Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Pissed off at Al Qaeda? Burn down a KFC

Shiites still can't seem to figure out who their friends are. The rights of minorities are better protected under American-style democracy than under Islamic rule or military dictatorship. But who cares about reality? Colonel Sanders deep-fried my Koran! Reuters reports that six people lost their lives in a Shiite attack on the fast food outlet in Karachi after Sunni extremists killed several worshippers at a Shiite mosque.

Anger at KFC in Pakistan is nothing new. Since opening in Karachi in 1997, the chain has drawn fire (metaphorical and real) for Americanizing Pakistani tastes, "supersizing" their diets, and putting women in pants.

From a 2003 article on PakistanLink:
Adding insult to injury, critics say, is the uniform Pakistani [KFC] sales staff are forced to wear.
"They are imposing American culture. Even women employees are required to wear trousers which is against Islam,” said Abdul Hadi, a teacher at Jamiat-ul-Uloom-il-Islamiyyah Banuri Town, one of the biggest seminaries in Karachi. “Now women want to appear like men and men like women.”

I guess that means the chicken suit is out?

Last year Tibet became the first place on earth where KFC has voluntarily agreed not to set up shop. The Dalai Lama objects to the mass slaughter of chickens. On the slaughter of KFC employees and patrons by Islamists, however, His Holiness is somewhat more circumspect: "There is a perception among the Western media that Islam is militant but that is not true." That's right, folks--the real problem is fast food.

The Beretta 92: Terrorists' standard-issue sidearm

Actually, the Italian handgun is standard issue for Marines and Navy SEALs as well, despite its persistent unpopularity. (Anti-9mm prejudice runs high in the military.) Millions have been manufactured and sold all around the world, mostly for law enforcement use. But where are the "insurgents" acquiring thousands of the latest model, fresh-out-of-the-box, sans serial numbers?

According to an article in the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera (thanks to Watching America for spotting it), four thousand of the handguns were found in one of Saddam's palaces, and many more have turned up in the possession of those fighting against the U.S. and the new Iraqi government. The seized guns' lack of serial numbers "suggests to investigators that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing." The Italian gun manufacturer Beretta had legitimate contracts to sell Saddam Hussein other model guns prior to the first Gulf War, but probably would have been in violation of the EU arms embargo if it provided the Beretta 92's in question. (The 92 was first manufactured in the late 1970's, but the article says the ones found in Iraq are "state of the art," implying more recent manufacture.)

The fact that the U.S. has gone to Italy on this indicates that we think Beretta did in fact make them. It wouldn't be too hard to figure out if they were reverse-engineered Chinese knock-offs or legitimate copies made by licensed manufacturers like Taurus in Brazil. So what's going on? Was Beretta circumventing the arms embargo and risking its contract with the U.S. military? Not likely. The fact that they might have been intended "for intelligence operations" is telling. Insurgents and Baathist hold-outs could care less if a gun has a serial number. I think these guns got to Iraq via another nation's intelligence services. Hmmm, now who would do something like that? I'll give you trois guesses.

But seriously, how many knives in the back are we going to get? Let's hope the Beretta 92 trail leads away from Europe and not into it.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Why the Beirut Spring brings hope

The Lebanese elections begin today in Beirut, and while looking for some sense of what's going on there (since the U.S. media seem more concerned with the fate of Chirac's ass) I found this at Beirut Spring: Mustapha's heartfelt and brave post on being Muslim and being critical of Islam.
Moslems from Pakistan to Morocco are still ferociously protesting a Newsweek report about the Koran being violated. Meanwhile, yet another innocent (Japanese) person was viciously murdered in the name of Islam in Iraq, without a single act of protest. What's wrong with us Moslems?

It's reassuring to hear this sentiment from the generation that will inevitably one day be in charge. Let's hope that the road to power doesn't require them to make the same cynical alliances with Islamists that have undermined secular society in so many Muslim nations.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Indonesian Christian grievances should be heard

Once again, the conflict between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia is being portrayed by the mainstream media in a sort of relativist, Montague and Capulet, "All are punished" way. Granted, Christian as well as Muslim mobs have committed heinous acts of terror, but that does not mean that the two sides are equally guilty or equally aggrieved. Indonesian Christians are justifiably anxious about the Islamisation of their government, calls for the implementation of sharia law by Muslims, government-sponsored Muslim immigration into traditionally Christian areas, and creeping "dhimmi" policies such as economic incentives reserved for Muslim businesses.

Muslims in Indonesia have lately become increasingly blunt about their intention to erode secular traditions and laws that have long protected the nation's non-Muslims. Here's an article published yesterday by Reuters about the imposition of an Islamic dress code on female students in the city of Padang. The mayor wants Padang's fifty-thousand-or-so non-Muslims to learn to "adjust." Now there's a scary euphemism.
Fauzi Bahar, mayor of Padang on the west coast of Sumatra, said the ruling applied to all schools in the city of one million people. Non-Muslims should also "adjust", he said. The ruling takes effect next month and underscores the growing Islamisation of the world's most populous Muslim nation -- especially in outer regions where local governments have more authority under decentralisation laws.
... "This policy also applies to Muslims who attend non-Muslim schools. By wearing Muslim dress, these kids can avoid negative things like trying drugs," Bahar told Reuters. "Non-Muslims are not forced to follow but they are encouraged to adjust," he said without elaborating.

And in January, Richel Dursin of the Inter Press Service reported that local authorities in Padang passed a "regulation prohibiting women to go out between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.," ostensibly to curb prostitution. (IPS archives are by subscription only, so no link is available. Here is a link to a reprint of the article.)

So Reuters and other new services are aware of the grievances of Indonesia's Christians. Now they should "connect the dots" and include that information in articles about the tensions and violence between Muslims and Christians and not make it appear that neither side has a reason to fear the other.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Secularism whimpers

This morning's headlines include two that form an interesting counterpoint.
Suspected suicide blast in Pakistan kills 19
Guantanamo probe finds 5 Koran mishandling cases
The secular West appears to have meekly accepted the proposition that it is possible to "mishandle" the book that forms the root philosophy behind the barbarism we all--Muslims and non-Muslims--suffer today. Lost in all the debate over tolerance, multiculturalism, and respect is the plain fact that the Koran espouses violence toward and subjugation of non-believers. The common response, "So does the Bible," ignores two other facts. The first is that Christians, being followers of the teachings of Christ, believe that the philosophy of tolerance and acceptance expressed in the New Testament supersedes the more violent philosophies of the earlier books of the Bible. The second is that the vast majority of the approximately 2 billion Christians on the planet do not take their religion seriously enough to believe that other religions should be restricted or banned (as they are in most Muslim nations). Thus we see a proliferation of mosques in predominantly Christian nations, while in the Muslim world you get your head chopped off for converting to Christianity. And I'm not talking about distant history. Right now in Iran, Hamid Pourmand sits in a jail cell awaiting what is in essence a trial for apostasy. (Iran has gotten wise to the fact that apostasy charges draw negative world attention, so they usually morph them into espionage or corruption charges.) Pourmand, who is also in the Iranian military, faces a possible death sentence for converting from Islam 27 years ago and allegedly not informing his superiors. (He claims to have documentary evidence that his superiors were aware of his religion, but let's not lose sight of the fact that he is being persecuted for his beliefs.) I would provide a link for this story, but incredibly there has not been a single mention of Pourmand in the mainstream media. Google his name and you will find a number of articles in the Christian press. Mishandling of the Koran is news. Beheading of members of religious minorities for their beliefs is not. If you think that claims of Muslim intolerance are exaggerated, read this report from Human Rights Watch for some examples of the application of sharia law in Iran.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no fan of any religion. I would prefer to see all the "holy" books moulder away untouched and forgotten. The vast majority of the world's Christians accepted centuries ago that theocracy and religious world domination was not in the cards. Sadly, none of us will know lasting peace until Muslims recognize the same reality--that secularism and democracy are the only route to a prosperous and just world.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

One of these things is not like the other

Take a look at this headline from Reuters:
FBI memo reports Guantanamo guards flushing Koran

Now look at the lead:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An FBI agent wrote in a 2002 document made public on Wednesday that a detainee held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had accused American jailers there of flushing the Koran down a toilet.

Perhaps Reuters had to pare down the headline for space. Here it is again with the missing words reinserted:
FBI memo reports Guantanamo [detainee accusation of] guards flushing Koran

That's better.
Click here for the full text of the article. There is nothing really new here. Not in the endless winding of the Koran story. Not in the lack of journalistic standards at Reuters.

AP did better on this one with the headline "FBI Records Cite Quran Abuse Allegations"--which at least uses the word "allegations."

Professor Dean's Course in Alternative History

Here's Howard Dean's take on the reason American blacks are ditching the Democrats:
There's a new generation of African-American leaders and a new generation of African-Americans. We can't go out and say could you vote for us because we were so helpful during the civil rights era.
Umm ... no. No, you can't go out and say that, because it would be a wild distortion of history.
Unless, Dr. Dean, you mean helpful like these Democrats?

George Wallace
When this Democrat was inaugurated governor of Alabama in 1962, he declared, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever." In a flip-flop that should make John Kerry jealous, Wallace later said that he hadn't read the speech before giving it. That didn't stop him from becoming a poster boy for racist hold-outs just one year later, when he stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to block black students from entering the school. And despite that little bit of nauseating public relations work he still made a strong showing as candidate in Democrat presidential primaries in 1964 in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Indiana. In fact, his racism never hurt him much among voters. He won broad support in both the 1968 and 1972 Democrat presidential primaries.

Lester Maddox
Maddox became famous for driving black college students out of his restaurant at the point of a gun. He subsequently parlayed his fame into the governorship of Georgia, as a Democrat. How Dean interprets this as being "helpful during the civil rights era," I'm not quite sure. Maddox would later be praised by Jimmy Carter as the "essence of the Democratic party."

Robert Byrd
Senator Byrd voted against the Civil Rights Act. He also belonged to the Ku Klux Klan. Helpful? I doubt it. Perhaps he was a secret double agent.

Bull Connor
Bull Connor worked in Wallace's Alabama as the public safety commissioner of Birmingham. He ordered the use of attack dogs and fire hoses against civil rights demonstrators. Wikipedia gives us a sense of how Dean may see this as helpful:
The spectacle of this being broadcast on national television helped to catalyse major social and legal change in the South and helped in large measure to assure the passage by Congress of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, so ironically Connor's tactics helped to bring about the very change that he was opposing.
Oh, brother. Maybe soon the NAACP will come to its senses and have a statue of Connor erected in Birmingham. Wikipedia also fails to mention that he was a staunch Democrat.

Ernest Hollings
Hollings is an interesting case, in that the Democrats attempted late in his Senate career to use his position in the party's ugly past to manufacture a new rationale for their lukewarm support for civil rights. According to Hollings' Alternative History, Democrats weren't really resistant to civil rights for blacks. It was just a political deal between the segregationists and the Democrat party (now conveniently parsed into two distinct groups for your voting pleasure). The story goes like this: the misguided segregationists say to the well-intentioned-but-politically-frustrated Democrats, "We’ll go along with all your programs, if you’ll go along with our segregation." The heart-of-gold Democrats grit their teeth and make a deal with the devil for the sake of social programs. Brer Rabbit must come in here somewhere.

Jesse Helms
You may be wondering what he's doing here. Helms was a Democrat until 1972, when he capitalized on a split in the North Carolina Democrat Party by switching party affiliation and taking enough votes away to win as a Republican in a state that was 73 percent Democrat. Segregationist Democrats may not have been able to see past skin color, but they sure could see past party affiliation. Helms won another four terms as Republican senator from a state where Democrats have a two-to-one advantage.

Al Gore, Sr.
Senator Gore voted against the Civil Rights Act. That was helpful.

J. William Fulbright
Senator Fulbright voted against the Voting Rights Act. That was helpful, too. President Clinton said he considered Fulbright one of his mentors.

In case all this seems insubstantial to you, consider this:

The Congressional Record shows that Republicans voted in higher percentages for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than did Democrats. In the House of Representatives, 80 percent of Republicans voted yea (138 to 34) compared to 61 percent of Democrats (152 to 96). This means that 39 percent of House Democrats voted against the Civil Rights Act.

In the Senate, 82 percent of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act (27 to 6), while 69 percent of Democrats supported it (46 to 21). If Senate Republicans had opposed the bill with the same strength, it would have failed, despite the fact that the Democrats held a nearly two-to-one majority.

Click here for an in-depth look at the history of the Civil Rights Act.

In 1965, Democrats and Republicans had to choose sides over the Voting Rights Act. And again the Republicans came out in greater percentages in support of equal rights. More than 80 percent of House Republicans voted yea. Ninety-four percent (!) of Senate Republicans voted for the bill. More than a quarter of Senate Democrats voted against it. This is history--documented history. Not Howard Dean's version of history.

Over the last five years, support for Republican candidates among black voters has increased--and increased substantially in some southern states. The number of black voters identifying themselves as Republican has nearly doubled since 2000, while the number identifying themselves as Democrats has decreased by more than ten percent.

Howard Dean is not going to reverse this trend with lies. How stupid does he think we are?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Outrage? Anyone? ... anyone? Where is everyone?

From MEMRI TV, a jaw-dropping clip from Dubai television of a convicted kidnapper and rapist being interviewed by a female reporter, modestly dressed (thank goodness).

To view the clip, click the link above and search for clip #671. If you can't play the clip, read the transcript.
Interviewer: What were you sentenced for?

Ayman: Kidnapping and rape.

Interviewer: What was she wearing?

Ayman: She wore a short dress, which didn't have enough material for a sleeve. If I tried using it as a sleeve it would be too tight for my arm.

Interviewer: Tell us more about the clothes.

Ayman: If she wants to wear a short dress, she should wear pants underneath. But the short dress-- Even if she's unmarried, or a little girl, when someone sees her short clothes, he will find the courage, and won't leave her alone. A girl like this makes a guy--

Interviewer: She seduces him?

And from the Left ... the persistent dumb silence of the multiculturally brainwashed. How bad is it going to have to get before they find anything other than Bush objectionable?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A heartening sign of dissent in Muslim world

Sometime this past winter, three prominent Arab intellectuals sent a letter to Kofi Annan and the U.N. Security Council calling for the creation of a new international court for the prosecution of those accused of inciting hatred and violence. It came with a petition signed by thousands of liberals across the Muslim world. A very good omen. Here's a translation of a letter. To bolster their argument, the writers include several instances of clerics using fatwas to encourage attacks.

Here's an excerpt:
[W]e, the signatories of this letter, a group of Arab and Muslim liberals, would like to draw your attention to an extremely dangerous source of terrorism. This source is the purported religious pronouncements “fatwas” issued by some psychotic members of dogmatic Muslims encouraging the commission of terrorist acts in the name of and under the banner of Islam. It is not enough for the Security Council to adopt resolutions “condemning” terrorism. What will be more effective is the establishment of an International Tribunal affiliated to the UN organization for the prosecution of individuals, groups, or entities involved, directly or indirectly, with terrorist activities including, but not limited to, “fatwas” issued by religious clerics in the name of Islam calling upon Muslims to commit terrorist acts.
One good reason to abandon the Left is that the Left has abandoned true liberals like the brave men who wrote this letter. If they get any help from Americans, it will be from the Bushes and the Wolfowitzes, not from the Moores and the Chomskys. It is also interesting how little attention this call for action has received from the mainstream media. The Associated Press, Daniel Pipes and Middle East Transparent reported on the letter--and now it seems that Kofi Annan has gone and dropped it down the memory hole. Even so, let's hope the petitioners succeed. The U.N. has all the initiative of a tree stump, but perhaps someone at slightly less lethargic International Criminal Court will see fit to take up the issue.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris: "The day will come when we will rule America"

Last Friday's sermon by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris, broadcast on Palestinian Authority TV, lifts the lid once again on the vile cauldron of hatred and aggression that Islamist thought has become. MEMRI TV provides a video clip of the speech, with translation into English, as well as a transcript. MEMRI TV deserves greater recognition for the valuable work they do. If the link does not take you to the page with the Sheik Mudeiris clip on it, do a search for clip #669. Here's an excerpt from the transcript:

We have ruled the world before, and by Allah, the day will come when we will rule the entire world again. The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world – except for the Jews. The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquility under our rule, because they are treacherous by nature, as they have been throughout history. The day will come when everything will be relieved of the Jews - even the stones and trees which were harmed by them. Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew.

It is mystifying how so many in the West persistently fail to comprehend the true nature of Islam when the ummah goes to so little trouble to mask it. To pretend that there is no worldwide Islamic community is to deny what Muslims themselves believe. And to pretend that the ultimate goal of the leaders of that community is a tolerant and peaceful one is sheer willful blindness. Such talk of world domination and vengeance against Jews is not reserved for "Muslims-only" Friday prayer sermons. In a 2003 address to a gathering of world leaders (including dignitaries from virtually all nations with any significant Muslim population), Malaysian Prime Minister Mohommed Mathahir expounded on the need for Muslim unity against the "enemy." This enemy remains somewhat vaguely defined, but from references to pogroms it seems clear that Mathahir's concept of enemy is closely associated with Jews. His thinly veiled anti-Semitism is disturbing. More so is his regard for human rights and democracy as infidel ploys "so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong." In fairness, some of Mathahir's assessments of the failure of Islam to adapt to modernity are correct. His "us versus them" approach--combined with Islam's innate expansionism--invalidates what little he gets right. Nonetheless, I recommend reading the speech in its entirety. Working links to the transcript are a little hard to find today, but Rob Hinkley's Sporadic Chronicle has preserved a copy that apparently came from the Toronto Star. Here's an edited quote, but so I don't get accused of Dowdification, read the speech in its entirety.

But the defence of the ummah, the counter-attack, need not start only after we have put our houses in order. Even today we have sufficient assets to deploy against our detractors ... In any struggle, in any war, nothing is more important than concerted and coordinated action. A degree of discipline is all that is needed ... But think. We are up against a people who think. They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking. They invented and successfully promoted Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power. We cannot fight them through brawn alone. We must use our brains also. Of late because of their power and their apparent success they have become arrogant. And arrogant people, like angry people will make mistakes, will forget to think. They are already beginning to make mistakes. And they will make more mistakes. There may be windows of opportunity for us now and in the future. We must seize these opportunities.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

What if we threw an anti-terrorism rally and no one came?

On May 14, Free Muslims Against Terrorism held a rally in Washington, D.C. in an attempt to call attention to (or perhaps change) the Muslim community's silent complicity with extremism and murder. Frighteningly, many Muslims display a marked reluctance to condemn straightforwardly the actions of the most radical among them (beheadings, bombings, attacks on schools). Even the goals and philosophy of Islamists are often treated with deference or simply "let slide." Rank anti-semitism goes unremarked or is even defended. (Remember Malaysian Prime Minister Mohommed Mathahir's "fight them" speech? Did the audience--a conference of leaders and dignitaries from "57 Islamic nations"-- walk out on him? No, he got a standing ovation.)

Well, the rally was a bit of a bust, inasmuch as there weren't many Muslims there. The Washington Post shot some interviews with a few of the few who did show up. FMAT's president, Nawal Kawash, deserves credit for trying, and he makes some good points about the complacency and ambivalence evident in Muslim attitudes in the U.S. and around the world.

"Muslim leadership in this country has failed us. They have failed us in not taking a clear position against radicalism, extremism, terrorism. The reason that they haven't is that, we believe, they share the ideology of those who practice terrorism."

Well put, Mr. Kawash. The moonbats sent over Ross Pourzal, who offers this insight:

"These guys [FMAT] are bad news. I think that they are misleading Americans. This is a very right-wing, extreme right-wing organization that has put up this event."