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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 2, 2008.
Saturday, 2 August 2008
British Muslims 'fighting with Taliban in Afghanistan'

From The Telegraph
British Muslims are helping the Taliban in their war against UK soldiers in southern Afghanistan, according to the former commander of Britain's forces in Afghanistan. Brig. Ed Butler, who spent six months commanding British forces in Afghanistan, also revealed fears that militant Islamic groups in south-east Asia are supporting terrorist plots in the UK.
The brigadier, a former head of the SAS, spoke exclusively to the Daily Telegraph in the week when the British death toll in Afghanistan reached 114, with 17 fatalities in the last two months.
UK forces have uncovered evidence that British Muslims are actively supporting the Taliban and al-Qa'eda in attacks on coalition forces in southern Afghanistan, Brig Butler said. He said: "There are British passport holders who live in the U.K. who are being found in places like Kandahar."
Earlier this year, it was revealed that RAF Nimrod spyplanes monitoring Taliban radio signals in Afghanistan had heard militants speaking with Yorkshire and Midlands accents.
Disturbingly, Brig Butler suggested the traffic between Britain and Afghanistan may flow in both directions, with some British Muslims returning from the region and posing a domestic security threat.  Brig Butler, 46, said he had seen evidence that terror groups based in southern Afghanistan were plotting with Muslim extremists in Britain to carry out terror attacks in the UK. "There is a link between Kandahar and urban conurbations in the UK," said Brig. Butler. "This is something the military understands but the British public does not."
Western intelligence agencies are increasingly concerned that Afghanistan and its lawless border with Pakistan are now home to many training camps used by Jihadi groups to prepare radicals for attacks in the West.
A Whitehall source confirmed that the security services are aware of some radicalized British Muslims returning to the UK from Afghanstan. The source said: "There are very small numbers of British citizens traveling out there, being trained up and then returning to the UK."
With al-Qaeda widely seen to be losing ground in Iraq, counter-terrorism officials say that Afghanistan is emerging as the focus for radicalised Western Muslims wanting to fight Western forces.
Earlier this year, Nigel Inkster, a former deputy head of MI6, warned that Taliban groups over the border in Pakistan have "dispatched terrorists to a number of locations including Spain and the United Kingdom."
Brig Butler believes the continued presence of radical British Muslims in southern Afghanistan is one of the reasons British forces must remain in the region, despite the heavy number of battlefield fatalities. "This is a highly significant mission," he said. "If we do not win against the protagonists of the September 11 attacks then those who are against us will take great succour from it. It is vital for British forces to remain in Afghanistan "for as long as it takes" to prevent a repeat of the July 7 bombings in London in 2005, which killed 52 people, he said.
The battle of the armed forces in Afghanistan is so much clearer and more obvious than trying to convince some people that there is a battle to be fought internally here. Muslims realise it and many non Muslims feel it but do yet put it publicly into those terms.

Posted on 08/02/2008 3:06 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Atheists fail to cough up for London bus ad

From The Telegraph.
A campaign to put an atheist advert on the side of a London bus looks to be dead after the organisers failed to raise enough cash.
Campaigners hoped to raise the raise the £23,400 necessary to buy a prominent two-week slot on a “bendy bus” by collecting £5 pledges from atheists online.
They even made a mock-up photo of a bus carrying their chosen message: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and get on with your life."
The project attracted huge attention on atheist message boards and was even featured on the website of scientist and promiment atheist Richard Dawkins, but it appears that too few non-believers actually put their hands in their pockets.
A specially-created website had attracted only 877 pledges when its deadline passed on Thursday, far short of the 4,678 people needed.
The month-long campaign was started in reaction to the Christian adverts that are currently carried on the side of many buses in the capital.
It is not yet clear whether (there are) plans to use the money pledged - £4,385 - to fund a smaller, cheaper advert.
That should be enough to fund a man with a sandwich board for, ooh, nearly 6 months (call it £6.50 an hour, 5 hours a day, 5 days a week) except they have recently been banned in central London.

