Saturday, 28 July 2007
Ministers are secretly considering plans for an all-Muslim prison after a series of attacks on jailed Islamic terrorists, it is claimed.
The prison could house the growing number of Muslim extremist inmates, it is said, after increasing signs of tension at the jails in which they are housed.
But critics said terrorists must not given the appearance of special status within the justice system.
On Sunday, a fire was started in the cell housing Hussein Osman, in Frankland high security prison in County Durham.
Nobody was hurt in the cell fire, which is under investigation, but officials believe it may have been an attempt on his life.
It was the third incident in three weeks involving convicted Islamic terrorists at the prison.
About 10 per cent of Frankland's inmates are thought to be Muslims.
Rows are said to have broken out among prisoners about where Muslim prayers should be held on the wing.
Prison insiders claim that the tensions were being made worse by the presence of far right extremists in the same cell block, Channel Four news reported last night. Officials at the newly-formed Ministry of Justice have held private discussions about how to cope if the trend of Muslim inmates continues, Channel Four said.
One option would be to designate a Muslim- only prison where inmates, including convicted terrorists, would be less at risk of attack because of racial or religious tensions.
It would also be easier to cater for their religious needs in terms of diet and prayer.
Lawyers acting for suspected and convicted Islamic terrorists have already called for fanatics to be granted special status in jails as "prisoners of war".
Last week the controversial solicitor Mudassar Arani, whose firm has been paid more than £1million in legal aid to represent extremists, said her clients feel it is unfair that they must undergo frequent searches and curbs
But Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a former Army commander, said: "They are not soldiers, they are not warriors. They have simply broken the law."
The Prison Service insisted it had no plans for a special Muslim jail.
A spokesman said: "We will continue to treat these prisoners like all other criminals. We will do what is necessary to protect them but we have no intention of creating special conditions for them."
The number of Muslim inmates has more than trebled in the last decade.
By the middle of 2005 there were around 7,500 Muslims behind bars - around 12 per cent of all UK prisoners.
We don't want a Muslim only prison to make it easier for diet and prayer. We do need to ensure that jihad and suchlike is not spread among the prisioners. The penitentiary system, pioneered at Millbank in the early 19th century fell into disrepute due to the high incidence of mental illness among the solitaries. However I think a modern form of seclusion (after all this is an ideology that approves of seclusion for its womenfolk) needs to be explored.
Posted on 07/28/2007 3:24 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 28 July 2007
A member of Qatar's royal family was thrown off a British Airways flight after delaying take-off for several hours by insisting that strangers should not sit next to women in his party.
Sheikh Bader Bin Kalifa al-Thani, a junior noble in Qatar's 3,000-strong ruling clan, was travelling from Milan to London on Thursday afternoon on flight BA563.
They had been on a shopping day-trip to the Italian city.
After boarding, the women complained about the seats they had been allocated because they were next to men they did not know,
The sheikh was accompanied by another male family member, a cook and a butler. There was no first-class compartment on the flight.
When the sheikh failed to convince other passengers in the Club Europe compartment to change their seats, he got up and walked to the pilot's cabin to complain.
A three-hour delay followed, as the Qatari group refused to sit down, or to listen to entreaties from a representative of the Qatari embassy in Italy, who was sent to mediate.
Eventually the pilot called a security team to eject the group . . . The delay caused 50 of the 117 passengers on board to miss their connecting flight in London.
A spokesman for British Airways confirmed that a "group" had been ejected from the flight. "Two passengers stood up while the aircraft was preparing to take off and refused to sit back down. All passengers have to have their seatbelts on during take-off. The pilot was forced to return to the terminal. We apologise to the passengers who were inconvenienced, but safety has to be a priority."
Later in the evening, the royals travelled business class with the Italian carrier, Alitalia, with their staff in economy.
I think they should have been ejected even earlier, but I suppose the flight had missed its window so it may have been 3 hours before the next one.
Posted on 07/28/2007 2:26 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 27 July 2007
The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical
But the good ones I've seen
So seldom are clean
And the clean ones so seldom are comical
There was a young lady from Bude
Who went for a swim in the lake
A man in a punt
Stuck an oar in her ear
And said you can't swim here, it's private
Update: I am experimenting with line spacing here. But if you want to read some really good limericks, see my post here.
Posted on 07/27/2007 4:08 PM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 27 July 2007
Now from the marshlands under the mist-mountains
Came Grendel prowling; branded with God`s ire.
This murderous monster was minded to entrap
Some hapless human in that high hall.
On he came under the clouds, until clearly
He could see the great golden feasting place,
Glimmering wine-hall of men. Not his first
Raid was this on the homeplace of Hrothgar.
Never before though and never afterward
Did he encounter hardier defenders of the hall.
from BEOWULF (10th centuy or earlier) translated by Gerald Benson
Posted on 07/27/2007 3:21 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 27 July 2007
Posted on 07/27/2007 1:54 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 27 July 2007
GHAZNI, Afghanistan (Reuters) - The remaining 22 South Koreans held hostage in Afghanistan are alive, a Taliban spokesman said on Friday, and the group will not set further deadlines as it negotiates with the government on freeing them. --from this news item
The astounding bravery, and also innocence of the full malevolence and menace of Islam, of the South Korean missionaries, is something that should be stressed -- stressed most of all, naturally, in South Korea itself, as well as in Japan and China. So far the Islamic threat is mostly seen as directed at the historic West -- at Europe and North America. This not only ignores all the other states, and peoples, that have been on the receiving end of Islam for a long time, including the Christians of southern Nigeria and the southern Sudan and Indonesia,, and the Hindus in India, Kashmir, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and the Buddhists in southern Thailand, as well as the small communities of Buddhists in the Chittagong Hills region of Bangladesh.
It is important that the peoples of East Asia -- that China, for example (time to recall the declaration of Jihad against the Chinese in 1930, and General Ma) -- also recognize that they are not immune, that they are Infidels and subject to the same threats, and that they, too, have a stake in preventing a Muslim takover, through Da'wa and demographic conquest, of the Western world which the Chinese, without that "three great abrahamic faith" stuff, have far more in common than do Muslims, or the world of Islam, which is always defining itself in terms of its opposition, its permanent supremacy over, and state of war (though not necessarily active warfare) with the Infidels, whether in Birmingham or Boston or Bordeaux or even Beijing.
Posted on 07/27/2007 1:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 27 July 2007
Posted on 07/27/2007 1:17 PM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 27 July 2007
At the prompting of some friends in the securities trading world, I've been reading up oil prices. I see what they mean. Try this
from Sean Brodrick at Howe Street. Note his remarks about the southern border.
