Monday, April 30, 2007

Appeal to the Muslim Community in the West

Appeal to the Muslim Community in the West - the only ones who can moderate islam are muslims themselves = time tp stop the world wide killing

The American Muslim

by Sheila Musaji

There are many items listed in our ACTION section that allow individuals to take a stand on important issues. Some of these issues of importance to the Muslim community have very surprisingly received little attention. updated 4/25/07

There are three petitions/statements currently online that are of particular importance to the Muslim community, and this is an appeal to Muslims everywhere to read these and consider signing today. It will only take a few minutes of your time, and may make a difference in sending a clear message from the Muslim majority.

1. STAND AGAINST TERRORISTS - Although this was originally put online in response to a specific incident, it is an ongoing issue and signatures can still be added. This statement has been online since November of 2006 and to date only 17 Muslims have signed? Note, MPAC has now initiated another statement on this same topic, a ‘Code of Honor’ to Promote Intrafaith Harmony , please also consider signing that statement.

2. SUNNI-SHIA DIALOGUE TO SAVE LIVES PETITION. This has been online since February 2007 and to date has received only 336 signatures?

3. FREEDOM OF FAITH STATEMENT. This has been online since March 2007 and to date has received only 28 signatures?

Please, take a moment yourself to look at and sign these petitions/statements, forward this request to as many people as you are able, make fliers to hand out at Jumaah, do whatever you can to encourage as many as possible to consider signing. We know where we are starting with signatures, and hopefully each individual will take it personally to follow up and help to increase the number of signatures on all of these petitions by tens of thousands.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rigid control is essential to extremism - why banning religious headdress would be so effective

Women Bear Brunt of Tehran's Crackdown
Associated Press


BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Iranian police shoved and kicked them, loaded them into a curtained minibus and drove them away. Hours later, at the gates of Evin prison, they were blindfolded and forced to wear all-enveloping chadors, and then were interrogated through the night.

All 31 were women—activists accused of receiving foreign funds to stir up dissent in Iran. But their real crime, says Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, was gathering peacefully outside Tehran's Revolutionary Court in support of five fellow activists on trial for demanding changes in laws that discriminate against women.

During her 15 days in prison, "I tried to convince them that asking for our rights had nothing to do with the enemy," Abbasgholizadeh told The Associated Press by telephone from Tehran. "But they insisted that foreign governments were exploiting our cause."

The March 4 arrests highlight how women's rights, which were making some advances under the reformist presidency of Mohammad Khatami, are being rolled back by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who succeeded him in August 2005.

Activists say that while world attention has focused on the West's standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, the abuses of women's rights have intensified, using fear of a U.S. attack as a pretext.

Over the past 10 months, security forces have "become more and more aggressive even as women's actions have become more peaceful and tame," said Jila Baniyaghoub, an activist who has also spent time in jail.

"By tightening the noose on us, they are trying to warn us that they will not tolerate even the mildest criticism," she said.

Iranian authorities are reluctant to answer specific questions about the treatment of women. Several officials and lawmakers approached by the AP to talk about the issue refused to be interviewed.

But Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei recently pointed a finger at women activists when he claimed that "the enemy's new strategy is to finance and organize various groups under the cover of women's or student movements."

The aim, he told a state news agency, is to depict the government as incompetent and to turn people against it.

Abbasgholizadeh is a 48-year-old mother of two daughters, a matronly divorcee with a fringe of chestnut hair peeking from under her shawl, and her story highlights her change of fortune since the days when Khatami was president and reformists were gaining influence in Iran.

Then she had Khatami's ear through the Center for Women's Participation, a government office set up to promote women's rights, and wrote a report for the president on the state of women in Iran.

One of Ahmadinejad's first actions was to replace the office with one called "the Center for Women and Family Affairs"—a renaming that seems to reflect his conviction that a woman's place is primarily in the home.

Under Ahmadinejad, Web access has been curbed, almost all liberal newspapers have been shut, and activists say they are under closer surveillance and often summoned for questioning.

The women say they have borne the brunt of the onslaught.

Abbasgholizadeh and other reformists have waged a lengthy battle against laws that permit death by stoning for women accused of adultery, the practice of polygamy, employment laws that favor men, and family laws that deny divorcees full custody of their children and entitle them to only half the inheritance a man can receive.

Far from backing down, Ahmadinejad's government has turned its crackdown to colleges.

It is drafting a law to limit women students to half the places in college, instead of the 65 percent they now occupy. It is also restricting women's entry to medical schools, arguing that they put a strain on limited—and sexually segregated—dormitory and transportation facilities.

Women working for the government must leave work by 6 p.m. to get home and tend to their families.

And once again, with the arrival of summer, authorities are cracking down on women for not covering up enough. Police say more than 200 women have been arrested this year and released only after promising to dress more conservatively.

On April 2, five activists were arrested in a Tehran park for collecting signatures calling for changes to laws that discriminate against women. Two of them, Fariba Davoudi Mohajer and Sussan Tahmasebi, are under sentences of six months and a year respectively, and are free pending court appeals. Another, Azadeh Forghani, received a suspended two-year sentence.

Under Iranian law, suspended sentences can be implemented if a judge determines that a defendant has broken any law during the next five years.

On June 12 last year, police broke up a gathering of more than 5,000 women demanding reforms in a Tehran square. Seventy people were arrested and five organizers were charged.

On Tuesday, the Revolutionary Court imposed prison terms on three of the women from that rally. Nusheen Ahmadi Khorasani, Shahla Entesari and Parvin Ardalan were ordered to serve six months in prison, with 2 1/2 years suspended.

It was their trial which brought Abbasgholizadeh's group out in protest and landed them in Evin prison. All were soon released except Abbasgholizadeh and her lawyer, Shadi Sadr.

Abbasgholizadeh said discrimination extended even into her prison cell in Section 209 of Evin prison: Male prisoners got to smoke and drink tea as much as they liked, while women were limited to two cigarettes and two cups of tea a day. Men could exercise in sunshine; women got their 15 minutes outdoors at sunset.

She was never physically abused, she said, but had to endure what she called "white tortures"—no bed or mattress in her 6-foot-by-9-foot cell, just blankets; a fluorescent light that was never turned off; a tiny barred window near the ceiling that admitted a thin ray of light. And always, a deathly silence.

She had to visit the bathroom blindfolded. Denied TV or radio, she was given only a Quran to read, and she couldn't call home until a day or two before her release on March 19.

Still, she said it was better than the previous time she was in Evin, for about a month in 2005 for attending a foreign-organized conference. Then her cell was too small to stand up in, she recalled.

This time, she said, she endured five interrogations, always by the same Intelligence Ministry man who has handled her case for years.

An educated man, he sat before her in a small soundproofed room and always asked the same questions: How many trips had she made, and why? Who paid for them? How much money had she received from overseas? What did she spend it on? Who attended her women's rights workshops?

Abbasgholizadeh said she had nothing to hide: She confirmed making trips abroad and said her organization received money from a Dutch foundation, described how it was spent, and said her workshops were held in small towns and villages with six to 12 participants at a time.

She said experience had taught her to give brief answers; "No need to tell your whole life story."

After days of solitude and silence, Abbasgholizadeh heard a friendly voice: Her lawyer, calling out from Cell No. 24.

"Mahboubeh, are you here? Are you OK?" Sadr asked.

"Yes, I am well," Abbasgholizadeh replied through the metal windowless door of her Cell No. 12.

It was the first time they had spoken since their arrest.

Immediately, a female warden stormed into her cell, telling her she was disturbing other inmates.

Abbasgholizadeh said she exploded at the guard. "I can't talk, I can't walk, I can't look," she shouted. "Why don't you tell me not to breathe too?"

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why strict cultural laws against religious headdress would be so effective in quelling extremism.

Ahmadinejad: Enemies 'plotting' against new dress code
Sharia Alert, and more on this story: 150,000 detained so far. "Iran: Enemies 'plotting' against new dress code says Ahmadinejad," from Adnkronos International:

Rome, 27 April (AKI) - One week after police started enforcing strict new Islamic dress code rules, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday that his opponents were manipulating the moralization campaign so as to create discontent. "Our enemies want a limited group of people, mostly youth, to hit the streets dressed in a vulgar manner to provoke police intervention and then use against our country the bad feelings of young people who have been mistreated by security officials," said the president.
The country's top police officer announced on Thursday that some 150,000 women ave been detained in Iran over the past week for violating strict new Islamic dress code rules.
"During the first four days [since the code came into effect] we have picked up 150,000 women who were not properly veiled, but many of them were released after they signed an admission of guilt and a formal apology," General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam said Thursday. An unspecified number of the women taken into custody were also forced to undergo psychological counseling, Moghaddam said.
“Only 13 of these women are still being held and they will have to stand trial," he explained.
Some prominent politicians have criticised the government and the security forces for the way the matter has been handled.
Some papers in Tehran ran articles recalling how the president had promised not to meddle into the dress codes of young Iranians during the electoral campaign leading to his June 2005 presidential election.
"Young men dressed Western style and women not covered well by the veil are not a problem in a country with much more serious problems," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying at the time.
The moralization campaign was at the centre of most sermons at Friday prayers.
The leader of Tehran's prayer on Friday, ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, praised the new rules saying that "in the past week the great majority of the population has felt more secure and protected by police. Anyone criticizing police will attract the ire of the population."
The head prosecutor of Tehran, Saiid Mortazavi, the magistrate who banned dozens of papers and is suspected of a role in the murder of Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi, during questioning said: "These women who infest our streets by dressing like vulgar models must be considered criminals as they threaten the security and decensy [sic] of our youth."
Mortazavi stressed that "offending Islam's sense of modesty is a crime to be [punished] with detention" under Iran's criminal law.

bad cultural appeasement

Airport adds foot basins for Muslim cabbies

The Kansas City International Airport has added several foot-washing basins in restrooms to accommodate a growing number of Muslim taxicab drivers who requested the facilities to prepare for daily Islamic prayer, WND has learned.
The move concerns airport police who worry about Middle Eastern men loitering inside the building. After 9/11, the airport beefed up its police force to help prevent terrorist attacks.

"Why are we constructing places of worship for them inside our airports?" said an airport official who requested anonymity. "Why are we catering to their rituals? We don't do it for any other religion."

Other major airports also are dealing with increased demands from Muslim cabdrivers.

For instance, cabbies at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport recently caused a stir when they refused to carry passengers possessing alcoholic beverages or accompanied by seeing-eye dogs. Alcohol is forbidden in Islam, and dogs are considered unclean.

There are approximately 250 taxicab drivers operating at KCI Airport in Missouri, one of the largest airports in the U.S., linking some 10 million passengers between mid-America and other U.S. cities. Approximately 70 percent of the drivers are of Middle Eastern heritage and practice the Islamic faith, sources say.

KCI Airport Police are responsible for the cab drivers, including the holding areas of the building. The KCI Aviation Department, which oversees the police, recently expanded the taxicab facility restroom area to include the construction of four individual foot-washing benches.

The cost of the project is not immediately known. A spokeswoman for the engineering department said she could not break out the figures.

KCI Airport Police Capt. Jim Harmon declined comment, explaining, "This is a touchy subject."

He referred questions to the KCI Aviation Department.

In a cleansing ritual known as ablution, Muslims are required to wash their feet before praying to Allah five times a day. They often complain that public restroom sinks do not accommodate their needs. Floor-level basins make it easier for them to perform their foot-washing ritual.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has pressed government agencies and businesses to install the foot basins in restrooms.

The controversial Muslim lobby group advises employers to allow Muslim workers time to perform both the washing ritual and prayer, which "is usually about 15 minutes," according to a pamphlet CAIR publishes called, "An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices."

The Islamic purification ritual, known in Arabic as "wudu," involves a 10-step process, which includes:

1. Praising Allah while washing both hands up to the wrist three times, making sure that the water reaches between fingers and under rings.

2. Rinsing out the mouth thoroughly three times, using the right hand (the one not used for cleaning private parts) to bring the water to the mouth.

3. Snorting water into the nostrils from the right hand, three times, to cleanse them of demons that Muslims believe reside there, clearing the passages of any mucous using the left hand.

4. Washing off the tip of the nose with the left hand.

5. Washing the entire face three times from right ear to left ear.

6. Continuing to wash from forehead to throat.

7. Washing the right arm and then the left arm, three times, from the wrist up to the elbow, removing watches.

8. Moving wetted palms over the head from the top of the forehead to the back of the head.

9. Passing the wetted tips of the fingers into the grooves and holes of both ears, and also passing the wetted thumbs behind the ears and ear lobes.

10. Finally, washing both feet to the ankles starting with the right foot, including between the toes, then reciting: "Ash-hadu an la ilaha illal lahu wa ashhadu anna Muammadan 'abduhu wa rasuluh" – meaning there is no god but Allah and he has no partners, and Muhammad is his servant and messenger.

Friday, April 27, 2007


The mass denial of the entire muslim world must wake up

Lawmakers Want PBS to Air Spiked Film on Islam

by Fred Lucas

Members of Congress are weighing in on public broadcasting executives' decision to shelve a documentary on the struggles moderate Muslims in the West face at the hands of radicals.

A special screening of the film "Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center" for members of Congress was sponsored Wednesday evening by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.). The screening drew about 150 people, said Martyn Burke, one of the producers.

"People came up to us afterward asking 'how can we help,'" Burke told Cybercast News Service.

On Thursday, Franks drafted a letter, which he hopes other members of Congress will sign, urging the Public Broadcasting Service to air the documentary that it chose to keep out of the series "America at Crossroads."

The letter won't be critical of PBS but will urge the station to air the documentary, said Franks' spokesman, Bethany Barker.

The film - co-produced by Burke, a Hollywood producer, and Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev of the Center for Security Policy - deals with the experiences of moderate Muslims who have fallen foul of Islamists.

It also reveals an Islamist agenda including a push to build "parallel societies" in the West governed by Islamic law.

Burke, Gaffney and Alexiev have said PBS decided to shelve the documentary - which cost $675,000 in taxpayers' money to produce - because of censorship. (See Related Story)

"This is classic writer versus editor. This is classic producer versus studio conundrum," said Michael Leavy, spokesman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund PBS programming but plays no role in content. "An impasse has been reached."

Still, PBS has publicly been vague about the reason for the decision. The clearest indication from a PBS spokesman was Robert MacNeil telling the "Diane Rehm Show" that the documentary was "one-sided" and "alarmist."

Spokesmen have also claimed that the film was unfinished, while maintaining it could be aired on a later date.

While calling the film alarmist is a subjective view, to say the film wasn't completed on time is simply wrong, Burke said.

"It's under contract we have final control of the film," Burke said. "We tried to satisfy them. We re-edited. But it became apparent that we were working in a corrupt journalistic environment."

It wasn't censorship, Leavy told Cybercast News Service. Rather, he said, the film violated PBS standards and the grant agreement.

As far as what aspects of the documentary fell short of the standards, Leavy said he was not authorized to say, because the CPB is only responsible for funding programs, not their content. He deferred comment on the matter to PBS and WETA of Washington, both of which backed the "America at Crossroads" series.

Yet earlier this week, PBS spokesman Joe Deplasco referred Cybercast News Service queries to the CPB. Spokespersons from PBS and WETA did not return phone calls Thursday.

The PBS standards say, "Respect for the process demands that producers be allowed the freedom required for creativity to flourish." They add, "Content diversity furthers the goals of democratic society by enhancing public access to the full range of ideas."

However, PBS brass reportedly sent Burke a note, asking him, "Don't you check the politics of the people you work with?" - apparently a reference to Gaffney, who is president of the conservative think tank, the Center for Security Policy.

The standards also say, "PBS may condition acceptance of content on the producer's willingness to further the goal of balance by deleting designated footage or by including other points of view on issues presented or material from which the public might draw a conclusion different from the suggested by the content."

PBS executives reportedly sent notes to the producers, saying their film would "demonize Islam."

Leavy told Cybercast News Service that the documentary could yet be distributed on local PBS stations that may be interested. However, alternate distribution wouldn't provide national coverage.

"We are looking at alternate distribution as a pathway to public television and our member stations," he said.

But Burke was unimpressed with the suggestion.

"That means it would be in Albuquerque at 3 in the morning or on Sunday morning when no one is watching," he said. "It's farcical to even say that."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Muslim holidays rejected - good cultural move

Muslim holidays rejected by board
Washington Times

by Tarron Lively

Baltimore County public school officials have said that adding Muslim holidays to the school calendars is unlawful and "irresponsible," marking another setback in attempts across the region to add the holidays.

Muslim supporters wanted schools to close for Eid al-Adha, which marks the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, and Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.

A few dozen members of the county's chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee asked for the change at a school board meeting Tuesday night.

School officials, however, stood firm by a state law that disallows public schools from endorsing any religion, saying the school calendar can include scheduled closures only for holidays that cause low attendance rates countywide.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

They’ll be happy to add the Holidays when Saudi Arabia allows Christians to celebrate Christmas and Easter.

Why strict cultural laws would send the extremists packing

Flight of middle class Muslims (I suspect that these are extremists not moderates)
BBC News

by Navid Akhtar and Mukti Jain Campion

Many Muslims, fed up with what they see as Islamophobia, are upping sticks and heading for the Middle East. At Nuzhat al-Sibassi's family home in south London, the contents are being packed away in boxes, ready to be shipped to the United Arab Emirates.

Mrs al-Sibassi was born in Britain to Pakistani parents, raised and educated here. She's worked as a senior hospital manager in the NHS, but is now moving with her family to the United Arab Emirates.

You feel you are having to constantly prove that you're not what other people think you are - you always have to be on your guard

Nuzhat al-Sibassi

"Living here is not how it was. The politics and the environment has changed and people's perception of Muslims has changed dramatically. A number of incidents in UK over past 3-4 years have marred life for decent Muslims living here."

Mrs al-Sibassi is just one of a growing number of middle class Muslims who are leaving because they no longer feel comfortable living in the country of their birth.

Read more at ...

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Missing Moderate Muslims

The so called moderate muslims should be doing something or they are not moderates, they are enablers and appeasers who, in the end, will get far more killed by not doing anything. The moderates who do nothing are the problem.

The Missing Moderate Muslims
The American Thinker

by Amil Imani

"I am already against the next war," read the bumper sticker on a car ahead of me. I long to tell the driver: the next war is already here; Islamists are waging it in every corner of the globe and the "moderate Muslims" are either actively supporting them, placing the blame on the West, or simply looking the other way. This war aims to wipe out everything that free people cherish, including the right of expressing their sentiments. Banishing war has been the perennial dream of mankind's best, while its worst have been frustrating its realization. To renounce war unilaterally and unconditionally is surrender and death.

Humanity has suffered horrific wars in the past. Yet, the present multi-form and multi-front war waged by Islamists has the potential of inflicting more suffering and destroying more lives than any before it. Ruthless Islamic forces are advancing rapidly in their conquests while those of freedom are acquiescing and retreating. Before long, Islamism is poised to achieve its Allah-mandated goal of cleansing the earth of all non-Muslims. Any and all means and weapons are to be enlisted in the service of this final holy war that aims to establish the Islamic Ummeh.

But Islam is a religion of peace and the great majority of Muslims are not party to any plans and actions of the radicals, so claim academic pundits, leftist journalists, and hired Islamic apologists. The incantation of these "authorities" is the lullaby that puts the people into a sleep of complacency. For an average free human busy with all manner of demands on his time and resources, would hardly want to worry about the threat of Islamism when those he believes are "in the know" emphatically claim that there is nothing to worry about. Some of these advocates of Islam go further by accusing those who sound the alarm as racist, bigot, hatemonger and much more.

But where are all the peace-loving moderate Muslims that supposedly are in great majority? The Muslims who are neither jihadists themselves, nor do they support them? I and others, time and again, have been calling upon them to stand up and show the world that they oppose the fanatical Islamists. It is small comfort even if the vast majority of Muslims are not fanatic radicals, when they do nothing to demonstrate their position. It is instructive to recall that it is invariably a minority, and more often than not a very small minority, that launches a campaign of death and destruction.

Perhaps it is wishful thinking on the part of the non-Muslims to believe that one can be a Muslim moderate, given that Islam is radical at its very core. To be a moderate Muslim demands that the person explicitly renounce much of the violent, exclusionary, and radical teachings of the Quran. By so doing, the individual issues his own death warrant in Islamic countries, is condemned as apostate if he lives in a non-Islamic land and may even earn a fatwa on his head.

It is deadly, in any confrontation, to assess the adversary through one's own mental template, because the two templates can be vastly different from each other. People in the West are accustomed in relativistic rather than absolutistic thinking. To Westerners, just about all matters range from black to white with an array of gray shades between the two poles. Absolutist thinking is enshrined in the Quran itself. When the starting point for a Muslim is the explicit fanatical words of Allah in the Quran, then the faithful are left with no choice other than literally obeying its dictates or even taking it to the next level of fanaticism. Good Muslims, for instance, do not shake hands with women, even though the Quran does not explicitly forbid it. Although the Quran stipulates that men are rulers over women, good Muslim men take it upon themselves to rule women not much better than they treat their domesticated animals.

All extreme systems operate outside of the constraints of checks-and-balances and according to the principle of negative feedback loop. That is, once it starts, the extreme becomes more and more extreme until self-destructs and takes the larger system down with it. Cancer is a case in point. It begins with only a few cells. Left unchecked, the few cells continue expanding and stop only with the death of the host.

Fanatical Islam may indeed be a minority. Yet it is a deadly cancer that has metastasized throughout the body of the world. Urgent confrontation of this advancing disease is imperative to stave it off.

Dozens of Islamist shooting wars of lesser and greater bloodletting are presently raging in the world, aided and abetted by the "moderate Muslim" majority. The so called moderate Muslims, even if they exist, are complicit in the crimes of the radicals either by providing them with funds, logistics, and new recruits or by simply failing to actively confront and unequivocally renounce them.

As is the case with cancer cells, it is the malignant minority that is death-bearing.

In Germany of the 1930s, for instance, very few people were Nazis and most Germans dismissed them as a bunch of hot-headed fools. Before long, the hot-headed few cowed in the dismissive masses and as a result millions lost their lives.

The tentacles of the Islamist hydra have deeply penetrated the world. The Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood poses a clear threat in Egypt with its large block of representatives in the parliament, but also wages its deadly campaign through its hundreds of well-established and functioning branches all over the world.

The Wahabis finance thousands of madressehs throughout the world where young boys are brainwashed into becoming fanatical footsoldiers for the Petrodollar-flush Saudis and other emirs of the Persian Gulf.

The end-of-the-world believers of the bomb-aspiring Iran's Khomeinism are busy establishing the Shia hegemony in an arc extending from the Gulf of Oman to the Mediterranean Sea.

Al Qaeda and dozens of its like-minded jihadists relentlessly carry their barbaric campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, the Philippines, the former Soviet Union republics, the Russian federation, Somalia, North Africa and parts of Europe, as well as other lands.

I keep hoping that the purported peace-loving moderate Muslims are indeed the great majority who would prove me right by demonstrating their peacefulness and moderation in action. Thus far, only a faint murmur of equivocation is all that I hear from these people.

Is "moderate Muslims" an illusion? The only viable alternative for peaceful people of Islamic background, therefore, is to leave the bondage of violent Islam altogether and join ranks with humanity's free.

The selected puppet president Ahamadinejad boasts that Iran's mullahs' nuclear train has no reverse gear and lacks brakes. He should harbor no illusions. The non-Islamist masses of Iranians will not docilely submit to the mullahs' maniacal plans. It is the unmatched force of freedom that has no reverse gear and it is the force fully capable and determined to bring the mullahs' train to a screeching halt before it is armed with the Armageddon nuclear weapons they so doggedly pursue.

Amil Imani is an Iranian-born American citizen and pro-democracy activist residing in the United States of America. He maintains a website.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Strict cultural laws banning religious insanity would benefit all religion

Strict cultural laws banning religious insanity would benefit all religion IMO. Any religion that allows extremists to run their show is in for escalating trouble.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Opportunity for cultural laws to quell extremism

Muslim play sparks outrage in Spain

MADRID, April 20 (UPI) — A play in Spain has provoked outrage following word that its creator calls for a lamb to be slaughtered for each performance.

The Muslim playwright created the scene to depict an Islamic ritual on stage, Britain's Telegraph newspaper reported.

It is outrageous that an animal should lose its life in this way for the sake of art, said a spokesman at a British animal refuge center.

Animal rights activists told police the theater company performing the play was breaking an animal protection law that prohibits the killing, mistreatment, and causing of harm and stress to animals used in film, TV, artistic and commercial productions. Copyright © 2007 by United Press International

cultural calamity -

Buddhist women shot dead in Thai Muslim south
the nation

Suspected Islamic rebels shot dead two Buddhist women in Thailand's restive Muslim-majority south as the country's army-installed premier began a one-day visit to the region Friday.

The victims, aged 17 and 20, were gunned down late Thursday in a drive-by shooting while riding a motorcycle in Narathiwat, one of three violence-torn southern provinces bordering Malaysia, police said.

Also in Narathiwat, militants set ablaze an elementary school early Friday, destroying a wooden building, while three Army rangers were hurt when a roadside bomb exploded late Thursday in nearby Yala province. ...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Cultural laws would be effective



Islamabad, 20 April (AKI/DAWN) - Thousands of women rights activists, non-governmental organisations and civil society groups on Thursday held rallies nationwide to protest against what they called rapidly growing Talibanisation of society and religious extremism, with particular reference to the announcement of Sharia enforcement by stick-wielding male and female students and radical clerics of the Jamia Hafsa madrassa and Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad. People took to the streets of the capital to protest the increasingly violent tactics used and the government’s inaction to curb their illegal activities.

Marching towards parliament, hundreds of well-integrated members of civil society held placards inscribed with slogans such as: “No Compulsion in Religion”, “Stop Terrorism in the Name of Religion”, and “Stop Religious Extremism and Intolerance”.

“They are promoting violence and intolerance,” said Faisal Javed, a concerned citizen. The rally was organized by the Islamabad Citizens Committee.

The protestors condemned the government’s reluctance to take action against Lal Masjid/Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Fareedia clerics and students.

“How dare the mullahs threaten to throw acid on women who don’t cover their faces? How does the government allow anyone to set up a parallel court? Why our rulers feel helpless in acting against these people who kidnap a woman and label her as prostitute?” asked Dr Farzana Bari, a human rights activist.

In Karachi, women held a rally outside the mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan to protest against mounting threats posed to civil society by religious extremists.

“No to religious extremism, Pakistan is for all of us,” read a placard carried by most participants of the rally, organized by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) for People’s Rights – a conglomeration of over 30 civil society organisations.

They were chanting slogans of ‘No to Religious Extremism’, ‘Pakistan is for all Pakistanis’ and ‘Down with Mullah-Military Alliance’.

A declaration was issued condemning all those elements who were promoting terrorism, barbarism and giving rise to sectarian strife in the name of religion. “Some religious fanatics want to impose a particular way of life through harassment and the government should enforce the writ of the law,” said the declaration.

The participants urged the government to take action against clerics and students of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Faridia and not to bow to illegal and extra-constitutional demands of these fanatics.

In Lahore, a demonstration was orgtanised by the Womens Action Forum (WAF). "Say no to religious extremism", "No to Military-Mullah Alliance", "Down with fundamentalism" read some of the placards.

Addressing the crowd, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) chairperson Asma Jahangir said that mullahs were against democracy and supremacy of law and military men use them (mullahs) for their vested interests.

Even in northern Peshawar, women from four tribal agencies, activists of different non-governmental organisations and political parties staged a protest demonstration outside the Peshawar Press Club.

Activists of different civil society organisations, including Tribal Women Welfare Association, Aurat Foundation, ActionAid, Human Resource Management Development Centre, Strengthening Participatory Organisation, Awmai National Party and Pukhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party held a rally on a call made by the Peshawar Chapter of the Women Action Forum.

Speaking on the occasion, representatives of various NGOs and political parties said that clerics of Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid were trying to set up a state within a state by forcing the people to accept their brand of Islam.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cultural stupidity

Minnesota College begins Islamization Makeover
Family Security Matters

by Sher Zieve

The first public US college in the nation has now earnestly begun the Islamization of its campus. We presume this is only the first of many other colleges and universities that will now follow suit. Minneapolis Community & Technical College announced in March that it will renovate its bathrooms, in order to install ritual foot-washing basins for Muslims’ who are preparing for their prayers. Although the Star Tribune’s Katherine Kersten reports that the college’s Director of Legal Affairs Dianna Cusick stated that it is unconstitutional to promote any religion and “the Constitution prevents us from doing this in any form”, it strongly appears that this is precisely what the college is doing—by promoting its provision of deference to Islam.

As an example of the college’s inequitable behaviors - specifically as pertains to Christianity - during the 2006 Christmas season, a coffee cart on campus was barred by college officials from playing music that is “tied to Christmas.” Acknowledgements of the Christmas season were also banned and Ms. Cusick advised College President Phil Davis in a memo: “As we head into the holiday season all public offices and areas should refrain from displays that may represent to our students, employees or the public that the college is promoting any particular religion.” The only things that appeared to be glaringly missing from her memo were ‘promoting any particular Christian religion’ and ‘exceptions to this rule will be granted to Muslims’. Considerations and shouts for “separation of church and state” only apply to Christian separation. Note: US (and specifically Minnesota) taxpayers fund the college’s practices.

Minneapolis Community & Technical College’s Davis and other school officials meet frequently with Islamic community leaders and the school is said to be discussing the creation and installation of Muslim prayer rooms. Davis advised: “It’s like when someone comes to your home, you want to be hospitable. We have new members [Muslims] in our community coming here. We want to be hospitable.” Notably, there are no Christian prayer rooms currently on, or even planned, the campus. Davis is also reported to have actually compared building the campus’ Muslim foot-washing facilities to the college cafeteria serving fish to Christians during Lent! It’s amazing that someone with this sort of confused mentality has risen to the presidency of a college. I suspect that this is due to lower level leftist politically correct government public schooling.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Brilliant cultural warfare

Australia tells Muslims who want to live under Sharia law to get out

by Phil Mercer BBC

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks. A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia and her Queen at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his Ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown. Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state, and its laws were made by parliament. "If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you", he said on National Television.

"I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia: one the Australian law and another Islamic law that is false. If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option", Costello said.

Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country. Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should "clear off. Basically people who don't want to be Australians, and who don't want, to live by Australian values and understand them, well then, they can basically clear off", he said.

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques. Quote: "IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians."

"However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the 'politically correct' crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia." "However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand." "This idea of Australia being a multi-cultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. And as Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle." "This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom"

"We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society .. Learn the language!" "Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture." "We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us." "If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don't like "A Fair Go", then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. By all means, keep your culture, but do not force it on others. "This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'."

"If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted."

Cultural laws to protect women would go a long way towards stopping radicals


The mullahs' rule came down on women's rights, liberties, culture, family and private lives like a huge avalanche.

- Executing thousands of female opponents, which is unprecedented anywhere in the world. In a recent demonstration by teachers asking for better and equal pay, some 10,000 demonstrators, mostly women, showed up.

Some 1,000 women teachers were arrested in one fell swoop by the Suppression forces and transferred to various prisons.

The head of Islamic Iran's National Prisons Organization recently admitted there were over 100 "independent" prisons around the country, each run for their own use by various so-called security or intelligence organizations.

Most are only quasi-official and some definitely "illegal" if such a word can be applied to the Islamic administration of Ahmadi-Nejad in particular and the Mullahs in general, where their very presence has illegal roots and foundation.

Add to these the latest Bassiji or Suppression forces prisons.

The Mobile ones built on 40 ton container trucks that can be brought close to anti-government protests and people shoveled into them by the dozen. Then driven anywhere where the human contents can disappear into mass graves. After suffering the worst possible tortures but where their screams in the wilderness cannot be heard by anyone.

Anyone have a doubt that among the thousand women teachers arrested any but the oldest or ugliest escaped rape? Or other forms of sexual abuse? If so, dream on. Or better still get a grip on Mullah reality.

NOTE: One way of dealing with these mobile prisons is to puncture their tires when they arrive on scene and before they can drive off with their victims.

The late Shah's SAVAK (transformed into today's mullah version called SAVAMA by the clerics) was a pussycat compared to current variations operating under VEVAK (translating the Farsi acronym VEVAK to the English one of MOIS - Ministry of Information & Security);

- Torturing tens of thousands of women political prisoners. The huge number of women among the political prisoners is staggering and unprecedented - other than when slavery was an integral part of society.

And when the Mullahs decide they are afraid of a group or groups - like the MEK for instance - and slaughter some 30,000 of them in their prisons in the 1980s, many of them women, it is a short step to also deal with "innocent" protestors in the same way.

Like the teachers, or workers who have not been paid for months and know the money is no longer there to pay them. Or their factories and ability to earn a living being put out of business and closed down by the unbridled import of cheap, very lowest quality Chinese goods flooding the market.

- Executing pregnant women, the torture of mothers in front of their children and raping women in front of their menfolk.

Many wondered what caused former President Khatami to buckle and stop promoting "reform" during his second term and become nothing more than a tool to fool the West that the Mullahs had an "elected" - thus democratic - form of government.

Reports from Iran say he was summoned to Supreme Ruler Ali Khamenei's office, where, to his astonishment, he found all the women of his immediate family already gathered. On his way inside, he had been surprised to find some forty or fifty extra bodyguards outside the office.

Once inside, he was given an offer he could not refuse.

Either stop your reformist nonsense or sit and watch repeated gang rape of your women by the dozens of guards waiting outside.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Why laws banning religious headdress would be so effective against extremists

Hijab row resurfaces at Tae Kwon Do event
Gulfnews (U.A.E.)

Montreal: First soccer, then Tae Kwon Do. A team of mainly Muslim girls had to pull out of a Tae Kwon Do tournament on Sunday because members refused to remove their hijabs.

Tournament organisers told team officials the girls could not compete because the head scarves posed a safety risk.

It is the second ban of hijabs in Quebec sports in recent months, part of a larger debate in the province about accommodations for cultural and religious minorities.

International referee Stephane Menard said the decision was made at a referees' meeting earlier in the day.

"The equipment that is allowed under the world Tae Kwon Do federation rules doesn't include the hijab," Menard said on Sunday. "We applied the rules to the letter."

In February, an 11-year-old Muslim girl from Ontario participating in a soccer tournament in Quebec was pulled from the field after she refused the referee's request to remove her head scarf. The move was supported by soccer associations, citing security concerns.

The Tae Kwon Do team, made up of girls between eight and 12 years old, is affiliated with a Muslim community centre in Montreal. Five of the team's six players wear a hijab but have been allowed to participate in similar tournaments around Quebec.

The Muslim centre's boys club pulled out of the tournament in an act of solidarity.

"I'm very upset," said Bissan Mansour, one of the players. "We made so many efforts and practiced harder than usual to be here."

Monday, April 16, 2007

The words of the great warrior for freedom

Winston Churchill On Islamism

by Adrian Morgan

Winston Churchill was fully aware of the potential for fanaticism and warfare, inherent within Islam since the time of the founder and his successors. He did not choose to dilute his words. His experiments at nation building in the Middle East may not have been as successful as he would have wished. He knew that war had attended Islam since its origins, and a century ago fanatics were exploiting this. Today, the world is still threatened by Islamic terrorism and the war of jihad is still being fought, even in the mountains and valleys of Malakand. Our leaders today, unlike Winston Churchill, are too conciliatory to acknowledge publicly the true nature of the beast that threatens us.

When he was describing Nazism, Churchill said: "An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last." He also said: "Victory will never be found by taking the line of least resistance." Those words should be heeded. In the current struggle against the spread of Islamism, they are as true today as they were 65 years ago

Saturday, April 14, 2007

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root" Henry David Thoreau

Appeasing evil ALWAYS makes for more evil

Gang Mayhem Grips LA
The Guardian

byPaul Harris

Gang mayhem grips LA

A bloody conflict between Hispanic and black gangs is spreading across Los Angeles. Hundreds are dying as whole districts face the threat of ethnic cleansing. Paul Harris reports from the epicentre of America's new urban warfare

Father Greg Boyle keeps a grim count of the young gang members he has buried. Number 151 was Jonathan Hurtado, 18 - fresh out of jail. Now the kindly, bearded Jesuit mourns him. 'The day he got out I found him a job. He never missed a day. He was doing really well,' Boyle says. But Hurtado made a mistake: he went back to his old neighbourhood in east Los Angeles. While sitting in a park, Hurtado was approached by a man on a bike who said to him: 'Hey, homie, what's up?' He then shot Hurtado four times. 'You can't come back. Not even for a visit,' says Boyle, who has worked for two decades against LA's gang culture.

Boyle's Los Angeles, where daily slaughter is a grim reality, is a world away from the glamorous Hollywood hills, Malibu beaches and Sunset Strip - the celebrity-drenched city that David Beckham and Posh Spice will soon make their home. Boyle's Los Angeles is where an estimated 120,000 gang members across five counties battle over turf, pride and drugs. It is a city of violence as a new race war escalates between new Hispanic gangs and older black groups, each trying to ethnically cleanse the other. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has referred to his city as 'the gang capital of America', has launched a crackdown on the new threat.

Read more at ...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Why cultural laws would be so effective

The Menace of the Lobby [Mullahs, Gays, Greens]

by Paul Johnson

In my view the greatest threat to democracy today comes not from totalitarian ideology but from within itself--from the ever-increasing power of well-organized lobbies.

Take Britain. In the early 1960s Prime Minister Harold Macmillan used to say, "There are three bodies no sensible man directly challenges: the Roman Catholic Church, the Brigade of Guards and the National Union of Mineworkers." Half a century later things are very different. The Brigade of Guards has seen its influence contract as the armed services have shrunk. The mineworkers' union has almost ceased to exist, thanks to the follies of its leaders. And even the Catholic Church in Britain, demoralized by falling attendance, is no longer militant. The new Big Three are the mullahs, the gays and lesbians, and the Greens. They constitute by far the most important lobbies in Britain--and nearly always get what they want, irrespective of the voters' views.

This spring the gay-and-lesbian lobby took on one of the old Big Three in a head-on battle over adoption. Roman Catholic adoption agencies had hitherto refused to grant adoption to same-sex couples. Under pressure from the lobby a statute was presented to Parliament to make such refusals unlawful. Despite strong protests from the Cath-olic Church, backed by other Christian bodies, the New Labour Party passed the bill. This was a straightforward confrontation between two powerful bodies, and the lobby won hands down. The lobby proved it had more influence than the Archbishop of Westminster.

It is significant that the mullahs provided little help on this issue, even though they are opposed to homosexuality. Had the mullahs also opposed the bill, it likely would have been dropped. Muslims are concentrated in many large Midlands and northern cities and, in effect, control certain New Labour MPs.

Instead the mullahs devote their efforts to pushing through legislation that could--depending on how high the courts set the bar--make criticizing Muslim activities and franchises virtually impossible. The notion of the "hate crime" has now been established in English law. Thanks to the mullahs, anyone daring to subject the Muslim faith to the the same kind of harsh analysis brought to bear on Christianity or Judaism could be convicted as a "hate criminal." Yet such is the power of the Islamic lobby that Muslims who themselves stir up hatred--for instance, by circulating the notorious anti-Semitic tract the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion--remain unmolested. It's well-known that the police are reluctant to apply hate laws to Muslim clerics, fearing violence and rioting.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cultural warfare that, once stopped, will shrink to nothing

Taliban Now On Highway (Taliban Gunmen Stop Vehicles, Destroy Radios, Cassette Players)
Daily Times

Taliban now on highway

LAKKI MARWAT: Local Taliban forcibly removed cassette players and cassettes from vehicles and destroyed them at the Gambila Stop on the Indus Highway on Wednesday.

Witnesses told Online that more than 12 armed local Taliban led by Qari Sarfraz forcibly stopped vehicles at Gambila Stop, located in front of the Gambila police station, and started removing cassette players and radios in the presence of a large number of people.

Qari Sarfraz told the people present there that the local Taliban had taken control of the area between Sarai Noorung and Saria Gambila and Islamic teachings would be strictly implemented there. “The people of this area will be forced to grow beards,” witnesses quoted Sarfraz as saying.

Separately, armed local Taliban and policemen had a heated argument when the Taliban stopped policemen deployed at the Kot Kashmir Adda from putting barricades on the road.

Lakki Marwat District Police Officer Abdul Rashid Khan visited the area when he was informed about the incident and he discussed the situation with local tribal elders who assured their cooperation to the police.

In Peshawar and other parts of the North West Frontier Province, which abuts the tribal areas, residents say that local Taliban have threatened English-language schools, warned schoolgirls to veil themselves, banned music and are telling men not to shave their beards.

Appeasement never works, it just makes crime worse and worse

Blair blames spate of murders on black culture

· Political correctness not helping, says PM
· Community leaders react angrily to comments

Patrick Wintour and Vikram Dodd
Thursday April 12, 2007
The Guardian

Tony Blair yesterday claimed the spate of knife and gun murders in London was not being caused by poverty, but a distinctive black culture. His remarks angered community leaders, who accused him of ignorance and failing to provide support for black-led efforts to tackle the problem.
One accused him of misunderstanding the advice he had been given on the issue at a Downing Street summit.

Black community leaders reacted after Mr Blair said the recent violence should not be treated as part of a general crime wave, but as specific to black youth. He said people had to drop their political correctness and recognise that the violence would not be stopped "by pretending it is not young black kids doing it".

'Moderate' Islamic charities back terror

Report: 'Moderate' Islamic charities back terror

Muslim charity groups posing as "moderates" continue to support terrorist activities, according to a report by the government watchdog Judicial Watch. The report – titled " Muslim Front Organizations: Moderate Non-Profits or Elaborate Deceptions?" – says that while the U.S. government "finally has taken action against some of the groups identified by Judicial Watch, others are still functioning." Judicial Watch contends the federal government is aware of the Islamic groups "and the danger they pose to our national security. The question is: Why are they still in operation?" "This report carefully documents connections between so-called Muslim charities in the U.S....

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why cultural laws would be so effective against "extremism"

Islamic Extremists force women to hide under head scarves
Washington Times

For two years, Faiza Abdal-Majeed has carried a head scarf in her purse for emergencies.

For a woman in the Iraqi capital four years after the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein, these emergencies can include passing unlawful checkpoints manned by armed militiamen, impromptu forays through neighborhoods controlled by religious zealots and taxi drivers who refuse her fare unless she covers her hair.

In addition, Mrs. Abdal-Majeed's job with Iraq's women's affairs ministry frequently brings her into contact with government officials, police officers and Muslim clergymen who insist that she cover up before they speak with her.

"Some clerics and politicians are forcing religion into our lives," said Mrs. Abdal-Majeed, 45. "We're being pushed back 1,000 years in time."

Baghdad once was considered a secular, cosmopolitan metropolis where Islamic customs seldom collided with women's fashion. Today, however, religious ideology has strengthened its grip and forced half the population to submit to traditional Islamic dress.

On the streets of the capital, the most common couture is what women call the Islamic uniform: the bulging black abaya that covers the body from head to toe; the head scarf, or hajib; and the long, dark ankle-length skirts commonly seen on schoolgirls, university students and professionals.

The changes have left a generation of women, especially those more educated and better off financially, struggling to meet expectations.

"I'm always discussing with my friends and family whether or not to wear the veil," said 21-year-old activist Zaineb Hussein. "I can't go out without it, but I take it off once I reach my office. I feel completely free without it."

Even though extreme Islamists have exerted influence over society for the past four years, many women say the country's two-year-old democratically elected parliament is even more responsible for the regression of civil liberties and fashion choices.

"The government differs on all issues except women's rights," said Yanar Mohammed, the president of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq. "They're using the new constitution to impose Islamic law and reduce women's rights."

For example, Maysoon Al-Damlugi, who is among the 25 percent of women in Iraq's 275-seat parliament, said most female colleagues in the legislature cover their heads. It is, she said, an indication of how religious fervor has seized the political landscape.

"The abaya and hajib are political symbols," said Miss Al-Damlugi, 45, who refuses to cover her head and is working on a constitutional amendment to ban discrimination in Iraq, including against women.

The shifting attitudes have many people concerned that Iraq is moving closer to a theocracy similar to that of neighboring Iran, where women are required by law to cover their heads, even as other countries in the region are seemingly advancing women's liberties.

Bushra Yousef, 51, is the managing editor of an Iraqi women's magazine who fled from Baghdad to Damascus in December after threats on her life. She said women in the Syrian capital are given more autonomy in dress than their Iraqi counterparts.

"Syrian women have freedom to choose what they wear," Mrs. Yousef said by telephone from Damascus. "Women in Iraq are often forced to wear Islamic uniform, even Christian women."

Ragadaa Manuale, a 36-year-old Christian, confirmed that view.

"Sometimes the men harass me when I go to pick up my daughter from school," said Mrs. Manuale, a secretary who lives in central Baghdad and is part of Iraq's tiny Christian population. "I just wear [a head scarf] for security.

What do Muslims Want

What do Muslims Want ?
National Review

by Raymond Ibrahim

All humans generally live according to some set of priorities. A person may make a priority of health, of pleasure, of study, of almost anything, really. But it is practically a law of nature that a person must make a priority of something. Even those who lead unstructured existences unconsciously live according to some set of unarticulated priorities, if only according to something so basic as the primal need for food, drink, and shelter.

For many people, religious practice — striving to obey God’s commandments — is a high priority, the highest, even. Yet this priority can come into conflict with the character of the society in which one lives. This is undoubtedly the case for devout Muslims who voluntarily relocate to Western nations. This invariably will compromise what many of them profess to be their ultimate priority: living in accordance to the divine laws of Allah (i.e., sharia — most of which is derived from the words and deeds of seventh-century Mohammad).

Some of these Muslims arrive in the West and don’t want to compromise. Consider some recent news stories:

A few Muslim cashiers working at Target stores in Minneapolis are refusing to scan customer purchases that may contain pork. Instead of swiping the products themselves — which is their job — they are inconveniencing the customers or fellow employees by having them do it.

Muslim cab drivers have long been discriminating against customers carrying or suspected of carrying alcohol. Officials at the St. Paul International Airport estimate that, on average, alcohol-bearing customers seeking cab rides are denied 77 times per month. Some blind customers have also been turned down on account of their seeing-eye dogs.

Muslims in Seattle have requested (and been granted) regularly scheduled hours for their exclusive use of public pools; an all-Muslim-girls basketball team at a Chicago university demanded that men be barred from attending their matches; some 200 Muslim women signed a petition at a Michigan fitness center demanding separate workout times for men and women, or at least the erection of a screen divider between the men’s and women’s section (which was granted).

All of these issues revolve around the Muslim desire to live according to Allah’s laws — which, among other things, ban contact with pigs, dogs, and alcohol, and have rigid social guidelines, especially concerning interaction between the sexes. From a religious point of view, the anti-social behavior of these Muslims can be, if not excused, then certainly understood. They are doing only what their religion commands them to do. And their refusal to compromise on these points demonstrates that adherence to the commandments of Islam is a priority of the utmost importance to them.

However, if living in strict accordance to sharia is the first priority of some Muslims, one wonders: Why have they voluntarily come and immersed themselves in infidel countries that do not recognize sharia law and, indeed, allow many things that run counter to it, such as the selling and consumption of alcohol and pork and the liberal intermingling of the sexes? Most of the Muslim countries that Muslims abandon for the West are much more conducive to the Muslim lifestyle and uphold many if not all aspects of sharia law. Yet, each year, thousands of supposedly “ultra-devout” Muslims forsake these countries and, of their own free will, come and surround themselves with wine-imbibing, swine-eating libertines. Why?

It is for the same reason that everyone else comes to the West — for the “good life.” They come in order to be prosperous and to enjoy opportunities, security, and equality the likes of which they could never have in their own countries (ruled quite often — no surprise — according to sharia). The vast majority of Muslims emigrating from the Islamic world do not leave due to necessity — say, oppression or starvation. No, they come to the infidel West solely to prosper materially.

But why are Muslims of the “ultra-pious” variety seeking after material comfort in the first place — especially when doing so will almost certainly undermine their professed desire to live strictly according to the sharia? Coming to live in a democratic country composed of some 300 million infidels is bound to affect any Muslim’s observance of sharia. These pious Muslims risk coming into daily contact with, not only pork, alcohol, and dogs, but all sorts of other defilements: flamboyant homosexuals, scantily clad women (who are often in positions of authority!), gamblers and usurers, to name a few. Are they not concerned that they, or especially their children, might become contaminated by the licentious and seductive practices of the infidel West? If their priority is truly to strictly follow sharia, should they not remain in their Muslim countries of origin, which, if not as prosperous as the West, are definitely more conducive to the Muslim lifestyle?

Or, could it be that, despite all the ruckus (and subsequent headlines) made by these Muslims, living in accordance to Allah and his sharia is not their first priority, after all? At least, not to the degree that they would be unwilling to put this priority at substantial risk for the sake of living the good life, in a strictly secular and materialistic sense.

Furthermore, if common sense does not dissuade them from relocating to the West, the very sharia they claim to want to closely observe should. For instance, if pork and alcohol are condemned (e.g., Koran 5:4; 2:219), voluntarily living among infidels, idolaters, and atheists is looked on no better. The Koran declares: “O you who believe! Take neither Jews nor Christians as friends…whoever among you turns to them is one of them” (5:51).

There are countless verses and traditions, in fact, that make it clear that Muslims are to be in a constant state of animosity toward non-Muslims, waging war through tongue and teeth in order to spread Islam, and, when finally in a position of superiority, discriminating against those who refuse to convert (see, for example, 3:28, 5:73, 5:17, 9:5, 9:25, etc). When the Meccans persisted in their unbelief, refusing to accept the prophet-hood — and subsequent authority — of Mohammad, he finally abandoned his kinsfolk with these parting words, which some Muslims believe still define the proper relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims: “We [Muslims] disown you [non-Muslims] and what you worship besides Allah. We renounce you. Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us — until you believe in Allah alone!” (60:40).

So why are some Muslims making public scenes here in the United States over scanning bacon or transporting customers with sealed bottles of wine in their luggage while at the same time freely choosing to live with — and of course benefit from — those whom they are commanded to hate and wage war upon, or at the very least, disavow and be clean of?

“Straining out a gnat while swallowing a camel” has long been a sure sign of hypocrisy. All Muslims who freely migrate to the West must understand that they can’t have it both ways — that they can’t have their cake and eat it, too. They must choose between either strictly upholding the laws and customs of 7th-century Arabia (in which case they should remain in their “sharia friendly” countries of origin) or, if prosperity and comfort is their first choice, let them relocate to the West, but prepare to assimilate — that is, compromise — to some degree. It’s a simple question of priorities.

— Raymond Ibrahim is editor of the upcoming The Al Qaeda Reader.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Radical Pakistani Cleric Threatens Suicide Attacks in Capital

Burqa-clad students gathered on the roof of a religious school in Islamabad to watch other students burn CDs and DVDs they deemed offensive.

Published: April 7, 2007
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, April 6 — A hard-line cleric said Friday that he was setting up a religious court here in the country’s capital, and threatened suicide attacks if the government did not enact Islamic law and close down brothels and video stores within a month.

The announcement was made during Friday Prayer by Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz, the head cleric of the Lal Mosque who is known for his extremist and anti-American views. Mr. Aziz and his allies have stirred a national debate with their drive to impose Taliban-style rule in the capital, prompting protests by human rights advocates and political parties.

Mr. Aziz’s remarks were the latest in a series of challenges by hard-line clerics to the authority of the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who is considered an ally of the United States and who has vowed to put Pakistan on the path to what he has called “enlightened moderation.”

“Pakistan was created for an Islamic system,” Mr. Aziz said. “But the government, instead of implementing an Islamic system, is threatening us with a police operation,” he said, referring to the government’s warnings of a raid if the clerics took the law into their own hands.

“Rulers, listen! Our last option will be suicide attacks,” Mr. Aziz said.

Some critics of the government say it has buckled under pressure from the clerics, emboldening them. Others charge that the government has allowed the clerics a free hand in order to divert attention from the constitutional crisis that has roiled Pakistan since last month, when General Musharraf removed the country’s chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who had taken on cases threatening the president’s authority.

Pakistan officials, who deny such speculation, say they are monitoring the cleric situation closely.

On Thursday, the Lal Mosque’s Web site was blocked. Last week, the government barred the transmission of an FM radio station set up by students at the mosque’s madrassa, or religious school.

“The setting up of such courts is tantamount to questioning the writ of the government,” Tariq Azeem Khan, the deputy state minister for information, said in an interview on Friday evening, referring to the cleric’s announcement. “We believe it is both illegal and un-Islamic. But we want to resolve the issue through dialogue.”

Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, the country’s interior minister, echoed that sentiment as he spoke at a news conference on Friday. “The law will take its own course,” he said.

“What is the credibility of one man if he says he is going to enforce Shariah,” or Islamic law, Mr. Sherpao said. Most of the ulemas, or religious scholars, have distanced themselves from the Lal Mosque clerics, he said.

Mr. Aziz and his brother Abdul Rashid Ghazi have emerged as vociferous opponents of General Musharraf. Since January, hundreds of female students from Jamia Hafsa, a religious seminary for girls affiliated with the Lal Mosque, have occupied a public children’s library here and staged a sit-in to protest a government campaign to raze mosques built illegally on state-owned land. The government has balked at breaking up the library occupation, saying it fears a violent escalation.

Last week, female students from Jamia Hafsa kidnapped an alleged brothel owner from a neighborhood in Islamabad. The woman was released only after she gave a public confession.

Veiled students have also visited several video stores, urging their owners to close.

On Friday evening, dozens of students gathered in front of the mosque around a smoldering heap of Pakistani, Indian and English CDs and DVDs. “These are all dirty movies,” one said, claiming that they had been handed over to the students voluntarily by a local video store owner.

Owais Dar, 40, a video store owner in a nearby shopping mall, said he had not been approached by the madrassa students to close down his business, but that sales were already faltering. “People don’t feel that there is any law in the country,” he said.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

The cultural war is vital to our future

Wilders: get rid of half of Koran!

AMSTERDAM – If Muslims want to stay in the Netherlands, they should tear out half the Koran and throw it away. And they shouldn’t listen to the imam. Faction leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) Geert Wilders said this in an interview with daily newspaper De Pers on Tuesday.

He said the holy book of Islam contains “plenty of terrible things.” Wilders said once again that Islam is a violent religion. “If Mohammed lived here today, I would propose he be tarred and feathered as an extremist and driven out of the country,” he said.

The politician wants to impress on people that Islam is “the greatest danger threatening us.” He says that other political parties avoid topics like this. “Everything we are proud of, we are selling to the devil. Former head of the Mossad Efraim Halevy says that World War III has begun. I would not use those words, but it’s true,” said Wilders, who in the past has voiced his fear of a “tsunami of Islamisation in the Netherlands.”

Wilders: “Take a walk down the street and see where this is going. You no longer feel like you are living in your own country. There is a battle going on and we have to defend ourselves. Before you know it there will be more mosques than churches!”

Saturday, April 07, 2007

"300" Zionist Spartans - And The Delusions Of Dinesh D'Souza (Don Feder Alert)

by Don Feder

The movie "300" - based on a "graphic novel" (read comic book), itself loosely based on the battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) - has drawn the usual thoughtful and nuanced response from the turbaned thugs who run Iran.

The last stand of King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans denigrates the glorious Persian antecedents of present day Iran, charges Javad Shangari, art advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "Art advisor" to a terrorist state - now there's a non sequitur. Does he critique artists who work in body parts?

"Hollywood declares war on Iranians" blared the headline in a Tehran daily. More than 35,000 Iranians have signed an online petition charging that "300" presents a "fraudulent and distorted" account of the conflict between ancient Greece and the "most magnificent and civilized" Persian empire. That's as opposed to the honest and accurate portrayal of historical events usually found in comic books.

The really good stuff came in a report by IRINN TV. MULLAH-vision noted that Warner Bros., which made "300," is owned by a "famous and rich American Jew." The co-heads of the studio are a Presbyterian and a Jew, but "Presbyterian conspiracy" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

"The Zionist Warner company is also pursuing cultural and political objectives by producing such a film," IRINN TV discloses. (Warner is the distributor of "300," not the producer.) "The Zionists and the elements affiliated to the U.S. have tried to launch a propaganda front against ancient and historical roots of Iranians."

O those famous and rich Zionist Spartans. One can almost imagine Leonidas' legion marching to glory singing "Hava Nagila"

Have you noticed how almost every pronouncement by the Iranian regime sounds like a Borat routine? ("In Kazakhstan, we have three problems - economic, social and Jew.")

Could "300" be the type of Hollywood decadence Dinesh D'Souza believes is responsible for the terrorist war on America?

D'Souza, an occasional conservative, is the author of The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11.

Blame the left for "a decadent American culture that angers and repulses traditional societies, especially those in the Islamic world . ... In addition, the left is waging an aggressive global campaign to undermine the traditional patriarchal family and promote secular values in non-Western cultures," D'Souza writes.

Now I hate the cultural elite as much as the next red-state American, but to blame nose rings, Britney Spears and gay marriage for jihadism is to ignore 1,300-plus years of Islamic history.

D'Souza - who fancies himself quite the thinker - swings between paranoia and megalomania (which presumably keeps him on an even keel).

In a recent offering at the online edition of National Review, D'Souza rhetorically inquires: "So, why the bellicose attacks on me? Consider the difficulty now faced by some American conservatives. The right-wing strategy based on the 'clash of civilizations' ... has proven intellectually short-sighted and politically a failure." This shallow analysis, "falsifies reality and can only be held together by branding dissenters like me wicked and heretical," D'Souza discloses.

After expending a few hundred words inveighing against us intellectually short-sighted, clash-of-civilization conservatives, D'Souza modestly reveals, "Now they are mighty upset that I've come along and shown the bankruptcy of their understanding and have proposed a new way of looking at the problem." (Mighty upset? Nice turn of phrase, Clem.)

It is a hard thing to have one's intellectual bankruptcy exposed by someone as insightful as Dinesh D'Souza.

Getting back to one of several major flaws in D'Souza's thesis, was Hollywood around in 1453, when Muslim Turks put Constantinople to the sword, erasing a millennium of Byzantine civilization and raping, plundering and enslaving the city's inhabitants?

Were thong bikinis to blame for the half-millennium Muslim occupation of Greece and the Balkans - or the Islamic conquest of the Middle East and North Africa, and the destruction of ancient Christian communities there?

Was "Brokeback Mountain" behind the Moghul dynasty in D'Sousa's native India -- a conquest and occupation that included the destruction of ancient temples and libraries and the mass slaughter of Hindus -- some 50,000 in Somnath alone, site of a celebrated temple?

D'Souza bids conservatives to align themselves with traditional Muslims against our common enemy - the cultural polluters of the left. In so doing, he suggests that garden-variety Muslims are just regular folks - like American home-schoolers - sort of Hamid and Harriet.

Within the past week, three traditional Muslims were sentenced for the decapitation of three Christian school girls in Indonesia (a country D'Souza cites as an exemplar of Islamic tolerance). Their heads were dumped in a Christian village. Next to the victims' bodies, the killers left a note that read "Wanted - 100 more heads."

At about the same time, in Northern Nigeria, traditional Muslim students beat to death a Christian teacher for reportedly tearing a portion of the Koran when she seized same from a student during an exam. The high-spirited youth also burned three blocks of classrooms and attacked the school's principal when he tried to save the teacher.

Can D'Souza name one Muslim country where religious minorities are treated decently (forget equally) - Coptic Christians in Egypt, Orthodox in Kosovo, Christians in Pakistan and Indonesia, Hindus in Pakistani Kashmir, or Jews in Iran? Even medical missionaries running clinics in such outposts of Islamic hospitality as Yemen and the Sudan are regularly murdered.

It's true; Bin Laden and company frequently cite American culture as a justification for their bloodshed. "We call you ... to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling, and trading with interest," Said Osama, in a 2002 communication to the American people.

And if America returned to the moral climate of the 1950s, would al Qaeda stop killing women and children? Would Hamas unbuckle its dynamite belts?

Traditional Muslims also hate us for democracy, human rights, capitalism, not treating women as chattel, and Israel.

Above all, they despise us for being infidels who rule ourselves - for our shameful refusal to convert to Islam or accept inferior status in a society governed by Islamic law. The Koran instructs the faithful to wage jihad against non-Muslims until they embrace Allah or submit to Muslim rule under Sharia.

When confronted with the Koran's jihad verses, D'Souza (in as nice an example of moral equivalency this side of the Cold War) counters by noting the instructions for warfare against the Canaanites found in the Old Testament - as if Jews and Christians were running around the world engaging in ritual decapitations and suicide bombings, and leaving behind verses from Deuteronomy to justify their deeds.

D'Souza argues:"If we're in a war against Islam, that means America is up against one billion Muslims ... . How does any sane person on the Right expect to win this kind of war?"

The question implies that conservatives can determine whether or not there is a war. But what if millions (hundreds of millions) of Muslims around the world believe they're at war with us?

D'Souza insists that we ignore reality (the left's favored approach on foreign policy questions) by pretending Islam is a "religion of peace," disregarding the brutalities regularly inflicted on Christians in the Muslim world, making believe that al Qaeda, Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and the rest of their genocidal ilk don't understand their own religion - aren't fighting us because they hate us for who we are, but over Internet pornography, rap music, drugs (which the Taliban cultivates in Afghanistan) and Seagrams.

And D'Souza wonders why most conservatives don't take him seriously?

"300" has its idiotic elements (including graphic sexuality and violence), but there's something about free men taking a stand against overwhelming odds (choosing death over slavery) that's captured the imagination of the West for 2,500 years.

D'Souza asks how we can oppose a third of humanity. Herodotus informs us that when King Leonidas was told the Persian army was so vast that it blotted out the sun, he replied "Then we will fight in the shade."

Those words of defiance ring down through the centuries. "Go tell the Spartans that here we lie, obedient to their commands."

Friday, April 06, 2007

A cultural step

Should The Islamic World Apologize For Slavery? Part One
Family Security Matters

by Adrian Morgan

Islam’s involvement in the black slave trade goes back over 14 centuries, back to its founder, Mohammed, who owned black slaves. Muslim slavers in North Africa also engaged in a red hot trade of white Christians. Read this fascinating, you-won’t-see-it-anywhere-else romp through reality by FSM Contributing Editor Adrian Morgan who explains what politically-correct history books conveniently ignore. (CAIR: care to apologize?)

Should The Islamic World Apologize For Slavery? – Part One

By Adrian Morgan

For members of Britain's politically correct establishment, this week has been one of hand wringing and embarrassing gestures of self-abasement. On Saturday, March 24, a procession took place through London, led by the two most senior figures in the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and Archbishop of York, John Sentamu. The event, called the "Walk of Witness" was part of the bicentennial commemoration of Britain's abolishment of slavery. Among the procession was a group that had marched 250 miles from Hull in shackles and chains (pictured). They were released from their manacles by the Archbishop of the West Indies.

On Tuesday March 27, the Queen and Tony Blair took part in a commemorative service at Westminster Abbey. It was exactly 200 years previously that William Wilberforce, (born in Hull on August 24, 1759) had succeeded in passing an act to abolish the trade in slaves, which did not come into force until January 1, 1808. This act did not see the end of slavery in Britain and its colonies. It was not until August 29, 1833 that the Slavery Abolition Act was passed. Wilberforce had died a month before, on July 29 . He had retired from politics in 1825. Wilberforce is celebrated in Michael Apted's new movie "Amazing Grace".

Tuesday's ceremony at Westminster Abbey was interrupted by a man in an African batik shirt, Toyin Agbetu, who shouted his objections to the service. As Archbishop John Sentamu, an African, wryly noted: "I hope the depth of anger he expressed is matched by that he should have towards those African chiefs who grew fat through the capture and sale of their kith and kin for trinkets."

No one is asking for the descendants of the Oba of Ife or the King of Dahomey to make apologies for their part in slavery. An estimated 10 to 25 million Africans were sent across the Atlantic, shackled together in appalling conditions, destined to lead terrible and squalid lives as slaves. From London alone, 2,704 ships left to pick up slaves and transport them to the New World.

America's slavery officially ended in 1865, even though it led to Civil War. Eight years earlier, the US Supreme Court ruled in the case of Dred Scott that black people could never become citizens of the United States. In February 2007, Virginia officially apologized for its part in slavery, and on Monday this week, Maryland followed suit.

Modern Western nations' involvement in the black slave trade lasted little more than 350 years, yet Islam has been involved in the black slave trade for more than 14 centuries, from the time of its founder. Mohammed owned black slaves, and in countries like the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the black slave trade continues. According to Murray Gordon, the amount of black slaves taken by Muslims amounted to 11 million, though this figure is probably an underestimate. While white (and Arab) slave merchants bought and sold black people from the west coast of Africa, Muslim slavers in North Africa also engaged in a trade of white Christians, a trade that politically correct history books conveniently ignore.

There is a line in the Marine Corps Hymn that goes "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli". The last part of this line refers directly to naval engagements from 1804 and 1815, which sought to end the trade in white slaves. Though most of the Christian slaves in North Africa were Europeans, a sizable number were Americans, captured at sea by the notorious Barbary pirates, or corsairs.

For the Barbary corsairs, named after the Barbary ("Berber") coast, trade in white slaves began in earnest in the late 16th century. They came from Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers and Morocco, all vassal states under the Ottoman Empire, which is why most contemporary accounts refer to the corsairs as "Turks" or "Janissaries" (a type of soldier in the Ottoman empire).

The corsairs first came to prominence in the early 16th century, led by the brothers Barbarossa, who had assumed powers as the first pashas of Algiers. Uruj was beheaded by the Spanish in 1518, but his brother Khair ad-Din (died 1546) succeeded him. Khair ad-Din took control of Nice in southern France in 1543. The Barbarossa brothers led raids on shipping throughout the Mediterranean and their successors would lead raids far beyond the confines of the Mediterranean coastlines. One of the most famous individuals captured by the Barbary corsairs was Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the author of Don Quixote. In 1575, his ship, the Sol, was captured by corsairs and for five years he was a captive in Algiers; on numerous occasions he had tried to escape. Cervantes avoided severe punishment as he bore a letter of recommendation from Don John of Austria, illegitimate brother of the King of Spain. A ransom was made for him, his captors assuming he was of the nobility. This was paid and he was released in 1580.

The southwest of England had been subjected to the predations of Barbary corsairs from the end of the 16th century. In 1617, a fishing fleet from Poole in Dorset had set off for Newfoundland. There, they were besieged by pirates described by survivors as "Turkish", and the majority of the crews were abducted. By 1619, more than 300 ships had been captured off the south coast of Britain. The majority of sailors who had been captured by Barbary pirates were never heard from again.

On March 24, 1620, Owen Phippen (also called Owen Fitzpen) was captured by corsairs and held as a slave for seven years until his escape. A memorial stands in St Mary's Church in Truro, Cornwall, erected by the rector, Owen's brother.

By the time Owen Phippen was captured, the population of white slaves in Algiers alone numbered more than 20,000, according to Paul Baepler of the University of Minnesota. A decade later, the figure had risen to 30,000 men and 2,000 women. Sailors were not the only victims of the Barbary slave raiders.

In July 1625, a raiding party of corsairs landed at Mount's Bay in Cornwall, and swept into the parish church where the locals were worshipping. Sixty men, women and children were abducted and carried onto the corsairs' boats. Looe, a small Cornish port, was also attacked, though its inhabitants had tried to hide or flee. Eighty men were taken and the village was burned. The mayor of Plymouth reported that "27 ships and 200 persons (were) taken". A second fleet of corsairs arrived soon after the first. The mayor of Plymouth would later record that 1,000 vessels had been destroyed in that summer's raids, and the same number of villagers had been abducted into slavery.

On a moonlit June night in 1631, the inhabitants of the coastal village of Baltimore in County Cork, southwestern Ireland, were asleep, unaware that by daybreak their lives would be changed forever. A small flotilla of boats had sailed into the bay unnoticed. These boats, called xebec by their crews, had sailed from Sale in Morocco. They bore 230 musketeers, Muslims to a man, and they had come looking for slaves to sell in Algiers. They had no mercy for any of the town's inhabitants as they burst into homes, setting the crofts alight. When one villager, Thomas Curlew tried to resist, he was hacked to death, and his wife was carried off. All of the elderly villagers were murdered, and by morning, the Barbary corsairs sailed off, carrying with them 130 men, women and children.

The leader of the abductors at Baltimore was himself a former slave. He went under the name of Murad Reis, but originally he came from Harlem in the Netherlands, where he had been known as Jan Jansen or Jan Jansz. After being captured at Lanzarotte in 1618 he became a convert to Islam, and married a Moroccan woman, even though he had left a wife and daughter behind in Harlem. His raids took him far from the Barbary coast; he even raided Iceland in 1627, taking 400 captives into slavery. He became governor of Oualidia in 1640. Many of those who became slaves opted to convert to Islam, though this was no guarantee of freedom from servitude.

According to Robert C. Davis of Ohio State University, author of Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters (2004), in 1544, 7,000 captives were seized by Algerian corsairs in the Bay of Naples. In 1554, Vieste in Calabria, Italy, was raided and 6,000 people were carried off. In Granada, Spain, 4,000 men, women and children were taken into slavery in 1566.

The traffic in Christian slaves had actually decreased in the 17th century, partly because inhabitants of Mediterranean coastal regions had fled, and partly because the Turkish Ottomans, made cautious after the Battle of Lepanto, were no longer providing support to the corsairs. The Battle of Lepanto took place in 1571 (Cervantes suffered a hand injury in this naval battle) between Ottomans and allied Christian forces. The Ottoman fleet was crushed in this engagement. In 1645 in what is now Morocco, one man was born into the Alawite dynasty whose sheer brutality and megalomania would demand more and more slaves to achieve his grandiose plans. This man (pictured) was Moulay Ismail Ibn Sharif, a direct ancestor of the current King Mohammed VI of Morocco. In 1672, Moulay Ismail had succeeded as ruler after his brother Moulay al-Rashid had fallen from his horse and dashed his brains out. At the time he ascended the throne, 26-year old Moulay Ismail was the governor of Meknes in the north of the country. He decided to remain in Meknes, and to embark on a massive building project, to create the largest and most opulent citadel ever seen. And to fulfill these ambitions, Moulay Ismail needed manpower. His lack of care for his slaves' well-being led to a need for their continual replenishment, and thus he sponsored his own corsairs in their piracy and kidnapping.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Cultural warfare is more important than military warfare

Yemeni women sign up to fight terror

by Ginny Hill

Afrah al-Ansi pulls back her camouflage jacket to show me the pistol strapped to her belt.

She travelled to work this morning wearing a veil and a full-length black balto, an all-encompassing cloak which is traditional dress for women in Yemen.

But now she is dressed in fatigues, heavy black boots and shades.

Afrah, 23, is one of 20 women recruited to join Yemen's elite counter-terrorism unit (CTU) last summer.

Only 13 recruits have stayed the course, after a rigorous training programme that has taught them how to enter a house by force, drive a Hummer military vehicle and shoot.

Yahya Saleh, chief of staff of Yemen's Central Security Forces, sponsored the creation of the women's unit and supervises the CTU.

He says the women's main purpose is to follow their male colleagues on house raids and search any women they encounter.

"Male terrorists often disguise themselves as women in order to evade detection and arrest, but Yemen's strict social code means that women suspects cannot be touched by the men on the unit," he explains.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Abolition of slavery is still an unfinished cultural story

Abolition of slavery is still an unfinished story
International Herald Tribune

by Alan Riding

LONDON: Two hundred years ago next month, Britain ended its participation in the slave trade. The move hardly absolved the country of the sin of having shipped millions of Africans to the New World for sale as chattels. But it was a rare point of light in one of the darkest chapters of human history — and it set in motion the gradual emancipation of slaves across the Americas.

Now, in a somewhat daring attempt to combine education and entertainment, the story of how William Wilberforce, along with a handful of Quaker activists, persuaded a reluctant British Parliament to abolish the slave trade is retold in Michael Apted's new movie, "Amazing Grace," which will be released in the United States next week and in Britain next month.

It is a story of good-versus-evil in which, after endless setbacks, the world ends up a better place. But will today's filmgoers care? The movie is not, after all, another bloody Mel Gibson-style revisitation of history: the backdrop to its plot is the battle between conscience and profiteering.

Still, Britons, at least, may be ready for this: not so much because they are used to "talking heads" in costume dramas, but because the government is promoting a yearlong program of high school courses, exhibitions and debates about the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Further, Britons are more than ever aware that theirs has become a multiethnic country.

Elsewhere, the March 25 anniversary is less significant. In the United States, the watershed date in the fight against slavery is, of course, the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. And every country once involved in trafficking or exploiting slaves — and there were at least a score — remembers its own moment of moral awakening.

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