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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky























The Iconoclast

Thursday, 13 September 2007
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Belgium wouldn't be missed. But there's probably no need to abolish it - it may abolish itself. David Charter in the New Statesman (h/t Alan):

The pointless but rather difficult parlour game of naming five well-known Belgians could be about to become even more surreal. There might not be a Belgium much longer. Flanders and Wallonia have never gone together quite like Tintin and Snowy, or moules and frites. But now there is open talk of divorce between the two headstrong halves of the Kingdom of Belgium following a bad-tempered general election that has failed to produce a new governing coalition.

More than three months after polling day, politicians in the French-speaking south are still deeply wary of forming a new administration with the most successful party in the Dutch-speaking north, the Flemish Christian Democrats, led by Yves Leterme. Partly, the suspicions are fuelled by one of the absurdities of the Belgian constitution that, since the 1970s, actually bans Francophone parties from standing in Flanders and vice versa....

Would Belgium be missed? Recognised by the Great Powers in 1830 after a revolution to break free from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, it has been the butt of European jokes ever since. The Dutch quip that there are "No smoking" signs at the bottom of Belgian swimming pools. Douglas Adams even made "belgium" the most profane swearword in the galaxy in his Hitchhiker's Guide.

As the seat of the European Union, a break-up would be taken by Eurosceptics as a powerful symbol of the folly of a greater federal programme for Europe, something that is in any case on the back-burner under José Manuel Barroso's European Commission.

What a shame.

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Posted on 09/13/2007 8:15 AM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 13 September 2007
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New Duranty: BAGHDAD, Sept. 12 — A carefully constructed compromise on a draft law governing Iraq’s rich oil fields, agreed to in February after months of arduous talks among Iraqi political groups, appears to have collapsed. The apparent breakdown comes just as Congress and the White House are struggling to find evidence that there is progress toward reconciliation and a functioning government here.

Senior Iraqi negotiators met in Baghdad on Wednesday in an attempt to salvage the original compromise, two participants said. But the meeting came against the backdrop of a public series of increasingly strident disagreements over the draft law that had broken out in recent days between Hussain al-Shahristani, the Iraqi oil minister, and officials of the provincial government in the Kurdish north, where some of the nation’s largest fields are located.

Mr. Shahristani, a senior member of the Arab Shiite coalition that controls the federal government, negotiated the compromise with leaders of the Kurdish and Arab Sunni parties. But since then, the Kurds have pressed forward with a regional version of the law that Mr. Shahristani says is illegal. Many of the Sunnis who supported the original deal have also pulled out in recent months...

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Posted on 09/13/2007 8:02 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 13 September 2007
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BBC: Suspected pro-Taleban militants have tried to blow up an ancient carving of Buddha in north-west Pakistan.

The statue, thought to date from the second century BC, sustained only minimal damage in the attack near Manglore in remote Swat district.

The area has seen a rise in attacks on "un-Islamic" targets in recent months.

This is the first such attack in Pakistan and is reminiscent of the Taleban's 2001 destruction of the giant Buddhas at Bamiyan in Afghanistan.

Dynamite

Officials and witnesses in Swat said armed men arrived in the area on Monday night.

"Militants drilled holes in the rock and filled them with dynamite and blew it up," provincial archaeology department official Aqleem Khan told Reuters news agency.

"The explosion damaged the upper part of the rock but there was no damage to the image itself."

And eyewitness, Shahid Khan, told the BBC that because of its location on a steep ridge the statue had been only slightly damaged. It is carved into a 40m (130-foot) high rock.

Local archaeology expert Professor Pervaiz Shaheen told the BBC that the Buddha statue in Swat valley was considered the largest in Asia, after the two Bamiyan Buddhas.

He said it was 2,200 years old. Swat valley is a centre of the ancient Gandhara civilization.

"They constructed similar smaller statues and figurines, dozens of which are still present in the area," Prof Shaheen said...

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Posted on 09/13/2007 7:17 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 13 September 2007
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The Washington Post reports:  "The Bush administration has begun mobilizing support for a third U.N. resolution that would impose tougher sanctions against Iran, as the top U.S. military and diplomatic officials in Baghdad said yesterday that one of the biggest and still unfolding surprises in Iraq has been the depth of Iran's intervention."  (Emphasis added.)

Other big, unfolding surprises include that night may follow day, Ahmadinejad may not be looking to play the "stabilizing ... neighborly" role Secretary Rice was hoping for, and this Peyton Manning guy may turn out to be pretty good after all.

Oh, and remember how the State Department explained last year that multi-lateral negotiations with the mullahs were the way to go because we had now gotten Russia, China and the Europeans on board for a list of specific punitive measures if Iran did not desist on its nuclear weapons program?  (Some among us were skeptical — see, e.g., herehere and here.)  The Post today also reports that 

the United States has met resistance from China, Russia and Germany to sweeping new measures against Iran, said diplomats familiar with the debate. A meeting in Berlin of Iran experts from the six governments last week was described by Western envoys as "chilly" and "a disaster" because Germany balked. As a result, they now expect any new U.N. resolution to be only slightly tougher than the ones passed in December and March.

We sure seem to get surprised a lot on Iran.
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Posted on 09/13/2007 6:54 AM by Andy McCarthy
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Thursday, 13 September 2007
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Things that are really important are often dull. It is vital for the survival of the West that we understand Islam, but Islam is boring. Global warming is boring too, but we must try to understand something about it before it's too late for the planet.

The EU, as well as being tyrannical, corrupt and profligate, is as dull as ditchwater. Its very dullness enables its power to grow; people don't want to think about something as dreary as EC directives and constitutions.

Articles that accurately, painstakingly eviscerate the EU tend towards dullness because the devil is, literally, in the detail. Depicting Europe, by Perry Anderson is no exception, but those who care about the future of the nation state - the bulwark against tyranny, including Islamic tyranny - should read it. Here is a key paragraph:

Virtually every time – there have not been many – that voters have been allowed to express an opinion about the direction the Union was taking, they have rejected it. The Norwegians refused the EC tout court; the Danes declined Maastricht; the Irish, the Treaty of Nice; the Swedes, the euro. Each time, the political class promptly sent them back to the polls to correct their mistake, or waited for the occasion to reverse the verdict. The operative maxim of the EU has become Brecht’s dictum: in case of setback, the government should dissolve the people and elect a new one.

Didactic, dull, overrated, Marxist to the end but greedy and stingy with it, Brecht did manage to say a couple of sensible things. The first was about electing a new people. The second: "Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral". Literally this means "grub first, ethics later", but I'd prefer to translate it as: "Eat first, ask questions later."  Perhaps it means "Food before fretting", "fret" being related to German fressen "eat", used generally of animals, but also of humans who gobble, or in cases where the niceties of civilisation take second place to urgent need.

Coming back to the EU, in particular the proposed Constitution, some of its strongest supporters are German intellectuals:

Europe Demands Courage,’ admonished Günter Grass, Jürgen Habermas and a cohort of like-minded German intellectuals, in an open letter dispatched to Le Monde. Warning their neighbours that ‘France . . . would isolate itself fatally if it were to vote “No”,’ they went on: ‘The consequences of a rejection would be catastrophic,’ indeed ‘an invitation to suicide’, for ‘without courage there is no survival.’ In member states new and old ‘the Constitution fulfils a dream of centuries,’ and to vote for it was not just a duty to the living, but to the dead: ‘we owe this to the millions upon millions of victims of our lunatic wars and criminal dictatorships.’ This from a country where no risk was taken of any democratic consultation of the electorate, and pro forma ratification of the Constitution was stage-managed in the Bundesrat to impress French voters a few days before their referendum, with Giscard as guest of honour at the podium. As for French isolation, three days later the Dutch – told, still more bluntly, that Auschwitz awaited Europe if they failed to vote yes – threw out the Constitution by an even wider margin.

Support for the EU from Jürgen Habermas, and particularly from Günter Grass, is another reason to pull out of it - not that we need another.

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Posted on 09/13/2007 6:18 AM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 13 September 2007
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From The Local.
Sweden has denied reports that a diplomat apologized to Muslim leaders for the publication in Sweden of a cartoon depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad as a dog.
The Swedish ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Jan Thesleff, met Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, head of the Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC), on Tuesday in Jeddah and offered his "deepest apologies for the controversy created by the publishing of the hurtful depiction," the 57-nation bloc said in a statement.
But the Swedish Foreign Ministry immediately denied that the ambassador had made any apology, saying he had only expressed regret. 
"The ambassador repeated his regret at the controversy created by the publication, but not for the publication itself," foreign ministry spokeswoman Anna Björkander told The Local.  She described the OIC's interpretation of the meeting as a "misunderstanding."
Björkander said Thesleff was dissatisfied that the OIC had said he had apologized, but did not plan to demand that the organization change its statement.  "He said he is not satisfied with the use of the word 'apologize'," Björkander said.

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Posted on 09/13/2007 2:30 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 13 September 2007
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The Eastern Daily Press, based in Norwich is the paper I read when in Norfolk.  Good coverage of national and international news, and local news, which in London requires two newspapers and the local ones only come out weekly.
This is an article with video interview about one of our favourite days out in Norfolk, the North Walsham Motorcycle Museum, which I can highly recommend. 

Few are able to indulge their hobby to the extent that it becomes their job. But a father and son team from North Walsham have done just that with the motorbike museum they began 15 years ago. As Dominic Chessum discovered, it now houses one of the most comprehensive collections in the East of England, with some of the machines possibly the last of their kind in existence.
Even before you enter the Norfolk Motorcycle Museum the heady smell of engine oil hits you as you walk up the steps.
Somehow that, and the building, an old railway shed tucked next to the North Walsham railway station, is immediately evocative of a bygone age where men from the AA saluted as you drove past and motorised transport was something to be admired.
Go inside and your senses are overwhelmed at the shear number of bikes housed in the small space.
From BSAs to Triumphs, the museum is home to more than 100 machines dating from the 1900s to the 1980s.

A photo my husband took on our last visit.

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Posted on 09/13/2007 2:17 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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"Hugh does indeed enjoy using words that he knows full well that few reading his bloviations will understand. Which, as an essayist, is, at best, counterproductive. At worst, it is proof of his pomposity, especially when he refers to cats and dogs and "you" as all equals. Nobody talks down to his audience as Hugh Fitzgerald."
-- from another reader

No, you have it exactly wrong.

I never talk down to this or to any audience. I don't simplify. I don't limit the lexicon used to the eighth-grade level which -- as a matter of policy, strictly enforced -- American newspapers for some time have insisted upon, and will promptly excise from an outside contributor's piece any word they think anyone will have to look up.

I'm not like that. I respect my audience. I respect the intelligence of those who know, or who are perfectly willing, ready, and able to find out. Nowadays everyone has a virtual library at his fingertips and if he can come to NER, he can look up any word that he does not know that appears at NER. I am always grateful to learn a new word, a word that has been used, that I did not know, and now must look up. I assume many others feel the same way.

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Posted on 09/12/2007 5:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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World Encounter Institute, the body that funds New English Review, has just officially received its tax exempt status retroactive to July 6, 2006.

Thanks again to all of you who have donated to New English Review over the past year, and to those of you who are considering it, you can take it off your taxes!

Sincerely,

NER staff

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Posted on 09/12/2007 5:06 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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"What does the use of a German word add to the content of the essay except to allow the author the opportunity to show us how smart he is.

What is wrong with "malicious glee" instead of "schadenfreude." Samia Hosny used it in the first article and Hugh must have thought he would use it to so that we can realize just how smart he is also."-- from a reader commenting on this post

The reader who describes my use of "Schadenfreude" as merely an act of verbal swagger and swank, and therefore, in his view, to be deplored, is wrong, for three reasons.

Reason #1: the article began life earlier today as a posting written in reply to an article in which the word "Schadenfreude" was used not once, but several times. It would have been silly for me, intent on grabbing that word from its original user, and the idea that word expresses ("the Arabs are experiencing Schadenfreude at the sight of the Americans in Iraq etc.") to have sought to avoid the very word I deliberately sought to appropriate for the use, and enjoyment, of Infidels, for if we arrange matters right, it is we who will be running down the field, carrying that same word-ball seized from the Arabs and Muslims as described in the original Egyptian article that provoked my post -- but going in the opposite direction.

Reason #2: "Schadenfreude" is one of those German words for which there is not an exact one-word equivalent in English. Like some other German words, such as Weltanshauung, "Schadenfreude" has entered the English dictionaries and English usage, while retaining its German spelling and pronunciation.

Reason #3: If you desired to demonstrate what you regard as my annoying habit of not limiting my lexicon to words that cats and dogs or you can understand, you picked the wrong word to use as your example. If you wish to find fault with the verbal plenitude of those who already know, or take the trouble to find out, the right or exact word, you would have done better to attack my use of "zumbooruk" or "shahbanou" or "widdershins" or the freshly-minted-for-English "polypragmonic." To pick on the widely-used and widely-understood "Schadenfreude," when so many other, far more suitable, candidates for your withering criticism have been made available in such abundance is -- franchement, mon vieux -- ludicrous.

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Posted on 09/12/2007 4:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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"It seems from your statements that you see as our only course of action permanent, unremitting conflict against Islam and Muslims."-- from a reader

It is not I who "see" a "permanent, unremitting conflict." It is Islam, that clearly, unambiguously, teaches Believers that there must exist a state of "permanent, unremitting" hostility, a state of warfare, if not always of open war, between Believers and Infidels. It is Islam that insists upon that, not any Infidel.

It is true that in times of weakness Islam has not been such a threat. OPEC trillions, which are not diminishing and will continue at least for several decades, provide the Money Weapon, which in turn helps fund the carefully-targetted campaigns of Da'wa in the Western, Infidel lands. And now that there are millions of Muslim migrants in those Infidel lands, who may learn the language, learn something that allows them the better to seemingly fit in, those Muslims can use the money weapon to conduct that Da'wa, or to employ, or otherwise pay off, directly or indirectly, small armies of Western hirelings (academics, journalists, former diplomats and intelligence agents, businessmen, former government officials who take their payoff in the form of contributions to their self-aggrandizing Presidential library or some think-tank named after them or just in the form of fat lecture fees, to speak on current affairs in a way that will please, and not offend, the Muslims who sponsor the lecture and put the check in the envelope).

The "unremitting conflict" need not be, should not be, anything like the idiotically wasteful war in Iraq. There should never again be any direct attempt to "transform" or "mold" Muslim societies, even if that attempt was partly an afterthought by a shallow group of policymakers, some of them much taken with, and taken in by, a plausible group of Shi'a exiles. No more judging of Muslim states and societies by that new, entirely unrepresentative class of Muslims who, whether or not they are diplomats, are often taken, wrongly, to truthfully represent their societies, which are far more primitive, violent, and essentially, being hidden from our scrutiny by the likes of Chalabi or Prince Hassan of Jordan (not to mention former Queen Noor with her "Act of Faith" and all the others who, at the Oprah-Book-Club level of things, appeal to the desire of others to believe that there really is merely a temporary problem).

When one supposed expert the other day wrote in the newspaper that Islam is going through a "temporary crisis" one wondered how he could possibly write such a thing? Does he think the immutable texts of Islam are merely "temporary" or will be subject to some kind of red-pencil revising? Who's going to do it? Mustafa Akyol? Stephen Schwartz? Who? And who is going to accept a throwing out of large parts of Muhammad's life, of hundreds of his "authentic" Hadith? Who is going to rip out many passages in the Qur'an, to make it Infidel-friendly? Who? And who is going to take that New and Improved Islam as the Islam they should now give their allegiance too, rather than the permanent Islam that teaches them to regard any such revisions as the work of collaborators with Shaytan, who deserve death.

Yes, of course the conflict will go on forever. Muslims say it will, that it must. The trick is to make it a manageable conflict, with as little expense and disruption of our lives, and loss of Infidel life, as possible. Intelligence, a keen awareness of what pre-existing problems can be found in the Camp of Islam and exploited, will go a long way. Much longer, seven leagues longer, than all those boots on the ground in Iraq that are not merely a waste, but are being employed in exactly the wrong way, toward the wrong goal, based on a wrong understanding of Iraq, and of Islam.

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Posted on 09/12/2007 4:35 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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New Duranty: WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 — After days of silence from the Israeli government, American officials confirmed Tuesday that Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes inside Syria last week, the first such attack since 2003.

A Defense Department official said Israeli jets had struck at least one target in northeastern Syria last Thursday, but the official said it was still unclear exactly what the jets hit and the extent of the bombing damage.

Syria has lodged a protest at the United Nations in response to the airstrike, accusing Israel of “flagrant violation” of its airspace. But Israel’s government has repeatedly declined to comment on the matter.

Officials in Washington said that the most likely targets of the raid were weapons caches that Israel’s government believes Iran has been sending the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah through Syria. Iran and Syria are Hezbollah’s primary benefactors, and American intelligence officials say a steady flow of munitions from Iran runs through Syria and into Lebanon.

In the summer of 2006, during fighting between Israeli and Hezbollah forces, the militant group fired hundreds of missiles into Israel, surprising Israel with the extent and sophistication of its arsenal. Israel has tried repeatedly to get the United Nations to prevent the arms shipments across the Syria-Lebanon border.

One Bush administration official said Israel had recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea. The administration official said Israeli officials believed that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria.

The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” the official said. He said it was unclear whether the Israeli strike had produced any evidence that might validate that belief...

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Posted on 09/12/2007 3:32 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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It is good to see that Christopher Hitchens - or anyone else - sees right through Tariq Ramadan:

French author Caroline Fourest has made an intensive study of Ramadan's discrepant appearances in Europe and in the Muslim world, and has concluded that he speaks with a forked tongue and deliberately gives different impressions to different audiences. Having listened to him, I would say that the problem is not quite that. He possesses a command of postmodern and sociological jargon (of the sort that you may easily recognize by its repetitive use of the terms space and discourse to delineate the arena of thinkable debate), and he has a smooth way with euphemism.

Thus, he tells Egyptian television that the destruction of the Israeli state is for the moment "impossible" and in Mantua described the idea of stoning adulterous women as "unimplementable." This is something less than a full condemnation, but he is quick to say that simple condemnation of such things would reduce his own "credibility" in the eyes of a Muslim audience that, or so he claims, he wants to modernize by stealth.