Posted on 08/02/2008 3:27 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 2 August 2008
7/7 terror accused may face retrial after jury stalemate

From The Yorkshire Post
Three Yorkshire men accused of conspiring with the 7/7 bombers could face a retrial after a jury yesterday failed to reach a decision after 15 days of deliberations.
Waheed Ali, 25, Sadeer Saleem, 28, and Mohammed Shakil, 32, were all close friends with ringleader Mohammed Siddique Khan and his right-hand man Shehzad Tanweer, and all grew up in the Beeston area of Leeds.
They were the first people to be prosecuted in connection with the suicide bombings, which claimed the lives of 52 innocent people and injured up to 1,000 more on the capital's transport network.
But following a three-month trial at Kingston Crown Court, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on charges of conspiring with the four bombers and others unknown to cause explosions between November 17, 2004, and July 8, 2005.
The panel was discharged and the Crown Prosecution Service now has until the end of September to decide if the trio will face a retrial – which would probably take place in the new year.
Survivors of the attacks and the families of those who died said last night that they feared the failure to reach verdicts would further delay the inquests into the victims' deaths.

Posted on 08/02/2008 3:52 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Slow Iranian Jihad in Comoros
From a MEMRI translation of an article from Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram:
[Commentary from MEMRI:

Recently, Iran has been showing increased interest in the Union of the Comoros, the island nation off Africa's east coast. Historically, the inhabitants of this nation's three component islands were mostly Shi'ite, until they were conquered by France in the mid-19th century; today, most residentsare Shafi'i Sunnis. Iran's interest in the Union of the Comoros is supported by Comoros President Ahmad Abdallah Sambi, despite opposition from various elements in the country.

On May 1, 2008, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram published an investigative article on Shi'ization in the Union of the Comoros. Following are translated excerpts from the investigation:]


Iranian Elements Are In Charge of Security for Comoros President Sambi

According to the Al-Ahram report, ever since Ahmad Abdallah Sambi was elected president in 2006, Iranian intervention in the Union of the Comoros has intensified, as manifested in the office of the presidency as well as in the areas of medicine, culture, and humanitarian and other aid: "The Iranian presence in Comoros is currently focused in four areas, the most important of which is the institution of the presidency. According to statements by a politician in the Comoros Islands, Iranian elements are in charge of security for President Ahmad Abdallah Sambi... inside the country and also on his trips outside it.

"Iran has also set up a medical center belonging to the Iranian Red cross... a cultural center... and an additional center for humanitarian aid, officially called the Al-Khomeini Committee for Help in the Comoros Islands... Also, according to reports from several sources, Iran is planning to set up an embassy there in the near future...

"The medical center's main activity focuses, of course, on providing various medical treatments at no cost to the Comoros Islanders. The Imam Khomeini Help Committee conducts various humanitarian activities, the most important of which are three-month professional training courses... for the Comoros youth... They also give help to poor families, and provide them with material and economic support. Five hundred families benefit from this bimonthly support. "


Comoros Residents Call Their President "Ayatollah"

Al-Ahram reported that "prominent Comoros politicians link the Iranian presence [in the country] to President Sambi's affection for Iran, where he attended religious studies in his youth. Some of them even accuse the president of secretly becoming a Shi'ite, and of attempting to spread [Shi'ism] in the country, [which is] Sunni Arab." The paper added that "[even before he was president,] island residents called him 'Ayatollah.' The president says that at first he opposed the nickname, but afterwards came to think that there was nothing wrong with it, and therefore agreed to it."

According to the Al-Ahram report, "there are numerous reasons for the opposition members' accusations that the president has affection for Iran, and perhaps even became a Shi'ite: his dress, which is similar to that of Iranian clerics; his personal interest in links with Iran, to the point of appointing a relative as ambassador of his country in Tehran; his personal oversight of Iran's activity in his country, and even the Iranian medical center, [which] began operations without applying for a license from the Health Ministry... the [staff's] entrance into the country followed a direct request from President Ahmad Abdallah Sambi."

However, the Al-Ahram report also raised the possibility that the Iranian presence in the country was not the result of a deliberate policy of President Sambi's, but of lack of choice, stating: "Perhaps the reason behind Sambi's agreement to the Iranian presence is a poor country's need for any foreign help, in light of the lack of Arab support..."

As we saw in the aftermath of recent tsunamis and earthquakes, Muslim countries don't always step forward to help their co-religionists.  Iran is providing assistance to Comoros, but it is not a case of selfless benevolence, it is closer to a quid pro quo, at least in the opinion of the Sunni Al-Ahram. 


Has President Sambi Become a Shi'ite?

In addition to this evidence, the Al-Ahram report cites statements posted on a Shi'ite website confirming rumors about President Sambi becoming a Shi'ite: "Sambi is one of the most prominent clerics on the African continent, who has studied with the religious authority Ayatollah Al-Sayyed Muhammad Taqi Al-Modarresi... and he moved from the Sunni school to the Shi'ite school, thus becoming a proselytizer of Shi'ism in the Comoros Islands."

According to the report, "the president of Comoros denies these charges outright; he always stresses... that he belongs to the Shafi'ite school... and that he has affection for Shi'ites." However, President Sambi's opponents claim that his denials are a manifestation of the Shi'ite principle of taqiyyah, permitting them to pretend not to be Shi'ites when necessary: "They [many in Comoros political circles] accuse him of secretly becoming a Shi'ite, [and of] implementing the principle of taqiyyah." The report also presented evidence that "according to one of the island's residents... the president once lived in Dubai and would pray at a Shi'ite mosque [there]."


Sunni Clerics Against Shi'ization

The spread of Iranian-Shi'ite influence and activity in the Union of the Comoros has aroused not only opposition from Comoros politicians but also the anger of Sunni clerics in the country - who have demanded that the authorities expel the Iranian Shi'ite missionaries and protect the Sunna: "Some of the activities conducted by the Iranian cultural center have enraged the [Sunni] clerics in the Comoros Islands, after they sensed that they were attempting to disseminate Shi'ism in the region.

"In February 2007, 60 Sunni clerics met in the capital Moroni and warned of the danger inherent in the holding of Shi'ite ceremonies in the island. This meeting took place several days after some Comoros Island residents held in public, for the first time in the island's history, the Ashoura, the ceremony commemorating the killing of Imam Al-Hussein. These clerics... headed by the capital's head qadi... demanded the expulsion of the foreigners who are disseminating Shi'ism in the Comoros Islands. They demanded that President Sambi protect the Sunni ceremonies - but the president decided to leave the cultural center [in place, but] to restrict its activity so that it would not anger those who oppose it.

"The [Sunni] clerics in the Comoros Islands continue to fear the activity of the Iranian institutions operating on the country's soil, and are unconvinced that their real goals are purely humanitarian..."


Al-Ahram: Sunni Arab Countries Must Increase Presence in the ComorosIslands

The Al-Ahram report concluded with a call to Arab countries to increase their diplomatic presence in the Union of the Comoros, and even to support its economy - before the country becomes another focus of tension between the Arab countries and Iran, and between Shi'ites and Sunnis: "In any event, the presence of only one Arab embassy - that of Libya - is inconceivable, and there is no escape from increasing the Arab presence there by establishing diplomatic representations in addition to those currently in place in the capital Moroni.

"Similarly, there is no escape from taking an interest in the economic situation of this poor country... Certainly, the establishment of a number of economic projects there, in addition to aid, is considered essential in dealing with the problem, which is still in its early days - before it gets worse and becomes a new center of Arab-Iranian tension that we do not need."

The Sunni fear and distrust of Shi'a treachery in this article is palpable.  Just as in the events during the hajj of Aug. 1, 1987, the emnity between Sunni and Shi'a rises above a mere disagreement.  Many of us know that there are hard feelings between the two groups, but few non-Muslims understand the depth of the schism.  Those, like Condi Rice, who tell the Sunnis and Shi'a that they "have to just get over it" have no idea what they're proposing.

