These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 2, 2012.
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Making The Task Of The French Police Even Harder -- Now They Will Have To Give "Receipts" To Those On Whom Identity Checks Are Performed
Contrôles d'identité : la grogne policière s'amplifie
Les policiers pourraient être contraints de remettre un récépissé après chaque contrôle d'identité. Crédits photo : Christophe Petit Tesson/MAXPPP
Jean-Marc Ayrault a confirmé qu'un reçu sera remis lors d'une vérification d'identité.
Présentée par le gouvernement comme une façon de lutter contre les contrôles «au faciès», et de rendre plus «sereins» les rapports entre population et forces de l'ordre, la remise d'un reçu par la police à toute personne contrôlée provoque un tollé qui ne cesse d'enfler. À l'UMP, certains ténors n'ont pas de mots assez durs. «C'est une mesure qui jette le discrédit sur la police et la gendarmerie, tonne Éric Ciotti, secrétaire national chargé de la sécurité. Il y a aujourd'hui d'autres priorités que de vouloir entraver l'action des forces de l'ordre en fonction de considérations purement idéologiques. Le nouveau pouvoir avait voulu donner une image de réalisme en matière de sécurité, mais le vernis a vite craqué: c'est le retour à pleine vitesse vers une certaine forme de laxisme et d'angélisme.»
Au sortir d'un tour de table syndical vendredi dernier, le ministre de l'Intérieur, Manuel Valls, avait émis l'idée d'«améliorer la relation entre la police et la population» en se fondant sur le modèle anglo-saxon, où l'agent doit décliner son identité et son matricule puis délivrer un récépissé à la personne contrôlée. Soucieux de s'épargner d'entrée de jeu une levée de boucliers, son entourage avait prudemment parlé d'une «simple réflexion».
Mais, vendredi, Jean-Marc Ayrault a confirmé l'hypothèse. «C'est une mesure que l'on va faire. Elle est en préparation, le ministre de l'Intérieur y travaille», a déclaré le premier ministre sur BFM-TV et RMCconsidérant que «c'est important de ne pas contrôler trois fois la même personne». «Ça sera utile à tous, aux personnes contrôlées (…) et puis aux policiers aussi, parce que les policiers ont besoin de retrouver la confiance et le respect», a insisté le chef du gouvernement, avant de tenter la pédagogie: «une mesure de ce type n'a rien de vexatoire pour eux, c'est simplement pour remettre de la sérénité. Il ne s'agit pas d'arrêter les contrôles d'identité, les policiers font leur travail. Simplement, on donne aux personnes contrôlées un reçu.»
«La délivrance d'un récépissé, à l'issue d'un contrôle d'identité, peut être une démarche utile», observe-t-on place Beauvau. Si les associations ont aussitôt manifesté leur satisfaction, il n'en a, semble-t-il, guère fallu plus pour mettre les policiers en ébullition. «Un récépissé de contrôle d'identité n'est pas pour nous une priorité, écrit dans un communiqué Nicolas Comte, secrétaire général d'Unité SGP Police. On ne solutionnera pas la fracture police-population en donnant l'impression aux policiers que la faute vient d'eux.» «On stigmatise la police comme étant une police raciste, s'indigne de son côté Jean-Claude Delage, secrétaire général d'Alliance, deuxième syndicat des gardiens de la paix. Il est inacceptable de partir de cette présomption. L'annonce faite par le premier ministre jette le discrédit sur l'honnêteté morale des policiers en laissant penser qu'ils font des contrôles en dehors de la loi.»
Un effet pervers possible sur le terrain
La colère est tout aussi virulente dans la hiérarchie. «Cela part d'une présomption de discrimination des policiers, qui seraient coupables de pratiquer des contrôles au faciès. Or, aujourd'hui, il y a la même diversité dans la police que dans la population qu'elle contrôle», renchérit Patrice Ribeiro, secrétaire général de Synergie-officiers. À l'instar de nombre de ses collègues, ce chef de file syndical redoute un effet pervers sur le terrain. «Cela va nous enlever des outils comme la palpation où on peut trouver des armes, de la drogue, assure Patrice Ribeiro. Les voyous contrôlés le matin brandiront un récépissé le reste de la journée et on ne pourra plus les contrôler. Cela va générer une dynamique qui n'est pas saine.»
Manuel Valls devra faire preuve de diplomatie pour apaiser un dialogue social qui s'envenime quinze jours après son arrivée. Dès vendredi matin, Manuel Valls a évoqué ce dossier avec le Défenseur des Droits. «Les syndicats de police seront naturellement associés à ce travail ainsi que les associations, prévient-on place Beauvau. Les contrôles d'identité constituent un outil essentiel pour lutter contre la délinquance. Il ne s'agit aucunement de les remettre en question, ni de compliquer le travail des fonctionnaires.»
Posted on 06/02/2012 12:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
A Friendly Debate Between Sunnis And Shia
|Shias Are Not Muslims ! by frosbel(m): 9:03pm On Nov 29, 2011
|Re: Shias Are Not Muslims ! by frosbel(m): 9:04pm On Nov 29, 2011
Shiites are not Muslims, on the contrary, they violate Islam in everything.
Here is evidence:
Shiites worship Ali and Hussein, and Fatima, for that, they call themselves "Abdul-Hussein or Abdul-Zahra. As Muslims, We are not allowed to have such names. But we can call ourselves by Abdullah and Abdul-Rahman, and something like that.
Shiites believe that the imams of Ahl al-Bayt are infallible and even they know all of the unseen & Prescient. All Muslims believe that ALLAH alone knows the unsee & Prescient.
Shia believe that the Qur'an is Interpolated, and all Muslims believe that ALLAH Almighty save it from any distortion.
Shiites slander the companions of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and say that they changed the religion of ALLAH after the death of the Prophet. All Muslims believe that the companions of the Messenger of Allah are trustworthy men and that they picked us up the religion as they took it from the Messenger of ALLAH, and they are the best of humans after the prophets, and that they open all the Muslim countries.
Shiite insulte the wives of the Messenger of ALLAH, and ALLAH told us that they were mothers of the believers.
Shia believe that Karbala is greatest than the city of Mecca and al madina.
Shiites claim to love the Ahl Al Bayt, but they do not follow their way, which is worshiping ALLAH alone with no partner.
|Re: Shias Are Not Muslims ! by frosbel(m): 9:05pm On Nov 29, 2011
|Re: Shias Are Not Muslims ! by LagosShia: 10:36pm On Nov 29, 2011
|what a bold and rude kafir "frosbel" is.the Shia Muslims do not need a verdict of their Islamic faith from a kafir or anyone for that matter.i really dont know when has a kafir like "frosbel" being allowed to issue wahhabi fatwas of disbelief on the Shia Muslims.the Prophet (sa) said:"anyone who declares someone who believes in LAILAHA ILLALLAH MUHAMMAD RASULULLAH a kafir is himself the kafir".we Shia Muslims believe in nothing less than LAILAHA ILLALLAH MUHAMMAD RASULULLAH.and nothing less is acceptable to us.so little wonder people like "frosbel" are kafir!
you have insulted ISLAM,The Prophet Muhammad (sa) and Muslims continuosly and you have met a strong resistance and hefty knocks from my presence in the forum.and you and your christianity will continue getting those hard knocks from me,Insha'Allah!!!so now it is revenge time for you to insult the SHIA MUSLIMS.you can copy and paste all the nonsense and hallucinations from salafists/wahhabis.i wont even bother to honor them with a reply to refute your claims and lies.the contention between me and you has to do with ISLAM vs Christianity and not Shia vs Wahhabis.when you become a wahhabi,then we can settle our differences.i'd rather have you as a wahhabi who recites :"LA ILAHA ILLALLAH MUHAMMAD RASULULLAH",than the kafir and Jesus-wroshipper you are.it would be better for you to be wahhabi than the confused state you find yourself in attacking other people's beliefs out of your insecurity,hypocrisy and fragile faith in what you claim to believe in.
let a wahhabi bring up your anti-Shia claims and those claims would be dealt with appropriately by me.
as for you,i would one more time remind you of your whip.anytime you utter a word i strike you with it.here it is one more time for those who do not know why this piece of kafir is directing his venom against us Shia Muslims:
and here too:
Posted on 06/02/2012 12:15 AM by Hugh Fitrzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Iran And The Emirates
From the Kuwait Times:
June 2, 2012
ABU DHABI: A visit by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander to three tiny islands near the Strait of Hormuz oil shipping lane revives a bitter territorial dispute between Gulf antagonists – and trade partners – Iran and the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi has yet to comment on Thursday’s trip by Mohammad Ali Jafari, but like other Gulf Arab capitals it reacted angrily when Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad toured one of the islands in April, and recalled its envoy from Tehran in protest.
Tension between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in a Middle East shaken by 18 months of political revolt has envenomed the 41-year-old row, complicating an ambivalent relationship in which national pride has long vied uneasily with economic pragmatism. The UAE weathered last year’s Arab uprisings unscathed, but has cracked down on Islamists in recent months, wary lest the successes of their peers after upheavals in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt embolden them to challenge the government.
The danger of a confrontation between Shiite Iran and the United States, the military protector of the Sunni-ruled Gulf states, over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program has also fuelled a voracious appetite for weapons in the region. Iran has threatened to target US interests in the Gulf and to block the Strait of Hormuz if attacked. The UAE is a top US arms buyer, agreeing deals worth over $10 billion between 2007 and 2010, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
“We shake the friendly and brotherly hands in Islamic countries, especially those south of the Gulf, and ask them to help get rid of the arrogant powers who are now in the region,” Iranian state television quoted Jafari as saying during his visit to military forces deployed on the islands. The US-backed shah of Iran put troops on Abu Musa, Greater and Lesser Tunb in 1971, just before the seven Gulf emirates won independence from Britain and formed the UAE. The emirates of Sharjah and Ras Al-Khaimah had previously ruled the islands.
The Islamic Republic says it wants good ties with the UAE, but, like the shah, insists it owns the islands and has ignored Abu Dhabi’s calls for arbitration or a diplomatic solution. After Ahmadinejad’s visit to Abu Musa in April, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahayan said his “provocative rhetoric exposed Iran’s false allegations regarding its keenness to establish good neighborly relations and friendship with the UAE and countries of the region”.
Persistent protests led by a Shiite majority demanding reform in Sunni-ruled Bahrain have aggravated regional tension, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE accusing Iran of fomenting trouble in the island state and elsewhere – charges Tehran denies. But fear of Iranian meddling has spread among Emiratis, threatening to poison once-thriving and often unofficial trade relations between two of the world’s leading oil exporters.
In free-wheeling, cosmopolitan Dubai, the creek remains full of dhows ferrying goods to Iran across the Gulf, but many people in nearby Abu Dhabi take a darker view of Iranian intentions. “What they are doing in Bahrain they might do in other countries around here,” murmured a 40-year-old Emirati businessman in Abu Dhabi, who asked not to be named. Such fears seem far-fetched given the demographic contrast between Bahrain and the UAE, with its small Shiite minority, estimated at 10 to 16 percent of an overall population of 8.3 million, of which 90 percent are expatriates.
The roots of this anxiety stretch ever further back than the rift between Sunnis and Shiites some 13 centuries ago. Some Emiratis believe Iran shares the same “imperialist” designs as the Sassanid Empire which dominated the region before Islam. “They still see themselves as the Persian empire and they want to rule over the region,” said an Emirati customs employee, who also asked not to be named. “I am not scared of Shiites, I am scared of strife. Emirati society is scared of strife.”
According to Michael Stephens, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute Qatar, Iran has stationed a few hundred soldiers on the disputed islands along with some long-range – and inaccurate – HY-2 Silkworm anti-ship missiles. “The real arena between the two sides is Bahrain, but these islands are a source of quite serious tension,” he said. “Many (Gulf Arabs) believe that Iran wants to take over the Arabian Gulf and remake it in its own image.” But personal and commercial links between the UAE and Iran also stretch back over centuries and are not easily broken.
The UAE’s Iranian community of half a million, according to Dubai’s Iranian Business Council, includes many property and business owners clustered in the old trading hub of Dubai. Apart from these expats, there are also Emiratis of Iranian origin, mostly Sunni Arabs whose families were uprooted or migrated from their homes across the Gulf a few generations ago. Dubai’s direct re-exports to Iran grew 29 percent to 31 billion dirhams ($8.4 billion) last year, the fastest rise in five years, despite a marked slowdown in the last quarter.
Dubai has often been seen as a weak link in implementation of international sanctions against Iran, but diplomats say the UAE has tightened controls in the past year. The IMF said in May this would have only a “moderate” impact on the UAE’s growth. In December, Washington pressured Dubai-based Noor Islamic Bank into stopping the channeling of billions of dollars from Iranian oil sales through its accounts. Such pressure and Abu Dhabi’s greater power since it bailed Dubai out of a corporate debt crisis in 2009, means the UAE now takes a more unified line on Iran, diplomats and analysts say.
“Abu Dhabi faces a conundrum. They have to be seen as whiter than white for the Americans on Iran because of how engaged US public opinion is on the issue,” said Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, research fellow at the London School of Economics. “But if you have Dubai that is essentially a loophole for Iran to evade the tightening of sanctions and, who knows what other unregulated trade might be going through, then that is embarrassing at best but also potentially a security breach.” Yet the UAE’s juggling of conflicting demands and interests vis a vis Iran may have its uses, a Western diplomat said. “It may be double-handed but it’s not two-faced. It’s also a useful dance because it allows them to keep their options open.” – Reuters
Posted on 06/02/2012 12:22 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
The Higher Learning And The New Meaning Of Scholarship
Fron the Los Angeles Times:
UCLA scholarship for Sean 'Diddy' Combs' son raises eyebrows
Some question whether the cash-strapped school should give the hip-hop mogul's son a free ride. UCLA says the scholarship awarded to Justin Combs, 18, doesn't come from state funds.
When Justin Combs turned 16, his father, hip-hop mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs, gave him a $360,000 silver Maybach.
Justin Combs, 18, poses with his father, hip-hop star Sean "Diddy" Combs, last year at the Jackie Robinson Foundation awards gala, at which the elder Combs was honored. Justin Combs defended his UCLA scholarship on Twitter: "Regardless what the circumstances are, I put that work in!!!!"
When Justin Combs decided to play football in college, UCLA gave him a $54,000 scholarship.
As UCLA confirmed this week that the recent graduate of New York's New Rochelle Iona Prep would enroll on a full athletic scholarship, some questioned if the cash-strapped school should pay for the education of the son of a man worth an estimated $475 million — and whether the 18-year-old should have accepted the offer.
Justin Combs took to Twitter to defend his scholarship.
"Regardless what the circumstances are, I put that work in!!!!" he tweeted on Wednesday. "PERIOD."
"Regardless of what you do in life every1 is gonna have their own opinion," he tweeted. "Stay focused, keep that tunnel vision & never 4get why u started."
It's not the first time the child of a wealthy celebrity has received a full ride, and many students said they weren't that concerned since it wasn't affecting need-based aid.
Combs — a 5-foot-9, 170-pound defensive back who reportedly graduated with a 3.75 GPA — announced in November he would attend UCLA, turning down scholarship offers from Illinois, Virginia and Wyoming.
UCLA was quick to defend its decision, saying the money used for Combs' merit-based athletic scholarship wouldn't affect need-based scholarships awarded to other students.
University spokesman Ricardo Vazquez said athletic scholarships were "entirely funded by Athletic Department ticket sales, corporate partnerships, media contracts and private donations" and "do not rely on state funds."
"There is a big separation between financial aid based on need and how that's funded and how athletic scholarships are funded and awarded to students," he said.
The Times reported in October that the university had used more than $2 million from student fees to cover an athletic department funding gap the year before. That money, Vazquez said, did not go to the roughly 285 athletic scholarships UCLA hands out each year.
Emily Resnick, the outgoing president of UCLA's Undergraduate Students Assn., said she sees no problem with Combs' scholarship if needy students are unaffected.
"If his athletic abilities deserve it, then more power to him," the graduating senior said.
Joelle Gamble, who will graduate from UCLA in a couple of weeks, said the university would likely benefit from the buzz generated by having a celebrity's son on the team.
"UCLA is a business
— to them, giving him a scholarship is some sort of investment," she said. "It's how college athletics works. This is how we're going to get money."
basketball coach Tim Floyd acknowledged a few years ago that fame was a factor in his decision to offer rapper Master P
's son — a rapper and actor perhaps better known as Romeo — one of 13 scholarship spots on the 2008-09 team.
"The more buzz you can create, the more news stories you can create, the better served you are as a program," Floyd told the Wall Street Journal
at the time.
Romeo left the team in 2010 after logging 19 minutes in two seasons as a Trojan.
But UCLA coaches have insisted that Combs is more than just a music man's son.
"Football is very important to him and that's one thing I love about him," defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin told the Daily Bruin in February. "He's not just the son of a star … he really likes football."
Posted on 06/02/2012 12:41 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
British medical worker among four rescued from cave by special forces in Afghanistan
A British medical worker kidnapped in Afghanistan has been dramatically freed in a special forces raid. The SAS are understood to have carried out the helicopter raid on the cave where Helen Johnston, 28, who was working for an aid project, was being held along with three other hostages. One of the other hostages is Moragwa Oirere, 26, a Kenyan-born aid worker who had previously worked with Save the Children.
The other two were Afghan colleagues the pair had been working with in the country. The four rescued hostages were reported to be in a "good condition".
The operation happened under cover of darkness in the early hours in Badakhshan province, in the north of Afghanistan. Five heavily armed hostage-takers were killed during the rescue, officials in Afghanistan said. The kidnappers, who are believed to have been a criminal group with links to insurgents in Afghanistan, had made a ransom demand in a video.
Mr Cameron said he authorised the rescue attempt on Friday afternoon after becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of Ms Johnston and her colleagues. He said all four hostages were rescued safely, no British troops were injured and a number of Taliban and hostage-takers were killed.
The Prime Minister added the rescue should serve as a warning to terrorists across the world who take British citizens hostage. He said: "They should know if they take British citizens as hostage we do not pay ransoms, we do not trade prisoners. They can expect a swift and brutal end."
The raid in the remote province of Badakhshan came less than two weeks after the women had been seized while trekking on horseback to treat villagers suffering from malnutrition.
SAS soldiers, assisted by other troops from ISAF's Joint Special Forces Group, which includes elements American Delta Force soldiers and Navy Seals, as well as local Afghan security forces, were transported to the cave by heilcopter and stormed into it, freeing the four hostages.
The aid workers – Miss Johnston and Moragwe Oirere and their two Afghan colleagues - were kidnapped on May 22. They worked for Medair, a humanitarian non-governmental organisation based near Lausanne, Switzerland. Medair said its team had been abducted while "visiting relief nutrition, hygiene and health project sites" in Badakhshan province.
Miss Johnston studied at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and had worked for the charity in Afghanistan since last year. Last December she spoke of her work and told how she had regularly seen skeletal and "other-worldly" children in Badakhshan province.
Miss Oirere was born and educated in Kenya and subsequently worked for Save the Children in Africa, as well as other aid projects, before working in Afghanistan.
The deeply conservative area, in which women are unable to go out alone and have been beaten for taking their children for treatment, has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world.
A statement from the coalition described the kidnappers as Taliban, but local officials said they were petty criminals.
Posted on 06/02/2012 5:24 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 2 June 2012
The Murfreesboro Mosque: Built on a Foundation of Lies
Eric Allen Bell has a long piece on the Murfreesboro mosque at Jihad Watch. I will post sections containing information that hasn't been made public before.
Beneath the Surface
Over the past few months I have written several articles about the threat of Islam and how the Left in America are suffering from a sort of “Islamo-codependency” – an unwillingness to even examine the possibility that, when it comes to the matter of Islam, that there might be more going on than what meets the eye, or what meets the press. In that spirit, I would like to say a few things about my experiences in dealing with key figures at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, why I believe this is a victory mosque, part of a larger pattern of Stealth Jihad, built on deception and why it must be exposed and stopped. Allow me to begin with a meeting I had with one Dr. Essam Fathy.
Over 30 years ago, a young Essam Fathy was attending Middle Tennessee State University. He and a handful of other young Muslim students found that the city of Murfreeboro had no mosque, so they set one up in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. Over the years its location would change. He and his wife both graduated, became Physical Therapists and settled in the town, where later they and a few other Muslim families would eventually rent out office space to create the Islamic Center of Mufreesboro Tennessee.
When I filmed my interview with him, Dr. Fathy was the Mosque Board Member in charge of construction and planning for the new proposed 53,000 square foot mega mosque. He showed me all of the blueprints of what the “Islamic Center” would look like and he emphasized over and over that this dream, this vision, would take many years to complete. Construction was to happen in phases over the course of 10 years or more. And he added that he didn’t understand what all of the fuss was about. He indicated that the Islamic Center hardly had any money to cover this and it was mostly just a leap of faith to even get the process started. Just getting the land leveled, the foundation built and adding a parking lot would take one to two years. The prayer room another year or two. The banquet room another year at the very least. And the offices, the (palatial) house where the Imam would live, the park and the swimming pool, well this was so far off that it was impossible to know when it would be completed.
He used the word “cute” every time he gushed about how much he adored the little town of Murfreesboro, and manufactured a warm fuzzy smile every time I looked at him. He had mentioned that many of the mega churches had swimming pools so it was only fair the Islamic Center have one of their own. But more importantly, he added, “Our women are not allowed to be seen by men without being fully covered, even their heads, so they cannot use the pool at the YMCA. They never get to go swimming. This will be so nice for them in the Summer time”. And he flashed me another innocent smile.
At that time I did not know that this man was lying to me about everything and that, in fact, the mosque would be rushed into construction and that major buildings would go up very fast, or that in that entire huge field they had to build on, the structure would be so close to the neighboring Baptist church you’d almost wonder if it was architecturally giving the Baptists the finger. But I didn’t know any of this. I also didn’t know that Essam Fathy had major financial dealings with the Mayor, and that the Mayor had advised the County Commissioners that they all had to vote “yes” right away on the proposed mosque construction, or else everyone was going to get sued. I remember thinking that this man would be a much better spokesperson for the mosque than their current one, who ended up embroiled in a major public controversy. Her name was Camie Ayash.
Camie Ayash drove a brand new, big shiny beautiful Mercedes Benz. She had also just recently gotten out of prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from her former employer. The court had ordered her to make restitution and she was in the process of slowly returning that money. Her husband, like so many of the Muslim men who attended this mosque, was a local used car dealer.
News broke in late August that there had been an attempted arson, on some construction equipment, after breaking ground for the new mosque. Mrs. Ayash was very pregnant at the time and had not yet been exposed in the Tennessean newspaper for her past criminal record. She called a press conference, which was held right in front of a partially burned tractor and told the media that she was very troubled and surprised by this kind of reaction to an innocent mosque. Not long afterwards, news broke that police had finally caught the man who had vandalized another mosque, in a town not far away. And as it turned out, he was a Muslim and a member of the congregation. In doing a bit of research, it turns out that this sort of thing happens more often than one might think. One begins to wonder if the story of being victimized is a manufactured narrative to support the false idea that Islam in America is the victim.
When the Tennessean finally broke their story about Camie Ayash and her criminal background, she issued statement, giving the timeline of when she was convicted, how much time she served and how she had, with the help of Islam, turned her life around. I had lunch with the Religion Editor of the Tennessean and we talked about this. He told me that his staff did a criminal records search and that Mrs. Ayash had lied about almost everything – the amount stolen, when, how much time she had served, when she got out, lots and lots of lies. Lying was clearly her strong suit. Apparently this pattern of lying was not a problem for the Board of the Islamic Center – that is, until Camie was exposed for it. At that time they decided to go with another spokesman, Dr. Selah M. Sbetany – one of the original founders of the mosque back in the day with Essam Fathy. He headed up the “Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Studies” MTSU and would later be prominently featured in a highly sympathetic piece on CNN.
Soledad O’Brien breezed through town and did a quick hit piece for CNN called “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door”. During the extensive segment, there was never any question about where the mosque was getting its funding, no attention paid to the second-class status of women in Islam, no questions about Sharia, the brutal Islamic Law that mosques are required to teach. She did not ask about the stoning of adulterers, the execution of gays or the death penalty commanded for all Muslims who leave Islam. Instead she portrayed this as a simple civil rights issue where the mean white people were picking on the super-super nice dark people. Roll credits. Islam good. South bad. The End.
The all American Muslim family whom Soledad put much of her focus on throughout the documentary was that of the Sbetanys. Camera crews followed Lema Sbetany, the all American girl, through a day at college, helping mom out at home and then donning a Hijab to teach the children about Islam at the mosque on Saturday. Lema was the sweet and harmless local face of Islam. So when a Muslim man in New York verbally attacked her on Facebook, for not covering herself like a proper Muslim woman should while on TV, I actually intervened on her behalf. I told this man that Lema was my friend and he should not speak to her that way. He responded by telling me that he would cut off my penis and stuff it down my throat and end my f-ing life. I made a screenshot of this and sent it off to FBI.gov where I never heard anything back. This was one of several occasions where I would end up having to report a violent Muslim man to the authorities for threatening me online – a pattern that continues to this day.
Lema worked as a Pharmacy Tech at Walgreens. While I was in production on my documentary, Lema came to me offering private and confidential prescription information about a prominent local anti-mosque figure. She wanted me to use it in my film to somehow defame this person. I didn’t want to know about it. The information had nothing to do with the documentary and struck me as somewhat cruel and vindictive. I should mention that Lema got her job working at the pharmacy through Abdou Kattih who was both a Pharmacist and the Vice President of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, TN.
The closer I got to the inner circle of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, the more Abou Kattih mentioned that they were willing to pay me a lot of money to help them put together a video, about all of the hardship they had encountered from while trying to get the mosque built. It was an obvious conflict of interest, but he did point out on more than one occasion that I could use that money to help fund my own documentary. I turned him down.
A year or so later, I did a complete 180 and became rather committed to Counter Jihad. For more on that, read my article “The High Price of Telling the Truth About Islam." I had also written an editorial about Loonwatch.com as a “terrorist spin control network”. Websites sprung up that were designed to smear me. Most of these have since been removed and an investigation is taking place. An interesting piece of information that keeps appearing on these sites is my private and personal prescription information – information about opiate pain killers I had filled in Murfreesboro, at CVS and Walgreens, when I injured my back. I wonder where they got that information from. Since my private medical information surfaced, when certain Islamist websites attempt to slander me in their articles they use phrases like “drug addled” and “pill popping” as an attempt to discredit me, to support their characterization of me as a “Jihad Watch Zombie” or a “Loon”.
The hardest interview for me to get on camera was with the Imam, an Egyptian cleric named Dr. Ossama Mohamed Bahloul, a graduate of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt – a university often said to be a hot bed of Islamist sentiment and a recruiting ground for the Muslim Brotherhood. Funny thing about this university, in 2007, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy, then the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, drew allegations of stifling freedom of speech when he asked the Egyptian government to toughen its rules and punishments against journalists. During a Friday sermon in the presence of Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and a number of ministers, Tantawy stated that journalism which contributes to the “spread of false rumors” rather than “true news” deserves to a punishment of eighty lashes to "those who spread rumors". He must have been wearing his “What Would Mohammed Do?” bracelet that day.
Anyway, some of the finer points of my many taped conversations with the Egyptian cleric include him stating that women could not be trusted with money, since they are irrational. This was in answer to a question I had asked about Islamic Law (Sharia) and why women only get half the amount of an inheritance men do. But the real shocker, the one where my cameraman and I tried not to make eye contact with each other and just look straight ahead, was when Sheik Ossama smiled, leaned forward and proudly stated that, “the Prophet only ever stoned one woman. One!” Well, when you put it like that it must not be so bad. I mean, she must have done something really bad, right? According to Ossama (not the one who was behind 9/11 but this one who follows the exact same holy books) the brutally stoned to death woman had committed the crime of extramarital sex.
But the most important thing I learned from Sheikh Ossama Baloul was this – and I had to watch this footage over and over to finally get what he was saying. There is no such thing as “moderate Islam”. There is only “modified Islam”. These are not his words, they are my own. But basically what he had to say with regard to the implementation of the brutal and often sadistic Islamic Law (Sharia) was that no one in America had anything to worry about. Why? Because Muslims are taught to follow the laws of the foreign land they are living in. This does not mean then that forced amputations or killing someone for leaving Islam, or even for being an enemy of Islam is against Islam – against his beliefs as the main Islamic spiritual leader in Murfreesboro. He never said that. Only that they would not do that here, if the law forbids it. The moral outrage that I feel, when considering the Sharia, didn’t seem to affect him in the same way.
When I asked the Imam if he would condemn the brutality of the religious police in Iran he said he could not, because he had never been to Iran. I got similar answers when I brought up the Islamic theocracies of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Who is this Egyptian cleric? And why is he the one brought in, educated from the Harvard equivalent of Cairo, an institution crawling with those sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, why is this the man chosen to build a 53,000 square foot mega mosque, in the heart of the American Bible Belt, in a town with such a small Muslim population? What is the end game here?
Just recently, May 30th of 2012, Rutherford County Chancellor Robert Corlew issued a ruling, opining that there was insufficient public notice of the meeting where the site plan was approved and ordering a halt to the construction of the mosque. As for the time of this article, the Islamic Center is continuing construction of their 53,000 square foot mega mosque, in defiance of this court order. Meanwhile, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has ordered its lapdog, the DOJ, to intervene while working overtime to spin this story in the media as a civil rights matter – insisting that a higher standard for site plan approval is being applied to the mega mosque, simply because the backers are Muslim.
As someone who spent a considerable amount of time in Murfreesboro, I can tell you first of all that I have never seen so many churches in my life (I’m from California). But more importantly, it is well known that every single one of those churches was held to a high standard with regard to site plan approval. World Outreach Church – a massive mega church not far from the new Islamic Center, took years to get their plans approved.
Not long ago, the County rejected plans for a “Bible Park” to be located in Murfreesboro, because the ambitious construction plans, and the size of the facility were more than the even these mostly religious residents, in the heart of the Bible Belt, wanted in their small town. The standard for approval so was high that even a place called “Bible Park” in the heart of the Bible Belt could not get site plan approval. It was considered too disruptive and the Bible Park was rejected. Perhaps CAIR could put that in their hookah and smoke it.
The Rutherford County Commissioners stated in a court of law under oath, that just before voting on the site plan for the new mega mosque, they were instructed that they had to vote “yes” as any other vote would undoubtedly cause the county to be sued. This came straight from the Mayor. And some of the Mayor’s millions (he owns a large stake in a chain of nursing homes) come straight from Dr. Essam Fathy (who approves the eligibility of patients for these nursing homes) who had submitted the site plan for approval. But I’m not saying there is a connection. Just because the Mayor denied knowing Dr. Fathy in court, under oath, until it was proven that the two men had known each other for decades, doesn’t mean there was necessarily any fowl play. Maybe it was a simple matter of political correctness, and knowing that if they turned the Muslims down, the County could get embroiled in a highly publicized civil rights conflict, and made to look like a bunch of Southern racists. We may never know.
And thus the rush to bypass the usual systems, put in place for an ambitious project of this size, were bypassed, and the mosque was rushed into construction. So, the idea that the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro is being held to a higher standard because they are Muslims just is not supported by the facts. But facts have never stood in the way of the Council on American Islamic Relations when it comes to going after the enemies of Islam, by any means necessary. And that is exactly what this Hamas front group, CAIR, is about to do. The battle of the victory mosque in Murfeesboro, TN is far from over...
Posted on 06/02/2012 6:41 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 2 June 2012
In Molenbeek, Belgium Muslims Attack The Police
June 1, 2012
Brussels police came under attack on Thursday after they arrested a Muslim woman who refused to remove her face veil.
Protesters threw metal barriers and trash cans at a police station in Molenbeek. The district of the Belgian capital has a high number of Muslim immigrants.
Belgium and France passed laws last year that ban the wearing of full-face veils in public.
Johan Debecker, the head of Brussels-West police authority, said the unnamed woman became aggressive during questioning.
“She head-butted our policewoman and the policewoman now has a broken nose,” he told reporters.
Some 100 people surrounded Molenbeek police station late on Thursday night, with scuffles breaking out.
Phillippe Moureaux, the town mayor, said an extreme Islamist group, Sharia4Belgium, was behind the trouble.
Sharia4Belgium issued a statement on its website on Friday, condemning what it called “a terrorist attack of Brussels’ assassination squads”.
