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11901  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 05, 2008, 11:07:01 PM
If a natural oil seep, seeps into a body of water, does that count as pollution?
11902  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 05, 2008, 11:04:41 PM
Fitzgerald: Islam for Infidels, Part One
Here is Part One of "Islam for Infidels," a new three-part series by Jihad Watch Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald. (Part 2 is here, the first section of Part 3 is here, and the rest of Part 3 is here.)

I. Taqiyya and Tu-Quoque
NPR’s All Things Considered. January 7, 2005 • "Jihad" is one of the few Arabic words used in English. It means "spiritual struggle," but many Muslims have pointed out that "jihad" is almost always used in English in the context of terrorism, even though the actual meaning is broader. Commentator Anisa Mehdi would like to propose a word that could be used instead of "jihad." -- From the NPR Website

Anisa Mehdi, a guest on NPR’s All Things Considered, has suggested that for the word “Jihad” – possibly the word of greatest significance in the texts, and history, of Islam – another word could be used. For Muslims, she insisted, were made uneasy by the continued use of this word “in the context of terrorism” when its “actual meaning is broader.” And so, to prevent unnecessary harm to Islam’s image, she asks if it might not be possible to avoid the word “Jihad” altogether.

She has a point. And we will sharpen her point, with a pencil-sharpener of our own choosing. But first it would be useful to describe the current state of Infidel knowledge about Islam, and of Muslim attempts to shape or limit that knowledge. An army of apologists for Islam, both Muslim and non-Muslim, is abroad in the land today, yet many Infidels seem not to be following the script. Some appear determined to educate themselves, rather than rely on the Outreach Programs of local imams in local mosques or, for that matter, on National Public Radio. Not everyone seems quite as willing, as they once were, to be satisfied by the pabulum of Karen Armstrong or the coffee-table books of John Esposito. Infidels have discovered websites where four or even five Quran’ic translations are laid out for comparative reading, a horizontal pentapla that may be accessed at At the same site, or at many others, Infidels can now read for themselves hundreds of the Hadith (the sayings and acts of Muhammad), as collected and catalogued according to its relative authenticity by such trusted Hadith-compilers, or muhaddithin, as Bukhari and Muslim (a proper name). In addition to reading Qur’an and Hadith, Infidels can read the sira, or life of Muhammad. As al-insan al-kamil, the Model of Perfect Man, the figure of Muhammad is at the center of Islam, and everything he is reported to have done or said, or even remained silent about, in 7th century Arabia, remains as vivid, compelling, and emulous today.

And finally, not content with reading Qur’an and Hadith and sira, those Infidels have embarked on learning about the history of Jihad-conquest of those vast lands where, far more numerous, settled, wealthy, and advanced populations, of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Buddhists all lived and, upon conquest, when not killed or forcibly converted at once to Islam, were permitted to live as “dhimmis,” as non-Muslims under Muslim rule were called, subject to carefully elaborated financial, legal, political, and social disabilities that made life for them one of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity.

It has been quite an effort to prevent Infidels from getting the wrong (that is to say, the right) impression of Islam, at least until such time as Muslims in the West currently singing the praises of “pluralism” no longer have need for Infidel good will and tolerance. To date, the twin techniques of “Taqiyya” and Tu-Quoque have been relied on. “Taqiyya” is the religiously-sanctioned doctrine, with its origins in Shi’a Islam but now practiced by non-Shi’a as well, of deliberate dissimulation about religious matters that may be undertaken to protect Islam, and the Believers. A related term, of broader application, is “kitman,” which is defined as “mental reservation.” An example of “Taqiyya” would be the insistence of a Muslim apologist that “of course” there is freedom of conscience in Islam, and then quoting that Qur’anic verse -- “There shall be no compulsion in religion.” But the impression given will be false, for there has been no mention of the Muslim doctrine of abrogation, or naskh, whereby such an early verse as that about “no compulsion in religion” has been cancelled out by later, far more intolerant and malevolent verses. In any case, history shows that within Islam there is, and always has been, “compulsion in religion” for Muslims, and for non-Muslims. The “compulsion” for Muslims comes from the treatment of apostasy as an act punishable by death. And though “dhimmis” are allowed to practice their religion, they do so under conditions of such burdens and restrictions that many, not as an act of conscience but rather as a response to inexorable Muslim pressure, have converted (or “reverted”) to Islam.

“Kitman” is close to “taqiyya,” but rather than outright dissimulation, it consists in telling only a part of the truth, with “mental reservation” justifying the omission of the rest. One example may suffice. When a Muslim maintains that “jihad” really means “a spiritual struggle,” and fails to add that this definition is a recent one in Islam (little more than a century old), he misleads by holding back, and is practicing “kitman.” When he adduces, in support of this doubtful proposition, the hadith in which Muhammad, returning home from one of his many battles, is reported to have said (as known from a chain of transmitters, or isnad), that he had returned from “the Lesser Jihad to the Greater Jihad” and does not add what he also knows to be true, that this is a “weak” hadith, regarded by the most-respected muhaddithin as of doubtful authenticity, he is further practicing “kitman.”

The use of the word in Qur’an and Hadith, and constantly through 1350 years of Muslim history, has certainly endowed the word “Jihad” with a meaning of struggle, usually through military means, to expand the domain of Islam. Almost all Muslims understand that “warfare” (qital, qatala) is the essential meaning of the word. But Infidels, who prefer to think otherwise, have eagerly snapped up little guides such as that put out a few years ago by Karen Armstrong, a compleat apologist and no scholar of Islam, who made sure to quote that hadith in support of her proposition that Jihad is a “spiritual struggle.” The meaning of words comes from their common and accepted usage, not from what someone wishes to convince us should, for the purpose of a temporarily comforting harmony, be believed to be the meaning.

Jihad as military conquest is of course discussed in the Qur’an and Hadith, and in the commentaries on the Qur’an. And while “qital” or combat is mentioned 27 times in the Qur’an, other instruments of Jihad are also commonly discussed; any Islamic website will provide examples. One is the use of “wealth” to create the conditions that will help to spread Islam. Another is the use of “pen, speech” – persuasion, propaganda -- to spread Islam. Still another instrument of Jihad discussed, for example, in the pages of Muslim newspapers, is the use of demography as a weapon of Jihad. Muslim populations within the Bilad al-kufr, or Lands of the Infidels, are seen as helping to spread through Da’wa, the Call to Islam, and in their own increasing presence within Infidel lands, as contributing to the inexorable spread of Islam.

The situation in the world today borders on the fantastic. Never before in history has one civilization allowed large numbers of those who come from an alien, and immutably hostile situation, to settle deep within that first civilization’s borders. Never before have the members of one civilization failed to investigate, and even willfully refused to investigate, or to listen to those who warn about, the consequences for all non-Muslims of the belief-system of Islam. In history, the phenomenon of the Barbarians at the Gates is hardly new. Those barbarians lay siege; if they win, they enter in triumph. Should they lose, the advanced civilization survives. But never before have the gates been opened, to an entering force that has not even been identified or understood. Never before have the inhabitants of the by-now vulnerable city made efforts not to recognize, or realize, what they have done, and what they have undone. That demographic intrusion shows no signs of diminishing. The systematic building of mosques and madrasas, paid for by Saudi Arabia, everywhere in the Western world, helps to make the conduct of Muslim life easier. Western populations have been trained to make much of “celebrating diversity” and “promoting difference” and constructing, on a base of militant but unexamined pluralism, an edifice of legal rights and entitlements. These rights, these entitlements, this militant pluralism are exploited by Muslims who do not believe in pluralism. Nor do they accept the individual rights of conscience and free speech, the legal equality of men and women, and of religious and racial minorities, recognized, for example, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Their current claim to support pluralism is based on the need to protect, and increase the power of, the Muslim umma, or Community, within the West, until such time as that umma no longer needs to pretend to have any interest in Western pluralism and Western values.

“Taqiyya” and “kitman” are no longer needed for Muslims addressing purely Muslim audiences. While in the early days, the Shi’a were afraid of Sunni persecution, and therefore needed to practice taqiyya, today both Sunni and Shi’a, by and large, do not find that they need dissimulate about the nature of Islam for other Muslims. It is only when non-Muslims may overhear, and begin to understand, an intra-Muslim discussion, that the need to dissimulate is emphasized. Yassir Arafat could, with impunity, refer to the Treaty of al-Hudaibiyya in speeches to fellow Muslims. He was fortunate; no Westerners, or even Israelis, seemed to think that the significance of that repeated allusion to Muhammad’s treaty with the Meccans in 628 A.D. needed to be examined.

Among those who see no need to practice taqiyya when rousing fellow Muslims, but instead see the need to remind their listeners of the central tenets and teachings of Islam, are Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. The canonical texts support their view of the need for, the duty for, Jihad. And they receive a good deal of support, and admiration, all over the Muslim world. For they are not renegades, not unorthodox, not the promoters of a wild misinterpretation of Islam. Their view of Islam is exactly what Muhammad, Ibn Taymiyya, Al-Ghazali, Ibn Khaldun, and all the greatest Qur’anic commentators, muhaddithin, and theologians in the history of Islam, would have understood and shared. Some Muslims believe that at the moment, Islam is too weak, and therefore, for the sake of Islam itself, the truth of its teachings should not be so clearly expressed, and acted upon. It may be that Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri themselves will reach the same conclusion. That would not constitute an abandonment of Jihad, but rather a prudent relinquishing of terrorism as a weapon of Jihad, and greater emphasis on other, tactically more effective, weapons of Jihad, such as Da’wa and demographic increase. The idea that “Jihad” is primarily a “spiritual struggle” would cause laughter everywhere in the world’s mosques and madrasas, for Muslims know that this definition is flatly contradicted by their texts and their entire history. Yet, the same imam who gives a fiery speech about Jihad can show up at an Interfaith Rally and, with seemingly complete conviction, assure his Infidel audience that, of course, “Jihad” refers only to “a spiritual struggle.” This kind of thing is second nature.

Infidels need to understand that however wary they may pride themselves on being, they are still not prepared for the world of the Muslim East. After many decades of work in Egypt, Lord Edward Cecil affixed, as the epigraph to his once-famous Memoirs of an Egyptian Official, the following: “Here lies one who tried to hustle the East.” Many Englishmen regarded that epigraph as the perfect summary of their own encounters with the Muslim world. “War is deceit,” Muhammad said, and those who regard him as al-insan al-kamil, the Most Perfect of Men, have become past masters at the art of deceit. It is nearly impossible to find a Muslim who will admit to the full truth of what Islam teaches about Infidels, though occasionally it happens. Ex-Muslims are just as well-versed in the teachings of Islam as those who remain Muslims, for they do not suddenly cease to understand Islam when they leave the faith.. They remain the best sources of knowledge about what it means to grow up as a Muslim, in a Muslim society, surrounded by the attitudes toward Infidels that Islam engenders and promotes.

Sometimes Taqiyya is not enough. Muslim spokesmen often attempt to convince an audience of Infidels that Islam is a religion of “peace” and “tolerance.” This, nowadays, works less well than it used to, and if an audience shows signs of not being completely convinced, another tack – that of Tu-Quoque – is attempted. Now these same spokesmen, who a minute before were all sweetness-and-light, begin to attack Christianity and Judaism for their own lack of “peace” and “tolerance.” They support this attack with bloodcurdling passages from Leviticus or some obscure text, possibly attributed to a rabbi from 2500 years ago.

The Crusades are presented by Muslim apologists as a defining moment in Muslim-Christian relations, a moment in which the peaceful and inoffensive Muslims were attacked, without cause. In this version, not a word is uttered about the centuries of Muslim Jihad-conquest that preceded the Crusades – nearly 400 years of seizing lands formerly occupied by Christians in Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt, North Africa (where, among other Fathers of the Church, Tertullian and St. Augustine were born and lived).

Nor is what prompted the Crusades ever mentioned. For in 1009 A.D. the Fatimid Caliph Hakim had ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and for almost a century the Muslims steadily made encroachments on the Christian presence in, and access to, what was for Western Christendom the Holy Land. And there were, for a thousand years, until the 19th century, a constant series of Muslim raiding-parties that came by sea, and attacked the coastal villages throughout Europe, as far as Ireland and even, in one instance, Iceland. Villages were razed, and many villagers killed, and a million European Christians were kidnapped (see the recent White Gold, by Giles Milton), brought back to dar al-Islam, enslaved, and often forcibly converted. The Crusades have to be understood in their full context.

In Islam the world is uncompromisingly divided between dar al-Islam, the House of Islam, and dar al-harb, the House of War, where Infidels have not yet been subjugated to Islam. “Islam is to dominate and not to be dominated” and eventually, all of the world, which belongs to Allah, will become part of dar al-Islam. The Jihad is the “struggle” to expand Islam, to create the conditions where Muslims may rule, and Islam may prevail. This Jihad to spread Islam has lasted 1350 years. It has no end, until its goal is reached, whatever periods of quiescence must be observed because of lack of effective instruments or power. Not every Muslim heart beats with passion for this idea, but around the world, a great many do. Furthermore, Infidels can never know when a Muslim who seemed so Westernized, so removed from such matters, may undergo a transformation, into a much more menacing True Believer.

The Crusades were different. They were limited in both time and space. There was no interest in re-conquering, for Christianity, any territories held by Muslims beyond the Holy Land itself. The Crusades lasted a mere 200 years. Yet this difference is never noted by Muslims intent on blaming “the Crusades” and not the history of Jihad-conquest of Christian lands, and of the subjugation of Christian populations, to Muslim rule and to Muslim oppression (for the “dhimmi” was not so much a member of a “protected people” as of an “oppressed” –because deliberately humiliated and degraded -- “people”).

Tu-Quoque has led to real absurdities. At one gathering with a Muslim panel and an audience of Infidels, a Muslim professor recently assured his listeners that “Ku Klux Klan members used to sing Christian hymns as they crucified Afro-Americans.” No one bothered to point out that the Ku Klux Klan did not “crucify,” but lynched, its victims; that the Grand Kleagle did not lead his followers in song, much less Christian hymns, during these lynchings, and that the stoutest enemies of slavery, and then of the Ku Klux Klan, were to be found in the churches themselves, beginning with such celebrated abolitionist ministers as the Reverend Theodore Parker and Henry Ward Beecher.

Though NPR has had hosts and guests who allude to Islam, those hosts, and those guests, almost without exception, are well-versed graduates of the Taqiyya and Tu-Quoque schools or, as the taxonomically-minded rhetoricians would say, suppressio veri and suggestio falsi. Those with degrees in Taqiyya insist on focusing on that “handful of extremists,” and “radical Islamists” who, of course, have nothing to do with “the real Islam,” the “peaceful, tolerant Islam” practiced by “the vast majority of moderate Muslims.” Graduates of the Tu-Quoque Academy (whose diplomas are still written in Latin) like to refer airily to “fundamentalists on all sides” who pose an equal threat to one another, and how important it is to “rein in the crazies” that “every society” and “every religion” throws up. But now, at least one invited guest commentator on NPR has suggested that things need to be taken one step further, and the word “Jihad” be dispensed with altogether. And should that step be taken, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will not be able to put NPR together again.
11903  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Cooties in Training on: October 05, 2008, 08:44:55 PM
Blood poisoning - An officer's worst nightmare

   In our continued effort to bring you the most comprehensive coverage in the field of law enforcement and law enforcement issues, PoliceOne is working with Police Magazine to publish many of their news and feature content on
Visit the Police Magazine web site here, subscribe to the print version of the magazine, click here.

by Lois Pilant

For many officers the greatest fear is not some punk's bullet, it's the business end of a junkie's dirty needle.

You might think that getting stuck by a needle in the course of a shift would be the least of an officer's worries, especially when there are so many other things to worry about: like how fast a traffic stop can go bad; the irrational behavior of the players in a domestic violence call; the stupidity of the guy who flees the police and the risks inherent in a chase.

But talk to Officer Don Gause, an eight-year veteran of the Myrtle Beach, S.C. Police Department, and he'll tell you that a needle stick or accidental exposure to HIV, hepatitis, or any other bloodborne pathogen is absolutely his greatest fear.

"On a traffic stop, you know the potential is there to be shot. On a domestic violence call, you know how fast a complainant can become a defendant. But to be stuck by a needle on a pat down, that's something else. If you get shot, you know right away if you're going to be all right or not. With a needle stick, you won''t know for six months. That's scary."

How scary? Just ask Cpl. Darryl Bolke, a 14-year veteran of the Ontario, Calif. Police Department. He says getting stuck by a needle "ranks right up there with the worst thing I''ve had to go through in my life."

Bolke was stuck on the index finger while searching a man he''d arrested for solicitation of a prostitute. Although he asked if the man had any sharp objects in his pocket, and although he noticed an object on the initial pat down, the object didn''t feel like a syringe. It felt, he said, like a crack pipe. Bolke put his hand in the man''s pocket and was immediately jabbed by a needle sticking out of a small, 2-inch piece of plastic that had been fashioned into a homemade syringe. What made Bolke''s situation worse was that it happened 10 years ago, when there was less information about HIV and other bloodborne diseases, when there were no prophylactic drugs given post exposure, and when getting a blood sample from the source meant fighting your way through a battery of privacy laws, the courts, and the medical community.

"I had no intimate contact with anyone in my family for three months following the first blood test. The crook was treated like the victim by the courts and the medical community, and I had no rights at all. I felt like I'd been victimized twice," Bolke says.

Times have changed. Today''s officers are offered immunization with drugs like GlaxoSmithKline''s Twinrix for Hepatitis A and B; education in the prevention of and protection from exposure to bloodborne pathogens and tuberculosis; personal protective equipment; training in search techniques that use a baton or the blade of the hand; and post-exposure counseling and medical care. In addition, there are now laws that require the source to provide a blood sample on request or through a court order. Finally, today''s officers have available an abundance of reassuring statistics that detail exposure rates and the rarity of exposure converting to a disease.

High Frequency, High Risk

Such precautions have not dispelled many officers' continuing fears of exposure to HIV, hepatitis, or tuberculosis. One reason is that in the context of risk management, exposure comes from job duties that are considered high frequency: arrests and physical searches; vehicle searches; blood and body fluids at accidents and crime scenes, just to name a few. Because exposure and subsequent conversion can be fatal, these activities are also considered high risk.

Added to this deadly mix is the fact that an officer probably will, during the course of a shift, come into contact with an infected person.

In 1996, an estimated 98,000 to 145,000 HIV-positive inmates were released from prisons and jails. Also in 1996, between 1.3 million and 1.4 million inmates released from prison or jail were infected with hepatitis C. That same year, approximately 155,000 released prisoners had current or chronic hepatitis B, while 566,000 were released with latent TB infection. In addition, between 12 and 35 percent of the total number of people in the United States with some sort of communicable diseases passed through a correctional facility.

And the one thing many of these disease carriers have in common is further contact with police. According to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 67 percent of the nearly 300,000 people released (from 15 test states) in 1994 were rearrested for a new offense, almost exclusively a felony or serious misdemeanor. They had accumulated 4.1 million arrest charges prior to their most recent imprisonment and another 744,000 charges within three years of their release (an average of four new crimes each).

Given these figures, it doesn''t take a rocket scientist to calculate that the inordinate number of infected releasees and the high rate of recidivism almost guarantees contact between an infected person and a police officer. Those numbers do not include contact with illegal aliens and the homeless, who often spend time in crowded, unventilated shelters that can be breeding grounds for diseases like tuberculosis and bacterial meningitis. It also doesn't include the drug addicted, a group that typically has little concern for health care or personal cleanliness, and even less concern for those who arrest them.

Lying in Wait

For years, the scariest of infectious diseases was HIV. Today's nemesis, however, is hepatitis C (hep C), a virus that is spread by contact with the blood of an infected person and eventually causes liver disease. While health officials estimate that about 1 million people in the United States are HIV infected, about 3 million to 4 million Americans are infected with hep C.

At least 75 percent of the people infected with hep C don''t even know it, according to Debbie Borst, a registered nurse who does in-service health care training for South Carolina police agencies. Those numbers held true in a recent statewide study that required a hep C test for tattoo artists renewing their licenses. The study revealed that more than 60 percent of those tested were infected with hep C and completely unaware.

"I call it the stealth virus," Borst says. "It can lie dormant for five to 20 years, and while it''s doing that it''s eating the liver cells. You may have some flu-like symptoms in the beginning, but when those go away, you are generally symptom free. Then one day you wake up with jaundiced skin, orange urine, and yellow eyeballs, or you may have liver cancer."

Hepatitis C was a stealth virus for health care professionals as well. The disease has been around for 50 years, since its first transmission was documented through blood transfusions during World War II. But the virus was only clinically identified in the late ''80s when technology finally caught up with it.

Several factors make hep C a deadlier adversary than HIV. For example, HIV cannot live outside the body, whereas the hep C virus can live outside the body for up to seven days. One drop of HIV-positive blood contains about eight live viral particles, while one drop of hep C-infected blood contains about 100, making transmission of the virus that much more likely.

Hepatitis A and B are equally virulent, but less likely to be transmitted. Although both can live for longer periods outside the body, public safety and health care employers are now required to offer immunization against hepatitis B. Hepatitis A, the oldest form of the virus, is spread by ingesting contaminated food or water. Although police officers are certainly not immune, their chances of exposure to hep A or hep B are smaller than those with hep C and HIV.

Tuberculosis and bacterial meningitis also have been pinpointed as problems for law enforcement officers. These are airborne diseases that are transmitted by breathing or coughing on someone. Among law enforcement officers, the most susceptible to these diseases are those who work in prisons and jails, since transmission generally requires that the bacterial count build to a certain level before infection.

According to Laura Herring, the occupational infectious disease nurse for the city of Portland, it would take longer than a ride to the stationhouse for someone to become infected with TB or bacterial meningitis. "The people who might be vulnerable would be those who have to have face-to-face interaction with an infected individual over a period of several hours," she says.

Fear vs. Reality

Which brings us to the real question: Exactly how vulnerable are you as police officers to contracting disease from a needle stick, a blood splash, or convict spit?

"The most important thing is to keep it in perspective," Herring says. "The way to do that is to be sure you have all the information about the diseases, how they are transmitted, and the rate of conversion or the likelihood of actually contracting the disease after exposure."

Conversion rates are actually strikingly low. According to the Centers for Disease Control, those exposed to HIV have a 0.3 percent chance (1 in 300) of becoming HIV positive. The risk after exposure from contact to the eye, nose, or mouth is approximately 0.1 percent, or 1 in 1,000. The risk after exposure of the skin to HIV-infected blood is estimated to be less than 0.1 percent. And a small amount of blood on intact skin probably poses no risk at all. In fact, there has been no documented case of HIV transmission due to an exposure involving a small amount of blood on intact skin. The risk may be higher if the skin is damaged-for example, by a recent cut-or if the contact involves a large area of skin or is prolonged (for example, being covered in blood for hours).

The risk of conversion to hepatitis is slightly higher. Those who received hepatitis B vaccine and developed immunity to the virus are at virtually no risk for infection. For the unvaccinated person, the risk from a single needle stick or a cut exposure to hep B-infected blood ranges from 6 to 30 percent, and depends on the level of the virus and its antigens in the source''s blood. Of those exposed to hep C from a needle stick or cut, the risk of infection is approximately 1.8 percent. The risk following a blood splash is unknown, but is believed to be very small.

But just because the conversion rates are low does not mean you shouldn''t be cautious. Diseases like HIV, AIDS, and hepatitis are deadly and therefore should engender a certain amount of fear. "Fear is good. It keeps you alive," one officer said. "Panic is bad because you''ll blow it."

"I know I have to be careful," adds Officer Skip Chatford, a patrol officer with the Corona (Calif.) Police Department. "But I don't worry about it every day. When I do a search, I don''t stick my hands in people''s pockets if I can help it. I pull at the top of the pocket and roll the liner out. I just keep rolling until the stuff inside comes out. If I know I''m going to a stabbing or a shooting, I stop and put on gloves before I get there. I stop and think before I do anything. I try to stay aware of what is happening and not rush in without thinking. I feel like I have the education and the equipment I need to protect myself. That''s what has dispelled any initial fear I may have."

Lois Pilant is the former editor of a law enforcement magazine, a writer for the National Institute of Justice, and a frequent contributor to POLICE.
11904  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 05, 2008, 08:24:37 PM
Not my area of expertise,but they are about as sturdy as modern tech allows for, as I understand. Each rig is a huge investment for the company that owns it and they want them protected and producing oil whenever possible.
11905  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 05, 2008, 08:10:35 PM
Just pointing out that Mother Nature was making oil slicks long before humans ever figured out how to use oil for anything.
11906  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 05, 2008, 08:08:10 PM
More offshore oil drilling might clean beaches
By Times Staff
Santa Maria Times
updated 10:16 p.m. MT, Sat., Sept. 6, 2008

Seeping into the controversy about more offshore oil production is a dispute over whether increased drilling locally would lead to less oil oozing from natural seeps on the ocean floor.

Environmentalists contend no drilling-related reduction in seepage is likely but others, led by the advocacy group Stop Our Seeps (SOS), insist drilling would slow some natural seeps and benefit the environment.

The two sides differ sharply in their interpretations of the limited amount of scientific research done so far on that question - and the significance of a 1999 study by a group of UCSB professors who measured undersea seeps around Platform Holly off Goleta.

That study concluded natural seepage of oil and gas from the ocean floor in one square kilometer area around the platform declined by 50 percent between 1973 and 1995, possibly because the drilling reduced pressure in the subsea basin.

SOS spokesmen tout those findings as evidence that more offshore drilling would reduce natural seeps, which are collectively spewing tens of thousands of barrels of oil a year - along with large quantities of natural gas - into ocean waters locally.

Environmentalists and one of the study's authors caution, however, that extrapolating the 1999 data to a broader section of the Santa Barbara County coastline is scientifically unsound.

"The suggestion that somehow drilling for oil will be good for the environment by reducing oil and gas seeps is simply bad science," asserted Abraham Powell, president of Get Oil Out (GOO), in a press release Wednesday by four environmental organizations.

Joining in the statement were the Environmental Defense Center of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara County Action Network (SBCAN) and the Community Environmental Council of Santa Barbara.

Oil and tar have been present along the county's shores dating back to the earliest settlements by Native Americans, and remain a bane today for surfers and other beachgoers.

UCSB Professor Bruce Luyendyk, one of the study's six authors, strongly cautioned against exaggerating its findings during a marathon hearing on oil issues Tuesday before the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

"Our 1999 UCSB studies were made on a special case of marine seeps; one of the world's most active," Luyendyk noted. "However, these seeps occur over a limited area. To extrapolate the findings of our studies beyond the Coal Oil Point area cannot yet be substantiated, and there are many reasons to caution against generalizing our study results to the greater Santa Barbara Channel, much less to the California continental shelf."

Luyendyk is a marine geophysics professor in the university's Earth Sciences Department.

During a phone interview Wednesday, he said his "main complaint is that these various proponents (of increasing offshore drilling) have taken our study and extrapolated it into unknown territory. I don't think there's a logical or scientific basis for that."

Nonetheless, the board voted 3-2 - with the trio of North County supervisors prevailing - to send a letter to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger encouraging him to consider allowing more oil drilling off county shores.

"I was very pleased with the outcome of the supervisors' hearing," said Dave Cross, vice president of the Committee to Improve North County, which favors expanded oil production to boost county revenues and help lower dependence on foreign oil. "Clearly the evidence is there that oil drilling does reduce pressure that causes seeps," and the natural seepage from those subsea basins.

"I think increased oil production is a benefit, not just for the environment" but economically as well, he added.

Critics like SBCAN's executive director, Deborah Brasket of Orcutt, counter that drilling advocates are using the seeps issue as a false argument for boosting production and oil company profits, despite the environmental risks.

"There have just not been enough (scientific) studies on this" to conclude that more drilling off local shores would reduce natural seeps, Brasket said.

"Offshore oil drilling is not the panacea touted by Big Oil and friends," she added, "but yet another ploy to boost profits for oil companies, prolong our dependence on oil and delay the development of renewable energy."

State Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, also joined in the political fray by sending a letter to the supervisors urging them not to seek any policy change that would allow more offshore drilling.

"One has to ask why you are even considering such a request," he wrote. "Making such a significant change in our county's policy regarding offshore oil drilling should at least be based on accuracy and fact, not hysteria and conjecture."

However, SOS co-founder Bruce Allen staunchly defends his groups' use of the 1999 study results to argue that more drilling would be environmentally beneficial.

"It's clear there are many (natural) seep zones beyond Coal Oil Point that are very active," Allen said Thursday.

He cited a 2003 paper presented to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists that suggested the offshore Santa Maria Basin, between Point Conception and Point Sal, "contains the greatest known concentration of hydrocarbon seeps � in the world." Only two of the 13 subsea oil fields in that area "are not overlain by active seeps," the paper stated, according to Allen.

SOS, formerly known as Bring Oil Back, was formed about four years ago, and is funded mostly by donations from private individuals, Allen said. He acknowledged, though, that some of its funding is grant money from the oil company Venoco Inc., which is seeking approval to expand its drilling operations at Platform Holly, off the coast from Devereux Slough in Goleta.

Allen said he was unsure the amount of the Venoco gave to SOS, and referred that question to the group's executive director, who could not be reached for comment.

Much of the Santa Maria Basin has Monterey shale geologic formations possibly similar to those studied at Coal Oil Point, he added. While the 1999 study doesn't prove that seepage reductions would result from more drilling in other areas, "I think a good case could be made that the same effect would occur elsewhere" if geologic conditions are similar.

However, another of the study's authors, UCSB Earth Science Professor Jordan Clark, voiced concern about those findings being applied to other areas without further scientific study

"I can see where further drilling in the Coal Oil Point area would reduce seepage because there are natural seeps there," he said. "Drilling in other areas would probably not have the same effect."

Yet, based on scientific literature and the UCSB research at Coal Oil Point, "I think there is a linkage between a reduction in seepage and increased oil production. The physics would also tell you that should happen" in areas with pre-existing, natural seeps. "If you start pumping oil out of the ground with wells, not as much needs to leave by seepages," Clark said.

What are seeps?

Oil and methane gas created in the heat and pressure under the ocean floor flows upward through faults and cracks in rocks. Plumes of oil-coated methane bubbles reach the surface, creating natural oil slicks.

The natural seeps of crude oil and natural gas flowing into the ocean on and near the coast of California are among the largest and most active concentration of such seeps in the world.

Seeps off Coal Oil Point near UCSB put an average of 150-170 barrels of crude oil and 5 million cubic feet of natural gas into the ocean every day.

More than 1 million barrels of oil have seeped off the Southern and Central California coast since 1980.

Crude oil seeping into the sea from Coal Oil Point alone is equal to about 55,000 barrels of oil a year. About 1.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas is seeping annually into the atmosphere.

Seeps produce 122% more air pollution daily than all the motor vehicle trips in Santa Barbara County each day.

- SOURCE: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, U.S. Minerals Management Service, Western States Petroleum Association

Chuck Schultz can be reached at 925-2691, Ext. 2241, or

11907  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 05, 2008, 08:02:07 PM
Natural oil seeps put more oil into water sources than anything humans do.
11908  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 05, 2008, 06:24:32 PM
Why Islam’s Jew-Hating Hadith Matter   
By Andrew G. Bostom | Friday, October 03, 2008

Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Arifi made the following “observations” which recently aired on Palestinian Arab Al-Aqsa TV, September 12, 2008:
Studies conducted in Tel Aviv and in the Palestinian lands occupied by the Jews showed that they plant  trees around their homes, because the Prophet Muhammad said that when the Muslims fight the Jews, each and every stone and tree will say: “Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” The only exception is the gharqad tree, which is one of the trees of the Jews, and if they hide behind it, it will not reveal their presence. According to reports of people who went there and saw it with their own eyes, many Jews plant gharqad trees around their homes, so that when the fighting begins, they can hide behind them. They are not man enough to stand and fight you.
While such hatemongering statements appear utterly bizarre to non-Muslims who are unaware of Islam’s foundational texts, Al-Arifi’s inflammatory references to Jews have sacralized origins immediately apparent to Muslim audiences. The crux of Al-Arifi’s remarks, in fact, merely reiterate verbatim, a canonical hadith, specifically Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985, which is also featured prominently in the Hamas Covenant, article 7.
Briefly (go here for an in depth online discussion), what are the hadith, and which specific anti-Semitic motifs do they contain? Hadith, which means “story” (“narrative”), refers to any report of what the Muslim prophet Muhammad said or did, or his tacit assent to something said or done in his presence. Hadith is also used as the technical term for the “science” of such “Traditions.” As a result of a lengthy process which continued for centuries after Muhammad’s death (in 632), the hadith emerged for Muslims as second in authority to the Koran itself. Sunna, which means “path” refers to a normative custom of Muhammad or of the early Islamic community. The hadith “justify and confirm” the Sunna. Henri Lammens, a seminal early 20th-century scholar of Islam, highlighted the importance of the Sunna (and, by extension, the hadith):
As early as the first century A.H. [the 7th century] the following aphorism was pronounced: “The Sunna can dispense with the Koran but not the Koran with the Sunna”. Proceeding to still further lengths, some Muslims assert that “in controversial matters, the Sunna overrules the authority of the Koran, but not vice versa”…all admit the Sunna completes and explains it [the Koran].
The hadith compiled by al-Bukhari (d. 870) and Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (d. 875) are considered, respectively, to be the most important authoritative collections. The titles Sahih (“sound”) or Jami, indicating their comprehensiveness, signify the high esteem in which they are held.
Their comprehensive content includes information regarding religious duties, law and everyday practice (down to the most mundane, or intimate details), in addition to a considerable amount of biographical and other material. Four other compilations, called Sunan works, which indicates that they are limited to matters of religious and social practice, and law, also became authoritative. Abu Dawud (d. 888), al-Tirmidhi (d. 892), Ibn Maja (d. 896), and al-Nasi (d. 915) compiled these works. By the beginning of the 12th century, Ibn Maja’s collection became the last of these compilations of hadith to be recognized as “canonical.”
Before one can fully appreciate the major antisemitic themes in the hadith (summarized herein), it is critical to understand the antecedent Koranic motifs of Jew hatred which these hadith “complete and explain.” The Koran’s central antisemitic motif decrees an eternal curse upon the Jews (Koran 2:61/ reiterated at 3:112) for slaying the prophets and transgressing against the will of Allah. It should be noted that Koran 3:112 is featured just before the pre-amble to Hamas’ foundational Covenant.  This central motif is coupled to Koranic verses 5:60, and 5:78, which describe the Jews transformation into apes and swine (5:60), or simply apes, (i.e. verses 2:65 and 7:166), having been “…cursed by the tongue of David, and Jesus, Mary’s son” (5:78). Muhammad himself repeats this Koranic curse in a canonical hadith (Sunan Abu Dawoud, Book 37, Number 4322), “He [Muhammad] then recited the verse [5:78]: ‘…curses were pronounced on those among the children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary’ ”.  And the related verse, 5:64, accuses the Jews—as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did in a January 2007 speech, citing Koran 5:64—of being “spreaders of war and corruption,” a sort of ancient Koranic antecedent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
The centrality of the Jews’ permanent “abasement and humiliation,” and being “laden with God’s anger” is clearly enunciated in the most authoritative Muslim exegetic literature on Koran 2:61/3:112, both ancient and contemporary. By nature deceitful and treacherous, the Jews rejected Allah’s signs and prophets, including Isa, the Muslim Jesus. Classical and modern Koranic commentators, when discussing Koran 5:82, which includes the statement (“Thou wilt surely find the most hostile of men to the believers are the Jews” , also concur on the unique animus of the Jews towards the Muslims, which is repeatedly linked to the curse of  Koran 2:61/3:112. For example, in his commentary on 5:82, the great Muslim historian and renowned Koranic exegete al-Tabari (d. 923) writes,
In my opinion, [the Christians] are not like the Jews who always scheme in order to murder the emissaries and the prophets, and who oppose God in his positive and negative commandments, and who corrupt His scripture which He revealed in His books.
Tabari’s classical interpretations of Koran 5:82 and 2:61, as well as his discussion of the related verse 9:29 mandating the Jews payment of the jizya (Koranic poll-tax), represent both Anti-Semitic and more general anti-dhimmi views that became, and remain, intrinsic to Islam to this day. Here is Tabari’s discussion of 2:61 and its relationship to verse 9:29, which emphasizes the purposely debasing nature of the Koranic poll tax:
…“abasement and poverty were imposed and laid down upon them”, as when someone says “the imam imposed the poll tax (jizya)on free non-Muslim subjects”, or “The man imposed land tax on his slave”, meaning thereby that he obliged him [to pay ] it, or, “The commander imposed a sortie on his troops”, meaning he made it their duty.…God commanded His believing servants not to give them [i.e., the non-Muslim people of the scripture] security—as long as they continued to disbelieve in Him and his Messenger—unless they paid the poll tax to them; God said: “Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden—such men as practice not the religion of truth [Islam], being of those who have been given the Book [Bible]—until they pay the poll tax, being humble” (Koran 9:29)..
The dhimmis [non-Muslim tributary’s] posture during the collection of the jizya- “[should be lowering themselves] by walking on their hands, …reluctantly
… His words “and abasement and poverty were imposed upon them”, ‘These are the Jews of the Children of Israel’. ..‘Are they the Copts of Egypt?’…“What have the Copts of Egypt to do with this? No, by God, they are not; but they are the Jews, the Children of Israel.…By “and slain the prophets unrightfully” He means that they used to kill the Messengers of God without God’s leave, denying their messages and rejecting their prophethood.
Indeed the Koran’s overall discussion of the Jews is marked by a litany of their sins and punishments, as if part of a divine indictment, conviction, and punishment process. The Jews’ ultimate sin and punishment are made clear: they are the devil’s minions (4:60) cursed by Allah, their faces will be obliterated (4:47), and if they do not accept the true faith of Islam—the Jews who understand their faith become Muslims (3:113)—they will be made into apes (2:65/ 7:166), or apes and swine (5:60), and burn in the Hellfires (4:55, 5:29, 98:6, and 58:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19). The Koranic curse (verses 2:61/3:112) upon the Jews for (primarily) rejecting, even slaying Allah’s prophets, including Isa/Jesus (or at least his “body double” 4:157-4:158), is updated with perfect archetypal logic in the canonical hadith: following the Muslims’ initial conquest of the Jewish farming oasis of Khaybar, one of the vanquished Jewesses reportedly served Muhammad poisoned mutton (or goat), which resulted, ultimately, in his protracted, agonizing death. And Ibn Saad’s sira (i.e., one of the earliest pious Muslim biographies of the Muslim prophet) account maintains that Muhammad’s poisoning resulted from a well-coordinated Jewish conspiracy.
George Vajda’s seminal 1937 analysis of the anti-Jewish motifs in the hadith remains the definitive work on this subject. Vajda concluded that according to the hadith stubborn malevolence is the Jews defining worldly characteristic: rejecting Muhammad and refusing to convert to Islam out of jealousy, envy and even selfish personal interest, lead them to acts of treachery, in keeping with their inveterate nature: “...sorcery, poisoning, assassination held no scruples for them.” These archetypes sanction Muslim hatred towards the Jews, and the admonition to at best, “subject [the Jews] to Muslim domination,” as dhimmis, treated “with contempt,” under certain “humiliating arrangements.”
The annihilationist sentiments regarding Jews expressed by Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Arifi, and incorporated permanently into the foundational 1988 Hamas Covenant, are also rooted in Islamic eschatology. As characterized in the hadith, Muslim eschatology highlights the Jews’ supreme hostility to Islam. Jews are described as adherents of the Dajjâl—the Muslim equivalent of the Anti-Christ—or according to another tradition, the Dajjâl is himself Jewish. At his appearance, other traditions maintain that the Dajjâl will be accompanied by 70,000 Jews from Isfahan wrapped in their robes, and armed with polished sabers, their heads covered with a sort of veil. When the Dajjâl is defeated, his Jewish companions will be slaughtered— everything will deliver them up except for the so-called gharqad tree, as per the canonical hadith included in the 1988 Hamas Charter (article 7). Another hadith variant, which takes place in Jerusalem, has Isa (the Muslim Jesus) leading the Arabs in a rout of the Dajjâl and his company of 70,000 armed Jews. And the notion of jihad “ransom” extends even into Islamic eschatology—on the day of resurrection the vanquished Jews will be consigned to Hellfire, and this will expiate Muslims who have sinned, sparing them from this fate.
Professor Moshe Sharon recently provided a very lucid summary of the unique features of Shi’ite eschatology, Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s deep personal attachment to “mahdism,” and the  key point of consistency between Shi’a and Sunni understandings of this doctrine—which emphasizes Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985—noting:
both Shi’ites and Sunnis share one particular detail about “the coming of the hour” and the dawning of messianic times: The Jews must all suffer a violent death, to the last one. Both Shi'ites and Sunnis quote the famous hadith [Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985]  attributed to Muhammad…
Professor Sharon further observes,
Not one Friday passes without this hadith being quoted in sermons from one side of the Islamic world to the other.
The rise of Jewish nationalism—Zionism—posed a predictable, if completely unacceptable challenge to the Islamic order—jihad-imposed chronic dhimmitude for Jews—of apocalyptic magnitude. As historian Bat Ye’or has explained,
…because divine will dooms Jews to wandering and misery [pace Koran 17:4-5/ 7:168; and 2:61/3:112], the Jewish state appears to Muslims as an unbearable affront and a sin against Allah. Therefore it must be destroyed by Jihad.
This is exactly the Islamic context in which the widespread, “resurgent” use of Jew annihilationist apocalyptic motifs, would be an anticipated, even commonplace occurrence. And for more than six decades, promoters of modern jihad genocide have consistently invoked Islam’s Jew-exterminating eschatology. Hajj Amin el-Husseini, ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, and Muslim jihadist, who became, additionally, a full-fledged Nazi collaborator and ideologue in his endeavors to abort a Jewish homeland, and destroy world Jewry, composed a 1943 recruitment pamphlet (see Jennie Lebel’s 2007 biography of the Mufti , pp. 311-319) for Balkan Muslims entitled, “Islam and the Jews.” This incendiary document hinged upon antisemitic motifs from the Koran (for example, 5:82), and the hadith (including Muhammad’s alleged poisoning by a Khaybar Jewess), and concluded with the apocalyptic canonical hadith describing the Jews’ annihilation.
Forty-five years later the same hadith was incorporated into the 1988 Hamas Covenant, making clear the jihad terrorist organization had its own aspirations for Jew annihilation. Sheer ignorance of this history and theology are pathognomonic of much larger and more dangerous phenomena: the often willful, craven failure to examine and understand the living legacy of Islam’s foundational anti-Jewish animus, or acknowledge the depth of Jew hatred that pervades contemporary Islam’s clerical leadership, including within major Muslim communities of the United States.
For example, Fawaz Damra, the former Imam of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, was touted as a promoter of  interfaith dialogue even after evidence of his participation in fundraising events for the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), was produced, along with a videotape of the Imam telling a crowd of Muslim supporters in 1991 that they should aim “…a rifle at the first and last enemy of the Islamic nation, and that is the sons of monkeys and pigs, the Jews.” Convicted in 2004 for lying to immigration officials about his links to the PIJ, Damra, who was born in Nablus in 1961, was subsequently deported back to the West Bank in January 2007. And last October 30, 2007 it was announced that Imam Ahmed Alzaree—the first permanent successor to Damra—resigned as the new “spiritual leader” of the Islamic Center of Cleveland three days prior to officially beginning the job. Alzaree, who at one stage of the vetting process expressed the unusual reservation that “he would not come to Cleveland because a reporter was inquiring about his background,” ostensibly accepted the position as noted on October 26, 2007, then pre-emptively resigned a few days later, after the contents of two “khutbahs” (sermons) he had delivered on March 7, 2003, were revealed.  Alzaree concluded the second sermon with the same apocalyptic canonical hadith (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985)—repeated in the 1988 Hamas Covenant.
Recently, the combined efforts of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and Rabbi Aron Hier of The Simon Wiesenthal Center, focused attention on the hadith collections—specifically Sahih Muslim Book 041, Numbers 6981 to 6985—posted at a website run by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at the University of Southern California (USC). USC Provost, C. L. Max Nikias, first learned of these hadith when Rabbi Aron Hier approached USC trustee Alan Casden. Hier expressed his concerns over the five hadith advocating the Jews’ annihilation by Muslims to hasten the coming of the “final hour.” Upon reviewing these contents, Nikias declared that “the passage cited is truly despicable...The passage in the Hadith that you brought to our attention violates the USC Principles of Community, and it has no place on a USC website.” Nikias’ letter of August 11, 2008 (which can be viewed here) also stated, “I have ordered that the passage be removed.”
The USC-MSA—in grudging compliance—removed, but refused to condemn these living, sacralized invocations to genocidal violence. Moreover, another Muslim student organization at USC the Muslim Student Union also failed to repudiate the contents of these hadith, and declared it was “outraged” at the university’s “unprecedented and unconscionable” censorship. David Horowitz responded aptly to this statement by noting that the hadith which were removed from the USC website, “…may be part of the religious canon, but that doesn't make them less hateful.” Horowitz’s sober reflection recalls the lament of the late Dr. John Garang, who lead the Southern Sudanese Christian and Animist populations in their fight against the genocidal jihad campaign’s of the Arab Khartoum north during the 1990s. Garang left us with this critical question in 1999, which, almost beyond belief, remains largely ignored, and for certain, unresolved in the appropriate manner:
Is the call for jihad against a particular people a religious right by those calling for it, or is it a human rights violation against the people upon whom jihad is declared and waged?
Almost 850 years ago, elaborating on the depth of Muslim hatred for the Jews in his era,  Maimonides (in ~ 1172 C.E.) made this profound observation regarding the Jewish predilection for denial, a feature that he insists will hasten their destruction.
We have acquiesced, both old and young, to inure ourselves to humiliation…All this notwithstanding, we do not escape this continued maltreatment [by Muslims] which well nigh crushes us. No matter how much we suffer and elect to remain at peace with them, they stir up strife and sedition.
The Jews and their communal leaders like Maimonides living under Islamic rule in the Middle Ages—vanquished by jihad, isolated, and well-nigh defenseless under the repressive system of dhimmitude—can be excused for their submissive denial. There is no such excuse in our era given the existence of an autonomous Jewish State of Israel, and a thriving Western Jewish diaspora, particularly here in the United States, living under the blanket of hard won protections for their religious freedom, physical security, and dignity.
As a pre-condition to real dialogue—not its miserable simulacrum—Jews and their leadership—religious, political, and intellectual—must demand from their Muslim counterparts acknowledgment and wrenching reform of the sacralized Islamic Jew hatred which is still being taught and promoted in Islamic schools, religious institutions, and even on US university campuses. Speaking as a Jew, let us demonstrate as Jews that we are no longer content living with Maimonides’ 12th century expectations of Muslims, otherwise they will oblige us.

Andrew G. Bostom is a frequent contributor to Frontpage, and the author of The Legacy of Jihad, and the forthcoming The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.
11909  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 05, 2008, 06:16:30 PM

October 5, 2008

Raymond Ibrahim: Islam and Innocence

Just recently, a high ranking Pakistani cleric, one Munib ur-Rehmen, asserted that “Islam does not allow anybody to take lives of innocent people by any means.” However, when he was grand mufti, two years earlier, he also said that “truly Islamic” states must kill the apostate from Islam. Considering his former statement, that Islam forbids the taking of “innocent” lives, has Munib been caught fibbing? Either way, this anecdote occasions the question: who is “innocent” in Islam?

Whereas other Muslims may shy away from this question, opting for the naïve Westerner to simply assume that “innocence” in Islam is akin to the liberal West’s notions of “innocence,” al-Qaeda—which seems to be supported by nearly half of the Muslim world—has been only to happy to clarify this matter.

Back in December, the terrorist organization’s primary media conduit, al-Sahab (the “clouds”) announced that al-Qaeda’s number two, Ayman Zawahiri, would be taking questions from the public and that he would “respond as soon as possible.”

Then, a few months later in April, according to the Associated Press, Zawahiri released a 90 minute audio tape, “billed as the first installment of answers to the more than 900 questions submitted on extremist Internet sites by al-Qaida supporters, critics and journalists.”

In response to a question that suggested al-Qaeda was responsible for the deaths of innocents in Baghdad, Morocco, and Algeria—Muslim areas where countless terrorist attacks in the name of al-Qaeda still occur daily—Zawahiri adamantly maintained that “We haven’t killed innocents,” not in any of those regions mentioned; “nor,” added Zawahari, “anywhere else”—which obviously includes 9/11, the London and Madrid bombings, and the rest.

Was Zawahiri being facetious, or does he truly deem all those killed in the aforementioned attacks as not “innocent”—that is, guilty?

As for Western infidels, Osama bin Laden himself has announced on various occasions that, since America is a democracy, and thus responsible for its government (which is always portrayed as one of the greatest enemies of Islam), “Every American man is an enemy—whether he fights us directly or pays his taxes,” (The Al Qaeda Reader, 281). Accordingly, al-Qaeda issued its famous fatwa in 1998 concluding that “The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilian and military—is an individual obligation incumbent upon every Muslim who can do it and in any country” (AQR, 13).

What of women and children? What of fellow Muslims? Surely all these are innocent? In fact, Zawahiri, in one of his major treatises written for Muslim-eyes only, “Jihad, Martyrdom, and the Killing of Innocents” (see AQR,141-171), demonstrates the opposite. After quoting several anecdotes from authoritative hadith and sira sources documenting Muhammad legitimizing haphazard attacks against infidel strongholds—including by utilizing catapults (al-manjonil) and fire—even though women and children were known to be sheltered there, Zawahiri quotes the observations of a prominent exegete: “It is well known that whoever follows such a course, bombarding infidels, will inevitably hit their women and children, who are otherwise forbidden from being killed. Likewise, the same goes if Muslims are among them. It is compulsory that this [the possibility of hitting women, children, and Muslims] not dissuade the launching of an incursion against them… even if one dreads hitting another Muslim” (AQR,165).

As for “hitting another Muslim,” in Zawahiri’s April response, he concluded that “If there is any innocent [i.e., Muslim] who was killed in the mujahedeen’s operations, then it was either an unintentional error or out of necessity.” Again, this response accords perfectly with what he wrote in “Jihad, Martyrdom, and the Killing of Innocents”: after discussing the inevitability that faithful Muslims may be “accidentally” killed during the jihad, Zawahiri quoted the renowned Muslim jurist Ibn Taymiyya, who declared some 700 years ago that, “Based on the consensus of the ulema [Islamic scholars], those Muslims who are accidentally killed are martyrs; and the obligatory jihad should never be abandoned because it creates martyrs” (AQR,168). In other words, yes, Muslims who are slain “accidentally” are innocent; however, their recompense is to be deemed “martyrs,” that is, to attain the highest level of paradise, with all the sensual bliss that only Islam promises.

Also, the concept of “necessity” alluded to above—“any innocent who was killed…out of necessity”—seems to permeate Islam's worldview. Quoting yet another prominent sheikh, Zawahiri writes “If necessity compels one to fire at them [Muslims interspersed among infidels, e.g., the “apostate” governments of Algeria, Afghanistan, and Iraq], one should do so with impunity... For if we lay off them, they will emerge triumphant and cause even more harm…. It is better that one group [of Muslims] bear the burden and be destroyed in order to defend Islam and its territory and the welfare [of Muslims].” To this, Zawahiri concludes, “The evils produced by attacking impetuously [thereby accidentally killing Muslims] is forgiven due to the good of defending Islam” (AQR, 166).

Finally, as Zawahiri makes clear, the question of whether it is permissible to kill women, children, et. al. during the jihad was decided upon by the jurists (fuqaha) when Islam was on the ascendancy, and engaged in offensive warfare simply to conquer infidels and usurp their lands; in other words, the question of killing “innocents” was relevant only when Muslims were the aggressors, invading infidel territory. Writes Zawahiri: “But when Muslims are defending their religion and their sanctities, and the infidels are surrounding them from every corner, and instead they [infidels] are the ones seeking them out and pursuing them… —in these situations it becomes a binding obligation on every Muslim to fight them anyway he can… [even if] some Muslims might be killed mistakenly” (AQR, 168).

Indeed, this view is based on "ulemaic" consensus—which is often seen as binding on the umma. Ibn Taymiyya makes this clear: “As for defensive warfare, this is the greatest way to defend sanctity and religion.This is an obligation consensually agreed to [by the ulema]. After faith, there is nothing more sacred than repulsing the enemy who attacks religion and life” (AQR, 13).

In other words, in those Muslim countries where infidels and apostates are perceived as having the upper hand—such as Afghanistan, Algeria, and Iraq—far from worrying about whether infidel women and children are killed, Muslim women and children themselves are individually obligated to participate or at least support the jihad.

Most problematic of all is the fact that, neither Pakistani cleric Munib ur-Rehmen, nor Ayman Zawahiri, nor yet Osama bin Laden are responsible for these notions or what constitutes “innocence” in Islam. Rather, their views are grounded in the verdicts of Islam’s revered ulema and fuqaha, who, in their turn, came up with these conclusions after grappling (ijtihad) with Islam’s core texts—the way all of sharia law has been articulated. In short, though much of what was quoted here comes from the writings of al-Qaeda, such notions are not original to al-Qaeda but trace back to the ulema and sharia.

In closing, this somewhat idiosyncratic concept of “guilt” and “innocence” should better highlight the epistemic difficulties the Westerner may encounter when trying to understand Islam—a religion, it should be recalled, that deems even the Muslim who simply and peacefully wants to convert to another religion, “guilty” and worthy of execution.

As the Pakistani Munib indicated at the beginning of this discussion, only the “truly Islamic” state will execute the apostate, which itself is truly telling about Islam's notions of innocence and guilt and how radically different they are from Western ideals.

Posted at October 5, 2008 3:15 PM
11910  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 05, 2008, 05:17:36 PM

Your, highly ethical, unbiased media at work.
11911  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: October 05, 2008, 04:59:36 PM
Does everyone deserve the same level of healthcare?
11912  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: October 05, 2008, 09:24:28 AM

Obama on guns.
11913  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 05, 2008, 07:47:27 AM
March 29, 2002 8:30 a.m.
Postmodern Palestine
The new amorality in the Middle East.

There is a postmodern amorality afloat — the dividend of years of an American educational system in which historical ignorance, cultural relativism, and well-intentioned theory, in place of cold facts, has reigned. We see the sad results everywhere in the current discussions of the Middle East and our own war on terror.

Palestinians appeal to the American public on grounds that three or four times as many of their own citizens have died as Israelis. The crazy logic is that in war the side that suffers the most casualties is either in the right or at least should be the winner. Some Americans nursed on the popular ideology of equivalence find this attractive. But if so, they should then sympathize with Hitler, Tojo, Kim Il Sung, and Ho Chi Minh who all lost more soldiers — and civilians — in their wars against us than we did.

Perhaps a million Chinese were casualties in Korea, ten times the number of Americans killed, wounded, and missing. Are we then to forget that the Communists crossed the Yalu River to implement totalitarianism in the south — and instead agree that their catastrophic wartime sacrifices were proof of American culpability? Palestinians suffer more casualties than Israelis not because they wish to, or because they are somehow more moral — but because they are not as adept in fighting real soldiers in the full-fledged war that is growing out of their own intifada.

We are told that Palestinian civilians who are killed by the Israeli Defense Forces are the moral equivalent of slaughtering Israeli civilians at schools, restaurants, and on buses. That should be a hard sell for Americans after September 11, who are currently bombing in Afghanistan to ensure that there are not more suicide murderers on our shores. This premise hinges upon the acceptance that the suicide bombers' deliberate butchering of civilians is the same as the collateral damage that occurs when soldiers retaliate against other armed combatants.

In fact, the tragic civilian deaths on the West Bank make a less-compelling argument for amorality than the one revisionists often use in condemning the Dresden, Hamburg, and Tokyo bombings. Then British and American planes knowingly incinerated civilians in their quests to shut down the warmaking potential of the Third Reich and imperial Japan. Unlike what the B-17s and B-29s did to stop fascist murdering on a global scale, the Israelis are not carpet-bombing indiscriminately. Rather they are doing precisely what we ourselves were forced to do in Mogadishu: Fighting a dirty urban war against combatants who have no uniforms, shoot from houses, and are deliberately mixed in with civilians. So far the Israelis have probably killed fewer civilians in a year of fighting on the West Bank than our trapped soldiers did in two days of similar gun battles in Somalia.

An ignorance of historical context is also critical for such postmodern revisionism. If the conflict is due to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, then the first three wars for the survival of Israel itself must be conveniently ignored. If there is a push for the exchange of land for peace, then we must overlook that some in the Arab world who have suggested just that bromide in the past three decades were either assassinated or executed. And if we accept that both sides are equally culpable for the current killing, we must forget that less than two years ago the Palestinians rejected an Israeli offer to return 97 percent of the West Bank, along with other major concessions — assuming that unleashing the present intifada could get them still more.

Facts mean nothing. The dispute is purportedly over the principle of occupation — but next-door Syria holds far more Lebanese land than Israel does the West Bank. The dispute is supposedly over ethnic intolerance and gratuitous humiliation — but Kuwait, quite unlike Israel, ethnically cleansed their entire country of Palestinians after the Gulf War. The dispute is said to be about treating the "other" fairly — but Syria and Iraq summarily expelled over 7,000 Jews after the 1967 war, stole their property, and bragged that they had rid their country of them. The upcoming Arab Summit could spend weeks just investigating the Arab murder and persecution of its own people and Jews.

Multicultural distortion also appears in a variety of strange ways. Palestinian spokesmen harangue Americans about their tilt toward Israel. Yet they also speak in grandiose terms of an "Arab summit" and a global Islamic brotherhood. Apparently, fellow Muslims, Arabs — and kindred autocracies — are supposed to support Palestinians unquestioningly because of religious, cultural, and political affinities. Yet we multicultural Americans are not entitled to exhibit similar sympathy for Israel, which like us and unlike Mr. Arafat's regime, is a Western, democratic, open, and free society.

Why do such bankrupt arguments find resonance? I think the causes have now permeated well beyond a few coffeehouse theorists blabbering away in Cambridge or Palo Alto. Rather it is because we live in a society in which playground fights in our schools are now often adjudicated by concepts such as "zero tolerance" and "equal culpability." Rather than exercising moral judgment — and investing time and energy in such investigation — our school principals simply expel any student caught fighting, as if the bully and his victim occupy the same moral ground.

Our schoolbooks devote more space to Hiroshima than to the far, far greater casualties on Okinawa. Students are not told that the two tragedies are connected — as if the American bombing to prevent an enormous bloodbath on the Japanese mainland is somehow not a direct result of the Japanese imperial military's efforts a few weeks earlier to unleash 2,000 kamikazes, and through suicide attacks and banzai charges kill every American (and tens of thousands of civilians) on the island rather than surrender.

Rather than do the hard work of learning about the historical relationships, conflicts, and similarities between Islamic and Christian culture, East and West, and Europe and Asia, our teachers simply avoid the trouble. They claim that all cultures are just "different," and thereby hope to avoid the hard and unpleasant questions that might prompt hurt feelings and eventual enlightenment, rather than ensure their own immediate raises and promotions. No wonder I have had college students who affirm that British imperialism in India was no different from Hitler's attempt at dominance in Europe — as if there were gas chambers in New Delhi, as if the Nazi "super-race" might have sought to eradicate the caste system, or as if Gandhi's civil disobedience would have worked against Himmler.

I do not think there is some grand postmodern scheme afloat to undermine the legacy of empiricism, history, and logic. Rather the spread of such amorality is simply a result of our own sloth and timidity — and perhaps ultimately the dangerous dividend of an increasingly affluent and cynical society. Teachers, professors, and reporters embrace such dubious notions because they either bring rewards or at least the satisfaction of being liked and in the majority.

It is also less demanding to watch television than read, safer to blame or praise both than investigate the culpability of one, neater to create rather than recall facts, and better to feel good about oneself by adopting platitudes of eternal peace and universal tolerance than to talk honestly of evil, war, and the tragic nature of man. When you combine such American laziness and lack of intellectual rigor with worries over oil and anti-Semitism, then our baffling nonchalance about the current war against Israel begins to make sense.

Moral equivalence, conflict-resolution theory, utopian pacifism, and multiculturalism are, of course, antirational and often silly. But we should also have the courage to confess that they bring on, rather than avoid, conflict and killing, and breed rather than eradicate ignorance. In short, they are not ethical ideas at all, but amoral in every sense of the word.

— Victor Davis Hanson, author most recently of Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power.



11914  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 05, 2008, 07:37:24 AM
- Chesler Chronicles - -

An American Dissident’s Fighting Words. My Speech at Columbia on 10/24/07
October 26, 2007 - by Phyllis Chesler

It is an honor and a privilege to be here today. Talking about Islamo-fascism and the violent Islamic oppression of Muslim women, Muslim intellectuals, and Muslim homosexuals is exactly the right thing to do at this moment in history. The western university campus is exactly the right place to do so since it is the university that has been hijacked, Palestinianized, Stalinized, Edward Said-ized, by a series of truly Great Lies.

It is time to take the campus back so that the rights of “free speech” and “academic freedom” also apply to those who tell the truth about Islam and who espouse minority and dissident intellectual points of view. Such rights also belong to those of us who are pro-American and pro-Israel and not only to those who demonize the West and valorize Islamist misogyny, death-cult terrorism, and Wahabi and Salafi fundamentalism.

Telling the truth about Islam is, apparently, “provocative.” One risks everything for doing so. In my opinion, one risks even more for failing to do so.

I want to thank the students at Columbia who have made this evening possible as well as David Horowitz and the Horowitz Freedom Center which has organized similar panels all over the country this week and has, in addition, published a pamphlet which I co-authored together with Robert Spencer which is titled The Violent Oppression of Women in Islam.

It is both extraordinary and tragic that one needs serious security in order to be heard on campus, that one must run a gauntlet of hostility for the right to teach. Please note who needs the security and who does not. Who disrupts and protests speeches and who does not. Goon-squad tactics of intimidation and disruption should have absolutely no place in the free exchange of ideas. We should exchange competing ideas civilly, with an open mind, and our ideas should be based on facts and truth, not on propaganda.

I have spoken at Barnard and Columbia many times over the years. Long ago, in the 1960s and 1970s, when I was a politically correct “rebel-girl,” I was more than welcome here.

More recently, in 2003, my words about Islamic gender and religious Apartheid caused a near-riot at a feminist conference at Barnard and I had to be hustled out for my safety.

In 2006 or 2007, I was persona non grata at Barnard at a panel organized by the Veteran Feminists of America. Although I am a founding member, my own group would not allow me to speak about the Islamist War Against Women. Here’s why.

No western academic is supposed to criticize anything that a formerly colonized man of color does–including gang-rape or stone women of color to death. Nor can he or she focus on the savage persecution of homosexuals or on the epidemic of homosexual pederasty in the Islamic world; or on the persecution of heroic Muslim and ex-Muslim intellectuals and human rights activists.

Muslim-on-Muslim homicide and genocide are also “unmentionables.” Any western academic who dares discuss such tabooed subjects will be defamed as a “racist” and “colonialist.” Fear of this allegation is so great that false concerns about racism have inevitably trumped all feminist concerns about sexism. This is the new McCarthyism and it is coming to us from the left.

In the early 1960s, I was held captive in Kabul, Afghanistan, in fairly posh purdah. I was a young bride. I escaped, I survived, I learned a thing or two. I write about this in The Death of Feminism which describes Islamic gender apartheid both way back then and now, as it is penetrating the West.

For example, I learned that what characterizes Islam (not Islamism) is mainly indigenous to the culture, the region, and the religion and is not necessarily caused by Western imperialism, colonialism, or capitalism.

The Christian crusades did not “cause” Arab or Muslim slavery, racism, polygamy, arranged child marriage, female genital mutilation, honor murders, forced face-veiling, capital punishment for apostates (Muslims who leave Islam), or the segregation of women. It did not cause Islamic jihad or Islamic imperialism which preceded the Crusades by centuries.

In the early 1970s, American imperialism and Israeli policies of self-defense did not force Bangladeshi Muslims to murder their own women for the crime of having been raped by enemy Muslim soldiers.

In the 1980s, when Iranian village mullahs ordered that women be lynched, the villagers did not stone their daughters, mothers, and sisters because America had, in the past, interfered with Iranian politics.

No American or European oil company ordered the men of Saudi Arabia to prohibit Saudi women from driving, or from going out without a male escort, nor did they order the be-heading of a Saudi Princess for daring to choose a love match.

No Israeli law forced Palestinians to honor-murder their women, beat their wives and daughters, or to force-veil women against their will. Only Hamas did that.

My Second Wave feminist credentials are rooted in a universalist vision of human rights. Because I believe that all women and men are equal, I am therefore, not a multi-cultural relativist. I believe that all human beings deserve certain unalienable rights, whether they live in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or in New York City.

I especially support such human rights for the most heroic of heroes today who are fighting against Islamism in their own countries and who are themselves Muslims, ex-Muslims, or Arab and Asian Christians. Their extraordinary heroism is in sharp contrast to and puts the blindness and cowardice of our tenured western radicals to shame.

Such secular and religious activists, influenced by western concepts of democracy, freedom, human rights, and women’s rights, are now fighting for those very rights in their own countries. They are being murdered, imprisoned, tortured, and censored for daring to hold the ideas that we safely take for granted in the West.

Fatwas (or death threats) have been issued against them. Some who live in hiding require serious, round-the-clock protection. Some must write under pseudonyms. Many such dissidents live in exile and simply cannot understand why western multi-cultural relativists refuse to side with them and instead, side with their persecutors.

Think: Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasrin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali for starters.

For daring to defend them I (and many others) are being censored in both Europe and America, whose Islamification is well under way.

Western dissidents have also been sued for telling the truth about Islam and about the Saudi and Islamic funding for terrorism against Western civilian targets.

Think: Oriana Fallaci, Rachel Ehrenfeld.

Western feminists and pro-woman academics must understand that like women everywhere, Arab and Muslim women have internalized their culture’s views of women. Therefore, like men, some women will justify wife-beating, purdah, polygamy, veiling, and female genital mutilation. Thus, just because Muslim women can be trotted out to support Islamic Gender Apartheid, does not necessarily mean that their words on such subjects are any more inviolate than those of their male counterparts.

In America, in the 1960s, most women denied that they were economically discriminated against or, if proven wrong, insisted that it did not bother them. They blamed themselves entirely when they were sexually harassed, raped, or beaten. Only years of education and struggle have begun to change these attitudes among American women and men.

If Western feminists are not committed to the same struggle for Muslim, Arab, and Third World women they have betrayed their own moral vision of equality for all women and men.

Today, in Muslim countries, women are being more forcefully and fully veiled. They are being imprisoned, gang-raped, flogged, and in Iran, often hung or stoned to death when they allege rape or run away from unusually cruel and life-threatening-families. Honor murders are either increasing or have become more visible – perhaps because Western and Western influenced feminists and human rights activists have begun to document them.

Recently, in the fall of 2006 (the end of Ramadan), perhaps a thousand men conducted a ‘sexual wilding’ in Cairo. They surrounded individual girls and women who were fully veiled, partly veiled, and unveiled, and groped and assaulted them. Individuals tried to help these women – who escaped from the male crowds naked and half-naked. The police refused to make any arrests and the media did not cover it. I and others only learned of this incident because some foreign journalists blogged it – and because one brave Egyptian woman spoke about it on a live Egyptian television programme.

Pro-Islamists are perfectly free to criticize, even to demonize the West in the West, because they live in a democracy where academic freedom and free speech are (still) taken seriously. Were they to dare criticize the barbarism, misogyny, and despotism of Third World countries, were they to do so in Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Bangladesh or Saudi Arabia (to name only a few such countries), they would be in serious danger of being shot to death in her own home, as happened recently to an Afghan woman journalist, or of being imprisoned, tortured, and murdered. This has happened to many Muslim dissidents and feminists.

In 2003, Wajeha Al-Huwaider was barred from publishing in the Saudi Kingdom; in 2006 she was arrested, interrogated, and forced to sign a statement agreeing to cease her human rights activities.

Bangladeshi writer Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, had his office bombed, was jailed for two years and is now on trial for his life. His crime? ‘Praising the Jew and Christians’, ‘attempting to travel to Israel’, and ‘predicting the rise of Islamist militancy’. These charges may carry a death sentence.

Women are not yet free from violence and inequality in America but really, we do not face these conditions.

In The Death of Feminism, I also describe another incident which took place in July 2001 in Hassi Messaoud, Algeria, in which a mob of three hundred men conducted a three-day pogrom against thirty-nine economically impoverished Algerian women. In his Friday sermons, the local mullah, Amar Taleb, had described these women as ‘immoral’ because they were working for a foreign company. The men tortured, stabbed, mutilated, gang-raped, buried alive and murdered these women.

Feminists especially need to acknowledge that this is happening. We need to wrestle with it and take a stand against it. We need to make common cause with Third World and Muslim feminists and dissidents who want to create alliances.

Western feminists and academics must end their unnatural obsession with the so-called “occupation” of Palestine and focus of the occupation of women’s bodies throughout the Muslim world. If they care about women, they must confront the issues that characterize Islamic gender apartheid and affect at least half a billion women in the Islamic world.

Western feminist academics have now become allied with Islamists—against Muslim and ex-Muslim women and against their own feminist principles. Now is the time for western intellectuals who claim to be antiracists or committed to human and women’s rights to stand with Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents. To do so, requires that we adopt a universal standard of human rights and abandon our loyalty to multicultural relativism which justifies, even romanticizes, indigenous barbarism, totalitarian terrorism and the persecution of women, religious minorities, homosexuals, and intellectuals.

Our abject refusal to judge between civilization and barbarism, and between enlightened rationalism and theocratic fundamentalism endangers and condemns the victims of Islamic tyranny even further.

Article printed from Chesler Chronicles:

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11915  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 05, 2008, 07:27:19 AM
Muhammad’s Dead Poets Society   
By James M. Arlandson
The American Thinker | Wednesday, March 15, 2006
The peaceful non-assassinations of mockers

In their replies to the uproar over satirical depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslim spokespersons who have access to the national media have recently withheld some valuable but unpleasant information about early Islam. Killing those who ridicule Muhammad is in the Quran.

On national television, Feb 2, 2006, Ibrahim Hooper, a leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), spoke only of the forgiveness and kindness of his prophet.
HOOPER:  Let me tell you how the Prophet Muhammad responded to attacks on himself.
There was a lady who threw garbage in the path of the prophet on a daily basis.  One day, she didn’t do it.  The prophet went to inquire about her health, because he thought she might be sick.  This lady ended up converting to Islam.  So, that‘s how you respond to people who attack you, with forgiveness and with kindness. (Source)
On February 8, 2006, Amir Taheri, a reputable journalist who often explains Islam to the West, used the absolutist word “never” in the context of chopping off the heads of satirists during Islam’s founding.
The truth is that Islam has always had a sense of humor and has never called for chopping heads as the answer to satirists. Muhammad himself pardoned a famous Meccan poet who had lampooned him for more than a decade. (Source)
On February 9, 2006, a journalist for al-Jazeera, Abderrahim Foukara, appeared on the Charlie Rose Show saying about the same thing. After Muhammad conquered Mecca “peacefully” (in early AD 630), he forgave a satirical poet. Never mind that twenty-eight Meccans died in the “peaceful” conquest, after their city—weakened by eight years of Muslim raids on Meccan trade—was surrounded by 10,000 jihadists. [1]
In truth, however, while Muhammad forgave a poet and a singing girl right after his conquest of Mecca, he killed satirical poets more often than he forgave. Muhammad violently created a dead poets society of his own. He also killed non-poetic or ordinary mockers, and he used a poet to mock a tribe of Jews just before their conquest, slaughter, and enslavement.
These spokesmen for Islam presented only peaceful aspects. This is not full disclosure. This is wrong. The truth about all of Islam must be publicized, if we want to understand this religion fully. This article is intended to balance out the picture of Islam from the one that these spokespersons have presented.
The assassination of satirical poets
Once Muhammad reached Medina in AD 622 and gradually grew in military power, his tone and outlook changed. The following murders occur after the Hijrah.
(1) March 624: Al-Nadr bin al-Harith
Before Muhammad’s Hijrah, he used to sit in the assembly and invite the Meccans to Allah, citing the Quran and warning them of God’s punishment for mocking his prophets. A Meccan named Al-Nadr bin al-Harith would then follow him and speak about heroes and kings of Persia, saying, “By God, Muhammad cannot tell a better story than I, and his talk is only of old fables which he has copied as I have.” On other days al-Nadr would interrupt Muhammad until the prophet silenced him.
It was Nadr’s bad fortune to join Mecca’s army, riding north to protect their caravan, which Muhammad attacked at the Battle of Badr in AD 624. It pitted about 320 Muslims against about 1,000 Meccans, near the north-south trade route following the Red Sea. The story-telling polytheist was captured, and on Muhammad’s return journey back to Medina, Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, at Muhammad’s order, beheaded him, instead of getting some possible ransom money. He was one of two prisoners who were executed and not allowed to be ransomed by their clans—all because he harassed Muhammad and wrote poems and told stories critiquing him. [2]
(2) March 624: Uqbah bin Abu Muayt
A similar story as that of Nadr can be told about Uqba bin Abu Muayt. He too harassed and mocked Muhammad in Mecca and wrote derogatory verses about him. He too was captured during the Battle of Badr, and Muhammad ordered him to be executed. “But who will look after my children, O Muhammad?” Uqba cried with anguish. “Hell,” retorted the Prophet coldly. Then the sword of one of his followers cut through Uqba’s neck.
After the prophet’s victory at Badr, he was not always magnanimous. This passage finds him mocking the enemy dead in the middle of the night, as their bodies lie motionless in a pit:
. . . The apostle’s companions heard him saying in the middle of the night, “O people of the pit: O Utbah, O Shayba, O Ummayya, O Abu Jahl,” enumerating all who had been thrown in the pit, “Have you found what God promises you is true? I have found that what my Lord promised me is true.” The Muslims said, “Are you calling to dead bodies?” He answered: “you cannot hear what I say better than they, but they cannot answer me. [3]
The reliable hadith collector and editor Bukhari confirms Ibn Ishaq’s account.
These were the battles of Allah’s Apostle (which he fought), and while mentioning (the Badr battle) he said, “While the corpses of the pagans were being thrown into the well, Allah’s Apostle said (to them), ‘Have you found what your Lord promised true?” ‘Abdullah said, “Some of the Prophet’s companions said, “O Allah’s Apostle! You are addressing dead people.’ Allah’s Apostle replied, ‘You do not hear what I am saying, better than they.’  (Bukhari )
In this tradition the prophet is shown taunting the dead in a well, not a pit, and he seems to have done this in broad daylight. Maybe these are two different episodes in Ibn Ishaq and Bukhari; regardless, they convey the same unpleasant message. [4]
(3) March 624: Asma bint Marwan
She was a poetess who belonged to a tribe of Medinan pagans. She composed a poem blaming them for obeying a stranger (Muhammad) and for not taking the initiative to attack him by surprise. Perhaps in March 624, when the Allah-inspired Prophet heard what she had said, he asked, “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?” A member of her husband’s tribe volunteered and crept into her house that night. She had five children, and the youngest was sleeping at her breast. The assassin gently removed the child, drew his sword, and plunged it into her, killing her in her sleep. [5]
(4) September 624: Kab bin al-Ashraf
Kab b. al-Ashraf had a mixed ancestry. His father came from a nomadic Arab tribe, but his mother was a Jew from the powerful al-Nadir tribe in Medina. He lived as a member of his mother’s tribe. He heard about the Muslim victory at the battle of Badr, and he was disgusted, for he thought Muhammad the newcomer to Medina was a trouble-maker and divisive. Kab had the gift of poetry, and after the Battle of Badr he traveled down to Mecca, apparently stopping by Badr, witnessing the aftermath. Arriving in Mecca, he wrote a widely circulated poem, a hostile lament, over the dead of Mecca.
Angered by the poems and now able to strike back after the Battle of Badr, Muhammad had had enough. He asked, “Who would rid me of [Kab]?” Five Muslims volunteered, one of whom was Kab’s foster-brother named Abu Naila. They informed him, “O apostle of God, we shall have to tell lies.” He answered, “Say what you like, for you are free in the matter.”
After deceitfully gaining Kab’s trust over time, a Muslim yelled to the four other murderers, “Smite the enemy of God!” Though outnumbered, Kab mounted a strong defense, so their swords were ineffective. Finally, one of the conspirators remembered his dagger, stabbed Kab in the belly, and then bore it down until it reached his genitals, killing him.
They made it back to Muhammad. They saluted the prophet as he stood praying, and he came out to them. They told him that the mission was accomplished. Early Muslim historian Tabari (d. 923) reports that the five Muslim thugs severed Kab’s head and brought it to Muhammad. [6]
(5) July-August 625: A one-eyed, unnamed Bedouin
In revenge for an ambush on some Muslim missionaries, Muhammad sent Amr bin Umayya and a companion to assassinate Abu Sufyan, a leader of the Meccans. This shows that the Prophet could get caught up in the cycle of violence that went on endlessly in seventh-century Arab culture. Umayyah failed in his attempt, and he had to flee under pursuit, hiding in a cave, murdering a man named Ibn Malik along the way. As the pursuit was dying down, a tall, one-eyed, unnamed Bedouin entered the cave, driving some sheep. Umayyah and the Bedouin introduced each other. After they settled down, the shepherd sang a simple two-line song in defiance of Muslims and Islam.
Unfortunately for this Bedouin, he was in the cave with a radical Muslim, who said: “You will soon see!” The Bedouin fell asleep, snoring. Umayyah recounts what he did: . . .  “I went to him and killed him in the most dreadful way that anybody has ever been killed. I leaned over him, stuck the end of my bow into his good eye, and thrust it down until it came out of the back of his neck.” He fled back to Muhammad, who said, “Well done!” The account ends: The prophet “prayed for me [Umayyah] to be blessed.” [7]
(6) After January 630: One singing-girl
After Muhammad conquered Mecca in early AD 630, a conquest that saw some bloodshed of twenty-eight Meccans, he showed amnesty to the newly conquered.  But on the list of those excluded from amnesty was not only Abdullah b. Katal, collector of legal alms, who had killed his slave for incompetence, apostatized from Islam, and took the money back to Mecca. But his two singing-girls who sang satirical verses about Muhammad, which Abdullah had composed, were also excluded from the list. He was killed, even though he was clinging to the curtain of the Kabah shrine. And one of the girls was killed, but the other ran away until she asked for pardon from Muhammad, who forgave her. [8]
(7) After February 630: close call for Kab bin Zuhayr
Confident with the victory over Mecca, Muhammad returned to Medina a hero and firmly in charge of the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula. In this context Muhammad nearly murdered another poet who satirized Muhammad and Muslims, Kab bin Zuhayr (here called Zuhayr to distinguish him from Kab bin al-Ashraf, above, no. 4). Zuhayr’s brother wrote him that Muhammad had killed a number of satirical poets during his conquest of Mecca, but that the Prophet would forgive a poet who came to him in repentance, which really meant becoming a Muslim. His brother told him that the poets who were left had fled in all directions.
“If you have any use for your life, then come to the apostle quickly, for he does not kill anyone who comes to him in repentance,” wrote the brother, continuing: “if you do not do that, then get to a safe place.”
Finding no way out, Zuhayr wrote a letter extolling Muhammad. Soon afterwards, he traveled up to Medina to ask for security as a Muslim. Muhammad was saying his morning prayers, and a friend took Zuhayr into Muhammad’s presence. “Would you accept him as such if he came to you?” his friend asked. The Prophet said he would.
As Zuhayr came into the Prophet’s presence, one of the Ansars (helpers or native Medinans who helped Muhammad after his Hijrah) leaped upon Zuhayr and asked Muhammad if he could behead the enemy of God, for some of Zuhayr’s verses mocked the Ansars, too. The apostle said to leave him alone, for Zuhayr was breaking free from his past. The implication is clear: if Muhammad had caught Zuhayr before his repentance, Muhammad would have allowed him to be beheaded. Either he converts or he dies—for writing derogatory poetry.
What is remarkable about the anecdote is how the morning prayer provides the setting for a Muslim leaping on a poet and threatening to cut his head off, as if this is an ordinary day and act. [9]
Murder of ordinary mockers
Two examples of murder demonstrate that Muhammad did not like mockery even by non-poets. Any ole insulter is vulnerable in original Islam.
(1) A blind man murders his slave-wife
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:
A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet . . . and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet . . .  and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet was informed about it.
He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling, the man stood up.
He sat before the Prophet . . .  and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.
Thereupon the Prophet . . . said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood. [10]
The last line of this hadith shows Muhammad not allowing even blood-wit (compensation for bloodshed) to be paid on her behalf. Apparently, she was worth nothing, even though she bore the blind man two sons.
(2) An unnamed man strangles an unnamed Jewish woman.
Narrated Ali ibn Abu Talib:
A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet . . . and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah . . .  declared that no recompense was payable for her blood. (Abu Dawud)
This hadith communicates that a Jewish woman is worth nothing. In early Islamic sources, Jews too often appear as extra-bad. Who was killed? Who is a murderer? A Jew?
That’s no big deal. Of course. That’s to be expected. So what else is new?
Is it any wonder why so many Muslims who are educated in their source documents hate Jews? How can Muhammad and his sacred texts tell them to stop?
Regardless, in both murder cases, no one was arrested or executed, like-for-like. No one was even scolded. The murderers were let go on the grounds that insulting the Prophet deserves death. The translator of Abu Dawud informs us that all Jews or any non-Muslims who insult the Prophet should also be killed (vol. 3, note 3800).
Muhammad uses a satirical poet
Muhammad is fresh off a victory against a coalition of 10,000 Meccans and their allies in AD 627. After they depart, the last remaining major tribe of Jews, the Qurayza, is left alone, without allies. During Muhammad’s twenty-five-day siege of this tribe, which resulted in the slaughter of the men and pubescent boys and the wholesale enslavement of the women and children, he employed a poet to abuse them.
The Prophet said to Hassan, “Abuse them (with your poems), and Gabriel is with you (i.e. supports you).” (Through another group of sub-narrators) Al-Bara bin Azib said, “On the day of Quraiza’s (besiege), Allah’s Apostle said to Hassan bin Thabit, ‘Abuse them (with your poems), and Gabriel is with you (i.e. supports you).’” (Bukhari)
This shows how valued poetry was in seventh-century Arabia. In the absence of mass media, gathering around and listening to poets was an opportunity to persuade, smear, mock, praise, and otherwise influence large numbers. Now that Muhammad has the power, he employed a satirical poet without fear of reprisal. In fact, he refers to the Jews as brothers of monkeys, citing a legend that he believed, namely, that God turned some disobedient Jews into apes.  (see also Ibn Ishaq pp. 461-62).
While it is true that Muhammad forgave a satirical poet and a singing girl (see no. 7 in “Assassination of satirical poets,” above), he murdered more than he forgave. Omitting the violent episodes in the Prophet’s life, the spokespersons for Islam act irresponsibly in their television appearances. Possibly their strategy is to make Islam and its Prophet seem only peaceful and loving, perhaps so that the uninformed may be drawn to this religion or at least not be turned off by it.
However, aggressive Islam is on the march. The riots over the cartoons are only one symptom. The stakes are high. Thus, the peaceful spokespersons’ partial presentation of Islam is misleading at best and dangerous at worse. When or if Islam gets a foothold in a region on the basis of “peace and love,” what happens when the hard line and traditional (not to mention nonviolent and violent fanatics) Muslims come to the region later and impose all sorts of violent laws and policies and practices in the Quran and hadith? Honesty demands full historical and scriptural disclosure, even if it hurts.
James M. Arlandson can be reached at
[1] Go here  for more information, and scroll down to no. 3, looking for a critique of Karen Armstrong. The transcript is available by purchase only. Here is a video clip  of the discussion between Foukara, Rose, and others.
[2] Source: Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, (trans. A. Guillaume, Oxford UP, 1955, 2004), pp. 136, 163, 181, 262, 308. Reputable historians today consider Ibn Ishaq to be a reliable source of early Islam, though they may disagree on his chronology and miraculous elements.
[3] Ibn Ishaq, p. 306
[4] Bukhari, Spoils of War (online source); Muslim nos. 4421, 4422, and 4424; These are parallels in Bukhari about taunting the dead: here and here.  Ibn Ishaq, pp. 306-08. Muslim is also a reliable collector and editor of the hadith (records of the words and deeds of Muhammad outside of the Quran).
[5] Ibn Ishaq, pp. 675-76.
[6] Bukhari, Military Expeditions (online sources: here; see also the one below); this one  and this one show Muhammad giving permission to his assassin to say anything, i.e. lie; Muslim no. 4436 ; Ibn Ishaq pp. 364-69 ; Tabari, The History of al-Tabari, Vol. 7, (trans. by M.V. McDonald and annotated by W. Montgomery Watt, SUNYP, 1987), pp. 94-98. Reputable historians today consider Tabari to be a reliable source of data on early Islam, though they may not agree on his chronology or miraculous elements.
[7] Tabari, vol. 7, pp. 149-50; A later editor incorporated some of Tabari’s account into Ibn Ishaq’s biography, pp. 674-75.
[8] Bukhari, Military Expeditions, (Online source) ; Ibn Ishaq, pp. 550-51.
[9] Ibn Ishaq, pp. 597-602. Some Muslim polemicists consider him to be unreliable mostly because he preserves so many traditions that portray Muhammad as violent. But here the prophet is forgiving, so now Ibn Ishaq’s reliability cannot be doubted.
[10] Abu Dawud no. 4348  (he is another reliable hadith collector and editor)
Supplementary material:
This article contrasts the reactions of Jesus and Muhammad when they were insulted and threatened.
This short analysis discusses the similarities between assassinations in early Islam and the ones today.
This analysis examines the many causes of assassinations of journalists and intellectuals in several Islamic countries, notably Algeria, but the analysis fails to go back to the ultimate source: Muhammad himself.
In November 2004, Theo Van Gogh was assassinated by a Muslim because the descendant of the brother of the famous artist had made a film that depicted a Muslim woman who was forced into an arranged marriage, abused by her husband, and raped by her uncle. These two articles examine the assassination of the filmmaker Theo van Gogh in light of the assassinations in early Islam.
11916  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 05, 2008, 07:15:39 AM
Taliban's yearly dope take is put at $100M


Thursday, October 2nd 2008, 12:04 AM

WASHINGTON - The resurgent Taliban get a yearly injection of $100 million from drug trafficking, the top U.S. Army general in Afghanistan said Wednesday.

"That's a conservative estimate," added Gen. David McKiernan, who also commands NATO troops.

McKiernan also bluntly stated that America's focus on Iraq means victory in Afghanistan is too far off to predict.

"Obviously our national priority has been Iraq," McKiernan said. "The consequence of not placing more force capability in Afghanistan means it will take longer to win [and] at a higher price."

With so many military resources diverted to Iraq, McKiernan said, there are too few available helicopters to supply and transport troops in Afghanistan.

"We don't have enough of them," he admitted.

McKiernan has asked for three additional combat brigades - 6,000 to 10,000 troops - to battle an influx of Arab and other foreign fighters.

President Bush has announced that a Marine battalion that was slated to go to Iraq in November would go to Afghanistan instead, and an Army combat brigade wouldfollow.

The general, in a news conference before meeting with Bush, insisted a "surge" of forces isn't needed.

McKiernan questioned the commitment of a number of European allies. "Some come to conduct war, some come to summer camp," he said.

Turning the fight over to fledgling Afghan forces won't happen "anytime soon," he predicted.

Afghanistan's thriving Islamist insurgency has used its eye-popping opium profits to fuel its escalating war against the elected government in Kabul and to oppose U.S. and NATO allies.
11917  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 04, 2008, 10:34:05 PM

Just how many chapters on the Obama-Ayers connection can we expect to see in Gwen Ifill's "Age of Obama"?
11918  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: October 04, 2008, 09:37:29 PM

Don't question the left's patriotism.
11919  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: October 04, 2008, 09:35:57 PM
Nice. But it's not worth getting crippled or killed to try to save the bank's federally insured money.
11920  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: October 04, 2008, 09:12:44 PM

More on the ring of scum that surrounds Obama.
11921  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 04, 2008, 08:05:49 PM
**Attention Gwen Ifill/PBS.**

October 2, 2008

WWJ reporter fired for wearing Obama T-shirt


Detroit news radio station WWJ-AM (950) has fired radio personality Karen Dinkins after she wore a Barack Obama T-shirt while covering a presidential rally on Sunday.

Dinkins, contacted at her home today, said she is surprised about the reaction to her firing after Sunday’s rally at the Detroit Public Library. She said a number of news outlets contacted her after the station let her go on Monday. She said she had worked there for 13 years.

“I was really kind of surprised this is a news story,” she said, adding that she wouldn’t comment further. “I didn’t anticipate it.”

Jane Briggs-Bunting, director of the School of Journalism at Michigan State University, believes sending any type of political message — on air or off — is a no-no for journalists.

“Reporters, we’re on duty 24-7,” Briggs-Bunting said shortly before Obama took the stage this afternoon at MSU. She’s worked for Life and People magazines as well as the Free Press. “I can have an opinion, and my opinion will be heard in the privacy of a voting booth. You can’t publicize your political views on a T-shirt you wear, a button you wear, or a campaign sign in your front lawn. You represent your news organization 24-7.”

A call to WWJ-AM (950) management offices wasn’t immediately returned. But a woman who answered the phone in the newsroom said the station had received a number of calls from upset listeners.

Lorain Obomanu, Dinkins’ union representative at the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists’ Southfield office had no comment, a spokesman said today.
11922  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 04, 2008, 06:56:21 PM
**Watch what you say about islam, kaffir.**,2933,432502,00.html

U.N. Anti-Blasphemy Resolution Curtails Free Speech, Critics Say
Friday, October 03, 2008
By Jennifer Lawinski

Religious groups and free-speech advocates are banding together to fight a United Nations resolution they say is being used to spread Sharia law to the Western world and to intimidate anyone who criticizes Islam.

The non-binding resolution on “Combating the Defamation of Religion” is intended to curtail speech that offends religion -- particularly Islam.

Pakistan and the Organization of the Islamic Conference introduced the measure to the U.N. Human Rights Council in 1999. It was amended to include religions other than Islam, and it has passed every year since.

In 2005, Yemen successfully brought a similar resolution before the General Assembly. Now the 192-nation Assembly is set to vote on it again.

The non-binding Resolution 62/145, which was adopted in 2007, says it “notes with deep concern the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of 11 September 2001.”

It “stresses the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred, against Islam and Muslims in particular.”

But some critics believe the resolution is a dangerous threat to freedom of speech everywhere.

The U.S. government mission in Geneva, in a statement, told the U.N. Human Rights Council in July that “defamation-related laws have been abused by governments and used to restrict human rights” around the world, and sometimes Westerners have been caught in the web.

Critics give some recent news events as examples of how the U.N. "blasphemy resolution" has emboldened Islamic authorities and threatened Westerners:

-- On Oct. 3 in Great Britain, three men were charged for plotting to kill the publisher of the novel "The Jewel of Medina," which gives a fictional account of the Prophet Muhammad and his child bride. reported U.S. publisher Random House Inc., was going to release the book but stopped it from hitting shelves after it claimed that “credible and unrelated sources” said the book could incite violence by a “small, radical segment.”

-- An Afghan student is on death row for downloading an article about the role of women in Islam, also reported.

-- In December 2007 “a court reportedly sentenced two foreigners to six months in prison for allegedly marketing a book deemed offensive to Aisha, one of the Prophet Muhammad's wives,” the U.S. government said.

-- A British teacher was sentenced to 15 days in jail in Sudan for offending Islam by allowing students to name the class teddy bear Muhammad in November 2007.

-- In February 2007 in Egypt an Internet blogger was sentenced to four years in prison for writing a post that critiqued Islam.

-- In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered after the release of his documentary highlighting the abuse of Muslim women.

“It’s obviously intended to have an intimidating effect on people expressing criticism of radical Islam, and the idea that you can have a defamation of a religion like this, I think, is a concept fundamentally foreign to our system of free expression in the United States,” said former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.

Passing the resolution year after year gives it clout, Bolton said. “In places where U.N. decisions are viewed as more consequential than they are in the U.S., they’re trying to build up brick-by-brick that disagreement with this resolution is unacceptable.”

Kevin “Shamus” Hasson, founder and president of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a public interest law firm in Washington that opposes the resolution, said it is a slap in the face of human rights law.

“The whole idea of the defamation of religion is a Trojan horse for something else," Hasson said. "When you talk about defamation, you talk about people being defamed and people being libeled, but ideas can’t be defamed. Ideas don’t have rights, people have rights.”

He said the resolution is a shield for Islamic fundamentalists who retaliate against perceived offenses and want to make Islamic Sharia law the law of the land. He said the resolution passes under the guise of protecting religion, but it actually endangers religious minorities in Islamic countries.

“Who could possibly be in favor of defamation?” Hasson said. “God may well punish blasphemy in the hereafter, but it’s not the government’s job to police in the here and now.”

Paula Schriefer, advocacy director for Freedom House, a member of the Coalition to Defend Free Speech, agrees.

“You have to remember that many of the governments that are pushing forward this idea are not democratic governments,” she said. “Citizens of Pakistan or Egypt, who have been two of the ringleaders of this movement, are frequently put in prison or arrested. Even if they’re not arrested, the fear of being arrested creates an environment of self-censorship.”

Floyd Abrams, Visiting Professor of First Amendment Law at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, said that while Americans are protected by the Constitution at home, the U.N. resolution could affect those who travel to countries with anti-free-speech laws and isolate Westerners who oppose restricting religious dialogue.

Neither the Pakistani, the Indonesian nor the Egyptian missions to the U.N. responded to requests for comment. All three are members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
11923  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 04, 2008, 05:24:26 PM

University of California-Jihad.

11924  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: October 04, 2008, 05:11:59 PM


Beneath Contempt
One thing about liberal "pundits," including those in the blogosphere. Just when you think they've hit rock-bottom with contemptuous comments, they find a way to reach a new low in public discourse.

The latest case-in-point is ABC Sports sideline reporter Suzy Shuster, who also blogs at the Huffington Post. Here's her "take" on "Sarah Palin's 'favorite campaign prop,' her five-month-old son Trig (H/T to Michael Bates at Newsbusters):

It actually came after the debate, when for seemingly the millionth time, Sarah Palin trotted out her piece de resistance, her favorite prop of this campaign season: her five and a half month old son Trig.

Why is this child up so late every time there is a camera op? Why isn't this baby sleeping in a crib or bassinet somewhere with a sleep sheep or some other sound apparatus lulling him into night-night? Is it just me or does it seem like she carts this poor child around like a living breathing example of how wonderful a mom she is? After all, she's more than adopted the "I'm just a mom, just like you moms out there, America" attitude.

But the truth is, if she was just like all you other Moms out there, America, then she'd know the best thing she can do for this infant is to make sure he is tucked safely in his bed and out cold at eleven pm. And please don't say well, maybe she doesn't have anyone to watch him. Believe that, and I've got a Bridge to Nowhere that I want to sell you.

As far as we know, Ms. Shuster doesn't have any children. So, her "offering" parenting advice is a bit like sex counseling from a priest. However, we are reminded that Shuster had her own, domestic difficulties last year, when she discovered her husband, fellow sportscaster Rich Eisen, had received racy bikini photos from Philadelphia anchorwoman Alycia Lane.

Now, we understand why Mr. Eisen was engaged in that "platonic," on-line relationship with Ms. Lane.


ADDENDUM: As an alert reader at Free Republic noted, Trig Palin's body clock is on Alaska Time, four hours behind the eastern time zone. So, when the debate ended at 10:30 EDT last night, it was "only" 6:30 for Trig. No wonder he was wide awake when the debate concluded. We're also reminded that infants tend to operate on their own schedule, as any parent who's been awakened at 3:00 a.m. can attest.

One more thing: we always thought liberals championed the idea of women "having it all"--balancing work, a successful marriage and children. Obviously, there's a different standard for conservatives. And conversely, we can predict Ms. Shuster's reaction if Sarah Palin had left Trig behind in Alaska, in the care of relatives or a nanny; something along the lines of "she's ignoring her baby," or "she's ashamed of her handicapped son."

Governor Palin really does get under their skin.
11925  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: October 04, 2008, 05:00:26 PM
Palin says Obama 'palling around' with terrorists   

Oct 4 03:32 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday accused Democrat Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists" because of his association with a former 1960s radical, stepping up the campaign's effort to portray Obama as unacceptable to American voters.
Palin's reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members took credit for bombings, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, during the tumultuous Vietnam War era four decades ago. Obama, who was a child when the group was active, served on a charity board with Ayers several years ago and has denounced his radical views and activities.

The Republican campaign, falling behind Obama in polls, plans to make attacks on Obama's character a centerpiece of presidential candidate John McCain's message with a month remaining before Election Day.

Palin told a group of donors at a private airport, "Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country." She also said, "This is not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America."

Palin, Alaska's governor, said that donors on a greeting line had encouraged her and McCain to get tougher on Obama. She said an aide then advised her, "Sarah, the gloves are off, the heels are on, go get to them."

The escalated effort to attack Obama's character dovetails with TV ads by outside groups questioning Obama's ties to Ayers, convicted former Obama fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko and Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Ayers is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He and Obama live in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood and served together on the board of the Woods Fund, a Chicago-based charity that develops community groups to help the poor. Obama left the board in December 2002.

Obama was the first chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a school-reform group of which Ayers was a founder. Ayers also held a meet-the-candidate event at his home for Obama when Obama first ran for office in the mid-1990s.

Palin cited a New York Times story published Saturday that detailed Obama's relationship with Ayers. In an interview with CBS News earlier in the week, Palin didn't name any newspapers or magazines that had shaped her view of the world.

Summing up its findings, the Times wrote: "A review of records of the schools project and interviews with a dozen people who know both men, suggest that Mr. Obama, 47, has played down his contacts with Mr. Ayers, 63. But the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called 'somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.'"

Earlier Saturday, Palin spent 35 minutes at a diner in Greenwood Village where she met with Blue Star Moms, a support group of families whose sons or daughters are serving in the armed forces. Reporters were allowed in the diner for less than five minutes before being ushered out by the campaign.

Palin, whose 19-year-old son, Track, deployed last month as a private with an Army combat team, was overheard at one point commiserating with one of the mothers: "Any time I ask my son how he's doing, he says, 'Mom, I'm in the Army now.'"

Taking one question from reporters about competing in battleground states, Palin repeated her wish that the campaign had not pulled out of Michigan, a prominent state in presidential elections where Obama leads by double-digit percentage points in recent polls.

"As I said the other day, I would sure love to get to run to Michigan and make sure that Michigan knows that we haven't given up there," she said. "We care much about Michigan and every other state. I wish there were more hours in the day so that we could travel all over this great country and start speaking to more Americans. So, not worried about it but just desiring more time and, you know, to put more effort into each one of these states."
11926  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: October 04, 2008, 04:32:52 PM

Rightly calling out the empty suit known as Barry-O.
11927  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 04, 2008, 04:08:17 PM

Pentagon's Novel Idea: Stop Guzzling Gas
By Noah Shachtman April 20, 2007 | 3:28:00 PM

For a long time, the U.S. military didn't care whether its vehicles guzzled gas or not.  So the Pentagon wound up with a Humvee that averages about four miles per gallon in the city, and an Abrams tank that gets just six-tenths of a mile per gallon.
But with battlefield fuel prices at $400 per gallon, even the deep-pocketed Pentagon has had it with its gas hogs.  "Effectively immediately," Defense Department acquisition chief Kenneth Krieg writes in a memo obtained by Inside Defense, Pentagon planners have to start factoring in "energy efficiency" when designing "all tactical systems."
To implement this policy, the Pentagon is conducting the pilot program focused on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the Army and Marine Corps humvee replacement; the Maritime Air and Missile Defense of Joint Forces alternative ship propulsion and energy efficiency options analysis of alternatives, or the Navy cruiser program; and the Next-Generation Long-Range Strike concept decision, the Air Force’s new bomber effort...
This pilot program comes in the wake of Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England’s February directive to the entire military bureaucracy -- the federal government’s largest single energy consumer -- to refine its plans to reduce oil consumption and increase reliance on renewable and alternative energy sources.
For nearly 18 months, the Defense Department has been exploring both near- and long-term options for reducing its energy usage, particularly its reliance on carbon-based fuels. As oil prices have steadily climbed over the past few years, the Pentagon has calculated that every $10 hike in a barrel of oil translates to a $1.8 billion increase in costs for the military.
Meanwhile, "Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne has given the OK to shoot for 2010 as the date when [the service] would certify the use of synthetic fuel for its entire aircraft fleet," says Air Force magazine. "A plant that will produce commercial quantities of synthetic fuel [20,000 barrels per day] is under construction in East Dubuque, Ill."
Oh, and check this out: The German military may be recalling some of their recon jets from Afghanistan, "because they don't have enough money to fly them."  The reason: "high jet fuel prices."
11928  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 04, 2008, 03:57:41 PM

Natural gas is a fossil fuel like oil and coal. Fossil fuels are, essentially, the remains of plants and animals and microorganisms that lived millions and millions of years ago.
11929  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 04, 2008, 03:51:30 PM
**Call it as you wish, but sharia is part of the islamic construct, where there is no divide between church and state.**

So lets do our best to keep that wall of separation in tact.


**The big difference is that there is the separation between church and state in christian theology. "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's....." Unlike islam, there in no mandate to conquer the world and impose christianity.**

I am familiar with that passage in the bible, but the christian dominionists don't seem to pay it any heed.

***Who are these christian dominionists? What sect of christianity are they and what percentage of the US and world population of christians fall into this grouping? Please cite your sources.***

Much like the rest of the bible they cherry pick the parts they like and ignore the rest. Let me be clear that I have no problem with christians for the most part, but there are some very scary people that number amongst them. They have a clear goal. They seek to overthrow, or infiltrate the American government and take us back to "biblical values." This would be a theocracy no different than islamic countries have.

***Again, please cite your sources on this group, including numbers.***

**No, many muslims chafe at the totalitarian nature of islam, but most dare not speak out least the face imprisonment of death, even in western nations.**

Well, we seem to be in a unique position to help them get out from under that tyranny... and I am glad in many ways that we are.

**Again, as I stated earlier, there is no requirement that reproduction occur as an element of the crime. It's just as illegal for an elderly brother to marry his post-menopausal sister as those capable of bearing children.**

And it is illegal to tie your alligator to the fire hydrant in Detroit... It makes sense, but do we really need it? The law is not broken so it goes largely unnoticed. I am ok with that. For whatever reason, incest is illegal and I am glad.

**NAMBLA cites the gay political movement as a model for the push for the social acceptance and legalization of what they are trying to label "intergenerational sex". Of course, an adult male marrying a 6 year old is already approved under sharia.**

And everyone damn well knows their request is completely absurd.

***Is it? 20 years ago the same thing would have been said about gay marriage.***

Again, unless such a thing is actually considered, the causal connection simply doesn't exist. No such law is on the books in this country, nor is any such law being voted on. Why? Because everyone knows that it would be wrong. Do I really need to go into the reasons why?

***According to post-modernism, everything is just a cultural construct. There is no right or wrong. Gender is a construct, age is a construct.***

I'm glad we can agree on this point.

I bet we agree on more than we disagree. But those conversations are much less engaging right?

11930  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 04, 2008, 03:38:34 PM
No Reason We Can't Get Cheaper Oil--Just Drill!
By Newt Gingrich
Posted: Friday, June 20, 2008

New York Post 
Publication Date: June 19, 2008

AEI senior fellow Newt Gingrich recommends four steps to Congress as part of a policy agenda that would help lower the price of gasoline. In order to ease supply-side restrictions, Gingrich recommends suspending congressional bans on exploring oil-shale deposits and on offshore oil and gas exploration. He also suggests using tax incentives and government-sponsored prizes to incentivize the auto industry to develop more efficient flex-fuel and hydrogen vehicles. Members of Congress have a clear choice: support more domestic energy production, or make way for other countries that do.

Senior Fellow
 Newt Gingrich
Americans don't like paying $4 for a gallon of gasoline or $5 for a gallon of diesel. Not one bit.

Nearly 1 million Americans have signed our "Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less." petition at

The language is simple but powerful: "We, therefore, the undersigned citizens of the United States, petition the US Congress to act immediately to lower gasoline (and other fuels derived from oil including diesel) prices by authorizing the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries."

The choice for our elected leaders is simple: Either take action now to lower our fuel prices or the American people will take action in the November election.

The choice for our elected leaders is simple: Either take action now to lower our fuel prices or the American people will take action in the November election.

The choice for the politicians is really that simple, as are the first four steps for developing more American energy now:

End the congressional ban on exploring the oil-shale deposits in the Green River Formation area of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
A 2005 RAND study estimates that about 800 billion barrels of oil trapped in shale are technically recoverable from the Green River Formation. This amount is more than three times the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.

End the congressional ban on oil and gas exploration offshore.
The US Minerals Management Service estimates that America's outer continental shelf holds about 19 billion barrels of undiscovered recoverable oil and 85.7 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered recoverable natural gas. But Congress has outlawed development there--even though the Chinese are planning to explore for oil within 60 miles of the Florida coast.

Provide tax incentives for automakers to retool to produce flex fuel cars, similar to Brazil--which will have 80 percent of new cars with flex-fuel engines by 2011.
A rapid move to a situation where substantially all new cars sold in the United States could take a mixture of oil- and alcohol-based fuels would put downward pressure on oil prices--as consumers benefit from the competition among oil, ethanol and methanol suppliers.

Establish large ($1 billion-plus tax-free) prizes for key breakthroughs in a hydrogen engine, a car that gets more than 100 miles to the gallon, safe disposal of nuclear waste and designing a next-generation clean-coal system, etc.
Prizes can be a means to unleash tremendous creativity in solving key energy and environmental challenges.

Congress should also create larger and longer-term tax credits for wind, solar and biofuels so there's a maximum diversification of energy sources as we make a long-term transition to cleaner forms of energy.

These four steps are just a start.

If we want less expensive gasoline, diesel and other fuels and to reduce our dependence on foreign dictators, then we have to demand that politicians cut through the red tape and put policies in place that will increase domestic production.

It isn't possible to regulate, tax or sue our way to lower fuel prices. While alternative energies are desirable in the long term, Americans need relief now.

The fact is, there's no reason why Americans can't have safe, abundant and relatively inexpensive energy.

America still has the world's largest supply of fossil fuels. We have more coal than any other country by a huge margin. We have abundant oil and gas reserves. We have the potential for nuclear, wind, solar and biofuels in tremendous quantities.

And, critically, America is still technologically the most advanced nation in the world, despite decades of bad policies and politics.

Gas prices will likely be the defining issue in the fall elections. The American people want real change. As evidenced by the more than 800,000 signatories to the "Drill Now. Drill Here. Pay Less." petition in the last three weeks, they want a change in our energy policy.

For the members wishing to return to Congress after November, the choice is clear: Support "Drill Here. Drill Now."--or make way for challengers that do.

Newt Gingrich is a senior fellow at AEI.

11931  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 04, 2008, 03:33:07 PM
**This could go many places, but I think it fits best here.**

Fairness, idealism and other atrocities
Commencement advice you're unlikely to hear elsewhere.
By P.J. O'Rourke
May 4, 2008
Well, here you are at your college graduation. And I know what you're thinking: "Gimme the sheepskin and get me outta here!" But not so fast. First you have to listen to a commencement speech.

Don't moan. I'm not going to "pass the wisdom of one generation down to the next." I'm a member of the 1960s generation. We didn't have any wisdom.

We were the moron generation. We were the generation that believed we could stop the Vietnam War by growing our hair long and dressing like circus clowns. We believed drugs would change everything -- which they did, for John Belushi. We believed in free love. Yes, the love was free, but we paid a high price for the sex.

My generation spoiled everything for you. It has always been the special prerogative of young people to look and act weird and shock grown-ups. But my generation exhausted the Earth's resources of the weird. Weird clothes -- we wore them. Weird beards -- we grew them. Weird words and phrases -- we said them. So, when it came your turn to be original and look and act weird, all you had left was to tattoo your faces and pierce your tongues. Ouch. That must have hurt. I apologize.

So now, it's my job to give you advice. But I'm thinking: You're finishing 16 years of education, and you've heard all the conventional good advice you can stand. So, let me offer some relief:

1. Go out and make a bunch of money!

Here we are living in the world's most prosperous country, surrounded by all the comforts, conveniences and security that money can provide. Yet no American political, intellectual or cultural leader ever says to young people, "Go out and make a bunch of money." Instead, they tell you that money can't buy happiness. Maybe, but money can rent it.

There's nothing the matter with honest moneymaking. Wealth is not a pizza, where if I have too many slices you have to eat the Domino's box. In a free society, with the rule of law and property rights, no one loses when someone else gets rich.

2. Don't be an idealist!

Don't chain yourself to a redwood tree. Instead, be a corporate lawyer and make $500,000 a year. No matter how much you cheat the IRS, you'll still end up paying $100,000 in property, sales and excise taxes. That's $100,000 to schools, sewers, roads, firefighters and police. You'll be doing good for society. Does chaining yourself to a redwood tree do society $100,000 worth of good?

Idealists are also bullies. The idealist says, "I care more about the redwood trees than you do. I care so much I can't eat. I can't sleep. It broke up my marriage. And because I care more than you do, I'm a better person. And because I'm the better person, I have the right to boss you around."

Get a pair of bolt cutters and liberate that tree.

Who does more for the redwoods and society anyway -- the guy chained to a tree or the guy who founds the "Green Travel Redwood Tree-Hug Tour Company" and makes a million by turning redwoods into a tourist destination, a valuable resource that people will pay just to go look at?

So make your contribution by getting rich. Don't be an idealist.

3. Get politically uninvolved!

All politics stink. Even democracy stinks. Imagine if our clothes were selected by the majority of shoppers, which would be teenage girls. I'd be standing here with my bellybutton exposed. Imagine deciding the dinner menu by family secret ballot. I've got three kids and three dogs in my family. We'd be eating Froot Loops and rotten meat.

But let me make a distinction between politics and politicians. Some people are under the misapprehension that all politicians stink. Impeach George W. Bush, and everything will be fine. Nab Ted Kennedy on a DUI, and the nation's problems will be solved.

But the problem isn't politicians -- it's politics. Politics won't allow for the truth. And we can't blame the politicians for that. Imagine what even a little truth would sound like on today's campaign trail:

"No, I can't fix public education. The problem isn't the teachers unions or a lack of funding for salaries, vouchers or more computer equipment The problem is your kids!"

4. Forget about fairness!

We all get confused about the contradictory messages that life and politics send.

Life sends the message, "I'd better not be poor. I'd better get rich. I'd better make more money than other people." Meanwhile, politics sends us the message, "Some people make more money than others. Some are rich while others are poor. We'd better close that 'income disparity gap.' It's not fair!"

Well, I am here to advocate for unfairness. I've got a 10-year-old at home. She's always saying, "That's not fair." When she says this, I say, "Honey, you're cute. That's not fair. Your family is pretty well off. That's not fair. You were born in America. That's not fair. Darling, you had better pray to God that things don't start getting fair for you." What we need is more income, even if it means a bigger income disparity gap.

5. Be a religious extremist!

So, avoid politics if you can. But if you absolutely cannot resist, read the Bible for political advice -- even if you're a Buddhist, atheist or whatever. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those people who believes that God is involved in politics. On the contrary. Observe politics in this country. Observe politics around the world. Observe politics through history. Does it look like God's involved?

The Bible is very clear about one thing: Using politics to create fairness is a sin. Observe the Tenth Commandment. The first nine commandments concern theological principles and social law: Thou shalt not make graven images, steal, kill, et cetera. Fair enough. But then there's the tenth: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's."

Here are God's basic rules about how we should live, a brief list of sacred obligations and solemn moral precepts. And, right at the end of it we read, "Don't envy your buddy because he has an ox or a donkey." Why did that make the top 10? Why would God, with just 10 things to tell Moses, include jealousy about livestock?

Well, think about how important this commandment is to a community, to a nation, to a democracy. If you want a mule, if you want a pot roast, if you want a cleaning lady, don't whine about what the people across the street have. Get rich and get your own.

Now, one last thing:

6. Don't listen to your elders!

After all, if the old person standing up here actually knew anything worth telling, he'd be charging you for it.

P.J. O'Rourke, a correspondent for the Weekly Standard and the Atlantic, is the author, most recently, of "On The Wealth of Nations." A longer version of this article appears in Change magazine, which reports on trends and issues in higher education.
11932  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 04, 2008, 03:00:41 PM
**That's Al Gore's theory. I personally think that we should make policy decisions based on facts rather than emotions.**

That is a cheap shot. I think you will recall me saying that global warming is not the issue we should be talking about. Play nice Wink

***No, i'm saying that knowingly creating bogus books and movies for profit and political power is what's he has done and it should be acknowledged as such.***

**Do you use public transportation?**

Yep, and it is not powered by gas. I am not making any claims that I don't use fossil fuels. If I had the option to somehow remove them completely I would do my best to do so... but that is hardly and option right now. For now I do what I can. For what it is worth my carbon footprint came up in the negative... I am not entirely sure about the inner workings of those calculations, so I don't put too much stock in them.

***Do you doubt that it was built and is maintained by using fossil fuels?***

I have found mountain bikes to be quite enjoyable.

***They are fun. Not everyone lives in such a place or lifestyle that would make them a viable form of transportation though.***

**Depends on what standard you use to determine if things are good or bad.**

Well, I think about how things could be better instead of sitting on my backside being content with the way things are now.

***Fine, but recognize that along with pollution, technology brings many things that lengthen and enhance one's quality of life.***

**Just by existing, you contribute to the impact humanity has on the planet. You may shape your lifestyle in such a manner as to lessen the impact, but you still leave "footprints" all the same.**

I never claimed otherwise. I do what I can which is more than a vast majority of other people. I don't even expect most people to go as far as I do. Little changes add up to big changes.

**Are you entitled to the good things that come from our technologically advanced-dirty fuel using society?**

I am not denying its use in making us what we are. I am saying we need to get away from dependence on it.

**Invest with what money? It sounds like your spartan lifestyle doesn't allow for you to fund much R&D for alternative fuel startups.**

I will however be in the market for an alternative fuel powered car when they become a reasonable option. This is really something the government needs to be involved with.

***When has the government ever successfully caused a shift in the free market that the free market wouldn't have done on it's own?***

It involves our infrastructure and the free market can't change that on its own.

***You say that, based on what?***

I know government interference pains us all, but if we let them tap our phones we can let them fund some R & D can't we?

***False choice. Who has a better track record of funding R&D and bringing viable technology into existance, gov't or the free market? BTW, the US military funds a huge amount of research on alternative energy.***

This is in the best interest of our nations security, and there is no denying that.

***I don't, and as I already pointed out, the US mil is already handing out lots of R&D money for alternative fuel.***

**Hmmmmmm. Pain, sacrifice and pain. You might want to find a different way to advocate your position if you want to win the general public over to your way of thinking. Exactly what kind of pain do you anticipate? Does Al Gore still get to keep his private jet and mansion?**

Hey, we new Iraq would involve lots of pain and sacrifice, but here we are right? People are not adverse to these things if they think the cause is good. We have yet to have anyone make a realistic case for it. I am saying that it is because we are taking the wrong approach. Global warming (or climate change, or whatever the new catch phrase is) isn't it. Talk about things we can solve like smog, and dumping toxic chemicals and garbage into the ocean and people will get behind it. Talk about energy independence. We saw how effective this was in these last presidential debates. Talk about how oil is entangling us with unstable countries with dangerous governments. This stuff is starting to happen I think. Don't you?

***Sure, but until we have alternative energy sources that are cost effective, we need to use oil (including domestically produced oil) as a bridge.***

And Al Gore can keep whatever he paid for... he can look like a jerk for owning it, but ultimately it is his I suppose.

**What reliable, renewable energy source are you talking about?**

Take your pick. There are lots to choose from. Hydro-electric, geothermal, wind, solar. They all have promise.

***Having promise is a bit different than something that is viable right here, right now.***

It depends on where you are, and what is most efficient. I am not even opposed to nuclear. We had a bill in the works to put up a bunch of wind towers where I live... but rich people thought they were too ugly so it got shot down Sad Then they went right back to whining about the costs of power... go figure... I just saw a thing on the discovery channel about a guy that beamed solar energy over 60 miles with microwaves. Tell me that isn't cool!

***Lots of cool things in the pipeline, still we need off the shelf tech that's cost effective today. Ethanol is one thing that can be looked at. My new vehicle is a flex fuel vehicle specifically because of this.***
11933  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 04, 2008, 02:12:52 PM
Sharia 101, ok, what about western civilization 101, thats all that matters.

That's pretty much my intent. The left wishes to empower sharia under their cultish "multiculturalism" concept, thus destroying the concepts of western freedom that allow them their existence. Ironic, no?

That is not true at all. Sharia Law is not cultural so much as it is religious insanity.

**Call it as you wish, but sharia is part of the islamic construct, where there is no divide between church and state.**

There is a big difference. I fall to the left in my political views but I can tell you that the last thing I want is Sharia Law. You know what else I don't want? Biblical Law. I don't want it for the same reasons. The bible is filled with dangerous superstitious nonsense that will destroy the very things this country stands for.

**The big difference is that there is the separation between church and state in christian theology. "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's....." Unlike islam, there in no mandate to conquer the world and impose christianity.**

I was talking to a muslim just the other day about this subject. He went off for a time about how stupid other cultures were, and then he went on to say: "but you know the dumbest culture of all? Muslims! They have the wealth of the world in their hands and all they can do is fight over a book!" He is pakistani. He is totally against Sharia Law. If it were a cultural thing you would think he would have a different viewpoint on the subject right?

**No, many muslims chafe at the totalitarian nature of islam, but most dare not speak out least the face imprisonment of death, even in western nations.**

Why not incest? Because of very clear health risks.

**Again, as I stated earlier, there is no requirement that reproduction occur as an element of the crime. It's just as illegal for an elderly brother to marry his post-menopausal sister as those capable of bearing children.**

Why not polygamy? I don't know, but you are probably on to something when you say that monogamy worked so we kept it. I think what you are invoking is called "the slippery slope," and it is a well known logical fallacy. There is no evidence what-so-ever to indicate that allowing gay marriage will lead to incest or polygamy being legalized.

**NAMBLA cites the gay political movement as a model for the push for the social acceptance and legalization of what they are trying to label "intergenerational sex". Of course, an adult male marrying a 6 year old is already approved under sharia.**

All of that being said, you are correct when you state that Sharia Law should not be protected behind the curtain of multiculturalism. We do agree on something after all GM! Cheesy

I'm glad we can agree on this point.
11934  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: October 04, 2008, 01:48:36 PM
And when was that average joe born?


And you don't think the demands of international politics, and the oval office have changed a bit since then?

**Times changes, but human nature remains the same, and the demands of leadership are onerous no matter the time period.**

You also realize that not everyone always had the right to vote. It was only the land owning elite... Things change. The demands of the office have changed.

**Leadership and the affairs of state are eternal, though the details and technology changes. Machiavelli's "The Prince" and Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" as as valid today, as they were when they were written because of this.**

For better or worse she has played her part perfectly. I am only calling it like I see it. I think it is very disturbing that this is what America wants in its leaders.

**If you want to base your model of leadership on shallow surface appearances and mannerisms of speech, then I guess that's your prerogative.**

Imagine that Barry-O had a daughter that was pregnant, 17, and not married. The religious right would have been shaking the gates of heaven with cries of "the immorality of liberal family values, and safe sex education."

**Hardly. "Liberal family values" is an oxymoron anyway. No one claims that by having a religious faith, it places a bubble around your family that ensures that tragedy doesn't happen, or that 17 year olds don't fall victim to our highly sexualized peer culture that is the result of the "post-modern, post-moral" ethos that has afflicted our society since the left became culturally ascendent since the 60's/70's.**

It would have no doubt been the fault of gay marriage, and a sign of the end... but I degress.

**Not true, but as you said, you digress.**

You know that the issue would not have been glossed over. People would have been on that like flies on cowpies, as the saying goes. But because the fundamentalist crowd are Palins constituents they kept their mouths shut on the whole thing.

**You are misstating this. Christians, as as group recognize the imperfection of humanity and the need for redemption, as well as the value of life. I've never seen the right smear family members of politicians as the left does.**

Obama, Biden, or Mccain would have taken way more flak over that don't you think?


I am not in here advocating obama. I am telling you that I find nothing spectacular about her other than her ability to sell the average joe cheerleader soccer mom act.

On top of it all her religious beliefs send chills up my spine. If you like her you have every right to vote that way... but I can't bring myself to do it.

**How do the religious beliefs of Barry-O's church of "God Damn America" sit with you?**
11935  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 04, 2008, 01:17:25 AM

Sometimes fiction is the best teacher I guess?

**That's Al Gore's theory. I personally think that we should make policy decisions based on facts rather than emotions.**

I don't buy gas, because I didn't buy a new car when my last car died. I saw this fuel crisis coming from a mile away.

**Do you use public transportation?**

Yes, you are correct. I have to live in the world my parents, and their parents created.

**As do we all.**

And they have made a bloody mess of things Wink 

**Depends on what standard you use to determine if things are good or bad.**

I do my best to lead from the front and make changes in my life so I am not contributing to the problem.

**Just by existing, you contribute to the impact humanity has on the planet. You may shape your lifestyle in such a manner as to lessen the impact, but you still leave "footprints" all the same.**

I have no debt, but this comes with its own price. I live a fairly simple and frugal ( I actually like to say "spartan" because it sounds tough and cooler! ) life. I don't buy stupid things like bottled water, because our local water is perfectly safe. I try and buy food from the local farmers when at all possible. There are a lot of little things people can do, but they are lazy, or don't care, or think it isn't their responsibility. Create less waste. It really isn't that hard. My point was entitlement. Are we "entitled" to cheap dirty fuel. I don't think we are. Not if we care about the people coming after us.

**Are you entitled to the good things that come from our technologically advanced-dirty fuel using society?**

My sentiment is easy to back. Invest in renewable and clean energy sources.

**Invest with what money? It sounds like your spartan lifestyle doesn't allow for you to fund much R&D for alternative fuel startups.**

The conversion won't be a painless process, but it is immature to expect it to be. Big problems are not solved without sacrifices. There are many promising technologies on the horizon, but there will be some pain involved.

**Hmmmmmm. Pain, sacrifice and pain. You might want to find a different way to advocate your position if you want to win the general public over to your way of thinking. Exactly what kind of pain do you anticipate? Does Al Gore still get to keep his private jet and mansion?**

Personally I think we need to start by raising the mpg standards. Cars are what people focus on when they talk about getting out of the fossil fuel game, but I think getting reliable renewable energy sources for our homes and businesses is a  much better investment to start with. Cars will follow along on their own.

**What reliable, renewable energy source are you talking about?**
11936  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: October 04, 2008, 12:57:02 AM
GM: Be nice, Ifill although perhaps biased, was really quite fair during THIS debate. 

**Only because she found herself under an intense microscope due to her blatant conflict of interest she failed to disclose. What would happen to a judge that failed to recuse him/herself from a case where they held a direct financial interest in the outcome?**

You can't blame the moderator.

**I can blame her for her blatantly unethical behavior.**

Blame Palin if you want to pass the blame.  Jonobos has some good points.

**I'm still looking for them**

PS It's nice to agree once in a while    smiley  I hope you are having those "pops"; it has been a long week and I am sure for you too.  And I am really not
the devil incarnate although sometimes I think you think so.   grin

No, I don't think you're the devil. He's taller, and he lives in Santa Monica.   evil
11937  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: October 04, 2008, 12:50:15 AM
I agree Ifill behaved, indeed I thought she did a rather good job-- though I suspect her personal policitics being put in the spotlight had something to do with that.

I thought SP did quite well.  Although not able to wonk with Biden on some of the points and there were some passages where he scored well, she showed a strong ability to define things on her terms and an impressive abiilty to absorb and articulate a lot of material-- to operate at this level after 5 weeks on the national stage I find genuinely impressive.  She did very well keeping track of Biden's points and answering them-- and ducking the ones that she wanted to.  I thought she did well by steering the conversation to energy matters where she was able to show substance, and did VERY well with "the vision thing", leaving Biden looking the wonk.

I don't think she even answered half the questions she was asked, and I don't think that is a good thing. She just fell back on whatever her note cards said. Ducking the issue doesn't give me confidence in someones leadership abilities. It makes me think they are selling me a lemon.

Here is my real problem with Palin. she is playing the "I am a country bumpkin" card. "Say it ain't so Joe!" "Well gosh darn..." I don't want a bumpkin as our second in command. I think it is disgusting that people demand an "elite" brain surgeon, but when it comes time to vote they look for the most mediocre person they can find. Why does being a soccer mom all of the sudden qualify someone to be in office? I won't vote for someone that acts and talks like my grandmother. I love gramma, but she would make a terrible president! Tongue

**When did we become Britain, where having the "right" accent makes or breaks you? What kind of accent does an elite brain surgeon have? I'm pretty sure SP has a bit more than "soccer mom" on her resume, yes?**

Peoples expectations of presidential, and vice presidential candidates are so low that she pretty much won that debate by not screwing it up... it makes me sort of sad...

**She's been targeted in the most abusive and unfair ways possible since being announced. Her debate was "moderated" by one of the more corrupt members of the MSM i've seen in a long time. Apparently, Michelle Obama wasn't available, so Gwen Ifill was their second choice. She had the cards stacked against her going in, so it was a matter of playing a good defensive game and winning on personality.**

This isn't about accent, this is about acting like your an "average joe." The vice president should not be an "average joe," and if they act like one they should be called on it. I am sorry, but that is how I see it. She is presenting a personality and demeanor that I think is unbefitting of the VP of the United States.

**Let me remind you of the words of an "average joe" that was born in a log cabin and never attended Harvard: "and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." He never said anything about the supposedly elite members of our society running things for the rest of us. I bet his rural roots were quite evident in his speech patterns.**

As far as calling foul on how she has been treated... well... deal with it.

**She has. Quite well, thank you.**

She is a celebrity now, and she is under direct public scrutiny. This will not change if she is the VP, so she better learn to handle it. To be totally fair she has been given a pass on several things that any of the other candidates would have taken flack for.

**Oh really? Please explain.**

And she didn't win on personality. My point was that she won by not screwing up. "Hey look, she didn't answer any of the questions, but she didn't make a fool of herself so she did very well!" Like I said, I feel like I am being sold a lemon.

**When does Barry-O get the same sort of scrutiny from the MSM?**
11938  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: October 04, 2008, 12:03:50 AM
Global warming, and its denial are nothing but a way to dodge the issue. Believers and deniers are just opposite sides of the same coin. Both are not talking about the real problems. Go ahead and explain to me why smog is a good thing, or why high levels of mercury in the fish is positive?

**Is there anyone out there that is pro-smog, or likes mercury in fish?**

Try and explain the island of garbage floating around the ocean? You can't spin those into anything beneficial and trying is insanity. Here is a famous letter from chief Seattle to pres Washington. Its historical accuracy is questionable, but you can't deny the wisdom contained within:

**The  historical accuracy isn't questionable, it's an outright fraud. Also, George Washington died in 1799, so the letter, which was written by a Texas screenwriter in the early 1970's probably wasn't intended for him.  wink  Yes, Texas based screenwriters are well known for their spiritual depth and wisdom.**

We are ruining the world for future generations. Do we really have a right to complain about gas being 4$ a gallon?

**Last time I checked, we are free to complain about anything we wish to complain about, like smog and mercury in fish, as well as high gas prices.**

 Are we really entitled to cheap dirty fuels?

**The next time you buy gas, insist on paying double. I doubt the station owner will complain.**

I think the future generations would say no, because they are the ones that have to live in, and clean up our mess.

**They have to live with what prior generations have done before, both good and bad, just like every human generation has had to do since the start of our species.**

Whatever we do to this world, we do to our selves, and more importantly, to the generations that have not yet come. So lets clean up our act, because the world doesn't belong to us. It is sappy I know, but it is the truth!  Wink

**Your sentiment is fine, but what are your tangible policy suggestions? Sure, smog is bad. Go a month without using/consuming anything that added to air pollution as a side effect. Let us know how that works out for you.**
11939  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: October 03, 2008, 10:42:42 PM
I agree Ifill behaved, indeed I thought she did a rather good job-- though I suspect her personal policitics being put in the spotlight had something to do with that.

I thought SP did quite well.  Although not able to wonk with Biden on some of the points and there were some passages where he scored well, she showed a strong ability to define things on her terms and an impressive abiilty to absorb and articulate a lot of material-- to operate at this level after 5 weeks on the national stage I find genuinely impressive.  She did very well keeping track of Biden's points and answering them-- and ducking the ones that she wanted to.  I thought she did well by steering the conversation to energy matters where she was able to show substance, and did VERY well with "the vision thing", leaving Biden looking the wonk.

I don't think she even answered half the questions she was asked, and I don't think that is a good thing. She just fell back on whatever her note cards said. Ducking the issue doesn't give me confidence in someones leadership abilities. It makes me think they are selling me a lemon.

Here is my real problem with Palin. she is playing the "I am a country bumpkin" card. "Say it ain't so Joe!" "Well gosh darn..." I don't want a bumpkin as our second in command. I think it is disgusting that people demand an "elite" brain surgeon, but when it comes time to vote they look for the most mediocre person they can find. Why does being a soccer mom all of the sudden qualify someone to be in office? I won't vote for someone that acts and talks like my grandmother. I love gramma, but she would make a terrible president! Tongue

**When did we become Britain, where having the "right" accent makes or breaks you? What kind of accent does an elite brain surgeon have? I'm pretty sure SP has a bit more than "soccer mom" on her resume, yes?**

Peoples expectations of presidential, and vice presidential candidates are so low that she pretty much won that debate by not screwing it up... it makes me sort of sad...

**She's been targeted in the most abusive and unfair ways possible since being announced. Her debate was "moderated" by one of the more corrupt members of the MSM i've seen in a long time. Apparently, Michelle Obama wasn't available, so Gwen Ifill was their second choice. She had the cards stacked against her going in, so it was a matter of playing a good defensive game and winning on personality.**
11940  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: October 03, 2008, 09:23:51 PM
Wow. Here i'm having to agree with JDN again. I may need to have a few pops now.....   grin
11941  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 03, 2008, 08:51:00 PM
Sharia 101, ok, what about western civilization 101, thats all that matters.

That's pretty much my intent. The left wishes to empower sharia under their cultish "multiculturalism" concept, thus destroying the concepts of western freedom that allow them their existence. Ironic, no?
11942  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: October 03, 2008, 05:31:28 PM

More on Biden's "misspeakings".

Anyone in the MSM with even an ounce of journalistic ethics left? Hello?
11943  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 03, 2008, 05:07:02 PM
Islamist Circles: Sunna Deniers Who Oppose the Sunna as a Source of Religious Rulings Are Apostates

Gamal Al-Banna himself recently made headlines when the Islamic Research Institute of Al-Azhar University in Cairo banned his book, ' The Responsibility for the Failure of the Islamic State '. [6] His name also appeared in a detailed study against " Sunna deniers" that was posted on the Muslim website, the motto of which is "Life in the Way of the Prophet Is Harder than Death for His Sake" and which encourages Muslims to devote themselves to Allah in accordance with the Koran and the Sunna.

The study reviewed the history of Sunna denial that began in the second century of Islam (the eighth century CE), which sees the Koran as the only source of Islamic legislation and rejects the Sunna as an additional source for religious rulings. The study presents the various groups that rejected the Sunna, in part or in whole: the Shi'a, the Khawarij, [7] the Mu'tazila, [8] and the Orientalists. It goes on to review the development of Sunna denial in different countries, and discusses the important centers of Sunna denial in India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and Egypt.

The study also focuses on the main figures who advocated and still advocate this approach, including the prominent reformists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries: Egyptian scholar Muhammad Abdu (d. 1905) and his disciple, Syrian scholar Muhammad Rashid Rida (d. 1935); Egyptian writers Taha Hussein (d. 1973), Ahmad Amin (d. 1954); Tawfiq Al-Hakim (d. 1987); Libyan ruler Mu'ammar Qaddafi; former Al-Azhar University lecturer, fired for his anti- Sunna views, Ahmad Subhi Mansour; and liberal Syrian intellectual Muhammad Shahrour.

Following its comprehensive review of Sunna denial, the study determines that the doubts raised by opponents of the Sunna, past and present, should be studied and that it must be clarified that they are all disproved, and that their writings must all be subjected to a thorough examination; further, they must all be decreed apostates ( irtidad ) and Allah's laws must be applied, with the knowledge of the judicial system. The punishment for introducing forbidden innovations into Islam must be applied to those who oppose the proper Islamic traditions, and they must atone or be condemned. In addition, a world association for those wishing to defend the Sunna must be created. [9]

A similar view was expressed by Al-Azhar University member Sheikh Mahmoud 'Ashour, who stated in an interview with the Egyptian paper Al-Masri Al-Yawm: "Anyone who calls to rely on the Koran alone and ignore the Sunna of the Prophet is an apostate and has left the fold of Islam, because he has denied a definitely known [aspect] of the religion. Further, he is denying half of the religion, because the Prophet said: 'I have left for you something that if you cling to it you will never err after [my death] – [that is,] Allah's book [the Koran] and my Sunna.' The Sunna of the Prophet illuminates and interprets what the Koran says. It also includes matters that do not appear in the Koran, such as the way of prayer, pilgrimage, giving charity, and the rest of the commandments between man and Allah, and the rest of life's affairs. Anyone who says that the Sunna should be ignored is beyond doubt an apostate." [10]

Reformists: The Koranic Texts Are the Sole Authentic Source; There Should Be No Monopoly on the Interpretation of the Holy Text; Ijtihad Must Be Renewed in Line with the Present Century

The issue of rejection of the Sunna as a source of legislation was discussed in a workshop on "Islam and Reform," held in Cairo on October 5-6, 2004. The workshop's concluding statement stressed "the importance of implementing both religious and political reforms in order to achieve comprehensive reform." It called "for creating a new intellectual context for Islamic thought based on clear assumptions and unity that will take into account all the changes in Muslim society throughout the past 11 centuries." To this end, the statement said, there must be "a profound reexamination of Islamic heritage, including all the Islamic sciences established during the past three centuries of Islam – Koran commentary, the Hadith [Islamic traditions], the roots of the religion, and religious law," and "reliance on the Koranic texts as the only authentic source for the purpose of reexamining all of Islamic heritage."

The concluding statement further called for "confronting all the institutions that claim a monopoly on the religion and on the proper interpretation of the holy text [the Koran]. Instead, there is [a need for] a new trend that will establish everyone's right [to implement] Ijtihad, under the banner of Islamic reform that is right for this century." [11]

The concluding statement was signed by leading progressives and reformists in the Arab and Islamic world: Dr. Sa'd Al-Din Ibrahim, chairman of the Ibn Khaldun Center in Cairo; Egyptian intellectual Gamal Al-Banna; Egyptian intellectual Dr. Sayyed Al-Qimni; Syrian intellectual Muhammad Shahrour; Dr. Radhwan Masmoudi, executive director of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in the U.S.; Dr. Najah Kadhim, director of the Islamic Forum for Islamic Dialogue in Britain; Sharifa Macarandas, president of the Mindanao Women's League, the Philippines; Tunisian intellectual Salah Al-Din Al-Jurashi; Dr. 'Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, former director of the Faculty of Shari'a Law, Qatar University; Dr. Fabyola Badawi, director of the European Arabian Union for Democracy and Dialogue in France; and Abdallah Ali Sabri, editor-in-chief of the Yemenite Saut Al-Shura daily.

The workshop and its recommendations enraged Egypt's religious establishment. In statements to the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai Al-'Aam, the Sheikh of Al-Azhar Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi said that the workshop had sounded "an explicit call to deny the Sunna of the Prophet, and the Al-Azhar [establishment] and [Egyptian] society rejects this." He added, "These centers [whose representatives participated in the workshop] have a destructive influence on Egyptian society, and [their activity] must be stopped and [their representatives] must be brought to trial… This is an explicit call to abandon the main source from among the sources of religious law in Islam – the Sunna of the Prophet. This is a danger that some of [our] foreign enemies are interested [in promoting]." [12]

In response to Sheikh Tantawi's statements, the Ibn Khaldun Center issued a communiqué arguing that it was not seeking to abolish the Sunna of the Prophet, but calling to issue religious rulings based solely on the Koran when disputes arose. In answer to Sheikh Tantawi's statement that the workshop participants were "a group of separatists, one of whom was in the past charged with treason," the communiqué explained that Tantawi was obviously referring to a case against Dr. Sa'd Al-Din Ibrahim and the Ibn Khaldun Center employees, and clarified that Dr. Sa'd Al-Din Ibrahim had not been charged with treason but with other false charges and the Egyptian Supreme Court had found him and the center's employees innocent.

The communiqué asked: "Is the Al-Azhar Sheikh entitled to accuse some of the Muslim intellectuals of separating from Islam? Doesn't that mean accusing us of apostasy and endangering our lives? Weren't similar charges responsible for the assassination of Faraj Foda, and for the assassination attempt on the world-renowned author Nagib Mahfouz? We call on Al-Azhar not to descend to the path of takfir taken by the violent and extremist groups…" [13]

About a month after the workshop,Al-Azhar Sheikh Tantawi again attacked the Sunna deniers who see the Koran as the sole source for religious rulings, calling them "ignoramuses, liars, and hypocrites" and warning the public not to listen to their views, which were aimed at fomenting confusion. In statements delivered on November 5, 2004 at a conference organized by the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Sheikh Tantawi said, "The attack on the Sunna is a means employed by the enemies of Islam for the [upcoming] attack on the Koran, because the Sunna is only a clarification of the laws appearing in the Koran… Thus, anyone who raises doubts about the prophetic Sunna as a source of legislation is acting according to a plan that is hostile to Islam… We have no life, future, or greatness among the societies except by clinging to the Koran and the Sunna. It is incumbent upon us all to stand in one rank and in one thought against anyone who attacks and denies the Sunna, because the laws [regarding matters] between man and Allah are not correct without the Sunna that explains in detail the rules and clarifies the things that are important." [14]

The Critical Approach to the Koran Is Also Considered Apotasy

Islamic circles refer to the critical or scientific approach to the Koran as apostasy as well. For example, a weekly talk show on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV channel dealt with removing certain Koranic verses from the school curricula in Arab and Muslim countries. Al-Azhar University lecturer Ibrahim Al-Khuli accused a program guest, the progressive author and journalist Shaker Al-Nabulsi, of denying Allah, and said that he should be expelled from the fold of the Muslim community.

Speaking by phone from the U.S., Dr. Nabulsi stated: "There should be a distinction between the Koranic chapters concerning belief, most of which were revealed in Mecca during the first 10 years [of the Prophet Muhammad's activity] and the chapters dealing with legislation or the life of the Prophet and his relations with his wives and his Companions and so on. That is, there are chapters that cut across history, and these are the verses revealed at Mecca … and there are circumstantial verses of legislation that were revealed at Al-Madina as a result of events that took place 1,400 years ago and which are no longer in existence. Frankly, there are many verses that we call political and military verses, that is, 'verses of the sword,' that are connected to circumstances that existed in the past but exist no longer. The verses revealed at Mecca, about the Jews, the Christians, and the People of the Book, for example … were usually verses of support for them, but the verses concerning the Jews and Christians at the stages of the revelation at Al-Madina were contrary to these verses. Why? Because the verses revealed at Al-Madina were the result of the changing political relations [of the People of the Book and] the Muslims…

"Politics are fluid, not static; therefore, the laws built on a political foundation are also subject to movement, and are not static. On the contrary, most of the verses revealed at Al-Madina regarding this matter [the People of the Book] contradict each other…

"What is happening now in the Arab world [the debate over removing Koranic verses from the school curricula] is not the removal of the permanent verses of belief that cross history, but an attempt not to emphasize or teach the circumstantial verses that incite to accusing the other of apostasy and to hatred of the other. Why was [the Second Caliph] Omar ibn Khattab, 1,400 years ago, more courageous than us when he eliminated [even] the verses connected to the heart of the faith, not [only] circumstantial verses… Why was Omar ibn Khattab capable of doing this 1,400 years ago, while today [Ibrahim] Al-Khuli calls anyone who eliminates any verse or chapter of the Koran an apostate…?"

Ibrahim Al-Khuli rejected Al-Nabulsi's statements out of hand, saying "He doesn't understand [Caliph] Omar, and he spoke nonsense that is unworthy of a response. Neither Omar nor any of the Sahaba ever dared to eliminate even a single letter of the Koran. What changed was the circumstances of the implementation [of the words of the Koran]…"

According to Al-Khuli, "Al-Nabulsi and Nasr [Hamid] Abu Zayd and their gangs speak of the historic aspect of Koranic scripture… Nasr Abu Zayd went so far as to say that the Koran is a human text that developed and crystallized, and is a cultural product. This is a lie, [and therefore] the Egyptian court's sentence regarding him was the sentence of ridda – and had he not left Egypt he would have been executed… Al-Nabulsi is not worth holding a discussion with, or of me mentioning him. He lied when he said that there are Koranic verses that contradict one another. When you say that in the Koran there are verses contradicting one another, you commit apostasy, and you leave the fold of the [Muslim] community through its widest gate. I take responsibility for these words." [15]

* Aluma Dankowitz is Director of MEMRI's Reform Project.

[1] IRNA (Iran), February 12, 2005.

[2] See article by liberal Tunisian intellectual Lafif Lakhdar,, July 1, 2003.

[3] Al-Ahram Al-Arabi (Egypt), July 3, 2004.

[4] Roz Al-Yusouf (Egypt), September 17, 2004.

[5] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 19, 2004.

[6] Al-Hayat, London, September 9, 2004.

[7] Khawarij, the first religious opposition in Islam, was formed when a group of Muslims left the camp of the Fourth Caliph 'Ali bin Abu Taleb at the Battle of Sifin in 657.

[8] Mu'tazila, a theoretical rationalistic stream of the 9th and 10th centuries, sought to set out the principles of religious faith in logical and rational formulae.


[10] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), October 25, 2004, as cited in Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), October 26, 2004.

[11] Ijtihad, or using individual judgment, was suspended in the 10th century by a consensus of ulema (Islamic clerics), and its resumption has not been permitted since. For the full text of the recommendations, see

[12] Al-Rai Al-'Aam (Kuwait), October 8, 2004.


[14] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, November 7, 2004.

[15] Al-Jazeera TV, Qatar, October 5, 2004.
11944  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 03, 2008, 05:05:09 PM

Inquiry and Analysis Series - No. 208
February 18, 2005   No. 208

Accusing Muslim Intellectuals of Apostasy
By: Aluma Dankowitz. *

Marking the 16th anniversary of the Fatwa calling for author Salman Rushdie's death issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards announced: "The day will finally come when the apostate Salman Rushdie will receive his due punishment for his disgraceful and slanderous move against the Qur'an and the Prophet [Muhammad]." Iran's Leader Ali Khamenei stressed that the death sentence following the publication of Rushdie's ' The Satanic Verses ' "is irrevocable." [1]

The accusation against Muslims - particularly intellectuals, artists, and writers - of "unbelief" (an accusation known as " takfir " ) recurs in the Muslim world. The traditional punishment for an apostate ( murtadd ) set in early Islam was capital punishment. This punishment was implemented on a large scale in the period following the death of the Prophet Muhammad, when Muhammad's successor Abu Bakr fought the ridda wars against the tribes that abandoned Islam. In modern Muslim history too, there are several cases of charges of apostasy against intellectuals who deviated from the dictates of Islamist circles.

Section 228 of Iran's Islamic Penal Code states that a "criminal" should be exonerated "if it is proven to the court that the blood of the victim was permitted." An example of the implementation of this law is the cash prize of over $2 million set for the murder of Salman Rushdie, who was accused of apostasy. Other prominent examples include the 1985 execution of Sudanese Sufi philosopherMuhammad Mahmoud Taha on charges of ridda and the 1992 assassination by Islamists, following similar accusations, of secular Egyptian intellectual Faraj Foda.When Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazaliwas asked for his view on this assassination, he simply said that "the sentence for ridda that the [country's] ruler refrained from carrying out has now been implemented." In 1994, Islamists made an attempt on the life of Egyptian Nobel Prize laureate Nagib Mahfouz. [2]

In other cases, conservative Muslim activists exploited the Hisbah law enabling anyone to file suit in a court of law against anyone else in the name of society. Thus, the charge of ridda was filed against several intellectuals; if found guilty, the court could force them to divorce their spouses [ tafriq ], because if one party to an Islamic marriage became an apostate, the marriage was nullified. Thus, in 1995 an Egyptian court forced Dr. Nasser Hamed Abu Zayd, an intellectual who had published critical research on the Koran, to separate from his wife. In 2001, a similar suit was filed against feminist Egyptian author Nawal Al-Sa'dawi;however, the prosecutor-general, who, according to a 1996 amendment, was the only one who could decide whether such a suit was warranted, rejected the claims against her.

Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi Advocates Implementing the Ridda Death Penalty

In an interview with the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, one of the most prominent clerics in Sunni Islam and among Islamist circles and a spiritual leader for the Muslim Brotherhood movement, discussed the view of modern religious law on carrying out the punishment for ridda, and permitted the murder of free Muslim intellectuals whose views differ from those of Islamist clerics.

Asked, "In Muslim society, has an individual the right to change his religion as he wishes?" Al-Qaradhawi drew a distinction between two types of ridda: "One of the freedoms that Islam does not accept is the freedom of ridda that expands [from the realm of the individual to that of the group] and threatens the social fabric and its foundations. [On the one hand,] there is limited ridda, and [on the other,] there is ridda that expands [from the individual to the group].

"Limited ridda is the ridda of the individual who switches religion and is not interested in others. According to Islam, the punishment for this individual is [Hell] in the world to come…

"But [the other] ridda,which expands [from the individual to the group], is a ridda in which the individual who abandons Islam calls [upon others] to do likewise, [thus creating] a group whose path is not the path of society and whose goal is not the goal of the [Muslim] nation, and whose allegiance is not to the Islamic nation. Such [individuals] endanger the social fabric, and they are like the murtaddoon [apostates],who were fought by [the first Caliph] Abu Bakr together with the Companions of the Prophet [the Sahaba]. Those murtaddoon falsely claimed that they were prophets with the same inspiration as was given to the Prophet Muhammad…"

Asked what the view of the modern Muslim sage should be about the danger of ridda, Al-Qaradhawi replied: "The gravest danger facing the Muslim is the one that threatens his spiritual existence – i.e., that threatens his belief. Therefore, apostasy, or unbelief after having been Muslim, is the gravest danger to society…

"In our generation, Muslim society has been subject to violent invasions and severe attacks aimed at uprooting it, and these were manifested by the invasion of Christian missionaries that began with Western colonialism and is continuing in the Islamic world and among the Islamic communities and minorities [outside the Muslim world] … [and by] the Communist invasion that destroyed entire Muslim countries in Asia and Europe and made every effort to eliminate Islam and remove it ultimately from people's lives … and by the third and worst invasion, the secular invasion that is continuing to this day in the heart of the Islamic world, sometimes openly and sometimes covertly, and which persecutes the true Islam…

"For Muslim society to preserve its existence, it must struggle against ridda from every source and in all forms, and it must not let it spread like wildfire in a field of thorns. This is what Abu Bakr and the companions did when they fought the people of ridda who followed the false prophets… There is no escape from struggling against and restricting the individual ridda so that it will not worsen and its sparks scatter, becoming group ridda… Thus, the Muslim sages agreed that the punishment for the murtadd [who commits ridda ] … is execution…" [3]

In his book ' Islam and Secularism,' Al-Qaradhawi explains: "The Muslim sages agreed unanimously that anyone who denies something that is known in the religion … is an apostate who abandons his religion. The Imam must demand of him to repent, and recant his deviation from the righteous path, or the laws regarding the murtadd will apply to him."

The progressive Egyptian intellectual Sayyed Al-Qimni, who cited the above quote in an article in the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yousef, explained what it meant: "According to Al-Qaradhawi, [the ridda ] punishment does not apply only to someone who decides freely to leave Islam for what satisfies his heart and his conscience – whether this be another religion or nothing at all. It applies in principle [also] to the Muslim who clings to the laws of his religion … but disagrees with those who have appointed themselves the priests of Islam and who call themselves religious sages … especially when the disputes concern the understanding of a particular matter in Islam … because [the priests of the religion] have determined that their understanding of the holy scriptures is the only [permitted] understanding and the absolute truth, and anything else is absolute falsehood… Any attempt at new thinking in reading the scriptures is thrust away [on the pretext] of [accusations of] abandoning the religion … and the punishment for new thought or expressing a different opinion is death." [4]

The issues of ridda, takfir, and tafriq are a constant concern in the Muslim world. The following are several recent cases.
Recent Egyptian Lawsuit: Forcing a Divorce upon an Intellectual

The latest affair to take Egypt by storm concerns statements by Egyptian author and TV writer Usama Anwar Ukasha, who slandered one of the Prophet's Companions, 'Amr ibn Al-'Aas, who commanded the forces that brought Islam to Egypt. Ukasha called him "the most contemptible figure in Islam" for causing divisiveness and internal conflict in Islam. Attorney Nabih Al-Wahsh, who in the past filed a suit against Egyptian author Nawal Al-Sa'dawi, filed a similar suit to separate Ukasha from his wife, claiming that by attacking ibn Al-'Aas, Ukasha had become a murtadd who had left the fold of Islam.

Egypt's shapers of public opinion are divided on the affair. For example, Dr. Abd Al-Sabour Shahin, lecturer on Islamic law at the University of Cairo, stated that Amr ibn Al-'Aas has an important place in Islam and therefore "we will not permit any secularist to deride him." He expressed support for legal measures against Ukasha in order to put an end to the harming of the Prophet's Companions and as a deterring measure against the distortion of the image of Islam heroes.

In contrast, Islamic intellectual Gamal Al-Bana,the brother of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood movement Hassan Al-Bana, firmly rejected all demands to ostracize any individual or to make charges of apostasy, arguing that criticizing the Companions of the Prophet was legitimate. He said: "The lawsuits we are seeing today to ostracize and prevent [different] ideas recall previous eras. We must understand that Islam has given man freedom of thought. Islam's history proves that no one is immune to error except the Prophet. The Companions of the Prophet made errors, and therefore it is not right for them to be exempt from criticism. This doesn't give us the right to curse any of the Companions of the Prophet or anyone else, or harm their belief, but it does permit us to describe their deeds in political terms. It is known that 'Amr ibn Al-'Aas has a controversial political history; therefore, there is nothing to prevent us from opposing him from the historical point of view." [5]

11945  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 03, 2008, 04:58:37 PM

Afghan Clerics Call for Abdul Rahman's Death

In my previous blog entry about Abdul Rahman, the 41-year-old Afghan man who may face the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity, I noted that while a number of Islamic states outlaw apostasy, "the greater threat comes from vigilantes." I made a similar observation in a February 2004 article that I wrote for Commentary:

The greatest threat to apostates in the Muslim world derives not from the state, however, but from private individuals who take punishment into their own hands. In Bangladesh, for example, a native-born Muslim-turned-Christian evangelist was stabbed to death in the spring of 2003 while returning home from a film version of the Gospel of Luke. As another Bangladeshi apostate told the U.S. Newswire, "If a Muslim converts to Christianity, now he cannot live in this country. It is not safe. The fundamentalism is increasing more and more."

The Abdul Rahman situation bears this out. Even if the state doesn't put Abdul Rahman to death, Afghan clerics have announced that they will incite others to kill him. The Associated Press reports today (with emphases added):

"Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die," said cleric Abdul Raoulf, who is considered a moderate and was jailed three times for opposing the Taliban before the hard-line regime was ousted in 2001. . . . Diplomats have said the Afghan government is searching for a way to drop the case. On Wednesday, authorities said Rahman is suspected of being mentally ill and would undergo psychological examinations to see whether he is fit to stand trial. But three Sunni preachers and a Shiite one interviewed by The Associated Press in four of Kabul's most popular mosques said they do not believe Rahman is insane. "He is not crazy. He went in front of the media and confessed to being a Christian," said Hamidullah, chief cleric at Haji Yacob Mosque. "The government is scared of the international community. But the people will kill him if he is freed." Raoulf, who is a member of the country's main Islamic organization, the Afghan Ulama Council, concurred. "The government is playing games. The people will not be fooled."

"Cut off his head!" he exclaimed, sitting in a courtyard outside Herati Mosque. "We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there's nothing left." He said the only way for Rahman to survive would be for him to go into exile. But Said Mirhossain Nasri, the top cleric at Hossainia Mosque, one of the largest Shiite places of worship in Kabul, said Rahman must not be allowed to leave the country. "If he is allowed to live in the West, then others will claim to be Christian so they can, too," he said. "We must set an example. . . . He must be hanged."

These clerics add their voices to a growing chorus of Aghan citizens calling for Abdul Rahman's death, including his own father: "He is my son. But if a son does not care about the dignity of his family, the dignity of his father, God can take him away. You cannot make anything out of such a son. He is useless."

This case makes clear that the threat to converts out of Islam does not just come from the state, but from private citizens as well. And it makes clear that the belief that apostates deserve death is not an aberration, but is more widespread that many would like to acknowledge. The resolution of this case may well be a barometer of Afghanistan's future, and the future of democracy in the Middle East.

Posted by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross at 09:47 AM
11946  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 03, 2008, 04:10:16 PM
It's nothing I want or support, but again, if we want to live in the "post-modern, post-moral" age the left advocates, then why any limits on anything? Just call it a lifestyle choice and be done with it.

BTW, incest laws say nothing about reproduction. It's just as illegal for an elderly brother/sister to marry as those capable of bearing children.

Never meant to imply that is was what you wanted or supported. 
And while you seem strongly against the "post-modern, post-moral" (me, I can't make up my mind, but you do have some points) so is Sharia Law very much against many of
these so called modern lifestyle choices isn't it?  Interesting dichotomy.

**The key division here is the role of government in matters of personal morality. I personally find male homosexual acts repulsive. However, I have no interest in seeing any governmental force being used against those that engage in such activities. Consenting adults, in the privacy of their own homes can do as they wish. If god has an issue with that, it's between them and god. People have a right to their views on the topic, including the condemnation of such activities, but do not have the right to interfere with those that choose to engage, again as long as it's between consenting adults in their own homes.**

And yes, I know incest laws say nothing about reproduction, but ... it happens...

**Sure, lots of deviant, sick things happen. There are adult women that have consenting sexual relationships with their fathers, having been sexually assaulted as children and taught that it's normative behavior. Stomach turning, but sadly, very true.**
11947  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 03, 2008, 03:54:28 PM
States do differ, but very few 14 year olds do get married in 2008. Why? Because our society recognizes that a 14 year old male or female isn't capable of giving an informed consent due to maturational/developmental issues. Again, thankfully we don't use either the bible or the koran or the life of Mohammed as the standard on which we develop our laws. What might have been acceptable in 1908 isn't necessarily so in 2008. Whereas in an islamic society, what Mohammed did in 628 is just as valid in 2008, or 2128.
11948  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: October 03, 2008, 03:34:15 PM
It's nothing I want or support, but again, if we want to live in the "post-modern, post-moral" age the left advocates, then why any limits on anything? Just call it a lifestyle choice and be done with it.

BTW, incest laws say nothing about reproduction. It's just as illegal for an elderly brother/sister to marry as those capable of bearing children.
11949  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Picture WW3: Who, when, where, why on: October 03, 2008, 03:22:46 PM

Oct 3, 10:52
The CIA and The Looming Threats for the Next President

CIA director Mike Hayden gave an an interesting interview to Fox News identifying the the greatest security challenges to the next administration.

One of the identified threats (after the increasingly unstable but nuclear-armed North Korea) is what Hayden dubbed the “Axis of Oil,” that dangerous mix of petro-fueled dollars giving Russia, Iran and Venezuela the economic means to become increasingly reckless militarily.

This is correct, and, I believe, a healthy recognition that there are serious threats outside the Iraq and radical Sunni Islamist threat. The alliance of a radical Shiite Islamist state, a radical populist government and a nation correctly described as one that is reversing democratic gains and ruled by officially sanctioned organized crime, indeed poses a threat.

What gives that Axis its power is the money we pay for foreign oil. What binds them together is this money and their avowed and public desire to go after not just the United States, but Western democracies in other places.

None of them would be able to retain their oppressive state structures and fuel instability abroad (particularly aimed at Latin America) if they didn’t have the billions of petro-dollars to do it.

Unfortunately, a full transcript of Hayden’s remarks has not been posted, so all we have is a snippet of Hayden noting that oil prices, which are still hovering around $100 per barrel, have emboldened these oil-rich nations. “Oil, at its current price … gives the Russian state a degree of influence and power that it would have not otherwise had,” he said.

He noted that Russia’s invasion of Georgian territory in August and Iran’s continued work on acquiring nuclear weapons only compound the threat.

While this threat matrix seems obvious looking at it from the Latin American context, it is not a widely voice priority in the intelligence community. I have been to numerous events recently, hosted by an array of U.S. government agencies and departments, and have been baffled by the failure to look at the very matrix Hayden names.

Two of the countries, Iran and Venezuela, openly support terrorist groups that have a long history of striking at Americans. Russia has a long history (and now a rapidly-quickening pace) of arming both nations. Russia has nuclear weapons, Iran is working hard to get them, and Venezuela has the type of leader who would like to use one.

So it is heartening to see someone finally, if only briefly, acknowledging this threat exists and needs to be a priority for whomever wins in November.

11950  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: October 03, 2008, 03:16:15 PM
It appears that when Biden was sounding authoritative in the debate, he was just making things up.
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