how Siblani sounded in 2006, when he was defending the open support by thousands of Dearborn’s Arabs for Hezbollah leader Sheik Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah:

"If the FBI wants to come after those who support the resistance done by Hezbollah, then they better bring a fleet of buses," said Osama Siblani, publisher of the local Arab-American News and an outspoken activist. "I for one would be willing to go to jail."  (“They're 100% American, and pro-Hezbollah”).

After an invitation like that. Siblani has no business griping if the FBI actually follows up in some small way.   And, no, so far the big-talking Siblani hasn’t gone to jail.

But speaking of blunders, do you know who else was helping Siblani sing the praises of Hezbollah back then? That would be yet another Hammoud (relationship to Hammouds I and II unknown to me), namely Abed Hammoud, the former Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor and, in 2006, leader of the extremist Congress of Arab American Organizations who led the rally of 15,000 “100% American” Dearbornites chanting “Nasrallah is our leader!” So where’s the blunder? Abed Hammoud was recently sworn in as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. (“Inside, Outside, Upside Down”).

Bintjbeil’s Hammoud may well be innocent of the other suspect’s cigarette-smuggling conspiracy, but his banquet center is well-known in Dearborn as a meeting place for Hezbollah supporters, known to local law enforcement as the Hezbollah Social Club. The cultural center is named for the village of Bint Jbail in southern Lebanon, a Hezbollah stronghold, from which thousands of Shi’ite Muslims emigrated to Dearborn. “They're 100% American, and pro-Hezbollah”).  Last year Iranian President Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah leader Nasrallah exchanged evil hopes for Israel there, and A-jad made a speech: "The whole world knows that the Zionists are going to disappear," he said to thunderous applause before a frenzied crowd in Bint Jbeil.”  According to Debbie Schlussel, an event she attended at the Cultural Center in 2006 featured speeches from many speakers offering in common “multiple statements about the Jews, cheers for the total destruction of and end to Israel, and support for Hezbollah, the Mujahideen, and the Martyrs.” (“What I Saw in Dearbornistan”).

And, as we’ve discussed here for some time, Dearborn is a big source of illegal contributions to Hezbollah. (“Dearborn, Michigan: Where Hezbollah Gets Its Laundry Done”).

In spite of attorney Majed Moughni’s outburst, there’s nothing “mind-boggling” about Bintjbeil’s Hammoud being suspected by the FBI of being mixed up in a conspiracy to support Hezbollah.

And what Siblani and the rest are concerned about isn’t Hammoud’s “innocence” or his standing in the community. They’re much more upset that the Detroit FBI is actually targeting Hezbollah in Dearborn.

And that’s what they’ll be trying to stop.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dearborn Bracing Itself?

Try as they might, media and other natural enemies of an undiluted Christian message have been unable to give the organizers of TheCall rally at Ford Field a black eye.

There was this lead in USAToday:

DETROIT (AP) – An area with one of the largest Muslim communities outside the Middle East is bracing itself for a 24-hour prayer rally by a group that counts Islam among the ills facing the U.S.

One would almost think that east Dearborn has been busily boarding up windows and stockpiling bottled water like gulf-coast homeowners facing the next big hurricane.

That’s not really happening.

Because no one with a shred of sense really believes that thousands of cheerful Pentecostals gathered for a giant prayer and worship service pose a threat to anyone, the media have had to turn to professional fearmongers to spice up their stories.

As we saw last week, CAIR’s Dawud Walid did his best to pretend that every Muslim in southeastern Michigan was in danger.  When even he didn’t think he sounded serious, he played the race card by accusing TheCall of feeding “divisiveness,” likening them to the “heydays of the White Citizens' Council in the turbulent 1960’s.”

The Detroit Free Press’s Niraj Warikoo took up the same theme in his coverage, emphasizing that rally organizers “were heavily targeting African Americans in Detroit, but most of the crowd was white.” (“Sides of faith collide at Ford Field prayer rally”). I haven’t been to Ford Field, so I can’t say what the proportions are, but the photo below of participants waiting to get in that ran with Warikoo’s story shows a fairly even mix. We already know there is significant participation from the area’s black clergy.


Or did the same kind of thing happen in the heyday of the White Citizens’ Council?

Anyway, every reporter knows that if the group you’re opposed to doesn’t live down to all the bad things you want to tar them with – like bigotry, intolerance, and violence -- you can always find a protest group who’ll gladly accuse them of all those things anyway.

So Warikoo and others have turned to the trusty Reverend Charles Williams II, whose words of wisdom on this occasion were, “God did not call us to hate.” Williams is Al Sharpton’s local Minister of No Justice No Peace ®, and he can always be depended upon to organize a march. (“The Preacher, the Prosecutor, and the Lynch Law”). If there’s one thing no one can ever accuse Al Sharpton of, that’s spreading hate, division, and intolerance.

This time, according to Warikoo, Williams’s counter-rally,  “featured Catholic, Baptist and Methodist pastors from Detroit, as well as gay rights and women's activists. Chanting ‘Stop the hate’ and ‘Spread the love,’ the protesters said the prayer rally inside the stadium promotes division and intolerance.”

Williams also managed to fill out his ranks with some unoccupied Occupy Detroiters he came in Grand Circus Park across huddled under a blue tarp beneath a banner reading: “WILL HOLD UP SIGNS FOR FOOD.”

williams protesters

What better way to show their love for Detroit’s Muslims, whose religion by and large opposes both homosexuality and abortion, than by protesting on behalf of those things? I also thought the “DEMOCRACY NOT THEOCRACY” sign added some comic relief.

Though there’s no indication that any of them have been inside the rally, or even have any first-hand knowledge of what it’s all about, Warikoo makes free use of protesters’ comments:

"Their message is not one of inclusion; it's of hate," said Jennifer Teed of Detroit, who opposed Engle's prayer event. "I don't see how that's religious . . . .

“Cheryl Voglesong of Royal Oak held up a sign outside Ford Field that read: "Take Thy Fearmongering back to Kansas. We don't want it."

Terry Jones Update

A Wayne County Circuit Court judge hearing the appeal of Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp’s conviction last Good Friday in a kangaroo court proceeding before Dearborn District Judge Mark W. Somers has found the proceeding unconstitutional. As reported in WorldNet Daily:

The Florida pastor who wanted to protest jihad and Islamic Shariah law in Dearborn – but was jailed by a judge who worried about what he "intended" to say – has been cleared.

According to officials with the Thomas More Law Center, a circuit judge in Wayne County, Mich., has overturned the decision by Dearborn District Judge Mark W. Somers.

According to the ruling from Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Ziolowski, Somers violated the constitutional rights of Pastor Terry Jones and his associate, Wayne Sapp, when he held a “peace bondproceeding last spring and ordered them to pay a $1 peace bond and ordered them not to go into the vicinity of a Muslim mosque, including on the surrounding public property, for three years.

Because the “bond” violated their constitutional free speech rights, they refused to pay, and the judge locked them up overnight.

Somers had required the bond because of what he thought the men intended to say.

But the Thomas More Law Center appealed the verdict, and the decision was overturned.

“Pastor Jones had committed no crime and was not charged with a crime. Yet, he was forced into court and ultimately jailed because he intended to speak out against jihad and Shariah law,” said Richard Thompson, chief counsel for the center.

“Regardless of how one feels about Pastor Jones, he has a constitutionally protected free speech right to express his message. The heavy-handed actions of the city of Dearborn and the Wayne County prosecutor’s office give us a glimpse of how imposition of Shariah law, which forbids any criticism of Islam, will destroy that fundamental constitutional right.” (“Judge says people can't be jailed over intended speech”).

Thompson isn’t exaggerating. Behind last April’s legal fiasco was an absolute determination the area’s political and law enforcement officials to enforce a ban on speech criticizing Islam. Mayor Jack O’Reilly, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Chief of Police Ronald Haddad, and Judge Mark Somers – every one of them – abused their offices rather than stand up to Dearborn’s imams.

Christians ‘Definitely’ More Afraid After ‘Arab Spring’


David Ignatius writes an informative article at the Washington Post about those living in Cairo’s “Garbage City”:

Cairo’s Christians worry about Egypt’s next chapter

By David Ignatius, Published:November 8


Coptic Christians are worried about their future in the new Egypt, as I could see Thursday night at a political rally in a poor Coptic neighborhood known here as Garbage City.

Gathered in an alleyway framed by heaps of trash, and Christian symbols decorating every nearby wall, the residents heard a simple message: To protect their families, Christians must vote in the parliamentary elections that begin late this month. Otherwise, Egypt may be controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is mobilizing its own supporters.

