These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 22, 2010.
Thursday, 22 April 2010
The French Will Not Put Up With This Crap
From BBC News:
France's justice minister has called for legal action to be taken against a man who was photographed wiping his bottom with the French flag.
Michel Alliot-Marie said it was unacceptable for the Tricolour to be insulted in this way, and called for those responsible to be prosecuted.
Her response came after the photograph was displayed in a competition run by the media retailer, FNAC.
The image won a special mention in the "politically incorrect" category.
Taken on the street, the photograph shows a man seen from behind: his trousers are around his ankles and he is apparently wiping his bottom with a French flag.
The picture appeared last month in Metro, a free national newspaper, and was hastily withdrawn from the contest in the southern city of Nice after complaints from veterans' groups.
"As soon as we saw that people were shocked by the image, we withdrew it from the list of winners, with the photographer's consent, and we have not exhibited it," said a FNAC spokeswoman.
The government got involved after being alerted by a local MP, says the BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris.
But under French law, it is only an offence to insult the flag in an event organised by the public authorities - not in a private, cultural event such as this, adds our correspondent.
Ms Alliot-Marie said that in that case the law should be changed.
"Presumably the law has the legal means to punish such an intolerable act against the French flag," said the minister's spokesman.
"If the existing law proves incomplete in this regard, it should be revised.
People of different nationalities will react to this news in their very different national ways.
Americans, for example, will recall Texas v. Johnson, and go to their desks, and start to diligently shepardize.
Russians, on the other hand, will simply laugh, and tell one another:
"Kto-to oshibsya. Eto "Pravda" chto goditsya na podtirku." [Someone made a mistake. It's "Pravda" that we find so absorbent.]
If you are neither French, nor American, nor Russian, perhaps you will care to suggest a characteristic response of your own nation to such a vexing piece of vexillogical outrage.
Please leave your suggestions in the Comments field below. .
Posted on 04/22/2010 12:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 22 April 2010
12-year-old bride’s divorce prompts marriage age review in Saudi Arabia
From The Times
A girl aged 12 has won a divorce from her 80-year-old husband in Saudi Arabia in a case that may help to introduce a minimum age of marriage in the kingdom for the first time. The girl’s unusual legal challenge to the arrangement generated international media attention and scrutiny of Saudi Arabia’s record of child marriages.
It also prompted the state-run Human Rights Commission to appoint a lawyer to represent her. The commission has capitalised on the case and pushed for a legal minimum age for marriage of at least 16.Medical experts, child psychologists, social workers and scholars in Islamic law will debate the issue over the coming months before submitting their recommendations to a public hearing.
Based on these findings, the commission and the Ministry of Justice will issue new guidelines and impose a legal minimum age for the first time. “The main aim is to not allow cases like this to happen again,” said Alanoud alHejailan, a lawyer for the commission. There will be some opposition, of course, but we feel that public opinion has changed on this issue. We want to gather all the public support we can for a minimum age for marriage.”
The Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to a nine-year-old girl has been used as justification for the practice in some quarters. In January, however, Sheikh Abdullah al-Manie, a senior Saudi cleric, spoke out in defence of the girl, declaring that the Prophet’s marriage 14 centuries ago could not be used to justify child brides today. The 12-year-old has been fighting her case through the courts in the conservative town of Buraidah, near Riyadh, the capital. She was married against her wishes to her father’s elderly cousin last year. A dowry of 85,000 riyals (£14,500) was paid and the marriage consummated.
Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is on a tour of the Middle East and met King Abdullah in Riyadh on Monday. UN officials confirmed that child marriage was discussed with King Abdullah and the Ministry of Justice.
Posted on 04/22/2010 2:00 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Now, Islamic terror strikes Pakistan’s top university
From the Times of India - on the troubles next door.
LAHORE: The professor was working in his office here on the campus of Pakistan’s largest university this month when members of an Islamic student group battered open the door, beat him with metal rods and bashed him over the head with a giant flower pot.
