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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 Thursday, 16, 2007.
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Top Five Famous Muslims

I found this at a website supposedly devoted to sport: The list is an inspiring  blend of mass-murders and mass-media sports stars. The arithmetic needs work.


top 5 famous muslims of alltime

     1)     Mohamed Ali- the greatest boxer of all time [float like a butterfly sting like a bee]

2) Osama Bin Laden - not none for the best of reasons but is suposed to be a terrorist mastermind. Fights for Al-Quaida

3) Zinedine Zidane- one of the greatest footballers ever comes from an algerian backgroung great footballer

4) Tupac Shakur- best rapper of all time not sure if he is muslim or not but it did say he is on a website

4) Sadam Hussain- Once again not known for the best of reasons but use to be presindent i think of iraq.

5) Imran khan- great cricketing allrounder great captain lead pakistan to world cup glory

i no there are other famous muslims who invented thing but these are mine
what do you guys think it will be good to see your top 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Posted on 08/16/2007 6:06 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 16 August 2007
On Est Toujours Trop Bons Avec Les Femmes, or, Gunsmoke Not Quite In Nighttown
One more pair for “The Doubles” Game which, after its recent introduction, should by now be sweeping the world:
Matt Dillon and Mat Dillon.
The first evokes that dusty town, and the swinging doors of the saloon, and Doc, and Miss Kitty, and of course loyal limping Chester, for those Americans who remember the glorious 1950s.
The second is a character – or rather, a name – mentioned in “Ulysses.” Leopold Bloom first meets Molly in May 1887 (28 years, 11 months before the date of the action and passion of “Ulysses” take place), she in a green dress, at the house of one Matthew “Mat” Dillon. And it is on the same occasion that Leopold may have met – so he thinks – little Stephen Dedalus, then aged four or possibly five,  dressed in “linseywoolsey.” That last may be a proleptic allusion by farseeing Joyce to Judge John M. Woolsey, of New York, who would later deliver himself of a famous verdict in a censorship case involving “Ulysses.”
Mat Dillon makes an appearance, as do some other characters in “Ulysses,” much later on, in Raymond – there is something about Raymond, isn’t there? -- Queneau’s “On est toujours trop bons avec les femmes.
Posted on 08/16/2007 6:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Wellerisms (version française)

1) “Lafayette, we are here,” as Vattemare the Ventriloquist, standing by himself and pounding at an ungodly hour on the gate of La Grange Bleneau, announced when the sleepy Count appeared at an open window to see what all the noise was about


2) “Vaste programme, monsieur,” as De Gaulle replied when Don Hewitt told him he planned to devote an entire hour of “60 Minutes” to an interview with the French leader


3) “Une femme est une femme, mais un caporal…” as Josephine, who was having self-esteem problems, wistfully told  her psychiatrist .


Posted on 08/16/2007 6:48 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Charity Drops Suit Against Terrorism Analyst
American justice upholds free speech in a suit similar to the many suits that Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Marfouz has filed against writers in England. (h/t: JW) Josh Gerstein reports in The New York Sun: 

A children's charity that funnels money to Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon, Kinder USA, has dropped a libel suit it brought against a prominent terrorism analyst who suggested that the group was funding a terrorist organization, Hamas.

In April, Kinder USA, formally known as Kids in Need of Development, Education, and Relief, Inc., sued Matthew Levitt over a brief passage about the group in his book, "Hamas: Politics, Charity and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad."

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, also named the book's publisher, Yale University Press, and Mr. Levitt's employer from 2001 to 2005, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

On Tuesday, Kinder USA moved to withdraw the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.

"I conducted three years of careful research for Hamas, and the book was the subject of academic peer review," Mr. Levitt said in a statement issued yesterday by the Washington Institute, which he returned to this year after a stint as a top Treasury Department official. "I am pleased that this suit has been dismissed with prejudice, vindicating my free speech rights."

In the passage that led to the suit, Mr. Levitt wrote: "Even after the closure of the Holy Land Foundation in 2001, other America-based charities continue to fund Hamas. One organization that has appeared to rise out of the ashes of the HLFRD is Kinder USA."...

Posted on 08/16/2007 6:51 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Holy Land Foundation's Unindicted Co-Conspirators File Brief

Speaking of terror funding Muslim charities, New Duranty has this:

Two prominent Muslim American organizations took steps yesterday to reverse what they called a Justice Department effort to smear the entire Muslim community by naming some of its largest organizations as unindicted co-conspirators in a Texas terrorism trial.

The National Association of Muslim Lawyers, which is not named, sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales objecting to the list, which it said breached the department’s own guidelines against releasing the names of unindicted co-conspirators and did not serve any clear law enforcement purpose.

The letter, also signed by the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, said the “overreaching list” of more than 300 organizations and individuals would further cripple charitable donations to Muslim organizations and could ratchet up the discrimination faced by American Muslims since the Sept. 11 attacks.

In addition, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, which is on the list, announced that it would file a brief today asking Judge A. Joe Fish of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas to remove its name and all others from the list.

The brief, a copy of which was released yesterday, says the list furthers a pattern of the “demonization of all things Muslim” that has unrolled in the United States since 2001.

“Most people don’t understand what an unindicted co-conspirator is,” said Parvez Ahmed, CAIR’s board chairman, adding that the release of the list prompted death threats and hate mail against the council. “They think that being related to a terrorism case means we are terrorists.”...

Once upon a time, during a brief period of moral clarity after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush said, "you're either with us, or with the terrorists."  The funding of terrorist organizations like Hamas gives a pretty good indication of which side CAIR and other Muslim organizations are on.

Posted on 08/16/2007 7:06 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 16 August 2007
U.S. Prods Musharraf to Share Power With Bhutto

The Bush administration has looked over the abyss to see what a populist Islamic Pakistan would look like and is doing what it can to try to forestall the inevitable. General Musharraf is likely to be unseated by either an assassination or general uprising. When he goes, they hope to have someone in place who is relatively friendly to the U.S., like Benazir Bhutto, to replace him. This move will probably only feed the fire of the Islamic opposition.

New Duranty: WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 — The Bush administration, struggling to find a way to keep Gen. Pervez Musharraf in power amid a deepening political crisis in Pakistan, is quietly prodding him to share authority with a longtime rival as a way of broadening his base, according to American and Pakistani officials.

General Musharraf, an important ally since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has lost so much domestic support in recent months that American officials have gotten behind the idea that an alliance with Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister, would be his best chance of remaining president.

The two met in an unannounced session in Abu Dhabi on July 27, but neither has publicly admitted to the meeting. Since then, many in Pakistan have heard the rumors and voiced their doubts about the workability and political wisdom of such a deal, and American officials concede that the proposed power-sharing could come with problems as well as benefits.

But after weeks of unrest in Pakistan, the American officials say a power-sharing agreement that might install Ms. Bhutto as prime minister could help defuse a confrontation in which General Musharraf has already flirted with invoking emergency powers. Administration officials have said they fear that General Musharraf could eventually be toppled and replaced by a leader who might be less reliable as a guardian of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and as an ally against terrorism.

Even if General Musharraf were to insist on remaining as the country’s military leader, American officials say that sharing power could bring a more democratic spirit to Pakistan, which has been a quasi-military dictatorship since 1999, when General Musharraf seized power and ousted Ms. Bhutto’s successor, Nawaz Sharif.

Even in supporting a power-sharing agreement, the American officials say they worried that any diminution of General Musharraf’s power could only complicate American counterterrorism efforts at a time when Al Qaeda is believed to be rebuilding in Pakistan’s tribal areas. They also say that Ms. Bhutto’s return could fuel Pakistani nationalism and kindle new calls for Pakistan to distance itself from Washington.

Ms. Bhutto has been holding talks in recent weeks with senior Bush administration officials, including Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, with whom she met privately late last week. Administration officials have taken pains not to endorse a power-sharing agreement publicly, so as not to seem as if the United States is trying to influence Pakistani politics...

Posted on 08/16/2007 7:52 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 16 August 2007
The Perversity of Denying Genocide
THE CAMPAIGN sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to combat bigotry and celebrate diversity ("No Place for Hate") has sparked bitter resentment in Watertown, Mass., a Boston suburb whose 8,000 Armenian-Americans make up nearly 25 percent of the population. Local Armenians do not object to the initiative, rather to the group behind it, the ADL and its director, Abraham Foxman - whom they charge, correctly, with denying the ugly established legacy of the World War I era Armenian genocide.

Under the authoritarian Young Turk (Ittihadist) regime, the bulk of the Armenian population from the territories of the Ottoman Empire - some 1 million to 1.5 million Armenians - were purged by violent and lethal means, which reproduced the historic conditions of a classic Islamic jihad: deportation, enslavement, forced conversion and massacre.

Mr. Foxman maintains that dismantling a program designed to fight hatred simply because the ADL does not share what he refers to as the "Armenians' viewpoint" would be "bigoted." Moreover, Foxman and the ADL, who have spoken out in recent times against ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the Balkans and the genocide against the syncretist black African Animist-Muslims in Darfur, are, in effect, oddly "neutral" on the Armenian genocide: "We're not party to this, and I don't understand why we need to be made party."

But even this morally challenged "neutrality" is disingenuous. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency ("Turks want genocide commission," April 23), Mr. Foxman and the ADL are lobbying against legislation recognizing the Armenian genocide in the U.S. House (HR 106) and the Senate (SR 106), including the presentation of letters from the Jewish community of Turkey complemented by, "their own [i.e., the ADL's] statement opposing the bill."

Interviewed for a Nov. 19, 2003, story in The Christian Science Monitor, following the bombing of Istanbul's two main synagogues by indigenous Turkish jihadist groups, Rifat Bali, a scholar, and Turkish Jew, acknowledged the chronic plight of Turkey's small, dwindling Jewish community, whose social condition remains little removed from the formal "dhimmi" status of their ancestors.

The rest is here.

Posted on 08/16/2007 8:17 AM by Andy Bostom
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Helping Too Much

New Duranty: MALELA, Kenya — CARE, one of the world’s biggest charities, is walking away from some $45 million a year in federal financing, saying American food aid is not only plagued with inefficiencies, but also may hurt some of the very poor people it aims to help.

CARE’s decision is focused on the practice of selling tons of often heavily subsidized American farm products in African countries that in some cases, it says, compete with the crops of struggling local farmers.

The charity says it will phase out its use of the practice by 2009. But it has already deeply divided the world of food aid and has spurred growing criticism of the practice as Congress considers a new farm bill.

“If someone wants to help you, they shouldn’t do it by destroying the very thing that they’re trying to promote,” said George Odo, a CARE official who grew disillusioned with the practice while supervising the sale of American wheat and vegetable oil in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital...

Our feelings aren't hurt, Mr. Odo, in fact, having more corn available to make ethanol might be a good thing for the U.S.

Posted on 08/16/2007 8:27 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Islam in America

"We are fortunate that radicalization seems to have less appeal in the U.S. than in other parts of the world," he said, "but we do not believe that America is immune to homegrown terrorism."-- from this news article on the Rand report linked below

This statement, variants of which are made so often with such self-assurance, needs to be examined. We are often told that "Muslims in America are different" or "the situation in America is different from that in Western Europe." [At least this concedes that there is a "problem" with Muslims in Western Europe]. Why? Oh, because Muslims in America are so very "different" because they are so well-off, so many engineers, so many computer programmers, that sort of thing. In other words, something about the American Dream, defined entirely in terms of economic wellbeing, but having nothing to do with the legal and political institutions of the United States that help to explain not only that economic wellbeing, but all the other things, far more important than mere bank accounts, that make America America.

Implicit in this view -- "radicalization has less appeal in America "" -- is the by-now thoroughly discredited notion, which keeps coming in by the rhetorical back door, that "poverty" causes what is demurely called "radicalization." But that is not so. "Mike" Hawash was an Intel engineer, with an American wife, and Little-League playing children, and a salary of $360,000 a year, yet he was prepared, having rediscovered and deepened his faith in Islam, to go off -- after 9/11 -- to Afghanistan to kill Americans.

The word "radicalization" does not tell us anything, but attempts rather to hide the truth from us. What is "radicalization"? It is the state in which an individual Muslim, or a group of Muslims, decide to be very good Muslims indeed, and to do all that is demanded of Muslims, including the duty of participating in Jihad to remove all obstacles, everywhere, to the final triumph of Islam. Some Muslims choose not to participate directly. Some choose to avert their minds from that duty, to pretend that it does not exist. Some out of filial piety, and the apparent need to have an "identity," to continue to call themselves "cultural Muslims," meaning that they are no longer believers at all, but don't really want to make that leap into the dangerous unknown, the leap made by Ali Sina, Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and no doubt tens or hundreds of thousands of others around the world, who do so not quite so openly and noisily, out of fear.

But those who are "radicalized" -- and these are a great many -- have not embraced a doctrine that has nothing to do with, but rather has every thing to do with, Islam. The texts they read are the same. But they read the full texts. They know the duty of Muslims. They choose, however, as their instrument of Jihad not only such things as campaigns of Da'wa, and the careful Tu-Quoque-and-Taqiyya efforts designed to prevent Infidels from finding out just a little too much about Islam, mainly by keeping those tiny Infidel minds busy with "the three abrahamic faiths" and "we revere Jesus and Moses" and of course the five canonical prayers, and the giving of zakat -- for fellow Muslims -- and the observance of Ramadan and the inspirational delights of the hajj, but also violence. And that is what "radicalization" means --not some different, weird, unrelated set of beliefs, but merely the set of beliefs that arise naturally out of, indeed are inculcated by, Islamic texts read and understood as Muslims have read and understood those immutable texts for 1300 --or possibly 1200 -- years (for it is unclear when the Qur'anic text was fixed in amber).

But the texts are the same, the same ones read by Muslims in France as in the United States, and the same texts as are read by Muslims in Iran, or the Sudan, or Libya, or Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan. The refusal of American authorities, or writers on the subject of Islam in America, to recognize that there is no great difference, that the only difference that for now inhibits Muslim demands and behavior is the fact that Muslims constitute 1% of the total population, that that population is far less likely, for a number of reasons, to appease or acquiesce as so many in Western Europe have done, and that they cannot act quite as openly, quite as aggressively (though many Muslim groups are doing, in fact, their blatant damnedest) as they do in Western Europe.

"Radicalization" simply means an intensification of Islamic faith, and a willingness to participate oneself directly in Jihad, rather than simply support the effort as part of a community obligation, and finally, the willingness to use violence ("terrorism") as an instrument of Jihad. And that is all.

Posted on 08/16/2007 8:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 16 August 2007
What Infidels Are Finding Out

Islam is an all-encompassing belief-system, quite different from those other monotheisms which, for obvious reasons while they are still a small group in the West, Muslims like to have "so very much" in common – that "three abrahamic faiths" pitch that once went over well, but nowadays appears to attract only the most muddle-headed or those who, while supposedly being Christian or Jewish clergymen, have brought their art of self-preening or cravenness to such a level that they become Defenders of the Faith – that Faith being Islam.

But Infidels can no longer be stopped. Once they begin to realize that the texts of Islam are not hermetic, and can be studied; that a knowledge of classical Arabic is not essential to learning about Islam, not least because 80% of the world’s Muslims know not a bit of Arabic, classical or otherwise, and that even many Arabs have difficulty understanding classical Arabic and certainly the text of the Qur’an (see Christoph Luxenberg on the 20% of the Qur’an that is inexplicable, in his view, until one recognizes an Ur-text of Syriac – that is, the Aramaic of Edessa).

So Infidels are now free to read the immutable texts of Islam -- Qur'an, hadith, and Sira – read, and re-read, and study with growing understanding, but not necessarily growing delight or pleasure. They can find out about the interpretative doctrine of “naskh” or “abrogation,” by which – as in the common law --- the texts deemed later cancel out, or abroage, the texts deemed to have been set down earlier, and those later texts, presumably from the “Medinan” period of Mohammad’s existence, are far harsher than the softer, “Meccan” verses from the period when Islam was still weak. Infidels can do so many things. They can find out, as apparently George Bush was incapable of finding out or being told, why 5.32 cannot conceivably be misunderstood without the context of the succeeding verse, 5.33. They can learn the real meaning, the meaning that Islam and Muslims assign to the seemingly benign Qur’anic observation that “there is no compulsion in religion.” They can find out what is Halal and what Haram in Islam, they can find out what Muslims are taught to think of sculpture, of paintings depicting living creatures, of music. They can find out what Muslims think of free and skeptical inquiry, and the possibility of someone born into Islam being permitted to choose for himself whether to remain a Muslim, or abandon that faith for another, or for no faith at all. They can find out the details of Muhammad’s life, and consider what is the likely effect of those details – the beheading of the bound prisoners of the Banu Qurayza, the attack on the inoffensive Jewish farmers of the Khaybar Oasis, the satisfaction taken when he heard of the assassinations of Abu Akaf and Asma bint Marwan, the “treaty-making model” of Al Hudaibiyyah, and of course the business with little Aisha – on Muslims who are taught to regard Muhammad, a warrior who took part in 78 military campaigns, 77 of them offensive, as the Model of Conduct, the Perfect Man -- uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil – for all Muslims, and for all time.

The Qur’anic text is available on-line, a click away, with several different translations set out synoptically.. The Hadith are too, and so is the Sira. More and more studies by the great Western students of Islam, from the period of genuinely free and uninhibited study, roughly 1860 to 1960, are being gathered into sourcebooks (such as Bostom’s “The Legacy of Jihad”) or republished (especially in accessibly cheap Indian editions). More and more people have uncovered what the Great of the Past had to say about Islam, writing as they did in a period when no punches had to be pulled, and one could speak or write one’s mind. What did that great religious reformer John Wesley write about Islam? And the most learned of nineteenth-century American statesmen, John Quincy Adams? What did that wise student of men and events, Alexis De Tocqueville, write about Islam, based on his wide knowledge, including his observations in Algeria? What did Gladstone have to say about the Turks, and about their role in Europe, and about the Bulgarian Wars? What did Winston Churchill, with his knowledge of history, say about Muslims and Islam?

And above all, we now have the phenomenon of “defectors” from Islam, the apostates from Islam, who in the Western world are no longer fearful, and are willing to speak from their own lifetimes of experience of being born into Islam and then choosing to abandon it, some for Christianity (Walid Shoebat, Nonie Darwish), and some to be resolute freethinkers, such as Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ali Sina, Wafa Sultan, and so many more. Some have been Iranians, some Pakistanis, some Arabs, some from still other backgrounds. Muslim spokesmen would prefer that you pay as little attention to these keen observers as possible, and attempt on every occasion to shut them up or shout them down. But up or down, those Muslim spokesmen and enforcers have not succeeded, for when someone such as Ibn Warraq writes “Why I Am Not a Muslim” and Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes her own stirring testimony in “Infidel,” or when Ali Sina, with a growing army of fellow apostates, conducts his own lucid campaign from the heights of, and Muslims in this country cannot, as they would in a minute in a Muslim country, shut such efforts down – then we, the Infidels, are the beneficiaries of such valuable witnesses, such indispensable temoignage.

It seems a century ago that we were willing to engage in those phony “dialogues” which always end up being sinister apologies for Islam, with the non-Muslim clergymen willingly or unwillingly inveigled into participating into a farce of supposedly symmetrical fault-finding, a farce that relies heavily on Infidel ignorance of Islam, and willingness to assume that if some belief-system is called a “religion” then of course it must be a force for good, must be beyond criticism, and only that “handful of extremists”-- but “extreme” about what? If Islam is in its essence so unthreatening, so peaceful, so tolerant, so good, then why should someone who is fanatically in favor of that something good be a threat to Infidels?

Those “interfaith candlelight ceremonies” that were all the rage just after 9/11/2001 ring hollow today, especially with the list of all those Muslim clerics who appeared, to utter all kinds of soothing words, and then were discovered in the past, or at the same time, or later on, to have been heard, even recorded, making quite different statements when they thought no non-Muslims were around. It has been quite a revelation, too, to discover the Islamic websites that counsel Muslims in how to talk to Infidels, telling exactly the things that should be said and the topics that should be carefully avoided, even explaining that one should “let the Sisters talk” if the subject is Islam and the Treatment of Women. And there are those Muslim websites that inform parents just how to wangle special treatment – prayer rooms and suchlike – from teachers and principals. It’s down to a science, all written out – and eventually someone is going to put all that advice for fellow Muslims together, and publish it, but as a warning to, and for the edification of, Infidels.

No Infidels need any longer accept the word of tireless apologists as to what those texts say, or what their "meaning" is, especially when we have all been treated to example after example of Tu-Quoque-and-Taqiyya, sometimes by omission, sometimes by deliberate misinterpretation for the limitlessly naive. Furthermore, we have the long historical record of Jihad-conquest, and the texts, written by Muslims themselves, on the subject of the necessity of Jihad, and the rules of Jihad -- see Bostom's sourcebook, "The Legacy of Jihad." We have 1350 years of such a record, and are entitled to study that record, from Spain in the west to what is present-day Indonesia in the east. We can study how non-Muslim populations slowly or quickly were reduced in size: what happened to the Copts of Egypt? What happened to the Jews and Armenians under Shah Abbas II in Iran? What happened to the Christians and Jews of the Arabian peninsula? What happened to the Christians of North Africa, where Tertullian and St. Augustine once lived? What happened to the Hindus of India under Muslim rule? Was it all wonderful, or is there reason to think that K. S. Lal and other Indian historians are right in their claim that between 60 and 70 million Hindus lost their lives? What was the historical record of Arab Muslims and slavery in Black Africa? Splendid? A tale of Muslim Wilberforces, long predating the English one? When was slavery formerly abolished in Arabia, and why? And is there any evidence of the continuance of slavery in Arab Muslim countries? And is there any evidence that Muslim scholars today have written about the continuing, indeed permanent, legitimacy of slavery, because it was recognized and accepted by Muhammad?

And these are not the only questions that need to be examined, studied, discussed. One wishes to know what happened to the Hindus of Pakistan and Bangladesh -- why did their numbers in the populations of those countries drop so precipitously, while the Muslim population of India has gone up, both relatively and absolutely? What has happened to Buddhists in southern Thailand, and why? What happened to the Christians of East Timor under Muslim rule? What has been happening to the Christians of the Moluccas? Or Iraq? Or Lower Egypt? Or in Lebanon over the past fifty years? What has happened to the French peres blancs and the Italian monks who tried to help the Muslims of Algeria, and for their pains were murdered? What is that history all about? What happened to the Armenians, and why was it that when Turks and Kurds killed those Armenians, they took pleasure in calling them "gavours" (Infidels), and were delighted if Armenian priests and their wives were among the victims, as recorded by eyewitnesses?

And here is yet another question that needs to be considered, to be discussed, to be pondered and not only in the corridors of power. What are the instruments of Jihad? Bush has focussed, quite monomaniacally, on "terror" as if he cannot bring himself to see the use of the Money Weapon, carefully-targetted campaigns of Da'wa, and of course a demographic conquest that has been openly discussed by Muslims, from Boumedienne at the U.N. in 1974, to mild-mannered Pakistani accountants in the letters pages of "Dawn" (see that for December 5, 2001 for example), to the Muslim websites where these developments are openly discussed -- as they are by all kinds of Muslim posters at JW (see "Naseem") and other websites.

Is it illegitimate for inhabitants of the Western or larger non-Muslim world to study these matters, and to raise these issues? Why? Is it illegitimate to discuss the proposition that one has a perfect right to defend the legal and political institutions that one's own society has received as a legacy, that others before one helped to create, over time, and that in every respect are flatly contradicted by what Islam inculcates? Is the individualism of the West, are our individual rights, those enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to be simply swept away, or to be subject to incessant attack by the adherents of a collectivist faith who do not believe in free speech, or in freedom of conscience, including the freedom to leave one faith for another, or to have no faith at all? Are these illegitimate questions?

And is it illegitimate to point out how frequently in history states and peoples have felt it necessary to expel others in their midst, and that it is a bit hasty to denounce all such efforts (though many certainly should be denounced), especially when one considers the reasons, the historical context, of the Benes Decree, which was adduced not as a model to follow, but as a case to study and ponder.

We in the West have an obligation to defend a civilizational legacy, even if many of us, individually, have not exactly proved ourselves worthy of it. And that includes considering measures that others have undertaken, to see if they provide lessons, any lessons at all, for us at this point in our endangered history.

And that is hardly illegitimate. It it the very least we should ask of ourselves, and of those who presume to "lead" us, or rather, in the cant of this cant-filled age, presume to "take a leadership role." Many people in this country have gone far beyond their so-called leaders, Democratic and Republican, in their understanding of Islam. And that is a good thing. That is a necessary thing.

Posted on 08/16/2007 9:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 16 August 2007
William Maxwell At 99
On NPR today, Garrison Keillor noted that 99 years ago, on August 16, 1908, the writer William Maxwell was born. Maxwell, from and in many ways deliberately remaining of, the Midwest, grew up in  in Lincoln, Illinois, but came to New York in the 1930s and early on, in his life and in the institutional life of the magazine,  became a fiction editor at The New Yorker. Keillor mentioned a shattering event in Maxwell’s life: the death of his mother in the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918. Keillor listed some of his many novels and books of short stories. But something could not be conveyed by such a short though welcome observance on the radio. That was the chief quality of William Maxwell, which was tenderness, though a tenderness that did not prevent him from being tart and dismissive, as I heard him being about the writing of Jamaica Kinkead. No one who knew him could get over the astounding youthfulness and beauty of his wife, Emily, who pre-deceased him by four days. Maxwell lived in a book-lined pre-war apartment; it reminded me of another apartment I used to visit, that of the Parisian book-dealer Aleksey Struve, son of the Legal Marxist Pyotr Struve, who died as he lived, at his desk at the Bibliothèque Nationale).  Both apartments, and their occupants, were redolent of the atmosphere of some not-quite-identifiable ancien régime, that is, not a political, but an  intellectual and moral regime that somewhere along the line had been misplaced, or overlooked.
Maxwell was for four decades an editor at The New Yorker, and his name is associated with Vladimir Nabokov, Frank O'Connor, John Cheever, John Updike, Isaac Bashevis Singer. He had one rule, an excellent rule, a rule that no doubt endeared him to Nabokov (who did not care for the occasional failure of Katherine White – or William Shawn, who tends in memoirs to be given all the credit for whatever happened at The New Yorker -- to grasp some subtlety, and would self-assuredly attempt to remove something that Nabokov would then patiently or exasperatedly explain simply had to be kept in, and always was). Maxwell, a writer who to earn his daily bread realized that the best writers would naturally hate editorial tampering (though they might entertain gentle suggestions or, if English was not native to them, welcome some correcting of grammar and syntax and word-choice and spelling), hating it in fact ardently as lesser writers today expect and even welcome editorial tampering, hoping that some officious young, editor will take their dross and transmute it not into gold but for what passes for gold,  the fool’s gold of a publishable and well-paid prose, which prose however – just look at recent issues of that same  that will not last for very long, that will, as the insect of an hour, be quickly classified as belonging to the genus Ephemerides.
William Maxwell once said that when it came to a good writer, the rule of the good editor should be: "Don't touch a hair on the head" of that writer’s prose.
Words to live by. How one wishes that young editors today, even though on paper little ladies and gentlemen of high degree, appear to say to themselves “tiens, I am an editor, and therefore I must edit” – defining “editing” as it was never defined in previous centuries, or even for much of the twentieth-century, and certainly, in Europe, still not defined that way today, would take Maxwell’s Rule to heart. How can the kind of people who have received the kind of education that they have received, possibly having “majored” in English at Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, studying a department in which many of the other faculty members express delight at having as colleagues the likes of  Homi Bhabha or Cornel West, dare to tinker with or question the idiolect, the lexicon, the play with punctuation, the allusions that make sense only if they remain carefully  unexplained  -- how can they even begin to understand the sturdiness of frail William Maxwell and the rightness of Maxwell’s Rule (which he would never have elevated to a rule himself, but cannot stop us from doing so now, ninety-nine years to the day since he was born).
Ninety-nine years, and counting.  
Posted on 08/16/2007 9:36 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Luxenberg, Jeffrey, and the Gaekwar of Baroda

"Is there not a reliable translation of Aramaic parts of these Muslim books?"
               -- from a reader


If you are talking about the Qur'an, there is a controversy surrounding the work of the philologist of Syriac (that is, the Aramaic used in and around Edessa), Christoph Luxenberg. He suggests that the best way to clear up the approximately 20% of the Qur'an that does not make sense, or that contains a meaning that is only guessed at, is to posit an Ur-text, in Aramaic, or rather in Syriac, a text that begins as a Christian lectionary.

Muslims have done what they can to ignore the book and to try to get it ignored by others. But among those Western students of the early Qur'an -- and there are not many qualified to review Luxenberg's book, for they would need to have a native or near-native command of Arabic as well as his command of Aramaic -- some have been greatly impressed, others less impressed at first but have begun to come round, others less impressed and refusing to come round. When it comes to such matters, fear plays a part -- that is, outright physical fear, but also, and from the most surprising sources, simply a fear of antagonizing one's Muslim colleagues. It is an absurd situation.

Luxenberg did not appear out of nowhere. There was Alphonse Mingana, in the teens of the last century. There was Arthur Jeffrey's study of foreign loan-words in the Qur'an (the very idea that the Qur'an might be written in something other than the purest of classical Arabic, untainted by words from outside, disturbs many), a book compiled by the Columbia University scholar Arthur Jeffery, and published in a sumptuous edition, with typefaces in a half-dozen languages, by the tolerant and intelligent man who was then Gaekwar of Baroda.

You can consult the new, English-language edition of Luxenberg's "Die syro-aramaische Lesart des Koran" which, I assume, is based on the latest, that is the third, edition of his book in German. He has also written, incidentally, a study of the Arabic, but not he argues Qur'anic, inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock -- a study that suggests the Dome of the Rock may not be quite the Muslim structure everyone has always assumed it to be.

As for the Hadith and the Sira, I have no knowledge that versions appeared in Aramaic. But the best guide to these matters is that tireless writer, scholar, and compiler and prompter of others' scholarship, Ibn Warraq.

See his "What the Koran Really Says" and "The Origins of the Koran" and "The Quest for the Historical Muhammad." And google a few names: Alfred-Louis De Premare, Gerd Puin, Andrew Rippin should get you going to an area that is not easy going,

Posted on 08/16/2007 1:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 16 August 2007
The Suffolk Resolves

From the Suffolk Resolves, of September 6, 1774:

"Whereas the power but not the justice, the vengeance but not the wisdom ….which of old persecuted, scourged, and exiled our fugitive parents from their native shores, now pursues us, their guiltless children, with unrelenting severity: And whereas, this, then savage and uncultivated desart, was purchased by the toil and treasure, or acquired by the blood and valor of those our venerable progenitors; to us they bequeathed the dearbought inheritance, to our care and protection they consigned it, and the most sacred obligations are upon us to transmit the glorious purchase, unfettered by power, unclogged with shackles, to our innocent and beloved offspring. On the fortitude, on the wisdom and on the exertions of this important day, is suspended the fate of this new world, and of unborn millions. If a boundless extent of continent, swarming with millions, will tamely submit to live, move and have their being at the arbitrary will of a licentious minister, they basely yield to voluntary slavery, and future generations shall load their memories with incessant execrations.--On the other hand, if we arrest the hand which would ransack our pockets, if we disarm the parricide which points the dagger to our bosoms, if we nobly defeat that fatal edict which proclaims a power to frame laws for us in all cases whatsoever, thereby entailing the endless and numberless curses of slavery upon us, our heirs and their heirs forever…..”

“That it is an indispensable duty which we owe to God, our country, ourselves and posterity, by all lawful ways and means in our power to maintain, defend and preserve those civil and religious rights and liberties, for which many of our fathers fought, bled and died, and to hand them down entire to future generations.”

Isn't that even truer today than it was back in 1774? Hasn't there been a lot of building up since then, quite a few fathers who have since 1774 "fought, bled, and died" in order to "hand [those civil and religious rights and liberties] down entire to future generations"?

What do you think of the words and spirit of the Suffolk Resolves? Do you think it's a bit much, a bit too melodramatic? Or do you like it, do you think this kind of language, a bit updated perhaps, is exactly what is called for, and is exactly what we are not getting, and what our "taking-a-leadership-role leaders" are not capable of saying, much less of thinking?

Posted on 08/16/2007 7:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 16 August 2007
All Deliberate Speed

( Just days after promising US lawmakers that his Fatah movement would not reconcile with Hamas, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is inviting the Islamist movement to kiss and make up.

Abbas called on Hamas to “return to national unity” following his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso Wednesday. "The split that happened as a result of Hamas's coup is temporary and will be removed," Abbas said. Hamas welcomed Abbas’s statements and invited him to negotiations in Gaza. --from this news item

Anyone who is surprised by this should be promptly relieved of any responsibilities having to do, not merely with the Arab siege of Israel, which has no end, and no "solution," but can be contained, and a peace made durable, through application of the principle of "Darura."

And as for the understanding, the entente pas cordiale but very possible indeed (it is mainly a fight over spoils, over who gets what money and what jobs, not over any grand principle -- but that money, and those jobs, are in the view of the Slow Jihadists of Fatah depending on a few quite meaningless smiles flashed Infidel-wards, so as to open up yet again the floodgates of Jizyah-aid), now that the Slow Jihadists of Fatah have made overtures to the Fast Jihadists of Hamas -- which one doubts will be accepted, but that is entirely beside the point -- at what speed shall we say a new Hamah or Fatas or Hamafatah organization will conduct its Jihad against Israel?

Let's say, borrowing from Brown v. Bd. of Education, they will conduct Jihad against Israel "with all deliberate speed."

That should satisfy everybody.

Posted on 08/16/2007 7:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Bring It Back

Just because it is the middle of the month does not mean that the picture on the wall has to change or the furniture rearranged. That first painting by Childe Hassam, "The Goldfish Bowl," has now been silently replaced by another, which shows Celia Thaxter's garden at literary Appledore. We want back the one with the sunlight, and the windows, and the table whose top resembles the surface of a body of water, and the lady at her complaisant ease.

Besides, as you know politicking is not allowed. And by putting up a scene on Appledore, one of the islands of the Isles of Shoals, you may inadvertently put  visitors in mind of the Appledores of England, and especially the Appledore that will naturally make them think of the Romney Marsh, and at the present time, such an allusion might be taken as an attempt to influence preferences in the Republican primary, and we can't have that.

Bring back the other paining by Childe Hassam. It was ravishing. The garden at Appledore, while pretty, also looks as if it is offering a  bouquet very much like the one currently on sale for $14.99 at Costco, and anyway, that predominately papaverous garden can always be put up at another, later date. Why must Celia Thaxter's  garden be so reddish, anyway, especially  since the red does not emanate from roses, roses, roses all the way?

Bring back  that pool of light on the table. Bring back  that goldfish bowl. Bring back  that lady in her complacent peignoir.  And while you are at it, bring back those arrows of desire. They may come in handy.

Posted on 08/16/2007 7:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 16 August 2007
To Isles In the Water (But Not Smuttynose) With Her Would I Fly

Well, so long as it's up, let's talk about the nine Isles of Shoals. They are mentioned in Eliot, but not by name. And it is their names,or one or two of them, that are worth noting. There are nine of them, four belonging to New Hamsphire, and five to Maine. Maine has the better of it, in the naming-of-parts department:. There is rustic Appledore. There is Malaga. There is Cedar. There is Duck, named after not Stephen (too early) or Donald (too late) but rather after the waterfowl of the same name. There is unforgettable Smuttynose.

New Hampshire's catch, the four Isles of Shoals it hauled in on a longline, bear less interesting names: Lunging, Seavy, White, and Star. Robert Frost mentions the Isles of Shoals in his poem "New Hampshire," the poem in which he notes that "[s]he's one of the two best states in the Union.
Vermont's the other."

Come visit the Ports of Piscataqua, after you have read "The Ports of Piscataqua" by William Gurdon Saltonstall. Come visit Strawberry Banke. Come visit Conway, New Hampshire where Ernest Fenollosa worked on his Japanese translations. Come to fabled New Hampshire, where  just a week ago the President of France, who could have gone anywhere in the world, chose to spend his very first official vacation, at Wolfeboro, on Lake Winnepesaukee. And come visit, of course, the Isles of Shoals, and Appledore, and Celia Thaxter's Garden.

But now please put back that picture of the garden in Cos Cob, just for another few days. Please.


Posted on 08/16/2007 8:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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