These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 4, 2008.
Friday, 4 April 2008
Viva La Hispanidad, Or, Where Immigration From Mexico Should Be Encouraged
(ANSAmed) - MADRID, APRIL 3 - Spain needs over two million new foreign workers, 157,000 a year, until 2020, according to a study by the Group for Reflection and Proposal on Business and Immigration quoted by ABC daily today. According to the report, the main cause for this need is the ageing of the Spanish population, with a proportion of young people that has decreased twice in the past 25 years and the local universities loosing over 300,000 students until 2015. The percentage of foreign workers, who generate nearly half of the Spanish GDP growth, will grow from the current 20-25% to 35% of the Spanish workforce in 2010.
"Why doesn't Spain encourage Eastern Europeans, Mexicans and others from Central and South America to emigrate?"-- from a reader
Of course this is the answer -- the only answer. Right now there are immigrants from Latin America -- especially from Ecuador -- already in Spain. But many more would work in Spain if they could, and the Spanish have only to encourage it, and possibly with the help of the United States. Why should not Mexicans eager to work in a more economically advanced country, one where they can earn a good living and, what's more, while there are no doubt differences of pronunciation and of lexican between espanol and castellano, would certainly have an easier linguistic adjustment.
The real "cost" of Muslim immigrants from North Africa, the cost to Spanish wellbeing, the cost of monitoring such a population, the threat that such a population poses to a land still remembered, in placenames all over the unforgetting and unforgiving Arab Muslim world, as "Al-Andaluz" -- is much higher, far higher, than any cost that might be incurred to help transport Mexican immigrants to Spain.
It makes sense. And it might also relieve pressure on the United States, where Mexican immigrants in large and undigested numbers may pose a threat to cultural continuity. In Spain Mexicans, sharing the language and the religion, are much more likely to be able to integrate, if not in the first generation, than in the second.
After all, a great many Spanish refugees from the Republic fled Franco for Mexico, and made new lives without much difficulty. Could not the reverse also be true?
Why should not the United States help in transportation, and even encourage the very idea of the Hispanidad -- a notion that Spain would like to encourage, just as the Quai d'Orsay likes to encourage "le jour de la Francophonie" at French consulates all over the place -- so as to rescue Spain (and don't forget Portugal, and a possible Brazilian influx directed lusitanically, rather than to the Colossus of the North).
New World immigrants to the Old World, coming not in uniforms like the American doughboys in World War I ("Lafayette, we are here!") or G.I.'s in World War II, or Marshall-planners after the war, but simply immigrants who will not only supply the labor force needed, but will fit in, and not undermine the very society and nation within which they settle,as has clearly been the case -- who at this point can deny it, even in the Netherlands, even in Great Britain, even in France -- with Muslim immigrants, from whatever countries they have come, and in whatever countries of the Bilad al-Kufr in which they now live.
Start cranking up those Mexico City to Madrid flights. Make them very cheap. Make the whole process as convenient as possible. And through up whatever barrier is needed to prevent still more Moroccans and other maghrebins from making it across the Strait of Gibraltar, to Spain, where their true cost to the Spanish people, Spanish society, Spanish state is astronomical.
(based on a comment made at Jihadwatch)
Posted on 04/04/2008 7:30 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 4 April 2008
Liquor is quicker
Anyone who imagines that Britain and America speak the same language need only compare the terms "liquor store" and "off licence". "
"Liquor store", to my ears, sounds rather disreputable. I picture a seedy old man, licking his lips and rubbing his hands as he sneaks in there, while his more wholesome friends drink Coke or go for a jerk at the soda fountain. Dusty bottles of the hard stuff are lined up behind the counter, and the reprobate carries them off in one of those brown paper bags with no handles that Americans seem to go in for. Apparently, you can't buy beer or wine in American supermarkets, as if it is shameful and must be segregated. This is as weird as having a law against "jaywalking". Then again, I couldn't live in any country that doesn't have proper pubs, which rules out everywhere except the UK and Ireland.
An "off licence" or "offy" is an altogether friendlier, jollier place. It's something you "pop into" to pick up a few cans or a bottle that you forgot to pick up at the supermarket. An "off licence" is so called because it can sell alcohol to be consumed "off the premises", not alcohol that has gone off.
Jason Wilson writes in the Washington Post about Liquor Store Archaeology:
My brother Tyler and I sometimes play a game we call Liquor Store Archaeology. The aim is to make a pith-helmeted visit to older, neglected liquor stores, the sort of family-owned shops that perhaps were once prosperous and now do business mainly in pint-size flasks or liters of cheap wine or beer by the can. Inside, we scour the dark bottom shelves and dank back corners of the place, looking for forgotten bottles of spirits that have been languishing, perhaps for decades.
More often than not, we indeed turn up something rare or just plain strange. Our finds span the world: caraway-flavored kummel from Germany, an Armenian brandy called Ararat, eaux de vie with all manner of fruit floating in them, a wasabi-flavored liqueur, even a honey liqueur bottled with a real honeycomb.
Tyler became the clear victor not too long ago when he turned up something called, somewhat disturbingly, Peanut Lolita, a thick, peanut-flavored liqueur that once was produced by Continental Distilling in Linfield, Pa. The logo and fonts on the label suggest the early 1960s, but according to what little research exists, Peanut Lolita was still around in the mid-1970s, when infamous presidential brother Billy Carter "often made drunken appearances" with the liqueur's spokesmodel, according to an essay by Christopher S. Kelley in "Life in the White House: A Social History of the First Family and the President's House" (SUNY Press, 2004).
We may now own the only two bottles of Peanut Lolita left in existence. Due to the liqueur's overwhelming whiskey-and-peanut taste and grainy texture -- not to mention its unfortunate name -- it is unlikely to make a comeback anytime soon. But Tyler has created a respectable drink with the stuff: He layers ice-cold Peanut Lolita and raspberry-flavored Chambord in a cordial glass and calls it a PB&J.
Can we Cope with Wendy once again? I think so:
The expense of spirits is a crying shame,
So is the cost of wine. What bard today
Can live like old Khayyám? It’s not the same—
A loaf and Thou and Tesco’s Beaujolais.
I had this bird called Sharon, fond of gin—
Could knock back six or seven. At the price
I paid a high wage for each hour of sin
And that was why I only had her twice.
Then there was Tracy, who drank rum and Coke,
So beautiful I didn’t mind at first
But love grows colder. Now some other bloke
Is subsidizing Tracy and her thirst.
I need a woman, honest and sincere,
Who’ll come across on half a pint of beer.
Posted on 04/04/2008 5:18 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 4 April 2008
"Yorkshire born and Yorkshire bred - strong i'th' arm and weak i'th' 'ead." That's what I was always told by my fellow Lancastrians, who thought the War of the Roses was still on.
Times have changed. These days a Yorkshire accent denotes intelligence. Philologist Joseph Wright will be dancing in his grave and yelling: "Ah tawd ye so." Other stereotypes remain intact. From The Times:
It may not have held back Jasper Carrot or Clare Short, although Sue Lawley did ditch hers the moment she left Dudley. Now a study suggests that other ambitious West Midlanders may want to consider losing their accent if they want to get on in life.
It found that people with the distinctive nasal tones of the Birmingham region are considered far less intelligent than those with other accents, despite a general trend in which regional dialects have become more respectable.
In a series of experiments, even a control group who said nothing at all were considered more intelligent than those with Brummie accents.
People who say nothing at all often sound more intelligent than people who speak. Most people, whatever their accent, should shut up more than they do.
The study into dialect and perceived intelligence also found that received pronunciation, the accent of royalty and public school alumni, has fallen from its leading role for the first time.
The research was conducted at Bath Spa University by Lance Workman and Hayley-Jane Smith, who comes from Birmingham. In their experiments, the Yorkshire accent came top.
Say what you like about thick Brummies - and I have - the Brummie who coined the name "Spaghetti Junction" was pretty clever.
Posted on 04/04/2008 6:20 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 4 April 2008
Guilty: The drunken tycoon who fled the scene of a car crash dressed as a blacked-up Roman gladiator
It didn't take long for police to find clothing tycoon William Bianchi when he fled after crashing his car into a tree while drunk.
For a start he was dressed as a Roman gladiator and was wearing black bodypaint.
The fact that his hair was also badly singed also helped to identify him as a man who had just escaped a burning car.
And just for good measure, the friend who was with him was wearing a Superman outfit.
Bianchi, 38, was tracked to a hospital in Macclesfield after the crash, which followed a fancy-dress party.
PC Gary Turner said: "He was dressed as a full Roman gladiator with a breastplate, body armour and skirt. His face and arms and legs were black through make-up. His hair seemed to be singed. He reminded me of Wile E Coyote, the cartoon character”.
Asked if anyone was with Bianchi at the hospital, PC Turner said: "Superman. Superman was in the waiting room."
Bianchi was remanded for sentence until April 16, when he could face a maximum of six months behind bars and be fined up to £5,000.
While the above is hilarious and reminds me of two different episodes of Only Fools and Horses there is actually nothing funny about drunken driving itself. I hope the public ridicule will be enough to convince this rich idiot of the error of his ways.
Posted on 04/04/2008 6:37 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 4 April 2008
Muslims Of The Americas To Hold Parade In Binghamton, NY
Douglas Hagmann at Northwest Intelligence Network reported on this two days ago and linked to Jerry Gordon's excellent piece on Jamaat ul Fuqra here. Today, WND reports more fully on Saturday's scheduled parade in Binghamton, NY:
Muslim leaders at an encampment at the Catskill Mountains called "Islamberg" have been granted a permit by the city of Binghamton, N.Y., to hold a parade on Saturday in honor of Muhammad's birthday.
The holiday is called Milad-un-Nabi and is being celebrated by a group of families who live at the nearby property owned by Muslims of the Americas, Inc.
MAS is also a well-known front group for the Muslim Brotherhood.
The city has the parade scheduled on its calendar from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the downtown area, including its main street, and a report in the local Press & Sun-Bulletin said the celebration previously held on the group's own property this year is being expanded.
"We're trying to do an interfaith thing, we're reach out to the community to do a program based on unity," Maryam Rahim, a spokeswoman, told the newspaper. "We haven't been very well known …. We want everyone to come out and celebrate, may ask questions."
City spokesman Andrew Block said the group secured the appropriate permits to hold the celebration and the city will close down one lane of the downtown's main street for the parade...
The newspaper said Muslims of the Americas was formed in the 1980s when several families migrated from New York City to make a new start. There now is a mosque and a private school on the land.
However, there are others who describe the location as a training facility for the Pakistani terrorist group Jamaat ul Fuqra.
As WND reported earlier, a covert visit to the encampment found neighboring residents deeply concerned about military-style training taking place there but frustrated by the lack of attention from federal authorities. The visit was conducted by the Northeast Intelligence Network, which worked with an Internet blogger, "CP," to publish an report.
The neighbors interviewed, who asked not to be identified, said in the report compiled only two years ago they feared retaliation if they were to make a report to law enforcement officials.
"We see children – small children run around over there when they should be in school," one neighbor said. "We hear bursts of gunfire all of the time, and we know that there is military-like training going on there. Those people are armed and dangerous."
The resident said his household gets "nothing but menacing looks from the people who go in and out of the camp, and sometimes they yell at us to mind our own business when we are just driving by."
"We don't even dare to slow down when we drive by," the resident said. "They own this mountain and they know it, and there is nothing we can do about it but move, and we can't even do that. Who wants to buy property next to that?"...
Read about the 45 such camps in the U.S. here.
Posted on 04/04/2008 6:32 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 4 April 2008
Religious Scholar And Latest Terrorist Rock Star
[In Islam, this is not a contradiction.]
New Duranty reports in glowing terms: On the night of July 10, 2005, an obscure militant preacher named Abu Yahya al-Libi escaped from an American prison in Afghanistan and rocketed to fame in the world of jihadists.
The breakout from the Bagram Air Base by Mr. Libi and three cellmates — they picked a lock, dodged their guards and traversed the base’s vast acreage to freedom — embarrassed American officials as deeply as it delighted the jihadist movement. In the nearly three years since then, Mr. Libi’s meteoric ascent within the leadership of Al Qaeda has proved to be even more troublesome for the authorities.
Mr. Libi, a Libyan believed to be in his late 30s, is now considered to be a top strategist for Al Qaeda, as well as one of its most effective promoters of global jihad, appearing in a dozen videos on militant Web sites in the past year, counterterrorism officials said. At a time when Al Qaeda seems more inspirational than operational, Mr. Libi stands out as a formidable star whose rise to prominence tracks the group’s growing emphasis on information in its war with the West.
“I call him a man for all seasons for A.Q.,” said Jarret Brachman, a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency who is now research director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. “He’s a warrior. He’s a poet. He’s a scholar. He’s a pundit. He’s a military commander. And he’s a very charismatic, young, brash rising star within A.Q., and I think he has become the heir apparent to Osama bin Laden in terms of taking over the entire global jihadist movement.”
The secrecy that envelops Al Qaeda’s leadership structure makes such estimates speculative, other analysts noted. But one Islamist insider said that in addition to youth and charisma, Mr. Libi possessed one skill that Al Qaeda’s leaders had been lacking: religious scholarship. Perhaps with this in mind, Al Qaeda is featuring Mr. Libi, who spent two years in Africa studying Islam, in as many of the videos as the group’s top leaders, Mr. bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri.
“Bin Laden is an engineer and Zawahri is a medical doctor,” said Dr. Muhammad al-Massari, a Saudi dissident who lives in London. “So it is important that they also present someone who has the role of scholar.”
The varied roles that Mr. Libi plays in these videos, from recruiter to ideological enforcer, also shed light on Al Qaeda’s shifting tactics. In recent months, those tactics have come to include defensive maneuvers aimed at defusing the media counteroperations of the United States and its allies.
Mr. Libi delivers his message with a preacher’s cadence. His black turban drapes down his chest, and he alternates between white Arabic robes and camouflage jackets.
“O Muslim youth in the East and West, who listen to God calling you: ‘Go forth to war, whether it be easy or difficult for you, and strive hard in God’s cause with your possessions and your lives,’ ” he said in a video sermon released this year.
But increasingly, Mr. Libi uses his videos not to expand Al Qaeda’s base, but to shore it up. He has lashed out at moderate Muslim scholars who accuse Al Qaeda of using false interpretations of the Koran to justify jihad. He has mocked Saudi Arabia’s efforts to persuade jailed militants to give up the fight.
In a 93-minute speech released last fall, Mr. Libi urged supporters to brace themselves for a surge in psychological warfare loaded with false propaganda. He cited a rumor that Al Qaeda’s constitution calls for killing anyone who breaks from the group: “Al Qaeda and its leaders are too noble and pure to descend to the rotten level of such nonsense.” ...
Posted on 04/04/2008 7:03 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 4 April 2008
Puppets without strings
I have never understood why “hit and miss” is supposed to be a Bad Thing. Isn’t it better to have hit and missed than never too have hit at all? Hitters and missers, who take risks and sometimes get it wrong, add to the gaiety of nations. The opposite of a “hit and miss” person would be a human equivalent of Switzerland, of which the most exciting thing that can be said is that it is clean.
The Eighties satirical series “Spitting Image” in which grotesque puppets caricatured politicians, members of the Royal Family and other famous people, was certainly hit and miss. Occasionally spectacularly funny, it often fell short and descended into slapstick. Matthew Parris writes in today’s Times on its successor, “Headcases”, and hopes it won’t be too bland:
It's got to hurt. If it doesn't bite it doesn't work. And if it doesn't shock, it won't stick.
To know why that is true of political satire you would have to be more than one of The Times's parliamentary sketchwriters, as for 13 years I was; you would have to be a psychoanalyst or priest. All I know is that for at least the past four centuries England and Ireland have excelled at the art of political lampoonery, and almost everything that survives from it is savage. An art that started with cartooning and satirical fiction, and moved to poetry and theatre, and finally to broadcasting too, has altered the media through which it has been published, but stayed astonishingly true to the tradition of rude, crude, unfair, needling and unbelievably personal attack that has always distinguished English satire. Continental satirists and cartoonists usually go for the issue first, the individual second: with us it is the other way round.
And the legacy is truly shocking. Jonathan Swift published a modest proposal that the Irish should eat their own babies, as an answer to famine in that country: it was meant as a satire on the heartlessness of the English. In the 18th century it was not thought unusual to caricature monarchs sitting on the lavatory. Such are the traditions that were handed down to the BBC's That Was The Week That Was in 1960s Britain - and 20 years later to Spitting Image.
Like it or not, Headcases will be called the successor to Spitting Image and compared with ITV's crude, ferocious and long-running end-of-20th-century satire. Computer animation may have replaced the famous rubber puppets that the programme's victims gave silly sums of money to purchase, Gordon Brown and David Cameron may have replaced the pinstriped Margaret Thatcher, Dracula Norman Tebbit and clownish Neil Kinnock, but the spirit of British political caricature - part savage and part infantile - remains the same across the ages.
Look at our 18th-century cartoonists like James Gillray and William Hogarth, whose demolition of Georges III and IV the former Cabinet Minister Kenneth Baker (himself portrayed on Spitting Image as a slug) has recently showcased in two new collections. Or look at fine modern exemplars of the tradition like The Times's own Peter Brookes.
Readers with long memories may perhaps be able to remember a handful more. Spitting Image, however, ran for 12 years. Many of the sketches were mildly funny, just a few were side-splitting, and frankly much of the rest was low-grade slapstick, with puppets for ever biffing each other on the heads in routine and unfunny Punch & Judy fashion.
Headcases will need to get in place a cast of computer-generated representations that are, as often as not, technically memorable. It will need a measure of wit and the occasional flash of insight. And it will need to find - or create - an audience keen to enter its world and knowing and caring enough about its cast of characters for the jokes to mean much.
But I'm afraid I think it will need something more. It will need occasionally to shock. Really shock. There must be lightning flashes of cruelty, and they must often border on and sometimes trespass into bad taste. Unless there occur episodes which seriously offend a minority of viewers and bring the series regularly to the attention of the broadcasting watchdogs, it's never going to take off.
I do mean offend. Not just the easy targets, Christians, pensioners, the BNP, monarchists and toffs - it's perfectly safe and PC to attack these - but people on the more sensitive outposts of the diversity agenda. The best traditions of English satire should not spare Muslims, blacks, gays, women, the disabled or the mentally ill. There will have to be sketches that make people wince...
Ah, yes, Muslims. Will we see any Muslims parodied? Those mad mullahs are an obvious target, as is the smoother but deadlier Tariq Ramadan. And there’s Mohammed himself, of course. Mohammed on the toilet, wiping himself with a twig. How about it?
Posted on 04/04/2008 8:34 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 4 April 2008
Blackpool College in £100m Mecca move
Blackpudlians are between a rock and a hard place. What would George Formby say? Or Alistair Cooke for that matter? From the Blackpool Gazette (h/t Alan):
ONE of Blackpool's biggest eyesores is to be bulldozed to make way for a new £100m college campus.
Mecca, not to be confused with Mecca
Blackpool and The Fylde College is to sell its Bispham base and move to a new home next door to Blackpool FC.
A 10-acre-site between Rigby Road, Seasiders Way, Central Drive and Bloomfield Road – including the "tatty" old Mecca dance hall – has been secured to build the new further education base.
Posted on 04/04/2008 8:56 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 4 April 2008
Muslims Leaving Islam In Droves
Andrew Walden writes at Pajamas Media:
Pope Benedict’s choice to publicly baptize the most prominent Muslim in Italy, Egyptian-born Magdi Allam, highlights a quiet worldwide exodus from Islam. In recent years, millions have moved on. With this high-profile action, Pope Benedict demonstratively blesses this massive conversion from the highest levels of the Church.
Interviewed by al-Jazeera in 2006, Ahmad al-Qataani, leader of the Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, explains the decline:
Islam used to represent … Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non-Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century.
On the other hand, the number of Catholics has increased from one million in 1902 to 329 million 882 thousand (329,882,000). Let us round off that number to 330 million in the year 2000.
As to how that happened, well there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed.
Allam’s public baptism came just ten days after the body of Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul, Iraq, was found in a shallow grave after being kidnapped by al-Qaeda February 29. The ceremony came just three days after an al-Qaeda tape threatening the pope and condemning cartoons of Mohammed. Muslims who convert to other religions or abandon religion entirely are subject to a standing order of death for apostasy. The baptism of Allam is an act of defiance in the face of Islamic threats.
The baptism of Allam also comes in the midst of papal “dialogue” with Muslims. The dialogue began unpromisingly with the catcalls from Islam and its secularist allies which greeted the now-famous September 20, 2006, papal address at the University of Regensburg. In October, 138 Islamic leaders presented the pope with “A Common Word Between Us and You” — nailed by critics as a craftily written call for conversion. On March 4, Pope Benedict approved formation of a permanent “Catholic-Muslim forum” scheduled to meet in November. And now he has thrown his own call for conversion into the discussion. Islam’s secularist allies were quick to echo Muslims, calling the baptism “provocative.” While accepting the Islamic death penalty for apostasy as a given, they complain the pope’s action could set back dialogue...
Although al-Qataani points to Africa, there is another phenomenon based on repulsion from Islamist dictatorship, corruption, and terrorist violence. In Iran as many as 1 million people have surreptitiously converted to Evangelical Christianity in the last five years. Pastor Hormoz Shariat claims to have converted 50,000 of them through his U.S.-based Farsi-language satellite ministry. He contrasts the upswing to the efforts of evangelical missionaries in Iran between 1830 and 1979, whose 149 years of work built a Christian community of only 3,000. One Iranian religious scholar believes youth are abandoning Islam because it is identified with the corrupt Iranian government. Now the Iranian Majlis (parliament) is debating the death penalty for conversion.
After years of al-Qaeda war on Iraq, a similar phenomenon is growing. The New York Times March 4 reports: “After almost five years of war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach.” A high school girl tells Times reporters: “I hate Islam and all the clerics because they limit our freedom every day and their instruction became heavy over us. Most of the girls in my high school hate that Islamic people control the authority because they don’t deserve to be rulers.” A 19-year-old man says: “The religion men are liars. Young people don’t believe them. Guys my age are not interested in religion anymore.” A Baghdad law professor explains that her students “have changed their views about religion. They started to hate religious men. They make jokes about them because they feel disgusted by them.” A 24-year-old female college student says, “I used to love Osama bin Laden. Now I hate Islam. Al-Qaeda and the Mahdi Army are spreading hatred. People are being killed for nothing.”
In southern Russia the same pattern is emerging. According to Roman Silantyev, executive secretary of the Inter-religious Council in Russia, freed from atheist control, two million Muslims converted to Christianity. Repulsed by bloody terrorist attacks, those living in areas such as Beslan have converted to Christianity in the greatest numbers of all. As many as 100,000 have converted to Christianity in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan.
After decades of Islamist war, evangelicals report thousands of sub-rosa converts in rural areas of Kashmir. Says one churchgoer: “I am interested in this religion. I hate violence. I hate fundamentalists in Islam. I come here to seek peace.” An Indian newspaper headline reads: “Urban Muslim Youth Out to Junk Faith.”
Following decades of terrorist rule, Palestinians are being quietly converted, holding in-home services to avoid detection. Says one evangelist: “I’ve been working among these people for thirty years, and I promise you I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Islam is also losing adherents in areas where Islamist harassment is heavy on the streets. The London Times estimates 15% of Muslims living in Western Europe have left Islam — 200,000 in the UK alone. Those who leave often face harassment, threats, and attack.
The mufti of Perak, Malaysia, estimates about 250,000 people have abandoned Islam, making formal application for apostasy to the state — a right allowed to Malaysian citizens who are not ethnic Malays. Says he: “This figure does not include individuals who don’t do solat, doesn’t fast and breaks [sic] all the tenets of Islam.” Borrowing from the communist playbook, Malaysia operates “reeducation camps” for any ethnic Malay found guilty of apostasy. Unsurprisingly, ethnic Malays are at the bottom of the economic ladder in Malaysia.
In a letter published in Corriere della Sera on Easter Day, Allam points out the pope “sent an explicit and revolutionary message to a church that until now has been too cautious in the conversion of Muslims … because of the fear of being unable to protect the converted who are condemned to death for apostasy.
“Thousands of people in Italy have converted to Islam and practice their faith serenely. But there are also thousands of Muslims who have converted to Christianity who are forced to hide their new faith out of fear of being killed by Islamist terrorists.”
Allam describes Islam as a system for taking and holding power. Threat of violence is its enforcement mechanism. Allam also points out: “Beyond … the phenomenon of extremists and Islamist terrorism at the global level, the root of evil is inherent to a physiologically violent and historically conflictual Islam.” So it is not coincidental that Muslims are abandoning the faith as U.S. and coalition soldiers smash al-Qaeda in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Islamist terrorists and street thugs are beginning to look impotent...
Posted on 04/04/2008 8:19 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 4 April 2008
Email your future self
If you could go back in time and make contact with your younger, more foolish self, what would you say? I would say plenty, but my younger, more foolish self would tell me to get lost. Still, at least then I'd be able to say, with all the wisdom of age, "I told you so."
Well, none of us can speak to our past self, but we can send a message to our future self, to be delivered on a date of our choosing. Here (h/t David Thompson) is a website that allows you to do this. By default, the email will be delivered in a year's time, but it can be as far in the future as 2037. Presumably the idea is that when the future comes around, you'll have forgotten you sent the original email, and it will be a surprise.
"Have you done it yet?" is a good, all-purpose message, as is "You still here?"
Posted on 04/04/2008 10:46 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 4 April 2008
Dissatisfaction with Islam in Iran
I found this site, Persian Journal yesterday. I had lots of other stuff to post but seeing Rebecca’s post Muslims Leaving Islam In Droves which mentions, among other things dissatisfaction with Islam in Iran it seems very relevant.
Since its inception fourteen hundred years ago, Islam has been at war with the people of this planet. Millions of people have been literally butchered with the sword of Islam.
Some may argue that all religions at one point in time have committed crimes against humanity. That may be so, but none of the existing world religions' foundation has been based upon shedding the blood of its innocent conquered "victims."
Islam lives, breathes and grows on blood. Once we take away this red element from Islam, Islam will vanish completely. Islam cannot possibly live in the hearts and minds of its believers.
We Iranians . . . should rid ourselves of all Islamic stains, Shia, Sunni, or whatever, and with it . . . doesn’t solve any problems on the ground, and problems on the ground we have aplenty.
Let's look forward and do something about the sorry plight of the Iranian people today, so that future generations can recall this generation of Iranians as trailblazers who had the courage to break from the bleak past and launch a bright future.
Iran curse continues . . . Just a regime change in Iran is not enough, unless we get rid of Iran’s 1400 year curse history will repeat itself, over and over.
If Muslims really are this unhappy with Islam we need to seize the opportunity and give them every encouragement.
Question Islam at every turn, especially in schools with the young inquiring minds.
Why do we allow planning permission for building (mosques and Islamic centres) where women have an inferior position when every church, no matter how architecturally significant has to have disabled access?
Why does a Muslim girl have to dress so differently from her school friends?
FGM is heinous so why is it still practiced?
Reach out with a better alternative for those who retain their faith in a higher power but don't believe that He is cruel and capricious.
Pursue children abducted for forced marriage, punish honour murders and intimidation severely, so that once doubt has been sown there is a safe haven for all who want to leave.
Posted on 04/04/2008 12:54 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 4 April 2008
Exclusive: Chinese police kill eight after opening fire on monks and Tibet protesters
Chinese paramilitary police have killed eight people after opening fire on several hundred Tibetan monks and villagers in bloody violence that will fuel human rights protests as London prepares to host its leg of the Olympic torch relay this weekend.
Witnesses said the clash – in which dozens were wounded – erupted late last night after a government inspection team entered a monastery in the Chinese province of Sichuan trying to confiscate pictures of the Dalai Lama.
Officials searched the room of every monk in the Donggu monastery, a sprawling 15th century edifice in Ganzi, southwestern Sichuan, confiscating all mobile phones as well as the pictures.
When the inspectors tore up the photographs and threw them on the floor, a 74-year-old monk, identified as Cicheng Danzeng, tried to stop an act seen as a desecration by Tibetans who revere the Dalai Lama as their god king.
A young man working in the monastery, identified as Cicheng Pingcuo, 25, also made a stand and both were arrested.
The team then demanded that all the monks denounce the Dalai Lama, who fled China after a failed uprising in 1959. One monk, Yixi Lima, stood up and voiced his opposition, prompting the other monks to add their voices.
At about 6.30 p.m., the entire monastic body marched down to a nearby river where paramilitary police were encamped and demanded the release of the two men.
They were joined by several hundred local villagers, many of them enraged at the detention of the 74-year-old monk Cicheng Danzeng, who locals say is well respected in the area for his learning and piety.
Shouting “Long Live the Dalai Lama,” “Let the Dalai Lama come back” and “We want freedom”, the crowd demonstrated until about nine in the evening.
Witnesses said that at around that time, as many as 1,000 paramilitary police used force to try to end the protest and opened fire on the crowd. It was not known if the demonstrators had been throwing stones at the police.
In the gunfire, eight people died, according to a local resident in direct contact with the monastery. These included a 27-year-old monk identified as Cangdan and two women named as Zhulongcuo and Danluo.
It comes just as the issue of unrest has become a magnet for activists around the world who are criticising China’s human rights record as it prepares to host the Olympic Games in Beijing in August.
Posted on 04/04/2008 1:22 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 4 April 2008
Terror suspects 'planned to sacrifice wives and children'
The alleged “martyrdom” plot, which was just “a couple of weeks” from fruition, also included plans to attack nuclear power stations, oil refineries and the skyscrapers of London’s Canary Wharf, it is alleged.
Excerpts from six “chilling” alleged suicide videos were played to a jury, in which the defendants said they would “scatter body parts” over the streets in revenge for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They said the deaths of “so-called innocents” were justified because British taxpayers, who funded the Army, did not care about the fate of Muslims, as they were more interested in drinking, watching EastEnders and “complaining about the World Cup”.
The court has already been told that up to 18 suicide bombers were allegedly to be used to simultaneously bring down seven or more flights bound for the US and Canada from Heathrow Airport.
Before their arrests in August 2006, the alleged conspirators were covertly recorded discussing their plans, the prosecutor, Peter Wright QC, told Woolwich Crown Court.
When one of the men, Abdulla Ali, was asked “how long 'til the event?” he replied: “A couple of weeks.”
Another, Umar Islam, added: “This is really going to happen, isn’t it?”, the court heard.
The discussion is then said to have turned to whether the men should take their wives and children on the alleged suicide missions.
Umar Islam was asked whether his wife might consider going with him on the “operation”.
He allegedly said: “I think if I was to say to her that this was a significant operation she might even find it in herself to do that.”
Ali asks: “What about the babies?... Maybe she taken them with her?”
Islam replies: “Maybe, you know what I mean. She’d like to do it though.”
Mr Wright said: “Such a sacrifice is beyond contemplation for those who are the target of an attack such as this but not those who are about to carry them out.”
As the full scope of the alleged terror plot was revealed for the first time, the jury heard that information had been gathered on the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown, the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
The plotters may also have intended to bring down the internet by hitting Britain’s main web server, according to information seized at the home of Assad Sarwar.
A diary found in Mr Sarwar’s home included the names of oil refineries at Fawley in Hampshire, Kingsbury, Warwicks., Coryton, Essex, and a gas terminal at Bacton, Norfolk.
The alleged plotters bought a flat in Walthamstow, East London, to use as a “bomb factory”, Mr Wright told Woolwich Crown Court, and had bought all the materials they needed to assemble liquid-based bombs which could be “smuggled” on aircraft disguised as soft drinks.
The jury was shown a video of a test explosion carried out in a police laboratory using a similar bomb, which was so powerful it shattered thick protective glass set up around the bomb.
During raids on Ali’s home, police found a letter which talked about his “beautiful wife” and nine-month-old son.
It said: “It is more dear to my heart that I am waiting in a tent in the cold, dark, chilly wind waiting for dawn so that I may attack the enemy.”
A CD found at another address allegedly linked to him, titled “ha ha ha!”, contained footage of the beheading of an American hostage by Islamic extremists.
Posted on 04/04/2008 1:44 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 4 April 2008
Shari'ah And The Non-Muslim
PETALING JAYA: It is unconstitutional to punish non-Muslims for committing khalwat (close proximity) as there is no provision in law for it...
Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism president Datuk A. Vaithilingam said yesterday that Article 121(A) of the Constitution allowed for separation between the Civil and Syariah courts.
“Khalwat is not recognised (as an offence) under civil law.
“It is not wrong for non-Muslims. Syariah law is only applicable to Muslims,” he said yesterday.
--from this news article
I would be interested to know if in Malaysia, or elsewhere in the lands where Muslims have been able, by degrees, or all at once, to impose their will on non-Muslims, if Muslim courts do indeed respect the hadith in Islam that forbids Muslims to inherit property from non-Muslims (and of course vice-versa).
And I trust that European courts will take notice of this hadith, and of others, in deciding whether or not to allow, for example, the property of Muslims who die intestate from being inherited by non-Muslim relatives -- surely not -- or, to determine if legal effect should be given to bequests by non-Muslims to Muslims, for that would be encouraging the inheritor to violate the well-settled commandments of his own faith.
And we can't have that, can we?
Or is it precisely to avoid that situation that the Malaysian (Muslim) authorities have taken to declaring as Muslims, after their death, a number of Chinese and Indians, so that their property can be inherited by the sole Muslim convert in the family?
This is the kind of thing -- and not the apologetics of the Muslims who have so naively been hired at this or that American law school, where they offer guidance to nothing, though their fellow faculty members are blissfully unaware of the scandal, of the mistake. What should be studied is Islamic law, (the legal treatment of Muslims is one thing), but the most important subject, and one that the example of Malaysia (and Indonesia, and Egypt, and Pakistan, and Sudan) so obviously raise, is the legal regime of the Shari'ah, and how it is inflicted, in all kinds of ways, on non-Muslims, and also how Muslims manage to get around, as with the rules on inheritance I have just mentioned, their own canonical texts, including hadith included by their most respected muhaddithin when it is to the advantage of those Muslims.
(based on a comment made at Jihadwatch)
Posted on 04/04/2008 3:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 4 April 2008
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming that a Wyoming State Penitentiary policy restricting prisoners' mealtimes violates the constitutional rights of two Muslim inmates.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on behalf of Joseph Miller and Hurie Purdiman Jr., two inmates serving time at the penitentiary in Rawlins.
At issue is an alleged "20-minute rule" requiring inmates to eat their meals within 20 minutes after the food is delivered to a cell or common dining area, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit seeks for the inmates to be exempted from the rule because it forces them to choose between eating and practicing their religion.
Miller and Purdiman claim that meals have arrived at the same time of day that they're practicing prayers according to their Muslim faith. On other occasions, meals arrived during a period of religious fasting and then were confiscated before the fast ended at sunset.
--from this news article
The principle of American constitutional law that has been applied in cases where, it is claimed, the free exercise of religion has been infringed, is that of "reasonable accommodation." And in the case law, what is "reasonable accommodation" in turn, requires an analysis of the state interest involved. The smooth functioning of prisons, and the administrative headache if such a claim were to stand, so that "20 minutes" would have to be lengthened, and if lengthened, then no doubt, would have to be lengthened for all prisoners. Or if not, a great many prisoners might - and this is a worry -- start to claim that they, too, were Muslims, and might even decide to convert, since it takes nothing but a phrase, in order to obtain such a benefit, and then, having done so lightheartedly, find that "you know, there really is something to this Islam." It's a very dangerous thing to give in on.
That is the case law. A few years ago there was an attempt to deal with this situation by statute, the so-called RULIPA (which google), which tries to accommodate religion in such areas as land use and institutional -- including prison -- practices. How this case might be decided under RULIPA, how RULIPA relates to the prior case law or might if the case came to the Court (and here one must put one's faith in the common sense of the Court, but a Court whose members are no more acquainted with Islam than are most of our leaders) is an interesting question.
Of course, this begs a more important question: is Islam a religion in the sense in which the Framers understood that word, and as we today in the West understand that word?
It is much more than a religion. It is a politics. It is a geopolitics. It is a program for, and justification of, world conquest for Islam and for Muslims. That can be found, quite easily, in the texts. Those who keep refusing to examine those texts, or examining the totalitarian nature of Islam, with its system of Total Regulation, and its justification for the mistreatment of all Unbelievers, or Infidels need to be replaced by those who do understand it. Islam needs to be understood by those in Congress who pass such a statute as RULIPA, and by judges, including of course those on the Supreme Court.
Islam presents an unprecedented challenge, both to American jurisprudence, and to the American -- and all Western states, and societies. A challenge and, if rightly understood, a danger that will not disappear, because it is based on texts that are regarded as uncreated and immutable, and the literal word of God, and every Muslim is, or is supposed to be, a literalist, and those who are not, nonetheless by their continued silence on the true nature of Islam, and withhold their truthful recognition or admission of the problem, are only encouraging unwariness on the part of naive Infidels, and so, themselves, are participating, even if they would not see it that way, in the Jihad whose instruments include Da'wa, and also a world-wide propaganda campaign of steady misinformation. So far, that propaganda campaign has been working, for it appeals, in many ways, to all kinds of fashionable tendencies -- the deep unexamined belief in the wonders of "diversity," the deep Family-0f-Man sentimentalism that insists "all people are the same the whole world over" and its bomfoggish corollary, "all religions mean the same thing" or "we all worship the same God."
If examined with care, by the well-prepared, all of this crumbles into dust. But who, nowadays, is used to examining anything? And how many, nowadays, can be included in the list of the "well-prepared"?
(based on a comment made at Dhimmiwatch)
Posted on 04/04/2008 3:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 4 April 2008
The 20% Solution
... Oxford scholars, after putting together educational biographies for some 300 known members of violent Islamist groups from 30 countries, concluded that a majority of these Islamist terrorists were not just highly educated, but a startling number of them are engineers. Indeed, according to Gambetta and Hertog, nearly half had studied engineering. A summary of their research in Foreign Policy magazine remarked that "across the Middle East and Southeast Asia, the share of engineers in violent Islamist groups was found to be at least nine times greater than what one might expect, given their proportion of the working male population."
Is there something about engineering that makes its most proficient graduates vulnerable to the temptations of violent extremism? Gambetta and Hertog seem to think so. They have no patience for the more conventional possible explanation — that engineers might be sought after by terrorist groups for their technical expertise in making and blowing up things. Instead, they argue that the reason there are so many terrorist engineers is that the subject helps produce a mindset that makes one prone to radicalisation...
Perhaps the solution lies in making it compulsory for every engineering student to take at least 20% of his courses in the humanities...
--from an article by Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor, the novelist, womanizer, and would-be U.N. Secretary-General, hoping to bestride the world like a colossus, has decided that a little Shakespeare and Dickens will do the trick, and that they will perform on their own that mission civilisatrice that Muslims need? Well, why is it that non-Muslim engineers are apparently not in such great need of the civilizing and softening influence of a course of study that does not include "20% of the humanities"? And does he not know of others who were raised up on the Western humanities, and how, and yet once in thrall to the mental manacles of a total belief-system, those humanities meant nothing at all, were no check whatsoever? Think of the Nazis, think of the Soviet regime. Lenin was well-read. So what? Nazis bureaucrats could listen, and be moved, by Bach and Brahms and Beethoven. So what?
It's the easy prescription, the one that avoids, of course, what Islam teaches, what effect Islam has on the minds of men, and the hold it has, on so many, and for so long, that even the apostates in the West have testified that it takes a very long time, a period of spiritual wrestling, to throw the whole thing off, and be free at last.
If Shashi Tharoor thinks that a 20% infusion of the "humanities" will solve the problem of jihad, he is a very silly man. Which humanities? Literary study, which is now full of such words as "post-colonial" and "hegemonic" "discourse" or the real thing, the good old thing, the thing that might have possibly enlarged sympathies, rather than merely be a vehicle for expressing resentment, or claiming authenticity, or settling scores, or something that has nothing to do with the real "humane" in "humanities." If this will do it, he should ask himself why it is that all those articulate and brilliant apostates from Islam, with their numbers growing every day, while they agree that the de-mystifying of the Qur'an and the Hadith, especially putting the former back into history, and the studying of the latter as obvious later fabrications, have never suggested the kind of 20% humanities panacea that smiling Shashi Tharoor so confidently does?
(based on a comment made at Jihadwatch)
Posted on 04/04/2008 5:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 4 April 2008
Musical Interlude: Don Gibson
Posted on 04/04/2008 7:20 PM by Rebecca Bynum