Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Risking his life by speaking out

Risking his life by speaking out
http://www.jpost.com/MICHAEL FREUND


With the rise of Islamic extremism across the globe, speaking to Bangladeshi Muslim journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is like catching a breath of cool, fresh air on a hot and sweltering afternoon.

As editor of The Weekly Blitz, an English-language newspaper published in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, Choudhury has been an outspoken critic of radical Islamic fundamentalism, denouncing the hatred and violence it has spread in its wake.

A proponent of greater dialogue and understanding between Muslims and Jews, he has called on his fellow Bangladeshis to recognize the State of Israel and establish diplomatic relations with Jerusalem.


Read more at jpost.com ...

Some of the 9/11 hijackers were smiling taxi drivers

Monday, October 30, 2006

The cultural linchpin of freeing up muslim women

Muslim Women Are the Key to Change (Hirsi Ali alert!)
American Enterprise Institure


Ideas can be dangerous. I have learnt that the hard way. But I know that when it comes to freedom and human rights these precious ideas, so valued in the West, are worth fighting for. As a young Muslim woman, born in Somalia, I abandoned my family to avoid an arranged marriage to a distant cousin and fled to Holland. I was just 23 and I had no idea back then that my refusal to submit to a traditional Muslim woman’s life would come to dominate my whole career.


So for me, the debate that is raging about the veil, particularly the niqab, which covers most of the woman’s face save for the eyes, goes to the very heart of the matter of liberty for Islamic women. Not just freedom for its own sake, but from a life of repression, subordination and violence.



Last week, for example, a senior Muslim cleric in Australia alluded in a sermon to unveiled women as “uncovered meat”. Sheikh Taj El Din al-Hilaly’s remarks prompted outrage, but he will have many faithful followers who agree with him.



Such insults to women are all the more reason to welcome the recent stand by Jack Straw and Tony Blair on the niqab. Not only is it a “visible mark of separation” as Straw described it, but also a visible sign of subjugation. At the same time it serves to condemn the male as well. If I were a man I would find it insulting because it supposes that all men are incapable of sexual self-restraint.



Like Straw I have also drawn on my experience of dealing with constituents. I served three years as an MP in the Dutch parliament, devoting myself to speaking out about female rights in Islamic societies. I often had to translate for poor women immigrants who were usually barely educated and nearly always in thrall to men.


In Islamic societies the veil functions as a constant reminder to the outside world of a stifling morality that makes a Muslim man’s honour entirely dependent on the respectable, obedient behaviour of the female members of his family.



I am living proof that Muslim women in the West can only benefit from turning away from the principles in their faith that justify subordination and embracing those of liberty in their host cultures. But there is a high price for urging Muslims to examine their beliefs. I have received death threats for becoming an infidel and two years ago the airing of a film about the oppression of women which I made with the director Theo van Gogh resulted in his murder by an Islamic terrorist.


The arguments for and against the veil will rage on, but what increasingly alarms me is the emergence of a post 9/11 generation of young women in the West who are out to make a statement by wearing the niqab. They enjoy all the western freedoms but choose to flaunt the veil. They are the female equivalent of the radical young men who travel to Pakistan and come back wanting to blow up trains.



Such men see themselves as companions of the prophet and they are “high” on religion. Both groups have completely succumbed to totalitarian seduction; they are the worst enemies of Islam, both to its image and to its chances of reformation.



The existence of this noisy female minority, many of them wealthy and educated, hides the fact that there are thousands of poorer women in Europe and millions across the Muslim world who have no voice and no choice. They are punished and threatened for daring to follow a different path.



In my book The Caged Virgin (Simon & Schuster) I tell the story of my friend Samira Ahmed, a 24-year-old girlishly pretty woman with a smile that seduces even the gloomiest of faces. Born to a family who left Morocco in the early 1980s and settled in the Netherlands, she is one of 10 children.



In the summer of 2005 I attended her graduation ceremony in Amsterdam where she received a diploma in education and a record 10 score (the highest possible) for her thesis. But behind the celebration lay tragedy. When I arrived for her graduation I noticed the happy class, a total of 35 students, gathered in clusters around coffee stands. Family and friends accompanied the students, chatting, carrying gifts and flowers. But not for Samira: no one from her family showed up.


Two years earlier Samira had had to sneak away from home because she wanted to live in a student house like her other friends. At home she had shared a bedroom with her siblings and every move she made was monitored by her mother and sisters; outside the house her brothers kept watch. They all wanted to ensure that she would not become westernised.



Samira had endured terrible physical and psychological violence at home. Her family always had a pretext to question her, go through her stuff and forbid her from setting foot outside the house. She was beaten frequently. She could bear it no longer and left.



Soon afterwards, in the summer of 2003, she got in touch with me. I went with her to the police to file a complaint against her brothers, who had threatened to murder her. According to them Samira’s death was the only way to avenge the shame she had brought upon the family for leaving their parents’ house. The police said they could do nothing. They said there were thousands of other women like her and it was not the police’s duty to intervene in family matters.



Ever since she left Samira has been in hiding, moving from house to house and depending on the kindness of strangers. Mostly she is brave and faces life with a powerful optimism. Sometimes, however, she has a sad, drawn look on her face that betrays her worries.


Today, on her graduation day, she is glowing, clutching her diploma. Her worries are far from over, though. She has no money; she has to find a job--and with her Moroccan name that will be far from easy. She also lives in fear of being discovered by her brothers and slaughtered. This is no joke, for in just two police regions in Holland 11 Muslim girls were killed by their families in a year.



It is women like Samira who politicians need to target because they hold the key to the future. They are going to become mothers and they are going to be the mothers of sons. We need to focus on them in order to prevent the next generation falling into the trap of the jihadist’s promise.



To my mind there are three categories of Muslim women living in the European Union who we need to reach. First, there are girls like Samira, intelligent and willing to take a chance on shaping their individual futures along a path they choose for themselves. They face many obstacles as they try to assimilate in western society and some may lose their lives trying to attain their dreams.



Second, there are girls and women who are very dependent and attached to their families but who cleverly forge a way to lead a double life. Instead of confronting their families and arguing about their adherence to custom and religion, these girls use a more tactful approach. When with family (in the broadest sense of the word, which also includes their community) they put on their headscarves and at home obey every whim of their parents and menfolk.



Outside the home, however, they lead the life of an average western woman: they have a job, dress fashionably, have a boyfriend, drink alcohol, attend cocktail parties and even manage to travel away from home.



The third group are the utterly vulnerable. Some of these girls are imported as brides or domestic workers from the country of origin of the immigrants with whom they come to live. These girls are removed from school once they attain puberty and locked up at home. Their families get away with this form of modern slavery because the authorities rarely take notice of these young women.



The girls have often been brought up to be absolutely obedient; they perform household chores in the house of their parents or husband without question. They can hardly read or write.


When they marry they generally bear as many children as their individual fertility allows. When they miscarry most of them view this as God’s will, not as a lack of proper healthcare which they are usually prevented from seeking for religious reasons.


When a woman in this subjugated state is violently abused by husband, brother or father, she considers it her own fault and promises to behave better in the future.



Some abused women may be tempted to rebel by running away or informing the authorities when their life becomes too painful. Those who act on such a temptation are likely to be killed by their own family or husband, or end up in prostitution or in women’s shelters. Some who have shown signs of rebellion are lured back to their country of origin by parents or husbands and simply dumped there.



For a while now I have been asserting that the most effective way for EU governments to deal with their Muslim minorities is to empower the Muslim women living within their borders.


The best tool for that is education. Yet the education systems of some EU countries are going through a crisis of neglect, particularly with regard to immigrant children. And in the matter of faith schools we are now paying the price of mixing education with ideology.



I think religion is taking up far too much time, attention and space in our society. Blair needs to look at the segregation of boys and girls and ask himself why young girls in primary schools are veiled. Are we saying that five and six-year-olds are sexual symbols, “uncovered meat”? As a society we must understand that saving young girls from all kinds of repression is important. Many are removed from school when they reach puberty, often when they start to behave like British teenagers. That is the precise moment when teachers, mentors and feminists need to identify those girls at risk, those who want to be emancipated and who face the risk of forced marriages and violence.


We want women like Samira to choose the career they want, the number of children they want and the husbands they want. We want them to be free. Girls like her need our help so badly."


Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a research fellow at AEI.

More evidence the "veil" is a political symbol of extremism

Veil teacher was obeying a FATWA
Times Online


THE Muslim teacher who insisted on wearing a veil in class has been following a fatwa issued personally to her by a Islamic cleric belonging to a hardline sect.

Aishah Azmi found herself in the middle of a national row about integration when she took her school to an employment tribunal after it suspended her for refusing to remove the veil in class.

Tony Blair joined the debate about the wearing of veils — opened by Jack Straw, the Commons leader — and supported the school’s actions.

Azmi, 24, has maintained that her decision to wear the veil was driven entirely by her personal beliefs, rather than the advice or instruction of a third party. But this weekend it emerged that she refused to take the veil off at school after receiving a fatwa, or religious ruling, from Mufti Yusuf Sacha, a Muslim cleric in West Yorkshire.

Her legal team revealed that the advice Sacha issued to Azmi ruled that it was obligatory for women to wear the niqab (face-veil) in the presence of men who were not their blood relatives.

hmmmmmmmm

Veiled Iranian female karate team to boycott Doha Games
Mehr News Agency ^ | Tehran: 15:45 , 2006/10/29 | staff writer



TEHRAN, Oct. 29 (MNA) -- Iran's female karate team are to boycott Doha Games after the Asian Karate Federation refused to approve the wearing of Islamic head scarves during bouts.

The Iranian federation has made its outmost effort to convince the officials at Finland session but there were no positive result, said Jabar Pour Hosseini, spokesman for the Iranian Karate Federation adding “the ban on headscarves for the karate team had been imposed due to a "technical matter" related to what to do if the garment slips during a bout.”

"The Iranian women's karate team, which comprises three athletes, will not take part in the Asian Games in Doha since the Islamic headscarves were not approved by the Asian federation," he maintained adding, "Although we have a very good team capable of winning Asian medals, we cannot take part when our dress code is not accepted," he said.

Iranian female athletes in taekwondo, another martial art in which Iran traditionally excels, will not be affected as in that sport fighters wear head guards that fully secure the headscarf in a fight.

Tunisia understands the headscarf is a linchpin of extremism

Headscarf controversy in Tunisia heats up
27/10/2006

Tunisia's headscarf debate has recently heated up after Tunisian opposition leader Moncef Marzouki called for civil disobedience on Al-Jazeera because of the issue. While many people feel freedom of dress is a human right, some fear Islamists are insincerely using the defence to advance their agenda.
By Jamel Arfaoui for Magharebia in Tunis – 27/10/06


The noticeable increase in wearing headscarves in Tunisia has ignited controversy.

Tunisia's headscarf controversy took on a new dimension when the Foreign Ministry closed its embassy in Qatar on Wednesday (October 25th) after the Tunisian government accused Al-Jazeera of favouring Tunisian fundamentalists on the issue. In an interview with the Doha-based satellite station on October 14th, Tunisian opposition figure Moncef Marzouki called for "civil disobedience, using peaceful means to impose rights and freedoms in Tunisia".

The Foreign Ministry responded by accusing Al-Jazeera of waging "a hostile campaign aimed at harming Tunisia."

Hédi M'henni, secretary general of the ruling Constitutional Democratic Rally, opened the headscarf debate at the start of Ramadan when he said he rejected such attire because it is not indigenous among Tunisians.

President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali renewed his rejection of the headscarf on October 11th, when he told Religious Affairs Minister Aboubaker Akhzouri, "Wearing the headscarf does not fit with the country's cultural heritage."

After the address by M'henni, many government offices started enforcing Memorandum No. 108 from 1981, which bans wearing headscarves in public institutions, calling it "sectarian attire".

Renewing enforcement of this memorandum ignited the rancour of Islamists and those who deem it an infringement of personal freedom.

Opponents of the headscarf in Tunisia, who in recent years criticised the silence of Tunisian authorities regarding the return of headscarves, fear a rapprochement between the government and Islamists could culminate in a new political party, although the nation prohibits political parties based on religion. The release of scores of Islamist prisoners last year reinforced such fears.

The Communist Party of the Workers of Tunisia, an unrecognised leftist party, has warned of confusing personal freedom and the exploitation of the headscarf for political propaganda. The party's website says people who defend wearing the headscarf based on personal freedom should not present it as a religious duty, judge a woman on whether or not they wear it or keep silent about or agree with the practice in places where it is mandatory.

The nationalist opposition People's Unity Party has publicly rejected the headscarf, saying it debases women and makes it an instrument of subjugation in no way related to freedom.

Taher Belhasein, owner of Paris-based Tunisian television channel Al-Hiwar, cautioned against fundamentalists' exploitation of human rights to achieve political goals.

In an article that appeared in Tunisalwasat.com, he wrote, "All advocates of cutting off hands, stoning women and polygamy shout human rights whenever that benefits their view, while you saw them stay silent for more than 12 years about the massacres their brethren organised in Algeria."

"Human rights actually safeguards freedom of dress and I see it as natural for every citizen to wear her headscarf in a public manner without harassment or oppression. But it is also the right of the established authority … to impose rules in public institutions to ensure equality in treatment and the absence of bias and partiality on the basis of prominent sectarian appearances," he added.

Dr. Salwa Sharafi, a professor at the Press and News Sciences Institute feels the emergence of the headscarf is tied to foreign events. "The headscarf became a visible phenomenon after September 11th and the number of veiled women increased visibly after the war against Iraq and with the increase in the number of religious satellite channels."

Sufyan Ben Hamida of the Tunisian Human Rights Defence League told Magharebia, "The issue of the headscarf in Tunisia cannot be addressed with simplicity because it is a complex issue in which the dogmatic religious aspect is enmeshed alongside the political, ideological, cultural, and especially emotional aspect."

Naji Baghouri, a member of the administrative board of the Tunisian Journalists Association, told Magharebia, "Wearing the headscarf is personal issue and falls within the freedoms guaranteed by the Tunisian constitution."

But he also worries that the headscarf could become a symbol of virtue "wherein every woman not wearing it is of suspect morals and conduct."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Appeasers get more innocents killed than fighters

History has proved over and over that, in the long run, Neville Chamberlain appeasers get more people killed than the fighter-Winston Churchills of the world.

AMEN 60 MINUTES!!! ANDY UNDERSTANDS THE CULTURE WAR OF VICTIMHOOD IS FALSE

Good for him!!!
Surprised CBS let him get away with this even though he's right


AMEN ANDY ROONEY !




Right on, Andy Rooney!

Andy Rooney said on "60 Minutes" a few weeks back:

I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers. The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America. Try to have things like the UnitedCaucasianCollege Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television, or Miss White America; and see what happens...Jesse Jackson will be knocking down your door.

Guns do not make you a killer. I think killing makes you a killer. You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.

I believe they are called the Boy Scouts for a reason, that is why there are no girls allowed. Girls belong in the Girl Scouts! ARE YOU LISTENING MARTHA BURKE?

I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.

I have the right "NOT" to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird, or tick me off.

When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling, it is the Law of Probability.

I believe that if you are selling me a milkshake, a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English! As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English!

My father and grandfather didn't die in vain so you can leave the countries you were born in to come over and d isrespect ours .

I think the police should have every right to shoot your sorry ass if you threaten them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word "freeze" or "stop" in English, see the above lines.

I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you are qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or any other business.

We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wars to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over here and tell us our constitution is a living document; and open to their interpretations.



I don't hate the rich; I don't pity the poor.



I know pro wrestling is fake, but so are movies and television. That doesn't stop you from watching them.



I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more. If it tick s you off, go and invent the next operating system that's better, and put your name on the building.



It doesn't take a whole village to raise a child right, but it does take a parent to stand up to the kid; and smack their little behinds when necessary, and say "NO!"



I think tattoos and piercing are fine if you want them, but please don't pretend they are a political statement. And, please, stay home until that new lip ring heals. I don't want to look at your ugly infected mouth as you serve me French fries!



I am sick of "Political Correctness." I know a lot of black people, and not a single one of them was born in Africa; so how can they be "African-A mericans"? Be sides, Africa is a continent. I don't go around saying I am a European-American because my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was from Europe. I am proud to be from America and nowhere else



And if you don't like my point of view, tough...



I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG, OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND TO THE REPUBLIC, FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!



I was asked to send this on if I agree or delete if I don't. It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore I have a very hard time understanding why there is such a problem in having "In God We Trust" on our money and having "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why don't we just tell the 14% to Shut Up and BE QUIET!!! Or move out of America.

Friday, October 27, 2006

General Secretary of German CDU calls Muslims 'main cause for religious violence'

General Secretary of German CDU calls Muslims 'main cause for religious violence'
spiegel online


Religious violence is today almost exclusively exerted by Muslims, the general secretary of the CDR Ronald Pofalla wrote in a guest article for newspaper Bild Am Sonntag. He called burning flags and enraged masses only the visible part of Fanatism. "The problem of religiously motivated violence is today almost exclusively a problem of Islam. Besides, the victims of this violence are often muslims themselves.". At the same time, the general secretary refused to tolerate being called an infidel by Muslims as a Christian.


Pofalla demanded more commitment to western values from the Muslims. "What counts now are deeds. To declare that you stand behind the Grundgesetz (German law) is taken for granted. We expect more: The right to free expression, the equality of man and woman as well as the strict rejection of any form of violence - this has to show in everyday life", the politician continued.


The general secretary demanded a tolerance of critizism from the Muslims and more engagement for defending these values. "The Muslim side must be ready toaccept critizism. We must be ready to stand for our western values which are heavily influenced by Christianity. The red-green ideology of multiculturalism of the last years has given the impression that we don't have to fight for our values. That was a big mistake. We will have our right to free expression taken by no angry protest anywhere on this world."

Archbishop of Canterbury defends veils

Archbishop of Canterbury defends veils
Daily Telegraph

by James Burleigh and Roland Hancock




The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that promoting a society where no religious symbols are visible in public is "politically dangerous" and warned against a march towards secularism in Britain.

Rowan Williams said he was making his views known in an effort to bring perspective to the ongoing debate on the wearing of Islamic veils, Christian crosses and other visible expressions of religious belief.

"The ideal of a society where no visible public signs of religion would be seen - no crosses around necks, no sidelocks, turbans or veils - is a politically dangerous one.


