Saturday, August 20, 2005

"Is this Jihad – raping women? Is this Jihad?"

Regardless of our feelings toward the war in Iraq we must look clearly at our enemy, not just as he is there but as he is. Below is an interview with a Muslim, probably a nice person in his own setting, at dinner with the guys, in the market with his uncles. He'd probably invite you in for tea and make a fuss about you. "Welcome to Iraq, my friend. Where are you from? Come in to my shop. We will have chai." Chances are you'll leave thinking he's a great guy. And he likely is. Except that he'd kill you like a goat. Is it deception, taqiyya? Likely not. It's more likely the bicameral mind, one half living in the modern world while the other, seperate half is Muslim. You'll have to live with them a while to know what the difference is.

One can, of course, take the dhimmi view and see nothing but what one cares to see.

"But I saw it. I was there. It's all the fault of American policies!"

The following are excerpts from the interrogation of captured Iraqi terrorist Ramzi Hashem Abed, which aired on Al-Fayhaa TV on August 12 and Al-Iraqiya TV on August 7, 2005."(To view this clip, visit

August 19, 2005

Iraqi Confession TV Series Captured Iraqi Terrorist Ramzi Hashem Abed: Zarqawi Participated in the Plot to Assassinate Baqer Al-Hakim.

Al-Fayhaa TV

Interrogator: "What is your full name?"

Abed: "Ramzi Hashem Abed."

Interrogator: "What is your alias?"

Abed: "'Ubeidi."

Interrogator: "Where do you live?"

Abed: "Nabi Yunis in Mosul."

Interrogator: "What organization do you belong to?"

Abed: "Ansar Al-Islam."

Interrogator: "What organization is this?"

Abed: "It is bin Laden's group."


Abed: "Mullah Al-Shafi'i said that we were going to carry out operations in Najaf."

Interrogator: "What kind of operations?"

Abed: "The Al-Qabanji operation, for example, or sending them poisoning food on the day commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein."


Interrogator: "Give me an example of an operation."

Abed: "The Turkish embassy, for example."

Interrogator: "The Turkish embassy in Baghdad?"

Abed: "Yes, or the Red Cross. We bombed it. The guys and I bombed it."

Interrogator: "What was the goal of bombing the Turkish embassy or the Red Cross?"

Abed: "By bombing the Turkish embassy, we wanted to cause a problem between the Turkmens and the Kurds."

Interrogator: "In other words, to cause civil strife between the two sides?"

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "As for the murder of Muhammad Baqer Al-Hakim, you were one of the perpetrators, right?"

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "Tell me how it took place."

Abed: "The operation... It was agreed upon right from the start by Mullah Al-Raikan, Mullah Al-Shafi'i, and Al-Zarqawi. They took us Iraqis to do surveillance from a distance. There were people there who specialized in bombing operations. They are still in Baghdad and Mosul."

Interrogator: "How many were you?"

Abed: "About four or five people."

Interrogator: "Those who carried out the operation?"

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "They sent an ambulance and used remote control."

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "Where were you exactly at the time of the incident?"

Abed: "We were in the cemetery."

Interrogator: "Why weren't you close to the incident?"

Abed: "Because there were specialists who carried out the operation."

Interrogator: "Specialists? Who were they?"

Abed: "Abu Sajjad, Abu Haidar, and Abu Hamza."

Interrogator: "All these are aliases. What are their real names?"

Abed: "They never give out their real names."

Interrogator: "You don't even know their real names?"

Abed: "No. For example, my name is Ramzi, right? They call me Abu Shema', after my daughter."

Interrogator: "Okay. What was your role in this operation?"

Abed: "They brought us to monitor the security forces' movements."

Interrogator: "How did the vehicle enter?"

Abed: "It came in through Sweiliej."

Interrogator: "I mean the city itself, how did it enter Najaf?"

Abed: "It was easy for an ambulance to enter."


Abed: "They gave Abu Sajjad $4,000."

Interrogator: "And you?"

Abed: "They gave us $400."

Interrogator: "A religious leader gave you $400? Okay. Did the operation target Muhammad Baqer Al-Hakim specifically, or the Al-Imam Ali mosque?"

Abed: "No... The people in charge, Mullah Al-Raikan and Al-Zarqawi, targeted Al-Hakim specifically."

Interrogator: "Why in this specific place? Why would they try to target Muhammad Baqer Al-Hakim near the Al-Imam Ali mosque? It is the mosque of the Emir of believers. Didn't you think of all the innocent people around?"

Abed: 'There were also people from Iraqi military intelligence, from the Fidayin, and the internal security, who were also involved in this operation."

Interrogator: "So Mullah Raikan had ties with the old internal security and military intelligence?"

Abed: "And they are still in Mosul."

Interrogator: "What other operations?"

Abed: "Operations we carried out in Mosul."

Interrogator: "Like what?"

Abed: "Against headquarters in Mosul. The headquarters of Mas'oud..."

Interrogator: "Mas'oud Rajab?"

Abed: "Yes. Against Jalal Talabani. We attacked them on the first day of Ramadan 2003."

Interrogator: "What squad did you tell me you belong to? Abu Sajjad's?"

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "The groups you mentioned... Each group had a special mission?"

Abed: "Each group had suicide bombers, who are Afghans, not Iraqis."


Interrogator: "There were murders of police and National Guard officers."

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "Slaughtering National Guardsmen and policemen – tell me about it."

Abed: "Sir, the slaughtering was done by people who belonged to the Syrians."

Interrogator: "Syrians?"

Abed: "Yes, the slaughtering..."

Interrogator: "From your own group?"

Abed: "No. There was a squad that came from the Syrian border."


Abed: "We carried out an operation in Mosul. We attacked the Islamic movement."

Interrogator: "The Islamic movement party?"

Abed: "Yes. This was in Mosul. We also hit the Al-Hisk headquarters."

Interrogator: "What is Al-Hisk?"

Abed: "It is the Kurdish neighborhood. We hit them, and we also hit the Communist headquarters, in Mosul."

Interrogator: "The Communist party in Al-Mosul?"

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "Why did you mainly target Kurds?"

Abed: "Because in 2000-2003, Jalal Talabani brought the Americans to attack us."

Interrogator: "You mean that this was just revenge, or did you want to cause strife between Arabs and Kurds?"

Abed: "No, it was revenge."


Interrogator: "Did you kidnap women?"

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "There were operations of kidnapping and rape, carried out by the squad you belong to?"

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "Tell me how many rape and kidnapping operations were carried out. My information says that the kidnapped women were university students or daughters of famous people. You raped them and got money for it, and if they were not slaughtered afterwards.... Did this really happen?"

Abed: "Yes, it did."

Interrogator: "Who would carry out these operations?"

Abed: "Abu Sajjad."

Interrogator: "Your superior?"

Abed: "Yes."


Interrogator: "Is this Jihad – raping women? Is this Jihad?"

Abed: "It is because they collaborated with the Americans."

Interrogator: "That's why they were raped?"

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "A student who is simply going to her university is kidnapped, raped, and then slaughtered?! This was an American collaborator?!"

Abed: "Mullah Al-Raikan would give the names to the squad commander."

Interrogator: "My information says that they were kidnapped and brought to Mullah Al-Raikan's headquarters. True or false?"

Abed: "He would interrogate them."

Interrogator: "Were they raped after the interrogation?"

Abed: "Yes. He would give them to the squad, and they would kill them. Some would rape them."

Interrogator: "You bastards. This is Jihad? You call this Jihad? "

Interrogator 2: "What was your role in these operations?"

Abed: "I would stand at the entrance to the headquarters. It was a house, and they would bring them there."

Interrogator 2: "Did you participate in the rape and murder?"

Abed: "No. Just one who worked for the PUK. She was a Kurd."

Interrogator: "In the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan?"

Abed: "Yes. We brought her too."

Interrogator: "And you raped her?"

Abed: "Yes."


Abed: "Our Ansar Al-Islam military camps were in Halabja."

Interrogator: "This was in the days of the previous regime?"

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "And now?"

Abed: "Now, there is nothing. They were all scattered. The training area was in Falluja."

Interrogator: "And then?"

Abed: "After Falluja was hit, they would come through Syria to Mosul... I mean, through Falluja to Mosul. "


Abed: "I want to say one thing. Lieutenant Muhammad respected me and gave me food. I never thought it would be like this. He gave me food, and we had lunch together, and the honorable lieutenant-colonel gave me some Pepsi. I never believed Shiites could show such respect and care. We were taught by people like Mullah Al-Raikan that Shi'a is not Islam."

Interrogator: "You mean we show you respect and you slaughter us?"

Abed: "Yes. Mullah Al-Raikan thinks so, and he said so more than once."

Interrogator: "That's what they think."

Abed: "Yes, that Shiites are not Muslims, that they worship the Imam Ali and do not accept Muhammad."


Al-Iraqiya TV

Interrogator: "Did you rape anyone?"

Abed: "Only one woman, a relative of mine."

Interrogator: "A relative of yours. You kidnapped her and raped her?"

Abed: "No, we did not kill her."

Interrogator: "You didn't kill her, only raped her?"

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "You have some nerve..."


Abed: "I want to say one thing. Before the operation they would give us pills."

Interrogator: "Capsules?"

Abed: "Not capsules. They would give us something like hashish and opium, and tell us we would not feel the operation we were carrying out."

Interrogator: "Drugs?"

Abed: "Yes."

Cast the First Stone

We've taken some time recently to attack Presbyterians for their dhimmitude and sometimes subtle fascism. It's time to stop. This is not meant to be a hate fest against any particular group, especially not against a mainstream American church group. And it is especially not meant as any assault on well-meaning people who have no place in the public sphere other than that they are bloggers. Do we apologize for the attacks? Not at all. We'll resume at an instant's notice if the PCUSA comes again to our attention as enablers of fascist terrorism, which is likely. But perhaps some will now take a more measured view of reality than before. No one can ally him or herself with killers and expect to come away unscathed. The fact that those we've written about recently are likely decent people, some of whom we'd be proud to call friends or to claim as children of our own, they are dealing with things they should not. Not yet. Their time will come.

Elsewhere we likened ministers to lawyers, doctors, acct.s, and one would think the ministry would comprise all those professions, surmount and surpass them. One would assume Divinity to be a higher calling. But, if one cannot face adversely ones friends, how will one face the lions in a time of adversity? The time will come. It's time for us here to allow that to happen.

Today's entries deal with women and Islam, but also with Presbyterians and women. Yes, with the Catholics, the Orthodox, and every other group who play dhimmi with the Islamic world. They might all cry: "Ye who is without sin, cast the first stone." As we understand the quotation it does not devolve into moral equivelence, of we are just as bad as they so let's say nothing. Nor does it devolve into sly and dirty innuendo about "Israel." If men won't stand up for women, if Christians won't stand up for Muslims and Jews, if you won't stand up to your friends and claim morality as your guide, then you might have heard the call but it was a wrong number.

Anthony Burgess writes in the opening line of each chapter, (we believe,) of A Clockwork Orange: "What's it going to be then, eh?"

Has the Ludovico Treatment made you incapable of acting immorally, or are you struggling to be moral because it's right? We don't have to be Presbyterian ministers to answer that, and it's a good thing too, because from what we've seen of the PCUSA they'd be the last people we'd consult on questions of right and wrong. Is there moral Presbyterian in all of the USA? Well, let him stand up and declare himself to the world. Then watch him go down to the lions of his church.

This entry is about women and Islam. It is about dhimmis and their silence in the face of whimmitude. After this we'll stay silent about Presbyterians, and we'll watch and wait. We'll wonder "What's it going to be then, eh?"

Why the fuss about dhimmi fascists in Pennsylvania? Why go to any trouble at all over the nonsense they peddle? After all, they're just a group of middle-class wankers with nothing better to do than pretend they are interesting by latching on to the desperate struggles for life facing surely oppressed Muslims in the Islamic world. Why bother with Presbyterians?

Well, why indeed? They are not even close to the point. The point of the exercise is that it is the middle-class fascist dhimmi who aids the perpetuation of the savageries of Islam against the ummah, the greater community of Muslims. The point is that middle-class pretenders in Tartarus, Pennsylvania are paying serious people to provide them with vicarious terrorist thrills and a false feeling of moral superiority they do not possess as individuals. If the Presbyterians were moral and decent and rational people rather than pretentious ideologues parroting cliches of fascist dhimmitude, one could have sympathy for them. But look at what they do. Look at what they provide support for.

Below we see where the Presbyterian money goes when they donate to the Islamic causes they pretend they're so fond of. This, Presbyterians, is what you pay for. Below is a sound hadith, a rule, as it were, demanded of all practicing and faithful Muslims, of which there can by definition be no other kind. Look at yourselves and look at the money in your hands.

'Abdullah b. 'Abbas reported that 'Umar b. Khattab sat on the pulpit of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Verily Allah sent Muhammad (may peace be upon him) with truth and He sent down the Book upon him, and the verse of stoning was included in what was sent down to him. We recited it, retained it in our memory and understood it. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) awarded the punishment of stoning to death (to the married adulterer and adulteress) and, after him, we also awarded the punishment of stoning, I am afraid that with the lapse of time, the people (may forget it) and may say: We do not find the punishment of stoning in the Book of Allah, and thus go astray by abandoning this duty prescribed by Allah. Stoning is a duty laid down in Allah's Book for married men and women who commit adultery when proof is established, or if there is pregnancy, or a confession. (Sahih Muslim, book 17, no. 4194)

What you have just read is canonical Islamic law. You pay more than money when you donate and tithe to the Presbyterian Church of the USA.
(Go to for photo.)
France: A woman stoned to death in Marseilles

Days before she was due to be married, Ghofrane Haddaoui, 23, refused the advances of a teenage boy and paid with her life. Lured to waste ground near her home in Marseilles, the Tunisian-born French woman was stoned to death, her skull smashed by rocks hurled by at least two young men, according to police.

Although the circumstances of the murder are not clear, the horrific "lapidating" of the young Muslim stoked a French belief that the country can no longer tolerate the excesses of an alien culture in its midst.

Later, pop celebrities joined 2,000 people in a march through Marseilles denouncing violence against women, particularly in the immigrant-dominated housing estates. The protest against Islamic "obscurantism" and the "fundamentalism that imprisons women" was led by a group of women of Muslim origin who call themselves Ni Putes ni Soumises (Neither Whores nor Submissive).

The movement, which emerged three years ago to defend Muslim women, is spawning similar groups across Europe, supported by a mainstream opinion that has recently abandoned political correctness and wants to halt the inroads of Islam.

What is Stoning and how is it carried out?

Mina Ahadi
nternational Committee against Stoning

Stoning is legislated in the Islamic penal code in Iran Stoning is the most inhumane and horrifying form of execution, which can only be compared with witch burning in the middle ages. According to Islamic teachings, the punishment for adultery is death by stoning. In recent history, stoning has been associated with Islamist societies and according to the Hadith (sayings and actions of the prophet Mohammad), he himself ordered the stoning of many people in his own time.

In Iran where an Islamic state is governing the country and law is based on Islam, stoning has been officially introduced in the country's penal codes. In practice, hundreds of women and men have been stoned to death, since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Islamic Penal Code comes in five books; the book in which stoning is legislated is called
"Hodoud" meaning divine will punishment. According to Islamic law, sexual acts outside marriage are crimes, which are punishable by law. In the Hudoud, the so-called crimes are divided into different categories and penalties, including: [Full essay at link.]

What do our Presbyterian dhimmi fascist neighbours have to say about this? It's your fault for colonizing the poor mistreated Muslim world. If only the Jooos would go away; if only we would implement the Kyoto Accords; if only the moon were green cheese we could feed the world. They do not care about Human beings. They care only about themselves and the look of their poses.

