Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bring It On

Resistance is today's (unintended but welcome) theme. MEMRI TV provides excerpts from an interview of Arab-American psychologist Wafa Sultan. The interview appeared on al-Jazeera TV.
The Muslims are the ones who began using this expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations. The Prophet of Islam said: "I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger." When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to start this war, they must reexamine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels.

My colleague has said that he never offends other people's beliefs. What civilization on the face of this earth allows him to call other people by names that they did not choose for themselves? Once, he calls them Ahl Al-Dhimma, another time he calls them the "People of the Book," and yet another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or he calls the Christians "those who incur Allah's wrath." Who told you that they are "People of the Book"? They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books that you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking. What gives you the right to call them "those who incur Allah's wrath," or "those who have gone astray," and then come here and say that your religion commands you to refrain from offending the beliefs of others?

I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it.

Resistance To Totalitarianism

The world has seem a number of ideologies that are forms of totalitarianism. Islamism is the totalitarianism that threatens us today. The following is reproduced in full from Jyllands-Posten (publisher of the Mohammed cartoons):
MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

12 signatures

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Chahla Chafiq
Caroline Fourest
Bernard-Henri Lévy
Irshad Manji
Mehdi Mozaffari
Maryam Namazie
Taslima Nasreen
Salman Rushdie
Antoine Sfeir
Philippe Val
Ibn Warraq

Presentations:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, from somilian origin, is member of Dutch parliement, member of the liberal party VVD. Writter of the film Submission which caused the assasination of Theo Van Gogh by an islamist in november 2004, she lives under police protection.


Chahla Chafiq
Chahla Chafiq, writer from iranian origin, exiled in France is a novelist and an essayist. She's the author of "Le nouvel homme islamiste , la prison politique en Iran " (2002). She also wrote novels such as "Chemins et brouillard" (2005).


Caroline Fourest
Essayist, editor in chief of Prochoix (a review who defend liberties against dogmatic and integrist ideologies), author of several reference books on « laicité » and fanatism : Tirs Croisés : la laïcité à l'épreuve des intégrismes juif, chrétien et musulman (with Fiammetta Venner), Frère Tariq : discours, stratégie et méthode de Tariq Ramadan, et la Tentation obscurantiste (Grasset, 2005). She receieved the National prize of laicité in 2005.

Bernard-Henri Lévy
French philosoph, born in Algeria, engaged against all the XXth century « ism » (Fascism, antisemitism, totalitarism, terrorism), he is the author of La Barbarie à visage humain, L'Idéologie française, La Pureté dangereuse, and more recently American Vertigo.

Irshad Manji
Irshad Manji is a Fellow at Yale University and the internationally best-selling author of "The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith" (en francais: "Musulmane Mais Libre"). She speaks out for free expression based on the Koran itself. Née en Ouganda, elle a fui ce pays avec sa famille musulmane d'origine indienne à l'âge de quatre ans et vit maintenant au Canada, où ses émissions et ses livres connaissent un énorme succès.

Mehdi Mozaffari
Mehdi Mozaffari, professor from iranian origin and exiled in Denmark, is the author of several articles and books on islam and islamism such as : Authority in Islam: From Muhammad to Khomeini, Fatwa: Violence and Discourtesy and Glaobalization and Civilizations.

Maryam Namazie
Writer, TV International English producer; Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran's International Relations; and 2005 winner of the National Secular Society's Secularist of the Year award.

Taslima Nasreen
Taslima Nasreen is born in Bangladesh. Doctor, her positions defending women and minorities brought her in trouble with a comittee of integrist called « Destroy Taslima » and to be persecuted as « apostate »

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie is the author of nine novels, including Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses and, most recently, Shalimar the Clown. He has received many literary awards, including the Booker Prize, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel, Germany's Author of the Year Award, the European Union's Aristeion Prize, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Mantova, and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature. He is a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres, an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at M.I.T., and the president of PEN American Center. His books have been translated into over 40 languages.

Philippe Val
Director of publication of Charlie Hebdo (Leftwing french newspaper who have republished the cartoons on the prophet Muhammad by solidarity with the danish citizens targeted by islamists).

Ibn Warraq
Ibn Warraq , author notably of Why I am Not a Muslim ; Leaving Islam : Apostates Speak Out ; and The Origins of the Koran , is at present Research Fellow at a New York Institute conducting philological and historical research into the Origins of Islam and its Holy Book.

Antoine Sfeir :
Born in Lebanon, christian, Antoine Sfeir choosed french nationality to live in an universalist and « laïc » (real secular) country. He is the director of Les cahiers de l'Orient and has published several reference books on islamism such as Les réseaux d'Allah (2001) et Liberté, égalité, Islam : la République face au communautarisme (2005).
(Via Michelle Malkin).

Monday, February 27, 2006

Thoughts On Hamas

Henry Kissinger writes about the hopes for peace with Hamas at the helm of the Palestinian Authority:
Does this mean the end of all diplomacy? Whatever happens, whoever governs Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the parties will be impelled by their closeness to one another to interact on a range of issues including crossing points, work permits and water usage. These de facto relationships might be shaped into some agreed international framework, in the process testing Hamas's claims of a willingness to discuss a truce. A possible outcome of such an effort could be an interim agreement of indefinite duration. Both sides would suspend some of their most intractable claims on permanent borders, on refugees and perhaps on the final status of the Arab part of Jerusalem. Israel would withdraw to lines based on the various formulas evolved since Camp David and endorsed by American presidents. It would dismantle settlements beyond the established dividing line. The Hamas-controlled government would be obliged to renounce violence. It would also need to agree to adhere to agreements previously reached by the PLO. A security system limiting military forces on the soil of the emerging Palestinian state would be established. State-sponsored propaganda to undermine the adversary would cease.
Kissinger is hoping on this outcome, which he says requires the efforts of the quartet nations and the moderate Arab world. I am skeptical. While politicians may be ideologues, they (like Sharon) often reach a point where they realize that pragmatism must trump ideology in order to achieve the best possible end. Is this possible of theocrats like the leaders of Hamas?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Torture and Murder In France

Better than the Reuters piece that I linked to below, is this WSJ article at Israpundit.

Today, a march against racism and anti-Semitism took place in Paris.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators, including ministers and politicians of all stripes, joined in a show of force against racism and anti-Semitism on Sunday, marching through the French capital after the torture and killing of a Paris Jew, 23-year-old Ilan Halimi.

Some 33,000 people took part in the march, police said. Other estimates put the number at more than double the police figure. Smaller marches took place in other cities, including Lyon and Bordeaux, where Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard, named a cardinal this week, took part.

Police patrolled the crowd in Paris, where an array of ministers, including Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, joined the march. Opposition Socialists, including former prime minister Lionel Jospin, as well as members of other parties, were also present.

The Islamist Threat In Europe (and Beyond)

Mark Steyn has much to say to Europe, and one can only hope that people are paying attention. Two years ago, a Jewish man was viciously murdered by his Muslim neighbor in Paris. On the same night, also in Paris, a Jewish woman was murdered by a Muslim. The French media ignored the story.

This month, Ilan Halimi, another Jewish man, was kidnapped, and tortured by a Muslim gang. He died from his wounds. A Reuters story I cited in a previous post downplayed the identity of the monsters who committed this horrific crime.

Steyn examines this, as well as the wider implications:
...radical young Muslim men are changing the realities of daily life for Jews and gays and women in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo and beyond. If you don't care for the Yids, big deal; look out for yourself. The Jews are playing their traditional role of the canaries in history's coal mine.

Something very remarkable is happening around the globe and, if you want the short version, a Muslim demonstrator in Toronto the other day put it very well:


''We won't stop the protests until the world obeys Islamic law.''

Stated that baldly it sounds ridiculous. But, simply as a matter of fact, every year more and more of the world lives under Islamic law: Pakistan adopted Islamic law in 1977, Iran in 1979, Sudan in 1984. Four decades ago, Nigeria lived under English common law; now, half of it's in the grip of sharia, and the other half's feeling the squeeze, as the death toll from the cartoon jihad indicates. But just as telling is how swiftly the developed world has internalized an essentially Islamic perspective. In their pitiful coverage of the low-level intifada that's been going on in France for five years, the European press has been barely any less loopy than the Middle Eastern media.

What, in the end, are all these supposedly unconnected matters from Danish cartoons to the murder of a Dutch filmmaker to gender-segregated swimming sessions in French municipal pools about? Answer: sovereignty. Islam claims universal jurisdiction and always has. The only difference is that they're now acting upon it.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Losing Freedom

A desire for security can lead to a loss of freedom. On the one hand, people fear government power. Public debate over the Patriot Act and wiretapping exemplify this. There are other ways to lose freedom. Political correctness or fear of reprisals can lead to censorship, whether it is government sponsored or not.

Ben Stein:
So here's where we are: we have a first amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech and separation of church and state. That means so-called artists can make art of a crucifix soaking in urine and of holy Christian images made of animal dung and no one can stop them. That means bookstores of brick and on-line can sell Mein Kampf and the vilest writings of Hitler's lackeys. These horrible excrescences are protected and the media screams bloody murder if anyone tries to protect the sacred in Christianity and Judaism from the most putrid attacks.

But the media censors itself about the cartoons mocking the prophet of a religion many of whose adherents want to destroy our country and our way of life. We will fight to the death to protect the artists who create Piss Christ, but we'll also fight to the death to protect the feelings of the people who hate us and kill our children. We have surrendered our free expression to people who are at war with us. They kill us in the name of a religion and we bow and scrape to that religion while letting people dump on Christianity and Judaism.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Message From The Vatican To Muslims

Reuters:
After backing calls by Muslims for respect for their religion in the Mohammad cartoons row, the Vatican is now urging Islamic countries to reciprocate by showing more tolerance toward their Christian minorities.
Reciprocity -- allowing Christian minorities the same rights as Muslims generally have in Western countries, such as building houses of worship or practicing religion freely -- is at the heart of Vatican diplomacy toward Muslim states.

Vatican diplomats argue that limits on Christians in some Islamic countries are far harsher than restrictions in the West that Muslims decry, such as France's ban on headscarves in state schools.

Saudi Arabia bans all public expression of any non-Muslim religion and sometimes arrests Christians even for worshipping privately. Pakistan allows churches to operate but its Islamic laws effectively deprive Christians of many rights.

The Cartoonists Strike Back

How do they do it? With more cartoons, of course.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

"Civil Rights Group" Would Like To Limit Civil Rights

The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) sponsored a panel discussion about the Danish cartoon controversy. Officials of CAIR, which purports to be a civil rights group, have some interesting ideas about freedom of speech.
"The right to free speech is not absolute," [CAIR board member Mazhar] Rishi said. "It does not give a right to defame Prophet Muhammad or any other" religious figure.
"We need to analyze what democracy means and to recognize and represent not just the majorities but the growing minorities as well," Philadelphia CAIR vice-chairman Sofia Memon said. "In view of this, we need to ask how to broaden our democracy instead of narrow it."
Does "broadening our democracy" entail restricting freedoms? The support of civil rights necessitates supporting these rights for all. It does not mean protecting the rights of your own interest group while supporting restrictions of the civil rights of others. That is rank hypocrisy.

The Bombing Of The Golden Mosque In Iraq

Michelle Malkin has a roundup.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Where Is The Coverage?

This story is not getting the attention that it deserves:
A young Jewish man who died after being kidnapped and tortured for weeks may have fallen victim to a racist attack, French leaders said on Monday, vowing to catch and punish those responsible for an "unspeakable barbarity."

France has been shocked by the murder of Ilan Halimi, 23, a mobile telephone salesman killed after being held captive for three weeks, and Jewish community leader Roger Cukierman urged the government to "provide the whole truth" about the case.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin told Jewish community leaders at their annual dinner that the judge handling the case was investigating leads pointing to an anti-Semitic attack, and said he had ordered his interior and justice ministers to shed all possible light on the affair.
Reuters, in its typical fashion, fails to describe the perpetrators until you've read quite a bit into the article, and even then they say that the gang involved is "led by an Ivory Coast immigrant with a Muslim name."

Read on, and at the end of the story, Reuters serves up another of its usual rationalizations to excuse anti-Semitism:
France's 600,000-strong Jewish community, Europe's largest, came under rising anti-Semitic attacks earlier this decade, often from disaffected Muslim youths protesting against Israeli policy toward the Palestinians.
Is Reuters trying to send the message that the kidnapping, torture, and murder of a Jewish man by a gang led by a Muslim from Africa is somehow Israel's fault?

Totten In Iraq

Michael Totten continues his travels in Iraq. He drives from Erbil to Dohok, and finds plenty of Red Bull on hand.

Should Holocaust Denial Be A Crime?

David Irving, a well known Holocaust denier, has been sentenced to three years in prison by an Austrian court for the crime of Holocaust denial. As odious as Irving may be, should his acts be against the law? Neo-neocon discusses this subject, and concludes:
So it seems to me that the only remedy is free speech in the theater of ideas. We must believe in the ability of truth to ultimately triumph, and in our ability to wage war against those who would preach hate and follow through on it with destruction. If Irving and his ilk have influenced Iran, the damage is long done, and the remedies lie elsewhere--unfortunately.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Oxymoron Of The Day

"Hamas pragmatist".

Images of Mohammed Throughout History

Spurred on by the "cartoon controversy", Zombie takes a comprehensive look at depictions of Mohammed in the past and present. Here is a selection of e-mail that readers of the Mohammed image archive have sent.

Kurdish Thoughts

Michael Totten is reporting from Erbil, Iraq.
Erbil (Hawler in Kurdish) is the capital of the de-facto sovereign Kurdistan Regional Government. Baghdad is thought of as the capital of a deranged foreign country.

In January 2005 the Iraqi Kurds held an informal referendum. More than 80 percent turned out to vote. 98.7 percent of those voted to secede from Iraq. Not only have the Kurds long dreamed of independence, when they look south they see only Islamism, Baathism, blood, fire, and mayhem.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Moderate Muslims in Denmark

According to Brussels Journal, a network of moderate Muslims, the Demokratiske Muslimer (Democratic Muslims), is angering imams in Denmark.
Moderates such as Kamran Tahmasebi say they have had enough of fanatic Islamism and its intimidation of the Muslim immigrants in Denmark. “It is an irony that I am today living in a European democratic state and have to fight the same religious fanatics that I fled from in Iran many years ago,” Mr Tahmasebi says. He came to Denmark as a refugee in 1989. Today he works as a social consultant and is very grateful for the life Denmark has made it possible for him to have. He says he no longer wants to keep a low profile to avoid attracting the attention of the imams. The cartoon affair was an incentive for him to stand up and warn against the Islamist imams in Denmark, whom he says are damaging the integration process with their misleading criticism of Danish values and norms.

Islamic Truths

The L.A. Times gives us a column from Monsoor Ijaz that is well worth reading in its entirety.
In fact, the most glaring truth is that Islam's mobsters fear the West has it right: that we have perfected the very system Islam's holy scriptures urged them to learn and practice. And having failed in their mission to lead their masses, they seek any excuse to demonize those of us in the West and to try to bring us down. They know they are losing the ideological struggle for hearts and minds, for life in all its different dimensions, and so they prepare themselves, and us, for Armageddon by starting fires everywhere in a display of Islamic unity intended to galvanize the masses they cannot feed, clothe, educate or house.

This is not Islam. And the faster its truest believers stand up and demonstrate its values and principles by actions, not words, the sooner a great religion will return to its rightful role as guide for nearly a quarter of humanity.

Thoughts on Iran

From Victor Davis Hanson:
How many times have we heard the following whining and yet received no specific answers from our leaders?

"Israel has nuclear weapons, so why single out Iran?"

"Pakistan got nukes and we lived with it."

"Who is to say the United States or Russia should have the bomb and not other countries?"

"Iran has promised to use its reactors for peaceful purposes, so why demonize the regime?"

In fact, the United States has a perfectly sound rationale for singling out Iran to halt its nuclear proliferation. At least six good reasons come to mind, not counting the more obvious objection over Iran's violation of U.N. non-proliferation protocols. It is past time that we spell them out to the world at large.
Read it all.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Death To Cartoonists

Maybe Islamists would like to ban pens and ink [don't give them any ideas]. AP:
A Pakistani cleric announced Friday a $1 million bounty for killing a cartoonist who drew Prophet Muhammad, as thousands joined street protests and Denmark temporarily closed its embassy and advised its citizens to leave the country.
Note: There were 12 cartoons; created by 12 different cartoonists.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Iranian Cleric Okays Nukes

This sure won't help you sleep better at night:
"The spiritual leaders of the ultra-conservatives [in Iran] have accepted the use of nuclear weapons as lawful in the eyes of shari'a. Mohsen Gharavian, a disciple of [Ayatollah] Mesbah Yazdi [who is Iranian President Ahmadinejad's spiritual mentor], has spoken for the first time of using nuclear weapons as a counter-measure. He stated that 'in terms of shari'a, it all depends on the goal.'
Gharavian is a lecturer at the religious schools of Qom, and is a disciple of [Ayatollah] Mesbah Yazdi. In his recent remarks, he said for the first time that the use of nuclear weapons may not constitute a problem according to shari'a. He further said that 'when the entire world is armed with nuclear weapons, it is permissible to use these weapons as a counter-[measure]. According to shari'a, too, only the goal is important...'

A War Within Islam

Islamists try to intimidate other Muslims in Bangladesh:
Islamists in Bangladesh are demanding the government “ban” Ahmadiyya Muslims because they are not “real” Muslims. 4,000 radical Islamists took to the streets of the Muslim neighborhood, scaring many Ahmadiyya Muslims out of their homes. They want to “capture” the Mosque. They have threatened violence if the Bangladeshi authorities intervene.
Well, to their credit, the authorities did intervene. They stood up for religious freedom and blocked these fundamentalist Islamists from bullying the other local Muslims.

To everyone who was so keen on plastering the media with Mohammad cartoons to show “solidarity”, how about giving some credit to the Muslims around the world who are fighting against religious bigotry and bullying just like we are. Where is the west when it is time to stand up and show some actual solidarity with Muslims and the principle of religious freedom?
Here's some backround on this story.

(Via Andrew Sullivan).

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Appeasement Watch (EU Edition)

The Daily Telegraph:
School textbooks should be reviewed for intolerant depictions of Islam and other faiths by experts overseen by the European Union and Islamic leaders, the European Parliament was told yesterday.

The call for a special committee to examine religious education in schools came from Hans-Gert Pöttering, the German Christian Democrat, who heads the largest group of MEPs. But the proposal was immediately condemned as "appeasement" by Charles Tannock, a British Conservative MEP.
During a debate intended to show Europe's unity in the face of the row over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, he said textbooks should be checked to ensure they promoted European values without propagating religious stereotypes or prejudice.
Now for the punchline:
He also called for similar tolerance in the Islamic world, holding up examples of anti-Semitic cartoons taken from the Middle East and suggesting a parallel review should be made of Islamic school books.
Good luck with that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Next Generation Of Terrorists, Courtesy Of Hamas

The indoctrination of Palestinians begins at an early age.
Hamas TV shows impart children with the jihad message when they are toddlers. And for kids who have learned to read, there are magazine comics.
The children's magazine named Fatah -- Arabic for the Muslim who conquers the Kufir States -- in its last two issues carried an illustrated story about the heroism of a very young but courageous Palestinian child, who is determined to be a jihad fighter like his older brothers.
The story demonstrates the indoctrination and "education" to which even the youngest of Palestinian children are exposed by Hamas in schools and publications.
Thanks to MEMRI, here is a translation of the Hamas charter.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Media Watch

Here is the Washington Post's Dana Milbank reporting about the Vice President's hunting accident on MSNBC.

When I first saw this picture, I thought that it must be from the Daily Show.

I was wrong.

Setting An Agenda

Reuters states the obvious in a story that says that military action results in many deaths. This article reads more like an opinion piece than a news story:
Thousands of military personnel and hundreds of civilians would be killed if the United States launched an air strike on Iran to prevent it developing nuclear arms, a British think tank said in a report released on Monday.

The report by the Oxford Research Group said any bombing of Iran by U.S. forces, or by their Israeli allies, would have to be part of a surprise attack that would inevitably catch many Iranians unprotected and could eventually lead to a lengthy confrontation involving many other countries in the region.
Isn't it the purpose of a surprise attack to catch your enemy unprotected? Reuters has no comment on the number of civilian deaths that an Iranian nuclear weapon might cause.

How Do The Danes Feel?

A reader of Brussels Journal has translated a column from last Friday's Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that first printed the Mohammed cartoons. Here it is:

We are being pissed upon

I think it was the long departed H.C. Hansen, one of the great Danish statesmen of the last century, who – as the communists were demonstrating in front of Christiansborg [the Danish Parliament] – cast his gaze across the palace square and remarked: “I will not be pissed upon.”

Then he did what was necessary.

I feel that currently my beloved country is being pissed upon rather too much. Denmark has not been neglecting its duties on the international stage. We have supported poor people with acts and advice, we have worked for peace, we have sent soldiers, policemen and experts to all the far flung corners of the world. We have democracy, a rule of law and a welfare state. Not all is perfect, but we harbor no malice towards our fellow men.

And yet Denmark is being pissed upon. The spokesman of the US State Department is pissing on Denmark, the British Secretary of Foreign Affairs is pissing on Denmark, the President of Afghanistan is pissing on Denmark, the Government of Iraq is pissing on Denmark, other Muslim regimes are pissing on Denmark. In Gaza, where Danes for years have provided humanitarian aid, crazed Imams encourage people to cut off the hands and heads of the cartoonists who made the drawings of Mohammed for the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Excuse my choice of words, but all this pissing is pissing me off.

What is going on? I am not referring so much to the threats against Danish citizens and Danish commerce. Nor to the burnt down Embassies. I am thinking of a word that keeps popping up whenever the Mohammed cartoons are mentioned.

That word is BUT. A sneaky word. It is used to deny or qualify what one has just said.

How many times lately have we not heard people of power, the Opinion Makers and others say that of course we have freedom of speech, BUT.

They have said it, all of them, from Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, to our own Bendt Bendtsen [a Danish Politician]. Once we had to be sensitive to the easily hurt feelings of the Nazis, then came the Communists, now it is the Islamists. The reason I say ‘Islamists’ is that I do not for a moment believe all the world’s Muslims are pissing on us. I think we are dealing with thugs, fools and misled people. Those are the ones we have to deal with, and then the chickenshit politicians.

The cartoons are no longer something Jyllands-Posten can control. They have already been manipulated and misrepresented to the point that few know what is going on and fewer know how to stop it. This affair is artifically being kept buoyant in a sea of lies, suppressions of the truth, misconceptions, lunacy and hypocrisy, for which this newspaper bears no blame. The only thing Jyllands-Posten did was provide a pin-prick which has made a boil of nastiness erupt. This would have happened sooner or later. That it happened more than four months after the publication of the cartoons, raises a question of its own. Are we dealing with random events or with a staged clash of civilizations? One might hope for the former yet be prepared to expect the latter.

That is why I say: Freedom of Speech is Freedom of Speech is Freedom of Speech. There is no but.

Initially I was doubtful of the timeliness of publishing the cartoons. Later events have convinced me that it was both just and useful to do so. That they are consistent with Danish law and Danish custom seem to me less important than this: that we now know that remote, primitive countries deem themselves justified in telling us what to do. Unfortunately we must also note that governments close to us are agreeing with them in the name of expedience.

It was right and just for this newspaper to launch an offensive for Freedom of Speech, and useful, as we have now acquired new knowledge. Welcome to a brave new world where even our Prime Minister – in spite of his laudable firmness – must gaze out upon a scorched political landscape. True, his friend in Washington, George Bush, has uttered the customary condemnation of the torching of our embassies, but his State Department alludes to us as being the guilty ones in this case. The suggestion that Danish troops might contribute to democratization is buried under the charred remains of our diplomatic representations in Beirut and Damascus.

Perhaps it is time we started mopping up this mess. Perhaps Editor-in-Chief Carsten Juste ought to remove his apology which has gone stale sitting so long on the front page of our internet edition and which does not seem to interest the madmen. Perhaps our government ought to announce to Mona Omar Attia, the strange Ambassador of Egypt, that she is persona non grata.

Perhaps the ambassadors that have been called home to fictitious consultations in the Middle East should be told that they may spare themselves the cost of the return ticket.

In so far as possible The Lying Imams probably ought to be expelled. And then we ought to make an effort to support those Muslims who in a difficult situation have proven themselves to be true Citizens.

We, for our part, have no wish to be a burden to the Arab governments. We will happily withdraw our soldiers, policemen and diplomats. If they think our money smells, we will retract our aid. Our trade must make do as well as it can. We promise to not bear a grudge and, in time, we will be glad to return, but we are through with the hypocrisy. We have better things to do than being pissed upon at our own expense.

Cut down our activities in the Middle East. The world holds plenty of other opportunities.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Mt. Gore Erupts Again

AP:
Former Vice President Al Gore told a mainly Saudi audience on Sunday that the U.S. government committed "terrible abuses" against Arabs after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that most Americans did not support such treatment.

Gore said Arabs had been "indiscriminately rounded up" and held in "unforgivable" conditions.
Apparently, Mr. Gore did not elaborate. If these charges are true, I'm sure all Americans would appreciate details.

Why Blame The Rioters?

Bending over backwards to excuse fascists (far enough for a cranio-rectal inversion), Michael Conlon writes for Reuters:
The violence linked to cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad is not unique to Islam, experts say, and the protests reflect political and cultural passions more than the faith's core values.

Looking for distinct features that would make Islam liable for the cartoon-related violence around the world does little to explain it, said the Rev. Patrick Gaffney, an anthropologist and expert on Islam at the University of Notre Dame.

"There are parallel behaviors in every tradition," he said. "Buddhism has a violent strain despite its pacifism ... You think about Hinduism and nonviolence but (Mohandas) Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu."
I'll remember that the next time a Tibetan blows up a Chinese bus. See the article for plenty of "root causes" blather.

Media Watch

A couple of things that I saw this weekend:

1. On MSNBC, an anchor was interviewing a criminal profiler about the Alabama church fires. The profiler was speaking about possible motives for these crimes. When he was finished, the anchor added that race may be a factor, because there are a lot of black churches in Alabama. This MSNBC anchor must not have been aware that of the ten churches that have been torched, five had white congregations, and five had black congregations.

2. I am not a regular watcher of CNN, but I tuned in to watch an appearance by Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit.com), who was critical of the media's coverage of the cartoon controversy. Here is the video. Glenn made the point that by not showing the cartoons, news organizations like CNN can cause people to imagine the worst, while in fact, the cartoons are fairly tame. The media exist to provide information.

Andrew Sullivan concurs (in the Sunday Times):
The fundamental job of journalists is to give you as much information as possible to make sense of the world around you. And in this story, where the entire controversy revolves around drawings, the press is suddenly coy. You can see Saddam Hussein in his underwear and members of the royal family in compromising positions. You can see Andres Serrano’s famously blasphemous photograph of a crucifix in urine, called Piss Christ. But a political cartoon that deals with Islam? Not our job, guv. Move right along. Nothing to see here.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Dhimmitude And The Cartoons

From Diana West:
We have watched the Muslim meltdown with shocked attention, but there is little recognition that its poisonous fallout is fear. Fear in the State Department, which, like Islam, called the cartoons unacceptable. Fear in Whitehall, which did the same. Fear in the Vatican, which did the same. And fear in the media, which have failed, with few, few exceptions, to reprint or show the images. With only a small roll of brave journals, mainly in Europe, to salute, we have seen the proud Western tradition of a free press bow its head and submit to an Islamic law against depictions of Muhammad. That's dhimmitude.

Not that we admit it: We dress up our capitulation in fancy talk of "tolerance," "responsibility" and "sensitivity." We even congratulate ourselves for having the "editorial judgment" to make "pluralism" possible. "Readers were well served... without publishing the cartoons," said a Wall Street Journal spokesman. "CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons in respect for Islam," reported the cable network. On behalf of the BBC, which did show some of the cartoons on the air, a news editor subsequently apologized, adding: "We've taken a decision not to go further... in order not to gratuitously offend the significant number" of Muslim viewers worldwide. Left unmentioned is the understanding (editorial judgement?) that "gratuitous offense" leads to gratuitous violence. Hence, fear — not the inspiration of tolerance but of capitulation — and a condition of dhimmitude.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Another Cartoon Controversy

Watch out for enraged cheeseheads. Iowahawk reports from Green Bay:
Like a pot of bratwurst left unattended at a Lambeau Field pregame party, simmering tensions in the strife-torn Midwest boiled over once again today as rioting mobs of green-and-gold clad youth and plump farm wives rampaged through Wisconsin Denny’s and IHOPs, burning Texas toast and demanding apologies and extra half-and-half.

The spark igniting the latest tailgate hibachi of unrest: a Texas newsletter's publication of caricatures of legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi.

Protestors demonstrated against the images throughout the Badger State yesterday, with violent egging and cow-tipping incidents reported in Oconomowac, Pewaukee, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Antigo, Oshkosh, Waubeno, Wauwautosa, Waunewoc, Wyocena, Waubeka, and Washawonamowackapeepee.

The Wrong Reaction

Reuters:
The European Union may try to draw up a media code of conduct to avoid a repeat of the furor caused by the publication across Europe of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, an EU commissioner said on Thursday.

In an interview with Britain's Daily Telegraph, EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said the charter would encourage the media to show "prudence" when covering religion.

"The press will give the Muslim world the message: We are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression," he told the newspaper. "We can and we are ready to self-regulate that right."
Huh? Actually, the message that the EU is sending to Islamists is that the EU will appease fascists (again).

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Required Reading

Andrew Sullivan has been concentrating on the "cartoon controversy", and how it has been covered by the media. He has some excellent posts today. Just keep scrolling.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

More Cartoon Thoughts

From Omar at Iraq the Model:
What I want to say is that I think the reactions were planned to be exaggerated this time by some Middle Eastern regimes and are not mere public reaction.
And I think Syria and Iran have the motives to trigger such reactions in order to get away from the pressures applied by the international community on those regimes.

However, I cannot claim that Muslim community is innocent for there have been outrageous reactions outside the range of Syria's or Iran's influence but again, these protests and threats are more political than religious in nature.

One last thing, even if the entire EU apologizes it won't change a thing; fanatics in our countries here had always considered the west their infidel arrogant crusader enemy and no apology no matter how big or sincere can change that.
Another Iraqi blogger (The Mesopotamian) comments:
It seems to me quite suspicious that this storm is created at this particular time. To start with this is certainly not the first time that insults and affronts of this nature appear on print in western media in many countries and places. Such things do not deserve any kind of reaction other rather the contempt they deserve. Yet there are those who seem to seize upon such opportunities for motives that have nothing to do with the apparent religious sensitivities. Clearly there are those who wish to harm relations between the West in General and the Moslem World and more particularly we should not forget the contribution of Denmark to the allied effort in Iraq. Yes friends, I who consider my self a fervent Moslem, tell you that this is an artificial storm stirred by the same kind of people who are beheading, kidnapping and blowing up market places and day workers in Iraqi cities etc. Those in the West who give such people the ammunition and pretexts to launch such pitiful shows and stir up the emotions of gullible simple people, are their allies and facilitators.
The rage of the Islamic world would be far more appropriate if it is directed against those who blow up mosques during prayer time, kidnap murder and torture innocent travelers, and all the other repertoire of atrocities committed in the name of Islam, It is this that is the real blasphemy and real affront to the name and reputation of our religion and its great founder the Prohpet (PBU), and not some silly cartoons in an obscure Danish paper that nobody would have noticed were it not for this artificial uproar of which the real agenda and purpose is all too apparent .

Flags For Sale

With Danish flags being burned in countries where you don't find a whole lot of Danes, I was wondering where all these flags come from. I wouldn't know where to buy a Danish flag. How many Danish flags could there be in Gaza? More than you might expect:
When entrepreneur Ahmed Abu Dayya first heard that Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad were being reprinted across Europe, he knew exactly what his customers in Gaza would want: flags to burn.

Abu Dayya ordered 100 hard-to-find Danish and Norwegian flags for his Gaza City shop and has been doing a swift trade.

"I do not take political stands. It is all business," he said in an interview. "But this time I was offended by the assault on the Prophet Mohammad."
We can scratch "capitalism" off of the "Institutions to Export" list. Can we move on to "freedom of expression"?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Plea (Or Warning) From An Islamic Cleric

Sydney Morning Herald:
A senior Islamic cleric has called on Australia's media not to publish the cartoons which have sparked riots across the Muslim world.

Sheik Fehmi El-Imam, the general secretary of the Board of Imams of Victoria, warned reprinting the cartoons here could "disturb people who can do things that we don't want them to do".
Tim Blair responds:
Odd that this concern over maintaining the peace doesn’t limit Muslim commentary on other religions or communities. The Islamic Bookstore in Lakemba, for example, sells vicious anti-Semitic tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as well as various anti-Christian titles (Crucifixion – or Cruci-FICTION?). Sheik Khalid Yasin, a regular guest lecturer in Australia, declared that “there’s no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend” and denounced modern clothes as the work of “faggots, homosexuals and lesbians”; Christians, he said, deliberately infected Africans with AIDS. Yasin wouldn’t merely draw cartoons of homosexuals—he’d have them put to death in accordance with Koranic law. One Imam told Australian students that Jews put poison in bananas. Local Iraqis voting in their country’s elections were shot at and otherwise intimidated by Islamic extremists whose banners announced: “You vote, you die.” These friends of free speech were also observed photographing those who dared to vote. Sheikh Feiz Muhammad told a supportive Bankstown crowd last year that women deserve to be raped if they wore “satanical” garments, including anything “strapless, backless, [or] sleeveless”, and also “mini-skirts [and] tight jeans.”

All of this is far more hateful and moronic than those twelve Danish cartoons, not one of which depicts the Prophet eating babies, poisoning fruit, or infecting Africans with AIDS. Far from being against hate-speech, many Muslim spokesmen seem to be aggressively for it; until, of course, someone contemplates publishing harmless drawings of an old beardy guy. At that point Sheik Fehmi El-Imam warns that we risk “disturbing the peace”.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Religion Of Tolerance


Reuters:
British Muslims demonstrate outside the Danish embassy over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, in London February 3, 2006. The cartoons, which first appeared in a Danish newspaper, have sparked outrage across the Islamic world, although Britain's normally provocative newspapers have so far refused to publish them.
(Via LGF).

Thursday, February 02, 2006

NY Times On The Danish Cartoons

The NY Times weighs in on the reaction of Muslims to cartoons depicting Mohammed.
In Gaza, masked gunmen swarmed the European Union offices on Thursday to protest the cartoons, and there were threats to foreigners from European countries where the cartoons have been reprinted. The gunmen stayed about 45 minutes.
Don't Gazans have more important things to do than protesting cartoons and threatening the foreigners who could actually be trying to help them transform the sh**hole that they live in into something resembling a functioning political entity?
A newly elected legislator from Hamas, the radical Islamic group that swept the Palestinian elections last week, said large rallies were planned in Gaza in the next few days to protest the cartoons, which depict the Prophet Muhammad in an unflattering light. Merely publishing the image of Muhammad is regarded as blasphemous by many Muslims.

"We are angry — very, very, very angry," said the legislator, Jamila al-Shanty. "No one can say a bad word about our prophet."
Is any religion as chauvinistic as Islam? Should the whole world bow to the standards of one faith? Why don't we see this type of anger about the depictions of Christians and Jews that are made every day in the media in the Muslim world?

Here's a bit of sense:
Most European commentators concede that the cartoons were in poor taste but argue that conservative Muslims must learn to accept Western standards of free speech and the pluralism that those standards protect.
My favorite section:
Many Muslims say the Danish cartoons reinforce a dangerous confusion between Islam and the Islamist terrorism that nearly all Muslims abhor. Dalil Boubakeur, head of France's Muslim Council, called the caricatures a new sign of Europe's growing "Islamophobia."
Wow. Okay. Where, may I ask, is the anger of Muslims towards the Islamist terrorism that they abhor? Look at the reaction, or lack of a reaction to terrorism versus the overreaction to cartoons. Could this so-called "confusion" be somewhat understandable?

Could this blood lust spanning many countries, and caused by drawings, result in this Islamophobia, if it does exist?

One question confronting Europe is whether Western society, with its principles of liberty and freedom of expression, can co-exist with a religion that requires submission to the faith. If there are any moderate Muslims out there, it would be nice to hear from you now. The rest of the world would greatly appreciate it.

Of course, none of this is new. Just ask Salman Rushdie.

Big Ben

Deadspin asks:
Is Ben Roethlisberger the next Tom Brady? Or is he the next Joe Namath?
This evidence appears to support the latter.

(Via The Jets Blog).

Is Alcohol The Answer?

Well, it depends on the question.

(Via Instapundit).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

On Iraq

John Keegan, supporting the continued presence of British troops in Iraq:
Critics should remember that, in nine tenths of Iraq, peace reigns. Thousands of Iraqi towns and villages are untroubled by insurrection and continue to regard the British and Americans as liberators. They cannot be abandoned to terrorists, fanatics and friends of the defunct dictatorship. To urge that we should go on as we are is an unpopular line of argument. That it is unpopular does not, however, mean it is wrong.
(Via Andrew Sullivan).

The State Of The Union Address

Pajamas Media has a roundup of blog reaction. Dale Franks at QandO liveblogged the address, and the Democratic response. His account is both informative and entertaining:
18:13 PST: "We must act in a spirit of goodwill towards each other, and I will do my part." Heh. Yeah. Good luck with that, George. "The state of the union is strong." No president ever starts a SOTU with, "Dudes, we're f*cked." Well, except Jimmy Carter.