Monday 29 June 2015

'Religion of peace' is not a harmless platitude - Spectator Blogs

The always spot-on Douglas Murray:
To claim that people who punish people by killing them for blaspheming Islam while shouting 'Allah is greatest' has 'nothing to do with Islam' is madness. Because the violence of the Islamists is, truthfully, only to do with Islam: the worst version of Islam, certainly, but Islam nonetheless.

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Harry's Place » The Moral Maze on IS recruitment

Very interesting discussion on IS and tenets of Islam

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Tuesday 23 June 2015

Five points to combat "Islamophobia"

This billboard was allowed to go up, by the Islamic Circle
of North America, an Islamist body, connected with the Muslim Brotherhood,
and despite every statement being provably false in Islamic doctrine...

... but this one was not allowed to go up, despite all the statements being true
as evidenced in Islamic doctrine and the official biography of Muhammad
Recently, I posted comments by Johanna Markind of the Middle East Forum, about a New York Times Islamopologist article.
She made an interesting point:
Some time ago, I heard cartoonist Yaakov Kirschen describe the efforts of Israeli airline El Al to recruit him for an ad campaign. "People don't want to fly our airline because they think the service is poor. So, how can we overcome their concerns about the poor service and convince them to fly El Al?" Kirschen responded, "Why don't you improve the service?"
The New York Times sadly approaches radical Islam from the perspective of an advertising firm trying to convince readers that there is no problem with Islam, that the main problem is a bunch of curious or mean responses by non-Muslims to terrorism perpetrated by Muslim radicals. It's not; the main problem is the radicalism to which they are responding.
When it comes to Islamism and its influence on Islam in the West, the New York Times reports all the apologetics "that's fit to print." As a newspaper, it shouldn't be in the business of propagandizing. But, if it has to promote a position, it could at least encourage Muslims to be more open and forceful in confronting and overcoming Islamists in their midst. Tell them to improve the service.
Robert Spencer has often suggested his "five points to combat Islamophobia", which I posted years ago.  
Here they are again:
I have a better idea for these guys to reduce the "Islamophobia" that they perceive in Australia.  It will save them the cost of all these 30 second TV ads...:
1. Focus indignation on Muslims committing violent acts in the name of Islam, not on non-Muslims reporting on those acts.
2. Renounce definitively not just "terrorism," but any intention to replace the secular constitution with Islamic Sharia law. 
3. Teach your co-religionists to coexist peacefully as equals with non-Muslims.
4. Promote programs in mosques all over the world to teach against the ideas of violent jihad and Islamic supremacism.
5. Work with Western law enforcement to identify and arrest jihadists within Western Muslim communities.  Source.
Do these things, and presto! "battered image" improved.
That post was two years ago, when "Muslim activists" in Australia were trying to combat "Islam's battered image" with a PR campaign.
But Muslim activists haven't taken that advice.  They're still trying to rely PR campaigns to convince us -- against all the evidence on the ground and in the doctrines -- that Islam really is a religion of peace and Muhammad the "perfect man.
Recently there are reports that that the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) are also going to try PR, via billboards proclaiming Muhammad to be an exemplar of "love and brotherhood".
In fact Muhammad was a rather vile man, as one can read in all the official Islamic sources -- the Islamic Trinity.
I can't do better that in summarising Muhammad's life and doings, than this link to "myths of Muhammad", all of them based on foundational Islamic doctrine.
By the way, the Reuters article says ICNA is "mainstream".  Perhaps it is, if by "mainstream" one means hewing to the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, for they are a child of that benighted organisation.

Friday 19 June 2015


Found on Harry's Place site, which I mentioned the other day.  The vid needs a special call-out.  It's great.
An equivalent: the fact that I found communism in China distasteful, when I first went there and experienced it in the 70s, didn't/doesn't mean I hate Chinese.  Same thing: one can criticise the ideology of Islam (an idea), without being phobic about Muslims as people...

How Obama Abandoned Israel

From the moment he entered office, Mr. Obama promoted an agenda of championing the Palestinian cause and achieving a nuclear accord with Iran. Such policies would have put him at odds with any Israeli leader. But Mr. Obama posed an even more fundamental challenge by abandoning the two core principles of Israel’s alliance with America.
Read the article, factual, thoughtful...

In case it goes behind a paywall, I've put the whole article below the fold.

Thursday 18 June 2015

NY Times Tries to Help Islam's 'Image' Problem :: Middle East Forum

I too was taken by the propagandistic nature of this New York Times article (linked in the article below). But I didn't get around to posting about it.
But the Middle East Forum doesn't miss a trick and here takes it apart.
The New York Times, which rather fancies itself as "the newspaper of record", has a shameful history of apologetics: in the thirties it was an apologist for the rise of Nazism, and in the fifties it whitewashed Stalinism,  becoming a shill for Stalin's "useful idiots". (It was he, IIRC, who coined the term).
Rather than the "paper of record", the New York Times is, more accurately, the "apologist of record".
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Wednesday 17 June 2015

Harry's Place » Nathan Lean, the New Illiberals, & the desperate protection of a failed narrative

Great post and discussion in the comments. Including a fantastic YouTube video on Islamophobia.

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Immigration, good or bad?

Back in November 2013, I posted a link to an interview with the highly regarded Professor Paul Davies, about his latest book on immigration and diversity (Exodus: How Migration is Changing Our World). I remember it caused quite a stir at the time.
Davies' key findings: That immigration is great for the individual immigrant, probably neutral for the host country and very bad for the source country.  And as for "diversity", too much of it and trust in the community breaks down.
Along the same lines, Celestine Bohlen wrote an article in the New York Times, in which she quotes Binian Simon, a 43-year old Eritrean journalist in exile, who has a message for Eritreans back home who are considering the journey across the Mediterranean: "Stay Home".
Simon says:
“When the young people leave, old people and children are left on their own, with no one to support them,” he said. “The family is collapsing. And looking at the bigger picture, there are no young people left to oppose the government.”
And yesterday I came across two other articles, on the anti-immigration side:
A Youtube video, "Welcome to Sweden" by the quirky En Blatte Talar, himself an immigrant to Sweden, this time with concerns of the hosts of immigrants.  These concerns are shared by large majorities (upwards of 70%) in the UK, Europe, Australia and the US.  In short, in all countries that are taking sizeable numbers of immigrants.  But these concerns are routinely ignored or scorned by the media and les bien pensants in those countries ("populism, nativism", doncha know).
Blatte Talar asks:
What is life like in Sweden? "The politicians are participating in a chicken race of “goodness” where everybody tries to one-up each other in caring for the citizens of OTHER countries while Swedish retirees, school children, handicapped and other vulnerable categories of people are thorougly ignored."
On the slightly more hysterical end of the debate this article in American Thinker, admittedly a blog at the somewhat loony end of the right, but still with some good points.

Monday 15 June 2015

When did Muslims close the door to reasoning? Scholars ask

It is interesting that the scholars in the headline are Muslim scholars speaking in Malaysia.
(If the question about Muslims closing the door to reasoning had been asked by a non-Muslim s/he would no doubt be labelled an "Islamophobe").
This question has been covered in much more detail in Robert Reilly's book "The Closing of the Muslim Mind", which is on my bookshelf.
In short, it all happened around the 11th century, when the Mutazilites, open-minded rationalists, were defeated in intellectual battle.  Since then, the Muslim Mind has been closed; closed that is, to reason and debate, and we see that every day around the world, the most extreme position being ISIS.
According to the panellists, the Muslim world had flourished with scholars and ground-breaking scientists when the Mutazilites from a school that espouses reason and rational thought were influential, but has now resorted to suppressing dissent instead.
“In Islamic societies, compared to other societies, especially in the Western worlds, the variety, diversity of views is absolutely suppressed,” said Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, an emeritus professor of law at Universiti Teknologi Mara.
“So there’s only one view of Islam, the predominant view that comes out not only in foreign media but our own media. And I think that’s the big difference between Islam and other religions.”
Read the rest here.

Watch mosques, Islamic schools for radicalization, expert tells key committee

The wonderful and brave Aayan Hirsi Ali again.  This time warning about extremism in mosques and Islamic Centres.
She's right about this.  At least five studies of mosques, including one done by a moderate Muslim Sheikh, have shown that extremist views are preached and extremist literature handed out at many US mosques.  It would be no different in Canada, or my own country of Australia, for that matter.
The violent doctrine of extreme Islam is spreading in Canada through the foundation of mosques, Islamic centres and Islamic schools by wealthy Gulf state investors with radical goals, a controversial U.S. commentator is warning.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former devout follower of the Muslim Brotherhood, best-selling author, ex-politician and now a fellow at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government, was the final witness recently at the national security and defence committee, which is preparing a report on threats to national security.
“You should be looking out for the sprouting of mosques and Islamic centres. You should be looking out for the establishment of Islamic schools and anything that costs money,” she said via a video link from Boston. “Countries like Saudi Arabia and the oil-wealthy Gulf countries that have absolutely everything that money can buy, yet many of them choose, for their philanthropy, radical Islamic goals, institutions, activities, jihad.
“For the outside, for the non-Muslim, especially in the West where we believe in the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience, when people come here and establish a network of schools, Islamic centres, mosques, it all falls within our freedoms and our laws but we rarely take an interest in the content of what is being preached and what’s being disseminated.”
Read the rest here.

Saturday 13 June 2015

It's the Palestinians who don't want a 2 state solution

From "the commenter" on 3 June, commenting on Obama's recent "reckless and ignorant intervention against Israel...", the following:
.... If the two sides can talk about keeping the situation under a degree of control, and avoiding bloodshed, then all well and good. But until there is a fundamental shift in popular and elite attitudes among the Palestinians this will not result in the much vaunted two-state solution.
We've known this at least since 1947, when the Jewish/Israeli side accepted the two-state partition plan agreed upon by the United Nations, while the Arab/Palestinian side rejected it. [*]
We've known this since the infamous "Three Nos", issued in the Khartoum Resolution of September 1, 1967: "no peace with Israel; no recognition of Israel; no negotiations with [Israel]".
The Oslo Accords of the 1990s held out the prospect of possible Palestinian compliance, but were then fatally undermined by the words and actions of Yasser Arafat.
Under Bill Clinton's auspices in 2000 and 2001, the Israeli side again offered a two-state solution only for it to be flatly rejected. In 2007, Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas more or less the same deal, only for it to be turned down.
The Palestinian side makes rejection of the very existence of Israel a fact of daily life in its (Arab-language) pronouncements, its glorification of terrorism, and its media and education policies.
Opinion polls, such as those conducted by the Israel Project, consistently show that the Palestinian people would only accept a two-state solution as a stepping stone towards a one-state solution involving the destruction of the State of Israel.
The fact that these realities are never reported in the mainstream Western media does not, of course, mean that they aren't available to anyone who wants to know about them, especially if your job title says you are president of the United States....
From an earlier article in the Middle East Quarterly by Efraim Karsh:
The Palestinian leadership's serial rejection of the numerous opportunities for statehood since the Peel Commission report of 1937 casts a serious doubt on its interest in the creation of an independent state. Instead of engaging in the daunting tasks of nation-building and state creation, all Palestinian leaders without any exception—from the Jerusalem mufti Hajj Amin Husseini, who led the Palestinian Arabs from the early 1920s to the late 1940s; to Yasser Arafat, who dominated Palestinian politics from the mid-1960s to his death in November 2004; to Mahmoud Abbas—have preferred to immerse their hapless constituents in disastrous conflicts that culminated in their collective undoing and continued statelessness. At the same time, of course, these leaders have lined their pockets from the proceeds of this ongoing tragedy.
It can be shown that the main sources of this self-destructive conduct are pan-Arab delusions, Islamist ideals, and the vast financial and political gains attending the perpetuation of Palestinian misery.
I also had at one time, but can't track it down, an article listing fully 23 (iirc) times that the Palestinians have had the chance to accept a two-state solution, but have rejected all of them.
[LATER (25/4/19): I found a more recent article, which I posted about here, detailing the number of times the Palestinians have been offered a 2-state solution, but have rejected them.  "From the River to the Sea, Palestine shall be free" is the anti-semitic, implicitly genocidal, Israel-destroying call by the Left and Jew haters now.]
There's also UN Resolution 262, which states, in Operative Paragraph One:
(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."
Israel accepted (i).  But the Palestinians have never accepted (ii).  So Israel has not carried out (i).  Why should it?
Again, this is rarely mentioned by the growing legions who would put Israel, and Israel alone, in the frame.
And lately we have the extraordinary case of Hamas firing rockets at Israel, and demanding that Israel not retaliate.  Shame on you Zionists for defending your citizens!
[*] An objection here would be that of course the Arab/Palestine side rejected it (the UN Partition proposal) as it annexed "Palestinian" land.  But the demographic studies done at the time by the United Nations and others showed that in the lands that are now Israel, including the West Bank, the majority of the population was Jewish. If we accept the current philosophy of self-determination, do we imagine that the population of what is now Israel would have voted other than for a Jewish state?
[I've put "Palestinian" in quotes, for they were not known by that term then; they were (and remain) Arabs].  
The reason for the rejection of the UN partition proposal of 1947 was that the surrounding Arab countries were convinced they could quickly overrun the new Israel.  They've been proved wrong on that, just as they've been wrong on pretty much everything ever since.  Despite that, they continue to draw the admiration and support of pretty much all of the Left in the west, not to mention that of all the surrounding Arab states.  
Had the Arab/Palestlinans accepted the original partition, just imagine how much more wealthy, healthy and safer the region would be today.

Apostasy in Islam: the penalty really IS Death

I've posted often about apostasy in Islam (e.g.): it's punishable; up to and including death.
We see this in practice, for example in Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and ten others.  It is deeply embedded in the doctrines of Islam: the Trinity of Islam.
Recently I came across the most exhaustive treatment of this issue, in a 2014 post Apostasy in Islam, in "The Rationalizer".
It's pretty much QED on this issue, whatever wrigglings Islamic apologists may proffer.

Sarah Haider: Islam and the Necessity of Liberal Critique (AHA Conference 2015)

Great talk by the young Muslim apostate, Sarah Haider, to the American Humanist Association.
Via Sam Harriss' Twitter.
Pity to see in Sam's twitter comments so many examples of exactly what Sarah was talking about: avoiding the issues; questioning her motives rather than her facts; ad hominem, moral equivalence (the Bible as bad as the Koran); etc etc...

Comrade Xi’s Purge - WSJ

Xi Jinping is a nasty man. I've been saying that for some time. Here's The Journal in what is an old-style Party Purge, not part of the anti-corruption he'd have us believe:
China's internal power struggle continues. That's the meaning of Thursday's announcement that former Politburo Standing Committee Member Zhou Yongkang was sentenced to life in prison for corruption....
Read the rest....

Friday 12 June 2015

A New Diplomacy to Stem Chinese Expansion - WSJ

China's aggression is pushing the South China Sea to a boiling point. Beijing's massive island-building project is militarizing the territorial disputes, changing the territorial status quo and shifting the region's balance of power. The U.S. response has been reactive, rhetorical and confused.
Read the rest...

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Secularists need to prioritise their targets - Spectator Blogs

Agree with Douglas Murray here. It's similar to Jewish groups in North America, like the Anti Defamation League, prioritising neo-Nazi and ageing Nazis, rather than the far larger, more active and virulently anti-Semitic Islamist groups.

‘Little Emperors and Material Girls’ by Jemimah Steinfeld -

Young people in China get a bad rap. Conventional wisdom says the boys are spoilt and fat, the girls flighty gold diggers — and the whole lot of them lazy, selfish and greedy. I have lived in China for seven years, and have met precious few mainland youths who fit those descriptions (except for maybe the plump part).But don't take it from me: I'm old enough to be their granny. Jemimah Steinfeld, on the other hand, has studied the Chinese twenty to thirtysomething in its own habitat: the bars, sex shops, online dating sites and matchmaking corners where the country's complex, controversial and confusing youth culture is being made.

Saturday 6 June 2015

What to Be Afraid Of -

In America 50,000 times more is spent on each American death by terrorism as is spent on each death by cancer. 50,000 times more. Think on'it. (Timothy Egan, in the New York Times, $)
(And this doesn't include the less quantifiable: the increased hassles of getting around the world, the safety checks and so forth, that result from the fear of terrorism).
Egan is right here: we should get our fear of terrorism in proportion.
We are far more likely to die from eating, sitting or crossing the road than we are from a terrorist attack.
For my part, I've never felt the least bit threatened by any Muslim. I've lived, travelled and worked in many Muslim majority countries -- from Sudan to Indonesia -- and never felt the slightest fear.
The original reason for this blog was not for fear, but as a place to archive things I found interesting in the ideology of Islam.
And that I DO find a threat.
But it's not a threat of death or injury to a person so much as potential death and injury to the open liberalism of the west. For it's without doubt that the west is facing great challenges from resurgent Islam(ism), especially within our own countries. This is sometimes known as "creeping sharia", and one sees it creeping daily.
So, get up (don't sit), cross the road, eat (non halal!) to strengthen yourself for the fight: to robustly defend our liberal democracy, with all its enlightened values, in the face of resurgent Islam and its horrid Sharia laws.

Thursday 4 June 2015

William Kilpatrick — ‘Needed: A New Church Policy Toward Islam, Pt 1′

He he....
So the leader of the largest Muslim country in the Arab world thinks that the entire Islamic world is suffused with dangerous and destructive thinking, and the leader of the Catholic Church thinks terror is the work of a few misunderstanders of Islam.
Kilpatrick is a Catholic, so it seems, but an atheist like me can relate to his writing, for his writing is crisp, cogent, robust and on-the-money.  There's a series of three on this issue, and well worth the time to read them all. 

Jake on the wonders of Hong Kong

The inimitable Jake Van der Kamp In the South China Morning Post this morning ($)

.... glorious walk around the Peak and the Peak tram ride up and down?
There is a point up there where the vista suddenly opens. Every visitor I have taken there has had that same jaw-dropping reaction to the sight of the busy city below.
What about the Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride up the hill to the Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha with a temple vegetarian lunch to follow? It's grand. [I add: a walk along the trail to a forest of wooden spires]
What about the ferry ride to Cheung Chau and an amble around the winding village streets where there are no cars. The bun towers at the Pak Tai Temple may be down but the temple itself is worth a visit. A bar overlooking the bay on the other side is where Lee Lai-san once helped her uncle serve us beer before she won a windsurfing gold at the 1996 Olympics.
In town, what about the Hong Kong history museum? I shall grant you that this museum's counterpart in Macau is easily a match for it, but that's only a reason to take a side trip to Macau on a visit to Hong Kong. Check for the occasional displays. They can be very good.
What about some of the offbeat museums like the Coastal Defence at Lye Mun Gap - which is a place from another world - or the Police Museum (how to cook heroin) and the Prison Museum (what your well-dressed rioter wears)?
What about the Wetland Park, the Botanical Gardens, the street markets, all the temples, seafood gluttony at Sok Kwu Wan or Po Toi with a scenic boat ride back to town on the chug-chug ferry?
Most of all, what about our magnificent country parks with hundreds of kilometres of superb hill walking and catchwater trails that wind you in and out of the hills under the shade of the acacias? They're nothing less than magic on a clear winter day...."
I would add: just walking round some of the clutter-mad streets in Kowloon or Western; a meal at the seaside in Stanley; a walk from Middle Island to Repulse bay; lunch at the Repulse Bay Hotel; Uber it to Shek O and dinner on the beach there; Big Wave Bay for a surf (yes, surf!).  A walk along the McLehose Trail, past the "other" Big Wave Bay in NE Hong Kong; an evening Junk trip in the harbour....

How Deng Xiaoping Helped Create a Corrupt China -

This is a long but well written and insightful article by Bao Tong, who was at the centre of China's politics in the eventful 80s and 90s.
I remember the historic events he talks about -- like Tiananmen June 4, 1989 and Deng Xiaoping's "Southern Tour" in 1992 -- For I was in China at the time.
This is a depressing read, but likely a correct analysis -- China's corruption is not going to be brought under control anytime soon; and crackdowns on dissent of any kind are going to get more draconian.

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Wednesday 3 June 2015

Islamapologists: be they Knaves, or be they Fools?

It really gives me the pip when I see some article arguing for the peaceful nature of Islam, and quoting the Koran, or Hadith, or simply making statements, that are clearly false.
Do these folk do this deliberately (Knaves), or do they do it out of ignorance (Fools)?
Here is one recent case, in "The price I pay for respecting Islam".
Just two examples from the first few paragraphs, as I can't bear to go through it all:
Considine quotes a Hadith:
“The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.”
But Islamic scholars have deemed this Hadith to be "weak and flimsy, or fabricated...".  (The numerous Hadiths -- the sayings and doings of Muhammad -- are traditionally divided into strong [eg, Bukhari, Islam], not strong, and weak.
Considine quotes the Koran
“Taking the life of an innocent person is like killing all of mankind.”
Problem is, he quotes this incorrectly -- as do all Islamopologists, including Obama, who once quoted  this same verse, in the same incorrect way. [His Cairo speech, 4 June 2009, para 23).
The mangled quote comes from the Koran 5.32.
Here is what it actually says, and the context:

Qur'an 5:32

What is actually presented by apologists is a distorted, out-of-context and misleading paraphrasing of the following verse:

On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person - unless it be in retaliation for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew all mankind: and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all humanity.

Its Context

This verse is written in past tense (Ordained, not Ordain) and clearly does not apply to Muslims but to "the Children of Israel" i.e. the Jews who, according to Islam, received an earlier set of scriptures. In fact, it is mistakingly referencing a rabbinical commentary found in the Talmud as if it were the words of Allah.

Also when the clause which allows killing is reinserted and the passage is read in context with the following two verses directed at Muslims (notice the reference to Allah's messenger and the switch to present tense), what first appeared on the surface to be a peaceful message, is in actual fact a warning to non-believers:
The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter; Except for those who repent before they fall into your power: in that case, know that Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
This is par for the course, for these Islamopologists.  The criticise we critics of Islam as being cherry pickers and quoting out of context.  But the cherry picking[*] that has to be done is for those peaceable verses, for they are few indeed, whereas the violent verses are the core of the Koran. And as for "out of context", you cannot get a better example than the Islamapologist one above.

I recently read another Islamopologist (no link for now) claiming that Muhammad was not a warmonger.  But that's also plainly false, as Islam itself documents, especially in the Sirah, the official biography of Muhammad.  He took part in at least 27 battles, many of which -- especially after he moved his followers to Medina -- were offensive in nature.

Perhaps the answer to whether the Islamapologists are Knaves or Fools, is in the quote at the top of this post: they are Knaves, and the Fools are those that believe them.

[*]See "Cherry Picking (fallacy)", here.  One does not need to cherry pick the Koran for violent verses, for that's the bulk of the book -- the whole tree, one might say.

How to Clean Up FIFA -

This is a really good article with criticism of the "one country one vote " system.
He shows how that has entrenched Sepp Blatter (till now...).
He recommends a One Player, One Vote system.
Not much chance of that, one thinks, but you never know.
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The Campus Crusaders -

David Thompson's blog often covers this trend in the U.S. Academy: tender flowers who feel "triggered" by anything that might "harm" their tender feelings.
Interesting that the issue has now reached the New York Times. After all it's been a matter of faith on the left that it's "triggered" students who should be supported, not the "classical ideal of the worldly philosopher".
Well done David Brooks.
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Tuesday 2 June 2015

Islamic State militants 'filmed torturing Syrian boy' - BBC News

From the BBC, goodness me...
Of course, this has nothing to do with Islam...

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Conflicted We Stand About Islam—But We Don’t Have To

A good -- even fun... in a kind of a way -- article.
Though we note that having made the strong, and I believe unassailable, case that there's a real issue with Islam in today's world -- is that he has no solution. Save for the comment that a solution, or at least a way to confront the threat of Islam, may come about from public discussion based on facing reality, rather than wishful thinking.
Here's Lyle's penultimate para, for example:
"From this point forward, I believe public discourse can bring us the realistic and prudent solutions we need. But this is only possible, however, IF we start from this point and NEVER AGAIN put up with the caterwauling about CONTEXT or theological debates, or THE 'REAL' MEANING, or failing to call Islamic terrorists ISLAMIC TERRORISTS, or any of the other nonsense outlined above."
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Graham at 2016 Launch: "Radical Islam is Running Wild" - Daniel Doherty

I don't know much, if anything, about Lindsay Graham, other than that he's one of the gaggle of Republicans tossing their hats into the ring.
But on radical Islam, he's spot on.
The money quote:
"The terrorists are selling a glorious death, we must sell a hopeful life."

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Blog: Doomed to fail: Egypt to teach 'moderate' Islam

I'm afraid that, much as one would like the possibility of an "Islamic Reformation" to be possible, it's not really going to happen.
I hope I'm wrong.

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Will China Close Its Doors? -

I've grown rather strongly to dislike the oleaginous, sleekly plump, poisonously smiling, neo-Maoist, Xi Jinping (how's that for ad hominem...).
China grows despite its President not because of him. The anti-corruption campaign has swooped up his political enemies, while the country remains a corruption cornucopia, because he won't let the Law Rule. He's shut down internet discussions and blocked hundreds of foreign web sites.
And now he's going after foreign NGOs.
Not good.

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Harry's Place » John Oliver on FIFA and Blatter

You *must* watch this vid on the FIFA scandals!
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