Saturday, January 27, 2007

If they pay we kill them anyway

Guardian Unlimited reported Ghaith Abdul-Ahad meets the commander of a Shia death squad... the men were taken to Sadr City, the Shia slum to the north-east of Baghdad, where they were interrogated by a "committee" which ordered their execution. "We ask the families of the terrorists for ransom money," said Fadhel. "And after they pay the ransom we kill them anyway."

Why are they stupid enough to pay. They should pretend to pay, then kill whoever comes for the money. If their family member is going to die anyway, at least they will take revenge ahead of time.
Kidnapping in Baghdad these days is as much about economics as retribution or sectarian hatred. Another Shia man close to the Mahdi Army told me: "They kidnap 10 Sunnis, they get ransom on five, and kill them all, in each big kidnap operation they make at least $50 000, it's the best business in Baghdad."
Well at least it helps the economy. <tongue in cheek>
.... As the discussions for the new security plan were continuing, an Iraqi Shia official who belongs to another party told me: "We know that Moqtada [al-Sadr] and his men are responsible for all this mess but what can we do? We can't attack them, we can only talk to them. Its like having a mentally ill relative - you can't just throw him in the street."
You could put him into an insane asylm, or at least jail.


Friday, January 26, 2007

On Overblown Threats and Islamophobia

BaltimoreChronicle reported Analysts both in the Muslim and the Western world by and large agree that “fear” and lack of objective dialogue are the root cause of Islamophobia

What effect does the worldwide riots over a few cartoons factor into this.
and Anti-Americanism. And while the debate on which one of the two ignited the other is still ongoing, one fact remains irrefutable: more people were victimized as a result of Islamophobia than the other way around.
How many skyscrapers filled with 3,000 people were taken down by Islamophobia.
A recent public opinion survey conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) indicates that Muslims are still viewed negatively in the U.S.
Because while CAIR says it is opposed to terrorism, it still supports Hamas and Hezbollah.
There are estimated 7 million Muslims in America—and over 50 thousand in Central Ohio alone, the majority being Somalis.
And we just saw the problems in Somalia.
Among a number of questions raised in the survey, the open-ended question, “When you hear the word ‘Muslim,’ what is the first thought that comes to your mind?” revealed the daunting reality that Muslims still carry the 9/11 burden. Only six percent of those surveyed indicated a positive perception as they offered responses such “good religion,” “good people,” “faithful,” “devout,” “misunderstood.”
Maybe they should come out and not just condem the terrorists, but explain why the Qur'an does not say what the terrorists say it says.
On the other hand, 26 percent of them indicated to espouse negative perceptions about Muslims, as they offered answers such as “violence,” “hatred,” “terrorists,” “war,” “guns,” “towel-heads” and “rag-heads.”



MBA feed is used by AP


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Father Kills Daughter; Doubted Virginity

ABC News reported A Jordanian man fatally shot his 17-year-old daughter whom he suspected of having sex despite a medical exam that proved her chastity, an official said Thursday. The man surrendered to police hours after the killing, saying he had done it for family honor.

You guys have a strange idea of what honor means.
A state forensic pathologist, who works at the National Institute of Forensic Medicine in Amman where an autopsy was performed, said in a phone interview that the girl had run away from home several times for unknown reasons.
With a father like that, I can guess what the reason was.
Weeks ago, the girl had returned home from a family protection clinic after doctors had vouched for her virginity and the father had signed a pledge not to harm her, the pathologist said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the case.
Apparently scientific proof does not count, and signing a pledge means nothing to them.
"The tests proved that she was a virgin," the pathologist said. The girl returned home only after her father signed a statement promising not to harm her, he added. The father shot the girl four times in the head on Tuesday.
Which seems to have been in violation of his pledge not to harm her.
On Wednesday, an autopsy was performed that again showed "she was still a virgin," the pathologist said. Authorities have not disclosed the names of the father or the daughter or even their hometown, saying only that they lived in a southern province.

The crime is the first "honor killing" this year in Jordan, where many men consider sex out of wedlock to be an almost indelible stain on a family's reputation. On average, about 20 women in the country are killed by their relatives in such cases each year. Women have been killed for simply dating.
Democrats take notice. This is what Islam teaches. Under Sharia law daughters are shot, or stoned to death, for having sex (think what this is going to do to the abortion business), and gays are hanged or have their heads chopped off.


Iraqi Official Offers Terms From Militia to Avoid Fight

NYT reported An Iraqi official authorized to speak on behalf of field commanders for the country’s most powerful militia has approached Western military officials and laid out a plan to avoid armed confrontation, senior Iraqi and American officials said this week.... During the meetings, which took place on Jan. 17 and, most recently, on Monday, Mr. Daraji laid out a proposal from what he said were all the major political and militia groups in Sadr City, the senior Iraqi official said. The groups were eager to head off a major American military offensive in the district, home to two million Shiites, as the Americans begin a sweeping new effort to retake the streets of Baghdad.

They know they are no match for the Americans, and they don't want to fight them.
Mr. Daraji said in an interview that field commanders would forbid their foot soldiers to carry guns in public if the American military and the Iraqi government met several basic demands, mostly involving ways to ensure better security for Sadr City. He is communicating with the commanders through a Shiite politician who is close to them.
Just turn the weapons into the Government Then they will not be tempted to carry them.
“The task is to eliminate the armed presence in Sadr City,” he said. “To confiscate illegal weapons,” carried openly by militia members in public places.
No, the task is to disarm all militias. Only the Iraqi government, and the Coalition Forces, should have weapons. If you just don't carry them in public, then when the Americans leave, you will pull them back out and start right in again killing Sunnis.


Wife of imam tells of persistent abuse

Salt Lake Tribune reported Apparently angry with how his dinner was prepared, Imam Shuaib-ud Din on Jan. 2 punched and kicked his wife and beat her head against a freezer until the door broke, the woman alleged in a petition for a protective order. The next day, the imam - the recently fired religious leader of the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake - threw a kitchen knife at her and threatened to kill her, according to a petition for a temporary protective order filed last week by Ayesha Siddiqa Din.

This woman needs help.
The order, signed by 3rd District Judge John Paul Kennedy on Jan. 16, requires that the imam not contact his wife. It also requires him to stay away from their home and that he may not take his two children out of Utah, among other restrictions. The allegations of abuse - and the Islamic Society board's reaction to them - have sparked a schism in the Muslim community, with many members criticizing the way the board has handled the situation. Shuaib-ud Din was not available for comment Monday. But a family representative in Chicago, where he has taken refuge, insisted that while there were marital concerns, the allegations in his wife's petition are "lies," inherently one-sided and do not tell the whole story.
What is the whole story? Does it include the fact that the Qur'an (4:34) tells him he can beat her?
.... In her petition, Ayesha Siddiqa Din told authorities that her husband "has been extremely violent towards her throughout their relationship and has often beat her leaving bruising and injuries that would have been visible had it not been for the fact she is required to wear a 'hijab,' " a religious head-covering.
Maybe that is why they want their women to wear the hijab or the nijab (which only exposes they eyes).
The imam's representative denied the allegations, saying his wife was often in the company of other women and separated from men, providing ample opportunity for people to notice if she were hurt. "When you associate with other women, you don't cover," the representative said.
But if only women witnessed the injuries, a man's testamoney is valued the same as two women.
"To say that he did this regularly is an absolute lie."
How frequenty did he do it, and is it ok, as long as it is not every day?
Shuaib-ud Din's wife states in her petition that she is ending her relationship with the imam for fear of more violence and the safety of her children. She and the children are reportedly staying with friends in the Salt Lake Valley. She says her husband has "threatened to take her children out of the country if she ever tried to end the relationship" and has confiscated her "green card," ID and passport, the petition states. The imam's representative maintained that these issues run much deeper than a story about domestic strife.
Yes, they relate to how Muslims treat women, and how we think women should be treated.


At Brandeis, Carter Responds to Critics

NYT In his first major public speech about his controversial book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” former President Jimmy Carter told an audience at Brandeis University on Tuesday that he stood by the book and its title, that he apologized for what he called an “improper and stupid” sentence in the book and that he had been disturbed by accusations that he was anti-Semitic..... Mr. Carter initially rejected an invitation to speak at Brandeis because it suggested that he debate Alan M. Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor who has sharply criticized the book. Wanting the university to welcome contrary views, more than 100 students and faculty members signed a petition contending that Mr. Carter should be invited without conditions. Questions were preselected by the committee that invited Mr. Carter, and the questioners included an Israeli student and a Palestinian student.

But he was still afraid to debate Dershowitz, who was only allowed to speak after Carter left.
After Mr. Carter left, Mr. Dershowitz spoke in the same gymnasium, saying that the former president oversimplified the situation and that his conciliatory and sensible-sounding speech at Brandeis belied his words in some other interviews.

“There are two different Jimmy Carters,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “You heard the Brandeis Jimmy Carter today, and he was terrific. I support almost everything he said. But if you listen to the Al Jazeera Jimmy Carter, you’ll hear a very different perspective.”
And if you read his book, it was written by the Al Jazeera Jimmy Carter. And if you want to see how the NYT distorts things, see the photo above, and compare it to the one below


Baby-stabber refuses to grant wife sharia divorce

The Gazette reported A man who stabbed his wife seven times, then knifed their infant daughter, told a Quebec Court hearing yesterday he regretted the assaults and blamed his actions on a drug problem. The man, whose name cannot be published to protect his child's identity, attacked his wife last February in their Snowdon apartment before stabbing the 15-month-old girl in the stomach. The man pleaded guilty in December to two counts of aggravated assault, rather than stand trial for attempted murder.

It certainly sounds like the wife has a good reason for wanting a divorce.
The couple are Muslim. His wife wants to return with her daughter to her family in her native Lebanon, but is reluctant to do so unless her husband grants her a sharia divorce, conducted by an imam. The man testified yesterday he has no intention of granting his wife a divorce in Canada under sharia law.
Since when is Canada under Sharia Law. This this happen in the middle of the night, and is this the first we are hearing about it?
"The issue of the divorce will be decided over there," he told Judge Martin Vauclair. Without such a divorce, the woman says, she fears she could be forced to live with her husband in Lebanon when he returns, or be arrested for abducting her daughter if she takes the girls there without her spouse.
Why on earth would she want to go back to Lebanon? She may have family there, but does she not read the papers, or listen to the news. They are close to a civil war in Lebanon, as Hizbullah presses the elected government to fail, so they will have more power.


China's Hu vows to "purify" Internet

Reuters reported Chinese Communist Party chief Hu Jintao has vowed to "purify" the Internet, state media reported on Wednesday, describing a top-level meeting that discussed ways to master the country's sprawling, unruly online population.

There is a lot of stuff on the net that I don't care for, and I would support government agencies monitoring it, to catch terrorist communication for example, but I would not like to see any government "purifying" the internet.
Hu made the comments as the ruling party's Politburo -- its 24-member leading council -- was studying China's Internet, which claimed 137 million registered users at the end of 2006. Hu, a strait-laced communist with little sympathy for cultural relaxation, did not directly mention censorship.
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and "purify" is the same as censorship.
But he made it clear that the Communist Party was looking to ensure it keeps control of China's Internet users, often more interested in salacious pictures, bloodthirsty games and political scandal than Marxist lessons.
Gee, I wonder why. The Marxist lessons must be dull.
The party had to "strengthen administration and development of our country's Internet culture", Hu told the meeting on Tuesday, according to the official Xinhua news agency. "Maintain the initiative in opinion on the Internet and raise the level of guidance online," he said. "We must promote civilized running and use of the Internet and purify the Internet environment."


Minimum Wage Bill Suffers Setback in Senate

NYT reported Prospects for an increase in the minimum wage suffered a setback today in the Senate, where a move fell short, at least for now, to raise the minimum by $2.10 an hour without tax breaks for small businesses

Good for the Senate. Why are the Democrats so opposed to no tax breaks that they would impose a minimum wage to hurt small businesses without trying to offset the pain. They will just cut back on the number of minimum wage workers they hire.
The 54 “yes” votes were six short of the number needed to shut off debate and move on to consideration of the bill, which easily passed in the House two week ago. That bill would increase the wage to $7.25 from the current $5.15 in three steps, but without tax breaks. Today’s vote, while disappointing to those who want to raise the minimum wage at once and with no accompanying tax provisions, was hardly a surprise. A substantial number of senators had indicated they wanted to tie a wage increase to tax breaks for small businesses, to help offset the costs of the increase.
As they should.
Next, the Senate will debate what kind of tax breaks to attach to a wage increase. Then, the Senate will have to agree with the House. President Bush has signaled that he would sign a bill providing for a wage increase with related tax breaks.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Knee-Jerk Opposition

WaPo reported If George W. Bush proposes something, it must be bad. Such is the knee-jerk state of partisan suspiciousness that when the president actually endorses a tax increase -- a tax increase that would primarily hit the well-off, no less -- Democrats still howl.... Instead of the irrational current system, in which all employer-sponsored health-care costs are deductible, Bush would create a standard deduction that would replace existing deductions for health insurance, both employer-sponsored and privately purchased, and other medical costs. The deduction would be $15,000 for a family policy, leaving 80 percent of those with employer-sponsored coverage unaffected.

The reason the Dems are howling is that the 20% that would have to pay are unionized workers that have forced the auto companies into providing such extremely rich health care programs that they are going bankrupt, unable to make enough selling cars to pay for those health policies. Dems want to soak the rich, but not if the rich vote Democratic.
Yes, the plan should be more progressive, structured with refundable tax credits rather than a deduction, so that all can share equally in the benefit.
Baloney. That would just redistribute wealth, paying people that do not have to pay taxes in the first place.


Former Duke Prosecutor Faces New Ethics Charges

ABC News reported Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong has been charged with new ethics violations for his conduct on the Duke lacrosse sex assault case. The North Carolina Bar filed an amended complaint today, accusing Nifong of withholding DNA evidence from the defense and making misrepresentations to the presiding judge in the case.

I am happy the North Carolina Bar is going after him, but all they can do is disbar him. Why is there not a Special Prosecutor looking at Criminal charges against Nifong? He should be in jail, not the three boys from Duke.
The bar has accused Nifong of conduct that involves "dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." Nifong also allegedly violated a rule that "prohibits an attorney from knowingly making false statements of material fact."


President's Portrayal of 'The Enemy'

WaPo reported In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush presented an arguably misleading and often flawed description of "the enemy" that the United States faces overseas, lumping together disparate groups with opposing ideologies to suggest that they have a single-minded focus in attacking the United States.

And are you stupid enough to think they don't? During WWII did you object when Roosevelt referred to the enemy which included Germany, Italy, and Japan?
Under Bush's rubric, a country such as Iran -- which enjoys diplomatic representation and billions of dollars in trade with major European countries
And which has said that it wants to destroy Israel and the United States. The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) website said that Tuesday during a meeting with Syria's foreign minister, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said "Israel and the United States will soon be destroyed." Does this make him a friend???
-- is lumped together with al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat," Bush said, referring to the different branches of the Muslim religion.
Both of which have people that are killing Americans in Iraq and who have cells in the US.
Similarly, Bush asserted that Shia Hezbollah, which has won seats in the Lebanese government,
And which launched a war against Israel, and is now seeking to topple that Lebanese government
is a terrorist group "second only to al-Qaeda in the American lives it has taken." Bush is referring to attacks nearly a quarter-century ago on a U.S. embassy and a Marine barracks
And which killed so many Americans that only 9/11 killed more.
when the United States intervened in Lebanon's civil war by shelling Hezbollah strongholds. Hezbollah has evolved into primarily an anti-Israeli militant organization -- it fought a war with Israel last summer -- but the European Union does not list it as a terrorist organization.
And if the EU does not list them as a terrorist organization, does that mean they are not one?
At one point, Bush catalogued what he described as advances in the quest for freedom in the Middle East during 2005 -- such as the departure of Syrian troops from Lebanon and elections in Iraq. Then, Bush asserted, "a thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics and in 2006 they struck back." But his description of the actions of "the enemy" tried to tie together a series of diplomatic and military setbacks that had virtually no connection to one another, from an attack on a Sunni mosque in Iraq to the assassination of Maronite Lebanese political figure.
The German action at the Battle of the Bulge had virtually no connection to the Japanese attack on Midway, but does that not mean that we were not facing a "thinking enemy" during WWII that was adjusting its tactics?
In his speech, Bush argued that "free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies -- and most will choose a better way when they are given a chance."
Do you take issue with that? Does the fact that the Palestinians, frustrated by corruption in Fatah, voted for Hamas, disprove it? Were they given a better choice?
He also said that terrorist groups "want to overthrow moderate governments."
And do you doubt that?
In the two of the most liberal and diverse societies in the Middle East -- Lebanon and the Palestinian territories -- events have undercut Bush's argument in the past year. Hezbollah has gained power and strength in Lebanon, partly at the ballot box.
And partially by declaring war on neighbor Israel, thus subjecting the entire country from a response by Israel.
Meanwhile, Palestinians ousted the Fatah party -- which wants to pursue peace with Israel -- from the legislature in favor of Hamas, which is committed to Israel's destruction and is considered a terrorist organization by the State Department.
Because they were upset at the corruption of Fatah, and had no other alternative.
In fact, many of the countries that Bush considers "moderate" -- such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- are autocratic dictatorships rated among the worst of the "not free" nations by the nonpartisan Freedom House. Their Freedom House ratings are virtually indistinguishable from Cuba, Belarus and Burma, which Bush last night listed as nations in desperate need of freedom.
But if the Muslim Brotherhood takes over in Egypt, or if al Qaeda takes over in Saudia Arabia, the resulting theocracies will be much worse, both for the citizens of those countries, but for the neighbors and the US.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Facing the Islamist Menace

Christopher Hitchens wrote in City Journal The main problem in Europe in this context is that many deracinated young Muslim men, inflamed by Internet propaganda from Chechnya or Iraq and aware of their own distance from “the struggle,” now regard the jihadist version of their religion as the “authentic” one.

It is not just internet propaganda. There is also the Wahabbist literature in the mosques from Saudia Arabia.
Compounding the problem, Europe’s multicultural authorities, many of its welfare agencies, and many of its churches treat the most militant Muslims as the minority’s “real” spokesmen.
Because they yell the loudest.
As Kenan Malik and others have pointed out in the case of Britain, this mind-set cuts the ground from under the feet of secular Muslims, encouraging the sensation that many in the non-Muslim Establishment have a kind of death wish.