Shall we be going into the voting booth next November with oil over $100 a barrel? Doesn't look the least bit unlikely.
Posted on 07/27/2007 1:05 PM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 27 July 2007
Dr. Andrew Bostom has an interesting contribution at FPM today, the start of a 2-part series arguing that Turkey's legacy of anti-Semitism belies its Kemalist reputation as a progressive secularist society and is essential to understanding the direction in which Turkey now appears headed.
Posted on 07/27/2007 1:00 PM by Andy McCarthy
Friday, 27 July 2007
There is no reason -- none -- for Infidels to be relieved, much less overjoyed, at this news. This is purely an internal Muslim matter, and has nothing to do with the tenets of Islam, the texts of Islam, the inculcated hostility or hatred toward Infidels, and the state of permanent war (not necessarily active warfare, but war) that must exist between the Muslim world, and Infidels. For Infidels, the ability of this or that group of Muslims to convince another group of Muslims not to consider them to be “Infidels” (the “takfir” business) not only offers no hope to us, the full-fledged Infidels, but is likely to be misunderstood, and taken by ignorant Infidels eager to grasp at straws (and there are a great many of those “taking a leadership role” who, almost willfully ignorant, are eager to grasp at those straws), as proving what it does not prove and cannot prove: that Muslim terrorists can be "reformed" and that if only we play our cards right, and do nothing to offend Muslims, why then the same new view of things can extend to us, the Infidels.
It can't. It won't. There is no possibility, in Islam, of doing away with the central view on which that fighting faith, itself concocted early on to justify conquests already under way by Arabs, conquests of lands possessed by far more settled, wealthy, advanced populations of Christians and Jews (and later, Zoroastrians, and later still, Hindus, Buddhists, and others), is so obviously based: on the opposition of Believer to Infidel.
What has happened as described above is simply that clever and ruthless and corrupt regimes, accused (quite rightly) of being corrupt and ruthless, and that opposition, naturally framing its opposition in Islamic terms, must describe those regimes -- the Al-Saud princes, princelings, and princelettes, or Mubarak and his family-and-friends plan -- as "un-Islamic" and the rulers as "non-Muslim." Since, in Islam, one is encouraged to obey the Ruler, no matter how ruthless, as long as that Ruler (or government) can be called "Muslim," the only way in states and societies full of Muslims to arouse opposition is to put everything in terms of Islam.
Americans and other Westerners have failed to realize this. They have failed in the past to realize that the numbers of the truly Westernized and secularized are small, and that they -- such people as Kanan Makiya and Mithal al-Alusi and Ahmad Chalabi -- will forever be a small minority, and when we fashion policy on the assumption that they or others like them will win out, it always will lead to naught, for in the end one Muslim regime will be replaced by another.
Still another, even more dangerous conclusion, is that drawn by some who believe we have "nothing to fear" from Muslims who are, or seem to be, outraged largely by domestic corruption. Obviously the Slow Jihadists of Fatah are much more corrupt than Hamas; their cosmetic accommodation with the West, and their differences on timing and tactics (a longer wait, less obvious support for outright annihilation, by military means, of the state of Israel) should not obscure the fact that their goals remain the same. In Egypt, Mubarak's regime is corrupt and unjust (which causes his opposition) and also meretricious abroad, but yet it manages, by uttering a few phrases, to be a continuous recipient of American aid (more than $60 billion) though its regime is vicious, and its people far more anti-American than, say, the people in Iran. Some now argue, in their latest attempt to ignore or miscomprehend Islam, that we should take the side of the opponents of such regimes, and not be "afraid" to work with, for example, the Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood, "as long as its methods are peaceful."
This is senseless. Of course the Ikhwan will promise us, we the foolable Infidels, that its methods are "peaceful." Of course the opposition to the Al-Saud, similarly, can rightly point to the viciousness of the regime, and suggest that if only...if only, the Americans and other Westerners would support them, they would be glad they did, because an honest regime of Muslims, Muslims whom, we will be told, are being told, are "not part of Al Qaeda" (formally true, and also utterly irrelevant), and will create -- well, something. Something good.
One lesson from Iraq is that the Infidels should not presume to think that they can undo the effects, or attitudes, or atmospherics, of Islam. Only those regimes, in Muslim countries, that can hold Islam in check, and what's more, work steadily to create a class that is truly secular, and a class that will be able to constantly enlarge its numbers through iron-fisted control of education and the media, can contribute to lessening the overall menace of Islam. Turkey under Kemal Pasha, was such a regime. But he died in 1938, and those, the kind of Turks who are secularized and Westernized, that is those who managed to get beyond deep belief in the obvious replacement-theology of "the Turk" and "Ataturk" (instead of "Believers" and "Muhammad"), relied too heavily on the army as the final guarantor of their own position, when they should all of them been working night and day to enlarge their own ranks, and to constrain Islam still further, using whatever elaborated ideas they could. They might also have encouraged a truthful coming-to-terms with the Armenian genocide, and what's more, have begun openly to discuss just how many "Turks" must, in fact, be of Armenian, Greek, Jewish origin -- and even encouraged a "search for roots." [The same thing, by the way, would be useful in Iran, where a revival of interest in Zoroastrianism, and a depiction of Islam as the "Arab gift" that turned out to be the source of so much present, and past, woe, sounds absurd, but is not, in the one Muslim state that can actually be called a country].
