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

These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 11, 2009.
Friday, 11 December 2009
Men who force wives to wear Burka 'not welcome in France'

From The Telegraph
Muslim men who force their wives to wear the full Islamic veil should not be granted French citizenship, Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said on Thursday.
Wading into the debate over whether to ban the burka, Mme Alliot-Marie said the government would await the recommendations of a parliamentary panel considering possible legislation to bar Muslim women from wearing the full veil.
But the minister went on to say that "there are a certain number of basics on which we must stand firm".
"For instance, someone who would be seeking French citizenship and whose wife wears the full veil is someone who would not appear to be sharing the values of our country," she told LCI television.
"Therefore in a case like that one, we would reject his request," she said.
The justice minister said the wearing of the niqab or burka was a "problem that affects our ability to live together, the values of the republic and in particular human dignity."
The panel of 32 lawmakers from across the political spectrum are to hand in their much-awaited report on whether to ban the burka next month.

Posted on 12/11/2009 3:28 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 11 December 2009
Bomb-sniffing dogs on Vancouver transit worry Muslim leader

From CBC News
Specially trained bomb-sniffing dogs might soon be patrolling Metro Vancouver's buses and SkyTrains just in time for the Olympics, but that has some Muslims concerned.
The Metro Vancouver Transit Police Service is in the process of selecting the handlers and dogs that will be part of the two-year pilot project, said deputy chief George Beattie.
Once the teams are trained, the dogs will work on the entire transit system, including buses, SkyTrains and SeaBus ferries.
But the idea of being sniffed up and down by a slobbery pooch — no matter how well trained — has already raised concerns among some members of Metro Vancouver's Muslim community.
Some devout Muslims consider dogs to be unclean animals and try to avoid any contact with them. Some Muslim cab drivers in Vancouver have even refused to take guide dogs in their vehicles and will call for a second vehicle to take the fare instead.
Shawket Hassan, the vice-president of the B.C. Muslim Association, says he wants to make sure the dogs will not touch passengers during searches, which could lead to problems, particularly for Muslims heading to a mosque to pray.
"If they touch the body, then there is a probability they will leave some saliva on the clothes," said Hassan.
"If I am going to the mosque and pray, or doing something that way, and I have this saliva on my body … I have to go and change or clean," said Hassan.
He pointed out that devout Muslims pray five times a day, no matter where they are.
Hassan said he wants to work with the transit police to develop guidelines that would keep the dogs at least 30 centimetres away from passengers.
Must not let them get close enough to smell the hidden substance must we?
I know a couple of police sniffer dogs and delightful friendly creatures they are. A dog thst isn't good with people couldn't do the job.
Never forget it isn't what goes into (or onto in this case) a man that defiles him, but what comes out of him. That is, his words and deeds.

Posted on 12/11/2009 3:38 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 11 December 2009
Britain, Long a Libel Mecca, Reviews Laws

Sarah Lyall writes in the NYTimes:

LONDON — England has long been a mecca for aggrieved people from around the world who want to sue for libel. Russian oligarchs, Saudi businessmen, multinational corporations, American celebrities — all have made their way to London’s courts, where jurisdiction is easy to obtain and libel laws are heavily weighted in favor of complainants.

Embarrassed by London’s reputation as “a town called sue” and by unusually stinging criticisms in American courts and legislatures, British lawmakers are seriously considering rewriting England’s 19th-century libel laws.

A member of the House of Lords is preparing a bill that would, among other things, require foreigners to demonstrate that they have suffered actual harm in England before they can sue here.

English libel law is the opposite of America’s in many ways. In the United States, the plaintiff, or accuser, must prove that the statement in question was false; public officials must also prove that it was made maliciously, with “reckless disregard” for the truth.

In England (Scotland has its own system), the burden of proof rests on the defendant, whose statements are presumed false and who has to establish that they are true.

It is not only news organizations that are running afoul of the law. Environmentalists, anticorruption campaigners, medical researchers and soccer fans posting criticisms of their teams on blogs have all been sued or threatened with legal action in recent years.

The justice secretary, Jack Straw, said recently that he was alarmed about “libel tourism.” And in the House of Commons, a committee has listened to a parade of witnesses denounce the current law as perverse, unfair, prohibitively expensive, contemptuous of free speech and an anachronism in an age when access to articles on foreign Web sites can be obtained anywhere.

“We all have substantial and increasing concern at the potential of the English law of defamation to affect our work unjustly and oppressively,” a consortium of foreign newspapers, publishers and human rights organizations, including The New York Times, said in a statement to the committee.