“Muhammad and John need to live side by side,” admonished one of the speakers, arguing that Christians must fight for a secular state that will be moderate and tolerant.“If you don’t go vote, you have only yourself to blame for the consequences.”

Christians have “definitely” become more afraid since the revolution, explained Dina Beshay, a 29-year-old woman from the neighborhood. If the Muslim Brotherhood gained power, it would be a “big shock,” she said, because Christians would feel marginalized. “It is impossible for us to live in constant fear.”

This issue of sectarian tension lurks behind the election campaign now being waged across Egypt. People don’t often speak about it directly, but it’s an abiding fear here — as in most other countries shaken by the Arab Spring. The question is whether, as democracy empowers Islamist parties across the Arab world, Christian minorities will have a viable future.

The rally here was organized by the Free Egyptians Party, a secular, pro-market group founded by Naguib Sawiris, who is one of Egypt’s wealthiest businessmen and a prominent member of the Coptic minority. The party aims to get a turnout of 85 percent of the roughly 40,000 eligible voters in this district, who are mostly Copts.

Garbage City is an unforgettable spot, a vision that might have been imagined by a surrealistic movie director. Pickup trucks rumble in with towering loads of rubbish, which is picked over for anything that can be recycled. Fires burn across this trash landscape. Because garbage collection is seen by Muslims as “unclean” (garbage is fed to pigs), this work for untold generations has mostly been done by Christians, who labor in their gritty stalls surrounded by icons and crosses and posters of Jesus.

My guides were Karim Abadir and Omar Khashaba, two party officials. Abadir, an economics professor in London, says he came back to Egypt after the revolution to “stand my ground” as a Copt and be part of the new Egypt. “When Christians tell me they have no future in Egypt, my response is, ‘Go vote,’ ” he says.

Abadir was injured in the Oct. 9 Maspero incident, when police and the army attacked demonstrators who were protesting the burning of churches; 27 people died in the violence, mostly Christians. A Muslim who joined the marchers told me there was sectarian tension on both sides, with Copts chanting, “We are owners of the land” (meaning that Copts were in Egypt before Islam), and Muslims responding, “Islam, Islam.”

I talked with Christians from many areas of Cairo last week to gauge their worries. Every one of them expressed anxiety, but most said they remained hopeful that a democratic Egypt will remain tolerant of minorities. A sign of their wariness was that many asked me to use only their first names.

A woman named Nesrine said that every Sunday at her church in Heliopolis, several more Coptic families announce they are leaving the country. Nesrine has a Canadian passport, and her husband wants to move, but she’s waiting to see what the elections bring. The priests at her church are trying to calm the flock, telling them: “We have to stay. We have to take our place in our country.”

A woman named Raymonda, who lives in a mixed neighborhood and doesn’t attend church, says she fears the “very negative feelings to Christians” since the revolution. She doesn’t have another passport and never thought she would need one, but now she wonders. Her husband argues that they shouldn’t delay until it’s too late. “I don’t want to lose hope,” she says. “I want to bet on the Egyptian people.”

At a gathering of students and faculty at the Gerhart Center of the American University in Cairo, people talk honestly about religious tensions. They fervently hope this issue doesn’t subvert the promise of the revolution.

The Muslim woman who marched with the Christians to Maspero remembers hearing the sectarian chants, back and forth. “I started to cry,” she says. “I hated both sides.”


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Krauthammer Asks ‘Who Lost Iraq?’

As if there could be any doubt.  From Charles Krauthammer and NRO:

Who Lost Iraq?

You know who.

Barack Obama was a principled opponent of the Iraq War from its beginning. But when he became president in January 2009, he was handed a war that was won. The surge had succeeded. Al-Qaeda in Iraq had been routed, driven to humiliating defeat by an Anbar Awakening of Sunnis fighting side-by-side with the infidel Americans. Even more remarkably, the Shiite militias had been taken down, with American backing, by the forces of Shiite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. They crushed the Sadr militias from Basra to Sadr City.

Al-Qaeda decimated. A Shiite prime minister taking a decisively nationalist line. Iraqi Sunnis ready to integrate into a new national government. U.S. casualties at their lowest ebb in the entire war. Elections approaching. Obama was left with but a single task: Negotiate a new status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) to reinforce these gains and create a strategic partnership with the Arab world’s only democracy.

He blew it. Negotiations, such as they were, finally collapsed last month. There is no agreement, no partnership. As of December 31, the American military presence in Iraq will be liquidated.

