Monday, September 29, 2008

Geert Wilders - must read

Here, from Andrew Bostom's blog (thanks to Jeff), is a speech given by Geert Wilders. He's the Dutch parliamentarian whom Islamists love to hate. You can view his controversial (and excellent) film Fitna here. Wilders' description of what's going on in Europe today is chilling; he's afraid the Islamization of Europe will soon leave America as the last man standing in the West.

Note also Wilders' view of Israel: like the Philippines, Southern Thailand and Darfur, it suffers because it is on the 'front line of jihad.' Israel's destruction, he says, will only embolden Islamists to wage jihad more fiercely elsewhere in the world. He wants American support for a new Alliance of European Patriots he is helping to organize to combat the Islamist threat.

What you should know about Obama

British columnist and author of Londonistan Melanie Phillips, like me, is appalled by the refusal of the mainstream media to discuss Senator Obama's long-term professional and personal contacts - a number of which have now been investigated by reputable sources. She links reports by Stanley Kurtz, Kenneth Timmerman and others to provide details on Obama's contacts with people such as Black Muslim and Saudi financier Khalid al-Mansour; unrepentant Weatherman William Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn; and Marxist/Maoist Mike Klonsky.

Her conclusion: "Barack Obama appears to sit on a nexus between Marxist revolutionary activists, unrepentant former terrorists, Black Power racists, Chicago mobsters - oh, and a Saudi who is trying to buy up America...despite all this, virtually no-one in the mainstream media is asking any questions. Has there ever been a more staggering, surreal and scary race to the White House?"

Winning the lottery

Jihad Watch posted this entry yesterday; all I can say is that you should watch the video.

Recruiting in prisons

The British report that Al Qaeda has been seeking to recruit among the 8,000 inmates of eight of their high-security prisons over the past two years. The recruitment drive is being led by about 150 terrorist prisoners; the most likely recruits, aggrieved, young petty criminals in for 2-3 years.

The UK Ministry of Justice efforts to combat Al Qaeda include, according to this report (thanks to Jihad Watch), restricting communal prayers and the reading of the Koran during work breaks, and trying to protect criminals from violent extremists. I'm no expert on prisons, but would note that the U.S. military has dealt with this problem in Iraq by simply separating the two categories of prisoner.

There's also the question of what inmates read in prison. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons has just completed an inventory of books and videos in Muslim chapel libraries in 105 U.S. prisons. The survey found a preponderance of Wahhabi and other fundamentalist materials. See details in this article by Stephen Schwartz.

It's been known for years that prisons are one of the key Islamist recruiting grounds. What's truly amazing is how little is being done to change that.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A burning issue

British police have apprehended several individuals suspected of starting a fire at the home and office of Martin Rynja, who is publishing The Jewel of Medina. Although the Telegraph articles makes no mention of it, why do I think these individuals might be Muslims? See Jihad Watch for more details.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Canadian jihad

Remember the 'Toronto 18', arrested on suspicion of seeking to storm the Canadian parliament and behead the prime minister? Well, the first one has just been convicted; the judge apparently found the evidence of a terrorist group 'overwhelming.' See the report here from Jihad Watch.

Of the original eighteen, seven had their charges withdrawn or stayed. Ten are still scheduled to be tried. Other alleged plots of theirs: truck-bombing nuclear power plants and a building housing Canada's spy service.

On a lighter note

Islamists tend to rant about the indecent, immoral behavior of Western women. UK Islamist firebrand Omar Bakri, however, doesn't need to look far to find problems: his own daughter is reportedly a pole dancer in London. Mind you, the problem isn't as immediate as it sounds; Omar Bakri now lives in Lebanon, having had his visa revoked by the British authorities after the July 2005 London bombings.

According to this article (thanks to sanman in a comment on Jihad Watch), the daughter got her start after Bakri paid for a breast-enhancement operation. Not that the money for the operation came out of his own pocket; he received generous social benefits for years from the British government. (As does his daughter, a single mother.) There is poetic justice in this world!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yet another low for the UN

Eye on the UN has posted a short video of Iranian President Ahmedinejad speaking to the UN General Assembly, then being hugged by the President of the General Assembly and applauded warmly.

As Ahmedinejad's speech was essentially a reprise of themes from the czarist, anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, this is a disgusting spectacle. It make me wonder why the United States remains a member of the United Nations. Yes, the UN does some good work - but allowing it to become the global center for the spread of anti-Semitism is a high price to pay for that work. U.S. and Israeli representatives boycotted the session, but that really and truly doesn't mean much.

Ahmedinejad came last year to New York and was feted; ditto for this year. I see absolutely no evidence of any improvement in his behavior during this period; rather, the opposite. We should restrict such treatment to rock stars; they do less damage.

Disaster in Cologne

A group of about 1,500 who planned to meet last weekend in Cologne to protest the Islamization of Europe were blocked by huge, violent street demonstrations from doing so. What's worse, the huge, violent street demonstrations were praised by the Cologne city government. Does this sound like a nightmare? Well, it is - but it's true. If you can bear to read the details, here they are as reported by columnist Diana West.

Note her 1998 quote of Turkish prime minister Erdogan: "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers." Ten years old, you say? Well, earlier this year he told a crowd of Turkish expatriates in Cologne that "assimilation is a crime against humanity." Eurabia, here we come!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Remember Muhammed al-Dura?

He was the young boy allegedly shot by Israelis in 2000, whose 'martydom' helped launch the second Intifada. Last May, a French court protected the right to free speech of a blogger who alleged that the story was fraudulent. The court did not, however, rule directly on the allegation itself.

France2, the television channel that broadcast the story and then sued the blogger, has now agreed to an independent investigation into the Muhammed al-Dura affair. (Thanks to Richard Landes for this update.) If the investigators find that the video of the incident is a fake, their findings probably won't change many minds in the European political elite and the Muslim world. Nevertheless, any honest search for the truth is valuable.

Funding Palestinian terrorism

Since the Palestinian Authority was recognized in 1994, it has received more aid per capita than was given out under the Marshall Plan after World War II. Between 1994 and 2004, the United States gave the Palestinians $1.3 billion; the EU $1.1 billion, and Japan $530 million. Over time, the PLO accumulated a vast war chest, estimated 10 years ago at up to $14 billion.

At the same time, the PLO became a leader in money-laundering, drug running, terrorism and corruption. Very little of the money trickled down to the average Palestinian; rather s/he has remained oppressed and disenfranchised. For details on how the Palestinian authorities have used the funds they received, see this report by Rachel Ehrenfeld, as well as another by the UK TaxPayers' Alliance. The latter points out, despite claims to have reformed their finances, the Palestinian Authority is still using UK monies for such things as hate-filled Palestinian schoolbooks.

Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 and has since spread around the globe, including the United States and Europe. It is a secret organization, hence details about its current policies can be difficult to ascertain. But there are some clues.

In November 2001, the Swiss seized an anonymous document entitled "The Project" during a raid on the villa of Youssef Nada, a banker proud of his long association with the Muslim Brotherhood. "The Project" lists as goals: to establish an Islamic State; to build social, economic, scientific and health institutions as a means of establishing contact with the people, and to work through parliamentary and other mechanisms but not to participate in decision-making contrary to sharia law; to support jihad movements throughout the world, including in Palestine; to push for the total liberation of Palestine; and "to nourish a sentiment of rancor with respect to the Jews and refuse all coexistence." (For the full text, click at the bottom of the page of the link.)

As for the American organization, the FBI found a memorandum dating from 1991 that they believe describes the goals of the U.S. branch. (The first half is in Arabic, the second in English.) It describes the Brotherhood's work as a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and "'sabotaging' its miserable house."

Needless to say, Muslim Brotherhood representatives either claim that these are outdated documents or otherwise irrelevant.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Drill, baby, drill!

In case you missed it, Congressional Democrats have given up on what is - hopefully - their last effort to prevent offshore drilling and onshore oil shale development. Here's a summary of the latest moves. The next deadline is October 1, when the current prohibition will expire. As the article notes, many more steps will be required after that, but it's still good news.

Senate gets something done

The U.S. Senate on September 23 approved the package of treaties that make up the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance between the United States and the European Union. Compared to Paris Hilton, this may not sound like much, but in fact it's a very positive step forward.

Once all the EU member states complete their approval procedures (most are done), and the EU, its member states and the United States exchange the instruments of ratification, we will have substantially enhanced capabilities for combating terrorism as well as organized transnational crime. Police and prosecutors on both sides of the Atlantic will have a range of quicker, better tools for pursuing the bad guys.

So now you can go back to contemplating the $700 billion rescue package.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Anti-jihad legislation

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), long a foe of illegal immigration, has responded to reports of UK courts upholding sharia law decisions by introducing the Jihad Prevention Act, H.R. 6975, on September 18. The bill would require foreigners to attest that they would not advocate installing a sharia law system in the United States as a condition for admission, and it would revoke the visa or the naturalization of anyone already in the country who does so advocate.

I doubt the bill has much of a future in this session of Congress, so should be seen as a political statement. I don't like its approach, because I don't think it would 'separate the sheep from the goats.' Rather, I think it would affect most if not all Muslims seeking to enter the United States.

Here's why I think so. An in-depth poll (thanks to Andy Bostom) of over 4,000 people conducted in late 2006-07 in Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan and Egypt, had the following findings: "Most respondents express strong support for expanding the role of Islam in their countries ... but also express an openness to outside cultural influences. Large majorities in most countries support the goals of requiring a strict application of sharia, keeping out Western values, and even unifying all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state. On the other hand, majorities in all countries regard the increasing interconnection of the world through trade and communication as positive and strongly support democracy and religious freedom..."

So according to this poll, in their home countries many Muslims support the goals of extending sharia law and restoring the caliphate while embracing globalization, democracy and religious freedom (whatever that means - turns out, the respondents didn't mean allowing other religions to proselytize). But it doesn't mean that Muslims from those countries emigrate with the intent of subverting Western civilization. Sharia law and a caliphate of all Islamic lands are traditional parts of Islam. An important current of traditional Islam also says, however, that Muslims living in non-Muslim lands should abide by the laws of those countries.

I think the solution lies in Western authorities and citizens standing up for their civilization and their legal system. Then it becomes much clearer who is willing to live according to Western laws and who is not. I think it would also make sense to outlaw organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood who are dedicated to overthrowing Western civilization. That might not have much practical impact, as the Brotherhood is a secret organization, but it would leave no doubt about what a majority of Americans thought of its teachings.

British security

Here's another dimension of British security: you may have noticed, in the reporting on various terrorist actions in the UK, that they have a lot of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras surveilling public spaces. It turns out that, in four months' time, a national network of roadside cameras, will be able to 'read' 50 million license plates a day. The cameras will pinpoint the precise time and location of all vehicles on the road; the data will be stored for 5 years.

What a crazy mixture: Big Brother on the one hand, watching every car other the road; on the other, sharia law upheld by British courts.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Taheri II

Obama's spokesperson angrily denounced as a smear journalist Amir Taheri's charge that Obama had urged the Iraqis to delay any agreement on U.S. forces in Iraq until the new U.S. administration was in place. Then, however, the spokesperson immediately confirmed what Taheri had written. This attack has led to a follow-up article (thanks to Joe) in which Taheri provides more background. Two points of particular interest:

-- Here's the Iraqi Foreign Minister's version of his meeting with Obama, as told to an Arabic-language newspaper: "I told Obama, as an Iraqi, I believe that even if there is a Democratic administration in the White House, it had better continue the present policy instead of wasting a lot of time thinking what to do."

-- Taheri is now receiving death threats as a consequence of his first article. Sounds like he struck a nerve.

It's bad enough to have a presidential candidate seek to undercut a sitting president. But a U.S. presidential candidate with supporters making death threats?


Unfortunately, the Senate Armed Services Committee declined to consider the Free Speech Protection Act as an amendment to the defense authorization bill. The reason they did so is unclear; the proposed legislation was bipartisan and had support from more than 20 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union. It is also unclear if there will be any other attempts to pass the bill during what is left of this Congressional session.

On a brighter note, the British PEN organization is gathering information on other cases in which publishers were intimidated or constrained by the prospect of 'libel tourism.' (The American PEN was one of the bill's supporters.) If the British amend their law to stop 'libel tourism' that would certainly help.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Attack in Yemen

Please don't sneer when people say that President Bush has done a good job of protecting us. What happened today in Yemen is a clear example of what Al Qaeda and other, similar groups would do on U.S. soil if they could only get the chance. (And no, I disagree with the New York Times, which reported that 'militants' opened fire on the embassy. These aren't 'militants,' they are terrorists.)

By the way, when a U.S. embassy is attacked, the people most at risk are the locally hired guards. They typically act with tremendous courage, and all too often sacrifice their lives to protect our embassies. That appears to have been the case in Sanaa: no Americans were killed, but six security guards were.

Free Speech Protection Act of 2008

Here are two articles supporting the Free Speech Protection Act, which I've discussed before. One is an editoral in the New York Times, the other an article by me on the website of Human Events. This bill has truly bipartisan support; today the American Civil Liberties Union joined some 20 other organizations supporting it.

Will the bill be adopted? Unclear - it's being considered as an amendment to the Senate version of the Defense Authorization Act. Keep your fingers crossed! We cannot allow foreign courts to undermine our First Amendment rights.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Reforming Islam: child marriage

At what age can a girl be married in Islam? There have been several challenges in Muslim countries recently to marrying off girls who are only 8 or 9 years old. Dhimmi Watch reports on one in Morocco.

Lawyer Mourad Bakouri argued that early marriages damaged children's human rights and the family and criminal codes by increasing the risk of rape. This situation, he said, undermines Islam. But Sheikh Mohammed ben Abderrahmen al-Maghrouai rebutted this argument on his website, saying that such marriages were sanctioned. As he put it, "I am a confirmed theologian and I have not made this up. It is the prophet who said it before me." And, indeed, he is correct on that point. (Readers who want the latest retelling of the story of Mohammed's child-wife Aisha will only have to wait a few more weeks for The Jewel of Medina...)

Obama's objectives in Iraq

According to journalist Amir Taheri (here, thanks to Josie), during Obama's July visit to Iraq, his main theme was that the Iraqis should delay conclusion of the agreement governing the status of U.S. forces in Iraq until a new U.S. administration is in place. Obama argued that the Congress should be involved in the negotiations, and that the Iraqis should not negotiate with a weakened, lame-duck administration. He made the pitch both to Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari and to General David Petraeus, but neither supported it.

This proposal had been reported at the time, but not as Obama's main interest. In and of itself, the story is very disturbing (U.S. presidential candidate directly undermines key objective of sitting president). But beyond that, as Taheri notes, it contradicts Obama's oft-stated key objective: getting U.S. troops out of Iraq. Delaying signature of the agreement could postpone any subsequent agreements on troop withdrawals significantly. So why did Obama propose it? I think someone should ask him.

Monday, September 15, 2008

UK and sharia law

According to an article in the London Times (thanks to Jeff), British courts are in fact already implementing decisions of British sharia courts, including ones that give male children twice the inheritance of female children, and have yet to require anything more than anger management classes and mentoring for domestic violence cases. The courts do so in accordance with their function of implementing the results of arbitration procedures.

UK commentator Melanie Phillips writes that, although the Times represents these procedures as novel, UK courts have been implementing the decisions of sharia courts for some time. They are, however, only supposed to enforce rulings that fall within British law. Certainly the case cited above regarding inheritance rights should not qualify. Last July Britain's chief justice, Lord Phillips, raised a ruckus when he spoke in favor of partial application of sharia law. What exactly, one wonders, did he mean?

Sharia courts were started up in 2007, and now operate in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester, with two more planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What was Putin thinking?

The New York Times today described Putin, 'in tones that were alternately pugilistic and needy,' complaining about how little the West understands him. The Western media are bad enough, but even the Europeans have wounded the Russians by insisting that Russian troops be withdrawn from Georgia. And, as the article notes, it isn't only the West; China and Serbia have avoided supporting Russia's recognition of Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence.

There is also domestic criticism within Russia. Paul Goble, an expert on the Soviet Union and its successor states, summarizes a very interesting interview with Russian historian Dmitry Furman. Furman argues that, aside from euphoria, the Russians have very little to show for their invasion of Georgia. Putin wanted to re-establish Russia's domination of its neighborhood, yet has no ideology, such as the advancement of socialism, to provide an overall strategy.

More ominously for Putin, as Goble notes, the decline in the stock market and the value of the ruble, along with the drying up of foreign investment and credit, has caused Russian businessmen, who don't say much in public, to transfer their assets out of the country. (Thanks to Ken for the link.)

Accommodating Islam

You should have guessed that yesterday's entry would have exhausted my optimism. On a more somber note, columnist Diana West argues that the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent terrorists attacks in Madrid, London and elsewhere have, perversely, caused "an accelerated campaign of accommodation of Islam's law in the West."

As West notes: "Paradoxically, such fast-track accomodation has occurred even as any and all connection between jihadist acts and Islam - specifically Islamic war doctrine - have been emphatically ruled out by our leaders, both civilian and military." Americans seem to be asleep, not even noticing, let alone discussing, the advances made by Islamists.

Bush's critics, particularly those on the left, are right: this isn't a 'war on terror'. But they and the Bush administration are very, very wrong to downplay or deny the fact that terrorist actions are carried out in the name of a political Islamist ideology inimical to Western civilization. You can't win a war that you can't even name. As West points out, 9/11 shouldn't be viewed as a natural disaster, like a hurricane. It was indeed a deliberate day of infamy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 and Saudi Arabia

MEMRI carries excerpts from two articles by Saudi liberals who argue that the 9/11 attacks initiated a new era in Saudi Arabia. One writes that the Saudis realized that such actions only result in "destruction, devastation, isolation and persecution" and cost them the good will and trust of the non-Muslim world. He sees the Islamists as now on the defense rather than the offense. The other author states that Saudi society now understands the importance of dialogue, and has engaged in a national debate on educational curricula, among other things.

Let's hope the trends described here shape the future. As an outside observer, looking for example at the terrible struggle to publish information dealing with Saudi financing of terror or over Saudi school texts, the situation remains very poor.

I would note one other thing: neither author nor, according to them, Saudi society at large, appears to really believe that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by the Mossad or the U.S. government. Nor do they appear to have much doubt about the relationship of radical Islam to terror. How refreshing!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dhimmitude advances

Two days ago I reported about a French judge who delayed a trial until after Ramadan, but as usual, the UK can always trump France on the dhimmitude scale. Here are two British offerings: providing convicts, including the infamous Abu Hamza, with metal lunch pails to keep their sandwiches warm until they can eat them after the day's fast is over; and an East London Town Council wants its members to adhere to Ramadan requirements during meetings, so as not to offend.

Traditional Islamic law differentiated between Muslim and non-Muslim lands; when living in the latter, Muslims were expected to follow the law of the land. Ah, for the good old days!

9/11 Truth

In expectation of tomorrow's seventh anniversary of 9/11, City Journal has an article about the 9/11 Truthers: the people who are sure that those attacks were carried out by a conspiracy of rogue elements in the U.S. government, not by Al Qaeda.

U.S. opinion polls show surprising numbers of people who say they subscribe to some variant of this theory; what the article does not mention is that it is accepted as real throughout much of the Muslim world. There, apparently, people maintain that either the U.S. government or the Mossad was behind the attacks, for the simple reason that Arabs couldn't have been smart enough to pull it off.

The article notes that Truthers have had no success getting traction during this year's political campaigns. They may dissipate once President Bush leaves office, but the poison they leave behind them in many parts of the globe is sure to remain.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Jewel of Medina continued

Last August, Random House backed out of its contract to publish the novel, The Jewel of Medina, about Mohammed's child wife, for fear that Muslims might carry out violent acts against Random House employees. Now, according to the New York Times, Beaufort Books has purchased the rights and says it will release the book in October, as well as a sequel in 2009. Author Sherry Jones says that a German publisher has also picked up the book; earlier I reported that the Danes also plan to publish it. This is a saga well worth following, as it will show whether Western publishers can resist intimidation.

Monday, September 8, 2008

French justice

No, I'm not trying to pick on the French today, but this story is pretty outrageous. A judge agreed to postpone the trial of 7 men accused of armed robbery because one of them argued he would be too weakened from fasting for Ramadan to be able to stand trial properly. So the case will be heard in January, not September. Read the details here.

Three points off for multiculturalism. Muslims often observe Ramadan by fasting during the day, then feasting after sundown. The judge was had.

Paris by night

If you're planning a trip to Paris any time soon, and particularly if you're Jewish and want to show it by wearing a skullcap or a star of David, you might want to avoid the 19th arrondisement. For the second time in three months, the media have reported street attacks on Jews by Muslim gangs there.

In this case, three Jewish boys aged 17 and 18 were attacked and beaten up by 4-5 Arabs of African origin. (See details here.) In the previous case, on June 21 a Jewish boy was attacked and seriously injured, also by a group of assailants. Apparently there have been other attacks, but as they have not resulted in serious injuries, they have gone pretty much unnoticed.

These encounters are often described as fights between ethnic groups; e.g., gang warfare between Jews and Muslims, despite the lack of any evidence that Jews are attacking Muslims. This time, at least, the reporting is fairly straightforward. The French government seems to agree with it, as President Nicholas Sarkozy has condemned the attack.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Transnistria and Moldova

No, this is not a geography test. It's just a link to a good article by Michel Radu that describes another one of those remote, disputed regions, like Abkhazia and South Ossetia, that could well be the next object of Russian Prime Minister Putin's attention.

Moldova is the former Bessarabia, next door to Romania and with a largely Romanian population. It was incorporated into the Soviet Union after World War II and is now an independent country, with a seat at the UN and all the other trappings, although not much else to brag about. Transnistria is its 'breakaway' province, populated mostly by Slavs, along Moldova's eastern border with Ukraine.

Transnistria comes complete with Russian 'peacekeepers' who have been there since 1993. It functions largely as a Russian smugglers' paradise and tool for exerting pressure on Moldova. According to a recent news article, the 18 Russian tanks in Transnistria could reach Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, in 30 minutes.

There seem to be few good options for resolving the status of Transnistria, but if you read this article, at least you will know what the issues are when that crisis erupts.

Guide to UK terrorists

Here's a super interactive 'map,' prepared by the British newspaper The Guardian, that shows you the relationships between various Islamist terrorist groups and activities in the UK, and links you to articles about them. A quick way to get up to date with some of these groups and their ties - it would be great to see something similar for the major 'non-violent' Islamist organizations as well. (Thanks to Jihad Watch.)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The shameful UN

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which groups together more than 50 Islamic countries, has been using the UN for some time to restrict freedom of speech and freedom of religion. This article in the Washington Times details how this is being done, the impact it already has in Islamic countries, and current U.S. plans to try to push back. Jihad Watch provides some perspective on how the United States could be waging this war of ideas - if we truly wanted to do so.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Beslan remembered

Four years ago, Chechen terrorists took over 1,000 adults and children hostage at the school in Beslan, North Ossetia. In the course of 'liberating' them, some 330 were killed and more than 800 wounded.

To date, one terrorist has been punished, but there has been no official investigation of the role of the Russian security services, despite protests from witnesses who believe that Russian officials opened fire and caused the deaths of the hostages. For example, some witnesses charge that the first casualties were caused by flamethrowers, fired by Russian special forces into the building where the hostages were being held. Instead, then President Putin used the tragedy to introduce 'reforms' whose purpose was to tighten the Kremlin's control. See details here, thanks to Radio Free Europe.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Italian proposal

Italy's Northern League party, which is part of the governing coalition, has introduced a bill that would require that any new mosques be built at least one kilometer from any church and that any services be conducted in Italian rather than Arabic. The bill would prohibit minarets and loudspeaker chants. (Thanks to Dhimmi Watch.) It's not clear if the bill has any chance of passage.

Italy already has 258 registered mosques, and Islam is the second largest religion, with 1.2 million Muslims. Christopher Deliso in The Coming Balkan Caliphate describes how Islamists have built large mosques in the Balkans with loudspeakers for the calls to prayer from the minarets. The sound is overwhelming and sends a clear message that Christians are not welcome there. Indeed, non-Muslims have tended to move away from such areas.

I remember the amplified calls to prayer reverberating in my bedroom in Sarajevo and thinking how intrusive they were - although unamplified chants might have been quite different.

Lights out on Liberty

That's the title of an essay by Mark Steyn, in which he argues that 'today's multicultural societies tolerate the explicitly intolerant and avowedly unicultural, while refusing to tolerate anyone pointing out that intolerance.' He is currently in hot water with the Canadian Islamic Congress: a book review in which he described plot twists that were unappealing to them resulted in their charging him with 'flagrant Islamophobia'.

'In small but telling ways, non-Muslim communities are being persuaded that a kind of uber-Islamic law now applies to all,' says Steyn. He argues that Western appeasement is a big mistake; 'these incremental concessions to Islam are ultimately a bigger threat than terrorism.' Steyn is a hero from the 'non-violent Islamist front' who should be a household name.

Monday, September 1, 2008

More on Regent's Park Mosque

Here is an article in the Telegraph that describes in some detail what the undercover reporter learned during her foray into the Regent Park Mosque that I mentioned yesterday. This mosque, considered by many to be the most important in Britain, is supposedly committed to interfaith dialogue and moderation. What she uncovered was an environment in which Muslim women were urged to separate themselves from the society around them and to hate non-Muslims, gays, etc.

The article quotes Professor Anthony Glees at the Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University: "To think, as I believe our government thinks, that it makes ideological sense to play patsy with the Saudi government is folly of the first order of magnitude. We will be paying for it for years to come." To which I can only add, the same warning applies to the U.S. government.

EU summit waffles

The EU held a summit meeting today to discuss its policy towards Russia in the wake of the recent war in the Caucasus. As expected, the EU called for more negotiations rather than sanctions. It warned that EU-Russia ties were at a crossroads; urged Russia to adhere to the terms of the ceasefire that the EU helped broker; bemoaned Russia's decision to recognize the independence of Abkhasia and South Ossetia; and called for more diversification of energy supplies.

None of this is particularly surprising; indeed, it would have been amazing had the EU agreed to sanctions. The EU is dependent on Russian oil and gas and some EU member states, in particular Germany, rely on the Russian export market.

I do think this latest meeting has put a nail in the lid of the coffin of further EU integration as proposed in the Lisbon Treaty. The Central/East European member states (Poland, Hungary, the Baltic states, etc.) can read the tea leaves. I suspect they understand that, whatever EU common foreign policy will be in the future, there's absolutely no assurance it will reflect their vital security interests.