Sunday, January 30, 2005

Saudi Arabia to hold international conference to discuss terrorism

From the Khaleej Times Online:
DUBAI - Delegates from 49 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Russia, as well as representatives of several international organizations, will participate in the first global anti-terror conference February 5-8.

The Saudi newspaper Arab News said Crown Prince Abdullah will open the four-day event at the newly established King Abdul Aziz Convention Center in the capital Riyadh.

The Foreign Ministry has completed preparations for the conference that will highlight Saudi Arabia’s efforts to combat terrorism, Arab News said.

The conference will discuss ways to eradicate the root causes of global terrorism and measures to help tackle money laundering as well as drug and arms smuggling.

The discussions will focus on four topics: roots of terrorism; relation between terrorism and drugs; the culture of terrorism; and the relation between terrorism and arms smuggling and money laundering.

A number of heads of state and presidents of international organizations are expected to take part in the conference.

“We have invited all countries that have suffered from terrorism to the conference and all have agreed to take part,” Prince Turki ibn Muhammad, assistant undersecretary for political affairs at the Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying.

The participants include 14 Arab countries including Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Morocco, Jordan and Algeria, and 14 non-Arab Asian countries including Japan, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Iran and the Philippines.

Leading international organizations participating in the event are the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Arab League, the European Union, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the African Union, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Makkah-based Muslim World League.
Where is the other topic?
  1. The relation between Saudi sponsored salafist tracts and terrorism
See here.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Brave Iraqis

Our hopes, our wishes, our prayers for a peaceful future for Iraq, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa and the whole world are with the brave Iraqi heroes who go to war today, with a pen in hand, to confront an enemy with bombs and guns and murder in his heart. Our thoughts are with you, Iraqi heroes.

Iran the Lone Voice of Reason in the Middle East?!?!

The Tehram Times editorializes:

The terrorists surely would not be able to carry out acts of violence against the Shia unless they were receiving domestic and regional support... If this dissension continues and a significant number of Sunni clerics remain silent about the disrespect shown towards Shia religious sanctities, Iraq will begin to head towards civil war... Thus, holding a free and fair election based on the votes of the majority, but also allowing the minority to attain their rights through casting their ballots, is the only way to end the current crisis in Iraq.

Iran's Tehran Times editorial

What remains unsaid is that the Sunni clerics and Sunni governments are betting on a civil war in Iraq. Only through a civil war and overt Sunni intervention (as opposed to the current covert Sunni intervention) can the Sunni Arabs once again rule Iraq and oppress the Sunni Kurds and Shi'ites.

The full editorial goes on to say
The enemies of Islam are trying to implement a plan of managed chaos in Iraq. They seek to divide the various communities, especially the Shias and the Sunnis. The enemies are well aware of the fact that a stable and united Iraq could act as a model and an anchor for the region and the entire Islamic world. However, they also know that a volatile Iraq would spread instability throughout the region and facilitate their hegemonic plots.

Therefore, all Iraqis must work for national cohesion. The Iraqi Shias should not attempt to sideline the Sunni Arabs as an act of revenge for their years of marginalization. The enemies of Islam are laying a trap to cause a Shia-Sunni civil war. The Iraqi Shias must not be deceived by this intrigue and must do everything in their power to defuse this plot.
At question is the identity of the "enemies of Islam." America and Israel? Or the Islamist terror machine?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Dhimmi Watch: Contest: Taqiyya Awareness Week at UCLA!

Thanks to Robert Spencer and Dhimmi-watch for the Taqiyya Awareness Week Contest. It was fun. My favorite bit:
>>>>Though the topics and the organizers may change from year to year, the purpose of the events remains constant – to educate the community on Islam and show that Muslims are not different from other students.<<<<

To use diplomacy, also known as the art of taqiyya, to pretend there is no elephant in the room, while simultaneously convincing "other students" to shovel the elephant's sh*t.

Saudi Hate Machine: II

More on Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques published by the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House.

Part I

Bin Baz

The document is 95 pages and well worth reading. I expect it will take many days of analysis to explore the document to my satisfaction. Following my mythopoetic inclination, let us start to explore some of the more interesting mythic details of this frightening document.
A prolific source of fatwas condemning “infidels” in this collection was Sheik ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Bin ‘Abdillah Bin Baz (died 1999), who was appointed by King Fahd in 1993 to the official post of Grand Mufti. As Grand Mufti, he was upheld by the government of Saudi Arabia as its highest religious authority. Bin Baz was a government appointee who received a regular government salary, served at the pleasure of the King and presided over the Saudi Permanent Committee for Scientific Research and the Issuing of Fatwas, an office of the Saudi government. His radically dichotomous mode of thinking, coupled with his persistent demonizing of non-Muslims and tolerant Muslims, runs through the fatwas in these publications.

Bin Baz is famously remembered by many Saudis for a ruling he issued in 1966 declaring the world flat. He was also responsible for the fatwa, unique in Islam, barring Saudi women from driving. Perhaps as a way of atoning for a fatwa he reluctantly issued in 1991 at the time of the Gulf War accepting the presence of non-Muslim troops in Saudi Arabia, in subsequent years Bin Baz seemed to go out of his way to pronounce against Christians, Jews, and “infidel” Westerners. His fatwas, which carry considerable weight, have been circulated through official Saudi diplomatic channels to mosques and schools throughout the world, including some in the United States, and have been particularly influential in radicalizing Muslim youth at home and abroad. The extremist views proclaimed in these official fatwas belie what Adel al-Jubeir, the articulate Saudi spokesman and special advisor to Crown Prince Abdullah, asserts during televised press conferences about fanatical sheiks in the Kingdom being mainly “underground,” and the fatwas they issue being merely expressions of “their personal opinions.” Though Bin Baz is now dead, his fanatical fatwas continue to be treated as authoritative by the Saudi government.
Bin Baz, now dead, the famous flat earther, is the lowest of the low-hanging fruit. The Saudi government must repudiate him and his writings, just as the Soviet Union did with Stalin (until in a startling and repellent development, Putin recently started rehabilitating him). The writings of Bin Baz should be the first target of US diplomatic pressure against the Saudi Hate Machine.

Saudi Hate Machine: I

Thanks to Little Green Footballs: Saudi Hate Ideology Fills US Mosques we have a pointer to a 95 page PDF document that details exactly what it says in the little religious pamphlets that the Saudi Arabian government publishes and gives away free to Mosques and Islamic Schools all over the world. In a word, Poison.

What effect does this material have on people who read it, study it, believe it? It has been available in Saudi Arabia ever since 1979, when the House of Saud gave over responsibility for education in the kingdom to the extremist elements of Salafism.
It is not an accident that 15 of the 19 terrorists who attacked us on September 11 were Saudis. The New York Times (January 27, 2002) cited a poll conducted by Saudi Intelligence, and shared with the U.S. government, that over 95% of Saudis between the ages of 25 and 41 have sympathy for Osama bin Laden.
Yes, that is not a typo. This poison has turned over 95% of the people who believe it into terrorist sympathisers, terrorist wannabe's, terrorist preachers, terrorist facilitators, or terrorist killers. In Saudi Arabia, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, believed in the USA only by Aryan Nations neo-Nazi's and gullible people who are susceptible to a hate-based ideology, is widely accepted as fact. Many Saudis wish devoutly to conquer the world for their version of Islam. And theirs is no benevolent, tolerant rule as in medieval Istanbul. Istanbul was ruled by Turks, who are primarily Sufi. Sufis are tolerant, mystical, not dogmatic. Sufism is to Islam as Unitarianism is to Christianity--barely recognizable. Saudis are Salafist Sunnis. Sunnis are to Islam as Protestants are to Christianity. There is no central authority or pope. Each worship group has its own interpretations. As with protestantism, this spins off many bizarre sects. One of the most insular, rigid, and violent of these sects was founded by Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, a wandering radical self-proclaimed imam who teamed up with the Saud tribe back in the early 1800's and founded the Salafist sect, which the Saud's protected and patronized in return for favorable fatwas from Wahhab. Salafism isn't the only source of Islamic terrorist theology and philosophy, but it is a major one.

Before reading the report, who created it? Some right wing think tank? A conservative, evangelical Christian organization? CIA stooges working covertly out of the back of a Mexican bordello? Nope, nope, and nope. A liberal civil liberties organization! Think about it.
The CENTER FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM is a division of Freedom House. Founded more than sixty years ago by Eleanor Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie, and other Americans concerned with the mounting threats to peace and democracy, Freedom House has been a vigorous proponent of democratic values and a steadfast opponent of dictatorship of the far left and the far right. Its Center for Religious Freedom defends against religious persecution of all groups throughout the world. It insists that U.S foreign policy defend those persecuted for their religion or beliefs around the world, and advocates the right to religious freedom for every individual.

Since its inception in 1986, the Center, under the leadership of human rights lawyer Nina Shea, has reported on the religious persecution of individuals and groups abroad and undertaken advocacy on their behalf in the media, Congress, State Department, and the White House. It also sponsors investigative field missions.
These materials are not simply "strict" and "narrow." They are not like any main-stream Christian materials, but are more of a kind with Aryan Nations propaganda.
One analogue for Wahhabism’s political influence today might be the extremely angry form taken by much of German nationalism in the period after WW I. Not all angry and extreme German nationalists (or their sympathizers in the U.S.) in that period were or became Nazis. But just as angry and extreme German nationalism of that period was the soil in which Nazism grew, Wahhabi and Islamist extremism today is the soil in which al Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are growing. We need to recognize the problem posed by the international spread of this hate ideology, including within the American homeland.

This report is a first step in an effort to contain the destructive ideology being proliferated by the Wahhabis within the American homeland. Hopefully it will lead to the removal of tracts spreading hatred within American mosques, libraries and Islamic centers.
While religious materials are protected under the law, materials that brainwash readers to kill, rob, rape, and murder (Hiraba, not Jihad) are more like plans for a conspiracy to commit mayhem than guideposts on a path to spiritual development.

So what's the plan?
  1. As an American who cares about such things as religious freedom and freedom of the press, I hesitate to ban any books, no matter how repellent and evil they might be. However, if these books are printed by a hostile foreign government that diplomatically pretends to be friendly , then government and economic pressure applied against that hostile government could be easily justified. Self-defense in kind.
  2. The other side of things is that there need to be some better ideas getting into the idle hands of young, aimless, confused muslims who are susceptible to radicalization. The west doesn't have what it takes to educate them on Islam, but it does have a great educational tradition of its own that is compatible with an Islamic faith. Great Books are the foundation of the liberal arts. Great Books need to be skillfully translated from English, French, German, Spanish and other languages into Arabic and made available all over the world.



Thursday, January 27, 2005

Would You Let Your Daughter Wear this Prom Dress?

Not now.
Not in 10 years.
Not in 100 years.

No way Jose!
A toy for all good little boys and girls who really, really, really must want to be scared to death of whistles for the rest of their lives.

