Saturday, April 11, 2009

Women and Islam

Want to know about Women and Islam?

"A Woman's Right to Choose." Times Online. March 9, 2009

Women should be hit for wearing sexy clothing in public, one in seven believe

One in seven people believe it is acceptable in some circumstances for a man to hit his wife or girlfriend if she is dressed in “sexy or revealing clothes in public”, according to the findings of a survey released today.

A similar number believed that it was all right for a man to slap his wife or girlfriend if she is “nagging or constantly moaning at him”.

The findings of the poll, conducted for the Home Office, also disclosed about a quarter of people believe that wearing sexy or revealing clothing should lead to a woman being held partly responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted.

You don't have to be a Muslim to hit a woman. You do have to be a thug. And if you're a Mulsim, you won't feel like a thug, you'll feel justified and holy.

What? Am I making up lies to slag Islam for no good reason? Well, let me see. You can see too, if you're interested.

The Koran is clear and unmistakable. Exactly mirroring all legal systems that administer increasingly harsher penalties for continued wrongdoing, the Koran says the Husband should first verbally admonish her, next ground her to the bedroom like a child, and finally when all else fails, to beat her.

  1. Give her a piece of your mind by scolding and rebuking her.
  2. Ignore her, ground her to her room, starving her of sex, affection and attention. (This is recognized to day as a form of passive wife abuse)
  3. Physically beat her.
Six translations of Qur'an 4:34:
  1. "Men are superior to women on account of the qualities with which God has gifted the one above the other, and on account of the outlay they make from their substance for them. Virtuous women are obedient, careful, during the husband's absence, because God has of them been careful. But chide those for whose refractoriness you have cause to fear; remove them into beds apart, and scourge them: but if they are obedient to you, then seek not occasion against them: verily, God is High, Great!" (Rodwell's version of the Koran, Quran, 4:34)
The following five translations from the sura:

Yeah but....

So try suras and verses 2: 223; 2:228; 3:195.

Or look at the ahadith:

Volume 7, Book 62, Number 13o:

Narrated 'Abdullah:

We used to participate in the holy battles led by Allah's Apostle and we had nothing (no wives) with us. So we said, "Shall we get ourselves castrated?" He forbade us that and then allowed us to marry women with a temporary contract (2) and recited to us: -- 'O you who believe ! Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no transgression.' (5.87)

OK, but that's Islam 1,400 years ago, not America of England today, right?


"Clothes Aren't the Issue," By Asra Q. Nomani Sunday, October 22, 2006; Page B01

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. When dealing with a "disobedient wife," a Muslim man has a number of options. First, he should remind her of "the importance of following the instructions of the husband in Islam." If that doesn't work, he can "leave the wife's bed." Finally, he may "beat" her, though it must be without "hurting, breaking a bone, leaving blue or black marks on the body and avoiding hitting the face, at any cost."

Such appalling recommendations, drawn from the book "Woman in the Shade of Islam" by Saudi scholar Abdul Rahman al-Sheha, are inspired by as authoritative a source as any Muslim could hope to find: a literal reading of the 34th verse of the fourth chapter of the Koran, An-Nisa , or Women. "[A]nd (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them," reads one widely accepted translation.

The notion of using physical punishment as a "disciplinary action," as Sheha suggests, especially for "controlling or mastering women" or others who "enjoy being beaten," is common throughout the Muslim world. Indeed, I first encountered Sheha's work at my Morgantown mosque, where a Muslim student group handed it out to male worshipers after Friday prayers one day a few years ago.

Verse 4:34 retains a strong following, even among many who say that women must be treated as equals under Islam. Indeed, Muslim scholars and leaders have long been doing what I call "the 4:34 dance" -- they reject outright violence against women but accept a level of aggression that fits contemporary definitions of domestic violence.

Western leaders, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, have recently focused on Muslim women's veils as an obstacle to integration in the West. But to me, it is 4:34 that poses the much deeper challenge of integration. How the Muslim world interprets this passage will reveal whether Islam can be compatible with life in the 21st century. As Hadayai Majeed, an African American Muslim who had opened a shelter in Atlanta to serve Muslim women, put it, "If it's okay for me to be a savage in my home, it's okay for me to be a savage in the world."

Not long after I picked up the free Saudi book, Mahmoud Shalash, an imam from Lexington, Ky., stood at the pulpit of my mosque and offered marital advice to the 100 or so men sitting before him. He repeated the three-step plan, with "beat them" as his final suggestion. Upstairs, in the women's balcony, sat a Muslim friend who had recently left her husband, who she said had abused her; her spouse sat among the men in the main hall.

At the sermon's end, I approached Shalash. "This is America," I protested. "How can you tell men to beat their wives?"

"They should beat them lightly," he explained. "It's in the Koran."

He was doing the dance.

Born into a conservative Muslim family that emigrated from Hyderabad, India, to West Virginia, I have seen many female relatives in India cloak themselves head to toe in black burqas and abandon their education and careers for marriage. But the Islam I knew was a gentle one. I was never taught that a man could -- or should -- physically discipline his wife. Abusing anyone, I was told, violated Islamic tenets against zulm , or cruelty. My family adhered to the ninth chapter of the Koran, which says that men and women "are friends and protectors of one another."

However, the kidnapping and killing of my friend and colleague Daniel Pearl in 2002 forced me to confront the link between literalist interpretations of the Koran that sanction violence in the world and those that sanction violence against women. For critics of Islam, 4:34 is the smoking gun that proves that Islam is misogynistic and intrinsically violent. Read literally, it is as troubling as Koranic verses such as At-Tauba ("The Repentance") 9:5, which states that Muslims should "slay the pagans wherever ye find them" or Al-Mâ'idah ("The Table Spread with Food") 5:51, which reads, "Take not the Jews and Christians as friends."

Although Islamic historians agree that the prophet Muhammad never hit a woman [which I must intrude to correct: see * below], it is also clear that Muslim communities face a domestic violence problem. A 2003 study of 216 Pakistani women found that 97 percent had experienced such abuse; almost half of them reported being victims of nonconsensual sex. Earlier this year, the state-run General Union of Syrian Women released a report showing that one in four married Syrian women is the victim of domestic violence.

Much of the problem is the 4:34 dance, which encourages this violence while producing interpretations that range from comical to shocking. A Muslim man in upstate New York, for instance, told his wife that the Koran allowed him to beat her with a "wet noodle." The host of a Saudi TV show displayed a pool cue as a disciplinary tool.

Modern debates over 4:34 inevitably hark back to a still widely used 1930 translation of the Koran by British Muslim Marmaduke Pickthall, who determined the verse to mean that, as a last resort, men can "scourge" their wives. A 1934 translation of the Koran, by Indian Muslim scholar A. Yusuf Ali, inserted a parenthetical qualifier: Men could "Beat them (lightly).

By the 1970s, Saudi Arabia, with its ultra-traditionalist Wahhabi ideology, was providing the translations. Fueled by oil money, the kingdom sent its Korans to mosques and religious schools worldwide. A Koran available at my local mosque, published in 1985 by the Saudi government, adds yet another qualifier: "Beat them (lightly, if it is useful)."

Today, the Islamic Society of North America and popular Muslim Internet mailing lists such as SisNet and IslamIstheTruth rely on an analysis from "Gender Equity in Islam," a 1995 book by Jamal Badawi, director of the Islamic Information Foundation in Canada. Badawi tries to take a stand against domestic violence, but like others doing the 4:34 dance, he leaves room for physical discipline. If a wife "persists in deliberate mistreatment and expresses contempt of her husband and disregard for her marital obligations," the husband "may resort to another measure that may save the marriage . . . more accurately described as a gentle tap on the body," he writes. "[B]ut never on the face," he adds, "making it more of a symbolic measure than a punitive one."

As long as the beating of women is acceptable in Islam, the problem of suicide bombers, jihadists and others who espouse violence will not go away; to me, they form part of a continuum. When 4:34 came into being in the 7th century, its pronouncements toward women were revolutionary, given that women were considered little more than chattel at the time. But 1,400 years later, the world is a different place and so, too, must our interpretations be different, retaining the progressive spirit of that verse.

Domestic violence is prevalent today in non-Muslim communities as well, but the apparent religious sanction in Islam makes the challenge especially difficult. Some people seem to understand this and are beginning to push back against the traditionalists. However, their efforts are concentrated in the West, and their impact remains small.

In his recent book "No god but God," Reza Aslan, an Islam scholar at the University of Southern California, dared to assert that "misogynistic interpretation" has dogged 4:34 because Koranic commentary "has been the exclusive domain of Muslim men." An Iranian American scholar recently published a new 4:34 translation stating that the "beating" step means "go to bed with them (when they are willing)."

Meanwhile, shelters created for Muslim women in Chicago and New York have begun to preach zero tolerance regarding the "disciplining" of women -- a position that should be universal by now. And some Muslim men appear to grasp the gravity of this issue. In Northern Virginia, for instance, an imam organized a group called Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence -- though it still endorses the "tapping" of a wife as a "friendly" reminder, an organizer said.

Yet even these small advances, if we can call them such, face an uphill battle against the Saudi oil money propagating literalist interpretations of the Koran here in the United States and worldwide.

Last October, I listened to an online audio sermon by an American Muslim preacher, Sheik Yusuf Estes, who was scheduled to speak at West Virginia University as a guest of the Muslim Student Association. He soon moved to the subject of disobedient wives, and his recommendations mirrored the literal reading of 4:34. First, "tell them." Second, "leave the bed." Finally: "Roll up a newspaper and give her a crack. Or take a yardstick, something like this, and you can hit."

When I telephoned Estes later to ask about the sermon, he said that he had been trying to limit how and when men could hit their wives. He realized that he had to revisit the issue, he told me, when some Canadian Muslim men asked him if they could use the Sunday newspaper to give their wives "a crack."

Yet even those doing the 4:34 dance seem to realize that there's a problem. When I went back to listen to the audio clip later, the offensive language had been removed. And when I asked Estes if he had ever rolled up a newspaper to give his own wife a crack, he responded without hesitation.

"I'm married to a woman from Texas," he said. "Do you know what she would do to me?"

Asra Q. Nomani is the author of "Standing Alone: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam" (HarperSanFrancisco).

And the Beat Goes On.

*Did Mohammed beat Aisha or any other of his wives?

"And is it ever reported that Prophet Mohammad, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, beat any of his wives? "

The Mullah reported, by citing Aisha, the Ummul Mumenin that Muhammad had never hit any person with his own hands unless it was for Jihad.

My response:

Muhammad had personally beaten Bibi Aisha, his favorite wife.

Don't you believe this?

Here is a Hadis from Sahih Muslim that clearly says that Muhammad punched Aisha:

When sleeping with Aisha Muhammad surreptitiously left his bed and went to the graveyard at Baqi; Aisha spied and followed Muhammad; when Muhammad learned Aisha’s misdeed he hit her (beat her) on her chest that caused much pain to Aisha…4.2127

Book 004, Number 2127: Muhammad b. Qais said (to the people): Should I not narrate to you (a hadith of the Holy Prophet) on my authority and on the authority of my mother? We thought that he meant the mother who had given him birth. He (Muhammad b. Qais) then reported that it was 'A'isha who had narrated this: Should I not narrate to you about myself and about the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)? We said: Yes. She said: When it was my turn for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet, and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of his mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed it lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached Baqi'. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted his hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O 'A'isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? She said: Whatsoever the people conceal, Allah will know it. He said: Gabriel came to me when you saw me. He called me and he concealed it from you. I responded to his call, but I too concealed it from you (for he did not come to you), as you were not fully dressed. I thought that you had gone to sleep, and I did not like to awaken you, fearing that you may be frightened. He (Gabriel) said: Your Lord has commanded you to go to the inhabitants of Baqi' (to those lying in the graves) and beg pardon for them. I said: Messenger of Allah, how should I pray for them (How should I beg forgiveness for them)? He said: Say, Peace be upon the inhabitants of this city (graveyard) from among the Believers and the Muslims, and may Allah have mercy on those who have gone ahead of us, and those who come later on, and we shall, God willing, join you.

End of Hadis quote.

Not only that Muhammad, in verse 4:34, asked men to beat their wives, he, at his last days, during last pilgrimage sermon, exhorted men to treat women as domestic animals, deny them food (when necessary, to discipline them) and and to beat them (just like the Bedouin Arab barbarians were used to beating their cattle).

Very outrageous? You do not believe this?

Here is the excerpt from Tabari:

“Now then, O people, you have a right over your wives and they have a right over you. You have [the right] that they should not cause anyone of whom you dislike to tread your beds, and that they should not commit any open indecency (fahishah). If they do, then God permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain from [evil], they have the right to their food and clothing in accordance with custom (bi’l-maruf). Treat women well, for they are [like] domestic animals (‘awan) with you and do not possess anything for themselves. You have taken them only as a trust from God, and you have made the enjoyment of their persons lawful by the word of God, so understand and listen to my words, O people. I have conveyed the Message, and have left you with something which, if you hold fast to it, you will never go astray; that is, the Book of God and the sunnah of His Prophet. Listen to my words, O people, for I have conveyed the message and understand [it]. Know for certain that every Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, and that all Muslims are brethren. It is not lawful for a person [to take] from his brother except that which he has given him willingly, so do not wrong


Al-Tabari, Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Jarir. The History of al-Tabari. Vol.IX:
The Last Years of the Prophet. Translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala. State University of NewYork Press, Albany, 1990 (pages 112-114)

Want more?

Here is Umar al Khattab, preaching that a man is not obliged to tell the reason of beating a woman:

Sunaan Abu Dawud:

A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife...11.2142

Book 11, Number 2142: Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.

Beat your wife if she is insolent but do not beat her like a slave-girl...1.0142

This Hadis is quite long; I quoted only the relevant part:

.I (the narrator Laqit) then said: Messenger of Allah, I have a wife who has something (wrong) in her tongue, i.e. she is insolent. He said: Then divorce her. I said: Messenger of Allah, she had company with me and I have children from her. He said: Then ask her (to obey you). If there is something good in her, she will do so (obey); and do not beat your wife as you beat your slave-girl. I said: Messenger of Allah, tell me about ablution. He said: Perform ablution in full and make the fingers go through the beard and snuff with water well except when you are fasting.

End of Hadis quote

....And I can keep going pages after pages elucidating examples to demonstrate how Islam invokes the beating of women whenever necessary (albait in the name of disciplining her).

Are the Islamic apologists ashamed of their dearest religion, Islam? Of course, they are. That is why they have to run helter-skelter to turn the 'beating' verse into a 'kissing' verse.

Very clever ploy indeed. But this tactic is bound to fail. The world is already aware of the 'golden' treatment women in Islam.

Abul Kasem

Abul Kasem writes from Sydney, Australia. Comments can be sent to

I couldn't make up this stuff. Why would I want to? Islam is what it is. How we decide to deal with it is important. Making excuses is a dirty game.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Alaeddin Hadid, husband of innocent child-killer, says Orland Park, Illinios cops "going to be in big trouble" for insulting Islam.

Nour Hadid, who has confessed on videotape to beating to death a two year old girl over a four day period, is the victim of police atrocity. She was photographed without her headscarf, and the photo was released to the public! This is, says husband, an insult to Islam. The dead child was modestly covered in 55 bruises.

"Islam 'insulted' by alleged child killer's mug shot, says husband," by Kim Janssen for the Southtown Star, April 10 (thanks to Sarah):

The police booking photo of alleged child killer Nour Hadid released Tuesday is an "insult against our religion," says Hadid's husband, Alaeddin.

Orland Park police detectives say the 26-year-old Muslim woman was treated as any other suspect in a murder probe would be, and they did not intend to humiliate her when they photographed her Sunday without her headscarf and wearing only a skimpy top.

Nour Hadid is accused of beating her 2-year-old niece Bhia Hadid to death over four days at her home on the 9000 block of West 140th Street. The child had 55 separate bruises and was beaten "from head to toe," according to prosecutors, who say Hadid confessed.

But Alaeddin Hadid - who insists his wife is innocent- said Orland Park police are "really going to be in big trouble" for releasing the woman's booking photo to the news media after she was charged with first-degree murder
The Hadids are Muslims and Nour "never leaves the home without covering up," said Alaeddin, who's vowed to sue.


"It is against our religion; we do not do this in our culture," Alaeddin said.


Some commentators have suggested that because Alladin's wife is half-naked in her mug shot, his honor is destroyed, and the only way he can restore it is to cut off her head.

Rightwing religious bigot Dag Walker responds, "It is against our religion; we do not do this in our culture." But, hey, I'm not a fanatic. I can make allowances for other cultures and other peoples.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Obama and the Pirates

Somali pirates have captured a U.S. ship with a crew of 20 Americans on board in the Gulf of Aden. "Danish-owned and US-flagged 17,000-tonne Maersk Alabama, was seized as it passed 400 miles north-east of Mogadishu," according to the Telegraph. What's Obama going to do?
Maersk so far hasn't released any statements over the Internet, though one may subscribe for media up-dates below:

Latest news 2009

You can receive Maersk Line news releases and announcements automatically. Please send an email to our External communication department ( with the subject heading "Subscribe"

It's unfortunate for the crew and the company, but more importantly, it's essential for the nation to deal with Somali pirates and with the primitive world all together at this time. Will Obama walk away? Will we end up giving millions more dollars to Somali jihadis in the worthless hope of peace on the high seas? Or is this a Danish problem?

This should be the right time for Obama to set the tone of his administration's dealing with the hostile world we share with hostile people and nations. It's not a matter of a ship hijacked, it's a matter of how we will be perceived in the world.

When American troops were ordered to literally run away, run on foot in front of thousands of Somali witnesses during Clinton's administration during the Blackhawk Down incident, we gave birth to Osama bin Laden's idea that the American nation is doomed by cowardice and ready to topple at the first major blow. It won't hurt Maersk to pay up. Obama might even bail them out with our money. But who will bail us out?
It is the largest container ship operator and supply vessel operator in the world. Maersk is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and has subsidiaries and offices in more than 130 countries worldwide. The group has around 117,000 employees. It stood as number 131 on the Fortune Global 500 list for 2008, up from 138 in 2007. Maersk is the second largest company in Scandinavia by revenue, and the second largest company in Denmark measured by market capitalisation.

We've witnessed this incident before in our brief history:
"Several Muslim countries along the North African coast had established the tradition of plundering the ships of European and American merchants in the western Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic, capturing the crews and then demanding ransom from the respective governments for their release. In a joint message to their superiors in Congress, Adams and Jefferson described the audacity of these terrorist attacks, pirates leaping onto defenseless ships with daggers clenched in their teeth. They had asked the ambassador from Tripoli, Adams and Jefferson explained, on what grounds these outrageous acts of unbridled savagery could be justified: "The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of the prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their [Islam's] authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners...."

This event occurred between 1784-1789 while Jefferson was ambassador to France and Adams (2nd president) was ambassador to England.

Jefferson responded by inventing and using the US Navy to stop the Barbary pirates of North Africa from attacking US ships, stealing their cargo and enslaving its sailors.

The reference above is to the Barbary pirates.
Muslim pirates along the coast of North Africa from 16th until 19th centuries. This region was in this period known as Barbary Coast.

Small-scale piracy had been performed for centuries before the 16th century. They were at their height in the 17th century, involved in looting and kidnapping of Europeans on a large scale.

Until the 17th century, the pirates used galleys. After this time, they were taught by a Flemish renegade how to construct and handle sailing ships.

The piracy of the North Africans was backed by their respective states. Local bankers financed and equipped ships with one purpose only, to loot ships and kidnap Europeans. Their standard fee was about 10% of the prizes.

The pirates operated largely in the Mediterranean, but those along the Moroccan Atlantic coast and the western parts of the Mediterranean coast, also sent ships up along the European Atlantic coast, reaching the British Isles, Norway and even Iceland.
Kidnapping and slave trade was among the most important activities of the pirates. Kidnapping could be done to force the payment of ransom, but many abducted civilians became slaves with numerous purposes in North Africa and beyond.

For a long time, Europe did not fight back. The reasons were many, but the most important was that agreements were forged in which the respective states payed tolls to the pirates to pass securely. The insecure chances of winning a war on the pirate states, as well as its cost, also kept Europe away. The first real blow to the pirates was when the USA intervened in the very beginning of the 19th century. Still, even the USA had to sign several treaties with the Barbary states between 1786 and 1836 to secure their ships.
More here:

The question is, Will Obama just pay up or will he also issue an apology to the pirates for past American interventions in Somalia. Will he, in fact, bow down and apologize?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Henri Pirenne, Enlightening the Dark Ages

I've read 40 books so far this year. One of the most memorable is Henri Pirenne, Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade. I read it in college lo these many decades ago, and I sought it out for my own enlightenment again, having remembered it from so long ago, finding it only yesterday. If you have an interest in the dire results of Islamic imperialism on Europe, which is in progress again, and if you have an interest in the povertarianism of Left dhimmi fascism, i.e. the Obama Programme, then you'll find the review below interesting and illuminating. I'll leave a brief comment below. First, here is a good review to sum it up:

Amazon book Review by Greg Nyquist

This is a groundbreaking work in the study of the so-called "Dark Ages." Pirenne, one of the great scholars and historians of the 20th century, discovered that the economic destitution of Western Europe during the 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries was a consequence, not of the barbarian invasions, as is commonly supposed, but of the Islamic presence in the Mediterranean. The astonishing advance of Islam into Northern Africa, Spain, and Syria during the 7th and 8th centuries meant that Western Europe lost control of the Mediterranean. It became, as Pirenne puts it, a "Moslem lake," and because of this, Western Europe found itself in what amounted to a state of virtual blockade. All the trading routes to the East were cut off and Gaul and other Western European countries were thrown back on their own resources. Bereft of the economic lifeblood of trade, cities shrunk into insignificance. Marseilles, once a thriving seaport, became a ghost town. The Middle Class ceased to exist. Complete autarky reigned in the West. The economic devastation was so bad that Charlemagne's government could not collect any taxes. All of Charlemagne's revenues came from his own estates.

In "Medieval Cities," Pirenne not only sketches the economic disintegration of Western Europe, he also details the revival of trade and the emergence of a flourishing medieval civilization in the 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries. How did Western Europe pull itself out of the dark ages? Pirenne's brief answer is simple: by reclaiming control of the Mediterranean and thereby opening up sea routes to the East. With the formation of a new merchant class there arose cities and a new social class of great significance: the Middle Class, destined in the centuries to follow to lead Europe into the age of industrialism, democracy, and world supremacy.

Pirenne's work represents a milestone in historiography. Its central thesis about the main causes of the dark ages, which is accepted by European historians like Braudel, is greatly underappreciated here in America, where we find secularists and anti-religious zealots still spreading the lie that Christianity caused the Dark Ages. Pirenne, with his profound research and impeccable scholarship, tells us what really happened. An extremely important work--highly recommended.

This book came to my mind a few years after 9-11, at a point where I was beginning to realize our nation wouldn't actually get organized to fight back against Islam because our nation and its people and leaders just don't know what's going on regarding Islam. All the smart ones in government kept trotting out the party line that Islam is a religion of peace, that we are not at war with Islam, that we are at war with a tiny minority of extremists who have hijacked the peaceful religion of Islam, Islam meaning "peace." Our intelligentsia lied. I began to understand that the people wouldn't get the truth about Islam from government, the media, or from the academy. I started reading and writing again to show what I can that Islam is an enemy of the world and its people. Islam is an enemy of Muslims, as well as everyone else. I know this because I've lived with Islam in Muslim nations. But to convince other of what I know, I turned to books and journals for objective evidence to prove my point. In that effort I realized soon after that the Left is not interested in objective evidence, that the Left is in fact determined to use Islam to destroy our Modernity for its own purposes, and that they are succeeding fairly well at it. But most people aren't Leftists. Most people, if they can see the realities behind the assumptions we all hold as true, will change their minds and therefore their energies. One book I set out to reread was Pirenne's Medieval Cities. It came to me when reading and Baruma and Margolit, Occidentalism. They write of the Leftist and the fascist hatred of cities. Pirenne's book on cities is a great work of exposition for this task of finding objective evidence in support of my thesis that Left dhimmi fascism is a more fundamental enemy than Islam itself.

Pirenne wrote this work in 1925, long before the revival of militant Islam. Today's readers might well dismiss him as an "Orientalist." One cannot debate rationally with those who reject Reason. For others who live in a world of practicalities and possibilities, this book is a clear window through which to see history as it most likely was from the fall of the Roman Empire to the beginnings of the Renaissance in Western Europe. Why did Western Europe decline after the Roman fall? Why did Islam prevail? Why did Western Europe rise again to prominence in the world? In part, writes Pirenne, Western Europe fell into the Dark Ages due to Viking incursions into Europe where they sacked cities and made trade impossible with the outer world; but mostly due to Muslims cutting off trade between Western Europe and the Roman Empire of Byzantium. With the loss of trade, Western Europe fell into localism, autarky, and nothing much moved because it couldn't move without harm from Muslims. Like a neighbourhood over-run by drug-gangs, no one ventured outside from fear of violence and destruction. Cities shrank to hovels, and people lived hunkered down and dirty till they finally emerged again through small time trade which gradually expanded across Western, i.e. non-Muslim, Europe. The rise of trade lead to the reforming of cities, of incipient capitalism, of the end of Muslim domination of the world in the West. In this "narrative" there is little for the Left dhimmi fascist to like.

In this work, Pirenne addresses the what historian Paul Johnson terms, in A History of the American People, the Marxist "physical fallacy" of the worth of production and the so-called parasitism of cities. Leftist, Muslims, and other vicious Romantic collectivists won't find much in this work to like. Cities are the creative brains of the body of Human freedom and individuality. No cities, no freedom. The perfect vision of the Utopian collectivist fascist, Muslim or Leftist.

It's taken me years to stumble across this book. I've suffered through Jane Jacobs and Lewis Mumford, and others less well-known, in my search for the secrets of cities in the minds of the people. They lie to me. Pirenne tells me more than all the others to date. Still, it's not a psychological study of hatred of the city. That must come from another source. Adolph Hitler is one. Rachel Carson is another. If you have endless access to truckloads of books from Amazon, you might well wish to include Pirenne in your next delivery. He's easy to read, taking me a sunny afternoon to go through, slow reader that I am. If it interests you to know why Western Europe lived in the Dark Ages, how Europe emerged from that darkness, and why we risk a return to the darkness, then you might well consider this a book worth looking for. Reading a book like this is like having a magician show you how he does his tricks. Such things I find so delightful that I laugh out loud. Both links above will take you to Amazon's review page.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sympathy for West Van Jihadi Running Neck to Neck with Fang the Killer Pit-bull

"Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious." -- Ayatollah Khomeini.
Is he ever going to be pissed-off:
The founder of the jihadist website Jihad Unspun, Beverly Giesbrecht, is a Canadian convert to Islam who now goes by the name Khadija Abdul Qahaar -- but her open allegiance to the global jihad didn't stop jihadists in Pakistan from kidnapping her. Several weeks ago she made a video in which she said that her jihadist captors had set a deadline to behead her by the end of March. Now they're saying the deadline is tomorrow.

Thanks to Cdn_Crusader and jetcal1 at Jihad Watch for the graphics.

Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

More here:

Dear reader, once again you hear me from afar as I shout out loudly: "Oh, hecker-oonies!" That shout is due to me forgetting to check up on Jihadi-Unspunked. I was busy washing the kitchen floor and I just plumb-bob forget about her. Curses. If you find out about the state of her estate, please let me and the rest of the world know forthwith or so. I'm sure we're all terribly keen to find out the news and to be on the cutting edge of the low-down.

Doors of Perception

I'm a wandering guy. I look around all the time for odd and beautiful things and weird mysteries to look into. I poke myself into all kinds of places, places of the mens-physick and of the muse-aethereal. I'm forever opening up the hitherto unrevealed. Sometimes I perceive. I stand before the doors of perception. I look at doors.

The doors of perception might have attached lovely brass escutcheons. Maybe people think of doors as mere barriers to other places, hidden, secret, or forbidden places that only the elect can enter into. I don't think of doors as things to keep me out but as things sometimes of beauty in themselves, worthy of admiration for the craft in the making, worthy of appreciation of the delighted minds that made them. A door I liked much was double-sided and sharp arched, cross-hatched oak planks bolted together with iron studs and strapping, its outside burned and scarred by sword blows and arrow points. That door was made to keep out invaders and to keep those inside safe. A friend could walk in and out just by the wanting to. No enemy by force could make it yield.

I think of doors not as barriers but as protective, keeping safe privacy and being. I think of doors as sometimes beautiful, as the immediate presentation of the minds within. When I'm at the door I look at the brass push-plate. I see the door-knocker and wonder why such a design and not another. Who is this beautiful occupant? The crystal door-knob and the polished plate await my open hand. I look to see if there's a transom window of stained glass above to let in various hues of light refracted on the scene inside. And what kind of master maker made this door itself? What the wood, what the metal, what the why?

I'm on the road still even after all this long life, and I don't really have doors of my own. But in my travels I do pick up things for that time when I stop and settle in for the duration. I have some escutcheons long and languid, some of dancing frills and liquid loops; one of which is similar to the picture below. In time, perhaps, I'll find the door that has the lock that needs the cover that fits my key.

"Hello, you," I'll say. "Home at last."

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Ann Holmes Redding: Uncut and Unplugged; Christian and Muslim; Roaring and -- Moring

Most of us are willing to pay lawyers a lot of money for their professional indulgence of casuistry. We're fairly sophisticated folks here in the western world, and we don't often resort to brass knuckles and stilettos. If we want a guy's balls busted, we get Rocco's and Vinnie's smart cousin, the lawyer, to do the dirty work. We get a thug in a suit to do the smack-down. The sleazier the weasel the better, so long as he wins. In a way it's almost interesting to ... know about. One can think, "That's sleazy and dirty, but it has some impact on the other guy, like a sucker punch to the kidney." It's that kind of intellectual dirty work that we pay lawyers for. When amateurs indulge in casuistry we see neither elegance nor justification. It's just dirty. But when we see an Episcopalian priest indulging, and at an amateur level, in casuistry, it's something make the laid-back atheist choke. Yes, dear reader, I'm on again about Ann Holmes Redding, "Hear Her Roar." When her ugly brother John C. Holmes indulged in obscene public displays he never tried to cover it up as acceptable. He was outright pornographic and proud of it. Anne Holmes Redding? She's the former Episcopalian priest who was both a Christian and a Muslima. Ann Holmes Redding, Christian Muslim. I think even a Mafia lawyer would have trouble swallowing that one.

She's not the only sleazy casuist: Our "Post-Modern Novelists" are as bad. See below. First, the good news:

Janet I. Tu, "Episcopal Priest Ann Holmes Redding has been defrocked." Seattle Times

The Episcopal Church has defrocked Ann Holmes Redding, the Seattle Episcopal priest who announced in 2007 that she is both Christian and Muslim.

Bishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island, who has disciplinary authority over Redding, informed the priest of her decision in a letter today.

Wolf found Redding to be "a woman of utmost integrity and their conversations over the past two years have been open, honest and respectful," according to a press release from the Diocese of Rhode Island.

"However, Bishop Wolf believes that a priest of the Church cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim."

"I am very sad," Redding had said Tuesday. "I'm sad at the loss of this cherished honor of having served as a priest."

She also said she was sad at what seems to her to be a narrow vision of what the church accepts.

Redding, who had formerly served as director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral on Capitol Hill, announced in June 2007 that for more than a year, she had also been a Muslim — drawn to the faith after an introduction to Muslim prayers moved her profoundly.

It was an announcement that perplexed many, though Redding said she didn't feel a need to reconcile all the differences between the two faiths, believing that at the most basic level they are compatible.

Redding's defrocking — formally called deposition — comes almost 21 months after Bishop Wolf first told the priest to take a year to reflect on her beliefs.

After Redding remained firm in her belief that she was called to both faiths, Bishop Wolf said in fall 2008 that a church committee had determined that the priest "abandoned the Communion of the Episcopal Church by formal admission into a religious body not in communion with the Episcopal Church."

Wolf barred Redding from functioning as a priest for the next six months, and said that unless Redding resigned her priesthood or denied being a Muslim during that time, the bishop would have a duty to defrock her.


To some, Redding's an embodiment of how more people seem to be drawing from different faiths these days — including a recently elected Episcopal bishop in Michigan who practices Buddhist meditation. They see her story as a call to the church to be more open to such people.

In Christianity and Islam, while "there are streams of tradition that are mutually exclusive, there are also streams that are not mutually exclusive," said Eugene Webb, professor emeritus of comparative religion at the University of Washington. "Ann is exploring those."

It would be a good thing, Webb said, if more churches allowed for such exploration since it's "going to take place one way or the other. It might be better to wait and see what comes of them, rather than decide in advance that it wouldn't be fruitful."


But what's at stake is central to the church, he said. "To be a Christian is to be a Trinitarian and worship Jesus. If we're not clear on that, we have nothing to offer in our witness."

Though Muslims regard Jesus as a great prophet, they do not see him as divine and do not consider him the Son of God.

Redding does not believe that God and Jesus are the same, but rather that God is more than Jesus. And she believes that Jesus is the Son of God insofar as all humans are the children of God, and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are divine — because God dwells in all humans.

Harmon points to the contrast between the Rhode Island bishop's discipline of Redding, and the position held by the former, now retired bishop of the Olympia Diocese in Western Washington who said he regarded Redding's dual faith as exciting in its interfaith possibilities.

"We are internally incoherent on a massive scale," Harmon said. "What does it say about a church that you can be in Rhode Island and have that treatment, and be in Olympia and have another treatment, if it has to do with something this central?"

Current Olympia Diocese Bishop Greg Rickel has said that while he supports Redding on a personal level, he agrees with Wolf's position.

Redding says people are entitled to their opinions about her.

She doesn't believe she's guilty of the charge against her: that she "abandoned the Communion of the Episcopal Church."

Just because she became a Muslim, "that is not an automatic abandonment of Christianity," she says. "For many, it is. But it doesn't have to be."

Redding understands that most people regard the faiths as mutually exclusive. "I just don't agree."

In any case, Redding is moving on.

She's co-written a book, just published, called "Out of Darkness Into Light: Spiritual Guidance in the Quran with Reflections from Christian and Jewish Sources."


Redding is starting to write her memoirs and hopes to get a contract.

Rocco's and Vinnie's smarter cousin might be able to live with that kind of thing, but I have trouble with it, and I'm no saint. Nor am I "po-mo" novelist.

"I'm OK with Christianity; it's Christianityism that I have trouble with. And so it is with Buddhism: I can't deal with Buddhismists."

Alright, I'm not no novelist, so I think I just can't get away with the creative misuse of the language like that. I think silliness it comes across as inane if not stupid if not immoral if not deranged to write "Christianityism" and "Buddhismists" and so on. In fact, like most people, I think both terms are repulsively ugly and stupid, and not even an ad. writer could get away with crap language like that. But a bureaucrat can. Can, and can with a straight face and an untroubled soul. Yes, a soulless bureaucrat can pull it off without a blush while leaving the rest of us gasping for air amid the rhetorical flatulence. When novelist tries same, then it's time to open a window and toss. "Islamism." Spare me.

Maybe the reason I find serious novels today so disgusting is that they accurately reflect our times. Jihad Watch has this piece up and running, an interview stumbling toward the end; falling to its knees; and finally falling on its face, turning an unhealthy color of blue as it sprawls, sick, at the bottom of the page. We're supposed to like it. I think. But here comes the post-modernist irony, obligatory and meta-ironic: A p.c. bureaucrat novelist is out of politically correct bounds and could find himself, potentially, up on charges in the "legalistic" climate of Britain today for mouthing asinine cliches about "Islamism."

Peter Popham and Thais Portilho-Shrimpton, "Ian McEwan faces backlash over press interview. 'I despise Islamism': He defends fellow writer Martin Amis against racist charge and condemns religious hardliners." Independent on Sunday. 22 June 2008.

The novelist Ian McEwan has launched an astonishingly strong attack on Islamism, saying that he "despises" it and accusing it of "wanting to create a society that I detest". His words, in an interview with an Italian newspaper, could, in today's febrile legalistic climate, lay him open to being investigated for a "hate crime".

In an interview with Guido Santevecchi, a London correspondent for Corriere della Sera, the Booker-winning novelist said he rarely grants interviews on controversial issues "because I have to be careful to protect my privacy". But he said that he was glad to leap to the defence of his old friend Martin Amis when the latter's attacks on Muslims brought down charges of racism on his head. He made an exception of the Islamic issue out of friendship to Amis, and because he shares the latter's strong opinions.

"A dear friend had been called a racist," he said. "As soon as a writer expresses an opinion against Islamism, immediately someone on the left leaps to his feet and claims that because the majority of Muslims are dark-skinned, he who criticises it is racist.

"This is logically absurd and morally unacceptable. Martin is not a racist. And I myself despise Islamism, because it wants to create a society that I detest, based on religious belief, on a text, on lack of freedom for women, intolerance towards homosexuality and so on we know it well."

McEwan – author of On Chesil Beach and the acclaimed Atonement and Enduring Love – has spoken on the issue of Islamism before, telling The New York Times last December: "All religions make very big claims about the world, and it should be possible in an open society to dispute them. It should be possible to say, 'I find some ideas in Islam questionable' without being called a racist."

But his words in the Corriere interview are far stronger, although they do fall short of the invective deployed by Martin Amis,. He has said "the Muslim community [....] But his words in the Corriere interview are far stronger, although they do fall short of the invective deployed by Martin Amis. He has said "the Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order", and told The Independent's columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, a Muslim, in an open letter: "Islamism, in most of its manifestations, not only wants to kill me – it wants to kill you."

McEwan's interviewer pointed out that there exist equally hard-line schools of thought within Christianity, for example in the United States. "I find them equally absurd," McEwan replied. "I don't like these medieval visions of the world according to which God is coming to save the faithful and to damn the others. But those American Christians don't want to kill anyone in my city, that's the difference."

The difference.Yes, like when I found out that I don't have sex with women, I have "sexism."

Not a novelist can get away with that, not a bureaucrat, but only a government sponsored hack of a would-be ad. writer cum ideologue missionary can come up with such nonsense. "Islamism," and "Christianity is just as bad." Not even in a bad novel. In government? It soars.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. That's the whole point of the philistine priesthood's attack on language.

Ann Holmes Redding can sing "I am Christian/Muslima, Hear me Roar," but most of us hear it as so off-key it's like fingernails scratching down a chalk board. It's Amateur Hour at the Church of Speak Easy. And a plodding novelist who can't come up with a better phantasy than "All religions are evil" is one more guy who should be making a living at the soup line.

Honestly, if Rocco and Vinnie find out about people like these, they'll break their legs for half price. Those guys got standards, y'know. Too bad they're so rare these days.