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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 Tuesday, 19, 2008.
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
British Council accused of spying on Russia

It's business as usual. From The Telegraph:

Hopes for a swift resolution to the diplomatic crisis between Russia and Britain were dented after the loyalist that Vladimir Putin has chosen to succeed him as president accused the British Council of espionage.

Dmitry Medvedev, who is poised to be anointed as leader when Russia goes through the motions of an election next month, said he backed the decision to close down the British Council’s outlets in St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg.

Blaming periodic rows with London on Britain’s historic desire to be “mistress of the seas”, Mr Medvedev repeated the claims of Kremlin hardliners that the council provided cover to secret agents.

“If someone allows you in their home, act decently,” he was quoted as saying in the weekly Itogi newspaper. “After all, it is known that state-financed structures like the British Council conduct a mass of other activities that are not so widely publicised.

“Among other things, they are involved in gathering information and conducting espionage activities.”

Mr Medvedev’s comments are likely to heighten fears that Russia’s next leader will pursue Mr Putin’s aggressive policies towards the West.


Mr Putin’s eight year tenure has seen relations with Britain plummet to their lowest since the Cold War. Last month’s closure of the British Council was presented as the Kremlin’s latest retaliation in the dispute over ex-KGB defector Alexander Litvinenko’s murder in London in 2006.

It is good to see the British Council making itself useful, instead of cosying up to Arabs and sacking outspoken employees.

Posted on 02/19/2008 3:58 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Mohammed Fayed, Shopkeeper

Perhaps Napoleon was right, after all. 
England is a nation of Muslim shopkeepers.
"L'Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers musulmans."
Posted on 02/19/2008 6:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Beer and birds

Life is full of paradoxes. Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. Clever people drink more but drinking makes people stupid. From the erudite and witty discussions that took place at the New English Review (British Division) Extraordinary General Meeting, I would have concluded that alcohol is good for the brain. But I am wrong. It causes the intellectual equivalent of brewer's droop: the intellect becomes soft and cannot perform as frequently or as well. More worrying still, for men, it makes you less able to size up the birds. From The Telegraph, with thanks to Esmerelda:

Beer is bad for science, according to a pioneering study of the effects of alcohol on creativity in research.


One of the most frequent social activities in the world is drinking alcohol - around two billion are thought to partake - and Dr Tomas Grim, who is a behavioural ecologist at Palacky University, Czech Republic, decided to investigate, reporting the discovery that it harms science in the prestigious ecological journal Oikos.

In Europe, most alcohol is consumed as beer, according to the World Health Organisation. "Based on well known negative effects of alcohol consumption on cognitive performance, I predicted negative correlations between beer consumption and several measures of scientific performance," Dr Grim says.

You would expect bad news from a Dr Grim - it's almost a law. For the effect of beer on non-scientific performance, readers are advised to consult Dr Kevin de Cock. 

How does drinking affect performance with birds?

Using a survey of the publications since 1980 of avian ecologists from the Czech Republic, which has the highest per capita beer consumption rate in the world (157 litres each year, or 176 pints), he discovered "that increasing per capita beer consumption is associated with lower numbers of papers, total citations, and citations per paper (a surrogate measure of paper quality)."

He has confidence in the findings because nine in every 10 avian ecologists he approached were happy to provide data. Whether the one in 10 who declined to take part were too busy drinking in the local pub is not known.

Perhaps they should wear beer goggles, scientifically proven to improve bird analysis.

Esmerelda asks a pertinent question: "How many papers on avian ecology and other sciences are published by countries where alcohol is totally forbidden and punishable by lashing?" 

Come on, now. Here is an example of stone-cold sober Koranic science: the earth is flat. If we weren't continually sozzled we would know this. Hic!

Posted on 02/19/2008 7:26 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Among major world powers, both Russia and China are opposed to an independent Kosovo. Even within Europe there are nations that oppose this independence -- Spain -- and others where many are uneasy. It would have been politically possible for the American government to have thought a bit more about the implications, the consequences, of having another Muslim state -- the product of centuries of Ottoman rule -- within Europe, and to have thought a bit more about the historical treatment of the Serbs under that same Ottoman rule, and their understandable bitterness.

