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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
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














Sunday, 31 January 2010
The burka ban in France versus Canada's PC acceptance
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An article in the Wall Street Journal  Europe (WSJE by Nidra Poller discussed  the French effort to ban Niqabs  (the tip to toe covering for fundamentalist Muslim women)  more commonly referred to as burkas.:  No Niqab Chez Nous.”    Her timely piece was triggered by a French government   commission considering  laws banning niqabs that would  hopefully  strike a blow for women’s rights and against official dhimmitude. 

As attested to by a Toronto Sun article, “Canada to reject Burka Ban,” our neighbor to the north evinces mind numbing PC acceptance.   Meanwhile, Geert Wilders,  Dutch leader of the PVV – Freedom Party,  is being tried for  alleged  hate speech and racism charges in a political trial in Amsterdam.   Wilders believes that burkas should be subject to a tax in The Netherlands.

Poller in the WSJE article notes the  range of controversy over the Niqab ban proposal in France:

President Nicolas Sarkozy is asking Parliament for a "solemn declaration" that veiled women do not belong in France, followed by an outright legal ban.

Paris is now concerned with crafting a law that will stand up to eventual challenges from the Conseil Constitutionnel and the European Court of Human Rights.

Polls show that a majority of French people support the maximalist ban. French Muslim intellectuals, activists, and community leaders who represent the promise of an enlightened European Islam are asking for an unambiguous ban on the niqab. Poet and scholar Abdelwahab Meddeb calls the niqab the "ideological sign of radical Islam." Psychoanalyst Fethi Benslama exposes the "masochism" of the self-imposed veil, "unacceptable even in the name of individual freedom." Fadela Amara, undersecretary for Urban Affairs and former president of Ni Putes Ni Soumises [Neither Whores Nor Doormats] calls the niqab "the visible, physical expression of fundamentalists." This week NPNS activists dressed in burqas gathered in front of the National Assembly and major party headquarters, calling on lawmakers to protect them from this violation of women's rights.

The Socialist Party, in trying to define itself in opposition to Mr. Sarkozy without defending the garment, is tripping over the skirts of an extremist practice that is the antithesis of the feminism it supposedly defends. François Hollande, who is angling for the Socialists' presidential nomination in 2012, opposes facial veiling but claims a hasty law will provoke hostility and defiance. He wants more explanation, persuasion, and bipartisan consultation.

Socialist members of the parliamentary commission refused to so much as vote on the conclusions, in protest against the parallel debate on "national identity" launched by the Sarkozy government and construed as hostile to immigrants. In fact, the problem is not "immigration." France has always been a land of immigration. The problem is a certain category of French people—immigrants and native born—who do not accept the essential values that define the Republic and ensure the general welfare.

Facial veiling was the focal point of a much broader phenomenon—what could be called "creeping sharia"—that led Communist Deputy André Gerin to initiate the parliamentary investigation. As mayor of Venissieux, a troubled banlieue of Lyon, Mr. Gerin has witnessed a steady rise in Islamic assaults on social cohesion.

.As the debate raged in the French media this week, journalists and TV cameras sought out veiled apologists who declared in muffled voices from the depths of the niqab that no one had imposed it and no one could force them to take it off. "Of course we lift the veil to be identified," declared one purist, "they don't even have to ask. As long as it's a woman." "And if it's a man?" "Oh no, out of the question!" Another "sister" went to the heart of the matter: "If they pass a law I won't obey it. The law of Allah is above the law of men."

In sharp contrast to the cohort of veiled apologists, the France-Soir daily on Tuesday published the chilling testimony of a young woman who was nudged and pushed by her husband from hijab to jilbeb to niqab to total seclusion. The couple's devout Muslim families and neighbors looked on with approval as the young woman disappeared behind the veil, hiding her despair and the bruises inflicted by her violent spouse. One day she turned for help to Ni Putes Ni Soumises, threw off her veil, divorced, and began to live again. But she is terrified that "they" will find her and kill her.

The veiled saleswoman, in a shop near the radical Omar mosque on Paris's rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, says the debate has boosted sales of jilbeb, "as if the girls were buying it just to stoke controversy."

The woman in niqab is the figurehead of a subversive movement that threatens all democratic nations. A French ban that would clearly make full facial veiling unwelcome and out of bounds could be a hopeful sign for European citizens—in all their diversity.

In contrast to France, Canada is prepared to obsequiously accept the Burka.  Here are comments from the Toronto Sun article about alleged rejection of the burka ban in Canada:

The Conservative government will not follow France's lead to consider banning the burka.

"In an open and democratic society like Canada, individuals are free to make their own decisions regarding their personal apparel and to adhere to their own customs or traditions of their faith and/or beliefs," said a spokesperson for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson. "We have no plans to introduce justice legislation in this matter."

The Muslim Canadian Congress is calling on the feds to impose limits on the wearing of the full veil, suggesting "political correctness" is preventing politicians from tackling the sensitive subject.

"It's a control thing, identifying with Muslim brotherhood," said senior VP Salma Siddiqui. "Basically it is a subservient tool."

Her group plans to lobby politicians from all parties in May.

Liberal MP Marlene Jennings said Canada's charter rights protect religious freedom, and the Supreme Court has consistently ruled not to impose any limits.

"Canadian women have the right, if they want, to wear a burka," she said. "As a woman, clearly it makes me a little uncomfortable. But then there are other practices that are perfectly legal and acceptable that make people uncomfortable."

Poller had this comment on the Canadian position opposing the burka ban for Muslim women:

So the government doesn't interfere with the rights of individuals to dress as they please. Unless of course they turn up in full Wehrmacht regalia, with German shepherds and what all. That would not be permitted because everyone knows the Shoah was a naughty thing to do. But women dressed in niqab are the frontrunners for a new improved shoah project, and suddenly the government wouldn't dare interfere. As you see, moderate Muslims in Canada take the same position as in France: they recognize the message behind the niqab, and they want to stop those Jihadis in their tracks.

This article, like all the others I read in international media, is based on frightful ignorance of the way this issue is being handled in France.

The parliamentary commission is not the government. Their recommendations for halfway measures were already rejected before their investigations began.

 

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Posted on 01/31/2010 6:30 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Filipino Workers In The Gulf Treated As Slaves By Muslim Arab Masters
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Call to bar Filipino workers from going to Gulf

Karl Wilson, Foreign Correspondent

  • January 31. 2010 UAE

MANILA / A group of Philippine congressmen and women are calling on the country's government to bar domestic workers from going to the Middle East and Gulf states, claiming they are being treated “as nothing more than modern-day slaves”.

More than one million Filipinos, mostly poorly educated women, work in the Middle East and Gulf states as domestic helpers.

The New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch, in its World Report 2010, said many female domestic workers throughout the region are subjected to unpaid wages, food deprivation, forced confinement, physical or sexual abuse and long working hours.

More than eight million Filipinos live and work in more than 120 countries around the world, many of them as domestics. The Philippine Central Bank reported this month that remittances from January to November last year rose 5.1 per cent over the corresponding period in 2008 to US$15.8 billion (Dh58bn), an amount equivalent to roughly 10 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

“Overseas Filipino workers have now become an integral part of the economy,” said Ellene Sana, executive director of the Centre for Migrant Advocacy.

They are no longer considered as people but as commodities,” she said.

This mass migration of Filipinos, especially female domestic helpers, has become a major concern as there are no internationally accepted standards for protecting them or migrant workers in general.”

Three Filipino politicians recently toured the Middle East and Gulf states on a fact-finding mission to see for themselves the condition of domestic workers and they are in the process of finalising a report to present to Congress. But with elections due in May the report will probably not see the light of day until a new government is sworn in at the end of June.

Luz Ilagan, who represents the women’s group Gabriela in Congress, was on the fact-finding trip. She said the group was primarily concerned with the plight of domestic workers. “These are the most vulnerable and least protected of our overseas workers.

The stories we were told ranged from sexual and physical abuse to non-payment of wages and long work hours. Basically we were looking at 21st-century slavery.”

She said the group would like to see the government – either the present government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the president, or whoever takes her place – implement a ban on those employers cited for abuse.

The politicians also urged the government, particularly the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, which is responsible for overseeing the deployment of Filipino workers, to punish agencies involved in illegal recruitment or contributing to the abuse of Filipino domestic workers.

“The problem is not only on the employer’s side, it is on our side as well,” she said.

Mrs Ilagan and her colleagues, the congressmen Carlos Padilla and Rufus Rodriguez, who are all members of the House committee on workers affairs, interviewed 400 Filipino domestics who had run away from their employers and sought refuge in embassies or consulates in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE.

Mr Padilla described how one of the runaways hid inside a rubbish bin while waiting to be rescued by a representative of the Philippine Embassy.

Mrs Ilagan recounted the story of one Filipina who was so desperate she jumped from the second-storey window of her employer’s house and broke her back.

“In another case one woman told how she escaped the home of her abusive employers and was raped by a taxi driver who had picked her up,” Mrs Ilagan said.

Despite the problems the Middle East and Gulf states are consistently at the top of the list of overseas destinations for Filipino workers.

According to the latest figures from the overseas employment agency, 72 per cent of migrant Filipino workers went to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman in 2008, compared with 65 per cent in 2007. Figures for 2009 are not available. Most were female domestic workers.

In 2006 the Philippine government introduced a series of reforms to better prepare workers for overseas jobs, including upgrading the skills of domestic workers and introducing a minimum salary of $400 a month. “But under a regime which encourages labour export, these reforms only encouraged creative countermeasures from recruiting agencies and prospective employers abroad. Illegal deployment and trafficking, for instance,” Mrs Ilagan said.

She said local Philippine agencies with partners in the Middle East scour the Philippine provinces for recruits they bring abroad without even passing through the employment administration.

“The Philippine government is doing a pitiful job protecting the rights and welfare of Filipino workers, especially in the Middle East,” Garry Martinez, the chairman of Migrante International, said recently. “When OFWs are in trouble, more often than not it is migrant organisations like Migrante who come to their aid.”

Mr Padilla said one of the problems was the lack of any bilateral agreements between the Philippine government and governments in the Middle East and the Gulf protecting the rights of Filipino workers.

From January to September last year, Mr Padilla said, the government repatriated more than 8,000 overseas Filipino workers from around the world.

“One of the basic problems is the deep cultural differences between the Philippines and the Middle East,” Mrs Ilagan said.

“By law all overseas workers should attend seminars before they are deployed abroad, but with 3,000 people leaving this country a day the government agencies responsible can’t cope.

“At the same time, our embassies do not have the money nor the staff to cope with the problems they are having to face every day with runaways.”

What started out as an experiment by Ferdinand Marcos in 1974 to promote Filipino talent overseas has now grown into an integral part of the country’s economy.

“Migration cannot be used as a development strategy,” Ms Sana of the Centre for Migrant Advocacy said. “It becomes an economic question rather than a social issue.”

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Posted on 01/31/2010 5:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Charlotte Elizabeth, and the Restoration of the Jews
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by Ibn Warraq (February 2010)


George Eliot is usually considered the first novelist to have discussed “Zionism,” that is the restoration of the Jews to Palestine, in Daniel Deronda, which was published in 1876. Perhaps we should now change that to “the first distinguished novelist,” after considering the work of one Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna, who wrote under the name, “Charlotte Elizabeth.” Her “Zionist novel,” Judah’s Lion was published in 1843. The erudite Hugh Fitzgerald, and incidentally, one of the great prose writers in English of the last fifty years, comparable to Roger Scruton, Christopher Hitchens, and Bernard Lewis, advised me to have a look at her works before assigning priority. I confess I had never heard of her.  more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2010 4:58 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
A Musical Interlude: O Mamma! (Trio Lescano)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 01/31/2010 3:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Elegy, for the Poet's Father, Dr. Anthony Signorelli
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by Mark Signorelli (Feburary 2010)


After your rites of mourning had been fulfilled,
My father, and the reluctant fact instilled
Of your enduring absence within my heart,
I took a volume of yours, and sat apart,
To stare at the vacant, petrified remains -
The robust thrones of inaccessible brains -
From what were men, or such as seemed like men;
And I considered how time and its discipline
Joined you forever to those unthought durations,
The vast eons of death, and the oblivious nations
That have arisen, reveled in the mirth
Of their momentary being, then passed from the earth:
more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2010 3:28 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Netanyahu's Misunderstanding
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JERUSALEM (AFP-EJP)---Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Israeli settlements could be an "obstacle to peace", in an interview with Israeli daily Haaretz published Sunday.

Berlusconi made the remarks ahead of a three-day visit to Israel in which he was to deliver a speech in Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

"Israel's settlement policy could be an obstacle to peace," Berlusconi said.

"I would like to say to the people and government of Israel, as a friend, with my hand on my heart, that persisting with this policy is a mistake," he said.

"It will never be possible to convince the Palestinians of Israel's good intentions while Israel continues to build in territories that are to be returned as part of a peace agreement."

Berlusconi praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "courage" for imposing in November a 10-month freeze on new construction in settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Speaking at Sunday morning's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that Israel would wholeheartedly welcome the Italian Prime Ministerwho will be accompanied by six of his ministers.

"I consider the arrival of the Italian delegation very important. I appreciate Berlusconi – Israel does not a better friend in the international community."

He added that the visit represents “a further upgrade of our relations with key governments in Europe.”

"Two weeks ago we held a second meeting with the German government in Berlin, and last week we met with the Polish government and agreed to hold a governments' meeting in Warsaw”.

On the first day of his visit, Berlusconi is to visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Jerusalem, including the Hall of Names.

He will participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visit the Children’s Memorial and sign the Yad Vashem Guest Book.

During his visit, Berlusconi will be accompanied by Israeli Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, and seven ministers of the Italian government.

_____________________

1. No one can possibly understand the situation in Israel without grasping the ideology of Islam. Anyone who thinks the "settlements" -- that is, Jewish villages and cities, on land to which Israel has an overwhelming legal, moral and historic claim, one that did suddenly come into existence with the militiary possession of that territory -- are an "obstacle" to peace simply is ignorant of, or wishes to ignore, Islam. 

2. Berlusconi is not, therefore, a true "friend of Israel." And if he, that crook, is the best that Israel can do among what Netanyahu calls "the international community" (instead of avoiding, or mocking, that phrase), then the leaders of Israel should ask themselves what is it they are not conveying, that they do not dare to convey, and without an understanding of which, neither Israel nor its putative "friends" can possibly make the proper case.

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Posted on 01/31/2010 3:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Don't Talk. Eat!
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by Esmerelda Weatherwax (February 2010) 


I saw yet another article last week imploring parents to eat with their children and talk round the meal table as if that alone was all that was required to turn out well adjusted children and happy families.

They paint a terrible picture of children having their meal early to the sound of the television while their parents grab a ready meal at odd hours as the sole reason for the decline of western civilisation. more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2010 3:24 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Smears, Lawsuits and Geert Wilders
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Personal Liberty and Freedoms On Trial in The Netherlands or
The Limits of Islamist Intimidation

by Rabbi Jonathan Hausman
(February 2010)

Remarks delivered at the Zionist House – Toronto
20 January 2010

A
s this is a Jewish sponsored event, I suppose that I should begin by saying Erev Tov l’kulam. We just watched a film which contains much Arabic, perhaps I should say ahlan wa’sahlan ya ashabi. We find ourselves in Toronto . Therefore, I will say Good Evening and Bonsoir e merci d’etre venu!  more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2010 3:20 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
More Silence about Islamist Ethnic Cleansing
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by Richard L. Benkin (February 2010)


In a few weeks, I again will be with Bangladeshi Hindu refugees in a number of illicit camps throughout North and Northeast India. They fled to the world’s largest democracy and the country most closely identified with their faith, hoping for aid and comfort after being victimized next door by Islamic radicals, a government that supports minority oppression, and everyday Bangladeshi Muslims who are made to profit from attacks on their Hindu neighbors. more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2010 3:16 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Turkey's Great Musical Gamble
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by Geoffrey Clarfield (February 2010)

 
Today the status of music and musicians in the Islamic world is grim. In Europe and North America, municipal, regional and national authorities compete with each other to support the arts-music, theatre, dance, sculpture, film and architecture. With few restrictions artists and musicians are free to express themselves. What was considered obscene twenty years ago, today gets broadcast with barely the blink of an eye. And, in the West the Internet remains completely uncensored.  more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2010 3:13 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Freedom for Kurdistan � An Authentic Nation
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No Multiple States for the Palestinian Trojan Horse!

by Norman Berdichevsky
(February 2010)


N
o other people, numbering close to 30 million in the Middle East and at least another million living in exile in Europe and the Americas, can rightfully come close to the claim of the Kurds of being the largest stateless people on the face the earth. It is certainly not the Palestinian Arabs with less than one quarter that number. Contrary to all the media hype over two generations that has elevated the “Palestinian” Arab cause into the world’s leading international issue, milking the consciousness of the so called “international community,” it is a sham and an affront to both geography and the historical truth. Moreover, it threatens continued instability throughout the entire region. more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2010 3:08 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Dhimmitude Dominates
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by Jerry Gordon (February 2010)


The Third Choice- Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom

by Mark Durie
Deror Books, 2010, 288 pgs.




W
hile browsing through a Barnes and Noble in Westport, Connecticut in 1988, I chanced upon a book on the bottom shelf of the Judaica section with the curious title, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam, by Bat Ye’or. Bat Ye’or is a nom de plume meaning in Hebrew “daughter of the Nile.” I perused the paperback volume shocked by the revelations that the Muslim realm was not the tolerant Islam that Medievalist scholars had conveyed.  I bought the book and it remains a vital part of my personal library along with several of her others works, including Eurabia: The Euro Arab Axis. Subsequently, I have been privileged to both meet and befriend the author. more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2010 3:02 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
The Dhimma�s Return
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Edited excerpts from The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom
by Mark Durie
(February 2010)


When the Ayatollah Khomeini ushered in the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979, Muslims all over the world greeted this event with enthusiasm. At last, so it was thought, Islam would be implemented rigorously to reinstitute an Islamic utopia on earth. Yet along with the Islamization of Iran came the return of the laws of the dhimma. more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2010 2:58 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Jihad versus Jahiliyya: The Seminal Islamist Doctrine of Sayyid Qutb
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by Richard L. Rubenstein (February 2010)


Those who wish to understand the genocidal potentialities of jihad would do well to examine, however briefly, the ethic of war and peace of Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966), one of the twentieth century’s most influential Muslim thinkers.[i]

Qutb and radical Islamists such as Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and their followers take the behavior of Muhammad and his Rightly Guided Companions as the paradigmatic role models for the vanguard that is to overcome jahiliyya, defined by Qutb as the “state of ignorance of the guidance of God,” and restore the sovereignty of Allah to humanity.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2010 2:55 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Film seized 'shows children being radicalised'
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From The BBC
Counter-terrorism police say their discovery of a film of children being encouraged to hold guns is evidence of attempts to radicalise youngsters.
The Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) in North West England revealed they found the film during a raid in Manchester.
Officers say it shows two children, aged about three and six, playing with a pistol and a Kalashnikov rifle.
Material seized separately included the advice: "No child is ever too young to be started off on Jihad training."
Police believe the firearms are real.
The video shows a girl and young boy playing with guns and a man's voice says: "What do you do with the weapon?"
He answers his own question: "I want to kill the infidels [non-believers]."
A senior officer in the CTU, who cannot be identified for security reasons, said: "We believe this was filmed abroad. We have no idea who the children are. We were shocked to find it at the house. We have no reason to believe this is faked. The guns are real."
Police say they have also found flash cards, used to teach young children the alphabet, in another house raid.
The officer said: "We found a series of flash cards and documents on how to raise Mujahid children [who will fight for Islam]. The cards were written in English - and instead of having M for Muhammad they had M for Mujahideen..."
"They have the potential to indoctrinate. It just shows the mindset of some people and what we are up against."
Police say they also found documents downloaded from an extremist website which instructs parents to raise Mujahid children.
The documents say: "The key is to start instilling these values in them while they are babies. Don't wait until they are seven. No child is ever too young to be started off on Jihad training."
MP Kim Howells, chairman of the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, was shown the footage.
He said: "It's a dreadful thing to see and I hope I never have to see it again actually. That's as serious a piece of evidence of the kind of thing we are up against as I have ever set eyes on."
Anjum Anwar MBE, who works for the church as a community dialogue development officer, said the film must not be used to implicate the rest of the Muslim world.
Most of the Muslim community do not bring up their children in that way, she said. Well she would wouldn't she.

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Posted on 01/31/2010 2:47 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
The Wager of Immortality
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by Mark Signorelli (February 2010)   

 
But that either this or something very like it is a true account of our souls and their future habitations – since we have clear evidence that the soul is immortal – this, I think, is both a reasonable contention and a belief worth risking, for the risk is a noble one. -the Phaedo
 
 
Nothing is more lamentable about the present intellectual condition of our society than the great flippancy with which contemporary authors regularly treat the most momentous of topics. The journalistic attitude, comprised of a pernicious congeries of arrogant self-assurance, fashionable bigotry, and incurable mental indolence, is all pervasive, and ushers into the world on a weekly basis dozens of trite, insipid, often sarcastic treatments of the gravest and most consequential questions which, for eons, have resisted the most pertinacious inquiries of philosophy and theology. There are times when the mass of contemporary authors appears like nothing so much as one large crowd of schoolchildren, dressed up in their parents' over-sized formal wear, play-acting at some adult concern, like a wedding or a funeral, yet possessing none of the maturity or sophistication to carry it off in the least convincing manner. Bishop Butler lamented how much the reverence for truth had waned in his own time; what would he say had he lived to our own age? One of the most notable evidences of this intellectual unseriousness is the habitual disrespect displayed toward the name of Blaise Pascal, and the ignorant and dismissive contempt leveled towards his famous argument of the Wager.  more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2010 2:51 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
The Progressive Diminishment of Man
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by Rebecca Bynum (February 2010)


It may be argued that what man believes himself to be determines not only his conduct, but the substance of what he feels is possible, thus determining the scope of art and culture. The ostensible purpose of science is to serve man through the ever-expanding knowledge of facts, and yet as science has ascended, many scientists have mounted a purposeful attack on the ancient concept of man in order to diminish him in his own estimation. The feeling among scientists seems to be that man does not deserve a privileged place in the universe. more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2010 2:47 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Why I Have Written "Jihad and Genocide"
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by Richard L. Rubenstein (February 2010)


On the morning of September 11, 2001, I sat at my desk happily putting the finishing touches on the manuscript of the second edition of Approaches to Auschwitz which I co-authored with Professor John K. Roth of California’s Claremont-McKenna College.[1] I began that morning with an enormous sense of satisfaction that I was finally completing my share of a very arduous task. At the time, I had devoted the better part of a career of half a century to research, writing and lecturing on the Holocaust and the terrible phenomenon of genocide. more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2010 2:38 PM by NER
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Pseudsday Psunday
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This week the Spectator's Taki takes a break from Jew-bashing, although the Bishops had better watch out:

Reading good books is like making love. Reading bad ones is like masturbating.

And reading a Taki column? Answers all over a postcard, please.

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Posted on 01/31/2010 11:29 AM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Sauntering with intent?
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I read Khilafah.com, a taqiyya-free website, to learn about Islam. It was there that I picked up the invaluable Hadith about the shoelace of fire, and its flaming evil twin of twine. Today I read of the Ahkam Sharia, a "toolkit", as management consultants might say, for categorizing one's actions:

1. Fardh (obligatory): The one who performs the action will be rewarded by Allah and the one who neglects it will be punished. Example: the five daily prayers, fasting in the month of Ramadan and paying the Zakat.

2. Mandoob (recommended): The one who does the action will be rewarded and the one who neglects it will not be punished. Example: praying the Sunnah before Dhuhr or fasting on Mondays and Thursdays.

3. Makrooh (undesirable): The one who refrains from the action will be rewarded and the one who does it will not be punished. Example: drinking water while standing and eating onion before coming to the masjid.

4. Mubah (permisable): An action that does not incur a punishment or earn a reward. It is neither encouraged, nor is it discouraged. Example: sitting, standing, walking, and so on.

5. Haram (prohibited): The one who performs the action will be punished and the one who refrains from doing it will be rewarded. Example: murder, dealing in riba (interest), adultery, drinking alcohol and gambling.

I am intrigued by Number 4 Mubah, which is neither good nor bad. Beg leave to stand, sit or walk, and Mohammed (SAW) and Allah (SWT) would shrug their (SWT, SAW) shoulders and say "Whatev-ah".

But if standing, sitting and walking are neutral acts, what about lingering and loitering? Keats' knight at arms loitered palely to no purpose, but these days loitering is usually done with intent, sometimes near public lavatories. Is loitering mubah, or is it haram?. Lingering must surely be haram, since it is the domain of lovers, poets, dreamers and artists.

Muslims sit - in cafés or in "government" offices - doing nothing, but lounging, is, I suspect, an infidel pleasure. And Muslims walk, cetainly, widdershins round the black stone. But do they saunter? Sauntering seems to me a most un-Islamic way of getting from one place to another:


Jeddah?

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Posted on 01/31/2010 9:06 AM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Clich� corner
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“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Voltaire (From Gates of Vienna).

Ooops! If this were QI the "klaxons of ignorance" would be sounding, signifying an obvious but wrong answer. Voltaire never said that; it was Evelyn Beatrice Hall. In any case, I'm getting bored with reading it. It has become a cliché

I disapprove of people saying it, but I will defend .. etc ...etc...

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Posted on 01/31/2010 8:28 AM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
A Musical Interlude: Fair And Warmer (Smith Ballew)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 01/31/2010 8:25 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
The Comments Are Getting Better
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Have you noticed that in stories about Muslims in the West, or from the West, the comments by readers are becoming noticeably better informed, and hence far less sympathetic, and more intelligently alarmed, about the ideology of Islam, and about its adherents? It can be seen in American newspapers, in English newspapers, even in The Guardian. It's important for the well-prepared to share their knowledge and grasp of matters with others, to make those others feel that they are not in a minority, that despite the Official Line of Those Taking A Leadership Role all over the benighted West, intelligent people are figuring things out on their own, and won't be denied.

On January 27 The New York Times carried a story about one Omar Hammami, barefoot boy from Alabam, who is now running around Somalia, apparently, having a great tiime leading a band of Al-Shebaab,  for him providing, apparently, a kind of cowboys-and-Indians excitement, and also a Complete Regulation of Life, of the kind so many seek nowadays. He knows "what to love" and "what to hate" because Islam tells him, gives him a guide, a gride, a list of Life's Dos and Dont's. You can find out more about Omar Hammami here, and the comments on the story are also of interest. 

Here, for example, is one of them: 

"It should be no surprise that the Founders simply did not contemplate Muslims living as citizens in the USA when they drafted the First Amendment. It also should be no surprise (although to many secular Americans, who just don't get it, I suppose it is a surprise) that religion orders a believer's life more than any other single factor, including nationality, ethnicity, gender, etc. Religion determines one's view of the origin of the world, the origin of life, one's duties to self and to one's fellow man, one's ultimate end, etc. I would suggest, for our own self-preservation, that we strongly discourage Muslim immigration to the USA. Muslim groups are already influencing the choice of school textbooks, influencing public policy, etc. Since there is no way we can count on their loyalty to their fellow US citizens above their loyalty to their religion, as this article so poignantly demonstrates, and mainstream elements of this religon are so crushingly cruel and violent, we are foolish to voluntarily continue increasing their numbers in the USA."

That would likely not have been written, and certainly would not have been echoed by others, nor allowed to stay up, just a few years ago.

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Posted on 01/31/2010 8:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Terrorists chatter discusses 'body bombs'.
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From The Mail on Sunday
Britain is facing a new Al Qaeda terror threat from suicide ‘body bombers’ with explosives surgically inserted inside them.
Until now, terrorists have attacked airlines, Underground trains and buses by secreting bombs in bags, shoes or underwear to avoid detection.
But an operation by MI5 has uncovered evidence that Al Qaeda is planning a new stage in its terror campaign by inserting ‘surgical bombs’ inside people for the first time.
Security services believe the move has been prompted by the recent introduction at airports of body scanners, which are designed to catch terrorists before they board flights.
A leading source added that male bombers would have the explosive secreted near their appendix or in their buttocks, while females would have the material placed inside their breasts in the same way as figure-enhancing implants.
Experts said the explosive PETN (Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate) would be placed in a plastic sachet inside the bomber’s body before the wound was stitched up like a normal operation incision and allowed to heal.
A shaped charge of 8oz of PETN can penetrate five inches of armour and would easily blow a large hole in an airliner. If it is shaped surely it would show up. Is that 8oz of PETN in your appendix or are you just looking forward to your pat down?
Security sources said the explosives would be detonated by the bomber using a hypodermic syringe to inject TATP (Triacetone Triperoxide) through their skin into the explosives sachet.
Security sources fear the body-bombers could pretend to be diabetics injecting themselves on airliners, Tubes or buses in order to prevent anyone stopping their suicide missions.
Companies such as Smiths Detection International UK, which is based in Watford, Hertfordshire, manufacture a range of luggage and body scanners designed to identify chemicals, explosives and drugs at airports and other passenger terminals around the world.
These include high-specification X-ray equipment that could identify body bombs.
But one source with expertise in the field said: ‘They can make as many pieces of security equipment as they like but there is no one magic answer that can spot every single potential terrorist passing through.’
Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, chairman of the Commons Counter-Terrorism Sub-Committee, said: ‘Our enemies are constantly evolving their techniques to try to defeat our methods of detection. This is one of the most savage forms that extremists could use, and while we are redeveloping travel security we have got to take this new development into account.’Senior Government security sources confirmed last night that they were aware of the new threat of body bombs, but were not prepared to make any official comment.
I have been wondering how someone like myself who carries an internal and an external prosthesis as a result of reconstructive surgery after cancer would show up on one of these scanners. And as the authorities won't profile of course, will middle aged and elderly women who have survived breast and other cancers be targeted to show parity with twittchy young muslim men on single tickets, paid in cash, and no luggage other than a strange protuberence on their left buttock?
It adds a whole new dimension to the 'Does my bomb look big in this?' joke.

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Posted on 01/31/2010 8:00 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
SNP hopeful under fire over funding of Muslim festivals
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From The Scottish newspaper the Sunday Herald.
An SNP election candidate is facing questions after problems with two Muslim festivals he helped set up using £70,000 of public money.  Non UK readers may wish to know that the Scottish National Party are not the BNP in Scotland but a party which wishes Scottish independence from the UK and thus Scotland will longer be under any influence from the hated English, and to achieve that end they go to some lengths to vie with Labour for the immigrant vote.
Osama Saeed, who hopes to become MP for Glasgow Central, used taxpayers’ cash to develop a “Scottish Islamic finance expo” called Etisal and a cultural event called Salaam Scotland.
Both events have been hit by substantial delays.
(This is) . . . the second time Etisal has been cancelled. Originally Etisal 2009, it was meant to have been held last October.
Salaam Scotland, due to start last month, has also been postponed. The Scottish Islamic Foundation (SIF) says it will now begin in February or March, although no programme is available.
Both festivals are spin-offs of the SIF, a Muslim lobbying group Mr Saeed founded and runs as chief executive.
Labour questioned whether Mr Saeed had delivered anything tangible for his public funding, which was handed over in March 2008.
When contacted by the Sunday Herald, Des McNulty, Labour MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said the public had a right to know what was going on. “What is the public benefit from the £70,000 that has been spent? What’s it been spent on exactly? Just who got it? We need detailed answers,” he said.
The SIF has been dogged by claims of cronyism since its creation in 2008. Past directors include Mr Saeed’s wife, his brother and a cousin, while its current board includes another of Mr Saeed’s brothers and his cousin’s girlfriend.
The SIF secured more than £400,000 of public funding from the SNP Government within months of its launch.
Mr Saeed, 29, is a former aide to Alex Salmond. Mr Salmond personally backed a £200,000 grant to SIF in March 2008 for the creation of an “IslamFest”.
When Saeed failed to deliver it, the SIF was ordered to repay the money left. Last June, Saeed returned £128,584, but said £71,416 had been spent, including more than £41,000 on “salaries on fees”.
Ministers later told parliament the £71,416 was spent on the “development” of Etisal and Salaam Scotland, both of which seem to have drifted off course.
Last year the First Minister said Mr Saeed would make a “fantastic member of parliament”.

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Posted on 01/31/2010 7:41 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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