The silence of the imams

Tuesday, 10 September, 2013 1 Comment

Students of contemporary barbarism should take note of what happened to customers at the Village restaurant in Mogadishu on Saturday. Here’s the BBC report: “The Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab has said it bombed a popular restaurant in the capital Mogadishu, killing 15 people… Run by Somali businessman Ahmed Jama, who returned to the country from the UK in 2008, it was targeted by two suicide bombers last September in attacks that killed 14 people.”

As word of this appalling crime seeped out, Pope Francis was holding a “Syria peace vigil” in Rome attended by 100,000 people. “May the noise of weapons cease!” he said. “War always marks the failure of peace — it is always a defeat for humanity.” He didn’t mention the murdered Mogadishu diners directly, but he cannot be faulted for this because no imam did, either. These authority figures in the Islamic world are usually vociferous when it comes to condemning the decadence and crimes of the “West”, but they tend to be very shy about the horrific crimes being committed in the name of their own faith. And the body count from those faith killings is shocking.

In Iraq, some 4,000 people have been killed by rival Sunni and Shi’a gangs so far this year. The pot of sectarian hatred is being stirred by the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is also heavily involved in the savage Syrian civil war. It has invested heavily in the notion of an embattled Alawite regime led by Assad battling a radicalized Sunni opposition of al-Qaida terrorists because this legitimizes Teheran’s interference. Meanwhile, Turkey’s government is adding fuel to the sectarian fire, as rumors circulate that Ankara is pressing for a Sunni majority Syrian government if Assad falls. One does not need a vivid imagination to picture the butchery that would follow, should this ever be the case.

Forgotten in this gruesomeness is that fact that the Taliban have killed more than 1,300 men, women and children so far this year with car bombs, improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. As if that wasn’t enough, Muslims are also murdering Muslims in Pakistan, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt and the silence of the imams and mullahs regarding this carnage is deafening. Finally, there’s Yemen: “Kuwaitis have called for stringent action against a family in Yemen after their eight-year-old daughter died of internal injuries on the first night of her arranged marriage to a man more than five times her age.”

A mosque

The Persecution of Egypt’s Christians

Wednesday, 21 August, 2013 1 Comment

“Violent aggression by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, including those sympathetic to al-Qaeda, continues to be directed at one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, following the military’s break up last week of Brotherhood sit-ins. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party has been inciting the anti-Christian pogroms on its web and Facebook pages. One such page, posted on August 14, lists a bill of particulars against the Christian Coptic minority, blaming it, and only it, for the military’s crackdown against the Brotherhood, alleging that the Church has declared a ‘war against Islam and Muslims.'”

That’s Nina Shea of The Hudson Institute in a National Review article titled “Egypt’s Christians Are Facing a Jihad.” Mark Movsesian of the Center For Law And Religion Forum at St. John’s University School of Law references Shea’s piece in “The Persecution of Egypt’s Christians,” and he offers three reasons as to why the Muslim Brotherhood and its followers are adopting this strategy of oppression:

First, Islamists attack Christians because they can. Christian churches, monasteries, and schools are soft targets, especially when the security forces are occupied elsewhere.

Second, the Coptic Church has taken an uncharacteristically strong stand in support of the military. Coptic Pope Tawadros appeared in the video announcing the overthrow of the Morsi regime in July — as did the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, it should be noted — and last week, he endorsed the military’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Third, one must recognize the perception Islamists have of Christians. Although not all Islamists advocate a return to dhimma restrictions, most have a nostalgia for classical Islamic law, which tolerates Christians as long as they accept a subservient status in society. Equality is out of the question. For Christians to assert equality with Muslims, or cooperate with Muslims’ enemies, is, in classical thought, a grave affront to the community which must be punished.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, the fate of four jailed Morsi supporters dominates media coverage of Egypt. In the Washington Post, the front-page story is, “Ravaged churches reveal sectarian split feeding Egypt’s violence.”

The Saudis and the Brotherhood: love turns to hate

Tuesday, 20 August, 2013

“On Monday, Saudi Arabia promised to compensate Egypt for any aid that Western countries might withdraw in response to the harsh tactics employed by Egypt’s leaders to quell protests by supporters of the country’s deposed president, in which nearly 1,000 people and more than 100 police officers are reported to have been killed.” — Backing Egypt’s generals, Saudi Arabia promises financial support

Later in her Washington Post report, Liz Sly writes, “That Saudi Arabia is prepared to confront Washington over the crisis is an indicator of how deeply Saudi leaders were unsettled by the prospect of the Muslim Brotherhood consolidating its hold over the Arab world’s most populous nation, analysts say.”

Muslim Brotherhood Times have changed, especially in the relationship between the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 1952, Gamel Abdel Nasser and a group of fellow military officers overthrew King Farouk and turned to Sayyid Qutb and the Muslim Brotherhood for popular support. However, the Brotherhood wanted to outlaw alcohol and introduce the religious law of Islam, sharia, in the new, post-monarchical Egypt, a price that was too high for Nasser and his Revolutionary Council. It banned the Brotherhood in 1954, then undid the ban, but after an attempt on Nasser’s life, reinstated the ban.

In Terror and Liberalism, Paul Berman notes what happened next:

“Leading figures from the Muslim Brotherhood fled from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi rulers welcomed them, and put them to good use. The Saudi princes were determined to keep their own country on a path of pure adherence to Saudi Arabia’s antique and rigid version of Islam; and Egypt’s Islamist intellectuals, with their stores of Koranic knowledge, had much to offer. The Egyptian exiles took over professorial chairs in Saudi universities. And their impact was large. Qutb’s younger brother, Muhammad Qutb, a distinguished religious scholar in his own right, fled to Saudi Arabia and became a professor of Islamic Studies. One of his students was Osama bin Laden.”

Sayyid Qutb, however, stayed in Egypt and Nasser hanged him in 1966. By then, though, the damage was done and the religious fascism represented by Qutb and the Muslim Brotherhood has since left a trail of death and suffering that stretches from the banks of the Nile to lower Manhattan. It has also steered Saudi Arabia towards barbarism and although it’s a bit late in the day for the princely descendants of the princes who imported Qutb’s toxic ideology to acknowledge their capital mistakes, it is better that it’s done late rather than never. Unless they wish to be devoured by the radicals, the Saudis and the Egyptians know that the Muslim Brotherhood must be smashed.

Snow is melting in Turkey

Monday, 3 June, 2013 0 Comments

It’s hard to put a finger on the individual spark that lit the fuse in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, but the air was filled with a number of combustibles: Secularists point to the recent barrage of restrictions on alcohol; intellectuals highlight the number of journalists in jail (there are more reporters in prison in Turkey than in any other country in the world); activists complain about the country’s draconian anti-terror laws, and environmentalists are enraged by mega urban-development projects that involve the nihilistic destruction of nature. All in all, people have tired of Prime Minister Erdogan’s authoritarianism and they want him to know how they feel about creeping Islamism.

Snow Orhan Pamuk, the winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature, brilliantly captured the tensions at the heart of Turkish society in Snow. Early in the novel, the central character Ka is sitting in the New Life Pastry Shop in the east Anatolian city of Kars when an Islamist murders the director of The Education Institute, who had barred headscarf-wearing girls from attending class. Because the director was carrying a concealed tape-recorder, Ka is later able to get the transcript of the fatal conversation from his widow. In this excerpt, the killer pours out his mad idealism:

“Headscarves protect women from harassment, rape and degradation. It’s the headscarf that gives women respect and a comfortable place in society. We’ve heard this from so many women who’ve chosen later in life to cover themselves. Women like the old belly-dancer Melahat Sandra. The veil saves women from the animal instincts of men in the street. It saves them from the ordeal of entering beauty contests to compete with other women. They don’t have to live like sex objects, they don’t have to wear make-up all the day. As professor Marvin King has already noted, if the celebrated film star Elizabeth Taylor had spent the last twenty years covered, she would not have had to worry about being fat. She would not have ended up in a mental hospital. She might have known some happiness.”

Upon hearing this absurdity, the director of the Education Institute bursts out laughing. Pamuk describes the end of the transcript:

“Calm down my child. Stop. Sit down. Think it over one more time. Don’t pull that trigger. Stop.”
(The sound of a gunshot. The sound of a chair pushed out.)
“Don’t my son!”
(Two more gunshots. Silence. A groan. The sound of a television. One more gunshot. Silence.)

No fiction writer in recent years has come near Orhan Pamuk in his depiction of the spiritual fragility of the Islamic world and its rage against the “godless West”.

Michael Adebolajo: The enthusiastic fundamentalist

Thursday, 23 May, 2013 0 Comments

On Saturday, 3 November 2001, the Al-Jazeera network, without demur, broadcast a rallying cry to the Muslim world that had just been issued by Osama bin Laden. “This war is fundamentally religious,” he declared. “The people of the East are Muslims. They sympathized with Muslims against the people of the West, who are the crusaders.” As the leader of al-Qaeda rambled on, alert listeners were struck by the attention he devoted to the easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands in Southeast Asia. Quote:

“Let us examine the stand of the West and the United Nations in the developments in Indonesia when they moved to divide the largest country in the Islamic world in terms of population.

This criminal, Kofi Annan, was speaking publicly and putting pressure on the Indonesian government, telling it: You have 24 hours to divide and separate East Timor from Indonesia.

Otherwise, we will be forced to send in military forces to separate it by force.

The crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores, and in fact they landed to separate East Timor, which is part of the Islamic world.”

East Timor, which is Portuguese-speaking and overwhelmingly Catholic, is no more part of the Islamic world than is Ireland, but bin Laden saw its independence as a challenge to his notion of a global Muslim state under a revived caliphate so his disciples responded on 12 October 2002 by killing 202 people (including 88 Australians) in a bombing on the island of Bali. On 19 August 2003, al-Qaeda killed UN diplomat Sérgio Vieira de Mello, along with 20 other members of his staff, in a hotel bombing in Baghdad. His crime? He had negotiated the independence of East Timor.

The perverted moral of the story was that if you dared challenge bin Laden’s umma, the price was indiscriminate slaughter on a grand scale.

Michael Adebolajo: The enthusiastic fundamentalist In his 3 November 2001 tour d’horizon, the psychopathic leader of al-Qaeda mentioned a country that is now very much at the centre of the investigation into the barbarity displayed yesterday in London by Michael Adebolajo. Referring to the West’s plan to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban, he said, “Mass demonstrations have spread from the farthest point in the eastern part of the Islamic world to the farthest point in the western part of the Islamic world, and from Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan to the Arab world and Nigeria and Mauritania.”

And there it is: Nigeria. One of those who hacked Drummer Lee Rigby to death on a London street yesterday is Michael Adebolajo, a British citizen of Nigerian descent who became infatuated with Islamic extremism as a schoolboy. “This war is fundamentally religious,” said Osama bin Laden in 2001. The monster would be proud of his blood-stained, cleaver-wielding enthusiastic fundamentalist.

Turkey’s disgraceful prosecution of Fazil Say

Saturday, 20 April, 2013 0 Comments

On Monday, a Turkish court convicted the country’s best-known pianist and composer, Fazil Say, for the crimes of inciting hatred and insulting Islam. Say was given a 10-month suspended sentence in absentia, for a series of tweets he sent to his 44,000 followers. The chilling point of the suspended sentence is that he will go to prison if he repeats the tweets. What exactly did Say say? He joked about imams and muezzin; he joked about which kind of booze will be available in the afterlife; and he forwarded a rhyming couplet from a 12th century Persian poet about the garden of Eden, wine and sex.

The abuse of the courts by Turkey’s Islamic-leaning government to punish “insults” makes a mockery of its claim to be a democracy. There can be no democracy without free speech, and without an independent judiciary Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan needs to be told that there can be no democracy, either.


Thursday, 14 February, 2013 0 Comments

And the Best Actress Oscar goes to Jessica Chastain for her performance in Zero Dark Thirty as a CIA agent ferociously fixated on finding the courier bringing messages to Osama bin Laden’s lair. The director-writer team of Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal have made an enthralling chronicle of the hunt that ended in Pakistan on […]

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The Iran Tribunal and the crimes of Khomeini

Friday, 8 February, 2013 0 Comments

While watching Argo, I was reminded that the enduring image of the Iranian nightmare was snapped 34 years ago this month: the return of Ayatollah Khomeini to Tehran from France. Although 10 February is celebrated as Revolution Day in Iran, the arrival of Khomeini on 1 February 1979 remains the key moment. On the Air France flight to Tehran, he was asked by ABC News reporter Peter Jennings: “What do you feel in returning to Iran?” Khomeini answered: Hichi (“Nothing”). This one-word statement was considered indicative of his mystical nature by both Islamic fanatics in Iran and useful idiots in the West. By the way, last year’s commemoration of Khomeini’s homecoming was a bit weird as it involved a giant cut-out figure of the old psychopath.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Meanwhile, the report of the Iran Tribunal has been released. It found that during the 1980s the Islamic Republic was guilty of the murder of between 15,000 and 20,000 political prisoners. Quote: “The religious fervour of these crimes makes them even more shocking: for instance, a woman’s rape was frequently the last act that preceded her execution in Iran, as under the ‘Sharia’ law guidelines, the execution of a virgin female is non-permissible.” Iran is in the hands of evil and medieval people. How long more?

Alcoholic beverages are now available

Thursday, 7 February, 2013 2 Comments

Quote: “Ladies and gentlemen, it is our pleasure to announce that alcoholic beverages are now available, as we have cleared Iranian airspace.” Argo, Scene 318 from the screenplay (PDF) by Chris Terrio, based on the May 2007 Wired magazine article The Great Escape by Joshuah Bearman, and chapter nine of The Master of Disguise by Antonio Mendez.

Sure, there’s a lot of alcoholic beverage knocked back in Argo, but the booze acts as an expression of civilization and an antidote to the emerging barbarism of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ben Affleck stars in and directs a film that’s funny, clever, taut and a necessary reminder of the threat that faces us. Argo deserves the Best Film Oscar, and the “Best Supporting Actor” award should go to Alan Arkin as Lester Siegel, a producer so cynical that the knows the price and the value of everyone in Hollywood.

Islamist terror. What would Machiavelli do?

Monday, 21 January, 2013 0 Comments

The death toll of hostages following the end of the four-day siege of the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria now stands at 57. Today, Reuters is reporting that at least nine Japanese people were killed, while yesterday Algerian troops found the bodies of 25 more hostages. There has been some criticism of the Algerian […]

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Mentioning the “c” word

Friday, 21 September, 2012

As security forces in many Muslim countries are gearing up for a day of protests against the amateur film, Innocence of Muslims, the government of Pakistan has declared a “special day of love” for the Prophet Muhammad, and Pakistani TV is showing President Barack Obama condemning the film in ads paid for by Washington. Time […]

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