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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

Monday, 30 April 2007
Enjoying life
He doesn't know who he is, but Barbaro's baby brother is absolutely lovely stretching out in his first weeks on earth in this video.
Posted on 04/30/2007 5:05 PM by Robert Bove
Monday, 30 April 2007
William Mackenzie, Camel Judge

Yes, the camel's nose should droop. And the eyes, the eyes -- they must have that Bedouin bedroom look, sleepy-eyed, sloe-eyed, come-hithering.

It was William Mackenzie,  the intrepid Scotsman who, while on a visit into the Sahara, was captured by Arab tribesmen and delivered up as tribute to a local ruler in Tunis in the early 19th century, and then managed to save himself from abject slavery or worse by making himself useful. For Mackenzie somehow became an unsurpassed connoisseur of camel -- camelus dromedarius -- beauty, and judged the bi-monthly contests that were held in both Tripoli and Tunis and, before 1830, in Algiers. 

Mackenzie was later freed by the Americans during the Barbary Wars (William Eaton himself led him to safety) and, via Egypt,  Mackenzie ultimately made it back to Edinburgh -- or was it Inverness? -- anyway, a place known for its its rooky woods, subequently retired to a palm-shaded  (well, cabbage-tree-shaded, anyway) house in Plockton because it reminded him, he said, of the warm south, and there wrote up his experiences.  Twenty-Four Years in Tunis and Tripoli is well worth reading, as the only account by an English camel-judge, of his fascinating life. A very good copy, its pages unfoxed, and with the map, was three years ago offered for sale at Francis Edwards.

In his brief and true relation Mackenzie (no relation, incidentally, to another intrepid Mackenzie, Alexander Mackenzie,  who at the beginning of the nineteenth century was the first European to cross Canada from sea to shining sea)  sums up the requirements for the camel judged beautiful according to Arab criteria  -- the noble rhinal curve,  the sleepy bedroom eyes -- thus:

"Good things for deys begin to droop and drowse."

An unfortunate traveller but extremely fortunate camel-judge, was that well-read Scotsman, William Mackenzie.  

Posted on 04/30/2007 5:02 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 April 2007
Toodle pip

A. A. Gill is a former alcoholic - or is it a recovering alcoholic? - so it's rather good that his initials are A.A. I will add this to the growing list of amusingly appropriate names mentioned at NER, even though he can't hold a candle to Kevin de Cock. Anyway, taking one subject, if not one day, at a time, A. A. Gill is a bit of a prat, but sometimes he's quite funny, as here on the subject of signing off:

I’ve been considering the minefield of signing off, made so much more acute by e-mail, and I’ve come to realise that all trite expressions of insincere affection drive me to a puce distraction. “Missing you already”: no you’re not, but I wish I were. This should be used only by inept snipers. “LOL”: so much L, in fact, that you can’t even be bothered to spell it out. “Hugs’n’kisses”: anything with a connecting “n” is grounds for wiping your family name from the escutcheon of history. Smiley face: how utterly oxymoronic is smiley face? “Take care”: so you’re implying I’m a simple-minded invalid? “Keep it real”: as opposed to what? Keeping it fantastical? Mythological? Legendary? “Be careful out there”: no, you be careful, because you have no idea how many people want you dead. “Ciao”, “Auf Wiedersehen”, “A bientôt”: anything foreign is nauseating. As is Latin: “Ave!” or “Nil carborundum sodomiti” (“Don’t let the buggers grind you down”). Appeals to God — “Bless”, “Inshallah”, “Shalom” — are only ever written by the damnably apostate. There’s the cheerily Falstaffian “Keep your powder dry”, “Anchors away”, “Steady the buffs” — and the organic-hippie “Keep the faith” and “In with the anger, out with the love”, which are both what a girl I know calls “shag-busters”.

I realise that anyone who sends an e-mail with an attached cliché of even the mildest sentiment disgusts me beyond redemption — certainly beyond invitation. Which leaves us with a problem: how do you sign off? Do you just keep on and on and on writing? Shamefully, I must admit to use of the X key. I don’t mean multiple use, and never, ever, I swear, with an O. But I do do it to people I couldn’t be induced to kiss for cash. I know this is a concern that many of you will have answering suggestions for. Briefly, on an e-mail or a postcard. Cheers. Laters. AA. X

And it's goodbye from me, or, as John Betjeman didn't say, tinkerty tonk.

Posted on 04/30/2007 4:42 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 30 April 2007
Islam Is Whatever

Islam as a doctrine is indefensible. The history of the treatment of non-Muslims under Islam is, by modern standards, also indefensible -- and that treatment remains today no different, in theory (though here and there in possible practice)  what it was a hundred or a thousand years ago.

So what can someone do who is faced with a growing awareness of this by Infidels? He can do what Tariq Ramadan does, and talk soothingly about a "European Islam" without specifying what new versions of the canonical texts -- Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira -- will somehow support this mythical "European Islam."

Or he can do what the Muslim in this case does, and what so many "New Muslims" (as they are carefully called to keep from calling them "reverts" and exposing to Infidel minds the Muslim belief that everyone is born a Muslim and that is why one does not "convert" but "revert" to Islam) do: create one's Own Private Islam.

Yes, Be All You Can Be, goes the annoying advertising jingle.

And for some Muslim propagandists, the word to be peddled on the Infidel street is: Islam is Whatever You Want It to Be.

If that is true, why not simply jettison Islam altogether? Why not "want it to be" Buddhism, or Christianity, or Judaism or Hinduism?

How's that for an idea?

Posted on 04/30/2007 4:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 April 2007
Missed Too Many Late Eclipses of the Sun and Moon
I'm going to stay awake just to be there when it happens. I've missed, in my time, too many of these late eclipses of the sun and moon. I don't want to have to tell my grandchildren I missed this.
Posted on 04/30/2007 4:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 April 2007
More Numerology

A reader reminds us that:

At three minutes and four seconds after 2 am on the 6th of May, 2007 the time and date will be:  02:03:04 05/06/07.
Posted on 04/30/2007 3:29 PM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 30 April 2007
Saudi Beauty Pageant
"The nose should be long and droop down, that's more beautiful," explains Sultan al-Qahtani, one of the organizers.
Posted on 04/30/2007 3:28 PM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 30 April 2007
Debate Over War
What strikes me when I read Tenet's account of this argument between Powell and Cheney is what Tenet doesn't say.  That is, Powell wants to give diplomacy a chance and Cheney sees this as a delay with no tactical upside and lots of downside, but one thing they are apparently not arguing about is the intelligence

Obviously, Tenet is in the war-counsel room, and his only purpose — a critically important purpose — for being there is his expected contribution as the nation's top intelligence source.  As he tells it, though, the patent assumption appears to be that it's settled that the intelligence justifies invading; the whole argument by then is down to (a) timing and (b) the question whether our goals be accomplished by diplomacy.  They're not arguing about whether the case for going to war can or should be beefed up; they plainly see the case for going to war as ... a slam-dunk. 

Posted on 04/30/2007 3:26 PM by Andy McCarthy
Monday, 30 April 2007
Prime Obsessions

I am not alone. (4th paragraph).

Posted on 04/30/2007 3:25 PM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 30 April 2007

Catching up on back issues of the TLS, I found this in an advertisement for "Polytheism and Society at Athens" (TLS, Oct. 6, 2006, p. 4):

"No other book takes such a holistic approach to Greek religious practice and experience, or deals with the acute historical and theoretical complexities in such a jargon-free and attractive manner." Peter Jones, Sunday Telegraph.

When a writer describes a  book as treating of a subject in a manner that is  "jargon-free" but also tells us that that book "takes...a holistic approach to Greek religious practice and experience" ["practice and experience"?] surely one has a right to be wary.

I cannot figure out what "holistic" means. Can anyone help me? Can anyone tell me what "holistic" as used above, or used anywhere at all -- in all those phrases about "taking a holistic approach" or "having a holistic view" -- must or can mean?

And how was it that for centuries, we all did without the word "holistic"? Indeed, as late as  the 1950s, and the 1960s, and the 1970s, English speakers everywhere did without the word "holistic"? How did people in that deprived past manage to express the same idea without that word "holistic"?

Is it just possible that the word "holistic" does nothing more, does less, than an "all-encompassing" or "variegated" or  "multifarious" or "wide-ranging" and that, furthermore, one is right to suspect that it really depends on the subtext of that good old dunstable word "whole"?  

Posted on 04/30/2007 3:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 April 2007

The judge in the case, , Sir Michael Astill, said the men, all British citizens, had "betrayed their country."-- Esmerelda's post taken from the BBC

"Betrayed their country"?

Why should Believers owe any loyalty to any Infidel nation-state? To think that they would or could, and still remain good Muslims, is a failure of understanding, by Infidels, that itself represents a "betrayal of their country."

Those British judges, those British diplomats, those British law-makers in Parliament, those British columnists and editorial writers whose job it is to inform themselves, and to properly instruct others, are the ones who have "betrayed their country" by failing to understand that when Muslims offer their sole loyalty to Islam, and the cause of Islam, and attempt to fulfill their solemn duty to participate in Jihad to spread islam, by whatever instruments are available and seem to them to be effective, they are not being bad Muslims, but merely demonstrating what Infidels should understand -- that the members of the umma al-islamiyya, in thought, word, and wherever possible deed, will demonstrate that their sole loyalty is to Islam.

They did not "betray their country" for there is no country, no Infidel vilayat (a word which, incidentally, is the basis for the Hobson-Jobson "Blighty"). to which they need or should or could offer loyalty, if they are to be good Muslims.

It is, rather, those non-Muslims in authority who have "betrayed their country" by failing to understand, or to engage in sufficient study to come to understand, that Muslims are not "betraying their country" when they show their loyalty is to Islam and Islam alone -- and that to expect them to be loyal in the first place, even to use such words as "loyal" and "disloyal" when it comes to the Infidel nation-state -- is absurd, is based on categories that for Muslims do not make sense.

Posted on 04/30/2007 2:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 April 2007
The Muslim Mainstream and the New Caliphate

Andrew Bostom has an alarming and important piece in The American Thinker which details how the Caliphate is anything but a hazy dream held by a few fanatics. Over 65% of Muslims just polled say they want it back.

Writing in 1916, C. Snouck Hurgronje, the great Dutch Orientalist, underscored how the jihad doctrine of world conquest, and the re-creation of a supranational Islamic Caliphate remained a potent force among the Muslim masses: would be a gross mistake to imagine that the idea of universal conquest may be considered as obliterated...the canonists and the vulgar still live in the illusion of the days of Islam's greatness. The legists continue to ground their appreciation of every actual political condition on the law of the holy war, which war ought never be allowed to cease entirely until all mankind is reduced to the authority of Islam-the heathen by conversion, the adherents of acknowledged Scripture [i.e., Jews and Christians] by submission.
Hurgronje further noted that although the Muslim rank and file might acknowledge the improbability of that goal "at present" (circa 1916), they were,
...comforted and encouraged by the recollection of the lengthy period of humiliation that the Prophet himself had to suffer before Allah bestowed victory upon his arms...
Posted on 04/30/2007 10:19 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 30 April 2007
Architects sacked over designs for huge mosque
Trustees behind plans to build Europe's largest place of worship have sacked their architects.  The Tablighi Jamaat sect took the decision after the proposals for the mosque were criticised by residents, Christian groups and even Muslim leaders.
In response, architects Ali Mangera and Ada Yvars Bravo have threatened to sue for breach of contract and defamation.
The pair drew up the plans for a £100 million mosque on 18 acres of derelict land at Abbey Mills, next to West Ham Underground station.
They envisaged a building in the style of a tented city, incorporating a prayer room, library, school, gardens, restaurants, residential accommodation and exhibition halls. It would have a capacity of 40,000, increasing to 70,000 if demand grew.
Critics argued that a building of that size would dramatically alter the character of the area.
Relations between the mosque and the local community worsened when it was claimed that Tablighi Jamaat, which has an estimated 80 million followers worldwide, has links with Islamic extremist groups.
It was described by the French intelligence services as "an antechamber of fundamentalism" and two of the 7 July London bombers attended the group's
HQ in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, which is financed by Saudi Arabia.
In a letter to the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, trustees of Abbey Mills mosque said they had severed links with Mr Mangera and Mr Bravo and their intermediary Abdul Khaliq Mian - an activist with George Galloway's Respect party.
Tablighi Jamaat said the new mosque's capacity was only ever going to be less than 12,000, although this would still make it the largest religious building in the country.  New plans will still include a school for 500 pupils, a visitor and conference centre and a 20-bedroom residential centre for visiting VIPs. 
Still too big and unneccessary.  Perhaps the breach of contract court fees will reduce the amount available to spend.
Posted on 04/30/2007 10:19 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 30 April 2007
Five get life over UK bomb plot
Reuters gives more information on the Judge’s comments as he sentences the 5 convicted men that the UK newspaper sites. Update from this morning’s news of the guilty verdicts.
A judge jailed five "cruel and ruthless" Britons for life on Monday for plotting al Qaeda-inspired bomb attacks on targets across Britain ranging from nightclubs to trains and a shopping centre.
"The sentences are for life. Release is not a foregone conclusion. Some or all of you may never be released," judge Michael Astill told London's Old Bailey central criminal court. (That should correctly be Central Criminal Court Old Bailey, and Judge with a capital J but I will forgive the copywriter this once)
The BBC reports that -  The judge, Sir Michael Astill, said the men, all British citizens, had "betrayed their country". 
Were this an acknowledged war they could have been tried for treason – I suspect that the Judge has realised how serious the situation is.
There is no doubt at all the carnage would have been immense," London's anti-terrorism chief Peter Clarke told Reuters. "I have no doubt at all they are clearly linked straight into the heart of al Qaeda."
Posted on 04/30/2007 10:17 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 30 April 2007
His Own Private Islam

Qur'an Hadith and Sira? Collectivism? Supremacism? Fascist politics? - forget it!  Islam can be anything you want it to be, or so says Abdennour Bidar - a French Muslim author and a philosopher. In one of his articles, an article originally titled "Self Islam," Bidar aims to promote an individualized form of Islam. MEMRI has the story.

Posted on 04/30/2007 10:09 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 30 April 2007
The School of Qom and the School of Najaf

A little background on the claque that has, for roughly the past three years, found Sistani to be the Man of the Hour in Iraq.

At My Weekly Standard the claque consists of Reuel Gerecht and the carriers of Weiss-Schwartz Syndrome. Fouad Ajami, whose usefulness is limited given his tiptoeing around the subject of Islam, was enchanted with his own reception by Sistani. In his book "The Foreigner's Gift" -- so tellingly mistitled (it ought to have been "The Infidel's Gift," but that would raise too many problems for Fouad Ajami) -- he describes, I am told, this meeting. But he does not explain what it was that prevented Sistani from meeting with any other American save for Zalmay Khalilzad. What could it be? And why shouldn't people have explained to them what it is that prevents this Holy Man of the Hour from meeting, say, with Bremer, or Rice, or any number of other Infidels?

In Washington, there are those who like to construct out of world politics something akin to soap operas, with the villains and the heroes. Everything is reduced to the "good guys" (i.e., the "moderate" Muslims in this case) and the "bad guys" (the "immoderate" Muslims). And a little shadow-play is put on, Chinese shadows, ombres chinoises. The Good Muslim needs to be supported to the hilt, because only he can stand up to the Bad Muslim.

In the case of Sistani, the Shadow-Play relies on the banal observation that the main Shi'a clerics in Iraq do not wish to support the idea, which Khomeini introduced as part of his new and improved Islamic Republic of Iran, of direct rule by clerics. In Khomeini's case, he thought that the best thing would be direct rule by the Most Enlightened and Deeply Learned Cleric. Apparently he had someone special in mind. And when that impressive Internal Candidate showed up -- he, Ayatollah Khomeini himself -- there was no need for any nationwide search, or even a résumé, much less that grueling day of interviews. No, Sistani does not want to rule directly. It's too messy. Besides, why should he and the rest of the marjiyah have to bother their decorously turbaned heads with garbage collection in Baghdad, or the municipal water system in Basra? They prefer to be eminences grises, behind the scenes, or in some cases burattinai, marionette-masters, tugging at strings as the occasion demands.

Yet, among those who should know better, this appears to be an important concession on Sistani’s part -- because they do not have any knowledge of Islam, and they are afraid or unwilling to do what is necessary to acquire that knowledge. They have gotten in the habit, over many decades, of not having to engage, even if only for a few months, in the kind of study that perhaps they once were capable of, but are not any longer.

So they posit a "Qom School" (bad) of Shi'a Islam, and a "Najaf School" (good) of Shi'a Islam. The Iranians are the Qommers, with Khomeini and then Khameini as representative figures, and the Najafians, with Al-Sistani at their helm, are the embodiment of wonderful Shi'a Islam.

Shi'a Islam is not wonderful. And if Chalabi, Allawi, Rend al-Rahim and Kanan Makiya are acceptable figures, are people one feels one can talk to, it is not because they are Shi'a Muslims. Rather, it is because having lived in the West for many decades, they have become, at least in part, westernized and secularized. They are rational people, even if their aims must be different from ours. But they do not, and dare not, make any connection between the political, economic, social, moral, and intellectual failures of the Islamic world, and the tenets, attitudes, and atmospherics of Islam.

That is something no true believing Muslim will do, whether he remains one out of filial piety (that pious and kindly grandmother), or embarrassment (and a desire therefore not to abandon, but to protect, Islam), or out of dislike of the West and a proud refusal to take lessons from that decadent West (how dare Westerners, with their own sicknesses, get on their high horse and preach to us) will do -- unless he is either a Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only Muslim, such as Bassam Tibi or Magdi Allam, or has jettisoned Islam altogether, as have Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, Azam Kamguian, Irfan Khawaja, and a cast of tens of thousands.

But it is the latter who could have told us all along how empty this Shadow-Play with Sistani really was.

Posted on 04/30/2007 9:52 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 April 2007
Muslim women in France regain virginity in clinics
PARIS (Reuters) -- Sitting in a cafe near the Champs Elysees, the 26-year-old French-born woman of Algerian descent looks like any other Parisian. But two months ago, she did something none of her friends have done. She had her hymen re-sewn, technically making her a virgin again.
"I'm glad I had it done," said the woman, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. "I wanted to reconstruct part of my life, to reconstruct myself so that I could feel better about myself."
This 30-minute outpatient procedure, called "hymenoplasty" and costing between 1,500 and 3,000 euros ($2,000-$4,000), is increasingly popular among young women of North African descent in France.
No exact figures exist to say how many such operations are done, but the woman's surgeon says he gets three to five queries and performs one to three hymenoplasties each week. Demand has been rising for the past three or four years. "Many of my patients are caught between two worlds," said Abecassis. They have had sex already but are expected to be virgins at marriage according to a custom that he called "cultural and traditional, with enormous family pressure".
A leading Muslim spokesman said Islam says bride and groom should be virgins before marriage, but did not take a clear stand for or against hymenoplasties. "If someone committed a sin, the essential thing is to repent," said Lhaj Thami Breze, head of the Union of French Islamic Organizations.
For many doctors, resewing the hymen goes against their ideals of sexual freedom and personal liberty. The surgery is an attack on women's dignity," said Professor Jacques Lansac, president of The National College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of France. "We will not take part in a market that places value on the quality of a woman -- if she's good or not. It is an attack on women's liberty." He also argued that any doctor who performed these operations at state hospitals violated France's legal separation of church and state.
Abecassis said, some Muslims in France have been putting much more emphasis on certain customs as a way of expressing their identity. "Today it's the two 'V's' -- veil and virginity," he said. "It's a social phenomenon." Surprisingly, French social security reimburses some of the cost of the operation in cases of rape or trauma. "Ninety-nine percent of the time, the claim is a fraud," he added.
Sitting in the same cafe, a 19-year-old Moroccan studying in Paris who asked to be called Amel spoke just before her first consultation with Abecassis.
"I dated a boy when I was 15 and I didn't even realize what had happened," she said, referring to her first and only sexual experience. "I didn't understand what I did."   Her parents introduced her to a young man earlier this year, and they plan to wed when she returns to Morocco in June. But he would not accept a non-virgin, so she needs the operation soon.
Amel is scraping together the monthly allowance sent by her parents and emptying her savings account to pay for it. Two friends back home will lend her the remaining 1,000 euros. "If my mother ever found out about this, she would have a mental breakdown," Amel said. "I don't want to have this surgery, but I don't have any choice."
This is not a new phenomenon. 30 years ago when I was a student I met a student teacher from North Africa who was spending a year teaching French in an English school. She said that the temptation to have fun, then have “the operation” before returning home was enormous but for the brief period I knew her she had resisted that temptation.  These young women don’t sound as if they have had any fun in the experience at all. 
Posted on 04/30/2007 9:54 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 30 April 2007
Re: China Challenge
All right, already.  Never let it be said I copped out of a math problem.

(1) Sketch the quadrilateral ABCD with the information given.  It's just two 30-60-90 triangles joined symmetrically along the hypoteneuse.  All the angles are 30-60-90-120, all the lengths combinations of 1, 2, and sqr(3).

(2)  Question (i) is now trivial, from symmetry.  (Though of course you'd have to find a politer way to say that in an examination paper.)

(3)  For question (ii), again from symmetry, it is sufficient to calculate the angle A1-E-C1, which can easily be done from the lengths involved, since this is yet another 30-60-90 triangle.  Answer: 90 degrees.

(4)  For question (iii), first parallel-transport the triangle B-C-C1 until B coincides with A.  You now have a solid angle at A formed by three intersecting planes, two of them—both with angle 30 degrees at the apex—at right angles to each other (i.e. the planes A-B-C-D and B-C-C1).

(One of those 30 angles is C-B-C1.  The other you get from parallel-transporting BC until B coincides with A, since angle DAB is 120 and angle ABC is 90.)

Chopping off these two planes by a vertical one to make 30-60-90 triangles with sides length 1-2-sqr(3), one other face of the tetrahedron you just made—the one with an angle at the vertex A—has sides 2, 2, sqr(2).  Its vertex angle is therefore 90 degrees.
Posted on 04/30/2007 9:49 AM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 30 April 2007
Re: Democracy + Islam

The steady and relentless penetration of Turkish centers of power (which may include the junior officer corps in the Army) by Believers (as opposed to secularists) shows that the beneficiaries of Kemalism, the secular (which does not mean they are secular in the Western sense) Turks, were insufficiently aware of how important it was never to let their guard down, or to permit Erbakan, and then Erdogan, and now possibly Abdullah Gul, to take power. Those who deeply believe in Islam and wish to undo Kemalism will never give up, and those who oppose them cannot wait for a demonstration, no matter how huge (700,000 is a large number, but Turkey has 70 million people, and how many might be persuaded to show up on the other side, waving banners in favor of "true democracy"), to do their work -- the steady, day-to-day work of undermining the hold of Islam over the minds of their benighted fellows, who can also vote, the true believers among the Turkish masses.

And what if the army intervenes, as it has before? That may be necessary. Logically, how is the Bush administration going to keep prating about bringing "freedom" and "democracy" to "ordinary moms and dads" in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East if, for the interests of Infidels everywhere, the Turkish army's domestic coup must be supported?

Or will the American government, for the purposes of some supposed need to be "consistent" (the only consistency that counts should be the consistent need, always and everywhere, to weaken the Camp of Islam) start sounding like the terminally innocent-- or perhaps something more sinister -- E.U. bureaucracy that has been trying to limit the army's freedom of action? Especially disturbing have been some Germans in the E.U. upper ranks, who feel keenly a need to appease Turkey (with the millions of unintegrated Turks in Germany) than do bureaucrats from Spain and France and England and Italy.

From today's news, there is the case of "Olli Rehn, the European Union enlargement commissioner, who has been a keen supporter of Ankara's eventual accession to the bloc, warned the military to stay out of politics, saying the election was a 'test case' for the Turkish military's respect for democracy."

Posted on 04/30/2007 9:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 April 2007
Chinese Challenge

There is a nice little comparison here between the entrance requirements for universities in (a) China and (b) Britain.

Try the math questions (scroll down a bit).

Have **I** cracked the Chinese math question?  Er, no.  I'm ... er...kinda busy right now...

Posted on 04/30/2007 9:35 AM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 30 April 2007
April Diary

Verpfuscht. I’m going to start this month’s diary with a math note. Yes, I know this is unorthodox, but, as Tony Manero says in that movie, “I got my reasons.”

the rest is here

Posted on 04/30/2007 7:56 AM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 30 April 2007
Democracy + Islam = Islam

As Islamists political parties continue to rack up gains though democratic methods, the US and the EU back them all the way. Lost on people like Condoleeza Rice and these EU ministers, so smug in their support for "democracy," is the fact that Islam will eventually lay waste to every land where it spreads unless it is constrained through un-democratic means. The massive demonstrations in Turkey attest to the fact that secular pluralism can only flourish when Islam is constrained.

The Observer: Turkey came under mounting pressure from the European Union last night to rein in the influence of its generals, after the country's powerful pro-secular military threatened to intervene in the Islamic-oriented government amid growing turmoil over the election of a new President.

Olli Rehn, the European Union enlargement commissioner, who has been a keen supporter of Ankara's eventual accession to the bloc, warned the military to stay out of politics, saying the election was a 'test case' for the Turkish military's respect for democracy...

Posted on 04/30/2007 7:06 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 30 April 2007
Men convicted over UK bomb plot
From the BBC.
Five men have been convicted of a bomb plot linked to al-Qaeda that could have killed hundreds of people in Britain.
Jurors in the year-long Old Bailey trial heard of plans to target a shopping centre, nightclub and the gas network with a giant fertiliser bomb.
Police smashed the plot in 2004 after MI5 had watched an Islamist extremist network with links across the world.
It has also been revealed some of the plotters met two of the 7 July London suicide bombers. Mohammed Sidique Khan was spotted on four occasions in 2004 with at least one of the fertiliser bomb conspirators. At one point MI5 officers followed Khan back to his home in Leeds but no further action was taken. The link with 7 July was deliberately kept from the Old Bailey jury for fear of prejudicing their deliberations on the fertiliser bomb plot.
The fertiliser bomb plot investigation linked back to senior al-Qaeda figures in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including one who was detained by US forces in Iraq at the weekend.
(Clockwise from top left): Jawad Akbar, Omar Khyam, Salahuddin Amin, Waheed Mahmood and Anthony Garcia
Omar Khyam, 26, from Crawley, West Sussex, was found guilty of conspiring to cause explosions likely to endanger life between 1 January 2003 and 31 March 2004.  Also convicted were Waheed Mahmood, 34, and Jawad Akbar, 23, also of Crawley; Salahuddin Amin, 31, from Luton, Bedfordshire; Anthony Garcia, 24, of Barkingside, east London.
The men, all British citizens, face life sentences.  Read the rest here.
Posted on 04/30/2007 7:05 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 30 April 2007
Islamists Demonstrate In London

Supporters of the arrested Muslim “activists” demonstrated outside the Paddington Green police station on Friday. LGF:

Posted on 04/30/2007 6:59 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 30 April 2007
Al-Jazeera Comes To Burlington

Boston Globe: A cable company is offering the Al-Jazeera network in its cable package, one of only a few in the nation to do so. Burlington Telecom, a city-owned cable company that serves 1,200 households in Vermont's largest city, began offering the Arab-operated network about six months ago.

"We were certainly squeamish about it at first, given its reputation in the United States," said Tim Nulty, director of Burlington Telecom. "But if you look at it, it looks like BBC. I think it's more mainstream and more objective than CNN."

Posted on 04/30/2007 6:48 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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