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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 28, 2007.
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Muslim urged to shun 'unholy' vaccines
A MUSLIM doctors’ leader has provoked an outcry by urging British Muslims not to vaccinate their children against diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella because it is “un-Islamic”.
Dr Abdul Majid Katme, head of the Islamic Medical Association, is telling Muslims that almost all vaccines contain products derived from animal and human tissue, which make them “haram”, or unlawful for Muslims to take. Islam permits only the consumption of halal products, where the animal has had its throat cut and bled to death while God’s name is invoked.
Islam also forbids the eating of any pig meat, which Katme says is another reason why vaccines should be avoided, as some contain or have been made using pork-based gelatine.
His warning has been criticised by the Department of Health and the British Medical Association, who said Katme risked increasing infections ranging from flu and measles to polio and diphtheria in Muslim communities.
Katme, a psychiatrist (so he knows all about childhood diseases and immunology then?) who has worked in the National Health Service for 15 years, wields influence as the head of one of only two national Islamic medical organisations as well as being a member of the Muslim Council of Britain.
There is already evidence of lower than average vaccination rates in Muslim areas, reducing the prospect of the “herd immunity” needed to curb infectious diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella.
Katme’s appeal reflects a global movement by some hardline Islamic leaders who are telling followers torefuse vaccines from the West. In Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of India, Muslims have refused to be immunised against polio after being told that the vaccines contain products that the West has deliberately added to make the recipients infertile.
Katme said he was bringing the message to Britain after analysing the products used for the manufacture of the vaccines. He claimed that Muslims must allow their children to develop their own immune system naturally rather than rely on vaccines.
He argued that leading “Islamically healthy lives” would be enough to ward off illnesses and diseases.  “You see, God created us perfect and with a very strong defence system. If you breast-feed your child for two years — as the Koran says — and you eat Koranic food like olives and black seed, (he’s left out the camel urine) and you do ablution each time you pray, then you will have a strong defence system,” he said. “Many vaccines, especially those given to children, are full of haram substances — human parts, gelatine from pork, alcohol, animal/monkey parts, all coming from the West who do not have knowledge of halal or haram. It is forbidden in Islam to have any of these haram substances in our bodies.”
Dr Shuja Shafi, a spokesman for the health and medical committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “In terms of ingredients in vaccines, there are so many things that are probably haram, but in the absence of an alternative we are allowed to take it for the sake of our health.”
We have had problems in the UK with immunisations, especially those for the childhood diseases but these were fears about the specific composition of individual vaccines, not the principle of vaccination per se. The particular composition of the whooping cough vaccine was adjusted a few years ago. The main worry was that the MMR three-in-one vaccination (measles, mumps rubella) was linked with autism because it was too much for a small child’s system. Suspicion grew because our controlling government would not accept that parental concerns were of any consequence, because the government knows best. Those parents who were concerned went for individual vaccines spread over 3-4 months, in some cases travelling to France because their local health authority would not be flexible. They were still committed to the benefits of vaccination, but in a different form.
This is absolute nonsense. Secular vegetarians and members of other religions with dietary laws are able to use their God given gifts of common sense to see the bigger picture.
And another thought that occurs to me. When concerned parents insist that their children have the MMR as three separate vaccines the Health Authority criticise them as lowering the nations "herd immunity".  This suggests that the fault for the lowering of the herd immunity lies elsewhere.
Immunity to things like colds and upset tummy can be built up.  I claim that my chaotic house is a deliberate attempt to keep my families immune system healthy and that writing here is a better use of my time than sterilising my dish cloth in the microwave.  Especially as I don't have a microwave. But you cannot build up immunity to killer diseases like polio. You either recover, possibly crippled like the late Ian Dury, or you die.
Posted on 01/28/2007 2:20 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Cameron to woo Muslims on Britishness
DAVID CAMERON is to call for a “calm” new debate on Britishness that does not backfire by alienating ethnic minorities.
It comes as the Conservative party prepares to publish a report this week highlighting the oppression of Muslim women in Britain who are barred by their families from attending university or going to work.
Outlining a speech he will make in Birmingham tomorrow, Cameron said: “We can’t bully people into feeling British — we have to inspire them.”  In what will be seen as a new bid to woo Muslim voters, Cameron will declare his party stands for a “broad and generous” vision of British identity.  He will make it clear the Tories are ready to fight for the interests of Muslims, calling for a new “crusade for fairness” to inspire loyalty from “every citizen”.
Backing government moves to encourage all foreigners who settle in Britain to learn English, he writes: “Yes, we need to ensure that our children are taught British history properly. And I do think it is important to create more opportunities for celebrating our sense of nationhood.”
However, he attacks “clunking” attempts by Labour politicians to promote national identity. Cameron will call for a “more British approach”.
A comment elsewhere in the paper says “by invoking the language of the Medieval Crusades - when the Christian crusaders fought a series of bloody campaigns to take Jerusalem from the Muslims - the Conservative leader risked antagonising the Muslim community he was seeking to win over.”
I am not sure what he is driving at here. I doubt if he knows either.
Posted on 01/28/2007 2:42 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Egypt's minister of religion rejects the veil
The Egyptian government is embroiled in an angry dispute with conservative Muslims after trying to clamp down on women who cover their faces with a veil.
The controversy comes after the minister of religious endowments, Hamdi Zaqzuq, expelled an official from a meeting after she refused to remove her niqab, a veil that leaves only the eyes exposed.
"I totally reject the niqab," said Mr Zaqzuq. "No religious counsellor needs to wear it, since it is not required by Islamic law."
The woman was one of 50 people appointed to provide religious guidance. Fully veiled women have now been banned from the post because the minister feared they would "promote the culture of the niqab".
Egypt's government-backed newspapers also campaign against it. Salama Ahmed Salama, a columnist in the daily Al-Ahram, said: "The niqab degrades women. They cannot function as teachers, doctors, journalists or government employees."
Some 80 per cent of Egypt's women cover their hair (and rather more than that have undergone FGM) and although the niqab remains rare, its popularity is growing. Wearing it is seen increasingly as a political statement and critics say the crackdown highlights the secular government's anxiety to keep power out of the hands of conservative religious groups.
I have a copy of Huda Shaarawi’s Harem Years – The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist published by Virago Press in 1986. She was an Egyptian nationalist and much of her book is about the wicked British, and the slightly less wicked French.  But the book opens with the description of how in 1923 she and a friend returned from an international women’s meeting in Rome. As they stepped fof the train at Cairo Railway station they dramatically drew back the veils from their faces. Some of the veiled women waiting in the crowd did the same. Applause broke out from the women, but the eunuchs guarding them glowered with disapproval.
I made a very short visit to Cairo in 1987. In that fierce sun some sort of head covering is essential. I wore a terribly British style scarf to protect my hair, but I don’t recall seeing a single “veil”.  
Posted on 01/28/2007 3:48 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Go personal
Posted on 01/28/2007 5:37 AM by Robert Bove
Sunday, 28 January 2007

We're nearing an anniversary few will celebrate (or mourn):

Effective January 31, 2006, Western Union discontinued all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage.

Worldwide, the form isn't dead: Belgians still love their telegrams, as do Kiwis; the Japanese use them for special occassions; in North America, a couple companies continue to provide the service Western Union abandoned.

Optical Telegraf of Claude Chappe on the Litermont near Nalbach, Germany

Western Union telegrams sent in 1929: 20 million.  In 2005: 20 thousand.

Estimated number of emails sent per day:  2.35 billion to 62 billion.

Posted on 01/28/2007 6:11 AM by Robert Bove
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Fool on a Fool's Errand: Prevent "Epic Battle" Among Our Enemies

Neurope: Trying to persuade a sceptical Congress to support sending more troops to Iraq, US President George W Bush warned January 22 that if the United States fails, sectarian violence could spill over into an “epic battle” between Sunnis and Shiites in a wider regional conflict...

“If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides,” Bush said. “We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al-Qaeda and supporters of the old regime.”

“A contagion of violence could spill out across the country and in time the entire region could be drawn into the conflict,” he added in the State of the Union address. “For America, this is a nightmare scenario.”...

“This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in,” Bush said. “Every one of us wishes this war were over and won.”

“Let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory,” he said...

“I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance of success,” Bush said. “Many in this chamber understand that America must not fail in Iraq because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far reaching.” ...

“We went into this largely united in our assumptions, and in our convictions,” Bush said. “And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq and I ask you to give it a chance to work.” ...

“The Shi’a and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat,” Bush said before the joint session of Congress. “But whatever slogans they chant when they slaughter the innocent, they have the same wicked purposes.”

“In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East,” Bush said...

“We will show our enemies abroad that we are united in the goal of victory,” Bush said.

Victory undefined is victory lost.

Posted on 01/28/2007 7:17 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Think of the cost

I feel very strongly about the case of the grammar school with no money to defend itself against the Muslim father of a fourteen-year-old girl. The father, whose daughter I regard as merely a puppet in his hands, gets legal aid. In other words, we taxpayers are paying for the destruction of our own civilisation. Here is Charles Moore:

How can a single state school defend itself in court? The question arises because of the 14-year-old Muslim pupil at Wycombe High School who has been forbidden by the headmistress from wearing the niqab, a veil which leaves only her eyes visible. The girl’s father is seeking judicial review. The father gets government money, in the form of legal aid, but the school does not necessarily get anything. The local education authority of the Conservative-controlled Buckinghamshire County Council indicates that it will not put its money behind its school. This is cowardly and against its own interest. If the school cannot afford to fight, then the county’s entire policy about school uniforms will have to change, and religious fanatics will start putting pressure on all Muslim girls to dress according to their whim. This is a test case for Tories who want to draw a line between legitimate religious freedom and oppressive zealotry. The local MP, Paul Goodman, has come out quickly on the side of the school, but where are the others?

And it is Islam, and  only Islam that is causing these problems. As I said in an earlier post, for a grammar school to be forced to spend time, effort and money on this case is absurd. I can imagine a situation where a school just gives in, because it doesn’t have the resources to fight.  

This week we learned of a policewoman who refused to shake hands with her force’s chief because of her Muslim beliefs. She is now threatened with dismissal. If she is dismissed, she will claim unfair dismissal and take the case, probably at the taxpayer’s expense, all the way to the House of Lords. She will probably lose. But imagine the costs, both direct – in legal fees – and indirect, in time and effort expended on this case, rather than on doing what a police force should be doing.


Recently a Muslim cashier in W. H. Smith refused, on religious grounds, to sell cigarettes to a customer requesting them. Since she is not performing her duties, she should be sacked. But the company will probably accommodate her, because it is too much trouble not to.


Faced with spiralling costs of defending itself against insatiable and aggressive Muslim demands, many will fight. And they will win, but will have spent time, money and effort on winning which would have been better spent elsewhere. Others will give in. Louise Campbell, exhausted and ill, let Islamic child custody rights prevail. Schools and hospitals, overstretched and under-funded, will give in. Small businesses, which would be bankrupted by legal bills, will give in.

Inch by inch, territory is ceded to the Dar al Islam.

Posted on 01/28/2007 7:18 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Exposing "moderate" muslims

Richard John Neuhaus revisits jihad in Europe (scroll down; reg. req'd.)

In November, I had an essay in Time magazine on how radical Jihadists see terrorism and massive Muslim immigration as working together toward a reconquest of Europe. The editors ran that alongside an essay by Tariq Ramadan, a Muslim theologian living in Switzerland who has written about the need to develop a “European Islam.” Ramadan is usually considered a moderate, but I admit that I found somewhat chilling this assertion: “Europe in particular must learn to reconcile itself with the diversity of its past in order to master the coming pluralism of its future.” Perhaps I’m wrong, but the translation would seem to be: We are here, we are coming, don’t even think of stopping us. Europe is ours at least as much as it is yours. Get used to it.

Posted on 01/28/2007 7:39 AM by Robert Bove
Sunday, 28 January 2007
D'Souza Has Read One Selected Authority

Surely the main thing about Dinesh D'Souza is that he is:

1) a careerist with his eye on the main chance. He was among the first of those Bright Young Conservative Things -- think of William Kristol -- who have managed to make lavish livings for themselves, with those lecture fees, those quasi-instant books on matters of perceived moment, and for a few, a little aupres-de-ma-blonde stuff to make the whole thing more entertaining and endurable.

2) unused to having to meet standards of research or study that might, in other contexts, naturally be asked of him. D’Souza is surprised and chagrined: he asked quite a few people to blurb the book, and was disturbed to discover that some, who had made it a point to find out much more about Islam, were horrified by his thesis and refused.

D'Souza tells us that he "read Bernard Lewis." That's it? That's all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know, about Islam? Apparently he felt no need to read widely. But there are so many others, many dozens of others, he ought to have read, re-read, assimilated, made his own. There is Joseph Schacht. There is David Margoliouth. There is Snouck Hurgronje. There is Ignaz Goldziher. There is Theodor Noldeke. There is Samuel Zwemer. There is St. Clair Tisdall. There is Armand Abel. There is K. S. Lal. There is Georges Vajda (whom Lewis consulted, but apparently not enough, for his book on Jews in Islam). There is S. D. Goitein. There is Bat Ye'or, the great pioneer in scholarship devoted expressly to the fate of non-Muslims under Muslim rule -- the dhimmi -- a subject Lewis hardly touches, for in the 400 pages of his book for a mass audience ("The Middle East -- a History of the Last 2000 Years") he mentions the dhimmi in three paragraphs, two of them slyly exculpatory. Many have rightly been outraged that Le Pen called the murder of the Jews "a mere detail of World War II." For Lewis, it would seem from that book that the fate of hundreds of millions of non-Muslims, who over the past 1350 years had to endure Muslim rule, is merely a "detail" in the history of Islam and Islamic conquest. Oh no it isn't.

The Romans worried about The Man of One Book: homo unius libri. D'Souza appears, by his own admission, to be someone who has written a book about a subject he admittedly knew nothing about at the time of 9/11/2001, but has been "studying it for four years" largely by consulting, it seems, not One Book but close to that: One Selected Authority.

But even that One Selected Authority, Lewis, would be horrified by how D'Souza understood him and what D'Souza took away from his reading of Lewis. For Bernard Lewis does not share a bit of D'Souza's interest in minimizing the menace of Islam and promoting this truly insane idea of a natural commonality of interest between "traditional Muslims" and "conservatives." Does D'Souza know what "traditional Muslims" think of Infidels? Does he know what they think of the Amish? Does he know what they think of him, Dinesh D'Souza? "Conservatives" in D’Souza’s view are, of course, those who are willing to overlook the Muslim view of the world in which there is a state of permanent war, not necessarily fighting but permanent war, between Believer and Infidel, all in order to get "traditional Muslims" to be for the same "family values." And how can D. D'S. conceivably think that Muslim "family values" -- beginning with the treatment and status of women in "traditional Islam," or the hostility toward freedom of conscience and freedom of speech -- could possibly allow for such a naive and dangerous alliance? It would be naive and dangerous, of course, for Infidels, and perfectly swell for Muslims, who are always seeking out those upon whose naivete and ignorance of Islam and goodwill they can take advantage of. Just go to one of those phony "Muslim-Christian" or "Muslim-Jewish" Groups for "Understanding," especially if it is Open House Night for Infidels at the mosque. There you will be treated to a smooth-tongued liquid-brown-eyed orator, well-practiced in taqiyya-and-tu-quoque, who will however become quickly alarmed, even confused, even discombobulated, if you begin to talk during the question period about the Hadith and the Sira, and if you are to mention the Banu Qurayza, the Khaybar Oasis attack, the murders of Asma bint Marwan and Abu Afak, or a few dozen other atrocities. And let's not forget little Aisha. Well, a good time will not be had by all, and you will, singlehandedly, have destroyed the evening's propagandistic (as in propaganda fide) purpose.

Unlike Dinesh D'Souza, Bernard Lewis himself has for the past year or two been going around warning about the islamization of Europe and the horror that would be. Apparently Lewis's study of Islam did not lead him, Lewis, to the conclusions reached by his great admirer and self-directed student, Dinesh D'Souza. For Lewis does not see any great alliance, any alliance at all, between Muslims and non-Muslims. But then, perhaps he's been studying Islam a bit longer than Dinesh D'Souza, and knows the real meaning, sometimes expressed in language sibylline or even Aesopic, of his words. Lewis has for too long tried to write for two distinct audiences: Muslims, including those Turks who so admire him (and he tends to admire those who admire him back) and Infidels. In pulling his punches, or perhaps not quite seeing or allowing himself to see the full danger of Islam and of Muslims other than those suave, plausible, highly unrepresentative figures he meets, he knows, he receives hospitality from, in Amman or Istanbul, Lewis has ill-served his mostly non-Muslim readership. For it is they who are being menaced, and they who need to be enlightened.

It would be wonderful if, at this stage, Lewis were to write something akin to Goitein's expression, in the introduction to his 1963 article on the Jizyah, or Poll Tax inflicted on non-Muslims (see pp. 29-30 of "the Legacy of Jihad") in which he explains how much he had to modify his earlier vies about the treatment of non-Muslims, once he came to realize, through his study of the material found in the Cairo Geniza, of how burdensome and grueling that Jizyah-payment really was. At the end of his life Goitein was preparing an enthusiastic review of Bat Ye'or's The Dhimmi. Lewis owes his readers and his acolyte-graduate students, and those to whom he so enthusiastically endorsed the Oslo Accords and then the fiasco of Iraq, the same kind of self-reckoning. He's always being fooled, Lewis, for all of his book-learning. He's always, when it comes to policy, underestimating the impossibility of expecting anything good -- rational negotiations, treaties signed that will be honored, or for that matter the ability of different sectarian and ethnic groups to get along in societies suffused with Islam.

But Lewis would never endorse D'Souza. If he finds out about this book, written by someone who, in explaining the extent of his preparation for this jejune book that he "read Bernard Lewis," it would certainly appall him. And he should be disturbed. He should begin to recognize how he has helped, in part, to set people straight on many things and how he has helped, in part, to set people astray. And some of us think that he has led more astray, in minimizing certain unpleasant and permanent features of Muslim teachings and attitudes and behavior, than he has set straight.

Posted on 01/28/2007 7:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 28 January 2007
After being gang raped by her village elders, Mukhtar fought back...
It is said that there is no such thing as coincidence.  I pulled an old book off my shelf this morning which was published by the Women's specialists Virago. They have a new publication out next week.  
In the Name of Honour, by Mukhtar Mai. 
Read an interview with Mukhtar Mai in the Sunday Telegraph here.
Chris Cork, an English development agency consultant who helps Mukhtar with her village projects, is convinced that the Mastoi will get their revenge. "They have said they will kill her one day. And they will. She has great courage and dignity. She never asked for fame."
"What if you are killed?" I ask Mukhtar.
"I am just the first drop of water in the village," she says quietly. "I believe it will rain after me."
Posted on 01/28/2007 7:40 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Men banned from selling lingerie
This is from The Australian.
THE Gulf state of Kuwait issued a decision today banning men from working in shops selling "private" women's garments like lingerie.
The decision, issued by the ministry of social affairs and labor, gave businesses until April 7 to implement the ban or face a fine of up to $US700 ($898) for each violating worker.
It said that special inspectors from the ministry would enforce the ban.
The ministry also ordered its labour departments to stop recruiting male migrant laborers for employment in women's lingerie shops.
Its not men selling it they should worry about. Its when the men start wearing it you have to worry. Who knows what they have under those dishdashas.
Posted on 01/28/2007 8:15 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 28 January 2007
NSW Jews condemn Islamic group
More from The Australian.
JEWISH leaders in NSW have condemned a radical Muslim group that has sparked outrage by bringing to Australia its calls for an Islamic superstate.
Indonesian firebrand cleric Ismail Yusanto outlined his vision for an Islamic utopia before a crowd of about 500 Muslims at Lakemba, in Sydney's southwest. Dr Yusanto and fellow members of the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir believe it can ease suffering around the world by creating an Islamic superstate - ruled by Sharia law - through jihad, or holy war.
The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff late today condemned the Hizb ut-Tahrir conference and its call for a state of Sharia law. “Hizb ut-Tahrir promotes violence, engages in appalling racist invective and preaches virulently anti-semitic views,” he said. “It is vital that any organisation which abuses human rights and promotes racial hatred be refused a public voice in New South Wales.”
Posted on 01/28/2007 8:20 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Re: Fool on a Fool's Errand

"Trying to persuade a sceptical Congress to support sending more troops to Iraq, US President George W Bush warned January 22 that if the United States fails, sectarian violence could spill over into an “epic battle” between Sunnis and Shiites in a wider regional conflict."
-- from the article posted below

He "warns"? Why doesn't he merely "state"? Why should he "warn" about what can only weaken the Camp of Islam and thereby strengthen the Camp of Infidels? Or is this simply beyond him? And cannot he imagine all kinds of scenes, where the Saudis come begging the Americans to protect them, and we demand, in order to make them our "protected peoples," a little "protection money" of our own, a reverse Jizyah, in order to recoup a few hundred billion of the $700 billion squandered in Iraq.

Oh, and the oil, the oil? What about the oil?

Were there a real threat to the major oilfields somewhere, there are several things to note. The first is  that during the Iran-Iraq war the oil market was affected in one way: the price of oil went steadily down during the entire eight years of that war. Both sides largely avoided attacking each other's oil fields; that was understood by all as beyond the pale, though massacres of the enemy were just fine. The second is that the major oilfields on the western side of the Gulf, the Arab littoral, are all in mini-states (Kuwait, the U.A.E., Qatar with its gas), or a region such as Al-Hasa in Saudi Arabia, that could be seized with far less trouble than it now takes to protect the Iraqi oilfields. That oil is close to the Gulf and therefore close to the tankers on which it could be loaded. There is no need to protect long pipelines. And, by the way, a little obvious disruption in oil supplies might, at long last, force the Western world to do quickly what it might have odne slowly, since 1973 -- which is to make sure that the price of oil stays high, and to move heaven and earth to diminish the need for such oil, by every measure: taxes on oil and tax breaks and subsidies for other sources of energy, populated,  bans on inessential driving (the kind of thing that routinely happens in wartime), subsidies to mass transit, government funding of research and prompt development of other sources of energy -- in short, a wartime program for what is still unrecognized as a world war, a war in which the enemy's chief weapon is not military force but OPEC money and all that that money can buy.              

One might also ask:  why should the Americans do it all, or almost all of it, when oil is used by many besides Americans. Why should they not demand, and get, the full cooperation of the Europeans and even, one might add, of China? Doesn't China need oil from the Middle East, even more than the United States? Our fears about oil are absurd; our policy based on that fear, which prevents us from wanting the internecine warfare we should not "warn" about but rather welcome -- is idiocy compounded.

Bush does not know where to put his feet or hands. Nor do his loyalists. Nor to many of his critics, who are unable to mount the most unanswerable and deadly of criticisms: the one offered, over three years, at JW and right here.

Posted on 01/28/2007 8:41 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Obama's Father's Wives

American Presidential hopeful Barack Obama's father,  called a "non-practicing Muslim" here, seems to have followed Islamic law and taken four wives. From the Sunday Times:

Obama’s African family is particularly complicated. By his own account, his father never really left Kezia, his first wife, in Kenya. She bore Obama Sr two children, Roy and Auma, who now works in social services in Berkshire.

They were separated, Obama’s mother claimed, but “it was a village wedding and there was no document that could suggest a divorce”.

His own father and mother’s wedding in Hawaii may not have been properly documented either. “How and when the marriage occurred remains a bit murky, a bill of particulars that I have never quite had the courage to explore,” Obama writes in his memoir.

After his father left Ann and two-year-old Barack to study at Harvard, he went to Africa with another American woman, Ruth, who became his third wife. She bore him two sons in Kenya, one of whom died in a motorcycle accident, but Obama Sr continued to see Kezia.

“Traditionally, she was still his wife,” a relative explained. Kezia went on to bear two more sons, Abo and Bernard. Although their paternity is disputed by some relatives, Obama Sr regarded them as his own. Later in life, he fathered another son, George, by a young Kenyan woman.

After his parents split up, Obama saw his father only once before learning that he had died in a car crash in Kenya in 1982.

Obama’s eldest brother Roy moved to America and went on to convert to Islam.

Convert? How could he convert, when he was born Muslim to a Muslim father? He would be considered a Muslim by Muslims even if his mother was a Christian and even, if like Barack, he had been raised as a Christian. I also think it goes without saying that if Mitt Romney's father were a practicing polygamist it would be an issue. I am not doubting Obama's Christian commitment, but I do think his familial ties to Islam need to be explored for the sake of clarity. Since Obama was born to a Muslim father, he is, according to Islamic law, an apostate and liable to assassination. Doesn't this worry anyone?

Posted on 01/28/2007 9:01 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Spencer To Debate D'Souza

A debate between Dinesh D'Souza and Robert Spencer will be held tonight at 7PM PST, 10PM EST, on Lores Rizkalla's radio show. You will be able to listen online here.

"D'Souza himself has told me that we are scheduled to debate at CPAC in March, but I have heard nothing from CPAC about this myself..."-- from Robert Spencer's comment here

I should imagine that Grover Norquist, and his Muslim wife, and those he has so insidiously influenced in a certain part -- the part he influences -- of the so-called "conservative movement" -- is moving heaven and earth to prevent Dinesh D'Souza from debating Robert. They're very cunning, those people. They know what can be prepared for with a little debate team, and what cannot be prepared for no matter what, if the texts, and 1350-year history, and present observable and observed behavior of Muslims all over the world cohere, are similar, and reflect the clear doctrines of Islam, and clearest of all those doctrines, the division of the world between Believer and Infidel, the inculcated hostility of Believer toward Infidel, whether that Infidel snorts cocaine in the Chateau Marmont or is a God-fearing Amish behind his horse-drawn plow, just outside Intercourse, Pennsylvania.

No, I'm sure Grover Norquist (a bit comical, that name, with echoes of Sesame Street, and yet also sinister withal, a little concolorous with Nixon's Robert Aplanalp) is doing his bit to prevent the D'Souza-Spencer bout from ever happening. Or, to so arrange things, that a Muslim moderator, or some non-Muslim apologist (is Esposito free? how about Carl Ernst? Michael Sells?) or perhaps some "conservative" who is also deeply, truly, madly anti-Israel. Say, what's Robert Novak or Pat Buchanan doing that night? Surely they are free to make sure the message of "family values" that supposedly unite "traditional Muslims" and god-fearing non-Muslims of every stripe would be willing to lend Grover Norquist a hand in a good cause, wouldn't they?

Just watch and see how they either weasel out, or attempt to stack the goddam deck.

Posted on 01/28/2007 10:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 28 January 2007
My Weekly Standard vs. National Review

My Weekly Standard is worse on the war, but on Islam National Review is worse. Sole exception: John Derbyshire. Don't bother subscribing to either publication. Why encourage them?  But if you have some discretionary income, send it here so as to ensure the health and wellbeing of this website.


The first in a series of eleemosynary public service announcements.

Posted on 01/28/2007 10:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Unembarrassed Ambition

"The personal attacks on D'Souza really turn me off. I don't care if he's a 'careerist with his eyes on the main chance.'"-- from a reader

But these are not "personal attacks." They are attacks on his presumption in becoming an instant expert, on relying on a handful -- or actually one -- authority, on deciding that every topic under the sun can be polished off. It is a general fault. It can be seen in the popular press, with the vulgarisations of Tom Friedman, an exemplar. It can be seen in the preposterous polypragmonic claims of Jeffery Sachs. It can be seen in a great number of people who, while they may not even be fellow "conservatives" (even if we take a word that should be used sparingly, for we don't want to confuse the D'Souzas and the Kristols with Richard Weaver, or Jacques Barzun, or Edmund Burke), but fellow "liberals," are mostly creatures of Ambition. And that Unembarrassed Ambition, with those lecture tours, those book deals, or that easy and undeserved tenure for the thrusting young academic (see Noah "After Jihad" Feldman, at 35 just made an offer from Harvard Law School) -- help explain a wider problem.

Posted on 01/28/2007 11:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Museum on Fire

Some artists in Denmark are making a statement, but we're not quite sure what that statement is, and by the looks of their promotional website, neither are they.  ARoS is the biggest museum in Scandinavia.
Intense fire will be projected on the building, creating the illusion, that this institution is burning. Here is what their press release has to say about it:

City on Fire first came into being in 2005 when artists Thyra Hilden and Pio Diaz created their first installations in Rome. From the outset, it was the artists intention to re-create the installation on other venues of great symbolic significance in the Western world. Still, the symbolic value of Rome as the first site was particularly important to Hilden and Diaz.

The subtitle of the project is ‘Burning the Roots of Western Culture’ and even if City on Fire is not a political instrument – rather it is an aesthetic manifest – the very substance of the work holds the desire to highlight the roots of Western culture and the destruction connected with it. A destruction closely connected with the destruction happening even today.

City on Fire is a ‘site specific’ monumental event. In line with the well-known works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, it reflects on subjects that are essential to our culture and understanding of the same. City on Fire is not a political statement but an aesthetic event in public space that draws on various aspects of our common cultural awareness and inheritance.

I wonder what Christo and Jeanne-Claude would say about their work being invoked to promote the symbolic destruction of art and the "burning of the roots of Western Civilization"? 

Posted on 01/28/2007 11:44 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Burning ARoS

City on Fire, we are told, is a "site specific monumental event". Well, why stop there?

Why not go one step further and bring in Turner-Prize-winning Martin Creed's Work No 401, a tape of flatulent noises, featured at Tate Modern?

What should we call this potentially explosive exhibition? How about Monumental Meets Fundamental, a show guaranteed to break new ... er ... ground?

Posted on 01/28/2007 1:20 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Dr Sex spices up Arab TV
THE Arab world’s first Muslim sexologist is breaking boundaries with a sex education TV show that has taken the Middle East by storm. Dr Heba Kotb, 39, devotes Serious Talk, broadcast weekly on the independent Egyptian satellite channel Al Mehwar,
The Egyptian doctor, who runs a sex clinic in Cairo, discusses topics usually unthinkable within conservative Arab societies: different sexual positions, the female orgasm and problems such as impotence — all with an Islamic perspective.
The Koran, she claims, is very direct in its teachings about sex. Kotb believes that more than 80% of divorces in the Arab world are caused by sexual problems.  
Her critics say her programme is too explicit. Sheikh Youssef al-Badri, a radical Islamic cleric, said her show “invades the privacy of our bedrooms” and “increases the number of sex perverts”.
All well and good but what does she have to say about FGM?
Posted on 01/28/2007 2:14 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 28 January 2007
The Third Rail

"Feingold's last bill would have banned federal, state and local law enforcement officials from 'relying, to any degree, on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion' during investigations."-- from this news article

For a nation, it is suicidal. But for Feingold and Conyers, it is homicidal. They have no right to prate, and wrap themselves in some holier-than-thou mantle, and make it even more hellishly difficult for the security services attempting to monitor not a race but those who are slaves to an ideology, an ideology that preaches the duty of Jihad to spread Islam, by whatever means prove most effective, and among those means the "spreading of terror" -- mentioned, literally, in the canonical texts -- among the Infidels is one of them.

If Conyers and Feingold do not know this, if they are unwilling to read, to study, and to take seriously the texts and tenets and attitudes of Islam, but are willing, out of their ignorance and preening self-righteousness (so that we who oppose such legislation are supposed to be apologetic and embarrassed about doing so, when such legislation is simply crazed, half-cocked, mad, bad, and dangerous in every way), they should be swamped with expressions of calm fury from their constituents, and in the end, from everyone, for it is all of us, and not only their immediate constituents, who will pay the price, in more headaches all over the country for the security services, already pressed to the limit, and much more expense, and much more danger. And for what? To get on their high horses and prove some kind of diseased sympathy for those who make false claims, play the false victim, and do nothing whatever to show us, with an outpouring of fury directed at fellow Muslims who practice terrorism, with heartfelt rather than sly, carefully worded (with loopholes as big as the Ritz), and essentially taqiyaa-and-tu-quoque distancing, of the most minimal and begrudging and hedged-in kind, of the statements and behavior of Muslims around the world who do not wish, have shown that they do not wish, are taught not to wish (in Qur'an, in Hadith, in Sira) non-Muslims well.

This mixture as before cannot continue. They should be stripped of power, and sent home. Whatever their views on anything else, members of Congress should be made to regard this proposal as a Third Rail. That is what it should be for all of them. Try to make it that.

Posted on 01/28/2007 2:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Weather forecast for Iraq

Sunni in parts, Shi'ite in others.

(From Private Eye, via The Telegraph)

Posted on 01/28/2007 3:26 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Above the fold today in Durantistan

We get the picture.

Posted on 01/28/2007 3:48 PM by Robert Bove
Sunday, 28 January 2007

 Shire Network News and part II of their interview with Mark Steyn is on the net.

Posted on 01/28/2007 5:36 PM by Rebecca Bynum

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