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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 Friday, 2, 2009.
Friday, 2 October 2009
There's Been Many A Slip, Since The Brasserie Lipp

From Le Monde, 1.10.09: 

uatre mandats d'arrêt signés il y a deux ans par le juge parisien Patrick Ramaël dans le cadre de l'affaire Ben Barka ont été notifiés ces derniers jours à Interpol, selon une source proche du dossier. Au moment de leur signature, le 22 octobre 2007, au premier jour d'une visite d'Etat de Nicolas Sarkozy au Maroc, ils avaient été diffusés en France "mais avaient été bloqués au niveau européen et mondial", selon l'avocat de la famille de l'opposant marocain Mehdi Ben Barka disparu en 1965 à Paris.

Ces mandats d'arrêt visent le général Hosni Benslimane, chef de la gendarmerie royale marocaine, le général Abdelhak Kadiri, ancien patron de la Direction générale des études et de la documentation (DGED, renseignements militaires), Miloud Tounsi, alias Larbi Chtouki, l'un des membres présumés du commando marocain auteur de l'enlèvement, Abdlehak Achaachi, agent du Cab 1, une unité secrète des services marocains.

Leur diffusion récente à Interpol, via le Bureau central (français) d'Interpol, fait suite à un récent feu vert du ministère français de la justice, selon la source proche du dossier. Elle intervient alors que le ministre de l'intérieur Brice Hortefeux est revenu mardi d'une visite de trois jours au Maroc, notamment pour des entretiens avec son homologue marocain Chakib Benmoussa.

Concrètement, à la suite du feu vert du ministère de la justice, Interpol a relayé ces mandats d'arrêt au niveau international sous la forme d'"avis de recherche internationaux à des fins d'extradition", communément appelés "red notices". Leur conséquence immédiate est que les personnes visées courent le risque d'être arrêtées dès qu'elles quittent le territoire marocain.

Un cinquième mandat, visant un autre membre du Cab 1, n'a pas été relayé au niveau international en raison d'un problème de vérification d'identité, a confié une source proche du dossier.


Posted on 10/02/2009 1:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 2 October 2009
Canada - Terror plotter undone by online activities

From The National Post
Said Namouh thought his apartment in Trois-Rivieres was an ideal location to plot jihad, far from the prying eyes of anti-terrorism investigators. But the Internet that allowed him to spread hatred from the boondocks also proved his undoing, and yesterday -- largely on the strength of his online activity -- the 36-year-old Moroccan was convicted of four terrorism charges.
Quebec Court Judge Claude Leblond ruled that far from simply exercising free speech, as the defence had argued, Namouh participated with "zeal and enthusiasm" in the planning of terrorist acts and the distribution of jihadist propaganda. The man described in court as a "spokesman for al-Qaeda" was found guilty of conspiring to commit a bomb attack in Europe, attempting to extort the governments of Austria and Germany with video threats, participating in a terrorist group and aiding a terrorist activity. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The court heard that Namouh, who moved to Canada in 2003 after marrying a Quebec woman, was on the verge of leaving Canada when he was arrested. Online conversations showed he was headed for Egypt to meet with co-conspirators in a plot to carry out a terrorist bombing at an unknown location in Europe.
"This is a demonstration that the system works, that if the police work with their counterparts in other countries, they can stop people before they get on the plane and before it's too late," federal Crown attorney Dominique Dudemaine said outside the court.
"The evidence is uncontradicted: Namouh said he wished to die as a martyr, and he was willing to fly abroad to [achieve] his goal."
Hundreds of pages of transcribed conversations, retrieved from password-protected web sites and Namouh's computer, proved that he was an active member of the Global Islamic Media Front, a propaganda arm for al-Qaeda and smaller terrorist cells in Gaza and Somalia. . . He assured a colleague that he was free from the surveillance he might have attracted in a big city.
"I write to you my loved ones with tears falling from the intensity of my love to our mujahedeen protectors, and in hatred of the Crusaders and Shi'a and apostates," Namouh, who used the alias Ashraf, wrote on a secret GIMF message board.
In March, 2007, he created Internet links to publicize a video warning the governments of Germany and Austria that they would suffer terror attacks if their troops were not withdrawn from Afghanistan. Then, that May, he provided art for a communique by the Army of Islam, claiming responsibility for the kidnapping in Gaza of BBC reporter Alan Johnston and demanding the release of prisoners.
"I have the information and experience for acquisition of explosives in a country and the way to have them easily," he said at one point. Later he discussed plans to travel to North Africa and said, "Terrorism is in our blood, and with it we will drown the unjust."
He said his dream was that he die a martyr and that his son in Morocco grow up to be a mujahedeen.
"There is, therefore, a plan for a significant terrorist attack with the aide of explosives," Judge Leblond concluded. "All indications are that it would have been a kamikaze attack."
Namouh remains in custody. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 13

