These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 21, 2010.
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
The Epicenter of the World
The epicenter of the world is located in two places - Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at Ground Zero in Manhattan, New York.
When Soviet Communism collapsed in 1989 many in the West believed that we had entered a post-historical world; they were wrong. There would be no “peace dividend” – instead, we now have a reinvigorated ideological existential enemy.
The events of 9/11 signaled a fundamental shift in how the world functions, or does not function. Our response to 9/11 will determine the future of humanity.
Freedom of religion is guaranteed to us by our Constitution. This also means that we have freedom from religion; we can choose what we want to believe. This is not the case in Islam.
According to Islamic Sharia law, apostates (one who leaves Islam) are to be killed. This is compliant with the commands of both Allah and Mohammed in Koran, Sira, and Hadith, the trilogy doctrine of Islam.
Death for apostasy is sanctioned in Sharia law and is required according to the Koran.
They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them (Koran, 4:89) (Please see Bostom, Death for Apostasy)
Nonie Darwish, noted human rights activist, author, and Executive Director of Former Muslims United, sent a “Freedom Pledge” letter to the leaders of the proposed Ground Zero mosque Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan on October 20, 2009. Signatories of the Pledge promise to not harm or harass or commit violent acts against apostates and to respect the Bill of Rights which guarantees Americans freedom of speech and religion. “We reach out to you with a sincere hope that you and your organization will join with us in ensuring peace and justice, safety and freedom for Muslims,” the letter states, “and former Muslims alike.”
The leadership of the Cordoba House mosque, now called Park51, neither acknowledged nor replied to the FMU Pledge. Ignoring the FMU Freedom Pledge when received appears to be the universal response from the “moderate” Muslim community in the US.
As Freedom of Religion (and freedom from religion) is a Constitutional guarantee, Islamic apostasy tradition and laws are both barbaric and unconstitutional. This would suggest that the Ground Zero mosque or any mosque cannot then be built anywhere within the United States as the ideology promulgated in mosques is in opposition to the Constitution.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land;
Islam does not subordinate to the law of the United States; nor does its system of law, Sharia.
David Cameron has asked the UK's top civil servant to review the Government's documentation on the release of the Lockerbie bomber, it has been disclosed.
The Prime Minister has instructed Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, to ensure that all material that "should be made public has been made public . . . I am asking the Cabinet Secretary in the UK to go back over the paperwork and see if there is anything else that should be released and there is the clearest possible pressure out there of what decision was taken and why," he told ABC News ahead of a meeting with Barack Obama.
Mr Cameron had hoped to use his first official visit to the White House to build his standing as a statesman and develop his relationship with the US President. Instead, Mr Cameron has been forced to focus on the decision last August to return the cancer-stricken prisoner to Libya on compassionate grounds.
Ahead of the meeting with the President, Mr Cameron said he believed Megrahi "should have died in jail. . .As leader of opposition, I couldn't have been more clear that I thought the decision to release al-Megrahi was completely and utterly wrong," Cameron told the BBC.
In the course of research for my study of Islam I have naturally had to familiarize myself with the Western reception, perception, and sometimes misperception of the beliefs and practices of the Muslims. All types of texts swam into my ken. Only a representative sampling need be mentioned here.
There was the early guide of Richard Turberville, The Alcoran Alembicked, or, A Short Guide to the Religion of the Turks (1688). There was A Brief and True Relation of a Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, with a description of Stony Arabia (1704), by the pious antiquarian Francis Gascoyne. In 1746 there was Captain Edward Danvers’ A Voyage to Padanaram, in three volumes octavo; volumes 1 and 2 being devoted to descriptions of the ports-of-call visited along the way by The Bonaventure, the East Indiaman under his command, with Volume 3 finally making room for “the manners and customs of the Mahometans.”
There was Col. James Withycombe’s Journal of a Residence in Ispahan, 1824 and 1825, together with An Embassy to Tehran and Account of a Visit to Kom, published in 1827. There was Lady Hester Wanhope’s 1846 Letters from Arabia Felix and the Hadramaut. There was Evariste Cinqpère, nom de plume (chosen to avoid confusion with a near-homonymous novelist) of Evariste Bernardin de Saint-Père, whose Essai sur les maronites et les drouses du Mont Liban en Grande Syrie, avec aperçus historiques et chronologiques, appeared in 1856.
There was Donato Donati’s Vita, Morte, e Miracoli di Mahometo, the first Western attempt to question the received version of the Prophet’s life, in 1873. There were the pioneering Leiden lectures of Professor van Beck en Donk, published in English as Authority and Isnad in Early Islam. There was the expanded version of Sir Montague Goldsmid’s Göttingen doctoral thesis, which first appeared in 1890 as Das Leben von Muhammad and, in English, as The Life of Mohammed in 1893 -- a more respectful account than that of the agnostic Donati. There was the three-volume study by Prof. A. S. Kizevetter on the relations between Islam and the Mongols in Medieval Rus (Zolotaya Orda i Islam v istorii srednevekovii Rossii), which appeared in a sumptuous edition (Aux dépens du Fonds Demidoff), only 400 copies printed, with the French en face, and the Russian en regard, in 1898.
In 1904, as an appendix to the second edition of his well-received A Pisgah Sight of Palestine, the Rev. George Underwood included a startling excursus on “Secret Jewry Among the Midianites,” about certain tribes of the northern Hijaz. A Whirlwind Tour of Mevlevistan, by the intrepid Canadian adventurer (himself a whirl of Breton, Scots, and Cree Indian) Hector St. John Breakhart, whose cisatlantic public loved him for the dangers he had passed, and who once dismissed the icy rigors and slippery slopes of the Hindu Kush as “quelques arpents de neige,” appeared in 1913.
In 1918, young lads were gladdened when Ralph Dunn (pseudonym of DeCourcey Tagliaferro Dickinson) published, as his valedictory volume in the celebrated Crisscrossing the Continents series, Jaunts in Jalalabad, starring the Dunbar boys (Frank and John).
How curious about other creeds those pioneers Turberville and Gascoyne had been, how inquisitive Capt. Danvers and Col. Withycombe, how acute in her sensibilities that English lady of quality Hester Wanhope, how wittily acerbic that historian à ses heures Evariste Cinqpère, how skeptical that republican veteran of anticlerical struggles the Tuscan patriot and civic-minded publisher of La Patria Donato Donati, how scrupulous in their weighing of evidence those exemplars of European scholarship at its height -- the Dutchman van Beck en Donk, the Anglo-German Goldsmid, the Russian Kizevetter. And how brimful of innocent faith the Reverend Underwood, how daring and undaunted the Canadian Hector Breakhart, how full of Yankee ingenuity those Dunbar boys, Frank and John!
If you are looking for interesting books -- some with unusual provenances -- you may wish to visit the NER Bookstore, which opens today.
The first book to be listed is "BEDU," an oversize (Folio) collection of black-and-white photographs of Bedouin by Humberto da Silveira published in 1994. The book was published, in a small run, and meant to be given as an impressive gift to, and from, both influential Arabs and Western executives doing business in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.
This copy is in mint condition, clean and tight, in the original slipcase.
Geert Wilders’ PVV discloses Dutch government support for ‘ground zero’ Mosque
Today’s New York Times, has an op ed by Robert Wright, “A Mosque Maligned”, in which he decries criticism of Imam Faisal Rauf and the controversial Cordoba House Initiative, the ‘ground zero mosque’ by asserting: “So far as I can tell, [Imam] Rauf is a good person who genuinely wants to build a more peaceful world.”
Former Muslims United (FMU) issued a news release on July 13th disclosing that Imam Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan had not signed a Freedom Pledge request sent them last October, abjuring death fatwas against those who leave Islam. So much for Rauf and Khan’s taqiyya about building a ‘peaceful’ tolerant world, given their intolerance.
Then there is this stunning revelation courtesy of a Gates of Vienna report that Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) has uncovered Dutch government support for the ‘ground zero’ project: a $1 million grant made to the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) headed by Imam Rauf and Ms. Khan. Given this disclosure should Imam Rauf and Ms. Kahn be required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA? This information obtained by GoV has been passed on to the alliance of Ground Zero Mosque opponents in Manhattan.