Last month, an Antwerp court jailed the group’s spokesman Fouad Belkacem for two years for inciting racial hatred against non-Muslims.
Posted on 06/02/2012 8:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Welcome To Belgium
And then look at the other stories on the same theme, offered up by YouTube, about Belgium, or France, or the Netherlands, or Great Britain, or Germany, or Denmark, or Sweden, or any of a dozen other places.
The story, -- and the meaning and menace of a large-scale Muslim presence --is the same everywhere.
It's a race. How many non-Muslims will come to their senses, and when?
Posted on 06/02/2012 8:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Ikhwan Head On Israel, "The Worst Catastrophe To Hit The World"
'Israel’s creation worst catastrophe to hit world'
By OREN KESSLER
Head of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Badie reminds followers of movement’s “sacrifices” in efforts to destroy the Jewish state.
The head of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has called on Arab forces to confront Israel and for the international community to pressure the “Zionist government to withdraw from the land of Palestine.”
The comments by Brotherhood General Guide Mohammed Badie came in a written statement issued May 17 to commemorate Nakba Day, when Palestinians and other Arabs mourn Israel’s creation in 1948.
The statement – the existence of which was revealed Wednesday by the Investigative Project on Terrorism blog – reminds Brotherhood followers of the movement’s decades-long “sacrifices” in efforts to destroy the Jewish state.
“On this day, like every year, the Arab and Islamic nations remember the worst catastrophe ever to befall the peoples of the world,” Badie wrote in the text, translated by The Jerusalem Post. “We demand the international community rectify the historic injustice [of 1948] and pressure the government of the Zionist entity to withdraw from the land of Palestine.”
The statement portrays the Arab revolts of the last 18 months as part of an inexorable process to “liberate” land now in the State of Israel.
“We have toppled the most repressive regimes with purpose and determination,” Badie wrote. “We have begun the era of liberation of all peoples, first of all the Palestinian people, [suffering from] the worst occupation known to man – the Zionist occupation.”
Uriya Shavit, a lecturer in Tel Aviv University’s Department for Arabic and Islamic Studies, said those acquainted with the Brotherhood’s history will find the message unsurprising.
“The idea that the Brotherhood doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of Israel, and the call to eradicate it at some point, is something the group has never denied. It’s been in Brotherhood literature from its founding in 1928 until this very day,” Shavit said.[avant, one assumes, la lettre, since there was no Israel in 1928]
“What they have tried to do, not just during the Arab Spring but before, is to try to reconcile the ideology of never recognizing Israel, or the 1979 Egypt- Israel peace treaty, with the understanding that if they’re to be in power, they have to be realistic,” he added. “That’s why they offer statements like ‘We realize we will have to recognize agreements signed by previous governments,’ but then always add a ‘but.’”
The Brotherhood took half of Egypt’s parliamentary seats in elections earlier this year, with even harder-line Salafis taking another quarter. The Brothers’ presidential candidate, Mohamed Mursi, barely edged former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq in firstround elections last month, and the two hopefuls will meet in a runoff ballot June 16-17.
Asked about Egypt’s peace agreement with Israel, Mursi has variously called for its revision or for putting it to referendum. Aides to the candidate have said that if elected he would not meet with Israeli officials, though his assistants might.
Badie’s Nakba Day message repeatedly cites passages from the Koran to explain political events. The Arab revolts showed popular will can topple “corrupt regimes which knelt at the feet of the Zionists,” he wrote, adding the Koranic verse, “They are those with whom thou didst make a covenant but they break their covenant every time.”
“The idea is there is no point in signing treaties with Jews – not Israelis, by the way, but Jews – because the Koran tells you just how unreliable they are,” Shavit said. “This is rhetoric even Hamas has used less in the past year, because it’s seen in the West as plain anti-Semitism, albeit in Islamic garb.”
Dan Schueftan, director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa, said the question of Palestine has always been at the forefront of Brotherhood doctrine.
“This rhetoric has little to do with the Palestinians, and a lot to do with the fact that all this land is Muslim, and Israel is therefore inherently illegitimate,” he said. “Egypt is moving from a bad situation to a much worse one. Naturally, Israel will suffer: when Egypt can’t deal with its own problems, it will deflect them at us.”
Nonetheless, he said, Israelis should watch developments in Egypt and across the region with a measure of both caution and confidence.
"I'm pessimistic and optimistic at the same time," he said. "Pessimistic about what's happening in the Arab world, but optimistic over Israel's ability to deal with it."
The reader is left confused by Shavit's quoted remarks. He does not say, forthrightly, that what the Muslim Brother hood leader says is a view shared by almost all Musilm Arabs, and by a great many other Muslims, too, especially if -- like those in Pakistan -- they have no other identity but Islam to cling to [this means the anti-Israel rage is likely to be deflected if the Muslims in question, Berbers or Kurds, for example, have their own score to settle with Arabs, having been on the receiving end of Arab supremacism, and that other, non-Arab ethnic identity works to dilute the toxic effect of Islam] but leaves the impression that this horror at Israel's existence is something limited to the "extreme" of the Muslim Brotherood [and the Muslim Brotherhood is the most popular single group in Egypt now, and has adherents all over the world].
Would that Israeli journalists, and Israeli "experts on the Arab world," would not pull their punches about Islam, but get the ideology straight, and give it to their domestic and foreign audiences straight, not on the rocks.
Posted on 06/02/2012 8:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
All The Philosophy You'll Ever Need To Know
Yet again on the verge -- onze mille verges -- of premature retirement, my older brother sent the following:
"We who are about to retire salute you, and leave you with this advice:
Not "Nosce Teipsum" but "Nosce Lumpsum."
I think he's right. Forget about finding out about yourself. Just find out what you are entitled to, then take the money and run.
I felt it my duty to share this knowledge -- not the philosophy of Hobbes or Hegel or Heidegger or Hip-Hop but deep and hard-won -- with you.
Posted on 06/02/2012 10:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Miss Rheingold Of 1949
Posted on 06/02/2012 9:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Sunnis And Alawites Go At It In Lebanon
From Agence France-Presse at www.nowlebanon.com:
At least eight dead in Lebanon clashes linked to Syria
Clashes between pro-and anti-Syrian regime gunmen on Saturday killed at least eight people killed and wounded 21 others in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, a security official told AFP.
Among the dead were a woman and her son, killed by a rocket in the Bab al-Tebanneh district, a mostly Sunni Muslim community which supports Syria's anti-regime opposition, the official said.
At least five were wounded in Jabal Mohsen, an area mainly populated by pro-Damascus Alawites.
Sporadic gun and rocket fire broke out at midnight and continued through the night, forcing some residents of the port city to flee their homes.
The army and police were later being deployed in Tripoli, the source said.
Sectarian violence has flared on a number of occasions in Tripoli since the revolt broke out in neighboring Syria in March last year, including deadly street battles in May.
Bab al-Tebbaneh and Jabal Mohsen have been gripped by frequent fighting, reflecting a split between Lebanon's parties where the opposition backs the revolt in Syria while a ruling coalition led by Hezbollah supports the Damascus regime.
Posted on 06/02/2012 9:35 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Youth Wants To Know: "Will Somali Girls Go Out With A Shia Muslim?"
Read the comments from Sunnis and Shia here
Posted on 06/02/2012 9:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Arabs Keep Reproducing Beyond The Capacity Of Their Countries
And may those water wars go on forever:
Experts say wasteful water management and desertification are partly to blame for the crisis
Arab states could be headed towards a future war over water if they do not act quickly to tackle shortages, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has warned.
At a conference in Baghdad, he urged countries to work together in order to prevent conflict in the arid region.
Issues include desertification, poor water management, and the need for most Arab countries to rely on the goodwill of upstream states for river water.
Arab countries are seeking to address the water crisis with a unified plan. [pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye]
The BBC's Rami Ruhayem in Baghdad says Arab leaders have in the past failed to tackle common crises because of infighting and inefficiency.
And with popular uprisings tearing through the region, their differences seem to be getting even worse, our correspondent adds.
At the conference, the head of the Palestinian Water Authority accused Yemen of wasting a substantial amount of its water on irrigating qat plants, whose leaves are a popular stimulant. [the "Palestinians," of course, have misused the water which, for some reason, Israel insists on too generously sharing with them, and in the "West Bank" the aquifers need to stay under Israeli control]
Last year, a report funded by the Swiss and Swedish governments said Iraq's marshlands had reduced in size by 50 to 90% from 1960 to 2000.
In March, a report by the US Director of National Intelligence said a global water war would be unlikely in the next 10 years, but warned that the risk of conflict would increase because demand for water would outstrip current supplies by 40% by 2030.
Past water disputes have contributed to tensions between rivals including Israel and the Palestinians, and Syria and Iraq.
Posted on 06/02/2012 1:56 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Alon Ben-Meir Deplores What He Should Celebrate, Or, Just How Dumb Can People Be?
He's quite something, and while he has dined out for decades on the fact that he was born in Baghdad -- as were intelligent people, like Elie Kedourie -- and bears an israeli name (he's been in this country for 50 years), too much of this peace-making stuff "between Palestinian and Israeli" can rot the brain, can make you overlook, or forget, or not notice, the important things. And the most important thing of all is this: Islam, and the Jihad that has no end. There is no "solution" to the Jihad against Israel. There is only deterrence, and making sure that Israel's case, and its space, and it's place in the world, are as strong as possible. The Camp of islam can be kept constantly off-guard, and intelligent exploitation of its pre-existing fissures -- sectarian, ethnic, and economic -- can work to keep the Muslim Arabs at bay, while non-Arab Muslims may be more and more disenchanted as they come to see Islam as the vehicle for Arab imperialism (political, economic, and above all cultural and linguistic) that it always has been.
All of this escapes Ben-Meir.
Here's an astonishing performance from the Huffington Post.
For your own amusement, identify as many different kinds of idiocy as you can:
Preventing Sunni-Shiite Schism From Hijacking the Arab Spring
In April of this year, I wrote that the upheaval in Syria (the Sunni majority revolt against the Alawite-dominated regime) has turned into a battleground between the Sunni axis led by Turkey and Saudi Arabia and the Shiite axis led by Iran. As events continue to unfold in the region, particularly the Sunni Islamists' monopolization of the political processes in new Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia plus the belligerent Saudi-Iranian exchange in Syria and Bahrain, what is increasingly visible is that the liberal, democracy-seeking Arab Spring is being hijacked by radical Islamists on both sides, risking major conflagration between the two pillars of Islam.
The dispute between Sunnis (who make up the vast majority of the world's Muslims) and Shiites is not faith-related, but is rather essentially about how the Caliph can be appointed and the nature of political power that religious scholars should have. Because, much like Europe in the 1500s and 1600s, with theology intertwined with geopolitics, the conflict was sustained for a millennium from the seventh to the seventeenth century and witnessed the conflict between the Shiite Safavid dynasty in Persia and the Sunni Ottoman dynasty in Turkey. It was not until the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 and the Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988) culminating with the Iraq war in 2003 that the relationship between the Arab world and Iran was again re-framed in the context of the Sunni-Shiite schism. The emergence of a Shiite government in post-Saddam Iraq, discriminating against its Sunni citizens, and the ensuing Sunni insurgency terrorizing the Shiite majority only added fuel to the fire. The high hopes accompanying the advent of the Arab Spring that the youth uprising would make a smooth transition to a liberal democracy are gradually fading away.
After the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt won a decisive victory in the country's first free elections, it fielded a presidential candidate and the legislature it dominated drafted a law that is restructuring the Supreme Constitutional Court in a way that gives parliament greater control over its affairs. Being the best-financed and organized group, chances are that the MB is likely to successfully monopolize the political process. A rational MB, one might argue, could make some concessions and employ a cautious approach, but even this restrains the MB in introducing real political freedoms because of two major factors: 1) the reluctance of the old guard of the MB to democratize lest they lose a historical opportunity to transform Egypt into the model Islamic state; and 2) the competition with the ultra-conservative Salafist -- unexpectedly ranked second in the parliament -- whose challenge of the MB's religious credentials forced it to talk about how and when they will implement Sharia law.
On the other hand, the Arab Spring gave Shiite Arab minorities the opportunity to rise and demand political freedoms and civil rights, which they have been generally denied in the Sunni-dominated Arab Gulf monarchies. For its part, Iran misses no opportunity to foment the Shiite unrest where it failed for three decades to export its Islamic revolution. Ironically, Iran is doing this at a time when it gives full, unconditional support for the oppression practiced by the Shiite crescent member regimes of Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq at the expense of the rights -- and lives -- of the Sunnis in these countries. Wary of the implications, the bastion of Sunni Islam, Saudi Arabia, is building alliances with states that share its outlook in a Sunni axis to combat the Shiite arc, including the Gulf States (to the extent that it considers a union with Bahrain) and is extending full cooperation with Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey.
The dilemma, however, is that this same Saudi Arabia is seen, by virtue of its position as the guardian of Sunni Islam, as one whose response to the Arab Spring was limited to introducing only modest reforms. For that purpose, it is reported that Saudi Arabia has been engaged in efforts to dissuade the Bahraini monarch from introducing substantive political reforms. Also, and more importantly, it might provide the MB in Egypt with the economic assistance that the country desperately needs in return for a full commitment to the Sunni axis. This might discourage the MB, as many Egyptian scholars attest, from introducing real democratic reforms, especially at a time when Saudi Arabia is suspected of being the primary source of funding for the Salafists who adopt a Wahabi-like ideology and whose detestation of Shiites is only second to its distaste toward infidels. Unfortunately, the net result is that the Arab Spring, which gave rise to the strong camp of Sunni Islamists, is being hijacked by the Sunni-Shiite schism whose focus is to perpetuate their own brand of religious authority over the affairs of the state regardless of the peoples' wishes.
To avoid a catastrophic scenario in which the two pillars of Islam clash in a long, debilitating and bloody conflict to realize their political ambitions -- read authoritarian aspirations of their rulers -- the mission of the Sunni Arab world is twofold. First, the governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, in particular, should make every effort to present a type of Islamic governance that does not alienate other political forces in their respective society. An inclusive system, combined with sustainable development projects to alleviate poverty consistent with Islamic teachings, would not only avoid a sooner-or-later counter-revolutionary explosion, but would also provide an example to the Iranian people to counter the Mullahs in Tehran.
Second, the youth's part in the Sunni Arab world is to reclaim the fundamental underpinnings of their revolution. In Egypt, which may well provide the microcosm of what could take place in the rest of the Arab world, many Egyptians have already started to express regrets for voting for the MB and other Islamist parties in the last parliamentary elections, and for good reason. Islamists did not deliver what they promised: a decent living for the average Egyptian while corruption and crimes are ramped. The youth should learn from their mistakes in the latest elections by closing ranks, running united electorally, and embarking on a massive campaign to protect the democratic, civil nature of the new Egypt by engaging the vast majority of the Egyptian people. Only constant pressure from the public will compel the MB and its candidate for president, Mohamed Morsi, should he win the runoff election next month, to respond to the public's demands for real reforms and navigate a middle path combining Islam with democracy.
No less important is the role of the Shiite Arab youth. In Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Gulf States, the youth should not allow themselves to be exploited by the devious Iranian leadership. Instead, they should demand their political and civil rights from within the system and not allow outside instigators to undermine the national security and integrity of their home countries.
Consistent with Israel's national interests is to prevent a hegemonic Iran from emerging. Prime Minister Netanyahu should use the unprecedented mandate he currently has in the Knesset to take a serious stand on peace with the Palestinians, especially now as the Sunni-Shiite conflict is intensifying, instead of his futile "wait-and-see" approach. Peace based on a two-state solution would not only empower the Sunni axis (and allow extending cooperation with the Gulf and North Africa's Arab states) but would also maintain Israel's national identity as a Jewish and democratic state which is seriously threatened by further prolonging the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It is within this dual platform that the Arab Sunni world can maintain its coherence and present an alternative to their societies by sharing Islam's values of freedom, justice, and human rights, which have thus far been squashed by blind Islamic Sunni and Shiite orthodoxy, whose time is surely running out.
Posted on 06/02/2012 2:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Islam Undiluted Comes To Timbuktu
From The New York Times:
June 2, 2012
In Timbuktu, Harsh Change Under Islamists
BAMAKO, Mali — Isolated for centuries by the harsh desert that surrounds it, Timbuktu now finds itself even more cut off from the rest of the world.
Rebels who captured the city in northern Mali in April have imposed a form of hard-edged Islamic rule, prompting many residents to flee in fear and changing the face of what had been a tolerant and easygoing destination that drew tourists from around the world.
Women are now forced to wear full, face-covering veils. Music is banned from the radio. Cigarettes are snatched from the mouths of pedestrians. And the look of the ancient mud-brick town is changing. A centuries-old monument, the shrine of a 15th-century saint, has been defaced; bars have been demolished; and black flags have been hung around town to honor Ansar Dine, or Defenders of the Faith, the radical Islamist movement that emerged from the desert and turned life upside down.
“There is no liberty,” said Abdoulaye Ahmed, a tailor who fled Timbuktu and came to Mali’s capital last week. He added that the Islamist rebels “are constantly circulating with their guns. This is scaring people. The town is sinister.”
The situation is said to be especially troubling for women in Timbuktu. “Women are living in terrible fear,” said Baba Aicha Kalil, a well-known civic activist who is still living in the town, which once had a population of more than 50,000 but has experienced a significant exodus since the rebels moved in.
“They want to put a veil on everything,” Mrs. Kalil said, reached over a crackly telephone line from Timbuktu, which is about 440 miles northeast of Bamako, at the edge of the Sahara. “They are everywhere, everywhere with their guns.”
All of northern Mali, an area the size of France, has been in the hands of a loose coalition of Islamists and nomadic Tuareg rebels since late March, when resistance by the Malian Army collapsed after a coup d’état by junior military officers in the capital.
Since the takeover, however, the Islamists of Ansar Dine, supported by Al Qaeda, have gained the upper hand over the Tuaregs, and they are aggressively promoting their brand of Islamic law, or Shariah.
Black billboards with Koranic inscriptions have replaced advertisements, residents said. Leading figures in the regional Qaeda affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, have also been spotted there.
A Swiss missionary who was among the last Westerners in Timbuktu was kidnapped in April by gunmen said to have been acting under the orders of the Qaeda faction. She was later released, after negotiations.
The area is not considered safe for Westerners, and Western journalists have not been there since the Islamist takeover. The Qaeda offshoot has taken in tens of millions of dollars in ransom payments from Western governments over the last decade, and it was still holding over a dozen hostages in the desert, those with knowledge of the region said.
Mrs. Kalil said that when the Islamists encountered young people of the opposite sex together, they forced them to marry on the spot.
“We don’t want the Shariah here,” she said. “Truly we are living in misery. Personally, I am deeply concerned.”
Alpha Sane Haïdara, a farmer with deep ties to the region, said: “They have brought the population to heel through terror. I’ve seen them beat up youth watching television in the street.”
Restrictions range from the petty to the serious. In the northern town of Gao, Ansar Dine followers defaced the ear of a woman for wearing a short skirt and flogged men who drank alcohol and were accused of petty theft, Human Rights Watch reported.
Mahaman Alidji Touré, a history teacher at a leading school in Timbuktu, said in a telephone interview, “They’ve told us our trousers can’t descend to our ankles.” He added, “If they find you with a cigarette, they will take you directly to the Islamic police.”
A spokesman for Ansar Dine in Timbuktu angrily rejected the picture drawn by residents and said that if people were fleeing the town, it was because they feared the United States might bomb the Islamists who now controlled it.
“We have bad memories of you because of Falluja and Afghanistan,” the spokesman, Sanda Ould Boumana, said by telephone. “You are not well placed to talk about liberty, when we see what is happening in Guantánamo, Iraq and Palestine.”
Mr. Boumana added that “when you accept that there is Islam, you have to accept that there is Shariah.” He said that “if Shariah obliges us to cover women, we are obliged to apply it,” adding, “We have not chosen you as judge.”
Al Qaeda “are our Islamic brothers,” Mr. Boumana said.
Ever since the coup, Mali, a nation of 14 million that until recently was considered a democratic model in Africa, has been in administrative chaos, with a power vacuum in the south and a would-be breakaway state in the north. Two weeks ago, the junta’s leader, Capt. Amadou Sanogo, promised to step down, lured by a lucrative deal brokered by Ecowas, a regional alliance of West African states.
But the disarray here in the capital was underscored two weeks ago when the interim president, Dioncounda Traoré, was severely beaten by pro-junta activists. He was sent to Paris for treatment, and had not returned.
In a recent report, Human Rights Watch documented a large number of rapes and other abuses immediately after the Tuareg takeover, by armed men speaking the Tuareg language and driving cars with the flag of the Tuareg rebel movement, which is known as the M.N.L.A. Among the disturbing accounts, a 14-year-old girl in Gao described being abducted from her home and repeatedly gang-raped by M.N.L.A. rebels.
Although the M.N.L.A. is still present in the principal northern towns, Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal — and has thoroughly looted the former offices of the Mali government in Timbuktu, down to the air-conditioners, according to residents — it is Ansar Dine, led by a former Tuareg military commander named Iyad Ag Ghaly, that is aggressively promoting its brand of Shariah and exercising most authority.
Mr. Boumana, the Ansar Dine spokesman, said that the Islamists were now “negotiating” with the M.N.L.A. over power sharing, and that Ansar Dine did not reject the rebel group’s notion of an independent state in northern Mali, which it calls Azawad, “as long as there is total application of Shariah.”
But he quickly dismissed the idea that Ansar Dine might retreat or give up control of Timbuktu. “It is not our preoccupation that other states accept us,” Mr. Boumana said. And in any event, there is no military threat to the northern rebels’ supremacy.
The Malian Army, weak and fragmented after the coup, is in no position to take on the rebels and Ansar Dine, diplomats in the capital said. The United Nations said that more than 160,000 Malians have fled to the neighboring countries of Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger, with many living in refugee camps, and that more than 140,000 were displaced in Mali itself.
In the meantime, residents say that Timbuktu has taken on the air of a ghost town.
Most stores have closed, and streets are deserted. With banks also shuttered, money is running out. The traditional evening gatherings of young men who drink tea and chat on doorsteps have dispersed.
Mr. Haïdara, the farmer, encountered at a cafe in Bamako, was nonetheless preparing to head back to Timbuktu. “It’s my city,” he said, “and it’s my land.”
Posted on 06/02/2012 3:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Timbuctoo (Tennyson's Juvenilia)
- Deep in that lion-haunted inland lies
- A mystick city, goal of high emprise.
I stood upon the Mountain which o'erlooks
The narrow seas, whose rapid interval
Parts Africa from green Europe, when the Sun
Had fall'n below th' Atlantick, and above
The silent Heavens were blench'd with faery light,
Uncertain whether faery light or cloud,
Flowing Southward, and the chasms of deep, deep blue
Slumber'd unfathomable, and the stars
Were flooded over with clear glory and pale.
I gaz'd upon the sheeny coast beyond,
There where the Giant of old Time infixed
The limits of his prowess, pillars high
Long time eras'd from Earth: even as the Sea
When weary of wild inroad buildeth up
Hugh mounds whereby to stay his yeasty waves.
|And much I mus'd on legends quaint and old
Which whilome won the hearts of all on Earth
Toward their brightness, ev'n as flame draws air;
But had their being in the heart of Man
As air is th' life of flame: and thou wert then
A center'd glory-circled Memory,
Divinest Atalantis, whom the waves
Have buried deep, and thou of later name
Imperial Eldorado roof'd with gold;
Shadows to which, despite all shocks of Change,
All on-set of capricious Accident,
Men clung with yearning Hope which would not die.
As when in some great City where the walls
Shake, and the streets with ghastly faces throng'd
Do utter forth a subterranean voice,
Among the inner columns far retir'd
At midnight, in the lone Acropolis,
Before the awful Genius of the place
Kneels the pale Priestess in deep faith, the while
Above her head the weak lamp dips and winks
Unto the fearful summoning without:
Nathless she ever clasps the marble knees,
Bathes the cold hand with tears, and gazeth on
Those eyes which wear no light but that wherewith
Her phantasy informs them.
- Where are ye
- Thrones of the Western wave, fair Islands green?
Where are your moonlight halls, your cedarn glooms,
The blossoming abysses of your hills?