Posted on 08/02/2008 7:17 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Saturday, 2 August 2008
And This Is Exactly How Far One Can Trust The Pakistani Government

On the 25th July (2008) the Pakistani Government signed away yet another province in the North-West Frontier Territories (The Tribal Areas) to the Taliban:

The Pakistani government has signed yet another peace accord with the Taliban in a settled district of the Northwest Frontier Province. Just one day after the military canceled an operation in Hangu, the provincial government cut a deal with the Taliban.

According to this article.
The article in the LONG WAR JOURNAL goes on to say:
The Taliban are required to recognize the government’s writ, stop attacks on government security forces, and refrain from running a parallel government and legal system. In exchange, the government will withdraw the Army from Hangu and “pay compensation to people who were affected during the operation.” In the past the Taliban received direct payments from the government.
The Journal goes on to say, surprise, surprise, that:

Negotiations are underway in South Waziristan, Kohat, and Mardan. The Taliban have violated the terms of these agreements in every region where accords have been signed.

The agreements have been violated wherever and whenever they have been signed. Well, how surprised are we?
Do I really have to comment any further. I’m sure that you are all completely capable, unlike your governments, of drawing all the necessary conclusions!
You can find Hangu, just outwith the Tribal Administered Area in Pakistan, using this map.
Then we have to put up with this load of nonsense from Islamabad – which means nothing, and is designed, obviously, to mislead –

Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior, Rehman Malik has said that 35 militants including a key leader of Al-Qaida have been arrested while 17 security officials embraced Shahdat during Hangu operation.
Talking to media men here on Friday at Chaklala Airbase, the Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior stated that the operation was carried out on the request of the NWFP government and the writ of the government has been established there.
Rejecting the impression that the government has pressure from the United States regarding conducting operation, Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior stated that the process of talks would be adopted.
He clearly stated that the government neither take dictation from anyone nor foreign interfere is acceptable, adding that Pakistan has best Army of the world.
Rehman Malik, however, said that the federal government would take strong action against elements violated peace agreement, which they signed with the provincial government, adding 80 percent decline witnessed in the suicide, attacks in NWFP.
He rejected the impression that UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan came to Pakistan to make reconciliation between PPP and President Musharraf, adding that different companies of UAE are functioning in Pakistan and both the countries have brotherly relations.
Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior informed that during his visit to US, he would meet his US counterpart and would inform him Pakistan’s new strategy regarding combating the scourge of terrorism.

which is from this source.
Really! A new Strategy! Sign an accord and walk away type of strategy, perhaps?
Honestly, whom do they think that they are kidding?
Do they think that we are fools?
Well, yes, actually, they do!
Posted on 08/02/2008 7:23 AM by John Joyce
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Today in the "Religion of Peace™"

On this day, Aug. 2nd, in 1990, Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded her neighbor, Kuwait.

Iraq had made claims of sovereignty over Kuwait since Kuwait's independence in 1961.  Kuwait and Saudi Arabia had heavily subsidized Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980's against their common enemy the Shi'a, but in the ever-shifting alliances of Arab politicos, no "friendship" lasts long.
Iraq's economy was suffering after the expensive and inconclusive Iran-Iraq war, and Kuwait refused to forgive $65 billion of Iraqi debt. As usual, Saddam saw himself as the victim of a huge international conspiracy, telling one of his aides:
"America is coordinating with Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Kuwait in a conspiracy against us. They are trying to reduce the price of oil to affect our military industries and our scientific research, to force us to reduce the size of our armed forces....You must expect from another direction an Israeli military air strike, or more than one, to destroy some of our important targets as part of this conspiracy"
During diplomatic negotiations between the Kuwaits and Iraqis in the leadup to the war, one of the Kuwaiti delegation, keepin' it real,  unhelpfully said he would not stop doing what he was doing until he turned every Iraqi woman into a $10 prostitute.
It took less than two days for the Iraqis to overrun Kuwait and annex it.
The Iraqis did not threaten or intend to reduce oil production;  in fact they had every motivation to increase production.  U.S. access to adequate oil supplies was not at risk.  Saddam Hussein did not have the ability to militarily threaten the U.S.  But seven months after the invasion of Kuwait, the U.S. started the first Gulf War, aimed at pushing Iraq back across the border.  The two Gulf Wars can be seen as wars to protect the Saudi and other Emirates on the Arabian Peninsula;  the Presidents Bush placed familial friendships and alliances above the bottom-line interests of the United States.
Throughout the period of the 1980's, the U.S. was the victim of many Islamic terrorist attacks:  Hizb'Allah bombed the Marine barracks and the embassy in Lebanon;  an enraged mob of Pakistanis attacked the U.S. embassy in 1979;  TWA Flight 847 was hijacked, and Navy diver Robert Stethem was murdered;  the Achille Lauro was hijacked, and Leon Klinghoffer was murdered;  a bomb destroyed a Berlin discotheque killing U.S. servicemen; several Americans were killed in the bombing of TWA Flight 840;  and Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland.  Pakistan stole nuclear technology from the Netherlands, and began their nuclear weapons program.
In response,  the U.S. chose to declare war on Iraq in the first Gulf War, although Iraq was not involved in any of these incidents.  To repeat, Iraq was not an imminent threat to the U.S.;  it was an imminent threat to the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, and the UAE.
The only positive thing (from the point of view of the kufirs) to be said about the first Gulf War is that we were not foolish enough then to commit to staying in Iraq indefinitely to rebuild their infrastructure.  If we were going to do the bidding of the Saudis, at least we did it quickly, and then got out.  And of course the Saudis showed their appreciation:
"I summon my blue-eyed slaves anytime it pleases me. I command the Americans to send me their bravest soldiers to die for me. Anytime I clap my hands a stupid genie called the American ambassador appears to do my bidding. When the Americans die in my service their bodies are frozen in metal boxes by the US Embassy and American airplanes carry them away, as if they never existed. Truly, America is my favorite slave."
- King Fahd Bin Abdul-Aziz
Previous Days in the "Religion of Peace™":
Aug. 1: Iranians Riot in Mecca
Posted on 08/02/2008 7:27 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Self-Censorship and the BBC

Thanks to Alan for this:

In August's Standpoint, Nick Cohen writes an interesting review of a BBC drama about the 7/7 bombers. If you didn't catch it, here's why - it didn't make it to the screen.

Nick writes:

'The official reason is that the drama didn't make the grade. The script is circulating in Samizdat form, which is how it reached Standpoint, and every writer and director who has read it disagrees. The journalists, however, say that BBC managers told them they were stopping because it was “Islamophobic”.

'Eh? The defining characteristic of Islamophobic prejudice is the belief that all Muslims are potential terrorists, and yet here, apparently, is the BBC seconding that motion by arguing that a dramatic examination of terrorism would be offensive to all Muslims...

'It makes no sense until you understand the moral contortions of the postmodern liberal establishment... As the sorry history of The London Bombers shows, they have left us a country that cannot tell its own stories; a land so debilitated by anxiety and stupefied by relativism that it dare not meet the eyes of the face that stares back at it from the mirror.'


Read the whole piece at Standpoint

Cohen's commentary suggests the film might have been quite promising:

The picture of Beeston the BBC presents is a disorientating mixture of the parochial and the cosmopolitan. On one hand, Beeston is almost as much of a village as the ancestral homes of its Pakistani inhabitants. On the other, its parochialism is an illusion. Cheap flights take the bombers to the madrassas and terrorist training camps of Pakistan. The internet connects them to the global jihadi network.

In one telling scene, Hasib Hussein hears a message ping on his mobile. He flips it open and finds a beheading video. He watches the snuff movie impassively, showing no emotion when the killer cuts a hostage’s throat.

Later Khan and Hussein learn how to make a bomb, not by infiltrating an army regiment, but by the simple expedient of going to an internet café and logging on to an Arab jihadi site. “What did people do before Google?” the admiring Hussein asks.

Now there's one thoroughly modern Muslim. Modernity has touched Islam only in technology and trinkets.

It is hardly surprising that the BBC has chickened out of making the film. The script should be passed to Channel 4.

Posted on 08/02/2008 8:01 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Tensions Rise for Egypt’s Christians

New Duranty: CAIRO — A monastery was ransacked in January. In May, monks there were kidnapped, whipped and beaten and ordered to spit on the cross. Christian-owned jewelry stores were robbed over the summer. The rash of violence was so bad that one prominent Egyptian writer worried it had become “open season” on the nation’s Christians.


Egypt is the most populous Arab country, with about 80 million people. About 10 percent are Coptic Christian.

For most of Egypt’s Coptics, the major flare-ups — the attack on the Abu Fana Monastery or riots in 2005 in Alexandria — are faraway episodes that serve only to confirm a growing alienation from larger society. For most, the tension is more personal, a fear that a son or daughter will fall in love with a Muslim or of being derided as “coftes,” which means “fifth column.”

“We keep to ourselves,” said Kamel Nadi, 24, a Coptic who runs a small shop in the Shubra neighborhood of Cairo. “Muslims can’t say it, but it’s clear they don’t accept us. Here no one can speak the truth on this issue, so everybody’s feelings are kept inside.”

Christian Arabs have increasingly complained of being marginalized in the Middle East, with large numbers leaving over the decades. Now it appears that pressure on these communities is spiking, whether in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan or the West Bank. In each, Christians speak of specific national behavior that has made them feel less welcome. While governments are generally regarded as more accommodating than they used to be, the overall environment is seen as less hospitable.


“When something happens, it always comes back to Muslim and Christian,” said Tharwat Taki Faris, 45, a subsistence farmer in Mansafees, a village of about 33,000 people five hours south of Cairo.

The village is poor, its unpaved and uneven roads filled with barefoot children in tattered clothing. There are two churches, each guarded by men with shotguns. There are also two mosques, where security men are posted outside on Fridays, just in case the faithful become overwrought during prayer, people here said.

It was midday, and villagers back from working their small plots of land began to gather to discuss relations with their Muslim neighbors. Any conflict between Muslim and Christian is a “singular incident,” they all said, using the same phrase. Villagers said that the government was adamant about keeping things “singular,” so whenever a Muslim and a Christian had a problem, they knew to go to the police before the matter escalated.

“If someone can’t resolve it, they go to the police station,” said John Riyad, 23. “Trust me, the police will make him resolve it.”

The crowd quickly swelled as men and women and children joined the conversation, which almost imperceptibly began to shift toward grievances: There are no Christian officers in the police force. The villagers cannot get permission to build another church. There are no high-ranking Christian officials in their governate. And of course, if their daughters married Muslims, they would kill them. [They would kill their daughters, that is  It is common among Arab Christians to mirror the behavior of Muslims.

Then, just as suddenly, the crowd thinned. The reason: state security was on the way. A village informant had already reported the conversation....

Posted on 08/02/2008 9:31 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 2 August 2008
CBC Reports Manitoba Bus Beheader Is Muslim

And motivated by the Koran - at least according to a VFR reader.

Posted on 08/02/2008 9:03 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 2 August 2008
How an Emotion Became a Virtue

Clifford Owen has a very interesting article on compassion here. The whole thing is worth reading, but here is a sample:

[C}ompassion did not simply emerge (if indeed it even emerged primarily) as a result of the spontaneous play of social forces. It represented an intellectual project undertaken by a large handful of the greatest minds of the day. They may be said not merely to have discovered or promoted what we have since come to know as compassion but actually to have invented it. What had been pity to the ancients (natural and this-worldly, but no virtue) and charity to the Christians (a virtue but supernatural and otherworldly) became in their hands compassion (merely natural, resolutely this-worldly, and a virtue).

What sort of virtue? A post-Christian virtue, which couldn’t have existed prior to Christianity but was designed to supplant it. In magnificent bad faith, the great thinkers of early modernity purveyed a faux Christianity. This counterfeit faith depended on the reinterpretation of charity as religious toleration on the one hand and compassionate concern for one’s neighbor on the other. By thus purging charity of its theological character and its supernatural model, origin, and concern, they sought to make of it an engine for a better life in this world characterized by a salutary indifference to the next...