Noting that “one ‘hit’ in England is enough for a multimillion-pound libel action in London,” the statement called England’s libel laws “repugnant to U.S. constitutional principles.” It said that because of the threat of costly lawsuits, some American newspapers were considering abandoning distribution here and installing firewalls to block access to their Web sites in England.

More than 20,000 people, including Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist, have signed a petition saying that the laws “discourage argument and debate” and have no place in scientific disputes...

Posted on 12/11/2009 6:46 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 December 2009
Get A Government Job
Federal employees are doing just fine in this recession. USAToday has the latest figures:
The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.

Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months — and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.

Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time — in pay and hiring — during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.

The highest-paid federal employees are doing best of all on salary increases. Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available.


When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.

The trend to six-figure salaries is occurring throughout the federal government, in agencies big and small, high-tech and low-tech. The primary cause: substantial pay raises and new salary rules.

"There's no way to justify this to the American people. It's ridiculous," says Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a first-term lawmaker who is on the House's federal workforce subcommittee.

Jessica Klement, government affairs director for the Federal Managers Association, says the federal workforce is highly paid because the government employs skilled people such as scientists, physicians and lawyers. She says federal employees make 26% less than private workers for comparable jobs.

USA TODAY analyzed the Office of Personnel Management's database that tracks salaries of more than 2 million federal workers. Excluded from OPM's data: the White House, Congress, the Postal Service, intelligence agencies and uniformed military personnel.

The growth in six-figure salaries has pushed the average federal worker's pay to $71,206, compared with $40,331 in the private sector...

Posted on 12/11/2009 7:10 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 December 2009
2+2= Anything at All

Frank Tipler is an interesting and original thinker who has been published at NER (see Updike and Me).  Whatever you may think of his thesis that science proves the existence of an uncaused cause, or the original source of reality - with or without the science, I think his thesis is sound philosophically - you have to wonder at the response he received:

Last week I was on a university panel formed to debate the issue of science and religion. My argument was the same one I’ve been making for years: given the known laws of physics — in particular, general relativity (Einstein’s theory of gravity) and quantum mechanics — we have no choice but to conclude that God exists.

I defined “God” as the “uncaused first cause,” which is the definition used by St. Thomas Aquinas in his “second way” (Aquinas’ second of five proofs of God’s existence). Aquinas took his proof from Moses Maimonides, who in turn took it from the Kalam Muslim theologians. That is, these leading theologians of the three leading monotheist religions all defined “God” the same way, so I thought this would be an acceptable definition. Knowing what is meant by the word “God,” we can now use physics to see if there is indeed “God” out there.

There is. The laws of physics tell us that the universe began about 14 billion years ago at the initial (or big bang) singularity. What is this “singularity”? Looking at its properties, one sees that it is the uncaused first cause. Something that is the cause of all causes, but Himself without a cause. Given the laws of physics, the existence of the initial singularity follows necessarily from the mathematics. Now of course we cannot be certain that the laws of physics are correct. We learn about nature via experiment, and new experiments may tell us tomorrow that general relativity and quantum mechanics are just limits of more fundamental laws, which do not possess an initial singularity.

I doubt this, since general relativity and quantum mechanics can themselves be shown mathematically to be special cases of the classical mechanics as developed in the nineteenth century. So there is no evidence, experimental or theoretical, that there are any laws of physics more fundamental than general relativity or quantum mechanics. But I can’t rule it out. In science we can only say that the truth of these two theories is highly probable, not certain.

But given these laws of physics, the singularity is certain. It is certain because His existence follows of necessity, from the mathematical analysis of the equations of relativity and quantum mechanics. Given the laws of physics, the existence of the singularity is as certain as 2 + 2 = 4.

I made this point on the panel. No one challenged the laws. No one challenged my calculations. What they challenged was my statement that 2 + 2 = 4!

I was told that 2 + 2 = 4 is merely a matter of opinion. I was told that Gödel showed mathematics could be inconsistent, so anything goes. (Actually, 2 + 2 = 4 is a theorem of Presburger arithmetic, which is arithmetic with addition and subtraction only, and Presburger arithmetic is, and has been proven to be, decidable, complete, and consistent.)

I’ve had this experience several times now. University faculties now teach that truth is whatever the consensus of the faculty says it is (this was made explicit is the Berkeley faculty handbook a few years ago). This idea that the ruling group of faculty can establish truth by authority, even over the truths of mathematics like 2 + 2 = 4, has a chilling Orwellian flavor...