[...]

it's exactly the crudeness and crassness of Bin Laden that require the emergence of more "credible" middlemen to allay anxiety and offer reassurance. Only six years on, and already the soft mainstreaming of Islamic imperialism is under way.

I think he gets Ramadan about right. Missing from his analysis, however, is a real understanding of Islam, which, especially in the taqiyya, controls Ramadan's every utterance. Now I know a little more about Hitchens' views, I must also say that I find his implied acknowledgement of  Israel's right to exist difficult to reconcile with his denial of its right to defend itself. Moreover, Hitchens shows no awareness of the role of Islam in Muslim attitudes to Israel, which means that any peace with the "Palestinians" is impossible, no matter what concessions Israel makes. A further criticism that may be made of Hitchens, and of many other secularists or atheists who write on Islam, is that he feels he must continually trot out the mantra: "and all religions are like this too." No they are not. He should read Robert Spencer, a Christian, and Hugh Fitzgerald, an atheist, for a hundred and one reasons why Islam is different.

Still, Hitchens is right about Ramadan, and it is good that mainstream journalists are beginning to see through him.

Caroline Fourest, incidentally, appeared on a debate on British television about free speech and Islam. She was excellent - an engaging speaker with incisive arguments. Yes, she's French. So what? I can like every single French person and still dislike "The French". And they can collectively dislike us too - in fact it would be rude of them not to.

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Posted on 09/12/2007 3:28 PM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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Final Exam:

Passage #1:

Another of the group, Yu Jung-hwa, described how she thought she was going to die.

"The most difficult moment, when I had a big fear of death, was when the Taleban shot [a] video.

"All 23 of us leaned against a wall and armed Taleban aimed their guns at us, and a pit was before me.

"They said they will save us if we believe in Islam. I almost fainted at the time and I still cannot look at cameras," she said.

Passage #2:

Qur'an 2.256: "There is no compulsion in religion."

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Discuss Passages #1 and #2. You may bring in any additional knowledge you may have from your other reading on the 1350-year history of Islam. For this you may touch on:

1) Recent scholarship on the origins of Islam -- John Wansbrough, Patricia Crone, Michael Cook, Yehuda Nevo, Gerd Puin, Christoph Luxenburg et al.

2) The definiition of dar al-Islam and of dar al-Harb, and the relationship that is to be established between the two.

3) The basis for all Muslim jurisprudence pertaining to treaties and agreements with Infidels -- that is, the Treaty of al-Hudaibiyya.

4) The concept of Muhammad as a "perfect man" and the behavior of Muhammad in his 78 military campaigns, including the stated reason for the campaign against the Jews of the Khaybar oasis, and the execution of the Jews of the Bani Qurayza taken prisoner.

5) Sura 9:29 of the Qur'an.

6) The doctrine of naskh, or abrogation.

7) What the word "Sunnah" comprises, and the contents of some of the best-known hadith (stories about the acts and sayings of Muhammad) that express the correct Muslim attitude toward Infidels.

8) The Qur'anic verses pertaining to women. The most relevant hadith pertaining to women. The women in Muhammad's life, including the story of his last, and favorite, wife -- young Aisha, whom he married when she was 6, but demurely waited to consummate the marriage when she was 9 years old. The significance, or lack of it, of this part of Muhammad's life for Muslims today.

9) The atittude toward the Christian belief in the divinity of Christ. The relevant passages in the Qur'an about believers in "shirk."

10) The concept of the kuffar. What is the Bilad al-Kufr? Why is it now permissible, as it once was not, for Muslims to migrate to the Bilad al-Kufr and live there? What do the Muslim websites explain?

11) What does the phrase "umma al-islamiyya" mean? Do whom, or to what, must Muslims owe their allegiance? Are they permitted to owe their allegiance or loyalty to anything else? Could they ever possibly fight on the side of Infidel fellow-citizens against Muslims from another country?

12) What is the concept of "taqiyya"? Does it differ from "kitman"? People of all religions lie, but is there another religion that formally sanctions lying in order to protect that religion or its Believers?

13) How are Jesus and Moses viewed in Islam?

14) What are the "djinn" in the Qur'an and where to they come from?

15) When was the Qur'an written? Over what period of time? And who wrote it down, if Muhammad was "unlettered"? And who dictated it? Why are there so many elements of both the Old and the New Testament to be found in the Qur'an? Which came first?

16) Why did the original Arab conquerors have such astounding success in subduing large swaths of territory? Did the belief-system they brought with them help or hinder that success, in the light of what you now know about Islam?

17) Can the hadith that are regarded as "authentic" be changed? That is, can one simply get rid of those hadith that say unkind things about Infidels?

18) Why are those who are Muslims not allowed to change their religion without the threat of severe punishment, including death?

19) Why do Muslims call Infidels who become Muslims "reverts" rather than "converts"?

20) What does the word "dhimmi" mean? What are the ahl al-dhimma? What is the "pact" that was made between the Muslims and the "People of the Book" who were allowed to live, and even practice their religion, under certain conditions? What requirements were laid upon the dhimmis in order that they might be treated as such? What does it mean to be a "protected people" -- "protected" from what, exactly?

21) Was Islamic Spain a paradise of interfaith harmony, that it would be advisable to try to reproduce today, if only we could?

22) What are the vast benefits that either "interfaith dialogue" or a "dialogue of civilisations" can bring to us?

Oh, this is just a start. Come to think of it, this little quiz is useful not only in Tulsa, but in New York and Washington.

Here is what I propose. Everybody, anybody, who wishes to utter a word about Islam, or about the relation of the tenets of Islam to how Muslims actually treat non-Muslims, and have done so for 1350 years, will have to take this test.

Time allotted: as much as you want.

If you want to go to the bathroom, the proctors will escort you.

Please write on only one side of the blue book.

Good luck!

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Posted on 09/12/2007 2:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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Jihad, the struggle against Infidels who put up resistance to the spread and dominance of Islam, is a central and permanent duty imposed on Believers by the texts and tenets of Islam. Sometimes it can be fulfilled as a collective duty, where some participate actively and the rest merely lend support. Some circumstances require a Believer to participate individually and directly, and not merely to support, in any number of ways, others who might participate.

Jihad does not employ terrorism alone, or even mainly. Qitaal, or military combat, was always the traditional and most obvious way that Islam was spread. And what we correctly identify as "terrorism" is what most Muslims would describe as a form of qitaal. As for the other instruments of Jihad, they have proven in modern circumstances far more effective than qitaal.

And besides, the Infidels have superior military technology, which is one of the things that Muslims from Al-Qaradawi to Mohamed Mahathir keep deploring before Muslim audiences. These instruments include the clever deployment of the money weapon (a weapon only made possible in recent decades through the sudden, quite unmerited, oil revenues); the campaigns of Da'wa that can now be conducted because large numbers of Muslims were permitted, in an act of criminal negligence by Western elites, to settle deep within Infidel lands, behind what Muslims themselves have always been taught to regard as enemy lines, the lines that delineate Dar al-Harb; and the demographic conquest which can be seen all over Western Europe, and which is not leading to a widespread acceptance by Muslims of the legitimacy of the Infidel nation-state, or of its laws and political institutions and social arrangements. But those laws and political institutions are being exploited and manipulated in an attempt to insure that Islam sets down permanent roots and is able to keep up steady, growing pressure on the Infidel nation-state, whose existence and laws and customs flatly contradict, and are contradicted by, the tenets of Islam.

The "schadenfreude" of the Arabs will quickly evanesce when the Americans withdraw from Iraq, allowing the Camp of Islam to be forced to endure its own fissures, without the spectacle of expensive, depleting, vain American attempts to hold things in check. It can be diminished by other actions that can and must be undertaken by sensible leaders, who unlike Bush will have to have familiarized themselves with Islam's texts and tenets and attitudes and atmospherics, and from that familiarity construct unsentimental policies. No more "ordinary moms and dads" who want "freedom"; no more nonsense about reaching out to help make a better world for Muslims, no more nonsensical payments of tens of billions to Muslim states and societies by Infidels, no more naive faith in the basic goodness of Islam which has been mysteriously "hijacked" by "extremists," no more ignorance of one's own past that allows a leader to claim that Iraq is just like the young American Republic, no more of any of this utter crap that we have had at such great cost, to endure because our current President, and some of his loyalists, far from being tough on Islam, are not nearly tough, or far-seeing, or comprehending, enough.

Let us find ways to experience that schadenfreude the Arabs and other Muslims are now experiencing at the spectacle of America stuck to Tarbaby Iraq. Let's get quickly unstuck, and forget about any of those who tell us "we owe the Iraqis" this or "we owe the Sunni regimes" that. We owe none of them anything.

Long past time to replace the obstinately stupid with the imaginative, intelligent, and relentless people necessary for the task, without end, at hand -- the task of constraining the forces of those who participate in, or support, or defend, or potentially could participate in, or support, or defend, the Jihad directed at Infidels everywhere in the world, from southern Thailand to southern Sudan to southern Nigeria to southern France and southern England, and all the way to North America, where only the Atlantic moat has managed to limit the flow, and therefore the local size, of the worldwide problem that comes from the texts and tenets of Islam.

Such people already exist. Others can be so fashioned. Find them. Make use of them.

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Posted on 09/12/2007 2:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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Rod gets right to the heart of it:  a 1991 "explanatory memorandum" seized by the Justice Department and presented at the Holy Land Foundation terror trial.  The memo, he explains, "outlines the 'strategic goal' for the North American operation of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan)." Here's the key paragraph:  

The process of settlement [of Islam in the United States] is a "Civilization-Jihadist" process with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that all their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" their miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim's destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who choose to slack.

 

There's much more to the story.  Rod adds:

 

[H]igh-profile organizations with roots explicitly in the Muslim Brotherhood have successfully established themselves in a paramount position to define Islam in America according to a radical politicized model. And they've done so without the American public having the slightest idea about their real agenda. Indeed, the Bush administration is unwittingly helping the Islamist cause by including their leaders in public events, thus conferring them legitimacy. On Labor Day weekend, the same Department of Justice that's presenting evidence of the ISNA's involvement with radical Islam at the Dallas trial sponsored a booth at – wait for it – ISNA's national convention in suburban Chicago.

Astounding.  FWIW, I think this is a more transcendent problem than we may realize.  A big complaint I keep hearing from friends on the Right who do not support Iraq is that the Bush administration can't seem to tell the good guys from the bad guys in the United States, so why should we be confident that the new Iraq we are trying to forge will be an ally of the United States against radical Islam — not just against al Qaeda but against the equally dangerous Shia variety?  It's a very legitimate concern ... and I'm not sure I have a good answer.

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Posted on 09/12/2007 2:37 PM by Andy McCarthy
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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Meanwhile, in that "central front" in the "war on terror" -- as "central" a "front" as Pakistan (now the favorite training camp for Muslims -- Pakistani, Uzbeki, you name it -- planning attacks in England, Germany, the rest of the West), or as Saudi Arabia, the big bank-roller of Islam and its missionaries, propagandists, Western hirelings in Dar al-Harb, or as the Islamic Republic of Iran, now busily attempting to acquire nuclear weapons even as it plans, smacking its lips, what it might do with them -- as I said, in that "central front" of the "war on terror" nothing much has happened in that all-important "reconciliation" that will never in fact take place.

And why won't it take place? Why will the Shi'a never give the Sunnis what they demand? Why will the Sunnis continue to demand what the Shi'a will never give them? Because of Islam. Islam does not teach the art of compromise with the enemy, the Infidel. It teaches the art of striving for total victory. True, along the way, since "war is deception," one is permitted to feign a temporary absence of hostility, in order to buy time, or to keep the enemy sufficiently unwary, but in the end, the Muslims must be the Victors, and the Infidels the Vanquished. Now imagine you are a Sunni Arab or a Shi'a Arab, raised in a society suffused with that attitude. Why would you, how could you, start to think in non-Islamic, Western terms, in terms of practical politics, and compromise, and so-called win-win situations? You simply couldn't. And in Iraq neither the Shi'a nor the Sunnis will. For the Kurds, a little compromising may be possible, but that is because, having an ethnic identity that runs counter to, that tugs against rather than reinforces, devotion to Islam, there is a more sensible and rational approach to politics. That is, the Kurdishness of the Kurds helps to put a limit on the effect that Islam has on them.

And the same is true elsewhere. True, for example, of the Berbers who, to the extent that they feel their Berberness, and feel as well that Islam has been and will always be a vehicle for Arab supremacism (and hence of oppression of the Berbers by the Arabs, as the writer Kateb Yacine always understood), are likely to be more secularized, more sensible, more "Western" in their attitudes and ways. (See the Kabyle, see Sa'ad Sa'adi)

Many Senators in the hearings with Petraeus and Crocker expressed their doubts that any "reconciliation" would be forthcoming. They were right. But they could not supply the reason for the inability of either side to think of any conceivable common good or to make any of the most necessary and obvious kinds of compromises. It will not happen.

No, the Senators merely were willing to note this, or to predict this. But they did not supply a reason, other than that Maliki was an ineffective ruler.

I can supply the reason. And it is not Maliki, but applies to his successors as to his predecessors. That reason is Islam.

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Posted on 09/12/2007 11:06 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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BERLIN: An Islamic militant group has claimed responsibility for a foiled bomb plot that targeted the American military facility at Ramstein and sought to force the closure of an air base that supports Germany's mission in Afghanistan, the German government said Tuesday.--from this news item

Did these people train in Iraq, the "central front" on the "war on terror"? No, they did not.

Where then did they train? They trained in Pakistan, a "close ally" in the "war on terror," and the recipient, since 2001 alone and from the United States alone, of some $27.5 billion dollars in direct aid and cancelled debt. But if would-be terrorists can train on the territory of such "close allies" as Pakistan who are receiving all that money, and if they can also receive financial support from another "close ally" or "staunch ally" of the United States, Saudi Arabia, or for that matter from people or institutions or groups in the Emirates or in Kuwait or in Qatar (another "staunch ally" that nonetheless harbors both the Advice-to-Muslims Al-Qaradawi, and the satellite television station Al Jazeera -- two versions of dangerous anti-Western propagandists) or, indeed, anywhere that there are communities of Muslims able to find a property on which to train, to scheme and dream, of inflicting destruction on, and instilling terror in, Infidels.

There is no "central front" in the "war on terror." That "front" is everywhere, and nowhere. It is wherever there are Muslims who have decided rather impatiently to employ the instrument of qitaal, or combat (i.e., violence), or rather the form of it we Infidels correctly describe as "terrorism," rather than limit themselves to the other, highly effective instruments of Jihad -- the money weapon, Daw'a, demographic conquest from within the lands of the Infidels -- that are directed at attaining the same goals that the terrorists wish to achieve.

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Posted on 09/12/2007 11:01 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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What a ridiculous story in today's NYTimes about the administration's search for a new Attorney General.

The president's problem here is not an excess of partisanship.  It is an embarrassment of riches.  I had my piece to say about Judge Mukasey yesterday.  (I think it's important that people learn about him because he is less well known than the other candidates.)  The subjects of today's report by Phil Shennon and David Johnston are Ted Olson and George Terwilliger.  I am privileged to know both of them.  They are not just extraordinary attorneys — of the grade that leave the rest of us lawyer types in awe at their skills.  They are great men.  They are great patriots who, like Judge Mukasey, are exactly what we have in mind when we talk about the Justice Department's rich traditions.  When Senator Schumer and others talk about the Department's reputation for integrity and prudent enforcement of our laws ... it's worth bearing in mind that these are the guys who forged and preserved that reputation in the modern era.

What the Times and some on the Judiciary Committee don't seem to grasp is that having a political point of view does not mean a person will have the slightest difficulty fulfilling his oath to uphold the Constitution.  This is odd because senators all have pretty sharp partisan elbows yet would no doubt tell you that they can carry out their legislative functions and make policy in complete objectivity — that there's a time for partisanship and a time for statesmanship.

I have pretty strong political views.  For the most part, through my nearly 20 years at the Justice Department, they didn't make a damn bit of difference.  Law enforcement is much less about ideology than it is about judgment, fairness and probity.  Yes, it involves defending the institutional prerogatives of the executive branch — but that is the case regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are in the White House. 

No matter what his or her politics may be, an Attorney General has to lead and persuade lawyers, lawmakers and judges across the ideological spectrum.  That is about mastery of what the law is, not whatever view one may have about what it ought to be.  In my years as a boss at the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York, I was privileged to supervise liberal Democrats, conservative Republicans, and the gamut in between.  It made for great debates over lunch or drinks; but when it was time to perform our jobs, it was quality that mattered — a lawyer's ability to apply the law to the facts and be persuasive.  That is not a liberal or conservative attribute.

This country would be so fortunate to have Ted Olson, George Terwilliger or Michael Mukasey as Attorney General, it's hard to fathom that there could be debate about that.  It's like asking if A-Rod is good enough to play on your team.

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Posted on 09/12/2007 10:58 AM by Andy McCarthy
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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Viewers in Kuwait will have to wait until after Ramadan to watch this new serial. From the Kuwait Times. I thought this deserved its own post.
The Dubai-based Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) yesterday decided not to screen a controversial TV serial deemed offensive to Shiites after intervention from Kuwaiti authorities, parliamentary sources said. The decision came after a number of MPs met with Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and explained to him the serious consequences of airing the serial during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
The serial, titled "Sins Have a Price" highlights the sensitive issue of "mutaa" or "temporary marriage" which is acceptable to Shiites but not allowed under Sunni Islam. Earlier in the day, two men dressed in tracksuits threw stones at the Kuwait offices of the MBC and Al-Arabiya satellite channels in Bneid Al-Gar, a predominantly Shiite residential area, and escaped in a waiting car. The attack left no injury or damage and Al-Arabia chief reporter Saad Al-Ajmi lodged a complaint at Dasma police station against the men. He also requested security protection to prevent further attacks.
Mutaa is a form of marriage under which a man and a woman can wed for any period of time from one hour to decades, and is done under certain conditions. MP Adnan Abdulsamad, who attended the meeting with the prime minister, said that Sheikh Nasser showed a great understanding of the problems associated with the serial and its defamation of the Shiite faith. Sheikh Nasser also vowed to exert all efforts necessary to stop the serial from being screened during the holy month of Ramadan.
Abdulsamad said that the serial "is a total distortion of Shiite sect, particularly in presenting certain beliefs in a very distorted manner". The serial also "incites sectarianism between various Islamic sects because of its provocative approach, besides inciting prostitution".
The producer of the serial, Al-Rashed, who also plays a role in it, has denied any wrongdoing, saying the serial tackles the negative aspects of the mutaa marriage and its negative consequences on the society, especially women. . . "We wanted to highlight negative aspects of social practices. We never intended to distort any faith,"
Deputy secretary general of the Shiite Justice and Peace Alliance Abdulwahed Khalfan said the serial also depicts "temporary marriage" as a form of prostitution. "It deliberately shows as if our girls are practicing prostitution.... It contains derogatory scenes against Shiite sacred places and leaders,"
And you thought Emmerdale was getting racy since Annie Sugden retired!
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Posted on 09/12/2007 9:13 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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Ramadan is expected to start tomorrow (inshallah, God willing, because he may move the phases of the moon, capricious like) and preparations are afoot all over the world.
In the United Arab Emirates housewives have been stockpiling groceries ready for the month long fast.
While supermarkets and retail outlets are telling consumers there is no need to stockpile in advance of Ramadan, residents have responded that price hikes force them to plan and buy early.  Grocery stores across the UAE have reported a surge in sales attributed to bulk shopping by families gearing up for the holy month. However, the supermarkets refute allegations of price manipulation, saying prices are determined by the market.  
“Ramadan is around the corner, and I can see prices are already going up. Supermarkets will definitely increase the prices further once Ramadan starts,” said Khamees Ahmed Al Mutawa, a UAE national in Dubai.
A government employee and a father of four, Al Mutawa said last year he saved at least a thousand dirhams because he planned his shopping well in advance.  “You can cut corners by stocking long-life products before Ramadan starts. But there is nothing much one can do about the prices of fruit, meat and sweets as you cannot stock them for long,” said Al Mutawa.
Shehnaz Mohammed Hussain, a housewife from Pakistan residing in Dubai, said she fears having to pay at least 20 per cent more if she shops during the last two days before Ramadan. “It is really sinful for these people [retailers] to hike the prices during Ramadan. They are actually going against the spirit of the holy month,” she said.
According to Fathima Benhur, a housewife from India, the grocery budget of her family goes up not only because of price hikes but also because of increased expenses.  “My monthly grocery expenses shoot up from Dh1,500 to Dh3,000.We buy more during Ramadan because there are more friends and family visiting during Iftar,” she said.
In Saudi Arabia a police team has been set up to curb the hiring of runaway maids during Islam’s holy month.
Col. Fahd ibn Ali Al-Habdan, spokesman for Qassim Police. (said) “Recruitment offices, citizens and expatriates who recruit runaway maids will be severely punished,”
Al-Habdan said that the measures are being taken to prevent housemaids from running away from their sponsors in search of better salaries and conditions. Illegal and runaway maids have become a huge problem for the authorities, with many recruitment offices and people employing them in temporary jobs paying them exorbitant prices.
Demand for maids increases during Ramadan with salaries reaching as high as SR3,000 per month.
In Derby the Derbyshire Police and City Council have been asked by the local Mosques for assistance.
Muslim leaders have called for extra police patrols in the city during the holy month of Ramadan.
The request comes amid fears that worshippers' cars could be interfered with while they are busy praying.
Members of Derby's Islamic Centre in Wilmot Street and Central Mosque in Sacheverel Street, Derby, have written to Derbyshire Chief Constable David Coleman in the hope that extra police patrols will deter thieves and vandals.
. . . "The prayers said during Ramadan are special and take about an hour, whereas during the rest of the year they take about 15 minutes.
"We also have higher numbers of worshippers. On a normal day it is usually about 100 but during Ramadan it can be between 600 and 700 and on Friday nights we can have up to 1,000 people at the Mosque.
"Would-be offenders know that there will no movement in or out of the mosque during prayers, which is why the extra patrols are so useful."
Worshippers using the mosque during Ramadan will be allowed free parking after 7.30pm. The Wilmot Street and Sacheverel Street short-stay car parks near the mosque usually costs 80p from 6pm to 11pm but Derby City Council has waived the fee during the holy month.
The Islamic centre's Talib Shah said:
Not everyone in Derby is happy about this. Comments include:-
Would like to know if on occasions like easter and christmas would the christians (english faith) get extra policing and free car parking? Wouldn't extra policing be better used for detering more serious crime in our city and suburbs than watching cars that are parked outside a mosque?
Thats funny because my car got vandalised last year during ramadan, on several occasions, by muslim youths.... so why dont i get protection??
During the sermons will you please remind the worshippers (out of which 80% live around the corner) to leave their cars at home...and walk! (from a Muslim)
Neighbourhood policing team officers in Bradford North Division are joining forces with local mosques to help make this year’s Ramadan as safe and crime-free as possible.
For the first time ever, joint patrols made up of neighbourhood policing team officers and members of mosque committees will take to the streets to provide a reassuring presence and to act as a deterrent.
In previous years there has been a marked increase in reports of low-level damage and youth nuisance during Ramadan, primarily in the Manningham, Girlington and Heaton areas.
Chief Superintendent Allan Doherty, Divisional Commander for Bradford North, said: “Our regular analysis of incidents in the Division showed there was a peak in damage and youth nuisance around Ramadan, and also identified which areas those incidents were concentrated in. When we spoke to community leaders in those areas they shared our concerns and were keen to work with us to cut the number of incidents this year. They felt the increase was probably down to some young people in the area taking advantage of the fact their parents could be occupied with observing Ramadan, particularly during prayer times in the evenings. . . We would also appeal to parents to be aware that we will be focusing more attention on the most affected areas during Ramadan and also remind them of their responsibilities as parents.” 
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Posted on 09/12/2007 8:56 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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Since the EU has graciously consented to Britain keeping its imperial measurements, it is only reasonable, they argue, that we should make a concession towards harmonisation. And what could be more anomalous than the fact that the British drive on the left? In nearly all other countries, not least the USA, drivers keep to the right.

 

The EU, as we know, likes to rotate its Chief Decision Makers. This is only right, otherwise you would always have the French in charge of wine, the Belgians in charge of beer and the Italians in charge of music, and this would be quite unfair.

 

Currently, decisions about transport fall to the Italians. Recognising that changing to driving on the left will be a massive upheaval for the British, Minister in Chief Garibaldo Biscottini has delivered a groundbreaking solution: piecemeal implementation.

 

“It would be absurd,” said Biscottini (in Italian), “For such a change to occur all at once. We must stagger the changes. For six months all vehicles will keep to the left, except lorries, which will drive on the right. In six months’ time, buses will also drive on the right, then after another three months, all cars over 1200 cc, then all cars under 1200 cc, and finally all motor cycles. To avoid congestion, pedal cycles will keep to the left, as before. The new rules will be phased in gradually over different roads, starting with motorways for the first year, then A roads, then B roads. In all cities beginning with a B-, the direction of traffic on one way streets will be reversed. Priority will be given to traffic coming from the right, as in France, except on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

 

Rather like Italy, then. I asked Mr Biscottini if he’d ever been dunked in vin santo what would happen to unadopted roads? He didn’t know, because he isn’t British and hadn’t read his John Betjeman. Let’s have the last bit, before it gets banned for not being multicultural enough:

 

By roads ‘not adopted’, by woodlanded ways,
She drove to the club in the late summer haze,

Into nine-o’clock Camberley, heavy with bells
And mushroomy, pine-woody, evergreen smells.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
I can hear from the car-park the dance has begun.
Oh! Full Surrey twilight! Importunate band!
Oh! Strongly adorable tennis-girl’s hand!

Around us are Rovers and Austins afar,
Above us, the intimate roof of the car,
And here on my right is the girl of my choice,
With the tilt of her nose and the chime of her voice,

And the scent of her wrap, and the words never said,
And the ominous, ominous dancing ahead.
We sat in the car park till twenty to one

And now I’m engaged to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

 

You can’t get much more English than this poem. “She drove…” and “here on my right” narrow it down before you even start on the Rovers and Austins and Camberley. I suppose Betjeman must have rhymed “one” with “Dunn” and said it like "won". I'm not sure anybody does nowadays.

 

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Posted on 09/12/2007 8:48 AM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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CNN (with thanks to Jeffrey Imm): WASHINGTON-- Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf -- a key U.S. ally -- is less popular in his own country than al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, according to a poll of Pakistanis conducted last month by an anti-terrorism organization.

Additionally, nearly three-fourths of poll respondents said they oppose U.S. military action against al Qaeda and the Taliban inside Pakistan, according to results from the poll conducted by the independent polling organization Terror Free Tomorrow.

"We have conducted 23 polls all over the Muslim world, and this is the most disturbing one we have conducted," said Ken Ballen, the group's head. "Pakistan is the one Muslim nation that has nuclear weapons, and the people who want to use them against us -- like the Taliban and al Qaeda -- are more popular there than our allies like Musharraf."...

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Posted on 09/12/2007 8:23 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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Despite six years of promises, U.S. officials say Saudi Arabia continues to look the other way at wealthy individuals identified as sending millions of dollars to al Qaeda.

"If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia," Stuart Levey, the under secretary of the Treasury in charge of tracking terror financing, told ABC News. --from this news item

During World War II the property of enemy aliens was seized by the government. The Jihad directed against us, as Infidels, and our legal and political institutions, and our very lives if we refuse to succumb to Islam, is largely funded by Saudi Arabia through its unmerited oil wealth. The Saudis have hundreds of billions of dollars in assets in this country. Not all of those assets are liquid. There is real estate, including all that is owned by Al-Saud family members and their corrupt courtiers, both residential and commercial. There are companies now owned by the Saudis and by the rich from Kuwait and, especially, the U.A.E. Start making those lists. Get them ready.

Saudi Arabia has cost us, through its funding of Bin Laden and such groups as Hizb ut Tahrir and Tablighi Jamaat, and of mosques and madrasas everywhere, and Muslim propaganda to be distributed n those mosques, a pretty penny. What was the total economic cost of the attack on 9/11/2007, which was almost entirely a Saudi operation? We need to get that money back. And a little more, for emotional distress.

We need to think, and plan, for seizing those assets, selling them, and giving the money to the government, and then giving all of us a little tax relief for all the expenses we have so patiently born because of Saudi Arabia.

There's plenty there that will be hard to get rid of at sudden -- or indeed any -- notice.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to be reimbursed, for all that the Muslim terrorists have cost us and other Infidels, by justifiably taking back what the Saudis and other rich Arabs never did a thing to deserve in the first place?

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Posted on 09/12/2007 6:28 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007
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Metric is best for scientific and many industrial purposes. But for everyday purposes, imperial measurements are best. A comment to Simon Heffer's Telegraph piece explains why:

Imperial measurements are far superior because they are to human scale. This really came home to me when a woman in France was helping me to back my car into a small space, and she said you’ve got about 30cms left. A very unround figure, but one that is almost exactly a foot!

More examples: An ounce is something you can feel in your hand, a gram is so small is of use only to scientists. 100 degrees F is HOT, 100 mph is FAST, a 6’ man is TALL. (The only time metric has the edge is 0 degrees equalling freezing.)

And the idea that youngsters don’t understand imperial, so us old fogeys should catch up, is rubbish – I heard some 15 year-olds on the bus the other day talking about how much they weighed in stones in relation to their height in feet.

I leave you with this thought: my Latin now escapes me, but the Romans said something like, ‘That which is divisible by 3 is beautiful’. Napoleon’s artificial system be dammed!

"That which is divisible by three is beautiful." Gaul, perhaps?

Some commenters on this piece have advocated bringing back pounds, shillings and pence. I have argued against this many times, notably here. Money is different - it's fickle. Fickle mickles. A pound of feathers and a pound of lead, as the old trick question goes, weigh the same. The pound in your pocket fluctuates by the minute, and buys far less feathers or lead than it did in 1971 when decimalisation came in.

It is good that America uses imperial measures and even better that it calls them "imperial" rather than "republican" or some such frenchified nonsense. But they are not the same. Ask for a pint over there and you'll think you've been ripped off. What's more, this is our fault.

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Posted on 09/12/2007 5:30 AM by Mary Jackson
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