French Muslim Arson Tally: 367 Cars Torched

French Muslim Arson Tally: 367 Cars Torched

According to official figures, Muslim rioters in economically depressed French suburbs burned 367 cars last night following the presidential election victory of Nicolas Sarkozy. Twenty-eight policemen were injured, and 270 people were arrested in the violent protests.

The nationwide, weekly, Saturday night car-burning total averages 50 cars.

Some 1,000 cars are typically burned every New Year’s Eve.

So much for car-burning. The real danger, French security experts say, is the infiltration of the no-go Muslim areas by Islamist organizations, including, possibly, Al Qaeda-associated movements.

Top 10 Ways Pelosi Can Reform the House

Top 10 Ways Pelosi Can Reform the House
By Robert Bluey
Sunday, May 6, 2007
When Democrats won control of Congress last November, Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi made a simple promise: “We pledge to make this the most honest, ethical and open Congress in history.”

This week Pelosi will have her chance to act on that promise when the Sunlight Foundation releases its Open House Project report, a 50-page document that recommends 10 congressional reforms to make the work being done in “the people’s house” more transparent and accessible to American citizens.

The report is a culmination of months of research and writing by a group of people who connected via the Internet, sharing ideas and working collaboratively despite ideological differences. Some of the recommendations are ambitious; others might be considered low-hanging fruit. But together they make up the most significant reforms since the mid-1990s, when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich oversaw the creation of the online legislative database called THOMAS and paved the way for members’ websites.

Here are the 10 reforms recommended in the Open House Project report

1) Enhance the legislative database. In its current form, THOMAS offers an abundance of data about legislation — from bill status and co-sponsors to roll-call votes and amendments. Unfortunately, it’s not in a format that can be easily used. By making the information accessible in a structured, non-proprietary format, THOMAS could be used in new, creative ways to educate citizens about legislation.

2) Preserve congressional information. As important as it is to give citizens access to timely information through THOMAS, it’s just as essential to make sure the historical record is archived. With e-mail, word-processing documents and PDFs replacing paperwork, Congress needs to update its rules to ensure this information is preserved.

3) Shine sunlight on House committees. Pelosi would be wise to put forward a proposal requiring House committees to post transcripts of their proceedings promptly online. Much of the work done in committees is accessible only those who are able to attend personally, an option not available to a farmer in Kansas or an ironworker in Pennsylvania.

4) Access Congressional Research Service reports. This taxpayer-funded legislative agency is notoriously secretive, sharing its studies only with members of Congress. The people pay for this agency. They should be able to see what it produces.

5) Update Internet rules. Changes to House rules governing Web sites and e-mail are long overdue. The restrictions currently in place severely limit the use of new tools on Web sites and limit citizens’ impact when sending e-mails. Pelosi should appoint a bipartisan task force to draft recommendations.

6) Create an Online Media Gallery. Citizen journalists and bloggers provide some of the most in-depth coverage of Congress, yet they lack what reporters take for granted: access to the U.S. Capitol. The current structure governing congressional press credentials offers little hope for citizen journalists, but a new Online Media Gallery could adopt guidelines that fit these news hounds.

7) File records electronically. In a world where everything from banking to grocery shopping is done online, Congress still operates in the Stone Age — or rather, the Paper Age — when it comes to filing campaign and lobbying disclosure forms. By making this information available electronically, citizens wouldn’t have to physically travel to Washington to access them.

8) Fix the Congressional Record. Members of Congress have the luxury of amending their floor remarks and offering extended commentary for the published record. But for the purposes of accuracy, the Congressional Record should distinguish between written remarks and spoken words.

9) Videotape House proceedings. Most things that happen in the House are never captured on video. While C-SPAN recently eased its restrictions for posting congressional video on sites like YouTube, it cannot cover every committee hearing or press conference. The House needs to devise a way to air, tape and archive for the public as much of its proceedings as possible.

10) Coordinate Web standards. If the House adopts these proposed reforms, it must also set minimal standards to assure the timeliness, accessibility and preservation of information online.

These 10 reforms are a good starting point in the drive to bring greater transparency to Capitol Hill. Just as Gingrich’s reforms transformed the way congressional business was done in the mid-1990s, so too will these ideas.

Change won’t come easily, but Pelosi has a unique opportunity to bridge the partisan divide on an issue that should win broad support among Democrats and Republicans.

Robert B. Bluey is director of the Center for Media & Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation and maintains a blog at RobertBluey.com

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Islamic Apologetics — Karen Armstrong tells us to ignore history and doctrine, focus on platitudes about peace and love.

Islamic Apologetics
Karen Armstrong tells us to ignore history and doctrine, focus on platitudes about peace and love.

By Raymond Ibrahim

Islamic apologist extraordinaire Karen Armstrong is at it again. In an article entitled “Balancing the Prophet” published by the Financial Times, the self-proclaimed “freelance monotheist” engages in what can only be considered second-rate sophistry.

