These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 2, 2007.
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
9 Muslims to stand trial in Australia
This was mentioned in The Scotsman this morning, but the fullest report is from CNN, via AP.
Nine men who allegedly stockpiled bomb-making chemicals and vowed to avenge perceived injustices against Muslims were ordered to stand trial for Australia's largest terrorist conspiracy, court officials said Tuesday.
Magistrate Michael Price, after hearing evidence gathered in a months-long police operation, ruled it was strong enough to be heard by a Supreme Court jury and referred the case to the higher court on June 1, said an official at Penrith Local Court, who declined to be named in line with policy.
The nine men are each charged with conspiring between June 2004 and November 2005 to carry out a terrorist act. None of the suspects, who face a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted, entered a plea, but their lawyers have said they maintain they are innocent.
Prosecutors said at the pretrial hearing that the nine suspects bought unrestricted chemicals that can be used in making explosives, and downloaded from the Internet instructions that included how to mix the cocktail of agents used to make the bombs used in the deadly 2005 London subway attacks.
The prosecutors allege the nine were devotees of a radical Muslim cleric sympathetic to Osama bin Laden, and struck a pact to launch a terrorist attack because they felt their religion was under attack.
No planned target has been revealed, but police alleged the suspects had Australia's only nuclear reactor, a small facility used to make radioactive medical supplies, under surveillance.
The nine suspects are Mohammed Ali Elomar, Mazen Touma, Abdul Rakib Hasan, Khaled Cheikho, Moustafa Cheikho, Khaled Sharrouf, Mirsad Mulahalilovic, Omar Baladjam and Mohammed Jamal.
Posted on 05/02/2007 3:06 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
To introduce a serious note
for once, (for me) there is something I left out of my May article when I remarked that the adverts for pizza and taxis were almost identical in English in my local paper to those in the page of the Lithuanian newspaper that came my way.
That the adverts for the sauna and massage parlours were also almost identical.
So many of these advertise the attention of women with east European names, Yelena, Anastasia or Natalia. Some, not all, may be trafficked and I know there are organisations working hard on their behalf, though sometimes it must feel like baling the Atlantic with a sieve.
There seems to be no travel in the opposite direction. Vilnius is not full of ladies named Candy and Roxi; they still work above the car spares place in Canal Street.
But Jamilla no longer speaks Urdu over at “Asian babes”. She is supplanted by “Oriental” ladies, although they may of course mean Leyton Orient.
Posted on 05/02/2007 4:02 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
I know how these terrorists are inspired
Ed Husain has his own book 'The Islamist' to promote, and like many Muslims he propounds the idea of moderate Islam (and he may well truly believe what he says.) What is interesting are his description of the activities of organisations like Hizb ut-Tahrir early on, and the comments which (apologists aside) show that the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. The question being, which Rebecca answers in part this month, is what we do about it now.
The recent conviction of five young British Muslim men has yet again opened the debate about how Britain, famed for its plurality and tolerance, bred home-grown terrorists. And, more important, how do we heal the divisions and communal disintegration in our cities that continue to serve as an Islamist underworld in which the rhetoric of jihad and destruction goes unchallenged?
I know how these young men are inspired to wreak death and destruction because I have first-hand experience of being in one such cell. I have since seen the error of my ways.
In 1995, at college in east London, I was part of the secret cell structure of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist organisation banned in most Muslim countries and rejected by most mosques in Britain. Yet the group had a free rein on university and college campuses, where it advocated that British Muslims were a community whose allegiance lay not with Queen and country, but to a coming caliph in the Middle East.
This caliph would instruct us to act as agents of the caliphate in Britain, and open a "home front" by assisting the expansionist state. We believed that all Arab governments were not sufficiently "Islamic" and were liable to removal; entire populations would submit to the army of the caliph, or face extinction.
The rhetoric of jihad introduced by Hizb ut-Tahrir in my days was the preamble to 7/7 and several other attempted attacks. By proscribing Hizb ut-Tahrir, we would send a strong message to extremists that Britain will not tolerate intolerance. Yes, we are a free country with a proud tradition of liberty, but it has always had limits.
In 1991, Omar Bakri, then leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir, called for the assassination of John Major - we ignored it. In 1997, Osama bin Laden declared a jihad against the West - we ignored it.
Today, in our midst, Hizb ut-Tahrir calls for an expansionist, violent, totalitarian Islamist state - and we continue to ignore it. There is no quick fix to the problem of home-grown terrorism, but banning Hizb ut-Tahrir would be an excellent first step, sending a strong signal to aspiring terrorists that Britain has not changed the rules of game. We no longer play that game.
Posted on 05/02/2007 4:56 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Who is plugged in?
In his review of Don DeLillo's entry in the "post-9/11 novel" sweepstakes, Adam Kirsch concludes:
At times, Mr. DeLillo's quietness even feels like a kind of showing off, an attitudinizing grief that is never wholly unaware of its own sleek profile. "Falling Man" does succeed in telling part of the truth about September 11 and its aftermath. But it would be a better novel if Mr. DeLillo weren't so convinced that he's telling the whole truth.
Earlier in the review Kirsch notes:
The loudest interpreters of the attacks, as usual, were politicians and pundits. But there is something truly impressive about the way novelists have insisted on their own right to confront and explain history. For two generations, at least, we have been told that novelists are relics, mere craftsmen of narrative in an age of mass production. The novel was doomed to go the way of poetry, a semiprecious hobby unplugged from the live wires of the culture. Yet during the last five and a half years, almost all of our best novelists have written books explicitly or implicitly about September 11 — some good, some bad, but all unflinching in the face of the largest, most urgent questions. And as history teaches, it is the novelists' interpretations of our moment that will testify on our behalf to posterity, long after the official explanations have gone brittle.
I have no particular love for DeLillo's work, but, frankly, I can't believe I read the entire review, less an exercise in prose than scraps of grandiose, unsupported assertion afloat on the receding tide which carries away newspapers, a medium no longer quite "plugged into the live wires of culture."
Posted on 05/02/2007 5:53 AM by Robert Bove
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
You betja, man
I have only just spotted Hugh's little Betjeman quiz. He asks which line of Betjeman offers his quintessence. The line, Hugh says, is:
"And held me in her strong brown arms."
I've never heard that one before. Is it made up? I know Betjeman liked sporty, dominant women like Joan Hunter Dunn. Am I missing something obvious? I can never do your quizzes, Hugh, as even if I vaguely think I may know the answer, I have a nagging feeling that I'm dealing with a trick question.
Taking the question at face value, however, where do you start? One of my favourites is the line: "Oh! Chintzy, chintzy cheeriness." This is from "Death in Leamington", which is about a lonely old lady dying - yes - in Leamington Spa. (Betjeman always made it easy for you.) Here is the verse in question, when the nurse comes in with the tea:
And "Tea!" she said in a tiny voice
"Wake up! It's nearly five"
Oh! Chintzy, chintzy cheeriness,
Half dead and half alive.
"Cheery" is a rather sinister word. For me, at any rate, it often conveys the opposite of its ostensible meaning. I once saw an advertisement from somebody wanting a flatmate. She described herself as "cheery". You really don't want cheery, especially first thing in the morning.
"Cheers" is a good word, and "be of good cheer" is heart-warming. But "cheerful", again is ambiguous. Think of the lugubrious radio character Mona Lott, whose catchphrase was: "It's being so cheerful as keeps me going." Think of Ian Dury's sardonic "Reasons to be cheerful". Think, above all, of one of the most depressing book titles ever: Julia Strachey's Cheerful Weather for the Wedding.
Posted on 05/02/2007 6:15 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Perhaps I have been too hasty
Regarding the efficacy of newspaper book reviews, that is. Claire Berlinski's review of both Philip Jenkins' God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis and David Pryce-Jones' Betrayal: France, the Arabs and the Jews is fine, concise work:
If you do not much care whether Christianity survives in Europe, you may nonetheless pray that what replaces it — and something will — be benign. On this score, Mr. Jenkins is no more reassuring. In his discussion of the rise of militant Islam in Europe, he likewise appears to be struggling mightily against the very evidence he marshals. "Radicals [in Europe's mosques] condemn secular Europe for its vice and immorality," he observes. "They urge support for jihad in various countries around the world, they condemn Jews and Israel, and even, in some instances, call for armed violence and jihad in Europe itself." Finding the pot of gold at the end of this multicultural rainbow is a challenge, but he certainly tries his best. "What is striking … is less that such outrageous words are used, but that dissidents within the congregation are willing to report or record them, suggesting the vigor of partisan divisions." Actually, no. What is striking is that such outrageous words are used. [Read it all here.]
Posted on 05/02/2007 6:41 AM by Robert Bove
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Mistakes were made
Ian Buruma is comfortable—comfortable with the passive voice:
The trouble today is that Enlightenment values are sometimes used in a very dogmatic way against Muslims. They have become in fact a form of nationalism – “our values” have been set against “their values.” The reason for defending Enlightenment values is that they are based on good ideas, and not because they are “our culture.” To confuse culture and politics in this way is to fall into the same trap as the multiculturalists.
And it has serious consequences. If we antagonize Europe’s Muslims enough we will push more people into joining the Islamist revolution. We must do everything to encourage Europe’s Muslim to become assimilated in European societies. It is our only hope.
(Reliance on the false cover the passive voice promises is the least of Mr. Buruma's problems, as Roger Kimball notes.)
Posted on 05/02/2007 6:59 AM by Robert Bove
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
It's All in the Tail
Dog News from New Duranty: ...there is another, newly discovered, feature of dog body language that may surprise attentive pet owners and experts in canine behavior. When dogs feel fundamentally positive about something or someone, their tails wag more to the right side of their rumps. When they have negative feelings, their tail wagging is biased to the left...
Posted on 05/02/2007 7:43 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Your Terrorist Problem is Our Terrorist Problem
New Duranty: LONDON, May 1 — Omar Khyam, [no, not that Omar Khayyam or that one either] the ringleader of the thwarted London bomb plot who was sentenced to life imprisonment on Monday, showed the potential for disaffected young men to be lured as terrorists, a threat that British officials said they would have to contend with for a generation.
But the 25-year-old Mr. Khyam, a Briton of Pakistani descent, also personifies a larger and more immediate concern: as a British citizen, he could have entered the United States without a visa, like many of an estimated 800,000 other Britons of Pakistani origin.
American officials, citing the number of terror plots in Britain involving Britons with ties to Pakistan, expressed concern over the visa loophole. In recent months, the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, has opened talks with the government here on how to curb the access of British citizens of Pakistani origin to the United States.
At the moment, the British are resistant, fearing that restrictions on the group of Britons would incur a backlash from a population that has always sided with the Labor Party. The Americans say they are hesitant to push too hard and embarrass their staunch ally in the Iraq war, Prime Minister Tony Blair, as he prepares to step down from office.
Among the options that have been put on the table, according to British officials, was the most onerous option to Britain, that of canceling the entire visa waiver program that allows all Britons entry to the United States without a visa. Another option, politically fraught as it is, would be to single out Britons of Pakistani origin, requiring them to make visa applications for the United States....
Posted on 05/02/2007 7:49 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Michael Gove nearly gets it
From The Times:
Listen to any Radio 4 discussion on what motivates terrorists, and the same consensus is usually reached – it’s foreign policy, stupid. Bush and Blair, Iraq and Afghanistan, the West’s misguided interventions in the Muslim world, that’s what inflames young hearts with righteous anger, an anger which our leaders have allowed to become a killing rage.
The degree of consensus is impressive. What a pity it’s not supported by the facts.
Were the targets they chose symbols of Western foreign policy adventurism? Or was there another reason for their choosing to fantasise about mass murder in a shopping mall and a nightclub? Why did they choose to single out not our foreign ministry but the Ministry of Sound? And why, when they were enjoying the thought of murder on the dancefloor, did one of their number say, “No one can turn around and say, ‘Oh, they were innocent’, those slags dancing around. Do you understand what I mean?”
Unfortunately, all too many do not understand what Jawab Akbar did mean. Because so many of those who choose to comment on terrorism, its roots, motivations and methods, fail to understand the ideology that drives and justifies these actions. I have explored that ideology, Islamism, in a book, Celsius 7/7, which has just been republished. And in the course of my exploration it became clear that the ideological motivation for the terrorist threat we face is an austere and pitiless twisting of Islam that offers young men redemption through violence, and the opportunity to exalt themselves by purging the world of the impure.
The impure, the targets for slaughter, we now know, are not just “apostates” who mock Islam, such as Salman Rushdie or the Danish cartoonists, nor are they even the architects of foreign policy adventures – the Bushes and Blairs, Reids and Rumsfelds, they are the clubbers and shoppers of modern Britain – in the eyes of the Islamist killers we are all slags, none of us innocent. That is the ugly, and troubling, truth which there should be no dancing around.
And yet, and yet. Few of those who rush to provide explanations for why these young men act as they do have troubled to study the thoughts and writings of their guides and mentors. The works of the founding fathers of Islamism, such as the Egyptian activist Sayyid Qutb, lay bare an antipathy towards the West, its culture, its freedom, its sexual liberties and the very idea of equality between the sexes. For Qutb and other Islamist thinkers the ideal goal is a world in which every action is governed by submission to an impersonal and unforgiving god. As his fellow Islamist ideologue Abul Ala Mawdudi argued, the goal is “a state [where] no one can regard any field of his affairs as personal and private. The Islamic state bears a kind of resemblance to the Fascist and Communist states”.
And because those who follow Islamism are in thrall to a totalitarian world-view, like Fascism and Communism, the actions of others are always viewed through the skewed perspective of a narrow faith. And so whatever we do, unless it’s in conformity with their extremist vision, is provocative. If we support the right of women to choose what they wear, we are not respected for our tolerance towards all, we are damned for allowing licentiousness. And when it comes to foreign policy, when we choose not to intervene, when we decide that we shan’t get involved, whether in Bosnia, Chechnya or Kashmir, we are not respected for our modesty and restraint on the world stage. We are damned again, for not acting in accordance with Islamist ambitions.
Against this challenge there really is only one appropriate response – a determination to do what we know to be right in defiance of the demands of men and women who exalt in slaughter. If we changed our society to make ourselves less offensive to the extremists that would not be prudent politics. It would be submission.
Just one quibble - this is not "an austere and pitiless twisting of Islam". It is Islam.
Posted on 05/02/2007 9:09 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Lunch yesterday with a friend active in a certain policy area (anagram of IMMIGRATINO).
He: Who d'you think we'll see in the 2012 field?
Me: Say WHAT? I haven't even got the '08 candidates straight in my head yet.
He: Yeah, but the guys running in 2012, we have to get to them—next year and '09. After '09 it's too late. Nobody wants to be a flip-flopper. By 2010, whatever they've said is set in stone.
Me: Wait a minute. You want me to think about the 2012 presidential election? Like... now?
He: Right. Who d'you like?
Me: Um... Er...
He: All right. But if you can come up with some names for me I'd really appreciate it.
So, colleagues and friends, let's talk 2012. Who d'you like?
Posted on 05/02/2007 11:38 AM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
I got an essay out of Al Gore's professed fondness for "The Red and the Black "
Posted on 05/02/2007 11:46 AM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Re: Thinking Ahead
I'm hearing the name "Bobby Jindal" a lot. He sure is smart, earnest & wonky, and there's a place for that type in every campaign. In the White House? Not so much.
(For more on Jindal's past, present, and future, see J.J. Miller's piece "The Louisiana Wunderkind" in the current [May 14] issue of National Review.)
OK, now heading down to Our Nation's Capital for an Intelligent Design punch-up tomorrow. If you can make the event, of course you should. In any case I shall report back at NER in the fullness of time.
Posted on 05/02/2007 12:08 PM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Just a note to New York area music lovers before I jump on the Acela Express:
The hottest (in every sense) young opera singer on the scene today, Anna Netrebko, has a joint recital with Dmitri Hvorostovsky
at Carnegie Hall on May 30th. This is a *major* musical event. Carnegie Hall itself sold out its own block of tickets in 30 minutes.
I happen to know, however, that my pal Vladimir (a.k.a. Wally) Fekula at the Russian Children's Welfare Society
has a few tickets available to good seats. Call 212-473-6263.
Posted on 05/02/2007 1:43 PM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Babies Make a Comeback
Posted on 05/02/2007 1:45 PM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
A Loss For Words
The last speaker of Wiyot died last week. That speaker was not a member of the eponymous Algonquian tribe in northern California, but rather Karl V. Teeter, a professor of linguistics who lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Teeter, 78, had been raised on a farm in Lexington, in the 1920s and 1930s, when that town was still full of farms (and his family’s farm less than a mile from the homestead of Captain John Parker and his abolitionist grandson Theodore Parker). On his farm, the Teeter farm, high on a hill, there were cows named Hera and Aphrodite (and across the road there was a much larger herd, belonging to the local owner of a local dairy). Teeter became a high school dropout and then a Harvard professor and, after his retirement, a tireless letter writer and more recently an on-line corrector of errors, both linguistic and cultural. After the last native speaker of Wiyot, Della Prince, died in 1962, there was only one speaker of Wiyot left in the world: Karl V. Teeter.
The obituaries about Teeter put me in mind of Dorothy Pentreath of Mousehole in Cornwall, the last speaker of Cornish, immortalized with a mezzotint in the London Magazine, circa 1780 and whose story, first published to the world by Daines Barrington, has been handed down carefully, as one hands someone a porcelain cup into which the steaming tea – the tea that accompanies the scones and strawberry jam and clotted cream that together make up what is called, or tourists are told it I called, a Cornish Cream Tea --- is poured, and which you possibly may remember from a trip you once took yourself to Penzance, or Lands End, or could it have been St. Ives?
And I was reminded, too, of the story in The Times last month about the handful of elderly people, a dozen or so, living in a single village in northern China, who are the last speakers of Manchu, which a hundred years ago was the official language of the Manchu court (see the autobiography"From Emperor to Citizen" of the last Manchu emperor, Pu Yi), and also of many tens of millions of others in northern China.
And then one naturally thinks of the those who know their own language well and can exploit its resources as they once were much more commonly exploited, in the days when newspapers were not pitched to an audience of seventh-graders, and the individual journalists forced to fit the procrustean bed of a despotic and unimaginative House Style. Foolish pride is taken in English having become a “world language,” a world language, that is, especially for the purposes of business and entertainment and technological gewgaws. In the classrooms of these “world-class universities” whose world-classness is derived from, or reflected in, the heterogeneity of the student body, with many non-native speakers of English, the level at which language-centered studies must proceed inevitably has to be lowered. Not words, but ideas, not practice in writing but theories of literature, are fit for this “world language.” No longer can one assume that the students will understand the history and associational value of each word, the prosodic possibilities and leanings of the language, and what should be a thick stew becomes diluted and watery gruel. It is not English alone that has suffered. The European Class of ’68 with its harmful attacks on authority helped to level education in France, in Italy, in Germany.
But even without those student riots, declines in education can be observed also in those formerly Communist (now Communist only in their despotic politics but not in their quasi-capitalist economics) countries, China and Russia, where those who might once have become teachers now have so many glittering opportunities to make money that present themselves, and the profession of teaching has lost its luster here as in the United States.
Dorothy Pentreath with her Cornish and Karl Teeter with his Wiyot bring to mind not only the death of other languages, such as the late or feu or fu, Manchu, but also someone who may possibly be the last person on earth to command, as a native speaker with the verbal equivalent of perfect pitch, the full resources of the English language. It’s someone I know.
Sic transit. Lachrymae rerum. O tempora o mores. Ubi sunt. Eheu fugaces, Postume Postume, labuntur anni. Stuff like that.
Posted on 05/02/2007 3:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
What you were expecting? Hal the Computer and his monotone in "A Space Odyssey"? John Malkovich and his monologues in "Color Me Kubrick"? What, exactly?
Posted on 05/02/2007 4:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Ian Buruma And His Limitations
Ian Buruma: "If we antagonize Europe’s Muslims enough we will push more people into joining the Islamist revolution. We must do everything to encourage Europe’s Muslim to become assimilated in European societies. It is our only hope."
Ian Buruma, who wrote a terrible review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel," who has been very slow to understand even the little about Islam he now appears to understand, still thinks that the behavior of Infidels -- their ability to "antagonize" Muslims in Europe or their presumed ability not to "antagonize" Muslims in Europe -- is what will determine Muslim behavior. He is quite wrong. In the Total System of Islam, the verdict is already in on Infidels and there is nothing they can do, as long as they insist on remaining Infidels, to win over Muslims.
When Buruma writes about Infidels putting constraints on themselves, rather than on Muslims, he is prescribing exactly the wrong medicine. Muslims, to the precise extent that they remain Muslims, cannot "assimilate" into an Infidel society, cannot support man-made, Infidel-man-made, legal and political institutions and social arrangements, cannot conceivably offer loyalty to an Infidel nation-state (they have a hard enough time with Muslim nation-states, for the loyalties of Muslims have always naturally been of two kinds: they are either personal, at the family or tribal level, or they are at the supranational level, of the world-wide Community of Believers, the umma al-islamiyya).
And then, attempting to close off all debate, because he, Ian Buruma, is too confused, too disturbed (my, the world and Islam turn out not to be what Ian Buruma thinks they both should be) he tells us the appeasement he urges "is our only hope."
He lacks sufficient knowledge, about Islam and about history. He lacks sufficient intelligence. He lacks sufficient imagination. There are many things that can be done, to render the countries of Western Europe Islam-hostile rather than Islam-friendly. An ending to Muslim migration. A cutting-off of Saudi funds that support mosques, madrasas, and targetted well-financed campaigns of Da'wa in the prisons of Europe and, outside of prisons, among the economically and psychically marginal. A cutting off of Muslim access to satellites that beam Muslim channels, and a banning, or jamming, or other interfering, in addition to constant monitoring, of Internet sites, and other means of communication. Extreme monitoring of mosques (with surreptitious taping), of madrasas, of Muslim meetings -- with the results played on national television, and with appropriate commentary. Expulsion of Muslims involved in any activities that can rightly be defined as the Jihad to spread Islam, using whatever means come to mind. Closing of mosques, permanently, when false papers (national identity cards, passports, even credit cards) and weapons and explosives and audiocassettes preaching hatred of non-Muslims are found), and permanent deportation of all those who attend that mosque.
And so on.
In the end, the example of Masaryk and Benes, those embodiments of the best of high Western civilization between the wars, who as political leaders in Czechoslovakia had to endure the Western surrender at Munich, and then the Nazi conquest of their country and the collaboration with the German soldiers of a local group of Volksdeutsche, the Sudeten Germans, and who, after the war, decided that never again should Czechoslovakia have to endure the permanent security threat of having those Sudeten Germans, who numbered more than 3 million, and who had been living in that region for hundreds of years, within the boundaries of Czechoslovakia. The result -- a result that not Masaryk, nor Benes, nor the poet Jaroslav Seifert, nor the general Ludovik Svoboda, nor any Czech then or since, including kindly Aleksandr Dubcek and fearless Pavel Kohout, right up to Vaclav Havel and today's leaders, have ever regretted (though once, on a trip to Austria, Havel deemed it prudent to find fault with some aspects of the execution of the Benes Decree of 1946).
It is undeniable that, even now, that the large-scale presence of Muslims in the countries of Western Europe has created a situation that is, for all non-Muslims, both the indigenous non-Muslims of those countries, and for the non-Muslims who are recent immigrants (Chinese, Hindus, Vietnamese Buddhists, Black Christians from the Caribbean or Africa) a situation that is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than would otherwise be the case.
That is a truth that even Ian Buruma is going to have to recognize. And his dreamy belief that non-Muslims can somehow "assimilate" large numbers of these Muslims so that they forget the Qur'anic injunction to never take Christians and Jews for friends, and never to obey mere man-made authority but always the expressed will of Allah, Allah who always Knows Best, and that somehow they will be able -- how, exactly? -- to forget or overlook what is in the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the Sira, because they are geographically now in Europe and so, of course, if we are to believe the sly propagandist Tariq Ramadan (who has turned on the charm for Buruma, as he did before for Buruma's sometime collaborator on Islam-related themes, Timothy Garton Ash, who at St. Antony's College came to "learn his Islam" from Albert Hourani and those he chose to staff his fiefdom at Middle East Centre. a center cheek-by-jowl with the East European Centre with which Ash was associated (and how many Rashid Khalidis were quickly processed through, with those D.Phils., requiring no courses and little vetting, as the "theses" on "the construction of Palestinian identity" and such-like kept being churned out, and there was no Elie Kedourie or J. B. Kelly or P. J. Vatikiotis, much less a Joseph Schacht or Arthur Jeffery or even a Bernard Lewis, to maintain even a semblance of scholarly standards).
And between Ash, and Avishai Margalit (on the Israeli left), Buruma has allowed himself to retain his deep belief in the necessity for accepting as the basis for all else Tolerance, even when the tolerance is of those who are, by faith, deeply and permanently intolerant of others, a faith deeply inimical to everything that makes the West the West -- its modes of artistic expression, its free and skeptical inquiry, its emphasis on the individual, its locating of political legitimacy in the will expressed by the people, its commitment to sexual equality and autonomy, its everything.
Ian Buruma is now clinging, as best he can, to his own Articles of Faith. About Diversity. About Tolerance. About how, if you do "nothing" to offend people, then of course they will have no reason to dislike or to hate you (but what if their most sacred texts are full of passages telling them to hate you, and to subjugate, or convert, or kill you? What then, Ian Buruma?).
He's run out of ideas. He's confused. And soon, if he keeps his eyes open, he will be in despair, because what he sees does not compute with what he thinks he should be seeing.
Buruma is simply more example of someone -- there are so many -- who, faced with Islam as a Total System, and the unprecedented threat to our wellbeing and civilization that it represents, not so much through military force and terrorism (though these have their place) but through the money weapon, Da'wa, and demographic conquest -- can by mere numbers, eventually overwhelm us, and all that has been handed to us, in the West, as our civilizational legacy, by those who could never have been produced by, or lasted one minute in, lands where Islam dominated and Muslims ruled.
Mentally, and morally, Ian Buruma -- though from his now-endowed perch at Bard he will keep on churning stuff out -- is a burnt-out case. He can't make sense of things, because it would be too painful. He just can't do it.
Posted on 05/02/2007 4:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Berber Leader Condemns Arab Imperialism
"Berber Leader Belkacem Lounes: 'There Is No Worse Colonialism Than That of the Pan-Arabist Clan that Wants to Dominate Our People,'" from MEMRI
Please Note Especially This Sentence from Belkacem Lounes' website.
"la très grande majorité des deux millions de Berbères de France ne se définit pas par rapport à une éventuelle religion, qui ne serait d'ailleurs pas forcément l'islam, mais par rapport à leur identité propre."
"The vast majority of the two million Berbers in France do not define themselves in terms of religion, which in any case would not necessarily be Islam, but in terms of their own [Berber] identity."
Posted on 05/02/2007 5:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
It always starts with the baciamano, and ends with complete depravity, with Britney Spears or the Continental Baths. Arrest Ahmadinejad now, before it's too late. And put him on trial, to show that no Shari'a-breaking Muslim can be above the law. And if Ahmadinejad dares to tell the judges, in his own defense, that "I want to destroy every last man, woman and child in Israel" they -- is that hanging judge Khalkhali still alive? -- should stay true to their man Muhamamd, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil, and dismiss Ahmadinejad's appeal by telling him that "yeah, that's what they all say." For, in truth, they do.
Posted on 05/02/2007 5:16 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Religious Freedom Deteriorates in Iraq and Turkey
WASHINGTON (ABP) -- For the first time since the United States overthrew Saddam Hussein four years ago, a non-partisan federal panel said May 2 that religious freedom in Iraq is gravely endangered.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, in its annual report to Congress and President Bush's administration, said the conditions for religious freedom in Iraq are "alarming and deteriorating." The panel, also for the first time since the late dictator's government fell, has placed Iraq on a list one tier below the world's worst violators of religious freedom.
And without significant improvement in Iraq's human-rights conditions over the next year, the report added, the commission will bump Iraq up to its most infamous list of human-rights violators. Such a move would place Iraq alongside nations like North Korea and Saudi Arabia, where the State Department says religious freedom is nonexistent.
"Despite ongoing efforts to stabilize the country, successive Iraqi governments have not adequately curbed the growing scope and severity of human-rights abuses," the USCIRF report said, noting the explosion of sectarian violence between Iraq's Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the past year. "Although non-state actors, particularly the Sunni-dominated insurgency, are responsible for a substantial proportion of the sectarian violence and associated human-rights violations, the Iraqi government also bears responsibility."
The report noted that there are innumerable reports of "abductions, beatings, extrajudicial executions, torture and rape" perpetrated by para-governmental factions like Shiite militias. Such organizations frequently "operate with impunity and often … complicity" of the U.S.-backed government, the report said.
It continued: "Although many of these militia-related violations reveal the challenges evident in Iraq's fragmented political system, they nonetheless reflect the Iraqi government’s tolerance -- and in some instances commission -- of egregious violations of religious freedom."
The commission also noted that other religious minorities in Iraq -- including Christians -- "continue to suffer pervasive and severe violence and discrimination at the hands of both government and non-government actors."...
The report also turned the panel's attention to Turkey, which received its first official visit from USCIRF commissioners last year and is in the midst of political upheaval over the proper role of religion. The country also has experienced a series of violent attacks by religious radicals against Christians, Jews and other religious minorities in recent years.
Gaer noted that the nation is struggling with how to become a modern, democratic society that is welcoming to religious pluralism.
"For religious-minority communities in Turkey, there are state policies and actions that effectively stop them from sustaining themselves," she noted. "This has led to the decline and, in some cases, the virtual disappearance of some of these religious minorities on lands that they have inhabited for millennia."
Turkey is the Middle East's most secular country.
