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These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 16, 2009.
Thursday, 16 April 2009
French Muslim charged with starving children

From The Telegraph
A delusional French father has been charged with starving and beating his eight children in the belief that it would make them good Muslims.
Police were alerted after a neighbour spotted one of the children, a boy of 13 who weighed just 70lbs, foraging in bins for food in the Mediterranean town of Banyuls-sur-Mer.
Searching the family apartment on Saturday police found seven other children, aged seven to 17, in a state of hunger and neglect, including two girls, aged 13 and 15, who each weighed just 22kg.
The boy and two sisters have been taken to hospital and the other siblings taken into care, while their parents have been detained on charges of depriving their children of food, and physical abuse.
The father, a market worker of Moroccan origin, and his wife, an east European Muslim convert, told police they sought to raise their family in strict obedience to Islam, which they said included going without food.
There were no food supplies in the flat and the eldest girls had been taken out of class because of a French law banning headscarfs in public schools.
"The parents explained that they practised their religion scrupulously, and with a very strict diet," said the prosecutor.
The 49-year-old father told investigators he had beaten his son to cure him "because he was possessed by lies."
Commenting on the case, the Paris Mosque said the father was clearly deluded in his interpretation of Islam,
Child cruelty is not pequliar to islam and he was certainly deluded, but not unique.

Posted on 04/16/2009 2:24 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Geert Wilders sequel to Fitna.

From Dutch News
MP Geert Wilders is to make a follow-up to his 15 minute anti-Islam film Fitna, the leader of the anti-immigration party says in Thursday's Telegraaf.
The new film should be finished next year and will 'reflect how far the 'islamisation' [of the west] has progressed, Wilders tells the paper
'It will not be a copy of Fitna. This is the second phase,' Wilders said. 'I now want to show the consequences of mass immigration from Muslim countries.' The film will focus on freedom of speech issues and the strict Islamic legal system known as sharia, he said.
'We have to attack more, go on the offensive,' the paper quoted him as saying. 'We have to fight back.'

Posted on 04/16/2009 3:22 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Fort Jackson And Fort St. Philip In Louisiana On April 16th to the 28th, 1862 AD

Many years ago, in AD 1965, when I was a very young teenager, a mere thirteen years old, my eighty-eight years old great-grandmother – a most formidable Boston (that great city which grew out of the Puritan Colony on the Shawmut Peninsula) matron – took me on a tour of the American Civil War Battlefields. She left to the very last our visit to New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta. We visited the sites of Forts Jackson and St. Philip on the Sixteenth of April, by her design.

My great grand-mother told me that Flag-Officer David Farragut of the Union Navy started his operations against the Forts and the City on that day, though I have read, since then, that operations started two days later. No matter. For my great grandmother it was the Sixteenth of April which was the date which was important. For her the action started on the Sixteenth. She knew that because her own mother, my great-great grandmother, had told her so. The date was important to her because at sometime in the ensuing twelve days she lost two uncles – one on the Union side and one on the Confederate side – people whom she had never known in life but people she described to me, and she made me feel the reality of them and their lives in her telling of their stories, stories born from her own mother’s memories of those two men. Through her vivid retailing to me of their truncated existences, perhaps more fiction than truth by the time she passed their tales on to me, I came to some juvenile appreciation of what that horrific Civil War meant – families torn asunder, carnage and loss, countryman pitted against fellow countryman.
 
Today, one hundred and forty-seven years later, I still feel a connexion to those two men because of her determination to ensure that I grew up with a proper appreciation of the American side of my family. Every Sixteenth of April I remember that formidable grande dame, my great grandmother, and those two brothers, her uncles whom she never knew, who fought on opposite sides for, as they saw it, the rights of the States and the real meaning of freedom; and I wonder, as I’m sure that you do too, just what is freedom and what rights and perquisites can the States claim to have within the Union in the face of the cries for freedom by so many minorities – a freedom which many States seek to withhold from some few of their citizens on spurious, and sometimes religious, grounds. It is also a freedom which many States refuse to defend in the name of some spurious and unjustifiable notion of religious equality without examining the facts about those religions which seek to supplant Christianity. Do the States, today, understand freedom in any better a way than they did on that fateful day (April 12, 1861 AD) when Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter?
 
Somehow, I doubt that they do!
 
Equally, I know in my heart of hearts, that in the never ending political battle between the States and the Federal Government there is some nugget, some notion, of freedom. In that battle, in that never-ending tension, somewhere in there, that’s where freedom is. I wish that Europe, the EU, could see that and emulate it!
Posted on 04/16/2009 6:27 AM by John M. Joyce
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Tea Party Day

Apparently there are tea parties happening all over America. Not a good idea - look what happened last time.

If you must have tea parties, avoid iced tea - it's an abomination. And don't forget the biccies:

Posted on 04/16/2009 7:15 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Your Black Muslim Update

An update to this story.  From the Contra-Costa Times in the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area:

OAKLAND — A second preliminary hearing on kidnapping and torture charges against former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and three co-defendants could begin next week under a schedule set by a Superior Court judge on Wednesday.

Bey IV, Richard Lewis, Tamon Halfin, and Yusuf Bey V entered not guilty pleas through their lawyers Wednesday.

They face life sentences if convicted of kidnapping two women and torturing one of them in May 2007.

Bey IV is also suspected of ordering the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey three months later, but remains uncharged in that case. Another of his followers, Devaughndre Broussard, is scheduled to stand trial next month for Bailey's slaying.

A judge last week issued a surprise ruling from the bench and threw out on legal technicalities a preliminary hearing in the kidnapping case that concluded last year. The ruling invalidated a decision that enough evidence existed for Bey IV and the others to stand trial.

[...]

In a surprise ruling from the bench last week, Judge Thomas Reardon threw out a preliminary hearing that concluded last year and ordered that the case against Bey IV, Lewis and Tamon Halfin and Yusuf Bey V start over.

The four are charged with using a car modified to look like a police cruiser to pull over the women on I-580 in Oakland on May 17, 2007, putting bags over the victims' heads and taking them to a house in East Oakland. There, Halfin is alleged to have held the mother in a car while the other three defendants took the daughter in the house and beat her in an attempt to learn the location of a stash of drug money.

A police officer happened on the scene and rescued the women. Her alleged attackers escaped but were later arrested.

During tearful testimony at the now moot earlier hearing, the daughter testified she was terrified and that her attackers threatened her with a hot curling iron.

A page out of the holy, holy hadiths.  Its relevance is left as an exercise for the reader:

Tabari VIII:122/Ishaq:515 “The Prophet gave orders concerning Kinanah to Zubayr, saying, ‘Torture him until you root out and extract what he has. So Zubayr kindled a fire on Kinanah’s chest, twirling it with his firestick until Kinanah was near death. Then the Messenger gave him to Maslamah, who beheaded him.”

Posted on 04/16/2009 12:01 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Tariq Ramadan Retains Lucrative Position In Rotterdam

From the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report:

An Internet news portal is reporting that Tariq Ramadan, one of he most prominent leaders of the global Muslim Brotherhood has been retained as an advisor to the mayor of Rotterdam on issues of multi-culturalism following an investigation into accusations that he had made anti-gay and anti-female statements. According to an Expatica Belgium report:

Tariq Ramadan, considered one of Europe’s leading Muslim thinkers, has been an advisor to the mayor of Rotterdam on issues of multi-culturalism since 2007. The investigation found that Ramadan “has a relatively conservative opinion on the topic of homosexuality,” Rotterdam cultural councillor Rik Grashoff told reporters following a public protest at Ramadan’s reported statements. “But he is consistent: homosexuality is hard to accept from the Islamic point of view, but respect for the individual reigns supreme.” Ramadan was also present at the media conference. Ramadan, considered one of Europe’s leading Muslim thinkers, has been an advisor to the mayor of Rotterdam on issues of multi-culturalism since 2007. He is also a guest lecturer at Rotterdam’s Erasmus university. In March, the Gay Krant, a Dutch magazine for homosexuals, published remarks it attributed to the Oxford University professor which it said were offensive to gay people and women.It quoted him as saying that homosexuality was not allowed under Islam and that women were required to cast their eyes downward when walking in the street.The magazine called him “two-faced” with different messages for western and Islamic audiences.”It is not a question of double speak,” Grashoff retorted Wednesday. “Mr Ramadan is a modern thinker who does not believe in the hegemony of religion over society.” Ramadan told reporters that the quotes used by the Gay Krant had been “taken out of context”. “I am happy,” he said. “I want to continue building bridges” between Muslims and westerners.

Dutch media had reported on the statements as follows:

Gay magazine Gay Krant yesterday published a translation of sound recordings of statements Ramadan is said to have made in a speech. He called homosexuality “a disturbance, a faulty functioning and an imbalance” and said on women that they must attract no attention by their appearance. “On the street, thus says the law, women must keep their eyes fixed on the pavement,” the magazine quotes him as saying. Rotterdam says it wants access to the recordings as quickly as possible. This will allow the municipality itself to assess the statements of Ramadan, according to a spokeswoman of Participation Alderman Rik Grashoff. “These statements raise questions about statements Ramadan has made as advisor to Rotterdam municipality and as guest professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam,” according to the Gay Krant. Ramadan, “who charges an hourly fee of 290 euros,” was recently re-appointed for two years as advisor to Grashof, according to the magazine.

Tariq Ramadan is perhaps best described as an independent power center within the global Brotherhood with sufficient stature as the son of Said Ramadan, and the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood to challenge positions taken by important Brotherhood leaders. His statements and writings have been extensively analyzed and he has been accused by critics of promoting anti-Semitism and fundamentalism, albeit by subtle means. On the other hand, his supporters promote him as as example of an Islamic reformer who is in the forefront of developing a “Euro Islam.”

Ramadan is currently professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Theology and senior research fellow at St. Antony’s College (Oxford), Dohisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and at the Lokahi Foundation (London). He is also visiting professor (holding the chair: Identity and Citizenship) at Erasmus University in The Netherlands.

Posted on 04/16/2009 5:35 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 16 April 2009
A Warning

From Harry's Place:

This wouldn't happen at NER. Not to me, anyway. At least, I wouldn't just think someone was wrong; I would know it, which makes it all worthwhile.

My ex said I was anally retentive, but he spelt it wrong, so I got the last laugh....

Posted on 04/16/2009 5:47 PM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Musical Interlude: Hank Snow

"I Don't Hurt Anymore" written by Don Robertson and Jack Rollins

Posted on 04/16/2009 7:07 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 16 April 2009
A Saudi Christian Could Not Be In His Right Mind

Kingdom silences convert, prohibits him from leaving country.

LOS ANGELES, April 16 (Compass Direct News) – In a surprise move, a Saudi Christian arrested in January for describing his conversion from Islam and criticizing the kingdom’s judiciary on his blog site was released on March 28 with the stipulation that he not travel outside of Saudi Arabia or appear on media. Hamoud Saleh Al-Amri (previously reported as Hamoud Bin Saleh), 28, reportedly attributed his release to advocacy efforts by the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). The Cairo-based organization had campaigned for his release along with other rights groups, reported Christian advocacy organization Middle East Concern. Gamal Eid, director of ANHRI, told Compass by telephone that he believed his organization had nothing to do with Al-Amri’s release. Rather, he said he believed officials were loath to keep a person of questionable mental stability in prison. “He is mentally not stable, because he had the courage to say in his blog that he is a Christian,” Eid said. “Anyone in his right mind in Saudi Arabia wouldn’t do that.” The country’s penalty for “apostasy,” or leaving Islam, is death, although in recent years there have been no known cases of kingdom citizens formally convicted and sentenced with capital punishment for the offense.

Posted on 04/16/2009 9:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Freeloading and snobbery

There’s no snob like a Socialist snob. A Tory snob believes in elitism and hierarchy, and if he is intelligent, in meritocracy. A Socialist snob likes the proles to keep in their place, where they can be patronised. Socialist snobs hate Jews – clever upstarts who have risen on their own merits – and love Muslims. Socialist snobs hate grammar schools – we can’t have their thick children pushed out of the good universities by upstart grocers’ daughters from Grantham. Above all, Socialist snobs like to tell the common people what to like, and what to pay for. David Thompson, whose use of the cliché “up there with” I will forgive on this occasion, writes of the absurd sense of entitlement of the progressive “artist”:

Over the holiday weekend I somehow missed the Guardian’s latest musings on Thatcher and the arts. The writer Hanif Kureishi offers this:

[I]n the longer term, her effect has been disastrous. Thatcher, like the Queen, is basically vulgar, and has little cultural sophistication or understanding. But unlike the Queen, she actively hated culture, as she recognised that it was a form of dissent.

Ah yes, “dissent.” That’s up there with Polly Toynbee’s conviction that subsidised literary festivals are not only “hot new debating arenas” and “as good a measure of well-being as any,” but also, crucially, make up for “the nation’s democratic deficit.” Naturally, this is advanced as a basis for additional taxpayer subsidy of the art forms Polly happens to like, and in which she has a platform. (There is, sadly, no public subsidy of my CD collection or Battlestar Galactica box sets, for which I expect to pay full price….)

[…]

Without an enterprise culture and the tax revenue it generates, who will be paying for all of the commercially unviable art that Mr Kureishi thinks defines sophistication? The Guardian’s theatre critic Michael Billington doesn’t say, but he does offer this:

Was the 1980s an unacknowledged golden age? In theatrical terms, absolutely not. Talent, of course, can never be entirely suppressed.

Note the word “suppressed.” Like “dissent,” it’s a tad grandiose. I’m not convinced that the reduction of taxpayer subsidy for loss-making plays qualifies as “suppression.” And reluctant taxpayers please take note: Despite all the years of providing handouts, you’re now on the side of the oppressor. That’s gratitude for you. Actually, one might argue that not making work of sufficient interest to put bums on seats is largely a failure of the artist. Not that Mr Billington has much time for productions that do put bums on seats, which the elevated socialist waves aside as “harmless pleasure.” Instead, he too sees the long shadow of Thatcher, on whom he blames,

a prevailing media assumption that a hyped-up West End extravaganza such as Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is somehow more “important” than, say, a new Royal Court play by Polly Stenham; that in itself is a direct legacy of a decade in which “bums on seats” became a more significant criterion of judgment than “ideas in heads.”

There’s something deeply amusing about egalitarian snobbery and its assorted conceits. The functions of the welfare state apparently include saving unprofitable drama productions from a disinterested public. Mere commercial forces and popular appetite must not impede work of such tremendous cultural importance that no bugger wants to see it. There’s an inescapable arrogance in the assumption that a given artistic or theatrical effort should somehow circumvent the preferences of its supposed audience and be maintained indefinitely, at public expense, despite audience disinterest or outright disapproval. And when that same disinterested public forks out its cash voluntarily for something it wants to see, this is something to be sneered at and blamed on former Prime Ministers. Marx would be proud. I’m not at all sure that the opinions above, which are fairly typical of the piece, tell us much about Thatcher’s view of culture, or her alleged philistinism, or her impact on the arts generally. But it does, I think, tell us quite a bit about the presumptions of the commenters and their intended readership.

I saw Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, about which Kureishi is so snooty, and it was fantabuloso. The audience was nearly all women and gay men. The Diversity Police will need to pay Kureishi a visit, especially as My Son the Fanatic came dangerously close to “Islamophobia”.

Posted on 04/16/2009 2:39 PM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 16 April 2009
A Musical Interlude: Waiting At The End Of The Road (Bing Crosby)

Listen here.

Posted on 04/16/2009 3:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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