11 August 2008 @ 8:19AM >>
When a large world power invades a sovereign country in order to control the flow of oil
, well, that’s the sort of storyline that normally brings hundreds of thousands of protesters to the streets chanting “No War for Oil.”
So, undoubtedly, we will soon see the masses of the world rise up and condemn Russia for its naked aggression against its smaller neighbor, Georgia.
I’ll be waiting, but I won’t be holding my breath.
14 July 2008 @ 8:50AM >>
In Canada, there is no such thing as free speech. Say something someone doesn’t like, and you can end up in front of a “Human Rights Commission,” which has the power to punish you and even restrict what you might say in the future. These courts also have no rules of evidence, and the truth of what you’ve said is not a defense. The only thing that matters is whether someone from a group higher up in the Multicultural Hierarchy
is willing to stand up and accuse you. Perhaps that explains why these commissions have a 100% conviction rate.
Ezra Levant is a journalist currently on trial in Canada. Recently, he spoke before a congressional caucus in Washington:
My expertise in the subject matter of today’s session was not acquired voluntarily, but by unhappy experience: I have been the subject of government persecution for my political and religious views for nearly 900 days. Unfortunately, stories like mine are not uncommon in the world. But they’re not supposed to happen in Canada, one of the freest countries.
In February of 2006, I was the publisher of a Canadian magazine called the Western Standard. We published a news story about the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, and the riots in the Muslim world that followed. To illustrate what all the fuss was about, we accompanied the story with pictures of several of those cartoons. It was a news story in a news magazine.
Before our magazine even hit the streets, a radical imam named Syed Soharwardy asked the police to arrest me - for blaspheming against Islam. The police didn’t, of course. But the Alberta “human rights commission”, a government agency, accepted Soharwardy’s complaint, and then an identical one from the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities. The government has been investigating me ever since, including summoning me to a 90-minute interrogation. According to access to information documents, no fewer than 15 bureaucrats are working on my case. I’m a major crime scene!
Since then, Canada’s largest news magazine, called Maclean’s - our equivalent to Time magazine - was sued in three different human rights commissions for writing about the demographic growth of Islam in the West. And the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, the largest newspaper in Atlantic Canada, is being pursued by Nova Scotia’s human rights commission for printing an editorial cartoon depicting a local Muslim activist in a niqab - even though that is how she dresses.
In other words, Canadian human rights commissions — secular government organizations — are prosecuting religious fatwas. It’s a soft jihad against any criticism of radical Islam. It’s called “lawfare”, and it’s a greater danger to our western values of freedom, religious pluralism and the separation of church and state than the hard jihad of terrorism is. Even if targets like Maclean’s eventually “win”, they lose; the process is the punishment - and the chill affects everyone else.
Canadian human rights commissions, however, are not respectful of the sensitivities of all religions. Less politically correct faiths are regularly prosecuted by them. This May, an Alberta pastor named Stephen Boissoin was given a lifetime gag order, never to say anything critical of homosexuality - not in a church sermon, not even in private e-mails. As well, in what can only be called a Maoist verdict, he has been ordered to renounce his religious beliefs, and to publish a self-denunciation in the local newspaper.
This is Canada we’re talking about. Not Iran, not China, not Cuba.
The actual wording of the laws is to ban anything that is quote, “likely to expose a person to hatred or contempt”. Note the word “likely” - you don’t actually have to do anything wrong. You can be convicted for a “pre-crime”, something that hasn’t happened yet. And look at what’s illegal: causing emotions. Not real harm or damages. Just exposing someone to feelings. By the way, the truth of what you say is not a defence. And at the Maclean’s magazine trial last month, half a day was spent determining whether their jokes were funny. They even had a joke expert.
Don’t laugh - literally. Just three weeks ago, a comedian was ordered to stand trial for telling off-colour jokes in a night club. Warning to Chris Rock: don’t bother coming to Canada.
If the government of Canada doesn’t allow freedom of thought or speech, then Canada effectively allows no freedom at all.
7 July 2008 >>
According to London’s Telegraph
, British “[t]oddlers who turn their noses up at spicy food from overseas could be branded racists by a Government-sponsored agency.”
The paper’s political correspondent Rosa Prince reports:
The National Children’s Bureau, which receives lb12 million a year, mainly from Government funded organisations, has issued guidance to play leaders and nursery teachers advising them to be alert for racist incidents among youngsters in their care.
The 366-page guide for staff in charge of pre-school children, called Young Children and Racial Justice, warns: “Racist incidents among children in early years settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships.”
It advises nursery teachers to be on the alert for childish abuse such as: “blackie”, “Pakis”, “those people” or “they smell”.
The guide goes on to warn that children might also “react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying ‘yuk’”.
Staff are told: “No racist incident should be ignored. When there is a clear racist incident, it is necessary to be specific in condemning the action.”
1 July 2008 >>
The Islamification of Great Britain
A police force has apologised to Islamic leaders for the “offensive” postcard advertising a new non-emergency telephone number, which shows a six-month-old trainee police dog named Rebel.
The German shepherd puppy has proved hugely popular with the public, hundreds of who have logged on to the force’s website to read his online training diary.
But some Muslims in the Dundee area have reportedly been upset by the image because they consider dogs to be “ritually unclean”, while shopkeepers have refused to display the advert.
Tayside Police have admitted they should have consulted their ‘diversity’ officers before issuing the cards, but critics argued their apology was unnecessary.
A spokesman for Tayside Police said that Rebel had proved “extremely popular” with children and adults since he joined the force aged six weeks.
He added: “His incredible world-wide popularity - he has attracted record visitor numbers to our website - led us to believe Rebel could play a starring role in the promotion of our non-emergency number.
“However, we did not seek advice from the force’s diversity adviser prior to publishing and distributing the postcards. That was an oversight and we apologise for any offence caused.”
9 June 2008 @ 9:06AM >>
At the art college of Cooper Union in New York City, a faculty-selected art exhibit features several controversial paintings by Felipe Baeza
. One painting, called “The day I became a Catholic,” features a man with his pants down and a crucifix shoved in his posterior.
What brave, groundbreaking art!
Baeza’s not stupid. He knows what groups he can offend and still make it through the faculty selection process. He knows Catholics aren’t going to erupt in a global orgy of violence over his paintings. He knows there will be no fatwas issued or calls for jihad. And he knows he won’t be slaughtered in broad daylight like Theo van Gogh.
He’ll simply piss off enough people to cause a stir, and that will help him sell his paintings. Cha-ching!
Yep, Baeza’s gonna get famous and nobody’s going to chop his head off. That’s why it’s smart to pick on Catholics, even though two decades after “Piss Christ,” it isn’t exactly edgy.
So where were all these gutsy artists and faculty members during the Cartoon Intifada? Fear and political correctness required that they stay silent as Muslims around the world rioted and killed over cartoons that were pretty tame compared to Baeza’s work.
It’s sad that so many people whose livelihoods rely on freedom of expression refuse to stand up in defense of that freedom whenever it is threatened.
Eventually, the only groups that will be criticized are those groups whose members won’t kill you over it.
Is that really the incentive structure we want to be creating?
2 June 2008 @ 8:29AM >>
When a blue-blooded old media outlet like the Washington Post
raises the possibility of victory in Iraq on its editorial pages, it’s news
THERE’S BEEN a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks — which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. While Washington’s attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have “never been closer to defeat than they are now.”
Iraq passed a turning point last fall when the U.S. counterinsurgency campaign launched in early 2007 produced a dramatic drop in violence and quelled the incipient sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites. Now, another tipping point may be near, one that sees the Iraqi government and army restoring order in almost all of the country, dispersing both rival militias and the Iranian-trained “special groups” that have used them as cover to wage war against Americans. It is — of course — too early to celebrate; though now in disarray, the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr could still regroup, and Iran will almost certainly seek to stir up new violence before the U.S. and Iraqi elections this fall. Still, the rapidly improving conditions should allow U.S. commanders to make some welcome adjustments — and it ought to mandate an already-overdue rethinking by the “this-war-is-lost” caucus in Washington, including Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
It is funny to see the editors say it’s “odd” that the stunning turnaround in Iraq isn’t getting more press coverage. If they think it’s under-reported, isn’t a rather simple solution to report it more? In fact, wouldn’t that be the only journalistically responsible thing to do?
After all, it’s not as though the Washington Post exists in a vacuum; if the paper decided to cover success in Iraq as vigorously as it covered failure, other media outlets would have a harder time continuing to peddle a storyline of defeat.
Eventually, politicians would even have to acknowledge the emerging reality. But as the Post notes, that might be problematic for certain candidates.
Perhaps that’s why these improvements aren’t being reported more.
Still, it’s refreshing to see the Post acknowledge the very real successes of the past year. Will other outlets follow suit?
22 May 2008 @ 8:13AM >>
The Guardian reports
A teenager is facing prosecution for using the word “cult” to describe the Church of Scientology.
The unnamed 15-year-old was served the summons by City of London police when he took part in a peaceful demonstration opposite the London headquarters of the controversial religion.
Officers confiscated a placard with the word “cult” on it from the youth, who is under 18, and a case file has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The incident happened during a protest against the Church of Scientology on May 10. Demonstrators from the anti-Scientology group, Anonymous, who were outside the church’s lb23m headquarters near St Paul’s cathedral, were banned by police from describing Scientology as a cult by police because it was “abusive and insulting”.
Writing on an anti-Scientology website, the teenager facing court said: “I brought a sign to the May 10th protest that said: ‘Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult.’
“‘Within five minutes of arriving I was told by a member of the police that I was not allowed to use that word, and that the final decision would be made by the inspector.”
After the exchange, a policewoman handed him a court summons and removed his sign.
Update: Sanity prevails, belatedly:
Legal action has been dropped against a 15-year-old who faced prosecution for branding Scientology a “cult”.
Lawyers for the human rights group Liberty represented the teenager in his legal battle.
James Welch from the organisation said: “The police may have ended their inquiries into this tawdry incident but rest assured that Liberty’s inquiry will continue.
“Democracy is all about clashing ideas and the police should protect peaceful protest, not stifle it.”
Update 2: Canada’s National Post explains why this reversal is not a victory for free speech:
It was quickly pointed out by civil libertarians that the eventual happy outcome did nothing to reverse the consequences of the initial error. If expressive materials at a public protest can be confiscated pending two weeks of review by prosecutors, then not much is left of the right to protest, practically speaking.
It constitutes no “victory” for freedom of expression that he was let off arbitrarily just because the public took his side against a secretive and widely ridiculed religious group. On the contrary: the police succeeded in communicating their real message to those who might wish to imitate him. Watch what you say. We have enough power to give you a hard time, whether the crown backs us up in the end or not. And make damned sure your targets are relatively unpopular, or you might not find so many columnists and activists leaping to your defence.
This is what comes of attempting to legislate offensiveness of speech and thought out of existence: all of us are left at the mercy of those who do the actual policing. In this case, it was a couple of ignorant coppers who decided they didn’t like the look of the “c” word.” In Canada, it might be some dowdy, politically connected empire-builder working in the office of a human rights tribunal. (Would it be actionable to say or write that “Islam is a cult” here? Who but someone with money, free time and a law degree would dare try?)
This is why the principles of free expression have to be guarded stringently in a liberal democracy, and why they cannot safely be subjected to nudging by those who think enforced politeness comes ahead of fundamental liberty. Any law allowing for the suppression of content because it might exasperate someone is bound to be tested more and more ambitiously until its actual political limits are found. And it will go on being tested, and go on growing in scope, as political sentiments change. And any such law will always end up being a more effective suppressant through the fear of inviting expense and trouble than it is by its actual application.
21 May 2008 @ 8:17AM >>
In a White House letter to the president of NBC News
, presidential advisor Ed Gillespie has some questions for the network that I’d love to see answered:
[P]lease allow me to take this opportunity to ask if your network has reconsidered its position that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war, especially in light of the fact that the unity government in Baghdad recently rooted out illegal, extremist groups in Basra and reclaimed the port there for the people of Iraq, among other significant signs of progress.
On November 27, 2006, NBC News made a decision to no longer just cover the news in Iraq, but to make an analytical and editorial judgment that Iraq was in a civil war. As you know, both the United States government and the Government of Iraq disputed your account at that time. As Matt Lauer said that morning on The Today Show: “We should mention, we didn’t just wake up on a Monday morning and say, ‘Let’s call this a civil war.’ This took careful deliberation.’”
I noticed that around September of 2007, your network quietly stopped referring to conditions in Iraq as a “civil war.” Is it still NBC News’s carefully deliberated opinion that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war? If not, will the network publicly declare that the civil war has ended, or that it was wrong to declare it in the first place?
And if NBC News no longer believes there’s a civil war in Iraq, given all the fanfare over the network’s initial announcement, why didn’t NBC ever publicly admit to undeclaring civil war?
20 May 2008 @ 8:52AM >>
In yesterday’s, “The Coming Nanny State Fat Camp
,” I mentioned two excuses Nanny Statists will use to get government to restrict people’s food intake and force them to exercise.
If this comment is any clue, those Nanny Statists have a friend in Barack Obama:
“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,” Obama said.
“That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen,” he added.
Millions around the globe have starved to death in recent years thanks to petty dictators and corrupt governments. But to Senator Obama, “leadership” means letting the rest of the world know that he blames the United States first.
America exports more food that any other nation on Earth, yet accounts for less than 5% of the world’s population.
When it comes to our net contribution to the world’s food supply, we are not the planet’s biggest problem.
But rather than implore, say, North Korea to abandon the bankrupt ideology that’s led to numerous mass starvations, a President Obama would prefer to subject the food intake of our private citizens to the approval of other countries.
Now that the senator seems to be preening for the job of Counselor-in-Chief of the Nanny State Fat Camp, his wife’s odd comments from earlier in the year suddenly make more sense:
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
8 May 2008 >>
The Associated Press reports
A Malaysian Islamic court allowed a Muslim convert Thursday to return to her original faith of Buddhism, setting a precedent that could ease religious minorities’ worries about their legal rights.
Lawyers said the Shariah High Court’s verdict in the northern state of Penang was the first time in recent memory that a convert has been permitted to legally renounce Islam in this Muslim-majority nation.
A rising number of disputes about religious conversions has sparked anxiety among minorities — predominantly Buddhist, Christian and Hindu — because in the past courts virtually always ruled against people seeking to leave Islam.
Penang’s Shariah court, however, granted Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah’s request to be declared a non-Muslim. She embraced Islam in 1998 because she wanted to marry an Iranian, but claimed she never truly practiced the religion.
“I am very happy,” Siti, a 39-year-old ethnic Chinese cake seller, told The Associated Press by telephone. “I want to go to the temple to pray and give thanks.”
The Shariah court, which governs Muslims’ personal conduct and religious lives, ruled that Siti’s husband and Islamic authorities failed to give her proper religious advice.
“So you can’t blame her for her ignorance of the teachings and wanting to convert out,” said Ahmad Munawir Abdul Aziz, a lawyer for the Islamic Affairs Council in Penang.
1 May 2008 >>
Get ready to start surrendering more of your rights to government. You knew the Nannycrats wouldn’t stop at smoking, fast food and foie gras
. Now they’ve got their crosshairs zeroed in on that modern-day horror, the thing most of us dread and fear... you guessed it...
[Baltimore City Councilman James Kraft] equated using plastic bags with Nazi extermination tactics at a City Council meeting earlier this week.
“We don’t want to be criticized by future generations for not doing enough now as were those who dealt with the Germans then,” Kraft said.
So what follows? Should those who use plastic bags be charged with murder? Genocide?
No one can claim plastic bags help the environment. But he hurts his cause by outsizing their danger by orders of magnitude - especially when similar plans have failed throughout the rest of [Maryland].
Bills in both Anne Arundel County and the state legislature failed to make it into law in the past year. And studies show plastic bags are cheaper and require less energy to make than paper bags.
They are also much less environmentally-unfriendly than people like Councilman Kraft believe, according to the London Times:
Scientists and environmentalists have attacked a global campaign to ban plastic bags which they say is based on flawed science and exaggerated claims.
The widely stated accusation that the bags kill 100,000 animals and a million seabirds every year are false, experts have told The Times. They pose only a minimal threat to most marine species, including seals, whales, dolphins and seabirds.
Campaigners say that plastic bags pollute coastlines and waterways, killing or injuring birds and livestock on land and, in the oceans, destroying vast numbers of seabirds, seals, turtles and whales. However, The Times has established that there is no scientific evidence to show that the bags pose any direct threat to marine mammals.
They “don’t figure” in the majority of cases where animals die from marine debris, said David Laist, the author of a seminal 1997 study on the subject. Most deaths were caused when creatures became caught up in waste produce. “Plastic bags don’t figure in entanglement,” he said. “The main culprits are fishing gear, ropes, lines and strapping bands. Most mammals are too big to get caught up in a plastic bag.”
The central claim of campaigners is that the bags kill more than 100,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds every year. However, this figure is based on a misinterpretation of a 1987 Canadian study in Newfoundland, which found that, between 1981 and 1984, more than 100,000 marine mammals, including birds, were killed by discarded nets. The Canadian study did not mention plastic bags.
Fifteen years later in 2002, when the Australian Government commissioned a report into the effects of plastic bags, its authors misquoted the Newfoundland study, mistakenly attributing the deaths to “plastic bags”.
The figure was latched on to by conservationists as proof that the bags were killers. For four years the “typo” remained uncorrected. It was only in 2006 that the authors altered the report, replacing “plastic bags” with “plastic debris”.
Nevertheless, knowledge of this error will not quell the Nannies’ desires to meddle more.
Bored people seeking the tingle of power are drawn to becoming Nannies because they get to feel morally superior while also controlling the behavior of others. It’s a win-win.
So I predict, the campaign against plastic bags will continue.
27 April 2008 @ 11:49AM >>
Senator Barack Obama’s “spiritual advisor” and pastor of 20 years is the gift that keeps on giving... to the Senator’s opponents:
We cannot see how what we are doing is the same thing al-Qaeda is doing under a different color flag, calling on the name a different God to sanction and approve our murder and our mayhem.-Reverend Jeremiah Wright
(Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt.)
22 April 2008 >>
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri seems upset that conspiracy theorists are robbing his terrorist network of the recognition it deserves.
Al-Zawahiri also denied a conspiracy theory that Israel carried out the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., and he blamed Iran and Shiite Hezbollah for spreading the idea to discredit the Sunni al Qaeda’s achievement.
Hey, Ayman! Don’t forget that the Western left has a stake in promoting the al-Qaeda-didn’t-do-it theory. After all, if they’re forced to acknowledge that the attack was perpetrated by al Qaeda, then they can’t also claim it was an “inside job” orchestrated by the U.S. government.
Al-Zawahiri accused Hezbollah’s al-Manar television of starting the rumor.
“The purpose of this lie is clear — (to suggest) that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it,” he said.
And plenty of Westerners have bought into it, too.
13 April 2008 >>
A lack of action in Iraq leads to a pretty funny conversation in this video
(Hat tip: Peter Mertz.)
8 April 2008 >>
In the 1980s and ’90s, many schools began adding children’s books to the curriculum that portrayed gay relationships. At the time, some people objected, but the people who objected did not outrank gays in the Multicultural Hierarchy
, so the books stayed in the classroom.
But because multiculturalism depends more on faddish following than coherent philosophy, today’s politically correct darlings can be quickly cast aside as more exotic and fashionable groups are anointed with Victim Status.
In the schools of one British town, gays are now being looked on as no better than those rapacious Dead White Males who, because they fanned out from Europe over centuries past to destroy everything good in the world, needed to be purged from the curriculum.
Say hello to multiculturalism’s new power constituency:
Two primary schools have withdrawn storybooks about same-sex relationships after objections from Muslim parents.
Up to 90 gathered at the schools to complain about the books which are aimed at pupils as young as five.
One story, titled King & King, is a fairytale about a prince who turns down three princesses before marrying one of their brothers.
Another named And Tango Makes Three features two male penguins who fall in love at a New York zoo.
Bristol City Council said the two schools had been using the books to ensure they complied with gay rights laws which came into force last April.
They were intended to help prevent homophobic bullying, it said.
But the council has since removed the books from Easton Primary School and Bannerman Road Community School, both in Bristol.
A book and DVD titled That’s a Family!, which teaches children about different family set-ups including gay or lesbian parents, has also been withdrawn.
The decision was made to enable the schools to “operate safely” after parents voiced their concerns at meetings.
Members of the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society said parents were upset at the lack of consultation over the use of the materials.
Farooq Siddique, community development officer for the society and a governor at Bannerman Road, said there were also concerns about whether the stories were appropriate for young children.
He added: “In Islam homosexual relationships are not acceptable, as they are not in Christianity and many other religions but the main issue is that they didn’t bother to consult with parents.”
15 March 2008 @ 1:56PM >>
The Associated Press reports
on the latest attempt to impose Sharia standards on Western civilization:
The Muslim world has created a battle plan to defend its religion from political cartoonists and bigots.
Concerned about what they see as a rise in the defamation of Islam, leaders of the world’s Muslim nations are considering taking legal action against those that slight their religion or its sacred symbols. It was a key issue during a two-day summit that ended Friday in this western Africa capital.
The Muslim leaders are attempting to demand redress from nations like Denmark, which allowed the publication of cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad in 2006 and again last month, to the fury of the Muslim world.
Though the legal measures being considered have not been spelled out, the idea pits many Muslims against principles of freedom of speech enshrined in the constitutions of numerous Western governments.
“I don’t think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy,” said Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade, the chairman of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. “There can be no freedom without limits.”
“Muslims are being targeted by a campaign of defamation, denigration, stereotyping, intolerance and discrimination,” charged Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the secretary general of the group.
The report urges the creation of a “legal instrument” to crack down on defamation of Islam. Some delegates point to laws in Europe criminalizing the denial of the Holocaust and other anti-Semitic rhetoric. They also point to articles within various U.N. charters that condemn discrimination based on religion and argue that these should be ramped up.
“In our relation with the western world, we are going through a difficult time,” Ihsanoglu told the summit’s general assembly. “Islamophobia cannot be dealt with only through cultural activities but (through) a robust political engagement.”
Hemayet Uddin, the lead author of the OIC report and head of cultural affairs for the group said legal action is needed because “this Islamophobia that we see in the world has gone far beyond a phobia. It is now at the level of hatred, of xenophobia, and we need to act.”
A new charter drafted by the OIC commits the Muslim body “to protect and defend the true image of Islam” and “to combat the defamation of Islam.”
The image if Islam isn’t damaged by people criticizing the excesses of the Jihadists, it is damaged by people who commit murder and other atrocities in the name of Islam. If the OIC spent as much time trying to stamp out the extremism in their own ranks, maybe the world’s perception of Islam would be a little better. But instead of trying to rein in the extremists who kill in the name of Islam, the OIC wants to prevent anyone from even discussing it.
The West has a long tradition of allowing very strong and sometimes quite pungent criticism of religion. Here in America, we’re so tolerant that if you want to put a Christian cross in a jar of urine, you can get a government grant as long as you call it “art.” If you smear elephant dung on an image of the Virgin Mary, we’ll feature it in one of our nation’s most prominent museums. But if the OIC and their multicultural enablers in the West had their way, legitimate commentary on the state of the world—such as a cartoon depicting Muhammad with a bomb in his turban—would be illegal.
If the OIC wants respect, they should start by focusing their anger at the people who really are tarnishing Islam by killing in its name. And stop demanding that the West carve out a special exemption for Islam that no other religion enjoys.
7 March 2008 @ 8:13AM >>
Separate but equal, in the name of multiculturalism
Six times a week, Harvard kicks all the guys out of the Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center at the request of the Harvard Islamic Society. This is to accommodate those female Muslim students whose faith won’t let them work out in front of men.
In the old days, Harvard would have laughed if some Catholic or evangelical mother urged “girls-only” campus workouts in the name of modesty. Today, Harvard happily implements Sharia swim times in the name of Mohammed.
At Harvard, that’s called progress.
When I asked Harvard spokesman Bob Mitchell about this new Sharia-friendly policy, he denied that they were banning anyone. “No, no,” he told me, “we’re permitting women to work out in an environment that accommodates their religion.”
By banning all men from the facility, right?
“It’s not ‘banning,’” he insisted. “We’re allowing, we’re accommodating people.”
Mark Steyn comments:
In Minneapolis last year, the airport licensing authority, faced with a mainly Muslim crew of cab drivers refusing to carry the blind, persons with six-packs of Bud, slatternly women, etc, proposed instituting two types of taxis with differently colored lights, one of which would indicate the driver was prepared to carry members of identity groups that offend Islam. Forty years ago, advocating separate drinking fountains made you a racist. Today, advocating separate taxi cabs or separate swimming sessions makes you a multiculturalist.
And Glenn Reynolds adds, “Meanwhile, some readers wonder if Harvard will close its gyms to openly gay men at certain hours, so that straight men who are made uncomfortable by gays can work out without being uncomfortable. It appears that they’re in sync with Islamic thought.”
3 March 2008 @ 7:49AM >>
Sharia law now governs the content of art exhibits
A Berlin gallery has closed an exhibition of satirical art by the controversial Danish group Surrend after receiving threats from a group of Muslims. The men were objecting to a picture of the Kaaba at Mecca under the title “Dumb Stone.”
Eighteen months ago, the severed head of Muhammad was enough to get an opera temporarily cancelled in Berlin. This time around, it’s an irreverent image of the Kaaba in Mecca that has caused an exhibition in the German capital to shut its doors.
But there is one major difference between the two incidents: Whereas the mere spectre of possible attacks was enough to get the Deutsche Oper to put the kibosh on a Mozart opera in 2006, Berlin’s Galerie Nord closed its doors this week after a group of Muslims walked into the gallery and threatened staff with violence.
“It was a very explosive situation,” Jan Egesborg, whose satirical art group Surrend created the Galerie Nord exhibition, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “We don’t want to be part of the current Islamophobic tendency in Europe. We weren’t trying to provoke Muslims.”
The exhibition, called “ZOG — Surrend,” opened last Friday and was scheduled to run until the end of March. Conceived by the controversial Danish satirical art group, it included a picture of the black, cube-shaped Kaaba in the Muslim holy city of Mecca. Above the image, a headline read “Dumb Stone.” Gallery manager Ralf Hartmann decided on Tuesday to shut down the show after six men believed to have been Muslims turned up demanding that the image be removed. The men reportedly threatened the staff with violence should they not comply.
The president of Berlin’s influential Academy of Arts, Klaus Staeck, who opened the exhibition last week, expressed his support for the Danish group Friday. “I extend my solidarity to all artists ... whose work is threatened by violent people who hold different beliefs,” Staeck said, adding that he hoped the exhibition could re-open soon.
Egesborg, one of the four artists who created the works in the exhibition, said that the exhibition was intended to satirize the far-right “Zionist Occupied Government” (ZOG) conspiracy theory, which holds that groups of Jews are secretly running certain countries. “If we were trying to provoke anyone, then it was the neo-Nazis,” Egesborg said.
He explained that Surrend “could not make good satirical art about the ZOG theme without making fun of radical Islam,” given that such anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are popular in the Middle East. He described the exhibition, which also satirizes Jewish extremists, as “very balanced,” adding: “That’s why the attack is so ignorant. We are surprised as a group by the reaction.”
Silly Europeans. Haven’t they figured out by now that you can’t criticize radical Islam?
23 February 2008 @ 10:03AM >>
It no longer matters whether you live in a Western country that respects free speech. If you dare say anything critical of radical Islam, the long arm of Sharia law will still try to reach out and choke you
Iran has urged the Netherlands to block a planned anti-Koran film, citing Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights as the legal basis for doing so. [...] Iran’s Justice Minister Gholamhossein Elham asked his Dutch counterpart Ernst Hirsch Ballin to use European human rights law to stop a European from exercising one of those most basic rights. Freedom of expression has been the rallying cry of those who defended the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten for publishing the Mohammad cartoons - and republishing the most controversial one (the turban bomb) this week after a death threat against the artist who drew it.
On Friday, Iran’s news agency IRNA reported on the letter, which the Dutch government told NRC Handelsblad it had not yet received. IRNA wrote the following [...]:
“You can stop the process of this satanic and highly intriguing move resorting to articles in European Convention on Human Rights ... We, too, know and respect the freedom of expression, but insulting the sanctities and ethical values on that pretext is totally unacceptable.”
Elham reminded Balin of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, where it states, “...On this basis, observing freedom of expression, keeping in mind the responsibilities thereof, can be restricted in order to avoid the occurrence of chaotic social conditions, commiting crimes, safeguarding ethical values, or the others’ rights.”
Iran’s Justice Minister at the end of his letter to his Dutch counterpart considers the movie insulting against the most sacred sanctity of the world Muslims, a satanic move that can intrigue social unrest, and violating the rights of the entire world Muslims, asking for immediate halting of the blasphemous film’s production.
If you assume that complaints like this won’t go anywhere, you haven’t been paying attention.
8 February 2008 @ 9:24AM >>
That’s what you’d have to say if the Archbishop of Canterbury had his way
The Archbishop of Canterbury has today said that the adoption of Islamic Sharia law in the UK is “unavoidable” and that it would help maintain social cohesion.
Rowan Williams told BBC Radio 4’s World At One that the UK has to “face up to the fact” that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.
He says that Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court. He added Muslims should not have to choose between “the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty”.
Great idea. Let Sharia law govern marital disputes. If that happens, Britain is one step closer to legalizing the killing of Muslim women, as long as the murderers are male relatives.
Thankfully, the misguided Archbishop doesn’t go quite so far as to suggest that British law should never apply to Muslims, and therefore under his scheme there would be a right to “appeal” to British common law:
“It would be quite wrong to say that we could ever license a system of law for some community which gave people no right of appeal, no way of exercising the rights that are guaranteed to them as citizens in general.
But still, setting up parallel rules of law for different communities is a great way to ensure the eventual disintegration of a society. With honor killings already occurring in Western societies, granting legitimacy to separate judicial systems is a further signal that Muslims in Western countries will not be held to Western standards.
If such a plan is instituted, eventually, someone will argue that this partial accommodation of Sharia law is insufficient and that by putting British law above Sharia law, Muslim are in effect second-class citizens. And the multicultural enablers in Britain will be convinced that this is true, that Sharia law should not take a back seat to British law. They will say that bigotry is the reason that Sharia law is subordinate to British law, and the only way to end the bigotry is for Muslims communities to have full control over policing their own affairs.
In the long run, there is no way to partially apply Sharia law. Either it applies, or it does not. And if it applies, then Muslims in Britain would have no more rights than Muslims in Iran or Saudi Arabia.
1 February 2008 @ 8:34AM >>
In Canada, reviewing a fictional book can be considered evidence of a hate crime.
Mark Steyn, who is currently being brought up on hate speech charges by an extrajudicial government arm inappropriately called a “Human Rights Commission,” once reviewed a novel depicting a future in which America succumbs to Sharia law by the year 2040.
Steyn’s description of the book’s plot points is now being cited as evidence of “blatant Islamophobia,” to which he responds:
But the plaintiffs, and presumably the "human rights investigators" to whom they took their complaint, apparently believe that describing the plot of a novel should be actionable. I wonder how, say, Margaret Atwood feels about that. A few years back, she wrote her own dystopian theocratic fantasy about an America renamed the Republic of Gilead and under the thumb of a Falwell-Schlaflyesque Christian tyranny. What's to stop a Christian group taking a doting Atwood reviewer - or maybe the author herself - to a Canadian "human rights" kangaroo court? C'mon, you leftie novelists, what do you think there’ll be left for you to write about once the plot of a work of fiction becomes a recognized “hate crime”?
Of course, the “leftie novelists” probably aren’t worried. They’re in on the joke, and they know that hate speech laws will never be applied to them as long as their invective is directed at the right targets.
30 January 2008 @ 9:15AM >>
“The international media hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been reporting it prominently, so you may or may not know that rockets have been raining down on southern Israel regularly over the past few months
— as many as fifty a day.”
25 January 2008 >>
According to an upcoming 60 Minutes
report, Saddam Hussein lied about weapons of mass destruction
Saddam Hussein initially didn’t think the U.S. would invade Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction, so he kept the fact that he had none a secret to prevent an Iranian invasion he believed could happen. The Iraqi dictator revealed this thinking to George Piro, the FBI agent assigned to interrogate him after his capture.
“He told me he initially miscalculated... President Bush’s intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998...a four-day aerial attack,” says Piro. “He survived that one and he was willing to accept that type of attack.” “He didn’t believe the U.S. would invade?” asks Pelley, “No, not initially,” answers Piro.
Saddam still wouldn’t admit he had no weapons of mass destruction, even when it was obvious there would be military action against him because of the perception he did. Because, says Piro, “For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam. He thought that [faking having the weapons] would prevent the Iranians from reinvading Iraq,” he tells Pelley.
He also intended and had the wherewithal to restart the weapons program. “Saddam] still had the engineers. The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there,” says Piro. “He wanted to pursue all of WMD...to reconstitute his entire WMD program.” This included chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, Piro says.
By the time the war began, Saddam Hussein had already been subverting the U.N.’s Oil-for-Food program for years. U.N. bureaucrats and foreign officials around the globe were being paid by Saddam to look the other way as he used the Oil-for-Food program as his own personal slush fund in one of the biggest financial scams in human history.
In other words, the U.N.’s sanctions against Saddam were far worse than completely ineffective; they were helping Saddam’s regime.
Without war, sanctions would have eventually gone away, and the rest of the world would have been in the position of hoping that the Saddam Hussein was completely reformed and that his talk never turned into action.
Given Saddam’s history of filling mass graves, only a fool would stake their safety on that wishful thinking.
21 January 2008 @ 10:40AM >>
According to the Associated Press, “less than 1 percent” of the population of Belarus is Muslim. Nevertheless, it appears that Sharia law
has been instituted in the former Soviet republic
A Belarus court sentenced a newspaper editor Friday to three years in prison for reprinting a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad that sparked worldwide riots when it was initially published in a Danish newspaper.
Security officers in Belarus launched an investigation of Sdvizhkov in February 2006 when he published the caricatures which had originally appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
Fiery protests swept across Muslim countries in early 2006 in reaction to the Danish publication.
President Alexander Lukashenko ordered the paper shut the following month, calling the publication of the cartoon “a provocation against the state.” Sdvizhkov was arrested and charged with “inciting religious hatred” in November 2007 when he returned to Belarus following several months of living in Russia and Ukraine.
The Minsk City Court imposed its sentence Friday after a closed-door trial.
As Glenn Reynolds notes, “if you don’t want your religion dissed, you might as well start blowing people up. Obviously, it works. Nice incentive structure, there.”
13 January 2008 @ 12:20PM >>
I got to know David French in producing Indoctrinate U
. When I interviewed David, he was the head of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
, a non-partisan group that fights for the free speech and free thought rights of students and professors.
Recently, I got an update on David through a mutual friend, who pointed me to this, written by David’s wife Nancy:
I knew when my husband David French [...] watched the towers fall on 9/11 on his law firm’s television, he wanted to do something. Four years later, he did, by resigning from his role in the civil liberties arena and joining the Army Reserves. In 2007, he left the comfort of his home and family and went to Forward Operating Base Caldwell in Iraq where he serves as the Squadron Judge Advocate for Sabre (2d) Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment.
At Camp Caldwell, he has joined over a thousand soldiers who share less than a dozen phones and computers, making it impossible to stay in touch with family and friends back home.
David feels strongly about this form of service. And we made this decision as a family. David’s deployment has certainly challenged our family’s life. But we’ve been able to remain somewhat connected by sending him care packages. And many of our friends sent David care packages just as soon as we knew his mailing address.
However, David noticed many of the young soldiers receive nothing. Some have dysfunctional or almost no family support back home. Others come from very low income backgrounds where the families cannot afford to send many items.
To address this need, David and Nancy were involved in starting Operation Send-a-box:
Operation Send-a-Box aspires to send two care packages to every soldier in the Sabre squadron by the end of February—ambitious since there are over a thousand soldiers serving in this strategic location. The squadron’s chaplain has agreed to distribute packages to soldiers who have not yet received mail from home, beginning with the lowest ranked soldiers.
29 December 2007 @ 1:13PM >>
How did this Photoshopped picture make it from a satirical website run by some friends of mine to the Iranian Press TV website? For the hilarious story, visit The People’s Cube
16 December 2007 @ 5:05PM >>
One of my favorite writers is in trouble for speaking his mind
—and speaking the truth—in Canada:
Celebrated author Mark Steyn has been summoned to appear before two Canadian judicial panels on charges linked to his book “America Alone.”
The book, a No. 1 bestseller in Canada, argues that Western nations are succumbing to an Islamist imperialist threat. The fact that charges based on it are proceeding apace proves his point.
Steyn, who won the 2006 Eric Breindel Journalism Award (co-sponsored by The Post and its parent, News Corp), writes for dozens of publications on several continents. After the Canadian general-interest magazine Maclean’s reprinted a chapter from the book, five Muslim law-school students, acting through the auspices of the Canadian Islamic Congress, demanded that the magazine be punished for spreading “hatred and contempt” for Muslims.
The plaintiffs allege that Maclean’s advocated, among other things, the notion that Islamic culture is incompatible with Canada’s liberalized, Western civilization. They insist such a notion is untrue and, in effect, want opinions like that banned from publication.
Two separate panels, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, have agreed to hear the case. These bodies are empowered to hear and rule on cases of purported “hate speech.”
Of course, a ban on opinions - even disagreeable ones - is the very antithesis of the Western tradition of free speech and freedom of the press.
Indeed, this whole process of dragging Steyn and the magazine before two separate human-rights bodies for the “crime” of expressing an opinion is a good illustration of precisely what he was talking about.
It doesn’t matter whether Steyn and Maclean’s win the case. The mere fact that they are forced to go to court to defend their free speech rights is punishment enough, and it will encourage others in Canada to keep quiet.
Not everyone who runs afoul of the Speech Police will have the time, resources or resolve to fight for what is an obviously basic right in any truly free society. So this action will immediately silence an unknowable number of people whose opinions run the risk of offending Members of an Anointed Group.
Whatever the outcome, Canadians shouldn’t fear that they might lose their right to think freely. They should mourn, because that right is long gone.
16 December 2007 @ 10:36AM >>
If Muslims like Hassan Askari
and Mansoor Ijaz
got more attention from the media—and more support from their fellow believers around the world—we would have much less reason to worry about the future of humanity.
13 December 2007 >>
An “honor” killing
among our neighbors to the north:
A 16-year-old girl died in hospital late Monday night, hours after police in Mississauga received a call from a man saying he had killed his daughter.
Muhammad Parvez, 57, has been charged with murder in connection with the death of his daughter, Aqsa Parvez. He will appear Tuesday in a Brampton court.
The victim’s 26-year-old brother, Waqas Parvez, has been charged with obstructing police.
Students at nearby Applewood Heights Secondary School in Mississauga said the teen had recently clashed with her family after ceasing to wear a hijab and adopting a more Western style of dress.
According to police, the chain of events began yesterday morning with a phone call from a home near Hurontario Street and Eglinton Avenue.
“At 7:55 a.m., we received a 911 call from a man claiming that he had just killed his daughter,” Constable J.P. Valade of Peel Police said.
11 December 2007 @ 6:56PM >>
The headline above can be parsed in two different ways. A court in Iraq will soon try to determine which is more accurate.
Jim Hanson of Pajamas Media reports:
AP photographer Bilal Hussein was on the radar screen of US forces prior to his being detained in a chance encounter April 12, 2006. He was a stringer working in Fallujah who filed numerous reports and photos that seemed to need a high degree of cooperation from the terrorists. He has been in custody for 19 months and will soon face trial by the Iraqi government on charges related to his activities with Sunni insurgents in Fallujah and Ramadi. Evidence against him is expected to be given to the Iraqi government this week.
Hussein was in his house with Hamid Hamad Motib, a known al-Qaeda leader, last year when Marines wanted to use the house as an observation point. They determined Motib’s identity and status as a wanted terrorist and took both him and Hussein into custody. They also recovered a number of items that led them to believe that Hussein was involved in insurgent activities. The US will now provide the evidence it has to the Iraqi government.
Bilal Hussein had free reign [sic] to be anywhere and was often taking pictures in the company of insurgents and terrorists. He and the other stringers who made up AP’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo team managed to capture assassinations as they happened. They were on site at bombings within seconds to capture the carnage almost as it happened.
This access and the number of false reports of civilian deaths led the information operations staff to take note. They began monitoring Hussein more closely for two reasons: one they were tasked with countering or debunking false claims of civilian casualties and atrocities, second because Hussein’s very tight relations with the insurgents could be used against the Marines themselves.
The photo to the right was taken by Balil Hussein. It appears to show Italian hostage Salvatore Santoro shortly before he was executed. The Associated Press tries to defend Hussein by copping to a different journalistic no-no: that the photo was staged after Santoro’s execution.
Either way, Hussein had remarkable access to terrorists, and he routinely supplied photographs to AP that were useful propaganda for insurgents. By AP’s own admission, he dutifully waited while insurgents staged an execution scene, proving that he was an active participant in generating their propaganda.
So even if you give the Associated Press the benefit of the doubt, the best you can say is that their own evidence shows that Hussein was a willing tool of the insurgents.
Was he more than that?
Iraqi authorities will be seeking a verdict on that question soon enough.