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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 Monday, 26, 2007.
Monday, 26 November 2007
Boys' moped deaths ignite riot in Paris suburb
Rioting broke in one of Paris's tinder box suburban housing estates last night after two young boys were killed when their moped collided with a police car.
Molotov cocktails were thrown, and cars and plastic bins set on fire following the tragedy in Tolinette, a notoriously crime-ridden district of Villiers-le-Bel, some 20 miles north of the centre of the French capital.
One police station was set alight and another, in a neighbouring suburb, was ransacked after youths threw cocktails, and set bins alight and upturned cars.
Officials said seven police and one firefighter had were injured and there were fears the violence, which spread to the neighbouring town of Arnouville-les-Gonesse, could also take hold in other poor, suburban enclaves.
The boys who died were said by locals to be "aged between 12 and 13".
Police insisted that their car had not been chasing the boys, and that the officer driving suffered facial injuries in the incident, which happened soon after dusk.
But the violence had grim echoes of the disturbances which followed the electrocution of two youths in a sub-station as they fled police in the nearby suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois in late 2005. It directly led to two months of serious rioting across France, with a state of emergency being declared.
After last night's deaths, residents in Tolinette said cars were being burnt out, with police fleeing the scene.
One local, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "Around 100 rioters have burn at least two cars, but the forces of law and order are nowhere to be seen.
"There were four police cars here, but they've retreated. They were charged by the rioters. Some rioters are climbing up to electric cables to try and break them and put the whole district into darkness.
"The kids who died were only aged between 12 and 13. We're all trying to get the rioters to calm down, but it's hard when you're dealing with the deaths of a couple of kids, and when the police are involved."
A police spokesman later confirmed the boys' deaths, saying that next of kin would be informed before they could be named.
He confirmed that, as well as the police driver, a superintendent had been badly injured as he tried to put out fires started by youths in rubbish bins.
Posted on 11/26/2007 1:50 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 26 November 2007
Archbishop 'confused' about radical Islam
Damian Thompson comments on the Arch Druid’s notorious confusion about Islam. Galling as it is to have to read criticism of the Church of England from a Roman Catholic, especially when the comments are accurate.
One wonders what the millions of Christians persecuted by Islamist terrorists and governments will make of the Archbishop of Canterbury's interview with a Muslim lifestyle magazine. If they are looking for a condemnation of Islamic violence, they will be disappointed.
Dr Rowan Williams is "surprised" by the way Pakistani Muslims perceive local Christians as "deeply threatening". He feels that the Muslim world should be ready to acknowledge that "their present political solutions aren't always very impressive" and that they should consider learning from "classical liberal democracy". And that's it.
The rest of the interview is given over to attacking the United States and "Christian Zionists" - hardly a bold stance in a Muslim magazine.
What this interview also displays, however, is a much more worrying confusion about the nature of radical Islam.
Christians in Indonesia, Africa and the Middle East are being beaten, imprisoned, tortured and killed in the name of Allah. Moderate Muslims in Britain desperately need to be made aware of this situation.
And what has the Archbishop of Canterbury given them? Yet another sermon on the evils of Yankee imperialism.
Thankfully the work of the Barnabas Fund, an interdenominational organisation but founded and fronted by an Anglican clergyman, Revd Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is getting well known around English Churches. And the wisdom of the Bishop of Rochester is always welcome.
Posted on 11/26/2007 2:24 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 26 November 2007
Kindle, schmindle

Hand-held portable electronic reading devices do furnish a room. A. N. Wilson prefers not to judge a book by its home page:

The online bookseller Amazon has produced something called the digital reader, nicknamed the "Kindle". The claim is that it can do for the book what the iPod did for music. Weighing 10¼oz, the Kindle is a lumpy object that looks like a vintage pocket calculator. It went on sale last week in America for $399, so it isn't cheap.

What do you get for the money? You get a device that can automatically bring you 11 daily newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. There are also about 90,000 books available for the little device: bestsellers for $9.99 and "classics" for $1.99. Bleak House apparently only sets you back $1.99.

Why the Kindle? Here my toes start to curl a little. Charlie Tritschler, head of the project, said that the name arose because his ambition is - wait for it and groan - "to kindle a love of reading".

Oh, I see. I thought it was called "Kindle" because you'd want to put it on the fire.

Could I [...] become a Kindle-person? When the alarm clock wakes me in the black morning, will the little pile of books at my bedside become a thing of the past as I reach for the electronic lump?

One thing to be said in its favour is that the Kindle is not a scroll but a codex. One of the greatest changes in the reading habits of the human race happened some time in the second century when manuscripts stopped being rolls and turned into what we would nowadays recognise as a book - the codex with pages you could turn. Computers follow the pattern of the pre?second century, in that you have to scroll down to read their text.

I'd never thought of that before, but now Wilson mentions it, it's obvious. There is nothing new under The Sun - available for downloading on your Kindle right now.

Kindles flip from page to page. Presumably you can flip back a page, but even if you can do so in seconds, this will be longer than the split second that it takes us to turn back a page when you want to check the name of a character in a novel or to refresh your memory of who is speaking.

If you are reading poetry, of course, you will be flipping backwards and forwards all the time. I wonder how many poems have been included in the 90,000 ready-downloaded books for the Kindle.

Something tells me that I am not going to ask Father Christmas for a Kindle, and I do not think it is just because I am an old fuddy-duddy. The book, in codex shape, really was a brilliant invention. And after the century of Gutenberg and Caxton there really was no looking back.

One of the books for which I scrabble in the dark on winter mornings is Luther's translation of the Bible. I read it because I am learning German. I read it for lots of reasons. As I hold the small volume in my hands and read it by torchlight, I sometimes stop reading and reflect upon the revolutionary effect that these very words, in book form, had upon the world, as, all over Germany, and eventually Europe, men and women began to read the Bible to themselves.

Naturally, they could read it on a Kindle. But there is a peculiar intimacy about the silent, still code of the printed page. It is simply you and it, with no electric battery, no lit-up screen, no Charlie Tritschler trying to kindle something within me. The birth of Protestantism would not have happened without the prior birth of printing, which immediately established a private liberation to the human race.

Alone with my book, I am impregnable. It beats any drug, and it is so cheap. Eyes do the scrolling, and you do not need to recharge their batteries. As for reading a newspaper on a Kindle - how do you scribble telephone numbers on it, or half-finish the crossword?

And wouldn't it be awful if a rival kindled the flames of an old quarrel by uploading a note with a subtle rude message? Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn. Damn it and blast it, my battery has gone.

A. N. Wilson - why are he, and A. S. Byatt, ashamed of their Christian names? - has left out two other reasons why books are better than electronic reading devices. Books smell nice - I always sniff a book before I read it - and you can read them in the bath. You can even drop them in the bath and still read them when they've dried out.

Writing in The Times, Natalie Haynes points out:

Amazon describes it as “a revolutionary wireless reading device”, heroically ignoring the fact that most pre-revolution reading devices didn't have wires either. We called them books, and they were awfully popular. We hardly ever had to plug them in either.

There really is nothing new under the sun.

Posted on 11/26/2007 3:45 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 26 November 2007
Muslims against Sharia

This sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it is an organisation of some kind that has left sensible comments both at this site and at Jihadwatch, condemning aspects of Islamic behaviour and law. Here is its website:

Muslims Against Sharia

I am very sceptical about the possibility of reform in Islam, mainly because of the Islamic texts and the life of Mohammed, but also because of what happens to Muslims who genuinely strive for reform. If reform is to take place, it is no good simply condemning the practices of certain Muslims, because those practices can be explained away as "cultural". No, reform must involve criticising the Koran itself, and the behaviour of Mohammed.

Looking at the website of Muslims Against Sharia, there are some hopeful signs:

Sharia Law must be abolished, because it is incompatible with norms of modern society.

Outdated practices
Any practices that might have been acceptable in the Seventh Century; i.e., stoning, cutting off body parts, marrying and/or having sex with children or animals, must be condemned by every Muslim.

Outdated verses
The following verses promote divisiveness and religious hatred, bigotry and discrimination. They must be either removed from the Koran or declared outdated and invalid, and marked as such.  

If you follow the link, you will see that there are very many verses that would need to be removed.

Outdated words & phrases
Use of the following words and phrases or their variations must be prohibited during religious services:
• Infidel / Unbeliever: these terms have negative connotation and promote divisiveness and animosity; Islam is not the only religion
• Jihad: this word is often interpreted as Holy War against non-Muslims
• Mujaheed / Holy Warrior: no more wars in the name of Islam
• American (Christian / Crusader / Israeli / Zionist) occupation: these terms promote bigotry; at this point in time, Muslims living in non-Muslim lands have more freedoms than Muslims living in Muslim lands


The Crusades vs. The Inquisition
While the Inquisition was a repulsive practice by Christian Fundamentalists, the Crusades were not unprovoked acts of aggression, but rather attempts to recapture formerly Christian lands controlled by Muslims.

I wish them well, but think they will have their work cut out, and may face serious opposition from mainstream Islam.

Posted on 11/26/2007 4:30 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 26 November 2007
Lewis On Annapolis

Bernard Lewis writes in the WSJ:

Herewith some thoughts about tomorrow's Annapolis peace conference, and the larger problem of how to approach the Israel-Palestine conflict. The first question (one might think it is obvious but apparently not) is, "What is the conflict about?" There are basically two possibilities: that it is about the size of Israel, or about its existence.

If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime.

If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist.

PLO and other Palestinian spokesmen have, from time to time, given formal indications of recognition of Israel in their diplomatic discourse in foreign languages. But that's not the message delivered at home in Arabic, in everything from primary school textbooks to political speeches and religious sermons. Here the terms used in Arabic denote, not the end of hostilities, but an armistice or truce, until such time that the war against Israel can be resumed with better prospects for success. Without genuine acceptance of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State, as the more than 20 members of the Arab League exist as Arab States, or the much larger number of members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference exist as Islamic states, peace cannot be negotiated.

A good example of how this problem affects negotiation is the much-discussed refugee question. During the fighting in 1947-1948, about three-fourths of a million Arabs fled or were driven (both are true in different places) from Israel and found refuge in the neighboring Arab countries. In the same period and after, a slightly greater number of Jews fled or were driven from Arab countries, first from the Arab-controlled part of mandatory Palestine (where not a single Jew was permitted to remain), then from the Arab countries where they and their ancestors had lived for centuries, or in some places for millennia. Most Jewish refugees found their way to Israel.

What happened was thus, in effect, an exchange of populations not unlike that which took place in the Indian subcontinent in the previous year, when British India was split into India and Pakistan. Millions of refugees fled or were driven both ways -- Hindus and others from Pakistan to India, Muslims from India to Pakistan. Another example was Eastern Europe at the end of World War II, when the Soviets annexed a large piece of eastern Poland and compensated the Poles with a slice of eastern Germany. This too led to a massive refugee movement -- Poles fled or were driven from the Soviet Union into Poland, Germans fled or were driven from Poland into Germany.

The Poles and the Germans, the Hindus and the Muslims, the Jewish refugees from Arab lands, all were resettled in their new homes and accorded the normal rights of citizenship. More remarkably, this was done without international aid. The one exception was the Palestinian Arabs in neighboring Arab countries.

The government of Jordan granted Palestinian Arabs a form of citizenship, but kept them in refugee camps. In the other Arab countries, they were and remained stateless aliens without rights or opportunities, maintained by U.N. funding. Paradoxically, if a Palestinian fled to Britain or America, he was eligible for naturalization after five years, and his locally-born children were citizens by birth. If he went to Syria, Lebanon or Iraq, he and his descendants remained stateless, now entering the fourth or fifth generation.

The reason for this has been stated by various Arab spokesmen. It is the need to preserve the Palestinians as a separate entity until the time when they will return and reclaim the whole of Palestine; that is to say, all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel. The demand for the "return" of the refugees, in other words, means the destruction of Israel. This is highly unlikely to be approved by any Israeli government.

There are signs of change in some Arab circles, of a willingness to accept Israel and even to see the possibility of a positive Israeli contribution to the public life of the region. But such opinions are only furtively expressed. Sometimes, those who dare to express them are jailed or worse. These opinions have as yet little or no impact on the leadership.

Which brings us back to the Annapolis summit. If the issue is not the size of Israel, but its existence, negotiations are foredoomed. And in light of the past record, it is clear that is and will remain the issue, until the Arab leadership either achieves or renounces its purpose -- to destroy Israel. Both seem equally unlikely for the time being.

Posted on 11/26/2007 6:30 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 26 November 2007
Nuclear Power

If it is good enough for Hans Bethe and Andrey Sakharov, it is good enough for me. And France went ahead, without hysteria and without pandering to the hysterical, with government-funded, government-insured, government-maintained nuclear reactors that provide, I believe, something like 70-80% of the country's electricity. The X's, or polytechnicians, in the government were not about to allow things to be slowed down by those who think that the word "nuclear" is scary all by itself. Furthermore, not only was the insurance problem solved by the necessarily deep-pocketed government, but in France, as elsewhere except the United States, there are a few models that are re-used again and again, which has not been the practice in this country. It's a practice that might be emulated to cut costs.

Posted on 11/26/2007 7:01 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 November 2007
'Muhammad' teddy teacher arrested
This is even more ludicrous than the trouble in Bangladesh over the Mohammed cat joke. From the BBC.
A British school teacher has been arrested in Sudan accused of insulting Islam's Prophet, after she allowed her pupils to name a teddy bear Muhammad.
Ms Gibbons was arrested after several parents made complaints.
The BBC's correspondent Amber Henshaw said Ms Gibbons' punishment could be up to six months in jail, 40 lashes or a fine.  The school has been closed until January for fear of reprisals.
Fellow teachers at Khartoum's Unity High School told Reuters news agency they feared for Ms Gibbons' safety after receiving reports that men had started gathering outside the police station where she was being held.
Mr Boulos (the director) said Ms Gibbons was following a British national curriculum course designed to teach young pupils about animals and this year's topic was the bear.  So Ms Gibbons, who joined the school in August, asked a seven-year-old girl to bring in her teddy bear and asked the class to pick names for it, he said.
"They came up with eight names including Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad," Mr Boulos said.  "Then she explained what it meant to vote and asked them to choose the name."  Twenty out of the 23 children chose Muhammad as their favourite name.
Mr Boulos said each child was then allowed to take the bear home at weekends and told to write a diary about what they did with it.  He said the children's entries were collected in a book with a picture of the bear on the cover and a message which read, "My name is Muhammad."
The bear itself was not marked or labelled with the name in any way, he added.
It is seen as an insult to Islam to attempt to make an image of the Prophet Muhammad.
Mr Boulos said Ms Gibbons was arrested on Sunday at her home inside the school premises after a number of parents complained to Sudan's Ministry of Education.
He said police had seized the book and asked to interview the girl who owned the bear.
The country's state-controlled Sudanese Media Centre reported that charges were being prepared "under article 125 of the criminal law" which covers insults against faith and religion.
One Muslim teacher at the school, who also has a child in Ms Gibbons' class, said she had not found the project offensive.  "I had no problem with it at all," the teacher said.  "I know Gillian and she would never have meant it as an insult. I was just impressed that she got them to vote."
You couldn't make it up, really you couldn't. I expect they will want the child to be punished as well.  
Posted on 11/26/2007 7:10 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 26 November 2007
You can huff and puff but you won't blow my house down.

An English teacher arrested in the Sudan for allowing her class to name a teddy bear Mohammed.  
A favourite children's story is the Three Little Pigs.
These are they, Mo, Ham and Ed. Short for Maurice, Walsingham and Edmund, King and Saint of East Anglia. 
I bet there is someone out there thinks I need a good thrashing for that.
Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.

Posted on 11/26/2007 7:53 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 26 November 2007
Larry's logic

As posted a few days ago, to support his contention that women - all women - should not vote, Lawrence Auster gives the example of a woman - one woman - who admitted to changing her mind on the basis of a "friendly note". You see, if one woman does something silly like this, it means that all women must agree with her and must be similarly unfit to vote. I pointed out that all the women who commented on Auster's site disagreed and thought the woman who changed her mind was idiotic. Are they, like Margaret Thatcher, whom even the most reactionary of men admire, simply rule-proving exceptions? How many rule-proving exceptions do you need before a rule becomes invalid? All right, then, Auster concedes, not all women. But most. How does he know this? He just knows. It just is, OK? You can almost hear his foot stamp.

I believe (1) that women are naturally oriented to deal with life more in terms of personal relationships than in terms of impersonal principles; (2) that women are therefore significantly more likely to base their political positions on emotional and personal factors than men are; (3) that the women's vote will therefore tend to result in a society's political life and decisions being guided more and more by the kinds of personal and emotional considerations that are appropriate to decisions made in private life, instead of being guided by the impersonal factors that are appropriate to political life; and (4) that it is therefore a reasonable proposition that women should not have the vote.

And the evidence for this? What do I mean, evidence? It just is, because it just is. And if a man votes for a politician who supports his favourite baseball team? Ah, well, he's not behaving like a normal man. Perhaps he's gay or something.

If and when Auster gets round to providing evidence for his assertion - statistical proof that women bring private and personal considerations into public life significantly more than men do - then the implications may go far beyond the franchise. Women shouldn't be lawyers, doctors, accountants or scientists, or follow any other profession that requires objectivity. A female scientist is a contradiction in terms - she would favour a fellow scientist's theory because he had crinkly smile and a shock of tousled hair.

Now a man would never get distracted on the job. I asked Bill Clinton to confirm this about ten years ago, but he thought it impolite to talk with his mouth full.

Posted on 11/26/2007 7:56 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 26 November 2007
Jemima Khan

Jemima Khan spouts platitudes (h/t Alan):

In my experience, having lived for 10 years in a Muslim country and visited many others, there is a huge variety of beliefs within Islam and a cultural diversity amongst Muslims that is not often taken into account. Islam is not a monolithic entity ....

Zzzzzzzzzz. What was that?

Islam is not a monolithic entity. Which Islam, which Muslims do they hate? Mystical Sufi Islam? The culturally-influenced Islam of the Subcontinent? The literalist and extreme Wahabbi Islam? Militant jihadist Islam?

The Albanian Muslim is different from his Saudi brother. There are devout Muslims and less devout Muslims. Some drink, some don't. Some believe in arranged marriages, others have sex outside marriage. A minority believe that homosexuals and infidels should be murdered. A majority find such views repugnant.

It's true that the Muslim community is bad at introspection and self-criticism. Labelling all critics Islamophobes, as often happens (though Rod Liddle outed himself: "Islamophobia? Count me in") is an old ploy to close down debate. It was used 70 years ago, when a critic of the Soviet Union could expect to be called a fascist. A critic of Israeli government policy today is often labelled anti-Semitic.

Tedious false equivalence. Jemima Khan knows nothing about Islam or politics generally, and should stick to looking pretty in pictures. She doesn't even do that as well as Ayaan Hirsi Ali does.

A reader comments:

From here we see little enlightenment or democracy in the Muslim world, with increasing misogyny, xenophobia, intolerance, violence and chaos.

Does Ms Khan suggest that Islam itself has little to do with this sorry state of affairs, and therefore are we not right to attack, as Rod Liddle did, Islam itself?

Would she wish such a culture on Britain, even closed off in a few enclaves like Dewsbury and Tower Hamlets?

So never mind the diversity, and the often genuine kindness of many Muslim people, it is the power that the culture puts into the hands of demogogues that is the problem, so there is something in the head of even the most benign Muslim that represents a threat to our freedom - something that prevents them from facing down the hotheads. That makes even the moderates a problem, and until it changes, hostility can only increase.

Not that this matters, but isn't it about time she changed her name back to Jemima Goldsmith? Or perhaps she could adopt the surname of her mother, Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart. Private Eye would have a field day conjuring with that one if they haven't already.

Posted on 11/26/2007 8:45 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 26 November 2007
We're Fighting Them Over There...

Washington Times: Fort Huachuca, the nation's largest intelligence-training center, changed security measures in May after being warned that Islamist terrorists, with the aid of Mexican drug cartels, were planning an attack on the facility.

Fort officials changed security measures after sources warned that possibly 60 Afghan and Iraqi terrorists were to be smuggled into the U.S. through underground tunnels with high-powered weapons to attack the Arizona Army base, according to multiple confidential law enforcement documents obtained by The Washington Times.

"A portion of the operatives were in the United States, with the remainder not yet in the United States," according to one of the documents, an FBI advisory that was distributed to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA, Customs and Border Protection and the Justice Department, among several other law enforcement agencies throughout the nation. "The Afghanis and Iraqis shaved their beards so as not to appear to be Middle Easterners."

According to the FBI advisory, each Middle Easterner paid Mexican drug lords $20,000 "or the equivalent in weapons" for the cartel's assistance in smuggling them and their weapons through tunnels along the border into the U.S. The weapons would be sent through tunnels that supposedly ended in Arizona and New Mexico, but the Islamist terrorists would be smuggled through Laredo, Texas, and reclaim the weapons later.

A number of the Afghans and Iraqis are already in a safe house in Texas, the FBI advisory said...

Posted on 11/26/2007 9:53 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 26 November 2007
Clinton Bombshell Drops At Jihad Watch

Robert Spencer has posted this story about Hillary Clinton's personal assistant who is a Muslim woman who grew up in Saudi Arabia and whose father was a cleric. Rumors are flying about a possible affair between this young woman and Mrs. Clinton.

The New York Observer has details in an April story which includes gushing comments about "Hillary’s secret weapon," Huma Abedin, from the likes of Oscar de la Renta, James Carville, Queen Noor of Jordan, and even Senator John McCain.

Posted on 11/26/2007 10:02 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 26 November 2007
What Does Huma Abedin Believe?

Now Hillary will feel she cannot abandon her protégé, and instead is likely to become indignant, more determined to be seen, defiantly, with Huma Abedin on every occasion and to attack those who express the slightest, perfectly justified reservations about the perfectly plausible notion that Mrs. Clinton gets her idea of Islam, or of what Islam might be, necessarily skewed, from someone apparently full of personal charm and good looks (never to be discounted, often dangerously employed). One need only see how the personal charm of all those Shi'as in exile, Ahmad Chalabi, Kanan Makiya, Rend al-Rahim Francke, not to mention Paul Wolfowitz's close friend, who helped present a misleading view of Iraq, an Iraq which would be eternally grateful to its American liberators, an Iraq that within months of the toppling of the old regime would be back on its feet, still celebrated in Baghdad its liberation, with that celebration "making the liberation of Kabul look like a funeral procession" as Bernard Lewis is reported to have assured others in Washington.

Think of how the personal charm, those liquid brown eyes, of that nice Pakistani lady who shows up at the local elementary school to teach the students "about Islam," armed with a prayer rug, and pretty postcards of mosques, including of course the Mosque of Omar, and her beautiful exotic dress, and those wonderful exotic foods she brings, the chicken with pita, and the honeyed pastries, which the children are all so looking forward -- all smells so good -- after her talk, about Ramadan, and Iftar dinners, and how little Muslim boys and girls obey their parents and pray and are deeply devout just like, exactly like, little Christian boys and girls, so what's there to worry about? What indeed?

And think of the office with the Muslim colleague who is so friendly, so nice, who always inquires after your wife or husband or children, who seems so much warmer than your fellow, non-Muslim, harried thoroughly Western workers. What a relief to have such a nice guy in the office. Just as long, of course, as you carefully stay off the subject of Islam, or allow him to do all the talking about it, and never once dare to inject a note of doubt or wariness or criticism, for suddenly quite a different aspect of that same colleague, once so warm, so trustworthy, may be seen, perhaps just a glimpse, as quite other, when the deepest matters are touched.

Of course one is perfectly justified in worrying about this kind of influence. For if the reports are to be believed, Huma Abedin remains, despite living in the West, a "deeply conservative" Muslim. We are entitled to assume, therefore, that she still regards the Qur'an as the uncreated and immutable Word of God. And we are entitled to consult that "Word of God" to find out what she believes, and that includes 9.5, and 9.29, and another hundred deeply disturbing and hate-filled verses. We are entitled to assume that she is familiar with the most "authentic" Hadith in the most authoritative collections. We are entitled to assume that she regards Muhammad as exemplary, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil, and that therefore she finds all of his behavior not only beyond criticism, but to be taken as a model: little Aisha, and the murders of Asma bint Marwan and Abu Akaf, the decapitation of the 600-900 bound prisoners of the Banu Qurayza, the attack on the inoffensive Jewish farmers of the Khaybar Oasis, and so on.

This close aide, this aide-de-camp, who may or may not be closer and more intimate with Hillary Clinton than anyone else on earth, really a deep admirer of that Muhammad, and a deep believer in the Qur'an, and therefore a supporter of the Shari'a, desirous naturally of removing all barriers to the spread of the faith of which she is not only an adherent by birth (born into it through no fault of her own), but apparently by deep conviction, and furthermore, the daughter of a Muslim preacher who went to Saudi Arabia, the place where the most rigorous and unmediated Islam is put into practice, and enforced at every level.

We have a right to know. And Huma Abedin, and her great and good friend, have a duty to tell us. With no counter-attacks, none of that manufactured indignation, none of that "I won't dignify such scurrilous rumors" or "leave her alone, it's her private life." In this case, she is running for President. In this case, she wishes to be in control of the American government when war is being made on that government, and its people, and on Infidels everywhere, by Muslims acting in the name of Islam, and not doing so because they are "extremists" but because they have chosen to use the instrument of warfare, or terror, rather than to use the instruments of Da'wa, and the Money Weapon, and demographic conquest, being employed by tens or hundreds of millions of other Muslims.

This has to be cleared up. What does this woman so close to Hillary Clinton believe? And what does Hillary Clinton now believe, or allow herself to believe because she wishes to, because it makes her able to justify, or reconcile, her personal life and her political life. Or does she think there is nothing to worry about, or that no one has a right to raise this issue.

She may assume - there have been many signs of it -- that she regards herself, or thinks others should so regard her, as existing serenely above all the normal considerations and influences that others, mere mortals, are subject to? Her o'erweening ambition, she may think, is her only fault, and to her it is not a fault.

Well, she's wrong. We need to know. What does Huma Abedin think about the doctrine and practice of Islam? What would Huma Abedin like to see happen in the Lands of the Infidels? And what has Hillary Clinton learned, or think she has learned, about Islam and Muslims, through her close friendship and daily proximity to Huma Abedin?

Ordinarily the sex life of politicians, like the sex life of newts, ought not to be a matter of public knowledge or interest. What Jacques Chirac did or does with his poules de luxe is not important, except that in his case the requirement of simultaneous ministrations from three girls implies a very large bill at the end, and where does Jacques Chirac get all that money, if not from such briefcases as that brought to him by the late u Rafik Hariri on his monthly trips for "private meetings" with Chirac, the contents of which were never clearly explained. So there was a reason for puzzlement and worry, as there is now.

And the business of lesbianism need not be brought into the discussion at all. That is not the main thing. That this "deeply conservative" Muslim is her constant companion and aide is enough for alarms to go off. That is more than enough.

Posted on 11/26/2007 10:22 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 November 2007
War Always Deals With The Collective

TERRORIST group Hezbollah is poised to launch bloody reprisals in Britain for any Western attack on Iran, a former intelligence chief has warned. --from this news article

And what will be the position of the American and British governments toward a continuing large-scale presence of Muslims in their respective countries, were there to be an attack by Muslims within those countries? War always deals with the "collective." When Bomber Harris conducted the campaign of raids on German cities, he did so to punish them, and to break their will, to damage the Nazi morale and capacity for war-making. When the Enola Gay flew over Hiroshima, it was in order to make an invasion of the Japanese Home Islands unnecessary, to save a million lives. But in both cases "innocent civilians" were wounded or killed. Had the United States ever bombed Soviet Russia, undoubtedly among the dead would have been those who did not support the Communist regime. When Benes and Masaryuk expelled the Sudeten Germans in 1946, because of the behavior of so many of them, in collaborating with Hitler in his aims, before the war and then during the war, it was understood that some of those expelled had not so collaborated, were in a sense "innocent." But that is what national security, the Czechs felt, given the behavior of too many Sudeten Germans, at that point demanded.

What's the moral here? The moral here is that the governments of Infidel states have a duty to preserve the physical security of their own people, and the continued stability, and even existence, of political and legal institutions that are flatly contradicted by the spirit and letter of Islam. And there seems to be as yet that we have not made clear that there will be consequences damaging to Islam and the Jihad should those who wish, and work to do us harm, in the name of Islam, as they work to support or protect from attack the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear project, or any other Muslim state (Pakistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, fill in whatever you wish right here) or polity (the "Palestinian" Authority) or group (Hamas or Hezbollah or Lashkar Jihad or a thousand other groups, including of course the various local succursales of the Ikhwan or Muslim Brotherhood).

What is the punishment, what will be the consequences, of such an attack? It should be: to end all Muslim immigration to the country attacked (and, proleptically, in other Infidel countries), and a relentless campaign to shut down efforts at Da'wa, to end support by rich Arabs abroad (mainly Saudi Arabia) to pay for mosques, madrasas, Da'wa, and armies of Western hirelings to deflect any criticism either of Islam or of such malevolent states as Saudi Arabia). Make sure that the consequences are fully understood. Treating the matter purely as one for the security services, who will merely locate those immediately responsible, if they can, for such attacks, is not nearly enough. Let it be clear that the threat, or potential future threat, will be diminished, in the same way, with the same permissible amplitude, that we have always permitted ourselves, correctly, in previous wars, those wars that were of a more traditional and therefore more easily understood, kind.

Posted on 11/26/2007 10:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 November 2007
A Walking Advertisement, A Dangerous Advertisement, For Islam

I have no objection, none, to Hillary Clinton's doing whatever she wants with anyone, as long as that anyone is not subtly conveying a message about Islam that causes her -- as it has caused so many before her -- to misunderstand or overlook the doctrine of Islam, what the texts say, what is always there, sometimes ignored or not quite followed, but nonetheless there in the immutable Words of Allah in the Qur'an, or in the immutable words and deeds of his Messenger, Muhammad, in the Hadith. It is much easier to take as representative of Islam this man, or that woman, especially if this particular man or woman is otherwise remarkably appealing, and that can be misleading, and a great danger.

1) that particular Muslim may not know herself know, or care to find out, about the full texts and tenets of Islam, but is ignorant, possibly willfully ignorant, of much about Islam that others, especially government officials in the West, need to find out about.

Especially if she left a Muslim society in her early teens, or the main upholder-of-Islam in the family, apparently her father, died when she was 17, and she may have been raised outside a Muslim society or not be aware of what it is like to grow up, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan and Azam Kamguian did, inside Dar al-Islam, and experienced what a society suffused with Islam is like, like for women, and like for men as well.

2) one must keep steadily in mind the lapidary formula of Ibn Warraq: "There are moderate Muslims. Islam itself is not moderate." We have already experienced, endured, suffered from, the naive and sentimental George Bush, who "knows" that Islam is a "religion" and also "knows" that "religion" is a Good Thing, and who further knows that everyone in the whole wide world wants the same things, wants "freedom" and "democracy" and stuff like that, because deep down inside, we are all Americans, aren't we?

How likely is it that someone who has not bothered over the past six years, as Hillary Clinton has not bothered, to study the texts of Islam, has never mentioned Islam, either its doctrine or its practice, over the past 1350 years -- in this respect she is discernibly no worse than the other candidates, save the steady sober Tom Tancredo -- but who spends time every day with a charming Muslimah for whom she feels esteem and affection, and who no doubt is a walking advertisement for Islam, a false advertisement, a dangerous advertisement, and one who possibly can only be countered by the no-nonsense truth-tellers from that same world, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan.

It would be fascinating to know if Hillary Clinton has read Hirsi Ali's "Infidel" or expressed a desire to meet with her. And if such a desire were to be expressed, would Huma Abedin try to prevent it from being met, or try to make sure that she would be present at such a meeting, or be able to undercut the ferocity and truth of what Ayaan Hirsi Ali would no doubt tell Hillary Clinton, and attempt to get her to see? And what about the other defectors from Islam - Wafa Sultan, for example? Could she, has she, been in to see Hillary Clinton, or for that matter any of the other Presidential candidates?


Why not?

Memo to Barack Obama: have a meeting with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. To discuss the world. Make that meeting right now. Let voters compare and contrast your understanding of Islam, and where you are seeking to find out more about it, with that of your rivals in the Democratic Party.

Memo to Republican candidates: do the same.

Posted on 11/26/2007 12:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 November 2007

Ordinarily the sex life of politicians, like the sex life of newts, ought not to be a matter of public knowledge or interest...And the business of lesbianism need not be brought into the discussion at all. That is not the main thing. That this "deeply conservative" Muslim is her constant companion and aide is enough for alarms to go off. That is more than enough. (Hugh)

It should be, but I imagine that the affair, rather than the Islam aspect, will be the focus of attention. A prominent male politician who has an affair will have the tabloids on his back. A woman even more so. And if it's a lesbian affair - well, they'll be all agog.

Perhaps because "Kind Hearts and Coronets" was showcased here recently, I was put in mind of Mr Valerie Hobson, AKA John Profumo. The Profumo affair, which I have posted about here and here, was not just a sex scandal; there was a genuine security risk at the time. (Christine Keeler was sleeping with Ivanov, a Soviet naval attaché.) We may never know what really happened, but it looks very likely that Christine Keeler was used, and John Profumo set up, in a honeytrap.

Can this be ruled out? Keeler was young and foolish and knew nothing of politics. Huma Abedin may know little of the real Islam. But might she have been encouraged, pushed into a close relationship of some kind with Hillary Clinton? Clinton is an aspiring President, just as Profumo was an aspiring Prime Minister.

Or have I been reading too many books called "Honeytrap"?

Posted on 11/26/2007 2:03 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 26 November 2007
Update: Protesters storm Union
From the Oxford Mail and the Telegraph
A group of protesters have forced their way into the Oxford Union and barricaded themselves inside the debating chamber.
Around 20 people are thought to have managed to get into the building in St Michael's Street and are staging a sit-in protest.
A thousand anti-fascist protesters roared their opposition outside the Union - including Respect MP George Galloway. (As a relative of his ex wife was Al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem who toured Auschwitz and was promised his very own extermination camp once the Nazis had taken the Middle east he has reason to know that the holacaust really happened)
The two controversial speakers had arrived early, accompanied by bodyguards, in a bid to avoid confrontation with the protesters.
As he arrived, Mr Irving, who had been invited seven times before and each time the invitation had been withdrawn, said: "I'm very glad to be here."
I cannot work out whether the debate has been abandoned, is carrying on in the midst of protestors or is waiting for the protestors to be dealt with (although at nearly 11 pm it is a little late now)
According to the BBC the debate started late with the speakers split into two rooms. I rather wanted to know what Nick Griffin and David Irving would have to say to each other publicly.
Posted on 11/26/2007 4:32 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 26 November 2007
A Musical Interlude: If I Could Be With You
Posted on 11/26/2007 6:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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