Your flowering Capes, and your gold-sanded bays
Blown round with happy airs of odorous winds?
Where are the infinite ways, which, Seraph-trod,
Wound thro' your great Elysian solitudes,
Whose lowest deeps were, as with visible love,
Fill'd with Divine effulgence, circumfus'd,
Flowing between the clear and polish'd stems,
And ever circling round their emerald cones
In coronals and glories, such as gird
The unfading foreheads of the Saints in Heaven?
For nothing visible, they say, had birth
In that blest ground but it was play'd about
With its peculiar glory.
- Then I rais'd
- My voice and cried, 'Wide Afric, doth thy Sun
Lighten, thy hills enfold a City as fair
As those which starr'd the night o' the elder World?
Or is the rumour of thy Timbuctoo
A dream as frail as those of ancient Time?'
- A curve of whitening, flashing, ebbing light!
- A rustling of white wings! The bright descent
Of a young Seraph! And he stood beside me
There on the ridge, and look'd into my face
With his unutterable, shining orbs.
So that with hasty motion I did veil
My vision with both hands, and saw before me
Such colour'd spots as dance athwart the eyes
Of those, that gaze upon the noonday Sun.
Girt with a Zone of flashing gold beneath
His breast, and compass'd round about his brow
With triple arch of everchanging bows,
And circled with the glory of living light
And alternation of all hues, he stood.
- 'O child of man, why muse you here alone
- Upon the Mountain, on the dreams of old
Which fill'd the Earth with passing loveliness,
And odours rapt from remote Paradise?
Thy sense is clogg'd with dull mortality,
Thy spirit fetter'd with the bond of clay:
Open thine eyes and see.'
- I look'd, but not
- Upon his face, for it was wonderful
With its exceeding brightness, and the light
Of the great Angel Mind which look'd from out
The starry glowing of his restless eyes.
I felt my soul grow mighty, and my Spirit
With supernatural excitation bound
Within me, and my mental eye grew large
With such a vast circumference of thought,
That in my vanity I seem'd to stand
Upon the outward verge and bound alone
Of full beatitude.
- Each failing sense
- As with a momentary flash of light
Grew thrillingly distinct and keen. I saw
The smallest grain that dappled the dark Earth,
The indistinctest atom in deep air,
The Moon's white cities, and the opal width
Of her small glowing lakes, her silver heights
Unvisited with dew of vagrant cloud,
And the unsounded, undescended depth
Of her black hollows.
- The clear Galaxy
- Shorn of its hoary lustre, wonderful,
Distinct and vivid with sharp points of light,
Blaze within blaze, an unimagin'd depth
And harmony of planet-girded Suns
And moon-encircled planets, wheel in wheel,
Arch'd the wan Sapphire.
- Nay - the hum of men,
- Or other things talking in unknown tongues,
And notes of busy life in distant worlds
Beat like a far wave on my anxious ear.
- A maze of piercing, trackless, thrilling thoughts,
- Involving and embracing each with each,
Rapid as fire, inextricably link'd,
Expanding momently with every sight
And sound which struck the palpitating sense,
The issue of strong impulse, hurried through
The riv'n rapt brain;
- as when in some large lake
- From pressure of descendant crags, which lapse
Disjointed, crumbling from their parent slope
At slender interval, the level calm
Is ridg'd with restless and increasing spheres
Which break upon each other, each th' effect
Of separate impulse, but more fleet and strong
Then its precursor, till the eye in vain
Amid the wild unrest of swimming shade
Dappled with hollow and alternate rise
Of interpenetrated arc, would scan
- I know not if I shape
- These things with accurate similitude
From visible objects, for but dimly now,
Less vivid than an half-forgotten dream,
The memory of that mental excellence
Comes o'er me, and it may be I entwine
The indecision of my present mind
With its past clearness, yet it seems to me
As even then the torrent of quick thought
Absorbed me from the nature of itself
With its own fleetness.
- Where is he that borne
- Adown the sloping of an arrowy stream,
Could link his shallop to the fleeting edge,
And muse midway with philosophic calm
Upon the wondrous laws, which regulate
The fierceness of the bounding Element?
- My thoughts which long had grovell'd in the slime
- Of this dull world, like dusky worms which house
Beneath unshaken waters, but at once
Upon some Earth-awakening day of Spring
Do pass from gloom to glory, and aloft
Winnow the purple, bearing on both sides
Double display of starlit wings which burn,
Fanlike and fibred, with intensest bloom;
Ev'n so my thoughts, erewhile so low, now felt
Unutterable buoyancy and strength
To bear them upward through the trackless fields
Of undefin'd existence far and free.
- Then first within the South methought I saw
- A wilderness of spires, and chrystal pile
Of rampart upon rampart, dome on dome,
Illimitable range of battlement
On battlement, and the Imperial height
Of Canopy o'ercanopied.
- In diamond light upsprung the dazzling cones
Of Pyramids as far surpassing Earth's
As Heaven than Earth is fairer.
- Each aloft
- Upon his narrow'd Eminence bore globes
Of wheeling Suns, or Stars, or semblances
Of either, showering circular abyss
- But the glory of the place
- Stood out a pillar'd front of burnish'd gold,
Interminably high, if gold it were
Or metal more etherial, and beneath
Two doors of blinding brilliance, where no gaze
Might rest, stood open, and the eye could scan,
Through length of porch and valve and boundless hall,
Part of a throne of fiery flame, wherefrom
The snowy skirting of a garment hung,
And glimpse of multitudes of multitudes
That minister'd around it - if I saw
These things distinctly, for my human brain
Stagger'd beneath the vision, and thick night
Came down upon my eyelids, and I fell.
- With ministering hand he rais'd me up:
- Then with a mournful and ineffable smile,
Which but to look on for a moment fill'd
My eyes with irresistible sweet tears,
In accents of majestic melody,
Like a swoln river's gushings in still night
Mingled with floating music, thus he spake:
- 'There is no mightier Spirit than I to sway
- The heart of man: and teach him to attain
By shadowing forth the Unattainable;
And step by step to scale that mighty stair
Whose landing-place is wrapt about with clouds
Of glory' of Heaven.
- With earliest light of Spring,
- And in the glow of sallow Summertide,
And in red Autumn when the winds are wild
With gambols, and when full-voiced Winter roofs
The headland with inviolate white snow,
I play about his heart a thousand ways,
Visit his eyes with visions, and his ears
With harmonies of wind and wave and wood,
-- Of winds which tell of waters, and of waters
Betraying the close kisses of the wind --
And win him unto me: and few there be
So gross of heart who have not felt and known
A higher than they see: They with dim eyes
Behold me darkling.
- Lo! I have given thee
- To understand my presence, and to feel
My fullness; I have fill'd thy lips with power.
I have rais'd thee nigher to the spheres of Heaven
Man's first, last home: and thou with ravish'd sense
Listenest the lordly music flowing from
Th' illimitable years.
- I am the Spirit,
- The permeating life which courseth through
All th' intricate and labyrinthine veins
Of the great vine of Fable, which, outspread
With growth of shadowing leaf and clusters rare,
Reacheth to every corner under Heaven,
Deep-rooted in the living soil of truth;
So that men's hopes and fears take refuge in
The fragrance of its complicated glooms,
And cool impleached twilights.
- Child of Man,
- See'st thou yon river, whose translucent wave,
forth issuing from the darkness, windeth through
The argent streets o' th' City, imaging
The soft inversion of her tremulous Domes,
Her gardens frequent with the stately Palm,
Her Pagods hung with music of sweet bells,
Her obelisks of ranged Chrysolite,
Minarets and towers? Lo! How he passeth by,
And gulphs himself in sands, as not enduring
To carry through the world those waves, which bore
The reflex of my City in their depths.
|O City! O latest Throne! Where I was rais'd
To be a mystery of loveliness
Unto all eyes, the time is well-nigh come
When I must render up this glorious home
To keen Discovery: soon yon brilliant towers
Shall darken with the waving of her wand;
Darken, and shrink and shiver into huts,
Black specks amid a waste of dreary sand,
Low-built, mud-wall'd, Barbarian settlements.
How chang'd from this fair City!'
Posted on 06/02/2012 3:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 June 2012
A Musical Interlude: I'm An Unemployed Sweetheart (Lee Morse)
Posted on 06/02/2012 8:35 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald