The fear of the known 84

Islam dare not reform or modernize for fear of destroying itself, Barry Rubin conjectures.

He writes that first the Reformation, and then the nineteenth century attempt to adapt Christianity to the modern age, worked a disenchantment among Christians resulting in an irreversible decline of the faith itself, and that in the light of this history Islam fears to change.

Scholars in the Age of Science hoped to reconcile science and religion but found them irreconcilable. Others went  in search of the historical Jesus, and the more they discerned of that dim figure, the more effectively they disentangled him from the Christian religion.

By the time this process was finished, huge numbers had fallen away from belief, while what remained in many churches, especially among the elite, is a sort of pious-flavored combination of social justice and social-climbing without much presence of divinity. Such arid religion is not particularly successful in inspiring, much less retaining, members. …

Western political, cultural, and intellectual elites today are, whatever patina of hypocrisy remains, overwhelmingly atheist. I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing. It’s simply my observation and analysis.

We see it as a distinctly Good Thing.

Rubin goes on to say the churches are aware that the more their members know  about science and history, the more likely they are to defect:

Evangelical churches retain their enthusiasm, but they have a difficult choice: do they try to shield their members, deeming knowledge unsafe for them, or can they really create an alternative elite that remains steadfast? The unpalatable alternatives often seem to be ignorance or defection.

To be conventional rather than consciously hypocriticial, politicians pretend t0 believe.

Still, it is necessary for at least those members of the elite engaged in politics to pretend they have some religious faith….

Then he goes on to suggest that Islam, seeing what happened to religion in the West, fears to start a process of reform which could be similarly lethal:

My interest is how this affects Islam and the Middle East. In light of this Western history, how strong is the motive to reform Islam?

The answer is that it is far less strong than outside observers may think. The year is 2010, not 1517 when Martin Luther proclaimed his revolt against the Catholic Church and could in full confidence believe his reform would strengthen Christianity, as it arguably did for several centuries. Can Muslims believe the equivalent of that idea today?

It is 2010, not the 1820s or 1830s when [scholars] could believe that a thorough critical inquiry into Christianity would preserve its hegemony in European society. Can Muslims believe the equivalent of that idea today?

Islam suffers not due to any military or economic aggression of the West, but from the pervasiveness of apparently Western — but really more generically modern — ideas. For the great majority of believing Muslims, any serious reform of their religion is risky, probably too risky, to undertake and still expect the patient will survive. …

Here, then, is the paradox. Only massive social change, secularizing intellectuals, open debate, a critical examination of the most basic religious beliefs, a transformation of the role of women, and similar things can open up a modern society in Muslim-majority societies. Yet … the 2010 Muslim would see [such change] as suicide…

He thinks that fighting to preserve and spread their religion is a “logical response” on the part of Muslims who fear change, and the jihad  we are being subjected to is a struggle against modernity.

Conversely, to dig in, kill the critics, raise the walls higher, try to shut out (or severely constrain) modernity, and demagogically stoke the fires of jihad really is a logical response for those who want to preserve their religion and society as it has existed for centuries.

And he pessimistically expects that the fight could be continued for centuries, since there are “many in the Muslim-majority world ready to die trying” to avoid adaptation to the modern world.

Many who would rather cling to their belief in the unknown than trust themselves to the known!

But we ask, what if the secular world fights back?

We think that when the West comes round (as surely it must?) to recognizing that Islam is its enemy, and uses its political, military, economic, and above all intellectual resources to beat it, that old time religion will soon shrivel, and  eventually, along with all irrational beliefs dating back thousands of years, fade away.

Posted under Commentary, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Religion general, Science by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, November 30, 2010

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Stupid benevolence 105

Scott Johnson of PowerLine wonders how Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who tried to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting in Portland, Oregon, became an American citizen:

Today’s Los Angeles Times features a profile of the would-be Portland bomber named Mohamed Mohamud. Those of us wondering how the Mohamud family was admitted to the United States, or how Mohamud came to swear fealty to the United States and become a naturalized citizen, will have to look elsewhere for an answer. The best the Times’s two reporters could come up with is this: “He and his parents, Mariam and Osman Barre, came to America when he was 5 as part of a diaspora that brought tens of thousands of Somali refugees to U.S. cities. About 6,500 Somalis are said to live in the Portland area.” Well, thanks.

Here we found a part of the answer:

Mohamud’s family fled Somalia in the early 1990s, and his father, Osman Barre, a well-educated engineer, worked to establish them in Oregon.

“Osman was very sophisticated,” said Chris Oace, a former refugee worker for Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon who helped the family resettle here in the early 1990s. “Some refugees are afraid of having Christian churches help them. But it wasn’t an issue with his family at all.”

What a menace the well-meaning are! They do so much harm.

Stupid benevolence, which characterizes contemporary Christianity, is a serious fault, always dangerous and often damaging or even fatal.

How often can we know enough about other people’s wants and needs to be certain that our interference will do good? How often and how accurately can we foretell the consequences of our actions?

As a moral goal, trying not to do harm, though unambitious, is at least respectful of our fellow human beings, and difficult enough to achieve.

Jillian Becker   November 29, 2010

Divine dictatorship 56

Christopher Hitchens, atheist, and Tony Blair, convert to Catholicism, debated religion in Toronto on November 27, 2010.

The motion was: “Religion is a force for good in the world”.

The good news is that Hitchens, opposing, won the debate. The audience voted two-to-one in his favor.

From the report in the Telegraph (where there is also a video clip):

Mr Blair … said: “It is undoubtedly true that people commit horrific acts of evil in the name of religion.

“It is also undoubtedly true that people do acts of extraordinary common good inspired by religion.”

He pointed to the good done by faith based organisations, including the millions of lives saved in Africa and care for the mentally ill, disabled and destitute.

He added: “The proposition that religion is unadulterated poison is unsustainable.

“It can be destructive, it can also create a deep well of compassion, and frequently does.”

We would contend that good people will do good things and bad people bad things whether or not they have religious belief.

Mr Blair said the common thread running through all faiths was to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” .

Most religions have it, but not all. Islam does not have it. The understanding that you will probably be treated by others in much the same way you treat them is also common sense. Which Islam manifestly lacks.

Mr Hitchens … said: “Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects, in a cruel experiment, whereby we are created sick, and commanded to be well.

“And over us, to supervise this, is installed a celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea.”

Even Tony Blair had to smile at that.

Posted under Atheism, Commentary, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Monday, November 29, 2010

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Burning in a lukewarm world 83

The warmists attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference, starting tomorrow on Mexico’s resort island of Cancun, are going to have an anxious time of it, to judge by this report:

The response to the conference is lukewarm but no less than 15,000 delegates are expected to attend the deliberations. …

The Mexican government is committed to ensuring that participants’ mobilisation and energy consumption during the conference results in the smallest environmental impact …

Their lights may be dim –

The Mexican government is engaged in supplying energy through a system of photovoltaic cells with an estimated output of 130kW. The installation of a wind power generator with a 1.5-MW capacity will contribute to Cancun’s electric output through an additional renewable source.

Their transport will be politically correct –

Regarding transportation, delegations of participating countries will be provided with hybrid vehicles for their transfers during the conference.

Their ablutions minimal –

The Mexican government has implemented a special hotel assessment programme here, aimed at enhancing sustainable operation. Through the programme … hotels will set eco-efficiency projects to reduce the use of raw materials, energy and water during the conference. It is expected to avoid the consumption of approximately 2,00,000 m {+3} of water

They’ll be constantly and compulsively checking their carbon footprints –

Participants attending COP16/CMP6 will be able to access online and through the booths located at the conference venue a carbon footprint calculator to measure emissions associated to their air and ground transportation, lodging and meals.  …

And watching over their waste products –

A residual waste management programme will operate during the conference. It is aimed at enhancing the processing of different waste materials and their incorporation to productive cycles avoiding their final disposal.

And attending meticulously to recycling –

The programme includes the placing of recycle bins in the official meeting areas of COP16/CMP6 events, other locations within Cancun.

It’s as if Climategate never happened!

Except that some of the delegates now frankly admit that what really concerns them is not so much climate change itself, but the establishment of world government. They burn to enforce global economic redistribution – in other words, world-wide totalitarian communism under their rule. It’s not the planet that’s getting hotter but the would-be controllers of our lives, like IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer:

Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War. …  One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.

The Great Repudiation 186

Professor James Ceaser writes that the 2010 election result was the Great Repudiation of Obama’s and the Democratic Party’s ideology.

Here are quotations from his essay:

2010 is the closest the nation has ever come to a national referendum on overall policy direction or “ideology.” Obama, who ran in 2008 by subordinating ideology to his vague themes of “hope” and “change,” has governed as one of the most ideological, partisan presidents. Some of his supporters like to argue in one breath that he is a pragmatist and centrist only to insist in the next that he has inaugurated the most historic transformation of American politics since the New Deal. The two claims are in tension. Going back to 2009’s major political contests, beginning with the governors’ races in Virginia and New Jersey and the Senate race in Massachusetts, the electorate has been asked the same question about Obama’s agenda and has given the same response. The 2010 election is the third or fourth reiteration of their negative judgment, only this time delivered more decisively. There is only one label that can describe the result: the Great Repudiation.

What accounts for the great repudiation? …

The main Democratic explanation going forward … [denies] that the election ever had anything to do with “change.” It was instead all about the economy. The stimulus bill, alas, did not stimulate quite as promised. So the administration now claims that there was no fix possible for the economy, in the sense of being able to achieve a recovery as fast as Americans came to expect. The blame rightly belongs to the previous administration, although President Obama now understands that pressing this argument, a year and half in office, looks petulant. The new line is therefore simply to blame “the economy,” as if it were an alien force dropped in from the outside, with no connection to his policies. … The notion that “the economy” is an actor in its own right, impervious to the change, has led some analysts to float the strange argument that Republicans should have won more convincingly than they did.

The real purpose of this explanation is to limit this election’s meaning in a way that leaves the president and his agenda untouched. The election was voters’ anguished response to the economy-nothing more. It was the Great Protest, not the Great Repudiation. This position, which Obama embraced in his post-election news conference, allows him to join up with the spirit of the election and participate in its message. He will now concentrate on the economy like, dare one say, a laser beam.

Republicans have agreed on the economy’s importance as part of the explanation for their victory. Yet in their account the anemic recovery is not unrelated to the core elements of Obama’s “change.” The president failed to appreciate what generates productive wealth, which comes not from bigger government and more spending but from the activity of private businesses and entrepreneurs. Economic “philosophy” in this large sense was in fact the main voting issue in this election. …

For many Republicans, and especially the Tea Party movement, the economic issues were linked to a deeper concern. The size of government and the extent of the federal debt represented not only a burden on future generations and a threat to American power, but also a violation of the spirit and letter of the Constitution. The Tea Party, in particular, with its Jeffersonian ideas, has reintroduced the Constitution into the public debate, a place that it has not held in the same way for over a century. This theme is what connects the Tea Party to the American tradition and makes their concerns matters of fundamental patriotism. The stakes in the 2010 election for these voters went far beyond economic questions, and for Democratic leaders to reduce everything to frustrations about “the economy, stupid” represents a final act of belittlement.

There was an additional factor in this electoral outcome, then, that was hardly noted or tested in the polls. It was a cultural clash between an elite and much of the public, between liberal intellectuals and the Obama Administration on the one hand, and the Tea Party activists on the other. The one has shown disdain and the other has responded with indignation. It is impossible, then, to say that Barack Obama was not a major factor in this election, for when he was not himself the leader he became the frequent enabler of this dismissal of middle America. That Obama would have to descend from the lofty heights that he inhabited during the campaign and after his election was something that no sane observer – and no doubt Obama himself – could fail to have foreseen. But this loss of bloated charisma has never been the real problem. It has instead been his demeanor as president. Obama modeled himself on Abraham Lincoln, and it is painful in retrospect to draw the contrast in how they have behaved. One showed humility, the other arrogance; one practiced sincerity, the other hypocrisy; one made efforts at cultivating unity, the other seemed to delight at encouraging division; and one succeeded in becoming more and more a man of the people, while the other, despite his harsh populist appeals, has grown more distant. …

Although the essay doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t know, or provide any new insights, it goes so directly to the heart of the matter, and so well describes not only what happened in the 2010 elections but why it happened – especially the role of the Tea Party – that it seems to us a document worth preserving. Read it all here.

Who the hell d’you think you are? 143

With a little bit of luck, the undemocratic European Union will soon fall apart. One Euro-zone member state after another is collapsing for the simple reason that socialist economics – the sort Obama wants to force on the US – do not work.

Here is Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independent Party (UKIP) which has been doing grand work trying to undo the EU for years, makes a short speech saying bluntly what needs to be said about the whole rotten enterprise of European economic and political unity:

A thumbing of noses 241

The Muslims who want to build a mosque at Ground Zero have applied for a federal grant of $5,000,000 to help them realize their psychologically sadistic scheme.

They apparently see no reason why American tax-payers should not contribute to a building that would, in the eyes of most Americans, and of Muslims all over the world, celebrate the Islamic triumph of 9/11 when Muslims murdered some 3,000 people in a variety of horrific ways in the name of their nasty religion.

Investor’s Business Daily comments in an editorial:

Having taxpayers foot the bill would be the ultimate insult … a slap in the face to the victims of terror.

The application was submitted under a “community and cultural enhancement” grant program administered by the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation (LMDC). The agency oversaw the $20 billion in federal aid allocated in the wake of 9/11 and is currently doling out millions in remaining taxpayer funds for community development.

Developers hope to get around the “nonreligious activities” requirement in their application by mentioning only the cultural, educational and community development aspects of the 13-story facility and not the prayer room and other areas where Shariah law, which is diametrically in conflict with Western values and freedoms, will be preached and advocated. …

There is some comfort for most of us in the IBD’s assurance that “the grant is unlikely to be approved since such grants go commonly to finish or assist ongoing projects, not start them.” And the would-be developers do not have funds enough, as yet, to start their taunting project.

But impatient to see the mosque built, and the Muslims victorious, is the Left in general; and its media supporters are pushing the project hard in numerous direct and indirect ways.

Example 1

NBC names Sharif al-Gamal, who owns part of the Ground Zero property that he and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf want to develop into the mosque and “community center”, a “Person of the Year“.

Atlas Shrugs here and Jihad Watch here report and comment on what sort of man this NBC hero is.

From Atlas Shrugs:

Sharif El-Gamal racked up at least seven run-ins with the law …

His most recent arrest was for a Sept. 10, 2005, assault on a barber who sublet a Manhattan apartment from El-Gamal’s brother, Sammy.

The brothers and another man went to the apartment that afternoon to retrieve back rent from Mark Vassiliev …

El-Gamal … cursed at Vassiliev, called him the Arabic curse word “sharmouta” and punched him in the face, breaking his nose and cheekbones.

When he was arrested, El-Gamal denied he socked Vassiliev, but conceded, “[Vassiliev’s] face could have run into my hand,” court papers say.

From Jihad Watch:

The thug Sharif el-Gamal has been sued for an unpaid loan, and faced eviction from his SoHo office over $39,000 in back rent. He was found to owe $21,000 in fines on a property with 13 violations. …

El-Gamal has also threatened a Muslim opponent of the Islamic supremacist mega-mosque at Ground Zero; spoken at an event for Hamas-linked CAIR; and has a history of thuggishness, including a recent comment about how beating people up is “exercise & stress relief.”

So why is NBC honoring this thug? Because the mainstream media is avid to get this Islamic supremacist mosque built, and the will of the people be damned. You see how the chips are stacked against the 70% of Americans who oppose the mosque: if the media reflected their concerns at all, Pamela Geller would be Person of the Year for her leading the effort to stop the mosque.

Example 2

Recently, on November 12, 2010, the New York Times featured an admiring profile of Imam Rauf’s wife, Daisy Khan.

Creeping Sharia comments:

When the New York Times ran a profile of Daisy Khan in its “Style” section last week, they clearly meant to create flattering portrait. Instead, the piece, at least to me, revealed the woman’s true priorities and intentions – and why she must be stopped.

Khan, wife of imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his partner in creating the Cordoba House Islamic center on the edges of Ground Zero, has (if this profile is to be believed) one true goal: Islam uber alles. The organization she presides over seeks to glorify Muslims, not (as she claims) to promote interfaith projects. Her focus is Islam, not America. …

Though she insisted to the Times that she and her husband are “law-abiding citizens,” an apartment building they own in New Jersey has been cited for numerous health and fire violations. Moreover, just last week, a Hudson County, N.J. judge placed the building in custodial receivership, putting a local realtor in charge of correcting the violations using monies from October rents, since Khan and Rauf had failed to act themselves. The couple has also been cited for tax violations regarding the non-profit statuses of their various organizations, including Khan’s own American Society for Muslim Advancement. …

It’s not entirely clear what that organization actually does, other than solicit (and receive) grants and various donations. Last year, for instance, ASMA received a one-year, $150,000 endowment from the Henry Luce Foundation “to develop a graduate program in Islamic law for Muslim women.” Would someone please explain to me why ASMA needs $150,000 a year to plan a program that is not even listed among the organization’s projects, goals, or activities?

ASMA’s web site describes a mission to “elevate the discourse on Islam and foster environments in which Muslims thrive.” (“Muslims,” not “Americans.” Not “young men and women.” “Muslims.”) ASMA’s mission statement continues, “We are dedicated to strengthening an authentic expression of Islam based on cultural and religious harmony through interfaith collaboration, youth and women’s empowerment, and arts and cultural exchange.

But again – notwithstanding the obvious fact that there is nothing “interfaith” about any of this — what, exactly, have they done? Click on “events,” and you’ll find a list of places that Daisy Khan has been invited to speak, or the fact that she was present at the 2007 Frankfurt Book Fair. Click on “programs,” and you get links to various articles about Islam. Click on “arts” and you find listings of exhibitions others have presented and organized, with no funding or other involvement from ASMA itself. Click on “shop,” and you can buy any one of three books – all by Khan’s husband, Imam Rauf.

But nowhere is there an indication of what the organization actually accomplishes, of the activities it has initiated and developed. It is hard to decipher quite what gives the organization legitimacy as a “non-profit” – or, for that matter, where the donations it receives are actually going.

The real and contemptible intention behind the Ground Zero mosque plan is not hard to discern, but for those who can’t see it, some Muslims have spelt it out.

From the IBD editorial:

The mosque at Ground Zero is not about outreach. Its name, Cordoba House, was picked in honor of the bloody Muslim conquest of Cordoba, Spain, in 711. Canadian Muslims Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah, who sit on the board of the Muslim Canadian Congress, write in the Ottawa Citizen of Aug, 7: “We Muslims know that the idea behind the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation to thumb our noses at the infidel.

NBC and the New York Times are thumbing their noses hard in sympathy with their country’s ruthless enemy.

Iran attacked by a flight of ghosts 88

Now Stuxnet, the invisible, terrible, and mighty worm, is sending deceptive signals to the Iranian airforce through radar.

Airmen scrambled to intercept an attack by aircraft that were not there.

Here’s the report:

Stuxnet is also in the process of raiding Iran’s military systems, sowing damage and disorder in its wake.

On Nov. 17, in the middle of a massive air defense exercise, Iranian military sources reported six foreign aircraft had intruded the airspace over the practice sites and were put to flight by Iranian fighters. The next day, a different set of military sources claimed a misunderstanding; there had been no intrusions. Iranian fighters had simulated an enemy raid which too had been repulsed. …

There was no “misunderstanding.” The foreign intruders had shown up on the exercise’s radar screens, but when the fighter jets scrambled to intercept them, they found an empty sky, meaning the radar instruments had lied.

The military command accordingly decided to give up on using the exercise as a stage for unveiling new and highly sophisticated weaponry, including a homemade radar system, for fear that they too may have been infected by the ubiquitous Stuxnet worm.

Postscript: The fact that Stuxnet is not (or not yet) being used against North Korea suggests that it was not dispatched to Iran by the United States.

Posted under Commentary, Iran, Islam, jihad, Muslims, News, War by Jillian Becker on Thursday, November 25, 2010

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Boy with a toy 78

Posted under Humor, North Korea, War by Jillian Becker on Thursday, November 25, 2010

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An act of war provokes a drizzle of drivel 22

Why has North Korea been suffered to exist as the sort of state it is: an appalling tyranny that threatens its democratic neighbors and the West by arming itself with nuclear weapons?

(See our posts: Tests of judgment, June 8, 2010; There will be nuclear war, June 1, 2010; From paint-balls to nukes, May 31, 2010; A community organized for slavery, want, and death, April 4, 2010; A win for Russia, March 28, 2010.)

It should have been destroyed long ago, before it became the nuclear threat it is now.

Its ruling family of poisonous despots shake their impertinent little fists in the world’s face, and in return receive massive quantities of aid.

Now again it has committed an act of war, attacking a South Korean island.

Obama’s response? He makes it clear that he will consult with the world community about resuming the six-party talks about making it clear to North Korea that if it does that again they will consult about having talks …

Or some such drivel. Listen to what he had to say in March this year when a North Korean submarine torpedoed a South Korean corvette, if you have the patience. (And note Sarkozy’s expression as he stares at him.)

Is anyone talking sense about what should be done now?

At Commentary-contentions, Jennifer Rubin quotes from John Bolton‘s article in the Los Angeles Times:

The last thing Washington should do now is resurrect the failed six-party talks or start bilateral negotiations with the North. Instead, serious efforts need to be made with China on reunifying the Korean peninsula, a goal made ever more urgent by the clear transition of power now underway in Pyongyang as Kim Jong Il faces the actuarial tables. North Korea’s threat will only end when it does, and that day cannot come soon enough.

And she comments:

What is clear is that the North Koreans perceive no downside to acts of aggression against their neighbor. So long as Obama has only words in response, the barrages are not likely to end. And meanwhile, Iran and our other foes look on.

Has America ever before chosen to be so weak a power in the world?

We fervently hope that when Obama and his gang have been driven out, it will not be too late for John Bolton – either as president or secretary of state – to re-build and properly use America’s power in an increasingly dangerous world.

Posted under Commentary, North Korea, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, November 24, 2010

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