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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 Thursday, 3, 2009.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Body of British hostage confirmed as Alec MacLachlan

From The Times
A British hostage kidnapped and later killed in Baghdad was named today as Alec MacLachlan, a private security guard.
His body was identified by forensics experts in the Iraqi capital and his family was notified following the handover by local authorities yesterday.
Announcing the forensic findings, Gordon Brown said: “It’s with the deepest regret that the body passed to the British Embassy is now discovered to be that of Alec MacLachlan. My thoughts, and I believe the thoughts of the whole country, are with the family at this time of great grief.”
Mr MacLachlan, who is from Llanelli, south Wales, died from multiple gunshots in what appears to have been an execution. According to sources close to the investigation, the killing took place quite some time ago, possibly last year, given the partly decomposed state of the body.
All four guards are dead, according to the British government. The bodies of Jason Creswell and Jason Swindlehurst were handed over earlier this summer. A fourth body, belonging to Alan McMenemy, from Glasgow, is still missing and Iraqi officials do not expect it to be returned at the moment.
The kidnappers from the League of the Righteous, a militant Shia splinter group, may be holding on to it, as well as to Mr Moore, as bargaining chips in negotiations with the Iraqi government, which is trying to the resolve the hostage crisis.
The Prime Minister said: “We are demanding of the hostage takers that they now give us information about the whereabouts of Alan McMenemy and return Peter Moore, who we still believe to be alive, as soon as possible. We will pursue these hostage-takers. There is no justification for what they have done and we are working with the Iraqi Government at every point to ensure that we get information to the relatives, we get the return of the others and at the same time we bring the hostage takers to justice. That is what every family should expect of us and that is what we are going to do.”
The staggered return of the hostages is part of a quid-pro-quo deal brokered by the Iraqi Prime Minister, who met representatives of the kidnappers two months ago. The League of the Righteous has apparently renounced violence and is seeking to enter the open political process ahead of parliamentary elections next year.
Initial tests on the body were carried out today by British experts at the embassy in Baghdad. They compared the hostage’s teeth to dental records and took DNA samples. The body will be flown to the UK in the next few days.
The family of Mr McMenemy, the fourth guard, yesterday had to suffer through yet another ordeal. Since yesterday, they knew one body had been handed over by the Iraqis, but they had to wait another 24 hours to find out which one.
Dennis McMenemy, the father of Mr McMenemy, told a radio interviewer before today's announcement that, ““It’s just horrific. You are in limbo, you just don’t know. The lack of information is just terrible. You are never told enough basically, you’re always looking for any information.”
I can't imagine what those poor relatives have gone through these last 2 years.

Posted on 09/03/2009 4:54 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Obstacles in Liberating Islam

Wafa Sultan writes at the Hudson Institute:

As an Arab woman who suffered for three decades living under Islamic Sharia, it is clear to me that Islam’s political ideology and Sharia must be fought relentlessly by Western civilization to prevent its application in a free society.
However, I have found myself fighting on two fronts. The first front is against Islamists, a daunting fight indeed. But the other front is one shaped by too many uninformed individuals who like to view themselves as open minded “progressives”. They seem to somehow claim superiority on compassion, on peace, on open-mindedness and on appreciation of other cultures.  Regarding themselves as tolerant, free thinking individuals, they avoid questioning Muslims’ harmful intentions. They restrict themselves to self-criticism, and make politically-correct excuses for Islamism. Regrettably, they show their indisputable acceptance of ‘others’ at the expense of the public’s responsibility to learn the truth about Islam’s detrimental tenets. 

When I first immigrated to the US, I learned to my dismay that Islam has been labeled by many as “a religion of peace.” But for me, as a Syrian who grew up in Islamic country, a set of beliefs that insists that women are wicked is an evil set of belief. A pious ideology - - that obliges non Muslims to live as subjects under it as unequal - - is an immoral pious ideology.
Regrettably, we frequently experience politically correct harsh responses to criticism of Islam by those who admonish liberated Muslims or Arabs. They often use clichés such as, “There are violent stories in all religions texts,” or “How can we bulk all Muslims into one group?” Or, “Among Christians and Jews there are also zealots who have done horrible things to others.”  All of these excuses are made without considering critical Islamic doctrines which play detrimental role in Islam’s march towards Western decline.

Hence, a destructive relationship is created: on one hand, Islamists lie to the gullible non - Muslims and on the other hand, many non Muslims, in particular proponents of interfaith dialogue accept their lies and avoid asking harsh and necessary questions to expose their dangerous intentions.  In that context, the Muslims’ Al Taqyyaa and the West’s naiveté and ignorance about the true intentions of Islamists are both harmful models of engagement. 
Further, they both violate our right to know the truth, regardless of how evil or unintentional each side’s objective is.  Thus, Al Taqyyaa and political correctness are recipes for irreversible damage to the values of freedom and liberty, which are the foundation of our US constitution and other Western liberal democracies.

People who avoid facing the gloomy facts regarding Islam, have no moral authority to admonish liberated Arabs like me.  Those who cannot confront Islamic doctrine boldly and will not allow themselves to question openly dreadful components of Islam are on the wrong side of this conflict.
I have often been asked to soften and compromise my message. I refuse to do so. I believe the way to solve this Islamic predicament is to highlight and confront it in a most truthful and subsequently painful manner.  As we all would agree, at times, an acute disease must be treated aggressively rather than with a benign medicine like Aspirin.
Lastly, I will carry on my mission because I love Muslims. I dream of a future when all Muslims, especially from the Middle East, who yearn for better life outside their suppressive environment, can savor the taste of the freedom we all experience here in the US. This is not just Dr. King’s dream; this is a dream that should be granted to all humanity - including those in the Muslim world.   
Posted on 09/03/2009 5:24 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 3 September 2009
A Musical Interlude: There's A Time And Place For Everything (Carroll Gibbons Orch., voc. Al Bowlly)

Listen here.

[Note the echo of "The Vanity of Human Wishes"]

Posted on 09/03/2009 7:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Musical Interlude: "Pirate Jenny" from Threepenny Opera, sung by Nina Simone

"And you see me kinda' grinnin'
While I'm scrubbin'
And you say
What's she got to grin?"

Posted on 09/03/2009 11:25 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Noor Ramjanally has been arrested for perverting the course of justice

From The East London and West Essex Guardian Series
THE Muslim community leader who claimed he had been kidnapped by two men and dumped in Epping Forest has been arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, the Guardian understands.
Today (September 3), Mr Ramjanally has been arrested and is being questioned at Harlow police station.
A spokesman for Essex Police said: “A man has been arrested in connection with an ongoing police investigation into an alleged abduction in West Essex.
“Police were contacted on Monday August 24 by a man who stated that he had been abducted from his home in the Valley Hill area of Loughton.
“On Thursday September 3, police arrested a 36 year-old man from the town on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.”
I won't say 'I told you so' because I was more oblique. But I thought it!

Posted on 09/03/2009 11:33 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Has the Counter-Revolution Begun?

DONCASTER, UK, September 2, 2009 ( - The recently elected mayor of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire, has infuriated Britain's politically powerful homosexualist lobby by attempting to withhold local funding for this year's Gay Pride celebrations. The funding for this year's event in June went through, but Mayor Peter Davies, a member of the English Democrat party and the father of Tory MP Philip Davies, has scrapped all future funding for the annual Gay Pride event.

"I'm not a homophobe," he said, "but I don't see why council taxpayers should pay to celebrate anyone's sexuality."

Davies is only the second mayor of Doncaster to have been elected directly by a popular vote rather than by council members. He campaigned on a popular platform, that has reportedly alarmed the political classes on both the Labour and Tory sides of the House, in which he pledged to "stamp out political correctness" in every area of Doncaster's local government.

To accomplish this, Davies has recruited the group Campaign Against Political Correctness (CAPC) to consult on his planned reforms. A spokesman for the CAPC, John Midgley, said that "people are crying out" for an end to the wave of politically correct policies in Britain. "We commissioned a survey by ICM," Midgley said, "that said 80 per cent of people are fed up to the back teeth with it."

Davies promised to end council funding for "politically correct initiatives" and to "scrap politically correct non-jobs" such as "community cohesion officers" and "encourage the former employees to seek meaningful employment."

In his first week in office, Davies fulfilled his promises by cutting his own salary from £73,000 to £30,000; reducing the number of councillors from 63 to 21, saving the town £800,000 a year. He immediately announced plans to reduce council tax by 3 per cent and got rid of the mayoral limousine. He ended a "twinning" arrangement with five towns around the world, which he described as "just for people to fly off and have a binge at the council's expense."

While campaigning earlier this year, and in the midst of a national pandemic of violent youth crime, Davies, who is a retired school teacher, called for harsher punishments for "young thugs." As a founding member of the Campaign for Real Education, Davies has pressed for restoration of traditional methods in schools that he says will reduce crime and restore Britain's once-legendary  public order. 

He also called on the government to withdraw Britain from the European Union "in order to save billions of pounds each year and return control of the country's affairs to our own parliament."

Calling him the UK's "most gloriously un-PC" mayor, the Daily Mail's Robert Hardman asked, "Who should be most worried about his success: Labour or the Tories? Because his message threatens both."

Hardman commented, "To the shock and dismay of many local councillors and MPs, most of Westminster and the entire Government, the assiduously straight-talking Mr. Davies has just become one of the most powerful politicians in Britain."

Columnist and pundit Gerald Warner, writing for the Daily Telegraph's blog, called Davies's tenure "the beginning of the end for political correctness" and a sign that "the counter-revolution has begun." His agenda, Warner wrote, "against all the tenets of consensual British politics, consists of doing what the public wants."

Posted on 09/03/2009 1:28 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Continuing the Tradition of Hosting Iftars at the White House

From the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report:

The media is widely reporting that President Obama is hosting a White House “Iftar dinner” to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. According to a report in the the Washington Post:

President Obama will host a White House dinner Tuesday night celebrating Ramadan, the Muslim holy month during which the faithful fast from dawn to sunset each day. Obama will be joined at the dinner by three Cabinet members, five members of Congress, nearly two dozen foreign diplomats, and 33 community leaders. Among the invited diplomats are the Israeli ambassador and the chief of mission for the Palestinian Liberation Organization, as well as the Indian and Pakistani ambassadors to the United States. Asked about the unusual step of inviting the Israeli ambassador to the dinner, the White House described it as a small part of the event. “Tonight was an opportunity to continue the tradition of hosting iftars at the White House, while celebrating Muslim Americans, and tonight’s dinner is made up of a diverse group of individuals from business leaders to members of the US military,” White House spokesman Thomas Vietor said. “Additionally, we thought it was an opportunity to reach out to ambassadors of nations with sizable Muslim populations, including the ambassadors of France, the [United Kingdom], India, and Israel.” Obama intends to highlight one story in particular: that of Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a young woman who broke high school basketball records in Massachusetts before heading to the University of Memphis — while wearing a traditional hijab. Obama, who held an intimate Passover Seder at the White House in April, will host the dinner beginning at 8 p.m. tonight. Ramadan, which started on Aug. 22, will end on Sept. 20. On Aug. 21, the president released a Ramadan video message to Muslims around the world.

The Post report indicates that Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) will be in attendance representing the only large U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organization at the affair. Mattson was appointed as the first female leader of ISNA in 2007 and since appears to have been serving as the new “public face” for the organization. A report by the Hudson Institute has identified ISNA as a major part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. The organization has a long history of fundamentalism, anti-semitism, and support for terrorism and during the recent Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial, ISNA was named as an unindicted co-conspirator. Although recently ISNA has issued condemnations of terrorism which for the first time identify Hamas and Hezbollah by name, there is no indication that the organization has ever addressed or acknowledged its history. ISNA has made ongoing attempts to form a coalition with elements of the U.S. Jewish community.

The Post report indicates that the following individuals with various ties and/or good relations with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood will also be in attendance:

  • Imam Yahya Hendi, Chaplain, Georgetown University (for U.S. MB ties go here)
  • Ms. Dalia Mogahed, Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies (for U.S. MB ties go here)
  • Congressman Keith Ellison (Minnesota 5th) (for U.S. MB ties go here)
  • Congressman Andre Carson (Indiana 7th) (for U.S. MB ties go here)

Also attending the dinner will be Congressman John Conyers (Michigan 14th) who has been highly supportive of U.S. Brotherhood causes over the years and Mr. J. Saleh Williams of the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association which has been recently been meeting with a series of U.S. Brotherhood organizations also at times involving Congressmen Ellison and Carson.

Other individuals of interest in attendance are Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, and Mr. Maen Areikat, Chief of Mission, PLO. As noted above, ISNA has recently been engaged in ongoing attempts to form a coalition with elements of the U.S. Jewish community, chiefly involving the Reform Jewish organizations.

Posted on 09/03/2009 1:52 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Iranian Imam: Islam allows raping, torturing prisoners

A followup to this story.  The raping of prisoners was not a punishable offense by mentally ill prison guards.  It turns out it is actually completely normal behavior, sanctioned by Islam.  From

A highly influential Shi'a religious leader [Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi], with whom Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regularly consults, apparently told followers last month that coercion by means of rape, torture and drugs is acceptable against all opponents of the Islamic regime.


Asked if a confession obtained "by applying psychological, emotional and physical pressure" was "valid and considered credible according to Islam," Mesbah-Yazdi replied: "Getting a confession from any person who is against the Velayat-e Faqih ("Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists", or the regime of Iran's mullahs) is permissible under any condition." The ayatollah gave the identical answer when asked about confessions obtained through drugging the prisoner with opiates or addictive substances.

"Can an interrogator rape the prisoner in order to obtain a confession?" was the follow-up question posed to the Islamic cleric.

Mesbah-Yazdi answered: "The necessary precaution is for the interrogator to perform a ritual washing first and say prayers while raping the prisoner. If the prisoner is female, it is permissible to rape through the vagina or anus. It is better not to have a witness present. If it is a male prisoner, then it's acceptable for someone else to watch while the rape is committed."

This reply, and reports of the rape of teen male prisoners in Iranian jails, may have prompted the following question: "Is the rape of men and young boys considered sodomy?"

Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi: "No, because it is not consensual. Of course, if the prisoner is aroused and enjoys the rape, then caution must be taken not to repeat the rape."

A related issue, in the eyes of the questioners, was the rape of virgin female prisoners. In this instance, Mesbah-Yazdi went beyond the permissibility issue and described the Allah-sanctioned rewards accorded the rapist-in-the-name-of-Islam:

"If the judgment for the [female] prisoner is execution, then rape before execution brings the interrogator a spiritual reward equivalent to making the mandated Haj pilgrimage [to Mecca], but if there is no execution decreed, then the reward would be equivalent to making a pilgrimage to [the Shi'ite holy city of] Karbala."

One aspect of these permitted rapes troubled certain questioners: "What if the female prisoner gets pregnant? Is the child considered illegitimate?"

Mesbah-Yazdi answered: "The child borne to any weakling [a denigrating term for women - ed.] who is against the Supreme Leader is considered illegitimate, be it a result of rape by her interrogator or through intercourse with her husband, according to the written word in the Koran. However, if the child is raised by the jailer, then the child is considered a legitimate Shi'a Muslim."

So far, the religiously-sanctioned rape of prisoners in Iran has not gotten as much attention in the media as, for example, keeping prisoners awake past their bedtime in Guantanamo Bay.  It is most unfortunate, for this is a perfect teaching moment for educating the kufirs about mainstream Islamic beliefs and Islamic law, according to their leading scholars and clerics.

Posted on 09/03/2009 12:23 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 3 September 2009
The Bishop of Rochester farewell interview

From The Telegraph. More of the interview I posted about here last weekend.
 On Sharia in Britain
You need knowledge to speak on these areas and when you say something, it should be with that background. Of course Muslims need to live according to the tenets of their beliefs, and if they are believers most bring that to bear in their public life.
The question is whether any aspect of Sharia ought to be recognised in public law. My own view is that it shouldn’t be – Sharia is basically a totally different background to the Judeo-Christian tradition.
You start off straight away with the question of will bigamy remain a crime and for whom, then there’s the question of divorce and equality in divorce law. There are a huge number of questions that arise.

Posted on 09/03/2009 2:42 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 3 September 2009
My mother hired a hitman to kill me: The shocking story of a Muslim woman whose parents disapproved of her Western lifestyle

From The Daily Mail
The text message forwarded to me from my younger sister Saira was concise and chilling: 'Mum's sent a hit man to kill you,' it read. 'Be careful.'
I'd become accustomed to behaviour like this from both my parents - behaviour that anyone else would find abhorrent - and I was emotionally numb to their threats.
But I also knew that my sister's warning was deadly serious and my life was in real danger. I'd been in hiding for several weeks when I received the text.
I was born in Gravesend in Kent in 1974 and brought up there in a devout Muslim family with three sisters and two brothers.
My father Zammurrad, a factory worker, was a deeply religious man but violent towards my mother Surriya and my sisters Zarqa, now 38, Saira, 33, and Tahira, 32.
I tried to be an obedient daughter, praying up to five times a day, but I never felt loved by my parents
My love of singing and dancing wasn't exactly encouraged at home, but it wasn't a big problem when I was young. But as I hit my teens, my parents told me I could no longer continue.
I was to forget my childish fantasies of becoming an actress, as in their eyes singing and dancing were on a par with prostitution.
As I grew older, my father started placing increasingly severe restrictions on my life. I was forbidden from making friends with other children and lived a very lonely existence.
On the one occasion I was given special permission to attend a birthday party of a girl who lived 100 metres down the road, I was allowed to stay for only an hour. My life was just school and home, with no free time for myself.
Throughout my childhood, my father grew more aggressive towards my mother and sisters, regularly throwing plates and knives at us in anger.
My brothers Majid, now 31, and Wajid, 29, were allowed to do as they pleased, but my sisters and I were told that Muslim girls were like a white sheet; once stained, forever ruined.
If ever I returned home even five minutes late from the park or school, my father would hit me with his belt, often until I bled. It got so bad that my sisters and I used to wear five layers of clothing to protect ourselves.
On one family outing to Margate when I was about nine, I was ten minutes late back to our meeting point, as I'd stayed to watch a Punch and Judy show. My father broke a branch from a tree, stripped off all the leaves and started whipping me with it in broad daylight.
I had grown up under Dad's tyrannical rule and I knew no different. Even when I'd been sexually abused by a male relative as a young teenager, instead of supporting me my parents blamed me for accepting presents from him and accused me of lying.
It was from that day on I realised that I had to look after myself. When I was 13, I was flown to Pakistan to meet my 14-year-old cousin, who I was told I would marry when I turned 18. As soon as he saw me, he said I was too ugly to marry and rejected me in favour of my 12-year-old sister Saira. They married six years later.
Despite the control they had over me, my mother and father thought that a degree in science, medicine or law was the perfect goal for one of their unmarried daughters and so, at the age of 18, I started a Biology and Management degree at Sussex University and moved into student accommodation in a square near the old pier in Brighton.
I hated the course and secretly switched to a performing arts and music degree at Brighton University, which I loved.
But as my parents were unable to finance me, I supported myself with three different jobs - including three nights a week earning £50 a night as a dancer in a nightclub.Finally, I was enjoying my life and my freedom. But one evening a TV camera crew came to the club and captured me wearing just a cowboy hat, a short skirt and a Wonderbra. To be fair I know many Christian parents who might be a little unhappy about the wonderbra with no blouse over - but they wouldn't send a death threat, just a death of cold warning.
Of course, I knew I was being filmed and I knew there was a slim chance my parents might see it. But I was living away from home, enjoying the independence and, naively, I also thought that if they did see me performing, it might make them realise how passionate I was about acting. 
Needless to say, a friend of my parents saw the programme. A couple of nights later, as I returned to my flat at about 3am someone pulled the door open as I shut it.
'You're coming home with me now. I'm taking you away from this lifestyle,' said a voice. It was my mother. I told her I wasn't going anywhere and she started screaming at me.
That's when my 15-year-old brother Majid, who'd illegally driven my mother all the way from Kent, appeared from behind her brandishing a kitchen knife. Majid was heavily built, so I genuinely feared that he was capable of using the knife.
My mother had once said 'If anyone dishonours this family, first I will kill them and then kill myself', so I knew that she too was serious.
I got into the car and we arrived back in Kent in the early hours of the morning. I was marched into the cellar, which had been turned into a makeshift bedroom, and my brother stood in the doorway holding the knife.
My mother calmly said: 'From now on, we're going to look after you and you're going to do what we say.'
But as the days turned into weeks, I pleaded with my mother to let me return to my old job at the local supermarket, where I'd worked part-time before I went to college.
Eventually, she agreed, provided I was escorted to and from work. It was a relief to be finally able to escape and only a fortnight after I returned I confided in a colleague, Graham, about what was happening at home.
Horrified, he offered to help me escape. It was a dangerous plan, but I could see no other way out.
My family had me under close surveillance, but at about noon one October lunchtime I sneaked out of the shop and jumped into the back of Graham's car and lay flat on the floor, out of sight.
All I had with me were the clothes I was wearing and nothing else. But I didn't care - I was getting away. Graham took me to Brighton, but when I arrived at my old flat, my flatmate greeted me at the door.
"You've got to go,' he said. 'Your mother saw you sneaking into a car outside your work and has just called me to check if you were here. She's on her way here now to check the house.'
I was terrified. Graham immediately drove me to another friend's house 30 minutes away, where I laid low, too scared even to leave the house.
People might wonder why I didn't contact the police at this stage. The truth was, I was too embarrassed and confused to tell them that my own family were trying to kidnap me.
I just wanted to hibernate. Then my sister forwarded my mother's fateful text message and I felt more alone than ever.
I managed to summon up the energy to report the text to Hove police, who were amazing.
They went straight to my mum's house and warned her that if she came anywhere near me she would be immediately arrested and sent to prison.
They didn't pursue the hitman claim, but told me that if any more threats were made, I should contact them straight away. That seemed to work.
Then my old flatmate called, saying that my mum had phoned, desperate to speak to me as my father had suffered a heart attack. Despite everything that had happened, I called my mum to ask about my father.
She assured me she wouldn't try to kidnap me again, but needed to talk. We arranged to meet in a public place in Brighton, with the police watching. Thank heavens that the police have now realised that these threats are real.
As I walked to meet her, I wasn't hoping for a reconciliation. How could I repair a mother-daughter relationship that never existed in the first place?
The first thing my mother said was that she wasn't going to harm me or take me away, but it quickly transpired that my dad hadn't had a heart attack at all.
Instead, my mother wanted to make one final appeal to me to give up my performing and my lifestyle and return home to get married and live a respectable Muslim life.
I flatly refused. 'Fine,' she said, coldly. 'From now on you're dead in our eyes and I don't want to see you again.' She walked away.
But a part of me dared to hope that she'd meant what she'd said, so that I could finally get on with my life unimpeded.
And that's exactly what happened for the next ten years. I completed my degree and since then I've gone on to appear in many TV programmes, such as Waterloo Road and Footballers' Wives, as a supporting actor.
I recorded a song which reached No6 in the MTV charts and sang at the Royal Albert Hall. I'm even appearing in a movie called The Unforgettable later this year. I'm really living the life I dreamed of all those years ago.
I've broken off all contact with my father, but I did start seeing my sister Saira again about four years ago, when her arranged marriage collapsed and she remarried and had children. I see her family regularly and through her children I eventually came back into contact with my mother two years ago.
I was petrified that she'd reject me again, but she is now separated from my father and seems quieter and more at peace.
We see each other every couple of months, but there's little mention of what happened before and I know deep down she will never be proud of what I am and who I've become.
. . . despite everything that has happened, I don't blame my parents for what they've put me through.
I blame the fact that Islam has become so distorted and warped. I don't believe that the Muslim religion condones any sort of violence; Islam literally means 'peace'.
The greeting from one Muslim to another - 'aasalamolaykom' - means: 'Peace be with you.' If only people would actually read the Koran for themselves, they would see the love and peace it radiates and the equality among men and women it promotes.
If only my parents had been able to give me that kind of love.
Obviously I disagree that the Koran radiates love and peace, knowing that the peaceful stuff is outweighed by the violence due to both the sheer volume of violence and the doctrine of abrogation. But I can see why it helps her to believe that.
A story very similar to that of Hannah Shah, but in no way an uncommon series of events.

Posted on 09/03/2009 2:52 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 3 September 2009
A Cinematic Interlude: "Like A Queen...." (Alberto Sordi)

Watch here.

Posted on 09/03/2009 6:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 3 September 2009
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Canzone Da Due Soldi (Polina Agureeva)

From the television series  "Likvidatsiya":

Watch, and listen here.

Posted on 09/03/2009 8:12 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Omar Amin (Johann von Leers) -- One Of So Many

Johann von Leers

From Wikipedia

Johann von Leers

Johann von Leers, alias Omar Amin, (January 25, 1902March 5, 1965) was a German professor known for his anti-Jewish polemics. He was one of the most important ideologues of the Third Reich and later served in the Egyptian Information Department. He published for Goebbels, in Peron's Argentina, and for Nasser's Egypt. He converted to Islam, and changed his name to Omar Amin.


Born in Vietlübbe, Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He was involved in the Free Corps. He joined the NSDAP in 1929. He wrote the notorious anti-Semitic tract (published and popular during the Third Reich), "Juden Sehen Dich An" (Jews are Observing You). He was fluent in five languages, including Hebrew and Japanese.

In 1945 he fled to Italy, living there for five years, and then moving to Argentina in 1950. Five years thereafter he moved from Argentina to Egypt.

Jeffrey Herf reports that in December 1942, von Leers published an article in "Die Judenfrage", a journal which belonged to the anti-Semitic intellectual world, entitled "Judaism and Islam as Opposites." As the title indicates, the author's perspective is Hegelian, presenting Judaism and Islam in terms of thesis and antithesis. This essay also reveals the ingratiating National Socialist perspective which von Leers projected on the Islamic past as well as the intensity of his hatred for Judaism and Jewry. The following passage is part of the original text :

Mohammed's hostility to the Jews had one result: Oriental Jewry was completely paralyzed. Its backbone was broken. Oriental Jewry effectively did not participate in [European] Jewry's tremendous rise to power in the last two centuries. Despised in the filthy lanes of the mellah (the walled Jewish quarter of a Moroccan city, analogous to the European ghetto) the Jews vegetated there. They lived under a special law (that of a protected minority), which in contrast to Europe did not permit usury or even traffic in stolen goods, but kept them in a state of oppression and anxiety. If the rest of the world had adopted a similar policy, we would not have a Jewish Question (Judenfrage).... As a religion, Islam indeed performed an eternal service to the world: it prevented the threatened conquest of Arabia by the Jews and vanquished the horrible teaching of Jehovah by a pure religion, which at that time opened the way to a higher culture for numerous peoples ....[2]


In Nasser's Egypt

Leers became the political adviser to the Information Department under Muhammad Naguib. He continued to specialize in anti-Semitism, managing anti-Israel propaganda. He converted to Islam, and changed his name to Omar Amin. He was a close friend of Muhammad Amin Al-Husayni[3]. In its first decade, the West German government tried in vain to have him extradited for war crimes. He died in Cairo in 1965.


  1.  Description of Kurt P. Tauber, Beyond Eagle and Swastika; German Nationalism since 1945, Middletown, CT Wesleyan University Press, 1967, II, 1115
  2. "Judentum und Islam als Gegensaetze," Die Judenfrage, Vol. 6, No. 24 (15 December 1942), p. 278, quoted and paraphrased by Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy, p.181
  3. Patrice Chairoff, Dossier néo-nazisme, Ramsay, 1977, p. 450



Posted on 09/03/2009 9:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 3 September 2009
The Warming Of The Arctic

Arctic’s 2,000-Year Cooling Ended With Coal Burning, Ice Shows

By Jeremy van Loon

Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- The Arctic, a frozen land with clues about the origins of global warming, saw a 2,000-year cooling period come to an abrupt end in the 20th century when burning coal and oil warmed temperatures, scientists reported.

The region around the North Pole should have had an average summer temperature of -0.5 degrees Celsius (31.1 degrees Fahrenheit) in 1950 based on the cooling trend, and instead marked +0.2 degrees Celsius, wrote Darrell Kaufman, a researcher at Northern Arizona University, in a study released today.

“During the late 20th century, summer temperatures were the warmest of the past two millennia, with four of the five warmest decades of our 2,000 year-long reconstruction occurring between 1950 and 2000,” Kaufman and colleagues wrote in the paper on Science magazine’s Web site.

The research, drawing on data from new samples of lake sediments, ice cores and tree rings, adds to a body of evidence indicating the Arctic is warming faster than most of the globe. Ice in the region shared by Russia, Canada, Greenland and the U.S., is studied for its potential to melt and raise sea levels.

The current Arctic warming trend is “above the natural variability,” the authors wrote after reconstructing ancient temperatures from oxygen isotopes preserved in sediments. There’s no scientific consensus on why the North Pole region may be more vulnerable than most of the globe, including Antarctica.

Changes in surface air temperature in the Arctic are the largest in the world, with some areas of the region having warmed as much as 4 degrees Celsius over the past 50 years, researchers at the University of Illinois have said.

Between Ice Ages

The earth is currently between ice ages. Another one is expected within several thousand years, according to Jerry McManus, a paleoclimatology professor at Columbia University.

The concentration in the atmosphere of heat-trapping carbon dioxide -- a byproduct of burning fossil fuels -- has risen to about 385 parts per million molecules of air now from about 280 parts a century ago. At the same time the earth has warmed by about 0.8 degrees Celsius.

The changing climate has triggered major ice ages approximately every 100,000 years, and the durations in between them are known as interglacial periods.

If the world continues to burn coal and oil and cut down forests that store carbon, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere may more than double to 900 parts per million in the next century, the United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner has said.

Negotiators at UN-sponsored talks are attempting to set limits on CO2 emissions. Delegates are focused on proposals to restrict the output of the greenhouse gas to 450 parts per million and on slowing the rise in average global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius over the next century compared with pre- industrial levels.

Posted on 09/03/2009 9:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 3 September 2009
A Musical Interlude: Out Of The Dawn (Bernie Cummins Orch., & voc. Cummins Bros.)

Listen here.

Posted on 09/03/2009 11:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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