It's not a "religious symbol" in the same way a crucifix or a yarmulke or a nativity set is. It's a symobl of subordination. ......A religious symbol worn around the neck is far different from forcing women to cover themselves to keep from inciting men to rape. These women look more like bank robbers in disguise than trustworthy citizens.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

No liberation in hiding your face in public

Pamela Bone: No liberation in hiding your face in public

There is no valid feminist argument for wearing a burka October 25, 2006

THE woman was dressed in a long, voluminous brown garment that covered all of her body and her face, leaving only a narrow gap for her eyes. The man with her wore a short-sleeved polo shirt and dark trousers, and was clean-shaven. There were only three of us in the small lift. I thought it better to resist my impulse to ask of him: "And where is your mask?" The woman looked at me. She may have smiled, but I couldn't tell.In Britain last week, Aisha Azmi, a 24-year-old teaching assistant who was suspended for refusing to remove her veil while in the classroom, lost her discrimination case but was awarded pound stg. 1000 ($2475) for hurt feelings. She has vowed to continue her legal fight. "Muslim women who wear the veil are not aliens," she said. Of course they are not. The question is why, in a free society, anyone would choose to make herself look like one.







http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20638696-7583,00.html

"cover recoil."

Modesty and menace

Barbara Kay

National Post
Wednesday, October 25, 2006

MONTREAL - Last week, while being buffed for an interview on a French-language TV talk show, I observed a quartet of young Muslim women trooping in for their touch-ups. They were amateur models who, in the segment following mine, would serve as visual accompaniment to a commentator's discourse on the diversity of Muslim "fashion." The girls primped, and tweaked their respective costumes: a hijab, two different styles of chador and the full-body, face-veiling niqab.

Lately it has become more acceptable to admit to "cover recoil." Certainly I felt a frisson of revulsion when the niqab-clad young woman lowered a second veil over her entire face. With eyes visible, she had been barely identifiable as a woman. When they disappeared, she no longer registered as a human being. She was a ... creature.

The niqab, still a rarity here, is a hot issue abroad, where several political leaders have held forth on its negative social effects: British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called it a "mark of separation." Blair's foreign minister, Jack Straw, announced he will no longer interview veiled women in his constituency office. Italy's Romano Prodi declared, "You can't cover your face .... It is not how you dress, but if you are hidden or not."

Coincidentally, in England a Yorkshire school suspended Aishah Azmi, 24, an assistant teacher, for insisting on wearing a niqab in class. (She had not worn a veil at her interview.)

Azmi's case may be a tipping point in Britons' patience with Muslim entitlements. Politically correct deference to complaints of discrimination by Azmi and leaders of the Muslim community did not spring forth with their wonted alacrity, and Azmi lost three claims of discrimination and harassment before an employment tribunal. Let us fervently hope this is a sign that frankness around the indecency of the niqab will henceforth be the order of the day.

Yes, indecency. A great deal of hypocritical ink has been spilled about "respecting difference," the "right" of women to affirm their cultural identity and the injustice of "forcing" women to adapt to Western norms. These multicultural pieties don't reflect essential Canadian values, just a fear of being labelled Islamophobic. For in reality, in the interest of decency, social comfort and civil norms, we "force" people to refrain from doing all kinds of things.

Our decency spectrum features a somewhat elastic middle zone of socially appropriate behaviours, as well as two end zones: One is over-exhibition in public -- nakedness and unseemly intimacies; the other -- total cover and discomfiting social distance -- is over-inhibition in public. Both extremes provoke negative social tension. We don't second-guess the familiar old transgressions of the over-exhibitionistic zone. There would be no talk of "respecting difference" or "rights" if someone strolled naked into a schoolyard.

But the opposite end of the spectrum is more nuanced.

We're clear about men in ski masks in banks and other urban spaces, because we instinctively associate the hidden male face with deviancy or violence. But cover in general amongst women signifies sexual modesty (an appropriate middle zone behaviour and a Judeo-Christian heritage value), so we're pre-programmed to approve -- or at least not disapprove -- of all cover's various "fashions." Yet as members of an egalitarian and individual-promoting culture, we are offended by the shocking depersonalization of women the niqab in particular confers. It's a muddle; theory wars with instinct.

Our discomfort is compounded by the association of full female coverage with regimes such as the Taliban's and Saudi Arabia, which are not only notoriously repressive of women, but embody or support virulently hostile attitudes to the West. The question inevitably arises:

Why would any free Western woman (whose mother certainly never wore a niqab) voluntarily exchange her individuality for such drastic physical and social self-erasure, except as an ideological gesture of support for anti-Western interpretations of Islam? I am sure I am not alone in longing for the reassurance of some other benign and credible explanation.

Body cover in the name of sexual modesty is a universally respected phenomenon. But face cover is a universal symbol of menace, shame or the intention to deceive one's fellows. We've long had penalties for the offence of public self-imposition, but unlike England and Europe, we haven't had to consider suitable dissuasive strategies against the civic insult of public self-nullification. A flimsy veil is a social wall. It's easier not to build walls than be forced to tear them down.

Shining a psychological spotlight on a few of the insanities of the veil issue

Dr. Sanity

Shining a psychological spotlight on a few of the insanities of the veil issue

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
 
A RELIGION OF NARCISSISTIC ENTITLEMENT AND BORDERLINE BEHAVIOR

Anne Applebaum poses a pertinent question about "the veil" issue, which cuts to the heart of the multicultural hypocrisy rampant in the world today:
...at a much simpler level, surely it is also true that the full-faced veil -- the niqab, burqa or chador -- causes such deep reactions in the West not so much because of its political or religious symbolism but because it is extremely impolite. Just as it is considered rude to enter a Balinese temple wearing shorts, so, too, is it considered rude, in a Western country, to hide one's face. We wear masks when we want to frighten, when we are in mourning or when we want to conceal our identities. To a Western child -- or even an adult -- a woman clad from head to toe in black looks like a ghost. Thieves and actors hide their faces in the West; honest people look you straight in the eye.

Given that polite behavior is required in other facets of their jobs, it doesn't seem to me in the least offensive to require schoolteachers or civil servants to show their faces when dealing with children or the public. If Western tourists can wear sarongs in Balinese temples to show respect for the locals, so too can religious Muslim women show respect for the children they teach and the customers they serve by leaving their head scarves on, but removing their full-faced veils.

In other words, it is incredibly rude for anyone to insist that their right to practice religion is more important than anyone else's right. As Applebaum notes, Orthodox Jews do not demand the "right" to work in a restaurant only open on Saturdays; nor does a Quaker have the right to join the military and then refuse to fight. Those who feel it necessary to practice their religion to such an extent have no absolute right whatsoever to make the rest of the world adapt to their practices. They are free to stay home and wear whatever they choose; they are not free to demand the "right" to jobs that put their religion at odds with the job requirements.

I would submit that the behavior and attitude we witness today from the practitioners of Islam--in Britain, France and most of Europe; as well as in the Middle East--has gone way beyond "rude" or "impolite", however; and more clearly belongs in the realm of "borderline" and "narcissistic" psychopathology.

I wonder if you can describe a religion as completely narcissistic? Well, if the shoe fits....

The supposed "Religion of Peace" (RoP) would definitely meet diagnostic criteria for a "Religion of Malignant Narcissism" (RoMN). Some of the more radical practitioners of this religion seem to think that it is their divine right (also called having a "sense of entitlement")to demand the world accede to their wishes at all times:
Patients with this type of attitude always want more. Whatever you do is never good enough for them, and they also generally show no gratitute or express any thanks--even when someone goes out of their way for them. Like the most spoiled of royalty, they merely expect that they should be the center of your world at all times.

This attitude is normally seen in toddlers, who want what they want and they want it now. Every parent has had to deal with this kind of whining. When you see this attitude repeatedly in an adult, then you know you are dealing with psychopathology. Many adults whimper at the slightest inconvenience, delay, or restriction. Why? Because, like toddlers, they are convinced they deserve what they want when they want it. They are "entitled" to it.

The examples of this attitude of Islamic narcissistic entitlement are all around us these days. They demand "respect" for their religion, even as their religion dismisses and denigrates others; they demand that you draw only cartoons they they approve of (even as their own "humor" in cartoons passes the bounds of civilized behavior in terms of sadism and offense). They immigrate to countries that are polite enough to let them in and allow them to practice their religion in peace; and they threaten violence unless those countries are willing to alter their own traditions and subvert their own values in adopting the Islamic perspective.

Let's face it. These Islamic narcissists don't want to be tolerated by the society they live in and free to practice their religion even in the most multiculturally sensitive nations; they want the society or nation they live in to completely submit to their values and religious practices and to acknowledge their obvious superiority--or else.

Like most borderline personalities, is it any wonder that Islam's relationships with other cultures are unstable and characterized by intense mood reactivity such as dysphoria, irritability, anxiety, anger and rage? Or that they have a markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self that expresses narcissistic rage at the slightest hint of an insult? Or that they constantly express intense anger or difficulty controlling anger, characterized by frequent displays of temper, constant recurrent physical aggression and fighting?

Not to mention the recurrent suicidal and homicidal impulses that are nurtured and given religious sanction.

This is all descriptive of a very sick religion. I am not talking here only about the "extremists", since many of these attitudes are apparently shared by even the so-called "moderates" of the religion; who, while they might eschew the more violent acting out, still arrogantly express the sense of entitlement and display not the slightest insight into their own intolerance and phobias regarding other cultures.

There is no appeasing borderlines. Giving into their sense of entitlement only leads to more and more demands for attention and acknowledgement of their narcissistic superiority. They will never express gratitude or thanks, and always view you as mere extensions of their own damaged self.

The only way to deal with such borderline behavior is to clearly set limits and expectations-- and then stick to them. Tolerating the unceasingly intolerable behavior and demands that modern Islam exhibits will only reinforce the underlying psychopathology and accentuate the bottomless narcissistic entitlement.

http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2006/10/religion-of-narcissistic-entitlement.html

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

America's Vision: Occupation And The Building Of great New Nations

America's Vision: Occupation And The Building Of great New Nations - American has built great nations out of depraved, hate filled, thuggocracies


On March 19, 2003, American and a coalition of the willing invaded Iraq. On May 1, 2003, President Bush declared, "Mission accomplished."

Our consumerist, instant gratification culture gives birth to a mindframe which is unrealistic. The new nation we bought, and paid for, is ours. We can take it home and put it in our history books.

But, a new nation is not a product that we buy. And, if it is like a product, then it is more akin to open-source software than it is to a mass-market brand in the capitalist marketplace. Its development will take time, and we have to build it through trial and error.

A war is for the destruction of a regime. War's aftermath is for the building of a new nation. Let's look at how long it took us to rebuild in previous wars in which we fought to rid a nation of an evil regime.

In Germany, post WWII, we found we needed 200,000 troops to maintain the occupation and rebuilding efforts. We did not hand over full-sovereignty to the German government until 1955; ten years later.

In Japan, post-WWII, we found we needed approximately 300,000 troops. We did not hand over full-sovereignty to the Japanese government until 1953, eight years laters.

If you think about it, our rebuilding efforts in the South took even more time. If it were not so, President Eisenhower would not have had to send 1,200 federal troops into Arkansas to escort nine children to classes at Little Rock High School in 1957.

Rebuilding a nation takes time. Obliterating the evil ideologies that are the foundation of malevolent regimes is a generational effort.

I believe we Americans have it in us to see our Democracy project through. Do you believe in America's vision?


http://www.astuteblogger.blogspot.com/

food for thought


One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes

on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy,sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity,

guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence,

empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

The culture that squelches intellectual thought

Islamic thinking in limbo
Riaz Hassan
October 25, 2006
IS the Islamic world intellectually stagnating? One way to answer this is to ask how many world-class universities there are in Muslim countries. The 2006 rankings of the top 200 universities by The Times Higher Education Supplement show the poor state of academic institutions in Muslim countries.
The US, with 5 per cent of the world population, had 54, or 27 per cent, of the top 200 universities. Forty-six Muslim majority countries, on the other hand, with 16 per cent of the world population, had only two, or 1 per cent of the universities ranked in the list. The two universities were from Malaysia, Universiti Kabangsaan and University of Malaya. Without diminishing their achievement, the two universities were ranked as numbers 185 and 192 with overall scores of 29.2 and 28.6 respectively from a possible score of 100. On the important measure of faculty citation, an indicator of intellectual creativity and impact, they had the lowest scores.

The THES rankings were based on the assessment of more than 1000 higher education institutions using five key indicators. These included asking 3700 research-active academics globally to name the top 30 research universities in their field of expertise as well as counting the citations per published paper by researchers at each institution. The other indicators were the number of foreign students enrolled, staff-student ratios and top companies' assessment of the quality of an institution's graduates. For Islamic countries, notwithstanding some isolated centres of academic excellence, these rankings confirmed the findings of other studies.

Years ago, using data from the Science Citation Index produced by the Institute for Scientific Information, Mohammad Anwar and Abu Baker from the International Islamic University of Malaysia showed that the total contribution of 46 Muslim majority countries to the world of science literature between 1990 and 1994 was a meagre 1.17 per cent of total world output, as compared with 1.66 per cent for India and 1.48 per cent for Spain.

This study also showed that the 20 Arab countries contributed only .55 per cent to scientific output, whereas Israel alone contributed 0.89 per cent in the same period.

Another indicator of this intellectual insularity of the Arab world was reported in the 2002 report of the UN Development Fund on the Arab world. According to this report there is little writing or translation from other languages: in the 1000 years since the caliph Mamoun the Arabs have translated as many books as Spain translates in a single year.

The consequences of intellectual stagnation are reflected in the economic performance of the Muslim countries. A Brooking Institution study reported in The Economist (September 13, 2003) showed that during the past quarter-century, gross domestic product per person in most Muslim countries had fallen or remained the same. A prominent Muslim scientist and Nobel laureate, Abdus Salam, observed 20 years ago that: "Of all civilisations on this planet, science is weakest in the lands of Islam. The dangers of this weakness cannot be overemphasised since the honourable survival of a society depends directly on its science and technology in the condition of the present age."

In the third industrial revolution, with its knowledge economy in which creation of wealth will depend primarily on brain industries, this scientific, technological and intellectual stagnation is going to have far-reaching socioeconomic repercussions.

Several factors can account for these conditions, the most important being the meagre resources allocated by Muslim countries to research and development. On average, Muslim countries spend 0.45 per cent of GDP on R&D. The comparable figure for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries is 2.3 per cent.

These conditions are also a legacy of the colonialism experienced by most Muslim countries for an extended period in the past two centuries, during which they endured some of the worst excesses of racial and economic exploitation that stalled their development. But most of the causes of their present predicament can also be attributed to prevailing cultural and political practices. Other countries such as South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India have taken notable strides in the fields of science and technology and are among the leading emerging economies.

The non-availability of funds can hardly justify the absence of good universities in resource-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, each of which are reportedly earning $US500million ($657 million) daily from their oil exports alone.

An encouraging development that appears to be taking place is that as academic and administrative conditions in the public sector universities have declined, the private sector has responded by establishing well-resourced universities. This is illustrated by the establishment of the Aga Khan Medical University and Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan and Belkent University in Turkey.

The other conditions not conducive to the development of vibrant universities include the weak and undeveloped civil society in Muslim countries.

Civil society refers to the presence of diverse non-governmental organisations and institutions of higher learning that are strong enough to counterbalance the power of the central intuitions of the state, which have a tendency to want to establish a monopoly over power and truth in society.

Muslim countries are increasingly coming under intense pressure from religious fundamentalists to impose epistemologies compatible with their versions of Islamic doctrines that are generally hostile to critical rational thought. This is stifling the development of conditions conducive to the development and growth of vibrant institutions of higher learning.

In my recent studies of contemporary Islamic consciousness in some Middle Eastern Muslim countries, I was struck by an all-pervasive sense of humiliation arising from the inability of Arab countries to match the military and technological superiority of Israel.

This sense was further reinforced by the economic power and absolute technological superiority of the West vis-a-vis Muslim countries.

This sense of humiliation is a key underlying cause of Islamic militancy and terrorism.

A robust civil ethic is a prerequisite for developing a society based not on the tyranny of strongly held convictions but on a social order based on reason and compromise. Science and technology prosper only under conditions that privilege the rule of reason and nature. The influence of religious fundamentalist movements is having a deleterious effect on academic conditions, especially in the humanities and social sciences.

The intellectual stagnation of Muslim countries threatens to imprison a significant proportion of humanity into permanent servitude. There is a great urgency to create and nurture conditions promoting academic excellence and to develop strategies to arrest the decline of the institutions of higher learning to ensure an honourable survival of future generations of Muslims. This is probably the greatest and growing challenge facing the governments of the Muslim countries today.

Ridicule is a powerful tool in the culture war

Rules of Ridicule
By Ivan Osorio

"Ridicule is man's most potent weapon," says the fifth rule of Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals, Saul Alinsky's classic 1971 activist handbook. That's because, "It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule," as Michael "tank moment" Dukakis so painfully knows.

...........

As Waller rightly notes, tyrants "require a controlled political environment, reinforced by sycophants and toadies, to preserve an impenetrable image. Some are more tolerant of reasoned or principled opposition but few of satire or ridicule." Yet even democratic governments require a certain level of control in their management of all their affairs, especially in diplomacy. What government could, even in jest, vow "to defeat whoever we're at war with"?

State actors are ill-suited to exploit ridicule. And that's just as well. As Waller notes, ridicule is a dictator's worst nightmare, but it is more than that: It is freedom's friend, and as such, an unreliable tool of governments, no matter how democratic.

City schools 'should ban veils'

City schools 'should ban veils'
BBC News


Muslim girls could be asked not to wear veils in the classroom under new plans. Bradford City Council is drawing up guidelines stating that pupils and staff should not wear veils in lessons.

It said veils could cause problems with communication, identifying pupils and health and safety. However, the final decision would lie with the school.......snip.....

Rational response

The Regensburg Effect: The Open Letter from 38 Muslims to the Pope
from Chiesa by Sandro Magister




The Regensburg Effect: The Open Letter from 38 Muslims to the Pope

Instead of saying they are offended and demanding apologies, they express their respect for him and dialogue with him on faith and reason. They disagree on many points. But they also criticize those Muslims who want to impose, with violence, “utopian dreams in which the end justifies the means”

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, October 18, 2006 – One month after his lecture at the University of Regensburg, Benedict XVI received an “open letter” signed by 38 Muslim personalities from various countries and of different outlooks, which discusses point by point the views on Islam expressed by the pope in that lecture.

The letter came to pope Joseph Ratzinger through the Vatican nunciature in Amman, to which it was delivered by one of the signatories, prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, special advisor to the king of Jordan, Abdullah II.

The complete text of the letter, in English, has been available since Sunday, October 15, on the website of “Islamica Magazine,” a periodical published in the Unites States that holds the copyright to this document.

The letter is followed by the names and roles of the 38 main signatories, who may be joined by others.

The authors of the letter welcome and appreciate without reservation the clarifications made by Benedict XVI after the wave of protests that issued from the Muslim world a few days after the lecture in Regensburg, and in particular the speech that the pope addressed to ambassadors from Muslim countries on September 25, and also the reference made by cardinal secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone, in a note issued on September 16, to the conciliar document “Nostra Aetate.”

And not only that. They condemn with very strong words the assassination that took place in Somalia, in Muslim Mogadishu, of sister Leonella Sgorbati, thereby linking this to the protests that were at their peak at the time:

“We must state that the murder on September 17th of an innocent Catholic nun in Somalia – and any other similar acts of wanton individual violence – 'in reaction to' the lecture at the University of Regensburg, is completely un-Islamic, and we totally condemn such acts.”

Our schools are a critical step in the culture wars

from the wall street journal

Campus Jihad
By ANTHONY GLEES
October 23, 2006; Page A15

LONDON -- U.K. intelligence officials have just provided a chilling assessment of the terrorist threat Britain faces. The country has become "al Qaeda target No. 1," security sources told me, confirming last week's press reports. Intelligence services now judge Britain's "home grown" terrorists to be organized, trained and controlled either directly from Pakistan or via Pakistani networks in Britain.

........Unfortunately, my research showed that Islamic radicalization is a threat on campuses nation-wide.

But British universities prefer burying their heads in the sand of political correctness. When the Foreign Office invited 100 academics to bid for £1.3 million of government funds to participate in a counter-radicalization program, the academics said no. John Gledhill, chair of the Association of Social Anthropologists, welcomed their move, saying last week that "it did appear to be encouraging researchers to identify subjects and groups involved with terrorism . . . that could be interpreted as encouraging them to become informers." Martha Mundy, a lecturer at the London School of Economics, dismissed the government plans as having "an overtly security-research agenda" starting from the (false) premise that there is a "link between Islamism, radicalization and terrorism." (HUH)?????

Is Ms. Mundy seriously saying there is no connection between Islamism and terrorism? "Security" is not a dirty word, even if totalitarian regimes have abused it. Every British university subscribes to the 1997 Dearing Report, which states that the "aim of higher education is to play a major role in shaping a democratic, civilized and inclusive society." This is the basis on which the British taxpayer agrees to fund them.

Academic institutions should surely help protect Britain from those who clearly do not believe in democracy, are not civilized, and who try to harm us. Now that we are the prime target for Islamist terror, Britain's universities must get real.

Muslim Woman Told She Must Remove Veil To Testify In Detroit Court

Muslim Woman Told She Must Remove Veil To Testify In Detroit Court
All Headline News by Mort Karman



Ginnah Muhammad, 42, is a devout Muslim, so as such, she feels she was forced to choose between her small claims court case and her religion, Friday.


Judge Paul Paruk, in Hamtramck District Court, told Muhammad she had to take off her niqab; a scarf and veil, which covers her face and head except for her eyes, or he would dismiss her case. The judge said he needed to see her face so he could judge her truthfulness when she testified.............




note: should she be driving dressed with her face covered???

Monday, October 23, 2006

Islamic head scarves a rare sight

Islamic head scarves a rare sight
Washington Times by Andrew Borowiec




NICOSIA, Cyprus -- Defying the Islamic clamor in some European countries, Tunisia has served notice that it will continue to oppose any "sectarian dress" incompatible with its tradition.

This includes head scarves for women, who have been reminded that, according to a 25-year-old government directive, they are not to wear the "Islamic scarf" in schools and public buildings. In contrast to neighboring Algeria, the veil has rarely been worn in Tunisia.

Such a form of dress, a senior Tunisian official said, "reminds us of the time when extremists threw acid in the faces of unveiled women. Fundamentalists have totally failed in their attempts at the subversion and manipulation of society in Tunisia."

Olfa Youssef, a university professor in Tunis, said wearing a veil or scarf "was never one of the pillars of Islam, based on the Koran or the Summa. There is no particular type of dress that has to be worn."

The statements and other warnings to the population coincide with the end today of the holy month of Ramadan, which usually increases attendance in mosques.

Abdelaziz Ben Dhia, spokesman for the Tunisian president's office, said, "We don't accept appearances that are an indication of belonging to one group of people against the rest of society."

Tunisian officials feel that head scarves, a frequent object of fundamentalist Muslim demands, have nothing to do with religion or national tradition, but represent a political message, which the government opposes. In the days preceding the end of Ramadan, policemen distributed leaflets to women spelling out government policy.

The effort reaffirms Tunisia's determined secular policy introduced by the country's first president, Habib Bourguiba, who also stunned the Arab world by drinking orange juice on television during the fast of Ramadan.

Polygamy is a step back into barbarism and weakens the culture

Polygamy violates rights: Ottawa
CanWest News Service by Janice Tibbetts


OTTAWA -- Canada is violating its international human rights obligations regarding women and children by allowing polygamy to persist unchecked, says a new study commissioned by the federal Justice Department.

"Polygamy is a violation of international law," says the study's author, Rebecca Cook, a University of Toronto law professor.

"Canada has an obligation as a matter of international law to take all appropriate steps."

While polygamy is technically illegal in Canada and punishable by up to five years in prison, the practice has flourished for more than 50 years in Bountiful, B.C. -- the home of a colony of adherents to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The breakaway Mormon sect teaches that men must have at least three wives to achieve eternal salvation.

After more than a decade of refusing to lay charges amid concern that the federal law is too weak to survive a constitutional challenge, the provincial Crown is reviewing a new police report to determine if criminal prosecution is warranted.

Cook's report, quietly posted on the Justice Department's website last month, is part of a broader $150,000 study on polygamy launched by the former Liberal government in 2005.

One controversial report commissioned by the Status of Women, which was published last year, called for repealing the ban on polygamy in favour of other laws to help women and children.

But Cook takes a more conventional view, maintaining that Canada is required to enforce the law because it is a signatory to numerous international treaties and conventions such as the United Nation's Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Cook focuses solely on the practice of polygyny -- a man having more than one wife -- rather than the broader term of polygamy, which refers to either a man or a woman. (The practice of a woman having more than one male partner is called polyandry.)

Polygyny, she wrote, robs women of their entitlement to marital exclusivity, family life, security and even enjoyment of their citizenship. It also puts them at risk for sexually transmitted diseases and mental-health problems.

Polygyny, therefore, also flies in the face of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Political Covenant, for example requires signatories to "take appropriate steps to ensure equality of rights and responsibilities of spouses as to marriage, during marriage, and at its dissolution."

Cook says the harm to girls in Bountiful "could be particularly serious, given that some girls reportedly enter unions at as young as 14 or 15 years of age."

The God of the bible could care less what people wear on their heads!!!

Turkish academic faces trial over headscarf article [Inciting religious hatred]
AFP

ISTANBUL -- An eminent 92-year-old Turkish archaeologist is to go on trial for inciting religious hatred, because she angered Islamist circles with a scientific paper saying that the use of headscarves by women dated back to pre-Islamic sexual rites.

Muazzez Ilmiye Cig, who devoted her career to studying the Sumerians, the first known urban civilization dating from the fourth millennium BC, is to appear in court November 1 in Istanbul, her editor Ismet Ogutucu said.

In a book published last year, Cig said that the headscarf - a controversial issue in Turkey - was first worn by Sumerian priestesses initiating young people into sex, but without prostituting themselves.

A chilling message for the infidels

A chilling message for the infidels (Interview with Bali bomber, just released)
by Scott Atran

.., I interviewed Abu Bakar Bashir, the alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), al-Qa'eda's main ally in the region, and the group on which western attention is focused in the hunt for culprits.

... Scott Atran: "What are the conditions for Islam to be strong?"

Abu Bakar Bashir: "The infidel country must be visited and spied upon. If we don't come to them, they will persecute Islam. They will prevent non-Muslims converting."

Atran: "What can the West, especially the US, do to make the world more peaceful?"

Bashir: "They have to stop fighting Islam. That's impossible because it is sunnatullah [destiny, a law of nature], as Allah has said in the Koran. If they want to have peace, they have to accept to be governed by Islam."

Atran: "What if they persist?"

Bashir: "We'll keep fighting them and they'll lose. The batil [falsehood] will lose sooner or later. I sent a letter to Bush. I said that you'll lose and there is no point for you [to fight us]. This [concept] is found in the Koran." ...

Atran: "So this fight will never end?"

Bashir: "Never. This fight is compulsory. Muslims who don't hate America sin. What I mean by America is George Bush's regime. There is no iman [belief] if one doesn't hate America."

Atran: "How can the American regime and its policies change?"

Bashir: "We'll see. As long as there is no intention to fight us and Islam continues to grow there can be peace. This is the doctrine of Islam. Islam can't be ruled by others. Allah's law must stand above human law. There is no [example] of Islam and infidels, the right and the wrong, living together in peace."...


Read more at thefirstpost.co.uk ...

Robertson calls Quran 'fraudulent,' remark angers Muslims

Robertson calls Quran 'fraudulent,' remark angers Muslims

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An American Muslim group is criticizing Virginia Beach religious broadcaster Reverend Pat Robertson for suggesting that the Quran, rather than being a divine revelation, was a fraudulent creation of Muhammad to justify his own actions.

On his television show "The 700 Club" last Thursday, Robertson also said "violent jihad" is a core Islamic teaching, and he said Islam is not a religion of peace.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says Muslims who hear such statements may conclude that their faith is under attack from America.

Hooper says clerics should be promoting their own faiths rather than attacking other religions. He says Hooper says Robertson isn't an authority on Islam.

Muslim veils prompt bans across Europe, a cultural necessity

Muslim veils prompt bans across Europe
from Washington Times

By Elizabeth Bryant


PARIS -- When Nora Labrak arrived at a private employment agency in the summer near the French city of Lyon, the first question she was posed was not about her resume.

"I was asked to remove my head scarf at the lobby," Miss Labrak recalled in a telephone interview. When the 29-year-old refused, she was hustled to the door.

Long and short, sober black and brightly hued, the Muslim veil is drawing growing criticism in much of Europe. It has been chased from public schools in France and Belgium, and its strictest, face-concealing variation, the niqab, has been outlawed in a smattering of European towns.

.........snip..

"If you're in Europe, you need to live according to European customs. Either you adapt or, if you want to wear Middle Eastern clothing, you leave," said Khadija Khali, head of a French Muslim women's group. A practicing Muslim who has gone to Mecca five times, Mrs. Khali does not wear a veil.


(Excerpt) Read more at insider.washingtontimes.com ...

Important cultural warfare step

Plan to make shops show English signage
The Australian October 23, 2006




A SYDNEY council wants to force local businesses to translate all shopfront signs in foreign languages into English.


Marrickville Council in Sydney's inner west is the latest local authority in the city to look at introducing the requirement.


Marrickville has a large foreign-born population and is well-known for its ethnic restaurants.


Local councillor Victor Macri said having shop signs only in foreign languages promoted segregation.


"If they are offended by the English language, they should seriously consider where they live," he said to Sky News.


"Marrickville is an open and friendly place, and that's what we're showing. We're friendly to everyone."


Mr Kerkyasharian said it was sensible for businesses to have signs in English as well.


"Commercial signs send an important commercial message and it makes sense to have it in English as well so that it maximises commercial opportunities," Mr Kerkyasharian said.


"In some cases, e.g. a recent requirement by a Korean restaurant that only Koreans are allowed in their establishment, or any signs which send a signal that people of a particular linguistic background only are welcome in a shop, could be seen as bordering on racism."


Not all Marrickville councillors support the proposal, with Greens member Saeed Khan condemning it as a "very bad idea" that could even be illegal.


"It kind of borders on racism," Mr Khan said to the Nine Network.


"This is not sending the message that diversity is appreciated in Marrickville.


Read more at theaustralian.news.com.au ...

A father stands accused of the unthinkable: brutally cutting his daughter's genitals.

IMO this is not "circumcision", this should be treated as rape. With all the penalties of rape.

Dad stands trial over daughter's mutilation

By LATEEF MUNGIN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution



A father stands accused of the unthinkable: brutally cutting his daughter's genitals.

The girl was only 2.



Khalid Adem is accused of circumcising his 2-year-old daughter with scissors.

Monday, activists from all over the world will be focused on a Gwinnett County courtroom as Khalid Adem, accused of cruelty to a child and aggravated battery for allegedly circumcising his daughter, goes on trial.

Adem, 30, was charged with aggravated battery and cruelty to children more than three years ago and, if convicted, could face 40 years in prison. He was born in Ethiopia, where circumcision is a common procedure for young girls.

Adem's trial may be a landmark case for health and human rights activists fighting against the African custom they call genital mutilation. But for those close to the victim, this trial is about vindication and healing for a little girl who was forced to endure unbearable pain.

"When I saw that child I saw myself. I could see the pain in her eyes," said Soraya Mire, a filmmaker and activist who was circumcised when she was 13 in Somalia. Mire is known for her 1994 documentary "Fire Eyes" in which she chronicled her struggles after having the procedure.

Mire, who now lives in Los Angeles, was asked by Gwinnett authorities to counsel the victim in 2003 when it was discovered that she had been circumcised.

"She hugged me, and I just burst into tears," Mire said. "Since that day, I've been obsessed with finding out who did this to that child."

Police say Adem circumcised his daughter with scissors in his Duluth apartment, while someone else held the girl's legs.

Authorities said the circumcision occurred sometime in 2001 but the mother didn't discover it until two years later. The mother told police she learned about it while arguing with Adem about female circumcision. The mother told police that she told Adem she didn't want that to happen to their daughter, but Adem implied the circumcision had already occurred.

The mother went to a doctor who confirmed that the girl had been circumcised. The girl then told Gwinnett authorities that her father had done it. He was arrested in March 2003.

Adem has said through his defense attorney W. Mark Hill that he was innocent. Hill said the allegations stem from a bitter divorce and custody battle the couple was going through at the time. Hill has said the family of the girl's mother, Fortunate Adem, also is from Africa and could have performed the circumcision.

Georgia law changed

The African practice of female circumcision has been denounced for decades by health and human rights activists. In some areas in Africa, it is considered a coming-of-age ritual.

Opponents claim the procedure, which may involve the removal of the clitoris or all of the external genitalia, is extremely painful, medically unnecessary and unsafe. It is illegal in the United States and has been condemned by the United Nations.

The centuries-old practice is performed for many reasons, including to curtail sex drive and preserve virginity. It also is a prerequisite for marriage in some cultures, experts say.

After Adem was arrested, activists and educators flocked to metro Atlanta to denounce genital mutilation. A four-day conference on the practice sponsored by international women's rights group Equality Now was held in Atlanta three months after his arrest. The conference was originally supposed to be in Nairobi, Kenya, but was moved to Atlanta because of the national interest following Adem's arrest, said Taina Bien-Aime, executive director of Equality Now.

It is difficult to document the number of female circumcision prosecutions in the United States. Although Congress passed a law in 1996, many states still do not have their own laws forbidding the practice. But experts who follow the issue say arrests for female circumcision are rare.

"To our knowledge, this was the first documented case of [female circumcision] in the United States," said Bien-Aime, whose organization, which has offices in New York, London and Africa, has been following the issue since 1992. "We will be monitoring the trial and hope that it will help bring awareness to the issue."

Adem's arrest also had an impact on Georgia law. In 2003, there was no state law in Georgia that addressed female circumcision. That's why Adem was charged with aggravated battery and cruelty to children.

After her ex-husband's arrest, Fortunate Adem worked with Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) to get a law passed outlawing female circumcision. The law was enacted in May 2005.

If Khalid Adem had been arrested after the new law was in place, he could have faced an additional 20 years for the genital mutilation charge.

Fortunate Adem refused to comment for this article but has said her daughter suffered severe pain since the circumcision.

"Her whole life has been changed," she said. "She is going to be traumatized psychologically. Parts of her body have been taken away from her without her consent. They need to look at this child the same way they would if she had been raped."

Taliban has a culture that totally subjugates and brutalizes and isolates women

'We Are Targeting Europe' (Taliban)
from Sky News



A Taliban commander has told Sky News that the militants are for the first time plotting to attack Westerners in Britain and the rest of Europe.

In a rare interview, the commander insisted the militants had stockpiles of weapons and would never give-up exacting revenge from what he called "the foreign invaders".

Muslims challenged by gynaecologists

Muslims challenged by gynaecologists
from The Daily Telegraph by David Rennie



France's leading gynaecologists have challenged hard-line Muslims to bow to France's secular, "modern" rules of society, and to stop insisting that their wives are examined by female doctors.

The heads of the French National College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians issued a public declaration, rejecting any moves to undermine the principle that public hospitals are part of a secular state, in which patients must accept being examined by a doctor of the opposite sex.

The move came after a consultant in Paris was punched by a Muslim who was concerned that a male doctor wanted to examine his wife after complications in childbirth. Though incidents of gynaecologists being attacked on religious grounds remain rare, the declaration said Muslim rejection of secular norms appeared to be rising.

The college said: "Thirty years ago, Muslim women came into our hospitals without any alarm at being taken into the care of doctors, most of whom were men, and there were none of these difficulties. Why are things going backwards? It is for Islam to adapt to the liberties that all must possess in a modern state." Xavier Bertrand, France's health minister, wrote to the college offering support and expressing his "indignation" at assaults on doctors.

The French constitutional requirement of "laïcité", the separation of state and religious activities, led to a law banning the wearing of "conspicuous religious symbols" in schools, such as the Muslim headscarf.


This is in regard to the following incident:

Muslim husband assaults male gynaecologist

Paris - The agency in charge of Paris-region hospitals on Saturday confirmed that the husband of a Muslim woman examined by a male gynaecologist had physically attacked the doctor, but refused to confirm allegations that the assault was motivated by religious extremism.

The AP-HP hospital agency said it had taken legal proceedings against the husband for an incident that occurred on the night of September 8 in the emergency service of an unnamed Paris hospital.

However the agency refused to endorse a statement by the professional association of French gynaecologists and obstetricians, who described the assault as a manifestation of "Muslim fundamentalism."

The statement by the CNGOF professional association mentioned a similar incident that occurred in a Paris-region hospital in 2003.

'Hospitals must remain absolutely neutral from the religious and ideological point of view'
In both attacks, gynecologists were "physically attacked and injured by the husbands of patients on the grounds that as male doctors they should not examine their wives," the statement said.

However the hospital authorities said they had "not at this stage confirmed any religious motivation" behind the latest incident.

French Health Minister Xavier Bertrand on Friday condemned the September incident, but also said he could not confirm that it was related to "religious or cultural motives."

"Hospitals must remain absolutely neutral from the religious and ideological point of view," he said.

The hospital agency said that a total of 185 violent incidents had been recorded in the 38 Paris-region public hospitals in 2005, up from 145 in the previous year.

However the hospital authorities did not record whether there was any religious motive to any of the attacks, because "such records would be discriminatory, and we have a neutral position," the statement said.

In their statement the gynecologists and obstetricians made a link between the case and a recent high-profile incident in which a French schoolteacher received death threats after publishing a virulent anti-Islamic article in a national paper.

"Are male gynecologists and obstetricians going to have to be protected by the police from now on when they do their job?" the statement asked. "Will they have to go into hiding like philosophy teachers?" - Sapa-AFP

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The culture of extreme sexual repression turns sexual frustration into homicidal rage

The mind of a suicide bomber
A politically incorrect film explores the bomb bearers' many motivations





Jonathan Curiel, Chronicle Staff Writer


 
A feature film about Palestinian suicide bombers called "Paradise Now" caused an outcry earlier this year among Israelis. They said it was too sympathetic toward its main characters, who are depicted as being motivated by anger at Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

[Podcast: Jonathan Curiel with 'Suicide Killers' director Pierre Rehov. ]

A new documentary, "Suicide Killers," by French-Jewish filmmaker Pierre Rehov is sure to draw barbs from the other camp. Rehov interviews Palestinians imprisoned for trying to detonate suicide bombs and concludes they're influenced by a religious culture that represses sexual desires and channels the resulting frustration into homicidal rage.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which nominated "Paradise Now" (directed by a Palestinian) for a 2006 best foreign-language film Academy Award, is considering "Suicide Killers" as a 2007 nominee for Best Documentary. The film, which has already screened in New York, will be shown in San Francisco if Academy judges select it as a finalist in the documentary category.

The question of what motivates some Palestinians to strap on explosives and try to kill Israeli citizens has been debated intensively in the past five years, while a string of attacks has resulted in the deaths of 1,000 Israelis.

Some Palestinians say the bombers are fueled by revenge and hopelessness brought on by decades of Israeli occupation, which have choked off the economic and social life of the Palestinian territories, and by Israeli military actions that have killed and wounded thousands of Palestinians. Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi told the BBC in 2002 that suicide bombers are "driven to desperation and anger by the Israeli activities."

Journalist and United Nations official Nasra Hassan, who has done extensive interviews with Palestinian suicide bombers, found that one of their prime goals was to spread fear in the hearts of Israelis. Hamas members told her that suicide bombings were a legitimate tactic against Israeli aggression. Studies by Israeli researchers have found that Palestinian suicide bombers are motivated by many factors, including religion and a desire to avenge the deaths of other Palestinians.

But filmmaker Rehov reaches different conclusions. Several of the young men whom he interviews behind bars say they are eager to reach paradise and the 72 virgins promised by Islamic theology. "Those who blow themselves up get a good bonus from God -- they marry 72 virgins," one tells Rehov. (A Hamas cleric told Hassan that the 72 virgins aren't on hand for sexual gratification, however.) One jailed woman talks about wanting to be the "prettiest" among the heavenly virgins.

"Suicide Killers," Rehov says, is "not politically correct." It minimizes the role that Israel's territorial occupation has on Palestinian anger and emphasizes the sexual repression that Rehov says contributes to the bombers' actions. Still, Bassem Eid, a Palestinian-Muslim journalist and human-rights activist in East Jerusalem, praises the movie for exploring the motivations of suicide bombers, saying in a phone interview, "I think suicide bombing is one of the most severe human rights violations."

Rehov has made five previous nonfiction films about Palestinians or the Palestinian territories, including "Holy Land: Christians in Peril." The Chronicle interviewed Rehov by phone from his home in Paris. Here are excerpts:

Q: Why did you make this film?

A: I had originally wanted to make a film about the psychology of (Israeli) victims of suicide attacks. I started interviewing victims, but I realized it was going to be a film (of a story that had been told before) -- that the victims' lives were completely torn apart. But something struck me: Everyone told me about the last second before the suicide bomber blew himself up -- the look and the smile on his face. I was intrigued about how someone can do something so extreme and have a nice smile on his face. I wanted to discover on the individual level what was hiding behind the smile. This is when I shifted.

In the midst of all this, I talked to one of the girls who survived an attack in Haifa. She was a waitress. She was 17. She saw the taxi stop by the cafe where she was working, she saw a guy come in, going straight to her, and opening his shirt and showing dynamite around his belt. He pointed with his finger toward the dynamite and said, to her, "Do you know what this is?"

I've studied psychology, and there are a lot of things connected to flashers -- they want to destroy innocence. I realized that these guys in the last minute of their lives have this same behavior. This is when I understood there is something really sexual about this extreme act they want to commit. I knew (about the Islamic religious belief) of 72 virgins, and I also knew about how sexual frustration can lead to people becoming serial killers.

Q: You interview Palestinians in Israeli jails who tried to detonate suicide bombs or who abetted would-be attacks. Only one of them seems to regret what he tried to do. Did this surprise you?

A: Every single one of them tried to convince me it was the right thing to do for moralistic reasons. These aren't kids who want to do evil. These are kids who want to do good. If they'd been raised in a different world, with different moral values, they would have been just great kids. This is what struck me the most: The result of this brainwashing was kids who were very good people deep inside (were) believing so much that they were doing something great.

Every one of them said that all our behaviors on Earth are impure, and they were trying to reach purity. They said they were "invaded" by Israeli culture. When they turn on the television, they see half-naked dancers. They were offended by that. They wanted me to understand that all this was forbidden on Earth, but if you did something great for God -- like blowing yourself up and killing a bunch of innocent Israelis because they are Jews and don't believe the same thing you believe -- you end up being forgiven for all of your sins and will go to heaven and find 72 virgins waiting for you.

Q: Doesn't your film overemphasize the role of religion in the lives of these suicide bombers? Aren't they more motivated by the harsh conditions in the Palestinian territories and feelings of revenge and helplessness? An Israeli study of Palestinian suicide bombers from 2003 says religious fanaticism is just one of many factors.

A: It's obviously much more complicated than just to say, "They do it because the next minute they wake up in heaven and 72 virgins take care of them." But my theory applies to Palestinians as well as al Qaeda terrorists, who were in strip clubs the night before they blew up the World Trade Center. It can also apply to a kid from London who's in a very religious family but yet lives in a city where everything is possible and open to him.

The (Israeli) occupation is, of course, part of the problem; without the occupation, they wouldn't have to deal with the Israeli culture and wouldn't have to deal with the Israeli presence and wouldn't have the sensation of being unpowerful, and it's very much also connected to pride -- and pride is connected to sexuality. It's part of your self. It's part of your behavior as a male or a female. You want to prove to the world that your genes are better than other genes, and these genes should be transmitted. All of this is connected. To just say that on the material level that occupation is painful is completely inaccurate.

I travel a lot in Arab countries. Palestinians live much better, even under occupation, than most Arabs do. If you want to talk about real misery in the Muslim world, go to Libya, or go even to the suburbs of Cairo -- then you'll see real misery.

Palestinians in the streets of Jenin are complaining about occupation, but they are complaining about it on a cell phone. (Also) the ones who blow themselves up, when they talk about occupation, Tel Aviv is occupation. My film is not a scientific study. I wanted to make a film showing suicide bombers from the inside. I preferred to follow my instinct.


A: If you look at the film, I didn't come up with just Occidental analysts going to a blackboard and saying, "Hey, this is how it works." I came up with people from inside the Palestinian territories. Every single one of my suicide bombers talks about it; a woman talks about wanting to be one of the 72 virgins, saying, "I would have been the prettiest of all." If you talk to students in Gaza, they talk about the high level of sexual frustration that they have -- that it's not possible to have a normal life.


A: To make it simple, I witnessed the culture for many, many years. I used to go on vacation in Morocco and Tunisia. Lately, I went back to Algeria for the first time in 40 years. I was born in this culture. I was used to being surrounded by Arabs and by Muslims. I feel very comfortable when I'm with them. I have no problem at all. It's a very warm civilization where solidarity is at a very high level. There's a lot of good aspects about Islam.

Unfortunately, what is going on right now is that Islam itself was not capable of going to the 21st century. Islam didn't have its enlightenment, didn't (lead to) new technologies, didn't participate in the modern world. I'm not saying the modern world is good or bad. Islam didn't participate in the modern world for many reasons, one of them being the level of corruption of the (political) leaders in Islam. In order to stay in place, they promoted for decades this theory that the West, especially Israel, is responsible for all the misery of their people.

http://www.sfgate.com/templates/types/popunder/orbitz/orbitz.html

Tomorrow's suicide murderers. This should be taken very seriously

Police and youths clash in Paris suburb
Reuters (UK)


French police and youths clashed in a Paris suburb on Sunday as tensions mounted ahead of the anniversary of riots last year that shocked the country and provoked renewed debate about the integration of immigrants.

A police spokesman said 30 to 50 individuals were involved in the clashes in Grigny south of Paris that started after youths set several cars on fire and torching a bus after ordering its passengers off.

"There are still some sporadic incidents, mostly stone throwing," he said.

In a statement, the Action Police CFTC police union urged the government to deploy "a visible and large number" of riot police to discourage youths from constantly attacking patrols.

In recent days police patrols in a number of towns across the country have been attacked by petrol bombs.

"This latest clash marks the progressive start of a repeat of the riots of November 2005," the statement said, referring to the incident in Grigny.

We're Muslim-Americans - kill us, too

We're Muslim-Americans - kill us, too
Jerusalem Post ^ | 10-22-06 | ASLAM ABDULLAH


The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, recently issued a decree to its supporters: Kill at least one American in the next two weeks "using a sniper rifle, explosive or whatever the battle may require."

Well, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, I am an American too. Count me as the one of those you have asked your supporters to kill.

I am not alone. There are thousands of Muslims with me in Las Vegas, and many more millions in America, who are proud Americans and who are ready to face your challenge. You hide in your caves and behind the faces of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. You don't show your faces and you have no guts to face Muslims. You thrive on the misery of thousands of Muslim youth and children who are victims of despotism, poverty and ignorance.

During the past two decades, you have brought nothing but shame and disaster to your religion and your world.

You said "not to drop your weapons," not to let "your enemies rest until each one of you kills at least one American within a period that does not exceed 15 days."

But I invite you to surrender, to seek forgiveness from God almighty for the senseless killing you and your supporters are involved in and repent for everything you have done.

You say that the word of God is the highest. Yes, it is. But you are not worthy of it. You have abandoned God and you have started worshipping your own satanic egos that rejoice at the killing of innocent people. You don't represent Muslims or, for that matter, any decent human being who believes in the sanctity of life.

Many among us American Muslims have differences with our administration on domestic and foreign issues, just like many other Americans do. But the plurality of opinions does not mean that we deprive ourselves of the civility that God demands from us. America is our home and will always be our home. Its interests are ours, and its people are ours. When you talk of killing Americans, you first have to kill 6 million or so Muslims who will stand for every American's right to live and enjoy the life as commanded by God.

BY GROWING a beard, shouting some religious slogans and misquoting and misusing some verses of the divine scriptures, you cannot incite Muslims to do things that are contrary to our religion. Yes, you even fail to understand the basic Islamic principles of life and living. Islam demands peace in all aspects of life. Islam demands respect for life. Islam demands justice.

What you are doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, India or other parts of the world is anti-human and anti-divine. You are an enemy of Islam as much as you are an enemy of America. You must understand that God who entrusted you with life is the same God who spelled His spirit in every human being regardless of his or her religion or ethnicity or nationality or status. You are violating Him.

We feel totally disgusted with your action and we condemn you without any reservation. Don't come to our mosques to preach this hatred. Don't visit our Islamic centers to spill the blood of innocents. Don't think that just because we share the same religion, we would show some sympathy to you. You are not of us. You don't belong to the religion whose followers are trying to live a peaceful life for themselves and others serving the divine according to their understanding. In our understanding of faith. You appear as anti-divine and anti-human. We reject you now as we rejected you yesterday.

There is nothing common between you and us.

We stand for life, you want to destroy it.

We accept the divine scheme of diversity in the world and you want to impose conformity.

We respect every human being simply because he or she is a creation of the divine, and you hate people based on their religion and ethnicity.

We support freedom and liberty and justice, and you promote bigotry, murder and strangulation.

You will never be able to find a sympathetic voice among us. Our differences with others will never lead us to do things that are fundamentally wrong in our faith, i.e. taking the lives of innocent people and killing others because they are different.

Last September 11, when you were hiding in your caves, we were out in the streets paying tribute to those whom you killed because you failed to see the beauty of life. We will condemn you once again the same way we have been doing ever since 9/11 because we are Muslim Americans.

The writer is director of the Islamic Society of Nevada. Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State.

Today's car burners are tomorrow's suicide murderers

Why 112 Cars Are Burning Everyday
Time Online ^ | 10/21/06 | Charles Bremner


The figures are stark. An average of 112 cars a day have been torched across France so far this year and there have been 15 attacks a day on police and emergency services. Nearly 3,000 police officers have been injured in clashes this year. Officers have been badly injured in four ambushes in the Paris outskirts since September. Some police talk of open war with youths who are bent on more than vandalism....snip.......

the public should not have to live "in fear of attack" from believers of the Islamic faith....

Cardinal O'Brien (of Scotland) urges Muslims to say sorry for 9/11
The Scotsman ^ | 10/22/2006 | Eddie Barnes



THE leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, has called for Muslims to apologise for the 9/11 and 7/7 bomb attacks, declaring that the public should not have to live "in fear of attack" from believers of the Islamic faith....

O'Brien said: "There have been no apologies for the shooting of the nun [in Somalia after the Pope made his remarks], let alone for 9/11 or the London bombings. I would like to see some reciprocal moves from the Islamic side. We shouldn't have to live in fear of attack from Muslims."
Under cover, under a veil and under suspicion
Herald Sun ^ | oct 22, 2006 | Carly Crawford


MUSLIM women wearing face veils can board passenger planes without having to show their face or produce identification. But they may draw loud taunts as they walk along Melbourne's streets. The veil, or niqab, is at the centre of controversy in many Western nations. It is said to make non-Muslims uncomfortable. I dressed "under cover" this week for the Sunday Herald Sun to test reactions to the garment from different sections of the community. While wearing the face covering, I was singled out for a random explosive-trace test at Melbourne Airport.

Should anyone be driving in a full facial mask?

An important cultural linchpin

Judge Tosses Case When Muslim Refuses to Unmask in Court


DETROIT - Ginnnah Muhammad of Detroit was looking for her day in court.

Instead, she said she felt as if a judge forced her to choose between her case and her religion in a small-claims dispute in Hamtramck District Court.

A devout Muslim, she wore a niqab - a scarf and veil to cover her face and head except for her eyes - Oct. 11 as she contested a rental car company’s charging her $2,750 to repair a vehicle after thieves broke into it.

Judge Paul Paruk said he needed to see her face to judge her truthfulness and gave Muhammad, 42, a choice: take off the veil when testifying or the case would be dismissed. She kept the veil on.

“I just feel so sad,” Muhammad said last week. “I feel that the court is there for justice for us. I didn’t feel like the court recognized me as a person that needed justice. I just feel I can’t trust the court.” ...

In metro Detroit, which has one of the country’s largest Muslim populations, a small minority of Muslim women - primarily those of Yemeni descent - wear the niqab, said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Paruk said that as a fact finder, he needs to see the face of a person testifying. Michigan has no rules governing what judges can do regarding religious attire of people in court, so the judges have leeway on how to run their courtrooms.

“My job in the courtroom is to make a determination as to the veracity of somebody’s claim,” he said. “Part of that, you need to identify the witness and you need to look at the witness and watch how they testify.”

Paruk said he offered to let Muhammad, who was born in the United States and converted to Islam at the age of 10, wear the veil during the proceedings except when she testified. He said this was the first time someone had come before his court wearing a niqab, and he noted that many Muslims do not consider it a religious symbol.

The critical importance of the culture war

Al-Qaeda Winning The War Of Ideas, Says Reid (UK)
from The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 10-22-2006 | Patrick Hennessy - Melissa Kite


John Reid has issued a dire warning that the Government risks losing the "battle of ideas" with al-Qaeda.

The Home Secretary spoke out at an emergency meeting of ministers and security officials amid an ever-growing threat from home-grown Islamist terror groups.




The government-backed Radical Middle Way site


He called for an urgent but controversial escalation in the propaganda war and said al-Qaeda's so-called "single extremist narrative" was proving ever more attractive to young British Muslims.

The Government needed to do much more to win the "battle of ideas", Mr Reid said. The meeting came as ministers — including Jack Straw, Ruth Kelly and Phil Woolas — started to take a much more aggressive stance against radical Islam.

Ministers have told The Sunday Telegraph that 30 terror plots are being investigated and that 1,500 young Muslims — many more than previously estimated — are suspects.

A key government weapon in the struggle to win hearts and minds is the decision to fund covertly an Islamic website appealing for moderation. A classic of New Labour terminology, it is called the Radical Middle Way. Government documents disclose that the site is "run as a grassroots initiative by Muslim organisations". However, it has "most of its financial backing from the Foreign Office and Home Office". The site uses video and podcasts to spread an "alternative message" to young Muslims. Some content is available through the iTunes website with no indication that it is effectively an arm of Government.

Around 100,000 CDs promoting moderation have also been funded and distributed free to Muslim students as an "antidote", apparently, to the jihadist CDs circulated at universities and colleges.

In the past few weeks, Mr Straw, the Leader of the Commons, has called for Muslim women to remove the veil, a point of view backed by his Cabinet colleagues, Gordon Brown and Tessa Jowell.

Mr Woolas, the community cohesion minister whose responsibilities include race and faith, called for Aishah Azmi, a Muslim teaching assistant who refused to remove her veil in class at a primary school in Dewsbury, West Yorks, to be sacked.

For the Conservatives, David Davis, the shadow home secretary, warned in this newspaper last week that Muslims were in danger of creating a system of "voluntary apartheid" by failing properly to assimilate. The emergency meeting was held at the Home Office 10 days ago and addressed by Mr Reid, Miss Kelly, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, and Sir Richard Mottram, the permanent secretary for security, intelligence and resilience at the Cabinet Office. Other ministers and many of the nation's top security service personnel were present.

The meeting discussed failings in the Government's "Contest" strategy — its overall programme for combating Islamist terrorism — and, in particular, measures to stop young Muslims following the jihadi path.

After the meeting, a minister said the foiling in August of the alleged plot to blow up transatlantic airliners had led to an order from Tony Blair for a tougher stance.

The minister said: "The approach is to bolster the moderate voices and isolate and attack the extremists."

The Prime Minister was said to have ordered colleagues to start working with "the leaders, not the panderers" in the Muslim community, pointing to a more critical approach to groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain.

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