Thursday, December 9, 2010

Divide and Conquer with WMD's

From the Yahoo newswire, December 9, 2010:

BALTIMORE – A 21-year-old man charged with trying to blow up a Baltimore-area military recruiting center briefly hesitated when he heard about a federal sting operation that nabbed an alleged terrorist in Oregon last month but decided to keep going with his plan, authorities said.

Antonio Martinez, a naturalized U.S. citizen who goes by the name Muhammad Hussain after recently converting to Islam, faces charges of attempted murder of federal officers and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

This story broke yesterday, and, true to form, the information about Martinez/Hussain (hmm, now where have I heard that name of late? Oh well) converting to the Religion of Peace was omitted from the initial coverage. It wasn't until the comment forums were flooded with "Hah, I bet he's a Muslim!" posts that the press finally revealed that this guy is, indeed, a Muslim. Fancy that.

Why the big secret? Also, this event got nowhere near the press coverage that the Oregon wannabomber earned, or for that matter, the subsequent mosque-torching. In fact, most of the Maryland items were buried at the bottom of news feeds so that you would have to actively search for the information.

It is true that the potential for huge numbers of victims is a bit different when you compare the heavily attended Christmas tree lighting ceremony to the lonely recruitment offices--although once don't ask/don't tell gets erased, the armed forces will be flooded with new recruits, I am sure.

But both targets were deliberately chosen to cripple a feature of American culture. (You don't have to be a practicing Christian, or even a Christian, to put up a tree and get into the holiday spirit.)

This morning, though, I was really surprised that the Baltimore bomber merited a segment on NPR, which, as I have noted before, downplays the motivation behind a lot of our terrorist issues. But NPR then did what it always does, and its focus was on the Hispanic element of this case. Not only that, but the Yahoo coverage featured a lot of comments directing anger toward the incompetence/unethical "entrapment" by our FBI (natch) AND toward immigrants. Bottom line: we need to put up a wall topped with razor wire to keep out the undesirables...and the FBI should be ashamed of itself for preying on the weak-willed.

My response on Yahoo:

I noticed that today NPR played up the Hispanic angle. According to their story, it isn't so much that Hispanics are more likely to convert to Islam, but that they are then fast-tracked to leadership or high profile positions within radical Muslim groups.

This is not about Hispanics, immigration, etc. This is about a dangerous political ideology that uses religion as a beard. Islam is not a race--it is a political movement. It uses the religious aspect to garner protection from people concerned about religious liberty. The Hispanic angle is a diversion and it is now being emphasized to make this about something it isn't.
It is about ISLAM--period.
Osama bin Ladin recently laid out his current strategy, which is to attack on a number of limited fronts within the US and our allies. His goal is to ruin our morale and destroy our resolve--so we will be like a blindfolded person shooting a loaded gun in a house, killing family members instead of the murderer who just walked in. That's what has been happening with Oregon and now Maryland. And we are playing into his hands, doing exactly as he predicted we would: we are turning on each other, turning on the "rednecks" who torched the mosque (if indeed they exist) turning on law enforcement, turning on immigrants--which, no matter how you feel about immigration policy, is a separate issue. But still no one will talk about the elephant in the living room. Or, I guess,  the camel in the living room.

It is unfortunate that we are now shifting our focus from one very real imminent threat to another, much more complicated, and only tangentally related,  issue.

This is not to say there is no overlap between Islamist strategy and a lot of immigration-related problems. We, in the US, have been lucky so far...our social welfare programs have not been strained as much by Islamists as by sheer numbers, although the effects are often the same. In Britian, France, Germany, and other Western European countries, Islamists have a very delibarate, and increasingly effective, method of draining money away from programs meant to provide a temporary safety net, and instead using that money to fund radical mosques, extended  (multiple-wife) families with militant agenda, islamocentric schools, and shariah-based community organizations. The people who are genuinely in need, who have put effort into the system and now can't get a helping hand, respond by aligning themselves with xenophbic far-right groups. It's bait-and-switch: because the government, and the media, won't identify the real enemy--militant Islam--the "skinheads" lash out at ALL immigrants.

This can apparently happen here, too, judging from some of the nastier suggestions on the Yahoo comment board.

Right now we are playing into the hands of al-Qaida, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and our friends in CAIR--we are allowing ourselves to get thrown off the scent of the killers.

The enemy is NOT the family who comes to the US to build a better, safer life. The REAL enemy wants to destroy that sense of safety forever.  

Do not forget 9/11--more importantly, do not forget the millions who cheered the 9/11 attacks.

Let's not give them a reason to continue the celebration.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Tip for Your Cab Driver: Don't Support al-Qaida !!!

Hmm...I wonder if this guy's cab displayed an anti-honor killing ad.  I'm guessing NOT.,0,2740130.story

In case the Tribune link is broken/archived, this is about Raja Lahrasib Khan, a Chicago taxi driver who was arrested and charged with sending money to a terrorist organization, identified in other news stories as al Qaida. He's being held at the correctional center Downtown, and he requested that the judge, James Zagel,  release him because Khan is unable to access a lot of the evidence (audio, etc.) which he's using in his defense.

It appears he's representing himself, which means Dewey, Cheatum & Howe are too booked to take the case.

Unfortunately, Zagel may have to comply with this request, unless the jail drastically upgrades its tech support. And we're rolling in dough, here in Illinois, so I am sure we'll be able to accomodate Khan. (Wink.)

Isn't it sad '" that he can't adequately prepare for his defense from jail because the facilities are so poor" ? I wonder what jail is like in Pakistan.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yahoo: The Truth Hurts, So Don't Post It! (Oregon Bomber, Part II)

I posted a brief comment on Yahoo's story (see previous post) pointing out  this contradiction: this guy was either acting alone or working with other jihadis. The story said he was doing BOTH.

When I initially posted, several people started giving it "thumbs up"--first six, then thirteen, and then (when I checked a few minutes later to see what the count was) my post disappeared !!

This is not the first time this has happened with Yahoo....they cannot stand it when someone notices that they "mis-report." So instead of allowing the comment to stand--"The emperor has no clothes!"--they delete it from the comment feed. Problem solved!

Two people did give my observation "thumbs-down": one person said that, just because the wannabe bomber contacted jihadis in Pakistan and later started collaborating with FBI agents who post as jihadis, this didn't necessarilly mean he was "affiliated" with them.  Huh?!?!?!

The other person said that this was entrapment by the FBI (I addressed that in my previous post).

But obviously, several people recognized the point I initially made. This was no rogue who snapped and behaved in an irrational manner in the heat of the moment. This was a man who sought out contacts who would help him advance his plot, and who worked hard to cultivate relationships with like-minded people.

Yahoo often refuses to print comments that expose half-truths or bias in their stories. That's nothing new. Yet they will print comments by people who support the Yahoo bias....even if those comments make no sense. One person congratulated Yahoo on never once mentioning this guy is Muslim. Wow! And yet, he is also identified as a jihadi.

How many jihadis are not Muslim? Zero. Jihad is a Muslim construct. It does exist as a word in Arabic, and not every Arab is Muslim, but the political/martial manifestation of jihad is strictly Muslim BY DEFINITION.

It's like referring to someone as "rabbi"--obviously, that person would be Jewish, because there just aren't any Presbyterian or Ba'hai rabbis. 

So Yahoo...go ahead, keep on censoring. No "news" organization can keep doing  that so blatently and retain any credibility.

Merry Christmas, Allahu Akbar! Now Die....

At a Christmas tree lighting ceremony this week in Portland, a guy had to be wrestled to the ground--shouting "Allahu Akbar!"--as he tried to detonate a car bomb. ("Somali-born teen plotted car-bombing in Oregon"

Mohamed Osman Mohamud is 19, and although he is constantly referred to as a teen, he is legally an adult.

The Yahoo feed that carried this story was written by William McCall and Nedra Pickler, of the Associated Press, and they might want to consider a refresher course in journalism--particularly, "story continuity." In the beginning of the article, they say, "According to the official, Mohamud hatched the plan on his own and without any instruction from a foreign terrorist organization, and he planned the details, including where to park the van for the maximum number of casualties."

Which is interesting, because they later say:
U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton released federal court documents to The Associated Press and the Oregonian newspaper that show the sting operation began in June after an undercover agent learned that Mohamud had been in regular e-mail contact with an "unindicted associate" in Pakistan's northwest, a frontier region where al-Qaida and Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents are strong).The two used coded language in which the FBI believes Mohamud discussed traveling to Pakistan to prepare for "violent jihad," the documents said. In June an FBI agent contacted Mohamud "under the guise of being affiliated with" the suspected terrorist. But the documents did not say how federal officials first became aware of Mohamud. An undercover agent met with him a month later in Portland, where they "discussed violent jihad," according to the court documents.

So: which is it? Mohamud acted on his own, or he hooked up with other jihadists (and he is upfront about being a jihadist) who shared his vision?

The Yahoo message board is, of course, loaded with posts that either point out that it's unfair to pin such acts on Muslims (and jihadists belong to WHAT other religions, exactly?), or posts that are so hostile that they are likely plants, or people who think it's really unfair that this naive kid was set up by our federal agents who want nothing more than to create fear and entrap the innocent. (And FYI, one person pointed out that just because this guy sought out and joined what he thought was a jihadist organization doesn't mean he was AFFILIATED with them.)

As for the entrapment idea, this is the same thing the FBI was accused of when the Chicago Wrigleyville bomb plot came to light last summer. Is it entrapment? Both of these individuals, the man in Chicago and this person, were not on the FBI's radar until they started making inquiries about bomb-making. Clearly they were moving ahead with plans to mass murder non-combatants in the name of some larger cause. They admitted to this. Our federal agents were doing their job by gathering information and collecting evidence while protecting the public from allowing such a scheme to come to fruition.  What were they supposed to do, wait until the bombs exploded, killed hundreds, and THEN arrest the guy?

People watch a few seasons of legal dramas and then throw around words like "entrapment" or "profiling," and it is just beyond ridiculous. Law enforcement officers carefully avoid any hint of entrapment because they know it would taint a case to the point where it would get thrown out of court.

These accusations of entrapment by people who are supposedly standing up for the victim (in this case, Mohamud) are more islamophobic than the so-called "islamophobes." Those crying entrapment paint scenarios of the FBI suggesting terrorist attacks and then innocent, non-violent Muslims instantly feel an overwhelming compulsion to go along with that.

It seems that, in this case, "islamophobes" are the only ones saying that nobody, including Muslims, is allowed to murder other people, period.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

CAIR promotes airport sharia, Yahoo promotes sharia via CAIR

Here is a story that ran as NEWS on the Yahoo political news feed: (Please pay attention to the parts I bold-faced)

CAIR: Muslim Group Updates Travel Advisory for Holiday Weekend 

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today issued an updated travel advisory for those concerned about new airport security measures involving full-body scanners and more invasive pat-downs.
Background: Earlier this year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began phasing in full-body Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) scanners in airports as a primary screening method. In February, CAIR supported a statement by a prominent group of Muslim scholars that the full-body scanners violate religious and privacy rights. On November 11, CAIR issued a travel advisory that was distorted by Islamophobes who falsely claimed the advisory said there was a special TSA exemption for Muslim passengers who wear Islamic head scarves (hijab). In fact, the CAIR advisory was based on TSA guidelines for all passengers, regardless of faith.

* If you wear the Islamic head scarf and you are selected for secondary screening, ask the TSA officer if the reason you are being selected for secondary is because of your head scarf. If the officer confirms you were referred to secondary because of your head scarf, before you are patted down, you should remind the TSA officer, who should be of the same gender, that they are only supposed to pat down the area in question, in this scenario, your head and neck. They should not subject you to a full-body or partial-body pat-down. You can always request to pat down your own scarf, including head and neck area, and have the officer perform a residue swab of your hands.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

The airport body scan/invasive pat-down issue is outrageous to begin with, but this article (and the position it advocates) is the icing on the cake:

1. This is a press release by CAIR, and the person who wrote it editorializes throughout. That's not reporting !! The travel advisory was "distorted by Islamophobes"? How so? There is no evidence anywhere that the advisory was misrepresented by these so-called islamophobes....only that the advisory, and Janet Napolitano's statement that she was considering it, was made public and a lot of people found it rather counterintuitive, to say the least. While Muslims are not "exempt", they do, under this advisory statement, have a special status that does mitigates the invasiveness of the pat-downs. That Yahoo is printing propaganda as "news" completely discredits Yahoo as a source of information. (Yahoo also keeps a tight rein on comments to its news stories--if a comment is not totally in agreement with their bias, it will not be posted....unless it is so offensive that it paints the writer as a kook. That reinforces Yahoo's stance: See, only nuts disagree with us!")

2. CAIR is not a civil liberties/advocacy organization. It is a fundamentalist group dedicated to imposing sharia on American citizens. It also has members who are affiliated with groups our government lists as terrorist. CAIR's main tactic is to promote an islamist agenda using our legal system and our unwillingness to appear critical of religious expression.( Notice how they insinuated the word "islamophobes": according to CAIR , anyone who objects to sharia is a bigot. ) CAIR is not interested in protecting the rights of all Americans equally. If that were true, they would have issued a statement advising non-hijab wearing individuals of their "rights" regarding pat-downs. Remember, a lot of non-fundamentalist women eschew hijab. Why doesn't CAIR "care" about them?

3. A does this help anyone?

4. This is sharia.  Under sharia, there's a set of rules for Muslims and a much more stringent set of rules for non-Muslims. The non-Muslims, in sharia-run countries, don't get to have their OWN legal system as an alternative to sharia. They have to observe sharia, and they are penalized for not doing so. Ask Western, non-Muslim women who have travelled in places like Saudi....did they have to cover themselves, and could they publicly consume alcohol (or for that matter, food during Ramadan)? Some of these women insist they are merely following custom, but: if they chose NOT to follow custom, were there penalties? In this case, women who submit to a certain dress code are permitted to circumvent some of the rules in place because, as Muslimas, they should not be subjected to the same humiliations and inconveniences as everyone else.

5. Another story regarding these mysterious Muslim scholars notes that "Airport body scanning violates Islamic Law" (Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 2/12/2010) "The Fiqh Council of North America — a body of Islamic scholars — issued a fatwa this week that says going through the airport scanners would violate Islamic rules on modesty." In other words, when sharia contradicts US federal law, sharia should trump US law. This is the sort of "civil liberty for all" supported by CAIR.

6. CAIR says this advisory applies to everyone, "regardless of faith," and that's true...but it's not the WHOLE truth. They mean that it applies to everyone regardless of faith AS LONG AS THEY DRESS IN HIJAB. (See # 4). No, you don't have to be Muslim in order to do a hijab self-pat-down, but you DO have to wear you do have to observe a fundamentalist religious dress code that is NOT--by the way--ever mentioned in the Qur'an.

7. CAIR is worried about profiling (that section is in the rest of the article). But why is profiling bad, exactly? Profiling has come to mean the same thing as "stereotyping," which is different. Stereotyping is when certain assumptions are made about an entire group, ie. "women are bad drivers." Profiling is when concrete information is used to determine FACTS about certain groups: "Unmarried men under the age of 25 have the highest incidence of traffic fatalities." Not every young, single man will drive recklessly--but enough of them do to merit higher insurance premiums.

As for the travellers who are being scrutinized at the airport, profiling would be a GREAT idea. It would eliminate the need for long lines waiting for scans or pat-downs, as it would apply to people who arouse suspicion because of their behavior or because of their membership in certain, potentially dangerous,  groups.

Like CAIR.

Spouse left? Blow something up.

The Chicago Tribune carried this story today:

Man gets two years in prison for bomb threat; Letter to Jewish high school demanded Israeli troop withdrawalBy Andy Grimm, Tribune reporter, 6:50 p.m. CST, November 24, 2010

    A West Rogers Park man was sentenced Wednesday to 25 months in prison for mailing a letter threatening to blow up a Jewish high school. A half-dozen friends and neighbors testified that Mohammad Alkaramla, 25, was a peaceful man with many friends in his multiethnic neighborhood until his estranged wife moved to Jordan with their son. The caring man known to friends as "Mo" then became depressed and feared Middle East strife would make life dangerous for his son, they said. Alkaramla, who was born in Jordan, mailed a letter in late 2008 to the Ida Crown Jewish Academy, threatening to plant a bomb there if Israel didn't withdraw troops from the Gaza Strip within two weeks, said his father, Tawiq Alkaramla.....,0,7733354.story

You can read the whole story, but there is absolutely no mention that Alkaramla was religiously or politically motivated. In his own words: "I realize I was in a downfall of my life, thinking of myself."

But most people who become self-focused with grief don't seek out schools to blow up. How did he go from lamenting the fact that his wife jilted him and took his kid, to issuing a threat of mass murder to people he didn't even know? I would think his anger and frustration would be more reasonably directed at his wife, and that he would have been pursuing some sort of legal resolution for custody of his son. Insterad, this  newly single man, a the paragon of neighborly love, suddenly embraces the goals of Hamas and al-Qaida.

I guess drowning his sorrows at the local tavern wasn't an option.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Slicing off the hand that feeds you: American support for sharia

The Chicago Tribune's  Clarence Page has come out in support of CAIR, which has challenged Oklahoma's sharia ban: ("Fighting a Legal Mirage,",0,7427339.column.) As I have pointed out before, this is consistent with the Tribune's pro-Islamist policy.

This is all in reference to the last election, when a referendum was presented to Oklahoma voters that sharia, and other international law, has no place in Oklahoma's legal system. More than 70% of voters agreed. This prompted CAIR to challenge the referendum. Courtesy of federal judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange, a restraining order has been issued preventing the law from taking effect.

Page's defense of CAIR's lawsuit is predictable. He says that a lot of people make the mistake of equating Muslim law with Muslim terrorism.

In fact, Muslim jihadi attacks are based on an ongoing effort to implement sharia worldwide. We SHOULD equate sharia with terrorism; it is used to terrorize millions of Muslims and non-Muslims on a daily basis, all over the world.

But Page dismisses this rather legitimate concern as ill-informed paranoia.

He goes on to say that most people's opinion of sharia is based on some of the more "fanatical" applications. He compares sharia to Christians in Uganda who want the death penalty for homosexuality, to emphasize that sharia's application is no harsher than what you can find in the Christian world.

First, Oklahoma would, under this same law, reject the Ugandan punishment, too--as it would fall under "international law."

Second, most Christians do not look to the Ugandan legal system as a model for society. Most Christians would in fact regard the Ugandan system as barbaric--fanatical, if you will. 

That's not true for sharia. Sharia, too, mandates the death penalty for homosexuality, and in countries that observe sharia, that punishment is carried out.  But not by fanatics/extremists/fringe regular, normal, middle-of-the-road DEVOUT Muslims.

I do know homophobic Christians, but none that say, "A devout Christian must murder gays."

But okay: let's not regard the Taliban as perfect practitioners of sharia. How about Muslim scholars out of Cairo's Al-Azhar University? They address the largest segment of mainstream (Sunni) Islam, and they spell out sharia pretty clearly. What should make non-Muslims uncomfortable is that a lot of sharia focuses on jihad, and not the touchy-feely "I just want to be a more spiritual person" jihad, either.

Page also mentions that accomodation has already been made regarding rabbinical law, so singling out Islam for special mistreatment can't be done. But rabbinical law is not set up to force non-Jews to convert to Judaism or to recognize Jewish law as superior to American law. And frankly, we don't currently have a problem with Orthodox Jews who are practicing bigamy or honor-killing. We also don't have a large segment of the Jewish population that doesn't see those issues as crimes, but rather like bad press that should be squelched.

Page leaves out a few facts, too. One is that sharia has already been used to defend a New Jersey man who was accused of raping his wife. Spousal rape doesn't exist in sharia, so he won the case. (Initially--he lost on appeal.)

And he dismisses some public figures' claims that sharia has already "taken hold" in some Muslim communities. But it has. In a lot of cities, two legal systems exist side-by-side.

Public areas at swimming pools are being gender-segregated at the behest of observant Muslims, prayer is being foisted on the non-Muslim public at libraries, reciting the shahada is considered okay  at public school assemblies, any perceived disrespect of the Quran is treated as a criminal offense....this is just in Chicago!

If  you notice, observance of sharia is expected of non-Muslims. Sharia in a Muslim school or a Muslim home is not the problem. But once it has legitimacy, it will be applied much more broadly. Right now, if you read CAIR's guide to the workplace, you'll see there's a movement to force non-Muslims to observe, albeit indirectly, Muslim prayer times. That's no different from laws in many Muslim countries (some "moderate", like Indonesia) that compel non-Muslims to observe dietary regulations and the Ramadan fast.

Muslims who have domestic problems are encouraged (ie., pressured) to approach "community leaders" instead of the police, even in cases that involve violence.

Muslims refuse to speak up because they don't want to be isolated from their community. Non-Muslims tolerate a lot of this because they think that criticism of the sharia system is a personal attack against individual Muslims. Civil authorities don't want to get slapped with lawsuits from the likes of CAIR.

Clarence Page parrots Obama when he says that "we need to wage war on terrorists, not on Islam."

How about waging war on the elements of Islam that share terrorist objectives?

Like sharia.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Spencer Vs. Kreeft: The Only Good Muslim is a Bad Muslim

This video is well worth watching, and not just for its content, but for its format:

Robert Spencer, a prominent analyst of Islam, faces off against his former mentor, Professor Peter Kreeft.

Kreeft has written dozens of books on a number of topics, and he has addressed Islam. His take on Islam is that we (the West, but specifically the Christian West) would benefit from dialogue with the Muslim world. Muslims, Kreeft believes, have a lot to teach us morally and theologically (eg., proper respect for/fear of the Creator, strong family units, etc.). He uses a lot of anecdotal evidence to bolster his position, specifically, his positive encounters with Muslim students over the years.

Spencer is often vilified for being Islamophobic, but he has his facts right. The "evidence" of his Islamophobia consists of personal attacks--it seems that there are no Muslim apologists willing or able to address his arguments directly (Kreeft is no exception--he uses diversions and appeals to emotions, but he can't articulate a cogent counter-argument). Spencer has also been criticized for debating or speaking to the concerns of non-Muslims--in effect, preaching to the choir--but he has invited practicing Muslims to debate him, and they nearly always decline the invitation.

If you watch this video, you'll understand why they're afraid to engage him.

Stoning is No Joke...It's Not Even Ironic

It seems pretty straight-forward: you make a public threat to torture someone to death, you get arrested.

But Gareth Compton's case is a little more complicated. Here's the timeline:

--On November 10, 2010, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown gave a radio interview in which she said that British politicians don't have the "moral authority" to criticize human rights abuses, including execution by stoning.

--Compton, who happens to be a British politician critical of stoning, took umbrage.

--He tweeted something to the effect of: ""Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really."

--Alibhai-Brown got wind of this (she's probably one of his "followers) and filed charges.

--And she alerted the media!!!

Compton was arrested, although at the moment he's out on bail.  He's also been suspended from his position (he's a city councillor) and news outlets all over the world have been carrying the story.

Or...part of the story. Most accounts mention his tweet, but they don't mention that Alibhai-Brown publicly stated that stoning is beyond criticism.

In a statement released in a series of tweets, Compton said: "I did not 'call' for the stoning of anybody. I made an ill-conceived attempt at humour in response to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown saying on Radio 5 Live this morning that no politician had the right to comment on human rights abuses, even the stoning of women in Iran. I apologise for any offence caused. It was wholly unintentional." (

Birmingham, where all this took place, is struggling to assimilate a large Muslim population that has been trying to apply sharia law to British citizens. One of the tenets of sharia is that Islam cannot be criticized, ever, and that criticisms shall not go unpunished. Compton criticized sharia, and he certainly got punished...even if the charges don't stick, his career has been ruined and he's been discredited. All for mocking someone who supports stoning!

Isn't it interesting that police in the UK are now enforcing sharia?

Alibhai-Brown, by the way, hasn't been called to task for saying that Brits should tolerate human rights abuses--that they have "no moral authority" to be critical.

Of course they do.  EVERY civilized person not only has the right, but the obligation, to criticize human rights abuses with the hope that they will one day be eliminated. 

Perhaps Alibhai-Brown also thinks Britons should not criticize other elements of Islamic law and culture, such as honor killings, slavery, forced marriages of children, prison terms for naming a teddy bear Mohammad,  death sentences for fortune telling, and beating the crap out of non-Muslims for not observing the Ramadan fast.

It is unfortunate that Compton's tweet has allowed this woman to play the victim. Twitter is a tricky medium, and it is easy to be misunderstood. Anyone who uses it can learn a lesson here.

If Compton is guilty of anything, it's that his use of irony was too subtle for someone like Alibhai-Brown.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stupid Remark # 2: Tim McVeigh was a Christian!

Tim McVeigh was an atheist.

Stupid remark # 1: So what if the Qur'an promotes violence? The Bible does, too!

There are certain statements that ANY discussion of Islam will elicit from apologists, and one of them is always trotted out when one person mentions (correctly) that the Qur'an instructs Believers to do violence to non-believers.

(I was going to cite the actual ayas and verses here, but I'll just repeat what I say to non-Muslims all the time: READ THE QUR'AN....and while you're reading, remember that hundreds of millions of people see it as the LITERAL word of God.)

Anyway, the knee-jerk response to Qur'anic violence is: "So what? The BIBLE contains a lot of violence, too!"

Yes, it does.  But does it recommend violence as a way of life, or as the basis of a legal system?

[This essay is written from a Roman Catholic persepective; a practicing Jew would have to explain the Qur'an's parallels to the Torah. And may I say, "Good luck with that, Mr. Jewish Person!" Because I haven't come across too many self-described Muslim scholars who would engage in that sort of discourse.]

So, here are my points:

1. The Qur'an should ONLY be compared to the Gospels.

The Qur'an and the Bible are both holy books, and they are both considered to be the word of God by adherents of Islam and Christianity, respectively.

The Bible is a collection of many different literary genres (including history, law, genealogy, poetry, letters, proverbs, and--from a contextualist view--mythology) compiled by many different authors over thousands of years. The Qur'an is one literary form transmitted by one person within the span of one lifetime. This is not exactly like comparing apples to apples--or, for that matter, apples to oranges. It's like comparing apples to an entire fruit basket!

So let's toss out the bananas and the grapes and the strawberries, and let's make a reasonable comparison between the message of the Bible and the message of the Qur'an.

The heart of Christianity is expressed in the Gospels: the Gospels describe the life of Jesus, and preserve his teachings, as a narrative to instruct one how to live one's life in accordance to God's plan.

The Qur'an is a narrative that instructs one how to live one's life in accordance to God's plan.

2. According to the Gospels, violence should be avoided. 
If we look at the Qur'an vis-a-vis only the Gospels, a lot of Biblical examples of violence have thus been removed: they were historic experiences, and did not necessarilly set precedent and bear repeating over and over. David slew Goliath, the battle was won: Jesus did not recommend that His followers seek out and murder any descendants of the Philistines.

But even sticking to the New Testament, Herod slaughtered all the baby boys in Palestine in the vain hope that the Messiah would be eliminated--this example is hardly a Christian recommendation to commit infanticide if you suspect that a political rival has been born. It merely shows the cruelty and ruthlessness of Herod.

The only example of "Christian" violence, that I can think of, is when one of the disciples used his sword to cut off a Roman soldier's ear, when Jesus was about to be arrested in Gethsemene.  (Here I use "Christian" loosely: he was a follower of Christ, although the formal religion had not yet been established, and the disciples were essentially a Jewish sect at that point) Was the response of Jesus to applaud what the young man did? No: he admonished him, and he reattached the unfortunate soldier's ear.

3. According to the Qur'an, the death penalty is warranted in many cases: for anti-Islamic actions AND ideas.
Again, I don't want to lead anyone by the hand through the entire Qur'an, except to advise that you get a copy and read it yourself. But you will find verses that instruct Muslims to "slay the unbeliever wherever you find him."

Now, there are also verses that imply a sort of tolerance: "There is no compulsion in religion." These seem to directly contradict the harsher instructions, and you may say, "Well, the Bible is full of contradicitons, too--even if you stick to only looking at the Gospels!"

Even with our Gospel-only limit, there were several authors, and the Gospels were transmitted orally before they were written down. And even so, the contradictions are minor: Sermon on the Mount? Sermon on the Plain? Who cares? It's the same message.

This is NOT the case with the Qur'an, according to Muslims. ONE source, INFALLIBLY given. If you accept that, then there is no excuse for contradictions. But even Muslims describe Mohammad as an illiterate, and he did have to trust that the followers who actually wrote what he told them to write were doing a good job. Human error would have allowed some mistakes to creep in, by accident. But Muslims are adamant on this point: there are no mistakes in the Qur'an, until it gets translated out of the original Arabic, and that makes it NOT the Qur'an....

That's always been an interesting caveat. You have to be fluent in Arabic to really understand the Qur'an? So much for God being smart enough to convey what Muslims describe as a "simple" message. Maybe God should have told Mohammed to learn Esperanto!

Recently--and I blogged about this--a person posted the comment (on another site) that her Bible contained many examples of Christian violence AND terrorism. Clearly, this woman is unfamiliar with the Bible--or likely, only "knows" it insofar as what someone (probably a "Muslim scholar") told her.

I would welcome anyone reading this to give me specific examples of Christian violence in the Bible.

And don't forget terrorism! I promise to post any citations regarding the disciples using suicide belts.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pamela J-H, Beverly Mom and Bible Scholar!

I'm backing a candidate named Anne Schaible for alderman in our ward. Today, Anne inadvertantly ruffled a lot of feathers by posting a link to the news coverage of Yemen-originated explosives destined for the U.S. Anne's point was nothing more sinister than alerting the public, as she always tries to do, to credible threats to our safety.

But suddenly everyone started weighing in on the Muslim angle. It is true that al-Qaida is most likely behind this latest episode, and it is also true that al Qaida is an Islamist organization. But when one of Anne's followers pointed this out, he was attacked by Muslim apologists who went to great pains to equate all other faith expressions with Muslim extremism.

The discussion grew more and more contentious, and Anne finally had to shut down this thread. Toward the end, the people who continued to participate were shrilly hurling insults at one another, while paying absolutely NO attention to the rules of intellectual discourse. Socrates is rolling in his grave!!

One person, some sort of "reverend," or so he said, implied that the Pope is a mass murderer. That's weird, although the thought of the Pope as one of the guys who attends Osama bin Ladin's poker night is an interesting image.

But WORSE than that were the Rev's supposedly well-informed opponents.

I wish I had all the contributions to this increasingly bizarre talk, but Facebook emailed me this last comment by one of the loonier among Anne's Facebook Friends (and--I honestly believe this--this person in no way represents Anne):

Pamela J-H* also commented on Anne Schaible's link. Pamela wrote:

"And by the way, I don't know what bible you read, but there is plenty of christian violence and terrorism in the bible I read."

Reply to this email to comment on this link.
To see the comment thread, follow the link below:
The Facebook Team

All I can say is: Wow.

Christian violence and terrorism in her edition of the Bible....

I tried to reply to this, to ask her for specific scriptural citations, but as I said--Anne has wisely cut that thread. That's probably a good thing, for me, because Pamela J-H is one of those people who doesn't let the facts get in the way of a good rant. Trying to explain your position, to people like Ms. Pam, is a little like trying to explain the law of conservation of matter to a goldfish. You can present the most cogent explanation in the world, but it will have ZERO impact on the goldfish.

So Ms. Pam--if by any crazy stretch of possibility you are reading this blog--please give me SPECIFIC EXAMPLES of CHRISTIANS in the NEW TESTAMENT forming terrorist cells and perpetrating violence on others.

She probably has some dim Sunday school memory of, I don't know, David smiting Goliath or Herod's slaughter of the innocents...neither of which involved Christians. Or maybe she is reading the really scary passages in Revelations, although, strictly speaking, that's not a matter of historic record. (Yet.)

But as dumb as she sounds, it is important to remember one thing: a huge number of people believe that ALL ideologies must be identical to one think otherwise is to be a bigot.

Pamela J-H and her brethren should disabuse herself of this notion--otherwise, she is a huge liability to those of us who would like to support Muslim reformers and eradicate Muslim extemism. She should get hold of a copy of the Qur'an and read it for herself.

And while she's out shopping, she should probably get herself a copy of the Bible, too.

* This post has been edited, and Pamela's initials have been substituted for her full name. I think people who post comments on a public forum, like Facebook, should be adult enough to own those statements, but I don't want to make her look dumb in front of her family. While we are exhorted to perform acts of mercy which include instructing the ignorant, that doesn't necessarilly mean we should humiliate them, however satisfying that may be.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wrigleyville Bomb Plot: Nothing Happening Here, Folks.....Just Move Along !

Yesterday, the press revealed that Sami Samir Hassoun, a Lebanese-born legal resident of the US, planted a bomb in the Wrigleyville neighborhood right around the time a concert was letting out, when the clubs and bars in the area would be most crowded.

Unbeknownst to Hassoun, the bomb was a fake. A year ago, the FBI had intercepted Hassoun's plans to terrorize Chicago. (These plans included poisoning the water supply, assassinating Mayor Daley, and destroying the Willis (Sears) Tower.) Agents posed as co-conspirators and built a case against Hassoun, which was all supposed to have come to a head last Saturday night. Instead of blowing apart several hundred people and demolishing buildings, Hassoun was arrested.

The news stories (we watched ABC/Channel 7) were all very careful to point out that Hassoun had NO affiliation with any group or ideology. How odd that they would go out of their way to mention this...if they didn't have information on Hassouns motives, that's one thing. But to deliberately say, this early in the case, that he did not have any specific motive aside from spreading  mayhem by mass murder, is irresponsible.

It's bad journalism, for one thing. You don't make a statement of fact before you have all the facts.

It's also insulting. Americans are no strangers to terrorism, and we know there is ALWAYS an ideology behind these acts. Even the Unabomber, crazy as he was, had one. Crimes of passion may be committed without sufficient reflection, but going to the trouble of procuring materials, researching methods and neighborhoods, etc., doesn't strike me as the work of a mind empty of any motive.

There are two possible reasons for making the "no ideology" statement.

One, the FBI has far more information than it is prepared to reveal at this point. That may be in order to keep the case against Hassoun strong, or it may be to deny him his soapbox. Videos of Muslim suicide bombers are creepy, but they all get lots of free publicity after they blow themselves up. If Hassoun has a similar performance floating around on YouTube,  why give him that kind of platform?

Or two: the media really thinks the public is stupid and will buy that Hassoun was just having a bad day, or a bad year. His animosity toward Mayor Daley is a bit over the top. Yes, we all hate the parking meter system. We all complain about the potholes that take forever for  city "workers" to repair. We make fun of what he says, like when he named "Uptown Sinclair" his favorite Chicago author. (Upton's more upscale, but less well-known brother?) As much as the average Chicagoan kvetches about Daley, I know of no one who actually wants this guy hurt--or dead. So that makes no sense.

And, newsflash! Daley isn't even running next term!

Hassoun did mention revolution, several times, but what sort of revolution remains murky....he played  coy as to who would actually come to power once the Mayor was out of the way.  Except that he seemed determined to eliminate the bar/club scene, so apparently he has some issue with alcohol consumption. Perhaps that's a clue ! I know teetotalers, too, but they usually don't try to blow up places that serve beer.

Here are some excerpts from the FBI complaint that was filed in federal court over Sami Samir Hassoun's plan to destroy much of Chicago:

" During their June 22, 2010 meeting, Hassoun told the CS that he had received a

package from relatives in Lebanon that, according to Hassoun, contained an Arabic language manual on how to construct non-traceable explosives. Hassoun further claimed the package contained certain metal parts to be used in the construction of an explosive device...he claimed that
his relatives would send additional parts"

Hmm....that's interesting! So he wasn't a lone wolf--he said he had relatives in Lebanon who were actively supporting this little endeavor. If Hassoun didn't have an ideology, what ideology did these relations have? Whatever it was, it was violent.

UC (a person involved in the sting):1 asked Hassoun about his motivation for the attack and whether he was concerned about those who would be hurt by such violence. Acknowledging the casualties that
would result from his plans, Hassoun stated that such losses were the inevitable result of “revolution,”  but that those costs were acceptable, especially in light of the “good” that could be
done if they were successful in the end.

Right here he comes out and says that the revolution IS being done for a purpose, and that is to replace the present system with one that is "good." Acceptable costs? Inevitable losses? Sounds like he's carrying out his plan to achieve a vision--but it doesn't sound like he's going to be the oagent of all this "good." It sounds like he's acting on behalf of some entity.

During their July 21, 2010 conversations, the UCs asked Hassoun about his motivation for engaging in these proposed attacks. UC-2 stated his purported purpose: “want[ing] to change how our country [i.e., the United States] treats our people back home.” In response, Hassoun stated that he was differently motivated: “Mine is a kind of a different concept than this.”Hassoun explained he saw attacking Chicago as a means of creating chaos to gain political control of the city and its sources of revenue.  The proposed participants’ differing motivations did not trouble Hassoun: “We’re the same, we’re the same boat altogether. We’re floating same boat, you know. . . . [W]e’re doing the same thing, but everybody has their own interest. Because you know why? The results of this is a benefit to everybody.”

The FBI agents allude to motives that may be nationalist in character. Hassoun distances himself from that idea, but then says they're "in the same boat." Which "boat" would that be?  

It's important to note that not every cause, although it may have features in common with other causes, is exactly the same.  The Taliban has different short-term goals than does Hamas. They may (as in the above statement) work together to achieve some of these ends, but the vision for specific changes is not necessarily identical. Hassoun may not care about the "people back home." His focus may not have anything to do with that, it may not be his battle.   His field may be restricted to what he can achieve in the US.

At one point during the video, Hassoun stopped a woman then unknown to him, as she was walking past him to ask her about the busiest entertainment districts in Chicago. The woman, a waitress in a local bar who is hereinafter identified as “Individual A,” agreed to be filmed as she named Chicago nightlife locations. Based on his questioning, it appeared that Hassoun was using this independent source to confirm that he had properly identified proposed targets for a terrorist attack. When watching the video with the UCs on August 16, 2010, Hassoun referred to his interaction with Individual A as “like God [was] opening the way.”

This is the most chilling statement of all, and a clear reference to the Qur'an's "straight path." Suddenly Hassoun the random non-idealogue sounds a lot like many of his spiritual brothers, 19 of whom, a little over nine years ago, were more successful in promoting their vision than our friend Hassoun.

Too bad the press was forced to report on this story at all--it's so embarrassing to have to apologize for the Religion of Peace, over and over and over and over. I'm sure this incident would have quietly gone away if someone hadn't been combing through motions filed (you notice nothing hit the news until after charges were brought in court).

Let's hope the FBI stays on top of the Hassouns among us.

And let's hope our media is kind enough to keep us informed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If the Mountain won't come to Mohammad, Mohammad must go to the Molehill...

The Chicago Sun-Times Media Wire  carried this story on Sept. 14th, 2010:

"Burned Quran found in front of Muslim center"

A burned copy of the Quran was found on the sidewalk outside a Muslim community center Monday in the Irving Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

At about 5 p.m. Monday, two young people attending services at the center found the burnt holy book on the sidewalk in the 4300 block of North Elston Avenue, police News Affairs Officer Veejay Zala said.

An online search shows the Muslim Community Center is located at 4380 N. Elston.

Grand Central Area detectives are investigating.

Anyone with any information should call the police Civil Rights Section at (312) 745-5827.

This was the first coverage I saw; other news outlets have since weighed in, including stories that lengthily quote CAIR spokesmen who obligingly explain Islamophobia.

Give me a break.

First, Chicagoans are being shot to death left and right. We have a cop shortage to begin with, and then the cops are among those being murdered. Yet apparently the Chicago Police Department has a couple of detectives to spare for this incident. (Hey, did they ever even catch the animals who gunned down the officer on the eve of his retirement? No matter: those detectives would be put to better use solving more pressing cases, like this one.)

Second, is it really illegal to burn the Qur'an? We've been through all this before with the Terry Jones Florida church issue. If burning the Qur'an were illegal, on any level, he would have had law enforcement lined up around his church for weeks, just waiting for the chance to slap the cuffs on him. 

Third, how is this a hate crime? And if you can give a general definition of a hate crime which is appropriate to this incident, is this universally applied? Ie., is the same penalty earned for the person who burns a Bible or a flag? If not, why not?

One of the comments posted about this incident mentioned that if the police are pursuing this as a hate crime, they're actually enforcing sharia.  That's pretty insightful.  If they're spending their time and resources tracking down someone who, while not a member of a certain religion, has nonetheless violated the precepts of said religion, then that's enforcing sharia. Well, why not? The Chicago Public Library is apparently doing so (see my previous post).

Fourth, how do we know this even happened? I have no doubt a Qur'an was found, and that it had been burned.  But who put it there? The building is heavily trafficked by Muslim worshippers, yet no one actually witnessed the book being dropped.  Teenagers supposedly found it. Hmm. Could the teenagers have planted the Qur'an and then alerted the media?

If you don't think that's likely, you might recall the Muslim student at St. Xavier University a few years ago. Her property was defaced, there was a big brouhaha over this having happened at a Catholic university, there was an investigation, and--if I remember correctly--the student body marched in her support.

Guess what? Under questioning, she admitted she was the person responsible! Wow. How embarrassing for the university, plus all those supportive students. I bet they felt dumb...which they should. Her motive was to call attention to Islamophobia--which, even when it doesn't exist!--is still such a pressing problem.

Earlier this year, a Muslim community center was torched. This was in Tennessee or Kentucky. Same protocol was followed: shock and horror expressed by a supportive community, an investigation, lots of press. Conclusion: it was an inside job by one of the Muslim worshippers. Do we see a pattern yet?

It's the Tawana Brawley Syndrome, used with exceptional finesse by organizations like CAIR. I don't know if CAIR is directly involved in this current case or not, but it sure has CAIR's fingerprints all over it. The publicity junkies at CAIR are already saturating the news media with accusations of Islamophobia.

Newsflash, CAIR: the American public is catching on to your tactics. And we're figuring out that where there's smoke, as with this Qur'an, there may not necessarily be fire.

Putting Rationality on the Back Burner

So the Qur'an pyre at the Florida church fizzled out before any books were burned.  On a basic level, that makes me happy: I never even highlight textbooks, so the willful destruction of the printed word makes me uneasy.

Not only that, but the reverend who orchestrated the whole event was, in a sense, preaching to the choir.  Pastor Terry Jones's statement--that the Qur'an contains a dangerous message--is already accepted by his congregation.  He would have had more of an impact if he had distributed Qur'ans to the uninformed non-Muslim public, with the advice to read it with the understanding that its words are taken literally by millions. That would have educated people who otherwise embrace watered-down synopses of the book which ignore some of its more uncomfortable decrees ("Slay unbelievers wherever you find them.").

Too many non-Muslims are quick to uncritically accept what they're told, third-hand, about Islam. And they're given comforting information by self-appointed Muslim theologians who dismiss any negative elements with the following arguments:

        --"That passage doesn't translate exactly. You can only understand it if you read it in the original Arabic."

        --"Well, YOUR Bible contains just as much violence. More, even!"

Those statements are not valid. I have addressed those two responses in previous blog entries.  Also, I don't know anyone who can take EVERY verse of Scripture, Bible or Qur'an,  literally, all the time. Even if you believe that the word of God has been given to us in perfect form, and therefore we should follow its teachings as closely as possible, we are not perfect beings. So, as for the devout and non-violent Muslim, if he were to go around slaying unbelievers wherever he finds them, we would all be in mortal danger every time we stepped out of the house. (That would ruin my enjoyment of kiftah kebab, because I would have to worry about being poisoned ! Not to mention being very hesitant to hail a cab.)

But getting back to Reverend Jones: he should not have concocted his plan, simply out of common courtesy. You can think what you want about another person's religion, but to go out of your way to mock it is just not gentlemanly behavior. Yes, there was an art exhibit that featured a crucifix immersed in urine, and that was disrespectful and disgusting. But the incident didn't give Jones precedent, it only put him in the category of the "artist" who thought he was making a creative statement. Does he like being in that company?

And yet common courtesy, and respect of another person's, or many people's--feelings should also encourage the 9/11 mosque developers to stand down. According to an imam I once spoke to, there is an obligation in Islam to refrain from doing anything that causes another person's distress. I don't know what the Arabic word is, or if it's in the Qur'an or one of the hadiths. But if that's true, why haven't the mosque developers observed this?

But Pastor Jones should have had the support of anyone crying "free speech." Where were these people?
Why didn't President Obama come out and say about Jones the same thing he said about the mosque: that he may not personally think it was such a hot--no pun intended--idea to burn Qur'ans, but that Jones did have the right to do so?

Well, for one thing, Obama just doesn't have the analytical skills he's often credited with. He probably didn't see the parallel.

But the worst reason, and the one that got the most play, was the huge panic over the effects the Qur'an burning would have: there would be rioting and killing! There would be bloodshed ! There would be violence, much of it directed at Americans, specifically, or Westerners, more generally (non-Muslim).

It's interesting that these concernes were most often expressed by people who promote themselves as being pro-Muslim/anti-Islamophobic. Read between the lines: You shouldn't burn the Qur'an, because it will cause violence--because Muslims, fundamentally, are violent, out-of-control people .

That's right: a limited event  halfway around the world by a pastor who is conisidered "fringe" by most American Christians, never mind Americans in general, will send Muslims into such a frenzy of violence that no one will be safe ! Therefore, Pastor Jones will have blood on his hands. Not the people who are actually committing these acts of violence, because they can't be expected to control themselves.

This pretty much says it all, because in fact the Qur'an burning did not take place, yet over a dozen people have been killed due to the possibility that it might have gone ahead. That's right: Jones didn't hold a match to a single page of the Qur'an, but Muslims in Afghanistan and Kashmir still felt compelled to go ballistic and murder people.

It's not the first time the threat of violence has been held up as a reason not to  "provoke" members of the Religion of Peace. An opera in Germany, a few years ago, went on the defensive and totally bowed to pressure because one of the characters was Mohammad, albeit respectfully portrayed. They were told to change their script or there will be blood. Don't forget Motoonism and the South Park issue! There were even actual riots and killings over parts of the Qur'an ripped out and flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo--even though that never happened, it was just a rumor. The list goes on and on, but it's all the same: If you offend Muslims, they will attack. therefore don't offend them. And they get the right to determine what's offensive, so unless you're willing to say only very positive things about Islam--shut up. If they take umbrage, their behavior will be your fault!

Anyone who works with troubled people, or animals, knows that ignoring threats of aggression is a recipe for disaster. Oh, the dog snarled at you and lifted his lip? Some owners think it's best not to "provoke" him, even by accident! Except eventually he will be provoked. And whose fault will that be, the trainer who tried to modify the unwanted behavior, or the owner who dismissed warnings as, "He's really a sweet animal, he doesn't need any correction."  The dog ends up running the house just because no one can set reasonable limits of behavior.

And haven't we all witnessed the toddler who, like Billy Mumy in the Twilight Zone, was able to send grown-ups "into the corn" ? You know the episode--everyone had to kowtow to him because he had the power to make people just vanish. How many families have you seen who have an out-of-control, spoiled and malicious kid who runs the show, because the THREAT of doing something violent keeps everyone in line? The parents and siblings who continue to placate this person don't teach him anything; they just enable bad behavior.

As a society, we're enablers, too.  We tolerate, and excuse, threats of bad behavior if the offended party says the magic word, "religion." Suddenly, like the passive mean-dog owner or the fearful parent, we figuratively roll on our backs to display submission.

That's why the idea of violence over the Qur'an burning should have been given no life by the military, by the media, or by our Commander-in-Chief.

And it's why the threat of violence should never be a reason to roll over. It should, instead, give us reason to assert our authority: violence will not be tolerated, and when encountered it will be dealt with decisively.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

9/11 + 9

Yesterday marked the 9th anniversary of the jihadist attack on the United States: an attack that was about as Muslim as the College of Cardinals is Catholic. And yet the news coverage for the anniversary was amazingly apologetic to Muslims. Any mention of Islam has been purged from the media. If it is mentioned, there is a caveat that only a tiny percentage of Muslims harbor ill will toward the West.

It's creepy: it's as if the Twin Towers were sucked into the earth by an earthquake, or that this involved spontaneous combustion. It is now viewed as a natural disaster that just randomly affected thousands of people directly, and millions indirectly.

And yet, we know that the 19 actual hijackers who participated represented a huge, international movement dedicated to bringing down the West. They saw themselves, and were accepted by millions of fellow believers, as holy warriors acting in accordance with the Qur'an.

Did they represent the view of every Muslim in the world? Of course not. We all know that. But it is insulting to be told that you can't ever mention militant Islam without putting it in its larger context of civility. No: militant Islam is dangerous, it is growing, and it is cloaked by people, Muslim and non-Muslim, who keep trying to say its existence has been extinguished by the presence of non-militant Muslims.

I subscribe to the Chicago Tribune, and the front section contained stories that offered nothing but tea and sympathy for followers of Islam, with advice from our president on how to be kinder and gentler to our Muslim neighbors.

Yes, Barack, we've heard it all before. In fact, news features that focus on the poor beleaguered Muslim community have increased over the past few years, and the past few months they've been running more and more frequently. The tone of these articles is always the same: Muslim Americans are true-blue, yet inexplicably have been singled out for the most humiliating and vicious attacks EVER experienced by ANY sociocultural group in America.

I don't know how much loyalty the average Muslim would show to the US if actually pressed--the Fort Hood massacre springs to mind--but lots have gone on record to say they would never pick up arms against their Muslim brothers. (That's so weird, because the Muslim Iranians and the Muslim Iraqis were blowing each other to pieces for years. But whatever.)

However, for the sake of discussion, let's assume that the vast majority (we always have to talk about the Vast Majority of Muslims, such as, the vast majority that are moderate, the vast majority that love the US...) are fairly patriotic in a benign sort of way: law-abiding, tax-paying citizens who vote, buy American and eschew dressing in a way that broadcasts their religiopolitical agenda (ie, hijab).

And yet they endure daily torment for just being Muslim....people "look at them funny" (back in their countries of origin, this is known as "casting the evil eye")...people think they have strange names....people make terrorist jokes....the women go to K-Mart and strangers come up and YANK OFF THEIR HIJABS !

Yesterday's paper carried a story that was written by a member of CAIR (already, a conflict of interest, but that's how the Trib rolls these days) about young Muslims who feel vicitimized and pushed to the margins of high school society. And they had NOTHING to do with 9/11, so they don't get it.  But they deal with this daily abuse by contacting organizations like CAIR, which then help them set up Muslim youth groups so they can raise awareness and gain self-esteem, etc.

This is so creepy, it amazes me that the editors at the Trib allow these stories to run without question, yet shut down any ensuing discussion.

Because here's what's going on, and it's like a page out of a book called "How to Start a Homegrown Terrorist Cell":

1. Identify a group that feels marginalized.

2. Convince that group that they are really victims, that society as a whole really believes that they are horrible people.

3. Give them a new, stronger identity with a group that reinforces the idea that they are different. Emphasize those differences. Watch to see how that gels: the kid will feel more out of place, and angry about that, and people not in the group will see the anger and react negatively, which will fulfill that prophecy.

4. Involve an agency that bills itself as a civil rights advocacy group but which really has a shady  agendum.

5. Plant reporters who belong to the group in major press outlets so they can promote this propaganda and fan the flames of really feeling persecuted.

6. When these kids are really angry, but all grown up with jobs and money, watch to see what they do.

Adolescents often feel marginalized or "different." It's an awkward phase in most people's lives. Teasing a kid about their differences is obnoxious, but it's common, especially among boys. The person who is teased is allowed to tease back. I think hazing is stupid, but kidding is not necessarily malicious. Teenagers say dumb things, and if they're not told to knock it off, they can say things that are unintentionally mean. Or if they do say intentionally mean things, and it's hazing, adults need to be told so they can step in.

As for actual versus perceived cases of discrimination, I've pointed out before that something like a hijab is an in-your-face political statement, worn by women who often never wore it in their home countries, but who begin wearing it here in the US.  It is not religiously mandated; it's not cultural (or else why wait until they're here, or why do native-born Americans wear it?). It's political. And the political statement it makes is exactly the opposite of what the Vast Majority of Muslims supposedly want: it says, we are not part of your culture, we are different, we want to be treated differently--we want extra privileges, we want extra consideration, we want exceptions made for us. If you don't like that, too bad, we will make you look like a bully.

I think Americans are aware of this, and if they shun someone wearing hijab, it's the same as shunning someone who wears a white supremacist t-shirt. If you're not a white supremacist, and you think that's a terrible mindset, then shun away.

The one case I've ever come across regarding a woman having the hijab yanked from her head involved an incident in a department store. It was right after the Fort Hood massacre, and a shopper apparently reached her limit with this in-your-face display of superiority. She yanked off a Muslima's hijab, was arrested and forced to pay a fine. End of story.

Not! Because CAIR has been trotting out this incident, and multiplying it over and over. It's like that trick were you tell someone if they give you a penny, and double it the next day, and keep on doubling it for a whole'll end up with millions of dollars. Well, that penny of the Hijabogate has been doubled about 15 times now.

I think that's all fake, and I wonder how many people really believe that it's happening out there.

I, for one, will not be yanking any hijabs. When I see women wearing them, I STEER CLEAR. Not because I think they're wearing an explosive suicide belt, but because I find them --not the Vast Majority, mind you!--about as attractive as white supremacists.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Justice according to the ISLAMIC Republic of Iran

As a woman in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Sakineh Ashtiani already occupied the lowest rung on the ladder, but her life got a lot worse after her husband died. Or was killed, actually.

As a widow, she--a consenting adult, although there's no such concept in the Islamic Republic--may or may not have had a sexual relationship with another adult. (Oh, and she was an "unwitting accomplice" in her husband's murder. But that's a recent development, and a minor issue compared to the adultery charge.)That's all based on hearsay and a confession that was blurted out after days and days of interrogation and possibly torture.

In a nightmare good news/bad news scenario, the bad news was that she was sentenced to death by stoning. The good news was that she was sentenced to, and received, 99 lashes. (Islamic law, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, specifies that these be carried out at "full force.") Presumably, this was instead of the stoning--but wait! The bad news that followed was that this is in addition to the stoning.

Good news: after her adult children appealed for mercy and brought international attention to the story, world opinion pressured the Islamic Republic's authorities to suspend the sentence until after Ramadan, and then--more good news!--although execution is still in the cards, it may be by hanging instead of stoning.

But then: bad news: a picture surfaced, and was published by a newspaper covering the story. It featured a women who looked like Ashtiani. This woman was not covering her hair. Again, according to Islamic law in the Islamic Republic, this is a big no-no. Sentence: 99 lashes. (Please pay attention, all of you who say, "Oh, but women are free to wear what they want in Islam, and it's such a good way to be modest and seen only for your inner beauty, etc. etc." Yeah, right.)

But, good news: this woman only resembled Ashtiani !

Bad news: by the time this information surfaced, the sentence had already been carried out.

Well, who can blame the Islamic authorities for this little mistake? If you've only ever seen a woman with her head covered, and then you see a woman who sort of looks like her but with all this hair, anyone could make an error! Oops.

Good news: the international campaign to have Ashtiani's sentence lifted is gaining momentum. Brazil has offered her asylum, the Pope is appealing to the Islamic Republic of Iran for mercy, and protests are being held outside the Islamic Republic's embassies.

Bad news: all this attention is just making the Islamic Republic's Islamic authorities really ticked off.

Stoning is a nasty way to go.  The victim is buried (for men, up to the waist; for women, up to above the breasts). The rocks have to meet a size requirement: too small, and the punishment isn't effective and takes forever; too large, and it's over too quickly, which detracts from the entertainment value. Essentially, the rocks have to be hefty enough to eventually crack the skull open when repeatedly whacked against the victim's head. If you don't see brains ooze out, you're not done yet.

Now, for anyone who says, "Oh stoning is cultural, not religious!" , I say, "Boy, have I got some great Florida swampland for sale to you!" Because it is totally religious. It is in the Islamic Republic's Islamic legal code, and it is imposed by Islamic authorities, and you can't get much more religious than that. Although it is mentioned in the Bible, and in the past was practiced by a number of cultures, stoning is now exclusively a Muslim punishment. In today's world, there are no non-Muslim countries which have this punishment on their books.

It's very interesting that one of God's 99 names, according to the Qur'an, is "God the most merciful." I don't know about that: maybe it should be replaced by "God the Most Sadistic."

At least in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Killing discussion of honor killing

Finally, I got a comment posted at the WGN site ! It's the same article that ran on the TRIB site: Taxi ads stir controversy. Up until now, every effort to add my opinion to this issue has been blocked by the site manager...who, I suspect, is the reporter who orignally wrote the piece. She is a Muslim, and the piece is clearly slanted, as you can tell.

It is no surprise that she would want to censor me. Censorship, like honor killings, is another ugly tactic to silence the opposition. And it's enthusiastically embraced by Muslim countries, which, as far as I know, are alien to the concept of freedom of the press. In today's current climate, one is only allowed to say glowingly positive things about the Faith of the Prophet or else one is labelled an "Islamophobe."

But who is the Islamophobe: the person murdering young Muslim girls, or the person trying to help them?

The Tribune is also now calling the taxi campaign one of "Anti-Islam" ads. That's misleading--how are they anti-Islam? Do they advise people to leave Islam? Do they slur specific Muslims or do they mock passages from the Qur'an? Do they display "Mo-toons"?

I also submitted a letter to the Tribune's Letters to the Editor column. I predict it will not be printed, but if it is, I also predict that it will be followed by a rebuttal from a CAIR operative. Maybe the way-cool Ahmed Rehab himself ! And he will not contradict my information--he will resort to name-calling. He has done that before, and it is sad that he isn't man enough to take on an actual debate.

Here's my letter to the Trib:

Dear Editor, 26 August 2010

It’s interesting that Pamela Geller’s anti-honor killing taxicab campaign has been criticized for stoking the flames of so-called Islamophobia, and yet no news story has mentioned Muslim-spearheaded efforts to address this problem. (Chicago Tribune, Taxi ads stir controversy: Ads imply leaving Islam is dangerous for women,”August 22, 2010 and “Yellow Cab to remove last anti-Islam ads,”

The majority of Muslims do not carry out honor killings, but the majority of honor killings are carried out by Muslims. I doubt many imperiled Muslimas directly benefited from the taxi ads, but it is important to raise awareness about these murders, which are on the rise in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe. Even my “moderate” Westernized Muslim friend assured me he would kill his sister if she ever married outside the Faith. I had no reason to disbelieve him.

Also, if CAIR is really interested in improving the lives of American Muslims, they might want to join Pamela Geller’s efforts instead of vilifying her.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Check it out ! Chicago Public Libraries observe "soft" shariah !

If you live in Chicago, or even if you don't, you should look at where the Qur'ans are placed the next time you drop by a library. Here in Chicago, I've been doing a casual survey of our city libraries, the suburban libraries I frequent, and area bookstores. In almost every case, the Qur'an is placed on the highest shelf so that nothing is above it.

Why is it that these books ALWAYS happen to end up on the top shelf?

It's not the idea of the circulation clerks.  It's not a bizarre coincidence of alphabetization. It's because placing anything above the Qur'an Kareem is considered sinful.

There are lots of rules governing how one is allowed to handle the Qur'an, where it can be read, how to get into the right frame of mind when approaching it, etc. One of those rules dictates that the Book must command pride of place in a household. Nothing can be "higher."

If it's your private home and you're a devout Muslim, go ahead: put it on the top shelf. If the Qur'an happens to occupy a position that is on the top shelf, but which is just a matter of applying the Library of Congress catalogue, again, that's the way it is.

But I have been noticing, more and more often, that the books surrounding the Qur'an are jostled and moved and jammed onto shelves, or a shelf is skipped, so that the Qur'an ends up--voila!--on top.

That this happens at bookstores (Borders and Barnes & Noble franchises, for instance) is bad enough, but sometimes management will do stupid things to appease disgruntled customers. And as we all know, Muslims are huge fans of reading, what with all those universities in Baghdad ca. 700 AD.

I haven't been to every single library in the Chicago system, but the ones I've visited for this informal survey have all shelved the Qur'an the same way.  I was at Mt. Greenwood library today, and there it was--up top! Mt. Greenwood is on the Southwest side of the city, and we don't have many Muslims in the neighborhood, so I doubt these particular Qur'ans were ever borrowed.

I also doubt an "offended" Muslim (but ain't they all?) ever approached the desk to admonish them for having the Qur'an in a different spot.

My theory is that someone--and it wouldn't surprise me if that "someone" belonged to CAIR--contacted the City of Chicago and told them that the Qur'an MUST always occupy the top spot.

If that's true, why is the City implementing Islamic law in a public, taxpayer-supported institution?

Leave Islam Safely--or Die Trying

Pam Geller's taxicab campaign has come to Chicago; read about it here:  (Leave Islam Safely) Geller is advertising an option for people, mainly young women, who wish to leave the Religion in Which There is No Compulsion. Participating cabs carry rooftop-mounted signs that display a phone number for individuals seeking sanctuary. Good idea--a lot of these women are isolated from the non-Muslim community, and turning to another Muslim for help is risky.

Honor killings are on the rise in the U.S., Canada, and Western European countries with large Muslim immigrant populations. The murderers (sorry, alleged murderers) often cite religious reasons for being obligated to kill the offender. "Family" honor must be preserved, but closer reading reveals that the "family" is the "community," which means fellow Muslims who rarely, if ever, express disapproval for the crime.

Amazingly, NO "moderate" Muslim organizations, or even individuals, have spoken out about this.

John Esposito, however, weighs in.  He's the Georgetown U. prof who is trotted out every time an uncomfortable fact emerges about Islam, which he  instantly dismisses. This time, he explains to the "Islamoignorant" public that "honor killings" are cultural, not religious.

Dr. Esposito joins the thousands of apologists who downplay any catastrophic act of violence by Muslims and try to distance the act from the motive. Fort Hood massacre? Crazy guy. 9/11 ? Nineteen crazy guys, acting randomly. They happened to be Muslim--pretty much like the entire College of Cardinals happens to be Catholic.  Now, with honor killings,  it's "culture."

How arrogant, Dr. Esposito ! How dare you contradict what the murderers themselves cite as their reason for killing their sisters/daughters ? If they SAY it is religious, it is religious--who are you to read their innermost thoughts and then dismiss them as powerless pawns forced to do whatever their "culture" mandates? And which culture would that be anyway, Dr. E ? Honor killings occur among families from a LOT of different cultures...unless you mean Muslim culture ! Bringing us back to square one.....

The "moderate" Muslims mentioned in the story should be applauding Ms. Geller and sending her contributions so that she can outfit even more cabs. Yet we are to believe these "moderates" are offended.

I'm offended, too. I'm offended by the fact that, AGAIN, the Tribune has decided to silence anyone who dares point out the obvious, which is that honor killings should shame the environment that gives rise to them, not the people trying to raise awareness and stop them from happening.

I've tried to post comments, twice. I was blocked both times. It seems the new Tribune policy is to offer no forum to anyone who disagrees with their pro-radical Muslim spokesmen. If you agree with them, or if you disagree but then veer off-topic or get too emotional, and therefore look less credible, then your remarks will be posted.  But if you disagree AND have cogent, supportable reasons for your opinions, forget it. The "reporters" assigned to these stories can barely disguise their feelings on the issues. This is not reporting. This is propaganda.

Does the Tribune employ any editors who are educated on radical Islam and who are aware of what the paper has been doing?

I have had conversations with friends who were "moderate", Westernized Muslims. (I mentioned this in my blocked comment, too.) One of these men assured me he would kill his beloved younger sister if she ever married outside the Faith or otherwise disrespected Islam. There is no doubt in my mind that he would have done so--fortunately for her, she married a Muslim, and fortunately for the rest of us, he is no longer living in the US. 

In case the Trib archives the article about the cabs, here it is:

Opponent of mosque takes anti-Islam campaign to Chicago

August 23, 2010 5:50 AM ,UPDATED STORY

An outspoken opponent of the so-called ground zero mosque in Manhattan is taking on Islam in Chicago.

Pamela Geller, leader of a movement called Stop the Islamization of America, asserts that Muslims are increasingly taking over schools, financial institutions and the workplace. Her latest campaign against "Islamization" has appeared in ads this summer on top of 25 Chicago cabs.

Beside pictures of young women who were allegedly killed by their Muslim fathers for refusing an Islamic marriage, dating a non-Muslim or becoming "too Americanized" is the message: "Is your family threatening you?"

Though the placards appear to offer a haven for young women who want to leave Islam, critics contend the signs stoke fear among passengers and passers-by about the way an estimated half of the city's taxi drivers worship, and seek to suppress the religious liberty on which the nation was founded.

"We've tried to build a movement that respects others and to respect ourselves and work for our human rights," said Fayez Khozindar, chairman of the United Taxi Drivers Community Council, whose membership is mostly Muslim. "This isn't right."

The ads and the campaign against building the Park51 mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York show that nearly nine years since radical Muslim hijackers flew airplanes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, a number of authors and activists have stepped up to tell Americans that they believe Muslims are waging a surreptitious offensive to supplant the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law.

"If you're devout, you believe in the Shariah," Geller said. "I don't believe in the institution of foreign law. I believe in the separation of church and state or mosque and state."

But many Muslim scholars and civil rights advocates say Geller and other self-proclaimed truth-tellers are malicious activists who have capitalized on the terrorist attacks to create a cottage industry bent on bashing people of goodwill and championing religious freedom for all Americans except Muslims.

John Esposito, a professor of international affairs and Islamic studies at Georgetown University, said religious defamation and Islam-bashing have become more acceptable in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks.

"People like Pam Geller have a horrendous record," he said. "It's a track record of not distinguishing between forms of religious terrorism and Islam itself."

The ads sponsored by Geller's group come during a tumultuous time for Muslim Americans. The proposed mosque has drawn support from President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg that has been loudly countered by criticism from much of the national Republican leadership and a few high-profile Democrats. Last week, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn came out against the location of the mosque.

Geller said the ads in Chicago are the first in a nationwide campaign to raise Americans' awareness that honor killings are happening in their own country. She said surveys show that 91 percent of honor killings around the world -- and 84 percent of them in the U.S.-- are carried out by Muslims.

Esposito said religion has nothing to do with it. Honor killings are a cultural phenomenon, not religious, and they are not endorsed anywhere in the Quran, Islam's holy book.

"This ongoing jihad watch distorts the primary drivers here," Esposito said. "Unless you understand where it's coming from, it will not be addressed correctly. ... This should be understood the way we address violence against women. ... We offer them as much protection as we can, but we don't jump to say this simply goes on among a particular religious group."

The Council on American Islamic Relations is considering legal action regarding the ads. Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR-Chicago, said organizations such as Geller's are not qualified to lead domestic violence initiatives.

But Rehab suspects that's not their primary goal. Instead, he said, they are intentionally creating an uncomfortable work environment for Chicago's cabdrivers.

Geller said the faith of the cabdrivers never crossed her mind.

"I thought about the mobility of the cab," she said. "The ad is not directed at Muslims. In this particular case, it's directed at Muslim girls in trouble, living in fear of their lives, struggling to find resources to help."

But Jeff Feldman, president of Taxi Medallion Management, the company that manages Yellow Cab in Chicago, said drivers have a right to request another cab or remove the sign.

"I can see where moderate Muslim men would be upset by that type of ad," he said. "It casts a terrible impression over all of Islam."

-- Manya A. Brachear