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.