Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Generic "Youths" Riot In France (Again)

AP:
Youths torched a dozen cars and hurled stones at police in a second night of violence in the troubled Paris suburbs, raising memories of rioting that rocked the nation last year.
You can read the whole article, but don't expect to see the perpetrators identified except as "immigrants", and even that is in the next to last paragraph.

Quote Of The Day

From Oriana Fallaci, who is profiled in the New Yorker:
I have always looked on disobedience toward the oppressive as the only way to use the miracle of having been born.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Major Terrorist Attack Thwarted By IDF

Ynetnews:
During a nightly patrol soldiers from the Haruv regiment identified two Palestinian suspects moving on the road near the village of Burin,
south of Nablus. The troops called on the men to stop, and when they began escaping, chased after them. During the pursuit, the suspects dropped a bag.

The Palestinians were eventually apprehended and the bag, recovered by the soldiers, was found to be containing an explosive belt. Sappers were called in to the place and promptly dismantled the device.

An initial investigation revealed that one of the detained suspects was set to wear the explosive belt and detonate himself after reaching a location in central Israel.

Senior IDF officials told Ynet that the intelligence alert that led to the arrest is one of the most severe they have received so far. "This was a joint plan of the Islamic Jihad, Fatah and the Popular Front to carry out a large scale terror attack in Israel," an army source explained.

Riots In Iran

Protests against Iran's regime have been taking place all over the country. So far, the mainstream media doesn't seem to think that these protests are important enough to cover. Gateway Pundit has a roundup.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The West Should Listen To Magdi Allam

Magdi Allam is a native of Egypt who have lived in Italy for the past thirty years. He is a journalist and writer who has been an open critic of Islamic extremism. He has strong opinions about the West's response to the Islamist threat.
"The West thinks the Islamic terrorism that struck New York, London and Madrid is a reaction, a kind of uprising of the poor against the wealthy," he says in an interview with Haaretz. According to Allam, the West does not understand that it is facing an organized attack that is gradually gaining supporters around the world. Following September 11, he says, a new and dangerous front has emerged of Muslim radicals and extreme left- and right-wing elements that must be dealt with forcefully.
"My goal is to free the West from the nihilism that has spread in its midst, from the lack of values that leads to the growth of radical Islam," says Allam. "In the face of the threat from radical Islam, the West must be united and formulate a shared value system that sanctifies life and denounces the right to kill."
Read it all.

(Via Roger L. Simon).

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Irony For The ACLU

NY Times:
The American Civil Liberties Union is weighing new standards that would discourage its board members from publicly criticizing the organization's policies and internal administration.
I guess it could be worse. Some "civil liberties groups" have rather interesting connections.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Pet Peeve Of The Day

Who doesn't hate this?
From Psyclone electronics cables encased in impenetrable layers of thick plastic to DigiPower camera batteries coated with packaging several times the size of the item itself, the hardest part of buying electronics these days is opening the products when you get them home. In many cases, it makes solving Halo 2 seem like a kindergarten project.

Repeat After Me: "The Saudis Are Not Our Friends"

The Saudis have claimed to have made gains in removing the teaching of intolerance, and the demonization of non-Muslims from the kingdom's schools.
A year ago, an embassy spokesman declared: "We have reviewed our educational curriculums. We have removed materials that are inciteful or intolerant towards people of other faiths." The embassy is also distributing a 74-page review on curriculum reform to show that the textbooks have been moderated.

The problem is: These claims are not true.

A review of a sample of official Saudi textbooks for Islamic studies used during the current academic year reveals that, despite the Saudi government's statements to the contrary, an ideology of hatred toward Christians and Jews and Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine remains in this area of the public school system. The texts teach a dualistic vision, dividing the world into true believers of Islam (the "monotheists") and unbelievers (the "polytheists" and "infidels").
Sample passages from Saudi texts:

FIRST GRADE

" Every religion other than Islam is false."
TWELFTH GRADE

"Jihad in the path of God -- which consists of battling against unbelief, oppression, injustice, and those who perpetrate it -- is the summit of Islam. This religion arose through jihad and through jihad was its banner raised high. It is one of the noblest acts, which brings one closer to God, and one of the most magnificent acts of obedience to God."
See the full article for many more passages.

Update: Robert Spencer points to the Koran as the source of these passages, and sees this as a sign of a deeper problem than the Saudi educational system.

Just Don't Do It

Oil-fueled prosperity meets medieval culture.
Under their modest flowing robes, two-thirds of Saudi women are too fat. They can try dieting, but you won't find many in aerobics classes or power-walking along this city's walking trails. And very few of their daughters attend schools that have physical education classes.

There are no laws against women exercising outside their homes, but in this conservative society many are influenced by scholars and clerics who argue against it.
Also, that's an interesting use of the term "conservative society".

Friday, May 19, 2006

Here We Go Again

From Canada.com:
Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical "standard Islamic garments."

The law, which must still be approved by Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims.

Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.
Update: This source claims that the story is untrue.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Headline Of The Day

AP:
Mexico Threatens Suits Over Guard Patrols
Mexico warned Tuesday it would file lawsuits in U.S. courts if National Guard troops detain migrants on the border, and some officials said they fear the crackdown will force illegal crossers into more perilous areas to avoid detection.
Excuse us for trying to enforce our laws, and defend our borders. QandO has more.

The Betrayal of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Magnus Linklater in the Times:
FOR HER COURAGE, her honesty and her unflinching support of the rights of Muslim women, Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserves to be considered a heroine. A target for extremists throughout the Islamic world, her life is in constant danger. When, after the making of her film, Submission, its Dutch director, Theo Van Gogh, was murdered, she too found herself under sentence of death. Yet she has never held back from expressing her outspoken view that, in terms of subordinating women, repressing art and limiting freedom of speech, Islam is a backward religion. Controversial or not, she has a right to be heard. One might have imagined that the Netherlands, as a bastion of liberal values, would guarantee that right. Ms Hirsi Ali is a full citizen of the country and, until yesterday, was an elected member of the Dutch Parliament. She is entitled to expect the same kind of protection that Salman Rushdie once had in the years after the publication of Satanic Verses. Instead, she finds herself today abandoned by her political colleagues and forced into exile. She intends to go to America, where she has been offered work and where she will be given the security that she no longer has in the Netherlands.
Read it all.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Another Take On Illegal Immigration

Here's an obvious point that you don't hear enough from the mainstream media:
Illegal immigration to the United States is "Mexico's disgrace," caused by the government's failure to create enough jobs, the country's leftist presidential candidate said on Tuesday.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Third Party Politics

Dick Meyer imagines a third party with a slate of high-profile Senate candidates, and a ticket in 2008 of Michael Bloomberg and Anthony Zinni. This party will have no platform, but will have a core of pragmatism:

- hostile to budget deficits and billing our debts to our children;

- conservative when it comes to conserving and preserving the environment, safety, communities and social traditions;

- intolerant of not solving solvable, manmade problems like the lack of health care insurance and pensions;

- defensive, wary, not cocky, not very intellectual and sometimes humanitarian in its foreign policy;

- belligerent toward the custom of making hot button side issues (gay marriage, flag-burning, partial birth abortion, arts funding, a Spanish national anthem) the main issues; and

- intolerant of the practice of paying crooks with taxpayer dollars.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Freedom Of Expression In The EU

Nick Cohen comments in the Guardian:
...Franco Frattini, the EU's Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, has already banned the use of the phrase 'Islamic terrorism' to describe Islamic terrorism. 'You cannot use the term "Islamic terrorism",' he insisted. 'People who commit suicide attacks or criminal activities on behalf of religion, Islamic religion or other religion, they abuse the name of this religion.'

I was brought up as a democratic socialist and abhorred the crimes committed in the name of the left. But I would always agree that Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were inspired by a version of socialism, just as the most liberal American Christian would accept that fundamentalists who bomb abortion clinics are inspired by a version of Christianity.

Yet the EU wishes to deny that political Islam inspires terrorists to blow up everything from mosques in Baghdad to tube trains in London, even when Islamist terrorists say explicitly that it does. You should always pay your enemies the compliment of taking them seriously. The EU can't understand what its enemies are saying, because it won't call them by their right name.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Middle Class Vote

Martin Frost:
Lots of people bemoan the fact that the Democratic Party does not connect with white middle class voters, but few of the complainers offer workable solutions.

Third-Way, a "center progressive" think tank made up of former Democratic Congressional and White House staffers, has now addressed this issue with some real insight.
Here are some of Third-way’s specific proposals:

(1) Get the nation’s fiscal house in order by controlling entitlement spending, reining in budget deficits and “holding the federal government to the same standards of efficiency and competitiveness that are demanded of the nation’s companies and workers.”

(2) Invest in infrastructure to create jobs of the future by investment in research and pure science and wiring the nation for advanced information technology.

(3) Help businesses keep jobs in America by containing health care costs, lifting some of the burden of retirement security off of business and punishing countries that use unfair trade tactics that harm American companies.

(4) Make college the goal of all young Americans by expanding the tax deductibility of college tuition for middle class parents.

(5) Provide all Americans with affordable health insurance in the form of “competition-based health care reform.”
The full study has lots more.

(Via Donklephant.)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

More, Please

Dr. Ahmed Abaddi is Morocco’s Director of Islamic Affairs and senior advisor to King Mohammed VI. Last week, he paid a visit to Washington.
Topping his agenda were under-the-radar peace talks with Israel, religious classes to teach Imams the history and virtues of the West, and dramatic new initiatives to build ties to Rabbis and evangelical Christians.
“We need our people to know the real West…to understand that the West ain’t no angel, but it ain’t no demon either,” Abaddi said, attempting a Western accent, at a private dinner in a Washington, D.C., suburb last week. “[This effort] is not a luxury. We are not being pressured to do it. We are trying to train responsible people to live in dangerous times.”

“Our world is threatening to destroy itself,” he noted, citing apocalyptic rhetoric coming out of Tehran, Iran’s nuclear program, radical Islamic terrorism, AIDS, and severe global poverty. “Morocco can help bring about peace. I think the Moroccan model is practical and helpful. It communicates an entirely different concept of Islam to the rest of the world….I personally can’t sit back and do nothing. After all, there is an Arab proverb that says, ‘Don’t be a mute Satan.’ I feel compelled to do everything I can to make a better world.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Speaks At Harvard

Miss Kelly has an excellent report on the event.
One business school student (Muslim male) asked "If Islam is so oppressive to women, how can you explain that Muslim countries like Pakistan and Indonesia have had women prime ministers?" Her response to that was deadly: "In some Muslim countries such as Iran and Afghanistan, under sharia, women are forced to wear hijab, adulters are stoned (mostly women, not the men), daughters get half the inheritance that sons do, and a man can easily get a divorce, while it's very difficult for women to get divorced. In secular Muslim countries like Turkey and Indonesia, fundamentalist Islam is on the rise. Twenty years ago, Indonesian women did not go around in hijab, now it is commonplace. There is an attitude of denial in the face of a great deal of empirical evidence about the oppression of women. Anyone who denies this evidence is personally contributing to the subjugation of women." (That means YOU, Dude).

More Of The Same At The U.N.

The new (and improved?) Human Rights Council replaces the old Human Rights Commission.
China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan, countries cited by human rights groups as not deserving membership, were among the 47 nations elected to the council. But in a move hailed by the same groups, both Iran and Venezuela failed to attract the needed votes.
Is this progress? Maybe, for the U.N.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Proposal For Reforming Islam

MEMRI provides us with a translation of Algerian reformist Malek Chebel's 27 propositions for reforming Islam.

Robert Spencer comments.

Israel Foils Plot To Assassinate Abbas

Times Online:
A Hamas plot to assassinate Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has been thwarted after he was tipped off by Israeli intelligence.

Hamas’s military wing, the Izza Din Al-Qassem, had planned to kill Abbas at his office in Gaza, intelligence sources said.
Of course, if Abbas had been killed, I wonder who would have been blamed?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Thoughts On Immigration

Rick Moran takes on the Open Borders crowd:
I’ve had it with the smug, self-righteous group of immigration “reform” advocates who are calling those of us who support the rule of law over rule of politics “racists” and even (irony of ironies) “UN-American.” It reflects a towering intellectual dishonesty about the issue when your opponents feel free to distort the true nature of the opposition to illegal immigration by setting up so many strawmen that one would think the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz was on a self-replication binge, dotting the political landscape with enough copies of himself to populate a medium sized city.

The truth of the matter is that the Open Borders argument is political poison unless it is wrapped in the flag, buttressed by the politically correct buzzwords “tolerance” and “fairness” with a final appeal to pity by raising the specter of legal children being torn from illegal mothers by cruel, heartless, pro-enforcement monsters. This would all be bad enough. It is the attempt by this crowd to connect pro-enforcement advocates with neo-Nazis, skinheads, radical militiamen and the like that stinks of demagoguery and proves how truly mendacious the Open Borders groups can be.

Thoughts About Gas Prices

Robert Samuelson explains "How We Got To $3 Gas," and Max Boot comments on the rising "dictatorship dividend."

A Life Sentence For Moussaui

Roger L. Simon:
Even though I am almost always opposed to the death penalty, I cannot say I am pleased Zacarias Moussaoui has been given a life sentence. I am worried. I do not know or care if he is schizophrenic (as his defense said), but I do know the wannabe 9-11 murderer is infected by a virulent mental disorder that tells him mass terror actions and assaults on innocent people merit a place in paradise. As we all have seen, this particular mental disorder - Islamism - is highly communicable and results in megadeath. So Moussaoui must not be allowed to interact with his fellow prisoners in any way lest they be released after he has infected them with his homicidal mind-cult. I know some will find this some kind of suppression of his human rights, but the prison authorities should look at it as a public health measure. You wouldn't put someone with the Plague with the other prisoners either.

Another Threat

AP:
Iran's first target would be Israel in any response to a U.S. attack, a Revolutionary Guards commander said Tuesday, reinforcing the Iranian president's past call for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

"We have announced that wherever (in Iran) America does make any mischief, the first place we target will be Israel," the Iranian Student News Agency quoted Gen. Mohammad Ebrahim Dehghani as saying.
Could anyone blame Israel for launching an attack against Iran's nuclear facilities?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

So Long, Sami

Sami Al-Arian, a former college professor in Florida, was arrested in February 2003. He was accused of providing support to Palestinian Islamic Jihad. A six month trial resulted in Al-Arian being acquitted of eight charges. Nine other charges resulted in a hung jury.
Under a plea deal finalized last month, Al-Arian, 48, agreed to admit guilt and accept a possible sentence of 46 to 57 months and eventual deportation from America. Prosecutors agreed to join defense attorneys in recommending a sentence at the low end of the range, but the judge, James Moody Jr., ignored those suggestions and imposed the maximum sentence allowed by the plea bargain.
At a court hearing yesterday morning, Judge Moody coupled the tough sentence with a stinging verbal rebuke of Al-Arian. The judge scoffed at many of the explanations and defenses Al-Arian has offered since news reports emerged in the mid-1990s alleging that the computer science professor and his Islamic studies think tank had ties to terrorism. "You are a master manipulator. You looked your neighbors in the eyes and said you had nothing to do with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This trial exposed that as a lie," Judge Moody said. "The evidence was clear in the this case that you were a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad."