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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



















Monday, 21 April 2014
Islamic school militants ‘confiscated Easter eggs’

From the Daily Express

EASTER eggs and bunnies were seized at a school at the centre of a takeover plot by Islamic hardliners, it was claimed yesterday. Park View School is at the centre of an inquiry into a “Trojan Horse” plot to “Islamise” secular state schools in Birmingham.

A mother of a pupil alleges ­“morality squads” of older boys ­confiscated chocolate and toys from younger children.

The woman, who asked not be named for fear of reprisals, told the Daily Express: “Older boys are going round in these morality squads telling off girls if they do not wear veils. They bully the girls and stop them mingling with boys in the playground.”

And she said gangs have clamped down on Easter celebrations. She said: “My daughter tried to bring in an Easter egg for a friend and one boy grabbed it and smashed it against a wall. Another girl of about 11 brought in a little Easter bunny toy that she wanted to show her friends. They grabbed that off her too. All talk of Christmas and other non-Muslim festivals is banned. The teachers just turn a blind eye to it.”

We saw this sort of boy by Regent's Park on Friday. I am told that there were boys as young as 10 making the throat slitting gesture. I saw two making another rude gesture. Small boys of all cultures can be rude but this is more sinister.

Posted on 04/21/2014 1:11 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Islamist plot: six schools face Ofsted special measures

Andrew Gilligan in the Sunday Telegraph

At least six Birmingham schools at the centre of an alleged Islamic takeover plot are set to be placed in “special measures” by Ofsted in a move that could see their entire leadership removed. The Telegraph understands the six will be rated “inadequate” by the schools inspectorate after a series of snap inspections over the past few weeks. The label usually leads to “special measures”, which in turn give Ofsted the power to remove senior managers or even close the schools.

Ofsted will also take action, although less drastic, at a further nine schools in the city where the attempted Islamic takeover is less advanced, or where secular head teachers are resisting it. Only one of the 17 schools inspected by Ofsted so far in connection with the alleged plot has received a clean bill of health, although one report is yet to be completed. 

One source said: “Almost all of the reports to a greater or lesser extent are pointing out flaws in leadership, management or safeguarding driven by an Islamist political ideology. Sometimes the flaws are light. In some cases they are very severe. Those to be put in special measures are those where [radical] governors are effectively running the school.”

Separately, senior sources at the Department for Education (DfE) say they have established an “overlapping web of connections” in the schools affected, with a “driving force which appears to be explicitly Islamist”. This is despite some prominent figures in Birmingham attempting to cast doubt on the credibility of the allegations.

In the reports, to be published at the same time next month, Ofsted will grade Park View; Golden Hillock; Nansen; Oldknow and Saltley schools in Birmingham as “inadequate” for leadership and management, the lowest possible ranking. A sixth school, Alston, is already in special measures.

Springfield; Adderley; Regents Park; Highfield; Gracelands; Ladypool; Marlborough; Montgomery and Waverley schools will be graded as “requiring improvement” in leadership and management, the second-lowest rank, and given enhanced monitoring and support. No concerns were found at Ninestiles. The report on one further school, Washwood Heath, is still being completed. A number of other schools in Birmingham are likely to be inspected after Easter. 

The verdicts of the Ofsted reports are almost certain to mean that Tahir Alam, the hardline Muslim Council of Britain activist accused of being the “Trojan Horse” plot’s ringleader, is removed from his roles as chairman of governors at Park View, chairman of the Park View Educational Trust, which also runs Nansen and Golden Hillock, and from his post as a governor of Highfield. His key allies at many of the schools affected are also likely to be removed. Mr Alam denies any involvement in any plot, calling it a “witch-hunt” and “fabrication”.

A separate report, by inspectors from the DfE, has substantiated many of the allegations. 

At Oldknow, another school to be placed in special measures, Bhupinder Kondal, the non-Muslim head teacher, was forced from her job despite also achieving an “outstanding” Ofsted rating.

At Springfield, staff told The Telegraph Christopher Webb, the successful secular head teacher, is under “non-stop attack” by radical members of the governing body. Separately, Mr Webb has received death threats.

A small number of individuals linked to either Mr Alam, a Birmingham charity called the al-Hijrah Trust or an online group called Educational Activists are present in most of the schools affected. In messages leaked to The Sunday Telegraph, members of the Educational Activists group discussed how they would pursue an “Islamising agenda” in schools. 

Mark Rogers, the chief executive of the council, claimed only two weeks ago that there was no conspiracy, merely “new communities” raising “legitimate questions and challenges” to the “liberal education system”. Ministers and DfE officials were understood to be frustrated at what one senior figure called “the wilful attempt at every stage to minimise what is happening” by local leaders in Birmingham.

The city council was aware of growing pressure on head teachers almost six months ago, but only acted after an anonymous letter purporting to reveal details of the plot was published. Many teachers have told The Sunday Telegraph their complaints to the council were ignored. 

Posted on 04/20/2014 1:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 20 April 2014
A Modest Proposal for a Swift Middle East Peace

The 18th century Anglo-Irish satirist, Jonathan Swift, is famous and best known for his book Gulliver’s Travels. Equally imaginative and ingenious is his essay A Modest Proposal written in 1729.  In this essay he addresses his concern with the heartless attitudes towards the poor that existed in Ireland and with the failure of Irish policy to create better conditions. He ironically suggests that the poor be killed and used to feed the rich. If he were alive today one can imagine he might deliver ironic comments on the subject of peace between the Palestinians and Israel. He would almost certainly have humbly offered a new modest and least objectionable proposal, in the following manner.  

First, he would regard it is as a “melancholy object” to observe the Palestinians so pessimistic, to witness their lack of unity, the quarrels between Fatah and Hamas, the bitter civil war in Syria, the resurgence of al-Qaeda, and would peruse the Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood, the blaming of others for their own condition and the basis for their intransigent unwillingness to make peace with their Israeli neighbors. He would note the even more “melancholy object,” the refusal of fellow Arabs, some of them “failed states,” in neighboring countries to offer them assistance.

Then he would analyze the present situation and attitudes of the Palestinians. Some of them lament their misfortune to be citizens of the State of Israel even though they have full civil and political rights, freedom of expression and religion, the ability to exercise those rights without punishment and to express themselves in their own Arabic language which is one of the official languages of the country. The Palestinians who live in east Jerusalem where they are regarded as “permanent residents,” and have local political rights also complain about their comfortable condition.

Swift would notice that other Palestinians believe they have the good fortune to live in the Gaza Strip, under the benevolence, open minded, and the benign rule of Hamas and its Islamic Jihad ally, the members of which contribute to the art and culture of the area primarily by their advanced skill in timing and coordinating the firing of long range missiles against Israeli children.

Swift would quickly become aware that another group of Palestinians live in what the Jordanian Kingdom, when it illegally controlled the area between 1949 and 1967, named the “West Bank,” the area west of the River Jordan. The Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995, agreements between Palestinians and Israel, which the present Palestinian leaders scorn and against which they express their dislike at every opportunity, sought to arrange their lives in three different administrative areas until the Palestinians felt ready for final status accords.

In area A, from which Israeli citizens are forbidden, Palestinians in towns such as Ramallah and Jericho, happily live under the democratic, efficient, non-violent, fully transparent, and uncorrupt Palestinian Authority led by Fatah and a President now in the tenth year of a four year term to which he was elected in January 2005.  Area B, which includes more than 440 villages and no Israeli settlement, is under joint Palestinian and Israeli control.  Area C, the area under dispute, though more prosperous than the others, is under the jurisdiction of Israel, the despised little Satan.  

Swift would be surprised that some Palestinians, usually referred to as “refugees” and including the great-grandchildren of those who fled their homes 65 years ago, are still sheltered by the UNRWA, to which the United States disproportionately contributes a large part of its funding. These great-grandchildren receive “sympathy” to some extent from their generous fellow Arabs in surrounding countries but which, except for Jordan, are too busy to grant them citizenship, and who usually find themselves “short of funds” to help the Palestinians in any material way.

Jonathan Swift would have made the penetrating observation that Arabs were now even more “melancholy” since the idyllic nature and harmony of the Middle East has been irritated by the continuing success of Jews in the world as well as by the very existence of the small country of Israel. He would appreciate that Arabs find it incomprehensible that Jews, who constitute just over 0.1% of the population of the world, should have been awarded such a disproportionately large percentage of Nobel Prizes, about 21% in chemistry, 26% in physics, 27% in physiology or medicine, and 37% in economics. It is certainly grossly unfair that Muslims, who account for 1.5 billion or 25% of the world’s population, should have received only 2 Nobel Prizes in the sciences. Moreover, everyone recognizes it is particularly unfair that Yasser Arafat, the PLO leader who enriched the art of airplane hijacking, and the science of igniting Intifadas, only shared a Peace Prize, but never gained one for his significant contributions to physics and chemistry.

Swift would have understood the “melancholy” feelings of Palestinians who are now aware they have suffered grave damage caused them by people who pretend to be friends. The biased bigots who boycott the State of Israel and its inhabitants, such as Oxfam International, Amnesty International, World Council of Churches, American Studies Association, the Irish Teachers Union, the British Cooperative Society, some groups in the European Union, and the other misguided individuals, are all busy preventing the Palestinians from taking advantage of the scientific and technological progress of Israeli citizens, or are anxious to forbid thousands of them from working in the well paid jobs offered them in Israeli settlements and elsewhere.

Swift may have wished that Palestinians grasp that the boycotters, especially those who claim to be skilled in understanding the complexities of international law, are false friends, perhaps even agents of the dreaded Israeli Mossad. Of course, no one can possibly believe that Archbishop Desmond Tutu or Alice Walker or some mainstream Churches, propagators of the fantasy that Israel is an “apartheid state,” could have been parties to such behavior.  Yet Swift must wonder, on behalf of the Palestinians, if the characterization by their “friends” of Israel as an “apartheid state” that must be boycotted has done anything but harm their interests and their hopes of gaining Nobel Prizes?

Swift would observe that the melancholy condition is aggravated by the behavior of friends in high places. Palestinians must wonder about the extravagant hyperbole of someone like Lord Sheikh (sic), a Conservative member of the British House of Lords, and chair of the Conservative Muslim Forum. In that House on January 20, 2009 he did not make any positive proposal but he did emphasize, “The people of Gaza have been subjected to collective and indiscriminate punishment by the Israelis, some of whose actions can perhaps be considered inhumane.”

Nor can one of his associates, Ibrahim Hewitt, who declared himself a supporter of Hamas, be regarded as any more helpful to Palestinians. Mr. Hewitt apparently did not bother to consult President Bashir Assad of Syria, a person whom he realizes is a world famous expert in the details of international law but is presently too busy slaughtering at least 140,00 of his fellow countrymen.  However, Hewitt somehow without guidance knows that Israel is the only nation in the world that stands above international law and that it acts with impunity.

In his own essay Swift, in putting forward his own proposal, was emphatic, “Let no one talk to me of other expedients.” Wise, and sometimes well-intentioned, persons have over the last seventy years advanced grandiose proposals for peace in the Middle East. However, following Swift, it is time for a more modest proposal.

Though Swift would believe the idea has merit, this is not the right time to suggest that the democratic countries, particularly the United States, should support the admission of Israel into NATO.  The benefits are obvious.  It would provide a collective security arrangement against international threats, including that from Iran. Though Israel could be appropriately admitted as a democracy with a free market, with intelligence capabilities for security purposes, and all would recognize it was more than capable of contributing to the common defense that would make it a useful addition to NATO, this is too immodest a proposal. 

Similarly, in spite of its evident desirability, it is not opportune to favor an application by Israel to join the European Union. Though the EU has not been the strongest supporter of the actions and policies of Israel, it is highly probable that diplomatic and economic cooperation, along  with Israeli participation with its technological knowledge in European research programs would benefit both sides. Nevertheless, it is better at the present time that Israel not strive for this ambitious objective, but should remain tied to Europe in the existing various forms of economic, cultural, and sporting interactions.   

No, the modest proposal, following Swift, would be limited to two different issues: the immediate renunciation of terrorist activity by Palestinians, especially the forces of Hamas now well armed by supplies from Iran, so that provocation can be avoided; and the recognition by Palestinian authorities of Israel as a Jewish state. The first would lead to cooperation, if not total harmony, to the increase in bilateral and multilateral trade, and perhaps to some education about the true history of the Middle East.

The second is imperative because Mahmoud Abbas, “President” of the Palestinian Authority has stated, “We will never agree to recognize the Jewish state.” This is rejecting peace. Our modest proposal would mean accepting the Jewish state, not as a theocracy or in religious terms, but as the home of the Jewish people who want to live there. Not accepting the proposal is the principal obstacle to real peace.  

Is there a glimpse of hope that there will be a “hearty and sincere attempt” to put this proposal into practice?  As Jonathan Swift suggested in his own AModest Proposal it is time to “maturely weigh” this proposal.

Michael Curtis is author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East.

First published in the American Thinker.

Posted on 04/20/2014 8:22 AM by Michael Curtis
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Charities chief goes to war on Islamists

From the Sunday Times

The Charity Commission has warned that Islamist extremism is the “most deadly” problem it faces and is urging the government to introduce laws to prevent convicted terrorists from setting up charitable organisations.

In his first interview since becoming the watchdog’s chairman in October 2012, William Shawcross told The Sunday Times: “The problem of Islamist extremism and charities . . . is not the most widespread problem we face in terms of abuse of charities, but is potentially the most deadly. And it is, alas, growing.”

He said the commission was taking tough measures against any charity that was “sending cash to extremist groups in Syria” or “dispatching young Britons for training in Syria by al-Qaeda or other extremist groups”. 

The commission is monitoring several charities raising money for Syria and actively investigating some others. William Shawcross has written to the Prime Minister requesting laws to deal with a 'ludicrous loophole' that allows those with convictions for terrorism or money-laundering offences to set up charities or become charity trustees.

Posted on 04/20/2014 6:01 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Council probes 'music is evil' school posters

From the Mail on Sunday

A state-funded Islamic school was at the centre of controversy last night over claims that a poster banning listening to music appeared on its official noticeboard. The poster, alleged to have been put up  at the Madani Schools Federation in Leicester, warned that pupils ‘must stay away from evil acts such as music and encourage others to do the same too’.

A photo of the poster, which is claimed to have been taken by a concerned supply teacher inside the school, has appeared on Facebook.

The poster’s text quoted an apparent saying of the Prophet Mohammed, which said: ‘Music sows hypocrisy in the heart like water causes seeds to grow in soil.’ It also warned: ‘Music is a tool of Shaytan [Satan]’, adding: ‘The messages of today’s music follow a general theme of love, drugs and freedom.’

Leicester assistant mayor Vi Dempster said: ‘Council officers will be visiting the school after Easter to discuss the issue with the headteacher and governors.’ 

Posted on 04/20/2014 1:56 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Listen to Rabbi Jonathan Hausman and Jerry Gordon Discuss The Myth of Islamophobia

Posted on 04/20/2014 1:55 AM by Jerry Gordon
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Michael Oakeshott

An essay-review by Jesse Norman on Michael Oakeshott here.

Another brief article on Oakeshot and education here.

Posted on 04/20/2014 11:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Those Implacable Drones Down Hadramaut Way
For the second time in two days, a drone strike takes -- toll-free -- its toll.
Posted on 04/20/2014 10:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 20 April 2014
'Trojan Horse' schools: the leaked inspectors' report

Here are extracts from the inspection report, leaked to the Telegraph, into three schools at the centre of the so-called “Trojan Horse” plot to “Islamise” secular state schools in Birmingham. The schools are Park View, Golden Hillock, and Nansen, all part of the Park View Educational Trust. This inspection was carried out by the Department for Education last month. Separate inspections were carried out by Ofsted, many of which, as we report today, are also damning.

As you will see, the report substantiates many of the claims which the schools have for the last six weeks been furiously denying as a “witch-hunt.”

The extracts confirm that

- there is compulsory “gender segregation” in classes at Park View and Golden Hillock, “often with boys sitting towards the front of the class and girls at the back or around the sides.” (page 17)

- The school has consistently claimed that any segregation was voluntary but as the report makes clear, in a number of classes “students told us that they were required to sit in the places which they were given by teachers” (page 17) and “teachers gave [students] seats in which to sit in class by gender to avoid having to mix” (p10)

- some non-Muslim pupils at Golden Hillock have to “teach themselves” in a GCSE subject (page 18)

- an “extremist” speaker “sympathetic to al-Qaeda” addressed students at Park View (page 16);

- there is no humanities, arts or music teaching at Nansen in Year 6 and only "limited" teaching of these subjects in Year 5 (page 17);

- the teaching of some GCSE subjects was "restricted to comply with a conservative Islamic teaching” (page 10);

- in biology, a teacher had “briefly delivered the theory of evolution to comply with the syllabus, but had told students ‘this is not what we believe;’’ that reproduction was not covered in class, even though pupils needed it for their GCSEs; that students believed “as Muslims they were not allowed to study matters such as reproduction with the opposite sex” (page 10).

Posted on 04/20/2014 1:31 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Muslim From Britain, Now In Syria: "Come To The Lands Of Jihad
Posted on 04/20/2014 1:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Raymond Ibrahim: The "Radicalization" Of Western Muslims
Posted on 04/20/2014 12:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 20 April 2014
A Visit To Maaloula

Here.

Does anyone know of any visit, by any other Arab ruler, to any Christian village or church -- of Copts, Maronites, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greek Orthodox -- that has been subject to attack by fanatical Muslims?

It is the Alawites, themselves persecuted by real Muslims, who protect the Christians in Syria. If they lose control, the Christians will leave.

And the "pluralism" as Muslims define it -- those who belong to the People of the Book, Ahl Al-Kitab, may stay alive, and practice their religion quitely, even furtively, as long as they accept their inferior position, that of deserved humiliation, in which they accept the many economic, social, and political disabilities that, as kuffar, they merit. And this "tolerance," this diseased version of Muslim acceptance, can no longer be accepted by non-Muslims.

And when those Christians leave, from Morocco to the Gulf, from the Gulf to the Hindu Kush, the only place where Christians can live in complete security will be Israel.

Posted on 04/20/2014 8:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Michael Oakeshott On Education As Conversation
“The pursuit of learning is not a race in which the competitors jockey for
the best place, it is not even an argument or a symposium; it is a
conversation. And the peculiar virtue of a university (as a place of many
studies) is to exhibit it in this character, each study appearing as a voice
whose tone is neither tyrannous nor plangent, but humble and conversable.
A conversation does not need a chairman, it has no predetermined course,
we do not ask what it is ‘for’ and we do not judge its excellence by its
conclusion; it has no conclusion, but is always put by for another day.
Its integration is not superimposed but springs from the quality of the
voices which speak, and its value lies in the relics it leaves behind in the
mind of those who participate.... A university will have ceased to exist
when its learning has degenerated into what is now called research, when
its teaching has become mere instruction and occupies the whole of an
undergraduate’s time, and when those who came to be taught come, not
in search of their intellectual fortune but with a vitality so unroused or so
exhausted that they wish only to be provided with a serviceable moral
and intellectual outfit; when they came with no understanding of the
manners of conversation but desire only a qualification for earning a
living or a certificate to let them in on the exploitation of the world.”
Posted on 04/20/2014 4:36 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 20 April 2014
The Myth of Islamophobia: The Vienna - Phoenix Connections

This was the 20th anniversary of the film Forrest Gump  and it was featured all week on the AMC cable TV channel.  There is the fabled line repeated at various touching moments in this now classic movie uttered by the fictional character’s mother portrayed by the Hollywood  actress  Sally Fields,   dying of cancer.  Forrest portrayed by Academy award winner actor Tom Hanks: later said in the film, “Momma always said: life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get”.  Watch a You Tube segment, here.  

That could be the tag line for the Easter Sunday production of The Lisa Benson Radio Show on the Salem Radio Network broadcast from Phoenix on KKNT 960 AM that aired today. There was also a subtext, the program connected Austrian human rights activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolf in Vienna with Rabbi Jonathan Hausman who had sponsored a talk by her at his synagogue   in Stoughton, Massachusetts in 2013. Her appearance was part of the Irwin and H. Ethel Hausman Memorial Speakers Series.  It was all about the leverage of networking in the counter-Jihad international community.

Earlier in Holy Week of both Passover and Easter, Lisa Benson had called me to tell me of her experience of being the captive passenger in a cab she got into at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport.  It was driven by an Islamist Sudanese who spying her Jewish star on a necklace and locked her in for a wild journey to her home at high speed trying to convert her.  This occurred after a week and a half away on the east Coast in Washington, DC.  That was scary enough.  Now she asked me on a phone call for advice on   a suggested topic for today’s Easter Sunday broadcast.  I advised her that she might consider addressing CAIR’s relentless Islamophobia attacks against the film Honor Diaries about the issue of misogyny in Muslim Majority countries.  We discussed the attack against the film’s executive producer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somali apostate, author of the acclaimed biographies, Infidel and Nomad. Ali is a vigorous defender of women’s and girl’s rights in these Muslim honor shame societies.  Benson might consider addressing the topic of CAIR’s assault on free speech under the First Amendment of our Constitution.  This was buttressed by an interview I had just concluded last weekend with Brooke Goldstein of The Lawfare Project who had confronted a CAIR spokesperson on a Fox News program with host Megyn Kelly of The Kelly File.  The program on Fox News Cable TV illustrated CAIR’s Islamophobia charges against Ms. Ali and the film’s Jewish producers at the Clarion project.  Watch this You Tube video of the Fox News Kelly Files segment, here.   Then there was   Brandeis University’s President Frederick Lawrence cowardly succumbing to a lynch mob composed of 86 signers of a letter from the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies faculty and the leaders of the Muslim Student Association chapter. He withdrew an honorary doctorate for Ms. Ali and as commencement speaker.  As to who might join me in a discussion of this topic, I suggested Rabbi Hausman.  He has been called an Islamophobe and worse in hearings before the Florida legislature on the pending American Law for American Courts (ALAC) legislation. Moreover, Sen. Alan Hays, the Florida Senate sponsor of ALAC, had been accused of being an Islamophobe by representatives of CAIR- Florida and CAIR National for proposing that legislation as “bullying Muslims and other minorities”.  Then Arab American standup comic Dean Obeidallah also accused Hays of being an Islamophobe for sponsoring textbook review legislation as equivalent of “censorship”. The Florida legislation was spurred by citizen activist criticism of the treatment of Islam and Muslim culture in world history texts approved by the Florida Department of Education.   I reached out to Rabbi Hausman who consented to join me on the radio panel. 

After several turns of a flier for today’s broadcast I went to sleep late Saturday night and awoke in the middle of the night, found the final version and posted it.  Within minutes of doing that I received an email from Elisabeth Sabaditsch Wolf in Vienna offering to call in and tell of her group’s victory in the annual conference by the Office of Democratic Institutions of Human Rights  (ODIHR) of the Organization of Cooperation and Security of Europe (OSCE).  Ms. Sabaditsch Wolf is the leader of the Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa  or Citizens' Movement Pax Europa (CMPE) a registered NGO.  In the late summer of 2013, CMPE, together with representatives of the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA), Washington, DC-based Center for Security Policy and ACT! had journeyed to Warsaw for another ODIHR conference on the legal definition of Islamophobia in response to one stated by the Turkish representative.  I wrote her back suggesting that this might be worthy of an interview about what had occurred there and had been covered in a Gates of Vienna (GoV) series of articles last fall.  We agreed to talk about this on a Skype call that occurred this morning.

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff

When I reconvened with Ms. Sabaditsch Wolff, we discussed a range of topics that included the ODIHR episode. There was also the recent dilemma that faced Heinz-Christian Strachey, leader of FPÖ Austrian Freedom Party, following the national outrage over the former European Parliamentary candidate’s “N-word” description of the EU.  Then she discussed the forthcoming May 17th March against persecution of Christians in Orlando, Florida modeled on an annual one that occurs each December in Vienna.  She will be coming to the US to join Florida March organizers Rev. Bruce Lieske and Alan Kornman of The United West.  Lieske had witnessed the last March against Christian Persecution in Vienna and was moved to sponsor one in Florida, next month. Among the European contingent attending the Orlando March will be Sister Hatune Dogan, a Syrian Orthodox Christian Nun of Turkish origins. Read her speech in an Austrian Cathedral delivered on December 28, 2013, here.

The ODIHR episode involved Sabaditsch-Wolff, Stephen Coughlin of the CSP and Ned May of GoV who confronted a Representative of the Runnymede Trust based in the UK.  The confrontation was over whether the group had a legal definition of Islamophobia had a legal definition of Islamophobia. The Runnymede representative under close questioning by Coughlin and May relented and indicated that they could find no legal definition of the term. May reminded the Runnymede representative that Islamophobia had been used more than 57 times in a pamphlet issued by the UK group.   In response I told her that Hatem Bazian, senior lecturer in the UC Berkeley’s department of Near Eastern studies, directs the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP).   That is a program of the University of California at Berkeley’s Center for Race & Gender. He sits on the editorial board for the Islamophobia Studies Journal  and has said, “Islamophobia is a greater threat than Islamic terrorism”. 

The Lisa Benson Show was being aired after the close of the Fifth International Conference on Islamophobia that ran from April 17 to 19th, 2014. I pointed out that the theme this year was on latent versus manifest forms keyed off the late Columbia Professor, Edward Said’s Orientalism.  Having watched  a few speakers on a continuous webcast, I suggested  to  her that the conference  was a snoozer. That was also the opinion of Rabbi Hausman who had also watched a few presentations.   Later in the Lisa Benson broadcast, I noted what Salman Rushdie had said about Islamophobia, the neologism without a meaning "was an addition to the vocabulary of Humpty Dumpty Newspeak. It took the language of analysis, reason and dispute, and stood it on its head".  Douglas Murray in a June 2013 Standpoint article said, “ the term 'Islamophobia' is so inexact that - in so far as there is a definition - it includes insult of and even inquiry into any aspect of Islam, including Muslim scripture”.

You can listen to my interview with Ms. Sabaditsch Wolff, here.

Promptly at 4PM EDT, both Rabbi Hausman and I called the KKNT producer number in Phoenix and the Lisa Benson Show on The Myth of Islamophobia rolled out.  We covered the topics listed in the announcement, fielded some calls from the queue of listeners and then waited for a follow up call from Ms. Benson.

 The audience reaction was a surprise.  Here is what she wrote both of us in an email following the broadcast:

The twitter was going, the Facebook was on fire, the calls were stacked up and this was day I didn’t think anyone was listening. …

The reviews are coming in that it was a great show….and it certainly was!

People are listening from all over the country!

Rabbi Hausman wrote her back:

We found this experience well worth the investment of time, sweat, energy and flier editing tears! I accidentally hung up, called back and was told by your producer that the communication lines were afire.  Can't ask for more than that.

Listen to the Easter Sunday Lisa Benson Show broadcast on The Myth of Islamophobia, here.

What this episode illustrates is that connections count when the chips are down in the war against Islamophobia and the imposition of the OIC sponsored Blasphemy codes.    As to the definition of Islamophobia, note the comment of Brooke Goldstein of The Lawfare project in our forthcoming interview with her:

 Islamophobia … is a contrived term that was invented by the Muslim Brotherhood with the sole purpose of stigmatizing those who are engaged in dialogue about militant Islam. 

Posted on 04/20/2014 10:39 PM by Jerry Gordon
Sunday, 20 April 2014
The Kurdish Moment

Having enjoyed autonomy under American protection, even while Saddam Hussein still reigned in Baghdad, and enjoyed even more of it in the years since Saddam Hussein was pushed from power, the Kurds tried to see if the Shi'a Arabs might treat them better than the Sunni Arabs had. They have not been impressed with the results.

Now they talk about "confederation" rather than "federalism. But they're headed toward an independent Kurdistan, and how exactly will the Muslim Arabs deny them that? On what basis?

It's good to have this all out in the open.

Here.

Posted on 04/20/2014 7:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Ivan Rioufol On What People Won't Allow Themselves To Talk About
Posted on 04/20/2014 5:31 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 20 April 2014
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Mambo Italiano (Sophia Loren, Vittorio De Sica)
Watch, and listen, here.
Posted on 04/20/2014 4:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 19 April 2014
Five men from Bradford and Sheffield in court on child sex charges

Yet another. I have not forgotten the case of the Peterborough men on trial at the Crown Court in Cambridge, but no newspaper is reporting it since the beginning of the month. According to the Court Lists that trial is still going on and I believe the girls have given their evidence. I have not heard that there is a reporting restriction so it may just be self censorship - lets think of  'community cohesion'. Yeah right. 

From the BBC and the Bradford Telegraph and Argus

Five men have appeared in court charged with child trafficking and sex offences in relation to a 13-year-old girl. All five were remanded in custody ahead of their next appearance at the Crown Court Sheffield on 28 April.

Shakeal Rehmen, 26, of Haworth Road, Bradford, has been charged with rape and trafficking the girl, who cannot be identified. Mohammed Shapal, 21, also of Haworth Road, and Yaseen Amini, 36, of Broadway, Bradford, have been charged with sexual activity with a child and trafficking.

Usman Ali, 20, of St Mary’s Road, Manningham, has been charged with sexual activity with a child.  Shakeal Rehmen, 26, of Rooley Lane, Bradford, is charged with rape and trafficking.

Mohammed Shapal, 21, of Haworth Road, Bradford, Usman Ali, 20, of St Mary's Road, Bradford, and Yaseen Amini, 36, of Lopham Street, Sheffield are all accused of sexual activity with a child.

No pleas have been entered yet to any of the charges.

The charges relate to the week-long disappearance of the girl from her home in Sheffield last summer which prompted a major operation by South Yorkshire Police assisted by the West Yorkshire force. The teenager was later found in Bradford city centre and returned to her family.

Posted on 04/19/2014 10:35 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 19 April 2014
A Patriot's Day Quiz: Only Connect

Why, when putting Worcestershire Sauce into the lobster bisque you are making, might you be put in mind of Akbar, the third, and greatest, Mughal ruler in India?

I am, uncontrollably, and once you learn the answer, you will, too.

Posted on 04/19/2014 9:41 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 19 April 2014
A breath of fresh air

A nice antidote from yesterday. Easter Saturday in an English bluebell wood.

Posted on 04/19/2014 8:18 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 19 April 2014
Zev Liron And Itzhak Biran, For Example
Posted on 04/19/2014 7:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 19 April 2014
A Boy From Brighton, Fighting In The Path Of Allah

You can read, and also read between the lines, here.

His uncle was held at Guantanamo, until released back into the wilds of Tripoli.

His father says that he died as a martyr, wanting to help people. He died fi sabil Allah, in the Path of God -- that is, fighting to defeat those deemed the enemies of Islam, the Infidels. ,

Posted on 04/19/2014 7:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 19 April 2014
Un Inédit De Samuel Beckett?

One sheet of white paper, folded into four but upon opening seen to be of A4 (European) size, found fluttering on the ground on Martin Street, in Cambridge Mass., apparently just after a large pile of books were seen being carefully taken out of the back seat of a car and brought up the front steps and into a large grey house said to belong to C. Ricks et ux. Was this perhaps  the colllection of books that Beckett himself, too stunned not to comply with the shameless request of C. Ricks to inscribe, seriatim, an entire suitcase full of books he, Ricks, had brought with him to their first meeting, had signed one by one and, in so doing, had so colossally envalued them?

It's not hard to imagine that the books in question had finally, the other day, been taken on a little outing to an auction house, possibly as far as New York, for an estimate of what they might bring. Nor is it hard to imagine that, in signing those books decades ago, Beckett might  --- by way of a special future treat for his cheeky guest -- have slipped a holographic version of the beginning of a play he never finished, or possibly of the entire play, and that the slip of paper, folded into four, had simply gone unnoticed because all attention was given by the fond owner of the collection to the inscriptions on the first free end-paper of every book, and what might have been thrust by SB deliberately deep into one of them, so as to be discovered, if at all, only much later, could have escaped his notice. Such things have happened before.

Here is what that A4 sheet, folded into fours, had written on it: 

 P Then Q [underlined]

followed by

Personne. Quelqu'un.

And that's it. That's the all of it.

If P Then Q appears to be the tentative title. But what about Personne. Quelqu'un.? Is that a list of the dramatis personae, or is it possibly the whole play, in Beckett's most minimalist manner?  And whether it is or is not the whole of the play, based on the evidence we do have, where does this work fit into Beckett's oeuvre? Is this a case of Beckett's Last Work being Beckett's Last Laugh a play never performed but nonetheless a performance for which scholars must still be kind, and eke out his performance with their mind?

This calls for a Call For Papers. Papers to be delivered at a conference on the subject, to be held, possibly, either at Jesus College, Cambridge or at Magdalen College, Oxford. The exact date should not be fixed before fellowships have been awarded to, and thoroughly enjoyed by, at least a Baker's dozen of Beckett scholars to study that page, from every conceivable angle -- from early to late Beckett, from Whoroscope and SB's chapter in Our Examination Round His Factifictation For Incamination Of Work In Progress, to middle-period Molloy, Krapp's Last Tape, Watt, Waiting For Godot, and the recently-published Correspondence, especially SB's letters and notes to Avigdor Arikha. And then the Influences on P Then Q have to be tracked down, from those that early repelled (as Joyce's too-much-of-a-muchness),and those that attracted (as Samuel Johnson's Vanity of Human Wishes). And finally perhaps someone might wish to consider the possibility that Beckett was letting loose a depth charge that, hidden at first from view, was meant to go off only when come across much later  --  a statement, perhaps,expressing just a little resentment, about The Professor And The Writer, about The Hunter And His Prey.

There's so much to ponder, so much to write, so much to tease out from that handful of words on that single A4 sheet, a pocket Lacon with its deep-pocketed unplumbed depths.

Not a minute to lose for that small army of scholars, waiting in the wings. Else What Are The Humanities For?

For best results, the fellowships awarded ought to be at least as generous as those that have supported the work of Stephen Greenblatt, and ideally used to pay for a year of uninterrupted perambulatory thought, through the long lacustrine allees, at Bellagio, on the placid shores of the Lago di Como. But if Bellagio is booked, something in the Aspen Institute line will do.

Posted on 04/19/2014 2:50 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 19 April 2014
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Love Is Strange (from "Lipstick On Your Collar")
Watch, and listen, here.
Posted on 04/19/2014 12:36 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 19 April 2014
Sursum Corda?, Or, Easter In Iraq

A million Arabic-speaking Christians from Iraq -- some may call them, not quite accurately, Arab Christians, or Christian Arabs -- have left Iraq in the past decade. Little attention has been given to this, or to the other exoduses, of Copts from Egypt (now saved by Sisi), of Greek Orthodox and Armenians and Latin Catholics from Syria now that their Alawite protectors cannot be everywhere at once, of Maronites and Greek Orthodox, in a slow drip over the past century, from Lebanon. And Christians to the manner born, or the handful of converts to Christianity from Islam, are under steady assault in Algeria, in Pakistan, in Libya, in Yemen, everywhere that Muslims decide to act according to what the Qur'an and Hadith teach them.

Handfuls of articles, in the evangelical press, and more recently, at those web-sites most mindful and single-minded about  covering the meaning and menace of Islam, do mention what is happening to Christians in the Muslim-dominated lands, especially in the Arab Middle East.. But not all of those sites are appealing in their presentation, able to sway the doubtful and the as-yet-unconvinced, and some are marred by carelessness, self-promotion, tendentiousness, false as well as true charges, and this makes it easier not to heed them. And elsewhere, in the press called mainstream, very little, not nearly enough.

Why?

Posted on 04/19/2014 2:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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