Posted on 05/02/2007 5:38 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Jerry Gordon and Lyn Andrea Andersen of Brigitte Gabriel's ACT report on the Nashville Somali fraud story (Thanks to the Poetess)
Nashville- Number one refugee per capita town in America
Nashvilleis an exemplar of the ‘global interior’ - the phenomenon of refugee immigration to cities in the U.S. heartland - in a recent Carnegie Reporter article entitled “New Immigrants in New Places.” Tennessee’s capitol has been called a “blue city in a red state.” Between 1990 and 1999 the foreign born population grew by over 203% from less than 13,000 to more than 40,000 out of the consolidated Nashville-Davidson population of over 607,000. Foreign born residents in Nashville now account for one in seven residents.
The growth in Nashville’s immigrant population was a product of a Clinton Administration initiative in the 1990’s by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to vector refugees away from the traditional gateway cities to the nation’s interior. It was also part of a conscious plan by Nashville and Tennessee business leaders led by former Mayor now Governor Phil Bredersen to attract new industries to the region. Employers like Nissan, the Saturn division of GM, Dell Computers, Hospital Corporation of America and the Opryland resort and hotel complex created over 260,000 new jobs in the Metro region in the decade of the 1990’s. Unemployment remains dramatically low in the Nashville metro area. Many immigrants filled low end manual jobs. However, about one fifth of these immigrants still live below the national poverty levels.
Nashvilleis ranked 1st among major American cities in terms of the per capita proportion of foreign born residents.
In Nashville, the influx of immigrants brought Kurds from Iraq, Iranians, Iraqi Christians and Muslims, Egyptians, Ethiopians, South Sudanese Christians, and Somalis. There are also significant Mexican, Lao, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Korean, and other South East Asian communities. The Nashville based Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition led the charge for securing state legislation providing driver license tests in multiple languages and, later, driving certificates for undocumented immigrants.
Somali Islamists in Nashville.
All is not sweetness and light in Nashville - the home of the Opryland and Rhinestone cowboys - between the Muslim and general communities. Among the Nashville Muslim immigrant community there is evidence of infiltration by Islamist elements and leaders, including an active Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) chapter. In sharp contrast, the local Kurdish community of over 9,000, the Sudanese Christian one that numbers 8,000, and large Iraqi and Iranian émigré communities are overwhelming committed to core American values.
In late February, 2007 , a Somali Muslim immigrant cabdriver ran down two fares - a Vanderbilt college student and his visitor from Ohio after a heated argument about Hitler and the Holocaust.-
In June, 2005 , the Somali Muslim émigré community via CAIR demanded and got an audience with Mayor Bill Purcell, Metro Police, and 30 other agency heads after an alleged desecration of a Quran.
In March, 2005 , 30 Somali Muslim workers demanded prayer time while on the job at Dell facilities in the Capitol city. They were let go only to be reinstated after CAIR and the Metro Human Relations Commission intervened.
Nashvillenow boasts six Mosques for the growing Muslim community. Last year when the Danish Cartoons controversy erupted around the world , a special forum was convened in Nashville to discuss it. The gathering included revered former editor and publisher of the Nashville Tennessean, John Siegenthaler, representatives of the ACLU and was moderated by the Dean of the VanderbiltDivinitySchool. The panel included a leader in the local Muslim community, Dr. Awad Benhazim. Dr. Binhazim is a member of the board of the Islamic Center of Nashville. The Imam of the Islamic Center of Nashville is Abdulhakim Ali Mohamed. Binhazin was reported to have said at the meeting that “We are blessed to have someone of his caliber.” Ali Mohamed has a bachelor’s degree in Sharia (Islamic law) from the Islamic University of Medina and, before coming to Nashville in 1998, he was Imam at the notorious al-Qaeda connected al-Farouq Masjid mosque in Brooklyn.
Another Imam in Nashville at the Al-Farooq Mosque, Abdishakur Ibrahim, was at the center of several controversies including the alleged Quran desecration, the Dell prayer time kerfuffle, and shutdown of a Halal food supermarket owned by him because the USDA found suspicious financial activities.
Abdishakur Ibrahim left Nashville under mysterious circumstances via Canada to Kenya in early July 2005. The timing and circumstances of his sudden departure became subject to counter terrorism inquiries.
NashvilleGrant Fraud and Mismanagement CenterSomali
The Somali Muslim immigrant community has been manipulated by the Islamists in Nashville. This has led to a serious matter of possible fraud in an important federal grant from the Office of Minority Health (OMH) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for alleviation of mental health problems including abuse and violence against women. A recent U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) grant to aid African Refugee Victims of Crime may also be at risk. This alleged fraud was perpetrated by the head of the Somali Community Center of Nashville (SCCN) Abdirizak Musse Hassan. Hassan was convicted in a plea bargain in Federal court in 2006 of a misdemeanor for ‘false statements’ in a five year long probe of the Somali dominated Al-Barakaat Hawala Islamic money transfer network by the U.S. Treasury - IRS and the Counter Terrorism Task Force of the FBI.
The Al-Barakaat money transfer investigations were prompted by allegations that funds repatriated to Somalia by the system – some $40 million annually- were diverted to al Qaeda. Hassan’s indictment was one of four brought by federal prosecutors in the U.S. The Al-Barakaat money transfer system was closed.