Bravo to Wilders, architect of the newly launched International Freedom Alliance for questions raised in the Hague Parliament. A tip of the hat to Baron Bodissey and the team at GoV for bringing this to our attention.
Note the GoV report based on translation of Dutch news reports:
Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated an article from today’s De Telegraaf about the Dutch government’s indirect role in financing the proposed mosque at Ground Zero. Geert Wilders and the PVV have been instrumental in exposing this sordid little arrangement:
“Netherlands subsidizes Ground Zero mosque”
The Party for Freedom has filed parliamentary questions in response to an article on the Dutch website “text2|Dagelijkse Standaard}”in which it is reported that the Netherlands co-finances the construction of a mosque a stone’s throw from Ground Zero in New York City with a million U.S. dollars of Dutch taxpayers’ money.
The website of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that a subsidy of $ 1,000,000 was awarded to the organization American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA). That organization is, in cooperation with the Islamic organization Cordoba Initiative, responsible for the hundred million U.S. dollar cost of the Islamic Center Mosque, which will be built near Ground Zero.
The PVV demands clarification and calls the already-approved plans for the building of a mosque right next to Ground Zero absurd and an insult to the thousands of relatives of the victims who fell on September 11, 2001.
The scandal was first made public by the Dutch section of International Civil Liberties Alliance in May this year: “A mosque too far”. According to the article, it is not “only” the mentioned $1,000,000 that has been funded by the Dutch Minister of Development Aid, Bert Koenders (PvdA, Labour Party, Socialists). His “Millennium Development Goals Fund” (MDG3) also transferred half a million dollars directly to ASMA, only days before Feisal Abdul Rauf closed the purchase of the building (June 20, 2009).
Questions of the members Wilders and Fritsma (both PVV) to the Minister for WWI and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands about the co-funding of a mosque on Ground Zero.
Is it true that Dutch taxpayers’ money is used for the support of ASMA, the organization of Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, who wants to build a mosque on Ground Zero?* If yes,
Do you acknowledge that it is absurd to build a mosque right at Ground Zero and that this is also an insult to (the families of) the victims of 9-11? If not, why not? If so,
Are you, given the offensive plan to build said mosque, willing to immediately withdraw the subsidy to ASMA? If not, why not?
*American Society for Muslim Advancement, Minbuza.nl.
The lower house of the Spanish Parliament is debating a proposal to prohibit the wearing of body-covering burqas and face-covering niqabs in all public spaces in Spain. The measure, which follows similar moves by nearly a dozen local and regional governments across Spain, marks a major escalation in the national debate over Muslim immigration and the role of radical Islam in Spain.
Critics say the rate of Muslim immigration to Spain now far exceeds the rate of assimilation. And polls seem to support that claim. According to a Pew Global Attitudes Survey, for example, religion is central to the identity of Spanish Muslims. Nearly 70 percent of Spanish Muslims identify themselves primarily as Muslim rather than as Spanish. This level of Muslim identification in Spain is similar to that in Pakistan, Nigeria, and Jordan, and even higher than levels in Egypt, Turkey, and Indonesia.
There is now a widespread feeling among Muslims that the territories they lost during the Spanish Reconquest still belong to them, and that they have a right to return and establish their rule there. This is based on the Islamic idea that territories once occupied by Muslims must remain under Muslim domination forever.
The majority of Muslim immigrants to Spain are from Morocco, Algeria and Pakistan. They mostly live in clusters along the Mediterranean coast. Fully one-third of Spain's Muslims live in the north-eastern autonomous region of Catalonia, the capital of which is Barcelona. Tarragona, one of the most important cities in Catalonia, has also become ground-zero for Salafist Islam in Spain.
Salafism is a branch of revivalist Islam that calls for restoring past Muslim glory by re-establishing an Islamic empire across the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. Salafists view Spain as a Muslim state that must be reconquered for Islam.
Muslims ruled large parts of Spain for a period of about 800 years. Islamic rule over the region then known as Al-Andalus ended in 1492, when Granada, the last Muslim stronghold, capitulated to the Roman Catholic kings.
In Granada, for example, there are now parallel societies and some Muslims want traditional Sharia law to be applied there instead of Spanish law. They are also demanding Muslim education and special Muslim schools for their children. They even want an equal share in the money made with ticket sales for the fabled Alhambra palace, which they regard as part of the cultural heritage of their Muslim ancestors.
The debate comes after the Spanish Senate, on June 23, voted 131 to 129 to "use all options under our legal system and to proceed with rules to prohibit the public use of the 'burqa' and the 'niqab' to ensure equality, freedom and security." The Senate language also calls on Spain to outlaw "any usage, custom or discriminatory practice that limits the freedom of women."
Leaders of the ruling Socialist Party have said they support the proposal, which was introduced by the opposition center-right Popular Party. Spanish Justice Minister Francisco Caamaño said that full-face veils such as the burqa are "hardly compatible with human dignity." The unusual display of bipartisan unity on the burqa issue makes a ban likely unless Spain's highest court rules it unconstitutional. A final vote on the ban is expected to take place in early September, after the summer holidays.
The burqa debate comes as immigration from Muslim countries to Spain continues to soar. Spain currently has a Muslim population of slightly over 1 million, or about 2 percent of Spain's total population. Although this percentage is smaller than in other European countries such as France (7 percent), Holland (6 percent), Belgium (4 percent), Germany (3 percent) and Britain (3 percent), Spain has experienced a whopping ten-fold increase in the number of Muslim immigrants in just 20 years.
As recently as 1990, there were only 100,000 Muslims in Spain. Up until the 1980s, Spain was a net exporter of labor and there was very little Muslim labor immigration to the country. Instead, Spain was a transit country for Maghrebian [North African} immigrants on their way to France and other European countries with significant and well-established Muslim communities. But during the mid-1990s, Spain's traditional role as a transit country became that of a host country for Muslim immigrants, especially from Morocco.
Immigration, however, is only one reason for the steady rise in Spain's Muslim population. Muslim fertility rates are more than double those of an aging native Spanish population. Spain currently has a birth rate of around 1.3, which is far below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per couple. At the current rates, the number of native Spaniards will be cut in half in two generations, while the Muslim population in Spain will quadruple.
The Pew survey also shows that Muslim immigrants are viewed with suspicion by Spanish society and that most Spaniards doubt that Muslims coming to Spain want to adopt their national customs and way of life. Almost 70 percent of Spaniards say that Muslims in Spain want to remain distinct from the larger society.
Almost 80 percent of the Spanish public sees Muslims as having a strong Islamic identity. Among those in the Spanish general public who see Islamic identity on the rise, 82 percent say it is a bad thing. Around 65 percent of Spaniards are somewhat or very concerned about rising Islamic extremism in their country.
In October 2007, Amr Moussa, the Egyptian Secretary-General of the Arab League, asked the Spanish government to allow Muslims to worship in the cathedral of Córdoba. This building was a mosque during the medieval Islamic kingdom of Al-Andalus. Muslims now hope to recreate the ancient city of Córdoba, which was once the heart of Al-Andalus, as a pilgrimage site for Muslims throughout Europe. Funds for the project are being sought from the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, and Muslim organizations in Morocco and Egypt.
The debate over Muslim immigration and radical Islam in Spain recently flared when an imam in Tarragona was arrested for forcing a woman to wear a hijab head covering. The local prosecutor had asked the judge to jail the imam and three others for five years for harassment, but the case was eventually dismissed after the Socialist mayor said she wanted to prevent "a social conflict."
In another case, nine Salafists in Catalonia kidnapped a woman, tried her for adultery based on Sharia law, and condemned her to death. The woman escaped and fled to a local police station just before she was to be executed by the Islamists.
Not surprisingly, the Spanish debate over banning the burqa is especially heated in Catalonia, where nearly a dozen municipalities have banned the use of Islamic veils in public. In June, Barcelona was the first major Spanish city to bar the use of face-covering Islamic veils in municipal buildings.
In the Catalan town of Lleida, where 29,000 Muslims make up more than 20 percent of the town's population, the town council recently voted to ban the burqa in all public spaces. Women found wearing burqas will be let off with a warning, but second offenders will be fined up to €600 ($750).
The burqa issue burst onto the national stage last November, when a Muslim lawyer was ejected from Spain's high court in Madrid, where she was defending a client, because the lawyer refused to remove her headscarf. And in April, a 16-year-old schoolgirl was banned from a school in Madrid after refusing to remove her hijab, in violation of the school dress code. That decision sparked a debate because there are no clear guidelines over the wearing of Islamic headdresses in state schools in Spain.
The proposed burqa ban, which has the support of all of Spain's major political parties except for those on the extreme left, would not include head-covering veils, such as the mantilla shawls often worn by Spanish women, especially during religious ceremonies in southern Spain.
If the burqa ban is approved by the Spanish Parliament, it will still need to be vetted by the Supreme Court to determine its compatibility with the Spanish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. The Council of Europe, the European institution dealing with human rights issues, recently warned national governments against imposing a complete ban, saying that it would constitute an "ill-advised invasion of individual privacy."
Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, has signed an appeal for funds to outfit a ship--to be named The Audacity of Hope after Barack Obama's second book--that will challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza in September or October, according to a report by Robert Mackey at The Lede, a blog of the New York Times. His wife Mona is also a signatory.
The appeal is posted at the site USTOGAZA.ORG, which says the ship will sail from the US to the Eastern Mediterranean, where it will join ships from "Europe, Canada, India, South Africa and parts of the Middle East." The appeal employs the word "we" when speaking of the upcoming trip, which gives the impression that the signatories intend to be aboard.
The site's opening paragraph is laden with falsehoods of commission and omission:
This is an important moment in history. In the aftermath of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre and increased world-wide scrutiny of Israel's blockade of Gaza, the Israeli government has mounted a huge public relations campaign spreading the lie that by letting a few more items into Gaza the blockade has been lifted. This is not the reality. Gaza is still under siege, vital building materials and other supplies are banned, exports of goods from Gaza are denied and neither ships nor people can travel without permission from Israel, permission which Israel will not give. Gaza is essentially an open-air prison under a U.S.-backed Israeli blockade.
Somehow, USTOGAZA omitted reference to this video, which shows Israeli commandos being brutally attacked by those on board.
It notes the amount of money needed and the size of the ship:
We turn to you to help make the U.S. boat, The Audacity of Hope, a reality. We must raise at least $370,000 in the next month. These funds will be used to purchase a boat large enough for 40-60 people, secure a crew, and cover the licensing and registering of the boat. In addition, the funds will subsidize some other costs of sending a U.S. delegation.
Mackey's brief report notes the Khalidi-Obama connection, about which CW examined closely during the 2008 presidential campaign:
One of the activists whose name appears beneath the appeal for funds is Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American professor at Columbia whose friendship with Mr. Obama was briefly made into a campaign issue in October 2008 by Senator John McCain.
As my colleagues Marc Santora and Elissa Gootman reported at the time, days before the presidential election, Mr. McCain cited a Los Angeles Times article "about a dinner Mr. Obama attended in Mr. Khalidi's honor in 2003, and questioned Mr. Obama's commitment to Israel." Subsequent reports that Mr. McCain had helped finance Mr. Khalidi's work in the West Bank blunted those criticisms to some extent.
The real audacity this round is for Khalidi, who served as a spokesman for the PLO while it was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, to engage in this kind of agitprop. Audacious, but hardly surprising for a man with a long history of substituting anti-American and anti-Israel propaganda for scholarship and teaching, as CW has demonstrated conclusively. (Links between McCain and Khalidi were questioned by the foundation that awarded the grant.)
Twenty-four years ago, Daniel Pipes wrote in a review of Khalidi's book, Under Seige: PLO Decisionmaking During the 1982 War, that "It is hard not to suspect the objectivity of a book on the Palestine Liberation Organization that starts by thanking PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and is dedicated to those killed in 1982 'in defense of the cause of Palestine.'" In the book's introduction, Pipes noted that Khalidi expressed his "deep thanks" to Arafat and his minions, who "extended every possible assistance to me on three trips to Tunis," then home to the PLO.
Viewed in this light, Khalidi's career reveals a man with a disturbing consistency as an apologist for terrorist organizations. Whether shilling for the PLO under Yasser Arafat or blockade-running for Hamas, which rules Gaza, Khalidi consistently sides with civilization's enemies.
There is something about Polina Agureeva's appearance that reminds me of Anna Chapman. Not a lot, but something. However, no one would have invited Polina Agureeva to be in a pornographic movie. Those were chaster times, and there was less brazen effrontery.
The Luck of Roaring Camp, by Bret Harte, illustrated by Paul Honore.
Privately Printed by the Hadden Craftsmen, 1941. First edition thus. One of 1250 copes.
With a long inscription on the free front end-paper by the illustrator Paul Honore.
La Divina Commedia. Edited and annotated by C. H. Grandgent, revised by Charles S. Singlton.
Harvard University Press, 1972.Mint
As Singleton says on p. vi of his introduction: "Indeed, for English-speaking students generally Grandgent's edition of the Commedia, revised, can now continue to be the basic, indispensable textbook edition for a direct study of the great poem, whether in the classroom or outside, wherein the student who wishes to read his Dante in the original Italian will find no English translation to tempt his roving eye to the opposite page and thus divert his attention from that original.'"
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. James Agee and Walker Evans. Small amount of d.j. on top of spine and back not present, not price-clipped..
Houghton Mifflin, 1960. First edition. Hardcover. First printing of this edition, originally published in 1941. This revised edition contains a new foreword by Walker Evans and additional photographs.
6. A Concise History of Buddhist Art In Siam. Reginald Le May. As new, with the Buddhist-themed tassle bookmark and the rare Tuttle slipcase. First edition, 1962.
7. Nantucket's Story From Settlement To Summer Visitors. The Coffin Saga. Riverside Press, 1949. Paper.VG
Story of the Nantucket and the Coffin family, including a list of Tristram Coffin's descendants, gravures of houses, people, and other relics.
8. African Systems of Thought, ed. Fortes and Dieterlen. Studies presented and discussed at the Third International African Seminar in Salisbury, December 1960. Published for the International African Institute by Oxford University Press. 1965. Name and university of previous owner on first page, else Fine.
I was reading a discussion elsewhere this morning about the Barbary Corsairs, aka Sallee Rovers, and the many years they spent attacking European shipping and enslaving several million Christians from western Europe, as far west as Cornwall and Ireland and as far north as Iceland. Slaves who were sold in the markets of north Africa, the women for the harems and the men for the galleys or hard labour.
I said I would put up this song by Pete Scrowther, perfomed by PJ Wright with Dave Pegg and Ric Sanders, from the album Never Chance your Luck against the Sea.
It is a rather romanticised tale which may have been based on Thomas Pellow's story as detailed in White Gold by Giles Milton.
In the song the boy captured as a slave by the Barbary Cosairs gets a kind master and freedom after his death - he becomes a rich merchant. One day in the market he spots a terrified Cornish girl called Lily. He buys her, they fall in love and marry. Because she is homesick they return to England with his wealth.
In reality Thomas Pellow was tortured and eventually assented to islam under duress. He remained a slave but as a Muslim he was allocated a wife and a position of more respect. The Sultan liked mixing the races of his slaves to see what colouring their children would come out with. They had a daughter and it wasn't until his wife and their child died during an epidemic that Pellow made his escape and eventually returned to England.
The photographs are of coastal towns and ports where the English men and woman captured and enslaved could have come from. Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, London, Medway, Sussex and Gloucester.
And my point is that this part of our history is becoming much better known in recent years.
Rebels attack power station in Russia's Muslim south
BAKSAN Russia (Reuters) - Suspected Islamist militants in Russia's volatile North Caucasus stormed a hydroelectric plant and killed two guards on Wednesday in an escalation of rebel attacks on Russian economic targets. The attack in Kabardino-Balkaria was a blow to Kremlin efforts to contain the insurgency on its Muslim southern flank, where rebels stage near-daily attacks on civilians and police.
Power supplies were not disrupted but analysts say the raid shows that rebels are fulfilling their threats to target economic infrastructure as part of their struggle to create an independent Islamic state in the Caucasus.
It also shows that the insurgency, previously contained to Chechnya and nearby regions such as Dagestan, is now spreading beyond the traditional epicentre of violence. Analysts say Kabardino-Balkaria's proximity to Sochi, where the 2014 Russian Winter Olympics are due to be staged, could pose a headache to the Kremlin.
No one took responsibility but unofficial Islamist websites described the attackers as mujahideen fighters. "I'm afraid this may have been a rehearsal for something much larger," a member of the FSB's National Anti-Terror Committee, Alexander Torshin, told Ekho Moskvy radio.
The insurgency leader and Russia's most wanted man, Chechen rebel Doku Umarov, self-named "Emir of the Caucasus Emirate," threatened a year ago to attack Russian energy pipelines and power stations as part of an "economic war" on Russia.
Manchester United’s 'dangerous' red devil crest is ‘un-Islamic’
I saw this news item yesterday and forgot to post it. The version I read in on an Asian site (which may have been this one in SIFY) concentrated on the most henious shirts of all, those with crosses on them, then the secondary evils of demon drink and demon MUFC.
The western papers today seem to think the Reds are more newsworthy. From the Metro.
Manchester United’s red devil crest has been branded ‘dangerous’ by Muslim clerics in Malaysia who have banned the team’s supporters from wearing replica shirts.
‘You are only promoting the devil,’ said Harussani Zakaria, a cleric from northern Perak state.
‘This is very dangerous. As a Muslim, we should not worship the symbols of other religions or the devils,’ said another cleric, Nooh Gadot.‘It will erode our belief in Islam. There is no reason why we as Muslims should wear such jerseys, either for sports or fashion reasons. . . it was clearly wrong for Muslims to wear the shirt . . . fans should repent immediately’.
Other teams whose shirts are off limits include Brazil, Portugal, Barcelona, Serbia and Norway because they carry images of the cross.
What else might the Imans not like on a football shirt? Tottenham Hotspur - is that chicken halal?
West Ham and those crossed hammers. Are they really the symbol of the old Thames Foundry Iron works, or the symbol of Charles Martel the Hammer?
Glasgow Celtic is sponsored by Carling this year. Its not what I call beer but it is alcoholic. So thats a No.
Newly promoted Dagenham and Redbridge FC, sponsored by local undertakers West and Co. Unobjectionable - We Love Death!
Note to marketing manager - merchandising opportunity opening in Malaysia shortly stop.
A Taste For Self-Parody At Harvard Divinity School. Or, Give Me That Old-Time Religion
Harvard announces a new appointment at the Divinity School:
Mayra Rivera Rivera
Assistant Professor of Theology and Latina/o Studies
BS ChE, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez
MTS, PhD, Drew University
Mayra Rivera Rivera joined the HDS faculty in July 2010 as Assistant Professor of Theology and Latina/o Studies. She previously served as Assistant Professor of Theology at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. She also mentored doctoral students of the Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of graduate theological seminaries and centers located in the San Francisco Bay area. Her transdisciplinary work as a theologian engages key Christian themes, constructively and deconstructively, in relation to current theory and philosophy—especially in feminist, postcolonial, and Latina studies. Her book The Touch of Transcendence: A Postcolonial Theology of God (Westminster John Knox Press, 2007) explores the relationship between God's otherness and interhuman difference. It demonstrates how her scholarship engages theological constructs to find new ways to transfigure metaphors, bodies, and the space between bodies in order to affect dominant modes of knowledge and power. She is also co-editor, with Stephen Moore, of Planetary Loves: Spivak, Postcoloniality, and Theology (Fordham University, 2010) and, with Catherine Keller and Michael Nausner, of Postcolonial Theologies: Divinity and Empire (Chalice Press, 2004). She is currently writing a book that explores the connections between theological and philosophical metaphors of flesh, spirit, and glory.