Saturday, August 26, 2006

China cracks down on striptease funerals

Yahoo! News reported China may be giving striptease funerals the last rites after officials arrested five people and ordered an end to the practise, state media said. Strip shows have been commonly used to attract more mourners to funerals,

I have never heard of anything like that.
as villagers believe a crowded send-off brings more honor to the deceased, Xinhua news agency said. But police took action after state television exposed the "obscene performances" at a funeral in Donghai county, Jiangsu province, with 200 people including children in attendance, it said.


Russian scientist predicts global cooling

United Press International A Russian scientist predicts a period of global cooling in coming decades, followed by a warmer interval.

Talk about being Politically Incorrect.
Khabibullo Abdusamatov expects a repeat of the period known as the Little Ice Age. During the 16th century, the Baltic Sea froze so hard that hotels were built on the ice for people crossing the sea in coaches. The Little Ice Age is believed to have contributed to the end of the Norse colony in Greenland, which was founded during an interval of much warmer weather. Abdusamatov and his colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences astronomical observatory said the prediction is based on measurement of solar emissions, Novosti reported. They expect the cooling to begin within a few years and to reach its peak between 2055 and 2060.
In 1970 the scientists were predicting another Ice age. Now they are screaming Global Warming. I figured that around 2040 they would be screaming about another Global Ice Age, and by 2075 it would be back to Global Warming. Maybe we should just stop listening to them regardless of what claims they are making.
"The Kyoto initiatives to save the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off until better times," he said. "The global temperature maximum has been reached on Earth, and Earth's global temperature will decline to a climatic minimum even without the Kyoto protocol."


Star Warrior

Melanie Kirkpatrick wrote in OpinionJournal If Reagan had his way on SDI, threats from North Korea and Iran would loom smaller today.

Do you think that the Democrats that worked to block Reagan's efforts wish they had not. Of course not. They just blame the problems with North Korea and Iran on GWB, and think that if they were just in charge, things would be much better. Well what if they were in charge, what would they do? Try to negotiate with a Nutcase that believes that he has a chance to cause the End of the World, and bring on the return of the 12th Imam? What do these idiots think they could offer him to persuade him not to do that?

And what about the other Nutcase that spends all of his country's money building up his army, to protect him from being invaded from neighbors that have absolutely no intention of invading him. What would they want with a country full of starving people? How do the Dems think they could "negotiate" with him. All he wants is more money to make his military even stronger.
In his 1983 "Star Wars" speech, Ronald Reagan famously asked, "What if free people could live secure in the knowledge . . . that we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil?"
It would certainly be nice.
.... "If you look at all of the money that's been spent on missile defense since Ronald Reagan started the program in 1983--adding in the 2006 budget--it's approaching about $100 billion, $90-something billion dollars. If you look at the damage costs from 9/11 alone just in New York City, based on a GAO report of 2002, it was $83 billion. That means if we can prevent just one attack against one major U.S. city, we almost would have paid for the entire program for the last 24 years."
Actually NYC was not hit by a nuke on a missle; it just had a couple of airplanes fly into two buildings.
.... He also favors putting more sophisticated sensors in space. "If someone had told me 15 or 20 years ago that we'd be fighting in Afghanistan, I wouldn't have believed them. We don't know where we're going to be fighting in the next 20 years . . . and so instead of populating radars around the world to try to guess where those threats are going to be coming from, it makes a lot of sense to go to space . . . We have sensors in space but they are not sensors that you can accurately track from."
This would be an important reason for our investment in NASA.
At the time of Reagan's missile-defense speech, Gen. Obering was an Air Force captain on loan to the space shuttle program at the Kennedy Space Center. Does he remember the speech? "Oh, yes, very much so. It was very dramatic. . . . It was intriguing to me to [see] the vision that President Reagan had--to say, you know, we don't have to live under this threat. We can actually do something about it." Does he object to the term "Star Wars," the mocking nickname given by Sen. Ted Kennedy to what was then known as the Strategic Defense Initiative? A big smile crosses his face. "Personally, I don't. . . . When you look at what the 'Star Wars' movie was really about, I think it fits. . . . It was basically the force of good trying to address the force of evil."
And the Dems that blocked it are embracing the Dark Side of the Force


Islam poses a threat to the West, say 53pc in poll

Telegraph reported The alleged plot to blow up transatlantic airliners and last year's terrorist attacks on London have made more people fear Islam as a religion, not merely its extremist elements, a poll for The Daily Telegraph has found. A growing number of people fear that the country faces "a Muslim problem" and more than half of the respondents to the YouGov survey said that Islam posed a threat to Western liberal democracy. That compares with less than a third after the September 11 terrorist attacks on America five years ago.

If only 53% recognize the threat, then there must be 47% of the British population that is either Muslim or has their heads stuck somewhere that the sun does not shine.
Neverdock blogged Time and time again we hear Muslim "leaders" say one thing to us non Muslims and the opposite to their Muslim brothers. Undercover ivestigations in mosques and Muslim communities show more of the same.

Recently, some of our leaders have begun to change their attitude towards Muslims. PM Blair delcared that we need to stop apologising for our stance on issues. Lord Stevens went further and said, it's a Muslim problem, they own it and they need to fix it. In this article, Kelly goes almost as far as to say multiculturalism is dead. All good words to hear but we need to hear it more often and louder. More importantly, Muslims need to hear it more often and much louder.


Global warming boost to glaciers

BBC News Global warming could be causing some glaciers to grow, a new study claims

That really does not sound like Global Warming to me.
Researchers at Newcastle University looked at temperature trends in the western Himalaya over the past century. They found warmer winters and cooler summers,
Warmer winters and cooler summers? It sounds like Global Warming is resulting in more moderate climates. And this is a bad thing?????
combined with more snow and rainfall, could be causing some mountain glaciers to increase in size.

Mark Noonan blogged Its a problem, you see? Some glaciers are growing - and that doesn't fit too well with global, as soon as I found out that some glaciers are growing, I know that eventually the global warming enthusiasts would say that both growing and shrinking glaciers are caused by global warming. It is the most flexible theory in human history, this global warming. Having a hot spell? Global warming. Cool spell? Global warming. Low rainfall? Global warming. High rainfall? Global warming. Everthing is as it has always been? Global warming just hasn't affected you yet - but if you don't see Gore's movie and vote Democrat, you'll die.

Point Five blogged No sooner had Global Warming laid down a foot of fresh powder on Pakistan’s double black diamond Kaffir Bowl Run, than it had swooped into downtown Karachi and plucked 7 year old Pashti Amiri from the middle of the street, saving her from the thundering tires of an American military convoy. “Thank you! Thank you, Global Warming!” said her father, but Global Warming was already gone, rocketing on its way to wherever it was needed most. “I know it seems unbelievable,” said Dr. Fowler, “but the heat of Global Warming causing glaciers to advance is no
different than your refrigerator using heat to generate cold.” “Heat makin’ it cold?” asked Cletus Potter of Oaksville, AK. “Whut kinda fool does you takes me for?” What kind of a fool, indeed, Mr. Potter! Probably the kind that doesn’t believe in Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or Global Warming.

Pat Cleary blogged Here's this, posted on Drudge last night, a story from the UK that global warming is getting so bad that it's making some glaciers thicker. Still not sure how that's a bad thing, just go with it, OK?

Here's a link to another story out of the UK entitled, "A Load of Hot Air" that talks about the vaunted Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and what they say is the change in climate in the last century: Exactly 0.6 degrees Celsius. In other words, even if you buy the theory, it ain't much. Will no one, no thing adapt? What should be the proper temperature of the earth, does anyone know?

Kate blogged Drought, floods, severe winters, warm winters, more frequent storm activity, less frequent storm activity, early frost, early thaw, receding glaciers. All have, to the best of my recollection as a news consumer, been cited by one climate research expert or another as evidence of "global warming". The same experts will also quickly caution that even in the midst of dramatic climate change, one should expect periods of "average" rainfall, temperature, storm activity. With today's addition of expanding glaciers, the list is finally complete. It's therefore, official - climate change proponants have taken ownership of virtually every local and global weather phenomenon worthy of newspaper ink, including "average". One would think that more people would have noticed.


Friday, August 25, 2006

The persecution of Lina Joy

Michelle Malkin blogged Apostasy. The last time I visited the subject, an ex-Muslim man's life was at stake in Afghanistan. Remember Abdul Rahman? Now, meet Lina Joy. Like Rahman, she was born Muslim, converted to Christianity, and is facing death threats for abandoning Islam. She wants to marry a fellow Christian man in her native Malaysia. A Muslim legal advocate for Joy, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, also faces death threats for defending her in a case that has reached the highest court in their country. The Wall Street Journal and NYTimes both spotlight her plight today. WSJ summarizes:

In 1998, Azlina binti Jailani changed her name to Lina Joy and was baptized a Catholic in a church in Kuala Lumpur. Ms. Joy now wants the government to stop classifying her as a Muslim. But it isn't that simple: While Muslim-majority Malaysia is considered a largely moderate, modern society, renouncing one's Muslim faith still is considered both sinful and illegal by Islamic authorities -- who have gained increasing sway of late. Ms. Joy's apostasy case, now before Malaysia's highest court of appeal, has inflamed public debate, divided the legal community -- a Muslim lawyer supporting Ms. Joy has received death threats -- and threatens to set off political tremors in this Southeast Asian nation of 25 million people.

The landmark legal ruling, expected within a month, will help define Malaysia's character as a nation. "We are at a crossroad, whether we go down the line of secular constitutionalism or whether that constitution will now be read subject to religious requirements," says Benjamin Dawson, one of Ms. Joy's lawyers. Malaysia has been governed for more than a half century by a tradition of civil law passed on by former British colonial rulers. A separate shariah, or Islamic, legal system has co-existed with civil law specifically to govern the religious lives of Muslim citizens, who are mostly ethnic Malays.
Hopefully European contries considering allowing areas of their country that are predominately Muslim to adopt sharia law will take note of the problems that can create.
About 40% of the population is ethnic Chinese, Indians and other minorities of other faiths. But conservative Islam's rise as a political force in the 1980s and 1990s has propelled pro-Western Malaysia -- and its legal system -- on a steady swing to the religious right. The government has ceded some powers once held by the civil-justice system to the shariah courts. While the Quran states there should be "no compunction" in religion, Islamic authorities world-wide consider apostasy both a sin and a crime. In Malaysia, Islamic courts can sentence apostates to "rehabilitation" in prison-like re-education centers that sometimes use caning as part of their program.

Although Malaysia's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, civil courts now routinely refer any cases involving Islamic matters for adjudication in shariah courts. And the shariah courts almost never grant Muslims the right to leave the religion.
The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship-Malaysia has more legal background. Wikipedia (always taken with a grain of salt) has an extensive entry on the status of religious freedom in Malaysia and Christian persecution including the loss of the right to marry, torture, illegal imprisonment, and loss of the right to work. The Catholic Church that baptized Joy is reportedly being targeted by police. Malaysia's prime minister is calling for expanding bans on proselytizing to Muslims.

An Islamic scholar explains why Muslims must not be allowed to leave:
"If Islam were to grant permission for Muslims to change religion at will, it would imply it has no dignity, no self-esteem,"
A religion does not have self-esteem, and one that says there is no compulsion in islam, but does not allow people to leave is the opposite of dignified. It is a faith so corrupt that they know they cannot keep members except through the threat of death.
said Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad, senior fellow at Malaysia's Institute of Islamic Understanding. "And people may then question its completeness, truthfulness and perfection."
I question all of those things, and this is just one of the reasons.
Got that? It's a Religion of Peace for those who submit, and a Religion of Pieces for those who even dare think of leaving.


Iran nuclear response leak reveals demands

The Guardian reported The US would have to lift decades-old sanctions against Iran and probably give assurances that it has no policy of regime change towards the Islamic republic to settle Iran's nuclear dispute with the west, according to leaks of the Iranian response.

And what would happen if we were foolish enough to do that? Listen to even more demands.
Iran is demanding firmer guarantees on trade and nuclear supplies, a tighter timetable for implementing agreements and clearer security pledges from the west before it decides whether to freeze its uranium enrichment programme and explore an offer of a new relationship.
Stop first. Then we will talk.
Details of its response delivered this week to diplomats, disclosed yesterday by two well-connected Iranian political scientists, claimed moderates in Tehran had won an important power struggle and were offering a negotiated settlement of the nuclear row.
Let those "moderates" show us that the nutcase president that wants to destroy Israel is no longer in power. Bring me the head of Ahmadinejad on a silver platter.
If the US spurns the Iranian olive branch and forces through sanctions from the UN security council, "the stage will be set for a full-scale international crisis", the response's authors stated.
They don't sound that moderate to me.
Under the terms of a UN resolution the Iranians have until Thursday to freeze all uranium enrichment activities or face the prospect of sanctions. The same day the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed ElBaradei, is to tell the security council that Iran has not suspended uranium enrichment. He is also likely to report additional frustrations in the agency's effort to penetrate the details of Iran's nuclear programmes.

CQ blogged For those who have studied the coordinated diplomacy of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in the late 1930s, this sounds depressingly familiar. Some people compared UNSCR 1701 to Munich, but this is much closer to that infamous Western collapse. In 1938, Britain and France rushed to dismember Czechoslovakia -- a democracy with highly defendable borders -- in order to assist the "moderate" Mussolini in appeasing the radical Hitler and keep him from waging war. Italy got what it wanted by appearing to be a rational actor, while Hitler got the Sudetenland and the most formidable natural defensive barrier in central Europe.

This sounds almost exactly the same, even playing on the West's analysis of Iran as two separate entities. The mullahs and the hard-line Islamists comprise one portion of the Iranian ruling class, while men like Mohammed Khatami supposedly offer a more reasonable partner for negotiations. It's hogwash. The ruling class in Teheran all share the same goals: an Islamist Caliphate in Southwest Asia with its seat in Teheran. Some of them just happen to have a better sense of Western public relations than Ali Khameini and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but that does not make them more rational or less supportive of Islamist triumphalism.

The Iranian leak is part of a calculated strategy to force the UN Security Council into retreat on its demands and into negotiations on Iranian terms. They use media outlets like The Guardian to "warn" of betraying these supposed moderates by not surrendering to their oh-so-reasonable demands. Hitler made this an art form, and Ahmadinejad has learned well from his example.

Allah Pundit blogged A pair of Iranian political scientists apparently leaked details of the regime’s counterproposal on the nuclear program today. I remember when Condi Rice first announced that we were going to negotiate with them, but only on the limited issue of nukes; there would be no “grand bargain.” Well, according to the good professors, what Iran wants is … a grand bargain. And even so, only as a precondition for talks. European diplomats think it’s yet another stalling tactic; Merkel has already responded. Goldstein cites an Iranian report via MEMRI that Ahmadinejad will be announcing Iran’s “nuclear birth” within the next few days, which could be the “surprise” they were promising yesterday.

A former Israeli NSA says that if Ahmadinejad succeeds Khamenei as Supreme Leader, he’ll go Greg Stillson on Israel. Hard to believe the mullahs would elect a non-cleric to the top spot, particularly one whose unpopular at home and liable to threaten their own position of power by initiating a nuclear exchange. But then, I was never NSA of Israel.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

School Kids Donate More to Katrina Relief Than Most Big Corporations

ABCNews The Blotter reported School children across the United States have raised more money for Katrina relief efforts than many major U.S. corporations, according to a non-profit group, RandomKid, which has tracked donations by children. Over $10 million was raised by school kids through bake sales, lemonade stands, car washes and other fundraisers, according to RandomKid. That's more than almost every major U.S. corporation gave.

OK, they are lumping money raised by school children all over the country, and comparing it to donations from individual corporations, all of which are responsible to their own Boards of Directors as to how they are spending corporate money. And the amount the kids raised is much much much smaller than what the Federal Government paid (using tax money raised from corporations as well as individuals)
More than wealthy oil and petrochemical companies, such as Chevron and ConocoPhillips.
But not more than the larger Exxon or BP Amaco
It's more than what AT&T and Verizon gave combined. And it's more than major brand name corporations like GE and Coca-Cola gave. Only five U.S. corporations gave more than what was raised by the school kids, according to recently released report by the Foundation Center, a non-profit organization that has tracked Katrina relief donations.
But how much came from all corporations grouped together, and how did that compare to funds from Government Sources, and of those government sources, how much came from the Feds, and how much from the states (much much less, I suspect)
Among the country's top corporate donors to Katrina relief, Wal-Mart is number one at $17 million, followed by Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati ($15 million), Exxon ($13 million) and Freddie Mac and BP Amoco (just over $10 million each), according to the Foundation Center.


Espying the Jew

Mark Steyn wrote in NR Earlier this year, I chanced to be at a public meeting with the great Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post. Afterwards, a gentleman from the audience casually made some allusion to some or other aspect of the Jewish calendar, at which I looked momentarily befuddled. And so Caroline helpfully explained to him that “Mark’s not a Jew, but he plays one on TV.” By which she meant that, as I publicly “defend” Israel (which is, in itself, a curious formulation, implying that the issue is the legitimacy of the Zionist Entity) and as I have a suspiciously Jewish-sounding name, I’ve been routinely assumed, at least since 9/11, to be a Jew. I’m honored to be so mistaken. And, in truth, even if I weren’t, there’s not much I could do about it. Someone asked me on the radio in Australia, two-thirds into a long, long discussion, about how Jewish I was, and I answered that the last Jewish female in my line was one of my paternal great-grandmothers and that both my grandmothers were Catholic.... So, yes, I am a Jew, because, after all, only a Jew could “defend” Israel, right?

Actually a lot of Jews in America don't do much to defend Israel, and most of them vote Democratic, even though Clinton tried to sell them down the river with Arafat, and even though George Bush is one of the best friends Israel ever had.
I don’t really “defend” it on anything but utilitarian grounds:
I suspect he does as I do, defend them because compared to their neighbors, they are the ones in the right.
Every country in the region — Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia — dates as a sovereign state from 60–70 years ago. The only difference is that Israel has made a go of it.
That is a very good point. The Arabs claim they have a right to the entire area because they won it by conquest centuries before. But Britain won the area after World War I with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, which foolishly was a key ally of Germany within the Central Powers. They created the different states in the Middle East, and citizens of those states are no more, and no less, entitled to their land than Israel.
So should we have more states like Israel in the region or more like Syria? I don’t find that a hard question to answer.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Scientists Offer Proof of 'Dark Matter'

WaPo reported For decades, many scientists have theorized that the universe is made up of nearly undetectable mysterious substances called dark matter and dark energy. But until yesterday there was no proof that the subatomic matter actually exists.

Why is WaPo so suprised about dark matter and dark energy. They crossed over and embraced the Dark Side of the Force a long time ago.


Where viewers are from

StatCounter has just implemented a capability for bloggers to view recent visitors on a Google Map. Click on a marker and you will be given all that user's details. This can be found under "Recent Visitor Map" in the left side menu with the rest of the stats options.

As you can see here, I recently had a viewer from Saudia Arabia (who viewed this post "Photos that damn Hezbollah" as a result of doing this search) and a viewer from Kuwait, that must be a regular visitor because there was no referring link.

Someone in the Philippines also was doing this Google Search looking for "Western Union in the Philippines" and he found this post of mine about "Western Union Stops Sending Telegrams".


Monday, August 21, 2006

Photo Fraud in Lebanon

This is a good summary of the numerous photo fraud stories we all read during the war in Lebanon


Firebrand Islamic academic

Daily Mail reported A British-based Muslim radical appeared to back suicide bombing yesterday when he claimed that dying for your beliefs was 'just'.

Dying defending your country is "Just"; dying while killing innocents is "Just Stupid", and if you expect to be rewarded for that in the afterlife, you are also "Just Stupid".
Dr Azzam Tamimi told an 8,000-strong crowd that standing up for your principles was the 'greatest act of martyrdom'. The 51-year-old was speaking at the ExpoIslamia convention in Manchester.
If you have reasonable principles, that may be true, but if your principles involve killing innocent civilians, you really have no principles.
The Palestinian-born academic - who previously boasted he would carry out a suicide bombing in Israel - also repeated his public backing for Hamas, which remains banned in the UK.
Why didn't he carry out a suicide bombing? Was it because he realized it would end up with him dead?
He said: "The greatest act of martyrdom is standing up for what is true and just. Martyrs are those who stand up and stand up in defiance of George Bush and Tony Blair. You stand up to them and you say desist. Stop this injustice. Stop this oppression."
There is a big difference from standing up and saying something, and blowing yourself up.
Dr Tamimi claimed the war on terrorism was a war on Islam. "We are Muslims in Europe, not European Muslims," he added.
Then you should be deported to a Muslim nation.


If you want sharia law, you should go and live in Saudi

- Sunday Times - Times Online reported Last Tuesday, after a 90-minute meeting with John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, to discuss the challenges of extremism and foreign policy, I emerged and was immediately asked by the media whether I agreed that what British Muslims needed were Islamic holidays and sharia (Islamic law). I thought I had walked into some parallel universe.

No, the idiots even considering that are the ones in a parallel universe.
Sadly this was not a joke. These issues had apparently formed part of the discussion the day before between Prescott, Ruth Kelly, the communities minister, and a selection of “Muslim leaders”. I realised then that it wasn’t me and the media who were living in a parallel universe — although certain “Muslim leaders” might well be.

Maybe some of these “leaders” believed that cabinet ministers were being alarmist, that the terror threat posed by British extremists was exaggerated. Maybe they thought that the entire plot and threat were the “mother of all smokescreens”, a bid to divert our attention from the killing fields of Lebanon. Or maybe it was another symptom of that epidemic that is afflicting far too many Muslims: denial. Out of touch with reality, frightened to propose any real solutions for fear of “selling out”, but always keen to exact a concession — a sad but too often true caricature of some so-called Muslim leaders.

Other members of the Muslim community I am sure would have cringed as I did when listening to Dr Syed Aziz Pasha, secretary-general of the Union of Muslim Organisations of the UK and Ireland, who explained his demand for sharia and more holidays: “If you give us religious rights we will be in a better position to convince young people that they are being treated equally along with other citizens.” He has done much good work over the years but this is clearly not one of his better moments.
Actually it is his way of seeking to turn Britain into an Islamic nation. If he can get Sharia law in a certain part of the country, no non-Muslim will want to live there, so they will move, and the Muslim population is growing faster than the British one, so it will not be long before they are demanding to enlarge the size of the Sharia area, and this will continue until they eventually control the entire country.
Who speaks for Muslims? The government has a near impossible task but I’m sure even it realises that we need to look beyond some of the usual suspects and, crucially, to find mechanisms directly to engage with young people, where many of our challenges lie. To me the plot seemed all too real: I flew back from the United States that very week; my sister, her husband and their two kids live in New York so we all regularly shuttle to and fro. If the alleged plot had been realised we could all have been “statistics”.

As I have repeatedly said, in this world of indiscriminate terrorist bombings, where Muslims are just as likely to be the victims of terrorism as other British and US citizens, we Muslims have an equal stake in fighting extremism. Hundreds of Muslims died on 9/11 and 7/7. But more importantly, given that these acts are carried out in the name of our religion — Islam — we have a greater responsibility not merely to condemn but to confront the extremists. In addition to being the targets of terrorism, Muslims will inevitably be the targets of any backlash.

Given this context, most Muslims will perhaps feel disappointed at some of the comments of those “leaders” who went in to bat on their behalf. Of course self- indulgent bad timing is not the sole preserve of Muslim leaders: David Cameron’s gross misjudgment of the national mood in his criticisms of how the government had failed to keep us safe and secure were just as crass. Cameron’s stance, in undermining the unity required from our leaders on such occasions of national unease, played into the extremists’ hands.

So too, unfortunately, did the comments of some of the “Muslim leaders” who demanded sharia for British Muslims rather than the existing legal system. The call for special public holidays for Muslims was unnecessary, impracticable and divisive. Most employers already allow their staff to take such days out of their annual leave. And what about special holidays for Sikhs, Hindus, Jews? If we amended our laws to accommodate all such requests, then all the king’s horses and all the king’s men wouldn’t be able to put our workplaces and communities back together again.

When it comes to sharia, Muhammad ibn Adam, the respected Islamic scholar, says: “It is necessary by sharia to abide by the laws of the country one lives in, regardless of the nature of the law, as long as the law doesn’t demand something that is against Islam.” It is narrated in the Koran that the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “It is necessary upon a Muslim to listen to and obey the ruler, as long as one is not ordered to carry out a sin.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no 2796 & Sunan Tirmidhi).

In Britain there are no laws that force Muslims to do something against sharia and Muslims enjoy the freedom to worship and follow their religion, as do all other faiths. Compare Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, a sharia regime where women are forbidden to drive; or Turkey, a secular country where women are forbidden to wear the hijab; or Tunisia, where civil servants are forbidden to wear a beard. I believe that as a Muslim there is no better place to live than Britain.
I suspect that a lot of Muslims would prefer to live in a country like Britain, where they were free to follow their faith, but not be controlled by some country's opinion of what that faith required.
That doesn’t mean that all in the garden is rosy; often Islamophobia is palpable. But my message is: whether you are white, Asian, black, Muslim, Christian or Jew, if you don’t like where you’re living you have two choices: either you live elsewhere, or you engage in the political process, attempt to create change and ultimately respect the will of the majority.
That is a very good point.
When Lord Ahmed, the Muslim Labour peer, heard my comments — I said essentially that if Muslims wanted sharia they should go and live somewhere where they have it — he accused me of doing the BNP’s work. He is entitled to his opinion. However, a little honesty, like mine, in this whole debate might just restore trust in politicians and ease the population’s anxieties.

Since I made my remarks my office has been overwhelmed with support. I also know that some Muslims feel uncomfortable, not necessarily because they disagree but because they feel targeted.
If they stand up and speak against extremism, the British will be much less likely to target them, and if the extremists target them, then they have even more reason to point out the extremists, and get them deported.
But what I want to say to my fellow British Muslims is that in this country we enjoy freedoms, rights and privileges of which Muslims elsewhere can only dream. We should appreciate that fact and have the confidence to fulfil the obligations and responsibilities as part of our contract with our country and as dictated by sharia law.
The only place that will be better than Britain, is Paradise, because you will not have to put up with the extremists who are twisting the word of Allah. Allah has a special place for them, and they don't get 72 virgins.
Marc at Neverdock blogged He's right about the denial part as well. Muslims have to face the fact that Islam is the root of their problems. Muslims have to take ownership of their problem and reform Islam. I see none of that happening.... Malik fails to point out that in Muslim countries, all other religions are persecuted. That persecution is not being carried out by a few militants who have "hijacked" Islam. That persecution is being carried out by mainstream Muslims who have been taught, by Islam, that all other religions are to be persecuted. In the home, at school and in the Mosques, Muslims are taught to hate all other religions. Here's a long list of videos to prove it. While it's refreshing to hear some of Malik's comments, he falls way short of addressing the root cause of Muslims problems - Islam.

Brett blogged The organisers of these events should tell the truth. They should identify these events as political rallies, not dishonestly label them as "bridge building" exercises designed to foster better community relations and understanding. If they really do think they're doing anything towards achieving their stated aims, then all I can say (again) is "oh, for fuck's sake!".

OTB blogged An often heard refrain: “Moderate Muslims don’t speak out against extremism.” But they do, actually. This article from today’s edition of The Sunday Times (UK) can only be characterized as “moderate” and it’s by a Muslim who also happens to be a Member of Parliament. He’s fed up with the extremists, but also those who forget what country they are living in and the freedoms they have there. Worth reading in its entirety.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Martyr videos

Independent reported 'Martyr videos' of the type left by suicide bombers, were reportedly discovered on at least six laptops owned by some of the 23 suspects being questioned in the foiled airline terror plot.

If there was any doubt that these "nice young boys" were guilty, this should resolve that issue.
The BBC, citing an unofficial police source, said that several of the videos had been found as part of the investigation into the alleged plot to bomb as many as 10 jetliners bound for the US.


Islamism Trumps Arabism

NYT reported She grew up in Cairo with the privileges that go to the daughter of a military officer, attended a university and landed a job in marketing. He grew up in a poor village of dusty unpaved roads, where young men work long hours in a brick factory while dreaming of getting a government job that would pay $90 a month. But Jihan Mahmoud, 24, from the middle-class neighborhood of Heliopolis, and Madah Ali Muhammad, 23, from a village in the Nile Delta, have come to the exact same conclusion about what they and their country need: a strong Islamic political movement.

Take a look at what Lebanon looks like now, and tell me do you want that to happen to your country?
“I have more faith in Islam than in my state; I have more faith in Allah than in Hosni Mubarak,” Ms. Mahmoud said, referring to the president of Egypt. “That is why I am proud to be a Muslim.”
You should focus on what you can do for yourself, rather than what either can do for you.
The war in Lebanon, and the widespread conviction among Arabs that Hezbollah won that war by bloodying Israel, has fostered and validated those kinds of feelings across Egypt and the region. In interviews on streets and in newspaper commentaries circulated around the Middle East, the prevailing view is that where Arab nations failed to stand up to Israel and the United States, an Islamic movement succeeded.
Egypt got bloodied the last time they declared war on Israel, but then they made peace, and Israel has not attacked them again. Look at what your country is like, vs what Lebanon is like, and tell me do you really want that for Egypt?
“The victory that Hezbollah achieved in Lebanon will have earthshaking regional consequences that will have an impact much beyond the borders of Lebanon itself,” Yasser Abuhilalah of Al Ghad, a Jordanian daily, wrote in Tuesday’s issue. “The resistance celebrates the victory,” read the front-page headline in Al Wafd, an opposition daily in Egypt. Hezbollah’s perceived triumph has propelled, and been propelled by, a wave already washing over the region. Political Islam was widely seen as the antidote to the failures of Arab nationalism, Communism, socialism and, most recently, what is seen as the false promise of American-style democracy.
Whether you go for American-style democracy or not, surely you will agree that Peace is better than War.
It was that wave that helped the banned but tolerated Muslim Brotherhood win 88 seats in Egypt’s Parliament last December despite the government’s violent efforts to stop voters from getting to the polls. It was that wave that swept Hamas into power in the Palestinian government in January, shocking Hamas itself.

“We need an umbrella,” said Mona Mahmoud, 40, Jihan’s older sister. “In the 60’s, Arabism was the umbrella. We had a cause. Now we lack an umbrella. We feel lost in space. We need to be affiliated to something. Usually in our part of the world, because of what religion means to us, we immediately resort to it.”
Maybe the problem is your religion. Why not try accepting Jesus Christ as your personal saviour.
The lesson learned by many Arabs from the war in Lebanon is that an Islamic movement, in this case Hezbollah, restored dignity and honor to a bruised and battered identity. People in Egypt still talk painfully about the loss to Israel in 1967, a loss that was the beginning of the end of pan-Arabism as an ideology to unite the region and define its people.

Hezbollah’s perceived victory has highlighted, and to many people here validated, the rise of another unifying ideology, a kind of Arab-Islamic nationalism. On the street it has even seemed to erase divisions between Islamic sects, like Sunni and Shiite. At the moment, the Hezbollah leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, is widely viewed as a pan-Arab Islamic hero.
What a hero. He declared an unnecessary war and brought major destruction to the country that let him operate in it, but since he survived, he won. With a few more victories like that, the Islamic world will physically be back in the stone age, where they would like to draw everyone.
“The losers are going to be the Arab regimes, U.S.A. and Israel,” said Dr. Fares Braizat of the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan. “The secular resistance movements are gone. Now there are the Islamists coming in. So the new nationalism is going to be religious nationalism, and one of the main reasons is dignity. People want their dignity back.”
The way to get your dignity back is to treat others with dignity


JonBenet suspect a patient at Thai sex-change center

The Seattle Times The man who confessed to killing JonBenet Ramsey had another bizarre secret up his sleeve in the months before his arrest: he was visiting a surgical center that specializes in sex-change operations.

That should not be a surprise. Women who molest children get off much lighter then men who molest children.
Staff at the Pratunam Clinic, Thailand's top transgender center, said Saturday that John Mark Karr, 41, was a patient but wouldn't say how close he was to getting "sexual-reassignment" surgery.


Annan says U.N. won't 'wage war'

Yahoo! News reported Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed to U.N. member states to provide desperately needed U.N. peacekeeping troops for Lebanon and assured them the U.N. force would not "wage war" on Israel, Lebanon, or Hezbollah militants.

In other words it is not intended to really "keep the peace"; it is just to look impressive.
"It is not expected to achieve by force what must be realized through negotiation
What in the heck makes you think that radical Islamofascists can be reasoned with?
and an internal Lebanese consensus," Annan said in a report to the U.N. Security Council on implementation of the Aug. 11 resolution calling for an end to the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict.


Hezbollah's transformation is a case study

Mercury News reported The Hezbollah force that fought Israel to a draw in a month-long border conflict is the product of a two-decade, Iranian-nurtured program that took a guerrilla group and transformed it into a full-blown Shiite Muslim army.

I know they are saying that now, but it is still an army that acts as a guerrilla group, i.e. it is not willing to meet the Israeli army, or even a pack of wolves, face to face. They cower in the background, hiding behind civilians, in the hope that the civilians will be shot and not them.
To be sure, Israel knew much about Hezbollah's military capabilities. Israeli intelligence had detected a 2003 shipment of long-range, Iranian-made Zelzal-2 missiles, which arrived at the Damascus airport in flights returning to Syria after delivering blankets and other emergency relief supplies to earthquake victims in Iran. Israeli officials said they didn't reveal the shipment at the time because they were afraid of tipping off Hezbollah and its allies to their sources. Israeli military officers also were aware that Hezbollah was constructing a network of bunkers and tunnels on Israel's northern border. One reserve general called them the "infrastructure of an underground Tehran."
I would hope that Israel is acquiring or developing bunker busters capable to destroying them now.
They knew as well that Hezbollah fighters were regularly shuttling between Lebanon's Bekaa Valley and Iran for advanced training. But the depth of Hezbollah's development became clear only once Israel attacked its installations in Lebanon in what some initially envisioned as a one- or two-week campaign. After slightly more than four weeks, Israel agreed to a cease-fire that left Hezbollah intact as the strongest political and military force in Lebanon. The Israeli invasion showed that Hezbollah, with Iran's help, had taken hundreds of small steps to create a powerhouse. Among them:

-It acquired thousands of Russian-made anti-tank missiles from Syria and Iran, then trained its forces to use them. The missiles were startlingly effective not just against Israeli tanks but also against houses and other buildings where Israeli troops sought shelter.
What is Israel going to do to counter them?
-It set up a top-down, stealthy military structure that tightly controls operations and is led by a covert chief of staff whose name isn't known to the Israelis or at least isn't made public. Israeli military officials think that some promising Hezbollah fighters have been sent to special Iranian command courses.
That is good. Just capture one of the Hezbollah commanders and you will know what Iranian commanders are learning.
-It established a combat-ready organization: a logistics branch to handle the delivery of food, fuel and munitions; a black-clad special forces unit to conduct daring combat missions and abduct Israeli soldiers; navy commandos; and an infantry that trains for complex operations and supports the other units.

-It set up a reserve system that consists of former full-time fighters who can be called back to service and "weekend warriors" who undergo regular training but generally haven't seen combat.

It also created an intelligence unit that recruited a Bedouin spy inside the Israeli army and an air wing that sent drones on test runs over Israel in 2004 and 2005, on flight paths similar to those that its Katyusha rockets followed this summer as they rained down on Israel.

It has Shiite fighters who speak Hebrew, perhaps learned on patrols along the northern border in earshot of Israeli broadcasts. This makes some Israeli soldiers suspect that they were being overheard.