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These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 26, 2008.
Saturday, 26 July 2008
One killed, several injured in police firing following mosque demolition

This is from Khabrein Info an Indian news site which seems to be aimed for the Muslims of India.
Loni, July 25, 2008: One person was killed and several injured when police fired on demonstrators who were agitating over demolition of a wall of a mosque and sacrilege here in Loni. Loni falls in the national capital region (NCR)
Demolition of wall of a mosque and disrespect of Holy Quran led to communal violence in the Loni area of Ghaziabad district.
32 people were wounded when the rioters stoned and opened fire. The mob set fire two police chowkis and seven DTC buses. Many police personnel were also injured in the attack by the mobs. The police reached the spot at least four hours late.
According to reports construction of the mosque was being opposed by the people of another community. . . Yesterday at about 4 pm the people of majority community attacked the Kareem Masjid. They beat the imam of the mosque Maulana Nazakat.
When the news of the attack on mosque reached the people of minority community they got angry. The injured were admitted to the nearest hospital. Although the police forces have been deployed in the area but the situation is still tense.
I think it is interesting the way the writer describes the Muslims as the “people of the minority community” and everybody else as either “the majority” or “the other” community. Anyway it shows that opposition to Mosques and mosque building is not a phenomenon solely of the white racists of the West. Racist being the taunt still given whenever objections are made to a proposal.

Posted on 07/26/2008 2:02 AM by Esmerelda WEatherwax
Saturday, 26 July 2008
US man charged for shooting mower

From The BBC. I can relate to this – guns are not readily available in the UK, and lawn mowing is not something I do. But I do recall in a temper more than a few years ago, obtaining co-operation from a food mixer with the threat of a monkey wrench.
A 56-year-old man from the Midwestern US state of Wisconsin has been arrested after shooting his lawn mower in his garden because it would not start.  
Keith Walendowski was charged by police in Milwaukee with disorderly conduct and possession of a sawn-off shotgun.
Police officers said Mr Walendowski had told them: "It's my lawn mower and my yard, so I can shoot it if I want." That may well be so but using enforcement on the lawnmower is not quite the responsible use of firearms advocated by the NRA.
Police found the shotgun, a handgun and a stungun, as well as ammunition, when they detained Mr Walendowski in the basement of his house.
Witnesses told police that he appeared to have been drinking.
A local retailer said that Mr Walendowski might now have difficulty getting his lawn mower repaired.  "Anything not factory recommended would void the warranty," said Dick Wagner, of Wagner's Garden Mart in Milwaukee.

Posted on 07/26/2008 6:48 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 26 July 2008
“I Divorce You, I Divorce You, I Divorce You,” He Said – Unless You Vote In Indonesia!

It can be very dangerous reporting for the NER, especially when one has just been sent out to Charn to open a new overseas bureau. The Empress has permitted this opening on one condition – that no human ever sets foot in the City, which is why I have been picked for the job. That said, however, news from all the other worlds still lands upon my Stone Table and I still execute my fell purpose!

Sometimes the stories that cross my table just make me laugh, as this one over at Indonesiamatters did so to when I first read it – later I realised just how serious it was.

Too many elections might be pushing up the divorce rate, with women leading the way.
The Director General of the Islam section of the Department of Religion, Nasarudin Umar, held a press conference on 15th July to discuss the problem of divorce in Indonesia, which he said was getting much worse.

Got that, ladies. Vote early, vote often and be sure to file for divorce whilst you’re at it.
 
Women took the lead these days, he said, because they felt they had the same rights as men, and because of the effects of globalization. He said the Muslim community needed to have a think about whether women were going over the top in this area, or not.
 
Ah, now we get to the nitty-gritty. You ladies feel that you have the same rights as men but, of course, Islam teaches that you don’t. So, stop voting and stop insisting that you are equal and the ‘problem’ will go away – then you’ll be happy little love slaves, won’t you? Go on, you know you want to!
 
Although only 157 [in around 80.000] cases were put down to “political differences” Umar worried at some length that with all the provincial elections going on now, and in the run up to the 2009 national election, differences in political views threatened to tear apart many more families.
 
The problem lies with Islam, as it always does. Yawn.
 
[.. ] he said [...] state and society cannot be ordered properly unless families are stable and happy.
 
The sub-text there should be obvious. Stable and happy families are those in which Islamic male-supremacist ideas derived from the Koran, the Haditha and the Sura operate. No other ideas, certainly not ideas derived from experiences elsewhere on the globe, need to be entertained.
 
Perhaps I should not have laughed!
 
You can find a related article here.
 
You can find Indonesia using this map.
 
To finish with, here is a poignant plea from the comments to the related article.