There is an independent Albania. Those Albanians who might wish to be in a state that politically embodies their desires could move. The notion that when Muslim populations exist, they must never be asked to endure minority status, and that only the non-Muslim populations are to be asked to do so, is wrong.

There are problems with mere head-counting. One are the tricks one can play with the region whose heads are being counted. If you rip Kosovo out of Serbia, then you will indeed have an area, “Kosovo,” where the Albanians constitute most of the population. Is that the end of the matter? I can find, and so can you, all kinds of places, now part of larger countries, where this or that minority constitute, in a particular area or city, the majority -- even if they are the minority elsewhere. So what?

Surely there were other things to consider. What has happened to Serbian monasteries and churches in places now under full Albanian control -- that is, those Albanians who are Muslim? Is there a tradition of treating non-Muslims, in this case Serbs, well or ill?

In alerting people to the attacks on Serbs, to the destruction of ancient monasteries, on the infiltration into the area of Arabs with a brand of Islam quite different from the relaxed, syncretistic, version -- not exactly full-bodied Islam in practice, because that local practice was affected by the centuries of proximity to non-Muslims, and to the effect of Communism, one is not endorsing any massacres by some Serbs. One can distance oneself -- most Serbs do, unfeignedly -- from Milosevich and those atrocities that were committed by some Serb forces. And one can also keep in mind both the exaggerations of those atrocities, and the minimizing or even ignoring not only of the atrocities committed by the Muslims, as well as the entire history of the area, the centuries of Muslim rule, the devshirme, and the deep fears evoked when Izetbegovic wrote that he intended to create a Muslim state and impose the Shari'a. Had the Western world shown the slightest intelligent sympathy or understanding of what that set off in the imagination of many Serbs, there might never have been such a reaction, and someone like Milosevic might never have obtained power.

Why wasn't there? Why didn't those in the West study what Izetbegovic said? Why didn't they read what Serb historians, and writers, including Ivo Andric (in his doctoral dissertation, recently-reprinted, "The Development of Spiritual Life in Bosnia under the Influence of Turkish Rule") were aware of, and that had never been forgotten? When Clinton ordered the bombing of the Serbs, had he heard, ever, about the devshirme? Did he know that Izetbegovic had written about imposing the shari'a? No, of course not. But had he, and had others, they might have reassured the Serbs long before, and helped to make them less panicky, less prone to give power to someone like Milosevic. The West entirely mishandled Serbia.

And right now, despite the dribs and drabs that begin to come out about the exaggerations on which criticism and bombing of Serbians was based, despite the new evidence, or the evidence no longer hidden, of past Muslim atrocities, the Western world still seems ready to overlook what is now happening. And what is now happening are attacks on Serbian villagers, and the destruction of Serbian churches, in Kosovo. Is one supposed to permanently blame Serbia, and never take its side, because of what Milosevic did? Is one to overlook the role of Bosnia as a place of training for those who could tomorrow be conducting Jihad anywhere in the world?

There is no reason not to take Serbia's side now. There is every reason -- of principle and of Infidel self-interest -- to take it.

And then there is the larger scheme of things. Does it make sense, at this moment in history, to give Muslims the sense that they are on the march, that they are establishing beachhead after beachhead in Europe itself -- even if, for all we know, that sense of triumphalism is based on a misunderstanding of the devotion to Islam of the Albanians (now "Kosovars") in question? Assuming that the Chechens have a point (and they did have a point, considering the history of Stalin's treatment of them), was that reason enough to support the Chechens against Russia, or should one have refrained from so doing, because of the larger context, in which any Muslim victory feeds the assurance that other victories are sure to come, that Islam is unstoppable?

Perhaps the rule should be, all over the Western and larger Infidel world, this: whatever makes the Umma happy, or the O.I.C. happy, is to be opposed for that very reason. That's a rule of thumb. What, after all, is Man, if not Homo pollex?

Posted on 02/19/2008 7:08 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Picking Our Pockets

There is a group -- call them the Guirardians -- that continues to believe that Americans can best defeat "terrorism" by reaching out to the "good Muslims," the "moderate Muslims," who must be constantly reassured of such things as that we know, we Americans know, that "Jihad," rightly understood, is a Good Thing. And therefore, whatever it is that Bin Laden and Mughniyeh and all those others are doing, all over the world, when they say they are conducting Jihad, or living a life of Jihad, or giving their life for Jihad, they surely must misunderstand the true, the good, the beautiful meaning of "Jihad."

