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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, 21, 2008.
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Midsummer Solstice
It is the Midsummer Solstice or Longest Day today. According to the BBC the celebrations at Stonehenge were well attended overnight into this morning despite the cold and rain. I woke at first light, about half 4 but as the gloom peeking through my curtains was very grey and accompanied by the sound of pitter patter I rolled over and couldn’t summon the energy to get up and greet the dawn.  I wouldn’t have made a very good Pagan of Henge.
Mid summer Day isn’t until Tuesday.  There will be a very good reason why the Midsummer Solstice and Midsummer Day are 4 days apart but I don’t know what it is.
Below was the scene in my garden this morning several hours later once I had got up.

The condemned snail ate a hearty breakfast.
Don’t worry he was not executed, merely exiled from my potted polyanthus to some bushes at the far end of the garden.
Posted on 06/21/2008 4:40 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Gravesend – further up the river than we originally thought?

These are the very disappointing results of new analyses posted here at Sciencedaily

 

New research suggests that ocean temperature and associated sea level increases between 1961 and 2003 were 50 percent larger than estimated in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. An international team of researchers, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory climate scientist Peter Gleckler, compared climate models with improved observations that show sea levels rose by 1.5 millimeters (sic) per year in the period from 1961-2003. That equates to an approximately 2½-inch increase in ocean levels in a 42-year span.

 

The ocean warming and thermal expansion rates are more than 50 percent larger than previous estimates for the upper 300 meters of oceans. The research corrected for small but systematic biases recently discovered in the global ocean observing system, and uses statistical techniques that “infill” information in data-sparse regions. The results increase scientists’ confidence in ocean observations and further demonstrate that climate models simulate ocean temperature variability more realistically than previously thought.

 

“This is important for the climate modeling community because it demonstrates that the climate models used for assessing sea-level (sic) rise and ocean warming tie in closely with the observed results,” Gleckler said.

 

The results are reported in the June 19 edition of the journal Nature.

 

Climate model data were analyzed from 13 different modeling (sic) groups. All model data were obtained from the WCRP CMIP3 multi-model dataset archived at the LLNL’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI).

 

Although observations and models confirm that recent warming is greatest in the upper ocean, there are widespread observations of warming deeper than 700 meters (sic). Results were compared with recent estimates of other contributions to sea level rise including glaciers, ice caps, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and thermal expansion changes in the deep ocean. When these independent lines of evidence are examined collectively, the story is more consistent than found in earlier studies.

 

The oceans store more than 90 percent of the heat in the Earth’s climate system and act as a temporary buffer against the effects of climate change. The ocean warming and thermal expansion rates are 50 percent larger than previous estimates for the upper 700 meters of oceans, and greater than that for the upper 300 meters.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak,” Gleckler said. “Our ability to quantify structural uncertainties in observationally based estimates is critically important. This study represents important progress.”

 

The team involved researchers from the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CSIRO), the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre and LLNL.

 

So, sea level rises are worse than initially thought. That is most worrying given that so much of our infrastructure is on the coasts of our countries and that so many of our people live on the coastal flood-plains. Now consider this which was reported back in February 2002 at Sciencedaily

 

New calculations by a University of Colorado at Boulder researcher indicate global sea levels likely will rise more by the end of this century than predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2001. The projected sea-level rise is due to a revised estimate of the ice melt from glaciers, said geological sciences Emeritus Professor Mark Meier.

 

Meier and CU-Boulder colleague Mark Dyurgerov have collected new data showing the world’s glaciers and ice caps have exhibited significant ice loss in the 20th century, which has accelerated since 1988. That loss has contributed to at least 20 percent of the observed rise in sea level, said Meier.

 

"Some glaciers around the world now are smaller than they have been in the last several thousand years," he said.

 

"The rate of ice loss since 1988 has more than doubled," said Meier, a researcher and former director of CU-Boulder’s Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research. Dyurgerov also is an INSTAAR researcher.

 

Meier said the IPCC report might have underestimated the wastage of glaciers and ice caps around the word -- excluding Greenland and Antarctica -- for several reasons. The IPPC did not include increases in ice wastage since the late 1980s, an apparent increase in the sensitivity of ice wastage to both temperature and precipitation, and a probable increase in melting from small, cold glaciers surrounding the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, he said.

 

In addition, new data from colleagues at the University of Alaska show that huge glaciers on the West Coast of Alaska and northern Canada are wasting rapidly, said Meier. The melting of these large glaciers has contributed roughly 0.14 millimeters per year in sea rise over the long-term, according to calculations by Meier and Dyurgerov, jumping to more than 0.32 millimeters per year during the last decade.

 

The IPCC, which estimated global ice wastage of only 0.3 millimeters per year, probably underestimated the contribution of glacier disintegration to sea-level rise because little data on the large, maritime glaciers in Alaska was available, said Meier. But this region is the largest contributor to sea-level rise, he said.

 

"The sensitivity of glacier melt to temperature rise depends largely on precipitation, which in some ‘glaciered’ areas like southern coastal Alaska has been greatly under-measured," said Meier. "The large glaciers of Alaska and adjacent Canada currently are contributing about half of the rate of global ice loss, exclusive of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets," said Meier. "But they contain only 17 percent of the glacier ice area."

 

The new data suggests the IPCC calculation for the 21st century -- a total of 0.16 to 0.36 feet -- was an underestimate, said Meier. He calculated that glacier melting could contribute 0.65 feet or more to sea level this century.

 

The IPCC estimated that other processes such as ocean warming would cause an additional 0.36 feet to 1.4 feet of sea-level rise by the year 2100, Meier said.

 

"These estimates in sea-level rise may seem small, but a 1-foot rise in sea level typically will cause a retreat of shoreline of 100 feet or more, which would have substantial social and economic impacts," Meier said.  (My emphasis in bold).

 

Meier said that in the United States, some large coastal cities like Houston "are not much above sea level now." He also said island nations such as Seychelles off the West Coast of Africa and Kiribati southwest of Hawaii are within a meter of being inundated by sea rise.

 

In addition, sea rise of only 1 meter (sic) in Bangladesh would put one-half of the nation underwater, displacing more than 100 million people.

 

Now, back in 2002 we guessed that shoreline retreat was going to be in the order of 100 feet or more with what we had been able to ascertain then. How much worse is it really going to be in the light of what we have been able to work out what now are the more accurate figures for the projected sea level rise.

 

Before you all start yelling just remember this – there is not a single sea level observatory anywhere on Earth which disagrees with the figures – it’s happening and it’s happening fast.

 

Some, a very few, glaciologists believe that there is a possibility that slippage into the oceans of some major ice-sheets could happen catastrophically quickly – in years rather than decades – and raise sea levels by some thirty to forty metres world-wide within ten to twenty years if such an event were to take place. Specifically, they are looking at the unstable East and West Greenland ice-sheets. Most glaciologists don’t think, at the moment, that this is likely but they do not altogether discount the possibility: the role of melt water under pressure under the ice sheets is very little understood and could prove to be crucial in our understanding of how glaciers react to global warming.

 

But, as figures are revised and as new data comes to hand from satellite and on site surveys, and as new understandings of the dynamics of glacier slippage are discovered, just how much credence can we place on the current figures being final and correct? Very little, I’d say.

 

However, the real point is for us is that a very small rise in sea levels is going to precipitate a major population shift. Given that our liberal free democracies are already under pressure from illiberal elements which have migrated here under very little pressure to do so, then how much greater is going to be the threat to our freedoms when faced with hordes of displaced persons for whom we will naturally feel some degree of sympathy but whose collective social and religious focus is shariah and Islam, for we, and our technically competent societies, are more likely to find solutions and to survive than theirs are, so, naturally, we are going to be the destination of choice for those people who are wealthy enough, or able enough, to flee from the disaster as it slowly engulfs their under-developed countries.

 

Global warming, whether anthropogenic or natural, is not just an economic question, it is also a survival question. It’s a test of our will to believe that we should be compassionate and to act compassionately, but it is also a test of our will to survive as free peoples.

 

It puts a whole new meaning on ‘turning the tide’, doesn’t it?

Posted on 06/21/2008 6:35 AM by John Joyce
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Criticismism

Roger Kimball has a few thoughts — more than a few, actually — on "critical thinking."  Perfect for a summer Saturday.

Posted on 06/21/2008 7:01 AM by Andy McCarthy
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Stormy Weather

This report needs to be read. It doesn’t make comfortable reading, but that’s not the point. We need to be prepared.

 

Musical interlude to all this? Try the incomparable Ethel Waters!

Posted on 06/21/2008 7:18 AM by John Joyce
Saturday, 21 June 2008
500 held as relay reaches Tibet
Olympic flame protest continues. From The Australian
FIVE hundred Tibetan exiles have been held by Nepal police after demonstrating outside the Chinese embassy against the Olympic torch relay's visit to Tibet.
Hand-picked spectators cheered runners as the flame passed through Tibet's capital Lhasa earlier in the day, just three months after deadly riots against China's rule in the region.
"We have rounded up over 500 Tibetan protesters. They have been driven to various detention centres," police officer Ramesh Thapa said. "All of them will be released later in the evening."
Protesters, mostly women and monks, waved flags of the Tibetan government-in-exile and screamed "China liar, leave Tibet," and "We want a free Tibet", and other slogans.
Riot police broke up the rally and protesters were bundled into waiting vans and trucks after a brief tussle.
Some of the protesters carried banners reading, "No human rights, no 2008 Olympic torch in Tibet".
"Tibet is not a part of China. The Chinese government doesn't have any rights to take Olympic torch in Tibet," said 20-year-old Tsering, who goes by one name, before police dragged him away.
"China should not be allowed to hold Olympic Games," said Sonam, 24, another protester.
Kathmandu has seen almost daily protests since unrest erupted in Lhasa, capital of the Tibetan region, prompting a crackdown by Chinese security forces in March.
Nepalese officials have repeatedly said no anti-China activity will be allowed as they seek to preserve friendly ties with their giant northern neighbour.
Nepal is home to about 20,000 exiled Tibetans who began arriving in large numbers in 1959 after the Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed uprising against the Chinese.
Posted on 06/21/2008 8:25 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Readerproof prose

In the otherwise excellent article linked by Andy McCarthy earlier, Roger Kimball excoriates a piece of "criticismism":

The featured article is a 30,000 word behemoth by a professor of “inquiry and philosophy” called “Ocularcentrism, Phonocentrism and the Counter Enlightenment Problematic: Clarifying Contested Terrain in our Schools of Education.” I am too charitable to subject you to a sample of its almost comically reader-proof prose (you can see for yourself here), but it is worth pausing to note that such work is absolutely typical in the academic establishment today. It really is “the voice of scholarship,” or what’s become of scholarship.

I enjoy this kind of thing, as readers of my Pseudsday Tuesday column will know. So I clicked on the link and got this:

Microsoft OLE DB Provider for SQL Server error '80040e07'

Syntax error converting the varchar value '11546)' to a column of data type int.

/Content.asp, line 50

Well, it's certainly readerproof, but surprisingly brief. Is it a poem?

Update: Roger Kimball kindly sent me a fresh link. Judge for yourselves whether this, or the earlier version, makes more sense:

Our schools of education today host two important counter-Enlightenment discourses, criticalism and postmodernism. Graduate students inevitably encounter both discourses when taking their required classes in research methods, along with modernist modes of thinking embedded within mainstream research methodologies. These three modes of thought and practice—the modernist mainstream, criticalism and postmodernism—are also found within such educational fields as curriculum studies, multiculturalism, literacy and social foundations. Differences between criticalism and postmodernism are difficult to articulate, and confusion abounds.

I understood only the last two words.

Posted on 06/21/2008 8:32 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 21 June 2008
The American Election And The Energy Debate
A debate, of sorts, about energy, is currently taking place in the United States, between John McCain, who favors off-shore drilling for oil, while also arguing that up to a hundred more nuclear plants be built with government encouragement, and solar energy be similarly supported by the government and Barack Obama, who is against that offshore drilling. For, Obama says, "John McCain's proposal, George Bush's proposal, to drill offshore here in Florida and other places would not provide families any relief this year, next year, five years from now...We can't drill our way out of the problems we're facing."

That's the level at which things proceed here. A debate about something, defined as a "problem" which is, therefore, necessarily susceptible of a "solution," and one where, apparently, one has to choose, as in a Wardour Street Chinese restaurant, only one from Column A and one from Column B, on a menu whose prix is grimly fixe. McCain, for example, appears as yet unwilling to point out that every measure undertaken to produce, or to save, energy, whether it be the building of a nuclear plant (which will have no effects "this year, next year, or five years from now" or even "ten years" from now, but will in twenty or twenty-five), or the improvement and enlargement of a rail system, will have effects not "this year" or "next year" but perhaps, in five or ten years.

All kinds of measures, short-term and long-term, have to be taken, in order not to "solve a problem" but to ameliorate two situations: the one that has so disturbed the natural world, which is anthropogenic climate change, and the other which so threatens our human world, because an incredible accident of geology  put so much of the world's oil under the sands of Arab and Muslim countries, who have been able to use part of that revenue to buy arms, fund arms projects, pay for mosques and madrasas all over the Infidel world, and buy up small armies of Western hirelings, among them past and present government officials in the capitals of the West, journalists, academics at special, Arab-funded "centers" for the study of Islam or the Middle East,  bankers eager to promote "Shari'a finance," and businessmen panting for contracts from the new "goldene Medina" -- as Yiddish-speaking immigrants at the turn of the last century were said to call New York -- which turns out, after all, to be pretty damn close to the original Medina, in the Jazirat al-Arab.

The likely, the almost certain, effects of anthropogenic climate change are so severe, and so difficult to grasp, that most men are unwilling and unable to calmly and rationally consider the origin, scope, and just-possibly, unstoppable progress of the problem. Prate all you want about the Pleasures of Diversity when the most important diversity, biodiversity, is up a creek without a paddle. The time frame is too short, and human beings, particularly in mass democracies that make a fetish of "everyone is entitled to his opinion" are facing the mass extinction of species (possibly 90% of the world's species), a sea-level rise that will threaten, among other places, much of Lower Manhattan, Shanghai (now crazily being built up as a nightmarish cite fourmillante),  Miami, much of Bangladesh, sea-sated Venice, and many of the world's smaller islands, and a great deal more. A mass democracy -- such as the United States -- permits equal time to the wise man and the fool, and since there are always many more fools then wise men, the voice of the mickey-mocking turtle is heard in the land.

If you wish to be disabused of faith in mass democracy, as currently practiced, look only to the American electoral campaign, and the discussion, or inability to clearly discuss, these two matters, and the need to find all possible ways to diminish the effect, on the natural world and on the human world, of the reliance on fossil fuels that has been prompted by the idea of the pursuit of happiness defined in terms of Greed and Growth, an idea that has spread around the world, but that will now have be redefined by the intelligent, and their redefinition popularized,  so that whatever happiness -- real or will-o'-the-wispish -- continues to be pursued will be of a kind more recognizable, say, to residents of Concord in 1840, or London in 1605, or St. Petersburg in 1825 -- than that pursued by so many in New York or London or busy, busy Shanghai today.
Posted on 06/21/2008 8:41 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Lazy Saturday afternoon interlude. Land of the Pharaohs
video
Land of the Pharaohs, Part 1 (of 11).
Starring Jack Hawkins, Joan Collins and James Robertson Justice.
Howard Hawks 1955.
I mentioned this film to a reader yesterday.
This first segment from You tube is the triumphal return for Pharaoh to Egypt and his wife and trusted advisor. It brings to mind the procession into Rome for the later film Cleopatra.
Jack Hawkins is probably best remembered for his roles British war films like The Cruel Sea. James Robertson Justice is best known as Sir Lancelot Spratt in the Doctor series of comedy films. Joan Collins, well what can I say? Currently appearing on British screens in adverts to encourage our use of the local Post Office. Which at the rate Royal Mail is closing them is becoming very difficult.
I have not seen Land of the Pharaohs for a few years and I will watch some more of the next 10 segments during what is left of the afternoon before Dr Who starts.
20 years ago I spent a weekend in Cairo where I visited the Pyramids. I cannot be sure but I came away convinced that some of the soundtrack to this film was used during the English language Son et Lumiere. I may have dreamt the line “Saddle my fastest camel!”; that could well have been from Carry on Cleo.
Posted on 06/21/2008 10:21 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Europe’s Unhappy Union

Is the European Union heading for a Yugoslavian-style denouement? It sometimes looks as if its political class, oblivious to the wishes or concerns of the EU’s various populations, is determined to bring one about. The French and the Dutch voted against the proposed European Constitution, but that did not deter the intrepid political class from pressing ahead with its plans for a superstate that no one else wants. To bypass the wishes of the people, the politicos reintroduced the constitution as a treaty, to be ratified by parliaments alone. Only the Irish had the guts—or was it the foolhardiness?—to hold a referendum on the issue. Unfortunately, the Irish people got the answer wrong. They voted no, despite their political leaders’ urging that they vote yes. No doubt the people will be given an opportunity in the future—or several opportunities, if necessary—to correct their mistake and get the answer right, after which there will be no more referenda.

