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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 Monday, 16, 2012.
Monday, 16 January 2012
kill all the kuffars - Islam will dominate the world; Graffitti on Wakefield Castle Yorkshire

From the Wakefield Express  H/T edl london  Picture also from Wakefield Express.

RACIST graffiti has been scrawled over Sandal Castle. The historical ruins have been defaced with the words ‘Islam will dominate the world’ and ‘kill all the kuffars’. And the vandals struck on December 29, the eve of the 551st anniversary of the Battle of Wakefield. Police have launched a full investigation into the graffiti attack which has shocked the Sandal community.

Coun Nadeem Ahmed, who also works as a religious education teacher, said the term ‘kuffar’ had many different meanings. He said: “My own personal understanding of it is it refers to someone who has no religion or no belief, an atheist. . . But unfortunately there are some disgusting people around and they should be made an example of.”

Wakefield Council has been working alongside English Heritage to remove the thick, white paint from the Grade II listed remains.

Councillor Ahmed's soothing remarks are contradicted by one reader;

Tell councilor Nadeem Ahmed, he i wrong by saying the term ''KUFFAR'' has many meanings, in the Koran is meaning is the non-believer, the Infidel, and if the Non Believer does NOT convert to Islam the he she should be killed.... Bring it on...

Despite using the same name I do not think that comment was made by the same 'Ghost Hunter' whose group found the graffitti on the anniversary of the battle.

Posted on 01/16/2012 1:59 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 16 January 2012
Kareem Ibrahim sentenced to life imprisonment for JFK airport plot.

As Kareem Ibrahim was an Imam in Trinidad I have taken some of the news of his sentencing from the Trinidad Guardian. Other news agencies such as AFP refer to him as Guyanan as that is where he originated from. 

Trinidadian Kareem Ibrahim has been sentenced to life in prison for joining a failed plot to firebomb John F Kennedy Airport in 2007 by blowing up jet fuel supplies with the help of a notorious al-Qaida explosives expert. A federal judge in Brooklyn gave Ibrahim the life term after a jury found him guilty last year of conspiracy. Ibrahim's attorneys had argued in court papers that he deserved only 13 years, claiming prosecutors had exaggerated his role in a scheme that had been infiltrated by an FBI informant and had no chance of succeeding.

Ibrahim, 66, a Muslim and three other men were charged in the plot. Co-defendants Russell Defreitas, a former cargo handler, and Abdel Kadir, an engineer and former member of Guyana's parliament, both were sentenced to life in prison. Abdel Nur was sentenced to 15 years behind bars. Ibrahim, Nur and Kadir were arrested in Trinidad in June 2007 and extradited to the United States.

After a four-week trial, Kareem Ibrahim, 65, was found to have "provided religious instruction and operational support to a group plotting to commit a terrorist attack at JFK Airport," said Attorney Loretta Lynch in a statement on Friday.

On tape, Ibrahim told Defreitas that the attackers must be ready to "fight it out, kill who you could kill and go back to Allah." The plotters also discussed reaching out to Adnam Shukrijumah, an al-Qaida member and explosives expert who was believed to be hiding out in the Caribbean at the time. During Ibrahim's trial, officials said, the Imam "admitted that he advised the plotters to present the plot to revolutionary leaders in Iran and to use operatives ready to engage in suicide attacks at the airport."

Posted on 01/16/2012 3:06 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 16 January 2012
Taqiyya merchant in Guardian - Sharia law compatible with human rights

From the Grauniad

A leading barrister (thats a matter of opinion) has called for the UK to become more sharia-literate, while arguing that Islamic law can be compatible with the toughest human rights legislation. Being a member of both the New York bar and the left wing, common purose, human rights chambers of Doughty Street does not a 'leading barrister' make.

Sadakat Kadri told the Guardian that so-called "sharia courts", such as the Muslim arbitration tribunal, could serve "the community as a whole" by putting Sharia on a transparent, public footing and should be more widely accessible to those who want to use them.

Kadri said they played a role in safeguarding human rights: "It's very important that they be acknowledged and allowed to exist. So long as they're voluntary, which is crucial, it's in everyone's interests these things be transparent and publicly accessible. If you don't have open tribunals, they're going to happen anyway, but behind closed doors."

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, has long opposed the use of sharia in the UK, and argued the rule of law "must not be compromised by the introduction of a theocratic legal system operating in parallel".  "There can be no convincing case made for it to have even a toe-hold in western societies that have developed a mature and far superior legal system. . . There is no escaping the fact – whatever interpretation you put on it — that sharia treats women differently from men"

But Kadri, a barrister and contemporary of Barack Obama at Harvard Law School, stresses the ability of sharia to adapt and change. He sets out the history of sharia in a book, Heaven and Earth, to be published next week. Ah ha! A book plug!

"I'm not a theologian," said Kadri. "But this is my interpretation of Islamic history. There's a mistaken belief that Islamic law is a vast unchanging body of rules – 1,400 years of Muslim history shows that little could be further from the truth."

Posted on 01/16/2012 3:34 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 16 January 2012
Iraq Now Returning To Its Old Self

From The Guardian:

January 15, 2012

Corruption in Iraq: 'Your son is being tortured. He will die if you don't pay'

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports from Baghdad where families of innocent detainees face extortion from corrupt officials

Iraqi demonstrators
Iraqi demonstrators hold pictures of missing relatives during a weekly protest against corruption. Photograph: Ali Al-Saadi/AFP/Getty Images

The walls of Um Hussein's living room in Baghdad are hung with the portraits of her missing sons. There are four of them, and each picture frame is decorated with plastic roses and green ribbons as an improvised wreath for the dead.

Um Hussein had six children. Her eldest son was killed by Sunni insurgents in 2005, when they took control of the neighbourhood. Three of her remaining sons were kidnapped by a Shia militia group when they left the neighbourhood to find work. They were never seen again.

She now lives with the rest of her family – a daughter, her last son, Yassir, and half a dozen orphaned grandchildren – in a tiny two-room apartment where the stink of sewage and cooking oil seeps through a thin curtain that separates the kitchen from the living room.

Um Hussein looks to be in her 60s and has one milky white eye. She is often confused and talks ramblingly about the young men in the portraits as if they are alive, then shouts at her daughter to bring tea. She told the Guardian how she had to fight to release Yassir from jail.

Yassir was detained in 2007. For three years she heard nothing of him and assumed he was dead like his brothers. Then one day she took a phone call from an officer who said she could go to visit him if she paid a bribe. She borrowed the money from her neighbour and set off for the prison.

"We waited until they brought him," she said. "His hands and legs were tied in metal chains like a criminal. I didn't know him from the torture. He wasn't my son, he was someone else. I cried: 'Your mother dies for you, my dear son.' I picked dirt from the floor and smacked it on my head. They dragged me out and wouldn't let me see him again.

"I have lost four. I told them I wouldn't lose this one."

Afterwards, the officers called from prison demanding hefty bribes to let him go while telling the family he was being tortured. Um Hussein told the officers she would pay, but they kept asking for more. First it was 1m Iraqi dinars (£560), then 2m, then 5m.

"We had to send [the security men] phone cards so they could call us. They said: 'Your son is being tortured – he will die if you don't pay.' So we paid and paid. What could I do? He is the last I have. I said I would sell myself in the streets, just bring him back to me."

The last call came in December. They demanded a final payment to let him go, by which time, according to Um Hussein and her neighbours, the family had paid 9m Iraqi dinars.

"They asked for 60 hundred-dollar bills. Then they said 30. I begged them and they still said 30. I told them I didn't have it, then they agreed on 20."

She took a taxi with her friend to the agreed meeting point, a mosque on the outskirts of the neighbourhood. The driver went out and handed the money to a man who stood on the corner, a Shia security officer called Rafic.

Yassir was released two days later. Um Hussein didn't know it at the time but a judge had ordered Yassir be released six months earlier. The security men had kept him in detention until his family produced another $2,000 bribe.

Yassir's case is part of a growing body of evidence collected by the Guardian that shows Iraqi state security officers are systematically arresting people on trumped-up charges, torturing them and extorting bribes from their families for their release. Endemic corruption in Iraq has created a new industry in which senior security service officers buy their authority over particular neighbourhoods by bribing politicians, junior officers pay their seniors monthly stipends and everyone gets a return on their investment by extorting money from the families of detainees.

During two trips to the country before and after the US withdrawal from the country on 18 December, the Guardian interviewed 14 detainees and five officers in different branches of the security service in Baghdad. All the detainees said they had had to pay money to be freed, even though most had been acquitted in the courts. Some had been jailed for three days and some, like Yassir, for five years. In three cases, officers changed a detainee's "confession" – often extracted under torture – in return for money. In one case, an officer lost the detainee's documents in return for a bribe and he was released due to lack of evidence. One prisoner we interviewed is still in jail and in the middle of negotiations with officers.

Release does not mean escape. According to one officer we spoke to, men who are released are often detained again because a family that has paid once to get their sons out of a detention centre makes an easy target for more extortion.

We asked Um Hussein if we could meet Yassir. He was hiding, she said, but after speaking to him on the phone he agreed to meet us and arrived an hour later. His young face looked pained. He lifted his shirt to show thick, dark scars on his back. Each scar had a ridge in the middle lined by red tissue with tiny bubbles. At the sight of them Um Hussein turned her head and started to wail.

"The commandos surrounded the area and took us," said Yassir. "There were Americans there who took our pictures. They moved us to the ministry of the interior, where they separated the people who were photographed by the Americans from those who weren't." Being photographed is why he survived at the height of the sectarian killing, Yassir explained.

Even so, Yassir said he was tortured inside the ministry compound for two weeks. "The torture started at midnight and went on until morning," he said. They hung the prisoners up and beat their legs with cables. They also beat the detainees' kidneys. "I still urinate blood," he said. "They wanted me to confess [to fake charges of belonging to al-Qaida] but there was nothing to confess to, so I refused to sign anything."

He was moved to an army base north of Baghdad where he says he was tortured for a further month. The Guardian was supplied with the names of officers and their military units there and in his last detention centre and has checked that these officers exist.

During this time Yassir and his fellow inmates were constantly beaten, he said. "Everyone beat us. When they brought food they beat us. When they moved us they beat us. They beat us so much we stopped feeling.

"The worst was when they hung us for six hours to the window bars with car chains or handcuffs and left us there, sometimes twisting our legs and arms until they dislocated our shoulders."

Every six months, Yassir was moved to a new unit or a new jail where he faced the same torture and interrogation. Finally, four and a half years after his arrest, he was brought in front of a judge. Because he hadn't signed a confession, he said, the judge ordered his release.

Another former detainee, who had paid a bribe to get released, told the Guardian he had confessed under torture to a long list of crimes, including setting improvised explosive devices, assassinations and murders.

"They hung me between two desks," said the man, who did not want to be named, "my legs and arms around a stick." He said they called it the quzi position. Quzi is an Iraqi dish of grilled sheep. "They started beating me with cables. I fainted and they threw water on my face and started beating me again. They finished the beating in the morning and in the evening they started the torture again." On the third day, when he couldn't bear the electric shocks and beating any more, he told them he would confess to anything. "They gave me a paper and I signed it and they said if I changed it in front of the judge I would be tortured again."

After that, the negotiations began, the man said. His confessions carried the death penalty. An officer called his father and the family sold furniture and borrowed money and paid $7,000 (£5,000). Five months later, he was released.

We asked Yassir why he hadn't confessed to anything – he would have paid the same money but saved himself the torture. "I didn't do anything. How could I confess? I was ready to die but not to confess."

The negotiator

Rafic is an officer in one of the most feared security units in Iraq, one of the many commando anti-terrorism units which, at the height of the civil war, had a reputation for being a government-backed death squad.

Rafic looks like a nightclub bouncer: he is tall with a shaven head, a roll-neck sweater and slacks. He shouts into his phone, waves his hands theatrically to passing neighbours and when he laughs he exposes big yellow teeth.

Fellow residents in Rafic's Baghdad neighbourhood treat him with extreme caution. They know he has the power to detain their brothers or cousins for months if not years. But they also need him: he is their negotiator and mediator. They know that when someone is arrested they must go to him to seek help. He will arrange a visit, get a phone smuggled into the prison, reduce the level of torture and arrange for their release. Each service will come at a cost.

When we met him in December he was closing a $5,000 deal with the family of a detainee. He promised them he would send their son blankets and food and assured them the beating and torture would stop. The money was the first of many payments Rafic would receive before the man would be released.

"Corruption has reached the head," said the officer who introduced us to Rafic and who worked with him. "From top to bottom, everyone is rotten. Rafic loves money. His religion and his sect is money, which is very useful because it means at least there is someone to negotiate with, not like in the days of sectarianism when we paid money and they still killed our sons."

Rafic stood outside a small shop where he held his "surgery" every evening, drinking Greek ouzo with his friends and receiving visitors. His scope of business is not limited to detainees but covers anything related to corrupt officialdom, including getting ID cards and passports.

We sat in his car to talk. Like many security officers his eyes twitched and darted like two trapped flies, watching the young men standing nearby, the old men playing backgammon and the man selling tea from a stall by the kerb.

"We are neutral," he said, referring to his commando unit. "We don't do Sunni and Shia any more. We are professional. We detain Shia and Sunni. There is no difference."

How do you make detainees confess? "We hang them from the ceiling and beat them until they are motionless corpses," he said. "Then they confess."

"Look," he added, "the system now is just like under Saddam: walk by the wall, don't go near politics and you can walk with your head high and not fear anything. But if you come close to the throne then the wrath of Allah will fall on you and we have eyes everywhere."

He described the arrest of the Sunni vice-president Tariq al-Hashimi's bodyguards who, it was claimed by the Shia-dominated government, had been paid by Hashimi to assassinate Shia officials. (Hashimi was on a plane heading to Kurdistan when government forces took over the airport, preventing him from leaving. After a standoff, he was allowed to fly but his men where detained.)

"Look what happened to the poor bodyguards of Hashimi, they were tortured for a week. They took them directly to our unit and they were interrogated severely. Even an old general was hanging from the ceiling. Do you know what I mean by hanging?"

In the constricted space of the car he pulled his arms up behind his back.

"They hang him like this. Sometimes they beat them with cables and sticks and sometimes they just leave them hanging from a metal fence for three days. They are torturing them trying to get them to confess to the bombing of the parliament."

They hadn't yet confessed, he said. He described the idea that Hashimi, the vice-president of Iraq, would pay someone $3,000 to assassinate a policeman as "absurd", but said they were also torturing them because they wanted to find the head of Hashimi's political office.

We asked Rafic why, as we had heard, the torture only happened at night. He said the human rights inspectors who visit prisons and detention centres usually came during the day and at night there was a back hall where the torture took place. "Even if the inspector comes [during the day], no one of the detainees dares to speak. A week later we get a letter from the ministry thanking us for our professionalism."

Yassir had said that once an inspector had entered their jail and found him lying on his back, unable to move after a beating in the night. "He asked me what was wrong. I said I was sick and I fell when I was using the toilet. If you say you have been tortured, they will kill you after the inspector leaves."

The investors

On the first floor of an upmarket restaurant in Baghdad, where a waitress with dyed blond hair takes orders, and businessmen and government officials sit in secluded booths smoking water pipes, we met a colonel in the ministry of the interior.

The colonel wore a dark suit and listened to people's requests for help in getting a passport, securing the release of a relative or negotiating the Kafkaesque Iraqi bureaucracy. His portly son, who worked as secretary and bodyguard, sat with a notebook and a pistol.

The colonel explained how the country's endemic corruption had resulted in the industrial scale of extortion of innocent detainees and their families. "Everything is for sale, every post in the government is for sale," he said.

"You pay $300,000 to buy a post as a security chief or military commander of a neighbourhood for a year and you have to get your money back. It's like an investment. But you can never trust anyone in this country – they take your money and a year later they conspire against you and throw you in jail. They are like wolves."

One of his subordinates explained how the officers procured their positions. "The commander of the district buys his post from the politicians or the office of the commander-in-chief. Then the commander rents the post of interrogation officer to his juniors for $10,000 to $15,000 per month, depending on the area. For a Sunni neighbourhood you have to pay a lot of money; for Shia not that much, because most of the arrests take place in the Sunni areas. Then you get your money back from the detainee.

"Sometimes you get really lucky and actually detain someone who is in al-Qaida, and then you can get your full investment in one go: you arrange for him to escape for half a million dollars."

Other officers told similar stories: of extortion and torture by hanging and beating, electricity and nail pulling. "Sometimes they put the prisoners in the 'corner' position. They put them in a corner facing a wall, and everyone passing by had to hit them – a slap, a kick, an insult, just to degrade them and break them," said an officer who worked in a sprawling military base in Baghdad that doubles as a high-security prison.

He was a member of the new guard that came to power post-Saddam Hussein, but he was wearing the sort of moustache that was popular in the Saddam era: thick, well-trimmed on the upper lip with its ends sliding down the edge of the lower lips giving him a sinister, angry look.

The corruption, he said, was partly a way of appeasing officers to win their support, but it was also a way to control them. When they didn't want someone, they could accuse him of corruption.

"I am sitting on a ticking bomb," the man said. "If I don't join the networks of corrupted officers they will threaten to transfer me to one of the frontline divisions. I tell them I don't want to steal, but they can go ahead. I know one day things will change and all the corrupted officers will put on trial."

The days of sectarian killing in Baghdad – the monster that ripped through the city – appear to be over. Sectarianism has taken a new form. Now Sunnis and Shia stick to their separate, walled-off neighbourhoods, the Shia death squads have become government forces and the Sunnis are calling for federalism, which is opposed staunchly by Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister.

The officer who had introduced us to Rafic said: "We Sunnis have suffered a lot from this government in the past years – detention and kidnapping and extortion."

The only solution, he said, was a federal Iraq in which the Sunni-dominated provinces were separated from the Shia-dominated central state. In the meantime, people were trying to work out ways to protect themselves. "Really bad days are about to come. Since the Americans left, everyone is looking for a gun."

In 2008, during the period of intensive American raids on civilians, they had sold their guns and the Kurds had bought them. "Now," he said, "we are trying to buy them back."

Posted on 01/16/2012 7:11 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
Fitzgerald: Why Don’t Muslims Integrate Into Western Societies?

[Re-posted from August 4, 2005]

Islam itself is entirely responsible for the failure of Muslims in Infidel lands to integrate.

And here is why:

1) Islam itself teaches Muslims to be suspicious of, to hate, to refuse to trust, to offer only feigned friendship to, all non-Muslims. There are passages all over the Qur'an and Hadith about this. "Take not the Christians and Jews for friends, for they are friends only with each other." "Smite the Unbelievers wherever you find them." Not much room for nuance there. The stories in the Hadith about the triumph over, and the killing of, and the seizure of women and property from, non-Muslims whom Muhammad believed he and his men were entitled to attack (even if those in question had done nothing to them) further encourages such an attitude.

Then there are all the stories about Muhammad himself. What does it mean to someone to learn that Muhammad watched with satisfaction as 600-800 members of the Banu Qurayza, bound and helpless, were decapitated one by one? Does that encourage peaceful co-existence, or that famous "convivencia" that supposedly was such a heart-warming feature of Islamic Spain -- which for some has become the model of what they apparently see as an inevitably-islamized Europe? If so, they should read a little more deeply into the history of Islamic Spain (hint: do not believe a word from that sentimentalist Maria Rosa Menocal, "Director of the Whitney Center for the Humanities" at Yale University -- ca en dit long about the state of American education).

It may be quite hard to work for Infidel employers, or to get along well with Infidel fellow-workers, if one is constantly offering only ill-concealed -- or at times well-concealed -- hostility. Nor does the Muslim sense of Muslim entitlement make it easy for Muslims to endure, or to endure with good grace, such an arrangement: Islam by right should dominate, Muslims should rule, it is contra naturam, against all that is right and just, for Muslims to have to accommodate themselves to non-Muslim customs and laws and ways of behaving. If they must, they should only do so temporarily -- until Muslims are sufficiently powerful, which can happen long before they are an absolute majority. Just look at all the demands made constantly, so that Infidels begin to behave, even when they need not, as dhimmis: willing to placate, to make excuses for, to bend over backwards for, Muslim outrages in deed or in word or in attitude – outrages that may be obvious to all those who have kept their wits about them.

2) Inshallah-fatalism. The deep belief in the will of Allah, of Allah ta'ala (Allah Knows Best), of references in every greeting, paragraph, sentence,

3) The habit of submission -- of mental submission -- does not encourage skepticism, liveliness, "thinking outside the silly box" and so on. The habit of mental submission encourages -- the habit of mental submission. This can limit entrepreneurial activity, just as the sullen dislike of one's status, of the status of Muslims who do not lord it over non-Muslims but must adjust, can help to explain the difficulty of employing Muslims in a non-Muslim workplace.

4) Why should Infidels wish to employ Muslims? Why should they wish to create an unpleasant work environment for themselves? Fetish-worshippers of diversity may wish to do so: a newspaper, say, that thinks the "best way" to cover Muslims is to hire a Muslim (which is, in fact, probably the worst way, if it amounts to the usual apologetics and misinformation). Sometimes, of course, one is dealing with those who either hide very well, or may in fact not feel -- as "Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only" Muslims -- the hostility toward non-Muslims that Islam inculcates. But even those who never go to a mosque may at times engage in a sudden flaring-up, a sudden note of hysteria, when the subject of Islam is even tangentially raised -- as if it is simply a subject completely off-limits for Infidels. And nowadays, how can one discuss anything in the world's news without discussing Islam? One sees this reaction even in some of the seemingly most Westernized, most sophisticated, and suavest of Muslims -- a sudden rage, a sudden rush of furious defensiveness that overcomes the truth, that makes even someone who a minute ago was so calm, so rational, so seemingly part of the smae moral and intellectual universe -- and who a minute before might have been attacking aspects of Islam himself -- will, if an Infidel agrees with the attack, or dares to add his own two-cents' worth to the discussion, will withdraw into a circling-the-wagons mode.

5) Muslims through time and space lived in the lands they conquered through the loot acquired from non-Muslims, and they continued to exploit those non-Muslims thorugh the jizyah, and in other ways. As historians of India well know, the Hindus were initially subject to mass execution and mass enslavement. Some of those enslaved converted. Others did not wait to be enslaved, but converted after witnessing the realities of life under Muslim rule. But the Mughal -- and even the earliest Muslim rulers from the initial conquests -- realized that if the only possible choices open to Hindus -- as non-People of the Book (ahl al-kitab), they were not permitted to live and practice openly their religion -- were death or conversion, then there would ultimately be no non-Muslims left to be exploited economically for the purposes of the Muslim state. This could end the fabled Mughal luxury, the famed Mughal magnificence that so entrances certain writers (as the upscale, and more scholarly, Barbara Cartland of Mughal India, William Dalrymple). Hindus were accorded "honorary" status as dhimmis, not because of Muslim mercy, but because by so doing, the ruling Muslims could economically exploit them through the jizyah (which the tolerant, syncretistic Akbar managed to temporarily suspend -- one more reason why Akbar is remembered fondly by Hindus, and despised by Muslims).

Another way of finding loot, or slaves to exploit, were the constant series of slaving raids. Islam created slave societies -- slaves on horseback, slaves in the harem, slaves to build the palace of Moulay Hasan or the Taj Mahal. Everywhere, slaves from non-Muslim lands -- from black Africa by the tens of millions, slaves from the Slavic lands and Georgia and Circassia, by the many millions, and slaves taken over centuries by raiding parties that landed, destroyed villages, and seized villagers up and down the coasts of Western Europe. This too was a source of wealth, and in fact the corsairs that left ports in North Africa, especially Algiers, continued to raid Christian shipping until two things -- the American military response to the Barbary Pirates, and then the seizure, by the exasperated French, of Algiers in 1830, which put an end to the corsairs and their officially-sanctioned raids on Christian cargoes and enslavement of Infidel sailors.

The corsair-piracy has stopped, or found new means of expression, but the jizyah, in disguised forms, has continued. Arab and Muslim states have economies that depend heavily on one of two things:

1. The oil and gas-rich Muslim states depend on this manna from Allah -- which is exactly how they see it. They do not regard this accident of geology as an accident of geology, but as a sign of Allah's favor -- why else should so much of the oil lie under the lands of dar al-Islam?

2. The Arab and Muslim states that do not possess oil wealth, instead of having the oil-rich Muslim states share that wealth, have managed to get on the Infidel list of countries deserving of foreign aid. Suddenly that supposed loyalty of the umma al-islamiyya seems to disappear when it comes to oil money, save for the sums given to reward suicide bombers among the "Palestinians," and of course for any significant arms projects. No matter how corrupt, how full of anti-Americanism and antisemitism these societies may be, Western money keeps pouring in: to Egypt ($60 billion from America alone), to Pakistan, to Jordan, and to the shock troops of the Jihad against Israel, the local Arabs who after 1967 were carefully renamed as the "Palestinian people" so as to disguise the essential nature, and ultimate aims (not exactly concealed, by the way) of the Arab war on Israel, an Infidel sovereign state in the midst of dar al-Islam that must, in Arab and Muslim eyes, go -- sooner or later. It is a matter of pride. It is a matter of self-esteem. It is a matter of how the Arabs and the Muslims see themselves. What else could possibly matter?

The $9 billion pledged by the G-8 at Gleneagles to keep afloat a non-viable state, or a state that will only be viable at the expense of tiny Israel, because for some reason everyone has ignored the real history of that area, the demographics, the nature of land ownership, and as well has decided to apply rules about territory either captured from an aggressor, or if not captured directly, assigned to one of the winning members in a coalition -- rules that have been applied after every war. For how else did Italy acquire the Alto Adige, which when it was handed over had a population that was 97% German-speaking and ethnically part of Deutschtum? Yet who among us thinks Italy was not entitled to, and should return to Austria, the Sudtirol it possesses? And what of all the changes in borders after World War II, and the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia (3 million Sudeteners), from Poland, and elsewhere, not to mention land taken (Kaliningrad was once Kant's Koenigsberg)?

Yet the Americans and Europeans pay the jizyah to the "Palestinians" and are fearful of stopping, just as they continue to pay Pakistan, the supporter and promoter of the Taliban, the supporter and promoter of Dr. A. Q. Khan (without whom North Korea would not be the problem it is today). We continue to engage in bribery instead of reading Pakistan the riot-act, threatening to destroy not only its military (withholding all parts, all future deliveries) but also its economy (no one has to buy the child-labor textiles and rugs of Pakistan, and while that economy -- that is, while its zamindars -- are prospering, that can be ended in a minute).

Within Europe, the Muslims have the same attitude. The property and women of the Infidels belongs to them. There is nothing wrong with taking Infidel property. There is nothing wrong with raping Infidel women. It is not an accident that 70% of the prison population in France is Muslim; that 70% of the rapes of women in Scandinavia are by Muslims; that the drug traffickers in Holland, and the spacciatori di droga in Italy, are Muslims -- no, this should not surprise.

What does surprise is the failure of the non-Musli world to understand that this all fits into, and can be explained by, a coherent ideology that makes it virtually impossible for Muslims -- to the extent that they remain full believers, or turn into full believers -- to ever comfortably fit into, or ever accept, Western or other non-Muslim societies, mores, manners, laws, or ever to accept the idea of living in a society where the Infidel ways, the Infidel understandings, are to be permanent. This rankles Muslims. This is not right. The world belongs in the end to Allah, and to his people. It is to them that the property and women of others belongs. Not every Believer feels this, but in the canonical texts, and the tenets logically derived from them, and in the attitudes and atmospherics to which those tenets and the whole system of Islam gives rise, these views are not strange but natural and familiar.

And then there is another problem: the problem of the "moderate" Muslim -- which is to say, the relaxed, or unobservant Muslim, the Muslim who may not act according to the tenets of Islam today, but may suddenly acquire a deep psychic need to return to Islam, for whatever reasons. When one is in mental disarray, and happens to be a Muslim, provided with a Total Explanation of the Universe, and a Complete Regulation of existence, one can quite easily come to view the universe through the prism of islam.

And it need be nothing political -- nothing in the newspapers -- that sets one off. A death in the family, the loss of a job, the failure to get into a certain school, the perception that others do not share one's worldview and see no reason to accommodate themselves, and of course the depression that can come upon so many of us, Muslim and non-Muslim, at any time -- are all cause for alarm. But non-Muslims provide their own answers, their own home remedies, as they can, and those answers, and their affixing of blame for their problems, can be as various as their parents, their spouses, their children, their siblings, their employer, The System, the stars, Fate, their cholesterol level, their serotonin level, even -- at times -- themselves. Muslims have only to look to the one thing that always presents itself to be blamed: the Infidels. Their wiles, their whisperings of Shaytan, their decadence, their indifference, their whateveritis of which Infidels are guilty. And once a non-Muslim Muslim, a "Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only" Muslim, begins to redsicover Islam, to return to Islam, he can turn into that other thing -- a Muslim Muslim. And that is the problem, the permanent problem for Infidels, who have done nothing to deserve this ever-ready, this omnipresent blame.

There is no solution. There is, however, amelioration. Reducing Muslim numbers, and Muslim power, and ensuring that the Infidel lands do not engage in some kind of attempt to win Muslims by changing their own laws and customs, but remain implacably themselves, or perhaps deliberately Islam-hostile rather than Islam-friendly, so that those who now claim that they are "thinking of leaving" really do leave -- would anyone wish to stop them -- should be the goal of Infidels, engaged only in defending themselves against the carriers of Jihad, all over the world.

Posted on 01/16/2012 7:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Go Down, Moses (Jess Lee Brooks)
Watch, and listen, here.
Posted on 01/16/2012 8:21 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
Christopher Dickey: Silence Wilders Lest "Somebody Gets Hurt"

Geert Wilders Says There's No Such Thing as Moderate Islam

Can't Someone Tell Geert Wilders to Stop His Anti-Muslim Diatribes Before Somebody Gets Hurt?

A couple of years ago, a billboard appeared outside Columbia, S.C., looming above Interstate 26. Beady eyes stared out from a black balaclava emblazoned with an inscription from the Quran—clearly the eyes were meant to be those of a terrorist—and next to them were these words: “ISLAM RISING ... BE WARNED.”


Erected by the Virginia-based Christian Action Network, the sign advertised the group’s documentary about a charismatic Dutch politician with dyed-blond hair, a mysterious past, and a platform of paranoid hate. South Carolina seemed to offer a ready audience for Geert Wilders’s dire warnings against the Muslim religion. Today, with the Republican road show encamped in the state for the Jan. 21 presidential primary, the 48-year-old Dutchman is more than ever a man who needs to be watched and listened to carefully. At home in the Netherlands, his explosive theme of unrelenting hostility to Islam has built his xenophobic Party for Freedom, founded in 2005, into the country’s third-largest political party; across the Atlantic his message packs serious resonance in an American heartland still shaken by the 9/11 attacks. Wilders’s name and message have been invoked repeatedly in South Carolina and at least a dozen other state legislatures as they debate measures to ban an imagined threat: Islamic law.

So does he worry about the violence his rants could inspire? Wilders is a master at capitalizing on real fears and conjuring false ones—and then dodging responsibility if people’s lives are ruined or lost. “I am responsible for my own actions and for nobody else’s actions,” he says. In a wide-ranging interview at the offices of the Dutch Parliament in The Hague, Wilders complained to Newsweek that the “naive” Obama administration wasn’t doing nearly enough to combat what Wilders regards as the Islamic threat. Expanding on his claims that the Quran should be banned, just as Mein Kampf has been in some countries, he said the United States should be “getting rid of Islamic symbols—no more mosques—and closing down Islamic schools.”


Koos Breukel, Dec. 2011., Koos Breukel for Newsweek

There’s no such thing as moderate Islam, Wilders insists, and he’s tired of hearing that radical Islam is something different from the mainstream faith. It means nothing to him that among Muslim believers there are many different sects and currents. “He makes no distinctions whatsoever,” says Robert Leiken, author of the just-published study Europe’s Angry Muslims. “He wants to throw out the whole Quran because of some things that are objectionable—but you could say the same thing about the Book of Joshua.” Wilders refuses to concede the point. In his view, those who follow the Quran are deluded or worse. “Totalitarian fascist ideology,” he calls it. “I have nothing against the people,” he says. “I have something against Islam.”

You start to wonder if Wilders really believes what he says or if he’s just staked out a position that suits him politically. The fight against Islam, he once told a protégé, is “our core business”—and Wilders has developed it for all it’s worth. His extremist stance often smells of cynicism and self-indulgence. “His weakness is that he plays the renegade, he still wants to position himself as being outside the establishment,” says Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an author and former Dutch parliamentarian whose critiques of Islam have been ferocious in their own right. “Once upon a time it was necessary for him to distinguish himself by saying, ‘I take a stand, and I am a man of clarity.’”

That was then. These days the country’s ruling coalition stands or falls at Wilders’s discretion. And his antipathy toward Islam goes so far that when Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands wore a headscarf during a royal visit to the Gulf monarchies last week, Wilders complained that the Dutch government should have stopped her. “He has to move to the middle,” urges Hirsi Ali. “He has to distinguish between violent Islamists and nonviolent Muslims. You know, there are so many shades of Muslims right now, and he could use some of them as his allies.” But it’s as if the rhetoric has taken control of the speaker. “He has always loved attention and power,” says his largely estranged brother, Paul Wilders. “He has ruled out any sense of doubt.”

Like many politicians who boast of their own candor, Wilders keeps much of his life and work in the shadows. Apart from the boilerplate official biography that says he was raised a Roman Catholic in the town of Venlo, there’s little on the record from him about his family background, and he flatly refuses to talk about it now. According to his brother, some of the family’s roots extend deep into Indonesia, an outpost of the Dutch colonialist empire for nearly three and a half centuries. Long-ago intermarriage between European settlers and native “inlanders” might possibly account for the slightly almond shape of Wilders’s dull-blue eyes.

As a teenager, Geert was almost out of control, his brother says. Much younger than his siblings (there are also two sisters), Geert was the spoiled baby of the family, and not much of a student. He quit school and went traveling, eventually finding himself in a Jewish farming settlement on the West Bank. After returning to the Netherlands he worked briefly for the state-run insurance system until he got bored and decided to try politics instead, starting out as a junior staffer with the country’s leading conservative party. Along the way, he visited Iran three times in the 1990s, once even finding it necessary to flee the country in fear for his life, according to his brother, who calls it “a true scare story.” Nevertheless, Paul says, nothing shaped the young man’s hostility toward Islam more than populist politicians in his home country.

In recent years Wilders has become something of a dabbler in U.S. politics, and he’s eager now to expand the market for Islamophobia. “I am working on an international kind of organization,” he told Newsweek. “The U.S. is so important to me, Europe is important. Canada—I was in Canada a few months ago. Australia. New Zealand.” His aim is to build an international organization, an “International Freedom Alliance,” as he calls it. Even so, he declines to name the U.S. politicians he likes—or those who favor him. He knows how toxic his reputation is. “If they were to be my friends, I probably would not help them by acknowledging it,” he admits.

As it is, Wilders-style anti-Islam rhetoric, only slightly modified, has long been echoed by the U.S. presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, who have found it useful to paint previous opponents as weak on “radical Islam.” Back in 2010, Gingrich publicly issued a fatwa of his own against Islamic law: “I believe Sharia is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States.” Wilders says he has no contact with Gingrich. The two of them were scheduled to speak on the same platform on Sept. 10, 2010, to denounce the so-called Ground Zero mosque, but Gingrich didn’t show.

Wilders delivered the keynote address. He was in rare form as he denounced the purported evils of what had, in fact, been planned as a benign cultural center. “A tolerant society is not a suicidal society,” he warned. “It must defend itself against the powers of darkness, the force of hatred, and the blight of ignorance. It cannot tolerate the intolerant—and survive. This means that we must not give a free hand to those who want to subjugate us.”

Gingrich aside, Wilders has no shortage of influential and outspoken allies in America. When he was brought to trial last year in the Netherlands under the country’s hate-speech laws, he beat the charge with the help of American contributions to his defense fund. Conservative columnist and scholar Daniel Pipes assisted him, and has written of Wilders as “the most important European alive today.” The Atlas Shrugs blogger Pamela Geller positively gushes over Wilders in print, and posted a YouTube conversation with him she calls “the interview of the century.” And Wilders’s incendiary documentary film Fitna, attacking the Quran as a manifesto for violence, was given a special screening on Capitol Hill in 2008, hosted by Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). Wilders’s new book, Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me, is due out in April from Regnery, publisher of books by Gingrich, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and other right-wing provocateurs. Company president Marji Ross says she knows Wilders’s views are seen as extreme, but “that’s what makes the book exciting and bold and newsworthy.” The author says only, “It is written for the American market.”

Europe, however, is where Wilders continues to have the most influence—and where he raises the worst fears. Among the large and growing number of fire-breathing European politicians riding to prominence on waves of hostility toward mostly Muslim immigrants, Wilders has emerged as the most important—and some critics would say most dangerous—voice on the continent. This xenophobic movement is often characterized as “radical right-wing,” but the actual situation is much more complicated than that. “These parties do not fit easily into the traditional political divides,” says a recent report from Demos, a British think tank that conducted an innovative study of 10,000 Facebook supporters of various European movements. “Formerly on the political fringes, these parties now command significant political weight in the parliaments of Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, Latvia and Slovakia, as well as the European Parliament.” In addition to the formal political parties, there are protest groups like the English Defence League in Britain and CasaPound in Italy, known for their ugly street fights.

Wilders himself is a mass of contradictions. He says he abhors violence, even though his diatribes undoubtedly have fired up many others who are out for blood. One admirer he’s at particular pains to disavow is Anders Breivik (“the lunatic,” Wilders calls him), the self-styled Crusader who went on a killing spree in Norway last summer, slaughtering 76 people before he quietly surrendered. In a 1,500-page anti-immigrant manifesto written before the rampage, Breivik referred to Wilders more than 30 times. Another example: although much of the relatively liberal European press depicts Wilders as promoting all sorts of racism and bigotry, the fact is he’s very particular about whom he hates. Whereas many of Europe’s anti-immigrant groups have long histories of anti-Semitism, Wilders refuses to be classed with crypto-Nazis, denouncing the British National Party, for instance, as “a blunt, racist, bigoted party—a terrible party.”

In fact, Wilders’s pro-Israel sympathies are so open, and his trips there have been so frequent, that some political enemies claim he’s backed by the Mossad. “It is all nonsense. I never worked for any secret service, certainly not the Israeli secret service,” he says. “It is too ridiculous to believe.” As for other sources of funding for his party, Dutch law does not require him to make the records public, so he doesn’t. “We are very poor,” he insists.

Wilders gets plenty of death threats. To him, they only prove how right he is. “Geert doesn’t seem to take responsibility for the potential consequences,” says his brother. “But I would add that with his growing support and popularity, he’s starting to believe his message.” Perhaps it’s time for another billboard: “WILDERS RISING ... BE WARNED.”

Posted on 01/16/2012 8:51 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
"Before Somebody Gets Hurt"?

Apparently Christopher Dickey, who for many years had a photograph of Yasir Arafat hanging on his Newsweek office wall in Paris, thinks that "someone could get hurt" if Geert Wilders continues to say what, for the well-informed, is obvious: that what is in Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira, if taken to heart, makes every Believer a menace, in posse and, whenever the spirit moves him, in esse, to all non-Muslims. Apparently Christopher Dickey has not noticed the 2.5 million black African Christians killed in the southern Sudan by northern Muslims, never noticed what happened to the Igbo and other Christians before, during, and after the Biafra War, has not noticed what has been happening to Christians in Iraq and in Pakistan and in Indonesia, at the hands of Muslims, has been unaware that Hindus in Pakistan or Bangladesh have had any problems with Muslims, did not realize that Buddhists in southern Thailand and in the Chittagong Hills area of Bangladesh have suffered repeated attacks by Muslims, does not know what happens to Filipino Christians at the hands of Muslims, has no idea why Jews, once they dared to stop being dhimmis, which is what the State of Israel signified to Muslims, were forced to flee from Muslim-dominated lands or to endure even worse insecurities, more diabolical persecution, and murder, than they had before, as porgroms all over the Arab lands showed. None of this has made an impression on Christopher Dickey, who has been reporting on the Middle East, and the world, for decades, self-satisfied with his own continuing complete incomprehension of Islam, even as the Western press is inundated by what might be given a separate section: Jihad News of the Day.

Christoher Dickey made his last appearance in these pages for his piece about the Muslim attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, its offices firebombed and destroyed by angry Musilms. According to Dickey, Charlie Hebdo had it coming.

You can read Dickey's piece, and a comment on it, here.

How did such a person come to be -- for decades -- the Bureau Chief of Newsweek? How does such a person continue to exercise such power and influence, when his apologetics for the most sinister threat to the Western world become more obvious, and more intolerable, every day?

Posted on 01/16/2012 8:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
Shibley Telhami Wants Us All To Start Talking About Forcing Israel To Give Up Its Only Guarantee Of Survival In A Muslim Sea
From The New York Times:
January 15, 2012

Preventing a Nuclear Iran, Peacefully


THE debate over how to handle Iran’s nuclear program is notable for its gloom and doom. Many people assume that Israel must choose between letting Iran develop nuclear weapons or attacking before it gets the bomb. But this is a false choice. There is a third option: working toward a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. And it is more feasible than most assume.

Attacking Iran might set its nuclear program back a few years, but it will most likely encourage Iran to aggressively seek — and probably develop — nuclear weapons. Slowing Iran down has some value, but the costs are high and the risks even greater. Iran would almost certainly retaliate, leading to all-out war at a time when Israel is still at odds with various Arab countries, and its relations with Turkey are tense.

Many hawks who argue for war believe that Iran poses an “existential threat” to Israel. They assume Iran is insensitive to the logic of nuclear deterrence and would be prepared to use nuclear weapons without fear of the consequences (which could include killing millions of Palestinians and the loss of millions of Iranian civilians from an inevitable Israeli retaliation). And even if Israel strikes, Iran is still likely to acquire nuclear weapons eventually and would then be even more inclined to use them.

Despite all the talk of an “existential threat,” less than half of Israelis support a strike on Iran. According to our November poll, carried out in cooperation with the Dahaf Institute in Israel, only 43 percent of Israeli Jews support a military strike on Iran — even though 90 percent of them think that Iran will eventually acquire nuclear weapons.

Most important, when asked whether it would be better for both Israel and Iran to have the bomb, or for neither to have it, 65 percent of Israeli Jews said neither. And a remarkable 64 percent favored the idea of a nuclear-free zone, even when it was explained that this would mean Israel giving up its nuclear weapons.

The Israeli public also seems willing to move away from a secretive nuclear policy toward greater openness about Israel’s nuclear facilities. Sixty percent of respondents favored “a system of full international inspections” of all nuclear facilities, including Israel’s and Iran’s, as a step toward regional disarmament.

If Israel’s nuclear program were to become part of the equation, it would be a game-changer. Iran has until now effectively accused the West of employing a double standard because it does not demand Israeli disarmament, earning it many fans across the Arab world.

And a nuclear-free zone may be hard for Iran to refuse. Iranian diplomats have said they would be open to an intrusive role for the United Nations if it accepted Iran’s right to enrich uranium for energy production — not to the higher levels necessary for weapons. And a 2007 poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes found that the Iranian people would favor such a deal.

We cannot take what Iranian officials say at face value, but an international push for a nuclear-free Middle East would publicly test them. And most Arab leaders would rather not start down the nuclear path — a real risk if Iran gets the bomb — and have therefore welcomed the proposal of a nuclear-free zone.

Some Israeli officials may also take the idea seriously. As Avner Cohen’s recent book “The Worst-Kept Secret” shows, Israel’s policy of “opacity” — not acknowledging having nuclear weapons while letting everyone know it does — has existed since 1969, but is now becoming outdated. Indeed, no one outside Israel today sees any ambiguity about the fact that Israel possesses a large nuclear arsenal.

Although Israeli leaders have in the past expressed openness to the idea of a nuclear-free zone, they have always insisted that there must first be peace between Israel and its neighbors.

But the stalemate with Iran could actually delay or prevent peace in the region. As the former Israeli spy chief, Meir Dagan, argued earlier this month, Israel’s current stance might actually accelerate Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and encourage Arab states to follow suit. Moreover, talk of an “existential threat” projects Israel as weak, hurts its morale, and reduces its foreign policy options. This helps explain why three leading Israeli security experts — the Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, a former Mossad chief, Efraim Halevy, and a former military chief of staff, Dan Halutz — all recently declared that a nuclear Iran would not pose an existential threat to Israel.

While full elimination of nuclear weapons is improbable without peace, starting the inevitably long and arduous process of negotiations toward that end is vital.

Given that Israelis overwhelmingly believe that Iran is on its way to acquiring nuclear weapons and several security experts have begun to question current policy, there is now an opportunity for a genuine debate on the real choices: relying on cold-war-style “mutual assured destruction” once Iran develops nuclear weapons or pursuing a path toward a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East, with a chance that Iran — and Arabs — will never develop the bomb at all.

There should be no illusions that successfully negotiating a path toward regional nuclear disarmament will be easy. But the mere conversation could transform a debate that at present is stuck between two undesirable options: an Iranian bomb or war.
Posted on 01/16/2012 10:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
Propagandist Shibley Telhami As Soothing As All Get Out

Shibley Telham is a sly and careful apologist both for Islam and for his fellow "Palestinian" Arabs. He's careful to cultivate the less wary in Washington, and especially Jewish policymakers, and he's a dab hand at getting himself associated with reassuring-to-outsiders groups, such as the Saban Center. And in the piece he wrote with someone else -- brought along presumably for further camouflage -- he presents the idea that instead of bombing Iran, why not have Israel agree to give up its nuclear weapons? What could be more sensible, more reasonable, especially if he takes care to quote as many Israelis as possible. He has a handful, but none of them has ever suggested Israel should give up its nuclear weapons. Some have merely said that in their view a nuclear Iran is not -- and their conventional misuse of words is telling -- an "existential" threat to Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak and hundreds of Israel's highest security officials beg to differ.

Shibley Telhami -- Brookings, Saban Center, the works -- presents his case for Israel's suicide with such sweetness and concern that one can hardly stand it. He and hiis co-author refer several times to what they describe as Israeli public opinion. By this they mean a handful of polls -- were there others, that do not support them? and how were the questions asked? and were Arab as well as Jewish respondents included? and finally, of what real weight should be given to such polls? The answer to the last question is: no weight whatsoever. About such matters,  opinion polls,must always be irrelevant. Amatter that requires sober calculations as to the threat posed to Iserael by a nuclear Islamic Republic of Iran Iran's nuclear weapons,can only be decided by those who are privy to a great deal of top secret information.

Posted on 01/16/2012 10:31 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
Americans Prominent in Al Shabaab Terrorist Leadership

Omar Hammami, Alabaman Al Shabaab commander

Americans have risen to the fore in the Somali al-Shabaab terrorist leadership. That doesn’t surprise us. We have written extensively about Somali naturalized citizens recruited through fundamentalist Mosques in major émigré centers like Minneapolis, Columbus and Nashville. Then there are Kurdish immigrant naturalized citizens like Jehad Mostafa from San Diego, California and Omar Hammami, a son of an American Baptist mother and Syrian immigrant father from Daphne, an upscale community on Mobile Bay, Alabama’s Eastern shore. See our major NER piece, “Foot Soldiers of Islam”.

Earlier this month a former US soldier and Muslim convert was arrested for attempting to give material support to Al- Shabaab. He was captured in Kenya on his way to Somalia. Note this FoxNews report on January 9th:

Craig Benedict Baxam was arrested Friday upon return to his home state of Maryland after he was captured in Africa during an alleged attempt to reach Somalia, where the terror group is based.

Baxam, 24, joined the Army in 2007 and served in Baghdad and Korea. During his enlistment, he completed eight months of advanced intelligence and cryptology training, the Justice Department said in a press release.

According to court papers, Baxam secretly converted to Islam days before leaving the Army, one month ahead of completing his deployment in Korea. He returned to Maryland in July 2011 and reportedly sought to move to Somalia to join al Shabaab.

Baxam allegedly flew to Kenya using money from his retirement savings account, and carried several hundred dollars in cash to give al Shabaab as an offering after crossing the border into Somalia, the Justice Department said.

"The complaint alleges that Craig Baxam intended to travel to Somalia and join the terrorist organization Al-Shabaab," U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement. "Mr. Baxam was caught in Kenya before he reached Somalia, and there is no allegation that anyone assisted him."

These excerpts from the most recent FoxNews report, “Americans Rise Inside Somali Jihad Group”:

A handful of young Muslims from the U.S. are taking high-visibility propaganda and operational roles inside an Al Qaeda-linked insurgent force in Somalia known as al-Shabaab. While most are from Minnesota, which has the largest Somali population in the nation, al-Shabaab members include a Californian and an Alabaman with no ancestral ties to Somalia.

"They are being deployed in roles that appear to be shrewdly calculated to raise al-Shabaab's international profile and to recruit others, especially those from the United States and other English-speaking countries," said Anders Folk, a former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted suspected al-Shabaab supporters in Minnesota.

Officials fear another terrorist attack in East Africa. Kenya announced on Jan. 7 that it had thwarted attempted al-Shabaab attacks over the holidays. The same day, Britain's Foreign Office urged Britons in Kenya to be extra vigilant, warning that terrorists there may be "in the final stages of planning attacks."

More than 40 people have traveled from the U.S. to Somalia to join al-Shabaab since 2007, and 15 of them have died, according to a report from the House Homeland Security Committee. Federal investigations into al-Shabaab recruitment in the U.S. have centered on Minnesota . . . .

At least 21 men have left Minnesota to join al-Shabaab in that same time. The FBI has confirmed that at least two of them died in Somalia as suicide bombers. A U.S. citizen is suspected in a third suicide bombing, and another is under investigation in connection with a fourth bombing on Oct. 29, 2011 that killed 15 people.

The star of the Al Qaeda video was Jehad Mostafa, 30, a Californian who handed out food using the name Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir, according to the SITE Monitoring Service. The Washington Post reported last year that Mostafa served as top lieutenant to Saleh Nabhan, a senior Al Qaeda operative killed by Navy SEALs in a helicopter attack inside Somalia in 2010.

Mostafa and the Alabaman, Omar Hammami, 27, are among about a dozen men who have been charged in federal court in the U.S. and are believed to be in Somalia.

The Americans appear to have been motivated by the Ethiopian army's intervention in Somalia in 2006, which they saw as an invasion. However, many experts believe it's only a matter of time before al-Shabaab turns its wrath on the U.S., which in February 2008 designated it as a terrorist organization. The group killed 76 people in terrorist bombings in Uganda in 2010 during the World Cup final.

U.S. military commanders fear that Americans inside al-Shabaab could train as bomb makers and use their U.S. passports to carry out attacks in the United States.

[. . .]

Mostafa grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of California San Diego. Imam Abdeljalil Mezgouri of the Islamic Center of San Diego, the city's largest mosque, said Mostafa was a respectful teen and good student.

"He was a very quiet, very loving boy. He didn't talk too much but when he did talk, people liked him," said Mezgouri.

Mezgouri said Mostafa got married in his early 20s to a woman he believed was from Somalia.
Public records show Mostafa was the president of the now-defunct Muslim Youth Council of San Diego, or MYCSD. The former organization's Web site says the group was "dedicated to showing the world that Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims are a peaceful and productive part of society."

Mostafa's father, Halim Mostafa, a Kurdish Syrian, is a prominent figure in San Diego's Muslim community who has tried to build bridges with non-Muslims.

[. . .]

The Alabaman, Hammami, 27, has taken on the role of jihadi lecturer and Islamic scholar. After U.S. Navy SEALs killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan earlier this year, Hammami threatened to avenge the killing at a news conference near Mogadishu.

Al-Awlaki's death by a U.S. drone in Yemen in September left Hammami as the most influential U.S. English speaker in the jihadi propaganda sphere, said terrorism expert Ben Venzke. Hammami is also known as Abu Mansour al-Amriki or "the American."

"His more accessible image and manner of speaking may prove a growing and significant threat to not just the region around Somalia but for future attacks on U.S. soil," said Venzke of the Washington-based IntelCenter.

[. . .]

Hammami went to Somalia in 2006. He was indicted in 2007 on terrorism charges, and faced more charges in 2009 for providing material support to terrorists.

Hammami, who wears a long beard and often raps in al-Shabaab videos, released a nearly 50-minute lecture in October to commemorate five years with the group. He spouts hatred for "Western oppression." In the video, provided to AP by the IntelCenter, he compares his upbringing in America with his life in Somalia, where he says a microwave -- "or even a normal oven" -- is a rarity.

The English speaker serves as a recruiter and fundraiser and is one of the top people in charge of al-Shabaab's foreign fighters, Kohlmann said.

Hammami attends morning fighting drills and motivates new recruits, former al-Shabaab fighter Abdi Hassan told AP. Hammami avoids mobile phones for fear intelligence agencies will trace him, and uses pseudonyms on the Internet.

What has always concerned us has been that many of these American Jihadis fighting for Al Shabaab were welcomed to the US as humanitarian refugees under the Refugee Act of 1980.  This multi-billion dollar program administered by the State Department Bureau of Population, Migration and Refugees and the Office of Refugee Resettlement of the Department of Health and Human Services has been fraught with massive immigration fraud. Fraud  discovered by roving Homeland Security Immigration Control Enforcement teams working in Kenyan refugee camps.  Our other concern reflected in comments in this FoxNews report is about returning al Shabaab operatives who might organize and lead swarming attacks against civilian targets such malls in the US Heartland.  While there have been both US Senate and House Homeland Security hearings on these home grown terrorists, to our knowledge not much has been done to both combat them in Somalia and control their spawning grounds of legal refugee immigration. Time for Congress to order a Government Accountability Office audit investigation of the abuses of the legal refugee program to establish a factual baseline for development of appropriate remedies.

Posted on 01/16/2012 11:11 AM by Jerry Gordon
Monday, 16 January 2012
A Cinematic Musical Interlude:C'Etait Trop Beau (Leo Marjane)

Also Sprach Arethusa. Oh Where?  Where Alph The Sacred River Ran.

Watch, and listen, here.

Posted on 01/16/2012 11:20 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
Do We Need the Department of Education?
 Charles Murray writes in Hillsdale College's excellent magazine Imprimus:

The following is adapted from a speech delivered in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 28, 2011, at a conference on “Markets, Government, and the Common Good,” sponsored by Hillsdale College’s Center for the Study of Monetary Systems and Free Enterprise.

THE CASE FOR the Department of Education could rest on one or more of three legs: its constitutional appropriateness, the existence of serious problems in education that could be solved only at the federal level, and/or its track record since it came into being. Let us consider these in order.

(1) Is the Department of Education constitutional?

At the time the Constitution was written, education was not even considered a function of local government, let alone the federal government. But the shakiness of the Department of Education’s constitutionality goes beyond that. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution enumerates the things over which Congress has the power to legislate. Not only does the list not include education, there is no plausible rationale for squeezing education in under the commerce clause. I’m sure the Supreme Court found a rationale, but it cannot have been plausible.

On a more philosophical level, the framers of America’s limited government had a broad allegiance to what Catholics call the principle of subsidiarity. In the secular world, the principle of subsidiarity means that local government should do only those things that individuals cannot do for themselves, state government should do only those things that local governments cannot do, and the federal government should do only those things that the individual states cannot do. Education is something that individuals acting alone and cooperatively can do, let alone something local or state governments can do.

I should be explicit about my own animus in this regard. I don’t think the Department of Education is constitutionally legitimate, let alone appropriate. I would favor abolishing it even if, on a pragmatic level, it had improved American education. But I am in a small minority on that point, so let’s move on to the pragmatic questions.

(2) Are there serious problems in education that can be solved only at the federal level?

The first major federal spending on education was triggered by the launch of the first space satellite, Sputnik, in the fall of 1957, which created a perception that the United States had fallen behind the Soviet Union in science and technology. The legislation was specifically designed to encourage more students to go into math and science, and its motivation is indicated by its title: The National Defense Education Act of 1958. But what really ensnared the federal government in education in the 1960s had its origins elsewhere—in civil rights. The Supreme Court declared segregation of the schools unconstitutional in 1954, but—notwithstanding a few highly publicized episodes such as the integration of Central High School in Little Rock and James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi—the pace of change in the next decade was glacial.

Was it necessary for the federal government to act? There is a strong argument for “yes,” especially in the case of K-12 education. Southern resistance to desegregation proved to be both stubborn and effective in the years following Brown v. Board of Education. Segregation of the schools had been declared unconstitutional, and constitutional rights were being violated on a massive scale. But the question at hand is whether we need a Department of Education now, and we have seen a typical evolution of policy. What could have been justified as a one-time, forceful effort to end violations of constitutional rights, lasting until the constitutional wrongs had been righted, was transmuted into a permanent government establishment. Subsequently, this establishment became more and more deeply involved in American education for purposes that have nothing to do with constitutional rights, but instead with a broader goal of improving education.

The reason this came about is also intimately related to the civil rights movement. Over the same years that school segregation became a national issue, the disparities between black and white educational attainment and test scores came to public attention. When the push for President Johnson’s Great Society programs began in the mid-1960s, it was inevitable that the federal government would attempt to reduce black-white disparities, and it did so in 1965 with the passage of two landmark bills—the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act. The Department of Education didn’t come into being until 1980, but large-scale involvement of the federal government in education dates from 1965.

(3) So what is the federal government’s track record in education?

The most obvious way to look at the track record is the long-term trend data of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Consider, for instance, the results for the math test for students in fourth, eighth and twelfth grades from 1978 through 2004. The good news is that the scores for fourth graders showed significant improvement in both reading and math—although those gains diminished slightly as the children got older. The bad news is that the baseline year of 1978 represents the nadir of the test score decline from the mid-1960s through the 1970s. Probably we are today about where we were in math achievement in the 1960s. For reading, the story is even bleaker. The small gains among fourth graders diminish by eighth grade and vanish by the twelfth grade. And once again, the baseline tests in the 1970s represent a nadir.

From 1942 through the 1990s, the state of Iowa administered a consistent and comprehensive test to all of its public school students in grade school, middle school, and high school—making it, to my knowledge, the only state in the union to have good longitudinal data that go back that far. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills offers not a sample, but an entire state population of students. What can we learn from a single state? Not much, if we are mainly interested in the education of minorities—Iowa from 1942 through 1970 was 97 percent white, and even in the 2010 census was 91 percent white. But, paradoxically, that racial homogeneity is also an advantage, because it sidesteps all the complications associated with changing ethnic populations.

Since retention through high school has changed greatly over the last 70 years, I will consider here only the data for ninth graders. What the data show is that when the federal government decided to get involved on a large scale in K-12 education in 1965, Iowa’s education had been improving substantially since the first test was administered in 1942. There is reason to think that the same thing had been happening throughout the country. As I documented in my book, Real Education, collateral data from other sources are not as detailed, nor do they go back to the 1940s, but they tell a consistent story. American education had been improving since World War II. Then, when the federal government began to get involved, it got worse.

I will not try to make the case that federal involvement caused the downturn. The effort that went into programs associated with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 in the early years was not enough to have changed American education, and the more likely causes for the downturn are the spirit of the 1960s—do your own thing—and the rise of progressive education to dominance over American public education. But this much can certainly be said: The overall data on the performance of American K-12 students give no reason to think that federal involvement, which took the form of the Department of Education after 1979, has been an engine of improvement.

What about the education of the disadvantaged, especially minorities? After all, this was arguably the main reason that the federal government began to get involved in education—to reduce the achievement gap separating poor children and rich children, and especially the gap separating poor black children and the rest of the country.

The most famous part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was Title I, initially authorizing more than a billion dollars annually (equivalent to more than $7 billion today) to upgrade the schools attended by children from low-income families. The program has continued to grow ever since, disposing of about $19 billion in 2010 (No Child Left Behind has also been part of Title I).

Supporters of Title I confidently expected to see progress, and so formal evaluation of Title I was built into the legislation from the beginning. Over the years, the evaluations became progressively more ambitious and more methodologically sophisticated. But while the evaluations have improved, the story they tell has not changed. Despite being conducted by people who wished the program well, no evaluation of Title I from the 1970s onward has found credible evidence of a significant positive impact on student achievement. If one steps back from the formal evaluations and looks at the NAEP test score gap between high-poverty schools (the ones that qualify for Title I support) and low-poverty schools, the implications are worse. A study by the Department of Education published in 2001 revealed that the gap grew rather than diminished from 1986—the earliest year such comparisons have been made—through 1999.

That brings us to No Child Left Behind. Have you noticed that no one talks about No Child Left Behind any more? The explanation is that its one-time advocates are no longer willing to defend it. The nearly-flat NAEP trendlines since 2002 make that much-ballyhooed legislative mandate—a mandate to bring all children to proficiency in math and reading by 2014—too embarrassing to mention.

In summary: the long, intrusive, expensive role of the federal government in K-12 education does not have any credible evidence for a positive effect on American education.

* * *

I have chosen to focus on K-12 because everyone agrees that K-12 education leaves much to be desired in this country and that it is reasonable to hold the government’s feet to the fire when there is no evidence that K-12 education has improved. When we turn to post-secondary education, there is much less agreement on first principles.

The bachelor of arts degree as it has evolved over the last half-century has become the work of the devil. It is now a substantively meaningless piece of paper—genuinely meaningless, if you don’t know where the degree was obtained and what courses were taken. It is expensive, too, as documented by the College Board: Public four-year colleges average about $7,000 per year in tuition, not including transportation, housing, and food. Tuition at the average private four-year college is more than $27,000 per year. And yet the B.A. has become the minimum requirement for getting a job interview for millions of jobs, a cost-free way for employers to screen for a certain amount of IQ and perseverance. Employers seldom even bother to check grades or courses, being able to tell enough about a graduate just by knowing the institution that he or she got into as an 18-year-old.

So what happens when a paper credential is essential for securing a job interview, but that credential can be obtained by taking the easiest courses and doing the minimum amount of work? The result is hundreds of thousands of college students who go to college not to get an education, but to get a piece of paper. When the dean of one East Coast college is asked how many students are in his institution, he likes to answer, “Oh, maybe six or seven.” The situation at his college is not unusual. The degradation of American college education is not a matter of a few parents horrified at stories of silly courses, trivial study requirements, and campus binge drinking. It has been documented in detail, affects a large proportion of the students in colleges, and is a disgrace.

The Department of Education, with decades of student loans and scholarships for university education, has not just been complicit in this evolution of the B.A. It has been its enabler. The size of these programs is immense. In 2010, the federal government issued new loans totaling $125 billion. It handed out more than eight million Pell Grants totaling more than $32 billion dollars. Absent this level of intervention, the last three decades would have seen a much healthier evolution of post-secondary education that focused on concrete job credentials and courses of studies not constricted by the traditional model of the four-year residential college. The absence of this artificial subsidy would also have let market forces hold down costs. Defenders of the Department of Education can unquestionably make the case that its policies have increased the number of people going to four-year residential colleges. But I view that as part of the Department of Education’s indictment, not its defense.

* * *

What other case might be made for federal involvement in education? Its contributions to good educational practice? Think of the good things that have happened to education in the last 30 years—the growth of homeschooling and the invention and spread of charter schools. The Department of Education had nothing to do with either development. Both happened because of the initiatives taken by parents who were disgusted with standard public education and took matters into their own hands. To watch the process by which charter schools are created, against the resistance of school boards and administrators, is to watch the best of American traditions in operation. Government has had nothing to do with it, except as a drag on what citizens are trying to do for their children.

Think of the best books on educational practice, such as Howard Gardner’s many innovative writings and E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge Curriculum, developed after his landmark book, Cultural Literacy, was published in 1987. None of this came out of the Department of Education. The Department of Education spends about $200 million a year on research intended to improve educational practice. No evidence exists that these expenditures have done any significant good.

As far as I can determine, the Department of Education has no track record of positive accomplishment—nothing in the national numbers on educational achievement, nothing in the improvement of educational outcomes for the disadvantaged, nothing in the advancement of educational practice. It just spends a lot of money. This brings us to the practical question: If the Department of Education disappeared from next year’s budget, would anyone notice? The only reason that anyone would notice is the money. The nation’s public schools have developed a dependence on the federal infusion of funds. As a practical matter, actually doing away with the Department of Education would involve creating block grants so that school district budgets throughout the nation wouldn’t crater.

Sadly, even that isn’t practical. The education lobby will prevent any serious inroads on the Department of Education for the foreseeable future. But the answer to the question posed in the title of this talk—“Do we need the Department of Education?”—is to me unambiguous: No.

Posted on 01/16/2012 11:56 AM by Geoffrey Clarfield
Monday, 16 January 2012
'I was doing my duty as a Muslim,' says father who handed out leaflets saying gay people should be hanged

From the Daily Mail

Kabir Ahmed, 28, said he handed a leaflet called Death Penalty? to a policeman and stuffed them through letterboxes across Derby because he was spreading the word of God as taught by Islam. He said: 'My intention was to do my duty as a Muslim, to inform people of God’s word and to give the message on what God says about homosexuality.

At the opening of the trial last week jurors were shown the Death Penalty? leaflet, which shows an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose and says that homosexuality is punishable by the death penalty under Islam.

The leaflet states: 'The death sentence is the only way this immoral crime can be erased from corrupting society and act as a deterrent for any other ill person who is remotely inclined in this bent way. . . The only dispute amongst the classical authorities was the method employed in carrying out the penal code,' and then goes on to offer burning, being flung from a high point such as a mountain or building, or being stoned to death as suitable methods.

Giving evidence today Ahmed . . .told the court he felt it was his duty as a Muslim to inform and advise people wherever they may be committing sins, he would be failing if he did not. 'My duty is not just to better myself but to try and better the society I live in,' he said

Prosecutor Bobbie Cheema told the court the Death Penalty? leaflet was not educational or informative but was simply 'threatening, offensive, frightening and nasty.'

All five men deny the charges. The trial continues.

Posted on 01/16/2012 12:18 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 16 January 2012
Muslim Manipulation Of The Curriculum

From The American Thinker:

January 15, 2012

Taqiyya for Kids

By Janet Tassel

It was the first week in October in Newton, an upscale suburb of Boston, and Tony Pagliuso's daughter, a sophomore at Newton South High School, was visibly disturbed. When Tony asked her the problem, she showed him a passage from the chapter she was assigned in her World History Class. It was a chapter called "Women, an Essay," from a supplemental text called The Arab World Notebook. In a paragraph devoted to women "in the struggle for independence from colonial powers," we find:

Over the past four decades, women have been active in the Palestinian resistance movement. Several hundred have been imprisoned, tortured, and killed by Israeli occupation forces since the latest uprising, "intifada," in the Israeli occupied territories.

Pagliuso assured his daughter that this was "total propaganda," and took the matter up with the young teacher, a Miss Jessica Engel, who couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. The material had been "vetted" and was deemed "appropriate," she said, "and would stay in the curriculum. After all, she continued, the head of the history department had gotten this material at an outreach workshop of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard!

Thence to the principal,  Joel Stembridge, who glared at Pagliuso and asked, "How do you pronounce 'Pagliuso'?" and dismissing him brusquely with a refusal to apologize, added: "If you're unhappy with this, you should know that next year we're planning to teach material that will be even more inflammatory to your sensibilities." (Where is Ferris Bueller when you need him?) Since Miss Jessica Engel had devoted one day each to Judaism and Christianity while spending 2 ½ weeks on Islam, Tony wasn't sure how much more inflammatory things could get.

A couple of weeks later, nine stalwart Newton citizens presented themselves at the Newton School Committee meeting, where superintendent David Fleischman, and even the mayor, Setti Warren, were present. The citizens were courteously received, and as it happens Fleishman announced shortly thereafter that indeed the chapter "didn't meet the learning goals of the class" and had been removed from the curriculum.

"Didn't meet the learning goals" is Eduspeak for "What the hell is this and how the hell did it get in?" The answer to the latter is, as noted, Harvard, which, as it happens, held a seminar on Israel and Palestine at Newton South in April 2011. And Newton is far from the only community to take its lead on matters Islamic from Harvard.  Public and private schools all over Massachusetts send teachers to the Outreach Center at Harvard for guidance and (free) materials. The program, like the Center for Middle Eastern Studies itself, is heavily Saudi-funded.

The answer to what it is can be found in a number of places. In 2005, responding to a complaint from a teacher in Anchorage, Alaska, the American Jewish Committee published a thorough critique of the Notebook (the full report Propaganda, Proselytizing, and Public Education, is available at the AJC website), thanks to which Anchorage stopped using the book. As background, the AJC report explains:

The Arab World Studies Notebook was first published in 1990 under the title Arab World Notebook  [apparently Newton was using this edition], but was updated and republished in 1998 with its current title.  The funding for the publication was provided by the Middle East Policy Council, formerly the Arab American Affairs Council....The Notebook was published in conjunction with Arab World and Islamic Resources (AWAIR), founded by Audrey Shabbas, who penned many of the well as the editorial commentary throughout.

Who is this Audrey Shabbas?  The moving spirit behind AWAIR, she says all she wants from teachers is to "let you step with me to the inside, to see what a Muslim worldview looks like and feels like, so you can bring it back to your students." This from an adoring 2002 interview posted, fittingly, at Saudi Aramco World.

A little earlier than the AJC's report, in 2003, William J. Bennetta, president of The Textbook League, produced a preliminary assessment of the Notebook. He gives a little background:

The Middle East Policy Council, a pressure group based in Washington. D.C...adopted its present name in 1991.  The MEPC's activities include the sponsoring of "teacher workshops" that allegedly equip educators to teach about "the Arab World and Islam.   AWAIR, which operates from Abiquiu, New Mexico, distributes printed items and videos for "ALL LEVELS-Elementary to College" and runs the "teacher workshops" sponsored by the MEPC."

But on to the meat in Mr Bennetta's scathing report:

The promotion of Islam in the Notebook is unrestrained, and the religious-indoctrination material that the Notebook dispenses is virulent. Muslim myths, including myths about how Islam and the Koran originated, are retailed as matters of fact, while legitimate historical appraisals of the origins of Islam and the Koran are excluded. [Audrey] Shabbas wants to turn teachers into agents who, in their classrooms, will present Muslim myths as "history," will endorse Muslim religious claims, and will propagate Islamic fundamentalism. In a public-school setting, the religious-indoctrination work which Shabbas wants teachers to perform would clearly be illegal.

Or, in the words of Tony Pagliuso, "total propaganda." What is striking, though, is how amateurish the chapter on women is. Taqiyya -- telling falsehoods for Islam -- is a well-known tool of Islamic propagandists, but this shoddy merchandise is so riddled with lies and half-truths that no respectable Arab merchant in the shuk would hang it in his market. Just a sample:

Women's Rights in Islam. There is no basis in Islam for the subjugation of women or their relegation to a secondary role. Far in advance of women's emancipation in Europe, Islam made revolutionary changes in the lives of women in 6th-century Arabia.

The alert reader will observe that there was no Islam yet in 6th-century Arabia, Muhammad himself having been born in about 570, and having been tapped by the angel Gabriel no earlier then about 609. Then too we think of the unpleasantries swept under the Oriental carpet -- such as permissible rape, clitorectomies, honor killings, child marriage, indeed the whole sorry gamut of women's trials under Islam, including those specifically decreed by the Koran.  As Robert Spencer sums up:

--Women are inferior to men, and must be ruled by them: "Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other" (4:34).

--It [the Koran] likens a woman to a field (tilth), to be used by a man as he wills: "Your women are a tilth for you to cultivate so go to your tilth as ye will" (2:223).

--It declares that a woman's legal testimony is worth half that of a man: "Get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her" (2:282).

--It allows men to marry up to four wives, and also to have sex with slave girls: "If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice" (4:3).

--It rules that a son's inheritance should be twice the size of that of a daughter: "Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children's (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females" (4:11).

--It allows for marriage to pre-pubescent girls, stipulating that Islamic divorce procedures "shall apply to those who have not yet menstruated" (65.4).

"Such a verse might have made its way into the Koran," writes Spencer, "because of the notorious fact that Muhammed himself had a child bride." That would be Aisha: As the hadith says, "The prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death)."  Newton's Notebook chapter mentions Aisha in passing, that she heroically promulgated Islam after the Prophet's death, but neglects to tell us how old she was when Muhammed found her, as the story goes, playing on a swing.

It turns out, not surprisingly, that most of the Notebook is as slipshod, even farcical, as the chapter on women. But it is no less dangerous for being slovenly. As the AJC report confirms, "Teachers are subjected to heavy propaganda, both in the Notebook and in the teacher workshops sponsored by MEPC and conducted by AWAIR, in which the Notebook is the primary source material....The Notebook critiques other educational materials for being Eurocentric; yet it provides students with a completely Muslim-centered perspective."

 Worst of all, educationally speaking, in addition to inventing history, the Notebook is guilty of two cardinal sins, according to the AJC: "It uses no qualifiers to differentiate between fact and interpretation; and it fails to clarify that, like the stories behind many other religions, some of the stories within traditional Islam are disputed or unverifiable."  The all-important qualifier, "Muslims believe," or "Islam teaches that" is entirely eliminated. Imagine all the Miss Engels in the world preaching to the class, "And God chose Abraham." Or "Jesus performed miracles."

Other innovations from the Notebook, these concerning what the author calls "the Israeli 'fetish of Jerusalem'":

When people talk of Jerusalem and consider the historic rights over the city and claims to it, they are not talking about the European-type colonial suburb-turned-city which foreign Jews built next to the historic religious city-shrine, even though they called it Jerusalem too.  They are talking about the walled city, fully built up, containing a small Jewish quarter, it is true, but almost exclusively a home to Christian and Muslim Palestinian Arabs.

Yet the "Old City," the Jerusalem that most people envisage when they think of the ancient city, is Arab.  Surrounding it are ubiquitous high-rises built for Israeli settlers to strengthen Israeli control over the holy city.

Other colonial suburbs were built by foreigners in Arab countries, but today no one suggests that Algiers, Tunis, Casablanca, etc., may be rightfully claimed by the Europeans who settled there during their colonial period of recent history.  Only in the case of Jerusalem does colonialist thinking still predominate.

How many high-school students would be able to repudiate "facts" like these? Or total falsehoods such as, "In 1948, between 50 and 70 percent of Palestine's Christians were driven from their ancestral homes with the creation of the Jewish state"?

Moreover, in an earlier version, we are told "that Yasir Arafat was president of a newly declared State of Palestine, that the United Nations General Assembly had voted to recognize this state in 1988, and that the Canaanites were the ancestors of many present-day Palestinians."  Sandra Stotsky, a professor at the University of Arkansas, deals with these gems and others in her 2004 report for the Fordham Foundation, The Stealth Curriculum, which has now been updated for a new book published by Palgrave MacMillan. She points to one article, ascribed to Audrey Shabbas and Abdallah Hakim Quick, titled "Early Muslim Exploration Worldwide: Evidence of Muslims in the New World Before Columbus." The article claims that

Muslims from Europe were the first to sail across the Atlantic and land in the New World, starting in 889... [and that]West African Muslims had not only spread throughout South and Central America, but had also reached Canada, intermarrying with the Iroquois and Algonquin nations so that, much later, early English explorers were to meet Iroquois and Algonquin chiefs with names like Abdul-Rahim and Abdallah Ibn Malik.

Stotsky interjects,  "The idea that English explorers met native Indian chiefs with Muslim names in the middle of the Northeast woodlands sounds almost like something a Hollywood film writer dreamed up for a spoof." (Mel Brooks, of course.) Interestingly enough, the Algonquin Nation itself demanded a retraction of this "indefensible" farce. But seriously, as Stotsky continues, "What is most astonishing about this 'historical information' is that it seems not to have been recognized as fake history by all the satisfied teachers that MEPC claims have participated in its workshops over the years."

Ay, there's the rub.  Thanks to the Tony Pagliusos of this world, perhaps more parents will rear up on their hind legs and shout, "Who's teaching my kids? And what in God's name are they teaching?"

Posted on 01/16/2012 4:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
How Ahmad Chalabi Got The Americans To Create A Shia-Dominated Iraq

A brilliant schemer in Iraq



By Richard Bonin

Doubleday, $27.95, 320 pages

Reviewed by Gary Anderson

I met Ahmad Chalabi only once, and in that encounter I came to the same conclusion reached by Richard Bonin in "Arrows of the Night." I visited Mr. Chalabi in his suite at a Washington hotel during the early months of the intervention in Iraq as a special adviser on counterinsurgency for Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. The Pentagon had realized belatedly that it had an insurgency problem, and I had some ideas for dealing with it. Because Mr. Chalabi - who was still in favor in Washington - was in town, the secretary asked me to run certain ideas past him and get his reaction.

Mr. Chalabi thought the whole counterinsurgency idea was an overreaction. He kept to the line that the insurgents were a few Baath Party "dead enders" and that once an Iraqi provisional government was set up, the problem would disappear. Throughout the meeting, Mr. Chalabi was just as Mr. Bonin describes him: witty, brilliant, charming and utterly wrong.

Mr. Chalabi was born into a life of Iraqi privilege. His father was one of the few in the downtrodden Shiite majority of Iraq to reach a position of power and influence in society and government. All that ended in 1958 when an army-led coup toppled the monarchy and sent his family into exile. It was the defining moment of Mr. Chalabi's life. He spent the next four decades trying to overturn the coup and its ultimate product, Saddam Hussein. In pursuit of that end, he would consider any means, any lie or any betrayal to be justified. Finally, he succeeded. Mr. Bonin's account of his life traces that quest and its ultimate aftermath.

No one who has ever met Mr. Chalabi doubts that he is brilliant. He is a graduate of MIT and the University of Chicago, excelling in mathematics. Along the way, he showed a skill for banking in Jordan and made a fortune in his own right as the head of Petra Bank, Jordan's second-largest bank. It was in this venture that Mr. Chalabi's dark side emerged. His penchant for scheming and risk-taking caused a huge banking scandal, and Mr. Chalabi had to flee the country.

In that episode, he also first showed a lifelong tendency to bite the hand that fed him and blame others for his problems. He turned on his benefactors in the Jordanian royal family and blamed Saddam Hussein for setting him up. Saddam was happy to see his enemy disgraced, but the scandal was of Mr. Chalabi's own making.

Petra would set the pattern for this world-class wheeler-dealer and backroom manipulator, who veered from stunning success to inglorious disaster caused by his own miscalculation. The center of the story, however, is Mr. Chalabi's relentless quest to topple Saddam and replace him with a Shiite-dominated Iraqi government. In that he succeeded, but he would never lead it as he had dreamed.

Mr. Bonin explains in detail how Mr. Chalabi manipulated two very smart men, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, and gained the support of the American neoconservative movement for the Iraqi adventure just as the neocons were coming into power in the George W. Bush administration. Even those who despise the neocons may come to understand how two very experienced bureaucrats could be misled by deliberate falsifications and outright lies.

In all the time he was courting American favor, Mr. Chalabi also was double-dealing with America's Iranian enemies. He was never the democrat the neocons thought; his idea of Iraqi democracy was a Shiite tyranny of the majority, and he got it.

Mr. Bonin, a "Sixty Minutes" producer, used his unique access to Mr. Chalabi and his inner circle in preparing several segments for that show to draw some unique insights into Mr. Chalabi's personality. Mr. Chalabi is the ultimate narcissist. He equates what is good for Chalabi with what is good for Iraq. Given the list of people and institutions he has betrayed, it is a wonder he is still alive. They include the CIA, the Iranian government, Gen. David H. Petraeus, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Jordanian royal family and the Bush administration.

Despite all that, he has had many comebacks. In the end, the one group he couldn't scam was the Iraqi people. When he has stood for election, he repeatedly has been rejected overwhelmingly.

His final betrayal came in 2007 when, as a member of the Iraqi government, he sided with the Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr in an aborted uprising. That treasonous act should have been the final straw, but Mr. Bonin points out he likely will pursue his schemes until he finally is buried.


Gary Anderson, a retired Marine Corps colonel, is an adjunct professor at the George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.

Posted on 01/16/2012 5:56 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
Fitzgerald: Sunnis, Shi'a, and the Future of Iraq
[A re-posting of a piece first posted on Sept. 20, 2005 which includes  comments on Chalabi and his fellow Shi'a exiles in Washington -- a re-posting  prompted by Gary Anderson's review of a new book on Chalabi]
Before, or at least while, history is rewritten, and the Americans and other Infidels are somehow blamed for any future Sunni-Shi'a clash, let's get it straight. For 1300 years or so the Sunnis have been attacking the Shi'a. The doctrine of "taqiyya" originates in the Shi'a attempt to protect themselves not from Infidels, but from Sunnis. Many Sunni Muslims talk of "Muslims and Shi'a," with the latter not exactly read out of Islam altogether, but not quite in.

In Pakistan the Shi'a have for decades been attacked by Sunnis -- we just haven't, in the outside world, been noticing.

In Iraq itself, as Gertrude Bell's Letters from the 1920s make clear, the Shi'a were not happy. They were distinctly unhappy with having to endure a Sunni-dominated government. That Sunni-dominated government never did play fair either with the Kurds or with the Shi'a. Now the Shi'a, being the poorer group, have outbred (as poorer people tend to) the Sunnis, and their share of the population has steadily increased. They endured mass murder by Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-officer-led forces in 1991, and before, and also after.

If they have refrained from major counterattack, it is for two reasons. One, the Americans are there to attack the Sunnis, and to take casualties for them -- if possible, let the Americans do it. Second, the whole martyrdom business upon which Shi's Islam rests, martyrdom-cum-inshallah-fatalism, powerfully works against taking action. But this is not universally true. Shi'a clerics can be far from passive when it comes to acknowledged Infidels -- see the speech of Ayatollah Khomeini (way back in 1942) about the duty, both a business and a pleasure, of killing Infidels. Not exactly the counsel of a Buddhist monk.

Why note all this now? Because the Americans will, and should, soon leave -- in a month, after the October referendum, or in December, after the elections, or when it finally becomes obvious even to Bush that this "staying the course" business makes no sense. Intelligent rulers are constantly changing course, turning the wheel of the ship of state to avoid now this iceberg, and that sudden storm, this way, and now that. In the midst of World War II, all sorts of plans were changed depending on changed circumstances. It was during the disastrous World War I that no one changed course, that everyone sat in the trenches, and died, died, died, to no good effect.

And after they do, after the Sunnis and Shi'a are left alone with each other, all sorts of things may happen. And not one of them will have been America's fault. For right up until now, the American effort has been -- innocently, obstinately, crazily, stupidly, self-defeatingly -- to create a new "Iraq," an "Iraqi" army, and an "Iraqi" people. This is a dream, based on meetings with a handful of the most unrepresentative, advanced, westernized, clever, and charming, almost entirely Shi'a Iraqis: Allawi, Rend al-Rahim Francke, Chalabi, Kanan Makiya. These people spent much time abroad, and may have more in common with the slightly more secular bent of the Ba'athist Sunnis, and have downplayed entirely the sectarian resentments which grew and grew under Saddam Hussein. It is true that that despot's regime was terrifying, and in reverse-Coueism, got worse every day in every way. Yet the Sunnis who suffered from him have now started to regret not him, but the overthrow of a Sunni-dominated regime. They dread their perceived loss of power, influence, and money. While Saddam Hussein was bullying and murdering, sectarian resentments could be directed at the regime, and also held in check by that same regime. As soon as that regime was ended, and as soon as it became clear that no other Sunni-dominated regime would replace it, everything changed. It was not a diabolical plot of the Americans. Not at all.

In fact, to pluck this nettle victory from the current situation in Iraq – this can only happen if what victory must mean is kept in mind. What does "victory" mean? It must mean something that helps to diminish the power of Islam, the appeal of Islam, the triumphalism of Islam, and the superficial unity of Islam. And how can that be best achieved in Iraq? By American force of arms? No, by Americans leaving -- as quickly as possible.

What will then happen? No one knows. Perhaps lions will settle down with lambs. Perhaps the lion over here, in this part of the veldt, becomes a lamb over there, or at least a gazelle, and vice-versa. Perhaps everything will settle down, just as the Administration apparently things would be a Good Thing. Perhaps there will be years of tension, with nothing settled. Perhaps there will be open warfare, but limited to the forces within Iraq. Perhaps there will be open warfare, steadily widening, with aid coming in from both Iran on one side and Sunni Arab states on the other. Who cares? As long as the tensions remain, and the fissures remain and widen, that is a good thing.

And while the two kinds of Arabs are battling it out, this may be the time for a free Kurdistan to be declared, and to be seen by one and all to have a certain amount of "protection" from an America that at long last realizes not the morality of the whole business, but the geopolitical sense that the attainment of independence by any non-Arab Muslim people, who have endured the Arab supremacist ideology within Islam, will mean for weakening Islam, at a time when it needs to be visibly weakened, divided, and demoralized.

But this will be achieved not by design, but by accident -- by finally realizing, after a few years of squandering resources, that Iraq cannot be made into a model anything, that if it were to become a model anything the mere attempt would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, thousands of lives, the destruction of the National Guard and Reserves, the demoralization of all the thinking members of the regular army, and in the general population, an increase in the unwillingness to fight at all, in any way, against the instruments of Jihad, at the very moment when resolution, not collapse, is called for.

Perhaps stumble-bumming its way finally to escape from the clutches of its own rhetoric that pursues it, the Administration will get out -- and it will be a sweet victory, for none of its traditional detractors will have any justification, given as they are on record as having again and again urged the Americans to leave, to turn around and now insist that they stay.

But that won't stop them from trying.

Posted on 01/16/2012 7:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
Independence For Balochistan Should Be A Western Goal

From The Times of India:

US set to irk Pakistan as it takes note of Baloch plight

WASHINGTON: Baloch separatists achieved a significant diplomatic breakthrough on Friday, getting the US administration to recognize their grievances against Pakistani and persuading Washington to urge Islamabad to address their issues through dialogue.

At a time of tense relations with Islamabad, the Obama administration chose a social media platform to air its concern about the plight of the Baloch, whose complaints about targeted killings and other human rights abuse has gone largely unnoticed by the world. The state department on Friday responded to a question on Twitter from a Baloch nationalist on the subject, saying, "This was a very popular question on our feed, so we wanted to make sure that we answered it today."

"The US is deeply concerned about the ongoing violence in Baluchistan, especially targeted killings, disappearances and other human rights abuses," spokesperson Victoria Nuland continued, adding that Washington takes the allegations of human rights abuses "very seriously" and had discussed these issues with Pakistani officials.

The question from @cadet1081 was provocative, asking the state department why the US does not intervene in Baluchistan and help the Baloch achieve freedom.

But Nuland was circumspect in her response, noting for now that "This is a complex issue," and Washington believes "that the best way forward is for all the parties to resolve their differences through peaceful dialogue."

But on Friday, far removed yet from the strategic strands, Baloch nationalists rejoiced in their diplomatic advance.

"Acceptance of (Twitter) question and the subsequent response from the department's spokesperson is heartening," wrote Muatasim Qazi on the nationalist website Balochwarna. "It should encourage educated Baloch youth to engage more in online activism and advocacy rather than mere futile political sloganeering or mud-slinging."

Posted on 01/16/2012 6:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
Fitzgerald: What Will Become Of Iraq's Christians?

[reposted, because of the comments it contains about Ahmad Chalabi, the subject of a just-published biography, the review of which, by Gary Anderson, has been posted earlier]]

 (July 2008)

The fate of the Christians in Iraq should not have come as a complete surprise. It is true that some believed that the kind of Iraqis in exile they met, the soft-spoken thoroughly westernized chalabis and makiyas, who were Representative men, and would, with others like them, inherit Iraq. Really? Was that ever plausible?

Here was the worldly, smiling, slippery eye-always-on-the-main-chance Chalabi, a man who had lived in the West since the age of 14 (he left Iraq at the time of Qassem’s coup, and the overturning of the monarchy, back in 1958). He had become thoroughly used to London, to New York, to Chicago, and forgotten what real non-westernized Muslim Arabs in Iraq, his old countrymen, were like, and dreamed his abstract mathematical dreams of an older time, of the old elites and old families, of those who, though in the Muslim world, and nominally Muslim, had acquired ways of thought, by having money, by attending non-Muslim schools (oh, those good Boston College Jesuits, who ran Baghdad College, which everyone, who was to become anyone, attended). It's the dream that they all have, as they mislead themselves, and mislead, still more grievously, Westerners who have gone to school with them, or befriended them, and assume they know what they are talking about, forgetting that those who are Muslims are well-versed in deception, and if they are unwilling to renounce Islam, will continue to work, naturally, for their own power -- a power that they may think will help curb the "excesses" of the primitive Believers, but that is a far different goal from what should be the goal of Infidels -- to wit, to weaken the Camp of Islam, and the hold of Islam over the minds of men.

Chalabi had been out of Iraq since Qassem's coup in 1958, when the monarchy came to an end, and the real power -- "strongman" Nuri as-Said, was killed and his half-naked corpse dragged through the streets of Baghdad, so that delighted onlookers could join in the fun, hitting it with their shoes, or perhaps, here and there, adding or rather subtracting, their own two bits from the already-mutilated corpse.

So Chalabi, friend of Wolfowitz and others, who paid his respects in Princeton to Bernard Lewis and surely must have expressed his admiration, that of a knowledgeable fellow connoisseur, for  his taste in Islamic art and manuscripts and books, and Lewis must have found Chalabi, in turn, a fine and trustworthy fellow, and also must have been pleased to have had such influence in Washington, especially as, when he lived in Great Britain, the Arabists of the Foreign Office could not ignore his friend, colleague, and fellow editor, Ann Lambton (her field  was Iran, but she was consulted, she was listened to, for she – unlike Lewis – had the merit of being the right sort, even being related to Harold Macmillan’s wife), but they could, and did, pay insufficient attention to the acute Bernard Lewis for the obvious cruel and stupid reason.

There was, along with Chalabi, the influential Arab girlfriend of Wolfowitz, the one who hoped for good things to happen in Iraq and then in the larger Arab world, good things that would be brought about by the Americans, by the expenditure of American efforts, lives,  money, war matériel. One wonders if Wolfowitz has come perhaps to realize, especially after a recent display by his friend of irrational defensiveness and wild accusations about those setting forth the attitude toward Jews that is fostered by the texts of Islam, that there can be, under a Western veneer, a hard-to-eradicate mental type, and what he failed to perceive before, and is only just now beginning to comprehend, may help explain what “went wrong” in Iraq, and why.

Kanan Makiya, whose mother was apparently English, did not, like Chalabi, spend nearly fifty years outside of Iraq. But he had described himself as  genuinely puzzled as to why Arab “intellectuals” never denounced the murders of the Kurds. But he, Kanan Makiya, himself failed to realize, or did not allow himself to realize, that in the world of Islam, some Muslims are superior to others, and Arab supremacism explains the indifference to the fate of the Kurds, but the continuing complete lack of sympathy, by Arabs, for the Kurdish desire for autonomy and even an independent Kurdistan. And the same Arab supremacism, explains the indifference to the cultural and linguistic imperialism of the Arabs in Algeria, who only recently were pressured by men and events into repealing the law banning the use of the Berber language, Tamagzight, and otherwise making more rather than less, difficult the survival or renewal of Berber culture. And the war of Arab Muslims on black African Muslims in Darfur, with the Arab Muslims – especially Egypt – running diplomatic interference for the Arabs of Khartoum – can also be explained, but only if one recognizes that Islam has been, is now, and always will be a vehicle – despite its universalist pretensions – for Arab supremacism. Makiya has not permitted his brain to go there; it is all too unsettling, all too damning in a way that he, who can one minute declare himself to be an atheist, and then, on the same television show, immediately become defensive when he senses that Islam is being questioned or attacked, cannot endure.

With reliance on Chalabi and Makiya and those Americans who found them plausible, the Administration went to war without having learned about Islam, and identified the correct goal of the Iraq campaign, which should have been: to weaken the Camp of Islam. That goal would or should have made the Bush Administration not choose, as its consolation prize once the weaponry had not been found, the messianic sentimentalism of “bringing freedom” to “ordinary moms and dads” in Iraq and then, through this exemplary Light-Unto-the-Muslim-Nations project, to the rest of the Arabs, who had to endure despotisms, seemed remarkably prone to enduring those despotisms, though so many were so busy solemnly explaining why Islam and democracy were so compatible, and anyone who suggested otherwise didn’t know what he was talking about or was, still worse, a “racist,” that those who calmly pointed out how, in what ways, Islam and democracy of the advanced kind – that is, the kind beyond mere vote-counting, the kind that guarantees individual rights, and does not insist that the final measure of rightness be the Shari’a – were based on different ideas of what constitutes political legitimacy, and democracy in the Western sense could not be transplanted, for the good gardener could not ignore that deeply-rooted and broadly-ramified difference between the inshallah-fatalism and Obedience to the Ruler that Islam demanded, and the very different ideas that modern democracy is based on.

And then there were the Christians. Who planned, who foresaw, who thought about, the Christians of Iraq? Saddam Hussein did not intend to do them favors. What he did do is, because of that Ba’athist figleaf that covered the unseemly reality of what was essentially a despotism run largely by, of, and for Sunni Arabs, is provide a "secular" regime -- one, that is, it was theoretically open to all, Arabs and Kurds, and even non-Muslims. (The Syrian variant of Ba'athism similarly disguises an Alawite despotism, but one which admits into the ruling circles the odd Sunni or Christian.) Tariq Aziz, a Christian, played a useful part. Christians helped supply the household staff, the tasters and the cooks and the drivers, for Saddam Hussein, because they could be trusted, they would not dare turn out to be treacherous, and they had no independent base of support, they existed on the whim of the Muslim ruler in a Muslim land. Indeed, the Americans in the Green Zone inherited the same staffs of Christians, the same ones who had waited on Saddam Hussein.

But what did the Americans understand about Islam? Nothing. So they did not know, and they were not to learn, that 100,000 Assyrians had been murdered by Muslim Arabs in 1933, soon after the British left. They did not know what the word “Jizyah” meant, just as they were not told – not at Fort Jackson, not at Fort Bragg, not at Fort Benning, not anywhere at all that the troops were trained – about Islam, and about the treatment of non-Muslims that was the natural state of affairs under Islam, that arose from the texts and the tenets, and even in Iraq, where Saddam Hussein rightly recognized that the main threat to him came from the Shi’a Arabs,  those who were not what we call, with an unavoidable rough-and-readiness, “secular” – like Iyad Allawi, who had once been a member of the Ba’ath Party before going into his anti-Saddam exile – but rather devout, and the more devout they were, the more of a danger they were to Saddam Hussein, but also, of course, to the Christians.

There was no understanding of what would naturally happen when the regime of Saddam Hussein was overturned. The chalabis and makiyas and rend al-rahim francke, and those of similar Georgetown and McLean acceptability and chic and charm, were too much in evidence,and the unrepresentative un-primitives were taken to represent the masses in Iraq, just as those who played tennis with, or drank port or smoked cigars with, Prince Bandar were convinced that he represented the “real” Saudi Arabia, and all the dour Wahhabi stuff was just for show. We have fools running us, fools in the most basic sense – unclever and unschooled and unstudied in the ways of men and the force of events, and  convinced, because they fly all around the world, from capital to capital, they therefore understand the world. But really, what do the likes of Condoleezza Rice, or Madeleine Albright, understand, no matter how many world leaders they meet?

Saddam Hussein, who was called “secular” because the Ba’athist Party (which camouflaged a Sunni Arab despotism) allowed women certain freedoms (including the freedom to go to school and learn enough biology to be usefully employed in germ warfare), and allowed Christians to belong, especially since they were no threat to the regime. For Saddam Hussein the threat was always mosque-based, with the mosques being those of the Shi’a; a second perceived threat not so much to the regime as to Iraq itself was identified as coming from those Kurds unwilling to submit to the arabization of what they saw, not always accurately – the Assyrians had been there before – as Kurdish lands that should remain Kurdish.

The Christian refugees who have appeared occasionally on NPR, such people as Donny George (former head of the Baghdad Museum), have – unsurprisingly but still annoyingly – blamed America for everything. Without saying, quite, that they longed for the days of Saddam Hussein, because although bad he was not so bad for them, they talk about those they are always careful to call “the turbans.” American listeners may not realize that “the turbans” refers only to the Shi’a, because in the experience of the Christians the secular Sunnis of the Ba’ath Party were not a threat; the Shi’a, those with the turbans, were. Christian Iraqis cannot, they realize, say this openly, cannot explain fully to themselves, still less to the outside world’s Infidels, how tenuous was their position, as Christians in a Muslim society, and how Christian regret at what was wrought in Iraq, that is the removal of someone whom most of us have no trouble seeing as a monster,  and this view of Iraqi Christians, while it may seem immoral to outsiders, seems to them not immoral but born of necessity, yet they cannot quite bring themselves to explain the horrible situation in which Christians, in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, find themselves in, and therefore the kind of moral compromises they must make with this Muslim leader or group, or with that, in order to survive.

Another propagandist may bring out the old chestnut about there being "no compulsion in religion." Perhaps he is unaware that in the lands conquered by Muslims they offered, as Qur'an and Sunnah tell them to offer, only three possibilities to non-Muslims: death, conversion, or (if they happen to be ahl al-kitab, People of the Book, that is Christians or Jews, or treated as such at some point, as happened to Zoroastrians and, after some 60-70 million of them had been killed, even the Hindus -- so as to keep the Jizyah flowing) the status of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity known as that of the "dhimmi." Isn't that a form of "compulsion" in religion? If one is forced to pay a burdensome tax, forbidden from suing Muslims at law, forbidden from repairing or building new houses of worship, forbidden from marrying a Muslim woman without converting to Islam first, forbidden from all kinds of things which add up to a condition that in many cases was nearly unendurable, so that, over time, those Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians who constituted outside of Arabia proper, the original population of the Middle East and North Africa, over time steadily became more and more islamized. That certainly constitutes "compulsion in religion." And in any case, the meaning traditionally given that over-quoted line (a favorite of apologists who assume that Infidel audiences will simply take it at face value) does not mean what it appears to say. It means merely that you cannot compel deep inner belief, but you can certainly can compel outward conformity with it (i.e. outwardly showing belief in Islam, whatever one inwardly might feel).

The history of Islamic conquest shows that there has been, from Spain to the East Indies in space, and from the seventh century until now, a great deal of "compulsion in religion" by Muslim rulers on the non-Muslims they conquered. And there is to this day, with the intolerable pressures put on the most helpless, such as the Mandeans in Iraq, or to a lesser extent, the Copts in Egypt, the Christians in Lebanon and in the "West Bank" and the Chaldeans and Assyrians of Iraq.

Of course in Islam there is "compulsion in Islam." It's all over the place, and not only in the Middle East. When Christian schoolgirls are decapitated in Indonesia, and thousands of churches burned, or Buddhist villagers decapitated all over southern Thailand, or Hindus beaten to death in Bangladesh, or attacked in Pakistan or driven out by the hundreds of thousands from Kashmir, when if they converted to Islam they would be left alone, surely over time that has its effect. Not everyone can heroically withstand such persecution and threat of murder and actual murder.

That may be defined as "compulsion in religion."

The Christians of Iraq made the best of it and have survived, but now, with Saddam Hussein gone, it is difficult to see who will protect them. About half of them have left, and since Christians made up a large disproportionate percentage of the doctors, engineers, and other professionals whom the Iraqi state needs, but will doubtless never be induced to return, one can assume that Iraq will be the loser. What about those who remain? Will the Muslim Shi’a who run the country decide to protect the Christians, if only to guarantee that they are seen by their American benefactors to seem to practice “tolerance”? Or possibly to make sure that the remaining Christian professionals remain, because they are so needed?

And if the American forces withdraw, should they not be making plans to protect those Christians, to establish some kind of sanctuary, perhaps in northern Iraq, close to or within Kurdistan, and to arm the Christians, and leave an expeditionary force there to protect them, a force that can call on airpower from the Gulf carriers, and from bases in Bulgaria (and perhaps even Turkey) at quick notice. Such planning, however, can take place only if the Administration, or the Pentagon, recognizes that the threat to the Christians, from the now-unchained Muslims, is real, is permanent, and must be taken as a grim fact of Dar-al-Islam life.

And if any Iraqi “refugees” are to be admitted to this country, it should only be Christians. They, after all, are indeed threatened. But Sunni Arab Iraqis have all kinds of places under Sunni Arab control. Shi’a Arab Iraqis have most of Baghdad and the entire south. The Kurds now have the north. It is the Assyrians, and the Chaldeans, and the Mandeans (a tiny sect, whose ancient libraries have been pillaged by Muslims) who, if anyone needs to be considered a refugee from Iraq, can be so considered. Keep that in mind, the next time someone says we must admit all kinds of Iraqis. No, we should not. And furthermore, too many of those Muslim Iraqis who came here, as “refugees” from Saddam Hussein, and who can now go back to Iraq without fear of persecution, have not done so. They should be made to do so. They no longer have an excuse, fall into the category, of those who need to remain.
Posted on 01/16/2012 7:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
A Musical Interlude: More Than You Know (Helen Morgan)
Listen here.
Posted on 01/16/2012 8:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 16 January 2012
YouTube Freezes PMW Account In Order To Keep Hidden What Muslim Clerics Preach
From Palestinian Media Watch: P
YouTube freezes PMW account again

In response to yesterday's PMW video-bulletin which showed the PA Mufti's speech that Muslims' destiny is to kill Jews, YouTube has frozen PMW's account. All PMW videos are working except this one but the account is frozen and PMW cannot upload new videos for the next two weeks.

We have uploaded the video to a different server and it can now again be viewed from PMW's website.

The video that YouTube is calling "inappropriate" exposed the Palestinian Authority Mufti citing the Islamic tradition (Hadith) that anticipates Muslims' killing Jews as a precursor to the Hour of Resurrection. The Jews are also called the "descendants of the apes and pigs" by a Fatah moderator at the event. The following is the text of the video.

Moderator at Fatah ceremony:
"Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs (i.e., Jews)
is a war of religion and faith.
Long Live Fatah! [I invite you,] our honorable Sheikh."
PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein comes to the podium and says:
"47 years ago the [Fatah] revolution started. Which revolution? The modern revolution of the Palestinian people's history. In fact, Palestine in its entirety is a revolution, since [Caliph] Umar came [to conquer Jerusalem, 637 CE], and continuing today, and until the End of Days. The reliable Hadith (tradition attributed to Muhammad), [found] in the two reliable collections, Bukhari and Muslim, says:
"The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews.
The Jew will hide behind stones or trees.
Then the stones or trees will call:
'Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'
Except the Gharqad tree [which will keep silent]."
Therefore it is no wonder that you see Gharqad [trees]
surrounding the [Israeli] settlements and colonies.."
[PA TV (Fatah), Jan. 9, 2012
Posted on 01/16/2012 8:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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