(These ideas are explicated in this sloppy manifesto)

Friday, March 07, 2003
Islam-o-whopper: Bloody borders: Where Islam is not-actively-seeking converts

The Minneapolis Star-Tribube asks this Question of faith: "Does your faith encourage others to convert?" This is the whopper spun up by Amin Abdul Kader of the Masjid AlSalaam mosque in Maplewood, MN:
Islam is a global religion. But although it welcomes converts, it does not actively seek them. In Islam, choice is a critical tenet. God says: "And if so willed, God would have made all of you one nation." So God's plan is to leave the choice in the hands of the individuals. To Islam, the act of conversion is a serious act and is a relationship between that individual and his or her God. He or she has the task of examining, reflecting and sincerely choosing. Conversion by any other means is breaking the basic Islamic belief as the Qur'an states: "Let there be no compulsion in religion." Such compulsion can take different forms; physical, economical or political. And all are rejected by Islam. Furthermore, Islam stresses that such choice is sacred and should be respected no matter which religion it entails. This peaceful coexistence is mandated by the Qur'an: "Oh non-believers . . . unto you your religion and unto to me mine."
Now I can name dozens of places where Islam is now very actively "not-actively-seeking converts" by methods both savage and serene. I refer not to countries already 'endarkened,' to use Billy Beck's locution, by Islam, but to those currently in play, many along the historically "bloody borders" of already-endarkened states. Only a bald-faced (even if bearded) liar could say that Islam does not seek converts. And only an American newspaper could promulgate such a bald-faced lie...

Lew Rockwell to wake up with fleas--again...

Tonight's episode of NOW with Bill Moyers on (ick!) PBS features no less a Libertarian bigfoot than Lew Rockwell:
Bill Moyers talks to Lew Rockwell, a libertarian, free-market conservative and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, an organization he founded to advocate and promote the philosophy that the solution to our fiscal and social woes begins with smaller government. Mr. Rockwell comes to NOW to discuss the long-term economic effects of war.
Rockwell was invited to sit with Moyers (who never met a Communist platitude he wouldn't hype), in order to piss on the war. You may be assured that Lew will not be invited to comment of the morality of PBS, nor to discuss why he is willing to 'defend' the taxpayers with their own stolen funds.

A 'useful idiot' is someone who permits himself to be used, knowingly or not, in the cause of evil. Lew Rockwell cannot claim the lame excuse of ignorance. Those who remember the hideous, racist, xenophopic presidential campaign of Pat Buchanan remember this about Rockwell: This is not the first time he has made common cause with the enemies of liberty. George Bush and John Ashcroft may not be freedom's best friends, but we know from experience that people like Moyers and Buchanan are liberty's sworn enemies.

Islam watch: Looks like a job for Nick and Norm...

From United Press International:
An Akron businessman has been accused of diverting nearly $500,000 raised by illegal instant bingo lottery ticket sales to Islamic terrorists in Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Philip George Jr., 43, a Lebanese Christian born in the United States, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in Cincinnati Thursday for skimming money from the lottery, which operated from 1997 to 2000. He was convicted of 11 counts of gambling, money laundering and conspiracy last week.

During the sentencing hearing it was revealed state investigators are following the money from the pull-tab lottery game that was supposed to benefit Ohio charities to find out if some of the proceeds went to terrorist groups.

BurqaLib: The real thing...

The Age from Australia has a story about Muslim women pursuing actual liberation instead of telling lies about how free they already are:
A feminist revolution is spreading through the migrant housing estates of France. Mainly Muslim women have been protesting across the country against "the sexism and misery of the ghetto". Today, International Women's Day, they will meet in the Place de la Republique to give this message: "Ni putes ni soumises" - Neither whores nor submissive.

High unemployment and aimlessness in the housing estates, known as "cites", has given rise to a radical Islam that young migrant men, mainly from North Africa, believe gives them the right to treat women as chattels. Gang rapes, bashings and verbal harassment are common. Women not wearing the traditional long skirts and veils are jeered at and chased.

Last October in the Paris suburb of Vitry-sur-Seine, an 18-year-old man threw petrol over a 17-year-old girl who had rejected his advances, then set her alight while his friends watched. The young woman, Sohane Benziane, died later in hospital. It was her murder that drove the women, including Sohane's older sister, Kahine, to set up the organisation Ni Putes Ni Soumises. "We are the victims of the traditions and the religion," the group's website ( says.

If girls are not submissive, they are labelled sluts, says Kahine Benziane. "My sister was burned because she was rebellious. She broke the rule of the cite, which is to be submissive. To him, it was just like vandalising a car. Well, today some more of us are rebelling. We are sick and tired of this oppression."

Thursday, March 06, 2003
BurqaLib: Sitting on the knife...

In mid-January, Jon Venlet at Improved Clinch linked to a very disturbing short story called Cut. I commented at the time, a matter of literary cavilling. The Star, from South Africa, brings us the harrowing details of the real thing:
In most areas, the practice is to cut out part or all of the clitoris. But in southeastern Tambacounda, the most extreme form is performed: all of the external genitals are removed and the remaining tissue sealed, leaving a tiny opening.

Risks include shock, hemorrhaging and infections that kill. Abscesses, cysts and childbirth difficulties are common, causing pain throughout the woman's life. And as the same blade is often used on many girls, there are concerns about spreading HIV.

Diallo, now in her late 30s, was "sealed" to ensure that she would not become pregnant before marriage.

"From morning until night, I didn't stop bleeding," she said. "I didn't cry because I was afraid my friends would laugh at me."

The day she married, she had to be cut open again so she could have sex with her husband - a union women are expected to consummate while still bleeding, to prevent the wound from closing again.

Diallo suffered years of complications delivering 11 children. With her first son, she endured three days of labour and a painful bike ride to a health centre 11km away; the boy died soon after birth.

This did not stop her having three daughters circumcised. Without it, she thought at the time, they would never find husbands - their only guarantee of economic security.
They call it "sitting on the knife"...

Islam watch: From the horse's mouth...

In recent years, the issue of the legitimacy of suicide bombings in Islamic law has caused a considerable amount of controversy around the world. I am not a scholar, nor am I qualified to make any authoritative comments on this matter, but I have come to certain conclusions based upon my own studies. I believe that suicide bombings are not justified regardless of how desperate the conflict may be, or how limited the options of the resisting population. Killing civilians has been unanimously rejected by mainstream Muslim scholars throughout Islamic history.
Who said it? John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003
SplendorQuest: Holy, Roman, Catholic and Apostolic

During the Trent Lott fiasco, I said that I am a Roman Catholic for non-theological reasons. I had mail about that then, asking me to expand on what I had said. It's something I've been meaning to get to, something that has preyed upon my mind, but I have not gotten the job done--and I'm doing no more than a patch-and-paint to it now. But today is Ash Wednesday, and I am home from a very good Mass, and I am feeling very Catholic, my monolithic atheism notwithstanding.

My eleven-year-old son, Cameron, plays violin with the Children's Choir at St. Jerome's Parish in Phoenix, where we are members. Not as much because he is a virtuoso, although he shows promise in that direction, but because he is adept at sight-reading songs he's never seen before, he got to carry a lot of the instrumental load tonight. He was working from three huge books of scores, and I sat near him shuffling sheet music for him. Because the Roman Catholic Mass is so formalized, so ritualized, it is possible to do something else--be a musician or bumble along as the hand-servant to a musician--and never miss a response. We can go to Mass anywhere and miss not a single a cue.

The apocryphal doctrine of the Church means nothing to me. I would ridicule it if I thought about it, but it is not worth thinking about. I am completely with the Church on certain points--marriage, family, voluntary communities, etc.--but for my reasons, not for theirs. I abhor abortion, but I abhor laws of all sorts much more. But I love the community of St. Jerome's, and I love the community of Catholicism as such. I am an atheist, a materialist, a rationalist, an egoist and an anarchist--these more rigorously and more vigorously than anyone I know, have read, or have heard about. And yet I self-identify as a Catholic, and being a Catholic, being among the Catholics, is a source of great pride to me. The word 'catholic,' from the Greek, means 'universal,' and the Roman Catholic Church must be universal if it can adapt itself to the likes of me.

I don't take the host, of course. I'm a 'cradle Catholic,' but I was never confirmed. But at the moment of transubstantiation, at the moment of the miracle that takes place at every Mass, every day, in every Roman Catholic Church everywhere, the community--the body of Christ on Earth--sings, "Amen, we do believe." This is the moment of catharsis and of exaltation, an instant of extreme and perfect beauty that overtakes everything that is ragged and worn and mundane and makes a thing of evanescent Splendor. The bread is bread. The wine is wine. But the people are changed, and that's the true miracle.

Truly, I do not believe. But I believe in those people, and I believe in their quest for goodness--dimly seen, grimly sought--but truly good. I believe in that community, in the body of Christ on Earth, so I'm good for about a third of a third of the Nicene Creed. But that's enough for me. And, so far at least, I am enough for them.

The Roman Catholic Church was the Church of my grandfather, and I loved him better than anyone. And it's the church of my son, and I love him better than anyone. But it's my Church, too. And it's not for the love of a god I don't believe in but for the love of people I never doubt that I have a smudge of ashes in the shape of a cross on my forehead tonight.

BurqaLib: Too much freedom...

More good news for American Feminists: There is no need to oppose the undeniably anti-woman aspects of Islam, since Muslim women like Fatima Grimm, quoted in the Gulf Daily News, are ready to provide protective coloration:
Mrs Grimm is in Bahrain to deliver a series of talks which coincide with International Women's Day on Saturday.

The first of these took place last night at Beit Al Quran and was called Why Islam Attracts Western Women.

"It is a controversial issue, because Western women are actually afraid of Islam," she said.

"They hear that Muslim men can have four wives or hit their women - but these are misunderstandings which have nothing to do with Islam."

Mrs Grimm was born in 1934, but did not convert to Islam until 1960.

She has since spent 16 years working with an expert team of Muslim women on a German translation of the Quran - which is more than 3,000 pages long.

Mrs Grimm is also responsible for a German Muslim magazine in Munich, called Al Islam.

She says she was attracted to Islam because of its strict rules, which govern the way people live.

"I don't think it is good to have too much freedom," said Mrs Grimm.

BurqaLib: The first harbinger of liberty, equality and justice...

Proving that Iranians can tell better lies about the role of woen in Islam than dowdy housewives in Ames, Iowa, Ms. Zahra Shojaie tells this whopper in the Islamic Republic News Agency HeadLines (sic) News:
'Islam is among the most progressive religions envisaging the vindication of women's rights, and as the first harbinger of liberty, equality and justice.''

Islam watch: Scourging the infidel

A cautionary tale from Robert and Lorna Thomas, are being flogged, as a criminal penalty, in Saudi Arabia. You might think flogging is an abhorrent punishment, but it get worse: Robert Thomas is not accused of any crime. His is offered release and surcease, however:
Before they took Mr Thomas to be beaten, she says prison staff and fellow inmates gave him a chance to lessen the pain: convert to Islam. He refused.

Prisoners and guards gathered to see the flogging. "Because he is a non-Muslim, he gets a huge crowd when he is being flogged because everybody wants to see a non-Muslim getting lashed."
Muslims are offering the West the same deal: Convert to Islam and the slaughter of innocents will stop. In the mean time, we should expect virtual crowds of gloating gawkers.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003
Pigs is pigs

From Sky News, Barbara Harris, headmistress of an English elementary school, explains why she has banned The Three Little Pigs and other porcine fables from her school, which is attended by many Muslim children:
"I very much regret that anyone should find this controversial as all we are doing is trying hard and reasonably successfully, to ensure that all of our children are awarded the respect that all human beings deserve."
It put me in mind of a wonderful story by Ellis Parker Butler, Pigs is pigs. Sadly, satire, invented by the Romans, is no longer possible. No caricature of thick-witted priggishness can be so broadly exaggerated as to serve as a parody of the thick-witted prigs we are obliged to fend off in real life.

Islam watch: Are Islamic militants heretical?

FrontPage is hosting a three-day academic symposium on this question: "Are Western security interests now threatened by militant Islam or, indeed, by Islam itself?" Below is a portion of the text from Ibn Warraq, author of  Why I am not a Muslim. The series continues Wednesday and Thursday.
Hindu, Jewish, and Christian fundamentalists have been responsible for acts of violence but these have been confined to particular countries. Islamic fundamentalism has global aspirations: the submission of the entire world to the all-embracing Sharia, Islamic Law. Nor do Hindus or Jews seek to convert the world to their religion. Christians do indulge in proselytism but do not use international terrorism to achieve their aims.

Yes, the monotheist religions have been responsible for much violence in contrast to Buddhism. But Islam has not been subjected to the same soul-searching that Christianity has. Second, violence is intrinsic to Islam, reflected in the bloody campaigns and massacres of the Prophet Muhammad, and enshrined in the verses of the Sword in the Koran.

When Muslims commit acts of violence they are acting canonically, because the Quran and the Hadith, the defining texts of Islam, and the Jurists tells them to. There is no difference between Islam and Islamic fundamentalism When Christians act violently they do so despite the teachings of Jesus which clearly preach tolerance, peace, and enjoin turning the other cheek.

What has the death of 150,000 people murdered by Islamists in Algeria since 1992 got to do with U.S. foreign policy, or poverty? Are extremists using Islam for political purposes? There is no such distinction as political and non-political in Islam, which has jurisdiction over an individual's entire life.
The piece is very long, but it repays effort.

Islam watch: Inside the Burqa, you feel so free...

I can't get enough of this one. It's from the Iowa State Daily, part of the continuing campaign to rehabilitate Islam among Americans by telling lies:
The women discussed their experiences and answered questions from the audience of about 15 women. The four women on the panel stressed the gender equality of Islam.

"There is no male and female," said Marjan Mokhtarian, a graduate student from Iran. "Everything is the same."

Akili said Muslim women have a greater freedom than American women.

"We have an easier culture than in America," Akili said. "There is no salary difference."

Akili also said there is freedom of speech, but with some restrictions.

"We are free to say whatever men say," she said. "But there are a lot of politics that keep us from speaking our minds."
The kind of politics where the men stone you to death. That kind.

I found a little blob on the web where a woman describes the liberating experience of wearing a Burqa. And that lead me to an e-commerce page where women in pursuit of the best liberation this side of the grave can purchase a genuine 100% cotton Kuwati-made Burqa for--get this--ten bucks! If that ain't freedom, what is?

Cain's world: China catches on

Red China is catching on to The Cain Doctrine, according to
Even more significantly, Beijing sees in the Bush administration's Iraqi gameplan a manifestation of growing "neo-imperialism" that will one day spell trouble for China.

"The majority of the party leadership is convinced the Bush team is pursuing more than mere unilateralism," said a Chinese source close to the diplomatic establishment.

"Beijing thinks Washington is out to dominate the world through targeting countries and governments that espouse different economic and political systems."

A group of radical strategists has gone so far as labeling Bush-style unilateralism "neo-Nazism."

According to an internally circulated paper on "neo-Nazism," Washington is seeking world domination through not so much conquering terrain as assuming control over vital resources and technologies ranging from petroleum to IT.

And while Nazi Germany tried to exterminate so-called inferior races, Washington, according to this paper, is scheming to marginalize if not subjugate countries with alien cultures and institutions such as radical Islam or socialism.

While it is true that leaders such as Jiang and party chief Hu do not share this extreme view, they have in internal meetings expressed concern about Washington's "hegemonic expansionism" -- and its impact on China.
They're getting it wrong here, but that's probably intentional. China is engaged in a space and missile program, that, if successful, will put it on a par with the United States--in 1970. There is no reason to suppose that America wants anything out of this war but enduring safety. The impact of The Cain Doctrine on China will be the greatest economic expansion the world has seen since the nineteenth century.

Islam watch: Everybody must get stoned!

Islamic Sharia courts come to an Indonesian province. From
Indonesia's first Islamic courts for criminal cases were opened in the staunchly Muslim Aceh province on Tuesday as part of efforts to calm separatist passions in the area.

The sharia courts in Aceh are upgrades of the province's existing 19 religious courts, a legal institution set up across Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, to handle marriage or inheritance-related matters, but not criminal cases.

In some countries, sharia law includes stoning to death for adultery and amputating hands for theft.

An expert said that was unlikely to come any time soon in Indonesia, but did not rule it out as an eventual possibility.

Monday, March 03, 2003
Islam watch: Censorship, Taliban style...

The Hindu reports that the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan is being 'Talibanised' by Islamist cultural police:
A case involving Gulzar Alam, a singer, has sent shivers down the spine of the culture industry. The man who entertained people at a local hotel in Peshawar was hauled up by a police officer under the notorious Hudood Ordinance on charges of obscenity.

Mr. Alam was released only when the Chairman of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission, Afrasiab Khattak, took up the matter with the authorities after receiving a phone call from his (Mr. Alam's) family.

The day after his release, Mr. Alam was scheduled to narrate his experience to the media at the Peshawar Press Club but he never showed up. Inquiries by the press revealed that he was asked to keep shut lest his son, who had suddenly gone missing, "met with an accident".

Quote of the half-century...

Haj Amin al-Husseini, one-time Grand Mufti of Palestine, in 1952, quoted in the National Review Online:
"We fight Israel not because it is Jewish. We fight it because it has a government in which the law of man replaces the law of God in the name of democracy."
Fifty years... It's not their fault that we haven't understood the issue. More from the same article:
Today, the Islamists cannot field a single serious thinker or creative artist. There are no Islamist novelists, poets, filmmakers, architects, and, more obviously, no Islamist composers, painters, and sculptors. All the Islamists produce are suicide bombers and street thugs. They are fast losing the support they once had in sections of society that produce culture and sustain the economy. Political books with Islamist themes no longer sell in any significant numbers.

In every Muslim country, including the still hermetic Saudi Arabia, the democratic discourse is finding growing audiences. The West, understandably focusing on monsters such as Khomeini, Saddam, and bin Laden, has persuaded itself that democracy is a lost cause in the Muslim world.

But it is not. The West would do well to get to know "the other Muslims," those who are trying to revive the democratic tradition within Islam, often at the risk of their lives. The world of Islam is certainly the last area of despotic darkness in the contemporary world. But some light is penetrating.

Sunday, March 02, 2003
Islam watch: Osama's boys down under...

In Australia, aboriginals are converting to Islam. Why? For the same reasons as the impenitent populations of American and European penitentiaries. From The Independent:
Militant young Aborigines are converting to Islam in increasing numbers, and some are flirting with the fundamentalist ideologies that have inspired recent terrorism.

There are an estimated 1,000 indigenous Muslims in Australia, including new recruits and descendants of mixed marriages. Some Aborigines are embracing Islam for spiritual reasons, but many say it gives them a sense of worth that they have lacked as members of an oppressed minority.

The religion has particular appeal for disaffected young men who feel impotent after generations of injustice and their position at the bottom of Australian society. Solomon, a 23-year-old man interviewed for a television documentary aired last night, said: "It's not a part of our religion to stand there and get stepped on. That's why Islam is so good for the Aboriginal people."

The documentary, made by Australia's SBS Television, featured some recent converts who profess to support Osama bin Laden. Khalid, who converted to Islam more than a decade ago while in prison, said: "Wherever you are, Osama bin Laden, I love you, brother, and I pray for you, because to me you're just a spiritual warrior standing up for Islam and propagating freedom around the world." Khalid, who has grown a beard and wears an Islamic skullcap, claimed there were thousands of budding Bin Ladens in Aboriginal communities. "If they ever find Osama bin Laden, another 1,000 will pop up," he said.

Human shield idea takes flight...

Some welcome evidence of sanity, or at least a tenuous connection to reality, among British 'human shields' in Iraq, as reported in The Hindu:
Sixty-eight-year-old Godfrey Meynell, a former sheriff from Derbyshire, broke out in cold sweat when he discovered that the power plant, he had been asked to guard, looked like a potential "prime target'' for enemy fire. "I'm ashamed to be leaving you at this time of need but I am going out of pure, cold fear,'' he reportedly told his hosts who, nevertheless, thanked him for coming to Baghdad.
By Godfrey, Godfrey, perhaps spelling out your outrage in the nude is the better part of valor. Consider, however a very different Godfrey, who is found in a New York Times story relayed by the Minneapols Star-Tribune:
Volunteers from half a dozen nations expect to move into a large, collective dorm room on Sunday at the power plant, a site they said was suggested by the Iraqi government. Since arriving earlier this month they have been touring hospitals, water treatment plants and other installations critical to the civilian population.

"They have shown us a number of sites, and one of them was this power station," said Godfrey Meynell, 68, an antiwar activist from Britain. "I have been pushing for this site because it seems to me that if the electricity is cut then water treatment suffers, hospitals suffer. Of course America appears to have become so immoral now that there are few chances of it making it the slightest bit of difference."
So, by Godfrey, the best place to be is in the power-plant--back in Derbyshire.

Department of Justice obeys law; state-level gun-grabbers aghast

I'm hearing quite a bit from Libertarians, many at .edu domains for some reason, who seem to think they have more to fear from John Ashcroft than from the meek, gentle, peace-loving murderers of Islam. Friday's San Francisco Chronicle has a nice bit of evidence in Ashcroft's defense:
The U.S. Department of Justice has threatened to criminally prosecute California's top firearms official over the state's continued use of a federal databank to hunt down illegal gun users, The Chronicle has learned.

The threat marks a significant escalation in the war between California law enforcement and U.S. officials over gun control and background checks. State officials said that until John Ashcroft became U.S. attorney general in 2001, California's use of the databank was not questioned.

Federal authorities believe the list of convicted felons, drug dealers, suspected terrorists, spouse beaters, illegal immigrants and others should only be used to help gun dealers determine if someone is allowed to buy a gun, not police investigating other gun-control violations.
This is heavily slanted to the left, of course, considering the source, but it's a nice instance of the painstaking legality of the Ashcroft Department of Justice. Notwithstanding the moaning of the California gun-grabbers, Ashcroft is doing nothing more than hewing to the actual letter of the actual law.

The Brady Law and the laws passed under Ashcroft are not our friends, especially not in the hands of an Attorney General who lacks Ashcroft's punctillious scruples. But it happens that Friday was also the tenth anniversary of the Siege at Waco, a federal gun-grab gone hugely wrong.

Surely Bill Clinton and Janet Reno were more to be feared than is John Ashcroft. To my mind, Hillary Clinton is more to be feared than any of them. But I think Hillary Clinton--and any would-be tyrant of the West--is a small threat compared to the unending, all-encompassing onslaught of meek, gentle, peace-loving, murderous Islam.