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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





















Monday, 30 August 2010
Avoiding the elephant in the room
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This is a news item from the crime desk of ABC News Australia, thanks to Dumbledore's Army, which as she points out is important as much for what it doesn't say, as what it does.

One of the nation's biggest investigations into organised crime has exposed an international drug importation syndicate with links to the Comancheros outlaw bikie gang, Chinese triads and corrupt Australian officials.

Operation Hoffman, a landmark multi-agency investigation led by the Australian Crime Commission, has also revealed the deep links between drug importers and rogue Australian maritime workers.

A joint ABC Four Corners and The Age investigation into organised crime can also reveal that:

  • In Victoria, authorities have uncovered links between corrupt Melbourne port workers, the Hells Angels and prominent Italian criminals
  • NSW police have identified a group of drug-importing Sydney port workers with government maritime security cards who have been active since 2004

It has led to major ecstasy, heroin and crystal methamphetamine drug busts across Australia, the biggest-ever drug bust on the Pacific island group of Tonga, and the discovery in May last year of a bikie armoury in Sydney - including automatic weapons and imitation police equipment.

Those arrested include alleged drug runners with links to Chinese triads and the Perth president of the Comancheros, Steven Milenkovski.

Despite Hoffman severely damaging the bikie group, the Comancheros have continued establishing a foothold in Melbourne under the control of local club controller Amad 'Jay' Malkhoun, a convicted heroin trafficker with interests in several Melbourne strip clubs.

One of Hoffman's key targets is Hakan Ayik, 32, from Sydney . . . NSW police intelligence describes Ayik as a 'very serious money maker' who 'generates a lot of money' for the Comancheros and has multiple links to waterfront workers. Operation Hoffman ended earlier this month after NSW police issued an arrest warrant for Ayik for drug trafficking. It is believed he is now on the run.

However, a senior law enforcement insider has revealed to Four Corners that despite its success, inadequate resourcing meant Operation Hoffman was unable to reach its full potential. He said the criminal network it targeted "will reform very, very quickly".

The insider said the ACC needed far more investigators to run major inquiries . . .  consensus among senior police is that the ACC is badly under-resourced given the size and reach, here and abroad, of Australia's new breed of technologically savvy and well-resourced underworld figures.

The launching of a state and federal policing taskforce to combat organised crime on the wharves in NSW has been slowed due to inter-agency talks.

As DA tells me, the elephant which is not mentioned is that the reporter specifies the Chinese triads and the Italian gangs (the mafia doesn't exist and you better believe it) but despite the names of two of the Comancheros being Islamic, and despite there being a  Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad (which, just for existing, has been accused of being 'racist' ) makes no mention of the 'heritage', for want of a better word, of the other incredient in this criminal stew. The Muslims.

I find it interesting that the bike gang the Comancheros being heavily Lebanese Muslim in Australia. I read in the Copenhagen post that much of the gang warfare in denmark is clashed between the ethnic Danish chapter of the Hells Angels and the Muslim newcomers who want to wrest control of the drugs scene from them. While in England  biker culture, at every level, including the commuter runs remains mostly an activity of the indigenous population.

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Posted on 08/30/2010 1:13 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 30 August 2010
Peaceful Ground Zero mosque developer: 'His face could have run into my hand'
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By Asra Q. Nomani for The Daily Beast:

NEW YORK - New revelations about the owner of the Ground Zero mosque building could mean a split between him and the project's influential imam, making it unlikely to ever get built.

Sharif El-Gamal, 37, the owner of the building at the center of the storm over the construction of a "ground zero mosque," is a quintessential American story, a man who went from waiting tables in New York's A-list restaurants to buying and selling properties.

But new revelations are emerging that present a very different narrative. And it could lead to a split between the forces behind the mosque.

Court records from Florida to New York state reveal that Sharif and his younger brother, Samir "Sammy" El-Gamal, 35, a partner with him in his company SoHo Properties, both have a history replete with intersections with tax and debt issues, dating back to at least 1994 and continuing into this year. In one instance, Sharif told a court he didn't hit a tenant from whom his brother and he were trying to collect back rent. He said to police, the tenant's "face could have run into my hand."

I now don't think the mosque will be built at the location staked out near ground zero.

After tracking Sharif's finances and talking to acquaintances about his rough-and-tumble business style, I now don't think the mosque will be built at the location staked out near ground zero. According to people familiar with the mosque project, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, a community leader, were blindsided by the revelations about Sharif, making a partnership unlikely. Moreover, Sharif's domineering personality troubles them because it doesn't fit into the slow, methodical, and even boring work of building a nonprofit.

Fast jihad, take a seat on the bench.  It's slow jihad's turn for a while.  We'll put you back in the game in the fourth quarter.

I expect that Rauf and Khan will gracefully bow out of this project near ground zero, lead an interfaith community effort to build an Islamic center elsewhere, and welcome Sharif and his family in the congregation with open arms. To me, that's the best solution out of this political-and now PR-debacle. I'm also certain that somewhere in there the businessman in Sharif will see a profit.

This is exactly as Hugh and Rebecca predicted.  Sharif El-Gamal will ostentatiously be set aside, Imam Rauf will make a magnanimous acceptance of millions of dollars to move the Ground Zero mosque a couple of blocks down the road, and the issue will fade away.

[...]

According to friends, the brothers [Sharif and Samir "Sammy" El-Gamal] ran with a fast crowd in their twenties. Sharif waited tables at the posh restaurant Serafina, while Sammy waited tables at Tao. For a short while, Sharif worked as a waiter at Michael Jordan's, named after former basketball star. But, according to people familiar with that restaurant, he was fired within two months for arriving reeking of alcohol, among other things.  This is around when Sharif started acquiring a criminal record, say people familiar with his life.

This past weekend, capturing this period of Sharif's life, the Daily News ran a headline, "Park51 developer Sharif El-Gamal has a history of run-ins with the law," including pleading guilty in 1994, 1998, and 1999 to disorderly conduct in Manhattan, as well as pleading guilty to disorderly conduct in 1990, a DWI in 1992, and attempted petit larceny in 1993 in Nassau County, N.Y.

According to Broward County court records, on March 3, 1999, Hollywood, Florida, police arrested Sammy, then 25, for "theft/to deprive," a misdemeanor. Later that year, Sammy pleaded guilty, and Judge Sharon Zeller fined him $143 and required him to attend a "substance-abuse through education" course. Just two years ago, during the summer of 2008, the court filed "financial obligation suspension" papers for Sammy's failure to pay his fine.

Neither Sammy nor Sharif responded to a request seeking comment.

After the 9/11 attacks, Sharif told New York magazine that "he just felt like praying." Sharif first started attending Manhattan Masjid, known in the community as "the Salafi mosque," for its adherence to a rigid, puritanical interpretation of Islam, espoused, among other things, on its website.

Why would the 9/11 attacks engender in Sharif a desire to start attending a mosque that teaches adherence to a "rigid, puritanical interpretation of Islam"?  Was it for the peace, tolerance, and love that they were espousing?

Then, he discovered Masjid al-Nur, or "Mosque of Light," where Rauf preaches. It's nicknamed "the Sufi mosque" by congregants.

Contrary to current belief, Sufis are not simply peaceful spinning dancers.

Career-wise, Sharif was heading into real estate, collecting commissions off rental leases. He was no big shot, and really never has been, building just a small portfolio of property. In late 2003, he created a website, sohoproperties.com. The three partners were Sharif, Sammy, and Nour Mousa, the young nephew of Amr Mousa, secretary general of the Arab League, a relationship that would later become a lightning rod for critics of the mosque.

On September 10, 2005, New York police arrested Sharif for alleged assault on a Manhattan renter, Mark Vassilieve, when Sammy tried to convince Vassilieve to pay his rent. The charges were dropped when Vassilieve filed a civil suit, which Sharif settled.

On January 24, 2006, according to court records, Nino and Nicola Gaudio won a judgment of $3,300 against Sammy, as well as permission to evict him from property they owned. On February 1, 2006, they won another $3,300 judgment, and on April 6, 2006, N&S Realty won a judgment allowing them to have forcible entry against Sammy. The Gaudios couldn't be reached for comment.

Big things were still in the air though. According to electronic records, Sharif created a website, retailsoho.com, in April 2006. (A visit this weekend showed nothing on the site.) That year, Sharif told the Daily News, he hired a teenager, Francisco Patino, to scout for a new mosque location, when he spotted him on a TV at a Sharper Image store, charming TV viewers of the reality show American Inventor. That same year, according to media reports, Sharif bid on the property at 45-47 Park Place.

The next year, on March 13, 2007, New York state issued a state tax warrant against Sammy for $19,895, according to court records. On April 30, 2007, Sharif bought apartment 6C in a building on W. 93rd Street for $1.075 million with his wife, Rebekka, an American-born convert to Islam.

By this time, the El-Gamal brothers knew Imam Rauf well. In December 2008, Rauf officiated Sammy's wedding to Allison Poole, a scarf delicately draped over the bride's golden brown locks. The young couple clasp hands and gaze softly into each other's eyes in a photo taken at the wedding, as Rauf led the ceremony, smiling, with a microphone hooked to his loose tunic.

On July 7, 2009, after buying the property where he wants to build the Islamic center, Sharif created two companies, 45 Park Place Partners LLC and 45 Park Place LH, LLC. The next day, he started Soho Properties General Partner LLC as a foreign limited liability corporation. On October 16, 2009, Sharif created Soho Properties Inc., naming himself chairman.

Since the controversy erupted, the media has largely portrayed the man behind the mosque effort as Imam Rauf, an Egyptian-born progressive Muslim cleric who could be Sean Connery's body-double [but not his philosophical-double]. His wife, Khan, a Muslim community leader born in Kashmir, India, occasionally shares the spotlight. Known inside the Muslim community as unabashedly ambitious, the couple has irked Sharif and others in his camp. Last week, in a conference call with interfaith partners and others, set up by the Council on Foreign Relations, Khan said, "one of our congregants, Sharif El-Gamal, took it upon himself" to find new space for the overcrowded mosque where Rauf led prayers. Otherwise, there wasn't another word about the Brooklyn-born Sharif. Khan directed folks to the website of the Cordoba Initiative [link by Artemis], an interfaith nonprofit her husband runs, not the developer's website for the effort.

Isn't it interesting that among all the "vast majority of moderate Muslims" who are allegedly trying so hard to build a symbol of "interfaith outreach" to the community, that as soon as you look at who is actually leading these projects, it is either an imam who claims that the C.I.A. carried out 9/11 and who refuses to denounce Hamas, or a low-level thug who allegedly beats tenants?  Are these really the "best and brightest" that Islam has to offer?

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Posted on 08/30/2010 2:31 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Qaddafy In Rome Declares That Islam Will Be The Religion Of All Of Europe (In Italian)
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Read the story, and comments too, here.

And from anopther story, by a girl who infiltrated the proceedings and reported on the miserable condition of most of the girls who showed up, to get the 80 euros they were promised, and more if they converted (three girls did so on the spot): 

"Finalmente si apre la porta e le prime duecento escono con il Corano sotto il braccio. � arrivata l'ora del dibattito. Ma, appena sedute nella sala, � subito chiaro a tutte che  � meglio non fare domande scomode. D'altra parte gli organizzatori hanno avvertito: quelle a sfondo giornalistico-politico, verranno censurate. Gheddafi parla con tono sommesso, ma sicuro. Spiega a tutte che l'unica via di salvezza � il Corano. Ripete pi� volte: �L'ultimo profeta � Maometto. C'era scritto anche sul Vangelo, ma poi � stato modificato. Ora dunque l'unica sacra scrittura valida rimane il Corano, perch� � l'unica che � arrivata a noi autentica�. E prosegue: �Anche Ges� sapeva perfettamente che il nuovo profeta sarebbe stato Maometto. Hamed, per l'esattezza, che nella nostra lingua si traduce in Mohammed�. E la religione islamica � l'unica e universale, alla quale bisogna convertirsi prima del giorno del giudizio: �Chi non sar� convertito entro quel giorno - ammonisce - sar� perdente�.

Una ragazza chiede: �Ma allora la nostra religione � sbagliata?�. �No - risponde Gheddafi-. Solo che ogni religione, anche quella cristiana cattolica,  ha avuto il suo periodo. Perch� il messia Ges� era quello che precedeva l'ultimo, Maometto. Ora la religione musulmana le deve rimpiazzare tutte�. Arrivano anche domande sulla lapidazione delle donne peccatrici e sulla condizione delle donne in Libia, ma su queste il Leader glissa e la sicurezza mette a tacere le coraggiose.

Intanto � pronto per tutte, alla fine del dibattito, un invito

a unirsi in matrimonio con gli uomini libici e rinsaldare cos� il legame Italia-Libia. �In passato questo due Paesi si sono fatti la guerra - ha spiegato Gheddafi -. Ma ora i rapporti promettenti di diplomazia tra me e il capo di Stato italiano Berlusconi consentono di  mischiare le due etnie, e di procedere verso l'unit�. Ma non prima, spiega che voi abbiate letto il Corano, senza preconcetti e con l'apertura mentale necessaria alla conversione�. Infatti, prima di lasciare l'accademia culturale libica, gi� tre ragazze, entrate senza velo, lo indossano, uscendo, fiduciose nelle promesse di felicit�, prosperit� e, perch� no, di ricchezza che un Paese diverso dall'Italia potr� assicurare loro."

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Posted on 08/29/2010 10:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Dentata?
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A holistic hadith from Bukhari/Muslim:

A believer is not bitten from the same hole twice.

Bite me from the same hole once, shame on you. Bite me from the same hole twice, shame on me.

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Posted on 08/29/2010 9:38 PM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Leo Rennert: The Times Playing Fast And Loose With History Yet Again
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Readers of the Times expect to find a variety of views in the Sunday "Week in Review" section, which is as it should be.  But they also are entitled to accurate bios of outside authors.  Nor should the Times countenance patently factual distortions and errors in their writings.  Unfortuantely, the Times flunked both these tests in an Aug. 29 article by Ali Abunimah, "Hamas, the I.R.A. and Us" 
 
Abunimah is described only as author of "One Country:  A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse."  What this identification fails to point out is that his one-state solution, coupled with a "right of return" for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, would eliminate Israel as a Jewish state.  It would establish Palestinian rule from the Jordan to the Mediterranean -- a glaring omission that flunks a basic transparency test about the real views of the writer.  
 
As for the main theme of Abunimah's article -- that Mideast envoy George Mitchell succeeded in gettng a Northern Ireland peace agreement by bringing aboard Sinn Fein and its IRA terror organization, while he risks failure by keeping Hamas out of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks -- this doesn't square with the historical record.
 
The Good Friday agreement came to fruition only after Sinn Fein capitulated to firm demands by London, Washington and Dublin that its IRA terror wing first had to go out of business permanently -- by decommissioning all its weapons under international supervision.  Only when this occured was a path cleared for a power-sharing agreement.  When Hamas similarly folds its tent as a terror group, then and only then can it become a partner in the peace process -- as Mitchell rightly insists.
Real -- not fabricated -- history favors Mitchell, not Abunimah.
_________________________
It might also be noted that the Times, in its little biography of Ali Abunimah, failed to note that he blogs at his own site, something he calls "The Angry Arab." Perhaps the Tiimes did not want its readers to take a look at the hysteria and hate which can be found all over that site, didn't want to have it make a bad impression and spoil the reception of the transparently phony sweet-reasonableness of the Ali Abunimah who was given space in the News of the Week In Review. Quite something, the New York Times. In its coverage of Islam, it has already surpassed its record in coveage -- that is failing to adequately cover -- both the Nazis and Soviet Communism. It has a lot to answer for.
And to Rennert's unanswerable complaint should be added something else: the main thing t that distinguishes the situation in Northern Ireland from that in Israel: even if the worst people, that is the IRA and the new IRA, were to achieve their goal and to manage to incorporate all of Northern Ireland into one enlarged Eire, that would not mean that they would continue to make demands, continue to use Ireland as a base from which to destroy Great Britain. But that is what Muslim Arabs of course must work to accomplish; the very idea the infidel nation-state of Israel could be allowed to continue to exist, no matter how much smaller still it becomes, simply cannot be accepted. The Qur'an and Sunnah do not tell Muslims and Arabs that they should accept permanent rule by Infidels anywhere. How much stronger, then, must the impulse be when it comes to land that not only was once part of Dar al-Islam, but appears right in the midst of what some regard as a vast Arab domain from Morocco to the Gulf, and beyond? It makes no sense. every square inch of Northern Ireland were to be ceded.
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Posted on 08/29/2010 8:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
White House and Executive Agencies to Aid Muslim Brotherhood Fronts in tapping Federal Stimulus Grants
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Christine Brim of the Center for Security Policy has a stunning example of stealth jihad in a dossier piece published today on Big Peace: "Coming August 31: 'Direct Access' Stimulus Grants for the Muslim Brotherhood".   It involves the White House and Executive Agencies educating member organizations of the Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (CCMO) many of them Muslim Brotherhood front groups, on how to access, on a fast track basis, Federal Stimulus money for 'social services' projects.  Brim amply documents who are the leaders of the CCMO and  many of these Muslim Brotherhood groups like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Muslim Political Action Committee (MPAC) who have been identified as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation Trial convictions.
Here is what Brim discloses:
Think of it as ACORN reborn, with a slice of Jihad on the side.
On August 31, this coming Tuesday, the Muslim Brotherhood-associated "Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations" (CCMO) will bring 25-30 Muslim leaders of 20 national Muslim groups to attend a special workshop presented by the White House and U.S. Government agencies (Agriculture, Education, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services etc.) to provide the groups "funding, government assistance and resources."  The workshop will apparently provide special access for these Muslim Brotherhood organizations: the organizers pledge to provide "direct access" and "cut through red tape." Government and Muslim groups will hold an Iftar dinner (breaking the fast of Ramadan) after the workshop.
Brim cites email sent on Friday, August 27th by ISNA describes what the CCOM event is poised to do and who is involved:
This year, a phenomenal next step has been made where government iftars become coupled with workshops to provide resources and benefit the Muslim community. The US Department of Agriculture (DOA) and the Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (CCMO) have paired the first of such events, scheduled for August 31, 2010.
...Leaders from Muslim organizations around the nation, particularly social service organizations, are invited to a workshop with representatives from the DOA, Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Health and Human Services, the White House, Department of Education, the Department of Homeland Security, and more. Twenty five to thirty Muslim leaders representing 20 Muslim organizations are expected to attend the workshop.
According to a representative of CCMO, this workshop is designed to clarify how Muslim nonprofits, mosques, Islamic centers, and social service organizations can strengthen their communities through more direct access to opportunities provided to social service agencies at the Federal level. "It will hopefully help cut through some of the red tape and shine light on the many opportunities for funding, government assistance, and resources that we just don't know about at the local level," said Elsanousi.
Whenever I see the White House Council of Faith Based and neighborhood partnerships involved, I immediately think of Dalia Mogahed, an Obama Muslim appointee and head of Muslim polling for the Gallup Organization. Mogahed is co-author of Who Speaks for Islam: What a billion Muslims Think?  Is she the White House insider abetting this thinly disguised grant  assistance program for Muslim brotherhood front groups?   After all she has been overwhelmingly silent on application of Islamic Sharia law in America and elsewhere.  For example, she did not respond to the Freedom Pledge letter sent her by Former Muslims United requesting her to abjure death fatwas against those who have chosen to leave Islam.   Then, she was on a British television program with representatives of the extremist Islamic group Hizb ut Tahrir failing touting Sharia treatment of women. 
Could it be that she organized this event in consort with the CCMO inviting more than 20 American Muslim organizations to this Washington, DC conference on Tuesday, August 31st to instruct Muslim Brotherhood groups on how to help the Obama Administration by tapping into backlogged Stimulus funds?   Is this a case of Muslim Executive Agency staffers assisting brothers in the ummah to engage in 'social agency' project funding?
I raise the question of whether this Federal inter agency project orchestrated by the Obama White House is effectively  giving preferential treatment to Muslim groups in possible violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment?
Brim in an email about this program noted a central concern:
This speaks to the intentions and connections of the Muslim federal employees who organized this event at the White House and Department of Agriculture - as well as those other agencies attending.  It seems to me that this might violate separation of church and state, given how they seem to be preferencing one religion? And also the language in this email suggests that an interagency group of Muslim employees (the executive equivalent to the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association) is organizing these events, explicitly in partnership with CCMO.  Does anyone know about such a group?  There's nothing illegal  about such a group existing as far as I know, but it would be typical Muslim Brotherhood tactics.  Does any Congressional Committee have oversight responsibility or standing to ask questions about this event and the organizers?
After all, it is Ramadan.  Muslims are obligated to perform acts of charity, Zakat. What better means of furthering "the way of Allah" then to tap into available Federal Stimulus funds?    We note that one of the applications of Zakat is to support Jihad.
As Brim said, this amounts to a Muslim version of ACORN, 'with a slice of Jihad on the side'.   Notwithstanding the Congressional Summer Recess, concerned members of Congress ought to seriously question the Obama White House on this misguided venture. When they come back after Labor Day they will have only  a few weeks to do any business, prior to the Campaign recess in October. Perhaps White House Muslim aides knew that when ISNA sent out Friday's email to Muslim Brotherhood groups to attend the grant assistance program on Tuesday, the 31st.
Brim suggests a few things that might be done, given these disclosures:
One solution: Cancel this meeting, and schedule one for all religious organizations. If government grants are to be given to religious groups (a policy some question, but set that aside here), then all grant applicants of all religions, including Muslims should be treated equally.  And if Muslim social service groups attend, they should be ones without ties to the Muslim Brotherhood or other Islamist groups dedicated to imposing Shariah law in the U.S.
An alternate solution:  Keep the event as currently planned - apparently arranged and dominated by CCMO - but open it up to the media (including network, cable, radio, Big Peace, bloggers, etc.) as well as organizations with expertise on the Muslim Brotherhood, like the Investigative Project, the Middle East Forum, NEFA Foundation, Hudson Institute, the Center for Security Policy and many others.  Let the sunshine in...
This White House CCMO orchestrated event will likely ensue, unless there is an immediate klieg light of disclosure prompted by Congressional and public outrage. Unfortunately, there is just too little time in the next 36 hours to crank up a campaign to oppose it.
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Posted on 08/29/2010 8:08 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Obama Administration Funds Arab Muslim Propaganda Intended To Soften Up Israelis
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From Jerusalem Central

August 29, 2010


Your Tax Dollars at Work

The problem isn't necessarily the US Government supporting a 2-state solution - though one would think that this is an inappropriate use of taxpayer money and USAID funds - but look how they're doing it: a big picture of 7 leaders of the Palestinian Authority with the caption: "We're Partners. And You?". This begs the question, of course: 

Do you think there is a similar campaign at work all over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, i.e. pictures of Bibi, Barak, Lieberman and the rest of the 7 members of the Inner Cabinet that says in Arabic: "We're Partners. And You?"

The answer is rather obvious. More inappropriate meddling by foreign governments in Israel - at least a new law going through the Knesset a la the US Foreign Agents Registration Act would make this kind of funding more transparent.



Here

is also the link to the Geneva Initiative web site indicating as well support from

USAID

, which has

provided

"US economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 40 years". As to the story in today's Yediot Ahronot, p.7:



Big picture across the top of the page (l to r): 
Sufian Abu Zeideh, Yasser Abu Rabo, Saeeb Erekat, Abu Mazen, Salam Fayyad, Riad Al-Malki, Jabril Rajoub
Caption OVER the picture: "We Are Partners. And You?"


Headline: Campaign Funded by the White House
Subhead: The Geneva Initiative Organization Produces, the Americans Are Paying, the Heads of the Palestinian Authority Star in a Political Campaign That Will be Open This Morning and Will Try to Convince Israelis That Peace is Possible
By Itamar Eichner
"We are partners - and what's with you"? asks the organizers of the Geneva Initiative of the People of Israel in a new (advertising) campaign that will open this morning, and it turns out that the Americans are also joining. 
Saeeb Erekat, Jabril Rajoub, Yasser Abd Rabo and the Palestinian foreign minister (sic) Riad Malki will appear from this morning on billboards throughout Israel, in newspaper advertisements and in network spots - and will try to convince you that there is with whom to speak on the other side.
At first glance it appears just like any other initiative of a movement in favor of a 2-state solution, but when you check who gave the main funding for this campaign it turns out to be none other than Washington, D.C. One million shekel (~ $260,000: TW) has been invested in financing the campaign, whose goal is to encourage Israelis to support a Palestinian state, and most of which came from the American assistance agency, USAID - a federal agency that usually funds humanitarian activities in the world, e.g. assistance for victims of the earthquake in Haiti, food supplies for flood victims in Pakistan, and for the hungry and starving in Africa. The organization is active in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but never - until today - did it ever finance a project that is connected to political organizations and to the peace process in the Middle East. Moreover - this will be the first time that the American Government supports financially, even if indirectly, in an initiative of this kind. 
The Geneva Initiative is an organization that promotes a permanent Israeli-Palestinian solution on the basis of the Clinton Parameters of December 2000. "Yediot Ahronot" became aware that it is the organization that turned to Washington with a request to receive financial support for producing the campaign, and it was agreed upon there to respond positively. "We are showing the partners as they are", said yesterday Geneva Initiative CEO Gadi Baltiansky. "I am happy that those who support a solution of two states are also assisting in passing on the message". 
Sources in the Israeli Foreign Ministry said last night that the decision of the American Government to fund this campaign is in their eyes extremely odd. "This this is fact a campaign of the Palestinian Authority with funding from the US Government", said the source. 
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Posted on 08/29/2010 8:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Coming to a Mosque Near You: �Pimping for Terrorists�
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by Jerry Gordon

The eruption of mega-mosque conflicts across America has raised numerous questions, in more than a dozen cases, about who is funding these multi-million dollar projects. And, in addition, whether there could be any Muslim Brotherhood connections and any possibility of their raising funds for foreign terrorist groups like Hamas. 


"Money continues to flow in the other direction, as well," said Mosab Hassan Yousef "Son of Hamas."

He noted the FBI documented that the Holy Land Foundation sent $12.4 million from the U.S. to Hamas committees. But based on his 10 years of experience as a spy for the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet, he believes many times that amount has been smuggled to Hamas in cash.

As an example, Yousef cited the case of a Palestinian terror operative he met in prison who was arrested transporting $100,000 after Shin Bet provided information to law enforcement authorities.

"I guarantee you that there still people who collect money in mosques that go directly to Hamas in cash," Yousef said. "And this is a problem that the government doesn't have control over. Obama doesn't have control over this money."

On June 14, 2009, George Galloway appeared at an event sponsored by the Islamic Society of Central Florida (ISCF). Also in attendance was Mahdi Bray executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation (MASFF) at Imam Muhammad Musri's Al Rahman mosque in Orlando, Florida. The mosque is owned by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). They raised over $55,000 in support of Galloway's Viva Palestina, a Hamas terror finance conduit. An undercover team of investigators from ACT! For America Jacksonville and Orlando chapters attended the Viva Palestina event. They videoed Galloway and Bray raising funds for Viva Palestina using the cover of the 501(c)(3) tax exempt status of the MASFF.

Galloway and Bray were caught on video misleading the audience telling them their contributions were tax deductible as the MASFF is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) non profit institution.    

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Posted on 08/29/2010 9:55 PM by NER
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
A Musical Interlude: Sunday (Jean Goldkette Orch., voc. Keller Sisters, Al Lynch)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 08/29/2010 4:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Blair's dosh
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Tony Blair, whose financial profligacy laid the foundations for the banking crisis and the deepest recession since the war, has set up a bank to act as deal-maker in investments for the super rich. From The Daily Mail:

A company set up by Tony Blair can now act as an investment bank after registering with the Financial Services Authority.

His Mayfair-based company Firerush could provide the former Prime Minister with further opportunities to boost his fortune, estimated to be in excess of �20million.

Firerush is understood to be one of a number of firms Mr Blair set up to manage the finances of his consultancy firm, Tony Blair Associates (TBA).

But this development raises the possibility of Mr Blair acting as a deal-maker in investments for the super-rich.

Some of Mr Blair's staff have also registered with the FSA and are able to offer services to clients.

They include Catherine Rimmer, who worked in the research unit at Downing Street, and Jo Gibbins, a former aide.

A spokesman denied that the company would act as an investment bank.

He said: 'FSA registration was appropriate given the potential there was for TBA to do work that might fall under the scope of the FSA.'

Firerush was registered with the FSA in January and was originally thought to have been set up to manage Mr Blair's own private portfolio.

There's no snob like a socialist snob and there's no greed like a socialist's greed.

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Posted on 08/29/2010 4:02 PM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Jane Eyre ....
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... is big in China, where the title is translated as "A record of an orphan girl who drifts about alone". I suppose Wuthering Heights would be "A record of family quarrels where there is no collective farming".

"Jane Eyre" is probably quite hard to say if you're Chinese. I wonder what they made of Nicholas Nickleby. "A record of a sans-culotte who turns on a sixpence"?

As for A Tale of Two Cities, let's hope the Chinese don't spake moonerisms.

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Posted on 08/29/2010 3:23 PM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Ban first cousin marriage?
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Yes, argues Minette Marrin, responding in The Sunday Times to the Dispatches documentary When Cousins Marry:

Cousin marriage is risky, particularly for groups which have practised it for generations. Closely related first cousins face greater than normal risks of having babies with serious recessive genetic disorders.

To say that is not to criticise anyone for anything. It is not to attack any particular religion or ethnic group or culture. It is merely to state a painful fact, of which people used to be unaware.

Did they? My grandmother, who had little education and would never have heard of recessive genes, knew that it wasn't a good idea. Stop making excuses. In fact, having stated that no "particular religion or ethnic group or culture" is being "attacked", Ms Marrin goes on to make it clear, as did the Dispatches programme, that it is one particular religion and culture: Muslims of Pakistani origin (the programme also mentioned Arabs and Africans). This is not one ethnic group, however - British Hindus and Sikhs do not practise cousin marriage in any significant numbers.

However, today this subject is political dynamite; most people don't dare talk about it at all. That is because the people mainly affected are British Pakistani Muslims: hence the deafening, pusillanimous silence on what should be a serious public health concern.

People have always married their first cousins - Darwin did, Einstein did - and it is legal to do so here. But British Pakistani Muslims actively favour cousin marriage and traditionally have done. About 55% marry their first cousins in this country and in Bradford the number is about 75%.

The result, sadly, is what you would expect. British Pakistani couples account for about 3% of all births here, but they produce nearly a third of all British children suffering from recessive genetic disorders. The BBC reported in 2005 that Birmingham primary care trust estimated that 1 in 10 of children born to first cousins in the city either died in infancy or went on to develop a serious disability due to a genetic disorder.

Many of these problems were discussed by a young British Pakistani woman brave enough to report on this last week on Channel 4's Dispatches programme.

Tazeen Ahmad showed harrowing scenes of a young man writhing and protesting in the misery of his genetic disorder, while his exhausted mother looked after his two blind sisters.

Ahmad spoke of the disabilities and early deaths among her own uncles and aunts, as a result of cousin marriage, and made the general risks plain. What was profoundly shocking was the resistance to these known risks; she spoke to imams, community leaders and parents in a state of resentful denial.

Although some younger people seemed more aware, and angry about the intense family pressure on cousins to marry, most people interviewed simply did not accept the scientific evidence. One mother said her children's disorders were caused by the drugs given to them by the National Health Service.

Worst of all, not a single MP from a constituency with a large Pakistani population would agree to appear on television. Not one was brave enough to run the risk of being called racist or Islamophobic, which is the usual reaction against anyone prepared to talk openly about this subject. Only the redoubtable Ann Cryer, retired MP for Keighley, was courageous enough to appear, calling stoutly for an end to cousin marriage and saying that much of the Pakistani community was in denial about the risks.

It is a national disgrace that members of parliament have allowed themselves to be cowed into silence. (Phil Woolas, like Cryer, is an honourable exception; he warned of these dangers in 2008.) They owe it to their constituents and to the public to face up to and speak out about a practice that causes horrible suffering, to say nothing of the vast cost to the NHS.

[...]

To avoid in future the terrible and unnecessary suffering of those many children born with recessive genetic disorders, the government should be brave enough, and compassionate enough, to make first cousin marriage illegal.

But why pass a law for non-Muslims, when Muslims are the problem? The French banned all religious symbols in schools, when only the hijab was the problem, thereby making non-Muslims suffer for the militancy and intransigence of Muslims. For non-Muslims, making first cousin marriage illegal would be a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Far better to end Muslim immigration.

The Dispatches programme was good as far as it went, but it did not explain why British Muslims are disproportionately married off to first cousins. True, is isn't in the Koran, but then nor is honour killing, yet this is an overwhelmingly Muslim crime, even in civilised Western countries like the UK.

In the comments to my post here, Hugh puts forward an explanation:

Why is cousin-marriage favored by Muslims? I suggest that in Islam trust is not encouraged, but rather deception, aggression, and violence, and that those raised up in this faith, and who have been affected by the attitudes and atmospherics of Islam, that color even relations with fellow Muslims (supposedly their "brothers"), and that their total belief-system creates a mental and emotional world, and people, who are "savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,"  and because trust is so lacking, even without the presence of Infidels who of course are never to be trusted by Muslims, it is considered best in those societies that are most deeply Muslim, or among those who take Islam most to heart, to marry off daughters to other family members, so that at least a modicum of trust might conceivably be placed.

I agree. Islam is above all primitive -  a word insufficiently used under the present cult of Diversity. Muslims, even in advanced, civilised Britain, hold to the customs of the desert and the jungle, because Islam is tribal and primitive. To this I would add a further explanation, borrowing one of Hugh's phrases: inshallah fatalism. It was difficult not to feel sorry for the afflicted children, but the parents are a different story. Passively, fatalistically and moronically, they intoned that it was God's will. The mother who blamed the NHS drugs was like those Muslims - and there are many - who believe 9/11 was the work of the Jews. Perhaps she should try camel's urine instead and save her non-Muslim, taxpaying supporters a fortune.

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Posted on 08/29/2010 2:25 PM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Speech from Bradford.
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The transcript of the speech delivered by Michael Johnson at Bradford yesterday and his comments about the day.

Bradford Demo  (Why are we here)
Why are we here? What is the reason why we come together from all over the country?
The media would like everyone to believe it's because we want to fight with everyone. The UAF say it is because we are violent racists and fascists, yet they are the ones who have the most arrests for violence and disorder.
The reason we are all here is simple. We are here because we are no longer going to be racially abused and religiously terrorised in our own country.
Our government created this problem by allowing unrestricted immigration into England calling it multiculturalism. Even then our Government knew what uncontrolled immigration would lead to, but they didn't care because they controlled the immigrant vote.
What our government didn't understand was the Islamic extremists were fully aware of what was happening and they were organising and plotting even then.
Anjem Choudary was a member of the commission for racial equality, (that's Millwall and West Ham in a town centre pub, sure to be trouble).  In public he was saying the idea is for all cultures to practice together.  And the idiots in Downing Street fell for it.
What Andy Choudary (the drug taking, Cider swilling, Porno reading hypocrite) was saying in private to his Al Muhajiroun Islamic Jihad terrorists buddies was completely different.
 He stated for a fact, (and this is on public record).
"We cannot practice with these none believers, we need to remove you,  we need to send in the army of jihad to wipe you off the face of this earth".
Andy Islam4uk Choudary, had all this worked out, he even had his twisted ideology ready to support his actions. He said, "We have a covenant of security which states the life and wealth of the people are secure, if they (the English) violate this covenant we will defend ourselves".
He went on to say," they will violate it at the first demonstration they hold; this can be seen as a threat so we can use all our power to defend ourselves".
Choudary said, "This is what we want, they are all Christians so we can slap them and they will turn the other cheek".
Choudary, we will not turn the other cheek, we will attack. Because this is our excuse to fight and take authority.  Everything I have just stated is true and on public record  Well I have a message for you Anjem Choudary,
Yes we are a Christian race, and we do turn the other cheek, but we also do as it says in the bible, we take an eye for an eye from those who wrong us. If you think we will stand by and let you attack our country and her people you are badly wrong. Remember your history?
(Sorry I forgot you have no history, because the Arabs invaded your country killed off your royalty, your leaders, your religion and replaced it with their own, Islam).
Arab history remembers Richard the Lionheart coming to the Middle East and slaughtering the army of jihad where ever they met. History has proved when Islamic extremists fight the Christians they never win. All they do is crawl back into their holes and act as terrorists.
So once again I ask why we are here.
We are here to show the people of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales there is nothing to fear.  We will no longer be dictated to.  We are no longer going to be told what to think. We are no longer going to be told what to say. We are no longer going to be frightened of being English because they call us racist. We are no longer going to let anyone stop us flying the English National flag. I am English and I am proud of being English.
I will defend our Culture from attack.
I will defend our identity from attack
I will defend our religion from attack.
And I will defend our people from this evil that is Islamic extremism.
For years the government has pandered to these extremists allowing them to roam freely in our country.
For years they did nothing about it.
Well no more. Not here not in England.
The free ride is over. The English Defence League will oppose you where ever you show your face, where ever you hold your meetings. This is our England and we are taking her back.
Our government is frightened of us; they are frightened of the English Defence League. They are frightened of the English Nationalist movement. They are more frightened of the English people than they are of the Islamic extremists.
The Labour government did not listen, even with their Muslim block vote they were kicked out of power because of the EDL.
The EDL showed the country that it was ok to stand up and say no more.
The EDL showed the country they were no longer going to put up with Islamic extremist tyranny.
David Cameron needs to take notice - we are the power in this country not the government.
English men and women have bled for this country fighting for her values and traditions.  And we will bleed again if we come under attack.
If David Cameron will not listen then we use our power.
We have the power to vote them in or to vote them out.
We have the power to stand up and say no.
We have the power to take to the streets and show the world the EDL are fighting back.
The conservatives want to run the country, that's ok if they want to run the country let them, but they have to understand they are only running it for us.
They are only looking after it for us, for the people of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and they have a duty to us.
Their duty is to protect the people, to protect the Values and to protect our identity from any threat we might face.
Well David Cameron, we are under threat and we are under attack.
We are under threat from Extreme Islam and we are under attack from Islamic extremists.
It is your duty to defend us from these attacks.
We know who they are, we know what they look like, and we even know their names.
If you do nothing then you leave it to us, the English Defence League, to fight your battles for you.
So I give you warning David Cameron and Nick Clegg
The EDL will fight back.
EDL will take to the streets.
EDL will organise.
EDL will protect England against these Islamic extremists.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg, EDL will never surrender. EDL will never give in.
There will be No surrender.
Thank you.
 He reports:-

I was the last speaker and it went down very well huge applause and it was my birthday so I had the whole of the EDL demonstration singing happy birthday to me which went unreported as this might not fit with the media profile being painted by some members of the press. I can assure you I know for a fact the press were aware of what was going on because two soppy birds clapped me. First thing I have had from the press for nothing. I could see the whole crowd and it is quite an emotion having that done to you. A good one I might add

 The smoke bombs came from the UAF and the first of the 5 arrests were UAF which is also unreported but unfortunately for the media but good for you it is on film. We also have film of a known racist being removed from the site.

He went on to tell me about known troublemakers from a group known as the 'Manchester Reds'. Then he turned to the matter of the smoke bombs:-

First of two smoke bombs thrown at the EDL.  The EDL are accused of using smoke bombs even though we had to go through the police search teams and pass through the mobile scanners which made it more like making ones way through check in than going to a demo. Seems a strange accusation to me. You can see where the white Bomb has landed and you can see as you are watching the crowd nothing passes your screen but it is just outside the EDL compound. No question as to where it was thrown from so the press and the news blamed it on the EDL even though the police confirmed both smoke bombs came from within the UAF crowd, in fact the second one was dropped by the thrower who almost won an Oscar from me for the perfect SWP demonstration agitation award. Why they did not have him bang to rights is in fact due in this case to age of the police officers on duty, they would not have known what was going on.                                                                   


Watch live video from kilnerwill1 on Justin.tv2.46 two professional agitators who know exactly what they are doing set up smoke bomb number 2 the purple one. You see earlier within the UAF the two lads black Asian one with light blue lightweight jacket and the other with a white jacket hoody top over his head when its sunny?

This is an old SWP trick and I have not seen it done for a very long time, it is sweet and effective to wind up the crowd up. The two pass through the crowd and the lad with the blue top bends down and rolls canister behind him then carries on and he never looks back, not even when it all kicked off and the roar goes up. Nothing just straight off. Not normal behavior unless you have been taught to do things different like walk straight away don't look back don't rush be invisible.

2.46 smoke canister goes off and no one knows what's happening they start to panic.  

2,50 up pops agitator number two with white hoody, saying. Officer, Officer, i saw the whole thing the EDL from over in the far corner threw it at us while we are stood doing nothing, bad EDL.  

3.14 Hoody boy has gone backward and returned to the corner where he started from at the outset and no surprise is shortly back with Blue jacket. 

It just so happens there is a group of full on UAF in the far corner who now have an excuse to rush the EDL at the weakest point of the police lines and they all know it will be reported that the EDL attacked the UAF after throwing a second smoke bomb in to the UAF supporters. never mind all the searching and the electronic scanning of the EDL, let's not have the truth spoil a good media chance to destroy the EDL.

What Michael says confirms what was reported on the Forum (and apparently by Skynews, although I can't find an on-line link to that, if there is one can someone please sent me it) , which is that the smoke bomb, (or bombs), was not thrown from the EDL area.

One has to ask why we see police officers almost thirty minutes before the speeches  are over  putting on specialist riot gear? which is only for events where the crowd is becoming out of control or the threat to officer safety is no longer at a level where they can perform their duty.

What actually happened is these riot police used a tactic that has been under question since the injuries and events of Trafalgar square.  The police are using this tactic more and more at EDL demonstrations causing problems, which ultimately leads to violence.

There was no need to kettle the crowd at Bradford as we could only wait to get on the coaches at the entrance and we could go nowhere as it was a compound. This causes needless conflict which is the main finding the IPCC accepted and upheld when their findings were producer for G20. They stated this form of containment should only be used when risk to demonstrators the police or the public is one where the police fear serious injury or extreme violent disorder.  Sitting in a high walled single exit grass area is not quite what they had in mind.

What it did achieve?  for no reason anyone can see it created conflict where the police were sent in forcing us back towards a wall when 60% of the site is empty. What happens next? the batons and shields were once again in use assaulting EDL members for getting upset because they are being threatened for no reason what so ever.

Once again I observed the violent misuse of a shield edge being used as a weapons against a demonstrator. This can no longer be allowed to continue, the police have no right to harm our supporters while breaking the laws they are suppose to be upholding.

I am going to speak with the leadership and formulate a complaint against the police forces of Dudley and Bradford. 

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Posted on 08/29/2010 11:01 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Brendan Goldman: Academic Defenders Of The Faith On "Bigotry"
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From Campus Watch:

August 29, 2010

Who're You Calling a 'Bigot'?

By Brendan Goldman
John Esposito, director of the Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, having observed that a large majority of Americans oppose an Islamic center at ground zero, could not decide whether American society now more closely resembles that of Birmingham, Alabama circa 1963 or Nazi Germany on the eve of Kristallnacht:

[Newt Gingrich is] somebody...from the South [who] can remember the problem of racism and civil rights. He's also reportedly a Christian.... He's got to remember how a theology of anti-Semitism led to a history of pogroms that ultimately led to the Final solution.

Such callous historical analogies were but one component of a concerted effort by a group of Middle East studies professors to discredit the opponents of the ground zero mosque, whom they helpfully labeled "rural rednecks," "so-called Christian ministers," and "the Israel lobbies."

Most of the academics echoed a warning that a "tidal wave of 'Islamophobia'" would soon overtake America -- act two of the "wave of hate crimes" that occurred "post-9/11."  These statements ignore a basic fact: no such "wave" ever occurred.  As columnist Jonah Goldberg writes, despite the rhetoric of the Left, statistics demonstrate this country is not particularly susceptible to "Islamophobia."

In 2001 (the year of 9/11), there were twice as many anti-Jewish incidents [in America] as there were anti-Muslim, according to the FBI. In 2002 and pretty much every year since, anti-Jewish incidents have outstripped anti-Muslim incidents by at least 6 to 1.

Undeterred by facts, these same academics offered spirited defenses of the "moderate" ground zero mosque Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf -- who called America an "accessory" to the 9/11 attacks and said Osama Bin-Laden was "made in the USA".  What they rarely revealed is that their conception of a Muslim "moderate" is defined on a spectrum utterly alien to their American audience.

The prominent Egyptian sheikh, Yusuf al-Qardawi, sits at the center of the academics' spectrum.  According to mosque supporter Marc Lynch, associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, Qardawi is a practitioner of wastataniyya or "centrism" and "a barometer of Muslim opinion."  Esposito likewise calls Qardawi a "reformist".  Rauf says the sheikh is "the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world today."

The problem: Qardawi, as a "reformist" and exemplar of "centrist" Islam has said, for instance, that "[Hitler] put the Jews in their place," that homosexuality is an "abominable practice" which warrants the death penalty, and that women should be genitally mutilated to protect their chastity.  Reassurances of Rauf's moderation ring hollow when this context becomes clear.

Although, according to these academics' definition of the spectrum of Muslim public opinion, one might expect that only fringe voices in the Islamic world would reject the mosque, in reality such prominent Muslims as Abd al-Rahman al-Rashid, director-general of Al-Arabiya TV, oppose its construction.  As al-Rashid, perhaps one of the best placed sources for analyzing popular opinion in the Arab-Islamic world, said:

I do not think that the majority of Muslims want to build a monument or a place of worship that tomorrow may become a source of pride for the terrorists and their Muslim followers.

But a genuine debate over the choice of location for the mosque, the radical connections of its leadership, and the opaque sources of its $100 million budget was apparently less edifying than painting all of the mosque's opponents as bigots.  In the process, the academics revealed their own striking prejudices.

Richard Bulliet, professor of Islamic history at Columbia University, suggested one theory -- the malignant influence of Jewish paranoia

I see [some of the opposition to the mosque] as linked to broad apprehensions, both in this country and in Israel that evil deeds...suspected of being a part of a Muslim master plan, pose an existential threat to the Jewish people.

The professor provided no evidence for his assertion, but perhaps he simply mixed-up the subject of the conspiracy theory he ridiculed: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which outlines a farcical Jewish "master plan" to rule the world, is a perennial best-seller in many parts of the Islamic world. 

Moataz Abdel-Fattah, associate professor of Middle East Studies at Central Michigan University, took a swipe at Christians too, arguing that opposition to the mosque is rooted in "the theological bias of the Judeo-Christian tradition."

Muqtedar Khan, the director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware, chose to be vaguer, warning that "dark elements" have formed an alliterative "pernicious partnership between politics and prejudice."  He added, "[This 'partnership's'] anger could manifest in myriad forms of discriminatory behavior towards Muslims." 

Khan is an expert on "discriminatory behavior," having refused to sit on an academic panel with Israeli-American Scholar Asaf Romirowsky, because Romirowsky, like all citizens of the Jewish state, served in his country's armed forces.

Other scholars sought Khan's "myriad forms" of anti-Muslim behavior in an isolated incident in which the pastor of a small church in Gainesville, Florida called for burning the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  The pastor was the subject of countless academics' editorials in which they stigmatized American society as "Islamophobic." 

Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian professor of Iranian Studies at Columbia University, was one such scholar; he warned in a CNN op-ed of "those promoting an orgy of Quran burning."  Dabashi failed to mention that "those promoting" this "orgy" consisted of precisely one man, and that the state denied the pastor a permit necessary to do so.

Stephen Zunes, chairman of Middle East Studies at the University of San Francisco, told the Islamic Republic of Iran's state funded Press TV that, "We have seen [this pastor's] kind of extreme rhetoric for some time now," adding:

If you really look at Western history, you can see scapegoat[ed] minorities.... It shows an ugly aspect of Western societies despite claims of religious pluralism.

This "ugl[iness]" is obviously a uniquely Western phenomenon, since in enlightened "Eastern societies" like Iran Jews historically were not allowed to leave their homes when it rained because they were considered polluted, practicing Baha'is are still regularly arrested without pretense and -- of course -- "there are no gays."

Esposito seconded Zune's bizarre theme of America's exceptional intolerance in the eyes of the Islamic world, telling his American audience that opposition to the ground zero mosque "stunned...the vast majority of Muslims."  Muslims living under the rule of Esposito's Saudi sponsors must be "stunned" by Americans' opposition to the construction of a thirteen-story Islamic center at ground zero, considering the erection of the most humble synagogue or church anywhere in Saudi Arabia is prohibited and non-Muslims may not even enter the cities of Mecca or Medina.

If you find yourself asking why the defenders of the ground zero mosque keep recycling hyperbolic accusations of bigotry, listen to the analysis of many of our nation's "leading" Middle East studies scholars. Their attempts to characterize all opposition to the mosque as examples of "Islamophobia" ignore the complicated emotions evoked by the 9/11 attacks and the genuine concerns of many Muslims and non-Muslims alike over the mosque's fundraising, location, and the radical connections of its leadership. Finally, if one must embrace these professors' infatuation with perceived prejudices, then associating "centrist" Muslims with homophobes, misogynists and anti-Semites -- while embracing conspiratorial charges against "so-called Christian ministers," "rural rednecks" and "the theological bias of the Judeo-Christian tradition" -- seems to fit the very definition of bigotry.

Brendan Goldman, a member of New York University's class of 2010, earned a B.A. in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. 
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Posted on 08/29/2010 10:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Blair Houses
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It is every parent's desire to give their children the best start in life, but few would ever aspire to buying them a �1million house as a leaving home present. Unless, that is, you happen to be as wealthy as Tony and Cherie Blair. Just for the record, this is house number 9 for the Blair family.

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Posted on 08/29/2010 9:47 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Cost of policing Bradford EDL demo 'in six figures'
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As usual the mainstream press are less than informative as to what really happened in Bradford yesterday. I have spent the morning since my return for holiday reading the forum, facebook and other sites for news from the men and women who were there. This is the BBC this afternoon.

The cost of policing two rival demonstrations in Bradford on Saturday is expected to be "several hundred thousand pounds", police have said. The right-wing English Defence League (EDL) and its Unite Against Fascism (UAF) opponents held separate protests. Hundreds of officers from West Yorkshire Police were supported by colleagues from 13 other forces during the operation to keep the groups apart.

Thirteen protesters were arrested after several skirmishes broke out. Police contained several hundred EDL supporters (on the EDL forum this morning some members were disappointed that the turnout, which they believe to be several thousand, was not even higher. Why do the BBC twist the truth so?) behind a temporary barricade in the city's Urban Gardens as about 300 people gathered for an event hosted by UAF about half a mile away at the Crown Court Plaza.

West Yorkshire's Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison said: "The ban of the march seems to have worked.No officers were seriously injured and there was no damage to property."

Ishtiaq Ahmed, a spokesman for the Bradford Council for Mosques, said: "It was impressive to see young people taking on the leadership role to keep things calm and peaceful.The police response was courageous and appropriate."

"The police response was courageous and appropriate"  He considers it to be appropriate that the police on the buses taking members of the EDL from the rally site (I'll call it that - from the descriptions I read it was more of a kettleing compound) back to the dispersal area (in the next town, Halifax) did nothing when those buses were attacked by men of muslim appearance hurling missiles (bottles, bricks and eggs) at them from their cars in which they were pursuing those buses. One eye witness report has a car reversing into a bus, and smashing his own rear window as a result, so maybe they thought stupidity was its own punishment. The best the EDL members got was a promise from junior police officers that they would raise the incidents with the senior officers later.

He considers it appropriate that the police made no attempt to pursue the youths of the so called Muslim Defence League who punched this man in the video below, in the face (according to one of the sources I read this morning he was dazed having been hit by a missile a few seconds earlier) from behind the  safety of a hedge, before running away while filming. The boys who filmed their brave bruvver and put the clip up at Youtube  are very proud of  "EDL GETTING KNOCKED THE FUK OUT LMAO".

I believe that complaints will be made to the Chief Constable and the Home Secretary urging that these assaults be investigated and the perpetrators apprehended. It should be easy enough to trace 'atiq98etc'. The general opinion amoung those members of the EDL who were there is that the police are very scared of what will happen on the streets if Muslim boys and men are arrested for public order offences. One EDL member is of the opinion that so many Muslims are radicalised in prison that there is a deliberate policy not to risk placing any more of them in prisons - better to keep them as street jihadists rather than trained terrorists. That's only one mans opinion but he has an interesting point. 

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Posted on 08/29/2010 8:32 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Obama And That Iftar Dinner, Or, History Is Whatever You Want It To Be
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See here.

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Posted on 08/29/2010 6:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Islam Denied Official Religion Status in Italy
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AKI (with thanks to Joan W.):

Rome, 27 August (AKI) - Mosques in Italy will not receive a share of income tax revenue the Italian government allocates to religious faiths each year. Hindu and Buddhist temples, Greek Orthodox churches and Jehovah's Witnesses will be eligible for the funds, according to a bill approved by the Italian cabinet in May and still must be approved by parliament.

Until now, the government had earmarked 8 percent of income tax revenue for Italy's established churches. The great majority of these funds go to the Catholic Church, although if they wish, individual tax payers may elect to give the money to charities and cultural projects instead.

The head of COREIS, one of Italy's largest Muslim groups, Yahya Pallavicini, said he was bitter that Islam had been denied the revenue from Italian income tax.

"Work should be begun on legally recognising those moderate Muslims who have for years shown themselves to be reliable interlocutors who are free of and fundamentalist ideology," he said.

Islam is not an established religion in Italy and there is only one official mosque in the country, Rome's Grand Mosque (photo). Politicians from the ruling coalition cite radical imams, polygamy and failure to uphold women's rights by Muslims immigrants as obstacles to recognising Islam as an official religion in Italy.

Until now, only the Catholic Church, Judaism and other established churches including Lutherans, Evangelists, Waldensians and 7th-day Adventists have received the income tax revenue from the Itallain government.

There are between one million and 1.5 million Muslims in Italy and 130 mosques linked the Muslim umbrella organisation UCOII across the country.

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Posted on 08/29/2010 6:08 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Glasgow - Muslim shops ban Israeli produce
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From Scotland's Sunday Herald

Asian shopkeepers in one of the biggest Muslim areas in Scotland are backing a boycott of Israeli produce. In a move that has worried Jewish groups, Muslim families who own stores in Glasgow's south side are refusing to stock Israeli goods in protest at Israel's West Bank settlements and policy towards Palestinians.

Around 30 stores in Muslim communities in Pollokshields, Pollokshaws and Govanhill are supporting the drive and yesterday campaigners took to the streets to applaud shopkeepers who are no longer stocking Israeli products.

The campaigners, who toured stores handing out flyers to shoppers, say shops which continue to stock Israeli goods will be "named and shamed". I thought Scotland was a free country? Not no more, it seems. Led by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Friends of Al Aqsa Glasgow, many stores in the area are now displaying posters declaring "No Israeli Produce sold here".

Organisers say that following its success in Glasgow, the campaign is expected to be rolled out across the country. The focus of the boycott is fruit such as dates, traditonally eaten by Muslims in the holy month of Ramadan. Customer Isahaq Ali, 50, said: "I know what to look out for when buying these items and wouldn't give stores who stock them my custom."

However, Edward Isaacs, president of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, said: "We have excellent relations in the Jewish Community with our Muslim friends (don't fool yourself, silly man!) and we think that bringing Middle East politics into the Glasgow sphere to this extent is not a good idea. Everyone is entitled to have their views on the Middle East, but we don't think a boycott is the correct way to advance their political process."

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Posted on 08/29/2010 3:12 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 29 August 2010
Sunnis And Shi'a In Bahrain, And What It Means
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The next time you hear someone blame the Americans for Sunni-Shi'a violence in Iraq, give them this article on Bahrain. Then tell them about how the Shi'a are treated in Saudi Arabia, quoting if possible from the denunciations of Shi'a as the worst kind of Infidels, from Saudi clerics. Then tell them about Sipah-e-Sahaba, the Sunni group in Pakistan that specializes in attacks on Shi'a professionals. Then tell them about the history of Sunni-Shi'a relations over the past 1300 years. Then tell them -- but very sweetly -- "whereof we do not know, thereof we should not speak." Then tell them, even more sweetly, to shut up.
From a story in The New York Times: 
August 26, 2010

Crackdown in Bahrain Hints of End to Reforms

MANAMA, Bahrain - The three women in head scarves and black abayas surged into the main atrium of the Seef Mall at 11 p.m. the other night, unfurling a banner outside the Next clothing boutique that read, "It is forbidden to arbitrarily arrest and detain people."........

A picture was taken, and in less than a minute they had dispersed. As they tried to leave, more than a dozen plainclothes and uniformed police officers surrounded one of them, Fakhria al-Singace, pinning her spread-eagled on a cafe table.

"You have no right to arrest me!" she shouted.

"Shut your mouth!" a female officer said as she tried to handcuff Ms. Singace, pulling off her cloaklike abaya in the process. Officers shooed shoppers away and questioned a journalist.

The arrest at one of Bahrain's busiest late-night spots occurred in the second week of a sweeping crackdown in this island kingdom in the Persian Gulf, a strategic American ally that is home to the United States Navy's Fifth Fleet and that appears to be reconsidering its decade-long flirtation with reform.

Contentious parliamentary elections, in which the Sunni governing family could lose some power to the restive Shiite majority, are scheduled for Oct. 23. Bahrain's rulers worry that tensions between the West and Iran could provoke instability here, partly because of the close ties between the Shiites and Iran, and partly because of the American naval base, though Bahrain has said it will not allow any attack on neighboring countries from its soil.

Initially, the arrests seemed to single out high-profile Shiite political and human rights leaders, but by Thursday the number of detainees had swelled to 159, and appeared to include many young men not known as activists.

The government said the detainees were suspected of security and terrorism violations, and were not being held for expressing dissident political views.

"The king said 10 years ago we would have freedom," said Sheik Mohammed Ali al-Mahfoodh, a Shiite cleric and opposition leader who backs an election boycott. "The experiment is now over."

Many detainees have been held without charge or access to lawyers and family members, human rights advocates said. Local Web sites - blocked this week by the government but accessible through proxy servers - chronicled clashes with riot police officers and allegations of torture, supported by photographs circulated almost instantaneously by BlackBerry.

.................................

The government said this week that it would no longer tolerate unrest among the Shiite majority, who make up about two-thirds of the population but are barred from many government jobs and face a chronic housing shortage.

Detainees can be held in secret for 15 days under Bahrain's anti-terrorism statutes, which are applied to people who criticize the government or take part in riots and tire burnings.

Those convicted of compromising national security or slandering the nation can be deprived of health care and other state services, the government said.

"The reform project leaves no excuse or justification, whatsoever, to illegally express opinions that harm the nation," Deputy Prime Minister Ali bin Khalifa al-Khalifa said.

Bahrain's royal family ruled under a state of emergency until the current king, Sheik Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, took power in 1999. He created a Parliament, and his security forces disavowed torture.

The kingdom beefed up its security forces with naturalized Sunnis, who are housed in brand new subdivisions in the island's interior. Shiite opposition groups estimate that 65,000 to 100,000 Sunnis were added to voter rolls in the last decade as part of what they say was sectarian gerrymandering.

"If the Shias took control of the country, they would pop out one eye of every Sunni in the country," said Amed Abdallah al-Boainain, 21, a resident of Askar, a coastal settlement for Sunnis employed by the security services and the royal court. Two of his brothers work for the police, and he is applying to join them.

..........................................


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Posted on 08/29/2010 8:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 28 August 2010
Project Samossa: Did Canada get a wakeup call on Homegrown Islamic terrorism?
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Ottawa police on Project Samossa Counterterrorism raids
A tip of the hat to Canadian lawyer and intelligence expert David Harris in Ottawa for this latest episode of home grown terrorism north of the border.
In a series of sweeps in Canada's capital of Ottawa on Wednesday, an RCMP  national security investigation  resulted in the arrests  of three  Muslim Canadian suspects. They are  Hiva Alizadeh , Misbahuddin Ahmed and James Lara. They were allegedly  involved in a plot to create improvised explosive devices  for possible attacks on government offices and Canadian Coalition forces in Afghanistan. The RCMP uncovered evidence including sophisticated computer circuitry and materials for remote bomb making. 
As a report in the Ottawa Citizen noted the individuals arrested harbored Jihadist hatred of Canadian values  and were educated leaders in the Muslim community:
Two of the accused men are professionals - a doctor (and father of three) and an x-ray technician.
The third studied to be an electrical engineer. All are apparently intellectually mature individuals rooted in Canadian life. One even appeared on the reality program Canadian Idol. [See the Vlad Tepes blog Canadian Idol video of fourth  suspect Dr. Khurram Sher,  here]. While much is still to be learned about them, poverty, deprivation and social alienation do not appear to have been part their alleged descent to homicidal hatred.
"This group posed a real and serious threat to the citizens of National Capital Region and Canada's national security," said RCMP Chief Supt. Serge Therriault, head of criminal operations for the capital region, told an Ottawa news conference Thursday.
[Vlad Tepes blog has an edited English language video of RCMP Supt. Therriault's news conference here].
He said an RCMP-led national security investigation employing about 100 joint-forces officers for the past year was forced to move on the suspects this week to prevent "financial support" going to international terrorists for weapons to attack western coalition forces.
Raids on two west Ottawa addresses Wednesday uncovered more than 50 circuit boards police believe were intended to remotely trigger detonators for improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Also seized was what police described as a "vast quantity" of schematics, videos, drawings, instruction books and electronic components for IEDs. Investigators believe the suspects are part of a domestic terrorist group with links to international terrorism. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service was the first to begin investigating the individuals, though no details have been released.
"There are certain individuals in Canada who have adopted an ideology inspired by international terrorist groups who promote heinous violence to achieve their goals," CSIS Assistant Director Raymond Boisvert told the packed news conference. "This case reiterates the serious nature of this threat, which can result in tragic consequences if left unchecked." The spy agency at some point alerted the Mounties, who assigned the "Project Samossa" file to the Ottawa-based Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, one of four across the country dedicated to combating threats to the country. RCMP in British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and other parts of Ontario assisted. The alleged plot was in its early planning stages and "months" away from being operationally viable, Therriault said. "There remained, throughout, a varied degree of imminence to the threat, whether they were going to conduct an attack or not and how it was going to be done," he said.
David Harris, Canadian lawyer and intelligence expert, in a column, "This is our future" published in today's Ottawa Citizen questions whether Canadians have heeded the latest episode in home grown terrorist warnings and the failure of federal authorities to address root causes. He noted:
 
This is your future. That was my wretched thought on behalf of Canadians as I watched Thursday's Project Samossa news conference.
Samossa was the major national security investigation that erupted this week in counterterrorism raids and the arrest of four Muslim-Canadians. The government's charges against three of them imply a wealth of evidence that will shock the conscience of Canadians.
These charges and limited revelations suggest that we could be front-row witnesses to the most vile of manifestations of the Islamist jihad in this country. The allegation is that people living among us and enjoying the immense privileges of Canadian citizenship, are siding with enemy forces aiming to kill and maim our boys and girls serving in Afghanistan -- and maybe residents of Ottawa and other Canadian centres, too.
We shouldn't be surprised.
The Toronto 18 showed us the savagery of the 7th-century war that is being imported into our 21st-century neighbourhoods. Defendants included those who should have been a credit to educated youth. From some we would have expected gratitude of immigrants who had been welcomed to a gentle and generous nation. Canadians' reward was instead a conspiracy to rent Toronto with explosives, and blast our Parliament with invasion and a prime ministerial beheading.
Further hints -- and only hints -- of our growing predicament come from a series of recent convictions.
Think of Momin Khawaja, the handsome Department of Foreign Affairs software consultant and moonlighter in international bomb-making. Then there was Said Namouh, Quebec-based Moroccan bomb-plotter, and the Groupe Fatah Kamel, which drove a French counterterror magistrate to pin Canada as an international centre of North African Islamic extremism.
These threats were headed off by good luck and good security work, but are auguries of future violence, economy-defying instability and further pressure on civil liberties.
But why must this be our future? Because we refuse to heed warnings, learn basic lessons and act in a responsible way to preserve our well-being.
To understand this in the context of Islamic radicalism is to account properly for the main sources of Canada's escalating extremism. These sources are immigration and refugee influxes, and the homegrown extremist phenomenon.
Liberal politicians long ago turned immigration and refugee streams into vote-importing mechanisms. Conservatives continue to do so at the expense of Canadians' safety and tens of billions in net per annum immigration costs, plus attendant and overwhelming security costs. So pronounced is the pathology that not even a terrible recession could prevent Immigration Minister Jason Kenney from hiking immigration and refugee levels from what were already roughly the highest per capita in the world. These levels are too great to allow for reliable vetting in a world where war and ideological struggles rage, and we are a target.

Harris suggests that Canadian  laissez faire attitudes towards the Middle East and politically correct community policing programs may have unwittingly abetted home grown Islamic terrorism as evidenced by this week's Samossa Project disclosures:
As part of this, we must put a halt to Saudi funding and similar fundamentalist influence in Canada's Islamic and other institutions. Most emphatically, Islamist front organizations and fellow-travelling "Islamic rights" groups should be barred from the legitimizing table of security outreach.  [. . .] The useful tool of community policing periodically metastasizes into unhealthy outreach programs with Islamic front organizations, as officials seek to appease and humour the louder -- and sometimes aggressive -- influences.

Harris' teaching points to fellow Canadians should not be lost on Americans whose attention has been diverted by the swirl of controversy over the Ground Zero mosque and similar projects across the US. Outreach by national and local law enforcement and homeland security agencies to Muslim Brotherhood fronts has not stopped home grown threats here. Nor has it revealed the sources of funding of mega mosques by foreign Islamic extremist groups and the funneling of Muslim charity funds to designated foreign terrorist organizations.

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Posted on 08/28/2010 10:01 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Saturday, 28 August 2010
Unsurprisingly, Given His Misunderstanding Of Practically Everything To Do With Islam, Noah Feldman Wants America To Make Iraq Its 35-Year Project
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[By way of introduction: www.jihadwatch.org/2008/10/fitzgerald-a-tribute-to-noah-feldman.html]

From The Wall Street Journal: 

AUGUST 28, 2010

A Very Long Engagement

It took 35 years for democracy to take hold in South Korea, and U.S. troops could be in Iraq just as long. Noah Feldman on why the draw-down is a beginning and not an end.

[Cover_Main] Christoph Bangert/laif/Redux

As America prepares to withdraw its troops from Iraq, Farnaz Fassihi and Chip Cummins look back at the war's impact on Iraq's people and discuss whether the U.S. can rightly claim victory.

In 1953, after the armistice ending the Korean War, South Korea lay in ruins. President Eisenhower was eager to put an end to hostilities that had left his predecessor deeply unpopular, and the war ended in an uneasy stalemate. But the United States had a strong interest in regional stability, and some worrisome enemies to keep in check. So Eisenhower decided to leave tens of thousands of troops behind, and signed a treaty with the U.S.-backed government to formalize their presence. Thirty-five years later, South Korea emerged as a stable democracy.

Gina Chon and Chip Cummins discuss the prospect for political and ethnic stability once America completes its troop pullout from Iraq.

The situation in Iraq today bears some intriguing similarities. The reduction of American forces in Iraq to 50,000 is thus good news-but not because it is a step closer to complete withdrawal. In the coming year, the Iraqi government (once it is formed) is likely to ask the U.S. to keep some significant number of troops in the country after the pullout date of summer 2011. If so, President Obama may well agree, because it is just about the only way to avoid a resurgence of civil war and continue Iraq's tenuous progress toward consolidating democracy. As in South Korea-where nearly 30,000 U.S. troops remain today, almost 60 years after the war ended-patience may pay off. Then there is the ethical side of the issue: If the elected Iraqi government asks for help, the U.S. owes it to them to continue its commitment.

An Uneasy Peace in Iraq

Scott Nelson for The Wall Street Journal

Iraqi Federal Policemen manned a checkpoint at the entrance to the Amil neighborhod in southwest Baghdad Monday.

Iraq faces a raft of difficulties if it is to become an effective, self-governing nation, and all of them point to the need for a continuing U.S. role in security and beyond. Start with the basic question of who or what is an Iraqi. In the last three years, Iraq's citizens pulled back from the brink of civil war. But they did so because of the surge of U.S. troops, not because they had forged a national consensus on living together democratically.

Iraqis' primary identities are still of religious denomination or ethnicity, not of Iraqi nationhood-and that may remain the case indefinitely. Iraqi national identity under Saddam Hussein never truly incorporated Shiites or Kurds. Sunnis, who identified most closely with the Iraqi nation, remain in some ways disenfranchised relative to the other groups, or at least they perceive themselves that way. Having run the country since its birth under the British, many Sunnis experience the rise of the Shiites and Kurds as a defeat for them in the zero-sum game of domination.

A Look Back

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/Associated Press

Lt. Col. Richard D. Heyward, left, of Illinois, and Sgt. Nick Wysong, of Washington, right, kept watch as the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment of the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division crossed the southern desert of Iraq on Aug. 17, 2010. Theirs was officially designated the last combat brigade to leave Iraq.

The War's Toll

[IraqWithdrawal_]

A look at the conflict and its milestones.

A new Iraqi identity might conceivably emerge on the basis of common interest-the way Flemish and French-speaking Belgians have, despite historic distrust, so far stayed uneasily together out of inertia, convenience and economic advantage. But that is a far cry from the sort of commonality needed to sustain a state under difficult conditions or the threat of dissolution. Civic citizenship on the basis of pride in democratic institutions is a more desirable endpoint-but to get there, those institutions first must do a good job of functioning.

Then there is the danger that Iraq's fissiparous character could drive it back into civil war. Civil war began to break out in 2004 and 2005 because, in the absence of a national military or an effective occupying force, ordinary people did not believe the government was capable of protecting them. That forced everyone to find someone who might be capable of doing the job-and for most people, the best candidate was a militia. Sunnis squared off against Shiites. Meanwhile Iraq's Kurds cast a baleful eye over the whole situation, and spoke in robust terms about regional autonomy that sounded very much like independence.

Faced with the collapse of Iraq into something like Lebanon-or worse, Somalia-the Bush administration opted for a new counterinsurgency strategy. Violence was reduced because, for the first time since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, Iraqis felt that there was a force capable of dominating the situation and ensuring basic order. The surge worked because it managed to convince the vast majority of Iraqis that they had more to gain by pursuing power peacefully than through violence.

But if war is politics by other means, peaceful politics in Iraq is still not far removed from war. A perceived (or real) security vacuum like the one that sparked the civil war will put us right back where we started. The Iraqi security forces have grown enormously, to more than 660,000 split roughly in half between police and military. They have also improved markedly in quality (a low bar considering how weak they were for most of the last seven years). But they are still some distance from being able to ensure safety for ordinary citizens. Their ranks could still break apart into their constituent ethnic and denominational groups. And they are nowhere near able to protect Iraq's borders from serious threats that might arise in, for example, a regional war involving Iran.

Lightroom Photos /US Army/Redux

Iraqi children gather around an American soldier.

Iraqi politics is still unsettled and unsettling. No party won a clear majority in the March 2010 elections, and since then, no government has been formed. The two largest Shiite parties, which split before the election, have since reunited, giving them together nearly half the seats in the assembly; but they would still need to make a deal with the Kurdish parties to form a government, and that has not yet happened. A Shiite-Kurdish coalition would parallel the structure of elected governments in Iraq since the U.S. occupation formally ended. But it would further alienate Sunnis, who after previous boycotts finally participated fully in an election, supported the winning party (led by Ayad Allawi)-and yet may find themselves out of power once more.

Associated Press

President Dwight Eisenhower receives a medal from Korean boy scouts in Seoul in 1960.

To convince Iraqis that their government is not about to collapse and fail to protect them, a guarantor is needed. Right now, only the U.S. can offer a credible guarantee. This is the reason that many observers, including Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, expect Iraq's elected leaders to ask for troops past the planned pull-out target. The political class has the most to lose if the shaky edifice it has erected begins to teeter. Its members have also grown accustomed to working with the U.S., often at high levels. The cost to Iraqi politicians of asking the former occupier to stick around is likely to be offset by the tremendous gains in public confidence associated with a prolonged American commitment-especially if they ask early in their own election cycle.

Going Abroad

A look at some U.S. troop deployments overseas, with activeduty military personnel in each country as of March 31.

[CovJump3] AFP/Getty Images
Germany
Military personnel: 52,332

Germany became a key base for American troops during the Cold War; the number of personnel there rose from about 98,000 in 1950 to over 250,000 in 1953, and stayed above 200,000 for almost 40 years. During his Army career, Elvis Presley (above) was in Friedberg from 1958 to 1960.


The U.S. began leasing the 45-square-mile area from Cuba under a 1903 treaty, making it the oldest overseas Navy base-and the only one in a country with no U.S. diplomatic relations. Cuba has refused to accept payments on the lease (at $4,085 a year) since the late 1950s, after Fidel Castro rose to power, claiming the lease is invalid.

[Iraq_Jump] Sgt. Gerardo DeAvila

Japan
Military personnel: 35,562

In 1951, Japan and the U.S. signed a security treaty that allowed the U.S. to keep troops in Japan (giving it a bigger presence in Asia), while Japan got domestic security from the Americans. In 1955, more than 160,000 military personnel were deployed there.

A request in the next year, even after midterm elections in the U.S., will still feel like bad timing for the Obama administration, which would prefer to go into its own run for a second term with Iraq completely off the political agenda. But the risks of rebuffing a serious Iraqi request for troops would be enormous. A negative reply would probably speed up disaster within Iraq, since it would send a message of no-confidence that would frighten Iraqis and reactivate militias. Renewed civil war before a U.S. election would allow a Republican challenger to argue that Obama had taken his eye off the ball in Iraq. By contrast, leaving behind some tens of thousands of troops would carry little domestic cost, at least so long as Iraq remains relatively quiet. Al Qaeda may use the troops' presence as proof of an American plot to occupy Arab lands, but this charge can be balanced by the fact that the request will have come from a democratically elected Iraqi government.

What's more, the U.S. has serious, long-term interests in keeping Iraq stable and on the road to democracy-and in maintaining a role in regional security. The reasons go well beyond Iraq's oil or its proximity to Iran, which remains one of the handful of countries that actively considers itself an enemy of the U.S. An Iraq that devolved back into civil war would heighten regional tensions between Sunnis and Shiites-a state of affairs that was becoming increasingly dangerous when the civil war in Iraq was smoldering before the surge.

Civil war would also increase the risks of Kurdish declaration of independence. This would inflame Turkey, a country that, concerned with the progress of its European Union application, is already looking to Syria and other Middle Eastern states as potential allies more than it has in the past. Then there is the tremendous benefit that a reversal of Iraq's progress would bring to al Qaeda, both as a matter of propaganda and also because they could take advantage of the resulting chaos.

As for democracy, Iraq is only at the beginning of a lengthy, tenuous and risky process of consolidating the rough set of political norms that have been put in place. The first and most important element for making democracy grow is time. Repetition of successful elections and successful government operation is the single best mechanism for convincing both political elites and ordinary people that democracy can work for them. The practical core of democracy, defined functionally, is the peaceful exchange of power between different groups of powerful political players arranged in parties. Each party must believe that, when it is out of power, it is worth waiting for its own turn to govern and share the spoils-or else it would have an interest in breaking the system and reaching for power by nondemocratic means. The more times power changes hands, the greater the odds that the players will come to believe that their chance will indeed come.

The other crucial element of democratic consolidation is the spread of belief in its core ideals: voting, equality and liberty. For these values to be more than mere slogans, there must be security and stability. Order precedes law, not the other way around. Once order is in place, government officials need to respect the decisions of electoral majorities and administer justice fairly and effectively. The presence of U.S. civilians can help provide assurances that the government is operating the way it is supposed to do-and those civilians need the protection of U.S. forces if they are to operate safely in a still-dangerous environment.

South Korea again provides an instructive example. The U.S. left troops in the peninsula after the armistice not to benefit the Korean people, but because it did not trust either North Korea or China. Like Iraq, South Korea had no meaningful history of electoral self-government. Indeed, for the first generation after the war, South Korea was governed by a succession of military dictators-and the U.S. acquiesced, even acting in concert with the governments. No one would have predicted at the time that South Korea-war-torn like Iraq, and in dire need of reconstruction-was a candidate for successful democratization.

Over time, however, South Korea grew economically, and political development came in tandem. In 1987, real elections took place, and since then, South Korea has blossomed into a free and functioning democracy. The presence of U.S. forces provided a background security guarantee throughout that process, one that Koreans have used to good effect.

Today, many South Koreans would like to see U.S. troops leave their country. If the U.S. were to find itself a generation from now in a similar situation in Iraq, that would be cause for celebration. In the meantime, if Iraqis seek continued help, we would be well advised to agree. We broke Iraq, let us remember. And if we have never quite bought it, we have a basic responsibility to help put it back together.


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Posted on 08/28/2010 9:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 28 August 2010
A Saturday-Night-Special Musical Interlude: Mama, I'm In Love With A Thief (Tatyana Kabanova)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 08/28/2010 9:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 28 August 2010
Ron Radosh On Fareed Zakaria, Who Appears To Have Fallen -- In Every Sense -- For Hezbollah
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Fareed Zakaria Paints Hezbollah as More 'Tolerant' Than GZM Protesters

August 26, 2010Ron Radosh

Fareed Zakaria spoke last Sunday on CNN - on his weekly program Fareed Zakaria GPS - with his usual haughty display of what he considers to be the great wisdom he regularly presents to his audience. The would-be secretary of State told his viewers this:

And now for the "Last Look." With all the talk about places of worship and where they do and don't belong, I wanted you to see this. This is the Magen Abraham synagogue. It's not in Miami. It's not in Tel Aviv. It's in Beirut. That's right, Beirut, Lebanon.

The synagogue is just now emerging from a painstaking restoration project. When the repairs began over a year ago, the temple was literally a shell of its former self. So why did this nation, often teetering on the brink of religious hostilities and hostilities with Israel, restore a Jewish house of worship? To show that Lebanon is an open and tolerant country.

And indeed, the project is said to have found support in many parts of the community, not just from the few remaining Jews there, but also Christians and Muslims and Hezbollah. Yes, Hezbollah - the one that the United States has designated a foreign terrorist organization.

Hezbollah's view on the renovation goes like this. "We respect divine religions, including the Jewish religion. The problem is with Israel's occupation of Arab lands ... not with the Jews." Food for thought. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Stay tuned for "Reliable Sources."

If you insist on seeing his delivery, you can watch it here.

This reminds me of nothing less than the famous phony documentary the Nazis made about Theresienstadt as they were creating this showplace concentration camp to try to fool the world, to show everyone how good they were to those Jews they were actually sending to the death camps.

As the Jewish site linked above explains:

Hitler, the world was to be told, had built a city for the Jews, to protect them from the vagaries and stresses of the war. A film was made to show this mythic, idyllic city to which his henchmen were taking the Jews from the Czech Lands and eight other countries. Notable musicians, writers, artists, and leaders were sent there for "safer" keeping than was to be afforded elsewhere in Hitler's quest to stave off any uprisings or objections around the so-called civilized world. This ruse worked for a very long time, to the great detriment of the nearly two hundred thousand men, women and children who passed through its gates as a way station to the east and probable death.

Now, in our own time - as the organization CAMERA accurately reveals - Zakaria's claim that "Hezbollah respects the Jews and is merely opposed to Israel's occupation of Arab lands" dramatically misinformed viewers about the radical and anti-Semitic nature of the Lebanese terror group.

Hezbollah has repeatedly made clear not only its opposition to Israel's very existence, but also its contempt for Jews.

As Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's chief, said on Al Quds International Day last year:

[Al Quds Day] is the day of all Palestine from sea to river. It is the day of the Palestinian and Arab detainees remaining in the occupation prisons. It is the day of the Palestinian refugees displaced whether inside Palestine or abroad. Al Quds day is the day of patient, resistance, besieged Gaza. Al Quds day is the day of Palestinian resistance of all factions and movements. It is the day of the Lebanese, Arab and Islamic resistance. It is the day of every resistant, withstander, survivor, and fighter in the face of the Zionist scheme in our region. Al Quds day is the day of the Ummah, a reminder to the Ummah of its historical and religious responsibilities in parallel.

It is a day, he makes quite clear, for vowing to destroy Israel. Judaism, he tells his audience, clearly stands for the end of Israel's existence, which is only a creation of the Zionist conspiracy. Citing the Quran, he says:

As for the criminal and murderous limb of Abraham's progeny, who killed the prophets, spread corruption in the land, and committed atrocities and sins... these were not given any promises to start with for promises to be withdrawn. They were not given promises from the onset. It is found in the Old Testament and in history books, that after Moses brought the Israelites across to the blessed land of Palestine, they began to worship the calf and idols, disobeyed God, hurt and conspired against his prophet and his brother Aaron. Consequently, God ordered them out to wander through the desert for 40 years, away from the reaches of their land.
So, no promises were made to them.

His beliefs could not be more clear. Is Mr. Zakaria familiar with this passage in his speech?:

First: Historic Palestine, from the sea to the river belongs to the people of Palestine and to the whole nation.

Second: It is impermissible for anyone and no one has the right, whoever he may be, whether Palestinian, Arab, Muslim or Christian, no matter who it is, regardless of the claims of representation anyone makes, whether representation claims of historic legitimacy, revolutionary, popular, legal or constitutional, no one in this world is entitled to give up a grain of soil from the land of Palestine, nor a drop of water from the waters in Palestine, nor a single character from the name of Palestine.

Third: the "Israeli" entity currently existing on the land of Palestine is a usurper and occupation entity, aggressive, cancerous, illegitimate and illegal presence.

Fourth: It is impermissible for anyone, whoever they may be, to recognize this entity, grant it legitimacy or recognize an existence for it.

Fifth: Collaboration and normalization with "Israel" are forbidden sins. All scholars, Islamic reference authorities are in consensus about this, and anyone that says otherwise, let him step forward and present his case.
These principles and constants are unalterable by time, circumstances, conditions, strengths or weaknesses at all.

At another time, CAMERA reminds us, Nasrallah was quoted in Lebanon's Daily Star saying that if the Jews "all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."

Writing in The New Yorker some years ago, Jeffrey Goldberg called Hezbollah "the most successful terrorist organization in modern history." And he went on to write that a Lebanese Shiite scholar named Amal Saad-Ghorayeb has advanced what in Lebanon is a controversial argument: that Hezbollah is not merely anti-Israel but deeply, theologically anti-Jewish.

Her new book, Hezbollah: Politics & Religion, dissects the anti-Jewish roots of Hezbollah ideology. Hezbollah, she argues, "believes that Jews, by the nature of Judaism, possess fatal character flaws." The organization, she adds, holds "a real antipathy to Jews as Jews."

I assume this means that the supposedly informed Zakaria is not familiar with the reporting and analysis of Jeffrey Goldberg. Of course, we know that this is not the case.

Somehow, he has obviously chosen to disregard what he probably does know, in order to score cheap shots and make Hezbollah seem more tolerant than the United States. They allow a synagogue to be restored; most Americans oppose and are trying to stop a mosque from being built near Ground Zero. For Zakaria, the Hezbollah controlled Lebanon is more tolerant than the democratic United States.

This "insight" of his is supposed to be "food for thought."

So please. Flood the CNN network brass with protests, demand they correct his crude hosanna to a group our own government condemns as terrorist, and ask that others be invited on to correct the horrendously false impression he gave to viewers. You can reach CNN by linking to its complaint site.

And finally, as the current incarnation of the almost defunct Newsweek seeks to rebuild itself after being bought by billionaire Sidney Harman, we got the bad news that Zakaria has already jumped ship and moved immediately to the still surviving Time, which last week did its best to paint Americans as crude Islamophobic zombies.

Now, its subscribers will have to read his words along with the already anti-Israel and anti-neocon screeds of Joe Klein. Perhaps in another year, with such an august group of pundits, Time too will need to find another Sidney Harman to save them.


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Posted on 08/28/2010 9:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 28 August 2010
Swedish Democratic Party Has A 2010 Election Video
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Watch here.

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Posted on 08/28/2010 6:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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