The modern secular creed may be summed up as follows: Truth is a fraud, Beauty an illusion and Goodness a cover for hypocrisy.  Is it any wonder our civilization is coming apart at the seams?

Posted on 12/11/2009 9:19 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 11 December 2009
Timmerman: Daniel Benjamin Obama’s CT Czar peculiar views on Islam

Kenneth Timmerman, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, author and columnist sent me an article that contained the peculiar views of Obama counterterrorism ‘czar’ Daniel Benjamin on Islam’s connection to the Global War on Terrorism. Benjamin, a former Clinton Administration official,  was confirmed in May by the US Senate as the State Department Co-coordinator for Counterterrorism. Previously he was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and director of its Center on the US and Europe. Benjamin  is the co-author with Steven Simon of books on terrorism and counterterrorism: The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam's War Against America (2003) and  The Next Attack: The Failure of the War on Terror and a Strategy for Getting it Right. His views on how to ‘correctly fight’ the war on terrorism can be seen in this summer 2009 Aspen Institute video in conversation with House Intelligence member, Jane Harman, (D-CA), Jeffrey Goldberg and others on the topic of “Global War on Terrorism: Is America fighting the Right War.”

Timmerman’s article was largely focused on the comments of Bruce Riedel, a seasoned  former CIA officer and counterterrorism expert, about the recently announced Obama Afghan War ‘surge’ strategy. Riedel had coordinated President Obama’s Afghan war strategy review last March. He is a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Saban Center of the Brookings Institution.   

At the conclusion of Timmerman’s  account of Reidel’s views on the Afghan surge strategy he notes that he ran into Benjamin. He reported this exchange with Benjamin revealing the latter’s peculiar views about the role that Islam plays in the Global War on Terrorism.

Newsmax asked Benjamin how the Obama administration could wage war against global Islamic jihad if it didn’t mention the word “Islam.”

Benjamin said the administration felt it was “counterproductive” to look at global terrorism as primarily a Muslim phenomenon.

“Al-Qaida has appropriated texts of Islam, but there is nothing to be gained by describing this as an Islamic problem. That is not going to get us where we want to go,” he said.

He said the goal of administration policy was to “undermine the al-Qaida narrative” and to attack the sources of “real or perceived deprivation” by focusing on the “underlying conditions” that lead to extremism. “When children have no hope of education, and young people have no hope for a job, this pushes people to radicalization,” he said.

When I sent this to my listserv yesterday, Cheryl “CJ” Joy of the Florida Security Council commented: ‘”we are doomed.”  

Benjamin’s views, perhaps for overarching diplomatic reasons, including President Obama’s June Cairo Muslim umma outreach speech,  no doubt reflect the cleansing of Quranic Jihad doctrine operative terms from the National Intelligence Strategy and the FBI Counter Terrorism Lexicon that Stephen Coughlin has revealed in an article we posted on what motivated Fort Hood Mass shooter Major Hasan.

Given yesterday’s revelations about the five American Muslims - both native-born and naturalized – who were arrested in Pakistan‘s Punjab region, it is hard in the face of the video they left behind to say that they were not motivated by Islamic Jihad beliefs. Certainly it wasn’t economic deprivation.

It would be interesting to have both Coughlin’s and Benjamin’s contending views aired at the next Fort Hood investigation hearing by Senator Lieberman’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. But, somehow, we don’t believe that will eventuate. Pity.

Posted on 12/11/2009 10:33 AM by Jerry Gordon
Friday, 11 December 2009
David Pinault On Christians In Yemen

I just finished reading an excellent article on Christians, and Christian worship, in Yemen, by David Pinault in the Catholic weekly magazine "America." Save for the first paragraph, it is unavailable on-line. Here's that first paragraph:

Hidden Prayer in Yemen

Islam and the problem of religious intolerance
the cover of America, the Catholic magazine

Christians in Sanaa, the capital city in Yemen, cannot pray in church. They must congregate in secret in their homes, and non-Christian Yemenis are monitored to ensure that they do not attend. During a recent visit to the country, I attended many of these clandestine services and watched with admiration as both foreigners and local Yemenis sought ways to practice their faith in a hostile environment.


If you are near a library, you may find "America" (especially if you live in America) and be able to read the rest of the story. It's excellent. And so, too, are David Pinault's other articles on Yemen, and Pakistan.  He describes himself as a participant in 'interfaith dialogue." I can't imagine how he, knowing what he knows, manages to still believe in it. But perhaps he's found a way.