Posted by Hello

Israel's Culture of Martyrdom

Well written, extensive article/book-review exploring the founding heroes of Israel who gave their lives for the Jewish state in Palestine that became Israel.
At the center of this culture of death is the remembrance of martyrs--Jews who, in Zionist ideology, had to die so that the state might be born. The central chapter in the construction of Israeli martyrology was, of course, the Holocaust, but it began well before, according to Zertal, who traces it to the cult surrounding Joseph Trumpeldor, the first hero of the Jews who settled in Palestine."Never mind dying," Trumpeldor is reported to have said shortly before his death in 1920. "It is good to die for our country."

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

al-Taqiyya II: Not hypocrisy, how convenient!

O followers of the Book! Why do you confound the truth with the falsehood and hide the truth while you know? (Quran 3:71)

One of the sticking points between Shi'ites and Sunni is that the Sunni accuse Shi'ites of concocting the idea of Taqiyya (religious dissimulation) based on non-Koranic ideas.

From the Shi'ite Encyclopedia
Some people have fallen victim to confusing al-Taqiyya with hypocrisy, when
in fact they (al-Taqiyya and Hypocrisy) are two opposite extremes. al-Taqiyya is concealing faith and displaying nonbelief; while Hypocrisy is the concealment of unbelief and the display of belief. They are TOTAL opposites in function, form, and meaning.

The Quran reveals the nature of hypocrisy with the following verse:
"When they meet those who believe, they say: `We Believe;' but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say: `We are really with you, we (were) only jesting [2:14]."
The Quran then reveals al-Taqiyya with the following verses:
"A Believer, a man from among the people of Pharaoh, who had CONCEALED his faith, said: "Will ye slay a man because he says, `My Lord is Allah'?....[40:28]"
Also:
"Any one who, after accepting Faith in Allah, utters unbelief, EXCEPT under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith -- but such as open their breast to unbelief, -- on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Chastisement [16:106]."
And also:
"Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, (they) shall have no relation left with Allah except by way of precaution ("tat-taqooh"), that ye may guard yourselves ("tooqatan") from them....[3:28]"
Moreover:
And when Moses returned unto his people, angry and grieved, he said: Evil is that (course) which ye took after I had left you. Would ye hasten on the judgment of your Lord? And he cast down the tablets, and he seized his brother by the head, dragging him toward him. (Aaron) said: "Son of my mother! Lo! People did oppress me and they were about to kill me. Make not the enemies rejoice over my misfortune nor count thou me amongst the sinful people. [7:150]"
Now, we see that Allah (SWT) Himself has stated that one of His (SWT) faithful servants CONCEALED his faith and pretended that he was a follower of the Pharaoh's religion to escape persecution. We also see that Prophet Aaron (Haroon) observed Taqiyya when his life was in danger. We also observe that al-Taqiyya is CLEARLY permitted in a time of need. In fact, the Book of Allah instructs us that we should escape a situation which causes our destruction for nothing:
"and make not your own hands contribute to your destruction [2:195]"
This shows clearly that according to the the Muslim concept of right and wrong, (WRONG) hypocrisy is when an unbeliever lies about religion to a Muslim, and (RIGHT) Taqiyya is when a Muslim lies about religion to an unbeliever. In other words, it's impossible by definition for a Muslim to be a hypocrite. Taqiyya, on the other hand... if a non-Muslim believes a Muslim who downplays or conceals unsavory aspects of Islamic thought, then that merely shows how wonderful Allah is (at helping his believers deceive people).

Pentecostals: Your Gnostic is Showing

In Le Sabot Post-Moderne: Pentecostals, Christian Anthropology, and Anti-Intellectualism Discoshaman writes:
Contrary to the historically dominant Christian view of man as a 2-part being -- a body and a spirit/soul, the churches I grew up in believed in a trichotomous man -- body, soul and spirit. It was an incredibly Gnostic construct. The Body is always sinful. The Spirit is always perfect. And the Soul, which is a mix of good and bad, is the deciding vote in whether man sins or not. Let's see. . . Matter=Bad, Spirit=Good. Could we even try to resurrect early heresies a little more openly?

So anyway. The Soul was the seat of reason and intellect, in their view. It's good and bad. The Spirit is unadulterated good. It's where they felt the "leading of the Spirit", and had God "speak to them in their spirit."

So which one would you trust -- the fallible soul or the perfect spirit? So naturally the soul is subordinated to spirit -- the life of the mind falls to the whims of emotion. Systematic study of the Word gives way to searches for new emotional experiences.
Just a brief comparison with Gnostic theology here.
All religious traditions acknowledge that the world is imperfect. Where they differ is in the explanations which they offer to account for this imperfection and in what they suggest might be done about it. Gnostics have their own -- perhaps quite startling -- view of these matters: they hold that the world is flawed because it was created in a flawed manner.

... The blame for the world’s failings lies not with humans, but with the creator. Since -- especially in the monotheistic religions--the creator is God, this Gnostic position appears blasphemous, and is often viewed with dismay even by non-believers.

Blasphemous to say the least! Now the Gnosticism this source describes gets around the problems by positing a spiritual Creator, Sophia the spirit of wisdom, a bunch of Archons or powerful angels, and the Demi-urge who created the evil material world. Some historical Gnostic movements identified the Demi-Urge with Yahweh or Jehovah the patron god of the Jews. For obvious reasons they were not popular with Jews or Christians and eventually lost.

BodySoulSpirit
Evil Neutral Good
Matter Intellect Inspiration
Dancing in a NightclubAngels Dancing on the Head of a PinDancing in Church
Speaking FrenchSpeaking GermanSpeaking in Tongues
Hummer Prius Crew Cab Pickup

al-Taqiyya I: Sunni Reasons for Dissimulation

O followers of the Book! Why do you confound the truth with the falsehood and hide the truth while you know? (Quran 3:71)

From the Shi'ite Encyclopedia, a carefully reasoned exploration of Sunni justifications for Taqiyya, or Dissimulation:

Introduction

The word "al-Taqiyya" literally means: "Concealing or disguising one's beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies at a time of eminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury." A one-word translation would be "Dissimulation."

The above definition must be elaborated upon before any undertaking of this topic is to ensue. Although correct, the definition suffers from an apparent generalization, and lacks some fundamental details that should be construed:

First, the CONCEALMENT of one's beliefs does NOT necessitate an ABANDONMENT of these beliefs. The distinction between "concealment" and "abandonment" MUST be noted here.

Second, there are numerous exceptions to the above definition, and they MUST be judged according to the situation that one is placed in. As such, one should NOT make a narrow-minded generalization that encompasses all situations, thereby failing to fully absorb the spirit of the definition.

Third, the word "beliefs" and/or "convictions" does NOT necessarily mean "religious" beliefs and/or convictions.

With the above in mind, it becomes evident that a better, and more accurate definition of "al-Taqiyya" is "diplomacy." The true spirit of "al-Taqiyya" is better embodied in the single word "diplomacy" because it encompasses a comprehensive spectrum of behaviors that serve to further the vested interests of all parties involved.

al-Taqiyya According to the Sunnis

Some Sunnis assert that al-Taqiyya is an act of pure hypocrisy that serves to conceal the truth and reveal that which is the exact opposite (of the truth). Furthermore, according to those Sunnis, al-Taqiyya constitutes a lack of faith and trust in Allah (SWT) because the person who conceals his beliefs to spare himself from eminent danger is fearful of humans, when, in fact, he should be fearful of Allah (SWT) only. As such, this person is a coward.

Sunni Sources in Support of al-Taqiyya

The following exposition will Insha Allah demonstrate the existence of al-Taqiyya in the Quran, Hadith, the Prophet's (PBUH&HF) custom, and the companions' custom. As usual, Sunni books will be used to further the argument. This is in keeping with the commitment to reveal the truth by showing that the Sunnis reject the Shia's arguments, while THEIR OWN books are replete (full) with the SAME ideologies that the Shia uphold! Although some Wahhabis staunchly argue their aforementioned statements, and aggressively defame the Shia and refute their doctrines, they have failed to explain the validity of their argument vis-a-vis the existence of these SAME doctrines in their own books, as has been demonstrated in ALL the past posts about the Shia. Those who think that they are the true protectors of the custom of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) and the only guardians of the Islamic Faith, how can they explain their own rejection of that which they are supposed to protect? Rejecting al-Taqiyya is rejecting the Quran, as will be shown shortly.

Let's Begin...

Reference 1:

Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti in his book, "al-Durr al-Manthoor Fi al-Tafsir al- Ma'athoor," narrates Ibn Abbas', the MOST renowned and trusted narrator of tradition in the sight of the Sunnis, opinion regarding al-Taqiyya in the Quranic verse: "Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, (they) shall have no relation left with Allah except by way of precaution ("tat-taqooh"), that ye may guard yourselves ("tooqatan") from them....[3:28]" that Ibn Abbas said:
"al-Taqiyya is with the tongue only; he who has been COERCED into saying that which angers Allah (SWT), and his heart is comfortable (i.e., his TRUE faith has NOT been shaken.), then (saying that which he has been coerced to say) will NOT harm him (at all); (because) al-Taqiyya is with the tongue only, (NOT the heart)."
NOTE: The two words "tat-taqooh" and "tooqatan," as mentioned in the Arabic Quran, are BOTH from the same root of "al-Taqiyya."

NOTE ALSO: The "heart" as referred to above and in later occurrences refers to the center of faith in an individual's existence. It is mentioned many times in the Quran.

Reference 2:

Ibn Abbas also commented on the above verse, as narrated in Sunan al-Bayhaqi and Mustadrak al-Hakim, by saying:
"al-Taqiyya is the uttering of the tongue, while the heart is comfortable with faith."
NOTE: The meaning is that the tongue is permitted to utter anything in a time of need, as long as the heart is not affected; and one is still comfortable with faith.

Reference 3:

Abu Bakr al-Razi in his book, "Ahkam al-Quran," v2, p10, has explained the aforementioned verse "...except by way of precaution ("tat-taqooh"), that ye may guard yourselves ("tooqatan") from them....[3:28]" by affirming that al-Taqiyya should be used when one is afraid for life and/or limb. In addition, he has narrated that Qutadah said with regards to the above verse:
"It is permissible to speak words of unbelief when al-Taqiyya is mandatory."

Reference 4:

It has been narrated by Abd al-Razak, Ibn Sa'd, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Mardawayh, al-Bayhaqi in his book "al- Dala-il," and it was corrected by al-Hakim in his book "al- Mustadrak" that:
"The nonbelievers arrested `Ammar Ibn Yasir (RA) and (tortured him until) he (RA) uttered foul words about the Prophet (PBUH&HF), and praised their gods (idols); and when they released him (RA), he (RA) went straight to the Prophet (PBUH&HF). The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "Is there something on your mind?" `Ammar Ibn Yasir (RA) said: "Bad (news)! They would not release me until I defamed you (PBUH&HF) and praised their gods!" The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "How do you find your heart to be?" `Ammar (RA) answered: "Comfortable with faith." So the Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "Then if they come back for you, then do the same thing all over again." Allah (SWT) at that moment revealed the verse: "....except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith...[16:106]"
NOTE: The full verse that was quoted partially as part of the tradition above, is: "Any one who, after accepting Faith in Allah, utters unbelief, EXCEPT UNDER COMPULSION, his heart remaining firm in faith -- but such as open their breast to unbelief, -- on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Chastisement [16:106]."

Reference 5:

It is narrated in Sunan al-Bayhaqi that Ibn Abbas explained the above verse "Any one who, after accepting Faith in Allah, utters unbelief....[16:106]" by saying:
"The meaning that Allah (SWT) is conveying is that he who utters unbelief after having believed, shall deserve the Wrath of Allah (SWT) and a terrible punishment. However, those who have been coerced, and as such uttered with their tongues that which their hearts did not confirm to escape persecution, have nothing to fear; for Allah (SWT) holds His (SWT) servants responsible for that which their hearts have ratified."

Reference 6:

Another explanation of the above verse is provided by Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti in his book, "al-Durr al-Manthoor Fi al- Tafsir al-Ma-athoor," vol. 2, p178; he says:
"Ibn Abi Shaybah, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Munzir, and Ibn Abi Hatim narrated on the authority of Mujtahid (a man's name) that this verse was revealed in relation to the following event: A group of people from Mecca accepted Islam and professed their belief; as a result, the companions in Medina wrote to them requesting that they emigrate to Medina; for if they don't do so, they shall not be considered as those who are among the believers. In compliance, the group left Mecca, but were soon ambushed by the nonbelievers (Quraish) before reaching their destination; they were coerced into disbelief, and they professed it. As a result, the verse "...except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith [16:106]..." was revealed."

Reference 7:

Ibn Sa'd in his book, "al-Tabaqat al-Kubra," narrates on the authority of Ibn Sirin that:
The Prophet (PBUH&HF) saw `Ammar Ibn Yasir (RA) crying, so he (PBUH&HF) wiped off his (RA) tears, and said: "The nonbelievers arrested you and immersed you in water until you said such and such (i.e., bad-mouthing the Prophet (PBUH&HF) and praising the pagan gods to escape persecution); if they come back, then say it again."

Reference 8:

It is narrated in al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, v3, p61, that:
After the conquest of the city of Khaybar by the Muslims, the Prophet (PBUH&HF) was approached by Hajaj Ibn `Aalat and told: "O Prophet of Allah: I have in Mecca some excess wealth and some relatives, and I would like to have them back; am I excused if I bad-mouth you (to escape persecution)?" The Prophet (PBUH&HF) excused him and said: "Say whatever you have to say."

Reference 9:

It is narrated by al-Ghazzali in his book, "Ihya `Uloom al-Din," that:
Safeguarding of a Muslim's life is a mandatory obligation that should be observed; and that LYING is permissible when the shedding of a Muslim's blood is at stake.

Reference 10:

Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti in his book, "al-Ashbah Wa al-Naza'ir," affirms that:
"it is acceptable (for a Muslim) to eat the meat of a dead animal at a time of great hunger (starvation to the extent that the stomach is devoid of all food); and to loosen a bite of food (for fear of choking to death) by alcohol; and to utter words of unbelief; and if one is living in an environment where evil and corruption are the pervasive norm, and permissible things (Halal) are the exception and a rarity, then one can utilize whatever is available to fulfill his needs."
NOTE: The reference to the consumption of a dead animal is meant to illustrate that EVEN forbidden things become permissible in a time of need.

Reference 11:

Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti in his book, "al-Durr al-Manthoor Fi al-Tafsir al-Ma'athoor," v2, p176, narrates that:
Abd Ibn Hameed, on the authority of al-Hassan, said: "al-Taqiyya is permissible until the Day of Judgment."

Reference 12:

Narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari, v7, p102, that Abu al-Darda' said:
"(Verily) we smile for some people, while our hearts curse (those same people)."

Reference 13:

Narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari, v7, p81, that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) said:
"O `Aisha, the worst of people in the sight of Allah (SWT) are those that are avoided by others due to their extreme impudence."
NOTE: The meaning here is that one is permitted to use diplomacy to get along with people. The above tradition was narrated when a person sought permission to see the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF) and prior to his asking permission the Prophet (PBUH&HF) said that he was not a good man, but still I shall see him. The Prophet talked to the person with utmost respect, upon which Aisha inquired as to why did the Prophet (PBUH&HF) talk to the person with respect despite his character, upon which the above reply was rendered.

Reference 14:

Narrated in Sahih Muslim (English version), Chapter MLXXVII, v4, p1373, Tradition #6303:
Humaid b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Auf reported that his mother Umm Kulthum daughter of 'Uqba b. Abu Mu'ait, and she was one amongst the first emigrants who pledged allegiance to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), as saying that she heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A liar is not one who tries to bring reconciliation amongst people and speaks good (in order to avert dispute), or he conveys good. Ibn Shihab said he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them).
The (Sunni) commentator of this volume of Sahih Muslim, Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, provides the following commentary:
Telling of a lie is a grave sin but a Muslim is permitted to tell a lie in some exceptional cases, and this permission is given especially on three occasions: in case of battle for bringing reconciliation amongst the hostile Muslims and for bringing reconciliation between the husband and the wife. On the analogy [Qiyas] of these three cases, the scholars of Hadith have pointed out some other exemptions: for saving the life and honor of innocent person from the highhandedness of tyrants and oppressors if one finds no other way to save them.
Notice that neither the above tradition nor the commentary are concerned with dealing with non-Muslims only.

Toward a Taxonomy of Control Freaks

Coyote wrote about government interference in decision-making here.

He creates a taxonomy of believers in government interference (Control Freaks). Some are conservative, some are progressive, some are pretty much in the center. None are libertarian. I've tried to stay pretty close to his scheme... at first.
  1. Nannies
    Government as Super-Mom or Super-Dad.
    1. Seat Belt Laws
    2. Helmet Laws
    3. Anti-Smoking Laws
    4. Dietary Laws
    5. Gun Laws
  2. Moralists
    Government as the enforcer of moral rectitude
    • Anti-Narcotics Laws
    • Anti-Sex Laws
    • Blue Laws
    • Bans against Artistic Excess
    • Bans against Media Excess
  3. Technocrats
    Want the government to choose among competing technologies and grant a monopoly to the winner.
    • Government Standards
    • Government Utility Monopolies
    • Government Price Controls
    • Government Price Supports
    • Prescription Drugs
  4. Progressives and Socialists
    • Employment and Wages
    • Advertising
    • Social Security
    • Public Education
That's astounding and wonderful. But I really believe that his Progressives/Socialists category reveals more about his frame than about the taxonomy of control freaks. I'd break them up a bit differently and move some things around.

We now present...

The MythoPoet's Taxonomy of Control Freaks

  1. Nannies
    Government as super-mom or super-dad.
    • Seat Belt Laws
    • Helmet Laws
    • Anti-Smoking Laws
    • Dietary Laws
    • Gun Laws
    • Advertising Controls
    • Local Covenants
    • Anti-Alcohol Laws
    • Loitering Laws
    • Americans with Disabilities Act
    • Anti-Harrassment Laws

  2. Moralists
    Government as the enforcer of moral rectitude
    • Anti-Narcotics Laws
    • Anti-Sex Laws
    • Blue Laws
    • Bans against Artistic Excess
    • Bans against Media Excess
    • Faith Based Programs
    • Religious Tax Exemptions
    • Anti-Immigration Laws
    • Defense of Marriage Laws
    • Obscenity Laws
    • Three Strikes You're Out
    • Truth in Sentencing

  3. Technocrats
    Want the government to choose among competing technologies and grant a monopoly to the winner.
    • Government Standards
    • Zoning Laws
    • Government Utility Monopolies
    • Government Price Controls & Supports
    • Prescription Drugs
    • Minimum Wage
    • Employment Laws
    • Social Security
    • Public Education
    • Automobile Inspection Laws

  4. Scoundrels
    We really need a category for the jerks behind those perverse laws that are completely vile and immoral
    • Gerrymandering
    • Tax structure that penalizes work and rewards passive investment
    • Property Taxes indexed on the value of the improved property instead of the value of the land
    • Election Finance Laws
    • Tax Breaks targeted for a single company or individual
The funny thing is now it's possible to describe the conventional US political parties with some combination of these groups. It would certainly explain why with each year of new legislation the US Government is acting more and more as a smothering mom.

Plus a bonus in that it clearly defines the Scoundrels who need to be voted out of office.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Rushdie on England's "Incitement to Religious Hatred" Law

Thanks to a pointer from C8H10N4HO2O2:
The idea that any kind of free society can be constructed in which people will never be offended or insulted, have the right to call on the law to defend them against being offended or insulted, is absurd. In the end a fundamental decision needs to be made: do we want to live in a free society or not? Democracy is not a tea party where people sit around making polite conversation. In democracies people get extremely upset with each other. They argue vehemently against each other's positions. (But they don't shoot.)

At Cambridge I was taught a laudable method of argument: you never personalise, but you have absolutely no respect for people's opinions. You are never rude to the person, but you can be savagely rude about what the person thinks. That seems to me a crucial distinction: people must be protected from discrimination by virtue of their race, but you cannot ring-fence their ideas. The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it's a belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.

With their "incitement to religious hatred law", this government has set out to create that impossibility. Privately they'll tell you the law is designed to please "the Muslims". But which Muslims, when and on what day?

The ability of this law to protect "the Muslims" seems to me arguable. It is entirely possible that instead it will be used against Muslims before it's used against anyone else. There are identifiable racist and right-wing groups in this country who would argue that Muslims are the ones inciting religious hatred, and these groups will use, or try to use, this law.

There is no question that there also are Muslim leaders who are anxious to prosecute - for example - The Satanic Verses, and will try to do so if this law is passed. So this law will unleash some major expressions of intolerance.

Already rioting Sikhs have forced the closure of Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti's play, Behzti, in Birmingham and the government has said nothing to criticise what was effectively criminal action. Hanif Kureishi made one of the best comments about all this, when he noted that the theatre was a temple, too - just as much as the fictional temple in the play. Evangelical Christians caught on quickly and protested against the BBC's screening of Jerry Springer. The Opera.

