A Ugandan court has charged three Kenyans with 76 counts of murder, the first such cases opened against suspects in the July 11 suicide attacks in Kampala.
Hussein Hassan Agad, Mohamed Adan Abdow and Idris Magondu were charged before a Kampala magistrates court, but did not enter a plea.
They face 61 counts of murder for those killed while watching the World Cup final at the Kyadondo Rugby Club in the east of the Ugandan capital and 15 counts for those killed at an Ethiopian restaurant.
The three men were remanded to prison. They will not be permitted to enter their plea until Uganda's Directorate of Public Prosecutions decides the case is ready to move to the High Court.
Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has opened an African Union meeting by condemning Somalia's al Shabaab rebels. Jihadis would be a better description, but lets not quible when his solution is sound.
The summit is being held in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, where a twin suicide attack killed 76 soccer fans watching the World Cup final on television earlier this month.
President Museveni said the al Qaeda-linked group are cowards and should be driven off the continent.
"I am glad the whole of Africa has condemned it, let us now act in concert and shoot them out of Africa, let them go back to Asia and the Middle East, where I understand many of them come from." he said.
As Dumbledore's Army said his perception of Islamic jihadists as alien invaders in Africa is entirely accurate.
Since David Cameron is setting a fashion for being blunt, let's join in. He got his tour this week to Turkey and India wrong.
In advance, everyone was promised that British foreign policy would now be politically and financially realistic. It would eschew Blairite ambitions to put the world to rights. It would strengthen bilateral relations and boost trade. Diplomats would no longer be valued for their thoughtful telegrams about the situation in Ruritania, but by their ability to get out and sell British goods and services. We must cut our coat according to our cloth, was the message – and then flog the coat abroad.
And so it was that a huge party of ministers and businessmen accompanied the Prime Minister to the sub-continent, talking about contracts, green initiatives and universities.
But, by Wednesday, things were not going quite right. I was struck by a juxtaposition of stories in this newspaper. One carried the headline: "Gaza is like a prison camp, says PM." Next door, was a report in which Mr Cameron proclaimed that he was approaching India with "humility". Although the Gaza remarks were made in Turkey, not India, the stories did not sit happily together. Was Mr Cameron being blunt or humble? It's hard to be both at once.
When he actually reached India, he did not lower the temperature. Speaking in Bangalore, he said that "we cannot tolerate the idea that this country [Pakistan] is allowed to look both ways and is able… to promote the export of terror". The new Foreign Secretary, William Hague, tactfully explained that the Prime Minister "wasn't accusing anyone of double-dealing". But anyone not trained as a politician or diplomat could see that he was.
Faced with protests, Mr Cameron decided to defend himself. He was simply an honest man abroad, was the line. The British people, he said, did not expect him "to go around the world telling people what they wanted to hear".
Yet the fault in his "gaffes" had something to do with the fact that he was telling his immediate audience what it wanted to hear. In saying that Gaza was a "prison camp", without even mentioning Hamas, he was repeating the line of his host, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Erdogan. Mr Erdogan recently said: "I do not accept Hamas as a terrorist organisation", and one Hamas leader declared: "Mr Erdogan has become our voice." Everything, for Mr Erdogan and for Hamas, is the fault of Israel. Mr Cameron seemed to endorse this.
Who was annoyed? Israel, obviously. The United States, too: even President Obama, who is cooler than his predecessors towards Israel, does not want to lessen pressure on Hamas, and his administration is considering whether to ban the IHH, the organisation which led the famous "peace" flotilla to Gaza, because of its alleged links with terrorism. Mr Cameron's remarks also upset Egypt, which is the other guard of what he calls the Gaza "prison camp", and is in constant conflict with Hamas.
And they were unwelcome to all those in Turkey who are most keen to preserve the democratic secularism of the state. Far from producing a happy marriage of civilisations ("East and West together", chirped Mr Cameron), Mr Erdogan's Islamic AKP party has driven Turkey further from plural European democracy, closer to Iran and to the violent Muslim Brotherhood doctrines which see the West as the enemy. Turkey's Islamists must be thrilled to be told by a Western leader that, in Afghanistan and the Middle East, they have "a credibility that others in the West just cannot hope to have". So must we accept that their support for Hamas is credible, even creditable, too, and will enable Turkey, as Mr Cameron asks, to "make the case for peace" with nasty old Israel? Turkey should come into the EU, he says, because "it is just wrong to say that it can guard the camp but not be allowed to sit inside the tent", How good is the guard if he is fraternising with the enemy?
In linking Pakistan with terrorism, Mr Cameron was – unlike in what he said about Gaza – relaying facts. From his own security sources, he knows (not suspects, but knows) that Pakistani official agencies had a hand in the Mumbai attacks and in Taliban operations. It is one of the most serious problems in the world. But was it a good idea to deploy this fact to schmooze his Indian hosts? When one says something highly unpleasant, in public, about one's ally, one must do so face to face, for a good reason, and to produce a definite result. This rule was not followed. Mr Cameron's words won't even get an extra call-centre contract in Bangalore, let alone a Pakistani change of heart.
A spokesman defended Mr Cameron's attack on Pakistan by pointing out that he had intended to attack not the government, but the country. In diplomacy, which is the art of inter-state relations, it is not easy wholly to separate one from the other. Besides, it strikes me that the Prime Minister's criticism of the ability to "look both ways" in relation to terrorism also applies to another important country – the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
When he was Leader of the Opposition, Mr Cameron often said in conversation that there was something crazy about our running round the world trying to fight the "war on terror" while allowing hate preachers to operate untrammelled at home. Early on, his Government took a good decision in this spirit, when the Home Secretary, Theresa May, bravely defied strong pressure and refused entry to this country to Zakir Naik, a sectarian Islamist preacher. Mr Cameron's natural common sense is strong on this sort of issue.
Yet the fact remains that the Coalition has inherited a deep confusion from the last government, which it has not yet resolved. In the official programmes, such as Prevent, designed to counter Islamist extremism, powerful "voices of conservatism" continue to urge that it is the extremists themselves, so long as they do not advocate actual violence here, who should get public money and support. So right here, now, in Britain, supporters of Hamas, of the killing of homosexuals, of female circumcision, of the execution of apostates, and of terrorism against all armed opponents of any Muslims anywhere, are treated as "partners" by police and other public authorities to help restrain radicalism.
After the July 7 bombings in 2005, Tony Blair told Pakistan to do something about its extreme madrassas (religious schools). He was right; but the not unreasonable reply came back: "What about your madrassas?" Even today, Britain tolerates terror, as Mr Cameron complains about Pakistan, so long as it is an export business.
So we are in a muddle, one which Mr Cameron's intercontinental frankness this week unintentionally exposed.
Mr Kenneth Clarke was quite right to say that short prison sentences are not effective but, with the practised lack of logic of a man who has spent far too long in politics for the good of his own mind, he has drawn precisely the wrong conclusions from it. His error will cause much unnecessary suffering.
There are indeed many arguments against short sentences. The recidivism rate after such sentences are completed is very high. They pose large administrative costs on the prison system. They do not reassure victims that the suffering or loss inflicted upon them by criminals has been taken seriously by the state. They discourage and demoralise the police, who labour mightily, if mainly bureaucratically, to procure a conviction for very little result. They promote intimidation of witnesses.
Remember, I'll been walking the same streets as you in six weeks' time
has deterred many a crucial witness (criminals having absolutely no doubt about the value or effectiveness of deterrence).
In the sub-culture from which many criminals live, they are a badge of honour rather than a mark of shame. And if rehabilitation were one of the aims of prison - personally, I think it is a very minor one - short sentences would do nothing to contribute to that aim.
But it is quite wrong to suppose that if something is not very effective it has no effect at all. Short prison sentences are ineffective by comparison with long ones, but that is not to say that they are ineffective by comparison with no prison sentences at all.
It is a fact that a large proportion of crimes are committed by a relatively small number of people. It is not unusual for career criminals to commit a hundred or more offences a year. Therefore, keeping them in prison for six weeks, say, prevents the commission of 12 crimes. Of course, if they were kept in prison for four years, 400 crimes would be prevented. But it is better to prevent 12 crimes than no crimes at all.
The only possible argument against the logical response to a high recidivism rate after short sentences being a lengthening of sentences is that something more effective than imprisonment exists: but it doesn't. Community sentences (except if used very selectively indeed) are quite useless.
Let us examine the ways in which our grossly dishonest official class, of which Mr Clarke is perhaps a victim, has sought to persuade us otherwise. Success is often measured by the percentage of "completion" of a community order, for example of probation. But from the law-abiding public's point of view this is irrelevant.
What is important is how many crimes people on a community order commit while they are on it or soon afterwards. And the fact is that the recidivism rate, as measured by the re-conviction rate, is very nearly as high as that of imprisonment after short sentences, despite the fact that the latter are probably slightly worse to begin with, which is why they were sent to prison. (Almost all prisoners are graduates of community sentences.)
It is easy to show that huge numbers of crimes are committed by people already on bail or serving community sentences: so many, in fact, that they represent a considerable proportion of all recorded crimes. There are about 150,000 people on probation at any one time. At least 50,000 of them a year, and probably more, are re-convicted. Furthermore, the reconviction rate used in measuring outcome does not measure re-re-convictions, that is to say those who are convicted more than once, of whom there are many.
Now the conviction rate for all recorded crime in Britain is a shade over one in twenty. If the criminals on bail or serving community sentences are typical of criminals as a whole (there might be some criminals who never get caught and some who always get caught, but assuming a normal distribution, most will fall somewhere between these two extremes), then at least 1,000,000 and probably more than 2,000,000 crimes are committed annually by people on bail or serving community sentences. Thus at least 20-40 per cent of recorded crime is committed by people serving the kind of community sentences that Mr Clarke wishes to extend.
If we add in the numbers of crimes committed by people who have just served short prison sentences were added to this, we can see that it is highly likely that, if long prison sentences were imposed upon criminals as a matter of course (bearing in mind the need to take account of exceptions, extenuating circumstances and so forth), it is likely that the recorded crime rate would decline by more than fifty per cent, irrespective of any deterrent effect such a policy would exert. In reality, the effect would be even greater.
Why does something so obvious escape our political and official class? The late Lord Bauer wrote:
When nonsense shows systematic bias, it probably reflects the pursuit of unacknowledged objectives which often have political or emotional bases.
It is so in this case.
Those who argue against imprisoning criminals think they are being kind to those poorer than they because most criminals are poorer than they. What they forget is that most of the victims are also poorer than they, and furthermore that the class of victim is much larger than the class of perpetrator (if it were not, poverty would be in itself a marker of criminality, which it is not).
So those who argue for the non-incapacitation of criminals are arguing for victimisation of the poor, whether they intend so to argue or not. Of course, it might be possible to argue that what Mr Clarke is trying to do is to ensure that the costs of crime remain where they arise, ie among the poor, and not transfer them to the middle classes.
An unfortunate effect of this is that it de-legitimises the state, one of whose indisputable tasks is to keep the peace. A state that wilfully fails to do so for a large section of its population can hardly be regarded as legitimate: a reason, perhaps, why so many people do not vote.
If I were a Marxist, I might add as another possible explanation the need of lawyers for clients and criminologists for subject matter. The class of lawyers and academic criminologists has increased greatly in the last few decades, and crime is one way of ensuring them employment (under- or unemployed lawyers and academics are very dangerous). The last thing, therefore, that lawyers and criminologists as a class would want is a decrease in crime.
As we are going to press with articles on Mega mosque controversies in America in the New English Review, we received this report in The Californianabout “dueling protests’ courtesy of Man Bakh, an Iranian American apostate and board member of Former Muslims United. In our article we referenced the 25,000 square foot Temecula, California mosque project and connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Balkh was part of a group protesting the Temecula mosque project. He noted in The Californian Report:
On one side of the debate stood a group of about two dozen sign-bearing men and women, some wearing American flag T-shirts and hats with slogans such as: "Proud American."
For this group, standing on the south side of Rio Nedo, the center's plan to build a 25,000-square-foot mosque is part of an "Islamic expansion" that could lead to the country being taken over by Muslims.
"We don't have to let that happen," said Mano Bakh, a Wildomar man who said he escaped Islam when he left Iran in 1979 to come to America.
On the other side of the debate ---- and the other side of Rio Nedo ---- stood about 60 members of the Islamic Center and members of local churches who support the center's construction plans.
The Muslim Brotherhood connection was evident in the person of Salaam al-Mayarti, Executive Director of front group, Muslim Political Action Council (MPAC). Note the controversy over dogs brought by the protesters to this rally and al-Mayarati’s response:
An e-mail that circulated in Southwest County calling for mosque opponents to bring dogs to the anti-mosque side of the rally didn't really have much of an impact. As of 1:45 p.m., there were only two people with dogs, both of which were well-behaved pooches restrained by leashes.
The call for dogs, animals that some Muslims consider unclean, was criticized by members of the Interfaith Council as a sign of disrespect.
One of the women who brought a dog, Zorina Bennett of Temecula, said she attended the rally to stand with those opposed to the spread of Islam.
"They don't fit in; they don't belong in this country," she said. "It's spreading all over the U.S. like a cancer."
Asked whether she was making a statement by bringing her dog, Bennett said she brought along Meadow, her 6-year-old Vizsla, because she takes her almost everywhere she goes and because "American families all have dogs."
Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said the call for dogs was "not in good taste."
"We love God and God's creatures," he said, adding that any concern Muslims have with dogs has to do with them wandering around in their prayer areas for cleanliness reasons.
Later, Al-Marayati and Hadi Nael, president of the Islamic Center's board of directors, addressed the members of the Interfaith Council at 12:30 p.m., thanking them for their support.
"Thank you for embracing the mosque and the great values of America!" Al-Marayati said. "The value of hope, not fear."
Bakh and a woman protester gave some cogent arguments about why mosques in Temecula, Mufreesboro and Ground Zero are being opposed:
Diana Serafin, a Murrieta woman who helped organize the rally, said people opposed to the mosque have been unfairly criticized as religious bigots.
"It's not just the mosque," she said. "It's a political way of life that they're trying to force on us. It's not religion; it's a political movement."
Bakh, the Iranian immigrant who said he has cast away Islam, said the problem with the religion is that there is no moderation, no respect for opposing viewpoints.
Asked if there were some good things about Islam, Bakh said, and “I've seen the worst side of Islam. ... There is a good side of the Muslim, but there is no good side of Islam. If you believe in Islam, you have to believe in the writing of the Quran. There is a moderation in the Muslim people, but there is no moderation in the Islamic ideology. It's black-and-white.
Watch this KABC-TV, Los Angeles, video of the dueling protests over the Temecula mosque project:
David Cameron went out to the Muslim East, went to Turkey, not as a statesman but as a salesman, flogging his nation's wares. He wore a suit which, at least in the photographs, is so cheesy-looking in cut and fabric (it's an art in reverse to spend so much money and be so ill-dressed) he was like the Head of the Board of Trade, or the thrusting C.E.O. of some company. When he talked in Turkey, to Turkey, about Turkey, it was all about economic matters. The rest was mere fluff -- or rather the rest Cameron took to be merely unimportant, additional material to win Turkish good-will. And in his indifference to other matters, his nonchalance about a threat to Great Britain and to other members of the E.U. and to all the countries in the imperiled and confused West, a peril that would become gigantic were Turkey admitted to the E.U., David Cameron revealed himself to be a perfect specimen of a certain species that now rules over us, almost everywhere -- that is, grasping Economic Man, Homo Economicus, who hardly understands that anything exists other than getting and spending.
This new Economic Man would not only support, but he would "fight," for Turkey's admission to the E.U. He seemed to have no idea why others, including many in the present governments of France and Germany, would be so against Turkey's entry into the E.U. Surely it was all based on unseemly prejudice against Muslims, a misconception about Islam, for who, looking around the world today, or recalling the events of the past 1350 years, and especially the many encounters between Christendom and Islam, could possibly have any reason to feel a sense of alarm, at the prospect of Turkey, with 80 million people (99% of whom are Muslim), entering the E.U., and its citizens -- and any other Muslims who might, as Erdgoan recently suggested, be granted Turkish citizenship upon request -- could travel everywhere, live anywhere, in the member states of the E.U.
He didn't care what he said, or what it might take, as long as he made a good impression on this new "economic power" (a power that has been greatly exaggerated, as will become apparent by the next election in Turkey) so that Turks would buy British goods.
He proved not only that he had no sense of what was most important, and was willing to come as a supplicant to Erdogan, that is to a regime that has become, pari passu with the Return To Islam that has been orchestrated so relentlessly, and with such cunning, and in so doing, to damage the morale of Turkish secularists.
Those secularists have a good chance to defeat Erdogan at the next election, if they can obtain the support of the Alevis alarmed by new Sunni aggression, and if they can unite around a single candidate instead of, as in the past, being hopelessly divided. And if they return to power, one suspects that they will not be kind to those who, like Cameron, came and paid tribute to the worst regime in Turkish history -- worst, that is, if you define "worst" as you and I and all educated people do, as that which is most sinisterly imbued with the spirit and loyal to the letter, of Islam.
Cameron perhaps does not know what Gladstone wrote about the Turks and their malign acts, at the time of the Bulgarian Wars. Perhaps Cameron has never heard of the Bulgarian Wars. Perhaps he's never heard about what happened to any of the South Slaves, perhaps he could not understand the reference in "Anna Karenina" to Vronsky and the campaign to help fellow Slavs against the Turks. Or perhaps he, Cameron, never read "Anna Karenina" and has no idea why he should -- any more than American generals or civilian makers of war policy have any idea why they might have saved a few trillion dollars had they read "War and Peace" and learned about wily Kutuzov's refusal, after Borodino, to confront Napoleon and the Grande Armée, and possibly even begun to think of the relevance of Kutuzovshchina in Iraq, in Afghanistan.
Cameron's a boy-child of his times alright, un enfant du siècle, the siècle in question being this very one, that is the 2lst unappetizing and dangerous century, in his thinking that what Great Britain needs and wants in a Prime Minister is a salesman, to be rewarded, that is supported, only if he makes his sales, because, you see, he works on commission.
History, and the history of Great Britain, which is even older and certainly far more impressive than the history of Islam, is not his strong suit.
I suspect that Cameron's knowledge of English history may consist of only a handful of vague memories.
He might remember two dates -- 1215 and January 30, 1649 --but I'm not even sure about the second, or if he could put that event into context.
And he probably knows a handful of remarks, the kind of thing that appear misapplied or misremembered in "1066 And All That."
One remark he surely must know is that with which Napoleon, Great Britain's great antagonist, described England as "a nation of shopkeepers." ("L'Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers." ). He was echoing, by the way, Adam Smith, whose own view of the mad pursuit of economic self-interest has to be read in the light of his "Theory of Moral Sentiments."
When Napoleon used the phrase, it was meant to be dismissive.
Here is a news report on Bradley Manning, the apparent source of all the stuff about Afghanistan and Pakistan and the American military that Julian Assange has been self-righteouslly posting urbi et orbi:
Report: Wikileaks suspect blasted Army, society on Facebook
Army broadens inquiry into disclosure of classified materials
This undated photo obtained by The Associated Press shows Bradley Manning, the prime suspect in the leaking of Afghan war files to the whistleblower website Wikileaks.org.
LONDON — Bradley Manning, the prime suspect in the leaking of the Afghan war files, raged against his Army employers and "society at large" on his Facebook page in the days before he allegedly downloaded thousands of secret memos, a U.K. newspaper reported Saturday.
The U.S. Army intelligence analyst, who is half British and went to school in Wales, U.K., appeared to sink into depression after a relationship break-up, the Daily Telegraph said. It quoted Manning as posting he didn't "have anything left" and was "beyond frustrated."
In an apparent swipe at the Army, Manning also wrote: "Bradley Manning is not a piece of equipment," and quoted a joke about "military intelligence" being an oxymoron, the Telegraph said.
The Facebook revelations come as The New York Times reported that Army investigators were broadening their inquiry about the recent disclosure of classified military information to include Manning's friends and associates who may have helped the alleged leaker.
Manning, 22, is on suicide watch after being transferred from Kuwait to a Washington, D.C., prison, where he is awaiting court martial.
He is suspected of leaking more than 90,000 secret military documents to the Wikileaks website in a security breach that U.S. officials claim has endangered the lives of serving soldiers and Afghan informers.
Supporters claim the war logs leak exposed Afghan civilian deaths covered up by the military.
I find it passing strange, I find it almost incredible, that Bradley Manning did not convert to Islam and then work from within the American military to help the cause of Muslims.
I can't get over it. He didn't convert to Islam, despite exhibiting all the early signs of Adult-Onset Islam.
Perhaps he was a little impatient. Perhaps he felt there simply wasn't time. Or perhaps it didn't occur to him.
But it will occur to other bradley-mannings in the future, as it has in the past.
And not all of them will be detected, and some of them will, no doubt, rise high in the army, the police, and the civilian governments of the West.
Tennessee is considered to be the heart of the Bible belt in the United States. Yet, the swirl of controversies surrounding the acquisition and development of so-called mega-mosques in Tennessee is emblematic of a civilizational conflict emerging in the American heartland between Muslim and non-Muslim communities over how Islam and Sharia are viewed and defined. More fundamentally, it is about the question of whether Islam is a religion or a political doctrine seeking domination with a thin veneer of religious practices. What is a mosque? Is a mosque a worship center or something else? more>>>
Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed recently arrived in Nashville to take his post as imam at the Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN) on 12th Avenue and was welcomed by a flattering profile in The Tennessean written by religious affairs editor Bob Smietana. Smietana, like most local reporters covering Islamic issues has little more than a passing acquaintance with the doctrine of Islam and tends to champion Muslims as underdogs and a misunderstood minority. Had he more detailed knowledge of contemporary Islam, the educational background of Mr. Ahmed might have raised questions about the 12th Avenue mosque’s intentions; specifically, whether the ICN is deepening or strengthening its connections with the Muslim Brotherhood. more>>>
To The Lighthouse: Feminine Mastery Of Inner Dialogue
by Thomas J. Scheff (August 2010)
Can artists point the way toward solutions of the complex problems of human experience? There is a tradition in literature of the study of the stream of consciousness that might provide hints on the sources and structure of consciousness. A crucial problem for social scientists who study consciousness is that most of us, indeed, virtually all of us, are not highly gifted in noticing and remembering a vast array of concrete details. In this respect, we are much like the rest of the human race. more>>>
The declining literacy of our present age has been lamented many times, and yet, it seems to me, never sufficiently. The enormous changes in our culture and in our laws, which we have observed and which we are likely to observe in the future, stemming from the decline of our common discourse ought to be a matter of urgent concern to any sensible person, and yet I sense little urgency towards this phenomenon in the writings of most contemporary authors. more>>>
Abstract. Although fiction treats themes of psychological importance, it has been excluded from psychology because it is seen as flawed empirical method. But fiction is not empirical truth. It is simulation that runs on minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers. In any simulation coherence truths have priority over correspondences. Moreover, in the simulations of fiction, personal truths can be explored that allow readers to experience emotions — their own emotions — and understand aspects of them that are obscure, in relation to contexts in which the emotions arise. more>>>
Book after translated book, a soft-spoken poet who spent a long life writing in an awkward minority language unrelated to most others is taking his rightful place among the giants of world literature -- even in his homeland.more>>>
Le grand prix de la baguette de tradition française de la ville de Paris was awarded on March 27th to Michel Galloyer, proprietor of Le Grenier à Pain, a network of 25 boulangeries in France, soon to be extended to Japan in partnership with Nihon Gastronomie Kenkyujo. The Grenier à Pain, which will be purveyor of baguettes to the presidential palace for one year, is in fact made up of small local bakeries, and the winning baguette was crafted in the Montmartre shop by Djibril Bodian a master baker of Senegalese origin. “La baguette tradition” is a richer, tastier, heartier, more elastic version of the ordinary baguette, which ranges from horrible to middling. La tradition, as its name indicates, is good old fashioned genuine bread. And whatever you say for or against France, you’ve got to admit that our bread is phenomenal. more>>>
The Golden Calf Idols of the World Cup, The Olympics, and What Happened in Berlin, 1936
by Norman Berdichevsky (August 2010) Few NER articles have resulted in the avalanche of readers’ responses as did Theodore Dalrymple’s July 2010 piece “Of Snobbery and Soccer.” The reason is the enormous controversy over Dalrymple’s critical look at those aspects of the World Cup that appeal to hero worship, the manipulation of national pride, and the absurdities of a mega-billion dollar industry hiding behind the facade of sport. For me, as for Dalrymple, The World Cup represents the worst aspects of chauvinism in which tens of millions of spectators invest the players on the field with a national mission designed and elevate their own egos. For many Americans soccer is not just a "boring" sport but frequently looks corrupt with more than just a few players routinely acting out feigned injuries to win a referee’s penalty award of a free kick or the punishment of yellow or red cards handed to an opposing player. more>>>
Gordon: Greetings Mr. Solomon and thank you for consenting to this interview. Let us start with the simple question, what is a mosque and what is its basic function in the Muslim community?
Solomon: A mosque, totally unlike a church or a synagogue, serves the function of orchestrating and mandating every aspect of “life” in a Muslim community from the religious, to the political, to the economic, to the social, to the military. In Islam, religion and life are not separate. They are indivisible. more>>>
Michael Totten Thinks All Of Israel Is "Up For Grabs According To Some"
You can come to Israel as a tourist and tune out the conflict if you want, as long as you don’t stay for a long time, even on days like yesterday when a Grad rocket fired from Gaza struck the center of Ashkelon. Not a single person I spoke to mentioned it even in passing. They’re used to it. I’m used to it. I wouldn’t have even known about it if I didn’t have Internet access.
This place, though, can be existentially stressful because it’s so fiercely contested. I felt this acutely when roaming around the West Bank the other day with Dror Etkes, but even Tel Aviv—which is deep within Israel proper—is up for grabs according to some.
You may have heard about the Palestinian BDS movement. The letters in their acronym stand for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction. They really ought to add another D for Destroy. Their goal—and they aren’t shy about saying so publicly even in English—isn’t peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which is what all civilized people should want, but the end of Israel.
Michael Totten reports frequently from the Middle East and other Muslim areas.
How can he, at this point, express any surprise at all to the notion that "even Tel Aviv" is "up for grabs," as he puts it, "according to some"?
Those "some" include all those who take Islam seriously. Does Michael Totten have any evidence to suggest that those who take Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira to heart desire only to have Israel within the ridiculous 1949 Armistice Lines -- which is the accurate way of describing the demand for "the 1967 pre-war borders" which the Arabs themselves never recognized as "borders."
Does MIchael Totten at this point not know that Israel's borders or armistice lines, Israel's size, does not matter, that the Infidel nation-state of Israel must cease to exist, and that the only real quarrel is over tactics and timing, between the Fast Jihadists of Hamas and the Slow Jihadists of Fatah?:
He still hasn't sunk beneath the surfrace of Islam, still has not discovered what cannot be seen, and thus reported easily on , but is in the minds of men, and can be detected by long familiarity with the texts of Islam, the Muslim and Western scholars of those texts, and of other elements that contribute to the mental makeup of Muslims, and Western historians of the history of Islamic conquest over the past 1350 years? Has he not been reading Bassam Tibi or Antoine Fattal or Majid Khadduri (especially the latter, on the significance of the Treaty of Hudaibiyya)?
Perhaps he should travel a little less, and sit in one place, and read, and read, and read, and then think about what he has read, and allow it to enable him to make sense of what he has observed.
It's late, but it's never too late, to learn what one ought to have learned before setting off on trips to the Middle East or Central Asia. One ought to start out well-prepared, so that one can be the person on whom -- as Henry James described the artist -- nothing is lost.
In the year 2001 of the Christian era my wife and I became Israeli citizens and moved from New York City to Netanya in Israel. We are living there still. I guess that makes me a Zionist. But when people in Israel ask me why I gave up our comfortable life in the United States to live in a nation under siege, I have trouble coming up with a good answer. I usually say, “Because I want to live in a Jewish neighborhood.”
That answer is not false, but it’s not entirely true either. more>>>
English National Alliance return to Downing Street
Readers may recall that on 22nd May a march of English Patriots handed in a letter to the Prime Ministers Office appealing for, amongst other things, an amendment to the Arbitration Act 1996 to abolish the clause that has allowed 85 or more Sharia Courts to set up in England and which deny Muslim women their full rights under English Common Law.
If the reply was not satisfactory they vowed to visit No 10 again. The reply when it came was from an official of the Ministry of Justice and was the standard ‘fob off’ letter of that department. Believe me, I recognise it!
So today English Patriots returned to Whitehall. I got there early to have a look around and about. A counter protest was expected and I had heard that this would be contained in the usual space the other side of Parliament Street opposite Downing Street. When I got there I could hear Christian hymns and Gospel Music. It was a rally of the Bengali Christian Fellowship, Pakistani Christians, including the British Pakistani Christian Association, and a Sikh organisation calling for a end to the persecution of Christians and minorities in Pakistan. Their key speaker was Bishop Michael Nazir Ali (I didn’t catch the name of the other Bishop present) His speech was in Urdu so I can’t tell you what he said. They too had handed a petition into Downing Street.
Pompey Dave and a couple of the men from MfE spoke to Bishop Michael afterwards. I can report that he is well and since his retirement from the see of Rochester is working on an international education project in Nigeria, Egypt and elsewhere.
I then went to see the ENA march form up outside the Old Star Pub (where I had my farewell drink the night I retired – this was slightly noisier) then returned to Whitehall where some Free Palestine and Class War protesters were gathering in the space so recently vacated by the Bengali and Pakistani Christians.
The march entered Parliament Street from Parliament Square where the men and women of MfE joined them. We stopped at Downing Street and the second letter was handed in.
A few of the Pakistani Christians decided to join the march in order to learn more about this effort in England in the fight against Sharia and jihad. I spoke in particular to two brothers, from a Catholic family about the prejudice their fellow Christians experienced in Pakistan, and in England including the threat of death for their continued refusal to convert to Islam. They believe England will be unrecognisable in 10 years.
There was a lot of jeering from the Pro Palestinians who decided to follow the march down Whitehall on the other side of the road. The police made sure they stayed on the pavement and away from the barrier. At some point before Trafalgar Square they beat a retreat while the march skirted Trafalgar Square and made its way to the steps below the Duke of York monument in Waterloo Place for speeches.
Michael Johnson spoke. He told us that the English are 3/5ths of the United Kingdom and that we must come together. Today we are various English organisations, March for England, English Shieldwall and the English Defence League.
He spoke of Richard the Lionheart. He emphasised that the fight is not against the majority of Muslim people but against those who care nothing for their Muslim brothers but whose only care is to create an Islamic state. We cannot allow this.
Michael has promised to send me a full copy of the speech later and I also have the press release to study. The rally ended and various groups made their way for refreshment. As well as old friends I was glad to meet in person members of the LGBT and Jewish Divisions. Who included Zeus, who has the coldest wettest nose in any division of the EDL.
A final untoward incident before I left. Some young men appeared about to attack some members of MfE and/or EDL who were standing with their drinks outside a pub, insisting that ‘You are all Nazi racist scum’. The police ushered them further down Whitehall to a chorus of ‘Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio’.
Following the advice received from the two brothers I have looked up the website of the British Pakistani Christian Association. The protest should have been covered by Premier Radio the Christian Station.
This wasn’t the most important event of the day. That was the rally in Blackpool in support of the family of Charlene Downes who was murdered five years ago. Her killers were never brought to justice and the men suspected of the crime, who are known to have sexually abused her and other teenage girls in their kebab shop are still in business, in the same premises.
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Revival: Memorials and the Gate to the Human Heart
by Thomas J. Scheff (August 2010)
It is our sorrow. Shall it melt? Then water
Would gush, flush, green these mountains and these valleys,
And we rebuild our cities, not dream of islands.
-- Paysage Moralisé, by W. H. Auden
When I was a child growing up in the South, I found religious services boring. But I once sneaked into a tent revival meeting. People were laughing, crying, shaking, dancing, and rolling around on the floor. I was delighted because I had never seen anything like it, especially not in my own family. Like many families, we seemed to have a no-emotion rule. more>>>