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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, 2007.
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Ex-terror plot suspect speaks out
A man freed after he was arrested over an alleged plot to kidnap a UK Muslim soldier has criticised the police investigation. Abu Bakr, who works in the Maktabah bookshop, targeted in anti-terror raids in Birmingham, also told BBC News the UK was "a police state for Muslims".
Mr Bakr, one of nine men arrested during last week's raids, was released without charge along with another man.  A spokesman for West Midlands Police said it was normal that some people would be arrested and released without charge in large and complex criminal investigations.
Mr Bakr, who is studying for a PhD in Political Islam (oh oh) at the city's university, said . . . "It's a police state for Muslims. It's not a police state for everybody else because these terror laws are designed specifically for Muslims and that's quite an open fact," he added. No they are designed for terrorists, but if the cap fits. . .
"So we're the ones who are being locked up, detained and then told to go back to our lives. But they don't realise that, after seven days of virtual torture for my family, it's going to be hard to readjust," he added. "This is going to affect me for the rest of my life."  Diddums.
Mr Bakr said his parents had told him they had aged 10 years while he had been in custody. "Now who is going to replace that?" he said.
He also criticised "amateur-type interrogation" by the police who, he said, had subjected him to "random questioning" about notes written on pieces of paper by his young children. So where has he had experience of “professional type” interrogation so as to make the comparison? Pakistan? Iran? Turkey? 
Posted on 02/08/2007 4:12 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Muslims are furious again

Fury is Islam's default mode. Occasionally Muslims ring the changes and try seething or rage, but today we have "Muslim fury at Sarkozy's support for cartoons". From The Telegraph:

Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-Right frontrunner for the French presidency, yesterday earned the ire of Muslim groups when it emerged he backed a satirical magazine's publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Lawyers acting for the magazine Charlie Hébdo, which is being sued for defamation by two Muslim groups for reprinting controversial Danish cartoons, read out a letter from Mr Sarkozy, the interior minister, in which he said he preferred "too many caricatures to an absence of caricature".

Correction - there's "ire" as well. Never a dull moment with Islam. You run the gamut of emotions from rage to seethe.

Posted on 02/08/2007 4:40 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 8 February 2007
He hates Macs

Charlie Brooker in The Guardian's "most read" article:

I hate Macs. I have always hated Macs. I hate people who use Macs. I even hate people who don't use Macs but sometimes wish they did. Macs are glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults; computers for scaredy cats too nervous to learn how proper computers work; computers for people who earnestly believe in feng shui.

PCs are the ramshackle computers of the people. You can build your own from scratch, then customise it into oblivion. Sometimes you have to slap it to make it work properly, just like the Tardis (Doctor Who, incidentally, would definitely use a PC). PCs have charm; Macs ooze pretension. When I sit down to use a Mac, the first thing I think is, "I hate Macs", and then I think, "Why has this rubbish aspirational ornament only got one mouse button?" Losing that second mouse button feels like losing a limb.  

Posted on 02/08/2007 5:38 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 8 February 2007
The Danes: good agit-prop cartoons are just part of their story

The Baron posts an illuminating piece on how the Danes are dealing with Islam:

Queen Margrethe has written a book in which she demands that immigrants to Denmark assimilate. She insists that Danish cultural values are important, and that newcomers must adopt them if they want to become Danes.

The Danish system of jurisprudence now charges and convicts the entire family of anyone who commits an “honor killing”. The extended family of a wayward Muslim girl usually selects a teenage boy to carry out the deed, precisely because minors are treated relatively lightly by the Danish courts. Now the boy’s father, mother, uncles, and brothers face hard prison time for his violent act. This revolutionary method is timely, effective, and appropriate — and hell will freeze over before the same practice is adopted in Britain or the United States.

The Danes have tightened immigration rules so that the flood of illiterate Muslims from the Middle East and Africa has been reduced to a trickle. Some Islamic radicals are being deported, and others are leaving voluntarily in order to escape the newly unfavorable climate in their adopted home. At the same time, the number of well-educated and hard-working immigrants arriving in Denmark has increased — and, needless to say, most of these productive newcomers are not Muslims.

Read it all here.

Posted on 02/08/2007 5:58 AM by Robert Bove
Thursday, 8 February 2007
A fruit by any other name.
I thought of Colin Bower’s article for February, Language, truth …and wine, yesterday when I was in Tescos buying some fruit.
Colin discusses the difficulties of describing something, in particular the taste of wine, either by using, or without using, metaphor.
I was trying to choose some apples. I used to love Granny Smiths but I went off them and most other apples 9 years ago when I was having chemotherapy treatment.
Now that was something I had enormous difficulty describing to my friends because there were very few frames of reference they would understand. You don’t need to describe feeling sick. Everybody knows what that is like, even though travel sickness, food poisoning and the effects of excess alcohol are all different while still being nausea. This had a sickness element, but different and more. There was a tired element, but not that of hard work, or even pregnancy. It wasn’t painful, it wasn’t faint, it wasn’t dizzy, exactly, or it was a combination of all three coming on without warning which made lying flat a good option. In the end I resorted to saying I felt “chemy” as I slid to the floor ‘til it passed and my family would step over me and carry on around me.
One day my stomach felt like it contained a large rubber bung of the type we used in the school chemistry lab. I could almost feel the edges, and I know that it was one of the red ones, oblong shaped. Another day the best way to describe it was that my stomach was full of too much green apple peel. Which is the point at which I ate my last Granny Smith.
It was about that time that the Pink Lady apple hit the UK shops from Australia. This apple is much criticised in certain quarters for not being “a traditional English variety”, for being too sweet and thus a danger to our teeth, and for generating too many food miles. But I can eat it. And enjoy it. I discovered later that if I core, peel and quarter it I can eat some other varieties of apple, like Braeburn and Coxes, but never a Granny Smith.
So there I was yesterday looking at what was on offer and reading the little descriptions.
The Golden Delicious, an apple I never liked, and still don’t, was described as “crisp, sweet and juicy with creamy flesh” The creamy bit worried me slightly. I imagined some sort of double cream filling at the core which as I personally prefer custard with apple tart, didn’t appeal.
Pink Lady has “a clean crisp taste” which sounded fine. But exactly the same was said of the Granny Smith. 
You couldn’t get two more different apples. So how much can I rely on these descriptions? One I can eat. One I can’t. One I used to love for its sharpness. One derided, though not by me, for its sweetness.
I used the trusted method, sight and smell. Which you can do with loose apples, but not bottled wine. 
Posted on 02/08/2007 6:10 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Iran and the U.S. "Parallel Universe"

A great post by Steve Schippert at regarding the administration's shrinking from its promise to release a dossier on Iran's activities in Iraq.  (I wrote about it earlier this week, here.)  Steve imagines a scenario in which, rather than the U.S. finding Iran making trouble for the U.S. in Iraq, the Russians find the U.S. making trouble for Russia in Iran — Russia, in the analogy, having invaded Iran to overthrow the regime for fomenting terror in Chechnya.  As he suspects, things would be handled a bit differently.

Also worth noting:  the killing of five U.S. soldiers on January 20 in Karbala.  It begins to look more and more like an Iranian operation — far too sophisticated to have been carried out by Sadr's goons, and not in an area where al Qaeda could conduct such an operation.  Did Iran use the IRGC's Qods forces to kill American troops in retaliation for U.S. raids and captures of Iranian personnel in Baghdad (December) and Irbil (January)?  (Bill Roggio's take, here, also worth reading.)

Posted on 02/08/2007 6:40 AM by Andy McCarthy
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Re: Language Skills
French is not just French. French language and literature also mean Europe, and the history of Europe. The two most important contributions of France to the world by general agreement (I just checked in the back) are the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the dictee. The former can be learned about in courses in political theory, philosophy, history of the Enlightenment, American constitutional law, or can be understood just by reading the paper and thinking.

But the dictee must be experienced, week after week, under ideal conditions, with a strict schoolmarmish no-nonsense French teacher exhibiting a pre-1968 attitude of "nothing sans peine."

If the school system is enlightened, and hires native speakers, and those native speakers start with the dictee and with it the close verbal analysis that the French system favors, and he has to memorize as well, then French will not only be another language, but another method pour aborder le texte, to approach the words on the page, and the best one yet available in the Western world. (In other words, it's exactly what was done in American schools up to about 1960, but is now as extinct as the passenger pigeon).

If the French he learns consists of the American textbook industry's grim offerings -- "Lisons donc!" First-Year and "Lisons donc!" Second-Year, ultimately to be supplemented by, say, an annotated version of Merimee's "Colomba," and in the third year, inevitably, by "L'Etranger" and "Huis clos" then he's going to hate all of it, and should.

And Italian? Italian is the other language that for native speakers of English, and certainly for Americans, means Europe, with more madonnas, and music, and less diplomatic maneuvering by scheming cardinals and Sun Kings. Other points in its favor: The RAI is better than Canal Cinq. Corriere della Sera is better than Le Monde. (No French journalist is as good as the late Indro Montanelli). Italy is more fun to visit. Americans are better treated. Adelphi puts out such nice editions, and then there are those winsome small-format Sellerios.

And there is one other thing. The islamization of France is much further along, much harder to deal with, than that in Italy. The desarroi of the French state will lead to all kinds of difficulties and disasters that Italians, observing the French situation, will be able to avoid.

Then there is the question of teachers and fellow students. I would think decisive whether or not either language is taught by native speakers, or those with near-native fluency. Less will not do. If one of the languages is taught by native speakers -- for French not Canadian or Haitian speakers but French, and for Italian not second or third-generation Italo-Americans but Italians, that should decide it.

What about the likely fellow students? Unless one is in an area where the background of many students suggests they are only taking either language as an act of filial piety (i.e., Italo-Americans choosing to study Italian, or French-Americans in northern Maine or parts of Louisiana choosing to study French), which skews the student body, go with the language that is not the natural choice, so that the students are self-selected and possibly better motivated. That tilts the scales toward, one suspects, Italian.

And for Spanish, after an intensive summer course, or two, your son will be able to watch any of a hundred Spanish-language channels carried by cable television and, slowly at first, faster thereafter (especially if you repeat the intensive summer course), and by the spoken word, caught on that fabled or cabled feathery wing, to pluck the language out of the ether.

This is exactly the kind of domestic worry one is grateful to have. A manageable, non-life-threatening worry. A soothing worry.

Posted on 02/08/2007 6:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Hamdan Case

It looks like Salim Hamdan — Osama bin Laden's driver whose case resulted in the Supreme Court invalidating the president's military commissions only to have Congress reinstate them last year — is finally headed for a military commission trial.  Ditto the Aussie jihadist David Hicks (at least, he's David Hicks in the sympathetic press accounts since his capture for fighting alongside terrorists; in Australia, he was actually known as Mohammed Dawood) and the Canadian jihadist Omar Khadr (of the Khadr family with longtime ties to bin Laden; Omar, at age 15, is said to have killed an American soldier and wounded several others with a grenade).

Estimates are that perhaps 20 percent of the 400 or so Gitmo combatants will eventually face a commission trial.  The best way to show that they are worthy proceedings is to get on with them.  Convicted combatants will get to have their cases reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  While war critics rail at the purported "legal black hole" that Gitmo supposedly is, this will mark the first time in American history that enemy combatants will have a right of resort to a civilian court of the United States to have their cases reviewed.

Posted on 02/08/2007 6:53 AM by Andy McCarthy
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Erasing History 101

From Critical Mass:

The Yale Daily News announced today that Yale will take down a painting of the University's founder, Elihu Yale, that has hung in Woodbridge Hall for over a century.  It is to be removed because it shows a black servant standing next to Mr. Yale. The painting will be "replaced with a portrait of Elihu without servants." University Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer is worried about what the YDN called "perceived racist overtones" in the painting; she explained that the portrait is "confusing without the explanation" that Yale did not own slaves.

The Soviets used to air-brush politcally incorrect comrades out of photographs.

Posted on 02/08/2007 6:58 AM by Robert Bove
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Treason is the only word for it.

Bruce Bower reviews Dinesh D'Souza's The Enemy At Home in The Stranger: (h/t JW)

...As for “virtue”—well, D’Souza fumes for pages at length about the moral corruption of everything from Pulp Fiction and Jerry Springer to Britney Spears and Will and Grace, ardently contrasting all this vice and filth to the glorious uprightness of Muslim family values. Forget the sky-high rates of wife-beating and intrafamily rape in Muslim households; forget the stoning to death of gays and rape victims—D’Souza offers only scattered, rote, and understated acknowledgments that Muslim domestic culture might not be 100 percent morally pure (“There is, of course, no excuse for the abuses of patriarchy”). He ignores the Muslim schoolbooks and media that routinely depict Jews as subhumans who merit extinction; he winks at the current persecution of “traditional, family oriented” Christians (and Hindus) across the Muslim world; and he pretends that “most traditional Muslims” condemn honor killings. (On the contrary, when European Muslims slaughter their daughters, journalists struggle to find coreligionists who’ll criticize them for doing so.)

He’s quick to warn, moreover, that in discussing potentially troubling aspects of Muslim culture, “we should be on guard against the blinders of ethnocentrism.” In short, while inviting conservative Christians to buy the idea that Muslim family values are essentially equivalent to their own, he wants them to overlook the multitudinous—and profoundly disturbing—ways in which they aren’t. He labors consistently to minimize this value gap—and thereby reinforce his argument that today’s terrorism (far from perpetrating a centuries-long tradition of violent jihad) is, quite simply, a reaction to America’s post-’60s moral dissipation. He would have his readers believe that if only the U.S. returned to the values of the Eisenhower era, our Muslim adversaries would let us be. But he deliberately obscures the mountains of evidence that for “traditional Muslims,” even small-town 1940s America wouldn’t do. For example, in sympathetically describing the outraged response of Sayyid Qutb, the father of modern Islamism, to America’s debauchery, D’Souza neatly skirts the fact that Qutb first witnessed that debauchery at a church dance in the then-dry burg of Greeley, Colorado, in 1948—a year when, as Robert Spencer has noted, the highlights of America’s decadent pop culture included the movie Easter Parade and Dinah Shore’s recording of “Buttons and Bows.”

Promoting his tract on TV, D’Souza has consistently softened and misrepresented its message. His January 28 reply to critics, which ran in the Washington Post, is a masterpiece of dissembling: he complains that Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert hounded him with the question “But you agree with the Islamic radicals, don’t you?”—but fails to mention that he finally replied “Yes.” Indeed, though he purports to disdain those radicals, he writes about them far more compassionately than about anyone on the American left: Among the images he strives to improve are those of Theo van Gogh’s murderer (he quotes out of context a sensitive-sounding courtroom remark the butcher made to his victim’s mother), of bin Ladin and Khomeini (both of whom, we’re told, are “highly regarded” for their “modest demeanor, frugal lifestyle, and soft-spoken manner”), of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (whose criticism of gay marriage he approvingly cites, while omitting to note that Qaradawi also supports the death sentence for sodomites), and even of the 9/11 terrorists (D’Souza excerpts the goodbye letter one of them sent his wife, which he plainly finds noble and poignant).

For those who cherish freedom, 9/11 was intensely clarifying. Presumably it, and its aftermath, have been just as clarifying for D’Souza, whose book leaves no doubt whatsoever that he now unequivocally despises freedom—that open homosexuality and female “immodesty” are, in his estimation, so disgusting as to warrant throwing one’s lot in with religious totalitarians. Shortly after The Enemy at Home came out, a blogger recalled that in 2003, commenting in the National Review on the fact that “influential figures” in America’s conservative movement felt “that America has become so decadent that we are ‘slouching towards Gomorrah,’” D’Souza wrote: “If these critics are right, then America should be destroyed.” Well, D’Souza has now made it perfectly clear that he’s one of those critics; and the book he’s written is nothing less than a call for America’s destruction. He is the enemy at home. Treason is the only word for it.

Posted on 02/08/2007 7:04 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Reporters Who Refuse To Do Their Homework

The Fatah-affiliated Aksa Martyrs Brigades threatened on Wednesday to attack synagogues if Israel continued its excavation near the Temple Mount ahead of the planned construction of a new bridge to the Mughrabi Gate. --from this news item

"near the Temple Mount.."

What absolute nonsense. Look at a map of where the digging is going on. Look how far it is from Temple Mount. If anything were to be structurally threatened, it would not be Temple Mount but rather the Western Wall. But of course neither is.

The same cannot be said for the horrific archaeological damage being done by the Arabs digging in and around Solomon's Stables, destroying whatever they can that is identifiable as Jewish, just as they so often did and do with ancient Christian churches (look at the experience of the British archaeologist Katheleen Kenyon, booted out of Jordan decades ago because of all the evidence of Christian sites she was unearthing; look at what happened to the Italian archaeological expedition kicked out of Syria because of what was discovered at Ebla).

Everything upside-down and topsy-turvy. Yet it is reported, without comment, by reporters who know nothing and, what's more, refuse to do the simplest homework.

Posted on 02/08/2007 7:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 8 February 2007
"Be Careful Not to Lay Down Your Weapons Before The War is Over."

I wonder if the Democrat-controlled Congress, now pushing non-binding Iraq resolutions that can have no effect but to demoralize our troops and embolden our enemies, have seen the enemy's latest resolution.

It comes to us, courtesy of MEMRI, from Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who now leads al Qaeda in Iraq.  In the form of a 23-minute video issued on February 2, it is entitled, "Victory from Allah, Victory Is Near."  (Remember when we used to talk about "victory" rather than "success"?  The enemy always talks about "victory."  The jihadists are determined to vanquish us — to win.) 

While we are aguing over a surge to stabilize Baghdad (which is certainly necessary but hardly sufficient if victory over our enemies is the goal), al Qaeda is looking beyond the Iraqi capital:

"We [hereby] inform the Sunnis of a [new] plan called the Plan of Honor, which is more comprehensive and more perfect [than the existing plan] and includes not only Baghdad but all parts of the Islamic State [of Iraq]... [This plan] will end with Bush announcing the failure of his [security] plan and signing an agreement of defeat... The goals of the plan are: to defend our people and our honor; to rout out the invaders and eradicate the remaining pockets and bases of heresy; to butcher the wounded Crusader tyrant and take advantage of the collapse of morale among [the Crusader] soldiers and commanders; to unite the ranks of the mujahideen and to strengthen the foundations of the Islamic State [of Iraq].

"Oh Muslim youths, remember the cut up bodies of the children, the voices of their bereaved [parents] and the anguished cries of the elderly. Let the volcano of your wrath burst forth. Burn the ground beneath the feet of the Jews and their helpers, eradicate their army, destroy their equipment, down their planes, ambush them in their homes, in the wadis and on the roads. Hide in the darkness of night and turn their morning into hell...  We are not afraid of your coalitions... We have drunk blood [in the past], and we find no [blood] sweeter than that of the Byzantines [i.e. Christians]... Roast their flesh with car bombs, cut off their supply lines with [explosive] charges and tear out their hearts with sniper fire. Know that offense is the best [form of] defense, and be careful not to lay down your weapons before the war is over... We are not fighting out of nationalism, but with the aim of making Allah's word supreme.

I'd say Congress's non-binding resolutions would fit the Plan of Honor quite nicely.

Posted on 02/08/2007 7:18 AM by Andy McCarthy
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Suckers or muckers?

I've never been to New York, and I may not get there until I'm very old and decrepit. This is because my travel policy is to do the weird, difficult countries until I'm too old and set in my ways, and then to do the countries that are more like England, ending up with the towns that are more like London. Finally, when I'm tired of life, I'll go to Switzerland.

This travel policy is a bit silly, and may change. However, if I decide to go to New York soon, how will I get there? Flying is a sin, according to some Archbishop or other, and I would have to do twenty years of penitential carbon offsetting just to get over that one trip to the Big Apple. (Do New Yorkers really call it that?)

There's an answer, according to The Times - I could vacuum my way there:

Any woman could have told them, but researchers have now confirmed that the equality of the sexes is a myth when it comes to vacuuming the carpets.

A survey of 3,000 homeowners has reported that the average British woman will vacuum the equivalent of a journey to New York and back over the course of her lifetime, clocking up 7,300 miles.

In sorry contrast, men will only manage a feeble 850 miles, or the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

The survey says that the average British woman spends two days a year, or five months in a lifetime, vacuum-cleaning the house. The survey, by the manufacturer Bosch, found that men spend only half a day vacuuming in a typical year, or just over a month in the average lifetime.

The average woman vacuums for 20 minutes, three times a week, which equals 3,600 seconds/metres or 2.2 miles. In contrast, men get the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard an average of once a week. Men are also likely to run out of steam quicker giving up after after just 18 minutes.

The problem is that my hoovering - do Americans call it that? - is masculine. I hoover only once a week. So New York's loss is John O'Groats' gain - or vice versa. Three times a week seems ridiculous, unless you have small, crumb-producing children. Older children and husbands should clear up their own mess. So either these women are masochists, or they are mucky pups.

Whenever I hear a story about distances travelled over a lifetime, I'm reminded of Dorothy Parker's remark:

If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.

Posted on 02/08/2007 7:26 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Re: "Be Careful Not to Lay Down Your Weapons Before The War is Over."

Andy, You're forgetting the jihadis always declare victory. They declare victory no matter what. Any time we leave Iraq and under any circumstances, they will declare victory. We can't base our strategy on that. It gives them the ability to manipulate us.

Foolishly tying our strategy to an idea of "victory" for our side plays right into their hands. Remaining in Iraq will have no other consequence than the gradual weakening of America. Nothing else will be accomplished.

When we withdraw, they will declare victory, but that victory will be a short-lived and hollow one. Let them say what they like, circumstances on the ground will soon prove them wrong. Withdrawal is the only way to win.

Posted on 02/08/2007 7:37 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Winter snow in England Day 2.
Never mind the snowmen, other good things are happening.
First from the BBC.
Schools minister Jim Knight has ordered an inquiry into an Islamic school accused of promoting religious intolerance.
He wants officials to look into the King Fahad Academy which uses books that brand other faiths as worthless.
An ex-teacher at the London school says parts of the books describe Jews as "repugnant" and Christians as "pigs".
The school denies teaching pupils from these texts, but says the passages will be removed from the books in question.
Mr Knight said: "It would be completely unacceptable for any school to have material which makes the sort of inflammatory assertions that are being alleged.
"I have therefore asked the department to make enquiries in relation to the recent allegations surrounding King Fahad Academy, and to confirm whether the school complies with its statutory requirements on promoting tolerance and harmony."
School director Dr Sumaya Aluyusuf insisted her school promoted "inter-culturalism and inter-faith awareness" and said children were never taught religious hatred or intolerance.
But she said the passages would be removed from the books in question "in the public interest".
She admitted the textbooks - translated for BBC Two's Newsnight programme by two independent scholars - were kept at the school.
The translations were "taken out of context" and had "lost some of their meaning", she said.
She said the controversy had arisen from the misinterpretation of the material which was based on the Koran. Where have we heard this before? We won’t get fooled again.
Meanwhile both the BBC and The Times report that
Abu Izzadeen, the radical Muslim who heckled the Home Secretary last year, has been arrested for allegedly encouraging terrorism, police said today.  Izzadeen, 31, was arrested at 9.30am this morning in Leyton High Road, east London, under Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and is currently in custody at a Central London police station.
He is connected to Omar Bakri Mohammed, the exiled leader of al-Muhajiroun, a recently banned extremist group who call for the establishment of an Islamist state in Britain.
It is understood that the arrest is connected to a speech he gave in the West Midlands area - thought to be Birmingham - last year and not to the barracking of John Reid.
Izzadeen, formerly Trevor Brooks, an electrician born in the Caribbean who converted to Islam in his teens, was pictured live on television in September shouting at Mr Reid, who had gone to address Muslims after a controversial raid police raid in Forest Gate, East London. "How dare you come to a Muslim area when over 1,000 Muslims have been arrested?” he said. “You are an enemy of Islam and Muslims, you are a tyrant. Shame on all of us for sitting down and listening to him."
I took this personally as I was brought up in Leyton. This incident occurred in Leyton Sports Centre, which used to be an Essex County Cricket ground. I did PE in the hall behind the assembly room where the heckleing occurred and I take exception to the suggestion that my home borough is now “out of bounds” to me. Cheek.
While I was editing this post Rebecca has already posted the BBC report of this welcome arrest here.  As this is so personal I'll keep my version up, but commend her perception. Great minds think alike.
Posted on 02/08/2007 9:23 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Re: "Be Careful Not to Lay Down Your Weapons Before The War is Over."

No one should base policy on "Doing the Opposite" of what someone in the enemy camp -- the Camp of Islam -- says. Why not? This could only make conceivable sense if the members of that enemy camp all shared the same views, had the same reactions, shared the same assumptions.

In Iraq, the leaders of Al Qaeda in Iraq -- not to be confused with the much larger group of Sunnis who are simply opposed to the Americans because the Americans, in their view, deposed Saddam Hussein (now given an instant mental makeover in their minds to become, retrospectively, the Glorious Leader and Defender of the Sunnis), and by holding that "election" in January 2005 and furthermore, with American soldiers ensured that the winners in that election (i.e., the Shi'a) would take power, even as those same soldiers suppressed the Sunni insurgents in Ramadi, Fallujah, Tikrit, Baquba, and Baghdad.

It was first Zarqawi, and now his successor, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi,who have been most fervent in their denunciation of the Shi'a as "Rafidite dogs" and as "Persians."

For Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi thinks, just as Al-Zarqawi did before him, that if the Americans leave the Sunnis will be able to have their way. That is, he is convinced of a Sunni Arab victory, even thought the Shi'a Arabs 1) outnumber the Sunni Arabs 3-1 in population 2) have over the past few years acquired both military training from the Americans and 3) military equipment which they never possessed under Saddam Hussein, as they now have effective control of the "Iraqi" army and the "Iraqi" police that the Americans have been building and 4) have complete control of the vast region south of Baghdad, with the main oilfields, and Iraq's sole port, helpfully re-dredged by the British, at Umm Qasr and 5) a very long border with Shi'a Iran, and a host of Iranian agents already in Iraq, willing to help -- for their own purposes of course -- all of those many Shi'a who spent years in Iranian exile.

An argument against American withdrawal based on the notion that it would be "exactly what Abu Omar al-Baghdadi" wants the Americans to do, and would necessarily lead to the result that Al Qaeda in Iraq would want, is unconvincing. For why should we accept Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi's view, or that of other, non-Al-Qaeda Sunnis, that it is they who will naturally inherit Iraq. There is no evidence for that.
There is no reason to think that.

All the evidence -- population, oil wealth, possession of the major weaponry, and proximity to powerful co-religionists abroad (Iranians are much more easily infiltrated into Iraq than are Sunnis, who have to pass through the Syrian desert in the west (any trying to come up through the south would have to travel long distances through Shi'a-held territory).

The prediction of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi is the usual blague and nonsense, based on the Sunni belief that they are superior fighters to those they see as the wretched, damnes de la terre, the impoverished and humble Shi'a. They were impoverished -- because of Sunni mistreatment and discrimination and persecution. They were humble, because for years they had to take it. But no longer.

What will happen when the Americans withdraw? The Sunnis will not win. The Shi'a in Iraq will never relinquish power. Whether they retain control of all of Iraq is unlikely. But they will not give up Baghdad, and they will not partition Baghdad. And the Sunni Arabs inside and outside Iraq will never acquiesce in this. Fouad Ajami, in an article in the "Wall Street Journal," says that they, the Sunnis, will eventually get used to Shi'a rule. He's wrong. But his sympathies are with the Shi'a, and just like those Shi'a other westernized and secularized Shi'a in exile, Chalabi and Allawi and Rend al-Rahim and Kanan Makiya and so many others who helped inveigle the American government, by their sweet reasonableness, by their own assurances that the Americans would be "greeted as liberators" (sure they would, but only by the Shi'a and the Kurds, and that sense of gratitude would last only among the Kurds, for reasons discussed repeatedly elsewhere). Fouad Ajami, like those others, not being crazed himself, and meeting with only the most rational -- i.e., least suffused with Islam and "that equally dangerous sense of "Uruba"or "Arabness"  --  people among those Muslim Arabs, has forgotten just how implacable, and irrational, the great masses of Arab Muslims are. But he wrote a book called "The Dream Palace of the Arabs." He carefully avoided the subject -- he always does -- of Islam, which has limited his usefulness as a guide (he never touches the actual teachings of Islam, he never discusses what it means to grow up in an environment suffused with Islam -- he didn't do it himself, but he apparently wishes to forget that he's an exception, and that most Arab Muslims did, and for them, it is the defining element in their lives, and without taking account of it, nothing about them can be understood).

The Sunni Arabs will never acquiesce, not those in Iraq, not those outside Iraq, in the madinat al-salaam, Baghdad, for five hundred years, the most important years, --from 729 to 1258 (when Hulego and the Mongols conquered the city and razed much of it, so that even when the Mongol rulers were themselves islamized, the city never recovered) was the First City of Islam. Muslims live not in history but in a mythological history, with non-Arabs arabized (vide Saladin), and non-Muslims both islamized and arabized (all those translators of Greek texts into Arabic were Jews and Christians), and achievements that were those of others and merely transmitted by Muslims, nonetheless devoutly claimed for High Islamic Civilization (paper-making, the concept of zero, algebra itself), Baghdad is central to that mythology. And that is why the Sunnis will never acquiesce in either the loss, or even the shared control, or control only of part, of Baghdad.

Of course there will be crowing, of course there will be delight, of course there will be much mafeking, among some Muslim Arabs when the Americans leave. But not for long. Not for long at all. Because then the Shi'a will be uninhibited in fighting back, and may even manage to cleverly have secreted some of the American weaponry that the Americans, eternally innocent, might have turned over to the "Iraqi" army in response to those pleas, growing ever more insistent, for more weapons, always presented with plausibility as "just give us the tools and we'll do the job."

After the American withdrawal, the crowing among Sunni Arabs on the street (in the Sunni Arab governments, there won't be any crowing at all -- they want the Americans to stay now and suppress the Shi'a militia, and keep the Shi'a generally under control) will last a week, or perhaps a month. In other words, that crowing, and that certitude that now the Sunnis can retake Baghdad and possibly all of Iraq, can proceed, will last just about as long as did the "gratitude" at being "liberated" exhibited by the Shi'a Arabs.

Not long, that is, at all.

Those who  take the time to go through the archives at Jihad Watch, or at New English Review will realize, as the news and then the solemn columnists finally catch up, that you heard it all here (NER and JW) first. 

And you will not be surprised.

Posted on 02/08/2007 8:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 8 February 2007
What About George Saintsbury?

"Nearly always, when one of your long sentences is followed by a short sentence, or when of your long group of phrases and clauses - resolved or unresolved - is followed by a short phrase or clause, the short sentence, phrase or clause, the one that generally resolves the sentence or, if following a sentence, delivers the punchline, consists of four syllables, perhaps differently distributed among the component words, but nearly always calling-bird-four - not French-hen-three, nor ringing-gold-five - syllables.

Why should this be?"--Mary Jackson

I'll have to ask my spiritual advisers on such matters: Leo Spitzer, George Williamson, Yuri Tynyanov, and Ian Robinson. Or perhaps I'll skip them and go right to my mother and father. They'll be able to figure it out.

Posted on 02/08/2007 8:22 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Finally, Something to Agree with Chuck Hagel About

Everything he said yesterday, as reported by the New York Times this morning, is true ... though not for the reason he thinks:

Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who has been the loudest Republican critic of the president’s Iraq policy, also signed the letter after his vote contributed to a delay of the Iraq debate. “People of this country look at us and shake their heads in disgust,” he said in an interview Wednesday evening. “The message we’re sending to the American people is that we don’t have time, we’re not mature enough to find a way to deal with the most important issue of our time.”

Yup.  You don't want to try to win, you won't face the consequences of losing, and you don't have the courage of your convictions to end the war by cutting off funding, so you'll whine over foot-stomping resolutions.  That's a very mature way to deal with the most important issue of our time.  What about "the message" your resolution will send to America's troops and America's enemies? 

Thank you for your bold leadership, Senator.  We'll now go back to shaking our heads in disgust.

Posted on 02/08/2007 8:27 AM by Andy McCarthy
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Rudy on Immigration

From a frequent correspondent:

"When I was in law school at [major law school] in 1996, Giuliani came to speak on immigration.  He was speaking in opposition to whatever Congress was then proposing, but he made one of your favorite points:  We don't need new immigration laws, we need to enforce the ones we already have.  He related how as Mayor, when prisoners were released from Riker's Island, his administration would notify the INS of any prisoners who were being released who were illegals.  Then they would bus them into the city to the release point, and never, NEVER, did the INS show up to pick these guys up.  Known criminals, already in custody, and the INS couldn't be bothered to even send a paddywagon.

"Anyway, since then I've always been predisposed to give Rudy the benefit of the doubt on immigration.  I don't think he will come around completely, but he wouldn't be nearly as bad as the current administration."

[Derb]  Hard to see how he could be.  How ANYONE could be—except, to judge from my correspondent's story, the previous lot.

Posted on 02/08/2007 8:29 AM by John Derbyshire
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Who's Who?

"My girlfriend has the crazy idea that you (and Marisol) are actually Robert Spencer."-- from a reader

Yes, I have that feeling too. One of these days I'm going to confront Robert with my suspicions.

But just on the off-chance that I am not one of his multiple personalities (he did tell you about that little problem of his, didn't he?), would you care to meet me, that not impossible me, under the Biltmore Clock?  You know: An Affair To Remember.

Posted on 02/08/2007 8:33 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Re: Language Skills

My yesterday post on this generated a big email bag, with all sorts of opinions going off in several different directions.  Commonest themes:

—-I shouldn't be so sniffy about Spanish having low value in the job market because (according to me) Spanish-speaking is too commonplace a skill.  Fluency in Spanish, people tell me, is actually much in demand in the higher professions—doctoring, lawyering—and there is real value-added to anyone aiming at those professions in being able to speak Spanish.  [Me] That's because we currently have masses of people in this country whose first language is Spanish, and who speak English imperfectly, or not at all.  Will that be true 15-20 years from now?  I doubt it.   

—-French and Italian are dying languages, spoken by dwindling populations of near-zero geostrategic or commercial significance.  [Me] Possibly so, if you are looking at the world from the outside.  A visiting Martian who decided to equip himself with four or five useful Earth languages likely wouldn't bother with French or Italian.  My kids, however, are not coming at the world from outside.  They're coming at it from within the tradition of Western, European civilization.  French and Italian—yes, and Latin, too—are key languages of that tradition, that civilization.  Let's show some civilizational loyalty, please.

—-Why three Romance languages?  Might as well just teach the brats Latin and have done with it.  [Me] I'm cool with that.  But yes, on my previous point, German certainly belongs there—more than Spanish, in fact, on that point.  No offense to anyone, but Spain was always a bit of an outlier of Western Civ.  Name a Spanish mathematician; hum a tune from a Spanish opera; etc., etc.  

—-"Spanish is the Loving Tongue." [Me] Yeah, yeah.  If I'm going to set my child's course in life based on my affection for old Bob Dylan songs, I may as well just go out & buy him a big brass bed.  As for the language of love... see below.  (Though I'm pretty sure that when Cupid means business, any language will do just fine.)

—-Why no Latin?  [Me] Because it's a MIDDLE SCHOOL.  The local HS has Latin, but my boy isn't there yet.  And incidentally, to the reader who scoffed at Latin on the grounds that it is useless for picking up girls:  Sir, you are WRONG.  It can be done.  I can testify.  You just need to know your Catullus.  "Da me basia mille deinde centum..."  Spanish the loving tongue?  Pah!  

Posted on 02/08/2007 8:44 AM by John Derbyshire
Thursday, 8 February 2007
When Muslims Convert to Christianity...

Thanks to DhimmiWatch for both these stories. In this article posted by Hugh yesterday, the author points out how the Pope stresses “respect for the convictions and religious practices of others so that, in a reciprocal manner, the exercise of freely-chosen religion is truly assured to all in all societies.”

WND: A Turk who claims to be a descendant of Islam's prophet Muhammad has converted to Christianity while living in Germany.

But Sedar Dedeoglu, of Luedenscheid, now faces a threat to his life if he's forced to return to Turkey, and is seeking help from German authorities.

And these figures come from Zee News:

Muslims are converting to Christianity in their thousands in France but face exclusion from their families and even death threats.

Most Muslims hide their conversion and Protestant ministers do their utmost to protect new converts. It is estimated that every year in the world some six million Muslims convert to Christianity.

The Muezzin call to prayer. But here in France it is no longer reaching all Muslim ears.

Around 15,000 Muslims each year are converting to Christianity - around 10,000 to Catholicism and 5,000 to Protestantism.

Posted on 02/08/2007 8:59 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Imus on Mecca

The thing that stopped me when reading this link was not the nuke-mecca stuff (no comment), but the use of "Leon Klinghoffer" as a verb.  I've always vaguely thought of this—using personal names as verbs—as an Irish thing.  Irish people seem to do it a lot, anyway.  Imus isn't Irish, though, is he?

Posted on 02/08/2007 9:22 AM by John Derbyshire
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Re: Imus on Mecca

Begora!  I think Imus has been Derbed!

Posted on 02/08/2007 9:24 AM by Andy McCarthy
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Transition Time for the Times

NY Times publisher: Our goal is to manage the transition from print to internet:

Despite his personal fortune and impressive lineage, Arthur Sulzberger, owner, chairman and publisher of the most respected newspaper in the world, is a stressed man.

Why would the man behind the New York Times be stressed? Well, profits from the paper have been declining for four years, and the Times company's market cap has been shrinking, too. Its share lags far behind the benchmark, and just last week, the group Sulzberger leads admitted suffering a $570 million loss because of write offs and losses at the Boston Globe.

As if that weren't enough, his personal bank, Morgan Stanley, recently set out on a campaign that could cost the man control over the paper...

Given the constant erosion of the printed press, do you see the New York Times still being printed in five years?

"I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care either," he says.

Posted on 02/08/2007 9:30 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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