Charles JohnsonFollow @Green_Footballs
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An update to Christopher Hitchens’ call for a rally at the Danish embassy in Washington DC:
Update, Feb. 22: Thank you all who’ve written. Please be outside the Embassy of Denmark, 3200 Whitehaven Street (off Massachusetts Avenue) between noon and 1 p.m. this Friday, Feb. 24. Quietness and calm are the necessities, plus cheerful conversation. Danish flags are good, or posters reading “Stand By Denmark” and any variation on this theme (such as “Buy Carlsberg/ Havarti/ Lego”) The response has been astonishing and I know that the Danes are appreciative. But they are an embassy and thus do not of course endorse or comment on any demonstration. Let us hope, however, to set a precedent for other cities and countries. Please pass on this message to friends and colleagues.
One of the mosques attacked today in Iraq is not just any shrine, it’s the hiding place of the so-called “twelfth imam” who will return at the end of days to restore the world to a perfect Islamic society before Yawm al-Qiyamah—the day of resurrection: Al-Askariya shrine: ‘Not just a major cathedral’. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)
Today’s attack on al-Askariya shrine marks the first time that Iraqi sectarian violence has targeted one of the country’s central religious symbols.
The Shia Muslim shrine has existed in the middle of the ancient city of Samarra, one of the largest archaeological sites in the world, since 944, when it was built to house the tombs of two ninth century imams, direct descendants of the Prophet Muhammad.
Ali al-Hadi, the tenth imam who died in 868 and his son Hassan al-Askari who died in 874, were buried at the end of the turbulent period during which Samarra was built as the new capital of the Abbasid empire, briefly taking over from Baghdad, then the largest city in the world.
But the continued and intense religious importance of the site is connected to the 12th imam, the so-called “Hidden Imam” who Shias believe went into hiding in 878 under the al-Askariya shrine to prepare for his eventual return among men.
According to Shia tradition, the Mahdi will reappear one day to punish the sinful and “separate truth from falsehood”. For many years, a saddled horse and soldiers would be brought to the shrine in Samarra every day to be ready for his return, a ritual that was repeated in Hilla, about 100 miles to the south, where it was also thought that Mahdi might reappear.
In a surprise move, the New York Times has hired a new public editor: Ali bin-Zabar.
Dear Ali bin-Zabar:
All praise to Allah. Peace be upon him. My question is threefold: 1) Wasn’t it just a little hypocritical of The Times to illustrate the story of the Danish cartoons by using a portrait of the Madonna painted with elephant dung? 2) What happened to their so-called “journalistic integrity”—their vaunted “freedom of speech” and cherished “First Amendment rights”? 3) Would you agree they capitulated and (pardon the pun) “caved” into political correctness here? Akbar Z, Brooklyn
Dear Brother Akbar:
Indeed, you raise interesting issues. So allow me to preface my answer by quoting from The San Francisco Chronicle, whose editors declared “Islam is not a violent religion.”
On the one hand, you’re right: If The Times were really interested in not wanting to incite violence, they probably wouldn’t have published the torture photographs from Abu Ghraib prison. (Fortunately for us, they ran them.) Likewise the tank photographs from Tiananmen Square. (Fortunately for them, this kind of censorship is now being outsourced to Google. It’s the American way.)
From a theological standpoint, however, I would remind you: There are no “puns” in the Koran. There are no “Amendments,” first or otherwise. And to those who would disagree, I reply: Death to the infidels. A fatwa upon your house. May your embassies go up in flames, your flags burn in hell, and may your S.U.V.’s meet their fate at the hands of an I.E.D. on the Grand Central Parkway.
P.S.: Starting next week, the Escapes section will be renamed Hostages.
Our friends the Saudis joined Egypt today in snubbing Condoleezza Rice: Saudis Reject U.S. Plan to Isolate Hamas.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia on Wednesday became the second Arab ally in as many days to reject the U.S. strategy of financially isolating Hamas if the militant group does not moderate its policies as leader of the Palestinians.
As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sat nearby, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said through a translator, “We wish not to link financial assistance to the Palestinian people to issues other than their dire humanitarian needs.”
At the New York Times, William Safire is looking for the origin of the term “moonbat:” Blargon. (Hat tip: Michael.)
The prevailing put-down of right-wing bloggers is wingnuts; this has recently been countered by the vilification of left-wing partisans who use the Web as moonbats, the origin of which I currently seek.
moonbat - An unthinking or insane leftist — in other words, most modern leftists. Moonbat can also be used as an adjective, e.g. a moonbat professor. According to the Wikipedia entry for moonbat, the word was coined in 2002 by the Editor of Samizdata, Perry de Havilland, and was a variation on the name of radical British activist and columnist George Monbiot. Originally, the term “moonbat” was intended to be more politically neutral, and described wackos on the left and the right, but it quickly acquired its current usage of being applied almost exclusively to those on the left. The term also references the moon much in the same way that “lunatic” refers to the insanity-causing powers of the full moon (luna = moon). LGFers occasionally analyze the behavior patterns of various moonbat “species” as if they were actual animals, and even give them satirical Linnaean taxonomical names, such as moonbattus berkeleyensis. According to Charles: “Moonbat was originally coined by Perry at Samizdata, I believe. But LGF probably played a much bigger part in popularizing it.” The entry in the Samizdata glossary indicates that Perry originally coined the full phrase “barking moonbat”; apparently “moonbat” is just a subsequent shortened version of “barking moonbat,” rather than being a pre-existing term that was lengthened to barking moonbat.
From TV8 news in Monroe, Louisiana: FBI Raids Middle Eastern Owned Service Stations. (Hat tip: USA.)
TV 8 News has learned the FBI and local law enforcement authorities are conducting a statewide raid of service stations and businesses owned by Middle Easterners. Agents executed search warrants today at businesses from Tallulah to Ruston and in Monroe. The FBI says the raids are part of “an ongoing criminal investigation.” Police sources tell TV 8 News the raids target possible money laundering and counterfeiting in connection with suspected domestic terrorist activity and homeland security. TV 8 News will have details at 5, 6,and 10.
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student newspaper The Daily Tar Heel is now embroiled in a Krazy Kartoon Kontroversy of their own, after publishing an original cartoon showing a politically correct, balanced and non-violent Mohammed denouncing both Denmark and Islamic protesters: Cartoon for February 9 - Opinion.
The Muslim Students Association is seething.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Muslim Students Association at the University of North Carolina on Friday asked the campus’ student newspaper to apologize for publishing an original cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
“The intention of bigotry was clear,” the association wrote in a letter to The Daily Tar Heel. “One must question the DTH’s ethics in advancing a widely protested issue to cause a riot of their own. The MSA not only found this cartoon derogatory but is also shocked at the editor’s allowance of its publication — one that incites hate in the current political and social context.”
UPDATE at 2/22/06 12:45:40 pm:
Last year, the Muslim Students Association at UNC-CH succeeded in getting Daily Tar Heel columnist Jillian Bandes fired: lgf: Thoughtcrime at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Courtesy of MEMRI TV, the founder of the “Creative Thinking Center” in the United Arab Emirates salutes the mothers of suicide bombers.
[Video no longer available.]
Al-Hamadi: Haven’t we heard about the blessed mothers in Palestine who go to their sons and prepare them for martyrdom for the sake of Allah? The son sets out and on his way, he calls his mother from his cellphone, and tells her: “I’ve arrived at the place, I am going in.” Then he says, “I’m ready,” and the mother guides him and encourages him until she hears the bombs go off over the cellphone. Then she bows, thanking Allah for granting her son martyrdom for His sake. Then she utters cries of joy and refuses to accept condolences. She does not open a grieving tent, but rather a congratulation tent, because Allah granted her son martyrdom. Such Hansaa-like women have appeared again in our times. Some of these women commit martyrdom themselves. They may be married women or students, but even so, they are not tempted by this life, and they carry out martyrdom operations for the sake of Allah.
UPDATE at 2/22/06 11:42:17 am:
Here’s a special report at MEMRI on another UAE “think tank” located in Abu Dhabi, that until recently was funded directly by the Arab League and the UAE government, and played host to many US and European politicians: The Think Tank of the Arab League: The Zayed International Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up.
Here’s an LGF search page for the Zayed Centre; we first noticed this center of xenophobia, hatred, and conspiracy theories (now closed due to international exposure) back in 2002.
UPDATE at 2/22/06 11:56:39 am:
The incredibly strange Zayed Centre is the inspiration for our 404 error page.
James Lileks makes an excellent point in the UAE port deal debate.
The specifics don’t matter; arguments about the specific nature of the Dubai Ports World organization’s global reach and responsible track records don’t matter. Because it feels immediately, instinctively wrong to nearly every American, and that isn’t something that can be argued away with charts or glossy brochures. It just doesn’t sit well. Period. It’s one thing for an Administration to misjudge how a particular decision will be received; it’s another entirely to misjudge an issue that cuts to the core of the Administration’s core strength. That’s where you slap yourself on the forehead in the style of those lamenting the failure to request a V-8 in a timely fashion. Doesn’t matter whether it was a deal struck between the previous administrators and the UAE; that’s not how the issue will be seen. And it certainly doesn’t matter once the President gets all stern on the topic and insists he’ll veto any attempt to keep the deal from going through. At that point, millions of previously resolute supporters stand there with their mouths open, uttering a soft confused moan of disbelief.
At the University of Pennsylvania, a representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations demands limits on free speech. (Hat tip: Terp Mole.)
Six local Islamic figures gathered Saturday for a panel to address the recent controversy over the Danish cartoons that negatively depict the Islamic prophet Muhammad
The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations sponsored the event, which took place in Houston Hall.
The discussion — held in a town-hall style and followed by an audience Q & A — covered a variety of topics, focusing largely on the alleged marginalization of minorities in Western media and culture.
“We need to analyze what democracy means and to recognize and represent not just the majorities but the growing minorities as well,” Philadelphia CAIR vice-chairman Sofia Memon said. “In view of this, we need to ask how to broaden our democracy instead of narrow it.”
During their introductory speeches, several panelists denounced the cartoons as slanderous while discussing limitations on free speech.
“People have every right to give an opinion on something,” Rachel Lawton, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, said. “You cross the line when you threaten, intimidate or harass, and that is when free speech is limited.”
CAIR board member Mazhar Rishi agreed.
“The right to free speech is not absolute,” Rishi said. “It does not give a right to defame Prophet Muhammad or any other” religious figure.
Jim Geraghty says we’ve been snookered by Schumer, and that the UAE port deal is not a security problem because the Coast Guard will still be responsible for securing the ports.
But Michelle Malkin isn’t buying it:
Missing. The. Point. The issue is not whether day-to-day, on-the-ground conditions at the ports would change. They presumably wouldn’t. The issues are whether we should grant the demonstrably unreliable UAE access to sensitive information and management plans about our key U.S ports, which are plenty insecure enough without adding new risks, and whether the decision process was thorough and free from conflicts of interest.
The Journal and the Bush administration make no persuasive case that it was.
(The Washington Times adds that “company officials would be briefed on security procedures and countermeasures that, if compromised, could allow foreign terrorists to get through various screening procedures.” Moreover, while the Coast Guard is responsible for port security, tracking ships, crews and cargo and search vessels based on intelligence, “there is no cohesive hiring or screening process for port workers.”)
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Badger Herald published the heinous cartoons of heresy, and is now facing the wrath of the (Salafist) Muslim Students Association and the MultiCultural Student Coalition: Cartoon debate heats up at forum.
“I believe a newspaper, when possible, should give people the information they need to conduct intelligent, well-informed debate,” Mac VerStandig, editor in chief of The Badger Herald, said at Tuesday’s forum.
While none in attendance questioned the Herald’s right to print the cartoon, several panelists — including University of Wisconsin history professor emeritus Kemal Karpat — argued the newspaper abused that right.
“Here is the danger of freedom when it is in the hands of people who are not sufficiently understanding of the world in which they live,” Karpat said. “Such freedoms can be abused when people have the means to utilize them to express their own personal preferences, likes and dislikes.”
But VerStandig insisted the Editorial Board’s decision to print the cartoon was based on its newsworthiness, rather than any religious or political statement the Herald itself wished to convey.
Specifically, he said, the decision came after University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman reprimanded the college newspaper there for reprinting six of the original Danish cartoons, bringing the issue from an international focus to a regional one.
“I believe in the libertarian principles that say that we gave you all the information, you can each draw your own intelligent conclusions about what’s going on in the news, what’s going on in Illinois and what’s going on throughout the world,” VerStandig said. “We printed this cartoon to help give you that information. We printed this cartoon because other people weren’t.”
Suri Kempe, the MultiCultural Student Coalition’s representative on the panel, said the Herald made an editorial decision to endorse the anti-Islamic speech the cartoon represented.
Implied in the protection of freedom of speech, Kempe argued, is that the defender of speech — The Badger Herald, in this case — is protecting speech that it believes in.
“I mean, what is the point of publishing something just for the sake of publishing it?” Kempe said. “By reprinting this picture, The Badger Herald — as an institution — claims the right to clearly express that it believes … [that Muhammad] is a terrorist, and that by extension it’s calling all Muslims terrorists.”
Canadian journals The Western Standard and The Jewish Free Press published the dreaded cartoons of blasphemy recently, and saw booksellers and newsstands refuse to carry those issues out of fear.
Canadian Muslim front groups have been trying to get the government to file “hate crime” charges against the publications, but today they are seething at the announcement that there will be no charges for publishing the Muhammad cartoons. (Hat tip: Newsbeat1.)
CALGARY - Local Muslims are disappointed the Crown prosecutor’s office has recommended no criminal charges be laid against two publications that printed cartoons they find offensive.
“I told them, I disagree with you,” said Syed Soharwardy, president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.
Earlier this month, the Western Standard and the Jewish Free Press printed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that initially ran in a Danish newspaper and led to riots and protests around the world.
Gordon Wong, Calgary’s chief Crown prosecutor, said the Criminal Code requires there be an intent to incite hatred against a specific group, and his office had determined there was no intent in this case.
“The intent was to debate the issue within the articles. That’s different than inciting hatred,” Wong said Tuesday.
After the cartoons ran, the Muslim Council of Calgary complained to police. Soharwardy’s group has also lodged a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, which has yet to decide if it will accept the case.
The Islamic Supreme Council will now try to get Canada to criminalize blasphemy:
Soharwardy said the community is still considering a civil lawsuit against those who published the cartoon. As well, it plans to begin lobbying for legislative changes so that offensive remarks or depictions of any religious figure are considered a crime.
Insane anti-Israel bias—business as usual at Agence France Presse: Palestinians denounce roadblocks outside Jericho.
JERICHO, West Bank (AFP) - Palestinian officials denounced Israel for reimposing two roadblocks outside Jericho, saying the move violates a 2005 deal giving them security control over the West Bank city.
The Israeli army confirmed that the roadblocks, one on the route to Jerusalem and the other leading to Ramallah, had been reestablished because a number of wanted militants had been freed from jail in Jericho.
“As a result of the release of several dozen prisoners from the jail in Jericho, the (army) has decided to step up security checks around the city in order to ensure the safety of Israeli civilians,” the military said on Wednesday.
So why isn’t the headline, “Palestinians release terrorists from jail”?
The White House said today that President Bush did not know about the sale of shipping operations to a UAE company until the deal had already been approved: Bush Didn’t Know About Ports Deal.
WASHINGTON - President Bush was unaware of the pending sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates until the deal already had been approved by his administration, the White House said Wednesday.
Defending the deal anew, the administration also said that it should have briefed Congress sooner about the transaction, which has triggered a major political backlash among both Republicans and Democrats.
Bush on Tuesday brushed aside objections by leaders in the Senate and House that the $6.8 billion sale could raise risks of terrorism at American ports. In a forceful defense of his administration’s earlier approval of the deal, he pledged to veto any bill Congress might approve to block the agreement.
But Lawmakers determined to capsize the pending sale said Bush’s surprise veto threat won’t deter them.
“I will fight harder than ever for this legislation, and if it is vetoed I will fight as hard as I can to override it,” said Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. King and Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record) of New York said they will introduce emergency legislation to suspend the ports deal.
We knew this was coming; an American law professor at Seton Hall University calls for the punishment of the Danish editors, and for shari’a restrictions on free speech in the US.
The Shari’a demands that we must condemn any statement that vilifies someone’s religion, where the statement is made for no other purpose other than to vilify, ridicule, or foment hatred. Muslims are therefore very right to vigorously condemn the publication of the cartoons and to seek to punish the editors through the criminal law process. There is no room in the public square, it seems to me, for the race-baiter or religion-baiter who acts with the intention to injure or harm others.
The single-child yuppo-family that uses the child as a status object: 'A perfect child? Of course! We have one here -- he's under the coffee table. Ralph, stand up! Play the violin!'