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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
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The Impact of Islam
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Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
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edited by S.B. Kelly
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Farewell Fear
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The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
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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
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Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
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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:
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Jihad and Genocide
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Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
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These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 11, 2008.
Friday, 11 January 2008
Sir Edmund Hillary 1919 - 2008
Sir Edmund Hillary, the unassuming beekeeper who was catapulted into the history books when he became the first man to climb Everest, died last night at the age of 88.
Sir Edmund, who conquered the world’s highest mountain in 1953, had been suffering health problems since April after suffering a fall whilst in Nepal. While the New Zealander considered himself merely an average beekeeper, he was widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s greatest adventurers.
His feats were not confined to Everest and in later years he led expeditions to the South Pole and to the source of the Yangtze River. He also committed himself to humanitarian work among the Sherpas through his Himalayan Trust and was made an honorary Nepalese citizen in 2003.
Knighted in 1953, shortly after the British-led Everest expedition arrived back in London, Sir Edmund was admired for his humility and his unaffected manner almost as much as his mountaineering.
Edmund Hillary
The explorer, who preferred to be called just “Ed”, was humble to the point that he only admitted to being the first man atop Everest long after the death of his climbing Sherpa companion, Tenzing Norgay, in 1986.
Greg Gregory, the photographer who accompanied Sir Edmund on the Everest expedition, described him as a “top character”. Speaking from Australia, Mr Gregory, 90, said: “He was a member of the team like everybody else and nobody knew until quite late on, when John Hunt, who was the leader of the summit expedition, decided who was going up there, that he would be the first.”
As he was a New Zealander and therefore a citizen of the Commonwealth, British subjects celebrated his achievement as their own. His ascent was announced on the morning of the Queen’s coronation, with The Times trumpeting that Everest had been conquered and “all is well”.
Remarkably though, the climb went unrecorded in picture form. While Sir Edmund took the famous photo of his sherpa companion posing with his ice axe, he refused Norgay’s offer to take one of him. Norgay had never used a camera before “and the summit of Everest was hardly the place to show him how”, Hillary later said.
He described the last moments before that triumph. “I looked upwards to see a narrow snow ridge running up to a snowy summit. A few more whacks of the ice axe in the firm snow, and we stood on the top.”
His autobiography, Nothing Venture, Nothing Win, was published in 1975, and in 1979 he published From the Ocean to the Sky, an account of his 1977 expedition on the Ganges. Sir Edmund’s life was darkened by the loss of his wife and a daughter in a plane crash in 1975. There was a son and another daughter from this marriage. He married again in 1989.
When Peter Hillary reached the summit of Everest in 1990, he and Sir Edmund were the first father and son duo to achieve the feat.
Sir Edmund devoted his energy to environmental causes and to humanitarian efforts on behalf of the Nepalese people. He made many other trips to Everest during his lifetime but never attempted to scale the mountain again. Returning in 2003, the 50th anniversary of his climb, he was appalled at the way Everest had become a virtual tourist attraction. He called for Everest to be “closed” for a while, to give it a rest.
 
Posted on 01/11/2008 2:00 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 11 January 2008
Afghan clerics want to clean up TV by banning soaps
With suicide bombers in the capital, spiralling opium production and half the country prey to Taleban guerrillas, Afghanistan's spiritual guardians have discovered a dangerous new peril: Indian soap operas.
In an echo of the strict religious laws of the Taleban era, the Islamic Council of Scholars won the backing this week of a powerful government minister in its campaign to get dozens of wildly popular Bombay dramas off Afghanistan's television screens.
The Minister of Information and Culture has written to television executives to threaten prosecution if they show footage that offends morality. He is particularly concerned about Indian soaps.
His announcement came after dozens of clerics met President Karzai a week ago to demand a ban on shows that they claim are “spreading immorality and un-Islamic culture”. The dramas have won thousands of devotees in Afghanistan who enjoy the escapist world of the fictional Bombay rich. Anywhere else, the family dramas with wooden acting and creaking sets would be thought tame.  I doubt that they would like Neighbours or Coronation Street much then. And Eastenders would kill them – it curls my hair so much I no longer bother watching. They have, however, offended the country's new moral enforcers, who fear that the soaps will fuel a craze of “stone worship”, or veneration of Hindu idols.
Before turning their sights on Kabul's buoyant new media world the scholars' main campaign was to bring back public executions, last seen in the capital when the Taleban were in control. The battle to censor television is also a throwback to the days of Taleban rule when entertainment was banned and Kabulis had to watch smuggled videos in the secrecy of their own homes at the risk of jail.
New television stations have proliferated in the past three years, offering a mix of hard-hitting news, which is often critical of the Government, and light entertainment shows, which draw the wrath of religious hardliners.
Tolo TV, Afghanistan's first commercial channel, shows three Indian dramas, The Story of Every House; The Trials of Life; and Because a Mother-in-Law Was Once a Daughter-in-Law Too. Some channels show as many as six daily. Clerics accuse the dramas of encouraging “stone-worship” even though Hindu images are pixellated and scenes of Hindu worship are cut.
The hardliners also oppose Tolo TV's pop programmes - Hop, a local MTV-style show, and Afghan Star, a talent contest.
After meeting the President, an Islamic council spokesman said: “The unrestrained programmes on TV have angered and prompted the ulemas [scholars] to react. Hop ... is spreading immoralities and hurts the sacred religion of Islam. Afghan Star encourages immorality ... and is against Sharia.”
Posted on 01/11/2008 2:10 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 11 January 2008
Bishop backs Muslim prayer call
The Bishop of Oxford has rejected another senior clergyman's fears that broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer in East Oxford could create a "no-go area" for non-Muslims.
The Rt Rev John Pritchard backed plans for the call to prayer in Oxford - splitting away from controversial comments made by the Anglican Church's only Asian Bishop, the Rt Rev Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, of Rochester.
Bishop Michael said attempts were being made to impose an "Islamic character" on communities, creating no-go areas where people of different faiths would find it hard to live and work.
But Bishop John said: "I want to distance myself from what the Bishop of Rochester has said.
"There are no no-go areas in this country that we are aware of and in all parts of the country there are good interfaith relationships developing."
Bishop Michael told the Sunday Telegraph that non-Muslims faced a hostile relationship in places dominated by the ideology of Islamic radicals.
He used the amplification of the call to prayer as an example of how an Islamic character was being imposed on certain areas and said this resulted in alienating young non-Muslims.
An application for planning permission for the call to prayer at Oxford's Central Mosque has not yet been submitted.
Sardar Rana, a spokesman for the mosque, said he was "100 per cent sure" people would like the call to prayer when they heard it.
Sardar Rana seems very confident that planning permission will be granted. The strength of local opposition is such that foolish Bishop John (and there are none so deaf as those who will not hear) is a lone voice.
Posted on 01/11/2008 3:10 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 11 January 2008
The Surprise Winner Of This Year's King Faisal Prize Is...

Arab News (hat tip: LGF): JEDDAH, 9 January 2008 — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Professor Rudiger Wehner of Germany, Professors Donald D. Trunkey and Basil A. Pruitt (both from the US), Professor Ahmad Matloob Al-Nasiri of Iraq and Professor Muhammed Rashad Al-Hamzawi of Tunisia have been declared winners of this year's King Faisal International Prize in four categories.

The winners were declared during a press conference in Riyadh on Monday night by Dr. Abdullah Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the prize, in the presence of Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, chairman of the prize committee. A special panel, chaired by Crown Prince Sultan, selected King Abdullah on Saturday for the King Faisal Prize for Service to Islam.

Prince Khaled expressed his tremendous happiness over King Abdullah's winning of the prize this year. "We hope that Saudi Arabia will continue to make big contributions realizing the hopes and aspirations of its great leader King Faisal, who had said that after 2000 the Kingdom will become a source of light for humanity," the prince told reporters.

King Abdullah was selected for the prize in recognition of his outstanding services to Islam and Muslims, both within the Kingdom and abroad. His domestic accomplishments included the establishment of mega economic cities and King Abdullah University for Science and Technology and the formation of Human Rights Commission and National Dialogue Center.

[mega economic cities??]

King Abdullah's accomplishments overseas included his firm support for Arab and Muslim causes, persistent efforts to resolve differences among Arabs and Muslims countries, generous support to Arabs, Muslims and other communities at the times of need and his efforts to achieve peace and promote cultural dialogue...

Posted on 01/11/2008 6:51 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 January 2008
Tony Blair's dash for cash

That a former Labour Prime Minister should turn out to be a greedy capitalist should surprise nobody but the hopelessly idealistic. What next? Labour politician sends his son to private school? Socialism and hypocrisy go hand in hand. Yet, as this Telegraph opinion piece points out, Blair's unseemly haste, his "dash for cash", still annoys:

The news that the investment bank JP Morgan Chase plans to pay Tony Blair an estimated £2 million a year should not, in theory, raise our hackles.

Mr Blair is now a private citizen, free to do what he likes and charge what the market will bear.

It is not even as though he has abandoned public service altogether: he is still working as Middle East envoy and with his Sports Foundation, in between vastly profitable outings on the lecture circuit.

The writer is too kind. What good will Blair do in the Middle East? He shows no signs of understanding the area's problems or Islam, the main cause of those problems.

Yet something still grates.

Perhaps it is the size of the rewards Mr Blair will receive for such consultancy posts, on top of income from speeches (and, no doubt, a book or two).

Perhaps it is the haste with which this dash for cash has followed his exit from office.

But perhaps it is simpler. Politicians are supposed to worry about enriching the nation: it leaves a sour taste in the mouth when they turn to enriching themselves.

Posted on 01/11/2008 7:08 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 11 January 2008
Cole, Wahaj Headline Florida CAIR Fundraiser

Campus Watch reports Juan Cole, the anti-American professor of history at the University of Michigan and former President of the Middle East Studies Association, MESA (Nostra) will speak at the 2008 South Florida CAIR fundraising banquet March 1. The other speaker is Siraj Wahaj.

