These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 10, 2008.
Thursday, 10 July 2008
An Egyptian feminist
In the National Post, Robert Fulford has a piece called Islam's Original Feminist:
Advocates of even mild feminism were thin on the ground in 19th-century Egypt. But in 1899, the Cairo newspapers announced the appearance of at least one citizen who held outlandishly modern opinions on the subject. His much-reviled book, The Liberation of Women, created a controversy that remains alive today in certain corners of Islam.
The heretic in question, Qasim Amin (1863-1908), a young judge from a prominent family, was hard to ignore. He was well connected among Egyptian intellectuals and a founder of Cairo University. He based his argument on patriotism. As a nationalist, he insisted that the independent Egypt of his generation's dreams would need a new kind of woman, educated and (relatively) free.
Today, no one would call him a feminist. He emphasized that improving women's position would make them better mothers and wives. Boys were growing up in an a tmos p h e r e of ignorance because their mothers were ignorant , he argued. Amin believed that Egypt's future would depend on mothers giving their sons the beginning of an education.
The author also claimed that freedom for adult women would make them hap-pier spouses. He wanted fair divorce laws; he felt women should be less burdened by the demand to veil themselves; and he even suggested they should be able to go out of their houses unescorted.
Too often, unfortunately, Amin's ideas get revived only so that another defender of orthodoxy can try to bury them. In 1999, when the government of Egypt recognized the author's place in history by organizing a six-day international conference about him in Cairo, one of the 150 scholars taking part reflected on how little had changed since Amin's time: It was as if "time has not passed in the Arab world" for a full century.
There are those who like it that way. Consider Azzam Tamimi, a prominent London-based Palestinian activist who supports Hamas and expresses admiration for jihadist suicide bombers. Tamimi believes that Amin, a Muslim who made all the required references to Allah and the Prophet in his writing, was eager to abandon Islam. Tamimi claims he was influenced by Christian Arab scholars who advocated secular principles. Their goal, as Tamimi sees it, was to weaken local religious institutions, make secularism "a tool of domination" and render Muslims "colonizable and controllable."
Azzam Tamimi is half-right: Qasim Amin could only be a feminist insofar as he abandoned Islam. His ideas on women's equality directly contradict Islam, and Islam does not change. It was only by stepping outside Islam that Amin could have those ideas. Patriotism, not Islam, inspired them, together with a sense of fairness that is quite un-Islamic.
Amin was not an "Islamic feminist"; he was an Egyptian feminist. An Egyptian feminist, an Iranian feminist, or even a Saudi feminist is not a contradiction in terms. An Islamic feminist is.
Posted on 07/10/2008 4:23 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Update. The Lord Chief’s speech is now available on line.
After the selective reporting immediately after his speech last week to the East London Muslim Centre the full speech is now available.
It is a 10 page speech and he touches on Sharia law briefly on page 8 going into page 9. The rest of his very sensible presentation has been ignored.
Muslim men and Muslim women are entitled to be treated in exactly the same way as all other men and women in this country. And there is, of course, another side to this coin. Rights carry with them obligations, and those who come to live in this country and to benefit from the rights enjoyed by all who live here, also necessarily come under the same obligations that the law imposes on all who live here. The title of my talk is ‘equality before the law’, and it may be helpful to consider at the outset what ‘the law’ is. The law that I am to talk about is the set of rules that govern how we live in society.
It continued with the history of English law, through Magna Carta, the enfranchisement of Catholics, Jews and women, the emancipation of slaves, up to and including the European Convention of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act.
Freedom of speech has long been prized and protected in this country. Any person is free to preach the merits of his own religion, and freedom of religion includes the right to change one’s faith, or apostasy.
Let me try to summarise the position. British law has, comparatively recently, reached a stage of development in which a high premium is placed not merely on liberty, but on equality of all who live in this country. That law is secular. It does not attempt to enforce the standards of behaviour that the Christian religion or any other religion expects. It is perhaps founded on one ethical principle that the Christian religion shares with most, if not all, other religions and that is that one should love one’s neighbour. And so the law sets out to prevent behaviour that harms others. Behaviour that is contrary to religious principles, but which is detrimental only to those who commit it, is not, in general, contrary to our law. A sin is not necessarily a crime.
When did we last hear someone in public office acknowledge the existence of sin?
Those who come to live in this country must take its laws as they find them. British diversity is valued and the principles of freedom and equality that the law protects should be welcomed by all. Laws in this country are based on the common values of tolerance, openness, equality and respect for the rule of law. Whilst breaches of the requirements of any religion in the U.K. may not be punished by the law, people are free to practise their religion. That is something to be valued.
He was quite definite that the law of England and Wales is the law of the land. It is secular but with a Christian heritage. And all must obey it. Then he moved on to Sharia law and its place. He spoke of Islamic finance and the sukuk. He admited that Sharia is not his field but that he has been talking to lawyers in Oman. He explored briefly the way Sharia is interpreted in different countries.
But he said that whatever Sharia courts do or do not do in the way of punishments abroad in England and Wales,
There can be no question of such courts sitting in this country, or such sanctions being applied here.
So far as the law is concerned, those who live in this country are governed by English law and subject to the jurisdiction of the English courts.
That sounds quite clear to me. He moved on to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lecture at a meeting which he chaired. Lord Philips believes that Dr Williams has been misunderstood and that his speech requires requires several readings.
A point that the Archbishop was making was that it was possible for individuals voluntarily to conduct their lives in accordance with Sharia principles without this being in conflict with the rights guaranteed by our law.
This fits with what the Archbishop of Rochester said about an Islamic state should enable a Muslim to live as a good Muslim without coercing him into a certain form of behaviour.
Those who, in this country, are in dispute as to their respective rights are free to subject that dispute to the mediation of a chosen person, or to agree that the dispute shall be resolved by a chosen arbitrator or arbitrators. There is no reason why principles of Sharia Law, or any other religious code should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. It must be recognised, however, that any sanctions for a failure to comply with the agreed terms of the mediation would be drawn from the laws of England and Wales. So far as aspects of matrimonial law are concerned, there is a limited precedent for English law to recognise aspects of religious laws, although when it comes to divorce this can only be effected in accordance with the civil law of this country.
It is very limited in my experience. I do recall one case whether one of the terms of the settlement was that the husband would make the appropriate arrangements at the Beth Din for the Get or Jewish religious divorce.
Solicitors have been required for some years to advise their clients in matrimonial disputes that mediation is available and where and how to seek it.
A better example of an outside body arbitrating is the organisation ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service which works in the field of industrial relations.
He concluded by recommending the pro bono legal advice facility available at the East London Muslim Centre, encouraged good interfaith relations and the desirability for diversity among judicial officer holders. I take this to mean encouragement to those present to consider applying to become magistrates. Lay magistrates are not salaried, merely paid expenses, and so the Ministry of Justice is keen to recruit more.
The Lord Chief certainly did not say that Sharia could or should run in tandem with the existing Common Law. I think he made it quite clear that it was for voluntary and personal consumption only.
Where I think he was naïve in mentioning it at all was in forgetting that he would be reported not by Court Reporters but by journalists. Court reporters are frequently barristers themselves, they report the entire judgment of a case, verbatim, very accurately and not coloured by their own view.
I don’t think he had taken on board properly that some young hack would run out of the Muslim centre with a smashing soundbite. “Muslims can have Sharia law within the English system!!!” Everything else he said, and the very limited circumstances within which it has a place doesn’t really matter with a sentence like that.
In October Lord Justice Igor Judge will take over from Lord Philips as Lord Chief Justice by He is a different personality and I think he will be more aware of the media and how his work out of court will be reported and interpreted. Frances Gibb of The Times agrees with me here, I am glad to say.
On examination one can see that Sharia was put in its place that day. Limited, voluntary and ultimately powerless.
Posted on 07/10/2008 4:58 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Recently a cute puppy was used by the police to advertise a "non-emergency number". The puppy caused uproar on the part of as many as nearly two Muslims. Cries of "political correctness gone barking mad" drowned out the original message of the advertisement - are puppies the new piggies? - so that nobody thought to ask why a "non-emergency number" was needed. Could it have something to do with the recent spate batty of 999 calls? From The Telegraph:
The moon was mistaken for a "bright, stationary" UFO which had been loitering for at least half an hour, by a confused local in South Wales who made a 999 call to the police.
Today officers released a transcript in order to highlight the time wasted by unnecessary 999 calls.
The bizzare conversation ran as follows:
Control: "South Wales Police, what's your emergency?"
Caller: "It's not really. I just need to inform you that across the mountain there's a bright stationary object."
Caller: "If you've got a couple of minutes perhaps you could find out what it is? It's been there at least half an hour and it's still there."
Control: "It's been there for half an hour. Right. Is it actually on the mountain or in the sky?"
Caller: "It's in the air."
Control: "I will send someone up there now to check it out."
After the police patrol car arrives, the script reveals the exchange between the control room and the police officer sent to the scene.
Control: "Alpha Zulu 20, this object in the sky, did anyone have a look at it?"
Officer: "Yes, it's the moon. Over."
A police spokeswoman said: "This was a recent example of an inappropriate 999 call to South Wales Police.
"Yes, we can all see the comical side but calling 999 with an unnecessary non-emergency call could block a genuine call for vital seconds and put lives at risk."
Other bizarre calls cited by the police force included someone asking for help voting for Rhydian on The X-Factor and another requesting a pound coin for their supermarket trolley.
On the radio I heard of a man who had called 999 because his wife hadn't made him any lunch, and a woman who called 999 because she "had sore feet". They weren't even Welsh.
Posted on 07/10/2008 5:01 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 10 July 2008
IEDs Give Way To IRAMs
WaPo: BAGHDAD, July 9 -- Suspected Shiite militiamen have begun using powerful rocket-propelled bombs to attack U.S. military outposts in recent months, broadening the array of weapons used against American troops.
U.S. military officials call the devices Improvised Rocket Assisted Munitions, or IRAMs. They are propane tanks packed with hundreds of pounds of explosives and powered by 107mm rockets. They are often fired by remote control from the backs of trucks, sometimes in close succession. Rocket-propelled bombs have killed at least 21 people, including at least three U.S. soldiers, this year. ...
The use of the rocket-propelled bombs reflects militiamen's ability to use commonly available materials and relatively low-tech weaponry to circumvent security measures that have cost the U.S. military billions of dollars. To combat roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices or IEDs, U.S. and Iraqi troops have set up scores of checkpoints throughout the capital, increased patrols and purchased hundreds of armored vehicles that can resist such attacks.
A June report on the Web site Long War Journal called the explosives-filled propane tanks "flying IEDs."
Militia members and insurgents have at times increased the sophistication of their weapons, but the rocket-propelled bombs are makeshift devices that also have been used in recent years by insurgents in Colombia. Propane tanks are ubiquitous in Iraq, where the fuel is widely used for cooking, making it hard for security forces to stop production of the bombs....
Posted on 07/10/2008 6:46 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Mary was quite right; Other than Thursday’s Child by David Bowie and Thursday Afternoon by Brian Eno, which are not particular favourites, I couldn’t think of anything for Thursday. Thinking laterally Thursday is named after the Norse god Thor. There was a Canadian heavy metal singer called Thor who used to bend iron bars with his teeth and burst hot water bottles. He was a laugh, but I’m not in the right mood for him.
This wasn’t a big hit when it was current (1974) and is rarely played now. It reminds me of a miserable wet weekday morning in Suburbia, which yesterday was. And it looks like rain again now.
Posted on 07/10/2008 6:50 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Jesse Jackson Has A Point!
Mickey Kaus writes that Barack Obama's lecturing style on the campaign trail is condescending and annoying.
P.P.S.: Obama's lecture to parents about how "you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish"? Also condescending! Especially since, as Abe Greenwald points out, Obama doesn't speak Spanish. ... He's insultingly missing the point about the need for a common language, of course. If we want a common language, and the common language of Americans is English, then learning Spanish, however beneficial, is not going to achieve that goal. It's perfectly reasonable for native English speakers to worry if enough new immigrants whose ethnic leaders demand bilingual education will learn English. They probably will, but Obama's saying it's wrong to even worry about it. ...
Posted on 07/10/2008 6:51 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Our "Ally" Pakistan: Safe Haven For Terrorists
New Duranty reports the following which makes me devoutly wish our troops were out of Afghanistan as well as Iraq where these globe-trotting jihadis would be drawn to fight the Shi'a in Iraq instead of being drawn to Pakistan to fight Americans in Afghanistan or to overthrow the Pakistani government.
WASHINGTON — American military and intelligence officials say there has been an increase in recent months in the number of foreign fighters who have traveled to Pakistan’s tribal areas to join with militants there.
The flow may reflect a change that is making Pakistan, not Iraq, the preferred destination for some Sunni extremists from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia who are seeking to take up arms against the West, these officials say.
The American officials say the influx, which could be in the dozens but could also be higher, shows a further strengthening of the position of the forces of Al Qaeda in the tribal areas, increasingly seen as an important base of support for the Taliban, whose forces in Afghanistan have become more aggressive in their campaign against American-led troops.
According to the American officials, many of the fighters making their way to the tribal areas are Uzbeks, North Africans and Arabs from Persian Gulf states. American intelligence officials say that some jihadist Web sites have been encouraging foreign militants to go to Pakistan and Afghanistan, which is considered a “winning fight,” compared with the insurgency in Iraq, which has suffered sharp setbacks recently....
“We’re trying to impress upon the Pakistanis how bad things are,” said one senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities. “Before, we could go to Musharraf,” the official said, speaking of President Pervez Musharraf. “Now it’s more of a power-sharing agreement, and it’s more difficult. There’s no apparent solution at hand. The next six months look like they’ll be a lot like the past six months.” ...
Then there is this story which makes one wonder how long Musharraf, or any kind of moderate government in Pakistan, can realistically hold on. A radical, nuclear-armed Pakistan may make Iran seem tame by comparison. Our troops in Afghanistan can do nothing to stop this. We need a complete strategic withdrawal and to refocus our strategy on containing and weakening the entire "camp of Islam."*
Chanting slogans of "jihad is our way", burqa-clad women, some with babies, listened to fiery speeches from the daughter of the mosque's jailed cleric on the eve of the anniversary of a commando raid on the complex in which more than 100 people died.
"Our mujahideen (fighters) laid down their lives for the enforcement of the Islamic system in Pakistan. We are left behind to carry forward their mission," the daughter of cleric Abdul Aziz told the tightly guarded rally in the mosque compound.
Several thousand men attended a similar rally on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the July 10 commando raid that ended a week-long siege that began when gunmen from the mosque clashed with police.
Shortly after the Sunday rally ended, a suicide bomber attacked police who had been guarding the gathering killing 18 people, all but three of them policemen...
*"Camp of Islam" is a Fitzgeraldism.
Posted on 07/10/2008 7:11 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Iran Defies US Criticism With Further Missile Launches
TimesOnline: Iran test-fired more long-range missiles this morning, shrugging off international concern over yesterday's launches as the US sharpened its rhetoric against Tehran.
Weapons with "special capabilities" were launched from navy ships in the Gulf, state television reported, along with torpedoes and surface-to-surface missiles.
The launches will be taken as a sign of defiance hours after the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, made clear that America would defend its "allies," meaning Israel, if Iran threatened them.
"We are sending a message to Iran that we will defend American interests and the interests of our allies," she said, during a visit to Georgia.
"We take very seriously the obligation to defend our allies and we intend to do that."
She said the US had "enhanced its security capacity" in the Gulf and was working with its allies to make sure "they are capable of defending themselves."
The comments struck a firmer tone than her reaction to yesterday's tests, which she described only as "evidence that the missile threat is not an imaginary one", in comments interpreted as a dig at Russia, which has opposed a US missile defence shield in Europe...
Posted on 07/10/2008 8:22 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Bat Ye'or Interview
Ruthie Blum writes in the Jerusalem Post:
In an hour-long interview on the terrace of her Mishkenot Sha'ananim digs overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, Bat Ye'or expounds on her bleak prognosis in an articulate tirade, raising her voice now and then for emphasis, pausing occasionally to laugh. What she has to say about the state of the world, however, is more likely to make one cry.
Why do you use a pseudonym?
For many reasons. First of all, when I left Egypt and started living in Europe, I found that I had changed - that I was no longer the person I had been before.
Secondly, I have always preferred to keep my personal and professional lives separate. I have always wanted my social standing to be distinct from my being the wife of my husband, the daughter of my parents and the mother of my children. It is a matter of independence.
Why did your family leave Egypt?
We left as part of the big exodus of Jews from Arab-Muslim countries. Jews suffered from severe anti-Semitism, especially in Egypt. There was a powerful Nazi community, established by [then Egyptian president Gamal Abdel] Nasser. There were many anti-Jewish laws. There was a general feeling of insecurity. There was open hatred expressed by the Muslim Brotherhood, especially in relation to the Palestine issue. As early as World War II - particularly after the November 1945 pogroms in Egypt - Jews began leaving the country. Many went to Israel. At that time there was a Zionist underground. Zionism was made a criminal offense for which you could be jailed or even tortured. So, many young people left. For the old people, of course, it was difficult, because many were members of the bourgeoisie, and it was forbidden for Jews to take any money or assets out of the country when they left. My parents' assets were confiscated, for example, which created economic problems for our family.
Are you saying that as World War II ended, and in Europe Nazism became taboo, it was gaining strength in the Arab world?
Yes, but even before and throughout the war, both Nazism and fascism were strong in the Arab world. Hitler and Mussolini were heroes. The whole Middle East was in turmoil because the Arab-Muslim populations were all favorable to Nazism and anti-Semitic policies.
How much of what was going on in the death camps in Europe were you and other Jews in Egypt aware of at the time?
We knew everything. I remember my parents listening very carefully to the radio. And it was also in the newspaper. But also, my mother's family was in France, and they were forced to wear the yellow star. So we knew.
When you heard about the peace treaty that Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin signed with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1979, how did you feel?
I wasn't following it that carefully, due to family problems. Nor was I familiar with Israeli politics at the time. But I trusted Begin to do the best thing for Israel. So, I did have hope. Still, what you have to understand is that the problem is much larger than Egypt. The whole Muslim world is becoming more and more radicalized - more rooted in Shari'a, and less open to anything outside the religion. This is due to the policies of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), with 57 Islamic member states and a permanent delegation to the UN. At its last summit in December 2005, it decided upon a 10-year plan, one of whose resolutions was to root the Islamic uma - the world Muslim community - in the Koran and the [oral tradition of the] Hadith, which, of course, means Wahabbism. They also resolved to make the Palestinian issue the central issue of international politics. This is why we see relentless pressure on Israel from different countries. Because the OIC is an extremely powerful body, demographically, politically and economically.
The OIC is an Islamic body. How has it managed to turn the Palestinian issue into a Western focus? And to what do you attribute the political and cultural success of its ideology in Europe and the United States?
First of all, a distinction has to be made here between Europe and America, which have chosen opposite paths in relation to the Middle East.
As for OIC influence on Europe: It is visible in immigration policy toward Muslims, and in the Muslims' refusal to integrate into European societies.
The OIC considers nationalist-European movements, European history, European culture, European religions and European languages as Islamophobic. Why? Because Europeans have begun to feel that they are losing their own identity, due to their efforts to welcome immigrants who don't want to integrate. As a result, they have adopted measures to stop illegal immigration, to control legal immigration and to curb terrorism. Europeans fear losing their historical and cultural assets - particularly those of democracy and human rights - to Shari'a law. They want one law for everybody - and it's not Shari'a, which involves things like honor killings. It is thus that in all international forums, the OIC attacks Europe and demands that it apply multiculturalism.
Now, Europeans do not want multiculturalism. But this is a problem, because European governments - and especially the European Union - do not want to fight the OIC, and so they collaborate with it. Therefore, what we have inside Europe is a clash of interests between the European citizens and their governments.
A similar claim is often made about Muslim-Arab citizens and their governments - that a majority of the former is moderate, while the latter is extremist. Do you agree with this assessment?
No, I don't agree with it at all. In fact, the opposite is the case. In the Arab world, it is the governments - as we see so well in Egypt - that are at the mercy of the radicalized, Islamized, anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Israel masses who are in a dynamic of jihad. Certainly the majority of Muslims follow the ideology of conquest; it is in the Koran and the Hadith! And every time they go to the mosque, they hear it. I mean, the first shura, that is recited five times a day, is anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. So they cannot escape from it.
Unfortunately, the Muslims who are against this trend don't have the courage to make the effort to change it. And those who do have the courage are threatened with losing their jobs and having harm done to them and their families. So Islamism is the natural culture of the Arab-Muslim world. Even in Turkey an Islamist government has taken over. So, how can we deny the reality? And anyway, if the moderates were in the majority, they would be making protests and issuing manifestos against Osama bin Laden, instead of against America and Israel.
The environment is one of jihad on the one hand and of dhimmitude [the state of being a non-Muslim subject living in a country governed by Shari'a law] on the other. European countries are becoming dhimmi countries, and people don't realize it, because they don't know what jihad and dhimmitude are, so they don't recognize what condition they're in. When you have an illness, but are unfamiliar with its symptoms, you don't know that you are sick. You feel sick, but you don't know what you've got. You therefore can't make a diagnosis or embark upon a method of treatment to cure yourself. This is the current condition of Western civilization right now.
How, then, do you explain the electoral victories of France's Nicolas Sarkozy, Germany's Angela Merkel, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi and London's replacement of mayor Ken Livingstone by Boris Johnson? Wouldn't you consider this phenomenon as indicative that Europeans are making a diagnosis of and seeking a cure to the illness you say they suffer from?
Oh yes, they are extremely important developments which prove what I am saying about European citizens having had enough of this attempt to merge - culturally, religiously and demographically - the Arab and European sides of the Mediterranean. But the pressure exerted by the OIC on European governments is very strong. In addition, there is the pressure of terrorism inside and out of Europe, and that of the oil. So the task of these new governments you refer to will not be easy, to say the least. I don't doubt their good intentions. But I don't know if they will succeed in bringing about the change their citizens want.
Furthermore, unlike President Bush - who recognizes that Israel has a legitimate right to exist as a normal nation in its homeland - the Europeans think that Israel's legitimacy should be granted by the Palestinians and the Arab states. In other words, Europe is putting Israel into a position of dhimmitude, whereby it will be recognized by Muslims if it abides by certain rules and duties.
This is in keeping with its own mentality. When the European community, in December 1973, published its document on European identity in the Copenhagen Declaration, they themselves were adopting a dhimmi mentality toward the Arab League countries. After World War II, Europeans decided that they didn't want any more wars. Then, when they suffered aggression, such as the oil boycott and Palestinian terrorism that emerged in Europe in the late 1960s, instead of fighting, they joined their aggressors. This was their concept of multilateralism - thinking that by joining those who attacked them, they would be protected. This is when a tremendous Muslim immigration into Europe began.
You keep referring to immigration. Isn't childbirth also a demographic factor, particularly since Muslims tend to have many children, while some European countries suffer from zero or minus population growth? Is it possible that by virtue of their numbers, Muslims in Europe are influencing policy - and that it is not just due to the power of the OIC?
Yes, but you have to understand that those who plan policy are Europeans. In other words, Muslim politics are conducted in Europe by Europeans themselves, based on the interests of Muslim lobbyists.
Isn't Eastern Europe different from Western Europe in this respect?
Yes, and Eastern Europe is more pro-American than Western Europe - which is what the Muslims want. It is easier to take over the West as a whole when it's divided.
How has this affected European academia?
European universities - like those in America - are totally controlled by the Arab-Islamic lobby, as are the schools. A teacher who attempts to teach according to the European view of history is thrown out. Indeed, the freedom of expression and thought that has been so crucial for European democracy has disappeared.
Many Israeli academics bemoan a similar situation in Israel. Do you see the mind frame you're describing infiltrating the Jewish state?
Yes, because the EU is spending a lot of money on Israeli NGOs in order to promote policies which will lead to the destruction of Israel. The EU considers Israel to be an accident of history that has to disappear. It thinks that if Israel disappears, relations between Europe and the Arab world will be much better. Now, the EU doesn't come out and actually say this, but all its policies, statements and actions are indicative of its aims. These aims could be developed in Israel and in America - especially when there is a new president.
Speaking of which, there is a concern among many Jews and Israelis that if Barack Obama becomes president, he will lean toward the kind of alliance with the Arab world that the EU promotes.
Yes, because he has a kind of "Third Worldism" - you know, the view that we all have to get together and appease the enemy. I'm no specialist on Obama. But I think that Bush has been a great politician, and that history will show he was right. Aside from everything else, he has woken up Europe to the calamity of global terrorism - and this is what brought about the coming to power of Merkel, Sarkozy and Berlusconi. And Europe can no longer be as anti-American.
That's ironic, isn't it, considering that most Americans now hate Bush?
That's because they don't understand what is really going on.
[I must disagree. Bush did not awaken Europe to the threat of global terrorism. The terrorists did that. And whatever else Americans don't understand about Islamic terrorism, the majority understand that spending billions of dollars and thousands of lives attempting to spread democracy in the Muslim world won't help.]
Given your bleak view of Europe, how is it that you didn't end up living in Israel or the US?
I love Europe. It is part of my family history and my culture. I can criticize it because I love it and want to help it. Look what Europe has given to the world: democracy and human rights, the love of peace. Look at its achievements in the field of literature, music, law, architecture. There is a tremendous richness. But we have to fight for all those values and accomplishments. Otherwise, we will be living as dhimmis in barbarity.
Finally, how do you envision Western civilization 10 years from now?The Mishna says, "You are not required to finish the task, but neither are you free to desist from it."
Well, I feel that though I may not have done enough, I have tried the best I could.
As for the future, it is difficult to say, but we must have hope. We have to educate the European, American and Israeli youth to recover their culture and values, since it is they who will have to continue the efforts to preserve freedom and democracy - and they who will have to fight to defend them.
Posted on 07/10/2008 8:48 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 10 July 2008
First, Water On Mars...
...Now they've found water molecules in moon rocks. Might water, and therefore the possibility of life, be more abundant in the universe than imagined?
Posted on 07/10/2008 9:24 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 10 July 2008
American Children Freed From Pakistan Madrassa
Press Release (July 10 -- Atlanta, GA) - Two American children were escorted by the American consulate officers in Karachi, Pakistan Tuesday night Pakistan time and boarded a flight to Dubai, UAE and then boarded a direct flight to NYC, Noor Elahi Khan and Mahboob Elahi Khan are expected to arrive in Atlanta on a Delta flight this afternoon at 4:30 PM.
The two brothers have been in a Pakistani madrassa for four years and are the focus of a newly released documentary entitled "The Karachi Kids".
"I have been working for months to secure their exit from the Madrassa and from Pakistan," said Imran Raza, writer, director and executive producer of the Karachi Kids documentary. "This is great news, but we need to get the other American children out of there, now. There are nearly 80 other Americans currently at this Jamia Binoria madrassa -- that teaches Deobandism -- the religion of the Taliban. Our government, and the Pakistani government, has more work to do to get the other American children out of there."
Raza discovered the two children from Atlanta while filming a documentary about madrassas. He returned to the madrassa three times in four years to film their transformation in the hands of the radical mullahs. Children in the documentary film "The Karachi Kids" describe beatings and human rights violations for those who reject the radical teachings of their Taliban masters. Children from California and Georgia are interviewed in the film from inside the madrassa and discuss coming back to the United States to spread extremism within our borders.
The trailer of the documentary can be seen at www.KarachiKids.com.
The headmaster of the Binoria madrassa personally recruits American children to his institution during Ramadan, and says on camera that: "We work on altering the mindset of the students we are training, so when they return to their home countries, their mindset is such that they will work on altering the minds of others. That is why I'm appealing to you that at least 1000 to 2000 boys come to us so we can train them and they will go back to their home countries and do the work and make people understand." The headmaster of the Binoria madrassa also states that he has already graduated 100 American children from his madrassa.
[Jerry Gordon is working on an interview with Imran Raza for New English Review.]
Posted on 07/10/2008 10:15 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Obama's Hands In Pockets, Furrowed Brow Self-Assurance
There are many things to worry about with Barack Obama, and chief among them is his naiveté, or more accurately, his sentimental and possibly filiopietistic (in the original sense) misconstrument of the meaning, and therefore of the menace, of Islam.
But the things for which he is taken to task by those who don't like his suggesting that wildly exaggerated dreams-of-glory hopes, for future hip-hop or hoopster fame, by black students does the great mass of them no good, and that sober preparation for the ordinary tran-tran of sober work, and un-extraordinary remuneration, and no crowds, no groupies, no cars, no bling, are among the best things about him, and not the worst.
Why attack him broadside, when he happens to make good sense? Such attacks only call into question the maker of those attacks, and may actually help Obama by calling into question other attacks, made on him for much better reasons, having to do with what is the most worrisome, and anxiety-producing, side -- his belief in the efficacy of "talking" to one's enemies, as if everyone in the world were similarly susceptible to talk, and as if no one in the world had ever used the mere fact of being engaged in "talking" with the powerful American government as a way to promote, in the eyes of their own people, the power and might of their own Ozymandias-despots and regimes, or still worse, to use that "talking" as a means to delay action by that powerful American government and its allies. That is, sometimes "talking" is not quite the harmless and often useful exercise that Obama takes it simplemindedly to be.
He does this because he is unaware of how often such fruitless negotiations have been conducted, and by whom, and for how long, and how they have indeed been used, in the past, exactly for the reasons described: to help strengthen the unacceptable regime in power in the eyes of its own people, by presenting it as an important force that the Great Satan must treat respectfully, and to inveigle the Infidels into endless discussions and negotiations that will always appear to be on the brink of going somewhere, but never quite do so, and won't do so, and the real point is to run out the clock on effective Infidel military measures.
In the case of Iran, those effective military measures consist not in an "invasion of the country" (False Bogeyman #1) or "regime change (False Bogeyman #2), but rather, removing, as quickly and non-invadingly or non-invasively as possible, from the face of the earth the Iranian nuclear project, and then making sure that no Muslim state or people or group can ever acquire either weapons of mass destruction, or the means to deliver them, or if -- as in the hideous case of Pakistan -- such weaponry has been attained through criminal negligence on the part of Western governments -- that the certain consequences of any use of such weaponry will result in the complete destruction of that state's military power, accompanied by a withdrawal of all economic aid and the imposition of a boycott to destroy that nation's economy, and every effort made to dismember the state in question among its warring ethnic groups and tribes.
But to attack Obama for his supposed "arrogance" in showing an intelligent contempt for what merits contempt is not the most intelligent way to proceed. Yes, it's true that his style is not his own. It's merely that lectern law-school pontificating style, the hands-in-pockets walk back and forth before the roomful of students, as he attempts to get at the heart of the case, to sum up what has been said so far by the participants in this imagined application of the Socratic method, may grate on some who are not familiar with it. But there's nothing wrong with it. His manner is not that of wise Paul Freund, but rather, mimics, or is the same as, that of many of the brisk faculty members of a later generation, and one can find similar mannerisms exhibited by most faculty members at American law schools.,
Sit in on classes of the "world-class scholars" or "superstars of legal scholarship" or whatever absurd phrases now used by those who put out the Harvard Law School Bulletin scholars" in its Development-Office attempts to impress deep-pocketed alumni with the latest glorious hires, and the Great Achievements of those already established faculty members, and the air must be thickened, and good things of day begin to droop and drowse, so that the self-congratulation can work its magic to create the atmospherics for proud alumni, and impressed foundation executives, to give, to give, to give. His arrogance or self-assurance is that of a thousand law school faculty members, many of them even more arrogant, and less cultivated -- a professional problem -- than Barack Obama.
No, when he lectures on such things as the responsibility of fathers, the kind of thing not unrelated from his experience as a community organizer. I'd let him be. What's worrisome is the other stuff, that relates to his lack of experience (he thinks, incorrectly, that spending his childhood abroad actually gives him knowledge, and insight, about the Great World, and in this he's like the Junior-Year-Abroad Junior-Leaguer in Paris who comes back convinced she "knows" all about France, even though she never mastered French, never learned the tissue of allusions and reference-points that one would have had to learn, and never sank below the surface of French life, for she spent so much of her time either with fellow junior-year-abroaders, or with a nice French boy who was trying to find someone on whom to practice his English, and a good deal more.
He doesn't know that the Great World is not full of students in a Harvard or University of Chicago classroom, and not everyone can be lectured to, or reasoned with, or have their own reasoning developed through application of the case method ("now, class, let's turn to this set of cases on the Arab-Israeli dispute, and see where the Getting-To-Yes Moment was passed by, or not taken advantage of:").
Sometimes there is no common ground, and it is the sheerest bomfoggery to pretend that We All Want The Same Thing, or We Can All Find Points Of Mutual Agreement. Islam is based on exactly the denial of that idea, based on recognizing a permanent divide between Believers and Infidels, and mandating a state of permanent war (though not of open warfare) between the two, and requiring, as a solemn duty, that Muslims support, in various ways, with various degrees of directness, the Jihad or struggle to ensure that all barriers and obstacles to the spread of Islam (and among those obstacles is the American Constitution) are removed, and Islam does so spread, and Muslims come to dominate, everywhere. It doesn't have to be achieved by terrorism, or even by combat (qitaal). It can be achieved by deployment of the Money Weapon, by campaigns of Daw'a, by demographic conquest. But that it must be, finally, achieved is beyond Muslim doubt or quarrel. This is the kind of thing that the faith in the workings of sweet reason on which the case method, and American law schools, depend, and which has done so much to fashion the manner and matter of Barack Obama, simply does not prepare one for.
Nor does the knowledge that one's father called himself a "Muslim" (but he was a black African from Kenya, and still unrevealed is how easygoing and syncretistic he may have been) provide one with any knowledge of Islam, except possibly with a slight glow of filial affection that might hinder apprehension of the real Islam. And a few years in a school in Indonesia, a school that took both Muslims and Christians, and which, therefore, was necessarily "secular" in its bias, and certainly the Muslim students, if their parents were willing to have them attend a school with Christians, were likely, forty years ago, in a very different period, with the influence of such nationalist leaders as Sukarno and Suharto strong, and the influence of (devout, political, fanatical -- choose one) Islam still at its post-war ebb, ago, to have been easygoing on religious matters themselves. Indonesia has been changing, and Islam -- a purer and truer Islam -- is more in evidence, and Islam taken straight up, and not diluted on the local rocks of pre-Islamic or non-Islamic elements in the history and culture of the East Indies, as it once was, thanks to the Dutch rule (with Snouck Hurgronje as an adviser) and to the still-considerable presence of non-Muslims, such as the Hindus of Bali.
That professorial manner, the stride, the hands in pockets, the furrowed brow, the self-assurance (good god, I've got the power of the grade over all these people, so it is they who have to listen to me, and not vice-versa), and, let's face it, Obama's conviction that he's no dope, and many of those whom he addresses, and whose votes he solicits, are, is annoyingly unhidden, but is also, annoyingly, not always and everywhere unjustified.
Posted on 07/10/2008 11:18 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 10 July 2008
The Mysterious Multiplying Missiles
The Lede: As news spread across the world of Iran’s provocative missile tests, so did an image of four missiles heading skyward in unison. Unfortunately, it appeared to contain one too many missiles, a point that had not emerged before the photo appeared on the front pages of The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times, The Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers as well as on BBC News, MSNBC, Yahoo! News, NYTimes.com and many other major news Web sites.
Agence France-Presse said that it obtained the image from the Web site of Sepah News, the media arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, on Wednesday. But there was no sign of it there later in the day. Today, The Associated Press distributed what appeared to be a nearly identical photo from the same source, but without the fourth missile.
As the above illustration shows, the second missile from the right appears to be the sum of two other missiles in the image. The contours of the billowing smoke match perfectly near the ground, as well in the immediate wake of the missile. Only a small black dot in the reddish area of exhaust seems to differ from the missile to its left, though there are also some slight variations in the color of the smoke and the sky.
Does Iran’s state media use Photoshop? The charge has been leveled before. So far, though, it can’t be said with any certainty whether there is any official Iranian involvement in this instance. Sepah apparently published the three-missile version of the image today without further explanation.
For its part, Agence France-Presse retracted its four-missile version this morning, saying that the image was “apparently digitally altered” by Iranian state media. The fourth missile “has apparently been added in digital retouch to cover a grounded missile that may have failed during the test,” the agency said. Later, it published an article quoting several experts...
Posted on 07/10/2008 1:40 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 10 July 2008
A Musical Interlude: No! No! A Thousand Times No! (Ambrose Orch., voc. Elsie Carlisle, Sam Browne)
Posted on 07/10/2008 1:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Here is an eye-opening video about the situation in German schools which seems every bit as bad as those in France (hat tip: Gates of Vienna):
Posted on 07/10/2008 2:00 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Josef Fritzl going stir crazy in cell
From The Telegraph:
Josef Fritzl, who locked his daughter in a cellar dungeon for 24 years, has asked permission to leave his prison cell after admitting he can no longer stand being cooped up.
Posted on 07/10/2008 2:26 PM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Gordon Brown is the new Heathcliff
Brooding, controlling and miserable, yes. But would anyone want to put him in a novel?
Gordon Brown in 'brooding' mode
From The Telegraph:
The Prime Minister likened himself to Bronte's dark, brooding vengeful character who died a broken man haunted by the ghost of his former lover whose body he exhumed twice.
The comparison was made in an interview in New Statesman magazine which was designed to soften the image of Mr Brown.
His predecessor, Tony Blair, was a little like Farfrae from The Mayor of Casterbridge. Suggestions for Barack Obama gratefully received.
In the cinema Heathcliff has been played by Sir Laurence Olivier, Ralph Fiennes, and Timothy Dalton a former James Bond. One Labour MP, who declined to be named, said: "I can't see which one of those Gordon most resembles."
How about Cliff Richard in the Heathcliff, the musical? Yes, no word of a lie. Click here to prove that truth is cheesier than fiction:
Posted on 07/10/2008 2:31 PM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Winds of change
"Cow farts", according to The Telegraph, are to be collected in a plastic tank for a global warming study. And "burps".
Experts said the slow digestive system of cows makes them a key producer of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that gets far less public attention than carbon dioxide.
In a bid to understand the impact of the wind produced by cows on global warming, scientists collected gas from their stomachs in plastic tanks attached to their backs.
The Argentine researchers discovered methane from cows accounts for more than 30 per cent of the country's total greenhouse emissions.
Posted on 07/10/2008 2:47 PM by Mary Jackson