Iftikhar Baloch, an environmental science professor, had expelled members of the group for violent behavior. The retribution left him nearly unconscious, and it united his fellow professors, who protested with a nearly three-week strike that ended on Monday. The attack and the anger it provoked have drawn attention to the student group, Islami Jamiat Talaba, whose morals police have for years terrorized this graceful, century-old institution by brandishing a chauvinistic form of Islam, teachers here say.
The university’s plight encapsulates Pakistan’s predicament: an intolerant, aggressive minority terrorizes a more open-minded, peaceful majority, while an opportunistic political class dithers, benefiting from alliances with the aggressors. This is the University of the Punjab, Pakistan’s premier institution of higher learning, with about 30,000 students, and a principal avenue of advancement for the swelling ranks of Pakistan’s lower and middle classes.
But the group has help from a surprising source — national political leaders who have given it free rein, because they sometimes make political alliances with its parent organization, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan’s oldest and most powerful religious party, they say. The rhetoric of the group is strongly anti-West, chauvinistic and intolerant of Pakistan’s religious minorities. It was a vocal Taliban supporter, until doing so became unpopular last year. Its members block music classes, ban soft drinks and beat male students for sitting near girls on the university lawn.
“It’s fascist,” said Shaista Sirajuddin, an English literature professor, of the Islamic student movement. “Every single government has averted its eyes.”
Posted on 04/22/2010 3:10 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Not Since Eve Has An Apple Caused So Much Trouble – iPad In Israel
Brian of London writes at Israelycool:
If only there was a serpent in the grass, this story would have everything needed for a biblical blockbuster.
In the beginning Man created the mainframes and PCs
Now the computers were formless and empty and hard to use and kept crashing a lot.
And Jobs said, “Let there be a small, but not too small, a bit bigger than a phone, computer thing with a touch screen” and there was the iPad™. And Jobs looked at it (and so did 500,000 other people in the first week), and saw that it was good.
And then a few dozen, maybe even a hundred, Israelis bought the things in America and flew back to Israel with them. Very soon after release, therefore, they started arriving in Israel. A few got through, some less than honest people, probably just carried them through the airport and “forgot” to declare them and pay the necessary 16%VAT. Other more honest people declared they had them, like Eve, immediately regretted their Apple.
The Ministry of Communications in Israel has (fairly arbitrarily) declared that this computer is different from all other computers. The first article about this was in Haaretz, but then the whole fiasco went world wide. By now 100’s of articles have been written about Israel banning the iPad supposedly because it’s WiFi meets US standards rather than European. One of the better articles is in the Wall Street Journal and is pretty much correct in the facts.
As I import a few hundred American specification Laptops per week into Israel this took me rather by surprise. As the youngest kid might ask naively at Passover dinner: “why is this slate different from all other slates?”
The tech blogs have covered this in huge detail and it really is a classic example of out of touch government agencies knowing not what they do. Some are linking this with the fact that Shimon Peres’s son owns the sole Apple import license but even I don’t think this is too likely. The whole system for bringing computer equipment containing radios into Israel is, to put it mildly, a big mess. The iPad has exactly the same WiFi/Bluetooth/FM chip as the iPod Touch and various other Apple laptops which are available here. Legitimate importers ask for permission to bring a particular type of chip, get a certificate and then declare on the import papers that such and such a computer has this type of WiFi for which permission is granted.
So to say that the WiFi doesn’t meet European standards is odd. Especially when it’s easy enough to download a document from Apple’s website giving all the European approvals for the iPad. Here are a couple of extracs:
As for me, my own iPad arrived in Israel legally declared travelling piggy back with a large number of other laptops and was either missed by customs or allowed through despite the ban. Of course VAT was paid for it.
What a fuss and this is really just a classic example of how Israel’s modern dynamic private sector is matched by an out of date, over burdensome socialist derived bureaucracy trying to justify it’s existence. Israel is likely to be a hot bed of development for the iPad as it has proved to be for the iPhone and the forward thinking Web 2.0 ideas that marry mobile computing and always on internet connections. Blocking Israel’s web developers from legitimately owning an iPad before the official importer can bring them is a bone headed move.