    What use is all this to us who needs help?
or am I in the wrong site…
I need help, and am trying to find a site on how to get a divorce in Jakarta, what are the steps to take,
what are the women’s rights..
what are her obligations…
where to go… what to do..
you are darn right Pravita, it takes courage for a woman to ask for a divorce..
it took me 25 years of , thinking and rethinking, forgiving and reforgiving,
25 years of living a lie..
before making the decision..
maybe I have finaly become smarter.
and yes, by me staying on.. dragging on for this long… has its consequenses, my children have silently suffered …
what for?
dogma’s?
security?
status?
finance?
it is so not worth it if you loose yourself..
now..
can anybody point me to a Jakarta divorce page please.
a usefull and helpful one this time.

I hope, Farah, that you found the help that you needed!
 
That, my friends, is what Islam does to women. Read it and weep.
Posted on 07/26/2008 7:04 AM by John Joyce
Saturday, 26 July 2008
A Literary Interlude: The Mower, Against Gardens (Andrew Marvell)
LUXURIOUS man, to bring his vice in use,
    Did after him the world seduce,
And from the fields the flowers and plants allure,
    Where Nature was most plain and pure.
He first inclosed within the gardens square
    A dead and standing pool of air,
And a more luscious earth for them did knead,
    Which stupefied them while it fed.
The pink grew then as double as his mind ;
    The nutriment did change the kind.                      10
With strange perfumes he did the roses taint ;
    And flowers themselves were taught to paint.
The tulip white did for complexion seek,
    And learned to interline its cheek ;
Its onion root they then so high did hold,
    That one was for a meadow sold :
Another world was searched through oceans new,
    To find the marvel of Peru ;
And yet these rarities might be allowed
    To man, that sovereign thing and proud,              20
Had he not dealt between the bark and tree,
    Forbidden mixtures there to see.
No plant now knew the stock from which it came ;
    He grafts upon the wild the tame,
That the uncertain and adulterate fruit
    Might put the palate in dispute.
His green seraglio has its eunuchs too,
    Lest any tyrant him outdo ;
And in the cherry he does Nature vex,
    To procreate without a sex.                                30
'Tis all enforced, the fountain and the grot,
    While the sweet fields do lie forgot,
Where willing Nature does to all dispense
    A wild and fragrant innocence ;
And fauns and fairies do the meadows till
    More by their presence than their skill.
Their statues polished by some ancient hand,
    May to adorn the gardens stand ;
But, howsoe'er the figures do excel,
    The Gods themselves with us do dwell.                    40


18.—Mirabilia Peruviana, or Admirabilis planta.
Posted on 07/26/2008 7:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Black Fridays, terror Tuesdays keep returning

From The Times of India
Over the past decade and half, Black Fridays and Terror Tuesdays have become a regular feature of newspaper headlines.  
While other days have also been chosen to carry out terrorist strikes, there seems to be a marked preference for these days. With the Bangalore blasts on Friday, the list has further grown.
But is there a reason why these two days are preferred over others by the merchants of death? According to political scientist Imtiaz Ahmed, terrorism is a rational act and terrorists have targets and purpose. ‘‘If they think that committing an act of terrorism on a particular day would help them project a certain image and win the community’s sympathy and support, they will do it,’’ he says.  
Ahmed, also an Islamic scholar, adds: ‘‘For them, Friday becomes a symbolic instrument to deliver a message that it is a Muslim act.  . . Friday is a sacred day for Muslims. And traditionally on Tuesdays Hanuman bhakts go to temples. These are days of large congregation".
Security specialist P R Chari says when a blast happens near or outside a temple on Tuesday, it means that the terrorists want to wreak maximum havoc on their intended targets.

Posted on 07/26/2008 7:28 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Sunni Taliban Beseige Shi'a Town In Pakistan

New Duranty: PESHAWAR, Pakistan — It was once known as the Parrot’s Beak, a strategic jut of Pakistan that the American-backed mujahedeen used to carry out raids on the Russians just over the border into Afghanistan. That was during the cold war.

Now the area, around the town of Parachinar, is near the center of the new kind of struggle. The Taliban have inflamed and exploited a long-running sectarian conflict that has left the town under siege.

The Taliban, which have solidified control across Pakistan’s tribal zone and are seeking new staging grounds to attack American soldiers in Afghanistan, have sided with fellow Sunni Muslims against an enclave of Shiites settled in Parachinar for centuries. The population of about 55,000 is short of food. The fruit crop is rotting, residents say, and the cost of a 66-pound bag of flour has skyrocketed to $100.

And, in a mini-conflict that yet again demonstrates the growing influence of the Taliban and the Pakistan government’s lack of control over this highly sensitive border area, young and old, wounded and able-bodied, have become refugees in their own land.

Thousands of displaced Shiites from Parachinar are scattered among relatives in Peshawar, capital of North-West Frontier Province, which abuts the tribal areas, and in hotels and shelters where images of Iranian religious leaders decorate the halls.

Last month, a Pakistani government relief convoy loaded with food and medicines that had been sent to break the siege was attacked by the Taliban at the village of Pir Qayyum. Many of the 22 vehicles were burned and 12 drivers were killed by the Taliban, according to government officials here and Shiites.

(...)

The situation has attracted the attention of the leading Shiite figure of Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who has encouraged all Shiites in Pakistan to do what they can to help their brethren in Parachinar, said Sheik Mohammed Shifah Alnajafi, the deputy representative of Ayatollah Sistani in Pakistan, and the vice principal of a Shiite seminary in the capital, Islamabad.

About 80 percent of Pakistan’s overwhelmingly Muslim population is Sunni, and about 20 percent Shiite. In Kurram as a whole, the two sects are almost evenly divided, with Parachinar almost entirely Shiite, according to figures from the secretariat of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the body that loosely oversees the tribal region.

(...)

Then, last Nov. 16, the tensions exploded in a day of extraordinary violence in Parachinar and surrounding villages, including mortar fire between Sunni mosques and Shiite mosques, said M. B. Bangash, a Shiite businessman from Parachinar who has taken refuge in Peshawar.

(...)

The army garrison in the town had done little to help, and had failed to organize major food supplies, said Haji Gulab Hussain, a retired government official who leads a Shiite tribal council.

“The lower-ranking soldiers are ready for any action,” he said. “But the army is supporting the Taliban. There are no orders.” During the November violence, he said, “The army did nothing.” ...

Posted on 07/26/2008 8:26 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Musical Interlude. Tauber Outed!

I think not. But this is lovely:

 
Posted on 07/26/2008 9:11 AM by John Joyce
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Stop Linguicide!

I fully support the campaign against honour killing, led by Linda Ahmed of Muslims Against Sharia. But must she, in the process, murder the English language?

The STOP HONORCIDE! campaign was launched on Mother's Day 2008.

The goal of the campaign is to prosecute honorcides to the fullest extent of the law.

We want honorcide to be classified as a hate crime and we advocate for every existing hate crime legislation to be amended to include honorcide.

"Honorcide" isn't a word. Below are some words ending in -cide. I'll define the ones that were new to me before I read this Wikipedia entry.  (If anyone commits Wikicide, I'll be lost.  But If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly.)

Bactericide
Deicide
Exfenestracide - death by jumping/falling out of a window
Femicide
Fratricide
Fungicide
Herbicide
Hobbitcide - the killing of a hobbit. Horrible word, but damn good idea. Ringicide's another.
Prolicide - the killing of common people. No, not really - it's the killing of offspring.
Taeniacide - the killing of tapeworms.
Tomecide - the killinjg of books. Is this a joke?
Vespacide - knocking Italians off their silly little scooters. Also wasp-killing.
Vulpicide - The killing of a fox by means other than hunting with hounds.

Apart from "exfenestracide", which does not ring quite true, the suffix -cide (killing) is preceded by the thing that gets killed, not the motive ("honour") or surrounding circumstances (windows). Logically "honorcide" is what the girl has done by flirting with the boy, honour, in this warped world, being the victim. "Honorcide" grates, although I fully acknowledge that the crime against language is trivial compared to the crime against women.

Missing from the list is the word "tudicide". This denotes a choice that must be made at a turning point in history, and is found in the second line of a famous hymn:

Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment - tudicide

Posted on 07/26/2008 8:40 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Today in the "Religion of Peace™"

On this day, July 26th, in the year 657, the Battle of Siffin began.  It was a battle in the war for control of Islam that pitted the forces of Mohammad's cousin and son-in-law (Ali ibn Abi Talib), against those of one of Mohammad's widows (Aisha bint Abu Bakr, whom he married when she was six years old and he was in his 50's).

 After Mohammad died in 632, it took only 24 years for the Religion of Peace™ to plunge itself into full-scale internal warfare. This was 1,120 years before the founding of the United States, 1,292 years before the founding of the modern state of Israel, and 549 years before the uniting of the United Kingdom. No infidels had invaded Islamic lands looking for WMD's, no-one was "oppressing" the "Palestinian people" in "refugee camps", no-one had drawn cartoons of their prophet.  There was no-one to blame for the violent acts of Muslims, except themselves.  Yet even from these nascent times, the history of Islam was filled with offensive warfare against their neighbors in every direction, and within the boundaries of Dar al-Islam.
 
Ali had assumed power after the third Caliph of the Religion of Peace™  (Usman) had been assassinated by some of his fellow Muslims. The battle began over the lack of investigation into the murder of Usman, and over which one of the two armies had the right to drink from the river Euphrates (obviously, they both couldn't). 50-70 thousand troops were killed in the three days of fighting that ended without a clear victor.
 
This was the beginning of the Sunni-Shi'a schism within Islam, with Shi'a favoring the lineage of Ali, and Sunnis favoring Abu Bakr (Aisha's father). Lest anyone think that these battles are long-forgotten stories in musty old history books with no relevance to today, read this modern description of the Battle of Siffin written from the Shi'a point of view:
 
When the two armies faced each other, Ali promulgated the following ordinance to his troops just as he had done before the battle of Basra (the battle of the Camel):
 
"O Muslims! wait for your enemy to open hostilities, and defend yourselves only when he attacks you. If anyone of the enemy wishes to escape from the battle and to save his life, let him do so. If God gives you victory, do not plunder the camp of the enemy; do not mutilate the bodies of the dead nor rob them of their armor and weapons, and do not molest their women."
 
Quite the rousing speech. He obviously knew his troops, and the rules for warfare as laid out in the holy, holy Qur'an, all too well.
 
Ammar ibn Yasir was past 70 at this time but the flame of faith in God, and the love of His Messenger, Muhammad, burned fiercely inside his breast, and he fought like young men. To add the dramatic touch to the battle, he carried the same weapons with which he had fought, many years earlier, in the company of Muhammad Mustafa, against the polytheists of Makkah in Badr.
 
The enemy Ammar met in Siffin, was disguised as a Muslim but he could not hoodwink him (Ammar). Ammar's penetrating eyes recognized the face behind the mask. He must have been intensely amused to meet the old enemy, after a lapse of many years, in a new encounter. For him the battle of Siffin was redolent of the battle of Badr. Once again he was fighting, on the side of Muhammad and his vicegerent, Ali, against their enemies. As he struck the Syrians, he kept saying:
 
"We are fighting against you today over the interpretation of Qur'an just as in the times of our Prophet, we fought against you over its revelation."
 
Just as the cinematic James Bond makes ironic quips as he sends supervillains to their maker in satisfyingly imaginative manner, these valiant Soldiers of Allah found time to explain the philosophical underpinnings of their disagreement even as they fought in hand-to-hand combat.
 
Ammar himself led the charge, and soon he was deep inside the ranks of the Syrians. In the midst of action, he felt thirsty, and was oppressed by heat. He returned to his lines to slake his thirst, and asked his aides to bring water for him. It so happened that just at that moment, they were unable to find water anywhere, but one of them found milk, and he presented a cup to him.
When Ammar saw the cup of milk before him, he felt a tremor of excitement run through him. His lips curled up in a broad smile, and he exclaimed: "Allah-o-Akbar (Mighty is the Lord). The Messenger of God could speak only the truth." The bystanders requested him to explain the meaning of his exclamation, and he said:
 
"The Messenger of God had told me that my last intake in this world would be milk. Now I know that the time for me to meet him has come. I had awaited this moment so long, so eagerly. It's here at last. Glory to Allah."
Ammar ibn Yasir was transfigured by the love of God and the love of His Apostle, Muhammad. He drank the milk, mounted his horse, and then plunged into the ranks of the Syrians.
 
And on and on it goes. There are doubtless similar versions told with equal aplomb from the point of view of the Sunnis, if I had the stomach to look for them. These are living stories of great import to Muslims. These conflicts are as fresh today in their minds as they were 1,400 years ago. Every soldier's name, every quivering lip, every act of treachery, is clearly recorded for posterity, and for mustering the troops for the next day's battle.
 
A wise kufir leader would educate him/herself on these schisms and sensitive points within Islam, and would use them whenever possible to the benefit of the kufirs.  A wise kufir leader would ask him/herself why the history of the Religion of Peace™ was so violent from its inception right up to the present day.
 
Incidentally, Ali was soon murdered, in the "sanctity" of a mosque, while praying, by a fellow follower of the Religion of Peace™ using a poisoned dagger. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
Posted on 07/26/2008 9:14 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Nice Spectator cartoon

Posted on 07/26/2008 9:55 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 26 July 2008
American Caste

Caste systems develop when population pressures are high and competition in fierce. Because our elites (the very elites educated at the universities discussed below) have over-ridden the decision of the American people to limit our population through low birth rates by helping to import millions upon millions of low-skilled, low educated, low social rank immigrants - these very pressures are acting to solidify the caste system at the top. Look back at plays such as Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" and see how far removed we are from the democratic ideal of equality now. This is an essay by William Deresiewicz in The American Scholar:

...There is nothing wrong with taking pride in one’s intellect or knowledge. There is something wrong with the smugness and self-congratulation that elite schools connive at from the moment the fat envelopes come in the mail. From orientation to graduation, the message is implicit in every tone of voice and tilt of the head, every old-school tradition, every article in the student paper, every speech from the dean. The message is: You have arrived. Welcome to the club. And the corollary is equally clear: You deserve everything your presence here is going to enable you to get. When people say that students at elite schools have a strong sense of entitlement, they mean that those students think they deserve more than other people because their sat scores are higher.

At Yale, and no doubt at other places, the message is reinforced in embarrassingly literal terms. The physical form of the university—its quads and residential colleges, with their Gothic stone façades and wrought-iron portals—is constituted by the locked gate set into the encircling wall. Everyone carries around an ID card that determines which gates they can enter. The gate, in other words, is a kind of governing metaphor—because the social form of the university, as is true of every elite school, is constituted the same way. Elite colleges are walled domains guarded by locked gates, with admission granted only to the elect. The aptitude with which students absorb this lesson is demonstrated by the avidity with which they erect still more gates within those gates, special realms of ever-greater exclusivity—at Yale, the famous secret societies, or as they should probably be called, the open-secret societies, since true secrecy would defeat their purpose. There’s no point in excluding people unless they know they’ve been excluded.

One of the great errors of an elite education, then, is that it teaches you to think that measures of intelligence and academic achievement are measures of value in some moral or metaphysical sense. But they’re not. Graduates of elite schools are not more valuable than stupid people, or talentless people, or even lazy people. Their pain does not hurt more. Their souls do not weigh more. If I were religious, I would say, God does not love them more. The political implications should be clear. As John Ruskin told an older elite, grabbing what you can get isn’t any less wicked when you grab it with the power of your brains than with the power of your fists. “Work must always be,” Ruskin says, “and captains of work must always be....[But] there is a wide difference between being captains...of work, and taking the profits of it.”

(...)

When elite universities boast that they teach their students how to think, they mean that they teach them the analytic and rhetorical skills necessary for success in law or medicine or science or business. But a humanistic education is supposed to mean something more than that, as universities still dimly feel. So when students get to college, they hear a couple of speeches telling them to ask the big questions, and when they graduate, they hear a couple more speeches telling them to ask the big questions. And in between, they spend four years taking courses that train them to ask the little questions—specialized courses, taught by specialized professors, aimed at specialized students. Although the notion of breadth is implicit in the very idea of a liberal arts education, the admissions process increasingly selects for kids who have already begun to think of themselves in specialized terms—the junior journalist, the budding astronomer, the language prodigy. We are slouching, even at elite schools, toward a glorified form of vocational training.

Indeed, that seems to be exactly what those schools want. There’s a reason elite schools speak of training leaders, not thinkers—holders of power, not its critics. An independent mind is independent of all allegiances, and elite schools, which get a large percentage of their budget from alumni giving, are strongly invested in fostering institutional loyalty. As another friend, a third-generation Yalie, says, the purpose of Yale College is to manufacture Yale alumni. Of course, for the system to work, those alumni need money. At Yale, the long-term drift of students away from majors in the humanities and basic sciences toward more practical ones like computer science and economics has been abetted by administrative indifference. The college career office has little to say to students not interested in law, medicine, or business, and elite universities are not going to do anything to discourage the large percentage of their graduates who take their degrees to Wall Street. In fact, they’re showing them the way. The liberal arts university is becoming the corporate university, its center of gravity shifting to technical fields where scholarly expertise can be parlayed into lucrative business opportunities.

It’s no wonder that the few students who are passionate about ideas find themselves feeling isolated and confused. I was talking with one of them last year about his interest in the German Romantic idea of bildung, the upbuilding of the soul. But, he said—he was a senior at the time—it’s hard to build your soul when everyone around you is trying to sell theirs.

Yet there is a dimension of the intellectual life that lies above the passion for ideas, though so thoroughly has our culture been sanitized of it that it is hardly surprising if it was beyond the reach of even my most alert students. Since the idea of the intellectual emerged in the 18th century, it has had, at its core, a commitment to social transformation. Being an intellectual means thinking your way toward a vision of the good society and then trying to realize that vision by speaking truth to power. It means going into spiritual exile. It means foreswearing your allegiance, in lonely freedom, to God, to country, and to Yale. It takes more than just intellect; it takes imagination and courage. “I am not afraid to make a mistake,” Stephen Dedalus says, “even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake, and perhaps as long as eternity, too.”

(...)

I taught a class several years ago on the literature of friendship. One day we were discussing Virginia Woolf’s novel The Waves, which follows a group of friends from childhood to middle age. In high school, one of them falls in love with another boy. He thinks, “To whom can I expose the urgency of my own passion?...There is nobody—here among these grey arches, and moaning pigeons, and cheerful games and tradition and emulation, all so skilfully organised to prevent feeling alone.” A pretty good description of an elite college campus, including the part about never being allowed to feel alone. What did my students think of this, I wanted to know? What does it mean to go to school at a place where you’re never alone? Well, one of them said, I do feel uncomfortable sitting in my room by myself. Even when I have to write a paper, I do it at a friend’s. That same day, as it happened, another student gave a presentation on Emerson’s essay on friendship. Emerson says, he reported, that one of the purposes of friendship is to equip you for solitude. As I was asking my students what they thought that meant, one of them interrupted to say, wait a second, why do you need solitude in the first place? What can you do by yourself that you can’t do with a friend?

So there they were: one young person who had lost the capacity for solitude and another who couldn’t see the point of it. There’s been much talk of late about the loss of privacy, but equally calamitous is its corollary, the loss of solitude. It used to be that you couldn’t always get together with your friends even when you wanted to. Now that students are in constant electronic contact, they never have trouble finding each other. But it’s not as if their compulsive sociability is enabling them to develop deep friendships. “To whom can I expose the urgency of my own passion?”: my student was in her friend’s room writing a paper, not having a heart-to-heart. She probably didn’t have the time; indeed, other students told me they found their peers too busy for intimacy.

What happens when busyness and sociability leave no room for solitude? The ability to engage in introspection, I put it to my students that day, is the essential precondition for living an intellectual life, and the essential precondition for introspection is solitude. They took this in for a second, and then one of them said, with a dawning sense of self-awareness, “So are you saying that we’re all just, like, really excellent sheep?” Well, I don’t know. But I do know that the life of the mind is lived one mind at a time: one solitary, skeptical, resistant mind at a time. The best place to cultivate it is not within an educational system whose real purpose is to reproduce the class system...

Posted on 07/26/2008 9:30 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Das Ist Mein Wien
Posted on 07/26/2008 10:31 AM by John Joyce
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Today in Dar al-Harb

As a way of comparing and contrasting, this is an overview of what the kufirs (non-Muslims) have accomplished on this day, July 26th:

Spanish explorer Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon sailed for Florida (1526), Francisco Pizarro was given orders to sail to Peru (1529), and Sir Francis Drake sailed from California across the Pacific (1579). Captain John Hawkins was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his work in defeating the Spanish Armada (1588).
 
The Continental Congress created the U.S. Post Office Department (1775). The first bridge was laid over the Niagara River (1848). The U.S. and Russia created a second diplomatic "hot-line" (1999).  Richard Wagner's opera "Parsifal" premiered (1882).
 
German physicist Georg Wilhelm Richmann was electrocuted while doing experimentation with lightning (1753). The first automobile to cross the U.S. continent arrived in NYC (1903). The Soviet Union launched the first intercontinental missile (1957). Apollo 15 launched from Cape Canaveral (1971). Gene fosB was discovered (1996). Space Shuttle Discovery launched (2005).
 
Paraplegic Mark Wellman climbed El Capitan in Yosemite (1989). American swimmer Amy Van Dyken won four Olympic gold medals (1996). Miguel Indurain won the Tour De France for the second time (1992).
 
Liberia became the first African colony to gain independence (1847). The U.S. Army was desegregated (1944), followed by the rest of the U.S. military (1946).
 
Author George Bernard Shaw was born (1856), as was classical conductor Serge Koussevitsky (1874), pioneering psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875), author Aldous Huxley (1894), comedian Gracie Allen (1895), trumpeter Erskine Hawkins (1914), actor Jason Robards (1922), movie director Stanley Kubrick (1928), singer Mick Jagger (1943), ice-skater Dorothy Hamill (1956), and actor Kevin Spacey (1959).
 
OED compiler James Murray died (1915), as did lawyer William Jennings Bryan (1925), and music critic Harold Schonberg (2003).
 
According to Islam, the kufirs have only the corrupt knowledge of man and the heretical teachings of false prophets to guide them. And yet the lives of the kufirs are filled with exploration, creation, discovery, artistry, humor, and growth.
 
There is nothing special about July 26th; pick any day and the results would be similar.
 
Islam, the One True Religion, has existed for 1400 years, and has the literal word of the almighty Allah to guide it. The Battle of Siffin was not the only significant Islamic event for July 26th. There are dozens to choose from. Were they literary, scientific, or artistic discoveries?  Were they legal or political milestones?  Take a look for yourself.  Use this list as a starting point, if you wish.  But, go ahead, use your favorite search engine, visit your public library, use whatever resources are appropriate.  You'll see they were quite busy on this day as well.  Look, and take careful note of their accomplishments. 
 
To reiterate: There is nothing special about July 26th; pick any day and the results would be similar.
Posted on 07/26/2008 10:37 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Muslim Brotherhood Launches Facebook Operation

From AKI (with thanks to Jeffrey Imm):

Cairo, 25 July (AKI) - The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has launched a discussion forum on Facebook, the popular social networking website.

A group of young Muslims decided to put the Muslim Brotherhood on Facebook after they received the go-ahead to do so from the Brotherhood's second-in-command, Muhammad Habib.

The creators of the project decided to call themselves an "electronic student cell of the Muslim Brotherhood" and their aim to to push for the return of an Islamic Caliphate [a Muslim state]."

The Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed by the Egyptian government, which accuses the group of encouraging violence in order to establish an Islamic state.

This new youth wing decided to choose the Internet as a way to spread their message.

Their political activity is also not limited to Egypt either but is aimed at Muslims all around the world.

The new discussion forum on Facebook is based on five points.

The first is the organisation of protests in all Muslim countries for the salvation of Islam and issues of the Islamic nation.

The second issue refers to the spread of the stories of the Prophet Mohammad with regards to the caliphate and the third point is a request to all imams to talk about this issue in their sermons.

The fourth and fifth points are spreading of leaflets to remind Muslims of the importance of the caliphate and to sensitize all Islamic parties and organisations to support this initiative.

This forum on Facebook was endorsed by Habib, even if he believes that this group of young people are not actually militants of his movement.

"I do not think that the youth of the Muslim Brotherhood do something like this because they cannot think in this way," said Habib in an interview with Arab satellite television network Al-Arabiya.

"Our young people follow the direction of the management and they do not work separately, starting individual activities without waiting for the common decision of the movement," he said.

Posted on 07/26/2008 11:04 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Abject nonsense from Minette Marin

Here’s another piece of nonsense from Minette Marin in the Sunday Times.
She starts off well enough.
According to conventional wisdom, Islam is a religion of peace and compassion. But even if it is not – such is the woolliness of received ideas – only a tiny minority of Muslims in this country hold extreme fundamentalist opinions. . . Meanwhile, a startlingly large proportion of young British Muslims hold what to most of us are outrageous and unacceptable views – views that they consider to be Muslim truths.
Four out of 10 Muslim students in Britain support the introduction of sharia into UK law for Muslims, according to a YouGov poll. Almost a third of them said that killing in the name of religion was justified; 40% said they felt it was unacceptable for Muslim men and women to associate freely; and nearly a quarter do not think that men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah.
A quarter of Muslim students said they had little or no respect for homosexuals. As for whether British Muslim servicemen should be allowed to opt out of hostilities with Muslim countries, 57% said they should and a further 25% said they were not sure.
More than half of the Muslim students were in favour of an Islamic political party to support their views in parliament. A third don’t think or don’t know whether Islam is compatible with the western notion of democracy, and a third said they were in favour of a worldwide Islamic caliphate based on sharia.
If the brightest and best think like this, what of the rest? It is frightening to imagine the views of their less well educated contemporaries. All this seems to undermine yet another piece of conventional wisdom: that education is the solution to Muslim alienation in Britain.
This YouGov poll was commissioned by the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) for a broader study called Islam on Campus, to be published tomorrow.
No doubt views such as that will be denounced as Islamophobic bigotry. No doubt some will decry the CSC as neoconservative. It is true that in these sensitive matters it is both important and difficult to know who is who and why they might say what they do. But one can hardly doubt the findings of the YouGov survey, and the CSC report gives every appearance of carefully documented respectability. Everyone, particularly those Muslims of the moderate, tolerant majority, must be alarmed by this.
University campuses provide excellent recruiting grounds for Islamist extremists, particularly at the very well organised ISOCs (Islamic Societies on Campus).
Insecure young people can be swayed by extremists. The question is how to stand up to the extremists.
First, I think, we should abandon all discussions of what Islam truly is. . . Clearly, for lots of Muslims Islam is not a doctrine of gentleness, tolerance, sexual equality, forgiveness, democracy and all the rest. For countless others it clearly is.
So she has identified the problem, and I don’t argue with her identification of where it is to be found. But what is her solution?
What follows inescapably from this is that religious people and their views should not be officially recognised in groups. Religion should not be allowed a public space or public representation. This is hard for those of us who used to love the muddled Anglican compromise; it means the disestablishment of our national church – if it doesn’t self-destruct first. . . There must be no public recognition of religious associations as representatives of anything or anybody: not on campuses, not in student unions, not in government consultations or in parliament.
I doubt whether the Sunday Times will publish my comment that undermining the Christian foundation of the United Kingdom is what has allowed Islam to gain its foothold and that you cannot protect a home by removing its foundations and then hoping that the burglar will not use the basement.
Silly woman. 

Posted on 07/26/2008 4:13 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Indian Mujahideen, Formerly Known As...

From NDTV (with thanks to Alan):

Little known terror outfit Indian Mujahideen, which claimed responsibility for the serial blasts in Ahmedabad, is behind the earlier serial bombings in Jaipur and in three towns of Uttar Pradesh and had even sent out prior warnings on all three occasions.

