These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 18, 2008.
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Anti-Muslim attack bogus
From The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times
A Muslim student who claimed she was attacked at Elmhurst College in what school officials described as a hate crime has now been charged with making up the story.
Safia Z. Jilani, 19, of Oak Brook, told police that on Oct. 9, a masked, male attacker struck her in the head with a handgun after she entered a restroom in the Schaible Science Center on campus, according to a release from Elmhurst police.
Police found threatening graffiti -- "Kill the Muslims" -- written on a mirror in the restroom, students and police said. Earlier Thursday, the victim had spoken at a demonstration called to denounce anti-Islamic slurs and a swastika she had discovered Oct. 2 on her locker, school officials said.
But late Friday afternoon, Elmhurst police announced that a weeklong investigation determined the assault never occurred; there was no gunman; and Jilani was arrested on a warrant for filing a false police report, a Class 4 felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison.
The initial report of the attack triggered a lockdown at the college while police searched the campus and prompted hundreds of students to rally again the following day to protest the incident.
Officials at the 3,300-student private college -- which has about 30 Muslim students -- denounced the attack and promised to increase security on campus, including offers of rides for Muslim students to and from classes.
Richie Palys, 18, a freshman jazz studies major, (Jazz studies??? what kind of degree is that????Ew) said he could not make sense of Jilani's arrest. "We had a rally," he said. "People cried over what happened, and her best friends gave speeches for her. I don't even know what to believe anymore."
Posted on 10/18/2008 2:56 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Forces of anarchy
Thanks to Harry's Place for this Reggie Perrin moment:
Whatever happened to glue sniffers, by the way? Did they come unstuck?
Posted on 10/18/2008 5:10 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Sunni-Shi'a Online War
Al Qaeda is down to one website, but those who have disabled the others are probably not CIA, FBI, or MI6, but Shi'ite hackers. WaPo:
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 17 -- Four of the five main online forums that al-Qaeda's media wing uses to distribute statements by Osama bin Laden and other extremists have been disabled since mid-September, monitors of the Web sites say.
The disappearance of the forums on Sept. 10 -- and al-Qaeda's apparent inability to restore them or create alternate online venues, as it has before -- has curbed the organization's dissemination of the words and images of its fugitive leaders. On Sept. 29, a statement by the al-Fajr Media Center, a distribution network created by supporters of al-Qaeda and other Sunni extremist groups, said the forums had disappeared "for technical reasons," and it urged followers not to trust look-alike sites.
For al-Qaeda, "these sites are the equivalent of pentagon.mil, whitehouse.gov, att.com," said Evan F. Kohlmann, an expert on online al-Qaeda operations who has advised the FBI and others. With just one authorized al-Qaeda site still in business, "this has left al-Qaeda's propaganda strategy hanging by a very narrow thread."
At the same time, in an apparently unrelated flare-up of online sectarian hostility, Shiite and Sunni hackers have targeted Web sites associated with the other sect, including that of a Saudi-owned television network and of Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric.
On several occasions over the past three years, unknown hackers have shut down al-Qaeda-affiliated Web sites after they announced the imminent release of a new video message from Osama bin Laden or another extremist leader. It is often impossible to pinpoint the source of such online attacks, though some experts say the culprits could be independent activists.
A U.S. intelligence official, asked about the online attacks, declined to say whether U.S. spy agencies engage in them. American and British security forces each have joint commands overseeing online operations against extremists.
Separately, Sunni and Shiite Internet partisans are waging a tit-for-tat hacking war. For now, Sunni extremist sites are taking the brunt.
In September, hackers targeted what Iranian news media estimated to be 300 Shiite sites, many of them operated by Shiite religious leaders in Iran. Targets included the official site of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the leading Shiite cleric in Iraq. For several days, visitors to that site were connected instead to a YouTube video featuring American talk-show host Bill Maher mocking what he said were the cleric's edicts, or fatwas, on sexual matters. Aides to Sistani later denied that he had issued such edicts.
A group called Ghoroub XP, based in the United Arab Emirates, asserted responsibility. Its claim has not been publicly confirmed by any authorities.
Alleged Shiite hackers responded in force. By Oct. 1, hundreds of sites run by Sunnis, including those of religious figures, had vanished. In their place appeared a site featuring an Iranian flag superimposed over the intense gaze of a smiling woman.
There also was a message, citing a Koranic verse: "And one who attacketh you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you."
The site of the Saudi-owned network al-Arabiya was among those attacked, forcing the news organization to move its site briefly to another domain. Al-Arabiya managers issued statements saying their coverage was balanced and neutral.
One Iranian, who answered questions submitted in writing and was identified as a hacker by sources familiar with the online religious world in Tehran, asserted responsibility for disrupting one Sunni site and said Sunni extremists online provoked the attack...
Posted on 10/18/2008 7:55 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Mains, Highs, Walls and Whatnots
“Everyone uses synecdoche,” proclaims Carlin Romano, “Even if no student can tell you what it is.” Perhaps they haven’t enough grey matter.
We say "Washington," for instance, to loosely refer to the U.S. government and expect everyone to understand. No one parses the gaps between those supposedly comprised by the image (e.g., every executive-branch official who works in Washington, with the possible exception of Dick Cheney), and those perhaps falsely implicated (other U.S. government officials, such as members of Congress who oppose the president's policies).
Lately we've heard so much about "Wall Street" and "Main Street" that foreigners might think America comes divided not into states or counties, or red and blue, but boulevards, highways, and the like. Yet lots of very different people have lived at both addresses. Part of figuring out where one stands intellectually amid the financial meltdown of the moment requires absorbing the disparate images and associations we identify with both phrases. Some book-assisted reflection on them might help glib media pundits and officials to admit that both images, like "lipstick," "white flag," and other false designators suddenly assigned symbolic dimensions, do no one any good.
Gordon Gekko doesn't live on "Wall Street" any more than the rest of us live on "Main Street" — or receive our mail at General Post Office. If Americans are to work through this mess and demand the naming of names, we need precise addresses too.
If Gordon Gekko came to England, he would need to learn some new addresses. Our Wall Street is a Square Mile, and our Main Street is generally a High Street. (In Oxford, the High Street is known locally as The High – those macaronic motorbuses roared and hummed along it.) Wigan has no peer, but it does have a Wall Street. Its High Street is called Mesnes Street, pronounced “Mains Street”. This must not be confused with Menzies Street in Liverpool, pronounced “Mingis Street”.
Posted on 10/18/2008 8:44 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Trouble In Islamic Paradise
Just when the "Arab" Sudanese seem to have defeated scattered and the Christian and animist south not to mention the insufficiently "Arab" Darfur region, it looks like all is not well in the wonderful world of Islamic Sudan. MEMRI translates several articles on the developing Sunni/Shi'a strife:
Article on Sudanese Website: "Since When Are There Shi'ites In Sudan?"
In an article posted on the website Sudanese Online (www.sudaneseonline.com ), which is the main site of the Sudani diaspora abroad 'Ali 'Abdallah Hassan, a Sudanese journalist living in the U.S., criticized Iran's attempts to spread the Shi'a in Sudan:
"My heart bursts with sorrow and pain when I read in the papers expressions like 'Shi'a in Sudan,' 'the spread of Shi'a in Sudan,' or 'a Shi'ite book by a Shi'ite Sudanese publisher.' I must ask: Since when are there Shi'ites in Sudan, which has been known as a purely Sunni country for hundreds of years?
"[Moreover], none of the countries bordering Sudan are Shi'ite. So how did the Shi'ite creed cross rivers and seas, to infiltrate a Sunni country in the heart of Africa?
"We must face the bitter truth and acknowledge it: We Sudanese have neglected our faith and the tenets of our religion. [We] have allowed the largest Shi'ite country in the world, [namely Iran,] to exploit our [good diplomatic] relations with it and our kind and tolerant nature in order to carry out its evil plans, which are to export its ideological revolution and spread its Shi'ite faith among the Sunni Sudanese Muslims, right under the nose of our government, sheikhs and [religious] scholars."
"[Iran] Has Turned Its Embassy in Khartoum Into a Center for Spreading... the Shi'a"
"[Iran] has turned its embassy in Khartoum into a center for spreading... the Shi'a, aimed at prompting the Sudanese to forsake Sunni [Islam] and embrace Imami Shi'ism [instead].  To ensure the success of this plan, various Iranian-funded facilities have been established around the capital, including culture centers, libraries, institutions, and schools. These establishments are actually missionary centers for spreading the Shi'a...
"Many Sudanese have [indeed] embraced the Shi'a as a result of this malicious Shi'ite assault to which our Sunni Sudanese society has been exposed. In [just] a few years, more than 15,000 [Sudanese] have converted to the Imami Shi'a. Moreover, in the Sufi regions of Kordofan [province], entire villages have gone over to the Shi'a, and the Shi'ite mission has [even] reached Darfur.
"Husseiniyyas,  [Shi'ite] pilgrimage sites, and [Shi'ite] mosques have sprung up in the capital and in various provinces, and the sheikhs of several Sufi orders have [recently] been seen wearing black Shi'ite turbans.
"[Moreover], some of the recent converts to the Shi'a have begun to spread Shi'ite philosophy in the capital and around the country, among students and in the large universities. Some have also begun to publish vile Shi'ite books, while other [such books] have appeared in the media and on the Internet. [Converts] have [even] found their way into the largest Sudanese website, Sudanese Online, in order to spread the Ja'fari Shi'a,  and malign the Sunni creed."
"A Shi'ite Entity Within Sudan Constitutes a Threat to [Sudan's] National Security"
"The spread of the Shi'a in Sudan will bring [this country] nothing but crises, catastrophes, and civil war. The spread of [Shi'ite] principles within the conservative Sunni Sudanese society - [principles] such as slander against the Prophet's companions, who are presented as infidels; [slander] against the mothers of the believers;  the sanctioning of pleasure marriages;  and talk about the fabrication of the Koran  - heralds [nothing but] internal strife and social unrest.
"It would be no exaggeration to say that the presence of a Shi'ite entity within Sudan constitutes a threat to its national security. In any Sunni state, Shi'ites represent a fifth column supporting a foreign Shi'ite force, since their loyalty lies with Iran and not with their own country. True to their faith, the Shi'ites do not recognize the legitimacy of any Islamic government except for the government of the Imams or of the great ayatollahs who have replaced them. For them, the [supreme] religious authority is not the Sudanese mufti but the ayatollahs of Qom, Najaf, and Tehran. The best example of this is [provided by] the Shi'ites of Lebanon and Iraq."
"We Should Beware of This Shi'ite Octopus in Sudan... Otherwise, the Day Will Come When We See the Tanks of the Sudanese Hizbullah Racing Through the Streets of Khartoum"
"Look at the arsenals of weapons and missiles [available to] Hizbullah in Lebanon and to the Shi'ites in Iraq. We would be justified in asking where all these weapons come from. Where do Hizbullah and the Shi'ites in Iraq get their enormous funds?
"Who is fanning the flames of sectarian civil war in Iraq by [providing] arms and funds? Who is behind the explosions that cut short the lives of innocent Iraqis day after day? Who foils every attempt at attaining stability in Iraq and resuming development there, so that its people can enjoy peace and security? Who is the one who extends his hand from across seas and rivers in order to move the [chess]men on the Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese chessboards?
"We should beware of this Shi'ite octopus in Sudan, before it is too late - otherwise, the day will come when we see the tanks of the Sudanese Hizbullah racing through the streets of Khartoum. We will also have a Sudanese Hassan Nasrallah, who will appear on a Sudanese Al-Manar channel to warn the Sudanese government about the grave consequences of assailing the rights and achievements of the Shi'ite community…" 
Saudi Daily: "It Is Imperative That We Fortify the Sudanese Front, In Order To Protect [Sudan] From The Iranian Embrace "
Iran's increasing infiltration of Sudan has aroused concern in other Arab countries as well, since they too feel threatened by Iran. In an article published in the Saudi Daily Al-Riyadh in the wake of the attack on Omdurman by the rebel forces,  Saudi columnist 'Abdallah Al-Qafari emphasized Sudan's strategic importance to the Arabs, and the danger of an increase in Iranian influence in Sudan. He wrote:
"…In terms of its geopolitical location, [Sudan] borders the eastern Arab [region] on the south and on the west, and forms a continuous stretch with the Arab Horn of Africa, which is embroiled in a prolonged and difficult war. The Nile flows through its territory, and it affords an important vantage point commanding the Red Sea.
"Abandoning Sudan, which has been confronting one conspiracy after another without help, is tantamount to [subjecting] the large neighboring Arab countries, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to continuous danger. The Sudanese regime is not infallible; however, what Arab regime is immune to error and has no enemies? Ultimately, [the Sudan regime] is an Arab regime, which has shared interests with the neighboring Arab countries, and concurs with them on some crucial issues, [in particular,] on how to deal with the obvious threats that have [recently] begun to stir up the region.
"Sudan and Somalia constitute [two] Arab issues that have been almost forgotten, in spite of [these countries'] geopolitical and economic importance. The Arab region is deeply polarized. We are currently bearing the brunt of alliances formed by Arab countries or elements with rising powers in the region, such as Iran, that have aspirations and objectives of their own.
"[Iran] is trying to build up its reputation by [launching] a nuclear program, and is capitalizing on its ties with those Arab elements, in order to protect this program, gain influence, and ensure the future of its regime.
"It is imperative that we fortify the Sudanese front, in order to protect [Sudan] from the Iranian embrace, and from any other element that might try to exploit the Sudanese regime's need for support in order to instigate new a regional crisis that would threaten the Arab countries' stability and security."
"Abandoning Sudan to Contend Alone With... the Conspiracies That Have Constantly [Beset It] for the Past 20 Years - Means Jeopardizing Future Arab Security"
"Sudan today is no less important than any other Arab country embroiled in conflict. Leaving it on its own to face various movements,  as well as the blatant outside intervention via Darfur, would jeopardize the future of its regime - which would be extremely dangerous. Will the countries in the center [of the Arab region] survive if the periphery is hurt?...
"The Horn of Africa serves as a strategic safety buffer for the Arab countries adjacent to it, and today it is possibly [even] more important than the countries on the periphery. Sudan, with its resources of water, land, and oil, and with its promising future and strategic location, is a veritable shield for the Arab world. Abandoning Sudan to contend alone with... the conspiracies that have constantly [beset it] for the past 20 years means jeopardizing future Arab security."
Posted on 10/18/2008 10:33 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 18 October 2008
To Be Released AFTER The Election
Posted on 10/18/2008 12:18 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 18 October 2008
IPT reports on the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas:
DALLAS – A former fund raiser for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) testified Friday that money from the foundation went to Palestinian charities controlled by Hamas.
Mohamed Shorbagi said he knew this through Hamas literature, a London-based Hamas website and word-of mouth.
Shorbagi pleaded guilty in August 2006 to providing material support to Hamas by routing money to HLF. According to his plea agreement, he "made regular monetary contributions to the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) on behalf of himself and others, knowing that HLF then supplied some or all of that money to HAMAS, including donations made after October 26, 2001."
He agreed to testify for the government in hopes of reducing his seven-year prison sentence. But that doesn't mean he has changed his views.
Under questioning from federal prosecutor James Jacks, Shorbagi unapologetically stated that he is an Islamist, a supporter of Hamas and Sharia law. As a former HLF insider, his testimony could help the government's case against HLF and five former officials. They are accused of illegally sending millions of dollars through Palestinian charities, called zakat committees, controlled by the terrorist group.
In Palestine, most organizations are run by either Hamas or the secular Fatah movement, Shorbagi said. Based upon the charities and individuals who received HLF money, Shorbagi concluded they were connected to Hamas. "When you know money goes to Mahmud Zahar, you know money goes to Hamas."
Jurors seemed attentive during Shorbagi's testimony, which began Thursday afternoon. A soft-spoken man with a slight accent, Shorbagi told jurors that he came to America after he was 18 and attended several colleges. He became involved with an organization known as the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA).
MAYA helped Muslim students preserve their identities as they came to America from conservative Middle Eastern countries and faced "culture shock," he said.
Most of the people who spoke at MAYA events were from the Muslim Brotherhood, Shorbagi said.
At some of the MAYA conferences, Shorbagi said he attended unadvertised, closed-door sessions. One such closed meeting in 1992 was described as "a meeting from Hamas inside." Shorbagi testified that he saw defendants Elashi and Baker at the event, which featured Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook as the speaker.
Marzook discussed "how Hamas was becoming a major player in the Middle East." He talked about how they needed to help Hamas grow in political power. At another meeting in 1994, Shorbagi saw defendants Mohamed El-Mezain, Baker and Elashi. Marzook introduced the Hamas political leader, Khalid Mishaal, as the speaker. Mishaal spoke about how Palestinians were sacrificing all they had "so we need to keep up with that."...
Posted on 10/18/2008 3:41 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 18 October 2008
A watershed event occurred this week with a response by Obama to Joe the Plumber's (Samuel J. Wurzelbacher), question in Toledo, Ohio about how he was going to buy a business. Obama answered 'spread the wealth' meaning income redistribution, which lies at the heart of Obama's tax plan.
Yesterday, I posed a question on this issue to Joe Keating, Chief Investment Officer of RBC Bank, and the invited speaker at a Tiger Bay Club luncheon here in Pensacola, Florida. Keating is the economics commentator for RBC Bank, US subsidiary of one of Canada's major banking institutions, the Royal Bank Of Canada (RBC). He frequently appears as an economics and financial commentator on CNBC and Bloomberg News. The question was about Obama's tax plan. I suggested that Obama's tax plan amounted to a giant welfare transfer scheme; i.e., middle to upper income taxpayers having their marginal effective tax rates raised while the preponderance of non taxpayers received a check. The non partisan Center for Tax Policy Of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institute, not exactly right wing, said 'yes' in their analysis and estimated the cost at over $350 billion during Obama's first term. Moreover, the proportion of non-taxpayers under Obama's plan would rise from approximately 38% to over 48%. Keating of RBC Capital told the Tiger Bay Club audience in response to my question that 'yes', Obama's tax plan is destructive vis a vis something we need in this apparent recession - incentives for job creation by small businesses like Joe the Plumber's.
McCain's new ads airing this weekend have criticized Obama's highly revelatory response to Joe the plumber's question hinting that it is "socialist."
The other reality is that with the bow wave of baby boomers retiring and selling their principal assets, their homes, and flipping their 401-K's, they would be better off with McCain's capital gains tax proposal. He proposes to cut in half the capital gains tax from the current 15% marginal effective tax rate. Instead Obama has suggested increasing capital gains taxes substantially above current levels. We know what that impact is like having paid more than 20% including both Federal capital gains and State 'conveyance' taxes when we sold our principal residence in 2007.
Political analyst Dick Morris, who spoke at the annual Tiger Bay Club dinner last month in Pensacola, cited the Clinton White House experience when the capital gains tax rates dropped from 28 to 20% in the 1990's. They got an unexpected bow wave of over $200 billion in additional revenues that reduced the federal deficit to break even in less than the seven years Originally forecast.
So while conservative talk show host Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia and the normally Republican Chicago Tribune endorse Obama for his facile and glib remarks, the Wall Street Journal raised the daunting prospect of what a "trifecta" composed of Democratic super majorities in the House and Senate coupled with an Obama win in the Presidential race for the White House would do on a variety of fronts, among them, fiscal policy, the environment and free speech. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wouldn't tolerate moderates like Sen. Joe Lieberman or former Tennessee Democratic Congressman, Harold Ford, Jr. now head Of the Democratic Leadership Council.
Another irony is that the Philly talk show host Smerconish might find himself off the air given the possible resurrection of the FCC 'fairness' doctrine' that Pelosi and other Democratic Congressional leaders have broadly hinted might return.. This provided equal time for crazies to plague us on the airwaves for decades until overturned by the FCC.
I tend to reflect on the economic numbers of what might happen, if Obama is elected. The fiscal policies that he has proposed, analyzed by nominally Democratic policy think tanks in Washington, DC don't work in terms of getting us out of this financial debacle. A debacle caused by a number of factors:
the 'moral hazard' from the subprime mortgage crisis caused in large part by the Clinton era push for low income home ownership; AAA guarantees of toxic mortgage backed securities by bond insurers; Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae buying subprime mortgages to pump up incentive compensation for their CEOs and CFOs engaged in fraudulent accounting practices; predatory mortgage originators banking on ever upward spiraling housing prices; greedy Wall Street investment firms who securitized and took positions in the unmarketable high risk tranches; the US and international banking communities who bought these highly rated toxic mortgage backed securities desperately seeking positive yield spreads to produce margins; and, the plummeting drop in housing prices.
As Keating of RBC Bank reminded his Pensacola Tiger Bay audience yesterday the housing and construction sectors of our economy have the biggest economic multiplier effects to create demands for durable goods and services and millions of additional jobs.
Yesterday, the government reported the largest drop in building permits and housing starts since the end of WWII. Sounds bad, right? Not really. This is positive news because you have to clear out the surplus in housing before any recovery. This is an indication that housing prices haven't bottomed yet. A further drop in housing prices in 2009 from the peak of the housing bubble could prolong a recession, perhaps as bad as the one in 1981-1982. That was when we had towering double digit interest rates ordered up by then Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker to stifle inflation. Now, we have the direct opposite, downward spiraling interest rates and the prospect of deflation in commodity prices such as oil and gas - a silver lining of sorts.
We must have a fiscal policy that makes sense. Ironically, Obama's tax plan amounts to 'Hooverism' (President Herbert Hoover, whose misguided economic policies worsened the Great Depression in the early 1930's) that could deepen rather than limit the recession. Obama's proposals will not restart the economic and housing cycle to cover off the loss of more than a million jobs.
All these late campaign stirrings are good for the electorate to ponder concerning who is likely to protect the country's economic future when they enter the polling booth on November 4th. The results of this reality check could make a difference in the poll that counts on Election Day.
Credit this reality check to Joe the Plumber's question and Obama's response in Toledo.
Posted on 10/18/2008 6:15 PM by Jerry Gordon
Saturday, 18 October 2008
The emptiness of mosques
I wish Lawrence Auster were not so prickly - sometimes he talks a lot of sense, and sometimes some of his readers do too. Kidist Paulos Asrat, for example:
I have a strange aversion to disproportionately large forms--a too large head on a body, a too large form on a building. In the case of the Dome, I've always found it to be too big for the lower structure, and I don't think I could stand underneath it.
This is my observation of other mosques too. Their interior compound is also too large in relation to the rest of the buildings, even the more sophisticated Persian ones. And their immense gateways are pretty intimidating too.
Funnily enough, my other aversion, excessive patterns (I cannot look for long at a William Morris textile), is something that also occurs frequently in Islamic art.
Patterns on mosque walls appear haphazard, and they are everywhere, almost leaving no wall unexposed. There seems to be a particular pattern placed on one wall, and immediately underneath it, a completely unrelated one is just as likely to be placed. What merges them together is just the fact that they're patterns (and Muslim design has its own vocabulary, so different patterns can merge together relatively easily).
This practice has actually a term--Horror vacui, or fear of empty space. I think it is the obsession to fill the space with manifestations of/calls for the ever-elusive Allah. The fear of not finding him.
Finally, the most famous mosque of all in Cordoba has this similar tendency of excessively repeated arches meandering throughout the building.
Like I said earlier, I think there is a reason for these excesses in pattern, in proportion etc. I think that the subject of Islamic art, which is surely Allah, is hard to find.
These excesses, in pattern and proportion, are Muslims' way of trying to find him. And ultimately, I think they cannot. The huge slabs of concrete walls and gold domes are perhaps a way of "barging in" on Allah. These endless arabesques of patterns on the walls are like the muezzin's morose wails from the minarets, repeatedly trying to get the attention of a silent and absent Allah. And those endless arches keep the Muslim believer meandering (and lost) in his struggle to find the ever-hiding, so it seems to him, Allah. Or his way of mesmerizing himself into thinking (bewitching himself) that he has found this greater being.
What I'm saying is that there is no doubt that these works are done with sincerity. But, I think there is something lacking in them. They are like a false transcendence. Some other force besides God seems to be dictating them.
Of course I am used to churches with pews, or beautifully proportioned cathedrals, and the fact that Muslims do not have pews is neither here nor there in the scheme of things. But there is a lot of cold, dead space in mosques. Often the central courtyard is vast, but the rooms surrounding it pokey and dismal. And think of the the Grand Mosque in Mecca, with that little black cube squatting in the middle of all that space - like a toilet in a car park.
Islam is empty. There isn't anything there.
Posted on 10/18/2008 6:46 PM by Mary Jackson