Monday, 28 April 2008
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Non Dimenticar (Silvana Mangano)
Posted on 04/28/2008 6:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 April 2008
Jeremiah Wright Just Can't Help It
Reverend Wright doesn't seem to have any conception of the deep damage his continuing comments are doing to the presidential prospects of Barack Obama. Obama, for his part, seems to fear cutting ties to this fruitcake would damage his support in the black community, which does seem to be firmly behind Wright, crazy as that sounds. The rest of America is waking up to the fact that much of the black community lives in an alternate universe. From Politico:
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright said Monday that he will try to change national policy by “coming after” Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) if he is elected president.
The pastor also insisted Obama “didn’t denounce” him and “didn’t distance himself” from Wright’s controversial remarks, but “did what politicians do.”
Wright implied Obama still agrees with him by saying: “He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was [portrayed as] anti-American.”
Wright, who was Obama’s pastor for 20 years and performed his wedding, made the explosive comment during a chaotic question-and-answer session at the National Press Club in Washington, following the pastor’s remarks about the black church in America.
“I said to Barack Obama last year, ‘If you get elected, November the 5th I'm coming after you, because you'll be representing a government whose policies grind under people,’ Wright said...
Grind under people?
Wright talks of their relationship in the present tense. “I'm a pastor; he's a member,” he said. “I'm not a ‘spiritual mentor.’ “
In the Democratic debate on April 16, Obama referred to Wright as “somebody who is associated with me that I have disowned,” then clarified that to say he had disowned the comments.
But Wright objected to a question saying Obama had denounced him.
“Whoever wrote that question doesn't read or watch the news,” Wright said. “He did not denounce me. He distanced himself from some of my remarks, like most of you, never having heard the sermon, all right? …
“He didn't distance himself. He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was [portrayed as] anti-American. … He did, as I said, what politicians do.”
Posted on 04/28/2008 4:51 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 28 April 2008
Beyond our Ken?
Much is beyond our Ken, but nothing, it seems, is beneath him.
I'm not one to preach to my fellow Londoners - by 'eck, I'm not even a native Londoner - but do we really want a mayor who looks like this?
Campaigning: Ken Livingstone on the trail at Northolt mosque in Ealing over the weekend
Ken is already a past master of taqiyya. From the London Evening Standard:
Ken Livingstone supporters are claiming that Boris Johnson would ban the Koran in adverts in the capital's Bengali-language press.
The claim is one of a number of last-minute tactics - condemned by Mr Johnson today as "poison" and "desperate" - being used by Mr Livingstone's backers to sway crucial votes. The "dirty tricks" were uncovered in a Standard investigation which also found that:
• Bengali-language leaflets are being handed out at mosques saying that Mr Johnson "hates Muslims" and it is a "moral duty" for Muslims to support Mr Livingstone.
• One of Mr Livingstone's key advisers has promised to give members of one ethnic community "well-paid jobs", with salaries of up to £80,000, if he is re-elected.
• TfL has embarked on a massive pre-election advertising blitz in parts of the ethnic press, which have then offered full support for Mr Livingstone's re-election.
The Bengali-language leaflet, a copy of which has been obtained by the Standard, was handed out at Friday prayers last week at mosques in Brick Lane and other Bengali parts of the East End. According to an independent translation, it says: "Boris has expressed his hatred against Islam, the Koran and the Muslims... It is Muslims' moral duty to support Ken." The other side of the leaflet is in English. It carries a less incendiary message and makes no attacks on Mr Johnson.
The leaflet was produced by the British Muslim Initiative, whose offshoot, Muslims 4 Ken, was recently exposed by the Standard as involving a declared supporter of suicide bombing. It carries no imprint for a printer as required by electoral law.
The leaflet contains lies. Boris doesn't hate Muslims, although he has expressed strong and justified misgivings about Islam. And he has never argued in favour of banning the Koran, although he has criticised it, and opposed any legislation that would restrict such criticism.
Vote for Boris. Even if you hate him, make him your second choice and rid us of Red Ken.
Posted on 04/28/2008 4:34 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 28 April 2008
Held Hostage At Masjid Al-Taqwa
Bos Smith writes at Canadian Free Press:
A tree grew in Brooklyn.
It has been uprooted by the Masjid At-Taqwa and other radical mosques that have sprouted up like huge mechanical mushrooms throughout the borough.
If you tarry in front of the Masjid At-Taqwa in the Bedford-Stuyvesant district and dare to take a photo, you might get hauled away by a group of angry Muslims in Islamic attire to the basement of the facility where a group of twenty “security guards” in karate suits will interrogate you.
This sounds preposterous.
But it happened on a weekend in late April at 3:00 in the afternoon.
Ali Kareem, the head of security for Siraj Wahaj’s mosque, conducted the grilling. A small, muscular man with a wispy black beard that has been dyed red with henna, Kareem demanded to know the reason why a trio of kafirs had dared to photograph the building on a public street without securing his permission.
He further insisted on securing our identities and obtaining our motives for such a violation of Islamic space.
Being surrounded by a group of militant guards in a mosque basement from which there is no means of escape is not a comforting place to be for a Wall Street financier.
We tried to explain that we found the neighborhood with its halal meat vendors and food stores; Islamic dress shops, featuring the latest styles in burqas and hijabs; Muslim souvenir outlets, replete with bumper stickers stating “Don’t Be Caught Dead Without Islam”; and Middle Eastern restaurants offering a variety of goat dishes to be rather quaint and interesting.
This explanation was not sufficient.
Kareem was impatient and did not want a detailed explanation of the reason for our excursion (simple sight-seeing) or a graphic account of the sights we had seen and photographed.
“I ask the questions here,” he said, “and you provide the answers.”
Realizing that we were in a bit of a pickle, my companion explained that we were interested in various religions and knew Siraj Wahaj, the imam of the mosque, was a prominent Muslim figure whom we would like to interview for a news outlet.
I have it on good authority that Siraj Wahaj recently visited Muslims in Nashville Tennessee.
This didn’t work too well since we could not produce a business card from a wacko blog, let alone credentials from a national publication.
At last, we blurted out that we were admirers of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) and wanted to obtain information about conversion. We were even knowledgeable enough to blurt out “Salaam” and “Allahu akbar.”
The last utterance seemed to be the “Open Sesame” that got us out of the basement and back to Bedford Street, where we managed to take a picture of the mosque before hailing a cab and making a getaway.
The experience was disconcerting. Surely, anyone who takes a picture of St. Patrick’s Cathedral or the Riverside Church is not hauled off to a basement for questioning by a threatening figure in a karate uniform and a band of Ninjas.
What is taking place within Masjid At-Taqwa?
And what about Siraj Wahaj, the celebrated imam of this mosque who claims to be a moderate?
Masjid At-Taqwa at 1226 Bedford Street was an abandoned clothing store, which Wahaj purchased at an auction in 1979 for $30,000 with cash from oil-rich Saudis. The interior is divided into spacious, windowless rooms that have been painted green and beige.
At Friday afternoon prayers the meeting room is crammed with hundreds of congregants. Some show up in do-rag stocking caps and Sean John sweatshirts; others wear finely embroidered, authentic-looking Muslim caps and flowing robes of crimson and gold. About half of the attendees are African-Americans. The others are immigrants from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Worshipers range from Brooklyn street bums to the local celebrities, such as former heavy-weight champion Mike Tyson.
The place has played host to a number of notorious exponents of radical Islam, including Clement Rodney Hampton-El (Dr. Rashid), a key player in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Mr. Hampton-El is presently cooling his heels in a federal slammer since he was found guilty of seditious conspiracy. Mr. Hampton-El, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, fought as a mujahadeen under Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in the holy war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Upon his return, Hampton-El was hailed as a hero by members of the mosque. Imam Wahaj has said that he was sought out by young and old alike for spiritual advice as an “elder” in the community. Wahaj, in fact, appeared as a character witness for Hampton El when the former mujahadeen stood trial before Judge Michael Mukasey in New York’s Federal District Court on charges of seditious conspiracy and attempted bombing.
Hampton-El is currently serving thirty-five years in a supermax prison for America’s most dangerous inmates.
Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman visited Masjid At-Taqwa on many occasions while serving as the imam of the nearby Masjid al-Fooqra at 554 Atlantic Avenue, several blocks from Masjid At-Taqwi. On the second floor of Rahman’s mosque, al Qaeda had opened an office under the name of the al-Kifah Refugee Center. It became a favorite haunt for members of Wahaj’s congregation.
Rahman also spoke on occasion at Masjid At-Taqwa. In one speech, the fiery sheikh suggested that Muslims should rob banks to benefit Islam.
In 1995, Sheikh Rahman was hauled into court as the alleged architect of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and for planning to blow up the United Nations, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the George Washington Bridge, and buildings throughout Manhattan. At his side was his good friend Siraj Wahaj who provided testimony of the sheik’s sterling character...
But what of Wahaj? Is he an exponent of radical Islam - - a man who poses a threat to millions of Americans?
He is a well-known and welcome figure in Washington, DC. He was the first Muslim cleric to offer the invocation at the opening session of Congress. He has dined with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and serves on the boards of no less than five major Muslim organizations. He has received commendations from the Brooklyn police for eradicating crime from the Bedford-Stuyvesant area. In 2003, Siraj Wahaj Day was celebrated in Brooklyn in recognition of what one borough official called a “lifetime of outstanding and meaningful achievement.”
But the proof of the real Wahaj is in the proverbial pudding.
In one of his sermons, Wahaj announced that the “real terrorists” are the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency. In another, he said, “In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing. And the only thing that will remain will be Islam.” He proclaimed that a society governed by strict Islamic law, in which adulterers are stoned to death and apostates beheaded, would be vastly superior to American democracy.
To a Muslim audience in New Jersey, Wahaj advocated the idea of Muslims forming a coup to take control of the federal government. “If we are united and strong,” he said, “we’d elect our own emir [leader] and give allegiance to him. Take my word for it, if six to eight million Muslims are united in America, the country will come to us.”
His so-called “moderate” interpretation of the Qu’ran became clear by this remark: “If Allah says 100 strikes, 100 strikes it is. If Allah says cut off their hand, you cut off their hand. If Allah says stone them to death, through the Prophet Muhammad, then you stone them to death, because it’s the obedience of Allah and his messenger—nothing personal.” ...
Posted on 04/28/2008 4:27 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 28 April 2008
Justice Scalia on 60 Minutes
A very interesting and entertaining interview by Lesley Stahl.
Posted on 04/28/2008 4:22 PM by Andy McCarthy
Monday, 28 April 2008
John Esposito: "I Attach My Bio Info"
In response to someone's relaying criticism levelled at him by Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch, John Esposito did not bother to respond. Or rather, his response consisted of an attack on the "scholarly" background of Robert Spencer -- no Ph.D. in Islamic or Middle Eastern studies -- and to enclose what in Esposito's worldview, constitutes an unanswerably impressive curriculum vitae that supposedly means game, set, match, without any need to actually adduce evidence of any kind, about anything: "I attach my bio info" was the elegant phrase which was intended to answer all critics.
Esposito allows himself to believe that mere credentialism – defense by inflated C. V.-- will be enough to protect him from detailed criticism. With the credulous, admiring Dinesh D'Souzas of this world, who live by such things (and carefully put down every article, every lecture in their own comically ever-expanding c.v.s) that may indeed work. For intelligent people, well-versed in the tragicomic and deceptive aspects of curricula vitae, and skeptical of those suffering from elephantiasis, such a defense will elicit only contempt.
And Esposito certainly didn't act as if he thought his “credentials” would be enough to protect him when he hurriedly went back and interpolated the word "Jihad" into post-9/11/2001 editions of his books, even though he continued to mislead readers about the standard, accepted, main meaning of that word (for Muslims, not for non-Muslim apologists such as...John Esposito).
Esposito is a "scholarly" colleague of, defender of, friend of, Azzam Tamimi, a Hamas supporter, whose quality of mind and thought can be gauged from this YouTube entry:
He used to call another “Palestinian” Muslim fanatic, Al Farooqi (stabbed to death, along with his wife, by one of his own disciples), his “ustadh” or teacher.
Esposito has been on the Arab gravy-train ever since he convinced a Lebanese contractor – an islamochristian who, had he survived, might not have quite as happy with Esposito as he might have been a decade or two ago – to fund his “Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.” There is no “understanding” – or rather, in a nice reversal, it’s an understanding that passeth peace, and serves as a long-running fount of apologetics for war, the war of Jihad, conducted not only or even, nowadays, mainly by qitaal (combat) but also by many other means, including “pen, speech.” And the propagandistic nonsense put out by the “pen, speech” – in articles (including one with the piquant title that was published, in timely or untimely fashion depending on your point of view, in September 2001) – of John Esposito is used to keep Infidels in a state of unwariness, distraction, and confusion. He’s Lord Haw-Haw, but at least the traitor Joyce had to go all the way to Berlin to broadcast his propaganda for the enemy. Esposito can conduct his own operation at Georgetown, right in the heart of Washington, D.C., just down the street from the Capitol and the White House. And he can continue to do this at a Jesuit institution, though one can be sure that the view of Esposito held by two well-educated clerics, Professor James V. Schall, S.J. and Pope Benedict VI, is not one whit less critical than that to be found at this or similar websites.
What is to be done about the scandal of John Esposito and his exploitation of the Georgetown connection? Perhaps alumni contemplating gifts to Georgetown will have second thoughts, if made aware of the scandalous Saudi-funded operation run by John Esposito, and make known that they will not be making such gifts after all, until such time as Georgetown severs its ties with Esposito, and make such gifts contingent on the university severing the ties, in order to remove the deceptive glitter of reflected glory that Esposito glories in and exploits whenever he refers to his “Georgetown Center” or, alternatively, his “Center at Georgetown.”
Let him have his Saudi-funded operation. But let it be free-standing, without any further disgrace to Georgetown. Let the ghosts of Snouck Hurgronje and Joseph Schacht be properly propitiated at long last -- oh, have you seen their c.v.s, by the way? Place a paragraph by Snouck Hurgronje or Schacht on one side of the balance, and the collected works, coffee-table picture-books and all, of John Esposito on the other side, and see which side kicks the beam. Surely those highly intelligent ghosts are not pleased with the way John Esposito has been allowed to flourish and to exploit every kind of trust and naiveté that the Western world, and even the supposedly keen-minded Jesuits, have displayed, in his regard, for so long.
And come to think of it, can you imagine Joseph Schacht or C. Snouck Hurgronje ever compiling, much less sending out, a c.v., one accompanied by a note reading "I Attach My Bio Info"?
Posted on 04/28/2008 2:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 April 2008
Can Islam Be Whatever Muslims Wish To Make Of It?
In the first of his "Blogging the Qur'an" series at Hot Air (reproduced at Jihad Watch), Robert Spencer writes that he does not "believe that religious texts are infinitely malleable and can be made to mean whatever the reader wants them to mean, as some apparently do…”
This immediately brings to mind, by way of contrast, the view expressed by Daniel Pipes that "Islam can be whatever Muslims wish to make of it."
One of these views makes much more sense than the other.
Posted on 04/28/2008 11:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 April 2008
The Best And The Brightest?
An interesting report from CIS:
WASHINGTON – A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies demonstrates that most H-1Bs are ordinary people doing ordinary work, not the geniuses claimed by industry lobbyists.
Those arguing for an increase in the number of H-1B visas (ostensibly temporary visas for 'specialty occupations,' many of them in the computer industry) claim that continued U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics hinges on our ability to import the world’s best engineers and scientists. But this new data analysis shows that the vast majority of H-1B workers – including those at most major tech firms – are not the innovators industry portrays them to be.
The new report, entitled 'H-1Bs: Still Not the Best and the Brightest,' is authored by Dr. Norman Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis, and is online at
The analysis is based on the simple fact that in a market economy, if workers are indeed outstanding talents, they will be paid accordingly. This can be determined by computing the ratio of the foreign worker’s salary to the prevailing wage figure stated by the employer (this report calls that ratio the 'Talent Measure' or TM). A TM value of 1.0 means that the worker is merely average, not of outstanding talent. The findings:
# The median TM value over all foreign workers studied was just a hair over 1.0.
# The median TM value was also essentially 1.0 in each of the tech professions studied.
# Median TM was near 1.0 for almost all prominent tech firms that were analyzed.
# Contrary to the constant hyperbole in the press that 'Johnnie can’t do math' in comparison with kids in Asia, TM values for workers from Western European countries tend to be much higher than those of their Asian counterparts.
# Most foreign workers work at or near entry level, described by the Department of Labor in terms akin to apprenticeship. This counters the industry’s claim that they hire the workers as key innovators.
Posted on 04/28/2008 9:15 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 28 April 2008
How To Stop The Madrassa Coming To Your Town
Forget the violins, we need a cryin' country song for this story. New Duranty is in full defense mode for poor Debbie Almontaser (pictured below in headscarf), the would be principal of the Khalil Gibran Academy in Brooklyn.
...Irene Alter, a peppy, retired Queens schoolteacher, was sitting at her computer one morning that February when she read an article in The New York Times about the Khalil Gibran school, she said. A series of questions flooded her head.
Which courses would be taught in Arabic? How would Israel be treated in the study of Middle Eastern history? Then in April, she read an op-ed article by Mr. Pipes in The New York Sun.
Conceptually, such a school could be “marvelous,” Mr. Pipes wrote, but in practice, it was certain to be problematic. “Arabic-language instruction is inevitably laden with Pan-Arabist and Islamist baggage,” he wrote, referring to the school as a madrassa, which means school in Arabic but, in the West, carries the implication of Islamic teaching.
Given how little Mr. Pipes knew about the school at the time, the word was “a bit of a stretch,” he said in a recent interview. He defended its use as a way to “get attention” for the cause. It got the attention of Ms. Alter, 60, who contacted Mr. Pipes and, with his encouragement, helped form a grass-roots organization in response to the school project. Mr. Pipes joined the advisory board of the group, which called itself the Stop the Madrassa Coalition.
Mr. Pipes, 58, has emerged as a divisive figure in the post-9/11 era. An author of 12 books who has a doctorate in history from Harvard, he has made a career out of studying and critiquing Islam. His research group, which he established in downtown Philadelphia in the early 1990s, “seeks to define and promote American interests in the Middle East,” according to its Web site.
Among his supporters, Mr. Pipes enjoys a heroic status; among his detractors, he is reviled. Those sharply divergent views reflect the passions that infuse Middle Eastern politics, arguably nowhere in the United States more than in New York City.
Mr. Pipes is perhaps best known for Campus Watch, a national initiative he created to scrutinize Middle Eastern programs at colleges and universities. The drive has accused professors of, among other things, being soft on militant Islam and sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. It has stirred widespread controversy and, in some cases, may have undermined professors’ bids for tenure.
Mr. Pipes was joined in the monitoring effort by other self-declared watchdogs of militant Islam. Their Web sites are often linked to one another and their messages interwoven. One critic, David Horowitz, founded Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, a campaign aimed at college campuses. He noted in an interview that monitors of radical Islam have increasingly trained their sights on nonviolent Muslim-Americans.
“They don’t throw bombs, but they create political cover for ideological support of this jihadi movement,” he said.
Mr. Pipes places Muslims in three categories, he said: those who are violent, those who are moderate and those in the middle. It is this middle group, he argued, that now poses the greatest threat to American values.
“Are these people who are not using violence but who are not fully enthusiastic about this country and its mores, its culture — are they on our side or are they on the other side?” he asked.
Ms. Almontaser never considered herself unenthusiastic about America, she said. But as the conflict over the Khalil Gibran school intensified, she came to be seen by many through Mr. Pipes’s lens. In his article in The Sun, he referred to Ms. Almontaser by her birth name, Dhabah, and called her views “extremist.” He cited an article in which she was quoted as saying about 9/11, “I don’t recognize the people who committed the attacks as either Arabs or Muslims.” (As The Jewish Week later reported, Mr. Pipes left out the second half of the quote: “Those people who did it have stolen my identity as an Arab and have stolen my religion.”)
The Stop the Madrassa Coalition focused primarily on Ms. Almontaser as a strategy, said Mr. Pipes, because the group could get little information about the school itself. The coalition quickly publicized several discoveries. Ms. Almontaser had accepted an award from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim organization that critics claim has ties to terrorist groups (an assertion the group adamantly denies). In news articles, Ms. Almontaser had been critical of American foreign policy and police tactics in fighting terrorism. She also gave $2,000 to Representative Cynthia A. McKinney of Georgia, whom Mr. Pipes and others have characterized as an Islamist sympathizer. (Ms. McKinney, who is no longer in office and did not respond to requests for an interview, has had a strong following among Arab-Americans in part because of her criticism of the Patriot Act.)
Critics of the Madrassa Coalition say its tactics are typical of campaigns singling out Muslims: They lean heavily on guilt by association. The nuances of the claims against Ms. Almontaser were lost as the controversy lit up the blogosphere, said Chip Berlet, a senior analyst at Political Research Associates, a liberal organization outside Boston that studies the political right. One Web site, MilitantIslamMonitor.org, displayed photographs of Ms. Almontaser wearing her hijab in different styles, suggesting that she had undergone a public relations makeover to “disguise” her “Islamist agenda.” The criticism of Ms. Almontaser and the school spread to newspapers, eliciting negative editorials in The Daily News and The New York Sun...
Posted on 04/28/2008 8:52 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 28 April 2008
What Jonathan Aitken Knows
"Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a British human rights organisation whose president is the former Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, is calling on the UN and the international community to take action against nations and communities that punish apostasy."
--from the article linked below
Is this the Jonathan Aitken who once provided call girls for a Saudi prince? If so, and if he is now deeply embarrassed and ashamed for all of his dealings with the dishdasha-and-dagger brigade, and their sneers of cold command, and knows all about Western hirelings of the Saudis and other rich Muslims, but then found or re-found Christ, and can turn the intimate knowledge he has of Arab-funded corruption in high places to good, i.e. Infidel, use? Then bring it back, bring back that old-time religion. Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war. For war -- civilizational war, a war of self-defense -- it definitely is.
Posted on 04/28/2008 8:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 April 2008
An Anatomy of Surrender
Bruce Bawer has an excellent summing up of the West's gradual surrender to Shari'a at City Journal:
...The Western media are in the driver’s seat on this road to sharia. Often their approach is to argue that we’re the bad guys. After the late Dutch sociologist-turned-politician Pim Fortuyn sounded the alarm about the danger that Europe’s Islamization posed to democracy, elite journalists labeled him a threat. A New York Times headline described him as marching the dutch to the right. Dutch newspapers Het Parool and De Volkskrant compared him with Mussolini; Trouw likened him to Hitler. The man (a multiculturalist, not a Muslim) who murdered him in May 2002 seemed to echo such verdicts when explaining his motive: Fortuyn’s views on Islam, the killer insisted, were “dangerous.”
Perhaps no Western media outlet has exhibited this habit of moral inversion more regularly than the BBC. In 2006, to take a typical example, Manchester’s top imam told psychotherapist John Casson that he supported the death penalty for homosexuality. Casson expressed shock—and the BBC, in a dispatch headlined imam accused of “gay death” slur, spun the controversy as an effort by Casson to discredit Islam. The BBC concluded its story with comments from an Islamic Human Rights Commission spokesman, who equated Muslim attitudes toward homosexuality with those of “other orthodox religions, such as Catholicism” and complained that focusing on the issue was “part of demonizing Muslims.”
In June 2005, the BBC aired the documentary Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic, which sought to portray concerns about Islamic radicalism as overblown. This “stunning whitewash of radical Islam,” as Little Green Footballs blogger Charles Johnson put it, “helped keep the British public fast asleep, a few weeks before the bombs went off in London subways and buses” in July 2005. In December 2007, it emerged that five of the documentary’s subjects, served up on the show as examples of innocuous Muslims-next-door, had been charged in those terrorist attacks—and that BBC producers, though aware of their involvement after the attacks took place, had not reported important information about them to the police.
Press acquiescence to Muslim demands and threats is endemic. When the Mohammed cartoons—published in September 2005 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten to defy rising self-censorship after van Gogh’s murder—were answered by worldwide violence, only one major American newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, joined such European dailies as Die Welt and El País in reprinting them as a gesture of free-speech solidarity. Editors who refused to run the images claimed that their motive was multicultural respect for Islam. Critic Christopher Hitchens believed otherwise, writing that he “knew quite a number of the editors concerned and can say for a certainty that the chief motive for ‘restraint’ was simple fear.” Exemplifying the new dhimmitude, whatever its motivation, was Norway’s leading cartoonist, Finn Graff, who had often depicted Israelis as Nazis, but who now vowed not to draw anything that might provoke Muslim wrath. (On a positive note, this February, over a dozen Danish newspapers, joined by a number of other papers around the world, reprinted one of the original cartoons as a free-speech gesture after the arrest of three people accused of plotting to kill the artist.)
Last year brought another cartoon crisis—this time over Swedish artist Lars Vilks’s drawings of Mohammed as a dog, which ambassadors from Muslim countries used as an excuse to demand speech limits in Sweden. CNN reporter Paula Newton suggested that perhaps “Vilks should have known better” because of the Jyllands-Posten incident—as if people who make art should naturally take their marching orders from people who make death threats. Meanwhile, The Economist depicted Vilks as an eccentric who shouldn’t be taken “too seriously” and noted approvingly that Sweden’s prime minister, unlike Denmark’s, invited the ambassadors “in for a chat.”
The elite media regularly underreport fundamentalist Muslim misbehavior or obfuscate its true nature. After the knighting of Rushdie in 2007 unleashed yet another wave of international Islamist mayhem, Tim Rutten wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “If you’re wondering why you haven’t been able to follow all the columns and editorials in the American press denouncing all this homicidal nonsense, it’s because there haven’t been any.” Or consider the riots that gripped immigrant suburbs in France in the autumn of 2005. These uprisings were largely assertions of Muslim authority over Muslim neighborhoods, and thus clearly jihadist in character. Yet weeks passed before many American press outlets mentioned them—and when they did, they de-emphasized the rioters’ Muslim identity (few cited the cries of “Allahu akbar,” for instance). Instead, they described the violence as an outburst of frustration over economic injustice.
When polls and studies of Muslims appear, the media often spin the results absurdly or drop them down the memory hole after a single news cycle. Journalists celebrated the results of a 2007 Pew poll showing that 80 percent of American Muslims aged 18 to 29 said that they opposed suicide bombing—even though the flip side, and the real story, was that a double-digit percentage of young American Muslims admitted that they supported it. u.s. muslims assimilated, opposed to extremism, the Washington Post rejoiced, echoing USA Today’s american muslims reject extremes. A 2006 Daily Telegraph survey showed that 40 percent of British Muslims wanted sharia in Britain—yet British reporters often write as though only a minuscule minority embraced such views.
After each major terrorist act since 9/11, the press has dutifully published stories about Western Muslims fearing an “anti-Muslim backlash”—thus neatly shifting the focus from Islamists’ real acts of violence to non-Muslims’ imaginary ones. (These backlashes, of course, never materialize.) While books by Islam experts like Bat Ye’or and Robert Spencer, who tell difficult truths about jihad and sharia, go unreviewed in newspapers like the New York Times, the elite press legitimizes thinkers like Karen Armstrong and John Esposito, whose sugarcoated representations of Islam should have been discredited for all time by 9/11. The Times described Armstrong’s hagiography of Mohammed as “a good place to start” learning about Islam; in July 2007, the Washington Post headlined a piece by Esposito want to understand islam? start here...
Posted on 04/28/2008 7:53 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 28 April 2008
A Musical Interlude: Sam The Old Accordion Man (George Olsen Orch.)
Posted on 04/28/2008 7:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 April 2008
Proof Local Resolution Affects Migration Of Illegals
This is a heartening story for communities feeling victimized by our federal government's unwillingness to do anything about illegal immigration. There are steps we can take locally to reduce the burden.
WaPo: Hundreds of foreign-born families have pulled their children from Prince William County public schools and enrolled them in nearby Fairfax County, Arlington County and Alexandria since the start of the school year, imposing a new financial burden on those inner suburbs in a time of lean budgets.
The school-to-school migration within Northern Virginia started just as Prince William began implementing rules to deny some services to illegal immigrants and require police to check the immigration status of crime suspects thought to be in the country illegally.
Opponents of the rules say they have had a chilling effect on Prince William's once-thriving Latino community, prompting even legal immigrants to flee a hostile environment. Supporters say the rules have done what they were supposed to by primarily pushing illegal immigrants out.
"The resolution is clearly working," said Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large), chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. "It is driving down the non-English-speaking portion of the schools and saving us millions of dollars. They're going to other jurisdictions and costing them money."
Stewart called those jurisdictions "sanctuary" cities and counties, saying illegal immigrants are welcome there. He added: "There is going to be pressure to enact similar resolutions in those neighboring cities and counties." Officials from those jurisdictions reject that assertion.
Until now, the evidence of a migration has been largely anecdotal, making it difficult to measure or trace its causes. Data from school systems, however, provide the most concrete evidence to date that a significant exodus of immigrants is underway -- and that most of those leaving are settling in neighboring communities...
Still, Stewart noted that Prince William's schools expect to save $6 million in education costs as a result of the exodus -- a cost that will be borne by the other communities. Some officials in Fairfax and elsewhere say they expect the numbers to climb in the next academic year...
Posted on 04/28/2008 7:01 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 28 April 2008
British Christian threatened with arson if he didn't return to Islam
A British citizen who converted to Christianity from Islam and then complained to police when locals threatened to burn his house down was told by officers to “stop being a crusader”, according to a new report.
Nissar Hussein, 43, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, who was born and raised in Britain, converted from Islam to Christianity with his wife, Qubra, in 1996. The report says that he was subjected to a number of attacks and, after being told that his house would be burnt down if he did not repent and return to Islam, reported the threat to the police. It says he was told that such threats were rarely carried out and the police officer told him to “stop being a crusader and move to another place”. A few days later the unoccupied house next door was set on fire.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a British human rights organisation whose president is the former Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, is calling on the UN and the international community to take action against nations and communities that punish apostasy.
And from the comments a Sikh man telling it like it is.
"action against nations and communities that punish apostasy."
Which nations and communities would these be then ?
This is the result of Political Correctness, a fear of enforcing British Law and Article 18 of the UN Convention on Human Rights (Freedom of Belief) because it would upset the Moslems.
Jaspal Singh Dhillon
Posted on 04/28/2008 2:57 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 28 April 2008
Christians of Java seek safety to worship in shopping malls.
Empty shopping malls are eerie, and this one is no different.
But in the dim light of early morning, figures can be seen slipping past the security guards, their footsteps echoing down empty corridors.
It is Sunday morning, not yet 8 o'clock, and the shops are all still locked and shuttered.
But these people have not come to shop; they have come to pray.
Shopping malls in West Java are home to a growing number of Christian congregations. There are 10 in this mall alone.
Few of them want to talk publicly about why they are here, but off the record they admit it comes down to intimidation by Muslim groups.
According to Church groups more than 100 churches have faced attack or intimidation in the past two years.
One of the groups alleged to be behind some of these incidents is the FPI, or Islamic Defenders Front, a radical group that became a household name when it forced Playboy magazine out of Java.
Church leaders allege the group's members are forcing churches to close through violence and intimidation.
Saipul Abdullah, the head of the FPI in this area, told me that there may be people at the grassroots level who react emotionally.
"They become very angry and frustrated and little eruptions can happen,"
But, he said, this was not about religion. It is about the fact that some churches are not playing by the rules.
Only 20% of the Churches in this province have an official permit to hold religious services. To the others, often housed in temporary buildings, Saipul Abdullah and his group send letters asking for proof of their legal status. If they get no response, he told me, they issue a warning letter, and then pass the matter on to the police.
To get an official permit, congregations must get 90 signatures of support from their non-Christian neighbours. But in some areas, that is not easy to do.
Pasundan Church has been holding services in a suburb of Bandung for more than 60 years.
But its pastor, Olbertina Modesta, says that whenever they try to collect the signatures they need to make the site official, no one wants to sign.
West Java has a strong history of Islamic activism.
Last November, Pasundan church was attacked by a group of local Muslims.
They threw out the pews and prayer books, and smashed anything else they could - including the cross hanging on the wall.
But Pastor Olbertina doesn't believe this is simply a bureaucratic row.
"Sometimes I heard that the mosque is saying we are kaffirs, and we're not allowed to stay here," she told me. "So that's why I believe it's not only about the permits, but about being Christian."
Police say no one has so far been arrested for the attack. Pastor Olbertina now holds her weekly service at a local hospital.
Shopping malls and hospitals don't have religious licences either, but they are a bit more secure.
And until congregations like hers can find a permanent home, it is where they will stay.
The BBC is starting to present the facts, which is the BBC’s strength, the accuracy of facts. So far as its opinion is concerned they are deluded if they really believe that it is only a matter of time before the Christians of Java can worship in peace and freedom once they have complied with bureaucratic regulations. More likely only a matter of time before the persecution, which uses bureaucracy as well as violence, succeeds in driving Christians out altogether.
Posted on 04/28/2008 1:51 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Give Gillerman A Promotion
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, DanGillerman has merely said what everyone in the United States, and elsewhere, of moral sense, surely thinks. Why is Carter entitled to any special deference or respect? He's vicious; he's naive; he's stupid; he's evil. Anything else anyone needs to know? Yes, he's also an ex-president. So what?
Gillerman is to be applauded for his undiplomatic truth-telling. And if he's not a believer in Peace Processing, and all that sort of crap, he deserves a promotion, possibly to the job Ms. Livni is doing so badly.
Posted on 04/27/2008 6:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Getting Beyond Race
This election is not all about "getting beyond race." It's all about race. It's all about 90% of the black vote going for the black candidate Barack Obama solely because he is the nlack candidate. It is all about, hypersensitivity, and apologetics, and a feeling of many Obama supporters that whites must prove their hearts and minds are in the right place, to themselves and to others, about race, by voting for Obama, and ignoring those whose company he keeps (Wright, Ayres) or has solicited (Brzezinski, Powers, Mallory). And John McCain is no exception
Posted on 04/27/2008 6:05 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Genius In Reverse
Gilles Kepel, a sociologist, has been a consistent misunderestimator of the menace of Islam, because though treated as an "expert" (and consulted by some in high French places) on Islam, he has never bothered to acquaint himself sufficiently with the texts, tenets, attitudes of Islam, and the reasons why all that talk about "integration" and a "European Islam" are merely a forlorn hope, and a bit of tariq-ramadanish smokescreen, respectively.
Now he produces, or co-produces, an anthology of Al-Qaedisant writing. Fine.
But has he yet realized how all this stuff is not a modern concoction, but is deeply rooted in Islam, is in fact realer than the Islam that those Brave Young Muslim Reformers keep promising, or that Tariq Ramadan keeps alluding to. One wonders.
Here's a Jihad-Watch posting on Gilles Kepel from a few years ago:
Gilles Kepel has been so completely wrong in his analyses and his prescriptions, that his record offers the example of genius in reverse. Whatever silliness is possible to say, Gilles Kepel says it. He has never understood Islam; his books are a gallimaufry of sociology (in the main, he is a sociologist of French Islam, a kind of couscous-connoisseur) and simply does not allow himself to believe that many other people, millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, might actually be affected by the canonical and virtually sole texts that occupy and preoccupy them and their societies. He knows that Islam is more than a religion, but he seems to think that most advanced French Muslims -- the kind he associates with -- are somehow representative men. We may as well base predictions about Iraq on Kanan Makiya. Or about Saudi Arabia on attending a lecture on Islamic architecture by Sami Agarwal. It makes no sense.
Everything he says in this article shows that he cannot supply an explanatory theory for much of Muslim behavior. Note, for example, that he has nothing to say about Muslims outside the Middle East. He cannot explain why, in Pakistan itself, the Hindu population has declined from 15% to 1% of the total, nor can he explain the persecution of Christians. He has nothing to say about the behavior of the fervently Islamic razakars in the 1971 war in Bangladesh, nothing to explain the murders of Hindus and Sikhs and Christians in Bangladesh. Nothing about the Christians in the Moluccas, East Timor. Nothing about the disguised jizyah of the Bumiputra system.
That he is an apologist for Islam is clear from his attempt not even to express certainty about the 9/11 attack -- that he is not sure, at this point, who was responsible is telling, and damning. He continues to come back, despite the everests of evidence, to that the little matter of "Palestine" as the source of all our woe. He cannot read the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira -- or if he does, he refuses to think that anyone takes them seriously.
Really, he ought to stop going out to lunch or on lecture tours, and lock himself in his study, and once he has read and re-read those texts, spent a few weeks at Muslim websites, just to see what Muslims make of those texts. If it were anyone but Gilles Kepel (or Olivier Roy, or John Esposito, or Karen Armstrong or....) the results might prove enlightening.
But Gilles Kepel is a True Believer -- in no one being a True Believer.
There are limits to this petit sociologue -- he isn't Claude Levi-Strauss, after all, not by a long shot, and not even if he picked up a pair of blue jeans on his last trip to San Francisco.
The old story. Everything was all right, said the Frenchman, until that moment when la betise s'est mise a penser. When Stupidity Began to Think. So Gilles Kepel thinks he can think. Thinks.
Posted on 04/27/2008 5:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Humphrey Lyttelton - end of the line?
No - he's just got to Mornington Crescent.
May he rest in knip.
(Trumpington's variation, Dollis Hill loop.)
Posted on 04/27/2008 6:01 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Get Out Your Halford Mackinder
Japan, and other countries of East Asia -- Korea, China -- do not make a fetish, or anything at all, about "diversity." They do a good deal to discourage the "diversity" that the peoples of the West pretend is such a source of strength and delight. In fact, the homogeneity of the countries of Western Europe is a source of power, not weakness, and will be proved to be in the hard times -- get out Halford Mackinder and Alfred Thayer Mahad -- what with unavoidable global warming and its accompanying flooding and other catastrophes including the disappearance within a century of 90% of the world's species, and the collapse of food supplies in many parts of the world, and an out-and-out cut-throat scramble for resources in helpless Africa -- that are soon to come.
Posted on 04/27/2008 5:50 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald