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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, 2008.
Monday, 26 May 2008
Iraqi troops race to free British hostages before anniversary
Iraqi troops have launched a fresh manhunt in Baghdad for five British hostages with the goal of freeing the men before the first anniversary of their abduction later this week. I just hope this isn't raising false hopes.
The five men, a computer consultant and four security guards, have been held by a Shia extremist group since May 29 last year.
A dossier given to Iraqi ground commanders, who entered the Sadr City slum last week under the terms of a ceasefire agreed with the forces of Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shia cleric, contains the men's names, photographs and an intelligence briefing summarising information about their captors.
"These people are top of the list of people we're interested in finding here," said an American officer who delivered the documents to his Iraqi counterparts.
British officials have cautiously orchestrated a campaign for the men's release centred on Sadr City, and the SAS has been involved in raids on suspected compounds. Speculation that the Britons might have been taken to Iran has not been supported by any evidence.
"Sadr City is a place where the men have been held, according to the best current understanding," said one official.
"It's a place that until now necessitated a lot of fighting to get in and out of while, at the same time, they could be moved around. But it's only as good a place as any."
Canon Andrew White, the Anglican vicar of Baghdad, has devoted much of his time to a private initiative to secure the men's freedom.
He claimed last week that the kidnappers had expressed satisfaction at a video message recorded by Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.
He has appealed to the kidnappers as "honourable men" to end the anguish suffered by the hostages' families.
Little is known about the conditions the Britons have been held under since they were snatched from a finance ministry complex by a group wearing police uniforms. Several family members have publicly appealed for their release but the Foreign Office has advised that a low-key approach should be taken towards securing their release. An appeal for information was distributed across Baghdad earlier this year but failed to elicit any firm response.
An Iraqi army officer told The Daily Telegraph that raids in search of the men had already been carried out.
A body, which is believed to be that of a prominent Iraqi official, was found at one building used by kidnappers.  
Posted on 05/26/2008 6:02 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 26 May 2008
Muslim Polygamy Spreads In Canada

From The Star (hat tip: LGF):

There were no pleasantries, there was no small talk. Safa Rigby had expected to hear her husband's voice when the phone rang one morning. Instead, the caller didn't even bother to say hello.

"You think you know your husband. You don't know him at all," said the man, a friend of her husband's. "His car is parked outside my house right now. He is with my ex-wife. They just got married last week," the man said.

It took a minute for the news to sink in. Then she called her husband of 14 years, demanding to know if what she had just been told was true – that while she spent a year in Egypt raising their four children in a more Islamic environment, he had used it as an opportunity to marry not just one, but two other women in Toronto.

"Yes, I'm married," he said, quashing all her dreams of their future together.

He told her he was married in a small ceremony 20 days earlier, officiated by Aly Hindy, a well-known Toronto imam, at his Scarborough mosque.

"I cried for six days straight. Lost my appetite, ignored the kids, even had to start taking antidepressants," said Rigby, 35. "What I couldn't understand was how such a thing could happen in Toronto, my hometown, where polygamy is supposed to be illegal."

It was easy. He simply found an imam willing to break a Canadian law, in exchange for upholding an Islamic one.

"Polygamy is happening in Toronto; it's not common, but it's happening," said Hindy, imam at Salahuddin Islamic Centre.

Hindy, hardly a stranger to controversy, is well known for his friendship with the family of Omar Khadr, the young Canadian detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and his outspoken views on the implementation of Islamic law. In the past five years, Hindy said he has officiated or "blessed" more than 30 polygamous marriages; the most recent was two months ago. Even some imams in the GTA have second wives, he added.

"This is in our religion and nobody can force us to do anything against our religion," he said. "If the laws of the country conflict with Islamic law, if one goes against the other, then I am going to follow Islamic law, simple as that."

Those who condone the practice rarely let their views be known, and those who practise it themselves tend to do so in secret, making it difficult to record how many such marriages have taken place in the GTA. Equally hard to determine is how many polygamous families have immigrated to the country, despite a 2005 report commissioned by the federal Status of Women that tried to find out the extent of polygamy and its implications...

Posted on 05/26/2008 6:31 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 26 May 2008
Carter: Britain & EU Should Break With US Over Gaza Blockade

...And Says Bush Could Be Tried For War Crimes Overseas In The Guardian:

Britain and other European governments should break from the US over the international embargo on Gaza, former US president Jimmy Carter told the Guardian yesterday. Carter, visiting the Welsh border town of Hay for the Guardian literary festival, described the EU's position on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as "supine" and its failure to criticise the Israeli blockade of Gaza as "embarrassing".

Referring to the possibility of Europe breaking with the US in an interview with the Guardian, he said: "Why not? They're not our vassals. They occupy an equal position with the US."

The blockade on Hamas-ruled Gaza, imposed by the US, EU, UN and Russia - the so-called Quartet - after the organisation's election victory in 2006, was "one of the greatest human rights crimes on Earth," since it meant the "imprisonment of 1.6 million people, 1 million of whom are refugees". "Most families in Gaza are eating only one meal per day. To see Europeans going along with this is embarrassing," Carter said.

He called on the EU to reassess its stance if Hamas agreed to a ceasefire in Gaza. "Let the Europeans lift the embargo and say we will protect the rights of Palestinians in Gaza, and even send observers to Rafah gate [Gaza's crossing into Egypt] to ensure the Palestinians don't violate it." ...

Last night, before a packed crowd at Hay, Carter spoke of his "horror" at America's involvement in torturing prisoners, saying he wanted the next US president to promise never to do so again.

He left an intriguing hint that George Bush might even face prosecution on war crimes charges once he left office.

When pressed by Philippe Sands QC on Bush's recent admission that he had authorised interrogation procedures widely seen as amounting to torture, Carter replied that he was sure Bush would be able to live a peaceful, "productive life - in our country".

Sands, an international legal expert, said afterwards that he understood that to be "clear confirmation" that while Bush would face no challenge in his own country, "what happened outside the country was another matter entirely".

What can be said about a former President who urges foreign nations to undermine US policy and to try a sitting President before some international tribunal? What treachery.

Posted on 05/26/2008 6:39 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 26 May 2008
Now Everybody Wants Nukes

WND: LONDON -- Agents with Britain's MI6 intelligence agency who are based in the Middle East have established that 13 countries in the region have drawn up new plans -- or reviewed previous ones -- to build nuclear stations following in the path of Iran's push for an enriched uranium program capable of producing nuclear weapons, according to a report in Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

"It is clear that those countries are motivated by what Tehran is doing to enter into the nuclear weapons club," states an MI6 report.

And the International Institute for Strategic Studies, IISS, confirming MI6's findings, said the other nations "have embarked on their programs in order to give them each the option of building a nuclear bomb in the future."

IISS chief executive John Chapman said: "Iran's program has built on regional rivalry, security concerns and sheer one-upmanship...

Posted on 05/26/2008 7:20 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 26 May 2008
Jesus Christ (Superstar) Comes To Wesleyan

From the Los Angeles Times story on Barack Obama at Wesleyan:

"David Maryasin, 22, showed up at the ceremony with Obama's face and "HOPE" stenciled in gold spray paint on top of his cap and on the back of his gown. Throughout the day he flashed an O sign with his hands.

'He's our hero,' Maryasin said. 'For him to be here is an honor. It makes me feel like I'm at the center of the world.'

Maryasin said that last week he had been hung over from a night of pre- graduation partying when his friends started calling him. One left a message, 'Pick up the phone. . . . Jesus is speaking -- Jesus!'

Maryasin said he walked out his front door and saw the class president running down the street, shouting that Obama was coming."

Posted on 05/26/2008 8:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 May 2008
The Rich Diversity Of Campus Life At Wesleyan

From the LA Times:

"Methodist leaders and Middletown citizens founded Wesleyan in 1831, and its student body reflects many of Obama's core supporters: young, diverse and predominantly liberal. Since 2001, 164 of its graduates have joined the Peace Corps. The school offers a rich menu of clubs for students interested in race relations, politics, gender issues and environmentalism.

'I don't know of anybody who is an out-of-the-closet Hillary supporter,' said William Franklin, a 21-year-old music and government student, referring to Obama's rival for the presidential nomination, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Franklin said students who backed the presumed Republican nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, "can get jumped for that."

Students say the school has a small but active Republican club.

Michael Sargen, 23, a graduate in biology, is a Clinton supporter who said he spent the year avoiding the Obama- mania that swept over his school. On Sunday, though, he couldn't help but get caught up in it.

'It's like a big rock star is coming to campus,' Sargen said. 'Ted Kennedy is great, but this makes it an even bigger event. I feel like I'm part of something historic.'"

Posted on 05/26/2008 8:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 May 2008
Camden Residents Reject Islamic School

The town of Camden in New South Wales Australia is up in arms over a proposal to bring an Islamic School there. From the BBC (thanks to Alan):

...Back in November, more than 1,000 local people took part in a public meeting. Many participants expressed themselves with little regard for political correctness.

"This has to be one of the nicest places in New South Wales," said one woman, who has lived in Camden for the past nine years.

"Everywhere is being destroyed. Why don't we tell the truth. They're wrecking Australia. They're taking us over," she said.

"Why hasn't anyone got any guts? They've got terrorists amongst 'em... They want to be here so they can go and hide in all the farm houses... This town has every nationality... but Muslims do not fit in this town. We are Aussies, OK."

Some of the loudest cheers of the night greeted a speech from a local man in his late 70s.

"Can I just say this without being racist or political?" he said. "In 1983, in the streets of London a parade by Muslims chanted incessantly 'If we can take London, we can take the world'. Don't let them take Camden."

Some speakers focused solely on the environmental impact of locating an urban-scale school in such a bucolic setting; and, in particular, on the traffic congestion it would bring.

Anti-Islamic immigration slogan on protester's hat
Some of the protesters wore anti-Islamic immigration slogans
One speaker implored the crowd to stick to planning issues, and not let the campaign be contaminated by racism or xenophobia.

When the chair of the meeting invited anyone in favour of the development to speak up, no one stepped forward.

Camden does not harbour a large Muslim community - census figures suggest about 150 families.

Most of the pupils at the proposed school would therefore be bussed in from Sydney, a journey that takes about an hour each way...

Scroll down to watch the video here.

Posted on 05/26/2008 8:18 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 26 May 2008
Could John Wesley Deliver A Commencement Speech At Wesleyan?

John Wesley wrote about Islam:

" Ever since the religion of Islam appeared in the world, the espousers of it...have been as wolves and tigers to all other nations, rending and tearing all that fell into their merciless paws, and grinding them with their iron teeth; that numberless cities are rased from the foundation, and only their name remaining; that many countries, which were once as the garden of God, are now a desolate wilderness; and that so many once numerous and powerful nations are vanished from the earth! Such was, and is at this day, the rage, the fury, the revenge, of these destroyers of human kind."

How likely is it that John Wesley would be invited to deliver a Commencement speech at a Wesleyan University today, or even allowed to speak anywhere, at any time,  on campus, without being hounded and shouted down by Defenders of the Faith -- the Faith of Islam?

Posted on 05/26/2008 8:47 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 May 2008
A Musical Interlude: Varsity Drag (George Olsen Orch.)
Posted on 05/26/2008 8:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 May 2008
A Cinematic Interlude: Quincy Adams Wagstaff At Huxley College
Posted on 05/26/2008 9:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 May 2008
Camden

Camden, New South Wales, Australia must not be confused with Camden, London NW1, England. This, in turn, must never be confused with Camden Passage, Islington, London N1, England.

Camden Passage is where Hugh Fitzgerald, having unsuccessfully tried to dry his clothes in what he calls a "laundromat", saw Robert Morley emerge from a fancy restaurant "patting his embonpoint". This was some time in the late Seventies. Around the same time, the Two Ronnies dressed up as char-ladies and sang 'Camden Town' to the words of 'Chinatown, My Chinatown' accompanying themselves on pots, pans and a bicycle pump.

Worlds away.

Posted on 05/26/2008 8:56 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 26 May 2008
A Musical Interlude: Nice Work If You Can Get It (Tommy Dorsey Orch., voc. June Hutton)
Posted on 05/26/2008 9:21 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 May 2008
The Foreign Placename That, When Pronounced Correctly, Gives The Most Pleasure To A Native Speaker Of English

Teotihuacán

Posted on 05/26/2008 9:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 May 2008
Details, details

It goes without saying - which partly explains why I haven't said it - that I am delighted by the result of the Crewe and Nantwich bye-election. Labour was well and truly trounced, reflecting a pattern in local elections throughout the country, beginning with, but not ending in Boris Johnson's ousting of Ken Livingstone. At last, it seems, people have seen through New Labour. It is not "New"; it is the same old dictatorial, profligate Socialism, bent on taking the workers' hard-earned money and wasting it on bureaucrats, quangos, layabouts and sometimes hostile immigrants, while passing endless new laws and surrendering our country to that evil Superquango, the EU.

New Labour, if not dead, is old hat. But what about Socialism? Do people still, in the face of all the evidence, believe in it?

Sadly, the beast is a long time dying. What can be the attraction? Perhaps it is the way it allows its adherents to abdicate responsibility and to make assumptions that go unchallenged because they seem to be benign. David Thompson discusses the work of Professor Ziegmunt Bauman:

My initial response to [Bauman's] claim that “the quality of a society should be measured by the quality of life of its weakest members” was to think of a drunken woman I sometimes see not far from where I live. She’s a slightly incongrous sight around mid-morning: fag in one hand, can of cheap beer in the other, chugging away merrily and looking a little unsteady. I’m guessing she’s not a physicist or a brain surgeon, or even a professor of sociology, and I doubt those were ever serious career options. It’s unlikely, I think, that this woman can hold down a job and I’d guess the odds are good that her morning beers are paid for with state benefits. Now if Bauman wants us to judge the quality of society as a whole by the quality of this woman’s habits and decisions, or the decisions of others like her, that seems a tad unfair. It’s also unclear what, if anything, Professor Bauman would want to do to this woman - sorry, do for this woman - in the name of “social justice”. Bauman’s essay is, alas, a little vague on practical detail, and thus vague on moral detail.

[...]

Is Bauman suggesting that this woman should be steered away from her morning refreshments? These do, after all, affect her employment prospects, finances and health, and thus make her one of society’s “weakest members”. Or does the professor believe that she should be compensated indefinitely by the state for being an unemployable alcoholic and not terribly bright? How, I wonder, is her life to be brought closer into line with mine or yours? Does she have a say in the matter? Do those of us who would have to pick up the tab?

Professor Bauman is happy to charge the “capitalist order” with “sins of wastefulness and immorality, manifested in social injustice.” Yet one might very easily charge advocates of socialism with much the same sins precisely because their worldview so often degrades or denies the role of individual judgment and responsibility. What, for instance, happens to a person’s moral agency if that person is permanently shielded from the fallout of their own actions and is compensated not just for hardship and misfortune, but for negligence, selfishness and habitual idiocy? As a result, do they become a better person?

The professor tells us,

The left stands for the awareness that the job of making the world more hospitable to human dignity - the dignity of all humans - remains unfinished. It stands for the principled action that derives from such awareness.

Stirring stuff. But, again, it isn’t at all clear how socialism so conceived would improve the dignity of the woman mentioned earlier. Is her dignity enhanced by the state’s accommodation of, or correction of, her preferences and shortcomings? Is your dignity enhanced by paying for either of the above? Bauman’s enthusiasm for some idealised social system is, if not attractive, then at least hard to miss; his familiarity with individuals, human nature and practical questions of morality is not so obvious. Bauman defines the left, and apparently the left alone, as “want[ing] a humane society, one that strives for justice for all its members.” This is an absurd rhetorical conceit. I can’t offhand think of a major political outlook that defines itself as striving for a society based on inhumanity and injustice. The question is whether Bauman’s romantic view of the state as some benign parent figure is actually humane, or desirable, or in any sense fair.

Posted on 05/26/2008 9:50 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 26 May 2008
Iowahawk: Dear Barry

Iowahawk has a very funny feature called "Dear Barry, Relationship advice from Illinois Senator Barack Obama." Here is a selection:

Dear Barry:

I try to get along with the people in my neighborhood, but sometimes it can be difficult. Take for example my neighbor "Mahmoud." Last weekend while I was seeding my lawn, he drove back and forth slowly in front of my house "flipping the bird" from his minivan, which is painted with pictures of bloody corpses and mushroom clouds and "welcome 12th Imam."  Normally I wouldn't have given it a second thought (I get "fingered" by a lot of the neighbors), but lately I've noticed he has been working on some kind of secret project in his garage with really stinky chemicals. Also, I've been getting these constant annoying 3 AM phone calls threatening to kill my kids.

Frankly, I'm sort of worried about the situation, but even the neighbors I get along with tell me I shouldn't jump to conclusions, and not to make a big deal of it. I don't want to make waves, but I also don't want to end up like the Goldbergs who had their house burned down last week. Am I being too much of a "worry wart"? Please help!

Concerned in Northbrook

Dear Concerned:

Misunderstanding and mistrust is a two-way street, and it's important to ask yourself: what did I do to create this situation? Without thinking, sometimes the things we do can understandably trigger homicidal rage in our friends and neighbors. Put the shoe on the other foot -- how would you like it if you had a neighbor who was always showing you up with his big gas-guzzling SUV and manicured hedges?

Before things escalate further, you should take the initiative and invite Mahmoud over for coffee and chit chat.  No preconditions, and maybe you could bring a pie from Bakers Square. While he is enjoying a delicious slice of Boston Cream, let Mahmoud know that you understand his feelings, and you will do whatever it takes to repair your tattered reputation in the neighborhood. As a show of good faith, why not offer him a few bags of fertilizer and fuel for his lawn mower?

Dear Barry:

I love my wife, but frankly sometimes "Michelle" doesn't have the greatest social graces. I am a VP at a large industrial corporation and in line for a major promotion, so last weekend I invited the CEO and his wife to our house for dinner and cocktails. I was worried that Michelle might cause a scene, so before hand I reminded her over and over again how important it was that she make a good impression. When they showed up at the house, right after introductions, my CEO said, "you must be very proud of your husband." So Michelle says, "and you must be very embarrassed it took you stupid assholes four years to offer us a promotion."

And that was just the first uncomfortable silence. When Maria (our housemaid) was serving the salad course, she accidentally dropped a plate and Michelle started screaming at her. Then she looked at my boss and said, "sorry, it's impossible to hire anybody but idiots on the lousy $400,000 salary you cheap bastards pay us." Throughout dinner Michelle continued hectoring my boss about how screwed up my company is, and too obsessed with profits, and how she and I were going to fix all that, and why everyone probably should all drop out of the corporate world and become artists. To top it all off, during dessert she brought out her black velvet paintings of Che Guevara.

Anyway, this week at work my CEO hasn't returned any of my emails or phone messages. What should I do to get back on the career ladder? 

Mortified in Lake Forest

Dear Mortified:

First off, you need to stop treating "Michelle" as a liability. In fact, thanks to a little thing called the Americans With Disabilities Act, she could be your "ace in the hole"! Fire off an email to your CEO announcing that "Michelle" is diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome, and if you get passed over for the promotion he will be looking down the barrel of a fat federal civil rights lawsuit. After you move up to that corner office, you can say thanks to "Michelle" by appointing her head of the corporate diversity outreach department.

Posted on 05/26/2008 10:09 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 26 May 2008
Kumar: Appeal For Support

This comes in from Vijay Kumar, whom I profiled here. An appeal to Indian-Americans to support his candidacy for Congress:

Dear Friends,

I am Vijay Kumar, a native of Hyderabad, India, and an American Citizen. I have been in the United States for nearly 29 years and a resident of the great Volunteer State of Tennessee for the past 22 years. Now, I am running for United States Congress from the 5th Congressional District, Tennessee, as a Republican candidate.

Let me tell you why I am running and what I am fighting for. I believe you will see that it is a matter of the gravest importance to both our adopted homeland, the United States, and our native land, the Republic of India. I dare say it is the Number One matter confronting all humanity.

I refer to the threat of Universal Jihad, which you might know as “Radical Islamist terrorism.” The Universal Jihadists’ bombings are not limited to New York or London or Madrid. In fact, India has been the greatest victim of radical terrorism for the past 25 years. The recent bombing of Jaipur, Rajasthan, and previous bombings of Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and others bear witness to this fact.

Keep reading here.

Posted on 05/26/2008 10:36 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 26 May 2008
Channel 4 - Unreported World.
I have just watched another Channel 4 programme – Unreported World - on the Egyptian Copt community who live and work in a rubbish dump in Cairo. Strictly speaking they don’t live in the dump; they have built the dump around their homes. Collecting and recycling it is one of the few ways of making a living which are open to them as Christians and the pigs they keep and the smell generally keeps the Muslims at bay.
It does not seem to be repeated on C4s Audio and video but it is on You Tube from a previous showing.
Their faith and constancy is impressive. The anguish of the parents of a girl kidnapped to be the wife of a Muslim is heartrending. Their resourcefulness in the way they work the rubbish and have contrived the largest church in the Middle East is admirable. As permission is never given to build a church they have excavated one instead. Out of solid rock and covered by the bags awaiting recycling.
This wasn’t shown but I know that the Barnabas Fund sponsor a school there because the toddler club I am involved with have sent donations.
As one Christian shopkeeper who moved there with his family said “Better to live with Christ on rubbish than somewhere clean but persecuted”
Posted on 05/26/2008 2:30 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 26 May 2008
Wisdom From The East

It is better to do nothing, than to be busy doing nothing.

                                            Lao Tzu

Posted on 05/26/2008 8:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 26 May 2008
A Musical Interlude: Non Me Ne Importa Niente (Trio Lescano)
Posted on 05/26/2008 10:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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