What is described in the Guardian article is, as Robert Spencer notes, only an intra--Islamic accommodation. As such, it has no meaning for, and offers nothing useful that will help Infidels. In fact, like other kinds of accommodation, like that sought by the Bush Administration in Iraq between Sunnis and Shi'a, it may actually work against us. For we do not want an Egypt or a Saudi Arabia where there is no domestic opposition. We want the Al-Saud to go to bed at night worried about what will happen to them. We want them to be deeply concerned about whether or not foreign workers, without whom Saudi Arabia would collapse, will stay. We want them to worry about the loyalty of their people. We want them to worry about, and to discover the need to stop spending the fortunes they are spending, on mosques and madrasas, on public relations campaigns (the recent transparent campaign, through Op/Eds, and media appearances and coordinated "Letters to the Editor" all meant to demonstrate that "Muslims" in America are "just as American as apple pie," aw-shucks and good country people, the whole shtick), carefully keeping us from looking at the texts and tenets of Islam, but focussing on participation in some local group, all very inspiring and no doubt, such sentimentalists as Bush or the unsentimental careerist Dinesh D'Souza would focus on this kind of thing as "proving" that there is no problem with Islam, no menace from campaigns of Da'wa and demographic conquest all over the European half of the West, because this or that Muslim has run for office (and therefore this means he must have "accepted" the American way, for he has chosen not to throw bombs but to "work within the system"). And, as a just-published article by Stanley Kurtz shows, the Saudi effort is not limited to all those mosques (with the anti-Infidel hate literature that Freedom House investigators discovered), and madrasas, and public relations specialists (Western hirelings, eager to take on any client, indifferent to the results to their own society, even possibly to their own children), but now there is an effort to take control of how Islam is taught in schools, and to carefully limit what is said and written, in those carefully-compiled courses, with the lesson plans all prefabricated, and the syllabi all pre-written (read what Kurtz has to say, and then read as well what Sandra Stotsky, in her study of what is being done in Massachusetts, thanks in part to "Middle East experts" relying on their ability to intimidate and silence opposition because, you see, they are associated with Harvard).
Saudi Arabia's rulers are not our friends. And we do not wish or should not wish them well. We should wish that their domestic opposition causes them anguish and worry. We should not be happy that the Saudi rulers, or the Egyptian rulers, have found a way -- if they have found a way -- to stay solidly in power by making sure that Al Qaeda, and all others who wish to participate personally in active Jihad (there are rules for when collective participation is enough, that is when a Muslim may lend support of various kinds to those actively engaged in qital, or combat, or what we rightly call "terrorism" but Muslims define simply as another form of qital -- without having to take part himself; rules as well for when it is a duty of all Muslims, individually, to participate actively in the fighting).
This article offers no hope, has no real significance, for Infidels. If indeed some of the most corrupt and vicious regimes have managed to successfully deal with the "takfir" problem -- that is, the problem of one group of Muslims defining another group as "not Muslim" or as "Infidels" (who can be treated as Infidels of course can be treated) that is to their advantage, but not to ours. We will only suffer the more. We have a stake in encouraging division and demoralization in the Arab and Muslim world. If our cities are not off-limits to the Jihad, we have a stake in Riyadh and Jiddah and Cairo and Damascus being similarly unsettled. We have a stake in Muslim regimes that cannot be allowed to believe that their domestic opposition will always and everywhere target only the certified Infidels of the West, or only the local non-Muslims (nothing is said in the Guardian article about managing to convince Al-Qaeda supporters in Egypt to lessen their vicious hostility to non-Muslims, such as the insecure and frightened Copts.)
The more secure the Mubarak regime is, the more that dissatisfied Egyptians can no longer take out their dissatisfaction against the regime but are persuaded that their only enemies are, as before, the "Infidels," the more likely it is that they will, within Egypt, attack the Copts, or, still more likely, go off to attack the Infidels elsewhere -- perhaps after having been admitted to a Western country as merely a hard-working "economic" immigrant. There are no merely "economic" immigrants among Muslims in Infidel lands; they bring Islam, undeclared, in their mental baggage, and the Infidel governments, like the people they are supposed to be protecting, simply have no understanding of this.
No, for Infidels this news means nothing good, and very likely will make our task, rightly conceived, much harder. And just wait. Just how many breathless articles do you think you will now see, from oily Fawaz Gerges, from lean, mean, jogging John Esposito, from that thrusting young academic who seems deplorably to have turned his media party trick (raised as an "Orthodox Jew" but now an "expert on Islam") into a frequent gig at The Times, that thrusting young academic Noah Feldman, from Tom Friedman and from Nicholas Kristoff, in other words -- tutti quanti -- about what "hope" this new development offers, and what a magnificent model this is for us, if only we do not listen to "those who preach that there can be no accommodation with Islam" when the turn-around in the minds of former terrorists, by the Egyptian authorities, is..."nothing short of miraculous."
Oh God. Spare us this kind of false hope, the news ripe for miscomprehension. But we won't be spared.
Posted on 07/27/2007 9:55 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 27 July 2007
Stanley Kurtz writes at NRO:
Unless we counteract the influence of Saudi money on the education of the young, we’re going to find it very difficult to win the war on terror. I only wish I was referring to Saudi-funded madrassas in Pakistan. Unfortunately, I’m talking about K-12 education in the United States. Believe it or not, the Saudis have figured out how to make an end-run around America’s K-12 curriculum safeguards, thereby gaining control over much of what children in the United States learn about the Middle East. While we’ve had only limited success paring back education for Islamist fundamentalism abroad, the Saudis have taken a surprising degree of control over America’s Middle-East studies curriculum at home.
Game, Set, Match
How did they do it? Very carefully...and very cleverly. It turns out that the system of federal subsidies to university programs of Middle East Studies (under Title VI of the Higher Education Act) has been serving as a kind of Trojan horse for Saudi influence over American K-12 education. Federally subsidized Middle East Studies centers are required to pursue public outreach. That entails designing lesson plans and seminars on the Middle East for America’s K-12 teachers. These university-distributed teaching aids slip into the K-12 curriculum without being subject to the normal public vetting processes. Meanwhile, the federal government, which both subsidizes and lends its stamp of approval to these special K-12 course materials on the Middle East, has effectively abandoned oversight of the program that purveys them (Title VI).
Enter the Saudis. By lavishly funding several organizations that design Saudi-friendly English-language K-12 curricula, all that remains is to convince the “outreach coordinators” at prestigious, federally subsidized universities to purvey these materials to America’s teachers. And wouldn’t you know it, outreach coordinators or teacher-trainers at a number of university Middle East Studies centers have themselves been trained by the very same Saudi-funded foundations that design K-12 course materials. These Saudi-friendly folks happily build their outreach efforts around Saudi-financed K-12 curricula.
So let’s review. The United States government gives money — and a federal seal of approval — to a university Middle East Studies center. That center offers a government-approved K-12 Middle East studies curriculum to America’s teachers. But in fact, that curriculum has been bought and paid for by the Saudis, who may even have trained the personnel who operate the university’s outreach program. Meanwhile, the American government is asleep at the wheel — paying scant attention to how its federally mandated public outreach programs actually work. So without ever realizing it, America’s taxpayers end up subsidizing — and providing official federal approval for — K-12 educational materials on the Middle East that have been created under Saudi auspices. Game, set, match: Saudis...
Read the rest here.
Posted on 07/27/2007 9:13 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 27 July 2007
Darcus Howe is described by the New Statesman thus:
An outspoken writer, broadcaster and social commentator. His TV work includes ‘White Tribe’ in which he put Anglo-Saxon Britain under the spotlight.