Christopher Hitchens on "Women-stoning, Gay-burning and Jew-hating Medieval Theocrats"

Osama bin Laden is a kind of pseudo-intellectual, with a rough theory of history and a highly reactionary desire to restore a lost empire. But he negates even this doomed, pseudo-Utopian project by his hysterical Puritanism, which bans even music and which of course would deny society the talents of women as well as driving out anyone with any culture or education. Thus, any society run by him or people like him would keep on going bankrupt and starving itself to death, with no ready explanation of why this kept happening. The repeated failure would inevitably be blamed on Zionist-Crusader conspiracies, and the violence and repression would then be projected outward, which is why we have a right to concern ourselves with the "internal affairs" of the Islamic world.

Below even the bin Laden level, however, there are those who insist that they prefer death to life, and who really mean it. Suicide is not so much their tactic as their rationale: they represent a cult of death and they are wedded to destruction. It's amazing how many people refuse to see this. They persist in saying that it's a protest against something, or a reaction to some injustice. They are right to an extent: as long as there is a non-Salafist Muslim anywhere, or a Jew or Christian or rationalist, or an unveiled woman or a profane work of art, the grievance can never be appeased. Of course this does have something in common with fascism - "Death to the intellect! Long live Death!" was a favorite slogan of some Francoists: I think it was coined by General Quiepo de Llano - but even fascism could build an autobahn or design a rocket, while these primitives only want to steal enough technology to wreak devastation. So far, they have mainly brought down their own house (as in Afghanistan and now in Iraq) but we can't allow ourselves take too much comfort from that.... This same dead-end for jihad is perhaps being reached in Palestine and will be reached, if we stay intransigent, in Iraq also. What I keep saying is: they wish to be martyrs and we must help them to achieve martyrdom by every method at our disposal.

An interview in Frontpage Magazine with Christopher Hitchens

It is the clearly stated thesis here that Islam is a fascist poligion, and that as revolutionaries of Modernity it is our moral duty to spread by force if necessary the universality of Human rights. Meaning, we cannot stand by idly while Islam destroys its own populations. We cannot stand by idly while Muslims stone women to death, mutilate children, burn people to death, rape and stab, and destroy the lives of those they feel superior to for reasons of faith and gender. It won't do. It has to stop. And one can start by putting an end to the fascist dhimmis of the Presbyterian Church. Stop giving them money. They use it to pay jizya so they can curry favor with their Muslim masters, so they can continue to preen as social activists, so they can pose as 'cool people.' Look at a woman being stoned to death to see how cool are our Presbyterians. Do not give them money. Divest thyself

From (CJF), which was given the following picture from Fatah. The Palestinian woman (in green, the color of Islam) is crucified while Jews with exaggerated Semitic features congregate at the base of the cross. (The fact that Arabs also are Semites did not bother the picture's creators at all.)

The picture is meant to whip up hatred of Israelis and also Americans (perhaps inciting the March 2002 Seder bombing and also the mass murder of September 11). It is also designed to create anti-Jewish feelings among Christians by using the Crucifixion image and perhaps reviving the "Jews as Christ-killers" idea.

The Islamic world is destroying itself, and the dhimmi fascists are helping. What about you? This is a battle between individuals, those who accept the universal rights of men and women, of children, of Humanity and those who do not. Islamic exceptionalism means that, regardless of the taqiyya, the kitman, the smiles and the gentle voices, the Islamic world is built on death worship, misogyny, and fascism in its most primitive forms. If indeed you are a willing and conscious fascist you will be at home in the world of Islam. If you are not a fascist, then you'll have to decide what it's going to be then, eh.

But that, as promised, is our last word on Prsbyterians--for now.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Are you a Fascist?

Are you a fascist?

Well, obviously not. Fascists are bad, like Mussilini and Franco and Hitler. If you're not like them, then you're not a fascist. Or...?

We most of us go by the automatic assumption that fascism is a bad thing, and that fascists are bad people. A look through the archives here will show that that isn't necessarily true. Fascism has some positive aspects, totally so for many if not most people on Earth throughout most of history, including today. So, before we claim we are not fascists let's take a short peek at at least a little bit of what fascism is.

Below are excerpts from a book review on postmodernism as fascism. Rather than read a book you can look at the review. Or in this case, part of a review. It's better than nothing if this sort of thing interests you.

25 October 2004

Are post modernists fascists?

George Crowder, Flinders University

Richard Wolin The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2004
One of the marvels of social and political thought over the past twenty years has been the alliance between left-wing politics and postmodernist philosophy, or anti-philosophy. Thinkers like Foucault and Derrida have been enshrined as intellectual authorities in the cause of oppressed groups of many kinds: indigenous and colonised peoples, women, the gay community, refugees, and others. Yet little thought is required to raise serious doubts about how far progressive causes are really assisted by the kind of thinking that these writers have promoted.
Notoriously, Heidegger was a member of the Nazi Party and, as Rector of Freiburg University, an enthusiastic propagandist for the regime. After the War, he tried to play down his complicity, giving the impression that this was a temporary aberration. But in the 1980s it emerged that he had been far more deeply implicated in Nazi affairs than he claimed, remaining an active informant on friends and colleagues until the end of the War (Farias 1989).
To infer that postmodernists must be fascists simply because some postmodernists have been fascists in the past would be as silly as concluding that all liberals must be in favour of slavery because Thomas Jefferson was a slave-owner. Wolin is, indeed, aware of the dangers of simply claiming 'guilt by association' (xiv). His task is to show not just that some forerunners of postmodernism were, as it happens, fascists or fascist sympathisers, but that their politics emerged directly out of, or at least fitted naturally with, their underlying philosophy.

The source of that philosophy was Counter-Enlightenment opposition to the liberal and republican ideals of the French revolution. For thinkers like Joseph de Maistre, the upheavals of the revolution demonstrated the evils of the Enlightenment faith in humanism, universal reason, and the possibility of social and political improvement based on the values of liberalism and democracy. The fundamental message of the Counter-Enlightenment was the very opposite of all this: reason and universality should be rejected as social guides, and the claims of instinct and local tradition reasserted. Human nature is flawed and unreliable, needing to be constrained by received institutions exemplified by the unquestioned, mystical authority of the king, the priest and the executioner....

The central point is the rejection of reason, and nowhere was this more enthusiastically embraced than in nineteenth-century Germany. As Wolin puts it, the doctrine of the Counter-Enlightenment became, essentially, 'the German Ideology'.... What Foucault, Derrida and others take from Nietzsche is his 'perspectivism', his claim to have unmasked 'reason' and 'morality' as mere vehicles of the will to power. What they conveniently ignore is Nietzsche's reassertion, on this basis, of the aristocratic values of heroic society, and consequently of a 'Great Politics' in which the mass of humanity is a mere instrument for an elite. Reducing Nietzsche to his relativism, cleansed of his substantial moral and political message, postmodernist Nietzscheanism makes possible 'a stance of uncompromising philosophical radicalism while avoiding all questions of direct moral or political commitment' (p. 34).

[T]wo more German gurus, whose post-War domestication conceals a less than savoury intellectual background. Carl Jung, the darling of New Agers, flourished under the Third Reich, having created a form of psychoanalysis that, unlike Freud's Enlightenment-oriented view, meshed comfortably with Nazi ideology. For Jung, the key to mental health was liberation from the rational ego and access to the mythic archetypes of the collective unconscious—a process that he believed was easier for Aryans than for Jews. Hans-Georg Gadamer is today celebrated by sensitive communitarians like Charles Taylor as the father of 'hermeneutics', a view that emphasises the local, situated character of all interpretation. But Wolin points out the strong affinity between Gadamer's hermeneutics and that staple of the Counter-Enlightenment, the uncritical acceptance of tradition—in his own words the celebration of 'prejudice'. In the 1930s the tradition Gadamer valued most was that of German cultural superiority. The acceptability of his views enabled him to advance his career at the expense of Jewish colleagues, and during the war he made himself useful to the regime by lecturing on the propaganda circuit. After the war he quietly dropped the theme of German superiority in favour of an apparently more neutral cultural relativism. But his use of relativism to defend the Soviet Union exhibited, as Wolin aptly puts it, 'a failure to learn' (pp. 120-21).

Indeed, the enemy was really modernity as a whole.... The Counter-Enlightenment celebrated a different set of values that seemed to have been lost in modern times but might yet be recovered: vitality and manliness, ritual rather than reflection, the mythic or mystical dimension of experience in contrast with the scientific, self-assertion through violent conflict, and above all the rejection of reason in favour of action and instinct. These were the themes of Nietzsche—and they became the themes of fascism. These values attracted Heidegger, appealing to his philosophical emphasis on the authenticity of 'being' in contrast with reason and the pursuit of truth.

Among those French intellectuals who took the same path, Wolin singles out two as especially significant. Georges Bataille and Maurice Blanchot sang the praises of fascism in the 1930s, retreating into 'inner emigration' during the War only when it became clear what fascism looked like at close quarters. Their significance, for Wolin, lies in their influence on Foucault, Derrida and their supporters. From Bataille the postmodernists take their condemnation of reason as 'homogenising' and suppressive of 'difference', without acknowledging that the difference Bataille is principally concerned to reassert includes anti-democratic authoritarianism and gratuitous ('transgressive') violence. From Blanchot the postmodernists inherit a suspicion of language as an insuperable barrier between thought and reality, ignoring the origins of this view as a rationalisation of Blanchot's prudent wartime 'silence'.

These themes—the 'impossibility' of language, and the homogeneity of reason and democracy—come together in the work of Derrida in particular. For Derrida, language can never generate the stable meaning presupposed by notions of objective truth, and the generality of legal rules necessarily impedes 'justice', which is always peculiar to concrete cases. In short, the notion of objective truth is incoherent, and the rule of law unjust. As Wolin points out, the first of these conclusions is itself incoherent, since it presupposes the objectivity it purports to deny. The second is typical of the postmodernist penchant for ludicrous overstatement and for striking radical postures that have no sane implications for political action. Justice, obviously enough, calls for both particularity and generality: attention to the particularity of cases, and general rules to prevent bias and special pleading. The silliness of Derrida's pronouncements on the injustice of law is nicely brought out by Wolin though the story of the philosopher's arrest in Czechoslovakia in 1981. Suddenly subject to a genuinely arbitrary decision process, Derrida found himself impelled towards the thought that humanist norms like the rule of law might have some value after all. Undaunted and with 'great lucidity', however, he rationalised this odd experience by positing a new philosophical category in which contradictory thoughts confront each other without 'intersecting': 'the intellectual baroque'.
Both extreme right and extreme left looked forward to utopias that either did not materialise or did not last. After that, where is there to go (for the unapologetic) but inward, into a position of extreme cynicism in which all norms are equally spent and all politics equally suspect?

It's our position here that most people in the West who are fascists are so by default. Most decent and well-intentioned people are unwitting fascists only because everyone around them is fascist. Most people have neither the time nor the inclination to look closely into their own assumptions. They leave it to the expertice of professionals to decide the intellectual norm, to create and disseminate the meme. Israel is bad because most people say Israel is bad. If our moral leaders say so, then it must be so. And if our moral leaders heard it from someone who knows, that must be the true case. Who really knows? Maybe we are fascists after all. La-de-dah. Look at my shoes.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Like, "pomomusing," you know.

Are you a Presbyterian pastor at a loss to explain (or understand) postmodernism? Below is your guide to total coolness. You will be able to impress teenage girls with your brilliance, and you might even get lucky with some of them, in a spiritual sense.

Some Presbyterian ministers like to refer to this kind of thing "pomomusings." Just ask a theology student like Who Ever: A Christ following, book reading, Subaru driving, Mac loving, beer drinking Princeton Theological Seminary student...but we feel it's better to master these steps first and leave that deconstructed phrasing to the experts:

A Post-Modernist De Gustibus

Professor Mark McIntire, SBCC

Welcome to the Wonderful, Wide, World of Post-modernism! We finally made it. As post-modernists, we finally figured it all out: Nothing is Real. Nothing is True. Nothing is Good. And, nothing is Beautiful. Unless, of course you think it is. And we're not quite sure about that either. Or are we? Relax. Have some marijuana. Have some cocaine. Have an abortion. Buy a Lexus. Put a crucifix in a bottle of piss. Go to Hawaii. Invite your friends. Have an orgy. If it feels good, then it is good. There is no reality, truth, goodness or beauty. These are merely thoughts. We are all just organisms that 'react' to 'stimuli'. Your reaction is just as sound as anyone else's. Have some more marijuan

Remain calm. Don't get excited. Wear Birkenstocks.

Above all don't have thoughts. Have feelings. Thoughts are confusing and filled with difficulty. Why be confused with difficulties? It will make you feel bad. Don't you want to feel good? Then, don't think, just feel. Do you feel tired? Then stay home. Relax. Have some cocaine. You'll feel better.

Remain calm. Have sex with a stranger. Drive a Volvo station-wagon. Put lots of bumper-stickers on it to express what you feel. Have a candle-light vigil for something.

If you're a man, then become a woman. If you're a woman, then become a man. Then you'll understand that there are no men and there are no women. We're all just 'persons'. We're all the same. We have no differences. Logic is a coercive and repressive pack of lies. Be diverse. Differences are the result of thoughts, and thoughts are confusing and difficult. You don't want to be confused with difficulties do you? Have some LSD. Try this pill. Everything is simple. Listen to some Rap.

Remain calm. Get in touch with your feelings. Tell a lie. After all, if it's true to you, then it is true, but just to you. Be vague. Better yet, be ambiguous.

It's not your fault. You're just reacting to stimuli. Nothing you do, or did, is ever bad or good for that matter. It's all these stimuli that make you feel that you've been bad or good. Multinational corporations stimulate you to feel good or bad. It's not your fault. It's all these swirling stimuli. So, just change the stimuli. Have a drink. Have another. Invite your friends. Be diverse. Read Newsweek or Time. Look at the pictures. Hallucinate. Vote for Hillary.

Above all, remain calm. Bash a corporation. Bash them all. Defend Michael Jackson.
Do you feel there are some nasty people in other countries trying to kill you? Relax. Have some X. There are no countries. There are no nasty people. There are no patriots or terrorists. There are no national allegiances, just disturbing and confusing thoughts about allegiances. These are just 'reactive' thoughts you are having to some 'stimuli'. How did the stimuli get there? No one knows. More importantly, no one can ever know, thanks to post-modernism. It's like asking " Who painted the roses red?" No one did. They are just 'red'. It's all just the result of being stimulated. What 'roses'? What 'red'? And, what is 'is' by the way?

Remain calm. Don't think. You'll only confuse yourself. Blame the corporations. Marry your cat.

But stimulated by what? Does not 'stimulated' imply something that stimulates? And if there is something that stimulates, then that something must be real? And if that something that stimulates is real, then might it be knowable? And if it is knowable, then might it be good or bad. And if it could be good or bad, then might it actually be beautiful or ugly?

Have some morphine. Remain calm. Hallucinate. Watch Oprah Winfrey.

Oh, there you go, thinking again. Having thoughts will only confuse you and fill you with difficulties. Worse still would be for you to take those thoughts and formulate an 'argument' An 'argument' is a whole mess of thoughts that will really confuse you if you try to understand it. Now, you might compile a 'bibliography' of books and articles that you have never read. A bibliography is a whole mess of'stimuli' that confused other people with difficulties. And, you might offer that in place of an argument, because then you would not have to have a thought, let alone an argument. And, everyone would be stimulated to like you because you are a brilliant post-modernist thinker. So, have some more drugs. Relax. Nothing is Real. Nothing is True. Nothing is Good. And, certainly nothing is beautiful.

How are you feeling now? Better?

But there's just one thing that vexes me. If these brilliant post-modernists have figured it all out, then just exactly how did they figure it all out if, as they claim, nothing is real, true, good or beautiful (note no only concession to post-modernism)?

Oh! You're hopeless! It's the evil corporations. De gustibus non disputandum est. ("In matters of feelings, there is no real dispute.")1.

---Mark McIntire
October 1, 2003

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

N.D. Times News Flash

If a Pennsylvania pastor could pack
in one hour all the vanities he could pack in one hour, how much vanity could a Penn. pastor pack before he put paid to those who think he's a pastor poseur?

We posed this perplexer to a pastor passing by, pissed and perturbed.

"You'll hang for this, you fanatic," he screamed, as he scanned desperately through the hardcover copy of The Da Vinci Code looking for the answer to the "trick" question.

Police responded later in the afternoon to an emergency call in the same location. A man was found cowering under a park bench, weeping. When asked what was wrong, he cried: "It's terrible. I'm in agony."

Upon further investigation the police found the man is a Presbyterian pastor who had been viciously attacked in the park. "I was castigated," he sceamed. "I'll never be able to have children now."

No charges are pending. Police reports say he'll get over it.

Reading: Pennsylvania

Next time you're spending some quality time in Pennsylvania, chat up a Presbyterin minister for fun. They're so nice. They're so concerned about social injustice and suffering. They say such pretty things. They do good work. Give them some money.

"Welcome to my park bench from which we can notice and discuss the traces and signs of God's presence and activity in the center of Tarentum, Pennsylvania. Have a seat. Relax and take a look around. Something big is happening, and you are invited to participate."

And in other news:

Palestine After the Party

Amira Hass

The main headline in the Palestinian daily
newspaper Al-Ayyam on Wednesday, August 3, reported that a boy of 6 had been killed in the northern Gaza Strip and another 10 children had been wounded. The boy was defined as a "martyr" - a term that is usually reserved for people killed by the Israel Defense Forces and for suicide attackers. But this child was killed by the explosion of a "locally made" missile, as the report put it, a euphemism for a missile or mortar launched by a Palestinian cell.

The newspaper did not specify which organization was responsible for having launched the missile. The Hamas movement said it had no connection to it.Islamic Jihad hastened to deny that one of its cells was involved in the incident, but promised to hold back on firing its missiles until after the disengagement.

Ever since the Palestinians began to manufacture and launch locally produced missiles, about four years ago, most of the casualties they have inflicted - dead and wounded - have been Palestinian, and not Israeli. But up until recent weeks, these accidents were not given the prominence they are getting now.

The Palestinian media did not dare publish or
emphasize reports that would damage the myth of "the armed struggle" so conscientiously nurtured by the various television stations and the propaganda films of the various organizations.

The Palestinian media, in a way that is more direct and transparent than in the Western press, organize the "hierarchy" of their
headlines according to the preferences of the regime, according to how they interpret the public's tastes and the fears of the various power groups - thus reflecting a tendency to avoid debate on sensitive subjects.
Death isn't all doom and gloom. No, death is a good thing. If you don't believe it you could always ask a Presbyterian minister in
Tarentum, Pennsylvania, United States. Just hang out on a park bench and wait for one. He'll tell you everything you need to know. In the meantime, read some poetry to pass the time.

Creature of dust, child of God,
transplant to Western Pennsylvania,
and pastor of the Central Presbyterian Church of Tarentum.

"A letter from a Shahid to his Mother"
By Abdul Badi Iraq
"My Dear Mother,
...I wrapped my body with determination, with hopes and with bombs.

I asked [reaching] towards Allah and the fighting homeland.
The [explosive] belt makes me fly, strengthens me to make haste.
I calm it [the explosive], we should stay steadfast, we have not yet reached.
I freed/launched myself; I freed/launched myself, [detonated myself] like lava burning old legends and vanity,
I freed/launched my body, all my pains and oppression, towards the packs of beasts...
I freed/launched, oh mother, freed the chains and the shackles.

And you found me rising and rising like a candle that was lit with precious olive oil.
And you saw me sending a loving kiss above the mosques and the churches, the houses and the roads.
Flocks of pigeons flew above the porches
And Al-Aksa smiled and gave me a sign that we will not sleep.

Dawn is close, oh mother, and it shall rise from the guns, from the shining spears
It will be lit from a bloody wound...
The wedding is the wedding of the land.
Sound a cry of joy, oh mother, I am the groom..."

It's not illegal for smug and sanctimonious self-righteous poseurs dressed up in their best Dan Brown outfits to encourage young women to travel to Israel to protest "occupation." It's not illegal for ministers in Pennsylvania to get girls to travel to the Middle East to "defend the rights of the oppressed." It's not illegal to put young people at risk of physical and emotional harm if one is a minister in Pennsylvania and the child is "over there." It's not illegal, but it is criminal.

The chasm between the illegal and the criminal is as wide and deep as the chasm between law and justice. We settle for law and hope for justice at least some times, knowing it will not always happen as it should. In a just world, "You rippa dees, you menna dees." But the fabric of society is made of law, and Euripides' Eumenides are creatures we leave in the deepest of our darkest recesses.

In a just world criminals would hang from every street lamp. Pennsylvania would be less beautiful but a far, far better place than it is today. However, we must accept that there are in this world, among us in our cities and towns, men and women who want nothing more than their own for themselves at whatever cost to others. Their vanity exceeds all Human decency, and they do not care. Had they but one hour to pack up and leave before a crowd of men and women enraged by their behaviour they'd spend most of that time packing their tweed jackets and perfume bottles. But who will go with them? Reverend Everyman, No One will go with thee.

And yet these vain little monsters of the Presbyterian Church of the USA think themselves the finest of people. It's up to the congregants of the church to decide if they wish to carry on with the current lot and the evil of enticing young women into aiding and abetting the murder of children. The dhimmi fascism of the poseur Presbyterian ministers is such an obvious evil that one would expect them out of simple shame to hurl themselves into the fire. There is no justice. One can only hope that the laws of common decency play some part in the lives of men and women in a position to withhold money from these people who create the milieu in which psychosis is the norm, in which inciting children to murder is celebrated, in which death is the ultimate reason for living. The ministers aren't suffering from the evil they do, not because no one is punishing them but because they have no feeling to begin with. These are the hollow men leaning together. They will end, not with a bang, dear reader, but whimpering.

Dag's Poetry Corner

Oig, Uig, Egg;
I have rolled, too, in Gutted Haddie.
I have floated in Boily Spital;
I have flown as far as Hel.
Lo, I have trod the depths of Uttar Predesh.
But never, I say,
(H wrote "Never!")
Never have I seen the likes of the
Presbyterians of Ross Ossage, Pennsylvania.

[A work in progress.]

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

What is Moderate Islam?

What is the face of "moderate Islam?" When the voice of "moderate Islam" speaks, what do we hear? We hear moderation, of course. But also, we hear Islam. The essay below is by a moderate Muslim, a man who is obviously intelligent and sensitive. But he preaches Islam, and one must ask, even at the risk of offense, what is Islam when it's "moderate?"

If one strips away the immoderate aspects of Islam, what's left? Forget that the Islamic community isn't likely to moderate itself. We need only look at the unfolding fiasco in Iraq to see the future of Islam in the wider world. The question is for us, what is moderate Islam in the West? Is it still a fascist ideology that doesn't commit its members to random murder but to --what?

Islam is a poligion, a political movement, an othropraxy, a totalitarian pseudo-religion. What parts of Islam does one give up to moderate it? What is one left with? The minutea of ritual pubic hair shaving? Sand baths? Fetishistic nail clipping? What would make Islam different from American Presbyerianism other than the words for God? We argue that fascism is still fascism regardless of whether one moderates one violence in public or not. By all means, go through the obsessive rituals five times per day. But who will continue for more than a day when it's not for anything greater than White Bread Americana? We wish the moderate Western/American Muslims great success. But what is that?

In the essay below we get a view of a man who is a Muslim-- one who is not likely admitted into the ummah with any great enthusiasm. He seems more like one of "us," but what is he really? He's a fine writer if nothing else.

By Omar Gatto

Welcome to the Bizarro Umma, where down is up, forward is backward, and wrong becomes right.

The Bizarro Umma believes in the three bizarre illusions. The first illusion is that going down is actually going up. The second is that the way forward is actually backward. And the third exchanges right for wrong. They are such a negative part of our daily thinking that they have deprived the Umma of a livable Islamic culture. These illusions are breaking down among Muslims in the West, to be sure, but they are strong among a majority in our Umma. Make no mistake about it: young and old, smart and stupid, rich and poor, male and female all inhabit the Bizarro Umma. Islamic culture in the Bizarro Umma is unlivable, as is any way of life based on illusions. Our responsibility is to define and build a livable Islamic culture free of the three destructive illusions. Let's get to know these illusions, so we can recognize and avoid their intellectual and spiritual dangers.

The Bizarro Umma, Where Down Is Up

The Bizarro Umma thinks it is moving up in the world, when in fact it is sliding down the slippery path of tyranny by disinformation and oppression by Mulla. This supposed revival is propelling the Umma into a position of worldly glory, so the illusion promises. The Umma can win its rightfully superior position in the world only if it more strictly observes a literalist Sharia (Islamic Law) in its entirety. The Bizarro Umma takes comfort in the increase of women wearing hijab, the head covering, shouts slogans such as "Islam is the Solution," and celebrates those who wage Jihad against modernity, whether by intellectual dishonesty or by terror.

The Bizarro Umma deceives itself by insisting that things are going great, when in fact little is going great. Lovers of this illusion use folk wisdom to convince the Umma that going down is not really going down. Where the Bizarro Umma sees "protected pearls," the world sees the patronized Muslim woman whose oppression can only drag the Umma downwards. She is treated as an object whose sexuality must be controlled under the guise of protection. She is assigned the burden of distinguishing the Bizarro Umma from the West. The Bizarro Umma says men must be in charge because "a ship can only have one captain" as they are fond of saying.

A sure way to move headfirst on the down slope is to declare that "Islamic knowledge" is the only knowledge that the Umma will ever need to move up in this world and the next. You see, the Bizarro Umma picks and chooses whichever scientific knowledge fits within its preconceived world view and believes the rest can be suppressed. Whatever does not conform to its self-deception is eliminated by fatwa (religious decree) although reality's ghost still drags the Bizarro Umma down into a poverty of ignorance.

The Bizarro Umma, Where Forward is Backward

The fact that the Bizarro Umma believes it is experiencing a religious revival highlights its illusion of returning to the past, which implies that progress depends on going backward to an idealized past. This illusion can only cause the Bizarro Umma to fear modern life and condemn the changes in society, politics, culture, and economics that come with modernity. This illusion idealizes the early culture of Islam that the Bizarro Umma thinks was purely Islamic and therefore mandated by Allah and his Messenger. "Islamic" culture did not spring from nothing: the Jahiliyyah cultures in the Middle East never came close to dying out and profoundly influencing the origins of "Islamic" culture at all periods and places in the Umma's history. This is not wrong in itself, because Islam is meant to be a corrective set of principles for people who accept it. Islam did not radically alter Arab society: of course, they destroyed their idols and were forbidden from burying their female children, but when we examine how they built their houses, cooked their food, dressed themselves and how they spoke, most of it remained as it had before Islam. Early Islamic culture borrowed very heavily from non-Muslim Byzantine and Persian cultures to build the civilization we know today as Classical Islam. So then, as just another human culture, there is no religious merit in adopting 7th century Arab culture today.

It is a folly to try to engineer an Islamization of modern cultures to resemble an ancient model which is wrongly claimed as divinely sanctioned. This kind of Islamization typically demands collective unity in behavior, appearance, and thought which overrides the needs and wants of the individual. But culture is a human way of adapting thoughts, practices, and appearances to the environment. Physical, political, social, and economic environments vary widely for people, from desert nomads adapted to scarcity to capitalistic cities adapted to plenty. These cultures did not form as a result of a decaying Islamic monolith, but rather are a natural part of living. No single cultural formula can be forced on people with the expectation that they will survive, let alone prosper. Although Islam has often served as an essential layer in many cultures, it is not a ready made culture-in-a-box. The astonishing variety of past and present Muslim cultures shows that above many systems, Islam has always been very adaptable to a people's circumstances. To rigidify Islam into a uniform monolith is to break it. It is not necessary for Muslims to look towards the past and to certain countries, when the future of our modern Western-Islamic cultures has the potential of being just as bright if not brighter.

The Bizarro Umma, Where Wrong Becomes Right

In the Bizarro Umma, right and wrong have exchanged places. Distorted senses of morality have blurred the criterion between right and wrong to the extent that political concerns outweigh the sanctity of humanitarian concerns outlined in the ultimate criterion, the Qur'an. Nationalistic and communal disputes over pride, land, and power have edged out resistance to the truly reprehensible.

In China and India, female infanticide has reached epidemic proportions, causing a noticeable imbalance in the ratio of men to women. Does not the Qur'an say: "And when the female infant asks, for what crime she was killed?" Instead of berating women for not covering their bodies sufficiently, why not channel the same ferocity into rescuing the tens of thousands of women forced into sexual slavery each year? Does not the Qur'an say, "Do not force the female worshippers of God into prostitution"? Instead of rioting against the West, why not demonstrate against regimes where slavery is still legal? Remember the Qur'an: "And the freeing of slaves." What about regimes which sanction genocide even against other Muslims, like Sudan or the Taliban? The Bizarro Umma stays quiet when its members do wrong to others, but rants loudly when outsiders do the same to them. Spirituality was a casualty in the struggle to employ Islam in the service of materialist struggles for land, power, and wealth. The list of casualties only grows longer: truth drowned some centuries ago in Sharia hairsplitting, and tolerance was murdered shortly threafter.

How to Take the Bizarro out of Umma

The Bizarro Umma must right itself so that up is truly up, forward is truly forward and right and wrong are clear. The Bizarro Umma must admit that pursuing the illusions of the Islamic state and of Islamic social purity can only lead to a distinctly unlivable Islamic life. We must never believe the deception that absolutist interpretations devoid of humanity are simple cures to complex human problems.

History shows that the Umma was least bizarre when intellectual freedom was at its highest. Muslim intellectual freedom can reign again through education and the free exchange of information. Information technology is essential to both, with the potential to exchange ideas and learn new perspectives never greater. We cannot rely on Father Government to do it for us, we cannot reassure ourselves that our imams will actually do the right thing, and we cannot import solutions from overseas; we have to do the right thing ourselves starting here in the West. Although those who teach the Umma to live by these illusions may be lost to us, we can and must reach out to the majority of the Bizarro Umma who are members by default. It starts with us—with our minds, our mouths, our hands.

We must envision a livable Islamic culture, articulate it simply, and live it. The Umma is a reflection of our innermost selves. Only when we discard the three illusions will the Bizarro Umma reflect our essentially good selves as a true Umma, a light for mankind.

Omar Gatto is a Sergeant in the Marines serving abroad and resides with his wife and baby son in Hawaii. A student of Islamic languages and cultures, Omar will begin his doctorate next year.

(Thanks to Mentat for the following:)

In excerpts from his essay Theodore Dalrymple writes:

And there is enough truth in the devout Muslim's criticism of the less attractive aspects of Western secular culture to lend plausibility to his call for a return to purity as the answer to the Muslim world's woes. He sees in the West's freedom nothing but promiscuity and license, which is certainly there; but he does not see in freedom, especially freedom of inquiry, a spiritual virtue as well as an ultimate source of strength. This narrow, beleaguered consciousness no doubt accounts for the strand of reactionary revolt in contemporary Islam. The devout Muslim fears, and not without good reason, that to give an inch is sooner or later to concede the whole territory.

Recently I stood at the taxi stand outside my hospital, beside two young women in full black costume, with only a slit for the eyes. One said to the other, "Give us a light for a fag, love; I'm gasping." Release the social pressure on the girls, and they would abandon their costume in an instant.

Anyone who lives in a city like mine and interests himself in the fate of the world cannot help wondering whether, deeper than this immediate cultural desperation, there is anything intrinsic to Islam—beyond the devout Muslim's instinctive understanding that secularization, once it starts, is like an unstoppable chain reaction—that renders it unable to adapt itself comfortably to the modern world. Is there an essential element that condemns the Dar al-Islam to permanent backwardness with regard to the Dar al-Harb, a backwardness that is felt as a deep humiliation, and is exemplified, though not proved, by the fact that the whole of the Arab world, minus its oil, matters less to the rest of the world economically than the Nokia telephone company of Finland?

[T]he legitimacy of temporal power could always be challenged by those who, citing Muhammad's spiritual role, claimed greater religious purity or authority; the fanatic in Islam is always at a moral advantage vis-à-vis the moderate. Moreover, Islam—in which the mosque is a meetinghouse, not an institutional church—has no established, anointed ecclesiastical hierarchy to decide such claims authoritatively. With political power constantly liable to challenge from the pious, or the allegedly pious, tyranny becomes the only guarantor of stability, and assassination the only means of reform.

The indivisibility of any aspect of life from any other in Islam is a source of strength, but also of fragility and weakness, for individuals as well as for polities. Where all conduct, all custom, has a religious sanction and justification, any change is a threat to the whole system of belief. Certainty that their way of life is the right one thus coexists with fear that the whole edifice—intellectual and political—will come tumbling down if it is tampered with in any way. Intransigence is a defense against doubt and makes living on terms of true equality with others who do not share the creed impossible.

[U]ntil Muslims (or former Muslims, as they would then be) are free in their own countries to denounce the Qu'ran as an inferior hodgepodge of contradictory injunctions, without intellectual unity (whether it is so or not)—until they are free to say with Carlyle that the Qu'ran is "a wearisome confused jumble" with "endless iterations, longwindedness, entanglement"—until they are free to remake and modernize the Qu'ran by creative interpretation, they will have to reconcile themselves to being, if not helots, at least in the rearguard of humanity, as far as power and technical advance are concerned.

And the problem is that so many Muslims want both stagnation and power: they want a return to the perfection of the seventh century and to dominate the twenty-first, as they believe is the birthright of their doctrine, the last testament of God to man. If they were content to exist in a seventh-century backwater, secure in a quietist philosophy, there would be no problem for them or us; their problem, and ours, is that they want the power that free inquiry confers, without either the free inquiry or the philosophy and institutions that guarantee that free inquiry. They are faced with a dilemma: either they abandon their cherished religion, or they remain forever in the rear of human technical advance. Neither alternative is very appealing; and the tension between their desire for power and success in the modern world on the one hand, and their desire not to abandon their religion on the other, is resolvable for some only by exploding themselves as bombs.

[On the Muslim population in British prisons:] What I think these young Muslim prisoners demonstrate is that the rigidity of the traditional code by which their parents live, with its universalist pretensions and emphasis on outward conformity to them, is all or nothing; when it dissolves, it dissolves completely and leaves nothing in its place.

So, what is this about "moderate Islam? We can go back to Muslim WakeUp! We'll find out from an expert.

Professor Asma Barlas

MWU!: What does the Bush Administration mean when it refers to "Moderate Islam?"

The administration's view of Islam as a pair of good and evil twins conjoined at the hip performs two crucial political functions. On the one hand, by portraying "militant Islam" as the real threat to global security, Washington is able to deflect critiques of the US's role in underwriting injustice and oppression on a global scale. On the other hand, by shifting the burden of defeating and eradicating "militant Islam" onto "moderate Islam," the US is absolved of the responsibility to rethink its own injurious policies.

Incidentally, drafting "moderate Islam" on its side does not mean empowering Muslims or rehabilitating Islam. Indeed, Washington's embrace of "moderate Islam" comes at a high cost. Since friends can and do differ, the administration wants "moderate Islam" not so much to be an independently-minded ally as it obedient and unquestioning henchman.

What does Semper Fidelis mean to a Muslim? We know that "associating partners with Allah" is shirk for Muslims, one reason they are forbidden to vote for secular government. It's unpleasant at best to ask about the personal loyalty of a sergeant in the USMC, but we must ask, not the sergeant who is required by the Qur'an to wage jihad against the unbelievers wherever he finds them, and who is compelled to practice deception through kitman and taqiyya as per the Qur'an; no, unfortunately we must ask ourselves if we can trust a man who is a self-professed Muslim to do his duty for the nation he swears to defend.

Few of our readers are learned doctors of fiqh here, but we do know enough to make sensible judgements about Islam in theory and practice. We must ask ourselves what moderate Islam is if the Qur'an, the Sira, the ahadith are cut down to reasonableness. What's left but an anachronistic Mithraism?

One must wonder what the sergeant is about. One must wonder what Islam would be if he could decide it.

Which face is the real one? One must wonder.

Whimmitude and Resistence

Why do Western women allow Islamic exceptionalism to dominate the discourse of universal Womens' Rights? What makes a Muslim woman less valuable a person than a non-Muslim? Why is it ok for a Muslim father to punch his 15 year old daughter in the face in a crowded movie theatre but wrong to pound that arsehole into the ground? Or to complain, for that matter?

We call that female subjugation of females "whimmitude."

Why do Europeans protest against capital punishment in America but remain silent when Muslim women are murdered with impunity in Europe itself?

Below we have excerpted an essay by Ayaan Hirsi Ali followed by an article on women/girls married in Islamic rites, and finally an apologetic by a THE BBC2 who sets us kafirs straight.

Unfree Under Islam

Shariah endangers women's rights, from Iraq to Canada.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

In every society where family affairs are regulated according to instructions derived from the Shariah or Islamic law, women are disadvantaged. The injustices these women are exposed to in the name of Islam vary from extreme cruelty (forced marriages; imprisonment or death after rape) to grossly unfair treatment in matters of marriage, divorce and inheritance.

It seems strange to associate the context of Canada with that of Iraq, but a closer look at the arguments used to reassure the demonstrating women in both countries [Iraq] reveals the similar ordeals that Muslim women in both countries must go through to secure their rights. It shows how their legitimate and serious worries are trivialized, and how vulnerable and alone they are. It shows how the Free World led by the U.S. went to war in Iraq, allegedly to bring liberty to Iraqis, and is compromising the basic rights of women in order to meet a random date. It shows how the theory of multiculturalism in Western liberal democracies is working against women in ethnic and religious minorities with misogynist practices. It shows the tenacity of many imams, mullahs and self-made Muslim radicals to subjugate women in the name of God. Most of all, it shows how many of those who consider themselves liberal or left-wing see their energy levels rise when it comes to Bush-bashing, but lose their voice when women's rights are threatened by religious obscurantism.

Hamam Hamoudi, the head of Iraq's constitution committee, refuses to discuss the article that worries the Muslim women. He also refused to put in the draft constitution that men and women have equal rights, creating a bizarre situation whereby the women had more rights under Saddam Hussein's regime than in post-Saddam Iraq. Mr. Hamoudi insists that women will have full economic and political rights, but the overwhelming evidence shows that when Shariah--which gives a husband complete control over his wife--is in place, women have little chance to exercise any political rights. Does Mr. Hamoudi realize that it took the removal of Saddam and the establishment of a multiparty democracy for men to vote, while if his draft constitution is ratified, women will need the permission of their husbands to step out of the house in order to mark their ballot? I thought that President Bush and all the allies who supported the Iraq war aspired to bring democracy and liberty to all Iraqis. Aren't Iraqi girls and women human enough to share in that dream?

Under Shariah, a girl becomes eligible for marriage from the moment she starts to menstruate. In countries where Islamic law is practiced, child-brides are common. Do the drafters of the constitution grasp what this will mean for the school curriculum of girls or the risks of miscarriages, maternal fatalities and infant deaths? These and other hazards that affect subjugated women are common phenomena in the 22 Arab-Islamic countries investigated in the Arab Human Development Report. An early marriage also means many children in an area of the world that is already overpopulated and poor.

The draft Iraqi bill of rights favors men in other respects, such as the right to marry up to four wives, and the right to an easy divorce, without the interference of a court, simply by repeating "I divorce you" in the presence of two male witnesses. A wife divorced in such a fashion will receive an allowance for a period of three months to one year, and after that period nothing. On the other hand, if a wife wants a divorce, she must go to court and prove that her husband does not meet her material needs, that he is infertile and that he is impotent. Once a divorce is finalized, if there are children, the custody of the children will automatically go to the father (for boys at age 7 and for girls from the start of menstruation). Inheritance based on the Shariah means that wives will get only a small portion of the property of their husbands and a sister will get half what her brother gets.

Canadian women are told that the Arbitration Act of 1992 was passed in order to provide citizens with the opportunity to resolve minor conflicts through mediation and thereby save valuable court time. They are reassured that Muslim women in Canada have nothing to fear because parties must enter into arbitration out of their free choice, and that there are enough limits to safeguard the rights of women. The Muslim women's arguments that "free choice" is relative when you are psychologically, financially and socially dependent on your family, clan or religious group seem to fall on deaf ears. The populations of battered Muslim women in "tolerant" Canada's women's shelters seem to be ignored. In Canada, battered Muslim women say that their husbands told them that it is a God-given right to hit them. If the current Iraqi constitution goes through, Iraqi wife-abusers will be able to add "It is my constitutional right to beat you."

Ms. Hirsi Ali, a member of the Dutch parliament for the Liberal Party, was born in Somalia. She took refuge in the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage, and has had armed bodyguards after receiving death threats from Muslim extremists. She writes at


HYDERABAD: Plunging the bride bazaar of Old City to newer depths, marriage brokers last month paraded 13 young girls before four Arabs, all aged over 50.

One of the grooms, a 55-year-old sheikh from UAE, chose a 16-year-old girl, married her on July 15, spent two weeks with her and then left the country after pronouncing talaq thrice in a huff.

The marriage was facilitated by Mumtaz Begum of Falaknuma with help from four brokers — Mansoor, Toufiq, Yousuf and Abdullah.

Police officer Sandeep Sandilya said, "The brides were paraded before the Arabs in Toufiq's house at Kalapathar and the nikah was solemnised by a qazi at his residence in Shalibanda.''

With her hopes of going abroad shattered, Shameem (name changed) approached the Kalapathar police on Saturday seeking help.

The police acted swiftly and nabbed Mumtaz Begum but the brokers and qazi are still at large. The police recovered three affidavits which claimed Shameem's age as 22 and stated her consent to marry the aged Arab.

Shameem told police that the brokers pressured her to accept nikah with Mohammad Bakram as he promised to take her to the UAE after marriage.

She said, "Once I said manzoor hai, the qazi pronounced the nikah over. The sheikh took me to a lodge in Chandrayangutta and did not let me out for 10 days. When I complained of chest pain, he gave me tablets and sleeping pills. As the pain became unbearable, my mother came to the lodge to take me home where a doctor gave me glucose. The sheikh came to our house the same evening, but I refused to go with him.''

That, however, didn't spell an end to her troubles. "He came again the next day and forced me to go with him. After four days, I developed similar complications and went back to my house. Within hours, he was at my doorstep threatening to divorce me if did not go with him. When I refused bluntly, he uttered talaq thrice and walked away,'' she added.

Sandilya said the Arab had paid Rs 20,000 to brokers for the marriage, out of which the girl's parents were given Rs 10,000.

He added that police were trying to find out the sheikh's address and would seek his arrest through Interpol. "The qazi was supposed to maintain a record of both bride and groom,'' the police officer said.

A World Where Womanhood Reigns Supreme
(The Seeds of My Own Re-evaluations)

When I joined the team of "Living Islam" two years ago, my perception of Islam was dominated by prejudice and ignorance, and I found its treatment of women abhorrent. To me the veil symbolised the oppression of women, making them invisible, anonymous and voiceless, and the cause of this oppression lay in the will to perpetuate the family and maintain a patriarchal framework - the very basis of an Islamic Society. I thought women were entirely submerged by divine justification of their role as wife and mother.

"Living Islam" was filmed over two years in 19 different countries and on location I was a lone female in an otherwise male team. I was aware that I especially should behave appropriately. In my mind, women were to be neither seen nor heard. My first trip took me to Mali - to an untypical Muslim community in the bush. Making sure to cover every bit of naked flesh while the men wandered around in short sleeves, I wondered what rooms I was permitted to enter and who I was permitted to talk to. But I also wondered whether my new-found meekness was not in part a reaction to the overpowering atmosphere of the patriarchal society I found my self in. Was this how Muslim women felt - resignation in the face of impossible odds?

The first Muslim woman I met in Mali was far removed from my preconception about the Muslim female. She was the wife of a Shaikh dedicated to converting pagan villagers to Islam. A sophisticated, well-educated woman, previously married to a diplomat, she had renounced a Western lifestyle for a life in purdah. In my eyesshe had sentenced herself to life imprisonment. But here was no prisoner, no poor downtrodden slave. A sharp intelligent and influential woman stood before me, clearly the one "who wore trousers" round here. Here seclusion gave her a status of honour and allowed her to exercise control from behind closed doors without confrontation. She was the bargainer, the head of the household, and the manager of her husbands affairs and schedule.

The emancipated woman in the West faces the conflict between confirmation of her femininity and the privileges that she associates with it, and repudiation of the confines of her female role and all the limitations that men want her to assume. From where I stood, this woman had transformed those limitations into priviliges.

On my next trip to northern Nigeria I met twoi more women who would alter my views even further. These were two women from the household of Shaikh Zakzaky, a fervent preacher of Jihad who urges his supporters to follow the example of Iran and replace the imerialistic western regime with an Islamic state. Zeenah Ibraheem, Zakzaky's wife and Fatima Yunus, her friend, had agreed to be interviewed about the role of women in Islam. They were in purdah and would only speak to another woman. The producer asked me to interview them. I was nervous apart from the fact that I had never interviewed anyone before. I was worred that my feminist sympathies would antagonise the women. But it was precisely these sympathies that Zeenah and Fatima themselves were questioning. Once again, the women were educated and articulate. And once again they had rejected the Western lifestyle which I considered so superior to Islam in its treatment of women.

As I took my seat on a carpet in the courtyard, the invisible boundary between men and women was a welcome partition, and within this boundary womanhood reigned supreme. This was a sharp contrast with the feelings from the previous days in locations where my presence had been acceptable only as an "honarary man". We had been filming the medieval theatrics of the 'Salla' celebrations that marked the end of Ramadan. Men, men, men everywhere: 500,000 men gathered for prayer on the morning of the Salla, men pouring into the inner courtyard of the Emirof Kano's inner courtyard to pay homage - I was grateful to be allowed to witness these events but at what price? The complete annihilation of my female identity?

But now I was taking the reins because of my sex. No more the feeling of inferiority and exclusion, as a novice in things Islamic surrounded by a team of experts, as a woman in a patriarchal society. Now the men were excluded. Apart from the cameraman and sound recordist, they were encouraged to stand well back. The cameraman covered his head and the camera with a black cloth - his very own veil. I was now in a world where the men had no voice.

The women talked and in their answers I saw the seeds of my own re-evalutions. They argued that the veil signified their rejection of an unacceptable system of values which debased women while Islam elevated women to a position of honour and respect. "It is not liberation where you say women should go naked. It is just oppression, because men want to see them naked." Just as to us the veil represents Muslim oppression, to them miniskirts and plunging necklines represent oppression. They said that men are cheating women in the West. They let us believe we're liberated but enslave us to the male gaze. However much I insist on the right to choose what I wear, I cannot deny that the choice is often dictated by what will make my body more attractive to men. Women cannot separate their identity from their appearance and so we remain trapped in the traditional feminine world, where the rules are written by men.

By choosing to wear the veil, these women were making a conscious decision to define their role in society and their relationship with men. That relationship appeard to be based more on exchange and mutual respect (a respect that was often lacking in the personal relationships I saw in the West), than the master/servant scenario I had anticipated. The Veil to them signified visual confirmation of their religious commitment, in which men and women were united, and for Zeenah and Fatima an even stronger commitment to a political ideal.

So were my notions of oppression in the form of the veil disqualified? If my definition of equality was free will then I could no longer define that oppression as a symptom of Islam. The women had all excercised their right to choose. To some extent, they were freer than me - I had less control over my destiny. I could no longer point at them and say they were oppressed and I was not. my life was influenced by male approval as theirs - but the element of choice had been taken out of mine. their situations and their arguments had, after all, served to highlight shortcomings in my view of my own liberty.


Mary Walker was Production Coordinator on the BBC2 series "Living Islam". Article courtesy of Impact Magazine