Posted on 12/11/2009 1:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 December 2009
A Musical Interlude: Don't Put Your Daughter On The Stage, Mrs. Worthington (Noel Coward)

Listen here.

Posted on 12/11/2009 3:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 December 2009
Haringey Council resumes funding Islamic school with links to Hizb ut Tahrir

FromAndrew Gilligan's Telegraph blog
Haringey Council – the authority which brought you Victoria Climbié, Baby P, and the foster child sent to live with the family of one of the airline bomb plotters – has scored yet another bullseye. Late this afternoon, with no doubt deliberate timing late on a Friday, the council announced the outcome of its official review into a school run by supporters of the extremist, racist and separatist Islamic group, Hizb ut Tahrir, which received £113,000 of public money. The funding was suspended after I exposed it six weeks ago in the Telegraph.
And the verdict? “No evidence was found to suggest inappropriate content or influence in the school.” Funding has resumed.
The claim that “no evidence was found to suggest inappropriate influence” is breathtaking. Eight days ago, I myself sent – to Haringey Council’s chief press officer, Monica Brimacombe – quite indisputable evidence. She acknowledged receipt and tells me that she passed it on to the people doing the investigation. Read it for yourself at the bottom of this post. Or from this post follow the link to the Telegraph.
It is my strong suspicion that Labour-controlled Haringey is desperately trying to cover the back of its ultimate political master, the Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, who dropped a massive clanger a couple of weeks ago by backing the schools after they were attacked by David Cameron.
But though Balls may have been stupid, he didn’t have this document in front of him when he gave the schools the all-clear. Haringey Council did. That makes them, in my view, complicit in delivering impressionable young children into the hands of fundamentalists – with a handy Government subsidy to help them on their way.

Posted on 12/11/2009 4:10 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 11 December 2009

This is Theodore Dalrymple in the Daily Express. Hat tip to Alan
BY FAR the most significant thing about the case against Benjamin and Sharon Vogelenzang was that it reached a court of law in the first place. This evangelical Christian couple who run a hotel were accused of making derogatory remarks about the religion of one of their guests, Ericka Tazi, a Muslim convert, and thereby spreading religious hatred and contempt. Mrs Tazi was found to have exaggerated the couple’s verbal abuse grossly but the fact that the case was thrown out of court should not blind us to the insidious and creeping reign of terror that the Government has introduced in Britain by facilitating this kind of prosecution. 
While the criminal justice system actively promotes real crime by its refusal to repress it vigorously, it attempts to make criminals of Mr and Mrs Vogelenzang because they expressed forthright Christian beliefs. 
Apart from this, however, there is the strong suspicion that if the boot had been on the other foot, if the Vogelenzangs had complained about remarks made by Mrs Tazi about their religion, no case would have come to court. THE reason for the difference in approach is an officially-sponsored indifference or hostility to anything which might be considered part of the European and British cultural and religious heritage, combined with a  tender regard for any non- European and non-British  cultural heritage. 
This is now so marked a trait that it could almost be called racist. No British minister would go to Brick Lane in East London and say it was horribly Bangladeshi but a British minister had no compunction at all in complaining of an institution that it was “horribly white”.
There is a yet more cynical reason for the political class’s hatred of their own culture: it is politically advantageous to them. The mass immigration that has been permitted into Britain in the last few years, with the concomitant ideological glorification of the multi cultural society, has had as its purpose the production of a permanent change in the nature of the British population, which can be relied upon to vote for ever for the kind of politicians who brought it about. 
It is one thing to encourage immigration because your commerce is so strong that there is a labour shortage but quite another when neither of those conditions obtains. Our commerce was never strong and there never was a labour shortage. We imported people while there was still mass unemployment (admittedly disguised as sickness) merely to create a vote bank for those who brought this about. 
We are fortunate enough to be the inheritors of a tradition as great as (though not necessarily greater than) any that exists in the world. Why should we reject it? I write these words from India, where it is far easier to find genuine and knowledgeable admirers of British culture than it is among our own  political class. This surely is the saddest possible commentary on our condition. 

Posted on 12/11/2009 1:51 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 11 December 2009
Is Geert Wilders ‘Second Best’ or’ Second Worst’ Politician in The Netherlands?

Radio Netherlands had an article on its website today entitled: “Geert Wilders: Loved and Loathed”

As the author John Tyler correctly muses it is all about Wilders’ rise in polls among Dutch voters while the ruling coalition in the Hague Parliament detests him. As Tyler notes:

Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has come in second in two polls for politician of the year. A panel of Dutch television viewers said he is the second best politician this year, while Mr Wilders' colleagues in parliament named him the second worst.

Quite a discrepancy. But, actually, not so surprising. It is yet more evidence of the gap between the public and the elite.

Geert Wilders has made the disillusionment of many Dutch voters his reason for being. He is always ready to fight the establishment in the name of the little guy.

Wilders has shaken the Dutch political establishment with his stands on both domestic issues and against Islamization in The Netherlands and the EU.

Witness this from the Radio Netherland article about the game changing political dynamics in Holland that Wilders has effectively exploited.

And it's his followers that have put Mr. Wilders and his Freedom Party in a very strong position: second in European elections last spring, the largest party in the country for the last six months, according to one national opinion pollster. Mr. Wilders himself openly speculates about becoming the next prime minister.

Other political parties are having a tough time dealing with that scenario. The Freedom Party has been accused of having just one issue: anti-Islam. And it is precisely his fervent, if not radical, opposition to outward displays of Islam that brings condemnation from other politicians.

For instance, when Mr. Wilders proposed a tax on women who wear a Muslim headscarf, calling it a 'rag-head tax', other politicians felt Mr. Wilders had finally gone too far. 

Mr. Wilders has been successful, but he doesn't owe his success solely to good political tactics. The gulf between the Dutch public and the élite has been wide, and growing, for years now. Voters are no longer faithful to one party; they no longer feel rooted in any particular ideology.

Academics and pollsters have been studying this gulf since the late 1990s. Pim Fortuyn was the first politician to appeal directly to these floating voters, but he was murdered just before elections in the spring of 2002. Since then, voters have been party hopping much more than in decades past, and the established parties have suffered.

Wilders will still have to undergo the legal gauntlet of his trial for hate speech against Islam that begins on January 20, 2010.  Should he be acquitted, as both good sense and many of his admirers in The Netherlands, EU and here in North America believe might occur, both he and the Freedom Party will be vaulted into the lead position for the next Parliamentary election in the Netherlands. Should he be vindicated in court and become the next Dutch PM that would make Wilders a formidable leader in the fight against Islamization in the West.

Posted on 12/11/2009 2:03 PM by Jerry Gordon
Friday, 11 December 2009
A Little More On Hamid Dabashi, The Usurper Of The Hagop Kevorkian Chair

From Wikipedia, the impenetrable prose of "postcolonial-discourse" Hamid Dabashi: 

Among the distinctive aspects of Dabashi’s thinking are a philosophical preoccupation with geopolitics and the transaesthetics of emerging art forms that correspond to it. Dabashi’s principle work in which his political and aesthetic philosophy becomes historically anchored is his work on the rise of national cinema. There he contends that the only way out of the paradox of colonial modernity is the creative constitution of the postcolonial subject via a critical conversation with the historical predicament of the colonial subject. Dabashi argues that it is on the aesthetic site that the postcolonial subject must articulate the politics of her emancipation. In this respect, Dabashi’s major theoretical contribution is the collapsing of the binary opposition between the creative and the critical, the true and the beautiful, the poetics and the politics etc. On the colonial site, Dabashi argues in a memorable dialogue with Nietzsche and Heidegger, the Will to Power becomes the will to resist power. (Citation needed)

In an essay on Qur’anic hermeneutics, “In the Absence of the Face” (2000), Dabashi has also taken the Derridian correspondence between the signifier and the signified and expanded it from what he considers its “Christian Christological” context and read it through a Judeo-Islamic frame of reference in which, Dabashi proposes, there is a fundamental difference between a sign and a signifier, a difference that points to a metaphysical system of signification that violently force-feed meaning into otherwise resistant and unruly signs. It is from this radical questioning of the legislated semantics of signs incarcerated as signifiers that Dabashi has subsequently developed a notion of non-Aristotelian mimesis, as best articulated in his essay on Persian Passion Play, "Ta’ziyeh: A Theater of Protest" (2005). Here he proposes that in Persian Passion Play, we witness an instantaneous, non-metaphysical and above all transitory, correspondence between the signifier and the signified and thus the modus operandi of the mimesis is not predicated on a permanent correspondence in any act of representation. There are serious philosophical implications to this particular mode of non-representational representation that Dabashi has extensively examined in his essays on the work of the prominent artist Shirin Neshat. Dabashi’s political dedication to the Palestinian cause, and his work on Palestinian cinema, has an added aesthetic dimension in which he is exploring the crisis of mimesis in national traumas that defy any act of visual, literary, or performative representation.

Dabashi’s primarily feminist concerns are articulated in a series of essays that he has written on contemporary literary, visual and performing arts. There his major philosophical preoccupation is with the emergence of a mode of transaesthetics (“art without border”) that remains politically relevant, socially engaged and above all gender conscious. In his philosophical reflections, he is in continuous conversation with Jean Baudrillard, the distinguished French philosopher, and his notion of “transaesthetics of indifference”. Contrary to Baudrillard, Dabashi argues that art must and continues to make a difference and empower the disenfranchised.

In a critical conversation with Immanuel Kant, the founding father of European philosophical modernity, Dabashi has articulated the range of social and aesthetic parameters now defining the terms of a global reconfiguration of the sublime and the beautiful—in terms radically distanced from their inaugural articulation by Kant. His essays on transaesthetics, where these ideas are articulated, have been published in many languages by major European museums.

So far in his political thought, Dabashi has been concerned with the emerging patterns of global domination and strategies of regional resistance to them. Equally important to Dabashi’s thinking is the global geopolitics of labour and capital migration migration.


V. S. Naipaul has written acutely about the comical Third-World figures who ape, and sedulously parrot ("PApes and Parrots!" Parrots and Apes!" o quote some distinctly non-postcolonial discourse) the lexicon,and ill-digested ideas, from Western centers. Naipaul was writing about Black Power in Trinidad, and a vocabulary from London; Dabashi takes his cues from Paris, and what  he thinks he understands -- he's ill-educated and is not a systematic thinker nor a clear writer  -- of various Frenchmen, beginning with Paul Nizan and "Aden, Arabie" and then cutting to the chase with Derrida, Foucault, the entire list of contributors to Tel Quel, and other great figures, including above all that total fraud (see Ibn Warraq's "The Defense of the West"), the late unlamented Edward Said who, within the next decade, will disappear from view, his name kept alive only in the occasional, scornful, passing reference.

Hamid Dabashi is one of those figures. For more on him, and how thoroughly despised he is by the best people to come out of Iran, see his contretemps with Azar Nafisi, one which, he may not realize, exposes him for exactly what he is: a hysteric.

Posted on 12/11/2009 6:32 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 December 2009
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings?

Is that rude, or is it me? Moving swiftly on, four-year-olds are being monitored for Islamic brainwashing. Fair enough - in five years' time they'll be old enough to marry. From the Daily Mail:

Children as young as four are being monitored by terror police who fear they could be brainwashed by Islamic extremists.

A leaked police memo has revealed that counter-terrorism officers have visited nursery schools over concerns toddlers could be radicalised.

West Midlands counter-terrorism police emailed local community groups suggesting that children could be targets for terrorist recruiters.

An officer wrote: 'I do hope that you will tell me about persons, of whatever age, you think may have been radicalised or be vulnerable to radicalisation ... Evidence suggests that radicalisation can take place from the age of 4.'

The sergeant went on: 'I am a police officer and therefore it will always be part of my role to gather intelligence and I will report back any information or intelligence which may suggest someone is a terrorist, or is planning to be one or to support others.

'However, my role is to raise the level of awareness of the threat of terrorism and radicalisation and support and work with partners to try to prevent it.'

Officers specially trained in identifying children and young people vulnerable to radicalisation also spoke to staff at nursery and primary schools.

Arun Kundnani, of the Institute of Race Relations, later contacted the officer responsible, who said it was standard to visit nurseries.

He told the Times: 'He did seem to think it was standard. He said it wasn’t just him or his unit that was doing it. He said the indicators were they [children] might draw pictures of bombs and say things like ‘all Christians are bad’ or that they believe in an Islamic state.

'It seems that nursery teachers in the West Midlands area are being asked to look out for radicalisation.

'He felt that it was necessary to cover nurseries as well as primary and secondary schools.'

The revelation comes as new Home Office figures show a seven-year-old has become the youngest child to feature in a scheme to tackle grooming by extremists.

The child was one of 228 people referred to the Channel Project, part of Prevent, the Government's flagship strategy to stop young people becoming terrorists.

More than 90 per cent of those identified by the project are between 15 and 24 and most are Muslim.

Posted on 12/11/2009 4:32 PM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 11 December 2009
Asim Hafeez, Keeping Great Britain Safe

From Harry's Place: 

Is a senior Home Office ‘Prevent’ employee an Islamist?

This is a guest post by a Concerned Whistleblower

Asim Hafeez, the head of the ‘Prevent Interventions Unit’ at the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism, has recently been profiled by Martin Bright of the Jewish Chronicle, who quoted Home Office officials as describing him as a ‘hardcore salafi’.

A number of Hafeez’s talks are available online which appear to not only back up Bright’s accusations but also to suggest that Hafeez might additionally be a hard-line Islamist who wishes to replace the British constitution with ‘the Quran and the Sunnah’.

One of the most alarming lectures available online is one called ‘Jesus in Islam’ which Hafeez gave in November 2008 to the Islamic Society of the University of Glamorgan.

Although most of the lecture is devoted to attacking Christian beliefs, which is troubling enough in itself, the most alarming part occurs towards the end of the talk (from 05:45 onwards) when he tells his audience:

“Why is it taking such a long time to show the beauty of the message of al-Islam? Because we are not practicing Islam as it is meant to be practiced. In lecture which I gave to a humanist society, which I was mentioning to some brothers earlier, all of them were shocked by this, [they said]: ‘You are giving us this picture of Islam and we don’t see it anywhere in the world’. And I can’t turn around and say, ‘Yes it is prevalent in every Muslim country’ because it’s not, because we’ve drifted from the Quran and the Sunnah. We’ve left our deen [religion] behind us and adopted ’-isms’, communism, capitalism, bengalism, pakistanism, Saudi-ism, whatever-isms’, nationalism. Hizbiya and Asabiyya. We’ve adopted them instead of the Quran and the Sunnah as our constitution. This is the problem.”

Let’s un-pack this and see what Asim Hafeez saying.

Hafeez initially says ‘we are not practicing Islam as it is meant to be practiced’ and that Muslims have drifted ‘from the Quran and Sunnah’. While such phrases are widely used by Muslims of all persuasions in order to give a religious hue to their respective causes, the context that is provided by Hafeez’s following sentences makes this platitude a rather greater matter of concern.

In particularly, Hafeez goes on to say this reliance ‘on the Quran and Sunnah’ has been replaced by belief in a range of different ideologies and specifically Hizbiya which means party-ism and Asabiyya means roughly nationalism or patriotism, such the ‘Bengalism’ and ‘Pakistanism’ which he references.

This raises some important questions.

Why does Hafeez believe that adopting ideas like capitalism equate to leaving ‘our deen behind us? Likewise, why is a person who apparently rejects the concept of nationalism and patriotism, working in a government department which is explicitly aiming to strengthen the identification of British people who are Muslim with the UK and its institutions?

It gets worse, however, when Hafeez says that ‘We’ve adopted them instead of the Quran and the Sunnah as our constitution.’

This phrase is, of course, an exact echo of the Muslim Brotherhood’s famous slogan: ‘The Quran is our constitution’.

What is a British government employee, especially one who is head of a key counter-extremism programme, doing lecturing Muslim students using the words and slogans of the hard-line Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood?

And, most importantly of all, what does a British Muslim like Hafeez mean who he tells other British Muslims that ‘We’ve adopted them instead of the Quran and the Sunnah as our constitution. This is the problem’?

Is Hafeez talking about the British constitution (such as it is)? Does he think that the British constitutional arrangement should be replaced with ‘the Quran and the Sunnah’? If not, then which constitution is he talking about when he says ‘our constitution’?

This all raises a bigger question, however, which is why has a ‘hardcore salafi’ like Asim Hafeez been made head of the Home Office’s ‘Interventions Unit’, a unit which was specifically created to identify Islamist individual and groups and find ways to challenge their Islamist ideology – when he appears to have himself preached the very same ideology on British university campuses?

Posted on 12/11/2009 4:50 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 December 2009
Should Hamid Dabashi Get Away With Re-Inventing Himself?

For years Hamid Dabashi has been known to some in the Iranian emigration as "Hamid the Arab" for his hero-worship of Edward Said, his work as a promoter of the "Palestinian" cause -- i.e., the Jihad against Israel -- and for the sympathy he has  displayed, not least in his interminable book on the  Vdoctinre and practice of Velayet-e faqih, to the Islamic Republic of Iran and all its works -- until the day before yesterday, when he began to describe himself as a long-time ferocious critic of the Islamic Republic . Now that all the most intelligent people in Iran are thoroughly fed up wtih the Islamic Republic of Iran, and a great many of them becoming fed up with Islam itself, and now that, for various reasons, in the West (even among those who have no real opinions, or who were arabisant and islamisant, like Hamid Dabashi himself),  starting with that bellwether of the fashionable West known as the Upper West Side, Hamid Dabashi appears to be reinventing himself, as a brave opponent of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

At least, that is what it appears to be from his appearance today in the Wall Street Journal: 

Iranians Flee Iran

by Steve Stecklow and Farnaz Fassihi



NEVSEHIR, Turkey -- Sadegh Shojai fled Iran after government agents raided his Tehran apartment, seizing his computer and 700 copies of a book he published on staging revolutions.

Now, he and his wife spend their days in this isolated Turkish town in a cramped, coal-heated apartment that lacks a proper toilet. But Mr. Shojai, 28 years old, continues to churn out articles on antigovernment Web sites about Iranian political prisoners, and helps to link students in Tehran with fellow students in Europe.

"I feel very guilty that I have abandoned my friends and countrymen, so I make up for it by burying myself in activism here," he says.

He's part of a small but spreading refugee exodus of businesspeople, dissidents, college students, journalists, athletes and other elite Iranians that is transforming the global face of Iran's resistance movement.

"Because of new technology and the Internet, prominent figures of the opposition can be more effective outside of Iran and do things they wouldn't be able to do there," says Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Iranian studies at Columbia University. People staying behind "are ridiculed and sidelined," or thrown in jail. [to quote Hamid Dabashi here is to mislead, by lending him legitimacy as a presumably principled long-time  opponent of the regime, and of all that it implies]

The United Nations says more than 4,200 Iranians world-wide have sought refugee status since Iran's controversial June presidential vote and bloody street violence. This provincial Turkish town -- near the famed carved-rock dwellings of Cappadocia that harbored outcasts in millennia past -- is home to 543 Iranians seeking asylum.


I don't thnk my friends, who call him "Hamid the Arab," nor any of the other sensible people in the Iranian diaspora, keenly aware of Hamid Dabashi's friendship with Edward Said, and his sympathetic identification with the forces of Jihad (at least, the forces of the Arab Muslim Jihad against Israel), will be fooled by Hamid Dabashi.

Qaere: And what about non-Muslim Americans? Will they allow Hamid Dabashi to present himself as a sympathizer with, perhaps even a long-time secret participant in, the revolt against the Islamic Republic of Iran, and all its works and days? 

Don't let Hamid Dabashi get away with it. There are ten thousand well-educated Iranians who should have had the job Dabashi managed to occupy and monopolize for so long. They have his number. We should have it, too.

Posted on 12/11/2009 6:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 December 2009
Please Take A Look At The Official Website Of Hamid Dabashi


Take a long look, at all the various parts of the Official Website of Hamid Dabashi, as written and carefully updated and maintained by Hamid Dabashi. That Official Website of Hamid Dabashi can be found right here.

Now,  please read the articel on Azar Nafisi by Hamid Dabashi, that appeared in Egypt's Al-Ahram .

Now pretend you are Jacques Barzun. Or Joseph Schacht. Or Lionel Trilling. Or Fouad Ajami. Or Abbas Kierostami. Or Azar Nafisi herself Take a good look at up-from-the-lower depths Professor Hamid Dabashi, and his self-promoting website, and his crude and hysterical attack on Nafisi's "Reading Lolita in Teheran." . Like what you see? Impressed with Columbia's choice to fill the well-upholstered Hagop Kevorkian Chair? 

No, I didn't think so.


Posted on 12/11/2009 6:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 December 2009
Sometimes Life Refuses To Imitate Art

Tiger Woods has just announced that he has decided to take a break from golf.

Just the way Hegel always prophesied (in the words of stately,  plump, transumptive Harold Bloom), any future will be transcended automatically by a more future future.

This future future has come and devastatingly devalued, if not all of the current currency, at least that groatsworth of wit which I pulled from my pocket the other day, in order to place a bet on Tiger's likely strategy. I see that I was wrong.

Posted on 12/11/2009 7:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 December 2009
A Musical Interlude: One Little Quarrel (Carroll Gibbons And Savoy Hotel Orch., voc. Al Bowlly, Anona Winn)

Listen here.

Posted on 12/11/2009 8:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 December 2009
But Three's A Crowd

Woods "had a pretty big appetite for women" added Braun, as the world famous athlete's list of extramarital "transgressions" continues to grow.

"He was rarely with just one girl. He usually wanted more. He liked three-ways," she said.

Posted on 12/11/2009 10:31 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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