Tuesday, April 29, 2008
As Baran points out: "Countless young American Muslims - whether converts, Muslims born into secular families, or those brought up in traditional households - that have entered college since 9/11 are curious about Islam and their identity both as a Muslim and an American. Too often these young men and women end up at the local MSA chapter looking for answers. Sadly, the MSA is still often the only option available for college students who wish to get involved in Muslim affairs. Perhaps it's no wonder that a Pew report released in May 2007 found a quarter of American Muslims aged 18 to 29 believe suicide bombings against civilians can sometimes be justified to defend Islam, while only 9 percent of those older than 30 agreed."
Monday, April 28, 2008
As an excellent example of the intellectual fog that produces this susceptibility, see the front page article in today's New York Times by Andrea Elliott on the Khalil Gibran International Academy. Here's her explanation why people such as Daniel Pipes have opposed the opening this school: "In the aftermath of September 11, critics of radical Islam focused largely on terrorism, scrutinizing Muslim-American charities or asserting links between Muslim organizations and violent groups like Hamas. But as the authorities have stepped up the war on terror, those critics have shifted their gaze to a new frontier, what they describe as law-abiding Muslim-Americans who are imposing their religious values in the public domain." In other words, the only real problem is critics inventing new issues to make themselves important. Elsewhere she quotes Georgetown University's John Esposito as an expert, neglecting to point out the Saudi funding his university receives.
I don't know the details of the Khalil Gibran case. Unfortunately, reading Elliot's lengthy article brought no enlightenment - only fog.
Friday, April 25, 2008
The author, Jeffrey Imm, quotes George Weigel of the Ethics and Policy Center: "if the United States can't explain to the world why religious freedom, civility, tolerance and democratic persuasion are morally superior to coercion in religious and political matters, then America stands disarmed before those who believe it their duty to impose a starkly different view of the good society on us." Weigel is absolutely right.
If true, this story marks a sad day indeed for the United States as well as for its government. It's hard enough to figure out what's going on and how to deal with it when you can talk frankly; once you start censoring your speech, it's truly hopeless. The government's goal appears to be to avoid offending and alienating moderate Muslims. But any Islamist is likely to interpret this new guidance as a first step toward dhimmi submission - toward adherence to the traditional submissive position of non-Muslims in an Islamic state. At a time when we've been so successful against al-Qaeda in Iraq and when public opinion polls in many Muslim countries show a sharp drop in support for the jihadi terrorists, such a policy move would be pathetic indeed.
Daeubler-Gmelin's remarks were intended as an insult. However, it turns out that she has been less than forthcoming about her own past; her father, Hans Gmelin, was the principal deputy of the German envoy to Slovakia under Hitler. He was directly involved in the deportation of Slovakian Jews to the Nazi death camps. Some 70,000 of them, or over 75 percent of the pre-war Jewish population of Slovakia, died in the camps. These details and many others are contained in a very interesting article by John Rosenthal in World Politics Review.
So my question is: was she trying to insult Bush or to praise him?
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The website Eye on the UN provides copious material on the ongoing preparatory conference. Canada has already announced that it will boycott Durban II; the United States has not participated in the preparatory conference and has refused to fund either the Human Rights Council (to which it does not belong) or the Durban II preparatory conference. It has not, however, yet said that it will boycott Durban II. Click here for a speech at the preparatory committee by Anne Bayefsky of the Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, describing the shortcomings of the Durban II process. Click here for a sample of the difficulties she encountered.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Unfortunately, the tsar's standards of veracity no longer apply; the Protocols are widely available throughout the Middle East, where they appear to be accepted as gospel. Those with strong stomachs can click here to see the spot.
Monday, April 21, 2008
- Because men can have more than one wife, "the stage is set for women always to distrust their husbands. Nor can they trust women friends," because of the possibility that the friend might marry the husband. "The end result is an environment that sets women up as adversaries against one another, causing much unnecessary distrust and caution. Competitive relationships among women also deprive them of forming support groups ... Few Muslim women venture to form relationships outside the family or clan..."
- Next, "fear of polygamy makes it impossible for a wife to form a bond of trust with her husband. When a husband starts earning more morney, a warning bell starts ringing in a woman's head, since he can now afford the second wife ... Women's financial insecurity can affect many areas of family life, such as the raising of children, since child support can be very difficult to collect when there are other wives and their children involved ... Under Islamic law, a second wife - and third and fourth - are legally equal to the first in every way, including inheritance." Muslim property laws reflect this situation. Women keep the property they inherit from their family, because the families do not want the wealth to go to other wives and their children. "If a Western man chooses to marry his mistress, he must first obtain a legal divorce from his first wife and settle any financial issues with her before he can marry a second time. That makes all the difference."
- The result: "In order for Arab women to live and function around the social injustice and oppressive marriage laws, they had to develop elaborate manipulative behavior to get a modicum of respect and power."
- Nor are the women and children the only ones to suffer; "men are negatively impacted as well. Just as his loyalty to his wife is secondary, so is her emotional loyalty to him. "If she cannot feel secure in their relationship, neither can he." If husbands are shortchanged, it is even worse for those who do not marry. "Poor Muslim men have to compete with older, wealthier married men for single women."
- Finally, polygamy affects the structure of familial loyalty, as "the woman ends up shifting her loyalty to her firstborn son and her own blood relatives ... frequently, a woman's father or brother will step in to settle disputes with her husband, even after many years of marriage ... The end result is that family cohesion and structure is fragemented, and loyalties become tangled in endless complications."
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
And here's the suicide video made by Umar Islam, 29, one of the accused.
On one level, it's pathetic: he's clearly reading from a written text, and poorly at that. On the other hand, it doesn't take much brilliance to blow up a lot of people.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Theodore Dalyrymple, a British doctor who has worked in British prisons and hospitals, is also a political commentator. In his 2005 book, Our Culture, What's Left of It, he recounts the growing crime wave in Paris in a chapter entitled "The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris." The France he describes is one in which police do not investigate crimes, judges sympathize with the criminals, and official statistics show a sharply rising crime rate. Many of the perpetrators are permanently unemployed young men, immigrants or children or grandchildren of immigrants, from what he calls the "anti-society" of the high-rise slums that surround the big cities. Both Muslim and non-Muslim, they pose a huge challenge to French state and society.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
CAIR, currently the most influential Muslim organization in America, has become embroiled in controversy. The Insight report provides a quick introduction to the dispute. It summarizes key accusations leveled by Steven Emerson's Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) (see his website on the right under 'links') in a series of 10 reports: he charges that CAIR's "primary goals are to silence and de-legitimize its critics and redefine what it means to be a moderate Muslim," that it serves as the political lobbying arm for Hamas, and that it receives Saudi funding. The Insight report also carries CAIR's denial of all these charges (for those interested, CAIR's website is http://www.cair.com/).
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Olson describes the bitter feuding among the Tories on pages 171-175. An excerpt, quoting Churchill: "Among Conservatives, families and friends in intimate contact were divided to a degree the like of which I have never seen. Men and women, long bound by party ties, social amenities, and family connections, glared upon one another in scorn and anger." Another source recalled at least a dozen married couples who were bitterly divided. Of course, some still conducted themselves with a certain style: "A debate over appeasement at the home of Kenneth Clark became so rancorous that one dinner guest, an eminent Oxford don, roared at another guest: 'I look forward to using your skull as an inkpot.'"
One source of the right-left divide in the US today is deep disagreement over the Islamist threat. The comparison with the Tories in Britain before World War II is not perfect. Some who say the 'war on terror' is overblown or counterproductive genuinely believe it, or are focusing on the many mistakes in executing that war. However, now it is quite clear that those who speak out against Islamism face the very real threat of physical violence and/or legal action. The inevitable question arises: how many downplay the Islamist threat because they fear what would happen if they opposed it? The appeasement-minded Tories were at least honest enough to acknowledge that they feared another cataclysmic war.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
[O]ne motorist offered what must be a unique reason why he should keep his
licence. Mohammed Anwar said a ban would make it difficult to commute
between his two wives and fulfil his matrimonial duties. His lawyer told a
Scottish court the Muslim restaurant owner has one wife in Motherwell and
another in Glasgow – he is allowed up to four under his religion – and
sleeps with them on alternate nights.
Airdrie Sheriff Court had heard that Anwar was caught driving at 64mph in a 30mph zone in Glasgow, fast enough to qualify for instant disqualification. Anwar admitted the offence, but Sheriff John C. Morris accepted his plea not to be banned and allowed him to keep his licence.
The United States has sought for years to improve the UN's record with regard to human rights, supporting abolition of the former Human Rights Commission and refusing to join its successor, the Human Rights Council, when it became clear that the new organization would be no better.
As Caroline Glick reports in the Jerusalem Post (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1207238156264), the Human Rights Council just voted March 28 to explore cases "in which individuals 'abuse' their freedom of speech by giving expression to racial or religious bias." This is a clear derogation of freedom of expression - yet the EU members of the Council abstained, rather than voting against it. The EU's position is, however, consistent with its recent condemnation of Geert Wilder's film Fitna, a movie which juxtaposes actual TV clips of Islamist leaders and the carnage they inspire with related passages of the Koran. It is also consistent with the failure of the EU, its member state governments or the EU political elite in general to stand up for Europeans who speak out against radical Islam.
So, to come back to my original question, what would Obama, Clinton or McCain do? Would any of them openly challenge the Europeans to defend the 'Western values' that everyone (in principle) rates so highly? Or would the more likely response be to duck this unpleasant issue, preferring the usual bromides about transatlantic ties and values?
If our next president does challenge the Europeans, s/he can expect a rough ride, and not just at the UN. But such an approach is vital if we are to defend our basic rights - rights that are currently under attack in many quarters around the globe.