Posted on 10/02/2009 3:09 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 2 October 2009
Kerala High Court wants probe into 'love jihad'

From Indian Express and Express Buzz
The state High Court on Wednesday directed the Kerala Police and Union Home Ministry to probe the alleged movement, under which young Muslim boys reportedly target college girls for conversion by feigning love.
The court also asked the state and Centre to look into the sources that “fund” the love jihad, the number of girls who have got “trapped in the racket” in the past three years and its extremist links, if any.
Justice K T Sankaran was hearing anticipatory bail applications of two Muslim youths, accused of “luring” two MBA students into marriage for reportedly the purpose of religious conversion. The court rejected their bail pleas.
The two youths were allegedly associated with Campus Front, a student outfit of the right-wing Muslim organisation Popular Front of India (PFI).
Earlier this month, the parents of the two girls had filed a habeus corpus in the high court after their daughters were found missing. On being produced in court, the girls deposed that they were “trapped” by the youths and forced to convet to Islam. Allowing them to go with their parents, the court had asked the police to probe the charges of forced conversion after trapping girls in love affairs.
Police officials admit that there are cases of girls having been converted forcibly or “trapped” into adopting Islam. “The groups focused on girls from well-settled families, a majority of them Hindus,” sources said.
Senior PFI leader Naseerudheen Elamaram refuting charges against his organisation said, “Religious conversion is not a crime; conversion takes place to Hinduism and Christianity also... One cannot paint all love affairs as cases of forced conversions meant for extremist activity.”
The comment from Lakshimi is particularly interesting -
This practice started in UK universities, specifically aimed at Hindu and Sikh women and at young Western women at secondary school. Community action is required to curb this.
Express Buzz has a little more about the background of the two girls
Shahan Sha was the senior student of the two girls, one a Christian and another a Hindu, at the college. The Hindu girl fell in love with Shahan Sha and the intimacy developed.
It is alleged that Shahan Sha usually spoke ill about Hinduism.
He had taken the girl to his house also. It is alleged that Shahan Sha had compelled the girl to convert to Islam and told her that if she refuses to convert, their relationship would come to an end.
Meanwhile, Shahan Sha and the girl came into contact with one Shaji, who was running a DTP centre.
The Hindu girl, along with her friend, who is a Christian, used to go to the shop. Later, Shahan Sha took the Hindu girl to Ponnani without the knowledge of her friend. Pressure mounted on the girls to convert and was directed to meet a person at a mosque.
The Christian girl was not in love with anyone. It is alleged that the proposal was to give in marriage the girl to somebody else and Shahan Sha brought his friend Sirajudheen for this purpose.
Meanwhile, a habeas corpus petition was filed before the High Court by the parents of the girl.

Posted on 10/02/2009 3:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 2 October 2009
A Musical Interlude: Do-Do-Do (Gertrude Lawrence)

Listen here.

Posted on 10/02/2009 6:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 2 October 2009
Corruption, The Democrats & The Churches

Rasmussen reports:

For nearly two years, economic issues have held the top spot in terms of importance among voters.

But the latest national telephone survey shows that 83% now view government ethics and corruption as very important, placing it just ahead of the economy on a list of 10 key electoral issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports. Eighty-two percent (82%) of voters see the economy as very important.

This is the first time since October 2007 that voters have rated ethics and corruption as more important than the economy. Voters viewed the two issues evenly in November and December 2007 before placing a higher priority on the economy starting in January 2008.

Of course, this reflects voter perception of the party in power. John at Powerline thinks it could have something to do with the ACORN scandal. Now word comes that even our secular churches are involved with ACORN: 

[T]he Presbyterian Church (USA) apparently has been giving grants to scandal-ridden ACORN for years. And it’s been engaging in some unsavory accounting practices to keep the funds flowing. Parker Williamson reports on the subject in The Presbyterian Layman, a publication of a renewal organization in this mainline Presbyterian denomination...

According to the Institute on Religion and Democracy, the National Council of Churches has also worked with ACORN in the past to, um, “increase voter turnout.”

Why is the National Council of Churches concerned with voter turnout?

Posted on 10/02/2009 7:17 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 2 October 2009
It’s Only Anti-Social

A single case sometimes shines a lurid light on an entire country, and the case of Fiona Pilkington does just that for contemporary Britain—both its population and its officialdom. A coroner’s inquest was recently held in the case, two years after the events in question.

On October 23, 2007, Pilkington, a single mother of low intelligence, used gasoline to set fire to her car, with herself and her 18-year-old, severely handicapped daughter inside. They both died in the conflagration.

The reason that she killed herself and her daughter was that local youths had abused them for years. They taunted her and her daughter for hours on end, standing and shouting outside their home, pelting it with bottles and stones, and repeatedly intruding into the garden. Pilkington, who was inoffensive, shy, and retiring, called the police a total of 33 times, but they did absolutely nothing, though they knew what was going on. The local chief of police issued an apology at the inquiry into the affair. If he had meant it, of course, he would have immediately resigned his post.

The deep spiritual sickness of contemporary Britain is evident in the following comment on the inquiry in the liberal newspaper, The Guardian: “Although much of the abuse centred on the taunts about the children’s disabilities, police failed to recognise it as a hate crime rather than simple antisocial behaviour, which would have made it a far higher priority.”

In other words, the seriousness of an offense committed in Britain now depends upon who the victim is. If a person is not of an identifiably protected group, he or she is not entitled to police intervention against abusive stone- and bottle-throwing youths. He is not entitled to protection at all.

The Guardian’s article appears to accept that such behavior, so long as it targets a member of an unprotected group, is merely undesirable—“anti-social” rather than obviously criminal. The rule of law is fast evaporating in Britain; we are coming to live in a land of men, not of laws.

(originally posted at City Journal)

Posted on 10/02/2009 7:51 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 2 October 2009
Westergaard at Yale: An Interview with Rabbi Jon Hausman

Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard appeared at the Master’s House at Yale’s Branford College (Yale has a system of residential colleges akin to that of Oxford and Cambridge Universities) October 1st.   Accompanying him in the International Free Press Society contingent were Lars Hedegaard, Paul Belien, and Bjorn Larsen and, by invitation, Rabbi Jon Hausman.

Security was tight at Yale allegedly because of the appearance of the controversial Danish Cartoonist who penned the Mohammed cartoon-the one with Mohammed attired in a Turban shaped like a bomb. After all, Yale didn’t want its students threatened with violence by the appearance of 73 year old Westergaard attired in his ‘rouge et noir’ costume.  Westergaard and Hedegaard had caught up with Brandeis University professor Jytte Klausen, author of “The Cartoons that Shook the World”,  for a discussion before the event began.  Apparently she had met Westergaard during her research for the book.  Klausen spoke at a separate event Thursday evening organized by the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA).  One item of interest was that Klausen had wanted to have the controversial cartoons printed in her book. Yale Press and Yale University convened a review panel that basically recommended not to include the controversial Mohammed cartoons for reasons of alleged legal liability and possible threats of violence.  Klausen alleged that in order for her to find out the basis for the review panel‘s recommendation to Yale Press and Yale University, she would have had to sign a confidentiality agreement.

The Yale Daily News report on the Westergaard visit,  “Cartoonist’s visit causes stir,”  focused on the protests of Muslim Students and Alumni  never revealing  what Westergaard said at the Branford College Master’s House event, eschewing why Master Stephen Smith brought Westergaard to the New Haven Campus, Freedom of Speech;

“We are here protesting what we think is a despicable act,” Syed said.

Ghani also called for Smith’s resignation, saying that inviting Westergaard to speak ran contrary to a master’s mission of protecting the students.

“A master is entrusted with protecting the well-being of all Yale students and yet Smith gave a warm reception to a man racist toward members of the Yale community,” she said.

But Smith defended the decision to invite Westergaard to speak on campus and called it “a teachable moment.”

“At Yale, if we stand for anything, we stand for the free expression of ideas,” Smith said.

Alumni voiced their opinions from afar, as well. Alumni Sharyar Aziz ’74, a member of the Yale President’s Council on International Activities, said he thought that having Westergaard on campus could give the wrong impression about Yale’s attitude toward the Muslim world.

“I’m all for freedom of speech,” he said. “But I’m deeply concerned that somehow an institution that has been so sensitive and so caring and so wonderful about the Muslim community in general and stuff that they’ve done in the Middle East, that somehow this event creates an adverse environment or adverse opinion of Yale’s sensitivities.”

Klausen at the YIISA event had a different view, as did some Yale alumni;

“I want to stress that, of course, the argument can be made that the cartoons are offensive,” Klausen said. “It is very problematic in my view because it assumes that Muslims really did respond to the cartoons based on the notion that they are taboo or bad and lack the self-control to deal with that. My book contradicts that argument.”

Meanwhile, the Yale Committee for a Free Press — a group of alumni decrying Yale’s decision to remove the cartoons — sent a letter, postmarked on Oct. 1, to President Levin and the Corporation requesting that the Corporation ask the press to reprint the book with the cartoons added back.

“In a world where light and truth are under siege, the entire Yale community has a vital stake in preserving a free press,” the letter, which was signed by 44 alumni, said.

To find out what happened at the Branford College Master’s event, we interviewed Rabbi Hausman on what he encountered at Westergaard’s Yale presentation.

Gordon: How tight was security at the Branford College Master’s house?

Hausman:  Security was extremely tight.  I parked on Prospect Street directly across from Betts Hall.   I counted 10 Yale University Police officers, including the Assistant Chief of Police for Yale University.  All were pleasant people, but access was strictly controlled.  No cars, as a general rule, were allowed through any of the 3 driveway entrances to Betts Hall.  There was only once exception, the car which ferried Kurt Westergaard and a number of the officers of the IFPS.  That car was searched with some sort of device to detect anomalies.  Entry was restricted to those with Yale University IDs and who possessed tickets.  There were other special security people inside the building who were not Yale University policemen.

There was a roped off area for protestors on the grounds of Betts Hall, but some distance from the facility.  You could see the protestors from the front windows of the building.  A newspaper photographer (too old to be a Yale student or reporter for the Yale Daily) was prevented from walking up to Betts Hall and had to remain at roadside.

Gordon:  Did you encounter any difficulties gaining entry to the Branford College Master’s House for the Westergaard Event?

Hausman: I received a personal invitation from a Vice President of IFPS and was told that my name would appear on a list to gain entry.  I was stopped by a Yale Police officer; I identified myself, showed my driver’s license and explained my situation.  The officer asked that I remain with him until he could gain some clarity.  A Sergeant came over and asked for my personal information as well.  After a couple of phone calls by the officers, my name was on no list to which they had access.  I place a phone call to Bjorn Larsen to inform him of the situation as the Westergaard entourage.  Once the IFPS and Westergaard arrived, it took about 30 minutes to sort out my ability to enter the facility and attend the program.  By the way, all electronic and recording devices were left with another security officer at a security station in Betts Hall.

Gordon:  Who was in the International Free Press Society contingent with you?

Hausman:  Bjorn Larsen, Lars Hedegaard, Paul Belien and the other people associated with the IFPS.  There was one editor from the Yale University Press who met the contingent and Jytte Klausen.

Gordon:  How many people were admitted to the ticketed event?

Hausman: I estimate there were 65 people in attendance…some professors, a number of undergraduate and graduate students. 

Gordon:  What did Branford College Master Stephen Smith say in his opening remarks?

Hausman:  Professor Smith spoke about the unique opportunity that this presented to his students and those in attendance taking into account world events.  He asked for respectful dialogue.  He added that Mr. Westergaard would speak and participate in a Q & A session with those in attendance.

Gordon:  What were the high points of Westergaard’s presentation?

Hausman:  Westergaard explained his professional background as a teacher and how he fell into the role of a satire cartoonist (I always find a person’s personal narrative interesting).  He explained what has led him to draw many different kinds of satire cartoons, the role of 9-11 and some of the activities amongst Danish Muslims, how this set of cartoons ‘went viral’ throughout the world and his surprise by it all, and the loss of his safety due to the physical threats that he has endured from specific quarters of the world since.  He did mention that he is an old man and his time is short under the best of circumstances.

In a side conversation with me, he recalled a cartoon that upset people within the Danish Jewish community wherein he used the image of a Nazi soldier (one must remember that, as a child, Westergaard experienced and remembers the Nazi occupation of Denmark).  Westergaard met with Denmark’s Chief Rabbi Melchior, during which they discussed the reason for Jewish disapprobation and concern.  Yet, never were any threats to Westergaard’s life or liberty issued.

Gordon:  What was the range of questions posed during the Q+A? What stood out in particular?

Hausman: The questions by student and professor were basically of the same nature.  Did Westergaard feel any personal responsibility for the damage his cartoons caused amongst Muslims?  Would he take responsibility for any of the physical harm that occurred in Muslim countries to minority Christian communities?  Would he take responsibility for his actions?  What could he possibly have thought would be the result of the publication of said cartoons?  What could possibly have resulted when one takes the Prophet himself and castigates such a holy and the most important figure in Islam in such a manner?  Surely there is free speech, but at what point must one weigh/you weigh the right to exercise that freedom with the damage that it may cause?

Interestingly, there was not one question that I heard which supported Mr. Westergaard’s ability to draw without inhibition as satire is meant to be provocative.  By way of trenchant wit, irony and sarcasm, satire is meant to expose a kernel of truth and/or folly as the drawer views a person, an event, the world writ large.  Satire is meant to be critical and to discredit from the eye of the artist.  A number of years ago, a Brooklyn art museum was the center of attention for a painting which was nothing more than a cross smeared with feces.  If one had an issue with this particular piece, one could skip that ‘wing’ of the museum or not show one’s patronage.  However, I don’t recall any threats of violence against the artist, the museum curator or the museum’s physical plant.

Gordon:  How would you characterize the audience at the Westergaard event?

Hausman:  The crowd was hostile in an academic and emotional sense.  There were a number of self-described Muslims.  Those who did ask questions expressed displeasure with Westergaard’s work.  The questions from these people were repetitive.  One person described himself as a mildly Evangelical Christian who lived for a number of years in a Muslim country working.  Yet, he took what I call a dhimmi view in his question - how far can Westergaard go in his work before endangering Christians who live in Muslim countries?  I found this to be the most disturbing question and attitude of all.  

There was gentleman, who described himself as Muslim, who mentioned a New York Times article which he claimed connect “well-known Islamophobes Daniel Pipes and Geert Wilders to Mr. Westergaard’s appearance.”  Lars Hedegaard, President of the IFPS, corrected this gentleman and remarked that neither Wilders nor Pipes were involved in any of the arrangements for Westergaard’s appearance and probably did not even know of his presence in the US.

It was clear that no common ground would be found. 

Gordon:  Was there media present at the Westergaard event and any questions from them?

Hausman: There was one photographer stopped at the driveway entrance to Betts Hall.  As I was talking with a number of Policeman on the lawn prior to my entry, there was one young woman (obviously a student) who sought comments from the Police regarding the security arrangements necessary for the event.  She produced her Yale ID and a ticket, and was allowed to proceed to the Hall.  I did not see her inside, however.

Gordon:  What impressions did you form about the discourse at this Yale event?

Hausman:  Honestly, I would not send my child to any school where there is such uniformity and conformity of thought and attitude.  I was disappointed at the inability of those in attendance amongst the Yale community to place responsibility for the violence that has transpired on those who manifest such responsibility.  Westergaard drew, but it was the Imams from Denmark who took those cartoons one year after publication and whipped up violent frenzies, destruction of Danish Embassies in the Muslim world, threats to the physical safety of Danish personnel, violence against indigenous Christian populations.   Every questioner seemed to want to misplace blame. 

Further, it is clear that the university suffers from the malaise of relativist truth and the multicultural ethic.  There are no universal truths any longer.  When I was in college, it seemed that the point of education at the university level was to use the subject matter under study to encourage independent, critical thinking.   Today, all truths are equal.  I abjure this notion.

In the final analysis, I believe that the university is lost. 




Posted on 10/02/2009 8:02 AM by Jerry Gordon
Friday, 2 October 2009
Lord 'elp us

Tony Blair could be the new Emperor - sorry President of the EU. I said Emperor because I didn't vote for him. From The Times:

Tony Blair is in line to be proclaimed Europe’s first president within weeks if the Irish vote “yes” in today’s referendum.

