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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 Friday, 5, 2008.
Friday, 5 September 2008
Fury at Paris Match picture of Taleban in dead soldier's uniform

From The Telegraph and The Times 
French politicians have condemned Paris Match magazine for publishing photographs of Taliban fighters wearing the uniform of soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan last month. The eight-page spread included images of insurgents holding guns, walkie-talkies, helmets and even a wrist-watch which had belonged to some of the ten French troops who died in an ambush 30 miles from Kabul on August 18.

Accompanying the pictures is a long interview in which the Taliban leader, who calls himself Commander Farouki, warns that every single French soldier found on Afghan soil will be killed.  He also claims his men were tipped off about the French mission in their area and were able to prepare the ambush with 140 highly-trained insurgents. He said: "If night hadn't fallen we'd have killed every one of the soldiers."
The families of the dead troops have spoken of their distress at the interview. Joel Lepahun, the father of one, said: "It's a shock to see our children's killers parading their uniforms, their weapons."
Defence Minister Herve Morin has accused Paris Match of helping the Taliban propaganda war. He said: "Should we be doing the Taliban's promotion for them?
Earlier this week, the mother of another of the French paratroopers killed in the Taliban ambush told news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur that she had written a letter to Mr Sarkozy, begging him to get France out of the war. "Stop following the example of President Bush," she wrote. "Let's stay French. Let's get our soldiers out of the quagmire."
Emotion over the report was sharpened by harrowing new accounts of bungling by French and Nato forces in the bloodiest engagement by French troops for over two decades.
"We are sickened," a soldier at the French base at Kabul, said of the photographs. "After killing our mates it's like the Taleban coming and pissing on their coffins," the unnamed private told Europe 1 radio.
Commanders are expected to be disciplined over errors that led to the deaths of the ten men and and the wounding of 23 others on the mountainside at Uzbeen, 30 miles from Kabul. Le Monde newspaper reported today that a Gendarmerie investigation had found that if took three hours for reinforcements to reach the French troops after they were pinned down.
Commanders are also being criticised for failing to carry out reconnaissance before sending a column into a dangerous area. The lack of helicopter support and other air support was also a handicap.
"We were under the ridge and we felt that we had been left alone and that we had been f***ed," one of the survivors told Le Monde. Several of the soldiers died of their wounds after being left untended for hours on the hillside, it said. The Taleban commanders denied to Match French media reports that three of the dead had been taken prisoner and then executed.
I can see why the Royal Marines made such efforts to bring back the body of one of their own last year.

Posted on 09/05/2008 2:30 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 5 September 2008
Some non-Muslim workers frustrated with Swift's Ramadan accommodation

This is from the Greeley Tribune of Colorado.
A day after a show of strength from Muslim workers at the JBS Swift plant in north Greeley prompted company officials to accommodate second-shift workers who needed a break as part of their Ramadan fast, some non-Muslim workers were not happy, and the union has filed a grievance.
"A lot of us are upset," said Swift worker Dominic Musquiz, 18, who said he was a Catholic. "It makes the day feel a lot longer."
The accommodation Swift apparently agreed to involves moving the lunch break up to 7:30 p.m. for some second-shift workers. Muslims fasting for Ramadan must break their fast at 7:30 p.m. throughout the month.
The union that represents primarily production department workers at Swift, United Food Commercial Workers Local 7, has filed a grievance as directed by its membership because the company may have been in violation of the contract, which states that the workers must receive their lunch break at the mid-point of their shift. For a second shift worker who works a 10-hour shift beginning at about 3:15 p.m., this break would come at about 8:15 p.m. Not all shifts are the same length.
Ibrahim Mohamed, the case manager at Lutheran Family Services, which has helped Somali and East African workers in the United States, said he had spoken to several Muslim workers on Thursday and they were happy with the company's decision.
He said second-shift workers were allowed a break at about 7:30 p.m. He said this gave the Muslim workers what they needed. "They told me everything worked well," he said.
Some non-Muslim workers said the Muslims received special treatment.
"They should have to work the same, regardless of race," Swift employee Anita Nunez.
The problem began on Tuesday when Muslim workers were told they could not break their fast at 7:30 p.m., but would have to wait until their lunch break. For many, that break didn't come until about 9 p.m. On Wednesday, Muslim workers gathered outside the Swift plant to negotiate a solution with management. That night they were told they would be allowed to break at 7:30 p.m.
Despite the frustration on the part of some non-Muslim workers about the change in schedule, not all non-Muslim Swift workers opposed the Ramadan accommodations.

Posted on 09/05/2008 3:13 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 5 September 2008
Child bride book too costly for Danish publishers

 From The Copenhagen Post 
Danish publishers were priced out of the market for the controversial novel about Mohammed's child bride.
A novel about Aisha, the 6-year-old wife of Mohammed, was deemed to controversial to print in America. The Danish Freedom of the Press Society (Trykkefrihedsselskab) then offered to publish it, but the price was too steep.
'The Jewel of Medina' was due to be published by Random House in the US, but was cancelled, because of fears of offending Muslim sensibilities.
Trykkefrihedsselskab's publishing company confirmed that an offer made for the Danish rights to Sherry Jones' book was rejected by her agent.
'Of course we are disappointed, but the most important thing for us is that the book gets permission to be published,' said Lars Hedegaard, president of the society.
. . . the author told a German newspaper that the book would be released in German and in English by October.
Helle Merete Brix of Trykkefrihedsselskab described the book as well written, but is worried about how some might react to the content.
'The novel describes the prophet getting a glimpse of the naked wife of his adopted son, and as a result sets his sights on marrying her. I don't really know how well that story will be received.'
I think the book should be published. I am not worried how “respectful towards Mohammed and affectionate towards his wives” the author intended to be.
When the public, or more accurately those members of the public who like Mills and Boon and Barbara Cartland  realise that such cringing erotic nonsense as “"the pain of consummation soon melted away. Muhammad was so gentle. I hardly felt the scorpion's sting. To be in his arms, skin to skin, was the bliss I had longed for all my life." is about a child of 9 taken by a man of 52 the manure will hit the oscillating object with a vengeance.
If the story of what happened to daughter-in-law Zaynab is also included I wonder how Jones deals with wife No 11, Safiyya bint Huyayy? Described by apologists as a Jewish widow taken under Mohammed’s protection she was the prettiest girl of the booty slaves taken after the Battle of Khaybar. She was a widow because one of Mohammad’s followers killed her husband for refusing to betray their tribe by revealing the whereabouts of the tribe’s valuables for which he was responsible. Her other male relatives were also killed.
A whole range of people who may not be familiar with the works of Bat Ye’or and Ali Sina will now find out what an incontinent old goat Mohammed really was. Because the
BBC wont tell them. They describe the book as about " the life of A'isha, often referred to as Muhammad's favourite wife, from her engagement at the age of six until the prophet's death". Son of the Sheik it ain’t.

Posted on 09/05/2008 4:27 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 5 September 2008
Woodward's New Book

WaPo: The Bush administration has conducted an extensive spying operation on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his staff and others in the Iraqi government, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward.

"We know everything he says," according to one of multiple sources Woodward cites about the practice in "The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008," scheduled for release Monday.

The book also says that the U.S. troop "surge" of 2007, in which President Bush sent nearly 30,000 additional U.S. combat forces and support troops to Iraq, was not the primary factor behind the steep drop in violence there during the past 16 months.

Rather, Woodward reports, "groundbreaking" new covert techniques enabled U.S. military and intelligence officials to locate, target and kill insurgent leaders and key individuals in extremist groups such as al-Qaeda in Iraq.


The book portrays an administration riven by dissension, either unwilling or slow to confront the deterioration of its strategy in Iraq during the summer and early fall of 2006. Publicly, Bush maintained that U.S. forces were "winning"; privately, he came to believe that the military's long-term strategy of training Iraq security forces and handing over responsibility to the new Iraqi government was failing. Eventually, Woodward writes, the president lost confidence in the two military commanders overseeing the war at the time: Gen. George W. Casey Jr., then commander of coalition forces in Iraq, and Gen. John P. Abizaid, then head of U.S. Central Command.


Woodward also depicts the development of a close working relationship between Bush and Maliki, with the president leaning on the Iraqi leader to govern evenhandedly and to take decisive action against sectarianism. "I've worked hard to get in a position where we can relate human being to human being, and where I try to understand his frustrations and his concerns, but also in a place where I am capable of getting him to listen to me," Bush told Woodward.

Given Bush's efforts to earn Maliki's trust, the surveillance of the Iraqi prime minister caused some consternation among several senior U.S. officials, who questioned whether it was worth the risk, Woodward reports. One official knowledgeable about the surveillance "recognized the sensitivity of the issue and then asked, 'Would it be better if we didn't?' "

Meanwhile, Woodward reports that Casey, the president's commanding general in Iraq from 2004 to 2007, came to believe that Bush did not understand the nature of the Iraq war, that the president focused too much on body counts as a measure of progress.

"Casey had long concluded that one big problem with the war was the president himself," Woodward writes. "He later told a colleague in private that he had the impression that Bush reflected the 'radical wing of the Republican Party that kept saying, "Kill the bastards! Kill the bastards! And you'll succeed." ' " ...

[Which begs the obvious question: which bastards? Al Qaeda bastards? Shi'a bastards? Sunni bastards? Mahdi Army bastards? Daw'a Party bastards? What?]

Posted on 09/05/2008 7:07 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
Moving Troops From Iraq To Afghanistan

Again, because of the administration's confusion about Islam, it is unclear what we are trying to achieve in Afghanistan.

New Duranty: WASHINGTON — The United States would carry out a modest shift of American forces from Iraq to Afghanistan by early next year under a confidential recommendation to President Bush by the Pentagon’s top civilian and military leaders, according to Bush administration officials.

The number of American combat brigades in Iraq would shrink to 14 in February from 15, according to the recommendation. All told, the number of American forces in Iraq, currently about 146,000, would drop by nearly 8,000 by March.

The reduction is smaller than some officials had earlier suggested might be possible before President Bush leaves office in January, given the significant decline in violence in Iraq. But it reflects the caution of Gen. David H. Petraeus, who is leaving his post as the senior American commander in Iraq this month, about the still-unsettled situation in Iraq.

The recommendation on the troop shift was presented to Mr. Bush on Wednesday in a video conference by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. American officials said the recommendation was the product of extensive consultations between the Pentagon officials and General Petraeus.

Under the proposal, an Army brigade and a Marine battalion would be sent to Afghanistan by early next year, adding about 4,500 troops to American forces there. They would represent a partial but still significant move toward meeting repeated requests from American commanders in Afghanistan for three more brigades, a reinforcement that the commanders say is necessary to carry out the mission there and to combat a resurgent Taliban.

The recommendation indicates that the next president will inherit a force in Iraq that has slightly more troops than in January 2007, when President Bush announced his troop reinforcement plan. Some administration officials voiced hope in July that the additional troop withdrawals by the end of Mr. Bush’s term could amount to as many as three brigades...

Posted on 09/05/2008 7:55 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
A Weakening, Islamizing Russia

Edward Lucas writes in The Chronicle Review (hat tip: Arts & Letters):

Russia will be weaker in 10 years. Its population is falling by a million people a year. From a Slavic Russian-chauvinist point of view (i.e., that held by many senior officials), even that dismal statistic is too optimistic. Russia's Muslim minority, currently around a fifth of the population, is growing fast, just as "ethnic Russians" are shrinking in number.

Russia will be weaker militarily, partly because it will lack the numbers of young men it needs to sustain a conscript army, but also because of corruption. Like all others engaged in public procurement in Russia, the military finds it almost impossible to spend large sums of money honestly and effectively.

That is a symptom of a wider problem: the failure of the Putin experiment to modernize Russia's archaic system of public administration. Putin's successor, Medvedev, talks a lot about anticorruption efforts. But it is hard to see those starting where they need to start: at the very top. It is there that tens of billions of dollars have been diverted into the "pocket companies" of the elite, such as RosUkrEnergo, Gunvor, and the like. Without a free press or a real opposition to ask embarrassing questions, such criminally cozy arrangements will persist.

The slide into a fascist kleptocracy is corrosive to Russia's chances of joining the rest of the developed world, where — by virtue of its education level and aspirations — it certainly belongs. That decline endangers even Russia's survival as a unified country.

One key issue is ideology. How much of the propaganda about a "new Byzantium" do those in power really believe? Is it sentiment just made up to fool the Russian people? Or is it becoming the guiding principle for policy decisions?

Second, will the business and professional class that has grown up since the financial crash of 1998 morph into a real middle class? That could change Russia's prospects: A middle class demands both a law-governed state and moral values in society. But the signs are not promising. The huge opportunities for graft in Russia are creating a self-interested state bureaucracy that does not want to change the system off which it feeds. Middle-class incomes are not the same as middle-class values...

Posted on 09/05/2008 8:12 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
Big Sister Is Watching

I'm as disgusted by sexist ads as the next person, but I can't see banning freedom of speech because of it. From The Telegraph:

MEPs want TV regulators in the EU to set guidelines which would see the end of anything deemed to portray women as sex objects or reinforce gender stereotypes.

This could potentially mean an end to attractive women advertising perfume, housewives in the kitchen or men doing DIY. [what's DIY?]

Such classic adverts as the Diet Coke commercial featuring the bare-chested builder, or Wonderbra's "Hello Boys" featuring model Eva Herzigova would have been banned.

The new rules come in a report by the EU's women's rights committee.

Swedish MEP Eva-Britt Svensson urged Britain and other members to use existing equality, sexism and discrimination laws to control advertising.

She wants regulatory bodies set up to monitor ads and introduce a "zero-tolerance" policy against "sexist insults or degrading images".

Ms Svensson said: "Gender stereotyping in advertising straitjackets women, men, girls and boys by restricting individuals to predetermined and artificial roles that are often degrading, humiliating and dumbed down for both sexes."

She added: "Gender stereotyping in advertising is one of several factors that have a big influence in efforts to make society more gender equal."...

Posted on 09/05/2008 8:19 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
Islam & Egyptian Politics

A report on Egyptian politics by the US Institute of Peace shows the growing sophistication and subtle use of language in the propaganda put forth by the Muslim Brotherhood. (hat tip: GMBDR):

Who Are the Secularists?

One of the biggest challenges in identifying the issues of contention between Islamists and secular opposition groups is finding precise definitions for "Islamist" and "secularist" in the context of Egyptian politics. Demarcating the boundaries within the so-called "Islamist" and "secular" communities, as well as the boundaries separating the two, is hotly debated inside the Egyptian political arena.

The "Islamist" camp, although easily identifiable to observers of Egypt’s domestic scene, contains a great deal of intellectual diversity. Of equal importance, "secular" remains a highly contested term. What is often described as the "secularist" camp consists of a diverse group of nationalist, socialist and liberal trends that differ on numerous issues, despite a shared adversarial relationship with Islamist groups. For many, the term "secular" is virtually nonexistent in Egypt. One participant remarked that all Egyptians, regardless of religion, recognize the nation’s Islamic cultural identity and history. It is unimaginable, therefore, that any Egyptian government, secular or not, would deny the country’s Islamic cultural heritage or cease its obligations toward the Arab and Muslim world. Even if Islam and the state can be separated, Islam and society cannot. In other words, Egypt’s Islamic identity will inevitably play a role in any democratic system that mirrors the values and culture of its own society. On the other hand, one participant adamantly rejected the assertion that secularism holds no relevance in Egypt, proclaiming that numerous Egyptian Muslims reject the role of religion in the state.

Has the Brotherhood Moderated its Position?

Responding to this criticism, a member of the MB stated that the group’s current positions do not contradict the basic principles of democracy. The MB, he added, views democracy as the best political system that Egypt could enjoy, rather than any reactionary form of governance. The Brotherhood is committed to pluralism both in Islam and in politics and has publicly recognized the freedom of expression and belief.

It was clear in the discussions that ensued that critics of the Brotherhood remain unconvinced. Some participants questioned whether such pro-democratic proclamations are sincere, while others suggested that the moderate views that some MB members expressed are not representative of the group’s true beliefs and intentions. The MB’s political platform (released in October 2007), which calls for the formation of a council of Islamic jurists that would review government policies, provoked fears that the Brotherhood has yet to accept genuinely the principles of democratic politics.

Alleging that this program is still a work in progress, an affiliate of the Brotherhood indicated that the proposed council is meant to take on a consultative rather than an authoritative role in decision-making. Despite these assurances, however, the suspicions aroused by the MB’s program have not been contained.

This emphasis on "consultation" is straight out of Bernard Lewis's recent work. He insists that Islam has traditionally used a consultative system and that this consultative system is perfectly compatible with democracy - or would spawn a "new brand of democracy."

Other MB actions in the recent past have contributed to the crystallization of mistrust between the Brotherhood and its non-Islamist counterparts. Last month the MB supreme guide implied in an interview that Osama Bin Laden is a legitimate freedom fighter. In another incident late last year supporters of the Brotherhood marched at Al-Azhar University in a training exercise that some participants compared to Hezbollah’s flamboyant military parades in Lebanon.

Such actions helped reinforce the perception that the Brotherhood’s moderate discourse is a smokescreen for its undemocratic intentions rather than an attempt to set forth a strategic vision based on peaceful democratic politics. Ambiguities in the MB’s positions on important questions such as the legitimacy of marriages between Muslim women and non-Muslim men and the conversion of Muslims to other religions deepen these suspicions.

Many participants expressed concern that advocates of moderation and peaceful coexistence inside the Brotherhood remain weak and marginalized. Notwithstanding the shift in its discourse, one opposition leader remarked, the MB remains a hierarchical organization in which members are taught to follow their leaders without question. This view, coupled with the MB’s own actions, continues to raise doubts in the minds of many Egyptian intellectuals and opinion-shapers about the Brotherhood’s openness to democratic rules.

Thus, there is little evidence that the ideological differences between Islamists and non-Islamist oppositions have been contained. Despite the Brotherhood’s attempts to proclaim moderate views on some contentious issues, secularists tend to perceive the MB’s messages as nebulous. This has strengthened the position of those who assert that the MB is not a viable partner to advocates of democracy, but rather a threat that must be contained...

Posted on 09/05/2008 9:22 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
ISNA Violates IRS Regulations

Patrick Poole writes at Central Ohioans Against Terrorism:

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is a 501c3 tax exempt organization. As is true for any 501c3 entity, especially a religious organization, ISNA is prohibited from hosting or supporting any partisan political activity. And yet at their national convention here in Columbus last week, ISNA hosted an Obama campaign booth in their exhibitors’ area...

Posted on 09/05/2008 9:59 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
Hezbollah Mini-Subs In Caribbean?

WND reports:

The waters in the Caribbean and around Latin America for a long time have provided a path for illicit drugs to flow into the United States, but the U.S. Navy has increased its patrols in the region now looking for something else – Hezbollah terrorists, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

The Navy, in trolling for mini-submarines sometimes used to transport drugs, has discovered that some of them apparently are being operated by Hezbollah.

The mini-subs are small semi-submersibles, made of fiberglass and capable of carrying up to four people plus a payload. They are popular with drug smugglers, and now the U.S. is concerned elements of Hezbollah have begun using them for drug-running or smuggling weapons.

"In 2006, we were tracking around three of these," said Navy Admiral James Stavridis, commander of U.S. Southern Command. "In the year 2007, (the number) jumped to about 30. This year so far, in three months, we've seen about 30."

In drawing the connection to Hezbollah, Stravridis said there is concern about the "tri-border area (of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay). It is, in my view, principally Hezbollah activity...

Posted on 09/05/2008 10:07 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
A Musical Interlude: Guilty (Russ Columbo)
Posted on 09/05/2008 10:30 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 5 September 2008
Unintentionally Funniest Ramadan Paragraph Of The Day

Now that covering the wonderfulness of Ramadan is required at all the major papers as well as most local papers, our award for the silliest paragraph of the day goes to Bob Smietana of The Tennessean:

Muslims believe that Allah, acting through the angel Gabriel, revealed the Quran to the prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan. In commemoration, Muslims over the age of puberty fast from sunrise to sunset. They avoid food and drink and marital relations, along with vices such as lying or backbiting. Young children, people in ill health, and pregnant women, among others, are exempt.

Posted on 09/05/2008 10:34 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
“I did all this in the service of a truth”

Oh Dear. This is an interview with Sherry Jones author of Jewel of Medina on the website AltMuslim.    She seems to have absorbed the concept of taqiyya very well.

Well, I did anticipate controversy. I consciously envisioned myself, for example, reading my book in a bookstore on a book tour and having people challenge the things I had written, or challenge my perceptions of Islam. I didn’t think much about people who didn’t like Muslims. Mostly I was aware of the sensitivities of Muslims. Because I have altered the historical record, the historical narrative.

. . . But I did all this in the service of what I see as a truth. My truth - this is my vision of what things would have been like based on my own experiences and my own research and my own intuition and observations of human nature.
How did you decide to handle the sensitive issue of Aisha's age at marraige?

Historians don’t even agree about the age of Aisha. I’d even read that there’s disagreement on the meaning of the word consummate. Did it mean sexual intercourse? Or did it mean the marriage contract was simply completed?

Just to be clear, in the book, do you actually make a reference to her age?

Yes, in the book she is 14 years old. She does marry him at age 9 and then she goes back to her parents to live until she has her period, and then she moves in with Muhammad. But in my book, the marriage is not consummated until she is older. And the reason is because I’ve read some compelling arguments that she was older and would have been older. I consider them compelling arguments, but maybe I’m just seeing what I want to see.
The Muhammad that I came to know in my reading would not have forced a girl who was not ready. He would not have forced a girl. I just don’t believe that if Aisha was scared or she wasn’t ready that he would have forced it. And so I decided that I was going to make her more mature and he was going to wait until she was ready. So I do have a scene where, on her wedding night, when she moved in with him, she started her period – about 12 years old – and they go to her hut and he does approach her, but she’s very frightened. And so he says, you know, “Let’s play with your toys instead.”
He’s my Muhammad (Laughs). She’s my Aisha! And you know, it’s not that it’s an official version of anything, and I’ve never claimed that it was. This is my story, my version, and gosh, I just hope that it brings out many more Aisha stories, Aisha novels.
It gets worse. There is now a sequel.
Well, I wanted to tell you that my second book, my sequel, is finished. It’s about Aisha and Ali and the tension between them that existed that’s written about in the first book. . . So then, as I was doing my research for the sequel, I read several books that were written by Western scholars that are supportive of the Shiite point of view...

So you’re stepping into Shia territory now...

Yes. And so as I read these books, my regard and respect for Ali increased. So my second book goes back and forth between the points of view between Aisha and Ali. They’re both protagonists. You get to decide. As the book goes on, the story is really one of reconciliation and it’s really a story of peace. It’s about revenge as a motive for war.
So the Mills and Boon ladies won’t get the real truth about Mohammed after all. To my mind the defects of Islam hinge on the flaws of Mohammed as “the perfect man to be emulated for all time”.
But let it be published and let it be criticised. It’s the only way.
Posted on 09/05/2008 10:26 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 5 September 2008
Islam's Advance

Newsweek and the Washington Post are running a series called "Islam's Advance" by Jack Fairweather which seems to focus on Britain. Today they are running an article by Nina Shea on the textbooks found at the Saudi Islamic Academy in Virginia. Jerry Gordon wrote about this school here and here. I disagree with Shea's emphasis on "Wahhabism," but it is encouraging that a mainstream publication is running this at all.

...Saudi Arabia has long sought to be the leading Islamic power and the protector of the faith, a claim asserted in the Saudi Basic Law. With its vast oil wealth and the religious legitimacy derived from its custodianship of the two Islamic holy shrines and control of the pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia's long-term ambitions are now within reach. Even as its official doctrine and school books remain rooted in Wahhabism, the blend of the harsh desert traditions and severe Islamic interpretations of its past, Saudi Arabia is positioning itself to be the authoritative voice of world Islam, with the King as a type of Islamic pope.

Since 1979, the year when Islamic terrorists laid siege to Mecca and threatened Saudi rule, and when a Shi'a regime seized control of Iran, Saudi Arabia has poured enormous sums into foreign evangelism, funding mosques, schools, libraries, and academic centers in the United States and many other countries. Some analysts estimate that over the past quarter century, Saudi Arabia has expended over $75 billion for spreading Wahhabism, roughly three times more a year than what the Soviet Union spent annually in exporting its ruling ideology during the height of the Cold War. The Congressional Research Service states that Wahhabism is now "arguably the most pervasive revivalist movement in the Islamic world." According to Lawrence Wright in his book Looming Tower, the Saudis, constituting one per cent of the world's Muslims, support through the Wahhabis "90 per cent of the expenses of the entire faith, overriding other traditions of Islam."

The Saudi ideological export is having an effect. Saudi Wahhabi extremism threatens to become a mainstream or even the dominant expression of Islam among the world's 1.3 billion Muslims. Wahhabi thought and customs are taking root in Muslim communities from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, to Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, India and elsewhere. As Abdurrahman Wahid, the former President of Indonesia and ex-director of the world's largest Muslim organization lamented, it is making "inroads" even in his famously tolerant part of the world.

The beginning of the school year marks the deadline for Saudi Arabia to demonstrate it has removed intolerant teachings from all Saudi textbooks. This Saudi commitment resulted from extensive bilateral negotiations with the U.S., concluded and hailed by the United States State Department in July 2006. Under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the State Department has annually designated Saudi Arabia as one of the world's most intolerant states but it has forestalled imposing the sanctions specified in the Act. It resists Congressional and other appeals even to translate for review the textbooks used at Islamic Saudi Academy, a Washington metropolitan area academy run by the Saudi Embassy.

It is time to hold Riyadh to its promises to reform its educational materials. Western security depends on it.

Posted on 09/05/2008 10:51 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
Nonie Darwish On The Gazan Arabs, And The Other Arabs

Nonie Darwish on "The Gaza Prison Camp"

"Gaza conditions at '40-year low'" the BBC headlined last week. Rarely a week goes by without a politician or organization deploring the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. But I do not hear anyone describe its root cause: 60 years of Arab policy aimed at maintaining Palestinians as stateless refugees in order to pressure Israel.
I lived in Gaza as a child in the 1950s when Egypt conducted guerrilla-style operations against Israel from Gaza, then under Egyptian control. My father commanded these operations, carried out by "fedayeen," (which means, "self sacrifice"). This became the frontline of Arab Jihad against Israel. My father was killed by Israel in a targeted assassination in 1956.
Today the Gaza Strip, now under the control of Hamas, has become the Gaza prison camp for 1.5 million Palestinians and continues to serve as the launching pad for attacks against Israeli citizens.
This is the legacy of the Arab world's Palestinian refugee policy, started 60 years ago, when the Arab League implemented special laws regarding Palestinians that all Arab countries had to abide by. Arab countries could not absorb Palestinians. Even if a Palestinian married a citizen of an Arab country, that Palestinian could not become a citizen of his or her spouse's country. A Palestinian can be born, live and die in an Arab country, but never gain its citizenship. Even now I receive e-mails from Palestinians telling me they cannot have a Syrian passport, for example, and must remain Palestinian even though they have never set foot in the West Bank or Gaza. Forcing the Palestinian identity on them is designed to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee status. Palestinians have been used and abused by Arab nations, and by Palestinian terrorists, for the purpose of destroying Israel.
The 22 Arab states certainly do not have a shortage of land. Many surrounding Arab areas, such as the Sinai Peninsula, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, are very sparsely populated. But absorbing Palestinians would end their refugee status and their desire to harm Israel.
Arab wealth, which is increasing dramatically because of skyrocketing oil prices, is not used to improve the lives, infrastructure and economy of the people of the West Bank and Gaza. Instead, it supports terror groups who reject Israel's existence and oppose peace with Israel. The average Gaza man has a better employment opportunity if he joins Hamas.
Gazans' breach of their checkpoint with Egypt in January, orchestrated by Hamas, is a result of the Palestinian refugee policy. The checkpoints on the Arab side of Gaza could not keep the inmates inside. The Arab plan to overpopulate Gaza exploded in the wrong direction.
After this explosion, Suleiman Awwad, an Egyptian administration spokesman, said, "Egypt is a respected state, its border cannot be breached and its soldiers should not be lobbed with stones." In other words, Egypt is not like Israel, which is a disrespected state. Gazans should not direct the violence at Egypt, only at Israel. This is Arab conventional wisdom.
Last month Hamas threatened to bring 40,000 Palestinians, primarily children and women, to the Gaza border with Israel to protest Israel's restrictions on Gaza. Some Hamas leaders hinted they would send these protestors to breach the border, once again demonstrating that the Palestinian terrorists have no qualms about endangering the lives of innocent people -- Israelis or Palestinians. Fortunately, only 5,000 showed up.
But Hamas did succeed two days later in killing an Israeli: a 47 year-old father of four during a rocket attack from Gaza while he was sitting in his car next to Sapir College near Sderot. Two weeks earlier, two Israeli brothers, Osher and Rami Twito, ages 8 and 19, were seriously injured by a rocket from Gaza while buying their father a birthday present. Osher's left leg had to be amputated.
Israel completely left Gaza in August 2005. In May and June 2007, Hamas waged war against its Palestinian brothers in Fatah to gain control of Gaza. Hamas intensified its rockets attacks on Israeli towns, compelling Israel to take economic and military measures against Gaza. Hamas has become a danger not only to Israel, but to Palestinians and to neighboring Arab countries, as well. Nevertheless, the Arab world still refuses to see its role in creating this monster. It is difficult to find a similar situation in human history: the intentional creation of a refugee status for a million and a half people, sustained for 60 years. The Arab world has cut its nose to spite its face.
The world needs to understand that this dangerous mess started when 22 Arab countries agreed to create a human prison called the Gaza Strip. Arabs claim they love the Palestinian people, but they seem more interested in sacrificing them. It is time for the Arab world to open their side of the borders and absorb the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza who wish to be absorbed. It is time for the Arab world to truly help the Palestinians, not use them.
Nonie Darwish, who grew up in Cairo and Gaza City, is the author of, "Now They Call me Infidel."


Posted on 09/05/2008 11:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 5 September 2008
Celebrating Jihad In Lahore

MEMRI (with thanks to Jeffrey Imm): On August 14, 2008, Pakistan's Independence Day, the Islamist group Jamatud Dawa - the new name of the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, led by Professor Hafiz Muhammad Saeed - held a conference in Lahore, billed as the "Defend Pakistan Conference."

Song praising Jihad at beginning of conference:

"Jihad will continue till the Day of Judgement; jihad will never stop."
"It has forced oppressor's head to bow; it will end oppression and torture."
"Jihad is the order of Allah; jihad is the path of the Prophet."
"Jihad is the assurance of loyalty; every true Muslim will be loyal."
"Jihad is mentioned in the Koran; jihad is the eternity of faith."
"This is the Will [of God], this is [His] happiness; no one can change it."
"Only Jihad has always cut the head of evil from the earth"
"If jihad has the power in it; mischief will have no substance."
"Jihad alone gives voice; respect comes to the helpless."
"Jihad will make the gods of falsehood naked."
"Avoidance of jihad has given birth to subjugation."
"Enemies of Jihad will be dishonoured; they will sink into an unending abyss."
"Jihad is the protection of the Ummah; jihad is the symbol of self-respect."
"Jihad is a Revealed gift; only the lucky ones will get it."
"Jihad destroys terror; jihad brings good news."
"Jihad teaches how to live; only those will live who learn to die."
"Jihad is the state of ecstasy; jihad is the army of the brave."
"Jihad is the flag of truth; Never has it bowed, nor will it bow."
"Jihad is the kingdom of faith; jihad is the depth of emotions."
"Jihad is the destruction of heretics; those who fight against it will die."
"Jihad is to stand for truth; not go back once you have taken the step."
"Jihad is the Eagle's attack; falsehood will be victim."

Posted on 09/05/2008 1:17 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
When Will They Ever Learn?

New Duranty: JERUSALEM — Some 900 assault rifles were transferred to the Palestinian Authority in late August with Israel’s approval, an Israeli security official said on Friday, as part of a drive to build the capacity of Palestinian security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

The AK-47 rifles, together with ammunition, came into the West Bank via Jordan...

Posted on 09/05/2008 1:45 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
Breaking: Arrest In D.C.

FOXNews: WASHINGTON, D.C. —  A man is under arrest in Washington after an improvised explosive device, a rifle and some ammunition were allegedly found in his jeep, Capitol Police said Friday.

The man stopped to ask police for directions near the Capitol building at about 11 a.m. EDT Friday, at the intersection of 2nd and Independence Avenue Southeast, according to Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider.

Asked the police for directions...not the sharpest terrorist in the drawer.

The officer responding noticed a rifle case on the car seat and inspected the jeep, discovering the IED, rifle and ammunition. A canine unit was enlisted to help.

"They've all been rendered safe right now because they're in the custody of Capitol Police," Schneider told reporters at a briefing Friday.

The officer took the unidentified man into custody; the vehicle is still being searched.

Library of Congress employees near where the jeep was stopped have been evacuated, and several roads have been closed while police continue their investigation.

Schneider said that it wasn't clear what the man intended to do with the cache of weapons...

Posted on 09/05/2008 1:50 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
...For Me?

Noel Malcolm makes a good point at Standpoint:

...[T]he arch-practitioners of infantilification are to be found in two walks of life: nurses, and air hostesses. Both use the same sing-song voice, and the same universal verb, to “pop”. “I’ll just pop the thermometer in your mouth”, says the nurse; “I’ll just pop your bag in the overhead locker”, says the hostess. The verb comes from the nursery, and its purpose is to put us back there.

On recent flights I have noticed a further refinement: a simple instruction, such as “Could you put up the window-blind, please”, has now become “Could you put up the window-blind for me?” The implication is not that she was about to do it herself, but that she wants you to do it just for her sake, to show how much you desire to please her; the underlying model for this sentence is, therefore, “Could you put your toys away for me?”

Why is this all so grating? The simple and obvious reason is that I am not an infant, and she is not my mother, aunt or nanny; there is a falseness about it which is silly and instantly tiresome. But to falseness one must also add hypocrisy: a way of talking to us that is meant to seem warm and personal is, in reality, nothing more than a managerial technique, and nothing could be less warm than that. And, finally, there is the element of sheer insult: do they really think we would not cooperate if they just asked us politely, speaking as one adult to another?

Posted on 09/05/2008 2:52 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
Somali Is Shot For Bringing Non-Muslim Guest To Wedding

Hat tip to Ann at Refugee Resettlement Watch for finding this tidbit:

While in Chicago, Mohamed said she was fortunate through Equal Voice to make valuable contacts with community organizers who have experience in facing some of the issues plaguing Seattle, particularly the city’s resurgence of gang violence. “We’re back in the ‘90s,” Mohamed exclaimed, except now it’s “East African gangs trying to get street cred.” She lamented, for example, the recent death of a 16-year-old Somali youth she had known since he was eight. He took an African-American friend to attend a Somali wedding. Afterwards, while driving down the highway, he was followed and shot by fellow Somalis, apparently enraged at him for “betraying his people” by bringing an African-American guest.

Although it doesn't actually say non-Muslim African American, what else could it be?

Posted on 09/05/2008 3:19 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 5 September 2008
A Musical Interlude: My Kind Of Love (Ben Pollack)
Posted on 09/05/2008 9:50 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 5 September 2008
Today in the "Religion of Peace™"

On this date, September 5th, in 1972, "Palestinian" terrorists attacked the Israeli team at the Olympics in Munich, Germany.  When it was over, 11 Israeli athletes and one policeman were dead.

The Munich Olympics took place just 27 years after the end of WWII, and less than 10 miles from Dachau concentration camp.

Two of the terrorists, Lutif Afif and Yusuf Nazzal, had taken jobs at the Olympic village in order to gain access and scout the location.  Nazzal was spotted inside the Israelis' room the day before the attack, but since he was an employee he was not questioned.

On the day of the attack, the terrorists took advantage of the extremely lax security at the Olympics, and tried to gain entrance to the Israeli athletes' apartment.  Two of the Israelis blocked the door and allowed some of their teammates to escape, before being shot and killed.  The "Palestinians" took 9 other hostages, and demanded the release of 200 "Palestinians" from Israeli jails.

The "Palestinians" were offered money by the Germans to release the hostages, but they responded as devout Muslims would, that "money means nothing to us, our lives mean nothing to us".  They beat the hostages on live television.  Walter Tröger, mayor of Olympic village, was allowed to visit the hostages, and reported how impressed he was with the dignity of the Israeli prisoners and the fact that they were resigned to their fate.  He reported that there were 2  terrorists, when in fact there were 8.

The Germans refused the offer of Israeli special forces (who would have great success in the Raid on Entebbe 4 years later).  Instead, they relied on untrained border patrol agents with no experience in hostage operations.

The next day, the terrorists and hostages moved to the airport, where the German police planned to make the rescue attempt.  It was only at this point that the Germans learned that there were 8 terrorists.  The undercover police on the waiting plane decided on their own to simply walk away before the terrorists arrived.  With only 4 untrained "snipers" against 8 heavily armed terrorists, the odds of success seemed to be remote, but the German authorities decided to go ahead with the rescue.  The "snipers" had no radios, and no way to coordinate their actions.  They were poorly placed, so that during the rescue attempt they shot each other in the crossfire, while being unable to shoot the terrorists hiding behind the aircraft.  In the end, the terrorists shot the hostages, then used grenades to further mutilate and burn the bodies.  None of the hostages survived.  Five terrorists were killed, and three were arrested.

The Olympic games continued for 12 hours after the first shooting occurred, and as the hostages were being held in the Olympic village.  Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage said "the games must go on".  After the failed rescue attempt, Dutch runner Jos Hermens was quoted, “You give a party, and someone is killed at the party, you don’t continue the party. I'm going home,” but few shared his feelings.  During a West German soccer game before an adulatory home crowd, Jewish-sympathizer protesters displayed a sign saying "17 dead, already forgotten?"  They were quickly led away by suddenly-vigilant police.

For fear of upsetting "other members of the Olympic community", little mention was made of the murdered Israelis at the 1972 games.  Any proposal to honor the murdered Israelis at subsequent Olympics has been met by threats of boycott by Muslim-majority nations.  To date, the IOC has refused any memorial to the dead Israelis.

The attack was carried out under the direction of Yassir Arafat, with funds provided by Mamoud Abbas.

The three surviving terrorists were released by Germany less than two months later, as part of a concocted Lufthansa hijacking.

Previous Days in the "Religion of Peace™":

Sept 4: East Timor jihad
Sept 3: Mongols vs. Mamluks
Sept 2: Richard "Lionheart" vs. Saladin
Sept 1: Beslan Massacre
Aug 29: Jihad on European Synagogues

Posted on 09/05/2008 11:59 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden

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