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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 Friday, 25, 2006.
Friday, 25 August 2006
Paul Johnson: Muslim world may "collapse into secularism"

"the Muslim world was much more secular 100 years ago and fifty years ago than it is now."
-- from Robert Spencer's comment on Paul Johnson's remarks (subscription required).

Fifty years ago, one hundred years ago, the Muslim world was obviously weak, without resources, facing an obviously much more powerful and self-confident West. Those who recognized this and wished to do something about it, were the ones who pushed "reform" in the sense of greater constraint on Islam, and the granting of rights closer to what had been granted in the West to individuals. But the extent of that "reforming" impulse has often been exaggerated, and furthermore, it was undertaken by those who wished not to jettison Islam, but to rescue it from what they took was certain decline, and possibly fall, in relation to that West.

The most important such reformer was Ataturk, who as a result of Turkey's loss of the Ottoman Empire and obvious weakness, put in place a series of measures designed to constrain the political and social role of Islam in Turkey. But Ataturk could do this only because Turkey was toppling, and he as a war hero, capable of great ruthlessness, could reasonably present himself as impelled -- as he was -- by nationalist fervor as well as by doubts about Islam. Kemalism essentially replaced the myths of Islam with a mythological cult of The Turk, who had supposedly always inhabited Anatolia and to whom the credit for everything, practically back to the Hittites, should be given. And even before Ataturk's death in 1938, the cult of Ataturk, which became much greater after that death, was an obvious substitute for the cult of Muhammad as The Perfect Man, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil. Primitive masses needed a replacement cult, and they were given it. Islam remained, always present, never quite yielding, and of course it has come back in Turkey with a vengeance, to the alarm of the West, and to those genuine secularists in Turkey who did not realize that the only way to keep Islam down was, from time to time, to employ the methods that only the Turkish army could, and used to, employ. "Democracy" in Muslim Turkey will not do it.

Those like Abduh and Rida were not quite in the Ataturk mode, but rather something like those Communists who wanted not to replace Communism, but to permit it to avoid the rigidity, say, of Suslovian apparatchiki, in order not to jettison Communist rule but to preserve it.

But that spirit of mild reform was a result only of perceived Muslim weakness.

Three things have happened to change the perception, by Muslims, of their weakness. They have been dealt with at length here many times before, but perhaps they should again be briefly summarized.

Those three developments are:

1) The oil revenues, the only revenues that could possibly have come to the Muslim states in such amounts, for they required nothing of their beneficiaries, and were simply the result of an accident of geology. Since 1973, the Arab and other Muslim-dominated oil states have received ten trillion dollars. This is the greatest transfer of wealth in human history. The Muslims did nothing to deserve this, though many took the oil bonanza as a deliberate sign of Allah's favor. With that money, however, they were saved from their natural poverty, the poverty that, with Infidel Jizyah removed, is the natural state of Muslim countries. They bought hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Western arms, and with those arms, a whole network of middlemen, bribes-givers and bribes-takers, and Western hirelings not only in the arms industries, but also in the business of supplying other goods and services to the suddenly rich oil states. The money became the fabled "wealth" weapon of the Jihad, by which boycotts, and bribery, and the dangling of profitable contracts contributed to creating a vast and loyal constituency among some very influential and meretricious people in the capitals of the West.

2) Almost at the same time as the oil bonanza, the countries of Western Europe allowed millions of Muslim migrants -- Pakistanis in England, Turks in Germany, Algerians in France, Moroccans in Spain, Indonesians in Holland, and then assorted mix-'n-match Muslims from all of these places and others, to enter and to settle and to bring their wives, and to have children, children suddenly taken care of, by the free medical care of the Infidel nations, and the free schooling, and the subsidized or free housing, and the attempts, ever greater, ever more frantic, to somehow "integrate" a population that is almost entirely and incurably hostile, because its belief-system, that suffuses the societies and minds of Muslims wherever they are, had taught them to be hostile to the Infidels, no matter what those Infidels may have provided them, no matter how desperate to win their loyalty those Infidel nation-states may have been, unaware that Muslim loyalty according to the tenets, attitudes, atmospherics of Islam, must be given only to fellow Believers, fellow members of the umma al-islamiyya. This was simply not understood, as the older generation of Western scholars of Islam died or retired, and were replaced by new people, people who were very often Muslims themselves, but even where not Muslim, were by their mental formation inclined to favor Islam and the Arabs, not least because of a diseased sympathy for all those who might be seen as members of the Third World, which one might have thought would be a difficult trick for plutocrats in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the U.A.E., Libya, and so on to pull off, but pull it off they did. And those millions, now tens of millions, of Muslims in the West have made that West fearful, have inhibited the freedom of its governments not only in domestic but in foreign policy -- as one can see from the recent behavior of the French in being so fearful of committing a few thousand troops to Lebanon, where they might be forced to behave in ways that would antagonize the ever-ready-to-riot Muslims within France.

3) Technological advances in the Western world have made it much easier to disseminate the Call to Islam to Infidels, and the full message of Islam to Believers worldwide, and furthermore, to offer propaganda -- often of a kind that Infidels find appalling but that apparently work on Believers (who would have thought that decapitation videos would be eagerly exploited as recruitment tools for those seeking others willing to actively participate in violent Jihad?).

Without audiocassettes, with his taped sermons urging violence, Khomeini might never have been able to conquer, from Neauphle-le-Chateau in France, so many hundreds of thousands of fanatical followers in Iran. Without videocassettes, and then the Internet, and then the satellite television channels, Arab and Islamic propaganda, of the kind seen on Al-Jazeera and Al-Manar, would not have been so powerful. No longer can simple pious Muslims live in villages, completely unaware of their duties save for the five canonical daily prayers -- now the whole of Islam is far more readily available to them, with consequences both for Muslims, and for the Infidels, that are as yet unappreciated.

And those who argue that the existence of such new technology also makes it possible to influence Muslim minds so that some will have their faith weakened, have not been able to show how any Western government has dared to broadcast the kind of information about the connection between the political, economic, social, and intellectual failures of Muslim societies, and Islam itself. Indeed, one discovers that deep behind enemy lines, Muslims are watching not the regular Western channels, but insisting on getting their news -- in Dearborn as in the East End of London, as in the banlieues of Paris and Lyon and Marseille, from Al-Jazeera: willingly, Arab Muslims limit themselves to Arab Muslim propaganda, for only that is "telling the truth."

These three developments make it impossible for the Arabs and other Muslims to begin to make the connection of their own failures, with Islam itself. Not a single Western government has pointed out --- perhaps not a single Western government realizes -- that the inshallah-fatalism with which Islam is instinct, explains the failure of these rich oil states, after 33 years (and before that there was already enough wealth derived from oil for a generation to have idled through), to create anything like modern economies, surely needs to be said, to Muslims, and to Infidels who might be inclined to believe that they are somehow to be blamed (the usual inapposite invoking of "colonialism" and that "post-colonialism" that has no sell-by date, still can convince some) for the poverty of some Muslim countries. And the continued payment of foreign aid by Infidels to every Muslim country or entity -- Pakistan, Egypt, the "Palestinians" -- is merely a disguised Jizyah, and of course should long ago have been abandoned, and the responsibility for helping fellow members of the umma have fallen to the fabulously rich Saudis, Kuwaitis, and other rich Arabs.

What can the Western world do? It cannot assume the kind of blithe optimism -- that incautious, and dangerous optimism, of someone such as Paul Johnson, who though he recognizes what Islam is all about, is perhaps simply too tired to want to figure out how to deal with the problem, for that would require all kinds of mental effort, and prefers to think, with a wave of his hand, that somehow Muslims -- despite all the evidence to the contrary, despite the fantastic hold Islam has over so many people no matter what is done by Muslims, prompted by Islamic teachings -- will "collapse into secularism."

Johnson has no evidence for this. All he has is a hope. The kind of hope that used to be called, and should still be called, a forlorn hope.

Those who wish to survive as Infidels, who wish that the most primitive adherents of primitive and fossilized belief-systems not be permitted to overwhelm other, superior peoples and civilizations, those who think they have some kind of duty to preserve their own civilizational legacy, will not be comforted by Johnson's attitude but rather, given his reputation for political steadfastness and sense, feel a certain alarm. Et tu, Johnson -- or possibly something a little less banal.

Posted on 08/25/2006 4:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 August 2006
UK Poll: We have a Muslim problem

From the Telegraph (h/t JW)

A growing number of people fear that the country faces "a Muslim problem" and more than half of the respondents to the YouGov survey said that Islam posed a threat to Western liberal democracy. That compares with less than a third after the September 11 terrorist attacks on America five years ago...

When YouGov asked in 2001 whether people felt threatened by Islam, as distinct from fundamentalist Islamists, only 32 per cent said they did. That figure has risen to 53 per cent.

Five years ago, a majority of two to one thought that Islam posed no threat, or only a negligible one, to democracy. Now, by a similar ratio, people think it is a serious threat...

Posted on 08/25/2006 5:39 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 25 August 2006
Democratization in ME brings Islam

Saad Eddin Ibrahim writing in the WaPo, claims Bush should be welcoming Islamist electoral victories, because after all, democracy is what the US wanted, right? (h/t Cliff May who is surprised at Saad)

Instead of welcoming these particular elected officials into the newly emerging democratic fold, Washington began a cold war on Muslim democrats. Even the tepid pressure on autocratic allies of the United States to democratize in 2005 had all but disappeared by 2006. In fact, tottering Arab autocrats felt they had a new lease on life with the West conveniently cowed by an emerging Islamist political force...

According to the preliminary results of a recent public opinion survey of 1,700 Egyptians by the Cairo-based Ibn Khaldun Center, Hezbollah's action garnered 75 percent approval, and Nasrallah led a list of 30 regional public figures ranked by perceived importance. He appears on 82 percent of responses, followed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (73 percent), Khaled Meshal of Hamas (60 percent), Osama bin Laden (52 percent) and Mohammed Mahdi Akef of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood (45 percent).

The pattern here is clear, and it is Islamic. And among the few secular public figures who made it into the top 10 are Palestinian Marwan Barghouti (31 percent) and Egypt's Ayman Nour (29 percent), both of whom are prisoners of conscience in Israeli and Egyptian jails, respectively.

None of the current heads of Arab states made the list of the 10 most popular public figures..

Posted on 08/25/2006 6:12 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 25 August 2006
Pluto's planethood

Our solar system won't be the same without it:

Pluto has been demoted to a mere dwarf planet. But some are not taking the decision lying down. From the BBC:

On Thursday, experts approved a definition of a planet that demoted Pluto to a lesser category of object.

But the lead scientist on Nasa's robotic mission to Pluto has lambasted the ruling, calling it "embarrassing".

And the chair of the committee set up to oversee agreement on a definition implied that the vote had effectively been "hijacked". ...

Dr Alan Stern, who leads the US space agency's New Horizons mission to Pluto and did not vote in Prague, told BBC News: "It's an awful definition; it's sloppy science and it would never pass peer review - for two reasons.

"Firstly, it is impossible and contrived to put a dividing line between dwarf planets and planets. It's as if we declared people not people for some arbitrary reason, like 'they tend to live in groups'.

"Secondly, the actual definition is even worse, because it's inconsistent."

One of the three criteria for planethood states that a planet must have "cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit". The largest objects in the Solar System will either aggregate material in their path or fling it out of the way with a gravitational swipe.

Pluto was disqualified because its highly elliptical orbit overlaps with that of Neptune.

But Dr Stern pointed out that Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune have also not fully cleared their orbital zones. Earth orbits with 10,000 near-Earth asteroids. Jupiter, meanwhile, is accompanied by 100,000 Trojan asteroids on its orbital path.

These rocks are all essentially chunks of rubble left over from the formation of the Solar System more than four billion years ago.

"If Neptune had cleared its zone, Pluto wouldn't be there," he added.

Stern said like-minded astronomers had begun a petition to get Pluto reinstated. Car bumper stickers compelling motorists to "Honk if Pluto is still a planet" have gone on sale over the internet and e-mails circulating about the decision have been describing the IAU as the "Irrelevant Astronomical Union". ..

The critical blow for Pluto came with the discovery three years ago of an object currently designated 2003 UB313. Discovered by Mike Brown and colleagues at the California Institute of Technology, 2003 UB313 has been lauded by some as the "10th Planet"...

Mike Brown seemed happy with Pluto's demotion. "Eight is enough," he told the Associated Press, jokingly adding: "I may go down in history as the guy who killed Pluto."

All I can say is "hands off uranus".

Posted on 08/25/2006 6:42 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 25 August 2006
Kaplan: What a Moronic Presidential Press Conference!

Fred Kaplan over at Slate points out what I argued over a year ago: the fact that we have no strategic war policy. Here he's just talking about Iraq, but it should be obvious we have no strategy for the whole "war on terror" shebang. Counter-tactics do not a strategy make.

As for Iraq, it's no news that Bush has no strategy. What did come as news—and, really, a bit of a shocker—is that he doesn't seem to know what "strategy" means.

Asked if it might be time for a new strategy in Iraq, given the unceasing rise in casualties and chaos, Bush replied, "The strategy is to help the Iraqi people achieve their objectives and dreams, which is a democratic society. That's the strategy. … Either you say, 'It's important we stay there and get it done,' or we leave. We're not leaving, so long as I'm the president."

The reporter followed up, "Sir, that's not really the question. The strategy—"

Bush interrupted, "Sounded like the question to me."

Posted on 08/25/2006 7:03 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 25 August 2006
"Sustainable Ceasefire" -- The Charade Continues
So now the French — shamed at the exposure of chicanery so blatant anyone outside Foggy Bottom could have seen coming from a mile away — are going to send 2000 rather than 200 troops to join the "robust international force" that will police the "sustainable ceasefire" in Lebanon.  Fabulous!

This morning's Washington Post story demonstrates what a charade this is.  It reports that

French officials said [French President Jacques] Chirac won pledges from the United Nations, Lebanon and Israel that peacekeeping troops would be allowed to open fire to defend themselves or to intervene if civilians were facing imminent threat. Peacekeeping forces in several previous operations around the globe have been criticized for allowing combatants to massacre civilians because of rules that prevented soldiers from interfering.

This is strawman diplomacy if ever there was.  The point of "robust" was not supposed to be about whether the international force was going to be able to defend itself — that was assumed.  The idea was to have a force that would deal with Hezbollah since the Lebanese can't (or, more accurately, don't wish to). 

And no one is worried about Hezbollah or Israeli massacres against Lebanese civilians.  The concern is Hezbollah using southern Lebanon as a platform for jihad against Israel. 

The bottom line is that the international force is going to do exactly nothing about Hezbollah — except complicate matters when Hezbollah inevitably attacks again and Israel has to worry about collateral UN casualties when it responds.

This is embarrassing

Posted on 08/25/2006 7:21 AM by Andy McCarthy
Friday, 25 August 2006
Urban Warrior look coming to a mall near you

Also in Slate: Get ready for the "urban warrior" look. Valerie Steele writes that warrior-style dressing is "perversely erotic," as the look "effortlessly combines the dualities of male/female, hard/soft, aggression/seduction." Steele points to a Proenza Schouler dress that looks like chain mail, an armorlike dress from John Galliano for Dior, and a Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel dress with a breastplate made of sequins as examples of the trend.

Posted on 08/25/2006 7:38 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 25 August 2006
The modern rise of jihad

The attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon is not the cause of, but rather the expression of the impulse of Jihad, and far more important to the revival of that impulse was not Bin Laden, but rather the overthrow of the Shah and the resistible but largely unresisted rise of Khomeini. The Shah was vain, not terribly intelligent about the permanent threat of Islam, and had all kinds of corruption at court. He failed to see how that oil money, and his promised revolution (was it "White" or "Green" or what color was it? I can't remember) merely unhinged the rural masses, and antagonized the bazaris, and all those who hadn't a chance to send their children to the Lycee or Goethe Institute in Teheran. The Shah predicted that Iran would inevitably become the "second industrial power in Asia, after Japan." In this respect his vaingloriousness, and that of other Iranians, is akin to that of the Turks, and both secularists in Iran under the Shah, and secularists in Turkey under the Kemalist dispensation, appear in their o'erweening pride to have retained the supremacist attitudes toward others that Islam encourages, but packaged it in nationalist wrapping. In any case, the Shah's regime did not have to fall had the Americans in charge been people who knew something, anything, about Islam, but they didn't. They were a mixture of simpletons and secret sympathizers with Khomeini as a "man of faith" and these people whose views on Islam and on the Middle East should never have been taken seriously again -- though they are all three still proffering their fatal nostrums -- are named Jimmy Carter, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Gary Sick. Not a word any of them has written about Islam can withstand scrutiny. They were the captain and the crew on that Ship of State, and Ship of Fools, the S.S. Narrenschiff. More than any other three people in the United States, they were responsible for the loss of Iran, just as, when it came to misunderstanding Saudi Arabia, several names should lead all the rest -- Raymond Close, and John C. West, and Fred Dutton, and James Akins, and James Baker.

The attack on the World Trade Center was not what brought back the Jihad as a central duty. What brought back Jihad were, as I stated below, the trillions of oil dollars, the millions of Muslim migrants, and the too-numerous-to-count-but-not-to-mention technological gewgaws that the Infidels in West and East invented and perfected and distributed, and Muslims employing various instruments of Jihad have exploited for their own malevolent purposes.

Posted on 08/25/2006 7:49 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 August 2006
Taheri: Hezbollah's "pyrrhic victory"

Amir Taheri writes in the WSJ:

The way much of the Western media tells the story, Hezbollah won a great victory against Israel and the U.S., healed the Sunni-Shiite rift, and boosted the Iranian mullahs' claim to leadership of the Muslim world. Portraits of Hassan Nasrallah, the junior mullah who leads the Lebanese branch of this pan-Shiite movement, have adorned magazine covers in the West, hammering in the message that this child of the Khomeinist revolution is the new hero of the mythical "Arab Street."

Probably because he watches a lot of CNN, Iran's "Supreme Guide," Ali Khamenei, also believes in "a divine victory." Last week he asked 205 members of his Islamic Majlis to send Mr. Nasrallah a message, congratulating him for his "wise and far-sighted leadership of the Ummah that produced the great victory in Lebanon."

By controlling the flow of information from Lebanon throughout the conflict, and help from all those who disagree with U.S. policies for different reasons, Hezbollah may have won the information war in the West. In Lebanon, the Middle East and the broader Muslim space, however, the picture is rather different.


Far from representing the Lebanese national consensus, Hezbollah is a sectarian group backed by a militia that is trained, armed and controlled by Iran. In the words of Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the Iranian daily Kayhan, "Hezbollah is 'Iran in Lebanon.' " In the 2004 municipal elections, Hezbollah won some 40% of the votes in the Shiite areas, the rest going to its rival Amal (Hope) movement and independent candidates. In last year's general election, Hezbollah won only 12 of the 27 seats allocated to Shiites in the 128-seat National Assembly--despite making alliances with Christian and Druze parties and spending vast sums of Iranian money to buy votes.

Hezbollah's position is no more secure in the broader Arab world, where it is seen as an Iranian tool rather than as the vanguard of a new Nahdha (Awakening), as the Western media claim. To be sure, it is still powerful because it has guns, money and support from Iran, Syria and Hate America International Inc. But the list of prominent Arab writers, both Shiite and Sunni, who have exposed Hezbollah for what it is--a Khomeinist Trojan horse--would be too long for a single article. They are beginning to lift the veil and reveal what really happened in Lebanon.

Having lost more than 500 of its fighters, and with almost all of its medium-range missiles destroyed, Hezbollah may find it hard to sustain its claim of victory. "Hezbollah won the propaganda war because many in the West wanted it to win as a means of settling score with the United States," says Egyptian columnist Ali al-Ibrahim. "But the Arabs have become wise enough to know TV victory from real victory."

Posted on 08/25/2006 7:56 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 25 August 2006
Derb on the Wireless
I shall be on the Laura Ingraham radio show Monday, talking about what left/right, lib/con mean in today's world.
Posted on 08/25/2006 8:48 AM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 25 August 2006
Pat Does the Business
Went round to the Book Revue in Huntington to hear Pat Buchanan talk about his new book. Big crowd of townsfolk — around 200.  No hecklers.  No pitchforks visible.  Loud & prolonged applause when Pat spoke about sealing the border, dragging employers off to jail if they hire illegals, and originalist reading of the 14th Amendment ( i.e. no more "anchor babies").  Did not see any Mohawk cuts, tattoos, or body piercings — these were ordinary middle- & lower-middle-class types.  Bought book.  Stood on line for half an hour with a couple of NRO fans, waiting to get book signed.  Got hungry.  Left, book unsigned.  Nice event.  Pat's an old hand, does this sort of thing very well.
Started reading the book.  It's nothing new or exciting to anyone who keeps up with the National Question — a lot is just rehashed journalism.  Flattered to see myself quoted a couple of times.  (I think both from this piece.)
Posted on 08/25/2006 9:20 AM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 25 August 2006
about those Muslim charities

"To what extent do Muslim charities — on the surface noble and selfless --"
-- from this article in the Times

Strike "on the surface noble and selfless." Muslim "charities" are devoted solely to Muslim causes; Muslim "charitable" giving is always connected to support limited to the umma, and used to reinforce its solidarity. This in no way prevents Muslims from trying to obtain as much aid as they can from Infidels, nor very occasionally, making a deliberately planned gesture of "charity" to Infidels -- that $10 million check by Saudi Prince Talal, he of the facial tics, a check designed to make up for that little business of all those Saudis participating in the attack on the World Trade Center, a check rightly ripped up by Mayor Giuliani -- or for that matter, donating small sums in a manner designed to elicit maximum attention and gratitude from Infidels, such as victims of the Katrina floods.

Why did The Times have to put in "on the surface noble and selfless"? Who thinks that Muslim groups soliciting funds for Muslims-only are any more "noble and selfless" than Hezbollah, handing out money and engaging in public works projects in Lebanon? The only truly "noble and selfless" charitable work done in the Muslim world has been that of the Christian monks in Algeria, who for their pains had their throats slit, and by other missionaries, and now by the American military, not only with its tens of billions of dollars in good works (lavished on ungrateful and hostile people) in Iraq, and to a much lesser extent, in Afghanistan, and then in Pakistan, where those field hospitals set up after the earthquake apparently not been removed, but have been treated by the Pakistanis as theirs by right, now pressed into service treating people for conditions having nothing to do with that earthquake. And of course Western journalists in Israel, though they never report on it, know perfectly well that the wards of Israeli hospitals are full of Arabs in the waiting-rooms, able to take advantage of the highest level of medical care offered to them free by the Jewish state, medical care that would be impossible to find anywhere outside of the best hospitals in Western Europe or North America.

Those Christian monks in Algeria, those American medics in Pakistan, those Jewish doctors in Israel, were and are and will be "noble and selfless" in their treatment of Muslims. Does anyone know of any example of Muslim charities, or Muslim individuals, the kind who take in the fantastic oil wealth, actually helping to aid, without any careful calculation of a public-relations goal(i.e., in order to improve the image of Muslims among Infidels), engaging in similar acts to benefit, day after day, without any show, non-Muslims? How could that be? Believers believe that the world is divided between Believers and Infidels; there is no point, it makes no sense, for the former to show munificence to the latter, unless of course it is done to further the spread of Islam, to help remove barriers or obstacles to that spread, which can justify even, here and there, the occasional well-publicized check, handed over, as Bin Talal did with Giuliani, beneath the blaze of lights and whirring cameras.

Posted on 08/25/2006 10:08 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 August 2006
Annoying Americanism of the week

Every Friday, whenever I remember and can be bothered, I will harrumph about an annoying Americanism that is creeping into the Queen's English.

Americans "debate" a person. This is, of course, perfectly possible. You can debate Zadie Smith, discussing whether she is very overrated or ridiculously overrated. You can also debate why she is overrated. However, if an American were to talk about debating Zadie Smith, he might well mean having a debate with Zadie Smith, and the topic might be something other than Zadie Smith, at least to start with.

Recently this transitive use of debate to mean "have a debate with" rather than "have a debate about" has crept into British English. I don't like it at all. The rot set in when, probably via the management consultancy industry, we started using "impact", first as a verb, then as a transitive verb. At one time Zadie Smith's novels would have "had little impact on" a discerning public. Later, as a more gullible public started to celebrate black writers, however untalented, she "impacted on it" more and more. Now she "impacts" public taste.

Americans tend to use verbs transitively where we would not. For example, as well as saying "Zadie Smith writes incoherent and pretentious novels," they might also say, "Zadie Smith writes her publisher every week." As yet, British English has resisted this usage. I hope we continue to do so, otherwise I will be forced to write the editor of The Times, and perhaps debate other correspondents on the subject.

Posted on 08/25/2006 10:30 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 25 August 2006
Speaking of debates...

A little while later Laura Ingraham referred to the case in Malaysia where Lina Joy, a convert to Christianity, is having such a hard time, including death threats. I explained that this resulted from the traditional Islamic death penalty against apostates, and quoted Muhammad's dictum, "If anyone changes his religion, kill him." Ingraham then asked Dr. Omeish if Sharia indeed mandated death for apostasy. He said flatly that it didn't, whereupon I said, "He's lying!" but I don't know if my mic was on. - Robert Spencer

The trouble with debates on radio is that, aside from the constant interruptions, either for commercials or for assorted breaks of a non-commercial nature, is that one is constrained by time, so much so that seldom are such debates occasions for much more than possibly landing one unforgettable punch, or leaving the audience with one thing to consider that will explode, like a depth charge, the other side's preposterous presentation (as was done the other day with the celebrated rock star and Islamic expert and now top-notch economic analyst, Mark LaVine, when at the end of his absurd flogging, on NPR, of "Heavy Metal Islam" -- his book-length analysis of why a rock band in Beirut matters so very much, someone came in and noted that inshallah-fatalism, and not the terrible Infidels, nor even the terrible local Muslim despotisms, explained the economic paralysis of the Muslim world).

What can one do when one's opponent simply lies, and hopes that some will believe it? Omeish knows, he has to know, that according to Islamic doctrine, those who apostasize from Islam, and do not heed the demand that they return to Islam, can and should be punished by death. He surely knows not only of the many examples cited by Robert above, but of many others that never reached the Western press.

What does one do when someone flat-out lies on your show? What should Laura Ingraham do? She should invite Robert on again. She should play, at the beginning, the question posed by Robert to Omeish, and his answer. Then she should allow Robert the full segment allotted to him to carefully list, one by one by one, all of the cases he cites in his written reply, and after each one, play again that little exchange in which Omeish is asked whether apostasy is punishable by death, and Omeish's "No." Again and again and again.

And then let Robert remind everyone of what Muhammad, in the Hadith, in the most authoritative collection of those Hadith (properly ahadith, but now by convention in English "Hadith" for the singular and plural), clearly stated:

"The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims" (Bukhari 9.83.17). He said flatly: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57)."

Then ask again, does Dr. Esam Omeish, president of the Muslim American Society, wish to rebut in any way either the quotations, preserved in the Hadith collection of Bukhari? Does he wish to deny the assembled evidence of many cases, in many different Muslim countries, of severe punishments being meted out to apostates, including death in those countries that are most intent on observing, or coming close to observing, the Shariah?

Invite Dr. Esam Omeish to make a statement. If he cannot tell the truth, if he persists in lying about this major doctrine in Islam, a doctrine which essentially denies freedom of conscience, and demonstrates the collectivism, the hatred for individual freedom, that is at the heart of Islam, then he should not be listened to by any Infidel, on any subject, ever again. And all those talk-show hosts or others who might be tempted to have him on should be made aware of this Big Lie, the goebbelsish lie, offered to yet again fool those Infidels whom he holds in such obvious contempt, for he has no notion that they, those credulous fools, might actually dare to study the texts of Islam, might dare to find out for themselves what Islam says about apostasy.

Those days are over. Not because our government has instructed us -- it hasn't. Not because the press has been so wonderful about explaining what Islam is all about -- it hasn't. Not because departments of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies are full of people willing to tell the truth about the doctrines of Islam, the tenets, the attitudes, the atmospherics, which it inculcates or promotes or emanates.

No, it is because having realized the discrepancy between what Muslims say and do, and what they and some of their non-Muslim apologists claim Islam is all about, simply has become too great to be ignored, and is no longer ignored, and it will be impossible to stop Infidels from finding out. It must be a hellish prospect for Muslim propagandists. After all, the texts of Islam are right there, just waiting to be read, merely a click away on the Internet. It is only a matter of people reading them. It is only a matter of finding out what the word "dhimmi" means, and the word "Jizyah," only a matter of reading, say, the growing literature on the status of non-Muslims under Muslim rule, over 1350 years (and the same kinds of mistreatment can be found today, from Hindus in Bangladesh to Christians in the Sudan and Egypt and Iraq).

What can they do? Imagine that you are a Muslim, trying to prevent a few billion aroused Infidels from reading the very texts (well, mainly the Qur'an, but not the more off-putting Hadith and certainly not the full biography of Muhammad, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil) at the very same time as you are trying, in your campaigns of Da'wa (the Call to Islam), to present to a subset of those Infidels -- the carefully targeted economically and psychically marginal -- passages from those texts, especially the Qur'an, in order to gather new recruits for the Army of Islam?

Quite a problem. So far the campaigns of desinformatsiya, disinformation, have been going smoothly because too many people were willing to deny the obvious, willing to avert their eyes, willing to grasp at assorted straws ("poverty" and "American foreign policy" being the two most obvious) and to promote impossible remedies (the "moderate Muslims" who would supposedly be our allies and do battle against those immoderate Muslims) and of course, that other impossible dream, the "Reform of Islam."

Omeish, Esam Omeish, has had his comeuppance. He did it to himself. He lied so brazenly, so completely, about something so easy to refute, instead of pulling the usual "well, I'm not sure about that" or "I am not familiar with that, let me look in to it" or any of the other absurdities that Muslim apologists, confronted by the truth and wishing at all costs not to admit to it, offer up and manage to satisfy, so they think, at least some in the endlessly credulous audience of Infidels.

Not any more.

Posted on 08/25/2006 3:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 August 2006
Needed: Handbook for Infidel Debaters

A Handbook for Debaters (Islamic) certainly exists. It consists of all the wiles and evasions and misstatements and tu-quoque (Zionists! Americans in Iraq! Stealing Our Oil! and so on) that have been used, that come so naturally, to societies where, as one Christian informant who spent the first 40 years of his life in Haleb told me, a Muslim will not even trust his own brother to enter his house when the man in the family is away, where one lives in a miasma of rumor and fear and mistrust, and where the most implausible things are believed, as why would they not be, when one is raised in a society suffused with an attitude entirely inimical to free and skeptical inquiry?

But no such Handbook for Infidel Debaters exist, nor a handbook for those who conduct radio programs.

Perhaps one can suggest that a few basic points should be raised, and answers -- clear answers -- demanded of any and every apologist for Islam who wishes to appear on any show.

These should focus on several matters:

1) The division of the world between Believer and Infidel, Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb. Passages from the Qur'an, stories from the Hadith, should be in possession of the radio talk-show host, or interviewer, so that there will be not mere silence, or a mere expression of "that isn't true" or "that can't be true" but rather, so that a point-by-point offering of the textual evidence can be presented.

2) The duty of Jihad, called by some the Sixth Pillar of Islam, and when it is a collective and when an individual duty (quotes at the ready), and what the goal of Jihad (to spread Islam until it dominates everywhere, and everywhere Muslims rule) is constantly dinned into the minds of listeners. Furthermore, Infidel debaters and talk-show hosts should have ready a list, taken from Muslim sources, of the varied instruments of Jihad: qital or combat (including what can reasonably be described as terrorism), the "money" or "wealth" weapon, Da'wa, and demographic conquest (have figures on the size of Muslim families, on the demands made by the Muslims within the Lands of the Infidels for changes to the Infidel legal, political, and social institutions, and also figures on the growth of Muslim populations in the Western world since, roughly, 1960 or 1970 -- broken down by country). And don't forget to include the triumphalist remarks about conquest through demography, made by everyone from Boumedienne at the United Nations in 1974, to a mild-mannered Pakistani accountant writing an article in the newspaper "Dawn."

3. Ask the Muslim interlocutor about the figure of Muhammad, and about the description of him as "uswa hasana" (a phrase used three times in the Qur'an, twice in relation to Abraham, once about Muhammad), or "al-insan al-kamil." Ask if he, Muhammad, is indeed regarded as the Perfect Man, whose behavior, whose words and deeds, are a model -- the Sunnah -- for Muslims to emulate, and emulate in every way. If that is conceded, then proceed to list some of the things with which Muhammad is associated: the Khaybar Oasis attack, the decapitation of the Banu Qurayza, the seizure and enslavement of women, the murder of Asma bint Marwan and Abu Akaf, the marriage and sexual intercourse with nine-year-old Aisha, and so on.

In no time at all, that Muslim spokesman will be spluttering. "How dare you? How dare you bring up these things? I'm leaving. I'm not coming back."

Induce the hysteria, just the way an obstetrician induces the contractions. Make those mental contractions begin early in the program. Have the mask of sweet reason pulled off as soon as possible.

Go to it.

It will be most effective.

And surely, many who visit this website could produce such a guide, not only to be made available for debaters and talk-show hosts on radio and television, but for those who simply show up at this or that occasion for "dialogue" at a mosque, or at some presentation during "Islam Week" at some campus, or at some political gathering, those who, entirely clear-thinking and unintimidated, appear expressly in order to throw a truthful spanner in the lying works.

A Political Koran is a good start.

Posted on 08/25/2006 4:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 August 2006
Heather Mac Donald’s Answers to Metaphysical Questions

Q: Why is there anything?

A: I don’t know and I don’t care.

Q: Where is the universe?

A: I don’t know and I don’t care.

Q: Why was I created only to be later killed?

A: I don’t know and I don’t care.

Q: What is Mind or Consciousness?

A: I don’t know and I don’t care.

Q: Why am I concerned about justice?

A: I don’t know and I don’t care.

Q: Is God possible?

A: I don’t know and I don’t care.

Q: Why do you matter to yourself?

A: I don’t know and I don’t care.

Q: How can sterile matter be the source of Love?

A: I don’t know and I don’t care.

Posted on 08/25/2006 5:47 PM by Mark Butterworth
Friday, 25 August 2006
more on that UK poll

From Friends of Micronesia:

The UK press is awash today with the results of a YouGov poll conducted for the Spectator Magazine typical of which is this report from The Telegraph. Fortunately YouGov has made the raw figures available on their website too and they are very interesting and especially in how they break the results by social class, age and geography. These differences are barely mentioned in the main stream reports.

There are a couple of key differences I want to draw out:

  • differences between ABC1 (higher) and C2DE (lower) social classes;
  • the importance of the the "don't know" answer.


Social Class

One of the questions asks the following

Do you believe that most British Muslims are moderate? Total ABC1 C2DE
Yes, they are moderate 50 55 43
No, they are not 28 27 30
Don’t know 22 18 27
That looks like a pretty big difference to me from 43% to 55% believing that "most British Muslims are moderate". Looking more closely we see that the difference is mostly down to the Don't know answer. Could it be that those people further from the so called "elites" are not believing the religion of peace line that the main stream media is pushing whenever it can? They truly don't know: they hear other polls where frighteningly large minorities of British Muslims justify suicide bombings (whether in the UK or elsewhere). That is not moderate but they can't quite make the leap to realise how core to the religion violent Jihad is.

Don't Know

The sizeable numbers above in the Don't Know category are significant.

Do you feel safer now than you did before 9/11? Total
Safer 6
Less Safe 46
No Difference 46
Don't Know 2
When the same group of people were asked a question that is much more about how they feel (and not how they feel about other people) they have a definite answer and a very low % of don't knows. The don't knows in the first question really are people who have doubts about how to feel.

I'm seeing a lot of confusion in the answers. There is a question about whether the UK should follow the US foreign policy, Europe's or its own. The answers almost contradict another answer: in response to Islamic Terrorism the UK's foreign policy should stay the same or get tougher say an amazing 77% (or 82% in the North of England). That is a lot higher than the number of MP's who don't want to support Blair anymore with a tough line against Iraqi or Iranian terrorists.

Posted on 08/25/2006 5:55 PM by Rebecca Bynum

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