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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
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The Impact of Islam
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edited by S.B. Kelly
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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
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Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
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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:
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Jihad and Genocide
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Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
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These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 27, 2008.
Sunday, 27 April 2008
'The last Mohicans' of Christ
Conversion to Islam on road to Damascus spells the end for Aramaic, the native language of Jesus
ELIAS Khoury can still remember the days when old people in the mountain village of Malula spoke only Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Back then the village, linked to the capital Damascus, only by a long and bumpy bus ride, was almost entirely Christian, a vestige of an older, more diverse Middle East that existed before the arrival of Islam.
Now Khoury, 65, grey-haired and bedridden, admits ruefully that he has largely forgotten the language he spoke with his own mother.
"It's disappearing," he said in Arabic, sitting with his wife on a bed in the mud-and-straw house where he grew up.  
"A lot of the Aramaic vocabulary I don't use any more, and I've lost it."
Malula, along with two smaller neighbouring villages where Aramaic is also spoken, is still celebrated in Syria as a unique linguistic island. In the Convent of St Sergius and Bacchus, on a hill above town, young girls recite the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic to tourists, and booklets about the language are on sale at a shop in the town centre.
But the island has grown smaller over the years, and some locals say they fear it will not last. Once a large population stretching across Syria, Turkey and Iraq, Aramaic-speaking Christians have slowly disappeared, some fleeing westward, some converting to Islam. In recent decades, the process has accelerated, with large numbers of Iraqi Christians escaping the violence and chaos of their country.
Aramaic has also changed over the centuries, taking on features of Syrian Arabic.
But most residents of Malula believe that their town's ancestral language is still the same one Jesus spoke, and will speak again when he returns.
Khoury's 17-year-old granddaughter Katya offered a few samples of the language: "Awafih" for "hello", "alloy a pelach a feethah" for "God be with you." She learned Aramaic mostly at a new language school in Malula, established two years ago in a bid to keep the language alive.
Khoury smiles at the words, but recalls how in his own childhood 60 years ago, schoolteachers slapped students who reverted to Aramaic in class, enforcing the government's "Arabisation" policy.
"Now it's reversed," he says. Families speak Arabic at home and are more likely to learn Aramaic at the language centre, where foreigners also study.
In the town's centre, a group of young people outside a market seemed to confirm Khoury's gloomy view. "I speak some Aramaic, but I struggle to understand it," said Fathi Mualem, 20.
Twenty-year-old John Francis (Western-sounding names are common among Christians in Syria and Lebanon) said: "My father wrote a book about it, but I barely speak any."
Nearby, two dozen nuns live at the Convent of St Takla, presiding over an orphanage. "We teach the children the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic," said one nun, "but everything else is in Arabic."
But even the town's Christian identity is fading. Muslims have begun replacing the emigrating Christians, and now Malula – once entirely Christian – is almost half Muslim.
Posted on 04/27/2008 1:03 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Muslim group urges Malaysians to boycott Chelsea football tour
Muslim leaders on Sunday urged Malaysians to boycott a visit by English football giants Chelsea in protest at the move to let their Israeli coach and defender into the country.
Spokesman Mohamad Azmi Abdul Hamid said the coalition of 21 Muslim groups would hold a mass protest at the tour match if the government did not bar coach Avram Grant and player Tal Ben Haim.
"Malaysians should boycott the match," Mohamad Azmi said. "We should unite with the Palestinian people and fight for an independent homeland for them."
Malaysia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel and its citizens must obtain special permission to travel here.
On Friday, the group submitted a memorandum to the home ministry opposing the government's decision to allow the Israeli pair into the country.
"The reason for the travel ban to Malaysia is to isolate Israel which is a rogue state. If the Israeli footballers are allowed in, the government will be considered as being insensitive to the Palestinian people," Mohamad Azmi said.
He warned that if Grant and Ben Haim are allowed into Malaysia, the coalition would picket Chelsea's match against a Malaysian team on July 29.
"Definitely, we will mobilise the public and hold a protest outside the stadium," he said.
Posted on 04/27/2008 1:48 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Nigeria: Memo to Muslim Shoe-Shiners
An article in All Africa, from a Nigerian Muslim, on the difficulties of travelling on a Friday when the roads are closed for prayer and other things done to provoke.
And the only reason why you and hundreds-perhaps even thousands-of others like you have had to confront this very problem every Friday is that Muslims in Kano and elsewhere have come out to say their Friday congregational prayers, and, in the process, they decided to turn the centre of the streets of the city and the highway leading out of it to Dambatta and other places into mosques in which to pray or places within which to park their cars-or both. Yet it will appear even without all these other strictures that the act of praying in the streets is an act that is itself without any spiritual value whatever.
But as a result of their praying in the middle of the road, you could sometimes be delayed for more than two hours in this needless jam. The barricades could be set up almost a whole hour before the prayer, which, with its sermon, takes anywhere between 30 minutes to one hour or even more; and at least it would be another 30 minutes before the scene and the way cleared up again. By this time you would-and ought to-have forgotten when you arrived in Dambatta, Kazaure or even Katsina.
From Sokoto to Bida, from Kano to Abuja and from Maiduguri to Yola, it is all happening everywhere. The same problem exists in the South West among Yoruba Muslims, who are generally more organized in their Islamic activities than their Northern brethren; though Northern Muslims always behaved as if they owned the religion. There, however, it is well managed; it may cause inconveniences, but it never degenerates into a blockade of traffic. And, for proof, at least in Abuja, the Ansaruddeen Mosque is the only one that tries to organize all aspects of the congregational service on Fridays-from the supervision of parking, the collection of offerings, the management of beggars, the arrangement of rows, the language, though not necessarily the content of the sermon, and the conduct of the prayer itself.
In Azare, which, by the way, is my hometown, they have what is probably the biggest mosque in the country. It will be another 50 years before worshippers fill it and its extensive courtyard to capacity; but every Friday by 1:00pm, 'yan agaji enforcers will have already put up their barricade on Sule Katagum Road, the dual carriage township portion of the Kano-Maiduguri road that bisects the town. This is absolutely wrong and un-Islamic; and usually, before the end of the prayer, a long queue of trailers, trucks and taxis will have formed.
To many of these passing motorists who have had to join the long, frustrating, involuntary Friday queues in Azare and other cities and towns throughout the North, especially those of them who are non-Muslim, the enforcers most often with their scary, unkempt facial hairs, stern-looking, mercy-deprived faces, and an irritating presumptuous discourtesy, give and leave a profoundly disagreeable impression of the image of Islam-especially to non-Muslims.
We say Islam is the religion of peace, but we see nothing in them except arrogance. We say Islam is the religion of knowledge, but we see nothing in them except ignorance. We say Islam is the religion of good neighbourliness, but we see nothing in them except potential combativeness. We say Islam is the religion of justice, the why do we tolerate and, by our silence, encourage these types of injustices? Is is because we are not the victims?
one Sunday several years ago, I had to take a circuitous route around several streets of the GRA in Jos in order to find my way around and out of the city. Some streets had been blockaded because Christian service was going on in the churches. I thought it was a rather vacuous way of evening the score about a real problem happening on the other side.
On the one hand, some Christians in Jos must have felt that people in Kano and other places blockade roads on Fridays in order to show that their cities are Islamic; and so they will blockade roads on Sundays in order to show that Jos is Christian.
On the other hand, some Muslims might have felt the necessity to prove that this land was and is, indeed, dar al-Islam, a land founded by Sheikh Usman Danfodiyo, a land and a community consecrated and dedicated to the worship of the One True God, a land violated by colonial cultural plunderers on an adventure uninvited and unwelcomed by Muslims, who are even now on the lookout for any chance to reverse the colonialism. While this might sound like the logical stream of deductive reasoning by a disappointed zealot, it is, indeed, the typical Muslim mindset;
Long and interminable queues of angry motorists and passengers seething with rage and vehicles with overheated become the new symbol of the Islam of the ignorant, intolerant JJB-Johnny Just Believed. They create so much inconvenience for everyone; they raise inter-religious tempers, and they misrepresent the great religion of Islam. And by creating traffic chaos, only God knows how many emergencies fail to reach their destinations on time;
It is too unfortunate if a person can only demonstrate his commitment to his religion by how much impunity he enjoys in making life inconvenient for others. Today, if Muslims will put half of the energy and effort they put in blocking highway traffic and township roads into organising how to enter or exit or clean the mosques, Friday prayers will become a more enjoyable experience.
But in addition to the issue of blockading people's way, there is the equally irritating issue of the interruption of people's sleep by loud noise coming from mosques at the when most people are supposed to be asleep-a provocation to non-Muslims and a disturbance even to Muslims.
In one of the places where I stay, it used to be the practice that someone, probably the muezzin, would come to the mosque around 3:00am everyday. After opening the mosque, he would immediately proceed to put on the microphone and play a cassette tape of the recital of the Holy Qur'an by Sheikh Muhammad Siddiq al-Minshawi at the highest volume.
While I had never gone out to check exactly what he was doing, I supposed he always went home to sleep, because the cassette tape would finish and auto-reverse itself and continue blaring on until his return around 4:30am. On some days, when, I suppose, the Minshawi cassette was lost, he would put the tape of an Islamic lecture at top volume-a lecture at top volume, at 3:00am, without an audience and in a mosque under lock and key!
Probably, the muezzin thought he was doing some great service to Islam; and he might have imagined that piety consisted of what he was doing. This was no piety; this was calculated impiety. And certainly, Islam could do without this sanctimonious advertisement of hypocritical devoutness.
So, let's get it straight: this is un-Islamic; and it can never be justified under the Shariah, under any circumstance. The only requirement in Islam is that there should be a call to prayer-loud enough and of short duration-to announce the time of prayer; or, in the case of the Morning Prayer, to wake people up. For those who are serious with prayer, it is not the adhan that wakes them up; rather, the adhan only tells them that the prayer is about to start, because they will have risen long before its call.
There is no requirement that the prayer itself should be broadcast for the whole town to hear, as is the case in most mosques nowadays. But because most people are already up, any way, there is often no cause for complaint. And the prayer is of shorter duration than the cassette of Qur'an recital and not as loud; and in any case, Muslims don't like complaining about Islamic issues even when they have so obviously gone wrong, because they don't want anyone to think of them as irreligious. But if Muslims must find this tolerable, non-Muslims are under no such obligation to do so; but they can't complain, because, if they do so, there will probably be a riot. Is this really the only answer that Islam-this religion of peace-can give them?
Posted on 04/27/2008 2:04 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 27 April 2008
New deadline on mosque plan
No, not the Megamosque, but its kid brother in scope and size.
From the Black Country Express and Star
Plans for a mosque which have sparked thousands of protests will be scuppered unless the building has been “substantially” built by the end of the year, it emerged today.
A deal struck between Dudley Council and Dudley Muslim Association means the multi-million pound scheme to build a mosque and community centre must be nearing completion by the end of 2008. If not, Dudley Council which originally owned the land in Hall Street and sold it to the DMA in 2001, will legally be able to buy back the site.
It was revealed today the Muslim association had asked the council to extend the deadline but this was refused.
Leader of the council David Caunt said: . . . “We did have a request from the association to extend the deadline but this was turned down. When parties enter into a legal agreement they should expect to uphold them.
“It is the same principle as a planning application which expires after five years. If we did not stick to this we would have dozens of plots of land standing idle around the borough and this is not good from an eyesore point of view and the fact we are losing out on sites which could be developed for jobs.”
Whether or not the mosque will be built by the end of year will also depend on the outcome of a planning inquiry due to be held in June.
Posted on 04/27/2008 4:01 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Roger Kimball on the Anatomy of a Smear, New York Times Style

Roger deconstructs the Times' approach to McCain.

Posted on 04/27/2008 6:45 AM by Andy McCarthy
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Two Israelis Shot Dead by Palestinian Islamic Ji-- er, Palestinian Islamic Internal Struggle for Personal Betterment

At the Counterterrorism Blog, Bill West on the absurdity of the Bush administration's new speech code.

Posted on 04/27/2008 6:46 AM by Andy McCarthy
Sunday, 27 April 2008
There's Something About A Parade

Anwar Sadat was killed while watching a parade....

BBC: At least one person has been killed and 11 were hurt in an attack on a military parade in the Afghan capital Kabul attended by President Hamid Karzai.

Security forces whisked Mr Karzai and other dignitaries away and hundreds fled as shots rang out. Two MPs were reported to be among the wounded.

The parade was a celebration to mark 16 years since the overthrow of the country's Soviet-backed rule.

A spokesman for the Taleban said the movement had carried out the attack.

He said they had not targeted Mr Karzai directly, [that's because they missed - RB] but wanted to show how easily they could get access to such events.

The BBC's Alastair Leithead in Kabul says the fact that they were able to get so close despite such tight security is worrying for both the government and the international community.

The Taleban spokesman said six militants had been deployed near the parade with suicide vests and guns. Three of them were killed and the other three arrested, he added...

Posted on 04/27/2008 7:10 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 April 2008
The Cowardly Lion

Like the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz, the art world is all bluff and bluster, but when it comes to showing real courage in backing artistic freedom...well...

THE HAGUE, 26/04/08 - The controversial Mohammed-exhibition of work by Iranian artist Sooreh Hera remains hidden from the public. For the third time in succession, an exhibitor willing to show her work has reversed this decision.

Hera took photos of homosexuals wearing masks of the prophet Mohammed and his son-in-law Ali. The work was first going to be exhibited by the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, but the museum changed its mind because it "did not wish to become part of a political debate," as Director Wim van Krimpen put it.

MuseumgoudA then took on the role of advocate of artistic freedom. In December 2007, museum director Ranti Tjan offered to exhibit the work of Hera, who by then had begun to receive serious threats. But Tjan then needed protection himself and called the whole thing off.

Nor will the photos be shown at Art Amsterdam, an exhibition in the RAI at the beginning of May. Galerie A in Amsterdam offered two weeks ago to show the photos at Art Amsterdam, but now suddenly claims there is "not enough space". Only Hera's "less controversial" photos will therefore be on display in the RAI...

Posted on 04/27/2008 7:28 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Mad As Hell And...

Haaretz: The United States registered an official protest with Israel against its ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, for calling former U.S. President Jimmy Carter an "enemy of Israel" prior to Carter's recent visit to the region.

A senior Foreign Ministry source said Saturday that the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv asked that Gillerman be made aware of the U.S. administration's dissatisfaction with the disrespectful comments about the former U.S. President.

In addition, the State Department is planning to issue a public statement condemning comments made by Gillerman at a press conference in New York on Thursday, where he called Carter a "bigot."

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, "went to the region with soiled hands and came back with bloody hands after shaking the hand of Khaled Meshal, the leader of Hamas," Gillerman told reporters. Gillerman also described the Carter-Meshal as "a very sad episode in American history."

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni refused yesterday to respond to the demand by MK Yossi Beilin that Gillerman be recalled for his statements against Carter. Beilin described the ambassador's statements as "mad."

A Livni aide said that the foreign minister does not normally communicate with Israeli ambassadors through the media.

However, a Foreign Ministry source said that Gillerman is due to leave his post in the coming months, following five years at the UN...

The U.S. government has no business trying to censure this man for telling the truth as he sees it. He's right. Carter is a disgrace and it was he who had no business conducting his own private diplomatic initiative with Hamas. This further confirms our suspicion that Secretary Rice is perhaps the worst Secretary of State in American history - and that's saying something.

Posted on 04/27/2008 7:37 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 April 2008
The demise of Turkey's pork butchers

At Jihad Watch there was, and perhaps still is, a regular reader who called himself Alarmed Pig Farmer. I always liked that nickname, and it was certainly better than the one I chose for myself. I once asked him whether it was the pig farmer who was alarmed or whether he was a farmer of alarmed pigs. In a Muslim context, of course, it is the farmer; indeed the pigs can relax in the knowledge that they may live to oink another day.

When they can, Muslims impose Sharia law. When they cannot officially do so, for example in "secular" Turkey, they impose it unofficially by rigorous and inconsistent enforcement of regulations or sclerotic bureaucracy. From the BBC, with thanks to Alan:

The role of Islam in Turkish society is a subject of continual debate. Secularists are protesting against what they see as the government's increasingly Islamic agenda, and as Sarah Rainsford found out, the latest battleground could be across the butcher's counter.

We're going filming at a pork butcher's and a pig farm," I told my Turkish cameraman in a text message. Slightly anxious, I added: "Is that OK with you?"

A moment later a message from Gokhan flashed back.

"Yes," he wrote. "I like a good pork steak!"

He is not the only one.

Another Turkish friend told me that eating pork, which is forbidden by Islam, is increasingly popular in secular high society here.

She described this as an act of defiance by some Turks who fear religious dictates have begun creeping into their lives since a government led by devout Muslims took power.

But those people could soon be looking for a new way to rebel because Turkey's pork industry is on the brink of extinction.

Lazari Kozmaoglu describes himself as the last pork butcher in Istanbul.

For more than 40 years he has been selling pork to his own fast-shrinking Christian community, to defiant Muslims, and to foreigners. Now, he is being squeezed out of business.

Lazari's being prevented from slaughtering pigs and the stock of meat in his freezer is running critically low.

He owns an abattoir but the Agriculture Ministry has refused him a license to operate it, saying it does not meet strict new regulations.

Curiously, all the other slaughter-houses that once dealt with pork have been closed too. Lazari's reluctant to say what he suspects is happening.

"There are only 2,000 Greeks left in Istanbul," he grumbled. "None of us dares speak out."

So a rare customer filled-in the gaps.

"It's all about Islam," Sami said, as the shop-assistant wrapped his sausages in greaseproof paper.

"Most people are more religious these days. They don't want to eat pork, and they don't let others produce it either."

[...]

Back in Istanbul, the local agriculture ministry man denied the situation's anything to do with Islam.

He insists the regulations were introduced to bring Turkey up to European standards.

"We've got no problem with pork," Ahmet Kavak told me. "The farmers just need to meet the criteria."

So the Turks are enforcing "European standards" of hygiene? That has to be a joke. The only country that enforces "European standards" - on hygiene or anything else - is Britain. Other countries flout them, some quite openly. If the French don't give a monkey's about clean pig-slaughter, we can't seriously be expected to believe that the Turks do.

The devil quotes Scripture for his purposes. And the Muslim quotes EU regulations.

Posted on 04/27/2008 9:32 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 April 2008
In Their Own Fanatical Words

Robert Fulford reviews Al Qaeda In Its Own Words at the National Post (hat tip: Arts and Letters):

It's not easy to remember that terrorists, too, are in politics, with all the insecurity and ambition that implies. Certainly that's true of the four famous Islamic killers, two of them dead, whose statements, distributed on the Web, fill Al Qaeda in Its Own Words (Harvard University Press), published this week. Their messages rally the troops and attempt to recruit new soldiers, but also read like the pleas of politicians for status within the loosely defined and always changing jihadist movement.

The book's editors, Gilles Kepel and Jean-Pierre Milelli, both Paris academics, identify the differences as well as the similarities among the communiques and manifestos issued by Abdallah Azzam (1941-89), Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (1966-2006).

The four men, uneasy comrades at best, exhibit mutual jealousy and sharp policy disagreements as well as passionate hatred of the non-Muslim world. They are often described as thinkers and theorists but an outsider, reading their texts in translation, may find it hard to identify the thought. They confuse ranting with teaching and clearly believe repetition is a virtue, nuance a vice.

For them, the distant past has a vividness that's lost in the public conversation of the West. Azzam, for instance, thinks nothing of quoting a jurist who died in 1090 or citing a battle in the year 626 as casually as we might mention D-Day.

As Kepel notes, they all consider history a single narrative. The Prophet appears, Islam rises and extends its power and then each succeeding generation must accept the task of completing what is so far only a partial conquest of the world...

Something I think that is largely missed in our discussion of Islam is that culture, all culture, is a product of the imagination. The mythical Islamic past succeeds very well in capturing the imagination of young Muslims, thus directing behavior and shaping culture over the centuries. Young jihadis like al-Zarqawi are emulating the deeds of the Prophet and his Companions. Terror is devotion. Young western children, on the other hand, are no longer taught to revere the heroes of their cultural past and this is proving to be a great disadvantage in the war of imagination - the war of culture. Our past is being forgotten, while theirs is eternally revived.

Posted on 04/27/2008 11:03 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 April 2008
More on the Absurdity of McCain's Taking Criticism of Wright Off the Table

On the same theme addressed on NRO by the editors yesterday and Pete Wehner on Friday, Powerline's John Hinderaker asks an excellent question

At a blogger conference call last week, Jen Rubin of Commentary's excellent Contentions blog, asked Sen. McCain about Hamas's endorsement of Sen. Obama for the presidency.  Did McCain get indignant?  Did he spew that an insinuation that Obama might be popular with Islamic terrorists would be "out of touch with reality in the Republican Party"?  Not exactly.  He said:

All I can tell you Jennifer is that I think it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States. So apparently has Danny Ortega and several others. I think that people should understand that I will be Hamas's worst nightmare.... If senator Obama is favored by Hamas I think people can make judgments accordingly.

Of course, he's right about that.  But, as John observes:  "Why it is OK to pin Hamas's endorsement on Obama, but, in McCain's world, 'unacceptable' to tie Obama to another supporter, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, to whom he is obviously far closer."  Exactly:  the Hamas endorsement of Obama, while understandable, was unsolicited; Wright, on the other hand, is someone with whom Obama was tight for two decades and who Obama chose to incorporate in his campaign as an advisor.  Why does McCain figure the former is fit for criticism but focus on the latter is an occasion for smug condemnation of conservatives?

Posted on 04/27/2008 12:30 PM by Andy McCarthy
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Scoring with Samantha

Lucy Bannerman writes in The Sunday Times on the late Humphrey Lyttelton:

As chairman of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, “Humph” was famed for his ability to deliver the smuttiest of innuendoes with apparent innocence, keeping the humour rude, but rarely offensive. But the man who frequently reduced listeners to hysterics with the fictitious sexploits of his scorer, “Samantha”, had talents far beyond keeping a straight face.

Here are just some of those double entendres. Not that I understood them, of course:

“Samantha’s just started keeping bees and already has three dozen or so. She says she’s got an expert handler coming round to give a demonstration. He’ll carefully take out her 38 bees and soon have them flying round his head”

“Samantha has to nip off to the National Opera, where she’s been giving private tuition to the singers. Having seen what she did to the baritone, the director is keen to see what she might do for a tenor”

“Samantha has to nip off to a Welsh Conservative Association dinner for their most senior MP, whose name is said to be almost impossible to pronounce. She’s certainly found the longest standing Welsh member a bit of a mouthful”

“Samantha has to go now as she’s off to meet her Italian gentleman friend who’s taking her out for an ice-cream. She says she likes to spend the evening licking the nuts off a large Neapolitan”

“Samantha does a few chores for an elderly gentleman who lives nearby. She shows him how to use the washing machine and then prunes his fruit trees. Later he’ll hang out his pyjamas as he watches her beaver away up the ladder”

“After tasting the meat pies, Samantha said she liked Mr Dewhurst’s beef in ale; although she preferred his tongue in cider”

Oooerrrrr!

Posted on 04/27/2008 1:52 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 April 2008
The Diverging Destinies of Europe and Japan

Takuan Seiyo, who has written for NER here, is now blogging ar Brussels Journal:

...Inconveniences and differences notwithstanding, there is one overwhelming blessing that makes me glad to be in Japan. It's the daily experience of living in a country that, unlike Western Europe, and increasingly the United States, does not actively pursue it's own extinction.

I am a European. Ich kann nicht anders. Europe had left my parents long before they left it almost 50 years ago, so now I am a Euro-American and I take this distinction seriously. Still, I don't feel the religious impulse except  in a church that's at least 300 years old; and it's only European music that penetrates to my soul, and only European languages in which I can express what I hold dearest, and only European artifacts that satisfy my love of beauty and craftsmanship. Well, not quite – Japanese artifacts do that too.

But Europe is my Beatrice: a pure vision of the past with little resemblance to what she is now. The real, contemporary Beatrice does presume to tread the path, like Dante Alighieri's muse, from Purgatory to Heaven, but the Compass of Reality shows that the path in fact leads in the opposite direction: back to Virgil's guided tour of Hell. This is a Beatrice with a bipolar personality disorder, self-inflicted cicatrices, labial and nasal rings and tattooed breasts, sporting combat boots and a black leather suit with a Palestinian terrorist's kaffiyeh wrapped around her studded dog collar, with a book of onanistic gibberish by an Althusser or Bataille or Foucault in one hand, and a Quranic whip for self-flagellation in the other.

What Europe has become is on ample display in the daily news. In the April week in which this has been written, France had put Brigitte Bardot on trial for the sixth time for "inciting racial hatred," but really just because La Bardot desires that France remain French, as did Jeanne d'Arc and, before her, Charles Martel. And in Spain, a very pregnant, 37-year-old woman, wearing a sloppy chemise over her protrusion, reviewed a line of Spanish troops standing at attention. It was not a scene from Luis Buñuel's new film, The Discreet Charm of the Socialist International, but Spain's new Minister of Defense, Carmen Chacon, on official duty.

De afbeelding

To put a lactating symbol of feminine vulnerability in charge of the defense of a country with a long and proud martial history is to announce to the world: See, we castrated ourselves; we beg that you be gentle with us; please wear a condom. Would that the Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain or Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb lay down its arms in benevolent reciprocity. As it were, the sight of a pregnant woman in charge of the defense of Al-Andalus gives these testosterone–pumped descendants of the Moors some exciting ideas of a very different nature.

And in New York, the erstwhile symbol of what in Europe's formative past was both its best and its worst, the Roman Catholic Pope, proved that the papacy is no longer concerned with pesky value judgments. You can swathe the German postmodern socialist theologian in gold and brocade, but you can't swathe his weltanschauung. And so Benedict XVI, after having inveighed for greater American receptivity to its final inundation by the Third World, lectured the General Assembly of the United Nations that the world is "in crisis" because decisions rest in the hands of "a few powerful nations."

One wonders whether His Holiness wishes for more power to such nonpowerful nations as those paragons of human rights that were on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, mercifully dissolved in March 2006: Burkina Faso, Congo Brazzaville, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sudan, Togo, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Guatemala, Paraguay, and others.

To top if off, the former Professor Ratzinger asserted that the promotion of human rights –- presumably by such devoted advocates as Sudan and Saudi Arabia – "remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and increasing security." As though the proper and viable concern of the Roman Catholic Church ought to be the elimination of inequalities between countries and social groups. The Pope's words sound as though taken from a speech by Lenin to some Bolshevik congress.

However, it is not something that may be pinned on single individuals or institutions. Let us not forget the Archbishop of Canterbury, who wishes sharia upon his country; and the legions of EU's secular humanists in Strasbourg and Brussels, busy like the bees in dismantling and replacing Europe's cultural identity, its racial and ethnic ties that bind, its nations' sovereignty, its peoples' freedoms and patrimony won with copious blood shed over many centuries.

This is a systemic and critical infection of Europe's autoimmune system; Western civilization's, actually. 98% of Western Europe's politicians and state functionaries, and its churches, universities, and mass media, and the great majority of their American and Canadian counterparts, are instruments of the same culturally Marxist and economically Socialist movement aimed at demolishing the nations of the West in the lunatic and deeply immoral hope that it will wipe out war, inequality and "discrimination" in the world at large...

Posted on 04/27/2008 1:58 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 April 2008
To our London readers

Thursday's mayoral election is very important. Readers of this site are unlikely to be admirers of Ken Livingstone, but it is conceivable that they have doubts about Boris Johnson too. Please remember - the main thing is to get rid of Red Ken. Borderline anti-Semitic, Ken has never met a dictator or mad Mullah he doesn't like. 

If you want to get rid of Ken, but don't go a bundle on Boris, vote for another candidate as your first choice. Then vote for Boris as your second choice.

Above all, turn up and vote. Last time round Red Ken got in by default - with only 23% of the vote - because his opponents couldn't be bothered to vote.

A vote for Ken is a vote for Islam. But so is an abstention.

Get rid of Ken. Boris for first choice if you like him and second choice if you don't.

Posted on 04/27/2008 2:37 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Condorcet And Herman's Hermits, Together Again At Last

"If you want to get rid of Ken, but don't go a bundle on Boris, vote for another candidate as your first choice. Then vote for Boris as your second choice."
--from this plea

So Condorcet, as mathematical psephologist rather than encyclopediste, turns out to be relevant to this contest in more ways than one. But why take a chance? Rather than vote for the third (policeman), Paddick,  I'd vote for Boris as first and as second choice. Just to be sure.

And if you want to see Boris as he used to be, before he entered politics -- Himself When Young, with that tell-tale unruly mop -- we just happen to have an early clip.

Posted on 04/27/2008 4:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Get Out Your Halford Mackinder

Japan, and other countries of East Asia -- Korea, China -- do not make a fetish, or anything at all, about "diversity." They do a good deal to discourage the "diversity" that the peoples of the West pretend is such a source of strength and delight. In fact, the homogeneity of the countries of Western Europe is a source of power, not weakness, and will be proved to be in the hard times -- get out Halford Mackinder and Alfred Thayer Mahad -- what with unavoidable global warming and its accompanying flooding and other catastrophes including the disappearance within a century of 90% of the world's species, and the collapse of food supplies in many parts of the world, and an out-and-out cut-throat scramble for resources in helpless Africa -- that are soon to come.  

Posted on 04/27/2008 5:50 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Humphrey Lyttelton - end of the line?

No - he's just got to Mornington Crescent.

May he rest in knip.

(Trumpington's variation, Dollis Hill loop.)

Posted on 04/27/2008 6:01 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Genius In Reverse

Gilles Kepel, a sociologist, has been a consistent misunderestimator of the menace of Islam, because though treated as an "expert" (and consulted by some in high French places) on Islam, he has never bothered to acquaint himself sufficiently with the texts, tenets, attitudes of Islam, and the reasons why all that talk about "integration" and a "European Islam" are merely a forlorn hope, and a bit of tariq-ramadanish smokescreen, respectively.

Now he produces, or co-produces, an anthology of Al-Qaedisant writing. Fine.

But has he yet realized how all this stuff is not a modern concoction, but is deeply rooted in Islam, is in fact realer than the Islam that those Brave Young Muslim Reformers keep promising, or that Tariq Ramadan keeps alluding to. One wonders.

Here's a Jihad-Watch posting on Gilles Kepel from a few years ago:

Gilles Kepel has been so completely wrong in his analyses and his prescriptions, that his record offers the example of genius in reverse. Whatever silliness is possible to say, Gilles Kepel says it. He has never understood Islam; his books are a gallimaufry of sociology (in the main, he is a sociologist of French Islam, a kind of couscous-connoisseur) and simply does not allow himself to believe that many other people, millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, might actually be affected by the canonical and virtually sole texts that occupy and preoccupy them and their societies. He knows that Islam is more than a religion, but he seems to think that most advanced French Muslims -- the kind he associates with -- are somehow representative men. We may as well base predictions about Iraq on Kanan Makiya. Or about Saudi Arabia on attending a lecture on Islamic architecture by Sami Agarwal. It makes no sense.

Everything he says in this article shows that he cannot supply an explanatory theory for much of Muslim behavior. Note, for example, that he has nothing to say about Muslims outside the Middle East. He cannot explain why, in Pakistan itself, the Hindu population has declined from 15% to 1% of the total, nor can he explain the persecution of Christians. He has nothing to say about the behavior of the fervently Islamic razakars in the 1971 war in Bangladesh, nothing to explain the murders of Hindus and Sikhs and Christians in Bangladesh. Nothing about the Christians in the Moluccas, East Timor. Nothing about the disguised jizyah of the Bumiputra system.

That he is an apologist for Islam is clear from his attempt not even to express certainty about the 9/11 attack -- that he is not sure, at this point, who was responsible is telling, and damning. He continues to come back, despite the everests of evidence, to that the little matter of "Palestine" as the source of all our woe. He cannot read the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira -- or if he does, he refuses to think that anyone takes them seriously.

Really, he ought to stop going out to lunch or on lecture tours, and lock himself in his study, and once he has read and re-read those texts, spent a few weeks at Muslim websites, just to see what Muslims make of those texts. If it were anyone but Gilles Kepel (or Olivier Roy, or John Esposito, or Karen Armstrong or....) the results might prove enlightening.

But Gilles Kepel is a True Believer -- in no one being a True Believer.

There are limits to this petit sociologue -- he isn't Claude Levi-Strauss, after all, not by a long shot, and not even if he picked up a pair of blue jeans on his last trip to San Francisco.

The old story. Everything was all right, said the Frenchman, until that moment when la betise s'est mise a penser. When Stupidity Began to Think. So Gilles Kepel thinks he can think. Thinks.

[Posted by: Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 9, 2005 7:35 PM]
Posted on 04/27/2008 5:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Getting Beyond Race
This election is not all about "getting beyond race." It's all about race. It's all about 90% of the black vote going for the black candidate Barack Obama solely because he is the nlack candidate. It is all about, hypersensitivity, and apologetics, and a feeling of many Obama supporters that whites must prove their hearts and minds are in the right place, to themselves and to others, about race, by voting for Obama, and ignoring those whose company he keeps (Wright, Ayres) or has solicited (Brzezinski, Powers, Mallory). And John McCain is no exception.
Posted on 04/27/2008 6:05 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Give Gillerman A Promotion

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, DanGillerman has merely said what everyone in the United States, and elsewhere, of moral sense, surely thinks. Why is Carter entitled to any special deference or respect? He's vicious; he's naive; he's stupid; he's evil. Anything else anyone needs to know? Yes, he's also an ex-president. So what?

Gillerman is to be applauded for his undiplomatic truth-telling. And if he's not a believer in Peace Processing, and all that sort of crap, he deserves a promotion, possibly to the job Ms. Livni is doing so badly.

Posted on 04/27/2008 6:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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