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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 Tuesday, 8, 2008.
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Britain's 'no go' zones? Don't even go there
I don’t like everything Littlejohn says in the Daily Mail but he has some interesting observations on the criticism of the Bishop of Rochester this morning.
Mail reader Barry Gower from the Isle of Dogs, suggested I catch up with an item the programme broadcast about the suitability of women for police firearms duty.
The officer in charge explained that there were no barriers to women being deployed in specialist weapons units - bar one.
"Young black males and Muslim males don't react well to being told what to do by a woman," she said. "So we adapt and overcome and use a male officer."
So that's all right, then. What happens if a female member of SO19 confronts an Islamic suicide bomber about to blow himself up on the Tube?
Does she shout: "Armed police! Put your hands on your head and get down on your knees NOW!"?
Or does she say: "I'm so sorry to trouble you sir but would you mind awfully not detonating your device until I have had the opportunity to summon a male officer who will be able to arrest you in a manner appropriate to your cultural sensitivities"?
As it is not me having to face them I would have thought a good way of making a black or Muslim “yoof” obey a woman in authority was to hold a gun to his head. Possibly, to encourage his friends to cooperate, a warning shot could be fired. Between the eyes. Having friends and family in the police I don’t want to be flippant ; firearms training is a serious business. But I might dislike being told what to do by a young person. Would the police wait until a mature officer of 50ish is free to speak to me?
And given that most gun crime is committed by black youths, does that mean women officers will never be sent to tackle members of the Crayzee Eyzes Killas Posse involved in a drive-by shooting for fear that they might refuse to surrender themselves to no filthy bitch ho, innit?
Bishop Nazir-Ali is bang on the money when he talks about 'no-go' areas for Christians in fundamentalist Muslim ghettoes in Britain. But he could have gone further still.
This country is littered with 'no-go' areas, not just physically, but culturally, spiritually, intellectually and academically, too. Our very liberties are being torched in the name of 'diversity'.
The pernicious doctrine of multiculturalism has turned us into a society where people are frightened to speak their minds and justice has been flipped on its head.
To express an opinion contrary to the ruthlessly enforced, politically motivated conformity of the Fascist Left is to risk a vicious campaign of character assassination which, if you work in the public sector, will almost certainly cost you your job.
The private sector isn't immune, either.
Only last week, we learned of a banker who was sacked for making a harmless, lame joke about Shi'ites.
All Bishop Nazir-Ali did was state the bleedin' obvious. Yet even William Hague has attacked him, saying the idea that Christians are made to feel uncomfortable by Muslim extremists is not a Britain he recognises.
In which case, I suggest Hague heads a few stops east of Westminster, along the Mile End and Whitechapel Roads, where Muslim monoculturalism holds sway. Or visits Leicester, Bradford, Burnley, Oldham or parts of Birmingham.
It's instructive that the only two Church of England clergymen to put their heads above the parapet are Pakistani Nazir-Ali and Ugandan Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York.
And that the highest-profile critic of multiculturalism is the black head of the equality commission, Trevor Phillips, who for his trouble was smeared as no better than the BNP by the disgusting Jew-baiter Ken Livingstone.
Even when soppy Hazel Blears comes up with a silly plan to pay Muslim women to combat extremism, she is monstered by the absurd Mr Bean lookalike who speaks for the 'moderate' Muslim Council, which never misses an opportunity to try to extort more concessions.
I'm only surprised that the high priest of 'diversity', Met chief Ian Blair, hasn't ordered Nazir-Ali to be arrested and charged with incitement to racial hatred.
Maybe he's still trying to work out whether sending a woman officer to nick a Pakistani cleric is a 'no-go' area. 
Posted on 01/08/2008 2:14 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Pseudsday Tuesday

Have they taken French leave of their senses? From The Times:

An acute desire for change in North London. Signs in Barnet are being amended to read Barnét. For years jokers, estate agents and the tragically pretentious have been trying to upgrade Crouch End (Croosh Ond), Clapham (Clarm) and Battersea (Bat-ter-see-uh). Barnet council is removing the graffiti. “Barnet is a robust medieval name. We like the Englishness of it,” says the Barnet councillor Brian Coleman. “And we’re already upmarket. These people have nothing better to do with their sad lives.” No doubt they will be monitoring developments closely up the road in Stévenâge.

What next? Islingtonne? Toufnelle Parc?

Barnet is definitely an English name, meaning "land cleared by burning". "Barnet" is also Cockney rhyming slang for "hair" (Barnet fair - hair), and has absolutely no business trying to be French. And in any case, why an acute accent? How is that upmarket, or rather upmarkét? Wouldn't it be better Frenchified - if Frenchified it must be - as Barnette?

Islington, incidentally, comes via Iseldon from Gislandune, meaning Gisla's Hill. And, going off the point, Pendle Hill means "hill hill hill", but readers of this site probably know that already.

It gets my goat when people are pretentious with place names. The freightfully posh bint who announces the stations on the Northern Line calls Highgate "Heygit". La-di-da or what? It's a good job she doesn't work on the Piccadilly Line as she'd never get her mealy mouth round Cockfosters.

Posted on 01/08/2008 6:27 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Arab World "Vulnerable" To Illiteracy

TUNIS (AFP) - Nearly one in three people in the Arab world is illiterate, including nearly half of all women in the region, the Tunis-based Arab League Educational Cultural and Scientific Organisation said Monday.

Three-quarters of the 100 million people unable to read or write in the 21 Arab countries are aged between 15 and 45 years old, the Arab League group, known by its acronym ALECSO, said in a statement.

Equally alarming, some 46.5 percent of women in the region are illiterate, the organisation reported, urging governments to put the fight against illiteracy at the top of their agendas.

While describing access to primary school education as "indispensable," it also urged Arab countries to focus on adult education to avoid "serious incidents in the evolution of (Arab) societies".

ALECSO has previously sounded the alarm on illiteracy in the region, noting it had failed to meet a 1990 United Nations goal to halve adult illiteracy over the subsequent decade.

In July, Arab states adopted an action plan spearheaded by the group to promote education, notably through collaboration with key international organisations.

While illiteracy affects the entire Arab world, the more highly populated countries -- such as Egypt, Sudan, Algeria and Morocco -- are particularly vulnerable.

(Thanks to del who remarks: "The bit about Egypt etc. being "particularly vulnerable" to illiteracy seems odd. As if illiteracy is similar to a tornado or typhoon or disease pandemic -- an act of nature, or of God.")

Posted on 01/08/2008 6:48 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Sarkozy (or His Speechwriter) Ponders Religion

Tiberge writes at Brussels Journal (with thanks to Alan):

One of the few times Nicolas Sarkozy really spoke like a French patriot was when he visited Rome last December, met the Pope, and was made honorary canon of Saint John Lateran. The speech he delivered there was an anomaly for Sarkozy, who customarily stresses intermingling of peoples, integration, and his pet project: the Islam of France.

Sarkozy told the Pope:

It is in the interests of the Republic that there exist also a moral reflection inspired by religious convictions. First because secular morality ["morale laïque"] always runs the risk of wearing itself out or changing into fanaticism when it isn't backed up by hope that aspires to the infinite. And then because morality stripped of any ties to transcendence is more exposed to historic contingencies and eventually to facileness.

The man who wrote the Rome speech, Henri Guaino has this to say to those angered or troubled by the Christian message that permeated this very uncharacteristic address:

"What is this world in which you can no longer say the truth, no longer look history squarely in the face? If you are French, and if you recognize yourself in France, France has Christian roots and that has nothing to do with "laïcité" [the 1905 French law separating Church and State]. The history of France, the culture of France, French civilization, like European civilization itself, all have Christian roots. [...] It is as if you were blocking out eight centuries of French monarchy. It isn't being a monarchist to say that France was made by the Capetians."

The larger question posed in the Sarkozy quote above is whether morality and human rights have roots in a higher enduring reality or whether they can be changed "at the drop of a law" (Theodore Dalrymple's phrase).

Posted on 01/08/2008 7:18 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Ibn Warraq Interview

Frontpage Magazine:

FP: What inspired you to write this book?

Warraq: My new book, Defending the West is an extension, and a logical consequence, of my earlier work and concerns. In my first book, Why I am Not a Muslim, (1995), I attempted to warn the West about the Rise of Militant Islam. I saw, and described the book, as "my war effort". It was a very ambitious book since I was striving to show the true totalitarian nature of Islam, to submit Islam to critical examination, and at the same time trying to bring out the strengths of Western civilization, and show why the West was truly preferable to the mind-numbing certainties of a religion that was the result of a mediaeval mindset.

What made both tasks - a critique of Islam and a Defence of the West- so much more difficult was the pernicious influence of Edward Said's Orientalism, and Culture and Imperialism. What made any criticism of Islam in particular and the non-Western world in general almost impossible was the fear among Western scholars of being called "orientalist", leading to self-censorship, and an exaggerated respect for the tender sensibilities of Muslims. In a similar manner, today, charges of "Islamophobia" are hurled at those who dare to criticize that most criticizable of all religions, in order to silence and rule out of court what are, in fact, perfectly legitimate concerns about security, and the negative influence of Islam on Western institutions. The result was my new book, Defending the West (2007), an attempt to tackle once again two related tasks - the Defence of the West and a critique of Edward Said's arguments that had successfully silenced critical thought and placed all Western intellectuals on the defensive...

Posted on 01/08/2008 7:36 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Why do Americans have shorter holidays?

By “holidays” I mean “days off”, “leave” or “vacation(s?)”. Recently it was claimed that the British have more time off work than the Americans. This accords with my own observations. Americans I have met on my holidays seem to have far less time off, and are consequently – understandably - far fussier about hotel accommodation and far more insistent that everything run according to plan. So why, and indeed how, do the British manage to take more time off?


The French take more time off than the British because they are lazy and corrupt, dishonestly withholding their taxes such that the more honest British must contribute disproportionately to the EU and must therefore work harder. That goes without saying, even though I like to say it often. But Americans, being English speakers of sorts, are generally about as honest as we are, and have roughly the same work ethic, give or take a few Spanish practices. So what’s the difference? I have a theory. It’s probably nonsense, but here it is:


The Americans need a longer working year because it takes them longer to say things. There are two reasons for this. The first is that British English speech is more clipped, so we will say the same words faster than Americans will. Secondly, American English words have more syllables. All those syllables add up.


Take your average London office, in an office block. It has a lift. In New York – and New Yorkers talk fast – it has an “elevator”. That is four syllables to our one. Americans take the subway (we take the tube) from their apartment (flat) then take the elevator (lift). Ten syllables to our three. Or perhaps the American uses another form of transportation (transport) such as an automobile (car). And the end of the day he may treat himself to a beer from the refrigerator (fridge).


If they work in accounting, the fun begins. Here are some comparisons, British words first:


Stock vs. inventory

Debtors vs. receivables

Bad debts vs. delinquent receivables

Sack vs. terminate (employment)


Maybe they don’t want to terminate someone, but feel obligated (obliged) to. And the unfortunate individual (poor bugger) will be discombobulated (gobsmacked) and unable to connect (join) the dots.


All right, I exaggerate. But there is, I think, some truth in this. All those syllables come to at least a fortnight. Two whole weeks in a yurt in Uzbekistan.

Moral: talk like wot we does.

Posted on 01/08/2008 8:06 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 8 January 2008

"Is the long answer War and Peace (or, all his fiction)? And how did he "stay too long"?"
-- from a reader commenting on this post containing the comment:

Leaving aside the question of tastefulness, leaving aside that eternal problem of defining "what is art" -- "Chto takoye iskusstvo?" said Tolstoy, and stayed too long to give his own long answer

No, Tolstoy wrote "Anna Karenina" and "War and Peace" several decades before he wrote "What Is Art?" in 1897. He wrote "What Is Art" during his later, post-spiritual-crisis phase, when he preferred simple homely folk tales, children's songs, and suchlike, to the complications of the kind of art he deemed "corrupt." That later phase does not begin with "What Is Art?" but might be better dated from "Confession." Think of Chertkov, simplification of life, projects for the teaching of peasant children, producing "A Circle of Reading," denouncing Shakespeare, and becoming a Moral Teacher, a Teacher for those who deemed themselves Tolstoyans, and who came from afar to be in the luminous, numinous presence of The Master. More on this in R. F. Christian's biography and in Tolstoy's letters, a 2-volume edition of which Christian edited.

My comment alludes to the fact that in the 13 years of his life after he wrote "What Is Art?" he remained preoccupied with sating his thirst for spiritual truth, the truth of that variant on Christianity which might be called Tolstoyism, and which included a narrow view of "art" (whatever that is), right up to the King-Lear-like ending in 1910, at the stationmaster's house at Astapovo.

I was also having fun -- "and stayed too long to give his own long answer" -- echoes the beginning of a famous essay by Bacon: "What is truth, said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer."

But that's not the only literary echo planted for the hell of it in the piece on dhimmitude-doings in sweet Auburn.

Recognition here for the person who can identify the other one.


I hinted at the answer, when in making my find-the-allusion challage I mentioned "sweet Auburn."

In the original article I refer to "sweet Auburn, loveliest village of central Maine." Why would I call it that? I've never been to Auburn, and the unwonted apostrophe to the town should surprise. But I have read Thomas Gray's "The Deserted Village," which includes the line "Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain."

Yes, I know, I know. My version has an extra syllable.

Nobody's perfect.

Posted on 01/08/2008 8:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
An Illegitimate Argument

"Jewish-Muslim relations are at a nadir today. But the mutual hatred and anti-Semitism on the Muslim side are relatively new phenomena, born of political, rather than religious factors. When the Islamic caliphs ruled large swaths of Asia and Africa, their Jewish subjects enjoyed a protected status their brethren in Christian Europe - victims of anti-Semitism - never thought possible." -- Mark Cohen in the Jerusalem Post

Mark Cohen has been dealt with by Bat Ye'or, both in a book review she wrote of his "Cross and Crescent" (or is it "Crescent and Cross"?), and in her analysis, in "Islam and Dhimmitude," of his study and what fatally vitiates his presentation.

Mark Cohen is not as interested in the discovery of historical truths as he is in finding, and exaggerating evidence for what he wishes had been so, what he thinks simply must have been so, in the world of Islam, for if it were not so, then he cannot conceive of any "solution" to the Arab war on Israel. He works backward from the present, and he believes the evil meted out to the Jews in Western Christendom somehow mitigates what they (and Christians) endured under Islam.

But does it?

When Muslims point to "the Holocaust" and the treatment of Jews in Europe before the German murders, the mark-cohens of this world appear to think that method of defense is justifiable. What would he think, were those defending the Communists, in reply to mention of the "Doctor's Plot" and Stalin's plans to murder Soviet Jewry (stopped by his death), to note, in mitigation, that "it wasn't as bad as the Nazi death camps." Would that have been a convincing defense?

Of course not. And tu-quoque-only-worse arguments, from Muslims defending the treatment of Jews in the Lands of Islam and invoking the treatment of Jews in Europe, remain illegitimate.

We know about the intolerable treatment of Jews in many times and places, in Western Christendom. But that is not what Mark Cohen is discussing. He is, supposedly, discussing the place of Jews in the theology of Islam, and their treatment, as dhimmis, over a very long period, in the Lands ruled by Islam. If he wishes to present, in a kind of mitigation or defense of Islam, that   "well, at least the Christians also were mistreated so the Jews were not the only victim" that would be more acceptable, that might be a point. But that is not what he does. He ignores the texts, and the special hatred reserved for Jews. He ignores the historical record. This is not acceptable.

Posted on 01/08/2008 8:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
The Deserted Village

Here are the first 96 lines (it's a long-winded poem) of "The Deserted Village."

Within that 96-line excerpt are two lines that perfectly describe the moral and political and economic and social degringolade in the United States today. For those who like this kind of thing, I have another question:

What are those two lines?


The Deserted Village
by Oliver Goldsmith

Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheered the labouring swain,
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer's lingering blooms delayed:
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when every sport could please,
How often have I loitered o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endeared each scene;
How often have I paused on every charm,
The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm, [10]
The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
The decent church that topped the neighbouring hill,
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whispering lovers made.
How often have I blessed the coming day,
When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
And all the village train, from labour free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree,
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old surveyed; [20]
And many a gambol frolicked o'er the ground,
And sleights of art and feats of strength went round.
And still as each repeated pleasure tired,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired;
The dancing pair that sweetly sought renown,
By holding out to tire each other down;
The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter tittered round the place;
The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love,
The matron's glance that would these looks reprove. [30]
These were thy charms, sweet village; sports like these,
With sweet succession, taught even toil to please;
These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed,
These were thy charmsÐbut all these charms are fled.
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled and all thy charms withdrawn;
Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen,
And desolation saddens all thy green:
One only master grasps the whole domain,
And half a village stints thy smiling plain: [40]
No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
But, choked with sedges, works its weedy way.
Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.
Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall;
And trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,
Far, far away, thy children leave the land. [50]
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay:
Princes and lords may flourish or may fade;
A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroyed, can never be supplied.
A time there was, ere England's griefs began,
When every rood of ground maintained its man;
For him light labour spread her wholesome store,
Just gave what life required, but gave no more: [60]
His best companions, innocence and health;
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
But times are altered; trade's unfeeling train
Usurp the land and dispossess the swain;
Along the lawn, where scattered hamlets rose,
Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose;
And every want to opulence allied,
And every pang that folly pays to pride.
These gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
Those calm desires that asked but little room, [70]
Those healthful sports that graced the peaceful scene,
Lived in each look and brightened all the green;
These far departing, seek a kinder shore,
And rural mirth and manners are no more.
Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power.
Here as I take my solitary rounds,
Amidst thy tangling walks and ruined grounds,
And, many a year elapsed, returned to view
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew, [80]
Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,
Swells at my breast and turns the past to pain.
In all my wanderings round this world of care,
In all my griefs (and God has given my share)
I still had hopes my latest hours to crown,
Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down;
To husband out life's taper at the close
And keep the flame from wasting by repose.
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,
Amidst the swains to show my book-learned skill, [90]
Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt and all I saw;
And, as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to return and die at home at last.


Please post your answer here.

Posted on 01/08/2008 11:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
A history of England

Update: This, of course, is from Sellar and Yeatman's 1066 And All That. But it's also true - every bit of it.

Posted on 01/08/2008 1:32 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Heads up

People keep wanting to give me "a heads up". I don't want one, thank you very much. Nor will I put my hands up to a heads up going forward.

"Heads up" is apparently a kind of advance warning, enabling you to get a head start. But I don't like it. I'd rather keep my head down or bury it in the sand, exposing - before you say it - my thinking parts.

Heads up is driving me hat-stand. Take a stand against heads up now. Down with heads up and stand up for heads down.

Posted on 01/08/2008 11:50 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Underneath The Greensward

Does, or would, greater literacy make for less or more Islam in the Islamic world? Do newspapers, does the print that appears on Internet web sites, make for a less easily manipulated, volatile, possibly fanatical population, or one that is more easily manipulated, volatile, fanatical?

Is the Egyptian villager, illiterate and leading a hardscrabble existence, or the Afghan villager, or the Pakistani, represent more or less of a threat (multiply by the tens of millions) than the "literate" Cairene reader of Al Ahram, or the well-heeled Arab propagandist on Al Jazeera. with their oily semi-subdued hysteria about Infidels, America, Israel?

"Illiteracy" is not a problem for Infidels unless "illiteracy" is what makes Muslims more likely to accept the full message of Islam and the ability to act on it. But we know that what counts is what people are likely, once "literate," to read -- and the examples we have of greater literacy in the Muslim world do not comfort.  The Israelis built the first colleges for the "Palestinians" thinking that this would improve matters. But did it? Are the graduates of Al Quds less vicious and less dangerous than the remaining illiterate Bedu? "You taught me language" etc.. Why help Caliban undo Prospero?

There is a problem of "illiteracy" that the non-Muslim world, the Western world, should be worried about. That is the 'illiteracy" in the countries of the West. It begins with what happened in European education, in what has happened to the requirements for passing the college-entering degrees -- the baccalaureate, the maturita, the A-levels -- over the past forty years -- in Europe.

And in the United States, where "education" has become confused with vocational training, and the argument for "education" is always about higher lifetime earnings, one's future pay and fitness for use as a "human resource" (a term the Nazis would have found appealing), many of those armed with those "college" degrees are essentially illiterate. Most people who are called "literate" in the United States are so only in the most literal sense. They can read the newspaper. They can write, possibly even a paragraph. But not much more. And now, with colleges at the level of junior-highs, they presume that, being "college-educated," they are entitled to something, some deference or preference, and are much more likely to resent those who do not now give them their due as the "college-educated." And it gets worse with all those "doctorates" that are filed on top of the undergraduate degrees. Hollow credentialism creates too-many cock-o'-the-walks, who think they deserve to rule the roost, while their plump curricula vitae, stuffed to the gills with lists of every last "achievement" they can think of or make up, fly through the ether to would-be employers.

What is "mass literacy" and why is it, without much more, a desideratum?  Unless the attained "literacy" is used rightly, it will  -- it has often been -- exploited with great success by wicked governments. The Germans were the most literate, best-educated people in Europe, and what they had to read, during a certain period, was Der Stuermer, and Mein Kampf.  The Soviet government wiped out illiteracy in mass campaigns, the better to have people read "Pravda" and "Izvestia" and write odes in honor of Stalin.

If Saudi Arabia wishes to pay for literacy campaigns among fellow Arabs or Muslims, let it. But it is not and should not be a concern of the advanced Western world, any more than the West should bother itself with bringing prosperity to Muslims whose inshallah-fatalism, from Islam itself, is what holds them back.

There is a literacy problem the United States (and those European countries whose school systems are slowly  disintegrating, which is to say -- most countries in  Western Europe) should worry about. But that problem is in the West, not in the Islamic countries. For the United States  has all it can do to keep its own population from sinking back into the primitive mire that can be detected, here and there, just under the illusory greensward that lies between the mock-Gothic or mock-Georgian buildings on so many American campuses.  

Posted on 01/08/2008 1:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
The law is an ass

From the BBC:

A magistrate has been reprimanded for refusing to deal with the case of a Muslim woman because she was wearing a veil covering her face.

Ian Murray walked out of court when Zoobia Hussain, 32, first appeared at Manchester Magistrates' Court in June.

Ms Hussain, from Crumpsall, who was accused of criminal damage, was wearing a veil covering her entire face.

The Office of Judicial Complaints said Mr Murray had been given a formal reprimand and further training.

He left the hearing without explaining why, but said later he felt the way Ms Hussain was dressed, in a niqab, raised identity issues.

Mr Murray should not have walked out without explaining why. However, his reasons for walking out are perfectly legitimate: dressing like a black ghost is contempt of Court.

The mother-of-five's lawyer, Judith Hawkins, said she was "shocked and distressed" by Mr Murray's "insensitive and unacceptable" treatment.


Ms Hussain's case was later dealt with by a female district judge.

She lifted her veil but gave evidence from behind a screen so men in the court could not see her.

Ms Hussain was convicted of criminal damage after causing £1,500 of damage to a council house when her family was thrown out.

Ms Hussain was given an electronic tag and ordered to pay £500 compensation at the hearing last July.

So, this delicate little flower, so sensitive that she can't be seen by men, is a destructive, violent criminal. Thrown out of her council house - council houses are provided by hard working infidel taxpayers - for not paying her subsidised rent, presumably from benefits, again provided by infidel taxpayers for this "mother-of-five", whose brood of budding Muslims is also supported by infidel taxpayers. Disgusting. A disgraceful decision, which Mr Murray should appeal, and which should be savaged by the right-thinking press. Why pander to this pond-life, this sub-human? Underneath the tent she may be human, but we can't see it. And if she dresses like a dalek that's how she sees herself, and that's how Islam sees her.

Posted on 01/08/2008 1:46 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Think It Will Fly?

In Western Europe and North America, our governments and people should help visiting Muslim dignitaries -- especially members of the Saudi ruling family, their courtiers and fixers - from being tempted to behave in an un-Islamic fashion. We are obligated, as good hosts, to keep the whisperings of Shaytan from their ears. So let us monitor their movements, and make sure that none of them behave in as un-Islamic a fashion as Sarkozy apparently would, were he permitted, with Bruni in Saudi Arabia.

Those non-stop callgirls visiting Arab suites in fancy hotels? Those orgies that Arab men in the West find so appealing? No, let's put a stop to it. Let's make sure they behave themselves, and that the temptations of the West are not used to undermine their Islamically-correct behavior.

Or is their behavior, with those girls, boys, what have you, islamically correct? And if it is, what's the harm in Sarkozy sharing a room with his girlfriend?

The Higher Islamic Morality needs to be explained. Some of us are confused.

Now about those pictures that the C.I.A. is going to be putting up on the Internet, showing members of the Saudi Royal Family in such unseemly activities as....(well, fifty billion dollars, as payment for the naval squadrons that protect the oil shipments through the Gulf, might just keep us from doing so....)

I just had a thought. Here's a bumpersticker that some humorful and intrepid employee at Boeing might affix to the sides of the next dozen custom-fitted 747s ordered by the Al-Saud:

"We're Spending Our Nation's Inheritance"

Do you think it will fly?

Posted on 01/08/2008 2:05 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Telegraph and readers back Bishop of Rochester

Here is a selection (from Islamophobia Watch) of comments on The Telegraph website in support of the  "no go areas" Bishop of Rochester:

"This is all going to end in a huge tragedy. Either the complete Islamization of Britain, or civil war. It is an absolute nightmare, and it is the Britons who are bringing this upon themselves."

"Islamic immigration has to got to stop in this country. Don't you get it? Once Muslims becaome a majority, they claim it as a Muslim country. And once it's been called Islamic, they start calling everyone else occupiers, infidels, Kaphur, and crusaders."

"Take heed to the warning signs or you will wake up one day having to bow to Mecca 5 times a day wheather you want to or not; or worse end up on some internet beheading slide show."

"You dumb britts make me sick. Quit complaining and take it to the streets before it's too late. Nobody is going to help you this time. You criticise president Bush for fighting terrorist and militant islam and they are almost done with you and what is left of your culture."

"Recitation of the Adhan, in a non-Islamic country, is a weapon of Islamic imperialism, one which marks another step towards stamping an Islamic identity on an area. Which is just what Bishop Nazir-Ali is warning against here."

"Our history is that of a Christian nation, even if we have not been very good at it. Now, after kicking Christian teachings out of schools and Government, and welcoming the worship of foreign Gods in our land, we need toget down on our knees and ask for forgiveness and deliverence from the violence that will come as we turn our country over to followers of a religion that seeks to dominate this world by persecution of Christians and women as a matter of course."

"Unfortunately Islam is not just a 'faith', it's a global political movement. And a dangerous one for non-muslims at that. When Ayaan Hirsi Ali was interviewed by the Independent in November, she made some very compelling points – and the research I have done since has really convinced me she's probably right. She says that peaceful, moderate Muslims are not actually practicing their faith. Islam is not a religion of peace, it is a call to arms to eventually, 'take over the world'. It is violent, misogynist, and there is no room for interpretation. It's scary stuff, people!"

Posted on 01/08/2008 2:11 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
War Of Ideas

How much money did the Rand Corporation spend on this study? And does it say anything about the word "Islamofascism"?

Next time such a study, with such conclusions, is needed by the American government, I hope they will contact me. I suspect Rand did it for a few hundred thousand dollars, or maybe a cool million. But I promise to be the low bidder.

I'll do it for $1600. That's just about the cost of a new Energy-Star* refrigrator. The door of the 22-year-old Whirlpool Regal, you see, no longer closes tightly, and it's losing a lot of coolth.

Well, all right. I could go as low as $1500. But that's it.

Posted on 01/08/2008 2:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
More On Sardar

Here is a previous posting about Ziauddin Sardar who is now blogging the Qur'an at The Guardian:

"Hasan Suroor is a great admirer, those who read his full text will at once realize, of Ziauddin Sardar, a Muslim who pushes the line about the Great Achievements of Islam in Science, and who hews to a slightly-less obvious version of the Muslim cant about how "all of subsequent science is to be found in the Qur'an" -- an extraordinary belief that ought to disqualify anyone from being taken seriously in the advanced West, much less be allowed to review books having to do with "Islam and Science" in Nature and The New Statesman (as Ziauddin Sardar has been allowed to do).

Here's a good comment from British science writer Lewis Jones:


Science Allah Carte

"Muslim science? On the face of it, it seems as incongruous as Christian physics or Jewish oceanography. But can Islam plead a special case? A popular element along these lines has always been Islam's historical track record. When Ziauddin Sardar published his thoughts on the subject in New Scientist almost a quarter of a century ago, he titled his article, not "Can science come to Islam?" but "Can science come back to Islam?"

In the words of F.R. Rosenthal (The Classical Heritage of Islam): "Islamic rational scholarship, which we have mainly in mind when we speak of the greatness of Muslim civilization, depends in its entirety on classical antiquity . . . Islamic civilization as we know it would simply not have existed without the Greek heritage."

Ibn Warraq, author of Why I Am Not a Muslim, points out: "Islamic science was founded on the works of the ancient Greeks, and the Muslims are important as the transmitters of Greek (and Hindu) learning that may well have been lost otherwise" (Aristotle, Plato, Galen, Hippocrates, Archimedes, Euclid, Ptolemy). And even so, "most of the translators were Christian."

Warraq writes: "There is a persistent myth that Islam encouraged science. Adherents of this myth quote the Koran and hadith [traditional sayings of Muhammad] to prove their point . . . 'Seek knowledge, in China if necessary'; 'The search after knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.' This is nonsense, because the knowledge advocated in the previous quotes is religious knowledge. Orthodoxy has always been suspicious of 'knowledge for its own sake,' and unfettered inquiry is deemed dangerous to the faith. . . . All sciences are blameworthy that are useless for acting rightly toward God."

"Those who kill do not think they are committing any crime," said Girija Shankar Jaiswal (a lawyer who argues cases for victimized women). "They think they are becoming martyrs. They do not mind going to jail."

Al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham was one of the greatest scientists of medieval Islam, and his "Optics" strongly influenced Kepler. The French philologist Ernest Renan wrote: "A disciple of Maimonides, the Jewish philosopher, relates that he was in Baghdad on business, when the library of a certain philosopher (who died in 1214) was burned there. The preacher, who conducted the execution of the sentence, threw into the flames, with his own hands, an astronomical work of Ibn al-Haitham, after he had pointed to a delineation therein given of the sphere of the earth, as an unhappy symbol of impious Atheism."

One is reminded of the nineteenth century English politician John Morley, discussing the life of Voltaire: "Where it is a duty to worship the sun, it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat."

In the twelfth century Averroes studied medicine and philosophy, and his work on Aristotle was responsible for the development of the inductive, empirical sciences. His reward was to be tried as a heretic, condemned, and exiled. Yet his name is often put forward as being at the forefront of the Islamic history of science.

Renan begged to differ: "To give Islam the credit of Averroes and so many other illustrious thinkers, who passed half their life in prison, in forced hiding, in disgrace, whose books were burned and whose writings almost suppressed by theological authority, are as if one were to ascribe to the Inquisition the discoveries of Galileo, and a whole scientific development which it was not able to prevent."

There is also a current line of thought that assumes Islamic science has been "hijacked" by fundamentalists, and that all ills can be conveniently attributed to them. But shifting the burden of anti-science to an isolated hard-core fundamentalist group evades the central issue. Taslima Nasreen had a government warrant issued for her arrest in Bangladesh (for "outraging religious feelings"), and has some experience of official Muslim displeasure. "I don't find any difference between Islam and Islamic fundamentalists," she says. ". . . I need to say that, because some liberals always defend Islam and blame fundamentalists for creating problems."

In New Scientist (15 December 2001), Ziauddin Sardar reported: "One particular study, sponsored by the International Federation of Institutes of Advanced Studies (IFIAS) in Stockholm brought together Muslim scientists and scholars worldwide in seminars held between 1980 and 1983. The IFIAS study, published as The Touch of Midas, concluded that the issue of science and values in Islam must be treated within a framework of concepts that shape the goals of a Muslim society."

Sardar also reports that the early 1990s brought a shift into obscurantism by the defenders of Muslim science: "it began to be argued that all knowledge, including scientific knowledge, could be found in the Koran. This thesis received a tremendous boost from the well-funded Saudi project, Scientific Miracles in the Qur'an (Koran). The project spanned both empirical work, involving comparisons of those verses of the Koran that deal with astronomy and embryology with the latest discoveries, and popularizations through conferences and seminars. Relativity, quantum mechanics, big bang theory, embryology-practically everything was 'discovered' in the Koran."

In summary: "science becomes not a problem-solving enterprise or objective enquiry, but a mystical quest to understand the Absolute. Conjecture and hypothesis have no real place; all enquiry must be subordinate to the mystical experience."

Nor are there any visible prospects that there will even be open debate in print on the subject. It is a numbing thought that there does not exist a single secular Arabic periodical. In any case, debates that revolve around the concept of heresy are unlikely to lead anywhere worth reaching.

"The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas-uncertainty, progress, change-into crimes." Those are the words of Salman Rushdie in his Herbert Reade Memorial lecture in February of 1990, while in hiding from a fatwa for blasphemy."


Ziauddin Sardar is a more sophisticated and better educated Defender of the Faith, but as Lewis Jones notes, when Ziauddin Sardar published a piece in New Scientist almost a quarter of a century ago, he titled his article not "Can science come to Islam?" but "Can science come back to Islam?"

In other words, Ziauddin Sardar at this point would not dare to suggest directly that all of modern physics and biology can be found in the Qur'an, knowing perfectly well he would be laughed out of the court of public opinion. But he still maintains, even as he denounces those who, by straightforwardly making such claims, cause damage to the "image" of Islam and, as important, to the standing and professional well-being of Ziauddin Sardar and all those like him busily defending and protecting Islam as best they can, as reality keeps breaking in and Infidels begin, horrifically for people like Ziauddin Sardar to wake up and start to inform themselves, and do so not because there is some vast Western conspiracy to blacken the name of Islam, but only because the behavior of some Muslims themselves in Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb, and the obvious support given to that behavior by many other Muslims, and finally the obvious nonsense and lies that the Defenders of the Faith indulge in, even when they purport to be the good guys, the reformers, the people who want, as Hasan Suroor wants, an end to "denial" but does not go nearly far enough, goes only so far as to do what he can to protect the image of Islam and to avoid talking about the deep and possibly immutable problem that a Total Belief-System, predicated on a state of permanent hostility or war between Believers and Infidels, poses to all those Infidels -- who, it might be added, comprise 85% of the world's population.

Muslims themselves, through their behavior, have made it impossible to ignore the texts, tenets, attitudes, and atmospherics of Islam which do all the damage to the "image" of Islam that could possibly be done. Nothing Infidels say or do has anything to add to what Muslims themselves say and do. All Infidels are now doing is looking, less naively, at reality, and with growing understanding the more they connect the dots from, say, southern Thailand to southern Sudan to southern Nigeria to bombs that go off in metros in Madrid and London, and murders that are committed in Amsterdam and Beslan and Moscow and Toronto, and connect the dots between all of these, and the other dots -- the Money Weapon deployed to pay for mosques, and madrasas, and propaganda, and to silence all Infidel critics by threats of litigation, and to pay for armies of Western hirelings, and the campaigns of Da'wa that target the psychically and economically marginal in Infidel societies, and finally, the demographic conquest that is spoken and written about so openly, so enthusiastically, by Muslims in public (see Boumedienne at the U.N. in 1974), about the future conquest of Europe by the forces of Islam not through military might but through the "wombs of Muslim women"; see the letters pages of Muslim newspapers such as the English-language "Dawn" in Pakistan), and on Muslim websites everywhere."

Posted on 01/08/2008 4:05 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Not much at steak

Non-Western cultures are generally inferior to Western cultures in every way but one: they are intolerant of vegetarianism. Vegetarianism is barmy as I have proved conclusively in my post here. And whether or not I have proved it, it is still barmy. Thanks to Samizdata for this quote about Argentina:

As you might expect, vegetarians will have a somewhat rough time here. For most people in Argentina, a vegetarian is something you eat.

- Idle Words in Argentina On Two Steaks A Day

101 vegetarians

Just one quibble for your red-blooded carnivorous cannibal - there's precious little meat on most vegetarians. You'd need more than one to fill you up. You'd need a ... what would be the collective noun? Pesto, that's it. You'd need a pesto of them.

Posted on 01/08/2008 4:36 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
The Company He Kept

James Kirchick has the lowdown on Ron Paul by virtue of the contents of his past newsletters at TNR. Conclusion: he's even nuttier than we thought. The contents will curl your hair.

Paul denies writing the articles that appeared under his name. Still...the company he kept, and perhaps still keeps, speaks loud and clear.

Posted on 01/08/2008 5:05 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
A Non-Arab Qur'anic Commentary

"he'll [Ziauddin Sardar] discuss the nature and style of the Qur'an - explaining its structure and why it's such a difficult book to read. The third piece will be about the study and interpretations of the Qur'an."
-- Georgina Henry "Why We're blogging the Qur'an"

Readers might better find out about the "nature and style of the Qur'an" and "the study and interpretations of the Qur'an" from Michael Cook, in his "The Koran: A Very Short Introduction."

One pleasing thought is this. Ziauddin is not an Arab. Yet here he is, setting forth his own guide to the Qur'an as a Muslim, in the islamophilic Guardian. When an Infidel -- Michael Cook in his "Very Short Introduction" or Spencer in his "Blogging the Qur'an" -- dares to discuss the Qur'an, Arab Muslims use as their threshold shut-up-he-explained tactics, the claim that "if you don't know Arabic, you can't possibly say anything of value about the Qur'an."

Now, as a kind of representative of the 80% of the world's Muslims who are not Arabs, is Ziauddin Sardar, who thanks to the islamisant Guardian will be "Blogging the Qur'an."

And that makes it just a bit harder for the Arab Muslim apologists who Defend the Faith to claim, quite so cavalierly, that a non-native speaker of Arabic has no right, no competence, to comment on the Qur'an.

Posted on 01/08/2008 5:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Wise words from Brian Micklethwait who, though he puts "London" in brackets after his name, must be of northern extraction:

Instapundit has linked to this story, but I am not yet wholly convinced. I am happy to add to the general blog-yell that may or may not now be going up everywhere in the non-pro-Islamic blogosphere, but suspect - although I could be entirely wrong in my suspicion - that this may turn out to be a bit of an exaggeration:

I am currently out of the Country and on my return home to England I am going to be arrested by British detectives on suspicion of Stirring up Racial Hatred by displaying written material" contrary to sections 18(1) and 27(3) of the Public Order Act 1986.

This charge if found guilty carries a lengthy prison sentence, more than what most paedophiles and rapists receive, ...


At the risk of being pedantic, what precisely happened? Did Lionheart get a letter? If so, what, precisely, did it say? To be even more pedantic, the phrase "This charge if found guilty" It does not fill me with confidence. Nor does it that, on what is obviously such an important matter, Lionheart has allowed a pair of inverted commas to go awol. But maybe that is to read too much into what is merely some stressed-out grammar.

I suspect that, if any ruckus does now occur, there will in due course be an announcement to the effect that Mr Lionheart has entirely misunderstood the situation and has nothing to fear, free speech is sacred, blah blah. If that does happen, it may then be hard to know how much this official clarification will be a true clarification of what had, truly, been the attitude of the authorities, and how much it will be a tactical retreat in the face of an Instalaunch, and of any blogosphere and mainstream media fuss that follows from it. But whatever has been and turns out to be the true story here, I would now like to know a bit more.

Lionheart's central claim, albeit floridly expressed, is one I have come around agreeing with, having started out (on 9/12) believing the opposite. The enemy is not "Islamic extremism". The enemy is Islam. Although please note that this says nothing about the manner in which this enemy should be responded to. I daresay I might disagree somewhat with Lionheart's ideas about that.

But even if I disagreed with Lionheart about everything, I still agree with Instapundit's attitude:

I don't know much about the blogger, but I don't need to - people shouldn't be arrested merely for blogging things that the powers-that-be don't like.

If Lionheart's claim that he faces arrest just for blogging his mind are correct, then of course it is everything-and-the-kitchen-sink time. Let battle be joined. But for now, I would like just a little more reconnaissance.


Posted on 01/08/2008 5:49 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
A Musical Interlude: Russischer Tango (Leo Monosson)
Posted on 01/08/2008 7:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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