We will wait to see if anybody from the press manages to point out pages 4 and 5 of the iPad Product Information Guide to the Ministry of Communications here. It seems pretty clear to me that when Apple do start shipping the iPad to the UK, Germany and France, they’ve got all the right permissions in place to do it.
Posted on 04/22/2010 7:41 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Barbarism in Accordance with Islamic Shari'ah Law
I received these awful pictures from two human rights workers.
It is essential that somehow the general public get to know the reality. The brutal reality. The truth.
These verses below from the Koran are, sadly, relevant.
Sura 5:33 explains what Allah says is to happen to those who "wage war against God and his Apostle" and do "mischief."
|The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;
The photos show "hands and feet" cut off and of course the fact of the "execution" of the victims is evidenced by the heads. The legal justification or reasoning for the cutting of heads can be found in that verse 5:33 ("execution") and specifically in relation to heads for example in Sura 47.04 and in many other places.
Sorry about the pictures, but it is better to know.
This is an issue of law, "Islamic Shari'ah" law.
This is "Islamic Shari'ah" law applied.
This law is what Islam, yes Islam, not just "extremists," has declared that it wishes to be applied to all "mankind" in its take on human rights:
Wishing to contribute to the efforts of mankind to assert human rights, to protect man from exploitation and persecution, and to affirm his freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with the Islamic Shari’ah.
Is this type of law, and law it is, permissible on any statute books.
Now I am not saying that all Muslims believe in cutting off bodyparts or approve of this, I am simply saying that this is what their "Holy Book" says.
Muslims are saddled with this law and so are kafirs.
Everybody on earth is hostage to this and to the declared proclamation by Islam that freedom means only freedom to live "in accordance with Islamic Shari'ah."
The meaning of Sura 5:33 couldn't be clearer.
The results are there for all to see.
Those people, Muslim and kafirs ("Non-Muslims" is a politically corrected term, one should never tire of repeating) who apologise for Islam in any way, are also responsible for this particular horror and for the future horrors, because they are helping obscure the harsh reality.
Oh yes, and just imagine the cutters off of hands, feet and heads in possession of nuclear weapons.
President Obama will be taking advice from which of his advisers on how to talk to such people while respecting their culture and their way of life...and their way of death?
Posted on 04/22/2010 10:59 AM by The Law
Thursday, 22 April 2010
A Musical Interlude: Trouble In Mind (Rosetta Tharpe)
Posted on 04/22/2010 11:36 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Muslim group warns 'South Park' creators of death
These Muslims were just trying to be helpful, doing their civic duty by pointing out danger, much like a Mafioso might kindly remind the owner of a shop of the dangers of a late-night fire, or the dangers of falling down stairs. Repeatedly, night after night. By David Bauder for AP:
NEW YORK – A radical Muslim group has warned the creators of "South Park" that they could face violent retribution for depicting the prophet Muhammad in a bear suit during last week's episode.
The website RevolutionMuslim.com has since been taken down, but a cached version shows the message to "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The article's author, Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee of New York, said the men "outright insulted" the religious leader.
The posting showed a gruesome picture of Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was shot and stabbed to death in an Amsterdam street in 2004 by a fanatic angered by his film about Muslim women. The film was written by a Muslim woman who rejected the Prophet Muhammad as a guide for today's morality.
"We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show," Al-Amrikee wrote. "This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them."
The posting listed the addresses of Comedy Central's New York office and Parker and Stone's California production office. It also linked to a Huffington Post article that described a Colorado retreat owned by the two men.
CNN, which first reported the posting, said the New York-based website is known for postings in support of Osama bin Laden and jihad, or holy war, against the West.
Al-Amrikee told The Associated Press in a phone call Wednesday that the posting was made to raise awareness of the issue and to see that it does not happen again. Asked if Parker and Stone should feel threatened by it, he said "they should feel threatened by what they did."
He said he was disappointed that publicity about the posting focused more on the potential danger to the producers but admitted, "I could shoulder some blame" for it.
He said he "can't answer that legally" when asked if his group favored jihad. But he praised bin Laden.
"We look up to him and admire him for the sacrifices he has given for the religion," he said.
Last week's episode, the 200th for the cheeky and often vulgar cartoon, was intended to feature many of the personalities and groups that Parker and Stone insulted during the series' run.
In 2006, Comedy Central banned the men from showing an image of Muhammad on their show. They had intended to comment on the controversy created by a Danish newspaper's publishing of caricatures of the Islamic leader. Muslims consider any physical representation of their prophet to be blasphemous.
Instead, "South Park" showed an image of Jesus Christ defecating on President George W. Bush and the American flag.
Comedy Central and the show's producers would not comment.
South Park has ridiculed every religion, including Scientology. Only one religion has made threats to murder the cartoonists, and that was for "depicting prophet Muhammad in a bear suit," which is extremely tame by South Park standards. Thought experiment: What do you suppose the reaction would have been if they showed an image of Muhammad defecating on Hosni Mubarak and the Saudi flag?
Posted on 04/22/2010 12:10 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Muslim Sensitivity Training in South Park
Posted on 04/22/2010 12:28 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Attacking The Slave Trade By Using The Analogy Of Islam
Full Text of Ben Franklin’s last letter:
On the Slave-Trade To the Editor of the Federal Gazette March 23d, 1790
Reading last night in your excellent Paper the speech of Mr. Jackson in Congress against their meddling with the Affair of Slavery, or attempting to mend the Condition of the Slaves, it put me in mind of a similar One made about 100 Years since by Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim, a member of the Divan of Algiers, which may be seen in Martin’s Account of his Consulship, anno 1687. It was against granting the Petition of the Sect called Erika, or Purists who pray’d for the Abolition of Piracy and Slavery as being unjust. Mr. Jackson does not quote it; perhaps he has not seen it. If, therefore, some of its Reasonings are to be found in his eloquent Speech, it may only show that men’s Interests and Intellects operate and are operated on with surprising similarity in all Countries and Climates, when under similar Circumstances. The African’s Speech, as translated, is as follows.
“Allah Bismillah,&c. God is great, and Mahomet is his Prophet.”
“Have these Erika considered the Consequences of granting their Petition? If we cease our Cruises against the Christians, how shall we be furnished with the Commodities their Countries produce, and which are so necessary for us? If we forbear to make Slaves of their People, who in this hot Climate are to cultivate our Lands? Who are to perform the common Labours of our City, and in our Families? Must we not then be our own Slaves? And is there not more Compassion and more Favour due to us as Mussulmen, than to these Christian Dogs? We have now about 50,000 Slaves in and near Algiers. This Number, if not kept up by fresh Supplies, will soon diminish, and be gradually annihilated. If we then cease taking and plundering the Infidel Ships, and making Slaves of the Seamen and Passengers, our Lands will become of no Value for want of Cultivation; the Rents of Houses in the City will sink one half; and the Revenues of Government arising from its Share of Prizes be totally destroy’d! And for what? To gratify the whims of a whimsical Sect, who would have us, not only forbear making more Slaves, but even to manumit those we have.
“But who is to indemnify their Masters for the Loss? Will the State do it? Is our Treasury sufficient? Will the Erika do it? Can they do it? Or would they, to do what they think Justice to the Slaves, do a greater Injustice to the Owners? And it we set our Slaves free, what is to be done with them? Few of them will return to their Countries; they know too well the great Hardships they must there be subject to; they will not embrace our holy Religion; they will not adopt our Manners; our People will not pollute themselves by intermarrying with them. Must we maintain them as Beggars in our Streets, or suffer our Properties to be the Prey of their Pillage? For men long accustom’d to Slavery will not work for a Livelihood when not compell’d. And what is there so pitiable in their present Condition? Were they not Slaves in their own Countries?
“Are not Spain, Portugal, France, and the Italian states govern’d by Despots, who hold all their Subjects in Slavery, without Exception? Even England treats its Sailors as Slaves; for they are, whenever the Government pleases, seiz’d, and confin’d in Ships of War, condemn’d not only to work, but to fight, for small Wages, or a mere Subsistence, not better than our Slaves are allow’d by us. Is their Condition then made worse by their falling into our Hands? No; they have only exchanged one Slavery for another, and I may say a better; for here they are brought into a land where the Sun of Islamism gives forth its Light, and shines in full Splendor, and they have an Opportunity of making themselves acquainted with the true Doctrine, and thereby saving their immortal Souls. Those who remain at home have not that Happiness. Sending the Slaves home then would be sending them out of Light into Darkness.
“I repeat the Question, What is to be done with them? I have heard it suggested, that they may be planted in the Wilderness, where there is plenty of Land for them to subsist on, and where they may flourish as a free State; but they are, I doubt, to little dispos’d to labour without Compulsion, as well as too ignorant to establish a good government, and the wild Arabs would soon molest and destroy or again enslave them. While serving us, we take care to provide them with every thing, and they are treated with Humanity. The Labourers in their own Country are, as I am well informed, worse fed, lodged, and cloathed. The Condition of most of them is therefore already mended, and requires no further Improvement. Here their Lives are in Safety. They are not liable to be impress’d for Soldiers, and forc’d to cut one another’s Christian throats, as in the Wars of their own Countries. If some of the religious mad Bigots, who now tease us with their silly Petitions, have in a Fit of blind Zeal freed their Slaves, it was not Generosity, it was not Humanity, that mov’d them to the Action; it was from the conscious Burthen of a Load of Sins, and Hope, from the supposed Merits of so good a Work, to be excus’d Damnation.
“How grossly are they mistaken in imagining Slavery to be disallow’d by the Alcoran? Are not the two Precepts, to quote no more, ‘Masters, treat your Slaves with kindness; Slaves, serve your Masters with Cheerfulness and Fidelity,’ clear Proofs to the contrary? Nor can the Plundering of Infidels be in that sacred Book forbidden, since it is well known from it, that God has given the World, and all that it contains, to his faithful Mussulmen, who are to enjoy it of Right as fast as they conquer it. Let us then hear no more of this detestable Proposition, the Manumission of Christian Slaves, the Adoption of which would, by depreciating our Lands and Houses, and thereby depriving so many good Citizens of their Properties, create universal Discontent, and provoke Insurrections, to the endangering of Government and producing general Confusion. I have therefore no doubt, but this wise Council will prefer the Comfort and Happiness of a whole Nation of true Believers to the Whim of a few Erika, and dismiss their Petition.”
The Result was, as Martin tells us, that the Divan came to this Resolution; “The Doctrine, that Plundering and Enslaving the Christians is unjust, is at best problematical; but that it is the Interest of this State to continue the Practice, is clear; therefore let the Petition be rejected.”
And it was rejected accordingly.
And since like Motives are apt to produce in the Minds of Men like Opinions and Resolutions, may we not, Mr. Brown, venture to predict, from this Account, that the Petitions to the Parliament of England for abolishing the Slave-Trade, to say nothing of other Legislatures, and the Debates upon them, will have a similar Conclusion? I am, Sir, your constant Reader and humble Servant,
Posted on 04/22/2010 3:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Why East Timor has declared war on ninjas
The causes of the conflict in East Timor (in which over 200,000 were killed by Muslim Indonesians) are constantly portrayed as mysterious and inexplicable. Efforts to investigate the mass-murders have been stymied. And now, the culprits are described as "ninjas," unseen and unidentified people wearing black clothes who appear out of nowhere, commit brutal murders, then disappear into thin air. By Ishaan Tharoor for Time Magazine:
For most, the presence of an outfit of ninjas conjures scenes of Japanese comic book assassins or, perhaps, of mutant turtles dwelling in a sewer. But in East Timor, ninjas have become a national security threat. The impoverished country, perched on the fringes of the Indonesian archipelago, is in the grips of a six-month campaign aimed at curbing "ninja" activities - a euphemism, ostensibly, for clandestine, anti-government militancy [which is itself probably a euphemism for something else]. Earlier this year, Longuinhos Monteiro, East Timor's police chief, donned commando fatigues and personally led an operation into the country's western marches. He sent out a warning via the press: "Any ninjas who want to take us on, your final stop will be Santa Cruz cemetery [in the capital, Dili]."
To understand the way of the East Timor ninja, one has to look at the nation itself. After becoming formally independent in 2002, East Timor remains very much a fledgling - even experimental - state with a pack of international institutions and NGOs propping up a government that has limited capabilities of its own. The police chief's ninja-fighting bravado was spurred by the mysterious murders of a teenage girl in December and an infant child in January. But, critics say, his campaign masks the misdeeds and brutality of the country's own police, who are slowly taking back control from a force of international peackeepers. Moreover, the threat of "ninjas" resonates deep in the psyche of a nation still traumatized and torn by years of occupation and civil strife. "This idea of a masked man, of a covert agent that's difficult to identify - a kind of ghost - haunts this place," says Silas Everett, country director for East Timor at the Asia Foundation.
The term "ninja" in East Timor doesn't quite evoke a real band of fighters, but a hidden, sometimes imaginary menace stalking the country. It came into parlance in the 1990s, when shadowy militias backed by the Indonesian army targeted East Timorese independence activists. Villages were terrorized and countless people kidnapped and killed in the dark by men garbed in black. It's estimated that over 100,000 East Timorese lost their lives during Indonesia's 24-year-long occupation of the former Portuguese colony. (The country's current population is a little over one million.) The fear of the death squads played into ancient archipelago lore of a lurking, shapeless apparition that snatches babies and horses in the dead of the night. In a country where forms of witchcraft and sorcery are still widely practiced, the new, real danger of the ninja acquired mystical properties. It's still not uncommon, say researchers, for East Timorese to leave a glass of water outside their door, a knife bobbing within, to ward off the nocturnal ninja.
The new police campaign has not turned up anything quite as fantastical, arresting 20 members of a ragtag dissident group in February. Observers and members of Dili-based NGOs say the police are possibly exploiting the specter of a ninja threat to settle political scores. This is not uncommon in East Timor - despite its small size, the country is riven with a tangled mess of factions and enmities. Fissures remain between those from the west and east of the country, as well as camps once loyal and once opposed to colonial rule under Lisbon and later Jakarta. Divisions within the army led to widespread violence in 2006 that was calmed only by the intervention of peacekeepers sent by Australia and a handful of other nations. In 2008, a unit of renegade soldiers nearly succeeded in a brazen attempt to assassinate both East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel laureate [and a Roman Catholic], and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao [also a Roman Catholic]. With society so fragmented and law and order so fragile, gangs have come to fill the void.
While nobody in East Timor would ever self-identify as a "ninja," as many as 90,000 people - almost a tenth of the population - may belong to one of the country's fifteen-odd "martial arts" groups, or gangs, according to James Scambary, an Australian researcher who is a leading authority on gang culture in the country. Some of these organizations began as cells of resistance to Indonesian occupation between 1975 and 1999; others were first set up by Jakarta as a means to foster patriotism. The end result is a country full of militarized communities with deceptively fanciful names like the "Wise Children of the Land" or "Brotherhood of the Faithful Heart of the Lotus Flower." They have come to swallow up and represent whole neighborhoods and villages, engaging in extortion and fighting with rival gangs over property and turf and, on occasion, over differing political affiliations. "All of these groups see themselves not as gangs, but as security," says Scambary. "They're organs of their communities and provide a form of welfare and protection."
Indeed, in this environment of instability and uncertainty, the mythical figure of the ninja proves all the more unsettling. Everett of the Asia Foundation recounts a story told to him by U.N. officials who had been summoned to an outlying district of the country by villagers, claiming they had seized a ninja. Upon arriving, they were directed toward a woman said to be literally holding the would-be assassin. They found her and looked on in disbelief. Says Everett: "She was clutching nothing but air."
But the murders did occur. The killers are still out there, even if they are not "ninjas."
Posted on 04/22/2010 3:42 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden