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29051  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: July 11, 2006, 06:47:14 PM
Geopolitical Diary: Al-Sadr Sends a Message

Baghdad has been embroiled in sectarian violence in recent days. Gunfights broke out between Sunni and Shiite fighters in the predominantly Sunni district of Ghazaliya in western Baghdad on Monday, and these clashes follow a particularly bloody weekend of reprisal attacks.

Following the bombing of a Shiite mosque July 8, masked Shiite gunmen in black set up fake checkpoints in a Sunni-populated neighborhood in western Baghdad. When cars drove up to the checkpoints along the main road to the Baghdad International Airport, the gunmen reportedly shot dead any drivers and passengers with Sunni names after they showed their identification cards. The bodies of several Sunni residents were also found scattered throughout the neighborhood (which, ironically enough, is named Jihad) after being abducted by roaming Shiite gunmen. A few hours later, two car bombs exploded next to a Shiite mosque in the Kasra neighborhood in northeastern Baghdad.

The escalation in attacks between Sunnis and Shia in Iraq naturally reintroduces fears of a full-blown civil war in the country. What it actually reveals, however, is that the ongoing political negotiations in Baghdad between the country's main factions have reached a resounding crescendo.

Following the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, we laid out the blueprint of a political deal in the making between the Sunni and Shiite political groups. Once al-Zarqawi was sacrificed by Sunni leaders with jihadist ties, and once the Defense Ministry was awarded to the Sunnis, the next order of business was for the Shia to reciprocate by reining in their militias. The Herculean task that fell to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki -- to dissolve the Shiite militias while the Sunni insurgency rages on -- is, without a doubt, a thoroughly complicated affair.

Muqtada al-Sadr, the firebrand Shiite leader of the militia known as the Mehdi Army, knows full well that this critical step in the political process is where his interests could be severely undercut. The last thing al-Sadr wants is for his movement to be forced into disarming while the other main Shiite militia -- the Badr Brigades, owned by the dominant Shiite faction, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq -- gets integrated into the Iraqi army. When the time comes to seal a political deal in Baghdad and the question of dividing oil revenues becomes Iraq's biggest preoccupation, al-Sadr wants to ensure that his faction receives its fair share -- both politically and financially -- but without his guns, he loses his most effective negotiating tool.

Though al-Sadr has denied his movement has anything to do with the recent sectarian attacks against Sunnis, he is simply trying to hold on to his plausible deniability card. The principals behind the attacks can keep their distance from the abundance of thugs and vigilante groups that carry out retaliatory rampages against Sunnis; but these gunmen are delivering a potent message on behalf of al-Sadr to ensure a space is reserved for him at the negotiating table.

Time may be dwindling for al-Sadr to make his demands heard. U.S. forces have been stepping up operations to detain Shiite guerrilla leaders in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, who have allegedly been driving the Shiite death squads to ratchet up the Sunni body-count in Iraq. This type of operation needs the implicit approval of the dominant Shiite factions involved in the political process -- as members of the Sunni-controlled Defense Ministry have been happy to point out, though the Shiite-controlled Interior Ministry quickly denied these claims. The Sunni political leaders will use any opportunity at their disposal to exacerbate rifts within the Shiite community, and bringing to light any political dealings the Shia make with Washington to contain a renegade leader like al-Sadr certainly gets the job done.

As a result, al-Sadr needs to get himself quickly into a position where he can negotiate effectively. Sending gunmen into the streets -- to snatch and kill Sunnis and seriously aggravate sectarian tensions -- demonstrates his capability to wreck any political deal that is struck in Baghdad.

The person to keep an eye on now will be Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the kingmaker of the Iraqi Shia, who will have the final say in what concessions are given to al-Sadr. As we watch for al-Sistani to speak up and bring Shiite militant activity under control, we imagine real estate in the Jihad neighborhood must be getting pretty cheap.
29052  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: July 11, 2006, 06:36:19 PM
North Korea: Missile Tests and Regional Impacts
By Rodger Baker

North Korea has done it again. A week after it tested seven missiles, including the long-range Taepodong-2, a resolution condemning its actions has stalled in the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), South Korea is criticizing Japan for hyping the launch, Japan is openly discussing changes to its constitutional military restrictions, and the United States is asking China to use its negotiating capabilities to bring some stability to the situation. If North Korea was largely marginalized leading into July, it is now once again the center of attention -- and controversy.

Defying repeated warnings from the United States, Japan, South Korea and even Russia and China, North Korea launched not one but seven missiles, early July 5 local time. Most were short- or medium-range Hwasong or Nodong missiles; the first launch was timed to coincide with the Independence Day launch of space shuttle Discovery in Florida. But it was the third missile, the long-range Taepodong-2 -- believed to be capable of striking Alaska or Hawaii -- that garnered the most attention.

Pyongyang accomplished quite a bit with the July 5 launches. First and foremost, it has shocked the world with multiple tests while managing to avoid a military confrontation with the United States. It has been able to gauge the effectiveness of improvements in its ballistic missile program -- particularly with the short- and medium-range models that pose a more significant threat to regional security than the Taepodong-2. And it has once again exposed and exploited rifts in Washington's Northeast Asian alliance structure.

Moreover, with disagreements stalling any actions against North Korea at the U.N. Security Council, it is China that appears poised to gain the most from Pyongyang's actions.

Taepodong Failure and U.S. Relief

North Korea had placed the Taepodong-2 on its launch platform more than a month prior to the test launch, as if posing it for U.S. spy satellites and reconnaissance aircraft. Several times, Japan or others announced that a launch was imminent, and each time there was a corresponding cry for restraint, and increasingly overt threats from the United States and Japan -- including calls to shoot the missile down in midflight or even strike it before it left the launchpad.

When the Taepodong-2 finally lifted off, at shortly after 5 a.m. local time, it produced more of a fizzle than a bang. The missile didn't fly over Japan. It didn't place a satellite into orbit. It didn't fulfill a bold, unofficial threat by Pyongyang and land off the coast of New York. In fact, it flew within parameters for just 40 seconds, before either breaking up or suffering engine troubles and veering off course. It landed in the waters between North Korea, Japan and Russia a few minutes later.

The failure was quickly labeled by international media, observers and U.S. officials as an embarrassment to the North Korean regime and a demonstration that Pyongyang lacks the wherewithal to pull off a successful test or to threaten the United States. The additional six missiles were written off as little more than upgraded, inaccurate, short-range SCUD missiles. The initial condescension towards North Korea's technical capabilities was coupled with condemnation of the tests and contradictory recommendations for follow-on actions.

But not all the details of the missile's flight path are clear. According to some reports, the missile performed normally for some 40-42 seconds, burned out and fell into the ocean. Other reports suggest a catastrophic failure, fragmentation of the rocket or a fire. Some estimates put the total flight time at around two minutes, while the South Koreans have said total flight time was seven minutes -- during which the missile traveled 499 kilometers from its launch facility.

Given the available information, it is very likely that the missile suffered system damage during the most critical and stressful part of the launch. This is certainly the picture the United States is projecting, and apparently with some relief. In the weeks leading up to the launch, Washington had touted the strengths of the U.S. missile defense system, moved tests forward on the calendar and warned that the option of shooting down the Taepodong-2 was clearly on the table. The failure of North Korea's missile, however, kept Washington from having to make the difficult decision of whether to carry through with that threat and shoot it down in flight.

There were real reservations about acting on those threats. First, while Washington has confidence in the missile defense system, that confidence is not 100 percent. If North Korea had fired its missile and a U.S. intercept failed, it would be the U.S. Defense Department and the Bush administration with pie on its face. More importantly, such a failure could undermine whatever psychological deterrent the missile defense system currently provides.

But perhaps even more troubling for Washington was the prospect that a strike against the North Korean missile would succeed. First, there is a question of where the intercept would take place -- and where the debris would fall. But the second question is how North Korea would respond. Pyongyang has one key consideration in its actions: ensuring regime survival. North Korea structures its defense force and projects a prickly personality in order to dissuade the United States or others from attacking. But Pyongyang knows that its capabilities are limited and that, in a war with the United States, it ultimately would lose.

Though it feels threatened by Washington, the North Korean leadership does not view launching an offensive war as a logical act. North Korea is outgunned and outclassed by the United States; launching an invasion of South Korea or an attack on Japan or the United States would be a surefire way to ensure regime change in Pyongyang. If Washington shot down its missile, however, the North Korean elite might view that as a guarantee of imminent U.S. military action -- and Pyongyang might strike out at its neighbors to inflict as much pain as possible, seeking to disrupt any U.S. invasion or attack plans.

But even barring such a reaction, allowing its missile to be shot out of the sky by the U.S. military would trigger significant stresses for North Korea -- both within the elite and from the broader military and society. The regime would question whether it could maintain cohesion and stability without retaliating. For Washington, then, either a failure or a success of the U.S. missile defense system could lead to open hostilities in Northeast Asia. The best thing Washington could have hoped for was that North Korea's missile would fail -- even before the button would have had to be pushed for the intercept.

And Pyongyang knew this as well.

A Scrubbed Launch?

There is some possibility that North Korea intentionally scrubbed the launch. On the one hand, simply putting the missile away after leaving it on the pad for more than a month would have been viewed as capitulation -- and that could have weakened the internal cohesion of the regime. A launch became necessary practically as soon as the missile was rolled out (unless Washington had given in to Pyongyang's calls for bilateral talks).

But on the other hand, while North Korea has always walked close to the line, it has been very careful not to cross it. A successful Taepodong-2 test could have shifted the strategic calculation of Japan or the United States toward North Korea. Tokyo already had warned that if any part of the Taepodong-2 fell on Japanese territory, it would be considered an act of war. And while Washington has been relatively lax toward North Korea, aside from rhetoric and the occasional economic lever, all bets would be off should North Korea demonstrate the ability to pose a concrete threat to the U.S. mainland.

For Pyongyang, a controlled launch failure presented a better outcome than risking an accident or simply putting away the long-range toy. A picture-perfect satellite launch would have been the best outcome, but it is questionable whether North Korea actually believed it would be able to pull one off. After all, few space programs have ever managed to develop new systems without many failures along the way.

Other Missiles and Regional Tensions

Whether Pyongyang failed to succeed or succeeded to fail, the Taepodong-2 was not the only missile launched that morning. There were many motives behind North Korea's additional launches. First, everyone was already expecting a Taepodong-2 launch; if Pyongyang had launched only that rocket, the psychological impact already would have been discounted. There would be little leverage. Second, if the North Koreans knew they would scrub the Taepodong-2 launch, they would want to demonstrate a variety of capabilities to cover for the failure.

Finally, and more significantly, North Korea is intending again to trade its missile launches for concessions from its neighbors and the United States. If a moratorium on missile tests is coming anyway, this launch represented a final chance to assess improvements to North Korea's missile systems, particularly as the country so rarely tests its ballistic missiles. Testing six short- and intermediate-range Hwasong and Nodong missiles -- the real bulk of North Korea's missile force -- would allow the country's military to learn more in a single day about their own capabilities and upgrades than they had in the entirety of the preceding decade.

It is these overlooked missiles that are the true face of North Korean missile technology. Pyongyang's Nodong missiles have the capability of reaching most of Japan, including U.S. bases in Okinawa. North Korea has more than 100 of these mobile missiles, making them an extremely valuable commodity. And its short-range Hwasong series can strike anywhere in South Korea and potentially parts of Japan.

The combination of short-, medium- and long-range missile tests helps to explain the political intent behind the July 5 launches. Dividing any coalition that forms against it has been a key aspect of North Korean foreign policy. The regime in Pyongyang has played skillfully on the differences in strategic thinking of trilateral allies Japan, South Korea and the United States. The current diplomatic spat between Tokyo and Seoul over the extent to which North Korea's missile tests should be dramatized is a key example of just how easily these rifts are exploited. The time and effort the United States is expending to convince the world that Washington and Seoul are on the same page is another.

Stalled at the Security Council

In the UNSC discussions, Russia is expected to abstain from any resolution to punish North Korea -- but China well might veto one, so Tokyo and Washington are delaying any vote on the issue. But though Moscow is not actively joining in attempts to have North Korea sanctioned, Russian authorities have found it difficult to conceal their frustration with Pyongyang. What is clear from initial statements, particularly about the safety of Russian ships and aircraft in the missile test zone, is that the North Koreans never bothered warning Russia before lobbing missiles off its coast.

Amid all of this, China appears to be the least fazed by the North Korean tests.

But China also may have had prior notice about the launches. Initial comments credited to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill suggest that China was notified about the tests before they occurred. Officials in Beijing have countered that they were told of the launches a few hours before North Korea formally announced them -- but still days after they actually had taken place. Either way, the Chinese once again have found the world turning to them for a solution.

Given the Security Council deadlock, China is the only viable path to negotiations with North Korea. In fact, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Richard Bolton has said the Security Council vote was delayed so that diplomacy through China could continue. Washington and Seoul both have called for Beijing to talk to Pyongyang, and the Chinese already had conveniently arranged for a relatively high-level delegation to visit North Korea.

For China, the missile launches have reinforced Beijing's importance to the United States and even Japan. Neither Washington nor Tokyo is prepared to strike back at North Korea militarily -- over either the missile tests or the ongoing nuclear crisis. Both have opted for sanctions and attempts to isolate North Korea, but these paths require the assistance and participation of South Korea and China. And even if Seoul were fully on board, China would remain as North Korea's primary lifeline. China can undermine any U.S. efforts to isolate or punish Pyongyang -- or it can facilitate dialogue.

In the weeks leading up to the missile tests, Beijing had proposed various ways to restart the stalled six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program -- talks from which both Washington and Pyongyang had basically walked away. As the primary coordinator and host of the talks, Beijing has leverage with all the participants -- but China found few takers (aside from South Korea) for its recent proposals. All of that changed, however, when North Korea actually tested the missiles. Washington sent envoys to Beijing and held out the possibility of bilateral talks with Pyongyang (which North Korea has demanded in order to discuss economic sanctions and frozen assets) on the sidelines of the six-party discussions.

While it is not certain that China facilitated the North Korean missile tests, it does seem that Pyongyang was certain the tests wouldn't trigger China to turn on it. If Beijing were truly upset, it could make that rather clear to North Korea in very painful ways. It hasn't. Rather, the Chinese have called on all parties to return to dialogue -- dialogue facilitated by and benefiting China. Meanwhile, North Korea is sitting back and studying the deadlock at the U.N. Security Council, the cracks in the U.S.-South Korea-Japan alliance, and the fact that the world's attention has again turned back toward Pyongyang.


North Korea considered its 1998 Taepodong-1 launch a brilliant success. Only two years later, Pyongyang had gone from being an international outcast and sidelined nation to the center of diplomatic activity -- with normalized relations across Europe and with Canada and Australia. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il hosted then-South Korean President Kim Dae Jung in Pyongyang for the first ever inter-Korean summit in 2000. North Korea gained economic and diplomatic ties and began to break past the constraints of a relationship that had been based primarily on U.S. pressure and Chinese handouts.

Pyongyang sees the same sorts of benefits in its future this time around. It has grown expert at creating artificial crises, from which it reaps economic and political benefits in exchange for merely maintaining the status quo.

In recent years, Washington has attempted to simply ignore North Korea rather than giving in to its temper fits. After all, if a kid in a toy store holds his breath while demanding that a parent buy a new toy, doing so only encourages the behavior -- whereas waiting for the kid to pass out and then start breathing again puts the kibosh on the temper fits. Or at least, that is the theory.

But North Korea always has an extra ace up its sleeve: geography. If the issue were only between North Korea and the United States, Pyongyang would have been ignored into submission years ago. But while its Taepodong-2 failed, its regional missiles proved quite effective. And neither Seoul nor Tokyo can feel as confident as Washington that North Korea really won't do something too crazy if left to stew in its own isolation. When Washington turns a deaf ear, Pyongyang pokes Tokyo and Seoul -- and when they cry out, the United States is drawn back in.

And until a new option is found to be effective, it seems that Beijing is destined to benefit -- as the only voice that can soothe the savage North Korea.
29053  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Where to start? on: July 11, 2006, 12:07:35 AM
Woof LJ:

Well, first things first-- if your finances are that shaky, take care of that first.

When you feel ready, I would suggest our Real Contact Stickfighting series as a good place to begin.  The focus is on solo training which will enable you to develop good skills which are necessary both directly for fighting and for improving your fightings skills futher through good training with partners.

For two man training, both beginning and experienced, I would recommend our "Combining Stick & Footwork" and "Krabi Krabong.

The Vid-lessons available through the DBMA Association tend to orient towards skills for those with a foundation already in place.

I hope this helps.  Please surf through the many pages of this forum too.  There are many thoughtful and useful threads to be found.

The Adventure continues!
Guro Crafty
29054  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: July 10, 2006, 08:45:43 AM
U.S. Soldiers
Aren't Guilty
Before a Verdict
The U.S. military needs a PR counteroffensive.

Friday, July 7, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

We seem to have a new national holiday tradition: No holiday is complete without front-page allegations of an atrocity committed by U.S. soldiers in Iraq. A month ago, Memorial Day arrived along with Haditha, a place in western Iraq where hundreds of Memorial-weekend news reports said a military investigation had concluded that Marines "wantonly killed unarmed civilians," among them "women and children." This past Fourth of July, along with the skyrockets' red glare came news that a former Army private had been charged in Charlotte, N.C. with committing rape and murder while he was in Iraq. Labor Day awaits.

Rather than let the charges against the private run like a tape-loop over a long, news-dead weekend, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, appeared Fourth of July morning on both NBC and CBS. After CBS's Harry Smith professed himself perplexed at how all this atrocity stuff was happening now, Gen. Pace said that "99.9%" of the men and women in Iraq were serving with honor and promised he would "get to the bottom" of the allegations.

Military specialists will output case studies for years on how Iraq has altered the way war is waged by Americans--on the battlefield and on the home front. Most interesting to know would be whether the war as perceived at home and the war as fought daily by our soldiers in Iraq became two separate realms of consciousness, the former barely related to the reality of the latter.

One benchmark in this process will be deciding which elements of the nation's military past are deemed relevant to taking the measure of this war. Outside the military colleges, the experience of World War II appears to have become largely irrelevant. The controlling benchmark today is whether any American military commitment can evade the vague moral abyss of the Vietnam War. Thus when the Haditha story broke open over Memorial Day it was analogized as "another My Lai," the storied 1968 killing, and cover-up, of hundreds of civilians in a Vietnamese village.
The reason for viewing Haditha through the moral sextant of My Lai is that My Lai significantly altered the political status of Vietnam in the U.S. It became a totem for U.S. behavior in Vietnam. So it is only natural that the My Lai template, however ill-fitting, would be pressed against Haditha to see if this one lurid story would break the back of the entire Iraq enterprise. And so the chairman of the Joint Chiefs shows up on TV the Fourth of July--going on PR offense like any corporate product manager to ensure this isn't the one event that burns down the whole company. Fair or not, these are the new rules of political engagement in wartime America, and the government learns to play by them or risk being rolled off the field.

But what about the soldiers themselves? Nearly anyone who gets sucked into the media vortex--celebrity, CEO, sports hero--becomes mere cannon fodder, so assume the same for GIs involved in abuse or murder allegations. The Marines implicated in the Haditha incident are largely anonymous now, but each is being auditioned to play this war's Lt. William Calley. But first they have to be convicted of something.

The innocence or guilt of the individual soldiers implicated in Haditha or the other alleged abuse incidents is a lower-order concern to those fighting a PR war for the hearts and minds of the American people on Iraq. In the first effusion of media coverage of these events, the impression is weighted toward assuming guilt, and so when the pollsters call to ask about support for the war, the numbers fall. Mission accomplished--unless a Gen. Pace can jump quickly enough on the other side of the public-impression teeter-totter.

That is one kind of modern war reality. But there is another, less visible reality, which one might call, of all things, "justice." Ask Ilario Pantano about it.
Mr. Pantano, who left a successful job in New York City to reenlist in the Marines, was brought up on charges in 2004 of shooting two Iraqi prisoners in the back while serving as a lieutenant in al Anbar province. A year later--after the military's investigation, defense discovery and a military trial--the charges against him were dropped. His accusers were discredited at trial. The absorbing details of the case's passage through the U.S. military-justice system are described in Mr. Pantano's just-published memoir, "Warlord."

Interviews this week with Mr. Pantano, his lawyers and other defense lawyers describe a military-justice system that is tough on the defense, but fair. "Overall it's good," said Mr. Pantano, "but it doesn't feel good when you're inside of it." All of them said, however, that the national publicity that erupts today around incidents such as Haditha raises the bar for the defense.

Phil Stackhouse, who was one of the military lawyers assigned to Mr. Pantano's defense, now works as a civilian on behalf of accused soldiers. "When a John Murtha starts screaming 'cold-blooded murder,' the press will pick up on that," he says, "and it is that much tougher for the civilian defense attorney to counter the public's impression."

Mr. Pantano's civilian lawyer, Charles Gittins, launched a PR strategy, eliciting testimonials of support from other officers and colleagues. In short, they played the strongest card available to a Marine accused of an unlikely mistake in a spotless career--character. "Good military character itself can be enough create reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury," says Mr. Stackhouse.

"You need a PR counteroffensive," says Mr. Pantano today. "In a more nuanced world, it might not be necessary, but it's the only way the system can remain in balance anymore."

All the military attorneys I spoke with said ugly crimes do happen in war. But war at the shooting level is often a complex event. Haditha or one of the others may yet produce a crime or a cover-up. But in the age we live in, rush-to-judgment can become a bad habit. It might be better to wait for a real verdict.

Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Fridays in the Journal and on
29055  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: July 10, 2006, 08:39:48 AM
El prestigioso Wall Street Journal dice que el sistema de elecciones en Mexico es mas honesto que lo del EEUU-- y otro articulo sobre la eleccion.


How to Run a Clean Election
What Mexico can teach the United States.

Monday, July 10, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

Mexico is likely to weather the controversy over its photo-finish election despite the protestors that losing candidate Andr?s Manuel L?pez Obrador brought into the streets on Saturday to claim the election had been stolen. Mexico's nonpartisan National Election Commission has built up a decade of credibility in running clean elections and international observers have certified the count as fair. Indeed, in its successful efforts to overcome its old reputation for corrupt vote-counting Mexico has a lot to teach the United States.

Mexico has developed an elaborate system of safeguards to prevent voter fraud. Absentee ballots, which are cast outside the view of election officials and represent the easiest way to commit fraud, are much harder to apply for than in the U.S. Voters must present a valid voter ID card with a photo and imbedded security codes. After they cast a ballot voters--just like those famously pictured in Iraq last year--also have a finger or thumb dipped in indelible purple ink to prevent them from voting again.

In the U.S. opponents of such anti-fraud measures as photo ID laws claim they will disenfranchise many voters and reduce voter turnout. But John Lott, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, notes that in the three presidential elections Mexico has conducted since the National Election Commission reformed the election laws "68% of eligible citizens have voted, compared to only 59% in the three elections prior to the rule changes." People are more likely to vote if they believe their ballot will be fairly counted.

But in the U.S. a growing percentage of people have doubts their votes are recorded properly, whether those doubts stem from concerns about new electronic voting machines or old-style political machines with a reputation for corruption. Residents of cities such as Philadelphia, where there are more registered voters than the number of adults over the age of 18, routinely note that "voting early and often" is a time-honored--and all too real--tradition.
Photo ID laws are considered one of the most basic and necessary election safeguards by a host of countries including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Britain, India and South Africa. But less than half of U.S. states have any kind of photo ID laws. Opponents continue to claim they are discriminatory. Just last week, a federal judge in Georgia blocked that state's new photo ID law from taking effect.

Andrew Young, the former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador, doesn't see what all the fuss over photo ID is about. In an era when people have to show ID to rent a DVD at Blockbuster or cash a check he told me "requiring ID can help poor people." He noted that Georgia is deploying a mobile bus to issue voter IDs and allowing groups like the NAACP to arrange for it to go to specific sites such as nursing homes.

Last year, the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform headed by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker proposed a national photo ID requirement. They noted the importance of clean election rolls and the usefulness a photo ID law could provide in ensuring that the person arriving at a polling site is the same one that is named on the registration list. They also proposed that all states use their best efforts to obtain proof of citizenship before registering voters.

During the Senate's May debate on immigration reform, Kentucky GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell noted that with 12 million illegal immigrants in the country it made sense to have a national law to have voters show a photo ID before they vote and have them indicate if someone is a citizen. He proposed an amendment to the immigration bill that would have included a grant to ensure that states could afford to provide a free ID to anyone who needed one. Requiring someone to show a photo ID would cut down on potential fraud and misrepresentation at the polls, especially in states such as Wisconsin where voters can register to vote and cast a ballot on Election Day with no waiting period. "Last I checked, the constitutional right to rent a movie or buy motor oil in bulk was conspicuously absent. However, the constitution is replete, as is the U.S. Code, with protections of the franchise of all Americans," Sen. McConnell told colleagues.

The floor debate over the McConnell proposal was revealing. Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois inexplicably claimed the proposal was a solution without a problem because there was no voter fraud in the country. Coming from a man who represents Chicago, his statement left some colleagues in slack-jawed amazement. Almost as unbelievable were claims by Sen. Ted Kennedy that a photo ID requirement would bring back the equivalent of a poll tax on voters. "How can it be a poll tax, if anyone can get the ID for free?" shot back Mr. McConnell.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in April found that 80% of Americans favored a photo ID requirement, with only 7% opposed. Nonetheless, every Democratic senator lined up in opposition to the McConnell amendment--a clear sign that key liberal interest groups must feel threatened by the idea of ballot security. Mr. McConnell's amendment survived an attempt to strip it from the immigration bill by a vote of only 49 to 48. Its prospects for becoming law this year are dim.

But it's important that the battle continue. After two bitterly fought and close presidential elections in 2000 and 2004, Americans need to improve both sloppy election laws that may needlessly hinder people from voting and also ensure the results are accepted by all but the most die-hard partisans. That means more oversight and stricter standards for the new electronic voting machines that more and more Americans are using. It should include photo ID laws that are uniform across state lines. It should mean states rethinking rules that in states such as California and Washington state routinely have more than a third of voters casting absentee ballots--thus changing the very meaning of an Election Day in which everyone votes at the same time with the same information.

Make no mistake. Close elections are becoming more common everywhere. In addition to Mexico, this spring Italy had a nail biter election that was decided by less than 22,000 votes nationwide. The Czech Republic is still struggling to break a deadlock from an election last month that left both sides with exactly 100 seats each in parliament. Last year, Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats took two months to acknowledge that Angela Merkel had narrowly won and had the right to become the country's first female Chancellor.
Michael Barone, the co-author of the authoritative Almanac of American Politics, spent a week in Mexico reporting on its election and the safeguards it has taken to ensure an accurate vote. "I have more confidence in Mexico's election procedures than I do in those in much of the United States," he concluded.

Americans should be ashamed that in a much richer country that has a much longer democratic tradition, too many states still have slipshod and defective security protections. In the 1960s, Americans fought a civil rights battle to ensure the right of everyone to vote. But every American also has an equal civil right not to have their ballot canceled out by someone who shouldn't be voting, is voting twice or in some case has long since died.

Mexico is ahead of the U.S. in ensuring its elections are both free and accurate. We should ask ourselves if we can afford to let that stunning contrast continue. Our next painfully close presidential election may be only a little over two years away. The time to act is now.



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Leftist Is to Press Challenge
Of Mexico's Election

L?pez Obrador Readies
Effort to Reverse Defeat,
Declaring 'This Isn't Over'
July 10, 2006; Page A3

MEXICO CITY -- Andr?s Manuel L?pez Obrador, the left-wing candidate narrowly defeated in Mexico's presidential race, was expected to launch a legal campaign late last night to overturn the results, mixing allegations of vote fraud with broader claims that the election process was unfair.

The legal challenges were slated to come a day after Mr. L?pez Obrador held a rally in Mexico City, kicking off the first of several protests he hopes will pressure election authorities to accede to his demands. Mr. L?pez Obrador wants to nullify the results from more than a third of the 130,500 polling stations, and is demanding that all 41 million ballots be hand-counted a second time.

The 52-year-old former Mexico City mayor lost a July 2 vote by a slim margin -- around 240,000 votes -- to Felipe Calder?n, 43, the candidate of President Vicente Fox's pro-market National Action Party, according to an official hand count conducted by Mexican poll workers and party representatives. Although he initially said the vote was clean, Mr. L?pez Obrador has lashed out at election officials, Mr. Calder?n, President Fox, and big business since the results were announced, claiming they formed a conspiracy to deny him victory.

"I won the presidency," Mr. L?pez Obrador said early yesterday at a news conference. "I am going to defend our victory. This isn't over." The message was partly meant for the stream of heads of state, including Spain's socialist Prime Minister Jos? Luis Rodr?guez Zapatero and President Bush, who have extended congratulations to Mr. Calder?n.

Despite his rhetoric, analysts say the veteran politician faces an uphill battle both to win a court ruling to overturn the election as well as to galvanize Mexicans into taking to the streets to support him. "L?pez Obrador is now in the uncomfortable position of complaining about things that he said were fine at the time," said Federico Reyes-Heroles, a political analyst and writer in Mexico City.

Whatever the outcome, the dispute is likely to further polarize a divided nation, making governing more tricky for the next president.

Mr. L?pez Obrador's legal challenges mark the first major test for the nation's special electoral tribunal, set up in the 1990s as the ultimate authority on electoral disputes as part of an effort to stamp out fraud. The court earned a reputation for flexing its muscle in 2000, when it annulled a local election in Mr. L?pez Obrador's home state of Tabasco.

Now, the leftist is asking the electoral court to order a recount. In his legal complaint, due to be delivered to the court late yesterday, he was expected to ask that the results from as many as 50,000 polling stations be thrown out for reasons including vote buying. He also was expected to ask the court to rule that the election was unfairly tilted against him by the meddling of President Fox and the collusion of electoral officials.

Mr. L?pez Obrador's camp argues that Mr. Fox illegally campaigned for Mr. Calder?n through government-sponsored advertisements touting the achievements of his government. Under Mexican law, a president can't endorse or campaign for a candidate. Mr. L?pez Obrador may also argue that the Calder?n camp surpassed spending limits to launch an illegal negative advertising campaign.


? L?pez Obrador May Lack Support for Vote Protest
While the court may agree to review some ballot boxes, most analysts say it won't agree to the blanket recount that Mr. L?pez Obrador wants. Mexico's electoral system requires parties to observe and then sign off on almost every step of the process -- which Mr. L?pez Obrador's Democratic Revolution Party did.

Mr. L?pez Obrador's vow to fill the streets with protestors worries many Mexicans, who fear their young democracy may be in for a period of uncertainty that could push new electoral institutions beyond the breaking point. Mr. L?pez Obrador's tone has become harsh, calling Mr. Fox a "traitor to democracy" during his speech yesterday, and declaring that the "stability of the nation" is at risk unless his demands are met.

Observers say these new attacks on the president may ultimately backfire with middle-class voters who still hold Mr. Fox in high esteem. What's more, observers say Mr. L?pez Obrador's first rally failed to pack the punch he was hoping to deliver, suggesting that his ability to stage massive rallies may dissipate over coming weeks.

Mexico City officials, seen as sympathetic to the former city mayor, said that 280,000 people attended Saturday's rally. News agencies put the number at closer to 100,000. That is about half as much as Mr. L?pez Obrador was hoping to attract -- and many times smaller than the one million supporters police say he gathered in a rally last year. Mr. L?pez Obrador called yesterday for supporters from across the nation to start walking toward Mexico City and attend a second rally in the plaza on July 16.
29056  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: July 09, 2006, 11:42:17 PM
Woof Michael:

Thank you for coming to play.

The joys of family for me today.  I will try to compose a worthy post tomorrow or Tuesday.

The Adventure continues,
29057  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: July 09, 2006, 11:27:23 PM
Al Qaeda linked cleric, Hamas 'charity' fundraiser' to speak at Muslim Youth camp in Villanova PA
July 6, 2006

Al Qaeda linked Imam and suicide bomber supporter among speakers at upcoming youth camp in Villanova PA .

Residents protesting premises expansion cite security concerns at Foundation of Islamic Education Youth camp venue.

The Muslim Youth division of the Islamic Circle of North America and the Muslim American Society have announced their upcoming summercamp to be held at the Foundation for Islamic Education in Villanova, Pennslyvania on August 2nd to August 6th.

In 2001 the FIE was the location of Young Muslims Jihad Camp.

.The YM camps no longer go under that name, but several of the speakers who attended the Jihad Camp will be among those lecturing at the upcoming Muslim Youth camp at the FIE in Villanova.

According to the Philadephia Inquirer article linked to above the Foundation is "... a New York non profit religious group headed by a Saudi businessman agreed to to buy the campus of the Northeastern Christian Junior College , the former Morris Clothier estate, for 2.7 million.."

MIM has uncovered further information on the Saudi (Wahhabist) ties which go directly to the Saudi government:

The foundation's trustees are based in Saudi Arabia . The president of the board is Mahmoud Abdullah Taiba, a member of the Jajlis Ash Shura and former secretary of the the Energy and Electricity in Riyadh Saudi Arabia.


The speakers at the upcoming Muslim Youth camp (see original announcement below) have documented terrorism ties and reads like a Who's Who of radical Islamists.

The residents of Villanova have good reason to be concerned about security issues and should do everything possible to stop the planned expansion of the Foundation for Islamic Education.

More information can be found by doing a search for the speakers names on MIM - as well as the original Jihad camp registration form for the camp which took place at FIE in Villanova in 2001.


* Mazen Mokhtar a New Jersey Imam who is under investigation by the FBI for ties to Al Qaeda and bomb plotters in the UK. In 2004 the Washington Post reported on a previous Youth Camp appearance by Mokhtar :

This year's camp is to be held at Villanova Academy, an Islamic school in Pennsylvania, and its theme is "A Few Good Men/Lives of the Khulafa Rashideen (Pious Caliphs)."

Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the group's summer gatherings were called "Jihad Camp." Advertised speakers in August 2001 included Imam Siraj Wahaj, identified by federal prosecutors in 1995 as a "possible unindicted co-conspirator" in the terrorism case against blind sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and Saffet Catovic, a Bosnian associated with the Benevolence International Foundation, a now-defunct Muslim charity accused by the U.S. government of financing terrorism.

*Jamal Badawi an Imam based in Canada who recently justified suicide bombings in an 7/29/06 forum on the Islam Online website with the theme Dying for Allah :"Martyrdom in Islam let's discuss it " Badawi was asked 'what is the difference between a martyr and a a sucide bomber?' and responded:

Not every martyr is a "suicide" bomber. As indicated earlier, a person who is killed in the battlefield is also a martyr; also a woman who dies in a difficult child birth is also a martyr (of a lower degree).

Not every "suicide" bomber is a martyr if that action violates any of the conditions detailed in the answers to the first question (Mr. Jacob). It should be made clear that defense against unprovoked aggression and resistance to reduce oppression are legitimate causes for combative jihad provided that all other conditions, qualifiers and ethics of war are strictly observed. It should also be noted that in all nations and according to the UN charter and international law, the Islamic causes are basically the same. Also, it should also be noted that all nations and peoples have lots of praises for those who not only put their lives on the line but also sacrifice their lives for what they consider as defense for their country or people.

It is known that people from various backgrounds sacrificed their lives in a way that many may classify as "suicidal operations" such as the Japanese pilots in the Second World War.

* Siraj Wahaj an alleged unindicted co conspirator in the WTC 1993 bombings and Imam of Al Taqwa Mosque in New York who justified the cartoon riots at a demonstration saying that Muslims "Had to make sure that they (infidels) do not do this again."

Wahhaj likened the response to the rioting in American cities that followed the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. While King's death was not the cause of the riots, he said, it served as a catalyst because the loss was seen as a symbol of the deprivations suffered by African-Americans. Likewise, he said, the extreme Muslim reaction to the cartoons relates to the political and economic oppression of Muslims in parts of the world.
* Faisal Hammoudeh : A leading Islamic Relief volunteer form Chicago: Last month the Gaza coordinator of Islamic Relief was arrested and deported from Israel for fundraising for Hamas:  

MIM: The Young Muslims Summer Camp Announcement with speakers list to beheld at the Foundation for Islamic Education in VIllanova PA  

YM Summercamp NE 2006
Deen and Dunya: Finding the Balance
Brothers only!
29058  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: July 09, 2006, 10:52:25 PM

Ahmadinejad: Conditions for Removal of Israel Are at Hand
20:16 Jul 09, '06 / 13 Tammuz 5766
by Ezra HaLevi

   Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, clearing up any ambiguity in previous calls to ?wipe Israel off the map,? now used an Arabic word for the removal of body hair to describe his plans for Israel.  

?All the conditions for the removal of the Zionist regime are at hand,? Ahmadinejad told an Arab Conference of Iraqi Neighbors meeting Saturday. For the first time, he employed the Arabic word ezaleh, which is used to describe the irreversible removal of body hairs or a woman?s virginity.

?Nations in the region will be more furious every day. It won?t take long before the wrath of the people turns into a terrible explosion that will wipe the Zionist entity off the map,? Ahmadinejad told the foreign ministers of Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, Bahrain and Egypt. The heads of the Arab League and the Islamic Conference were also present, in addition to a special United Nations representative.

None of the foreign ministers present, including Jordan, Egypt or Turkey ? commonly regarded as Israel?s friends in the Arab/Muslim world - objected to the call for annihilation. Instead, the following statement was issued: ?The Arab foreign ministers participating in today's Tehran meeting expressed their strong condemnation of this continuing and increasing aggression against the Palestinian people."

The Iranian president went on to blame all of the region?s troubles on the Jewish state. ?"The basic problem in the Islamic world is the existence of the Zionist regime, and the Islamic world and the region must mobilize to remove this problem. It is a usurper that our enemies made and imposed on the Muslim world, a regime that prevented the progress of the region?s nations, a regime that all Muslims must join hands in isolating worldwide.?

He ended with a call on all nations to cease their support of Israel. ?[All nations] should realize that their support for the illegitimate, usurper, Zionist regime is a mistake. The waves of fury of Muslim nations will not be confined within the boundaries of the region, and the people who close their ears to the cries of the Palestinians and blindly support this regime will be responsible for the consequences.? "I tell them to dissociate themselves or face the terrible consequences.?

Since Ahmadinejad?s call to ?wipe Israel off the map? last October, some academics have claimed the Iranian leader was mistranslated or misunderstood.

"Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map, because no such idiom exists in Persian," left-wing University of Michigan professor Juan Cole told the New York Times. "He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse?Since Iran has not attacked another country aggressively for over a century, I smell the whiff of war propaganda."

Jonathan Steele of the British Guardian newspaper also told the Time: "The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran's first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that 'this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time,' just as the shah's regime in Iran had vanished. He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The 'page of time' phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon."

Neither of the two have responded to Ahmadinejad?s latest clarification and call to action, which were translated and distributed by the Iranian state-run IRNA news agency.

The Iranian leader's threats are particularly significant as the Islamic Republic continues to pursue nuclear technology and world bodies continue to pursue diplomatic means of inducing Iran to give up its nuclear aspirations.
29059  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / MMA on: July 09, 2006, 11:51:54 AM
Woof All:

While we have threads dedicated to DBMA's "Kali Tudo" approach to MMA, it occurs to me that we do not have a thread simply dedicated to MMA-- so now we do.

I'll kick things off with some brief comments on last nights UFC:

It was the worst UFC I have ever seen.

Frank Mir looked like an ex-steroid user and was winded halfway into the first round.

Tito came in ready to rock, but rumors credible to me had Ken Shamroid not having trained seriously at all.  To my eye, KS charged and was saved by the ref from the shame of being badly KO'd.  That UFC people would be putting out feelers for another fight between these two is a warning flag as to what this one was.  

AA vs. TS:  What a boring disappointment.  I have liked AA as a fighter a lot-- even though my six year old son thinks that he might be able to beat me  cheesy -- but this was a very poor performance.

AA started well with leg kicks-- which is exactly the strategy I called for him.  Then, for no apparent reason, he stopped kicking and only boxed.  WTF?  Perhaps intimidated by TS's surprise spinning back kick, he stopped moving to the right and stayed in front of TS, and TS even used a long teep to kick him out at the end of his much longer reach.  AA's mobility while striking is very good and TS's is not-- leg kicks were the obvious solution-- but due to an apparent complete dearth of guidance from AA's corner this was not brought to his attention.  In contrast, it would appear that TS was well-prepped by his team (Matt Hughes, Rich Franklin and others)

Not a good fight in the night-- the snippet from Munson's fight they showed was the best moment in the night-- more nights like this from the UFC and they will be in trouble.  The Silva v Liddell fight could be really good though , , ,

29060  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 7:7 Rememberance on: July 09, 2006, 12:42:45 AM
MI5 conducts secret inquiry into 8,000 al-Qa'ida 'sympathisers'

By Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent
Published: 03 July 2006

Up to 8,000 suspected al-Qa'ida sympathisers are being investigated by MI5 and the police in an operation to identify future terrorists, The Independent has learned.

The huge covert inquiry, known as project Rich Picture, is aimed at finding people who are being groomed for terrorism, and at identifying the Islamist extremists carrying out the recruitment.

The nationwide investigation follows intelligence suggesting there is a very small, but significant number of British-born and Britain-based Muslims, who are prepared to carry out bombings and other terrorist attacks in this country.

Undercover officers are gathering information from all over the country, including at colleges, mosques and internet websites where extremists may try to "groom" or radicalise those sympathetic to the aims of al-Qa'ida. Of the estimated 1.6 million Muslims living in Britain, counter-terrorist sources have disclosed that they believe up to 0.5 per cent - about 8,000 - support al-Qa'ida's aims, and have links to Islamist extremists. These are the people being investigated.

Despite assurances by police and intelligence chiefs that they are not spying on the Muslim community, the huge scale of project Rich Picture is certain to provoke anger among some Muslims who believe they are being unfairly stigmatised and targeted. Relations with some sections of the Muslim community have already been damaged following the shooting of a suspect in Forest Gate, east London, who was later released with his brother without charge.

Project Rich Picture was set up shortly after the suicide bombings in London in July last year after it became clear that British-born citizens were becoming radicalised.

Following the London attacks, in which 56 people died Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, director general of MI5, told the Intelligence and Security Committee that the main lesson learned from the attacks was the need to get into "the unknown" - to "find ways of broadening coverage to pick up currently unknown terrorist activities or plots".

The committee, which oversees the running of the intelligence services, said of the police and agencies: "Their goal is to become more proactive at identifying those who may be being groomed for terrorism and those doing the grooming, and so to spot where terrorism may next occur."

The resulting operation is aimed at up to 8,000 potential terror supporters.

A security source said: "What we have been doing up to now is fire-fighting. There has been a huge volume of plots to investigate.

"Rather than just firefighting we are finding out the causes, why it's happening, why are people radicalised, and how they are radicalised, and then deal with some of these issues."

Until recently, the intelligence services have been concentrating on uncovering and disrupting active terrorist plots in the UK. By July 2005, the number of "primary investigative targets'' known to security services had risen from about 250 in 2001 to 800.

But a big expansion of MI5 and police counter-terrorism resources has allowed the agencies to start looking at the recruitment and grooming of future bombers. MI5 has grown from just under 2,000 staff in 2001 to about 2,500 today, rising to 3,500 in 2008.

A security source said: "It is trying to drill down and identify those who may be coming into contact with radical sources. It is finding out these people at an early stage. You only have to look at the background of the 7 July London terrorists to see the speed to which radicalisation can take place.

"Some of those who blew themselves up were spotted, recruited and radicalised within a year."

The security service and police chiefs believe that Islamist extremists are targeting people in Britain who are sympathetic towards the aims of al-Qa'ida and who believe the London suicide bombings were justified. They point to surveys in the past year, by Populus, YouGov, and ICM, which found between five and seven per cent of British Muslims believe the London bombings were justified.

Much of the work of Project Rich Picture is being done by MI5 officers based at new regional stations with the help of GCHQ, the government's eavesdropping centre in Cheltenham. Four centres: Scotland, the north-west, north-east and midlands are up and running. A further four, in the south-west, Wales, the east and the south-east will be operational by year's end. A security source said: "The whole Rich Picture business is an investigation to get information on the ground which we would not have looked at before. It is not an attempt by agencies to spy on the Muslim population. It's looking at those people directly attached or linked to terrorist activities."


Joking Muslim cleric mocks victims of London blasts

A SPEECH by an extremist Muslim cleric praising the London bombers and mocking victims of suicide attacks has been broadcast on the internet to coincide with the anniversary of the July 7 attacks.

The audience laughs as Omar Brooks, a British Muslim convert who also uses the name Abu Izzadeen, makes fun of non-Muslims as ?animals? and ?cowards?.

Brooks ? who has previously described the London bombers as ?completely praiseworthy? ? identifies with the views of Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the London attacks.

He contrasts the supposed bravery of Khan?s suicide to the ?kuffar? (non-Muslims) who are characterised as debauched binge-drinkers who vomit and urinate in the street.

The speech is peppered with jokes that bring laughter from his audience at the Small Heath youth and community centre in Birmingham, where it was filmed last Sunday.

At one point he announces dramatically that the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center ?changed many people?s lives?. After a pause, he brings the house down by adding: ?Especially those inside.?

His comments were condemned by Rachel North, a survivor of the King?s Cross bomb. ?It?s clearly calculated to upset people and is pretty disgusting. I would imagine these statements are something that the police would be interested in because they might encourage other people to get involved in terrorism.?

She disclosed that she had received abuse from supporters of the terrorists. ?I?ve had abusive e-mails from people saying that I am part of a government conspiracy, that it?s a shame I didn?t die in the bombings. It?s pretty low, but I have chosen not to publish these e-mails because I don?t want to give them publicity.?

Brooks, 31, a former electrician who was born into a Christian family of Jamaican origin in east London, is already under police investigation.

Police submitted a file on his activities to the Crown Prosecution Service last month after an undercover investigation by The Sunday Times last July tape-recorded him imploring Muslims to ?instil terror into the hearts of the kuffar?.

On that occasion he told an audience of teenagers and young families that he did not want to go to Allah while sleeping in his bed ?like an old woman?. Instead, he said: ?I want to be blown into pieces with my hands in one place and my feet in another.?

He has continued to speak out publicly despite the government?s attempt to crack down on the ?preachers of hate?.

His latest speech was at an event entitled ?How can we prevent another 7/7?? and organised by a little known umbrella group called the Islamic Research Forum. It includes members of Al-Ghurabaa and the Saviour Sect, both formed from the break-up of Al-Muhajiroun, the Islamic organisation that described the September 11 terrorists as the ?Magnificent 19?.

Last August Tony Blair announced that he would ban ?the successor organisation of Al-Muhajiroun?, but this is one of a number of anti-terror proposals that have proved difficult to implement.

Omar Bakri, former leader of Al-Muhajiroun, fled Britain last year amid fears of a crackdown on radical preachers. He is said to have been replaced as the leader of the Saviour Sect by Brooks.

The video of last Sunday?s speech was posted on the Al-Ghurabaa website ahead of Friday?s memorial service for the 52 people who were killed by the four suicide bombers.

Brooks is dismissive of calls for reconciliation. ?I know as Friday approaches there will be many epitaphs and speeches and sermons, and maybe the archbishop of somewhere or other is going to come out and say, you know, we?ll call for peace around the world blah, blah, blah.

?But if we took the time to read Mohammad Sidique Khan?s will [the video confession broadcast after the attacks], we will see the answer for our problems.?

Khan, whose bomb killed six people on a Tube at Edgware Road, is held up as an example by Brooks because he didn?t fear death. ?We?re talking about people who want to die the way you like to live,? he said.
29061  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 7:7 Rememberance on: July 08, 2006, 07:46:26 PM
I was in Madrid the week after the bombings there and went to the impromptu memorials at the train station where the bombings took place.  Very moving.

What matters now is what we do about it.
29062  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: July 08, 2006, 07:40:26 PM
I would have no problem with someone referring to himself as "goy/goyim" or "gentile".  In conversations about WW3 I sometimes call myself a "chickenhawk warmonger".  Gabe and I call ourselves "the Christian gun nut and the hippie jewboy bookworm" and now in the context here I call myself an "infidel".

Opinions are like , , , noses-- everyone has one and you are entitled to yours.
29063  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: July 08, 2006, 12:35:18 PM
Woof All:

I continue to have hopes for this thread.  The ever-growing number of reads tells me that there is strong interest in people communicating across the apparent divide-- and the absence of posts this past week raises the possibility that people are afraid to do so.  If such is the case, then that in an of itself speaks volumes.

I re-iterate the invitation to all to come to participate.  Obviously at the moment Muslims are substantially outnumbered and any Muslim who comes will face vigorous questions.  This does not mean IMHO that "there is more baiting (on this thread) than on a fishing boat" as was wisecracked by one lurking here on a forum elsewhere. cheesy   It means that many infidel people are genuinely confused and concerned by what they are reading about Islam and its varying schools of thought and action and have probing questions that they wish to ask.

It also means that the more conscious amongst us are willing to entertain the possibility that the infidel side has made its own contributions to "the gathering storm" that threatens to engulf us all.

The idea here is not like some chattering class yack-fest on TV or some Patrician vs. Demagogue debate in Congress, but a CONVERSATION.

I'm thinking we should be hearing phrases such as:

* I can understand why X would appear like that to you, but allow me to offer another interpretation for your consideration , , ,

* That's interesting.  I hadn't thought of that and will think about it.

* I agree.  On this point we stand together.

* The reading to which you are exposed in your culture may not include XYZ.  , , , If you find this to be true, will you change your mind?

* That's a fair point.  I think it outweighed by XYZ, but I acknowledge that to be a fair point.

* I find that persuasive.  I'm changing my mind.  Shocked

The Adventure continues,
29064  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines on: July 08, 2006, 12:01:41 PM
Bohol is becoming an ecotourism spot. The island has resorts that are attracting nature lovers from all over.

               E-MailPrint Reprints Save
Published: July 9, 2006
NOBODY is certain why the explorer Magellan went out of his way to visit the Philippines. Before he could record his memoirs, he was killed on the tiny island of Mactan in 1521.

Skip to next paragraph
The New York Times
One hopes Magellan also made it to Bohol, a 60-mile-wide island near the southern end of the Philippine archipelago, not far from where he died. Indeed, with its white sand beaches, the unspoiled jungles of the Loboc river valley, and the breathtaking Chocolate Hills, one imagines that things haven't changed all that much.

But that may not last. Over the last five years, this lush island ? reachable by ferry from Cebu City (about 90 minutes) and domestic flights ? has been grooming itself as a major ecotourism destination, with several new resorts that are beginning to attract snorkelers, divers and nature lovers.

The new resorts are clustered along Alona Beach, a spit of sparkling white sand surrounded by crystal-blue waters and a colorful coral shelf. At the high end is Alona Palm Beach (Alona Beach, Tawala, 63-38-502-9141,, a secluded 12-villa resort with a 4,800-square-foot pool that is separated from the beach by a coconut palm grove. Doubles start at $120 in low season, $150 in high season.

For those who don't need satellite television, there are still plenty of simple beachfront lodges like Isis Bungalows (Alona Beach, 63-38-502-9292, Each room has its own terrace facing the sea, and a modestly priced restaurant serves Filipino dishes like spicy beef caldereta right on the beach. Rooms start at $38.

But even when the new resorts are filled to capacity, the beaches never feel crowded. Maybe that's because everyone is in the water. A spectacular coral shelf, which plunges 250 feet in some spots, is about 45 minutes by boat from Alona Beach. Snorkelers can view clown fish, barracudas and other species at the shelf's shallower plateaus.

Diving gear and classes are available all over Alona Beach. One outfitter is Philippine Islands Divers (Alona Beach, Danao, 63-918-335-0842,, which offers diving trips starting at $22 for a descent. Snorkel equipment, on the other hand, can be rented from locals, who paddle out to your boat (about 200 pesos, or $3.80, at 55 pesos to the dollar). But tread carefully: the reef is recovering from decades of destructive fishing practices.

Bohol is also excellent for watching dolphins. Some resorts offer their own guided tours, but you can also hire a captain on the beach for as little as 450 pesos.

After exploring the coastline, head inland for the thick jungles, home to the tarsier, a tiny, rare and endangered primate. Nuts Huts Resort (63-920-846-9162,, an affordable ecolodge, is located upriver from Loboc City. Even if you don't spend the night, stop by for the fresh food and stunning view from its dining terrace. Doubles start at 450 pesos, dormitory beds from 200 pesos.

No trip to Bohol, however, is complete without visiting the Chocolate Hills. One glimpse is enough to see why: It's a landscape as distinctive as the Grand Canyon or the Cliffs of Moher.

Go during the late afternoon and watch the sun set over more than 1,200 gumdrop-shaped hills, each formed by eons of coral buildup and erosion. Squint your eyes when the wind rustles their brown, grassy surfaces. You'll swear they are floating.
29065  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: July 06, 2006, 07:09:28 PM
Uds. esta'n viviendo un momento histo'rica.  Yo me acuerdo viajando por todo Mexico en mi motocicleta en 1976 viendo los anuncios por Jose Lopez Portillo-- el candidato del PRI , , , y los demas partidos, y ahora el Presidente es del PAN, y en la eleccion el PRI esta' en tercero lugar y hay una democracia verdadera.

Absolutamente increible.

!Gracias por mantenernos al momento!

Mexico: Facing Its Greatest Democratic Test

Mexico's July 2 presidential election was the closest in the country's history. Conservative Felipe Calderon got an advantage in the preliminary vote count, which has just been ratified; the official tally gives Calderon a lead of about 0.56 percent over left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. However, Lopez Obrador has decided not to recognize the results and instead to challenge them officially in the election court. Despite Lopez Obrador's challenge, the country remains calm. Mexico's electoral authorities and the electorate are likely to accept the election results in what could be the ultimate test of Mexico's 20-year-old democratic process.


Mexico's presidential election July 2 was the closest in the country's history. Just as opinion polls had predicted before the election, there was a negligible amount of difference between support for National Action Party (PAN) candidate Felipe Calderon and for Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. On July 6, with 99.96 percent of the votes counted, Calderon maintained an advantage of 0.56 percent over Lopez Obrador.

After decades of suspicious electoral processes, one of Mexico's main political transformations during the past 15 years was the decision to build a reliable and independent electoral structure: the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), an independent body in charge of organizing federal elections in Mexico since 1994. The 1994 and 2000 Mexican presidential elections were regarded as clean, and in 1996 the IFE achieved total autonomy from the government and the Federal Electoral Court (TEPJF) was created just to handle electoral issues. However, since the beginning of this election season, Lopez Obrador has cast doubt on the IFE and refused to commit to recognizing the election results if he lost. Since Calderon's lead appears to be holding, Lopez Obrador announced the morning of July 6 that he and the PRD are challenging the election results and calling for a manual recount of the votes.

Given that Calderon and Lopez Obrador each have more than 14 million votes, either candidate would be able to mobilize supporters if needed -- yet Mexico has remained calm in spite of Lopez Obrador's challenge. Even though Lopez Obrador's contention is not with possible fraud but simply with the vote tabulations, this election could be the greatest test Mexico's democratic institutions have faced.

The legal path is certain, if lengthy: Votes were counted on election day, and the official tally and registration began July 5. IFE is set to announce an official result July 6 (as of this writing, the result has not yet been announced). The results will then be sent to the TEPJF for certification. That is the point at which the political parties can challenge the election in the court. After that, the worst-case scenario is that the TEPJF will take the maximum time allowed by law to certify the results, and the election will not be finalized until Sept. 7. Given the PRD's request for a total recount, it is very probable that Mexico will not have an official president-elect for several weeks, though the process is not likely to drag on to the latest possible date. Even after the court makes its decision, the PRD has not clearly signaled that it will accept the results even if the recount shows that Lopez Obrador lost the election.

This election is a test not only for Mexico's electoral authorities, but also for the political actors' negotiation and conciliation abilities. The results indicate that the country is deeply divided; exit polls show that Calderon got most of the votes among the richest two-fifths of the population and tied with Lopez Obrador among voters in the poorest fifth of the population. In geographic terms, Calderon won 16 states, all but two of which were in the north and western regions of the country. Lopez Obrador also won 16 states, all but two of which were in southern and central Mexico. Despite the closeness of the overall election results, few states were divided; Lopez Obrador won more than 60 percent of the votes in Mexico City, and Calderon did the same in several states like Guanajuato and Jalisco.

Given that around 35 percent of Mexico's voters supported Lopez Obrador, Calderon will need to shore up support from other segments of the population. This is especially important given that the July 2 congressional election left no party with an overall majority in either congressional house, though Calderon's PAN will have the relative majority in both the Senate and the House. Support from the once-powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) could prove critical. Robert Madrazo, PRI's presidential candidate, came in third, just as opinion polls forecast; however, it was a very distant third. The PRI also lost its relative majority in the House and Senate and is relegated to third place in Congress. However, the PRI still has the support of about 25 percent of the population and thus could give Calderon a credibility boost and political support. Madrazo has already recognized his defeat and called the presidential election "fair, legal and legitimate." A negotiation with the PRI could not only help legitimize Calderon's victory, it could also help build a coalition in Congress to pass reforms once Calderon assumes power. However, a revolt to renew the leadership has started inside the PRI; the party's ability to show the electorate a commitment to change will be critical for the PRI's survival.

Calderon will face a tough healing process, though he indicated even before the election that he would seek to create some kind of coalition government. Even if the PRD loses its challenge -- as the results seem to indicate will happen -- it won its largest share of the vote ever and will become the second-largest force in Congress, with more seats than it has previously held.

Calderon will be declared the winner July 6, although the results will still not be official until the TEPJF validates and certifies the election. It will take several more days to resolve any PRD challenges. However, Calderon's victory has now been confirmed by the preliminary and official vote counts. If Lopez Obrador clearly states that he is committed to recognizing the final results, there will not necessarily be a problem if the election's certification is delayed a few days. However, as expected, Lopez Obrador has yet to make a declaration in which he says he will accept the results. He will face increasing pressure from the business sector, media and the population in general to accept the results, especially because he does not seem to have a strong case for overturning the results; if the court accepts a recount, Lopez Obrador will have no case at all. Violence has not erupted over the hotly contested election, and it seems very likely that both the electoral authorities and the populace will pass what could be Mexico's greatest democratic test to date.
29066  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / african stickfighting on: July 05, 2006, 11:51:30 PM
The Surma of which Myke writes can be seen in the beginning section of "Real Contact Stickfighting #1 Power".


Would you be so kind as to email me the URL of the relevant thread(s) on our Association forum?

Edited to add:  Agree that Kalindi Iyi would be a good call.
29067  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: July 05, 2006, 05:28:12 PM
29068  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / african stickfighting on: July 05, 2006, 11:15:23 AM
I think there has been mention of this in this forum already.  I'm sorry we don't have a search function (at least not of which I am aware embarassed ) so try surfing through the back pages and see what you find.
29069  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Unarmed Knife Defense on: July 05, 2006, 09:07:58 AM
Concerning the clip in the first post:  A lot of material there from other sources that seems poorly credited or not credited at all.

Piece of trivia concerning the footage from the mid 1980s of Paul Vunak cutting a hanging piece of meat:  At the time I trained with Paul we were business partners.  The idea to hang some meat and cut it to show people how dangerous knives were was mine.  The meat used was pork.  The knife was a Spyderco Police Model.
29070  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Ejemplos/Asuntos de defensa propia on: July 05, 2006, 08:58:09 AM

Sostiene que dispar? en defensa propia
Mata a cuatro que balearon a su hija
mi?rcoles, 5 de julio de 2006


Testigos dijeron que el comerciante se lanz? con un arma sobre el veh?culo de donde vinieron los disparos y los mat?. (Para PRIMERA HORA / Edgar V?zquez Col?n)
Historias Relacionadas? Segunda en el a?o
? Sostiene que dispar? en defensa propia
GU?NICA.- Cientos de vacacionistas esperaban pasar una tranquila noche acampando junto al mar, sin imaginar que una tragedia aguardaba para una de las familias.
Cuatro j?venes resultaron asesinados tras presuntamente intentar hacer lo propio contra un comerciante yaucano y sus allegados.
El suceso ocurri? el lunes en las orillas de la playa La Jungla de Gu?nica, donde acampaba la familia del comerciante Ad?n Torres Qui?ones, de 41 a?os.
Seg?n la investigaci?n policial, a eso de las 10:00 de la noche arrib? hasta el intrincado sector tur?stico un veh?culo Mercury Cougar de 1981 ocupado por cuatro varones.
?stos dieron vuelta al autom?vil y al divisar a una hija de Torres Qui?ones, quien se encontraba afuera de las casetas de campa?a, comenzaron a disparar, por lo que la joven se lanz? al suelo para evitar ser herida.
Su padre, seg?n lo atestiguado, acababa de llegar tras haber salido a buscar hielo y al ver a la menor de 17 a?os sobre la arena, crey? que hab?a sido asesinada y, como estaba cerca del veh?culo, se lanz? sobre ?l con un arma en la mano.
El agente Noel Ortiz, investigador de la Unidad de Homicidios del Cuerpo de Investigaciones Criminales (CIC) de Ponce, narr? que el comerciante meti? parte de su cuerpo por una de las ventanas mientras disparaba sobre los sujetos.
?stos condujeron hasta chocar con una camioneta de sonido antes de detenerse poco m?s adelante.
En el interior del veh?culo murieron Ernesto Albarr?n Silva, de 19 a?os, quien recibi? seis impactos de bala; Cristian Flores Padilla, de 21, quien recibi? cinco balazos, y el conductor Armando Castro Pacheco, de 25 a?os, que recibi? siete impactos.
Con ellos viajaba ?ngel Castro Pacheco, de 20 a?os, quien recibi? cuatro disparos y falleci? poco despu?s en el CDT de Gu?nica.
En el veh?culo se ocuparon seis casquillos y un rev?lver modelo 732.
Torres Qui?ones negoci? poco despu?s su entrega a las autoridades a trav?s de su abogado y amigo Miguel Rodr?guez Cartagena.
Tras varias horas de interrogatorio, tanto al comerciante como a otros testigos, la fiscal Carolyn Arcelay tom? el caso para presentarlo ante el juez Edwin Flores Sell?s en el cuartel de Santa Isabel. Pero, posteriormente se decidi? citar el caso para ma?ana, a las 5:00 p.m., en la fiscal?a de Ponce.
Para el licenciado Rodr?guez Cartagena, la muerte de los j?venes fue un acto en defensa propia.
"Entendemos que es una defensa propia, pero la Polic?a est? haciendo su investigaci?n", dijo el abogado.
El agente Ortiz, sin embargo, entiende que para que se considerara este argumento el da?o causado deb?a ser proporcional al que pudo haber esperado el comerciante.
"No tenemos duda, hay una admisi?n de que fue la persona que ultim? estos cuatro j?venes. Lo que se est? evaluando es si hubo alguna motivaci?n para que cometiera este asesinato en contra de las cuatro personas", dijo Ortiz.
El comerciante tiene permiso para portar armas, seg?n trascendi?.
Una tragedia anunciada
Los hechos estuvieron precedidos de otros incidentes.
Seg?n la Polic?a, Torres Qui?ones hab?a sido agredido hace unas semanas por tres de los cuatro j?venes por haber defendido a su hija.
Por esta situaci?n se radic? una querella, como confirm? el comandante de zona de Gu?nica, inspector Antonio Ortiz.
De ah? que hubiese estado pautado un proceso judicial contra los alegados agresores en el Tribunal de Ponce.
El agente Ortiz confirm? que los cuatro j?venes muertos ten?an r?cord delictivo por posesi?n de sustancias controladas.
En cuanto al comerciante, Rodr?guez Cartagena defendi? su imagen al recalcar que es una figura querida en el barrio Barinas, donde reside.
"?l tiene un negocio de ebanister?a desde hace varios a?os? ha empleado mucha gente", dijo el abogado.
Aunque se mostraron reacios a dar detalles del suceso, algunos presentes, como Wilmarie Rodr?guez, empleada del comerciante; Miguel Caraballo, un polic?a invitado al pasad?a familiar, y Jenny Rodr?guez, amiga de la familia, indicaron que no hab?a vigilancia policial al momento de la confrontaci?n a tiros.
Se coment? que inclusive los polic?as tardaron cerca de 45 minutos en llegar a la escena, aunque el inspector Ortiz rechaz? el alegato y dijo que ten?a suficientes agentes.
"Hab?a personal del distrito, de 18 a 20 agentes? fue casi inmediata la respuesta porque se tir? un llamado de que hab?a un veh?culo sospechoso", dijo el oficial.
Mantuvo que ten?a un plan de vigilancia especial ante el fin de semana largo, aunque en la Comandancia de Ponce ayer nadie ten?a conocimiento del mismo ante la ausencia por vacaciones de parte del personal administrativo.
Este asesinato m?ltiple es el primero en su clase en la regi?n sur y eleva a cinco las muertes violentas este a?o en Gu?nica, pueblo que no report? una sola muerte de ese tipo en casi dos a?os.
29071  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why July 4th matters on: July 04, 2006, 10:11:32 AM
The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. ?Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:

New Hampshire
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

For additional information about the Declaration of Independence, see these sites:

National Archives and Records Administration: Declaration of Independence
Library of Congress: About the Declaration of Independence
29072  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: July 03, 2006, 04:01:13 PM
In a related vein, the following:
Interview With An Iraqi General
I wrote a story for Michael Yon?s Frontline Forum a week ago about the town I am stationed in right now named Qayyarah. Qayyarah is a model for other Iraqi cities because it was once a haven for terrorists but is now safe enough for anyone to travel around in without fear of terrorists. The main reason for the safety of Qayyarah lies with one man: General Ali. He is a myth-like figure around our base and everyone knows his name. He is a strict military man but is the type of man Iraq needs so desperately right now. I hope people the world over will read this interview and learn just what kind of men are in Iraq right now willing to take control of their own country. What follows is the truth. It comes directly from the mouth of a man who knows intimately what is going on in Iraq and knows where Iraq has come from and where it needs to go. I intend to post the interview in two installments due to the length and urge everyone to bookmark this page and come back for the rest of the interview.

General Ali in his office

How long have you been in the military?

General Ali: I first went to the army in 1976, I became a staff brigade general in 1997. In 2001 I left the army because there were many problems between my tribe and Saddam?s regime. He fired many of the officers and put some of them in jail. I am one of the officers who was put in jail for ten months and afterwards I was put out of the army. When the coalition forces came to Iraq in 2003 I worked with the 101st (Airborne American army unit) in Qayyarah (*the town I am in now and where he lives) as an advisor. In 2004 the terrorists destroyed all of the Iraqi police stations and in that time the terrorists controlled all of this area. They controlled Mosul, south Mosul, and 40 km from where we are now. In that time no one came to help. All of the people and soldiers were scared and went home. I came to help and the Americans invited me to come command this battalion. The name of this battalion was the 102nd ING before they changed the name to the 1st battalion 3 brigade Iraqi army. At that time I only had eight soldiers with my battalion. They could not go out in their uniforms because they were scared of the terrorists. If they went out on a mission with the coalition they wore facemasks because if the terrorists saw them they would kill them. First time I started training my soldiers I made 1000 soldiers in my unit. After one month I went out on a mission with them and captured all of the terrorists leaders.

At this point I asked kind of jokingly, kind of seriously ?Really, on the first time out?? He replied in all seriousness:

Yes the first time.

I worked day and night, 24 hours 7 days a week to clean my area because my area at that time was very dangerous. No one could move at that time, no market, no police, no Iraqi army. We continue to work with the Americans, we captured many bad guys, more than 800. We found caches we found mortars, many weapons. They attacked my house many times. They did not send messages to me but instead sent car bombs and mortars to my family. But I did not stop my mission. I encouraged my family but I did not go home. For three months I did not see my family, I stayed with the coalition to serve my country because my country needed me.

I was in this same position as battalion commander in 1987 during the war between Iraq and Iran which started in 1980-88. In that war I was injured 7 times and have 17 medals for courage. I did not go to Kuwait in 1991 because I did not believe in the old regime and also my tribe did not believe the old regime. He killed many people in my tribe from the military. But now that all the people believe me they work with me and help me.

As two local Sheiks sit across the room from us listening in on our conversation General Ali turns the conversation to them for a minute.

You see those two sheiks? They came to thank me because I made their area secure. They are very happy when they see the work being done in their area. When they see people working at night, people driving. Basra and Baghdad are dangerous but my area now is very safe. In my area the security is excellent. Now I can guarantee that you can go by yourself in your uniform with no armor, no helmet, no weapon, and I?ll give you my vehicle so that you can go to Qayyarah to shop in the market and come back to here and you will be safe. This happened because before the terrorists were in control there was no trust between the Iraqi army and the people. They just believed the terrorists but when I came I controlled this area and I had a meeting with all the sheiks and all the people and all the doctors and I made clear to them that all the terrorists and all the criminals were killers against Islam and they believed me and helped me. They gave me information and even caught terrorists and brought them to me. This is excellent. I told them that it was their job, that it was their country. All Iraqi people must fight the terrorists because it was not just the job of the Iraqi army. The terrorists were killing civilians and because of it the people believed me and they came to work with me.

How did Saddam treat you since you were in a different tribe than him?

General Ali: He was a bad guy against all of the Iraqi people not just my tribe.

Have you liked working with the American soldiers?

General Ali: Yes, yes, yes. They believe me and I believe them. All the soldiers that have worked here know General Ali. I invite them to my house to eat with me and to train with me. I know they came to help the Iraqi people. That is why I work with them, that is why I tell my people the truth about the coalition. Before they might have disliked the US army because they did not have the real picture of the soldiers. I told the people though how the US army fought for us and also how they did projects for us. They fixed the schools, made roads, and made many things for the people of Iraq. The people see how we caught the terrorists, how we made it safe, they see that is more comfortable then under Saddam?s regime.

Do you have a different picture of Americans now then before we came?

General Ali: It is the same for me because I know exactly why the soldiers came to Iraq. I am not a small officer (*Just incase: Brigadier General is a high rank in any army). I work with the soldiers day and night. If you work with people for three years you get to know them. You see them more than your family. You work with them more than your brother. I believe and like the soldiers. If they make mistakes I tell them because they are my friends. If they don?t know about the Iraqi people I tell them. I am a soldier and an advisor. Sometimes the soldiers did not know about the Iraqi people. I also told my friends about the soldiers: how they speak, how they shake hands, how they sit down with them. Which subject they speak on because I know the US army soldiers read before they came over here. When they came to help though they needed advisors. If there were other good advisors like me then there wouldn?t be terrorists. My people help me because they believe in me and like me. And when the terrorists came they did not believe the terrorists, they fought against the terrorists. When the terrorists came from Mosul, Ramadi, and from any other town the people would call me on my cell phone and tell me about them.

At this time in the conversation I mentioned to General Ali about the day before when I saw him coming in the main gate to our base with three terrorists in the back of a truck. He laughed and told me he received a tip from some locals and he and his men dropped everything they were doing and went out to catch the men. They were assisted by an American helicopter in the capture, which made it a combined effort. He explained to me that those same sequences of events happen often and exuded confidence in the efforts of his men and of his fellow townspeople.

The rest of the interview will be posted on Wednesday. In the second part of the interview General Ali shares his feelings about the American media, the future of the Iraqi army, and shares some words for the American people. Please spread the word about this interview. I believe what General Ali has to say needs to be heard by the whole world.
29073  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: July 03, 2006, 01:15:00 AM
29074  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: July 03, 2006, 12:58:50 AM
51 AM  
Vladimir Radyuhin

MOSCOW: Ukraine sold banned long-range missiles to China and Iran in a gross breach of its non-proliferation obligations, the Russian defence chief has said.

Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said Ukraine's state-owned defence exporter through its subsidiary supplied 12 nuclear-capable cruise missiles to China and Iran.

Mr. Ivanov, who is also a Deputy Prime Minister, told a news conference here on Friday that Progress, a daughter firm of Ukraine's arms export monopoly Ukrspetseksport, in 2000-2001 sold six Soviet Kh-55 Granat missiles to China and another six missiles to Iran.

"This is the grossest violation of the missile technologies control regime," Mr. Ivanov said at a presentation of a Russian White Book on proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The Russian Minister said this was the sole violation of the non-proliferation regime in the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States. International authorities had been informed of the Ukrainian deal and investigation was underway, he said.

Ukrainian officials earlier said the missiles had been sold without nuclear warheads.

Out of 1000 Granat missiles Ukraine inherited from the Soviet Union, half were to be sold back to Russia and half were to be destroyed.

Media reports said Iran had used the Ukrainian missiles to copycat the technology and launch its own production of similar missiles.
29075  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: July 02, 2006, 02:28:45 AM
Greetings Nasigoreng:

I have come downstairs to my computer with my heart pounding a bit-- our four year old daughter got past the child-proof bottle cap on some Tylenol medicine (which is very hard on the liver) and for a moment we feared having to take her to the hospital to have her stomach pumped.  Fortunately a call to the hospital with a description of how much she had consumed allowed them to calculate that for her body weight that there was no need for concern.

Such things are good for reminding one where internet conversations rank on the scale of importance in life!

But I digress , , ,

I would like to thank you for the two interesting pieces which you share with us.

The "Islamophobia" piece by Mohammed Yazid is quite refreshing in its candor and encouraging in that it manifests open dialog.  It is also discouraging in what it describes.

For us here in America, the role of Arabic influence and guidance on Islam around the world seems to be important in coming to understand Islam.  Somewhere in my files I may have a copy of a very interesting article making the argument that what is now happening in the mid-east is not a clash with Islam, but with a Pan-Arabic dynamic.  IF I do still have it (I'm currently struggling to overcome the death of my previous computer) it may be of interest here.

This question Arabic influence and guidance seems to relate to the comments of Usatz Hussein in the thread from WT quoted by me a couple of posts ago concerning the diversity of Islam and the differences between Sufi and Wahabbi types of Islam.  If Arabic influence and guidance is becoming stronger, this would seem to bode poorly for the prospects of interfaith respect in your part of the world.  I and no doubt others here would be glad to hear your thoughts on this.

When Yasid writes

"The time has come for the Muslim community in Indonesia to reflect on the fact that as the majority of the population they actually have no role to play in politics. On the contrary, they have become "easy prey" for a number of political parties in every general election.
The bad image of Muslims is understandable, but it can be avoided if they show tolerance on the basis of strong fraternity. Non-Muslims should be aware that they are not the only victims of terror; Muslims themselves are its victims too. All elements need to acknowledge Indonesia's pluralist society and declare "war" on terror and anarchy."

it seems to me that he identifies perhaps one of the most important issues for us here in the West-- Islam's goal to merge government and religion i.e. to create theocracy.  For us here in America, one of our most important precepts is precisely the separation of the State and religion.  The State is Force itself, and to mix it with Religion is as profound an error as can be.  The efforts referenced in the Defense Minister's piece at imposing Sharia upon everyone exemplify western/American fears about the nature of Islam.

Yasid seems to me to be quite on target that Muslims too are the victim of terror and fascist thuggery.  Indeed this is one of the points I seek to make in identifying who that jihadi foto target is in our cover shot which started the brouhaha which started this thread.  It is precisely my point that that he, be he Al Qaeda/Wahhabi or a Baathist Saddamite, attacks Muslims as well as us infidels.  

(I admit to some bafflement as to why this point is so poorly heard by so many-- perhaps the slander that the US is "against Islam" is due to the absence of a free press in many Islamic countries?)

Thus it seems key to me whether those Muslims whom also are attacked will see Muslim solidarity with their Muslim attackers as more important than standing up for mutual tolerance and respect.

I also appreciated the Defense Minister's passage that read:

"The fact of the matter is that on June 1, 1945, Sukarno affirmed that Indonesia's state identity would not be overly secular (as in India), nor would it be strictly theocratic (as in Saudi Arabia). Sukarno appealed to Islamic participants in the Preparatory Committee to Prepare Indonesian Independence in mid-1945 to accept the fact that the Indonesian state was to be established based on "an agreement on fundamentals" embraced by all ethnic, racial, provincial as well as religious groups across the former Netherlands East Indies.

They had after all fought together for the independence of the Indonesian Republic. Sukarno also emphasized that there will always be an enduring "mythical quality of unity" in the consciousness of all Indonesians and that diversity was an important feature of "being Indonesian". Nationalist, Islamist and all other beliefs and faiths would be united through a "sublime union of all Indonesian culture and tradition".

Being an Indonesian Muslim, therefore, necessitates a tolerant expression of one's sense of being an Indonesian citizen, with all its rich nuances arising from family, ethnic, provincial and racial heritage including the "enrichment of Islam through understanding the beliefs and precepts of other faiths."

Perhaps the point is obvious to you, but we Americans are often ignorant about many parts of the world and I felt like I had learned something about Indonesia by reading it.

Looking forward to your additional comments , , ,

The Adventure continues,

PS:  Please forgive me if I appear the fool, but is your "internet name" Nasigoreng the name of an Indonesian food?  There used to be an Indonesian restaurant in the neighborhood (a favorite of both my wife and me) and I could swear that one of our favorite dishes was called nasigoreng , , ,


PPS:  Here is one example of concern over the influence of Saudi Arabia over Muslims elsewhere:

Senate Will Probe Saudi Distribution Of Hate Materials

BY MEGHAN CLYNE - Staff Reporter of the Sun
October 5, 2005

WASHINGTON - The American government is demanding that Saudi Arabia account for its distribution of hate material to American mosques, as the State Department pressed Saudi officials for answers last week and as the Senate later this month plans to investigate the propagation of radical Wahhabism on American shores.

The flurry of activity comes months after a report from the Center for Religious Freedom discovered that dozens of mosques in major cities across the country, including New York, Washington, and Los Angeles, were distributing documents, bearing the seal of the government of Saudi Arabia, that incite Muslims to acts of violence and promote hatred of Jews and Christians.

A Washington-based group that is part of the human rights organization Freedom House, the Center for Religious Freedom also found during its yearlong study that the Saudi-produced materials describe democracy and America as un-Islamic. They instruct recent Muslim immigrants to consider Americans as enemies and the materials urge new arrivals to use their time here as preparation for jihad. The documents also promote the version of Islam officially embraced by Saudi government and several of the September 11, 2001, hijackers, Wahhabism, as the only authentic Islam.

In response to the Freedom House report and as part of the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act of 2005 sponsored by Senator Specter, a Republican of Pennsylvania, the Judiciary Committee - of which Senator Specter is chairman - will be holding hearings into the hate materials on October 25, a spokesman for the senator, William Reynolds, said yesterday.

The Accountability Act, introduced in June, says its purpose is "to halt Saudi support for institutions that fund, train, incite, encourage, or in any other way aid and abet terrorism, and to secure fully Saudi cooperation in the investigation of terrorist incidents." The legislation is highly critical of the House of Saud for its support of terrorist activity and cites the January Freedom House report as evidence of the kingdom's complicity in the spread of radical Islamist ideology. As part of the

Accountability Act, Senator Specter has in the past held Judiciary Committee hearings into Saudi financing of terrorism and Saudi Arabia's role in injecting ideology into textbooks for Palestinian Arab schoolchildren.

Many of the details of the Judiciary Committee hearing later this month, Mr. Reynolds said, are still being arranged, including a final witness list. In the meantime, the committee expects testimony from the State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Freedom House, and terrorism experts. The committee will press to determine whether the Saudi government has taken steps to stop the distribution of the materials, and will cull from witnesses recommendations to prevent their future dissemination, Mr. Reynolds said.

Also demanding answers about the hate materials is the State Department's undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, Karen Hughes. During a high-profile trip to the Middle East last week, Ms. Hughes said American representatives had addressed the propagation of Saudi hate material in America during private meetings with government officials.

In a State Department briefing held en route to Ankara, Turkey, from Saudi Arabia last Tuesday, Ms. Hughes was asked why she had raised the issue that day during a public meeting with Saudi journalists, becoming the first American official to do so publicly. "We had been raising the issue privately," Ms. Hughes said, "and as part of raising difficult issues that we need to discuss, I felt it was appropriate." The undersecretary did not elaborate on the results of the private meetings, but the degree to which Saudi Arabia is making efforts to stop the propaganda will be a subject of the Senate hearings, Mr. Reynolds said.

Requests for comment from the Embassy of Saudi Arabia yesterday were not returned.

This from a former president of Indonesia may be of interest:

Right Islam vs. Wrong Islam
Muslims and non-Muslims must unite to defeat the Wahhabi ideology.

Friday, December 30, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

JAKARTA--News organizations report that Osama bin Laden has obtained a religious edict from a misguided Saudi cleric, justifying the use of nuclear weapons against America and the infliction of mass casualties. It requires great emotional strength to confront the potential ramifications of this fact. Yet can anyone doubt that those who joyfully incinerate the occupants of office buildings, commuter trains, hotels and nightclubs would leap at the chance to magnify their damage a thousandfold?
Imagine the impact of a single nuclear bomb detonated in New York, London, Paris, Sydney or L.A.! What about two or three? The entire edifice of modern civilization is built on economic and technological foundations that terrorists hope to collapse with nuclear attacks like so many fishing huts in the wake of a tsunami.
Just two small, well-placed bombs devastated Bali's tourist economy in 2002 and sent much of its population back to the rice fields and out to sea, to fill their empty bellies. What would be the effect of a global economic crisis in the wake of attacks far more devastating than those of Bali or 9/11?
It is time for people of good will from every faith and nation to recognize that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We cannot afford to continue "business as usual" in the face of this existential threat. Rather, we must set aside our international and partisan bickering, and join to confront the danger that lies before us.

An extreme and perverse ideology in the minds of fanatics is what directly threatens us (specifically, Wahhabi/Salafi ideology--a minority fundamentalist religious cult fueled by petrodollars). Yet underlying, enabling and exacerbating this threat of religious extremism is a global crisis of misunderstanding.
All too many Muslims fail to grasp Islam, which teaches one to be lenient towards others and to understand their value systems, knowing that these are tolerated by Islam as a religion. The essence of Islam is encapsulated in the words of the Quran, "For you, your religion; for me, my religion." That is the essence of tolerance. Religious fanatics--either purposely or out of ignorance--pervert Islam into a dogma of intolerance, hatred and bloodshed. They justify their brutality with slogans such as "Islam is above everything else." They seek to intimidate and subdue anyone who does not share their extremist views, regardless of nationality or religion. While a few are quick to shed blood themselves, countless millions of others sympathize with their violent actions, or join in the complicity of silence.
This crisis of misunderstanding--of Islam by Muslims themselves--is compounded by the failure of governments, people of other faiths, and the majority of well-intentioned Muslims to resist, isolate and discredit this dangerous ideology. The crisis thus afflicts Muslims and non-Muslims alike, with tragic consequences. Failure to understand the true nature of Islam permits the continued radicalization of Muslims world-wide, while blinding the rest of humanity to a solution which hides in plain sight.
The most effective way to overcome Islamist extremism is to explain what Islam truly is to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Without that explanation, people will tend to accept the unrefuted extremist view--further radicalizing Muslims, and turning the rest of the world against Islam itself.
Accomplishing this task will be neither quick nor easy. In recent decades, Wahhabi/Salafi ideology has made substantial inroads throughout the Muslim world. Islamic fundamentalism has become a well-financed, multifaceted global movement that operates like a juggernaut in much of the developing world, and even among immigrant Muslim communities in the West. To neutralize the virulent ideology that underlies fundamentalist terrorism and threatens the very foundations of modern civilization, we must identify its advocates, understand their goals and strategies, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and effectively counter their every move. What we are talking about is nothing less than a global struggle for the soul of Islam.

The Sunni (as opposed to Shiite) fundamentalists' goals generally include: claiming to restore the perfection of the early Islam practiced by Muhammad and his companions, who are known in Arabic as al-Salaf al-Salih, "the Righteous Ancestors"; establishing a utopian society based on these Salafi principles, by imposing their interpretation of Islamic law on all members of society; annihilating local variants of Islam in the name of authenticity and purity; transforming Islam from a personal faith into an authoritarian political system; establishing a pan-Islamic caliphate governed according to the strict tenets of Salafi Islam, and often conceived as stretching from Morocco to Indonesia and the Philippines; and, ultimately, bringing the entire world under the sway of their extremist ideology.
Fundamentalist strategy is often simple as well as brilliant. Extremists are quick to drape themselves in the mantle of Islam and declare their opponents kafir, or infidels, and thus smooth the way for slaughtering nonfundamentalist Muslims. Their theology rests upon a simplistic, literal and highly selective reading of the Quran and Sunnah (prophetic traditions), through which they seek to entrap the world-wide Muslim community in the confines of their narrow ideological grasp. Expansionist by nature, most fundamentalist groups constantly probe for weakness and an opportunity to strike, at any time or place, to further their authoritarian goals.
The armed ghazis (Islamic warriors) raiding from New York to Jakarta, Istanbul, Baghdad, London and Madrid are only the tip of the iceberg, forerunners of a vast and growing population that shares their radical views and ultimate objectives. The formidable strengths of this worldwide fundamentalist movement include:
1) An aggressive program with clear ideological and political goals; 2) immense funding from oil-rich Wahhabi sponsors; 3) the ability to distribute funds in impoverished areas to buy loyalty and power; 4) a claim to and aura of religious authenticity and Arab prestige; 5) an appeal to Islamic identity, pride and history; 6) an ability to blend into the much larger traditionalist masses and blur the distinction between moderate Islam and their brand of religious extremism; 7) full-time commitment by its agents/leadership; Cool networks of Islamic schools that propagate extremism; 9) the absence of organized opposition in the Islamic world; 10) a global network of fundamentalist imams who guide their flocks to extremism; 11) a well-oiled "machine" established to translate, publish and distribute Wahhabi/Salafi propaganda and disseminate its ideology throughout the world; 12) scholarships for locals to study in Saudi Arabia and return with degrees and indoctrination, to serve as future leaders; 13) the ability to cross national and cultural borders in the name of religion; 14) Internet communication; and 15) the reluctance of many national governments to supervise or control this entire process.
We must employ effective strategies to counter each of these fundamentalist strengths. This can be accomplished only by bringing the combined weight of the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims, and the non-Muslim world, to bear in a coordinated global campaign whose goal is to resolve the crisis of misunderstanding that threatens to engulf our entire world.

An effective counterstrategy must be based upon a realistic assessment of our own strengths and weaknesses in the face of religious extremism and terror. Disunity, of course, has proved fatal to countless human societies faced with a similar existential threat. A lack of seriousness in confronting the imminent danger is likewise often fatal. Those who seek to promote a peaceful and tolerant understanding of Islam must overcome the paralyzing effects of inertia, and harness a number of actual or potential strengths, which can play a key role in neutralizing fundamentalist ideology. These strengths not only are assets in the struggle with religious extremism, but in their mirror form they point to the weakness at the heart of fundamentalist ideology. They are:
1) Human dignity, which demands freedom of conscience and rejects the forced imposition of religious views; 2) the ability to mobilize immense resources to bring to bear on this problem, once it is identified and a global commitment is made to solve it; 3) the ability to leverage resources by supporting individuals and organizations that truly embrace a peaceful and tolerant Islam; 4) nearly 1,400 years of Islamic traditions and spirituality, which are inimical to fundamentalist ideology; 5) appeals to local and national--as well as Islamic--culture/traditions/pride; 6) the power of the feminine spirit, and the fact that half of humanity consists of women, who have an inherent stake in the outcome of this struggle; 7) traditional and Sufi leadership and masses, who are not yet radicalized (strong numeric advantage: 85% to 90% of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims); Cool the ability to harness networks of Islamic schools to propagate a peaceful and tolerant Islam; 9) the natural tendency of like-minded people to work together when alerted to a common danger; 10) the ability to form a global network of like-minded individuals, organizations and opinion leaders to promote moderate and progressive ideas throughout the Muslim world; 11) the existence of a counterideology, in the form of traditional, Sufi and modern Islamic teachings, and the ability to translate such works into key languages; 12) the benefits of modernity, for all its flaws, and the widespread appeal of popular culture; 13) the ability to cross national and cultural borders in the name of religion; 14) Internet communications, to disseminate progressive views--linking and inspiring like-minded individuals and organizations throughout the world; 15) the nation-state; and 16) the universal human desire for freedom, justice and a better life for oneself and loved ones.
Though potentially decisive, most of these advantages remain latent or diffuse, and require mobilization to be effective in confronting fundamentalist ideology. In addition, no effort to defeat religious extremism can succeed without ultimately cutting off the flow of petrodollars used to finance that extremism, from Leeds to Jakarta.

Only by recognizing the problem, putting an end to the bickering within and between nation-states, and adopting a coherent long-term plan (executed with international leadership and commitment) can we begin to apply the brakes to the rampant spread of extremist ideas and hope to resolve the world's crisis of misunderstanding before the global economy and modern civilization itself begin to crumble in the face of truly devastating attacks.
Muslims themselves can and must propagate an understanding of the "right" Islam, and thereby discredit extremist ideology. Yet to accomplish this task requires the understanding and support of like-minded individuals, organizations and governments throughout the world. Our goal must be to illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity, and offer a compelling alternate vision of Islam, one that banishes the fanatical ideology of hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.

Mr. Wahid, former president of Indonesia, is patron and senior advisor to the LibForAll Foundation (, an Indonesian and U.S.-based nonprofit that works to reduce religious extremism and discredit the use of terrorism
29076  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Our Environment on: July 02, 2006, 01:34:52 AM
Bolton v Gore
Jun 22nd 2006 | WASHINGTON, DC
From The Economist print edition

A question of priorities: hunger and disease or climate change?

TWO years ago, a Danish environmentalist called Bjorn Lomborg had an idea. We all want to make the world a better place but, given finite resources, we should look for the most cost-effective ways of doing so. He persuaded a bunch of economists, including three Nobel laureates, to draw up a list of priorities. They found that efforts to fight malnutrition and disease would save many lives at modest expense, whereas fighting global warming would cost a colossal amount and yield distant and uncertain rewards.

That conclusion upset a lot of environmentalists. This week, another man who upsets a lot of people embraced it. John Bolton, America's ambassador to the United Nations, said that Mr Lomborg's ?Copenhagen Consensus? (see articles) provided a useful way for the world body to get its priorities straight. Too often at the UN, said Mr Bolton, ?everything is a priority?. The secretary-general is charged with carrying out 9,000 mandates, he said, and when you have 9,000 priorities you have none.

So, over the weekend, Mr Bolton sat down with UN diplomats from seven other countries, including China and India but no Europeans, to rank 40 ways of tackling ten global crises. The problems addressed were climate change, communicable diseases, war, education, financial instability, governance, malnutrition, migration, clean water and trade barriers.

Given a notional $50 billion, how would the ambassadors spend it to make the world a better place? Their conclusions were strikingly similar to the Copenhagen Consensus. After hearing presentations from experts on each problem, they drew up a list of priorities. The top four were basic health care, better water and sanitation, more schools and better nutrition for children. Averting climate change came last.

The ambassadors thought it wiser to spend money on things they knew would work. Promoting breast-feeding, for example, costs very little and is proven to save lives. It also helps infants grow up stronger and more intelligent, which means they will earn more as adults. Vitamin A supplements cost as little as $1, save lives and stop people from going blind. And so on.

For climate change, the trouble is that though few dispute that it is occurring, no one knows how severe it will be or what damage it will cause. And the proposed solutions are staggeringly expensive. Mr Lomborg reckons that the benefits of implementing the Kyoto protocol would probably outweigh the costs, but not until 2100. This calculation will not please Al Gore. Nipped at the post by George Bush in 2000, Mr Gore calls global warming an ?onrushing catastrophe? and argues vigorously that curbing it is the most urgent moral challenge facing mankind.

Mr Lomborg demurs. ?We need to realise that there are many inconvenient truths,? he says. But whether he and Mr Bolton can persuade the UN of this remains to be seen. Mark Malloch Brown, the UN's deputy secretary-general, said on June 6th that: ?there is currently a perception among many otherwise quite moderate countries that anything the US supports must have a secret agenda...and therefore, put crudely, should be opposed without any real discussion of whether [it makes] sense or not.?
29077  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: July 01, 2006, 07:36:45 PM
?Algun comentario sobre los procesos legales en contra de Luis Echeverria Alvarez por los acontecimientos del Masacre de Tlatelolco?

?Quien va a ganar la elecion-- AMLO o Calderon?
29078  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: July 01, 2006, 12:18:20 PM

I am about to begin a busy day and probably will not have time to contribute to the substance of the conversation here until this evening or later tomorrow, but would like to take this moment to welcome Nasigoreng to the conversation and to express my pleasure that we seem to be achieving the more intelligent, educated and gracious level of discourse that I have hoped for with this thread.


PS:  Concerning the foto in question-- please note that the figure in it has an automatic weapon in his hands.  For us he represents those who attack both us (AQ type Islamic Fascists, secular Baathist Saddamites, etc) AND the Muslims whom we support in their struggle for freedom, democracy and opportunity.
29079  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 30, 2006, 05:03:17 PM
FWIW, I have just found an answer to one of the questions I asked Sitbatan on Usatz Hussein Odom's site:

--(Why should I) pay a tax for my right to be different?

You are referring to the Jizya... I took this little article from the forum of and it was taken from the islamonline website...

I recently had a discussion with a non-Muslim friend about the jizyah (ransom) that non-Muslims have to pay in Islamic states. Is it discriminatory? Why do non-Muslims have to pay such a tax? Who has to pay it and how is it calculated? Thank you.

Thank you for your question.

Before addressing this question, we need to differentiate between actions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that were carried out based on some specific (in this case, political) situation, and other actions that are considered as essential part of the divine message of Islam, without which the message would be deviated.

There is a verse in the Qur'an that mentioned this tax, jizyah. The verse says what means:
*{Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizyah (tribute, tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.}* (Al-Tawbah 9:29)

The verse has a historical context, however, which is a certain battle at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and this tax was indeed taken from the defeated people after the battle. However, it is important to ask two questions here:
What is the wisdom behind that tax, which was the reason behind legislating it?

Does this verse and its related story make that kind of tax part of the Islamic law? In other words, is this tax an Islamic obligation?
The wisdom behind the tax/jizyah paid by non-Muslims to the Islamic state was fairness. This is for two reasons:

First, Muslims were paying zakah (the annual charity) to the Islamic state, which was used for all sorts of services and social welfare. Zakah is an Islamic act of worship, but it is only for Muslims. It was fair to make non-Muslim citizens of the same state pay a similar (in fact, smaller) amount as a tax, since zakah is not taken from them as it is taken from Muslims. Jizyah was calculated in different ways throughout different eras (a certain amount of money, certain percentage of the crops, etc), but it was consistently less than the zakah, which every Muslim had to pay anyway.

In addition to that, this tax was paid in exchange of protection of these non-Muslim communities (i.e., military protection) and exemption of their men from joining the Islamic army. At that time, this was a necessary and fair measure given all the wars that the Islamic state was going through based on religious divides. It was not fair to ask these non-Muslim citizens to fight with Muslims against fellow believers of their same religion.

Then, do all the above make jizyah an eternal Islamic obligation, exactly like zakat? The answer is no! We need not to confuse between Islam as a civilization and Islam as a religion, to make a general point.

The interpretation of such verses that dealt with certain historical contexts should take into account that historical context, based on which scholars decide whether that context should or should not be extended to our context now. Given that this ruling was in particular political circumstances, it actually served a pure practical purpose. And if these circumstances and purpose no longer exist, then the ruling ceases to exist, too.

I have to stress that this applies to the area of politics and similar areas of policies, if you wish, and not the areas of `ibadat (acts of worship) and tashri` (legislation), which are eternally universal and abiding. In these areas of policies, the tradition of the Prophet (peace be upon him) teaches us higher values like fairness, justice, and compassion, rather than specific measures and procedures such as taxes, organization of the government or the army, or the division of provinces and states.

The historical context of the verse made it extendable to other similar situations throughout the Islamic history. Thus, similar taxes were taken from non-Muslims during the caliphates that followed the prophetic era. However, the concept of citizenship has developed in our current political culture to include people from all religions and it is no longer purely based on religion. Therefore, scholars no longer apply the rule of jizyah or exempt non-Muslims from serving their countries? armies. The context now is different and therefore, the ruling differs and jizyah no longer applies.

If one calls for applying this ruling of jizyah nowadays, then one would miss the point and purpose behind the ruling, for which it was originally made, which is fairness!

The Khilafah (Caliphate) will most probably uphold the jizya... If a non-muslim refuses to pay it or to live under the protection of the Khilafah, it is up to him/her/them... They are free to leave the safety of the Khilafah WITHOUT harm...


This almost sounds reasonable.  Then one runs across this , , ,  


Why the Jews Were Cursed

by Muhammad Alshareef

Rasul All?h?s wife, Umm Al-Mu?mineen Safiyyah bint Huyayy - radiallaahu 'anha - was the daughter of one of the Jewish leaders of Madinah. After her Isl?m, she informed the Prophet - sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam - when she had first felt the rays of Isl?m enter her blessed heart.

It was the day that Anas - radiallaahu 'anhu - describes as the most radiant day to every come upon al-Madinah - the day Rasul All?h - sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam - entered it. All the Ansar men, women and children gathered to greet him, cheers of praise to All?h filled the air.

Amongst the gathering were 2 men; as much as the Ansar and Muhaajireen revered the Prophet, they despised him. It was the father of Safiyyah - radiallaahu 'anha - and her uncle.

She was only a youngster as she looked into the darkness and gloom that had enveloped their faces when they returned home that day. Her Jewish uncle 1400 years ago asked, ?Is it him? Is it the Prophet that our scriptures speak of?? Huyayy lowered his head and said, ?Yes. It is him.? ?Then what shall we do?? Safiyyah?s uncle continued. Huyayy looked into his eyes, ?Till the final day we shall be his bitterest enemies!?

From the very first raka?ah of Taraweeh we read the verse in the opening S?rah: [Guide us to the straight path - The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked (Your) anger! ...]

Adiyy ibn Hatim asked Rasul All?h - sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam - who it was that evoked All?h?s anger? He said, ?It was the Jews.? - Tafseer Ibn Katheer

When I was in high school, studying in journalism class, our teacher had placed on the wall a statement that I spent many days contemplating. It simply said, ?Freedom of the press (speech) belongs to those that own the press!? Who owns the press? Well, you can believe me when I say that it is not the god fearing beloved of All?h.

It is this same press that molds and programs the aqeedah of a huge section of our Ummah. Many of our brothers and sisters are illiterate to the words of All?h and the guidance of Rasul All?h - sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, so it is with little doubt that their ideas are subconsciously molded by what Seinfeld tells them at 8 pm every Wednesday evening.

It is this same brother or sister that asks the question, ?I don?t understand why the Jews were cursed. Seinfeld is funny. What did he do??

This khutbah is our media and insha? All?h we shall learn in these few moments only samples of what carried the Jews to evoke All?h?s anger.

In the opening verses of Surat Al-Baqarah, All?h invites the Children of Isra?eel to come back - to remember the favor and blessing He bestowed upon them - and to fulfill the promise that they would follow the Prophet when he was sent to them.

[O Children of Israel, remember My favor that I bestowed upon you and fulfill My covenant upon you that I will fulfill your convenant (from Me) and fear only Me.] - S?rah al-Baqarah 2/40

All?h saved them of their slavery to Fir?own, he saved them from sea and drowned Fir?own and his army. All?h selected them to receive food from the sky. All?h sent them Prophet after Prophet from amongst themselves, and sent the Holy scriptures - the Towrah and the Injeel. All?h preferred them over all others at their time.

[...And that I preferred you over the worlds (i.e. people).] - S?rah al-Baqarah 2/47

How did they reply these Blessings of All?h?

(i) They Followed Only What They Wanted to

When a Prophet came to them, if what he taught did not appeal to them they either rejected that truth or slit the throat of the Prophet and followed what was to them appealing.

[We had already taken the covenant of the Children of Israel and had sent to them messengers. Whenever there came to them a messenger with what their souls did not desire, a groups (of the Messengers) they denied and another party they killed.] - al-Maa?idah 5/70

And we must remember here that this is not the commentary of some human journalist who claims to be neutral. This is the Lord of the Universe telling us - in verses to be read till the final day - the deepest secrets that lie in the pits of Judaism. [And who is more truthful than All?h in statement!] - al Nisaa? 4/87

(ii) They Changed the Words of All?h

There was groups of Jews that would change the words of All?h - adding something here, deleting there - to pound the truth and keep the flock in servitude to what they desired.

[And indeed, there is among them a party who alter the Scripture with their tongues so you may think it is from the Scripture, but it is not from the Scripture. And they say, ?This is from All?h,? but it is not from All?h. And they speak untruth about All?h while they know.] Ali-Imran 3/78

(iii) Their claim that they are the beloved children of God

Ibn Abbas narrates: Nu?maan ibn Aasaa, Bahr ibn ?Amr and Shaas ibn Adee (3 Jews) came to All?h?s Messenger - sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam. He sat with them and invited them to All?h and warned them of All?h?s anger. They replied, ?Why are you trying to scare us O Muhammad? By God, we are the children of God and His beloved ones!? At that the verse was revealed:

[And the Jews and the Christians say, ?We are the Children of All?h and His beloved.? Say: ?Then why does He punish you for your sins?? Rather, you are humans from among (all the others) that He created.] Al-Maa?idah 5/18 ~ Ibn Katheer 2/36

(iv) Their Blasphemous Statements

There came upon the Jews a time of poverty, so they went to Shaas ibn Qays and questioned him. He said, ?Your Lord is stingy, he never provides.? All?h revealed in the Qur'?n:

[And the Jews say, ?The hand of All?h is chained.? Chained are their hands and cursed are they for what they say. Rather, both His hands are extended; He spends however He wills.] Al-Maa?idah 5/64

(v) Their Murdering of the Prophets

One of the most horrific sins that they performed was the slaughtering of their Prophets. This was one of the major reasons they were struck with humiliation.

[And they were covered with humiliation and poverty and returned with anger from All?h (upon them). That was because they (repeatedly) disbelieved in the signs of All?h and killed the Prophets without right. That was because they disobeyed and were (habitually) transgressing.] - Baqarah 2/61

Not only did they try to kill their Prophets, but they attempted to assassinate Rasul All?h - sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam - himself. RasulAllah went with some companions to meet with the Jews of Banu Nadheer. While he waited for them at the side of a building, they climed the roof with a boulder to crush down upon the head of Rasul All?h. Jibreel warned Rasul All?h - sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam - of their plan. He stood up without saying anything, left for Madinah, and came back with an army. This was the cause of Banu Nadheer?s expulsion from Madinah - Mukhtasar Seerat Ibn Hisham 159

And the list goes on - They did not command the good or forbid the evil, they did not accept the ruling of what All?h revealed upon them, they disbelieved their book, they received food from the heavens but rejected it, they challenged their Prophet to show them All?h in this life, they took Angel Jibreel as their sworn enemy, they took the graves of their Prophets as symbols of worship ... and the list goes on and on in the Qur'?n and Sunnah.

Part II

There are some verses in the Qur'?n that spoke about those that do not judge by what All?h has decreed is a transgressor. Some students of Ibn Abbas - radiallaahu 'anhu - asked him, ?Were these not revealed for the Jews and Christians?? He said, ?Subhan All?h! Are all the glad tidings in the Qur'?n for us and all the admonitions for them? If our we do what they did, our end will be their end.? Rasul All?h - sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam - said, ?"You will follow the wrong ways, of your predecessors so completely and literally that if they should go into the hole of a lizard, you too will go there." We said, "O Allah's Apostle! Do you mean the Jews and the Christians?" He replied, "Whom else?" - Bukhari

The Qur'?n tells us of snakes in the grass that bit the Jews. All?h tells us this so that we may take warning of what led them to evoke All?h?s anger and not be bitten by the same snake.

Let us take an example from the following verse:

[And there followed them successors who inherited the scripture (while) taking the stock of this lower life (i.e. Haram gains and whims), saying (regardless), ?We will be forgiven.?] - A?raaf 7/169

So many Muslims take this Qur'?n as something inherited, the real power of All?h?s word?s has not penetrated the hearts. How many of our young Muslim youth understand the language of Cobolt and A++, spending years to understand, but do not comprehend a single sentence in the Quran?

Have we desisted from the Riba that All?h made Haram upon us? In the years of 1973 to 1976, when the Muslims went out to challenge Israel, the entertainment armies were summoned. Female singers were brought, belly dancers hired, and soap operas dedicated to the encouragement of our fighting Muslims. The songs were drenched in nationalism and Arab pride.

In conclusion, a fundamental part of our Deen is Al-Wala? and Al-Bara? (wala? - love and loyalty / Bara? hatred and disownment). It would be profitable for us to reflect on the implementation of our Wala? and Bara? in regards to the Jews:

Firstly: We should not take them as our close allies.

All?h commands us in the Qur'?n: [O you who have belied, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is one of them. Indeed All?h does not guide the wrongdoing people.] - Ma?idah 5/51

Secondly: We should not Imitate them

The forbiddance of imitating the Jews and the Christians applies to those things that have become icons of their customs and falsehood. So for example, if someone wore a white collar on his neck, everyone would assume he was Christian. This is because the white collar has become a symbol of theirs.

The ruling is more general than just clothes. Rasul All?h - sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam - said: [Act differently then the Jews.] - Saheeh Abu Dawood

Thirdly: A Muslimah may never marry a Jewish or Christian man that remains in his beliefs.

All?h declares in the Qur'?n: [They are not (i.e. the Muslim women) lawful wives for them, nor are they lawful (husbands) for them.] - Mumtahinah 60/10

Is all this a death sentence on the Jews? Nay, All?h?s infinite Mercy has left the gate open for ANYONE who wishes to come back to him.

[And if only the People of the Scripture had believed and feared All?h, We would have removed from them their misdeeds and admitted them to joyful Gardens] - Ma?idah 5/65

O All?h guide us to the straight path - the path of those who You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked (Your) anger, nor of those that went astray. Ameen.

Muhammad AlShareef
Student of Knowledge
(Graduate of Muhammad Bin Saud University, Madinah SA, in Isl?mic Law)
Currently teaches at Al-Huda School in College Park, Maryland

Retrieved from
29080  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 30, 2006, 03:31:27 PM
Woof All:

With the gracious permission of Suarez International, I reproduce part of an interesting dialog from 2004 on its Warriortalk forum with the names, except for that of Ustaz Hussein Udom deleted.

The thread began after some WT posters saw a clip on UHO's site which included footage of what looked like using hostages as shields.  This naturally got things off to a rocky start and same suspicious and some angry posts where made.  I pick up from UHO's first post and delete several posts in the thread according to my best judgement.

Crafty Dog

Hello Everyone,

I am Ustaz Hussein Udom, the admin for the website and the Head
Instructor for Silat Mubai International. I randomly peruse this forum and
enjoy the insight that is given by the members and Mr.Suarez. Sadly, the
content of this thread has really made me feel sick and disgusted at the
total lack of intelligence and respect displayed by members of this forum.

"Terrorist website", "enemy muslims", "global terrorist training
operations", what kind of nonesense is this? Have any single one of you even
taken the time to read the information on our website before slinging mud
against us because of our religion?

Do you know that I have people from the US Military training in my family's
art, and others from the Western world who train and work with us on a daily
basis to advance their skill in the combative arts and take part in our
Warrior Traditions. We spend sweat and hard work to provide decent human
beings with the skill necessary to protect themselves and their families
from violence.

You are suppossed to be "religious" men, Christians, and you judge me so
harshly without knowing a bit about me other than I am a Muslim. Is every
Muslim a criminal for you?Despicable and truely un-Christian behaviour. Is
it not Jesus (pbuh) himself who said "judge not others lest yee be judged".

You have all judged me wrongly and degraded the endless work my colleagues
and I have put into establishing a respectful environment to learn the
fighting arts and TRUE Chivalry. Those in our organization like yourselves
who are LEOs, Military and Security Officers, Prison Guards and Private
Citizens who have bled to protect others from the evil of a deadly few.

I challenge any person in this forum to provide one shred of information
from the RCAG Online Commercial website or the Silat Mubai International
website that in any way supports anthing other than the Godly virtues of
respect, warriorship and honour. Show it to me.

It is a sad day when truth and falsehood become one, and good men can no
longer recognize each others faces in the sea of corruption.

Goddam the terrorists who have desecrated the Classical Warrior Traditions
of Islam and Dame those who believe the lies of terrorists and other

Lastly, for the gentleman who asked "why Taiwan?" - My wife is Chinese and
we happily moved here to improve our language ability in Mandarin. There are
almost no Muslims here so I guess my master plan of setting up terrorist
cells among the Bhuddist nuns will have to come into effect soon.


Ustaz Hussein Udom
Khalifa/Head Instructor
Silat Mubai International


Ustaz Hussein Udom,

Thank You for posting your true name. Not everyone can do this nor wishes to
do this. I want to answer some of your points. I think we must, and can,
keep it to a political discussion as we will never agree on spiritual

1). "Terrorist website", "enemy muslims", "global terrorist training
operations", what kind of nonesense is this? Have any single one of you even
taken the time to read the information on our website before slinging mud
against us because of our religion?

Sir, we are at war. This is not a war with the soldiers of another nation,
but with the followers (some followers) of a faith. We were attacked by men
representing (right or wrong) your faith, and they were praised by religious
leaders of your faith. A prudent man, after seeing this, would naturally be
suspicious of men from your faith would they not?

2). You are suppossed to be "religious" men, Christians, and you judge me so
harshly without knowing a bit about me other than I am a Muslim. Is every
Muslim a criminal for you?Despicable and truely un-Christian behaviour. Is
it not Jesus (pbuh) himself who said "judge not others lest yee be judged".

Sir, we are Christian Warriors and our faith is in The Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ was no pacifist. In fact He advised His men to arm themselves againts
the evil of the world. In war, there is only conflict and the seeking of a
favorable end to that conflict. There can be mercy, but no tolerance,
friendliness, or equality. I'm certain a study of your own religious
hiostory will reveal that.

3). You have all judged me wrongly and degraded the endless work my
colleagues and I have put into establishing a respectful environment to
learn the fighting arts and TRUE Chivalry. Those in our organization like
yourselves who are LEOs, Military and Security Officers, Prison Guards and
Private Citizens who have bled to protect others from the evil of a deadly

As I said, sir, we were attacked. This was not by Norwegian Presbyterians,
but by Muslim men, later praised by religious leaders, wielding knives.
Until this conflict is resolved, I would expect some suspicion and
catgorizing by Christian men of action.

4). I challenge any person in this forum to provide one shred of information
from the RCAG Online Commercial website or the Silat Mubai International
website that in any way supports anthing other than the Godly virtues of
respect, warriorship and honour. Show it to me.

Well, I'll go one better. If you would publically condemn the cowardice of
terrorism, the cowardice of Osama and his minions, and the cowardice of
those who hijack airplanes - explode themselves among children, attack women
for dressing like women, and commit other such acts in the name of your
religion, and condemn the false religious leaders who support them, the
opinions of many Christian Warriors would change.

5). It is a sad day when truth and falsehood become one, and good men can no
longer recognize each others faces in the sea of corruption.

I agree there!


Pleasure to meet you

Greetings Mr. X

I am very happy that we could discuss this directly and leave aside any and
all excess fluff. I am not interested in slandering you or sending you
honeyed words of friendship. I am speaking to you as one Warrior to another
and I am asking you to stop insinuating that our organization is affiliated
to terrorism. As professsional Instructors we can both keep our distaste for
each other quiet and have some simple form of respect.

"we are at war."

Yes we are Sir. We are at war with terrorism, criminality and ignorance. The
venomous ingredient that holds together everything that we both believe is
evil. America is fighting the war against the same people it trained and
equipped in the Al-Qaeda organization, not Islam, and surely not the
authentic Warrior Culture and Chivalry of our Prophet (pbuh). Your people
have been fighting for two years, the Muslim nation has been fighting these
extremists for two hundred. The same extremist sect (Saudi Arabian
Wahabites) that was supported and is still supported by the American govt
until this day and was helped into existence by the British Empire two
centuries ago. Please feel free to confirm what I say with an Encyclopedia

"There can be mercy, but no tolerance, friendliness, or equality. I'm
certain a study of your own religious hiostory will reveal that."

Even the worst of enemies must respect each other Mr.Suarez. Laying a foul
tongue on a man and slandering him is no correct way for any Warrior
regardless of the situation. Doing this to an entire group of people is far
from what any religion could call right. As for my religious history, any
high school level teacher can elucidate which was the more sanguinary, Islam
or Christianity.

"As I said, sir, we were attacked. This was not by Norwegian Presbyterians,
but by Muslim men, later praised by religious leaders, wielding knives.
Until this conflict is resolved, I would expect some suspicion and
catgorizing by Christian men of action."

America is no innocent nun Sir. You were attacked and so were we many times
before. Caution is warranted on both sides but disrespect is not.

"Well, I'll go one better. If you would publically condemn the cowardice of
terrorism, the cowardice of Osama and his minions, and the cowardice of
those who hijack airplanes - explode themselves among children, attack women
for dressing like women, and commit other such acts in the name of your
religion, and condemn the false religious leaders who support them, the
opinions of many Christian Warriors would change."

The entire website and focus of SMI is to promote the traditional Muslim
Warrior Culture and Chivalry. I have no time for the stupidity and false
teachings of ANY terrorist organizations or criminal enterprises whether
they be Muslim, Christian or anonymous. The idea of terrorism and murdering
non-combatants is non-existent in Islamic Military Code, never was and never
will be. The Prophet Muhamad (pbuh) himself witnessed the assasination of
his uncle and then later met the assassin who killed him as a prisoner of
War and pardoned him as the killing of POWs is forbidden in Islam. This man
later became a Muslim and repented for his sins. This Prophet (pbuh) gave
the last food on his table to the poor people as they were driven out of
Mecca together while he starved and ate nothing. This is the action of a
Muslim Warrior and the standard to which ALL of us aspire to.

Do not judge us all by the actions of a few craven cowards, a Warriors mind
is a profound one and should be used to see deeper than the superficial.


Ustaz Hussein


Ustaz Hussein Udom,

Thank you for replying. Thank you also for condeming those who use your
religion to justify evil.

The problem as we see it is that there are very few Muslims who are willing
to do so. I agree that the "Muslim Terrorists" are but a small percentage of
all Muslims but it seems that the majority of Muslims are "sitting on their
hands" (if you understand my analogy) and not doing anything one way or the
other. That concerns us.


Hello Gentleman,

Thank you for taking the time to discuss this further as that shows you are
interested in dialogue and understanding rather than just name calling.

Mr.S: I truly feel for your position and understand your anger at people
who "sat on their hands" while criminal terrorists defiled Islam in their
midst. Remember Sir that like the many Americans who shut up when big
brother tells them to, these people are weak minded private citizens. I am a
Fidai, a Muslim Warrior by blood and oath, and I don't silence easily for
anyone and neither do my brothers. What these criminals are doing, blowing
up kids, women, and other crimes are effective slaps in the face of Islam.
If and when we have the opportunity, it is only a matter of time, the TRUE
Fedayeen Warriors will gut these animals and reveal their intestines to the
light of wisdom. Their are too few Fedayeen in the world today who uphold
the old codes established by the Prophet Muhamad (pbuh), but what is left of
us is working tirelessly to correct the wrongs in our nation.

Mr ST: Please feel free to ask anything you wish to my friend. I am duty
bound and obligated on my honour to answer you as concisely and simply as I
possibly can.

Mr.M: I can see that you are impressed with the vast intelligence that
is your mind. But please refrain from speaking about Islam in a Muslim
bashing fashion unless you have the knowledge to back up your claims with
proof. As is clear and evident from your post, you have no knowledge of
historical facts from which to debate from and even lesser knowledge of
Islam. Please return to the discussion when you have something more
intelligent to offer than maledictions.

Thank you to Mr.Suarez , , , for letting me voice my opinions and
defend that which I believe in. God willing, this dialogue will prove to be
useful for all of us.

Ustaz Hussein

 suppose you are going to deny that the Quran says to either convert all the
infidels to Islam or kill them? You must read a different one than I've


Hello Mr.M.

Please don't flatter yourself into believing that I need to lie and play
word games with you. I am not a terrified civillian Muslim afraid of the
"evil" Americans. I am a full blooded Fidai with a direct lineage of
Chivalry to the Prophet (pbuh) himself and I don't mix words for anyone. My
honour and reputation are at stake with my answers so feel free to verify
them as best you can.

Ustaz Hussein


Mr. Hussein,

To answer your points.

1). I am asking you to stop insinuating that our organization is affiliated
to terrorism. As professsional Instructors we can both keep our distaste for
each other quiet and have some simple form of respect.

I'm not insinuating anything at all. A brother found your site and was
concerned about it sufficiently to bring it to our attention. We've
discussed the issue and presented opinions about what we saw. There is no
insinuations, but rather perspectives based on our life experience.

2). Yes we are Sir. We are at war with terrorism, criminality and ignorance.
The venomous ingredient that holds together everything that we both believe
is evil. America is fighting the war against the same people it trained and
equipped in the Al-Qaeda organization, not Islam, and surely not the
authentic Warrior Culture and Chivalry of our Prophet (pbuh). Your people
have been fighting for two years, the Muslim nation has been fighting these
extremists for two hundred. The same extremist sect (Saudi Arabian
Wahabites) that was supported and is still supported by the American govt
until this day and was helped into existence by the British Empire two
centuries ago. Please feel free to confirm what I say with an Encyclopedia

I am well versed in world history (I majored in History in fact), especially
the alliances between the Saudis and the English and all that came from it
up to and including the conflict involving the state of Israel. I also am
aware of the political goings on between the leaders of the Arab nations and
their connections to terrorist groups (overt and covert). I have contacts in
many places.

Because we are Americans does not mean we agree with, nor even like our
government. But just like the family that hates each other uniting when
attacked by an outsider, we are now united. Where this goes only God knows.

3. Even the worst of enemies must respect each other Mr.Suarez. Laying a
foul tongue on a man and slandering him is no correct way for any Warrior
regardless of the situation. Doing this to an entire group of people is far
from what any religion could call right.

It is a common tactic in my country for the com-libs (communist liberals) to
argue a point by getting totally off topic. Because I am suspicious of you,
and suspicious of your activities does not mean I am "laying a foul tongue"
on you. In our present situation it is not only a correct way for a warrior
to act, but I would say if he acts otherwise he is a fool.

4). As for my religious history, any high school level teacher can elucidate
which was the more sanguinary, Islam or Christianity.

And I am not certain what that has to do with our discussion now? Christians
killed Muslims 1000 years ago. Muslims (or those claiminmg to be Muslims)
are still killing Christians many countries....simply for
believing in Christ. I am not sure the death toll in American mosques is
anywhere near that of Christian churches in the Sudan today.

In context, - "In battle there can be mercy, but no tolerance, friendliness,
or equality. I'm certain a study of your own religious history will reveal
that." There is a time for war and a time for mercy. Knowing the right time
is the job of the wise man.

5). America is no innocent nun Sir. You were attacked and so were we many
times before. Caution is warranted on both sides but disrespect is not.

I do not know any innocent nuns. They will be in the same line as all of us
on judgement day. If you were attacked, then you have a right to be
suspicious of the nationalities and faiths of those who attacked you. I see
no problem there. But understand this, because I do not like you does not
mean I disrespect you.

6). The entire website and focus of SMI is to promote the traditional Muslim
Warrior Culture and Chivalry. I have no time for the stupidity and false
teachings of ANY terrorist organizations or criminal enterprises whether
they be Muslim, Christian or anonymous. The idea of terrorism and murdering
non-combatants is non-existent in Islamic Military Code, never was and never
will be. The Prophet Muhamad (pbuh) himself witnessed the assasination of
his uncle and then later met the assassin who killed him as a prisoner of
War and pardoned him as the killing of POWs is forbidden in Islam. This man
later became a Muslim and repented for his sins. This Prophet (pbuh) gave
the last food on his table to the poor people as they were driven out of
Mecca together while he starved and ate nothing. This is the action of a
Muslim Warrior and the standard to which ALL of us aspire to.

But yet your religious leaders praise, support and promote such activity.
And very few...if any actively go against such teachings. Could it be that
there is one standard for "believers" and another for "infidels" in some

Now I am not flattering myself here. Just so you understand. One brother
wrote "Islam tenets state that they will either convert everyone to Islam or
kill them". If this is true (and the versions of the Quran that I have read
contain it), please understand that no one here will see things your way.
Americans (which you must understand ARE NOT THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT) will
not turn from Christ and convert to your faith. Thus, if what I have read is
true, leaves you one choice.

We respect you in the way an adversary respects another, but understand that
we do not fear you....nor will we ever. You were upset about our opinions
about your organization. Yet in the current state of the world, I would not
expect anything to change. So where does that leave us? In the same place
where we began. We are not both right. Perhaps one day we will find out.

Ustaz Hussein,

Perhaps I can ask M's question a little differently.

What does the Quran (Koran?) say about how you should treat those of the
Christian and Jewish faith who live along side you?

Ustaz Hussein welcome to our Forum.

I spent almost five years between Japan and Philippines while growing up as
a military brat. I enjoy studying history and military history especially.
From personal experience I've seen "Christians" (Very close geographically)
who did not act Christ like at all, who with tongues could rip a person
apart verbally as well as any AK-47 on full-auto. They themselves make a
VERY BAD impression of a Christian. I've been a Christian most of my life
and try to live according to the Bible. It's been no easy task when flak is
coming from all points of the compass.

Personally I'd love to learn both Silat and Krav Maga because they deal with
Martial Science not Art. That will have to be later though. Look at Mushai's
Five Rings.

This life is a journey and hope you'll see Christ as your Lord and Savior
but only you can make the choice yourself, not your wife, family members,
friends, or enemies. Each of us individually must make that choice and live
with it eternally.

I've tried to live peacably with all people until cause is shown by the
individual/s to part ways preferably peacefully alas it don't work that way
when said person wishs to enslave me or my family. I may not live by the
sword but I keep it close by.

What one butcher said puts it very well: "One person's death is a tragedy, a
million people dying is only a statistic." Stalin said it.

May you help those that are not Al Qaida, etc. I wish you well.

I've checked out this website. I make these following points not in a
defense of Mr. Hussein, but rather as a definitive guide to the distinctions
between Sufi Muslims and Neo-Salafi Al-Qaeda bastards:

1. Silat is an important element in Indoensian society. Silat is martial art
that emphasizes the knife and manipulating your body's skeletal structure to
defeat opponents in unarmed combat. Each village has its own style of Silat
and the men of a village wear different colored sashes to represent their
village and style of Silat. Silat "jurus" or other dance forms are performed
at weddings, holidays and parties. Silat is a cultural expression, spiritual
expression as well as being a martial art.

Indonesia was converted to Islam by Sufi Muslims. Indonesian Silat
practitioners have synthesized Silat philosophy and movement with Sufi
concepts and Islamic religious expression.

Mr. Hussein, appears from his website, to be a Sufi or someone who supports
Sufism. Sufism and particularly the Sufism of the South Pacific and Silat
practitioners is a different expression of Islam. It bears no resemblance to
the neo-Salafi Islam of Al-Qaeda.

2. Al-Qaeda is a neo-Salafi based organization that rejects Sufism. Salafi
means something like "veneration of ancestors" or veneration of the first
three generations of Islam. Al-Qaeda rejects any form of Islamic religious
or philosophical expression that comes after the "Salafi" period of Islam.
The term "neo-Salafi" is a description of Salafi Muslims that support
violence as the quickest and ultimate way to achieve their goals. An
al-Qaeda manual stated, "These young men realized that an Islamic government
would never be established except by the bomb and rifle."

Most Sufis, reject violence as a way to bring about change. They concentrate
on the "spiritual renewal" of the people and government as a way to bring
about change. Their process of change is a slow one. Al-Qaeda is impatient.
They want change now, thus the emphasis on violence. Or many Sufis are just
concentrated on their own spiritualism and could care or less about changing

Al-Qaeda considers Sufis heretics because: (1) The Sufis orders began after
the "Salafi" period; (2) Sufism is mystical. Sufis are known to pray or pay
homage to Sufi "Saints" and nature. Al-Qaeda rejects any form of respect,
prayer or homage to images of men or nature. Many Muslims can be seen
praying at Sufi Saint Tombs. This is heretical according to different sects
of Islam; (3) Sufism is based on a secretive esoteric/exoteric religious
order. Sufi practitioners get "closer" to God or express their love for God
by twirling in dances (the infamous Whirling Dervishes), meditation,
chanting the same sounds over and over again, philosophical reflection and
if they are into Silat, Jurus or other forms.

The Sunni, neo-Salafi based Muslims reject these practices. For them the
only way to get closer to God is through the original Five Pillars of Islam,
mainly prayer and violent Jihad.

3. Greater versus Lesser Jihad: THE BIG DIFFERENCE

The biggest distinction between the Sufis and the neo-Salafi Al-Qaeda
bastards is this: The debate between the Greater versus Lesser Jihad. The
main Hadith (Words and Acts of the Prophet, Hadiths are the Second greatest
Islamic legal source next to the Quran) which makes a distinction between
the two jihads states the following:

"A group of Muslim soldiers came to the Holy Prophet [from a battle]. He
said: Welcome, you have come from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad. It
was said: What is the greater jihad? He said: The striving of a servant
against his low desires."

The greater jihad is associated with internal spiritual renewal through
submission to God and deep reflection on Quranic law. The lesser jihad
references the striving against external enemies of Islam. The lesser jihad
is sometimes called the "jihad of the sword" and is associated with war
against the enemies of Islam/unbelievers. The external Jihad becomes very
important in prosecuting wars against unbelievers who do not allow Muslims
to practice their religion.

The Sufi Orders of Islam always EMPHASIZE the GREATER JIHAD which is INWARD
SPIRITUAL RENEWAL. It is about conquering the slavishness and selfishness of
the lower self that tears men away from God and his law.

AGAINST THE UNBELIEVERS. Note the difference.

I believe that Mr. Hussein is a dedicated Sufi (or one who adheres to Sufi
Type concepts) and is completely the OPPOSITE of any Al-Qaeda bastard, given
this statement: (Note his distinction between Greater and Lesser Jihad.
Emphasis on Greater Jihad.)

"If you are a Muslim and follow the Muslim Warrior traditions, it is also an
indispensable part of your religious obligations. As Jihad or struggle
against the evils of the Nafs (lower self) become a daily thing, and
external actions against the purveyors of evil wishing to abuse the weaker
peoples of the world are thought of constantly. This understanding is in
sharp contrast to the loathsome modern terrorist interpretation of the word.
External Jihad in the classical understanding of the Muslim Warrior
tradition is confined to and directed against enemy combatants, never
civilians. The cowardly targeting of civilians by self propelled terror
groups like Al-Qaeda or state sponsored terrorism as is the norm for the
Israeli government, is the mark of glazed sociopaths, not real Warriors."

No one but a dedicated Sufi or Muslim who follows the idea that the Greater
Jihad is actually "greater" than the lesser Jihad would state this publicly.
Make no mistake, my friends, an Al-Qaeda tango asshole would kill a Sufi
Muslim just as he would an American. And kill a Sufi with more vengeance
because they are a "perversion" of Islam.

Yes, many of us disagree with his statement on Israel, Nevertheless he has
established himself in this statement as being directly against the ideology
of Al-Qaeda and those of the Neo-Salafi tradition.

Again, I am not defending Hussein, only pointing to the established and real
differences between these two factions of Islam. Hussein's website and
articles on Sufi Islam are in league with other articles and written beliefs
of Sufi Silat players I have come across.

4. The Intellectual Mentors of Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. Why Al-Qaeda
sees the Lesser JIHAD as the GREATER JIHAD.

The intellectual mentors of Osama Bitch Laden, Hasan- Al Banna, Sayid Qutb
and Abudllah Azzam all denied the distinctions between lesser and greater
Jihad. For them, the external Jihad against the unbeliever is the ONLY

Al-Qaeda is a splinter group of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim
Brotherhood or the Ikhwan was founded in the 1920s as a group that opposed
British colonialism.

Hasan al-Banna, founder of the Ikhwan, questioned the authenticity of the
Hadith about the Lesser and Greater Jihads. . Al-Banna stated, "The belief
is widespread among many Muslims that fighting the enemy is the lesser jihad
and that there is a greater jihad, the jihad of the spirit." He commented in
reference to the Hadith about the greater versus lesser Jihad, "This
narration is not really a sound Tradition..."

The concept of greater jihad versus lesser jihad is said to be found
directly in a number of Hadiths and inferred from some Quranic verses.
Muslims like Al-Banna have questioned the authenticity of the Hadiths that
make a distinction between greater and lesser jihad.

Al-Banna stressed the lesser jihad. He wrote that supreme martyrdom is
brought to theone who, "slays or is slain in the way of God." Al-Banna's
view of the lesser jihad as
actually being the greater jihad influenced the Ikhwan's later generations.

Al-Banna also called for war against Jews and Christians: He wrote, "there
is a clear indication of the obligation to fight the people of the Book, and
of the fact that God doubles the reward of these who fight them. Jihad is
not against polytheists alone, but against all who do not embrace Islam."

Sayid Qutb was a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood. His writings emphasize
revolution and infer that violence is quickest way to renew Islam. Sayid
Qutb denied that the lesser jihad was fought solely for defense of the
physical self or property. He argued that Muslims derived spiritual
'wealth' from engaging in a jihad against the jahiliyya or pagan world.
Jihad against the jahiliyya benefits a Muslim spiritually as it removes the
negative human institutions that prevented Muslims from practicing Islam or
non-Muslims from becoming Muslims.

Abdullah Azzam, another Muslim Brother and the real creator and intellectual
mentor of Al-Qaeda, called the Hadith about "Greater" versus "Lesser" Jihad
as inauthentic.

Al-Banna, Qutb and Azzam differed in some ways on the legal and spiritual
nature of Jihad. But they all concurred that the External Jihad against
enemies is the GREATEST JIHAD. Many followers of these freaks believe that
the lower self is conquered through the External Jihad or making war on the
enemies of Islam.

Bitch Laden was educated by Sayid Qutb's brother and studied under Azzam. He
also believes that the "Lesser" Jihad or waging war on the enemy of Islam is
the most important duty of Muslims. Another freak, Former Ikhwan member and
radical Egyptian Jihad leader Abdessalam Faraj declared that the sixth
pillar of Islam is jihad.

The Neo-Salafis hate Sufis. They disagree with them on the Lesser vs.
Greater Jihad.


Hello all,

Back from work and relaxing, hope you are all doing well also.

"The Sufi Orders of Islam always EMPHASIZE the GREATER JIHAD which is INWARD
SPIRITUAL RENEWAL. It is about conquering the slavishness and selfishness of
the lower self that tears men away from God and his law."

Mr.Blade: Nice post Sir. One thing I would like to add is that the Sufi
orders didn't stress the greater Jihad, the Warrior Prophet (pbuh) did. We
just follow the orders he left for us. Tassawuf is not a "faction" of Islam,
it is just one of the traditional sciences within Islam. The Wahabi/Salafi
school is not a problem to Tasawuf but rather a problem to traditional
Islam, as it is entirely legalistic, lacks spirituality. Traditional Islam
is very spiritual and we see the root of problems with the self and not with
others, and we focus on fixing ourselves before fixing others. Some
Wahabi/Salafis are better than others, but it is hard to find one that will
denounce the kind of violent behaviour Al-Qaeda propels its followers

"Former Ikhwan member and radical Egyptian Jihad leader Abdessalam Faraj
declared that the sixth pillar of Islam is jihad."

In Classical Islamic thought Jihad is the sixth pillar of Islam, Sayid Faraj
did not invent this. Jihad is the foundation of Islam, but in the Classical
thinking the Jihad is inner as well as outer. That is why it is the
foundation, because one struggles (Jihad) first with the self and then with
outer entities. Without knowing what is correct and what is not (inner
development and Jihad) it is impossible to ascertain who is a true enemy and
who is not. Sayid Faraj sadly chose to forget the total meaning of the word.

"The Neo-Salafis hate Sufis."

Some do and some don't, depends on who their teacher was. But most of them
do not agree with the science of Tasawuf for sure. Regardless, as long as
they are respectful they are always welcome with me and I with them as far
as my experience has been.

Mr.ColdWar: I can pull out all the violent aspects of Christian and Jewish
scripture and make it look like savage religions also. Islam is a religion
of balance between war and peace, and for every instance that there is a
passage mentioning war their will be a counter that will tell you to try and
seek peace in the conflict if it is in any way possible.


Ustaz Hussein

PS. If I see an Al-Qaeda "Tangos" I will be sure to take them out for you.


Objective reading of Islamic "Just War" Codes resemble Western Just War
Codes. Islam condemns those who "transgress" to far in war. Many Islamic
Scholars condemn and argue against the killing of civilians. I am not
stating this because I "love" Islam or because I am defending it. Just the

People like Osama Bin Laden, do pervert, Islamic just war codes when they
call for civilians to be killed.

Rumor has it, that Abudullah Azzam was against "terrorist tactics" or the
targeting of civilians. Thats one the reasons why Bin Laden killed Azzam in
a car bomb.

Islam says to respect the people of the Book. But also points out places
where Muslims made war on the people of the book. Many Muslims practice a
thing called "abrogation." Abrogation is the idea that later Surrahs or
statements in the Koran contradict or surpass earlier statements.

So if there was an early statement saying, "Protect the people of the book,"
This earlier statement would be repealed or abrogated by a later statement
saying "make war on the unbelievers."

I believe Hasan al-Banna may have been using the concept of "abrogation"
when he said to make war on Christians and Jews.

Not all Muslims practice the concept of abrogation. I can conjecture that
these Muslims would be the ones who would respect the statements of Islam
that the, "people of the book," are supposed to be protected.

I have met many Muslims who have shown great respect for Christianity. I've
met some that dislike Jews and call them "prophet killers." Some disliked
Israel Jews while they like the local Jews that lived in their country.

People are truly people. When you break down the religious barrier, most
Muslims I've met are good people to hang around with. They have never
compelled me to their religion or said their religion is better than mine.

If you say, "You weren't hanging around real Muslims." I would beg to
differ. They were pretty damn pious about their religion and would as soon
put a shank in an Al-Qaeda bastard's eye socket as I would. They all told me
how sorry they were about the Trade Center. This does not include the
pompous ass Saudis I have come across. My bud just beat the crap out of a
Saudi military officer for mouthing off to him in a far away place. Good
going man.

Radical "National Liberation Theology" is the real connection, the real
enemy. Liberation Theology is Marxist Born and has found itself being
adopted by Christians and Muslims alike.
Liberation Theology is the bridge between our radical communist, Maoist and
Muslim enemies. It has infested Christianity, primarily the Catholic wing,
and Islam.

Pro-Liberation Theology-Christian

Sandanistas and Catholic Priests on the Path of Liberation Theology

Palestinian Christians On the Path of Liberation Theology

Islamic Liberation Theology

Liberation Theology sounds pretty much the same form wherever it comes. Its
just respun through different religious matrixes. Liberation Theology hates
capitalism, the West and the best damn country that ever existed, the USA.

Liberation Theologians are not the pacifist types either. They are commie
revolutionaries or radical anti-capitalists that want to put a bullet in my
capitalist free market head.

I think this thread has probably got way off topic in a way: So here are
some other Sufi Silat sites for perusing. One of the
Sufis is a white boy.

Sufi Silat Fighting da.html

White Boy Sufi


      Hello guys,

      "Islam says to respect the people of the Book."

      Now here is an important point and I'm going to answer Mr.S's
question at the same time, "how does Islam view and teach people to treat
Jews and Christians".

      Simple. Those Jews and Christians that live amongst us or anywhere
else and do not war against us are our neighbors and are to be respected. If
they war against us then they can be fought and killed like any other enemy.
But as usual in the Qur'an, when there is talk of war and killing the enemy
viciously, somewhere close by there will be a verse saying work towards
peaceful resolution of the conflict and do not transgress the limits set by
Allah, i.e. war againt people who have done no wrong. The instances of war
against the Jews in the Qur'an refer to a problem with a specific tribe that
either betrayed a friendship pact extented by the Prophet (pbuh) or allied
with the enemies of the Muslims. It does not mean war against Jewish people
in total. At the moment the only justifiable war against the Jewish people
would be in Israel. The Jews there are a foreign occupation force oppressing
the native Muslim Palestinians. Some might not agree with this because of
brainwashing againt the Palestinian people. But I assure you Warrior
Americans, if anyone invaded California you would war against them just as
the Muslims fight against the Jewish foreign invasion army which has settled
in their country and called themselves "Israeli" rather than Polish or

      In my last explanation to Mr.S I stated an account from history, I
will do so again briefly. Spain was under Muslim control for many centuries.
It was common practice for Muslim rulers to have Jewish and Christian
ministers, doctors, and advisers. This very common practice from the time of
the Ummayad rulers who came directly after the four righteous successors of
the Prophet (pbuh) died, helped to make the Muslim empire one of the
strongest in its time. The teachings of the Qur'an to respect the Jews and
the Christians, the people of the book, was for a moral reason as well as a
practical one. Many of the Arabs were Christians or Jews before Islam and
had family members who were Christian or Jewish still. Why kill your own
family and friends if they don't want to harm you? Also the practical reason
being these people were skilled at various things the Muslim nation needed,
you kill a doctor because he is Jewish? what happens when you need medical
knowledge? better to make him a friend and a teacher to service and further
the needs of the nation. See the idea here, moral reasons as well as
practical ones.

      "Many Muslims practice a thing called "abrogation. Abrogation is the
idea that later Surrahs or statements in the Koran contradict or surpass
earlier statements."

      Blade, only the most ignorant Muslims advocate this erroneous
practice, or those with an agenda i.e. making the wrong right. If people
start abrogating parts of the Qur'an they don't like then anything goes and
we can find ways to abrogate everything that doesn't support our personal
objectives. Alot of the extremist types engage in this practice to further
their aims, but again in classical Islamic thinking abrogating is ludicrous.

      Take Care Guys,

      Ustaz Hussein

      PS. For those of you who are thinking terrorism in relation to the
Muslims in Palestine, think again. The same rules of conduct for Muslim
Soldiers apply to them, and if anyone of them intentionally targets
civilians that person is outside the correct teachings of warfare in Islam.




      You wrote: "At the moment the only justifiable war against the Jewish
people would be in Israel. The Jews there are a foreign occupation force
oppressing the native Muslim Palestinians. Some might not agree with this
because of brainwashing againt the Palestinian people. But I assure you
Warrior Americans, if anyone invaded California you would war against them
just as the Muslims fight against the Jewish foreign invasion army which has
settled in their country and called themselves "Israeli" rather than Polish
or Russian."

      And you see that is always going to be last kernel of corn in the pot
after all else is said. In the Bible God says, "I will bless those who bless
you and I will curse those who curse you". America is a Christian nation (as
hard as it is to believe at times), and we believe God. Thus we will always
side with Israel. I suspect that until Christ returns, we will be in
conflict with you over this issue in one form or another.

      You mentioned to my friend Mark about Spain. I've been there many
times. I've visitied the Alhambra and other very impressive sites. Our tour
guide, a member of the elite Spanish Legion said as we were touring the
Alhambra, "The Moors who built this wonder cannot be same people who blow
themselves up in schools". I agree with him on this.

      He has also told me of Spanish women walking in the streets of their
own land being attacked by Algerian muslims because they are not dressed
like Muslim women should be. One of our friends once sent several of these
men to the emergency room because they disrespected his wife. Are those the
same sort of men who built the Alhambra? I don't think so. Something has

      Ustaz, listen to me. We will never agree on who God really is, nor on
the issue of Israel. But I suppose we can agree on this. Men of action and
honor are the same all over the world.

      If men calling themselves Christians were running around blowing
themselves up and carrying on like the madmen we see today allegedly
claiming to be from your faith, we real Christians would spank them
violently and hard...perhaps permanently...for the sake of the faith and for
the sake of those poor ones that they would mislead.

      So you have articulated that there is a difference between the real
Islam and the Islam of the Osama Bin Ladins and others like him. You,
perhaps more than us, then have a sacred duty to take back what is yours and
stop men such as these.
            Hello Gentleman,

            "The Moors who built this wonder cannot be same people who blow
themselves up in schools". I agree with him on this.

            Mr SS: You are so right in this Sir. Somewhere along the
line in history their was a change of focus and a slow rotting process in
the Muslim world. Now the same Muslims who once fought to preserve the
integrity of Christians and Jewish neighbors are attacking them and
brutalizing them.The quality of Islam in the last three hundred years has
definitely gone down. There was a gentleman who said we shouldn't waste too
much time in history. I don't agree with this, without the historical
perspective clear we can never know what is truly correct and what is not.
No matter, it is clear that Muslim people have to concern themselves with
their own affairs first and not spende time blaming others. Essentially this
is the internal Jihad we were discussing earlier in the thread with
Mr.Blade. The internal Jihad is the essence of what Islam was and should be,
but it has been hijacked and replaced with furious mini maniacs determined
to destroy the correct way.

            " We will never agree on who God really is, nor on the issue of
Israel. But I suppose we can agree on this. Men of action and honor are the
same all over the world."

            Totally true. Men of action and honour are one and the same. We
just have to work together to kill the "tangos" amongst us. I love that

            "You, perhaps more than us, then have a sacred duty to take back
what is yours and stop men such as these."

            That is essentially the mission of our organization. To re-teach
the Muslim people about their true Warrior Culture ad not the false
terrorist one. As well as to teach non-Muslims about our arts and Chivalry.
We have helped so many young Muslim who wanted to join extremist groups to
understand the Classical Warrior thinking and see the difference between
Al-Qaeda type operations and real Fedayeen. Beieve me brother the extremist
groups hate us much more than you hate them, we steal their human resources.
The more the people start to meet the real Fedayeen of Islam the more
dedicated they are to the destruction of these groups and we give them the
physical and mental tools to get the job done.

            That is why our Silat seems to violent, because we intend to use
it against extremely violent people. The young men and women who join our
organization feel that we have the ability to lead them properly. The
command structure in the Muslim world has broken down, now there ar so many
countries. Before there was one ruler and everyone obeys, extremists were
hunted down and publicly executed by government Fedayeen. This doesn't exist
anymore and we work from what we have at hand. The terrorist groups have
vast wealth and influence, so they can brainwash entire groups of people

            "Why should the Jews and Muslims fight over the land they were
promised? Why can they not live in peace? I would be willing to bet that
Israel would gladly make peace with the Palestinians and share the land with

            Mr.Steve: The Muslims always lived together peacefully with the
Jewish people. when they turned out from all corners of the world, thery
sought refuge with us more times than not. No ghettos, mass murder or
bondage. They did quite well in Muslim countries, Morrocco has one of the
best examples of old Jewish communities thriving in Muslim countries. The
problem is not the Jewish people wanting to return to Israel, the problem is
more on how they are effecting that return. Subjugating and occupying
Palestinian forcefully and killing any and all opponents is kind of hard to
take. I don't know of any Muslim I have met who has a problem with Jews in
Palestine, Arab Jews and their families were always there. The problem is
the occupation of the Muslim people is the price to create the state of

            Also, please be careful of labeling Hamas a "terrorist" group.
Some devoted Fedayeen among Hamas will never engage in civilian attacks, but
they will blow up a bus full of Israeli Soldiers. Valid target. Those
extremists among them who target civilians should be dragged into the public
Souk (market) and decapitated with a most glorious stroke. Resistance
against occupation is not terrorism, and retaliation from the Israeli govt
against Hamas is not terrorism either, they are justified to fight. But
throwing women and children in the street and bulldozing their house,
killing their sons and torturing their fathers is as evil an act as a
Palestinian opening random fire on a group of Isaelis in Tel Aviv.

            Evil is evil, and it stinks. Regardless of which dirty hole it
gets pushed out of.

            Take Care,

            Ustaz Hussein


            Well, several anwsers to questions since I asked mine ,and still
no responce,

            Yours and Blabe Docs explanations on the form of Islam
followed,was very thoughtfully put forth. Although i tend to disagree with
Docs thought output about the corruption of Mother Church,but heck I was for
a while a Jesuit  ,

            But lets get back to my question , Mr.U you have said and posted
now several times that the non military civilians are not to be harmed ,as
long as them harm you not.

            So explain your lesson 37,on your site where it talks about
useing civilians as human shields, to escape or evade a fight.

            Because as far as I was taught there is a vast difference
between what Doc posted he was about to do, compared to what I see in your
posted lesson 37.

            And your last comment, Lets not call HAMAS a terriroist
group,because just a couple are supposed to be true warriors, says more then
you'll ever know

            Hello Mr.J,

            "So explain your lesson 37,on your site where it talks about
useing civilians as human shields, to escape or evade a fight."

            Sir I don't know where you are getting this from. There is no
place on the SMI website or the RCAG Online website that states using
"civilians" as human shields. I routinely teach using enemy hostiles as
human shields and making them "travel friends". Could this statement be
where the confusion is coming from? I am most definitely talking about enemy
hostiles in multiple assailant engagements, not civilians.

            "And your last comment, Lets not call HAMAS a terriroist
group,because just a couple are supposed to be true warriors, says more then
you'll ever know."

            Sir, Hamas like the Israeli govt has many wings. Military,
political, civilian oriented and others. Within the Israeli govt, like
Hamas, there are factions that are opposing each other. Some extremists on
both sides would love to lash out every minute and kill as many civilians as
they could, other factions do not want this. Isn't that simple to
understand? Hamas at the foundation is a resistance movement and some people
within Hamas support targeting civilians and some don't. Those who do are
wrong, those who don't are justified in fighting the resistance against a
foreign occupying power.

            Hamas just like the Israeli govt is both good and bad, so if you
want to call Hamas a terrorist group then you can just as well call the
Israeli govt terrorists. Extremists on both sides are the problem and are
using terrorist tactics, not the legitimate Warriors fighting each other. No
decent Soldier will kill civilians whether he is Muslim or Jewish.


            Ustaz Hussein

                  Originally Posted by Ustaz Hussein
                  That is essentially the mission of our organization. To
re-teach the Muslim people about their true Warrior Culture ad not the false
terrorist one. As well as to teach non-Muslims about our arts and Chivalry.

                  The problem is not the Jewish people wanting to return to
Israel, the problem is more on how they are effecting that return.
Subjugating and occupying Palestinian forcefully and killing any and all
opponents is kind of hard to take. I don't know of any Muslim I have met who
has a problem with Jews in Palestine, Arab Jews and their families were
always there. The problem is the occupation of the Muslim people is the
price to create the state of Israel.

            I must say that seeing someone discuss the Muslim faith and
Chivary in the same sentence is interesting and refreshing.

            The question I wished to ask you about Israel is this. What is
the alternative for them?

            The UN created Israel by mandate in 1948 (though by what "right"
the UN has to "mandate" anything is certainly open to question). But like it
or not Israel is there to stay.

            They were faced by attackers from within and outside their
borders from their moment of inception by groups that threatened to push
them into the sea.

            So what are they to do? Negociate? While it might be possible
with some of the surrounding countries those that control the Arab lands in
Palastine are not interested in negociating anything that does not call for
the destruction of Israel.

            I am sure that there are those that would be willing to come to
some sort of agreement with Israel but they are in the minority and must be
careful about speaking up or they themselves might be targeted.

            So I guess I am asking what is Israel to do?


            Hello Mr.S,

            Nice to hear from you again Sir.

            "I must say that seeing someone discuss the Muslim faith and
Chivary in the same sentence is interesting and refreshing."

            True Islam as taught by the Prophet (pbuh) is nothing but the
road of Chivaly (Futawa). The problem is the Wahabi group. I will stop
calling them Salafis because the Salaf are the people who lived the first
200 years after the Prophet, not now. The Wahabis have infiltrated the minds
of ignorant Muslims and infused them with an Islam that is legalistic,
non-spiritual and totally devoid of the Chivalrous characteristics the
Prophet (pbuh) taught from the Qur'an. Mr.Suarez was dead on when he said
that something changed from the time of the Muslim Empire in Spain.
Traditional Islam got hijacked by these heretical cults and supported by not
very decent outside influences wishing to sow discord in our nation. I will
state again that I believe 90% of the problems within the Muslim Nation are
our own doing, but the Wahabi issue is a direct result of western
interference. Now we are all paying the price in blood and tears.

            "The question I wished to ask you about Israel is this. What is
the alternative for them?"

            Israel is a strong country, they do not need to negotiate for
anything with anyone except for their own conscience and soul. We don't need
to play word games and silly politics when people are dying around us. The
Israelis know very well that the land they inhabit is the land the
Palestinian people were living on before and have a right to live on now. If
they control the land and call it Israel and Palestinians control their land
and call it Palestine, that is the best negotiation. We have lived with the
Jewish people for centuries before anyone ever heard of Tel Aviv or the UN
Mandate, they are not new to us or us to them. The most important thing to
do is stop the occupation of Palestine, routine and brutal subjugation and
murder, and give the Palestinians a reason to live and a reason to make

            The Israeli Military has the highest suicide rate among
Militaries in all the world, this is not because Soldiers are having a bad
day with the wife. It is because they don't even know what they are fighting
for anymore. Their "protection" of Israel has turned into a full blown
occupation and subjugation of millions of people. The Soldiers are being
forced to take part in something they know is wrong. I have met so many
Israeli Soldiers, Special Ops and Regular Soldiers. Until now I have yet to
meet one who doesn't just wish the whole nightmare could end and the two
groups could live together in a safe environment. They are tough men and
will fight to the death for their country, but most of them hate the
occupation as much as we do.

            So in conlusion, what I think they can do is seriously try to
negotiate and create a Palestinian state, with the Al-Aqsa Mosque, that will
live side by side with the Jewish people peacefully as we did for a
millenium and then some.

            I hope this clarifies my position a bit.


            Ustaz Hussein

            I've got some long posts on Al-Qaeda. I thought about starting
another thread in the Roundtable. But thought the posts continue with the
flow of this thread on explaining the differences of Islam and Islamic
interpretation of Jihad. I am going to break them up for easier reading.
            My analysis of Al-Qaeda is that it is a product of three strains
of thought: 1. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Violent Splinter Groups;
(2) Wahhabism and (3) Liberation Theology.

            1. Hasan al-Banna -Founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood or
Ikwhan (Created in 1920s)

            Read Here:

            Al-Banna is a complex figure. Al-Banna was a political visionary
that launched the first successful mass based political-social Muslim
organization of the 20th Century. Al-Banna came from a Sufi Order in Egypt
(There is debate about his Sufi roots, but that is another topic for
academic study). Whatever his traditional roots are, he was the one of the
main Islamic thinkers of the modern time to strip away the meaning of the
Greater Jihad and emphasize External Jihad. So if he was a Sufi, he turned
on one Sufism's or traditional Islam's main tenets.

            Al-Banna was an Islamic revivalist social reformer, a
humanitarian and anti-Western. He blamed Western educational institutions
and schools in the Islamic world for corrupting Islam. Al-Banna saw Islam as
a complete way of life. He formed the Brotherhood's structure so that it
would also permeate life in every aspect. Al-Banna cre
29081  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 30, 2006, 10:40:41 AM

I know lots of us have a lot of questions, but please lets be sure to keep in mind that we have only one Muslim with us at the moment and not overwhelm him with too many questions at one time.

29082  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 30, 2006, 03:31:53 AM
Good to have you back with us Sitbatan.

Please allow me to clarify that I did not think myself to be interpreting the passages I quoted-- only reading them to mean what they seem to say.  If there are additional contexts or passages that flesh out their meanings to be other than their seemingly plain meaning, then please help us understand.  I know I threw a lot of quotes out there-- please feel free to take them one at a time.

I have just taken a quick look at the website URL you have shared with us and have flagged it for further reading.  Thank you.

I see on its front page it quotes Muhammad thusly:

About 1400 years ago, in his last sermon, Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) said:

?All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white ? except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware: Do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.?

I'm not trying to be aggressive here, but this sure sounds like he is saying that it is OK to take from us infidels.  Please help me understand.

At it says:

Tolerance, Respect and Safeguard for Non-Muslims
The following excerpts are mostly from Dr. Ahmad Sakr's book, "Muslims and Non-Muslims, Face to Face" (isbn: 091119-31-9).

A deputation from the Christians of Najran (Yemen) came to see Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) in Madina. They came into the Prophet's Mosque (Masjid Nabawi) as he prayed the afternoon prayer. The time of prayers of Christians having come, they stood and prayed in the Prophet's Mosque, and the Prophet said that they were to be left to do so. (see The Life of Muhammad by A. Guillaume).

During the life of Prophet Muhammad, the Jews in Madina had a synagogue and an educational institute, Bait-Al-Midras. The Prophet preserved the institute and gave protection to the Jews.

The Prophet respected the autonomy of the Christian churches. The nomination and the appointment of bishops and priests was left to the Christian community itself.

Prophet Muhammad promoted cooperation between Muslims and Christians in the political arena as well. He selected a non-Muslim, 'Amr-ibn Umaiyah-ad-Damri, as an ambassador to Negus, the King of Ethiopia.

The Prophet sent a message to the monks of Saint Catherine in Mount Sinai:

   "This is a message written by Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, far and near, we are behind them. Verily, I defend them by myself, the servants, the helpers, and my followers, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be changed from their jobs, nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they (Christians) are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, this is not to take place without her own wish. She is not to be prevented from going to her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation is to disobey this covenant till the Day of Judgment and the end of the world."
March 28, 2002
How does this square with the passage I quoted about taxing and submitting jews and gentiles?

Thanking you in advance for your reply,
29083  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 29, 2006, 10:37:21 AM
Although I have heard internet gossip about this group, the following statement seems pretty straightforward and manly to me:

SMI's Offical Statement on Terrorism and Related Criminal Activity

Recently there have been many requests from individuals interested in knowing our official status regarding the issue of terrorism. Being one of the largest organizations in the world promoting Traditional Muslim Warrior Culture and Chivalry to Muslims and Non-Muslims, it is our duty to address this very serious issue publicly and clearly. Please read the official statement of Ustaz Hussein Udom, Khalifa of Silat Mubai International.


Dear SMI Members and Friends,

The issue of terrorism is a very serious one that can not be ignored without paying a heavy price. There have been many people of late who have paraded themselves around as "Mujahideen", Muslim Warriors,  then go on to take part in hideous crimes against their fellow human beings. This kind of hypocrisy and foulness is the exact opposite of what our Warrior Tradition and Chivalry has taught for centuries. SMI strives to teach people the authentic Military Traditions of the Warrior Prophet Muhamad, peace and blessing be upon him, and therefore we can never allow ourselves to take part in or support any actions that are outside of the spirit of this tradition. Even if that action is against an enemy force. The specific targeting of civilians in combat operations, offensive or defensive, has been clearly prohibited by the Prophet Muhamad (pbuh) himself on multiple occasions and we are transmitted these traditions from authenticated (Sahih) narrations of his companions. These have been the standing rules of engagement for the Muslim Army (Jaysh) and Fedayeen (Special Operations Forces) for centuries and will never change.

Any and all individuals who go against this ruling and who specifically target civilians are no longer acceptable under the banner of the Warriors. They fall short of the main requirement necessarry to be considered a true Warrior, Honour. Therefore they should be treated like any other criminal and brought to justice in one way or another. SMI completely supports justified combative action against an enemy as long as the Warriors respect the Military regulations of the Rasool of Allah Muhamad Ibn Abdullah, peace and blessing be upon him. Unjust wars against innocent people are a sure ticket to perdition and a shameful mockery of the great Military legacy the Muslim Warrior Traditions have been famed for and dedicated to preserving.

May we all remain on the straight path.

Ustaz Hussein Udom Al-Hanafi Al-Qadiri
Khalifa/Keeper of the System
Chief Tactical Instructor
Silat Mubai International
29084  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 29, 2006, 10:30:35 AM
Woof All:

I see that Bryan has deleted all his posts except for his good bye.  Oh well, we'll just have to struggle on , , ,

The Adventure continues,
29085  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 29, 2006, 09:12:19 AM
By the way, I just noticed that Sibatan posted this clip's URL:

The assertions in this clip apparently are quite common in much of the Muslim world.  Would anyone care to offer a calm and reasoned assessment of this clip for Sibatan?  This seems to me a perfect subject for dialog.
29086  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 29, 2006, 08:34:23 AM
Woof All:

Rogt wrote:

"Like the parts about homosexuals being an abomination? I think we can agree that more than "hardly anyone" in the US takes those parts very seriously."

My comment was made with many other passages in mind, but I must acknowledge that this is a rational argument.  I would point out that this very point is vigorously contested within the various Christian groups and by non-Christian groups as well, without threats and violence.  

Rogt quotes me:

"As is readily seen by all members in our Association in the vigorous threads on the Association forum, one is free to think President Bush a vile idiot, our strategy in the War on Islamic Fascism profoundly wrong, and so forth."

He answers:

"So we're free to think the war is wrong, but your use of the term "War on Islamic Fascism" implies what exactly, if not that thinking it's wrong makes one pro-Islamic Fascism?"  

Please read the sentence again-- I said "our STRATEGY in the WOIF". To think we follow the wrong strategy does not make one in favor of our enemy.  A simple point really.

Which brings me to the key point:  THERE IS AN ENEMY.

In my opinion, there is no quitting in Iraq and going back to the way we used to think things were.  This enemy is out there and continues to try his best to do us harm.  This enemy uses terrorism to target civilians, here in America, in Spain, in England, in Spain, in Holland, in Russia, throughout Europe, in Canada, in Australia, in Bali, in Thailand and, it is worth noting, in Afghanistan and Iraq.    

This enemy is trying to kill our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.  This enemy has openly declared that democracy is "against Islam" and targets civilians (fellow Muslims) there who work towards democracy.  This enemy seeks weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear devices, to use upon us.  This enemy is perfectly willing and capable of flying a jet airliner into a nuclear plant so as to leave the surrounding country glowing for centuries.

As I see it, this is the point of the Jihadi target in the foto.

Let?s review a point I made previously:

?Until then, my questions for you-- why do you assume that all Muslims are the intended target instead of only the fascists amongst you? Did not the United States stop England, France and Israel in 1956 from retaking the Suez Canal? Have we not had close military alliance with democratic Turkey for many decades? Did not the United States strongly support Afghanistan when it was invaded by the Soviet Empire? Did we not stop Saddam Hussein from conquering Kuwait and threatening the entire Arabian Peninsula? Did we not institute "no-fly zones" when he went to obliterate the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south of Iraq? Did we the United States not save the Muslims of Yugoslavia while Europe dithered? Did we not free Afghanistan from the religious fascism of the Taliban? (Whither Afghanistan now is of course a separate question.) Has not Iraq had three elections and does it not now have its own government? Do we not spill our own blood so that this can succeed? Did we not help the people of Indonesia after the terrible wave? Did we not help the people in the mountains of Pakistan after the terrible earthquake??

Unwilling to limit himself to persuasion, that fellow in the target there targets the majority of Muslims of Iraq, be they Kurds, Shiites or Sunnis, who want to have democracy.  That fellow there in the target does the same to the Muslims of Afghanistan.  That fellow there in the target calls us "infidels" and targets us.

I think the following piece from the highly respected British magazine ?The Economist? gets the big picture right.

May 29, 2005

'No god but God': The War Within Islam

THESE are rough times for Islam. It is not simply that frictions have intensified lately between Muslims and followers of other faiths. There is trouble, and perhaps even greater trouble, brewing inside the Abode of Peace itself, the notional Islamic ummah or nation that comprises a fifth of humanity.

News reports reveal glimpses of such trouble -- for instance, in the form of flaring strife between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in places like Iraq and Pakistan. Yet the greater tensions, while similarly rooted in the distant past, are less visible to the wider world. The rapid expansion of literacy among Muslims in the past half-century, and of access to new means of communication in the last decade, have created a tremendous momentum for change. Furious debates rage on the Internet, for example, about issues like the true meaning of jihad, or how to interpret and apply Islamic law, or how Muslim minorities should engage with the societies they live in.

What is unfolding, Reza Aslan argues in his wise and passionate book, ''No god but God,'' is nothing less than a struggle over who will ultimately define the sweeping ''Islamic Reformation'' that he believes is already well under way across much of the Muslim world. The West, he says, is ''merely a bystander -- an unwary yet complicit casualty of a rivalry that is raging in Islam over who will write the next chapter in its story.''

Amid the surge of Western interest in Islam since 9/11, other quiet voices have argued similarly that the historical process we are witnessing is less a clash of civilizations than a working out of suppressed internal conflicts. Aslan's contribution to this line of thought is threefold. He traces the dogmatic splits in Islam to their historical origins. He provides a speculative but well-reasoned look at how Muslim beliefs are likely to evolve. And he does all this beautifully, in a book that manages to be both an incisive, scholarly primer in Muslim history and an engaging personal exploration.

Aslan does not shy from controversy. Conservative Muslims will certainly challenge some of his bold assertions -- among them, that there is scant support in authentic Islamic tradition for the veiling of women; that laws are created by people, not God; and that, as he puts it, ''the notion that historical context should play no role in the interpretation of the Koran -- that what applied to Muhammad's community applies to all Muslim communities for all time -- is simply an untenable position in every sense.''

Yet even the most hidebound traditionalists would find it hard to refute the main thrust of his argument, which is that the original message of Islam, egalitarian, inclusive, progressive and liberating, has been twisted and diminished over time. Aslan is at his best in trying to explain and recapture what was initially inspiring about Islam and what remains powerful -- things that can be hard for outsiders to see these days because of what some do in the name of their faith.

By carefully drawing in the social and political setting from which Islam emerged, Aslan presents a persuasive case for viewing the religion as very much a product of its age. He notes the appearance in the region of Mecca, during the prophet's youth, of religious fashions like iconoclasm and the fusing of faiths into one embracing doctrine, ideas that were to become central to Muhammad's message. Not just outsiders but Muslims themselves need reminding that during Islam's first centuries, the Torah was often read alongside the Koran. Both Muslims and their detractors also often forget that the Koran calls specifically on Jews, Christians and Muslims to ''come to an agreement on the things we hold in common.''

Aslan's wish to emphasize the tolerant, merciful side of Islam can lead to pitfalls. It is not particularly comforting to learn that when the prophet triumphantly returned to Mecca, the city of his birth that had rejected him, there were no forced conversions and ''only'' six men and four women were put to the sword. The killing and enslavement of Jewish tribes at Medina receives a similarly light gloss, although Aslan may be right to point out that their ''Jewishness'' may have been rather vaguely defined.

Whatever the case, he is clearly correct in stating that the more damaging influences on the faith were yet to come. Over the 14 centuries that followed Muhammad's 22 years of revelation, Muslim kings and scholars distorted its tenets to serve their own narrow interests, and then cast these accretions in stone. Not only were the words of the Koran reinterpreted, but so were the hundreds of thousands of traditions and sayings collected by the prophet's contemporaries. As one example, Muhammad's comment that the ''feebleminded'' should not inherit was taken by some to mean that women should be excluded from inheritance, despite the clear Koranic injunction to grant women half the portion of male inheritors.

Immediately after Islam's glorious early years of expansion, a great intellectual clash pitted rigid literalists against more rationalist interpreters. That the rationalists essentially lost is a subject of lament for Muslim modernists, particularly Western-educated intellectuals like Aslan, an Iranian-American scholar of comparative religion. His arguments for reintroducing rationalism, for accepting the utility of secularization and for contextualizing the historical understanding of the faith all put him in distinguished company among contemporary Muslims.

The Syrian reformist Muhammad Shahrour, for instance, proposes an elegant solution to the question of how to apply the controversial corporal punishments specified by most understandings of Islamic law, or Shariah. Instead of taking what some see as God's rules literally, he suggests that things like hand-chopping should be viewed as the maximum possible penalty. Anything more severe would contravene Islam, but it would be up to a secular, elected legislature to determine what lesser level of severity to apply.

Sadly, the dominant voices in Islam are still those that see the faith not simply as a path of moral guidance but as a rigidly prescriptive and exclusive rule book. Ferment is certainly in the air. If the Osama bin Ladens of the world have achieved one thing, it is to force Muslims to confront some of their demons. Even archconservative Saudi Arabia is slowly evolving. In April, its top religious authority declared that forcing a woman to marry against her will was an imprisonable offense. A full-blown ''reformation'' in the heartlands of Islam, however, is still a long way off.

Max Rodenbeck is the Middle East correspondent for The Economist.


Cancer in its midst'
By M. Zuhdi Jasser
March 30, 2006

During the dark days of our Revolution, Thomas Paine wrote, "That these are the times, that try men's souls." As an American Muslim, I feel the sentiment of these words like a red-hot brand on my brain.

    I have watched horrified as assassins have read out the words from my Holy Koran before slitting the throats of some poor innocent souls. To my non-comprehending eyes, I have seen mothers proudly support their sons' accomplishment of blowing up innocent people as they eat or travel. It shatters some part of me, to see my faith as an instrument for butchery.

    It makes me hope and pray for some counter-movement within my faith which will push back all this darkness. And I know that it must start with what is most basic -- the common truth that binds all religions: "Do unto others, as you would have them do onto you." The Golden Rule.

    But that is not what I am seeing taught in a great deal of the Muslim world today, and, unfortunately, in America it's just not much better.

    Night after night, I see Muslim national organizations like the Council for American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, cry out over and over about anecdotal victimization while saying and doing absolutely nothing about the most vile hate-speak and actions toward Jews and Christians in the Muslim world. It is the most self-serving of outrage.

    The question I ask myself in the darkness of my own night is, "How did my beautiful faith become so linked with such ugliness." To me, the answer is both deep and simple. A spiritual path must be only about the spiritual while a worldly path must be about this world. When the two get mixed together, it brings out the very worst in both.

    Much of what passes today for religious thought and action is actually political. When I hear a sermon in a mosque about the horrors of Israeli occupation, I know that the political arena has taken over the spiritual one. When I see the actions of suicide bombers praised or excused by religious leaders, I know that this politicization is complete. But the current Muslim leadership in groups like CAIR and others want only to talk of victimization. So, it is now high time for a new movement by Muslims in America and the West.

    We in the Muslim community need to develop a new paradigm for our organizations and think tanks which holds Muslims publicly accountable for the separation of the political from the spiritual. Gone should be the day where individuals and their organizations can hide behind the cloak of victimization as a smoke screen for what they really believe.

    I do believe that religions have cycles that they go through. Christianity was once a highly intolerant faith. Jews were labeled as "Christ killers" and the colored peoples of the Third World were people whose native faith was like ragged clothes to be torn off their bodies.

    Thank God those days are over. Now my faith community must do the same. It should be the true test of a Muslim, not so much how he treats a fellow Muslim but how he treats someone of another faith.

    Time is not on our side and the volatile radical minority of Muslims could strike again at any time. But, while true change among Muslims may take generations, our history teaches us that once we start the ideological battle, nothing can counter the power of freedom, pluralism and the desire for human rights.

    There are some small signs that my community is finally beginning to wake up to the cancer in its midst. We are learning something that was the central lesson of World War II -- that once aroused, evil never stays self-contained.

    For many in my faith, it was all right to blow up innocent Israelis as they sat in their cafes and pizza parlors. Through some tortured act of logic, these suicide bombings were seen as some sort of legitimate religion-sanctioned acts. (All the while, notice how few Muslim organizations like CAIR will denounce Hamas by name). But, as evil always does, it migrates, and soon radical Muslims were blowing up little children in Russia, commuters in Spain and worshippers in one of Iraq's holiest mosques.

    Maybe our first true wake-up call was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's homicide attack on the wedding party in Jordan. Because now, the evil unleashed on the occupying Jews had landed on the doorstep of Muslims as they partook in a joyous wedding day.

    That is the lesson that we in the Muslim community are now learning. Do evil to anyone and eventually it will boomerang on you. Perhaps, that's a good place to start. Let the barometer of our faith be how we treat our Jewish friends, because in the end, that is how we will eventually treat ourselves.
    M. Zuhdi Jasser is chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. A former Navy lieutenant commander, he currently is an internist in private practice in Phoenix.

AIFD Commentary
The Synergy of Libertarianism and Islam
May 6, 2006
M. Zuhdi Jasser
Vital Speeches of the Day, May 2006
Vital Speeches of the Day


Address by M. ZUHDI JASSER, Chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy
Delivered to the Economics Discussion Group of Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona, October 19, 2005

When it comes to libertarian ideology and its synergy with Islam, mine is a minority opinion within the "current" Muslim community. My prayer is that it is a majority opinion within the Muslim conscience.

It is my belief as a Muslim that libertarianism is a prerequisite for piety and for a pure unadulterated relationship with God. Faith must be personal in order to be "faith". Moreover, what is faith?-but a belief in that which cannot be proven but does exist and for which one may be held accountable? Islam as I know it and practice it is a personal faith without encumbrance external to my own physical being, to myself. It is unencumbered by clergy, or a man-made hierarchy.

It is my belief as a Muslim that liberty is necessary for religion and religion is necessary for liberty.

The independent nature of this relationship is at the core of the success of both ideologies-a virtual covalent bond.

What is Islam as a religion? What is Islam to me?

Islam is derived from the root term selama, "to surrender or submit" to God. Thus, in reference to the relationship of the soul with God, the almighty creator, the soul is only at "peace" [selam] if it has completely submitted to the will of God. One will achieve the ultimate free will-the purest of liberty and truth-if a Muslim has submitted to God. The crux of the matter is thus what is exactly meant by this submission. I could elaborate ad nauseam about what this concept is "not". But today I will only focus on what it "is" to me. I will focus on what my faith is, in forming who I am as a libertarian Muslim.

Interestingly, while we may have a few quibbles on whether I tow the line of libertarianism in areas of a forward foreign policy or accepting government payments in my medical practice, I believe the area in my life in which I am a strict uncompromising libertarian is in my relationship with God. This relationship is unidirectional. While I am a creation of God, my understanding and manifestation of that relationship is entirely created by me and enacted by me. The vehicle of internal harmony which I utilize to achieve peace in my relationship with God is one based on the Truth that my perception of God is that He is real and all encompassing, omnipresent, omnipotent, and all empowering in a divine humility. In the absence of a belief in a Creator and the free will He (the Creator) placed within me to choose to believe in Him, I am left inexorably with the emptiness of self-worship (this is a binary formula similar to many other binary choices in life). The presupposition of His creation is initiated with Free Will (Liberty).

In the Koran, God tells Muslims-"If I so desired to I could have forced you to believe, but I did not." Thus to believe in God and his faith is to believe an individual's choice is his or hers alone and must be free of coercion or else the entire faith is abrogated and irreconcilable. The purity of this choice, this liberty to believe, is unequaled in life for it is this choice over which all else is measured and over which I believe, as a believer, I will be judged in the Hereafter. The existence of a Day of a Judgment by the creator establishes the binary nature of life. Good and bad, joy and sadness, or pleasure and pain without both we know neither.

The decision, or any of our exercises of freedom and free will, are meaningless if they are not finalized with a judgment or an observation from the Creator. Joy is meaningless without pain. Love is meaningless without hate or apathy. This choice and final arbitration is the ultimate chance and the ultimate test of liberty. While we always seek to understand life, to understand God is to have that comfort of an explanation for all that in life which defies explanation no matter how hard I try. This is the submission. With liberty as the core truth upon which we all agree, the variation of that Truth whether the God of Abraham through Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, or any other faith is very personal with all being possibly the 'right path'.

Relevant historical landmarks of the Islamic faith

The religion of Islam was brought to this world from God, Muslims believe through a revelation transmitted by the angel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammed beginning in 610 C.E. and ending in 633 C.E. This revelation intermittently was compiled to form the Muslim holy book-the Holy Qur'an. The faith was not revealed to Jews or Christians in order to convert them, but rather to the pagans of Arabia who had no moral code, and wallowed in materialism, arrogance, ignorance, and tribalism.

In the Qur'an, God retells many of the stories of Judaism and Christianity to the Muslims of Arabia from Adam to Abraham to Moses to Jesus.

Mohammed wore many hats, and in reading the Qur'an one notes that it is very clear in the passages when God is referring to Mohammed as His Prophet, as His Messenger, or as the head of state. This shared role certainly stretches one's ability to purely separate the concepts of religion and state. But in the scheme of history, the revelation of Islam had been a profound step forward in the journey toward liberty and in the journey to separate that of this world from that of the next. The creation of the city-state of Medina and its compact with the many tribes of various faiths in the region rests in history as one of man's greatest steps forward in establishing an example of pluralism and a governmental contract guaranteeing liberty and freedom from government and of religion regardless of faith. This was based upon a foundation of Islamic law, the sharia. So a knowledge of the legal processes of the faith of Islam was prerequisite.

For centuries this foundation became the basis of a new global liberty. Many in fact fled Europe to escape the persecution of medieval Christianity of the time in exchange for the open society of the Islamic world. Paul Johnson, in the History of the Jews refers to this period in the 12th Century as the Golden Age of Judaism. Islamic renaissance brought forward Greek philosophy, new sciences of algebra, applied mathematics, astronomy, advanced medicine (Avicenna's Canon of Medicine), and a cumulative experiential law based upon local precedents with little central authority.

The positive contributions to the world of Islamic society from 650 to 1500 are numerous and are the subjects of treatises. But, what followed is also a complicated history which through a number of stages led to the deconstruction of the Muslim community.

With the Ottoman Empire closed were the days of religious ijtihad-the interpretation of Islamic scripture in light of modern day understanding. The independence of religious centers of higher learning was a thing of the past. The dynamic nature of religious law in a precedent system similar to that of western courts of today was no more under the militarized Ottomans. This culminated in Ataturk outlawing the Arabic language and stifling any ability for attempts at ijtihad.

The Twentieth Century brought Muslims a colonial change, a change which distanced them even further from a modern interpretation of their faith. After the World Wars the abrupt withdrawal of foreign forces left some hope for democracy and freedom, but the vacuum and demilitarization of the people empowered coups and installed dictatorships across the Middle East. These dictatorships and oil monarchies ultimately completed the destruction of Muslim civilization, institutionalized corruption, and brought much of the community back to pre-Islamic tribalism, and moral vacancy. The only religious institutions fostered were those which catered to the despots and fostered radicalism. Witness the spread of salafism, Wahhabism, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the litany of other fundamentalist ideologies and their offspring militant organizations. The exploitation of the religion of Islam for political divisiveness spread throughout the Muslim world. Political Islam (Islamism) was born and remains the primary affliction of the Muslim world.

That which is sacred is above the scientific and the rational which is open to critique and deconstruction. As Abdelkarim Soroush, author of Reason, Freedom, and Democracy in Islam: the Writings of Abdelkarim Soroush states, "religious geometry or religious thermodynamics are possible in only as far as one presupposes that the world has a common source of truth otherwise the 'religious' is separate from science." He further asks, "How can human beings fraught with error create 'infallible' governments or churches?"

Dr. Soroush further states, Religion in Islam from the Qur'an is "a language of duties not rights". Humans are simply being given commandments by a supreme authority in a language of sharia' (rules of God transmitted to Muslims no different from 'mitzvot" of Judaism). But yet it remains that the ultimate acceptance and governance is still divinely individual-in point of fact libertarian.

If one were to sit down and write rules for one's own home, even though there is a strict set of rules, it would still be libertarian since the introduction, acceptance, continuation or the end of the rules would remain voluntary. While much of the Qur'an is rules, the acceptance of them is purely individual and is to be left inviolable by society.

The Muslim concept of sin and forgiveness as it relates to liberty

To a Muslim, infants are born pure and sin-free without need for baptism. In fact, it is felt in Islamic theology that children who die before the age of reason, age of true choice or liberty, are not judged by God negatively for any reason and are believed to go to heaven by His decision as a result of their purity. Once beyond the age when the superego and the soul understand right from wrong, at death an individual awaits God's judgment.

Muslims believe that life's actions are the ultimate barometer of faith on earth. In the end, Muslim theology imparts that God will judge these actions in a "bal?anced" fashion with an all-encompassing assessment of our good and bad deeds of our life. The only beliefs judged are those in regards to Him. The others are opinions related to this earth and are part of the shades of gray of human interac?tions. On earth it is not obligations but a measure of gain and loss as measured by a number of issues form one's intentions to the final arbiter-God.

Thus, individuals choose alone, and sin alone. No one else, not even the parent will be there on the day of Judgment to bear the sin (thus the major deviation from Christianity over 'salvation' or 'Jesus taking on our sins' or 'the assurance of heaven based only on salvation-there is no assurances of heaven in Islam regardless of what some may say). Confes?sion or absolution of sins by a third party is antithetical to Islam. The need for baptism to wash away sins of birth is also not in line with the essence of Islamic concepts of faith, liberty. The analogy of Adam choosing sin and thus we are all born to sin is also antithetical to Islamic concepts of sin and purity at birth.

As I stated at the outset, it is my belief as a Muslim that liberty is necessary for religion and religion is necessary for liberty. The independent nature of this relationship is at the core of the success of both ideologies-a supernatural covalent bond. In the first, as I mentioned, the loss of liberty negates actual faith and God's tests or challenges of free will then become rote actions of coercion. In the second, religion brings with it the definition of a value system or morality which forms the superego and allows society to function in security in the absence of the 'state'.

Now 'Godless' individuals can have a similar value system as a utilitarian argument. However, it is my belief that engrained within free will is an arrogance, a vacuum of humility, which without reigning in by religion and by a 'fear' or put more precisely a 'respect' for God, could not otherwise lead to a globally moral society. We have seen this in the pagan societies before Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is in a way absurd to assume that the freedom, and liberty of today's society and our great advancements came from anywhere else other than as a result of a pious Judeo-Christian-Islamic culture albeit after wresting control away from religion (but still in the ever-presence of religion and its values). To say that atheism or paganism can now be successful whether or not moral, is like allowing the Chinese to claim a benefit from globalization and then saying that their communism created the success of their free markets.

Complete Equality of all human beings

Islam has no 'church structure', no institutional, hierarchy: all human beings are equal (even the Messengers of God)

This lack of institutionalization is certainly not obvious to a student of the so-called Muslim world, but as a devout libertarian Muslim, it's the only way I see my faith. The Koran is the only direct communication of the creator with Muslims and nothing else represents him. Thus the communication was one way via our messenger just as prior messengers and now we communicate personally in the other direction through prayer. This communication, this relationship would be inexorably altered if an intermediary were to step in with constricting rules as to the mechanism or 'permission.' In the end if it is clear that God will judge individuals on Judgment in isolation from anyone else, then they must be free of any hierarchical control or interpretative leadership.

In fact, in my own tradition of Sunni Islam (as compared to Shia) it is felt that 'ceremonial' practice is discouraged since it empowers a pseudo-clergy which may in the end interfere in this liberal relationship between an individual and God. From this innate close relationship comes the need to maintain its pure monotheism. Thus, in Islam one finds a distinct differentiation or theological disagreement with the Christian concept of the Trinity. The supernatural power and nature of God in his spirit is acknowledged but never separated from his oneness (tawhid). The Qur'an strictly describes that God begets none and is not begotten. This variant understanding of Jesus Christ as messenger of God in Islam versus son of God in Christianity is the primary theological difference between the faiths.

Thus, one understands the prohibition in Islam of giving God a human characteristic and also the prohibition of a picture of any of the prophets or deification of individuals no matter how great or pious.

The Legal Tradition of Islam

The sharia evolved in Islam as a legal framework from which to enact the moral guidance of God as enumerated in the Qur'an. This was lent to over centuries by scholars and jurists schooled in the religious law. The evolution was similar to the development of any precedent based juristic law. Just as our own American law evolved side by side with the original U.S. Constitution, religious law can evolve similarly side by side with the Qur'an. Its dynamic modernization is reflected off of the original intent of the primary document and its current understanding. This is with the most important caveat that these two legal systems should remain completely separate.

This separation is the essence of the conflict between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world of the twenty-first century. I am an originalist in U.S. law and separately and similarly a classically liberal originalist and modernist in my own interpretation of the Holy Qur'an.

Accepting and rejecting Islam

While history of the spread of Islam is rife with assertions of the meanings of 'jihad', in today's world it is clear that this word, jihad is one of a militaristic coercion of religion. Based on the libertarian ideology of faith which I practice, any individual who expresses vocally let alone physically a need to change another individual has violated his own faith. Faith is simply limited to God's role with that individual. Any interference by any other individual violates the whole premise of faith in God.

In my understanding of my own faith of Islam, even the correction of minor transgressions of religious law are forbid?den between individuals for our moral behavior teaches us to honor individual independence and teach by subtle example not by coercion or even suggestion.

Free markets and Islam

The very nature of Islamic banking is free of collectivism and inherently decentralized. Profit-making, the invisible hand, and the 'virtue of selfishness" are all precepts to which I find no conflict within my faith and in fact I find encourage?ment within my faith.

I am going to use an analogy to the Islamic injunction against clergy. God states in the Qur'an, that he created natural needs of hunger, thirst, and intimacy and the clerical need to remain celibate is unnatural and violates the virtue of the sanctity of marriage. Free markets are the same. As long as we utilize our wealth in moral ways investment in capitalistic institutions is very Islamic and encouraged.

Some cite the prohibition of interest as anti-capitalistic. First of all, it is strictly usury which is discussed. Since lower interest rates could be interpreted as fees by simple semantic changes. But the intent of the theological argument is that all parties in a financial capital risk in fact share the risk. There should be no involved parties insulated from risk in the free market. For example, Islamic charity is prescribed to be 2.5% of one's savings (assets). Thus, the more one spends and the less one hoards, the less charity God commands us to spend. This seems to be a resounding endorsement of the free market and concept of 'virtue of selfishness'.

It is interesting to also note that Rose Wilder Lane in her book, Islam and the Discovery of Freedom cites the period of the introduction of Islam into the Arabian peninsula as one of the three major revolutions in man toward capitalism and free markets.

Libertarianism and Islam

Is Islam, is this a system of government? Islamism most certainly is while Islam most certainly is not. Islam does carry a set of laws and thus has an inherent rule of law which is inherent also within that which we understand as classical liberalism or libertarianism. But this is separate and without government.

Religion is negated by the abrogation of free will to the state. Actions prescribed by God, once they are prescribed by the state no longer become actions of faith but are actions of slavery imposed by a state. From charity to civic service to morality in dress and conduct, freedom and liberty allow one to exercise a moral faith. Just as libertarianism is abrogated by governmental control so to is a pious individually practiced Islam.

The concept of inalienable rights is a deeply religious one which without this foundation one could argue we should rather have a Darwinian society of the survival of the fittest rather than the freest.

Predicated upon the Muslim belief of God passing judgment is that this judgment is not only over the test of life's challenges and of one's moral failures and successes as an independent soul but upon the specific utilization of an individual's gifts. Society if it were to make rules could never create a situation other than in complete liberty where an individual's gifts from God are tested without encumbrance.

The actions of prayer, fasting, paying alms to the poor, pilgrimage to Mecca, and bearing witness to one God must be entirely free in order to be real. Coerced virtues are no longer virtues.

A society based upon liberty and free markets is predicated upon the presence of a moral code and the inherent trust of all of the participants (as Fukayama eloquently writes about in Trust). Thus, the more individually pious a society is, the more able they are to practice a libertarian philosophy within the society. The less pious and thus, the less ethical they are, the more autocracy they may need.

Working within the acts of this earth-studying this earth and its sciences is equivalent in Islam to reading the book of God. Both are in fact felt to be a form of communicating with God, the God of Abraham. This stimulation of human creativity is at its depth very free market, very libertarian and very Muslim. For Muslims are taught that creativity in science, nature, technology, art is equivalent to communicating with God.

This is one Muslim's view of his own faith. It is not only of interest because it is compelling to me, but the spread of a libertarian ideology within the Muslim community, the ummah, is one of the primary issues of the day. As we look at the threats to American and western security, the radical Islamists do not hate the west because of our affluence or of our free markets. They have been able to form an image of America and the west which the rank and file Muslim views as "godless".

The Islamists of the Muslim community (perhaps the majority of the ummah) have equated the separation of religion and state with the absence of religion. I believe it is rather the contrary-the most pious system for a society. They have equated the separation of religion and state as immoral. I believe it is rather the contrary-the most moral system for society. They have equated the separation of religion and state with a distance from God. I believe there is no society which permits a closer more genuine un-coerced relationship with God than one founded upon libertarian principles.

It is for this reason that my parents fled the oppression of the Syrian government in the 1960's in order to come to America and live the American dream. I was raised believ?ing and experiencing the fact that in no other place on earth do I have the freedom and the liberty to practice my faith unencumbered by government as I do in the United States. While we do see a sadly increasingly interventional government into our daily lives, the fact is until this very day, that scriptural and theological argumentation are not part of our governmental lawmaking in America. We simply use the logic of our human interactions to enact our values. It is this system which political Islam detests and it is this system which I as a freedom-loving classically liberal Muslim love.

My hope is that other libertarian Muslims wherever they may be wake-up and realize that their day has come now to be accounted and lead the ideological battle waged by Islamists against Muslims who separate the affairs of religion from the affairs of the state.

Thank you for your time and attention.

This speech was delivered to the Economics Discussion Group of Phoenix, Arizona on October 19, 2005.

It was published recently in Vital Speeches of the Day, May 2006, VOL. LXXII, No. 14-15. Subscriptions and copies can be obtained from the publishers website.

New Muslim leader wants Mideast democracy indowadBy Jon Wells
The Hamilton Spectator

(May 1, 2006) The new president of the Muslim Association of Hamilton is showing that he's not afraid to wade in on controversial topics.

In an interview with The Spectator yesterday, Ejaz Butt indicated he supports replacing dictatorships with democratic regimes in the Middle East.

"If (U.S. President George W. Bush) really went into Iraq to bring democracy, I would like him to go into other countries, too, if that is the real intention," he said. "Dictators are in most of our countries, and democracy should be brought to every Muslim country, and as a matter of fact the whole world."

When asked for his views on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Butt supports Israel's right to exist as a sovereign country.

"I have a lot of respect for the Israelis, and they have a right to defend their own country. But I also want to have an independent state of Palestine -- a democratic one."

Butt was acclaimed yesterday by the association as its new president. The challenges are considerable for the association in the post 9/11 world.

"I'm an ex-military man, I can face any challenge," said Butt with a chuckle. "I'm ready for it."

Prior to coming to Canada in 1987, Butt was a soldier in the Pakistani army for 12 years. There, as a major, he worked for a time with a lieutenant named Pervez Musharraf -- now president of Pakistan.

Javid Mirza recently stepped down as association president. Butt plans to carry on Mirza's legacy of trying to build better relations and understanding between religious faiths in the community.
He is also determined to have the first traditionally designed mosque built in the city. The mosque where he was to be acclaimed was once a racquet club.

Butt, 53, is married and has two sons -- Atis is a soldier in the Canadian army and Asim is a Hamilton police officer. He said if Atis is called on to serve with Canadian troops in Afghanistan, he will support it.

"That's why you put the uniform on, you do not disobey orders when the crucial time comes. But Afghanistan is a very dangerous place, it's a very difficult mission ... When I hear of a Canadian soldier's death, they are like my own children, it brings tears."


(This Muslim American did not harbor any mental reservations about defending America and its Constitution from all enemies, domestic and foreign)
Army Pfc. Angelo Zawaydeh, 19, San Bruno; Killed in Iraq

From the Associated Press
April 23, 2006

When Angelo Zawaydeh of San Bruno, Calif., first told his parents that he wanted to join the military, they refused.

Not only were they worried about the dangers of their teenage son going to war, but they also had concerns about Zawaydeh, whose father is Jordanian, participating in a Middle Eastern war.

When Zawaydeh first brought up the idea to his parents when he was 16, the answer was simple, said his mother, April Bradreau. But two years later, he made his own decision. When he joined the Army, she said, "we asked, 'Why didn't you go to college?' And he said, 'I can't sit in the classroom anymore. I need to get up and do something.' "

Zawaydeh, 19, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Ft. Campbell, Ky., and sent to Iraq in September.

On March 15, the private first class was manning a machine gun atop a tank at a Baghdad traffic control point when he was killed by a mortar shell that struck him in the neck.

Kevin Campos said his best friend, a graduate of Terra Nova High School in Pacifica, Calif., and others had vowed to enlist after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "We decided that America was worth fighting for," Campos said. "We thought if we're going to live in this country and raise our families here, we had to do something before we started our lives."

But Bradreau, who with her husband, Akram Zawaydeh, received the news of their son's death on the eve of their 21st wedding anniversary, said her son had grown disillusioned with the war over time. "He thought we could let them [the Iraqis] fight their own battles from now on over there," she said.

Bradreau remembered her son as a respectful young man who always was willing to lend a helping hand.

"He died like he lived," she said. "He gave his life for others."


(Another Muslim American who harbored no mental reservations)

Serving Was Soldier's Mission
Sudan Native Killed in Iraq Did 'Good Deeds'

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 4, 2006; A13

Ayman Taha, a Berkeley graduate who was described as athletic, a speaker of many languages, and a friend to all who met him, had only to write his dissertation to earn his PhD, his father said.

But three years ago, Taha, a budding economist and the son of a Northern Virginia couple, Abdel-Rahman and Amal Taha, joined the Army to serve in the Special Forces. About a year ago, he was sent to Iraq. On Friday, as Staff Sgt. Ayman Taha, 31, was preparing a cache of munitions for demolition in the town of Balad, the explosives detonated and he was killed, the Pentagon said yesterday.

It is "a very terrible thing," Abdel-Rahman Taha said. "He was a son, and a very special son."
The father added: "If you believe in God and you realize that this is God's will . . . it makes it a lot easier."
There is also consolation, the father said, in feeling that "this is something Ayman wanted to do."
A family friend, Nada Eissa, agreed. "No, he didn't have to do it," she said. "This is something he wanted to do."

Ayman Taha was born in Sudan, into an academically accomplished international family. Both parents hold doctorates. When his father worked for the World Bank, Ayman attended elementary school in McLean. He went to secondary school in England, then received a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a master's in economics from the University of Massachusetts, where he was working toward a PhD.

"He lived in many cultures," his father said, and spoke English, Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese. More important, his father said, were his personality and character.

"If he has a five-minute conversation with you, that would be the beginning of a lifetime relationship," the father said. "I never heard anybody who ever complained that Ayman did something wrong to him.
"He was just that type of character," the father said.

About three years ago, Ayman Taha told his father, "Dad, I have been going to school since I was 5 years old. I want to take a break."
The father said he suggested that his son "try something in the World Bank . . . or Merrill Lynch." But one day, "out of the blue," his son told him that he had signed the papers that would take him into the Special Forces.

He said his son was "definitely" patriotic and believed "in the mission."
"He strongly agreed that what they were doing is good and that they were helping people in the Middle East to get out of the . . . historic bottleneck" that had confined them.

Since boyhood, those who knew him recalled, Ayman Taha had taken an interest in military matters, which showed itself in the books he read and the toys he played with.

Joining the Special Forces was "something he felt compelled to do," said a friend, Hisham Eissa, who lives in Los Angeles and is Nada Eissa's brother.In economics, Taha's interest was in development. "He felt very strongly about making a difference," and "I think he felt that people like him" were needed for it, Eissa said.

"Everyone whose life he touched loved this guy," Hisham Eissa said. "There isn't a single person who knew him who isn't torn up about this."

The Pentagon said Taha was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, based at Fort Campbell, Ky. His wife, Geraldine, and child Sommer live near the base. One sister, Rabah, is a special education teacher in Fairfax County, and another, Lubna, attends Marymount University.

His father said Taha was a devout Muslim who believed that "the message of Islam is very simple . . . to believe in God and do good deeds."
"He believed that what he was doing were the good deeds Islam is asking for."


In summary, I reject hatred of all Muslims.  I believe that Islamic Fascism attacks us, both abroad and at home, and that we must defend ourselves.  I believe that good Muslims here should stand up to the fascists in their midst and report them to the relevant authorities and should support our efforts in the War on Islamic Fascism.  I believe that, just like Christianity struggled greatly in achieving its reformation, that Islam struggles with its reformation now.  Those victorious in reformation will believe in free speech, separation of Church and State and personal conscience in matters of faith.

Its too bad that Bryan doesn't seem to get this and regards what I say as he does, but this is America and that is his right.

This thread is titled a Dialog with Muslims.  I repeat my invitation to any and all Muslims to come dialog with us.   If I say something that is wrong or something that is untrue, show me and I will adjust accordingly.  If there is something I should know, then please educate me.

29087  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 28, 2006, 10:17:58 PM

I have spent the last couple of days in the altered "higher consciousness"
space that comes after one of our "DB Gatherings" and now return to this
thread.  cry   Please forgive me for not limiting myself to five questions as requested, but instead asking more.

1)  From my post of June 17th:

All members of the US Armed Forces take an oath to uphold and defend the US Constitution. The First Amendment of the US Constitution calls for the separation of church and state. As you tell us, you take your Islam quite seriously, and Islam calls for a union of church and state. How do you reconcile this discrepancy?

2)  From Buzwardo's post of June 20th:

 Can we agree that Israel has a right to exist in peace with its neighbors?

3)  From the same post of Buzwardo:

I'm also having trouble with the implicit defense of the violence occurring
in the wake of the publication of the Danish cartoons. Perhaps the brush was broad and the images insensitive, but the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of horrors that have been perpetrated in the name of Islam, and other religions for that matter. As such it isn't particularly surprising that graphic representations inspired by the dissonance of holy violence emerged. Angered that brutality in the name of religion inspired said illustrations, more religious brutality broke out. And somehow the prime lesson we are supposed to draw from this is that sensitivities must be minded lest barbarity is unleashed?

4)  From my post of June 21st:

Concerning your professed tolerance in matters of religion, it simply is
inconsistent with your now deleted expression of desire for Sharia to be the law of America. In the homeland of Islam, Saudi Arabia other religions are prohibited. This brings to mind your now deleted reference about not being protected by the US Constitution. You can be a Muslim here because of our Constitution, but trying being a Jew, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a pagan, etc in Saudi Arabia or many other Muslim majority nations-- let alone imagine them having a synagogue for Jews in their armed forces Sharia, which even your post-edited post tells us you like, calls for Jews and Christians to be taxed as a sign of Islam's dominance.

"Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they
prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion
of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax
in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection."

Why do you, who tell us "Islam is My religion, Its always with me, I begin
my days with it, I live my days with it, I end my days with it, I dream it
in my sleep," wish this for America? Why do you wish the subjection of
other religions and to tax them?

I have read your answer that states:

"Its easy for me, I am not a citizen of a Muslim country. Therfore I am
rquired to abide by the laws of my country the United States. Contrary to
poular belief we dont sit around planning to take over the world but we are the fastest growing religion in the world. "

In other words you are saying that should Muslims ever do become the majority that you will participate in seeking the end of our First
Amendment.  Yes?

(As for not "planning to take over the world"-- please!  get serious!
Considerable proof to the contrary on the part of many Muslims, well
supported by passages in the Koran, exists.)

5)  From my same post:

"(H)ow does this square with your oath as a member of our armed forces to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and
domestic? When I asked you this before you said, "I will always protect the office of the President of the United States and the American Embassies anywhere in the world in any country and consider it a honer (sic) to do so". This is quite a bit less than what is required by your oath!!! It sounds like your interpretation of your religion is in conflict with your oath.

In response you stated:

"Since George Bush is the single most hated man in the Muslim world my
earlier statement that I would defend the Office of the President "which
means him" anyplace anytime and all Embassies "Including those in Muslim Countries", . Thats about as big a statement as I can make on the issue and I highly doubt you could get most of the people talking smack about my religion to put their a$$ on the line for him."

Your Commander in Chief has issued orders for acts substantially beyond
defending his a$$ and our embassies.  To state the matter plainly, this
reads like you have substantial mental reservations about defending the US Constitution from domestic and foreign enemies who are Muslim because they and you are both Muslim.  If you were to receive an order to pick up a rifle and go to Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere and shoot fascist Muslims, would you obey that order?

6)  Myke Willis posts on June 23:

"In these dealings I have found that when it comes to "believers and non
believers" that the believers will look the other way and mind their own
business as to avoid conflict with fellow Muslims. Muslim speaking against Muslim, Muslim killing Muslim in strictly prohibited."

Your previous answer of "While it appears on the surface that all Muslims
defend each other this is just not the case, Sunnis and Shias have a long
and dark history of murdering each other. I as a American have a entirely seperate view than someone who was raised and is a citizen of Pakistan or Indonesia on these matters." is non-responsive on the essence of the question-- whether believers will look the other way to avoid conflict with fellow Muslims over what they do to non-Muslims, either through fear or sympathy.

Now I turn to answering your five questions:

1. Within Dog Brothers Martial Arts do you have any active Muslim members?

I have no idea.  I do not ask the religion of those who sign up.

2. In your cell phone do you have the phone number of any Muslim? Or do you have Muslim friends or even interact with any Muslims in daily life?

I have no phone numbers in my cell phone-- such technological skill exceeding my humble doggie abilities  -- I do have the number of a Muslim friend in my phone book though.  While it was still in business, I regularly ate at a neighborhood Palestinean restaurant for several years.

3. Have you ever gone to a Mosque for a afternoon and actully saw what goes on there and asked people questions about what they believe and how they live?

No.  That said, I have no doubt that Islam has much merit to it-- especially when one deletes its hateful passages such as this:

Disbelievers and infidels

"Therefore We will most certainly make those who disbelieve taste a severe
punishment, and We will most certainly reward them for the evil deeds they used to do." (41.27)

"Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world's life
for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain
or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward." (4.74)

"Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they
prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion
of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax
in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection." (9.29)

"O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends;
they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend,
then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the
unjust people." (5.51)

"And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should
be only for Allah; but if they desist, then surely Allah sees what they do."

"So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates." (47.4)

"They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that
you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until
they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize
them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper." (4.89)

"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and
strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be
murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on
opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous
chastisement" (5.33)

Friends with Infidels

"Let the believers not make friends with infidels in preference to the
faithful-he that does this has nothing to hope for from God-except in
self-defense" (3:28).

"Believers, do not make friends with any but your own people. They will
spare no pains to corrupt you. They desire nothing but your ruin. Their
hatred is evident from what they utter with their mouths, but greater is the hatred which their breasts conceal" (3:118).

 "Believers, do not seek the friendship of the infidels and those who were
given the Book before you, who have made of your religion a jest and a
pastime" (5:57).

"They shall be held up to shame in this world and sternly punished in
the hereafter" (2:114).

"[We] shall let them live awhile, and then shall drag them to the
scourge of the Fire. Evil shall be their fate" (2:126).

"The East and the West are God's. He guides whom He will to a straight
path" (2:142).

"Slay them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from
which they drove you. Idolatry is worse than carnage. . . . f they attack
you put them to the sword. Thus shall the unbelievers be rewarded: but if
they desist, God is forgiving and merciful. Fight against them until

idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme. But if they desist,
fight none except the evil-doers"(2:190-93).

    "Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. But you may
hate a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is
bad for you. God knows, but you know not" (2:216).

"They will not cease to fight against you until they force you to
renounce your faith-if they are able. But whoever of you recants and dies an unbeliever, his works shall come to nothing in this world and in the world to come. Such men shall be the tenants of Hell, wherein they shall abide forever. Those that have embraced the Faith, and those that have fled their land and fought for the cause of God, may hope for God's mercy" (2:217-18).

"Believers, if you yield to the infidels they will drag you back to
unbelief and you will return headlong to perdition. . . .We will put terror
into the hearts of the unbelievers. . . . The Fire shall be their home"

"Let not the unbelievers think that We prolong their days for their own
good. We give them respite only so that they may commit more grievous sins. Shameful punishment awaits them" (3:178).

"You see many among them making friends with unbelievers. Evil is that to which their souls prompt them. They have incurred the wrath of God and shall endure eternal torment. . . .You will find that the most implacable of men in their enmity to the faithful are the Jews and the pagans, and that the nearest in affection to them are those who say: 'We are Christians'" (5:80-82).

The following quotes are excerpted from a sermon broadcast on Palestinian TV by Dr. Mustafa Najem, Dec. 6, 2002:

  "The Jews...are the brothers of monkeys and pigs...Allah has warned us
against their evil and their arrogance, and has said: 'You will find that
the most brazen among mankind, with hatred towards the believers, are the Jews and the Idolaters.' [(Quran 81:5)]...The Jews are Jews, and we are forbidden to forget their character traits even for a moment, even for a blink of an eye. O Servants of Allah! The Jews are those who tried to murder your Prophet in order to expunge the call (to Islam)....Prayer and blessing to the Imam of the Jihad fighters, Mohammed, who waged a Jihad against the Jews...The Jews...are Idolaters, heretics, whose faith is false."  

This bit about pigs and monkeys has been around for a while now.  In the Muslim Aghlabid dynasty (9th through 11th century, North Africa) Jews were forced to wear a patch that had an image of a monkey, and were also forced to affix the same image to their homes. For Christians, the image was that of a pig.

A May 2006 study of Saudi Arabia's revised schoolbook curriculum discovered that the 8th grade books included the following statements:

  They are the people of the Sabbath, whose young people God turned into apes, and whose old people God turned into swine to punish them. As cited in Ibn Abbas: The apes are Jews, the keepers of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christian infidels of the communion of Jesus.

Some of the people of the Sabbath were punished by being turned into apes and swine. Some of them were made to worship the devil, and not God, through consecration, sacrifice, prayer, appeals for help, and other types of worship. Some of the Jews worship the devil. Likewise, some members of this nation worship devil, and not God.[15]

7)  I understand that you are American and do not necessarily hold the same views as in the parts of the world where Islam rules.  Will this be true should Islam come to rule in America as you hope for us?  I am confused because in your deleted post you spoke of living, eating, breathing and dreaming Islam and supporting Sharia-- including punishments such as chopping off hands -- which you proffered as proof your being a "real Muslim".   A large % of Muslim preachers here are educated in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and similar countries, and my understanding is that most mosques here and in Europe are funded, supported, and guided by the clerics of Saudi Arabia.  So it is hard for me to know what you believe, and given your belief that to have hard questions is offensive and to offend means one deserves fascist thuggery for being offensive, , , , well for me to come to know what you believe requires an above-average willingness to take chances.

I am fully aware of hateful passages in the Bible so no need to tell me about them.  As best as I can tell, hardly anyone takes them seriously-- and virtually everyone has no problem in denouncing them as ridiculous.

In other words, I CHOOSE what I believe.  

Do you?  

Or are do you follow what seems to be the path of most Muslims, foreign or American, who believe that one must take the Koran unchanged?

4. Do you wish to include Muslim members within your organizaion?

Forgive me the moment of levity, but you must have me confused with a
Democrat. (For the record, nor am I Republican.)  I believe in merit and truth.  There is no place in my path for
affirmative action, quotas and other such tomfoolery.   When government
forms ask me my race, I answer "human" and when they ask for my religion
 I tell them "None of your business".

As is readily seen by all members in our Association in the vigorous threads on the Association forum, one is free to think President Bush a vile idiot, our strategy in the War on Islamic Fascism profoundly wrong, and so forth.  We have gung ho Christians and pinko-liberal San Francisco types.  But, ANYONE who seeks theocracy, who seeks to overturn our First Amendment, who seeks harm to America most decidedly is not welcome.  Anyone who teaches hate, including that of Muslims, is not welcome (By the way, we discontinued our relationship with one European person when we discovered he had a poster of Mussolini on his wall). And, an American soldier unbelieving in his oath to defend our Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic without mental reservation is not welcome.

5. If you do include Muslims do you believe any of them would be interested
with your current position on the cartoon issue which includes promoting them when you have been told they are offensive?

As has been clearly explained to you already in this thread, I do NOT
promote them.  As is quite common in a free society such as ours, I let
people know where they could find them so that they could see what the
world-wide Islamic uproar was about.  This is American Civics 101. But I'll go further and say that any American so prissy as to get his panties in a bunch about them would probably find us to be a bunch of infidel dogs across the board-- and I'd say the same to anyone who sought to justify/explain/rationalize/call for violence against those who blaspheme Christianity, Jeddaism, Buddism, Hindism, Paganism, Animism etc.  THIS IS AMERICA.

In closing, I'd like to make two additional points.

1:  The importance to me of whether a Muslim is willing to speak up about Muslim fascists is completely consistent with what I have always been about.  Many of those who know me have heard me speak of the influence on me of the Kitty Genovese case when I was a boy in NYC in the early 60s (Goggle the name and you will find out about how a woman was raped and murdered in the street while people safe in their homes, safe to call the police, closed the windows and turned up their TV sets to drown out her screams.)  It is not morally different when a "good" Muslim remains silent over fascist plotting in his/her mosque-- exemplifed in the article about the Canadian case that I posted in this thread-- yet it seems to be common Muslim doctrine to never work with the infidels against a "fellow Muslim".  

2:   Most of my points here have spoken of my deep doubts about Islam.  I would also like to make clear that I have no doubt that a religion that appeals to so many must have deep merit.  I contrast the spam that arrives in my email box about seeing "Well-hung black dwarves anally deflower underage blond lesbian virgins" and what I felt when I was overnight in Indonesia on my way back from the Philippines.  I think of the spiritual look on the face of a Muslim teenager in her hijab I saw in a picture in the newspaper here in LA in an article about the challenges of following Islam in modern America.  I think of a calm, centered peaceful aura that I have sensed in some Muslims I have met.

If you choose that part of Islam, all is well.  If you choose to reject and condemn that part of Islam that seeks to intimidate, suppress, tax and lie to those of other religions, then all is well.  If you choose our First Amendment over theocracy and fatwas, intimidation and thuggery for impermissable speech, then we stand together.  

I understand more than you know that it must be a major drag to be a "fcuking muzzie" to the bigots and the fearful amongst us.  That said, if you can understand that at this point in time it is natural for Americans to have deep questions about Islam and the locus of loyalty of the Muslims amongst us, then perhaps instead of getting all in a snit you will be able to simply converse and share what you know.  Maybe some of us will learn, and maybe you will learn too.  This too is America.

The Adventure continues,
Marc/Crafty Dog

PS:  Here is a typical article that gives one pause about Muslim attitudes:

What Muslims think

Daniel Pipes, THE JERUSALEM POST Jun. 27, 2006

To find out, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press carried out a large-scale attitudinal survey this spring. Titled "The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other," it interviewed Muslims in two batches of countries: six of them with long-standing, majority-Muslim populations (Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey) and four of them in Western Europe with new, minority Muslim populations (France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain).

The survey, which also looks at Western views of Muslims, yielded some dismaying but not altogether surprising results. Its themes can be grouped under three rubrics.

A PROCLIVITY to conspiracy theories: In not one Muslim population polled does a majority believe that Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The proportions range from a mere 15 percent in Pakistan holding Arabs responsible, to 48 percent among French Muslims.

Confirming recent negative trends in Turkey, the number of Turks who point the finger at Arabs has declined from 46 percent in 2002 to 16 percent today. In other words, in every one of these 10 Muslim communities, a majority views 9/11 as a hoax perpetrated by the American government, Israel, or some other agency.

Likewise, Muslims are widely prejudiced against Jews, ranging from 28 percent unfavorable ratings among French Muslims to 98 percent in Jordan (which, despite the monarchy's moderation, has a majority Palestinian population).
Further, Muslims in certain countries (especially Egypt and Jordan) see Jews conspiratorially, as being responsible for bad relations between Muslims and Westerners.

Conspiracy theories also pertain to larger topics. Asked, "What is most responsible for Muslim nations' lack of prosperity?" between 14 percent (in Pakistan) and 43 percent (in Jordan) blame the policies of the US and other Western states, as opposed to indigenous problems, such as a lack of democracy or education, or the presence of corruption or radical Islam.

This conspiracism points to a widespread unwillingness in the umma to deal with realities, preferring the safer bromides of plots, schemes, and intrigues. It also reveals major problems adjusting to modernity.

SUPPORT FOR terrorism: All the Muslim populations polled display a solid majority of support for Osama bin Laden. Asked whether they have confidence in him, Muslims replied positively, ranging between 8 percent (in Turkey) to 72 percent (in Nigeria). Likewise, suicide bombing is popular. Muslims who call it justified range from 13 percent (in Germany) to 69 percent (in Nigeria). These appalling numbers suggest that terrorism by Muslims has deep roots and will remain a danger for years to come.

BRITISH AND Nigerian Muslims the most alienated: The United Kingdom stands out as a paradoxical country. Non-Muslims there have strikingly more favorable views of Islam and Muslims than elsewhere in the West; for example, only 32 percent of the British sample view Muslims as violent, significantly less their counterparts in France (41 percent), Germany (52 percent) or Spain (60 percent).

In the Muhammad cartoon dispute, Britons showed more sympathy for the Muslim outlook than did other Europeans. More broadly, Britons blame Muslims less for the poor state of Western-Muslim relations.

But British Muslims return the favor with the most malign anti-Western attitudes found in Europe. Many more of them regard Westerners as violent, greedy, immoral, and arrogant than do their counterparts in France, Germany, and Spain. In addition, whether asked about their attitudes toward Jews, responsibility for 9/11, or the place of women in Western societies, their views are notably more extreme.

The situation in Britain reflects the "Londonistan" phenomenon, whereby Britons preemptively cringe and Muslims respond to this weakness with aggression.
, , , ,

Overall, the Pew survey sends an undeniable message of crisis from one end to the other of the Muslim world.
29088  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: June 28, 2006, 08:14:02 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Signs of an Approaching U.S.-Iranian Deal

Supreme Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that Iran does not need to talk with the United States about its nuclear program because there is nothing to be gained from the negotiations. State television quoted Khamenei as saying, "We do not negotiate with anybody on achieving and exploiting nuclear technology ... But if they recognize our nuclear rights, we are ready to negotiate about controls, supervisions and international guarantees."

Western media jumped on Khamenei's remark and began flooding the airwaves with reports that Iran had categorically rejected talks with the United States, feeding the popular perception that the world is headed toward a major crisis on the Iranian nuclear issue. But the reality is the opposite. Khamenei's remarks are to be expected: Iran has intensified its preparations on the home front as well as on the international level to move toward public dialogue with the United States.

One of the most glaring examples of such developments is the report from the Iranian news agency Fars that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will soon make a trip to Baghdad. This would not be happening if Iran was not close to consolidating its geopolitical interests in Iraq. What's more, the U.S. State Department gave a cautious nod of approval to this visit.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Shiite leaders have been traveling to Iran, as did Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul over the weekend. Syrian President Bashar al Assad, in an interview published June 26 in the Arabic-language daily al-Hayat, said that Syrian interests would be best served through an understanding between the United States and Iran, and that he finds Arab fears over Iran's growing role in the region irrational.

The Iranians have also been engaged in some significant changes internally, trying to get all the factions of the clerical-led conservative establishment on the same page in order to move toward a dialogue with the Bush administration. The most important event in this regard is the creation of a new body that will be shaping Iranian foreign policy: the Strategic Council for Foreign Affairs (SCFA), meant to serve as an advisory group to improve the country's capabilities in making major foreign policy decisions. It is not an executive body and is not supposed to interfere with the function of the Foreign Ministry or the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC). The creation of the SCFA is part of Khamenei's effort to have greater oversight over the foreign-policymaking process in the hawkish Ahmedinejad administration.

It should be noted that this move follows several similar initiatives by the supreme leader. What Khamenei has done is retain key pragmatic conservatives from the previous government in positions that allow him to exercise greater control over the ultraconservatives who emerged with the election of Ahmadinejad. Senior officials of the three branches of the Iranian government called June 25 for the need to show greater solidarity and cooperation in order to achieve the aspirations of the Islamic Revolution and the supreme leader.

Signs of progress are also visible inside Iraq. Deputy Prime Minister Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie held meetings over the weekend with several tribal leaders from Anbar province, where the insurgency has been strong, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki unveiled a 24-point national reconciliation plan early this week. It is quite possible the seven groups that responded favorably to the government's amnesty offer came forward as a result of these meetings. Under the amnesty plan, several hundred Sunni prisoners were released on Tuesday. As a result of all this, there was a noticeable drop in violence.

All of these developments indicate that Tehran and Washington are moving to finalize their deal on Iraq. What remains to be seen is how this will filter into Tehran's role in Lebanon and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- and, of course, the nuclear issue.
29089  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: June 27, 2006, 04:37:39 PM
The Spread of Mexico's Drug Wars
Mexican authorities recovered four beheaded bodies from a vacant lot near the U.S. border in Tijuana the night of June 21, pulling the heads from the nearby Tijuana River. The victims, three local police officials and a civilian, reportedly had been abducted by a convoy of heavily armed men. Three days later, the bodies of four police officers kidnapped the week before were found near the resort city of Acapulco in southern Mexico's Guerrero state. One of the victims had been beheaded. These attacks appear to confirm the escalation -- and spread -- of Mexico's drug wars.

In Nuevo Laredo, Tijuana, and, more recently, Acapulco, rival drug cartels are using heavier and more powerful weapons to carry out increasingly brazen attacks against one other, and any local police officers who get in their way. In Guerrero state, two police posts at the Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo tourist resorts came under simultaneous attack with automatic weapons and grenades June 24.

The attacks against the police posts occurred during a violent weekend in Guerrero state that saw a total of 11 people killed. In addition to the four police officers, the bodies of a businessman and a former police officer were discovered in Acapulco. Four more bodies were found in plastic bags on the outskirts of Acapulco, in Pie de la Cuesta, while another shooting victim was discovered bound and wrapped in a black plastic bag in another nearby town.

Until recently, beheadings had been rare in Mexico, despite the numerous deadly wars between drug cartels going back decades. The change in tactics suggests a new element has entered into the equation, most likely from Central or South America. It also is possible that local enforcers have adopted some of the tactics that have been so effective in Iraq and elsewhere.

Deputy Attorney General for Organized Crime Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos said the beheadings in Tijuana were likely carried out by members of the Mara Salvatrucha crime gang working as enforcers for the Sinaloa drug cartel. Vasconcelos himself, however, has been accused repeatedly in the Mexican media of having a direct connection to some of the cartels. It is a fact, though, that while the Maras can be extremely violent, they are not known to behead their victims.

The real culprits, then, could be Kaibiles, former Guatemalan special forces soldiers who have signed on as cartel enforcers. The Mexican media, citing the April beheadings of two police officers in Acapulco, have claimed that Kaibiles have been active in Mexico over the past few months. Some Guerrero state officials have publicly said they believe the Kaibiles to be behind the attacks, while others have requested information from the Guatemalan army about possible former Kaibiles participating with drug-traffickers. A Guatemalan army spokesman said Mexico requested information on three specific individuals, one of whom was positively identified as a former Kaibil.

The Mexican government has tried various tactics throughout the years to stem the violence associated with the cartels -- to no avail. With presidential elections set for July 2, the new administration and its security services will face the same old problems of internal police corruption and outgunned forces -- and likely will be unable to stem the escalating violence in Mexico. The introduction of enforcers from outside the country indicates that, as the stakes rise, the cartels are responding with increasing violence.
29090  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: June 27, 2006, 12:18:37 AM
Iraq: An Offer of Amnesty in a Complex Landscape

Sunni leaders criticized a reconciliation plan put forth by the Iraqi government, saying it falls short of the minority Arab community's expectations. The Sunni reaction offers insights into the makeup of the Sunni political landscape in Iraq and underscores its complexity, further challenging efforts to scale back the insurgency and disband the militias.


Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashmi, a Sunni, warned June 26 that there will be no letup in the insurgency unless the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki negotiates with insurgent groups dominated by former Baathists -- and until there is a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led coalition forces from the country.

Earlier, Hassan al-Sunaid, a lawmaker and member of the political bureau of al-Maliki's Hizb al-Dawah party, claimed that seven Sunni insurgent groups had responded positively to a national reconciliation plan presented by the al-Maliki administration. Al-Sunaid named six of the seven groups: the al-Ashreen Brigades, the Mohammed Army, Abtal al-Iraq (Heroes of Iraq), the 9th of April Group, al-Fatah Brigades and the Brigades of the General Command of the Armed Forces.

Meanwhile, Iyad al-Samarrai, a legislator from al-Hashmi's Iraqi Islamic Party, questioned whether the favorable response came from bona fide insurgent leaders. "The problem comes from people who say they represent this or that group," Al-Samarrai said. "Do they really represent them? Does he represent the leadership or a branch? This is something that needs investigating."

Apart from the Mohammed Army and the al-Ashreen Brigades (aka the 1920 Revolution Brigades), the others are quite insignificant. None is a first-tier Sunni nationalist group, a category that would include organizations such as the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Islamic Front of the Iraqi Resistance. Therefore, it is likely that the seven groups that contacted the government in response to the reconciliation plan are part of a Sunni approach that involves groups coming forward in increments. Sunnis do not want to surrender all their communal military assets until the Shia are willing to do the same.

That some insurgents groups are reportedly ready to lay down their weapons while Sunni political leaders remain critical of the government's opposition to dealing with Baathists underscores a complex political structure that has evolved over the last three years. The locus of power in Iraq's Sunni areas is shared by political, religious, tribal and military leaders. This means that, despite a general Sunni consensus toward seeking a political settlement with the Shia, the negotiating process will be excruciatingly lengthy and bloody. Moreover, the difficulties that the Shiite-dominated al-Maliki government faces regarding the Sunni demand for disbanding the militias will further complicate matters.

Maverick Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr's response to the reconciliation plan is quite telling. Sahib al-Amery, an aide to al-Sadr, was quoted June 26 in An Najaf as saying that the al-Sadrite bloc welcomes the 24-point plan but sees it as not being tough enough to keep Baathists out of the political system, and believes it must address the issue of releasing jailed leaders of al-Sadr's Mehdi Army militia.

Al-Maliki's plan would extend amnesty to all those insurgents who are not jihadists or Saddamists/Baathists. In effect, this plan is the Shiite response to the Sunnis moving away from the jihadists, and the Shia deliberately excluded members of the former government from the amnesty offer. The Shia will likely bargain on the issue of the Baathists as part of any settlement on the Shiite militias.

By coughing up al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Sunnis showed a united front and exploited intra-Shiite differences when they demanded that the Shia reciprocate by disbanding the militias. This time around, the Shia are trying to take advantage of the splits among the Sunnis by linking the matter of the militias to a deal on the Baathists.

But the Sunni fragmentation is not as severe as that of the Shia, which was obvious when those Sunnis who are part and parcel of the system came out saying that any national reconciliation plan that failed to engage the Baathists was destined to fail. The Sunni political leadership is skillfully trying to leverage the complex structure of their community to their advantage.

On one hand are Sunni political groups such as the Tawafoq Iraqi Front and the Hewar National Iraqi Front, which together control 55 seats in Parliament. On the other hand are the sundry array of armed Sunni guerilla groups. Unlike the classical political-military wing model, the Sunni political and military leadership is connected through the pivot of tribal leaders, who are the ones with the most leverage over the armed groups and who act through the political forces within the two Sunni coalitions. Sunni religious scholars also exercise influence over political leaders and military commanders but they, too, are dependent upon the tribal shayukh for their power.

It is this structure that has allowed the Sunnis to mitigate internal differences and adroitly maneuver in their political dealings with the Shia, Kurds and Americans. More important, this structure will continue to allow the Sunnis to engage in tough negotiations with the Shia and to exploit their growing internal rifts, especially as the government moves forward on the issue of dismantling the Shiite militias.
29091  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: June 26, 2006, 04:34:16 PM
A Camp Divided

As U.S. tries to give Iraqi troops more responsibility,
clash of two American colonels shows tough road ahead.
June 16, 2006 11:24 p.m.; Page A1

Camp Taji, Iraq

This sprawling military base is divided down the middle by massive concrete barriers, a snaking fence and rifle-toting guards. On one side, about 10,000 U.S. Army soldiers live in air-conditioned trailers. There's a movie theater, a swimming pool, a Taco Bell, and a post exchange the size of a Wal-Mart, stocked with everything from deodorant to DVD players.

On the other side are a similar number of Iraqi soldiers whose success will determine when U.S. troops can go home. The Iraqi troops live in fetid barracks built by the British in the 1920s, ration the fuel they use to run their lights and sometimes eat spoiled food that makes them sick.

The only soldiers who pass regularly between the two worlds are about 130 U.S. Army advisers, who live, train and work with the Iraqis.

For many of these advisers, the past six months have been a disorienting experience, putting them at odds with their fellow U.S. soldiers and eroding their confidence in the U.S. government's ability to build an Iraqi force that can stabilize this increasingly violent country.

Army commanders back in the U.S. "told us this was going to be the most thankless and frustrating job we have ever held, and boy, were they right," says Lt. Col. Charles Payne, who until last month oversaw about 50 Army advisers.

He and fellow advisers say U.S. troops on the American side of the base saddle Iraqis with the least-desirable missions and often fail to provide them with the basics they need to protect themselves against insurgent attacks. "They treat the Iraqis with utter scorn and contempt," Col. Payne says. "The Iraqis may not be sophisticated, but they aren't stupid. They see it."

Col. James Pasquarette, who commands most of the soldiers on the U.S. side of Camp Taji, calls those claims "totally ridiculous." He says he's proud of what the Iraqi units have achieved in the region and has made supporting them his top priority, after ensuring his own troops have the protection they need. But he worries that if the Iraqis are given too much latitude to execute challenging missions too quickly, they will alienate Iraqi civilians with heavy-handed tactics.

He says Col. Payne and his fellow advisers have "gone native."

Though the divide here at Camp Taji is extreme, it reflects a growing friction throughout this war-torn country. No one on either side of the divide expects the Iraqi troops to be trained, equipped or housed to U.S. standards. But if U.S. troops are going to go home, U.S. commanders must allow Iraqis to take a far greater role in planning operations and taking the fight to the enemy, senior military officers say.

Right now, Iraqi commanders and some of their U.S. advisers say that isn't happening enough. Part of the reason, U.S. officials say, is that widespread Iraqi corruption has made it hard for the fledgling Iraqi government to supply their troops with basics like good food, batteries and fuel. But Iraqi soldiers and their U.S. advisers say the problem extends beyond basic supply issues. They complain that U.S. troops, bunkered down on large, fortified bases, treat Iraqi forces more like a problem than a partner. U.S. forces "don't talk to us," says Col. Saad, a senior Iraqi commander on Camp Taji. The Iraqi colonel, whose family has been threatened by insurgents, asked that his full name not be used.

U.S. commanders counter that there are huge risks to giving the Iraqi army too big a role right now. They worry some Iraqis will leak word of impending operations to the enemy or use military force to settle sectarian scores. Many U.S. commanders say Iraqi forces aren't as disciplined as U.S. troops and are too prone to abuse civilians and detainees.

The debate raises difficult questions for U.S. commanders, as they plot the way forward in Iraq: Should Iraqi units be held to the same standards as U.S. units? What happens when the Iraqis' solution is at odds with the American commander's strategy?

Earlier this spring, the tension between the two sides at Camp Taji reached the breaking point when the Iraqi army brigade that Col. Payne was advising leveled two dozen roadside kiosks. The Iraqi soldiers said insurgent snipers, who had killed and wounded Iraqi troops, used the kiosks for cover.

Col. Pasquarette thought destroying the kiosks would only enrage locals and drive them to support the insurgents. "This was a great day for the terrorists," he recalls telling Col. Payne on the day that the Iraqi army flattened the fruit and vegetable stands.

Col. Payne says the Iraqi army bulldozed the kiosks -- consisting mostly of palm fronds suspended by bamboo poles -- to protect Iraqi soldiers. "When I first heard what they had done, my initial response was, 'I am all for it,' " Col. Payne says. "This is not a law and order situation. This is a war."

Late last month, Col. Pasquarette asked that Col. Payne be dismissed from his position, just four months after the two men started working together. Col. Payne was then assigned to a desk job in Baghdad.

The unit Col. Payne headed is at the leading edge of a major shift in U.S. strategy. Until last summer, the U.S. military saw its primary mission as fighting insurgents. With pressure mounting to bring the 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq home, President Bush decided the military's main effort should instead focus on training Iraqis to take its place.

To speed development of Iraqi army forces, about 3,000 U.S. soldiers were placed with Iraqi units throughout the country. The teams live and work with Iraqi soldiers in places such as Camp Taji.

In November 2005, Col. Payne came back from retirement to lead his team. The colonel had served 28 years in the Army, fought in the Grenada invasion and taught history at West Point. He retired in July 2001. A few weeks later, terrorists struck the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Col. Payne called the Army and volunteered to return. "There was a chuckle on the end of the phone," he says. The Army told him he wasn't needed.

Four years later, with the Army stretched thin by the war, the 50-year-old soldier, who was teaching at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, called again. This time, the Army was eager to send him to Iraq. In November, he was told he had 23 days to report to Fort Carson, Colo., and link up with his unit. His wife was "very unhappy," he says. Col. Payne says he was determined to go. "The nation is at war and all real soldiers want to be where the action is."

Col. Pasquarette, a former college basketball player, took command of his 6,000-soldier brigade in June 2005. Before that, the 45-year-old had attended Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, worked for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon and served as an aide-de-camp to a four-star general.

The two men's troops arrived in Iraq in December 2005 and settled on opposite sides of Camp Taji, a sprawling former Iraqi army base, about 20 miles north of Baghdad. Col. Payne's group consisted of 50 U.S. soldiers, assigned to advise the Iraqi military. His team was one of the few at Camp Taji that didn't report to Col. Pasquarette.

The 2,500-soldier Iraqi brigade that Col. Payne was advising had formed 11 months earlier and had been fighting nonstop. The Iraqis had scrounged all of their tanks and armored personnel carriers -- most of which were at least 30 years old -- from a massive junkyard on the Iraqi side of Camp Taji. When something broke, Iraqi soldiers retreated to the scrapyard where they would pillage rusting hulks for spare parts. Of the $260 billion spent on the Iraq war since 2003, about $10 billion has gone to build Iraqi army and police forces.

The U.S. officers bonded quickly with their Iraqi counterparts. In January, Maj. Michael Jason, who leads one of the advisory teams, was on patrol with a 42-year-old Iraqi colonel when a terrified farmer told them he had found bodies in a field. He then led them to the corpses of 11 Iraqi army soldiers who had been headed home on leave. Each had been beaten, blindfolded and shot in the head. Their Iraqi army identification cards had been taken from their wallets and pinned to their shirts by insurgents who regularly target Iraqi forces.

Maj. Jason, a Roman Catholic, and his Iraqi counterpart, Col. Khalid, a Muslim, kneeled next to the bodies and prayed. The U.S. Army asked that Col. Khalid's full name be withheld for his safety. That night, Maj. Jason, a 33-year-old West Point grad, wrote an email home describing his Iraqi colleague's bravery and sacrifice.

"Col. Khalid's children have to move constantly for fear of their lives. When he goes home on leave, he cannot tell anyone for security reasons. He just disappears. He drives 90 mph with a pistol tucked in the small of his back and his ID hidden. I love these guys, no s-t," he wrote. A month later, Col. Khalid's brother, also an army officer, was kidnapped. Insurgents killed him and dumped his body on his parents' doorstep. Col. Khalid couldn't go to the funeral for fear that he would be assassinated. So Maj. Jason and soldiers in the unit mourned with him at Camp Taji.

In March, Col. Khalid left the battalion for a safer assignment, which doesn't require him to leave the base.

As the U.S. advisers grew closer to the Iraqis, they also grew more frustrated with U.S. soldiers on the other side of the base.

Shortly after Col. Pasquarette arrived at Camp Taji, he beefed up the number of guards and armored vehicles at the gates separating the U.S. and Iraqi sides of the base. "Securing my [base] is my No. 1 mission. I am risk averse here," he says. The U.S. advisers to the Iraqis thought the additional guards and guns were unnecessary and only served to make U.S. soldiers more suspicious of the Iraqis.

When the advisers asked if they could bring an Iraqi colleague to eat with them on the American side of the base, they say they were shocked at the response. They were told that the presence of an Iraqi officer in the dining hall might upset the U.S. soldiers.

"These kids go outside the gate and deal with a very hostile environment. They need a place where they can relax and let their guard down," says Lt. Col. Kevin Dixon, Col. Pasquarette's deputy commander. He says the policy was driven by the bombing of a dining facility in Mosul in 2004 by an Iraqi who had sneaked in.

The advisers felt differently. "We really believe there is a systemic contempt for Iraqi soldiers," says Master Sgt. John McFarlane, a senior enlisted adviser to the Iraqis at Camp Taji. The policy has since been amended to allow advisers to eat with Iraqi officers on the U.S. side if they file a letter in advance with the base's security office.

One of the Iraqi army's primary jobs in the Taji area is to guard water-purification substations that provide most of Baghdad's drinking water. Last summer, insurgents blew up one of the substations, cutting off water for two weeks. To ensure that didn't happen again, Iraqi army units were dispatched by the U.S. to guard the sites. Iraqi soldiers began to take regular sniper fire there.

In January, the U.S. advisers asked Col. Pasquarette for help installing barriers around one of the substations, to shield the Iraqis from snipers. Col. Pasquarette asked one of his units to help. Weeks passed, but help never came. American engineering units were too busy fortifying the U.S. side of Camp Taji and bases around it, says Maj. Martin Herem, who handled the request.

On Feb. 28, a sniper shot in the back one of the Iraqi soldiers at the water station. The soldier bled to death. Three weeks later, a sniper killed a second Iraqi soldier who was on patrol near the water station. Iraqi troops said that both times snipers used the small fruit and vegetable stands lining a nearby road for cover. The Iraqi army couldn't return fire without killing shopkeepers and customers.

When the Iraqi soldiers ran over to ask people who had been shooting at them, locals said they hadn't seen anything. It's dangerous for locals to be seen helping the U.S. Army or the Iraqi army.

The day after the second killing, Col. Saad, an Iraqi colonel in the unit Col. Payne was advising, ordered his men to tell the shopkeepers to empty the vegetable stands. The Iraqi soldiers then bulldozed the stands. Col. Saad says he destroyed the kiosks to protect his soldiers.

When Col. Pasquarette learned about the incident, he was furious. The Iraqis' actions ran completely counter to his strategy. He had told his soldiers to focus less on killing insurgents and more on reconstruction programs designed to win support of the people.

"When you go lethal or destroy property there may be a short-term gain, but there is a long-term loss," he says. He saw the move as a throwback to the Saddam Hussein era when the army was used to quell unrest and inflict mass punishment.

Photoillustration by Stuart Bradford; photos, left: U.S. Department of Defense; photos, right: Getty Images
Because the Iraqi troops operate in his sector, Col. Pasquarette oversees them. He called Col. Payne into his office and demanded that he tell Col. Saad to have his soldiers apologize and pay reparations to the shop owners.

Col. Payne passed along the orders. But Col. Saad says he refused to follow them. "Here in Iraq if someone makes a mistake, you punish them," he says, referring to the shop owners' failure to give Iraqis information about the snipers. "If you give him money, he will repeat the mistake. And he will consider the person who gave him the gift an idiot."

The next day, Col. Pasquarette met with Col. Saad's Iraqi superior and told him about the dispute. The Iraqi general fired Col. Saad. Later that day, three low-ranking Iraqi soldiers, accompanied by about a dozen Americans, passed out the reimbursement forms.

The Iraqi officers in Col. Saad's brigade felt betrayed. On March 21, just before midnight, four senior officers stopped by Col. Payne's office and threatened to resign. "They were furious," says Col. Payne. Two days later, Col. Saad was quietly re-hired.

Col. Payne says he is still angry that neither Col. Pasquarette nor his subordinate commanders talked to Col. Saad to hear his side of the story. "This is a respect issue. These guys don't respect the Iraqis," Col. Payne says.

"Personally I don't think there was anything to discuss," Col. Pasquarette says.

In the days that followed, the relationship between Col. Payne and Col. Pasquarette grew more tense. In mid-March -- about the time the Iraqis flattened the vegetable stands -- insurgents attacked an Iraqi army patrol base in Tarmiyah, a city of about 50,000, a short drive from Camp Taji. One Iraqi soldier from Col. Saad's brigade was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade and another was shot in the head by a sniper. The next day, four of Col. Saad's soldiers died when their armored personnel carrier hit a roadside bomb. The blast threw the turret of the vehicle about 30 yards and lopped off the head of one of the Iraqi soldiers inside, U.S. and Iraqi officers say.

Senior Iraqi officials in the Ministry of Defense were convinced Tarmiyah was a hotbed of insurgent activity. Col. Pasquarette says he was told by his commander in Baghdad to clear the city of insurgents.

Col. Pasquarette and his team spent several days building a plan before he invited Col. Payne, Col. Saad and Col. Saad's commander to the U.S. side to explain it.

The two Iraqi officers were led through a 208-slide PowerPoint briefing, in which all the slides were written in English. The six areas the Iraqi troops were supposed to occupy were named for New England cities, such as Cranston, Bangor and Concord. The Iraqi officers, who spoke only Arabic, were dumbfounded. "I could see from their body language that both of them were not following what was going on," says Maj. Bill Taylor, Col. Payne's deputy.

Once the plan was explained to them through an interpreter, the Iraqis strongly disagreed with it. Col. Pasquarette planned to surround the city with razor wire and set up checkpoints to search all cars moving in and out of the city. U.S. and Iraqi soldiers would then begin regular foot patrols through the city to gain intelligence on insurgents. The centerpiece of the plan was $5 million in reconstruction projects.

Col. Pasquarette argued that the projects would help the U.S. win support of the city's powerful mayor, Sheik Sayid Jassem, who had been detained by U.S. forces in the early days of the occupation for supporting the insurgency. He also thought the projects would turn the people to the side of the new Iraqi government.

The Iraqis favored a harder-nosed approach. They wanted to conduct house-to-house searches and find a way to put pressure on the mayor, who they insisted was still supporting insurgents. They suggested shutting Tarmiyah's business district down for a week. Once the mayor had been cowed with the stick, they favored dangling the $5 million in reconstruction funds.

Col. Pasquarette says the Iraqi approach would have alienated the people in Tarmiyah. He rejected it and stuck to his plan. Although the operation hasn't netted any insurgents, he says people are out shopping and businesses that had been closed are bustling as a result of the checkpoints and foot patrols. The U.S. military is bankrolling a pipeline that will bring potable water into the city, building medical clinics and repairing the main road.

Attacks in the city are down substantially since March, though they have begun to climb of late, Col. Pasquarette says. Still, he says the operation was a success because residents feel safer. He doubts the city was ever really a major insurgent hotbed. "We were all wrong about Tarmiyah," he says.

Col. Saad and Col. Payne say the insurgents have simply moved outside the city's gates.

Gen. George Casey, the top military officer in Iraq, acknowledges it has often been hard for U.S. commanders to let Iraqis take over the fight. "We are so mission-oriented and so focused, we tend to want to do everything ourselves," he says. "It is a constant battle ? . I would hope that when the Iraqis have ideas we try to help them execute them."

Iraqi troops "have never betrayed their U.S. advisory teams," adds Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, who is overseeing the effort to train and equip Iraqi forces.

In their four months together, Col. Payne and Col. Saad became close. Col. Payne teased him about a poster on his office wall of two fluffy white kittens, nuzzling next to a dozen roses. "What in the world is the deal with the cat and the flowers?" Col. Payne asked.

"It reminds me of softness and women," Col. Saad replied. He often referred to Col. Payne as "my brother."

Col. Saad confided his worries about his country and his army to Col. Payne. His unit was constantly short of supplies. His soldiers often didn't have enough fuel for their armored vehicles and generators. They also lacked AA batteries to run the night-vision goggles the Americans had given them. He blamed corruption in the Iraqi system for supply shortages. "If you don't have the basics to survive, you cannot be great. You cannot win," he said one evening. Col. Payne threw his arm around the Iraqi colonel's shoulder. "No, but you can survive," he said.

The U.S. says it is helping the Iraqis fix problems that have led to shortages of equipment. The Iraqi government recently replaced the contractor responsible for serving troops spoiled food. Supplying the army is the responsibility of the Iraqi government and "there have been a few cases of poor performance" among Iraqi contractors, says Lt. Col. Michael Negard, a senior spokesman in Iraq. "While the problems aren't huge, the issue's certainly of the highest priority," he says.

Col. Saad has also grown frustrated with the Americans on the other side of Camp Taji. Last month, Col. Pasquarette asked the Iraqis to provide a couple of dozen soldiers to man some checkpoints with U.S. soldiers. The U.S. soldiers showed up at the checkpoints for about a week. Then, without warning, they left the Iraqis to run them on their own, Col. Saad says. The Iraqis, who questioned the value of the checkpoints in the first place, were angry they had suddenly been abandoned.

"Why did they leave? Aren't they supposed to be helping us?" Col. Saad asked Col. Payne.

"I don't know what the hell they are doing," Col. Payne replied.

Col. Pasquarette says the Iraqis should have been informed that the U.S. soldiers were pulling out of those checkpoints.

In late May, Col. Payne began to push the Iraqi soldiers to get out on the offensive. "I am sick of sitting around and waiting to get attacked," Col. Payne told Col. Saad. He asked Col. Saad to cut loose 10 or 15 soldiers that he could pair up with three or four U.S. soldiers to venture out at night in search of the enemy. Col. Saad agreed.

On May 19, soldiers from Col. Payne's and Col. Saad's units set out on their second night patrol. After they stopped a car that was out in violation of curfew, the enemy opened fire on them from a surrounding palm grove. The soldiers fired back, killing three insurgents and dispersing the rest. When the shooting ended, a man stumbled out of a small shack deep in the palm grove. His hands were tied and a blindfold hung around his neck. "Come mister. I am problem," he sobbed in broken English.

The man said he worked as a legal adviser for Iraq's Ministry of Defense and had been kidnapped by men who told him they would slaughter him "like a sheep." The kidnappers were setting up a camera to film his execution, he said, when they heard the soldiers and left him. "God sent you to save me," the man said, as tears streamed down his face. (Read more about the mission.2)

Col. Payne was elated. "The Iraqi army saved a life. It also demonstrated that it will go into the field to find and destroy the enemy," he said.

His victory, however, quickly gave way to crushing defeat. The next day, he was summoned to meet with his immediate supervisor. Col. Payne was relieved of his command and told to move to a headquarters position in Baghdad.

He says he was told that he removed because he was "ineffective" and "lacked the skills necessary to lead [his] team in this challenging environment." An Army spokesman in Baghdad said Col. Payne wasn't relieved for any single incident. He declined to comment further.

A few days before Col. Payne was fired, Col. Pasquarette said in an interview that he thought Col. Payne and his men had grown too close to the Iraqis they were advising and his decisions were too often guided by emotion. "From my perspective, the move was warranted," Col. Pasquarette wrote in an email after Col. Payne was dismissed.

The morning after he was fired, Col. Payne spent the day saying goodbye to Col. Saad and the U.S. soldiers on his team. That evening, he boarded a helicopter for Camp Victory, a massive U.S. base on the outskirts of Baghdad.

"I'm now here in Victory -- an alien environment to me and one I never wanted to be a part of," he wrote in an email. He was able to hold his emotions in check until his helicopter lifted off from Camp Taji. Then, he says, he began to sob. "I simply cannot tell you how much I will miss my team."

Write to Greg Jaffe at greg.jaffe@wsj.com5
29092  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: June 26, 2006, 01:09:54 PM
Bring this post of XtremeKali over here to start a new thread:

Could not find an LEO thread.
Panel: Street gangs moving into suburbs By MICHAEL TARM, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jun 21, 10:03 AM ET

CHICAGO - Chicago street gangs are increasingly moving into the suburbs, driven by the demolition of housing projects that once hid their illegal activities and by the perception that police in smaller communities lack the experience to deal with them, a city crime commission found.

"People in the suburbs can no longer view gangs as an inner-city problem," said Jim Wagner, the Chicago Crime Commission's president who helped write a 272-page report released this week. "It's a problem they can no longer ignore."

The study surveyed 81 suburban police departments and found most had come into contact with gangs in their communities.

The report attributed the shift to gang members' perception that suburban police aren't as well-equipped to scrutinize and disrupt drug dealing and other illegal activities. It also cited the tearing down of high-rise housing projects in Chicago "that were hideouts for gangs, incubators for gang crime and were often impenetrable to law enforcement," Wagner said.

The document, titled "The Gang Book," is meant to serve as a guide for suburban police, parents and businesses who may know little to nothing about gangs. It includes photographs of gang hand signs and tattoos, as well as block-by-block maps showing which gangs control what parts of the Chicago area.

The Chicago area has many as 100 street gangs with an estimated 125,000 members, according to the report. Ten to 20 of those gangs, including the powerful Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and Vice Lords, are well-organized entities.

Des Plaines Mayor Tony Arredia said suburban authorities are aware of the problem.

"Gang activity in the suburbs is not new," he said. "It hasn't been new since way before I was the mayor."
Freedom is for those who are willing to die for it
29093  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / db in australia ? on: June 26, 2006, 01:07:37 PM
Ozzie Trent Day fought in our DB Gathering of the Pack yesterday (did very well too).  He is making some noise about bringing me over, so any noise from his fellow Ozzies here could help make it happen.
29094  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 26, 2006, 12:13:00 AM

Just in from our After-Gathering dinner.  I look forward to composing a serious post in the next few days.

In the meantime, you have a number of serious and thoughtful questions on your plate.  I look forward to your answers to them.

29095  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Gathering Of The Pack information on: June 24, 2006, 11:30:36 AM
Porn Star Dog!

Good to hear from you-- what is your sit rep?  When are you coming back to the US?
29096  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 24, 2006, 09:56:34 AM

I noted this exchange:


BRYAN: No problem, You are polite and hospitable, That is all it takes for people to get along, that and a little understanding,

XTREME KALI: I have said before I have broken bread with many families and found them to be nothing but gracious. I have personally seen the good and experienced the bad. In these dealings I have found that when it comes to "believers and non believers" that the believers will look the other way and mind their own business as to avoid conflict with fellow Muslims.

Looking the other way is a complecated issue, It is also something that happens everyday in America. Crime happens and people just dont want to get involved for many reasons, lazy, fear, and a host of things.
The big thing is when youve had personal interaction you have been treated with dignity, respect, and fed good food.


Good personal interaction is profoundly important for all concerned.  That said, this question of looking the other way I think is a really important one for many of us infidels.   Its why I was so relentless on it with Sibatan for example.  It reads to me like I annoyed him by so doing, (not my desire) but perhaps the following article will help him and others understand why this point is so important to us and why "Why are you bothering me about this-- I'm a good person-- and what can I do?" as an answer leaves many of us still , , , uneasy.

This article also gives an example of why it leaves many of us wondering about the foreign (often Saudi) nexuses with domestic Islam.  I certainly appreciate that there are many variations within Islam-- that's why we're having this conversation!- but if we cannot count on the mainstream here to speak up about the fascists in their midst and there is much language to suggest that Islam strongly teaches loyalty to other Muslims, perhaps above all other things-- then there is a real problem for the security of our nation that will require more than hospitality and good food.

In this plot, the amount of bomb material sought was triple that of what was used to blow up our federal building in OK  shocked and credible plans were made to decapitate the Canadian Prime Minister  shocked  attack the Parliament  shocked  and assassinate various figures  shocked  .  The Canadians are our very good friends, our neighbors, and an attack upon them is an attack upon us.


Teacher witnessed transformation of some bomb-plot suspects
Last Updated Thu, 08 Jun 2006 18:06:10 EDT
CBC News

A Muslim religious leader in Toronto who knows some of those charged in
the suspected bomb plot says the young men underwent rapid
 transformations from normal Canadian teenagers to radicalized introverts.

Alleged bomb-plot suspects in a Brampton courtroom on Tuesday. (John

Sayyid Ahmed Amiruddin got to know Saad Khalid, 19, and some of the

other alleged conspirators at a local mosque.

Khalid was arrested last Friday at a warehouse, where he and another
suspect allegedly took delivery of what they thought was ammonium nitrate,
 a fertilizer, and the same substance used in the deadly Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

Fifteen others are also facing charges connected to the alleged plot.

Entered mosque to pray

Amiruddin says Khalid used to come to his mosque to pray, sometimes in the
company of Zakaria Amara and Fahim Ahmad, two of the alleged ringleaders.

"They would enter into the mosque to pray, and they would pray in a very
aggressive manner, and they would come in military fatigues and military
touques and stuff.  It looked to me that they were watching a lot of those
Chechnyan jihad videos online and stuff."

Amiruddin is a teacher of Sufism, a traditional brand of Islam that
rejects the ideology of jihad. Amiruddin says the group was seduced by hardline
propaganda financed by the Saudi government and promoting a strict, Wahhabi brand of Islam.

He says the Saudis have flooded Canada with free Qur'ans, laced with
jihadist commentary.

"In the back of these Qur'ans that are being published in Saudi Arabia,
you have basically essays on the need for
offensive jihad and the legitimacy of offensive jihad and things like that.  Very alarming stuff," he said.

Amiruddin said many mainstream Muslim organizations in Canada are really
part of the problem, standing by as extremist propaganda spreads in the mosques.

He cites the Al-Rahman centre in Mississauga, Ont., which he links to the
Al-Maghrib Institute, which runs a popular educational website. It's
nominally run out of Ottawa, but Amiruddin says it's really a Saudi
operation. , , , "
29097  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 23, 2006, 05:35:32 PM

I am sorry you are feeling testy on all this, but I hope you will take a moment for a deep breath and re-find your center.

Because the nature of the subject matter in this thread, I want to take the time to write with the care that is merited and so for the moment post only to let you know that I look forward to continuing our conversation.

The Adventure continues,
29098  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / No time limit on the street or in combat on: June 23, 2006, 12:15:34 AM
Woof Dean:

What you suggest is a perfectly valid way to go.

Our reasons for doing it as we do are:

1)  We seek to come closer to the time pressures of street situations i.e. with limited time one has to explode faster and harder to finalize.  In our opinion, to have no time limit tends to shift things towards time consuming tactics and strategy and a premium on conditioning.

2) To go until someone loses, shifts the meaning of the experience towards young male hierarchical competition and away from our tribal values of preparing each other to stand together to defend our land, women and children.  

Please allow me to flesh this out.  In our experience, there are many moments in a fight when lasting damage can be imposed.  If for example a fighter with superior stick skills is in a position to badly drop someone with superior grappling skills as the latter attempts to close, rules such as you propose would, in our opinion, provoke ego driven temptations to be sure to "win" the fight now and avoid being "defeated" later.  Most of us have had more than one moment where we could have permanently dimished someone else's IQ or lastingly damaged his body.  My concern for the approach you suggest is that you make it hard to operate within the code of "No judges, no referees, no trophies, be friends at the end of the day".  

3)  Our approach also allows each fighter to experience several fights against various opponents and weapons.  This allows for more experimentation and more growth.

Off the top of my head, these are the points which occur to me.

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
29099  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 22, 2006, 11:03:07 PM
With our DB Gathering of the Pack coming up on Sunday, I am very busy at the moment and do not have the time to compose extended thoughtful replies, so please forgive the fragmented and perhaps abrupt nature of my replies.

1) Reference to politics and WW3 is inevitable, but I suggest we all seek to focus on human relations.

2)  Bryan wrote:

"Crafty and Gabe, I will address the two of you together if you don?t mind."

Actually I do mind.  Gabe and I are friends and we share a deep concern for the dangers of Islamist  Fascism.   That said, each of us is his own man.  If you have a problem with him, take it up with him.

That said, I confess to being plenty irked at being lectured by you for spreading hate.  You have been told by others that I have contradicted hate against Muslims when no one was watching and when everyone was watching.  I have answered you questions here in this regard plainly, openly and without reservation.  Yet still you seek to paint me with this brush.   I disrespect this.

Do you do this because I read many sources?

I seek Truth-- indeed this very thread is part of that search.   I readily admit to knowing little-- that is why I seek to rectify it!  If something negative about Islam seems fair to me, I will consider it.  If something positive about Islam seems fair to me, I will consider it.  It is all very simple. I search for truth.  

In this search for truth I have asked you some questions. So far you have simply avoided and parried some very specific questions from me about the contradictions between your desire for Sharia for America (and its oppression of other religions) and our First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion and about the contradictions between your military oath to uphold and defend the US Constitution against all enemies domestic and foreign and your evasive answer.  You have not answered my question about willingess to serve in Iraq.  

So my search for truth leads me to consider the hypothesis that for you there is a contradiction between Islam and our First Amendment.  Similary, I consider the hypothesis that you entertain mental reservations about your oath to our nation's armed forces.

Well, my good friend Lonely Dog has just arrived from Switzerland and so it is time for me to go.

29100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: June 22, 2006, 11:10:50 AM

I am on my way out the door for a full day of teaching and so must be brief.  

I think it would be of tremendous help for connections between all people of good faith, if we infidels had a sense that Muslims of good faith such as you seem to be, valued more highly whether someone was a good person than being of your religion-- in other words, that good faith Muslims were willing to act with us infidels against bad faith Muslims.

For example, recently in Canada a terrible conspiracy to commit massive bombings and decapitate the Prime Minister was uncovered.  It was discovered that the fascist muslims behind this were watching Chechnyan jihadi videos in their mosque-- yet no one in the mosque said anything about it to the authorities or even took the lesser step of disiniviting them from the mosque.

As I stated in an earlier post of mine to you, I would act to stop those who plotted evil against Muslims and asked if you would do the same against Muslims who plotted evil against infidels.  You did not answer at that time.  Maybe now?

For example there is a now virtually defunct organization called the Jewish Defense League that is shunned by everyone because they have descended into hate.  A couple of years ago, some of them plotted to bomb a mosque here in California.  How were they caught?  If I remember correctly (and someone please correct me if I am wrong)some of their own people were offended by the evil of the plan and went to the authorities.

Anyway, off to the joys of teaching (and thus, learning)

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
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