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Posts Tagged ‘islam’

Minnesota’s taxpayer-funded madrassa

Posted by Richard on April 12, 2008

Imagine a public charter school co-located with an evangelical Christian church and filled with Christian symbols, where learning how to be a good Christian and practicing Christian rituals are part of the school day, where fundamentalist Christian ministers lead daily prayers that all students have to attend, and where the buses don't take kids home until after the "optional" after-school Christian Studies program. Can you imagine the reaction from the National Education Association, American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and countless other liberal/progressive organizations?

I suspect that hours after the news got out, there would be pickets in front of the school, rallies at City Hall and the Board of Education, and scores of pro bono attorneys filing lawsuits and motions for restraining orders in every courtroom within a hundred miles. 

Apparently, Jefferson's "wall of separation" has an exemption for Islam. Or maybe the people who eagerly pursue an in-your-face adversarial stance toward Christianity, who work tirelessly to banish creches, Christmas trees, and St. Nicholas from the public square, are just a bit more reluctant to confront Muslims.

I remember a story last year about a taxpayer-funded New York madrassa. It seems there's one in Minnesota, too, and the usual defenders of secular public schools are looking into complaints and queries very reluctantly, cautiously, and slowly — if at all.

Katherine Kersten of the Star-Tribune first wrote about the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) — a K-8 charter school in Inver Grove Heights named after the Muslim conqueror of Spain — more than a month ago. She revisited the topic this week. It's not hard to find evidence that this school promotes Islam: 

TIZA has many characteristics that suggest a religious school. It shares the headquarters building of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose mission is "establishing Islam in Minnesota." The building also houses a mosque. TIZA's executive director, Asad Zaman, is a Muslim imam, or religious leader, and its sponsor is an organization called Islamic Relief.

Students pray daily, the cafeteria serves halal food – permissible under Islamic law — and "Islamic Studies" is offered at the end of the school day.

The imam denied that TIZA is a religious school, but wouldn't let Kersten visit and simply didn't respond to additional inquiries. Apparently, nothing was done by anyone in the wake of Kersten's first report about this taxpayer-funded Islamic school — no investigations, lawsuits, outcries, pickets, or demonstrations from the many zealous guardians of Jefferson's "wall of separation." 

Kersten's new story adds an eyewitness account — by substitute teacher Amanda Getz — from inside the school:

Arriving on a Friday, the Muslim holy day, she says she was told that the day's schedule included a "school assembly" in the gym after lunch.

Before the assembly, she says she was told, her duties would include taking her fifth-grade students to the bathroom, four at a time, to perform "their ritual washing."

Afterward, Getz said, "teachers led the kids into the gym, where a man dressed in white with a white cap, who had been at the school all day," was preparing to lead prayer. …

"The prayer I saw was not voluntary," Getz said. "The kids were corralled by adults and required to go to the assembly where prayer occurred."

… "When I arrived, I was told 'after school we have Islamic Studies,' and I might have to stay for hall duty," Getz said. "The teachers had written assignments on the blackboard for classes like math and social studies. Islamic Studies was the last one — the board said the kids were studying the Qu'ran. The students were told to copy it into their planner, along with everything else. That gave me the impression that Islamic Studies was a subject like any other."

After school, Getz's fifth-graders stayed in their classroom and the man in white who had led prayer in the gym came in to teach Islamic Studies. TIZA has in effect extended the school day — buses leave only after Islamic Studies is over. Getz did not see evidence of other extra-curricular activity, except for a group of small children playing outside. Significantly, 77 percent of TIZA parents say that their "main reason for choosing TIZA … was because of after-school programs conducted by various non-profit organizations at the end of the school period in the school building," according to a TIZA report. TIZA may be the only school in Minnesota with this distinction.

There's more. Why doesn't the Minnesota Department of Education do something about this massive breach in Jefferson's wall? They said they hadn't received any complaints.

After a month of inquiries, news reports, and complaints, the Department decided to conduct "a review" of the school, and the ACLU said it's begun "an investigation." 

If this were the John Calvin Academy run by the Rev. Billy Bob Tubthumper of Faith Evangelical Christian Bible Fellowship Church, it would have been shut down two weeks ago, and state psychologists and social workers would be interviewing the students, looking for evidence of abuse.

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Radicalism widespread in U.S. mosques

Posted by Richard on February 27, 2008

An undercover investigation of American mosques and Islamic schools by the Center for Security Policy has released some disturbing — but not surprising to those of us who've been paying attention — preliminary findings. Among the first 100 mosques and schools the project examined, more than three-quarters are "hotbeds of anti-Western extremism," according to WorldNetDaily:

Frank Gaffney, a former Pentagon official who runs the Center for Security Policy, says the results of the survey have not yet been published. But he confirmed that "the vast majority" are inciting insurrection and jihad through sermons by Saudi-trained imams and anti-Western literature, videos and textbooks.

The project, headed by David Yerushalmi, a lawyer and expert on sharia law, has finished collecting data from the first cohort of 102 mosques and schools. Preliminary findings indicate that almost 80 percent of the group exhibit a high level of sharia-compliance and jihadi threat, including:

  • Ultra-orthodox worship in which women are separated from men in the prayer hall and must enter the mosque from a separate, usually back, entrance; and are required to wear hijabs.
  • Sermons that preach women are inferior to men and can be beaten for disobedience; that non-Muslims, particularly Jews, are infidels and inferior to Muslims; that jihad or support of jihad is not only a Muslim's duty but the noblest way, and suicide bombers and other so-called "martyrs" are worthy of the highest praise; and that an Islamic caliphate should one day encompass the U.S.
  • Solicitation of financial support for jihad.
  • Bookstores that sell books, CDs and DVDs promoting jihad and glorifying martyrdom.

The Mapping Shari'a in America Project is in the early stages of these undercover investigations. Considering how many of America's estimated 2,300 mosques, madrassas, and Islamic centers are financed and directed or influenced by Saudi Wahabbis or the Muslim Brotherhood, I suspect the percentage found to be promoting jihad, a global caliphate, and radical extremist beliefs is likely to remain alarmingly high. 

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225 years of jihad against the U.S.

Posted by Richard on February 15, 2008

Practically since 9/12/01, people ranging from libertarians to moderate liberals to barking moonbats have argued that some Muslims wish to harm us because of our 50 years of interventionism in the Middle East. Anyone who actually bothered to learn about al Qaeda and other jihadist organizations soon realized that was nonsense. Nonetheless, this "grievance" theory remains quite popular.

An outstanding article by Melvin E. Lee in the latest Middle East Quarterly not only affirmed my thinking on this subject, but provided a wealth of historical infomation (heavily footnoted) that was new to me.

I studied U.S. history before most of the factual content was removed from the texts, so I knew a bit about the acts of piracy that began in the 1780s and eventually led to the Barbary Wars. But I had no idea that these "pirates" were actually the first jihadis to attack the United States, and that they made their goals as clear then as their successors do today: 

What Americans and Europeans saw as piracy, Barbary leaders justified as legitimate jihad. Jefferson related a conversation he had in Paris with Ambassador Abdrahaman of Tripoli who told him that all Christians are sinners in the context of the Qur'an and that it was a Muslim's "right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to enslave as many as they could take as prisoners."[11] Islam gave great incentive to fighting infidels, Abdrahaman explained, because the Qur'an promised that making war against infidels ensured a Muslim paradise after death.[12] Richard O'Brien, the imprisoned captain of the Philadelphia merchantman Dauphin and later the U.S. consul to Algiers, related similar conversations with ‘Ali Hasan, the ruler of Algiers.[13] Ottoman leaders used the same rationale to justify the enslavement and trading of captives from the Balkans, Caucasus, and Ukraine.[14]

The role that jihadi ideology played in the Barbary wars is documented with explicit references to jihad and holy war in the treaties that U.S. officials entered into with Muslim rulers. Tunis and Algiers, as the western outposts of the Ottoman Empire, even described themselves to American envoys as the "frontier posts of jihad against European Christianity."[15]

Even back then, Americans wouldn't take the Muslim rulers at their word, and tried hard to promote the Rodney King philosophy: "Can't we all just get along?"  

U.S. officials took a conciliatory attitude. Realizing that the North Africans were hypersensitive to the historic conflict between Islam and European Christianity, especially in the context of the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, U.S. officials bent over backwards to deny the religious and ideological nature of the conflict, especially to the Muslims themselves. They realized that religious conflict might jeopardize the commerce that the United States still hoped to find in the Mediterranean. In 1821, President John Quincy Adams was barely able to resist assisting the Greeks in their war of independence when both the American and European publics urged war with the Ottoman Empire.[16] The founders possessed a deep conviction for religious tolerance and proudly explained in the short-lived 1797 treaty with Tripoli that the U.S. was not a Christian state at all but rather one which had no official religion and maintained laws forbidding the prohibition of religion.[17] Perhaps their denial of the religious and ideological nature of the conflict foreshadowed the attitude many Washington policymakers adopt today. Then as now, it has become the basis of a fundamental misunderstanding of the root of the conflict.

From these 18th- and early-19th-century roots, Lee traces the history of relations between the U.S. and the Muslim Middle East to the present day. This essay is an eye-opener and simply a must read for anyone who wishes to think or talk intelligently about this issue. Highly recommended. 

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali defends reason and the Enlightenment

Posted by Richard on January 9, 2008

I'm a strong defender of Western Civilization and the Enlightenment, but I've always argued that the ideas and values of the Enlightenment are available to anyone who chooses to embrace them, and not the property or province of some particular cultural or ethnic group. Nothing illustrates my point better than this: an African immigrant brought up in a primitive tribal culture has brilliantly corrected a conservative American intellectual's misunderstanding of reason and the Enlightenment.

Ayaan Hirsi AliThe conservative intellectual is Lee Harris. The African immigrant is Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The vehicle is Hirsi Ali's outstanding review of Harris's new book, The Suicide of Reason. The book is about Islamic fanaticism and what Harris calls "the fanaticism of reason." Hirsi Ali refutes Harris's premise masterfully, rejecting the Hegelianism and collectivism that's hidden within conservatism and that undermines its intellectual foundation (emphasis added):

Harris’s book is so engaging that it is difficult to put down, and its haunting assessments make it difficult for a reader to sleep at night. He deserves praise for raising serious questions. But his arguments are not entirely sound.

I disagree, for instance, that the way to rescue Western civilization from a path of suicide is to challenge its tradition of reason. Indeed, for all his understanding of the rise of fanaticism in general and its Islamic manifestation in particular, Harris’s use of the term “reason” is faulty.

Enlightenment thinkers, preoccupied with both individual freedom and secular and limited government, argued that human reason is fallible. They understood that reason is more than just rational thought; it is also a process of trial and error, the ability to learn from past mistakes. The Enlightenment cannot be fully appreciated without a strong awareness of just how frail human reason is. That is why concepts like doubt and reflection are central to any form of decision-making based on reason.

Harris is pessimistic in a way that the Enlightenment thinkers were not. He takes a Darwinian view of the struggle between clashing cultures, criticizing the West for an ethos of selfishness, and he follows Hegel in asserting that where the interest of the individual collides with that of the state, it is the state that should prevail. This is why he attributes such strength to Islamic fanaticism. The collectivity of the umma elevates the communal interest above that of the individual believer. Each Muslim is a slave, first of God, then of the caliphate. Although Harris does not condone this extreme subversion of the self, still a note of admiration seems to creep into his descriptions of Islam’s fierce solidarity, its adherence to tradition and the willingness of individual Muslims to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the greater good.

In addition, Harris extols American exceptionalism together with Hegel as if there were no contradiction between the two. But what makes America unique, especially in contrast to Europe, is its resistance to the philosophy of Hegel with its concept of a unifying world spirit. It is the individual that matters most in the United States.

I was not born in the West. I was raised with the code of Islam, and from birth I was indoctrinated into a tribal mind-set. Yet I have changed, I have adopted the values of the Enlightenment, and as a result I have to live with the rejection of my native clan as well as the Islamic tribe. Why have I done so? Because in a tribal society, life is cruel and terrible. And I am not alone. Muslims have been migrating to the West in droves for decades now. They are in search of a better life. Yet their tribal and cultural constraints have traveled with them. And the multiculturalism and moral relativism that reign in the West have accommodated this.

Harris is correct, I believe, that many Western leaders are terribly confused about the Islamic world. They are woefully uninformed and often unwilling to confront the tribal nature of Islam. The problem, however, is not too much reason but too little. Harris also fails to address the enemies of reason within the West: religion and the Romantic movement. It is out of rejection of religion that the Enlightenment emerged; Romanticism was a revolt against reason.

Both the Romantic movement and organized religion have contributed a great deal to the arts and to the spirituality of the Western mind, but they share a hostility to modernity. Moral and cultural relativism (and their popular manifestation, multiculturalism) are the hallmarks of the Romantics. To argue that reason is the mother of the current mess the West is in is to miss the major impact this movement has had, first in the West and perhaps even more profoundly outside the West, particularly in Muslim lands.

Thus, it is not reason that accommodates and encourages the persistent segregation and tribalism of immigrant Muslim populations in the West. It is Romanticism. Multiculturalism and moral relativism promote an idealization of tribal life and have shown themselves to be impervious to empirical criticism. My reasons for reproaching today’s Western leaders are different from Harris’s. I see them squandering a great and vital opportunity to compete with the agents of radical Islam for the minds of Muslims, especially those within their borders. But to do so, they must allow reason to prevail over sentiment.

To argue, as Harris seems to do, that children born and bred in superstitious cultures that value fanaticism and create phalanxes of alpha males are doomed — and will doom others — to an existence governed by the law of the jungle is to ignore the lessons of the West’s own past. There have been periods when the West was less than noble, when it engaged in crusades, inquisitions, witch-burnings and genocides. Many of the Westerners who were born into the law of the jungle, with its alpha males and submissive females, have since become acquainted with the culture of reason and have adopted it. They are even — and this should surely relieve Harris of some of his pessimism — willing to die for it, perhaps with the same fanaticism as the jihadists willing to die for their tribe. In short, while this conflict is undeniably a deadly struggle between cultures, it is individuals who will determine the outcome.

Bravo! Bravissimo!

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Happy hookah fans

Posted by Richard on October 2, 2007

They're really tough on smoking in Vancouver, even prohibiting it on sidewalks. But they've adopted one exception to the harsh restrictions: hookah lounges. It would be culturally insensitive, after all, to ban "smoking while Muslim":

Vancouver's hookah-parlour owners are celebrating after winning an exemption Thursday from a proposed new bylaw that will ban smoking on most sidewalks in commercial districts, in bus shelters and even in taxis passing through Vancouver.

In giving the bylaw unanimous approval-in-principle, Vancouver city council members bowed to arguments that hookah lounges provide an important cultural space for the city's Muslims and granted them a temporary exemption.

Mind you, I object in principle to these draconian smoking bans, so I'm glad that hookah lounge owners remain free to run their businesses and exercise their property rights. But the Vancouver city council isn't belatedly and partially embracing the doctrine of natural rights here. It's practicing dhimmitude. It's furthering a growing trend in the Western world — the practice of bending over backwards to avoid offending Muslims.

Maybe it's craven cowardice. Maybe it's the self-loathing and loathing of their own culture and heritage that leads to the belief that the Other is more entitled to respect and accommodation than Us. Either way, it makes me want to loiter on the sidewalk in front of a Vancouver hookah lounge and smoke a cigarette.

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Embracing dhimmitude

Posted by Richard on August 16, 2007

LGF had back-to-back stories yesterday about the one-way street called "multiculturalism" and "tolerance," which is really liberals displaying their willingness to embrace the role of dhimmi that all non-Muslim Europeans must assume when the caliphate is established:

Scottish Shari'a Watch

Tue, Aug 14, 2007 at 10:58:04 am PDT

Doctors and health workers in Scotland have been banned from eating lunch at their desks during the Ramadan fast.

Willful blindness has now become standard practice in cases like this; the officials who instituted the ban openly admit they did it out of fear, even while parroting the usual tolerance-speak.

 Can it get any crazier? Well, yes.

Dutch Catholic Bishop: Christians Should Pray to Allah

Tue, Aug 14, 2007 at 9:57:47 am PDT

The Roman Catholic bishop of Breda in the Netherlands wants Christians to start praying to Allah.

To promote healing and tolerance.

Go read both posts. Then, for your amusement, check out Charles' half-dozen or so updates since in the Wikipedia Editgate series. 

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Film botched by Fox

Posted by Richard on June 26, 2007

I had high hopes for Muslims Against Jihad, Martyn Burke's second documentary about moderate Muslims standing up against the radical Islamists. I was rather disappointed, and I blame Fox News. The film's continuity and impact were undermined by the many breaks and awkward edits, E.D. Hill's annoyingly hyperbolic commentary, and her relentless focus on PBS instead of the film during the interview segments with Burke and Frank Gaffney. Overall, it seemed more like Fox Against PBS than Muslims Against Jihad.

The film had some good segments, and even the interview had a few interesting moments. Chief among the latter was Burke recounting the meeting with a PBS vice president who wanted him to fire Gaffney for being a conservative and who asked Burke incredulously, "Don't you check into the politics of the people you work with?" Burke said he replied, "No. No, I do not. I check into their journalistic integrity." 

I suppose I'm not really surprised, but it's an outrage that a high-ranking executive at the taxpayer-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting believes that of course producers should "check into the politics of people."

As for Burke's work, I'd like to see Muslims Against Jihad uncut and uninterrupted. And I still have high hopes for the first of the two documentaries, Islam vs. Islamists, which may finally be shown by individual PBS stations (probably at 3 AM). It got a glowing review from Oscar-nominated screenwriter Roger L. Simon, who knows a little something about good film-making. Simon especially liked that the film is not didactic or propagandistic, but "riveting and creatively made."

Time to start bugging the local PBS affiliates to show Islam vs. Islamists. I suppose I have to send them a check to get their attention, huh?

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Must-see TV: Muslims Against Jihad

Posted by Richard on June 23, 2007

Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center is a documentary about moderate Muslims and the intimidation and threats they're subjected to by the radical Islamists. It was made by Canadian documentary filmmaker Martyn Burke, with a $700,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for the 11-part PBS series America at the Crossroads. But PBS removed the film from the series because it was "alarmist" and not fair to the radical Islamists. 

Read this interview with Burke, who's certainly not a raving neo-con, for the remarkable story. The film's critics at PBS and its D.C. affiliate, WETA, argued that the moderate Muslims in the film weren't "true" Muslims because they believed in democracy and were "Westernized" — the anti-democratic, sharia-promoting Islamists were the truer representatives of Islam and weren't treated fairly in the film! They also demanded that Burke fire co-producers Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev because they're conservatives.

Alyssa Lappen posted some interesting details at American Thinker last month about the folks at WETA (which produced the Crossroads series) who nixed Burke's work. One of the five-member committee that killed the documentary is associated with the Nation of Islam. Another is Crossroads producer Leo Eaton, whose father, Charles Eaton, a.k.a. Hassan Abdul Hakeem, is a Muslim convert with numerous ties to radical clerics. 

You can't see the original Islam vs. Islamists yet, although PBS has relented just a bit and will allow the Oregon PBS to show it and make it available to other PBS stations. But tonight Sunday night, the Fox News Channel is airing Burke's companion/spinoff documentary, Muslims Against Jihad. Tune in, Tivo, or fire up the DVR or VCR. It's on at 9 PM Eastern (that's 7 Mountain) and again Sunday morning at 3 AM Eastern.

UPDATE: Fox News rescheduled Muslims Against Jihad for Sunday night at 9 PM so they could give Geraldo and a gaggle of shyster "criminal justice consultants" an extra hour to blather about the breaking news in this week's Crime of the Century. Sheesh.

UPDATE 2: I was disappointed, and I know who to blame: Film botched by Fox

 

Muslims Against Jihad

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26%

Posted by Richard on May 25, 2007

According to a new Rasmussen survey of American voters, only 26% support passage of the bipartisan immigration bill currently being debated in the Senate. But that's OK, say many Washington insiders and media experts — 26% is a solid base to build on, and the fact that so many people don't like the bill at this stage is a virtue. Lots of people are undecided or just don't yet understand the bill. As they become more educated about the issue, that 26% will grow.

Coincidentally, 26% just happens to be the percentage of young American Muslims who support suicide bombings in defense of Islam. In this case, though, the media experts think that the 26% are  trivial and unimportant. We should focus on the fact that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are assimilated and don't want to subjugate or kill us infidels.

Meanwhile, the Wahhabists who, with Saudi support, fill American mosques and schools with extreme Islamist literature and teachings are noting with satisfaction that 26% is a solid base to build on. Younger Muslims are much more radical than older ones, they no doubt note, and lots of young American Muslims just don't yet understand their obligation to spread Islam and extend the ummah. As they become more educated about jihad, that 26% will grow.

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Islam, feminism, and fecklessness

Posted by Richard on May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day! If you are a mother, have a mother, or know a mother, if you care about mothers, if you're at all interested in or concerned about women's rights, please go read Christina Hoff Sommers' outstanding essay, "The Subjection of Islamic Women." Subtitled "And the fecklessness of American feminism," it's the cover story in the May 21 issue of The Weekly Standard. It's not a screed or diatribe, and it's not a catalog of atrocities and outrages. It does point its finger at the feckless, but more in sadness than in anger, and it gives credit where it's due. It's a thoughtful look at a shameful situation, but with a hopeful ending:

The subjection of women in Muslim societies–especially in Arab nations and in Iran–is today very much in the public eye. Accounts of lashings, stonings, and honor killings are regularly in the news, and searing memoirs by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Azar Nafisi have become major best-sellers. One might expect that by now American feminist groups would be organizing protests against such glaring injustices, joining forces with the valiant Muslim women who are working to change their societies. This is not happening.

… During the 1980s, there were massive demonstrations on American campuses against racial apartheid in South Africa. There is no remotely comparable movement on today's campuses against the gender apartheid prevalent in large parts of the world.

… For a brief period before September 11, 2001, many women's groups protested the brutalities of the Taliban. But they have never organized a full-scale mobilization against gender oppression in the Muslim world. The condition of Muslim women may be the most pressing women's issue of our age, but for many contemporary American feminists it is not a high priority. Why not?

One reason is that many feminists are tied up in knots by multiculturalism and find it very hard to pass judgment on non-Western cultures. They are far more comfortable finding fault with American society for minor inequities (the exclusion of women from the Augusta National Golf Club, the "underrepresentation" of women on faculties of engineering) than criticizing heinous practices beyond our shores. The occasional feminist scholar who takes the women's movement to task for neglecting the plight of foreigners is ignored or ruled out of order

Sommers offers a number of examples and cites some women's rights champions critical of their peers to back up her thesis. What most bothers me is the pervasive attitude of moral equivalence. Feminist leaders speak of "Christian Wahhabism" and equate Focus on the Family with the Taliban. The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World describes both the United States and Uganda as having extreme restrictions on women. In Uganda, a man can claim an unmarried woman by raping her. The U.S. got the same rank, according to author Joni Seager, because "state legislators enacted 301 anti-abortion measures between 1995 and 2001." Never mind that U.S. abortion laws are still among the most liberal in the world. 

Sommers takes on Nation columnist Katha Pollitt for her moral equivalence argument:

Soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Katha Pollitt wrote the introduction to a book called Nothing Sacred: Women Respond to Religious Fundamentalism and Terror. It aimed to show that reactionary religious movements everywhere are targeting women. Says Pollitt:

In Bangladesh, Muslim fanatics throw acid in the faces of unveiled women; in Nigeria, newly established shariah courts condemn women to death by stoning for having sex outside of wedlock. . . . In the United States, Protestant evangelicals and fundamentalists have forged a powerful right-wing political movement focused on banning abortion, stigmatizing homosexuality and limiting young people's access to accurate information about sex.

Pollitt casually places "limiting young people's access to accurate information about sex" and opposing abortion on the same plane as throwing acid in women's faces and stoning them to death. Her hostility to the United States renders her incapable of distinguishing between private American groups that stigmatize gays and foreign governments that hang them. She has embraced a feminist philosophy that collapses moral categories in ways that defy logic, common sense, and basic decency.

It's not just an essay about the depressing state of American feminism, though. In the final third, Sommers describes the growing Muslim feminist movement: 

The good news is that Muslim women are not waiting around for Western feminists to rescue them. "Feminists in the West may fiddle while Muslim women are burning," wrote Manhattan Institute scholar Kay Hymowitz in a prescient 2003 essay, "but in the Muslim world itself there is a burgeoning movement to address the miserable predicament of the second sex." The number of valiant and resourceful Muslim women who are devoting themselves to the cause of greater freedom grows each and every day.

The courage of Muslim women fighting for their rights is inspiring. As Sommers notes, early American feminists risked being shunned or ridiculed; Muslim feminists risk imprisonment, beatings and torture, even death. But their cause is important not just for women and not just for the Islamic world, as Sommers, quoting Canadian journalist and human rights activist Irshad Manji, observes:

In her 2004 feminist manifesto, The Trouble with Islam Today, Manji writes, "We Muslims . . . are in crisis and we are dragging the rest of the world with us. If ever there was a moment for an Islamic reformation, it's now."

Manji is right: In particular, a feminist reformation could be as dangerous to the dreams of the jihadists as any military assault by the West. After all, the oppression of women is not an incidental feature of the societies that foster terrorism. It is a linchpin of the system of social control that the jihadists are fighting to impose worldwide. Women's equality is as incompatible with radical Islam's plan for domination and submission as it is with polygamy. Women freely moving about, expressing their opinions, and negotiating their relationships with men from a position of equal dignity rather than servitude are a moderating, civilizing force in any society. Female scholars voicing their opinions without inhibition would certainly puncture some cherished jihadist fantasies.

Go read the whole thing. I think it's a truly important essay, and I felt hopeful and uplifted at the end. 

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A Muslim parallel society

Posted by Richard on March 30, 2007

Last week, I commented on a German judge's ruling that the Koran gives a Muslim man the right to beat his wife. A few days earlier, I noted LGF's post on the "camel caravan" rule for Muslim schoolgirls' participation in field trips. A loyal reader recently emailed me about a long piece in Germany's Der Spiegel ("The Mirror") about these and related issues. It's entitled "Paving the Way to a Muslim Parallel Society." I've finally read all eight parts, and I highly recommend it. Here's the "executive summary":

A recent ruling in Germany by a judge who cited the Koran underscores the dilemma the country faces in reconciling Western values with a growing immigrant population. A disturbing number of rulings are helping to create a parallel Muslim world in Germany that is welcoming to Islamic fundamentalists.

Some of the evidence cited for this claim involves matters of headscarves, field trips, and swimming lessons. But some of it is much more grim: 

In 2005, Hatun Sürücü, a young Berlin woman, was killed because she was "living like a German." In her family's opinion, this was a crime only her death could expiate. Her youngest brother executed her by shooting her several times, point blank, at a Berlin bus stop. But because prosecutors were unable to prove that the family council had planned the act, only the killer himself could be tried for murder and, because he was underage, he was given a reduced sentence. The rest of the family left the courtroom in high spirits, and the father rewarded the convicted boy with a watch.  

Beatings and honor killings, often excused or treated leniently by the courts, are a growing problem in Germany. Even the apparently more innocuous matters supposedly involving "choice," like the field trip, swimming, and other female modesty issues, conceal the vicious reality: the "choices" being exercised aren't the apparent desire of the Muslim women and girls to be modest, they're the Muslim men's desire to subjugate and control their wives and daughters, treating them like property. Germany's women's shelters are increasingly seeing Muslim women and girls fleeing arranged marriages, slave-like living conditions, and savage beatings:

Ayten Köse, 42, who manages a shelter in the Neukölln Rollberg district, tries to help. She doesn't resemble most of the Muslim women here. Instead of a headscarf, she wears her hair uncovered. Köse knows how difficult it is for Muslim women in Germany to be courageous and rebel. …

The problem for many women, says Köse, is that they are completely alone, alone against their own family or their husband's family. "And if they haven't attended school in Germany," Köse explains, "they usually don't even know about human rights." 

Besides the human rights issues, there are other lesser public policy implications for the mulitculturalists' acquiescence to a parallel Muslim society. Germany's massive social welfare system can ill afford some of the consequences:

In another letter from Absurdistan, the Federal Ministry for Social Affairs issued the following announcement to German health insurance agencies in the summer of 2004: "Polygamous marriages must be recognized if they are legal under the laws of the native country of the individuals in question."

What the policy statement boiled down to was this: In certain cases Muslim men from countries where polygamy is legal — like Morocco, Algeria and Saudi Arabia — could add a second wife to their government health insurance policies without having to pay an additional premium.

Read it, please. All eight parts. The Germans have a head start on us, but this is where we're headed, too, if CAIR and the like have their way. 

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Whither Europe?

Posted by Richard on March 23, 2007

I was stunned a few days ago when I read about the judges in the German state of Hesse who imposed a bizarre Islamic restriction on Muslim girls in the public schools. Little Green Footballs stunned me yet again yesterday with the story of the German judge whose ruling in a divorce case was based on what the Koran says:

The nihilistic dead end of multiculturalism has been attained in Germany, where a female judge seemingly forgot which culture’s laws she was supposed to uphold: German judge rules Koran allows wife abuse. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)

BERLIN (AFP) – A German woman judge has refused a Moroccan-born woman permission to file for divorce by interpreting the Koran as allowing husbands to beat their wives.

It seems there's been a significant uproar over this decision, and the judge has been removed:

BERLIN – Politicians and Muslim leaders denounced a German judge for citing the Koran in her rejection of a Muslim woman's request for a quick divorce on grounds she was abused by her husband.

The judge was removed from the case on Wednesday and the Frankfurt administrative court said it was considering disciplinary action.

… The latest uproar comes amid an ongoing debate in Germany about integrating its more than 3 million Muslims, most of them from Turkey. A decision last year to cancel an opera featuring the severed heads of the Prophet Muhammad and other religious figures out of security concerns caused a furor and was later retracted.

Lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats said traditional Islamic law, or Sharia, had no place in Germany.

"The legal and moral concepts of Sharia have nothing to do with German jurisprudence," Wolfgang Bosbach, a lawmaker with the Christian Democrats, told N24 television.

"One thing must be clear: In Germany, only German law applies. Period."

Ronald Pofalla, the party's general secretary, told Bild: "When the Koran is put above the German constitution, I can only say: Good night, Germany."

The mass-circulation Bild daily asked in a front-page article: "Where are we living?" The left-leaning Tageszeitung headlined its Thursday edition: "In the name of the people: Beating allowed." 

Not everyone's outraged, however. Notice how the AP reporter helps a Muslim group try to put a good spin on a very ugly aspect of their beliefs (emphasis added):

While the Koranic verse cited does say that husbands are allowed to beat their wives if they are disobedient, Germany's Institute for Islamic Questions noted that such an interpretation was no longer standard.

"Of course not all Muslims use violence against their wives," the group said in a statement.

Let me attempt to restate that for you: "Yes, the Koran says 'husbands may beat their wives if they disobey,' and we usually insist on unquestioning 100% obedience to every word in the Koran. But, umm, there's this other interpretation. Really. And besides, some Muslim women don't need to be bea… I mean, some Muslim men don't beat their wives at all. Hardly."

These incidents are just two more data points in the growing mountain of evidence that all is not well in Europe. Daniel Pipes recently considered "Europe's Stark Options" regarding its growing Muslim population and saw three possibilities:

  1. The high religiosity, high fertility, and high cultural confidence of the Muslims will win out over the Europeans' low religiosity, low fertility, and alienation from their own heritage. Europe will become Islamicized.
  2. Many Europeans (outside of the intelligentsia) are becoming resentful of radical Islam's increasing insistence that non-Muslims conform to and accommodate fundamentalist Muslim standards, and this will lead to a backlash that becomes increasingly ugly. In the words of Ralph Peters,  Muslims in Europe "will be lucky just to be deported."
  3. Europeans and Muslim immigrants could follow Rodney King's advice and "just get along." Muslim immigrants would assimilate more, or at least stop pushing for the Islamization of Europe, and would become more tolerant of and integrated into the free, democratic, pluralistic societies in which they've chosen to live.

Pipes seems to think option 3 is not very likely, and it's too soon to tell whether option 1 or 2 will prevail. I hope he's wrong. But there are certainly plenty of people in the European intelligentsia who are furthering option 1, as these German judges illustrate. And there are even more ordinary Europeans who are becoming angry and radicalized, as is clear from the reaction to such instances of dhimmitude and the growing nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment in many parts of Europe.

I have to believe that there are lots of Muslim immigrants in Europe who don't want Sharia — who emigrated at least partly to escape from the oppressive feudal strictures of their homeland. But the Saudi-funded radical Wahhabists at the mosques are turning some of their kids into jihadists. Are these people just too scared to stand up and speak out?

We're constantly reminded that most Muslims are peaceful, tolerant people. I'd like to think it's true, but in Europe as in the U.S., those peaceful, moderate Muslims are virtually invisible. So Europe's many appeasers and cowards keep submitting to the threats of the violent and intolerant Muslims, and everyone else gets angrier and angrier. It's a path to disaster, and it's those peaceful, moderate Muslims — if they exist in large numbers — who must act to stop it. For their own sakes, if not for everyone else's.

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The camel caravan limit

Posted by Richard on March 19, 2007

Go to Little Green Footballs right this minute. Read about how German judges decided what rules should govern the participation of Muslim schoolgirls in school field trips.

Words fail me.

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Egyptian blogger sentenced

Posted by Richard on February 22, 2007

Egyptian student and blogger Abdelkareem Suleiman was sentenced to four years in prison today. For writing things on his blog that were critical of the Egyptian government and fundamentalist Islam. Outrageous.

This site wants freedom for Kareem When I wrote about Kareem in November, I urged readers to sign a petition (click Help Free Kareem in right sidebar) and to call or write the Egyptian embassy/government. I echoed Tom Palmer and Jason Kuznicki on the need to keep it polite:

It’s enormously tempting to heap contempt upon a country that imprisons people for blogging while urging mercy for Saddam Hussein, a country that takes billions every year in U.S. aid and claims to be an ally, but does everything it can to undermine the spread of democracy and freedom. But Kuznicki and Palmer are right — be respectful and polite. You can curse them under your breath later.

Now that countless respectful and polite pleas, rallies around the world, and at least three petitions have all fallen on deaf ears, I’m inclined to be somewhat less respectful in expressing my displeasure to the Egyptian government. I’m not going to curse them openly — that would still be counterproductive. I think "polite contempt" is the tone I’ll aim for.

For embassy contact information, click the Palmer or Kuznicki link above. For links to other petitions, reports on rallies for Kareem, and other news and information, visit FreeKareem.org.

Here is the press release from FreeKareem.org:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Free Kareem Coalition
+1-617-661-0053
free.kareem@gmail.com

Interfaith Coalition Condemns Jailing of Egyptian Student over Blogposts, Calls on Egyptian President Mubarak to Pardon Abdelkareem Soliman

CAIRO – The “Free Kareem Coalition,” an interfaith group of human rights activists from around the world, condemned the sentencing of Egyptian student Abdelkareem Soliman for expressing his opinion on his personal blog.

A judge in Egypt today sentenced Kareem to four years in prison for the alleged crimes of “defaming the President of Egypt” and “insulting Islam.”

Dalia Ziada of the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information explained that Kareem’s conviction remains the first time an Egyptian blogger has been arrested for writing on his blog. “It sends a chilling message to bloggers of all persuasions in Egypt and across the Middle East. We are not free to express ourselves openly on our websites.”

Kareem criticized Egyptian authorities for failing to protect the rights of religious minorities and women, and expressed views about religious extremism in strong terms.

Bahraini blogger Esra’a Al-Shafei, who launched the website FreeKareem.org to coordinate the international solidarity campaign, noted the basic human rights violation. “I was offended by some of Kareem’s blog writings. But I cannot support his imprisonment merely because he said a few things that insult my identity. Freedom of expression and open exchange of ideas must be respected.”

In November, Kareem was detained after being interrogated by prosecutors. He was held for over two months without trial and has remained in solitary confinement without access to his lawyers.

Kareem’s conviction comes despite global rallies on Kareem’s behalf, including demonstrations outside Egyptian embassies in Washington, Rome, London, Paris, Stockholm, and New York. Over 2,000 people have sent letters to Egyptian authorities demanding Kareem’s release.

Opinion editorials in the Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, and Beirut Daily Star have all also called for Kareem’s release, along with a bi-partisan coalition of US Congressional leaders, European parliamentarians, and Costa Rican representatives.

“We call on the appeals courts in Egypt to listen to international condemnation and do the right thing,” stated organizer Mohammed Shouman. “Kareem’s right to free expression has been violated and his conviction should be overturned.”

In the meantime, activists fear Kareem’s life is in danger and hope for high-level intervention. “We hope President Hosni Mubarak will pardon Kareem and allow him to start a new life outside of Egypt,” noted Al-Shafei. “We won’t be silent until Kareem is safe.”

See www.FreeKareem.org for the latest updates.

Do what you can. At least take a moment to sign the HAMSA petition.

Free Kareem  

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Individual jihad

Posted by Richard on February 16, 2007

The other day, I said that the Salt Lake City shooter, Sulejman Talovic, was a Muslim, but that if there was evidence of a religio-political motive, it probably wouldn’t get reported. Robert Spencer has a new article at FrontPageMag.com that addresses this issue.

Spencer described four "random acts of violence" with multiple victims committed by young Muslim men in the past year — one was a shooter, and the other three used vehicles as weapons. According to officials, all four were just disturbed individuals acting alone, and they "had nothing to do with terrorism." That may be true, said Spencer, but another possibility ought to be considered (emphasis added):

None of these were terrorist attacks in the sense that they were planned and executed by al-Qaeda agents. And it is possible that all of them were products of nothing more ideologically significant than a disturbed mental state, although it is at least noteworthy that each attacker explained his actions in terms of Islamic terrorism. As such attacks grow in number, it would behoove authorities at very least to consider the possibility that these attacks were inspired by the jihadist ideology of Islamic supremacism, and to step up pressure on American Muslim advocacy groups to renounce that ideology definitively and begin extensive programs to teach against it in American Islamic schools and mosques.

In October 2006, a pro-jihad internet site published a “Guide for Individual Jihad,” explaining to jihadists “how to fight alone.” It recommended, among other things, assassination with guns and running people over. Is it possible that Sulejmen Talovic and some of these others were waging this jihad of one? It is indeed, but with law enforcement officials trained only to look for signs of membership in al-Qaeda or other jihad groups, and to discount terrorism as a factor if those signs aren’t there, it is a possibility that investigators will continue to overlook.

This is speculative, as Spencer himself said, but if a radical Islamist web site is promoting the idea of "individual jihad," isn’t it reasonable to suppose that some of its followers might act on that?

Pressuring American Muslim groups to renounce the "jihadist ideology of Islamic supremacism" and begin teaching against it in schools and mosques sounds like a very good idea. But it also sounds like a pipe dream. At this point, it would be a major step forward if we could get the majority of Islamic schools and mosques to give up their Saudi-provided Wahhabi texts and stop teaching that ideology.
 

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