We insisted that the Ayatollah Sistani was surely a "moderate" and a friend to civil and religious liberty despite all the hard evidence to the contrary. Let me repeat my previous observations and predictions: The Ayatollah Sistani is an Islamist bent on establishing a theocracy not far removed from that found in Iran. He is an open anti-Semite and a not-too-subtle anti-Christian. He threw his support behind democratic elections because they were the handy vehicles for imposing religious authority all over Iraq. Nor is he the only one, or even the worst, only the most prominent. Yet while I believe the evidence is as clear here as it is in the case of [Ahmad] Chalabi, we only see what we want to see, not what's visible. In our religious lives, hope may well be a virtue — but in foreign policy it is more often a sin, a temptation to willful blindness. --John Agresto
Here is what I posted elsewehere on March 25, 2005 in response to the enthusiastic suggestion by some (Tom Friedman, Rich Lowry) that Ayatollah Sistani receive the Nobel Peace Prize:
Everyone will have his own startling encounter with Islam -- the real thing, not what Muslim apologists, hoping to give everyone a carefully-circumscribed "peek into the Koran" (and let's make sure that none of these unwary Infidels manages to read anything beyond the Michael Sells "Approaching the Qur'an" and by all means, keep them from looking into the Hadith or the Sira), have on offer. It is almost always limited to highly selective quotation from the Qur'an. The Hadith, and the Sira -- sorry, off limits for now.
One keeps being surprised at how little people think they need to know before making grand pronouncements. Yesterday, amused by the latest display of vacuity and portentousness by Tom Friedman, nominating -- modestly -- Ali al-Sistani for the Nobel Prize -- I went to www.sistani.org to look around. There, between Sistani's complete banning of chess (and to think that checkmate is merely the Persian "shakh mat"), and his discussions of all the usual subjects that inquiring Muslims wish to know about, from whether it is okay to marry the sister of a man you have sodomized, or who has sodomized you (I forget which) to whether your canonical prayers count if you haven't performed the wudu (ablutions) correctly -- you know, all the stuff that you want to know, was something else, and that something was all about what is considered by Sistani and those who seek his guidance to be "Najis" or "unclean."
If you click on "Muslim Laws" on the left, and then, once a list comes up, click on "najis things," you will get a list -- #84 -- and if you then go a little further, and click on the menu where, among those unclean things, the "kafir" (which is to say, the Unbeliever, that is to say -- You and I, Dear Reader) you will get a further discussion of how, in the wonderful, "moderate" Islam of the al-Sistani variety, the Unbeliever, the Infidel, the Kafir (guilty of "kufr" or "ingratitude" for failing to receive the Revelation of the Last of the Prophets in the right, accepting, submissive way) is viewed.
So here, for everyone out in Ames, Iowa, is just a little sample of what you are missing, and what one suspects that Mohammed Fahmy, and Tariq Ramadan, and Hamid Dabashi, and Zeinab Bahrani, and a cast of hundreds of millions, would prefer that you not inquire into too deeply. And please, whatever you do, in order to accommodate them, at least promise that you will NOT read the websites www.dhimmitude.org and www.faithfreedom.org and www.co-jet.org and www.jihadwatch.org, and certainly do NOT read anything by Bat Ye'or, but especially do not read Islam and Dhimmitude or The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam. And do not read Ibn Warraq's Why I Am Not a Muslim. And let's not even talk about Robert Spencer. These books will only confuse you. And never pay attention to a man named Ali Sina or any of those ex-Muslims who appear at his website. Never google the name "Habib Malik" to read what he has to say about the historic relationship of Islam to Christianity; never read a similar article by James V. Schall, a professor at Georgetown; never take a peak at the Western scholars whose work may be sampled in the anthology The Legacy of Jihad by Andrew Bostom.
Well, here is what you can find at www.sistani.org:
"84. The following ten things are essentially najis: 1. Urine 2. Faeces 3. Semen 4. Dead body 5. Blood 6. Dog 7. Pig 8. Kafir 9. Alcoholic liquors 10. The sweat of an animal who persistently eats najasat [i.e., unclean things].
108. The entire body of a Kafir, including his hair and nails, and all liquid substances of his body, are najis.
109. If the parents, paternal grandmother and paternal grandfather of a minor child are all kafir, that child is najis, except when he is intelligent enough, and professes Islam. When, even one person from his parents or grandparents is a Muslim, the child is Pak (The details will be explained in rule 217).
110. A person about whom it is not known whether he is a Muslim or not, and if no signs exist to establish him as a Muslim, he will be considered Pak. But he will not have the privileges of a Muslim, like, he cannot marry a Muslim woman, nor can he be buried in a Muslim cemetery."
So who wants to second the nomination of Al-Sistani for the Nobel Prize? Anyone out there in Ames, Iowa?