And it’s not as if that deadline snuck up on Obama. He had three years to prepare for it. Everyone involved, Iraqi and American, knew that the 2008 SOFA calling for full U.S. withdrawal was meant to be renegotiated. And all major parties but one (the Sadr faction) had an interest in some residual stabilizing U.S. force, like the postwar deployments in Japan, Germany, and Korea.

Three years, two abject failures. The first was the administration’s inability, at the height of American post-surge power, to broker a centrist nationalist coalition governed by the major blocs — one predominantly Shiite (Maliki’s), one predominantly Sunni (Ayad Allawi’s), one Kurdish — that among them won a large majority (69 percent) of seats in the 2010 election.

Vice President Joe Biden was given the job. He failed utterly. The government ended up effectively being run by a narrow sectarian coalition where the balance of power is held by the relatively small (12 percent) Iranian-client Sadr faction.

The second failure was the SOFA itself. The military recommended nearly 20,000 troops, considerably fewer than our 28,500 in Korea, 40,000 in Japan, and 54,000 in Germany. The president rejected those proposals, choosing instead a level of 3,000 to 5,000 troops.

A deployment so risibly small would have to expend all its energies simply protecting itself — the fate of our tragic, missionless 1982 Lebanondeployment — with no real capability to train the Iraqis, build their U.S.-equipped air force, mediate ethnic disputes (as we have successfully done, for example, between local Arabs and Kurds), operate surveillance and special-ops bases, and establish the kind of close military-to-military relations that undergird our strongest alliances.

The Obama proposal was an unmistakable signal of unseriousness. It became clear that he simply wanted out, leaving any Iraqi foolish enough to maintain a pro-American orientation exposed to Iranian influence, now unopposed and potentially lethal. Message received. Just this past week, Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurds — for two decades the staunchest of U.S. allies — visited Tehran to bend a knee to both Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

It didn’t have to be this way. Our friends did not have to be left out in the cold to seek Iranian protection. Three years and a won war had given Obama the opportunity to establish a lasting strategic alliance with the Arab world’s second most important power.

He failed, though he hardly tried very hard. The excuse is Iraqi refusal to grant legal immunity to U.S. forces. But the Bush administration encountered the same problem, and overcame it. Obama had little desire to. Indeed, he portrays the evacuation as a success, the fulfillment of a campaign promise.

But surely the obligation to defend the security and the interests of the nation supersede personal vindication. Obama opposed the war, but when he became commander-in-chief the terrible price had already been paid in blood and treasure. His obligation was to make something of that sacrifice, to secure the strategic gains that sacrifice had already achieved.

He did not, failing at precisely what this administration so flatters itself for doing so well: diplomacy. After years of allegedly clumsy brutish force, Obama was to usher in an era of not hard power, not soft power, but smart power.

Which turns out in Iraq to be . . . no power. Years from now we will be asking not “Who lost Iraq?” — that already is clear — but “Why?”

Nous Sommes Tous Charlie Hebdo?

Last week as reported in the New York Times:

Satirical Magazine Is Firebombed in Paris

Charlie HebdoBy DAVID JOLLY

PARIS — The office of a French satirical magazine here was badly damaged by a firebomb early on Wednesday, the publisher said, after it published a spoof issue “guest edited” by the Prophet Muhammad to salute the victory of an Islamist party in Tunisian elections. The publication also said hackers had disrupted its Web site.

untitledThe magazine, Charlie Hebdo, had announced a special issue for publication Wednesday, renamed “Charia Hebdo,” a play on the word in French for Shariah law.

The magazine’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier, told Europe 1 radio that the police had called just before 5 a.m. to report a fire of criminal origin. News reports said a Molotov cocktail had been thrown through a window. The special edition was on its way to the newsstands, the editor said, and will appear as scheduled.

But, he added: “We are homeless and we have no way to put out the magazine. We hope this won’t be the last issue.”

“We can’t put out the magazine under these conditions,” he said. “The stocks are burned, smoke is everywhere, the paste-up board is unusable, everything is melted, there’s no more electricity.”

The magazine’s Web site appeared to have been restored by early Wednesday.

Caustically ironic and vulgar, Charlie Hebdo prides itself on being offensive to virtually everyone. It has drawn the ire of Muslim activists before, including in 2006, after it republished cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that first appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Islamic law usually forbids depictions of the prophet. The edition of Charlie Hebdo that apparently inspired the fire-bombing showed a cartoon of Muhammad and the words: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.”

A Turkish hacker has taken credit for the website attack.  He’s now threatening to attack the website of the left-leaning French daily, Liberation, which offered space to the Charlie Hebdo staff and helped them put out their last issue. 

No one surpasses me in disliking the French;  I once spent 30 hours in Paris, and the experience is still seared into my memory like one of the more horrifying episodes of the Twilight Zone

But the French deserve their due.  After all, they’ve banned the burka.  And their leftists are still free to ridicule anything and everything, including Islam – (and, more important: it occurs to them to do so).  Our highly disciplined American lefties only imagine they’re  free to ridicule everything, when actually all they ever think to go after are  Christians and the Tea Party – they’d never dream of making a crack against the religion of the Prophet.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Revival Gets Rile Welcome, or, Your Fast Is My Furious

Muslim Brotherhood envoy Dawud Walid is directing area mosques to step up security.  A lot of Crusaders are coming to town!

As reported in Thursday’s The Detroit News (“Christian call to prayer riles Muslims”):

Dearborn — The local head of a national Muslim civil rights group says a Christian prayer summit to be held at Ford Field next week promotes anti-Muslim sentiment and is warning local mosques to step up their security.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — Michigan, met Wednesday with Muslim activists to voice his concern over the rhetoric he fears could be at the center of the event Nov. 11.

"There's a bigger force or movement behind this prayer summit and how they're literally demonizing Muslims," he said.

But Metro Detroit pastors involved in the event say the gathering is merely meant to help Detroit, not target Muslims.

"I don't know anything about that," said Bishop Edgar Vann of Second Ebenezer Church. "People are coming here to pray for our city and that's what I'm concerned about. Christians will be praying, but it's open to anyone."

The Call is being promoted as a 24-hour long prayer event aimed at lifting the city out of its "greatest darkness." Its website says attendees will "gather to this city that has become a microcosm of our national crisis — economic collapse, racial tension, the rising tide of the Islamic movement, and the shedding of innocent blood of our children in the streets and our unborn."

Senior pastor Jerry Weinzierl of Grace Christian Church in Sterling Heights said the event is not anti-Muslim."It's not to pray against anybody," he said. "It is a very positive movement of Christians gathering together to pray."

Walid advised the heads of local mosques to "maintain security at all entrances, and make sure to notify the police immediately if suspicious persons congregate on mosque property."

Thursday’s headline that all this “riles Muslims” overstates the reported facts. The only one who appears riled is Walid.  And he’s just faking it.

Walid knows perfectly well that area mosques haven’t a thing to fear from “suspicious persons” congregating on their property. According to the legal giants who recently brought us the Terry Jones debacle, subjects of Wayne County already face arrest if they even dare to congregate on public property in a mosque’s vicinity. 

I don’t know much about The Call.  It sounds like a movement with Pentecostal roots, which places a lot of emphasis on demons and Old Testament prophecies and such.  This particular group also embraces goals that are multi-racial, pro-life, and include “Reaching Muslims with the love of Christ.”

What’s so bad about that? It’s not as if they’re moving in with tents, sleeping bags, and pet ferrets, the way Occupy [“Your Town Here”] has done.

Evangelistic calls to conduct spiritual warfare by fasting and prayer is hardly the stuff of a violent movement. Even Walid realizes he’d sound foolish to say otherwise.  He admitted in a recent article on a CAIR website that “The Call can pray for Muslims or other non-Christian group [sic], which they deem to be heathens to be guided aright; that is no problem.” (“The Call: Connecting Radical Theology With the Islamophobia Network”).

But never mind all that fasting, praying, and Psalm-singing at Ford Field.  Walid sees right through all that:

The direct issue is The Call in its theological crusade could be endorsing, perhaps even inciting zealous persons to go onto mosque and Islamic school properties, which are private properties, to commit provocative acts. Moreover, The Call and its direct supporters are bigots, who actively engaged in attempting to marginalize American Muslims from the socio-political fabric of their own country, America.

The Call is not uplifting Detroit or uplifting America with its rhetoric. It is actually feeding into the current divisive climate, which America has not seen since the heydays of the White Citizens' Council in the turbulent 1960’s.

Provocative acts?  Trespassing? All these people and all their supporters are bigots? 

The White Citizen’s Council?!

Is it only me or does Walid sound as if he’s getting weaker by the day?

Maybe it’s all those prayers.