The European political class was briefly taken aback. What could explain the Irish obduracy? Several explanations came forth, among them Irish xenophobia and intellectual backwardness and the malign influence of the Murdoch-owned press. The narrowest economic self-interest was also said to have played a part. Having been huge beneficiaries of European largesse over the last 30 years, the Irish—who have the second-highest per capita GDP in Europe after Luxembourg—are now being asked to pay some of it back in the form of subsidies to the new union members from Eastern Europe. Ingrates that they are, they don’t want to pay up, especially now that their own economic growth rate has slowed dramatically in the wake of the financial crisis and the economic future looks uncertain.

Another explanation for the Irish “no” vote was that Irish citizens had been frightened by the proposal of the French finance minister to equalize tax rates throughout Europe, thus destroying unfair competition (all competition is unfair, unless the French win). No prizes for guessing whether the high tax rates of France or the low rates of Ireland would become the new standard. Ireland’s golden goose would find itself well and truly slaughtered in the process.

Not to worry, the European political elites soon recovered from the shock. Ireland, they pointed out, is a small and peripheral country, and not a founder-member of the European Union. Anyway, what does it really matter if referendum after referendum, in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Ireland, defeats the proposals of the European political class? The proposals can always be enacted regardless, by other means. What does it matter if two-thirds of Germans regret monetary unification, as do the French and the Italians? What does it matter if prime minister Gordon Brown refused to hold a referendum on the treaty in Britain—having previously promised one—once he realized how roundly voters would reject it? As European Commission president José Manuel Barroso said after the Irish vote: the Lisbon Treaty is not dead, it is living. What the people of Europe want is completely irrelevant.

For the moment, all is peaceful and quiet. The political class, which loves the unitary European state precisely because it so completely escapes democratic or any other oversight (let alone control), and for whom it acts as a giant pension fund, holds the upper hand for now. But tensions and frustrations in Europe have a history of expressing themselves in nasty ways.

Posted on 06/21/2008 11:05 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Saturday, 21 June 2008
From The Dutch Enlightenment To...Or, How Much More Of This Will Be Tolerated?

Netherlands Concerned on Jordan Arrest Warrant for Wilders

NIS News Bulletin June 20 2008

THE HAGUE - The foreign ministry is concerned that Jordan will shortly issue a warrant for the arrest of Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders. This can have "implications for freedom of expression in the Netherlands," according to a spokesman.

A case has been brought against Wilders in Jordan by a group calling itself The Messenger of Allah Unites Us. It accuses the Dutch MP of racism and incitement to hatred against Islam and Muslims. The case was declared admissible by a court in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Monday.

Wilders expects the court to quickly produce a summons and an international warrant for his arrest. Should this happen, Jordan can make a request via Interpol for his tracking down and arrest. Wilders would then run the risk of being arrested abroad. Countries with no extradition treaty with Jordan could then also extradite him, for example with an eye to trade interests.

Wilders said Friday that he is experiencing the situation as a serious hampering of his freedom of movement. He has already had contact several times with Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen about the case. Verhagen is taking the case very seriously, according to Wilders.

A spokesman for Verhagen confirmed that the minister is "following the case very closely because it could have (...)

Posted on 06/21/2008 11:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Saturday afternoon quiz

Which of the following is the odd one out and why?

King's Cross

Shepherd's Bush

Gloucester Road

Barons Court

Golders Green

Finnegans Wake

Warning: this quiz is a real bugger, even though I say so myself. I'll be gobsmacked if anyone gets it right.

Clue: this has nothing to do with Mornington Crescent, although that would be a good answer.

Posted on 06/21/2008 11:01 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Not many laughs in Hardy

This was not, argues Charles Moore, because he couldn't, but because he wouldn't:

The Mayor of Casterbridge was one of the many great books on my conscience because I had never read it, and so I am reading it now. Here is Hardy’s description of the landlady of the Three Mariners: ‘The latter, who remained as fixed in the arm-chair as if she had been melted into it when in a liquid state, and could not now be unstuck, looked the girl up and down inquiringly, with her hands on the chair-arms’. This reminded me of something. Eventually I remembered what. In Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest, Bertie Wooster is called on without notice by Lady Malvern, an ‘overpowering’ friend of his aunt Agatha: ‘She fitted into my biggest arm-chair as if it had been built round her by someone who knew they were wearing arm-chairs tight about the hips that season.’ Presumably, P.G. Wodehouse had read The Mayor of Casterbridge, and it had echoed in his mind. It is interesting that a professionally funny writer and a professionally non-funny one should have toyed with similar ideas. Hardy often has images of great comic potential, but usually prefers not to play them for laughs. He seems to take this attitude on principle. Young Elizabeth-Jane, who is staying at the Three Mariners, believed that ‘though one could be gay on occasion, moments of gaiety were interludes, and no part of the actual drama’. That was Hardy’s own view. It is a pleasing thought that he could have been an absolute scream if he chose, but had the courage to choose not to be.

Posted on 06/21/2008 11:49 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 21 June 2008
A Musical Interlude: My Kid's A Crooner (Elsie Carlisle)
Posted on 06/21/2008 1:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Deported Extremist Thriving in SA, Teaching Kids

From our "where is he now" file (thanks to Alan):

BBC: The self-styled "Sheikh" Abdullah Faisal, a hate-preacher who was convicted of soliciting murder in 2003, was deported to Jamaica from the UK last year.

But he has moved on and is now preaching in South Africa.

I had last seen him in the dock at the Old Bailey where he was convicted of soliciting murder in 2003. Now Abdullah Faisal was at the West Street Mosque in Durban, a bustling port city on South Africa's south-east coast.

He is a man blamed for nurturing the extremism of the 7 July bombers, among others. And during our interview, he admitted for the first time that he was close to one of them, Germaine Lindsay, although Faisal says he advised Lindsay to pursue a life of quiet study.

That evening we drove out to the green hills on the edge of Durban. Faisal was speaking at the MA Motala Islamic Centre, a boarding school for Muslim teenagers.

After football and prayers the boys sat cross-legged on the floor while Faisal spoke to them about "shirk" - the sin of worshipping Gods other than Allah.

There was none of the trademark talk of violence against the Kafirs (unbelievers). But it was bizarre to watch a man who was thrown out of Britain for inciting young Muslims to kill Hindus, Jews and unbelievers speaking to schoolboys in South Africa.

He had been deported four years into a seven-year sentence, and in theory could still be in prison for hate-preaching.

He said he would be not be preaching about Jihad in Africa, but had his hate-filled rhetoric really been toned down? ...

Posted on 06/21/2008 4:20 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Easier tube station quiz

My earlier quiz is going to take some solving. There have been two valiant attempts, but sadly no correct answer.

Meanwhile, here is an easier one. Which of the following tube station names has a full set, and of what?

Covent Garden
Blackfriars
Osterly
East Finchley
Finchley Central
West Finchley
Mansion House
Hendon Central
Collindale
Mornington Crescent
Tufnell Park
Morden
Edgware
Mudchute

Posted on 06/21/2008 5:16 PM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 21 June 2008
ACT Meeting in Nashville
I attended an ACT meeting (that is the organization begun by Brigitte Gabriel) this afternoon in Nashville which was fairly well attended (16) and nicely organized. We discussed a couple of plans of action to undertake locally which will be researched and the results presented at the next meeting. I applaud Gabriel's initiative and hope we can take some grassroots action that will make a difference.
Posted on 06/21/2008 5:43 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 21 June 2008
The British Won't Cry If Israel Hits Iran's Nukes

From The Guardian:

British special forces operating on the border between Afghanistan and Iran have uncovered fresh evidence that Tehran is actively backing insurgents fighting UK troops.

Documented proof that Iran is supplying the Taliban with devastating roadside bomb-making equipment has been passed by British officials to Tehran, prompting fears that the war in Afghanistan may escalate into a regional armed conflict.

Days after Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Britain would freeze the assets of Iran's largest bank to discourage Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, Whitehall sources revealed that they had forwarded 'documentation' that the Iranian authorities were supplying enemy forces in Afghanistan.

'We have given Tehran documentation of things that we are concerned about, but of course they have denied it,' a Whitehall source said.

Nato spokesman James Appathurai echoed concerns that elements in Iran are providing support to insurgents fighting British troops. He said: 'Weapons of Iranian origin have turned up in Afghanistan in significant numbers.' ...

Will anyone other than Mohamed ElBaradei cry over Tehran's suddenly missing nuclear project? Even the Saudis will be privately celebrating. The Russians aren't likely to do anything but wag a finger and the Chinese could care less. The UN will jump up and down, but it's been irrelevant since the fall of communism. The administration may express "regrets" and press Israel harder to give up more land for endless the "peace process," but that will happen anyway. The best window for Israel to take action is between now and November and I'm hoping they will.

Posted on 06/21/2008 7:12 PM by Rebecca Bynum

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