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Saturday, February 23, 2008

No, Not Obama. This is the One

If only this guy was what Islam was all about none of these infidel blogs would exist and we would all have to do something useful instead.

He is handsome and charismatic, and his velvety voice makes young women swoon. But his young female fans mostly wear headscarves, and while his gatherings look more fitting for a rockstar, they involve lessons from the Koran.

Moez Masoud, a 29-year-old Egyptian party-goer-turned-preacher, is sweeping the Middle East with his moderate Islamic message to love not just Allah but also others - and to play a full part in the modern world.

Read it all at CommonSense and see him on video

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Why is Jihad Spreading?

WHAT CHANGED? Why is militant Islam on the rise? There are several reasons, including increased mobility (so jihad recruiters can travel to other countries, for example), the multicultural and liberal democratic desire to stop dividing and conquering even militant countries, and letting them be, and new technologies like roadside bombs that allow small groups to inflict damage on larger groups.

There is also the added benefit of oil money, which is a large factor in global influence.

But let's look at one of the most interesting causes of the new rise of militancy: A side-effect of media technology such as radio, television, and the internet
unfavorable comparisons.

As long as Muslims lived in their own little village and didn't see much of what was happening in other villages or other countries, they had nothing to compare their situation with, and they could rest content with the fact that their religion was clearly superior, and Islam was the greatest thing ever.


But when they got television, radio, and the internet, they could clearly see something disturbing: Compared to the rest of the world, Muslim countries are backward, poor, third-world nobodies.

Now you would think that when someone sees their beliefs called into question, they would abandon them. And some certainly will. But an entirely different and perhaps counter-intuitive response is also possible: To become zealous believers.

An interesting experiment shows this surprising response from the inside (read more about it in the book, Influence). Two researchers joined a little cult undercover (in other words, the other members of the cult thought these two researchers were genuine believers). This cult had a leader who prophesied that aliens would come take them away right before the earth was destroyed. And the prophesy had a specific date and time.

On the night of the big event, the believers (including the two undercover researchers) sat around in the home of the Prophet, waiting for their alien taxi to pick them up.

Time ticked on. No taxi.

The researchers chose this group because the prophecy had a specific date. They wanted to find out what the believers would do with this obvious invalidation of the core belief of their "religion" (when the prophesy didn't come true).

What happened was fascinating. The believers up until the big event had pretty much kept their religion to themselves. They didn't try to push it on anyone or try very hard to recruit new believers.

But afterward, they went on an evangelistic rampage, working tirelessly to recruit new believers.

The researchers theorized that the recruiting was for the purpose of bolstering their flagging faith. In other words, they had doubts, and you can dispel doubts with numbers. If you and two other people believe in The Great Flying Spagetti Monster, you can be justifiably considered a nutcase. But if 10,000 of you believe the same thing, you will feel a lot more comfortable in your belief. It will bolster your faith. It will give you confidence.

I believe that's what is happening now with Islam.

Islam is going in two directions. There is a strong push to secularize and modernize Islam by some, as Muslims realize one of the reasons they are economically and culturally backward compared to the rest of the world is that their religion has limited them. So they want to change it. They want to alter the religion.

But another push is going in the opposite direction: Rampant recruiting, and upping the ante. Becoming more zealous and trying to follow the dictates of the religion more strictly. Unfortunately, it is a militant religion at its core, and so we see the recent rise of Islamic militancy.

Read more about the specific beliefs of Islam: The Terrifying Brilliance of the Islamic Memeplex.

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Israel is more than prepared to meet any challenge by the new racist Nazi regime in Iran.

Iran can huff and puff, but Israel will not allow a second Holocaust to take place. From Israel News, via Redneck Texan:


"Israel was born from the ashes of the Holocaust," said an Israel security analyst. "As such, Israel, the Jewish people and every democratic nation would not allow a second Holocaust to take place. Israel is more than prepared to meet any challenge by the new racist Nazi regime in Iran.

"We know every step they take, we know the color of the underwear that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah wear.

"If they think that the US can shoot down a satellite with laser pin point accuracy, they have not seen the weapons that Israel would and could use to defend herself - and I am not talking about nuclear or biological."

Iran's Revolutionary Guards yesterday stated that the Hezbollah in Lebanon would destroy Israel. "In the near future, we will witness the destruction of Israel, the aggressor, this cancerous microbe Israel, at the able hands of the soldiers of the community of Hezbollah," the ideological force's commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, was quoted by the Iran Fars news agency.

Iran's Fars News Agency reported that Jafari's prediction appears in a letter he wrote to Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah. Jafari was offering condolences to Nasrallah in the wake of last week's death of Hizbullah mastermind and arch-terrorist Imad Mughinyeh.

"Undoubtedly the martyrdom of this sincere fighter (Mughniyeh) will strengthen the determination of all revolutionary and combatant Muslims, particularly his comrades, in confrontation with the Zionist regime," Ali Jafari was quoted.

Mughniyeh was killed in a car bombing in Damascus, Syria last week. Israel has been credited with the elimination of the wanted terrorist, who was responsible for several major international terrorist attacks on Israel, American and Jewish targets. No confirmation has been forthcoming from Jerusalem. US President George Bush commented only that "the world is a better place" without Mughniyeh in it.

The escalating rhetoric from Hezbollah in the aftermath of the assassination of terrorist mastermind Imad Mugniyah is "a profoundly troubling development" that should be taken seriously, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in a statement.

Hateful anti-Israel rhetoric figured prominently in the fiery speeches during today's mass funeral in southern Beirut, with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah blaming Israel for the death of Mugniyah and calling for "open war" against Israel and "the Zionists." Nasrallah and other leaders said the terrorist organization was prepared to retaliate "anywhere" against Israel.

"The hateful rhetoric is a profoundly troubling development, for we know the past record of Hezbollah followers and it is not unreasonable that they or others could take this as a call to action," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

"In this interconnected world it is not just the tens of thousands of Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon who imbibed this vitriolic hatred, but a potential audience of millions across the Middle East and around the world.

"These threats should be taken seriously as incitement to violence. We know what Hezbollah is and what they are capable of doing. The international community must not remain silent in the face of these open threats against a sovereign nation and its citizens and supporters," added Mr. Foxman.

Nasrallah told a rally of 10,000 mourners that, "If the Zionists want war, then they shall have it. "Zionists, if you want an open war, then let it be an open war anywhere." Mugniyah was responsible for some of the deadliest attacks against Western and Israel targets around the world, including the devastating 1983 bombings of the American embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut, and the 1992 and 1994 bombings of the Israeli embassy and a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Following the assassination, Israel raised alert levels at its embassies around the world, with the Israel Defense Forces increasing security along the country's northern border and around key installations. In the US, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security advised state and local law enforcement authorities to be on alert for potential attacks by Hizbullah on Jewish communities or other targets within the US.

In response to Jafari's threatening letter, Israel's United Nations Ambassador Danny Gillerman filed a formal complaint with the UN Security Council on Monday evening. He called on the UNSC chairman to publicly condemn Iran for Jafari's statements, which he characterized as anti-Semitism and racism of the "most serious" kind. "Israel has never been more prepared for a conclusive war against Iran, Syria and Iran Hezbollah puppets," said the Israel security analyst.

"As always, Israel will take whatever measures she can to avoid a war. But if the perverted Muslim leadership of Iran continues to insist on murdering innocent Israel and Iran citizens, if the soldiers of Iran really want to meet their 72 virgins, Israel is more than ready to provide a one way ticket."

Israel security sources state that advanced Patriot missiles have been deployed throughout Israel's northern border. The officials said that batteries were placed on standby Sunday for the first time since Israel's month-long war with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, when the Lebanese terrorists fired nearly 4,000 rockets into northern Israel. The IDF would not comment on possible ground and space laser warfare weapons that they might have on standby. These advanced and sophisticated weapons, with pinpoint accuracy, could destroy a car, an underground bunker or a city in Iran or Syria.

Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday he anticipated Hezbollah would try to retaliate for the assassination, possibly with help from Syria and Iran, and added that Israel was more than prepared on all fronts for an attack.

A sounding rocket was launched into space by Iran on February 4. Iran states it was a preliminary step toward sending its first research satellite into orbit. Iran's state-run television had reported at the beginning of the month that Iranian scientists had built the Omid (Hope) research satellite under a project that took 10 years to complete.

"We need to have an active and influential presence in space," said Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who attended the February 4 rocket launch.

Iran media gave no details about the rocket, called Kavoshgar-1, but some experts believe it could be a variant of the Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,200 miles). "It's unfortunate Iran continues to test ballistic missiles. This regime continues to take steps that only further isolate it and the Iranian people from the international community," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

"We do not approve of Iran's constant demonstration of its intention to develop its missile sector, and to continue uranium enrichment," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Iran is currently involved in a critical conflict with the West over its uranium enrichment program, with two sets of UN sanctions against Tehran in effect. The US and its allies fear that Iran space and nuclear programs may both serve as a cover for the development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles. "It is no longer the citizens of Israel who now face a ballistic missile nuclear attack from Iran, but now every citizen of Europe has become a target," a French security analyst said. "It is for this reason that we applaud the US for its US missile defense shield program in Europe."
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Storm Track Disinformation: Why the Twains Will Never Meet

East is East and West is West, Mark Twain said, and the twains shall never meet. It’s also true about liberals and conservatives. I’ve given up on any possibility of the two ever finding common ground because they don’t seek a common language. Especially when one suffers from absolute semantic blindness.

Read the rest at The Gathering Storm.
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Iran sets law to execute apostates and converts from Islam WORLDWIDE


Iran introduces law that imposes death penalty on converts
Friday, 8th February 2008. 10:24am

By: George Conger.

LEGISLATION has been brought by the government of President Mahmoud Amadinejad before the Iranian Majlis that would mandate the death penalty for apostates from Islam. The law's reach would be worldwide, the legislation says.
Iran introduces law that imposes death penalty on converts
The Washington think tank, the Institute on Religion and Public Policy reported on Feb 5 the proposed "Bill for Islamic Penal" law will be the first time that Iran has by statute mandated the death penalty for conversion from Islam.

The legislation used the word "Hadd -- meaning that it explicitly sets death as a fixed punishment that cannot be changed, reduced or annulled. In the past, the death penalty has been handed down, and also carried out, in apostasy cases, but it has never before been set down in law," the Institute's president, Joseph Grieboski said.

Islam's five major schools of jurisprudence, the Madh'hab, currently hold that converts from Islam must be executed. However, in the Middle Ages several leading Islamic jurists rejected the death penalty --- as do a number of moderate modern scholars --- noting that while the Koran condemns apostasy as a sin, it does not mandate a penalty.

However Islamic law distinguishes between apostasy of an adult and someone who has not reached puberty. The 'Umdat as-Salik wa 'Uddat an-Nasik (Reliance of the Traveller and Tools of the Worshipper, of the Shafi'i school of Islamic jurisprudence as practiced by the al-Azhar in Cairo rejects the death penalty for child apostates, as does the Hidayah, the Hanafi juridical work that guides Muslim jurisprudence in India and Pakistan.

The proposed Iranian law would enshrine the mandatory death penalty into the country's civil code for men. Women apostates would be imprisoned. Two types of apostasy are set down in the legislation: parental and innate.

Innate apostates are those whose parents were Muslim, declared themselves as Muslim as an adult and then leave the faith.

Parental apostates are those whose parents were non-Muslims, who had become Muslims as adults, and then left the faith.


Article 225-7 states the "Punishment for an innate apostate is death," while Article 225-8 allows a parental apostate three days to recant their apostasy. If they continue in their unbelief, "the death penalty would be carried out."

Article 112 would give the law an extraterritorial jurisdiction, extending its mandate to cover those who renounce Islam both inside and outside Iran.

The law criminalizes heresy saying that anyone who claims to be a Prophet, or a Muslim who "creates a sect based on that which is contrary to the obligations and necessities of Islam, is considered an apostate."

Those who practice "witchcraft" shall also be "sentenced to death."

omgwtf.jpg
"The draft penal code is gross violation of fundamental and human rights by a regime that has repeatedly abused religious and other minorities," said Mr Grieboski. "This is simply another legislative attempt on the part of the Iranian regime to persecute religious minorities."

The proposed laws were "a legislative tool to consolidate power around the regime and extend its religious tyranny globally," Mr Grieboski said, and should be condemned by the international community.

In December 2004, the Prince of Wales convened a meeting of Muslim and Christian leaders at Clarence House to address the death penalty for converts. The Bishops of London and Rochester, the Archbishop of Kaduna, Nigeria, an Orthodox bishop and the director of the Barnabas Fund met with representatives of the London-based Al-Khoei Foundation, the Islamic Society of Britain, and Dr Zaki Badawi of the Muslim College in London.

Prince Charles' efforts proved unsuccessful however as the Muslim delegation said non-Muslims should not speak publicly about apostasy laws.
Isn't the end of all this quite clear yet?
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And one day my wife will put on a red dress and dance on your grave


'Israel's disappearance inevitable'

Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah on Friday said Israel's "disappearance" is an inevitable fact.

red_dress1.jpg

"If Israel's attacks Lebanon again, we will wage war without any preconditions," Nasrallah said during a speech in Beirut in honor of Hizbullah arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, who was assassinated last week in Damascus.

"The disappearance of Israel is an inevitable fact. It is an historical process in the region which will come to an end in several years," he said.

nasral_us.jpg

Nasrallah said Mughniyeh's death in a car bombing earlier this month in Syria was a "pre-emptive" strike meant to set the stage for the assassination of more of Hizbullah's top leaders.

"We consider Hajj Imad's assassination as a pre-emptive operation, not merely an act of revenge," the Shiite cleric added, using a title of respect for the slain commander reserved for Muslims who complete a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

According to Nasrallah, Hizbullah will not stand quiet following Mughniyeh's assassination.

"There is no possibility that we will not respond to the murder of our loved and dear ones. We will not allow the enemy to continue and murder our commanders and dear ones."

Nasrallah also said that Hizbullah has beat Israel many times in the past, the most recent time being the Second Lebanon war.

"We are ready for a new victory," he reiterated.

"After their loss in the war of Tamuz [Second Lebanon War], Israel is getting ready for a new war. I don't mean to scare, but warn."

"Your army and its tanks will be destroyed in the south and Israel will be without an army and then it will be no more," he added.

Nasrallah threatened Israel with an "open war" last week after Mughniyeh's killing, a comment that has sparked criticism and fears at home and abroad. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have issued travel advisories to their citizens in Lebanon, and two French cultural centers were closed in the country this week.

The Hizbullah leader sought to assuage domestic fears Friday, assuring foreigners in Lebanon that they were not the target for future attacks by saying "our enemy is Israel and our revenge is against Israel."

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Kosovo's Implications for Southern California?

I found the following excerpt from this February 19, 2008 article in the Brussels Journal (a source which I rarely, if ever, cite) at Eleanor Duckwall's Spotlight:
...The Kosovo Albanians claimed Kosovo for two reasons: (a) because long, very long ago, before the province was Serbian, it used to be theirs and (b) because today they have become a majority in the province. America granted them their wish and forced Serbia out.

What if tomorrow Hispanics in California (or Texas) push for the independence of Southern California (or Southern Texas), arguing (a) that a long time ago, before these provinces became Anglo-American, they were Mexican and (b) that Hispanics have now become a majority there? Applying the Kosovo logic of Bill Clinton and George Bush, Washington should then be forced out of Southern California by an international army of European, Russian and Chinese troops who would establish an independent “nation” there. All this would be done in violation of the international rule that international borders can only be changed with the agreement of all parties. This is how Washington is treating Serbia today....
The caption is "The 'nation' of Aztlan - America's Kosovo":

So, fellow bloggers here at IBA, what do you think of the above excerpt? I'm not sure what to make of it.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

The Arabs And Obama

By Lee Smith, from Michael Totten's website:


Last week Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Tamara Coffman Wittes reported from a conference in Qatar that Barack Obama's candidacy is all the rage in the Arab Gulf states.
A friend from the Gulf tells me her young relative was so excited about the Democratic candidate that he tried to donate money over the Internet, as he'd heard so many young Americans were doing. Then he found out he had to be a U.S. citizen to do so. Another young woman, visiting from next-door Saudi Arabia, said that all her friends in Riyadh are “for Obama.”


The symbolism of a major American presidential candidate with the middle name of Hussein, who went to elementary school in Indonesia, certainly speaks to Muslims abroad.That's an interesting way to make a point lost on most American commentators: Barack Obama's father was Muslim and therefore, according to Islamic law, so is the candidate. In spite of the Quranic verses explaining that there is no compulsion in religion, a Muslim child takes the religion of his or her father.

The point of course is not that Obama is really a Muslim, because in America he is whatever he says he is. American ideas about such things as choice, religion, freedom of expression – including the freedom to choose your own faith – are different from the rest of much of the world. For us, a man is whatever religion he wants to practice, or not practice. But for Muslims around the world, non-American Muslims at any rate, they can only ever see Barack Hussein Obama as a Muslim.

It's useful keeping in mind that difference between how Americans see our lives and our actions and how others see us, given that one of the chief conceits of the Obama campaign is that a president of his biological identity will redeem our reputation around the world after George Bush enflamed the better part of humanity by invading two Muslim countries.

Or, as Fareed Zakaria put it:

We're moving into a very new world… For America to thrive, we will have to develop a much deeper, richer, more intuitive understanding of them and their peoples. There are many ways to attain this, but certainly being able to feel it in your bones is one powerful way.

Perhaps this is the only obvious strategy available to a presidential candidate whose Washington experience to date has afforded him little time to grasp the niceties of policy-making. And indeed there's already evidence that some Middle Easterners, or the people in whose part of the world the United States has expended vast human and material resources over the last six years, are not impressed with Obama.

Over at From Beirut to the Beltway, Abu Kais gives low scores to a recent Obama recent speech about Lebanon.

From Now Lebanon:

“Washington must rectify the wrong policy of President George Bush in Lebanon and resort to an efficient and permanent diplomacy, rather than empty slogans,” [Obama] added. He also said that the US must cooperate with its European and Arab allies to sponsor an inter-Lebanese consensus on a stable and democratic Lebanon.

To which Abu Kais replies:

What kind of diplomacy that has not been tried before by the “Europeans and Arab allies” will help Lebanon? I am not going to defend the Bush administration's policy in Lebanon. It may reek of “empty slogans” at times, but how does talking to criminals create solutions? And pray explain how supporting the Hariri tribunal, as Obama said he does, can be reconciled with chatting up the ones who killed him?

Lebanese journalist Michael Young and Iraqi blogger Iraqpundit have expressed their reservations about one of Obama's foreign policy advisers, Samantha Power. The self-described “Genocide Chick” seems to them insufficiently concerned that an American withdrawal from Iraq will lead to genocide. Her solution? Move people from one area to another and give money to Iraq's neighbors to stabilize the country. You can't blame her for basically parroting the egregiously cynical recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, but in reality this means that US forces should be complicit in the sectarian cleansing of Iraq and pay off countries like Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia that have themselves funded and supported death squads targeting Iraqi Shias, Kurds and Sunnis as well as US troops.

It's true that the Lebanese and Iraqis have benefited, and suffered, more than anyone from the Bush White House's regional transformation program, so you can't hold it against them if they're more interested in a man's ideas than in the faith he professes or the color of his skin.


Read the whole thing.

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Pat Condell: The Shari’ah Fiasco

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Previously arrested, licenseless illegal alien runs stop sign, kills four, hits school bus


Unfreaking believable

What is it going to take.....
Van Driver Arrested for Role in Minnesota School Bus Crash
4 students killed, 14 injured in SW Minnesota school bus crash

COTTONWOOD, Minn. -- Authorities have confirmed that the the driver of the van that struck the school bus that killed 4 students on Tuesday is an illegal alien.

Officials at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement are checking to see where she came from and how long she's been in Minnesota. FOX 9 has also learned that the name she gave to police, Alainiss Morales, is an alias.

WHAT HAPPENED

The van was heading east on County Road 24, which has a stop sign as it ends in a T intersection with state Highway 23, the road the bus was traveling. The van struck the bus, which rolled over onto a truck.

The driver of the truck told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he saw the van run the stop sign.

"I saw the maroon van run a stop sign, it blew over the railroad tracks and hit the bus, sending it sliding into me," James M. Hancock, 45, of Marshall, told the newspaper from his hospital bed in Sioux Falls, S.D. "The next thing I knew, they were hauling kids out and it was chaos."

Iraqis nabbed in Mexico, headed to U.S. with fake IDs
Authorities suspect European ring selling counterfeit Bulgarian passports for $10K


Posted: February 21, 2008
10:48 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

WASHINGTON - Two more Iraqis with false Bulgarian passports were detained by Mexican officials in Monterrey - bringing the total to four this month.

Wisam Gorgies, a 34-year-old man, and Rana Nazar Peyoz, a 26-year-old woman, reportedly flew from Madrid and landed in Monterrey, according to reports in two Mexican newspapers today.

Following questioning, the pair admitted they intended to reach the United States. They were taken to Saltillo in the state of Coahuila, for final determination of their status.

A secure border is not racism

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Death Wish Dhimmis Pay The Jizya

Church of England donates cash to aid Muslim prayer

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent of The Times

A diocese of the Church of England is giving an unprecedented £250,000 towards a multi-faith building in which the largest amount of worship space will be reserved for Muslims.

The Guildford diocese is one of the wealthiest in the UK. The Bishop of Guildford, the Right Rev Christopher Hill, today handed over the £250,000 cheque to Surrey University for the first multi-faith building of its kind in Britain.

The £6.5 million building will contain separate worship spaces for the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Sikh communities, along with a further shared space for Buddhists and Hindus.

All faiths will share the cafe in the basement, with a shared staircase down from the upper floors.

Converting each other will be strictly forbidden, an insider said, but it is hoped that the different faith members will form friendships, learn to respect each other and enhance each other's understanding.

Muslim chaplain Dr Abdul Mateen Sansom, said: "As well as being a sorely needed practical solution to student needs, I believe the design and underpinning ethos of this project have potential for notable impact nationally and internationally.

Lesley Scordellis, lead fundraiser for the centre and development manager at Surrey University, defended the Muslim advantage in the space allocation.

It isn't about giving greater provision for Muslims, it is about likely numbers using it. We certainly have a strong demand for worship space from the Muslim community, she said.

"We do sit right beside Guildford Cathedral so the relative provision in the locality is very different.

She continued: "We think it is the first of its kind. It breaks with the tradition of having a shared space for each faith. It is all in the same building but each has a completely separate space. The Jewish space has a kosher kitchen exclusively for them to use. The Muslim space has an ablutions facility exclusively for them. The design of the building is to facilitate the feeling that they are in one building about faith.

Professor Christopher Snowden, the university's vice-chancellor, said he was “delighted by the support from the diocese. "Local support of this nature is crucial to our fundraising.

Bishop Hill said: “We are proud to participate in this significant venture toward world understanding here in Surrey.

A fundraising campaign has begun to raise the rest of the cash. The mutli-faith centre is due for completion in 2010.



Well, now the Dhimmis can hope that the crocodile will, perhaps, eat them last.
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Police concerned about order to stop weapons screening at Obama rally - UPDATE: Secret Service Responds

UPDATED AT BOTTOM OF POST

What the hell is going on here? The Secret Service, apparently, gave the order to shut down metal detectors an hour before the opening of an Obama rally? And, in Dallas, of all places?

Have they ever given such an order before with any other major candidate?


DALLAS -- Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

"Sure," said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a "friendly crowd."

The Secret Service did not return a call from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.


Someone from the Secret Service had better get on the horn right quick. They've got some major explaining to do.


UPDATE

THE SECRET SERVICE RESPONDS:


WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Secret Service Friday denied reports that security measures at a recent Barack Obama rally in Texas were relaxed or deviated from established plans.

Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren said there was no order from the Secret Service to stop screening people going to the Obama rally Wednesday at Dallas' Reunion Arena. He said that the event's security plans didn't involve having each participant pass through a magnetometer, as may be the case at other events.

The Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported that some police at the event expressed concern about people not passing through metal detectors."

Any allegations to the fact that we had suspended screening or deviated from the original security plan would be entirely inaccurate," Zahren said.

Obama, D-Ill., spoke before some 17,000 supporters at the rally ahead of the March 4 primary election in Texas. There were no security-related incidents.

While stressing that security preparations are different for each venue and event, Zahren said officials were happy with the security plan for the rally at Reunion Arena and the way it was implemented.

Limited use of metal detectors "in no way constituted a security lapse at this venue," Zahren said, adding that the security measures were developed with Dallas-area law enforcement personnel.


Honestly, I don't buy that. The excuse may be the truth. Mr. Zahren may be telling the truth. However, consider this:

Can you imagine what would happen to this country's trust in the good faith of its government were Barack Obama to be assassinated?

They ought to be guarding that man with their life. Certainly, that is their job.

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Islam: What The West Needs To Know

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Storm Track Appeasement: The Fundamental Errors of Liberalism

Over at Renew America, Dennis Campbell mused about the two fatal errors of Liberalism. The misunderstanding of human nature and the inability to learn from history.

The record is long and disgusting on how Liberals can not learn from history always thinking that this particular problem with a particular tyrant or social issue is different this time. Or in other words, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing’s over and over expecting different results.

But what about human nature? Where’s the error in their ways with that?

Read the rest at The Gathering Storm.

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Now that's a relief: Hollywood finally shows some guts

Some may have heard about the row Hasbro caused after they decided to stop including Israel next to Jerusalem on their list for the Monopoly world vote contest. I suppose the good news on that they decided to take all country names off the list as well following the Jewish community backlash, thus making it easier to keep voting. If you vote, do your best to ensure that Jerusalem will be able to gain a top spot on the leaderboard!

Now, there's some definite good news that came out, and it's that Dennis Quaid's new movie, Vantage Point, does portray the terrorists it features as Islamic, and thus properly reflecting the times. More on this from Debbie Schlussel (Hat tip: Hot Air).

Now maybe with this, we'll slowly start to see some guts being shown. You know where I'd really like to see some guts to deal with this, though? In the world of comic books, in just about any DC/Marvel book, and also in some independents. Maybe they'll start considering it as a way to draw audience?
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Israel Issues Hijack Alert To All Airlines

From Ynet News (thanks to Michael):


Fearing Hizbullah retaliation for Imad Mugniyah's death, Transportation Ministry orders all carriers to Israel to tighten security measures in bid to counter potential terror attack

Israel has recently issued an instruction to all airlines flying into the country to tighten security measures in order to minimize the risk of a terroriat attack on flights to Israel.

The instruction came following growing concerns that Hizbullah may try to launch a retaliatory attack against Israel, which the group believes is responsible for the killing of its military leader Imad Mugniyah.

Danny Shenar, head of security at the Transportation Ministry, has ordered all foreign and local airlines landing in Israel to require from passengers to remain seated half-an-hour before landing, when flights approach a distance of 180 miles from the country's shores.

Until now, passengers have only been instructed to return to their seats at a distance of some 90 miles from Israel (15 minutes before landing).

Furthermore, airlines have also been asked to instruct their pilots to seal the cockpit 30 minutes before landing, so as not to allow terrorists to take control of the plane.

Extra time to raise the alarm
Transportation Ministry officials explained that the new decree has been issued in light of fears that terrorists might succeed in infiltrating a plane, and attempt to take control over the aircraft only in the final stage of the flight, after it has reached Israeli airspace.


A hijacking at this stage would make it difficult for security forces to respond in time to curb the attack.

"It takes several minutes to deploy fighter jets towards a hijacked plane," an aviation security expert explained. "Therefore, the final stage of the flight is extremely crucial."


The new procedure is aimed at providing the aircrew with an additional 15 minutes to notify air controllers on the ground about an emergency on board.


So, when you are waiting in an interminable line at the airport, when the airport screening people are rude to you, when you are sitting in the airplane, and not being allowed to go to the bathroom one final time before you land, just remember, you owe it all to Muslims who have decided to use planes as weapons.
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The utterly ridiculous Kosovo thing


This started as comment, and turned into a rant so....

If a gazillion so called national cultural identities (like the Flemish) want to manage their own existence, and want to dissolve the nations they exist in, which may or may not be real, or inventions of Talleyrand, Bismarck, Napoleon, Marcus Aurelius, or Englishmen and Frenchmen after WW1 the USA is NOT CAPABLE of stopping such a movement

All we can do is watch and learn.
The basques...who is to say they DON'T deserve a nation, or do? Scots? Picts? Vandals, anyone? Castilians, maybe? Say where did those Scythians go, anyway?

It's clear the endpoint of all this would be 5.1 square miles of the Netherlands vs 6.3 square miles of Flemland, ready to duke it out over an apple orchard owned by the catholic church vs a lutheran relative's ex-wife who converted for her marriage, yes? Ken Livingstone would probably end up as leader of one of the largest nations in Europe, unless of course, for instance the people in the 'Temple' and Mayfair want out of that repressive domain. Harrod's should be an international zone.

Is all that something we should divert ourselves from the muslim brotherhood about while CAIR goes after our ability to comment?

If the Serbs in North Kosovo are repressed because as part of serbia, the kosovars were attacked, because as part of the Ottoman empire the serbs were repressed because the Wallachians resisted for 150 years via unpleasant methods et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, (as the king said) and in the mix are murderers of both sides, some of whom were Nazis as well at some point, EFFEMALL. Let them all secede until every family has their own nation. Then they can figure it out.

The USA cannot stop it, unless we are willing ready and able to kill hundreds of thousands of the civilians who make up such a movement, and be the FORCE of repressing such a movement.

Is this american electorate (forget right or wrong) ready to do such a thing?

I thought we were 'hoping' for 'change'.

I will be thrilled if we don't throw away Iraq, and Afghanistan, and send Israel into the garbage pile to buy a few more years of Gray's Anatomy and Oprah in 'peace'.

If the Kosovars want to idolize the KLA and act the part by making themselves into a terrorist enabling warlord state... I would think one squadron of A-10's would fix that in 10 days. More still, it's one thing to yell 'viva la revolution' and hang Che's flag out there while you are 'repressed' or making a point, it's another, as Menachem Begin found out to try that as a state.

Today Kosovo exists SOLELY by the sufferance and protection of the US and NATO. If they want to become a sharia state of Ikwhan loonies who beat their wives, mutilate and kill their daughters for being born, and holding hands, and wink wink nod nod, enable the existence of Atta's of the future, they need neither our protection nor our sufferance, OR our quick, ill advised recognition. If we just walk away, the Serbs will just do their thing. The same thing europe has done for 2000 years PLUS.

What we don't need is a European reclamation project managed by Americans, because the Europeans can't and won't do it. Except in the same old way.

Isn't anyone else tired of this stupidity yet?

We have plenty of other things to think about. Like domestic produced energy (of any freaking kind) and crippling foreign currency reserves which may right now, this second, be hampering our national sovereignty, and our ability to do things which benefit us, and harm our enemies.

Is there anyone who thinks for an instant that China, Russia and the Arab Sovereign Wealth Funds do not exert an influence on American foreign and domestic policies of immense import?

Anyone think Hu Jintao hasn't said....'Gee, Georgie, I would hate to have to unload 20% of my nearly 2 trillion dollars for Euros and drive the dollar down by 25% and crap on your economy some (more) if you keep on dicking with Mahmoud. I mean I really don't want to, but.... we need that oil as well as you as customer, and btw, can't the Fed lower the interest rates some more so your stupid goddamn maxxed out people can buy some more and keep us all out of the crapper'?

Worry about that ..not Kosovo.
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kosovo's Independence: Harbinger Of War?


From Ilana Freedman at the Gerard Group:

Wahhabi Mosque In Kosovo

Sunday's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia by Kosovo is likely to have serious consequences, not only in the Balkans, but around the world.

Serbia called the declaration illegal and Russia denounced it. The United States, however, was among the first to recognize Kosovo as an independent nation, complicating a growing breach with Russia, China and some EU members, who are vehemently opposed to letting Kosovo break away from Serbia.

Minimally, this event threatens to touch off a new conflict in the Balkans. Riots have already broken out in Belgrade. According to our source in Belgrade, "Serbia is about to go up in flames" as thousands of ethnic Albanians, Muslims who represent 90% of Kosovo's two million people, have stated their claim on the new state.

According to our source, a systematic ethnic cleansing of Kosovo's remaining Christian inhabitants has been going on for several years and will now likely escalate.

Since we have been supporting 'democracy' in Kosovo, and have ignored the strong Albanian Islamic influence in political affairs there, we have opened the gates to a new Islamic state, complete with terrorist training camps on the ground and a global network through which to funnel their graduates.

This begins a trail that leads to (but does not end in) New York City, where the 'Albanian Mafia' has taken over much of the drug and organized crime trade. The combination of the legitimization of their terrorist activities in Kosovo, their links to the US, and the fall of Serbia (partly self-inflicted) may spell a new era of unrest and confusion that will mean danger for US interests everywhere.

Kosovo's move has opened a Pandora's Box that is likely to release forces that will spin out of control very rapidly. Separatist movements in many parts of the world can take heart from Kosovo's move and sow the seeds of chaos in a world that is already reeling from the effects of Islamic terror.
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Beveiled Muslims Test Tolerance in Secular Britain

Photobucket
Photo courtesy of the International Herald Tribune

Women covering themselves up is objectionable to many British people, and is seen as a sign of subjugation. British women, along with their sisters in other Western countries, fought long and hard for their liberation and equal rights. They view the veil, especially the full veil, as a step back in time, as a step back to a bygone age. Wearing it is also seen as a clear sign that Muslims do not wish to integrate.

INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE - LONDON: Increasingly, Muslim women in Britain take their children to school and run errands covered head to toe in flowing black gowns that allow only a slit for their eyes.

Like little else, their appearance has unnerved Britons, testing the limits of tolerance in this stridently secular nation. Many veiled women say they are targets of abuse. At the same time, efforts are growing to place legal curbs on the full Muslim veil, known as the niqab.

The past year has seen numerous examples: A lawyer dressed in a niqab was told by an immigration judge that she could not represent a client because, he said, he could not hear her. A teacher wearing a niqab was told by a provincial school to go home. A student who was barred from wearing a niqab took her case to the courts, and lost. In fact, the British education authorities are proposing a ban on the niqab in schools altogether.

David Sexton, a columnist for The Evening Standard, wrote recently that Britain has been "too deferential" toward the veil. "I find such garb, in the context of a London street, first ridiculous and then directly offensive," he said.

Although the number of women wearing the niqab has increased in the past several years, only a tiny percentage of women among Britain's two million Muslims cover themselves completely. It is impossible to say how many exactly.

Some who wear the niqab, particularly younger women who have taken it up recently, concede that it is a frontal expression of Islamic identity, which they have embraced since Sept. 11, 2001, as a form of rebellion against the policies of the Blair government in Iraq and at home.

"For me it is not just a piece of clothing, it's an act of faith, it's solidarity," said a 24-year-old program scheduler at a broadcasting company in London, who would allow only her last name, Al Shaikh, to be printed, saying she wanted to protect her privacy. "9/11 was a wake-up call for young Muslims," she said. Head-to-toe Muslim veils test tolerance of secular Britain >>> By Jane Perlez

Mark Alexander (Paperback)
Mark Alexander (Hardback)

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Serbia: 150,000 Protest Kosovar Declaration of Independence - Set Fire To US Embassy

The United States wish has come true. We have granted Islam another state. That makes three under Bush watch. First, we deposed Saddam Hussein, and then installed a government whose constitution enshrines Sharia as an official and sacred source of law. Then, we made sure the Palestinians were able to kick every last Jew out of Gaza, and elect Hamas (see the genocidal Hamas Charter here) ...

and now Kosovo.

Wow, that Bush really knows how to fight against "Islamofascism", doesn't he?

From Associated Press:


BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) - Serb rioters broke into the U.S. Embassy Thursday and set fire to an office after a massive protest against Kosovo's independence that drew an estimated 150,000 people.

Masked attackers broke into the building, which has been closed this week, and tried to throw furniture from an office. A blaze broke out inside one of the offices and parts of the facade also caught fire.

Authorities drove armored jeeps down the street and fired tear gas to clear the crowd. The protesters dispersed into side streets where they continued clashing with authorities.
The neighboring Croatian Embassy also was attacked by the same group of protesters.


In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack strongly urged the Serbian government to protect the U.S. Embassy. He said the U.S. ambassador was at his home and was in contact with U.S. officials.

More than a dozen nations have recognized Kosovo's declaration of independence on Sunday, including the United States, Britain, France and Germany.

But the declaration by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership has been rejected by Serbia's government and the ethnic Serbians who populate northern Kosovo. Russia, China and numerous other nations have also condemned the declaration, saying it sets a precedent that separatist groups around the world will seek to emulate.


Yes, it does. Ethnic Nationalism is a danger all around the world. However, it is particularly dangerous when it is married to a fascist ideology as is the case with Kosovo's Muslims.

If the Muslims of Kosovo did not have evil intent, they would have abided by vote of the Democratic government of Serbia. But, they can not abide Democracty, because they are Jihad-espousing Muslims seeking to establish and extend Dar al-Islam into Europe.
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Al-Qaeda: hunting down beggars and mentally disabled

to use them as suicide terrorists. US commanders in Iraq consider that it's possible that AQ has infiltrated the records of psyquiatric hospitals.

Iraqi Government is trying to stop this, retiring these groups of
people from the streets... But where are they going to live afterwards?
Because they are not very protected in those psyquiatric hospitals...

Lastly Karrar, the chief of Al-Qaeda's network in Diyala, who was the responsible for the suicide of two mentally disabled women in Baghdad has been killed by Coalition forces.

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Leftist MP To Hizb Ut-Tahrir: "Go To Hell"

It's always good to see when the lefties get into the anti-Jihad act (from Jyllands Posten):


The leftist Socialist People's party leader gives the extremist group Hizh ut-Tahrir, a piece of his mind

In an uncharacteristic move, Villy Søvndal, leader of the Socialist People's Party, responded to the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir's demonstration last Friday, by severely criticising them in his blog.

He stated in his blog that the group was to 'seek other pastures' and that their 'undertakings had no perspective, nor future, in Denmark'.

In an interview with Jyllands-Posten newspaper, he continued to lash out at the extremist group whose demonstration had delivered a direct threat towards Danish society, telling them to 'go to hell'.

'If they want to live in a religious dictatorship so badly, they can go to those countries in the Middle East where such dictatorships exist,' he said.

The hostile tone of the demonstration has had Pia Kjærsgaard launching a new proposal in parliament to ban the controversial group, but Søvndal said he did not want them banned.
'Instead of turning them into martyrs with a ban, they must be put in the spotlight. It would expose their completely ridiculous views,' he said.


He also lashed out at Kassem Ahmad, a spokesperson at the Islamic Society in Denmark, who had marched alongside Fadi Abdullatif, leader of the Hizb ut-Tahrir in Denmark.

His criticism echoed along the corridors of parliament. Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the Danish People's Party agreed with him and stated that it was 'foolish' and 'naïve' of the integration minister to think that anything constructive would come out of a meeting with the Islamic Society.

New Alliance party leader, Naser Khader also called the minister 'very naïve' for agreeing to meet with Ahmad and said that the society was a 'world champion in saying one thing and doing another',
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Copenhagen Intifada - 10th Night - 20 Fires And A Bomb

From Reliapundit at the Astute Bloggers:


IHT/AP:


A wave of nightly arson attacks in immigrant neighborhoods across Denmark
continued with about 20 small fires reported across the country, police said
Wednesday.
Youths have been torching cars, waste containers and schools in
unrest that started on Feb. 10.
However, police said the situation has calmed
down since the weekend when hundreds of fires were set in Copenhagen and other
Danish cities.

Some of the youths said the unrest started as a protest against police
harassment. In an open letter published Tuesday in a Copenhagen newspaper they
accused police of racist and brutal behavior.

Some observers say that the reprinting of a caricature of the Prophet
Muhammad in Danish newspapers last week may have aggravated the situation.

AND THERE WAS A BOMBING.

WHY WOULD IMMIGRANT YOUTHS FEEL DISENFRANCHISED ENOUGH TO RIOT IN SUCH AN IDEAL WELFARE STATE?

IN FACT, THEY HAVE CHOSEN TO DISENFRANCHISE THEMSELVES.

THEY ARE CHOOSING SHARIA ENCLAVES AND SHOWING THEIR LACK OF RESPECT FOR SECULAR LAW.

THESE ISLAMOTHUGS NEED TO BE DEPORTED, OR JAILED.

Pastorius comment: Or, tried for sedition and hung until dead.
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This Week on The Gathering Storm Radio Show

Listen to the nearly famous Gathering Storm Radio Show, that AlwaysOnWatch and I co-host. The show broadcasts live every Friday for one hour at NOON, Pacific Time.

Friday, February 22: For one hour, Mustang, Allan Goldstein, and Saleem Siddiqui will discuss their views as to who will make the best President to conduct the war on terror and to deal with the threat of Islamism.
-----------------
Listen to The Gathering Storm Radio Show this week, and find out which candidate(s) our slapdown participants think will make the best President.

You don't want to miss this show, which will discuss the upcoming, critical change of leadership in the United States when voters go to the polls on November 4, 2008!

Call-in number is (646) 915-9870.

Callers welcome!

If you are unable to listen live to the radio show, you can listen to recordings of the radio broadcasts later by CLICKING HERE.

The call-in number again is (646) 915-9870. Converse with my co-host and me, chat with our guests or if you must, just air your spleen!

UPCOMING SHOWS
February 29: Jason Bootie
March 7: Janet Levy and GM Roper
March 14: Walid Shoebat and Mark Alexander
March 21:
Elisabeth of Austria
March 28: Robert Spencer
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Mosques Are Quasi-Military Citadels


From frequent IBA commenter Najistani:


Unlike churches, mosques are not places of spirituality, peace and sanctuary. They are quasi-military citadels and centres of subversion, intimidation and aggression:

"The desire to make mosques more visible has increased, however. In three Swiss cantons there are now building applications for minarets, slender towers topped by a crescent. The foes of minarets have brought in the heavy artillery. The approximately 100 supporters of a ban, including 35 SVP deputies, declared that Islam was making a 'political-religious bid for power.' Among the evidence they cited was a remark by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister and ex-mayor of Istanbul, that 'the mosques are our barracks, the minarets our bayonets, the domes our helmets, and the believers our soldiers.' This, say those seeking a referendum, must be stopped in Switzerland"

Commenting on the Oxford Mosque's demands to broadcast the amplified pre-recorded wailing, Dhimmiwatch says

"The noisy call to prayer is an act of dominance and aggression. The louder it is, the better. Mosques were always supposed to be built in high ground, or in the most imposing spot, towering over churches and synagogues, in the lands first conquered by Islam. Those aggressive skyward thrusting minarets were symbols of power, of dominance. And the same thing continued wherever Islam went.

Some fail to understand that the placement of mosques, the size of mosques, the significance of minarets, and those calls or cries, now electronically amplified, are all part of a single system. That system is one by which the mosque is not merely or mainly a place of worship, but a place of community gathering... of plots and schemes. It is even -- as we see even here and there in Europe -- a place to store weapons, explosives, false papers in false ceilings -- and a place from which to fire on Infidels ...

A mosque is NOT a Muslim "church." It is a Muslim "church" and a Muslim "community center" and a Muslim "armory" and a Muslim "army recruiting center" and a Muslim everything.

The easy, and comforting, belief in the West that it is merely a "house of worship" is something that Infidels must disabuse themselves of....The muezzins wail ...would be an intolerable display of triumphalism. If Oxford allows the call to prayer between 6 a.m. (but not earlier) and 10 p.m. (but not later), what will this do to the sleep patterns, and peace of mind, of all the non-Muslims who, presumably, still live in Oxford?

If it is allowed, the very fact that it will disturb Infidels will not disturb Muslims, but will be triumphantly taken -- as each little victory is taken -- as a sign that the barriers to the spread and dominance of Islam are being dismantled. Some are being dismantled by a display of sweetness-and-light, some by a display of something quite different -- but the goal remains the same.

Each new victory swells the hearts of Muslims, and causes, here and there, among the pool of Infidels who are psychically vulnerable to the appeals of the well-financed, non-stop campaigns of Da'wa (Every Man Is His Own Missionary in Islam), more to see it as the coming thing.

One may look at what happened in Granada. There, the Spanish government, thinking to do the grand thing, allowed a mosque to be built. It was built, on the highest ridge in the city. It now overlooks a nunnery. And the nuns have been complaining ever since that the noise from that mosque has permanently disrupted their own existence, their own necessary quiet, as the Call to Prayer (and indeed, other noises) suppress any possibility of contemplation."-


Exactly the same thing has happened at Bodh Gaya - the most holy site of Buddhism - where the meditation of peaceful Buddhist monks is deliberately disturbed by prolonged playing of this amplified cacophony from the nearby Mosque:


Just as the amplified wailing at Bodh Gaya, the historical centre of Budhist culture, is a deliberate 'in-yer-face' insult to Buddhists, so the wailing over Oxford, which is perceived by Muslims as a historical centre of Anglosphere culture, is a deliberate 'in-yer-face' insult to the English. Moreover, the caterwaul that dhimmies refer to as a 'call to prayer' is actually far more offensive than that. It is an assertion screeched over an English city in Arabic stating that Islam is the only true religion, that a psychopathic murdering pedophile is a greater spiritual leader than Jesus, and that everyone should worship the Man in the Moon - aka Allah. -

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Storm Track Infiltration: Islamic Prayer Tower Rises Over St. Louis

We have problems right here in River City – eh, South St. Louis, that is. That’s right; St. Louis has joined the ranks of Bern, Switzerland and smack in the center of America’s heartland rises an Islamic prayer tower that will blast through its loud speakers, several times a day, calling the Muslim faithful to prayer. Hat tip to Weasel Zipper.


Read the rest at The Gathering Storm.

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Modern Hitler Reveals Himself Yet Again - World Snores

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has, once again, made it clear that he hates Jews, calling the Jewish state of Israel a "filthy bacteria ... which is lashing out at the nations in the region like a wild beast,”

The world said, "Never Again," after Hitler's Holocaust killed 6 million Jews. But, how many Christian churches will stand up and call for this man to be removed from office?

The Iranian people voted Ahmadinejad into office. He speaks for them.

In a world where people actually respected justice, instead of just giving it lip service, the Iranian people themselves would be held responsible for their government.

It will be a crime against humanity if we wait until the Iranian President carries out the intent which his words reveal before we actually do something. We are responsible to do something before his words become death.

Truth is, his words already are death incarnate. The Jew-hatred he foments is the inspiration of suicide bombings and terror attacks around the world.

We must take whatever steps are necessary to end Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
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The Sound of Satan's Dwellingplace

The Muslim call to prayer is as alien in the west as UFO's in New Mexico - I mean real UFO's not stealth aircraft. This video shows the reaction of local people to the dreadful wailing of the Muslim call to prayer in a western city. It could be Oxford next. If it were to come to a city near you I would suggest a policy of pyrotechnic expansive deconstruction celebration would be appropriate. Watch it, it won't take up too much of your time.

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Box-Cutter Found In Hollowed Out Book At Tampa Airport


Oh yeah, and the man with the box cutter just happened to have a bunch of Islamic literature with him too.



TAMPA - A 21-year-old Clearwater man was arrested at Tampa International Airport this weekend after security personnel found a box cutter in a hollowed-out book, authorities said.


If convicted, Baines faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for a federal charge of attempting to board an airplane with a concealed dangerous weapon. He is currently serving a 30 day sentence after pleading guilty Monday to a state misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon.

About 7:30 a.m. Sunday, airport security ran Benjamin Baines Jr.'s backpack through an X-ray machine and saw the image of a box cutter, according to a report from the Transportation Security Administration.

When searching the backpack, a security officer found a book titled "Fear Itself." The book was hollowed out, and the box cutter was inside.

After Baines was read his rights, he said his cousin had cut away the pages to make the hollow section in the book. Later, reports state, he said he had hollowed it out himself to hide money and marijuana from his roommates.

Baines told officers he was moving to Las Vegas and forgot the cutter was in the book.Officers found books in the backpack titled "Muhammad in the Bible," "The Prophet's Prayer" and "The Noble Qur'an." He also had a copy of the Quran and the Bible.

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Recent Speech by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

From this source, dated February 20, 2008:
When the audience took the floor after human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s speech at the University of North Texas on Wednesday night, their questions threw the gulf of mystery between Islamic culture and Western values into sharp relief.

Ali, a soft-spoken Dutch feminist, politician and writer, wasn’t rattled....
Read the rest HERE.

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One prime thesis at my blog was that if muslims COULD have a democracy over the long run then..


democratic pressures would HAVE TO dilute and minimize jihadism regardless of its religious primacy.

This is the underlying thesis of the so called neo cons

Looking at places with voting such as Pakistan with the MMA's victories and programs, and Gaza, and the muslim brotherhood's generationally long (1930's) popularity gives one a long pause.

Not so fast

AMIR TAHERI, today's WSJ:

Islam at the Ballot Box

By AMIR TAHERI
February 21, 2008; Page A17

Pakistan's election has been portrayed by the Western media as a defeat for President Pervez Musharraf. The real losers were the Islamist parties.

The latest analysis of the results shows that the parties linked, or at least sympathetic, to the Taliban and al Qaeda saw their share of the votes slashed to about 3% from almost 11% in the last general election a few years ago. The largest coalition of the Islamist parties, the United Assembly for Action (MMA), lost control of the Northwest Frontier Province -- the only one of Pakistan's four provinces it governed. The winner in the province is the avowedly secularist National Awami Party.

[Islam at the Ballot Box]

Despite vast sums of money spent by the Islamic Republic in Tehran and wealthy Arabs from the Persian Gulf states, the MMA failed to achieve the "approaching victory" (fatah al-qarib) that Islamist candidates, both Shiite and Sunni, had boasted was coming.

The Islamist defeat in Pakistani confirms a trend that's been under way for years. Conventional wisdom had it that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the lack of progress in the Israel-Palestine conflict, would provide radical Islamists with a springboard from which to seize power through elections.

Analysts in the West used that prospect to argue against the Bush Doctrine of spreading democracy in the Middle East. These analysts argued that Muslims were not ready for democracy, and that elections would only translate into victory for hard-line Islamists.

The facts tell a different story. So far, no Islamist party has managed to win a majority of the popular vote in any of the Muslim countries where reasonably clean elections are held. If anything, the Islamist share of the vote has been declining across the board.

Take Jordan. In last November's general election, the Islamic Action Front suffered a rout, as its share of the votes fell to 5% from almost 15% in elections four years ago. The radical fundamentalist group, linked with the Islamic Brotherhood movement, managed to keep only six of its 17 seats in the National Assembly. Its independent allies won no seats.

In Malaysia, the Islamists have never gone beyond 11% of the popular vote. In Indonesia, the various Islamist groups have never collected more than 17%. The Islamists' share of the popular vote in Bangladesh declined from an all-time high of 11% in the 1980s to around 7% in the late 1990s.

In Gaza and the West Bank, Hamas -- the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood -- won the 2006 general election with 44% of the votes, far short of the "crushing wave of support" it had promised. Even then, it was clear that at least some of those who run on a Hamas ticket did not share its radical Islamist ideology. Despite years of misrule and corruption, Fatah, Hamas's secularist rival, won 42% of the popular vote.

In Turkey, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won two successive general elections, the latest in July 2007, with 44% of the popular vote. Even then, AKP leaders go out of their way to insist that the party "has nothing to do with religion."

"We are a modern, conservative, European-style party," AKP leader and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan, likes to repeat at every opportunity. In last July's general election, the AKP lost 23 seats and, with it, its two-third majority in the Grand National Assembly.

AKP's success in Turkey inspired Moroccan Islamists to create a similar outfit called Party of Justice and Development (PDJ). The PDJ sought support from AKP "experts" to prepare for last September's general election in Morocco. Yet when the votes were counted, the PDJ collected just over 10% of the popular vote, winning 46 of the 325 seats.

Islamists have done no better in neighboring Algeria. In the latest general election, held in May 2007, the two Islamist parties, Movement for a Peaceful Society and Algerian Awakening, won less than 12% of the popular vote.

In Yemen, one of the Arab states where the culture of democracy has struck the deepest roots, a series of elections in the past 20 years has shown support for Islamists to stand at around 25% of the popular vote. In the last general election in 2003, the Yemeni Congregation for Reform won 22%.

Kuwait is another Arab country where the holding of reasonably fair elections has become part of the national culture. In the general election in 2006, a well-funded and sophisticated Islamist bloc collected 27% of the votes and won 17 of the 50 seats in the National Assembly.

In Lebanon's last general election in 2005, the two Islamist parties, Hezbollah (Party of God) and Amal (Hope) collected 21% of the popular vote to win 28 of the 128 seats in the parliament. This despite massive financial and propaganda support from the Islamic Republic in Iran, and electoral pacts with a Christian political bloc led by the pro-Tehran former Gen. Michel Aoun.

Many observers do not regard Egypt's elections as free and fair enough to use as a basis for political analysis. Nevertheless, the latest general election, held in 2005, can be regarded as the most serious since the 1940s, if only because the Islamist opposition was allowed to field candidates and campaign publicly. In the event, however, Muslim Brotherhood candidates collected less than 20% of the popular vote, despite widespread dissatisfaction with President Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian rule.

Other Arab countries where elections are not yet up to acceptable standards include Oman and Bahrain. But even in those countries, the Islamists have not done better than anywhere else in the region. In Tunisia and Libya, the Islamists are banned and thus have not put their political strength to the electoral test.

Afghanistan and Iraq have held a series of elections since the fall of the Taliban in Kabul and the Baath in Baghdad. By all standards, these have been generally free and fair elections, and thus valid tests of the public mood. In Afghanistan, Islamist groups, including former members of the Taliban, have managed to win around 11% of the popular vote on the average.

The picture in Iraq is more complicated, because voters have been faced with bloc lists that hide the identity of political parties behind a blanket ethnic and/or sectarian identity. Only the next general election in 2009 could reveal the true strength of the political parties, since it will not be contested based on bloc lists. Frequent opinion polls, however, show that support for avowedly Islamist parties, both Shiite and Sunni, would not exceed 25% of the popular vote.

Far from rejecting democracy because it is supposed to be "alien," or using it as a means of creating totalitarian Islamist systems, a majority of Muslims have repeatedly shown that they like elections, and would love to join the global mainstream of democratization. President Bush is right to emphasize the importance of holding free and fair elections in all Muslim majority countries.

Tyrants fear free and fair elections, a fact illustrated by the Khomeinist regime's efforts to fix the outcome of next month's poll in Iran by pre-selecting the candidates. Support for democratic movements in the Muslim world remains the only credible strategy for winning the war against terror.


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