Why must they "surely have misunderstood, etc."? Well, because we know now, we can no longer deny, that "Jihad" is a central duty for all Muslims. And so, in order not to have to consider that just possibly the meaning that Muslims endow that word "Jihad" with -- the "struggle" to remove all barriers to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam -- is what the word really means, we play a game of Let's Pretend.

We allow ourselves to believe that "Jihad" does not mean what, over 1350 years, it has been taken to mean. Yet see The Legacy of Jihad, see any of the books written by the Western scholars of Islam before the Great Inhibition set in. Or see any of the books written right up until now, and distributed all over the world, by Muslim scholars and jurisconsults, those written only with fellow Muslims in mind, and not Westerners who might, as for Muqtedar Khan, come up with generous infusions of cash for his entrepreneurial activity, so sly and so dangerous and, for the American taxpayers who are funding the thing, so futile and enraging.

Khan should be asked a few questions about how he defines "Jihad," and on the basis of what textual authority. He should be asked what good comes of "dialogue" that is not true but false dialogue, of the kind that too many have discovered, since 2001, to be the standard. That is, the “dialogue” in which these Interfaith Healing Sessions become ones where none of the non-Muslims are willing, or indeed able, to ask questions about the texts (Qur'an, Hadith, Sira). Nor can they ask about the tenets that naturally arise from those texts. Nor can they ask about the division in Islam, central to the worldview of Believers, between Believer and Infidel (and all talk about "three great abrahamic faiths" is so much diversion, distraction, and blague). Finally, they cannot ask about the state of permanent war (though not always open warfare) that must exist, so Muslims are taught, so many believe, between the Believer and Infidel. The "dialogue" always consists of Muslims presenting a quite distorted presentation -- usually one that never mentions the contents of the Hadith, nor the figure of Muhammad. And certainly there is never any mention of the Banu Qurayza, Abu Afak, Asma bint Marwan, the Khaybar Oasis, little Aisha, the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya and its lasting signficiance. The non-Muslims engaged in the "dialogue," knowing nothing or next to nothing, are led around by the nose.

And that's what, so far, every single attempt at a "dialogue" has led to. Why should the expensively-funded, taxpayer-funded, sums now be thrown at smiling Mr. Khan (the Smyler With the Knyf Under the Cloke), the one who couldn't bear even to appear on a panel with someone who was a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and even -- horribile dictu! -- had served in "the West Bank"?

When Mr. Khan, plausible smiling Mr. Khan, writes first that he has his doubts, this is how he puts it:

"Laura, I have to speak at the Pentagon tomorrow. My workshop is from 12-4. I hope to catch the 5 pm Acela from DC and will be back in town by 7 pm. I will come directly, but may be late. I am also not sure how I feel about being on the same panel with an Israeli soldier who was stationed in West Bank. Some people see IDF as an occupying force in the West Bank. I am not sure that I will be comfortable occupying the same space with him. It is not fair to spring this surprise on me at the last moment."

Ah, first a little mention of the "workshop" at the Pentagon. The Acela train and getting home. And now, smuggle in the real point: "I am also not sure how I feel about being on the same panel with an “Israeli soldier” [sic] who “was stationed on the West Bank.” Of course he is sure. He is completely sure. He will not do it -- not if he can get away with refusing to do it, and apparently he was not told that he should appear on that panel, or else. But of course he wasn't told that, was he? Everything was done to accommodate him. What if Asaf Romirowsky had refused to appear on the panel, saying that "I am not sure how I feel being on the same panel with a transparent apologist for Islam who is slyly pushing, deep inside the Pentagon, an Islamic agenda." What would have happened, do you think, to Asaf Romirowsky? But apparently being a Muslim, a Great Hope, a "reforming" and "dialoging" hope, means you can get away with all kinds of behavior that would be unacceptable, and promptly punished, were it by others.