In fact he is a demented loon whose views, paranoid, sexist, primitive and generally idiotic, would never be taken seriously were he not black with a booming voice and portentous delivery. Unsurprisingly he, like the left-wing, usefully idiotic and often borderline anti-Semitic New Statesman in which he now writes, cannot do enough to pander to Islam.
In his latest article, he claims that those who oppose the building of the London Markaz, better known as the Mega-Mosque, are trying to deprive Muslims of the right to pray. Who, after all, could be opposed to a simple erection?
The simple erection of a mosque in these anti-Islamic times triggers passions so long concealed beneath the surface
Plans for the Tablighi Jamaat Islamic sect to build Europe's largest mosque on a derelict site in Newham have attracted coverage recently. A petition on the Downing Street website protests that the project should not go ahead. One Jill Barnham is responsible for its launch. "We, the Christian population of this great country, England, would like the proposed plan to build a mega-mosque in east London scrapped," she rants. "This will cause terrible violence and suffering and more money should go into the NHS." Barnham's petition is adorned with more than a quarter of a million signatures.
The battle is joined. There are no ground rules. Blood and hellfire characterise the threats being issued by the authors of the petition.
In the late days of winter earlier this year, the Wolverhampton Express & Star commissioned me to visit Dudley in the Black Country to research and write an article about failed attempts by local Muslims to build a mosque on derelict land at the entrance to the town. Dudley Council's planning committee had rejected the plan by an overwhelming majority.
Here is a quote from the article . . . "and now, Dudley Council's decision is to limit the right to pray, or so it seems, for thousands of Muslims in the local community. Much else is threatened as a consequence of this. A central mosque is in the advanced stage of development in London. It promises to be a huge and imposing structure. Activists from the UK Independence Party, fired by the victory in Dudley, have already issued threats of similar opposition in the capital city."
Leaving aside the threatening and hostile nature of Islam for one moment, Howe is factually inaccurate. Nobody is seeking to deprive Muslims of the right to pray. The area where the Mega-Mosque would be built is already well-served by mosques. In fact some of the opposition has come from local Muslims.
Having left it aside, we must of course come back to the hostile nature of Islam, and the fact that it is a political ideology rather than just - or even - a religion. The construction of a giant mosque is a political gesture, by which Islam lays claim to a piece of the Dar-al-Harb, seizing it for the Dar-al-Islam.
If prayer were all, nobody would have a problem with Islam or its mosques. We don't want to take away the right of Muslims to pray - just their right to prey*.
*Even this very weak pun would be impossible if English spelling were to be reformed. No 2 spelling r4m.
Posted on 07/27/2007 9:11 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 27 July 2007
Charles Merrill is the "cousin of the co-founder of Merrill Lynch"
When this man, a relative of the late James Merrill, and of James Merrill's surviving brother, Charles Merrill, founder and semi-enlightened despot, of the Commonwealth School in Boston, burns a Qur'an, chooses to make a point, if indeed that was his aim (to make a point and not a splash) he does so in a sensationalist way that only plays into the hands of CAIR and other Muslim apologists.
Indeed, in his obvious disequilibrium, he puts one in mind most of the well-heeled battalion of the psychically marginal who have "discovered" Islam. That is, his similes or doubles or sosies are to be found among those who have fallen head over heels for Islam, as the answer to that Spiritual Search ("I wandered around, and finally found..."), Complete-Regulation-of-Life-and Total-Explanation-of-the-Universe Islam.
In other words, one sniffs in the air a hint of the same mental state as can be found among rich Western semi-demented converts to Islam, the Robert D. Cranes, and Yahya Burts, and John Walker Lindhs.
As for the hay to be made while the sun shines on CAIR, don't give an inch on this. This was not the act of a "hate campaign" or a "climate of hate" and a "need for hate crime legislation" -- note calmly that a demented individual is very different from a systematic campaign. And that, furthermore, such a systematic campaign of hatred can be found here and elsewhere, and then proceed to read, for the audience, from those pamphlets that Freedom House investigators discovered in Saudi-funded mosques all over the United States.
Now that is a "campaign of hate." Merrill's idiotic behavior, on the other hand, is merely designed to attract attention to him, and is akin to the chocolate-smearing of Karen Findley, or Jeff Koons marrying the Italian star of pornographic films Cicciolina, or for that matter that "work of transgressive art," consisting of her own unmade bed, complete with used kleenexes, used tampax, and worn underwear, by British "artist" Tracy Emin, who won the Turner Prize for her "art." That's what is going on here.
What also disturbs about this deliberately sensational act (that should have brought tears to the booksellers at Joffa Books, and Francis Edwards, and Quaritch, not to mention the ghost of A. Edward Newton) the one-aspect-of-Islam protest that disturbs. When there are protests about "the treatment of women" in Islam by some, and protests about the "treatment of homosexuals" in Islam by others, and the "treatment of discrete group X or Y" in Islam by still others, and when, furthermore, no connect-the-dots effort is made to figure out what it is about all of these events that should make them part of one large howl of protest against Islam, and above all, against how, in Islam, non-Muslims (including heterosexual men, as well as women, and homosexuals) are regarded and treated.
Posted on 07/27/2007 8:51 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 27 July 2007
While Atlanta burns, Iraq's parliament plays Prissy, strolling lazily along and singing "My Old Kentucky Home." On the bright side, they did cut their scheduled summer vacation in half, but meanwhile, our boys are being killed and maimed day in and day out in a vain effort to try to hold Iraq in one piece while these legislators are supposed to get their act together and create the compromise necessary to keep Iraq as one state, oh, and incidentally, to be our trustworthy ally in the Middle East.
LATimes: BAGHDAD — Missing from Thursday's session of the Iraqi parliament were about half of the members, including the speaker, the former speaker and two former prime ministers.
Also missing: a sense of urgency.
American officials have been pressing Iraqi leaders to prove their commitment to ending sectarian strife by enacting landmark legislation before mid-September, when the Bush administration is to present its next report on Iraq to Congress.
But even as parliament's monthlong August break approaches, key issues aren't being discussed. Quorums are marginal, or fleeting.
Despite the high stakes here, the Iraqi parliament appears to be deliberating at a pace to rival plodding legislative bodies around the world.
Thursday's session, the 50th of the year, convened half an hour late.
A bell rang in the Convention Center in the fortified Green Zone reminding members to take their seats and raise their hands for roll call (the electronic system is broken). It showed 145 in attendance. That dropped to 137 as some members walked out after the first vote. The speaker on occasion has dismissed parliament for falling below the quorum of 100 legislators, but on Thursday, they proceeded. The opening Muslim prayer and 275-name roll call took half an hour, a quarter of the time, in what turned out to be a roughly two-hour session...
Posted on 07/27/2007 8:09 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 27 July 2007
Gay activist and artist Charles Merrill has issued a press release declaring he had burned a rare Koran that had been given to his late wife by the king of Jordan in the 1950's. The press release links to his website which carries his picture and current address.
Very brave or very foolish. (hat tip: DW)
Posted on 07/27/2007 7:20 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 27 July 2007
Helene Cooper writes in the New Duranty: WASHINGTON, July 26 — During a high-level meeting in Riyadh in January, Saudi officials confronted a top American envoy with documents that seemed to suggest that Iraq’s prime minister could not be trusted.
One purported to be an early alert from the prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, to the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr warning him to lie low during the coming American troop increase, which was aimed in part at Mr. Sadr’s militia. Another document purported to offer proof that Mr. Maliki was an agent of Iran.
The American envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, immediately protested to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, contending that the documents were forged. But, said administration officials who provided an account of the exchange, the Saudis remained skeptical, adding to the deep rift between America’s most powerful Sunni Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, and its Shiite-run neighbor, Iraq.
Now, Bush administration officials are voicing increasing anger at what they say has been Saudi Arabia’s counterproductive role in the Iraq war. They say that beyond regarding Mr. Maliki as an Iranian agent, the Saudis have offered financial support to Sunni groups in Iraq. Of an estimated 60 to 80 foreign fighters who enter Iraq each month, American military and intelligence officials say that nearly half are coming from Saudi Arabia and that the Saudis have not done enough to stem the flow.
One senior administration official says he has seen evidence that Saudi Arabia is providing financial support to opponents of Mr. Maliki. He declined to say whether that support was going to Sunni insurgents because, he said, “That would get into disagreements over who is an insurgent and who is not.”
Senior Bush administration officials said the American concerns would be raised next week when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates make a rare joint visit to Jidda, Saudi Arabia...
The American officials in Iraq also say that the majority of suicide bombers in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia and that about 40 percent of all foreign fighters are Saudi. Officials said that while most of the foreign fighters came to Iraq to become suicide bombers, others arrived as bomb makers, snipers, logisticians and financiers...
The Bush administration’s relationship with Saudi Arabia has deteriorated steadily since the United States invasion of Iraq, culminating in April when, bitingly, King Abdullah, during a speech before Arab heads of state in Riyadh, condemned the American invasion of Iraq as “an illegal foreign occupation.”
A month before that, King Abdullah effectively torpedoed a high-profile meeting between Israelis and Palestinians, planned by Ms. Rice, by brokering a power-sharing agreement between the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the militant Islamist group Hamas that did not require Hamas to recognize Israel. While that agreement eventually fell apart, the Bush administration, on both occasions, was caught off guard and became infuriated...
Posted on 07/27/2007 6:59 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 27 July 2007
The Recorder of London said the young men had enjoyed the protection of Britain's liberties but had been prepared to break its laws after becoming "intoxicated" with the language of jihad.
Police found radical material on the young men's computers which included an image in which their heads had been superimposed on those of the September 11 hijackers.
The Recorder of London, Judge Peter Beaumont, told the men it was clear they intended to fight British soldiers in Afghanistan.
Sentencing the young men, he told them a "message has to be sent" and added: “Each of you is British. You were born here, your families lived here, you went to school and university here, you hold British passports. You live under the protection of its laws, which give you freedom of speech and religious observance, yet each of you were prepared to break its laws. Why? Because in my judgment you were intoxicated by the extremist nature of the material each one of you collected - the songs, images and the language of violent jihad - and so carried away by that material were you that each of you crossed the line.
"That is exactly what the people that peddle this material want to achieve and exactly what you did." He said the sentences had to be a deterrent. "To stop them and you and to protect this country and its citizens abroad, a message has to be sent."
It is the first time the Crown Prosecution Service has secured a conviction for possessing material useful for terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police counter terrorism command, said: "This was not an adolescent fantasy. These five young men had decided to become active jihadists and to seek training at camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan."
Posted on 07/27/2007 1:59 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 27 July 2007
From Sky News and The Times
Hasina Patel told Sky's Julie Etchingham the horrific attack on the London transport system just over two years ago changed her life forever.
She also challenged Gordon Brown's proposals for terror suspects to be quizzed for up to 56 days without charge.
It follows her own arrest and detention in the wake of the suicide bombings, which claimed the lives of 52 people and injured hundreds of others.
She said: "I think for anyone who's experienced it, like now I have, then you know how difficult it is and it's a punishment in itself. And for some people who are innocent, it's like you're guilty until proven innocent. So I think even before arrests are made, they should be more sure of their intelligence." She said she was happy being a Muslim in the UK but had reservations about the police following her arrest. "I have lost a bit more faith in the police ... I'm scared of the police," she said.
Ms Patel said she could not believe that the man she married could have been so “cold and calculated” to have carried out the attacks that killed 52 people and injured more than 700.
She also disclosed that police had told her recently that Khan, 32, had left her £400 to buy toys for their children, not knowing that she had miscarried on the morning of the bombings.
Ms Patel said that she made desperate attempts to contact Khan on July 6, 2005, because she feared that she was losing their second child. The next morning, as he prepared to blow himself up on a Circle Line train, she was on her way to hospital to have her fears confirmed. Numbed and upset from losing her child, Ms Patel said that she made no connection between her absent husband and the carnage in London.
Sky declined to say whether Ms Patel had been paid for the 40-minute interview. It was agreed that she should wear the niqab, or full face veil, to help to protect her identity. (An unusual combination of black and white, like an inverted nuns habit, although I have seen pink and black and mauve and black on the underground)
During the eight years that she spent with him, he transformed from a moderate young man to one who was interested in religious fundamentalism and then active jihad. But she insisted that she had no idea he was involved with extremists.
“We were trying to be good Muslims and, in our religion, we are told that men and women have to be segregated. I never sat in the same room with his friends, he never sat in the same room as my friends, so it is a completely different life.”
She felt that Khan was becoming distant and they had argued frequently. “I didn’t really know what was going on. I knew there was something, like he seemed . . . I thought maybe it is a phase, maybe he is depressed, he is always out with his friends, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.”
It was on the Tuesday after the July 7 attacks that she first learnt from police that her husband had been the ringleader. “I can’t believe people can do that kind of thing. How you can be so calculated and cold and not have any emotions, how can people do that?”
“In my section of the will it said, ‘I am really sorry for all the lies and deceit. I hope you can forgive me and I hope you can try to understand why I did what I did. You have tried to be a good wife but I have deceived you’ – that kind of message.
She may be correct that she did not know what he was plotting – if their lives are so segrgated even in their own home she may be telling the truth. But she still has the Muslim victimhood way of thinking.
Posted on 07/27/2007 1:18 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 26 July 2007
This may be a third occasion, but this time I don’t care.
Whenever the name Ban Ki Moon turns up, in my minds eye I don’t see the Secretary General of the UN. I “see” Harvey Moon, not just the character played by Kenneth Cranham but the whole 5 series of the BBC comedy, Shine on Harvey Moon.
I was pleasantly surprised when it became so popular nationwide. One of the reasons it was so popular within my circle was its local setting and the jokes about real local institutions we all knew.
My football team is Leyton Orient, who were Clapton Orient at the time the series is set. I was actually born in Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney, where the Mothers Hospital used to be.
That is the running joke through the first series. The Moon family support Arsenal (my Father’s team, who have never been out of the highest division in all their history) but Harvey played for Clapton Orient who have only been in the 1st Division once, for one year only 1962/63 – the year I took a liking to them, through pity and moving to a house 20 minutes walk from Leyton Stadium.
Every week was at least one “Orient” joke, to be repeated on the terraces next Saturday. Like, Harvey is talking to his son Stanley who is not settling happily into his Grammar School.
“Son, you have to do well at school work as well as football if you want to be taken on by the Arsenal. The Arsenal only take the very best”.
“Is that how you ended up playing for the Orient then Dad?”
I am afraid although Ban Ki has actually said something sensible in the news reported by Hugh below he needs to raise his game a bit more if he wants to stop reminding me of a TV comedy, albeit a superior one..
Posted on 07/26/2007 5:21 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 26 July 2007
A Somali tennager obsessed with the gang which killed Pc Sharon Beshenivsky was today given a life sentence at the Old Bailey for the murder of talented footballer Kiyan Prince outside his school gates.
Hannad Hasan stabbed Kiyan Prince to death in what a friend of the killer claimed was part of an initiation rite for a notorious street gang.
Hasan, now 17, was 16 at the time of the attack in May last year. He had lived in Britain for five years, brought from his wartorn homeland by his mother who fled Somalia and Hasan's warlord father seeking a better life for her son.
At first, Hasan showed promise and seemed to move forward from his troubled background. But as he approached his mid-teens, an increasing propensity for violence emerged.
S friend of Hasan said he had become caught up with a lawless Somali-dominated gang known as Thug Fam – short for Thug Family – which is based in Edgware, North- West London, close to where Hasan lived with his mother in a ninth-floor council flat.
Members of the group were thought to be responsible for the murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky. (In which case it had a wide net, the men, an unholy alliance of Pakistanis and Somalis, lived in places as far apart as Forest Gate east London, Bradford Yorkshire and Birmingham)
"They don't let anyone join," said the friend, who did not want to be named. "You have to prove yourself, normally by using a knife on someone. That's what Hannad did, although he probably didn't mean to kill him."
Police, however, said there was no evidence of a gang link and believe Hasan attacked Kiyan in a "show of bravado".
Sporty and popular, Kiyan was tipped by some for a brilliant football career. Hasan prided himself on his ability at basketball, but was jealous of Kiyan's talents.
He became increasingly violent in the months before the murder, assaulting a female pupil and bursting her eardrum. He started carrying around a Swiss Army knife and threatened to stab another schoolgirl in a row over a bus seat. Less than a week before the fatal stabbing, he was suspended for ten days for threatening a female teacher.
Hasan denied murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter, telling police he didn't realise a penknife would cause such a serious injury.
He told officers: "It was like a toy I carried around every day."
Posted on 07/26/2007 5:08 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 26 July 2007
GENEVA (Reuters) - Islamic states said on Wednesday that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should avoid criticising the world body's Human Rights Council where they and their allies hold a majority.
They said there was an apparent "disconnect" between Ban and the 47-nation Council and also hinted they would like to see a more "predictable relationship" between the body and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, who has made clear she does not approve of all its actions.
The message, described by Western diplomats as clear if low-keyed, was delivered by Pakistan in a statement to an informal Council session on behalf of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
"It looks as though on rights at least they are trying to say they should set the line for the whole of the U.N.," said one European envoy, who declined to be identified.
On June 20 Ban voiced regret the Council -- created last year to replace the Human Rights Commission -- had picked on Israel and its role in the occupied Palestinian territories alone for continued special investigation.
A comment from the U.N. chief said he was disappointed at the Council's decision "to single out only one specific regional item given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world." --from this news item
The entire body, everything it does, every single meeting it has held, all of its resolutions, all of its speeches, what it chooses to maniacally focus on tiny Israel, (a state that behaves with a scrupulosity and decency on the subject of human rights that entitles no other state, and least of all the Arab and Muslim states, to lecture or hector or vilify it), and the things it choses to ignore or give passing or dismissive attention to (the Sudan, for example; the murders of non-Muslims in Indonesia and Bangladesh and Iraq and Algeria, for example), entitle us in turn to dismiss it, and all its works and well-paid days, in tout-confort, trop-confort, Geneve, by the shores of Lac Leman. Surely even the Western diplomats who may attempt to turn away their gaze from the farce, or who even begin to persuade themselves -- as they must in every international gathering or deliberation -- that perhaps the Muslims and Arabs have a point, because otherwise why would they be so ferocious in their behavior? Well, they don't have a point. They are conducting a Lesser Jihad, against a state they have cleverly managed to demonize, cleverly managed to enroll in their effort all those who exhibit the pathognomonic symptoms of antisemitism and anti-Americanism (which, not surprisingly, often overlap), and to harness as well such human qualities as cupidity (the Arab gifts, the money, the favors are spread around, have been spread around, at so many fora, and in so many Western capitals).
The deliberations of this group must be regarded by all men of good will and common sense as hideous, intolerable, insupportable.
Posted on 07/26/2007 4:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 July 2007
The Scotsman reports:
IT IS famous as the ancient kirk where Satan led a gaggle of warlocks and witches in a frenzied jig "till roof and rafters a' did dirl".
Now the dilapidated graveyard immortalised in Robert Burns's Tam o' Shanter - where the poet's father is buried - is to be preserved for future generations.
FYI (American readers): Lomond Books publishes a useful Illustrated Poets wee 99p pocket book series, perfect for carrying on subway or while waiting for the movie to start. Watch out with their Burns number, though, as the tendency, at least for me, is to sing the pomes, not recommended for subway or theater.
Posted on 07/26/2007 3:11 PM by Robert Bove
Thursday, 26 July 2007
In the course of his column today ripping the other night's famous YouTube "Citizen Snow Man" Democratic Party presidential candidates "debate" on CNN, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. takes to task the blogosphere. I suppose Tyrrell, who himself blogs at American Spectator (where he is editor in chief of the magazine), can be forgiven for borrowing a mummified cliché associated with bloggers and applying it to YouTubistas, describing them as "essentially an agglutination of home videos filmed for and by that preposterous mass of shut-ins who sit in their underwear day and night glued to the Internet." Later in his piece, Tyrrell quotes Tom Wolfe quoting Marshall McLuhan:
"One by one, Marshall McLuhan's wackiest-seeming predictions come true. Forty years ago, he said that modern communications technology would turn the young into tribal primitives who pay attention not to objective 'news' reports but only to what the drums say ..."
"And there you have blogs," Mr. Wolfe continued. "The universe of blogs is a universe of rumors, and the tribe likes it that way."
Of YouTube, Tyrrell states, "With YouTube we have more than a universe of rumors. It is a universe of fears, angers, threats, and megalomaniacal fantasies—and the tribe likes it that way."
I wouldn't know how to disagree with either Tyrrell's or Wolfe's descriptions without first having figured out a way of studying the entirety of what's on the Internet, the content of which expands by the second. I'm sure they haven't—it can't be done. Unlike libraries, say, the Internet is a vacuum. It will take everything we can put into it. Content can always be found quickly to bolster any conceivable argument about the what the Net is.
Most major newspapers, magazines, libraries, universities and book publishers host blogs on their Web sites. I'm sure Tyrrell and Wolfe know this. Might envy explain their hostility, envy being a reliable engine of social venom? There is some irony here in that each of these writers has made his mark delineating the worlds of past Masters of the Universe. Is the Net too big, too slippery, too universal for their large talents?
I don't know. I just know that I'm sitting here in my underwear (and trousers, shirt and sneakers) typing this. Who else's underwear do Tyrrell and Wolfe suggest I wear?
Posted on 07/26/2007 2:21 PM by Robert Bove
Thursday, 26 July 2007
"Hindus comprised nearly 30% of the total population in Bangladesh in 1947 [the other non-Muslims are mainly Christians and Buddhists]. After the exodus of minorities following the partition of India in 1947, the hindu population went down to about 22% by 1951. Due to unabated persecution, intimidation, and forcible conversion to Islam, the Hindu-Minority population kept on dwindling and now stands at a meager 10.5% of the total population in Bangladesh (1991 census).
Interesting to note that minority Muslim population in adjoining West Bengal (India) showed a positive growth rate and according to 1991 Census, stood at nearly 24% of the total population from only about 12% in 1947." --Rahul Gupta
Rahul Gupta notes that "the Hindu-Minority population [in Bangladesh kept on dwindling and now stands at a meager 10.5% of the total population in Bangladesh (1991 census)."
By now the total number of non-Muslims is 8% (and that includes Christians and some Buddhists), which must mean that the total number of Hindus in what was once part of India is down to 5%. Meanwhile, despite the fact that many of those Hindus, those not murdered or forcibly converted (including those who do so because they see no other way out), fled to East Bengal in India, but in East Bengal, the proportion of Hindus has gone steadily down and the proportion of Muslims steadily up.
And, of course, the same drop in the Hindu population can be seen in Pakistan (formerly West Pakistan), while a rise in the Muslim percentage of the population is observable in India.
It is the same everywhere. It is the same with the Jews and the Arabs -- the Muslim population of Israel goes steadily up, and all the Jews of Israel can think of doing, in response, is to yield territory in order, as they fondly believe, to "retain the Jewish character" of the remaining rump-state, a state that will be hellishly difficult to defend.
It is true in Lebanon, where the Christians were a few decades ago 60% of the population, and are now about 35%.
It is true in Istanbul, and in Turkey. The city of Constantinople (Istanbul) was 50% non-Muslim in 1914; it is now 1% non-Muslim. The Jews, the Armenians, the Greeks -- all under different and varying pressures. The Armenians were mass-murdered, the Greeks driven out. The Jews, always too few and too weak even to take seriously, live in ever-decreasing numbers -- many having gone to Israel, or Europe, or America -- and keeping as quiet as they can, or sometimes forced by the Turkish government, that trots out these "Jewish spokesmen," to tell the Western world just how fine things are in Turkey.
It is true in Western Europe, where the indigenous Infidel taxpayers are supporting huge Muslim families, in which the wife or wives do not have to work, and every conceivable benefit --Western-level medical care (as long as the male doctors do not actually look at the female Muslim patients, and as long as the Muslim men are allowed in to be the intermediary between the women and the doctors, and as long as -- oh, there are so many things that Western doctors, in Germany and France and Italy and Great Britain, have been forced to adjust to in order to accommodate Muslim demands), free education (in which the threats and menace of Muslim students, when those students are numerous enough, have changed the curriculum -- have prevented, in France for example, the study of the Holocaust, of World War II, of the kings of France, of the history of Christianity in France, in the history classes, and the study of so many canonical writers, including Voltaire, and Proust, in the literature curriculum, and as for the "prof de philo" and what he or she must endure in trying to get Muslim students to think about the universe -- well, just use your imagination, and think about the effect of Muslim students on French education, students, that is, with little interest in France, or French history, and certainly not about to sit still either for a dictee from "Atala and Rene," or to sit still for a lecture on "The Declaration of the Rights of Man"), free practically everything, and meanwhile, they breed and breed and breed, as Orianna Fallaci noted, so that in gentle, tolerant, easygoing Netherlands for example, which had 15,000 Muslims in 1970, now has a million.
It is a phenomenon that must be halted and reversed. Demography, it turns out, is destiny. We owe it not to ourselves (we're not that great, are we?) but to all those who contributed to the civilizational legacy of the West, a legacy no part of which could have been produced in the Muslim lands, and which those who did create have a right to expect that it will be maintained, not that we will fall all over ourselves in confusion and disarray, repeating, idiotically, "but there is nothing to be done."
There is plenty to be done, and it can be done if enough people educate themselves on the nature and function of Islam. It is not exactly a mystery.
Posted on 07/26/2007 11:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 July 2007
Terrorism in Bangladesh has been going on for decades. The suffering of the Bangladeshi people, minorities in particular, continue even today. Rape, forced conversion and murder, as weapons of genocide, have been used extensively against the minorities in Bangladesh. This comprehensive exhibit will encompass the history of Bangladesh and Bengal (India) with a chronological depiction of its culture and religion in perspective. This is the first time an international event of this kind, magnitude and significance is being organized for the victims of religious apartheid in Bangladesh.-- An Exhibition on Minority Human Rights in Bangladesh, July 30-31, Washington, D.C., by FACT and HRCBM
An archived article "Bangladesh, Bangladesh," December 20, 2005:
"In 1971 East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) rose in revolt against West Pakistan (now Pakistan). Under General Yahya the Bengalese were ruthlessly suppressed. At their side, working hand in bloody glove with the General’s men, were the so-called "razakars." These were local fanatical Muslims intent on keeping "Pakistan" together in the interests, not of the people of Bangladesh, but for the "idea of Islam" and an "Islamic Pakistan." All through the war for Bangladesh's independence from West Pakistan the Muslim razakars committed mass murder of those Bangladeshis fighting the forces of General Khan. This collaborationist element in East Pakistan murdered not only local Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians, but also Muslims who wanted independence. More on this can be found at such websites as www.faithfreedom.org and websites of Hindus and ex-Muslims that concentrate on Bangladesh.
The more fervent someone was a Muslim, the more likely it was that one would become a mass-murderer of one's neighbors. So many were convinced that as an Islamic State Pakistan had to be supported, no matter what that meant. It had to be supported for the Glory of Islam, the All for Islam, Islam, Islam. Millions managed to save themselves only because India offered them refuge.
These "razakars" were never punished. Some of them are in the Bangladeshi government today. The members and supporters of the opposing Awami League, per contra, are constantly under siege. Some of them have been murdered -- and those murdered include some of most distinguished Bengalis, including, this past January 27, Shah A. M. S. Kibria, killed when a grenade was thrown at him. The country is spiraling into complete Muslim fanaticism. One can see, at certain websites, pictures of a Hindu who, having made the mistake of walking near a mosque in Bangladesh recently as Friday Prayers were ending, was beaten by a Muslim mob -- a mob enthused, no doubt, by whatever stirring khutba it had just heard. It is not only those taking part so gleefully in the man's murder that strikes one -- but all the others standing about, enjoying the spectacle or casually ignoring it as if this sort of thing happens every day.
In 1947 35% of the population of what was then East Pakistan was non-Muslim. It is now down to 8%. Massacres of Hindus, of the few Buddhists who remained in post-Islamic India (in the Chittagong Hills area), and of Christians and other non-Muslims have been incessant. In recent times the pace of such persecution and murder seems to have picked up.
There are those Bangladeshis who nonetheless attempt to lessen the effect of Islamic fanaticism, which has recently come to infect more and more Muslims in east Asia, including not only Bangladesh, but also Malaysia and Indonesia, and Muslim minorities in southern Thailand and the southern Philippines. Things are getting worse -- that is, the ideology that Islam encourages, the Jihad-conquest, and the war against all Infidels, is not dying down but increasing. And so is the war against those who, through no fault of their own, were born into Islam and, not knowing much about it, continue to call themselves "Muslims" -- and yet, are, and will always be, the victims of other Muslims whose behavior is not an aberration but is, rather, based on the texts of Islam, of Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira.
Finally, there is the case of Mr. Salah Uddin Shoaib Chaudhury, the editor of Blitz, who was arrested in November 2003 and held without trial until May 2005 for the crime of trying to establish better relations between Israel and Muslim countries. Chaudhury's case should have been the subject of intervention by the American government. That it was not is a scandal. As for the murder of Kibria and of many others, that too should be protested – for Islam, which is essentially a vehicle for Arab cultural imperialism, continues to further the destruction of non-Muslim minorities in Bangladesh, and of Bangladesh itself, in a razakar-orgy of violence.
And today? Today in Bangladesh Hindus are beaten to death, Christians murdered, and the few remaining Buddhists in the Chittagong Hills fear for their lives. And the Awami League holdovers, the people with civic courage, like Kibria, whose Islam is tempered by their innate humanity and good sense, are murdered by those whose Islam is not.
And that is Bangladesh.
It will be interesting to see if Irene Khan, herself of Muslim Bangladeshi descent and the Secretary-General of that now heavily politicized organization, Amnesty International, (which is normally so exercised about the “war crimes” of the United States and, bien sur, Israel), will forthrightly take the lead in denouncing, again and again, the massacres of Christians and especially of Hindus in Bangladesh. She was recently there, and what seemed to exercise her the most was the declaration that Ahmadiyyas were not legitimate Muslims.
One would like Irene Khan to discuss what it was about the redefinition of the status of Ahmadiyyas was so worrying. Why would it matter, if they are called "Muslims" or not, if Islam itself is the religion of peace and tolerance we hear that it is? Why would being declared "not-Muslim" affect the wellbeing, in Bangladesh, of Ahmadiyyas? Irene Khan knows the answer. But she persists in refusing to join Ali Sina, Ibn Warraq, and others. Instead she pretends that the problem is not Islam, not the words of Qur'an and hadith -- no, no, that will never do -- but the "cultural" or "civilizational" attitudes that, for some reason, are remarkably coincident in time and space with Islam.
Meanwhile, let's keep a close watch on Bangladesh. Make no mistake: it is an unpleasant place, made unpleasant by the aggressions of Islam. No Tales of a Bengal Lancer, and no verses by the once-celebrated Rabindranath Tagore (not a Muslim, so disliked very much in Bangladesh), are part of present-day Bangladesh, or to make it more pleasingly exotic, Bangla Desh. The massacres of millions of insufficiently loyal, or insufficiently Muslim, Bangladeshis by the army of West Pakistan seems to have left little impression. One might, under the circumstances, have thought that that little display of murderous aggression, with the stated aim of restoring the right rule of Allah to a wavering Bengali population, might have had long-term effects of fervor. This does not seem to have happened -- always excepting the handful of skeptical freedom-lovers who, through the Internet, are learning the disastrous effects Islam has had on the intellect, and on human potential, everywhere it has imposed its will.
Posted on 07/26/2007 11:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald