Monday, February 27, 2006

"Unseen. Unforgotten."

A year and half ago, photo intern Alexander Cohn opened a closet at the The Birmingham News to look for a lens. There he found a box of negatives marked, "Keep. Do Not Sell." What he discovered is a remarkable collection of photographs from the Civil Rights Era, images that every American should see. These photos were never published at the time, partly out of self-censorship on the part of newspaper editors (an ugly monster that's resurfaced of late).

After looking at these photos, I believe that many of the well-known images from the struggle to end the blight of Jim Crow have become so familiar that their power has diminished. I strongly recommend you take the time to see the moments in America's history that Mr. Alexander and the News have resurrected:

Unseen. Unforgotten.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

"Enough now with this turning the other cheek!"

WWJD? Certain Vatican officials think that Muslim intolerance and violence would strain even the Lamb of God's patience.
"Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It's our duty to protect ourselves," Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican's supreme court, thundered in the daily La Stampa ... "The West has had relations with the Arab countries for half a century, mostly for oil, and has not been able to get the slightest concession on human rights," he said.

Even the Pope has finally spoken out against Muslim hypocrisy:
Pope Benedict signaled his concern on Monday when he told the new Moroccan ambassador to the Vatican that peace can only be assured by "respect for the religious convictions and practices of others, in a reciprocal way in all societies."

It's about time the world turned some attention to the blatant hypocrisy of Muslims in the west objecting to piggy banks, cartoons and headscarf bans while religious minorities in Muslim nations suffer endless harrassment and persecution.

Islam turns back the clock on Turkey

At, Tufan Turenc tries to draw his compatriots' attention to another disturbing trend in Turkey (in addition to their government rushing to legitimize Palestine's newly elected terrorist regime). Turenc points out that Prime Minister Erdogan has betrayed the legacy of Ataturk by attending a dinner in his honor that Ataturk would have surely spurned. The increasing influence of Islamists is dragging Turkey backward into the dark ages, and Erdogan seems fine with it, even if it means sitting apart from his newly veiled wife.

The scene in the hall was quite strange for a country which is in the midst of membership talks with the European Union. The women and men who attended the dinner were sitting in separate places, and most of the women were wearing headscarves. The situation was reminiscent of Iran or an Arab country, instead of Turkey. This picture didn’t disturb the AKP members, because this is now they envision Turkey ...
Ataturk would never speak in such a hall, nor even go in, because the situation in that hall is completely the reverse of the revolutions accomplished by Ataturk 80 years ago. Ataturk wanted the clothing of modern Turkish women to be like that of other women living in civilized countries. He wanted Turkish women to participate in social life in equal conditions and rights with men and participate in production. That's why he pushed those revolutions. Therefore, he gave political and social rights to Turkish women before many civilized countries did. That's why Ataturk would never accept that seating plan and speak in that hall. Erdogan's speech in that hall is a sad contradiction of Ataturk's goal of civilized countries and a betrayal of the great revolutionary's heritage.

It's nice to see that the forces of political correctness have failed to completely erase the concept of "civilization." Let's hope that Islamists can be prevented from erasing the reality of it.

Monday, February 20, 2006


As I have mentioned before, I lost a close friend years ago over an argument about David Irving, the provocative and repugnant Holocaust denier. At a dinner party, I defended Irving's right to publish his idiotic beliefs. I felt--and still feel--that the marketplace of ideas should be self-censoring, and if he could find publishers and readers, so be it. Any form of government censorship of Holocaust denial, I said, would only lend credence to the idiocy, and make us guilty of hypocrisy to boot. My friend found my defense of Irving's rights offensive enough to warrant never speaking to me again. A very sad clash of principles.

An Austrian court just sentenced Irving to three years in prison for voicing his moronic beliefs. The hypocrisy is complete. We have diminished the power of truth by implying that truth requires goverment protection. And we have thrown to the wolves twelve Danish cartoonists and countless editors who believed that we had evolved beyond the primitive concept of blasphemy.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Poor Salman Rushdie

I was surprised today to see the Jerusalem Post report that student leaders at a martyrdom-recruitment meeting in Tehran gave volunteers the option of signing up for a suicide mission to assassinate Salman Rushdie. I had been under the impression that the fatwa calling for his murder had been rescinded, or at least allowed to fade away into the realm of "What ever happened with that thing ..." The other two options were to blow yourself up defending Iran (which probably means trudging across the Iraqi border to an American or British military base) or to blow yourself up along with Israeli civilians.

Not only was the fatwa never rescinded, but the Iranian Martyrs Foundation (or Martrydom Seekers, depending on the news source) reiterated last week that it (and the bounty) remain in full effect.
"Imam Khomeini's fatwa on the apostate Salman Rushdie will remain in force for eternity,' said the Martyrs Foundation, which has offered a $2.8 millon (BD1m) bounty for Rushdie's head."

I'm not sure they have the authority to do this, since their connection to the clerics running Iran's theocracy is vague, but that hardly matters when some disaffected nutcase walks into your book reading with a hand grenade. In 1998, then-president Khatami said that the affair was "completely finished," but other Iranian officials said that only the Ayatollah Khomeini could lift the fatwa, and he was already dead.

Rushdie is a brave and brilliant man, one worth a hundred ayatollahs. I'm saddened to learn that his life is once again disrupted by the bloodlust of the ignorant and primitive.

Great news from the Northwest!
"Muslim kids can quote Quran"

In Washington state, the News Tribune adopts the role of Islamic Public Relations Tool to assure us that the growing trend of religious indoctrination of Muslim children is nothing to be worried about, it's just like what Christians and Jews do.

Here's an excerpt (emphasis mine):
Now a growing Muslim population in America is importing a rite of passage called Ameen ... The cultural practice is a mostly South, Southeast and Central Asian one, familiar to perhaps a third of Muslims in the United States.

It has two parts. The first Ameen, or Amen, is held when a child finishes reading the Quran, roughly the length of the New Testament, for the first time in Arabic. The child reads the holy book aloud, sounding it out without necessarily understanding it.

America has many cultural distractions, which is why Muslim parents here have to take a more active role involving their children in the faith, says Fareez Ahmed, a 21-year-old graduate of George Washington University.
In America, Ahmed would memorize the Quran three hours a day and review for another five or six hours.

“The practice is definitely increasing,” he says. He has five students to teach when he returns to the United States. “Especially with the current international situation, it’s really important to know what the Quran really says about certain issues,” he adds.

Classes about the meaning of the passages will come as the children get older.

"America has many cultural distractions"? Indeed, like Little League, after-school clubs, summer camps, dances, garage bands, and hanging out at the Dairy Queen. Nothing like Saudi Arabia, where parents fret over the malaise evident in the growing "mall culture" to which teenagers are drawn. An opinion piece in Arab News last summer called for increased promotion of extracurricular activities for children and teens:
With little to do many children and teens have turned to the habit of late nights of TV watching and shopping, unproductive evenings, and non-existent mornings ... A young Saudi describes her daily routine as “waking at 12:30 in the afternoon, sitting with my family, eating dinner, and then going out at nine to the mall with friends.”

For Saudi children and teens, school is usually the only time they are mentally stimulated. After school, most do not take part in any extracurricular activities and this can work against them ... “It is very important for children to be involved in arts education and sports,” said Dr. Manal I. Madini, a professor of Early Childhood Education at King Abdul Aziz University.

The impetus for such "cultural distractions" whithers in the Muslim world due to Islam's ambivalence about art, music, and sports. Why would a society encourage its youth to create art when powerful clerics regard creation as suspect, as a potential offense to Allah, the one true creator? Even the Hamas Charter devotes a section (Article Nineteen) to the kind of art they wish to see, just in case little Ahmed was thinking of picking up a crayon instead of a gun:
Art has regulations and measures by which it can be determined whether it is Islamic or pre-Islamic (Jahili) art. [ed.--It's important to note that the Arabic term "jahili" does not mean simply "pre-Islamic," but is frequently applied to present-day, non-Islamic cultures as well.] The issues of Islamic liberation are in need of Islamic art that would take the spirit high, without raising one side of human nature above the other, but rather raise all of them harmoniously and in equilibrium.

Man is a unique and wonderful creature, made out of a handful of clay and a breath from Allah. Islamic art addresses man on this basis, while pre-Islamic art addresses the body giving preference to the clay component in it.
[ed.--Here we see plainy how Muslims are still struggling against humanism.]

The book, the article, the bulletin, the sermon, the thesis, the popular poem, the poetic ode, the song, the play and others, contain the characteristics of Islamic art, then these are among the requirements of ideological mobilization, renewed food for the journey and recreation for the soul. The road is long and suffering is plenty. The soul will be bored, but Islamic art renews the energies, resurrects the movement, arousing in them lofty meanings and proper conduct. "Nothing can improve the self if it is in retreat except shifting from one mood to another."

All this is utterly serious and no jest, for those who are fighters do not jest.

That last line looks to me like a thinly veiled threat against any artists who might think of straying from accepted Islamic forms. Not a great way to entice the kids into a life in the arts.

Music gets worse treatment in Islamic culture, since many Muslims hold all music other than Koranic recitation to be haram. Here's a straighforward quote on music and singing from one Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence) site:
Listening to music and singing is a sin and cause for the sickening and weakening of the heart. The majority of the scholars of the Salaf are unanimous that listening to music and singing and using musical instruments is Haram (prohibited).

So much for the Glee Club. I know I'm inviting comments from offended "moderate" Muslims who will protest that their particular brand of Islam has nothing to do with such pronouncements. Such objections are nothing more than a tiresome shell game made possible by the fact that Islam itself is structured like a terrorist organization. The faith has no definable central authority and is in effect divided into numerous cells, each of which can claim to have nothing to do with the actions of the others while secretly sharing the same basic ideology and goals.

So arts, music, and dancing (obviously) are off the list. There are still sports. Well, maybe not. Here's a quote from one site addressing the issue of sports vs. Allah:
Apparently, the great enigma of this day and age is we love everything other than Allah and His Prophet . The non-believers have enchanted us through their devious tricks. Our hearts have hardened. We do not recognise the truth when in front of us! Contrary to the lives of the Sahabah our lives revolve around everything, but the teachings of the Prophet. Presently, a cancer has infected our youth. This cancer is football!

The writer means soccer, of course. The cancer of American football hasn't afflicted the youth of the Middle East yet, mainly because it requires equipment that did not exist 1400 years ago and does not blow its wearer to smithereens.

Muslim kids who do get involved in sports often find themselves up against archaic attitudes that strip the game of half its fun. In Chicago, the girl's basketball team at the Islamic and oddly named Universal School are weary of playing only against other Islamic schools because of gender Apartheid.
Around her, other high school girls dressed in similar flowing robes shoot a few casual baskets while they wait for practice to begin. There are no men in the gym--no male coaches, no boys from school, no dads or brothers in the bleachers. So when the coach arrives and the real training starts, they can peel off their Islamic dress, exposing their sweat pants and short-sleeved T-shirts underneath.
"We'd run if we noticed a man peeking in the window," Hamoud, 16, explains. "We're not allowed to be seen by guys without [Islamic dress]. We've all learned to accept that." But the girls can't accept that they have only been allowed to compete against girls basketball teams from other Muslim schools. There are only four in the Chicago area [ed.--Only four!?], they complain, and their competition isn't exactly tough. Since last year they've been beseeching Coach Farida Abusafa, 26, an English teacher who also coaches sports, to ask public schools and non-Muslim private schools if their girls teams would be willing to compete against girls from the Universal School. The problem is the schools would have to agree to bar men and boys above the age of puberty from watching the games.

The article goes on to point out what the real issue is here, and it bears an uneasy resemblance to the uproar over non-Muslim Danish cartoonists not observing Muslim strictures forbidding the depiction of Muhammed. Now I won't be allowed to watch my daughter's basketball game when she plays against a Muslim team!
The Universal School's principal, Farhat Siddiqi, said there was no reason the girls wouldn't be allowed to play teams from public schools or other private schools as long as the prohibition barring men was strictly observed. But she worries parents from other schools might object.

"I don't want to have to impose our religious requirements on anyone else," Siddiqi said.

Is it just me, or does it sound like Siddiqi didn't finish that last sentence? And I think the ending goes: "... but I will."

How would we look upon any other group (say, a Christian one, or Hindu, or Wiccan) that behaved as the ummah is today--isolating their youth from society at large, requiring pre-adolescents to forgo "cultural distractions" and spend hours each day memorizing a religious text in a language they do not understand, and bursting into belligerent or violent outrage at each supposed offense to their faith? We would probably label such a group a "cult," and at the very least marginalize it. Instead, the west has adopted a policy of appeasement toward the cult of Islam. This policy can lead nowhere but straight into a conflagration that may well devour generations of youth, as we are forced to defend with the gun the values we failed to defend with the pen.

The Muslim "culture of hate"

Nonie Darwish has written an extraordinary opinion piece exploring the roots of the rage and violence that have erupted over the publication of the Muhammed cartoons. Like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Amir Taheri, Darwish is a critic of Islam who comes from within Islam. Her essay was published in the Telegraph a week ago, but I missed it, and perhaps others did as well, so here it is.

A brief excerpt:
As a young woman, I visited a Christian friend in Cairo during Friday prayers, and we both heard the verbal attacks on Christians and Jews from the loudspeakers outside the mosque. They said: 'May God destroy the infidels and the Jews, the enemies of God. We are not to befriend them or make treaties with them.' We heard worshippers respond 'Amen'. My friend looked scared; I was ashamed. That was when I first realised that something was very wrong in the way my religion was taught and practised. Sadly, the way I was raised was not unique. Hundreds of millions of other Muslims also have been raised with the same hatred of the West and Israel as a way to distract from the failings of their leaders.

Read the whole thing: We Were Brought Up to Hate--And We Do.

Sabbath silliness

In another fine example of a religion inspiring utterly moronic behavior, Orthodox Jews in San Diego want the community to let them contruct a miles-long overhead boundary marker of fishing line so they can avail themselves of a dogmatic loophole in their already ridiculous sabbath restrictions. Seems you can't hold an umbrella over your head in the rain on Saturday, since that qualifies as "work." But it's okay to do so in your house. If it's raining in your house. (My grandmother always said never to open an umbrella inside, but she wasn't Jewish, so what does she know?)

So in the fine Judaic tradition of playing semantic games with G-d, they want to string all their houses together so the neighborhood qualifies as one gigantic house. I can see the big ranger in the sky smacking his holy head in frustration: "Drat! They figured out a way around the umbrella rule!" Anyway, it looks like they'll have to come up with another solution, since the community's gentiles have put the kibosh on the big monofilament macrame. Maybe they could put together a volunteer goyim umbrella-carrying force.

You have to give some credit to the Orthodox Jewish community, however. They've restrained themselves from burning cars or beheading anyone over this affront to their faith.

A prophesy worth heeding

Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, the director of the British Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, had this to say in an interview with the Telegraph published today:
Dr Sookhdeo adds that he believes that "in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law."

Considering that he predicted several years ago that Islam would soon bring suicide bombings to London, the British might want to listen to him this time. Coincidentally, the Telegraph also reports today that forty percent of British Muslims admit to their desire to see sharia law applied in parts of the country. There's a marketing maxim that recommends, "If you want to know what people want, ask them." Well, we've asked, and we've gotten our answer, many times over. In interviews with the Guardian in 2004, Hizb-ut-Tahir leader Jalaluddin Patel said that the west "needs to understand what is really an inevitable matter, and that is that Islam is coming back, the Islamic caliphate is going to be implemented in the world very soon."

Western societies have to varying degrees been infiltrated by a powerful and cohesive cult that rejects even our most fundamental values. Now what are we going to do about it? We must find ways to reject and isolate--peacefully but forcefully--those who wish for the expansion of Islamic theocracy into the west. They have made their intent clear. So must we.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Muslim-mania du jour

What's driving Muslims over the edge today? Cartoons of Muhammed? Nope, that was yesterday. Korans on the commode? Wrong again! A giant teapot? Nah, they blew that up and moved on ages ago. Jumbo-size Buddhas? Blew them up, too.

Now it's porn that's making them crazy. Playboy is coming to Indonesia, and guess what? Muslims are offended. What a surprise.

This guy is so mad he's going to eat his DVD collection. Then the police standing behind him will shoot him so he gets his seventy-two virgins.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Capital! Reuters gets religion!

Too bad the religion they've gotten is the creed of Muhammed--or as Reuters now calls him: "the Prophet."

Here's the lede from Reuters' recently published article on the latest Muslim madness (this time in Pakistan):
Security guards shot dead two men, police used teargas on students in Islamabad's diplomatic enclave and protesters attacked Western businesses on Tuesday in Pakistan's most violent reaction yet to cartoons of the Prophet.

Back when Christians were calmly and rationally suffering the offense of seeing Mary's image rendered in dung, did Reuters refer to her as the mother of "Our Savior"?

Doubt it.

Does Reuters employ editors?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What bombogenesis hath wrought

Meteorologists call a 24-millibar drop in air pressure within a 24-hour period "The Bomb." Such a drop occurred this weekend, when a mass of warm, humid air from down south met up with a mass of cold, dry air from Canada. Voila! Nor'easter!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Islam is coming

At least someone sees things clearly

I'm no fan of evangelical Christians, but I have to admit their take on the Danish cartoon controversy is more reasonable and insightful than any statements coming from western political leaders these days.
Many conservative Christians have long regarded the media as enemy territory, where traditional values are at best misunderstood and often mocked.
So you might think they would relate sympathetically to Muslim outrage over the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. That outrage has sparked violent protests throughout the Islamic world.
But concerns about the goals of radical Islamic leaders, a sense that a double standard pervades the Muslim media and a general distaste for organized violence have overridden any empathy most Christian conservatives might feel for angry Muslims.
'Unfortunately, the protesters are hinting that the cartoonist might have been right,' said the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. 'They're killing fellow Muslims and destroying property. Maybe the radical protests are validating the cartoon instead of proving that cartoon wrong.'
No Christian leader ever espoused violence to retaliate against 'Piss Christ,' the controversial 1989 artwork - a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine - by Andres Serrano, even though that riled many Christians, noted Gary Bauer, president of American Values and a longtime leader among religious conservatives.
'I understand why any religious person would get upset if they think their faith is disparaged in a drawing or a cartoon,' Bauer said. 'But ... how can (the cartoons) engender a greater emotional reaction than the daily bombings and attacks by groups claiming to do them in the name of Allah?
'It doesn't look like a call for respect,' Bauer concluded of the Muslims' protests. 'It looks like a call for submission.'"

You got that right.

If only ...

The Associated Press reports that Mohammed Khatami, apparently realizing his brand of moderation is unwelcome in the new Iran, is taking it on the road. And he's found a way to sell it to the west: blind optimism unfettered by any attempt to acknowledge reality.
The Islamic world is fed up with violence and extremism in the name of religion and is ready for an era of progressive, democratic Muslim governments, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said Friday.

He really ought to get out more. If there's an Islamic world that's "fed up with violence and extremism in the name of religion," it's not in our solar system.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The inadvertent truth

Here's a photo taken yesterday of a banner carried by primary school children during an anti-Danish protest in Ramallah.

"We respect your freedom, do so for our dogma."
First off, I have doubts this is the sentiment of a primary school student. It's more likely the sentiment of the student's teacher, the one entrusted with shaping the child's beliefs, attitudes, and future. But what's more striking is the wording itself. The writer sets western freedom in opposition to Islamic dogma. I can't argue with that.

"We respect your freedom"? Obviously not. You don't even seem to comprehend what freedom of speech means. It means that no one in society is protected from expression they may consider offensive, within certain limits. Those limits do not include blasphemy, as demonstrated by years of fruitless fussing by Christian groups every time someone makes a film with Jesus in it, dips a crucifix in urine, or tries to make a religious icon out of animal feces. The message to the offended is always the same: Deal with it. Ironically, our freedoms do not include the right to call for murder and destruction, a type of speech that has become a Friday afternoon ritual in much of the Muslim world.

"... do so for our dogma"? No. We don't have to respect your dogma. We are free to think what we like about your cult, and furthermore, we are free to say what we think. Your dogma doesn't trump our freedoms, and it never will.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The false sanctity of mosques

Thirteen al Qaeda terrorists have escaped from prison in Yemen, including the masterminds of the attack on the U.S.S. Cole (which killed 17 sailors) and the 2002 bombing of the French tanker Limburg (which killed one and has since been swept under the rug along with countless other acts of violence driven by the cult of Islam). But this wasn't so much an escape as a break-in and "liberation," coordinated, apparently, from the local mosque.
A security source in Yemen told Reuters the tunnel from which the men escaped was thought to be around 140 meters (460 feet) long, twice as long as originally reported, and led to a mosque.

The source said authorities discovered the escape on Friday, but it was believed the prisoners had fled Thursday night and were definitely aided by more than one accomplice on the outside because the tunnel was believed to have been dug from the mosque to the prison.

I've written before about the absurdity of granting mosques the respect deserved of sanctity. Our blinkered multiculturalism has for too long allowed mosques built on our soil to become wellsprings of hate and war-rooms for Islam's relentless assault on the fundamental values of Western society. It should be no surprise that a mosque in Yemen was engaged in aiding convicted terrorists, but the fact deserves more attention than it's getting. Predictably, however, the implication of the mosque is already being omitted in mainstream media reports. CNN's Headline News team just decided that Interpol's involvement in the search for the men is more significant than Islam's involvement in their escape.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

So much for the ummah's common sense

Agence France Press reports today that Jihad Momani, the newspaper editor who published three of the Danish cartoons along with an appeal for reason, is now cooling his heels in a Jordanian dungeon, courtesy of the "moderate" King Hussein.
Momani, editor-in-chief of the weekly gossip newspaper Shihane, was fired from his job on Friday after his newspaper printed three of the cartoons ... Jordan's King Abdullah II said Friday that insulting the Prophet Mohammed was "a crime that cannot be justified under the pretext of freedom of expression."

Momani was apparently intimidated into issuing a groveling retraction, but that didn't save him when Jordanian "security forces" knocked on his door. A "judicial source" tells AFP he may not be the only newspaper editor targeted for prosecution. Ah, the glory of Islamic jurisprudence.

Meanwhile, in England, freedom of speech is evident in the streets, even when it blatantly calls for murder.

In France, this protester's sentiments sum up the Muslim mindset neatly.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Rare common sense from the ummah, and why the tricolor has two colors too many

The Lebanese magazine Shihan has published three of the Danish depictions of Muhammed that have the Arab world's jelaba all in a knot. They printed the cartoons along with an editorial appeal for a little Muslim intellectual evolution.
Which one do you think damages Islam more? These cartoons or the scene of a suicide bomber who blows himself up outside a wedding ceremony in Amman, or the kidnappers that slaughters their victims before the cameras?
Meanwhile, the French have once again shown their true colors. After shocking everyone by having the courage to publish the cartoons, France Soir reversed itself, fired the editor responsible, and issued an apology, effectively surrending to primitive religious intolerance. There hasn't been a true Gallic vertebrate since Charles Martel. And across the Channel, Reuters compounds the problem by ignoring the Lebanese and suggesting that Muslims are of one mind in being out of their minds: "Muslims consider any images of Mohammad to be blasphemous." No, they don't. Fundamentalist Muslims do, and if we don't pay attention to the dissent that exists in the Muslim world, there may soon be no dissent left.
UPDATE: Some news outlets are reporting that the magazine Al-Shihan is Jordanian.