These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 8, 2009.
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Christian hoteliers due in court over Islamic 'insults'
From The Fleetwood Weekly News
A pair of Christian hoteliers from Liverpool who allegedly told a Muslim guest the hijab was "a form of bondage", will stand trial.
Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang, who run the Bounty House Hotel in Aintree, Liverpool, have been charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words which were religiously aggravated.
The unnamed woman, who was a guest at the hotel last March, also alleged Dutch-born Mr Vogelenzang said Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was a warlord. But he was. He left several named swords in his will and fought at the head of his army numerous times. How else do you define him?
Their two-day trial is due to begin at Liverpool Magistrates' Court.
Posted on 12/08/2009 2:50 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Muslim numbers soar in Latin America's Islamic resurgence
From The Scotsman
"ALLAH Akbar" blares from the loudspeakers as hundreds of Muslims file into the mosque for prayers. Outside, halal meat stores line the street as in Damascus, Cairo or Baghdad, but this is the working-class neighbourhood of Bras in Sao Paulo, Brazil – the heart of Islam's Latin American rebirth.
Brazil is experiencing an Islamic boom, with reliable estimates indicating that the Muslim population has increased from a few hundred thousand to 1.5 million this decade alone, out of a total population of 190 million. This is clear as mosques emerge throughout the country, some financed by Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.Paulo Daniel Farah, an expert on Islam at Sao Paulo University, said: "Islam is growing everywhere in Latin America, but especially in Brazil, since Muslim slaves were brought here from Africa in the 19th century, (any word on who sold them first?) a part of the history that only began to be studied in schools and universities by law in 2003."
They led the main rebellions against slavery, mainly the Malê Revolt in 1835 in Salvador de Bahia – the largest urban slave uprising in the Americas – which was followed by decades of repression. They championed values of equality and social justice embodied in Islam, a message that rings very strongly today as blacks remain the poorest segment in the country together with Indians.
This explains why conversions are especially strong among Afro-Brazilians who make up half of the country's population, many of whom come from black empowerment movements in search for their past identity. This phenomenon is particularly strong in the massive industrial suburb of Sao Bernardo, an hour's drive from Sao Paulo, where president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has his home.
The twin minarets of the area's new white-washed mosque emerge among rows of two-storey houses. Inside, Honerê al-Amin, 32, a black hip-hop artist who turned to Islam more than a decade ago, helps organise Muslim social activities. "I joined hip-hop to denounce the genocide against young blacks in Brazil, only later did I discover in my own history reference to Muslims forced to come to this country. I was fascinated by the film Malcolm X and characters like Muhammad Ali, I wanted to be like them," he said.
Conversions are also growing among white Brazilians. In Bras, I find Thamara Fonseca, 24, wearing a colourful hijab. Her family came from Europe and her husband lives in Birmingham. (Do I hear alarm bells?)
At the beginning I kept hearing in the street, 'Look at Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein's wife, you're a woman bomber', but now people don't say this anymore, now many come and ask me about Islam, everyone wants to know more," she says.
I really should have copied the comments yesterday when I first spotted this - all the comments criticising Islam's mission for world domination have been deleted, as have those criticising The Scotsman for its continuing support of the discredited policy of multiculturalism.
Posted on 12/08/2009 3:00 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Elites, Self-Interest and the Copenhagen Conference
Let’s start with the election of Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri as Chairman of this most important Conference. Did you know, were you ever told, that the good Doctor (2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner on behalf of, and head of, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] along with Vice-President Gore) is also the Chairman of the Sheikh Zayed (United Arab Emirates) Future Energy Prize committee?
Did you know, were you ever told, that the good Doctor was on the Board of Directors of the Indian Oil Corporation – one of the most suspect and allegedly one of the most polluting companies on earth – until just six years ago? This is a company deeply mired in as yet unprovable, but probable, corrupt practices which more than likely led to the death of one of its own executives, in 2005, when Shanmugam Manjunath, one of the marketing managers at one of the IOC’s subsidaries, and an MBA from prestigious Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, was murdered for sealing a corrupt petrol station deal in the state of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) in India on behalf of Indian Oil and that that was just the latest in a long line of suspect deals dating back many years which are currently under investigation by legal authorities in India.
in having seen the importance of being in the lead. They may have a lot of oil today, but it is not going to last for ever. And as I keep telling my friends and colleagues here, since you are a major energy exporter today, you have to now invest in technologies and resources that would keep you exporting energy in the future.
Several initiatives are being considered in North Africa, where the large area of land receiving abundant solar radiation can make the region a major world energy exporter. They can generate power using solar technology and transmit the energy to Europe. So it is entirely possible in some form or shape and the UAE can also remain a major energy exporter in the future.
I commend the leadership of the country for what they have done so far in promoting this...
[United Arab Emirates]
Worldwide, there will be a major transition in supply and consumption. I commend the leadership of the UAE
In other, and more accurate, words: let’s keep the developed world in thrall to the Ummah for as long as possible.
Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri is a leading advocate in the pleading of a special case for the heavily polluting, or potentially heavily polluting, third world countries and he argues vociferously that the developed countries must bear the lion’s share (an entire pride’s share, actually) of the necessary cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases so that such countries can follow us into the shining upland pastures of prosperity by simply emulating our unwitting past mistakes which we made as we industrialised in ignorance of the consequences. In that approach he seems to me to be following a completely different agenda from that which the science of climate change indicates. He has neither the imagination nor the intellect (or perhaps, as I personally suspect, he is in hoc to some dubious alliance) to tell the developing world that it must turn aside and cease to copy our past mistakes, but, instead, must use our learning, our existing industrial base and its great labour resource in order to find a new and cleaner way to reach for prosperity – a prosperity which it needs and deserves, as I do not deny.
Moreover, the good Doctor is, or was, involved with the International Association for Energy Economics (a known shill, as I understand it, for the oil industry and, as an organisation, a probable climate change denier - see its blog here) and the Asian Energy Institute – largely, I am given to understand, funded by the Arab oil producing nations (but that is not easy to ascertain and I could be wrong and I’m still working on proving that link-up).
Right from the start the Copenhagen Conference is mired in the stench of corruption and the exercising of double standards. It seems to me, in my personal opinion, to have chosen as its Chairman a deeply unsound and compromised person whose credentials are, for me, highly suspect and scarcely to be trusted.
I think, and this is purely my personal opinion, that the hydrocarbon industry, the oil industry, has pulled off one of the greatest coups of modern times and has managed to place one of their own as head of the IPCC and as Chairman of the Copenhagen Conference. I have absolutely no confidence at all that there will be any real and lasting progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions arising from the process in Copenhagen because, in my personal opinion, the elected and appointed officials attending this conference, in particular Dr. Pachauri (the Chairman), are already deeply in thrall to, and compromised by, their previous, recent and current associations with the oil industry.
By the way, and just to put things into perspective for you, did you know that this Conference in Copenhagen will generate the emission of the same quantity of greenhouse gases as Burkina Faso will emit in one calendar year?
Other delegates to this disreputable travesty of a Conference will come under my gaze as I find out more about them. However, please be under no illusions. This is not a conference about reversing climate change and preserving some semblance of biodiversity and a rich future for our offspring – this is a conference about seeing just how far we can go without actually extinguishing all life on earth: this is a conference about preserving the entrenched positions of existing institutions which do not want to change.
Mostly, this is a Conference about how to save the dinosaurs!
The big question, the question you have to ask yourself as you strive to preserve some semblance of civilisation as the waters rise and the weather systems become ever more erratic, is: are the dinosaurs worth saving?
Posted on 12/08/2009 6:41 AM by John M. Joyce
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
U.S. Man Accused of Helping Plot Mumbai Attack
As we first reported on Nov. 16th, and 17th, David Headley, aka Daood Gilani, has been charged in connection to the Mumbai attacks. The following is a good investigative piece from the NYTimes:
WASHINGTON — An American at the center of an international terrorism investigation has been charged with helping plot the 2008 rampage in Mumbai, India, that left 163 people dead, according to a Justice Department complaint unsealed on Monday.
The suspect, David C. Headley of Chicago, is accused of helping identify targets for a Pakistan-based terrorist group called Lashkar-e-Taiba, whose two-day attack on luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, a Jewish community center and a crowded train station brought India’s financial capital to a halt and shocked the world. The complaint described Mr. Headley’s repeated scouting visits to the sites nearly two years before the attacks, which have reignited tensions between India and Pakistan.
The authorities say that among his conspirators was Ilyas Kashmiri, regarded by Western officials as one of the most dangerous Islamic militants operating in Pakistan’s restive tribal areas.
The charges, including six counts of conspiracy to bomb public places and to murder and maim, significantly expanded the government’s case against Mr. Headley, 49. And his profile — he has roots in the United States and links to high levels of the Pakistani government and military — makes him a highly unusual terror suspect.
Mr. Headley was arrested in October, along with another Chicago resident, Tahawwur Rana, and charged with plotting to attack a Danish newspaper that in 2005 published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, outraging much of the Muslim world.
Since his arrest, Mr. Headley has cooperated with the authorities. That assistance, along with new leads from the authorities in Pakistan and India, and an examination of e-mail messages between Mr. Headley and others suspected in the two plots, led to the new charges involving the Mumbai killings, officials said.
In recent weeks, the Justice Department has sent investigators to Mumbai to look into evidence being gathered by the authorities there.
Justice Department officials on Monday also announced charges against a retired major in the Pakistani military, Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, in the newspaper scheme. Neither he nor Mr. Rana has been charged in connection with the Mumbai attacks. But court documents allege that Mr. Rana, a Canadian citizen who operates several businesses in Chicago and Toronto, helped Mr. Headley get the documents and alibi he needed to travel inconspicuously to India.
A lawyer for Mr. Headley refused to comment. Mr. Rana’s lawyer could not be reached. The authorities refused to say whether Mr. Rehman was in custody in Pakistan, citing the diplomatic tensions the case has caused in the United States, India and Pakistan.
In the complaint, prosecutors said Mr. Headley received training from Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is dedicated to ending Indian rule of Kashmir, on several occasions from February 2002 to December 2003. After he was instructed by the group to conduct surveillance in Mumbai, the complaint says, he made five trips there from 2006 to 2008. Each time, he took photos and videos of various targets, including the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Oberoi Hotel, the Leopold Café, the Nariman House and a Mumbai train station.
In April 2008, Mr. Headley also scouted locations in and around the Mumbai harbor, looking for a safe landing for a boat that would carry the Lashkar operatives, officials say. After the visits, he traveled to Pakistan to hand over his photos and other material to his contacts.
Seven months later, at least 10 men landed at the port in two inflatable boats and attacked the city with grenades and assault rifles. Among the many killed were six Americans. Hundreds more were injured.
Federal officials said the case against Mr. Headley underscored the potential threat posed by American citizens who could use their ability to travel easily across borders in support of such plots.
The assistant attorney general for national security, David Kris, said, “This case serves as a reminder that the terrorist threat is global in nature and requires constant vigilance at home and abroad.”
William Headley, the suspect’s uncle, reacted with shock to the accusations on Monday. “You might as well be telling me my nephew is being charged with 9/11,” William Headley said in an interview. “That’s like pouring cold water inside me. He’s been in trouble before, but we thought something like this was beyond his character.”
David Headley, the son of a former Pakistani diplomat and an American socialite from Philadelphia, was born in Washington and raised in elite circles in Pakistan, where he attended a strict military high school. His parents divorced when he was young.
At 17, he arrived in the United States to live with his free-spirited mother, whose lifestyle clashed with his disciplined Muslim upbringing.
Friends and a relative said Mr. Headley dropped out of college and fell into trouble. In 1998 he was convicted of smuggling heroin into the United States, but avoided a long jail sentence by cooperating with the authorities. He later conducted undercover operations in Pakistan for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
In 2006, he moved to Chicago, where he has a wife and children. But he no longer stayed in touch with most members of his family, relatives said. It is not clear if he has any contact with a half-brother, Daniel Gilani, who is a spokesman for Pakistan’s prime minister.
In recent months, Mr. Headley sent e-mail messages to former classmates at his military school defending terrorism.
The authorities said Mr. Headley went by his birth name, Daood Gilani, until 2005 when Lashkar-e-Taiba recruited him to scout locations for the Mumbai attack. It was then that he changed his name — David is English for Daood — to portray himself more convincingly as an American and ease overseas travel, the authorities said...
The legal documents are here.
Posted on 12/08/2009 7:38 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
A Musical Interlude: Handy Man; Do What You Did (Ethel Waters)
Posted on 12/08/2009 8:06 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Inveigling The Infidels Never Stops: The Case Of Karzai
Karzai appeals for forces funding
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has warned that it will take 15 years before the country is able to pay for the cost of its own security forces.
After talks with visiting US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, Mr Karzai said he hoped the US and the international community would continue funding them.
Mr Gates said the US would not turn away from Afghanistan and abandon it.
His unannounced arrival in Kabul came a week after US President Barack Obama said he was sending 30,000 more troops.
Nato member states have agreed to deploy another 7,000 soldiers between them.
Meanwhile, in a sign of the country's security difficulties, there were reports on Tuesday that Afghan officers had opened fire during a protest by villagers over the deaths of civilians, which they say occurred during a Nato operation.
According to one report, the Afghan soldiers fired into the air, but at least one person was killed.
On Sunday, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm Mike Mullen, bluntly told troops in Kentucky: "We are not winning, which means we are losing.
"As we are losing, the message traffic out there to [militant] recruits keeps getting better and better and more keep coming," he said.
At a joint news conference at the presidential palace in Kabul on Monday, Mr Gates was keen to stress that the US would not desert Afghanistan, despite Mr Obama's announcement that a gradual military withdrawal could begin in 18 months.
The two countries would need to be long-term partners, he said.
The defence secretary said Mr Karzai needed to take a tougher line on corruption, but added that many ministers were competent and did not need to be replaced when a new cabinet is announced in the coming days.
Mr Karzai said he was committed to doing so and that he would inform parliament of the names of a number of proposed ministers.
Both men then agreed that it was a priority to strengthen the Afghan security forces in order to help international troops tackle insurgents.
But Mr Karzai warned that it would be a long time before Afghanistan would be able to pay the cost of maintaining its own army and police force, which the US wants to quadruple in size to 400,000 troops by 2013.
"We hope that the international community and the United States, as our first ally, will help Afghanistan reach the ability to sustain a force," he said.
"Afghanistan is looking forward to taking over responsibility in terms of paying for its forces and delivering to its forces with its own resources, but that will not be for another 15 years."
But Mr Karzai was also cautiously optimistic that his country would be able to begin taking over responsibility for security in some "critical" parts of the country within two years, before taking charge nationwide in five years' time.
The president later condemned what his office said was the killing of six civilians in an overnight operation by Nato-led forces in the eastern province of Laghman.
"Coalition forces in Afghanistan carried out an operation near the capital of Laghman in Armul village," a statement said. "As a result of which, six innocent civilians, including one woman, were martyred."
Local residents have protested against the civilian deaths, which they and provincial officials say number 12. One report suggests that at least one person was killed during a protest about the deaths, when Afghan soldiers fired into the air.
The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said its troops killed seven militants and detained another four after coming under hostile fire while pursuing a member of the Taliban responsible for suicide bombings in the area.
"We are aware of civilian casualty allegations, however there are no operational reports to substantiate those claims of harming civilians, including women and children, during this operation," said a spokeswoman, Capt Jane Campbell.
On his way to Kabul, Mr Gates told reporters he believed the US had mistakenly abandoned Afghanistan after Soviet troops withdrew and understood that Afghans feared they would be left to fight the Taliban alone.
He said he would assure Mr Karzai and his advisers that "we are not going to repeat the situation in 1989" and that "we intend to be their partner for a long time to come".
"As the security situation improves and we're able, over time, to reduce our forces, the civilian, developmental, economic and other kinds of relations between us will become the predominant part of the relationship," he added.
“ As the security situation improves and we're able to reduce our forces, the civilian, developmental, economic and other kinds of relations between us will become the predominant part of the relationship ”
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates
Mr Gates also said the US would be "watching the appointments that get made" in Afghanistan's new cabinet, and that it was important to have "capable and honest ministers" in the crucial roles.
The BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul says the US is running out of patience with Afghan promises to tackle corruption and now wants to see clear action taken against senior officials found to be corrupt.
On Monday, the mayor of Kabul was sentenced in his absence to four years in prison for corruption, on charges related to more than $16,000 (£9,800) of public money.
Mir Abdul Ahad Sahebi was the first high-profile official to face such charges under Mr Karzai's second term.
His whereabouts are not clear. One report suggested he had been arrested late on Monday, while another said he was at work in his office as usual.
Posted on 12/08/2009 8:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Office Of Pakistan Spy Agency Attacked
Attacks on Pakistan city kill 12
A gun and bomb attack on an office of Pakistan's main intelligence agency in the central city of Multan has killed at least 12 people, police say.
More than 25 others were injured when suicide attackers opened fire. A rocket was launched during the attack and grenades were also thrown.
The violence came a day after bombings killed about 60 in Lahore and Peshawar.
More than 400 people have been killed during a string of attacks mounted by Islamist militants in recent weeks.
They coincide with an army offensive targeting the Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan in the country's north-west.
Police said there were multiple attackers in Multan, two of whom were suicide bombers.
They said one had a rocket launcher and fired into the local offices of Pakistan's main ISI intelligence agency and that others hurled grenades before setting off a huge explosion.
The building was severely damaged. Emergency workers say 12 people were killed but there are warnings the number of dead may well increase.
No-one has yet said they were behind the attack.
A senior police officer in Multan, Agha Mohd Yusuf, told the BBC that two to three attackers had arrived at their target in a car.
One of the attackers stepped out when the car reached a check point for the military area on Qasim Bela road.
"He put a rocket launcher on his shoulder and fired in the general direction of the office. One building was hit and collapsed," Mr Yusuf said.
"In the confusion that followed, the other attackers drove inside and blew up the car. This time the office of the intelligence service [Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI] agency was hit."
The attack in Multan is the latest in a number of commando-style attacks in Pakistan in recent months.
There have also been almost daily bombings across the country.
Monday was the bloodiest day for some weeks, with twin blasts in a packed marketplace in Lahore coming hours after a suicide attack outside a court in the north-western city of Peshawar.
Overnight, the death toll from the bombings in Lahore rose to 49. Scores more were injured after a fire swept through the market.
Posted on 12/08/2009 8:35 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Islam As Totalitarianism by Ibn Warraq (bis)
Posted on 12/08/2009 8:54 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
James Hansen On The Obama Folly: Reliance On Cap And Trade
Cap and Fade
AT the international climate talks in Copenhagen, President Obama is expected to announce that the United States wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to about 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. But at the heart of his plan is cap and trade, a market-based approach that has been widely praised but does little to slow global warming or reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. It merely allows polluters and Wall Street traders to fleece the public out of billions of dollars.
Supporters of cap and trade point to the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments that capped sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-burning power plants — the main pollutants in acid rain — at levels below what they were in 1980. This legislation allowed power plants that reduced emissions to levels below the cap to sell the credit for these excess reductions to other utilities whose emissions were too high, thus giving plant owners a financial incentive to cut back their pollution. Sulfur emissions have been reduced by 43 percent in the two decades since. Great success? Hardly.
Because cap and trade is enforced through the selling and trading of permits, it actually perpetuates the pollution it is supposed to eliminate. If every polluter’s emissions fell below the incrementally lowered cap, then the price of pollution credits would collapse and the economic rationale to keep reducing pollution would disappear.
Worse yet, polluters’ lobbyists ensured that the clean air amendments allowed existing power plants to be “grandfathered,” avoiding many pollution regulations. These old plants would soon be retired anyway, the utilities claimed. That’s hardly been the case: Two-thirds of today’s coal-fired power plants were constructed before 1975.
Cap and trade also did little to improve public health. Coal emissions are still significant contributing factors in four of the five leading causes of mortality in the United States — and mercury, arsenic and various coal pollutants also cause birth defects, asthma and other ailments.
Yet cap-and-trade schemes are still being pursued in Copenhagen and Washington. (Though I head the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, I’m speaking only for myself.)
To compound matters, the Congressional carbon cap would also encourage “offsets” — alternatives to emission reductions, like planting trees on degraded land or avoiding deforestation in Brazil. Caps would be raised by the offset amount, even if such offsets are imaginary or unverifiable. Stopping deforestation in one area does not reduce demand for lumber or food-growing land, so deforestation simply moves elsewhere.
Once again, lobbyists are providing the real leadership on climate change legislation. Under the proposed law, some permits to pollute would be handed out free; and much of the money actually collected from permits would be used to pay for boondoggles like “clean coal” research. The House and Senate energy bills would only assure continued coal use, making it implausible that carbon dioxide emissions would decline sharply.
If that isn’t bad enough, Wall Street is poised to make billions of dollars in the “trade” part of cap-and-trade. The market for trading permits to emit carbon appears likely to be loosely regulated, to be open to speculators and to include derivatives. All the profits of this pollution trading system would be extracted from the public via increased energy prices.
There is a better alternative, one that would be more efficient and less costly than cap and trade: “fee and dividend.” Under this approach, a gradually rising carbon fee would be collected at the mine or port of entry for each fossil fuel (coal, oil and gas). The fee would be uniform, a certain number of dollars per ton of carbon dioxide in the fuel. The public would not directly pay any fee, but the price of goods would rise in proportion to how much carbon-emitting fuel is used in their production.
All of the collected fees would then be distributed to the public. Prudent people would use their dividend wisely, adjusting their lifestyle, choice of vehicle and so on. Those who do better than average in choosing less-polluting goods would receive more in the dividend than they pay in added costs.
For example, when the fee reached $115 per ton of carbon dioxide it would add $1 per gallon to the price of gasoline and 5 to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour to the price of electricity. Given the amount of oil, gas and coal used in the United States in 2007, that carbon fee would yield about $600 billion per year. The resulting dividend for each adult American would be as much as $3,000 per year. As the fee rose, tipping points would be reached at which various carbon-free energies and carbon-saving technologies would become cheaper than fossil fuels plus their fees. As time goes on, fossil fuel use would collapse.
Still need more convincing? Consider the perverse effect cap and trade has on altruistic actions. Say you decide to buy a small, high-efficiency car. That reduces your emissions, but not your country’s. Instead it allows somebody else to buy a bigger S.U.V. — because the total emissions are set by the cap.
In a fee-and-dividend system, every action to reduce emissions — and to keep reducing emissions — would be rewarded. Indeed, knowing that you were saving money by buying a small car might inspire your neighbor to follow suit. Popular demand for efficient vehicles could drive gas guzzlers off the market. Such snowballing effects could speed us toward a pollution-free world.
The plans in Copenhagen and Washington have not been finalized. It is not too late to trade cap and trade for an approach that actually works.
James Hansen is the author of the forthcoming “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastr
Posted on 12/08/2009 9:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Sheik Fikri Hassan: "Switzerland Has No Culture And No History"
Watch,and listen, here to Sheik Fikri Hassan. .
A few observations on this short but telling clip:
1) "Switzerland has no culture and no history."
In the Muslim view, nothing outside Islam has significance except in relation to Islam. . No non-Islamic country has a "culture" or a "history" worth anytjhiing. Once conquered, non-Muslim peoples are taught by their Muslim masters that what came before Islam was mere Jahiliya, a Time of Ignorance (see, for example, India and how the British made possible the rediscovery and recovery of India's pre-Islamic past)
2) "Democracy is a dam against Islam"
Democracy is un-Islamic, and democracy in action -- the Swiss referendum on mosques, is a "dam" -- that is a "dam" that prevents the flow of the river of Islam, is an obstacle to the spread and the dominance, of Islam. And it is the duty, and the right, of all Muslims everywhere to remove all obstacles to the spread, and the dominance, of Islam.
-a "dam," that is an obstacle to the spread, and dominance, of Islam.
3) "The Zionists."
In Islam, because of the absence of, or discouragement of, free and skeptical inquiry, crazed conspiracy theories are the order of the day. Those who are raised never to question Islam, but to be "slaves of Allah" who early on learn by rote, and are raised in societies suffused with totalitarian Islam, where the habit of mental submission is acquired and encouraged, are quick to find a simple explanation for all their woes. And while the larger explanation is "Infidels," a more specific explanation is "the Zionists." This has comical aspects, as the misattribution of the Swiss vote to "Zionist" power, and the confusion between the Swiss placename "Sion" (Syon) with the word "Zion." No doubt the Arabs and Muslims worry, in similar fashion, about "Zion National Park" in the Mormon country.
There's a lot on display, even in this short clip.
Posted on 12/08/2009 9:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
The Making and Dealing With Jihadists
by Amil Imani (December 2009)
Bewildered by what fanatic Muslims do, some conclude that Muslims are brainwashed. Otherwise, how can their totally illogical belief system and barbaric behavior be explained? But the notion of “brainwashing” that is bandied about is the stuff of science fiction and Hollywood movies such as the Manchurian Candidate. more>>>
Posted on 12/08/2009 11:34 AM by NER
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Portuguese Government Ready To Help Promote E.U.'s
Vai sendo hábito: sempre que é necessário castigar Israel, o Governo português oferece os seus préstimos.
O cérebro. Da coisa.
O último episódio está hoje a decorrer, numa reunião dos ministros dos Negócios Estrangeiros, em Bruxelas.
A Suécia, antes de abandonar a Presidência, quis deixar uma marca. Decidiu propor aos pares uma iniciativa
, em que se toma posição face ao conflito israelo-árabe. Já dei todas as voltas à cabeça para tentar perceber porquê a iniciativa, porquê naqueles termos - inclui a expressão do desejo europeu de reconhecer Jerusalém Oriental como capital de um futuro Estado palestiniano, ou seja, inclui a manifestação do desejo de ver a cidade de novo dividida -, mas não consigo vislumbrar bem a coisa.
Contribui para fazer avançar, ou melhor, relançar um processo de paz? Obviamente que não. Na forma em que foi proposta pela Suécia, a iniciativa, no seu ponto quinto, «toma nota da decisão recente do Governo de Israel de congelar parcial e temporariamente a construção de colonatos e exprime a esperança de que este venha a ser um passo em direcção à retomada de negociações significativas» (o europês diplomático é das línguas mais bacocas que existem).
Nenhuma referência é feita à rejeição da moratória, por insignificante, por parte da Autoridade Palestiniana, até ao seu anúncio considerada, pela mesma Autoridade Palestiniana, como condição para o lançamento das ditas negociações.
Em contrapartida, a iniciativa abunda em exortações ao que Israel deve fazer, ou não fazer, para que as negociações avancem, em direcção à criação de um Estado Palestiniano, que a UE afirma querer reconhecer, mesmo antes de estar negociado, e estabelecidos os seus contornos.
É evidente que, se a proposta vier a ser aprovada nos termos em que está redigida, terá como única consequência tangível o afastamento definitivo da «Europa» (o que quer que seja que isso queira dizer, sempre que questões diplomáticas importantes estão em jogo) do processo de paz, dada a sua posição completamente viciada a favor de uma das partes do conflito e de afrontamento da outra.
Por esse resultado heróico, está a bater-se Portugal
, ao lado da Irlanda, Luxemburgo, Bélgica e Reino Unido, contra o bloco liderado pela Alemanha, França, Itália, Holanda e Espanha (que vai receber a próxima presidência).
Mas talvez que tudo se explique melhor - o mistério da iniciativa, atrás referido -, se se considerar o seguinte: a irresponsabilidade política é um dos privilégios dos insignificantes. Talvez o único. Que a «Europa» esteja «dispensada», no caso do conflito do Médio-Oriente, não será consequência desta iniciativa: ela, a iniciativa, é que só pode ser explicada pela insignificância da «Europa», já irreversivelmente interiorizada. Palavras (e papéis) levam-nas o vento...
Posted on 12/08/2009 12:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
“we weren’t poor, but we certainly weren’t rich”
“my mom was a homemaker”
“my dad worked to put food on the table”
“all the stakeholders”
“dedicated public servant”
“have always put people first”
“after years of achievement in the private sector, I wanted to give something back”
“that all Americans deserve”
“know where I stand”
“a proven track record”
“keep my word”
“keep my promise”
“never let you down”
“working tirelessly for diversity in the workplace”
“help our seniors”
“help our kids”
“give us a health-care system second to none”
“quality education for all”
“we need a comprehensive approach”
“we need a comprehensive strategy”
“we need what I like to call an innnovative and comprehensive strategy”
“you deserve better”
“honor our veterans”
“our diversity only makes us stronger”
“our differences only make us stronger”
“diversity is our strength”
“get our economy back on track”
“jobs will be my primary focus from Day One”
“ make our schools second to none”
“our world-class universities”
"while delivering at a fraction of the cost"
“”committed to providing prevention and intervention resources”
“keeping America safe”
“hit the ground running on Day One”
“second to none”
“work tirelessly for world-class diversity second to none”
Posted on 12/08/2009 1:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Muslims behaving as Muslims towards fellow Muslims, 127 dead
Five coordinated attacks killed at least 127 in Baghdad. Was it Baathists? Was it Al Qaeda in Iraq? Does it really matter? For details, see AP.
Posted on 12/08/2009 1:28 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
A Musical Interlude: Two Hearts (Pyotr Leshchenko, Marion Domar)
Posted on 12/08/2009 2:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
The Oldest Industry’s Defence Against Copenhagen
The World’s oldest industry sought to defend itself against the Copenhagen climate summit by offering free call-girl services to delegates:
...the city council had postcards sent to 160 hotels urging people coming to town for next week’s UN Climate Change Conference to "be sustainable – don't buy sex," according to Spiegelonline.
"Dear hotel owner, we would like to urge you not to arrange contacts between hotel guests and prostitutes," the cards say.
Pols may think enviro delegates should only burn their cash on the kind of hot Danish that goes with coffee, but sending that kind of message got the Sex Workers Interest Group steamed.
"This is sheer discrimination. Ritt Bjerregaard is abusing her position as lord mayor in using her power to prevent us carrying out our perfectly legal job. I don't understand how she can be allowed to contact people in this way," the group's spokeswoman, Susanne Møller, was quoted as saying
"We have to defend ourselves," Moller said in touting the call girl giveaway, which offers a comp romp [sic] to anyone who can produce a warning card and summit ID badge...
So, tell me, what exactly is unsustainable sex – the sort that the city council would approve of presumably (be unsustainable – do buy sex) – and exactly why is it encouraging it?
Forgive my juvenile and prurient speculation but I am forced to wonder just how one would quantify and offset ones carbon footprint for a night, an evening, an hour, of passion in the arms of one of Copenhagen’s ladies of negotiable virtue? Or, not to be sexist, in the arms of one of Copenhagen’s, ahem, noted gigolos?
Do remind me, but isn’t this supposed to be a serious conference where all the delegates and all of the world’s press address our imminent demise by our own wilful actions?
Silly me! It’s yet another junket for the elite, isn’t it?
Posted on 12/08/2009 4:30 PM by John M. Joyce
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Plans for Mosque Near Ground Zero
From the NYTimes (with thanks to del):
On that still-quiet Tuesday morning, the sales staff was in a basement room eating breakfast, waiting to open the doors to the first shoppers at 10 a.m.
There was no immediate sign of the fiery cataclysm that erupted overhead starting at 8:46. But out of a baby-blue sky suddenly stained with smoke, a plane’s landing-gear assembly the size of a World War II torpedo crashed through the roof and down through two empty selling floors of the Burlington Coat Factory.
The Sept. 11, 2001, attack killed 2,752 people downtown and doomed the five-story building at 45 Park Place, two blocks north of the World Trade Center. The store remained abandoned for the next eight years, one of the last undeveloped downtown properties damaged in the attack.
But for months now, out of the public eye, an iron gate rises every Friday afternoon, and with the outside rumblings of construction at ground zero as a backdrop, hundreds of Muslims crowd inside, facing Mecca in prayer and listening to their imam read in Arabic from the Koran.
The building, offering retail space for lease, has no sign that hints at its use as a Muslim prayer space, and the worshipers are out in an hour. But these modest beginnings point to a far grander vision: an Islamic cultural, educational and recreational center near the city’s most hallowed piece of land.
It would stand as one of ground zero’s more unexpected and striking neighbors. But the location was precisely a key selling point for the group of Muslims who bought the building in July.
“New York is the capital of the world, and this location close to 9/11 is iconic,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, 61, the cleric leading the project, a longtime critic of radical Islamists, said in a series of interviews in which he and his partners outlined their plans for the first time.
A presence so close to the World Trade Center, “where a piece of the wreckage fell,” Imam Feisal added, “sends the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11.”
“We want to push back against the extremists,” he said.
As a Sufi, the imam follows a path of Islam focused more on spiritual wisdom than strict ritual, and as a bridge builder, he is sometimes focused more on cultivating relations with those outside his faith than within it.
Although organizers have sought to avoid publicizing their project because they say plans are too preliminary, it has drawn early encouragement from city officials and the surrounding neighborhood.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said through a spokesman that Imam Feisal told him of the project last September at a celebration to observe the end of Ramadan. As for whether Mr. Bloomberg supported it, the spokesman, Andrew Brent, said, “If it’s legal, the building owners have a right to do what they want.”
The mayor’s director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, Fatima Shama, went further. “We as New York Muslims have as much of a commitment to rebuilding New York as anybody,” Ms. Shama said. Imam Feisal’s wife, Daisy Khan, serves on an advisory team for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, and Lynn Rasic, a spokeswoman for the memorial, said, “The idea of a cultural center that strengthens ties between Muslims and people of all faiths and backgrounds is positive.”
Those who have worked with him say if anyone can pull off what many regard to be a delicate project, it would be Imam Feisal, whom they described as having built a career preaching tolerance and interfaith understanding.
“He subscribes to my credo: ‘live and let live,’ ” said Rabbi Arthur Schneier, spiritual leader of Park East Synagogue on East 67th Street.
Another supporter of Imam Feisal, Joan Brown Campbell, director of the department of religion at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York and former general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ U.S.A., acknowledged the possibility of a backlash from those opposed to a Muslim presence at ground zero.
But, she added: “Building so close is owning the tragedy. It’s a way of saying: ‘This is something done by people who call themselves Muslims. We want to be here to repair the breach, as the Bible says.’ ”
The F.B.I. said Imam Feisal had helped agents reach out to the Muslim population after Sept. 11. “We’ve had positive interactions with him in the past,” said an agency spokesman, Richard Kolk. Alice Hoagland of Las Gatos, Calif., whose son, Mark Bingham, was killed in the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, said, “It’s quite a bold step buying a piece of land adjacent to ground zero,” but she said she considered plans for the site “a noble effort.”
On a recent Friday, worshipers in the old Burlington Coat Factory heard Imam Feisal’s call for spiritual purity during the time of the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
“We like Imam Feisal, the way he presents the philosophy of the true Islam that I call it,” said one of the congregants, Mohammed Abdullah, an investment banker who traveled from Washington for the service.
The location is not designated a mosque, but rather an overflow prayer space for another mosque, Al Farah at 245 West Broadway in TriBeCa, where Imam Feisal is the spiritual leader.
Built in 1923, the building at 45 Park Place was bought by Sy Syms, the discount retailer, and a partner, Irving Pomerantz, in 1968, and became one of the early Syms stores. The store closed in 1990, the partners parted ways, and the Pomerantz family then leased the building to the Burlington Coat Factory.
On Sept. 11, the store, with 80 employees, was one of 250 Burlington outlets nationwide owned by the Milstein family. That morning, recalled Stephen Milstein, the company’s former general manager and vice president, the staff was in the basement when a piece of a plane plunged through the roof, either from American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the north tower at 8:46 a.m., or United Airlines Flight 175 crashing into the south tower at 9:03.
Kukiko Mitani, whose husband, Stephen Pomerantz, owned the building at the time, tried to sell it for years, at one time asking $18 million. But when the recession hit, she sold it in July to a real estate investment firm, Soho Properties, for $4.85 million in cash, records show. One of the investors was the Cordoba Initiative, an interfaith group founded by Imam Feisal.
“It’s really to provide a place of peace, a place of services and solutions for the community which is always looking for interfaith dialogue,” said Sharif El-Gamal, chairman and chief executive of Soho Properties.
The patched-up roof was easily visible on a recent tour of the building, along with evidence of its sudden evacuation — food bags still in a fifth-floor staff refrigerator and, most eerily, a log sheet for the testing of the emergency alarm system that shows a sign-in signature for 9/11 but no sign-out.
Records kept by the city’s Department of Buildings show anonymous complaints for illegal construction and blocked exits at the site. Inspectors tried to check but were unable to gain access, so the complaints, though still open, were listed as “resolved” under city procedures, according to an agency spokeswoman, Carly Sullivan.
But worshipers are legally occupying the location once a week under temporary permits of assembly through December, Ms. Sullivan said.
With 50,000 square feet of air rights, Imam Feisal said, the location, with enough financing, could support an ambitious project of $150 million, akin to the Chautauqua Institution, the 92 Street Y or the Jewish Community Center.
Joy Levitt, executive director of the Jewish Community Center, said the group would be proud to be a model for Imam Feisal at ground zero. “For the J.C.C. to have partners in the Muslim community that share our vision of pluralism and tolerance would be great,” she said.
Mr. El-Gamal agreed. “What happened that day,” he said, “was not Islam.”
Your interfaith dialogue sickness bags are located on the back of the seat in front of you.
Posted on 12/08/2009 7:37 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
The Iranian Scientist Kidnapped In Saudi Arabia
Hints of Ben Barka outside the Brasserie Lipp, and the disappearance of Ettore Majorana, from an article in the Financial Times:
Iran accused Saudi Arabia yesterday of handing over a senior Iranian nuclear scientist to the US.
Shahram Amiri, thought to be in his early 30s, vanished in Mecca on May 31 while on pilgrimage. He worked at Iran's nuclear plant in Natanz, where uranium is enriched.
His disappearance has stoked tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, two regional rivals who not only see themselves as leading powers in the Middle East but also the respective guardians of Shia and Sunni Muslims.
Mr Amiri, who has won a national award for services to Tehran's nuclear programme, was a physics graduate and also worked as a researcher at Malek-e Ashtar University of Technology, which is affiliated to the defence ministry. His wife is thought to be still in Iran.
Why Mr Amiri disappeared in Saudi Arabia is unclear but some western diplomats in Tehran suspect he might have defected. A former deputy defence minister, Alireza Asgari, defected in 2006 while in Turkey.
Iranian officials believe, however, that Mr Amiri was kidnapped as part of a US policy to halt Iran's nuclear programme.
Ramin Mehmanparast, a foreign ministry spokesman, told the semi-official Mehr news agency that Mr Amiri "has been handed over to Washington by Riyadh". He added that Mr Amiri was "now one of the 11 Iranians in US prisons".
Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said it had no knowledge of the allegation and declined to comment.
A western observer in Riyadh said: "Iran brings up this subject whenever it wants to divert attention away from the standstill on its nuclear issue. The scientist could be anywhere. The Saudi government does not control movement of pilgrims after they leave the country."
Analysts in Tehran think that Arab countries, notably Saudi Arabia, are pressing the west to take firm action against Iran's nuclear programme, which they see as a threat.
Iranian observers suspect that some Arab states have even urged military strikes against Tehran'snuclear facilities, provided that the US, and not Israel, carries out any such operation.
The alleged handover of Mr Amiri to Washington could fuel Iranian concerns that Saudi Arabia is collaborating with the US to gather information about Tehran's nuclear programme. Iran and Saudi Arabia are regional rivals, supporting opposing factions in Iraq and Lebanon.
A rebellion in Yemen has brought the rivalry between the two countries to the fore.
Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of encouraging Yemen's insurgents, who come from the Zaydi Shia sect. But Tehran adamantly denies being involved.
"It is not very clear if Iran is involved in Yemen, even though it sounds plausible because it is the natural ideology of this regime," said a western diplomat in Tehran.
For their part, Iran's Shia clergy have long suspected Saudi Arabia of supporting Sunni minorities in the south-east.
Meanwhile, the Saudi government's decision to fingerprint every Iranian pilgrim who visits Mecca has infuriated Iran, with state television showing old men and women waiting for hours to be processed by Saudi officials.
Posted on 12/08/2009 8:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
AirTran Flight 297: Brent Brown
Posted on 12/08/2009 9:09 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Stakelbeck of CBN: Controversial Louay Safi welcomed at Fort Hood
Erick Stakelbeck had a major report on CBN today about Louay Safi of ISNA's controversial appearance and lectures at Fort Hood last week. Many of us thought his lecture to departing troops was a mindless outrage by the Army command structure. Safi is the director of the Leadership Development Council at Muslim Brothehood front, the Islamic Society of North America. His background includes a stint at the Saudi-financed International Institute of Islamic thought and being caught by the FBI on wire-tapped conversation in 1995 with Sami Al-Arian, convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad US fundraiser and former University of South Florica professor. Safi's views on apostasy include supporting enforcement of Sharia penalities, including possible death Fatwas for those leaving Islam..
According to Stakelbeck the Arrmy forgot to check these elemets of Safi's background, but gave him a pass because he didn't say anything controversial. But how could they know it wasn't pure taqiyya? Add to that the check he brought for the beeaved families of those killed and injured by Major Hasan constituted 'blood money.' We wonder what souces in the Arab Muslim ummah provided that largess.
Where was Stephen Coughlin, former Pentagon expert on Islamic War Doctrine, when the Army was seeking a knowledgeable expert to brief the troops at Fort Hood?
Stakelbeck noted this about the Army's feckless invitation that resulted in Safi's appearance at Fort Hood:
So how was Safi chosen to lecture at Fort Hood? A spokesman for the Army base told CBN News that "Safi was one of the faculty members during a seminar about Islam for the Army's 135th expeditionary unit. He said speakers are invited based on learning objectives, audience experience, and availability. The spokesman added that "organizers of the seminar were not aware of Safi's alleged association, but have had no issues or concerns over his presentations nor has any unit raised any."
However, those associations are not just alleged. They are concrete and all of them are readily available to the public just by doing a simple Google search on the Internet.
Watch the Stakelbeck CBN report here.
Posted on 12/08/2009 10:34 PM by Jerry Gordon