These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 15, 2009.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Racist escapes terror charge after threat to behead and bomb Muslims
The Islamic press has been bleating about this for a few weeks and insisting that there is a cover up. The saying sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander is unknown to them. Perhaps I should change that to honking, but its all farmyard.
From The Scotsman
THE Crown Office has been accused of double standards by Scotland's biggest Islamic group for not bringing terrorism charges against a man who threatened to blow up a mosque and behead Muslims.
The Scottish Islamic Foundation (SIF) has written to Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini querying the decision to prosecute Neil MacGregor for a breach of the peace, not terrorism offences.
MacGregor, 35, has admitted threatening to blow up Scotland's biggest mosque and to behead one Muslim a week until every mosque was shut down.
He will be sentenced at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Friday.
"There has been criticism for the lack of exposure this case has got, but this stems from how the case was originally handled," SIF chief executive Osama Saeed said. "Had he been a Muslim, we suspect that counter-terror police would have been involved from the outset, and it would have been processed in a completely different manner."
Mr Saeed insisted he was not seeking to minimise the seriousness of Islamic terrorism cases.
"All we are calling for is consistency, and the authorities have to explain why the heavy books of the Terrorism Acts were not thrown at MacGregor," he said.
The SIF was founded last year, describing itself as a "platform for action", and has received £400,000 from the Scottish Government.
An earlier hearing was told MacGregor admitted sending an e-mail to Strathclyde Police, threatening to blow up Glasgow Central Mosque if certain demands were not met. Included in the message was a threat to behead one Muslim a week, in the same manner that construction worker Mr Bigley was killed after he was kidnapped in Iraq in 2004.
The court heard MacGregor, from Derbyshire, followed that e-mail with a 999 call to police on 5 February, 2007, in which he claimed he was from the National Front and that a bomb was going to go off at Glasgow's Central Mosque.
Police searched the building for explosive devices, but failed to find anything suspicious.
In his e-mail, MacGregor wrote: "I'm a proud racist and National Front member. We as an organisation have decided to deal with the current threat from Muslims in our own British way like our proud ancestors. Our demands are very small. Close all mosques in Scotland, we see this is very easy – even you guys can handle that."
He then wrote: "If our demands aren't met by next Friday we'll kidnap one Muslim and execute him or her on the internet, just like they did to our Ken Bigley."
A Crown Office spokesman said that MacGregor was indicted on a charge of breach of the peace, aggravated by racial hatred, "following full and careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances in this case".
The Scotsman has a companion article "Distinguish the mad from the truly bad over terror threats" here but that is available subscription only or the paper edition.
My own opinion is that he is being treated the same as the many, many protestors who threaten "Behead those who insult Islam" many of who have not even been charged with Offence likely to cause Breach of the Peace. There seems to be no evidence that MacGregor had any bomb making equipment or instructions or that his threats were anything beyond bluster.
The National Front is genuinely racist; they make the BNP, which is attracting supporters lately who are not actually racists despite the party's core policy and roots being dubious, look like a playground game. It would be interesting to know if he really was a member. Racists don't usually claim to be so.
Posted on 04/15/2009 2:42 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Disappointment over no St George's parade in Luton
I'm writing about this story from the Daily Star because I know that foreign news sites take up items from there. And because having done a little delve in the local press there is background to the story.
PATRIOTIC Brits blasted a council yesterday for barring a St George’s Day parade – after letting Muslim fanatics abuse our soldiers.
Anyone wanting to stage an event in Luton, Beds, has to seek permission from the council’s Safety Advisory Group. But while fanatical Muslims were given the green light to gather and scream insults when the Royal Anglian Regiment returned from Iraq last month, an application for a St George’s Day celebration this month was turned down.
Approval has also been granted for events to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed and the death of his grandson.
Many Luton residents complaining of “double standards” were further angered when a rally to protest at the council’s decisions two days ago was stopped and then broken up by police.
Craig McKoy said: “I don’t have any problem at all with large-scale Muslim celebrations on the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday. But why can’t other people be given the same rights, especially as I don’t think Muslims would have a problem with a St George’s Day celebration either? Those who oppose marking St George’s Day and the attempted rally on Monday try and label it a far-right or National Front type event. “But I am black and I was pictured in the crowd along with others carrying banners which read ‘NF Go To Hell’ .”
He added: “All the council and police action does is stir up racial tension and outrage people even more. Now there are plans for another march on May Day Bank Holiday, whether the council gives permission or not.”
Luton Council and Bedfordshire Police confirmed that they gave the go ahead to the Muslims’ protest last month. But they said Monday’s rally was stopped because there had been no application to the Safety Advisory Group.
Of the request for a St George’s Day parade, the spokesman said: “The SAG was unable to comment on the application because of a lack of information such as detailed route plan, full risk assessment, and timings of the event.”
Bedford Today had the story last week with an imflammatory headline about the blogger we know here as Lionheart.
A blogger arrested for inciting racial hatred last year has had his request to hold a St George's Day march rejected by Luton Borough Council.
Dunstable man Paul Ray was arrested last year by Bedfordshire Police for allegedly inflammatory comments made on his online diary website, Lionheart, and is currently on bail. In my opinion they have nothing to charge him with, but won't discharge him because being subject to bail conditions constrains his activities.
Last week he wrote to the force's divisional commander for Luton, Chief Supt Andy Frost, asking for permission to hold a parade in the town to mark St George's Day.
The request follows the cancellation of a Respect Our Troops march on Saturday, March 28, because of fears the event would be hijacked by right-wing extremists.
In his letter to Chief Supt Frost, Mr Ray said: "As you are well aware, there was a recent demonstration in the town centre that was cancelled by many people out of respect to Luton police, a demonstration the media falsely accused of being hijacked by fascists. Joining together on the streets is one freedom that is a God-given right as English men and women in our own country that cannot be removed from us by anyone."
Luton Council are celebrating the opening of the UK's first national Carnival Arts Centre (UKCCA) in town which will finish with a parade from St George's Square. This is for the Afro Caribbean style of Notting Hill type carnival, not the British style of Brass Bands and Carnival Princesses on the back of a builders merchants lorry.
The council are going against the national trend in not having a St George's Day parade. Boris Johnson has even ordered a concert of English folk music in Trafalgar Square on 25 April, headlining Seth Lakeman. And I will miss it due to a family do.
Posted on 04/15/2009 3:51 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Ahmed El-Kadi Is Dead
From the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report:
Islam Online is reporting the death of Dr. Ahmed El-Kadi, described only as a “prominent leader” but thought to be the former leader of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. According to the report:
American Muslims are mourning Dr. Ahmed El-Kadi, a prominent leader who died this weekend after a life he spent sincerely serving Muslims and pioneering achievements that changed the face of the community. “He was a role model for the American Muslims,” Sheikh Shaker El-Sayed, Imam of the Dar-Al-Hijra Islamic Center in Virginia and a longtime friend of Kadi, told IslamOnline.net. “His leadership and guidance in pushing Islamic activities in America will always be remembered,” added Sayed, who is also head of the Muslim American Society (MAS). The veteran Muslim leader and famed retired heart surgeon died Saturday in Panama City, Florida, at the age of 69. Kadi, an Egyptian-origin, has been leading community work and spent much of his time in Islamic work in the US, where he lived for the past 44 years. “He was my colleague in the Muslim American Society and we worked together very closely,” said Sheikh Sayed. He has played a pivotal role in establishing numerous Muslim organizations, in the US and the entire North America. Kadi has also been a veteran leader in many of these organizations, including the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA) and the Islamic Medical Association (IMA). “Dr. El-Kadi will be greatly remembered for his contributions to Islamic medicine research and education,” the Muslim American Society said in a statement. “MAS offers its sincerest condolences to Dr. El-Kadi’s family, MAS members and the Muslim community-at-large.” ….. Kadi has played a pivotal role in establishing numerous Muslim organizations, in the US and the entire North America.Kadi will be rem embered for dedicating all his life to activism and community work. “He was the pioneer of the Muslim Youth of North America,” said Sheikh Sayed. The husband and father of four daughters came to the US in 1965 after he finished studying medicine in Austria. He shot to fame in his career as a heart surgeon in few years. He is also known as the author of the most comprehensive definition of Islamic Medicine. “He was a very prominent heart surgeon for a long time.” Kadi’s travels around the world have helped him build connections, which led him to start establishing charity, social and educational organizations for Muslims in the US and across the continent. One of his major achievements is helping in the establishment of ICNA, a New York-based grassroots organization that currently has 22 chapters across the US. In his Panama City, Kadi has been instrumental in establishing a full-time Islamic school and a medical research institute which researches the benefits of Prophetic medicines.
The Islam Online report omits important biographical information that is contained within a new report from the Hudson institute on the history of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Citing a 2004 Chicago Tribune investigation, the Hudson report notes that Dr. El-Kadi’ s father-in-law was Mahmoud Abu-Saud, an economist and early Muslim Brotherhood leader who had been repeatedly jailed in connection with his Brotherhood activities. The Hudson report goes on to confirm that in October 1974, Dr. El-Kadi became an officer in the “Cultural Society”, essentially a name used to disguise the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood as well as later serving as the President of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the investment vehicle for the U.S. Brotherhood. The Hudson report discusses a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood document referring to the election of a leader known as a “General Masul” sometime in the early 1980’s suggesting it was Dr. El-Kadi:
The “General Masul” referred to above may be Elkadi, who, according to the Chicago Tribune investigation, was elected president of the U.S. MB in 1984. By this time the Chicago Tribune reported that Elkadi, probably in 1977 or 1978, had relocated from Missouri to Panama City, Florida, where he established the Akbar Clinic. This Islamic medical center was funded with $2.4 million from a Luxembourg bank managed by his father-in-law (Abu-Saud). Inside the clinic, Elkadi set up a small mosque and an Islamic school.
According to the Chicago Tribune investigation, Dr. El-Kadi’s medical career was something less than stellar as the Islam Online article would suggest, reporting a series of problems in his medical practice that resulted in the revocation of his medical license in 1992:
First to go was the clinic. Elkadi had fallen behind on the bills, and by 1988 creditors had won thousands of dollars in judgments against him. To prevent a sheriff’s sale, the Islamic bank in Luxembourg took over the property, and eventually it was sold to a drug rehabilitation clinic. But Elkadi faced an even more serious professional problem: Florida regulators started disciplinary action against him for performing unnecessary surgeries at a Panama City hospital and for doing major operations, including a mastectomy, at his clinic without proper precautions, such as an adequate blood supply. Regulators determined that Elkadi had performed unneeded stomach surgery on nine patients. The Florida Board of Medicine concluded that Elkadi “exhibited a total lack of judgment” and was “not a competent physician.” The board revoked his license in 1992.
The Tribune report says that sometime in 1995, following these difficulties, Dr. El-Kadi was replaced as “President” of the U.S. MB. The Hudson report says that in his later years, Dr. Elkadi suffered from Binswanger’s disease, a rare neurological disorder which the Muslim American Society (MAS) attempted to use as evidence that his recollections about the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood could not be trusted. Nevertheless, the Hudson report confirms all of the important details of Dr. El-Kadi’s account.
It should be noted that the Islam Online report suggests a close connection between the MAS and Dr. El-Kadi. This is not surprising since as both the Tribune article and the Hudson report document that the MAS was created with the support of the leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in order to meet a series of challenges face by the U.S. Brotherhood at that time and to fill a “vacuum” in the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). That Dr. El-Kadi also helped to establish ICNA, the Islamic Circle of North America and essentially representing the Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami in the U.S., is new information but not surprising considering the close relationship between ICNA and the MAS.
Posted on 04/15/2009 6:48 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Jeremy Bowen guilty
From Harry's Place:
Breaking news: The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen has been found guilty by the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) of breaking BBC guidelines on accuracy and impartiality in his coverage of Israel. (This is the news I mentioned that was due to break tomorrow morning. The announcement has been brought forward.)
This has been a long time coming. Time and time again Bowen has distorted and twisted his coverage of the Middle East. To list all the examples would be a mammoth undertaking. I have included a mere selection here, and here, and here, and here, and here and here.
I got a first-hand experience of Bowen’s hideous bias when I saw him speak at a literary event some years ago. He preened and puffed out his chest as he claimed he was an impartial reporter. Yet all night, every time he said the word “Palestinian” his eyes glazed over, almost romantically, and every time he said the word “Israel” he spat it out.
(Incidentally, Bowen’s book that he was launching that evening, about the Six Day War, has been described by Professor Efraim Karsh, a leading expert on the modern history of the Middle East, as: “superficial, derivative and rife with standard anti-Israel prejudice”. I’ve read the book, I think the Professor was too kind.)
It is extraordinary to think that the BBC entrusts a man such as Bowen with coverage of such a monumentally important issue. As we saw during Operation Cast Lead, anti-Israel distortion contributes to the atmosphere of hate that leads to violence against Jews on the streets of Britain.
The Zionist Federation said in response to today’s news: “Mr Bowen’s position as Middle East Editor of a public service broadcaster is untenable in the light of the ESC’s findings.”
Too right. He is now officially guilty of breaking guidelines on impartiality and inaccuracy.
He has to go.
One down, many more to go - John Simpson, Barbara Plett and Orla Guerin, to name but three.
Posted on 04/15/2009 6:54 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Controversy Over Harvard Islamic Chaplain's Remarks
Harvard Crimson (h/t: VFR):
Harvard Islamic chaplain Taha Abdul-Basser ’96 has recently come under fire for controversial statements in which he allegedly endorsed death as a punishment for Islamic apostates.
In a private e-mail to a student last week, Abdul-Basser wrote that there was “great wisdom (hikma) associated with the established and preserved position (capital punishment [for apostates]) and so, even if it makes some uncomfortable in the face of the hegemonic modern human rights discourse, one should not dismiss it out of hand.”
The e-mail was forwarded over Muslim student e-mail lists and later picked up by the blogosphere, sparking debate and, in many cases, criticism of Abdul-Basser from those who have interpreted his statement as supporting the execution of those who leave the Islamic religion.
“I believe he doesn’t belong as the official chaplain,” said one Islamic student, who asked that he not be named to avoid conflicts with Muslim religious authorities. “If the Christian ministers said that people who converted from Christianity should be killed, don’t you think the University should do something?” [SEE CLARIFICATION BELOW]
According to the student, many of Abdul-Basser’s other views are “not in line with liberal values, such as notions of human rights. He privileges the medieval discourse of the Islamic jurists, and is not willing to exercise independent thought and judgment beyond a certain limit,” the student said.
Samad Khurram ’09-’10 said Abdul-Basser’s remarks conflicted with the Harvard United Ministry’s support of freedom of religion.
“I support free speech, freedom of belief and association, so this came as a big shock to me,” Khurram said.
“[His remarks] are the first step towards inciting intolerance and inciting people towards violence,” said a Muslim Harvard student, who requested that he not be named for fear of harming his relationship with the Islamic community.
Aqil Sajjad, a Harvard graduate student, also said that Abdul-Basser’s statements were “totally wrong, definitely out of line for somebody in that position. I wouldn’t go and seek religious advice from one who is saying this.”
A Muslim student at MIT, who also asked to remain anonymous to preserve his relationship with the Islamic community, said the chaplain’s remarks wrongly suggested that only Westerners and Westernized Muslims who did not fully understand Islam would find the killing of apostates objectionable.
“If what he said was what I thought, then it is very shocking and not something that I would expect or want coming out of a chaplain at any major American university,” he said.
Abdul-Basser wrote in a later e-mailed statement that he “never expressed the position that individuals who leave Islam or convert from Islam to another religion must be killed. I do not hold this opinion personally.” He explained that he was not advocating for the positions mentioned in his e-mail, but rather “addressing them in the context of the evolution of an Islamic legal doctrine.”
“[Abdul-Basser] was speaking as a chaplain to a student in a private e-mail exchange. One of these e-mails was misinterpreted, misconstrued, and posted on the blogosphere,” said Harvard Islamic Society spokesperson Nafees A. Syed ’10, who praised Abdul-Basser for promoting diversity within HIS and the campus at large.
“His immeasurable contributions should not be overlooked in this matter,” she said.
—Staff writer Melody Y. Hu can be reached at [email protected]
CLARIFICATION: The April 14 article "Chaplain's E-mail Sparks Controversy" included a quotation from a named Harvard student, who was later granted anonymity when he revealed that his words could bring him into serious conflict with Muslim religious authorities.
Melody Hu needs to clarify her clarification. "Serious conflict" probably means this student received threats of bodily harm.
Posted on 04/15/2009 8:43 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
"The Danger We Have Exposed Is Not Just To India, But To The Whole World"
April 15, 2009
The Pakistan link: Mumbai terror detective tells of world plot
As terrorists struck Mumbai, Rakesh Maria, an officer whose exploits have inspired Bollywood, faced his most valuable captive
Rakesh Maria: ?The danger we have exposed is not only to India, but to the whole world"
Posted on 04/15/2009 8:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
20th Anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster.
96 Liverpool fans at the semi-final clash with Nottingham Forest crushed to death in a terrace where they were caged like animals and herded by police incompetence.
I had let my season ticket for Leyton Orient lapse by this time, and one of the reasons, although it was not the main one, was my dislike of being caged. I had enjoyed standing on the terrace behind the goal for many years - the new regulations that cage bars had to be put up to stop the occasional incursion from the crowd on to the pitch were unnecessary and unpopular. But it took the deaths of 96 normal decent fans to make the authorities realise.
The deaths of 66 people at the Ibrox stadium in 1971 was a tragic accident, as were the deaths of 56 in 1985 in the fire in the old stand just before Bradford City's home match against Lincoln. There the death toll would have been higher had it not been for the heroism of the police officers present. At Hillsborough the deaths were due to incompetence and contempt; there has never been an apology. No one has admitted fault or blame and the bitterness remains in a way there never was over Ibrox and Bradford.
I was at home that Saturday afternoon, at the sewing machine preparing for my wedding by making a new dress for our honeymoon. I had been in Nottinghamshire the previous week and noticed the posters for coach and ticket trips. I had a meal cooking for my fiance, as he then was, who was due over with another bag of belongings, and I kept thinking "There's football on telly, must switch on" and I kept forgetting to. I'm glad I didn't.
Months later the court cases in the aftermath came the way of the Civil Service office where I worked. My colleague, an elderly man, a grandfather, said that the statement of a minor party who had stood yards from her father, who died, and she could do nothing to help him or save him, was the most harrowing thing he had ever read in 40 years experience in court.
The cage bars were taken down. Grounds at senior level became all seating which has brought its own problems. But at least the authorities started to treat us football fans as human beings.
I saw an interviewlast night with the only ambulance man allowed on the pitch to tend to the injured - there has never been a proper explanation as to why 40 other ambulances were kept outside, and he is racked with guilt that he couldn't save everybody brought to him.
This report in The Times of todays memorial service at Ainfield shows how raw emotions remain after 20 years.
Our friend Steve of Pub Philosopher has this on his blog which is some first hand accounts I have never read before. Well worth reading and pertinent to the comments from Anonymous below.
Posted on 04/15/2009 9:27 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Somali attack on US vessel was 'act of revenge, not piracy'
Somali pirates who attacked an American freighter with rocket-propelled grenades were not trying to capture it but to destroy it as an act of revenge, one of their commanders claimed today.
The LIberty Sun, carrying a cargo of food aid for Africa's starving millions, was attacked yesterday afternoon by two speedboats some 285 nautical miles off the Somali coast.
Its crew responded in what is becoming textbook fashion for unarmed crews in the Gulf of Aden and along Somalia's Indian Ocean coast.
They hunkered down in the engine room while the ship’s master increased speed and threw the Liberty Sun into series of twists and turns. The pirates could not get close enough to deploy their grappling hooks.
By the time the USS Bainbridge, a guided missile destroyer, arrived two hours later, the buccaneers had given up and headed off in search of easier prey.
On board the USS Bainbridge was Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, who spent five days in a lifeboat with a group of pirates before the US Navy Seal snipers rescued him on Sunday, killing three pirates.
“This attack was the first against our prime target,” Abdi Garad, a pirate commander, said today. “We intended to destroy this American-flagged ship and the crew on board but unfortunately they narrowly escaped us.
“The aim of this attack was totally different. We were not after a ransom. We also assigned a team with special equipment to chase and destroy any ship flying the American flag in retaliation for the brutal killing of our friends."
Mr Garad's claim cannot be tested and could be bravado: while the pirates have the upper hand, holding 17 vessels and almost 300 seamen, unarmed crews are increasingly finding ways to avoid capture. Only about a quarter of attacks this year have been successful.
It does not take much to put off a potential boarding party in search of easy pickings, according to Nick Davis, who runs the Gulf of Aden Transit Group offering advice to ship’s crews.
“If you let them know you’ve spotted them two to three miles away by blowing on your horn, increasing speed, putting your fire hoses on and adopting a gentle weave, then they’ll know you are on the radio calling in military assistance and will often give up,” he said. “Once they have lost the element of surprise then they have lost the advantage.”
However the pirates are still enjoying a bumper year, launching 79 attacks and hijacking 17 ships. Four more were taken this week, even as President Obama was promising to stem the tide of piracy.
For now, multimillion dollar ransoms ensure the pirates have a queue of volunteers ready to risk their lives at sea. Last year shipping line paid $80m in ransoms and the pirate gangs know that owners are reluctant to arm crews and would rather negotiate their rescue.
Posted on 04/15/2009 10:26 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Taha Abdul-Basser, Harvard '96, And Harvard Islamic Chaplain, On Killing Of Apostates
An email sent by Taha Abdul-Basser to an inquiring Muslim student, who wanted the Islamic rule on apostates (punishment of), clarified, was clarified all right, when Taha Abdul-Basser stated the view endorsed by the four Sunni legal schools, and at the same time, made clear that he, Taha Abdul-Basser, fully supported that view. He has since retreated to mumbling about "misunderstandings" and "ambiguities" and such like. There was nothing at all ambiguous about his email.
If Harvard continues to employ. to pay a salary, to a man who describes and clearly supports ---Allah knows best -- death for those who choose to leave Islam -- then Harvard should not be given a cent by its alumni. Surely some will make their fury known and not be satisfied with any faustian bargains.
Here's Taha Abdul-Basser, Harvard Class of '96, and currently Harvard's Islamic chaplain:
I am familiar with these types of discussions.
While I understand that will happen and that there is some benefit in them, in the main, it would be better if people were to withhold from _debating_ such things, since they tend not to have the requisite familiarity with issues and competence to deal with them.
Debating about religious matter is impermissible, in general, and people rarely observe the etiquette of disagreements.
There are a few places on the Net where one can find informed discussions of this issue (Search ["Abdul Hakim Murad"|Faraz Rabbani" AND "apostasy"]) . The preponderant position in all of the 4 sunni madhahib (and apparently others of the remaining eight according to one contemporary `alim) is that the verdict is capital punishment.
Of concern for us is that this can only occur in the_domain and under supervision of Muslim governmental authority and can not be performed by non-state, private actors._
Some contemporary thought leaders have emphasized the differing views (i.e. not capital punishment) that a few fuqaha’ in the last few centuries apparently held on this issue, including reportedly the senior Ottoman religious authority during the Tanzimat period and Al-Azhar in the modern period. Still others go further and attempt to elaborate on the argument that the indicants (such as the hadith: (whoever changes his religion, execute him) used to build the traditional position apply only to treason in the political sense and therefore in the absence of a political reality in which apostasy is both forsaking the community and akin to political treasons in the modern sense, the indicants do not indicate capital punishment.
I am not aware of `Allama Taqiy al-Din Ibn Taymiya’s position on this issue but much is attributed to him by both detractors and supporters so one should be wary of accepting things attributed to him without asking experts. Perhaps you can ask Ustadh Sharif el-Tobgui or Shaykh Yasir Qadhi (I am copying both), both of whom are Ibn Taymiya specialists.
I would finally note that there is great wisdom (hikma) associated with the established and preserved position (capital punishment) and so, even if it makes some uncomfortable in the face of the hegemonic modern human rights discourse, one should not dismiss it out of hand. The formal consideration of excuses for the accused and the absence of Muslim governmental authority in our case here in the North/West is for dealing with the issue practically.
And Allah knows best.
Posted on 04/15/2009 12:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Spot The Nonsense And Lies In Saeb Erekat's Rant
Read here -- nonsense and lies galore which you may wish to list.
1) Arafat was not "killed." His death, most likely from AIDS, had nothing to do with his refusal to accept nearly the entire "West Bank" offered him by Clinton.
2) There are not "ten million 'Palestinians."
You can discover other examples of such nonsense and lies at your leisure.
Quite a performance from Saeb Erekat. But not surpsiing. He's famously to the manner born.
Posted on 04/15/2009 1:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Taha Abdul-Basser invites apostates to choose between death and the "hegemonic modern human rights discourse".
I'm half in love with easeful death.
Posted on 04/15/2009 2:13 PM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Cliché corner (continued)
Ex-Islamist "Ed" Husain privileges the discourse of consensus over that of confrontation. In doing so, he wins the jihad of the clichés. From The Guardian (where else?):
Let’s cut to the chase: we have a problem with connected identity here in Britain. It’s not just Muslims such as Khan who feel disconnected from Britain – the problems of atomised, self-centred existence are widespread.
But can a secular, liberal democracy in 2009 sustain values-based challenges from faith communities? Time will tell, but a national conversation is overdue.
We need to move beyond simplistic debates about identity and engage with the deeper issues that are at stake. Too often, commentators have suggested that a united society can be built on shared tastes in sport, food, and clothing. This is not enough: such arguments overlook that the 7/7 bombers played cricket, ate fish and chips and dressed in jeans. We need a deeper debate about the core values that can bind us together as a nation.
"Core values that can bind us together"? I wish I'd thought of that. It's easy to see why "Ed" gets paid £80,000 a year. Values-based challenges from faith communities or faith-based challenges from values communities - you name it, Fast Eddie will sustain it. Only connect, only have that national conversation, and your faith-based core issues will melt like lemon drops.
Posted on 04/15/2009 2:24 PM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Harvard's Alumni Are About To Be Taken For A Ride
Not content, apparently, with employing as a Muslim chaplain someone who clearly supports the traditional Islamic view that apostates should be killed (demurely: "subject to capital punishment"), Harvard will in less than two weeks be offering its put-upon alumni, being set up for the Development-Office kill, a two-part lecture course by that smooth man, Ali Asani. He's got the usual shtick: soft-spoken, ostentatiously kindly to students who appear susceptible to his charms, anglophone and possibly moneyed, a "moderate" withal who, however, will try to make sure his students do not look a little too deeply into Ibn Warraq, or Ali Sina, or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or Wafa Sultan.
Asani is a professor "of the practice of southeast Asian languages" which means, of course, that he's a language teacher, and not a scholar, in the accepted Western sense, at all. He is a bit more than what at Langues Orientales, in Paris, would be known as a "repetiteur" -- someone who gives language practice, over and over again, to suppand just a bit more. None of this prevented him from receiving tenure at Harvard last year, in one more more blow to standards (see Cornel West, see Ward Churchill, see Joseph Massad) , in one more outrage of the kind Jacques Barzun a decade ago was writing about in his valedictories -- forbidding mourning -- on the now-impossible ideal he once had had, back in the 1950s, of the American university. He's a Muslim -- possibly even that most "moderate" of Muslims, an Ismaili (at least, Ibn Warraq deems the Ismailis the closest thing to genuine "moderates," but a "moderate" impelled by filial and civilizational piety to mislead others, and possibly even himself, about the nature of real Islam can be far more dangerous, because far more plausible, than the obvious ranting Hamzas and Qutadas and assorted CAIR-enes.
Asani will be giving a two-lecture introduction to Islam for alumni. The cost is modest, in line with the new tack so carefully being taken by the Development Office not to offend by charging to much; these little talks are now loss-leaders, before the development-office boys can go to work, and get their hooks in. :Below you will find the details. And just look at the reading list provided by Ali Asani for those unwary alumni, who no doubt are assuming, with stunning naiveté, that if the lectures are being sponsored by Harvard, and given by a Harvard professor, why surely they must be of tip-top quality, right?
Treve de betises. It's going to be more of the MESA-Nostra Nonsense to which we have long become inured. It will be Islam made Plain, alright, with highly selective quotation from the Qur'an (let me guess: 5.32 but not 5:33? 2.256?), almost nothing from the Hadith, and nothing at all about Muhammad, about the Banu Qurayza, the Khaybar Oasis, Asma bint Marwan, little Aisha. No, it will be apologetics all the way. Look at the Recommended Reading. It's got John Esposito (whom google, with my name), and Carl Ernst (ditto), and Harvard Divinity School's own Leila Ahmad. But you won't find Ayaan Hirsi Ali on women in Islam -- "Infidel" would have been just the ticket. You won't find anything by Ibn Warraq. You won't find any hint of Wafa Sultan, or a hundred other brave defectors from the army of Islam whose truthfulness is made possible by the fact that they live in the free West, and not in Dar al-Islam.
You won't find any mention, much less inclusion in Recommended Reading, of books by Joseph Schacht, the great scholar of Islamic Law (there is, after all, not only a little tribute to him by Jeannette Wakin that the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard makes available, and there is even a "Joseph Schacht:" group or society that has been known to meet at the Harvard Faculty Club, but the spirit and letter of Schacht are both entirely absent from the teaching about Islam at Harvard. Joseph Schacht to Noah Feldman -- one more example (there are so many) of Hyperion to a Satyr. Don't expect mention of Snouck Hurgronje, or Arthur Jeffreys, or G.-H. Bousquet, or Henri Lammens, or dozens of others. This is, after all, a language-lab instructor, a repetiteur, who has been entrusted with teaching about Islam. .
In his Recommended Reading Asani offers the unwary only the most egregious, if not always the most obvious (e.g. Karen Armstrong apologists for Islam.There is the venal John Esposito, now supported by Saudi money, as before he had a rich Lebanese contractor as his fiefdom's sugar daddy. There is Leila Ahmad, who calls herself a "feminist" but is, in fact, a careful defender of Islam, quick to sense any criticism of the faith and quick to deflect it by carefully avoiding the texts of Islam. (For god's sake, even Fatima Mernissi would have been better). And if one really wished to discuss women and Islam truthfully, then the books by Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- especially "Infidel" -- would have been on the list. But Ali Asani is in the business of making sure his Infidel audience does not come away with a good grasp of Islam, but with something else -- a confused, tortuous presentation, where there will no doubt be endless lonqueurs as he attempts not to answer questions, not to set out the nature of Islam straight, not to deal with the basic view of man -- as an unquestioning-Allah-knows-best member of a faith that is collectivist, that admits of no questioning -- save to ask an imam or a mufti for the rules, that discourages almost all forms of artistic expression, that discourages free and skeptical inquiry, that stunts mental and moral growth, and that is, as a Total Belief-System with a clear politics and geopolitics, is based on a division of humanity between Muslim and Non-Muslim, Believer and Infidel.
It is likely that you will approach anything like a real understanding of the texts, tenets, attitudes, atmospherics, of Islam from Ali Asani.But do you think his course now is monitored? Do you think there is any quality control? Do you think those who dream up these events thought beyond the fact that 1) he's a Muslim so "he must know what he's talking about" (yes, he does, indeed he does) and 2) he's a tenured Harvard professor, so for god's sake, what could be better? (no comment).
Here's the announcement about these guides to so very little, these lectures that purportedly will go "beyond the headlines."
THINKING ABOUT ISLAM: GOING BEYOND THE HEADLINES
Featuring Harvard University Professor Ali Asani
||Monday, April 27, 2009 and
Monday, May 4, 2009
||5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
||Sever Hall, Room 113
||$10.00 for a single session per person, or $15.00 for both sessions per person
With over one billion followers worldwide, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Although a global religion, Islam is a religious tradition profoundly influenced by the local and transnational contexts in which Muslims live.
Join Harvard Professor Ali Asani for a special two-part session on contemporary contexts and their dramatic impact on Islam. The discussions will provide a framework to understand the interpretations of Islam which are tied to economic, historical, political and cultural contexts. The first lecture will focus on the concept of jihad; the second lecture will focus on issues related to gender and the status of women.
Suggested Reading List:
Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam for Contemporary Times
(University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Women and Gender in Islam
(Yale University Press)
Islam the Straight Path
(Oxford University Press)
Posted on 04/15/2009 4:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald