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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 Thursday, 8, 2011.
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Liberal American Jews Offended by Israeli Ads Calling Ex-pats Home

Source Dry Bones blog

There is a  rising chorus of American Israeli liberal Jewish pundits  incensed  at a series of ads that the Israeli Ministry of Immigration Absorption ran asking ex-pats (Yordim in Hebrew) to come home lest their progeny become assimilated. Those leftist Jewish pundits include Roger Cohen of the New York Times,  Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Akiva Eldar, political columnist of Ha’aretz, the latter being the equivalent of the New York Times in Israel. They are not alone, the National Jewish Federation, which has run into criticism about whether it supports Israel, also issued a statement condemning these ads.  The controversy is making the rounds among J Streeters and accomplices in the Reform Movement in the US who view this as a thinly veiled attempt by the Netanyahu Government to build more settlements. This cabal of American and Israel leftists have been rebutted by American born and educated Israeli, David Hazony, who has taken these insecure leftist Jews to task.

The Dry Bones cartoon graphically tells the story in a nutshell. In his blog Yaakov Kirschen cites the usual line from Timesman Roger Cohen, who as everyone knows is neither a friend of Israel nor certainly no fan of the Netanyahu government. 

Since the creation of the State of Israel the question of aliyah from America has been a touchy topic. The old and bitter joke was "Definition of a Zionist: Someone who gives money to an organization to send another Jew to live in Israel". So Israel has treaded lightly on its call for the in-gathering of America's Jews to the homeland.

So what's happening now is an angry reaction to our call to Israelis living in America to come back home!

Wow!

In an op ed piece in the NY Times entitled "Come Home to Israel"; an offended Roger Cohen shares his insight with statements like

"I know several Israeli expatriates or would-be expatriates and their feelings are consistent. They are troubled by the illiberal drift of Israeli politics, the growth of a harsh nationalism, the increasing influence of the ultra religious, the endlessness of the “situation,” and the tension inherent in a status quo that will one day threaten either Israel’s Jewishness or its democracy."


He also chides the Jewish State for failing to recognize that

"President Barack Obama is offended (by ongoing settlement expansion in the West Bank against his express request)."

Problem is that Roger can't seem to accept that Obama is America's president. He is not Israel's leader.

In the old days, American Jews were upset about Israeli Aliyah activists trying to "steal" their kids. Now they're upset about our attempts to bring our own citizens back home??!

Wow!

If you're interested here's a link to the NYTimes piece.

Akiva Eldar in Ha’Aretz “ U.S. Jews, use your influence to stop Israeli incitement”,pleads for American intervention, meaning leftist American Jewish intervention, to save the loss of funds from the Netanyahu government to anti-Israel Israeli NGOs that promote the Palestinian cause in the name of human rights and democracy.

Note these excerpts:

For several long months, the (mostly self-appointed) "leaders" in the U.S. community have ignored the unbridled incitement launched by Israel against human rights organizations, the Supreme Court and the media. As far as is known, the federations have not sent protest letters to the prime minister to express dismay about the rise of violence and racism toward Palestinians in Israel and in the territories. The Anti-Defamation League has said nothing about the exclusion of women soldiers at Israel Defense Forces events. The pro-Israel lobby AIPAC passionately defends settlement policies which are shutting the door to a two-state solution. Thus everything is all right - until the ethnocentric wave which engulfs Israel crosses the ocean, and throws cold water on their egos.

For many long years a group of Jewish philanthropists and activists - some of them with right-wing, conservative outlooks, others rank opportunists - has been throwing fuel on the fire of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute that threatens to extinguish Israel's democracy.

All this leftist Israeli rhetoric over Ministry of Immigrant Absorption ads asking yordim to come home?

Note this comment about Eldar’s perennial agenda:

Nahum Barnea, winner of the Israel Prize, formulated the "Lynch test", which tests the consistency of Israeli journalists. According to Eldar, Barnea listed Eldar as one of several journalists "who could not bring themselves to criticize the Arabs even when two Israelis were savagely murdered by a mob in Ramallah", that their "support for the Palestinian position is absolute", and that "they have a mission."Eldar, responded that "I admit to being guilty as charged. I am a journalist with a mission, and also no small amount of passion. Every Israeli with a conscience, in particular one who watches reality from up close on a daily basis, cannot write about the occupation from an objective observer's neutral point of view."


In contrast, I found more credible the cogent arguments of David Hazony, posted on The Forward blog, “The Insecurity of American Jewish life is laid bare”. His post also has links to the You Tube videos of these allegedly provocative Ministry of Immigrant Absorption ads.  Watch them.  Hazony takes to task Israeli leftist critics like Eldar, his Forward colleague, Gal Beckerman, herself a daughter of yordim, and Jeffrey Goldberg columnist of The Atlantic.

Writing in The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg is appalled. “I don’t think I have ever seen a demonstration of Israeli contempt for American Jews as obvious as these ads,” he writes. Over at the Daily Beast, Allison Yarrow calls the ads “pandering” and “ham-handed,” drawing the conclusion that “many Israeli writers, thought-leaders, politicians, and rabbis believe assimilated American Jews are not Jews at all.”

[. . .]

Yet in the hysteria of the response, the insecurity of American Jewish life is laid bare. This, rather than the campaign itself, is the real story.

[. . .]

 The fact is, at the heart of the campaign lies a truth too painful for many American Jews to handle: That the chances of one’s grandkids ending up identifying as Jewish are indeed significantly higher in Israel than they are in the U.S. — and that this is important in thinking about our future.

[. . .]

Sorry, Jeffrey Goldberg, this has nothing to do with Netanyahu (as he implies in his headline), for assimilation of American Jewry troubles Israelis on the left just as much as those on the right.

[. . .]

1.   Many American Jews, who justify saying the most outrageous things about Israel on the grounds that “self-criticism” among Jews is good, cannot handle criticism of them coming from Israel — even if that criticism is implicit and made in Hebrew. Instead of asking whether there’s truth to the criticism, they reflexively guffaw at Israeli “ham-handedness” (love it!) and blame Netanyahu.

2.   Many American Jews, suddenly realizing that there exists another Jewish perspective that is judging them, cannot stand having their assimilation statistics revealed or discussed by others “in public,” as it were.

3.   Many American Jews have so little historical self-awareness, or cultural coherence, that they must express their outrage in places like the Atlantic and the Daily Beast, for fear that otherwise most Jews will not read them. What does that say about Jewish identity in America?

4.   Many American Jews cannot imagine that there’s something really special in Israeli identity, and that Israelis are right to try and protect it by discouraging this new form of intermarriage. The very idea sends a shiver down the American Jewish spine — but isn’t it based on the very same cultural protectiveness that causes American Jewish leaders to discourage the old kind of intermarriage, with non-Jews?

5.   Many American Jews cannot countenance the possibility that the time of their leadership of world Jewry is reaching its end, or that the main language of Jewish culture, of music and literature and poetry and film, has shifted from English to Hebrew, or that the richest experiences of Jewish life today are happening overseas. Faced with actual criticism from any non-American Jews, they blow a fuse at the thought of losing the leading role.

So, Eldar in Israel, Beckerman and Goldberg in America and the callow leadership at the National Jewish Federation are ‘shocked, shocked’ at this upstart notion of Israelis asserting themselves about preserving theirs and world Jewish Zionism by asking the yordim (Israeli ex-pats living abroad) to come home. 

Posted on 12/08/2011 12:36 AM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Belgian Muslim radicals break up Amsterdam debate

From Dutch News and Radio Netherlands

Police were called to the Balie debating centre in Amsterdam on Wednesday night after a group of around 20 Belgian Muslims stormed the debate, chanting slogans and refusing to leave.

One of the speakers at the debate was Irshad Manji, a Canadian Muslim reformer who wrote a book titled The Trouble with Islam Today. The threats were directed at her and she was spat at . . .GroenLinks MP Tofik Dibi was also on the panel and who was reportedly hit by an egg during the protest, told reporters afterwards he had felt threatened.

Eventually, the police were called in to remove the Islamists. A police spokesperson later spoke of a group of 22 men, two of whom were arrested, one for making threats and one for insults.

Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders tweeted: “Dibi does not deserve eggs from radical Muslims or disruption of the meeting. He must be able to say what he wants.”

.
Posted on 12/08/2011 3:24 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 8 December 2011
The Truth about our Liberal Elite and Race Crime

Leo McKinstry speaking an unpalatable truth in The Express

THE dogma of political correctness is dangerously weakening Britain’s traditional concept of justice. Our ruling elite are so deluded by the ideology of cultural diversity that they have lost the ability to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.

That is the only conclusion to be drawn from the outrageous leniency shown by a court this week towards a gang of Somalian Muslim women who savagely beat up a white woman in Leicster city centre. In a brutal, unprovoked assault, the thugs knocked Rhea Page to the ground, then repeatedly kicked in the head while calling her a “white bitch” and “white slag”.

Incredibly, despite the ferocity of the attack, the judge gave the girls only suspended sentences, even though he could have jailed them for up to five years. His bizarre decision came after the defence told him that the Muslim assailants had been drinking and were “not used to being drunk” because of their religion.

As a cause for mitigation, this is absurd. Why on earth should Muslims be treated any differently to other offenders, simply on the grounds of their faith? . . .  And shouldn’t their drunkenness in public, an offence in itself, have added to the seriousness of their crime rather than lessened it?

Just as troubling was the failure of the authorities to charge the gang with racially-aggravated assault. For nothing could be more racially abusive than their barbaric cry of “kill the white bitch”.

We can be pretty sure that if a Somalian Muslim girl had been kicked to the ground by a group of white brutes, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Police would have taken a tougher approach.

The disgraceful message of this episode is that Muslims can get drunk and maim almost with impunity because the state is so craven about their creed. The case makes a mockery of the idea of equality before the law - one of the cornerstones of liberal democracy.

The same is true of the hesitancy in tackling so-called “honour” attacks on women in Muslim communities.

In a similar vein, the police and social services have long been terrified of talking openly about the growing problem of Pakistani gangs preying on white girls in northern towns. As Detective Inspector Alan Edwards, an expert in the field, has said, “Everyone’s been too scared to address the ethnicity factor.”

Too many Somalians have become a burden on the British taxpayer, thanks to their welfare dependency.

Over 80 per cent of them, for instance, live in taxpayer-funded homes. Moreover Somalian gangs, most of them peddling drugs, have helped to create a climate of fear in parts of our cities through their enthusiasm for violence and contempt for the law. As one Somalian youth from the notorious Woolwich Boys says, “We’ve come over here with one thing on our mind – money. We don’t care how we get it. The Government doesn’t stand a chance.”

Tremendous double standards are at work over race crime. Racial killings of whites are frequently downplayed or forgotten. The name of Kriss Donald is almost unknown today (but not by many of my friends and associates. Add Christopher Yates to the list too), yet the circumstances of his death could hardly have been more horrific. In March 2004, while walking through Glasgow, the 15-year-old schoolboy was kidnapped by a Pakistani gang, dragged to open land, tortured, stabbed 13 times and set on fire while he was still alive.

The British establishment is guilty of nothing less than reverse racism. Their members, from judges to politicians, think they are enlightened and compassionate. But in truth they are filled with prejudice. For often they refuse to expect the same standards of civilised behaviour from certain minorities that they demand of the indigenous population.

Such a perverted outlook is the opposite of equality. In the name of anti-racism, they have ended up in the bizarre position of promoting discrimination.

Posted on 12/08/2011 3:34 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Advent Pub sign 8
I wrote about the Holly and the Ivy last year. This is the Holly Bush in Loughton which I did not use then.
Posted on 12/08/2011 3:54 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Government Health Warning

Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others
James Gilligan
Polity Press, 180pp.

Few men are prepared to die for the right of others to say what they strongly disagree with; and most people’s faith in multiparty democracy is at best a lukewarm recognition that the alternative is much worse. Secretly most men would like their ideas (which they naturally believe to be correct) to rule absolutely and forever. Of this company is James Gilligan.

He is a professor of psychiatry at New York University and would like to see the Republican Party in the United States disappear from the face of the earth. His argument for this consummation so devoutly to be wished is as follows: the death rate from homicide and suicide in the United States goes up when there is a Republican president and down when there is a Democratic president. This, he thinks, is because the Republicans preside over increasing unemployment and economic inequality, and these in turn lead to shame, humiliation and lack of self-esteem in the part of the population vulnerable to the killing impulse, whether it be of self or of others.

He says that in view of the almost (though not quite) invariable effect of Republican presidents, that is to say poverty, despair and death, it is a wonder that any of them is ever elected. But he explains this paradox by arguing that Republican candidates and their party are able repeatedly and easily to throw dust in the electorate’s eye, so that it mistakes its own interest. It does not occur to him that, if this is really so, it raises questions about the nature of democracy. He would really rather prefer the rule of Plato’s philosophers, of whom, by happy coincidence, he is one.

Some of his statistical manipulations to arrive at his conclusions — which, despite his repeated protestations to the contrary, I suspect were foregone — seem to me to be doubtful. For example, on page 28 he states that the difference in violent death rates between Republican and Democratic presidencies ‘amounts to a difference… representing roughly 114,600 fewer violent deaths per year under Democrats than under Republicans’.

A man who can look at that figure and not see immediately that it must be wrong is no more to be trusted with statistics than an alcoholic in a wine-merchant’s. There are approximately 16,000 murders a year in the United States, and 30,000 suicides. Even Gilligan does not maintain that all of those are caused by Republican presidencies, or the memory or possibility thereof; but even if he did maintain it, it would still not amount to 114,600 per year. He writes what cannot be true.

His economic history is likewise suspect. He states, for example, that Franklin Roosevelt’s policies put an end to the Great Depression, without any acknowledgement that those policies were started by Hoover, and that many economists now believe that those policies actually turned a recession into a depression. I am not saying that I know for certain that these economists are right; but not even to acknowledge that a different view of the matter from his own exists demonstrates a faith of almost religious intensity in his own views.

The author’s dictatorial aspirations are further illustrated by his comparison of the effects of the Republican party (for which, incidentally, I hold no brief, and many of whose atavars seem to me profoundly foolish) with those of smoking. If the analogy is as close as he suggests, it follows that the activities of the Republicans should be severely restricted, and driven almost underground.

The author’s crude views, his attitude that ordinary people are just so many sheep for the shearing, is illustrated by his view that the tobacco companies managed by their obfuscations to disguise from the public the harmful effect of their products. But it does not follow from the fact that they tried to do so that they actually succeeded in doing so. I have been a doctor for nearly 40 years, and I have never met anyone who did not truly believe that smoking was bad for him.

James Gilligan would have been one of those psychiatrists who pronounced Barry Goldwater as psychiatrically unfit to be president. This is an abuse of psychiatry, though not as bad as that which used to occur in the Soviet Union. As far as the professor is concerned, you can have any policy you like, so long as it is his. 

First published in The Spectator.

Posted on 12/08/2011 5:30 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Thursday, 8 December 2011
See No Jihad: Ft. Hood Massacre Was Just "Workplace Violence"

Fox news:

Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation's Armed Forces at home.

During a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, the Maine Republican referenced a letter from the Defense Department depicting the Fort Hood shootings as workplace violence. She criticized the Obama administration for failing to identify the threat as radical Islam.

Thirteen people were killed and dozens more wounded at Fort Hood in 2009, and the number of alleged plots targeting the military has grown significantly since then. Lawmakers said there have been 33 plots against the U.S. military since Sept. 11, 2001, and 70 percent of those threats have been since mid-2009.  Major Nidal Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist, who is being held for the attacks, allegedly was inspired by radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in late September. The two men exchanged as many as 20 emails, according to U.S. officials, and Awlaki declared Hasan a hero. 

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, said the military has become a "direct target of violent Islamist extremism" within the United States. 

"The stark reality is that the American service member is increasingly in the terrorists' scope and not just overseas in a traditional war setting," Lieberman told Fox News before the start of Wednesday's hearing.

In June, two men allegedly plotted to attack a Seattle, Wash., military installation using guns and grenades. In July, Army Pvt. Naser Abdo was accused of planning a second attack on Fort Hood. And in November, New York police arrested Jose Pimentel, who alleged sought to kill service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Both Pimentel and Abdo also allegedly drew inspiration from al-Awlaki and the online jihadist magazine Inspire, which includes a spread on how to "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."

Rep. Peter King of New York, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said military service members are "symbols of America's power, symbols of America's might." 

"And if they (military personnel) can be killed, then that is a great propaganda victory for al Qaeda," King told Fox News.

King said there is also evidence that extremists have joined the services. 

"There is a serious threat within the military from people who have enlisted who are radical jihadists," King said. "The Defense Department is very concerned about them. They feel they're a threat to the military both for what they can do within the military itself and also because of the weapons skills they acquire while they're in the military."

The witnesses testifying before the joint session include Paul N. Stockton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense; Jim Stuteville, U.S. Army senior adviser for counterintelligence operations and liaison to the FBI; Lt. Col. Reid L. Sawyer, director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, and Darius Long, whose son, Army Pvt. William Andrew Long, was shot and killed at an Arkansas military recruitment center in 2009. 

A second private was also injured in the Arkansas attack. Both victims had just finished basic training and had not been deployed. They were outside the Arkansas recruitment center when the shooter opened fire from a passing truck. The shooter, Carlos Bledsoe, pleaded guilty to the crime earlier this year. 

In a letter to the court, Bledsoe said he carried out the attack on behalf of al Qaeda in Yemen -- the group that was behind the last two major plots targeting the U.S. airline industry.

"My faith in government is diminished. It invents euphemisms ... Little Rock is a drive by and Fort Hood is just workplace violence. The truth is denied," Long testified.

King said the web is the driver of the new digital jihad.

"It enables people -- rather than having to travel to Afghanistan to learn about jihad or to be trained, they can do it right over the Internet," he said. "And this is a growing role."...

Posted on 12/08/2011 5:49 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Democracy is Messy, Revolutions are Messy, Don't Worry, Be Happy

Nicolas Kristof ends his dinner with the Muslim Brotherhood with the following:

When I raised American concerns that Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood and the more extremist Salafis might replicate Iran, he was dismissive: “The experience of Iran will not be repeated in Egypt.”

I think he’s right. Revolutions are often messy, and it took Americans seven years from their victory in the American Revolution at Yorktown to get a ratified Constitution. Indonesia, after its 1998 revolution, felt very much like Egypt does today. It endured upheavals from a fundamentalist Islamic current, yet it pulled through.

So a bit of nervousness is fine, but let’s not overdo the hand-wringing — or lose perspective. What’s historic in Egypt today is not so much the rise of any one party as the apparent slow emergence of democracy in the heart of the Arab world. smiley

Posted on 12/08/2011 6:15 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Danny Ayalon Tackles the Palestinian Refugee Issue

Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon tackles the Palestinian refugee issue.

There is a very intersting turn of phrase in this video. At 1:15 Danny says:

“Over 850,000 Jews, from ancient Jewish communities predating Islam and the Arab occupation of the Middle East, were forced out of their homes”

This is, of course, completely true and completely at odds with all Islamic teaching. I’d say this is the strongest and most negative thing about Islam I’ve ever heard any official of the Israeli Government say. But you do have to know something about Islam to understand why.

He’s telling us two absolutely correct things that are completely and utterly denied, refuted and considered blasphemy by all significant schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

  1. Islam, carried by Arabs, conquered and occupied the previously non-Muslim and non-Arab middle east.
  2. Judaism’s claim on Israel is the strongest national claim still left in the whole of the middle east because Islam has erradicated by the force of its occupation, almost every other pre-Islamic national identity. Just try to visit independent Kurdistan or the national home of the Copts.
Posted on 12/08/2011 7:35 AM by Brian of London
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Does Free Speech Exist at Harvard? The Case of Economist Subramanian Swamy

Indian Economist Subramanian Swany

With thanks to Judy B. 


I received  from a friend in Connecticut  an article that appeared in today’s edition of Inside Higher Education i. It confirmed that some of the faculty and students at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts are self-appointed monitors supporting the OIC agenda of punishing blasphemy.  That translates to this policy: any criticism of Islam may be grounds for dismissal.

The Inside High Education article, “Over the Line: Harvard kills courses by controversial summer school instructor” is indicative of how dhimmified the groves of academia at elite American universities can be when the subject of Islam comes up.  In Prof. Subramanian Swamy’s case it is because he has nationalistic views on how to deal with Muslims in his native India.   The Harvard Faculty, while professing support for freedom of speech, doesn’t think it applies in the Swamy case, because he is “destructively” attacking another of India’s great faiths, Islam.  This despite the fact that the Economics faculty at Harvard thought him eminently qualified to teach his courses. It was left to the Harvard faculty Indian religious expert to press for a faculty vote to cancel Swamy’s summer school courses.

Note these aspects of the controversy as reported in the Inside Higher Education article:

In an unusual move, Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted this week to eliminate two summer school courses in economics because of anti-Muslim statements the instructor made in an op-ed published in India.

When word about the op-ed spread in July, some Harvard students demanded that Subramanian Swamy be fired. At the time, Harvard pledged to look into the situation, but noted that it is "central to the mission of a university to protect free speech, including that of Dr. Swamy and of those who disagree with him." But faculty members this week cited the nature of his statements as justifying the move to kill his courses rather than permit him to return to Cambridge.

The op-ed ran in Daily News & Analysis (and while that newspaper no longer has the piece online, it can be read here). The piece, a response to a bombing by Muslim terrorists in Mumbai, said that India could wipe out terrorism by taking certain steps, such as declaring India a Hindu state where "non-Hindus can vote only if they proudly acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus," or demolishing mosques, or banning conversion from Hinduism to any other faith. Swamy was once an economics professor at Harvard, but he returned to his home in India, where is an outspoken nationalistic politician. But he has come back to Harvard each year to teach in the summer school.

        [. . .]

An account of the meeting in Harvard Magazine said that the economics department chair, John Y. Campbell, told the faculty that his economics colleagues considered Swamy to be "competent" to teach the courses, and that none of the students who took his courses last summer had complained about him. The only student who mentioned the op-ed in a class evaluation rated the course favorably. The department had "expressed its view that it would not take a collective position on academic freedom or on matters of speech, hate speech, or Harvard’s reputation -- issues on which there were a wide range of views, in this case, within the department," Campbell was quoted as saying.

The proposal that eventually carried -- to decline to authorize Swamy's courses -- was made by Diana L. Eck, a scholar of India's religions. According to the Harvard Magazine account, she stressed that this was much more than an issue of a professor having some controversial views. She called Swamy's views "destructive" and said that his ideas involved limiting the human rights of others and denying freedom of religion. In light of the nature of his comments, she also wondered why his courses hadn't been "quietly dropped," rather than included in the proposed offerings for the coming summer.

She also quoted from a letter she and other Harvard faculty members sent to President Drew Faust last summer. The letter said in part: "Freedom of expression is an essential principle in an academic community, one that we fully support. Notwithstanding our commitment to the robust exchange of ideas, Swamy’s op-ed clearly crosses the line into incitement by demonizing an entire religious community, demanding their disenfranchisement, and calling for violence against their places of worship. Indeed, India’s National Commission for Minorities has filed criminal charges against Swamy, whose incendiary speech carries the threat of communal violence. When Harvard extends appointments to public figures, it behooves us to consider whether the reputation of the university benefits from the association. In this case, Swamy's well-known reputation as an ideologue of the Hindu Right who publicly advocates violence against religious minorities undermines Harvard’s own commitment to pluralism and civic equality."

At least one American group, the Philadelphia-based Freedom for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has risen to Prof. Swamy’s defense. 

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has spoken out against Harvard's taking any action against Swamy on the basis of his op-ed. The organization's blog noted that Swamy's op-ed calls for radical social change in India, but FIRE noted that American principles of free expression extend to calls for radical social change. As an example, it cited the legal right for people to call for the United States to become a communist country.

"We tolerate the widest possible range of political, social, cultural, and religious views because, for one thing, we trust in the marketplace of ideas to eventually sort it all out," the blog post said.

Unfortunately at Harvard, that marketplace of ideas has been censored by apologists for Islam, such as the notorious Professor Diane Eck.  . In effect, she and others like her are trespassing traditional faculty department control over curricula and appointment of scholars to teach based on their credentials and evaluations by those in the relevant field. Diana Eck has a long history of making "pluralism" her project, but the possibilty that some in that pluralist stew might have some direct experience of Islam, or come from lands where Islam did great damage (as in india, if one accepts Naipaul's interpretation of India as a "wounded civilization"), and should be allowed to express those views, apparently escape her. Freedom of speech and of thought -- unless that thought, and that speech, agree with what Diana Eck deems appropriate, is not part of her pantheon of values.

Posted on 12/08/2011 8:04 AM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 8 December 2011
East London Mosque hosts speaker who has called for Jewish women to be enslaved and “pillaged�

Andrew Gilligan in The Telegraph

Last Friday, according to publicity material (left) and its Facebook page, the mosque was due to host that conspicuous moderate, Sheikh Saad al-Beraik, who has stated: “Muslim brothers in Palestine, do not have any mercy neither compassion on the Jews, their blood, their money, their flesh. Their women are yours to take, legitimately. God made them yours. Why don't you enslave their women? Why don't you wage jihad? Why don't you pillage them?”

Tower Hamlets Council's 'No Place for Hate' policy is a bit toothless if you ask me.

Posted on 12/08/2011 11:25 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Muslim rioters say police discrimination motivated them

The Guardian is trying to paint the rioters as victims at the moment and the riots during the summer as 'civil unrest'. That the people who really should be rebelling against the government's oppression of them are working peacefully to counter the treason inflicted on us escapes them. The words of the rioters are quite plain, whatever slant the Guardian wants to put on it.

Like many black rioters interviewed by Guardian/LSE researchers as part of the Reading the Riots study, many Muslims involved in the August disorder said that racial discrimination by the police had fuelled their anger and lawlessness.

A young Muslim woman of mixed race who had travelled to Peckham, south London, to "get her own back" on police, said a mixture of racism and Islamophobia from central London police had played a part in motivating her to take part in the riots.

One 17-year-old Iranian from Tottenham said: "I've been in the position where police have looked down on me. They have given me those 'random searches' and they are not random. They are just picking me out because I've got a beard."

He stayed clear of the looting, he said, so as not to damage the reputation of Muslims generally. "I just thought I'm just going to get away from this. I don't want to look bad and obviously that is going to make Muslims look bad."

But he did help attack the police. "I hate the police," he said. "I don't hate the policing system, I hate the police on the street. I hate them from the bottom of my heart. I hate them with so much hate that you do not understand".

Posted on 12/08/2011 12:18 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 8 December 2011
The World Council of Churches Acknowledges Islamist Hostility Toward Coptic Christians
For background, please see the following articles:

Today's WCC Press release:

Churches in Egypt are praying and helping migrants, who flee home due to political turmoil, violence and uncertain future. There is a great need to develop stable democratic societies if the “Arab spring” is to bear fruits. Or else it might turn into an “Arab winter” with religious minorities at the risk of persecution.

David Victor R. Youssef expressed this concern at the World Council of Churches (WCC) Global Ecumenical Network on Migration meeting taking place in Beirut, Lebanon from 5-7 December, organized by the WCC office for Just and Inclusive Communities and hosted by the Middle East Council of Churches.

Youssef works for the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services and was interviewed by Naveen Qayyum, the WCC staff writer.

What is the political situation in Egypt after the “Arab spring”? And how is it resulting in migration?

This year Egypt has witnessed many political, social, cultural and religious changes. Yet this is not the end of struggles in Egypt. The Egyptian revolution, which followed the Tunisian one, has led to many uprisings in the region, and that we refer to as “Arab Spring”.

From the Gulf to the ocean, Arabs are finally fighting for their freedom against dictators. While they celebrate the dramatic political changes, these changes are accompanied by a state of instability. This instability has forced poor people to migrate to safe countries searching for better living.

Despite there being relatively less turmoil in Egypt than in some other countries, many people have moved to escape from violence. Similarly many Egyptians working in other countries returned to Egypt, having to face unemployment, poor economic conditions and security threats.

However, as a reaction to radical Islamic groups rising after the collapse of the security apparatus, many Egyptians, especially Copts, preferred to migrate to the West.

Can you explain the recent political developments in Egypt?

The major development in Egypt is the ousting of the former dictatorial regime. Now, the Egyptians are full of hope to push their country into true democratic transitions.

However, there are many factors that frustrate the Egyptians. This includes the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) being too slow in leaving power in favour of a civilian regime. Many protesters have demanded to accelerate this transitional period.

The rise of radical Islamic groups after decades of oppression by the former regime is also a concern. Now, these groups are asking to share in monitoring the new Egypt. These political groups, like Al Ekhwan al MuslmÅ«n, Al Salafi-oun and Al Ja-ma’a Al Eslamiyya, now (after the first round of elections) have more than 40 percent of seats in the legislature.

Despite the calls for preventing symbols of the former regime, the SCAF and the government have not taken any true action in this regard. Thus, many members of the dissolved National Democratic Party have formed new political parties and are running for the current parliamentary elections.

The partial failure of liberal powers in gaining a majority in the first stage of current parliamentary elections is also a setback. This has given birth to a state of uncertainty, which formulates a transitional period without any clear road map.

How is this situation affecting Christians in Egypt?

As a result of the security absence, Copts have faced increasing violence and sectarian tensions, which resulted in the burning of some churches such as Atfih, Embaba and Aswan.

In the unfortunate incident on 9 October more than 30 Christians were killed while protesting against the burning of the church in Aswan.

The rise of radical groups in Egypt has opened chances of establishing an Islamic state and implementing the Islamic laws (Shari’a). As a justifiable reaction, the Christians who already live with a sense of insecurity become more isolated in church communities.

This has also triggered a wave of emigration among Christians, the major reason for which is the political uncertainty in the country. They fear that if the SCAF continues to rule, Egypt will be under the same military governance like the last 60 years.

They also fear that if the radical agenda of political Islamic groups is realized, for example by developing an Islamic state, the Christians will not find a place in this state.

The deteriorating economic situation is also forcing millions of unemployed citizens to find other work opportunities outside Egypt.

The increased sectarian violence have forced many Copts to migrate to other countries such as USA, Canada, and Australia. Also many of the Christian Egyptians are taking religious asylum. In this situation some voices from the Coptic diasporas have asked for international protection for the religious minorities in Egypt.

How are churches addressing these challenges? What is the ecumenical response?

The national churches in Egypt play a critical role in the social life. They have been raising the awareness about their followers being full citizens in their country.

Also, churches try to raise awareness among Christians concerning their participation in social, political and cultural lives.

Some church leaders are attending political and social events to participate in planning for the new Egypt after the revolution.

On 11 November, a huge ecumenical prayer vigil for Egypt took place, with attendance of 70,000 Christians from all denominations at the Monastery of Saint Sam’an El Kharaz, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. People spent the whole night praying for Egypt.

On other levels, churches are involved in serving the migrants. This includes spiritual support with specialized programmes for refugees, financial support with finding jobs, housing and providing aids, and helping them with legal procedures related to asylum applications.

More information on the Global Ecumenical Network on Migration

WCC member churches in Egypt

Posted on 12/08/2011 12:58 PM by Dexter Van Zile

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