These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 24, 2009.
Monday, 24 August 2009
Stockholm's rabbi: Large Muslim population intimidates local Jews
From The Jerusalem Post
The strong Muslim presence in Stockholm makes the Jewish community there apprehensive about taking a public stand against the recent article in the Aftonbladet tabloid reporting Palestinian claims that IDF soldiers stole body organs from Palestinians, Rabbi Isak Nachman, the spiritual leader of two Orthodox synagogues in the Swedish capital, said on Sunday.
"We want to combat this type of thing, but some Jews here are afraid - there are between 400,000 and 500,000 Muslims out of a population of about nine million," said Nachman, a member of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe.
Nachman added, however, that there was not a threatening feeling on the streets of Stockholm as a result of the article in Aftonbladet. "I walk around with a kippa and the Chabad rabbi here wears his hat. Muslims don't live in the large Jewish neighborhoods."
Most anti-Semitic statements were being made by local bloggers, he said. The latest subject being discussed by these bloggers was the alleged Jewish connection of Sweden's ambassador to Israel, Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier.
Bonnier, who called the Aftonbladet article "shocking and appalling," was sharply criticized by Sweden's Green Movement and by the country's main opposition party. The Swedish government also distanced itself from her statement.
Now, said Nachman, Bonnier's marriage to a man who apparently has Jewish roots is being singled out for censure. "This is a very troubling development," he said.
Stockholm's rabbi said that he was particularly disappointed with Sweden's intelligentsia. "There are plenty of educated people who know about the history of blood libels and have remained quiet,"
Nachman said that the Jewish community still had not decided whether it would demonstrate against the article and against the Sweden government's unwillingness to condemn the accusations voiced in it.
Malaysia frees woman sentenced to caning (until after Ramadan)
Update to the story below - the punishment is only suspended until after Ramadan. "The punishment has not been canceled, it was postponed because of Ramadan," Pahang state Executive Councillor for Religion, Missionary Work and Unity, Mohamad Sahfri Abdul Aziz, told Reuters. SUNGAI SIPUT, Malaysia (Reuters) - Religious authorities in Malaysia on Monday freed a Muslim woman who had been sentenced to be caned for drinking beer, although she and her family demanded to know whether her ordeal was over.
It was not immediately clear whether the sentence, the first time a woman has been sentenced to caning in this Southeast Asian country, had been overturned or merely postponed after an Islamic court official said the warrant could not be executed.
An official from a state Islamic body gave no reason for the decision.
The woman, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, was returned to her house after she was picked up by religious authorities to be taken to a jail where she was due to be caned this week.
At first Kartika, who had said she accepted her sentence and wanted it to be carried out in public, refused to leave the van when she was returned home.
"I will not come out without a black and white document explaining the status of what has happened. I am surprised and speechless," Kartika told reporters before her father talked her into leaving the vehicle.
Her father said the change of mind would bring ridicule on Islam, which bans Muslims from consuming alcohol, and that he would lodge a police report over the release.
"We had already accepted the punishment," Shukarno Mutalib, told reporters.
While caning is a common punishment under Malaysia's civil code, as it is in neighboring Singapore, no woman has been caned and the severity of the punishment has generated criticism that this modern majority-Muslim state was becoming more hardline.
"There is a general push toward the implementation of sharia (Islamic) laws," Osman Bakar Deputy Chief Executive of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies Malaysia told Reuters. "It's too simplistic to say that the government is becoming more Islamicised to gain more votes, more Malay support." It has been said that Mrs Shukarno’s request that her punishment be carried out in public indicated that she was demonstrating her submission to sharia law and accepted the ‘wrongfulness’ of her action in drinking beer. I personally suspect it was to make sure, because the world could see it, that she received the sentence given and no more. No extra lash or 10, no kick and grope for good measure on the way out. And that the world could see what sort of place Malaysia is becoming. While I hope that the condemnation of the world and the like of Amnesty Internation have had a good effect on the authorities as her status is unclear I fully expect to hear that the sentence was carried out.
Maybe at home, maybe even by her father.
Over at Townhall.com, Linda Chavez has the Afghan war all figured out, and it turns out it's all about U.S. domestic politics and whether we, or rather Obama and the Democratic majority, can 'win' the war.