Amazingly Hassan throughout this federal investigation, while under indictment, became the Executive Director of the SCCN and the grants director on numerous federal grants from the ORR, OMH and DOJ.
There is documented evidence that Hassan failed to implement the original purposes of the OMH grant – mental health outreach and alleviation of women’s abuse and violence including genital mutilation practices in the Nashville Somali community. He diverted the funds to employ the Imam of the Al-Farooq Mosque, Abdishakur Ibrahim and replaced Abdishakur Ibrahim (following his mysterious departure) with the Treasurer of the Al Farooq Mosque, Salaad Nur.
There were reports that the Al-Farooq Mosque engaged in support of Islamist proselytizing. Competent Somali women were shunted aside from participating in the OMH mental health and violence prevention grant program. This program was originally designed to support both African and Middle Eastern origin Muslim, primarily women, in Nashville. There is some alleged evidence that Somali children have actually been taken on ‘vacations’ to Africa where female genital mutilation procedures were performed.
This alleged fraud was facilitated in part by federal HHS OMH bureaucratic bungling.
The original OMH grant was filed in June of 2004 by a collaborative partnership in the immigrant community composed of Kurds, Somalis, and Iraqis. The award was made in October of that year. However, in February of 2005, the OMH notified the grantees that Kurds and Iraqis were not ‘eligible’ for services because they did not meet the definitions of ‘minorities’ under Federal regulations. Minorities under the Federal code that applies to the OMH program include those of “African descent, Asian, Hispanics, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.” In effect those of Middle Eastern origin were excluded from both the grant program services and the original sponsoring partnership collaborative. That left the Muslim Somalis who were encouraged to find a new grant partner. One Sudanese Christian outreach specialist was added to the grant in April 2005 and was allocated approximately 10% of the grant budget.
Shortly after receipt of the OMH letter in February 2005, the original grant partners, excepting the Somalis, went to Nashville Democratic Congressman, Jim Cooper to lodge an inquiry into ‘unfair discrimination.’ Cooper’s staff exchanged correspondence with the OMH in Rockville, Maryland, only to be told that the Kurdish and Iraqi collaborative partners ‘didn’t qualify.’
When evidence of the fraudulent diversion of OMH mental health grant funds by Hassan was presented to the Inspector General’s office of HHS it was deemed not a priority in light of the IG’s overwhelming caseload of Medicare and Medicaid fraud. In effect the $450,000 OMH grant to the SCCN was considered the equivalent of ‘small potatoes.’ The evidence was then taken to the Metro Nashville Police Counter Terrorism Division. The latter suggested the evidence be reviewed by the Joint Task Force on Terrorism of the Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) office of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A Joint Task Force specialist on Somali Community matters was assigned by the DHS Joint Task Force to investigate. The matter was then transferred to an FBI Special Agent engaged in white collar crime and grant fraud. After a 10 month effort going through channels at local, state and federal levels the comment from an FBI special agent was ‘to destroy the evidence’ because ‘there wasn’t much of a case.’ All this despite evidence that the OMH grant was not implemented as intended. Instead the funds were being used for unlawful purposes including religious indoctrination and possible support of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
The other OMH grant partners – the Kurds, Iraqis and Sudanese - were fearful that if the fraud disclosures were unveiled there would be a backlash from the general community who may become ‘outraged’ by this unlawful diversion of significant federal support for integration of the new immigrants in Nashville.
The sad part about this is that such a scandal could easily be duplicated in other major cities in the so-called “Global Interior” like Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis even Memphis in Tennessee. All because local and federal counter-terrorism cadres are both feckless and intimidated by the guidelines from superiors in their law enforcement and homeland security agencies to be ‘sensitive’ to Muslim advocacy groups complaints of possible religious profiling. It is also possible that the SCCN and OMH grant program director Hassan, may have cut a deal with the federal prosecutors for a lesser misdemeanor plea bargain, as opposed to a multi count felony, in hopes that the Federal authorities might use him as a hook into “bigger fish up the food chain.” Hassan’s alleged fraud and violation of other federal laws may be viewed by federal counter terrorism specialists as a small price to pay in the quest for information on the al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas cells in America.
After all the federal prosecutors sealed the records in the Hassan Al-Barakaat matter.
Abdirizak Hassan, the SNCC executive director, is currently serving a federal probation sentence. He continues to direct and manage large federal grants. Salaad Nur, the Treasurer of the Al-Farooq Mosque, continues to be the mental health and domestic violence outreach specialist paid out of the OMH federal grant. SCCN is now the dominant refugee-led service agency left in Nashville. Other African and Middle Eastern refugee service agencies were either downsized or closed due to the lack of government support and funding. So why are federal authorities turning a blind eye to apparent fraud and the diversion of funds by leaders in the Nashville Somali refugee community with suspected terrorist connections?
As said in the original ACT report: Stay tuned for further developments in this story. It has legs.
The Nashville Channel 4 WSMV I-Team investigative segments airing this week and next will certainly provide the ‘disinfectant of public exposure’ on this story.
Posted on 05/02/2007 5:44 PM by Rebecca Bynum