The false statements begin in her opening paragraph:

Ever since the Crusades, people in the west have seen the prophet Muhammad as a sinister figure.… The scholar monks of Europe stigmatised Muhammad as a cruel warlord who established the false religion of Islam by the sword. They also, with ill-concealed envy, berated him as a lecher and sexual pervert at a time when the popes were attempting to impose celibacy on the reluctant clergy.

This is just an obvious error of fact. Armstrong and others try as a routine to tie European sentiments toward Islam to the Crusades, but in fact, “people in the west” had something of a “dim” view of Mohammed half a millenium before the Crusades. As early as the 8th century — just a few generations after Mohammed — Byzantine chronicler Theophanes wrote in his Chrongraphia:

He [Mohammed] taught those who gave ear to him that the one slaying the enemy — or being slain by the enemy — entered into paradise [e.g., Koran 9:111]. And he said paradise was carnal and sensual — orgies of eating, drinking, and women. Also, there was a river of wine … and the woman were of another sort, and the duration of sex greatly prolonged and its pleasure long-enduring [e.g., 56: 7-40, 78:31, 55:70-77]. And all sorts of other nonsense.

It wasn’t only during the Crusades — when, as Armstrong would have it, popes desperately needed to demonize Mohammed and Islam in order to rally support for the Crusades — that Westerners began to see him as a “sinister figure.” Many in the West have seen him as that from the very start. So, claims of Mohammed being a “lecherous pervert” were not due to any “ill-conceived envy” on the part of 12th-century popes trying to “impose celibacy on the reluctant clergy.” (Indeed, this last notion posited by Armstrong — an ex-nun — appears to be more telling of her own “ill-conceived envy” against the Church.) Despite the oft-repeated mantra that the West is “ignorant” of Islam — dear to apologists like Armstrong — this passage reveals that, from the start, Westerners were in fact aware of some aspects of the Koran.

Having distorted history, she next goes on to distort Islamic theology:

Until the 1950s, no major Muslim thinker had made holy war a central pillar of Islam. The Muslim ideologues Abu ala Mawdudi (1903-79) and Sayyid Qutb (1906-66), among the first to do so, knew they were proposing a controversial innovation. They believed it was justified by the current political emergency [emphasis added].

Even better than a “major Muslim thinker,” Allah himself proclaims: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger [i.e., uphold sharia], nor embrace the true faith, [even if they are] from among the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay tribute with willing submission, and feel themselves utterly subdued” (Koran 9:29). Mohammed confirms: “I have been commanded [by Allah] to fight against mankind until they testify that none but Allah is to be worshipped and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger” (Bukhari B2N24; next to the Koran, the second most authoritative text in Islam).

This and countless other Koranic verses and oral traditions of Mohammed, not to mention the course of conquest the first “rightly-guided” caliphs followed, have given Islam’s jurists and theologians cause throughout the ages to reach the consensus — binding on the entire Muslim community — that whenever the Muslim world is militarily capable, it must go on the offensive until it subsumes the entire world. Moreover, this world-view was postulated well before Armstrong’s blame-all — the Crusades — ever took place.

Qutb and Mawdudi were certainly not, as she puts it, “the first major Muslim thinkers to do so.” Their claim to fame is that they were great articulators of jihad who awoke the umma to its obligation — an obligation, however, which was formulated by the great sheikhs of Islam (such as revered scholars Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim of the 13th century) who, in their turn, based it on the words of the Koran and Mohammed. But Armstrong is right in that they did stress jihad due to the “current political emergency” — but not in the way she means (i.e., “self-defense”): In their lifetime the Ottoman empire — which, until its last moribund centuries, waged one jihad after another, terrorizing and conquering many of its Christian neighbors — fell and there was no longer a central Muslim sultanate, or “caliphate,” to maintain even a semblance of Islamic power, authority, and expansion. This needed — and still needs — to be rectified under Islam’s worldview.
In fact, Qutb was a staunch opponent of those apologists of Islam in his day who were — just like Armstrong — trying to reinterpret jihad into a defensive movement. Nearly half a century ago, Qutb wrote:

As to persons who attempt to defend the concept of Islamic jihad by interpreting it in the narrow sense of the current concept of defensive war… they lack understanding of the nature of Islam and its primary aim… Can anyone say that if Abu Bakr, Omar, or Uthman [the “rightly-guided” caliphs] had been satisfied that the Roman or Persian powers were not going to attack the Arabian penninsula [in the 7th century], that they would not have striven to spread the message of Islam throughout the world?

During the reign of the “rightly-guided” caliphs, Islam burst forth from Arabia as far west as Spain, as far east as Afghanistan through the sword alone.

Armstrong then spends an inordinate amount of time criticizing author Robert Spencer and his new book The Truth about Muhammad:

The traditions of any religion are multifarious. It is easy, therefore, to quote so selectively that the main thrust of the faith is distorted. But Spencer is not interested in balance. He picks out only those aspects of Islamic tradition that support his thesis. For example, he cites only passages from the Koran that are hostile to Jews and Christians and does not mention the numerous verses that insist on the continuity of Islam with the People of the Book: ‘Say to them: We believe what you believe; your God and our God is one [29:46]’.

But is Armstrong not herself being a bit disingenuous by assuring the people of the West — primarily Christian — that the Koran’s notion of God “insists on continuity” with theirs? What about the other koranic verses: “Infidels are those who say Allah is one of three… [i.e., the Christian Trinity; ]” (5:73). “Infidels are those who say Allah is the Christ [Jesus], son of Mary” (5:17). The divinity of Christ — anathema to Islam — is fundamental to the Christian view of God. Surely Armstrong has not forgotten this from her days at the convent.

Moreover, if writers like Spencer are guilty of quoting Koranic verses “that are hostile to Jews and Christians” that may well be due to Islam’s pivotal doctrine of abrogation — verses revealed later in Mohammed’s career (all the violent and intolerant ones such as 5:73, 5:17, 9:5, and 9:29) supercede and annul any contradictory verses revealed earlier, such as Armstrong’s 29:46 and most of the other peaceful ones which apologists try to make the cornerstone of Islam.

Finally, if books like Spencer’s focus on the violent side of Islam without devoting enough attention to Islam’s more “positive” aspects — is that not only natural? Let us be perfectly clear: Most people in the West interested in learning more about Islam had their interest piqued by the 9/11 attacks, perpetrated by a Muslim group — al Qaeda — who insists that Islam informed its actions. Westerners are primarily interested in how Islam affects them, as non-Muslims. So it should be understandable if books written about Islam in the West focus more on that which concerns it — jihad — than on Islam’s more peaceful side.

Armstrong’s lament that “there is widespread ignorance of Islam in the west,” and that we should rectify this by developing a more “balanced” and “nuanced” understanding of the Koran is as ridiculous as asking Muslims living in Palestine and Iraq to overlook the “Crusader” presence there and instead consult the Bible itself to see how many portions of it accord with peace and justice. (Indeed, such a proposition is worse than ridiculous, since the Bible comes nowhere near to theologically justifying violence against the “Other” in perpetuity as found in the Koran.

In the final analysis, Armstrong’s historical and theological “discrepancies” (to be polite) are baffling — particularly her many oneline sentences that simply defy historical fact: “Muhammad was not a belligerent warrior.” “The idea that Islam should conquer the world was alien to the Koran…” “Muhammad did not shun non-Muslims as ‘unbelievers’ but from the beginning co-operated with them in the pursuit of the common good.” “Islam was not a closed system at variance with other traditions. Muhammad insisted that relations between the different groups must be egalitarian.”

Still, in the end one can sympathize with Armstrong’s closing sentence: “Until we all learn to approach one another with generosity and respect, we cannot hope for peace.” But we should also hasten to add the more important virtues of honesty, sincerity, and truthfulness.


Raymond Ibrahim is the editor of The Al-Qaeda Reader, translations of religious texts and propaganda. He works for the Near East section of the Library of Congress.

Islamic Slavery in Sudan

Islamic Slavery in Sudan

The International Criminal Court this week issued warrants for the arrest of Ahmed Haroun, the minister for humanitarian affairs of Sudan, and Ali Kosheib, a leader of that country’s notorious janjaweed militia. The Sudanese government has refused to hand over the two for prosecution. Charges include murder, rape, torture and “imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty.” Severe deprivation of liberty – that is, slavery. Egypt’s Al-Ahram Weekly observed this week that in Sudan, “slavery, sanctioned by religious zealots, ravaged the southern parts of the country and much of the west as well.”

Muslim slavers in the Sudan primarily enslave non-Muslims. According to the Coalition Against Slavery in Mauritania and Sudan (CASMAS), a human rights and abolitionist movement, “The current Khartoum government wants to bring the non-Muslim Black South in line with Sharia law, laid down and interpreted by conservative Muslim clergy. The Black animist and Christian South remembers many years of slave raids by Arabs from the north and east and resists Muslim religious rule and the perceived economic, cultural, and religious expansion behind it.”

The BBC reported in March 2007 that slave raids “were a common feature of Sudan’s 21-year north-south war, which ended in 2005….According to a study by the Kenya-based Rift Valley Institute, some 11,000 young boys and girls were seized and taken across the internal border — many to the states of South Darfur and West Kordofan….Most were forcibly converted to Islam, given Muslim names and told not to speak their mother tongue.” One Sudanese Christian slave, James Pareng Alier, was kidnapped and enslaved when he was twelve years old. Religion was a major element of his ordeal: “I was forced to learn the Koran and re-baptised Ahmed. They told me that Christianity was a bad religion. After a time we were given military training and they told us we would be sent to fight.” Alier doesn’t know his family’s whereabouts. While non-Muslims are enslaved and often forcibly converted to Islam, their conversion does not lead to their freedom. Mauritanian anti-slavery campaigner Boubacar Messaoud explains: “It’s like having sheep or goats. If a woman is a slave, her descendants are slaves.”

Besides being practiced more or less openly today in Sudan and Mauritania, there is evidence that slavery still continues beneath the surface in other majority-Muslim countries also — notably Saudi Arabia, which only abolished slavery in 1962, Yemen and Oman, both of which ended legal slavery in 1970, and Niger, which didn’t abolish slavery until 2004. In Niger, the ban is widely ignored, and as many as one million people remain in bondage. Slaves are bred, often raped, and generally treated like animals.

Some of the evidence that Islamic slavery still goes on consists of a spate of slavery cases involving Muslims in America. A Saudi named Homaidan Al-Turki was sentenced in September 2006 to 27 years to life in prison, for keeping a woman as a slave in his Colorado home. For his part, Al-Turki claimed that he was a victim of anti-Muslim bias. He told the judge: “Your honor, I am not here to apologize, for I cannot apologize for things I did not do and for crimes I did not commit. The state has criminalized these basic Muslim behaviors. Attacking traditional Muslim behaviors was the focal point of the prosecution.” The following month, an Egyptian couple in Southern California received a fine and prison terms, to be followed by deportation, after pleading guilty to holding a ten-year-old girl as a slave. In January 2007, an attaché of the Kuwaiti embassy in Washington was charged with keeping three Christian domestic workers from India in slave-like conditions in his Virginia home.

All this indicates that the problem of Islamic slavery isn’t restricted to recent events in the Sudan; it is much larger and more deeply rooted. Human rights organizations and the United Nations, if their priorities were straight, would take note and move decisively against those who still hold human beings in bondage, or aid or tolerate others doing so. But that would involve a great deal more than issuing arrest warrants for two Sudanese thugs.

A Theory of W

A Theory of W

By James Lewis

George W. Bush poses a brain-busting Rubik’s Cube to the liberals of the land, and it’s only right to try to soothe their upset. Why does W talk that way? Why does he say “Noo-kyoo-lrrr” when every good liberal knows it’s “Noo-kle-uhr”? Why does he openly practice monogamy, and even love his wife? Why did he name his dog Spot?
What you see is what you get with George W. Bush. He has that in common with Ronald Reagan, though W is no Reagan. He is nobody but W.  This, for a conservative, is a Good Thing. It’s why I voted for the man, and don’t regret it for a second.
But leftishly speaking it makes no sense. For Democrats, the greatest politician of our lifetime is William Jefferson Clinton, the slick Arkansas con-man. His supreme talent for spur of the moment creative lying to any given audience is just supercool to the Left, which is betting that you can fool all the people all of the time.
Back to W. Let  me bring you back to late 1999, when Bill Clinton was finishing his presidency by pardoning any crook who gave suitable donations, or whose wife he had shagged. The Oval Office carpet had visible stains on it – visible in the public imagination if not in physical fact. Over the nation there hung a pall of dread, because Clinton had so deeply corrupted US foreign policy – imagine Madeleine Albright dancing corpulently with Kim Jong Il, while hundreds of thousands of starving North Koreans marched by in parade — so that any sane observer simply knew we were in for some looming disaster.  The Chinese were sold missile secrets that allowed them to finally get their rockets into space and have them land anywhere on earth, fifteen minutes later. They paid hundreds of thousands of dollars into the political slot machine and hit the jackpot. Clinton’s White House attracted con-artists the way horse-apples draw flies.
So what kind of man do you want as President after that unholy mess? Somebody you can trust, obviously. Now you can say anything you like about W, but he does what he says he’ll do — barring Hell or high water, or an Act of Congress. He has a spine of steel, and a traditional sense of honor (taking after his Dad and Mom). He talks like Midland, Texas, because he personally identifies with that place. W owned a baseball team because he truly loved baseball, not just to get his poll numbers up. (He’s also a decent baseball pitcher). He had an alcoholic past, and repented fiercely.
And he served in the Texas Air Force National Guard, flying one of the trickiest fighter jets ever owned by the USAF; one with a great number of fatal crashes, even outside of combat. If you think the Air National Guard is a cop-out, just look at Guard fighting in Iraq. No, George W’s unit wasn’t called to Vietnam, so he didn’t go. But he didn’t try avoid service like all the “progressive” Boomers. He didn’t take home movies of his own heroic exploits, chasing imaginary Viet Cong through rice paddies. Just the opposite. W clears brush on his bone-dry Crawford ranch, because that’s what ranchers do. You get brushfires if you don’t do that kind of slogging labor in the Texas sun. Unlike John Kerry, W doesn’t do things just for show.
Today we’ve had almost eight years of W in charge, with the liberal media going stark raving every single day, slandering him with every imaginable insult and alleged conspiracy.  Few presidents have been treated as badly since Abraham Lincoln was called a great hairy ape.  Yet the nation and the Administration have responded robustly to the first massive assault on the continental US since 1812. The Twin Towers attack was plotted long before this Administration came into office, making use of the unbelievable fecklessness of the previous Administration and various Democrat-controlled Congresses — problems that couldn’t be fixed in just a year before the ax fell. On 9/11, George W reaped what the Left had sown.
It hasn’t been an easy time since then, but much has been accomplished. The armed forces have been transformed for special ops warfare; and now they are forced to learn large-scale counterinsurgency in the middle of a very hot war.   We have fought two astonishing, faraway wars, with one still mired in uncertainty. (Lincoln, FDR and Truman would have recognized that part). We are suddenly in the midst of another Long War strategically, but hardly one of our choosing; and if a Democrat is elected in 2008, the Left will suddenly find out that it wasn’t W who started it after all.
No other nation in the world could have done it. A tax cut has kept the economy cooking in spite of 9/11 and all the rest. We’ve had more than our share of US Government screwups, many attributable to W’s lack of ruthlessness in firing Clinton leftovers in the bureaucracy. But remember the “SNAFU’s” of an earlier time? ‘Twas ever thus. In spite of constant sabotage from the Left and the media, the nation has recovered so well that half the people have forgotten 9/11. Our success has become our biggest problem.
Yet the United States and the world are beginning to focus seriously on nuclear proliferation and jihadi savagery, both lethally dangerous threats for the future. The nature of today’s enemies is becoming clear even to some Democrats, and while leftists and Europeans whine up a daily storm, getting real about reality is something adults have to do.  Nobody said it would be easy.
Think about all that for a second. Historians will see this as an astonishing record – hardly flawless, but certainly as good as other war-time administrations have managed. If Iraq settles down over the next few years, W will be seen as a president who forced history to his will for the good of his country, and yes, for the good of the world.
To be sure, W has his limits. He is remarkably like Harry S Truman, another homebody in the White House. Truman was not articulate – if you’ve ever seen a movie of his halting and deadly boring speaking style before Congress, you’ve seen the rhetorical heights of Harry S. But he was a man you could trust, and that counted for everything — after the death of FDR, the failure of the New Deal, the end of WWII and the Depression, the fearsome reality of Stalin with nukes in Europe and KGB-run traitors at home, the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Marshall Plan, General MacArthur’s insubordination, and the Iron Curtain slamming down across Europe. Not to mention the Korean War. This was a time for adults, not playboys, and Truman filled the bill. Then he simply went home to Independence, Missouri. W is amazingly like Truman. He is the anti-PR president. As a result, he keeps getting bloodied by the PR-driven media, which hates him as much as any Republican ever hated “That Man in the White House” in 1938.
I’ve long wondered if W was a stutterer as a boy. His halting and self-conscious delivery is typical of former stutterers. He is terribly self-conscious in public, especially when confronted with the sadistic press mob, all of them drooling to pounce on any momentary lapse.  But in private, and when he feels confident, his speech flows easily and naturally. Stutterers often have the same behavior pattern, sometimes being able to sing music with real ease before falling back into halting speech.
That would also explain W’s fierce sibling rivalry with Jeb, the natural. W wasn’t naturally glib. He was smart enough for Yale and Harvard Business School, and learned to despise (and be despised by) slick Eastern Establishment kids (yes, like John Kerry again). Afterwards he went back to Midland, TX, the last place any ambitious Yalie would want to live. And he made it work. He was the anti-Yalie in the family. (That’s of course why he says “Noo-kyoo-lrr”. ‘Cause that’s how they say it in Texas. He could pronounce it like William F. Buckley, but he’ll be damned if he’s gonna give them the satisfaction. Compare that to Hillary’s or Gore’s phony preacher accents.)
Jeb Bush would have had an easier time dealing with the press, but W lucked into the job. As Governor of Texas, George W got along miraculously well with some of the top Democrats, and made things happen by consensus. Washington, D.C. wasn’t like that, not by a long shot. So W ignored DC Society, and just got to sleep by 9:00 pm every night. Being ignored by the President drove naturally them to eight years of unrelenting collective fury.
Why doesn’t George W explain himself more clearly? Because he’s more comfortable with action than talk. W is focused like a laser beam on the war on terror. He knows from his Harvard Business training that an executive can only accomplish two or three big things. The war is the biggest thing his administration has to get right — and there is no doubt that W suffers, as Lincoln did, from the agonizing need to send young people into combat. He visits them privately, and cries at their flag-covered caskets. Privately. Get that. No photo ops, no marching US Marine detachments across the West Lawn for the TV crews. In fact, no funeral photo ops at all, because soldiers’ funerals are not to be used to manipulate poll numbers. I appreciate that about him.
Like Abraham Lincoln, W is guilt-driven in spite of his firm belief that this war is necessary, and that it will save lives over the longer run. What do you think it took for a man like Lincoln to pursue the bloodiest war in American history? When Lincoln was assassinated, in a sense he joined the soldiers he had ordered to war. He was prepared for it, just as he was ready to be killed on any day of the Civil War. I don’t think he wanted to be shot that day in 1865, but he knew it was likely to happen. 200,000 dead Americans made Lincoln’s assassination almost inevitable. The nation needed a last sacrifice, in order to live with itself.
George W. is not pathologically guilty about the iron necessity of sending young people to war. But it takes a toll on him, like it does on Dick Cheney and all the decent people in this White house. They are Americans the way Americans used to be. 
Meanwhile, corruption and demagogy are standard on the Left, because Democrats are never, ever scrutinized. They know the press will let them get away with it.
Rarely in American history is morality and common decency so clearly on one side of the political divide. Republicans have no lock on decency. But the Sixties Left is cynical, self-indulgent and flagrantly immoral — as Nicolas Sarkozy just pointed out in France. The Summer of Love turned into a Winter of Moral Decay a long time ago. It’s too bad, but it’s true. The Left is still drunk with self-love, enchanted with its divine right to political power. That won’t change, because narcissism is not a curable condition.
In reaction, Americans who despise intellectually lazy, morally self-indulgent Boomer Leftists have just switched parties. That’s what parties are for.  The Democratic Party has slipped away from Middle America, and is now in bed with the worst elements in the country. It’s too bad, but it will take at least a generation to change, if it ever does.
So W. is the man. He’s made the toughest decisions, and he was far and away the best choice for this very hard time. I admire him, and also see his limits. That’s life. We don’t get perfection in presidents. Lincoln had a squeaky voice. Washington had false teeth. Jefferson kept slaves. Humans are flawed.
We’re just blessed that in a time of real danger, the United States has lucked out again and found the right man for the job.
James Lewis blogs at http://www.dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/

Sarkozy opposes polygamy

Sarkozy opposes polygamy

Of course, every Western politician should oppose polygamy, but in an age when it is widely tolerated in Europe, Sarkozy’s statement stands out. Here is my rough-and-ready translation (corrections gratefully accepted) of his French statement (thanks to D):

Question: What do you think of polygamy?Answer: I respect all cultures throughout the world, but so that it is quite clear: if I am elected President of the Republic, I will not accept women being treated as inferior to men. The French Republic holds these values: respect for women, equality between men and women. Nobody has the right to hold a prisoner, even within his own family. I say it clearly, that polygamy is prohibited in the territory of the French Republic. I will fight against female genital mutilation and those who do not wish to understand that the values of the French Republic include freedom for women, the dignity of women, respect for women — they do not have any reason to be in France. If our laws are not respected and if one does not wish to understand our values, if one does not wish to learn French, then one does not have any reason to be on French territory.

Somali Grant Fraud and al Qaeda Investigations in Nashville

Somali Grant Fraud and al Qaeda Investigations in Nashville

by Jerry Gordon and Andrea Lyn Andersen, American Congress for Truth, May 2, 2007

Update

This is an update of a scoop by American Congress for Truth (ACT), posted on our website in early April following an investigation and interview with Steve Gill, moderator of Tennessee talk radio powerhouse Gill Report. An update interview with Steve Gill occurred on May 2nd. What started the ball rolling was a tip by one of our ACT members who wrote us asking for help. This is what your vigilance as members can do in helping us protect our country. Credit must also go to the Channel 4 News I-team at NBC affiliate in Nashville, WSMV, in their on-going investigative reporting on this story with segments that will run this week and next. Watch the first segment here. This is a cautionary tale that goes far beyond Nashville. It questions how far Islamist infiltration has gone in the heartland of the US with abuses of federal programs and taxpayer funding. It needs Congressional scrutiny. Witness this comment from Nashville U.S. Representative Jim Cooper:

“I think it is a very upsetting story. I get mad every time I see even a dollar of taxpayer money misspent. It looks like in this case hundreds of thousands of dollars were wasted or misspent. I think we welcome the diversity in our community but it also worries me that there may be a safety issue here. This is an amazing and troublesome story. We need to make sure that this is solved and solved quickly.” CONTINUE

Posted by Jerry Gordon @ 4:24 pm |

Emory U’s Religious Left Can’t Handle the Truth

Emory U’s Religious Left Can’t Handle the Truth
By David Horowitz and Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | May 7, 2007

In conjunction with the Terrrorism Awareness project we published an ad in the Emory Wheel, the campus paper at Emory University. The ad was called “What Americans Need to Know About Jihad” and described the threat to Christians, Jews, women and gays in particular, from Muslim fanatics. Soon thereafter the Emory Religious Life Staff and Campus Ministry Affliliates published a counter-ad condemning what we had written. Their response was fairly typical of the responses of campus authorities, including campus religious authorities to the threat of radical Islam: deny the threat itself and condemn those who describe it as intolerant alarmists. We post here the entire exchange to illustrate the problem our campuses and our country face.– David Horowitz and Robert Spencer.

I. Terrorism Awareness Project Ad (published in the Emory Wheel)

What Americans Need to Know About Jihad

The goal of jihad is world domination

Jihad demands the suppression of all Infidels

Jihad’s battle cry is “Death to America”

The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it…to comply with God’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan’s U.S. troops and the devil’s supporters allying with them…” – Osama bin Laden

Jihad is a war against Christians

Jihad is a war against Jews

Jihad is a war against Women

Jihad is a war against Gays

Jihad is not about American policy towards Israel

Jihad is not about Israel’s policy towards Palestinians

It is about the global rule of radical Islam

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” – Hamas Charter

“The Jews are a cancer which is liable to spread again at any moment. There is no solution to the conflict except with the disappearance of Israel. Let the entire world hear me. Our hostility to the Great Satan [America] is absolute. Death to America. I encourage Palestinians to take suicide bombings worldwide. Don’t be shy about it.” – Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah

www.terrorismawareness.org

A Public Service Announcement by the Terrorism Awareness Project.

II. Emory Campus Ministry Ad

A Statement by Emory Religious Leaders

The Emory Religious Life Staff & Campus Ministry Affiliates are a group of religious representatives and advisors approved by their respective faiths’ judicatories, as well as the Office of the Dean of the Chapel, for the purpose of ministry and religious advising for Emory University students, faculty, and staff. In response to recent expressions of a selective, reductive, and hurtful nature toward particular groups on the Emory campus, such as the publication of the “What Americans Need to Know About Jihad” advertisement in the February 9, 2007 issue of The Emory Wheel, we issue the following statement:

We condemn any act that aims to intimidate, threaten, or reductively portray a religious group with the intent to antagonize or demean its members. At the same time we affirm the University’s commitment to the values of energetic inquiry, open discussion and disagreement, and respectful engagement with diverse groups, we maintain that Emory University must be a place of dignity and sensitivity for all religious groups. We call upon all members of the Emory University community to actively engage in challenging interfaith discussion while upholding the University’s high standards of respect and dignity for all religious communities.

III. Response from David Horowitz and Robert Spencer

Emory’s Religious Life Office Stifles Debate

By: David Horowitz, Robert Spencer

Issue date: 5/1/07 Section: Editorials.

We are the authors of the ad “What Every American Needs To Know About Jihad,” to which the Emory religious life staff & campus ministry affiliates have taken exception in a response published in The Emory Wheel. While their statement makes serious – one might say defamatory – charges claiming that our ad “aims to intimidate, threaten, or reductively portray a religious group with the intent to antagonize or demean its members,” it fails to explain how our ad does this, or in what way it is inaccurate. This kind of undocumented smear constitutes a kind of hate speech itself.

The text of our ad was quite clear. We quoted Osama Bin Laden’s statement that is the duty of Muslims to kill Americans, and the Hamas Charter which promises that Islam will “obliterate” Israel, and Hassan Nasrallah’s statement that “the Jews are a cancer.” We stated that “the goal of jihad is world domination,” that “jihad demands the suppression of all infidels,” that its battle cry is “death to America.” We noted that it is a war against Christians, Jews, women and gays. Does the Emory religious life staff deny that these are statements of Islamic leaders or that all around the globe there are movements – united under the banner of “jihad” – devoted to these goals?

We are well aware that there are within Islam other understandings of jihad, but that does not negate the fact that those who are pursuing the agenda we outlined call what they are doing “jihad.” It is demeaning to peaceful Muslims to deny or minimize this fact, as the Emory religious life staff does, for denying it robs Muslims of an opportunity to work for reform within their own community, refuting the version of jihad put forward by Ahmadinejad, Bin Laden, Nasrallah and the global Islamic terrorist movement. One cannot address a problem while simultaneously denying the existence of that problem.

We are disconcerted to see members of Hillel condemning the truths in our ad when Islamic jihadis have openly declared their goal to be the destruction of the Jewish state. If Jews will not defend themselves, who will?

It is shameful that a group of religious leaders in an academic community, instead of addressing an argument, would resort to ad hominem attacks against those they disagree with. This is a poor example to set for Emory students and a dangerous way to conduct a debate about an enemy who has declared war on all Americans who do not subscribe to their perverse view of Islam. A group purporting to speak for moral standards should know better.

IV. Replies from the Muslim Religious Adviser and the Director of Campus Hillel

Horowitz and Spencer Are Promoting Intolerance and Paranoia

By: Aysha Hidayatullah

Issue date: 5/1/07 Section: Editorials

It is with much reluctance that I – one among the Emory religious advisors who co-published a statement in the April 20 issue of The Emory Wheel – respond to the allegations of David Horowitz and Robert Spencer directed at us (see “Another Substanceless Objection” at www.jihadwatch.org).

In doing so, I risk inadvertently dignifying their so-called invitation to “respectful” discussion, as if it is anything more than an incitement to join them in hateful, self-involved disputation. However, despite this risk, namely in the interest of making it clear that I stand by our message of responsible interfaith engagement at Emory University, I have chosen to respond briefly.

It is a reflection of the perverse narcissism of Spencer and Horowitz that they would interpret our statement as being “defamatory” against either of them. The careful reader will note that our only reference to their advertisement described it as an example of “selective, reductive, and hurtful” speech. It is a description which would be quite difficult to refute, given that numerous members of the Emory community have described the ad in a similar light. Nor is our statement defamatory, for it is intentionally much wider and more significant in its scope.

In my line of work, I have neither the time nor the inclination to expend my energy toward debating with those who hide behind the alarmist and manipulative rhetoric of terrorism. My job has very little to do with Spencer and Horowitz, as I am not in the business of debate with antagonists. Rather, my work involves compassionate and productive inter-religious cooperation – confronting and grappling with the realities of religious violence and difference, while at the same time aspiring to rise above the antagonism of the Terrorism Awareness Project.

Aysha Hidayatullah is the Muslim Religious Advisor in Emory’s Office of Religious Life.

Horowitz and Spencer Are Promoting Intolerance and Paranoia

By: Michael Rabkin

Issue date: 5/1/07 Section: Editorials

I stand by my decision to align with fellow campus ministers in our objection to the Terrorism Awareness Project advertisement. (See “Another Substanceless Objection” at www.jihadwatch.org.) I object to David Horowitz and Robert Spencer’s manipulation of our fears about global terrorism to suggest that Islam is our enemy. I recognize that to moderate Muslims, including our friends in the Muslim community at Emory and most Muslims in America, jihad represents a theological struggle, and not world domination, as the ad asserts.

Of course, I am not so naive as to defend the sinister people who lay claim to Islam and distort its teachings in order to wage war on Israel and the West. Nor do I dismiss the very real threat they pose to Jews, Israel and virtually all humanity.

Yet I refuse to allow Horowitz and Spencer’s alarmist rhetoric to intrude on our campus and breed mistrust between Jews and Muslims at Emory while we strive to build bridges of understanding and respect between our communities.

Fostering a culture of fear creates division, not positive change. We can maintain constructive conversation between our communities while simultaneously opposing the brutality of violence against any people.

In fact, it is a vital Jewish interest to improve relations with the Muslim community, and in so doing, we must insist that moderate Muslim leaders raise their voices in opposition to terrorism and the culture of hate propagated by Islamic extremists. Only through personal interaction, partnerships, and coalitions can we communicate our concerns, build respect for one another, and pursue peace.

My position on this issue has no bearing on Hillel’s support for Israel. Our support for Israel as a Jewish and democratic state remains steadfast even as we work on campus to develop positive Jewish-Muslim relations on the basis of common fundamental values and a common destiny. The future of the children of Abraham depends on the decisions we make together today.

I pray that Muslims and Jews, as well as our friends of other faiths, find the path of justice without resorting to the tactics employed by Jihad Watch.

Michael Rabkin is the director of Emory Hillel

V. Response by David Horowitz and Robert Spencer

Submitted to the Emory Wheel on May 3, 2007.

We are disappointed in the responses of Aysha Hidayatullah and Michael Rabkin to the ad we placed in the Emory Wheel and to the response we made to their attacks on the ad. They make a serious charge, claiming that we are “promoting intolerance and paranoia,” but neither actually produces even a single concrete example to show that we have done that.

Hidayatullah dismisses our invitation to dialogue as an “an incitement to join [us] in hateful, self-involved disputation.” Yet what is the incitement? Our ad merely quotes Osama bin Laden, the Hamas Charter, and Hizbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah, and makes a series of observations about the goals of today’s jihad terrorist movement that are readily demonstrable from the words and deeds of the terrorists themselves. How is this “hateful,” much less  “selective, reductive, and hurtful,” as the Emory Religious Life staff characterized it?

When Hidayatullah denounces us for “hid[ing] behind the alarmist and manipulative rhetoric of terrorism,” her focus is in the wrong place.

If she is really interested in “confronting and grappling with the realities of religious violence and difference,” her attention should be focused on devising positive ways to combat the seductive appeal of the message of the jihadis that we summarized in our ad – not on defaming those who are calling attention to jihadi activity.

Rabbi Michael Rabkin who is the director of the Emory Hillel accuses us of suggesting that “Islam is our enemy.” This is a false and defamatory claim. Nowhere does our ad state anything of the kind. In fact, in our response we specifically referred to our “enemy [as one] who has declared war on all Americans who do not subscribe to their perverse view of Islam.” In addition to distorting our stated position, Rabbi Rabkin fails to explain how publishing quotes from Osama bin Laden, Hassan Nasrallah, and the Hamas Charter says anything at all about Islam as such, or constitutes “alarmist rhetoric” that breeds “mistrust between Jews and Muslims.”

The mistrust is bred by Imams like Nasrallah who openly call for the extermination of the Jews. It is tragic that a rabbi should want to silence those who point this out.

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