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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 Sunday, 7, 2010.
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Muslim Leader's Death Threat Calls Over Dress
A SECULAR Muslim woman councillor has been forced to dress more conservatively after receiving death threats and sexually harassing phone calls from members of her own community. Shiria Khatun, 38, has called in the police over the sinister calls in which threats were made not only against her, but also her four young children. In one they warned they would dig up parents’ graves and bury her there instead.
The Labour councillor in the controversial borough of Tower Hamlets—named in a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary last week as a centre of Islamic fundamentalism—is considered one of the area’s most progressive politicians. However, over the past year she has been the victim of a “sick” harassment campaign. She has been bombarded with anonymous calls and even followed home. At first she was “too embarrassed” to call the police, but when the threats, mostly made in the Bangladeshi dialect Sylheti, targeted her family she decided to act.
She said: “As a councillor I’m meant to be a strong woman and I didn’t want to show that I was bothered, but it’s gone too far. They’re really disgusting. They would talk about my Western clothes, my tight jeans and my body parts. One man said—and it sounds much nastier in Sylheti—‘I know where you live and I’m going to come and show you and your kids’. I just hung up. I really thought  it was a pervert, but then it started to get more intense”. Following the calls, she started wearing more loose-fitting traditional Asian clothes and glasses instead of contact lenses to be “taken more seriously”.
She said: “I didn’t even realise that I was giving into them, but my skirts started getting longer and the whole thing left me demoralised. Other Muslim women have advised me to dress down because of rumours within the Bengali community, mostly men, criticising me for being too Western looking. I don’t like people exploiting religion to tell me I’m not a proper Muslim. We live in a democratic society and I have the right to dress how I like.”
She has so far refused to wear the Muslim hijab headscarf, something she said is a more common sight on the streets of Tower Hamlets—a densely Bangladeshi-populated borough—than in Bangladesh itself.  Cllr Khatun added: “I returned from a visit to Bangladesh not long ago and it’s definitely more conservative here than it is there. I used to look at the photos of Bangladeshi women who came here in the Sixties and go ‘Wow!’ and think how amazingly fashionable and liberal they were with their short-sleeved blouses and bouffant hairdos. It’s all changed so much now for younger women.” 
Posted on 03/07/2010 3:41 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 7 March 2010
American al-Qaida spokesman lauds Fort Hood killer
AP CAIRO — Al-Qaida's American-born spokesman has called on Muslims serving in the U.S. armed forces to emulate the Army major charged with killing 13 people in Fort Hood. Adam Gadah . . . describes Maj. Nidal Hasan as a pioneer who should serve as a role model for other Muslims. He urges Muslims in America to carry out attacks against U.S. and Western targets.
The video posted on a radical Islamic web site on Sunday featured Gadahn, also known as Azzam al-Amriki, dressed in white robes and wearing a white turban. Gadahn converted to Islam and joined al-Qaida and was charged with treason in 2006.
Posted on 03/07/2010 5:35 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Guess who wrote President Obama’s Cairo Speech?
Boston activist and J street Jive blogger extraordinaire, Hillel Stavis went to Harvard the other night and was ‘shocked, shocked” about what he discovered.  Middle East Studies "expert" Stephen P. Cohen, leftist scholar at the J Street ally, Israel Policy Forum and habitué at the Aspen Institute  with its wealthy Jewish liberal backers, wrote Obama’s Cairo speech. See Stavis’s post  Revelation at Harvard, Who wrote Obama’s Cairo speech?
Not to be confused -  there are two policy wonks by the name of Stephen P. Cohen. The other is a south Asian expert at the Brookings Institution and another dhimmi, given the latter’s sponsorship of his role as co-organizer of the Brookings "Islamic World and US Policy" forum that meets in Doha, Qatar every year.
Why did Cohen, who was tapped by Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff to write a speech for the President, convey such a blatant demonization of his own people and Israel  before the audience at the Vatican of the Sunni world, al Azhar University, in Cairo last June? For answers read these excerpts from Stavis’ piece on Cohen, the Cairo speech writer, whom he closely questioned at the Harvard Center for Middle East Studies presentation (listen to the audio links in the Stavis post):
The much ballyhooed speech, originally scheduled for Morocco, was changed to Cairo to have the greatest impact in "correcting" the perceived Muslim hostility to the U.S.engendered by  George.W. Bush.  The Wall St. Journal and Politico guessed it was the product of  Ben Rhodes, Obama's only foreign policy speechwriter (and erstwhile novelist: "The Oasis of Love") who traveled with him for his first major European speech, often dubbed the "Blame America First" speech.

Well, speculate no more. The writer wasn't Ben Rhodes or Chris Brose, former foreign policy speechwriter for Condoleeza Rice.  If we can believe him - and there is no reason to doubt his word - it was Stephen P. Cohen.   Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel called Cohen a week before the trip and asked him to prepare a first draft for the speech, "A New Beginning."

That's right!  BHO chose a Jew to write the most important  address by an American President  -in the middle of a war against Islamic terrorists - to the Muslim world.

Steve Cohen, founder of the Institute for Middle East Peace and Development, Harvard PhD, visiting professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Princeton and other high powered institutions, recently spoke at Harvard's Center for Middle East Studies beneath the smiling portraits of Harvard's stellar contributors to the landscape of failed foreign policy initiatives, notably, Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski.  We all remember "Zbig", the guy who helped weaponize the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan along with someone called Osama Bin Laden.  Now that was a brilliant move.
To trace the history of the Jewish People in Israel from a point 70 or so years ago is grossly and historically inaccurate - and a slander.  Speechwriter Cohen quickly followed up the slap with another: Imputing the seemingly endless Middle East conflict to Israel's creation by visiting "the pain of dislocation" upon the Palestinian Arabs.  That one, needles to say, went over big in Cairo and around the Muslim world.

To further woo and wow his Cairo audience, Cohen decided to recount the Isra, or The Prophet's miraculous "night journey" to heaven on the back of his noble, flying steed, Buraq, during which he hangs with Moses and Jesus.  Cohen reads ecumenicism into what most of the Muslim world sees as triumphalism.  Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran; only the term, al-Masgidu l'-Aqsa, the "farthest mosque."  Considering the fact that Palestine had not yet been conquered and colonized by Muslim armies (621 CE), many scholars dismiss as ridiculous the notion that that "mosque" indicates Jerusalem.  At any rate, Cohen not only buys into the story, but glorifies it.
For at least the past 75 years, Palestinian Arabs (and much of the Muslim world) have attempted to deny the abundant historical data and physical evidence that substantiate Jewish presence as the sovereign people in their own land for at least a thousand years before the birth of Mohammed and the Islamic conquest of Palestine.  Official after official of both Hamas and the PA have denied Jewish existence there and have refused to acknowledge the historicity of Har ha Bayit, The Temple Mount, built by Herod the Great over 2000 years ago.  The Islamic Waqf, or Holy Trust for the Haram al Sharif, has even attempted to destroy priceless Jewish (and other) artifacts uncovered on the Temple Mount during expansions of the Al Aqsa mosque.

Having erased the nettlesome matter of Jewish patrimony, Cohen then goes beyond mere dhimmitude and starts writing like a true believer.  His rhapsodic rendering of Prophet's miraculous night journey to heaven  could have come from the pen of a ninth century compiler of the hadiths.

When asked during the Q&A why he had traced Jewish "aspirations" for their land only as far as the end of World War II, he did show a measure of remorse - but only to extend that connection back to 1920!  He still refused to acknowledge the historicity of thousands of years of Jewish presence on the land.

Yes, "upsetting to Israelis", but apparently not so for Mr. Cohen.

Yet in spite of his regrets over making Israelis uncomfortable, he concluded by again warning Israelis to hew to the Administration line by heeding Joe Biden's upcoming admonitions in Israel, no doubt reiterating Obama's demands for a settlement freeze.

Again, the Academy has marched the world ever closer to the abyss in its insatiable desire to become the perfect dhimmi.
Posted on 03/07/2010 8:20 AM by Jerry Gordon
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Our Man in Marja


MARJA, AFGHANISTAN -- The newly appointed top official in Marja, Abdul Zahir Aryan, is the Afghan face of the American-led military offensive. As the lone government representative in this town, he stands at the center of the next phase of the battle: the fight to build an Afghan government that is more attractive than Taliban rule.

But Zahir, who goes by Haji Zahir, arrived at this position after a tumultuous personal history that American and Afghan officials have not publicly disclosed. During more than a decade living in Germany, Zahir, 60, served four years in prison for attempted murder after stabbing his stepson, according to U.S. officials.

Three top U.S. officials in Afghanistan and one senior administration official in Washington confirmed his German conviction, though none would speak on the record. They did not say if the Afghan or U.S. government had known of his criminal conviction before Afghan officials appointed him to his post.

U.S. officials in Afghanistan said Zahir's criminal conviction did not undermine their confidence in his ability to govern.

"He served his time, so I suspect he will survive this," a U.S. military official said, adding though that the U.S. government had expressed concern to the Afghan government about this issue.

His criminal record casts a different light on Zahir than the one American officials have chosen to emphasize: that of a respected elder from the Alozai tribe, a landowner who lived in Marja in his youth and who hopes to re-create those peaceful days in areas recently wrested from Taliban control. U.S. Marines and civilian advisers in Marja have given him money and protection in an attempt to persuade a wary population to follow him.

"We want to ensure that Haji Zahir's face is on everything we do," said one official who works with him in Marja.

In interviews this week in Marja, Zahir spoke about the years he spent in exile living outside Frankfurt, sometimes unemployed, sometimes working in laundries and hotels. He chatted in German at length with a U.S. Marine who spoke the language.

He could not be reached subsequently to discuss his time in prison. But the details of his case as described by U.S. officials in Afghanistan correspond to that of an Afghan man who went by Abdul Zahar while in Germany.

The account of Zahar's life and trial in Germany, as related in newspaper articles and confirmed by German officials this week, including his defense attorney, Manfred Doering, described a man with a volatile family life and a willingness to flee from justice. He arrived in Germany in 1989 after working as a Ministry of Defense driver in Afghanistan. He settled in Rodgau with at least two wives and 13 children -- including twin 18-year-old stepsons.

On Dec. 15, 1997, after beating his wife and being taken to task by his stepson for it, Zahar went to the home of a stepdaughter and stabbed the stepson in the chest and an arm, wounds that required hospitalization...

No doubt he'll survive this, but what does it say about us? The entire Afghanistan mission has become completely untenable.

Posted on 03/07/2010 8:26 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Yoram Ettinger: on Iran Threat

Here is a succinct piece on the Iran threat by Amb. (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, consultant on US affairs and Former Minister for Congressional Affairs at the Israeli embassy in Washington DC   published by Israel National News. Perhaps it should be given to Vice President Biden and his minders at the State Departrment and the Oval Office as 'cliff notes' in preparation for his major policy speech to distrustful Israelis at Tel Aviv university when he visits there this week.

The former ambassador says it all in this short and succinct article: Take heed, world, Israel's destruction is not Iran's only goal.

1.  Iran's super-goal: Domination of the Persian Gulf and its natural resources.

2.  Iran's super-enemies: Those who undermine Iran's super-goal.

3.  Iran's super-capabilities:  Nuclear capabilities are developed in order to advance Iran's super-goal and defeat
Iran's super-enemies: Those who undermine Iran's super-goal.
Iran's super-enemies.

4.  Iran's nuclear would be leveraged, mostly, to force US and NATO out of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean.  It would be leveraged against Iraq – its arch rival since the seventh century – and against Saudi Arabia, which Iran considers an apostate regime. All Gulf States are perceived by Iran as a key prize, required to control the flow and the price of oil and to bankroll Teheran's megalomaniac regional and global aspirations.

5.  US national security and US standard of living would be severely undermined by Iran's domination of the Persian Gulf.  The prevention of a nuclear Iran constitutes a top US national security priority. 

6.  The Sanction Delusion plays into Teheran's hands: Russia and China consider the US their major long-term rival.  Their assessment of Iran is dramatically different than the US assessment. Therefore, they (as well as some European countries) will not implement effective sanctions against Iran.

7.  Preemption/prevention – and not deterrence or retaliation – is the only effective means to prevent the nuclearization of Iran and to spare the US and the globe devastating cost.



Posted on 03/07/2010 8:44 AM by Jerry Gordon
Sunday, 7 March 2010
A Musical Interlude: Never Swat A Fly (Abe Lyman Orch., voc. Marjorie White, Frank Albertson)

Watch, and listen, here.

Posted on 03/07/2010 10:35 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 7 March 2010
The Snows of Yesteryear

Timothy Williamson reviews Robert B. Brandom's Reason in Philosophy in the TLS:

Brandom’s account implies that the probability that the sentence “Snow is white” is true simply equals the probability that snow is white. That sounds good, until we remember that we can talk about how probable something is for someone else. The probability for English-speakers that “Snow is white” is true equals the probability that snow is white. But consider a monolingual Inuit who sees the sentence “Snow is white” on a fragment of philosophical text blown by the wind, without knowing what it means. On Brandom’s account, the probability for her that the sentence “Snow is white” is true equals the probability for her that snow is white. Since she knows better than we do that snow is white, the probability for her that snow is white is high. But the probability for her that the sentence “Snow is white” is true is not high, since she has no evidence that the sentence means that snow is white rather than that blood is green.

Or that dinner is ready - whale meat again.

You might know that this monolingual Inuit would be a she. A philosophically challenged monolingual Eskimo, on the other hand, would be a he.

Posted on 03/07/2010 10:24 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Falling over

I have sometimes wondered why there are fallen women, but no fallen men. After all, the women didn't fall by themselves, and some were pushed.

I was wrong though - men fall too. Only this week, Hugo Williams of the TLS took a tumble near the British Museum, scattering copies of his own book. He picked himself up, dusted himself off and wrote the following:

On the whole, it’s surprising how seldom people fall over. In fifty years of wandering around London, I have only witnessed a handful of tumbles, but they have imprinted themselves on my mind as moments of vivid shock. On each occasion I hurried forward to assist, anxious above all to see the person restored to the vertical. How not to fall over is one of the first lessons we learn in life and embarrassment is inculcated early as a result of that fond but slighting laughter at our efforts to stay upright. In his essay on laughter, Baudelaire asks why we burst out laughing at each other’s slips and falls. Such laughter, he says, is “an involuntary spasm, comparable to a sneeze, produced by the collision between competing senses of infinite grandeur and infinite misery”. The laughing spectator’s haughty proclamation, “Look at me, I’m not falling!” is haunted by the thought “for the time being”. Speaking for Frenchmen everywhere, he goes on: “The man who trips would  be the last person to laugh at his own fall, unless he happened to be a philosopher and had acquired the habit of self-division”.

The actor Ralph Richardson’s speciality used to be falling down on stage. It was half a joke, half a grim reference. In the recent revival of Harold Pinter’s play No Man’s Land, Michael Gambon too falls over, as a tribute to Richardson, who acted in the original production. In Michael Andrews’s painting “A Man Who Suddenly Fell Over”, a bulky middle-aged type in a suit, tie and overcoat is seen in mid-fall while an old lady standing nearby holds her face in alarm. She hasn’t even moved to help him yet … Andrews later said the painting was about the man’s attempt to conceal that he may have been badly hurt or upset, even though he hasn’t actually hit the ground yet. His face is central to the picture and instead of looking horrified he seems to grin.

How can another person's fall be funny? Watch:

Posted on 03/07/2010 11:05 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Adam Gadahn Arrest Confusion


KARACHI, Pakistan – The American-born spokesman for al-Qaida has been arrested by Pakistani intelligence officers in the southern city of Karachi, two officers and a government official said Sunday, the same day Adam Gadahn appeared in a video urging U.S. Muslims to attack their own country.

The arrest of Gadahn is a major victory in the U.S.-led battle against al-Qaida and will be taken as a sign that Pakistan, criticized in the past for being an untrustworthy ally, is cooperating more fully with Washington. It follows the recent detentions of several Afghan Taliban commanders in Karachi, including the movement's No. 2 commander.

Gadahn has appeared in more than half a dozen al-Qaida videos, taunting and threatening the West and calling for its destruction. A U.S. court charged Gadahn with treason in 2006, making him the first American to face such a charge in more than 50 years.

He was arrested in the sprawling southern metropolis of Karachi in recent days, two officers who took part in the operation said. A senior government official also confirmed the arrest, but said it happened Sunday. The discrepancy could not immediately be resolved.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

The intelligence officials said Gadahn was being interrogated by Pakistani officials. Pakistani agents and those from the CIA work closely on some operations in Pakistan, but it was not clear if any Americans were involved in the operation or questioning.

In the past, Pakistan has handed over some al-Qaida suspects arrested on its soil to the United States.

Gadahn grew up on a goat farm in Riverside County, California, and converted to Islam at a mosque in nearby Orange County.

UPDATE: It's looking like the man they arrested is not Gadahn.

Posted on 03/07/2010 2:22 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Muslim Marauders Hack Christian Villagers To Death In Nigeria

From Reuters: 

Up to 300 feared dead in central Nigeria clashes


By Shuaibu Mohammed

JOS, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigeria's acting president Sunday ordered the security forces to hunt down those behind clashes involving Muslim herders and Christian villagers in which more than 300 people may have been killed.

The latest unrest in Nigeria's central Plateau state comes at a difficult time, with acting leader Goodluck Jonathan trying to assert his authority while ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua remains too sick to govern the oil-producing nation.

Villagers in Dogo Nahawa, just south of the state capital Jos, said Hausa-Fulani herders from surrounding hills attacked at about 3 a.m. (10 p.m. EST), shooting into the air before cutting those who came out of their homes with machetes.

A Red Cross official said at least two other nearby communities were also targeted, in an area close to where sectarian clashes killed hundreds of people in January, but that it was too early to give an overall death toll.

A Reuters witness counted more than 120 bodies -- most lying in Dogo Nahawa, others taken to mortuaries in Jos -- but Plateau State Commissioner for Information Gregory Yenlong said more than 300 people, including women and children, had died.

Jonathan put the security forces on red alert to try to prevent reprisal attacks spreading into neighboring states.

"Reports reaching us indicated marauding bands launched a flurry of attacks on certain communities in the state, causing considerable death and injury," Jonathan's office said.

"The Acting President ... has directed that the security services undertake strategic initiatives to confront and defeat these roving bands of killers," it said in a statement.

Some of the bodies seen by the Reuters witness -- including those of women and children -- were charred, others had machete wounds across their faces. Aid workers said some had been shot.

"The shooting was just meant to bring people from their houses and then when people came out they started cutting them with machetes," said Dogo Nahawa resident Peter Jang, women crying behind him.


Four days of sectarian clashes in January between mobs armed with guns, knives and machetes killed hundreds of people in Jos, which lies at the crossroads of Nigeria's Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.

Jonathan deployed hundreds of troops and police to quell January's unrest, in which community leaders put the death toll at more than 400. Official police figures estimated the death toll from the clashes two months ago at 326.

Yenlong said the state government may consider extending a dusk-to-dawn curfew still in place after January's unrest.

It was not immediately clear what triggered the latest unrest, but thousands have died in religious and ethnic violence in central Nigeria over the past 10 years.

The tension is rooted in decades of resentment between indigenous groups, mostly Christian or animist, who are vying for control of fertile farmlands with migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim north.

The instability underscores the fragility of Africa's most populous nation as it approaches the campaign period for 2011 elections with uncertainty over who is in charge.

Yar'Adua returned from three months in a Saudi hospital, where he was being treated for a heart condition, a week and a half ago but has still not been seen in public. Presidency sources say he remains in a mobile intensive care unit.

Fears of a debilitating power struggle between Yar'Adua's inner circle, a northern elite keen to maintain its grip on power, and Jonathan -- who is from the south -- sprang up in the OPEC member state of 140 million people when the 58-year-old leader was flown back late at night and driven off by ambulance.

(Additional reporting by Felix Onuah and Camillus Eboh in Abuja; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Peter Millership)

Posted on 03/07/2010 6:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 7 March 2010
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Accentuate The Positive (The Singing Detective)

Watch, and listen, here.

Posted on 03/07/2010 6:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Rapid Release Of Methane In Siberia

From The Atlantic:

Siberian Methane Could Fast-Track Global Warming

Rapid methane release from a thawing arctic shelf could cause "abrupt climate warming" of a whole new scale.

By Nicole Allan
Unexpectedly huge quantities of Siberian methane are being released into the atmosphere, according to a new study. The resulting feedback loop could dramatically outpace the climate models that scientists and policy makers have been using as they attempt to roll back emissions.

When it comes to climate change, methane is bad news: It is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide in causing increased atmospheric temperatures.

A National Science Foundation study in today's issue of Science found that melting permafrost in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is causing an annual release of nearly 8 million tons of methane. In deeper ocean areas, methane that escapes from the seabed has time to oxidize as it rises to the surface, transforming into less potent carbon dioxide by the time it is released into the atmosphere. In the shallow waters of East Siberia, however, methane that escapes through the thawing permafrost rises quickly to the surface and enters the atmosphere in its original form.   

Eight million tons is a relative a pittance compared to the 80 million metric tons produced by livestock around the world each year. But the Siberian methane problem will only get worse as temperatures increase and more permafrost melts.

Joe Romm at Climate Progress describes this methane release as "the most dangerous amplifying feedback in the entire carbon cycle." According to the NSF, "the Earth's geologic record indicates that atmospheric concentrations of methane have varied from about 0.3 to 0.4 parts per million during cold periods to about 0.6 to 0.7 parts per million during warm periods." Today's study pegs methane levels in the Arctic at 2.85 parts per million, the highest concentration in 400,000 years, so the methane feedback loop is already well under way.

Perhaps the scariest part of these findings is that they are not included in climate models. According to Romm, "no climate model currently incorporates the amplifying feedback from methane released by a defrosting tundra." The methane findings from the East Siberian shelf are a dangerous new variable that must be incorporated into planning and policy making.  

Some dissenters argue that since scientists only began monitoring the East Siberian area recently, it's possible the shelf has been leaking methane for thousands of years. But does it matter? Melting permafrost releases methane, and methane causes warming, and warming melts permafrost -- so no matter how long this process has been active, new scientific knowledge of it must immediately be factored into policy decisions.
Posted on 03/07/2010 9:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Taliban And Hezb-I-Islami Fight Each Other

Fighting between Taliban and allies in north Afghanistan


Fighting between the Taliban and an allied armed group in northern Afghanistan has killed up to 60 rebels and 19 civilians, according to Afghan police.Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-i-Islami claim the casualty figures are exaggerated.

The fighting broke out early Saturday in Baghlan province.

“We have intelligence reports that 60 fighters – 40 Hezb-i-Islami and 20 Taliban – have died so far,” provincial police chief Kabir Andarabi told the AFP news agency. Reports indicated 19 civilians killed, he said, adding that four Hezb-I-Islami commanders have surrendered to the government.

Hezb-I-Islami representatives have confirmed that the clashes took place but claim to have lost only a handful of fighters and killed about 15 Taliban. They told Al Jazeera  TV that the fighting erupted after Taliban members ordered local people to swear allegiance to their leader, Mullah Omar.

The group is an armed group fighting Hamid Karzai’s government which is based in the north, where the Taliban are less strong. It is led by Hekmatyar, a former Prime Minister and anti-Soviet mujahedeen who is a powerful warlord in the region.


Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
Posted on 03/07/2010 9:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Mahdi Hassan, Norway's 2009 Role Model Of The Year

From the site of Bruce Bawer: 

”Role model of the year” wants to ban homosexuality – and that’s OK with the Socialist Left Party
26.02.10: Mahdi Hassan, who lives in Tynset, Norway, was named the 2009 Role Model of the Year, an honor bestowed by the Minister of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion. Now it emerges that Hassan believes homosexuality should be forbidden in Norway. The Norwegian LGBT Association (LLH) is upset about this, but the leaders of the Socialist Left Party in Tynset think his views are just fine.

Dato publisert: 2/27/2010 7   Siste gang redigert: 2/27/2010 7

Rita Karlsen, HRS


It was in June of last year that Mahdi Hassan of Tynset was named the ”Role Model of the Year.”  The point of the prize is for the Ministry of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion to salute energetic souls who perform a major and important service to their local communities.  The award is meant to go to people who are good role models, who promote anti-discrimination, and who establish dialogue across generational lines. 

The jury, which was headed up by Rita Kumar (of Norway’s Contact Committee for Immigrants and the Authorities, KIM) and also included Ameer Harris Khan (of the National Youth Club Organization), Aram Azizi, (of the Norwegian Children and Youth Council) and Mohamed Melioui (of the Multicultural Initiative and Resource Network), placed special emphasis on the fact that ”Mahdi Hassan, though his voluntary work, has made a major contribution to the creation of opportunities for children and young people in Tynset. He has made a name for himself in several arenas in a positive way, and is an active citizen.”


The prize was awarded by the then Minister of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion, Anniken Huitfeldt (Labor Party), who described Hassan in the following way on the ministry’s website:

We know that good role models mean a lot when it comes to creating opportunities for children and teenagers.  Mahdi Hassan is such a role model.  He is visible, he has knowledge and a strong sense of commitment and makes use of these things to create a better day-to-day life for young people in Tynset. People like Mahdi Hassan make a difference and his award for ”2009 Role Model of the Year” is highly deserved. 

But now comes the news that Hassan isn’t working hard to include everybody.  As early as last summer, Hassan told the newspaper Arbeidets Rett that he wants a ban on homosexuality, based on the Koran:Homosexuality is prohibited in the Koran, and I believe in my religion.”   Now Arbeidets Rett has asked Hassan if that is still his opinion, and it is.  The head of the Norwegian LGBT Association, Karen Pinholt, doesn’t thinks this man is a good role model: “It appears as if the Ministry of Inclusion has forgotten to include gay people here.”   


The jury believed, on the contrary, that Hassan is a good role model, “both for people with immigrant backgrounds and also for ethnic Norwegians.”    “That you’re good with one group, but talk condescendingly about another, doesn’t make sense,” says Pinholt.  But the head of the Socialist Left Party in Tynset, Stein Petter Løkken, feels that it is just fine that Hassan would like to see homosexuality forbidden: “There is freedom of speech in Norway and in the Tynset Socialist Left Party we consider it unproblematic that Mahdi is opposed in principle to homosexuality,” Løkken told Arbeidets Rett.  “It is in accordance with his religion.” 


But if Mahdi Hassan agrees in principle with a ban on homosexuality, he does not oppose, in principle, the death penalty for gays: “That must be up to each individual country to decide,” he told the newspaper.  “For myself I think that people must do what they want, and that people shouldn’t be punished for it.”


Løkken maintains that Hassan’s work on behalf of children and young people in Tynset overshadows his attitude toward homosexuality.  Well, of course, because homosexuality certainly must not exist among young people in Tynset, just as it doesn’t exist among Muslims – right?


Justifiably, Pinholt considers herself excluded by Hassan the “role model,” and points out that homosexuality is something that one is, and can therefore hardly be made illegal.  Imagine what were to happen if someone were to propose a ban on Muslims?  Yikes.  One thing’s for sure: nobody who suggested such a thing would ever, ever be named ”Role Model of the Year.”   


Translated from the Norwegian by Bruce Bawer
Posted on 03/07/2010 9:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 7 March 2010
A Painterly Interlude: La Prova Del Fuoco Davanti Al Sultano (Fra Angelico)


The sultan in question is the Ayyubid ruler of Egypt, al-Kamil al-Malik, nephew of Saladin (the Kurd who founded the Ayyubid Dynasty), and should not be confused with the later sultans, or padishahlar,  of the Ottoman Empire. 

Posted on 03/07/2010 6:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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