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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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Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
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edited by S.B. Kelly
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Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
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Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
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The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky



















These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 3, 2007.
Monday, 3 September 2007
Grieving mothers tortured by questions left unanswered
From The Times. It was the massacre at Beslan 3 years ago which brought me to the Jihadwatch site, which is where I met Rebecca, which eventually led to me writing here.
The school bell rang at 9.15am to mark the moment when evil arrived in Beslan. The women gathered in the shattered sports hall at School Number One reacted with a collective groan that dissolved into sobbing appeals to their dead children, staring back at them from photographs on the walls.
On the anniversary of the attack that left 186 children among 344 people dead, Beslan remains trapped in those three days that ended with a massacre as Russian troops battled a gang holding 1,200 hostages on the orders of Shamil Basayev, the Chechen warlord. The mourners’ tears are laced with bitterness that so many questions remain unanswered.
Among the mysteries are why the terrorists attacked a school only 200m (218 yards) from Beslan’s main police station, ignoring others en route, and how they apparently knew that its celebration to mark the first day of term had been brought forward by an hour.
Official reports identified 32 terrorists but witnesses are certain there were more. The sole survivor, Nurpa-shi Kulayev, jailed for life, is the only person convicted so far.
 . . . Susanna Dudiyeva, chairman of the mothers’ committee, who lost her 13-year-old son . . . Mrs Dudiyeva wants to forge links with groups representing victims of the terror attacks in New York, London and Madrid to raise pressure on the Kremlin. She regrets that she and other parents did not rush into the school as soon as their children were taken hostage.
She said: “Some people would have died but maybe the children could have run away. At least we would not have let them suffer for so long.”
There are plans to demolish the school and build a cathedral, leaving the gym as a memorial to the dead. 
Posted on 09/03/2007 5:45 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 3 September 2007
MESA Nostra

The Middle East Studies Association, or MESA, or more accurately MESA Nostra, is the professional organization of teachers of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies in this country. In 1970 about 3% of its membership was Muslim; today it is about 70%. Here is an article from 2005 for students of Carl Ernst and others interested in what currently constitutes the "academic discipline" of Middle Eastern studies.

Here is an article from January 25, 2005:


"Mesa" or "MESA" is the acronym of the Middle East Studies Association, the professional group of those who at American universities and colleges are charged with the responsibility of teaching the American young, those trusting, innocent, infinitely malleable young, with learning about the Middle East -- which is to say, about Islam.

As an organization, MESA has over the past two decades slowly but surely been taken over by apologists for Islam. Many of these are Muslims, and many are non-Muslims. The latter includes quite a few people who are married to Muslims, or who, to get along with their colleagues (and remember, the most political place in the entire universe is a university faculty, and that institution which, alas, Randall Jarrell failed to immortalize (if memory serves), the Departmental Meeting. Junior faculty owe everything to, and therefore must curry favor with, senior faculty. If that means signing an anti-divestment petition that has the mighty empire of Israel, fons et origo of everything that has ever gone wrong with the Muslim and Arab states and peoples, then so be it. Funny thing about being a trimmer, however, is that the mere act of signing something you really don't believe helps to convince you that you really do believe it, otherwise you would have to come to terms with your own cravenness, your own pusillanimity. And no one wants to do that.

The method of apologetics is simple: concentrate on Israel, or the more tendentious reification of an alternative state, "Israel/Palestine," keep clear of such topics as land ownership under the Ottoman Empire, the actual demographics of the Ottoman vilayets and sanjak that made up what became Mandatory Palestine, don't even whisper that more than half of the Jews in Israel had never left the Middle East but lived as dhimmis in the Yemen (virtual chattel slaves), in Iraq, in North Africa, in Syria and Egypt -- because officially, all Israeli Jews are "European colonialists"; finally, do not under any conditions mention that a goodly number of the ancient "Palestinian people" (invented post-1967) are the descendants of Arabs and Berbers who were veterans of Abd el-Kader's campaign, Egyptians who came with Mehmet Ali, Muslims from the Balkans and Bulgaria and other Ottoman territories in Europe who were transferred, en masse, by the Turkish government as the high tide of Islam receded -- for that area (a/k/a in the West as "Palestine") was by far the most desolate and under-populated in the Ottoman Empire, always excepting the Empty Quarter of Arabia).

The apologetics consists in hardly ever discussing Jihad, dhimmitude, or indeed even introducing the students to Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira. Sometimes an expurgated version -- the Michael Sells horror -- is assigned to students The Hadith and Sira are never mentioned. Books on the level of Armstrong and Esposito are assigned, and feelgood nonsense like Maria Rosa Menocal's The Ornament of the World.

But not everyone who is a member of MESA is completely awful. There are a few reasonable people, some of the Ottomanists and suchlike. MESA is a little like the Soviet Union of Writers, which had thousands of members and hardly a real writer. When one considers Michael Cook, Patricia Crone, Bernard Lewis, and a few others, on one scale, and the assorted Khalidis and Dabashis and Massads and Bahranis in the other, you can guess which side kicks the beam. No member of MESA has done as much to make available to a wide public important new work on Muhammad, on the origins of the Qur'an, and on the history of early Islam, as that lone wolf, Ibn Warraq. No one has done such work on the institution of the dhimmi as that lone louve, Bat Ye'or. It is an astounding situation, where much of the most important work is not being done in universities, because many university centers have been seized by a kind of Islamintern International. Willy Munzenberg could have learned a lot from Edward Said, who was only begetter, with his Orientalism for a good deal of this "post-colonial hegemonic discourse" stuff that permanently stunts the mental growth.

Recent presidents of MESA have included Lisa Anderson, the well-versed and compleat academic (and beyond, what with the Councils on this and the Committees on that, all very impressive if you are impressed with that sort of thing) operator, Dean of the School of International Blah, and Joel Beinin and Laurie Brand, about whom you may google, and Rashid Khalidi, and -- has Juan Cole served his term, or is that coming up? Well, you get the dreary picture

In any case, even MESA has its constraints. For example a few years ago it had to award, it could not avoid awarding, a prize for the best book of the year to Michael Cook for his 720-page Commanding Right and Prohibiting Wrong in Islam, even though Cook is suspiciously learned and has written a book, perhaps too warily not permitted to be reprinted, with Patricia Crone (who herself is very good, but also, at times, as in her treatment of Christoph Luxenberg, not quite as brave as she should be).

Why do I refer to MESA as "Mesa Nostra"? Because it is a kind of "Our Thing" conspiracy, but not nearly as appealing, as folkloric, as the Mafia, or the 'ndrangheta, or the camorra, for in Italy the malavita has three main components. Everyone knows everyone else; the maneuvering, the politicking, the fear that the hot breath of Campus Watch, and perhaps even Congress, will take away all that government money that the Khalidis and the Dabashis et al. wanted to use to spread their anti-Israel anti-American and "why-do-they-hate-us?" and "it is only a handful-of-extremists" message, and how can that mean old U.S. government not want to fund that, huh?

"Mesa Nostra" is my little invention. It communicates the doubtfulness, and more, of the enterprise. It has nothing to do with real scholarship. Ask yourself this: could Joseph Schacht, the great authority on Mohammedan law, or Arthur Jeffery, an authority on Islam, on Muhammad, even on aspects of the lexicon of the early Qur'an, both of them once stars in Columbia's middle-eastern firmament, have been hired today -- at Columbia, or indeed, anywhere that the plotters of Mesa Nostra rule the roost?

The Arabs have poured money into various Georgetown Centers for this and that (because that's where the power is, that's where the foreign service officers are trained, that's where Peter Bechtold, who gave a cheerleading address to the last meeting of Mesa, heads the "Foreign Policy Institute" and was so instrumental in drawing up that farcical list for General Vines). They have also bought up chairs: the nice "Guardian of the Two Holy Places" professorship of law that Frank Vogel holds, and a King Abdul Aziz Thisorthat, and so on. Oh, they get their money's worth. They do, indeed they do.

So that's why I call it "Mesa Nostra." Everybody should.

Posted on 09/03/2007 8:06 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
More 'Social Justice' Brought To You By The Wonderful World Of Islam

New Duranty: NYALA, Sudan, Aug. 28 — Some of the same Arab tribes accused of massacring civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan are now unleashing their considerable firepower against one another in a battle over the spoils of war that is killing hundreds of people and displacing tens of thousands.

In the past several months, the Terjem and the Mahria, heavily armed Arab tribes that United Nations officials said raped and pillaged together as part of the region’s notorious janjaweed militias, have squared off in South Darfur, fighting from pickup trucks and the backs of camels. They are raiding each other’s villages, according to aid workers and the fighters themselves, and scattering Arab tribesmen into the same kinds of displacement camps that still house some of their earlier victims.

United Nations officials said that thousands of gunmen from each side, including some from hundreds of miles away, were pouring into a strategic river valley called Bulbul, while clashes between two other Arab tribes, the Habanniya and the Salamat, were intensifying farther south...

United Nations officials say the militias may be jockeying for power and trying to seize turf before the long-awaited hybrid force of United Nations and African Union peacekeepers begins to arrive, perhaps later this year. Today’s battlefields are superimposed on yesterday’s, with the Arab militias killing one another over the same burned villages and stingy riverbeds where so much blood has already been spilled....

Posted on 09/03/2007 8:20 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 3 September 2007
Kagan: Islam Is Not Islam, It's Takfirism

Fred Kagan, hero of Baghdad and chief architect of the "surge" has decided he ought, at long last, look into the "ideology" of the enemy. He explains al Qaeda for us in his new article out in the Weekly Standard in which he takes a page from the Guirard/Steusand school (which calls jihad "hirabah", see Hugh Fitzgerald's essay here), but instead he has decided to call Islam "takfirism," which is a word Muslims use to define other Muslims who have gone astray. In the process he becomes hopelessly tangled in his own efforts at deception, because it is unclear if he is defining al Qaeda as "takfiri" because they define so many other Muslims as takfirs, or if they are really takfirs themselves. His evidence for this is simply that some Iraqis refer to some al Qaeda as such. And of course the line between al Qaeda in Iraq and the regular Sunni population is hopelessly blurred, though our strategy in Iraq is to try to separate them.

A realistic strategy that involves accepting and dealing with the Muslim world as it is rather than trying to re-make it, would mean men like Kagan would have to accept failure and not just failure, but failure due to ignorance and therefore the entire Administration would have to accept failure due to reliance on the ignorant. President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley on down, would all be forced to admit culpability for our disastrous policy in Iraq, which is born of the basic failure to understand Islam.

Promoting more misunderstand won't help matters.

The Kagan essay is here.

Posted on 09/03/2007 8:43 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 3 September 2007
Before The Behind Yet Under The Vast Above The World Is In Tears And Tomorrow Is Tuesday
With her 1940 campaign for President on the Surprise Party Ticket, Gracie Allen heavily influenced the  decision to ask Elmo Tanner to run for President of the United States. See “Cometh The Man, Cometh the Hour” where the first hint was given that  swirling political currents were just about to be carefully channeled,  and their energy harnessed for the good of the United States and of all mankind. Elmo Tanner did not say no. He did not refuse. And when I learned of the decision to ask me to run with him, as a candidate for Vice-President, on the same ticket I was both pleased and proud. For more than most, I recognize the need for Elmo Tanner at this time, and at this place, in history. But more of that anon. 
 
Let’s get back to Gracie on this bright Monday afternoon. She may have appeared artless to some, but there was Methodism in her protestant – I mean, protest –madness, and in the founding of what she called, and what we can call once more, with the same feeling, the Surprise Party.
 
Take the title of her play:
 
“Before the Behind Yet Under the Vast Above, The World Is In Tears And Tomorrow Is Tuesday.”
 
On the surface, this  may appear to be so much verbal folderol. But is it? 
 
Remember that series of Elegy XIXs that were posted here before, or have you already put them behind you? There was this in Donne's  Elegy XIX by Donne:
 
“License my roving hands, and let them go,
 Before, behind, between, above, below…”

Clearly, that series of prepositions in Allen's text -- before, behind, under, above -- are taken from, allude to, and serve the same function as, that previously deliberately dizzying series from Gracie Allen’s great original, John Donne, at his prepositional, and propositional, best. And then there is the subtle allusion to Shakespeare’s “vast abyss and backward of time” – “vast abyss” being hinted at by Allen’s “vast above.” “Vast ab…” and “vast ab…”  And some assume that “abs” are a modern preoccupation! Not to mention, of course, Milton's "[d]ove-like satst brooding on the vast abyss."
 
And those final tears of  “the world is in tears.” Where does outwardly ditzy Gracie Allen find that the “world is in tears” if not, way back, in  the“lachrymae rerum” of that steady Roman Lucretius?
 
Donne, Lucretius, Shakespeare, Milton – oh, there’s more to Gracie Allen, clearly, than seeming slapstick by a modern  mistress of malapropism. I wouldn’t dare to add a comma to her play’s title. Female punctuation forbids me to say more.  
 
No, the anxiety of influence never bothered Gracie Allen. So why should it borrow us, the candidates, Elmo Tanner (for President) and his loyal running-mate, H. F.? No, we are proud to recognize the political influence of Gracie Allen, and we are ready to acknowledge that “the world is in tears” and needs a little cheering up. Furthermore, there are those haunting last three words --- that say so little, that mean so much -- of Gracie’s title:
 
“Tomorrow is Tuesday.”
 
And that’s true, too.
Posted on 09/03/2007 11:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
Felixstowe, or The Last of Her Order

Excuse for some literature and a photo.

With one consuming roar along the shingle
The long wave claws and rakes the pebbles down
To where its backwash and the next wave mingle,
A mounting arch of water weedy-brown
Against the tide the off-shore breezes blow.
Oh wind and water, this is Felixstowe.

In winter when the sea winds chill and shriller
Than those of summer, all their cold unload
Full on the gimcrack attic of the villa
Where I am lodging off the Orwell Road,
I put my final shilling in the meter
And only make my loneliness completer.
 
In eighteen ninety-four when we were founded,
Counting our Reverend Mother we were six,
How full of hope we were and prayer-surrounded
"The Little Sisters of the Hanging Pyx".
We built our orphanage. We built our school.
Now only I am left to keep the rule.
 
Here in the gardens of the Spa Pavillion
Warm in the whisper of the summer sea,
The cushioned scabious, a deep vermillion,
With white pins stuck in it, looks up at me
A sun-lit kingdom touched by butterflies
And so my memory of the winter dies.
 
Across the grass the poplar shades grow longer
And louder clang the waves along the coast.
The band packs up. The evening breeze is stronger
And all the world goes home to tea and toast.
I hurry past a cakeshop's tempting scones
Bound for the red brick twilight of St. John's.
 
"Thou knowest my down sitting and mine uprising"
Here where the white light burns with steady glow
Safe from the vain world's silly sympathising,
Safe with the love I was born to know,
Safe from the surging of the lonely sea
My heart finds rest, my heart finds rest in Thee.
.
.
.
John Betjeman from Collected Poems.
Photograph of St John's Church Orwell Road Felixstowe Suffolk by Mustrum Ridcully my husband.
Posted on 09/03/2007 10:58 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 3 September 2007
Betjeman And The Prompted Poem

Dover Beach:

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.


Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

                           Matthew Arnold

Posted on 09/03/2007 11:29 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
What Should It Be Called?

"Turkish Antisemitism and Jewish Dhimmitude"
-- title of Andrew Bostom's article below

I wonder if the word "antisemitism" quite fits the bill here. Since there are "antisemitisms" (plural), and since the version in Islam is not quite the same, does not have the same origins, as the version observable in the Western world (indeed, there is the absurd attempt by some to pretend that anti-Jewish sentiments in the Muslim world are an import from the West, and without Western antisemitism, so it is hinted or said, there would not be such anti-Jewish sentiments), why not avoid the term here?

For anti-Jewish feeling is, in Islam, one example of the anti-Infidel feeling that Islam inculcates. It is true that the animus toward Jews has, in some ways, a special intensity (given the stories about Jews supposedly being responsible for "poisoning" Muhamamed) but it is also true that the powerlessness of the Jews under Islamic rule made them less of a perceived threat than the Christians, and while the Jews were scattered to the winds when they lost their political sovereignty (surely the key event in Jewish history that explains subsequent travails -- as the new book by Ruth Wisse argues) at the Muslim conquest, they could not be a threat to Islam, while Western Christendom remained not only, as are all Infidels, a permanent enemy -- but the most immediate, the longest-lasting, and the most powerful, as Muslims saw -- and see -- it.

I would silently retitle the piece, for clarity, as:

"Turkish Muslims, Jewish Dhimmitude" or "Islam and Dhimmitude in Turkey: The Case of the Jews" or some such.

Posted on 09/03/2007 10:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
A Literary Interlude: The Dover Bitch

So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, "Try to be true to me,
And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc."
Well now, I knew this girl. It's true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
The notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on
That after a while she got to looking out
At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad,
Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds
And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry. To have been brought
All the way down from London, and then be addressed
As a sort of mournful cosmic last resort
Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room
And finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit,
And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn't judge her by that. What I mean to say is,
She's really all right. I still see her once in a while
And she always treats me right. We have a drink
And I give her a good time, and perhaps it's a year
Before I see her again, but there she is,
Running to fat, but dependable as they come,
And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d'Amour.

                                                      -- Anthony Hecht

Posted on 09/03/2007 11:33 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
A Literary Interlude: Twice Shy

Her scarf a la Bardot,
In suede flats for the walk,
She came with me one evening
For air and friendly talk.
We crossed the quiet river,
Took the embankment walk.

Traffic holding its breath,
Sky a tense diaphragm:
Dusk hung like a backcloth
That shook where a swan swam,
Tremulous as a hawk
Hanging deadly, calm.

A vacuum of need
Collapsed each hunting heart
But tremulously we held
As hawk and prey apart,
Preserved classic decorum,
Deployed our talk with art.

Our Juvenilia
Had taught us both to wait,
Not to publish feeling
And regret it all too late -
Mushroom loves already
Had puffed and burst in hate.

So, chary and excited,
As a thrush linked on a hawk,
We thrilled to the March twilight
With nervous childish talk:
Still waters running deep
Along the embankment walk.

        --- Seamus Heaney

Rememberance of this  poem, an early one by Heaney, was prompted by the  "Nuit d'Amour" in Hecht's last line: that sweetly ordinary cheesily-titled perfume given by the man to his intermittent and easily-pleased recipient . I thought at once of another poem with the  Dover Beach elements -- the girl, the boy, the body of water,  though Heaney makes the latter a likely implied Liffey, and it plays no role, no night rote or sound of estranging roar on the shore of a distant northern land (see "Zembla" in the index to "Pale Fire," see "The Rape of the Lock,", or just give me a call and let's talk) , except to supply  the title and the conceit of those "still waters" running "deep" but not where you'd expect.  Oh where then? "Along" the embankment path.   

Posted on 09/03/2007 11:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
You Havin' Us On, Then?

"John Betjeman from Collected Poems.
Photograph of St John's Church Orwell Road Felixstowe Suffolk by Mustrum Ridcully."

[The line appears under the photograph put up, together with the Betjeman poem, by Esmeralda Weatherwax below]

"Mustrum Ridcully" indeed.

Posted on 09/03/2007 12:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
“Out Of Context,” Or, How To Argue With A Muslim

by Ibn Warraq

 

It is quite common to hear two arguments from Muslims and apologists of Islam, the language argument, and that old standby of crooked, lying politicians, “you have quoted out of context.”

Let us look at the language argument first. You are asked aggressively, ‘do you know Arabic?’ Then you are told triumphantly, ‘You have to read it in the original Arabic to understand it fully’. Christians, even Western freethinkers and atheists are usually reduced to sullen silence with these Muslim tactics; they indeed become rather coy and self-defensive when it comes to criticism of Islam; they feebly complain “who am I to criticise Islam? I do not know any Arabic.” And yet freethinkers are quite happy to criticise Christianity. How many Western freethinkers and atheists know Hebrew? How many even know what the language of Esra chapter 4 verses 6-8 is? Or in what language the New Testament was written? more...

Posted on 09/03/2007 12:45 PM by NER
Monday, 3 September 2007
On Sale This Week Only

"If he was a white man and not from the Middle East, I'm sorry, he would not be here today."
-- from this article quoting the simultaneously self-pitying, and meretricious, Samir Megahed

And that is presumably why John Walker Lindh was never charged or sentenced -- he was a white man from Marin County. It is why Adam Gadahn is not being sought with the largest reward given for information leading to his arrest. It is why David Hicks was never in Guantanamo -- because he is white, and "not from the Middle East."

Let's rephrase it. If Samir Megahed's son had been a Christian (but not an islamochristian Arab) -- say, a Copt from that Egypt where "there has been no charge like this for 400 years" (no, if any Megahed observed or took part in attacks on Copts or, when they could still be found, the Jews -- in the mob violence, for example, that Hassan al-Banna used to whip up, any rampaging Megaheds among them would certainly not have been charged, would they?) or a Jew or a Mandaean or a Yazidi or a Zoroastrian "from the Middle East" -- "would not be [there in the courthouse] today." Because no Zoroastrian, no Yazidi, no Mandaean, no Samaritan good or bad, no Jew, no Maronite and no Copt or other Christian (rather than "islamochristian") would be promoting the Jihad, would feel the need to fulfill the central duty of participating, in some way - in Jihad.

There. Now the statement has had its meaning attended to, and repaired -- and Mr. Megahed may use the new version, verbatim -- this week only for our post-Labor Day Sale, at no extra charge.

Posted on 09/03/2007 12:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
The Whistlestop Campaign Keeps Right On: What A Day For Someone And Me

And as the train sped Lousiana-bound through the southland, to the steady rhythm of the wheels on Track #12, in the club car the Vice-Presidential candidate kept everyone's spirits  up as he sang:

http://www.archive.org/details/TedWeemsAndHisOrchestra2_491.

And when the train whistle whistled, Elmo Tanner could be heard whistling right along with it.

Posted on 09/03/2007 1:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
The Campaign Train Stops For The Night In New Orleans

When they arrived in New Orleans, the candidates and their small staff were ready for bed. In Mississippi they had spoken to enthusiastic crowds, and listened to "Mississippi Mud." Passing below Arkansas, the candidates -- or those who were awake -- attempted an Armstrongesque version of "I'm A Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas." And now they were entering Louisiana, and fabled, fated New Orleans. But it was now night. Like Sinbad the Sailor and Tinbad the Tailer and Winbad the Whaler, they needed to sleep, god how they needed to sleep. Some needed it more than others. Elmo was apparently able to sleep through just about everything. For the others though, it was blissful not to hear the sound of those wheels rumbling through the night, and the whistle blowing at the approach of every crossing. Everyone was soon asleep, thinking of the crowds they hoped that would turn out to greet them the next day, and listen to their story, listen to some straight talk. And they were not disappointed. The next morning. they awoke to find a vast sea of faces, for people had come from all over, from as far away as New Iberia, and Baton Rouge, to Nawlins to see them.

And instead of waiting to be crooned to with the usual Bourbon Street Blues, they showed what they were made of, musically and linguistically, by doing their own rendition -- one of the candidates even showed his sudden mastery of the frottoir and of Cajun French -- as they did their own version of a song made famous by Clifton Chenier:

 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9043873275664563261&q=%22Clifton+Chenier%22&total=21&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=1

The crowd went wild, and stayed to listen -- most intently -- to their speeches, about the collapse of American education, about Tarbaby Iraq and the Jihad, about climate change and why one should not be hopefully oblivious to it in making plans for a revival of New Orleans -- truth-telling even when it hurt -- about everything of importance. It was a relief for everyone: for the candidates to speak directly, and for the audience to hear, at long last, no nonsense, but sober analysis, delivered with just the right amount of intermittent comic relief.  There was only one slight mishap, when Elmo's running-mate accidentally referred to Clifton Chenier as "André Chenier" -- but no one seemed to notice, nobody seemed to mind. The good times were rolling, because for once someone was not shying away from discussing the bad times, and what might be done to make things more rather than less bearable, to mitigate, ameliorate, improve what had recently past, or was passing, or to come.

So despite or possibly because of the relentless truth-telling by the candidates, a good time was had by all, and with those good times still rolling, the seasoned campaigners made their way across the city to the railroad station on the other side, and got on board. And the train whistle blew. They were heading toward Texas, toward deep in the heart of Texas.  

Posted on 09/03/2007 2:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
Sweden - Girl tested for circumcision
A girl was forced by Swedish social workers to undergo a gynaecological examination simply because her parents were Somalian, Sweden's Discrimination Ombudsman has ruled.
The social workers forced the girl, 11, to submit to the examination to see whether she had been subjected to genital mutilation (circumcision). The girl was collected by police from school shortly after returning from a visit to relatives in Kenya.
Social workers' suspicions that the girl had been circumcised "were based entirely on the fact that the parents have Somalian heritage," Discrimination Ombudsman Katri Linna said in her ruling.
The decision to examine the girl was taken despite the fact that the parents had told their district nurse and social workers that they were opposed to female circumcision and that they were going to Kenya with the sole purpose of seeing their relatives.
The examination showed that the girl had not been circumcised.
This is an area, like all efforts to protect children from abuse, which will require tact and discretion. Sometimes health professionals walk an incredibly delicate line.  If there is no abuse the child will have been upset. But if there has been abuse then something can be done, and more abuse prevented. Maybe these social workers were heavy handed – I don’t know – but I admire their realisation of the evils of FGM. I hope that the criticism of this case does not deter other social workers from acting if they think a girl is about to be mutilated. I hope their actions deter those parents who do support FGM from mutilating their own girls.
Meanwhile the Mohammed Dog saga spreads to Jordan.
Jordan condemned on Monday the publication in Sweden of a cartoon of Islam's prophet, warning it could undermine inter-faith dialogue and co-existence. But a senior Jordanian journalist tells The Local that while many Jordanians are angry, the government there is keen not to step up the rhetoric.
Mahmoud el Abed, Managing Editor of the Jordan Times, told The Local that the government in Jordan was keen to keep its rhetoric on the issue as moderate as possible.
"The government sees it as its duty to protect Islam, but it doesn't want to jeopardize its diplomacy," he said.
Unlike Pakistan and Iran, which made formal protests to Sweden, Jordan is not making any diplomatic representation on the issue.
Posted on 09/03/2007 3:52 PM by esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 3 September 2007
Re: What Should It Be Called?

Some clarification in light of Hugh's comments on my use of ‘Antisemitism.’ Robert Wistrich, has emphasized the problematic nature of the term ‘antisemitism’, derived from a group of cognate ‘Semitic’ (i.e., stemming from the Biblical Shem, one of Noah’s three sons) languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Ethiopic—and applied, inappropriately, to a pseudo-scientific racial designation by the German journalist Wilhelm Marr, in the 1870s. Regardless, for the past century, as Wistrich notes,

 

…the illogical term ‘antisemitism’…[w]hich never really meant hatred of ‘Semites’ (for example, Arabs [emphasis added]) at all, but rather hatred of Jews, has come to be accepted in general usage as denoting all forms of hostility towards Jews and Judaism throughout history. [emphasis added]

 

Moreover, in the specific context of the Arab Muslim world during the high Middle Ages (circa 950-1250 C.E.), S.D. Goitein’ s seminal analyses of the Geniza documentary record employed the term antisemitism,

 

…in order to differentiate animosity against Jews from the discrimination practiced by Islam against non-Muslims in general. Our scrutiny of the Geniza material has proved the existence of ‘antisemitism’ in the time and the area considered here…

           

Goitein cites as concrete proof of his assertion that a unique strain of Islamic Jew hatred was extant at this time (i.e., up to a millennium ago)—exploding the common assumption of its absence—the fact that letters from the Cairo Geniza  material,

 

…have a special word for it and, most significantly, one not found in the Bible or in Talmudic literature (nor registered in any Hebrew dictionary), but one much used and obviously coined in the Geniza period. It is sin’ūth, “hatred”, a Jew-baiter being called sōnē, “a hater”.

 

Incidents of such Muslim Jew hatred documented by Goitein in the Geniza come from northern Syria (Salamiyya and al-Mar‘arra), Morocco (Fez), and Egypt (Alexandria), with references to the latter being particularly frequent.

 

Also your claim about the powerlessness of the Jews did not in any way spare them from theologically-inspired Jew hatred by the Muslim masses. A remarkable essay by the polymath Arabic writer al-Jahiz (d. 869), composed in the mid-9th century illustrates the anti-Jewish attitudes prevalent within an important early Islamic society. Al-Jahiz’s essay—an anti-Christian polemic believed to have been commissioned by the Abbasid Caliph al-Mutawakkil (d. 861), who inaugurated a literary campaign against the Christians—explores the reasons why the Muslim masses prefer the Christians to the Jews. This empirical preference (although decried by the author) is acknowledged by al-Jahiz from the outset:

 

I shall begin to enumerate the causes which made the Christians more liked by the masses than the Magians [Zoroastrians], and made men consider them more sincere than the Jews, more endeared, less treacherous, less unbelieving, and less deserving of punishment. For all this there are manifold and evident causes.

 

Al-Jahiz offers two primary explanations for this abiding hostility of the Muslim rank and file towards the Jews. First was the “rancorous” relationship between the early Muslim community, exiles from Mecca, relocated among Jewish neighbors in Medina.

 

When the [Muslim] Emigrants [from Mecca] became the neighbors of the Jews [in Medina]…the Jews began to envy the Muslims the blessings of their new faith, 63 and the union which resulted after dissension. They proceeded to undermine the belief of our [i.e., the Muslim] masses, and to lead them astray. They aided our enemies and those envious of us. From mere misleading speech and stinging words they plunged into an open declaration of enmity, so that the Muslims mobilized their forces, exerting themselves morally and materially to banish the Jews and destroy them. Their strife became long-drawn and widespread, so that it worked itself up into a rage, and created yet greater animosity and more intensified rancor. The Christians, however, because of their remoteness from Mecca and Medina, did not have to put up with religious controversies, and did not have occasion to stir up trouble, and be involved in war. That was the first cause of our dislike of the Jews, and our partiality toward the Christians.

 

However, al-Jahiz then identifies as “the most potent cause” of this particular animus towards the Jews, Qur’an 5:82, and its interpretation by the contemporary (i.e., mid-9th century) Muslim masses. It is also worth noting that al-Jahiz (described as a “skeptic”, who harbored “indifferent views toward religion in general”) included these sociological observations which reveal the interface between Islamic religious and indigenous ethnic/racial discriminatory attitudes towards Jews expressed a millennium before any secular Western European antisemitic ideologies would be exported to the Muslim Near East:

 

Our people [the Muslims] observing thus the occupations of the Jews and the Christians concluded that the religion of the Jews must compare unfavorably as do their professions, and that their unbelief must be the foulest of all, since they are the filthiest of all nations. Why the Christians, ugly as they are, are physically less repulsive than the Jews may be explained by the fact that the Jews, by not intermarrying, have intensified the offensiveness of their features. Exotic elements have not mingled with them; neither have males of alien races had intercourse with their women, nor have their men cohabited with females of a foreign stock. The Jewish race therefore has been denied high mental qualities, sound physique, and superior lactation. The same results obtain when horses, camels, donkeys, and pigeons are inbred.           

 

Al-Jahiz’s contention that the Muslims harbored greater enmity towards the Jews than the Christians is supported by the independent observations of another Arab author active during the beginning of the 9th century in Iraq, the Sufi theologian al-Harith al-Muhasibi (d. 857). He maintained that because the Jews stubbornly denied Muhammad’s truth, they were “…in the eyes of the Muslims worse than the Christians.”

 

One thousand years later, E.W. Lane’s testimony on the difference between the attitude of Egyptian Muslims toward the Jews and the Christians again highlights the influence of Qur’an 5:82:

 

They [the Jews] are held in the utmost contempt and abhorrence by the Muslims in general, and they are said to bear a more inveterate hatred than any other people to the Muslims and the Muslim religion. It is said, in the Koran [quoting 5:82] “Thou shalt surely find the most violent all men to those who have believed to be the Jews…”

 

Lane further notes,

 

It is a common saying among the Muslims in this country, “Such one hates me with the hate of the Jews.” We cannot wonder, then, that the Jews are detested far more than are the Christians. Not long ago, they used often to be jostled in the streets of Cairo, and sometimes beaten for merely passing on the right hand of a Muslim. At present, they are less oppressed: but still they scarcely ever dare to utter a word of abuse when reviled or beaten unjustly by the meanest Arab or Turk; for many a Jew has been put to death upon a false and malicious accusation of uttering disrespectful words against the Koran or the Prophet. It is common to hear an Arab abuse his jaded ass, and, after applying to him various opprobrious epithets, end by calling the beast a Jew.

 

The essay on contemporary Turkish Antisemitism also includes this important discussion from a pioneering study published by Bat Ye’or (in Hebrew only, and translated for my forthcoming “The Legacy of Jihad”):

 

Bat Ye'or published a remarkably foresighted 1973 analysis (first translated into English here) of the Islamic Antisemitism resurgent in her native Egypt, and being packaged for dissemination throughout the Muslim world. The primary, core Antisemitic motifs were Islamic, derived from Islam's foundational texts, on to which European, especially Nazi elements were grafted.

 

The pejorative characteristics of Jews as they are described in Muslim religious texts are applied to modern Jews.  Anti-Judaism and anti-Zionism are equivalent-due to the inferior status of Jews in Islam, and because divine will dooms Jews to wandering and misery, the Jewish state appears to Muslims as an unbearable affront and a sin against Allah. Therefore it must be destroyed by Jihad. Here the Pan-Arab and anti-Western theses that consider Israel as an advanced instrument of the West in the Islamic world, come to reinforce religious anti-Judaism. The religious and political fuse in a purely Islamic context onto which are grafted foreign elements. If, on the doctrinal level, Nazi influence is secondary to the Islamic base, the technique with which the Antisemitic material has been reworked, and the political purposes being pursued, present striking similarities with Hitler's Germany. [emphasis added]

 

That anti-Jewish opinions have been widely spread in Arab nationalist circles since the 1930s is not in doubt. But their confirmation at [Al] Azhar [University] by the most important authorities of Islam enabled them to be definitively imposed, with the cachet of infallible authenticity, upon illiterate masses that were strongly attached to religious traditions. [emphasis added]

 

[Former Turkish Prime Minister] Erbakan's recent statements are vivid evidence of the fulminant Antisemitism his popular movement has imbued, including amongst Turkey's current ruling elites, who never criticize such pronouncements by their mentor. This bigoted discourse resonates among the masses, illustrating graphically the same phenomenon described so presciently 34 years ago by Bat Ye'or in Egypt: sequentially grafting on to a learned foundation of Antisemitic motifs from Islam's core texts, modern secular Western European elements, especially those associated with Nazism. 

Posted on 09/03/2007 4:44 PM by Andrew Bostom
Monday, 3 September 2007
Give Me That Old-Time Wicked Bible

"Then v. 43 tells believers not to come to prayers while drunk. Ibn Abi Hatim says this was revealed because one of the Muslims began to recite sura 109:1-3: 'Say: O disbelievers! I do not worship not that which you worship; nor do you worship that which I worship.' But the leader of prayer was drunk, and so he said: 'Say, O disbelievers! I do not worship that which you worship, but we worship that which you worship.' 4:43 was revealed shortly thereafter."
-- from Robert Spencer's latest thrilling installment of "Blogging the Qur'an"

There is a similar lapse, not in the Bible itself, but in a particular Bible, the one published by two Englishmen, Lucas and Barker, in London in 1632. In that Bible the hapless pair of printer-publishers, no doubt off on a wayzgoose frolic and detour of their own, overlooked the fact that someone had left out an all-important "not" in the Seventh Commandment, so that it now read, in the Bible they published, thus:

"Thou shalt commit adultery."

By dropping the "not" in the Seventh Commandment, thus resulting in the so-called "Wicked" or "Adulterous" Bible, Barker and Lucas left the authorities fit to be tied. And they had their publishing privileges taken away.

Modern conditions are such, we must regretfully report, that if the "Wicked Bible" were to be reprinted today, it might sell like hot-cakes. It might even be distributed by conscience-relieving slightly-naughty samaritans to hotel chains for discrete placement, next to the version offered by the Tribe of Gideonites, in bedside tables next to hotel and motel beds across this land, from sea to shining sea.

Posted on 09/03/2007 4:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
Who Speaks For The Raisin-Americans?

Muhammad himself is quite clear about the necessity to obey earthly rulers: “You should listen to and obey your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian (black) slave whose head looks like a raisin.”  --from Robert Spencer's "Blogging the Qur'an

What's with the raisin-racism? Even if that "Ethiopian" were to have a head that "looks like a raisin" (as it says in the Qur'an)  is that something to be ashamed of? And what about those promised houris in the Islamic Paradise who, if Luxenberg is right, are themselves nothing but "clear white raisins." So "white raisins" are paradisiacal, and devoutly to be wished, according to the Qur'an while according to the same book, different sura, a ruler who  "even if he was an Ethiopian"  (in the seventh-century, and for a long time after,  that was a generic term for black Africans) -- and whose "head looks like a raisin" is to be obeyed, as all rulers are to be obeyed -- just as long as they are not Infidels, in which case no obedience is owed them whatsoever).

Those who are Africans, or of partly-African descent, and indeed all those who are neither but of assorted shades of local color, will naturally abhor, and silently or openly deplore, this remark and what it tells us, for it is of a piece with other remarks about blacks that one encounters frequently in Arab societies, and of course, in the Arab war, so obviously racist, against black Africans in Darfur today.

But what about Raisins? Who will speak up for them? The Council of Raisin-Americans (Headquarters: Sausalito, California), of which I am the suddenly-appointed Director, that's who. And as that Director, I insist that promising "72 clear-white raisins" to this or that would-be shahid is divisive. And so too is the use of the word "raisins" in an obviously negative way: "even the Ethiopian (slave) with a head like a raisin" etc. Leave raisins alone. Stop trying to divide us into the "clear-white raisins" (highly desirable in that promised Islamic Paradise) and the "black raisins" to which the heads of "Ethiopians" are compared, in a way that makes clear that the description is to be taken pejoratively, for "even" that ruler with "a head like a raisin" is, despite his appearance, to be "obeyed." Raisin-Americans see right through this attempt to divide and devour us. We're not having it.

Posted on 09/03/2007 5:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
Ahmadinejad's Double Proof

AFP (hat tip: JW)...Mr Ahmadinejad told academics in a speech that elements inside Iran were pressing for compromise in the nuclear standoff with the West over fears the US could launch a military strike.

"In some discussions I told them 'I am an engineer and I am examining the issue. They do not dare wage war against us and I base this on a double proof'," he said in the speech yesterday, reported by the reformist Etemad Melli and Kargozaran newspapers.

"I tell them: 'I am an engineer and I am a master in calculation and tabulation.

"I draw up tables. For hours, I write out different hypotheses. I reject, I reason. I reason with planning and I make a conclusion. They cannot make problems for Iran."'

Mr Ahmadinejad has long expressed pride in his academic prowess. He holds a PhD on transport engineering and planning from Tehran's Science and Technology University and is the author several of scientific papers...

Posted on 09/03/2007 5:53 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 3 September 2007
Those Terry-Thomas-Moustachioed Generals, or, Hoodwinked

LONDON - Exiled former Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif vowed to fight terrorism ‘with conviction’ if re-elected prime minister and accused military ruler President Pervez Musharraf of deceiving the West over his commitment.

‘When I was prime minister we extended full cooperation to everybody ... We condemn all kinds of terrorism ... and we’ll continue to fight terrorism,’ Sharif told Reuters in an interview.

‘If you fight this menace, you fight out of conviction. Musharraf needs the threat of terror for his own survival. He is doing something in Pakistan and he is telling something else to the outside world. I think he is hoodwinking the West,’ he said.--from this news item

I don't think our President, our Vice-President, our Secretaries of State and National Security Advisers, who for generations have put their trust in those terry-thomas-moustachioed Pakistani generals, are the foolable type. And you can't tell me that Bush, who must therefore have looked deeply into the eyes of ramrod-straight General Musharraf, and seen into his soul -- the eyes, let's not forget, are the "windows of the soul" -- saw something he liked, saw something he could trust, as with Putin, and knew that it would be right to bet his all, bet the farm, on Musharraf standing shoulder-to-shoulder-fired-ground-to-air-missile, next to, solidly beside, in the "war on terror," his American friends. And when you are thinking of asking aloud exactly why, since 9/11/2001, Pakistan has been the recipient of direct and indirect aid (including debt relief) of some $27.5 billion from the United States, you should not do so, for there is no need and you would merely look silly. For all the benefits are obvious. Just look at the Taliban in Afghanistan, just look at Al Qaeda in Waziristan and in the rest of Pakistan, and in the rest of the Muslim world, today.

If you have to ask about the brilliance of American policy toward Pakistan in the past half-dozen years, you can't afford it.

Posted on 09/03/2007 6:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 September 2007
As The Train Sped Westward In The Night, The Brakeman Strummed On His Guitar
Posted on 09/03/2007 7:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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