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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
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

Saturday, 31 October 2009
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer advised by radical Muslim

From The Sunday Times
A civil servant who has condemned ministers for helping to fuel the “slaughter” of Arabs in the Middle East is advising Britain’s most senior prosecutor on Islamic extremism.
Azad Ali, a Treasury official who has used his internet blog to praise the spiritual leader of Al-Qaeda, sits on a Whitehall counterterrorism panel that provides advice to Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions (DPP).
Ali was investigated earlier this year over his controversial views on the Iraq war and was forced to deny that he sympathised with the killing of British troops. He got into trouble with his Treasury bosses after using his blog to deny that last November’s Mumbai attacks, which claimed 173 lives, were an act of terrorism.
Ali, an IT worker, has also defended Hizb ut-Tahrir, the radical group intent on creating an Islamic caliphate, and has condemned some moderate Muslims as “vultures feeding on the dead flesh of the Palestinians”.
The appointment of a man with such radical views to help guide government policy on terrorist prosecutions has raised concern among some of Starmer’s senior legal colleagues.
A senior source close to Starmer said he was surprised by Ali’s latest role. “It may have been a little foolish of Keir to be relying for advice on such sensitive matters from someone with these sort of opinions,” said the source. “There seems to be a fad for taking these sorts of people on board.”
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said this weekend that Ali had been an unpaid member of its “community involvement” panel on incitement to racial and religious hatred.
The panel is chaired by Sue Hemming, director of the CPS’s counterterrorism division. Hemming, in turn, provides advice to Starmer.
A spokesman said: “The panel discusses practices and policies in relation to the incitement to racial and religious hatred. It feeds into the CPS’s counterterrorism division and considers issues on a thematic basis. It does not discuss individual cases.”

Posted on 10/31/2009 6:26 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Council suspends funding to schools linked to Hizb ut-Tahrir

From the Sunday Telegraph
Schools run by members of the Islamic extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir have had their public funding suspended and will be placed under investigation after the payments were exposed by The Sunday Telegraph.
Government grants totalling £113,000 were paid last year to the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation, which runs a nursery and a primary school in Tottenham, north London and a primary in Slough, Berkshire. The grants continued this year, although no figures are available.
The foundation's lead trustee and "proprietor" of the Slough school is Yusra Hamilton, a leading member of Hizb ut-Tahrir and wife of the group's main press spokesman, Taji Mustafa.
The public money – from the Government's Early Years Fund – was paid to help run the nursery school and two Islamic primary schools where children are taught key elements of Hizb's ideology from the age of five. It was administered by the local authority, Haringey.
In a statement, the Home Office said: "Haringey Council has decided to suspend its allocation of Early Years Funding, to the schools concerned, pending an investigation."
Hizb regards integration as "dangerous", says that British Muslims should "fight assimilation" into UK society and opposes all involvement with the "corrupt" state. It wants to create a global Islamic superstate, or "caliphate", initially in Muslim-majority countries and then across the rest of the world.
Other trustees of the Shakhsiyah Foundation who are Hizb members or activists include Farah Ahmed, the head teacher of the Slough school, who has written in a Hizb journal condemning the "corrupt Western concepts of materialism and freedom".
On their website, the schools say their "ultimate goal" and "foremost work" is the creation of an "Islamic personality" in children. The creation of an "Islamic personality" is a key tenet of Hizb's ideology. The schools' history curriculum states that children are taught that "there must be one ruler of the khilafah [caliphate]". The schools' website says that "in the glorious history of Islam... the Sharia was the norm". Children are taught Arabic from the age of three.
A former teacher at one of the schools told yesterday how they were set up as a "great way of creating Hizb ut-Tahrir propaganda".
The former teacher said: "The concept behind it was to allow the school to speak for itself and then to lure [pupils] in through that doorway."

Posted on 10/31/2009 6:19 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 31 October 2009
More Inn Signs - Notable Ships and Those Who Sailed In Them

by Esmerelda Weatherwax (November 2009)

More pub signs.

The Ark Royal – Wells next the Sea Norfolk.

The first Ark Royal was build for Sir Walter Raleigh and became the flagship of Lord High Admiral, Howard of Effingham and saw action against the Spanish Armada and at Cadiz.

350 years later the second Ark Royal was commissioned in 1914 as a seaplane carrier, which was quite innovative and saw action in the Dardanelles. The third Ark Royal was commissioned in 1938 as an aircraft carrier, was involved in the sinking of the Bismark in May 1941 and was torpedoed and sunk off Gibraltar 6 months later.
Posted on 10/31/2009 4:43 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Islam Would Die Without Jihad

by Mohammad Asghar (November 2009)

Many people have written books, treatises and articles for the purpose of defining the role that jihad is supposed to play in the lives of Muslims. Most writers have tried, in their own ways, to come up with the “true” meaning of this word, while others took circuitous routes to try to make us believe that Islam means peace, and that peace is also the purpose for which, Allah has made jihad an integral and essential part of Islam. more>>>

Posted on 10/31/2009 4:37 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Calendar Wars

by Robert Wolfe (November 2009)

One of the most ancient and the most fundamental forms of ideological hegemony is control over the calendar. For example, by dividing all time into Before and After the alleged date of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Christian religion has succeeded in introducing its point of view into the heart of the so-called “civil calendar” now in use in the greater part of the world. But just what is this point of view? The so-called “civil calendar” comes in two versions, one “Julian” and the other “Gregorian”, and the two have one thing in common: they are both Roman. more>>>

Posted on 10/31/2009 4:34 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Churchill, War, and the Battle of Britain

by Jack Dixon (November 2009)

The following is a slightly edited excerpt from Dowding & Churchill: The Dark Side of the Battle of Britain (Pen and Sword, 2008).

A recent book by Geoffrey Best, entitled Churchill and War, contains not a single word about the Battle of Britain. Yet we find this statement: “Wars determined the course of history, and battles determined the outcomes of wars. Churchill wrote exceedingly well about battles, and not just because they absorbed and thrilled him. They settled the fate of nations.”
[1] An earlier page, recounting his first days as prime minister in May 1940, tells us: “Being the leader at the time and persuading the Cabinet to support him – another momentous act of leadership ... – Churchill was able to swing the people his way, and by so doing to change the course of history.” more>>>
Posted on 10/31/2009 4:30 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Keep Your Hair On, Geert

by Mary Jackson (November 2009) 

t is not often that I disagree with Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders. His analysis of Islam is astute, and his appreciation of its dangers for the West unrivalled among politicians. His courage and self-sacrifice are an example to us all: Wilders remains steadfast against threats from Muslim assassins and, despicably, from the Amsterdam Court of Appeal. His banning from Britain, under the then Home Secretary and always preposterous Jacqui Smith, was an act of witless, gutless appeasement. In the face of such moral idiocy, his patience is astonishing. If he tires of being branded “far right” and “racist”, the mantra that shuts down all debate, he never shows it but persistently, calmly states his case. His quarrel is not with individual Muslims, still less does he hate them, but with the totalitarian, Fascist ideology of Islam. His struggle is truly heroic, and I long for an English Geert Wilders. more>>>
Posted on 10/31/2009 4:26 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 October 2009
An Interview With Geert Wilders

by Jerry Gordon (November 2009)

October was a tumultuous time for Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) in the Hague Parliament. Dutch public opinion polls show Wilders and the PVV in the lead position in any future Parliamentary election. The PVV is currently the leading Dutch party in the European Parliament. After the next elections, Wilders might be in a position to form a ruling coalition in Holland as Prime Minister. What sets Wilders apart from most EU political leaders is his ringing support of America and Israel. He considers Israel’s embattled position in the Middle East as fighting for all of us. As he says in his speeches: “we all are Israel.” more>>>

Posted on 10/31/2009 4:21 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Boris and Christian; Two Kings, The Holocaust and Hollywood

by Norman Berdichevsky (November 2009)

Denial of the Holocaust has been fittingly demolished by all sober and serious historians and the legal case won by Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books in a London court against the charge of libel gained world attention. The result should be a clarion call to ensure a rigorous examination in determining what is historical fact or fiction. During the trial, an English court found that Irving was an "active Holocaust denier," as well as an antisemite and racist and that he "associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism." The judge also ruled that Irving had "for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence." He was convicted of "glorifying and identifying with the German Nazi Party," which is a crime in Austria under the Verbotsgesetz law and served a prison sentence from February to December 2006 on the charges. more>>>
Posted on 10/31/2009 4:16 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Religion and the Marketplace

by Amil Imani (November 2009)

Islam is on its march of death on many fronts. A very dangerous front has been recently re-opened at the United Nations (UN) by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the largest group of nations within the UN, by introducing a new resolution.

The resolution under consideration—Defamation of Religions—aims to enlist the power and prestige of the UN in defense of religion by declaring religions to be immune from the general discourse practiced in non-theocratic domains.
Posted on 10/31/2009 4:12 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Mozart & Orientalism

by Ibn Warraq (November 2009)

Western art has, in the words of Roger Scruton, "continuously ventured into spiritual territory that has no place on the Christian map," and has done so with generosity, tolerance, affection, and a noble vision of universal humanity. Literature and music, as much as painting and architecture, has acknowledged other civilizations and other peoples, and embraced them as equals, and sometimes treated them as superior souls from whom the West could learn. In her biography of Mozart as a dramatist, Brigid Brophy has a dazzling chapter on the Exotic in Eighteenth century art, reminding us of Western man's ventures "to unpath'd waters, undreamed shores:" China, Turkey, Persia, Babylon, Egypt, Abyssinia, South America, India, even outer space.[1]  more>>>

Posted on 10/31/2009 4:09 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Fashionable Fascism

by Rebecca Bynum (November 2009)

The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses
by Stephen H. Norwood
Cambridge University Press, 2009

The academic attitude of high-minded impartiality which seems to hover weightlessly above the crass corpus of power politics, does, in plain fact, aid and abet those who actively seek the destruction of western civilization. There are times when a principled stand must be taken, for, for all its claims of impartiality, silence implies acquiescence. This was as true during the 1930’s as it is today, when apologists for the Islamic brand of fascism are routinely given respectful hearings in lecture halls and platforms in student newspapers at our finest institutions of higher learning. One difference being, in the 1930’s regular newspapers around the country were much more willing to print the brutal facts about the rise of fascism in Europe - facts submitted by clear-eyed on-the-ground reporters such as William L. Shirer, whereas today, the entire press corps seems unreasonably squeamish about publishing the facts on the ground about what occurs in Muslim countries. Of the draconian punishments enforcing conformity in thought, word, dress and deed, public mutilation, public executions, the canonization of suicide bombers, the demonization of Jews, the distortion of history, the conspiracy theories, the economic and intellectual stagnation weighing down the Muslim world - little, if anything, disturbs our nightly news programs.  more>>>
Posted on 10/31/2009 4:04 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Let Them Inherit Debt

by Theodore Dalrymple (November 2009)

Recently I was in public discussion on the question of poverty in Britain and how to overcome it. The poverty is relative, of course, not real destitution; but there is nonetheless no doubt as to its squalor.

Among the panel on which I appeared was a very pleasant member of the Fabian Society, that is to say the society whose goal was to achieve socialism in Britain gradually and by reformist means (it was named after the Roman general, Quintus Fabius Maximus, who wore Hannibal down by attrition rather than by pitched battle). more>>>

Posted on 10/31/2009 4:00 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Is Princeton racist?

Suppose you are a black student at the University of Princeton - one who, unlike Michelle Obama, got in on merit rather than "affirmative action". You would be angry, would you not, at those affirmative action policies that admit black mediocrities, and exclude more gifted white or Asian sparring partners, against whom your achievement could justly be measured? And would you not be furious at the rise and rise of "University Professor" Cornel West?

I hadn't heard of Cornel West until I watched, with horror, this YouTube clip, in which he talks - and I use the word loosely - about some mindless hip hop project. The sycophancy of the introduction - Heaven, and Harvard, cannot hold Him - the fulsome praise West and his host give each other just for being "brothers", the mangled English, the shrieks, the noise, my dear, and the people - are beyond parody.

Brother - sorry, Professor - West can barely string a sentence together. He is a caricature of a black man. You half expect him to break out into "Old Man River"; this would be an improvement, musically speaking, on the hip hop project. Were I a black student at Princeton - a proper student, not an affirmative action beneficiary - I would be acutely embarrassed. I would also be angry at the patronising message West's appointment sends, namely: he's good enough for a black professor, and you can't expect a black professor to be as good as a white professor, any more than you can expect a dog to walk proficiently on its hind legs.

West has been indulged, as you would indulge a child or a pet, not an equal, of whom you expect better. This is racism red in tooth and claw, the black heart of racism, as Will Cummins might say, not its black face.

The phrase "soft racism of low expectations" is well worn, but none the worse for wear. Is Princeton racist? What do you think?

Posted on 10/31/2009 8:44 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Somali Gangs Vow To Fight Each Other Over British Captives

MOGADISHU, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Somali pirates said on Saturday that a captured British couple had been moved on shore from a container vessel and that there was a dispute between different groups over the two Britons.

Gunmen kidnapped Paul and Rachel Chandler, both in their 50s, last Friday soon after they left the Seychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean and took them to the Somali coast.

One pirate told Reuters on Friday they had agreed on a $7 million ransom for the Britons, but others said it would only be decided once the couple were in a secure place on land.

The two Britons were moved from their yacht to a large container ship because the pirates feared foreign forces might try and rescue them. The gang that seized the Britons is finding a safe place on land to hold the two sailors.

"We were displeased by the men holding the British people. They were our friends. We helped them when a rescue operation was likely," pirate Hassan told Reuters.

"But they disrespected what we did for them. They took the pair yesterday to land and broke off relations," he said. "We are warning them it will lead to disaster for them. We will spare no efforts to foil them if they insist on separating from us."

I know the British policy is not to pay ransom, but perhaps if they scattered a large number of one pound notes in the general vicinity while broadcasting "Abdullah betrayed you!" and/or "Muhammad sold you out!" over loud speakers, the resulting choas would allow for an easy rescue.

Posted on 10/31/2009 6:38 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 31 October 2009
The Fascist Left

I could use many terms to describe the British National Party, but "right wing" is not one of them. In Pajamas Media today I argue that the BNP is a party of the Left, a position that is not incompatible with Holocaust denial:

The socialist component of national socialism is often overlooked; national socialism differs in scope but not in kind from the international socialism of Stalin ...

Is Griffin really the best we've got? Shouldn't the Tories and UKIP (I despair of Labour) be speaking out against Islamisation?

What Britain needs, what all Western countries need, is a Wilders.

Posted on 10/31/2009 6:25 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 31 October 2009
"Tawakilt ala Allah"

Today, October 31, 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of First Officer Gameel Al-Batouti placing his fate in the hands of Allah on Egypt Air flight 990.

And he wasn't the first.

Posted on 10/31/2009 1:39 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Friday, 30 October 2009
Muslims Threaten Breslin Owner After He Laughs Off Bar Demand

Katie Sokoler writes in The Gothamist (with thanks to D. L. Adams):

The lovely-looking restaurant and bar The Breslin begins lunch service tomorrow, and co-owner Ken Friedman (The Spotted Pig) is planning on serving alcohol despite objections from the Masjid Ar-Rahman mosque across the street. Earlier this month the mosque’s leaders called a meeting with Friedman at The Ace Hotel, where The Breslin is located, and asked, "Can you move the bar?" Friedman's response makes us want to hurry over to The Breslin right now for a dram of Laphroaig to show our support (and drown out the voices):

I laughed. And the guy said, "Oh, you think that’s funny?" And I said, "Yeah, that is funny, that is really funny, because we’re not going to move the bar just because you discovered we’re serving booze." Can you name one restaurant in New York that doesn’t serve booze? I said, "This is the United States of America and we’ll do whatever the fuck we want." He said the mosque had suggested it couldn’t control the behavior of "a few bad eggs"; i.e., we could get a brick through our window.

Friedman notified police of the threat, but just to show he's not a hard-hearted man, that it's not all dollars and cents, he agreed to put a curtain over the windows so devout Muslims wouldn't be corrupted by the sight of infidel inebriation. But the curtain hasn't arrived yet, so over the weekend he actually taped paper over the windows to hide a gay wedding. A volunteer at the mosque says city law forbids serving liquor within 200 feet of a place of worship and that "not more than 200 feet is between the mosque and the bar."

But Ace Hotel developer Andrew Zobler tells The Observer, "The law is clear that in order for that to apply it has to be an exclusively dedicated house of worship, and at their space they have both residences and a restaurant, so basically, because of those uses the law allowed there to be a bar within 200 feet. Everyone was aware of that when the liquor license was granted." And Friedman adds, "They can threaten, but they can’t really stop us." Yeah, heh, what are these devout, pissed-off Muslims gonna do?

Posted on 10/30/2009 9:44 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 30 October 2009
The Power of Hyphens

Talking of hyphens, I have an idea for fighting Islamophobia.

As Hugh points out, whenever Muslims commit acts of jihad, the media and the establishment rush to protest that those acts have nothing to do with Islam. The gap between the act of jihad and the disclaimer - "not the real Islam", or, "just a tiny minority of extremists" - is getting shorter, and is often a matter of minutes.

It isn't short enough, though. There are some Islamophobic cynics who might spend those minutes thinking that an act of Islamic jihad, carried out by Muslims in the name of Islam, had something to do with Islam. I therefore propose to close the gap, leaving no room for such heterodoxy, by means of some Healing Hyphens.

From now on, by analogy with "African-American", or "Scottish-Italian", Muslims who commit acts of Islamic jihad must be known as Muslims-Who-Aren't-Real-Muslims.

Some may ask why so many acts of jihad are perpetrated by Muslims-Who-Aren't-Real-Muslims, rather than, say, Hindus-Who-Aren't-Real-Hindus, or Jews-Who-Aren't-Real Jews. This is a question for further study and discussion. For now, I hope that my Healing-Hyphen-Solution can, in a very real sense, make a difference.

Posted on 10/30/2009 6:35 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 30 October 2009
The stupidity of intellectuals

Antisemitism is a particularly stupid prejudice. Jews are the most intelligent, diligent and moral people on earth; any country that has them should treasure them and those that don't rarely prosper. It is not surprising, then, that stupid people - neo-Nazi thugs, most of the Islamic world, upper class twits in the Foreign Office - dislike Jews. Harder to understand is antisemitism on the part of "intellectuals". (I take malicious, disproportionate criticism of Israel to mean hatred of Jews, for there is no other way to take it.)

David Thompson has a short, blistering attack on Britain's "intellectual life":

Today’s Guardian editorial sings the praises of that “radical literary magazine,” The London Review of Books: 

So essential to Britain’s intellectual life... The editorial care taken is a cause for wonder and cheer.

The LRB is also praised for,

The standard it keeps up.

Those who diverge from the Guardian’s definition of standards may feel less enthusiastic. Let’s not forget the LRB’s default anti-Israel bias, perhaps best summarised by the magazine’s editor, Mary-Kay Wilmers, who told the Sunday Times: “I’m unambiguously hostile to Israel because it’s a mendacious state.” There’s also the LRB’s history of excusing Islamic terrorism with wild inversions of reality. As, for instance, when Charles Glass fawned over the  “uncompromising programme” of Hizballah and its “intelligent” use of “car bombs, ambushes, small rockets and suicide bombers.” It’s always heartening to see literary intellectuals being titillated by random savagery and casually disregarding the openly genocidal statements of Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah. I suspect readers of the LRB will be studiously unaware that in 2003 Hizballah’s TV channel broadcast a 30-part “history” series based on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But then this is the kind of “intellectual life” that sees fit to publish a breezy hagiography of – wait for it - Robert Mugabe

We’ve seen such things before, not least in the Guardian itself, and in such elevated organs as the New Left Review. As when the Marxist art critic Julian Stallabrass pondered the “spectacle” of terrorism and seemed more than a little aroused by the “vanguard politics” of “Islamic revolutionaries” who “harden themselves against mundane sentiment.” According to Mr Stallabrass, “the 9/11 attacks did no more than return to the US a taste of the force it has wielded across the globe.” A view shared by the Cambridge historian and LRB regular Mary Beard, who described the events of that morning as a “predictable outcome of US actions,” while putting the words terrorist and terrorism in ironic quotation marks. Ms Beard also pondered the feeling that “America had it coming” and likened jihadist terrorism to “extraordinary acts of bravery.” The Guardian’s then comment editor Seumas Milne also framed terrorism in quotation marks and said with eerie confidence, “Americans simply don’t get it.” This, on September 13, while human dust was still, quite literally, settling on Manhattan.

I thought Mary Beard was a good egg, not having read much of her writing. Clearly not.

Incidentally, I spell antisemitism as one word, not because it matters, but so Hugh won't nit pick. Is nit pick  one word, two words or hyphenated? Answers on a postcard/post card/post-card, please.

Posted on 10/30/2009 6:16 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 30 October 2009
Interview with Lord Pearson

Lord Pearson and Baroness Cox were the members of the House of Lords who invited Geert Wilders to show his film Fitna.  Pearson's affable manner and plummy voice belie the message, which, after a somewhat over-optimistic pledge of faith in "mild Muslims", is one of unbridled pessimism: birthrates will win out.

Posted on 10/30/2009 4:42 PM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 30 October 2009
The White House or Fox News?
Posted on 10/30/2009 3:04 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 30 October 2009
And Pass The Ammunition?

Worried Iran pilot asks passengers to pray

TEHRAN (AFP) – A worried Iranian airline pilot asked passengers to start praying after his plane was hit by a technical glitch early on Thursday, highlighting once again the notorious record of Tehran's aircraft.

The Aseman Airlines Boeing plane had taken off from Tehran airport after a six-hour delay, but had to return following a technical fault, the ISNA news agency quoted a passenger as recounting.

"The plane took off at 0015 in the morning and had to land back in Tehran after 45 minutes," the passenger said.

"The pilot told the passengers 'the plane is facing a technical problem and has to return. So please pray.'"

Iran has been under years of international sanctions hampering its ability to buy modern planes from major manufacturers, such as Boeing and Airbus, or spare parts, and has suffered a number of air disasters over the past decade.

Its civil and military fleet is made up of ancient aircraft in very poor condition due to their age, and lack of maintenance.

In July it suffered one of its worst air disasters when a Caspian Airlines plane, a Russian Tupolev 154, crashed near Qazvin, northwest of Tehran, killing all 168 people on board.

Posted on 10/30/2009 10:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 October 2009
Not Islamic Enough

This poor man wanted to leave Islam behind and thought he could influence his wife to do the same. She had other ideas. From Staten Island Live (h/t: JW):

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A 37-year-old wife from New Brighton tried to slit her husband’s throat as he slept because he was not the devout Muslim she believed she married, and pressured her to eat pork and drink alcohol, authorities allege.

In a rambling, four-page handwritten confession, Rabia Sarwar laid out the “mental and emotional cruelty” that led to her trying to kill her husband, Susan Wagner High School teacher Sheikh Naseem, early yesterday morning, a law enforcement source said.

“I tried my best to cut his throat,” Ms. Sarwar admitted, according to court papers. Except Naseem woke up during the attempt, and took the knife from her, authorities said.

According to Ms. Sarwar’s attorney, Joseph Licitra, Naseem “was a cruel person, he preyed on her.”

The day before the incident, “he literally threatened to have her parents mutilated,” Licitra said.

The way the law enforcement source describes it, Ms. Sarwar, who is Pakistani, told investigators that Naseem, who is half-Pakistani, had presented himself as a devout Muslim before the two had wed five months ago.

But after the marriage, she discovered more about him, she told investigators — before meeting her, he had only dated non-Muslims, and he considered Salman Rushdie to be one of his favorite authors.

Rushdie’s book, “The Satanic Verses,” was reviled by hard-line Muslims for what they considered an unflattering portrayal of the prophet Mohammed, and in 1989, Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Rushdie calling for Muslims worldwide to kill him.

Ms. Sarwar also told investigators that Naseem pressured her into doing things that were against her religious beliefs.

“He made her do stuff that she didn’t like to do — eating pork, drinking alcohol, wearing short clothes. She did all of that to make him happy,” the source said.

At about 3 a.m. yesterday, inside the couple’s 80 St. Mark’s Place apartment, Ms. Sarwar “snapped,” the source said, cutting his neck, right cheek and right hand.  

In an interview with the Post, Naseem said his wife was having a hard time adjusting to American culture.

"She was trying to live the way I live, but on the same token, she tells her parents: 'I went out drinking with him,' and her mother started making derogatory statements about me, " he told the paper. "There was no gun pointed to her head to do these things."

Posted on 10/30/2009 1:38 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 30 October 2009
A Cinematic Interlude: The Green Man (Alastair Sim)

Watch, and listen, here.

Posted on 10/30/2009 11:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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