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These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 17, 2007.
Saturday, 17 November 2007
Man arrested over mosque YouTube 'threat'
THE MAN who placed an ‘obituary’ video on the YouTube site about an opponent of a planned mosque near the London Olympic site has been arrested.
Councillor Alan Craig (pictured), who was featured in the video with his wife and family, welcomed the development and said that the case appeared to be over.
Initially the video had a link to the Abbey Mills mega mosque website and to the radical Islamic group Tablighi Jamaat. It has now been removed from the YouTube website.
Councillor Craig said: "This incident now seems over. I will not be intimidated by threats of any kind as important issues about this mosque have to be addressed in an open and fair fashion. This whole episode has exposed the reality that some Muslims accustomed to using either violence, intimidation, or the threat of violence are linked to the idea of this mosque.
“I cannot say it often enough: the proposed mosque will be bad for London, bad for the community and an invitation for the propagation of separatist and fundamentalist Islamic ideas. Up to now, Mayor Ken Livingstone and the Labour establishment have turned a blind eye to the real nature of the organisation behind the mega-mosque. I hope they will look more seriously at them now."
The arrested man has been bailed to return to a police station in Hertfordshire.
Posted on 11/17/2007 2:28 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 17 November 2007
Ideology biggest threat to 'improved security'
Charles Moore in The Telegraph still doesn’t quite get it, with his preference for Islamist over Islamic to describe that which menaces us, but otherwise a good article.
On the same day this week as Gordon Brown gave his statement about terrorism to the House of Commons, I happened to be carrying a gun on a train.
I use the weapon - a licensed shotgun - only for sporting purposes. It was locked in its case, unloaded. I was not pointing it at anybody in order to make a political point or to get a seat. I was simply taking it from A to B.
When I asked the railway authorities what principle they followed in deciding whether people may carry guns on trains, they said something very sensible. "It's not so much the item," they told me, "it's the behaviour."
A free society can function properly only if it works out what is a threat and what isn't. If it ignores threat, it will be attacked. If it treats everyone as a threat, it will grind to a halt.
This is where the Government's thinking is so patchy. Mr Brown is right to want to look at public buildings to see how they could be better protected from vehicle attack. He is right, belatedly, about the need for better border controls. But the question to settle before you can take effective action against terrorism is: "What and whom are we talking about?"
On Wednesday, the Commons listened with close attention to everything the Prime Minister said about physical protection from attack, but when he turned to how to challenge what he called "extremist propaganda", MPs started to chat among themselves.
This was instructive, and depressing. As Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, said in a recent public speech, "The root of the problem is ideological". We cannot know why and how we are likely to be attacked if we do not understand what the violent ideas are, who is purveying them, who is failing to counter them and who is trying to act upon them.
Mr Evans said that roughly 2,000 people are currently "posing a direct threat to national security and public safety". It is reasonable to believe - even though money and grudges and family tensions and hormones all come into it - that every single one of these people will be acting on the basis of a fanatical idea. Unless this is understood, physical protection is not very helpful. As a letter writer put it in this paper yesterday, "Fortress Britain? Yes - with the enemy already well within the castle walls."
In this respect, Mr Evans's thoughtful speech was itself guilty of some evasion. In it, he referred directly to Islam only once (and once more in quoting the name of an organisation). He said that the problem was ideological, but he said very little about what the ideology was.
At present, the Government is confused on this subject, and divided. Some ministers, notably Hazel Blears, who is Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, are robust about working out who really is a moderate Muslim and who isn't. Others, notably Jack Straw, who always watches his seat in heavily Muslim Blackburn, and John Denham, the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (George Orwell himself could not have made these New Labour titles up), are far less rigorous.
So the people chosen by the Government to help combat extremism are sometimes not so moderate themselves. The Government is reviewing Islamic studies at our universities. Its approach is based in part on a report by Dr Ataullah Siddiqui of the Markfield Institute of Higher Education and the Islamic Foundation there. The Markfield bodies adhere to the Islamist ideology of Abul Ala Mawdudi, who founded the Jamaat-i-Islami movement, preaching extremist politics in Pakistan. The Markfield ideas about what should be taught are not liberal, to put it mildly.
The organisations on the Government's Mosques and Imams National Advisory Body, designed to clean up extremism in mosques, include the Muslim Association of Britain. MAB leaders support suicide bombings in the Middle East and are closely connected with the work of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Their idea of extremism is not yours or mine.
In the latest issue of Private Eye, the Labour Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has a letter defending Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the religious teacher who also promotes the ideology of suicide bombing and terrorist attacks on our forces in Iraq. Qaradawi believes, in his own words (not quoted by Mr Livingstone), that "Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror", but that such conquest "need not necessarily be by the sword".
Ken and others are promoting a sort of Muslim Sinn Fein - men who encourage violence in various contexts, men who attack the Western way of life, but who hope to win support here by taking a "not in my back-yard attitude" to terror. You Westerners won't get killed, is the message, so long as you have the foreign policy we want and let us control the Muslims - teaching, preaching, politics, Islamic banking - in your midst.
This is not what the dominant Muslim traditions in this country want, and even if it were, it would be disastrous for us to accept it, yet the Government talks to such people every day. Some are even its paid advisers and officials. Mr Brown says that £70 million "is being invested in projects devoted to countering violent extremism". Who will get it? Is Mr Brown clear who is extremist and who isn't?
The main Muslim bodies, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, get very annoyed when people speak of "Islamic terrorism" or even (a better phrase, because it draws attention to the fact that the terrorism is inspired by a version of Islam rather than by all Islam) "Islamist terrorism". They say it is a slur on Muslims. The Government now runs away from these terms.
But if substantial numbers of people are killing other people in the name of their God, surely those descriptions are, in a shorthand way, accurate. And surely the spokesmen of that religion should devote their energies to defeating the extremists, not to lambasting those who point the extremism out.
Yes, the root of the problem is ideological, and we need to dig much deeper to pull it up.
Posted on 11/17/2007 3:10 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 17 November 2007
London’s PC despot
This is an article from the editor of Spiked, a liberal left wing website criticising Ken Livingstone and his report on his perceived islamaphobia in the media. Even another red has turned agin red Ken.
What kind of leader launches an open assault on the press, accusing it of jeopardising public safety and demanding that it put its ‘house in order’? What sort of ruler proposes ‘guidelines’ to the press on what stories it should cover, and even worse, what kind of language it should use to cover them, what kind of people it should employ, and what kind of values it should uphold and communicate to the mass of the population? Kim Jong-il, perhaps? Saddam Hussein, before he was chased into his hole in the ground and later executed? How about Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London?
This week, ‘Red Ken’, as some people insist on calling him, launched a report on British media coverage of ‘Muslim issues’. Titled The Search for Common Ground: Muslims, Non-Muslims and the UK Media, the report was commissioned by Livingstone’s Greater London Authority. It explores the alleged rise of Islamophobia in the media. And in the name of tackling the apparent spread of prejudice through the papers (especially tabloid ones), Livingstone and his supporters have crossed a line normally only transgressed by despots: they’re using their political clout to try to shape the media in their own image. Strip away all the PC lingo about ‘protecting Muslims’, and the London mayor’s latest initiative comes across as an intolerable attack on press freedom.
The assessment of the week chosen (Monday 8 May to Sunday 14 May 2006, the week the report on the July 7 murders was published) and the way articles were identified is most illuminating. Surely picking that particular week cannot have been done at random?
Posted on 11/17/2007 3:34 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 17 November 2007
A Musical Interlude: The Missed Rendezvous
Posted on 11/17/2007 7:20 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 17 November 2007
Same outfitter?

To the left is Asiya Andrabi leader of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat group of Kashmir, sounding forth as to why Muslim children will be corrupted and go to hell if they sing the Indian National song Vande Mataram. No good will come of them attending Gandhi Jayanti celebrations either.

To the right is Lily Savage, played by Birkenhead entertainer Paul O'Grady.

Posted on 11/17/2007 7:39 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 17 November 2007
Join the dots, Charles

Americans, I have been told, say not "join the dots" but "connect the dots". I get the impression that American English uses more syllables than British English. Compare:

Join versus connect
Transport versus transportation
Sack versus terminate (employment)
Stock versus inventory
Bad debts versus delinquent receivables

Why is this? I have no idea. Perhaps it's for the same reason they have bigger cars. America is very much bigger than England, and people have a lot of space in which to make their words really long. And they need big cars to transportilate all those big words. But I digress, albeit with a light syllabic footprint.

Speaking of over-suffixing, Charles Moore, as Esmerelda points out, doesn't quite get it. He thinks there is something called Islamism, distinct from Islam itself. He is not alone. Melanie Phillips and until recently Daniel Pipes have also used this superfluous suffix. While the -ism should not be necessary, it has the advantage of enabling people to be more direct than they would be about bare, forked Islam. In a short note in the Spectator, Moore once again makes points that could easily be applied to mainstream Islam as if they only applied to an extreme version of it. Still, those points are worth making:

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain, was in the clerical party at the Cenotaph for Remembrance Day. I wonder what he was commemorating. The MCB consistently refuses to condemn the killing and kidnapping of British servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan. The day before, Dr Abdul Bari said that Britain resembled Nazi Germany. In its recent report, ‘The Hijacking of British Islam’, the think-tank Policy Exchange revealed that among the various publications for sale at Dr Abdul Bari’s East London Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre (as well as one called Women Who Deserve To Go To Hell) is a multi-volume, Saudi-funded work called Islamic Verdicts. The book includes questions and answers. In one, a man seeks guidance because he lives with ‘Christian brothers’. The answer starts by saying that the phrase must be ‘a slip of the tongue’ because ‘there is absolutely no brotherhood between the Muslims and the Christians’. Dr Abdul Bari stood with Christian clergy in apparent fraternity in Whitehall on Sunday, yet when the Daily Telegraph on Saturday invited him to condemn the publications sold under his roof he defended them on the grounds that the bookshops are ‘independent businesses’. I rather think that if you could buy a book called, for instance, The Only Good Muslim is a Dead Muslim, in the Westminster Abbey bookshop, Dr Abdul Bari would (rightly) have something to say.

Join the dots, Charles. This is mainstream Islam.

Posted on 11/17/2007 8:21 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 17 November 2007
Phoney phogeys
Some months ago, Robert Bové drew attention to a disadvantage of the universal cell phone, or mobile, as we say here: it stifles initiative. We are not obliged to make plans or, in some cases, think for ourselves, because others can so easily be contacted. Some go further and make no effort to be punctual because they can call to say they are running late.

Children and teenagers who have grown up in a world where there have always been mobile phones are particularly disadvantaged in this respect, as Robert's piece illustrates. Then again, I must guard against old codgerdom and acknowledge that my grandparents, and parents for a time, would have said the same thing about my generation and ordinary telephones, which were around, of course, but not universal.

The advantages of mobile phones outweigh the disadvantages. I must say that I feel slightly uneasy if I forget mine, which is not often, and think it strange if somebody hasn't got one.

The general consensus today is that young people, particularly teenagers, have bad telephone etiquette. Instead of communicating with adults - or even other teenagers - who are present, they talk, or rather grunt ("Alright? Cheers? Yeah, but, no but, innit, though?") on their mobiles and wear down their thumbs with texting. You see groups of teenagers together yet separate, jabbering away on their phones, as if to someone far more interesting than their companions. I have occasionally wondered if some of their absent friends are imaginary.

Rude and silly as teenagers may be, they generally manage to say goodbye when ending the call. Of course they don't use the word "goodbye"; they say "cheers, mate" or "laters", but that is better than nothing. In contrast, old codgers, according to Charles Moore, often don't measure up:

It is well known that old people have a different attitude to the telephone than the young. This is partly because they were brought up in an era when each call was very expensive and the Bakelite instrument stood, upright and solid, in a cold and public bit of the house. There was no incentive to chat. What is less easy to explain is the fact that so many old people put the phone down without saying goodbye. When younger people do this they are being deliberately rude. But I notice that many of the most courteous old people — the late Bill Deedes was an example — have this habit. What is the reason?

I have noticed this occasionally. Perhaps the elderly person is hard of hearing, or regards the telephone as an intrusion. Or perhaps he gets confused, puts the phone down and then says goodbye. It's important to get these things the right way round: in the office, the trick is to put the phone down first and then say "Bastard!"

Posted on 11/17/2007 9:18 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 17 November 2007
Danish apology

Alan, who sent this in, had me worried. Here is the Danish apology:

We´re sorry we gave you shelter when war drove you from your home country....
We´re sorry we took you in when others rejected you.....
We´re sorry we gave you the opportunity to get a good education.....
We´re sorry we gave you food and a home when you had non.....
We´re sorry we let you re-unite with your family when your homeland was no longer safe...
We´re sorry we never forced you to work while WE paid all your bills.....
We´re sorry we gave you almost FREE rent,phone,internet,car and school for your 10 kids...
We´re sorry we build you Mosques so you could worship your religion in our Christian land...
We´re sorry we never forced you to learn our language after staying 30 years!....

And so....from all Danes to the entire Muslim world,we just wanna say:
???????

Click here to find out.

Posted on 11/17/2007 10:13 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 17 November 2007
A Little Gloss

"The main Muslim bodies, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, get very annoyed when people speak of 'Islamic terrorism' or even (a better phrase, because it draws attention to the fact that the terrorism is inspired by a version of Islam rather than by all Islam) 'Islamist terrorism'." --Charles Moore

If there exists a version of the Qur'an, or a collection of the Hadith judged by Muslims to be as reliable as those of Bukhari and Muslim, or a Muslim life of Muhammad, different from all those that have heretofore appeared, that do not insist that Jihad to spread Islam until it everywhere dominates, that leaves out all the injunctions to fight the Infidels, to strike terror in their hearts, and so on -- then Charles Moore should produce them. But if he cannot, he should instead consider carefully what it means to put one's hopes on the existence of an "Islam" different from what he calls, and perhaps too fondly believes exists, "Islamism."

The lapidary formula of Ibn Warraq remains: "There are moderate Muslims. Islam itself is not moderate."

And for the problem of that unhelpful, shape-shifting category the "moderate Muslim,"  see "Ten Things To Think When Thinking About Moderate Muslims." 

Posted on 11/17/2007 1:36 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 17 November 2007
Throwing Money At Islam

New Duranty: WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 — Over the past six years, the Bush administration has spent almost $100 million so far on a highly classified program to help Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s president, secure his country’s nuclear weapons, according to current and former senior administration officials.

But with the future of that country’s leadership in doubt, debate is intensifying about whether Washington has done enough to help protect the warheads and laboratories, and whether Pakistan’s reluctance to reveal critical details about its arsenal has undercut the effectiveness of the continuing security effort.

The aid, buried in secret portions of the federal budget, paid for the training of Pakistani personnel in the United States and the construction of a nuclear security training center in Pakistan, a facility that American officials say is nowhere near completion, even though it was supposed to be in operation this year.

A raft of equipment — from helicopters to night-vision goggles to nuclear detection equipment — was given to Pakistan to help secure its nuclear material, its warheads, and the laboratories that were the site of the worst known case of nuclear proliferation in the atomic age.

All the money in the world won't change Islam. This administration seems to think it can throw money ( and/or the military) at this problem and it will be solved. Until we begin to see the entire Islamic world as an essentially hostile bloc, we will continually be surprised when our former "friends" turn on us.

While American officials say that they believe the arsenal is safe at the moment, and that they take at face value Pakistani assurances that security is vastly improved, in many cases the Pakistani government has been reluctant to show American officials how or where the gear is actually used.

That is because the Pakistanis do not want to reveal the locations of their weapons or the amount or type of new bomb-grade fuel the country is now producing.

The American program was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when the Bush administration debated whether to share with Pakistan one of the crown jewels of American nuclear protection technology, known as “permissive action links,” or PALS, a system used to keep a weapon from detonating without proper codes and authorizations.

In the end, despite past federal aid to France and Russia on delicate points of nuclear security, the administration decided that it could not share the system with the Pakistanis because of legal restrictions.

In addition, the Pakistanis were suspicious that any American-made technology in their warheads could include a secret “kill switch,” enabling the Americans to turn off their weapons.

Now that's an idea...

Posted on 11/17/2007 2:00 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 17 November 2007
A Musical Interlude: Why Don't You Do Right?
Posted on 11/17/2007 4:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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