According to Ms. Chavez, Democrats don't support the war because they think we cannot 'win' the war, while Republicans support the war because they think we can 'win' the war. The American public must be shown how progress is being made in Afghanistan, and how the war is still 'winnable.' Whether Obama is strong enough to 'win' the war remains to be seen, but it is imperative that he give the U.S. military commanders whatever they need to 'win' the war.
It's deja vu all over again, all this talk of 'winning' wars in Dar al-Islam, with not a moment spent considering what 'winning' in Afghanistan means.
Does it mean building a new infrastructure for the Afghans: roads and schools and bridges? Keep in mind that the Ghazi Stadium in Kabul was generously restored by the UN after the Soviet invasion, to give the Afghan children a place to safely play ball. But of course the Afghans under the Taliban put the stadium to another popular use. So, will that new infrastructure 'win the hearts and minds' of the Afghans? How about if we throw in a little candy for the children? Would that be enough to convince the Afghans to disregard the admonition of Allah not to take the Christians and Jews as friends (let's not even mention the polytheist Hindus)? Oh, it's okay to take the kufirs' jizya, just not their hand in friendship as equals.
Does 'winning' mean that Afghanistan becomes a functioning kufirocracy democracy? If the Afghan people simply vote the Taliban (the Taliban by any other name smells just as foul) into power, did we 'win'?
If we double, triple, quadruple our troops, and temporarily stop the Afghans from killing one another in internecine warfare until the very moment we begin to reduce our troop levels, did we 'win'?
If we 'unite' the Afghan people, get them to set aside their tribal and sectarian differences and focus on fighting the kufir invaders, did we 'win'?
If the Republicans are able to use the war to their political advantage, does that constitute a 'win' in Ms. Chavez' mind? LIkewise for Democrats and Democratic pundits?
Here's a clue: I don't give a tinker's damn whether the Afghans (who incidentally in polls and elections continue to show a high level of support for the Taliban who helped murder 3,000 U.S. citizens) live a life of comfort. And I'd prefer that they spend their time killing each other rather than killing us. I don't care whether Hamid Karzai has a firm handshake or drives a U.S. car. I care about exactly one thing in Afghanistan: are the people there currently able to plan and prepare for attacks on U.S. citizens? If not, that is my definition of 'winning'. Achieving that goal does not require massive troop deployments, and it sure doesn't require massive spending.
It's amazing that the partisan political hacks are still, at this late date, stuck on square one in understanding Islam and its relation to us. Thankfully, many citizens have moved on years ago.
From ABC Australia with thanks to Dumbledore's Army
Thousands of people in Mali are protesting against new legislation that strengthens women's rights in the west African nation.
The law, passed by parliament earlier this month, raises the legal age for marriage to 18 and also stipulates that children born outside of wedlock are entitled to a share of any inheritance.
But the head of the National Union of Muslim Women's Associations, Hadja Safiato Dembele, says only a few women support the law.
"A wife must obey her husband," she said."It's a tiny minority of women here who want this new law - the intellectuals. The poor and illiterate women of this country, the real Muslims, are against it."
It used to be a newspaper, but now things aren't so black and white. Welcome to QuangoLand. From the Daily Mail:
Right-hand man, gentleman's agreement and whiter than white are the latest phrases to fall foul of the political correctness lobby.
Government quangos have issued fresh lists of phrases they are seeking to ban to avoid causing offence.
Staff at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission have been advised to use 'miserable day' instead of 'black day'. The Commission claims that certain words carry a 'hierarchical valuation of skin colour'.
It also cautions that the term ethnic minority can imply 'something smaller and less important' and should be used with care.
The examples of political correctness emerged in answer to a series of Freedom of Information requests.
Some institutions have urged workers to watch out for gender bias or sexism in language.
The Learning and Skills Council wants staff to 'perfect' their brief rather than 'master' it while Newcastle University reckons 'master bedroom' can be problematic.
The National Gallery in London says the phrase gentleman's agreement may be considered offensive to women and suggests using 'unwritten agreement' or ' agreement based on trust' instead.
The phrase right-hand man is also considered taboo, with 'second in command' thought more suitable. Advice issued by the South West Regional Development Agency says: 'Terms such as black sheep of the family, black looks and black mark have no direct link to skin colour but potentially serve to reinforce a negative view of all things black.
'Equally, certain terms imply a negative image of black by reinforcing the positive aspects of white.
'For example, in the context of being above suspicion, the phrase whiter than white is often used. Purer than pure or cleaner than clean are alternatives which do not infer that anything other than white should be regarded with suspicion.'
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'Most people assumed that this sort of PC madness went out in the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher reined in the Left-wing councils, so it's unbelievable that it's rearing its head again.
'This nonsense proves that quangos need to be culled. They're unaccountable, undemocratic and wasteful.'
Philip Davies, a Tory MP, said: ' We need to take an axe to public spending in order to get the public finances back is shape again.
'It seems to me the leading candidates for the first strike of the axe are the cretins who spend their time doing this sort of garbage. It is a complete waste of time and completely ridiculous.'
Anthony Horowitz, a children's author, said: 'A great deal of our modern language is based on traditions which have now gone but it would be silly - and extremely inconvenient - to replace them all.
'A white collar worker, for example, probably doesn't wear one. Spanish practices can happen all over Europe.
'We know what these phrases mean and we can find out from where they were derived. Banning them is just unnecessary.'
Marie Clair, of the Plain English Campaign, said: 'Political correctness has good intentions but things can be taken to an extreme. What is really needed is a bit of common sense.'
Is "right hand man" a kind of Gentleman's Relish? And what are they going to do with those songs: "Paint it Grey"? "Young, Gifted and Grey?"
"The latest subject being discussed by these bloggers was the alleged Jewish connection of Sweden's ambassador to Israel, Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier.
Bonnier, who called the Aftonbladet article "shocking and appalling," was sharply criticized by Sweden's Green Movement and by the country's main opposition party. The Swedish government also distanced itself from her statement."
The Swedish government "distanced itself from [Bonnier's] statement? Does that mean the Swedish government does not find the Aftonbladet article "shocking and appalling"? If the Swedish government does not find the Aftonbladet article "shocking and appalling" then all sensible people, especially in Sweden, should be shocked and appalled by the Swedish government. Are they?
Thanks to Michael Rubin for pointing out that Fareed Zakaria admitted to theBoston Globe to being one of the "experts" consulted by Yale (he's a member of the Yale corporation) about the Jytte Klausen's Muhammad cartoon book.
Fareed Zakaria, editor of the international edition of Newsweek and a member of the Yale Corporation, said he advised Yale to drop the images.
“You’re balancing issues of the First Amendment and academic freedom, but then you have this real question of what would be the consequences on human life,’’ he said.
Looked around the house for things that come from Sweden. There's a bottle of cloudberry liqueur, but that comes from Finland -- or Canada, if you are crossing the border to visit a child at McGill's (for some American families, the St. Andrews of its day), and stop at the duty-free. Some items of teak furniture, from the old Design Research, the one in the original store, on Brattle Street, where some School of Education has now come to rest, but that furniture, I see, is stricly Danish, and other things I have been handed down by various relatives that could be called "Scandinavian" always turn out to be Danish. It's Illums Bolighus all the way.
So I'm not sure what to boycott. Anna's ginger cookies? Lingonberry jam? I have a Svensk-Engelsk Ordbok already, so I suppose I can manfully refuse to buy another. And I suppose I could refrain from adding to the very small store of Swedish books I have, which are all translations of English or American authors I once collected except that, I notice, these books are all published by the celebrated Swedish publisher Albert Bonnier ("Albert Bonniers forlag") and if the one Swede who has spoken clearly is the ambassador to israel, who apparently knows better than her government, or has taken closer to heart, the contents of Malcolm Hay's "Europe and The Jews" (also published under the title "The Foot Of Pride"), and thus the sinister significance of the nonsense and lies published by Aftonbladet,. Is Elisabeth Bonniers of the family? If so, I won't be boycotting their books. If you have some ideas, do let me know. How can we direct our fury more pointedly, a, for example, Aftonbladet.
An old friend of my parents, Göran Printz-Påhlson, was once at a party at their house and was asked to name his favorite city in Sweden (he was from Malmö, now so rapidly being islamized through demographic conquest). He thought for a minute, and then replied: Copenhagen.
