Friday, 27 February 2009
Saudi knickers in a twist

Salesmen "travelling in ladies' underwear" have traditionally been considered snigger-worthy; men who hang around lingerie departments even more so. Knickers and vicars are the stock-in-trade of British comedy. Take this scene from Father Ted, in which a party of Catholic priests accidentally find themselves thwarted by thongs:

As so often happens, what is pervy to Westerners is normal in Saudi Arabia. From the BBC, with thanks to Alan:

It would be bizarre in any country to find that its lingerie shops are staffed entirely by men.

But in Saudi Arabia - an ultra-conservative nation where unmarried men and women cannot even be alone in a room together if they are not related - it is strange in the extreme.

Women, forced to negotiate their most intimate of purchases with male strangers, call the situation appalling and are demanding the system be changed.


Rana Jad is a 20-year-old student at Dar al-Hikma Women's College, and one of Reem Asaad's pupils and campaign supporters.

"Girls don't feel very comfortable when males are selling them lingerie, telling them what size they need, and saying 'I think this is small on you, I think this is large on you'," she says.

"He's totally checking the girls out! It's just not appropriate, especially here in our culture."

"Totally checking the girls out"? What's with the Valley Speak?

The situation is all the more frustrating because the relevant legislation is already in place.  

In 2006, the Saudi government passed a law stating that women should be allowed to staff any shops that sell women's items, be it clothing, accessories or underwear.

But the law has still not been properly implemented.

No official reason is given for this, but one probable cause is that hiring female staff would put a lot of men out of work - not a popular move in a country where 13% of men are unemployed.

There are also Saudi Arabia's Muslim clerics to contend with.

They wield a great deal of power in the kingdom and still believe a woman's natural environment is in the home.

I wonder if the salesmen sample the products. I have a feeling - just a hunch - that many Saudi men wear a bustier beneath the bisht.

Posted on 02/27/2009 8:35 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 27 February 2009
In every suburb, across the nation . . .

Manfred Mann sang about your "semi-detached suburban Mr Mouse" about the boredom of suburban life. Oh that it were.
AN Elm Park law student has appeared in court accused of sending emails containing terrorist material.
Mohammed Gul, 21, of Elm Park Avenue, allegedly sent two video files featuring explosions and a picture of Osama bin Laden displaying Arabic script. He is also said to have had a document containing bomb-making instructions.
The third year degree student, said to be from an academically gifted family, was arrested in Hornchurch on February 10, after a raid by anti-terror police.
District Judge Timothy Workman refused Gul bail and remanded him in custody until March 3. His lawyer indicated he would be pleading not guilty.
Gul is charged with two counts of transmitting a terrorist publication, intending that an effect of his conduct would be a direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
He is further charged with possessing a document containing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act.
A 24-YEAR-old man from East London has been charged tonight with sending bomb hoaxes to the BBC, ITN and a Government department.
He is Nasar Ahmed, who was first arrested at his home at Wooster Gardens in Poplar in October, on suspicion of communicating hoax threats.
Ahmed faces allegations of five offences under the 1988 Malicious Communications Act which include sending letters to the BBC, ITN, Channel 5 and the Department of Work & Pensions in September with false information “for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety and intending that their contents should be communicated.”
This is Luton. A 53-year-old man suffered minor injuries after he was the victim of what is thought to have been a racist attack in Bury Park last week. Four teenagers of Asian appearance approached the man from behind as he walked along Moor Path just after 5pm on Thursday, February 19.
The gang pushed the victim before kicking his feet from under him causing him to fall to the ground. They told the man that the incident had been 'racial' before fleeing towards Waldeck Road. Investigating Sgt Katherine Rivers is keen to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the attack. She said: "This man was making his way home minding his own business when out of the blue he has been the victim of a physical attack. . . This incident has left the victim with grazing to his hands and legs together with a cut to his lip. This sort of abuse will not be tolerated."
Police are looking for four Asian boys aged between 14 and 16.

Posted on 02/27/2009 5:22 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 27 February 2009
Interior Ministry warns terror camp trainees returning to Germany

From the German edition of The Local.
Up to 140 people from Germany have attended terrorist training camps and 60 have returned to the country, government officials told Berliner Morgenpost this week.
Head of the Interior Ministry’s anti-terrorism unit Hans-Georg Maaßen told the paper on Wednesday that those 60, who include German citizens as well as immigrants with residency permits, are currently living in the country.
Maaßen argued their return was a good reason for the German upper house of parliament to pass a controversial new anti-terrorism law in the coming weeks. The law would give officials more authority to prosecute crimes that endanger the state, such as attending terrorist training camps in Afghanistan or Pakistan. After months of arguing, the grand coalition government managed to agree on a bill, and the Bundesrat will vote on it March 6.
Should it be passed by parliament as expected, any involvement with suspected terrorist groups, including contacting them, preparing for a terror attack by collecting money, financing terrorist activities, gathering bomb materials, spending time in a terrorist training camp or publishing bomb-building instructions will be punishable by up to 10 years under the new legislation. Building a bomb, even if someone does not detonate it, could mean up to three years in jail, for instance.
The new law comes out of analysis of investigations against terror suspects in the last several years. Since 2000, at least 7 terrorist attacks have been stopped or failed,
But critics of the bill say it’s unconstitutional . . . But according to Maaßen, "There are these exceptions against whom we have to take precautions."

Posted on 02/27/2009 4:50 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Read this Sen. Lieberman: "Stop the Afghan Drug Trade, Stop Terrorism"

Rachel Ehrenfeld in this important commentary,” Stop the Afghan Drug Trade, Stop Terrorism” fills in the missing link in Sen. Lieberman’s ’surge’ strategy for Afghanistan that I criticized.See here. I noted that the Afghan drug trade fueled Taliban terrorism:

As Rachel Ehrenfeld author of the classic, Narco Terrorism, has written if you don’t control the heroin trade that funds the Taliban and Al Qaeda at an estimated $300 million + a year, you won’t get anywhere. Afghanistan is the heroin producer to the world.. That vast drug cash hoard is oxygen for the jihad. Look what it cost the U.S. (billions) in Colombia to finally rein in FARC, who controlled the Cocaine trade, and had support from Latin America, left extremist regimes in both Ecuador and Venezuela. Further, we achieved ‘victory’ against the Narco-terrorists in Colombia where the Uribe government was a staunch ally committed to defending his country against the drug lords, FARC and the threats of Marxist dictator, Hugo Chavez,

So, Senator Lieberman, we don’t have a quagmire in Afghanistan, as much as we do a sand trap controlled by Muslim extremist drug lords in the world heroin trade. Can we develop a winning strategy to take away that oxygen? That is the ultimate question.

Ehrenfeld in this important Forbes piece resonates our observations:

“The fight against drugs is actually the fight for Afghanistan,” said Afghan President Hamid Karzai when he took office in 2002. Judging by the current situation, Afghanistan is losing.

To win, the link between narcotics and terrorism must be severed. That is the necessary condition for a successful strategy to undermine the growing influence of al-Qaida, the Taliban and radical Muslim groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It is all about money–more precisely, drug money. The huge revenues from the heroin trade fill the coffers of the terrorists and thwart any attempt to stabilize the region.

Though not traded on any stock exchange, heroin is one of the most valuable commodities in the world today. While a ton of crude oil costs less than $290, a ton of heroin costs $67 million in Europe and between $360 million and $900 million in New York, according to estimates based on recent Drug Enforcement Administration figures.

Since its liberation from Taliban rule, Afghanistan’s opium production has gone from 640 tons in 2001 to 8,200 tons in 2007. Afghanistan now supplies over 93% of the global opiate market.

“This is a source of income for the warlords and regional factions to pay their soldiers,” warned former Afghan Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalili in a May 2005 interview with Reuters. “The terrorists are funding their operations through illicit drug trade, so they are all interlinked.”

Ehrenfeld’s solution is to conduct bio-warfare on Afghan poppy production used to make the world’s heroin:

There is, however, a strategy that could reduce the cost of fighting terrorists and drug traffickers alike, while helping to establish a self-sustaining economy in Afghanistan and defusing the tensions in the region. It would also cut down on the social and economic cost of heroin use in the U.S.

The Obama Administration should implement an innovative and safe poppy eradication method that previous U.S. governments spent billions of dollars developing. Mycoherbicides are naturally occurring fungi that are used to control such illicit pest plants as the opium poppy and other noxious weeds. Unlike chemical controls now in use, mycoherbicides assail only the targeted plant, rendering its cultivation uneconomical. These fungi continue to live in the soil, preventing the future growth of the opium poppy plant, but are harmless to other crops, to humans and to the environment.

On Dec. 29, 2006, then-President George W. Bush signed Public Law 109/469, of which section 1111 requires the Department of State to fund a concluding study of the effectiveness of mycoherbicides on the opium poppy and the coca shrub. Yet the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy failed to conduct the one-year study, apparently because it prefers to use pesticides for eradication. Concluding these studies should become a priority for the Obama administration.

The use of mycoherbicides in Afghanistan, combined with adequate enforcement by the military, will mitigate the production of heroin and cut off the terrorists’ major money supply. This would free up the $150 to $200 billion now used to fight the drug trade and its byproducts–crime, addiction, diseases, accidents, etc.–in the U.S., and make these funds available to help fight terrorism directly.

Sen. Lieberman should take up hearings on Ehrenfeld’s smart strategy of poppy production eradication. It would be the moral equivalent of sending another 30,000 plus American servicemen and women into the sandtrap of Afghanistan and it would suck the oxygen from the lungs of Islamic extremists like the Taliban.

Posted on 02/26/2009 9:31 PM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 26 February 2009
A Musical Interlude: No One But The Right Man Can Do Me Wrong (Sophie Tucker)
Posted on 02/26/2009 4:36 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Today's Islamic Faits-Divers In Italy


Egyptian father shoots, then slits throat of his elementary-school son; Italian wife says he threatened her many times. 



Moroccan man slits the throats of his ex-companion, Elisaveta Leder, and their two-year-old daughter Arianna.

Posted on 02/26/2009 4:26 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 February 2009
The Latest Embodiment Of Antisemitism
Posted on 02/26/2009 4:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Islam As A Vehicle For Arab Imperialism: The Case Of The Berbers

If the American government wished to fight a war of self-defense against those who wage Jihad, not only against America, but against all non-Muslim states and peoples, sometimes across national borders, sometimes within Infidel states, it would surely take the time to identify the possible points of purchase that would help to divide and demoralize the Camp of Islam.

Since 80% of the world's Muslims are non-Arabs, and since in Islam the Arabs are the best of peoples, and the Sunnah merely reflects the customs of seventh (or eighth or even ninth) century Arabs, and since, furthermore, Muslims are supposed to read the Qur'an in Arabic (the only version that truly counts), and take Arabic names, and face Mecca, in Arabia, five times a day, and in many other ways become sedulous apes of the Arabs, it would surely be useful to make those non-Arabs Muslims aware, by speaking and writing openly about, the linguistic and cultural, and other forms of imperialism by the Arabs, for which Islam is, and always has been, the vehicle.

Take the Berbers, for example, and their campaign, especially in the Kabyle region of Algeria, to be able to speak and be taught in their own language, Tamazight. The riots in Tizi-Ouzou and elsewhere for such linguistic rights (now finally, and reluctantly, granted by the Algerian Arabs), the Berber websites that rightly denounce the Arabs and their "invasion" of North Africa, the way in which Christianity is spreading among some Berbers, because resentment of the Arabs nautrally weakens the hold of Islam,  all of this causes the Arabs to worry. And in France itself, it is among the Berbers that the French intelligence services, have found the recruits necessary to monitor the larger Muslim, chiefly Arab, population.

Here, from, is a piece that reflects the worry of the Arabs over where the Berber loyalty lies. Does it lie, blindly, in reflexive hatred of the Jews? Is the Arab war on Israel really the war of the Berbers? Even as early as the 1960s a Berber writer was expressing sympathy for Israel. Should not this kind of thing be noted, and in every way encouraged? Do the Infidels not have a stake in spreading the word, everywhere, that Islam is a handmaiden of Arab imperialism, and then in spelling out -- it's not hard to do -- exactly how it performs that function? For no Berber, no Kurd, no black African Muslim in Darfur can deny that the Arabs have treated them badly, even at times engaged in murder or mass murder. Let the reasons for this Arab supremacist attitude, rooted in the texts and history of Islam, be more widely understood.

Go to it, Pentagon, go to it, State Department. You have nothing to lose, and a world to win.

Posted on 02/26/2009 12:32 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Muslims may boycott Dutch goods

From Russia Today
Russian Muslims should boycott all Dutch-made goods, including the world-famous tulips and roses grown in the Netherlands, representatives of the Muslim spiritual authority of Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod Region said.
The call for the social ostracism was explained by the fact that the Netherlands is going to show a film which allegedly makes offensive depictions of the wives of Prophet Mohammed.
In his address Deputy Head of the Regional Mufti Council on educational work Abdulbari Muslimov said that to respond to such an offence, “Muslims of the world have decided to boycott goods made in Holland, and the film authors and an MP will bear responsibility for all consequences of this action”,
He  has not specified what film the Muslim Directorate refers to, but supposedly it is the 14-minute-long film ‘Interview with Mohammed’ created by Iranian-born ex-Dutch politician Ehsan Jami.
The main issues touched upon in the film are the position of women in Islamic society, former Muslims and relations with Jews.

Posted on 02/26/2009 12:22 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Oldest English Words Revealed?


A game of Scrabble might not have been all that different in Stone Age times.

Using a computer simulation, a British researcher says he's examined the rate of change of words in languages to reveal the oldest English-sounding words, which would have been used by Stone Age humans 20,000 years ago.

Among the Stone Age words that presumably would've sounded then much like they do now in the English language: I, we, two and three.

The study concludes that the frequency with which a word is used relates to how slowly it changes through time, so that the most common words tend to be the oldest ones. While it cannot necessary predict exactly what words were used 20,000 years ago - there's little to go on, since writing was invented only about 5,000 years ago - it makes some interesting guesses.

"We have lists of words that linguists have produced for us that tell us if two words in related languages actually derive from a common ancestral word," said Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading, in a BBC article. "We have descriptions of the ways we think words change and their ability to change into other words, and those descriptions can be turned into a mathematical language."

The ability to speak arose about 300,000 years ago, scientists think, thanks to a pair of anatomical changes that separate humans from other primates: the development of the hyoid bone, which supports the tongue, and a drop in the larynx that made it easier to choke but also easier to speak (in newborn humans, the larynx sits high in the nasal cavity, so babies can drink and breathe at the same time).

The computer program's reasoning, arguably speculative, predicts words that will eventually become extinct too, because they are changing rapidly nowadays: squeeze, guts, stick and bad.

"You type in a date in the past or in the future and it will give you a list of words that would have changed going back in time or will change going into the future," Professor Pagel told BBC News.

Pagel thinks some of the simple words (like the first list above) involve sounds that may have been in use 40,000 years ago.

For the record, the most common five words used in English today, according to "The Reading Teachers Book of Lists": the, of, and, a, to.

Posted on 02/26/2009 11:54 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Amnesty International Calls For Israel's Destruction

Read here:

In calling for an arms embargo on Israel, because of its incursion into Gaza -- an incursion, or invasion, or battle, or war, that was characterized by heroic Israeli effortsto limit civilian casualties, in hellishly difficult conditions (made still more hellish by the deliberate attempt of Hamas to increase those casualties in any way it could, including keeping Arab civiilans from leaving their own houses once they had been warned by the Israelis, through leafletting and telephone calls, that an Israeli attack would soon be coming)--Amnesty International not only makes a moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas, but overlooks the fact that nearly two dozen Arab states, and an Iran armed to the soon-to-be nuclear teeth, will not be subject to similar embaroges. In callilng for an arms embargo on Israel, Amnesty International is calling for the unilateral disarming, sooner or later, of the tiny and permanently imperilled Jewish state. Amnesty International is, then, calling for the murder of Israel, and of its Jews. For their mass-murder would follow upon any Arab military victory, and no doubt be enthusiastically joined in by many local Arabs as well.

Posted on 02/26/2009 11:48 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Noah: Don't Worry, Terrorists Are Stupid

Today at Slate, Timothy Noah explores the idea that terrorists basically stupid and that 9/11 was a fluke caused by numerous intelligence failures that are unlikely to happen today, so we don't have to worry (much).

One could easily make the same argument about Hitler. Toward the end of the war, assassination plots were called off by the British, because he was more valuable for the allied side alive and giving idiotic orders to the Wehrmacht than dead, in which case the German generals could have prosecuted the war according to sound military strategy.

Stupid, silly, laughable man that he was, Hitler still managed to start a conflagration that killed 50 million people and exterminated half the Jews of Europe. His stupidity is no consolation.

Posted on 02/26/2009 9:58 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Wilders: We Should Follow McAuliffe's Reply - "NUTS!"

This is from Infidel Bloggers Alliance:

Tonight I had the great pleasure of seeing Geert Wilders speak at the Ahavath Torah congregation in Stoughton, MA (which is south of Boston). Augean Stables was there and will probably have more complete coverage, and the temple plans to make the video available on the internet as well.

We were spared the usual Islamist conga line of protestors out front. The 300 or so people at the event were stunned by the powerful message of Fitna, which was followed by a standing ovation as Wilders came to the podium to deliver his talk. He finished up with his reference to General McAuliffe, at the Battle of the Bulge, responding to a German demand for surrender with the one word dismissal "NUTS". Which is what we should tell the enemies of freedom when they try to turn secular democratic Europe into Sharia-bound Eurabia.

It was an interfaith audience with both yarmulkes and Ash Wednesday forehead smudges to be seen. As one audience member commented, the Stoughton school system would have done well to recommend high school students attend this meeting, but there were only a few school-age attendees. Questions focused on how to get both politicians and fellow citizens to wake up to the danger posed by Islamism. Wilders acknowledged that it is not easy but we must do all we can to get the message out, because we are in a war for the survival of our civilization.

Posted on 02/26/2009 9:49 AM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Come Outside by Mike Sarne feat. (as is the modern way to put it) Wendy Richard.

Wendy Richard, who died this morning, was 19 when she made this in 1962 with Mike Sarne a British pop singer who never achieved the fame of Cliff Richard (no relation) Tommy Steele or Marty Wilde.
I liked her best as Miss Brahms in Are You being Served.
Her role as Pauline in East Enders became such a miserable one, athough she played it with, to me, frightening accuracy, her accent, mannerisms and gestures being very reminescent of women of my aquaintance of that age.  Seeing her in the launderette scowling at all and sundry it was easy to forget the glamorous sex symbol of  Ladieswear, the foil to formidible Mrs Sloecombe.
Mike Sarne - Come Outside (1962)

There seems to be no footage of them performing this song live on the internet. For some reason I tried to find some last year when I was in nostalgia mood.  This clip from You Tube has some decent still photographs.

Posted on 02/26/2009 8:05 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Albright And The U.S. Muslim Engagement Project

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who will be presenting to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today in a blatant effort to undercut Senator Kyl and his presentation with Geert Wilders, is a member of the U.S Muslim Engagement Project as is Dennis Ross. Jeffrey Imm has compiled the following list of stands taken by this organization.

U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project report on Iran:
--- Engagement with the Islamic supremacist nation of Iran (page 4) is necessary "to explore the potential for agreements that could increase regional security"
--- Believes that "[t]he strongest source of U.S. leverage with Hamas may be a U.S. dialogue with Iran, discussed earlier, that could lead to a reduction in Iranian support for Hamas' military operations." (page 44)
--- Calls for America to get Iran involved "in stabilizing Afghanistan" (page 48)

U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project report on Muslim Brotherhood:
"The U.S. must also consider when and how to talk with political movements that have substantial public support and have renounced violence, but are outlawed or restricted by authoritarian governments allied to the U.S. The Muslim Brotherhood parties in Egypt and Jordan are arguably in this category." (page 60 and 61)
-- if America doesn't "work with" "Islamist parties, notably the Muslim Brotherhood," then the U.S. is not serious about political reform (page 54)
-- the "moderate" Muslim Brotherhood and "Islamist political parties" should be encouraged by America (page 56)

U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project report calls for U.S. to assess "engagement with political representatives of armed and activist movements"
-- Recommends that the United States "[a]ssess the value of engagement with political representatives of armed and activist movements case-by-case, based on their principles, behavior, and level of public support" (page 59)
-- Group complains that U.S. has failed to engage with terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas, calling them "illegitimate," "when political openings allowed militant movements..." "to gain popular support through elections" (pages 52, 53, 54)
-- "the Group has reached consensus on a set of criteria that the U.S. can use to judge whether, when, and how to engage in dialogue with armed political groups and movements: Does the group or movement have a substantial base of legitimate public support, demonstrated by membership, electoral success, and/or mass mobilization?" (pages 59, 60)

U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project report says Americans not concerned about "Islamism"
 regarding the concerns of "most Americans".... "They are not deeply concerned about 'Islamist' parties coming to power, as long as those parties do not advocate violence and do respect basic human rights." (page 51)
-- By using the term "Islamist," rather than "Islamic supremacist," the group misuses the term "Islamist" to obfuscate about such a supremacist ideology; the 9/11 Commission report called "Islamism" - "an Islamic militant, anti-democratic movement, bearing a holistic vision of Islam whose final aim is the restoration of the caliphate," while this group then pretends that "Islamists" respect "basic human rights."

U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project report promotes the Islamic supremacist Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)
-- the report calls for "Reapplication of Islamic Principles to Meet the Challenges of the 21st century" (page 53)
the report promotes the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and its website, a group that has consistently sought to promote Islamic supremacism and silence any challenge of such supremacism (page 53)
-- the OIC's 2005 Mecca Declaration calls for promotion of "human rights" based exclusively on Islamic supremacist Sharia law, in accordance with the so-called "Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam," which denies the inalienable human rights of equality and liberty - except as defined by Islamic supremacists; the OIC's 2005 Mecca Declaration also seeks to implement it in all OIC member nations, and it seeks "deterrent punishments" for those engaged in "Islamophobia"

The battlelines could not be more clearly drawn. In defense of our Constitution and the inalienable right to freedom of speech and of thought stands Senator Kyl. On the side of appeasing totalitarianism through the only way it can be appeased, by the gradual relinquishing of our rights, stand Senator Kerry and Former Secretary of State Albright.

Voice your support for Senator Kyl:

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
730 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4521
Fax: (202) 224-2207

Here is his website where you can send him an email:

Posted on 02/26/2009 6:45 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Sen. Kerry versus Sen. Kyl: Differing Views on the Islamic Threat

There are two diverse events on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC today. Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has convened a hearing on “Engaging with Muslim Communities Around the World”. That’s at 2:30PM in Room 419 Dirksen Senate Building . Kerry’s staff has arranged for two panels of witnesses that include:

Panel 1:
The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright
   Former Secretary of State
   Washington, DC
Admiral William J. Fallon, USN (ret.)
   Former Commander of U.S. Central Command
   Cambridge, MA
 Panel 2:
Dalia Mogahed
   Executive Director
   Gallup Center for Muslim Studies
   Washington, DC
Eboo Patel
   Executive Director
   Interfaith Youth Core
   Chicago, IL
Zeyno Baran
   Senior Fellow
   Hudson Institute
   Washington, DC

Sen. Kerry is fresh back from his trip to Gaza, where he received a letter addressed to President Obama  from Hamas, and palavered in Damascus with Syrian strongman Bashir Assad on important topics like a contrived peace process with Israel for the latter’s cession of the strategic Golan heights and Shebaa Farms. We sincerely doubt whether Kerry and his staff asked the Syrian  leader why they  have built a missile facility on the site for a nuclear weapons assembly that Israel took out in a daring raid in September 2007.  Now Kerry is back in the US Senate and picking up the baton, pushing the Obama White House’s opening to the Muslim ummah. 

The Kerry hearing  is on the same afternoon that Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) is holding a closed event in the Senate L.B.J room where embattled Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders will show the controversial film “Fitna” and speak to an invited group of Senators, House Members and staff. The event is sponsored by the International Free Press  Society led by Lars Hedegaard of Denmark and Dr. Frank Gaffney, Jr., head of the Washington, DC –based, Center for Security Policy.
In a CSP press release on the Kyl event, Gaffney and Hedegaard noted:

Gaffney said: “The insinuation of Shariah legal codes and practices into Free World societies includes the effort to impose Shariah blasphemy, slander and libel laws in the West. According to Shariah, it is impermissible to engage in speech or writings that ‘defame’ Islam or otherwise offend its followers.  We must oppose all these efforts.” 

Lars Hedegaard, President of the International Free Press Society, will introduce Mr. Wilders and outline the IFPS 2009 campaign to ban hate speech laws and to work for an “International First Amendment.”  Hedegaard said:  "The hate speech and blasphemy laws that are now common in many European countries lack clarity as to precisely what they aim to criminalize. Recent experience with their implementation further shows that they are unequally applied. This state of affairs is intolerable and the IFPS must therefore demand that all such laws be repealed. The way to deal with controversial, offensive or even hateful statements—unless they are directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action—is to expose them to public debate and criticism."
News of the Kyl event leaked out to the press last weekend and bubbled up on the wire services and was a topic on cable news outlets like FoxNews and CNN. The Kyle event has been viewed as controversial for giving a soapbox to a prominent anti-Islam critic, Wilders, the subject of looming criminal prosecution in his native Holland for ‘insulting’ a religion, Islam. Wilders was ejected from the U.K. by order of the Home office Secretary of the Labor government for being an ‘extremist’. 

Wilders in a speech in Rome last week noted his predicament:

Ladies and gentlemen, I would not qualify myself as a free man. Four and a half years ago I lost my freedom. Since then I am under 24-hour police protection.
As if that is not enough, the most radical Dutch Imam claimed 55.000 euros in compensation for his hurt feelings because of ‘Fitna’. The State of Jordan is possibly going to issue a request for my extradition to stand trial in Amman. The Amsterdam Court of Appeal ordered my criminal prosecution for making ‘Fitna’ and for my political views on Islam. And last week the British government refused my entrance into the United Kingdom because me showing ‘Fitna’ in the British House of Lords at the invitation of a British parliamentarian would be a threat to British public security. This is the alarming state of freedom of speech in today’s Europe: Criticizing Islam has become a dangerous activity, criticizing Islam has apparently become a criminal act.

CAIR, a prominent Muslim Brotherhood front and unindicted co-conspirator in the Dallas Federal Holy Land Foundation trial criticized Kyl for giving space and time in Congressional public space to Wilders, their latest arch enemy. The Arizona chapter of CAIR in a press release said:

The Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ) today called on one of that state's senators to invite Muslim representatives to offer a balancing perspective to a screening of an anti-Islam film he is hosting in Congress.
One of the event's co-sponsors, the Center for Security Policy (CSP) headed by Frank Gaffney, is linked to an anti-Islam group that has advocated prison terms in the U.S. for "adherence to Islam.”

The Gaffney allegation is doubtless a reflection of the legal brief prepared by  CSP legal  adviser David Yerushalmi suggesting that a case might be made for prosecution of Brotherhood front groups like CAIR for advocating sedition under our Constitution.

CAIR  should be treading lightly in its criticism of Sen. Kyl  in view a letter sent yesterday to FBI director Mueller by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kyl and Tom Coburn (R-OK)  commending the federal law enforcement agency for cutting its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood front and requesting a further investigation. The letter from these Senators noted:

Finally, given CAIR’s status as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, we would like to know more about other unindicted co-conspirators. Does the Bureau have contacts with organizations or individuals identified by federal prosecutors as unindicted  coconspirators in terrorism finance investigations and were those contacts affected by the decision to sever ties with CAIR?

Back in March of 2007, CAIR was sponsored by a Democratic Member of Congress to hold a session on “Global Attitudes on Islam-West Relations: U.S. Policy Implications”. Sounds like Sen. Kerry’s hearing is a possible send up on the CAIR event of two years ago. The report on that fracas noted:

GOP Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) was disappointed.

“Despite numerous opportunities, CAIR has repeatedly refused to condemn terrorist action by groups like Hamas and Hezbollah,” said Hensarling. “It is hard enough for members of Congress to reserve meeting rooms in the Capitol, and I am sure that there are many other places for groups to meet in private offices throughout Washington.”

Will CAIR,  Muslim Congressmen Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Andre Carson (D-IN)  and Muslim staffers on Capitol Hill  show up at the Kyl event for Wilders to ‘protest’?  If they do, we hope the discourse will be civil.  It is for this and the reasons cited in his Rome speech that Wilders travels with a large entourage of Dutch press and TV reporters, as well as a security detail from the Royal Protection Service. 

We trust that good sense will prevail and  commend Sen. Kyl’s forthright stand  to give Wilders an opportunity to present his film ‘Fitna’ and express his important views on the threat of totalitarian Islam to the West.

For those of you who are interested you should write Sen. Kyl, here, and tell him you support him in this defense of ‘free speech’ under the First Amendment of our Constitution. After all, Wilders and the IFPS are advocating the adoption of an E.U. version of our First Amendment to supplant ‘hate laws’ used by Muslim advocates to muzzle free speech and criminalize any criticism of Islam under Sharia Law.
Posted on 02/26/2009 6:33 AM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Trial recommences

The trial of the 8 men charged with plotting to blow up airliners in the mid Atlantic has begun again at the Crown Court Woolwich.
A foreign mastermind plotted to use "home grown" British suicide bombers to blow up a number of transatlantic airliners, a court has heard.
Woolwich Crown Court was told orders came from Pakistan for eight men to smuggle bombs disguised as soft drinks onto flights from London to the US.
Prosecutor Peter Wright QC told the court in London: "He received his instructions from elsewhere. Those responsible for making significant decisions in terms of the implementation of the plot, the utilisation of the active cell of bombers, the date, that was all to be decided overseas.
"Ali maybe did research but he was not the one who was in total control. This was not some half-baked plot by any group of enthusiastic amateurs dreaming up schemes over a kitchen table in east London.
"This was being orchestrated from overseas using the resource of a home grown coterie of radicalised men susceptible to the overtures of Mr Ali and his cohorts."
It is alleged there was enough material to make 20 bombs. Mr Wright said: "This was no hoax, no joke. It was a determined effort on the part of these men to bring about this particular act of carnage."
He said the group did not research timers at any point because they were on a suicide mission.
"They didn't have timers because they were going to be present when the bomb was detonated. They were going to detonate them.
"It wasn't the case that they were going to leave it ticking away somewhere while they made off to a safe distance because there was no safe distance."
In a later conversation Mr Ali and Umar Islam, 30, from Plaistow, east London considered taking their young children on the suicide mission, the court heard.
Jurors were given details of martyrdom texts, and material including beheadings and executions found on the laptop of Ibrahim Savant, 28, from Stoke Newington, north London.
Mr Wright said: "Ibrahim Savant was preoccupied with death, with martyrdom, with perceived glory. He was the perfect candidate to be invited to join this particular cell or to join it willingly."
The prosecutor said six members of the gang made suicide videos and extremist material was found at the homes of Mr Islam and Waheed Zaman, 24, from Walthamstow.
The jury has heard extracts from the films, which were all recorded against the backdrop of a black flag with Arabic script.

Posted on 02/26/2009 4:22 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Mumbai terrorist promised ?1,300 for attack and Pakistani colonel implicated

Two articles from this mornings Times.
The only Mumbai gunman to be captured alive told interrogators that he was promised 150,000 Pakistani rupees — about £1,300 — for carrying out the terrorist attacks in November that claimed more than 170 lives.
Details of the payment emerged yesterday as police formally charged Azam Amir Kasab, accused of helping to murder more than 50 people at the city’s main railway station, for the first time. Kasab, 21, who was described as “the baby-faced killer” after being caught grinning on CCTV while brandishing an AK47 gun and carrying a haversack full of ammunition, was charged with several crimes including waging war on India and murder. He faces the death sentence if convicted.
The Pakistani was part of a cadre of ten Islamist militants who attacked India’s financial capital after being trained in Pakistan by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist faction, police claim.
A criminal investigation has identified a further 37 suspects wanted for their alleged involvement in a plot that struck ten targets across Mumbai, including two luxury hotels and an ultra-Orthodox Jewish centre, terrorising the city for 60 hours. All but two of the suspects are Pakistani. “We are very confident of our case. The boys have worked very hard, there’s a lot of evidence,” Rakesh Maria, Mumbai’s joint police commissioner, said. (he) also indicated the possible involvement of the Pakistani Army.
He said that those named in the charge sheet included “two supposedly army names with designations. Whether they are serving or in the Lashkar hierarchy, it is not known”.
Kasab, described by the Indian police as the highest-value witness that they have dealt with, did not appear in court yesterday amid concerns for his safety. It is feared that the criminal network run by Dawood Ibrahim, South Asia’s most notorious underworld leader, might try to silence him before he can testify.
Ibrahim, one of the world’s five most wanted men, is regarded widely as a prime suspect for organising the “Mumbai connection” — local logistics, daily reconnaissance of the targets and possibly financing — for the attacks in November.
The huge charge sheet was filed before a metropolitan magistrate in Mumbai. It is expected that the case will be transferred to a special court inside the city’s high-security Arthur Road jail, where Kasab is being held.
The document details the alleged roles played by two Indian nationals — Faheem Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed — in supplying reconnaissance before the attacks. It also names Yosuf Muzzamil and Zaki-ur-Rehman, two members of the LeT, which India alleges has close links with Pakistan’s powerful spy agency, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The name of Colonel R Sadatullah appears in an 11,200-page document that lists the charges against Azam Amir Kasab, who police claim is the sole surving gunman of the November attacks in which 170 people died.
Police believe that Colonel Sadatullah is a serving officer in the Pakistan Army’s Special Communications Organisation, an offshoot of the force’s signals corps. It is alleged that an official government e-mail account linked to Colonel was used to send at least one message related to the attacks.
His naming represents the most specific allegation of Pakistan's involvement in the attacks and will put more strain on India's relationship with its nuclear-armed neighbour.
Police also suspect the involvement of another army officer, who is referred to only as the “major general” in telephone calls between the ten Islamist gunmen who carried out the attacks and their alleged handlers in Pakistan, Mr Mariah added.

Posted on 02/26/2009 4:06 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Iran says 6000 centrifuges working

From The Australian
THE head of Iran's atomic agency said today that it was now operating 6000 centrifuges to enrich uranium, defying international calls that it halt the sensitive nuclear process.
"We have 6000 centrifuges working and we plan to increase them. In the next five years we plan to have 50,000 centrifuges," Atomic Energy Organisation Gholam Reza Aghazdeh said.
He was speaking in the Gulf port of Bushehr where Iran began testing its first nuclear power plant, which has been built by Russia.
In November, Aghazdeh said that Iran was operating more than 5000 uranium enrichment centrifuges at its facility in Natanz.
Last week, the UN's atomic watchdog said in a report that Iran was continuing to enrich uranium, a process potentially used to make an atom bomb, but has slowed down the expansion of its activities.
"Contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities," the International Atomic Energy Agency wrote in its latest report on Tehran's contested nuclear drive.
Iran vehemently denies it has nuclear weapons ambitions and has defied five UN Security Council resolutions calling for a freeze in enrichment activities, including three imposing sanctions.

Posted on 02/25/2009 12:28 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
New Muslim Poll: Most Disagree With Al Qaeda Tactics, Agree With Goals

And the reason they disagree with terrorism is not that it is immoral, rather because it is ineffective. World Public Opinion (with thanks to Jeffrey Imm):

...In nearly all nations polled more than seven in 10 say they disapprove of attacks on American civilians. "Bombings and assassinations that are carried out to achieve political or religious goals" are rejected as "not justified at all" by large majorities ranging from 67 to 89 percent. There is a growing belief that attacks on civilians are ineffective, with approximately half now saying that such attacks are hardly ever effective.

At the same time large majorities endorse the goal of al Qaeda to "push the US to remove its bases and its military forces from all Islamic countries," including 87 percent of Egyptians, 64 percent of Indonesians, and 60 percent of Pakistanis.

Asked specifically about the US naval forces based in the Persian Gulf, there is widespread opposition across the Muslim world. Across eight Muslim publics on average, 66 percent said it was a bad idea; only 13 percent called it a good idea. Opposition is largest in Egypt (91%) and among the Palestinians (90%), but opposition is also large in America's NATO ally Turkey (77%).

Significant numbers approve of attacks on US troops based in Muslim countries, presumably as a means to apply pressure for their removal. Respondents were asked about US troops based in Iraq, the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan. Large majorities approve of attacks in Egypt (78-83%), the Palestinian territories (87-90%), and Jordan (66-72%). In Turkey and Pakistan views are more divided. However, only minorities support attacks in Indonesia and Azerbaijan.

Opposition to US military presence appears to be related to largely negative views of US goals in relation to the Muslim world. A key belief is that the US has goals hostile to Islam itself. Large majorities ranging from 62 percent in Indonesia to 87 percent in Egypt say they believe that the United States seeks "to weaken and divide the Islamic world."

Many also perceive the US having goals of economic domination. Large majorities say that it is a US goal to "maintain control over the oil resources of the Middle East" ranging from 62 percent in Pakistan to nine in 10 in Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Jordan, and the Palestinian territories.

Views of al Qaeda are complex. Majorities agree with nearly all of al Qaeda's goals to change US behavior in the Muslim world, to promote Islamist governance, and to preserve and affirm Islamic identity. However, as mentioned, only minorities say they approve of al Qaeda's attacks on Americans. Consistent with this apparent ambivalence, views of groups that attack Americans and Bin Laden are mixed or lukewarm.

Support for Islamist groups participating in the political process, though, is quite strong. Respondents were reminded that "in some countries there is a debate about whether Islamist political groups should be allowed to organize parties and run candidates in elections," and then asked to choose between two statements. Majorities or pluralities in every country chose the statement "All people should have the right to organize themselves into political parties and run candidates, including Islamist groups," including Pakistan (83%), Indonesia (81%), Azerbaijan (75%), Palestinian territories (69%), Turkey (53%), and Jordan (50%). Few chose the statement "Islamist groups should not be allowed to organize and run candidates because their ultimate goals are not consistent with democracy."

In all Muslim publics polled, majorities see US support for democracy in Muslim countries as conditional at best. Only very small minorities say "the US favors democracy in Muslim countries whether or not the government is cooperative with the US." The most common response is that the US favors democracy only if the government is cooperative, while nearly as many say that the US simply opposes democracy in the Muslim countries.

The surveys were conducted July through September 2008. As part of an ongoing study, in-depth surveys were conducted in Egypt (1,101 interviews), Indonesia (1,120 interviews), and Pakistan (1,200 interviews). This research was supported by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. Additional polling, as part of a network survey, included Azerbaijan (sample size 600), Jordan (583), the Palestinian territories (638), and Turkey (1,023). All of these samples were national probability samples conducted through face-to-face interviewing. Margins of error range from +/- 3 to 4 percentage points. Muslims in Nigeria were also polled.

For more information, see the full report (PDF) or the questionnaire (PDF).

Posted on 02/25/2009 11:54 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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