Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Muslim Manifesto

Mustafa Akyol Zeyno Baran wrote on National Review Online "Who are the moderate Muslims, and why do they not speak up?" After being asked this question over and over again since 9/11, particularly after the Danish cartoon crisis, we decided to propose the following Muslim Manifesto:

Recently, the disrespectful cartoons about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) published in Jyllands-Posten resulted in an extreme reaction among many Muslims worldwide. While we understand the feelings of our co-religionists, we strongly urge them to refrain from rage and violence.
I agree. I am outraged by the frequent examples the secular press in this country seems to take pleasure in running that cast Christianity in a bad light, and I do not like the Muslim press running daily cartoons against Jews, but none of it justifies violence.
A zeal for Allah is rightful only when it is expressed in an enlightened manner, since Allah himself has ordained a restrained response. When the early Muslims were mocked by their pagan contemporaries, the Koran ordered not a violent backlash, but rather a civilized disapproval: "When you hear Allah's verses being rejected and mocked at by people, you must not sit with them till they start talking of other things." (Koran 4:140) The Koran also describes Muslims as "those who control their rage and pardon other people, [because] Allah loves the good-doers." (3:134) Therefore all demonstrations against the mockery of Islam should be peaceful.
And if Muslims want to be a part of 21st century civilization, they will find they will be unwelcome unless they do act peacefully.
All critiques of Islam should be countered not by threats and violence, but by rational counter-argument. We also believe that terrorist acts can never be justified or excused. None of the challenges Muslims face, such as oppression or military occupation, can justify attacks against non-combatants. In the Holy Koran, Allah orders Muslims to "never let hatred of anyone lead you into the sin of deviating from justice." (5:8) The true Islamic sense of justice is well-established in the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); even in time of war — let alone peace — Muslim soldiers should never "kill the old, the infant, the child, or the woman." Those who do so are not martyrs, but cold-blooded murderers.
And there is a special place in Hell waiting for them. Surat an-Nisa,093 (Quran 4.93) says "If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him."
Supported by the Koran's affirmation that "there is no compulsion in religion" (2:256), we cherish religious liberty. Every human has the right to believe or not to believe in Islam or in any other religion. All Muslims furthermore have the right to reject and change their religion if desired. No state, community or individual has a right to impose Islam on others. People should accept and practice Islam not because they are forced to do so, but because they believe in its teachings.
We support and cherish democracy — not because we reject the sovereignty of the Almighty over people, but because we believe that this sovereignty is manifested in the general will of people in a democratic and pluralistic society. We do not accept theocratic rule-not because we do not wish to obey Allah, but because theocratic rule inevitably becomes rule by fallible (and sometimes corrupt and misguided) humans in the name of the infallible God.
And who thinks that Allah (God) wants people to be forced to worship Him. Which does He listen to, the silent prayers of someone on the torturer's table, or the loud screams that are tortured out of him.
We accept the legitimacy of the secular state and the secular law. Islamic law, or sharia, was developed at a time when Muslims were living in homogenous communities. In the modern world, virtually all societies are pluralistic, consisting of different faiths and of different perceptions of each faith, including Islam. In this pluralistic setting, a legal system based on a particular version of a single religion cannot be imposed on all citizens. Thus, a single secular law, open to all religions but based on none, is strongly needed.
I completely agree.
We believe that women have the same inalienable rights as men. We strongly denounce laws and attitudes in some Islamic societies that exclude women from society by denying them the rights of education, political participation and the individual pursuit of happiness. Like men, women should have the right to decide how they will live, dress, travel, marry and divorce; if they do not enjoy these rights, they are clearly second-class citizens.