I don't understand the uproar over the early release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi from Scottish prison after serving 8 years for killing 270 people. I mean, Islamic nations have been granting early release of unrepentent Muslim mujahadeen mass-murderers for decades, and you didn't hear anyone complaining about that. If Christianity and Judaism are going to claim to be as compassionate as Islam, they should be granting early release of unrepentent Muslim mujahadeen mass-murderers in equal numbers. A little equality would go a long way in winning over the Muslim community.
There seems to be an almost inevitable irritation when novelists in Britain and America, with their long history of free speech, touch on matters Islamic. I am not the first and probably won't be the last to have ruffled some feathers, though I feel sad about this, because my new novel, A Week in December, is carefully researched, and, among its main characters, presents a hugely sympathetic and loving Muslim family; it is furthermore made clear that the parents' kindness and good citizenship spring not just from being naturally good eggs but from their devotion to the Koran.
The crucial issue, I suppose, that divides Muslims from other religions is the nature of the holy scripture. We Christians and Jews have long accepted that our scriptures were written by humans; indeed, much biblical scholarship focuses on exactly which humans, and when.
For Muslims, after some intra-religious debate, it was agreed that the Koran is "uncreated": this means, as I understand it, that it is literally and in every syllable the word of the Almighty, unshaped ("uncreated") by human hand.
When, with some excitement, I first read the Koran last year as research for my novel, I confess that I was disappointed by it. Raised as a child on the exciting stories of the Old Testament and inspired by the revolutionary teachings of the New, I had, perhaps naively, expected something comparable. The Koran has lovely passages, some of which inspire my character Farooq in the novel, but I did find it, from a literary point of view, repetitive.
As for whether it is ethically less developed than the New Testament, a Muslim friend put it to me like this: "You must compare like with like. Compare it to the Old Testament."
That is a fair point. I fully accept that the ethical dimension of modern Islam has been provided by generations of scholars and thinkers over many centuries; it was perhaps too much to expect to find it embedded from the word "Go" – to expect, in other words, that the Koran would be two books, two testaments, in one.
While we Judaeo-Christians can take a lot of verbal rough-and-tumble about our human-written scriptures, I know that to Muslims the Koran is different; it is by definition beyond criticism. And if anything I said or was quoted as saying (not always the same thing) offended any Muslim sensibility, I do apologise – and without reservation.
[T]he idea that anyone could have achieved what the Prophet achieved in military and political – let alone religious – terms while suffering from an acute illness of any kind seems completely absurd. I believe that only a healthy and lucid person could have achieved what he did – and I am very happy to make that belief clear.
Faulks is right, but for the wrong reason. Mohammed was not ill. To say he was lets him off the hook - he was evil
My book is printed and I wouldn't want to change it because I believe it is fair and tolerant. But I welcome the idea put forward by Ajmal Masroor, an imam and spokesman for the Islamic Society for Britain, in this paper yesterday, that we "should sit down and talk about it" rather than navigate solo with our own cultural compasses.
If Mr Masroor is sincere in his offer, I would be pleased to learn more about Islam. I liked his response that he was more amused than offended, because A Week in December is a satirical novel; he is a man with whom I could do business. I would enter any such dialogue with a degree of humility and plenty of respect for his religion and his scripture; I feel sure he would do likewise.
Oh, spare us. Humility and respect for a mass-murdering illiterate paedophile rapist? Faulks is doubly guilty because his earlier remarks, which cannot be unsaid, demonstrate that he knows exactly what Islam is.
Respect Councillor demands police ban anti-islamisation rally.
I was away when the rally in Birmingham to protest against the Islamisation of Britain ended in violence. It needed more thoughtful consideration than I was able to give in short bursts in the public library.
Certainly the photos of a young white man being kicked and bloodied by a circle of 7 or more young men of Asian appearance, and the black man with a half brick clenched in his fist were startling. As was the news later that Bedfordshire Police and Luton Borough Council have been granted an order under Section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986 by the office of the Home Secretary banning processions or marches through the town for a period of 3 months. This will stop the latest protest planned for next weekend against the Muslims who insulted the soldiers of the Royal Anglian Regiment earlier this year.
Stopping legitimate protest against our valid concerns about the way our country is changing will only confirm that we have cause to be worried. Another place where there may well be protest this weekend is Harrow in North London. Our friend Steve of Pub Philosopher has more here.
This is from the Birmingham Post today.
