These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 7, 2011.
Monday, 7 February 2011
Allegedly Annoying Briticisms of the Week
Bloody hell and lawks a mercy! Those po-faced septics are whingeing about our lingo. And it's not a wind up. From The Telegraph:
New Yorkers always fall for a nice English accent: whenever my well-spoken sister-in-law visits, they trill at her flowing diction and faultless vowels. Coming from Liverpool, I have a trickier time. In fact, I stopped ordering butter after three waiters in one smart restaurant failed to grasp my pronunciation. "Bootta! Bootta!" I pleaded, while my American friends wept with joy at my embarrassment.
Now, however, it is the words we Anglo-Saxons use, not how we say them, that is causing a stir. After mangling our language for years, Americans are complaining about their own dialect being polluted by "Britishisms".
New Yorker Ben Yagoda, a professor at Delaware University, is studying the invasion of traditional British lingo. He has set up a website to keep track of the wicked, uniquely British words such as "kerfuffle" or "amidst" that are creeping into everyday American usage.
Yagoda's biggest objection, he tells me, is to words for which there are "perfectly good American equivalents, like 'bits' for 'parts' and 'on holiday' instead of 'on vacation' ". They are, he says, "purely pretentious".
Of course, British English has been under assault from this side of the Atlantic for centuries. America's most notorious linguistic anarchist, Noah Webster, decided more than 200 years ago that the English couldn't spell, decreeing that theatre should become theater; favour, favor; jewellery, jewelry; and so on.
Yet so incensed is Yagoda by this new development that he has devised a grading system that awards marks – one to four – for what he calls the "pretentiousness level" of each word. "Advert" gets three, as locals talk about "ads" or "commercials". Saying someone has "got the sack" is also an aberration – Americans are always "fired".
Yagoda thinks use of these overt Britishisms is simply part of an attempt to be "cool" (American, I believe, for "contemporary and fashionable"). So perhaps we should be basking in our trend-setting abilities – not to mention grateful for the attention. After all, as Bill Bryson has said: "Without America's contribution, English today would enjoy a global importance on a par with Portuguese."
The trial of anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders on discrimination and inciting hatred charges resumes in Amsterdam on Monday.
Last October the trial was abandoned after senior court officials ruled several irregularities in the proceedings could be deemed prejudicial. New judges have now been appointed.
Judges last week rejected calls by the plaintiffs for new prosecutors to be appointed. Several of the groups which have pressed for legal action against Wilders are angry that the prosecution department had also called for not guilty verdicts on all charges during the first trial. Today’s hearing will focus on the legal framework of the trial and Wilders’ lawyer Bram Moszkowicz is likely to call on the judges to say there is no case to answer,
Molly Campbell became the subject of a worldwide police hunt in 2006 when, as a 12-year-old, she ran away from her mother's home on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland.
She has since spent more than four years living in Lahore, where she has attended an Islamic school, but is understood to have wanted to return to the UK permanently for some time. I bet she has. We said she would, eventually.
Molly, who is now 16, flew back to Britain last week with her brother Adam, 20, and has moved in with her 22-year-old sister, Tahmina, in England.
Her mother, Louise Fairlie, who still lives on the Isle of Lewis, has been staying with her two daughters since the teenager flew home.
The schoolgirl vanished from the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway in 2006 after only a few days at the school. Miss Fairlie accused Mr Rana of abduction and warned Molly may be forced into an arranged marriage. Interpol launched a search for the missing teenager the following day but when Molly was found she said she had left of her own accord. She said her name was Misbah and claimed life in her mother's council flat had been a “living hell”.
However, in December 2009, Molly's mother insisted she wanted to come back to Britain and accused Mr Rana of blocking contact with her daughter. Miss Fairlie later split up from Mr Campbell and she suggested that Molly was not happy in Lahore after initially being “seduced” by her father’s wealthy lifestyle.
BERLIN // The leader of a newly created anti-Islamic party in Germany said he wants to stop the immigration of Muslims and described Islam as a "totalitarian system" bent on supplanting western liberal values.
In an interview with The National, Rene Stadtkewitz, 46, said Muslims were not integrating into German society as well as other immigrants and that authorities should become stricter, by banning headscarves in school, stopping public funding for teaching young children the Quran and curbing the influence of Islamic organisations.
"Islam is far more than a religion. It's an entire model of society that is incredibly binding for many people," he said. "It's basically a political system with its own legal system that seeks to regulate all aspects of life. We criticise the socio-political component of Islam, which I see as an ideological one similar to other totalitarian systems, and which I think is dangerous."
He called Islam "the opposite of a free society" and said the faith posed a threat because it sought to instil different values in Germany, and because it encouraged immigrants to segregate themselves.
Mr Stadtkewitz, a former member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), set up his party, Freedom, last October. He had been expelled from the CDU's parliamentary group in the Berlin city assembly for inviting Geert Wilders, the controversial Dutch Islam critic and head of the Party for Freedom, to Berlin for a conference.
Germany has had no populist, anti-Islamic party until now. Opinion polls suggest a party such as Freedom could get some 20 per cent of the vote in a general election. A recent survey commissioned by Berliner Zeitung, a local newspaper, showed as many as one in four Berliners could imagine voting for it.
Mr Stadtkewitz said his party now had 1,400 members and was setting up regional branches across Germany. It plans to contest its first election in September when Berlin votes for a new mayor and city parliament.
Mr Stadtkewitz denied accusations that he was a far-right populist. He said his party was espousing mainstream views about Islam and was part of an "uprising" by people across Europe against growing Islamic influence.
"Anyone who criticises Islam stands in the centre of society," he said. "Islam is becoming more visible in western countries and people are starting to rise up against that."
In a sign that Freedom will face a struggle establishing itself, the party had to cancel its first congress this month because the language school that owned the venue withdrew its permission when it found out about the party's political leanings. When he tried to hold a news conference on the street in front of the building, a group of 30 left-wing demonstrators surrounded him chanting "Nazis" and "racists", and dozens of police were deployed to keep order.
Mr Stadtkewitz said his party's platform closely resembled that of Mr Wilders, who has called for a ban on the Quran in the Netherlands and whose party became the third-strongest force in the Dutch general election last June.
Mr Stadtkewitz said: "More than 15 million people in Germany are immigrants and most of them have integrated themselves. The problems are mainly with people who have come here from Islamic countries, and that's what we have to tackle. We must defend our own values much more strongly and stress that we have a leadership role. That will make integration easier."
The often-remarked British obsession with class, which strikes me frequently as insincere in so far as those who denounce its iniquities usually wish to retain all their social and economic privileges while acquiring a reputation for generosity of spirit, has made the social engineering of supposed equality the aim of almost all public endeavour. Hospitals are not to treat ill people as best they can, but to close the gap between the healthiest and least healthy classes of society; schools are not to educate children, but to ensure that all children are educated, or at least miseducated, equally. And so forth.
Needless to say, we are no nearer equality than ever we were; indeed, on some measures we are farther away from it. The conclusion to be drawn from this, however, after more than sixty years of strenuous endeavour, or at least of the employment of very large bureaucracies, is that more must be tried. You don’t take no for an answer, even when the no emanates from the nature of things. Like heaven, equality can be stormed.
In one important matter, however, the egalitarians have succeeded: in the mores of society. One has only to look at a picture of the young prince Harry, for example, to grasp that this is so. He is often caught on camera with the gestures and manner of a standard British lout out on a Saturday night, utterly indistinguishable either in dress or facial expression from someone who has come from the worst of housing estates.
He is, moreover, no Prince Hal, and his companions are no Falstaff; rather, he is a typical product of a culture that equates sympathy for, and identification with, "the people", with behaving in the crudest possible way. Nowadays, there is no deeper expression of virtuous democratic sentiment than to brawl drunkenly or vomit in the street.
The obsession with class and its attendant emphasis on social engineering as the principal aim of all human activity insinuates itself into surprising corners. For example, last weekend I found it in the long cover story, titled The Death of the Critic, in the review section of The Observer newspaper. Under headlines such as "We're all critics now…" and "The death of cultural elitism", the question was considered whether the ability of almost everyone to express his opinion about almost everything, and to post it in a public place (the internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) meant that there was no space left for the professional critic.
As someone who, in his time, must have reviewed, and been paid for reviewing, upwards of five hundred books, this was a question that interested me more than a little. Is the opinion of the man of letters, the specialist, the scholar, the musician, the art historian, etc., in short the practised critic, more valuable than that of the common reader, the casual listener, the occasional viewer? To this question, I can give only a very limp answer: it depends.
My attention was caught by the contribution of John Naughton, a professor at the Open University and the newspaper's technology columnist, in particular the following paragraph:
The erosion of social deference had a cultural impact because until the 1960s professional criticism was also, if not a toff's preserve, certainly a highbrow, Oxbridge-dominated enclosure. The nation opened its heavyweight newspapers every Sunday to learn what Raymond Mortimer (Malvern and Balliol), Cyril Connolly (Eton and Balliol) or Philip Toynbee (Rugby and Christ Church) made of the latest books… In the circumstances, Geoffrey Madan's description of the British cultural elite as "an arboreal slum of Balliol men" sounds peculiarly apt.
This sounds like watered-down Zhdanov, according to which a man's work is not to be judged by its merits but by the social origins of its author. Four legs good, two legs bad. What I find peculiarly dispiriting about this is that there is no assessment of the value of the work of the men cited in the paragraph; for the author of the article, it appeared not even to enter his mind to ask the question, let alone to answer it.
Of course, had he written that "Cyril Connolly was a very bad writer, with no literary ability or judgement at all but, because of his social background was able nevertheless to obtain prominent positions as a critic," he might have had a sociological point (but his description of Connolly would have been absurd, for Connolly is still worth reading many years after his death, which is unlikely to be the case where most authors of literary criticism on Twitter and Facebook is concerned). One might as well object to nineteenth-century Russian literature because none of it was written by peasants, and quite a lot of it by aristocrats.
The author of the article goes on:
It couldn't last, of course, and it didn't. Rupert Murdoch arrived and made vulgarity respectable.
This seems to confuse what is respectable with what is widespread. One might as well say "Hitler arrived and made anti-semitism respectable". Again there is a dispiriting absence of judgement as to the worth of, say, Murdochian vulgarity, and the products of the "arboral slum of Balliol" (a phrase that I personally find neither descriptively apposite nor even witty as an insult).
If social radicalism appears, can snobbery be far behind? When the author says that "The nation opened its heavyweight newspapers every Sunday", he is clearly using the word "nation" in the le tout Paris sense of the word. The heavyweight newspapers never reached more than a minority of the nation; far more people opened the News of the World and the People every Sunday than ever opened Connolly's Sunday Times or Toynbee's Observer.
I remember as a child trying to get my hands on the News of the World and the People in the flat of my grandparents (whose English was never more than rudimentary), but they were not deemed suitable - respectable - publications for nippers to read, even though I did not fully understand their import. Later, I read Connolly and Toynbee in my father's house.
The British intelligentsia - I speak in generalisations - is unable or unwilling to distinguish between cultural elitism and social exclusivity. Of course, in our imperfect sublunary world there is some overlap between the two; but the wilful failure to understand the distinction explains a good deal about the unutterable mediocrity (to put it no stronger) of contemporary Britain.
3 Dec 2006 Hugh Fitzgerald
"Darn tootin'" means "absolutely right" so that "you're darn tootin'" means "you are absolutely right." You have misused it. Please try again. Only this time without any hint of patum peperium.
3 Dec 2006 Hugh Fitzgerald
You are wrong. All kinds of words and phrases have travelled from England to America in recent years: "trendy," "chattering classes," "kerfuffle." They should be sent packing and never darken our doors again.
3 Dec 2006 Hugh Fitzgerald
No sillinesses please -- we are Americans. Or as Arturo Vivante and Nicola Chiaramonte and Niccolo Tucci and Gaetano Salvemini and Max Ascoli and Franco Modigliano and Emilio Segre and both Enrico and Laura Fermi might say: Niente fesso -- siamo americani.
3 Dec 2006 Mary Jackson
Gorblimey, that's twaddle. Those are good words. Kerfuffle especially.
Y'all [sic] should be bloody grateful.
3 Dec 2006
"Trendy" is an intolerable word. "Chattering classes" loses, or lost, all force after its first or second appearance and merely wearies. "Kerfuffle" when used by Americans, chiefly journalists (the word hasn't filtered down) is still used self-consciously, because those who use it know perfectly well it comes from England and are showing a bit of transatlantic leg. It's unbecoming.
Egypt's transition toward a post-Hosni Mubarak era, as incremental and painful as it might be, has sparked interest in the "Turkish model" of democracy-craft, i.e. the art of conducting democratic affairs, which in Turkey involves the military playing a stabilizing role during the transition process while Islamist parties moderate through political participation. Can Turkey's experience be repeated in Egypt?
Turkey and Egypt have different histories, and it would be unwise to draw precise parallels between the two. However, Turkey's experience can provide lessons for Egypt after Mubarak.
The first: the military's role during the transition to multi-party democracy. Following the 1960 and the 1980 coups, Turkey established a political system in which the military and the civilians worked together during the transition to democracy. In both cases, the chief of the military became the president. Concurrently, a Cabinet, composed of respected, mostly non-partisan figures, was appointed to share power with the president. In both cases, an assembly was elected with a mandate to draft a new constitution. After the new constitution was approved in a referendum, free and fair elections were held in 1961 and 1983, thereby transitioning to democracy.
Should Egypt's transition to democracy follow Turkey's model, the military would take over the presidency and a civilian national unity government that shares power with the military would form. Mirroring Turkey's constitutional reform process, Egypt would draft a new constitution and prepare the groundwork for free and fair elections.
But, first, a caveat: Turkey had many well-established mass political parties prior to 1960 and 1980, whereas today, Egypt does not. During Turkey's transitional phase, these parties simply reconstituted themselves. Egypt has no well-established mass parties apart from the Muslim Brotherhood, which has used the sanctity of the mosque, a luxury denied to other parties, for grassroots organization.
Due to suppression in Egypt over the past six decades, major political parties would need to be reformed, or in some cases, formed from scratch. Egyptian elections held in the near future might be free and fair, but the political field between the Muslim Brotherhood and other parties would not necessarily be level, unless the liberal opposition were to receive political and financial support from the West on par with what the Muslim Brotherhood has been receiving and will receive from its international network.
The Turkish model provides another lesson -- caveat emptor: Following a military-shepherded transition to democracy, the military's candidates lose in the polls in Turkey.
Still, while the military's weight in politics officially ended with the transition to democracy in Turkey, the military retained some influence. Even after free and fair elections were held to appoint a prime minister as the chief executive, the former head of the military who was president retained this now symbolic position until the end of his term. The transition to multi-party democracy was gradual; not black or white, but gray. In fact, the military's influence on politics dissipated, but did not entirely wither away until the rise of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government in 2002.
This brings us to the second aspect of the Turkish model: Will the Muslim Brotherhood be moderate, a la AKP, embrace secular liberal democracy and adopt a friendly attitude toward the United States and the West?
Turkey's experience with the AKP proves that this is plausible. However, it also shows that such moderation takes place not because the Islamists volunteer for it, but because strong checks and balances impose it on the movement. For example, Turkish Islamists decided to moderate, jettisoning their anti-American, anti-European rhetoric, and recognized secular democracy only after the country's Constitutional Court shut down the Islamist Welfare Party in 1998 and its successor, the Virtue Party, in 2001.
In this endeavor the courts were supported by the popular military, the powerful liberal business lobbies, secular parties and a vibrant pro-Western media. This process of moderation produced the AKP, which put forth a moderate political platform in the 2002 polls that looked more like the manifesto of a conservative democratic party than that of the AKP's illiberal predecessors. The AKP won the 2002 elections.
After almost a decade in power though, the AKP's moderation has reversed. The party has turned authoritarian toward the opposition: Anti-government protestors are beaten up by security forces, opposition figures are wiretapped, and independent papers get slapped with punitive tax fines lest their coverage of the AKP adopt a critical tone. Private businesses not supportive of the government are terrorized by selective tax audits. And the once-popular military is losing its appeal since the AKP came forth with the Ergenekon case, alleging that the military was involved in a nefarious coup plot. The AKP has effectively neutered the military. Not just high-ranking officers, but also the government's critics among academics have come under assault, ending up in prison without an indictment or solid evidence proving their involvement in a coup plot.
The AKP's successful assault on checks and balances -- as a final step, the party is reshaping the judiciary in its own political image by single-handedly appointing judges to the high courts -- that forced its predecessor to moderate explains how the party's un-moderation is possible. Whereas Turkish Islamists moderated because strong checks and balances forced them to do so, this moderation ended once these checks and balances were marginalized.
In other words, Islamists are moderate not necessarily because the political tendency is built into the movement's genetic code, but more frequently because moderation is imposed upon them. The lesson here for post-Mubarak Egypt is that the Muslim Brotherhood, if it were included in the democratic process, could be moderate and recognize liberal democracy, but only if strong checks and balances were to enforce its moderation. Turkey provides post-Mubarak Egypt with a useful list of dos and don'ts indeed; now Egyptians will have to decide how much to borrow from the "Turkish model" of democracy-craft.
A Comment On Soner Cagaptay And That "Turkish Model" For Egypt
Soner Cagaptay's observations on the "Turkish model" -- a theme so enthusiastically mentioned during all the recent excitement as as a model for Egypt with its new-found ("democracy," "freedom," your favorite undefined political ideal here-.
But something more needs to be said:
Ataturk had systematically put in place a series of measures, both laws and practices, that were designed to limit the political and social power of Islam. These included giving the vote to women, while insisting that hijabbed wome could not attend state universities and soldiers who showed too great an interest in Islam would not be promoted to the officers corps, and making sure that the khutbas (sermons at Friday Prayers) were monitored -- or even approved in advance -- by government authorites. Even the Hat Act was designed to make the practice of Islam just a bit more dififcult -- a Western brimmed hat or cap had to be removed for Islamic prayer; a tarboosh or fez did not.
The Turks had another identity which could be appealed to: that of "The Turk" who always inhabited Anatolia and who even got credit, somehow, for the Byzantine Empire. A replacement theology, with "the Turk" standing in for the Believer.. And Ataturk himself, an enlightened and ruthless despot -- thank god, equal to the task of smashing the power of the mullahs -- provided a figure who could, especially posthumously, replace Muhammad as an object of worship. The kult lichnosti, or Cult of Personality, became the cult of Ataturk worship, to replace or at least offer an alternative to that of Muhammad, and worship of "the Turk" was for some useful as a way to replace worship of Muslims, or rather of Islam (in Islam, the true object of worship is Islam itself).
Egypt has not had 80 years of Kemalism. It has no Ataturk in the offing. Instead, Erdogan's party and supporters have been systematically attacking the centers of Kemalism: the judiciary, the university rectors and professors, the journalists, the upper officer corps.
Arab ethnic identity reinforces support for Islam, rather than, as Turkish identity does, offering an alternative identity to that which Islam provides.
The only way out for Egypt is to cultivate the spirit of Egyptian-hood, to resurrect Taha Hussein's "Pharaonism," to distinguish "Egyptains" from "Arabs."
This will be more possible if the West ceases to support, to transfer aid, to Egypt and forces the Egyptians to go hat in hand to the rich Gulf Arabs. Those rich Gulf Arabs will not share their unearned wealth with Egypt, not to the extent the Egyptians will expect. And even if they give some aid, it will be received not gratefully, but as a matter of right, of something due to Egypt because -- and this is true -- it was Egypt that squandered several decade sof development in order to fight Israel on behalf of all the Arabs and Muslims. These themes, these attittudes, must be encouraged -- for the sake of Egypt itself, but also for non-Muslims who need to find ways to split off, where possible, non-Arab Muslims from Arab Muslims, and even some of those Arabs, such as Egyptians, who because of their pre-islamic history (unavoidable because of the loomig presence of the Pyramids, the Temple of Luxor, and millions of tourists who come only to see that pre-Islamic Egypt, and unavoidable, too, because the ten million Copts are a reminder that the original Egyptians were something other than Arabs).
Kemalism, in Egypt, will come only through Pharaonism. It's worth a try.
York University - Where Brains Have Been Rotting For Over Two Thousand Years
I missed this when it was first announced at Science Daily but, as I always say, I get there in the end. There has to be a joke in it somehow but I’m dashed if I can think of one:
The oldest surviving human brain in Britain, dating back at least 2000 years to the Iron Age, has been unearthed during excavations on the site of the University of York's campus expansion at Heslington East.
Archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust, commissioned by the University to carry out the exploratory dig, made the discovery in an area of extensive prehistoric farming landscape of fields, trackways and buildings dating back to at least 300 BC.
And they believe the skull, which was found on its own in a muddy pit, may have been a ritual offering.
As Finds Officer Rachel Cubitt cleaned the soil-covered skull's outer surface, she felt something move inside the cranium. Peering through the base of the skull, she spotted an unusual yellow substance.
'It jogged my memory of a university lecture on the rare survival of ancient brain tissue. We gave the skull special conservation treatment as a result, and sought expert medical opinion,' she said.
York Hospital's sophisticated CT scanner was used to produce startlingly clear images of the skull's contents. Philip Duffey, Consultant Neurologist at the Hospital said: 'I'm amazed and excited that scanning has shown structures which appear to be unequivocally of brain origin.
A small explosive device went off near a vacant business Sunday morning, breaking two San Mateo store windows but not injuring anyone.
The loud explosion occurred about 7 a.m. near the 1000 block of South Amphlett Boulevard. Police and fire crews found an abandoned couch in front of the building, and it appeared a device similar to a firecracker was placed near the couch and ignited.
The surrounding area was shut down for two hours and reopened at 9:15 a.m. The San Mateo County Bomb Squad found no other such devices nearby.
The couch on which the firecracker was placed is located only 20 miles from the nearest mosque, across the San Mateo bridge in Hayward.
I came across this at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. It’s not a bad assessment of the Brotherhood’s tactics and I strongly recommend that you click on this link and read the whole of Lt. Col. (ret.) Halevi’s short essay. In the meantime here is the abstract:
The Muslim Brotherhood has taken a greater role in organizing the protest against the Egyptian regime as it unfolds its independent political agenda. Rashad al-Bayumi, the Brotherhood's second-in-command, announced in an interview with Japanese TV that the group would join a transitional government in order to cancel the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, as it "offends the Arabs' dignity and destroys the interests of Egypt and other Arab states." He further stressed that Egypt does not need American aid.
The Muslim Brotherhood does indeed participate in political activity and defend the democratic process. That is not, however, because it has accepted the principles of Western democracy, but rather because the democratic process can be exploited to establish an Islamic regime which will then render democracy unnecessary.
Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef told the Egyptian daily Al-Karama in 2007 that only Islam was the expression of true democracy. "Islam and its values antedated the West by founding true democracy, exemplified by the Shura [the advisory council under the Caliphs]."
The Brotherhood's official website notes that jihad is Islam's most important tool in effecting a gradual takeover, beginning with the Muslim countries, moving on to reestablishing the Caliphate over three continents in preparation for a conquest of the West, and finally instituting a global Islamic state.
The Muslim Brotherhood's step-by-step plan dictates its supposed "moderation," which will gradually vanish as its achievements increase and its acceptance of the existing situation is replaced by a strict, orthodox Muslim rule whose foreign policy is based on jihad.
A comprehensive analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood's agenda may be found in Jonathan D. Halevi, "The Muslim Brotherhood: A Moderate Islamic Alternative to al-Qaeda or a Partner in Global Jihad?" which you can find behind this link. Here’s the abstract:
The Muslim Brotherhood is increasingly at the center of a heated political controversy in the U.S. and among its Western allies. Foreign Affairs, an important weathervane of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, featured in its March-April issue an article by Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke arguing that the Muslim Brotherhood had become a moderate organization.
The Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the British House of Commons issued a report in the summer of 2007 concluding: "As long as the Muslim Brotherhood expresses a commitment to the democratic process and non-violence, we recommend that the British Government should engage with it and seek to influence its members." Ironically, while prominent voices in the West are calling for a new political dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood, in the Arab world many serious analysts warn about its continuing violent nature and global ambitions.
At a meeting of the National Defense and Security Committee of the Egyptian Parliament held in January 2007, Muslim Brotherhood parliament member Mohammed Shaker Sanar openly admitted that the Muslim Brotherhood was not committed to Western democratic values. He said that nothing about the organization had changed. "The organization was founded in 1928 to reestablish the Caliphate destroyed by Ataturk....With Allah's help [the Muslim Brotherhood] will institute the law of Allah."
This year, newly revealed federal court documents that were accepted into evidence during the trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation revealed further the inner thinking of the Muslim Brotherhood about its global mission. A sixteen-page Arabic document discloses: "The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within."
The Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda differ regarding tactics but share a common strategy. Al-Qaeda favors an implacable jihad to destroy the economies of the Western countries. The Muslim Brotherhood supports terrorism and jihad against foreign presence in the Islamic world, but its top priority is constructing a Muslim infrastructure in the West which will slowly but surely enable it to rule during the 21st century. As far as the final goal is concerned, there are no policy differences between al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The two organizations have the same objective: to place the entire world under an Islamic caliphate.
Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd. and is a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
An ex-Bosnian-Serb general convicted of involvement in the killing of Muslim men in Srebrenica in 1995 has appeared in court to describe how he was the victim of an alleged revenge attack at Wakefield Prison.
Indrit Krasniqi, 23, Iliyas Khalid, 24, and Quam Ogumbiyi, 29, all deny attempted murder and wounding with intent to commit grievous bodily harm. All three defendants are serving life sentences.
Julian Goose QC, prosecuting, told the jury of seven woman and five men the former soldier suffered a number of injuries on May 7, last year, including one 12cm slash across his neck.
Mr Goose said: "The cut was deep and long. It was deliberately aimed to cut vital vessels in the neck so as to kill him. . . The motive for the attempt to murder him was as a punishment or revenge. This was, we say as the prosecution, a planned and determined attack in which the three defendants intended to kill Radislav Krstic. The three defendants are practising Muslims."
Sometimes deliberately polluting ones mind with the sort of dross and drivel written by the intellectually challenged and published by the substandard for the consumption of the lazy and gullible is simply too much to ask of oneself.
Whole lot of this quel-giorno-più-non-vi-leggemmo-avante stuff goin' around.
It's not just for Paolo and Francesca anymore.
I'd like to dilate on this theme. But I better stop here rather than descant, and yet again descant. No one seems to be in the mood for reading further, beginning with John, beginning with Mary. I can take a hint.
The Mistreatment, And Misuse, Of Civil Affairs Reservists In Iraq And Afghanistan
Report: U.S. Civil Affairs Reservists Died Underequipped in Iraq and Afghanistan
Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Lawrence Morrison was deployed to Iraq in 2005 as a Civil Affairs officer despite a bad knee, a bum shoulder, and high blood pressure. He was killed by an improvised explosive device. Morrison Family
(Credit: Morrison Family)
High numbers of U.S. Civil Affairs soldiers, sent into Afghanistan and Iraq to win the hearts and minds of locals by helping restore electricity, build water systems and spread good will, were met with a deadly fate due to lack of protective combat gear and training, according to the findings of an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.
Though the Civil Affairs soldiers tasked with nation building make up only about five percent of the U.S. Army's reserve forces, they accounted for 23 percent of the combat fatalities among reservists in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Center for Public Integrity stated in releasing its report today.
During most of the tenure of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command also lacked the soldiers to do the job successfully and disguised its weaknesses by keeping "ghosts" on the books, the Center said citing Internal Army documents, memos and interviews with former officers.
The hundreds of "ghost" soldiers on the Civil Affairs rosters were actually reservists who couldn't perform their duties in the combat zone due to a variety of reasons such as physical ailments or lack of mandatory training. Their names of the books made the Civil Affairs command look like it had more human resources to deploy than it did.
Meanwhile, the Generals in the field faced with an insufficient number of Civil Affairs units to draw from, sent reservists into harm's way without training, hardened armored vehicles, protective plates for their armored vests and machine guns, the Center stated.
The Center called the Civil Affairs units "the stepchild" in a vast military campaign in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Although a mere fraction of the troops are dedicated to civil affairs, they have been deployed without proper training and equipment to hostile territory to carry out heroic efforts against difficult odds and they are killed far out of proportion to their numbers," the Center for Public Integrity found.
As Mrs. Clinton in Munich flounders in a sea of platitudes about America’s ‘expectations’ and President Obama stays on message and alongside her here is the first concrete result of the American Administration’s vacillation and refusal to commit to the future of Israel.
Egyptian security came under attack Monday by a group identified by witnesses as the radical Islamist group Takfir Wal-Hijra, injuring an officer and a civilian.
Security officials told Ma'an that the attack was launched on forces operating in the Ahrash neighborhood of Rafah city, with several Rocket-propelled Grenades fired in what was said by witnesses to be a two-hour battle.
Eyewitnesses said they recognized several of the assailants, who were identified as belonging to the Takfir Wal-Hijra movement.
The Rmeilat tribe, part of the indigenous Bedouin population, were said to have joined forces with with the security forces to push back the group, an offshoot of Egypt's popular Muslim Brotherhood with alleged ties to Al-Qaeda.
According to local officials, members of the same group abducted three Egyptian police officers from Dahaqliya on Friday, as the car of officers left the Al-Arish district on patrol.
Egypt had stepped-up border security after a clash with Bedouin tribes in the area during the first week of mass protests in the nation's cities demanding the ouster of the country's 30-year President Hosni Mubarak.
The injured were identified by security sources as officer Muhammad Nabil, shot in his leg, and a local Bedouin young man, 20-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Mahmoud, who sustained a gunshot wound in the chest.
I think that we can expect more and more of this sort of attack as the Muslim Brotherhood flexes its muscles.
Another scowling Muslim wags his finger in our face and spits out threats of murder. From Reuters:
LONDON - Islamist rebel leader Doku Umarov said on Monday he had ordered a suicide bombing that killed 36 people at Russia's busiest airport last month.
Umarov, 46, speaking in a video carried by the Islamist website www.Kavkazcenter.com, said there would be further such attacks in pursuit of an independent Muslim state governed by Shariah law in Russia's Caucasus region — a territory embracing Chechnya, Dagestan and other nearby territories.
Umarov appeared in the video, apparently made on the day of the Jan. 24 attack on Moscow's Domodedovo airport, wearing combat fatigues, talking quietly and hesitantly.
"The special operation today in Moscow . . . was carried out on my orders," said Umarov, who styles himself the Emir of the Caucasus.
"These special operations will continue . . . to show the chauvinist regime of (Russian Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin in Moscow . . . that we can carry out these operations where we want and when we want," he said, pointing a finger towards the camera.
The attack bore the hallmark of Caucasus rebels but Monday's video was the first time Umarov had claimed direct responsibility for it.
Putin launched a war in late 1999 that crushed a rebel government in Chechnya and has made re-establishment of Kremlin rule there a personal political priority. The military operation has largely subdued insurgency in Chechnya, but Islamist rebels now operate with increasing force in neighbouring Dagestan and Ingushetia.
Violence is fed by poverty, corruption, clan rivalries and religious militancy. [Erratum: "Violence is fed by mainstream Islamic belief as laid out in the Qur'an and ahadith, and 1,350 years of mainstream Islamic jurisprudence"] President Dmitry Medvedev has called insurgency in the Caucasus the biggest threat to national security in the vast multi-ethnic country stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific.
The attack on Moscow's Domodedovo airport took place in a crowded terminal building on a busy late afternoon. Russian officials say the suicide bomber was a 20-year-old native of the North Caucasus.
Umarov appeared in a separate video on Feb. 5 declaring that Russia faced a year of 'blood and tears' if it refused to abandon its North Caucasus territories. He appeared with a young man he described as a 'brother' being dispatched to Moscow to carry out an unspecified operation.
He said he was visiting the Riyadus-Salikhiyn battalion, which took responsibility for the 2004 Beslan school massacre, where more than 320 people died, as well as more recent actions such as a September market bombing in Vladikavkaz in the North Caucasus.
Jihadis promise years of blood and tears, intending it as a threat, but when have they ever promised anything other than blood and tears to the kuffar? It's hard to threaten to do something they've already been doing for over a millenium; the threat begins to lose its potency. That's the only thing they have to offer the world; no medical or scientific advances, no works of literature or art or music, no ennobling of the human spirit; the only thing they have to offer is threats of more blood and tears.
Jihadis claim that we (kufirs) love Coke, while they love death. Jihadis promise years of blood and tears, while we kufirs lament the passing of the brief days of wine and roses.
Muslim Brotherhood Run Minnesota Charter School â€“Lone Holdout in Settlement with ACLU
The only decent legal action in recent memory by the ACLU was the case filed in Federal Court in January 2009 against the Minnesota Department of Education, Muslim charity Islamic Relief USA and the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA) for violating good sense and the Establishment Clause of our First Amendment by promoting Islam using taxpayer funds. TiZA was run by the Minneapolis branch of the Muslim American Society (MAS), a Muslim Brotherhood front in what the ACLU called in its motion papers in a ‘pervasive sectarian manner’. A former columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Katherine Kersten had led the fight to expose TiZA’s abuse of state taxpayer funds to provide Islamic instruction to the largely Somali Muslim student population.
At the time of the ACLU filing this legal action we noted Ms. Kersten’s findings:
[TiZA’s] co-founders, Asad Zaman and Hesham Hussein, were imams, or Muslim religious leaders, as well as leaders of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota (MAS-MN).
Since then, they have played dual roles: Zaman as TIZA's principal and the current vice-president of MAS-MN, and Hussein as TIZA's school board chair and president of MAS-MN until his death in a car accident in Saudi Arabia in January.
TIZA shares MAS-MN's headquarters building, along with a mosque.
The Minnesota Department of Education was prompted by Kersten's reports and complaints filed by Minnesota citizens to investigate allegations about whether TiZA had crossed the line and engaged in promoting Islam to its predominate immigrant Somali Muslim students and, basically, with few exceptions, gave TiZA a political pass. The Minnesota Department of Education report indicated that TiZA Academy complied with most state and federal laws, but wanted TiZA to take corrective actions regarding Friday prayer services at the school and ordered to make bus rides home available right after school ends, instead of after a voluntary after-school religious program. The Minnesota chapter of the ACLU was prompted because of the allegations to conduct its own investigations.
The Star Tribune revealed in a news story today , “ACLU settles with state, school sponsor”, that the Minnesota Department of Education and Islamic Relief USA had settled, leaving TiZA as the lone holdout.
Here are some of the developments from the Star Tribune story:
The state education commissioner and Islamic Relief USA, an organization that oversees the school, have reached deals with the ACLU, subject to approval by a federal judge.
Among the terms: Islamic Relief will pay the ACLU more than $250,000, and the state will intensify its screening of charter schools to make sure they don't illegally promote religion, according to court documents and an attorney with knowledge of the deals.
The ACLU has argued that both parties were partly responsible for alleged problems at Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), a K-10 school with campuses in Inver Grove Heights and Blaine. In a lawsuit filed in January 2009, the ACLU accused the publicly funded school of promoting religion in violation of the U.S. Constitution, a claim that officials at TiZA have denied.
The ACLU's battle with the school is still raging, and while a settlement conference is slated for Thursday, "The ACLU is many miles away from any settlement with TiZA," said Peter Lancaster, an attorney at the law firm Dorsey & Whitney who has represented the ACLU. "We haven't really been able to agree on anything in the case."
In a written statement issued Monday, a spokesman for TiZA declined to comment on any potential settlement.
Among other terms, Islamic Relief has agreed to pay the ACLU $267,500, according to court documents filed last week.
That payment won't cover the ACLU's legal costs related to Islamic Relief, "but I think the ACLU wants other [charter school] sponsors to know that sponsoring a religious school can be an expensive proposition," Lancaster said.
Islamic Relief, which denies wrongdoing, has agreed not to seek to incorporate in Minnesota, which the out-of-state organization would need to do in order to continue serving as TiZA's authorizer under a new state law. The organization also said that it has secured the cooperation of two witnesses who may testify if the ACLU's claims against TiZA go to trial.
The ACLU's settlement with state education commissioner Brenda Cassellius is not yet public, but in a motion last week, ACLU attorneys told a judge that the deal "is explicitly conditioned upon the agreement and all of its attachments being made public."
State officials declined to discuss the terms of the agreement on Monday. No money will change hands between the state and the ACLU under the deal, Lancaster said.
As part of both settlements, state officials, Islamic Relief and the ACLU also have compiled a list of facts about the case that they believe should not be in dispute, according to court documents.
Some of those facts are supported by records that have been tagged as confidential by TiZA and others, but the ACLU has asked the court to specify that those documents should be public.
The list carries the "power of sunlight," Lancaster argued, adding that, to him, it's the most important part of the settlements. "We think that the school has operated in secrecy for too long," he said.
"When the public or when legislators look at what went wrong in this school, I think it will have an effect on how people look at other charter schools, too," he said.
Intrepid former StarTribune columnist Kersten is to be commended for leading the public fight that resulted in the ACLU law suit and settlement discussions on Thursday. At the time of the filing in January, 2009 we noted:
Having written about the TiZA and other Muslim organized charter schools in Ohio, California and Georgia, we hope that the Minnesota ACLU law suit will begin to turn the tide of Islamization of the public sponsored and taxpayer funded schools in America. The irony in all this is that the courageous Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist, Ms. Kersten, ended her metro columns on January 9, 2009. She will be missed and frankly should be given a journalism award for her breakthrough undercover work on TiZA.
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia's president ordered an investigation into an attack on members of a minority Muslim sect after a gruesome video emerged of a mob beating several victims to death with machetes, sticks and rocks.
About 1,500 people stormed a house in Banten province over the weekend to stop 20 Ahmadiyah followers from worshipping. They killed three men and badly wounded six others, while destroying the house and setting fire to several cars and motorbikes.
Indonesia is a secular country of 237 million people with more Muslims than any other in the world.
AP has the nerve, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, to call Indonesia a secular country. Search this website for "Indonesia" for examples of just how "secular" Indonesia is.
Despite a long history of religious tolerance, a hard-line fringe has grown louder in recent years and the government — which relies on the support of Islamic parties in Parliament — has been accused of caving in to it.
An example of the 'long history of religious tolerance' in Indonesia is the 500,000 non-Muslims killed in 1965-1966 by Muslims, of which the CIA said "In terms of the numbers killed the anti-PKI massacres in Indonesia rank as one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century."
Rights group said Tuesday a 2008 decree that bans religious activities of Ahmadiyah, thought to have 200,000 followers in the archepeligic nation, should be immediately revoked. They say it only encourages violence.
The latest attacks on Ahmadiyah — which drew rare condemnation from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono — were captured on video and have circulated widely on national television and the Internet.
The most disturbing clip, posted on YouTube, showed assailants repeatedly pounding two victims — who had been stripped naked and appeared to be dead — with heavy sticks.
A policeman came to the scene but his screams of "stop" were almost inaudible among dozens who shouted "Allahu Akbar" or God is Great.
God and Allah are not one and the same. This incident only magnifies the depravity of that claim.
The Ahmadiyah are considered deviant by many Muslims and are banned in many Islamic countries because they believe that Muhammad was not the final prophet.
"I have ordered a comprehensive investigation to find out the real cause of the incident so that those guilty, or violating the law, can be penalized," Yudhoyono told a news conference.
He also called on security forces as well as local governments to be proactive in taking action against the instigators of such violence.
"Don't wait until the conflicts and clashes have already happened," Yudhoyono said.
Many attacks on religious minorities in recent years have been carried out by members of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front, known also for smashing bars and attacking transvestites and anyone one else considered "blasphemous" with bamboo clubs and stones.
The group pressured local authorities late last year to shutter a Christian church located in a densely populated Muslim area, and assailants stabbed a Christian worshipper and beat a minister on the head with a wooden plank as they headed to prayers.
Thirteen members of the Islamic Defenders Front have gone on trial in the case, and state prosecutors on Monday sought a six-month prison term for Murhali Barda, a local group leader, for instigating the Sept. 13 attack.
The Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, a human rights group, says attacks on religious freedom by hard-liners are steadily increasing.
Okay, you've read the text. Do you care to see what a screaming crowd of Muslims surrounding helpless victims looks like? Do you care to see just how Muslims treat their fellow Muslims? Do you care to see for yourself just how "great" Allah is? Are you sure?
The raw depiction of Islamic violence, including beheading videos, is hard to view. It is damaging to the soul. But it is also necessary not to gloss over exactly who we are facing, and what we are opposing.
There is exactly one reason that president Yudhoyono is calling for an investigation, and that is because this incident, unlike so many others, was caught on tape. It acts to defame Islam in the eyes of the non-Muslims of the world, and it makes the process of dawa that much more difficult.