Tuesday, May 28, 2013

COMMENT NO LONGER FREE at UK Guardian Newspaper

Obviously, George Orwell wasn't making up his "Ministry of Truth." Guardian "Comment is Free" editor Natalie Hanman's post is actually headlined: "COMMENT IS FREE> Woolwich attack: why we have decided to turn off comments..."
There has been some confusion from commenters as to why we have turned off the ability to comment on Comment is free articles about the Woolwich attack. In an ideal world, we would allow our readers to debate all of the articles we run on the site, but we felt it was sensible for us to restrict comments on these pieces because once people have been arrested there is a risk of contempt of court if users post prejudicial remarks about the case. Following consultation with our lawyers and community moderators, we will endeavour from now on, where resources allow, to have one premoderated thread on the topic open each day. Today's article from Boya Dee is here.
Boya Dee's Orwellian headline: "Despite witnessing the Woolwich murder, I still have faith in humanity..."

Barry Rubin on America's Mistaken Middle East Policies

Can the Obama Administration turn radicals into moderates with money? Way back in 1979, shortly after the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said that people in the West didn't understand revolutionary Islamism. "They think," he explained, "the revolution is all about the price of watermelons. It isn't." In other words, this is an ideological cause not a money-making attempt where people can be bribed.

The Diplomad on 99% of Islam

I was--big mistake--reading CNN and BBC reporting on the Religion of Peace's activities in London and Stockholm when I saw that the benefits of Islam's Peaceful Activities also have made themselves manifest in Paris, where a French soldier has been stabbed. I love the cautious, oh so very delicate reporting by BBC on this latest demonstration of Love of Peace,
President Hollande also responded cautiously while on a visit to Ethiopia, telling reporters: "I do not think at this point that there may be a link" [with the London attack] French reports said police were hunting a bearded man of North African origin about 30 years of age. He was wearing a light-coloured robe called a djellaba. "We still don't know the exact circumstances of the attack or the identity of the attacker, but we are exploring all options."
Oh yes, that description is undoubtedly of a Mormon missionary, or perhaps a Hasidic Jew or a slightly disheveled Amish tourist?
I also adore the breathless reporting (here and here, for example) re the alarming "rise" in anti-Muslim "attacks." Note the source for the reports and take a grain of salt, a spoonful would be better, then let me know how many Muslims have been beheaded on the streets of London in the middle of day. How about zero for a number? How many Muslim immigrants in the UK are packing up, turning in their assistance cards, and moving back to Nigeria, Pakistan, Morocco, Bangladesh, etc? I'll bet that zero number remains a pretty accurate estimate for that, too.
I enjoy reading the comments from readers around the world on the BBC and CNN stories. There, and elsewhere, we see another number, a rather tired one: the "statistic" that "99% of Muslims" are not terrorists. Is that true? I don't know. From where does that number come? I don't know. Let's, however, go along with the gag. Let's assume it is accurate, and come up with our own equally valid "99%" statistics. Some samples follow; I am sure you can turn this into a drinking game--but not around Muslims because drinking offends them (unless they are Saudi diplomats in Islamabad).
Did you know that, -- 99% of the Japanese did not attack Pearl Harbor? -- 99% of the Nazis did not kill Jews or Gypsies, or invade Poland? -- 99% of the Communists did not engage in Stalin's or Mao's purges? -- 99% of the Germans killed in Dresden had never bombed England? -- 99% of the Italians did not invade Ethiopia? -- 99% of the Iranians did not occupy the US embassy in Teheran? -- 99% of the Al Qaeda membership did not fly airplanes into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon?
And so on, and on, and so what? What does that "99%" prove? Just one thing: There are consequences in the real world to belonging to organizations or following ideologies and leaders that commit atrocities. That's the way it works. If 99% of Muslims are not terrorists, and do not support terrorism (that's the big "if") where are they? Why can't they control the crazies and murderers and rioters in their midst? If they can't they will find that they might just pay the price, even if they did not pull the trigger, or drop the cyanide gas. The Germans and the Japanese discovered that during World War II.
We see Britain's foolish PM Cameron making the typical foolish Western politician statement after the murder of the young British soldier (and let's not forget he is just following in the path of nonsense about Islam blazed by our own President Bush),
"This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country. There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act."
No, Mr. Prime Minister. Everything in Islam justifies this truly dreadful act and so many more. That is why the "99%" cannot condemn, isolate, or punish the murderers. That violence, that "extremism" is Islam; that is the real item. We need to deal with that hard and unpleasant fact. Islam has not gone through an enlightenment, and what "reformation" has taken place has moved it backwards, ever deeper into the thinking prevalent in the dark ages and places from whence it came.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Islamic Terror in The Wall Street Journal

I've seen this before. A Muslim terrorist slays a non-Muslim citizen in the West, and representatives of the Muslim community rush to dissociate themselves and their faith from the horror. After British soldier Lee Rigby was hacked to death last week in Woolwich in south London, Julie Siddiqi, representing the Islamic Society of Britain, quickly stepped before the microphones to attest that all good Muslims were "sickened" by the attack, "just like everyone else." This happens every time. Muslim men wearing suits and ties, or women wearing stylish headscarves, are sent out to reassure the world that these attacks have no place in real Islam, that they are aberrations and corruptions of the true faith. But then what to make of Omar Bakri? He too claims to speak for the true faith, though he was unavailable for cameras in England last week because the Islamist group he founded, Al-Muhajiroun, was banned in Britain in 2010. Instead, he talked to the media from Tripoli in northern Lebanon, where he now lives. Michael Adebolajo—the accused Woolwich killer who was seen on a video at the scene of the murder, talking to the camera while displaying his bloody hands and a meat cleaver—was Bakri's student a decade ago, before his group was banned. "A quiet man, very shy, asking lots of questions about Islam," Bakri recalled last week. The teacher was impressed to see in the grisly video how far his shy disciple had come, "standing firm, courageous, brave. Not running away." Bakri also told the press: "The Prophet said an infidel and his killer will not meet in Hell. That's a beautiful saying. May God reward [Adebolajo] for his actions . . . I don't see it as a crime as far as Islam is concerned." The question requiring an answer at this moment in history is clear: Which group of leaders really speaks for Islam? The officially approved spokesmen for the "Muslim community"? Or the manic street preachers of political Islam, who indoctrinate, encourage and train the killers—and then bless their bloodshed?

Monday, May 27, 2013

RubinReports on Obama's Seven Points


So you want to understand Obama foreign policy? Ok, here is an explanation in clear, simple, and accurate form based on Obama's recent speech at Fort McNair about terrorism...

Peter Van Buren on Colonel Davis's Patriotism

We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People by Peter Van Buren
Morris Davis is not some dour civil servant, and for most of his career, unlikely to have been a guest at the Playboy Mansion. Prior to joining the Library of Congress, he spent more than 25 years as an Air Force colonel. He was, in fact, the chief military prosecutor at Guantánamo and showed enormous courage in October 2007 when he resigned from that position and left the Air Force. Davis stated he would not use evidence obtained through torture. When a torture advocate was named his boss, Davis quit rather than face the inevitable order to reverse his position. Morris Davis then got fired from his research job at the Library of Congress for writing an article in the Wall Street Journal about the evils of justice perverted at Guantanamo, and a similar letter to the editor of the Washington Post. (The irony of being fired for exercising free speech while employed at Thomas Jefferson’s library evidently escaped his bosses.) With the help of the ACLU, Davis demanded his job back. On January 8, 2010, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Library of Congress on his behalf. In March 2011 a federal court ruled against the Obama Administration’s objections that the suit could go forward (You can read more about Davis’ struggle.) Justice Postponed is Justice Denied Moving “forward” is however a somewhat awkward term to use in regards to this case. In the past two years, forward has meant very little in terms of actual justice done. At about the same time in 2011 that Colonel Davis notified the government that he was going to be called as a defense witness for Bradley Manning, the Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss Davis’ lawsuit against the government, actually seeking to make him pay the government’s court costs, and hinted at potential criminal charges because he copied some unclassified files from his office computer. Of course three years had passed since these alleged 2010 criminal acts and DOJ’s 2013 threats, so perhaps the timing was coincidence, but Colonel Davis said in an interview with me that he believes it was an attempt to discredit him and thus negate any help he could offer Manning. Despite DOJ’s clumsy efforts, the good news is that at a hearing about a month ago a federal judge denied the government’s stalling motion and the case is moving “forward” again. However, DOJ is again seeking to stall things with multiple delaying motions that require multiple responses, and the motions alone won’t be heard by a court until August. After that comes a lengthy discovery period that will likely take the case to the four year mark. Colonel Davis hopes he’ll get to trial before the five year point. He is a strong man, navigating more successfully between the empowering anger and the consuming bitterness than most people struggling against the government of the United States can manage. Still, it is hard for him to rationalize the amount of time and effort his own government is spending to limit the free speech rights of federal employees. Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards The government’s ability to limit free speech, to stopper the First Amendment, is perhaps the most critical issue our republic can face. If you were to write the history of the last decade in Washington, it might well be a story of how, issue by issue, the government freed itself from legal and constitutional bounds when it came to torture, the assassination of U.S. citizens, the holding of prisoners without trial or access to a court of law, the illegal surveillance of American citizens, and so on. In the process, it has entrenched itself in a comfortable shadowland of ever more impenetrable secrecy, while going after any whistleblower who might shine a light in. All that stands in counter to the government’s actions is the First Amendment, exactly as the Founders designed it to be. The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards were established in 1979 to honor individuals who make significant contributions to protect First Amendment rights for Americans. Since the inception of the awards, more than 100 individuals including high school students, lawyers, librarians, journalists and educators have been honored. I am very proud that two of last year’s winners, whistleblowers Tom Drake and Jesselyn Radack, are my friends, and that Radack helped defend my right to speak against the Department of State. So congratulations to Colonel Davis. He earned this award and I’ll be proud to watch him receive it from Christie Hefner on May 22. He is in good company, as Daniel Ellsberg, the Vietnam War era’s version of Bradley Manning, is also being honored. By standing up against a government that is doing wrong, and seeking to bring those wrongs into daylight, both men have earned the privilege to be called patriots. All that said, it is an odd state of things. The only mainstream introspection of the government takes place on Comedy Central. Of all the possible ways I dreamed of getting into the Playboy Mansion over the years, this was not one of them. Nasty business, fighting for one’s First Amendment rights these days. Strange times make for strange bedfellows, even at the Playboy Mansion.

Robert Spencer on Memorial Day

http://frontpagemag.com/2013/robert-spencer/memorial-day-2013-jihad-is-stronger-than-ever/ In reality, it’s Memorial Day, and the jihad is stronger than ever, more confident than ever, and we are everywhere in denial, with our government and law enforcement officials, as well as the mainstream media, more clueless or complicit than ever. The millennial time of peace in which we live and which Obama tried to sell us last week is illusory, and that will do nothing but become clearer and clearer in the coming days and months. For example, according to Obama, “the best way to prevent violent extremism is to work with the Muslim American community – which has consistently rejected terrorism – to identify signs of radicalization, and partner with law enforcement when an individual is drifting towards violence.” The Muslim American community has consistently rejected terrorism? Four separate studies since 1998 have all found that 80% of U.S. mosques were teaching jihad, Islamic supremacism, and hatred and contempt for Jews and Christians. There are no countervailing studies that challenge these results. In 1998, Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi leader, visited 114 mosques in the United States. Then he gave testimony before a State Department Open Forum in January 1999, and asserted that 80% of American mosques taught the “extremist ideology.” Then there was the Center for Religious Freedom’s 2005 study, and the Mapping Sharia Project’s 2008 study. Each independently showed that upwards of 80% of mosques in America were preaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity ultimately to impose Islamic rule. And in the summer of 2011 came another study showing that only 19% of mosques in U.S. don’t teach jihad violence and/or Islamic supremacism. But such realities do not matter. Fantasy prevails everywhere. That’s why a huge adjustment in our political and military culture is called for if we are going to prevail. The only way we can truly honor the fallen today is to call things by their right names, see things clearly, and begin to move toward doing what is necessary to defend ourselves and constitutional liberties. As dark as the picture appears to be, an increasing number of people are waking up. And we must keep fighting. To do anything less would be to dishonor those we are endeavoring to honor today. >

Melanie Phillips on Islamic Extremism in Britain

In medieval times, moreover, Christianity used its interpretation of the Bible also to kill ‘unbelievers’, because early Christians believed they had a divine duty to make the world conform to their religion at all costs. That stopped when the Reformation ushered the Church into modernity, and today no Christian wants to use violence to convert others to their faith. The problem with the extremist teachings of Islam is that the religion has never had a similar ‘reformation’. Certainly, there are enlightened Muslims in Britain who would dearly love their religion to be reformed. But they have the rug pulled from under their feet by the Government’s flat denial of the religious nature of this terrible problem. Some people instead ascribe the actions of the Woolwich killers to factors such as thuggish gang membership, drug abuse or family breakdown. But it is precisely such lost souls who are vulnerable to Islamist fanatics and who provide them with father figures, a sense of belonging and a cause which gives apparent meaning to their lives. Many people find it incomprehensible that such fanatics remain free to peddle their poison. Partly, this is because the Security Service likes to gather intelligence through their actions. But it is also because of a failure to understand what amounts to a continuum of extremism. There are too many British Muslims who, while abhorring violence at home, nevertheless support the killing abroad of British or American forces or Israelis, regard unbelievers as less than fully human, and homosexuals or apostates as deserving the death penalty. Such bigotry creates the poisonous sea in which dehumanisation and religious violence swim. To the failure to understand all this must be added the widespread terror of being thought ‘Islamophobic’ or ‘racist’. It is quite astonishing that universities mostly refuse to crack down on extremist speakers and radicalisation on campus — despite at least four former presidents of Islamic student societies having faced terrorist charges. In a devastating account published at the weekend, Professor Michael Burleigh, who advised the Government on revising its counter-radicalisation strategy, described how this process descended into a ‘sad shambles’. He related how the Federation of Islamic Student Societies (FOSIS) had created a sexually segregated environment in which young people were being systematically indoctrinated in anti-Jew, anti-homosexual and anti-Western hatred by Islamist speakers on campus. But although the Government condemned FOSIS for its failure to ‘fully challenge terrorist and extremist ideology’, with the Home Secretary even ordering that civil servants withdraw from its graduate recruitment fair, the Faith and Communities Minister, Baroness Warsi, actually endorsed it by attending one of its events at the House of Lords. Lethal Nor has the Government done anything to stop extremist preachers targeting and converting criminals in British jails at a deeply alarming rate. On top of all this official incoherence is the paralysis caused by the excesses of the ‘human rights’ culture. Thus the Home Secretary is facing a monumental battle to get through Parliament a Communications Bill that would give police and security services access to records of individuals’ internet use. It is said that some of these extremist preachers exploit loopholes in the law. If so, then the law should be changed. But we all know what would befall any such attempt. It would be all but drowned out by shrieks that we were ‘doing the terrorists’ job for them’ by ‘undermining our own hard-won liberties’. Well, it’s time to face down such claims as vacuous and lethal nonsense. The people threatening our liberties are Islamic radicals determined to destroy our way of life. It is those who refuse to acknowledge the true nature of this threat who are doing the terrorists’ job for them. And unless Britain finally wakes up from its self-destructive torpor, all who love civilised values — Muslim and non-Muslim alike — will be the losers.

Daniel Pipes on Islamism

Islamism is a totalitarian movement like fascism and communism. We could learn from the techniques used to fight the fascists and the communists. First, the policy of Western countries should be always oppose the Islamists, always everywhere. It's like opposing the Nazis. We don't work with them. They are a barbaric enemy. They might be living among and trying to be very polite, but they are the enemy. Second, always work with the liberal secular modern elements in Muslim societies. They are the hope for the future. They are the hope for the Middle East and the modern world. Thirdly, work with the tyrants if you have to but always on the basis of pushing them toward more rule of law, more civil society, more political participation. Had we done this is with (former Egyptian president Hosni) Mubarak when he took over in 1981, pushed him to be less tyrannical, then by 2011 you might have a much better Egypt.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Andrew McCarthy on President Obama's National Defense University Speech

Significantly, he is also right in saying that the extremists’ ideology induces them to believe “Islam is in conflict with the United States and the West.” But then comes two plus two equals five: According to Obama, that ideology must “of course” be a “lie” because “the United States is not at war with Islam.”
If I am an aggressor and I punch you in the nose, we are in a fight, even if you weren’t looking for a fight. The fight does not end just because you insist you’re not in a fight. The fight ends because you lose. Your ostentatious display of not having a quarrel with me does not convince me to stop hitting you — although it may convince me to keep hitting you.
Islamic supremacism is not based on a lie. It is based on a truth. That truth has nothing to do with the United States — although it has grave consequences for us.
This is elucidated by the jihadist atrocity in Britain just the day before Obama’s speech. Even after all the mass murders we’ve seen over the last two decades, this one was shocking in its barbarity. After killing and mutilating a British soldier, one of the jihadists, blood still soaking his hands, proudly looked into a camera and proclaimed, “We are forced by the Koran, in Sura al-Tawba, through many ayah in the Koran, we must fight them as they fight us.”
Sura al-Tawba is the Koran’s ninth chapter, home to what are known as the verses of the sword. Time after time, Muslims are instructed to slaughter their enemies. “Kill the polytheists wherever you find them.” “Fight those who do not believe in Allah” until they submit to the law of Islam. “Fight . . . the disbelievers and let them find in you harshness.” On it goes.
Naturally, most Western media reports omitted any mention of the jihadists’ explanation of their doctrine and its easily verifiable scriptural underpinnings — just as Obama, in his speech, eschewed any mention of the Koran in describing the “larger cause” for which “extremists” fight. But though the supremacist’s construction is not the only viable interpretation of Islam, it is a genuine, literal one.
What’s more, Chapter Nine is one of the last chapters of the Koran (which is not organized chronologically). To the extent it seems in contradiction with more benign earlier verses, reputable scholars logically teach that what comes last abrogates what came before — i.e., the aggressor Islam controls. It is not for nothing that authentically moderate Muslims have a hard time discrediting the extremists.
Islamic supremacism teaches that Muslims are under a divine injunction to fight non-Muslims, including by violent jihad, until all the world submits to sharia (the path), Allah’s blueprint for the perfect human society. It is true that of the world’s hundreds of millions of Islamic supremacists, only a small percentage (though still a high number in absolute terms) are “extreme” enough to engage in violence. Yet all of them share the violent jihadists’ goals, and they endorse the violence itself in many, if not most, instances.
As we should have understood long before 9/11, the enemy is at war with us regardless of whether we deem ourselves at war with them. They don’t care whether we consider ourselves “at war with Islam”; what makes it a war is that they construe Islam to dictate jihad against us.
That is not a “lie.” It is a belief that Islam means what its scriptures say. That belief is not refuted by pretending that the scriptures do not exist. No more than the war ends by pretending it is not happening. Two plus two is not five. War ends in victory or defeat. Failing to defend oneself is not peace; it is surrender.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

RubinReports on Obama's National Defense University Speech


Yet clearly Obama has no notion—or will not admit to one—of what that “common ideology” might be, except for a misunderstanding, which presumably his outreach will correct, about American intentions.
In fact, though, in the sense that they speak of it, the United States is at war with Islam, the revolutionary sort of Islam of course. To help any country resist radical political Islam is, in their eyes, opposition to proper Islam. Perhaps this is why the Obama Administration seeks to help turn other countries toward Islamist regimes.

Of course, the United States is not at war with Muslims but not only al-Qaida but Hamas, Hizballah, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafists, the Taliban and dozens of other groups, ideologues, and militants know that America is their enemy. No matter what Obama does he will not persuade them and their millions of supporters that the United States is their ally. Even though Obama has often actually made America their ally.

It would be like helping Communism in the Cold War to take over countries in order to show that America is not at war with the Russian people, or to do the same with Nazism to show that America is not at war with the German people, or to help Gamal Abdel Nasser or Saddam Hussein to take over the Middle East to prove America is not at war with the Arab or Muslim people.  

A more accurate picture is offered by a Saudi writer in al-Sharq al-Awsat:

"The most acute [aspect of] the problem is that Obama is laying down the systematic groundwork for the development of extremism and sectarian violence that will make us miss the Al-Qaeda of George W. Bush's era, while deluding himself that he eliminated Al-Qaeda when he killed Osama bin Laden!"

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mark Steyn on Britain's Shameful Response to Woolwich Massacre


This passivity set the tone for what followed. In London as in Boston, the politico-media class immediately lapsed into the pneumatic multiculti Tourette's that seems to be a chronic side effect of excess diversity-celebrating: No Islam to see here, nothing to do with Islam, all these body parts in the street are a deplorable misinterpretation of Islam. The BBC's Nick Robinson accidentally described the men as be "of Muslim appearance," but quickly walked it back lest impressionable types get the idea that there's anything "of Muslim appearance" about a guy waving a machete and saying "Allahu akbar." A man is on TV dripping blood in front of a dead British soldier and swearing "by Almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you," yet it's the BBC reporter who's apologizing for "causing offence." To David Cameron, Drummer Rigby's horrific end was "not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam...There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act."

How does he know? He doesn't seem the most likely Koranic scholar. Appearing on David Letterman's show a while back, Cameron was unable to translate into English the words "Magna Carta,"which has quite a bit to do with that "British way of life" he's so keen on. But apparently it's because he's been up to his neck in suras and hadiths every night sweating for Sharia 101. So has Scotland Yard's deputy assistant commissioner, Brian Paddick, who reassured us after the London Tube bombings that "Islam and terrorism don't go together," and the mayor of Toronto, David Miller, telling NPR listeners after 19 Muslims were arrested for plotting to behead the Canadian prime minister: "You know, in Islam, if you kill one person you kill everybody," he said in a somewhat loose paraphrase of Koran 5:32 that manages to leave out some important loopholes. "It's a very peaceful religion."
That's why it fits so harmoniously into famously peaceful societies like, say, Sweden. For the last week Stockholm has been ablaze every night with hundreds of burning cars set alight by "youths." Any particular kind of "youth"? The Swedish prime minister declined to identify them any more precisely than as "hooligans." But don't worry: The "hooligans" and "youths" and men of no Muslim appearance whatsoever can never win because, as David Cameron ringingly declared, "they can never beat the values we hold dear, the belief in freedom, in democracy, in free speech, in our British values, Western values.' Actually, they've already gone quite a way toward eroding free speech, as both prime ministers demonstrate. The short version of what happened in Woolwich is that two Muslims butchered a British soldier in the name of Islam and helpfully explained, "The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day." But what do they know? They're only Muslims, not Diversity Outreach Coordinators. So the BBC, in its so-called "Key Points," declined to mention the "Allahu akbar" bit or the I-word at all: Allah who? Not a lot of Muslims want to go to the trouble of chopping your head off, but when so many Western leaders have so little rattling around up there, they don't have to. And, as we know from the sob-sister Tsarnaev profiles, most of these excitable lads are perfectly affable, or at least no more than mildly alienated, until the day they set a hundred cars alight, or blow up a school boy, or decapitate some guy. And, if you're lucky, it's not you they behead, or your kid they kill, or even your Honda Civic they light up. And so life goes on, and it's all so "mundane," in Simon Jenkins's word, that you barely notice when the Jewish school shuts up, and the gay bar, and the uncovered women no longer take a stroll too late in the day, and the publishing house that gets sent the manuscript for the "Satanic Verses"; decides it's not worth the trouble. . . . But don't worry, they'll never defeat our "free speech" and our "way of life"
One in ten Britons under 25 is now Muslim. That number will increase, through immigration, disparate birth rates, and conversions like those of the Woolwich killers, British-born and -bred. Metternich liked to say the Balkans began in the Landstrasse, in southeast Vienna. Today, the Dar al-Islam begins in Wellington Street, in southeast London. That's a "betrayal" all right, but not of Islam.

Denial is still a river in Londonistan | Melanie Phillips

Published in: Melanie's blog<br />
One of most difficult things to get across in this increasingly desperate argument is that there is within the Islamic world a continuum of aggressive or unacceptable views which emanate from the religion – a continuum which extends from prejudice and bigotry at one end to terrorism at the other -- that makes atrocities such as the one in Woolwich yesterday all but inevitable. While most at the merely bigoted end will neither support nor take part in terrorism, the noxious views they accept and promulgate create the lethal sea in which terrorism swims.

The result of the refusal to acknowledge this religious continuum is to undermine those Muslims who do most earnestly want to reform their religion. While the British and American victims of the jihad obdurately refuse to identify it as a religious issue, reformist Muslims haven’t got a leg to stand on in trying to make the case to their own community.

Today, I was contacted by someone from a Muslim family whose name is known to me but whose identity I will protect. His message in response to the Woolwich atrocity is so important, and so heartfelt and anguished, that I reproduce it here.

‘Confronting the Causes of Religion-Motivated Terrorism.

  ‘I'm from a Muslim family background, and I needed to write down my thoughts on this terrible and traumatic event. I feel that it raises points that would be appropriate for the excellent articles that you publish.

  ‘The overwhelming majority of Muslims here and throughout the world will be as horrified as anyone by the terrible events in Woolwich. Furthermore, I am certain that the overwhelming majority of Muslim organisations, imams and community leaders would describe the actions of the men concerned to be evil and un-Islamic. The accepted consensus among most scholars is that when you live in a non-Islamic country (where you are allowed live and practice your religion in peace), you are forbidden to make war on the people of that country.

  ‘That being said, surely it’s time for Muslims everywhere to confront some of the extreme views held within their communities and face up to the fact that such views may act as stepping-stones for some ignorant and impressionable people who go on to carry out atrocious acts of violence.

  ‘It is a fact that far too many Muslim scholars promote and far too many Muslims believe, interpretations of Islam that are anything but moderate. For example, that non-Muslims are morally and spiritually ‘inferior’ beings to Muslims or that in an ideal ‘Islamic’ society, the death penalty should apply for a Muslim who leaves Islam, for anyone who insults the Prophet, has sex outside of marriage or takes part in an homosexual act.

   ‘Whilst I’m not suggesting that any significant number of the Muslims holding such views would ever commit or even condone the events we saw in Woolwich, I am suggesting that if someone already believes such interpretations of Islam then it would be easier for them to believe that it’s morally acceptable to behead an off-duty soldier in the street.

  ‘As we have seen in the various media exposés, extreme views such as those outlined above are being promoted, often with impunity, in mosques, madrassas, faith schools and Islamic student societies throughout Britain. The result of this, as numerous polls have demonstrated, is that an unacceptably high minority of British Muslims support extreme and illiberal interpretations of Islam. For example, a poll carried out by Policy Exchange suggested that over a third of young British Muslims believe that the death penalty should apply for apostasy.

  ‘In every other aspect of our society, an ‘extremist’ is defined by both their actions and their personally held views. It is perfectly reasonable to label a racist a ‘racist’, whether or not they carry out illegal acts or promote law-breaking. For some reason, however, such rational logic isn’t generally applied when it comes to describing members of religious groups.

   ‘It seems that any Muslim who states that they support obeying the laws of the land is defined by default as ‘moderate’ without regard to whether he or she might hold some views that are very extreme and unpleasant indeed. However, a large section of our media and institutions appear to only label a Muslim as an ‘extremist’ if he or she breaks the law or incites others to do so.

  ‘This is illogical and irrational. The time has come for Muslim organisations, scholars, imams and lay-people to stand up and state unequivocally that interpretations such as those outlined above are unacceptable and should never be promoted, here or abroad. They should go further and distance themselves from anyone who promotes those views.

   ‘What’s more, politicians, the media and all of us should ask questions of any person who refuses to condemn such bigotry and ostracise them, just as we do with someone who refuses to condemn racism. Universities must ban Islamic societies that promote hateful views, and any mosque, madrassa or Islamic faith school that promotes extreme, illiberal interpretations of Islam should be closed down and the management prosecuted.

  ‘Stating that non-Muslims are inferior to Muslims or that people should be killed for leaving a religion or having gay sex is simple hate speech, whether or not the speaker believes that it is ordained by Allah. The fact that hate speech is illegal under English law recognises the fact that hateful speech can sometimes promote hateful action. Surely it’s time for the people who promote the views outlined above are treated as the criminals they are.

    ‘Most importantly, the time has come for our media, politicians and anti-fascist organisations to expose, name and shame any Muslim organisation, mosque, imam, scholar or spokesperson who refuses to condemn and distance themselves from the unacceptable interpretations of Islam that are far-too-often promoted without challenge in Britain today.’

The Prime Minister has spoken of the Woolwich killers ‘betraying’ Islam. But in refusing to acknowledge the true religious nature of such terrorism, it is surely he who is betraying reformist Muslims everywhere.

Melanie Phillips on Woolwich Beheading

Stiff competition for Most Fatuous Reaction award | Melanie Phillips

But worthy contenders as all these are for this prestigious award, I have decided that two further notable contributions tie in equal first place. In a statement described by the Spectator as ‘sensitive and calm’ the Prime Minister, David Cameron, told the nation that the Woolwich attack ‘was also a betrayal of Islam’ ,’ there is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act’ and the fault lay ‘solely and purely with the sickening individuals who carried out this appalling attack’.
In similar vein the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:
‘It is completely wrong to blame this killing on the religion of Islam but it is also equally wrong to try to draw any link between this murder and British foreign policy or the actions of British forces who are risking their lives abroad for the sake of freedom. The fault lies wholly and exclusively in the warped and deluded mindset of the people who did it.’
So to the Prime Minister and the Mayor, there was nothing to connect the Woolwich atrocity to Islam at all.  But on his little video rant, one of the killers drew explicitly on the Koran as the inspiration for his attack:
‘Surat at-Tawba through...many, many ayat throughout the Qur’an that...we must fight them as they fight us...’
which refers to a number of exhortations to ‘fight the unbelievers and ‘kill the polythesists wherever you find them’ and other such stuff in similar vein..
Nothing to do with Islam? It’s as absurd as saying the Inquisition had nothing to do with the Catholic Church, or the Holocaust had nothing to do with Nazism but these things were just the product of a few warped and deluded individuals.  
If indeed such terrorism is noting to do with Islam, why is it justified by the Islamic high establishment? As the liberal Egyptian thinker Tarek Heggy wrote last year:
 ‘The cornerstone of the theory, which is the essence of Islamic thinking, is that humans must not set the rules governing relations between people, but that these can only be set by the Almighty. To this day, not a single leader of any movement of political Islam has reconsidered the idea of hakemeya [the Islamist view of man-made laws] introduced by Sayed Qutb in his famous treatise, “Signposts Along the Road” … Thus the Islamist has a constant problem with man-made constitutional and legal rules.…
‘Certainly the leaderships of most schools of political Islam refuse to describe the suicide attacks launched by Muslim fanatics against civilians as terrorist attacks. Certainly too none of them consider Osama bin Laden a terrorist. Indeed, most hold him in high regard…’
What’s bizarre is that jihadis are treated as genuine Muslim spokesmen -- see the way broadcasters were giving one of them air-time yesterday -- but when it comes to analysing an Islamic terror attack, that very same political and media establishment falls over itself to agree with those extremists that its perpetrators are not real Muslims at all.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Main Justice: Magistrate Judge Alan Kay Approved Fox Reporter's Government Surveillance

http://www.mainjustice.com/2013/05/21/james-rosen-criminal-leak-investigation-was-disclosed-18-months-ago-hidden-in-court-records/print/ According to Mary Jacoby's Main Justice article, Judge Royce Lambreth ruled that the government did not have to notify Rosen or Fox that a search warrant had been issued... Judge Kay's online biography:
Magistrate Judge Kay was appointed a United States Magistrate Judge in September 1991. He is a graduate of George Washington University, receiving a B.A. in 1957 and a J.D. from its National Law Center in 1959. Magistrate Judge Kay clerked for U.S. District Court Judges Alexander Holtzoff and William B. Jones. He was an attorney with the Public Defender Service and served in the U.S. Attorney's Office. From 1967 until his appointment, he was in private practice in the District of Columbia.
(Source: http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/dcd/kay)

Mark Steyn on the Tsarnaevs

Jihad Abhors a Vacuum 
The Washington Post covered much of the Tsarnaev narrative under the headline "A Faded Portrait of an Immigrant's American Dream." The story is about what you'd expect from the headline but the "faded portrait" is fascinating — a photograph of the family before they came to America: young Mr. and Mrs. Tsarnaev with baby Tamerlan, and Uncle Muhamad with a Tom Selleck moustache and Soviet military uniform. If you only know Ma Tsarnaeva from her post-Boston press conferences as a head-scarfed harpie glorying in her sons' martyrdom and boasting that she'll be shrieking "Allahu akbar!" when the Great Satan takes her out too, the "faded portrait" is well worth your time: Back then, just before the U.S.S.R. fell apart, the jihadist crone looked like a mildly pastier version of an Eighties rock chick — a passable Dagestan doppelgänger for Joan Jett, with spiky black hair and kohl-ringed eyes. She loves rock 'n' roll, so put another ruble in the jukebox, baby!
Then she came to America and, after a decade in Cambridge, Mass., returned to her native land as a jihadist cliché — pro-sharia, pro-terrorist, pro-martyrdom, pro-slaughter. She arrived here as Joan Jett, and went back all black heart.
The Tsarnaevs were a mixed marriage. Pop was Chechen, Mom was Dagestani, from the Z-list stan on Chechnya's borders. But there's really no such thing as a "Dagestani." Dagestan is a wild mountain-man version of Cambridge, celebrating diversity until it hurts. Its population includes Azerbaijanis, whom you've heard of, because they're from the stan that thinks it's a jan. The rest of the guys are — stan well back — Avars, Dargins, Kumyks, Laks, Rutuls, Aghuls, Nogais, Tsakhurs, and Tabasarans. Oh, and Lezgians, a mountain tribe of fearsome female warriors high on fermented yak's milk. I'm making that last bit up, but for a moment you weren't sure, were you? Dagestan has everything except Dagestanis. They're all in Ingushetia, maybe.
For the last decade, I've been lectured by the nuancey-boys on how one can't generalize about Islam, and especially about Islam in the West: There are as many fascinating differences between Mirpuri Pakistanis in Yorkshire and Algerian Berbers in Clichy-sous-Bois as there are between Nogais and Lezgians in Dagestan. No doubt. But, whatever their particular inheritance, many young Muslims in the West come to embrace a pan-Islamic identity. The Tsarnaev boys, for example, fell under the influence of an "Australian sheikh." That's to say, a sheikh born in Sydney. While back in the Caucasus in 2012, Tamerlan is rumored to have met William Plotnikov, a Toronto jihadist whose Siberian parents are such assimilated Canadians they winter as Florida snowbirds. When they came back, they found a note from William saying he'd gone to France for Ramadan. And thence east, to his rendezvous with the virgins.

Like the photographs of Mrs. Tsarnaeva then and now, these are stories of dis-assimilation, of secularized Easterners who in the vacuum of Western multiculturalism search for identity and find a one-stop shop in Islamic imperialism.

Monday, May 20, 2013

RubinReports on Turkey's Terrorist Tendencies...


And again what is Obama going to do to bring about this objective? 'Will he continue to follow advice from Erdogan which has already proven to be wrong  because it is based on the interests of a Turkish Islamist regime seeking to promote Sunni Islamism and Turkish influence in the region?

Obama’s expressed hope of creating a Syria that is “a source of stability, not extremism” is very dangerous because he might well hope that but it is not a realistic goal. And again what is Obama going to do to bring about this objective?  

[Incidentally. the U.S. government has apologized to Israel for U.S. officials confirming to the New York Times that a ground attack within Syria earlier this month was staged by Israel. Publicly stating this information forced Syria (and Hizballah and Iran) to officially threaten Israel with retaliation, thus endangering Israel.] 

Now, too, Iran, Russia, and Hizballah are stepping up support for Assad. It is clear that Russia will block tougher action in the UN Security Council.  It is also stepping up arms shipments to Assad. If Russia provides Syria with advanced anti-aircraft missiles these could be used to shoot down any U.S. planes that tries to enforce a no-fly zone. Yet Obama doesn't have the credibility or leverage with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who from every indication holds him in contempt as a weakling, to stop Moscow from showing that it is the stronger, more reliable ally. Hizballah has up to 5,000 fighters inside Syria now, though they have been mainly employed in holding territory vital for Assad's survival.

The rebels will not win without a lot of U.S. help. This civil war is becoming an international test of wills in which Obama--for reasons that are not unreasonable--doesn't want to fight. Yet does that mean the United States will accept a humiliating defeat at the hands of Tehran and Moscow? Fortunately, while the rebels cannot win, they also are likely to hold much of Syria. In other words, Assad can't put down the rebellion either. But the result will be: stalemate; continued war for two years or more; tens of thousands of more deaths.

One day there will be congressional investigations on how U.S. policy armed terrorist and even, albeit unintentionally, al-Qaida groups. It will be too late.  The situation in Syria makes the Iran-Contra affair--U.S. involvement during the Reagan Administration in supplying arms to pro-American Nicaraguan rebels--look like a picnic.

The situation is getting very dangerous and with a "friend" like Erdogan it is clear that Obama’s policy toward Syria, Iran, the advance of revolutionary Islamism, and the Israel-Palestinian “peace process,” is in serious trouble.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the Wall Street Journal on Stopping Terrorist Immigrants


The Tsarnaev brothers are emblematic of the divided loyalties of our times—and they are not the only ones. Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani national, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who lived the American dream: He arrived on a student visa, married an American citizen, graduated from college, worked his way up the corporate ladder to become a junior financial analyst for a cosmetics company in Connecticut, became a naturalized citizen at the age of 30 and then, a year later, in 2010, tried to blow up as many of his fellow citizens as possible in a failed car bombing in New York's Times Square.
Prior to sentencing, the judge asked Mr. Shahzad about the oath of allegiance he had taken, in which he did "absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen." The defendant replied: "I sweared [sic], but I didn't mean it." He then expressed his regret about the failure of his plot and added that he would gladly have sacrificed a thousand lives in the service of Allah. He concluded by predicting the downfall of his new homeland... The naturalized citizen swears to "support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic…bear true faith and allegiance to the same…[and] bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law." Naturalized citizens tie their own destiny to the destiny of this society, not their former one, for better or worse. So the potential bomber takes an oath to defend the Constitution and the U.S. against all enemies, while committed in his heart to a radically different political order.

The challenge that this would-be bomber poses for us is not to change our foreign policy or improve economic conditions in the Muslim world. We already do that. The challenge is to uncover the deceit of such phony citizens..."I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion: so help me God." Those closing words of the Oath of Allegiance are now etched indelibly in my memory. But as I said them, I thought of the Tsarnaev brothers, whose mental reservations about America grew to the point that they were prepared to sow murder and mayhem.
Immigration reform that does not make it harder for such people to settle in the U.S. would be, to say the least, very incomplete. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Althouse: IRS Scandal May Mean GOP Took Dive in 2012 Election...


Robert Spencer on Islam v Islamism


Moderate Islam is a solution that does not exist, and can only be a solution if it could be successfully invented. Calling upon Muslims to renounce the aspects of their theology that violate basic human rights will never be effective if we do not acknowledge that those aspects exist -- and that requires talking about Islam. As I said in that National Review article: "Andy is wrong in his claim that I have ever said that any form of Islam is 'the only Islam,' but the fact is that throughout its history, and in all its theological, legal, and sectarian manifestations, Islam has always been supremacist and political. Acknowledging that is simply acknowledging reality. Pro-Western Muslim reformers have to start there. In Christian history, the Protestant reformers did not pretend that Church doctrine was other than what it was. They confronted and refuted portions of that doctrine. But Andy seems to expect contemporary Islamic reformers to succeed by pretending that Islam is not what its authoritative texts teach and what it always has been historically. He says that he does not see 'what purpose is served' by telling Islamic reformers that 'Islam is incorrigibly supremacist and political.' But if it is supremacist and political, whether 'incorrigibly' or not, then sincere reformers have to start there in order to fix it. Wishful thinking and self-deception are not reform. Ultimately those doctrines can be combatted only by actually combatting them."
I stand by that.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

NY Times Blog (but not newspaper) Coverage of Save New York Public Library Rally

Barry Rubin on Benghazi's Tragic Importance

There is something terribly and tragically and importantly symbolic about the Benghazi attack that may be lost in the tidal wave of details about what happened on September 11, 2012, in an incident where four American officials were murdered in a terrorist attack. This point stands at the heart of everything that has happened in American society and intellectual life during the last decade.

And that point is this:

America was attacked once again on that September 11, attacked by al-Qaida in an attempt to destroy the United States—as ridiculous as that goal might seem. Yet the U.S. government blamed the attack on America itself.


The truth is, however, extremely simple: The United States faces a revolutionary Islamist movement that will neither go away nor moderate itself. To understand this movement and its ideology, how it is and is not rooted in Islam, its weaknesses and divisions, the forces willing to help combat it, and ways to devise strategies to battle it is the prime international need for the moment.

It is as necessary to do these things for revolutionary Islamism today as it was to do the same things regarding Nazism in the 1930s and 1940s; and for Communism in the 1940s and 1950s.

And finally what could be more symbolic than the hiring of Islamist terrorists to guard the consulate, men who deserted or even turned their guns against the Americans there? It is truly symbolic because the Obama Administration has turned to Islamists—in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Syria, and elsewhere--in the belief that they are best suited to guard U.S. interests in the Middle East.

In discussing the Benghazi affair none of these broader issues should be forgotten. It was not merely an order for the American rescue forces to “stand down” but for the United States to bow down.

Monday, May 06, 2013

RubinReports on Syria


There is no good alternative. The Christians, Druze, Alawites, and even some of the urban Sunni middle and upper classes want Assad to win because they are afraid of the Islamists. Yet in strategic terms the weakening of Tehran and Hizballah by Assad's fall is by a small margin better for U.S. interests. The official Free Syrian Army and the handpicked exile leadership--headed by a mild version of a Muslim Brotherhood supporter long resident in Texas--are of no real importance on the ground though their doings fill the Western news.

This is the mess now faced by the Obama Administration. It could have been avoided if the president had understood from the start that he should have supported moderate, not Islamist forces. using covert operations and even helping local warlords and pious Syrian traditionalist  forces.  Instead, before the civil war broke out he first backed the radical regime in Syria, America’s enemy and Iran's client state, and then only when the revolt made that stance impossible he switched to the rebels, empowering the opposition Islamists every step of the way.

But then he didn’t want to do what his predecessors would have done. Curiously, Obama believed that Islamist rule is good because it would moderate the radicals, deter terrorists from attacking America, and make enemies into friends. In Syria today there is no good choice. No matter which side wins—the Syrian regime as part of the Iranian bloc of Shia Islamists or the rebels as part of the Muslim Brotherhood bloc of Sunni Islamists—the winners will be radical Islamists. In fact, if Assad creates a fortress in the Alawite region of the northwest stretching down to Damascus, it will be both varieties of Islamists simultaneously.

It is a tragedy. I remember when I met a Syrian democratic dissident about three years ago and as he was leaving to return home he asked me, "Do you think there will ever be real democracy in Syria?" I choked up because I didn't want to lie to him. He saw my expression and said sadly, "Well, perhaps in my childrens' time." 

For a while, hope sprung up that the country might undergo a transformation. The conservative periphery rose up against the centers of power that had so long oppressed it. These people were pious Sunni Muslims angry at decades of a regime that was a combination of secularist dictatorship and Alawite (supposedly Shia Muslim) ethnic domination. They might have found a relatively moderate leadership, as happened in Iraq.

Yet that just didn't happen. The West failed to get behind potential leaders; the Islamists were better organized and more willing to sacrifice their lives. It could well be argued that if anyone has to win it should be the rebels since that would be a devastating defeat for Iran and Hizballah, because also the Sunni Islamist bloc lacks a patron to finance an aggressive anti-Western, anti-Israel program and to supply arms for it. But can one be enthusiastic about those who want to impose a new dictatorship, carry out ethnic massacres, include al-Qaida, and might even use nerve gas to make propaganda?

Sadly, the truth is that there are Islamists all the way down.

Rally to Save the New York Public Library

> Dear friend -
> Take action to save the 42nd Street Library and stop the Central Library Plan! We have received multiple reports that the historic seven-story book stacks in the 42nd Street Research Library have now been emptied. Removing the books is a prelude to the planned demolition of the stacks later this year or early in 2014.
> There are two things you can do:
> Join us for a rally on Wednesday, May 8th, during the quarterly meeting of the New York Public Library Trustees. The rally will begin at 3:30 PM in front of the 42nd Street Library facing 5th Avenue. The rally will start promptly! We want to have a strong presence as the Trustees enter the building for their meeting. If you can't make it at 3:30, join us after work at 5 PM to greet the Trustees on their way out. The rally is being cosponsored by our friends at Citizens Defending Libraries.
> To promote the rally, we have been leafleting outside the 42nd Street Library daily. Join us from Noon to 1 PM this coming Monday (May 6) and Tuesday (May 7). We will have plenty of flyers, and also have signs to hold.
> Second, please help spread the word about our new website:
> Publicize our site via social media, via twitter, via linking from your blog, via plain old-fashioned word-of-mouth. If you have friends who you think might be concerned about preserving the integrity of the 42nd Street Research Library, our website is an easy way to introduce them to the issue.
> The Central Library Plan, at enormous cost to New York City and its taxpayers, would irreparably damage the 42nd Street Research Library – one of the world’s great reference libraries and a historic landmark. The NYPL plans to demolish the Library’s historic seven-story book stacks, install a circulating library in their stead, and displace 1.5 million books to central New Jersey. The new circulating library would be a reduced-size replacement for the Mid-Manhattan Library (at 40th and 5th Avenue) and SIBL (Science, Industry and Business Library, at 34th and Madison), which would both be sold.
> • The plan will cost $350 million (probably more), of which $150 million will come from New York City taxpayers.
> • The plan will jam patrons of the circulating library into a space one-third the size of the existing Mid-Manhattan Library and SIBL.
> • The plan will threaten the 42nd Street Library’s role as one of the world’s great research libraries, and threaten the architectural integrity of the landmarked 42nd Street building.
> • The plan does not take into consideration more efficient and less destructive alternatives, such as combining SIBL and the Mid-Manhattan into a rehabilitated and expanded building on the Mid-Manhattan site.
> Underlying our concerns is the extraordinarily closed process through which the Library administration has made its decisions. Despite the fact that the 42nd Street building is owned by the City and is one of our most iconic structures, the plan was formulated with minimal public notification and no public input. The $150 million which the City has earmarked towards the project was awarded without any oversight by the City Council and with no public hearings. If alternatives have been seriously considered they have never been disclosed, and no cost-benefit analysis or detailed budget has ever been presented to the public.
> It has become increasingly apparent that the CLP is part of a larger effort by New York City’s public library systems to shrink their capacity and sell off valuable real estate, which started with the controversial sale in 2008 of the beloved Donnell Library to real estate developers.
> For more information or to join our low-volume email list, see www.savenypl.org
> Thank you!
> The Committee to Save the New York Public Library
232 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10003

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Eric Schmidt on the Importance of Teachers in the Digital Classroom

Thank you Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, for saying this about teachers in the Q&A for The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business at the New America Foundation on May 3rd. Video link: http://youtu.be/kEmwIo6xNZQ.

 "The role of the teacher becomes more important when there's infinite information, not less. So, you would conclude from reading our book that we believe that teachers, and particularly human teachers, and judgement, are more important in the presence of all this information, and that we are delighted that all of these tools and techniques and so forth will get there. The best scenario by far is an empowered teacher, an excited student, and an infinite amount of information...(on YouTube clip at 54:10-54:55).