West Midlands Police have been urged to step in and ban a far right group from holding a march in Birmingham next month to avoid a repeat of the shocking scenes of violence witnessed earlier this month.
White nationalist organisation The English Defence League (EDL) and an associated group, Casuals United, are due to hold a rally against Islamic extremism in the city on September 5.
Their first demonstration on August 8 ended with violence and bloodshed as supporters clashed with anti-racism campaigners.
One of those calling for a ban was Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob, who expected more street violence if EDL returned.
“When it comes to public safety we have every right to intervene,” she said. “But the ‘just stay away’ message we are hearing won’t wash with today’s Muslim youngsters who won’t put their heads down and carry on walking when they are subjected to racist taunts – they will react and fight back.”
Where do I start to comment? First I am not convinced that the EDL is "far right" or White nationalist" but that this is a quick and lazy way for journalists to cast aspersions.
Second the nasty little piece of work that is councillor Yaqoob. Apologist for the London bombers that she is - I heard her with my own ears as she stood next to Ken Livingstone.
So because her brothers cannot behave themselves, have no self control, no obedience to the law, no sense of responsibility, the indigenous population of this country must be banned from our civil rights to protest and demonstrate in her opinion. Yeah right.
West Midlands Police were urged to join forces with Birmingham City Council to apply to the Home Secretary for a banning order under the Public Order Act.
Luton is one of the places which has banned the EDL and other right-wing groups from holding marches for three months to avoid violence.
But a senior police officer said there were no current plans to do so as the EDL had a legitimate right to hold its march.
Chief Insp Adrian Atherley, head of West Midlands Police’s diversity and community cohesion unit, told yesterday’s meeting how both groups involved, the EDL and the Anti Facist League, acted within the law and the problem lay with their supporters.
“In Birmingham the situation is very different to Luton where the Chief Constable felt he could not police that event. We did not lose control on August 8 , there were no major injuries or damage, and in terms of disorder there was no loss of control.”
He added: “Obtaining a section 13 ban requires the Chief Constable to go to the local authority to say in the event of a march I cannot police the streets and the local authority has to apply to the Home Secretary.”
It is said that the reason the Bedfordshire Police failed to keep control in Luton was that they had sent to many officers to the Bulldog Bash motorcycle festival. This is a generally peaceful event, which my friends attend, but where a murder took place last year. West Midlands Police, it will be remembered, are the force who tried to prosecute not the Imams inciting violence in the Birmingham Mosques but the Channel 4 investigators who exposed it. That was a mistake and they seem to be acting with more sense now.
Like I said before, this is turning into a interesting summer.
Corruption places undesirable security guards at Australian army base.
From ABC News Australia with thanks to Dumbledore's Army.
A corruption inquiry has heard security guards at Sydney's Holsworthy army base were accredited after being given the answers to tests.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating allegations that Roger Training Academy at Auburn rorted millions of dollars from government payouts and income from clients.
The inquiry has heard the college issued certificates to thousands of security guards who were given the answers to tests and could not speak English properly. . . issued first aid certificates without delivering the state training.
The inquiry heard some of graduates were then employed to guard facilities such as the Holsworthy Army base.
The Holsworthy base's security arrangements were thrown into the spotlight earlier this month when five men were charged with allegedly planning to kill soldiers in a suicide attack at the base.
The inquiry heard that, over two years, $1.3 million was deposited in the the bank accounts of the principal of the academy, Ahmed Massami. As Dumbledore's Army remarked, how many of his fellow ideologists might Mr Ahmed have planted in and around Australia's bases?
On the television interview of some political bigshot that celebrated nontentity never answers Yes Or No. Now it is always: No or "Absolutely."
At CVS, among the dozens of toothpastes dreamed up by the marketers, as I was cruising the aisles of CVS for a mental bruising, I discovered that cheek by jowel with Colgate Whitening Toothpaste was a new one -- Colgate Advanced Whitening Toothpaste.
And while we are on the subject of "advanced," I note in today's Wall Street Journal an article by Fouad Ajami (who now thinks he has earned the right to make comments on subjects other than the Arab countries), who is identified as a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of "Advanced" International Studies when, once upon a time, "International Studies" (which is merely glorified, extra-attentive, newspaper reading, and making sense of the world0.. At a place so named, we can rest assured that instead of studies of this or of that, only "in-depth" studies are conducted.