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Showing posts from 2011

"Radical Islam and the Holocaust"

This article quotes a Saudi who learnt about the reality of the Holocaust, in contrast to what he had been taught in Saudi text books. He quotes from p92 of a textbook printed in Saudi in 2006-07, which draws on “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, the 19th Century invention of Russian anti-Semites in Czarist Russia. This is from the Saudi textbook:
 ‘As one reflects on the nature of the Muslim-Jewish conflict, it becomes evident that it is basically a religious conflict; it is not a political, or a national, or an ethnic one, or about a piece of land, as some claim. It is a struggle between truth and falsehood, between a belief in the Unity of God and Shirk [worst type of unbelief]. This enmity can only disappear when Jews embrace our faith, or when we embrace theirs, (Allah forbid!) Thus, if we understand the true nature of this conflict, and that there is no end to it, we would realize how misguided are those who talk about finding a solution for the conflict.’
Anyone who thinks th…

"Europe's Inexorable March Towards Islam"

... As the rapidly growing Muslim population makes its presence felt in towns and cities across the continent, Islam is transforming the European way of life in ways unimaginable only a few years ago. What follows is a brief summary of some of the more outrageous Islam-related controversies that took place in Europe during 2011.... Read more from Soeren Kern, in Hudson New York, December 29, here.

"Jihad" means war in the name of Islam.... and the clash of civilisations

PS: I've got into various arguments with people here in Hong Kong, including those in the Islamic community and local political types, in the press and elsewhere, about the meaning of the word "Jihad", which they take to mean "struggle" and only struggle. Of course it does mean that, but it also has another meaning, namely "holy war".  This is by far its more common meaning.  I have quoted authoritative sources on the issue, including the classic manual of Islamic Jurisprudence (The Umdat Al-Salik).  So what's quoted below is in support of my contention re the meaning of "jihad" as commonly understood in Islamic circles today.
It's by noted Islamic scholar Andrew Bostom:
"... there is just one historically relevant meaning of jihad despite contemporary apologetics. Jahada, the root of the word Jihad, appears 40 times in the Koran—under a variety of grammatical forms. With 4 exceptions, all the other 36 usages (in specific Korani…

Islamapologist sites are pusillanimous pissants

Any time you want to comment on Islam apologist sites (eg, Loonwatch, Islamophobiawatch, Politicusa), they want to "moderate" your comment before it's posted: then, often as not, they don't publish it. That's if it's critical of Islam, even if it's soberly, calmly and factually so.  By contrast, sites like Jihadwatch, RaymondIbrahim, Blazing Cat Fur and DanielPipes all allow comments to be posted straight away, without moderation (they reserve the right to remove posts that are offensive, racist, etc).  They let the hurly burly of free speech take care of any idiocy that may pop up; the readers do it.
This suggests to me that the Islamapologist sites can't face the facts.
Just recently, I made two posts to Politicusa, and neither one was published.
One post was in response to an absurd Chomskyan assertion in the comments section that the US military are the "American Taliban", and they had caused 9/11.
His statement, in part:
Corey Mondello …

"Was the Arab Spring a Victory for Extremism?": Jeffrey Goldberg

.... The big news out of Cairo late this fall was not the Muslim Brotherhood’s triumph in parliamentary elections, even though the Brotherhood-affiliated party took 37 percent of the popular vote. The main news was made by the more extreme Nour Party, which is affiliated with Egypt’s Salafists. The Salafists, who believe that the world should be made over to look as it did during the time of the Prophet Muhammad, took almost 25 percent of the popular vote. In other words, the majority of voters in the Arab world’s most populous country chose either a party whose motto is “Islam is the Solution” or a party that believes that medieval Arabia is an appropriate state model.Terrific article, thanks to BCF.

We were there!

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Huang Wenguang recalls being in Peking in 1976, when Mao Tse-tung died (The Dear Leader is dead, again, IHT, Dec 26).  I was there as well, a young, new student of Chinese, newly landed in the capital.  And also there was a 14-year old, about the age of Huang, I guess, called Jing and she was to become my wife about two decades later. I recall, as does Huang, the tears on the street, some of them real, some crocodile, squeezed out to make sure that one didn't get reported for being less than fully caring of the Great Leader.
And that leads him to thoughts about Kim Jong-il's death, and the outpourings of grief and "grief".
He wonders if the new "leader", Kim Jong-un, might lead to opening up in North Korea.  He's too smart to commit himself.  For my part, I'd simply observe that we thought there might have been an opening in the 80s when we first went there to do some coking coal business. That was the time that Deng Xiaoping had begun the full ope…

Regulate Marihuana Like Wine

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Just in from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:

Five Law Enforcement Against Prohibition speakers have been busy this past year launching a new California initiative,REGULATE MARIJUANA LIKE WINE (RMLW). I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about RMLW and ask you for your support on this initiative.

LEAP speaker Judge Jim Gray (Orange County Superior Court ret.) and LEAP Executive Board member Deputy Chief Stephen Downing (LAPD ret.) played a major role in writing the initiative. LEAP speakers Lieutenant Diane Goldstein (Redondo Beach P.D. Ret.),Deputy Nate Bradley (former deputy sheriff, Sutter County) and Officer Kyle Kazan(former police officer, Torrance P.D.) joined Judge Gray and Deputy Chief Downing as part of RMLW's executive board to put their professional skills to work on the complex - - and expensive - - process of signature gathering, volunteer coordination,  campaign appearances and fund raising.

LEAP's Board of Directors viewed RMLW as a…

On Gingrich and the Palestinians

You know, I have to simply bite the bullet: most of my friends and relatives are Islam apologists (it's a "Religion of Peace", the "extremists" have "hijacked" it, and so on), and pro the Palestinian narrative (the Jews invaded and stole the land from long-term residents of Palestine, and so on).
The other night I was at a dinner party, when someone raised the issue of Newt Gingrich's recent statement about the invention of "Palestine".  They were getting all huffy about him, silly right-wing Republican, and all that.  I intervened and said that his statement, if you parsed it closely, was 100% correct.  I happened to have just read the evidence for this, and when I mentioned it, they stopped with their line, I think cause they recognised that I had facts on my side.  Then they asked about what was the true story about the Middle East, as all they read and watched was the main-stream media, so I got into that a bit too, as, again, I had…

"Second period of Islamic power"

...if Islamism is capturing Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, and will capture other Muslim nations as the Arab Spring advances, where is the historic evidence that these Islamic regimes can convert their states into manufacturing and military powers...The simple answer, which is also the accurate one, is that there ain't....
Read more...

North Korean People's Army Funky Get Down Juche Party

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As a regular visitor to North Korea in the early 80s (for some coking coal business) -- the craziest, weirdest, but most fun thing you could do standing up -- I really appreciate the funky stuff of this crazy place.  This vid courtesy old mate, and co-visitor to the DPRK,  SF.
Update: Hitchens on North Korea: "A Nation of Racist Dwarfs".



Muslima (?) and Child

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[Postscript: this post was linked at BCF, and one comment was: "now, if he had drawn Muhammad in the Manger"...]

I got the card at left from an old school mate of mine, a fine fellow I've known and loved for near on 50 years now, and for those many years an artist and teacher in Australia.

He makes his own Christmas cards each year, always a little original wood-block print, always thoughtful, simple, elegant.
But I must say, this one got me thinking: it's provocative and ambiguous.

Is the message (a) that we're all one folk, all humans, all love our babes; that -- with the church and mosque in the background -- all religions are the same? Or is it (b) a satirical take on Muslims' claim to Jesus as the "first Muslim", Jesus as a "prophet" of Islam?

I suspect it's the former, but would rather like to know from my mate, in case it's the latter.

So I wrote him a letter in response (he doesn't really do email), the first draft of …

Long Live the Hitch!

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Christopher Hitchens died on December 15th and the memorials since have been prolific and warm.

A mark of the greatness of this essayist and polemicist -- perhaps the best since his hero Orwell --  is that the obits were as generous from the left as the right.  In the "counter-jihad" and usually right-ish bloggosphere, he was remembered for his sound stance on the "religion of peace", even as he savaged their icons like Kissinger.  For example, Robert Spencer salutes him here. (With great vid of Hitch tearing apart the world's favourite "moderate" Muslim, Tariq Ramadan). While on the left, his deft wit and independence were celebrated, even as he savaged their icons like Michael Moore.

Graydon Carter, the editor of the rather lefty Vanity Fair said something like -- and I paraphrase -- "if you read Hitchens, you felt you knew him; if you knew him, you felt blessed".  That's one wonderful RIP, right there. Carter's in memoriam is here

"Off with long beards and Muslim Veil"

What the Chinese authorities are concerned about, of course, is that these outward dress and facial hair choices are markers of Islamic piousness, and that piousness is in turn a marker for potential violence -- the Koran and Hadith are clear on what the pious Muslim must do to infidels such as the Chinese communists....
From the South China Morning Post, 16th December:
A city in the heavily Muslim Xinjiang region has begun a campaign to discourage veils and long beards so as to "dilute religious consciousness", media reports said yesterday.
The notice by the government in the city of Yining was uploaded by several mainland news websites and by Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television, though it then vanished from the Yining government's website,www.yining.gov.cn. Many Uygurs, Muslims native to Xinjiang, resent the rule of Beijing and controls on their religion, culture and language. The region has seen sporadic cases of violent unrest. The notice said the government in the Dunmail…

"Criticism of Islam could soon be a crime in America"

This is a terrific article by Clare Lopez.
It is suicidal for a free society willingly to collaborate with those, like the Muslim Brotherhood and the OIC, which are determined to destroy Western civilization from within—and have told us so, repeatedly, consistently, and publicly. [Read it all]

Roger Cohen: "Come home to Israel".... should really be "Come down on Israel"

... I know several Israeli expatriates or would-be expatriates and their feelings are consistent. They are troubled by the illiberal drift of Israeli politics, the growth of a harsh nationalism, the increasing influence of the ultrareligious, the endlessness of the “situation,” and the tension inherent in a status quo that will one day threaten either Israel’s Jewishness or its democracy.They have left or seek to leave because they don’t want all that and no longer believe there is going to be significant change. The ads play to Israeli patriotism, but it’s not patriotism that expatriates lack. It’s hope that their Israel can be salvaged and a two-state peace achieved.My second reaction is that if Netanyahu could show a fraction of the nimbleness evident when American Jews are offended in instances where Turks are offended (by the killing of their citizens in international waters), or where President Barack Obama is offended (by ongoing settlement expansion in the West Bank against hi…

The Muslim Brotherhood is "moderate... non-discriminatory... a terrific partner for the West"... NOT!

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Nicholas Kristof has anointed himself -- or I so anoint him -- the spruiker-in-chief for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Take his latest piece, "Democracy in the Brotherhood's Birthplace" in the New York Times of December 11, a follow up to one just days ago "Joining a Dinner in a Muslim Brotherhood Home", of the 8th.  It's what I call "analysis by anecdote".  It includes the quotes in the headline above: "moderate... non-discriminatory... a terrific partner for the West".  What nonsense!
This is the style: you find someone -- a taxi driver most simply and obviously, or someone at a coffee shop near the town square -- you interview them, and, if they fit your world view of the situation, you quote them.  Thus: "so-and-so has seen it all in her young life.  Father in the Party, before the revolution, she has suffered in the aftermath of the breakdown of law and order in [insert country here], but her resilience and courage has seen her stru…

The Arab "Spring": how 'naive' do you have to be, before you're just stupid?...

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I was in Egypt a few weeks back, just before the latest round of convulsions in Tahrir square.  So when I watched the news here in Hong Kong, I was, like "there!  right there!  That's where I was, right on that spot!" and so on.... making me realise just how these things can be just beneath the surface, yet you don't know they're there, ready to pop.
I went around Cairo, for example, "looking for trouble", that's how I put it to my mates: looking for signs of the earlier violence, looking for signs of the violence against Coptic Christians, that had happened literally the day before we arrived in Cairo. So I went to Tahrir and past the burnt out government building on its eastern corner, and over to the Christian quarter, where there were cops (and Copts) but nothing simmering, and no damage visible, and then to Al-Azhar university campus -- this being the oldest Uni in Islam and the seat of Sunni learning, and then to the Al-Azhar park, newly reope…

"Reducing attacks is Israel's aim"

Goodness me, I can hardly keep up!  Below letter was published today in the South China Morning Post, the third of my letters published in the last few weeks, this one also about Israel, as was the one in the International Herald Tribune (the international edition of The New York Times) earlier this week.
Reducing attacks is Israel's aim
I. M. Wright makes allegations about stolen land and apartheid ("Israel intends to 'segregate' with policies", November 25). When Israel was created in 1947 by UN resolution 181, Jews were in the majority in the region. They had not become so by driving Palestinians from their "traditional homes", but by a combination of long-term residence and 19th century immigration.
The immigrants bought their land from landlords often resident in Syria - to the extent that the area was often referred to as "Southern Syria". Moreover, the partition of the British Mandate gave the majority of land to today's Jordan, which co…

With friends like these... the pseudo "ally" Pakistan: serial lier and violent west-hater

The most open "secret" in the world is becoming ever more open: Pakistan supports and funds terrorism, even as it takes American money to fight terrorism.
There's a BBC serieson at the moment, forgotten its name, that is all about how wretched an "ally" Pakistan is: that it is duplicitous, that it uses US military aid to fund the Taliban and other terrorist bodies that kill US and its allies' troops. It's scathing.  The BBC is a lefty outfit and has not been of a mind in the past to be critical of places like Pakistan: poor, third world, afflicted by colonialism, Islamic, and so on, all hot-button I-must-feel-sorry-for markers of the left. That the BBC is now critical of Pakistan and trenchantly so, is significant.
[Update, 2 Dec: the BBC series is called "Secret Pakistan", airing at the moment.  I see news that the BBC World News TV Service has now been blocked in Pakistan because of the series.  The much maligned (as being too "lefty&…

"A pinkwash? Hogwash"

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The International Herald Tribune (The New York Times international edition), published my letter yesterday.  This is unusual, as they don't often publish letters that are not pro-Palestinian or are critical of Islam.  So I guess I should say: good on 'yer!  Click the logo for link to the letter.  The Pinkwash article is here.  Another great critique is here.
Update 2 Dec: a number positive resonses, eg: I wanted to congratulate you on your New York Times letter. It was a very well articulated response. Thank you! Kind regards, Erica L. November 28, 2011
A Pinkwash? Hogwash Regarding Sarah Schulman’s “Israel and ‘pinkwashing”’ (Views, Nov. 24): For some people Israel can do no right. Israel is the only gay-friendly country in the Middle East, but for Ms. Schulman that’s just a smokescreen for “co-opting” people into a pro-Israel stance. It is offensive to suggest that one can’t make a judgment on Israel because it’s gay friendly, that we are part of a “pinkwash.” Hogwash. Israe…

Mona Eltahawy: assaulted by Islam... for wearing pants?

I see that journalist Mona Eltahawy was assaulted in Tahrir Square. There's a graphic account with pictures here.

One quote from Eltahawy jumps out at me:
".... I lost count of the number of hands that tried to get into my trousers..."The thing is: it may be exactly about trousers. Let me explain.  Eltahawy has spoken out against the mistreatment of women in Islam.  Fair and brave enough.  But in calling for better treatment of women, she has signally failed to address the crux of the problem: that mistreatment of women is core to Islamic doctrine.  She's said for example that there's no sanction in Islam for women wearing trousers.  Wrong, Mona.

I recorded back in August 2009 how she had tackled the mistreatment of Muslim women, but had failed to name the reason for that mistreatment, and specifically about wearing "men's clothing":
Mona Eltahawy claims that there is no sanction in Islam for the various “crimes” (her quote marks) such as women wearing…

Israel and "Pinkwashing" -- "Whitewashing the truth"

I was going to take apart a recent article by Sarah Schulman in the New York Times, called "Israel and 'Pinkwashing'", but, as so often happens, my natural laziness and the Chinese principle of "Wu Wei" came to my aid.  Wu Wei is a Taoist concept, meaning in its simplest terms: "do nothing".  Often you face a problem: do nothing for a while and bingo! it sorts itself out.  So the tearing apart of Schulman's shoddy piece has been done, and done much better than I could have, by David Harris, in his piece "Israel and 'Pinkwashing'": what was the New York Times thinking?
[Update: 25 Jan '12: just came across an article on Schulman's piece by the redoubtable Bruce Bawer, here.  The money quote:
To be sure, it never stops being remarkable to me that anyone who professes to care about human freedom – especially someone who is gay anda woman anda Jew! – can be anything but a fervent supporter of Israel, a small free country …

Israel is NOT an apartheid state

My letter to the South China Morning Post:
I.M. Wright should study his history before making allegations about stolen land and apartheid. (Israel intends to 'segregate' with policies, Letters, 25 Nov).

When Israel was created in 1947 by UN resolution 181, Jews were in the majority in the region.  They had not become so by driving Palestinians from their “traditional homes”, but by combination of long-term residence and 19th century immigration.  The immigrants bought their land from landlords often resident in Syria – to the extent that the area was often referred to as “Southern Syria”.  Moreover, the partition of the British Mandate gave the majority of land to today’s Jordan, which could easily have taken more Palestinians fleeing a war initiated by surrounding Arab states, but did not do so for political reasons (“keep the heat on Israel”).

To label Israel as an “apartheid” state is to confuse intent with outcome. The intent of Israel’s defensive tactics, including the wal…

"Article 23 is aimed at unruly mob": my response to a thuggish letter

My letter tackling Philip Fang's brutish article received more positive stars than any letter this year, averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars.  From a reader re that letter, one of a number in support:
Great letter to the SCMP. Thanks for sticking up for Hong Kong.
“Give me a break.” Yes, give us all a break.
I guess you knew that Philip Fang is Anson Chan’s younger brother. [P: actually, no I didn't and wonder what he's doing attacking his well-known sister.  Happy families. Not]Most other letters in response to Fang's article take him on, but one on Monday supports Fang's line and the introduction of the so-called "Article 23" legislation [*] in Hong Kong: that is, legislation to outlaw "treason, secession, sedition, subversion..." etc.  It is a requirement of Hong Kong's Basic Law, though the timing of implementation is up to Hong Kong.  Suspicion of the intent of the proposed law is high in Hong Kong and the last time a serious endeavour was made…