What's Up At The Farthest Mosque: Wage War On America And Kuffar Everywhere
Sheik Ahmad Al-Khadwani, at Al-Aqsa, urging Muslims to wage war on America and kuffar everywhere.But they already are. Perhaps he wants Muslims to put more emphasis on qital, combat, and on terrorism, rather than relying on such other instruments of Jihad (best defined as "the struggle to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam")as propaganda ("Jihad of the pen, tongue), economic warfare ("Jihad of wealth"), or the newest instrument, and the most dangerous, demographic conquest from within.
Schadenfreude -- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei Rushed to Hospital in Critical Condition
Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader
Schaden Freude Alert! This is NOT Purim Shpiel. Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Khamenei rished to hospital in critical condition. This may be evidence that sometimes Ha Shem does work in less than mysterious ways. The report of Ayatollah Khamenei's 'critical condition gives heft to the magnificent address by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's address before a joint meeting of Congress. If confirmed it should bolster support for the real deal that Bibi spoke of- regime change in Tehran. That message should not be lost on President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the rest of the P5+1 intent on cutting a deal with this malevolent apocalyptic Mahdist regime fomenting chaos to awaken the moribund Twelth Imam in the holy well in the holy city of Qom, Iran. We trust that my cioreligiionists last night shook that grogger (Purim noisemaker) (during the reading of Esther's Megillah, but substituted Khamenei for Haman. Chag Purim Sameach. Note this Israel National News report on this 'revoltin' development, Report: Iran's Supreme Leader Hospitalized in Critical Condition:
Just in time for Purim, the Jewish holiday celebrating the redemption of the Jewish people from plots of genocide in ancient Persia, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was reportedly hospitalized in critical condition on Wednesday.
According to Arab media reports cited by Israel Hayom, Khamenei was urgently brought to a hospital in Tehran after several of his bodily systems had already failed.
The reports add that the 76-year-old supreme leader of the Islamic regime has undergone surgery and remains in critical condition.
Recently it has been reported that he was suffering from prostate cancer which had spread to additional parts of his body, and due to his poor health condition he had largely ceased taking part in public events.
The hospitalization comes just days after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed Congress on Tuesday to warn of the existential threat to Israel and the world that Iran poses, urging America to avoid the deal being formed on Iran's nuclear deal ahead of a March 31 deadline for talks.
Lending some credence to the reports is the fact that Khamenei's official Twitter account hasn't been updated since Netanyahu's speech on Tuesday, when he wrote the "US is now facing a #dilemma. It should either stop unlimited services to #Israel or they’ll lose more face in the world."
How Much Are Muslims Costing Non-Muslims All Over The Western World?
"In 2012 Omar was convicted of handling stolen bicycles at Isleworth crown court and ordered to do 100 hours’ community service and pay £800 prosecution costs. Mohammed Emwazi was twice acquitted of the same charges in two separate trials a few months previously.
Meanwhile Omar, his mother Ghaneya, 47, sisters Asra, 19, and Shayma, 23, both students, and a 12-year-old sister who is still at school are reportedly being guarded by a round-the-clock police security operation in London costing £5,000 a day after being moved to a secret location.
They fled their home two weeks ago after realising Emwazi had been identified, and moved to a property in Paddington. But they were forced to relocate again last night - believed to be to a hotel where they are living under assumed names - after Omar was spotted by a television crew."-- from a news report about the Emzawi family
How much did the Tsarnaev family -- the father, the mother, the two daughters, the two sons -- cost the taxpayers of Massachusetts and the United States? How much in subsidies, how much in education costs, how much in free health care, how much in food stamps, how much to take care of the families of the dead and the wounded, how much to hunt down the brothers, how much in lost economic activity because of the shutdown in Boston and its suburbs, until one brother was dead and the other finall captured, how much in costs for the judge, for the jury pool of 1300, for the investigation, for the prosecution, for the public defender? How much will Dzhokar Tsarnaev's trial, which may go on for months, cost? How much will it cost to pay for his lifetime imrpisonment? How much will his two sisters, poetty criminals and unrepentant Muslims, and his sister-in-law, that zombified convert, also still a devout Muslim, alll of them apparently not too poor to have children, how much will they cost the state and federal governments? And what do all the Muslims in the West, so unable, and unwilling, to accept the laws and customs of a non-Muslim society, so rooted in the hostility toward non-Muslims that Qur'an and Hadith and Sira inculcate, so willing to smile when there is murder in their hearts, so willing to practice taqiyya and kitman, so willing to turn every occasion into one of false victimisation, so eager to spread nonsense and lies about Islam, and to spread hatred for Israel and for Jews, so willing -- when allowed -- to take full advantage of Infidel girls, as at Rotherham and dozens of other places, so intent on pocketing whatever the gnerous welfare states of the West have on offer, and in swelling their ranks by helping other Muslims to be smuggled in, or to bring in brides or husbands from back home, so ready to demand changes in schools and prisons and in the workings of the health system?
How much is it costing to post guards at every synagogue and Jewish school, and at many Christian ones too, at kosher markets, and at church Christmas fairs, at bus stations and airports, at train stations and all throiughout the metropolitan subway systems, at monuments of symbolic significance, at government bjildings, at sports stadiums, or to guard those apostates who dare to speak publicly? How much for the Muslims who, all over Western Europe, are imprisoned for cimes at five or even ten times their percentage of the general populatioon? How much does their presence disrupt or inhibit the teaching of the truth, in history class after history class, so Westen students never can hear, as they might once have done, something other than bromides and a sanitized view of Islamic doctrine, Islamic conquest, Islamic attitudes?
He said that those who left Islam deserved death. He was talking about Ayaan Hirsi Ali. He moved heaven and earrth to try to stop her from speaking publicly. He once worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Now he has just been hired again, by that same federal bureau. Why?
EXCLUSIVE: Jihadi John 'kidnapped two teenagers at gunpoint and dumped them beside M1 in their underwear in revenge for attacking his brother'
The Islamic terrorist known as Jihadi John once kidnapped two schoolboys at gunpoint in retaliation for a gang attack on his brother, the Standard can reveal today.
A former friend of the terrorist told the Standard it was punishment for a vicious attack the previous day when he and Emwazi’s younger brother Omar were beaten up and attacked with bricks. The incident occurred in 2008 when Emwazi was at the University of Westminster, a year before he was questioned by the security services who suspected him of trying to reach militant training camps in Somalia.
The friend, who was aged 14 at the time, said the attack was sparked because of “postcode rivalries” between two West London estates. He had gone to Emwazi’s home on the notorious Mozart estate in Queen’s Park to buy a stolen bicycle from Omar, but was spotted by two people who knew he was from the rival Lisson Green estate.
He told the Standard: ““I (went) to Mohammed’s house to buy a bike off Omar. He sold stolen bikes to people at school and you would get a big discount. I was planning an ‘in and out job’ but two guys saw me. There was a big fight. They threw a brick at my head and broke my arm, Omar was punched in the face a few times and beaten up.
“The next day Mohammed turned up with two religious guys with beards. They drove round in a car and found these two guys who attacked us, threatened them with a gun, made them take all their clothes off and drove off. They dumped them on the M1 motorway. They weren’t attacked physically but they were threatened. It was a message. I saw the guys the next day at school and they apologised to me. Mohammed was a bit of a hard nut. He wasn’t into gangs but people were wary of him. They were pretty scared.”
“I last saw Omar a year ago at Friday prayers at Regent’s Park mosque. His brother prayed there too. Omar was a good guy. He was a decent person. He used to be quite religious and very peaceful. He used to go to the Harrow Road preaching, but never hateful stuff.”
Omar, now 21, has since voiced support for the radical Islamic cleric Sheikh Khalid Yasin who inspired one of Lee Rigby’s killers, and is believed to be an integral member of a network called Power of Dawah, an evangelical Islamic group tries to convert people in the street and has hosted lectures by various preachers.
Micko Kadic, a prominent member of the Woolwich Dawah team - which once harboured Fusilier Rigby’s killers - declined to comment about Omar Emwazi’s involvement.
In 2012 Omar was convicted of handling stolen bicycles at Isleworth crown court and ordered to do 100 hours’ community service and pay £800 prosecution costs. Mohammed Emwazi was twice acquitted of the same charges in two separate trials a few months previously.
Meanwhile Omar, his mother Ghaneya, 47, sisters Asra, 19, and Shayma, 23, both students, and a 12-year-old sister who is still at school are reportedly being guarded by a round-the-clock police security operation in London costing £5,000 a day after being moved to a secret location.
They fled their home two weeks ago after realising Emwazi had been identified, and moved to a property in Paddington. But they were forced to relocate again last night - believed to be to a hotel where they are living under assumed names - after Omar was spotted by a television crew.
Federal prosecutors said on Wednesday that they had ordered police to arrest a 22-year-old man at Düsseldorf airport on suspicion of being a member of the Isis terrorist group.
They accuse the man, a German citizen named as Kerim Marc B., of having taken part in weapons training and fighting in battles on the side of Isis in Syria. The man left Germany in March 2013 and travelled to Syria via Turkey, where investigators say he had joined up with Isis by October.
Prosecutors in Düsseldorf said they were originally investigating Karim Marc B. for planning a serious crime against the state in Germany, and only later becameaware that he had in fact joined Isis.
He will be brought before a judge on Thursday to decide on the terms of his custody while the investigation continues.
The greatest regret of my life is that I was born too late to be a bohemian. But by the time I was old enough to be one, respectability had almost died out, and bohemianism is parasitic on respectability for its attraction. When everyone is a bohemian, no one is. Besides, property prices had risen so much that it was no longer possible to live in what one might call higher squalor in the center of a great city, renting a single uncomfortable room for next to nothing. Where residential property costs $15,000 a square yard, no one wants a feckless poet or painter as a tenant, not even of a cupboard-size room. And nowadays, when it is sometimes difficult to distinguish by his mode of dress the chief executive of a giant corporation from a student, it is easier to express social rebellion by wearing a collar and tie than by turning up at a cocktail party in a turtleneck sweater, once regarded as the height of eccentricity.
Dylan Thomas, the great Welsh poet, the centenary of whose birth was in October, was one of the last thoroughgoing bohemians. It never occurred to him to get a regular job or conform to the restrictive conventions of the society into which he was born. He considered employment only as a temporary and regrettable expedient to get him out of a financial fix. Drinking, sponging off others, indifference to social norms, womanizing, physical squalor, petty theft (of shirts, for example), and even not-so-petty theft, were his mode of life. His friend Norman Cameron, a minor poet and advertising executive, wrote:
Who invited him in? What was he doing here,
That insolent little ruffian, that crapulous lout?
When he quitted a sofa, he left behind him a smear.
My wife says he even tried to paw her about.
If that is what his friends thought of him, what of his enemies?
It is easy to construct a case against Dylan Thomas. The notion of returning borrowed money was so alien to him that it never even crossed his mind to do so. He had no concept of meum et tuum. He bilked tradesmen if he could, treated other people’s homes without respect, leaving them in a mess and unapologetically breaking their valuable furniture in quarrels with his fiery wife, Caitlin, and in general behaved as if he were above the degrading necessity of ordinary mortals to earn a living: the world was lucky to have him. He was a careless, neglectful, and irresponsible father of three children, he betrayed his wife on innumerable occasions, and his attachment to truth was less than obsessional. The Oxford historian A. J. P. Taylor—no stickler for convention himself—detested Thomas for his laziness, dishonesty, drunkenness, and parasitism; it was Taylor’s wife, Margaret, in love with Thomas, who gave him the money to live in his last and beautiful home, the Boat House, in Laugharne, on the Carmarthenshire coast. Yet Thomas was far from grateful for his patron’s largesse (she paid all his bills, too); in private, he was disparaging about, and even contemptuous of, her. He regarded her cold-bloodedly as a cash cow, and, come what might, he always had money for the pub.
Thomas’s conduct, however, always exhibited an element of play-acting: his bohemianism, at least at first, was not unself-conscious. He grew up in a respectable area of Swansea known as Uplands, in an Edwardian-style house on a street called Cwmdonkin Drive. The Thomas family had a maid. His father was head of English teaching at Swansea Grammar School at a time of high academic standards. Thomas Sr. was a dissatisfied man, bitter that his talents had gone unrecognized—he once applied for the chair of English at Aberystwyth University College but was turned down in favor of someone he thought his inferior. Like V. S. Naipaul’s father, Thomas Sr. had unfulfilled literary aspirations, and vicarious social and academic ambitions for his son. (He was a native Welsh speaker, for example, but did not want his son to learn the language, thinking this a worthless and even deleterious accomplishment that would mark Dylan as belonging to a culturally backward race. Indeed, he paid for the young Dylan to have elocution lessons, to expunge Welshness from his pronunciation.)
The young Dylan set about frustrating his father’s ambitions for him. He attended the grammar school in which his father taught; but he was an undisciplined scholar, focusing only on English composition and ignoring all other subjects, and his formal education ceased when he was 16. Thomas was a quart that could not be fit into a pint pot.
He early conceived the vocation of poet, as others conceive a religious vocation. At 13, he published a poem in a South Wales newspaper, though (as was later discovered) it was pure plagiarism. Yet Thomas soon thought of himself, and referred to himself, as the Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive, a part he played for the rest of his life: and when you play a part long enough, it becomes what you actually are—in this case, the poète maudit. His wife once said that he worked hard at his image; and in the end, the image was the man and it killed him. The alcohol consumption and the death were all too real, even if he drank partly to create the impression of himself that he wanted to convey, both to himself and, more important, to others.
For a long time, Dylan Thomas was as famous for his life as for his works; his roistering, drunken, undisciplined existence exerted an attraction for people chained by circumstance or cowardice to the humdrum world of getting and spending. That Thomas for much of his short life received an income from his writing that would have been adequate for comfort, if only he spent it wisely; that he never took buses but only taxis, even when broke and even for long distances and at immense expense; that he sent his son to be privately educated—none of this was widely known, for poverty as a consequence of his principled determination to live as a poet was more appropriate to the legend he created and lived.
Thomas may have played the part of the doomed poet, excused by his genius from following the conventions of decent behavior. But he was a genius: few are the twentieth-century English poets who wrote lines that not only were memorable but that also make the soul vibrate. Thomas was one of them.
Thomas was aware from an early age of his own genius. In his book of marvelously evocative stories about his childhood and adolescence, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, published in 1940, when he was 26, Thomas recalls reciting a poem he had written 12 years earlier, in which the lines appear:
The frost has known,
From scattered conclave by the few winds blown,
That the lone genius in my roots,
Bare down there in a jungle of fruits,
Has planted a green year, for praise, in the heart of my upgrowing days.
No doubt many a young boy has felt the lone genius in his roots, but few have seen them grow, like Thomas’s, aboveground.
The story in which these lines appear, “The Fight,” conveys the great charm of Thomas’s personality, which struck as many people as did his disgraceful egotism. The fight was with Dan Jones, a Swansea boy two years his senior. Strangely enough, it cemented their lifelong friendship. Jones went on to become a distinguished composer and a brilliant linguist: during the war, he decoded messages from the Russians, Romanians, and Japanese.
Jones came from a richer family than Thomas, and in “The Fight,” Thomas describes the first dinner at Jones’s house to which he was invited. Also present at the dinner are the Reverend Mr. Bevan and his wife. Mrs. Bevan is quite mad: as Jones relates, “She tried to throw herself out of the window but [Mr. Bevan] didn’t take any notice, so she came up to our house and told mother all about it.” Thomas has an almost Dickensian eye for the social absurdities of middle-class respectability:
Mr Bevan said grace. When he stood up, it was just as though he were still sitting down, he was so short. “Bless our repast this evening,” he said, as though he didn’t like the food at all. But once “Amen” was over, he went at the cold meat like a dog.
Mrs Bevan didn’t look all there. She stared at the table-cloth and made hesitant movements with her knife and fork. She appeared to be wondering which to cut up first, the meat or the cloth.
In the story, Thomas reveals his own character. Jones’s father, called Mr. Jenkyn in the story, asks Thomas his age: “I told him, but added one year. Why did I lie then? I wondered. If I lost my cap and found it in my bedroom, and my mother asked me where I had found it, I would say, ‘In the attic,’ or, ‘Under the hall-stand.’ It was exciting to have to keep wary all the time in case I contradicted myself, to make up the story of a film I pretended to have seen.” Having heard from Thomas that he was 15 and three-quarters years old, Mr. Jenkyn says, “That’s a very exact age. I see we have a mathematician with us. Now see if he can do this little sum.” He asks the young Dylan whether he would like to do a puzzle: “ ‘Oh, I’d like to see it very much,’ I said in my best voice. I wanted to come to the house again. This was better than home, and there was a woman off her head, too.” When Mr. Jenkyn shows the solution to the puzzle, Dylan pretends to understand: “I thanked him and asked him for another one. It was almost as good being a hypocrite as being a liar; it made you warm and shameful.”
It is as if Thomas had to embroider truth poetically for it to become real for him, the embroidery leading to or exposing a deeper kind of truth. There is charm in his child’s clear-sighted view of things, which Thomas never lost and which is still evident in the one undoubted dramatic masterpiece ever written for radio, Under Milk Wood, which he completed shortly before his death. But his clear-sightedness is that of no ordinary child: the juxtaposition of warmth and shamefulness is completely unexpected, a revelatory leap of the imagination. These are the kinds of juxtapositions that made much of Thomas’s poetry so evocative and capable of changing the way you look at the world, increasing the intensity of your attention. In “Poem in October,” for example, Thomas describes his birthday as he overlooks the estuary of the River Tawe:
It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
In the still sleeping town and set forth.
There is no verbal music better than this in twentieth-century poetry in English; and who, having read “The heron priested shore,” will ever look at a heron in quite the same way again?
To return to Thomas’s charm: it is to be found in his letters to Vernon Watkins, another Swansea poet and a lifelong friend (Swansea was surprisingly fecund in men of talent in the first third of the twentieth century), but in character very different, almost opposite. Not a drinker, and better—or longer—educated than Thomas, Watkins worked all his life in a bank and always behaved like a responsible bourgeois. Poetry and fecklessness are not identical twins.
Thomas wrote to Watkins from the age of 21; he enclosed poems in his letters for Watkins’s comments and amendments, often accepting his suggestions. That Thomas lived through periods of genuine penury, even if sometimes self-inflicted, is proved by the fact that he had often to ask Watkins to type out his poems, since he lacked a typewriter or even paper of his own. Among other things, these letters testify to the vast increase in abundance that has taken place among us within living memory.
Many of the letters ask Watkins for money. They do so with irresistible charm, such that, if I had received one, I think I would have been glad and perhaps even honored to comply. Here Thomas describes the cold caused by his penury: “It’s almost too cold to hold a pen this morning. I’ve lost a toe since breakfast, my nose is on its last nostril.”
The very first letter that Thomas wrote to Watkins, in April 1936, asked him whether he was “temporarily rich” and, if so, whether he would like to lend him a pound or two. “If you ever have 5 shillings that you hate,” he wrote to Watkins in August 1940, “I shan’t.” That year, he also wrote to say that he had not received two pounds (equivalent these days to more than $100) that Watkins had sent him by mail: “Sorry, very sorry, sorrier than I can tell you, about the death of the pounds.” Thomas was not to be trusted to tell the truth, however, for he once told A. J. P. Taylor that he had lost his return train ticket when he hadn’t, trying to extract money from him. In May 1941, Thomas wrote three times to Watkins. The first of the letters noted: “A little money has arrived for me since your last pound for the road; now that has gone. . . . [No cigarettes] now for days. I have taken to biting my nails, but they go down so quickly, and one has only 10.” In the next, Thomas complained, “The joke has gone too far. It isn’t fair to be penniless every morning. Every morning but one, okay; but no, every morning.” In the third letter, he says, “See if you can squeeze another drop from your borrowed-to-death body . . . . [H]ow vile I feel when I ask you again. Really vile. Weasels take off their hats as I stink by.” And so on.
As a memoir written by Watkins’s widow, Gwen, makes clear, the relationship between Thomas and Watkins was unequal. Thomas was more important to Watkins, emotionally, than Watkins ever was to Thomas, who used him but, in the familiar pattern, belittled him in private. But Watkins, who was six years older than Thomas and survived him by 14 years, fiercely defended his friend against his many detractors; and it is hard not to see in this a noble recognition of a man of genius by a man of talent, because one-sided admiration is as painful in its way as unrequited love. The difference between the two men is laid out, perhaps unintentionally, when Gwen Watkins drew parallels between their early development, as described in their own words:
Watkins: By the time I was ten I had collected most of the English poets. . . . The hold which poetry had on my sensibility increased, and hardly ever relaxed its grip.
Thomas: When I was very young, and just at school . . . in my eleventh year I read indiscriminately, and with my eyes hanging out.
Watkins: I wrote poems, and they usually reflected the style of the poet I was reading at the time. In language, I was not at all precocious, only responsive.
Thomas: I wrote endless imitations, though I never thought them to be imitations, but rather, wonderfully original things, like eggs laid by tigers.
Who was going to be the greater poet?
Genius does not justify betrayal and the many other sins to which Thomas was heir, but one feels that there was more to Thomas’s egotism than to that of, say, the ordinary psychopath. For one thing, his vision of human life was intensely tragic, having two periods: childhood and adolescence, on the one hand; and death, on the other. Childhood is irrecoverably past (“the years before I knew I was happy,” Thomas calls it); only death awaits:
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green. . . .
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me. . . .
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
When I was a windy boy and a bit . . .
I tiptoed shy in the gooseberry wood,
The rude owl cried like a telltale tit, . . .
Now I am a man no more no more
And a black reward for a roaring life, . . .
Modesty hides my thighs in her wings,
And all the deadly virtues plague my death!
His childhood over, Thomas, by his manner of burning his candle at both ends, went more than halfway to meet death, as if he had nothing more to expect of life.
From all that I have said of Thomas’s behavior, he might have seemed so self-absorbed that he had no time or energy or concern for the rest of humanity. But in fact, his last work, Under Milk Wood, was a social comedy so finely observed and tolerant (and, of course, poetic) that it reconciles you to the inevitable hypocrisies, evasions, frustrations, absurdities, pains, and fantasies of human existence. This is the comédie humaine in its small-town, Welsh version; and if Thomas himself behaved as if he wanted desperately to escape it, no man who did not, at some level, love humanity could have written the following scene, in which Mr. Pugh dreams of disembarrassing himself of his scurrilous and censorious wife:
In the blind-drawn dark dining-room of School House, dusty and echoing as a dining-room in a vault, Mr and Mrs Pugh are silent over cold grey cottage pie. Mr Pugh reads, as he forks the shroud meat in, from Lives of the Great Poisoners. He has bound a plain brown-paper cover round the book. Slyly, between slow mouthfuls, he sidespies up at Mrs Pugh, poisons her with his eye, then goes on reading. He underlines certain passages and smiles in secret.
Persons with manners do not read at table,
says Mrs Pugh. She swallows a digestive tablet as big as a horse-pill, washing it down with clouded peasoup water.
Some persons were brought up in pigsties.
Pigs don’t read at table, dear.
Bitterly she flicks dust from the broken cruet. It settles on the pie in a thin gnat-rain.
Pigs can’t read, my dear.
I know one who can.
Alone in the hissing laboratory of his wishes, Mr Pugh minces among bad vats and jeroboams, tiptoes through spinneys of murdering herbs, agony dancing in his crucibles, and mixes especially for Mrs Pugh a venomous porridge unknown to toxicologists which will scald and viper through her until her ears fall off like figs, her toes grow big and black as balloons, and steam comes screaming out of her navel.
You know best, dear,
says Mr Pugh, and quick as a flash he ducks her in rat soup.
What’s that book by your trough, Mr Pugh?
It’s a theological work, my dear. Lives of the Great Saints.
Mrs Pugh smiles. An icicle forms in the cold air of the dining-vault.
This is writing of genius, by which Thomas makes us aware of the glories of the everyday, the everyday that he could not himself tolerate.
Most (but not all) of those offended by Thomas’s outrageous behavior forgave him; for them, the profit of his company was greater than the loss occasioned by his various vices. I think I should have been among those who forgave him. But whether he would have enriched the world as much as he did, or perhaps even more, had he not so early assumed the role of the Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive, is impossible to say.
His grave in St. Martin’s churchyard, Laugharne, is deeply moving. It consists of a simple white cross with his name and dates painted in black. His temperamental but much put-upon widow, Caitlin, chose to be buried next to him when she died 41 years later, though she had spent the intervening years in Italy, where she sobered up (eventually) and had another son at the age of 49 with a man with whom she lived for the rest of her life. Clearly, then, Dylan Thomas was no ordinary man, and his reunion with Caitlin in the grave—which is that of Everyman, simpler by far than that of the local butcher or baker—gives point to the final stanzas of Norman Cameron’s poem about him:
What was worse, if, as often happened, we caught him out
Stealing or pinching the maid’s backside, he would leer,
With a cigarette on his lip and a shiny snout,
With a hint: “You and I are all in the same galère.”
Yesterday we ejected him, nearly by force,
To go on the parish, perhaps, or die of starvation;
As to that, we agreed, we felt no kind of remorse.
Yet there’s this check on our righteous jubilation:
Now that the little accuser is gone, of course,
We shall never be able to answer his accusation.
In church last Sunday the lesson for the day was Jesus feeding the multitude (John 6:1-13). A little lad had two fishes and five small barley rolls which he in child like simplicity offered to Jesus. Under the beneficient hand of Jesus the multitude of over 5,000 people were fed. No matter what you think happened, miraculous or not, the compassion of Jesus shines through the passage. Jesus viewed the feeding of hungry as a God directed activity. The feeding of the multitudes is the only miracle recorded in all four of the Gospels.
And even today Christians follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Feeding hungry, destitute people is an activity all Christians endorse. Millions of people around the world depend on the benevolent spirit of Christians for their daily sustenance.
For a moment contrast this with the teachings of Islam. There is not one whit of evidence that the Prophet Mohammed ever had any concern for a hungry mankind. I am sure Mohammed urged the feeding of fellow Muslims, but not suffering humanity in general. In fact Mohammed authorized one set of ethics for Muslims, and a different, more brutal, set of ethics for Kafirs (non-Muslims). Famine was often used as a weapon of Jihad. Even today, in Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq, famine is a major tool of Islamic conquest. The choice often is to convert to Islam and have plenty to eat, or continue being a Jew or a Christian and watch your children slowly starve to death in agony before your very eyes. Most parents cannot make a choice that condemns their own children to death. So they at least become nominal Muslims.
Muslims envision the world divided between Muslims and Kafirs. It is the Koranic dictated duty of every Muslim to wage war against the Kafirs. The Christian ideal is the family of God composed of all races and nationalities sitting around the banquet table of God.
Allah wants non-believers dead. The God of the Judeo-Christian ethic wants all people saved. Allah teaches a savage theology of war to gain converts. The God of Jesus teaches the persuasive power of divine love to recruit followers. The god of Mohammed brings untold suffering to people. The God of Jesus suffers on behalf of all humanity. Mohammed taught the division of humanity based on strife. Jesus taught the unity of the human family based on love. Mohammed taught the sanctity of some human life. Jesus taught the sanctity of all human life.
Those of us in the Judeo-Christian tradition have a long and wonderful history of feeding the starving. We do not believe in using famine as a weapon of war. We believe that compassion will in the longer term overcome hatred. We believe in feeding all people, anyone who needs our help. We believe the strongest tactic is unconditional love, even of Muslims.
The controversial Swedish artist who was the presumed target of one of the Copenhagen terror attacks last month was set to make his first public appearance on Friday. But the talk has been cancelled over security concerns.
Lars Vilks was due to speak at a panel discussion on free speech in Gothenburg on Thursday. The event was initially postponed by a day following concerns about the security of teachers taking part in a union conference in the same building and later cancelled altogether.But Friday's talk ended up being cancelled late on Wednesday afternoon after it emerged it would clash with a lecture being hosted by an art school, which rents rooms in the same venue.
"It's very unfortunate. But we felt it would not work. Our tenants should not be hit with problems caused by this booking," the CEO of the Folkets hus (The People's House) venue, Lina Lindquist, said about the Vilks talk.
The debate was supposed to have featured members of Sweden's Pirate Party's youth organisation alongside free speech campaigner and blogger Sakine Madon.
Last week it emerged that a separate planned lecture by the artist at Karlstad University on March 17th had already been scrapped by organisers. Staff said they could not guarantee the safety of the audience in the wake of the recent shootings in Denmark and France.
"We have done a security check and decided that it is too high a risk to have this arrangement in our building," Jan Ganbreng, head of security for the university told The Local at the time.
This week it emerged that artist was set to pick up the award from the Danish Free Press Society (Trykkefrihedsselskabet) that he was scheduled to get on the night the terror attacks took place in Copenhagen in a ceremony on March 14th. He will return to the Danish capital to collect the honour at a ceremony in Christiansborg in the city.
A chemistry teacher from Manchester who was determined to fight with Islamic State despite the desperate pleas of his family was prepared to kill in Syria, a court has heard. Jamshed Javeed, from Levenshulme, was part of a group of young Muslim men from Manchester who became radicalised and ‘determined to fight Jihad’ in 2013, Woolwich Crown Court was told. He helped his younger brother, Mohammed, and two other men join the group, then widely known as Isis, by providing money for flights as well as clothing and equipment, prosecutor Simon Denison QC said.
Javeed, 30, who taught 11 to 16-year-olds at Sharples High School in Bolton, prepared to follow them to the country with another member of the group, Nur Hassan, in November 2013, buying clothing, equipment and flight tickets, but was stopped from travelling by his family, who hid the clothes he had prepared, along with his passport.
But he was adamant - and even his wife’s revelation that she was pregnant with their child could not deter him, the court heard. Javeed was arrested in December 2013 before he could realise his ambition.
He pleaded guilty last year to two counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts and a sentencing hearing has now started. He is due to discover his sentence tomorrow.
A chemistry teacher who was poised to travel to Syria to fight with the group that became widely known as Islamic State has been jailed for six years. Javeed, a teacher at Sharples High School in Bolton, had been preparing to leave his home in Levenshulme. after helping his younger brother make the trip to Syria.
The teacher's relatives initially foiled his plans by hiding his passport but he persisted even after learning his wife was pregnant. Police found £1,490 in cash, thermal gloves and combat-style trousers in a rucksack during a search at his home.
At an earlier hearing, Javeed admitted two counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terror acts but insisted he was travelling only to support the people of Syria, not to join Isis.
But in sentencing him, Judge Michael Topolski said he was "not satisfied" that Javeed had rejected "Isis's ultimate aims".
Netanyahu in Washington: An Eleventh-hour Plea for Sanity
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Before Joint Meeting of Congress
Speaker John Boehner on Left and Senate President Pro-temp Sen. Orrin Hatch on Right
March 3, 2015
by Jerry Gordon and Ilan Freedman
On Tuesday, March 3, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu laid out in an address before a joint meeting of Congress, a compelling rebuttal to the President’s case for the phased deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran. He diplomatically paid court to President Obama for supplying both known and secret support for the Jewish nation of Israel.
We didn’t need Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come tell us how big a threat a nuclear enabled Iran will be. Well-informed Americans already know that Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapons production capability in the hands of an apocalyptic regime , will fan the flames of war in the Middle East and put the entire world at risk.
This is a regime whose rulers are sowing seeds of chaos in preparation for the coming of their messiah, the Twelfth Imam.
Netanyahu’s message to a packed house in a Joint Meeting of Congress was clear, concise, and spelled out starkly the issues and the choices we face.
Watch this C-span Video of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address before the Joint Meeting of Congress on March 3, 2015:
An affronted delegation. Visually absent from the joint meeting were 50 Democrat members of both Chambers, who chose to demonstrate their partisan loyalty to their party and the President. At issue was misplaced sense that the President had been slighted, represented by Netanyahu’s presence before the Joint Meeting of Congress, because the visit was organized by House Speaker John Boehner without consultation with Obama. That no representative of the Obama administration was present as well showed how petulant partisan politicians, even at the highest levels, can be when faced with what they perceive as slights, real or imagined.
By avoiding the Prime Minister’s speech, they also missed the more than 40 rounds of standing ovations that punctuated his remarks. More importantly they failed to observe minimum protocols of courtesy due to a visiting head of state. In this case, when the object of their anger is the head of state of one of America’s closest allies, their lack of courtesy is shameful.
According to reports from reliable sources, the President was “infuriated” by Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. However, because Netanyahu’s speech was full of praise for Obama and his generous assistance and support of Israel, all Obama could say was that Netanyahu didn’t present anything new or “any viable alternatives”. That became the veritable chorus from his White House spokespersons and in some quarters of the mainstream media. So bitter was the vitriol that one of Netanyahu’s detractors suggested that the Prime Minister’s speech was ‘racist’ because it was critical of America’s first minority President. A group of African American pastors responded by coming out in support of Netanyahu’s speech and went on record in a news conference to disagree with this bizarre comment, promising that they would stand with Israel.
The Prime Minister’s speech was framed in history. Israel’s Prime Minister came to inform Americans about the seriousness of the threat represented by a nuclear Iran. He began the body of his speech by placing his remarks in an historical context.
He explained to the Congressional audience that the ancient Jewish Festival of Purim would begin the following evening. The holiday commemorates another Persian government, some 2,500 years ago, when Haman, Vizier to the Persian Emperor Xerxes (also known as Ahasuerus) singled out the entire Jewish population for slaughter. They were saved by Queen Esther and her uncle, Mordechai, and given permission to defend themselves against the massive pogrom that had been planned against them. Netanyahu then drew the parallel between this ancient plot against the Jews of Persia and the current threats against the Jewish State of Israel by the mullahs of Iran, the current government in the modern-day land of ancient Persia.
Bringing history a bit closer to home, Netanyahu made copious references to the Holocaust. He introduced, for recognition and applause, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel, who sat in the Speaker’s Box as an honored guest of the Prime Minister and his wife, Sara. Wiesel, who is a personal friend of the President, came nevertheless as Netanyahu’s guest. “Although he has deep affection for the President”, in the words of his friend, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “he didn’t feel saying that the Jewish people face danger would be an offensive message.”
These historical connections, creating links between the ancient threat of a Persian viceroy, the more recent catastrophe of the Holocaust, and the current threats of the apocalyptic reign of Shia Mahdists in Tehran, covered two thousand years of history of the Jewish experience. Today’s threat is hardly less significant. Whether from the Ayatollah Khamenei or the alleged moderates in his government, President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif, they, like Haman, are determined to wipe Israel, ‘the Zionist Enterprise” off the map of the world. In the words of Hezbollah’s retired Brig. Gen. Walid Sakariya, the nuclear weapons Iran is developing are intended to "create a balance of terror with Israel" and "finish off the Zionist enterprise."
Netanyahu also reminded his audience that Israel is the bastion for world Jewry under anti-Semitic assault in the West and throughout the Muslim world. He warned that it would, out of necessity, defend itself against both conventional and non-conventional threats by Iran and its proxies:
This is why -- this is why, as a Prime Minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.
Netanyahu also put in historical context Iran’s continuing war against the West. He referenced Tehran’s secret war against America, Israel, and Jews that began with the Islamic Revolution in 1979 with the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran and the hostage crisis that lasted 444 days, a war that still continues.
He spoke of the hundreds if not thousands of American soldiers and diplomats who were killed by Iranian Quds Force and their proxies, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in locations like Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, East Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan.
He spoke of the hundreds if not thousands of Jews who were killed in actions across five continents. Witness as examples the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy and 1994 AMIA Jewish Center blasts in Buenos Aires, Argentina and, more recently the bombing of an Israeli tourist bus in Burgas, Bulgaria by Hezbollah operatives.
Netanyahu aptly pointed out that the Iranian Constitution crafted by these Mahdists said that the purpose of the Islamic Revolution was to export Jihad around the world. Unlike the US, he said, which was founded on the promise of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, Iran’s founding documents promised, “Death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad.”
Netanyahu also warned his Congressional audience and those watching live from around the globe that Iran’s apocalyptic version of militant Islam comes from the source and that their current assault against ISIS should not fool us into adopting the ancient Arab maxim, ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. “When it comes to Iran and ISIS,” he said, “the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.”
Iran as the agent of global jihad. Among the most egregious of Iran’s involvement in attacks against the US, was the connivance with Al Qaeda in facilitating the training of many of the 9/11 perpetrators by the late Hezbollah terrorist mastermind, Imad Maghniyah. That was revealed in affidavits by former Iranian intelligence operatives in the Federal Iran 9/11 links case.
More recently, we have the revelations of collusion between the Shia Iran and Sunni Al Qaeda in e-mails from the treasure trove of information captured by US Navy Seal Team Six during the assassination of the late Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan.
Then there is the evidence of Iran’s Quds Force assisting the launch of ISIS in Syria. This is ironic now that the IRGC is leading Iraqi military forces against ISIS in the attack on the late Saddam Hussein’s birthplace of Tikrit, which was captured by ISIS. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is placed in the precarious and unwelcome position of standing by while Iran expands its reach and forwards its agenda.
Open Source Intelligence as the basis for Netanyahu’s warning. The heart of Netanyahu’s message was conveyed halfway through his speech. It was based, he said, on information available on many public open sources which he invited his audience to “Google”. This was intended to quell any concerns raised by Obama that he would release classified intelligence that could torpedo negotiations with Iran. Many of the details of the ‘deal’ had already been leaked and were in the public domain. So he continued.
"We've been told,” he said, “that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a bad deal, a very bad deal." Instead, he pointed out, “this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program; and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That is why this deal is so bad. It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb; it paves Iran's path to the bomb.”
So why would anyone make this deal? Netanyahu posited this theory: “Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?”
Netanyahu used the petard of Ayatollah Khamenei’s own tweets, echoed by Secretary Kerry in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the future chaos wrought by this worse deal. He said, “My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.”
The State Department immediately accused him of taking Kerry’s Congressional testimony out of context, but here is Kerry’s own testimony, which makes the point abundantly clear:
Iran's Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount -- 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.
Netanyahu then painted a dystopian vision for the World and the Middle East region, should Iran, already a global sponsor of terrorism, become a nuclear threshold state and open the Pandora’s Box of nuclear proliferation:
Israel's neighbors -- Iran's neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it's been given a clear path to the bomb.
And many of these neighbors say they'll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won't change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that's supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.
This deal won't be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.
If anyone thinks -- if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we'll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.
Netanyahu drew attention to the looming threat of Iran’s missile program and military nuclear developments, excluded from the proposed Memorandum of Understanding being word smithed in Geneva by Secretary Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif:
The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught -- caught twice, not once, twice -- operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn't even know existed.
And by the way, if Iran's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.
Iran’s Ongoing Progress Despite Negotiations. To buttress Netanyahu concerns about Iran’s nuclear military applications and ICBM program, we have just heard from reliable sources that the Islamic Republic has achieved a technical breakthrough - the miniaturization of nuclear warheads - through technical support from both China and North Korea so that nuclear warheads will be able to be installed on their slender Shahab missiles.
Less certain is whether experiments with nuclear triggers have succeeded, given several explosions that have occurred at the Lavizan sites near Tehran and at Parchin, the military explosives test center. If this report is separately confirmed it means that Iran would have the ability to load ICBMs with nuclear warheads.
If tests conducted in Caspian Sea by Iran and the purchase of container-launched missiles from Russia are an indication may provide the capability to deploy small yield nuclear detonations off the American coasts. Those could produce an Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) attack, possibly disabling our less-than-secure power grid sending the country hurtling back to the pre-industrial age.
Even as the negotiations continue, the media ran a story about how Iran conducted cruise tetst attacks against a mock US aircraft carrier. Less covered but also last week, Iran launched a cruise missile from a submarine in the Persian Gulf. The missile has a range of 150 nautical miles and was designed to destroy a US carrier. So even as they sit at the negotiating table, the Iranians rattle their sabers and clearly demonstrate their animus.
Netanyahu’s Plan. Contrary to Obama’s comment that there was ‘nothing new’, Netanyahu was clear in firmly stating that the lifting of sanctions and restrictions must be justified by Iranian action in three areas:
·stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East;
·stop supporting terrorism around the world; and,
·stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.
Netanyahu’s plan was clear. Marco Rubio summed it up nicely: "Iran can have an economy, or it can have nuclear weapons. But it can’t have both."
A closing thought from the Bible. Netanyahu concluded his address by pointing to the frieze of Moses high on the wall opposite from where he stood surrounding the House chamber. He recited and translated from the Hebrew Moses’ instructions in his final address to the ancient Hebrews about to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land:
Before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them."
My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.
A warning to be heeded. Netanyahu’s message in his address to Congress is not lost on Israelis and the preponderance of Americans, who view Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon as a clear and present damage to the world. At issue is whether the Administration’s obsession with an agreement with Iran at all cost has blinded them to the consequences of a deal that would allow Iran to become a nuclear power.
This is not the time for peevishness. No insults were intended and none should be interpreted. Netanyahu’s visit and his speech were timely – a last minute call for clarity and resolve against an implacable enemy masquerading as a negotiating partner.
There are many who fervently believe that any negotiations with Iran will lead us dangerously close to a nuclear precipice. Perhaps, Netanyahu’s comments before Congress where prescient. Apparently, Iran has rejected the proposed phased deal placing negotiations in Geneva at an impasse.
Netanyahu’s ultimate message is clear: Iran’s nuclear clock is rocketing towards midnight. Can we stop it in time or will our own Munich in Geneva lead us into a nuclear doomsday scenario that, once begun, no one will be able to stop?
For decades the Sikh and Hindu communities have been ‘at the receiving end of predatory grooming by members of the Muslim community’
There is a very true letter in The Times this evening from several Sikh and Hindu organisations and respected individuals.
Sir, For many years political correctness has led to the identity of the community involved in the sexual grooming of children and young women in the UK being described as Asian rather than Muslim. We are consequently encouraged to hear the prime minister’s assertion that “a warped sense of political correctness” will not stifle attempts to fight these crimes — which he now classes as a “national threat”.
Sikh and Hindu communities have for decades been at the receiving end of predatory grooming by members of the Muslim community and have for some time been campaigning in the UK for the recognition that there seems to be a clear pattern emerging in recent high-profile sexual grooming gang cases. This pattern clearly highlights that these gangs seem to predominantly originate from a Pakistani Muslim community, while their victims are almost always of a white, Hindu or Sikh background.
We urge the prime minister to tackle head-on why so many young Muslims in the UK have this disrespectful attitude towards women in other communities, and to urgently engage with the leaders of the Muslim community to find answers to a problem that demeans women, does incalculable damage to interfaith harmony and harms the public perception of members of the Muslim community.
Lord Singh of Wimbledon Network of Sikh Organisations (UK)
Police investigating UK extremists travelling to Syria have arrested two men in London on suspicion of money-laundering. Scotland Yard said the arrests came as part of an investigation into large-scale fraud which involved raids across six addresses in the capital today. Investigations at all six addresses are ongoing, according to the Met Police
Officers arrested a 29-year-old man in west London and a 23-year-old man in east London on Wednesday morning, police said. They are currently being held in custody in a south London police station.
The fraud, which allegedly saw the theft of £150,000 from one elderly man alone, involved conmen cold-calling vulnerable people and impersonating a police officer.They would then inform them their bank account had been compromised and convince the victims into transferring money to an account under the control of the suspect, police said.
“You have to laugh [at ISIS], because they are bullies,” Francesco Borgonovo, news editor at the Italian daily Libero, told me. “But you also have to increase the measures against terrorism in Italy, beginning with the first threat: immigration. It is completely out of control.”
The "Palestinian cause" is coming undone; the Arabs have other fish to fry, and some may have come to understand that Israel is, to oppose both the Islamic State and Iran, useful. That understanding is begrudging, but it's there. And while Muslims and a small group of determined non-Musliim antisemites in the West (see Ireland, for example) can continue to push for anti-Israel measures, the menace of Islam wtihin Europe becomes too obvious to deny, and that will limit the appeal of the "Palestinian" cause, which always was just a way to package the Jihad against Israel.
Women, if in relatively small numbers, have become as radicalized and militant as males of their own age on behalf of Islamic terrorist organizations. According to recent studies by British research groups, gender is largely irrelevant in likelihood of people becoming extremists. Young Muslim women are as likely, and may even be more likely, as men to have sympathies with terrorist activity.
These women, as well as men, living in democratic Western countries have left their homes to join and assist the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (IS). Of the estimated 20,000 foreigners who have joined IS, 3,400 came from the West, including 150 from the U.S. Among them are more than 300 women from Western countries, including 60 from the UK.
But is gender irrelevant? The Western world needs to explore the personal and psychological factors that lead to female jihadism in the necessary attempt to control terrorist activity. This form of behavior by women should provide a warning for Western democratic systems because of the danger of their inciting terrorist action on home soil if and when they return to their countries of origin.
Feminism in the West has not succeeded with these young Muslim women. Changing attitudes towards gender in democratic, secular, Western countries have resulted in more educational and career opportunities for women. The young Muslim women who have joined IS have rejected the Western emancipation of women and have reverted, for the most part, to fulfilling the traditional gender stereotypes that categorize women as the property of men, support figures who fit male constructs of gender roles, submissive to what men want them to do.
At first glance, it may seem that these stereotypes do not pertain to the seemingly aggressive role of young Muslim women. Does their Islamist militancy deny the old gender stereotypes of women as weak and submissive whose appropriate role is to take care of a family and raise children?
There is no overall profile of those going to fight for IS, or of the reasons why they do so. Some women have been militarily active as well as in support roles for male jihadists. They constitute the al-Khansaa brigade, and the Umm al-Rayan brigade, moral police forces. Some serve as doctors, nurses, and teachers. But most have become either “jihadi brides”, some as sex slaves, producers of “baby factories,” cooks, wives, and homemakers.
The sober reality of female life with the Islamic terrorists is far different from the propaganda of the social networks. In that reality, women are treated as the traditional second-class citizens in a patriarchal society, their role confined to motherhood as the purpose of their existence. This is far from equal opportunity.
The Muslim women attracted to IS are not ignorant of the nature of their actions nor unwilling victims of male pressure. They appear to be willing participants by their own volition in the cause of violent extremism. Some women no doubt may have romantic notions of a Middle Eastern paradise, but they are more likely to focus on implantation of Islamist jihad. Some Muslim women have been on the front line as well as in merely supporting roles. Some are fanatical believers in “true” Islamic rules and behavior and have an apocalyptic vision of the future.
Young women and men have joined the IS as a result of different messages and inducements. Some of them have succumbed to the influence of Imams and Islamist propagandists in European countries. Perhaps now more important is a more spontaneous process of becoming militants through friendly group relations and attractive propaganda in social media networks.
Studies suggest that the most effective influential factor has been Muslim family relationships. Those families that are observant tend to structure the life of their daughters on traditional values of homemaking and childbearing. Thus, though it may appear the young women are acting on their own volition, they are in reality fulfilling family and religious rules.
A second influential factor consists of the social media networks, Facebook, LinkedIn, questions on Ask.fm, banter on Twitter, and Tumbir, and videos. Westerners have been surprised by the sophisticated nature of IS propaganda with its mixture of religious ideology, pleasantries about common life, and seductive allusions.
Terrorism has become attractive through this form of brainwashing as foreign fighters discuss openly the wonders of the Islamic State on various forms of the Internet. They are influenced by charismatic figures already attached to jihadists, such as Aqsa Mahmood, the 20-year-old female radiology student from Glasgow who is an Islamist role model.
The young Muslim women are after all teenagers with sexual desires and fantasies, and the Islamist propaganda plays on those dreams by painting IS as a Middle Eastern paradise of romantic love and adventure. But the romantic fantasies quickly become linked to implementation of Islamist jihads.
Most female jihadists have the idea or delusion that their actions are for the good of the Muslim people or for the promotion of Islamic ideology. They, especially recent converts, are dedicated to the cause. Even if not well versed in Islamic religious ideology, their desire is to live under sharia law, to escape the supposed immoral behavior patterns of the West or what they see as the lack of purpose of Western societies. Teenagers, like the rest of society, can find comfort in losing oneself in a supposed higher cause that determines one’s actions, and which is a release from personal problems or failures.
In rejecting Western identities, the young women see themselves as rebels with or yearning for a cause that they will further as part of the Muslim Umma. If they cannot recreate the glorious caliphate of the past, they believe they can serve by observing Islam in the proper manner, ranging from wearing the burqas, now forbidden in France and elsewhere, to the extreme act of joining the jihadists. Like other anti-Western extremist movements, the Islamic State has attracted disaffected or alienated youth by providing certainty and moral absolutes.
Those absolutes may be based more on hatred of Western civilization or what is regarded as “false faiths,” than on love of the true religion. One does not expect 15-year girls to be experts on the Koran. Some jihadists may be genuinely concerned about Muslims being killed around the world, and may seek revenge in savage beheadings of the unbelievers.
These female jihadists do not usually suffer from poverty or lack of education, nor are they emotionally disturbed. The women attracted to terrorist ideologies are more likely to come from second-generation families in Western countries than from recent migrants. Those migrants are likely to be poorer and too busy making a living to engage in ideological warfare or acts of violence.
In general, there is no substantial evidence that low levels of economic development, high rates of unemployment, considerable malnutrition, automatically produce terrorists. Terrorism is not a consequence of global poverty or of unequal distribution of global wealth.
Those sympathetic to terrorism often are educated, at least have post-secondary education, and live in homes with solid families and a middle class income. We now know that Mohammed Emwazi, aka “Jihadi John” the poster boy for IS beheadings, went to an upscale school in London, and obtained a technical degree from the University of Westminster in 2009. The three teenage girls (two were 15 and the third was 16) who left London in mid February 2015 to go to Syria via Turkey were all good students at the Bethnal Green Academy. They are more likely to be skilled in computer science than have any expertise in Islamic theology.
Yet all this may be an insufficient explanation for the willingness of young women to go to fight for Islamist causes. Adventurism may be more of a factor than Islamic ideology. The recruits may long for a life of excitement and camaraderie. That excitement might include love of killing those believed to be the enemy.
The Islamic State has cleverly constructed its propaganda strategy to tempt educated and physically attractive women. It understands that the blonde and blue-eyed female bombers will gain the most foreign publicity and television coverage. There is a paradox in that a religious extremism that is afraid of modernity and carries on an uncivilized war against the cultural heritage of the past should attract well-educated men and women scientists and engineers to its cause.
The Western young Muslim women joining IS are rejecting modern Western society. The democratic secular nations must find messages to counteract the effectiveness of IS propaganda. Those women must be helped to move beyond their traditional roles in patriarchal societies. It is not a question of the line in My Fair Lady, “why can’t a woman be like a man.” It is a question of empowering half of the Muslim population in a more fulfilling manner that subverts the lure of fanaticism.