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These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 13, 2014.
Sunday, 13 April 2014
A New York Times Story On Islam That Shows Signs Of Getting The Point

The men who off to participate in violent Jihad -- the Jihad of qital or combat --- are well-off as well as poor, educated as well as illiterate, as the reporter makes clear. What they share is a deep faith, not in an "extremist" Islam but in Islam, period, and an unquenchable desire to act on that faith, without submitting to the prudential considerations that hold back others (others who participate in Jihad, using other instruments).

Here.

Posted on 04/13/2014 11:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 13 April 2014
An Independent Kurdistan Can Start, But Not End, With Northern Iraq

The behavior of the Arabs who rule in Baghdad has finally been too much for the Kurds.

Read here.

Posted on 04/13/2014 7:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 13 April 2014
Smoking Break, Or, She'd Walk A Mile For A Camel

t

Posted on 04/13/2014 9:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 13 April 2014
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Okay, Toots (Eddie Cantor)
Watch,and listen, here.
Posted on 04/13/2014 9:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 13 April 2014
Is Brandeis University Biased against Israel?

Brandeis University has violated its own academic principles by withdrawing the honorary degree that was to be conferred on Ayaan Hirsi Ali during its Commencement exercises in May 2014. The reason given by University President Frederick Lawrence, an honorable man, was that “we cannot overlook that certain of her past statements are inconsistent with Brandeis University core values.”

President Lawrence did not mention which particular “core values” were in danger, nor did he mention the pressure coming from various sources put on the University. The campaign was apparently initiated by a senior at the University named Sarah Fahmy, a member of the Muslim Students Association, who organized a petition that stated “It has come as a shock to our community due to her extreme Islamophobic beliefs that Ali would be receiving an Honorary Degree in Social Justice.” Apparently the petition was signed on line by “thousands.”

Protests against the award also came from 86 of the 350 Brandeis faculty, and particularly from Joseph Lumbard, an American convert to Islam who is chair of Islamic and Middle East Studies at the University.  Mr. Lumbard, expressing unusual sensitivity, held that the award to Ali makes “Muslim students feel very uneasy.” Most important of all, the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) seemed very disturbed by the award. On April 9, 2014 it welcomed the decision to withdraw the invitation. CAIR thought this was a “victory over hate.” Its spokesperson, Ibrahim Hooper, has previously also welcomed the possibility of another victory, “the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.”

The sad reality is that Brandeis has appeased that Islamic demand for intolerance because of Ali’s criticism of Islamic behavior. Let there be no mistake. The President and many of the faculty and students of Brandeis have dishonored the very motto of the university: “Truth even unto its innermost parts.”  The President’s excuse that Ali’s statements are not consistent with the University’s “core values” need elucidation. Those core values are citizenship, integrity, respect, civility, lifelong learning, and embracing diversity. Surely, Ali has been a model in exemplifying them, not violating them.

All the intense animosity and fear of this 44 year-old Somali born, now American, individual seems to have stemmed from one paragraph in an interview that Ali gave to Reason Magazine in 2007 when she said “I think we are at war with Islam.” Perhaps she misspoke on that occasion when she might have used the words “fundamental or extremist Islamism,” to illustrate the actions of al-Qaeda or the perpetrators of 9/11.

The essential issue is that CAIR and the Muslim groups, and the other perhaps well-meaning but misguided individuals, who engaged in the angry, intolerant, bigoted diatribe against Ali and were responsible for the withdrawal of the award ignored, deliberately or otherwise, the contribution of Ali to the Social Justice for which she was being honored.

Perhaps the real reason for the diatribe was unstated. It was not the ostensible reason based on Ali’s one paragraph that may or may not have been objectionable. The hostility was more likely based on her frank, explicit views of Israel and the Palestinians. After her visit to Israel, Ali said, “My main impression was that Israel is a liberal democracy. …In the places I visited, including Jerusalem as well as Tel Aviv and the beaches, I saw that men and women are equal…When I speak about the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and the role of Arafat in the tragedy of Palestine, I do not get a large audience.”

Her own life story is well known, with her subjection to genital mutilation, beatings, and an arranged marriage, her flight to the Netherlands where she was a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003-2006, her participation in the film for which Theo Van Gogh was murdered by Islamists, and the simultaneous threat of her own death.  She has been an articulate defender of the rights of women against abuses that result from the religious concepts of Islam or the social mores of Islamic societies. Particularly important has been her campaign against “honor killings,” that have murdered thousands of Muslim women, and against the forced child marriages in Muslim societies. While it is understandable that CAIR are the Muslim Students Association would not appreciate her critiques of Muslim society on these controversial practices, it remains puzzling why Western feminists do not do so to a greater degree. They all might have gained more understanding of the issue from reading the National Geographic News of February 2002 and seeing the documentaries on its channels that deal with the problems that Ali has discussed.

It is useful to put the Ali case in the context of previous events in Brandeis history. An earlier incident concerned Jeanne Kirkpatrick, former US Ambassador to the United Nations and a strong supporter of the State of Israel. In 1994 she had been invited to accept an honorary degree at the University but in view of the protest by 23 faculty members against her, on the alleged basis of her views on Latin America, she withdrew. Even then this should have been a warning to Brandeis. Kirkpatrick remarked, “I do not desire a relationship with a university whose faculty is apparently dominated by ideological zealots.”

A second incident was the honorary degree given to Tony Kushner, well known as a playwright but also a controversial figure in reference to his harsh critical remarks of Israel. In spite of public protests against the award, he was given the degree. The then President Jehuda Reinharz in May 2006 said that “Brandeis does not select honorary degree recipients on the basis of their political beliefs or opinions…the University applies no litmus test requiring honorary degree recipients to hold particular views on Israel or topics of current political debate.”

It is fair to ask why President Lawrence today has not applied this Reinharz principle to the question of Ali. Are double standards being applied? Brandeis after all not only has Muslim faculty and students; it also has a Muslim chaplain. Is Brandeis succumbing to appeasement to avoid the impression that is in any way favorable to Israel? Is it afraid or ashamed of its Jewish origins? Its own proclaimed ideals and principles should make it avoid appeasing bigoted extremists.

It is bewildering that the national executive director of CAIR, Nihad Awad, refers to Ali as a “promoter of religious prejudice,” and that the Brandeis senior regards Ali’s criticism of painful practices as “Islamophobia.”  This absurd excuse, together with the Islamic Organizations emphasis on forbidding “defamation of religion,” is simply an attempt to prevent any criticism of the religion, or the call for jihad or the application of the punitive sharia law concerning women.

Mr. Awad, who made his accusations against Ali, should be reminded both of his own past, and also of the activity of his own organization.  CAIR was named as one of the co-sponsors in funding Hamas, the terrorist regime in Gaza, and has been regarded as the US arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. Much of the evidence for this is documented in the 2008 case, the United States v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. The documents show, among other things, a check dated 10/5/1994 for $5,000 given by the HLF to CAIR. Among those convicted in the case was a member of the founding Board of Directors of the Texas branch of CAIR; he was sentenced to 65 years imprisonment. Two persons mentioned in the evidential proceedings concerning a meeting in 1993 in Philadelphia between the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas were Nihad Awad, as well as Omar Ahmad, cofounder of CAIR.

In the light of these facts, different from the intolerant accusations of bigoted self-interested parties, perhaps President Lawrence might now reexamine which of the parties involved in the Ali case are guilty of violating the University “core principles.”  Someone who has fought all her life for the dignity of women, or those accused of laundering money for Hamas?

It may still be time for Mr. Lawrence to acknowledge his mistake and give an honorary degree to Ali. If he does not, other people might act. There are four individuals who will be given degrees at the Brandeis Commencement. One of them is Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times. She should recognize that the Brandeis decision on Ayaan Hirsi Ali was one that was not fit to print.

Michael Curtis is author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East.

First published in the American Thinker.

Posted on 04/13/2014 8:26 AM by Michael Curtis
Sunday, 13 April 2014
Gove in war on Islamic takeover of schools

From the Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph

Teams of inspectors are to be sent into dozens of schools over fears that children are being “radicalised”. Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has prepared the way for inspectors to penalise institutions where “religious conservatism” may be getting in the way of teaching.

The move, reported by The Sunday Times, comes as the Department for Education investigates a series of schools over an alleged “Islamic takeover plot” in Birmingham. 

A Whitehall source told the Sunday Times that the investigations would be carried out in “several phases” over the coming months and would help identify those schools in need of “further investigation” and those deemed not connected to Islamicisation.

The move is primarily focused on Birmingham where claims that secular schools have been taken over by Islamic hardliners are already being investigated.  A whistleblower has told The Sunday Times that the new Muslim head at Ladypool Primary School in Birmingham scaled back Christmas celebrations after her appointment in September. 

Similar allegations have now emerged in Bradford and Manchester. Fifteen schools in Birmingham have been inspected this month by Ofsted, the schools inspectorate, at the request of the Department for Education (DfE). The reports, due to be published after Easter, are expected to find a common pattern of problems in some of the schools inspected. 

 A department source said: “The investigations will be done over several phases over the next few months and will help narrow down the schools that require further investigation by the DfE and those that are deemed OK and not connected to the Islamicisation. . .  Of particular concern is primary schoolchildren being radicalised and exposed to extremist ideologies.Extreme religious conservatism often acts as an entry to later problems. A child who is brought up, aged eight, nine, 10, believing that you should segregate the sexes and hand out Islamic textbooks is more likely to be radicalised in later life. . . In our view female staff being bullied in schools and segregated assemblies are very serious matters.” 

The DfE and Birmingham city council have been inundated with claims about efforts by Muslim governors to impose Islamic practices and squeeze out non-Muslim staff. Last week, the council ordered a freeze on the appointment of any new school governors. Fresh claims have also emerged in Manchester and Bradford. At Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College and Carlton Bolling College, both in Bradford, there are claims that head teachers have come under pressure from Muslim governors to introduce Islamic practices.

While many of the schools involved have a high number of Muslim pupils, often exceeding 90%, many of their parents are worried that their choice to send their children to a secular school is being undermined.

Posted on 04/13/2014 6:17 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 13 April 2014
Horror at halal slaughterhouse: Shocking undercover film shows the 'needless suffering' of livestock that are butchered without being stunned first

After years of our pointing out how abhorrent halal slaughter is, at last mainstream newspapers and people in authority are starting to say the same.

Our exclusive pictures reveal for the first time the full horror of a religious practice that Britain’s top vet wants outlawed. Undercover Mail on Sunday investigators secretly filmed inside a halal abattoir as more than 100 sheep appeared to writhe in agony after being ritually killed.

They were placed onto a conveyer belt with their legs tethered before the knife was drawn swiftly across their throats.

In the seconds after the sudden cut, the sheep strained to raise their heads as blood poured from their wounds. They then twitched and convulsed as they were hoisted by their hind legs on metal hooks to drain their bodies of blood. 

In non-halal abattoirs, livestock are stunned before killing to prevent unnecessary suffering. Some halal abattoirs also practise pre-stunning. But the animals we saw at this abattoir were fully conscious when slaughtered – a practice campaigners say is inhumane and needlessly cruel.

According to some Islamic scholars, stunning an animal before it is slaughtered for meat is not permitted. There are believed to be about 12 abattoirs dedicated to unstunned slaughterhouses in the UK, and hundreds of abattoirs that do stunned halal slaughter.

Denmark and Poland have recently banned unstunned ritual slaughter – a precedent animal welfare groups in Britain want the Government to follow. Last night, John Blackwell, the new president-elect of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said: ‘We would like to see unstunned slaughter banned in the UK on the grounds of animal welfare. There is current scientific evidence which says that animals do feel pain if they are slaughtered without any stunning.’

However, supporters of ritual slaughter have accused Mr Blackwell and the BVA of ‘inflaming prejudice’. Nadheem Adham, a director at the Halal Monitoring Committee, which certifies unstunned Islamic abattoirs, said: ‘We believe that halal unstunned slaughter is the most humane method of killing, as a swift stroke in the neck by a sharp knife renders the animal insensible to pain.’

Two Mail on Sunday reporters posing as meat buyers visited the Simply Halal abattoir in Banham, Norfolk. The MoS investigators were given a tour of the abattoir during a dawn slaughter session on Friday morning, before they placed an order for lamb and mutton.

Simply Halal is among a number of new abattoirs that have sprung up across Britain, providing a rising demand among Britain’s 2.7 million Muslims for meat from animals not stunned during killing.

Britain’s halal market is now worth £2.6 billion, accounting for 15 per cent of all meat eaten here. Latest figures from the Food Standards Agency show that about 32 million chickens, 1.4 million sheep and goats and 70,000 cattle are slaughtered without stunning each year in the UK.

Simply Halal . . . is run by Roger Carr, 65, . . . During the ‘business meeting’ at his shabby office, said: ‘You see the Pakis only want lean sheep, they don’t want no covering on it. They only want 24-26 kilos. Then you got Brick Lane, you can put any shit there, even dogs...’

He also said that he supplied his meat to mainstream butchers and the supermarket giant Morrisons, whose unsuspecting customers may be eating the meat products without knowing they have come from animals that were not stunned. Customers assume that mainstream butchers source their meat from abattoirs where all animals are slaughtered with prior stunning. They also expect that fresh and frozen meat in supermarkets is also from stunned slaughter. Some supermarket stores in Asian areas do sell ‘unstunned’ fresh meat, but it is sold at special concession counters.

But Mr Carr revealed that his Simply Halal frozen meat products are sold in 34 Morrisons stores, alongside conventional frozen meat products.

After the ‘business meeting’ at Simply Halal, the MoS reporters visited the abattoir, where they filmed more than 20 sheep getting slaughtered. The sheep were dragged from their pen and put on an escalator belt that also restrained their legs.

Then the abattoir’s Muslim slaughterman cut each animal’s throat as he chanted ‘Allahu Akbar [God is great]’, before dangling them by their legs on metal hooks upside down, as they writhed.

As the automated hook line took the sheep to another room, they were beheaded by another slaughterman, and fleeced and skinned by other workers. The slaughterman, from Luton, Bedfordshire, said he had been killing animals for the past 25 years. When asked how long it took an animal to die from the cut, he said coldly: ‘25 seconds.’

We showed our footage to Mr Blackwell, who said that it confirmed the latest scientific research on unstunned slaughter, which states that animals like sheep feel excruciating pain for as long as 30 seconds after their throats are cut.

The vet added that the Simply Halal slaughterman appeared to be breaching some rules set out by the Food Standards Agency, which regulates Britain’s abattoirs. Mr Blackwell said: ‘The slaughterman should not have put more than one sheep on the escalator belt ahead of slaughter, so that one animal does not witness the other being killed. Secondly, the slaughterman should have cleaned his knife after each cut as a hygiene rule. But he was not doing that.’

The BVA, along with the RSPCA, this weekend renewed its call to have ritual slaughter banned in the UK, and said it plans an e-petition against the practice. Mr Blackwell said: ‘We don’t want religious slaughter banned, but there are ways to meet in the middle, like employing post-cut stuns, which would reduce the pain, and improve animal welfare.’

Mr Carr said he sells the meat to up to three mainstream butchers in the South-East who are selling it on to unsuspecting customers who do not know the animals were not stunned before slaughter. Most fresh and frozen meats in supermarkets are sourced from abattoirs which stun before killing.

But supermarket chains like Tesco and Asda sell some unstunned meat at stores in areas with high Muslim populations in special ‘concession counters’ run by independent companies. However, Simply Halal’s range of frozen meat like Hot & Spicy Minute Steaks, Mediterranean Koftas, Beef Kebabs and Beef Meatballs is being sold at Morrisons stores among other Asian foods.

The Mail on Sunday has previously revealed that halal meat from animals who had been stunned before slaughter was being sold in schools, hospitals, pubs and at famous sporting venues such as Ascot and Twickenham. All the beef, chicken and lamb sold to fans at Wembley was secretly prepared in accordance with Islamic law, while Cheltenham College was one of several top public schools which also served halal chicken to pupils without informing them.

Posted on 04/13/2014 2:11 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

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