Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Free flow of information linchpin

.........Turkish Professor and Former Intelligence Officer: There is No Such Terror Organization as Al-Qaeda; Al-Qaeda is Code Name for a CIA Operation; The U.S. Government is Behind 9/11 and JFK's Assassination



Nese Duzel, of the center-left, liberal Turkish daily Radikal, interviewed Turkish professor, former Turkish intelligence officer, and newspaper columnist Mahir Kaynak(1) on the subject of Al-Qaeda's global terrorism.(2) Kaynak claimed that the U.S. government was behind both 9/11 and the assassination of president John F. Kennedy. The interview was also quoted at length by columnists from other Turkish newspapers.
The following are excerpts from the interview:


There is No Al-Qaeda; It's a Code Name for a CIA Operation

Nese Duzel: "The world lives in an Al-Qaeda panic [...] What does someone [involved in] intelligence [like you] think about an organization that is present everywhere, yet cannot be seen or found anywhere?"

Mahir Kaynak: "[I would think] that there is no such organization."

Duzel: "So, isn't there an organization called Al-Qaeda? Are others carrying out the terrorism, while we all look for a non-existent organization?"

Kaynak: "There is no such organization as Al-Qaeda. When you talk about a [terrorist] organization, it should have political goals. There is no answer to the question of what the goals of Al-Qaeda are. Nobody knows what it wants to achieve. Whereas terrorist organizations like the IRA and ETA all have concrete goals and well-defined geographic areas. Al-Qaeda has none of these. No staff and no geographic area. The whole world is their battleground."

Duzel: "It is said that Al-Qaeda wants to establish a Taliban-style regime in the Islamic world. Don't you think this is Al-Qaeda's goal?"

Kaynak: "The goals must be in line with the means. You cannot take a pin and attempt to kill someone with it. Al-Qaeda cannot establish its preferred regime in the Islamic world by its own strength. It does not have the means, the numbers, or the supporters. The reality is that there is no such organization called Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is the code name of an operation [undertaken] by an intelligence service. This is why we must first decipher this operation. There is an attempt to create some political consequences through this 'Al-Qaeda operation.'"

Duzel: "What political consequences are being created by Al-Qaeda terrorism?"

Kaynak: "The only results achieved by Al-Qaeda are the birth of anti-Islamic [sentiment] in the West and the identification of Islam with terrorism. We must find the answers to the questions of 'why is this result being sought?' and 'who wants this?' Al-Qaeda's actions are changing the balances in the world. It would be foolish to think that a small organization is [re]shaping the entire world. This is a large operation. One that first and foremost creates an anti-Islamic front of all the nations of the world."

Duzel: "What will be gained by the formation of an anti-Islamic front?"

Kaynak: "Today, there are two approaches to how the new world order should be built. One is the approach of the global capital. The other is the approach of Bush's America and Putin's Russia. The global capital adopts Huntington's 'Clash of Civilizations' thesis. It divides the world into Western civilization and those that remain outside of it, and wishes the 'new world balance [of power] to be built between the West and the others.' The second approach aims at reaching the [same] balance that existed in the past, with America on one side and Russia on the other. The current clashes in the world are about which way to choose to reach such balance [of power]. It seems that Bush's America and Putin's Russia are in agreement. Against them is the power of the global capital. Presently, there are no other powers with any political goals. The global capital has its own idea on how to govern the world."

Duzel: "What is that?"

Kaynak: "The global capital has a 'moderate Islam' policy. This is the policy of eliminating Islam's incompatibility with capitalism [...]. Global capital says, 'We will integrate Islam into the Western system and its markets and in so doing we will solve the problem.' Al-Qaeda, on the other hand, targets something very different [from the global capital]. It says, 'Let the Muslims become the enemy, the other.' The anti-Islamic front which is formed as a result of Al-Qaeda actions does not differentiate between moderate and radical. It sees all Muslims as terrorists. For an Islamic power center to create such results makes no sense. It is a Western power center that is doing all this. They are doing this in order to eliminate both the global capitalists' 'moderate Islam' model and political Islam."

Duzel: "Why would America want to destroy a 'moderate Islam' that does not clash with capitalism?"

Kaynak: "Because the global capital is [already] well organized within Islam. [...] Currently, there is a unity between the Saudi wealth and the global capital. America wants to destroy this. Otherwise, why would America want to change the Saudi regime, that was once deemed closer to the U.S. than any of its own states? Recently someone close to the Bush administration complained that a rich Arab had withdrawn his investments from the U.S. and directed them to Turkey, keeping the Turkish economy robust."

Duzel: "What is Turkey's place in this conflict?"

Kaynak: "Today, Turkey is one of the most important countries with its model of 'moderate Islam.' The [Turkish] government is not on good terms with America. Prime Minister Erdogan has complained that 'they are pushing buttons.' The Bush and Putin administrations want to eliminate the global capital thesis for moderate Islam. They [Bush and Putin] say that there can be no moderate Islam. 'Islam is one and all radical. You [the Muslims] will either become secular or you will disappear.' They want to stop Islam from being political. The conclusion is that the current clash is not between a man in the cave [i.e. bin Laden] and the world. The clash is between the global capital and Bush's America. Al-Qaeda is carrying out all the provocations on behalf of the side of Bush and Putin, to destroy the model of moderate Islam."

Duzel: "What do you mean by 'global capital?"

Kaynak: "Global capital does not run any corporation, industry and does not own them, but rather owns and uses the money. These people in the financial sector make use of funds that are not limited to their own wealth. [...] The global capital commands trillions of dollars and is as powerful as nation-states. They are not tied to any geography; the whole world is their place. If America fell, that would not disturb them either."

Duzel: "Is [George] Soros one of them?"

Kaynak: "Soros, Rothschild, [and] Rockefeller are representatives of the global capital. They have power that exceeds that of governments. The American and Russian governments are trying to eliminate the political power of the global capital. Al-Qaeda is [a tool] being used against this global capital and against Islam. But some continue to say that 'there is a man called Osama bin Laden in a cave in Afghanistan and he is fighting a war against the world.'"


The CIA is Carrying Out the 'Al-Qaeda' Operations... Terrorism is Carried Out by Governments... CIA Operatives Were Sent on Suicide Missions to Hit Their Own Twin Towers

Duzel: "Even if Al-Qaeda is the code name of an operation, there still is an organization that carries out the operation. How can there be an organization so strong that all the intelligence services of the world keep searching without success? In a way, it looks stronger than all of the intelligence agencies put together."

Kaynak: "The CIA carries out the Al-Qaeda operation, and the Putin administration knows about it. It may even be a partner to the operation. The intelligence services of other countries understand it, [but] it is not easy to do anything against America. Anyway, in operations conducted by states the truth does not emerge. [For example,] there is almost no doubt that Kennedy was assassinated by the state, but the evidence is never revealed. In this case, the men America uses are given the name 'Al-Qaeda.' For a certain act they select a few men and they carry out the action. They are not part of any organization, but just men that the CIA uses. This is terror that is committed by governments. They send these [men] on suicide missions. They hit their own Twin Towers. Such decisions are made by American policy makers. Bush may not even be aware. The CIA is an executive organ within the scope of a much greater power."

Duzel: "Did the CIA kill their fellow [U.S.] citizens by striking at the Twin Towers?"

Kaynak: "Why wouldn't the CIA carry out the [events of] September 11? What if they had told you that the alternative would be war? [That] had they not done this, they would have fought a war that would kill a million people?

"There were similar calculations during World War Two. There was a fight for the takeover of some areas, and it resulted in the deaths of 50 million people. Currently, the world is in a low-cost war. As parties to this war, we are shown Al-Qaeda on one side and the world on the other side. If you accepted this [as a fact], you would be totally irrational."

Duzel: "How so?"

Kaynak: "At the present time, results are being created that are similar to those at the end of World War [Two]. There is no way one can accept that [all] this is being accomplished by a handful of militants. [They say] that there is this power that, with its actions, is reshaping the world – but nobody is betraying the organization, no amount of reward money is helping, no information is being leaked. Why? Because there is no such organization called Al-Qaeda.

"According to the project, a few Muslims are used in the operations. They already knew such men, whom they had trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan against the Soviets. [...] These people are [usually] killed in action. All precautions are taken to prevent the leaking of information. The militant, for example, may not even know that he is a militant. You attract him to the secret service, then give him a bag to deliver. You blow up the bag by remote control. Here you've got a suicide bomber. You can ask a truck driver to transport milk and blow up [the truck] when it is on its way."


Secret Services Must Be Hiding bin Laden

Duzel: "Al-Qaeda has a ghost leader, just like the organization itself. He too cannot be seen or found. Can anyone being sought the way he is hide for such a long time without powerful support?"

Kaynak: "No, he cannot possibly hide. It must be secret services that are hiding him."

Duzel: "It is Al-Qaeda that linked Islam with terrorism. Thanks to Al-Qaeda, in the West the word 'Muslim' is associated with terrorism. Muslims are being persecuted everywhere. What could be Al-Qaeda's goal in linking Islam with terrorism like this?"

Kaynak: "Islam's political character is bound to be lost once it is associated with terrorism. The aim is to identify Islam with terrorism and thus disqualify Islam as an ideology or a political movement. If you want to kill a political thought, first you empty it of any ideal, and then you turn it into activism alone. This is how the Left was eliminated in Turkey. They first emptied the Left of thought, and then turned the Leftists' profile into one of 'armed activists.' It happened with the Kurdish movement too. It started as a movement of classes, then became terrorist. Today, the West is using the same method with Islam. The deep [i.e. covert] American government is eliminating political Islam."

Duzel: "Why do they want to get rid of 'political Islam'?"

Kaynak: "Political Islam was taking the place of the Left [in combating capitalism and imperialism]. Even in Western societies, the oppressed people had started seeing Islam as a religion of salvation. Now they are emptying Islam of its content, [and] at the same time they are ending the hegemony of the global capital in the Islamic countries. This is the battle of nation-states against the global capital. Global capital was opposed to the 'states' and was about to become more powerful than the 'states'. [...] [Nation-]states are trying to gain control over the global capital, which is a by-product of capitalism. The globalization mechanisms are being destroyed by Al-Qaeda's actions. The truth is that the rise of Islam in the world did not happen as a result of the dynamics within Islam itself. Had it not been for [the U.S.'s] Green Belt project(3) – a policy to contain the Soviet Union – we would not now be seeing so many people [Muslims] praying [five times a day]. But now that they [i.e. the Americans] realize how powerful the global capital has become within the Green Belt countries and political Islam, they want to get rid of both."

Duzel: "We [Turkey] have the additional problem of PKK terrorism. PKK is now adopting some bloody tactics from which they had refrained in the past. They are attacking civilian targets in [Turkey's] western regions. Why are they doing this?"

Kaynak: "It is no [longer] clear who PKK is. It is divided. Which part of it is carrying out the terrorism, or whether it really is PKK, are very questionable [issues]. PKK is in a fight with Iran and Syria. It is declared a 'terrorist' [organization] by both America and Europe. It does not get along with Barzani or Talabani. Would such an organization ever say, 'This many enemies are not enough for me. Let me also bring in the Turkish military forces so that I can be totally crushed?' It is some other powers that want to get rid of the PKK that are carrying out some acts of terrorism and attributing this to PKK. For example, if I were Barzani, I would have done something like this to get rid of the PKK problem. Because of these acts of terror, if we [Turkey] drive all those that are in Turkey into Iraq, they'd be left hungry and penniless, and since they would be isolated and have no political support anymore, they would be obliged to go under Barzani's command. The [best] way to eliminate an organization is not by using arms, but by buying them off. They want to destroy the PKK now, and the current plan is to get them under Barzani's control. This is what they are doing... Members of the PKK will become paid soldiers..."

Re: Headscarf linchpin

Iranian woman sets herself on fire rather than wear the hijab [veil]
Ricard Heath writes:


.......In a school in western Iran, a 14-year-old Kurdish girl died after setting herself on fire in protest over her right not to wear the hijab headdress. The story nearly brings Iranian Kurd Kawa Kohnaposhe to tears. He escaped Kurdistan in 2000 after twice being arrested and tortured for supporting the Democratic Party of Kurdistan.

He fled to Turkey, obtained false documents and eventually arrived in Sheffield via London and Coventry.

Meanwhile, the girl began to question certain details of Islam and refused to wear the hijab.

She was detained after school and after months of torment she decided to end her life.

Kawa never had the chance to say goodbye to the 14-year-old girl, his sister, Soma.

"I only had one sister. She was only 14 when she died. I never said goodbye to her and that has left me with a pain in my heart that won't go away. It will be with me forever," said Kawa, speaking at his Burngreave flat.

Kawa, aged 26, had little choice but to leave behind the oppression of Kurdistan after his every move became tracked by the Iranian intelligence service.

After leaving high school in the town of Mariwan, the then 19-year-old began teaching at a local school.

It was there where he began secretly teaching the pupils about the Democratic Party of Kurdistan. This act caught the attention of the Iranian government. No Kurdish resident can have a Kurdish name. They cannot study their own language, celebrate their own festivals or even display their own flag. Those who do are captured and tortured.

Kawa was 20 when he was arrested, taken to the local jail and subjected to two weeks of mental and physical abuse.

He said: "They put me under pressure to tell them about my political work but I didn't say anything. They had no evidence against me.

"So they began playing tapes of women and children screaming because they were being beaten. Some were being abused sexually.

"Then they beat me. They tied my legs together and hung me from the ceiling and hit me with guns and sticks."

Kawa spent two weeks inside the jail, living in a cell so small he couldn't lie down.

He still suffers pain from the beatings and during an English course at Sheffield College had to leave class early so he could exercise his neck and shoulder.

Council figures show that Iranians have taken over Somalis as the largest ethnic group claiming asylum in Sheffield. There are 149 Iranian asylum seekers in 109 households in Sheffield. There are 129 Somalis in 60 households. Kawa said: "Life is difficult in Kurdistan. There is always someone watching you and you are constantly denied celebrating your culture.

"Most people don't even know what the Kurdish flag looks like because no-one is allowed to have one."

Two months after he was released from jail, and having been constantly monitored by the Iranian government, Kawa was rearrested, locked up and again tortured.

"They did the same thing again but I wouldn't say anything to them.

"Those 21 days were horrible for me and for every single prisoner. They didn't treat us like humans.

"I got into politics for a reason – to change things. So, why would I tell them anything? If I did, they would have killed me."

Kawa left Kurdistan and claimed asylum in Sheffield after relatives warned him that people captured for a third time are either detained for life or killed. One man who was seen with a Kurdish flag was arrested and allegedly splashed with boiling water before having his fingers chopped off.

He was then beaten, shot, cut open and his body was dumped outside his family's home as a warning to other Kurds.

"They would cut your body, they would take body parts from you. I had to leave because I thought they would kill me. If I went back there now I would be killed, it is as simple as that."

Kawa was granted leave to remain in the UK about four years after arriving here.

This spring he spent eight weeks shadowing teachers at St Patrick's School in Firth Park. He told the children stories about [l]ife in Kurdistan and helped improve his language and teaching skills.

Now Kawa plans to take a teacher training course in London. He will temporarily have to move out of his Sheffield flat, and take with him the Kurdish flag, which is hanging in his living room........



href="http://www.sheffieldtoday.net/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=58&ArticleID=1129514">

Re: Headscarf linchpin

Australian MP 'Bishop' backs headscarf ban
From The Age

Liberal backbencher Bronwyn Bishop has backed a push to ban Muslim girls from wearing headscarves at public schools, describing their use as an iconic act of defiance.

Ms Bishop backed the view of outspoken Liberal MP Sophie Panopoulos, who last week said she was concerned about Muslim women not showing their faces when they posed for photographic identification.

Ms Bishop today said the issue had been forced upon Australia, which was experiencing a clash of cultures.

"In an ideal society you don't ban anything," she told the Seven Network.

"But this has really been forced on us because what we're really seeing in our country is a clash of cultures and indeed, the headscarf is being used as a sort of iconic item of defiance," she told Channel Seven.

Read more at theage.com.au ...

Why cultural linchpins are so critical

Australia-hating Muslims unchecked, says teacher
From The Age (Melbourne)


THE warning signs were apparent to Chris Doig at least 10 years ago. A small group of the teacher's students made it clear they despised Australia, regarding it as a degenerate culture to be disrupted and ultimately swept aside.


Two Muslim students danced with joy after the September 11 attacks in the United States. Other students told him these attitudes came out of ideas picked up at Melbourne's northern suburbs mosques.


The teacher says he tried to voice concern to his school administration, to the Education Department bureaucracy, even to senior political figures in his own Labor Party, but his warnings were ignored.


The school was Moreland City College in Coburg, which closed at the end of last year when enrolments fell to 270, from a high of 1000 a decade before. The official reason for the closure was that community confidence had fallen, particularly after adverse media reports when students vandalised mini-buses belonging to the neighbouring Yooralla Society.


Now there is renewed soul searching after London's July bombers were found to have grown up in Britain.


Mr Doig isn't claiming his former students were potential bombers, or that their behaviour was entirely to do with their religious views, but he is concerned that some of their attitudes were so hostile to Australian culture that their behaviour descended frequently to violence. He is especially critical of what he says was a faint-hearted response from the school and the educational hierarchy and what he claims was their tolerance of intolerable behaviour and attitudes.


The Age has spoken to two other former teachers from the school who declined to be named but who endorsed Mr Doig's claims about an under-current of anti-Australian values among a small core of students.


The Education Department refused to allow former principal Margaret Lacey to speak, offering instead the director of the Education Department's northern region, Wayne Craig. Mr Craig said he had been involved in investigating the problems at the school and Islamic fundamentalism among the students was never raised as an issue.


"There were many problems at the school and I'm not saying this might not have happened when this teacher was there, but it never came up among anyone we spoke to. I believe that if these values are out there, principals and teachers will know about it."


The senior imam at the Preston Mosque, Sheikh Fehmi Naji el-Imam, denied that anti-Australian values would have come from his mosque's religious teachers. "I am 100 per cent sure of that, but it is possible these views came from conversations they had with other people or with other kids when they were at the mosque."


The vice-president of the Victorian division of the Australian Education Union, Meredith Peace, was involved in negotiations over the school after the decision had been made to close it.


"There were some extremely disruptive students at the school, but no evidence was presented that they were Islamic or that the problems were based on religion," she said.


But Ms Peace said the union became involved with the school at the end and was more concerned with developing a new school on the site.


Mr Doig insists that some students were openly attacking Australia and ridiculing values such as respect for the rights of others. "Some of the disruptive ones would say Australia was degenerate and our legal system would be replaced by Shariah (Islamic) law in the not too distant future."


He emphasised that the troublemakers were not among the most religious Muslim students, who tended to show respect for teachers.


He believes the troublemakers were a key to the breakdown of the school, which gained some notoriety as being where Muslim students were reported to have danced with joy after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US. He said two students did this in one of his classes although one apologised the next day.


"The problem for all of us is how to respond to this. There was an unwillingness to challenge their destructive behaviour and attitudes because it was seen as culturally insensitive. This was irresponsible political correctness.


"We have seen from the London bombings what can happen when the sort of attitudes these kids expressed are allowed to go unchallenged. These students expressed open defiance and an obvious antagonism for Western cultural values, dismissing the sort of middle-of-the-road tolerant values that are the basis of the Australian system."


This small group of highly disruptive students, he said, had no respect for others, property, most women or the rights of any culture other than what they saw as their own.


About half the students at the school were Muslim, and Mr Doig says the vast majority were respectful and well behaved. The troublemakers, he says, made up no more than 5 per cent. Most were the Australian-born children of parents who had come from a handful of small neighbouring villages in Lebanon during the civil war that raged from the late 1970s to the early 1990s.


"Some of these were so disruptive and even violent that staff and other students abandoned the school when they could." He said he was threatened with stabbing and had to call the police three times.


Mr Doig, who was head of English and humanities at the school, now teaches at another college, but he kept notes, letters and incident reports from more than 10 years.


"We were constantly being told that these kids were the disadvantaged and it is true many came from difficult backgrounds and large families. I think there was also an unwillingness among school administrators to acknowledge that some core values of the Australian society, such as respect for others and their right to learn, needed to be taught.


Mr Doig's claims have been backed up by two other former teachers at the school who did not want to be identified.


One, whose background is Middle Eastern, said there was a tendency in the educational climate of the school to take the side of disruptive students and blame the teachers. "You could never throw them out of the class; if you did they would just be sent back in."


The administration's attitude was that these troublemakers had a right to an education, he said. "The problem kids all came from a small community in Lebanon and were related by blood. They would pick on the non-Muslim kids — and even other Muslims from Turkey and Iraq. I think in they end the Education Department twigged, and they basically closed the school down to break the group up, sending small groups of these kids to different schools in the surrounding area.


"Just to keep the numbers up they used to take problem kids that were thrown out of other nearby schools. We even got the ones who were expelled from private schools like King Khalid (Islamic College in Coburg)." The teacher said these students used to boast that Australia would become a majority Islamic country in 50 years.


"They would do this by converting the infidel and by out-breeding the rest of the community."

the age

Re: Headscarf Linchpin

For equality, ban the hijab in public schools
The Age (Melbourne) ^ | 31st August 2005 | Leslie Cannold

The Muslim headscarf is a challenge to Western gender equity, writes Leslie Cannold.


AS A highly opinionated person and an ethicist to boot, coming down on one side or another of an ethical quandary has never been — unlike breaking up — hard for me to do. But for every rule there is an exception and, for me, that exception is the question of whether girls at public schools ought to be allowed to wear the hijab, or Islamic headscarf. For years I've been chasing my tail on this one, not quite sure what to think.


Part of the problem is that many of my lifelong identifications — as a member of a minority group, an opponent of racism and a feminist — steer me in opposing directions when it comes to the hijab.


As a Jew, I understand how particular items of religious clothing can encode spiritual, cultural and political meaning and how a proposed ban would be perceived — and resisted — as a threat to religious freedom, cultural identity and political expression. The French law, as would likely be the case with any Australian one, banned the skullcaps worn by observant Jewish males, Sikh turbans and conspicuous Christian crosses.


Support for the ban has created strange bedfellows. Since the passage of the French legislation, supported by a significant majority of the population, socialist legislators have teamed with barely closeted racists across Europe to impose similar bans.


In Australia, Liberal backbencher Bronwyn Bishop had condemned the hijab because of complaints from constituents that kinders are banning Christmas carols.


But it is the lessons of both feminist politics and social theory that cause me the most consternation. On the one hand, I am strongly committed to the rights of individuals to make private decisions in accordance with their own needs and values. If deciding what to wear and the meaning attached to wearing it isn't a private decision, I don't know what is. In addition, some Muslim women maintain that the hijab liberates rather than oppresses them. Who am I to accuse them of false consciousness by insisting they are wrong?


But feminism has also taught me to look for the power, and while power is constantly in play between the genders, it is the motivating thirst that rarely speaks its name in debates about the hijab. There is no question that many of the Muslim women who contend that the veil liberates them from the sexualising gaze of men do so in a subcultural and mainstream social and political context in which the power to name one's own experiences and autonomously direct one's own destiny is denied to women because they are women. It is the most disempowered of women who look to conformity with the rule of the Fathers — in this case, that nice girls wear veils — as their only chance of gaining the social recognition and empowerment that all humans crave.


It is largely Muslim men who are insisting that "their" girls and young women will be upset, concerned or made fearful by the banning of the hijab from public schools. But given such leaders are rarely democratically elected, little less by a voting base that includes women, how can we know whose interests they really represent? This seems a particularly pertinent worry in light of the third largest Muslim organisation, the Union of Islamic Organisations in France, supporting the ban and the insistence of some Muslim women that the hijab is an inescapably oppressive garment that both perpetuates antiquated notions of female "purity" and helplessness, and insults the moral agency of men (who at the sight of any part of any female's body have no recourse but rape).


When we remember rumours about some French Muslim schoolboys standing over their non-veiled classmates until they covered up and that, once implemented, the French ban led only 72 of 12 million school children to disobey, concerns multiply about the quality of our knowledge about what young Muslim girls really want — and what is best for them — when it comes to the veil.


Of course, the meaning of the hijab — like the resurgent Playboy bunny symbol, books, movies and TV shows — is neither fixed nor absolute, but open to interpretation. There seems little doubt that different women, and women in countries with varied political histories and degrees of gender equity, see the hijab as making a broad variety of cultural and political statements — some constraining, some liberating — about their role and status in society.


But arguably what matters most in assessing the need for an Australian ban is the way Australian Muslims and non-Muslims understand the hijab. My impression is that, rightly or wrongly, many Australians see the scarf as a symbol of the gender-based oppression women suffer in many non-Western countries, and thus a challenge to the credo of gender equity preached and largely practised in Australian public schools.


Because equality of people and of opportunity is a critical value that Australian schools must — and must be seen to — uphold, the wearing of the hijab in public schools must be banned. At the same time, as per the original advice the French Government received on banning conspicuous religious symbols in schools, Jewish and Muslim holy days should join Christmas and Easter as official school holidays.


Leslie Cannold is a researcher at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Re: Headscarf linchpin

By Daniel Pipes writes:

.......As the full implications of the London's terrorism by domestic jihadis sink in, Westerners speak out about the problem of radical Islam with new clarity and boldness.


The most profound development is the sudden need of the British and others to assert what it means to be British, Australian, or some other nationality. In the face of the Islamist challenge, historic identities taken for granted must now be explained and codified.


This can be seen on a diurnal level, where Islamist assertion has provoked a new European willingness in recent months to stand up for historic customs — as seen by the banning of burqas in Italy, requiring a German school boy to attend co-ed swimming classes, and making male applicants for Irish citizenship renounce polygamy. When a ranking Belgian politician cancelled lunch with an Iranian group after it demanded that alcohol not be present, his spokesman helpfully explained that "You can't force the authorities of Belgium to drink water."


As shown by two statements on the same day last week (Aug. 24), leading Western politicians are going beyond these minor specifics to address the civilizational heart of the matter.


David Cameron, the British shadow education secretary and one of the Conservative party's bright prospects, defined Britishness as "freedom under the rule of law," adding that this expression "explains almost everything you need to know about our country, our institutions, our history, our culture — even our economy." Peter Costello, the treasurer of Australia and regarded as heir apparent to Prime Minister John Howard, asserts that "Australia expects its citizens to abide by core beliefs - democracy, the rule of law, the independent judiciary, independent liberty."


Cameron also spoke with a bluntness unique in four years of politicians' discourse since 9/11: "The driving force behind today's terrorist threat is Islamist fundamentalism. The struggle we are engaged in is, at root, ideological. During the last century a strain of Islamist thinking has developed which, like other totalitarianisms, such as Nazi-ism and Communism, offers its followers a form of redemption through violence."








Most striking are the growing calls to extrude Islamists. Two politicians have advised foreign Islamists to stay away. Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, Quebec's international relations minister, retracted the welcome mat from those "who want to come to Quebec and who do not respect women's rights or who do not respect whatever rights may be in our Civil Code." Bob Carr, premier of New South Wales, Australia (which includes Sydney), wants would-be immigrants to be denied visas if they refuse to integrate: "I don't think they should be let in."


Costello goes further, observing that Australia "is founded on a democracy. According to our Constitution, we have a secular state. Our laws are made by the Australian Parliament. If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Shari'a law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you." Islamists with dual citizenship, he suggests, could be asked "to exercise that other citizenship," i.e., leave Australia.


Likewise, Brendan Nelson, Australia's education minister, also on Aug. 24 urged immigrants to "commit to the Australian constitution, Australian rule of law." If not, "they can basically clear off." Geert Wilders, head of his own small party in the Dutch parliament, similarly called for the expulsion of non-citizen immigrants who refuse to integrate.


But it was the British shadow defence minister, Gerald Howarth, who went the furthest, suggesting in early August that all British Islamists must go. "If they don't like our way of life, there is a simple remedy: go to another country, get out." He directed this principle even to Islamists born in Britain (such as three of the four London bombers): "If you don't give allegiance to this country, then leave."


These statements, all dating from the past half year, prompt several observations. First, where are the Americans? No major U.S. politician has spoken of making American-based Islamists unwelcome. Who will be the first?


Second, note the consistent focus on the law and legal issues. This correctly picks up on the fact that ultimately, the Islamist project concerns the application of Islamic law, the Shari'a.


And finally, these comments are likely to be leading indicators of a broader campaign to restrict and remove Islamists — a move that comes none too soon......

Desegrate women linchpin:

Who Is Becoming Like Whom?--The Saudis Get a Pass . . . Again
Charles Colson writes:


........A key goal in the war on terrorism is the promotion of democracy and pluralism in the Islamic world. It’s expected that these Western ideals will cripple radical Islam by reducing the number of potential terrorist recruits, and by making the Middle East more like the West.

Apparently, someone in Blacksburg, Virginia, didn’t get the word.

Blacksburg is home to Virginia Tech, Virginia’s largest public university. This past summer, Virginia Tech was paid $246,000 to host a program in “faculty development” for King Abdul-Aziz University in Saudi Arabia.

Such arrangements aren’t unusual, but what was unusual was the Saudis’ request that the classes be gender-segregated. University officials said that the Saudis wanted the courses to “mirror classroom settings at their home institution.”

As one Virginia Tech spokesman put it, the university “chose to respect the Saudi culture ‘rather than impress our culture on them.’” Well, that explanation did not go down well with Tech faculty members. One professor even filed a grievance. Virginia Tech’s provost issued an apology-of-sorts and called the flap a “learning moment” that will guide Tech’s future actions.

This particular issue is moot because the Saudis will be long gone by the time the grievance process is over. What isn’t moot is the way that Saudi Arabian oil wealth buys an exemption from our professed values and ideals.

A decade ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the Virginia Military Institute’s (VMI) single-sex policy violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. As a public institution, VMI couldn’t do, as a matter of conviction, what its sister institution, Virginia Tech, now gladly does for money. Please.

Our bending over backwards to accommodate Saudi sensibilities isn’t limited to American college campuses. As scholar Daniel Pipes puts it, “In Saudi Arabia, the U.S. government submits to restrictions on Christian practices that it would find totally unacceptable anywhere else in the world”—including foregoing saying grace before Thanksgiving dinner during a 1990 visit by then-president George H. W. Bush. As recently as 2002, American servicewomen, when they went off-base, were expected to wear “abayas,” the black head-to-foot garments worn by Saudi women. Meanwhile, we allow Saudis to finance schools that teach hatred of the West and send Korans into prisons.

These and numerous other examples prompt an obvious question: Who is becoming like whom? There can be no doubt which one needs to change. After all, Americans didn’t hijack their planes and fly them into the Kingdom Centre in Riyadh.

Yet, Americans are expected, by both their government and ours, to become more like Saudis. And as the price of oil rises, this leverage and influence can be expected to rise with it.

Let’s be clear: This is not “respect” for another culture; it is cravenness. It is letting oil wealth blind us, not only to our values, but also to our best interests. In any war, it helps to know who your adversaries are. The poor, misguided folks in Blacksburg may have done us a favor if this wakes us up to the double-standard we practice with the Saudis.........

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Headscarf linchpin: Australia gets it

Australian MPs understand what a huge linchpin that banning headscarves would be:

MP calls for head scarf ban
news.com.au ^ | 28th August 2005


LIBERAL MPs Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Panopolous have continued to the Federal Government's clamp down on Islamic practices, with Bronwyn Bishop today adding her voice to Sophie Panopolous' call for head scarves to be banned.


Ms Bishop backed the view of outspoken Liberal MP Sophie Panopoulos, who last week said she was concerned about Muslim women not showing their faces when they posed for photographic identification.


Ms Bishop today said the issue had been forced upon Australia, which was experiencing a clash of cultures.


"In an ideal society you don't ban anything," she told the Seven Network.


"But this has really been forced on us because what we're really seeing in our country is a clash of cultures and indeed, the headscarf is being used as a sort of iconic item of defiance," she told Channel Seven.


"I'm talking about in state schools. If people are in Islamic schools and that's their uniform, that's fine. In private life, that's fine."


But Muslim Women's Association president Maha Krayem Abdo said such a ban was dangerous, and that girls should be free to follow their religious beliefs at any Australian school.


She agreed that in an ideal society nothing would be banned and said Australia had a leadership role to play on such issues.


"I think it's so dangerous to go down that path if we think ... that in an ideal society we would not ban anything," she said.


"And I think Australia takes on a leadership role in the world, that it is a fair-go society.


"I don't see anything contravening that fair go and equality that Australia strives for – so the hijab, no way would it in any shape or form, contravene that."


Ms Krayem Abdo said she found it difficult to comprehend the government's stated support for the freedom of Iraq, yet Ms Bishop's proposition was to prevent Australian Muslims from exercising freedom of religious rights.


Last year France's parliament voted overwhelmingly to outlaw the wearing of Islamic headscarves in state schools, although concerns remain over whether that decision merely deepened divisions within French society.


Education Minister Brendan Nelson said last week that he did not support a ban on headscarves.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

From Iran top Mullah

UK more dangerous than a jungle: Iran top Mullah
From IranMania.com ^ | Friday, August 26, 2005

".....Britain is a terrible place to live and anti-terrorist laws there make life as an animal in a jungle far safer, a top Iranian cleric said Friday, AFP reported.

"Day by day, corruption, tyranny, felony, insecurity and different dangers are attacking human society. Just look at the fight against terrorism in Britain," Ayatollah Ahmad Janati said in a Friday prayer sermon.

"All gatherings are under the microscope. People should know they are being watched. In cinemas, parks, streets and even in the railway stations, cameras are watching," he said, asking "what kind of security is this when people are constantly monitored?"

British police, he said, can also "arrest anyone without any evidence or pressing charges".

"Is this life for a human being? No animal in a jungle lives with the amount of insecurity that they have there," he alleged, slamming British authorities for also "spreading insecurity in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine."

The British government has embarked on a wide-ranging crackdown on Islamic extremists and other groups in the wake of the July 7 suicide bombings, which killed 56 people, and attempted copycat attacks on July 21........"

Friday, August 26, 2005

7 Signs of a Loser Society

By legislating against the 7 key factors of a loser society (as written by Ralph Peters) that the West could bloodlessly implement key social changes that could start a domino effect in Islam.

The Seven key "failure factors" are as follows:

1 Restrictions on the free flow of information.
2 The subjugation of women.
3 Inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure.
4 The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization.
5 Domination by a restrictive religion.
6 A low valuation of education.
7 Low prestige assigned to work.

"........RALPH PETERS writes in "Spotting the Losers: Seven Signs of Non-Competitive States..............When you leave the classroom or office and go into the world, you see at first its richness and confusions, the variety and tumult. Then, if you keep moving and do not quit looking, commonalties begin to emerge. National success is eccentric. But national failure is programmed and predictable. Spotting the future losers among the world's states becomes so easy it loses its entertainment value.
In this world of multiple and simultaneous revolutions--in technology, information, social organization, biology, economics, and convenience--the rules of international competition have changed. There is a global marketplace and, increasingly, a global economy. While there is no global culture yet, American popular culture is increasingly available and wickedly appealing--and there are no international competitors in the field, only struggling local systems. Where the United States does not make the rules of international play, it shapes them by its absence.
The invisible hand of the market has become an informal but uncompromising lawgiver. Globalization demands conformity to the practices of the global leaders, especially to those of the United States. If you do not conform--or innovate--you lose. If you try to quit the game, you lose even more profoundly. The rules of international competition, whether in the economic, cultural, or conventional military fields, grow ever more homogeneous. No government can afford practices that retard development. Yet such practices are often so deeply embedded in tradition, custom, and belief that the state cannot jettison them. That which provides the greatest psychological comfort to members of foreign cultures is often that which renders them noncompetitive against America's explosive creativity--our self-reinforcing dynamism fostered by law, efficiency, openness, flexibility, market discipline, and social mobility.
Traditional indicators of noncompetitive performance still apply: corruption (the most seductive activity humans can consummate while clothed); the absence of sound, equitably enforced laws; civil strife; or government attempts to overmanage a national economy. As change has internationalized and accelerated, however, new predictive tools have emerged. They are as simple as they are fundamental, and they are rooted in culture. The greater the degree to which a state--or an entire civilization--succumbs to these "seven deadly sins" of collective behavior, the more likely that entity is to fail to progress or even to maintain its position in the struggle for a share of the world's wealth and power. Whether analyzing military capabilities, cultural viability, or economic potential, these seven factors offer a quick study of the likely performance of a state, region, or population group in the coming century.

The Seven Factors
These key "failure factors" are:
Restrictions on the free flow of information.
The subjugation of women.
Inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure.
The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization.
Domination by a restrictive religion.
A low valuation of education.
Low prestige assigned to work.

Zero-Sum Knowledge
The wonderfully misunderstood Clausewitzian trinity, expressed crudely as state-people-military, is being replaced by a powerful new trinity: the relationship between the state, the people, and information. In the latter phases of the industrial age, the free flow of quality information already had become essential to the success of industries and military establishments. If the internationalizing media toppled the Soviet empire, it was because that empire's battle against information-sharing had hollowed out its economy and lost the confidence of its people. When a sudden flood of information strikes a society or culture suffering an information deficit, the result is swift destabilization. This is now a global phenomenon.
Today's "flat-worlders" are those who believe that information can be controlled. Historically, information always equaled power. Rulers and civilizations viewed knowledge as a commodity to be guarded, a thing finite in its dimensions and lost when shared. Religious institutions viewed knowledge as inflammatory and damnable, a thing to be handled carefully and to advantage, the nuclear energy of yesteryear. The parallel to the world public's view of wealth is almost exact--an instinctive conviction that information is a thing to be gotten and hoarded, and that its possession by a foreign actor means it has been, by vague and devious means, robbed from oneself and one's kind. But just as wealth generates wealth, so knowledge begets knowledge. Without a dynamic and welcoming relationship with information as content and process, no society can compete in the post-industrial age.
Information-controlling governments and knowledge-denying religions cripple themselves and their subjects or adherents. If America's streets are not paved with gold, they are certainly littered with information. The availability of free, high-quality information, and a people's ability to discriminate between high- and low-quality data, are essential to economic development beyond the manufacturing level. Whether on our own soil or abroad, those segments of humanity that fear and reject knowledge of the world (and, often, of themselves) are condemned to failure, poverty, and bitterness.
The ability of most of America's work force to cope psychologically and practically with today's flood of data, and to cull quality data from the torrent, is remarkable--a national and systemic triumph. Even Canada and Britain cannot match it. Much of Japan's present stasis is attributable to that nation's struggle to make the transition from final-stage industrial power to information-age society. The more regulated flow of information with which Japan has long been comfortable is an impediment to post-modernism. While the Japanese nation ultimately possesses the synthetic capability to overcome this difficulty, its structural dilemmas are more informational and psychological than tangible--although the tangible certainly matters--and decades of educational reform and social restructuring will be necessary before Japan returns for another world-championship match.
In China, the situation regarding the state's attempt to control information and the population's inability to manage it is immeasurably worse. Until China undergoes a genuine cultural revolution that alters permanently and deeply the relationship among state, citizen, and information, that country will bog down at the industrial level. Its sheer size guarantees continued growth, but there will be a flattening in the coming decades and, decisively, China will have great difficulty transitioning from smokestack growth to intellectual innovation and service wealth.
China, along with the world's other defiant dictatorships, suffers under an oppressive class structure, built on and secured by an informational hierarchy. The great class struggle of the 21st century will be for access to data, and it will occur in totalitarian and religious-regime states. The internet may prove to be the most revolutionary tool since the movable-type printing press. History laughs at us all--the one economic analyst who would understand immediately what is happening in the world today would be a resurrected German "content provider" named Marx.
For countries and cultures that not only restrict but actively reject information that contradicts governmental or cultural verities, even a fully industrialized society remains an unattainable dream. Information is more essential to economic progress than an assured flow of oil. In fact, unearned, "found" wealth is socially and economically cancerous, impeding the development of healthy, enduring socioeconomic structures and values. If you want to guarantee an underdeveloped country's continued inability to perform competitively, grant it rich natural resources. The sink-or-swim poverty of northwestern Europe and Japan may have been their greatest natural advantage during their developmental phases. As the Shah learned and Saudi Arabia is proving, you can buy only the products, not the productiveness, of another civilization.
States that censor information will fail to compete economically, culturally, and militarily in the long run. The longer the censorship endures, the longer the required recovery time. Even after the strictures have been lifted, information-deprived societies must play an almost-hopeless game of catch-up. In Russia, it will take at least a generation of genuine informational freedom to facilitate an economic takeoff that is not founded hollowly upon resource extraction, middleman profits, and the looting of industrial ruins. Unique China will need even longer to make the next great leap forward from industrial to informational economy--we have at least half a century's advantage. Broad portions of the planet may never make it. We will not need a military to deal with foreign success, but to respond to foreign failure--which will be the greatest source of violence in coming decades.
If you are looking for an easy war, fight an information-controlling state. If you are looking for a difficult investment, invest in an information-controlling state. If you are hunting a difficult conflict, enter the civil strife that arises after the collapse of an information-controlling state. If you are looking for a good investment, find an emerging or "redeemed" state unafraid of science, hard numbers, and education.
A Woman's Place
Vying with informational abilities as a key factor in the reinvigoration of the US economy has been the pervasive entry of American women into the educational process and the workplace. When the stock market soars, thank Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the suffragettes, not just their beneficiary, Alan Greenspan. After a century and a half of struggle by English and American women, the US economy now operates at a wartime level of human-resource commitment on a routine basis.
Despite eternally gloomy headlines, our country probably has the lowest wastage rate of human talent in the world. The United States is so chronically hungry for talent that we drain it from the rest of the planet at a crippling pace, and we have accepted that we cannot squander the genius of half our population. Even in Europe, "over-skilling," in which inherent and learned abilities wither in calcified workplaces, produces social peace at the cost of cultural and economic lethargy, security at the price of mediocrity. The occasional prime minister notwithstanding, it is far rarer to encounter a female executive, top professional, or general officer in that mythologized, "more equitable" Europe than in the United States. Life in America may not be fair, but neither is it stagnant. What we lose in security, we more than compensate for in opportunity.
While Europe sleepwalks toward a 35-hour work-week, we are moving toward the 35-hour day. The intense performance of our economy would be unattainable without the torrent of energy introduced by competitive female job candidates. American women revolutionized the workforce and the workplace. Future social and economic historians will probably judge that the entry of women into our workforce was the factor that broke the stranglehold of American trade unions and gave a new lease on life to those domestic industries able to adapt. American women were the Japanese cars of business labor relations: better, cheaper, dependable, and they defied the rules. Everybody had to work harder and smarter to survive, but the results have been a spectacular recovery of economic leadership and soaring national wealth.
Change that men long resisted and feared in our own country resulted not only in greater competition for jobs, but in the creation of more jobs, and not in the rupture of the economy, but in its assumption of imperial dimensions (in a quirk of fate, already privileged males are getting much richer, thanks to the effects of feminism's triumph on the stock market). Equality of opportunity is the most profitable game going, and American capitalism has realized the wisdom of becoming an evenhanded consumer of skills. Despite serious exclusions and malignant social problems, we are the most efficient society in history. When Europeans talk of the dignity of the working man, they increasingly mean the right of that man to sit at a desk doing nothing or to stand at an idling machine. There is a huge difference between just being employed and actually working.
The math isn't hard. Any country or culture that suppresses half its population, excluding them from economic contribution and wasting energy keeping them out of the school and workplace, is not going to perform competitively with us. The standard counterargument heard in failing states is that there are insufficient jobs for the male population, thus it is impossible to allow women to compete for the finite incomes available. The argument is archaic and wrong. When talent enters a work force, it creates jobs. Competition improves performance. In order to begin to compete with the American leviathan and the stronger of the economies of Europe and the Far East, less-developed countries must maximize their human potential. Instead, many willfully halve it.
The point isn't really the fear that women will steal jobs in Country X. Rather, it's a fundamental fear of women--or of a cultural caricature of women as incapable, stupid, and worrisomely sexual. If, when you get off the plane, you do not see men and women sitting together in the airport lounge, put your portfolio or treaty on the next flight home.
It is difficult for any human being to share power already possessed. Authority over their women is the only power many males will ever enjoy. From Greece to the Ganges, half the world is afraid of girls and gratified by their subjugation. It is a prescription for cultural mediocrity, economic failure--and inexpressible boredom. The value added by the training and utilization of our female capital is an American secret weapon.
Blaming Foreign Devils
The cult of victimhood, a plague on the least-successful elements in our own society, retards the development of entire continents. When individuals or cultures cannot accept responsibility for their own failures, they will repeat the behaviors that led to failure. Accepting responsibility for failure is difficult, and correspondingly rare. The cultures of North America, Northern Europe, Japan, and Korea (each in its own way) share an unusual talent for looking in the mirror and keeping their eyes open. Certainly, there is no lack of national vanity, prejudice, subterfuge, or bad behavior.
But in the clutch we are surprisingly good at saying, "We did it, so let's fix it." In the rest of the world, a plumbing breakdown implicates the CIA and a faltering currency means George Soros--the Hungarian-born American billionaire, fund manager, and philanthropist--has been sneaking around in the dark. Recent accusations of financial connivance made against Mr. Soros and then against the Jews collectively by Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir only demonstrated that Malaysia's ambitions had gotten ahead of its cultural capacity to support them. Even if foreign devils are to blame--and they mostly are not--whining and blustering does not help. It only makes you feel better for a little while, like drunkenness, and there are penalties the morning after.
The failure is greater where the avoidance of responsibility is greater. In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, oil money has masked cultural, social, technical, and structural failure for decades. While the military failure of the regional states has been obvious, consistent, and undeniable, the locals sense--even when they do not fully understand--their noncompetitive status in other spheres as well. It is hateful and disorienting to them. Only the twin blessings of Israel and the United States, upon whom Arabs and Persians can blame even their most egregious ineptitudes, enable a fly-specked pretense of cultural viability.
On the other hand, Latin America has made tremendous progress. Not long ago, the gringos were to blame each time the lights blinked. But with the rise of a better-educated elite and local experience of economic success, the leadership of Latin America's key states has largely stopped playing the blame game. Smaller states and drug-distorted economies still chase scapegoats, but of the major players only Mexico still indulges routinely in the transfer of all responsibility for its problems to Washington, D.C.
Family Values
After the exclusion of women from productive endeavors, the next-worst wastage of human potential occurs in societies where the extended family, clan, or tribe is the basic social unit. While family networks provide a safety net in troubled times, offering practical support and psychological protection, and may even build a house for you, they do not build the rule of law, or democracy, or legitimate corporations, or free markets. Where the family or clan prevails, you do not hire the best man (to say nothing of the best woman) for the job, you hire Cousin Luis. You do not vote for the best man, you vote for Uncle Ali. And you do not consider cease-fire deals or shareholder interests to be matters of serious obligation.
Such cultures tend to be peasant-based or of peasant origin, with the attendant peasant's suspicion of the outsider and of authority. Oligarchies of landed families freeze the pattern in time. There is a preference for a dollar grabbed today over a thousand dollars accrued in the course of an extended business relationship. Blood-based societies operate under two sets of rules: one, generally honest, for the relative; and another, ruthless and amoral, for deals involving the outsider. The receipt of money now is more important than building a long-term relationship. Such societies fight well as tribes, but terribly as nations.
At its most successful, this is the system of the Chinese diaspora, but that is a unique case. The Darwinian selection that led to the establishment and perpetuation of the great Chinese merchant families (and village networks), coupled with the steely power of southern China's culture, has made this example an exception to many rules. More typical examples of the Vetternwirtschaft system are Iranian businesses, Nigerian criminal organizations, Mexican political and drug cartels, and some American trade unions.
Where blood ties rule, you cannot trust the contract, let alone the handshake. Nor will you see the delegation of authority so necessary to compete in the modern military or economic spheres. Information and wealth are assessed from a zero-sum worldview. Corruption flourishes. Blood ties produce notable family successes, but they do not produce competitive societies.
That Old-Time Religion
Religion feeds a fundamental human appetite for meaning and security, and it can lead to powerful social unity and psychological assurance that trumps science. Untempered, it leads to xenophobia, backwardness, savagery, and economic failure. The more intense a religion is, the more powerful are its autarchic tendencies. But it is impossible to withdraw from today's world.
Limiting the discussion to the sphere of competitiveness, there appear to be two models of socio-religious integration that allow sufficient informational and social dynamism for successful performance. First, religious homogeneity can work, if, as in the case of Japan, religion is sufficiently subdued and malleable to accommodate applied science. The other model--that of the United States--is of religious coexistence, opening the door for science as an "alternative religion." Americans have, in fact, such wonderful plasticity of mind that generally even the most vividly religious can disassociate antibiotic drugs from the study of Darwin and the use of birth-control pills from the strict codes of their churches. All religions breed some amount of schism between theology and social practice, but the American experience is a marvel of mental agility and human innovation.
The more dogmatic and exclusive the religion, the less it is able to deal with the information age, in which multiple "truths" may exist simultaneously, and in which all that cannot be proven empirically is inherently under assault. We live in a time of immense psychological dislocation--when man craves spiritual certainty even more than usual. Yet our age is also one in which the sheltering dogma cripples individuals and states alike. The price of competitiveness is the courage to be uncertain--not an absence of belief, but a synthetic capability that can at once accommodate belief and its contradictions. Again, the United States possesses more than its share of this capability, while other societies are encumbered by single dominant religions as hard, unbending--and ultimately brittle--as iron. Religious toleration also means the toleration of scientific research, informational openness, and societal innovation. "One-true-path" societies and states are on a path that leads only downward.
For those squeamish about judging the religion of another, there is a shortcut that renders the same answer on competitiveness: examine the state's universities.
Learning Power and Earning Power
The quality of a state's universities obviously reflects local wealth, but, even more important, the effectiveness of higher education in a society describes its attitudes toward knowledge, inquiry-versus-dogma, and the determination of social standing. In societies imprisoned by dogmatic religions, or in which a caste or class system predetermines social and economic outcomes, higher education (and secular education in general) often has low prestige and poor content. Conversely, in socially mobile, innovative societies, university degrees from quality schools appear indispensable to the ambitious, the status-conscious, and the genuinely inquisitive alike.
There are many individual and some cultural exceptions, but they mostly prove the rule. Many Indians value a university education highly--not as social confirmation, but as a means of escaping a preassigned social position. The privileged of the Arabian Peninsula, on the other hand, regard an American university degree (even from a booby-prize institution) as an essential piece of jewelry, not unlike a Rolex watch. In all cultures, there are individuals hungry for self-improvement and, sometimes, for knowledge. But, statistically, we can know a society, and judge its potential, by its commitment to education, with universities as the bellwether. Not all states can afford their own Stanford or Harvard but, within their restraints, their attempts to educate their populations still tell us a great deal about national priorities and potential. Commitment and content cannot fully substitute for a wealth of facilities, but they go a long way, whether we speak of individuals or continents.
Any society that starves education is a loser. Cultures that do not see inherent value in education are losers. This is even true for some of our own sub-cultures--groups for whom education has little appeal as means or end--and it is true for parts of Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Arab world. A culture that cannot produce a single world-class university is not going to conquer the world in any sphere.
America's universities are triumphant. Once beyond the silly debates (or monologues) in the Liberal Arts faculties, our knowledge industry has no precedent or peer. Even Europe's most famous universities, on the Rhine or the Seine, are rotting and overcrowded. We attract the best faculty, the best researchers, and the best student minds from the entire world. This is not a trend subject to reversal; rather, it is self-reinforcing.
Yet there is even more to American success in education than four good years at the "College of Musical Knowledge." The United States is also far ahead of other states in the flexibility and utility of its educational system. Even in Europe, the student's fate is determined early--and woe to the late bloomer. You choose your course, or have it chosen for you, and you are more or less stuck with it for life. In Germany, long famous for its commitment to education, the individual who gains a basic degree in one subject and then jumps to another field for graduate work is marked as a Versager, a failure. In the US system, there are second, third, and fourth chances. This flexible approach to building and rebuilding our human capital is a tremendous economic asset, and it is compounded by the trend toward continuing education in mid-life and for seniors.
A geriatric revolution is occurring under our noses, with older Americans "younger" than before in terms of capabilities, interests, and attitudes--and much more apt to continue contributing to the common good. We are headed for a world in the early decades of the next century when many Americans may hit their peak earning years not in their fifties, but in their sixties--then seventies. This not only provides sophisticated talent to the labor pool, but maintains the worker as an asset to, rather than a drain upon, our nation's economy. For all the fuss about the future of social security, we may see a profound attitudinal change in the next generation, when vigorous, high-earning seniors come to regard retirement at today's age as an admission of failure or weakness, or just as a bore. At the same time, more 20-year-old foreigners than ever will have no jobs at all.
Investments in our educational system are "three-fers": they are simultaneously investments in our economic, social, and military systems. Education is our first line of defense. The rest of the world can be divided into two kinds of societies, states, and cultures--those that struggle and sacrifice to educate their members, and those that do not. Guess who is going to do better in the hyper-competitive 21st century?
Workers of the World, Take a Nap!
Related to, but not quite identical with, national and cultural attitudes toward education is the attitude toward work. Now, everyone has bad days at the office, factory, training area, or virtual workplace, and the old line, "It's not supposed to be fun--that's why they call it `work,'" enjoys universal validity. Yet there are profoundly different attitudes toward work on this planet. While most human beings must work to survive, there are those who view work as a necessary evil and dream of its avoidance, and then there are societies in which people hit the lottery and go back to their jobs as telephone linemen. In many subsets of Latin American culture, for example, there are two reasons to work: first to survive, then to grow so wealthy that work is no longer necessary. It is a culture in which the possession of wealth is not conceptually related to a responsibility to work. It is the get-rich-quick, big-bucks-from-Heaven dream of some of our own citizens. The goal is not achievement but possession, not accomplishment but the power of leisure.
Consider any culture's heroes. Generally, the more macho or male-centric the culture, the less emphasis there will be on steady work and achievement, whether craftsmanship or Nobel Prize-winning research, and the more emphasis there will be on wealth and power as the sole desirable end (apart, perhaps, from the occasional religious vocation). As national heroes, it's hard to beat Bill Gates. But even a sports star is better than a major narco-trafficker.
Generally, societies that do not find work in and of itself "pleasing to God and requisite to Man," tend to be highly corrupt (low-education and dogmatic-religion societies also are statistically prone to corruption, and, if all three factors are in play, you may not want to invest in the local stock exchange or tie your foreign policy to successful democratization). The goal becomes the attainment of wealth by any means.
On the other hand, workaholic cultures, such as that of North America north of the Rio Grande, or Japan, South Korea, and some other East Asian states, can often compensate for deficits in other spheres, such as a lack of natural resources or a geographical disadvantage. If a man or woman has difficulty imagining a fulfilling life without work, he or she probably belongs to a successful culture. Work has to be seen as a personal and public responsibility, as good in and of itself, as spiritually necessary to man. Otherwise, the society becomes an "evader" society. Russia is strong, if flagging, on education. But the general attitude toward work undercuts education. When the characters in Chekhov's "Three Sisters" blather about the need to find redemption through work, the prescription is dead on, but their lives and their society have gone so far off the rails that the effect is one of satire. States and cultures "win" just by getting up earlier and putting in eight honest hours and a little overtime.
If you are seeking a worthy ally or business opportunity, go to a mid-level government office in Country X an hour before the local lunchtime. If everybody is busy with legitimate work, you've hit a winner. If there are many idle hands, get out.
Using this Knowledge to Our Advantage
Faced with the complex reality of geopolitics and markets, we must often go to Country X, Y, or Z against our better judgment. Despite failing in all seven categories, Country X may have a strategic location that makes it impossible to ignore. Country Y may have an internal market and regional importance so significant that it would be foolish not to engage it, despite the risks. Country Z may have resources that make a great deal of misery on our part worth the sufferance. Yet even in such situations, it helps to know what you are getting into. Some countries would devour investments as surely as they would soldiers. Others just demand savvy and caution on our part. Yet another might require a local ally or partner to whom we can make ourselves indispensable. Whether engaging militarily or doing business in another country, it gives us a tremendous advantage if we can identify four things: their image of us, their actual situation, their needs, and the needs they perceive themselves as having (the four never connect seamlessly).
There are parallel dangers for military men and businessmen in taking too narrow a view of the challenges posed by foreign states. An exclusive focus on either raw military power or potential markets tells us little about how people behave, believe, learn, work, fight, or buy. In fact, the parallels between military and business interventions grow ever greater, especially since these form two of the legs of our new national strategic triad, along with the export of our culture (diplomacy is a minor and shrinking factor, its contours defined ever more rigorously by economics).
The seven factors discussed above offer a pattern for an initial assessment of the future potential of states that interest us. Obviously, the more factors present in a given country, the worse off it will be--and these factors rarely appear in isolation. Normally, a society that oppresses women will do it under the aegis of a restrictive dominant religion that will also insist on the censorship of information. Societies lacking a strong work ethic rarely value education.
In the Middle East, it is possible to identify states where all seven negatives apply; in Africa, many countries score between four and seven. Countries that formerly suffered communist dictatorships vary enormously, from Poland and the Czech Republic, with only a few rough edges, to Turkmenistan, which scores six out of seven. Latin America has always been more various than Norteamericanos realized, from feudal Mexico to dynamic, disciplined Chile.
Ultimately, our businesses have it easier than our military in one crucial respect: business losses are counted in dollars, not lives. But the same cultural factors that will shape future state failure and spawn violent conflicts make it difficult to do business successfully and legally. We even suffer under similar "rules of engagement," whether those placed on the military to dictate when a soldier may shoot or the legal restraints under which US businesses must operate, imposing a significant disadvantage vis-à-vis foreign competitors.
As a final note, the biggest pitfall in international interactions is usually mutual misunderstanding. We do not understand them, but they do not understand us either--although, thanks to the Americanization of world media, they imagine they do. From mega-deals that collapsed because of Russian rapacity to Saddam's conviction that the United States would not fight, foreign counterparts, rivals, and opponents have whoppingly skewed perceptions of American behaviors. In the end, military operations and business partnerships are like dating--the advantage goes to the player who sees with the most clarity.
We are heading into a turbulent, often violent new century. It will be a time of great dangers and great opportunities. Some states will continue to triumph, others will shift their relative positions, many will fail. The future will never be fully predictable, but globalization means the imposition of uniform rules by the most powerful actors. They are fundamentally economic rules. For the first time, the world is converging toward a homogeneous system, if not toward homogenous benefits from that system. The potential of states is more predictable within known parameters than ever before.
We have seen the future, and it looks like us..........."

Monday, August 22, 2005

From a courageous thinker

".....Saudi: Radical Islam Worse than Nazism
By Roee Nahmias
August 22, 2005


Courageous words: Not everyone in the Arab world praises Osama Bin Laden and terror groups as heroes. Indeed, some Arabs have issues scathing attacks on radical Islamic groups and they manner in which they interpret Islam.

The criticism leveled at extremists by Saudi journalist Muhammad al-Sheikh, however, is unusual in its harshness. In two pieces published in Saudi newspaper al-Jazeera, and presented courtesy of the Middle East Media Research Institute, al-Sheikh charged radical Islamists hold a similar, and even worse, ideology than radical Islam, and should be treated as Europeans coped with Nazism.

The first article was published in July 10, following the release of an extremist spiritual leader from prison. The release raises many questions, al-Sheikh said.

"The man is one of the forefathers of terrorism and he is the one who raised, through his books and radical interpretations, many of those belonging to terror groups."

"They say a Jordanian court acquitted him of charges that include the blowing up of American facilitiesŠ however, this dangerous terrorist did something much worse: he seized upon the down-and-out situation of many Muslim youths today in order to perpetuate violence, murder and destruction forever. In order to plant deep roots for the idea of suicide and to incite kids to commit suicide."

"This is the root of the problem," said al-Sheikh.

`Hating the other'


According to al-Sheikh,


"eradicating terror will only be possible by doing away with the ideas that come from our society. A military solution is not enough,"
he said.


"We must treat modern Jihad parties just as the Europeans treated Naziism,"
he added.


"The ideas of radical Islam are similar to the ideas that drove the Nazi ideology. If the economic freeze and national depression in 1930 led to the emergency to murderous Nazism, we can say that the economic and cultural failure that grip Arab and Muslim countries today, together with the frustration of many Muslims, are once again driving this murderous philosophy."
Similarly, the common denominator is hatred and physical elimination of the other, al-Sheikh said


"I still believe that one of the first tasks for the international community today should be to reconstruct its experience with Nazism and cope with this barbaric, dangerous culture as it did with the Nazi culture,"
al-Sheikh wrote.


"If this isn't done, the coming days could be very eventful and their implications for the whole of humanity would be much more severe than those of the World War,"
he concluded somberly......"

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Internet Linchpin

All children in all schools, both boys and girls, be they Madrassas or whatever, should be trained on computers and be given free time on the internet. This would work wonders on young minds given the free access to information.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Shrink to nothing or expand?

Terrorism will either shrink to nothing or expand and spiral out of control.

Terrorism will never stay at the same level.

The world of Islam could stop terrorism in a moment

There is no doubt whatsoever that the world of Islam could stop the terrorism in a heartbeat.

Ultimately, they are the only ones who can bring terrorism to a halt.

Social rituals of every society, every belief system

There are countless social rituals of every society, every belief system that band the followers together. Democracy has its rituals, fascism has its rituals, socialism has its rituals, communism has its rituals. Christianity has its rituals, Judaism has its rituals, Islam has its rituals, Hinduism has its rituals, Buddhism has its rituals, secularism has its rituals.

One chink in the iron fisted control that Islam exerts over its adherents, other dominos will soon follow.

Iran’s Agenda for the World

Iran’s Agenda for the World
Arab News ^ | Aug. 20, 2005 | Amir Taheri

"........Iran’s Agenda for the World

Amir Taheri

When he launched the invasion of Iraq in 2003 President George W. Bush promised to help the greater Middle East, the Muslim heartland from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, to bury a despotic past and build a democratic future.

As if on cue, political elites throughout the region began to use “democracy” as a catchword.

In Egypt President Hosni Mubarak declared the building democracy as the central aim of his next administration. The Lebanese launched their “Cedar Revolution” under the banner of democracy. The Saudi municipal elections were described as a move toward democratization. Military rulers in Libya, Tunisia, the Sudan, and Pakistan put on civilian clothes and talked of democracy. Afghanistan and Iraq held their first democratic elections.

The country generally regarded as most ripe for democracy was Iran. President Bush singled it out for praise as the nation that could lead the region in democratization. President Muhammad Khatami spoke of “religious democracy”, an oxymoron in which vice pays tribute to virtue.

For the past three years, tens of thousands of students have demonstrated throughout Iran demanding “Democracy, Now!”

Last week Iran’s newly elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave his reply: Democracy? Never!

The answer is spelled out in a 7000-word document that Ahmadinejad presented as his government’s “short- and long-term programs” to the Islamic Majlis (Parliament) on Tuesday.

In it he categorically states that Western “ideas and concepts of government” have no place in Islam. Without using the word democracy, the document states that the new administration “bravely rejects all alien political ideas” as incompatible with Islam.

The document says that in a Muslim country power belongs to God. The exercise of that power is the privilege of the Prophet and, after him the 12 imams of duodecimo Shiism. Since the 12th Imam is in “grand occultation”, thus not exercising power on a day-to-day basis, the task devolves to “chosen ones from the family of the Prophet”. In the case of Iran today it means Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi, the “Supreme Guide” who claims to be a descendant of Hussein, the third imam.

Ahmadinejad says that not only will he fight any form of democratization in Iran but would mobilize the nation’s resources to prevent the United States from imposing the Bush plan on the Middle East.

In practical terms it could mean a switch in Iranian policy in Afghanistan and Iraq. Under President Khatami Tehran’s policy was to make sure that the Americans were bled to the maximum while allowing them to establish friendly regimes in Kabul and Baghdad. Now, however, Iran may well want to bleed the Americans more but deny them even the merest crumb.

The document states that the region is heading for a “clash of civilizations” in which the Islamic Republic represents Islam while the United States carries the banner of a West that has forgotten God.

The document calls the US “the hegemon” and asserts that the Bush plan for the Greater Middle East is a device to slow down the decline of the United States as a superpower.

“Despite its pharaonic roars,” the document claims,” the hegemon is in its last throes.”

The US is a “sunset” (ofuli) power while the Islamic Republic is a “sunrise” (tolu’ee) one.

The US is going to crumble because it is based on a system that produces “endless material needs” which lead into “the desert of lust” where men are handed over to Satan.

The Islamic Republic is going to win because it has God on its side.

The Americans may “mock the divine system” in Iran. But Islamic Iran is the model for the future of mankind.

Ahmadinejad envisages a “multipolar” world in which the United States would have a place as long as its process of “fading away” is not completed. Other poles, according the documents, would include “sunrise” powers such as China and India, and “sunset” ones such as the European Union. But the most dynamic of the new poles would be the Islamic one with Iran as a “core power” around which all Muslim nations will coalesce.

The document flatly states: “Leadership is the indisputable right of the Iranian nation.”

The creation of an “Islamic pole” is the key objective of what the document refers to as “the 20-year strategy” of the Islamic Republic. It is not clear who developed that strategy and whether or not Ahmadinejad, who is elected for a four-year term, hopes to remain in power for two decades.

The goal of the “Islamic pole” would be to unite the world under the banner of Islam, as the “final Divine message” and “the only True Faith.” But it is not clear whether this is to be achieved during the 20-year period of the strategy or within a broader timeframe.

It is not only in foreign policy that Ahmadinejad opposes “American ideas”.

His economic, social, and cultural programs, too, are designed in defiance of Western capitalist models.

He wants the state to play a central role in all aspects of a people’s life and emphasizes the importance of central planning. The state would follow the citizens from birth to death, ensuring their health, education, well-being and leisure. It will guide them as to what to read and write and what “cultural products” to consume so as not to be contaminated by Western ideas. In fact, the Islamic Republic intends to compete with the US on the global stage as a producer of culture. Ahmadinejad promises to help Iranian music drive American music out of the world markets, starting with Muslim countries. In hyperbolic tones he claims that Persian music exports could earn Iran more than oil.

The new government will even help arrange marriages for young men who might find it difficulty to do so on their own. (No such assistance is offered to young women.) The Islamic Republic rejects what the West calls “alternative lifestyles” as “abominations” and would not tolerate any form of sexual deviation or immorality.

Ahmadinejad’s economic policy is aimed at self-sufficiency so that the Islamic Republic would not become dependent on the global system dominated by the United States. Iran will develop its nuclear program the way it sees fit, regardless of whatever the outside world might say.

The program does not shy away from big social engineering ideas.

For example, it promises to reduce the number of villages in Iran from 66,000 to just 10,000. This would enable the central government to concentrate on the rural population and provide it with better and cheaper public services.

But it would also mean relocating almost 30 million people.

To carry out his ambitious program Ahmadinejad has created a strong and unusually united Cabinet. He also starts work at a time that, thanks to spiraling oil prices, his government has almost $200 million a day to play with.

At the United Nations General Assembly in New York next month, Ahmadinejad is expected to fire the first shot in what he sees as a duel between the Islamic Republic and the United States over who sets the future agenda of mankind.

It should be fun to watch......"

Home language Linchpin

All events and all preachings and teachings in all mosques and madrassas must be done in the language of the country. (english, french, spanish, german, etc.)

Anti indoctination into murder and hatred Linchpin

Severe criminal laws of treason involving all who incite and are beind any and all acts of terror.

Indoctrination of vulnerable youth into a life of murder, hatred and suicide for sex is the same as doing the deeds in person.

Sexual mutilation Linchpin

Severe criminal and civil penalties for any and all involved in the heinous practice of sexual mutilating girls as young as 4.

Removing the clitoris and all external genitalia should be treated like rape with the same penalties as rape.

Polygamy linchpin

Ban all polygamy in the West.

Polygamy is a pathway to the abuse of young vulnerable women while hiding behind religion. Incest, beating, improper raising of children by a remote, abusive father.

Osama bin Ladin was said to have a father who had so many children that he didn't even know Osama's name.

Madrassa Linchpin

The Islamic madrassas. All over the world, hatred, murder, genocide, suicide-for-sex, blame the jews for everything from 9/11 to the tsunami, brutal repression and murder of women, is being taught to the young and vulnerable youth of Islam.

A radical but bloodless solution would be for the Islamic community to be put on notice. Stop all the world wide killings or madrassas will be closed and the children taught by public school teachers.

Sharia Linchpin

Outlaw sharia law.

Headscarf Linchpin

Ban all religious headgear in all government offices, public transporatation, (airlines, busses, trains, etc.,) all public schools. This is a far more significant step than many realize.

It will free up the segregated women of Islam.

Desegrate women linchpin

Women must not be allowed to be segregated. Intimidation and fear are components in the segregation of muslim women.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Scapegoat technique

If someone has a problem, it's often easier to blame someone else rather than deal with it. Classic scapegoat technique. Deflect self criticism by switching attention to others.

The domino theory to bring democracy to the middle east

The domino theory: after WWI the Allies cut and run from Germany. Hitler rose, 50 million plus people died. After WWII, the Allies installed democracies in both Germany and Japan. Many surrounding countries dominoed from tyranny to democracy. Most of the terrorism of today originates under tyrannical governments.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Victimhood Syndrome

From the Pakistan Times:

..... Muslims’ victimhood syndrome —Ishtiaq Ahmed

National sovereignty, the will of the people and democracy are great values, but become unintelligible when interpreted by philistines. We need an intellectual movement in the Muslim world which embraces the idea of a democracy that respects human rights

These days, sensible people in the Muslim world seek refuge in the victimhood syndrome which is also used by Al Qaeda and the regime of the Ayatollahs to justify oppression. The fundamental premise of this victimhood syndrome is that the ills afflicting us are the result of Western machinations. This is partly true. The Anglo-Saxon world leadership has violated rules of civilised relations between states and invaded Iraq on charges that have been proved false. I speak on the authority of the UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan who declared the invasion of Iraq unlawful.

But is this enough to indict the entire West or even the USA and Britain for the ills of our societies? I don’t think so. But the emotionalism is so powerful and infectious that efforts to question its wisdom become impossible. When wounded self-esteem combines with populist versions of national sovereignty and infantile ideas about democracy and the so-called will of the people, it produces a potent elixir that clouds all reason.

And when reason is paralysed one can either become a fatalist, resigned to the dismal reality or continue to question superficial radicalism in the hope that someone is listening.

I have heard it said, for example, that if the people of Afghanistan wanted Mullah Omar to rule them then the Taliban regime had the right to rule even if it drove the Afghan nation into the Stone Age. That Mullah Omar came to power through a bitter and bloody armed conflict riding the crest of an ideology which demonised the idea of the sovereignty of the people in favour of the sovereignty of God (read that of the mullahs practically) and practised what it preached with fanatical consistently does not show empirically or theoretically that the Taliban regime rested on the will of the people. The argument in favour of Mullah Omar is gibberish.

Consider an even more absurd argument. I am told that if the Pakistan government wants to build schools and roads and modernise Balochistan then it is to be opposed as the Pakistan military is an un-elected American ally that has no right to act in the name of the Pakistani people. I would like to know how the Baloch sardars draw their strength and legitimacy from the will of the Baloch people. As far as I know in the tribal sardari system, the sardar acts as a demi-god and no Baloch dare question that.

How does the sardari system rest on the will of the people? Confusing historical continuity with the will of the people makes nonsense of the notion of will of the people.

Agreed that the Pakistan government has exploited natural gas extracted from Balochistan and now property in Gwadar is allegedly being taken over by military officers. Both activities are unjust and the Baloch should be given their legitimate share. Senator Mushahid Hussain has presented a formula that seeks to give a fair share to the Baloch and Pakistanis should demand that it be implemented.

But I don’t understand why giving a share to the Baloch should mean preserving the sardari system. Why can’t we demand that the share must mean investment in schools, roads, hospitals, provision of clean drinking water etc, which liberate the masses from the unmitigated exploitation and degradation by the sardari system?

And why can’t the military government be made to spend on schools and other developments in Balochistan even if it is an American ally and has subverted democracy in the past? Why can’t I demand that it should restore democracy (by 2007 if not earlier), abolish the sardari system and instead spend national wealth in the interest of the people? If it can do all three, what’s the harm?

Pseudo-radicalism of the left and half-baked liberalism cannot explain logically or morally why the greatest slaughters of Muslims in recent times have always been the work of Muslims. The Iran-Iraq war which resulted from the uncontrollable ambition of Ayatollah Khomeini to spread his Islamic (read Shia) revolution all over the world met Saddam Hussein’s equally unflinching resolve to crush Shiite and Kurdish threats to his power. In the process 1.5 to 2 million Muslims were killed. We should also remember that in 1971 Pakistan army and the Mukti Bahini fought a civil war in which hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed.

The late Syrian leader Hafez Assad killed more Muslims in his own country in less than three weeks than what the ignoble Ariel Sharon has achieved in his entire military career, including his complicity in the murder of Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla in Lebanon. The number of people killed by Saddam Hussein during his reign of terror is yet to be calculated. To this must be added the thousands of judicial and extra-judicial murders committed by the Ayatollahs against their own people.

National sovereignty, the will of the people and democracy are great values, but become unintelligible when interpreted by philistines. We need an intellectual movement in the Muslim world which embraces the idea of a democracy that respects human rights (and not just mob-rule laced with cultural fascism); that completely and categorically rejects terror as a means to advance political objectives; and, puts ending feudalism, tribalism and mullahism on the top of its agenda.

It is a travesty of reason to blame the West for all the woes of Muslims. Western manipulation of Muslim societies to suit the former’s interests must end, but it can happen through a discourse that emancipates and not one based on a sense of victimhood.............

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