Saturday, May 31, 2008

Church divided over proposal to proclaim Jesus

Courtesy of Prophesy News Watch

Apostate Christianity

Church of England divided over proposal to proclaim Jesus as the only way to Salvation

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me - John 14:6

The Church of England is divided over a proposed motion for it to proclaim Christianity as the only way to salvation and offer strategies on how to evangelize Muslims. Senior church leaders as well as some Muslim figures have voiced anger at the motion proposed by Paul Eddy – a lay member of the church’s General Synod, according to BBC. Eddy, along with traditionalist Anglicans, argues that the church should stop avoiding hard questions about its beliefs. The Church of England must make it clear that it believes in what the Bible says about Jesus being the only way to salvation, he said.

Currently training to become a priest, Eddy believes that being upfront about the church’s beliefs will be helpful to Muslim-Christian relations. “Most Muslims that I’ve talked to say, ‘I really wish that Christians would stop watering down their faith and expecting us to do the same,’” Eddy said on BBC Radio Four on Sunday. “Until we start really saying what we really believe in our faith, there will be no respect.” Also, Muslims expect Christians to believe that Jesus is the only way to God, Eddy noted. “They will expect us – if we’re true Christians – to try to evangelize them, in the same way they will expect us, if they’re true Muslims, to adopt their faith,” he said. But the problem is that the church, in an effort to be inclusive and to avoid offending people of other faiths, has “lost its nerve” and has “not doing what the Bible says,” he noted. .......... read more

Bishop Fears Radical Islam Will Fill 'Moral Vacuum'

Courtesy of Prophecy News Watch

Bishop Fears Radical Islam Will Fill 'Moral Vacuum' in Britain

A senior Church of England bishop claims the erosion of Christianity in Britain is leaving the country with a “moral vacuum” that radical Islam is ready to fill. Writing in the political magazine Standpoint, the Rt. Rev. Dr Michael Nazir-Ali quoted an academic who pointed to the failure of church leaders to prevent Christian values from being substantially eroded in society during the social and sexual revolution of the 60s.

Christianity began to fall to the wayside just as more people of different faiths were starting to settle in Britain, the Pakistani-born Bishop of Rochester added. “It is a situation which has created the moral and spiritual vacuum in which we find ourselves. Whilst the Christian consensus was dissolved, nothing else, except perhaps endless self-indulgence, was put in its place,” he said.

Whereas Marxism failed to take hold in British society, he went on to question whether society could counter radical Islam with the same success. "We are now, however, confronted by another equally serious ideology, that of radical Islamism, which also claims to be comprehensive in scope,” he said. Nazir-Ali answered that only Judeo-Christian values could stand up adequately against the threat posed by radical Islam............. For the complete article link here

Expansionist Iran: Lebanon, Syria, Gaza

To all who think Iran doesn't have expansionist goals, look no further than Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza. These are not the military invasions of the Nazis, but nonetheless military invasions of foreign nations. The Mullahs of the Islamic Republic are very sophisticated, and have a long term strategy. It has been openly expressed in Lebanon recently, where Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah won political veto power (the power to block any law) through force of arms. Hezbollah also has a seperate fiber optic communications network, which the government has no access to. If Hezbollah were a private venture, like a multinational corporation, this might be a small thing. However, when it's in the service of a terrorist group masquerading as a political party, that has military superiority to the elected majority government, we have an Iranian puppet state.

Syria is pretty much a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iran, as forced conversion to Shiism gets a pass from the Assad regime, which is neither Sunni nor Shia. They are fully dependent on Iran for what little military power they have, and they allow terrorist organizations to operate openly. There is some resentment of Iran's influence inside Syria, but after the Palestinian massacre (10,000) by the current Assad's father, people avoid mass uprisings in Syria. Yeah, that's more Palestinians than Israel has killed in it's entire modern history.

Which brings me to Gaza. These helpless fools bow to two masters: the Shia from Tehran, and the Sunnis from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, etc. The only common goal these two groups have is to destroy Israel. Both of them use the Palestinians as fodder for their proxy war against both Israel and by proxy the US. Israel gave Gaza back to the Palestinian Authority, in an act of suicidal diplomacy. What did it get them? Rockets into Sderot every day. Who's supplying these terrorists? Iran was caught shipping tons of weapons to Gaza aboard a ship called the Karinne A. Need I elaborate?

I was in the USMC in 1983, when Iran orchestrated the Beirut barracks bombing. It was the debut of Hezbollah, and at the rough old age of 21, I learned about Shiite terrorists. The thing that stuck in my craw the most was that under UN command, our Marine guards were not allowed to carry loaded weapons. When the truck came crashing through the barrier, they had no chance to stop it. 240+ Marines died that day, performing a peacekeeping mission for the UN. Ask me why the US refuses to "donate" troops to UN missions again.

The UN is either a non-factor, or a pro-terrorist factor in this war. President Bush picked the battleground of Iraq, for good reason. It is our best, but not last, hope for striking the heart of our dual extremist enemies. Think of Pres. Bush's pre-9/11 terrorism assesment: "Isn't there some way we can 'drain the swamp'?" Look at what's happened in Iraq. Thousands of terrorists from Al Queda and Iran's Quds Force have been killed, and the Sunni Shia and Kurds are working together in the Iraqi government, more than ever.

Iraq's success is the best weapon in the war for freedom of the people of the Middle East. Iran and Saudi Arabia are both threatened by this, but they both have their footholds in other nations. The Saudis have our favor, so Iran courts Russia and China. That is the geopolitical dance, where allies are enemies, and enemies allies. Iran may become our greatest ally one day, if they acquire a truly representative government. THE KHOMENIST REVOLUTION MUST END, AS MUST THE WAHABBIST FANATICS OF SAUD.

Any questions? I'll try to explain this partial analysis.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Kerry out of step with reality

Courtesy of The Hill Briefing Room

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) believes that on September 11 "we were basically
at peace."

Asked to clarify his remarks, specifically asking about the attacks on the U.S.S. Cole during Barack Obama campaign conference call, Kerry said, "well, we hadn't declared war," The Hill's Sam Youngman reports.

Asked if al Qaeda was a threat at the time, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee said, "well yes, obviously they were a threat. But, fundamentally we were not at war at that point in time."

Kerry also called John McCain "out of step with history and facts."

UPDATE: Responding to Kerry's claim, RNC spokesman Danny Diaz said: "It’s absolutely critical that the next Commander in Chief understands the challenges America faces. Yet it’s clear that Barack Obama has a thin understanding of history and fails to grasp the threat of terrorism."

"After a week’s worth of examples demonstrating Obama’s lack of preparedness to serve as president, his campaign is understandably desperate to shift the focus. Considering it’s now been 873 days since Obama visited Iraq, any suggestion that he even understands what’s happening on the ground is laughable."

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Obama was planning a trip

Courtesy of my friend, BigDog

Obama was Planning Trip to Iraq

Category: Military, Political

John McCain has been hammering B. Hussein Obama pretty hard because Obama has declared that the US lost in Iraq and that the surge was not working and he made these assessments even though he has not been to the country in over two years. Obama has also not spoken with General Petraeus other than to grandstand during the General’s last briefing to Congress. John McCain suggested that Obama needed to go to Iraq and see for himself. He also suggested that before Obama engages in unconditional talks with our enemies he should consider doing so with our top commanders, particularly General Petraeus.

Well lo and behold B. Hussein Obama is considering a trip to Iraq. His people say that he has been thinking about this for some time (sure) and Obama indicated that he did not want to go there just for some political stunt:

“I just don’t want to be involved in a political stunt.”

“I think that if I’m going to Iraq, then I’m there to talk to troops and talk to commanders,” he said in the interview. “I’m not there to try to score political points or perform. The work they’re doing there is too important.”

What Obama is saying is that he would never use Iraq as a political pawn because the work our men and women are doing there is too important. No, Obama would never play politics with this important issue. Just one problem. His people stated this about his plans:

Obama’s campaign has been considering an overseas trip since last year to beef up his foreign policy credentials, but the extended fight for the Democratic nomination with Hillary Rodham Clinton has delayed those plans.

So Obama does not want to be part of a political stunt but he has been considering a trip to Iraq to beef up his foreign policy credentials. In reality, he is not going to talk to the troops or commanders and the work they are doing is not that important because B. Hussein Obama needs to beef up his credentials by going to Iraq. Obama would never play politics with this important issue but going just to beef up your creds is playing politics with this important issue.

It is also playing politics with this important issue to talk about a complete and unconditional withdraw from Iraq regardless of what commanders on the ground advise just to appease (there is that word again) the nutroots on the left fringe of the party. To decide on withdraw with little or no regard for what the real military professionals have to say is pure politics and is a move designed to win votes from those who are tired of the conflict.

I have my doubts as to whether Obama was planning a trip to Iraq or not but the fact is this little tidbit was not revealed until McCain started hammering him about it. No matter what he or his people say it will always look like McCain shamed him into going.

I wonder if he will meet with General Petraeus? I think Obama is trying to avoid the man because he will then be forced to either agree with a commander on the ground or disregard what he says. The former will tick off Obama’s base and the latter will show an arrogance toward a man who is about eight years older and has a hell of a lot more military knowledge than Obama will ever have.

McCain backed Obama in a corner with this one and it will be fun to see how this plays out. I bet Obama comes out of it with a lot more gaffes. Who knows, maybe he will come back with some more family war stories.

Big Dog's Tags: arrogance, Iraq, McCain, Obama, Petraeus, trip

Bosun's comment: I figure that Obama (and possibly his mentor, dhimmi ( ذمي ‎) Jimmah Carter, may also desire to stop in Iran to talk with the head Holocaust denier, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Of course B. Hussein Obama will claim that it is not a political stunt.

demise of bin Laden would not end al-Qaida’s menace

CIA chief says demise of bin Laden would not end al-Qaida’s menace

Courtesy of AP and Buffalo News — The United States is making “a big and continual push” to capture or kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but his demise won’t end the terrorist organization’s menace, CIA Director Michael Hayden said Tuesday in an Associated Press interview.

The CIA is equally interested in those jockeying to replace bin Laden in what Hayden predicted will be a “succession crisis.”

“It will be really interesting to see how that plays out. The organization is a lot more networked than it is ruthlessly hierarchical,” Hayden said of the group behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. “How do you pick the next overall leader?”

Link to the article, CIA chief says demise of bin Laden would not end al-Qaida’s menace

Technorati tags: , , ,

Ann Coulter on when it's OK to talk to tyrants

Columnist Ann Coulter continues her analysis of Barack Obama's desire for open-ended talks with Iran's President Ahmadinejad, the world's only dictator, she says, "we're not allowed to compare to Hitler."

Writes Coulter: "The only explanation for liberals' hysterical zealotry in favor of Obama's proposed open-ended talks with Ahmadinejad is that they seriously imagine crazy foreign dictators will be as charmed by Obama as cable TV hosts whose legs tingle when they listen to Obama (a condition that used to be known as 'sciatica').

"Because, really, who better to face down a Holocaust denier with a messianic complex than the guy who is afraid of a debate moderated by Brit Hume?"

Read Coulter's latest column now at WorldNetDaily.com: You can't appease everybody

Monday, May 26, 2008

A 'Smart' Car


HERE COMES THE 'SMART' CAR...

I saw a "Smart Car" in the parking lot at Fry's Electronics yesterday. It was an impressive looking vehicle to say the least.

The company claims it is a car that offers maximum comfort, agility, safety, ecology and driving fun. However, I cannot attest to that.

The company also claims that the car is a pioneering vehicle concept that may be one of the best with its low CO2 emission figures. According to the company website, Smart Car is priced about $12,000 - $16,000. It is rated at about 40 MPG (give or take a few MPG). Smart Car is affiliated with Mercedes Benz and it is an interesting concept.

Discover the smart fortwo – as a coupé and a cabrio in the pure, pulse, passion and BRABUS equipment lines at SmartCar.com .

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dirty Bomb Warning For Olympics

Courtesy of National Terror Alert


The Beijing Olympics in August could be a target for terrorists using radioactive materials, the UN nuclear watchdog has told the BBC.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says a group might try to release radioactivity at an Olympic venue, possibly using a “dirty bomb”.

However, the IAEA says there is no specific information suggesting an imminent attack on the Beijing games.

The IAEA warning comes as it conducts a training exercise in China’s capital.

London Threat

The agency says intelligence shows that terrorists are trying to obtain nuclear materials.

Its concern is that they might try to use a “dirty bomb” with conventional explosives in Beijing.

“There is a threat at some level that these [radioactive] materials could be used,” said Dr Anita Nilsson, the IAEA’s head of nuclear security.

Source - Read More

Similar and/or Related Posts from National Terror Alert 

Coulter: Obama to be Ahmadinejad's new psychotherapist?

 

'If We Could Talk To Animals'

Liberals think all real tyrants ended with Hitler and act as if they would have known all along not to appease him. Next time is always different for people who refuse to learn from history. As Air America's Mark Green said: 'Look, Hitler was Hitler.' (Which, I admit, threw me for a loop: I thought Air America's position is that Bush is Hitler.)"

So writes Ann Coulter in her brand new column at WorldNetDaily. Coulter blasts Obama and his defenders for their "hysteria and rage" over President Bush's comments last week in Jerusalem about talking to U.S. enemies.

Writes Coulter: "Liberals think the way to deal with dangerous tyrants is to send in a sensitive president who will make Ahmadinejad fall in love with him. They imagine Obama becoming Ahmadinejad's psychotherapist, like Barbra Streisand in 'The Prince of Tides.'"

Read Ann Coulter's latest column now at WorldNetDaily.com:
If we could talk to the animals

LEAVWORLD: GRAFFITI POLITTI ROUNDUP!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Military honchos 'suppress' chaplain's Baptist services

Courtesy of World Net Daily

An investigation is being sought by a Christian church organization in the United States after the U.S. Army deliberately shut down a service one of its sponsored chaplains was running for U.S. military service personnel at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in Iraq. He was allegedly told being 'born again' has 'no place' in Army life.

The complaint by Associated Gospel Churches, a fellowship of Independent Fundamental Christian churches, has been forwarded to the Army by U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., seeking an Army Inspector General investigation.

"Because this information is now in the public domain, the AGC acknowledges that the Fundamental Baptist service led by Chaplain Stuart Kazarovich, an AGC endorsed chaplain, appears to have been suppressed because it was offensive to the brigade chaplain," Baugham told WND in a prepared statement.

Read the article at WND.com:
Military honchos 'suppress' chaplain's Baptist services

Sudan: A History Lesson

Courtesy of Rosemary's Thoughts

Sudan gained its independence in the year 1956, but unfortunately it became a tug of war between the Arab North and the African South. It was a civil war between non-muslims, non-arabs, and it lasted until 1972. War broke out again between the North and the South in the year 1983. This time the war lasted until 2005 when the North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in January of 2005.

During these periods of time, more than 4 million people were displaced and 2 million people were killed or died due to the famine imposed by the power hungry islamists from the North. They have been trying to dominate the land politically, economically and socially ever since its independence. I guess it's pretty easy to govern a country without any citizens, eh? Back to the facts. Sudan has a population of 40.2 million people. The median age is 18.9 years old.
In 2003, the Darfur region became the next victim of these islamic thugs. I have a problem with this date of 2003, since we went into Darfur around that time for a few months. However this is the date that the CIA gives, and we all know how accurate they are, eh? (I'm speaking of the upper echelon.)
The CIA claims that 200,000 - 400,000 people have been murdered. Now, let me ask you a question. When you see a poll, a survey, a whatever, and it has more than +/- 3% difference, do you accept that as fact? No? GOOD! It is beyond 500,000. I have personally been following this, and at one point the Sudanese government was murdering over 1000 people a day. And no one said a word. No one did anything. THIS bothers me. Whatever happened to, 'Never again'?

Since December 31, 2007, the UN is trying to lay claim to the African Union (AU) who has been trying to keep the peace between Darfur and the muslims. The CIA states that as of early 2008, the peacekeeping troops have been struggling to do their jobs. Well, I have news for the CIA! Since they first began in April 8, 2004, after the first peace agreement, they have not had the backing of anyone. Period.

This war has spread over into Chad and the Central Africa Repuclic. It has caused instability to its entire region. Sudan seems comfortable enough to enter these country with its military and/or the janjaweed, and who's there to stop them? Certainly not anyone who has the power to stop these little twirps.

Besides these incursions, Sudan has also had a large refugee population (if you can believe that!) from neighboring Ethiopia and Chad. This, however, does not help these people since the wars, poor transportation, poor infrastruction and a government that would rather have you dead anyway, it makes getting aid to these people almost impossible.
Why the history lesson? The CIA seems to have left out one of the main reasons I wanted to delve into this issue. In 1993, these animals dragged two of our men through their streets in Somalia, and we did nothing. Sudan wanted to get off the terrorist list in the USA, so they offered us Osama bin Laden in 1996. We did nothing.

He had his group of thugs with him. You know those 'nice gentlemen' who blew up the embassies in 1998? What did we do? Nothing. Well, it amounted to nothing. Then there was the USS Cole where we lost 17 men and women. What did we do? Not. A. D***. Thing.
Then President Bush came into office, and we were hit on our own soil. All eyes were on him, because he was the president. I guess there was something like a time warp, because that is the only thing that can explain why terrorism began only AFTER the IRAQ theater. Does no one remember the Twin Towers? Do they not remember all the people we lost that awful day?

I shake my head in disbelief when I hear Sen. Obama (you have to very careful not to mention his middle name is Hussein!) talk about foreign policy. He will walk into the Oval Office without a clue (as would I, so this is not personal) as to what is truly happening in the world, including Iraq.
He wants us out of Iraq. No debate as to why it is reasonable to stay, no listening to the Maliki government (but hey, don't worry. He'll talk with Ahmadinejad!), no mention of how close we are to the victory.

These thugs were in Afghanistan, so he may send all of troops over there for target practice. Why did they end up in Afghanistan, you ask? Good question which helps me tie this all together. After a lot of pressure, bin Laden was forced to leave Sudan. Is bin Laden the only jihadi, or are there more? I haven't heard of him putting on a suicide belt, so I must assume that there are more than just him. Did they all leave Sudan? NO, they did not.

They still have their training camps in Sudan. They have thrown the people out of their homes of the high mountains. They have been growing in numbers, and they are planning another attack. I wonder why the CIA made no mention of this? All you have to do is pay attention. I guess that's too much to ask of the people we hire to protect this country. Maybe it's because they just want to be politically correct? To heck with that!
Sudan is a hot spot for jihadis, people are suffering genocide, and no one is saying a word. That is my purpose for writing this. My promise to the people who cannot make their voices heard will not allow me to remain silent.

Do I have a plan of action? Yes. Take out the government, and do the old time 'Marshall Law'. It's doable, and we could exterminate many of our enemies. The people could go back to their homes afterward, and we would have one less training ground for the jihadis. All in all, I like it.

Oh, did mention the most important thing? Islam must be killed. It must be outlawed. It must be exterminated. Then and only then will people be able to live in peace. Just look at the world map today and point to all the wars. What is the common thread? Islam.

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Where is Adam Gadahn?

Courtesy of Counter Terrorism

This afternoon, Al-Qaida's As-Sahab Media Foundation has released the second audio recording of Usama Bin Laden in the space of only three days--this time, openly addressed "to the Islamic nation." But, perhaps what is most interesting about Bin Laden's latest set of audio recordings is not what they contain--but rather, what they inexplicably lack: the English-language subtitles and matching transcript that have, until recently, been a customary feature of professional-quality As-Sahab videos. An analysis of the history of As-Sahab recordings and their evolution over time would seem to indicate that the responsibility for creating these English-language products fell largely on the shoulders of one man alone: Adam Gadahn (a.k.a. "Azzam al-Amriki"), the California native who was recruited by Al-Qaida computer specialists living in Garden Grove in the late 1990s, and who later traveled on to Pakistan seeking to join his new hero Usama Bin Laden. Gadahn's voice and, more recently, his face have been an integral part of As-Sahab releases since their first video production in 2001, "The Destruction of the U.S.S. Cole" (a.k.a. "State of the Ummah"). He has frequently appeared as a freely identified commentator in As-Sahab videos, with clips of him speaking in English juxtaposed amid footage of Usama Bin Laden and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri.

....

For Gadahn, it has been a long journey and a strange ideological transformation from his younger days in California spent promoting recycling and environmental conservation. If ultimately proven, his death will serve as a lesson for what happens to naive individuals lured into believing there is honor in playing foolish games with guns and bombs. Full article:  Where's the Beef? Mystery Grows Surrounding Whereabouts of Adam Gadahn

Unfortunately, there are other red blooded American jihadists and Jihadi sympathizers stepping up to the plate to support the insanity the caravan raider and radical islam. 

The site founder of a US based website, The Ignored Pieces of Knowledge, appears to be a red blooded America Jihadi sympathizer currently living comfortably in Charlotte,N.C.  One could assume that the sympathizer of the Jihadi cause is enjoying the good life in America, and posting Jihadi news as it happens.

According to a Fox News article, North Carolina Web Site Said to Be 'Gateway Drug' To Terror, the author of the Charlotte based website appears to be is a defender of Usaamah bin Laadin, members of al-Qaa’idah, the Taliban, and those who wish to establish a world wide Caliphate. 

I would not breath a sigh of relieve as of yet on the hope that Adam Yahiye Gadahn ( آدم يحيى غدن ) is resting in hell with his moon worshiping buddies when I read about others in this country praising Usaamah bin Laadin.

To the author of The Ignored Pieces of Knowledge, perhaps you should go the Pakistan at take the place of Adam Yahiye Gadahn.  There may be a job vacancy there for an Islamic translator. 

Adam, if you are still out there, drop us a line and let us know how we can get in touch with you.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bin Laden Calls on Muslims to Confront Arab Regimes, Wage Jihad to Liberate Palestine

Courtesy of MEMRI

On May 19, 2008, Al-Qaeda's Al-Sahab Media Company posted on Islamist websites, including Al-Ikhlas, a message by Osama bin Laden titled "[An Address] to the Islamic Umma."(1) The message is a desperate call to Muslim youth to assist the Palestinians in Gaza and to confront the "treacherous" Arab regimes and leaders that stand in the way of the goals of the mujahideen.

The following are the main points discussed in the message.

Arab Leaders Who Collaborate with the West Are "Wolves [Preying on] Sheep"

Following a general message to all Muslims, bin Laden addresses the Egyptian people, saying: "Our heroic brothers in Egypt must strive to lift the siege [on Gaza], because only they live next to [Gaza's] borders. They [must also] depose this cruel... and arrogant hard-hearted [ruler, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak]... who is like Pharaoh and Haman."

In the message, bin Laden urges young Muslims "to study the reasons for the [Arab countries'] failure to liberate Palestine until now and to learn their lessons." According to him, this failure is rooted in the treacherous nature of the Arab regimes. "The Ottoman Empire," he says, "protected the umma from the Western Crusader wolf. But Great Britain collaborated with Arab leaders – first and foremost Sharif Hussein and his children, and King 'Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Sa'ud – to fight and destroy the Ottoman Empire.

"Great Britain then appointed [Arab] agents to carry out its policy and protect its interests at our expense. It is stupidity to think that the agents of the Crusader-Zionist alliance will cease attacking our religion and [plundering] our wealth. They are like wolves which will never stop [preying on] sheep."

Saladin Battled Those Arab Emirs Who Fought With the Crusaders Against the Muslims

To highlight what he considers to be the Arab regimes' moral corruption and disloyalty to Islam, bin Laden cites Saladin as an example, saying that unlike Arab leaders, Saladin "understood that the way to stop the damage inflicted by the infidels is to fight [them] for the sake of Allah...

"Saladin associated with the divinely guided ulema, pursued religious knowledge even in the arenas of jihad... and supported their spurring people to wage jihad against the Crusaders... He battled those [Arab] emirs and their helpers who fought side by side with the Crusaders against Muslims, even if those [emirs] proclaimed [the first shahada:] 'There is no god but Allah...'"

"[Hizbullah Leader] Nasrallah Refused to Accept [Assistance from Sunni] Mujahideen"

"In Egypt, [in contrast], the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood makes sending 10,000 mujahideen to fight the Jews conditional... upon the consent of the American agent [i.e. Mubarak]..." In Lebanon, "[Hizbullah Secretary-General] Hassan Nasrallah claims that he does not need [more] money [to assist him in fighting Israel]... and that he is not in need of [more] people [i.e. soldiers]... If he does indeed possess what he needs, why does he not persist in the fight to liberate Palestine and rescue our people from the hands of the Jews?
"On the contrary: He welcomed the Crusader forces which came to protect the Jews. By doing do, he confirmed the claim by Sabih Tufayli, former Hizbullah secretary-general, that Kofi Annan came to Lebanon [to facilitate] an agreement between Hizbullah and the Zionists, and this is why [Nasrallah] refused to accept [the assistance of Sunni] mujahideen."

"The Only Way to Reach Palestine Is to Fight the [Arab] Regimes and Parties That [Share a] Border with the Jews"

Bin Laden makes the following prognosis for the current predicament of the Islamic nation: "Today the umma... must do everything in its power to confront the Crusaders' agents [in order] to eliminate the danger they pose. [In fact,] upon realizing that the [Arab] regimes follow America, many righteous sons of the umma... joined Islamic groups that call [to restore] the rule of Islam, to revive the Caliphate, and [to liberate] Palestine...

"The only way to reach Palestine is by fighting the [Arab] regimes and parties [i.e., Hizbullah and the Muslim Brotherhood in countries] that [share a] border with the Jews and stand between us and them..."

Endnote:
(1) Al-Ikhlas Islamist forum, May 19, 2008.

For comments or assistance, please contact MEMRI at memri@memri.org.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

MEMRI
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
www.memri.org

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

It's Bubba's Fault

In her new column today analyzing the likely end of Hillary Clinton's campaign for the White House, columnist Ann Coulter puts the blame squarely on Bill Clinton.

Writes Coulter: "Ronald Reagan was so popular, he not only won a 49-state landslide re-election for himself, but he also won a symbolic third term for his boob of a vice president, George Herbert Walker Bush (who immediately blew it by breaking his own 'no new taxes' pledge).

"By contrast, in addition to not being able to get half the country to vote for him in two tries, Clinton's connection to any other presidential candidate spells utter doom. Both his vice president and his wife have been defeated in elections they should have won, but lost because of their unfortunate association with him. The country has spoken.

It wants to be rid of the Clintons."

Read Ann Coulter's complete column now at WorldNetDaily.com:
It's Bubba's Fault

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Where do you spend your Economic Stimulus Check

Starting in May, the Treasury will begin sending economic stimulus payments to more than 130 million households. To receive a payment, taxpayers must have a valid Social Security number, $3,000 of income and file a 2007 federal tax return. IRS will take care of the rest. Eligible people will receive up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples), and parents will receive an additional $300 for each eligible child younger than 17. Millions of retirees, disabled veterans and low-wage workers who usually are exempt from filing a tax return must do so this year in order to receive a stimulus payment.

If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, all the money will go to China. If we spend it on gasoline it will go to the Arabs. If we purchase a computer it will go to India. If we purchase fruits and vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. If we purchase a good car it will go to Japan. If we purchase useless stuff it will go to Taiwan and none of it will help the American economy.

We need to keep that money here in America. The only way to keep that money here at home is to spend it at yard sales, since those are the only businesses still in the United States!

( Emailed from  a friend.  Author unknown. )

For basic information from the IRS please visit: Economic Stimulus Payments Information Center

Frank Rich of the NYT Should Look Left for Racists

Courtesy of my friend, Big Dog: Frank Rich of the NYT Should Look Left for Racists

Posted at Big Dog's Category: Political

Frank Rich of the New York Times has a piece out today asking why Obama’s pastor has received so much scrutiny when McCain’s has not. Rich is referring to John Hagee, an absolute nut job, who has endorsed John McCain. According to Rich, Obama’s pastor, with whom he had a 20 year relationship, is no different than a man who endorsed McCain and with whom McCain had no other relationship. Hagee is not and was not McCain’s pastor.

Rich addresses this difference by stating there is no difference between Obama sitting there in Wright’s church and John McCain actively (Rich’s assertion) seeking Hagee’s endorsement because by doing so he is agreeing with the lunacy that comes out of Hagee’s mouth (just as Obama did by being in Wright’s church).

The entire story boils down to Rich’s claim that America is a racist country and that there is double standard because Clinton and Obama are scrutinized for every perceived racist remark while the racism of the Republicans is ignored. Rich “proves’ his point by indicating that there are no blacks among all the Senators and Representatives in the Congress who happen to be Republicans. Rich tells us that gays (Foley) have a better chance of getting elected in the GOP than blacks.

I have gone through this before but I will do it again for the benefit of Frank Rich whose Obama tinted glasses have obscured his thinking. First of all, the Democrats are not being scrutinized any more on subjects of race. The Democrats have never been taken to task for their racism until this election cycle that just happens to have a black man in it. Republicans are always the subject of allegations of racism. Anytime a Republican makes a remark cries of racism abound. This is standard operating procedure. The claims do not have to be true, just some half baked idea fostered by race baiters who blow it out of proportion while, I might add, the public ignores the racist remarks of those doing the crying.

Democrats have never been taken to task for their racism. They have always been held up as the champions of race relations yet under them blacks have slipped father and farther into poverty. Welfare programs keep blacks subservient to government and under the oppressive thumb of their slave masters in the Democratic party. Democrats are always quite happy to court the black vote, which votes for them at a level of 90% in elections, and then ignore them until the next election. Affirmative action and housing projects are the Democrat’s way of telling blacks they are not capable of making it on their own but not to worry because government is there for them.

This leads me to the idea that the GOP has no elected blacks in Congress. This is a matter of demographics and math. The math is, 90% of blacks support Democratic candidates so we can conclude that 90% of them are Democrat or believe in what Democrats represent. If 90% of the black population is Democratic where does Mr. Rich think the GOP will find black people to run for office? Only 10% remain and out of them how many are qualified (Constitutionally) or want to run.

Demographics show that most black Democrats come from urban areas. They come from cities where there are huge numbers of blacks and where the political climate is overwhelmingly Democratic. Blacks who happen to be conservative would never run in these areas because they cannot win. For Rich to claim this is GOP racism is absolutely out of touch with reality. Even blacks who live in conservative areas would not want to run for office and not because of white conservatives. Look at how the Democrats and particularly black Democrats act when a black person runs for office as a Republican. The name calling begins and the names of sell out and Uncle Tom do not come from the right. These names come from blacks in the community who wonder how a black would dare be a Republican.

Look at the Maryland Senate race from 2006 when Michael Steele, a black conservative, ran for the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Paul Sarbanes and he ran against Joe Cardin, a white Democratic Congressman. Michael Steele was portrayed unfavorably by Democrats. He was shown in a black face photo-shopped picture and referred to as Sambo. He had Oreo cookies thrown at him and one of Cardin’s bloggers wrote terrible things about him and his race was a big part of it. These were all Democrats doing this to a black man. BTW, Steele was the Lieutenant Governor of the state and was the highest-ranking elected Republican black in the country. Republicans will elect them when they can overcome Democratic barriers.

Steele lost the race but he did not lose because whites refused to vote for him or because they did not want him in office, as Rich would have you believe. The heavily Democratic areas of Maryland (and areas with huge black populations) voted for Cardin. As those areas go so goes the state. Steele carried almost every county where the population is strongly Republican and overwhelmingly white (he won 18 subdivisions to Cardin’s 6). This should put to bed Rich’s claims and show that it is Democratic racism that prevents black Republicans from being elected.

The entire Rich story is right out of the leftist play book. The interesting thing is that he makes this an issue of McCain/Obama when the issues right now are all Obama/Clinton. Despite Rich’s attempts to make this about conservatives smearing Obama with his pastor’s words while ignoring McCain, the fact is it is the Democrats who are smearing the man (why should Republicans chime in when they are doing a good job of beating each other up). Republicans are not part of their primary process. All the negative stuff is coming from the left. Instead of asking about McCain’s “pastor” Rich would be more accurate if he asked when they were going to start looking at Clinton’s pastor.

I am sure the Democrats will get to McCain and the people with whom he associates when they finally settle their own contest. Until that time people like Frank Rich should stop muddying the waters with half truths and outright lies sprinkled with innuendo.

Yes Mr. Rich, there is a race problem in this country and it is from the Democrats and from people like you (but I repeat myself). People on the right are called racists and they have been labeled racists but in reality it is those on the left who display racism all the time.

Blacks would do themselves a world of good by changing parties (which would put a lot of black Republicans in Congress). Short of that they need to follow the words of Bill Cosby and stop blaming the white man for all their ills. It would help if white men like Frank Rich would do the same.

Big Dog

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Policy Shift in "War on Terror" Lexicon

With less than a year left in office, the Bush administration is rewriting its "war on terror" lexicon. Officials in federal agencies have been asked not to use the terms jihadists and mujahideen, describe al-Qaida as a movement, or refer to Islamo-fascism.

Staff of the state department, homeland security department and national counterterrorism center, as well as diplomats and other officials, have been told that various words in common use may actually boost support for extremists among Arab and Muslim audiences by giving them a veneer of religious credibility or causing offence to moderates. Source: Hannity Forum, Terrorism and Language: A Policy Shift

It appears to me that changing the language that one uses as directed by federal agencies fantasy-based policymaking.

I wonder who the consultants were who advised the Bush Administration to change the names to protect the innocents?  The usual suspects come to mind.  It appears to me that the real losers are those most affected by "hard" Jihad and terrorism.

Islam is divided into two camps, Dar al Harb (The abode of war), and Dar al Islam (The abode of Islam). Dar al Harb is the up front and in your face violent extremists, "Hard Jihad."

Dar al Islam in locked in an internal struggle with the west for identity and professes the Pillars of Islam: "Soft" Jihad

Dar al Islam struggles internally in a secular world striving to live a moral and virtuous life, spreading and defending Islam as well as fighting injustice and oppression.

The end result for both extremist fundamentalists and moderates are to encourage non-Muslims to convert to Islam.

The basic creed of Islam is known as The Shahadah: "'Ašhadu 'al-lā ilāha illā-llāhu wa 'ašhadu 'anna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh", or "I testify that there is no god (ilah) but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah". The Qur'an and Hadith instructs the Muslims life and also encourages him (and her) to promulgate for the faith and encourage non believes to submit to the will of allah.

Infidels (كفّار ) kuffār beware. 

By limiting how an Infidel talks about and identifies the idiosyncrasies of Islam, it will be difficult to identify and defeat an enemy (radical Islamist) we refuse to know and understand.

To sum it up, I would like to quote a very good friend

Cancer goes away if you call it a head cold.

Be Ever Vigilant,

Bosun

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ignorance of the Islamic Religious Establishment

 

Courtesy of MEMRI

In an extensive January 2008 interview with the Qatari Al-Raya daily, eminent Syrian philosopher Sadik Jalal Al-'Azm discussed the state of religious thought in the Muslim world, democracy in Turkey and in Arab countries, Hizbullah and the 2006 war, and the role of the intellectual in Syria and the Arab world.

The following are excerpts from the interview: "A Comprehensive Interview with Syrian Philosopher Sadik Jalal Al-'Azm"

The Ignorance of the Islamic Religious Establishment Has Grown Worse Since I First Wrote About It in the Late 1960s

Q: "... To what degree have your views changed since publishing [your] book Critique of Religious Thought?"

A: "My views have changed in the sense that I have taken new developments into account…
"In the book Critique of Religious Thought I described the thought in those days as impoverished. The title of the first essay in the book is 'The Scientific Culture and the Impoverishment of Religious Thought.' Now I see that this impoverishment has deepened and grown worse.

"In that period, between 1969 and 1970, there was [at least] an attempt by Islamic thinkers to deal with the problems and questions of modern science. They tended to base their discussion and argument on reason, reality, and the course of events. Now, I find that the religious thought that has emerged on Islam is in an even deeper state of impoverishment, in the sense that today we have arrived at issues like the fatwa of breast-feeding adults – and this was not issued by just any ordinary sheikh, but by the head of the Hadith Department at Al-Azhar University...
"In the period in which I wrote Critique of Religious Thought, it was difficult to find this type of fatwa. Therefore, it is possible to say that there has been a great deterioration and that we have moved away from basing our judgments on rationality.

"Other examples of this are [the fatwas] issued by sheikhs from Al-Azhar, like blessing oneself with the Prophet's urine, or the repeated mentioning of the hadith of the fly, and the spread of this superstitious manner of thinking in the Islamic environment. I believe that this represents an additional deterioration over and above the impoverishment that I spoke about between 1969 and 1970.

"In that period, when I discussed the impoverishment of religious thought, I dealt with a number of Islamic thinkers and clerics, such as the Mufti of Tripoli Nadim Al-Jasser, Musa Al-Sadr, and others. At that time I saw that they wanted to deal with modern science, the scientific revolution, and applied science; however, unfortunately, they were ignorant of everything related to modern science: What is the meaning of science? What are the ways of scientific inquiry? Often their only knowledge of physics, chemistry, or anatomy since finishing elementary school came from reading the newspapers. They wanted to oppose the societal influence of scientific development and technological achievements while at the same time acting with an almost complete ignorance in these matters.

"In my estimation this has grown even worse today. There is greater ignorance. There are opinions, especially in fundamentalist Islam, that completely reject modern science, the West, and all that it produces. If you take their thinking to its logical conclusion, they will become [like] the Taliban on this issue."

The Only Interest Khomeini Took in Outer Space Is How a Muslim Should Bow and Pray and How He Should Fast When He Stays There for a Long Period of Time

"They relate to problems with complete stupidity. For example, I read some of Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini's fatwas. In one of them, he presents the matter of a Muslim going into space in a space capsule. He discussed how he should pray, and how he should figure out in which direction to pray in outer space. Of course in space there is no north or south, and space capsules orbit at high speed along a fixed course. Likewise, when a Muslim reaches space, he will get there in a Russian or American space capsule, since there are no Arab or Muslim space capsules at all.

"The problem is that Khomeini is not familiar with any of the achievements, the attainments, the sciences, or the technological knowledge relating to space. All that interests him is how a Muslim should bow and pray, and how he should fast when he stays there for a long period of time. After this discussion, Khomeini arrives at the conclusion to permit a Muslim to pray in any of the four directions. Obviously, this way of thinking betrays [his] complete ignorance, as the directions are a matter of convention; there are no four directions in nature...

"They are opposed to matters like test-tube babies, or innovations, for example, in the area of the genetic code (DNA) and genetic reproduction as well as other scientific breakthroughs and discoveries. They have no knowledge of the nature of these sciences, how the scientists arrived at them, and what were the experiments that preceded them. They are not in possession of a culture of science and they are radical in this matter. This is regarding the Shi'ites, but [there are examples] also among the Sunnis, [like] Sheikh 'Abd Al-'Aziz ibn Baz, the senior religious scholar in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

Saudi Mufti 'Abd Al-'Aziz Ibn Baz Declared All Those Who Say the Earth Orbits the Sun To Be Apostates

Q: "Excuse me, but I don't know if we can mention names. Perhaps this is a sensitive issue for some people."

A: "If talking about this subject is a sensitive matter then that is additional evidence of how disastrous our situation has become. Anyway, I will give my opinion, and you can do what you wish.

"In Ibn Baz's book, published in 1985, he completely rejected the idea that the earth is round. He discussed the question on the basis that the earth is flat. He completely rejected the idea that the earth orbits the sun. I own the book and you can verify what I am saying.
"And so, the earth does not orbit the sun, rather it is the sun that goes around the earth. He brought [us] back to ancient astronomy, to the pre-Copernican period. Of course, in this book Ibn Baz declares that all those who say that the earth is round and orbits the sun are apostates. At any rate, he is free to think what he wants. But the great disaster is that not one of the religious scholars or institutions in the Muslim world, from the East to the West, from Al-Azhar to Al-Zaytouna, from Al-Qaradhawi to Al-Turabi and [Sheikh Ahmad] Kaftaro, and the departments for shari'a study – no one dared to tell Ibn Baz what nonsense he clings to in the name of the Islamic religion.

"The fact that you tell me that this is a sensitive matter – this means that I cannot reply to the words of Ibn Baz when he says that the Earth is flat and does not go around the sun, but rises and sets, in the ancient manner. This is a disaster. The greatest disaster is that we cannot even answer them.

"... The official religious institutions, first and foremost Al-Azhar, the faculties of shari'a , the departments of religious rulings, and so on are in a state of complete intellectual barrenness. They produce nothing but rulings like adult breastfeeding, the hadith of the fly, blessing oneself with the Prophet's urine, and flogging journalists. The field has been abandoned to the jihadist-fundamentalist ideology, as it is the only one that raises thoughts that are worthy of being discussed and rejected. This is because of the barrenness of the major official institutions which are considered to be exemplary.

"They are filled with repetitiveness, ossification, regression, protecting [particular] interests, perpetuating the status quo, and submission to the ruling authority. If the state is socialist, the Mufti becomes a socialist; if the rulers are at war, the clerics are pro-war; if the governments pursue peace, the [religious authorities] follow them. This is part of the barrenness of these institutions. This [forms a] vacuum in religious thought that is filled by the [intellectual] descendants and followers of Sayyid Qutb, for example, and that type of violent fundamentalist Islam..."

Jihadi Movements Are More Interested in Islamist World Rule than in Resisting Western Military Presence

Q: "To what extent are the jihadi and Islamist movements in the Arab world influenced by foreign military presence in occupied Arab areas, whether Israeli or American?"

A: "Western military presence in the Arab world has been uninterrupted. It has always existed in one way or another. During the Cold War there were Islamist movements allied with the West to confront Communist expansion and the Soviet Union. In general, these movements, with some exceptions, are not known to have devoted efforts to rid the Arab lands of any foreign presence. This was, rather, something associated with the Arab liberation movements and the popular pan-Arab program under the leadership of Abdel Nasser.

"We lived through this in the 60s and 70s. In that period there was a partial victory by the pan-Arabists, though I do not think it was a total victory. The foreign presence remained in a number of Arab states.

"In the case of Afghanistan, for example, there was a direct and friendly Western-Islamic military alliance with the goal of fighting the former Soviet Union. Therefore, I do not believe the foreign military presence is a direct cause of the outbreak of the Intifada, the operations carried out by jihadi movements, or what occurred in Algeria, Sudan, Syria, and Egypt during that period.

"I believe that the Islamic jihadi organizations were deluded that they were capable of defeating the Soviet empire. They forgot or intentionally ignored the fact that this goal would have been impossible [to achieve] without the alliance with the United States and the West. They believe they actually brought down [the USSR], that Allah gave them the ability to do so and assisted them in carrying this out. If we assume for the sake of argument that this is true, then why are they incapable of defeating the American empire?
"Ideology plays an important role in the belief and behavior of these movements. They believe that it is necessary to return the rule of Islam to the Arab and Muslim states, like it was in the beginning. After this, [they want] to extend [Islamic] rule over the world. I believe that this motivation is stronger for them than the existence of American or English military bases here and there in the Arab world."

Q: "But isn't there a connection between the emergence of Islamic jihadi movements like Hamas and Hizbullah and the growing role of Al-Qaeda in the world, on one hand, and the two occupations – the Israeli and the American – on the other?"

A: "I do not deny that this factor had a role in the emergence of these movements and their increase in popularity, especially after the failure of the pan-Arab movement that had secularist leanings, though without adopting secularism as one of its principle slogans, as occurred in Turkey, for example. [The pan-Arab failure] increased the feelings of humiliation, marginalization, and a sense of failure that formed a sudden and unexpected vacuum, which was filled by the Islamist movements. A number of critics – myself included – grasped this phenomenon after the defeat in June 1967..."

"I Think the Caliphate Could Return when the Bourbons or Louis XVI Return to Rule in France"

Q: "To what extent do slogans used by Islamist movements – 'Islam is the solution' for example – play a role in recruiting people and winning their sympathies?"

A: "There is no doubt that in Muslim countries the slogan 'Islam is the solution' is attractive and brings people in. However I believe that this enlistment is superficial and sentimental, since when people deeply examine the substance of these slogans and the platforms it includes, they will begin to examine and discuss it anew.

"Likewise, they will raise pressing questions, for example: Is the meaning of 'Islam is the solution' the reestablishment of the Caliphate? And is the reestablishment of the Caliphate a realistic program? And so on.

"I think that the Caliphate could return when the Bourbons or Louis XVI return to rule in France, or the czars return to rule in Russia. In Russia there is a Czarist party that wants to establish constitutional czarist rule. If it succeeds, then perhaps the Islamists will succeed in reestablishing the Caliphate."

"The Islamists' Conception of Implementing Shari'a is [Really] Martial Law"

"As for these movements' understanding of implementation of the shari'a, it could be summed up in the penal code, that is, flogging, stoning, cutting off hands, feet, heads, and so on. But what would happen if [one of the Islamists], for example, or his son or relative, was sentenced to flogging, to having his hands cut off, or whatever. In this situation he would reject this penal code. Perhaps they would agree to a fine, jail, or some other punishment, but he would not agree to flogging, stoning, or the cutting off of a hand. Therein lies the problem.

"When the Islamists reach power, as they did in Sudan, for example, they are wary of implementing these punishments. When you carefully examine the slogan 'Islam is the solution,' you discover that the people are already apprehensive and have second thoughts about implementation of this slogan.

"Does it mean that you will go to the Christians and impose the poll tax (jizya) on them? In our countries, Egypt and Syria for example, there are Christians who were martyred in our wars against Israel, and now they are treated as martyrs, and their children are treated as the children of martyrs. What would happen to them if we implemented the shari'a? Would they be considered martyrs or not? Are they not martyrs who died for the homeland in the battles for the Sinai and the Golan Heights? How many Muslims in Egypt or Syria would agree to this? Incidentally, the previous supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt explicitly called for excluding Christians from the Egyptian army on the grounds that they are dhimmis.

"I believe that the Islamists' conception of implementing the Muslim shari'a is [really] martial law. When military officers take over the government they declare a state of emergency and martial law. When Islamists come to power they declare the implementation of the shari'a – and in this way they are no different from each other. In my opinion, their most important role is to terrorize people."

"Forming Parties on a Sectarian Basis… Is No Less Dangerous than Forming a Party on a Racial Basis… This Means a Return to Nazism"

Q: "Is it possible to say that the religious movements are a product or a reaction to the inability of the Arab regimes, in the past and in the present, to establish a state based on citizenship? And, likewise, is it possible that these movements will establish such a state when they come to power?"

A: "First of all, a state based on citizenship is a long-term historical process. We cannot say that this regime or another failed in building it; however, it is possible to say that a given regime contributed to improving the general atmosphere towards establishing a state based on citizenship, or that another regime regressed or failed.

"Second, I believe the Islamists do not want a state based on citizenship where dhimmis would be equal to Sunni Muslims in the Arab states, or equal to Shi'ite Muslims in Iran, where you have to be Shi'ite to be considered a first-class citizen.

"In general, I believe that the contention that the inability of the regimes to establish a state based on citizenship contributed to the prominence of the Islamists is partially true. In any case, the question of citizenship is not important to the Islamist movements. Today, they talk about citizenship, but I am very doubtful regarding their seriousness, particularly because their parties are on a sectarian basis and so are limited by being Sunni, Shi'ite, and so on.

"When the Sunni majority establishes a party on a religious-sectarian basis, it becomes an example and encourages the rest of the sects to form their own special parties. Consequently, the idea of forming parties on a sectarian or religious basis advances the collapse of the idea of citizenship. I believe this is no less dangerous than forming a party on a racial basis, like in Germany for example, since this means a return to Nazism."

"If It Were Not for Turkey's Secularism, the Idea of Islamists Alternating in Power Would Be Impossible"

Q: "Is this true regarding Islamist movements that believe in participating in political activities and peaceful negotiations to arrive in power, like the Justice and Development Party in Turkey, for example?"

A: "The Turkish experience is a very important example. However, outside of Turkey, parties with a religious character consider their task to be re-Islamizing society. And if they came to power – whether through elections or a coup – they would cling to it in order to complete this task. I believe their words about the [peaceful and regular] transfer of power are tactical and hypocritical, and I don't ascribe any importance to them at all.

"Turkey is the only Muslim country based on secularism as an ideology and a belief. At the beginning of the Turkish Republic, it declared that it was a secular republic, meaning that it was religiously neutral. It is also the only country that created a party with Islamic foundations, but that is [at the same time] democratic and capable of reaching power through fair elections, and of ruling without bringing disaster to the state.

"If it were not for Turkey's secularism, the idea of Islamists alternating in power [with others] would be impossible. The precondition that allowed Turkey to produce the Justice and Development Party is its being a state that is secular at its root. This does not exist in any other country. Therein lies the importance of the Turkish experience."

Q: "What would happen if there was a similar party in the Arab world?"

A: "There is currently a debate over Turkish political Islam and the development that the Justice and Development Party underwent that allowed it to win power democratically. If it will lose in elections, it is prepared to step down and enter the opposition, and then perhaps return [to power] again. I believe that this model of political Islam does not exist in the Arab world."

Q: "Is this because the Justice and Development Party accepts the ground rules of democracy?"

A: "Yes, but this was achieved after lengthy birth pangs and through historical development until the party was convinced that its role in political life was conditional upon accepting the ground rules of democracy. The paradox is that the Islamists, who are in power in Turkey today, favor joining the Christian European Union, and the army, the principle defender of secularism, has reservations about this idea and works to thwart it."

The Intellectual's Role as the Conscience of His Society

Q: "Based on your contact with Syrian and Arab intellectuals and thinkers, are you confident about the future of culture in Syria and the Arab world?"

A: "I am very cautiously confident. On this question, I am pessimistic about Arab culture in general. Regarding Syria, there is substantial activity both in Syria and in the Syrian diaspora, despite the fact that the agents of cultural transmission and the means at their disposal are still very modest.

"I have sensed this cultural activity since the period known as the Damascus Spring. After many years of supervision and repression, the Syrian intellectuals felt they had an opportunity to express their views and take part in cultural and political activities, and it became evident that they were learned, up to date, and possessed a modern style of writing and presenting their ideas. Syrian intellectuals have a prominent and brilliant presence compared to the size of Syria's population and the conditions [under which they live]."

Q: "Given the political developments in Syria in recent years – the closing of forums and the arrest of a number of members of the National Council of the Damascus Declaration – is it time to announce the death of the honeymoon between the regime and the intellectuals, and say that the Damascus Spring has been revealed to be an eternal autumn?"

A: "There was a long honeymoon between the intellectuals and the regime. This connection was always mixed with problems and tensions. By the nature of things, serious intellectuals tend to criticize the authorities, and the authorities, for their part, do not like criticism – and especially not in the period of compliant populism that our country went through, where everyone was one single bloc [supposedly] marching in the right direction under one single leadership.

"There are times when the intellectual marches in this same direction, but he always has his position and his specificity. So one could say that this honeymoon was something unusual and difficult for our country, given that the intellectuals are very exacting on these issues. The question is not one of wanton hostility to the regime, nor of blind support [for the regime] or of blindly jumping on the bandwagon. Therefore I believe that a principled critical stand is the most important aspect of the intellectual's role as the conscience of his society."

"There Is a Kind of Obsequiousness and Deference to Traditions and Customs, Whether They Are Backwards or Not"

Q: "There are those who say the crises that we have gone through – whether on the level of the regimes or the [Arab] societies – are nothing but the product of our prevailing culture. To what extent is this true?"

A: "I think that sometimes when we speak in this way we attribute more responsibility to culture than is its due. Culture is not the primary mover [that determines] the life of society or what policies are followed. It is not the primary mover in the historic orientation of one Arab country or another. There are those who think this, but there are crises on another level [that are only] reflected in the prevailing culture in [these] societies."

Q: "Do you think that the crisis has to do with the rulers more than its being a socio-cultural crisis, and that this in turn is reflected in the Arab situation?"

A: "It may be that there a crisis of the rulers, or the economy, or a crisis of the elites, or some other type of crisis. But one cannot say that it is because of our culture that we suffer from all these problems."

Q: "Is the current crisis a product of the rulers or of culture and social tradition?"

A: "Both. That is to say, there are many impediments [to progress] to be found in [various] peoples' cultures and traditions. At the same time – especially in the current period – there is a reluctance to investigate these impediments, define them, examine them closely, and criticize them in order to overcome them and remove them. The tendency to do so has grown weaker at present, and there is a kind of obsequiousness and deference to traditions and customs, whether they are backward or not.

"When we simply look at the Arab world, we see that it consumes everything but that it produces nothing apart from raw materials. What can we expect from the Arabs? Look at the Arab world from one end to the other; there is no true added value to anything. There is a structure that seems not to encourage production and to not be for it. What do we produce? What do we export?

"[This is true] whether you are talking about material, economic, scientific, or intellectual production, or any other kind. Look at oil production, for example. What is the Arabs' relation to the oil industry? They own the oil, but they have nothing to do with its extraction, refinement, marketing, or transport. Look at the huge installations for prospecting oil, extracting it, and refining it. Look at the Arab satellite, what in it is Arab? I doubt the ability of the Arabs to produce a telephone without importing the parts and the technologies it requires, and perhaps even the technicians..."(1)

"No Society Is Fundamentally Endowed with a Natural Readiness for Democracy – Democracy Is a Cumulative Historical Process"

Q: "There are some in government circles, and even among the intellectuals and the regular people, who claim that Arab society in general is not equipped for democratic activity. As evidence for this they put forward some experiences that are not encouraging: Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, and others. Moreover, [this occurs also] on the level of associations, parties, and human rights organizations, that have long experienced fissures and divisions, the most recent of which was in the Damascus Declaration coalition in the Syrian opposition. Can our Arab societies – with their current constellations and structure – produce true democracy that will persist without bringing divisions, political crises, security unrest, conflicts, and civil wars?"

A: "We need to take as our starting point the fact that no society is fundamentally endowed with a natural readiness for democracy. Democracy is a cumulative historical process. It would be a mistake to adopt the opinion that [this is] impossible, and that since we are tribal and sectarian we need to do away entirely with the idea of democracy, say that it is not appropriate for us, and close the door before it. In China they say a thousand-mile journey starts with a single step.

"I am in favor of attempts and experiments. There are previous experiences from which we can benefit. I do not despair or throw my up my hands, despite being aware of the difficulty of this issue and the complications it entails. No [society] had a structure that was fundamentally appropriate and fit for democracy.

"We, like other people, can learn, and accomplish 20 percent, then 30 percent, then 40, 50, and more. It is a cumulative process that depends on the steps taken to educate people in schools and educational institutions and train them gradually for the practice of democracy.

"If we don't do this, we will be governed by the saying: as you are, so will you be ruled. If you are tribal, you will be ruled by tribes; if you are backward, you will be ruled by the backward; if you are clannish, you will be ruled by clans; and if you are sectarian, you will be ruled by sects, and so on. This is to fall into a cycle from which there is no escape.

"Or else there is [another] Arabic saying that would apply to us: the people are of the religion of their rulers. If the ruler is democratic, all of us will become democratic, and if the leader is a dictator, all of us become pro-dictatorship. As though we are condemning ourselves to a position of quiescence from which there is no escape. I reject this."

Q: "There are those who doubt the ability of the Arab mentality today to produce a stable and lasting democracy. Do you think the Arab mentality has the ability to create a democracy that will survive, last, and become a norm and an accustomed behavior in our countries?"

A: "It is difficult for the Arab mentality in its current structure to produce democracy, but I do not believe that this mentality is an eternal fixed [attribute]. I [would] accept a model that is 30 percent successful, though up to now we have not been able to accomplish this.
"There is sectarian democracy in Lebanon, it is a regime of quotas, and not a democracy based on citizenship. The political regime in Lebanon prevents a dictatorship through sectarian balances, but [it] has not achieved true democracy based on citizenship. Likewise, Iraq is going in the same direction."

Q: "What is missing from the Arab mind that would enable it to accept the other, or the compatriot, as he is? What is needed to solve this equation that is currently unsolvable?"

A: "The individual learns the answers to these questions by studying the difficulty involved in the [other] alternatives in the course of history. In this context we could cite the example of Iraq. In my opinion, if the Iraqis want to maintain the unity of their country and avoid a grinding civil war, they must learn historical lessons from what they are going through today.

"The Shi'ite majority cannot say that the meaning of democracy is majority rule and that's the end of it. They must say that it means majority rule with protection for the rights of minorities, and by this I mean political minorities, and not necessarily numerical, ethnic, or religious minorities.

"They say, We are the majority and therefore we will rule, and democracy is majority rule. But this is to stray from the truth. Democracy is rule by the majority with the protection of minority rights. Otherwise the state will face division, civil war, and ruin.
"This is an issue that the Arab mind needs to study: that it must accept the other, and it must accept the possibility of the minority reaching [power] if its alliances make it into the majority – [but this] without [the minority] discriminating against the majority or taking revenge on it after reaching power.

"In Iraq there are also many Islamic parties and movements from various schools [of jurisprudence]. Are they capable of implementing the shari'a in accordance with Sunni or Shi'ite belief? Not unless they are prepared to sink into a grinding civil war. What can you learn from this if you are not interested in a civil war or the disintegration of the state? You learn to be wise and build neither a Shi'ite nor Sunni state, but rather a state based on citizenship, truth, law, and social justice.

"This belief comes as a result of historical lessons, but there are those who learn quickly and others who never learn. In Lebanon, for example, they didn't learn, and they experienced a grinding 16-year civil war; but considering what is happening there now, one feels they learned nothing from it, especially regarding the sectarian issue."

Hizbullah's Victory in 2006 Was Pyrrhic; Today, Instead of Fighting Israel, They Fight Jumblatt and Al-Hariri

Q:"... You described Hizbullah's victory as a non-victory, both at the conference organized in the Al-Assad library at the last book fair, and in an interview you gave to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar. Do you still hold this opinion?"

A: "Nothing has happened that would make me change my opinion, and especially not after I heard Hassan Nasrallah admit that had he known the kidnapping operation of the two soldiers would have led to this outcome, he would not have approved it. The expression 'Pyrrhic victory' [fits here] – that is, the price of the victory is so high that you feel that your situation after the victory is not better than before. Of course Nasrallah had enough courage and candor to admit this."

Q: "What about the description of the victory as a divine victory?"

A: "There are many considerations that stand behind this description, related to recruitment, beliefs, and so on. However, I think that in this way we deny something of the qualifications, capability, and intelligence of the heroes that fought and remained steadfast.
"Perhaps Hizbullah is stronger now – militarily and logistically – than it was in the past. But I believe that this faction is in an unenviable position, considering the diversion from the struggle against Israel to internal Lebanese games, and the wasting of the party's energy in the obscurity of insignificant politics in Lebanon. Today, instead of fighting Israel and its generals, they fight Walid Jumblatt, Al-Hariri, and other Lebanese politicians."

Q: "Perhaps [Hizbullah] is doing this because it feels threatened by the possibility of the president of Lebanon and the government trying to disarm Hizbullah?"

A: "I would avoid the word 'threatened.' This word is greater than the reality of the situation. When I am in Lebanon, I sense that others are very threatened by the Hizbullah's high level of weapons procurement, strength, organization, and training."

Q: "In your opinion, does Iran have final authority over Hizbullah?"

A: "There is no doubt that they [Hizbullah] take Iran and Syria into account. But I am not convinced about the question of them being completely loyal [to Iran and Syria]. I believe they have their own factional and national considerations. Saying that they are loyal to Iran is similar to what [they] say about the divine victory.

"There is no doubt that the one who finances, arms, and extends aid has weight, that their opinion [is taken into account], and that they have influence. This is only natural. It is like in the past when Fatah was influenced by Nasser's orientation, or like how the leadership in Syria influences the Palestinian organizations. This is part of the natural dynamic of political relations and alliances and the fractures that sometimes accompany them. At times Arafat would clash with Syria, and at other times he would say that Syria was the lung of the resistance."

After 1967, the Intellectuals Could No Longer Remain Silent

Q: "Why and for whom did Sadik Jalal Al-'Azm write?"

A: "I believe that for a university lecturer, writing is, fundamentally, part of scientific research. At first what I wrote was related to my studies in modern European philosophy. However, what drove me to write about politics and public affairs was the defeat in June 1967. If someone had brought up the subject of writing before and told me that in the future I would write some of the books that I ended up writing later, I would have told them they were crazy and said that under no circumstance would I engage in these issues. Perhaps I would have expressed my opinion as one who follows and takes an interest in public affairs, but I would not have engaged these issues were it not for the shock caused by the defeat in the 1967 war. 

"Before the defeat in 1967, I wrote for those interested in philosophy. I used to write for intellectuals ready to adopt enlightened and progressive positions and to develop ideas, positions, and cultures on the basis of the Arab enlightenment movement (the nahda). But after 1967 my orientation was towards the active elements in our societies.

"At that stage all of us were struck with shock and frustration. So I began to write for the public, since all of us intellectuals wanted to say something. This was because it was not possible that a disaster on this level could occur without saying something as an intellectual..."

Q: "Are you really an atheist or a 'Damascene heretic' as some people have described you?"

A: (laughs) "Can you imagine a serious, learned intellectual in our Arab countries not being seduced by ideas like a critical attitude towards traditional religious beliefs, doubt and non- determinism, and the idea of using a scientific approach to understand religious phenomena? From the time of Qasim Amin to the present, there have been those who promulgate and publicize their reactions to subjects like these.

"Naturally the religious institutions and clerics look at this matter in terms of atheism, heresy, and so on. But at the end of the day, there remains something that is a matter of the conscience, and this is part of the freedom of conscience of every man."

Q: "There are a number of people whose approaches intersect or are close to yours, like Muhammad Shahrur, Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, Gamal Al-Banna, and others. To what degree do you agree or disagree with them?"

A: "As far as the general contours, we agree on many things; however, concerning the particulars of opinions on specific subjects, it is possible that there are differences and sometime even criticism and competition. But the general contours are the same, and I consider this to be a critical, enlightened approach. We are badly in need of this..."(2)

Endnotes:  
(1) Al-Raya (Qatar), January 12, 2008.
(2) Al-Raya (Qatar), January 13, 2008.

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