And not only was Mr. Khan not informed that he was on the panel, and that was that, but he was subsequently rewarded, rewarded with a nearly half-million dollar grant that, I can safely say, will do not one single thing to make Americans safer, or more comprehending of the meaning and menace of Jihad. Perhaps the only good that will come out of this is that the smilers, the plausible seekers after government-and-grant money -- Every Muslim With A Degree His Own All-Expenses-Paid "Dialoguer" -- will stop being funded.

What can be done? Congress can look into this grant. Congressmen -- just like the late, very much missed William Proxmire (there were giants in the earth in those days, in the Democratic Party, but who, at the time, knew?), with his roll-call of the most idiotic things being funded -- can make it go hard with the Pentagon for this kind of waste, a waste that is, in fact, exemplary in the original sense. It offers an example of the confusion, the timidity, rigidity, stupidity of those trying, so slowly, to arrive at some understanding of Islam, but the true understanding of which will elude them for a long time, because they will do everything they possibly can to avoid finding out the truth, because that truth is so difficult to accept, so unpalatable in its implications.

There is a race on. The race is between those who know, or those who are capable of finding out, about Islam, and those whose task it is to throw sand in our faces in every possible way, to distract, to offer taqiyya-and-tu-quoque, and even, in some cases, in so doing, to pick our Pentagon's pockets.

At least let someone in Congress stop the picking of the pockets. At least we shouldn't have to pay to continue to be fooled. At the very least, that.

Posted on 02/19/2008 7:27 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Currying favour

Close to where I used to live was a now defunct Indian Takeaway called Curry in a Hurry. This was no Veeraswamy. Edward, Prince of Wales, Charlie Chaplin and Marlon Brando almost certainly never visited. As the name suggests, it was quick and convenient; the portions were good, as was the price.


On the subject of the price, Curry in a Hurry displayed a large sign in the window:




Observant readers will have spotted the catch. If there is a discount for collection, the delivery isn’t really free, is it? But if the sign said, more accurately, “25% delivery charge”, potential customers might be put off. You may enjoy your lamb roghan josh or chicken tikka masala more if you think it was delivered free or bought at a discount. But there is no logic to this. The delivery is no more free than an amplifier that “goes up to eleven” is “one louder”.


Turning from curry to cars, a few years ago a lot of car showrooms seemed to be offering “0% finance”, or “interest-free credit”. This, too, is illusory. It simply means that you can’t negotiate a discount as you could if you paid cash. But “interest-free” sounds good, and it makes people feel good.


This is the essence of Islamic banking. The prohibition on interest (riba) is circumvented by calling it something else, for example “rent”, "premium on repurchase" or “extra capital”. Everyone knows that money today is worth more than money tomorrow. Omar Khayyam preferred to “take the cash and let the credit go” Muslims know this too, and if you pay them tomorrow they will make you pay – one way or another – more than you pay today.


Islamic banking is a trick, partly to make Muslims feel better, but also, more dangerously, to gain a foothold for Sharia in the West. As such, it should be challenged and ridiculed at every opportunity.

Posted on 02/19/2008 8:40 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Paris arrests

To the English, a suburb is a place of semi-detached houses, mock Tudor, net curtains, quiet desperation, Volvos, garden gnomes and Hyacinth Bucket. French suburbs are different. They are full of rioting "youths". Youths of all ages. (English "youths", old and young, tend to live in the inner cities, and tend to be of "Asian" or "of North African" origin.) From The Telegraph (h/t Alan):

A thousand French police launched a dawn raid on housing estates in suburbs outside Paris where riots erupted late last year, bursting into homes and arresting 33 suspects.

Armoured cars, riot police and special forces were also involved in Monday's raid, described as one of the biggest such operations ever staged in France.

Officers seized 35 of the 38 people on a police target list in Villiers-le-Bel and in the neighboring towns of Sarcelles, Gonesse and Arnouville.

They were suspects in the investigation into violent riots in these suburbs last November, which followed the deaths of two teenagers in a motorbike crash with a police car.


Members of the RAID special police force led the operation on about 10 apartment blocks in the towns north of the capital.

A special bullet- and firebomb-proof "anti-gang" armoured car was used as the command centre.

"I have never seen a police operation of this scope," said prosecutor Marie-Therese de Givry.

"I hope that the inhabitants will understand that we are there to re-establish order and peace," she added.

Critics instantly condemned the spectacular swoop, captured by news film crews, as a "security show" aimed at bolstering President Nicolas Sarkozy and his right-wing UMP party ahead of municipal elections next month.

Those "right-wingers" again. The religious affiliation of the rioters is not specified, but our Home Secretary might say they were involved in "anti-Islamic" activity.

Posted on 02/19/2008 9:03 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
FGM in Scotland

The Scotsman (hat tip Refugee Resettlement Watch): ...Medical professionals in Scotland are being confronted with the complications and often horrible damage of FGM – both physical and mental. Today, a major two-day conference begins in Glasgow with the aim of finding ways of increasing public awareness of FGM and continuing existing work with the health services on the issue...

AMINA Ahmed, 54, was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) when she was just 11, living in Somalia. She's been campaigning against the procedure for the past seven years...

"It's absolutely painful and harmful and does not have any benefit for the woman to have that thing. It takes away their sexual feelings.

"At my age, there was no anaesthetic. I was feeling everything. I was feeling the scissors cutting my labia.

"Six or seven strong women in the community held my legs and arms because I wanted to fight for myself.

"I nearly broke my bones I was struggling so hard. I went to run away.

"It's a very serious thing and very abusive.

"You are taking away some girl's wish, someone who is innocent, someone who has no choice at all."

Ahmed, who now lives in Sheffield, says: "When it happened to me I was proud of myself.

"But now I realise they took my precious, precious organs from me.

"I feel I'm missing something from myself.

"It has to be stopped."


THE World Health Organisation and Unicef define female genital mutilation (FGM) as the "partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons".

FGM is traditionally carried out by an older woman with no medical training, rarely using anaesthetic or antiseptic, and usually with basic tools such as knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass and razor blades. The average age when a girl is subjected to FGM is between seven and nine years old. An estimated 138 million African women have undergone FGM, and each year more than two million girls are said to be at risk.

Most cases of FGM are in 28 African countries, such as Egypt, Somalia and Sudan. Prevalence runs as high as 98 per cent in some nations, while in others – such as Nigeria, Kenya, Togo and Senegal – the rates vary between 20 and 50 per cent. It can also be found in Yemen, Oman, Iraqi Kurdistan, among some Bedouin women in Israel, and in parts of India and Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Earlier this month, Sierra Leone's government announced it would work to "eradicate" FGM from the country.

Posted on 02/19/2008 9:15 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Immigration Numbers
Roy Beck's immigration by the numbers is definitely worth watching.
Posted on 02/19/2008 9:29 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Pseudsday Tuesday

The blogger "I-cite" has a post called "The Tense of Total War":


“Which attack would they have hoped that we wouldn’t have prevented?”

Subjunctive mood:


The mood of a verb expressing wishes, stipulating demands, or making statements contrary to fact.


From the Latin, "subjoin, bind, subordinate"

Absolute power over any possibility. Total war justified in terms of pure potentiality.

Twaddle begets twaddle. Bush’s original question is rather mangled, but it’s in the conditional perfect, not the subjunctive, the latter being in any case a mood rather than a tense. I assume he meant, “Which attack did they wish we had not prevented?” but I’m not entirely sure, and I suspect Bush wasn’t either.


The conditional perfect usually follows a pluperfect subjunctive. Had “I cite” known this, she would not have got so confused and written such drivel.


An exception that proves the rule is “If I Knew you were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake,” sung by Eileen Barton. Click on her picture to listen:


Obviously this wouldn’t work with a pluperfect subjunctive, “If I had known…”. “Had I known…” scans, but sounds too stuffy.


The song wouldn’t work with healthy food either. Try: “If I Knew you were Comin’ I’d’ve Tossed a Salad.”

Posted on 02/19/2008 12:30 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
MPs criticise the Islamic Society in Denmark
The surprising participation of an eminent member of a large Muslim organisation, in a Hizb ut-Tahrir demonstration last Friday, has caused concern among MPs.
In a press release last week, Kassem Ahmad, the spokesperson for the Islamic Society in Denmark, called for dialogue in the wake of the arrest of three men accused of planning the murder of Kurt Westergaard, Jyllands-Postens illustrator responsible for the controversial Mohammed drawing.
'We extend a hand out to the Danish society to participate in dialogue in understanding and respecting each other,' he wrote. He also stated he would support the fight against extremism.
Three days later, he was photographed next to Fadi Abdullatif, leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir Denmark, heading a demonstration where a direct threat against Danish society was issued.
Henrik Dam Kristensen, integration spokesperson for the Social Democrats said: 'If the Islamic Society chooses spokespeople who sympathise with the Hizb ut-Tahrir and participates in this sort of demonstration, then to me, the society has lost a large portion of its legitimacy.'
The Conservative party's political spokesperson, Henriette Kjær echoed his views stating that Ahmad's participation in the demonstration was very 'destructive' and put the Islamic Society in bad light.  She also said it meant that politicians had to distance themselves from the society when the spokesperson so active in a demonstration that wanted to overthrow Danish democracy.
Ahmad denied the criticism and did not see anything wrong in his participation. 'It was a well-organised demonstration and perfectly law-abiding,' he said. 'Even though we don't necessarily agree with the Hizb ut-Tahrir about certain things, the message was clear: we will not accept the ridicule of our prophet.'
Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the Danish People's Party, did not buy his argument.  'The Islamic Society says one thing in the press release and another by participating in the demonstration,' she said.
Posted on 02/19/2008 2:51 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Group set up to fight mosque bid
From the Midlands newspaper Express and Star.
Campaigners have set up a crisis group to plan a fresh attack on proposals to build an £18 million mosque in Dudley.
Malcolm Davis, former councillor for St James’ ward, says his phone has been ringing off the hook with residents complaining about the planning inspector’s decision to overturn the council’s rejection of the scheme.
The authority had thrown out the plans to create a mosque and community centre on derelict land in Hall Street.  The matter will now go to a public inquiry in June.
Mr Davis said public feeling against the mosque was just as strong as when the proposals originally emerged.Some 70 petitions containing more than 22,000 signatures were handed to the council from people protesting against the plans but Mr Davis said he was unsure if a further petition was the best way forward.
“We have set up a working party and I will be asking everybody who wants to object to the mosque plan to turn up that night for the hearing, even if it brings the town to a complete standstill. Imagine if 15,000 people, which was near the amount of signatures we had last time, turned up.  That would be a showing of our strength and our resolve on this issue, and that’s what I want.”
Mr Davis has blasted the inspectorate’s decision to refer the plan to a public inquiry as “a coward’s way out”. He said: “I’m adamant the people of Dudley don’t want that thing there and people ought to respect their wishes.
Chairman of the Dudley Muslim Association Khurshid Ahmed has said he is hopeful the mosque plans will go ahead.
The original plans were thrown out last February after a concerted protest campaign which was described by Councillor David Caunt, the leader of Dudley Council, as “the biggest in living memory”.
Malcolm Davis described the rejection as a “victory for the people” – while Mr Ahmed condemned it as “the death of democracy”.
Posted on 02/19/2008 3:11 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Wind of change

I am always ready - more than most people - to admit that I am wrong. I crave humble pie; it is my favourite dish. Sadly, I hardly ever get the chance to eat it. I truly envy those who are more prone to error.

Now, at long last, I have the opportunity for contrition. I was wrong in a post I made on this very site. In that post, I said:

Belching in public is considered rather vulgar. Ladies, and to a lesser extent, gentlemen, should be discreet about their belches, and, in particular, should not attempt to say the word “archbishop” when they happen. Especially if an archbishop is present.

I was wrong in one particular. If the archbishop is Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury - do your worst. Blow the house down. Belch? And the rest:

Where e'er ye be, let the wind blow free
Church or chapel, let it rattle

Posted on 02/19/2008 3:43 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
St. Louis Gets Prayer Tower

Gateway Pundit: In the middle of America's Heartland an Islamic prayer tower rises complete with loudspeakers. (GP Photos)

In the last decade 50,000 Bosnians have moved to St. Louis and many to the South City Bevo Mill neighborhood. St. Louis today is thought to hold the largest Bosnian population in the nation.



Posted on 02/19/2008 3:54 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Serbia And Kosovo

"'...have thought a bit more about the historical treatment of the Serbs under that same Ottoman rule, and their understandable bitterness.'

While normally in total agreement with this blog, the above line really bothers me. Being bitter about how your ancestors were treated is nonsensical. Never is it 'understandable.'"
-- from a reader, commenting on a sentence in this post

Why? Why is it wrong for the Serbs, who know what Ottoman (Muslim) rule meant, who know what the word "devshirme" means, who know what centuries of Ottoman rule did to the cultural level of the Balkans (that was the subject of Ivo Andric's doctoral dissertation in 1924), who know even that many of those who now are Muslims are merely the descendants of Serbs who were forcibly -- directly or through the pressure of enduring the dhimmi status -- converted to Islam, becoming "Bosnians" -- and that those Albanians, too, who became Muslims did so not because Islam was so wonderful, but because of the Ottoman Turkish rule -- why is it so wrong of them to be "bitter" at the miscomprehension, or indifference, in so much of the Western world, to Serbian fears, for example, of Izetbegovic's stated plan to bring Shari'a to the Balkans, and which bombed the Serbs mercilessly, and even now, continues to regard Kustenica and Tadzic in the same way, the same spirit, with which it treated, with much greater justification, the way it treated Milosevic.

The Western world has a perfect opportunity to demonstrate to the Russians that it is not out, on every occasion, to oppose them. It has a perfect way to insure that there is not a grim precedent set, that may come to haunt European nations, as their Muslim populations grow. But it has not done so, and much of the fault lies with the American government, the same government that continues to support, maddeningly and madly, Turkey's admission to the E.U.

A failure of American foreign policy. Not for the first time, when it comes to taking Islam into proper account, and not for the last.

Posted on 02/19/2008 4:16 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Stop The Presses

Stop the presses. The printing or minting presses, the ones that turn out the greenbacks, the green stuff, the moolah, the dindi, the fric. Don't send a single promised sawbuck to the Slow Jihadists of Fatah.

Which presidential candidate will say it first: not a dollar will be considered until the name "Mughniyeh" is stops being honored by the PLO/PA warlords around Abu Mazen, doing his best impersonation of a mild-mannered accountant, and not the sinister collaborator in murder that he has been all of his adult life.

And which presidential candidate will then add, if and when the "Palestinians" drop Mughniyeh's name from their Supreme Honor Roll, that it really doesn't matter: the money that was promised was a mistake, and it won't be coming in any case. At all. And the "Palestinians" can hold out their begging-bowl in Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Kuwait, and a dozen other fabulously rich Muslim states. The days of the American or other Infidel taxpayers shelling out billions for Arab warlords who, Slow Jihadists of Fatah or Fast Jihadists of Hamas, are intent on the same goal: conducting the Lesser Jihad against Israel until it ceases to exist as an independent Infidel nation-state, existing by right and not by Muslim sufferance.

Posted on 02/19/2008 4:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Re: whither the semicolon?

Age cannnot whither it, nor custom stale its infinite variety.

(Esprit d'escalier, or, as we say in Lancashire, I'll go to the foot of our stairs.)

Posted on 02/19/2008 5:31 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Starbucks Mother Flouted Law, Say Religious Police In Saudi Arabia

TimesOnline: A US businesswoman living in Saudi Arabia fears for her life after the religious police issued a rare statement defending her arrest this month for having coffee with a male colleague at a Starbucks coffee shop in Riyadh.

Yara, a 37-year-old married mother of three, said that she was strip-searched, forced to sign false confessions and told by a judge that she would “burn in hell”, before she was released on February 4.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice denounced her publicly with a statement posted on the internet on Monday night saying that her actions violated the Sharia of the country.

“It’s not allowed for any woman to travel alone and sit with a strange man and talk and laugh and drink coffee together like they are married,” it said.

“All of these are against the law and it’s clear it’s against the law. First, for a woman to work with men is against the law and against religion. Second, the family sections at coffee shops and restaurants are meant for families and close relatives,” it continued.

Posted on 02/19/2008 5:30 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
A Musical Interlude: Quand j'étais p’tit, je vous aimais (Charles Trenet)
Posted on 02/19/2008 6:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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