Sixteen bomb blasts ripped through the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat on Saturday evening, killing 30 people and injuring over 100.

The Intelligence Bureau claims that the Indian Mujahideen is a new ploy by terror outfits to misguide probe agencies. Intelligence sources said the Indian Mujahideen is just a new name used by terror groups that were banned by the Indian government in the last few years.

The sources said that the Indian Mujahideen comprises activists from banned outfits like Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) and the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

The heat was on the HuJI, which had masterminded the Hyderabad blasts and in the Ajmer Dargah in Rajasthan in 2007, and hence it was important for them to give their outfit a new name in India, the sources said...
 

Counterterrorism blog:

Even as the investigations of July 25 Bangalore serial blasts continue for the second day, with another live bomb defused this morning near a city Mall, terrorists have struck Ahmadabad, capital city of Western Indian State of Gujarat with more than 17 low to medium intensity bomb blasts. On July 26 evening, within a span of one hour, explosions have occurred at Maninagar, Isanpur, Narol, Bapunagar, Hatkeshwar, Sarkej and Odhav. Unconfirmed reports said there were 20 blasts. Even there were blasts front of Civil Hospital’s trauma center, perhaps with a suicide bomb. TV footage showed mangled remains of cycles, motorbikes and a blood splattered passenger Bus and signs of gelatin rod and wires. As per the latest reports, 29 people have been killed so far and over 150 others sustained sever to minor injuries.

Meanwhile, the Indian Mujahedeen has claimed responsibility for latest Ahmadabad serial blasts. The syncronised blasts were preceded by an email threat underscoring: "The INDIAN MUJAHIDEEN. strike again! - Do whatever you can, within 5 minutes from now, feel the terror of Death!"

Some of the bombs were believed to have been placed in bicycles and Tiffin boxes, quite similar to Jaipur and Uttar Pradesh blasts. This is third in the series of terror attacks claimed IM, following serial blasts in Jaipur in May 13 this year and in three towns of Uttar Pradesh in November last year. There is little doubt that IM is trying to mislead the investigating agencies and trying to portray that India is experiencing a homegrown terrorism, not sponsored by any external agencies or outfit. It’s obvious that IM is a deadly cocktail of Harkat- Lashkar-SIMI foot soldiers.

Posted on 07/26/2008 5:01 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 26 July 2008
A Musical Interlude: 'Leven Thirty Saturday Night (Arthur Schutt Orch.)
Posted on 07/26/2008 6:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Savage Suit Against CAIR Thrown Out

San Francisco Chronicle -- A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage against a Muslim rights group that reprinted his attacks against Islam and called for an advertising boycott.

Savage, who has about 8 million listeners a week on 400 stations for his syndicated "Savage Nation" program, sued the Council on American-Islamic Relations in December for copyright infringement.

The organization had posted four minutes of excerpts from an Oct. 29 broadcast in which he called the Quran a "hateful little book" and a "document of slavery." He said Muslims were "screaming for the blood of Christians or Jews or anyone they hate."

The council cited Savage's remarks in urging advertisers to boycott the program. Its members say Savage has since lost $1 million in advertising.

The broadcaster claimed in his lawsuit that the Muslim rights group had misappropriated his words and used them for its own fund-raising purposes, damaging the value of his copyrighted material.

He also claimed in his suit that the group was engaged in racketeering, describing it as a "mouthpiece of international terror" that helped to fund the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The council called those allegations preposterous, denied any connection to terrorism and said Savage was trying to intimidate and silence a critical voice.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston of San Francisco said anyone who listens to a public broadcast is entitled to take excerpts and use them for purposes of comment and criticism. Reprinting small portions of a copyrighted work for those purposes helps to put it in context and benefits both the public and the target of the criticism, Illston said.

She also said Savage offered no evidence that copying and posting the excepts affected his commercial market for the Oct. 29 broadcast.

In dismissing the racketeering claim, Illston said that even if Savage could prove his "alarming allegations" that the council was part of a worldwide terrorist conspiracy, he hasn't shown how those activities affected him or his broadcast.

Savage's complaint - which cites the council's lawsuits, boycotts, letter-writing, and criticism of him - is principally focused on "the ideas that (the council) may or may not espouse," the judge said. Those ideas are constitutionally protected, she added.

Illston said Savage could try to rewrite the racketeering portion of his suit to cure its legal defects, and the broadcaster's lawyer said he would do so.

"We are prepared to file a very detailed and well-documented new complaint" for racketeering, said attorney Daniel Horowitz, without going into detail. He said Illston's ruling was "very carefully thought-out" even if its conclusion was unwelcome...

Posted on 07/26/2008 6:10 PM by Rebecca Bynum

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