I took issue with the Granta editor Ian Jack when he declared that he was perfectly happy for the British police to defend Wapping when print workers were striking, but not the Birmingham theatre from the offended Sikhs. Forgive me for not seeing the logic of the principle of "restraint" he invoked. It seems to me to be a liberal failure to say that even though we don't understand what is upsetting the offended, we shouldn't upset them. That's condescension. That's saying "you can have your little religion over there in the corner and we won't fool with you."
Apologies for the long quote, in explanation for it I so love Rushdie's authorial voice that I can't help myself. Now there is just one more critical quote:
There is a long tradition of irreverent, raw, and critical remarks about religion in this country, some by very eminent thinkers, some by our favourite comedians - like Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder muttering "Bad weather is God's way of telling us we should burn more Catholics." Even if the Government doesn't think that such remarks will find their way into court prosecutions, the very possibility that they might, at the discretion of the Attorney General, will be enough to bring down the curtains of self- and corporate censorship.
Let us hope that Parliament does not allow this law to come to pass. Political Correctness is bad enough in the USA, with only harrassment laws available to be shoehorned into a form that allows criminal prosecutions for the error of being the object of someone else's offended sensibilities. Imagine how bad PC could be if it had the full force of law behind it!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Islamo-fascism's Holy War against Representative Government

One Hand Clapping lists the reasons why The Islamic Army in Iraq says that democracy should be prohibited.
  1. Ruling is for Allah alone - not for the people - and the people should merely obey Allah's commands and his Islamic law..." ...
  2. The religion of Allah is complete, as are his Islamic laws comprehensive and complete. Therefore, casting ballots over his already known and established laws is considered to be the worst of the forbidden acts. ...
  3. The basic concept in democracy is 'rule of the majority', yet Allah in his power and majesty has demonstrated to us before that the majority of the people have strayed from the path [of the religion]... so how are we to let that majority lead us when most people are ignorant?
  4. Leaders in Islamic societies are to be chosen based on their religious credentials alone. But elections "eliminate these prerequisites."
  5. The role of leaders in Islamic societies is to implement the laws of Allah, not laws made by human beings, which is what Jews and Christians do.
  6. Legitimacy comes not from elections but from the laws of Allah. To think otherwise is idolatry, "the idolatry of democracy."
  7. In democracy everyone is equal, however the laws of Allah do not.
  8. Rules for enfranchisement in a democracy include no assessment of piety, but are instead arbitrary.
  9. Any Muslim participating in an election or democracy becomes an infidel. Anyone establishing a constitution based on "garbage from infidel ideologies becomes even more of an infidel."
  10. Democracy is a trick used by Jews and Christians to deceive the people.

    And finally, the key words:


  11. No one should be fooled by the infidel religion of democracy and by the concept of freedom

For Islamists, the most desirable state of human society is not one that is free, in the Western sense, but one that is submissive to Allah, according to the dictates of Quran. This state of society is dar al Islam , the world of peace. Anything else is the dar al harb, the "world of war." Societies, peoples or nations are either at war with Allah or at peace (through submission) to Allah.

This concept of submission is the matter of ultimate concern to Islam generally and is enormously amplified by radicalized Islamists. In their view, no sacrifice is too great to achieve their ends, and no violence is unjustified. I don't think we have reached the point yet of widespread American understanding that the war is one of ultimates for us as well.

Dennis Mullin, who traveled widely in the Islamic world for 10 years as a foreign correspondent for U.S. News and World Report and other publications, wrote in the WaPo in 2003 that "The present war is really a crusade" fought by Islam against the West- and non-Western non-Muslims.

Lest there be any doubt that what is going on now is a real crusade, and not just a protest against American hegemony, it is important to note that al Qaeda and other Muslim forces are now or have been engaged in conflicts not just against the West proper, but against Hindus in Kashmir and increasingly in other parts of India, as well as against Orthodox Russians in Chechnya. Moreover, the Muslim Uighurs are fighting the mostly Buddhist Chinese; and Muslims are doing battle in Indonesia and the Philippines. ... Muslim extremist cells are operating in scores of countries, and their cross-border cooperation in training and financing gives credence to the assumption that the driving force is not strictly localized grievances (witness Kenya, Bali) as much as a clarion call to a worldwide transnational Islamic revival.
And summing up
The real issue is whether the Western Civilization shall prevail against the last vestige of medievalism; whether the rule of men who behead their prisoners, enslave their women and deny the rights of self-determination to their own people, shall kill us and displace us, to whom the individual and individual rights are sacred and whose laws require respect for freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and whose traditions preserve freedom from fear and cruelty. In the long history of civilization, this task is to be done now.
Strongly put.

Al Qaeda Reader to be published soon

By Mark Egan, 21 Jan 2005 NEW YORK (Reuters)
A spokeswoman for publisher Doubleday said it was important for Americans to understand the mind of their enemy. "This gives a direct perspective on their philosophy," Suzanne Herz said on Thursday.

Herz said Doubleday had "no intent to offend anybody who suffered at the hands of the terrorists" but hoped to "educate Americans and offer information useful to combat the enemy." The company would donate any profits to charity, she said.

The book draws on two texts published in the Middle East in the 1990s -- one from International Jihad Press, which has no known address, the other printed by a small imprint in Jordan.

The first text is "The Battles of the Lion's Den of the Arab Partisans in Afghanistan (news - web sites)" -- a compilation of interviews with bin Laden and his associates giving an oral history of al Qaeda.

The second source is "Bitter Harvest," a treatise on jihad penned by Zawahri.

Doubleday said it will pay royalties to the translator of the original Arabic material -- Raymond Ibrahim, a Library of Congress employee who is still working on the book.

Doubleday plans to donate any profits to a charity to be named before the book is published.

Ibn Abd al-Wahhab

Praktike writes:
last night I started reading Natana J. DeLong-Bas' book Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad. It's quite interesting, but from the first few sections on the life and times of Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab (more here) it reads like a clumsy attempt to rationalize the behavior what seems to me like a pretty crazy guy whose contribution to the world has been mostly negative. It should be noted that given the numerous times he was evicted from places where he set up shop--including Basra, Iraq, home to many Shiis whom Ibn Abd al-Wahhab considered apostates for their lack of adherence to tawhid or strict monotheism--it seems evident that many of his contemporaries thought he was bad news as well.
There is a lot more.
A horizontal slice of Hong Kong.

Posted by Hello

Resource: The Zarqawi Document

So that none will forget the nature of the enemies of justice and freedom in Iraq, let's spread this around:The Zarqawi Document
Saul Singer, editorial-page editor of the Jerusalem Post, introduces the Zarqawi Document:

The Zarqawi Document

This is the full text of a captured document released by US authorities in Baghdad. US officials have concluded that the document was written by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian suspected of close ties with al-Qaida and of involvement in terrorist attacks in Iraq.

The document was initially obtained by a Kurdish militia, which had captured a courier named Hassan Ghul, who confessed that he was taking the document from Ansar al-Islam, a group affiliated with al-Qaida that had been supported by Saddam Hussein, to al-Qaida operatives.

The existence of the document was first reported by Dexter Filkins of the New York Times on February 10. The document itself is undated.

Saul Singer
February 12, 2004
TEXT FROM ABU MUS’AB AL-ZARQAWI LETTER

1. THE FOREIGN MUJAHIDIN:
THEIR NUMBERS CONTINUE TO BE SMALL, COMPARED TO THE LARGE NATURE OF THE EXPECTED BATTLE. WE KNOW THAT THERE ARE ENOUGH GOOD GROUPS AND JIHAD IS CONTINUING, DESPITE THE NEGATIVE RUMORS. WHAT IS PREVENTING US FROM MAKING A GENERAL CALL TO ARMS IS THE FACT THAT THE COUNTRY OF IRAQ HAS NO MOUNTAINS IN WHICH TO SEEK REFUGE, OR FOREST IN WHICH TO HIDE. OUR PRESENCE IS APPARENT AND OUR MOVEMENT IS OUT IN THE OPEN. EYES ARE EVERYWHERE. THE ENEMY IS BEFORE US AND THE SEA IS BEHIND US. MANY IRAQIS WOULD HONOR YOU AS A GUEST AND GIVE YOU REFUGE, FOR YOU ARE A MUSLIM BROTHER; HOWEVER, THEY WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO MAKE THEIR HOMES A BASE FOR OPERATIONS OR A SAFE HOUSE. PEOPLE WHO WILL ALLOW YOU TO DO SUCH THINGS ARE VERY RARE, RARER THAN RED SULFUR. THEREFORE, IT HAS BEEN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO LODGE AND KEEP SAFE A NUMBER OF BROTHERS, AND ALSO TRAIN NEW RECRUITS. PRAISED BE TO ALLAH, HOWEVER, WITH RELENTLESS EFFORT AND SEARCHING WE HAVE ACQUIRED SOME PLACES AND THEIR NUMBERS ARE INCREASING, TO BECOME BASE POINTS FOR THE BROTHERS WHO WILL SPARK WAR AND BRING THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY INTO A REAL BATTLE WITH GOD'S WILL.

2. THE PRESENT AND FUTURE:
THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT AMERICAN LOSSES WERE SIGNIFICANT BECAUSE THEY ARE SPREAD THIN AMONGST THE PEOPLE AND BECAUSE IT IS EASY TO GET WEAPONS. THIS IS A FACT THAT MAKES THEM EASY TARGETS, ATTRACTIVE FOR THE BELIEVERS. AMERICA, HOWEVER, HAS NO INTENTION OF LEAVING, NO MATTER HOW MANY WOUNDED NOR HOW BLOODY IT BECOMES. IT IS LOOKING TO A NEAR FUTURE, WHEN IT WILL REMAIN SAFE IN ITS BASES, WHILE HANDING OVER CONTROL OF IRAQ TO A BASTARD GOVERNMENT WITH AN ARMY AND POLICE FORCE THAT WILL BRING BACK THE TIME OF ((SADDAM)) HUSAYN AND HIS COHORTS. (HEADQUARTERS COMMENT: IT IS NOT CLEAR TO WHOM "IT" IS REFERRING, BUT IT APPEARS TO MEAN THE UNITED STATES.) THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT OUR FIELD OF MOVEMENT IS SHRINKING AND THE GRIP AROUND THE THROAT OF THE MUJAHIDIN HAS BEGUN TO TIGHTEN. WITH THE SPREAD OF THE ARMY AND POLICE, OUR FUTURE IS BECOMING FRIGHTENING.

3. SO WHERE ARE WE?
DESPITE FEW SUPPORTERS, LACK OF FRIENDS, AND TOUGH TIMES, GOD HAS BLESSED US WITH VICTORIES AGAINST THE ENEMY. WE WERE INVOLVED IN ALL THE MARTYRDOM OPERATIONS--IN TERMS OF OVERSEEING, PREPARING, AND PLANNING--THAT TOOK PLACE IN THIS COUNTRY EXCEPT FOR THE OPERATIONS THAT TOOK PLACE IN THE NORTH. PRAISED BE TO ALLAH, I HAVE COMPLETED 25 OF THESE OPERATIONS, SOME OF THEM AGAINST THE SHI'A AND THEIR LEADERS, THE AMERICANS AND THEIR MILITARY, THE POLICE, THE MILITARY, AND THE COALITION FORCES. THERE WILL BE MORE IN THE FUTURE, GOD WILLING. WE DID NOT WANT TO PUBLICLY CLAIM THESE OPERATIONS UNTIL WE BECOME MORE POWERFUL AND WERE READY FOR THE CONSEQUENCES. WE NEED TO SHOW UP STRONG AND AVOID GETTING HURT, NOW THAT WE HAVE MADE GREAT STRIDES AND TAKEN IMPORTANT STEPS FORWARD. AS WE GET CLOSER TO THE DECISIVE MOMENT, WE FEEL THAT OUR ENTITY IS SPREADING WITHIN THE SECURITY VOID EXISTING IN IRAQ, SOMETHING THAT WILL ALLOW US TO SECURE BASES ON THE GROUND, THESE BASES THAT WILL BE THE JUMP START OF A SERIOUS REVIVAL, GOD WILLING.

4. PLAN OF ACTION:
AFTER MUCH INQUIRY AND DISCUSSION, WE HAVE NARROWED OUR ENEMY TO FOUR GROUPS:

A. AMERICANS
AS YOU KNOW, THESE ARE THE BIGGEST COWARDS THAT GOD HAS CREATED AND THE EASIEST TARGET. AND WE ASK GOD TO ALLOW US TO KILL, AND DETAIN THEM, SO THAT WE CAN EXCHANGE THEM WITH OUR ARRESTED SHAYKHS AND BROTHERS.

B. KURDS
THESE ARE A PAIN AND A THORN, AND IT IS NOT TIME YET TO DEAL WITH THEM. THEY ARE LAST ON OUR LIST, EVEN THOUGH WE ARE TRYING TO GET TO SOME OF THEIR LEADERS. GOD WILLING.

C. THE IRAQI TROOPS, POLICE, AND AGENTS
THESE ARE THE EYES, EARS, AND HAND OF THE OCCUPIER. WITH GOD'S PERMISSION, WE ARE DETERMINED TO TARGET THEM WITH FORCE IN THE NEAR FUTURE, BEFORE THEIR POWER STRENGTHENS.

D. THE SHI'A
IN OUR OPINION, THESE ARE THE KEY TO CHANGE. TARGETING AND STRIKING THEIR RELIGIOUS, POLITICAL, AND MILITARY SYMBOLS, WILL MAKE THEM SHOW THEIR RAGE AGAINST THE SUNNIS AND BEAR THEIR INNER VENGEANCE. IF WE SUCCEED IN DRAGGING THEM INTO A SECTARIAN WAR, THIS WILL AWAKEN THE SLEEPY SUNNIS WHO ARE FEARFUL OF DESTRUCTION AND DEATH AT THE HANDS OF THESE SABEANS, I.E., THE SHI'A. DESPITE THEIR WEAKNESS, THE SUNNIS ARE STRONG-WILLED AND HONEST AND DIFFERENT FROM THE COWARD AND DECEITFUL SHI'A, WHO ONLY ATTACK THE WEAK. MOST OF THE SUNNIS ARE AWARE OF THE DANGER OF THESE PEOPLE AND THEY FEAR THEM. IF IT WERE NOT FOR THOSE DISAPPOINTING SHAYKHS, SUFIS, AND MUSLIM BROTHERS, SUNNIS WOULD HAVE A DIFFERENT ATTITUDE.

5. WAY OF ACTION
AS WE HAVE MENTIONED TO YOU, OUR SITUATION DEMANDS THAT WE TREAT THE ISSUE WITH COURAGE AND CLARITY. SO THE SOLUTION, AND GOD ONLY KNOWS, IS THAT WE NEED TO BRING THE SHI'A INTO THE BATTLE BECAUSE IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO PROLONG THE DURATION OF THE FIGHT BETWEEN THE INFIDELS AND US. WE NEED TO DO THAT BECAUSE:

A. THE SHI'A HAVE DECLARED A SUBTLE WAR AGAINST ISLAM. THEY ARE THE CLOSE, DANGEROUS ENEMY OF THE SUNNIS. EVEN IF THE AMERICANS ARE ALSO AN ARCHENEMY, THE SHI'A ARE A GREATER DANGER AND THEIR HARM MORE DESTRUCTIVE TO THE NATION THAN THAT OF THE AMERICANS WHO ARE ANYWAY THE ORIGINAL ENEMY BY CONSENSUS.

B. THEY HAVE SUPPORTED THE AMERICANS, HELPED THEM, AND STAND WITH THEM AGAINST THE MUJAHIDIN. THEY WORK AND CONTINUE TO WORK TOWARDS THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MUJAHIDIN.

C. FIGHTING THE SHI'A IS THE WAY TO TAKE THE NATION TO BATTLE. THE SHI'A HAVE TAKEN ON THE DRESS OF THE ARMY, POLICE, AND THE IRAQI SECURITY FORCES, AND HAVE RAISED THE BANNER OF PROTECTING THE NATION, AND THE CITIZENS. UNDER THIS BANNER, THEY HAVE BEGUN TO ASSASSINATE THE SUNNIS UNDER THE PRETENSE THAT THEY ARE SABOTEURS, VESTIGES OF THE BA'TH, OR TERRORISTS WHO SPREAD PERVERSION IN THE COUNTRY. THIS IS BEING DONE WITH STRONG MEDIA SUPPORT DIRECTED BY THE GOVERNING COUNCIL AND THE AMERICANS, AND THEY HAVE SUCCEEDED IN SPLITTING THE REGULAR SUNNI FROM THE MUJAHIDIN. FOR EXAMPLE, IN WHAT THEY CALL THE SUNNI TRIANGLE, THE ARMY AND POLICE ARE SPREADING OUT IN THESE REGIONS, PUTTING IN CHARGE SUNNIS FROM THE SAME REGION. THEREFORE, THE PROBLEM IS YOU END UP HAVING AN ARMY AND POLICE CONNECTED BY LINEAGE, BLOOD, AND APPEARANCE TO THE PEOPLE OF THE REGION. THIS REGION IS OUR BASE OF OPERATIONS FROM WHERE WE DEPART AND TO WHERE WE RETURN. WHEN THE AMERICANS WITHDRAW, AND THEY HAVE ALREADY STARTED DOING THAT, THEY GET REPLACED BY THESE AGENTS WHO ARE INTIMATELY LINKED TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS REGION. WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO US, IF WE FIGHT THEM, AND WE HAVE TO FIGHT THEM, IS ONE OF ONLY TWO CHOICES:

1) IF WE FIGHT THEM, THAT WILL BE DIFFICULT BECAUSE THERE WILL BE A SCHISM BETWEEN US AND THE PEOPLE OF THE REGION. HOW CAN WE KILL THEIR COUSINS AND SONS AND UNDER WHAT PRETEXT, AFTER THE AMERICANS START WITHDRAWING? THE AMERICANS WILL CONTINUE TO CONTROL FROM THEIR BASES, BUT THE SONS OF THIS LAND WILL BE THE AUTHORITY. THIS IS THE DEMOCRACY, WE WILL HAVE NO PRETEXT.

2) WE CAN PACK UP AND LEAVE AND LOOK FOR ANOTHER LAND, JUST LIKE IT HAS HAPPENED IN SO MANY LANDS OF JIHAD. OUR ENEMY IS GROWING STRONGER DAY AFTER DAY, AND ITS INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION INCREASES. BY GOD, THIS IS SUFFOCATION! WE WILL BE ON THE ROADS AGAIN. PEOPLE FOLLOW THEIR LEADERS, THEIR HEARTS MAY BE WITH YOU, BUT THEIR SWORDS ARE WITH THEIR KINGS. SO I SAY AGAIN, THE ONLY SOLUTION IS TO STRIKE THE RELIGIOUS, MILITARY, AND OTHER CADRES OF THE SHI'A SO THAT THEY REVOLT AGAINST THE SUNNIS. SOME PEOPLE WILL SAY, THAT THIS WILL BE A RECKLESS AND IRRESPONSIBLE ACTION THAT WILL BRING THE ISLAMIC NATION TO A BATTLE FOR WHICH THE ISLAMIC NATION IS UNPREPARED. SOULS WILL PERISH AND BLOOD WILL BE SPILLED. THIS IS, HOWEVER, EXACTLY WHAT WE WANT, AS THERE IS NOTHING TO WIN OR LOSE IN OUR SITUATION. THE SHI'A DESTROYED THE BALANCE, AND THE RELIGION OF GOD IS WORTH MORE THAN LIVES. UNTIL THE MAJORITY STANDS UP FOR THE TRUTH, WE HAVE TO MAKE SACRIFICES FOR THIS RELIGION, AND BLOOD HAS TO BE SPILLED. FOR THOSE WHO ARE GOOD, WE WILL SPEED UP THEIR TRIP TO PARADISE, AND THE OTHERS, WE WILL GET RID OF THEM. BY GOD, THE RELIGION OF GOD IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN ANYTHING ELSE. WE HAVE MANY ROUNDS, ATTACKS, AND BLACK NIGHTS WITH THE SHI'A, AND WE CANNOT DELAY THIS. THEIR MENACE IS LOOMING AND THIS IS A FACT THAT WE SHOULD NOT FEAR, BECAUSE THEY ARE THE MOST COWARDLY PEOPLE GOD HAS CREATED. KILLING THEIR LEADERS WILL WEAKEN THEM AND WITH THE DEATH OF THE HEAD, THE WHOLE GROUP DIES. THEY ARE NOT LIKE THE SUNNIS. IF YOU KNEW THE FEAR IN THE SOULS OF THE SUNNIS AND THEIR PEOPLE, YOU WOULD WEEP IN SADNESS. HOW MANY OF THE MOSQUES HAVE THEY HAVE TURNED IN TO SHI'A MOSQUES ("HUSAYNIYAS")? HOW MANY HOUSES THEY HAVE DESTROYED WITH THEIR OWNERS INSIDE? HOW MANY BROTHERS HAVE THEY KILLED? HOW MANY SISTERS HAVE BEEN RAPED AT THE HANDS OF THOSE VILE INFIDELS? IF WE ARE ABLE TO DEAL THEM BLOW AFTER PAINFUL BLOW SO THAT THEY ENGAGE IN A BATTLE, WE WILL BE ABLE TO RESHUFFLE THE CARDS SO THERE WILL REMAIN NO VALUE OR INFLUENCE FOR THE RULING COUNCIL, OR EVEN FOR THE AMERICANS WHO WILL ENTER INTO A SECOND BATTLE WITH THE SHI'A. THIS IS WHAT WE WANT. THEN, THE SUNNI WILL HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO SUPPORT US IN MANY OF THE SUNNI REGIONS. WHEN THE MUJAHIDIN WOULD HAVE SECURED A LAND THEY CAN USE AS A BASE TO HIT THE SHI'A INSIDE THEIR OWN LANDS, WITH A DIRECTED MEDIA AND A STRATEGIC ACTION, THERE WILL BE A CONTINUATION BETWEEN THE MUJAHIDIN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF IRAQ. WE ARE RACING AGAINST TIME, IN ORDER TO CREATE SQUADS OF MUJAHIDIN WHO SEEK REFUGE IN SECURE PLACES, SPY ON NEIGHBORHOODS, AND WORK ON HUNTING DOWN THE ENEMIES. THE ENEMIES ARE THE AMERICANS, POLICE, AND ARMY. WE HAVE BEEN TRAINING THESE PEOPLE AND AUGMENTING THEIR NUMBERS. AS FAR AS THE SHI'A, WE WILL UNDERTAKE SUICIDE OPERATIONS AND USE CAR BOMBS TO HARM THEM. WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON MONITORING THE AREA AND CHOOSING THE RIGHT PEOPLE, LOOKING FOR THOSE WHO ARE ON THE STRAIGHT PATH, SO WE CAN COOPERATE WITH THEM. WE HOPE THAT WE HAVE MADE PROGRESS, AND PERHAPS WE WILL SOON DECIDE TO GO PUBLIC--EVEN IF GRADUALLY--TO DISPLAY OURSELVES IN FULL VIEW. WE HAVE BEEN HIDING FOR A LONG TIME, AND NOW WE ARE SERIOUSLY WORKING ON PREPARING A MEDIA OUTLET TO REVEAL THE TRUTH, ENFLAME ZEAL, AND BECOME AN OUTLET FOR JIHAD IN WHICH THE SWORD AND THE PEN CAN TURN INTO ONE. ALONG WITH THIS, WE STRIVE TO ILLUMINATE THE HINDERING ERRORS OF ISLAMIC LAW AND THE CLARIFICATIONS OF ISLAMIC LEGAL PRECEPTS BY WAY OF TAPES, LESSONS, AND COURSES WHICH PEOPLE WILL COME TO UNDERSTAND. THE SUGGESTED TIME FOR EXECUTION: WE ARE HOPING THAT WE WILL SOON START WORKING ON CREATING SQUADS AND BRIGADES OF INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE. WE HAVE TO GET TO THE ZERO-HOUR IN ORDER TO OPENLY BEGIN CONTROLLING THE LAND BY NIGHT AND AFTER THAT BY DAY, GOD WILLING. THE ZERO-HOUR NEEDS TO BE AT LEAST FOUR MONTHS BEFORE THE NEW GOVERNMENT GETS IN PLACE. AS WE SEE WE ARE RACING TIME, AND IF WE SUCCEED, WHICH WE ARE HOPING, WE WILL TURN THE TABLES ON THEM AND THWART THEIR PLAN. IF, GOD FORBID, THE GOVERNMENT IS SUCCESSFUL AND TAKES CONTROL OF THE COUNTRY, WE JUST HAVE TO PACK UP AND GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AGAIN, WHERE WE CAN RAISE THE FLAG AGAIN OR DIE, IF GOD CHOOSES US.

6. WHAT ABOUT YOU?
YOU, NOBLE BROTHERS, LEADERS OF JIHAD, WE DO NOT CONSIDER OURSELVES THOSE WHO WOULD COMPETE AGAINST YOU, NOR WOULD WE EVER AIM TO ACHIEVE GLORY FOR OURSELVES LIKE YOU DID. THE ONLY THING WE WANT IS TO BE THE HEAD OF THE SPEAR, ASSISTING AND PROVIDING A BRIDGE OVER WHICH THE MUSLIM NATION CAN CROSS TO PROMISED VICTORY AND A BETTER TOMORROW.

AS WE HAVE EXPLAINED, THIS IS OUR BELIEF. SO IF YOU AGREE WITH IT AND ARE CONVINCED OF THE IDEA OF KILLING THE PERVERSE SECTS, WE STAND READY AS AN ARMY FOR YOU, TO WORK UNDER YOUR GUIDANCE AND YIELD TO YOUR COMMAND. INDEED, WE OPENLY AND PUBLICLY SWEAR ALLEGIANCE TO YOU BY USING THE MEDIA, IN ORDER TO EXASPERATE THE INFIDELS AND CONFIRM TO THE ADHERENTS OF FAITH THAT ONE DAY, THE BELIEVERS WILL REVEL IN GOD'S VICTORY. IF YOU THINK OTHERWISE, WE WILL REMAIN BROTHERS, AND DISAGREEMENT WILL NOT DESTROY OUR COOPERATION AND UNDERMINE OUR WORKING TOGETHER FOR WHAT IS BEST. WE SUPPORT JIHAD AND WAIT FOR YOUR RESPONSE. MAY GOD KEEP FOR YOU THE KEYS OF GOODNESS AND PRESERVE ISLAM AND HIS PEOPLE. AMEN, AMEN.

Toward a Fair and Balanced Library about Islam

Jihad Watch: Another look: Balancing The Books Robert Spencer extracts an article about how to build up a library of books about Islam that is accurate about the dangers of Islam, and does not simply gloss over the all-too-real dangers with a coat of feel-good apologetics.
Right now CAIR is engaged in a campaign to stock the shelves of public libraries with books and videos maintaining that at heart Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. Undoubtedly, this is reassuring to the portion of the American public that accepts multiculturalism, and which refuses to accept the reality that there are many people in this world who do not share the post-modern, secular worldview that has come to define Western civilization.

The books that CAIR is placing on library shelves include The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality by John L. Esposito. An online review on Amazon.com tellingly describes Esposito as a "nice guy" whose overwhelming desire for peace between the Islamic and Judeo-Christian worlds has turned him into "an apologist for the worst excesses of political Islam." Indeed, Esposito contends that jihad is a misunderstood concept and does not mean "holy war." True, the word "jihad" doesn't translate as "holy war," but to say that it hasn't meant holy war from time to time throughout history is simply fantasy.

Another book that is part of the CAIR packages is The Complete Idiot's Guide to Islam, which also makes the misleading assertion that Islam is at heart peaceful and misunderstood.

No doubt the message presented by the books and videos that comprise the CAIR packages will be comforting to many Americans who are very eager not to accept the truth about Islam. But it is not the whole story by any means. America's libraries have a responsibility to the public to ensure that their shelves contain a balanced view of Islam. They should make an effort to explain the context of the debate fairly, accurately, and in full context.

To balance the CAIR library package, at the Free Congress Foundation we've decided to offer libraries suggestions of our own, having compiled a list of twelve books.
Check it out.

Spoiled Brats get bigger, but they don't grow up

Joy, at The Joy of Knitting writes:
We all have seen no globos and peaceniks in action. Their faces pale and distorted with rage, with lips drawn thin over their teeth and eyes burning cold with hatred, look like masks of wrathful beings. I often wonder where all this rage comes from. Theirs is not the reaction to an authoritarian upbringing. If anything, these young people are rather the result of a permissive education. ... Every difficulty had to be smoothed over and they were given to understand that everything was due to them as they were so absolutely wonderful. What’s more they were encouraged to be highly aggressive, in the mistaken belief that this meant freedom to express themselves. In a word they grew up terribly spoilt, spoilt kids forever stuck in an adolescence that protracts itself not only into their twenties but well into their thirties and forties. Sometimes they resemble toddlers more than teenagers. ... There’s no end to what they want. They never know when to stop, and to tell the truth they don’t even know what it is exactly that they want, but they demand it nevertheless. ... If they don’t get the happiness they deserve it’s because whereas they are fantastic & fabulous, society instead is ugly and bad and always to blame. ... They aren’t equipped to deal with life’s setbacks and even require therapy if their candidate doesn’t win the elections. ... Healthy, well fed, they live privileged lives and have all the liberty they want, but they don’t appreciate it. They feel cheated if they don’t enjoy perfect, constant happiness, so their frustration turns to hatred towards the society that betrayed them.
Word!

And it doesn't just apply to peaceniks and anti-globalization fanatics, but to lots of people who won't grow up.

The Intolerable Cult of Disrespect

Following up on an earlier article about the difference between liberals and conservatives when it comes to Big Government, a brief comment on civility or the lack thereof:

In End-Timers & Neo-Cons: The End of Conservatives, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts writes:
The new conservatives take personally any criticism of their leader and his policies. To be a critic is to be an enemy. I went overnight from being an object of conservative adulation to one of derision when I wrote that the US invasion of Iraq was a "strategic blunder."
Surely for those who care about the ideas of conservativism, liberalism, religion, freedom, justice and every other noun that is both non-concrete and important, criticism of ideas does not inevitably lead to personal offense. Let us separate our self-esteem from the esteem we have for those ideas we hold.

I personally do not believe in self-identifying with a creed to that extent. If you ask me, if I say that some "ism" is a vast error, that is not the same thing as saying that all "ists" are gullible fools. Nor is it a challenge to a duel with "ists." In my opinion, it shouldn't descend to the level of rapper-posse-style disrespect. But for many it does.

Hip-hop style "disrespect" is what the cult of personal identification reminds me of. This posturing, strutting, overblown tendency of rap performers and their posses to take offense at any opportunity, no matter how miniscule, has somehow spread into the rest of society.

This replacement of argument with disagreement, of reason with volume, as if the SNL skit with Jane Curtin and Dan Ackroyd had replaced the 60 minutes feature it parodied, stinks. This perverse form of disagreement has made real argument in the media an extinct species, and replaced it with simple-minded disagreement as on the capital hill gang and Bill O'Reilly's auto-hagiographical show.

Speaking of respect and O'Reilly, I do not respect O'Reilly's show. That is because his show isn't about news or ideas, it is about how he will bully the next person who appears on his show. His show cheapens everything it touches. His show is the embodiment of this cult of disrespect.

The belief that it is impossible to value a person while disagreeing with his ideas is not only false, it is destructive, not only to friendships but to society. This equation is commonly used by bullies, con-men and other shady types to confuse and distract people from speaking the truth as they see it.

Clearly, O'Reilly-style bullying is the wrong way to go. What is the right way?

Conservatives, liberals, rappers, poets, wonks, pundits, idiots, geeks, einsteins, MBA's, MD's, and PhD's all need to realize that dislike for an ideal does not mean disrespect for the person who believes in the ideal. Specifically, every one of us needs to say and believe, "when someone dislikes one of my ideas they can still like and respect and appreciate me, and it is foolish to believe or behave as if they can't."

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Now that's a Big Burger!




The question is if this is 2300 calories, how many is this? And does it fit into SugarBusters?

Posted by Hello

Liberals, Conservatives, and Government Power

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts discusses, in End-Timers & Neo-Cons: The End of Conservatives, how he has become a whipping boy for republican pundits ever since stating his opinion that the war in Iraq was an error. In the midst of his story he describes how liberals and conservatives have swapped places in their beliefs about the exercise of power by the media and government:
Once upon a time there was a liberal media. It developed out of the Great Depression and the New Deal. Liberals believed that the private sector is the source of greed that must be restrained by government acting in the public interest. The liberals' mistake was to identify morality with government. Liberals had great suspicion of private power and insufficient suspicion of the power and inclination of government to do good.

Liberals became Benthamites (after Jeremy Bentham). They believed that as the people controlled government through democracy, there was no reason to fear government power, which should be increased in order to accomplish more good.

The conservative movement that I grew up in did not share the liberals' abiding faith in government. "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Today it is liberals, not conservatives, who endeavor to defend civil liberties from the state. Conservatives have been won around to the old liberal view that as long as government power is in their hands, there is no reason to fear it or to limit it. Thus, the Patriot Act, which permits government to suspend a person's civil liberty by calling him a terrorist with or without proof. Thus, preemptive war, which permits the President to invade other countries based on unverified assertions.

There is nothing conservative about these positions.
After this, Roberts changes course to a discussion of the cult of personality. I have addressed it in another commentary.

Many of us have heard democrats and republicans compared like this:
DemocratsRepublicans
Freedom in the BedroomFreedom in the Boardroom
Government Controls on the BoardroomGovernment controls on the Bedroom

And to a certain extent it is true. Neither party is for total freedom. They both choose some freedoms and reject others. The chief difference seems to be not in what they believe, or in how they act when in power, but which party predominates. Neither has a monopoly on virtue. In fact, when it comes to beliefs about Government Power both seem to be utterly void of virtue and full of hypocrisy.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

MLK and the Sins of Moderation

The Road to Government of the People, by the People, for the PeopleConventional wisdom says that democracy can't be created by conquering a country and imposing representative rule by fiat. But in the list of democratic, or at least representative, countries above it's clear that it can. And it isn't clear that the alternative ways of reaching democracy are any easier, less murderous, or faster.

There are few Americans who are in favor of any terrorism, fewer still who would advocate it in public, and fewer still who would advocate terrorism against Americans. But there are people with good intentions who fail to question what seems, on the face of it, to be obvious. One of those obvious beliefs is that change is more palatable, easier, and less dangerous, if it happens more slowly. The problem is that change just doesn't happen slowly. There is drag, and the change needs to happen quick or it will be stopped before it starts.

Here I extract quite a few paragraphs from Martin Luther King's "LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL, April 16, 1963" that resonate with me. They remind me of what is going on in Iraq right now. The Iraqis have suffered for a long time, and the Sunni Baathist oppressors and their Sunni Hirabanista co-conspirators still scheme to keep Iraq under the brutal rule of an inhuman autocracy or theocracy. The white moderates in MLK's scheme are much like the loyal opposition in our America. They agree with the goal of spreading freedom around the world, but they don't want to work at it, or see anybody else work at it. They want it to happen by itself, but don't realize that if somebody doesn't actively spread freedom and justice around the world then we'll have a lot more slavery, murder, hatred, and injustice before a worldwide emancipation simply happens on its own. And the war has already been brought to our shores. There is no safety in ignoring it.

Martin Luther King:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

...

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

...

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may want to ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all"

...

An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

...

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

...

In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because his unique God-consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to God's will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.

I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely rational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this 'hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

...

There was a time when the church was very powerful in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators"' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide. and gladiatorial contests.

...

I wish you had commended the Negro sit-inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. There will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. There will be the old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy-two-year-old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: "My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest." There will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience' sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo-Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

...

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Freedom or Justice?

From "Liberals against terrorism" an intriguing column discussing a subscriber's only column by James Fallows in The Atlantic. Summarizing, Fallows claims that Freedom is an powerful American theme. The correspondingly powerful Muslim theme is Justice. If we can learn to present the freedoms in representative government, capitalism, and the rule of law in terms of the justice they bring, then our message can resonate with Muslims.

Fallows wrote:
This past fall in Washington, Brian Jenkins and his colleagues from RAND unveiled a project that attempted to model recent events through the eyes of al-Qaeda—where it had been successful, what it feared. Fighting terrorism and understanding Islam is as fertile a field as Soviet studies were during the Cold War.

Through these studies runs the idea that the United States could make an authentic and appealing case to the Muslim world&em;if it took the time to understand which parts of its argument are most likely to register with the person in the street. For instance, in much of today's Muslim world "justice" is a more compelling ideal than individual "liberty." "This really is a war of narratives in a battlefield of interpretation," Marc Sageman says. "We need to promote a positive vision to substitute for the vision of violence. And that vision has to be justice. It is no accident that these groups are always calling themselves 'The Party of Justice' and so on. In the time of the Suez Canal the United States stood for 'justice' against the Brits and French, and we were the toast of the Middle East. We need to be pushing a vision of a fair and just world, with us in harmony with the rest of the world, as opposed to at war with the rest of the world."
More later.

Georgia on my mind

I don't get this. Here's what the text of the sticker should have read, if the Intelligent Design folks were honest.
This textbook contains material on "sci-ence." "Sci-ence" is a collection of theory, not fact, regarding the nature of the universe. "Sci-ence" is never proven true, but only fails to be proven false. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.

Creationist explanations such as Intelligent Design for natural phenomena, on the other hand, cannot be proven true or false because they depend on an omnipotent Creator Who made the world including human memories of a previous world last week, last year, or six thousand years ago, and filled it with logically consistent clues that are designed to lead scientifically inclined humans who are too smart for their own britches down a wide highway of reason to their everlasting home in eternal hellfire.
Now isn't that better?

Evolution vs. Creation: A False Dichotomy

Evolution doesn't explain the beginning of life; it isn't supposed to; it doesn't claim to. There are various primordial soup experiments going on that are an attempt to test a wild hypothesis about amino acids forming out of organic chemicals, and cells forming from amino acids. For instance, one of the tests recently performed on Titan was an analysis of the chemical soup of Titan's atmosphere. But these experiements are chemistry, not biology. Evolution is biology, specifically a structural analysis of taxonomy, which is a human imposed structure to the varieties of life in our world.

Evolution is a theory (as are all the mechanisms of science) to explain why there are some dark brown people, some light brown people, and some pale pinkish people in the world yet we are all human beings, homo sapiens sapiens. Evolution is a theory that explains why until 200 or so years ago there was no such thing as a bulldog and now we have lineages of bulldogs that breed true. It explains why there are different varieties of cats and cockroaches, lizards and ladybugs, monkeys and mosquitos. The theory of evolution is useful. By utilizing it, people are able to breed improved farm animals, graft and hybridize plants, and make other advances in agriculture and horticulture. Intelligent Design certainly could explain how animals develop distinct breeds or even distinct species by an arbitrary exercise of divine will, but it cannot be used by people to breed improved farm animals, hybridize plants, or for any other purposes. God, after all, is not beholden to man's desire. So, while Intelligent Design is certainly internally consistent, it doesn't lend itself to any scientific understanding of the world, or to an engineered approach to changing it.

When the rubber meets the road, the test of science is "can it be used to produce something?" This is the engineering test.

Can you engineer something with God, the force behind Intelligent Design? I don't think you can. I don't see why most people would want to. Religious people would think of it as blasphemous; atheists would think of it as futile; people who believe in witchcraft and magical spells would think it possible, but I don't think Cobb County is full of wiccans and practicing sorcerors.

Summing up, here's my question for ID proponents.
Q: Why would you want to change your religion into a science? Is that a satisfying prospect?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Hiraba Coinage

Hiraba : arabic n. (ignoble) war against society.

It's such a better word than Jihad for what is going on in the War on Terror. Let's coin some new words based on Hiraba.Got any other ones?

Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi: Where did he come from?

Not from around here, obviously. So what hell did that Jordanian hirabanista come out of? Before he goes back to that or some other hell, what insights can we get into his background that might help us stop susceptible young muslims from going to the dark side and becoming full-fledged terrorist hiraba-seeking jackals?

Al-Hayat Inquiry: The City of Al-Zarqaa in Jordan - Breeding Ground of Jordan's Salafi Jihad Movement

The London daily Al-Hayat published a three-part inquiry by correspondent Hazem Al-Amin on the Salafi Jihad movement in Jordan, particularly in the city of Al-Zarqaa – the birthplace of Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, the Al-Qa'ida leader in Iraq.

In Part One of the inquiry, published December 14, 2004, Al-Amin reviewed his impressions of his meeting with Jihad fighters from that city who had fought alongside Al-Zarqawi.

Part Two, published December 15, dealt with the social and political infrastructure, in an attempt to understand this city's unique contribution to the emergence of this and other extremist Islamist trends.

Al-Zarqaa Sent the Most Youths to Wage Jihad in Iraq


According to the inquiry, "Al-Zarqaa, located near the Al-Ruseifah Palestinian refugee camp, is the capital of the Salafi Jihad movement in Jordan, and the place from which it emerged. Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi grew up in one of its neighborhoods, and from there set out for the Jihad in Afghanistan, and then for the Jihad in Iraq." Likewise, the cities of Al-Zarqaa, Al-Ruseifah, and Al-Salt are "the Jordanian cities that sent the most youths to fight in Iraq… The well-known Al-Zarqaa residents who were killed in Iraq were supporters of Al-Zarqawi, Abd Al-Hadi Daghlas, Yassin Jarrad, and Yazan Nabil Jarada. This is in addition to the dozens [from Al-Zarqaa] who were martyred before, in Afghanistan."

Public Education about Religion: Why Not?

Bruce Prescott gets it right. It would be terrific if public schools studied religions from a sociological perspective, from the POV of a historian of religions. Religion is, after all, one of the most important and pertinent aspects of human existence.
My own experience tells me this excuse is simplistic. Having participated in a conference of ministers discussing teaching creation science at a small town public school in Oklahoma, I know that conservative preachers will drop their demand for public schools to teach creation science if that also means the schools will be teaching the creation accounts and religious beliefs of Native Americans and other religions.
Posing the rhetorical question, how can history be taught without teaching about religion? Oh, I forgot. History is taught in an amazingly slipshod and useless way in public schools in the USA.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Report: Saudi Influences in the Netherlands

The Counterterrorism Blog:
http://www.minbzk.nl/contents/pages/10887/saudiinfluencesinthenetherlands.pdf

For those of you "in the know", this report has apparently circulated before in a Dutch-language edition--but as of January 6, 2005, the Netherlands Interior Ministry has made an updated English version available to the public.
I didn't have enough time to go through it and pull out a bunch of bits tonight, guess that everybody will have to read the whole thing of this one.

Blissed Out

OK, so you think David Lynch used to be weird? The guy behind Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Dune, Mulholland Drive, Wild at Heart and Lost Highway, is weirder than you could have thought.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Recruiting in Europe for Hiraba (not Jihad)

Thanks to The Counterterrorism Blog:
Michael Taarnby, a social anthropologist and researcher in Denmark, has just completed his final 57-page report on "Recruitment of Islamist Terrorists in Europe: Trends and Perspectives" for the Danish Ministry of Justice and the Police Intelligence Agency (PET). Taarnby concludes that the threat of Al-Qaida-linked fundamentalist terrorism in Europe has not been significantly diminished in the last three years--and that, in fact, it has become more challenging to identify and uproot.
Get Taarnby's Report here.

Want to be tantalized before you read the whole report? OK.

Recruitment in Europe before 9/11
Before 11 September 2001, Europe was considered a tolerant area by militant Islamists because it was possible to advertise a connection to the Jihad. Prospective Mujaheddin only had to ask somebody with a public appearance to arrange for training and recruitment, most often through the Afghan camps. The tolerant attitude of governments and the indifference of the population in general resulted in a systematic effort by radical clerics to preach the virtues of Jihad from Mosques in Europe. The best known of these Mosques is the one located in Finsbury Park in London, led since 1996 by the charismatic Abu Hamza Al-Masri, himself a former Mujaheddin. Radical Islamist propaganda was sold at the Mosque, including audiotapes and videos with graphic combat footage, all in line with the Salafist leanings of the Imam. Abu Hamza appears to have been a vital link in sending young Muslims off to train for Jihad.

Recruitment was conducted fairly openly and candidates were channelled through fringe extremist Salafist Mosques. This traffic was to a certain extent known by the authorities, who deliberately ignored it on the assumption that the Holy Warriors would not conduct operations on European soil. In several instances, complaints by local Muslims infuriated by the behaviour of the Islamists were considered as domestic disputes. This approach has been labelled an expression of political correctness and it is difficult to come up with a more plausible interpretation. The fear of provoking Muslim communities without reason created a climate in which the Islamists felt quite secure. Over the years the most important destination by far was Afghanistan, although the reason for going there changed dramatically.
Recruitment in Europe Post 9/11
Efforts to prevent terrorist recruitment in Europe increased dramatically after 11 September 2001 but with limited results. The sudden change in the attitude of the governments meant that the recruiters were prohibited to speak as openly as they had done right up until the attacks on America. Europe is gradually, but surely, rivalling the Middle East and Afghanistan as a recruiting hub of Islamist terrorists. Terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda and the GSPC are very well entrenched in Western Europe, where they have established clandestine networks and terrorist cells. During the 1990s, these networks managed to stay clear of counter-terrorist investigations and only a few were uncovered. It is not possible to come up with a realistic estimate of the number of terrorists presently located in Europe, but it is a question of quality rather than quantity. Despite the efforts to track down Islamist terrorists, Europe has remained an active centre for terrrorist support activity such as propaganda, recruitment, fundraising and procurement (Gunaratna 2004). There is still a terrorist presence in Europe organised according to mutual ideologies and personal friendships. The significance of a shared ideology is crucial and has allowed militant Islamists to gain entry into an otherwise closed community of Holy Warriors.
The NEW Version of Al Quaeda

The ‘Real Al Qaeda’

The Al Qaeda that masterminded 11 September 2001 and created a terrorist infrastructure during the 1990s has suffered serious setbacks and heavy losses. This particular network has been significantly weakened in the global war on terror. The initiative has shifted to a new and younger generation of Islamist terrorists who are much less linked to the original core of Al Qaeda. The new generation is not affiliated with the companionship of the Afghan war, the following civil war, or the environment of the training camps. Possessing weak organisational links to the original Al Qaeda members, they have chosen instead to align themselves with the broader aims of the Global Jihad. The current networks and the associated cells are autonomous to a high degree, and the operatives do not share the organisational history of the old core, but rather display greater independence and a looser structure. There has even been speculation that the new generation sees the old Al Qaeda as an anachronism, and they are very committed to carrying the torch further

The current and very diffuse network of Al Qaeda-inspired or related groups is extremely adaptive and dynamic. Instead of being structured and organised in a traditional organisational sense, the mutual support and coordination between members of the network is on an ad hoc basis and primarily based on a shared vision of a common enemy. Adding to the complexity is the existence of multiple, simultaneously operating networks largely independent from each other. They function like layered networks, so taking one down does not affect the others. This change in structure from a former core to a new generation of Al Qaeda operatives leads to the term of the Real Al Qaeda, which implies that it is the ideological influence of Bin Laden that matters, not the actual operational control, and this corresponds exactly with the strategic vision of Al Qaeda as it was formulated years ago.
Who Does Al Quaeda Try to Recruit?
[I]t is worthwhile to turn to the terrorists themselves to learn more about their perspectives on recruitment. Studying the publications and manuals of the terrorist organisations that are actively recruiting in Europe for the global Jihad eliminates speculation. An excellent source is the Al Qaeda manual recovered in a search in Manchester in May 2000. The voluminous computer file covered many aspects of the global Jihad, and of particular interest to this study is the ’Second Lesson: Necessary Qualifications and Characteristics for the Organization’s Members’ (USDOJ 2004). According to the manual, the member, in reality the terrorist operative, should display no less than fourteen different traits.

The primary, indispensable qualification is faith in Islam. Complementing strong religious belief, the member must be fully committed to the ideology of the organisation to free them from conceptual problems. He must be a mature and responsible person, yet willing to make sacrifices when called upon, even his own life if necessary. He must be able to listen to and accept the authority of senior members and never disclose information entrusted to him. Furthermore, he should be in good health, of a tranquil nature and intelligent. In his actions he must demonstrate caution and prudence and the ability to observe and analyze.
Which Muslims are Being Recruited?
That the recruitment process focuses on young Muslim men is indisputable, but there are invisible yet very real divisions that are unbridgeable in Muslim Europe. An example of the inherent limitations in recruitment is the exclusion of Shi’a Muslims. They are considered heretics by the proponents of militant Islamism, and this religious fault line prevents any form of allegiance. That a Shi’a movement like Hezbollah has its sympathisers and fundraisers in Europe only adds to the confusion. The Shi’a Islamists inhabit a different environment separate from the Salafi or Wahabi activists. Another example would be the absence of any significant component of Turks in the terrorist networks despite the millions of Turks residing in Europe. European radical Turks certainly exist; however, they seem to prefer other venues for expressing discontent. In short, they are not the ones who become Salafist bomb makers. From these simple but important observations it can be deducted that the global Jihad only appeals to a certain segment of European Muslims.
The Mind of the Likely Recruit
Striking among the European Islamists who have embraced terrorism is their newfound spirituality. In rejecting the superficiality and emptiness of secular modernity, where they do not fit in, they logically become attracted to a religious ideology that promises to fill the vacuum. The Islamist ideologues only promise an uphill struggle towards personal fulfilment, but this does not seem to discourage their followers: on the contrary, they are more than ready for a challenge as long as it also involves a higher meaning. In resorting to a ’traditional religion’ which is anything but traditional, they have exposed their concerns not for the fate of mankind, Islamic civilization or Islamic communities, but for themselves. As Robert S. Leiken emphasises in a comparative study, the alienated Muslim communities in Europe would appear to be a much more fertile ground for recruitment for radical groups than Muslim communities in the US.
What about Converts? Clearly, if a large number of terrorists who don't look like your average young Muslim man enter the fray, it will be bad news.
Individuals who have converted to Islam represent a miniscule minority in the ranks of the militant Islamists; however, they are potentially highly deployable for Jihad. While it is difficult to create a general impression the convert’s background it would appear that they also come from the margins of society, with a few exceptions that prove there is no single profile.

The complete break with the society and culture of origin has not been examined properly and many questions remain unanswered. However, I do suspect that Olivier Roy is on the right track when he claims that the core issue is not linked to theology but to post-modernism. Those converts of interest to this study embraced Islam vigorously and proceeded to militant Islam. They entered mainstream Islam just as quickly as they deviated, thus raising some fundamental questions about their spiritual bearings. Converts who adopt Jihad as a lifestyle apparently do not possess the cultural or religious grounding necessary to asses the tenets of Islamism independently. It is considerably easier to convince a convert about the religious obligation of Jihad.

...

A surprising number of converts foundered in drugs and pretty crime before turning to Islam, and quite a few were recruited while serving a prison sentence (Smith 2004). Jerome and David Courtallier, French brothers who converted and turned to Jihad, followed this pattern and they later went to Afghanistan to train (Camus 2004). Some converted abroad, and perhaps there is a parallel to the recent immigrants. Lionel Dumont converted while doing military service in Africa and Jerome Courtallier in Leicester under the strong influence of Beghal.

The ... types of young European Muslims who are susceptible to recruitment originate from a very diverse range of individual backgrounds, yet they all embraced militant Islam unconditionally. Marginalisation was present in one form or another before they accepted violent activism. The sequence of marginalisation preceding religious revival confirms the view that although Islam is an important aspect in understanding Islamist terrorism, the data available strongly suggests that social conditions serve as the foundation.
Where is this recruitment taking place?
Before 11 September 2001 European Islamists would usually operate more or less openly through certain Mosques, Islamic information centres, Islamic schools and charities. Open as well as covert support was extended to the Mujaheddin in Chechnya and Afghanistan to the apparent indifference of the authorities. Examples of radical Mosques that became prominent in the process of affiliation with the Jihad are Finsbury Park Mosque in London, the Islamic Cultural Centre in Milan, the Abu Bakr Mosque in Madrid, and the Al-Quds Mosque in Hamburg. Throughout the 1990s these localities served as the gateway to the global Jihad and dispatched militant young Muslims to training sites in Afghanistan or to the frontlines in Bosnia and Chechnya.

...

Recruitment is still taking place although it has undergone some noticeable changes and the role of the radical clerics has changed. They are no longer able to recruit openly because of intense scrutiny by the authorities. Instead they have embarked on a massive propaganda effort extolling the virtues of Jihad and the Mujaheddin, carefully avoiding any direct involvement. The ill-reputed radical institutions have been replaced by underground Mosques often located in the very same cities as the former ones. This is due to what could be termed a sustainable environment, meaning a situation where there are sufficient Islamists, former Mujaheddin and people with the necessary connections to sustain an alternative environment. Years ago it was places like London, Hamburg, Milan and Madrid that featured prominently on a map of the European Jihad, much like they do today. Having carved out a territory for themselves the Islamists in these cities have contributed disproportionately to the global Jihad. In contrast, similar prominent cities like Berlin, Rome or Barcelona have not experienced the same level of militant Islamist presence. It would appear that Islamists residing in these cities lacked the contacts needed to enter a wider European network (Sageman 2004).
Is there a center of this?

Britain

Islamic terrorist organizations still consider London as the launching pad for enlisting new recruits. This conviction is supported by a thorough understanding of immigration laws, adherence to the individual’s right to privacy, and the constraints and limitations of the British security services (Fighel 2003).
For years the Finsbury Park Mosque was the hub of European terrorists and its role and function deserves to be mentioned in this context.

Abu Hamza al-Masri founded the Supporters of the Sharia (SOS), which used the North London Central Mosque in Finsbury Park as its base, and the attendees of the late 1990s were a virtual who’s-who in European Jihadist circles. In 1998 worshippers began to notice groups of young men staying overnight at the Mosque. Many where Algerians and were recruited by Djamel Beghal, who had been assigned the task of setting up cells in Europe by senior Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan. Beghal arrived from France in 1997 and quickly became known as an engaging figure who circulated among the drifters and asylum seekers steered towards Finsbury Park by other militants, inviting them to linger after Friday prayers and join study groups. By the spring of 1998 Beghal had three would-be suicide bombers staying with him at the Mosque: Zacarias Moussaoui, Richard Reid and Nizar Trabelsi (Shameen 2002). Feroz Abbasi, a young Briton, later incarcerated on charges of terrorism at the US prisoner holding facility on Guantanamo, revealed that it was people from Finsbury Park who helped him organize his terrorist training in Afghanistan. Abu Hamza was singled out as his mentor. Among other people who visited the Mosque were Ahmed Ressam, Anas Al-Liby, Abu Doha, Earnest James Ujaama and several of the Britons held in Guantanamo (Leiken 2004). Beghal was arrested in Dubai in 2001 and was about to initiate a series of attacks on American targets in Europe after a year-long stay in Afghanistan where he worked closely with Abu Zubeida. His recruits from London were central operatives to the plans (Bright 2001).
Tantalized enough? Read the whole thing.
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