According to Robert Spencer, Siraj Wahaj has "warned that the United States will fall unless it "accepts the Islamic agenda." He has lamented that "if only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate." In the early 1990s he sponsored talks by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman in mosques in New York City and New Jersey; Rahman was later convicted for conspiring to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993, and Wahaj was designated a "potential unindicted co-conspirator." "

Posted on 01/11/2008 7:10 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 January 2008
The Atheists In This Foxhole

"Yet further evidence that a substantial percentage of Robert [Spencer]'s fans are fundamentalist Christians who are simply to eager to bash another major religion they deem to be "wrong." Rather than have peace established in the Middle East and deprive Islamic Supremacist of their complaint that US unfairly supports Israel, you would keep the status quo because of your BIBLE. How is that far removed from the actions of Islamic Supremacists?"
-- from a JW reader

Quite a few atheists in this particular foxhole. But atheists who happen to know the history of the treatment, or mistreatment, of Jews and other non-Muslim (and non-Arab) minorities in the Middle East. Atheists who know the history of the Jews, including what happened in "Palestine" after the Muslim invasion. Atheists willing to do research into the cadastral (land ownership) records, and the demographic records, of that dusty part of the Ottoman Empire that, split between several vilayets and the separate sanjak of Jerusalem, did not have more than 100,000 people in the mid-19th century, with 15,000 in Jerusalem -- a plurality of them, even then, Jews. Atheists who know perfectly well why Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Jan Christiaan Smuts, and others who founded the League of Nations found it right, found it proper, found it just, to establish, among the various mandates (four Arab countries came out of those mandates, while the Kurds and the Armenians never had the promises made to them fulfilled, and the Jews received a dimidiated territory -- only historic "Palestine" west of the Jordan -- and that, of course, is precisely the territory that you know perfectly well, sir, the Arabs and Muslims have no intention of letting the Israelis permanently possess, no matter how many further territorial and other absurd concessions the Israelis, whose entire negotiating history for the past 59 years has been to give up, give up, give up, tangible gains for promises that are always and everywhere eventually breached, for those who follow the Treaty of Al Hudaibiyya (and as Majid Khadduri points out in "War and Peace in Islam" all Muslims follow Muhammad's example in that treaty, the 10-year hudna with the Meccans, broken by him after 18 months).

Yes, there are plenty of atheists, Protestants and Catholics too, and Hindus and Buddhists, and even Muslims of the Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only variety, and certainly every apostate I have ever met, who are deeply worried about, concerned about, and refuse to contemplate any further surrenders to the Lesser Jihad that will forever be conducted against it, the State of Israel.

Not everyone, contrary to your silly stereotype, is a holy-roller Bible-thumper who supports Israel. In fact, it only takes two things. It takes specific historical knowledge, and moral sense. And even if you lack that knowledge, and that sense, and all you know is that any further triumphs by Arab Muslims, either by pressuring Israel into still more idiotic and dangerous concessions, or by accepting the Arab narrative that attempts to disguise the Lesser Jihad as a "nationalist struggle" of that recently-invented (circa late 1967) "Palestinian people" (see Zohair Mohsen on this), will only whet, not sate, the Muslim appetite. In other words, all you have to know, now, if you are a non-Muslim, is that any concession, anywhere, to Muslim demands by any non-Muslim people or state, will be bad for all non-Muslims.

That is what many Infidels are coming to recognize. And in so doing, all the hard work of all those Arab, Muslim, and "Palestinian" propagandists over the past forty years is coming unravelled, coming undone.

Posted on 01/11/2008 7:35 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 January 2008
Sir Edmund Hillary - may he ever-rest in peace

Well, somebody had to say that, and it had to be me.

I once met a cat called Hillary. I assumed that it was female until I was told that its brother was called Tenzing. Then I realised that the cat had been named after Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Everest, who died today. Hillary is usually spelt with one L when used as a Christian name and with two Ls as a surname, but perhaps American usage (“Hillary” Clinton) is different. I like the name in all its uses: man’s name, woman’s name and surname.

 

Another incorrect assumption I made, until I heard his voice, was that Sir Edmund Hillary was British, when in fact he was a New Zealander. This assumption was understandable, since we appropriated him. From The Times article linked by Esmerelda:

 

As he was a New Zealander and therefore a citizen of the Commonwealth, British subjects celebrated his achievement as their own. His ascent was announced on the morning of the Queen’s coronation, with The Times trumpeting that Everest had been conquered and “all is well”.

 

Hillary was not the climber who, when asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, replied: “Because it’s there.” That climber was George Mallory in 1924 - the year he died trying to climb Everest. Hillary’s statements are not so memorable; he seems to have been a modest, low-key sort of chap.

 

“Because it’s there” was mocked by comedian Jasper Carrot, who said, in a sardonic Birmingham accent: “Because it’s there? An elephant’s arse is ‘there’, but that doesn’t mean you want to climb up it.”

 

Collapse of stout party.

Posted on 01/11/2008 7:41 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 11 January 2008
Punctuation Is Next To Godliness

"Do they have to get the ladder out to reach the Funk and Wagnall's off the top shelf in the pipe-smoke-laden study?"
-- from a reader

Mr. Feynman, surely you jest.

I do want to make clear that I agree that apostrophes are important. Punctuation is next to godliness.

My point of contention is limited solely to the choice of dictionary. If it isn't the O.E.D. or Webster's 2nd, it doesn't count. If it is the O.E.D., and Webster's 2nd, and I disagree with it on a point of modern usage, there is a possibility, admittedly remote, that it still won't count.

Posted on 01/11/2008 7:59 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 January 2008
Nabokov: Which Webster's?

Oh Hugh, surely you must mean Webster 3, that was so much of an improvement on Webster 2, and was praised and used extensively by V.V. Nabokov, inter alia.
--from a reader

Some may be misled by your joke, so for them, and for the record: Nabokov never used Webster's 3rd. The O.E.D. (first edition) was a late, Montreux, arrival, and seldom used. Webster's 2nd was in constant use in the American (and Swiss) years, as the four volumes of Dal' were in the émigré years.

VN may have owned the 3rd, but it was clear that he used, favored, or possibly, as Zainab Bahrani (how does someone like that get along with the ghost of James Beck?) and so many others nowadays would say, "privileged" Webster's 2nd.

In a discussion of the definition of "lip" given in "Ada" the following is noted:

"The Ardis library, like Nabokov’s much more meager one in the Montreux Palace Hotel, appears to contain the 1957 Webster’s Second International Dictionary, Unabridged, first published 1934, Nabokov’s own favorite (see 4.10n) and most-bethumbed English-language dictionary (which he quotes at SO 308, and refers to at SO 251, “the second unabridged edition (1960) of Webster’s, which I really must urge Mr. Wilson to acquire,” and SO 253, “Webster’s great dictionary,” and at PF 166, “a Bible-like Webster”)."

Then the Webster's 2nd definition of "lip" is given:

“1. Either of the two fleshy folds which surround the orifice of the mouth in man and many other animals. In man the lips are organs of speech essential to certain articulations. Hence, chiefly in pl., figuratively, this part of the mouth considered as an organ of speech. ‘Thine own lips testify against thee.’ Job xv.6.

“2. Either of a pair of fleshy folds surrounding an orifice.”

And then, finally, the fact that Nabokov owned Webster's 3rd, that repeats as its 5th definition of lip the second one given in Webster's 2nd:

"But Nabokov also owned Webster’s Third International Dictionary, Unabridged (1961ff.), whose fifth definition of lip is also “either of a pair of fleshy folds surrounding an orifice.”

That hardly proves Nabokov used the Third. He owned it, and he owned Webster's 2nd, but it was Webster's 2nd he turned to, and used.

I see that in the New Russia, by the way, Dal' is being reprinted like crazy. Old copies once cost a fortune; now you can buy it for nothing at all.

Posted on 01/11/2008 8:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 January 2008
From Van Veen To Humbert The Bold

"I did hope to spare readers Van Veen's ribald punsterism but there you go..."
--from the same reader

Van Veen wasn't the only one. Other invented narrators, long before Van Veen, were dab hands at the same thing, including Kinbote and, especially, Humbert the Bold:

"Rastleniem zanimalsya Charlie Hol'ms; ya zhe zanimayus' rasteniem."

I could fill up the page with other examples.

Posted on 01/11/2008 8:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 January 2008
Hippopotomonstrosesqui- pedaliophobia

Talking of dictionaries, I wonder if hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is in Webster's 2nd. From The Times:

It is the fear that dare not speak its name. It is hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.

Those afflicted are afraid of very long words, yet even as they attempt to lead normal lives, avoiding medical dictionaries and high-scoring Scrabble players, the very term that defines their condition hangs over their heads, terrifyingly polysyllabic.

Their irrational fear and the word that defines it has been catalogued by readers of New Scientist among a list of the most curious phobias to trouble modern man, as advertised by counselling companies promising a cure.

As readers delved deeper, a dictionary of phobias emerged that included some apparently reasonable apprehensions. There is nucleomituphobia, the fear of nuclear weapons, the fear of dentists (odontophobia) and a fear of the French (Francophobia).

Rhytiphobia, the fear of wrinkles, has surely plagued Hollywood actors, and pentheraphobia (fear of mothers-in-law) may have afflicted the late Les Dawson along with numbers of otherwise happily married men.

The dictionary of phobias appeared on the website of a US company selling alternative treatments. ChangeThatsRightNow.com details 1,500 phobias, including paraskavedekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th. It offers “one-to-one help” for about £1,200.

New Scientist was sceptical, noting that “phobias conspicuous by their absence included “fear of silly marketing” and “fear of repetitive websites”.

Yesterday, several British psychologists insisted that phobias existed for almost anything.

Robert Endelmann, a chartered psychologist and a patron of the National Phobics Society, said: “It’s not unusual for people to have unusual phobias. Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, is surprisingly common.”

Such phobias often develop after a traumatic experience. Emma Citron, a chartered clinical psychologist commonly treats elderly astraphobics, who fear thunder. “It reminds them of the Blitz,” she said.

Then there are learned phobias, that sufferers may have “caught” from friends or family, and there are phobias that may have a deep-rooted biological trigger. “Fear of the dark, fear of high places and fear of things that move quickly, such as spiders or snakes – it would have been useful for our ancestors to be afraid of such things,” Professor Endelmann said. For all that, there are phobias on the list that remain hard to explain. Lutraphobics are afraid of otters. Octophobics fear the number eight.

Let's not forget the even sillier "Islamophobia" and "Islamophobophobophobia". The Times leader comments:

Fear has many eyes. However, it is a paradox that more eyes are twitching in terror today than in the Timorous Age, when men cowered in caves trembling at wild beasts, thunder and the fear that the Sun might not also rise tomorrow. In our Age of Security, we have electric light, domestic cats and a tradition that the Sun always rises at dawn.

But the New Scientist has listed hundreds of modern fears. And an American counselling website contains a catalogue of more than 500 phobias. Some of them are as old as Man (and Woman). Shrinks technically term the ancient fear of wild animals agrizoophobia. Brontophobia means fear of thunder and lightning. And lygophobia is one of several names for fear of the dark. (Zemmiphobia is fear of the great mole rat.) But we have invented contemporary fears to replace the great mole rat. Fear of computers is logizomechanophobia. The condition of arachibutyrophobia describes the horrid (surely rare) fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one's mouth. And those who are frightened of crossing the road are said to suffer from dromophobia. (Fear of the chicken crossing the road is alektorophobia.)

Most of these names are cobbled together from virtual Greek and/or Latin roots. Helenologophobia describes terror of Greek terms used to described complex scientific terminology. There is a word for almost every fear that flesh is heir to or can conceive. The Times here categorises two fears for the first time - moronolexicophobia (fear of silly dictionaries), and pseudomercatorophobia (fear of the spin of publishers' publicity managers attempting to flog silly books.)

Posted on 01/11/2008 8:39 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 11 January 2008
Marriage fear teenager 'murdered'

From the BBC:

A teenage girl who feared a marriage was being arranged by her parents was the victim of a "vile murder", a coroner has said.
The decomposed body of teenager Shafilea Ahmed was found on a riverbank in February 2004, six months after she went missing from her Warrington home. South Cumbria coroner Ian Smith ruled Shafilea had been unlawfully killed.

Shafilea's parents and five family members were arrested by Cheshire Police but no charges were brought.
Delivering the verdict at the inquest in Kendal, he said he was convinced Shafilea was murdered because of how the body was found.

He said the body "had been hidden and she had been taken many miles away from home".
Mr Smith said he believed the concept of an arranged marriage for the Muslim teenager was "central" to the circumstances leading up to her death.

Earlier in the week-long hearing, community and homelessness workers said the teenager had approached them for help to find accommodation or a place in a refuge in order to escape from her parents.

She had claimed they were forcing her into an arranged marriage, the inquest heard.
She also confided to her friends that her parents had beaten her and taken £2,000 from her bank account.
The inquest heard how the teenager had previously run away from home and that on one occasion her father had turned up at her school and taken her home, forcing a teacher to call the police.

Shafilea went missing on 11 September 2003 shortly after returning from a trip to Pakistan, where it was said she had drunk a quantity of bleach after meeting a possible suitor.

Summing up, the coroner said Shafilea had died within a few hours of leaving work on the day she was last seen alive.
He added he was "very confident" she was already dead before her body was dumped on the riverbank.
"I do not believe she escaped and ran away. She was taken," Mr Smith said.
Cheshire Police, who are due to release a statement, launched a murder investigation and have always maintained the case was still active.

Shafilea's parents, Iftikhar and Farzana, were arrested on suspicion of kidnap and five relatives from Bradford were also arrested.

All were later released after being on bail for 18 months.
Mr Smith added: "I sincerely hope in the future inquiries will be carried out by the police and they will one day discover who did it because this young woman has not had justice.

Posted on 01/11/2008 8:52 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 11 January 2008
Dispensing "Wisdom" Without Truth
In his latest article, “Ancient Holy Books, Modern Dilemmas” (posted January 8, 2008), David Frum poses as a referee in a disputation, pretending there are two alleged extremes, whereas he ignores the rules and the meaning of the subject itself. This hoax has often been used by Sages who pontificate: “As usual, the truth is in the middle.” But often this scenario of two opposed extremisms allows the Sages to pride themselves on what is only the appearance of wisdom. Moreover, this catch-phrase is meaningless, because truth is not found at a linear distance between two extremes. Between the Nazi genocidal policy toward the Jews and the victims’ affirmation of their right to live there is no middle-way solution. Would we discuss how many Jews it would be right for the Nazis to exterminate? Between slavery and human equality, there is no middle position. Between the dehumanization of dhimmitude and the inalienable right to freedom, dignity and equality, there is no meeting in the middle. Would one haggle over the amount due for protecting one’s life and rights?

David Frum describes my work as a study of Islam, whereas it is research into a neglected and specific domain involving Islamic theology, jurisprudence and history in relation to non-Muslims. Within this particular field, I only examined the Jewish and Christian aspect, not that of the Zoroastrians and other religious denominations. It is therefore not an assessment of Islam in general. Even more, in none of my writing is there the implication that Islam must disappear for the sake of peace. Maybe Frum has hidden his own thought, which he unconsciously projects on Robert Spencer and myself, while contrasting our alleged somber designs with his own generous wisdom -- which is not, in the least, very original. It hangs on the usual love paradigm of interfaith dialogue, dhimmi biased vision, and subvention of billions of dollars, while waiting with humble timidity for a powerful Muslim majority to reinterpret the Koran as a book of universal love and peace. I do not object to that, except that meanwhile, Muslim reformers even in Europe must hide to save their lives, while terrorism claims countless innocent victims throughout the globe, and tomorrow we might be facing a global nuclear jihad.
-- Bat Ye'or's response to David Frum

In the past, he has sought out Bat Ye'or, gone looking for Ibn Warraq, whom he even invited to lunch and expressed his enthusiasm. So something has happened to him. Perhaps he just wants to have a say on Islam, and wants to distinguish himself from others, especially in a de-haut-en-bas dispensing-wisdom manner. Or, possibly he wants to fit in to whatever passes for a Washington salon (without Alice Longworth Roosevelet, or Evangeline Bruce, what conceivable salon nowadays is there?) and finds that the fashion these days is something other than what Bat Ye'or and Ibn Warraq have to offer, which is merely the homely, always unfashionable, painful-to-accept, often assailed but essentially unassailable, truth. If he thinks he can do this without having his statements held up for inspection and criticism, from which inspection and criticism he emerges much diminished, he's wrong.

Posted on 01/11/2008 1:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 January 2008
When Average People Know More Than The Pundits...

...They really get annoyed. Jerry Gordon reports at ACT:

We have to credit the grass roots activists of the Central Florida branch of the United American Committee (UAC). They have taken on the local media for a biased presentation about the UAC protest of a CAIR youth camp retreat in the Orlando vicinity sponsored by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and CAIR. The Seminole Chronicle was deluged with calls and letters raising objections to the protest article and the sponsors of the Muslim youth camp, both Muslim Brotherhood fronts. The Seminole Chronicle retorted in an editorial this week lambasting the UAC for being ‘racists’ and a ‘joke’ because they didn’t realize that Islam was a ‘religion of peace’. It says so right there in the Qu’ran, the editor gloated.

Chronicle protests racism from callers

January 09, 2008

When the Chronicle ran the article last week titled "Muslim camp draws protest," we expected people might be upset. We figured they would be upset that people in Seminole County would be ignorant enough to protest a youth camp based on strictly religious reasons.

Boy were we shocked when the angry phone calls came in. People were upset - with us, not the protesters...

They still can't believe it. Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch reports:

The online version of the article had a section which allowed for comments, and we just found out that although last night there were nearly fifty comments countering all of the article’s absurdities and outrageous statements, this morning the newspaper has deleted all of the comments and disabled the commenting feature in a defiant act to stifle free speech and silence statements of logic and reality.

Posted on 01/11/2008 4:23 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 January 2008
A Musical Interlude: I'll Show You Off (Jack Jackson Orch.)
Posted on 01/11/2008 4:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 January 2008
Coughlin And The Game Of Let's Pretend

What makes Stephen Coughlin a "Christian zealot"? Does Hesham Islam have any evidence of Coughlin's holy-rolling in the corridors of power, buttonholing Gordon England or others in the Pentagon to insist on the Literal Word of God and how God's Plan is, and must be, absolutely the Guide To Everything In the Universe? Of course not. By all accounts Coughlin exhibits not a single one of those features.

The most extreme "Christian zealot," that easily-available figure of fun for so many Hollywood productions, that Bible-thumping Complete Literalist, for whom the Good Book explains everything, is -- in the fanaticism and literalism departments -- far less fanatical, far less literal in his application of his holy book to all situations, than are some of the most ordinary and mildest of Muslim Believers.

Coughlin's mode of presentation may not endear him to his supposed superiors. But his real crime is quite other: it is his refusal to pretend that the behavior and attitudes and beliefs of Muslims should not be studied in the light of the texts and tenets of Islam. For, you see, we are all supposed to engage in an endless game of Let's Pretend. It's all so much easier that way. Let's Pretend that for Muslims in those states and societies and families are suffused with Islam in a way that very few non-Muslims are capable of grasping, Islam does not matter.

But we can learn about Islam from two sources.

The first are the "defectors" from Islam, the apostates. Has Gordon England, has anyone in the Pentagon, invited in Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina et al. to deliver lectures or simply to talk about Islam, its real nature, and what goes on in Muslim societies, and what kind of policies will work to weaken the Camp of Islamic Jihad, and what will not? Why haven't they been invited? Why hasn't Bush invited them to the White House? Why have not members of Congress held meetings with these defectors, and spread the word among their colleagues? Why?

The second source of solid information comes from the great scholars of Islam -- Snouck Hurgronje, Henri Lammens, Joseph Schacht, Arthur Jeffery come to mind, and there are a hundred others. These people wrote before the days of the Great Inhibition, and were quite different, in their linguistic gifts, in their levels of learning, from the espositos and other MESA-Nostrans. Some of the latter group owes their funding, directly or indirectly, to Arab sources. Others, to get along, of course have to be sure not to offend their easily-offended Muslim colleagues, on whom they depend for hiring, promotion, and all those little things -- courses to be taught, summers off, the whole back-scratching business of mutual book-blurbing and fellowship-references. For all that, one needs the "respect" of one's colleagues.

A few decades ago 7% of MESA Nostra's members were Muslims. Now they constitute close to 70% of the membership. Non-Muslims often depend, therefore, on that goodwill, on the ability not to offend those Muslim colleagues. Furthermore, those who enter the field of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies may exhibit, under the surface, certain pre-existing mental conditions. For example, take those who are smitten with "Arab culture" (the sociologist Judith Kipper became a pretend-expert on Islam after a life-changing trip to Cairo, so J. B. Kelly laughingly, scornfully relates). There are those who find that post-colonial discourse is just the ticket to tenure, a ticket to ride.

And then, according to Ibn Warraq, who has long experience in such matters, and who, because of his outward aspect, used to be taken for a true-blue Muslim and thus became the recipient of all kinds of confidences even of non-Muslim academics specializing in Islamic or Middle Eastern studies, there is a much higher proportion of people who exhibit all the symptoms of the mental pathology known as antisemitism, than in the general population. It would hardly be surprising that someone with such a mental makeup would be more likely to choose Middle Eastern or Islamic studies, and to find them and the atmosphere that now prevails in such academic circles accepting, and welcoming. And there is the bonus of not having to hide, but rather to proudly make use of, what might otherwise need to be kept quietly under wraps.

Posted on 01/11/2008 4:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 January 2008
Islamic Charity Conviction

No Hamas sympathizers on this jury.

BOSTON -- Three former leaders of an Islamic charity were convicted Friday of duping the U.S. government into getting tax-exempt status by hiding the group's pro-jihad activities.

Care International Inc., which is now defunct, described its mission as helping war orphans, widows and refugees in Muslim nations. But prosecutors said the organization also distributed a newsletter promoting jihad and supported Muslim militants involved in armed conflicts around the world.

Emadeddin Muntasser, the founder of Care International; Muhammed Mubayyid, the group's former treasurer; and Samir Al-Monla, the president of Care from 1996 to 1998, were charged with tax code violations, making false statements and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

After more than two weeks of deliberations, a federal jury found them guilty on all counts, except a false statements count on which Al-Monla was acquitted. The fraud and false statement charges each carry maximum sentences of five years in prison and fines of $250,000, while the tax charges carry a maximum three years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Kenneth Wainstein, an assistant attorney general for national security in Washington, called Friday's verdict "a milestone in our efforts against those who conceal their support for extremist causes behind the veil of humanitarianism."...

Posted on 01/11/2008 6:07 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 January 2008
Coughlin Receives Support

Bill Gertz writes in the Washington Times (with thanks to Jerry Gordon): Some Pentagon and military leaders, along with lots of working-level officials, are quietly rallying to support ousted Joint Staff counterterrorism analyst Stephen Coughlin.

Pentagon officials said a number of generals and admirals who share Mr. Coughlin's well-reasoned assessment of the Islamic law underpinnings of Islamist terror are voicing support for the lawyer and former military intelligence official.

Mr. Coughlin was fired as a Joint Staff contractor after his confrontation with Hasham Islam, a special assistant to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, was reported here last month.

Mr. Islam, a Muslim, referred to Mr. Coughlin as a "Christian zealot with a pen" during the meeting several weeks ago, a slur rejected by Mr. Coughlin's supporters.

Critics of Mr. Coughlin are spreading word — falsely — that he is being let go because he talked out of school to the press. One official suggested the action was due to budget cuts.

But defense and military officials supportive of Mr. Coughlin said the real reason is that critics, like Mr. Islam. want him sidelined because they oppose his hard-to-refute views on the relationship between Islamic law and Islamist jihad doctrine. Those views have triggered a harsh debate challenging the widespread and politically correct view of Islam as a religion of peace hijacked by extremists.

"Steve Coughlin is the most knowledgeable person in the U.S. government on Islamic law," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney. "The secretary of defense should ensure that he stays at DOD."

Another booster is Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland, commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Corps, who said in November that Mr. Coughlin's briefing for Marines bound for Iraq "hit the mark in explaining how jihadists use the Koran to justify their actions."

"Your presentation has armed service men and women with more intellectual ammunition to take the fight to the enemy," Gen. Helland said in a letter.

A U.S. Central Command analyst, Neal Harper, stated in an e-mail to friends, that if Mr. Coughlin is allowed to become a casualty in the war of ideas "then I'm deeply concerned about the future course of the war on terrorism."

"Ignoring Steve Coughlin's honest assessments and terminating his contract sets a dangerous and disturbing precedent," Mr. Harper stated. "We struggled for many years to get our heads around radical Islam, and Steve has been a leader in the effort."

Mr. Harper said Mr. Coughlin should be promoted, but instead "Hasham Islam is allowed to insult him publicly."

"How is it that he is allowed to call anyone a Christian zealot?" he asked. "This alone exposes his bias, his poor perception of Christians, and a complete lack of professionalism, at best. Should we instead be asking who is this guy and how did he get inside? Is he representative of those who are leading this Muslim outreach? Does Muslim outreach mean that we are not allowed to question or confront those we are trying to communicate with and the doctrine upon which they stand? When speaking the truth gets one fired, we all should be concerned and at the very least need to ask why."

Army Lt. Col. Joseph C. Myers, commandant's Army adviser at the Air Force Air Command and Staff College in Alabama, said in a letter posted on the Internet that the Joint Staff is losing its only Islamic law scholar if the firing stands.

Col. Myers said Mr. Coughlin should continue to educate the military for the war on terrorism. "If we don't understand the war and the enemy we are engaged against, we remain vulnerable and we cannot win," he stated.

Unlike during the Cold War, when Soviet war-fighting doctrine dominated his education at West Point, "can anyone show me where the equivalent of the Soviet threat doctrine series for the global war on terror is published?" he asked. "It has not been done."

Col. Myers said the military is fighting a war that "from doctrinal perspective, we fundamentally do not understand."

Mr. Myers also stated that U.S. counterintelligence failures should lead people to "wonder and question the extent we are in fact penetrated in government and academia by foreign agents of influence, the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamists and those who truly in essence do not share our social compact."

Posted on 01/11/2008 7:58 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 January 2008
waBenzi

The dispute in Kenya appears to be between two tribes. For the incumbent leader, or man "taking a leadership role" (just as in the benighted West) is Mr. Mibaki, a Kikuyu,  just as all the rulers of Kenya have been since the days of Jomo Kenyatta and the blood-drinking Mau Mau. His would-be replacement, Mr. Raila  Odinga, is a Luo, and what's more, he is the son of Oginga Odinga , who many years ago resented his being kept out of real power, as a Luo, in the days of Jomo Kenyatta and his immediate successors.

The fight in Kenya is not between two principled politicians with different platforms or different politics, but between two sets of people intent on holding onto, or grabbing, the riches that inevitably become availalbe in Kenya to those in power.  It is a struggle over access to loot. In Kenya, as elsewhere in Africa, north and south, east and west, with few exceptions (one of those exceptions being the nice lady who now runs Liberia), the taking of power means helping oneself to riches. This can be done in various ways. It can be done through the seizure of national wealth (say, oil revenues, as the military rulers of Algeria have done). It can be done through the ability to give or deny contracts to European, American, Chinese businessmen. It can be done just through the requirement that bribes be paid, for concessions of all kinds. It can even be done, has been done, by not a few African leaders who were offered money to become Muslims, and took that Arab money, recited the Shehada, publicly declared their new faith, and helped make the land more welcoming to Islam. Think of Idi Amin the amiable murderer, or Jean-Bedel Bokassa the unamiable cannibal. Both became Muslims as a result of Arab (most likely from Khaddafy) bribes.

In Africa, the use of political power to gain wealth is the opposite of what normally happens in the  United States. In the United States, the very rich often are willing to part with a fraction of those riches (think of the amounts spent by Romney in the presidential race,, or by Bloomberg in the past mayoral one in New York), in order to obtain the glory, as they see it, of power. There are those American political figures who do manage to enrich themselves through their offices, but it is not through bribes. It is, rather, through the shameless non-stop self-promotion and exploitation of that political fame later on: look at the book deals of the Clintons, look at the lecture fees that Bill Clinton commanded and still commands, and how he has managed to turn his theme of charity (his latest book is "Giving") as a way to meet and befriend the very rich (they are the only friends he and his wife now have, or have had, in the last decade), and for some reason, enthusiastic about the theme of "Giving,"  Bill Clinton has never felt the urge to give, in any significant way, to anything himself. He doesn't have to. He urges others to do so. That is his gift.

The class of ruling crooks and cliques in Africa are everywhere determiined to hold on to power for as long as they can, to make as permanent as possible their supposedly subject-to-election "leadership roles." In East Africa such people are called, in a Swahili fit for the case, the  "waBenzi." "Wa" is a prefix in Swahili, meaning "people" [Further south, in Zimbabwe, a variant is the prefix "ma" for "people" as in "MaShona"]

So, you ask, who are the "waBenzi"?

They are the "People of the Mercedes-Benz."

In Kenya, what has been  solemnly depicted as inter-tribal warfare, between "the Kikuyu" and "the Luo, " is actually intra-tribal warfare over access to loot for the  Kikuyu political elite, and the top Luo political elite, with a handful from the other tribes thrown in on either side. The struggle is between one faction of the waBenzi against another faction of the waBenzi, in an African version of Pareto's circulation of the elites. The in-esse boys, mainly Kikuyu, are determined not to surrender to the in-posse boys, mainly Luo. And everyone else, below the loot-level, has been dragged in to fight it out.

Those who worry about upheaval and an unpredictable outcome in Kenya needn't do so. For whoever wins will turn out to have always been a member, in perfect standing, of the Permanent Tribe of the waBenzi.

Posted on 01/11/2008 7:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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