We believe that there is no contradiction between religious and national identities. Any Muslim should be able to embrace the citizenship of any modern secular state while maintaining feelings of spiritual solidarity with the umma, the global Muslim community. We regard Christianity and Judaism as sister faiths in the common family of Abrahamic monotheism.
We are all "People of the Book" (or ahl al Kitâb) Surat Al 'Imran, 64 (Qur'an 3:64) says "O People of the Book! Let us rally to a common formula to be binding on both us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God."
We strongly denounce anti-Semitism, which has been alien to Islam for many centuries but which unfortunately has gained popularity among some Muslims in recent decades. We accept Israel's right to exist, as well as the justified aspiration of the Palestinian people for a sovereign state and hope that a just two-state solution in Israel/Palestine will bring peace to the Holy Land.
As do I.
In short, we strongly disagree with and condemn those who promote or practice tyranny and violence in the name of Islam. We hope that their misguided deeds will not blacken our noble religion — which is indeed a path to God and a call for peace. We encourage Muslim political, social, community and business leaders to contact us at to sign onto the Manifesto so that the authentic peaceful and civilized message of Islam will be heard.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Manifesto Against Islamism

Michelle Malkin blogged Danish reader P.H.N. sends an important document published today in the Jyllands-Posten from 12 brave intellectuals:

MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism. We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all. The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats. Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people. We reject cultural relativism, which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers. We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas. We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

I pray that these 12 brave souls are not immediately killed by radical Islamists, but they are right.

Agora blogged This just in, stay tuned as the story develops. I think we’ll be seeing people die in the coming days. You know, from "reactions"….


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Avenging Angels

Jim Robbins blogged on The Corner on National Review Online Mudville Gazette has a great rundown on a good news story from Iraq that the MSM has chosen to spike. Seems that Najim Abdullah Abid al-Jibouri, the Mayor of the city of Tall Afar, wrote a lengthy thank you letter to the troops of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment for saving his town from the scourge of the terrorists. He writes that the soldiers "are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism."
I bet that phrase is curling the hair of some MSM editors.
Tall Afar used to be a ghost town run by bad guys; now it is peaceful and prosperous. This letter has been getting wide circulation on military email lists. The Washington Post had the letter but refused to print it. Imagine that!
The Secular Left does not like references to God or anything that praises our soldiers, so I am not surprised that they declined to print the letter.


Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott

Jerusalem Post The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm in the US over the purchase of American ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

I would be shocked if they did not participate in the Arab boycott when they are running ports in Arab countries. But if the Jerusalem Post is trying to imply that they would enforce an Arab boycott in US ports they are totally wrong.
The firm, Dubai Ports World, is seeking control over six major US ports, including those in New York, Miami, Philadelphia and Baltimore. It is entirely owned by the Government of Dubai via a holding company called the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCZC), which consists of the Dubai Port Authority, the Dubai Customs Department and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Area.
Another misleading fact. Just because the parent company includes Customs in Dubai, that does not mean they would control customs in the US. The US customs people would still be in charge, and American agencies would continue to be providing the security at the American ports
"Yes, of course the boycott is still in place and is still enforced," Muhammad Rashid a-Din, a staff member of the Dubai Customs Department's Office for the Boycott of Israel, told the Post in a telephone interview.

"If a product contained even some components that were made in Israel, and you wanted to import it to Dubai, it would be a problem," he said.

Danny Carlton blogged I, again, suspect that Bush may be engineering a tempest in a teapot in order to distract the childish interests of the MSM. It seems so similar to the Harriet Myers thing. He proposes something many find objectionable, but is only marginally so, just as the MSM's attention is focused on areas that slow things down. While they scamper to paint Bush with their "bad guy" brush, he withdraws his proposal, and quietly slips in what he wanted all along.

Michelle Malkin blogged And from the capital of the UAE via the Khaleej Times
Close on the heels of the cartoon controversy raging across the Muslim world, it is the turn of an upscale American school in Abu Dhabi to ruffle Muslim sentiments by teaching lessons that allegedly ''smell of racism.''
It is not terribly smart to use a text book that disparages the culture of the country you are a guest in.
Over 100 copies of the social studies text book, 'World Cultures' taught to the sixth grade children were confiscated by the Ministry of Education yesterday, for allegedly presenting Islam and the Muslim countries including Gulf states in a negative light while glorifying Israel on the other hand, Khaleej Times has learnt.
Forbes magazine notes:
Dubai, in the final analysis, is still very much a part of the Middle East and Islamic world, where it finds itself geographically, politically and culturally.
What did you expect: Hollywood on the Gulf?
Its remarkable success--steering a delicate middle course between currents of Islamic extremism that are found as near as its much larger, though scarcely as prosperous, neighbor, Saudi Arabia, and the tolerant moderation valued so deeply by the West--has insulated it from terrorism and lets the sheikh's palace sit with its gates all but unguarded deep into the night.

Yet Dubai, the single most prosperous of the seven emirates, is still very much a part of the Arab world.
Go ahead. Yell "Islamophobia!"


Bush, Speaking Up Against Bigotry

Richard Cohen editorialized in WaPo There are times when George Bush sorely disappoints.
Disappoints the rabid left. I am proud of him.
Just when you might expect him to issue a malapropian explanation, pander to his base or simply not have a clue about what he is talking about,
The rabid left believes that everything he does is some combination of those three.
he does something so right, so honest and, yes, so commendable, that -- as Arthur Miller put it in "Death of a Salesman" -- "attention must be paid." Pay attention to how he has refused to indulge anti-Arab sentiment over the Dubai ports deal.

Would that anyone could say the same about many of the deal's critics. Whatever their concerns may be, whatever their fears, they would not have had them, expressed them or seen them in print had the middle name of the United Arab Emirates been something else. After all, no one goes nuts over Germany, the country where some of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists lived and attended school. To overlook the xenophobic element in this controversy is to overlook the obvious. It is what propelled the squabble and what sustains it. Bush put his finger on it right away. "What I find interesting is that it's okay for a British company to manage some ports, but not okay for a company from a country that is a valuable ally in the war on terror," he said last week.
And what about China running most of our ports on the West Coast. After 9/11, the UAE has been a MUCH better ally than China ever could be.
"The UAE has been a valuable partner in fighting the war on terror." It is a long way from a terrorist haven.

Somewhere in the White House, a political operative -- maybe the storied Karl Rove -- must have slapped his head in consternation as Bush made that remark. The politic thing for a president with a dismal approval rating (about 40 percent)
A Democratic President, like Clinton, might have looked at the polls, and said what he thought was the "politic" thing to say; Bush is honest, and he tells the truth, regardless of what the polls say.
would have been to join with the critics, get ahead of the anti-Arab wave
That is the way Democrats "lead". They see what public opinion is, and then they run around to be at the front of the group, and say "Lets go this way", once they understand the way the people are going anyway.
and announce that he, too, was concerned about the deal, which was the fault, now that he thought about it, of pointy-headed bureaucrats, Democrats and the occasional atheist. Instead, the White House stuck to its guns, ordering a symbolic retreat -- more study -- but continuing to back the deal.

That Bush has done this should come as no surprise. As a bigot he leaves a lot to be desired. He has refused to pander to anti-immigration forces, and shortly after Sept. 11, if you will remember, he visited Washington's Islamic Center. He reassured American Muslims and the worldwide Islamic community that neither America nor its government were waging war on an entire people.

"The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam," Bush said back then -- and he has since repeated this message over and over again. That very year -- in November 2001 -- Bush invited 52 Muslim diplomats to a traditional Iftar dinner,
I think it is good that he invites truly moderate Muslims. I question some of the people that he has invited, like the people from CAIR.
breaking the daily Ramadan fast, and he has occasionally cited purported racism as the reason some people doubt the Muslim world will, as Bush so fervently wishes, make progress toward democracy. They think people whose skin is "a different color than white" are incapable of self-government, he has said.
That is absolutely true, and in fact he has done a lot to help Blacks that want to achieve, do so, yet organizations like the NAACP can't see the good he has done.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Canadian Health Care

NYT reported The Cambie Surgery Center, Canada's most prominent private hospital, may be considered a rogue enterprise. Accepting money from patients for operations they would otherwise receive free of charge in a public hospital is technically prohibited in this country, even in cases where patients would wait months or even years in discomfort before receiving treatment.

Anyone that thinks we should have government provided health care (like Hillary) should take note. It is not working in Canada, and it would not work here either.
But no one is about to arrest Dr. Brian Day, who is president and medical director of the center, or any of the 120 doctors who work there. Public hospitals are sending him growing numbers of patients they are too busy to treat, and his center is advertising that patients do not have to wait to replace their aching knees. The country's publicly financed health insurance system — frequently described as the third rail of its political system and a core value of its national identity — is gradually breaking down.
It is not just gradual. Canadian health care is a massive failure. Canadians used to come to the US to get treatment they did not want to wait for in Canada, and now there are so many they are actually setting up private clinics in Canada to help them.
Private clinics are opening around the country by an estimated one a week, and private insurance companies are about to find a gold mine.


Red Cross Spent $500,000 in 3 Years To Boost Its Profile

The American Red Cross paid consultants more than $500,000 in the past three years
why did it take more than three years to discover this. Charities should disclose several times a year how they are spending money they receive in donations
to pitch its name in Hollywood, recruit stars for its "Celebrity Cabinet" and brand its chief executive as the face of the Red Cross
If stars want to voluntarilly be associated with a charity that is fine, but if they must be recruited, then thanks but no thanks.
just a year before ousting her,
Maybe that was why they ousted her.
according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. In a $127,000 contract, a Houston corporate image company agreed to create a plan to make Red Cross chief executive Marsha J. Evans the face of the organization as part of a "senior leadership branding project" that ran from October 2003 to November 2004. At the same time, Evans was laying off workers at the Red Cross's blood-services operations
She must have figured her image was more important than blood.
and at its Washington headquarters, as well as eliminating merit pay and limiting travel in a bid to cut millions from the national headquarters' budget.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Specter Proposes NSA Surveillance Rules

WaPo reported The federal government would have to obtain permission from a secret court to continue a controversial form of surveillance, which the National Security Agency now conducts without warrants, under a bill being proposed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.).
It is becoming more and more obvious that Bush screwed up when he helped Specter fight off a primary challenge by a real conservative.
Specter's proposal would bring the four-year-old NSA program under the authority of the court created by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The act created a mechanism for obtaining warrants to wiretap domestic suspects. But President Bush, shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks, authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on communications without such warrants. The program was revealed in news reports two months ago. Specter's plan could put him at odds with the administration, which has praised a rival proposal that would exempt the NSA program from the surveillance law.
Which is the plan that should pass.
Specter's proposal would also require the administration to give a handful of lawmakers more information about the program than they now receive, such as the number of communications intercepted and a summary of the results.
That might not be a bad idea, but the other part is terrible.
The draft version of Specter's bill, which is circulating in intelligence and legal circles, would require the attorney general to seek the FISA court's approval for each planned NSA intercept under the program.
Bush and Gonzoles have both said it takes a long time to prepare a case to go before FISA, and that is why it is not feasible to use.
Bush has said the agency monitors phone calls and e-mails between people in the United States and people abroad when any of them is thought to have possible terrorist ties.

Specter's bill would require the attorney general to give the secret court "a statement of the facts and circumstances" causing the Justice Department to believe "that at least one of the participants in the communications to be intercepted . . . will be the foreign power or agent of a foreign power specified in [the law], or a person who has had communication with the foreign power or agent." The attorney general would have to provide "a detailed description of the nature of the information sought" and "an estimate of the number of communications to be intercepted . . . during the requested authorization period." The draft says the surveillance program's goal is "to gather foreign intelligence information or to protect against international terrorism."