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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, 24 October 2010
Dozy bint of the year
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Cherie Booth QC was an idiot and a dhimmi for defending, unsuccessfully, the right of a Luton schoolgirl to wear a jilbab. But her sister Lauren has outdone her, going the whole hog. From The Guardian, which doubtless approves:

Tony Blair's sister-in-law has converted to Islam after having what she describes as a "holy experience" during a visit to Iran.

Journalist and broadcaster Lauren Booth, 43 - Cherie Blair's sister - now wears a hijab whenever she leaves her home, prays five times a day and visits her local mosque whenever she can.

She decided to become a Muslim six weeks ago after visiting the shrine of Fatima al-Masumeh in the city of Qom.

"It was a Tuesday evening and I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy," she said in an interview today.

When she returned to Britain, she decided to convert immediately.

Booth - who works for Press TV, the English-language Iranian news channel - has stopped eating pork and reads the Qur'an every day. She is currently on page 60.

Booth has stopped drinking alcohol and says she has not wanted to drink since converting.

Before her spiritual awakening in Iran, she had been "sympathetic" to Islam and has spent considerable time working in Palestine, she said, adding that she hoped her conversion would help Blair change his presumptions about Islam

I didn't know he had any, except for the usual nonsense about Islam being a religion of peace. This is a "look at me, I'm more interesting than my big sister" type of dozy binthood. Does she approve of said big sister being a QC, given that women in Islam are not supposed to be judges and kafir law is wrong? 

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Posted on 10/24/2010 3:14 PM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 24 October 2010
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Puttin' On The Ritz (from Young Frankenstein)
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Watch, and listen, here.

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Posted on 10/24/2010 3:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 24 October 2010
The Race Had To Go On -- For The Greater Bought-And-Paid-For Glory Of The Rich-But-Worthless U.A.E.
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Winner slams race conditions after swimmer's death

By MICHAEL CASEY
AP Sports Writer

A day after U.S. national team swimmer Fran Crippen died during an open-water race in the United Arab Emirates, the winner of the event said the water and air temperatures were too high to hold a competition.

Thomas Lurz of Germany criticized both swimming's governing body and race organizers Sunday, saying conditions were too hot for racing, that FINA's schedule was too grueling and that organizers should have done more to ensure swimmers' safety in the Open Water 10-kilometer World Cup held at Fujairah, east of Dubai, on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Crippen, from a family of prominent swimmers in suburban Philadelphia, failed to finish and was found in the water two hours later, about 400 meters from the finish, organizers said.

FINA's president said Sunday that "overexertion" led to Crippen's death and FINA had launched in investigation into the tragedy.

"What we know initially is that he exerted himself more than he could, that's what we know," said FINA President Julio Maglione of Uruguay, attending an International Olympic Committee conference in Acapulco, Mexico. Maglione said he was told that after eight kilometers Crippen informed his coach that he wasn't feeling well.

Race officials said a medical report and autopsy on Crippen had been completed, but declined to release their full details to the media.

Swimmers complained of the warm water temperatures, but Ayman Saad, executive director of the UAE swimming association, played down heat as a factor, saying that the water temperature was 84 degrees at the start of the race, which was held in the ocean on a triangular 2-kilometer course behind a breakwater.

All safety measures were in place including lifeguards, boats and divers, Saad said, adding that FINA had signed off on everything before the race started.

Usually at open-water races, a boat follows the last swimmer on the course.

"What I think happened is that the swimmers were in various groups. This is what I heard," FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu told The AP. "On the last feeding station the coach was talking to him. But I really don't know. We have to wait for the investigation and then we will come up with our position on this. Otherwise it's only speculation."

Lurz insisted temperatures must have been above 86 degrees and that several swimmers suffered due to the heat. He said he talked to many swimmers who complained of swollen fingers and toes, water loss, and he saw several who had become confused following their race.

"The water was amazingly hot," Lurz said. "Nobody thought such things like yesterday could happen. ... It shows it was really just too hot. It was not just one swimmer. There were many swimmers who had serious problems in the water."

FINA's rules place no limit on how warm water can be to hold a race.

Besides Crippen, three other swimmers - two U.S. women and one Brazilian - were taken to the hospital. All were to be released by Monday. Their names had not been officially released, but included Brazilian Allan Do Carmo and American Eva Fabian.

Maglione maintained that organizers followed FINA's rules.

"Apart from the investigation, we are awaiting a report from our technical director, who says that everything was normal according to the regulations," Maglione said. "They told me ... the medical report said it was huge overexertion, that's what they told me."

Gunnar Werner of Sweden, a member of FINA's legal commission and a former FINA honorary member, will lead the investigation and was to arrive at the race site late Sunday.

"When he finishes his inquiry we'll put out our position," Marculescu said. "We understand that they have the medical report in Arabic and they will translate it to English and send it to us. Probably tomorrow we will have it in the office.

"This is a swimmer with a lot of experience. He was a fantastic guy and he came from a big swimming family. We've never had something like that happen in our sport before. I'm sorry for him and his family."

Crippen was the silver medalist in the 10K at the Pan Pacific championships in August, earned a bronze medal in the 10K at the 2009 world championships, was national champion in the 5K in 2009, and won a gold medal in the 10K at the 2007 Pan American Games.

Crippen finished fourth in the 10K and fifth in the 5K at this year's world championships.

Lurz, a nine-time open water champion, said Crippen's death highlighted the need for changes within the World Cup circuit, including setting a maximum temperature and easing rules that require a swimmer to finish the final race to gain points crucial to moving up the rankings and earning prize money.

Lurz speculated it was probably Crippen's desire to finish the race that cost him his life.

"I'm sure he tried everything because he is a sportsman ..." Lurz said. "He would never give up."

Swimmers were the first to respond when Crippen failed to arrive at the finish. Several returned to the water to search for him and were soon followed by police and coast guard divers. Crippen's body was found just before the last buoy on the course, race organizers said.

Crippen was rushed to shore and transported to Fujairah Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"It was unacceptable that swimmers were searching for another swimmer. That is horrible. This can't be," Lurz said. "Swimmers go under water in seconds. There need to be more boats, jet skis, canoes who can take care of every swimmer."

Swimming officials in the UAE canceled the 15km open-water event that was scheduled to be held Wednesday at the same location.

The 10K race is the only open-water discipline that is an Olympic event, having made its debut at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Swimmers and officials gathered at the race site Sunday and held an impromptu memorial service. Many had tears in their eyes and some veterans such as Angela Maurer of Germany openly wept in the arms of her husband.

"It was our way of saying goodbye to a friend and fellow competitor," Lurz said.



Read more: http://www.bradenton.com/2010/10/24/v-print/2679026/winner-slams-race-conditions-after.html#ixzz13JD6aWOS
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Posted on 10/24/2010 3:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 24 October 2010
Islamic Republic Worried About "Western" Courses
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Iran says some academic courses too "Western"

Sun Oct 24, 2010

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will not allow its universities to begin teaching certain disciplines it deems too "Western," and existing courses will be revised, a senior Education Ministry was quoted as saying Sunday.

"Expansion of 12 disciplines in the social sciences like law, women's studies, human rights, management, sociology, philosophy....psychology and political sciences will be reviewed," Abolfazl Hassani was quoted as saying in the Arman newspaper.

"These sciences' contents are based on Western culture. The review will be the intention of making them compatible with Islamic teachings."

Hassani said Iranian universities will not be allowed to open new departments in these disciplines and the curricula for existing departments would be revised.

Iran's hard-line rulers accuse the West of trying to harm the Islamic state by influencing the country's young generation with "decadent" culture.

Pointing to the enrolment of some 2 million out of a total of 3.5 million university students in the humanities, in August Iran's most powerful figure Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for modification of these studies.

"Many disciplines in the humanities are based on principles founded on materialism disbelieving the divine Islamic teachings," Khamenei said in a speech reported by state media.

"Thus such teachings...will lead to the dissemination of doubt in the foundations of religious teachings."

Access to the Internet and illegal satellite television mean Western popular culture is king among young Iranians, a vital constituency in a country where 70 percent of the population is under 30 and has no real memory of the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the U.S.-backed Shah.

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Posted on 10/24/2010 11:41 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 24 October 2010
Telegraph: Will Barack Obama Admit Extent Of Iran's Role In Iraq?
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From The Telegraph: 

Will Barack Obama admit extent of Iran's role in Iraq, laid bare by WikiLeaks?

 
The documents reveal Iran's continuing influence in Iraq

The documents reveal Iran's continuing influence in Iraq

Much of the attention surrounding the WikiLeaks document dump will, predictably enough, focus on a single incident of two insurgents being killed after they tried to surrender to an Apache helicopter and, more disturbingly, the widespread abuse of detainees by Iraq forces, apparently with a blind eye being turned by the US military.

Some of the reporting of the documents is distinctly tendentious. Take for instance this from the Guardian. The headline states as fact that "Apache helicopters kill 14 civilians". The source for this? A single Iraq informant, speaking to an interpreter for the US military. In addition, an Iraqi colonel said the number was 12.

Any journalist who has worked in Iraq (and I spent much of 2004 and 2005 there) knows that casualty figures from Iraqis were extremely unreliable and often based on rumour, exaggeration or personal/political agendas and prejudices. In the US report, the figures are rightly described as "unconfirmed".

I'm not saying it's not true that 14 were killed. Civilians die in wars, often in very large numbers, and they certainly did so in Iraq. There might well have been that number or more killed by US forces that. But we just don't know and things that we can't be sure about should not be reported as fact just because we might like them to be true.

Interesting to note also to that the Guardian has seen fit to name the interpreter in the incident report, which I won't link to for that reason.

A couple of things to say about the detainee abuse. Clearly, a legacy of Saddam Hussein's regime was a culture of astonishing brutality in Iraq. To expect that indigenous forces would somehow adhere to Western standards of due process is unrealistic. Also, the effort entailed, in the middle of a war, to investigate every allegation and suspicion of abuse by Iraqis would have been a mammoth, and probably impossible, task.

The files show there were occasions recorded when morally courageous US troops did intervene and the blind-eye policy was eventually and rightly changed.

Before I continue, a pet peeve. Can we stop calling them WikiLeaks "the whistle-blowing website"? A whistle-blower is "an informant who exposes wrongdoing within an organisation in the hope of stopping it". First, WikiLeaks does not operate within an organisation. Second, to presuppose they are exposing wrongdoing by leaking classified documents is buying their propaganda. But I digress.

It seems to me that the most significant revelations from the massive WikiLeaks document dump is the apparent extent of Iran's nefarious role in Iraq. Remember how we were always being told that the Bush administration was exaggerating the extent of Iranian influence with the Shia militia groups in order to push along a neocon plot to attack Iran? Well, an initial reading of the documents conducted by the New York Times indicates there wasn't much exaggeration at all.

Come to think of it, None other than Vice President Joe Biden said as recently as August:

Iranian influence in Iraq is minimal. It's been greatly exaggerated.

So exactly how does that statement square with this from the NYT?

The reports make it clear that the lethal contest between Iranian-backed militias and American forces continued after President Obama sought to open a diplomatic dialogue with Iran's leaders and reaffirmed the agreement between the United States and Iraq to withdraw American troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

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Posted on 10/24/2010 4:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 24 October 2010
Un Caso Clinico, And A Classic (Penguin) Case, To Boot
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Colette, on the sister of Spiritual Searcher Lauren Booth, the one who has now found Meaning In Her Life, and The True Path, not to mention a mental peace that passeth understanding, avant la lettre: here. 

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Posted on 10/24/2010 4:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 23 October 2010
A Musical Interlude: Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday On Saturday Night? (Al Jolson)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 10/23/2010 8:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 23 October 2010
Sol Stern On The Bizarreries Of Malise Ruthven
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I won't go into the ups and downs, the ins and outs, of what Malise Ruthven has written and said about Islam over the years, but  he's not nearly as ignorant of Islam as he allowed himself to appear in his review of Paul Berman. And he's written, intermittently, things not far from the truth in the past.  A strange person, and apparently riven.

Here is Sol Stern on Malise Ruthven's review of Paul Berman's "The Flight of the Intellectuals":

The Intellectuals Keep Flying
The New York Review of Books seeks to discredit Paul Berman.
21 October 2010

In almost half a century at the helm of The New York Review of Books, Robert Silvers has crafted the essential journal for America's liberal intellectual elite. Silvers is celebrated by his distinguished writers as a scrupulous, old-fashioned editor who fusses over their every word. The British historian Timothy Garton Ash tells of receiving a transatlantic phone call from Silvers just as his family was sitting down to Christmas dinner: the editor wanted to discuss a dangling participle he had spotted in the galley of Garton Ash's next article. Silvers subjects manuscripts to "pitiless" scrutiny, says New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus. So the last thing you would expect to see in The New York Review is a factually challenged hit job on a serious contemporary writer-and a writer of the left and former New York Review contributor, at that. Yet that's exactly what appeared in the Review's August 19 issue in the guise of a review of, among other books, Paul Berman's The Flight of the Intellectuals.

It's understandable that the book-and, indeed, all of Berman's work since the 9/11 terrorist attacks-would discomfit The New York Review. Just as his 2003 bestseller Terror and Liberalism did, Berman's new volume criticizes liberals for their frequent denials when confronted with violent assaults against their own democratic societies by radical Islamist movements. This failure of nerve Berman attributes partly to political correctness (excessive multiculturalism and moral relativism) and partly to cowardice. Berman's main exhibit for the intellectuals' "flight" from universal liberal values is two members of The New York Review's all-star team: the aforementioned Timothy Garton Ash and the Anglo-Dutch journalist Ian Buruma. Berman skewers both writers for bestowing respectability on the self-proclaimed Islamic "reformer" Tariq Ramadan, despite his abhorrent views on women and gay rights and his tortured apologetics for radical Islam. While going easy on Ramadan, Garton Ash and Buruma scorn the courageous Muslim dissident Ayaan Hirsi Ali for her "enlightenment fundamentalism." These impeccable liberals, writes Berman, "sneered at Ayaan Hirsi Ali for having taken up the ideas of Western liberalism and celebrated Tariq Ramadan for having done nothing of the sort."

The Flight of the Intellectuals also summarizes recent archival findings by three historians-Jeffrey Herf, Klaus-Michael Mallmann, and Martin Cuppers-who provide the clearest picture to date of the fascist roots of violent twentieth-century Islamist movements, beginning with the World War II collaboration between the Nazis and the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. The victorious Allies should have tried the mufti as a war criminal. Instead, he escaped to Egypt and formed a bloody-minded alliance with the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna (the grandfather of Tariq Ramadan). Al-Banna welcomed Husseini to Egypt and called him "the hero who challenged an empire and fought Zionism with the help of Hitler and Germany. Germany and Hitler are gone but Amin al-Husseini will continue the struggle." Berman describes the Nazi plan (in which Husseini would play a key role) for the physical destruction of the Jewish community in Palestine after Rommel's expected victory at El-Alamein. Rommel's defeat aborted the plan, but al-Banna's Muslim Brotherhood fought side by side with the mufti's cadres in the 1948 Arab and Palestinian war against Israel with the same goal of destruction in mind. The Muslim Brotherhood is alive and well today, with hundreds of thousands of followers in many parts of the world. In Gaza, the movement is called Hamas, and its charter mimes the World War II symbiosis between Nazi eliminationist anti-Semitism and radical Islamism.

Berman's reason for pointing out the disturbing connections between Nazism and Islamist extremism is to remind Western liberals of their honorable antifascist traditions, challenging them to apply the same principles to the contemporary world. But his call to arms goes against everything that The New York Review stands for now. Instead of seriously debating the issues that Berman raises, the journal summoned Malise Ruthven, a sometime contributor to the magazine on Islam and the Middle East, to deliver the hit. His review of The Flight of the Intellectuals, which was featured on the journal's cover under the headline THE TERROR OF PAUL BERMAN, began:

At Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, stands an exhibit that is for some more unsettling than the replicas of the Warsaw Ghetto or the canisters of Zyklon B gas used at Auschwitz and Treblinka. Next to blown-up photographs of emaciated corpses from the death camps there is a picture of the grand mufti of Palestine, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, reviewing an honor guard of the Muslim division of the Waffen SS that fought the Serbs and antifascist partisans. The display includes a cable to Hajj Amin from Heinrich Himmler, dated November 2, 1943: "The National Socialist Party has inscribed on its flag 'the extermination of world Jewry.' Our party sympathizes with the fight of the Arabs, especially the Arabs of Palestine, against the foreign Jew." There is also a quote from a broadcast the mufti gave over Berlin radio on March 1, 1944: "Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This is the command of God, history and religion."

As the Israeli historian Tom Segev suggests, "the visitor is left to conclude that there is much in common between the Nazis' plan to destroy the Jews and the Arabs' enmity to Israel." Paul Berman's new book, The Flight of the Intellectuals, makes the connection even more explicit. Although defeated in Europe, the virus of Nazism is, in his view, vigorously present in the Arab-Islamic world, with Hajj Amin the primary source of this infection. Instead of being tried as a war criminal, Hajj Amin was allowed to leave France in 1946, after escaping from Germany via Switzerland. A trial, Berman suggests, might have "sparked a little self-reflection about the confusions and self-contradictions within Islam" on matters Jewish, comparable to the postwar "self-reflections" that took place inside the Roman Catholic Church.

Ruthven's piece continued at length, going on to consider volumes by Hirsi Ali, Buruma, and Garton Ash. But the story's opening was perhaps its most telling part. Why, you might wonder, would a writer introduce a review of Berman's work with Yad Vashem's Husseini exhibit? The reason is that a staple of today's anti-Zionist polemics is the idea that Israel manipulates the Holocaust for narrow political purposes. What better way to discredit Berman than to associate his thesis-that "the poison of European anti-Semitism was subsumed in the broader eddies of Muslim totalitarianisms," as Ruthven puts it-with Yad Vashem's allegedly much broader contention that all Arab hostility to Israel has Nazi roots?

Though that guilt-by-association tactic would be unworthy of The New York Review even if Yad Vashem did make that contention, the fact is that the museum goes out of its way not to. To begin with, the Husseini exhibit is not in the museum's Holocaust memorial, as Ruthven claims, but in its new Holocaust History Museum. There are no "blown-up photographs of emaciated corpses from the death camps" at the exhibit. The two panels on the mufti, which constitute a tiny portion of the museum, do include two small pictures of SS mobile killing units shooting Jews in the Balkans and Russia. That's entirely appropriate, because it's where the mufti recruited Bosnian and Croatian Muslims for the Waffen-SS. The exhibit has no Himmler cable to Husseini, and there is no quotation from the mufti's Berlin broadcasts.

More significant is that the exhibit doesn't come close to suggesting that Arab "enmity to Israel" has anything to do with Husseini's wartime collaboration with the Nazis. An informational panel offers a short summary of the mufti's activities in the thirties and forties:

Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, incited the Arabs of the Land of Israel against the British and the Jews. As far back as 1933, he expressed support for the Nazi regime. In October 1939, Husseini fled to Iraq where he played a central role in organizing the pro-Nazi uprising in April 1941. After the uprising was suppressed, he went into exile in Germany where he served the Axis states in their war against the Allies. Husseini conducted virulent anti-Jewish propaganda and tried to influence the Axis powers to expand their extermination program to the Middle East and North Africa. In the spring of 1943, he mobilized and organized Bosnian Muslim units in Croatia, who fought in the ranks of the S.S. in Bosnia and Hungary.

In fact, the exhibit actually downplays Husseini's involvement with the Nazi murder machine. For example, the exhibit doesn't mention Holocaust historian Christopher Browning's revelation that the mufti was the first non-German with whom Hitler shared plans for the Final Solution. At a private meeting in Berlin in November 1941, Hitler informed Husseini about the coming elimination of European Jewry and added, according to an official summary memo of the meeting: "Germany's objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power." Nor does the exhibit remind visitors that in 1943, the Nazis considered a proposal to release 5,000 Jewish children in return for captured German soldiers held by the Allies, but that Husseini lobbied Himmler against letting the children go. The children were eventually deported to the death camps.

But to notice these omissions-to suggest that Yad Vashem goes out of its way not to connect the Arab world's hatred of Israel to the Nazis-would, of course, ruin Ruthven's preconceived notions about Israeli manipulation of the Holocaust. After I e-mailed Ruthven and asked for the source of his inaccurate description of the exhibit, he answered: "My description of Yad Vashem came from a visit (actually two visits) I made in 2004, so the exhibits may have changed." I take him at his word. But a writer less eager to prove his prejudices would have made sure that his story fit the facts before publishing it.

There's also the matter of Ruthven's citation of "the Israeli historian" Tom Segev to support the charge that Yad Vashem associates Israel's current enemies with the Nazis. It's deceptive, to say the least, to describe Segev as just another Israeli historian-something like identifying Howard Zinn as just another American historian. Segev is one of Israel's most prominent "post-Zionist" journalists. His work seeks to "deconstruct" and ultimately undermine the Jewish character of the state. He has an ideological axe to grind, indicting the entire Zionist leadership, starting with David Ben-Gurion, for cynically using the catastrophe of European Jewry to achieve the state's political objectives. Ruthven told me, by the way, that he drew his citation of Segev from Norman Finkelstein's book The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering. In that notorious book, Finkelstein offers his own fabrication about the Husseini exhibit, writing that "the Mufti gets top billing at Yad Vashem."

Ruthven should have known that Segev's judgment on these matters has been rendered worthless-by Segev himself. In the New York Times Book Review in 2008, Segev excoriated David Dalin and John Rothmann's book on the mufti, Icon of Evil, observing that it "belongs to a genre of popular Arab-bashing that is often believed to be 'good for Israel.' It is not. The suggestion that Israel's enemies are Nazis, or the Nazis' heirs, is apt to discourage any fair compromise with the Palestinians, and that is bad for Israel." The Middle East reporter for The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg, rightly observed that Segev "has stringent standards for what makes a good Middle East book: Above all, it has to be helpful to the 'peace process.' Its truth, or falsehood, is not quite so important."

Ruthven does occasionally offer a reasonable criticism of Berman's book. He pounces on Berman's statement that "the Arab zone ended up as the only region in the entire planet in which a criminal on the fascist side of the war, and a major ideologue, to boot, returned home in glory, instead of in disgrace." Ruthven is correct that other Nazi collaborators returned to their native lands not "in disgrace" but rather in some favor with their countrymen. He cites two instances: the Finnish ally of the Nazis Gustaf Mannerheim and the Indian anti-British activist Subhas Chandra Bose. He might have mentioned other cases: Communists after the Nazi-Soviet pact; Franco's Blue Division, which "voluntarily" fought on the Nazi side; even the tiny Jewish terrorist group LEHI (also known as the Stern Gang), with its harebrained scheme to convince the Nazis to help them liberate Palestine from the British.

Ruthven scores a small point, but he obfuscates the larger issue. Other collaborators might have cooperated with the Nazis because of political expediency: the enemy of my enemy is (temporarily) my friend. Tariq Ramadan has tried to rationalize the mufti's wartime services to the Nazis this way. But it is precisely Berman's contention (backed by Herf's, Mallmann's, and Cuppers's research) that the Husseini-Hitler collaboration wasn't a case of expediency. Rather, that particular partnership was nourished by deep ideological affinities-a "symbiosis" of Nazi and Islamist doctrines, according to Herf-about how best to solve the infernal "Jewish problem."

Ruthven cannot allow himself to deal forthrightly with this issue of Islamic fascism, a central theme of Berman's book. He insists defensively on Hassan al-Banna's "stated belief that Nazi racial theories were incompatible with Islam." Why, then, did al-Banna arrange-as Herf and other historians have documented-for the translation and distribution to the Arab world of Mein Kampf? Even Ruthven once admitted-in The New York Review-that Nazi doctrines about the Jews had infected Muslim Brotherhood offshoots like Hamas. "Imported European anti-Semitism is now embedded in the charter of Hamas, whose thirty-second article explicitly cites the Protocols as 'proof' of Israeli conduct," Ruthven wrote in 2008. "As Sari Nusseibeh, the Palestinian philosopher and former PLO representative in Jerusalem, has observed, Hamas's charter 'sounds as if it were copied out from the pages of Der St�rmer.'"

But that was a rare moment of clarity on Islamism for today's New York Review. For liberal intellectuals, it would seem that looking too deeply into the fascist roots of movements like Hamas could endanger the "peace process." Fascism? What fascism? Instead of demonstrating a smidgen of sympathy and support for Israel, the democratic country that most directly faces the threat of Islamist aggression, New York Review writers now routinely question Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state. The master postulate in this turn against Israel was laid down in 2003 by the Review's most iconic intellectual, the late Tony Judt, when he declared that Israel was an "anachronism" and a colossal historical mistake. Judt insisted that the mistake must be corrected forthwith by turning Israel into a de-Judaized, binational state-otherwise, the region would likely blow up and the collateral damage might harm even liberal, non-Zionist, New York Jews.

That's why Ruthven's article is significant. It doesn't merely demonstrate The New York Review's animus toward Paul Berman. Its distortions about Yad Vashem support the widespread canard that Israel misuses the Holocaust for the ruling regime's political ends. This contention is repeated ad nauseam in post-Zionist and anti-Zionist polemics questioning the moral legitimacy of Israel. In his essential new book, Post-Zionism, Post-Holocaust, Hebrew University philosopher Elhanan Yakira shows how the contention is used by an "opprobrium community"-which includes Segev and Finkelstein-to undermine one of the moral rationales for the creation of the Jewish state.

Yakira also offers an ironic reformulation of Tony Judt's complaints against Israel: "Given the fact that Israel is an anachronism and a burden and that the Israelis are infantile, unreliable, and politically hopeless, it is appropriate that we-Jewish American intellectuals, in particular-take matters in hand and impose order on the Middle East. Nor need we take too seriously what the Israelis themselves say, except for a few outstanding figures who tower morally and intellectually above the rest of the country." Yakira's sad parody applies as well to other liberal intellectuals and to their appalling abandonment of Israel, the embattled Middle East democracy that is first on Islamic fascism's target list. Even Paul Berman's book doesn't adequately condemn that dereliction.

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Posted on 10/23/2010 3:50 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 23 October 2010
In Stopping Saudi Money, Norway Sets An Example
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The Investigative Project: 

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Posted on 10/23/2010 3:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 23 October 2010
Ossama Bahloul's Radical Heritage, or, Islam Always Seeks Domination
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Justin O. Smith of Murfreesboro writes:
 
Imam Ossama Bahloul of the Murfreesboro Islamic Center is a graduate of Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. He received an MS in Da' awah, proselytizing for Islam, and he is currently working on a Ph.d in Comparative Religious Studies. Ordinarily this would seem rather innocuous if it were not for the historical record that explicitly denotes the radical Islamist agenda exported across the globe by this Islamic "center of education."
 
Al Azhar University is the foremost leader in Islamic education, and it is the progenitor of the pan-Islamic movement or Islamist movement. From as early as 1897, long before U.S. involvement in the Middle East or the creation of the sovereign Jewish state of Israel, a great number of Islamic scholars were already advocating, at the very least, an Islamic caliphate extending from the Balkans across the entire Middle East to the Far East. Many of the violent "jihadist" (holy warriors) radicals operating today actually mentored under imams who were students of these early radicals at Al Azhar, and currently, we now hear the leaders of the Islamist movement calling for Shari'a Law being spread across Europe and the U.S.
 
From its inception in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) set forth on a mission to infiltrate Al Azhar University as well as Middle Eastern and world governments. Hassan al-Banna was the founder of the MB; much of his ongoing philosophy came directly from his father, Sheikh Amad al-Banna, who was mentored by Mohammed Abduh; Abduh was a teacher at Al Azhar and became the Grand Mufti of Egypt by 1899. Mohammed Abduh was also the most important disciple of the founder of the pan-Islamic movement ("Salafiyya"), Jaamal al-Din al-Afghani. When Afghani died he left behind numerous writings that influence the modern Islamist movement and terrorists.
 
Sayeed Qutb was the MB's chief ideologist after al-Banna was assassinated in 1949 by Egyptian secret police, who were retaliating for the 1948 assassination of Egyptian Prime Minister Pasha by the MB. Qutb developed the doctrine that according to Islam the modern Arab states are too heavily influenced by "Jahiliyyah" or barbarity and Western culture. Qubt wrote: "It is not the function of Islam to compromise with the concepts of (Western culture) which are current in the world or to co-exist in the same land...It (Western culture) derives its system...from a source other than Allah...Islam cannot accept any mixing with (Western culture). Either Islam will remain or the (Western culture); no half-half situation is possible."
 
Qutb authored 24 books and a 30 volume commentary on the Qur'an, including 'Milestones' which led Egypt's President Nassar to have him executed in 1966. Qutb advocated the violent overthrow of political systems in order to install Islamic theocracies and inspired Muslim fundamentalists around the world. Qutb was the principle inspiration for Ossama bin-Laden, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and Dr. Abdullah Azzam.
 
Dr. Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian, became convinced that Qutb's militant interpretation of Islamic Jihad offered the solution to social and economic problems, while studying at Al Azhar. During this period Azzam mentored a 24 year old Ayman al-Zawahiri who went on to become an inspiration to Osama bin-Laden and his second in command. Qutb's writings eventually convinced Azzam to found the organization that would later become al-Qaeda.
 
Sayeed Abdullah Maududi, the founder of Jaamat-e-Islami, was also inspired by Qutb while attending an Al Azhar funded and heavily influenced Kabul University. Maududi became a leading Islamist theorist in post-independence Pakistan. In 1939, Maududi emphasized, "The purpose of Islam is to set up a state on the basis of its own ideology...regardless of which nation assumes the role of the standard bearer of Islam or the rule of which nation is undermined in the process of the establishment of an ideological Islamic State."
 
Throughout the 20th century, thousands of radical imams associated with the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Jaamat-e-Islami and numerous other terror organizations have graduated from Al Azhar. Among Al Azhar's most notorious graduates is Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader. He is admired by Ossama Bahloul, although he once wrote that Hitler was Allah's manner of rendering judgement upon the Jews and that "Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of believers." Another is the "Blind Sheikh," Omar Abdel Rahman, who is affiliated with the al-Farouq mosque and stands convicted in the 1993 WTC Bombing. Rahman offered this motto to his followers, "Jihad and the rifle alone...no negotiations, no conferences and no dialogue." Another is Sheikh Abdul Hassan who headed the Fatwa Committee of Al Azhar in February 2003 when he issued a fatwa stating that Muslims had an "obligation" to kill American and British soldiers if they entered Iraq, and that any dead Muslims would be considered martyrs. Two more Al Azhar graduates are Imam Faizul Khan, who ministered the Ft. Hood Shooter, also sits on the board of the radical Islamic Society of North America that was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror financing case in U.S. history in 2009 and Dr. Mustafa Ceric, who supports Bosnian Wahhabism and a growing Islamic extremism throughout Europe, has made it clear that he views Great Britain as the first conquest in the Islamization of Europe!
 
Imam Ibrahim Dremali, who studied under Grand Imam Tantawi, further exemplifies Al Azhar's radical indoctrination and agendas. Tantawi supported violent jihad against America and suicide bombings. In 1998 Dremali co-founded the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, and not long afterwards he was organizing pro-Palestinian protests in front of from the Israeli Embassy in Miami and stating, "With Jihad we'll claim our land, Zionist blood will wet the sand." Dremali fled Boca Raton as he anticipated the arrest of one of his followers, a proven al-Qaeda operative. Also, it just so happens that Dremali and Ossama Bahloul both belong to the North American Imam Federation.
 
Sayeed Maududi and many other Islamic scholars have never accepted Islam as simply a "religion," a term generally used in all cultures, when referring to divine guidance. Instead, Maududi focused on the Qur'anic term "addin" (the way of life). Muadudi stated that the Qur'an never used "din" (way of life) alone; whenever the Qur'an speaks about Islam, the Qur'an calls Islam "the way of life." The inescapable historic truth is that Hassan al-Banna, Sayeed Qubt and Sayeed Abdul Maududi strongly influenced the 20th century progression of Islam, and they were the modern revivalists of an ideology based on the belief of Islamic superiority with its desire for world domination. It was later that Saudi and Iranian oil wealth allowed the promotion, finance and export of radical Wahhabi, Shari'a Law and Khomeini-style armed jihad to nations across the globe. Hassan al-Banna's Muslim Brotherhood and Al Azhar University are indisputably the progenitors of all modern Islamist groups. Hassan al-Banna was fond of stating, "We need three generations for our plans...one to listen, one to fight and one to win." One should ask, "Did Ossama Bahloul avoid accepting or being indoctrinated by the Islamists' worldview so prevalent at Al Azhar University?

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Posted on 10/23/2010 3:00 PM by NER
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Saturday, 23 October 2010
One Ex-Muslim On Other Ex-Muslims
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ISLAMIC LIES & MYTHS

by Ahmed Simon

It is non-Muslim's common knowledge, that Muslims almost always lie to protect and glorify their Allah and Muhammad. They unashamedly state myths in public, non-Muslims would be ashamed of; without first thinking of the consequences of what they utter. But the non-Muslim responses have been (1) 'It is plain rubbish' (2) 'who cares' (3) to a polite, 'Is it so?' (But perhaps, laughing inside at the stupidity of it all).

The vast majority of Muslims can recite the Quran blindly {as they are taught to}, without understanding what they recite. Some Muslims only know a sanitized version of the Quran, which they were taught. The truth in the Quran is almost never revealed, and thus most Muslims will genuinely be shocked in disbelieve, to learn the true barbarism/contradictions in the Quran.

However, almost all individual Muslims have been very enthusiastic and vocal in spreading the sanitized version of Islam, not because they are very concerned with the non-Muslims' welfare, but because they have been nurtured in the Madrassahs or lectured by Islamic clergy, telling them that Allah will grant them extra merit points for Heaven, if they get a non-Muslim converted (basically, it is Self-interest). So, if a Muslim tries to convert you, tell him/her, "Don't try to book your ticket to Heaven through me". Muslim men and women, mainly aim for a Christian, because Christians are more than twice the number of Muslims and also because the existence of the Bible proves the Quran is a fake. But generally, these new Muslim converts soon find out the truth about Islam and try their best to get out or are simply trapped in a vicious cycle.

Muslims always protest that Islam is not hateful and is tolerant of others, though Islam's Hate/intolerance is so very evident/visible in Islamic Countries. In Saudi Arabia, 87,000 foreign non-Muslims keep the oil flowing. But, there is not a single Church or temple or religious building allowed for non-Muslims. In Indonesia, even though it is a secular government, it is the same story for the past 3 decades. What church/temples exist, are bombed/damaged/vandalized. Such is the clear visible evidence but Muslims will pretend a shocked response when informed of this. They are not that dumb.

I was lucky to have met 16 ex-Muslim reconverts to Christianity in Australia during the Christmas holidays (2005), and asked them 'why did they convert to Islam, initially?' Their answers were always, "I never knew Islam is so evil. I was cheated into believing in Islam. He was so loving and conscience before. I got out of it as soon as I could". Other common views given were, "There is no freedom in being a Muslim. Everything is 'the Quran says that and this way; you have to drop everything in the middle of something and go spending 15 minutes for ablution and prayer, at pre-dawn, morning, noon, evening, and night. I used to get up at 7, but as a Muslim I had to get up at around 5 a.m. everyday for the pre-dawn prayers. There is no time for anything else - it is a dog's life. I don't think a real God would tie you down with so many straightjacket rules'" Most of the women had to seek police protection - some (with their children) left their original towns after they divorced their Muslim husbands - six reconverted and married Christians - one reconverted to Christianity, but is devoting her life to her 4 children and sending them to catechism classes - 2 have devoted their lives to evangelizing and they have brought 7 Muslims to Christ, so far. One woman charged her Muslim husband for three counts of rape and he was imprisoned for 30 months". It seems to me these Muslim lies and myths are actually contributing more damage to Islam than good. This reminds me of the proverb, "Win the battle and loose the war."

On the other side of the spectrum, I also met nine Arab/Iranian Christian converts (men and women) from Muslim immigrant families. Almost all of these had varying degrees of threats, beatings, harassments, abuse, etc. What are these Islamic lies and myths, Muslims are nurtured in? When Allah himself confirms that he is the best schemer and plotter to trick/deceive non-Muslims {3:54 & 10:22}; then you can imagine the dangers we a dealing with. This article is designed to help innocent non-Muslims from falling prey to Islamic lies and myths. To know is half the battle won. I share my knowledge in this article with others (Due to space, I have purposely left out numerous examples). I have taken some of these 'Islamic Lies & Myths' from the pages of this Guestbook, which were statements made by Muslims. The others are from conversations with ex-Muslims; I deal with in the course of my evangelizing work. With the one true God on our side, the worldwide efforts of Christians are producing good results.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 1 - "Islam is peaceful" - Well, Muslims might think killing human beings is peaceful, as mentioned in Quran 8:39 - 'kill non-Muslim men, women and children, until there are no more non-Muslims in this world', is definitely an ideology no sensible person will call as peaceful, unless he is brain dead.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 2 - "Islam is pure" - Coconut water is also pure coconut water, so what of it? This is a subjective word, which simply means it is not adulterated - like pure Honey. There are pure poisons too. There is pure Evil - like Islam is.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 3 - "Islam is for everybody" - When Islam includes killing every non-Muslims, (8:39), then of course, it includes everybody. Coconut is for everybody too, but it all depends if everybody want it, isn't it?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 4 - "Islam is for everybody" - but Allah says it can be only in Arabic, what about the 99.6% of the 'everybody' of this world, whose language is not Arabic? Shouldn't have Allah considered the other languages, like more than the 30 religions do? Is Allah capable only in the Arabic language and ignorant of the others?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 5 - "The Quran has everything, which is in the Bible" - This common blatant lie is a joke. The Quran is one book, whereas the Bible comprises 66 books. The Quran has 433 pages, whereas the Bible is of 1,709 pages. The verses in the Bible amount to a voluminous 31,173 against the Quran's paltry 6,241 verses. The Quran has 114 Sura (chapters) against the Bible's 1,189 chapters. And this also clearly shows, the complete ignorance of Muslims for the Bible.

Islamic Lies & Myths no 6 - "The Quran has everything, which is in the Bible" - Fact - the majority of the prophets in the Bible are not (missing) in the Quran. This also shows the Muslims' complete ignorance of the Bible and the plentiful information missing in the Quran. This is also why in the Quran 2:159 Allah {actually it is Muhammad who was not able to copy it} cursed the Christians for hiding their scriptures (Bible). Since Allah claims he produced the scriptures for the Christians, then why are the majority of prophets in the Bible missing in the Quran? And in Quran 2:136 Allah says what was revealed to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jewish tribes, Moses, Jesus is all in the Quran - it is not. So, Allah is actually the biggest liar to say such a big lie.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 7 - "The Quran is a wonderful masterpiece" - Fact - The chapters of the Quran are not arranged in importance, continuity, biography, chronology, significance or sequence of any sort, but are arranged by length - the longest chapter first and the last chapter with just 6 lines. Verses are disorderly arranged and jumbled up in unrelated subjects/topics. Christians will be horrified to know that there is no prophecy, no chronology, no geography, no biography of anybody (not even Muhammad), no ministry, no history, no proverbs, no parables, no miracles, no psalms, etc, generally, just do's and don't, like an instruction manual of a vacuum cleaner; and with punitive punishments, retaliations and rewards specified.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 8 - "The Quran has everything" - the Quran has nothing worthwhile for any intelligent person, except being a recipe for the terrorists.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 9 - "The Quran 10:38 confirms and explains the bible" - This is rubbish and a big white lie. Without all the prophets, etc this claim is a stupid joke. In any case, the Christians do not want the Quran to confirm anything for them, as they already know the Bible is the 'Word of the Lord' and whoever copies and uses that information is cursed by the one true God in Rev.22: 18-19.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 10 - "Islam is harmonious" - Shias killing Sunnis, Sunnis killing Shias (inside mosques), Sunnis killing Druze, Sunnis killing Kurds, Hannafi killing Ahmadiyah, the list goes on and on. Is this Islamic harmony invisible?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 11 - "Islam is charitable" - If each Muslim contributed just 1 dollar, the 1 billion dollars collected, could have built 200,000 wooden houses for 1 million homeless Acehnese Muslims in Indonesia, who are suffering in tents today, since the tsunami of dec.2004. This prompted the Indonesian Ulama Council to condemn all Muslims as the 'Invisible Muslims'. Earthquake Victims still live in appalling conditions in Pakistan, Iran, Algeria, Turkey, etc, Shame on you Muslims, not to care for human lives. But, Muslims will willing spend money for mosques, terrorism, conversion of non-Muslims as the Quran says, all for self-interest in gaining extra merit points from Allah only for themselves {selfish}.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 12 - "Islam means unity" - Then why are there more than 200 Islamic Sects 'blowing' the heads off each other? If Muslims cannot agree among them, where is Islamic unity?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 13 - "Islam is the final message" - a) Then why did Baha' Allah and his Muslim followers breakaway and form their own Bahai religion? B) Why did the Shia not agree to the final message and create their own version of the Quran? Shi'ites believe the Mahdi (Jesus) will return and restore things as they should be. Sunnis view this as a denial of Mohammed as a final prophet C) Why do the Sufi Muslims have a different version of the Quran? Sufiism says that true religion is inner truth, not outer practice, as Muslims acknowledge in complete contrast, so, Sufis look to Jesus much more than to Mohammed for inspiration, guidance and as their example D) Amadiyah Muslims recognize Muhammad but, their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed also to be the Mahdi (said he will re-appear again at the end of the world in contradiction to the Quran which says Jesus will come to judge at the end of the world). The list goes on and on.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 14 - "Women are equally treated in Islam" - Quran 2:223 "Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will," 2:228 "Women are equal in Kindness {only}, and men are a degree over women" 2:282 "one man witness equals two women witnesses." 4:3 "marry up to four women, if you can do justice" {justice in sex? When Periods?} 4:4 "give women a dowry" {if equal why dowry?} 4:34 "Men are in charge of women." Also in 4:34 "Men must scourge {whip or lash} their disobedient wives {like animals} and desert them to separate beds" {men to decide, when enough is enough as it is not specified}. The long list of Islamic discrimination and gender inequality goes on and on.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 15 - "Women are equally treated in Islam" - Muslim women must cover themselves from head to toe to prevent the Muslim men from getting tempted sexually. If the problem is the Muslim men, then why don't they avoid staring at women, or Muslim men wear blinkers or castrate those Muslims who cannot control their dirty sexual minds?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 16 "Women are equally treated in Islam" - Why is there no female Islamic clergy, unlike {female} nuns, sisters, preachers, church-wardens, ministers, pastors, evangelists, etc in Christianity? Why is it in Islam, only men can be Imam, Ustaz, Ullama, Mufti, Kadi, etc? Aren't women good enough in Islamic knowledge to hold these posts? The incident in Canada, where a Muslim woman led the prayers in October 2005 was condemned and created such an international Islamic uproar. No news about her since; I wonder what happened to her?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 17 - "Islam is fair" - The five pillars of Islam are central to Islam. One of them - pilgrimage to Mecca if a Muslim can afford, is discriminatory based on being a rich or poor Muslim. Annually, more than a million make this pilgrimage. But the 99% of the Muslims better forget it, as they have no money to fulfill this cardinal Islamic ritual. Is this a fair Islamic commandment? Even in a hundred years, only a tiny percentage would have performed Haj rituals (and mind you, a sizable number are repeat pilgrims - the generations past away - the new generations coming) out of 1.2 billion Muslims. Where is the fairness in Islam?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 18 - "Non-Muslims pray to statues/idols" -Muslims always condemn non-Muslims for praying to statues/idols - But it is obligatory for all Muslims to pray to the stone structure (Kaaba), the black stone and the 360 idols in the Kaaba. Muslims also pray to graves, Mausoleums, shrines {like the Dome in Jerusalem} etc. Muslim hypocrites have no limit to their 'foul mouth' for others.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 19 - "Adam was a Muslim" - If this is true then from 100% Muslim world, down to 17% Muslim population is a very bad record, right? Why did Islam drop so drastically? How did Adam become a Muslim without the Quran/Hadiths/Kaaba/Sunna/black stone/Islam/Muhammad, no Allah {even the Hindu Allah was not in existence during Adam's time}. Adam/Eve could not read or write - so who taught them about Islam/Allah, how and when to pray and face where? Who circumcised Adam? Absurd, isn't it?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 20 - "Jerusalem is a Holy city to Islam" - The name 'Jerusalem' is not even mentioned anywhere in the Quran. The word 'Palestinian' comes from the race, Philistines who are originally from the Island of Crete. What is there today, are Arabs who came from neighbouring countries. There is no distinct Palestinian race among the Arabs today, is there? They are Arabs plain and simple.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 21 - "Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque is from where Muhammad rose to Heaven" - This is a big Lie and a Myth. {How does anyone even know if Muhammad did go to Heaven, leave alone from Jerusalem?} This false claim is based on Muslim guessing of the Quran 17:1 {Actually, the Quran says, "...carried his servant [Muhammad] by night [on a donkey] from the Inviolable place of worship [Mecca] to the far distant place of worship [Later-Muslims claimed this place as Al-Masujidi al-Aqtza] the neighbourhood whereof." This 'far distant place' could mean anywhere on earth, couldn't it? It doesn't even mention a mosque, does it? If Muhammad was already dead, then to whom did Allah reveal this sura? {Who coined this Sura? You see the lie/fraud in the Quran? } The fact - the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock was not built yet then, when Muhammad was killed. Did he go 700Km. just in one night and that too on a donkey, over the desert, did the donkey have headlamps, was Muhammad's body strapped or someone holding the dead body, in the extreme cold of the desert, did the donkey stop to quench his thirst, or did the donkey have a supersonic 700 Km. flight?

Fact-Jerusalem was captured by Khalif Omar only in 638, six years after Mohammed's death. Throughout this time there were only churches in Jerusalem, and a church stood on the Temple Mount, called the Church of Saint Mary, built in the Byzantine architectural style, started by Emperor Constantine 1 after 330 A.D. and completed by Emperor Justinian. In or around 711, or about 80 years after Muhammad died, Malik's son, Abd El-Wahd - who ruled from 705-715 - renovated the Church of St. Mary and converted it into a mosque. He left the structure as it was, a typical Byzantine {Eastern Roman Empire} "basilica" structure with a row of pillars with corridors on either side of the rectangular "ship" in the centre {A typical church building design}. All he did was some cosmetic renovations, removed Christian items and replaced the Christian stained glasses. He then named it Al-Aqsa, so it would sound like the one mentioned by the Muslims. This Mosque still looks more like a church, and there is no Mosque anywhere in this world, which looks like it. The Muslims have no shame to claim a church as their 3rd most holy mosque. Al Aqsa mosque did not exist when Muhammad died. Allah obviously meant the Medina Mosque. But the Muslims wanted Islam to be recognized with God's "people of the Book" and seek some acceptance from the Jews, which Muhammad tried, but was rejected all the time, as Jews consider Muhammad a fake. Historically, from 2000 B.C., Jerusalem was Jewish and Jerusalem is a Hebrew name, originally it was called the 'city of Judah' and once the 'city of God'. In ancient days, Arabs had no name for this city, but in modern times named this city 'al-Khuds' {'the Holy'}

Islamic Lies & Myth no 22 - The early Christian churches were mostly built in the Byzantine architecture, especially, the dome shape on top in the pre-Islamic period. When the Muslims began to copy this adapted standard of the churches to gain recognition from the Christians, the Christians instead dumped this architectural standard, as they felt embarrassed to be associated with Islam. So you would notice very early churches with a dome on top {built before Islam was born}, like in Israel, Vatican, Italy, Greece, Russia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Turkey, etc. The Muslims are unashamed copycats. Why couldn't they design their own standard? Muslims did their level best to copy/plagiarize the Bible, and many aspects of Christianity, but failed drastically and resorted to all sorts of Lies and Myths in the end. But, our ONE TRUE GOD protected and preserved Christianity as the true faith of God.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 23 - "Islam is not terrorism, it is a very sociable and a open religion" - Sura 8.12 says, "I will throw fear (terrorize) on the unbelievers. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger." {Here, Allah himself admits, he is a terrorist who terrorizes non-Muslims. So how can Muslims say Islam is not terrorism and contradict Allah?} Why does Allah say in the Quran 3:28 & 9:23 Muslims not to be friends of non-Believers of Islam, even if he is a brother or father? Sociable? And 25:52 asks Muslims not to obey non-Muslims. So, non-Muslims cannot employ Muslims, can they?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 24 - "The Quran is scientific" - Allah says the earth is as flat as a carpet {not a sphere} and the sun revolves around the earth and here is the best part - the sun sets everyday on planet earth {whew and without burning up the earth? How can this Allah be so idiotic?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 25 - "Islam is the fastest growing religion" - this myth is debunked in the article "Islam in fast Demise" & "The Myth about Islam being the fastest growing religion" in this website. The official OIC figure in 2005 was '1.2 billion in 2003' out of this world's 6.7 billion = 17.5%. In the Guestbook, Siti said her whole family in Indonesia is officially listed as Muslims to avoid Islamic persecution and harassment. There are probably millions of such non-Muslims in Islamic countries, thus making even the real figure much less than the 1.2 billion. Muslims can visibly see converts into Islam, but more Muslims who leave Islam are invisible to Muslims because they mostly leave Islam secretly, to protect them from being killed as apostates by the Muslims, Quran 4:89. Islam is actually dying, and top Islamic scholars are very worried of this (Please read the 2 articles for proof).

Islamic Lies & Myth no 26 - "Islam will improve life" - Muslims are risking life and limb to flee Islamic countries, legally and illegally, and they don't want to go back, even if caught. In most cases, they had to be forcefully kicked back to Islamic countries. If Islam is so great why do Muslims want to stay in non-Muslim countries, instead of Islamic countries, - This evidence is proof of their lies.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 27 - "Islam is good" - Agreed, only for the terrorists.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 28 - "Muslims who terrorise do not know the true Islam" - Does that mean that it is okay for non-Muslims who do not know their true religion can murder Muslims? All terrorists are true Muslims because they follow what Allah said in the Quran, which is to murder non-Muslims.

Islamic Lies & Myths no 29 - "Quran is original and has never been changed" - The Quran itself admits to cancellations and changes in Quran 2:106, 16:101, 22:52. 22:52 says Satan proposed some Quranic Sura. The Quran was fabricated hundreds of years after Muhammad. None of the Authors (Hadiths) of Muhammad ever saw/met him. Sahih Bukhari died in 870 A.D. (Bukhari vol.6:385) 238 years after Muhammad was poisoned to death. In contrast, the authors/Apostles of Jesus ate, drank, slept, walked, talked, prayed, preached, and lived with him.

Islamic Lies & Myths no 30 - "Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, are Muslims and Islamic prophets" - But the Quran says in 22:52 "Never did we send a messenger or a prophet before you (Muhammad)" So who is lying - Allah or the Quran or both? How did they become Muslims before Islam was born, or when no Muslims were around them? Or when nobody knew the Quran? In other words, Allah is telling that without Muhammad/Quran, one can be a Muslim. If that is so, then what is the use of Muhammad and the Quran? Ridiculous, isn't it?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 31 - Muslims say "what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the tribes, Moses, and Jesus are in the Quran". This is from Sura 2:136 in which Allah confirms that he revealed the Christian scriptures to them and it is in the Quran ("revealed unto us" [Muslims]). Revealed to Ishmael - where? What? Moses in the Bible {Exodus, Leviticus, numbers, Deuteronomy} is 137 chapters and 4,415 verses {against the Quran's 114 chapters and 6,241 verses. This alone takes up almost the entire Quran} Jacob is another 25 chapters. Mind you, we have not considered Abraham, Isaac, the Jewish tribes, and Jesus yet. Ask any Muslim, how can one accommodate all these in the Quran? And all this doesn't account for 25% of the bible. This proves Allah is lying to the Muslims. Allah also said, he specifically gave Jesus scriptures. But, Jesus never handed any scripture to anybody. Did Jesus throw it away because there is no such scripture in the Bible and the Quran. All we have is what apostles wrote about Jesus (Gospels). If Allah gave Jesus scriptures, then what happened to it? Where is it? It's a mystery. The mystery draws weird because these scriptures given to Jesus and even the four Gospels are not in the Quran. Making a few inaccurate references of Jesus here and there in the Quran, are not Gospels. Did Allah lie again to the Muslims?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 32 - "There is no compulsion in religion." - Muslims always quote only the first sentence of Quran 2:256. But never complete the whole Sura, which is " There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejected false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold, which will never break. Allah is hearer, knower." So this means that there is no compulsion in Islam, only if disbelievers reject 'false deities' {false to Islam means all other religions} and believe only in Allah in the 'right' direction forever. This hypocrisy of the Muslims only to pick the first sentence and mislead non-Muslims is a devious deception in cunningness, practiced by most Muslims to deceive non-Muslims as though it is a very free religion. But in reality, this Myth is furthest from the truth.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 33 - Here is the clear evidence that Allah himself lies. In Quran 2:266 "Thus Allah maketh plain his revelations unto you, in order that ye may give thought." And then Allah says in Quran 3:7 "None knoweth its explanations, save Allah." {The Question is - Are revelations in the Quran plain for Muslims to understand or does only Allah know the explanations to understand them? Which sura is correct and which sura is wrong? They both cannot logically be right, can it? This is a contradiction within the Quran. Why is Allah lying to all the Muslims?}

Islamic lies & Myth no 34 - "There is no contradiction in the Quran 4:82" - the above item 33 is a contradiction. In Sura 2:117 Allah confirms he created the Heavens and earth instantaneously. In Sura 41:9-12, Allah confirms that he created the earth and the Heavens in two days; Allah goes further to confirm in Sura 7:54, 10:3, 11:7, & 25:59 that he took six days. But then again, Allah elaborates in Sura 41:9-12, to describe his creation of the Heavens and earth in 8 (2+4+2) days. If Allah can give Muslims such inaccurate information, it sure puts this Allah in the fake category, isn't it? How can an Allah be so wrong? The list of contradictions is so long and humongous [about 286 pages], that I will direct you to 'Internal Contradictions within the Quran', 'External Contradictions to the Quran' in www.answering-islam.org

Islamic Lies & Myth no 35 - The Muslims all over the world say, they face the Kaaba for all prayers - This is a lie and a myth. How can anyone who is out of sight of the Kaaba face it? As the world is round, Muslims beyond sight can logically only face outer space to pray. This came about because Allah thought and said in the Quran, the world is as flat as a carpet. Why did this Allah make Muslims the laughing stork of the non-Muslims? Muslims must be 'going bananas' in trying to face the Kaaba. How can a supposedly creator of the earth not know the earth is a sphere? This proves Allah is a fake and Muhammad was lying about this Allah all the time - thus hasn't Muhammad been deceiving the Muslims all along about Allah/Kaaba? That is why the pilgrimage to Mecca is cursed and every year Muslims die there in natural causes {heart attack, etc} and in accidents. In 1990 - 1,019 pilgrims accidentally died, in 1993 - 254 died, In 2004 - 127 died, in 2006 - about 400 died {this doesn't include the 96 pilgrims died, 4 days earlier, when their 8 storeys hostel near the Kaaba collapsed in 2006} and smaller numbers died in other years. The natural and accidental deaths are unprecedented. Muslims claim it is because of the large numbers. The Mega Mela {Hindu Pilgrimage} in Allahabad, India draws 20 to 22 million every year and no stampedes. The 12th Mega Mela is the 12th cycle called Kumbh Mela {pronounced Kumba Mela} which drew 70 Million pilgrims {see internet for details}. These pilgrimages last about 12 days, each year and is generally so peaceful that even journalists/tourists find it astounding for the largest human gathering in the world {see Guinness Book}. There are many other pilgrimages of above 2 million pilgrims. Paranormal experts believe the spirits of those innocent Christians and Jews, Muhammad and his companions beheaded, are still roaming Saudi Arabia, especially in Mecca and Medina Areas for revenge. These spirits are said to be those untimely killed by Muhammad and will keep killing in revenge, until Christian and Judaism prayers and offerings are made to their spirits over years {equal to Muhammad's killing years or more} to appease them. {This they believe is not an absolute cure}. The common incidents of seeing spirits even in daylight and the sudden hysterical screaming and collapse of groups of Muslims (especially girls/women} all over the world {Like to the Muslim girls in Jakarta/Lahore/Madrid) is due to the spirits of those innocent civilians killed by the Muslims all over the world. These spirits roam about, looking for their prey all. The paranormal experts strongly believe these spirits are causing these natural and accidental deaths all over the world (they cannot be contained), it is denser in areas of Muslim killings for revenge, targeting only Muslims. They are not known to have attacked any non-Muslim. Even if Muslims produce more Muslims, the overall Muslim world population is reducing, due to natural calamities, accidents and the rudimentary facilities in Islamic countries {especially medical}. It is as if the One True God is working against Muslims or is it the terrible curses in the Bible (Rev. 22:18-19) for copying a small part of Bible or both? Probably both.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 36 - "Islam is in Pure Arabic and cannot accurately be translated into English" - This is partly true, not because Arabic is very wonderful and great, but for the opposite reasons. This assumption comes from the Quran. If you listen to an Arabic broadcasting station speaking in Arabic, you will be shocked to hear a lot of English words thrown in into the Arabic broadcast. This is mainly because the vocabulary is lacking. For example, a lot of you reading this article have seen the word 'Sura' and probably know that it refers to chapters in the Quran, right? But 'Sura' actually means 'fence' in Arabic. There is no specific word for 'chapter', so 'Sura' became the norm during those days and it has carried on today. Another thing about Arabic is that they write 'backwards' {from right to left}. This was a very big problem, especially, in the olden days when ink and a feather {for a pen} were used for writing. If the written ink were not yet dry, your palm would smear the written words. Thus, it is time consuming, clumsy, and prone to error, even if a small smudge changed the letter to something else. {Try writing backwards and see for yourself}. With all these problems, Arabic is chosen for the revelation of the Quran - A stupid choice. Because of the Arabic language, Muslim interpretations vary and are almost never the same, among Muslim sects and between Muslims themselves. Try it yourself - ask 10 Ustaz/Imam [Islamic teacher or priest] and don't be surprised to get 10 different answers/interpretations. So when a Muslim tells you it is not possible to translate word for word - you could sympathize with him and say, "what a Pity for Islam". Let me prove to you that Muslims generally don't know the meaning of what they are reciting from the Arabic Quran. Muslims, say prayers 5 times everyday in Arabic, read symbols/signs, Friday prayers and other Islamic literature in Arabic all the time, right? So one would think Muslims are sort of Arabic experts, right? But the Organisation of Islamic Conference Countries {OIC} uses their medium of communication during the conference, speeches, agreements/documents, etc in the English language. Now these Islamic countries do not send their drain sweepers to this international conference, but the best; and yet they do not conduct the conference in Arabic. This is because if a delegate refers to a Sura {of a document), some other delegate might possibly walk in with a 'fence'. So the delegates had no choice but to dump Arabic and use the English language for their Islamic conferences every year {even though they use/recite Arabic everyday of their life}.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 37 - "Muhammad was fighting wars and in wars people do get killed" - Trying to 'Whitewash' Muhammad's savage life? The dictionary's definition of 'War' 'is fighting between nations, states or widespread hostility throughout a country, such as a civil war'. There was never, any of this, during Muhammad's lifetime in Saudi Arabia. The truth is that Muhammad never fought a war in his life, and, they were just raids in the true sense. Muhammad initiated and raided villages and towns for profit; capturing women and children for slavery, trade and sex, after beheading their men and stealing all their belongings (see "Biography of Muhammad" in this website). Out of 68 raids in his lifetime, 67 were aggressive/offensive raids started by Muhammad.

Islamic lies & Myth no 38 - "Islam is universal" - And so is Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Bahai'ism, and the thirty other religions. So what is special?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 39 - "If America don't help Israel, the Middle East problems will be over" - Muslims always condemn America for supporting Israel. They think, without this support, the Jews will not 'spank' the Arab Muslims again. The Arab Muslims fought 5 wars with Israel, and each time the Jews gave the Arab Muslims a 'bloody nose'. In 1948, Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Arab volunteers, formed a united front and simultaneously attacked {1-day-old} newly independent Israel. Israel did not have American support then, and there was no proper Israeli government yet, and no regular army, except a small defense force, ill equipped and fighters made of Jewish volunteers {male and female}, Israel not only defended itself, but also taught the Arab Muslims a lesson not to take Israel lightly as it had the backing of the one true God {and Allah Lost}. Israel has amply shown the world, without American support, and facing Allah's armed forces from 7 Arab Muslim countries, they can spank them good and proper. I remember during the Six-day {1967} when 12,000 men of the Egyptian armed forces, fled for life in the hot Sinai desert and had their feet all burnt. I hope Muslims have learnt their lesson that they cannot defeat Israel, then and now, because the one true God is on the side of Israel {with or without America) and this Allah cannot do a thing. But of course, Muslims can always dream on.

Islamic Lies & Myths no 40 - A man from Istanbul narrated how his sister was dying of leukemia for more than a year. She faithfully prayed to Allah {as the family was Muslim then} but she was only getting worse and finally, more than a year later, being bed-ridden, Jesus appeared and consoled her. Thereafter everything happened fast, and she had a bone marrow transplant in London and eventually her family of 6 became Christians. A Pakistani Muslim's response to this message in the Guestbook was that Allah sent Jesus to cure her. So it was Allah who cured her in his opinion.

First, no one believes this Allah has any power to answer Muslim prayers. Just for argument's sake say Allah did initiate this cure, then this Allah must be an idiot, because by doing so, these 6 people {family} apostated. So every time Allah sends Jesus, the Muslim population reduces? Couldn't this Allah foresee that by sending Jesus {if it is true}, Allah would be damaging the Ummah {Muslims} by reducing it? The truth is Allah never responded for more than a year's Muslim prayer, and finally on her deathbed Jesus appears to her, and she is cured. This Turkish family then realised that Islam is a fake and converted to Christianity, because only Jesus answers your call. She became a nun and probably is responsible for bringing even more Muslims to Christ, today.

What I am trying to point out here is that, Muslims just blurt out to defend Allah, without much thought of the consequences of their words. It is as if, it is an automatic Muslim nurtured response to just lie, any which way they can, to defend this Allah.

Islamic Lies & Myth no 41 - "The Kaaba was built by Abraham." This is a Quranic lie.

Abraham never went to Mecca. According to Judaism, the Bible, The Dead Sea Scrolls and all encyclopeadias, Abraham took the same route with his family/slaves, sheep, donkeys, etc, journeyed from Ur in Chaldea (west of Basra in Iraq) to Haran, Turkey (directly northwest along the Euphrates) and down through the Beka Valley (Syria/Lebanon) to Shechem, Hebron (in Israel), Egypt (near Alexandria) and Beersheba back in Israel along the common fertile land route. (If Abraham went to Mecca not only his sheep, donkeys and his people would have died due to the desert and lack of water, but it was not the route used in 1900 B.C. through those desolate deserts). He lived and died and is buried in Machpelah in Hebron and it is a lie to say that Abraham ever went to Mecca to build the Kaaba. There was no Jewish youth by the name of 'Abraham' as the Quran claims. His name was changed to 'Abraham' only at age 99. If this Allah is God, he should have at least got the original name of Abraham, right? Why is circumambulating the Kaaba 7 times a pagan ritual (2:158) if Abraham built it and purified it according to Allah (2:124-5)? Why would any Jew ever build anything for the Arabs, either before or today? If a Jew built the Kaaba, why doesn't it look like a Synagogue, but as a common Mandabum (Hindu God house for Idols with one door) of a Hindu temple? Why are there 360 idols in the Kaaba and why practicing the 7 circumambulating of the Hindus? THINK - Has any Jew ever built a Cube-house of God, anywhere in this world or circumambulating 7 times? The truth - Kaaba was a Hindu Siva Temple, highjacked by Muhammad to create Islam. See the article, "The Invention of Islam."

Islamic Lies & Myth no 42 - One of the women, I met in Australia told me, most women in Iran (except the rich, who are mostly the Islamic clergy), make do with a rag and a string for their menstruations. The local sanitary napkins are of poor quality and embarrassing leaks are common, so, she sends her sister in Iran, Australian sanitary napkins. And yet the Islamic government wants to build nuclear facilities. Their aim is not for the people's well being, but to destroy Israel and other non-Muslim countries. It goes to show the mentality of many Muslim minds. I predict, one day, Israel will blow it all up in smoke, just like they did to Iraq's nuclear facilities in the late 80s. History will repeat itself here, as they will never learn to co-exist with other religions peacefully. If that happens, all the billions spent will be wasted. Iran exports 4.2 million barrels of oil a day and spends huge sums for terrorism all over the world, while their own people suffer. Theoretically, by any ranking, Islamic Iran should be a very rich and powerful country instead of turning it into a sewer and pariah today - 18 million have fled Iran and most gave up Islam - is there an unseen hand here at play?

Islamic Lies & Myth no 43 - "Islam is a good and proper way of life" - President Bush once said, "The entire Arab World of 22 countries have a total GDP less than Spain alone." Can you imagine with all that oil and with Islam and yet, they have nothing much to show for it, except grief, crime and a miserable life to its people. Saudi Arabia has an unemployment rate of 18%. Even Japan-Buddhist, India-Hindu, China-Taoist/Buddhist are all doing better. Islam is the only religion to self-destruct. If there is a way of life to take a person, backwards, then Islam it is, as the 22 Arab countries have abundantly proven. Which Muslim country adequately provides the basic necessities of life for its people - none?

Islamic Lies & Myths no 44 - In conclusion, if a Muslim brags about Islam, keep challenging him/her and you will soon find out that it is just Islamic Lies & Myths.

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Posted on 10/23/2010 2:59 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 23 October 2010
Could It Conceivably Be Just A Coincidence?
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There are 33 cantos in the Inferno, Dante's trip through the Underworld.

There were 33 miners trapped deep underground -- and then finally brought to the surface -- in Chile.

Coincidence? 

You know the answer to that.

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Posted on 10/23/2010 10:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 23 October 2010
A Musical Interlude: I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You (Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis, Jr., Rex Stewart)
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Listen here.

And also -- with the obvious reservations not dismissed but briefly suspended  --  you may wish to watch, and listen, here, to a rendition of the same song by a seven-year-old performer who needs no introd....

And finally, here is Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra at Connie's Inn, doin' the uptown lowdown, with full lyrics by, and consequently full marks to, Rex Stewart.

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Posted on 10/23/2010 9:30 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 23 October 2010
Judges In Wilders Trial Ordered To Step Down
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Geert Wilders in court in Amsterdam. 22 Oct 2010 Geert Wilders says freedom of speech in the Netherlands is on trial

Judges in the hate speech trial of Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders have been ordered to step down by an independent appeals panel.

The move follows a request by Mr Wilders' lawyers who said they feared the judges were biased against him.

The legal process that began in January must now begin again with new judges. The trial itself started in October.

Mr Wilders faces five charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.

If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

Mr Wilders' lawyer Bram Moszkowicz had argued that the bench at Amsterdam District Court had created "an impression of partiality" by putting off a decision on the defence's request to recall a witness.

Being denied the opportunity to recall the witness would "make it impossible for the defence to substantiate a crucial part of its case", he added.

A hastily convened panel said on Friday that it found the trial judges' decision to be "incomprehensible in the absence of any motivation".

They said that Mr Wilders' fear of bias as a result was "understandable".

"Under the circumstances, the request [for the judges' removal] is granted," said a statement from the panel.

"Another chamber will handle the rest of the case."

Party success

Geert-Jan Alexander Knoops, an international criminal law professor at Utrecht University, told Reuters that the ruling meant there would be new judges and a new date.

"This means that the trial has to start all over again. Not the investigation phase, but the court sessions as the new judges will not have been present at the hearings," he said.

Under scrutiny in the trial are statements Mr Wilders made between 2006 and 2008, including calling Islam "fascist" and likening the Koran to Hitler's book Mein Kampf.

Mr Wilders' Freedom Party is the third biggest in the Netherlands after elections in June, and is expected to play a key role in the next parliament.

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Posted on 10/23/2010 9:25 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 23 October 2010
In Chile, the Lessons of Isolation
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We are always tempted to suppose that conduct in extreme situations reveals more about human nature than conduct in ordinary situations: that the concentration camp, for example, tells us more about who and what we are as a species than the convenience store or dinner party. But all aspects of reality being equally real, is it true that extreme circumstances are uniquely informative?

Given our prejudice in favor of the pedagogic value of the extreme, it is hardly surprising that lessons about human nature should be sought in the burial alive, survival and rescue of the Chilean miners. They were, after all, trapped underground for a record period of time.

That they behaved with great fortitude, courage, faith and dignity will hardly be denied by anyone; the efforts to save them were inspiring. There was no major violence between them (beyond a few reported early scuffles), and no cannibalism either. None of them attempted to save himself at the expense of others, and their leader showed the quality of his leadership by being the last to leave the mine. For once, we humans could feel good about ourselves as a species. Angels could hardly have done better.

Writers have always loved to describe situations in which a man or men (rarely women) have been isolated in the most difficult circumstances, individually or collectively. Generally speaking, what those writers have tried to show is that the civilization of civilized men is but a veneer that is easily stripped off by a little (or much) adversity. Man is thus what he has always been: a wolf to himself. They rarely draw the conclusion that the veneer is the most important thing about civilization.

Continue reading in the Wall Street Journal.

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Posted on 10/23/2010 7:23 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Saturday, 23 October 2010
A Musical Interlude: Good Night, Sweetheart (Al Bowlly, Charlie Chaplin)
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Watch, and listen here.

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Posted on 10/23/2010 12:01 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 23 October 2010
Jane Austen couldn't write
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It is a trewth yooniversly ak nolliged that Jane Ostin was a top riter. Rong. From The Telegraph:

Jane Austen couldn't spell, had no grasp of punctuation and her writing betrayed an accent straight out of The Archers, according to an Oxford University academic.

Prof Kathryn Sutherland said analysis of Austen's handwritten letters and manuscripts reveal that her finished novels owed as much to the intervention of her editor as to the genius of the author.

Page after page was written without paragraphs, including the sparkling dialogue for which Austen is known. The manuscript for Persuasion, the only one of her novels to survive in its unedited form, looks very different from the finished product.

"The reputation of no other English novelist rests so firmly on the issue of style, on the poise and emphasis of sentence and phrase, captured in precisely weighed punctuation. But in reading the manuscripts it quickly becomes clear that this delicate precision is missing.

"This suggests somebody else was heavily involved in the editing process between manuscript and printed book," Prof Sutherland said.

The editor in question is believed to have been William Gifford, a poet and critic who worked for Austen's second publisher, John Murray.

"Gifford was a classical scholar known for being quite a pedant. He took Austen's English and turned it into something different - an almost Johnsonian, formal style," Prof Sutherland said.

"Austen broke many of the rules for writing 'good' English. Her words were jumbled together and there was a level of eccentricity in her spelling - what we would call wrong.

"She has this reputation for clear and elegant English but her writing was actually more interesting than that. She was a more experimental writer than we give her credit for. Her exchanges between characters don't separate out one speaker from another, but that can heighten the drama of a scene.

"It was closer to the style of Virginia Woolf. She was very much ahead of her time."

Amongst Austen's grammatical misdemeanours was an inability to master the 'i before e' rule. Her manuscripts are littered with distant 'veiws' and characters who 'recieve' guests.

Elsewhere, she wrote "tomatoes" as "tomatas" and "arraroot" for "arrowroot" - peculiarities of spelling that reflect Austen's regional accent, Prof Sutherland explained. "In some of her writing, her Hampshire accent is very strong. She had an Archers-like voice with a definite Hampshire burr."

Next they'll be telling us that Shakespeare couldn't spell his own name and sounded like Benny from Crossroads.

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Posted on 10/23/2010 4:45 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 23 October 2010
As Everywhere Else, In Afghanistan The American Government Miscomprehends How Its Muslim Allies Deceive And Betray It At Every Turn
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From the New York Times: 

Iran Is Said to Give Top Aide to Karzai Cash by the Bagful

KABUL, Afghanistan - One evening last August, as President Hamid Karzai wrapped up an official visit to Iran, his personal plane sat on the airport tarmac, waiting for a late-running passenger: Iran's ambassador to Afghanistan.

The ambassador, Feda Hussein Maliki, finally appeared, taking a seat next to Umar Daudzai, Mr. Karzai's chief of staff and his most trusted confidant. According to an Afghan official on the plane, Mr. Maliki handed Mr. Daudzai a large plastic bag bulging with packets of euro bills. A second Afghan official confirmed that Mr. Daudzai carried home a large bag of cash.

"This is the Iranian money," said an Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Many of us noticed this."

The bag of money is part of a secret, steady stream of Iranian cash intended to buy the loyalty of Mr. Daudzai and promote Iran's interests in the presidential palace, according to Afghan and Western officials here. Iran uses its influence to help drive a wedge between the Afghans and their American and NATO benefactors, they say.

The payments, which officials say total millions of dollars, form an off-the-books fund that Mr. Daudzai and Mr. Karzai have used to pay Afghan lawmakers, tribal elders and even Taliban commanders to secure their loyalty, the officials said.

"It's basically a presidential slush fund," a Western official in Kabul said of the Iranian-supplied money. "Daudzai's mission is to advance Iranian interests."

The Western and Afghan officials interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the delicacy of discussing the financial dealings of Mr. Karzai and his aide. The sources said they were motivated by a concern that Mr. Daudzai was helping to poison relations between Mr. Karzai and the United States. Mr. Daudzai and Mr. Karzai both declined to respond to written questions about their relationship with Iran. An aide to Mr. Daudzai dismissed the allegations as "rubbish."

Mr. Maliki, the Iranian ambassador in Kabul, also declined to answer questions. A spokesman for Mr. Maliki called the allegations "devilish gossip by the West and foreign media."

The Iranian payments are intended to secure the allegiance of Mr. Daudzai, a former ambassador to Iran who consistently advocates an anti-Western line to Mr. Karzai, the officials said. Mr. Daudzai briefs Mr. Karzai each morning.

"Karzai knows that without the U.S., he is finished," an associate of the president said. "But it's like voodoo. Daudzai is the source of all the problems with the U.S. He is systematically feeding him misinformation, disinformation and wrong information."

The payments to Mr. Daudzai illustrate the degree to which the Iranian government has penetrated Mr. Karzai's inner circle despite his presumed alliance with the United States and the other NATO countries, which have sustained him with military forces and billions of dollars since the Taliban's ouster since 2001.

Earlier this year, Mr. Karzai invited the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to the presidential palace, where Mr. Ahmadinejad gave a virulently anti-American speech. When Mr. Ahmadinejad visited Kabul, he brought two boxes of cash, an Afghan official said. "One box was for Daudzai personally, the other for the palace," the official said.

A senior NATO officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, declined to discuss whether Mr. Daudzai was receiving money from Iran. But he said that the Iranian government was conducting an aggressive campaign inside Afghanistan to undermine the American and NATO mission and to gain influence in politics.

The NATO officer said Iran's intelligence agencies were playing both sides of the conflict, providing financing, weapons and training to the Taliban. Iranian agents also financed the campaigns of several Afghans who ran in last month's parliamentary election, the NATO officer said.

The Iranian intelligence services have developed the ability to assassinate opponents and attack American troops inside the country, the NATO officer said.

"I am very concerned that they have a lethal capability and presence inside Afghanistan and Kabul," the officer said.

Obama administration officials have expressed alarm about Iranian intentions. Last week, Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration's special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, complained to Afghanistan's finance minister, Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, about Mr. Daudzai and Iran's influence in the presidential palace, a former Afghan official said.

Mr. Holbrooke did not respond to requests for comment. In an interview, Mr. Zakhilwal declined to talk about the discussion with Mr. Holbrooke or about any Iranian activities in Afghanistan.

"We have no choice but to be friendly with Iran," Mr. Zakhilwal said. "It's a hostile neighborhood."

Mr. Daudzai is part of a group of Afghans around Mr. Karzai whose members once belonged to Hezb-i-Islami, a hard-line Islamist group that fought the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The group, loosely allied with the Taliban, is still fighting NATO forces and the Afghan government.

Hezb-i-Islami's leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, was one of the most brutal of Afghan warlords. During the civil war in the 1990s, his forces conducted an extended bombardment of Kabul, killing thousands of civilians. Since 2001, Mr. Hekmatyar has spent at least part of the time living under the protection of the Iranian government. The group also has long-standing ties to Pakistan's intelligence services, which maintain links to the Taliban.

Current and former Afghan officials say the Iranian government began financing Mr. Karzai before Mr. Daudzai became his chief of staff in 2003. It is not clear when Mr. Daudzai became a conduit for Iranian cash. In 2005, he was named ambassador to Iran. It was then, one Afghan official said, that Mr. Daudzai became acquainted with Iranian intelligence officials and grew close to senior Iranian leaders like Mr. Ahmadinejad.

Mr. Daudzai returned to Kabul in 2007 to resume his job as chief of staff. Since then, officials said, Mr. Daudzai has maintained a close relationship with the Iranian ambassador. Iranian officials have nearly unfettered access to Mr. Karzai's palace, bypassing the normal rules of protocol.

"The relationship is intimate," an Afghan political leader said of Mr. Daudzai and the Iranians.

Accounts vary as to how much Iranian money flow into the presidential palace. An Afghan political leader said he believed that Mr. Daudzai received between $1 million and $2 million every other month. A former diplomat who served in Afghanistan said sometimes single payments totaled as much as $6 million.

One former Afghan official said the money appeared to be kept in a safe in Mr. Daudzai's office.

It is not clear whether Mr. Daudzai takes any of the money himself or whether he is the only conduit. But Afghan and Western officials say Mr. Daudzai owns at least six homes in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, and in Vancouver, British Columbia, acquired during his time as Mr. Karzai's top aide.

One Afghan official said Mr. Daudzai used his power over Mr. Karzai's schedule to ensure that Afghans who saw him registered complaints about the American presence in the country and the deaths of Afghan civilians in the war. "This is the strategy," the Afghan official said.

Mr. Daudzai's efforts on Iran's behalf have met with some resistance. According to the Western official, Mr. Daudzai ran afoul of Afghan intelligence officials when he tried to help some Iranian businesses set up operations in Kabul. The Afghan intelligence officials believed that the Iranian officials were fronts for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a powerful wing of the Iranian military.

The Iranian businesses were shut down by the National Directorate of Security, the Western official said. But not for long.

"Daudzai helped them get going, then N.D.S. closed them down, but then they reopened again," the Western official said. An Afghan official confirmed the account.

Iranians get involved in other parts of Afghanistan's political life as well. The Iranian ambassador is trying to sway the choice of speaker of the lower house of Parliament, Afghans said. According to an Afghan official, Mr. Maliki recently called Mirwais Yasini, a candidate for the speaker's job, and urged him to step aside in favor of Yunus Qanooni.

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Posted on 10/23/2010 10:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 22 October 2010
More on the canonisation of Mary MacKillop: Aussie Catholics - and not only the Catholics - partied in Italy and Australia
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At St Peter's square, Rome, Italy:

 From the ABC's Emma Alberici, on 18 October -

www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/10/18/3040655.htm

'Australians celebrate Mary's Canonisation'

'Australians in Rome have spent the night celebrating Australia's first Catholic saint - Saint Mary MacKillop of the Cross.

'In St Peter's Square, before an audience of around 50, 000, Pope Benedict XVI anointed the woman who was born in Melbourne of Scottish migrant parents, and who went on to co-found the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart order of nuns.

'One hundred and forty Sisters of St Joseph, wearing their teal scarves and many of them overcome with tears, sat watching 85 years of work finally come to fruition as the Pontiff honoured St Mary of the Cross for her tireless commitment to educating the poor.

"For many years, countless young people throughout Australia have been blessed with teachers who were inspired by the courageous and saintly example of zeal, perseverance and prayer of Mother Mary MacKillop", Pope Benedict told the crowd.

'The nuns were a joyous bunch, and the Foreign Minister went so far as to call them unruly (not the first time the Sisters of St Joseph have irked an authority figure! - CM), but they were warned at the start of the mass that respect for the solemn nature of the occasion meant no cheering and no waving of flags when Mary MacKillop was declared Australia's first Catholic saint.

'The rite of canonisation took just 15 minutes, as representatives of each of the saints delivered a relic to be blessed by the Pope...

'The eight thousand Australians in St Peter's Square were acknowledged as the biggest single crowd, and they could not wait to unleash their euphoria when the two and a half hour ceremony came to an end...

'Cardinal George Pell (who, I will note, by the by, is very well aware of the meaning and menace of Islam, having read both the Quran and Bat Yeor's work on dhimmitude - CM) congratulated the Labor Government under Kevin Rudd's leadership for not being afraid to embrace Christianity as a core Australian value.  (Are you listening, O Mohammedans in Australia?  The good Archbishop has just reminded you that you are not going to have everything your own way - CM).

'The bipartisan delegation from Canberra was united in declaring the event a day for celebration, not only among Australia's 5 million Catholics (i.e. 1 in every 4 Australians is a Catholic - not a fact generally known, I suspect - CM), but for the entire country."

And also from 18 October, in the land Down Under, half a world away from Rome, an account of the celebrations there .  When reading this piece, note well the names of the Aussie Catholics that appear therein.  It will tell you much about the Catholic community in Australia.

www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/10/18/3040617.htm

'Thousands unite to celebrate 'Aussie' Saint Mary'.

'Thousands of Australians across the nation have watched Pope Benedict XVI declare Mary MacKillop Australia's first Catholic saint.  

'Those who gathered outside Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral to watch the event said they were overwhelmed when the announcement was made.  Up to 4000 people crammed into the cathedral's forecourt where there had been festivities throughout the day and a special mass before the canonisation ceremony.

'Danielle Vivaldo said the emotion was palpable. "I mean the silence was pretty deafening.  I looked around and everyone was obviously feeling the same excitement but we were rather subdued being a Catholic crowd.  Yeah it was great ...very emotional," she said.  

'Some families arrived around midday, setting up in front of the big screen.  Sydneysider Maria Cakarun was there with her mother and two young children.  "It would be lovely to get more people back to the Church and actually believe the true belief, rather than just say cafeteria Catholics," she said. "I hope that her canonisation now will bring a lot of hope to a lot of Catholics that have maybe lost hope in the past."

'Throughout the day members of the public queued to kneel and pray around Saint Mary's tomb.  The nuns of St Joseph's were expecting up to 10,000 people to pour through the site of the tomb for the three mass service and last  night's broadcast.

'Speaking at the mass, Father Graeme Malone (and there's a fine Irish-Australian name! - CM) pointed to the faithful example she sets for all Australians.  "We celebrate in her canonisation a woman of faith, wisdom and vision, who abandoned her heart somewhat recklessly to her compassionate God," he said.  "To the one she so often called her 'Good God'".  

'In Melbourne thousands joined Prime Minister Julia Gillard [who is a professed atheist; but one does not offend 5 million Catholic voters! - CM] and Victorian Premier John Brumby to watch the ceremony at the Exhibition building in Carlton, near where Saint Mary was born. Prime Minister Julia Gillard said it was a day for Australians of all faiths (all? Somehow I suspect the Muslims were not in any hurry to join the party.  People whose co-religionists blow up girls' schools and have fits at the very idea of independent-minded women defying Authority, are not going to warm to someone like Mary MacKillop - CM).  "I think for every Australian it's a moment in time to mark, it's a special celebration" she said. "And I think every Australian would say that Mary was a great Australian and the power of education and the power of using your life for others"...

'A festival to celebrate her life and time in Melbourne was held yesterday afternoon.  The Sisters of St Joseph, co-founded by Mary MacKillop, led a colourful procession through the streets of Melbourne to celebrate the canonistion.  The sisters were met with applause as they made their way from Mary MacKillop's birth-place in Fitzroy to the Exhibition Gardens, wearing the order's bright blue scarves.  Sister Lynette Young says she is thrilled to walk in the footsteps of Mother Mary.  "It's just so beautiful for the people of Australia because she was so Aussie - she loved the people and this is the street she walked down so many times," she said.  "It's just a time of great joy".

'In Penola, the small South Australian town where Saint Mary founded the order, about 8000 people travelled to be part of the celebrations, which included live music and children dressed in period costume.

'Some pilgrims in Penola say they have been overcome with awe while visiting the original schoolhouse where Mary MacKillop first taught disadvantaged children.

'Over 5000 took part in an open-air mass on the town's school oval, while more visitors wandered the streets, looking at sites of significance in Saint Mary's life". 

Wisdom, charity, courage, a love of freedom (to speak your mind, to refuse to slavishly bow to Authority), a concern for equality of opportunity (that is, a conviction that even the poorest of the poor should be offered a good basic education) - these principles shine out of the life and work of Mary MacKillop, a worthy Saint for Australia.  She was a true daughter of the Church, of Western Christendom, of Western Civilisation, of the Scotland of her parents (with its long Celtic tradition of reverence for learning) and of Australia where she was born and lived her life.  May her example inspire many in Australia and beyond; and may the 'Brown Joeys', the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, long continue to impart both wisdom and charity in countless parish schools and Catholic colleges around Australia.  - CM.

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Posted on 10/22/2010 9:30 PM by Christina McIntosh
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Friday, 22 October 2010
Great Australians, IV - The Saint: Mary MacKillop or 'Saint Mary of the Cross', Teacher of the Poor
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True to his record of emphasising the harmony between faith and reason - an emphasis that was one of the things that attracted to the Faith one of the more famous modern apostates from Islam, Magdi Cristiano Allam - Pope Benedict XVI has presided over the canonisation of not one, but two people who are best known for their work in nurturing the life of the mind.  One was England's Cardinal Henry Newman, scholar and teacher; another is Australia's first officially recognised Catholic saint, Mary MacKillop, now to be known as Saint Mary of the Cross.  Mary MacKillop founded an order of nuns, The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, dedicated to teaching the children of the poor, especially in remote and rural parts of Australia.

Scots here present may like to know that - like another Famous Australian I have recently honoured, Joan Sutherland, 'La Stupenda' - Saint Mary was of Scots descent, born in Australia to Catholic immigrants from Scotland.  A curious coincidence that these two Scots-Australians should receive their definitive titles and world recognition in Italy.

Here is Mary's biography as presented by Australia's ABC.

'Mary MacKillop was born in Melbourne in 1842.  Her parents, Flora and Alexander MacKillop, were Catholic immigrants from Scotland.  Mary, the eldest of eight children, was raised in the working-class Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy.

'At 16, Mary went out to work, to support her younger brothers and sisters.  Two years later she took a job as a governess on her uncle's farm in the small country town of Penola in South Australia.  Here Mary met the man who would change her life forever, Father Julian Tenison Woods.

'Father Woods, a charming and eccentric priest, shared Mary's dream of educating the poor.  He became her mentor and spiritual guide.  Mary later wrote: "I heard the Pastor...speak of the neglected state of the children in the parish...and I had to go and offer myself to aid him."

'Sister Mary's biographer, Sister Mary Foale, says Mary and Father Woods had a very close relationship.  "I think they loved each other very deeply", she said.  (Rather reminds one of other creative spiritual/ intellectual friendships between men and women that mark Christian history - most notably, St Francis and St Clare - CM).  "Father Woods was such a charismatic character that when he moved to Adelaide, according to Mary, many of the mothers of the town locked their doors when they saw Fr Woods coming past, because they didn't want their daughters to be running off and joining the Josephites" (Again, I am reminded of St Clare, who ran away to join St Francis in his new Order - CM).

'Together, Mary and Fr Woods opened the first free Catholic school in Penola in 1866, at first in a converted stable and later in this more substantial stone building.

'A year later the pair formed a new religious order of nuns - the Sisters of St Joseph - devoted to teaching the poor.  Mary took her vows, becoming the order's first sister and its leader.  She was just 25 years old.

'"Within four years of Mary becoming a sister there were 130 Sisters of Saint Joseph, which is incredible", Sister Foale said.

'The Sisters of St Joseph was the first Catholic order founded by an Australian.  They vowed to live in poverty, own no property, and were committed to equality.  These were central to the order's rule.

'As well as schools, Mary MacKillop and the sisters founded hospitals and orphanages, as well as providing shelters for the homeless, former prostitutes, and unmarried mothers.  And they raised all of the money themselves - mostly by begging.

'Other religious orders were controlled by their local bishops, but the Sisters of St Joseph insisted on governing themselves, something that caused considerable friction with the powers that be in the church. (One is rather reminded of other feisty, independent-minded Christian females, now venerated as Saints, who had their own difficulties with the hierarchy - CM).

'This conflict, along with allegations of sexual abuse the sisters raised against a priest at Kapunda, north of Adelaide (So our Mary, true to the best Australian tradition, was a fearless whistleblower - CM) led Adelaide Bishop Laurence Sheil to excommunicate Mary MacKillop for alleged insubordination in 1871. (I have a feeling that this episode distinguishes Mary of the Cross as the only Catholic saint known to have spent part of her career under the ban of excommunication - CM).

'Five months later Bishop Sheil was gravely ill and dying; from his deathbed he instructed that Mary be absolved and restored to her order.  After returning to the church, Mary MacKillop and the sisters continued their work.  

'In 1873, Mary travelled to Rome for a personal audience with Pope Pius IX and obtained papal approval for the sisterhood.  She also sought sign-off on their 'Rule of Life' as set down by Fr Woods.  However, that document was discarded, and another was drawn up.  That caused a divide between Sister Mary and Fr Woods, and their relationship never recovered.

'Mary and the sisters continued to come into conflict with a number of bishops, including in Bathurst and Brisbane, over the issue of their central control. (I suspect that Mary of the Cross would be astonished by all the dozy bints who chant the praises of Islam...mindless submission of any kind seems never to have been her thing.  Perhaps Aussie Catholics might consider invoking her aid in the strengthening of the backbones of our politicians who currently pander to Islam - CM).

'Mary was also accused of being an alcoholic - she drank brandy to relieve severe menstrual pain (heeding St Paul's counsel to 'take a little wine, for thy stomach's sake) - and those claims drove her from Adelaide to Sydney, where she lived for the last 25 years of her life.  Mary suffered a stroke in 1902 and was an invalid until her death on August 8 1909.

'The Archbishop  of Sydney, Cardinal Moran, visited Mary just before she died to give her the last rites of the church.  As he was leaving, he told two of the sisters that he felt as if he had been administering at the death-bed of a saint.

'Mary was buried in Sydney's historic Gore Hill Cemetery.  Today a memorial marks the spot where she once lay. Five years after her death, her body was transferred to the newly-built Mary MacKillop chapel in the grounds of the North Sydney convent where she last lived."

ABC TV's 'Compass' program 'Mary, Miracles and Saints' covers all this and more.  

The video is still viewable online, accompanied by a full transcript, which you will find here:

www.abc.net.au/compass/s2968600.htm

From that account, there is one piece of information which I found particularly interesting.

'Mary was 29 when she was thrown out of the church.  She had no money and nowhere to go...Help came from unlikely quarters. ('Unlikely?'.  I don't think so.  Like Jacob or Moses, who both stepped in to assist ladies in distress, our dear Elder Brother came to the rescue 

Sr Marie Foale relates what happened: "There was a wonderful Jewish man in Adelaide called Emanuel Solomon who had already befriended her because he had seen the wonderful good work that these Sisters were doing amongst the poor.  Not only in education, but also in welfare.  And so when he heard what had happened he offered Mary and these Sisters several of his houses in Flinders Street, which is one of the streets in Adelaide City.  And there they [the sisters] lived together for the next few months."

Australian Catholics, celebrating their home-grown all-Australian Saint, would do well to remember also, with honour and heartfelt gratitude, the charity of Emanuel Solomon who rescued Mary MacKillop in her hour of greatest need.

Indeed, we can all be inspired by the friendship and mutual recognition that flowered, in late nineteenth-century Australia, between a wealthy Jewish man and an independent-minded Catholic nun.

And now, for a final insight into the living legacy of Saint Mary of the Cross, some memories of the Order she founded, from one who passed through their capable hands:

www.parra.catholic.org.au/catholicoutlook/latest-news/latest-news.aspx/learning---love--memories-of-the-brown-joeys.aspx

'Learning and love: memories of the Brown Joeys.'

Just a few passages from the article i have just linked, by one Bernadette D'Arcy, that tell us that the Josephite schools - open to the poorest - were very, very different from Islamic madrasas, and that also challenge the common modern stereotype of the Evil Nun who doesn't want folks to have fun:

(At primary level) - "I learnt about God, to say 'Yes sister and may God bless you", saying my prayers, knowing the green catechism answers, caring about others and reading and writing - not to mention tap dancing to 'Irish Eyes Are Smiling' (I can still demonstrate), maypole dancing, hopscotch, jacks, and skipping.  Sr Bede gave me my first piano lesson.

'As there was no Catholic high school in Tenterfield, I went to the St Joseph's Boarding School - or 'Brown Joeys' - at Glen Innes...

"The nuns were all good teachers, and I knew what a grounding in English grammar I had been given when in the early 1980s I found myself teaching 'situational English' to Vietnamese refugees.

'Sr Isabelle organised music, especially choirs, plays, dancing routines and concerts, although not for the same reason as 'Nunsense' (burying the dead nuns) but rather to support those who could not afford school fees, even though they were minimal. Costumes were made from whatever was available, especially crepe paper, by Sr Edwardine, Sr Elenore, Sr Roche, Sr Lola and Sr Mark.  All talents were encouraged...Every Saturday night, Sr Hermes taught us how to sit, stand and walk like ladies...

'My dad paid tribute to the sisters at both my wedding and my sister's and now I pay tribute to Blessed Mary [MacKillop] and these amazing women who took up the challenge.

'I hold lots of happy memories of the rattle of rosary beads approaching!' 

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Posted on 10/22/2010 7:42 PM by Christina McIntosh
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Friday, 22 October 2010
Durie: A Fourth Way for South Sudan- a Secular Independent State
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Mark Durie, Australian human rights advocate and Anglican minister posted on a recent Council of Foreign Relations Forum on what to do in the Sudan with the evident failure of the US brokered Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005. The title of the post, Peace in Sudan - will a fourth way emerge?  In an April 2009, NER article,American versus Israeli Geo-Political Objectives in the Struggle for a Free Sudan we noted this background about the dilemma facing the courageous leadership of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) government in Southern Sudan.   Christians and animists in Southern Sudan have faced the horrors of a nearly six decade long Jihad by the Islamist central giovernment in Khartoum that has resulted in more than two million deaths, hundreds of thousands enslaved under Sharia. 

The South has overarching importance to the Islamist regime of Gen. Bashir as it contains more than 85 percent of the estimated oil reserves of 5 billion barrels. Other areas of the Sudan, most immediately, the Kordofan 'border zone' between the Islamist north and the autonomous Government of South Sudan, also contains significant oil reserves. The Government of South Sudan was created by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) brokered by US Special Envoy, former US Senator John Danforth, between the government of the Sudan and the SPLM that was supposed to have ended the decades long Islamist Jihad war.

Notwithstanding the contrast, both countries [ US and Israel],  Israel, realizes that support for Sudanese secular opponents of a patently Islamist totalitarian regime requires concerted and continuous action. The Obama Administration faces a daunting task to achieve its objectives through multilateral organizations without alienating the Muslim world. Israel has no such restraints.

Under the terms of the CPA, the SPLM government in South Sudan can hold a referendum in 2011 and declare an independent secular state. The Jihadist central government of  General Bashir, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court at The Hague for crimes against humanity, will do everything in its power to seize the South in Sudan in another bloddy civilizational Jiahd conflict, while the world and especially the Obama Administration would doubtless stand by doing little than pay lip service at the UN. 

Durie's post contains a minor epiphany.  It is the realization by mainstream Episcopalian leaders that unending Jihad and enforcement of Sharia is at the core of Islam as witnessed by Sudanese Anglican Bishops.  Further, as suggested by the Sudanese Bishop's comments, it is time now for American protestant mainstream clergy to recognize these realities and preach them in homilies to their parishoners.

Durie notes these telling excerpts from the CFR conference:

A recent forum was held on October 14 2010, and hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations. It was titled The Prospect for Peace in Sudan: A View from Religious Leaders on the Ground. Senior Sudanese Christian leaders discussed prospects for peace in Sudan.  The Moderator was Linda E. Watt, Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church. The delegation of leaders included Anglican Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak, who made important comments in response to a question about how Americans should understand the role of Islam in the Sudanese conflict.  The question was put by the Revd Mark Edington, an Episcopalian minister from the Kennedy School at Harvard:

Edington:

To which Archbishop Deng responded:

Thank you. First of all, I will start [by noting that]... I wrote a letter recently when somebody ... in America wanted to burn the Quran. I think I was the only primate in the Anglican world who wrote against it. I hope you got that letter.
That is an indication that we have no problem with Islam as Islam, as a religion. We know [Islam] as a religion -- we [have] live[d] with them for a 1,000 years. But we have to make [a distinction] when religion becomes a politic[al system].
In our case, religion has been used - the Shari'a law has been used - as a [political] system. I have been made a second-class citizen: which you don't have in this country. You have put everybody the same. What will be your reaction if you are in my position?
So when we are saying "Islam," we have been what they call al-dhimma. We are there to be protected by Islam. That is a [political] system. So when you are talking [about] a system mixed up with a religion, then this is where there is a problem.
So for me, I am very clear: We have no problem with the religion. But when you make Islam [into] a system of ruling, denying me, making me not to be a guide, not to be a headmaster of a school, not to be a president of a country: What [would] your people say here?
So these are the kind of things you need to [keep] separate when we are talking of Islam [as] a politic[al system], as [distinct] from Islam as a religion. So these are the two things. Don't put them together.
We are not against the Islam as Islam. So when we are [saying] "We don't want to be made second-class citizen[s]," we are not saying "We don't want Islam." We are saying: "Let us be equal." If we [were made] equal in our country, southerners from Sudan [would] not be thinking of separation of the country.
If your country [could] have an influence in Khartoum to take away Shari'a law, we [would] accept the unity of Sudan: so that tomorrow I [could] become a president of Sudan; so that I become a judge in the country, in Sudan. Why should I not be given those rights?
So when you talk to your people, [tell them] these are our rights. And our rights are not the rights you have given to your people here.  Muslims [and] Christians are [equal] here, but we are not [equal] in our country. That is the reason.
So we need you people in America to understand you are dealing with a sophisticated people. And they use Islam as a way of suppressing your thinking. [So do not] think: "Oh, don't touch Islam."  No, let us respect Islam as a religion. But anybody using Islam as a tool of suppressing others, that's what we are [talking about].
[This transcript has been cleaned up to make the English clearer.  Note that the transcript provided by the Council for Foreign Affairs is inaccurate at several points - I have retranscribed all the passages quoted here.]

Archbishop Deng is explaining that under sharia law - applied as a political system - non-Muslims do not have equal rights.  They are an inferior 'protected' people.  The foundation of this is found in the dhimma pact of surrender, which Sharia law understands non-Muslims to be subject to in an Islamic state.  The dhimma system requires that non-Muslims be kept in an inferior position.  They cannot, for example, occupy positions of authority in public life.  That is what Archbishop Deng refers to when he says he could not be a judge or a president in Sudan, or even a principal of a school.  Such positions of authority are reserved for Muslims, because the dhimma system demands, as part of sharia law, that non-Muslims must not have authority over Muslims.

So, Deng states that he has no objection to Islam as a faith, but he objects to be compelled to live as a second class citizen in his own country.  To the question of what an American pastor should tell his flock, Deng replies that Americans need to grasp that Islam, implemented as a political system, does not treat people equally. It treats Christians as inferiors. It treats Archbishop Deng himself as an inferior.  He says that if Americans could make Khartoum get rid of Sharia law - and by this he means those aspects of Sharia law that make non-Muslims inferior - there would be no support for dividing the country in two.  People want to divide the country in order to protect the rights of non-Muslims not to have to live as inferiors in their own country.

So Deng is saying that American Christian leaders should teach their people about political Islam, not in order to see Muslims as the enemy, but so they can make a distinction between the faith and the politics.  Please, he says, help us to oppose the discriminatory political system, without disrespecting the religion.  The problem, he is saying, is that by not making the distinction, and insisting on respecting the faith, Americans are at risk of overlooking the politics. In this Americans are, he says, being misled by sophisticated people, who say "Don't touch Islam", i.e. they would forbid criticism of Islam in any of its forms. So he is saying - "No - by all means respect the faith, but oppose people who use political Islam as a means of oppressing others."


It is a remarkable thing that two million people have lost their lives in Sudan in the name of the struggle not to live under Sharia law.  Archbishop Deng is saying that if Islam was practiced in Sudan only as a religion, and not as a political system, there would be no talk of separating the country, and by implication, no 50-year long struggle for independence.

Islamic jurists have taught since Muhammad's time, and by his authority, of the requirement to offer non-Muslims three options:  conversion to Islam, the sword, or surrender.  The latter - what I have called '
The Third Choice', means living under Islamic rule in accordance with a dhimma pact of surrender.  For decades now the southern Sudanese have been refusing this third choice of the dhimma, because it denies their fundamental human rights.  As a result they have been subjected to the sword, and millions have paid for freedom with their blood.

With a vote for independence now looming in January 2011, there is emerging a fourth option for the south, a secular state in which people of all faiths will be equal.  For non-Muslims remaining in the Islamic north this could mean that the inferiority of the dhimma will continue, but in the south, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike it could mean equality and freedom. 

If this fourth way is not forthcoming, then the three choices will remain, and as long as the southerners continue to refuse the third choice of surrender to sharia, then the sword could continue to oppress them, in accordance with the requirements of the Sharia as a military system. 

One can only hope that not only the pastors, but also the people of America will heed Archbishop Deng's call, which is backed by the witness of the countless thousands of Sundanese who have given their lives as the price for freedom. His call is also, as the Archbishop explains, confirmed in Sudan by a thousand years of experience.

May the people of America  educate themselves about political Islam and gain the confidence to reject its dominating claims. May they have the wisdom to give the Sundanese non-Muslims the support they need to claim the right not to live as inferiors in their own native lands
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I'm curious to hear this group of religious leaders look at THIS country. Since the summer, here in this city and across this country, we've been having a debate, sometimes a bitter debate, about the role of Islam in our religiously pluralistic society. As I listen to the conversation we've had this morning, it's really difficult for me to imagine how I would take it home to my parish community and not sound as though what I was saying was we have to adopt what is essentially an anti-Islamic stance.

How would you explain to a community in this country how to understand this? Because it's going back to the reasons why this has been a 50-year-long struggle. The dimension of religion is a very important one. And it's difficult to see how this does not come off being a struggle AGAINST Islam.
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Posted on 10/22/2010 5:04 PM by Jerry Gordon with Mark Durie
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Friday, 22 October 2010
A Musical Interlude: Got A Date With An Angel (Debroy Somers)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 10/22/2010 5:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 22 October 2010
Dinner party etiquette continued: women, know your limits
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For the second time of posting, but it cannot be said often enough, if, as a woman, I may make so bold:

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Posted on 10/22/2010 4:35 PM by Mary Jackson
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Friday, 22 October 2010
Dinner Party Etiquette
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"The main thing is that they should enjoy each other's company."

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Posted on 10/22/2010 4:15 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
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Friday, 22 October 2010
US Appeals Court expunges "co-conspirator" status for Muslim Brotherhood Fronts
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A Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans  Wednesday handed down a victory to three Muslim Brotherhood fronts: CAIR, ISNA and NAIT.  The Appelate  Court effectively expunged the three Muslim Brotherhood fronts  from the record of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF)  trial and convictions.  Anti-Jihadist  and pro-Israel groups are 'shocked, shocked", by this development.  It comes in the knick of time for Chancellor Arnold I. Eisen of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America who is hosting  panel discussion on Judaism and Islam on Monday, October 25th in New York with Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President of ISNA.  The Dallas lower court Judge in the HLF trial, Jorge Solis, had earlier ruled that the three Muslim Brotehrhood fronts and upwards iof 245 others had their Fifth Amendment rights violated when the government prosecutors allegedly"forgot" to seal the records about involvement in funneling funds to terror group Hamas.   Does this sanitize the Grand Jihad plan of the Muslim Brotherhood in America? We await the comments of former federal prosecutor of the 1993 WTC bombing perpetrators, Andrew McCarthy for his comments.

 Note this JTA report:

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- In a decision that could inhibit efforts to stigmatize some Islamic groups, a U.S. appeals court ordered that a lower court's reference to a group's association with Hamas be expunged.

The New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit released its decision on an appeal from the North American Islamic Trust on Wednesday. It was first reported that day by Politico's Josh Gerstein.

Last year, Jorge Solis, a U.S. District Court judge in Dallas, ruled that NAIT and 245 other entities and individuals had their Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination violated when prosecutors listed them as unindicted co-conspirators in the federal case against the Holy Land Foundation, which had been charged with providing material assistance to Hamas.

Among the other groups vindicated by Solis were the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America.

The government acknowledged that not sealing the list was an oversight, and further said its intent was to list the groups and individuals as "joint venturers," which suggests a weaker association than "unindicted co-conspirator" and  does not imply that the entity had knowledge of the alleged crimes.

NAIT, which owns a number of mosques, nonetheless appealed the decision because Solis ordered the decision sealed -- apparently in a bid to protect the reputation of those on the list. CAIR and ISNA did not join this appeal.

The three-judge appeals panel ordered Solis' decision unsealed and expunged one reference to past NAIT associations with Hamas, but left in another.

By clearing CAIR and ISNA of "unindicted co-conspirator" status, the unsealing of Solis' decision could have political consequences, as a number of conservative and pro-Israel groups had used the label to tar politicians associated with the groups.

After a 2007 trial ended in a mistrial, a jury in 2008 convicted the Holy Land Foundation and five of its officers of violating U.S. laws banning funding for designated terrorist groups.

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Posted on 10/22/2010 3:50 PM by Jerry Gordon
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