Senior British sources have told The Times that President Sarkozy has decided that Mr Blair is the best candidate and that Angela Merkel has softened her opposition.

The former Prime Minister could be ushered into the European Union’s top post at a summit on October 29.

Ms Merkel, the German Chancellor, was opposed to Mr Blair because she believed that the post should go to a country that had adopted the euro but British sources said that she may now be “biddable” if Germany and France get plum posts in the new European Commission.

Mr Blair, whose claims are being advanced by ministers in London, will not enter the race unless he is certain of winning. He is wary of giving up his many other commitments, spanning business, the Middle East, climate change and his Faith Foundation

Oh yes, busy busy busy. And if Blair takes his eye off the ball in the Middle East, who knows what may happen?

If the Irish ratify the Lisbon treaty — the result will be declared tomorrow — only the signatures of the Polish and Czech presidents will be needed for full ratification. Warsaw is expected to come on board swiftly. President Klaus is harder to predict but diplomatic sources expect him to agree quickly, possibly after receiving a sweetener from Germany.

The decision presents a dilemma for the Conservatives, whose conference takes place next week. David Cameron remains committed to a referendum on the treaty. He has declined to say what he would do if the treaty were ratified before the general election.

Despite pressure from Eurosceptics, he would be unlikely to hold a referendum if he came to power after ratification, which would mean renegotiating Britain’s relationship with the EU, but a Europe with Mr Blair at its head would worry Tories even more.

Irish eyes, smile on us...

Posted on 10/02/2009 8:50 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 2 October 2009
Investigative Project on Terror Issues Report on Georgetown's John Esposito

The IPT has issued full report on Professor John Esposito here.

Here are some of the highlights presented in the report:

Esposito has worked with, or defended, three entities which comprised the "Palestine Committee," a U.S-based committee established to help Hamas politically and financially. He appeared as a defense expert witness in the 2008 trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), repeatedly appears at fundraisers for CAIR -- a group whose two key founders participated in a secret 1993 meeting called to discuss ways to derail the new Oslo Peace Accord -- and co-sponsored a conference with the UASR. UASR was created by Hamas deputy political director Mousa Abu Marzook and directed by Ahmed Yousef, now the Hamas spokesman in Gaza.

The professor has made repeated statements defending the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hizballah. A 2006 article published in the Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat quoted him as saying, "some object to sitting at the same table to engage in a dialogue with Hamas or Hizballah but I see no problem with that." He made that and similar statements portraying Hamas and Hizballah as legitimate political parties with whom the United States should negotiate well after both were designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the State Department.

In an article in the September 2006 edition of Harvard International Review, Esposito criticized the United States and Europe for condemning Hamas, writing that "despite HAMAS' victory in free and democratic elections, [they] failed to give the party full recognition and support."

He has been similarly loath to condemn Hizballah. While in the past "there were times when it engaged in aggressive actions that clearly could be seen as terrorist actions," he said in an interview with the Middle East Affairs Journal in 2000, "Hezbollah in recent years has shown that it operates within the Lebanese political system functioning as a major player in parliament. But when it comes to the south it has been primarily a resistance movement…. Hezbollah has made it clear that such actions would not exist if the Israelis would pull out of the south. Many outsiders refuse to see the Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon as an occupation and as illegal."

The same predisposition to reject terrorist motives characterizes Esposito's attitude toward the Muslim Brotherhood. When shown an internal Palestine Committee memo that described the Brotherhood's goal as "eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hand of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions," during his HLF trial testimony, he doubted the memo's authenticity:

"If it is authentic, it would be made by a radical or terrorist organization. That is not something that I would associate with the Muslim Brotherhood….. You wouldn't guess that it was a Muslim Brotherhood statement."

Esposito also defended the Tunisian political group An-Nahda, also known as the Renaissance Party. An-Nahda is outlawed in Tunisia for its use of violence.

The professor remains a self-described "very close friend" of former University of South Florida Professor Sami Al-Arian, cited in court evidence as a former board member of the terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Al-Arian pled guilty in 2006 to conspiring to provide goods and services to the PIJ. Despite Al-Arian's admitted ties, Esposito continues to laud him as "an extraordinarily bright, articulate scholar and intellectual-activist, a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice."

"God help Sami Al-Arian in terms of this administration and many others who have to live through this," he said at a CAIR Dallas banquet in August 2007.

Esposito has engaged in a series of academic partnerships with Azzam Tamimi, a known member of Hamas since at least 1999 and a man who has repeatedly praised suicide bombings. Speaking in South Africa in July 2002, Tamimi declared, "Do not call them suicide bombers, call them shuhada [martyrs] as they have not escaped the miseries of life. They gave their life. Life is sacred, but some things like truth and justice are more sacred than life."

Esposito has praised Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood known for his militant religious rulings and political commentary in support of terrorism and suicide bombings, as well as his fatwa stating that Muslims killed while fighting American forces in Iraq are martyrs. Commenting on suicide bombings in April 2001 Qaradawi said, "they are not suicide operations…these are heroic martyrdom operations."

In spite of such rhetoric, in a 2003 article in the Boston Review, Esposito included Qaradawi on a list of religious scholars with a "reformist interpretation of Islam and its relationship to democracy, pluralism and human rights."

More broadly, Esposito has consistently downplayed the threat of Islamic violence. "Some hold the Muslims guilty until proven innocent. It is also possible to use words and terms that offend Muslims but that are unacceptable about others, such as Jews or Americans of African origin," Al-Sharq al-Awsat quoted him as saying in May 2006. That same year he wrote in the Harvard International Review that it is vital to recognize that "widespread anti-Americanism among mainstream Muslims and Islamists results from what the United States does- its policies and actions."

What consequences have all these questionable positions and relationships carried for Esposito?

None to speak of, the IPT report suggests. "Esposito's coziness with terrorist supporters, and his frequent criticism of U.S. policy as a cause of terrorism has not hurt his standing with government officials," it notes. Indeed, the State Department continues to book the professor "to address international audiences about life for Muslims in America and to advance his argument that better understanding of religious and cultural differences is a key to a more peaceful world."

Posted on 10/02/2009 12:15 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 2 October 2009
Two cheers for the Tories?

Next year, and not a moment too soon, we will have a Tory Government. This will be good in all kinds of ways, but will they tackle Islam any better than the current shambolic shower of appeasers? Not necessarily. From the Jewish Chronicle:

A conservative government would stop all funding to groups that promote radical Islamic ideology and target money at organisations with a record of bringing Britain’s diverse communities together.

In an interview with the JC, Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said Labour's policy risked creating ghettoes.

He revealed that the Tories were planning an immediate review of the Prevent anti-extremism strategy, which he accused of channelling money to radical organisations.

The change would represent a shift away from the multiculturalism policy which critics charge with creating segregated religious and ethnic communities isolated from mainstream society.

“I very strongly believe the resources we do have available in difficult times — unless there is a compelling security reason for the spending of that money — should be aimed at those groups that break down the divides rather than accentuate them.”

His speech at next week’s Conservative Party will "send a strong message that we will not tolerate violent extremism in this country. And we will not hesitate to move against groups or individuals who encourage it.”

He is furious that stronger action was not taken in March against protesters in Luton who barracked British troops.

Clearly the Government - or rather the taxpayer - should not be funding "radical" Islamic groups. But why should it fund Muslim groups at all? And if funding is to go to groups that "break down the divides", does this mean an even fatter fatted calf for Ed Husain and the Quilliams and yet more taxpayer-funded wool to pull over our eyes?

Think again.

Posted on 10/02/2009 2:29 PM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 2 October 2009
Ahmadinejad 1, Couric 0

By Mike Krumboltz, at Yahoo! Buzz Log:

Last week, Katie Couric had the tables turned on her. During an interview with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Couric asked about Neda Soltan, the Iranian female who was shot and killed by Iranian security back in June.

After expressing his regret for the loss of life, Mr. Ahmadinejad pulled out a photo of another woman. He showed it to Ms. Couric and asked if she knew who the woman was. Couric said she didn't, and that's when Ahmadinejad pounced.

Ahmadinejad explained that the woman in the photo is Marwa Ali El-Sherbini. She was stabbed to death in a German court by a neo-Nazi. The Iranian president then asked why the death of Ms. El-Sherbini wasn't being publicized by the media in the same way as Neda's. Ahmadinejad "suggested that the western media — who turned Neda into a martyr — ignored Marwa's story."

Out of her depth.  But is there a single journalist, excepting perhaps Jon Stewart, who would have been qualified to take on Ahmadinejad?

Posted on 10/02/2009 2:50 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Friday, 2 October 2009
Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters - Pistol Packin' Mama

Posted on 10/02/2009 4:21 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 2 October 2009
'Hello, this is Gilad'

YNet News (thanks to Alan):

After 1,195 days in captivity, Gilad Shalit was seen for the first time in a Hamas videotape released for publication Friday afternoon.

The roughly two-and-a-half minute video shows Gilad facing the camera. The captive soldier holds a newspaper from September 14th and appears to be in sound mental condition.

In the tape, Shalit says: "Hello, this is Gilad, son of Noam and Aviva Shalit, brother of Hadas and Yoel, who lives in Mitzpe Hila. My ID number is 397029. As you can see I am holding today's Falasteen newspaper published in Gaza. I read the newspaper in order to find information about myself, and in hopes of reading about information of my return home and my imminent release."

Gilad then continues: "I hope the current government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't waste this opportunity to reach an agreement and as a result, allow me to fulfill my dream and be released."

Addressing his parents and siblings, Gilad says: "I wish to send my well-wishes to my family and tell them that I love them and miss them greatly, and hope for the day I'll see them again. Dad, Yoel, and Hadas, do you remember the day you arrived at my base in the Golan Heights, on December 31, 2005? We toured around the base and you took a picture of me on a Merkava tank and on one of the old tanks at the entrance to the base. Later we went to a restaurant in one of the Druze villages and on the way we took pictures on the side of the road, against the backdrop of the snowy Hermon Mountain."

"I want to tell you that I feel well in medical terms, and that the Mujahidin from the al-Qassam Brigades are treating me excellently. Thank you very much and goodbye," Gilad concludes...


Posted on 10/02/2009 4:27 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 2 October 2009
Round It Off, For God's Sake

News headline: Madoff relatives sued for $199 million


Posted on 10/02/2009 5:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 2 October 2009
Sweden: 10-year old girl gang raped

From The Local:

Three boys aged 12-13-years-old are suspected of having raped a 10-year-old girl at a school in Linköping in central Sweden.

The alleged assault occurred on Tuesday while the children were on their lunch break in an area of woodland near the school.

The school reported the incident to the council and to the police on Wednesday after the visibly shaken girl told teachers of her ordeal.

"I don't know if the boys have confessed. The police are investigating the matter now, but we consider this to be a very serious incident," Thomas Brandin at Linköping council said at press conference held on Tuesday, local newspaper reports.

Linköping police have confirmed that the boys have not yet been interviewed and that they have classified the case as rape.

The school has however talked to the boys and confirms that they have admitted the offence, according to a report in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

As the boys are under the age of criminal responsibility there will not be a legal consequences as a result of the alleged rape.

For an informative 2005 article by Fjordman about systematic rapes in Sweden and Norway, see here.

Posted on 10/02/2009 8:39 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Friday, 2 October 2009
A Musical Interlude: I'm Just A Vagabond Lover (Rudy Vallee)

Listen here.

Posted on 10/02/2009 5:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 2 October 2009
Al Qaeda member arrested in Germany with bomb materials

From The Local, this time in Germany.

German authorities said on Friday that they had arrested a Turkish-German man on suspicion of obtaining bomb-making materials and recruiting people for Islamist terror network al-Qaida.

Police raided a flat in Offenbach and a business in nearby Frankfurt and recovered a small amount of an explosive mixture and a homemade electronic device thought to be a detonator, federal prosecutors said in a statement. They also turned up other materials and devices durrent his arrest, which took place on Thursday.

The man, who has both German and Turkish citizenship, was named only as Adnan V. He is suspected of trying to recruit members and supporters of the Islamic militant group al-Qaida on the Internet with propaganda materials.

Currently, however, he is not thought to be linked to a number of videos ahead of last Sunday's general election threatening Germany with attacks.  [That must be a different group of "Turkish-German" citizens, then]

The videos prompted heightened security measures at airports and main train stations around the country, as well as sites popular with tourists like Berlin's Brandenburg Gate or the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich.

They warned Germany of attacks unless it withdrew its 4,200 troops from Afghanistan, where they are fighting an increasingly tough insurgency as part of a 100,000-strong US and NATO mission.

Posted on 10/02/2009 10:46 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden

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