These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 12, 2009.
Thursday, 12 March 2009
If music be the food of love - play on
Artemis writes about Islamic attitude to music.
I was in Covent Garden yesterday where the quality of the buskers is very, very, high. Places are won by audition and due to the proximity of the Royal Opera House and other theatres classic music is favoured.
The prime spot is in the lower courtyard. As you can see from this picture a good musician can attract quite a crowd. This String Ensemble, the ZHL, played popular classics and the young man with the violin and mohican haircut sang, among others, the Toreador song from Carmen. There was banter and humour and showmanship.
There were visitors from all over the world, all ages and types, enjoying the music. Most people stood and watched for a while, then walked about the shops and stalls, then returned, then moved on. I managed to squeeze myself into a couple of gaps to get some photos.
There were three teenage girls in hijabs walking around. They stopped and one peered over the balcony. She didn't look interested, she didn't look disgusted either, she just looked puzzled. Her friends didn't even have the desire to see what it was. This beautiful music left them completely cold.
It was akin to me hearing a noise, peering at the source and finding that it was a recently painted wall, drying.
Nothing of interest.
Islamic Center Of Nashville to Show "Occupation 101"
Here is more evidence as to what is actually being promoted at the Islamic Center of Nashville. Satuday night they will screen the viciously anti-Israel film called Occupation 101. More dialogue, anyone?
Senate Hears Evidence Of Somali Radicalism In America
Senator Lieberman chaired a hearing in the Senate yesterday on the threat of homegrown terror from the American Somali community, which now numbers "betwen 70,000 and 200,000" - nobody knows. From CNN:
...The hearing highlighted the case of Shirwa Ahmed, a 27-year-old Somali-American who had been radicalized by al-Shabaab in his adopted home state of Minnesota before traveling to Somalia and blowing up himself and 29 others in October.
The idea that Ahmed was radicalized in the United States raised red flags throughout the U.S. intelligence community. The incident -- the first suicide bombing by a naturalized U.S. citizen -- was the "most significant case of homegrown American terrorism recruiting based on violent Islamist ideology," Lieberman said.
"The dangers brought to light by these revelations is clear: radicalized individuals trained in terrorist tactics and in possession of American passports can clearly pose a threat to the security of our country," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
Segments of the Somali-American community have been made vulnerable to recruitment by al-Shabaab because of a particularly tumultuous adjustment to American life, noted Andrew Liepman, deputy director for intelligence at the National Counterterrorism Center.
"Despite significant efforts to facilitate their settlement into American communities, many Somali immigrants face isolation," Liepman said.
"The (tough) adjustment to American society has reinforced their greater insularity compared to other more integrated recent immigrant communities and has aggravated the challenges of assimilation for their children," he said.
Somalis began arriving in the United States in significant numbers following the U.S. intervention in Somalia's humanitarian crisis in 1992, Liepman said. The Somali-American population is now concentrated in clusters primarily in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Columbus, Ohio; Seattle, Washington; and San Diego, California.
And Nashville, Tennessee, where there is ample evidence the Somali community is on the extreme end of fundamentalist Islam and are not integrating at all. They are keeping their children out of the school system. Instead they are being taught in an ad hoc Islamic school next to the mosque where the children memorize the Koran in Arabic and are beaten if they get it wrong. They are also likely to come from polygamous homes and are not told polygamy is illegal in the United States. In view of these circumstances, it is also likely the little girls are undergoing genital mutilation according to Somali tradition.
The potential recruitment of young Somali-American men has been made possible by "a number of factors that come together when a dynamic, influential and extremist leader gains access to a despondent and disenfranchised group of young men," Liepman said.
Many refugees, he said, "lack structure and definition in their lives" and are "torn between their parents' traditional tribal and clan identities and the new cultures and traditions offered by American society."
Liepman pointed out that there was no evidence of a radicalization of the entire Somali-American community, now believed to number between 70,000 and 200,000 people.
In fact, he said, the Somali-American community has been victimized by a "small group of extremists who are essentially terrorizing their own community, who are recruiting and radicalizing young people within that community."
This man's name is Mudd, which indicates just how clearly he perceives the situation.
"We don't have radicalized communities. We have radicalized clusters of (young) people," emphasized Philip Mudd, a director of the FBI's national security branch.
Clusters, tiny clusters.
The potential terrorist indoctrination and recruitment was a consequence of these clusters, Liepman said, and is the product of "the refugee experience of fleeing a war-torn country combined with isolation, perceived discrimination, marginalization and frustrated expectations.
Yes of course, who wouldn't, after having been saved from jihad in their "war-torn" country, want to go back and join the jihad? Obviously, it's discrimination and frustrated expectations that makes them do it.
"Local criminal familial and clan dynamics make some members of this community more susceptible to (this) sort of extremist influence" of groups such as al-Shabaab, he said.
"Clan dynamics" too, but nothing whatsoever to do with Islam.
Liepman said there is a serious concern about individuals being indoctrinated by al Qaeda and al-Shabaab while in Somalia and then returning to the United States "with the intention to conduct attacks."
I'm not sure what the official Islamic position would be on this piece of music.
But here is some Islamic commentary on the evils of music in general, from the Gulf Times in Qatar:
Dear brothers, the battle between Satan, supported by his human and jinn soldiers, and the believers is endless; it never ceases. We experience this battle each day, hour and even each minute. On the very day that Allah cursed him and dismissed him down to earth, Satan swore that he would wage a bitter war in which he would mobilise all those he could manage to corrupt. He adopted many methods and different means in order to trap the children of Aadam.
Among such traps through which he snares people with little religious knowledge and understanding is listening to songs accompanied by prohibited musical instruments. Songs make the heart deviate from the Holy Qur’an and turn towards ugly deeds and vices. They are the “holy books” of Satan and the thick veil that stands as a stumbling block between a person and his Lord. It is the gate to adultery and sodomy. It is the means adopted by dissipated lovers in order to attain their ends. It is the method through which vicious jinns harm mankind.
Almost all people, save those whom Allah chose, are taken to singing to the extent that you may find a father teaching his child how to sing and encourage him to do this ugly deed. It has more than 10 different names in religion. It is called idle tales, nonsense, falsehood, whistling and clapping, the gate to adultery, the holy book of Satan, the source of hypocrisy in hearts, the foolish voice, the dissolute voice, the voice of Satan, the piper of Satan, and Sumood (singing in the dialect of the old people of Yemen).
Its names indicate its characteristics. What evil and wicked names! As for its first name, it has been mentioned in Allah’s saying which means: “But there are, among men, those who purchase idle tales, without knowledge (or meaning), to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah and throw ridicule (on the Path): for such there will be a humiliating Penalty. When Our Signs are rehearsed to such a one, he turns away in arrogance, as if he heard them not, as if there were deafness in both his ears: announce to him a grievous Penalty.” (Luqmaan: 6-7).
Women are more affected by songs, musical tunes and the meanings of their words than any one else. Listening to songs may lead a girl to fall in love with the singer, to the degree that his songs and pictures are never far away from her mind. Is there an evil temptation greater than this? Many are the decent girls who have become prostitutes because of such songs.
Songs cultivate hypocrisy in one’s heart just like grains grow and thrive in the presence of water, as Ibn Mas’ood said. Songs and Qur’an can never co-exist in a believer’s heart because of their contradictory nature. The Qur’an enjoins us not to follow our lusts, or the footsteps of Satan and to stick, instead, to virtuousness. As for songs, they invite us to the opposite.
Is it not true that songs encourage one to satisfy his lusts? Don’t they motivate one to practise each and every bad deed? Don’t they tempt a person to have an affair with a woman or even a child? Songs and wine are companions, and they tempt one to commit sins and evil deeds. Satan made a bargain between these two evils so that, together, they will support each other in calling to corruption. Songs lead to prohibited adoration and committing ugly deeds. O Allah, keep us away from Your Wrath and things which lead to Your Punishment. We ask Allah for forgiveness.
Britain on Thursday approved the visit to the country of Hizbullah official Ibrahim Moussawi to address a seminar on political Islam at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies
The March 25 trip will mark the first official visit of a Hizbullah representative to the UK since the European boycott of the guerrilla group was lifted in 2005.
Conservative think tank, The Center for Social Cohesion (CSC), wrote to Home Secretary Jaqui Smith to protest the decision, and said it would instruct lawyers to seek an arrest warrant for Moussawi if he is allowed into the country.
CSC director Douglas Murray said the Home Office should apply its policy of banning entry to those who "stir up tension and provoke others to violence," which was recently used to bar the Dutch lawmaker and Islam critic Geert Wilders.
Murray expressed concern that the government "finds it acceptable that an individual who incites hatred against the Jewish people and of Israelis should be permitted to enter."
CSC researcher Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens called Moussawi "a member of a terrorist group that is ideologically devoted to the destruction of Israel and the extermination of Jews worldwide; a group which murders political opponents as a matter of policy and terrorizes members of the Lebanese population who dare to defy them."
The decision to approve Moussawi's entry comes a week after Bill Rammell, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East, told the British Parliament that his government would hold discussions with Hizbullah's political wing.
Rammell said that decision was made "in the light of more positive developments in Lebanon, and the formation of the national unity government in which Hizbullah is participating."
FP: I would like to talk to you today about your view that the end ofcritical thought has arrived. First let me ask you, what exactly do you mean by critical thought?
Warner: Critical thought also can be called analytic thought or scientific analysis. A key element is that all sides of an idea are to be analyzed. There are no forbidden questions in critical thought. There is an appeal to logic and reason. Critical thought is not about feelings, but freedom of ideas.
Critical thought is the opposite of authoritative thought that is delivered fully developed by an “authority.” Authoritative thought is the use of power by controlling thought and ideas. Medieval scholasticism and Communist propaganda are examples of authoritative thought where there is no room in the public forum to disagree with the authority and if you do, you will be punished in some way. Authoritarian thought is the thought process of slavery. Freedom of thought is not allowed.
Two characteristics of critical reasoning are skepticism and humor. Skepticism means that all assumptions can be questioned. Everything is on the table. It may seem odd to have humor as part of critical thinking, but humor comes about as part of skepticism. Skepticism encourages humor because you are able to poke fun at any idea. One reason for the Mohammed cartoon riots was that Islam does not allow any skepticism or critical thought. There are no known Mohammed jokes in the Muslim world. We have jokes about God, Jesus, St. Peter, Moses, Satan and Adam. We can make a little joke at anybody’s expense because we can have freedom of thought. Humor stops at Mohammed’s door, because critical thought stops at Mohammed’s door...
Saudi Academy in Va. Revises Islamic History Books
An update to the story Jerry Gordon covered here and here.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — An Islamic school in northern Virginia with close ties to the Saudi government has revised its religious textbooks in an effort to end years of criticism that the school fosters hatred and intolerance.
While the Islamic Saudi Academy deleted some of the most contentious passages from the texts, copies provided to The Associated Press show that enough sensitive material remains to fuel critics who claim the books show intolerance toward those who do not follow strict interpretations of Islam.
The academy, which teaches nearly 900 students in grades K-12 at its campus just outside the Capital Beltway, developed new Islamic studies textbooks for all grades after a 2008 congressional report called portions of the previous editions troubling. The school provided the AP copies of the new textbooks, which revise language on hot-button issues such as requiring women to cover their heads and how Muslims should relate to people of other religions.
School officials say the books are part of the school's effort to promote universal values of tolerance and kindness and modernize some of the lessons.
They've had to make similar defenses before.
The school was founded in 1984 and largely stayed out of the spotlight until the Sept. 11 attacks, which focused attention on the Saudi educational system. In December 2001, two former ISA students, Mohammed El-Yacoubi and Mohammed Osman Idris, were denied entry into Israel when authorities there found El-Yacoubi carrying what the FBI believed was a suicide note linked to a planned martyrdom operation in Israel.
In 2005, a former ISA valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was convicted in federal court of joining al-Qaida while attending college in Saudi Arabia and plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush.
Last year, the school's then-director, Abdalla al-Shabnan, was convicted of failing to report a suspected case of child sex abuse.
Last year also was when the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom released a report saying the school's textbooks contained several troubling passages, including one saying it is permissible for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts from Islam and another saying "the Jews conspired against Islam and its people."
The new books don't contain those passages. The AP reviewed them with assistance from Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, who has criticized the academy and the books used there and in schools in Saudi Arabia.
While the academy's books borrow extensively from those used in the Saudi system, they also revise and delete certain words and passages. For instance, the books used in Saudi Arabia say that women must cover their face and body to conform with Islam's tenets. The ISA textbooks, though, only talk about covering the body. Words like "kaffir," which is often translated as "infidel," have been replaced with more neutral words like "non-Muslim."
Some sensitive sections survived the revisions, though. One of the few references to Christians and Jews, or "People of the Book," disparages scholars in those faiths for rejecting the truth of Islam...
My husband said at the time that he would get a suspended sentence. Even 3 months immediate imprisonment, which was very lenient, seemed too good to be true.
From The Sheffield Telegraph LORD Ahmed - the South Yorkshire peer who sent and received text messages on the motorway minutes before a fatal crash - is free from prison today after serving just 16 days of a 12-week sentence for dangerous driving.