(hat tip: Arts & Letters)

Posted on 08/02/2008 11:08 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Today in the "Religion of Peace™"

[Note: Do not be alarmed.  Due to a teeny-tiny rent in the time-space continuum, yesterday's "Today in..." is being published today.  This was definitely not an act of terrorism, and the individuals involved have no known ties to Al Qaeda.  If, in the next 24 hours, you meet your great-grandparents as children, please do not kill them.  Thank you for your cooperation.]

On this day, Aug. 1st, in 1987, enraged Muslims in Iran attacked the Saudi Arabian embassy, after 400 Iranian hajj pilgrims were killed in Mecca.

 One of the Seven Pillars of Islam is a requirement that Muslims visit Mecca once in their lives. Iranian Shi’a have been banned periodically by Saudi officials (or by Iranian officials) from participating in the annual hajj ever since the ascension of the Saudi Royal Family in 1924. Saudi Wahhabis view Shi’a as heretics for their veneration of the early Imams.
Mutual distrust and hatred between the Shi’a and Sunni Wahhabis runs long and runs deep. Sunnis believe that Shi’a secretly carry feces into the Great Mosque to defile it. Shi’a believe that the Saudis, in their role as the protector of the Muslim holy sites, do not honor the sanctity of the sites. In fact, in multiple instances Saudi officials have destroyed sites that are holy to the Shi’a, such as the Al-Baqi cemetery in Medina.. Shi’a were also forced to pay protection money, forced to practice taqiyya (the original “don’t ask don’t tell” policy), and were beaten during the hajj. In return, Iranians have long called for the overthrow of the Saudi Royal Family.
In the late 1970’s, the Ayatollah Khomeini began to call on Shi’a to abandon taqiyya and instead use the hajj to make overtly political statements condemning the U.S. and Israel. This was a sensitive point, given the Saudi Royals’ relationship with the U.S.  Clashes between Iranian pilgrims and Saudi authorities continued to escalate in intensity through the 1980’s.
In 1987, Khomeini’s representatives requested permission to enter the Great Mosque to give speeches criticizing the government of Kuwait for allowing U.S. warships to provide security against the Iranian Navy. The Saudis believed that the Iranians planned to take control of the Great Mosque. Armed guards at the mosque frisked the Iranian pilgrims before they were allowed to enter. Soon enough both sides were soon beating and pelting each other with rocks, sticks, and knives. The Saudis fired tear gas and live ammunition into the crowds, and over 400 people were killed in the running battles at the most holy site of the Religion of Peace.
In the aftermath, Khomeini called the Saudis a “band of heretics”, and speaker of the Iranian parliament Rafsanjani harkened back to many centuries of Sunni atrocities against Shi’a:
“[The Wahhabi] will commit any kind of crime. I ask you to pay more attention to the history of that evil clique so that you can see what kind of creatures they have been in the course of their history.”
During the storming of the Saudi embassy in Tehran, a Saudi diplomat was murdered. Obviously, the Iranians have difficulty with the concept of respecting the security of diplomatic embassies.
Other Iranian clerics resorted to the ultimate Islamic insult, and insinuated that the Saudis were actually Jews. The Saudis restricted Iranian pilgrims by 60%, and refused to allow any further political statements or marches. The Saudis finally broke off diplomatic relations with the Iranians, with the effect that Shi’a Muslims were banned from participating in hajj even as U.S. troops and foreign oil workers were allowed in Saudi Arabia.
The boiling cauldron of rage that is Islam could be a cornucopia of possibilities for an intelligent and educated kufir leader. But instead, our feckless leaders cannot even be bothered to learn the distinction between Shi’ites and Sunnis.
Previous Days in the "Religion of Peace™":
Posted on 08/02/2008 12:00 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Celebration of First Female Suicide Bomber Turns Into Sectarian Brawl


Following are excerpts from a report on a Lebanese celebration of the “wedding-funeral” of the first ever female suicide bomber, Sana Mehaidli, known as “The Bride of the South,” who detonated a car bomb near an Israeli military convoy in South Lebanon in 1985. The report aired on Al-Jadid/New TV on July 26, 2008.

Reporter: It all began in the Sin Al-Fil [neighborhood of Beirut]. Sana was present, and her comrades saluted her. For the last time, she breathed the air of Beirut and strolled through its streets, reaching the headquarters of her party [the Syrian Social Nationalist Party], where she met people she had left without bidding farewell.

The convey of “the bride” set out on the Al-Ouzai road to Khalde, where SSNP members were waiting to see her. From there, the pioneer of female self-sacrificing fighters left for the south, escorted by hundreds of cars, bearing flags of the party and of the National Resistance Front.

In Maghdouche, the town of the martyr Milad Saliba, Sana was wedded in a great ceremony. The band was playing in her honor, and the crowd was dancing. A bride, in her wedding dress, raised her gun above her head. The procession was showed with rice and roses, and sprayed with rose water. The church bells chimed in her honor.

In ‘Anqoun, there was a crowded reception from balconies, from the rooftops, in the streets, and in cars. The Shiite seminary was packed when Sana arrived. The party chairman could not complete his address, because somebody decided to raise a flag of the Amal party from the podium, and a group of vandals began to destroy the place, leading some fo the participants to leave the premises. SSNP members protected Sana’s coffin and the guests, whlie gunfire could be heard outside the seminary. After things calmed down, the SSNP members accompanied their heroic martyr to the village cemetery, where she was buried, amid continuous disturbances by the village youth, who were the only ones who did not appreciate the honor that Sana bestowed upon the village from which she came.

Posted on 08/02/2008 2:29 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 2 August 2008
A Musical Interlude: Shuffle Off To Buffalo (Ruby Keeler)
Posted on 08/02/2008 5:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Fatah Supporters Enter Israel Fleeing Hamas In Gaza

CNN (with thanks to Alan):

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- About 150 pro-Fatah Palestinians seeking refuge from a Hamas crackdown in eastern Gaza City were allowed into Israel on Saturday, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman told CNN.

They were let in at the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after Hamas took control of a neighborhood in eastern Gaza City on Saturday.

The Palestinians entered through a security checkpoint in Nahal Oz in the Gaza Strip's northern region Saturday afternoon, the spokesman said.

"They were asking to enter the state of Israel after being threatened by Hamas gunmen," the spokesman said.

The spokesman said the Palestinians, some of whom were wounded, were allowed to cross the border after they disarmed. He also said they would be asked about the events leading them to seek refuge in Israel.

Those who suffered injuries were taken to a facility to receive medical treatment.

The BBC puts the number at 180 and describes them as "running" to the border.

Posted on 08/02/2008 6:34 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 2 August 2008

Nidra Poller reports on the beating of Rudy Haddad by Afro and Maghrebi thugs in the infamous 19th Arrondisment in Paris - another Muslim attack on a Jew with an alleged police record-defending friends.  Nida knows a thing or two about this Muslim Jew hatred having written about the deaths of French DJ Sebatien  Selam in 2003 and the torture death of cell phone sales man Ilan Halimi in 2005.

 Note this at a 'fraternal gathering' in the infamous 19th Arrondisement:
Mr. Afira's version of the story, which Paris prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin implicitly contradicted in suggesting that Rudy might have been "visualized as belonging to the gang if only because he was wearing a kippa." Rudy, who is recovering slowly, says the last thing he remembers is that he was on the way to the synagogue.

To reaffirm the good reputation of his district, Socialist Mayor Roger Madec organized a "fraternal gathering" in front of the City Hall on July 3. Reporters were greeted by a press attaché who hastened to inform them that this was not a "purely" anti-Semitic attack -- the Jewish gangs, you know.

With the exception of Richard Prasquier, the president of the Jewish umbrella organization CRIF who asked what is being done about the hatred that fired the unspeakable violence against a 17-year-old simply because he is Jewish, the other speakers sang the praises of good neighborly diversity and warned the media not to pin anti-this and anti-that labels on the "regrettable incident." None of these other speakers thought to address Mr. Prasquier's question.

Read it all here.

Posted on 08/02/2008 6:48 PM by Jerry Gordon

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