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Slipping into the aftermath of the recent Iranian hostage crisis, the officials and citizenry of Britain, the soldiers who were held against their will and their families who likely slept little during the nearly 15 day ordeal, are understandably all breathing a collective sigh of relief as the former captives arrive home for tearful reunions and military debriefs (as well as the unsurprising truth that is currently coming to light.) While Prime Minister Tony Blair claims no deals were proffered in order to secure release for the British soldiers, and I tend to accept that as highly probable, we likely won’t know what exactly transpired behind the Persian curtain to enable this thankfully positive outcome. All we have is Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “Easter gift” explanation.

It’s darned nice of Ahmadinejad to offer Britain (and from his point of view, the Western world especially the United States) this “Easter gift” despite the explicit fact that he is the relative leader of an Islamic republic that rejects outright any notion of The New Testament, Jesus Christ, and the resurrection, let alone cute bunnies and colored eggs. By saying this, he only continues his mocking rhetoric, thumbing his nose not only at the west, but at Christianity as well. Ahmadinejad is not some student neo-hippy who took his first philosophy course and suddenly he converted to atheism because it’s the hip thing to do. This is the president of a country whose ruling hierarchy, most notably embodied in the elderly form of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is purely evil and presents the greatest danger to any stability in the Middle East and the world in general due to their extremist Islamic beliefs. Happy Easter indeed.

Despite Mahmoud’s generous and gracious holiday surprise (what a top notch humanitarian), there lingers the question as to why Iran felt the need to abduct the British soldiers in the first place and at that particular time. Was it a direct response to the detention of Iranians in Iraq by U.S. forces back in mid January? While a convenient excuse, that is probably not the case. Assuming the 15 British troops were indeed in Iraqi waters as is most likely the case, on the surface the abduction at best is a testing of the waters so to speak. At worst, it would appear to have been an act of war.

For the most part, the Iranian people are, to say the least, rather disdainful of their current governmental superiors and the path by which they have been led (no need to go into the epidemic of torture and filet-o-tongue style enforcement methods.) The administration of Iran, under the leadership of Ahmadinejad, Khamenei, et. al. have accomplished nothing for their country but increased international censure, diplomatic condemnation, United Nations economic sanctions, and all around general isolation from the world community at large all because they simply want to turn a little weapons grade uranium into a nuclear missile in order to nuke Israel. Sounds like a party to me.

So were the international pressures and economic sanctions actually doing any good? Most likely, as evidenced in the capture and two week internment of the British soldiers. Yet how are sanctions in anyway related to taking hostages? In my estimation, and in this case, they were closely related.

Early last Summer Iran, through its puppet organization Hezbollah, orchestrated and perpetrated a very similar stunt by kidnapping a few IDF soldiers, placing newly instituted Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert into the awkward position of fight or flight. Perceptibly, Ahmadinejad with the backing of the clerics, were testing the resolve of Olmert. Unfortunately, the ultimate failure in that 2006 Israeli-Lebanese conflict (also known as The July War) of Olmert not only strengthened the resolve of Hezbollah specifically and Islamic fundamentalists throughout the Middle East generally, but the failure of the Iranian pop-quiz demonstrated Israel’s faltering infallibility in the face of European and eventually American pressure to stand down–captured Israeli soldiers were not worth the added tumult a prolonged conflict would generate throughout the region. An “F” for Israel and a “D-” for Europe and the United States.

Nearly a year later, Iran once again evaluates the resolve of the West, this time kidnapping and holding hostage the 15 British military personnel. Whereas the first test was squarely directed at Olmert and Israel within the Middle East, this exam would scrutinize the will of Tony Blair and the people of England, our closest and most important ally. For thirteen days Blair did little to encourage his people that matters concerning the return of their hostages from Iran were being efficiently, effectively, and quickly dealt with, at least outwardly. Instead, what the world witnessed was a man flummoxed by the ongoing situation who, through his inability to act in any relevant and purposeful manner, managed to appear wholly capitulating to those who held illegally captive citizens of England. At the very least, Blair proved his worth as an eloquent press secretary by frequently appearing before news cameras, emitting streams of self-demoralizing sententious pronouncements that seemed to do nothing but embolden the Iranian captors on a daily basis. Is it any wonder then Blair appeared more than little confounded when the announcement came down of the soldiers’ release? An “F” for Britain and a “D-” for the West.

What do to these two kidnapping events teach Iran? At this point, it proves to Ahmadinejad that two of their biggest worries, Israel and England (Europe was lost years ago) have little to no will for a fight. While I do not necessarily condone war as was the case with Israel and Lebanon last Summer, neither do I completely rule out military action if diplomacy is obviously going the way of the Dodo.

At this point, Iran is basking in the warm glow of their prodigious accomplishments, at least from their perspective. Despite the fact that sanctions may in fact be working, as is evidently the case partly resulting from their desperate and despicable actions two weeks ago and the aforementioned prequel last Summer in Lebanon, Iran has been given a nuclear reprieve–more time to enrich additional uranium and further destabilize an already chaotic expanse in desperate need of sensible guidance all around.

Unfortunately the Middle East does not get sensible guidance. Instead, it gets Nancy Pelosi. Whether one believes she had the right to travel to such a volatile region in order to conduct international diplomacy with various heads of state including the above mentioned Ehud Olmert and current Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad (whose father, Hafez al-Assad grew to infamy for butchering upwards of 30,000 of his own people in the city of Hama back in 1982), there is no doubt that her presence did nothing but complicate the hostage situation in Iran, perhaps even legitimizing the acts committed by Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard because of her flagrant disregard of President Bush’s express wishes to stay away from the area entirely.

Whether she broke the law by making the trip in opposition to Bush is immaterial to this discussion. What she did accomplish was the creation of a wake of confusion with every step she took throughout the Middle East. How does one so dense manage to become one of the central leaders of the most powerful nation on the planet? Considering George W. Bush has managed two terms in office, it’s not difficult to understand the how and the why.

Make no mistake. Nancy Pelosi knows next to nothing concerning foreign policy, particularly in the turbulent Middle East. This is most clearly evidenced in her appointment of Representative Silvestre Reyes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. To see what I mean, go here. If she knew anything about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or Hamas or Hezbollah or the Muslim Brotherhood or Islamic Jihad, she would never have so egregiously misinterpreted and twisted a conversation she participated in with Ehud Olmert to mean that Israel was currently prepared to resume peace talks with Syria when in fact that was not and is not the case. Still, that’s what she told Assad (Olmert strongly censured and distanced himself from Pelosi’s comment to Assad, correcting Pelosi on her ridiculous faux paux), the leader of Syria, a country who’s administration is one of the central providers of weapons to Hezbollah, who supports training for Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and who as an agent of Iran wishes and works towards the unilateral annihilation of Israel. By proxy, this is what Nancy Pelosi is working towards. By proxy, Iran and Syria are who Nancy Pelosi is working with. Shameful doesn’t even begin to cover it.

So why the irresponsible and simple-minded Pelosi makes nice with those who not only seek the destruction of Israel, but of the west and the United States as well, we can be sure that her actions and tactless comments with state supporters of terrorism will certainly embolden and legitimize the concepts of the Islamic state and sharia law, and all of the repressions and curtailed freedoms that come with them. What a nice “Easter gift.”

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Nancy Pelosi colludes with a terrorist tyrant


Posted: April 5, 2007
9:09 p.m. Eastern


Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Syria

It is frankly astounding to me that people aren’t making a bigger deal of the colossal impropriety of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unauthorized trip to Syria. Where is the outrage?

I realize Democratic leaders and those they answer to have unmitigated contempt for President Bush. I realize they believe the public rewarded their hatred and their anti-war posturing in the November congressional elections.

But according to the latest news reports, President Bush is still in office. This means he is still commander in chief and primarily in charge of U.S. foreign policy.

Democrats have long been opposed to the administration’s stern policy toward terrorist-sponsoring states like Iran and Syria. They apparently believe their evil tyrants mean well, and if we will just open a dialogue with them, we can build a lasting peace. After all, the vaunted Iraq Surrender Group recommended that very thing.

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Terrorists endorse Pelosi’s ‘good policy of dialogue’
Militants call House speaker’s visit ‘brave’ and hope for talks with Iran


Posted: April 4, 2007
2:14 p.m. Eastern
By Aaron Klein
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

JERUSALEM – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit today to Syria – in which she called for dialogue with Damascus – was “brave” and “very appreciated” and could bring about “important changes” to America’s foreign policy, including talks with “Middle East resistance groups,” according to members of terror organizations here whose top leaders live in Syria.

One terror leader, Khaled Al-Batch, a militant and spokesman for Islamic Jihad, expressed hope Pelosi would continue winning elections, explaining the House speaker’s Damascus visit demonstrated she understands the Middle East.

Pelosi’s visit was opposed by President Bush, who called Syria a “state sponsor of terror.”

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PMO denies peace message to Assad

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a rare “clarification” Wednesday that, in gentle diplomatic terms, contradicted US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s statement in Damascus that she had brought a message from Israel about a willingness to engage in peace talks.

According to the statement, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert emphasized in his meeting with Pelosi on Sunday that “although Israel is interested in peace with Syria, that country continues to be part of the Axis of Evil and a force that encourages terror in the entire Middle East.”

Olmert, the statement clarified, told Pelosi that Syria’s sincerity about a genuine peace with Israel would be judged by its willingness to “cease its support of terror, cease its sponsoring of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations, refrain from providing weapons to Hizbullah and bringing about the destabilizing of Lebanon, cease its support of terror in Iraq, and relinquish the strategic ties it is building with the extremist regime in Iran.”

The statement said Olmert had not communicated to Pelosi any change in Israeli policy on Damascus.

Pelosi, who met in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar Assad over the objections of US President George W. Bush, said she brought a message to Assad from Olmert saying that Israel was ready for peace talks.

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The man within the red circle is believed to be Mahmoud Ahmedinejad during the Iran Hostage Crisis that began November 4, 1979.

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The below is linked from Jihadwatch.org. Since I frequently post about Islamic, Muslim, and jihadist issues, I thought it would be beneficial, not only to others who might have a passing interest in what Islam entails, but also to those who would like to fortify their general understanding of the subject–people with a thirst for more knowledge in this area. People like me for example.

Aside from informative websites like The Gates of Vienna, Dhimmitwatch and Jihadwatch, as well as countless others who operate to educate the open-minded in the ongoing war that is the global jihad, there are additionally uncountable books on the subject by such renowned authors as Robert Spencer, Serge Trifkovic, Daniel Pipes, ex-Islamic terrorist Walid Shoebat, and Ibn Warraq to name only a scant few.

If however, you’d rather simply begin with a general understanding of Islam, the Qur’an, and global jihad, the Islam 101 piece at Jihadwatch by writer Gregory M. Davis, PhD, author of Religion of Peace? and director of the highly informative documentary, Islam: What the West Needs to Know, is a great way to begin one’s apprenticeship on this matter, particularly if you are searching for the non-whitewashed, politically incorrect version offered by such groups and peoples as CAIR, George Galloway, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and Jimmy Carter–a tiny shortlist of appologists and obfuscators. In other words, this is an excellent beginning in ones’ enlightenment to the truth.

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Introducing Islam 101 – Part 1

Islam 101 is meant as an educational tool for people to become more educated about the fundamentals of Islam and to help the more knowledgeable better convey the facts to the uninitiated. All should feel free to distribute and/or reproduce it. It will become a new menu item at JW soon. Enjoy!

Islam 101

by Gregory M. Davis, PhD
author, Religion of Peace? Islam’s War Against the World
producer/director, Islam: What the West Needs to Know — An Examination of Islam, Violence, and the Fate of the Non-Muslim World

Table of Contents

1) Introduction

2) The Problem Clarified

3) The Basics
a) The Five Pillars of Islam
b) The Quran — the Book of Allah
c) The Sunnah — the “Way” of the Prophet Muhammad
d) Sharia Law

4) Jihad and Dhimmitude

a) What does “jihad” mean?
b) Muslim Scholar Hasan Al-Banna on jihad
c) Dar al-Islam and dar al-harb: the House of Islam and the House of War

i) Taqiyya — Religious Deception

d) Jihad Through History

i) The First Major Wave of Jihad: the Arabs, 622-750 AD
ii) The Second Major Wave of Jihad: the Turks, 1071-1683 AD

e) The Dhimma
f) Jihad in the Modern Era

5) Frequently Asked Questions

a) What about the Crusades?
b) If Islam is violent, why are so many Muslims peaceful?
c) What about the violent passages in the Bible?
d) Could an Islamic “Reformation” pacify Islam?
e) What about the history of Western colonialism in the Islamic world?
f) How can a violent political ideology be the second-largest and fastest-growing religion on earth?
g) Is it fair to paint all Islamic schools of thought as violent?
h) What about the great achievements of Islamic civilization?

6) Glossary of Terms

7) Further Resources

1. Introduction

My book and documentary are meant to serve as concise explanations of the major moving parts of Islam and their implications for Western society. They are meant as remedies to the often confused, misleading, and cluttered public discussions of Islam, which tend to leave the layman as much in the dark as to Islam’s nature and intentions as he was before. Islam 101 is a condensation of the book and documentary with the aim of lending clarity to the public understanding of Islam and of exposing the inadequacy of the prevailing views. It is also intended as a tool by which those more familiar with Islam’s true nature and goals may more effectively represent the facts to the uninformed.

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Islam 101 – Part 2

Here is the second part of Islam 101. (It didn’t all fit the first time.)

d. Jihad Through History

In 622 AD (year one in the Islamic calendar, AH 1), Muhammad abandoned Mecca for the city of Medina (Yathrib) some 200 farther north in the Arabian peninsula. In Medina, Muhammad established a paramilitary organization that would spread his influence and that of his religion throughout Arabia. Because there has never been a separation of the political-military and the religious in Islam, this development was entirely natural by Islamic principles. By the time of his death in 632 AD, Muhammad had extended his control in a series of raids and battles over most of southern Arabia. The conquered populations of these areas either had to submit to Muslim rule and pay a protection tax or convert to Islam.

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There was a moment several months ago when my good friend, John and I became embroiled in a heated debate focusing on Israel’s attack of and drive into Lebanon during July of 2006. Now Dubbed the July War or commonly known in Israel as The Second Lebanon War, I expressed my belief that, whether one believes Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is an effective leader or not, due to the circumstances involving the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, Olmert had to act or face the perception from those who support violent aggression against Israel that Olmert would have no will to defend and fight for the country and for the Israeli people. Despite the eventual outcome of that month-long conflict, and the subsequent loss of Israeli confidence in their newly appointed ad hoc leader, there was left little doubt that Olmert would commit to protecting the nation.

As tends to occur, my friend who passionately supports the Palestinian cause, began intensely referencing particular actions and specific examples of Israeli crimes against Palestinians, most notably the Phalangist massacre of 1982 which still evidences doubt as to categorical, direct involvement of the IDF (Maronite Christian forces committed the massacre; whether Israeli forces knew or didn’t know what was taking place within the Palestinian refugee camps is still unclear. Regardless, the IDF’s perimeter around the refugee camps prohibited Palestinians any escape from the marauding Maronite militias. This does not diminish the fact that Israel is one of the leading human rights adherents on the face of the planet, not to mention the only democracy in the Middle-east with a judiciary that is near second to none.)

As I’ve said, John is passionate and intense, and I do become easily flustered in verbal arguments especially when he and I come face to face. Needless to say, we don’t participate in too many political debates, but one thing I did learn from that experience is how little I knew about the Israel/Palestinian conflict specifically and the Middle-east in general. In essence, the respect I have for my friend inspired me because of my ignorance, regardless of our differences.

Since last summer I have set out on a personal crusade, or more appropriately a jihad in order to educate myself in such matters. Through books, magazines, and websites, I have learned more than I have ever known about the Middle-east and the geopolitical/religiopolitical enfilade that encompasses the region.

Inevitably, and in order to better understand the motivations of the inhabitants in that part of the world, I was compelled to ascertain more information about the majority belief systems in the Middle-east–Islam. My general studies did not lead me to others who would formulate my opinion for me. Rather, I came to conclusions that centered around the idea that Islam is a repressive, intolerant, and expansionist faith based around the idea of capitulation to Allah, subjugation, or death. After that, after I had worked out my own conceptions and conclusions, then I came across such websites as Jihadwatch.com and The Gates of Vienna–websites with writers and scholars whose ideas matched my perceptions of Islamic ideology.

From Jihad Watch, below is another fantastic piece by Hugh Fitzgerald about the rise of those (namely infidels) who wish to learn more about Islam who also end up being faced with the concept of global jihad. My recent experiences and discoveries stemmed from an argument with a friend as well as the continued fallout from 9/11 and the subsequent and unjustified war in Iraq. There may be many paths to Allah, but there are also many paths to discovering the truth about Islam.

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Fitzgerald: Cat’s out of the bag

Those at the Emory Wheel are reduced to this transparent nonsense of Taqiyya and Tu Quoque. How else can they proceed? They know what is in the texts. They know what states, societies, families suffused with Islam are taught. They know the tenets. They know the attitudes. They are well used to the atmospherics. They just don’t know how to handle those Infidels who also know those texts, those teachings, those attitudes, those atmospherics.

And there is nothing they can do to stop more and more Infidels, as they pick up their newspapers or turn on the evening news, from realizing how much of it is about this or that local manifestation of the worldwide and permanent Jihad — which can only get worse, and examples of which will only proliferate. Those Infidels will find out, slowly and then more rapidly, in greater and greater numbers, about Islam. There is nothing Islamic apologists can do about this, try as they will to lie, or to hide, or to distract with irrelevancies, or by appeals to Western “guilt” and false claims of victimization. Islam itself, as the vehicle for Arab imperialism, is the most successful imperialist project in history, the force which caused whole peoples to jettison and ignore, or despise, their own histories, pre-Islamic or non-Islamic. In light of that, the raising of idiotic claims of “racism” will not forever prevent Infidels, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and all others, everywhere and not just here in this country, from finding out about Islam.

It’s too late. Cat’s out of the bag. The Qur’an is just a click away (www.quranbrowser.com). And so are the Hadith. And so is the Sira — or you can read the texts about Muhammad, the Muslim texts, the texts of Qur’an and Hadith and Muslim Sira, and Muslim commentators and historians, with connective tissue and organizing principle supplied by Robert Spencer.

There is nothing these people can do about all that, except what they have been doing all along: “three Abrahamic faiths,” “one of world’s great religions,” “hijacked” or “perverted” by “extremists,” or adducing in support of this preposterousness a handful of Qur’anic phrases: “there is no compulsion in religion” (which does not mean what an Infidel who reads only those words would naturally take it to mean), and 5.32 but not 5.33 (Bush does it, Blair does it, even semi-educated fleas do it). Or if not the Qur’an, then one of the inauthentic Hadiths from one of the unauthoritative collections: Karen Armstrong loves the one about Muhammad returning from the “Lesser Jihad” of war to the “Greater Jihad” of domestic life, without recognizing that the hadith in question is not widely accepted as authentic. Why, I can write the Mosque-Outreach script for Infidels myself, and so can you, dear reader, and so can any man.

Here’s a case study, based on the posts of a Muslim who dropped by Jihad Watch a few days ago. He asked:

My questions to you are: Do you personally know any Muslims? Do you have any Muslim friends? Do you know about the Muslim experience in the post 9/11 America? Have you ever visited a Mosque? Have you ever been to an inter-faith event (e.g. poetry recital)? Have you ever read the Holy Qur’an or any of the other Islamic spiritual texts such as the works of Jalaluddin Rumi or al-Ghazali, Rabia al-Adawiyyah, Muhammad Iqbal, etc.?

The questions are misplaced. Many of the readers at this site have visited those Mosque Outreach exercises in Taqiyya-and-Tu-Quoque. Many have read the Qur’an, and have read and reread it, keeping in mind several things:

1) About 20% of it makes no sense, even to Muslims who know classical Arabic. See Christoph Luxenberg for one attempt to solve that matter of philology.

2) The internal contradictions in the Qur’an are resolved through the doctrine of “naskh” or “abrogation,” so that, as in the systems of common law, where the doctrine of stare decisis ordinarily holds but later decisions, when different, cancel the effect of earlier ones (e.g., Plessy v. Ferguson is not valid after Brown v. Bd. of Education).

3) The doctrine of “naskh” allows the so-called Meccan suras, the softer ones, which were presumably the product of a time when Muhammad still felt the need for support and had not yet become as harsh toward Infidels as he became once he had taken control in Medina (Yathrib), to be cancelled or overruled or overturned by the much harsher so-called “Medinan” suras.

4) While there are more than 150 Jihad verses in the Qur’an — though only 27 appearances of the word “qitaal” or combat, the most dangerous ones, such as those contained within Sura 9, are among the very last “revealed,” and hence possess great authority.

5) In English or French, as Western scholars of Islam familiar with the original texts have noted, the Qur’an’s verses are far less harsh than they are in the Arabic. Many of the words involving the treatment to be meted out to Unbelievers, that is Infidels or non-Muslims, are of this kind.

6) The official Muslim groups tend to distribute the translations that are much milder than the real thing. Even those used by Muslims, such as that of Yusuf Ali, do not always adequately convey the real meaning. But that can be found usually in the notes, and it is important for Infidels to read those Muslim annotations.

7) The Qur’an by itself does not yield up its full meaning, and the Sunnah, that is the customs and practice of Muslims of the time, of Muhammad and the Companions, is the true interpretive aid, the essential means by which obscure meanings are teased out. That is why Muslims so often refer to “Qur’an and Sunnah.”

8 ) Islam is a collectivist faith that does not admit of free exercise of conscience. That is, it will not permit — often on pain of death — individuals from deciding for themselves that they wish to leave Islam, sometimes for another faith, sometimes for no faith at all. That Islam does this makes it akin to other totalitarian belief-systems that do not tolerate anyone leaving that closed system. In a sense, a Muslim who leaves Islam is treated as a deserter from the army of Islam, just as someone who is persuaded to become a Muslim, even without any real understanding and with very incomplete (often deliberately withheld) knowledge, merely by reciting the single verse of the Shehada, is regarded as a recruit to the army of Islam, someone who has been signed up, rather than someone who has been carefully taught in order to save his individual soul.

9) Yes, not only have many of those posting here visited mosques during those phony Outreach Programs, but we have made it a point to attend those utterly phony presentations of Islam, in which none of the real questions — about how Islam divides the world uncompromisingly between Believer and Infidel, and territorially between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb — ever come up. And of course there is never a discussion of Muhammad, that is of the killings of Abu Afak and Asma bint Marwan, the decapitation of the bound prisoners of the Banu Qurayza, the attack on the inoffensive Jewish farmers of the Khaybar Oasis, the tale of little Aisha, and so much else.

It makes no sense whatsoever, given the smooth taqiyya-and-kitman-and-tu-quoque so well-practiced and presented, for Infidels to attend any Muslim event without having thoroughly prepared themselves by learning about Islam, by reading the immutable texts of Islam, by talking to those who have grown up in Islam and left it, or those who, as Infidels, grew up in lands dominated by Islam — such as Hindus from Bali or Bangladesh, Christians from Egypt or Iraq or Pakistan, Jews from Yemen or Egypt or Syria, Zoroastrians, what few are left, who have escaped from Iran, and so on. One can expect only apologetics from Muslims — that is what our experience, individual and collective, demonstrates again and again. One can only take so much nonsense and lies, before even the most naive start to have things begin to make sense. They figure the whole thing out.

You offer, instead of honesty, a list of all kinds of irrelevancies. Jihad Watch is a pedagogic site. It is a site devoted to presenting all kinds of material about Islamic behavior and Islamic doctrine, and showing their connection. And it is also devoted to revealing the ways in which Infidels, in and out of the West, do or do not exhibit the traditional behavior of dhimmis — that is, the non-Muslims under Islam who were allowed to stay alive, and even to practice, within severe limits, their non-Muslim religions, but who were subject to a host of economic, political, legal, and social disabilities that together amounted to a permanent condition of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity.

In conclusion, a few questions, in turn, for you.

Have you ever compared the treatment, meted out over the past 1350 years, in all the lands conquered by Islam, toward the indigenous non-Muslims, with the way in which Muslims have been received and allowed to settle deep behind what they themselves are taught to regard as enemy lines?

Have you ever given the slightest thought to the possibility that the belief-system of Islam, with its Total Regulation of Life and Complete Explanation of the Universe, was essentially akin to a totalitarian doctrine?

Have you ever wondered about, or gone to hear, or read the books of, the many brilliant and articulate apostates from Islam, including but not limited to, Ibn Warraq (Why I Am Not a Muslim), Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ali Sina (whose site http://www.faithfreedom.org relentlessly offers arguments against Islam from those who finally left it, and in so doing found intellectual and moral peace), Anwar Shaikh (who has described Islam as a vehicle for Arab supremacism in “Islam the Arab National Religion”), and many others, the most impressive people born into Islam, thoughtful, articulate, coherent — and being joined by other thoughtful, articulate, sensible people who through no fault of their own were born into Islam.

Eventually some Pakistanis and Bangladeshis and Indian Muslims may be able to slough off Islam as an ideology through a re-embrace of what could be seen as an original identity: that they were merely the descendants of Hindus, or in some cases Buddhists, who were forcibly converted to avoid either death or the onerousness of the dhimmi condition. Similarly, in the case of some North African “Arabs,” they may recognize themselves as the descendants of the indigenous Berbers — so many of whom, under the cultural and linguistic imperialism of the Arabs, were so arabised as to become “Arabs” themselves. And they not only became “Arabs,” but in turn to oppress the rights of those Berbers who still, steadfastly, have managed to resist the very arabisation that the ancestors of the “Arabs-from-Berbers” did not. Similarly, given how educated and intelligent Iranians are, including some who once worked to overthrow the Shah, they will come to see the use to which Islam is naturally put, the damage it has brought to Iran. This can be made to frame the incipient anti-Islam sentiments of many Iranians in national terms, see the primitive desert Arabs as having brought the “false gift” of Islam to the superior civilization of Persia. Discussion of what misery the Arab “gift” of Islam has brought to Iran, and a recognition by Iranian Muslims that they are the descendants of Zoroastrians whose last adherents are now so oppressed in Iran, might be one point of purchase to undo or at least limit the appeal of Islam. Have you given that Arab supremacism for which Islam is a vehicle any thought yourself?

And you ask, who has read the Qur’an? You should have asked: Who has read the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sira, should you not? In turn, one might ask: Have you read the Bible? Have you gone to a church merely to observe Christian worship? What do you know about the field of comparative religion? And would you allow other Muslims, your siblings or your children, to freely visit churches and synagogues and Hindu temples, and to read the holy scriptures of other faiths, and even to study those faiths formally, as many non-Muslims study Islam and the history of Islam? Would that be something you think should be encouraged for Muslims, both in Dar al-Islam, and in the Lands of the Infidels?

Tell us all about it.

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Condoleezza Rice.jpg

While I’m obviously not a fan of Bush and his underlings (I’d go so far as to say they’re the worst and most despicable administration to have polluted the hallowed halls of the White House in over a century), I do not have a problem taking a part from the whole, occasionally admiring the diamond in the rough who is Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

My perception of Rice is sort of akin to Michael Corleone in the first Godfather film–an intelligent, well-meaning, good natured, fairly honest human being who simply and unfortunately, and with skewed fore-knowledge, managed to get caught up in the underworld of his fathers’ crime syndicate even though he was timidly reluctant to do so. Right or wrong, he became swept up in the nefarious turmoil of his family business because of a sincere desire to protect his father from harm. Michael is an unapologetic character, but that does not make him unsympathetic. On the contrary, his initial inclination to remain outside of the Corleone clans’ chosen vocation makes him an entirely sympathetic individual of quality who willingly made sacrifices that would haunt him for the rest of his days.

Similarly and unfortunately Condoleezza Rice was simply drawn into the wrong crowd–the bad kids on the block. The respect I might have had for her had she not been a major participant in the Bush administration would be, I’m sure, much higher than it is today–you’re judged by the quality of your friends.

Still, I couldn’t help feeling a bit sad for her while she sat in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, understandably receiving a deserved pummeling on Iraqi policy and the President’s scheme to deploy 20,000 additional troops into the midst of the Sunni / Shi’a civil war (totally discounting our own state senator, the ridiculously out-of-touch simpleton, Barbara Boxer who managed to place the entirety of her leg in her mouth when addressing Rice by making the comment, “Now the issue is, who pays the price? Who pays the price? I’m not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So, who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.” Wow, Boxer! Way to retrogress the feminist movement to the dark ages.)

Condoleezza Rice is an exceptionally intelligent and talented person. She’s a classically trained pianist, having played with the likes of famed Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Mustafa Fuzer Nawi. Fluent in Russian, she also speaks German, French, and Spanish. She received her Ph.D in political science from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University Of Denver, Colorado.

From Wikipedia…

Rice was hired for her first academic position by Stanford University as an Assistant Professor in Political Science (1981–1987). She was granted tenure and promoted, first to Associate Professor (1987–1993), and then (she was off-campus from 1989–1991) to Provost, the chief budget and academic officer of the university (1993–2000), and full Professor (1993–present). In addition to being the first female and first minority to hold the position of Provost at Stanford, Rice was the youngest Provost in Stanford’s history. She was also named a Senior Fellow of the Institute for International Studies, and a Senior Fellow (by courtesy) of the Hoover Institution. She was a specialist on the former Soviet Union and gave lectures on the subject for the Berkeley-Stanford joint program led by UC Berkeley Professor George Breslauer in the mid-1980s.

To say Rice is a highly educated, intelligent person would be an understatement. But a high degree of intelligence is not all-pervasive. The Secretary of State, along with Bush and his minions as well as much of the general populace of the United States and the world, simply have very little understanding of Islam, the Qur’an, Muslims, and the Middle-east. Of course, I’m not an expert on the subject either, but I understand what she does not–the continued rift and subsequent and inevitable violence between Sunnis and Shi’ites benefits non-Muslims throughout the world by fueling divisive chaos and disorganization between two separate and dangerous religiopolitical theocratic sects bent on brutal imperialistic expansionism.

Of course, my understanding pales in comparison to Islamic scholar and regular Jihadwatch.org contributor, Hugh Fitzgerald who writes an impassioned and reasoned response to Rice’s comment.

My understanding of Islam is in it’s infancy. Fitzgerald’s is not.

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Fitzgerald: Rice and worse than Rice

The Secretary of State recently stated that the Middle East will have to “overcome” the tendency to see things in Sunni-Shi’a terms. There are two things wrong with the statement of Condoleeza Rice.

The first is the o’erweening, history-ignoring idea that Sunni-Shi’a rivalries and hostilities can “be overcome.” The Sunni-Shi’a split long ago transcended the initial quarrel over succession. Now there are differences in the organization of the Shi’a and Sunni variants of Islam: in organization (the power of the Shi’a ayatollahs and other Shi’a clergy has nothing similar in Sunni Islam); in ritual (the Shi’a Ashoura, with its emphasis on self-flagellation); and practice (the Shi’a shrines and visits to those shrines, so offensive to austere Sunnis, especially to the most austere of all, the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia).

The belief that somehow deeply-held beliefs and attitudes can be “overcome” seems to approach all this as if it were a question of civil rights in the South. One of the silliest and most harmful aspects of American governments is the belief that many things are susceptible of change, or of change that will come quickly. “Let’s have self-determination now” or “Let’s end poverty the way Jeffery Sachs says we can” or “Let’s just get right in there and reform Islam.” A blend of naivete, ignorance, and arrogance, which yields a most unappetizing brew.

The second thing wrong with Rice’s statement is that apparently she cannot conceive of why this Sunni-Shi’a split is a good thing for Infidels. She cannot conceive of why chaos and confusion and endless hostility between the two main branches or sects of Islam is something to be exploited, not to be deplored. It appears that American governments want always to take the side of this or that plausible group of Muslims. First, it was the Shi’a in exile who managed to woo and win so many in the American government with their tales of WMD (Chalabi and his group), and others who confidently predicted that once the Americans “liberated” Iraq they would be greeted, those Americans, with an outpouring of joy and presumably permanent gratitude that “would make the liberation of Kabul look like a funeral procession.” It would cost, according to Wolfowitz and others, nothing like what it cost to maintain those sanctions — possibly a few tens of billions of dollars. And then it would be over. A “cakewalk,” wrote Kenneth Adelman (sometime purveyor of Shakespeare to corporations so that the tycoons and tycoonettes can apply “Shakespeare to the business world).

Many have in this farce, on all sides, in the government, and in the press, been weighted and found wanting.

Meanwhile, there’s something just over here, freshly scribbled on this wall, that I’d like to show our rulers and our pundits:

“Mene, mene, tekel upharsin.”

Do you think they’ll be able to make it out?

Yet Rice is not the worst. She is far superior to others who preceded her. If she invites comparison with two former and still nattering-away National Security Advisers, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, Condoleeza Rice only gains by the comparison. But that should not be the point of comparison. She, and all others in the government, should be spending their days and nights studying Islam, studying not only the texts — Qur’an, Hadith, Sira — but how those texts are naturally received by, not all, but almost all, Muslims, and figure out on what side the textual authority lies. They should learn about taqiyya. They should learn about the history of Islamic conquest and about the subjugation of non-Muslims — which is not only a matter of history, but can be seen today in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia (where the non-Muslims are to found only among the expatriate wage-slaves). They must learn what is so misleading about the phrase “moderate Muslim” — misleading and unhelpful. They must learn to detect the plausible from the true, to discover the smyler with the knyf under his cloke, as Chaucer emblemized the figure of Treachery he found in Boccaccio, well in advance.

They must learn to understand it all, and to understand not only the texts and the history, but the other attitudes that naturally arise in Islam: aggression, violence, inability to compromise, susceptibility to the most primitive conspiracy theories, blaming of non-Muslims for all the ills that should rightly be attributed to Islam but of course cannot be, and so on.

These are the things she, and so many others, including all of the would-be Presidents now eagerly seeking our support, must learn. Now, not in five or ten years. Now.

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