Nazir Ahmed was freed from jail by three Appeal Court judges this afternoon.
He had been held at Doncaster Prison and, under the terms of his release, must live at his home address until this weekend.
Lady Justice Hallett, sitting at the Court of Appeal in London with Mr Justice Keith and the Recorder of Liverpool Judge Henry Globe QC, decided to suspend the sentence allowing him to go free immediately.
The 51-year-old from East Bawtry Road, Rotherham, would have been freed next Friday anyway, the court heard, and had therefore almost completed his sentence.
Geneva, March 11, 2009 — A new U.N. resolution circulated today by Islamic states would define any questioning of Islamic dogma as a human rights violation, intimidate dissenting voices, and encourage the forced imposition of Sharia law.
UN Watch obtained a copy of the Pakistani-authored proposal after it was distributed today among Geneva diplomats attending the current session of the UN Human Rights Council. Entitled "Combating defamation of religions," it mentions only Islam.
While non-binding, the resolution constitutes a dangerous threat to free speech everywhere. It would ban any perceived offense to Islamic sensitivities as a "serious affront to human dignity" and a violation of religious freedom, and would pressure U.N. member states -- at the "local, national, regional and international levels" -- to erode free speech guarantees in their "legal and constitutional systems."
It's an Orwellian text that distorts the meaning of human rights, free speech, and religious freedom, and marks a giant step backwards for liberty and democracy worldwide.
The first to suffer will be moderate Muslims in the countries that are behind this resolution, like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan, who seek international legitimacy for state-sanctioned blasphemy laws that stifle religious freedom and outlaw conversions from Islam to other faiths.
Next to suffer from this U.N.-sanctioned McCarthyism will be writers and journalists in the democratic West, with the resolution targeting the media for the "deliberate stereotyping of religions, their adherents and sacred persons."
Ultimately, it is the very notion of individual human rights at stake, because the sponsors of this resolution seek not to protect individuals from harm, but rather to shield a specific set of beliefs from any question, debate, or critical inquiry.
The resolution's core premise -- that "defamation of religion" exists as legal concept -- is a distortion. The law on defamation protects the reputations of individuals, not beliefs. It also requires an examination of the truth or falsity of the challenged remarks -- a determination that no one, especially not the UN, is capable of undertaking concerning any religion.
Tragically, given that Islamic states completely dominate the Human Rights Council, with the support of non-democratic members like Russia, China, and Cuba, adoption of the regressive resolution is a forgone conclusion. E.U. diplomats hope at best to win over a handful of wavering Latin American states to the dissenting side.
Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach, runs the cliché. I’ve never bought into this one. The doers could do better, and this site could teach them how. But there are those who can neither do nor teach – who don’t know their three Rs from their elbow – and these people “manage change”. Some of them change-manage projects, “project” coming increasingly to mean “bugger all”. Matthew Parris in The Times:
I'm sorry to hit you with this, but can you help me make sense of this ad - for a job (I think) with Transport for London. Inserted by the Office of the Mayor of London (a Tory, for heaven's sake), it has been appearing in a number of national publications:
Director of Programme and Project Management London - Competitive salary + excellent benefits
“Our IM service offering is undergoing a period of change and our newly created ‘Your IM' team now supports TfL's business requirements and provides strategic direction and implements common policies/initiatives to integrate our data. Spearheading this change, you'll prioritise business IM improvement initiatives and ensure the alignment of projects with overall business strategies. Managing a dedicated implementation team you'll also investigate and develop new initiatives, always ensuring successful governance, delivery assurance and financial control mechanisms are in place. Experience of leading multiple projects/programmes simultaneously and managing change as well as considerable commercial acumen (with £75m+ budget responsibility) and first class influencing skills are all essential as is PRINCE and MSP accreditations and ITIL and ISO20000 knowledge.”
So many acronyms. So little meaning. Have you the least idea what the job actually entails? Baffled, I followed the internet link and was plunged into an even bigger torrent of corporate babble: a prospectus in which the word “strategy” or “strategic” appeared 16 times, yet with no hint of what the strategy was.
The following bit was my favourite: “cross-portfolio leadership in a cross-modal, multi-functional, matrix managed IM organisation, whilst promoting the IM Vision and directing as necessary to ensure the directorates goals are achieved inline with IM strategy and objectives...”.
Applications close on March 27.
Budding applicants willneed to get their TLAs* in a row. More on management speak from a couple of days ago: